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Between Sixes

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Sexy Dom Viktor

Close up of sexy Dom Viktor

 

(1) You ever do something that you’re absolutely certain is a terrible idea from the very beginning? Yuri couldn’t be more certain that the screaming whisper in his head telling him that this was exactly what he was doing was completely right as he shook the steady, warm hand extended out from brilliant Caribbean Sea eyes, aqua blue with specks of green, beneath a shimmering fringe of platinum hair and above the most charming smile ever to be put upon the face of a man with his own clammy, weak hand, his eyes wild with his faltering attempts to present himself with just the barest hint of dignity. It didn’t go well. Though, that really shouldn’t have been a surprise at that point. He wasn’t sure of why exactly this was a terrible idea, but he felt the certainty of his pending destruction straight through his bones into the deepest reaches of the universe they were created from.

Maybe it was because half of his pathetic grasps at dignity were thwarted by the skin-tight, snow white breeches hugging the sublime ass of the man whose hand he’d been shaking for far too long now. He should let go. He doesn’t. He continued assaulting the man with what had to be the worst handshake he’s ever experienced as Yuri contemplated that perhaps it was the knee-high, black leather boots and the dressage whip just long enough to reach from his hand to his ankle hovering just inches away from them. That whip striking the calf of those leather boots had been taunting him with a sound that went straight to his cock with every crack over the past hour as he followed the owner of the sublime ass on a tour of the exquisite stables. The whip had built from just the occasional accidental swing tapping against his boot as he held it casually in his hand as they walked to something that seemed much more… purposeful.

Maybe it was the way the offer of employment extended in that handshake in no way matched up to the stumbling, clipped, absolutely idiotic answers he had given to every single question asked of him right up to and including his very name which had only come out of his mouth after a pause so lengthy the owner of the sublime ass had said, “Forgotten it, have we? It said on your application that it’s Yuri Katsuki?” which he had answered with a slow nod of his head before words finally tumbled out. “Ye-yes. Katsuki- I mean- Yes. Yuri Katsuki. That’s, uh, me.” That had been the critical moment when this had gone from a relatively basic interview which would have given him only minimal nerves over the most basic questions required to ask someone if they know how to throw food and water to a horse and clean up their shit to possibly the most humiliating experience of his life. Maybe second. Or, more likely, that critical moment had come when the man rode up looking every bit of a prince in shining armor to greet him from the back of an elegantly fine-boned, yet still sturdy, dappled gray warmblood, Dutch, if he wanted to judge by the refined head, in a crimson polo shirt that hugged his trim waist and stretched over his broad chest and exposed the thick, but not too much, muscle wrapping his arms down to his gentle hands cueing his fifteen hundred pound horse to stop with all the balance and lightness of a ballerina with a tiny squeeze of his fingers and smiling so brilliantly the man looked like he ate diamonds for breakfast.  

Every question past that first had spiraled him further into this hell-sauna of anxiety and mortification. He’d only been on one interview before in his life, but he had to think that questions about his favorite places to hang out and his personal hobbies were well outside the scope of typical interviews. He was absolutely certain that, “How many lovers of yours will I have to make security passes for on a weekly average?” was not something that was included in your typical interview though he maybe had a valid reason for asking as he would be living on the premises. The twitch of a smile on the man’s face when he blurted out a horrified, “None!” made him doubt the validity of that question’s inclusion.

Or maybe it was because even though his mind had wisely decided to jump ship and abandon him there with his stupid expression and still shaking the hand of the most gorgeous man on the planet, Viktor Nikiforov, the owner of the stable and the sublime ass, had not stopped shaking his hand either. An interview is supposed to go both ways. The employer has to make sure that the employee was a suitable, competent person for the position, and the candidate was supposed to make sure they would be comfortable working there and that the position wouldn’t cause them undue stress. As he thanked the man profusely for the offer and accepted it with an agreement to move into the small cottage behind the stable on Sunday and begin work the week after through yet another mess of words, he knew that they had both failed spectacularly in their tasks.

“It was such a pleasure to meet you, Yuri. I look forward to working with you.” He finally released his hand with a smile that was almost a smirk as they stood by the gated exit.

“Thank you, sir! I look forward to serving you!” He bowed and wished he could go all the way down to bury his head in the dirt as the man gave a chuckle that said he in no way missed the second way that could be interpreted.

“Please,” he placed his finger under his chin as he rose back up from his bow lifting his eyes to meet his, “call me Viktor. At least when we’re in public.” He gave him a heart-stopping wink then turned on his heel and walked away with a hard crack of the whip on fine Italian leather as a parting gift.

Yuri had no choice but to watch him and his sublime ass until he disappeared from view into the stables. Finally released from the encounter, he turned around and blushed through every inch of his body as the security guard sitting in the box by the gate raised his eyebrows and smirked as he pushed the button to open the gate.

This was, without a doubt, a terrible idea.  

Chapter Text

(2) “This is a horrible idea,” he reassured himself as he drove his rusted, red beater of a car from the early nineties that looked like a flattened rectangle on wheels through the wrought iron gates. The security guard had opened it and given him his code to access it himself only after checking his id and the paperwork he had on him at least ten times. This was clearly not the same security guard from yesterday who would likely not have forgotten his humiliation that easily. Just the fact that there was a security guard stationed there twenty-four seven was enough to convince him that he in no way belonged there even working as a stable caretaker. The presence of a security guard made sense. The cheapest horse in here was worth about as much as a luxury car with many closer to the cost of a luxury house on the coast. Plus, the lure of prize money also lured plans of sabotage, and Viktor Nikiforov wore the biggest target by far of anyone competing on the circuit today. Yuri’s presence, however, made absolutely no sense as evidenced by the security guard’s searching for any reason not to open the gate to him. 

Had he known that this was Nikiforov’s stable he wouldn’t have even applied. The sparse craigslist ad he had replied to in no way indicated… this. Maybe the fact that an actual living wage on top of free room and board was being offered should have clued him in to something being way off here, but the lure of an actual living wage on top of room and board assured that he didn’t look that Trojan horse in the mouth. His last job had offered a small “converted apartment” in the hayloft that paid him a “weekly stipend” rather than an actual salary. The stipend was roughly enough to pay for groceries and gas and a bit of toothpaste, and that was about it. And when that job had ended suddenly with no savings in the bank, he had found himself up shit creek without a paddle.

His car rattled horribly with the weakened engine mounts he'd been warned about months ago getting closer to dropping his engine right on the tree-lined cobblestone road with every length of gray stone he gained. He drove past acres upon acres of pastures filled with once peaceful horses lined in white, flex rail fencing with curved corners. Viktor had taken such care and expense to make sure his horses were protected yet here he was disturbing their peace and rattling their nerves with his mere presence. He'd managed to avoid this on the interview by parking his car outside the gate, but now his comings and goings would be marked with the snorting horses in the pastures that were on guard and assessing him to see if this monster would strike. He turned at the hill that overlooked the expansive stables covered in off-white stone blocks to take the second path that led to his misguided destination.

He pulled up to the small yellow cottage that he would be living in, and the final blow of, this is a horrible, terrible, certain to end in disaster idea struck him over the head with the sight of Viktor Nikiforov waiting at the front door again in those cruel white breeches and boots and a sapphire blue polo. His car limped to a stop in the driveway, and Viktor stepped forward to greet him with his hand extended for some ungodly reason and a smile that flickered with his eyes being drawn between himself and the car he drove up in.

Viktor clasped his hand and smiled brightly. “Welcome, Yuri! I’m so excited that you’re here. I hope you’re just as excited to be here.”

“Uh, yeah.” Their hands bobbed stupidly up and down.

“Great! I’ll help you unload your things and get settled in, Yuri.”

“That’s really not necessary!” He finally jerked his hand away to wave his hands violently in front of him as his voice squeaked into the cracking found on pubescent teenage boys. “I can do it myself!”

“Nonsense, Yuri. The job will go faster with two of us, yes?”

“Ye-yeah. But it’s okay! Really! I don’t mind it taking longer! I’ll do it myself, please!” Dear god no.

“Ah, but Yuri, teamwork is so important to me. I like to establish with my employees early on that any job they can do as a team is highly encouraged as it’s almost always done more efficiently that way.”

With no way out, he squeaked his acceptance to Viktor’s approving nod then cringed as the man opened the door to his backseat and grabbed two of the trash bags he had shoved his clothes in with only a slight hesitation of his hand. He turned back around with his beaming smile intact and headed for the front door. Yuri peered into his car with the open sleeping bag and pillow splayed over the backseat and the messy stack of books on the floor next to it with scattered bags of junk food in various stages of being consumed filling the rest. It looked exactly like what it was: someone’s temporary home. He grabbed the sleeping bag and pillow and his bag of toiletries and the remaining bag of clothing and followed him in. He paused at the door to remove his shoes just as Viktor was coming back out from what must be the bedroom.

“Ah! I’m sorry.” Viktor glanced sheepishly down at his boots on the hardwood floors. “You’re Japanese. I should have guessed that this would be rude, but these are so hard to take off and put on, and we’re going in and out and…” The helpless look on his face as he trailed off changed his aura in an instant from one of domineering confidence to something closer to a child seeking forgiveness of innocent sins.

His shoulders dropped just a little away from his ears as he gave him a small smile. “No, it’s okay. You’re right it’s kind of a pain when you’re going in and out like this. It’s just a habit for me.” He slipped the shoe back on that was hanging halfway off his foot and stepped into the house. He had to admit that it felt as wrong as a wool sweater two sizes too small, but the smile that returned to Viktor’s face made the discomfort a little more bearable.

He followed Viktor back to the room he had placed the bags in. On the white dresser was a large bouquet of pink peonies, coral and apricot ranunculus, red and yellow poppies, and little white fluffs of baby’s breath filling in the spaces next to an equally large gift basket that looked to be full of ridiculously expensive gourmet foods. The rest of the room had been fitted with an elegant but cozy décor. Soft white bedding and a dove gray blanket folded across the foot of the large bed and taupe shiplap walls gave it an inviting softness. A yellow and gray paisley wingback chair tucked into a nook created by two large, open windows jutting out at an angle overlooked a garden of wildflowers and rustic country flowers as well as the back pastures with horses grazing contentedly on the lush grass of spring. He took a deep breath of the fresh air ruffling the white curtains and even with his eyes closed, he could picture the scene perfectly with every single note playing clearly through the scent.

When he opened his eyes again, a blush touched his face as he saw Viktor staring at him with a bit of a silly grin on his.

“Are the accommodations to your liking?”

“Uh, yeah, um. It’s great. Thank you.” He shifted the load in his arms that he still hadn’t set down as he had no idea where to put it that wouldn’t make its outofplaceness painfully obvious.

Viktor walked over to the closet and opened the door. “Would here work, Yuri? I don’t think you’ll be needing a sleeping bag anytime soon unless you’re fond of camping.” His tone shifted ever so slightly from his smirking lilt that seemed to be the default to one that was just a shade darker, a bit more insistent.

“Ah, no. I mean, yes. The closet works.” He placed the bag of clothes next to the dresser where Viktor had set the other two then shuffled over and dumped the sleeping bag and now superfluous pillow onto the closet floor.

They made another trip out with Viktor grabbing the books from the floor and stacking them neatly on the seat while Yuri hurriedly shoved the bags of junk food into his arms with his face blushing hard as Viktor watched him. He couldn’t tell if his expression was one of judgment or concern with how little it expanded beyond interest. One of the bags of Cheetos on the top of his mound tumbled off. Viktor grabbed it and set it back on top of the pile with his mouth open like he was about to speak, but then shut it firmly. He was probably second-guessing his desire to say, ‘you know, you’d be a little less tubby if you laid off these snacks and ate some real food instead.’ He’d be right of course. He had gotten a bit out of shape since his last job ended and he had no way to purchase or cook real food. It’d been three months since he started living in this car and while he held back most of the bulk his body would have loved to cling to with daily trips to the gym to shower and work out his stress, his lack of any sort of real nutrition had softened him past anything you could call ‘defined’.

Viktor shifted back out of the car and repositioned himself to grab the tower of books he had stacked on the seat. He took them all in one go making those perfectly toned arms ripple around the deep stack. Was he trying to show off? Whether he was trying to or not, he certainly was as he walked into the house with that sublime ass tightened even more to brace against the weight. Yuri followed him with his far less impressive armload of snacks braced against his soft stomach. He deposited them on the kitchen counter while Viktor brought the books back to the bedroom. Yuri was going to have a roommate here, and his stuff was already claiming parts of the living room with a large flat screen tv, gaming console, and a copy of ‘The King and the Rider’ on the coffee table. Looked good so far. Only a vast movie collection to add to that list. No dirty clothes or other... weirdness.

He grabbed the few pairs of shoes left in his car and deposited them on the shoe rack at the front door then headed back into the bedroom where Viktor was carefully placing the books on the bookshelf after inspecting each cover. He was so absorbed in his task he didn’t notice Yuri come into the room and stop just inside the doorway. Yuri recoiled at the invasion of privacy before curiosity took over and made him just watch quietly. And really, is a book collection really such a private thing? Yes. Nothing could be more revealing about a soul than what they chose to fill it with. Why was Viktor so interested in his? He grabbed the next book and ran his fingertips over the cover as he read it then smiled and placed it on what looked to be a random spot on the shelf. The next one he flipped through casually, stopping at a few points to read a little deeper then placed that one in another random location as well. What are you doing? You can’t just put them in wherever you feel like! There has to be an order! His body tensed more and more as Viktor kept loading the books onto the shelves in completely random locations. His hand paused as he reached for one of the last books in the stack then he flushed at his ears and the back of his neck as he picked it up and read the cover intently. What was so interesting about this- oh no. Viktor turned to the nightstand and opened the drawer to deposit the book he had entirely forgotten he possessed. ‘The Gay Man’s Bible to Self-Love and Mind-Blowing Sex.’ Part self-help primer, part how-to according to the back cover, his old coach had given him this when he came out to her for both practicality and the utter delight she had at watching his face turn sixty shades of red. How could it have been in that stack of books? He hadn’t seen it in years, and it certainly wasn’t there when he moved his stuff into the car. Viktor had reached deeply under the front seat to grab some books that had gotten shoved under there. Oh god. It must have been stuck under there this whole time until Viktor unearthed it. Is jumping in his car and leaving never to return an option here?

Viktor turned back around and blushed hard upon spotting him. “Yuri! I’m… I’m so sorry. I really didn’t mean to… All of this actually.” He locked eyes on him with a deflated expression. “I thought I was just being helpful and getting to know each other a little and I didn’t realize I was… invading your personal life so much. I thought you were refusing my help because you didn’t want to be impolite, and I didn’t think about the fact that you might have had specific reasons for refusing, and I wanted to apologize at the car, but I didn’t know if it would be better just to pretend like I didn’t know or to apologize and well, you know which one I chose. And again, here, I didn’t mean to invade your privacy. I was just curious as to the type of books you read and, again, trying to be helpful. I’m very sorry, Yuri.”

His hands tightened at his sides as his mortification boiled over into anger. “You should be sorry! What kind of a monster puts books on a shelf with absolutely no order?”

“Excuse me?”

“I was watching you. You put the fiction and non-fiction all mixed up together, and some of them are just lying in stacks, and I know there’s no way that could be alphabetized with how little you looked back and forth between the covers as you put them in place. And… and I am gay, but that book is not mine! Well, it’s mine, but I didn’t buy it! Someone gave it to me, and I completely forgot I even had it as I haven’t touched it in years! And I haven’t even read it! And I thought I lost it somewhere, but apparently, you found it and…” With his rant run out his anger subsided to let mortification resume its natural lead.

“Hold on. You seem to be very mistaken about something, Yuri.” He grabbed the last few books and shoved them into his disorder on the shelves. “Okay come here, Yuri.”

He walked over to the shelf and stood next to Viktor. The books had been arranged by color, and the neat stacks lying on their sides helped to create bookends where the books would have otherwise flopped over. It wasn’t clean and logical, but it was… pretty. With its own unique order.

“I’m no monster, Yuri Katsuki. I won’t stand for such false accusations.” That insistent tone had returned as he gazed down at him.

He pushed his glasses back up that had slipped down his nose. “I… I apologize.”

“Apology accepted.” Right back into that smirk that ran straight through his voice up to his eyes, with only a slight pause on his lips. “Those open spaces I left are perfect for filling in with your photos of friends and family and knickknacks and such. Those little things you collect throughout your life that don’t fit anywhere else but here.”

“I don’t collect things. And I don’t have any framed pictures or anything like that.”

“Really? How do you collect nothing throughout a life? How do you see the people who are far away from you? Or does everyone important to you live close by?”

“There’s no one close by, but I have pictures on my phone. I don’t need to get them printed.”

“When’s the last time you looked at them?”

“Huh?”

“Where’s the confusion? That seems like a pretty straightforward question to me.”

“Umm… I don’t know.”

“More than a year?”

“Yeah. I see the new ones they send me on occasion, but I guess I don’t really look back at them.”

“That’s what I figured. Most of us never do. That’s why the framed ones are needed to be there to remind us even when our lives get too busy to look back. You should consider getting some of your favorites printed.”

“Maybe.”

“Is there anything else that needs to come in? Anything in the trunk?”

“No. This is it.”

“This. Everything you own is what we carried in in two trips.” Viktor looked around the room in shocked wonder.

“Yeah, this is it.”

A frown crinkled his face for a moment before his bright smile flashed back on. “Well then, I guess now we have time to go for a ride, yes? What level are you at and what style of riding do you do? I have plenty of horses that should suit you.”

“I don’t ride.” His voice dropped in every area where a voice can be measured.

Confusion settled on his face. “Yes, you do.”

“No. I’m certain that I don’t.” His hands tightened again.

Viktor gestured to the books. “But… ‘Rider Biomechanics.’ ‘For the Good of the Horse.’ ‘For the Good of the Rider.’ ‘Ride With Your Mind,’” he listed off titles from the shelves. “Shall I go on?”

“Those are old. I don’t read them anymore.”

“You don’t carry anything through your life but the clothes on your back and old books that you don’t read on a subject you don’t do?”

“I don’t ride, Viktor. I’m a little tired. Can I have some time to settle in, please?”

“Right. Of course.” His toe kicked lightly at the honey-colored wood floors as he glanced down. He looked back up, and his domineering confidence resumed its natural place. “We agreed that you were starting next Monday. Is that correct, Yuri?”

“I can start tomorrow if you want.”

“I thought you wanted time to settle in, Yuri.”

“I’ll be settled by tomorrow.”

“Okay then. Tomorrow it is. Come meet me in my office at six am, and I’ll go over the procedures with you, Yuri.”

“I’ll be there.” Six am. The worst part of his job.

They stared each other down in an awkward silence before Viktor cleared his throat. “Right. Six am. I’ll see you then, Yuri. Please let me know if there’s anything you need. I’d like you to feel comfortable here. Enjoy the rest of your day, Yuri.” He nodded once firmly and turned for the door.

“Viktor?” he heard himself call out as he turned to watch him go.

He stopped and turned back. “Yes?”

“You… you use my name a lot. When you’re speaking.”

A bit of that warm smile returned to his face. “Oh. That’s because I wanted to make sure you remembered it this time. It’s too beautiful to let it be forgotten.”

Chapter Text

He spent the rest of the afternoon unloading his clothes into the dresser and washing the dirty ones in the luxuriously convenient washer and dryer in the closet in the hallway and putting the empty snack wrappers in the trash and the full ones tucked into a cabinet. With nothing left to do to settle in, he went to the bookshelf and stared at it for far too long before selecting a spy novel and flopping onto the bed with it. He read a few pages, but something in him felt restless. He considered going to the gym, but with payday still at least week out, if he was lucky, he had to moderate his gas consumption. A run around the property seemed nice, but Viktor was likely out there, and he didn’t feel like running into him just now. He looked over at the gift basket that had a nest of temptingly blushed pears along with various chocolates and crackers and other things he couldn’t yet identify. Was he hungry? Yeah. Sorta. Hungry, but not for food. His eyes fell over to the nightstand. He opened the drawer and pulled out the book which had yet to be opened but was thoroughly tattered from being shoved somewhere and forgotten. ‘The Gay Man’s Bible to Self-Love and Mind-Blowing Sex.’ God, just the title alone was enough to induce a week of cringing. Who writes this cheesy shit? Apparently, someone named Christophe Giacometti. Yeah, sounds like the name of someone who would be a sex expert.

He didn’t need a book on loving himself or whatever trite, feel-good angle the author wanted to take there, but while mind-blowing sex sounded rather hyperbolic, at least it was a topic of interest. Or it would have been had he not been a twenty-three-year-old virgin whose closest thing to a sexual experience would be when he kissed a boy when he was thirteen by the pool as test to see if he really was gay which had only led to more confusion when the kiss was awful, and so he determined that he was not. It wasn’t until he was eighteen that he finally settled on, ‘Yeah, I guess I really am gay, and first kisses suck.’ That was the last forward progression in his sexual life. I’m gay, and first kisses suck. What a great summary. So perfectly lacking of anything you could call real insight into this world of which billions of people strived to know as much as possible. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to know. It had just gotten pushed to the back burner with his awkward shyness making it a difficult world to break into and far more pressing matters in his life to attend to. Well, he had a bit of time now. Might as well try to learn something. He opened the first of the pages of the slim volume that were curled up in the top corner from being shoved up against something for god knows how long and cracked open the musty pages releasing a shower of dust that had been trapped inside.

Congratulations! You’re gay! Really? Trying a little hard here, aren’t we? Or at least I’m assuming so as you’ve picked up this oh-so-very helpful manual for those who are. Maybe you’re just curious and looking for some information on the fulfilling sex life of a gay man in which case, welcome! I hope my little manual here will satisfy that curiosity. Now granted, this is all from my experiences and research, and the one thing you can be certain of is that everyone’s experiences will be different, but I have poured as much care as I can into making this a good jumping off point for people who can then fill in their own details along the way.

The first thing you should know about gay sex is that it’s almost never a smooth introduction for the newly awakened gay into this richly fulfilling world. So, gays are like little chicks hatching from an egg or something? Straight sex can be an awkward delve into the waters as well, but at least they have the support of an entire culture approving of their actions as the most natural thing in the world. For many gays, it just doesn’t happen like that. So, that marks our first detour from the world of sex into the world of gay sex. It typically has a lot more baggage to carry. How gay men carry this is, of course, a personal matter, but again, to give you that starting off point, let's categorize it somewhat.

  1. “I’m gay, bitches!” This category is the one I fall into. We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it. It’s this group of gays who screamed that slogan at the top of their lungs from the depths of their sequined booty shorts. A war cry against all that tries to shame and silence them for being who they are, they’ll shove it in your face so hard you have no choice but to embrace it or run in horror. They’re bold. They reject your social standards for what it means to be a man. They talk about their incredibly gay sex lives with gusto. (See what I mean about this being my category?) The upsides? These are the champions of the gay community making us known, forcing social agendas to open and accept us, making us impossible to just shove away in some dusty closet and keep books like these from the shelves. The downsides? Being gay tends to be their main identity. “What are you doing this weekend?” “Being gay.” “What’s your favorite book?” “The Gay Man’s Bible” (Why thank you!) “What are your dreams for the future?” “To be gayer.” It can be hard to get to know them as just a person for their lovers, friends, and themselves. My advice if you’re in this category? Don’t forget that you’re a person first and a gay person second. Definitely not this one.
  2. The closeted gay. Oh, this category just makes my heart ache. These are the ones who have chosen to hide their gay identity. How deeply they hide it depends on the person, but it can range from “I’m just not telling anyone” to “I hate the gays so much! Abominations all of them!” This deep end of the spectrum goes past any advice I’m capable of giving, and I wish them much soul-searching, but these are the ones that are the most dangerous. These are usually the ones who’ve made the intro into being gay so rough for many of us. While I doubt any readers would recognize themselves here, if by chance you’ve picked up this book to throw it in the bonfire and it just so happened to fall open to this page, and you recognize yourself in this deep end of the spectrum, get help, please. For our sake and yours. Life’s too short to spend with so much hate. For those that are on the lighter end of the spectrum, how are you navigating this world between your “real life” and your “gay life”? Are all of your lovers forced into some form of denial as well to appease your need to hide? Do you simply not have any lovers and stick to just casual hookups that can leave one feeling a bit empty without that connection? Do you just completely neglect this part of yourself and leave yourself feeling unfulfilled and living only half a life? There are no upsides. Denial of one’s self in any form is poison to a fulfilling and happy life. You don’t have to start screaming it ala category one (unless you want to), but you should consider at least opening up the truth of a major part of your identity. He wasn’t in the closet. His family knew, and he wouldn’t deny any questions about it so why does this last part feel… so close to home?
  3. The party gay. Who’s got time to be serious? Life’s meant to be enjoyed. They’re all about loving being gay. They don’t scream quite as loud as category one, but they are there in the second line, living it up and drinking it down. Friends with most due to their enthusiastic nature and willingness to lead the group to the best of times, they make being gay seem like such a joy. They make straights sigh with a wisp of envy that they can’t be so wildly fabulous. The upsides? They shine such a happy light on this world. They make us seen as not just easy to accept, but people to make your best friend and go shopping with. The downsides? Life is inevitably going to get tough sometimes, and without that shimmering bubble, their life force fades. Connections built at parties and over glasses of champagne can be too weak to hold the real stuff. My advice is to make sure you have something substantial in your life that you can rely on and make sure you nurture it too. If you don’t, you might look back when you need it and find it withered.
  4. The married couple. One of them is quiet and down to earth. One of them is fabulous. Both of them are always down for a morning of antiquing followed by brunch. They have dogs or their beautiful adopted/surrogate children that they attend to with a devotion unlike you’ve ever seen. They’re just your normal, average couple living their lives with just a little more flair. The upsides? When you see this couple cooing over their beloved dog or fighting to get their children access to the best of life, it’s hard to see them as anything other than love. The downsides? They can cling to that “ideal married couple” image just a little too hard. Their flaws get reflected out to every other gay couple, and they know it. Bless you, gentlemen, for trying so hard for the sake of all of us, but please keep in mind that you don’t have to be perfect. Acceptance based on a false image isn’t acceptance at all.
  5. The “I’m not like other gays.” Their identity isn’t all about being gay nor do they deny it. They just live their lives either quietly surprising their friends and colleagues with their gayness or having them shout “I knew it!” when he casually introduces his boyfriend depending on how gay he appears to them. The upsides? They’re often well-rounded people with many hobbies and interests. They make being gay look so… normal. Like it’s just one of those variations of life that has no real bearing on who a person is any more than their name or age or gender or eye color, but still helps define them all the same. The downsides? It can be a little lonely here. You’re not fully in either community, and those who really relate to you and who you relate to yourself are rare. There’s a sense of alienation from both as you’re right on the line. My advice? You don’t need to relate to everyone, but seek out at least one deep and meaningful connection that makes you feel understood.

Of course, this list shouldn’t be used to shove everyone into a neat little box, nor is it exhaustive, but I think most of you will find some connection with at least one of them. You might notice that there’s no mention of drag queens or twinks or bears. Those will come in later, but how you relate to being gay is I think more important than-

(3) A door shut and someone walked in. He tucked the book back into the nightstand and went to investigate. A young man with caramel skin and deep brown eyes and black hair was just slipping off his shoes. He gave him the friendliest smile he’s ever seen on a person’s face as he waved.

“You must be Yuri! Viktor told me you’d be coming in today. I’m Phichit. It’s so nice to meet you!” He stuck his hand out with his smile getting even wider. Geez, he can practically see the sunshine spewing from his mouth.

He grasped his hand and tried to return the smile equally but knew he could never match that level of friendliness. Though, something about him did make his smile quite easy to find. “Yeah, that’s me. Yuri. It’s nice to meet you too. So, I guess we’re going to be living together, huh?”

“Yeah! I’m so happy! You look so normal.”

Yuri laughed. “Normal? Was your last roommate not normal?”

“He never smiled. Not once. I swear to god. I lived with him for two years here. Not one smile. It was creepy. I mean, he was a good worker and very neat and quiet, but I was a little afraid he was going to murder me in my sleep for no reason other than he got bored.”

He laughed again. “Well, I promise I won’t be murdering you in your sleep because I’m bored. Maybe if you wake me up a single second before five forty-five am, but not because I’m bored.”

Phichit laughed with far more enthusiasm than his joke deserved. “Not a morning person I take it?”

“God no. What would it take to inspire homicidal tendencies in you just so I know what to be on guard for?”

Phichit put his finger to his chin while he thought. “My hamsters. Don’t mess with my hamsters.”

“You have hamsters?! Cute! Can I see?”

Phichit tossed his arm around his shoulders and led him to his bedroom. “Yuri, this is the start of a beautiful friendship. As long as I remember that five forty-five am rule that is.”

“Yeah, that’d be a terrible way to end this.” 

They played with the hamsters on the floor of the living room forming a circle with their feet pressed together so the three gold, silver, and bronze colored hamsters could run around a little more freely with both of them on the eye out for escapees. They chatted and got to know each other better, and his first impression of this kind, happy boy only deepened further. Phichit seemed to be delighted as well to have someone to help keep his mischievous charges in check and a roommate who most likely wouldn’t murder him in his sleep.

“Viktor said I’d like you, but I wasn’t too sure as he also said that about the last guy. Though he did seem much more insistent this time. I’m so glad that he was right. I’m thrilled you’re my new roommate. We should have a party to celebrate!”

“A party?”

“Yeah, with the other guys who work here. This is the only cottage on this end of the stable, but there’s a cluster of a few more on the west end. I’m not sure if you saw that yet. They’re all really great. There’s Mila and Emil who live together, but they’re not dating at all with Emil being oh so very gay and Leo and Georgi who are the other set of roomies. I’ll text them to come over! I’m sure they’d love to meet you.”

“Oh. Um… I’m a little tired tonight…”

“Oh, right. You just moved in. Of course, you’re tired. Sorry. I didn’t even think about that. Next weekend then? Then we can plan a real party. I mean, you’ll meet them before then obviously, but you probably won’t have much of a chance to get to know each other yet.”

“Uh, yeah. Next weekend should be fine.” He tried to show real enthusiasm for Phichit’s sake, but it was a tough act to put up.

Phichit’s smile dampened just a bit as he read his lack of enthusiasm. “Do you not want to? That’s fine too.”

“No, no. It sounds great! A party. I’ll admit that I don’t go to many parties, but I’d love to get to know you all so it sounds like it’d be a lot of fun!” That was a blatant lie, but when you have a choice between lying and kicking a puppy, what’s one to do but smile and lie through their teeth?

“Okay, great! I’ll text them now to give them a heads up. Can you do double duty on watch for a second?”

“Sure thing.” He picked up one of the little fuzz balls and brought it up to his face to give little scritches on his tiny chubby cheek. The distinct shutter click of a phone camera sounded, and he looked up just to hear it close again on what must be the stupidest expression he’s ever made. He's certain his mouth was hanging open at the very least.

“You’re so adorable! Let’s get one together so I can post about my new bestest roomie.” He gathered up the other two hamsters and handed one over to him then came next to him and held the phone out at arm’s length with the third hamster between their faces. “Smile!”

Yuri sucks at smiling on cue. Phichit learned this after what was supposed to be a simple selfie snap turned into a fifteen-minute photo shoot trying to get just one photo that wasn't Phichit looking adorable as all hell and Yuri with a stupidly slacking face that looked like he didn't even understand the concept of a camera.

“Oh, I know. Just hold still, Yuri.” Phichit held his camera out and held his hamster up into frame then gave Yuri a kiss on the cheek as the shutter snapped. Phichit grinned and held up the phone for him to inspect. The photo had Phichit with his adorable scrunched up kissing face and Yuri’s eyes wide with surprise and a hint of a blush and a smile. “See? Perfect.”

“Yea-yeah.” He gave a small smile. “It’s cute.”

Phichit beamed. “I’m so glad you think so. I was taking a bit of a risk there. Let’s try another now that you know how to smile.” He held the camera out again and this time managed to capture them with their heads pressed together and surrounded by hamsters and that same blushing smile still on Yuri’s face. He posted them to his social media accounts and then spent the next hour setting up Yuri’s own accounts and teaching him how to use them after spending the twenty minutes before that gasping in horror that they didn’t already exist. With his ‘internet presence’ now loaded up with pictures of him and Phichit and his family in Japan already somehow connected to Phichit and chatting with him like they were old friends and horrifyingly sending old pictures of him to have a lifetime supply for posting to something he called “Throwback Thursdays,” Phichit’s reality seemed comfortably back in place while Yuri’s was left reeling.

“I don’t know about you, but I’m getting hungry. What do you say to pizza and a movie?” Phichit asked.

“Uh, I’m not all that hungry right now. I’ve got a gift basket though from Viktor that we can share if you want. It looked like there was some good stuff in there.” Plus, it’s free.

Phichit’s eyes widened just a little. “Viktor gave you a gift basket?”

“Yeah. I kinda thought it was a welcome to the team type thing? Is that not something he usually does?”

“Um, not that I know of.” His mouth formed into a little pout that twisted to the side as he thought. “But, yeah! Let’s do that. Do you have a preference for movies?”

“Whatever you like is fine with me. Why don’t you put it on and I’ll grab the food?”

“Yeah, sounds good.” He collected his hamsters to put them away, still seeming to be thinking over something.

He went into his bedroom and grabbed the heavy basket and paused at the bouquet of flowers. If a gift basket wasn’t his standard dealings, the flowers most certainly weren’t either. He decided not to ask Phichit’s confirmation of this and closed the door behind him. He set the basket down on the coffee table as Phichit was rummaging in the kitchen.

“Do you drink wine, Yuri?”

“Not very often, but yeah.”

“Red or white?”

“Um, whatever you want.”

“I have both open. Just tell me which one you want.”

He eyed the ripe pears. “White. Thanks.”

“Is there chocolate in there?”

“Yeah, lots of it.”

“Awesome.” Phichit came back out with his beaming smile leading the way and a glass of white and a glass of red in his hands. He handed the white over to Yuri and took a sip of his own to bury the surprise on his face as he spotted the basket. He gulped his sip down and pressed the glass to his chest. “Wow. That’s huge. You must have really impressed him on your interview.”

“I so very highly doubt that.” He took a sip of his wine then set it down to start tearing off the clear cellophane. “I honestly have no idea how I even got the job. I was such a wreck.”

“Really?” Phichit grabbed the remote and sat down next to him.

“Yeah,” he laughed, “I got so flustered, I couldn’t even tell him my name. He had to tell me. And that was the high point.”

“Was it the eyes or the ass?” He had the same smile, but his voice had a funny little glitch when trying to match it.

“No! Neither! It- It wasn’t like that at all!”

“No? You’d be the only one then. It was the eyes for me, but I was at least able to remember my name.”

Yuri sighed. “The ass.”

Phichit nodded. “He does have a nice ass. I should ask him what his exercise routine is.”

“Why? Yours is already more than fine.”

Phichit’s eyes widened along with a startled smile.

“Uh, I mean… I didn’t really mean to say that.”

“Oh. That’s disappointing.”

“No! I mean. It’s-it’s a nice ass. I just didn’t mean to say it.”

“Don’t be such a tease telling someone they have a nice ass and then trying to back out of it. That’s just playing cruel games.” He smiled and took another drink.

“Okay, yeah. You’re right. You have a very nice ass, and nothing needs to be done to it.”

“Well… I wouldn’t quite say nothing… I can think of a few things that could be done…” He winked, and as Yuri choked on his blush, he grabbed a box of chocolates and popped one into his mouth. “Mmm… so good. Want one?”

“Uhm… I think I’m gonna start with the pears.” He grabbed one from the basket and bit right into the rosy blush that gave way to a creamy center flooded with juice that dripped down his chin and into the hand he lifted to catch it. The fresh, sweet taste seeped over his tongue, and his eyes rolled back as he moaned. “So good. Oh my god, that may be the best thing I’ve ever eaten other than katsudon. I’m such a mess. Sorry.” He tried to slurp up the juice before it dripped onto his shirt but that didn’t work out so well for him as most things tend to go.

Phichit’s eyes were fixed on him with an intensity that made him blush as he looked over.

“No, no. It’s okay, Yuri. I’ll, uh, get you a napkin.” He got up and went to the kitchen, coming back a moment later with a roll of paper towels and the bottles of wine, flipping off the lights as he went except for a small lamp next to Yuri that he left on so they wouldn’t stumble through the dark. He gave him a sweetened smirk. “I didn’t know if you were going to need more than one.”

“Probably. These are insanely good. You should have one.” He took another bite of the best thing he’s eaten in years. “So good.”

“No, I think I’ll save them for you.” He popped another chocolate into his mouth and picked up the remote with his eyes staying rather intent on him. “Have you seen ‘The King and The Rider’ yet?”

“Nope.”

“It’s my favorite. I think you’ll like it.” He grabbed the coffee table and dragged it closer so they wouldn’t have to reach for the food and drinks making them both have to lift their legs and sit sideways on the couch. “Mind if I use you as a pillow? It’s a little awkward trying to sit up like this.”

“Um, no that’s fine. I’m still kinda a mess though.”

“I don’t mind. Really.” He nestled into the space between Yuri’s legs and the couch and leaned against his arm.

“Better?”

“Yeah, thanks. You make a great pillow.”

He bit his lip. “Yeah, I should work out more and lay off the junk food.”

“No! That’s not what I meant! Not at all! I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean for you to take that like that at all. You’re so hot, Yuri. I just meant that you’re comfortable. It feels really easy being close to you.”

“Uhm… did you just say…”

“That you’re hot? Yeah. I did. And I meant it. I won’t be as cruel as you were.” He smiled and nudged his side with his elbow.

“Right. Um. Movie?”

“Yeah. So, I’ll do my best to stay quiet, but I apologize if I start saying the lines with the actors.”

He laughed. “It must really be your favorite. How many times have you seen it?”

“Oh god. It can’t be counted. I could recite this entire thing from memory.”

“Ah, I’m looking forward to it then if it comes with such a high recommendation.”

Phichit smiled brightly and hit play. He gave up on his promise about fifteen minutes into the movie and started muttering the lines under his breath which slowly gave way to full on mimicking of the actor’s facial expressions and gestures as the wine bottles and the food disappeared into their now bloated bellies. Yuri couldn’t help but laugh as Phichit became more animated, and his antics became a part of the movie itself making it so much better than the original. Not that the original was bad, but Phichit was just sweet and adorable the whole way through making his version utterly charming. At some point, Yuri’s arm ended up around Phichit and Phichit had his head rested against his chest as they munched on the chocolates perched on Yuri’s stomach and stupidly polished off the wine. The last song of the movie played out, and Phichit stretched back across him, looking up at the ceiling, his fists thrust into the sky as he sighed.

“Such a good movie! I love it so much!” He dropped his hands back down and turned to look up at him. “Tell me you loved it.”  

Yuri smiled. “I liked the movie, but I loved your version of the movie. It made it so much better.”

Phichit looked up at him with a creased expression. “I’m not sure if I’m pleased with that answer or not. I mean, I love that you loved my acting, but you only liked the movie?”

“I loved the movie. I was just trying to say I loved watching it with you adding to it even more.”

“Oh. That is a much better answer. That… that is a swoon-worthy answer.”

He laughed. “Swoon-worthy? Nothing I say could ever be called that.” He rummaged for a chocolate, bumping into Phichit’s hand on the way. “Oh, sorry. I think there’s only one left. You take it.”

“No, no. You take it.”

“Are you sure?”

“Absolutely.”

Yuri would normally protest a little harder, but the chocolate was too good to pass up. He popped it into his mouth and bit through the shell into the luscious center.

“On second thought…”

Yuri learned that second kisses were absolutely nothing like first kisses. First kisses tasted like chlorine and someone else’s spit and felt like live fish in your mouth flopping as they searched for a way into your throat. Second kisses tasted of the thousands of flavors buried within a chocolate. Berries and vanilla and toasted almonds. Second kisses had hands clutching gently and surprise. Second kisses felt like a gentle caress and a question and an answer of more. He liked second kisses, and if he had enough sense, he would have asked for it to be a little longer when Phichit pulled back to smile. Turns out though that third kisses are also pretty nice and last a little longer and taste a whole lot like sunshine and smiles.

“Um, I’m really glad I met you.” Phichit gave him a hesitant smile. “I really like you, if you can’t tell.”

“Yeah, uh, I think I got that.” He blinked with his wide eyes for a moment to process what had just happened then looked down and smiled, brushing his cheek with his hand. “I really like you too.” Something about him had just felt easy right from the start, and their kiss only brought that feeling deeper. He felt… comfortable. He gave him a gentle kiss and smiled. “We should go to bed though. Early morning.”

“Yeah,” Phichit nodded, “you’re right, sadly.”

They got up and climbed over the coffee table leaving their mess for tomorrow. Phichit blushed and waved as he turned to his room. Yuri went to his, barely having enough sense to turn on his alarm before his mind shut down and he passed out until the wicked crack of dawn.

Chapter Text

(4) The blinding sun dropped Yuri’s stomach like a rock. “Oh no. Oh god no. Please no.” He scrambled for his phone and his glasses and confirmed that his life was going exactly as expected with the time reading eleven fourteen am. “Fuck.” His heart joined his stomach as he flew out of bed and threw his clothes on and sprinted to the door. He slipped his boots on and flung open the door, slamming it shut behind him as he tore down the gravel pathway leading to the stable. He raced straight into Viktor’s office without stopping to knock and of course, (why wouldn’t he be?) he was on the phone. Viktor jolted in surprise, and Yuri dropped to his knees and started bowing so hard and so fast as he prayed he would knock himself out just to get a little relief from his nightmare of a life.

“Uh… I’m going to have to call you back.” He tapped off the phone and watched for a moment as Yuri repeatedly dropped his forehead to the ground. “So, what is this, Yuri?”

“I’m so, so, so, so, so sorry! I swear I set my alarm, and I don’t know why it didn’t go off, and I am so incredibly sorry!”

“Yeah, I’m getting that you’re sorry, but what is this?” He swirled his hand in the direction of Yuri’s prostrations. 

“Um, it’s called dogeza. It’s something we do in Japan when we couldn’t possibly be sorrier, and really it’s not done much anymore which I think makes it show just how sorry you really are when you do it, and I’m so sorry!”

“I see. Well, perhaps in the future a little less wine and kissing in the evenings will help you get out of bed in the mornings.” His voice regained that darker tone only this time far less subtly.

Yuri froze up on his knees, staring at Viktor with yet another stunned, wide-eyed expression. “Um… How- how did…”

“How did I know? Your new roommate loves sharing on social media and doesn’t seem to mind that I’m on his list too. I’m glad you two are getting along so well.” He sounded anything but glad.

“Oh my god. I knew about the photo of him kissing my cheek, but he shared photos of the other kisses too?”

He sat back in his chair. “Other kisses? I was referring to the one with him kissing your cheek. There were other kisses as well?”

His face heated to five thousand degrees. “Um…”

“I see.” The darkened look on his face bored a hole straight through his chest. “Well, you certainly wasted no time.”

“No! It’s not like that at all! He just kissed me! That’s it! We didn’t- I haven’t even- Nothing happened!”

He held his hand up. “I don’t want to know about the details of your sex life with Phichit. I have no official policy against it, so I’m not going to stop you from doing what pleases you.” He ran his index finger over the back of the gold horse statue next to his laptop. “I want you to be happy here, Yuri.” He looked back up at him, and the gentle look in his eyes knocked the wind out of him.

“I- I don’t have a sex life with Phichit! It was just a kiss! I wasn’t expecting him to do that!”

Viktor’s expression hardened as he sat up in his seat and leaned onto his elbows. “Did he do something that you weren’t okay with? Do I need to address this with him?”

“No! I- I didn’t mind the kiss! Don’t- I’m not trying to say he did something wrong just that…”

“Just that what, Yuri?”

“Just that… I’m so sorry!” Because things weren’t quite ‘Yuri’s life’ enough already, he burst into tears and started sobbing on his knees, not hiding his face at all.

“Yuri!” Viktor jumped up and ran over to him then froze just in front of him with his hand stuck in the air like he was second guessing an impulse to use it to comfort him.

“I’m so sorry, Viktor!” His words sputtered through his tears, and he lifted his arm to wipe his face across it.

“What exactly are you sorry for?”

“For being late. For- For… For I don’t know, but I’m so sorry!”

Viktor stood back studying him. “How can you be sorry for something that you don’t even know what it is?”

“I don’t know, but I am! Please…”

“Please what? What is it that you’d like me to do? Forgive you?”

He shook his head. “Punish me.” He looked up in time to see Viktor’s composed expression fall apart. “Punish me, Viktor. I need to make it up to you.”

“Make what up to me?” His voice was breathy, cautious.

“Every- Everything.”

“Being late?”

Yuri nodded.

“Interrupting my phone call?”

He nodded again.

“Kissing Phichit?”

His head gave a slight jerk as he looked down at his hands clenched on his knees.

“What else?”

Fresh tears started from his eyes as he looked up at him. “Everything.”

Viktor stepped closer and bent down to lift his chin with his fingers. “What else is there to forgive, Yuri?”

“All of it.” His voice trembled. “All of it. I’m so sorry. Everything. I’m so sorry for everything.”

Viktor stared at him with his intensity bringing more tears to the surface. “You’re quite a sight like this, you know.”

“Sor- Sorry.” He moved to wipe his face across his arm, but Viktor grabbed it to stop him.

“I didn’t say it was a bad sight.” They stayed watching each other with Yuri’s heart pounding hard while Viktor thought over his next move.

Viktor stood back up to study him again with his index finger pressed to his lips and his elbow resting on his folded arm. “Okay, Yuri. I’ll punish you.”

Relief pulsed through his veins as he bowed his head. “Thank you.” He looked up to watch him as he decided on his punishment feeling utterly helpless to his whims knowing he’d accept whatever it was he decided on.

Viktor handed him a tissue. “Wipe your face, and join me for lunch.”

He clutched the tissue in his fist and studied it for a moment before he looked back up. “Huh?”

“There are some things we need to go over if you really want me to punish you. If you just want a slap on the wrist, you can consider this an official warning of which you get three before you’re terminated.”

“What- what do you mean by really punish me?”

“That’s what needs to be discussed. How badly do you need this, Yuri? Will the warning suffice or are you joining me to discuss how far to take this?” He offered his hand.

Yuri stared at it then carefully tested its strength as he slowly pulled himself to his feet. Viktor held steady with a slight smile at Yuri’s first hesitant grasp, and he couldn’t make sense of whether that smile was predatory or soothing. Viktor handed him another tissue before letting his hand drop and walking past him to the door. “Come with me, Yuri.”

He hesitated just a moment before following him, quickly dabbing at the tears on his face.

(5) Viktor walked without looking back to see if he was following up to the house that sat high on its peak overlooking the stables below nestled in the hills that rolled out of the Smoky Mountains like they’d been carried by the fog to wash over the land their sinuous, rippling texture. Castle was the only appropriate word to describe the building Viktor led him to. With a stone front and turrets and the swooping roofs of ancient Russian castles, the house looked like it had been plucked straight from the hands of a long-dead Czar without care for his potential wrath. Viktor opened the door and gave him an amused smile as Yuri froze, staring up at the towering building from several feet back.

“Forgive my father.” He gestured vaguely to the building and its contents that lay beyond the door. “I’ve inherited his dramatics in both house and personality. Though, I don’t think mine are quite as bad as his. Come in, Yuri.” He noted Yuri’s continued hesitation. “I assure you, it’s safe. I only want to speak to you and have you fill out some forms.”

“Uh, okay.” He stepped into the towering white foyer slathered in gold swirls and marble statues of naked men and women and removed his boots.

Viktor gave him a crooked smile and strode into the house with his boots clicking across the wooden floors made of large, honey-colored squares lined with thick bands of deeper toffee around the edges. “This way.” He hooked his finger and led him to a room with espresso wood walls and beams arching over drops of crystal strung up in chandeliers. Tapestries hung over a gilded fireplace alongside oil paintings of historical figures. An arched window covering most of the back wall sat behind an ornately carved mahogany desk and leather wingback chairs flanking a lush fern bathed in light giving a breath of fresh green in the overwhelming space. “Sit, Yuri.” He gestured to the chair across the desk from him that was a burnished sienna leather with two carved lion heads on the top posts. Viktor sat down at the rolling wingback behind the desk and opened his laptop. “Give me just a few minutes here.” He clicked a few buttons and printed out several sheets of paper then grabbed the top one and looked at it and frowned. He grabbed a pen and started writing in some new lines. After a moment of consideration for the rest of the top page, he handed over the stack of papers. “Please fill these out for me. The top one is a guide for which activities you’re comfortable having me do to you. Start by marking that one with a zero in the space next to the activity if it’s is a hard no for you; you will not do it with me under any circumstances. A one if you might allow it under the right conditions which we will discuss. A two if you think you might enjoy it or will tolerate it. A three if it’s something you deeply desire or have a strong interest in.”

His eyes jumped first to the sections that had things like ‘anal plugs’ and ‘anal fisting’ and ‘anal sex’ down to ‘dildos’ and ‘swinging.’ His eyes widened as he read over the page. “What is this?”

“You said you wanted to be punished; I need to know what exactly you mean by that.”

“I- I don’t know how I want you to punish me. I… didn’t think I’d have to tell you what…”

“Oh, don’t worry. I will decide how to punish you. This is just to help guide me in the right direction and make sure I don’t go too far and do anything severely damaging to you.”

He looked back to the page down to where Viktor had written in his own activities including ‘Horseback riding – jumping, Horseback riding – on the flat, Horseback riding – on a lunge.’ He picked up the pen and wrote a zero next to jumping and on the flat and started the first curve of the zero for ‘on a lunge’ then glanced up to Viktor who was watching him with casual interest that hardly felt casual at all with the sheer power of his beauty. His pen flicked down in a straight line drawing the one with his eyes still locked on Viktor. He looked back at the page, and that solitary, wobbly line started to make his head spin. He looked back to the top of the page that had another section labeled ‘Torture’ which began with ‘beating’ through various other forms and tools and locations. His heart thudded wildly in his chest, and he had no idea how to interpret that, whether it was the cool clench of fear or… something warmer.

“Don’t think too hard on it. It’s not set in stone. We can always adjust it as needed. These are just your limits and desires for right now. And if you’re ever uncomfortable with an activity either before we start or during, you’ll be free to end it.”

“What… I don’t even know. I haven’t… anything.”

“Are you a virgin, Yuri?”

He ducked his head and blushed.

“That’s not really an answer. If you want me to punish you, you have to be willing to communicate with me. I’m willing to punish you, not abuse you, and without your honesty, the line between those is too blurry for me to proceed.”

He looked back up with heat burning the tops of his cheeks and ears. “Yes. I’m a virgin.”

“In every sense of the word or do you have some experiences?”

“Um. Two kisses. Or three I guess. One when I was thirteen and then two last night. That’s it.”

“Thank you for your honesty. That’s a little surprising, but I can work with that. Give that back to me. It needs some more editing.” He slid the paper back, and Viktor started scratching out sections of the paper then looked it over carefully and drew a few more lines through other scattered items and wrote in a few more items. With a final glance over the page, he slid the paper back across the desk. “Don’t worry about the parts I crossed out. Those don’t apply in our situation just yet.”

He looked over the list that had most of the sexual items crossed out, though, a few tamer ones remained. “Would- would I be… naked for these?”

“If you note, I did add a few more items at the bottom including your comfort level with full nudity. Mark it as you desire. If you mark it as a zero or a one, all of these would be done with you only stripped down to your underwear except for the cold shower and self-pleasuring, both of which would require full nudity for obvious reasons. And as you can see there, you can choose your comfort level with having me observe them or not.” He gestured to the page where the options for either alone or being watched written in next to it in his own hand.

His heartbeat flooded into his throat as he wrote a three next to ‘being watched’ and a two next to ‘unobserved’ for both the shower and pleasuring himself. He looked back up, and Viktor made no change in his casual interest expression. He added a three next to the nudity question then started reading over the list and tried marking down the most accurate numbers he could going off nothing but his imagination through a list that was far more extensive and included items way beyond anything his imagination had ever even considered. His pen hesitated next to ‘electrical stimulation.’

“If you don’t know what something is, ask.”

“This?” He tapped at the word, and Viktor leaned over slightly to read it.

“Ah, that would be an electrical current applied to your body with various strengths from mild tingles up to sharp zaps or deep pulses. The sensation could be described as anywhere from ticklish to pleasurable to painful. The intensity would be modulated according to your comfort level as is true for all of these. The location will vary though you can always set limits on where if you mark it as a one so we remember to discuss them. I’ll be avoiding any direct contact with your asshole or genitals for all of these, however, so if that’s your only limit, feel free to mark it as you wish.”

His blush hardened again. “What- why…”

“Why would I avoid those areas?”

He nodded.

“Because you have no experience there, and I don’t want your first experience of someone else touching you to be something potentially unpleasant. I don’t have non-exclusive sexual relationships of that nature, so I’m not willing to offer that first pleasant experience until you have a better idea of what it is that you want.”

“Until?... You mean if I… If I figure out what I want… You’d be willing to…” He trailed off and looked at Viktor for help who only looked placidly back waiting for him to continue. “You’d be willing to… have sex… with me?”

“If I am what it is that you want exclusively, then yes.”

“Why?”

Viktor’s eyes creased as he jerked back slightly. “Why not? I find you extremely attractive as well as interesting. You’re definitely the most exciting person I’ve come across in… ever.”

“Liar.” His lip curled as his voice hardened and he shoved the papers away from him. “I may be a virgin, but I’m not stupid. What kind of a game are you playing here?”

Viktor’s eyes widened in surprise then his face softened with a satisfied smile. “I’m not playing any games. You are. You’re the one who asked me to punish you, and I agreed and am only trying to define what that will mean for both of us so that we don’t come away from this worse than when we started. This scenario is quite unusual for me. I typically don’t work with such restrictions and with partners who have so much to hide, but I love a challenge, and you’ve given me quite a fascinating one, so I’m willing to push my comfort zone here.”

“You’re comfortable with whipping people and various forms of torture and public sex?”

“Don’t take everything on that list as my own personal limit. I include things that I may not be comfortable with, but which the other person might be because if there’s too much of a disconnect on either end, the relationship just won’t work. But, the things you listed, yes. I am comfortable with those.” He leaned across the desk, his glimmering blue eyes crystalizing. “Two things, Yuri. I am no monster, and I will never lie to you.”

He sat captured in that gaze for a minute before he reached for the list again and continued filling it out. He handed it over to Viktor with trembling hands to look over while he began filling in the rest of the pages which consisted of personality and aptitude tests along with a very long list of questions about things like ‘what skill would you like to master?’ and ‘what is the most annoying habit other people have?’ “Do I have to answer all of these?”

“You don’t have to do anything. If you don’t though, I won’t have enough information to feel comfortable with proceeding. I’m going to be messing with your mind, Yuri. I need to know what’s in it and how it works before I start poking around in it.”

“Messing with my mind? That seems dangerous.”

“It is, but people do it to each other all the time. Do you think that every interaction you have doesn’t have some effect on your mind? Every time a teacher scolded you, they were messing with your mind. Every bit of guidance your parents gave you reshaped your personality. Every time someone was nice to you or mean to you altered your perceptions of this world and yourself. Every flickering look from a stranger that you noticed altered how you think others view you. Just about everything you are now is a result of people messing with your mind with both of you having very little conscious awareness of it. I’m just aware that I’m doing it and I may push it to extremes so I’d like to be sure that I’m shaping it in the best way possible for you. In the same way that I wouldn’t take a Shetland pony and try to make a Grand Prix jumper out of him, I wouldn’t want to take who you are and try for something that’s just impossible and possibly damaging.”

He studied the questions again that probed deeply into his life and who he was. How did he make something like that sound so comforting? How did he make being punished sound like such a relief? How did a man whose hobbies included beating people feel so reassuring? What the hell was so twisted in both of them that made this discussion come about as though it were the normal process of starting a new job? His eyes caught on one question. ‘What is your biggest source of shame?’ Fat, hot tears collected in his eyes, and he looked up. “Do I have to answer every single one?”

“Which one are you stuck on?” He leaned over to see where Yuri pointed. “Ah. That one. The whole reason we’re here.” He pressed his index finger to his lips as he thought. “Okay. You can leave that one blank for now. I’ll proceed with much more caution than you may like though until I know that answer.”

“You think I’d want less caution than what these lists are indicating you intend to deliver?”

“You may be surprised by how much less caution you truly desire. Come on. I’ll get us some lunch while you fill those out.” He handed him another tissue then stood up and walked away again without checking to see if he was following.

He gathered the papers and the pen and jogged to catch up to him in the kitchen where Viktor gestured to a table next to a wide window overlooking the stables. He sat at the antique, toasted almond colored table in the kitchen that was a blend between high tech gourmet with shiny black modern appliances and old world with a massive brick wood-fired oven dominating the wall opposite the window. He scratched at the paper with his pen while Viktor commanded the kitchen.

“Do you mind if I put on some music, Yuri?”

“No.”

“What kind of music do you like?”

“It- it depends.”

“On?”

“My mood. What I’m doing.”

Viktor smiled and pressed a button on a remote to begin playing some gentle piano music which he hummed quietly to while he worked. Yuri turned back to his task and started filling in the answer to, ‘What takes up too much of your time?’ which was ‘thinking’. He was about half-way finished when Viktor set a plate in front of him of pasta carbonara alongside a crisp salad and a small glass of white wine with a beaming smile.

“Enjoy.”

“Tha- thank you. This looks delicious.” He finished the salad in record time with his stomach now rumbling from skipping breakfast, and the energy drain of unusual conversations and tears then started picking at the pasta, trying to slow himself back down. After a few bites, he put his fork down on the plate.

Viktor put down his fork and frowned. “Do you not like it?”

“No! It’s very good! It’s just… a little rich for me.”

“You haven’t eaten anything yet I’m guessing with your rush out here?”

“Yes.”

“And you intend to do manual labor the rest of the day, and you’re trying to do that off of a single salad and a few bites of pasta?”

“Umm… I guess so? I mean, it’s not like I need the food.” He bit the inside of his lip.

Viktor pursed his lips. “Do you have an eating disorder?”

“No. I don’t typically live solely on junk food like you saw. When I can, I try to eat much healthier.”

“That’s not the question I asked. How often do you eat the bare minimum while pushing yourself physically?”

“As often as I need to. My body likes to hold onto extra weight as you probably noticed. I’m not usually this out of shape. I promise I’ll make every effort to keep myself healthy and get back to where I should be.”

“I see. Eat the food, Yuri. You still have a lot of work to do today. You need fuel for that if you are to perform at your best. You do want to do your best for me, right?”

“Yes! Absolutely! I just… look at me.” He gestured to the bulge of fat hanging over his waistband. “I really don’t need it.”

“Eat what I served you, Yuri. Unless of course, you don’t trust me to be acting in your best interests, in which case, do as you like.” He picked up his fork again and resumed eating, watching him carefully from the other side of the table. 

He picked up his fork and took a bite with his heart racing and a bit of sickness starting in his stomach. He kept his eyes on his plate and took another bite with a slight tremor in his hand.

“Very good, Yuri. This won’t work if you don’t trust me. And you need to eat three meals a day regardless of anything else especially if your job requires physical labor. That’s just common sense.” He took a sip of wine and gave a surprisingly sweet smile.

He nodded and tried to get the rest of the food down past his nerves trying to hold it back. Viktor finished before him and waited patiently for him to clear his plate. He finally scraped up the last bite and put his fork down with a sigh.

“Thank you. It was very delicious.”

“You’re welcome. Do you have issues eating in front of people?”

“Um. Occasionally. It depends.”

“On?”

“My- my weight. Them sometimes. You… you’re perfect, and I’m…”

“Where does that come from?”

“I don’t know. I guess I was pretty chubby as a kid, and I got picked on by this one guy a lot for it. Sometimes by the other kids too, but Nishigori really liked making jokes about it. He still does.”

“Still?”

“We’re friends. He married my friend Yuko, and now we’re pretty close.”

“But he still picks on you the same as he did when you were kids?”

“Only sometimes. They’re in Japan, so I don’t see them really. Just on video chat.”

“I see. Yuri, on your chart you marked a two for degradation based on your weight. Why?”

“Well, I guess because I’m used to it. It wouldn’t bother me that much.”

He sighed and grabbed the paper that had his numbers listed all over it. “You’re really making this a challenge for me.”

“Sorry.”

“Don’t apologize for that. You’re being honest to the best you’re capable of, but I don’t think I’ve encountered anyone who knows themselves so little before. I’ve never once suggested that someone change their responses to these, but here… You should have marked this one a zero.” He tapped the paper over the word ‘weight.’ “Just telling you that goes way outside of normal here, but I truly can’t believe that you’d genuinely be okay with me insulting you based on your weight after what I just saw and what you just told me.”

“I wouldn’t like it, but I’m used to tolerating it, so I wrote a two.”

“Yuri, it’s not just what you can endure, it’s what’s going to damage you if you are forced to endure it. You could probably endure almost all of these as you’ve not marked any health issues, but a good portion of them might leave lasting physical or psychological damage if you did. That is what I’m trying to avoid here. I want to punish you, not abuse you. My ultimate goal is to make you better than you are now. Here.” He handed the paper back. “Look it over again, and this time think carefully on what effects the activity might have on you if you were to endure it.”

He looked down at the paper with the section titled ‘degradation’ and crossed out all of the two’s listed there and wrote zeros except for ‘sexual humiliation’ which he wrote a shaky three next to. “Um… I didn’t know if this one applies based on what you said earlier, but it wasn’t crossed out so…”

“It wasn’t crossed out. Keep going. Look over all of them.”

He nodded and went back to the list adjusting a few numbers up and down as he went. He handed the paper back, and Viktor looked it over with a smile.

“Very good, Yuri. This looks much more accurate to the picture I’m getting of you, but I’m going to treat all of these numbers as one less than what they are until I get to know you better. Keep going.” He gestured to the rest of the papers he still had to fill out.

“Aren’t I keeping you from your work?”

“Do you know my schedule better than I do?”

“No. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to overstep.”  

He smiled again. God, that thing is blinding. “Thank you for the apology, Yuri.”

He turned to the papers and spent the next hour or so filling them out while Viktor typed at his laptop which he had pulled in from the office. Some of the questions were funny, and some made him search deeply for answers while others felt like he had no answer to give at all. Those were the hardest. Every time he failed to answer them with anything resembling a real answer, he felt like he was disappointing Viktor which felt oddly intense for how little he knew him. Finally, he answered the last question, and he sighed with relief and handed the papers over.

Viktor smiled. “Thank you, Yuri. Do you have any questions for me before we complete the last steps?”

“Um… yes.” He cringed as his heartbeat thudded through his head. “You… you said you’d be willing to… Um, willing to…” He glanced up to where Viktor was waiting with a patient smile then stared back at the table. “You said… about my first time, and you… were willing to…”

“Are you trying to ask me if I meant what I said when I said I was willing to fuck you?”

He nodded.

“Of course, I meant it. I told you already that I’d never lie to you.”

“What… how would I… ask?” He picked at the nail of his thumb.

“Just tell me I’m the one you want to do that with whenever you’re ready to.”

“What… what would it be like?”

“Gentle. Caring. As close to an ideal first time as I can get it, though, your feelings toward me will affect how close I can get to that.”

He cringed. “So, it’d be like… a favor.”

“It’d be like everything else I’m doing here. Something that I want to do with you because it brings me pleasure and enjoyment to do so.”

He lifted his head to peek at him with his face turned away in a cringe. “You could enjoy having sex with me?”

Viktor’s smile slipped to the side into a seductive smirk. “I would very much enjoy it.”

His breath picked up into small heaving pulses as he considered the truth of this statement.

“Anything else?”

“What do you get out of this? I mean, you said you liked it, but why?”

He gave a pleased smile. “That is an excellent question. And very little hesitation too. I’m proud of you, Yuri.” Satisfaction pricked at Yuri’s heart. “I enjoy the depth of connection it brings. In order to do it well, you have to focus on your partner and learn as much as you can about them. The stakes are higher, so laziness and inattention can’t be tolerated. I prefer having the deepest bond possible with someone, and this is something that allows me to find that.”

“How do you plan to… train me?”

Viktor smiled again bringing another sting of satisfaction. “That was phrased very insightfully. Exactly what you said. I intend to train you. I’m obviously familiar with that. Some of the techniques I will use come directly with my experience with horses. I will first give a clear command so there is no room for misunderstanding with the expectation that it will be followed with only that gentle touch. If it’s not, then I ‘show the whip’ so to speak, giving a slight tap to remind of its presence. In most cases for humans, this is a verbal warning. If that isn’t heeded, then a firmer correction will be applied with a slight sting. If this is still ignored, a firm smack will be used to remind of the pain of disobedience. If that isn’t effective, any further steps tend to only go toward abuse and away from learning, so I step back and reevaluate my methods and what it is that I’m asking and where you’re at to measure out a better method of gaining compliance. Praise and rewards are also used and are my preferred method of modifying behavior. The fundamental principles are the same; the actual application sometimes varies from humans to animals based on the difference in understanding and ability to consent. For example, sometimes with people, I will skip a few steps as I have a higher expectation of their learning capacity. Also, I am far gentler with my animals than I typically am with people.” His smile darkened ever so slightly.

He swallowed down a thrill of energy that he couldn’t identify the meaning of.

“Anything else, Yuri?”

He shook his head.

He slid one last paper back to him. “This is a contract for you to sign. It covers a lot of things that aren’t currently applicable but might be in the future. I also added a clause that states that I never used my position as your boss to coerce you into any of this. I’d like you to sign that one directly below it as long as you feel it is a true statement as well as at the bottom after looking it over. This isn’t legally binding in any way, but it does have some limited protection for me as it states clearly that you were fully informed of and consented to our activities.”

He nodded and signed his name in the two locations along with the date and handed it back.

“Excellent. Now, safe words. I’d like you to choose a word which is easy for you to remember as the word you can use to stop any activity at any time.”

“What about ‘stop’ or ‘no’?”

“Those are valid options. They’re not ideal as you might say them and not really mean them. I am more than happy to go with them though if that would make you feel comfortable.”

“So, it should be something I likely wouldn’t say when you’re beating me?” That sentence fell from his lips far more casually than he would have ever guessed it could have two hours ago.

“Exactly.”

“Katsudon.”

“Katsudon. Foreign word, harder but not terribly difficult. Okay, that works for me. Katsudon. What is that?”

“It’s a dish my mom used to make me when I was a kid.”

He smiled. “Comfort food. That’s a good choice then. It’s likely your favorite then, yes?”

He nodded.

“What was that flinch for?”

“What?”

“Before you nodded. You flinched. Why does something that should be a warm thought for you cause you to flinch?”

“Um, well, I haven’t had it in a long time, but that’s probably for the best. It’s very fattening.”

“How long is a long time?”

“Um, about five years or so.”

“Wow. That is a long time. Is that how long it’s been since you’ve been home?”

He nodded.

“Why so long since your last visit?”

“Japan is really far away, and it costs a lot to get there.”

“I see. Why don’t you try to make katsudon yourself?”

“I did try a few times, but I can’t. I mess it up.”

Viktor’s lips stretched into a straight line. “I see. So, a few last things. I’d like you to get a blood test for any infectious diseases. I know we won’t be doing any activities truly requiring that yet and you’re a virgin, but I’d like to have that out of the way in case things do progress that way, and you could have something that wasn’t contracted through sex. For your own peace of mind, you should know that I get myself tested every three months. I’ll email my most recent results to you. As I said before, I don’t have penetrative sex with anyone I’m not in an exclusive relationship with and there’s no one I am currently dating, so I don’t expect any significant risk for changes in my status. I do frequently engage in oral sex with partners who have been tested within the last six months without exception. I’d like you to get tested now and at least every six months should this continue that long as well as use condoms for any penetrative sex you may have with anyone else. Fair enough?”

He nodded.

“Good. Get an appointment scheduled today.” He sent him a text with an address and a phone number. “This is the place I’ve used, and they’re usually very prompt. Have them email me the results. If they can get you in today, even better.”

“I, uh… I don’t have…”

“Money, yes?”

He nodded again.

“Don’t be afraid to ask me for what you need. I’d rather not have to fill in the blanks myself all the time. Wait here.” He got up and went back to his office then came back and slid a check for a thousand dollars in front of him along with a credit card. “Here. A signing bonus. But I don’t want you to use that for the test. Put the test on my card.”

“But-”

Viktor held up his hand. “Time to go over the rules. If I give you an order, I expect you to follow it. If you have an exceptional reason not to or some information that I might not have that might affect the order, you may present it to me by saying, ‘Viktor, I believe I have information that will be useful to you. May I share it?’ to which I will either consent or deny. Do you have something you’d like to present to me regarding that order?”

He sucked in a deep breath. “No.”

“Excellent. Moving on. From the hours of six am to six pm every day except Sunday, you’re mine.”

“Huh? Aren’t I already? Those are the hours we agreed to, right?”

“You weren’t listening very well, Yuri. Your duties have changed. I’ll find someone else to cover the cleaning and feeding you were supposed to do. You are my new personal assistant. You’re my personal groom and errand boy. You’ll do whatever it is that I want from you during the hours that you’re mine. After that, you’re free to do as you wish. Go fuck your roommate senseless if it pleases you. If you decide to lose your virginity to him or whoever else and ask me to then expand your limits, that’s an option you may choose, but here,” he leaned in closer from behind him, his breath leading the words shivering down his neck, “here you’re mine, and my wish is always your command.”

A blush spread through him from head to toe. “Ye-Yes, sir.”

“Ah-ah. You don’t get to call me Sir yet. Not until you’ve told me what it is that you really want punishment for. Until then, this is just playing games.”

“Okay.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Better. Don’t wait too long to decide on what it is you really want, Yuri. I’ve never much cared for games. I find real sports much more satisfying.” His lip curled around the purr in his voice as his finger dragged a shivering trail over the back of his neck. He came around to the side and looked down. “For your first duty, you’re going to prepare to make our lunch tomorrow. This favorite food of yours, katsudon, are the ingredients hard to find?”

“No. They’re pretty basic. There’s only one that you might need to go to an Asian grocery store for.”

“Perfect.” He handed him a set of keys. “Take my car and go to the store and pick them up putting the cost on the credit card along with any gas if you need to fill up. On the way, hopefully, you’ll be able to get that blood draw in.”

“But, Viktor-”

“Are you already forgetting the first rule?”

“No.”

“No, what?”

“No, Viktor.” He stared at the table flecked with age into various tones. “Viktor, I believe I have some information that will be useful to you. May I share it?”

“Yes.”

“I don’t know how to make it. I’ll mess it up.”

“How is that information I didn’t already have? You already told me you believed you’ll mess it up. Tread carefully with that one, Yuri. If you waste my time too much with it, I’ll remove it as an option for you.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Good. Come here, Yuri.” He backed up a few feet and pointed at the ground in front of him. “Kneel here.”

He got up and knelt down on the hard tiles keeping his eyes fixed on them as he settled back on his heels.

Viktor reached a hand out and lifted his chin to meet his eyes and pressed the other against his back to straighten it. “Here. Like this. Every morning except Sundays you are expected to be in my office at six at am on your knees just like this. You don’t need to knock. Just enter quietly and kneel down. If by chance I have a visitor in there, stand in the corner quietly until they leave and then kneel. Understood?”

He nodded.

“Words, Yuri. Practice speaking to me.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Better. This is an important one, listen carefully. If you’re ever late again, even by a minute, I’ll relieve you from your position as my personal groom, and you’ll return to your regular duties. Is that understood?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Good, Yuri.” He smiled and pressed his hand against his cheek making a hitch in his breath. “I really hope you keep that one. I’d hate for this to end prematurely.”

“Yes, Viktor. I will do my best.”

“Excellent. If you do decide to end this, you may at any time and return to your regular duties. Just tell me if that’s ever the case. Or, just show up late.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“In exchange for your service and submission to me, we will spend the final hour of our time together satisfying that need of yours to be punished. How exactly that will play out is to be determined and adjusted as we go by me. Does this sound acceptable to you?”

“Yes, Viktor.” He bit his lip and Viktor tugged it back out with his thumb as he looked down at him with a gentle smile. “Thank you, Viktor.”

He gave that brilliant smile again. “Very good, Yuri. Never hesitate to share your thoughts or questions with me as long as they’re not to argue against my orders. As I said before, my overall goal is to improve you.” He leaned over to bring their faces closer, his hand still under his chin. “I have to see exactly what it is I’m trying to free before I can find the right keys to unlock your cage.”  

 

 

ViktorxYuri

Chapter Text

The wheels of the shopping cart clattered injudiciously over every bump in the floor scattering out at random trying to run from the abuse, but the rod nailing them in place gave them no choice but to face the next assault. A cotton ball was still taped to his arm for no real reason other than he hadn’t yet gotten around to removing it with all of the other thoughts giving him far more concern than a little fluff of cotton. What the hell had he gotten himself into? This was a terrible idea. He should just quit now before the pain that was only lurking behind him and now loomed over his head as a promise hit and destroyed him irreparably. That was Viktor’s whole intent. To change him. To make him someone else. And he had no qualms about using the force necessary to beat that change into him if necessary. Viktor would get his way if he laid himself down before him. That was no question. The only question was why he was here listening to god-awful music under fluorescent lighting instead of running far far away? The only answer he had was another question. Are you really that attached to your current self?

He picked up the package of pork cutlets evenly sliced to perfection just waiting for him to fuck up into an irreparable mess. “Sorry,” he whispered as he stuck the package in the cart. This was the unlucky pig whose life would be wasted under his hands.

He gathered the rest of the ingredients and stopped back at Viktor’s house using the keys he’d been given to let himself in and put the groceries away as he’d been instructed. He then sat at the table and opened the laptop and logged into the account Viktor had set up for him to research how to make katsudon. It was a pointless exercise. It wasn’t the first time he’d done this, and it’d come to the very expected results of a spectacular mess. Only this time he didn’t have any choice but to do pointless tasks to achieve disastrous results. Of course, you have a choice. Viktor made that perfectly clear. He shushed the voice away to stay in the fantasy that made this bearable as he clicked on another video.

The steady thud of Viktor’s boots across the wooden floor drew his gaze, but he wasn’t sure if it was acceptable to watch him like that while ignoring his assigned task. He decided to err on the side of caution and quickly looked back at the screen before he came into view around the corner.

“Excellent. You’re back and doing as I said. That’s very good, Yuri.” He stroked a gentle finger down the back of his neck as he gave him that bright smile that sent a conspicuous shiver through him. “What kind of progress do you feel you’ve made in your learning?”

“Um… Not very much.”

He withdrew his hand and frowned. “No? That’s disappointing. I was hoping for better from you.”

The stab of pain he felt was wildly out of proportion to that tiny loss of his warmth. “I mean I have been learning! I just don’t feel like I’ll actually be able to do what I learned.”

“Oh? Why not?”

“Because I’ll mess it up. Just knowing what to do won’t prevent that.”

“How many times have you tried to make this?”

“Um. Maybe two or three?”

“That’s it? Two or three times and you’ve determined that you’re a complete failure at it and will never be able to successfully apply anything you’ve learned?”

“Yeah… I guess so.”

“Is that how you answer yes or no questions?”

“No, Viktor. I mean. Yes, Viktor. Is the answer to your first question.” He cringed and stared at those flecked tones on the table again.

“Better. The answer I mean, not the fatalistic view you have of yourself. Close the laptop and come with me.” He turned away as he closed the lid and got up to follow.

He led them through the maze of historical artifacts he lived in down an endless winding staircase to a black door with carved flourishes and a large brass lock. He slipped the key in, and it opened with a soft clunk. He walked in then held the door open for him and closed it as he stepped through. 

A blood red fabric dripped in a soft arc over the ceiling and gathered in soft pleats pulling back up at the center above a crystal chandelier. Black and gray damask wallpaper covered the largest wall across from the door with crimson walls flanking it and turning the corner to stand in front of it creating passageways on either side between the red and wallpapered walls. A red velvet tufted sofa ran along the center of the damask wall. A smoke-colored wooden chair made of interlocking ribs forming a cradle for the seat which then crossed below it and inverted their bend to create a second smaller ribcage for the base held a large black rubber spike looking thing sticking straight up in the center of the seat and had a riding crop laid across the arms. It sat off in a crimson corner next to a rack that ran along one of the short red walls that had rows from the floor to the ceiling filled with various whips and paddles and chains and feathers and fur and more implements than he could name or even describe in some cases. A huge wooden X stood against the other red wall. And flanking the chandelier in the middle of the room below the blood spilled fabric were two tables: one an X just like the upright one but laying flat and the other, rectangular, solid hickory wood, and a padded leather top, had anchors of twisted iron lashed in x’s over solid rings to hold them in place running every few inches around the edge. Pale wooden planks nailed with dark iron rivets buried flush against the wood ran under his feet.

Yuri’s heart gave a wild buck at the sound of the lock being latched again that sounded much louder than it had a right to. This was a horrible idea. What if Viktor was a psychopath? How would he even know if he should trust him? He just met him. Found him through some ad on craigslist. I’m going to be brutally murdered. Sorry, mom.

“You’re going to be fine, Yuri. I won’t do anything we haven’t already discussed.”

“Yeah, what we discussed is already pretty concerning.” He glanced at the wooden paddles that had spikes implanted into them.

He laughed, a bright, surprised laugh, and looked at him with a bit of puzzlement as Yuri glanced over. “That was rather bold of you.”

“I’m sorry, Viktor. I didn’t mean to say that.”

“Why are you sorry?”

“Um… because… I don’t know really. I’m sorry, Viktor.”

“I told you to share your thoughts with me. You should never apologize for following an order. I’m very proud of you for saying what’s on your mind. I don’t know what movies you’ve seen about this, but I like interacting with my subs. I don’t want to turn you into a blank robot.”

He flinched. “You have more like me?”

He smiled wider. “Oh, is that jealousy already? We haven’t even played yet.” He leaned in and touched the lightest kiss to his neck and dropped his voice to a low whisper. “There’s no one like you, Yuri.”

He gasped as a violent shudder ran through him.

Viktor pressed his hand against his low back and kept his voice low. “Take off everything except your underwear and put it in the basket by the door.” He gestured to the black wicker basket perched on a small table.

“Yes, Viktor.”

He walked over to the basket while Viktor went to sit on the padded table and watch him. Yuri’s skin flushed hotly as he unbuttoned his jeans and let them fall to the floor, stumbling as his foot caught in one of the legs. Viktor jumped up to catch him even though he had already caught himself against the wall.

“I’m sorry, Viktor.” He cringed, but Viktor just sat back down and waved his hand for him to continue. He pulled his socks off as well then folded his pants neatly and placed them in the bottom of the basket and placed the socks on top. He took off his glasses and set them in the corner of the basket. His hands started shaking as they gripped the back of his shirt. He turned to face the wall, but Viktor made a displeased growl.

“Face me, Yuri.”

“Ye-yes, Viktor.” He turned back and clenched his eyes shut as he yanked the shirt off over his head. He folded it and placed it in the basket then turned back to Viktor with his eyes on the rivets below him.

“Come here, Yuri. Stand in front of me with your feet spread apart and your hands behind your head.”

He shuffled toward him.

“Stop. Go back and try again. This time make sure you’re looking at me and walk to me like you’re proud of being mine. Shoulders back, chin up.”

He went back to the basket and crossed the floor again, forcing his eyes up and his back straight. It felt like he was resisting chains clamped around his neck yanking him down to do so, but he made his shaky way there the best he could hoping it would be enough. He stopped and laced his fingers behind his head and opened his stance, keeping his eyes on Viktor’s that now held just a hint of blue flame.

“Very good, Yuri.”

He stood up and started walking around him, his eyes penetrating every inch. His hand brushed gently down his arm and over his chest and down to the soft flab covering his stomach. He flinched as Viktor caressed his stomach with both hands, but he just moved on to drag his palms up his chest again and across his other arm. He disappeared behind him, but his hands bored deep into his body through the feather-light touches down his back. He dropped down to wrap his hands around his thick thigh and down his calf then moved to the other leg to do the same. He stood back up and circled him again, this time selecting pieces of him to lay down gently sucking kisses that left red marks behind. Viktor admired each one with a satisfied smile before moving on to the next. 

He finished leaving a multitude of kisses over his low back and thighs then stood up and grasped one hand over the front of his throat forcing his chin up higher and pressed the other against his stomach which now also held his marks. His lips burned against the back of his neck and lingered there while Yuri’s breath and heart raced to see which would give out and kill him first.

“You’re beautiful, Yuri.” Viktor’s voice purred low in his ear. “So beautiful.” His thumb ran shivers along the side of his neck.

“You- you don’t mean that.”

He stepped back and let the cold air take his place. “You dare to accuse me of lying to you?” His voice lashed against him. “I know I still have to earn your trust, but I would have hoped you’d give me enough credit to not insult me at least.”

“I- I didn’t mean to insult you! I’m so sorry, Viktor! I just… I didn’t… How could you… mean it?”

He came back into view in front of him and grabbed his hands, pulling them back down. “I forgive you, but don’t ever accuse me of lying to you again unless you have actual evidence to prove your case or you will regret it.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

He smiled and placed his hand against his cheek. “Good, Yuri. I’m glad you understand me. I know you’re still getting to know me as I am getting to know you, but one thing I promise you will find to be true about me is that I won’t go easy on you. So, if you hear me telling you something kind or gentle, you can bet your life on it being the deepest truth I can give you. Understood?”

“Ye-Yes, Viktor.”

“Very good.” He let go of his hands. “Kneel.”

Yuri dropped to his knees and sat back on his heels looking up to his clear blue eyes, straightening his back as he’d done thousands of times before. At least this part was easy.

Viktor smiled. “I’ve always admired the way the Japanese hold themselves with such respect during their everyday lives, but I’ve never seen it in person. Getting a chance to see it in you is quite remarkable. I’ve seen plenty of people kneel before me, but none have ever done it quite like you.”

A rush of tingling heat brought his words swelling into his chest. “Th-thank you, Viktor.”

He smiled and gave a slight nod. “Lay down on that table on your stomach.” He gestured to the padded table he had been sitting on and walked to the wall of tools while he obeyed his order.

He wriggled on the cool table to adjust himself and to have something to do with the nerves that choked him while Viktor gathered whatever it was he intended to hurt him with. He returned a moment later and laid out a row of tools on the X table next to them and removed one of the magenta silk scarves from around his neck.

“In addition to your safe word of katsudon, we’re also going to use a backup of the color system. I’ll check in with you regularly and ask you, ‘Color?’ If everything is good and you’re feeling okay to continue, say green. If you need me to back off or we need to change something, tell me yellow. If you need to stop right now, tell me red. You can also tell me these colors anytime you need to and I’ll respond to them. If you say yellow, I’ll stop and ask what we need to change to make everything good for you again. If you say red, it will act like your safe word and we’ll stop immediately. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“What does green mean?”

“Everything is fine. Keep going.”

“Good. Yellow?”

“Slow down, or something’s wrong.”

“Good. And red?”

“Stop.”

“Excellent. And you’ll use these words anytime you feel that you need them. That is a direct order. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“And what is your safe word again?”

“Katsudon.”

“Very good.”

“I’m going to tie you to the table at your wrists and your feet. Color?”

“Green.”

“Give me your hand.”

He slid his hand away from his side where it had been clamped under his thigh and offered it to him while tasting the metallic tinge of blood rising at the back of his throat. He grasped it firmly but gently and pulled it up over his head to the corner of the table. The silk scarf lashed around his wrist and held it in a firm embrace as Viktor tied it to the table taking the tension up until there was a gentle connection between his body and the table. A tiny smile formed on Yuri's face as he realized it was the perfect tension of communication held through an ideal rein on a responsive horse. Viktor moved to the other side and bound his right hand to the table as well and evening out the pressure on his body, he lashed his legs to the corners of the table. Yuri tested out the strength of the silk, playing with that soothingly steady tension that gave him just enough elasticity to breathe but still held him firm in Viktor’s skilled hands.

Viktor's voice held his dark smirk. “Try all you want. You’re not getting free until I release you.” Yuri in no way doubted the truth of what he said. He was now Viktor’s for him to shape him as he pleased, and he had no idea what that shaping process would bring him. If his current life was any indication of what he should expect, the nerves rising bile in his stomach were more than justified. Viktor stood back and watched him for a moment while his chest pressed against the table hard with his deep breaths trying to keep himself calm. “Color?”

He turned his face to the side and rested his cheek on the table, watching Viktor for a moment to gauge his mood before responding. “Green.”

“Are you sure? You hesitated.”

“I’m sure. Green.”

“How are you feeling right now being restrained like that?”

Yuri bit his lip as he thought. How does he feel? It should be a simple question to answer, but nothing in his body made sense right now. “Um… embarrassed… uh… scared..." His voice lowered to a bare whimper. “Um… a little… um… turned on.” He squirmed on the table as if he could run away from the blue eyes watching him without so much as a hint of surprise.

“Very good, Yuri.” Viktor’s voice trilled into his pleased purr as his finger stroked down his neck. “Thank you for being so honest.” He turned to the table behind him and selected a small golden tool that looked like a western spur with spikes shooting off in every direction from the tiny wheel. “I’m going to start slowly with this and gradually increase the pressure so I can gauge your pain tolerance. Color?” He flicked the wheel with his thumb sending it spinning around its axis.

“Green.”

He rolled the spikes gently across his lower back making neat little rows of pricking pressure in the hollow base of his back, increasing the pressure with every pass. They started to draw little dotted lines of pain on his skin, but not bad.

“Color?”

“Green.” He answered easily, his body relaxing a little bit deeper onto the table.

He pressed harder on the next pass and again harder on the following. The pain made him flinch ever so slightly, and Viktor called out, “Color?”

“Green.”

He moved the wheel up along the side of his spine, and a soft moan escaped Yuri's lips before he could stop it.

Viktor chuckled. “You like it?”

“Um, yes, Viktor.”

The next pass up his back was decidedly more painful than the last, and he squirmed under its touch, pulling against the silk as he gasped.

“Color?”

“Green.”

“Do you still like it?”

“Um… it… it hurts, but… yeah- yes, Viktor.”

“Good, Yuri.” His voice purred low as he ran another sharp pass alongside his spine harder than the last.

He cried out as he writhed on the table, pressing his hardening cock against it then gasped and pressed his lips tight as if he could take back the sound. Oh god. Why did he have to go and get that turned on now? It’s not supposed to be like that. Pain is supposed to make you want to run away, not beg for more. And his voice… oh god. He whimpered as the thought alone made his cock harden further, and he impulsively pressed it harder against the table trying to contain it or get some relief or-

He moved to the other side of his spine and rolled the spikes up his back again, his pressure deepening more along with his voice. “So good, Yuri. I love it when you give me such honest responses. You look so pretty when you writhe like that.”

His body heated to scorching and he turned his face away to whimper out, “Yellow.”

Viktor pulled back. “What’s wrong?”

“I… um… I’m getting… too close to…” He whimpered again in lieu of the words he couldn’t bring himself to say.

“Getting too close to what, Yuri? You have to talk to me.”

He whined again as he tried to form the words until the pressure exploded. “To coming! I’m going to come damn it!”

Viktor chuckled. “Well, I typically would make you wait longer, but considering that it’s your first time and you have some extenuating circumstances, I’ll allow it. Come as many times as you please. Thank you for telling me, Yuri. That was very good. Exactly what I want you to do.”

He gasped. “You mean… this… what I’m feeling… is normal?”

“For a masochist, yes. Some people only take the punishment because it pleases their Dom, but some people take the punishment because they enjoy it. You’re the second.”

“Their- their dom?”

“Their Dominant. Master. Sir. It goes by a lot of names which have some different meanings attached to each one, but overall, it’s what I am to you. I dominate you, hence, Dom.”

“I… I see. So, what am I to you?” He turned his face back so he could watch him as he responded.

He smiled and cupped his hand around the side of his neck. “You’re my submissive.” He leaned down and kissed his cheek and then ran his thumb over the spot he kissed as he pulled back.

His heart skipped a beat as the heat from Viktor’s touch thundered through his body.

“Are you ready to continue?”

“Um… my… my underwear. If I...”

“Ah, right. I’ll leave that one up to you. You can just cum in them, and I’ll get you a fresh pair after, or I’ll take them off.”

“Take- um, take them off. Please, Viktor?”

“Oh, Yuri,” he reclaimed the side of his neck with his warm touch, “you asked so nicely without me even having to prompt you. I’m so pleased to hear you speak to me that way so naturally.” He leaned closer again, moving his hand just enough to get his lips against the skin below his ear. “You’re so beautiful when you plead like that.”

He whimpered again as his voice reached places he hadn’t known a voice could reach.

“Easy, Yuri. Give me just a minute to get you out of the rest of your clothes before you ruin them.”

He released his legs from the silk and Yuri felt strangely loose in his body without the tension holding him in place. He wanted it back. It felt safe within Viktor’s grasp. He removed his boxers in one smooth motion then untied the silks on his hands as well. Yuri whined in confusion as he had thought he was going to retie him again.

“It’s okay. I’ll tie you back up. Don’t worry. Turn over, Yuri. I want to see you.”

(6) Heat boiled in his veins, and his body shook as he obeyed, flipping onto his back and revealing his cock proudly holding his shame on display. He knew his face was as red as it could be, and he looked away from him over to the enormous X standing next to him.

“Look at me, Yuri.”

He closed his eyes as he turned his head back, and his chest pulsed through his thick breath. He opened his eyes to an expression on Viktor’s face that he could only describe as dangerous. He looked ravenous, as though he would take him down on the spot and devour all of him.

“Oh, look at you.” His starving smile widened as he prepared to strike. “You’re such a dirty boy already and you hardly even know what that means.”

He cried out as his cock pulsed hard, squeezing drips of precum onto his stomach. He slapped his hands over his mouth.

Viktor grasped his knee and yanked his thigh open exposing the tender inside and cracked a quick, stinging hand against it as he growled. “You don’t hide anything from me. You haven’t gotten that yet? Honesty does not include hiding things from me.”

He pulled his hands back and cried out again with a gasp. “Yes, Viktor! I’m sorry, Viktor!” He stared up at the red fabric on the ceiling that felt like it was smothering him between it and the heat in his body as his cock twitched fast and hard dripping more fluid down its length. 

“You’re forgiven, Yuri.” He moved down to the ankle of the leg he held and started tying it back to the table. “I knew you’d want less restraint than I offered. I had no intention of pushing you this far today, but you’re such a dirty boy and you begged for it so sweetly, I just couldn’t resist.” He pulled his other leg out making him feel even more exposed and began his work there too.

“You- you like it when I beg?”

He smiled and caressed his inner thigh, stopping just short of where he desperately wanted him to go. “Taking note of the things I like? So good, Yuri.” He stood back up from where he’d dipped down to secure the silk and leaned in over him, inches from his face. “Yes, I love it when you beg. The sweeter you beg, the more it turns me on.”

He made a noise that was something between a whine and a growl as his hand impulsively clutched Viktor’s shirt over his tight abs then dropped it with horror when he realized what he’d done.

Viktor’s eyebrows raised over his smile. “Oh? Having a hard time controlling your dirty, lustful desires for me?”

“Ye-yes, Viktor. I’m so sorry. I- I didn’t mean to touch you.”

“Yes, good, Yuri. You should apologize. You didn’t ask first. Remember what I said about asking for what you need?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Do you need to touch me?”

He nodded. “Ye-yes, Viktor.”

“Ask nicely.”

“Please, Viktor, please can I… can I touch you? Please?”

“What would you like to touch?”

He gulped. “Your- your stomach. Your chest. Your arms. Your thighs.” He squirmed on the table and wanted to look away, but he held his eyes on Viktor. “Your… your cock.” His voice squeaked as he forced this last word out.

“Excellent, Yuri. I appreciate how detailed you were when really the answer was everything, wasn’t it?”

He nodded. “Yes, Viktor.”

“Okay, Yuri. You’ve been so good; I’ll give you a bit of a reward. You don’t get everything yet; you still have to work a little harder to earn that, but you can touch my upper body.”

He untucked his black polo shirt from his white breeches and grasped the back with one hand to pull it over his head in one smooth motion. He stepped closer to the table where he could reach out and run his fingertips gently over the bulges in his abs he’d seen hinted at before when the fabric of his shirt strained against him as he moved. Pressing the palm of his hand against him, he sighed as he reached for him with his other hand as well and held his sculpted body firmly between them.

“You’re a lot bolder than I imagined you’d be.”

He looked up from his study of the valley of his hip leading to the thick veins running down below his waistband. “Is it okay?”

He pressed his hand against his cheek and smiled. “Yes, it’s okay. Thank you for asking.”

He sat up so he could reach higher and stroke his hands over his chest, his fingertips seeking out the perfect, pink nipples that stood out against his porcelain skin. They budded below his touch, and he paused before grasping them gently and running the pads of his fingers around them. Viktor’s breath hitched a moment then evened back out as he looked down at him with a smile. He grew a little bolder, pinching them gently and running his thumbs over the tips. A light flush started across Viktor’s quickening chest. He made a note of the response then moved over to his shoulders and down his muscled arms. God, what would it feel like to have them wrapped tight around him? Either a warm hug or their bodies pressed tight and rocking together… The thoughts rushed to his face and his cock making it gush yet again.

“What were you thinking just now?”

He dropped his hands and pulled back. “Um. I was thinking about… your arms. Your arms around me in, um, a hug and… in… sex.” He dropped his eyes back down and stared at Viktor’s smooth, strong hand.

He slipped his finger under his chin and lifted it back up, dropping his face so close to his he could taste his sweet breath. “Do you want to have sex with me?”

“Um… Yes, Viktor, I want it but… but also no.”

“Why not?”

“I’m… I don’t want it… like this.”

“How do you want it?”

“Feeling like… like you want it too.”

He smiled and brushed his hand over his neck. “Good, Yuri. I’m glad you were so honest with both of us. You’re starting to get a little better at knowing yourself. Let me tell you something about me though.” He moved back to lift his chin again and leaned in to whisper in his ear. “I do want to fuck you. I’ve wanted it since I laid eyes on you.” He pulled back and let out a soft sigh. “But you can’t feel the truth of that yet, can you?”

“No, Viktor.”

He dropped his hands and stood back up after leaving a gentle kiss on his cheek. “That’s okay. That’s what I’m here for. To help you uncover truths. Lay back down.”

He dropped back to the table, and Viktor took up his body again with the tension of his silks. He left his shirt lying on the table next to his tools as he picked up a riding crop. He smacked it against his boot and grinned when Yuri jumped. He gave a few more smacks as he walked around him, searching for the spot he wanted to inflict his damage on. He stopped at his calf and brushed the leather popper from his ankle up along the inside of his leg and electricity shot along his nerves like he’d just been tazed. He gasped as his body jerked off the table as much as the silks would allow him, and his cock clenched hard. Viktor cracked his inner thigh with a sharp slap of his hand as the whip left his body. He ground against the table seeking friction for his aching cock, but of course, there was nothing but the easy slip of air.

“Ah, yes, it’s a little harder to make yourself come like this, isn’t it? Nothing to touch you where you so desperately want it. I wonder…” The crop dragged from the far side of his stomach over to Viktor and up his side, just missing the head of his pulsing cock. “How far does my touch go in you? How much will you let me in?” He leaned over and took his nipple in his teeth, biting hard enough to send pain and pleasure surging through him and wrapping around his cock like a stroking hand. Viktor followed the connection with his flicking tongue then pulled back and smacked the crop against the side of his stomach just above his hip.

He bucked his hips up seeking more of his touch, and Viktor gave that hungry smile as he moved to his other side. He grabbed his knee to roll it out, exposing more of the sensitive skin inside. The crop touched down in a neat row from just below where it joined his body down to his knee, repeating it harder down the second line.

“Can I touch all of you from one tiny part as I do with my horses? Can you feel what I’m telling you through your whole body as they do from one little touch of my hand?” He brushed his fingertips along that stinging line he just drew and his body started trembling under his leaking cock. “I want to see you perform for me. Show me how good you are. Show me how well you obey.”

His hands moved over his body alternating smooth caresses with stinging smacks. Punctuating his unpredictable rhythm were the sharp cracks of the crop over every bit of him except for the place he wanted his touch the most. His cries came without restraint as he writhed through the fire he held himself in, unwilling to leave the stable Viktor put him in even if it would claim his life. His burning touch licked through him giving him unfettered access to his deepest desires.

“You’re doing so well, Yuri, writhing so beautifully for me like this. I think you want more, though, don’t you?”

“Ah! Yes, Viktor! Yes! Please! Please, please give me more! Please, Viktor!”

“So sweet, Yuri.” He put the crop down and picked up a thick handle with a wide fringe of thin leather straps fluttering dangerously in his grip. “So honest with me about your dirty desires. I had no idea a virgin could be so thoroughly sullied before he’s even tasted of sin.”

Lust had consumed his barrier and words fell from his lips onto Viktor’s table. “I know what sin feels like!”

“Do you now? I know you’ve never felt the touch of passion so what sins do you know of?” The leather straps danced above his burning skin teasing with their certain venom.

“Pain! Incompetence!” He stilled on the table, his chest heaving as he locked his eyes on Viktor. “Death.”

“You need to feel the pain of punishment for those, don’t you? Before you can let yourself feel pleasure, you need to feel real pain.”

“Yes, Vi- Viktor.”

“I’m going to give that to you. Color?”

“Green.”

The leather drew up then cracked down over his chest, flaring its bite over the expanse of his skin. He hissed in pain just before the leather struck again over the same heated spot. He lost track of Viktor’s movements and the sinking teeth of the biting strips as he dropped into the darkness of pure sensation and found himself floating weightless, carried by Viktor’s steady, smooth stride. His body gave way and he joined with Viktor’s movement, Viktor’s rhythm, Viktor’s confident strength and let him carry him wherever he desired. Bounding, sultry pleasure filled him to the brim as Viktor’s voice reached in to caress him yet again.

“That’s it, my Yuri. You’re doing so well for me. I’m so proud of you. You look so beautiful like this. I can see my touch all over you and it looks so pretty on you.” His force began increasing with every lash throwing a fresh heated wave of pain over him that slowly sank further into pleasure. “Come on, Yuri. Let go. You’ve paid for your sins today. Now I want to see what pleasure looks like on you. Show me what I’ve done to you. Show me how beautiful you are with my touch shaping you. Show me that I can reach all of you. Come for me, Yuri.” His voice trembled with excitement as his blows picked up a fevered pace. “Come on, Yuri. Just a little bit more. Come for me.”

His heels dug into the table as he thrust into the hand that existed in his stroking words alone, his body writhing hard on the table as the pleasure peaked and spilled over him. Arms and legs thrashed against the silk as pleasure with the force of a thousand galloping horses trampled over the person who existed there before sent by Viktor’s hands to reshape him into something that pleased him better. His cum spilled over his stomach, and Viktor’s tongue chased it off his tender skin before it could drip to the table.

He moved up to claim his neck with a kiss and his hand and smiled warmly down at him as his body began to still. “You taste so delicious, Yuri, and you look so gorgeous right now. My god, just so insanely beautiful. How are you feeling?”

“I, um… incredible... Thank you, Viktor.”

He winced. “Oh, Yuri. You’re so sweet. So good. Just… I knew you’d be good, but I had no idea just how good. You made me feel so amazing.”

“I didn’t even touch you.”

“You didn’t have to, my darling. You let me touch you without holding me back, and that was more than enough.”

“I… really?” He swallowed hard trying to calm his breath and his heart.

“You want to see what effect you had on me?”

“Please. Yes, Viktor. Please show me.”

He climbed onto the table straddling him on his knees and hovering over his still pulsing cock. He undid his breeches and reached into them. “Color?”

“Green. Please green.”

Viktor gave a light laugh and stroked his finger over his cheekbone as he pulled his hard, leaking cock from inside those sinfully tight breeches. He let go to let him get a good look while his precum dripped onto him, making his oversensitive cock jerk with each drop. “You want to see exactly how close you got me?”

“Yes, Viktor! Please! Please show me. Please?” He gave him a soft smile and pleading eyes, and Viktor groaned as he began to stroke himself.

His hand wrapped tightly around his cock that filled it with his thick girth and stroked along his overwhelming length, spreading his precum down his now glistening shaft.

“You’re so big.” His eyes widened as he took in the sight of his head darkened to a deep wine color with his arousal sliding in and out of his foreskin.

“Does that frighten you or turn you on?” His voice was breathy as he moved his hand faster.

“Both.”

His face twisted with pleasure and he gasped. “Color?”

“Green.” His eyes fixed hard on the sight above him.

He fell onto his free hand, silver hair flowing down over his face gaping with pleasure as he gasped and covered Yuri’s cock with his cum. Cries of pleasure filled his voice and Yuri wanted nothing more than to hear them again as Viktor quieted and released himself to brace his trembling body on both arms letting the last few drops fall freely onto him. Viktor closed his eyes for a moment as he let his body still then he looked at him and smiled. “You did that. You made me feel that good by being so good for me. I’m so proud of you. You did amazing and you made me feel so incredible.” He carefully leaned down, keeping his body still hovering over his to kiss the front of his throat. “I’m going to untie you now. Do you want me to clean you up or would you rather do it yourself?”

“What- what would you use to clean me?”

“Oh!” He chuckled in surprise and sat back. “You’re already thinking such kinky thoughts. I’ll use a towel this time. We can consider other options once your limits have been lifted.”

“Please clean me, Viktor.”

He gave a little shake of his head as he smiled and brushed his hand along his cheek. “One session and already pushing so hard against your limits. I’m very excited to see how you grow, Yuri.” He carefully stepped off the table and returned with himself already cleaned up and fully dressed with a damp towel in his hand. He pressed it gingerly against his reddened skin and swiped it over him. He had heated the towel, so it was comfortable and his hands were unfortunately quick and effective. Just that one little, indirect touch of his hand through the towel had him already longing for more, but Viktor was done and already untying his hands. He helped him off the table and led him over to another room tucked into the passageway between the half wall holding his rack of tools and the long damask wall at the back of the room.

(7) The bathroom was covered in jade tiles with pearl inlays in rich swirls. An array of products sat on a shelf between the sink and a gold-framed mirror. A porcelain tub filled the middle of the room, and off in the far corner he led him to was an enormous round pillow as big as a king size mattress and as soft as a cloud that Viktor helped him settle into. It had been covered with a white silk sheet that felt luxurious against his skin.

“Wait right here.” He left and took one of the bottles of lotion from above the sink then returned, climbing in next to him and holding him in his arms against his side. “Are you still feeling okay?” He brushed his bangs out of the way to kiss his forehead.

He nodded. “Yes, Viktor. I feel so good. I’ve… I didn’t even know a person could feel like this.” He took advantage of the closeness to snuggle a little deeper and rest his head on the broad muscle of his chest then realized he hadn’t asked and jerked back. “I’m sorry, Viktor! I didn’t mean-”

“Shh… It’s okay. Here you’re free to take what you need. You don’t have to ask here.”

“Thank you, Viktor.” He snuggled back into him, and Viktor wrapped his arms tighter around him. He sighed and breathed into his comforting pressure holding him safely next to him.

Viktor rested quietly next to him except for brief little kisses over his face and sweet words whispered in his ear. That feeling of blinding sensation and powerful motion he had in the other room settled here into an easy bliss. Viktor pumped some lotion into his hand and nudged him gently onto his back. Yuri whined at being removed from him but settled where Viktor had put him as he already had his warm hands smoothing the lotion in over his tender skin which wasn’t quite as relaxing as being so close to him was, but was still a welcomed version of his touch.

“What are you putting on me?”

“Liniment. It will help your skin recover faster.”

He smiled. “Is it the same one you use on your horses?”

“No,” he laughed, “this is a super expensive formula crafted just for me for human skin, thank you very much.”

“Oh, watch out. Rich boy’s flaunting his wealth here.” His words came out slightly slurred with his mouth lacking the proper energy to form them neatly. “Are you trying to show off for me?” He smirked and poked at his chest.

Viktor blinked at him then burst out laughing and grabbed his hand to kiss it. “You have so much hiding in there.” He turned his hand over and smoothed it open to kiss his palm, lingering there with his eyes closed before giving his hand a gentle squeeze and pulling back. His eyes darkened as they searched him intently. “I so look forward to uncovering it all.” He brought his hand back up to kiss his knuckles before releasing it and continuing his task. “But to answer your question, I may be trying to impress you just a little.”

He hummed and nodded. “You’ve got that seriously mixed up.”

“No. I’m confident in what I’m doing here.” A playful little snarl flashed on his face as he grabbed his hips and flipped him over. His hands started in over his back and Yuri conceded his loss as he relaxed onto his arms. His body already felt like melted butter, but Viktor’s hands sought out any remaining connection to even the slightest tension and severed it neatly replacing it with his own elastic connection.

“Why do I feel like this?” With his words muffled and mumbled through the pillow and his haze, he wasn’t certain if they had enough clarity, but Viktor responded instantly.

“Endorphins. Like a runner’s high. When your body is in pain, it releases them, and I just flooded you with them.”

“I’ve had plenty of pain, and I’ve never felt like this. And runner’s high, I’ve felt that too, but this is different.”

“You’re right. It is different. This is pain connected to pleasure. It’s not just unexpected pain that induces fear of significant injury or death or is generally an unpleasant surprise. That kind of pain is unwelcomed for just about everyone. But for people like you, when there’s pain in a setting where you can trust that you won’t be severely injured and is based on a sexual tone, that fear is replaced with sexual pleasure. You get both the pain-killing endorphins and the chemicals released during sexual pleasure giving you quite a potent mix.”

“So, that was chemistry. You performed chemistry on my brain.” He lifted his head and propped onto his elbows to look back at Viktor who was watching him with a strange mix of amusement and that dangerous look from earlier on his face.

“You, Yuri Katsuki, you are everything.”

“Everything what? What’s that mean?”

“Something there’s no point in explaining to you because if I have to explain it, that means you won’t understand it. Once you can understand it, I won’t need to explain it.” He glanced over at the little antique clock on a white table holding fluffy towels. “It’s six o’clock.” His voice dropped back into his firm professionalism. “You’re free.” He looked back at him with his face wiped clean of expression.

You’re free. He’d survived Viktor’s murder basement with nothing but some tender skin and bruises and feeling the absolute best he’s ever felt. You’re free. Viktor kept his promise that he was no monster even as he beat him raw. You’re free. He could go and do as he pleased. Watch more movies and cuddle with Phichit on the couch. Nice and easy and comfortable. You’re free.

“What’s wrong, Yuri? What do you need?”

“A- a few more minutes. Please?”

A warm smile broke through his mask, though only a small one. “Take all the minutes you want.”

He opened his arms, and Viktor laid down next to him and pulled him in to wrap tightly around each other. Yuri rested his head on the pillow of Viktor’s arm and held on tight. “Technically, I owe you several more hours.”

“That’s right. You do. I’m going to collect on them on Friday evening though. With interest.”

“Hey! That doesn’t seem fair that you can make me wait to pay you back but then charge interest for the delay.”

“No, the first five and a half hours you owed right from the start. The interest is the punishment.” His voice lowered to a soft snarl that sent a fresh thrill through the cloud he was floating in.

“You might want to consider something else for the punishment. As far as I know, I’m not supposed to want it.” His eyes widened and he slapped his hand over his mouth, the words he couldn’t believe he uttered snapping him most of the way out of the haze. “I- I didn’t…”

Viktor was watching him, his eyes searching then he relaxed into a smile. “Yes, punishing masochists is always a challenge. But I have my methods. Maybe we just won’t call that part a punishment and just say it’s what you owe me for testing my patience.”

“Fair enough. Five hours late on your first day is a pretty big mistake. Do I get to know what’s happening on Friday?”

“A party. You’re going to be my date.”

He snapped right out of the rest of that cloud-like haze and jolted up out of Viktor’s arms, sitting fully upright. He pressed his hands over his naked cock senselessly though he had no sense left in general. “You can’t be- Why? Why me? You must have an encyclopedia of a little black book. Why me?”

He propped himself up on his elbow and stroked his hand down Yuri’s thigh. “Why not you? I go to parties like this quite regularly, but I’ve never brought a date. Who I choose as my date reflects on me and my reputation, and I’ve never found anyone suitable enough before. I know you’re new at this, but I’m certain you’re exactly who I want to bring.”

“That answer makes even less sense than the original explanation.”

Viktor smiled and sat up further. “That right there is what I’m looking for. That in someone who submits so naturally like you do. Who puts on a show so full of passion. Who kneels so gorgeously at my feet… Breathtaking.”

Breathtaking. That word describing him in any way made even less sense than his offer of employment did. What exactly is he playing here? Only way to find out is to keep playing the game. “I, uh, don’t have anything to wear.”

“That’s not a problem. I’ll have something for you on Friday.”

“How many extra hours do I owe you?”

“I’ll be taking the entire time off on Friday evening, so you’ll be mine from six am on Friday until six pm the following day.”

“That’s more than double.”

“I think it’s rather generous considering what you’re making me endure.” What the hell does that mean? He was late, sure, but he could hardly be that put out by a few hours when he wasn’t even planned to start until the week after.

“Fine then. I guess I’ll see you tomorrow morning.” He started to climb off the pillow, but Viktor put his hand on his knee.

“Stay right there. I’ll get your clothes.”

“Why? I’m capable of getting them.”

“Yes, but you’re clearly no longer comfortable with me seeing you naked, and yet you were just about to parade around in front of me to get them. Just wait.” He got up and disappeared into his room of torture returning a moment later with his things. “I’ll wait in the other room while you get dressed.”

He slipped his glasses on and nodded. Viktor left, and he stuffed his now shivering body into his clothes that had grown cold the moment he pulled away from him. “I’m done.”

Viktor stepped back in a moment later and stopped at the cabinet under the sink and pulled out a bottle. He walked over to him and turned the bottle about in his hands, studying it carefully. He looked back up after a moment with his firm professionalism on. “Are you comfortable wearing women’s lingerie in front of strangers? It wasn’t on the list.”

“For the party?” His heart started to race.

He nodded in one quick jerk.

“Then put me in whatever you want. It’s your time.” He tightened his fists to hold down the shaking.

“That’s not the way this works, Yuri. I’m only willing to push you in areas you’re comfortable being pushed in. Are you comfortable with it?”

“Two.”

He gave his firm nod again. “Fine then. This party isn’t like any other you may have been to. You’ll be exposed to many acts of public sex and possibly traumatic scenes of pain inflicted on willing participants. Are you comfortable with attending?”

“Two.”

“Fine.” He paused and glanced at the bottle in his hands then brought his hard, blue eyes up on him. “What are you thinking right now, Yuri?”

“I think that it’s past six, so I’m not required to share that with you.”

Several emotions passed lightly over his face behind his controlled mask. A flickering smile. A twist of confusion. A flash of anger. A wince. “Yes. You’re right. It’s past six.”

“Can you show me the way out?”

He jerked a quick shake of his head. “Anything you need.”

He led him to a door at the back of the bathroom that led into a short hallway with an old-fashioned elevator with wrought iron gates. It only looked old though. A simple press of a button closed the doors and brought them up to another short hallway just outside of the foyer he’d walked into in his quest to make this the stupidest thing he’s ever done. Viktor looked over the bottle again as they stood at the front door then handed him the same sleek, black bottle with a raised ‘V’ in white with flourishing swirls around it that he had used on him in the jade room below. “Here. This will help your skin recover. Use it at least once a day.”

“Thanks for the suggestion.”

He opened his mouth to speak then closed it with a small smile and a strange look in his eyes. “Have a good night, Yuri. Call me if you need anything.”

“Good night, Viktor.” He left into the cool spring evening and walked down the hill to the path leading to his cottage. He tried to make sense of all that had happened, but all he knew was that he knew nothing. He didn’t know what to trust or what to think or what to feel or what to do or if he should be there tomorrow at six am on his knees. He was still contemplating this one as he reached the cornflower blue door. He walked in and Phichit was sitting cross-legged on the kitchen counter, his face glued to his phone.

He jumped down, his phone in hand, and came dashing over to throw them into a hug. “Yuri!”

“Ow, ow.” He hissed as his sudden assault dug into his tender flesh.

He jumped back. “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to hurt you! I was just so worried about you! You were gone, and you didn’t have your car, so I knew you couldn’t have gone far, but I had no idea where you were because there’s nothing really within walking distance to be gone to for that long. I stopped in at lunch, and you weren’t here, and then I got back, and you were still gone, and I just got worried.”

He twisted his face with confusion. “What do you mean? I was at work like I was supposed to be. Well, I was five hours late for work, but I eventually made it there.”

“Wait, what? I thought you started next Monday. And I would have seen you there. We’re working together, remember?” He took a tiny step back as he tried to piece together the situation.

“Oh, yeah, I was supposed to start next Monday, but Viktor and I agreed I would start today when he was here yesterday.”

“Oh my god! I’m so sorry! I knew you weren’t awake, but I thought you were starting next week, and I remembered the threat, so I didn’t want to wake you.”

“Don’t worry. It’s fine. Viktor and I worked it out.”

“Was he mad?”

“Um… I… don’t know.”

“You don’t know? Did you get in trouble?”

“Uh… No. Not really.”

“Well, that’s good at least. Viktor was here yesterday?”

“Yeah, he insisted on helping me move in even though I tried to tell him I didn’t really have a lot to move.”

His head pulled back as his eyes widened. “Really.”

“Uh, yeah. I thought it was a little strange too. I thought maybe he was just trying to show he was a nice boss.”

“Uh… yeah. He’s a good boss. Not really that friendly though. I mean, he smiles and says hi to people, but not usually much beyond that. Oh, sorry. I attacked you at the front door. Come in. I ordered a pizza. Want some?”

“Does it have anchovies or pineapple on it?”

“God no.”

He smiled. “Then sure. Thanks. Are we going to watch another movie?”

Phichit gave his bright smile. “Yeah, I’d love to if you want to.”

“Yeah, a movie with you sounds great right now.”

His head dipped a little as a light blush passed over his skin. “There’s a sequel to the one we watched yesterday.” He brightened with his suggestion.

“Yeah, that sounds perfect.”

“Yes! Best roomie ever!” He thrust his fist into the sky then typed out something on his phone quickly. “Come talk to me while we wait for the pizza. I ordered it about twenty minutes ago so it should be here soon.” He reached for the hand that had the lotion bottle to drag him along then stopped and pulled back. “What’s that?”

“Oh, uh, just some lotion. I had, um, left it in my car yesterday.” He pulled up the bottle and stared at it for a second with a subtle frown.

“Oh. Sorry for being nosey.”

“It’s fine. Let me put it away, and I’ll be right there.” He went into his room and tucked it into the drawer next to The Gay Man’s Bible in his nightstand. He joined Phichit who was already sitting in the middle of the couch, their mess from yesterday cleaned up, but the remaining food from the gift basket was spread out on the coffee table along with more wine and clean glasses.

“Want some?” He held out a bottle.

“Sure, just one glass though. I think that was a big reason I didn’t hear my alarm in the morning.”

“Yeah, sorry. I didn’t mean to encourage you there.”

“No, it’s not your fault. I accepted all too willingly.” He smiled and climbed over the table to sit next to him. He took the glass Phichit poured and took a sip.

“So, if you were at work though, why didn’t I see you?”

“Oh, um, Viktor changed my position. He said he needed a personal groom and, uh, offered me the job.”

“Oh, really? Wow. I thought he hired you because we were short-handed with the new horses he brought in. And he’s never had a groom before except at shows when Georgi grooms for him.”

“Yeah, he said something about hiring someone else for that? Um, I’m not too sure really what his plans are.”

“Huh. Strange.” His face scrunched with thought as he took a sip of wine then brightened back into a smile. “Well, congratulations! Being his groom must be better than shoveling horse shit.”

“I don’t know yet. I’ve never minded cleaning up after the horses. It’s rather relaxing, and you’re free to just think.”

“True. At least they smell better than every other farm animal out there.”

The doorbell rang, and Phichit jumped up to answer it. He came back a moment later with the pizza after waving a friendly goodbye to the driver. He set the box down on the table then went to grab plates.

“So, how does the driver get past security?”

“Oh, you just have to call down to them and tell them you’re expecting them. Same as anybody you want to get in here. They check IDs for personal visits, but as long as the names match what you’ve said, they let them in and out.”

“I see.”

Phichit sat down and handed him a plate with a slice of pizza on it. “Hey, Yuri, um, were you okay with me kissing you yesterday? I didn’t really mean to go after you so soon, but I was a little tipsy, and you were a lot irresistible.”

He smiled. “Yeah. It was sweet.”

He beamed. “Yeah, it was really sweet. I’m glad you’re okay with it. Um, do you mind if I use you as a pillow again?”

He sat back against the armrest and opened his legs and his arms to let Phichit settle in between them using his torso as a back rest. He sucked in another wince of pain as he made contact with Viktor’s touch.

“Sorry!” He started to get up, but Yuri wrapped his free arm around him to keep him in place.

“You’re fine.”

Phichit looked up at him with his eyebrows drawn together. “Why are you in pain? I didn’t think I landed on you that hard either time.”

“Um, I’m just a little bruised... I tripped when I was running down to Viktor’s office.”

“Oh, are you okay? Can I get you anything?”

“I’m fine.”

“If you’re hurt I shouldn’t be lying on you.”

“I’m fine, Phichit. Let’s just watch the movie.” His voice snapped a little harder than he intended making him flinch back. “I’m sorry. It’s been a bit of a rough day.” He put a smile on. “I’m fine. Really. Just lay back.”

He nodded and gently laid back against him and started the movie. They ate and drank their one glass of wine each and munched on some of the caramel popcorn still left from the gift basket after their pizza. Phichit was fairly quiet through this movie, only making the occasional commentary of little trivia bits along the way. Every time he moved or wriggled against him, Phichit’s touch lit the shadow of Viktor’s lurking in his body.

***

Turn over, Yuri

Chapter Text

(8) His body ached as he lay in bed staring at the phone in his hand reading 5:50 am. Ten minutes to brush his teeth, put clothes on and make it to Viktor’s office to fall to his knees at his feet. Or not. His heart banged around in his chest as he tried to decide making it hard to hear his thoughts. The minute ticked over. Nine minutes.

He raced around the back of the stable to the office on the side of the building then paused at the door to catch his breath and recheck the time. 5:59 am. One minute. The knob heated under his hand and the minute gave way. He clicked the door open. Viktor looked up with a tiny tug at the side of his mouth as Yuri dropped to his knees. He sat heaving, his eyes following Viktor as he stood up and walked around his desk. Viktor stood in front of him, just watching. He reached out to caress his cheek and slide his hand down to hold around his neck.

“My beautiful Yuri.” His eyes softened as his voice gentled. “You look so perfect like this.” Perfect? He was pretty sure his hair was sticking up all over and his glasses that were fogging in the warm office after being chilled in the cool morning air were sliding down his nose from the sheen of sweat he had covering him, and that’s not even mentioning the gut he could feel spilling over his jeans or the cheeks that gave chipmunks a run for their money. And his? He was about to argue the point when he realized that A. arguing wasn’t allowed and B. technically as it was within the sunlit hours between sixes, he was right. He was right… His. For now at least. Viktor leaned down and brought his lips to within an inch of his, his eyes holding him captive. “I wasn’t sure you’d be here on time.”

He let out a soft gasp. “I wasn’t either.”

“Thank you for giving me another day with you.” He brought his lips closer, turning at the last moment to land his kiss on his cheek. He held his warm, soft lips against him, his eyelashes fluttering against his forehead.

“You’re- you’re welcome?”

Viktor smiled and released his kiss. “Yes, that sounds like a decent response.”

“Decent?”

“Is there something wrong with decent?”

“No, Viktor, but… I want to do better than decent.”

His eyes sparked with his blue flame. “Oh, Yuri,” he closed his eyes for a moment like he was savoring something delectable, “Yuri, you’re so good. Those may be the sweetest words I’ve ever heard.” He smiled and tipped Yuri’s chin up to trail kisses along his neck. “What do you think you could say that would please both of us more?” His lips brushed over his neck as he spoke.

“What about… thank you for offering me you for another day.”

“Offering me? Do I give you myself?”

"Yes, Viktor. I think you do.”

His lips stilled on his neck, his hot breath moving faster over his skin.

“You- you wanted me to take all of you yesterday. You didn’t want me to hold you at a distance. You wanted to know how far your touch reaches.”

He pulled back to watch him, a fluttering tension flowing through him. “Yuri… that was perfect.” His voice was thick in his throat. “So good.”

“It’s not good.”

“Why do you think that?”

“You shouldn’t offer me you. I- I’m not… I’m not…” He clenched his eyes and his fists as he tried to find words for the churning sickness buried inside him. “I’ll consume you.” He locked his eyes on him trying to convey his sincerity in words which only struck him with their truth after they tumbled from his lips.

His breath caught. “What if that’s exactly what I want?”

“Please don’t. Please don’t want that.”

“Are you telling me what I should or should not want?”

“No, Viktor. I’m trying to warn you. Please don’t want that. I’ll destroy you.” He closed his eyes and dropped his head back down. How did Viktor keep drawing out these words from him? Words he wanted to keep buried.

He sat back and narrowed his eyes as he lifted his chin back up so he’d meet his eyes again. “I’ve never had a sub dare to think of themselves as powerful enough to destroy me.”

“It’s not a power. Not at all. It’s a power to be competent enough to preserve a life. It’s a weakness to destroy one. You said you did this to feel a connection. You want to feel the power of perfect harmony flowing through your hands without a barrier between you. Like what you feel on your horses.”

“Yes.” His voice had the same energetic breathlessness he had in his room of pain yesterday.

“If- if you take up a connection with me… That harmony is destruction. That’s what I offer. You don’t want to feel that in your hands. It’s awful.” Hot tears slipped down his cheeks, and he wanted to wipe them away, but he sat frozen where Viktor had put him instead.

Viktor gathered him in his arms and sat his perfect white breeches right on the dirty cement floor and pulled him into his lap. His arms wrapped tight around him, and deep sobs started to loosen. “I want it, Yuri. But you already know that. You’re so good at figuring out what exactly it is that I want. You listen so carefully, and you’re quite smart to have figured that out at all, let alone so quickly. You’re the only one that’s ever understood so perfectly what it is that I want, yet you’re also the only one bold enough to tell me that I couldn’t possibly want that.”

“You wanted- you wanted honesty.”

“I do. I’m not mad at you at all. I’m proud of you for being so honest. But I asked you for something that would please both of us more, and you gave me something that pleases me greatly and makes you suffer.” A small breath of laughter huffed over his face. “A true masochist.” He pressed a kiss to his forehead. “Yuri, you are to give all of your worries about keeping us safe to me. It’s my job to protect us. That is a direct order.”

“Viktor, I have,” he sucked in a few breaths trying to slow his tears and Viktor brushed his hand over his face to help him, “I have some information that may be useful to you. May,” he flinched and pressed his face harder against Viktor’s chest, “may I share it?”

“Yes, Yuri.”

“I,” he looked up at Viktor who removed his glasses and smoothed his hand over his face wiping away more tears, “I can’t. I can’t share it. I’m sorry. I tried and…”

“Is the information that you want to share that I don’t have all of the information?”

“Yes,” he breathed in relief. “Yes, Viktor.”

“I already know that, Yuri. I’ve known from the start that there’s something you’re hiding. I also know you’re not ready to share it. These are both fine with me for now. My order still stands. You’re giving me all of the responsibility to keep us safe. Is that understood?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Very good, Yuri.” He pressed his thumb over his lips as he dropped down to touch a kiss just to the side of his mouth.

“I’m sorry.” He sniffed against his trembling lips trying to stop his tears.

“It’s okay. I don’t mind.”

“I’m wasting your time.”

He gasped as Viktor shoved him roughly away from him, holding his shoulders at arm’s length. “We’ve been over this.” His voice darkened. “I hate having to repeat myself. The only thing you need to worry about is if I say it’s okay or not.”

“I’m sorry, Viktor. But… I’m not trying to argue. I’m trying to understand. You said you wanted my honest thoughts. I do think that I’m wasting your time.”

“I do want to hear your honest thoughts, but sometimes they require punishment because they don’t serve us and I need to eliminate them. I can understand why that might be confusing, so I’ll try to clarify it. Share everything. You may be punished for some of it because they need to go, but they need to be exposed to be punished. If you leave them buried inside you, they’ll keep hurting you far longer and worse than I will. Expose everything, and I’ll deal with it as I see fit. Some of it will hurt, but you knew that. That’s exactly what you want.”

“Yes, Viktor. I understand now. Thank you. I’m sorry for thinking that... I’m wasting your time.”

“Come here.” He pulled him back in and held him tight again. “I forgive you. You’re worth all of my time. You’re so good, and you make me so happy. I love it when you need me.”

He sniffled and pressed himself tighter to Viktor, his touch from last night aching pleasantly as he pressed harder still.

“That’s it, Yuri. Take what you need. I want to give it to you.” His body flushed warm at Viktor’s words. “My beautiful Yuri.” His thumb stroked along his bottom lip, tugging it open slightly as he kissed the top of his head.

His tongue flicked against the pad of Viktor’s thumb then froze when his breath hitched. When he didn’t pull away or reprimand him, he tasted him again then wrapped his lips around his thumb and sucked lightly. He released his thumb to grab his hand and press kisses over his palm. Watching Viktor’s breath rise, he slipped his thumb more fully in his mouth and sucked hard to the end then pulled it back in.

Viktor let out a shuddering breath. “You need to pleasure me?”

He nodded, Viktor’s thumb still in his mouth. He pulled it out with a gasp remembering. “I’m sorry! I mean, yes, Viktor.”

“Thank you for correcting yourself. It’s not my thumb that you want.”

Warmth flooded his cheeks. “No, Viktor. I want… your cock. I need to make you feel good. Please, may I?”

He shook his head with a tight, but warm, smile. “You love pushing limits, don’t you? Yours. Mine.” He pushed his thumb all the way into his mouth and watched as Yuri’s eyes fluttered closed and his cheeks hollowed as he sucked hard pulling him back out slowly. “That will have to do for now. It’s not time for more yet.” His damp thumb pressed against Yuri’s cheek as he held his face between his hands. “Did you eat anything this morning?”

“No, Viktor.”

“Why not? I thought I told you that you need to eat three meals a day. It wasn’t an order, but I would hope you’d listen to basic good advice.”

“I couldn’t. I didn’t have time.”

His hands fell away and rested on his thighs. “Too much wine and kissing again?”

“No, Viktor! We had some wine but only one glass, and we didn’t kiss. We only cuddled.”

His cheek twitched just below his eye that looked almost like a flash of a wince. “So why couldn’t you get up early enough to eat breakfast before you came to work?”

“I can barely wake up that early as it is. I can’t sleep well at night. I’ve never been able to fall asleep before midnight, and that’s the absolute earliest. It’s usually closer to one or two. But it’s fine. I’m used to it.”

“Yuri, are you aware there’s a difference between fine and used to it? Because I’m not so certain that you are.”

“You’re probably right. I don’t know anything in my life I can’t label with, ‘It’s fine. I’m used to it.’”

He winced quite clearly this time. “I’m sorry. That was insensitive of me, wasn’t it? I’m aware that your life hasn’t been cushy. Mine has been obviously, and I missed seeing that as being a way to adapt to your circumstances. Please forgive me.” He bowed his head slightly.

“You’re apologizing to me? I didn’t think this worked like that.”

He looked back up. “I’ve apologized to you before and I will again. I’m not perfect and try as I might, I won’t be able to prevent every mistake. You should never follow someone who can’t admit it when they’re wrong. That’s the most dangerous type of person to follow.”

“How can you bear the responsibility of someone’s life while being so aware of your ability to make mistakes? What if you hurt them? Does that thought ever cross your mind?”

“Of course, it does. Especially for me. I do actively hurt the people who put their trust in me, and I have to walk a very fine line between doing it for their benefit and pushing too far and harming them in ways I didn’t intend. It’s that concentration on that line that gives me the satisfaction I need. I’m like you; I like pushing my limits.”

“Have you ever made a mistake that hurt someone past that line?”

“Yes. I misplaced a stroke of the flogger, the tool I used on you yesterday, and the tails wrapped around his shoulder which increases their force and sliced open his skin leaving scars. It was when I was just good enough with it to start pushing my limits, but not quite skilled enough to prevent that.”

“Did you feel bad about that?”

“Absolutely terrible. I was sick over it for months.”

“You didn’t hesitate to use it on me at all. How could you be so comfortable with it after that?”

“I learned from my mistakes. I don’t push my limits so quickly anymore. I make sure that I can make it do exactly what I want it to do every time before I try for more. I make sure I have all of the information I can to prevent mistakes like that.”

“I don’t mean how do you prevent it now; I mean how did you trust yourself to pick it up again?”

“I was scared at first, but I picked it up anyway and pushed myself little by little relying on both my better education and the simple fact that I knew I had no desire to hurt anyone like that. It’s balancing on the line that’s satisfying, not holding back from it or falling to the other side. I trust myself to hold on to that. Have I answered you satisfactorily? Do you forgive me?”

“I’m sorry! I wasn’t questioning you and your ability. I was trying to understand how. How you could pick it up again.”

“That’s something you still can’t understand even though I answered it as clearly as I could, isn’t it?”

“Yes, Viktor. But, I do forgive you.” He smiled. “It really wasn’t necessary to apologize to me though. It was hardly an offense.”

“How much force do you use in an ideal communication with a horse?”

“Nothing more than a guiding touch.”

“You answered that far too easily for someone who doesn’t ride.” A light smirk fell onto his face. “But you’re right. If I want you to respond to a gentle touch, all of them have to matter. I can’t tell you to ignore some and respond to others. That’s unfair and confusing.”

“Did he forgive you?”

“Yes,” he smiled. “We’re still good friends, and he likes the scars thankfully. I was never able to do another scene with him though.”

“Scene?”

“What we did yesterday in the playroom. It’s called a scene. It was too much for me at first to try it with him again, and by the time I felt confident enough to we had decided that we made much better friends without the play.”

He nodded.

“That you understand.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He nodded then smiled. “No, Viktor. I don’t understand how you call something so brutal ‘play.’”

He chuckled and poked at his unbruised side making him squirm. “You had fun. It’s not gentle and innocent, but it’s still play.”

“Grown-up play.”

“Very. How are you feeling today?”

“Okay. A little sore, but not bad.”

“Stand up. Take off your shirt.”

He obeyed, flinching as the shirt pulled over his head.

Viktor stood up and took the shirt from him. “Unbutton your jeans. Let them fall to the floor and stand for inspection with your hands behind your head, your feet apart. This is the stance you’ll take any time I tell you to stand for inspection. I’ll specify the level of undress I want from you beforehand. Understood?”

“Yes, Viktor.” He brought his hands to his jeans and let them fall to the floor and put his hands behind his head.

Viktor nudged his elbows back further and pushed his chest out then tapped under his chin to make him lift it. “Like this. Every time.” He stood back to look over his damage. “What do you think of the bruises?”

“I haven’t really looked at them yet, but last night they were a little uncomfortable, but here now you were pressing into them, and it felt… good.”

“When exactly were they uncomfortable last night?”

“When Phichit was laying on them.”

The corner of his mouth tugged into a smile. “They look lovely on you.” His hand caressed his chest down to his stomach and around to his back pulling him in close. “You look beautiful, Yuri.” He kissed his neck then stepped back. “Put your clothes back on.” He obeyed with Viktor cleaning off his glasses on his shirt before handing them over. “I can’t change your hours, but I can readjust my schedule to make sure you get fed properly. You can plan on having breakfast and lunch with me the days you’re here. I’m a bit limited on what I can do about your sleeping as it falls outside of my hours, but I’ll look into it. Have you always had that issue?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“What are you doing while you’re awake that late?”

“Random things to try to get myself tired enough to pass out or lying in bed thinking. I try to avoid that though because that’s always when I sleep the worst.”

“Your thoughts are that disturbing to you.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

He nodded. “I find you beautiful and so sexy exactly as you are, but you’d be more comfortable with a more toned body, correct?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Then in the mornings, I’d like you to come dressed for a workout. Don’t worry about bringing a change of clothes tomorrow because I’ll have something I want you to wear to work every day.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Come then. Let’s get started.” He walked out of the office and led him up the hill to his house once again.

He slipped off his boots in the foyer and followed Viktor into the kitchen.

“Here. Eat this.” He handed him a banana. “I’ll feed you a proper breakfast after the workout, but having a little energy in you now will allow you to work harder.”

“I’m not really hungry.”

“On your knees.” His voice dropped low, menacing.

He dropped to his knees and placed his hands on them, the banana still in one fist.

“You disappointed me, Yuri.”

“I’m-”

“Ah. You don’t get to apologize yet. You knew you were supposed to obey my order. Stay there.” He left the kitchen, his boots striding hard across the floor, his disappointment driving deeper with every step away from him.

Pain struck his chest, but it was nothing like Viktor’s pain from his touch. This was an empty pain of loss that brought tears to his eyes, not the rich pain of his touch that bathed him in sensation. How did he feel such a loss from him just walking away? His touch had barbs. As soon as he let him in, it hooked in and yanked holes in his flesh when it was removed. What was he going to do when his touch was gone for good? Would Viktor detach himself carefully or would he just walk away and leave him torn open as he did now? This was absolutely a horrible idea. One day and he was already on the brink of destruction. Exactly as he had promised.

After endless minutes he couldn’t count with the pain distorting his perception, Viktor’s stride echoed off the empty spaces in his enormous house though softer than before. He stopped behind him. “I’m willing to hear you now.”

He placed his hands on the floor and bowed halfway to the ground. “I’m sorry, Viktor. I didn’t mean to disrespect you, and I will strive not to let it happen again. Please forgive me.”

“What did you feel when I was gone?”

“It hurt.”

“The kind of hurt you like?”

He shook his head. “No, Viktor. Not at all. I hated it. I don’t want to feel it again. I hate disappointing you.”

He stepped around in front of him dressed in shorts and sneakers with nothing else and his clear face washed relief over him. “I forgive you, Yuri. Stand up and eat the banana.”

(9) He stood up, and Viktor dropped to his knees. He looked up at him expectantly while Yuri watched him trying to figure out what he was doing before he realized that what Viktor was doing was something for him to worry about. He only had to follow his order. He cracked open the peel and Viktor unbuttoned Yuri's jeans and let them fall. He sucked in a quick breath then took a bite of the banana and Viktor’s lips went to his bruises on his inner thigh sucking a wet kiss there just hard enough to send the warm touch of his pain spreading out through his core. His knees went weak. He held himself upright the best he could as he took another bite and Viktor’s hand drifted up his other thigh as he sought out a new location for his kiss higher on his thigh. His cock started filling quickly, and he squirmed as he whimpered, but Viktor just sat waiting for him, his ocean blue eyes soft. Yuri swallowed hard and took another bite sending Viktor’s fingers snaking up under the leg of his boxers to the crest of his hip. His thumb stroked over the sensitive skin in the valley between his leg, and his torso and Yuri started quivering. Viktor’s lips sucked over his tender skin on his thighs and over his stomach as Yuri obeyed him. He got to the last bite, and Viktor’s hands moved to the top of his waistband, reaching in and tugging them down just a bit. He licked along the crease of his thigh while Yuri chewed, just narrowly missing his fully hardened cock as he tugged the boxers the rest of the way down. Exposed to the air and Viktor’s eyes, Yuri gasped as his core clenched hard and sent drips of precum onto Viktor’s shoulder. Viktor glanced at it then looked up and smiled.

“Jerk yourself off onto my face.”

“What?” He gasped, and he pulled his hips back slightly to restrain himself from the impulse that washed over him telling him to shove his cock straight into Viktor’s slightly parted lips. “I’m sorry, Viktor! I didn’t mean to question you! I was just surprised.”

“I know. Go ahead.”

He still didn’t understand and wanted to ask him if he was sure this was something he was supposed to do, but Viktor gave him an order, and his only job was to follow it. He switched the peel to his left hand and took himself in his right.

Viktor took the peel from him and tossed it onto the counter then twined his fingers with his and tugged his hand to his mouth for a kiss to the back of it. “Show me how you like it best.” He moved Yuri’s hand onto his shoulder then let go and held onto his ass to help support him as his knees trembled.

Yuri moved his hand up to his mouth and started working up some spit to use as lube.

Viktor stole his hand away. “You need spit?”

“Y-yes, Viktor.”

“Ask me for what you need.”

“Oh god.” He doubled over at the strange mix of confusion, heat, embarrassment, and overwhelming desire punched through his gut. “V-Viktor, can I ple- please have some spit?”

Viktor put Yuri’s hand back to his cock as he rose up higher on his knees and let a thick stream of saliva fall from his mouth onto his aching cock. Yuri cried out and grasped Viktor’s shoulder as he worked his saliva over his cock. His eyes screwed shut as he formed a circle with his fingers and worked the warm, slick fluid over the sensitive skin below his foreskin. He ran his thumb over the head then forced his eyes back open, so he could relish the sight of Viktor on his knees, mouth open, waiting for him to cover him with his cum. The sight was too much, and with a few more heavy strokes down his length, he was coming straight into that open mouth and over his cheek and down his chin onto his chest.

“Oh god! Vi-Viktor!” He cried out and moved his hand from his shoulder to the back of his head fingering the soft strands for a second before weaving his fingers into them and gripping hard. He milked the last few drops over his pink tongue then held himself as still as he could through his trembling.

Viktor watched him for a moment, cum glistening on his face and over his tongue before he swallowed it then licked his lips to get as much from the rest of his face as he could. He stood up and gripped Yuri’s hair as he had done. “Clean me up.”

“With- with what?”

“Anything you have available to you at this moment.”

He considered the shirt still on his body but then he wouldn’t have it to wear. A strand of cum dripped from his chin onto his chest and ran down to his nipple. His tongue flicked out and licked straight over the tip of his nipple before he could consider his actions. Viktor gasped but made no move to stop him. He looked up to watch him as his tongue worked over his budding nipple then up the soft curve of his pec. His chest pulsed harder under his tongue. He stood up on his toes and gently tugged Viktor down to reach him. Taking his time, he worked his tongue and open kisses over him to clean every drop of his cum from his face.

“Have you ever tasted your own cum before?”

“No, Viktor.”

“What do you think?”

“Um… I’m not sure I’d like it on its own, but on you…” He moaned and closed his eyes as he bathed his tongue over Viktor’s soft cheek and finished with a kiss. “It’s so good.” His voice lowered to a soft whisper. His tongue slid closer to his tantalizing mouth, just reaching the corner.

Viktor’s breath sped up as he grabbed his hand and held it against the side of his clean cheek. Yuri paused then took a careful taste of his lips. They parted slightly with Viktor’s soft gasp, and he slipped his tongue just barely inside his mouth, tasting the edges of that slick, hot inside. Viktor sighed and turned his head into their hands, pulling his mouth slightly away.

“I already got that part, Yuri.” His voice was soft as his closed eyes scrunched with the effort of restraint. What exactly he was trying to hold back wasn’t clear. A scolding or… a desire. He turned as he pulled their hands from his face and kissed the center of Yuri’s palm. “Am I clean?”

He pulled back a little to check. “Yes, Viktor.”

“Excellent. Pull your underwear up but take your pants off and come with me.”

He smiled a little to himself as he obeyed.

“What’s so amusing, Yuri?”

“Um, that your commands… they’re always a little strange, yet you say them with such certainty as if it were the most normal thing in the world.”

The tops of his cheeks crinkled warmly below his eyes. “I guess you’re right. I can see how this is still rather strange to you.”

He folded his pants over his arm and followed Viktor through his maze that he knew every turn of. “Can- am I allowed to ask why you had me do that?”

“You can always ask questions if you need to, even with my orders as long as they’re respectful and not just a way to argue. But to answer this one, it’s because food has gotten twisted in your mind to being something that causes you distress. I’m reconnecting it to pleasure as it should be.”

“What if I get turned on now every time I eat a banana?”

He laughed as he opened the door to a room in the back of the house on the upper floor. “That’s certainly a risk here. I’m not a psychologist so some things may have unintended consequences. I think eliminating the distress of going through the rest of your life feeling sick when trying to eat in front of others is worth the risk of an awkward encounter with a banana or two, but if that happens and is too distressing for you, I’ll find a way to correct it. Fair enough?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

They stepped into a room where narrow windows, arched on top and set in a gently curved wall, stretched from the floor to just below the ceiling and softened the light of the bright day through translucent cream curtains and brought it into a room where worn, burnt oak flooring, dark chocolate walls and ornately carved pillars lent the other half of a deep contrast but without the harshness found in stark black and white. Inky turned posts of a solid four-poster bed reached up towards a blush chandelier dripping down to join it in the center of the space.

Viktor walked over to a large dresser matching the frame of the bed holding a small collection of exotic decorations including an elephant made of teak wood and formed with joined flourishes around empty spaces allowing you to look straight into and through the beast and a line of Russian nesting dolls along with various other items looking like they’d been collected from around the world. A stuffed peacock sat on a shelf overlooking the collection, it’s rich plumage flowing down the wall. A few pieces of art hung on the walls, but overall there was nothing that looked particularly personal until he spotted the bookshelf covering the interior wall arranged exactly as he’d done to his bookshelf at the cottage only with more various aesthetic objects filling the spaces as he’d suggested for him to do. Only one framed picture sat on the very top shelf. He wanted to go closer to see what it was a picture of but he erred on the side of caution and stayed where he was.

“Take off your shirt.” Viktor turned back around from the dresser with a measuring tape and a pair of shorts and a shirt in his hand. He took his shirt from him and tossed it on the bed then started taking measurements of his body over every surface and typing them into his phone. He paused on occasion to smile and kiss whatever part he was working on.

Yuri tried to keep himself contained, reminding himself that it was all calculated to manipulate him into feeling how Viktor determined he should feel. He couldn’t mean any of this the way he was taking it. He was just weak and pathetic and lonely and letting his imagination load the situation with meaning Viktor hadn’t put there. This was all just a business deal for him regardless of how intimate the contents were. Whatever joy he extracted from this process could be had with anyone who met his minimum standards. He just happened to be the one filling the role of servant to his needs. He didn’t mean the way his eyelashes fluttered as his lips pressed gently on his bruised inner thigh. He didn’t mean the tender confidence in his hands running down his back as anything other than a way to convince him to trust him. He certainly didn’t mean the sigh as he pulled back from a kiss to the soft flab on his stomach as anything other than a sound to conceal his revulsion. Men who look like Viktor; men who have status like Viktor; men who have talent like Viktor; and certainly, men who have all three don’t go for plain, flabby, boring guys like him. That’s just a law of the universe written and sealed with the kiss he pulled away from. It had been so subtle when it happened, and he didn’t even know he was going for a kiss himself, but now that the flood of chemicals had settled, he was able to see it for what it was. A kiss denied.

Viktor stood up from his position on his knees and studied him as he rested his hand against Yuri’s neck. “What’s wrong, Yuri?” He didn’t mean the way his voice melted into deep concern when he said that.

“Nothing’s wrong, Viktor.”

“That’s not true, but I’m not certain if you’re aware of that lie or not. You’re locking me out. Why?” He didn’t mean that wince of pain in his voice as anything other than a guilt trip.

“I’m not locking you out. I’m here obeying your orders.”

“That’s not what I mean. Your responses are dulled. My touch isn’t reaching you like it was just a few minutes ago. What were you just thinking about?” His order lacked his usual authoritative command and sounded like a genuine question. He wasn’t sure if that meant it was still an order or not but he guessed his original order to share his thoughts still stood.

He studied the full, heart-shaped lips his tongue had tasted for a brief moment and were now ruthlessly out of reach then looked up to meet his eyes with a glare. “You pulled back.”

He cocked his head in confusion. “I pulled back when? I was just on my knees kissing you.”

“In the kitchen. I… I went to- to kiss you, and you pulled back.”

A tiny melancholic smile turned the corner of his mouth. “You are sensitive. I tried to be as gentle as I could. I apologize for hurting you, Yuri. That wasn’t my intent.”

“You’re okay with me cumming on your face and licking it off but not a kiss?”

“Yes. That’s exactly right.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I have limits too.” His voice rasped soft and low as he twirled a piece of Yuri’s hair between his fingers. “Some things push me past my control.”

He can’t control a kiss, but he can control everything else they did? That didn’t make sense, but the question seemed too rude to ask. “So, a kiss for you is what number?”

“A kiss from you would be a one.” His lips closed over his neck then he sighed and moved to a new spot to touch it with another burning kiss.

“From me? Why would you say that specifically?”

His kiss moved higher just below his ear making him tilt his head away to give him access. “We have different limits for different people. For you, kissing Phichit might be a three, but kissing the woman who bags your groceries would likely be a zero, yes?”

“Oh. That makes sense. So, what would you rate a kiss from someone other than me?”

“Why are you concerned about other people when we’re the only two here?” His breath rushed over his ear as he took the lobe in his mouth and sucked with a gentle bite as he released it. “Are you planning on having other people kiss me?”

He shuddered, and his head turned instinctively toward him seeking his lips. They paused within a breath of each other. He shook his head at the rush of anger to hold it down. Was Viktor right before? Was that jealousy? Was that a question he was supposed to answer or not? Caution for Viktor was erring on the side of saying something while caution for him was to keep his mouth shut. “No, Viktor. Never. I would never… want that.” He fought down the urge to grab him and hold him in his arms. “When is it something you’d do with me?”

“When it’s not a question.”

How can a kiss be a question? He considered asking that aloud, but the look in Viktor’s eyes made him stop.

“What is a kiss from me for you? It wasn’t on the list, but I think I need to know now.”

His breath hitched. “Um…” He considered the burn fluttering in his chest and up his throat that spread further when Viktor’s hand went to his low back. He gulped. “Three.”

His chin dipped ever so slightly. “Can you wait?”

“Wait for what?”

“For me.”

He reached out for Viktor, his fingertips resting gently on his smooth skin, his trembling mostly contained before his palm rested tenderly on his cheek. His thumb brushed over his lips. “Yes, Viktor.”

He smiled gently. “Thank you.” He held his hand still as he turned his face to kiss the palm of his hand then moved his hands down to his waist. “God, Yuri, your limits... It’s not a line that I’m walking. It’s a blazing wire wrapped tight around me and getting tighter by the second.” His hands gripped him harder as his expression tightened into his blue flame. “Do you have any idea how badly I want to throw you down on that bed and suck your cock until you’re just a writhing, whimpering mess as a thank you? How have you made it to twenty-three looking like you do without losing your virginity on the way?”

“Am I supposed to answer the first question or the second?”

“Just the second. The first was rhetorical. I already know you have no fucking clue.”

“Um, I don’t know really. It just wasn’t a priority I guess.”

“It wasn’t a priority? You do want to have sex, right?”

“Yes!” He fought the urge to slap his hand over his mouth at how pathetically eager that was.

Viktor chuckled. “Good. I was just making sure. Is it something special for you? Your first time that is. Is it something you’re saving for the right person?”

“Umm… I guess so? I don’t know really. I haven’t thought about that much. But yeah, I guess that would be true. I don’t want to do it with the wrong person. It’s a memory that stays with you for a long time, right?”

“Yes. Most people would never forget it. Make sure you wait, Yuri.” He smiled and brought his hands back up to clasp gently around his face. “Save it until you’re sure it’s the right person.”

“I thought you wanted me to lose my limits sooner rather than later.”

“Yes, that’s what I want for selfish reasons, but what I want for you is to wait until you’re ready and it’s the right person.”

“Is that an order?”

“Only between our sixes, it is. Between yours, it’s just my wish for you to be happy.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

He smiled and stepped back. “Here. Put these on.” He handed him the shorts and his shirt. “I don’t have any sneakers that will fit you right now. Do you want to go back to your house to get some or will your boots suffice for our workout for today?”

He looked up as he balanced on one leg as he stepped into the shorts. “I can wear my boots.”

“Good.”

He looked at the shirt Viktor had handed him then back at his own on the bed. “Um, may I ask why you’re having me wear this one instead of mine?”

“You’re going to get sweaty and will need to change. I thought you’d prefer to wear your own shirt the rest of the day.” He cocked his head and smiled as he studied his reaction. “Did I assume incorrectly? Would you rather wear mine the rest of the day?”

“No, Viktor. I don’t want to get it dirty.”

He took the shirt from the bed and swapped them in his hands. “Change of orders. Wear this one for now. Keep mine.”

“But- I-” He bit his lip and scrunched his face. “Yes, Viktor.”

“Very good, Yuri. I’m pleased you fought that impulse to argue.” He leaned in to kiss his cheek, lingering for just a moment. “Let’s go.” He headed out of the bedroom with Yuri following behind. He turned to look back at him. “I already did my workout today, so you’ll forgive me if I’m a little slow.”

“Yes, Viktor.” Thank god. Maybe this will only be horribly embarrassing instead of completely embarrassing. He was already dreading tomorrow when he intended to do this fully refreshed.

Viktor laughed. “That wasn’t an order. That was making conversation. I'm sorry for being unclear.”

He smiled slightly. “You’re forgiven. Also, thank you for the shirt,” his smile fell away as he thought, “and for the gift basket and flowers. I realized just now I hadn’t thanked you for those yet.”

He smiled, but it didn’t look entirely pleased. “You’re very welcome. I’m glad you and Phichit are enjoying the food.” The expression he glimpsed on Viktor’s face just before he turned back made him curse this whole social media thing.

(10) Viktor led him to the woods that picked up at the back of his castle and to a clear dirt path winding through it. He clapped his hands with a smile. “Okay, we’re just going to warm up with an easy jog then when you hear the beep on my phone take off into a sprint and race me as hard as you can. When it beeps again, we go back to a walk then repeat until you hear the three beeps signaling the end. Simple enough, yes?”

“Yes, Viktor.” Right. Like he’s going to be able to keep up with him.

He tapped at his phone then stuck it in the armband he had put on when back in his room. “Okay, ready?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Good. Let’s go.”

He took off with his long legs carrying him to an easy lead within a few strides. Yuri did his best but with extra weight and boots, this “easy warmup” felt a whole lot like the actual workout as he tried to keep up. His body ached more than usual with the bruises all over him but soon enough his body accepted the cold burn of his lungs and the fire in his thighs and calves, and it eased into a steady stride. The first beep sounded, and he was left in Viktor’s dust. Irritation at his weakness drove his legs harder, and he at least held their gap by the time another beep sounded, and they went back to a walk. He stumbled the first few steps and Viktor reached his hand back to steady him.

“Thanks.” He tried to straighten himself under his heaving lungs.

“You’re not doing too bad. A little slow, but I expected worse.”

He couldn’t stop the glare he gave at Viktor’s chipper smile.

He laughed. “Oh, don’t give me that look. You know it’s true. With your age, you should be able to outrun me especially when I’m going easy.”

“Not when you have legs like a gazelle, and I’ve just got these thick stumpy things.”

His face hardened as he looked over. “Yuri, you are not to talk about yourself that way.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

He nodded. “Good. I love your legs. Your thighs especially. So delicious. I might just make a meal out of them one of these days.”

He chuckled. “So, you lured me out into the woods and then revealed your cannibalistic desires? That’s nice. I’m not concerned at all.”

Laughing, he paused to kiss his cheek. “I didn’t mean that literally. I meant that your thighs and chocolate sauce and my tongue might get very well acquainted soon.” His phone beeped interrupting the smirk that followed his wink.

Viktor took off again, and Yuri pushed himself to keep up. The ache in his body spread warm pleasure through him at the memory of how it got there along with thoughts of Viktor’s promises for more. What did he intend to do tonight? He sought out Viktor and found him shockingly right next to him. Viktor seemed just as surprised and he started pushing harder just as the next beep sounded. By the third sprint, Yuri was starting to pull ahead, and Viktor was looking frustrated. By the time the triple beeps sounded, Yuri was solidly winning all of their bouts. He looked back at Viktor heaving and braced on his knees with a triumphant grin.

Viktor looked up, a reluctant smile on his face. “You… you have good stamina. And you’re a lot more competitive than I would have thought.”

“Yeah, the end is usually easier for me than the start.”

“I’m the opposite. I have good speed in the beginning, but endurance has never been my strong suit. Looks like this will be an excellent match. We’ll both push each other in our weak points. Come on. Steady jog back home.” He turned back around and this time keeping up was easy.

They arrived back at the castle and Viktor led him to a park next to the woods that had an old metal playground set up, the kind you don’t really see much anymore with most of them being replaced with plastic. This at least had a thick covering of trees to block out the sun so their skin wouldn’t be scalded.

Yuri cocked his head. “A playground?”

“Yes. It’s a good workout. I’ll show you.”

He walked over to the monkey bars and jumped up to grab the side of it holding his body out in a perfectly straight line horizontal to the ground as he pulled himself up and brought his chin over the bar. He repeated the pull up without letting his body waver from that flat plane. His skin was flushed red, and sweat dripped down his body across his bare rippling abs before dripping off into the shredded black rubber covering the ground. Yuri’s eyes were focused on every undulating drop, and he didn’t notice Viktor watching him until his sweetly smug voice called out.

“Like what you see?”

He turned redder than Viktor was at being caught, but his demanded answer still stuttered out. “Ye-yes, Viktor.”

“Come join me.”

He jumped to grab the bar next to him and tried to hold his body out, but all he managed was a pathetic wave as his body collapsed right back to hanging straight down from the bar.

“You don’t have to go all the way right now. Just hold yourself firm and lift as much as you can while still holding it through the pull-up.” He dropped back to the ground with a huff and came over to guide his body into the proper placement. “Hold your abs in hard. Those have to be as strong as possible.” He poked at his belly until he sucked it hard enough to satisfy him. “Good. Now pull yourself up.”

He managed five pull-ups before his abs gave out and he fell back into a straight line, the weight of his body jerking hard on his arms. He let go and dropped to the ground. “Wow. That’s tough.”

“Yeah. You did great though. When I started, I was only able to do one. Though I was only fourteen.” He grinned and poked lightly at his side.

“You’ve been working out here that long?”

“Yeah, this has been here since I was a kid. I started using it to work out just because it was here and I was used to playing on it. This is just playing with a focus and a goal.”

“Is that still playing then?”

“If it’s fun, why not call it play? Come on. Next exercise.”

He joined him through various holds, pulls, dips, and balances on the equipment and managed to surprise both himself and Viktor with how much his softened body was able to keep up though it was still far from anything impressive. They moved to a stack of platforms that Viktor jumped onto and back down squatting low on every landing. He took a few off the stack to let him try it, and after a few jumps, he discovered just how scary it got when fatigue starts setting in. He froze on the ground with his shaking legs then looked over to Viktor.

“Uh, how do you balance pushing yourself and not biting it?”

“Just find your limit. It’s okay on this one not to push your limit too hard. I don’t want you getting injured. It’s probably right about now for you if the stack is looking intimidating.”

They did a few more leg exercises, various squats, and lunges and stretched themselves out then Viktor wiped the sweat from his forehead and looked over with a grin. “Come on. Now that I have a partner, I wanna try something.” Taking his hand and tugging him along, he dragged him back over to a high bar and stopped below it. “Come here. Climb on.” He opened his arms wide.

“Climb on? As in… climb on you?”

“Yes.” He took his hand and pulled his arms up around his neck then slid his hands down to his thighs and picked him up to wrap around his waist.

His cock twitched in great interest at being pressed so close to such a sweaty, shirtless, rippling Viktor, and he prayed Viktor wouldn’t notice. The soft smirk in his eyes when he looked at him assuaged him that at least that aspect of his life was still going quite normally. Viktor looked up to spot the bar and made the little jump necessary to reach it. His arms began lifting them smoothly up to the top of the bar making every muscle in his body flex against his and ran a rolling pressure down his cock pressed between them. It hardened distinctly, and Viktor’s smirk grew wider as he looked over the top of the bar between them. He kissed his cheek at the top then lowered himself slowly and back up again keeping his eyes fixed on him with his gentle smile on his face. How was he smiling through this? It took Yuri all the strength in his body to hold himself onto such a slippery surface. He had no idea how Viktor was returning to the top for a third time with all of his weight on him and after this being the end of his second workout for the day. He was inhuman. He eased back down then dropped to the ground.

“Wow. That’s tough. I’m going to be very sore tomorrow.” He wrapped his arms around his waist to help hold them together. “I think I overdid it a little trying to impress you.” He laughed lightly and tipped his head to the side to kiss his neck.

“I don’t understand this whole ‘trying to impress’ me thing.”

“What do you mean you don’t understand it? I want to impress you. I like the look in your eyes when I do.”

“Um… you like the completely manic expressions I make when you overwhelm me?”

He laughed again and moved to a new spot on his neck. “I do like those; they’re cute, but I wasn’t referring to those. I was referring to that little spark in your eyes when your breath hitches almost imperceptibly, and just one side of your mouth melts ever so slightly down into a crooked little smile. That look is rarer than you think and I do have to try to put it there. You are anything but easy, Yuri. You challenge me in every way.” He tipped his head to the other side and pressed a long lingering kiss to the dip between his neck and his collarbone. “Thank you.”

He put him down slowly letting his cock get a nice long drag against his hard body. Yuri grabbed his arms to steady himself as he heaved forward when his feet hit the ground. Viktor waited until he stabilized then turned and walked toward the house. He paused for only a second before he realized he was expected to follow and he jogged to catch up. Viktor glanced back with a smile.

He led him back into his bedroom and through the door next to the bookshelf into a bathroom almost the exact inverse of the one in the basement with pearlescent tiles lining every surface and swirls of jade running through them. Viktor led him to the expansive shower that held a long line of fancy bottles on a shelf built into the long wall and a wide teak bench and turned the water on. “You did so well for me; I’ll watch as you clean yourself up and pleasure yourself.” He glanced down at the bulge in his shorts. “Apparently your stamina applies to many areas.”

He wasn’t sure if he was supposed to reply, but it somehow seemed appropriate. “Thank you, Viktor.” The smile on his face told him that at least those instincts were correct. He returned the smile albeit with an embarrassed blush as he pulled his shirt over his head then paused staring at it in his hands and his lip held between his teeth as he thought. “Did- did I… do well enough to have you… join me?”

“Oh, Yuri.” He slowly shook his head in a crooked line. “Yuri, so good. You’re so wonderful.” He stepped forward and knelt down to remove Yuri’s shorts. “Yes, zolotse, you did so well, and you asked so sweetly, so yes, I’ll join you.” He pulled off his boxers and stepped him out of them then tossed them to the side then stood up to remove his own clothes.

Yuri drank in the sight before him. Viktor’s skin was still slightly pink and wet from his efforts, his muscles swollen and quivering slightly. His thick cock hung heavy over his sculpted legs under a trimmed patch of silver hair. Yuri instinctively licked his lips and gulped as the image of it hardening and sliding down his throat flashed in his mind.

Viktor raised his hand to comb through his hair and pushed it back a little, posing for him with a satisfied grin. “You like what you see?”

“Yes, Viktor. Very- very much.”

He turned around and popped his ass toward him, his arms stretched up and placed behind his head, widening his shoulders and back and emphasizing the way they cut sharp lines to his waist before softening over the treacherous curves of his low back and ass. “But you’re a fan of this view, aren’t you?”

“I’m a fan of all of them. There’s nothing on you that isn’t perfection.” His jaw hung slightly open with the weight of Viktor’s image dragging him down.

“Yuri! You little charmer. See? We get some of that nervous stuttering out of the way, and you’re smooth as silk. Come on.” He took his hand and tugged him into the shower.

If he thought Viktor naked after a workout was perfection, Viktor in the shower was enough to make him want to drop to his knees and thank the force in the universe that put this sight before him. He realized that whatever force it was could be summed up with Viktor’s actions pulling him to right here and found himself sinking to his knees at his feet before his self-consciousness could stop him.

“What is this, Yuri? Are you… mocking me?”

(11) “No, Viktor.” He leaned forward to kiss the tops of his feet. “I just… had to. Thank you.” He looked back up and blinked against the water bouncing in his eyes.

“My god, Yuri. Are you trying to ruin me?” His eyes burned as he grabbed his hand and pulled him back to his feet. He took a sponge from the shelf and lathered it with the same intoxicating scent of his lotion. Pinning him back against the cold tiles, he ran the rich lather over his own abs. It flowed into the hollow line where his abs ended and his thigh began and dripped down his leg. Viktor grabbed Yuri’s hand and put it to his own cock then lowered himself down a little to line up his abs to his cock. “Here. Fuck yourself on me.” He rolled his hips into him and paused just before making contact with his cock, his body trembling. “Color?”

“Green.” All the blood in his body rushed to his cock, and his cry echoed through the hollow space as Viktor pressed into him and slid his rippled abs down the length of his cock. He slid his body along him as his kisses bit over his chest with nips of pain to send his pleasure soaring. He thrust into the creamy lather, rich and heavy with slick lotions and his head pressed back against the wall as his hips pressed tighter to Viktor and his gasping cries flowed without restraint. Viktor laced his fingers into his free hand and pressed their hands onto the wall behind him, his body rolling along the underside of his cock. Water droplets fell from the soaked fringe of hair hanging over his eyes and landed on his full, parted lips. Yuri ached as he held himself back from his desire to taste him. Viktor leaned in closer and the droplets running off of him began to fall onto Yuri’s waiting lips. Seizing Yuri’s neck and pulling them closer, his breath trembled as his shiver sent a rush of Viktor’s rain over his face. The droplets ran inside his mouth, and he closed his eyes to swallow them slowly. His lips parted again and sparked with the slightest brush of Viktor’s lips as their eyes locked on each other, his heavy breath rolling in waves into his mouth and over his tongue. Viktor made a tiny sound almost like a whimper in the back of his throat as he closed his eyes and pressed his forehead against his, pulling his lips back again. The hollow knife of loss slashed through his pleasure, but Viktor’s own expression of pain when he opened his eyes to watch him again hurt even worse. He needed to make him feel good. It was his own fault that Viktor was now hurting because he didn’t understand how a kiss could be a question or how to make it not be one. He was supposed to be the one hurting here. Not Viktor.

He glanced down to see Viktor’s hardened cock, and he had to fight the impulse to take him in his hand. He bit his lip and pressed his head harder into the wall and thrust his cock faster against him. “You- you too. Please, Viktor. Please use me.” Saying those words peaked his pleasure enough to rush over the gaping holes and fill the wounds. “Please, please use me. I need you to.”

“You first, zolotse. Come for me.” His face buried against his neck with his gently sucking kisses. “Come for me, my sweet Yuri.”

He pressed himself a little tighter and thrust faster to obey his rumbling voice and splashed against those perfect abs with his body trembling hard as he came, his head falling forward onto Viktor’s shoulder. Viktor let him ride out the last of his orgasm then flipped him around and pinned his arms up over his head, one hand crossed over the other, and held them in place with one hand as he used the other to grab his hips back toward him and lather his inner thighs. “My turn.” His voice growled at his ear. “Cross your legs.”

He stepped one foot over the other and Viktor yanked him back harder making his back arch and his ass tip up toward him. Was he planning on fucking him? The question made his cock jump back to attention. Why did the thought of Viktor deciding that for him bring such a rush of relief? His cock throbbed painfully even though he just came, screaming to him just how much the idea of Viktor taking him and using him for his pleasure any way he wanted turned him on. Viktor slid his cock between his thighs, moaning as he slipped in slowly then dragged out even slower. The pang of regret he felt when he realized that Viktor would never make that decision for him faded as Viktor’s rasping voice whispered next to his ear.

“You feel so good, Yuri. Squeeze your thighs a little tighter for me. I want to feel how badly you want me.” He pressed them tighter, and Viktor sighed. “Yes, that’s it, Yuri. You feel so incredible.”

“Please use me, Viktor. Please use me. I want to make you feel good. Please do whatever you need to feel the best.” He pressed back toward him even more, dropping his body against his arms still pinned to the wall and stretching the front of his body.

“Does it turn you on to say that?”

He whimpered and nodded. “Yes, Viktor.”

His thrusts picked up the pace, and his hips began slapping against him. Yuri tightened further and moaned as Viktor’s cock ran over his bruises sending his pain to spread into his body and wrap around his cock. Viktor sucked a deep, bruising kiss into his shoulder, biting down as he thrust against him relentlessly.

“Ah! Viktor! That feels so good!”

“You like being used for my pleasure? You like being my little slut?”

He cried out as Viktor’s words struck through him again. “Yes! Yes, Viktor! Please! Please use me!”

Viktor’s satisfied purr over the sounds of their slapping flesh trilled down his body. “Such a good little slut you are. My sweet, dirty, virgin slut.” His hand on his stomach snaked up to grab his nipple and pinched hard. “Listen to those filthy cries. You’re not even being touched yet you sound like I’m fucking you blind. I didn’t even know such a thing existed. A virgin slut.” He tweaked his nipple harder sending drops of precum dripping from his cock. “If you sound like this without even knowing what real pleasure feels like, I can’t wait to see how delectably filthy you become when you finally feel it for real.” He moved over to his other nipple to touch it with his pain there too as he kissed up the center of his spine. “You know, I’m not going to be able to hear that sweet voice of yours without also hearing these obscene cries behind it anymore. Every time you say, ‘Yes, Viktor,’ so perfectly sweet, I’m going to hear this voice right here behind it begging me to use you.”

Het let out a loud whimper as his body collapsed down into Viktor’s support. “Please, Viktor! Please use me as much as you want. I want to make you feel so good. I love being your slut.” He cried out again as his own words joined Viktor’s to stroke through his core and make his cock pulse with pleasure. “I’m… I’m going to come again. Is it okay?”

“Oh, and there’s that perfect sweetness again. So filthy and so sweet. Just perfect, Yuri.” He released his right hand and laced his fingers through his left still pressed to the tiles now heated under their touch. “Go ahead. Show me how much you like being my slut.”

He whimpered and clamped down his thighs more as his hand came to stroke along his cock. He looked down to see Viktor’s cock thrusting between his thighs and whined as he held back the urge to come right then. He wanted to see Viktor come first. He kept up his fast strokes over his cock even though his body begged him to either ease up or release already and listened as Viktor’s voice broke apart at his ear as his cock spilled between his thighs. Finally satisfied that he could bring him pleasure that can’t be faked, he let himself go, coming even harder than the first time.

They finished in the shower with Viktor whispering sweet words in his ear as he washed Yuri’s body and refusing to let him return the favor. Instead, he sat him on the bench to watch, and drool, as he washed himself thoroughly.

Yuri had no idea that a t-shirt could ever feel good in a way that was anything other than comfortable, but as he slipped Viktor’s soft gray t-shirt over his damp body, he wished he could wear nothing but this ever again. It smelled like Viktor and felt like his touch and the fact that Viktor had just known that he wouldn’t want to give it back made his heart surge in a wild leap. He buried his nose into the collar to take in the scent fully as Viktor had his back turned then blushed when he looked up to see him wink in the mirror facing him. Viktor brought over a pair of his own skimpy black underwear and slipped it on him then sat back a little and nodded approvingly even though his ass was squeezing out at the sides. They finished dressing and after Viktor made him eat some eggs and toast, walked to the stables with Viktor putting his hand on his low back near the house and then dropping it as they approached the first pastures and his professional demeanor resumed the lead. It was a little disconcerting how easily Viktor could assume different roles. Which one was the real him?

(12) “Viktor?”

“Yes, Yuri?”

“Before you called me something and I didn’t know what it was.”

“Zolotse?”

“Yes. I thought my English was pretty good, but I don’t know that word.”

“Your English is excellent. You don’t know that word because it’s not English. It’s Russian.”

“Oh. What does it mean?”

He looked over and smiled. “It means ‘my gold.’ It’s a cutesy version of it though so it would be more accurate to say, ‘my little piece of gold,’ or ‘my gold nugget.’ I prefer to think of it though as just a more affectionate version of ‘my gold’ because ‘gold nugget’ just sounds funny to me.”

“Oh.” Not ‘oh’. That explained what the word meant, but only brought up a new question of why he used it. Probably just one more way to bind him so his actions would affect him the way he intended.

They walked down the brick aisle between pale wood stalls and a few horses stretching their necks over the open fronts to investigate the newcomer. The whole interior was painted a creamy white giving it a clean but still warm feel. Viktor opened the door to the tack room and held it open for him. Walls of saddles hung neatly on one side and bridles perfectly hung with the reins crossed and looped within the throat latches on the other. Wooden cabinets took up the other ends, and a few comfy chairs and a bench sat in the middle of the room.

“I assume you know how to tack up and groom?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Excellent. These are Toska’s saddles. You’ll find his bridles under his name over there.” He gestured to the wall then moved to the next saddles in line. “These are Bytiye’s.”

He leaned closer to study the strange spelling on the plaque to try to memorize the strange word.

“Question?”

“No, Viktor. Not really. I was just trying to memorize it. Is this another Russian word?”

“Yes. Both of them are, and neither of them translates well. Toska is an ache of the soul. A yearning with nothing to yearn for. It has a few layers of meaning, but that’s the simplest explanation. Bytiye is almost the opposite. It’s an elevated state of existence, a meaningful, enriched existence.”

“That’s very poetic.”

He laughed. “I am Russian. Poetry and drama are in the blood. We’re raised on the arts, so it tends to come up in a lot of things we do.” Huh. He hadn’t seen that in him. He tended to be rather serious though beating someone with whips for pleasure might fall into the ‘dramatic’ category.

“How do I say it? Bytiye?” The word that flowed so luxuriously from Viktor’s lips got mangled on his.

He shook his head. “No, it has to be more in the throat. Russian has hard, clear constants and deeply emphasized vowels. You can’t mumble your way through it as you can in English. Push hard on the vowels in your throat and make the B and T clear but the emphasis is on the ‘ye’ at the end.”

“By-ti-ye?”

“Closer. The first by is not actually two letters. It’s a B with a soft sign. Which is something added to a letter that softens it. In this case, it gives it a bit of a y sound, but it’s not separate from the B. Think of it more as ‘buh-ti-yay’ with a little more guttural sound.”

“Buh-tiye.”

“Yes, better. Keep trying. It will take some practice to get it right.”

“Why did you pick a name that’s so difficult for English speakers to pronounce? Don’t the announcers get it wrong?”

“They butcher it. Absolutely mangled beyond recognition. As for why, I like the way it sounds for me, and I like the meaning. I don’t care if no one else can say it.”

“It does sound nice when you say it.”

He smiled and took his hand to squeeze it briefly. “Thank you.”

“And Toska? Is that right?”

“Close. The S is different than it is in English. The tongue moves further back in the mouth so instead of right behind the teeth, it’s more in the middle with a hollower S sound.” He stretched his lips apart so he could see where his tongue was as he emphasized the breathy, almost whistling S. “And it’s the O like in ‘not,’ but a little softer, almost an ‘ah’ sound but that has to come off of a hard, clear T.”  

He curled his tongue strangely in his mouth to reproduce the strange S, and a whistley sh sound came out instead.

“That’s actually a very nice sha. It’s another letter in the Russian alphabet.” He played with the sound in his mouth to figure out how to describe it, and his silly facial expressions made them both giggle. “Widen your tongue in your mouth. It comes back but doesn’t curl much. It’s flatter.”

He tried the sound again stretching his tongue across his mouth, and while it felt strange, he managed a sound that to him sounded more like Viktor’s.

“Yes! You got it!” He beamed warmly, and his praise made his heart squeeze tight. “Try it with the rest now.”

“Toska.” The word felt funny, but at least it was a little more natural than Bytiye.

“Excellent, Yuri!” He glanced behind him to the open door then kissed his cheek. “You’re a very quick learner.”

He smiled and dipped his chin. “Thank you.”

“Now this one, Avos, has the same S like in Toska, but even further back and breathier. It has a soft sign after it so think of it as an even softer S. The O is the same and a long A. Avos.” He dragged out the name so he could hear the sounds. “Try it.”

“Avos.”

“Move your tongue even further back, and here it can curl just a little to reach.”

He tried the name again to Viktor’s beaming praise even though he knew it was still very mangled compared to his. “What does that one mean?”

“Hmm… like a blind faith in luck. Trusting that good things will come along.”

He nodded with his lips pursed. “A very foreign word.” He glanced at the saddle rack which had no label. “There’s no name?”

“No, this is my spare saddle. I just got him a few weeks ago, so I haven’t gotten his own saddle made yet. I’m still not sure if he’s going to work out or not. He’s young and a bit of an asshole actually.”

He laughed then covered his mouth to shut it down.

“It’s okay. You can laugh at my jokes. I’m not always serious.”

“I just wouldn’t have expected you to describe a horse as an asshole.”

“Really? You’ve never come across one that you’ve muttered ‘asshole’ under your breath at least once every time you worked with him?”

“Well yes, Viktor, but I guess I didn’t expect you to describe him like that.”

“Well, he is. A huge asshole actually. He’s got a rebellious streak a mile wide, and I don’t have much patience for that. I love an interesting challenge, but he’s just defiant for the sheer joy of being defiant. The whole rebel without a cause thing has never appealed to me, and I’ve found those never really break fully. That’s why I named him that. His rider will just have to trust that they’ll get through it together through sheer luck. I doubt he’s dressage material with that rebelliousness which is a shame because he’s one of the best movers I’ve seen, but he’s also got a powerful jump, so he should make a decent show jumper. He could make a nice eventer if he can gain enough obedience for that dressage portion. He’s bold so he might be able to make up for a lackluster dressage performance on the courses. I have yet to gallop him full out, but he’s got plenty under me so he should have some impressive speed. So far, he’s been pretty clean over jumps which is a bit surprising with how much he fights me to them. He’s just a lot of horse, and he knows it. Do you know how to lunge?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Excellent. Toska and Bytiye don’t need lunging, but after you tack Avos, I’d like you to lunge him for twenty minutes in side reins. Don’t rein him in too tight because he’ll throw a fit. Just enough to get him in a long frame.”

“Vi-Viktor… I believe I have some information that will be useful to you. May I share it?”

“No.”

He whimpered in his struggle to obey against his screaming heart.

“I already know what you want to tell me. You want to tell me that you can’t do it, yes?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“And that has nothing to do with you being scared of the horse.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Then my order stands, and I don’t need to hear anything else on it.”     

Yuri bit his lip and battled himself for Viktor’s desired obedience. He finally whimpered out his answer, “Yes, Viktor,” as he fought the urge to cry.

“Thank you, Yuri. I’ll help you. Don’t worry. It will be okay. I promise.” He took his chin in his hand and lifted it back up as he stroked his thumb over his cheek. “Trust me.”

He sucked in a breath and tried to push his tears further aside. “Yes, Viktor.”

He stepped in close to whisper down his neck, his hand gripping his waist. “That sounded positively sinful. I didn’t even have to imagine those filthy cries behind that one. They were right there as you put aside your own fears to have faith in me. You’re so good. My perfect virgin slut.”

He gasped then choked back his cry as his distress was wound with a thread of pleasure. It shut down his ability to process anything other than the dizzying heat pouring from the man next to him.

“Shh… Just relax and let it settle. Don’t run from it.” He squeezed his waist tighter and brought his other hand up to press on the bruises over his chest.

The steady heat of his pain calmed the storm inside him.

“There you go, Yuri. Just let my touch in. You don’t need to worry. I’m here, and it’s my responsibility to keep us all safe. Not yours.”

He sighed and nodded. “Thank you, Viktor.”

“Thank you for trusting me. I’ll only have you watch today.” He kissed his temple then stepped back. “Better?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Okay then. Let’s get to work. I jump on Tuesdays and Thursdays and do dressage Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Saturdays are reserved for teaching, but I ride my three in the mornings just for fun, usually trail riding or playing games. Grab Toska’s tack.”

He picked up the tan jumping saddle and found the matching bridle under his name on the wall and joined Viktor where he stood at the cabinets, hooking the saddle and pad over his forearm and tossing the bridle over his shoulder.

“Everyone here has their own cabinet. This is mine. You’ll find their brush boxes labeled. For the training horses, you’ll have to learn their matching owners to find the right names here. I’ll send you an email with that information this evening.” He opened the cabinet with a gold nameplate reading ‘Viktor Nikiforov.’ “Grab his brush box and follow me.” He selected the shorter crop from the ones hanging on the door and turned for the door.

He found the burgundy box with Toska’s name on it and closed the door and followed him out.

“You should always find the horse you’re looking for in the stall.” Viktor looked back over his shoulder as Yuri tried to keep up with his long stride. “They hold the morning shift in until lunch when they all come in and the afternoon horses are left in and the morning ones let out. If you can’t find the right horse in the stall, someone likely made a mistake. Notify me right away and look for them in the pastures. Feel free to ask for help from someone else to locate them if you need it.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

He stopped at a stall with the same gray warmblood he had ridden up on to meet him and smiled warmly as he stroked the horse’s nose who greeted him with deep, quivering sniffs. He held his head and gave him some kisses on his nose and Toska bobbed his head and snorted in his face. Viktor laughed and kissed him again as he scratched along the base of his mane. “Hey, boy. I’m not going to be tacking you up for our rides anymore. I have Yuri here who’s going to do it, and he’s so sweet, I’m sure you two will get along great. I trust him, so you don’t have to worry.” He kissed him again and stepped back to wave him over. “Come say hi. You can put the saddle on the rack.”

He unfolded the saddle rack that hung flush to the wall and stuck the post in the hole to hold it up and placed the saddle on it taking great care not to damage it. He hung the bridle on the gold arch next to it then looked around for somewhere good to put the brush box down.

“On the floor is fine. It’s just a brush box.”

He set the box down and joined Viktor to hold out his hand for Toska to approve. He blew his warm breath over his open palm as he took tentative huffs of his strange scent. He ran his lips over his hand seeking the tasty treats often found in such places.

“Sorry, boy. I don’t have anything on me.”

Viktor reached into a box hanging on the wall and pulled out a round cookie and handed it to him. “Feel free to spoil them all rotten.” He smiled. “Just make sure they remember their manners.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He smiled as Toska took the cookie from his hand with the gentlest touch of his lips over his palm then chewed delightedly, tossing his head.

Viktor pulled out another cookie and handed it to him. “That’s my good boy. So sweet to my Yuri. You make sure you keep your best manners for him. I don’t want him thinking I don’t know how to control my horses.” The sing-song cooing of his voice as he chatted with his horse was as startling as it was endearing. The simple fact that he chatted with his horse exactly as he liked to do twisted his heart into unrecognizable knots. The silly, heart-shaped grin on his face as he stroked Toska’s neck and babbled more nonsense to him brought back that strange innocence he had glimpsed when he’d apologized for walking on his floor with boots. Viktor looked over at him with that grin still in place but softened as he studied him. “What’s that look for, Yuri? You think I don’t enjoy being with my horses?”

“No, Viktor. That’s not it.”

“Or maybe you think I’m a cold, heartless monster incapable of love.” His goofy grin slid into his amused smirk.

“No, Viktor. You’re just… cute.”

He gave a surprised laugh. “You hear that, Toska? He thinks I’m cute. Am I blushing? What should I say?” He looked at him expectantly. “Come on, buddy, I don’t know what to say when cute boys think I’m cute. Don’t leave me hanging out here to embarrass myself in front of the cutest boy I’ve ever seen. That’s just cruel.” Toska snorted in his face again, and Viktor laughed and scrubbed his forehead with his fingers as he wrapped the other around his muzzle. “Jerk.” He kissed his nose.

He couldn’t stop himself from laughing and covered his mouth feeling the heat pouring off his cheeks. Viktor had said much nicer and dirtier things, but somehow ‘cute’ hit him in ways those hadn’t. Maybe because it seemed a little more… possible.

Viktor studied him with a gentle smile and his horse’s head buried in his arms as he rested his head against his forehead. “What do you think, Toska? Is he the cutest boy you’ve ever seen? He must be.”

Toska pulled his head free from his arms and came to Yuri to check if he’d gathered more treats for him while he waited.

Viktor scoffed. “Toska! Betrayer! I thought we were family! You’ve wounded me.” He clutched his heart with a pained look. “This is a mortal wound you’ve inflicted. Betrayed by my loyal steed. I’ve already got enough competition, you jerk.” He sighed. “That’s what I get I guess for talking up the cute boy before I’ve staked my claim.”

He giggled. “I thought you did stake your claim. We are in your hours, right?”

Viktor smiled. “That’s right. The cute boy is all mine. You hear that Toska? He’s mine. Find your own cute boy.”

Yuri laughed. “I think he’s just interested in the treats.”

“That is so true.” He reached into the bucket and Toska abandoned Yuri to poke at Viktor’s shoulder eagerly. “You cookie whore. You’ll love anyone who touches this box. I used to feel so special that you always greeted me so nicely, but you just do it for the cookies. I mean, I knew that, but I hate having it pointed out so clearly with your fickleness.” He held the treat just out of reach, and Toska grew impatient and stretched his neck out, flapping his lips to try to grab it. “Ah-ah. You know better.” He put the treat back in the box and Toska huffed at him. “Don’t sass me. You know the rules.” He waited until Toska relaxed then pulled out the treat again and teased him with it until he was certain that he wouldn’t try grabbing it again. “There’s my good boy.” He handed him the treat slowly, making sure Toska was still obeying as he should. “Good boy.” He scratched his neck as Toska chewed happily. “Alright, I think you’ve gotten spoiled enough. Time to work. Put him in the crossties and tack him up.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He took the leather lead from the door. “Do you put the chain over his nose?”

“No. He doesn’t need it. Avos does though.”

He clipped the lead to the ring on the bottom of his halter and opened the door to bring him into the crossties. He clipped the elastic cords hanging on the wooden beams to either side of his halter and took off the lead then grabbed the rubber curry comb and started lifting the dirt and loose hair in vigorous circles. It drifted in a cloud around him and settled on Viktor’s shirt and he cringed at the realization that he’d have to wash it and take away Viktor’s scent.

“What’s wrong, Yuri?”

“Um, just that… I realized I’m going to have to wash your shirt.” He pressed his lips together and leaned harder onto the curry comb as Toska stretched his neck into it to tell him he was getting a good spot.

“Yes, that’s generally how these things work. What’s the issue?”

“That um… that it smells like you, and if I wash it… it won’t.”

“You like the way I smell that much?” His voice regained that breathy, cautious tone he had the other day as he took a step toward him away from the stall he had been leaning against.

“Yes, Viktor. I thought… you had… caught me?”

“Yes, but finding it pleasant is entirely different from regretting even the idea of it being gone.”

“Oh. Yeah, I guess I can see how that might be… different.” He moved to Toska’s other side and luckily away from Viktor’s intense stare. He brushed Toska’s mane to the other side of his neck and started the brisk massage again with Toska groaning his delight.

Viktor stepped around to the same side with a smile. “He likes you.”

He smiled and moved to his shoulder pressing deeper through the muscle and easing over the bony parts. “I like him too. So… earlier you said something to Toska,” he pronounced the name slowly, trying to replicate the way Viktor had to his approving nod, “about how you won’t be tacking him up anymore. You didn’t have a groom before?”

“No. I’ve used grooms at shows just to help keep things running smoothly, but I limit the number of horses I take so I can do it all myself here.”

“Oh. Why?”

“Same reason I like doing what I do with you. It builds a connection. I can inspect them for any injuries and get a sense of their mood for the day and generally just play with them and bond. Just hopping on and riding is so impersonal to me.” He poked at Toska’s lip that was hanging loosely from his relaxation making Toska twitch it a bit without losing his relaxed state. Viktor smiled and scratched underneath his cheeks.

“Then why… why are you having me do it?”

“You needed it.” His voice was unusually soft.

A confused ache rushed through him. He gave up something he likes doing for him? “Won’t… won’t you miss that connection?”

“Maybe. It’s too soon to say yet.”

He stretched up on his toes to reach Toska’s tall back better. “What would make you not miss it?”

“If I can use that time to build a stronger connection. I love my horses more than I can express, but I know they don’t really feel the same for me. They might appear to, but their eagerness to see me is for the treats I offer; not me. As long as their needs are being met, they’re equally happy with anyone who’s providing that. I’m sure you’ve seen that any time a new horse comes in how quickly they adjust. I’ve raised Toska since he was a baby, but if I sold him, he’d just go to his new owner and in a day or so be poking at his shoulder for treats.”

“How do you know they’re really okay? Maybe they just have no choice but to get used to it. Maybe they really do miss home, but life keeps going on anyway so they do too. Maybe every time he poked at that new guy’s shoulder, he would feel a small pain wishing it was yours.” He tossed the curry back into the box and grabbed the hard brush to work over his body again this time with short flicks of the stiff bristles.

“It’s fine. I’m used to it. Yes?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

Viktor watched him intently as he flicked even more dust and hair onto Viktor’s t-shirt. “I never considered that.”

“Can I ask you a question?”

“Of course. You don’t need to ask first.”

He nodded. “Okay, if you groom all of the horses you ride, how do you look spotless and wear white breeches?” He wiped away some hair that was tickling his face and the smudge of dirt across his forearm told him there was likely one across his cheek now too.

Viktor laughed and brushed at his face to clear it then used his thumb to wipe away the dirt from his cheek. He leaned in to whisper and the thrill of his sudden closeness swept down his spine. “Blood magic.”

Yuri wriggled with the energy flowing through him with a small laugh. “I don’t doubt it.”   

He finished brushing Toska and put his saddle and bridle on still not learning Viktor’s real secret, though, blood magic seemed the most likely explanation. Yuri took the reins over Toska’s head and led him to the arena passing a few people who watched him with interest along the way. One tiny blonde-haired kid scowled deeply at him as he passed. He looked to Viktor confused as to what he’d done to inspire such wrath, but Viktor just laughed.

“Oh, ignore him. He’s just a little punk. He does that to everyone. He’s Avos’s human counterpart. He’s a newbie here too, but he is quite loyal to his horse despite his nasty attitude. He comes in every morning before school just to play with him. If it weren’t for that, I would have kicked him out already.”

“Really? What has he done?”

“Nothing too major. Just his personality which you saw. It’s very disruptive. He’s spoiled, and his mother is so indulgent I’m afraid it’s a permanent fixture of his personality at this point.”

Yuri smiled. “You mean you can’t train him?”

Viktor laughed. “Have you ever ridden a horse you just don’t get along with? You know how to ride, and you know how to make a horse behave, but the personalities just clash, and it’s nothing but frustration and butting heads?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“That’s him and me. Training isn’t just a formula or a push-button thing. There’s chemistry involved, and the slightest off balance can cause an explosive reaction. Plus, I’m very limited on how much I can do with him. I wonder… One second.” He ducked back into the tack room and came back with a helmet. They started forward again and walked out through the wall of light covering the arched opening at the end of the aisle, squinting into the bright sun. “When you used to ride, what style of riding did you do?”

Yuri cringed. Viktor had of course successfully peeled away that layer, and now he was required to answer questions he didn’t want to answer. “Eventing mostly.”

His eyebrows flicked up. “Eventing. Seems bold for you. What level were you at when you stopped?”

“Um, it depended on the horses I was riding. Most of them were intermediate and under, but I had a few competing at advanced.”

Viktor stopped dead and turned back making Yuri skid to a halt but Toska had almost seemed to anticipate it and paused next to him. “Yuri. You’re capable of riding at the highest levels, and you don’t ride?”

“No, Viktor. I don’t ride.”

“How long ago was this? Did I ever ride against you?”

“No, Viktor. I didn’t do any starred events, and I was in the Midwest. I didn’t come to the east coast until last year. That’s when I stopped riding.”

“None of this was on your resume.”

Yuri bit his lip as he watched him to determine how mad he was. He could easily fire him for the lies he had filled in that time period with. “No, Viktor.”

“I asked about your experiences with horses, and you said not a lot beyond grooming and cleaning. You lied to me.” His mouth pulled down in obvious displeasure.

“Yes, Viktor.”

“How much of your resume was a lie?”

“All of it except the last position I was in.”

“So, you weren’t just riding as a hobby. You were a professional rider.”

It wasn’t really a question, but he answered as if it were. “Yes, Viktor.”

“You know most people lie on resumes to inflate their experience, not deflate it.”

“I didn’t want to answer any questions on it.”

“Is this the only lie I’ll ever have to hear from you?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

Viktor nodded and started forward again toward the outdoor arena. “Back when you rode, if I put you on Toska, could you do a four star with him?”

He didn’t even want him to apologize?

“I don’t know. Maybe.”

“Why weren’t you my competitor, Yuri? Before you quit.”

“I didn’t do the more hyped up shows where you compete. I didn’t like the pressure.” He tried to open the latch to the gate, but he couldn’t figure it out.

Viktor revealed the right knob to lift up on, and the gate swung open smoothly. They walked onto the pale-yellow footing that was one of those new fibers specially designed for optimum traction and ease on the joints. The enormous arena was lined with that same white flex-rail as the pastures, though this one was taller to discourage horses from seeing it as just another huge fence they were supposed to jump. The arena had an elaborate course set up that had clearly been professionally designed to match the stable and the land it sat on. The blocks used to create a fake stone wall were the same white stone as the stable had. A set of standards had the rolling, fog covered hills at daybreak painted on them and soft gray and green banded poles stretched between them. Another set of standards looked like two Russian nesting dolls of the same size standing guard over a line of smaller ones sweeping down to the smallest one in the middle and holding up the double set of red and white poles painted in a classic Russian design over the tiny dolls. Another jump was supported on two turrets that looked like they could have been plucked straight off his castle with two more turrets behind those holding more poles to create a wide spread between them.

“I see. If you were capable of riding them though, surely the owners who hired you would have asked.”

“I specialized in training horses to new levels. As soon as they were solid enough for the owners to start asking that, I turned them over to someone else and began with someone new.” Yuri swung the gate closed, and it latched neatly all on its own.

“If you were training horses to the advanced level, then the answer to my four-star question should have been a definite yes, and you should have known that.” He studied him with narrowed eyes as they walked into the center of the arena. “The self-confidence is that low, huh? Even before you experienced whatever it was that made you quit.”

It sounded almost like something he was supposed to answer, but as it wasn’t actually a question, he kept his mouth closed as the breeze picked up around them.

Viktor studied him another moment then nodded and put his helmet on. “Give me a leg up.”

Yuri pulled down the stirrups on both sides then came back and took Viktor’s left shin in his hands. With a quick one, two, three from Yuri, they synchronized the move with Viktor jumping just as he tossed him up and held firm for just a moment for Viktor to land neatly in the saddle. He picked up his stirrups and reins and took Toska out at an easy trot. Yuri had received no further instructions, so he guessed that his only task now was to watch him as he rose and fell, his thighs and that sublime ass flexing neatly with every stride and his ass just barely brushing the supple English tan leather. With the matching perfectly patinaed boots and a deep teal polo, he looked like he was posing for a photo shoot for Horse Illustrated. It could have been Vogue with just how overwhelmingly gorgeous he was if he were doing everything wrong and posing in stupidly dangerous positions. Yuri was grateful that it wasn’t Vogue. Viktor exuded competence in everything he did, and that was the biggest turn-on of all. Fashionably sexy had nothing on the way Viktor’s every movement was performed with care and precision. Toska’s ravenous strides ate up the ground as Viktor moved him into an easy canter.

There was one other rider in the arena which Yuri only really noticed after she breezed him a little too closely trying to turn for the next jump. He startled and decided that the other side of the rail was probably the best place to watch from instead of still dumbstruck in the middle of the arena where Viktor left him. He scurried to the rail and slipped through the slats.

Viktor set up his first jump over spring green and white birch poles and sailed over the roughly four-foot fence as well as Yuri’s rationality yet again as he damn near drooled over the perfection and easy grace rolling through his body over the jump. This couldn’t possibly be what Viktor intended to pay him to do. Viktor’s light hands turned Toska to the next fence without any gaping of his mouth or straining against a noseband cranked down to prevent any attempts at escape from the pain of rough hands or any twisting of his neck so often seen on horses as riders yanked their heads around to the next fence. Instead, Viktor checked his stride to rock him back onto his hind end for an easier pivot and held the inside rein steady to give him the cue and support as he pushed and supported through his outside leg to help push his body through the turn, keeping his weight perfectly balanced to make himself an easy load to carry. Toska moved into the space between the pressures Viktor created and found a clear path to the next jump even through the sharp turn. As Yuri watched him take the course, he could see exactly what it was that Viktor enjoyed and appreciated. Toska wasn’t always perfect and sometimes the rhythm would be lost or a take-off slightly misjudged, but no matter what forces they encountered or how difficult a question Viktor asked of him, his energy always went to finding a way to be where Viktor’s pressures put him. He didn’t mind the challenge of imperfection or fighting outside forces as long as they were fighting them together.

That observation was driven home as he watched him work Avos who spent every stride finding a way to fight against him. More effort went to escaping the pressure placed on him than it did to the jumps which he took with a shocking amount of ease for how terrible the setups always were. If that raw talent could be polished, he’d be explosive. As it stood though, Viktor had to keep him over much easier fences than he could rightfully take just due to that personality glitch.

(13) Viktor trotted over, his face pink over his cheeks from his fight with a three-quarter ton animal over fences. And that was after two strenuous workouts. He still looked like perfection though, and Yuri had no response to give but unadulterated awe.

“What do you think of him?”

Yuri smiled. “He’s an asshole.”

Viktor laughed. “Yeah. A complete asshole.” He patted his red chestnut neck affectionately. “Have you ever ridden any like him?”

“Worse.”

“Really.” He tilted his head and smiled. “Successfully?”

“My ass didn’t hit the ground too many times if that’s what you’re asking.”

“Did you take any medals on them?”

“A few.”

“Did you like riding them?”

His heart quivered as he spotted the set up for where Viktor’s line was taking them. “Yes, Viktor.”

“Did you prefer them?”

He bit his lip and nodded. “Yes, Viktor.”

“Why?”

“I liked…” He took a deep breath and held it until his lungs burned and let it out as he spoke. “I liked that I could work with them when no one else could. The more difficult, the more riders they had tossed, the more I liked them.” He pressed his lips together to hold back the tears that threatened his eyes.

Viktor watched him blink hard against his tears then kicked his feet free of the stirrups and jumped down. “Come here, Yuri.”

His tears welled up higher as he stepped through the slats and into the ring.

Viktor pulled off his helmet and raked his fingers through his dampened hair. “Define one for me. For riding on a lunge. What conditions need to be met?”

Yuri stared at the gleaming red horse behind Viktor he had every intention of putting him on while calculating how fast and how far he could run before their raging fires joined.

***

 Questions

Chapter Text

(14) “I need an answer, Yuri.”

He couldn’t run. He couldn’t move at all held between Viktor’s will and his own. His caged body found just enough room to turn his eyes to Viktor’s as he struggled to find his answer. Fought to find the ‘yes’ he was looking for through the panicked ‘no’ screaming inside him because his only hope for escape was with Viktor’s help. What would make his body unlock enough for Viktor to grasp? “That… that I have no control.”

“How difficult is this for you if I meet that condition?”

“I’d rather you do every item on that list, even the ones I marked zero and the ones you crossed out, than do this.”

“Why did you mark it a one then?”

“Because you wanted me to.” His tears spilled down his cheeks, his breath rising into the hands of panic that strangled it before it could reach him. 

Viktor looped the reins over his arm to free his hands and wiped them away. “I didn’t say a word.”

“You know body language speaks just as well.”

“Yes. I do know that. We speak to our horses just fine without words and hear them speak just as easily. That’s why I tried to sit as still as I could and make no expression.”

“Eyes say a lot," he gasped, fighting for the air to respond as Viktor wanted, "and they’re far less tamable.”

Viktor glanced around to make sure they were alone then stepped closer, holding one hand on his lower back and the other pressing into the bruises on his chest helping him gain control of his breath again. “You’re willing to push your hardest limit just because I desire it?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

Viktor closed his eyes and heaved over to rest his lips against his neck, pulling him in closer, and kissing gently between words. “Perfect, Yuri. I mean that in the absolute sense of the word. You deserve the biggest reward I can give you for this. What do you want? Anything. Tell me anything you want, and I’ll do it.” 

“I… I don’t know what I want.” His heart slammed into his chest seeking escape.

He brought his head up to watch him and leaned in, taking his neck in his hands. “Do you want me to kiss you?”

“No, Viktor.”

“No? I thought you desired that. I’m offering gladly. Why would you not want it?”

“Because it would hurt you. I don’t want to hurt you. Don’t offer me things that would.”

“It…” He closed his eyes and sighed. “You’re right. I wanted to tell you it wouldn’t, but I also promised never to lie to you. I will certainly make tonight special for you, but I want to do more to express my gratitude.” He smiled. “I’ve never encountered this before. I’ve never been at a loss for how to reward someone. I’ve never had anyone do something that blew past my typical rewards.” He thought a little longer, his hands back on his chest and low back holding him in his solid strength as his lips distracted on his neck. “I’ve thought of something, but I’d need your agreement for more hours with me.”

He gave a small, trembling laugh. “You want to reward me by asking for more time?”

Viktor brought his lips to the other side of his neck and tugged him closer. “I promise it will be worth it. I’d like to surprise you so I can’t give you any details, but if you trust me, I will make it worth it.”

“You won’t even tell me how many more hours you want or when?”

“No. You’re too smart for that. You’d figure out my plans if I start giving you details. I promise I’m worth your trust.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

He laughed. “And now I have to reward you for that too. You didn’t even ask me to give you a range. You’re killing me here, Yuri. So limited for what I can do while you’re making me want to give you more than I’ve ever even considered giving another. Come here.” He pulled him tight into his arms and just held him, breathing deeply. “I know you’re not able to feel what I’m trying to tell you right now because you’re so worried about my plans for you and that horse behind me, so let’s finish that and just know that you have made me happier than anyone ever has before.”

He sighed and relaxed into his hold. “Thank you, Viktor. That’s really all I need.”

Smiling, he turned to kiss his cheek. “Has anyone ever told you how perfectly sweet you are?”

“I think you might have mentioned it once or twice.”

He laughed. “I mean someone other than me.”

“My mom. Every once in a while, my sister.”

“It must be nice to have such a loving family.”

“Is yours not?”

He chuckled. “Of course, you’d take all of two seconds to get there. They’re not bad. We’re not super close though. But let’s not worry about me right now. I’m not going to ask for much today. I just want you to sit on him.”

“You’ll hold the reins?”

“Yes.” He kissed his cheek and released him to face Avos and start putting the reins back over his head.

“Wait! You said you’d hold them!”

He stopped with the reins halfway over his head. “I am. This is just if there’s an emergency, you have them there. As you can see, he’s not the safest of horses.”

“I’d rather fall. Please, Viktor. I don’t want them anywhere near me.”

“Alright, Yuri.” He handed him his helmet as he put the reins back over his forearm and stooped a little to hold his hands out below the stirrup. “Come on.”

He fumbled with the clasp on the helmet with his hands shaking too hard to close it. Viktor snapped it into place then held his hands out again. Yuri put his hands on the saddle then ducked his head onto his shoulder to stifle a sob.

Viktor’s voice sounded gently at his ear. “You’re so brave, Yuri. I know how hard this must be for you.”

“No, you don’t!” He twisted back to snap at him then buried his face in his shoulder again. His apology came muffled and mumbled through flesh and fabric. “I’m sorry, Viktor.”

“I forgive you. It’s okay, Yuri. You’re right that I don’t know exactly what this feels like for you. I was trying to say that I can see how much you’re pushing yourself to please me, and I appreciate that more than I can express. You’re so good. The best I’ve ever had. Come on, give me your leg.”

He buried his face deeper into his arm and bent his leg back at the knee, placing his shin in Viktor’s solid hands and tightening his grip on the saddle. Before he had any more chance to think about it, Viktor counted to three and tossed him up. He wasn’t sure if he did his part on instinct or if Viktor just lifted him enough to make up for the lack of a jump, but either way, he found himself landing heavy in the saddle and Avos immediately darted to the side at the rude mounting. Viktor regained control of him while Yuri just clung to the front of the saddle, his chest heaving in a panic and his eyes closed tight.

Viktor put his hand on his thigh. “You’re okay, Yuri. I’ve got him. I won’t let him hurt you.”

“That’s not what I’m worried about! Worry about him. If you have to choose between keeping me safe and keeping him safe, pick him.”

“I’m not going to do that.”

“Please, Viktor. If you want me to do this, at least do that much for me.”

“Yuri, I will never put the life of an animal above a human, and especially not you. I would like to honor your request there, but it goes against what I believe is right, so I’m not going to, and you’re going to do this anyway because it’s my order. Understood?”

“Ye- yes, Viktor.” He spat the words at him like they were the bitterest of medicines.

“Thank you, Yuri. Try to relax. You’re just sitting there for a few minutes today.” As he said that, Avos decided to plead guilty to his rebellious charges and started dancing in a circle around Viktor. “Woah, easy boy. Can you please not be an ass right now?” His voice dripped with honey as he made his plea and tightened the reins to pull Avos around into a tight circle around him, his nose to Viktor’s hip.

Yuri let go of his grip on the saddle to grab the leathers and cross the stirrups over the front of the saddle so the loose stirrups wouldn’t bang his sides. He settled a little deeper into the saddle, his thighs tightening to hold him in place as he drew his toes up to prevent his lower leg from swinging around and bashing his sides as well.

“Woah. Stand.” Viktor gave him a quick crack of his hand on his belly along with his deep, commanding tone to startle him back into good behavior. It worked for a few seconds before he got bored and started to dance again. Viktor held him tight to him and cracked him again into stillness. “Sorry, Yuri. Like I said, he really is an asshole.”

“This is no worse than being up here at all. Walk him forward if you want. He’ll probably be happier with that.”

“He would, but I promised just sitting.”

“Viktor, I’m not scared of the fucking horse. I’m sca-” His voice strangled his words off before he even realized what he’d started to say.

Viktor’s eyes narrowed as he studied him. “I’m really tempted to tell you to finish that sentence, but I won’t.” He walked forward with Avos settling next to him after a few steps. “We should adjust the stirrups so you can use them.”

“I don’t need them.”

“You just saw me ride this horse and you still say you don’t need them?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“You’re really not afraid of the horse at all, are you?”

“No, Viktor.”

“And your only condition was that you have no control. Not even that I have the control. I could take his bridle off and turn him loose with you on his back, and that would be acceptable to you?”

“It would be no worse than this.” He struggled to find a rhythm with Avos’s sway with his body locked and shaking.

“Wow. I’ll be honest, I have no idea what to make of that one. I would most certainly not be okay with riding an insane horse bridleless. I could trot him right now, and you’d be just as fine as you are now?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Okay, I’ll do that then. Color?”

“Green.”

Viktor jogged forward making Avos break into a trot next to him. Yuri waited through the first bounces to feel that thrust with the inside hind to rise up into a posting trot, using his thighs alone to lift himself from the saddle with every stride and lower himself gently on the second beat. The pain from Viktor’s bruises lit up a rush of calm that soothed his throbbing heart as he submitted to its presence and washed the warmth of memories of their creation over him.

Viktor jogged backward so he could watch him with a smile. “You look amazing, Yuri. I’m very impressed. I’m not sure I can even do no stirrup work quite that well. My thighs aren’t as strong as yours. And you look so sexy on that horse. You’re making me rather jealous of Avos right now. I’d like to be the one between your thighs.”

Yuri choked a little and lost a stride, sitting a beat too long in the saddle and then had to wait for the next to throw himself back up.

Viktor grinned. “God, the sight you’d make riding me instead… you’d be so good at riding my cock. I’m so certain of it I promise you that’s going to be what I fantasize about the next time I touch myself.”

He buckled under the punch of pleasure hitting his gut then found his rhythm again. “You know you’re sending me rather mixed signals. Just earlier you were telling me to wait and now you’re trying to tempt me.”

“I don’t think it’s mixed at all.” His voice and his smile softened. “I told you to wait for the right person, but I’m hoping you’ll decide that person is me.” He slowed Avos back to a walk. “I want you, Yuri. All of you. And the second you can feel the truth of that, I want you to come running straight to me ignoring absolutely everything else just as you did when you first knelt before me.” He scratched Avos’s neck as he took Yuri’s hand in his and kissed the back of it. “How are you feeling up there?”

Um, dizzy and shaky. But… better than I would have guessed. The pain helped.”

“On your thighs?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Would you want more pain there?”

“Yes, Viktor. It… it calmed me and gave me something different to think about.”

“Excellent, Yuri.” He stroked his thumb over the back of his hand and looked up at him with soft eyes. “I have never seen anything more beautiful than you on that horse, and I have never said anything more honest, so I truly hope you believe me. I will never forget how you made me feel no matter what you choose so just know that you right where you are is something I’ll treasure the rest of my life.”

His lips turned into the smallest smile. “Are you going to frame it?”

“Yes! That is an excellent idea!” He bubbled with excitement as he pulled his phone out from the hidden pocket in his breeches and stood back a little to get Yuri in the frame. “Smile!”

“Oh god.”

“That upset, huh?”

“You’ve never seen me try to smile on cue.”

“Oh? That’s an easy fix. I need you to know something, Yuri. I truly, desperately need you to understand this. Can you do that for me?”

“I will try my best.”

“That’s all I ask. Yuri, you’ve just satisfied me more than anyone ever has. I’ve never felt this good from someone following an order before. I have no words to explain the depth of what you made me feel, so look at me and see it and tell me you understand.”

He watched his eyes, not his blue flame in them, but something warm dripping into his core and the same soft smile Viktor had slipped onto his face. “Yes, Viktor.”

Viktor brought the phone closer after studying the screen with a heavy warmth in his smile, and Yuri had to admit that it wasn’t a terrible picture. The quiet smile on his face hinted that its roots ran deep, and from the angle Viktor had chosen and pride straightening his posture, he looked pretty decent overall.

He pulled the phone back to look at the screen again. “My beautiful Yuri.” He tapped the phone a few times then tucked it back into his pocket. “You just needed a better cue. You can get down now.”

He kicked his right leg over Avos’s butt as he leaned onto his hands and jumped down in one smooth motion.

“How are you feeling?”

“Um. Dizzy and weak and shaky, but okay I think.”

“Okay, I want you to sit in the grass out here while I go get Bytiye.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He left to go sit in the grass as Viktor pulled the stirrups back into place and ran them up the leathers to hold them up off of Avos’s sides and led him away. He took off the helmet and combed his fingers through his hair that was sweaty from just a few minutes of riding. He flopped back into the grass and closed his eyes to wait for the swirling in his head to slow. He’d vowed to never get back on a horse again a year ago, and yet Viktor had cracked that right in two with his bare eyes. Was it the ass or the eyes? He had focused on his ass after one look in his eyes left him torn apart and begging for mercy as Viktor ravaged his soul. He’d wanted to run from it, but now here he was searching his eyes for anything he wanted and offering himself in chunks torn away from bone, still unsure as to whether he intended to devour them or stitch them together into a monster of his own making. Apparently, he had decided without too much thought on the matter that either one was fine with him.

A strong puff of breath tickled his neck, and he squealed and pulled away from it. He opened his eyes to see the copper sheen of Avos’s head glinting around a crooked star falling over one eye above a small white snip on his nose as he poked at him and flapped his lips against the collar of his shirt to see if it was something edible. He squealed quietly again as the tickle wriggled through him then sat up.

“Are you feeling well enough to let him graze next to you while you watch?” Viktor had a smile as he tucked his phone back into his pocket.

“Yes, Viktor.” He sat up further and took Avos’s leather lead who dropped his muzzle to the fresh grass and started searching out the best chunks to bite off.

“Very good.” He smiled again and turned Bytiye to the ring.

“Viktor?”

“Yes?”

“Is this really what you want me to be doing? I’m not questioning you, it’s just that you’re paying me, and I’ve done very little real work for you.”

“I’m certain that this is exactly what I want to pay you to do.” He picked up his helmet from next to Yuri and clipped it on.

“But-… Yes, Viktor.”

He smiled. “Thank you, Yuri. You’re doing so well for me.” His voice trilled sweetly as he took his hand and kissed it. He turned his gleaming gold horse to the arena, his creamy white tail brushing around Viktor with the breeze that picked up. Viktor went to the mounting block and swung onto the palomino thoroughbred and walked him out on a loose rein. He had a stride even longer than Toska’s and an absolutely massive shoulder formed with the perfect slope that screamed his suitability for anything demanding extension and power though he looked to be a little lazy in his step, dragging his hooves through the footing. He looked more like a pleasure horse than anything else with his head hanging low on the rein and that long, low step. Viktor took more time warming him up than he did with Toska and Avos. It looked like they were just peacefully enjoying the spring day, in no rush to get anywhere. 

Avos seemed to be in sync and was grazing contentedly next to Yuri as though he hadn’t just tried to take Viktor straight through two fences rather than over them, only popping up enough at the last moment to clear them with a foot to spare. Fresh grass had a mellowing effect on even the most challenging of horses. He reached his hand out and let Avos investigate it before he scratched the deep well between his massively round cheeks that horses had little way of scratching on their own without human assistance. Avos stopped grazing to lift his head and stretch his neck, craning it and twisting to try to guide his fingers to the right spot. He followed his lead, landing on a spot that made him grunt. Avos ran his lips lightly over his shoulder to return the favor before he went back to his grass.

Viktor moved into a trot and then a rolling canter without taking up the reins at all, letting Bytiye hang out looking as relaxed as he did at the walk. Then Viktor took up the reins, and that golden horse came to life, a blazing midsummer sun. He charged breathlessly at the first fence, and Yuri was afraid he wouldn’t make it over at all with how little he slowed in the approach, but at the last second, he rocked onto his hind end and launched over, barreling toward the next before Yuri even had time to gasp in relief that only a rail had come down with his haste. He tore around the course taking fences as though he didn’t even know they were there until Viktor pulled him to a stop straight in front of his thudding heart. Viktor dropped the reins, and the fire blew out, and his head dropped down while Viktor patted his neck.

“Good boy, Bytiye. Maybe next time though, don’t give me a damn heart attack before every fence.” He grinned. “He must have been showing off for you. He usually has a little more control, though not much.”

Yuri’s eyes were still huge as he answered breathlessly. “He’s a beast!”

“Yeah, he has speed, that’s for sure. Dressage is difficult with him because of that fire. But he’s not disobedient like Avos. He tries to obey. He’s just got a lot in him.”

“I’ll say. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a horse that fast on the course.”

“He was bred to be a racehorse and probably would have excelled there, but I claimed him so now he’s mine to refine that speed.”

“What level is he doing?”

“He just started at one stars last season and grabbed a few medals there. Gold eludes him though despite his color. He doesn’t jump very cleanly as you can see.” He glanced back at the three other poles resting on the ground instead of neatly in their cups. “Toska isn’t as fast, but he can outscore him any day of the week.”

“Toska can outscore every horse in the world any day of the week.” It wasn’t hyperbolic praise at all. Toska had won everything there is to win at the top levels with Viktor guiding him faultlessly to a trophy room bathed in Olympic and four-star gold.

He smiled. “Yeah. He’s been so good right from the start. He’s one of a kind.” His smile fell, but traces of it remained. “He’s reaching the end of his career though. This season. Maybe next if I’m lucky. It’s the worst part of all of this. You outlast them. I’ve spent over a decade competing with him and building our trust in each other, and there’s only a few short years of enjoying that seamless relationship before you have to turn him to pasture and start all over again with someone new.” He looked out to where he’d turned Toska out in the pasture rather than cruelly returning him to his stall on such a nice day. “Maybe I’ll just retire with him.”

Yuri gasped. “You can’t! You have so much time left still!”

“To do what? Win more medals I don’t really need? To start over how many times and only have the briefest moments of true harmony? And that’s assuming I even find that again at all. I’ve been through so many horses now trying to find another Toska and Bytiye’s the closest I’ve found, and you can see how far he is from that. He’ll be good, but he’ll never be Toska. I’ve achieved everything I can on him. Why not let it end with him too?”  

“You do more than win medals out there. You inspire people. You show them what true partnership with a horse looks like. Watching you ride… even on Bytiye and Avos… You’re what we should all be. Please keep showing the world. It’s still so far from reaching the bar you’re holding, but at least you’re making them try. If you drop it, there’s no one else who can hold it that high.”

“Wow. That’s quite a passionate response for someone who has no intention to even try to reach it.”

He shook his head. “Not for me. For every horse that has a rider who sees that true skill and partnership is what success requires and becomes better by trying to reach you.”

“You say I show the world, but you’re raising my view quite a lot.” He jumped down and smiled as he took Yuri’s throat in his hand and used his hold to expose his neck for a kiss as the vulnerable position sent his heart racing and his body trembling. Viktor pulled back with a warm smile in his eyes. “Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Those are certainly ones I’ll think over.”

They went back to the barn, and Viktor stayed with Bytiye to untack him while Yuri brought Avos to his stall. He scratched his forehead as he unclipped the lead. Turning around from closing the door, Phichit was there tossing his arms around him and kissing his cheek.

“Ah! Phichit! Not at work!” Yuri pushed him back then cringed at the hurt look on his face.

“I’m sorry. You’re right. I don’t know if Viktor would care that much, but it’s probably a bad idea. I was just excited to finally see you in here.”

“It’s okay. I’m sorry, but I have to get back. I was supposed to put Avos away and come right back.”

“You can’t stay and chat for even a minute? Mila was just here. I can introduce you guys.”

“I’m sorry. I really can’t.” He cringed again at the forced smile on Phichit’s face.

“Okay well, I don’t want you to get in trouble. Sorry.”

“Hey, what are we going to watch tonight?” He smiled.

Phichit’s proper smile came back into place, and his eyes lit up. “I don’t know. I’ll think about it while I’m shoveling horse shit. Preferences?”

“You have good taste in movies. I trust you.” He waved and walked off leaving Phichit smiling quite sweetly in his wake.

Viktor finally gave him something productive to do while he watched him ride a few more training horses with his dressage saddles and bridles and a bucket of water and saddle cleaning supplies. It was still utterly indulgent to sit in the grass watching Viktor ride and placidly scrubbing away dried sweat and dirt from leather, so the least he could do was a good job. He made sure to get under every flap and into every crevice then polished it all until the soft leather took on a lustrous sheen. Viktor came over with a bay warmblood to check his work.

He picked up a bridle and scrutinized it to every buckle. “Very well done, Yuri. You clearly took pride in your work.” He offered his bright smile which was more than welcome as the gift that it was. “Come on. Let’s put this stuff away. It’s lunch time.” He took a few of the bridles while Yuri gathered up two of the saddles, sliding the second onto his arm from the ground and a bump with his knee. He had to make another trip out to gather the rest while Viktor untacked his horse then they headed back up the hill. As soon as they were far enough away, Viktor wrapped his arm around him and held him close as they walked.

In the kitchen, Yuri stared helplessly at the ingredients spread before him for a minute then started hacking away while Viktor typed at his laptop. Twenty minutes later, he had two steaming bowls of hot mess. He placed the better of the two in front of Viktor along with a pair of chopsticks.

“Thank you, Yuri. This looks very good.”

“You’re- you’re welcome, but I’m certain it didn’t come out right. I’m sorry.”

“Well, good news for you is that I have no idea what right is supposed to taste like. Sit. Eat.” He gestured to the chair across from him and picked up his chopsticks as Yuri obeyed. He took a careful bite. “This is pretty decent actually. I expected worse with your claims.” He proceeded to make quick work of the bowl.

He poked at the sludge in front of him that looked nothing like what katsudon should look like and picked up a bite. It was dry, tasteless, the eggs tasted funny, and it was so far from his mom’s it was an insult to use the same name. “I’m sorry, Viktor. I really messed it up.”

“It tastes fine to me. It’s not great, but it’s easily edible.”

He shook his head. “It’s terrible. Katsudon is one of the best things you’ll ever eat when it’s right.”

“Well then, I look forward to when you get it right. This will be your standing order until it’s something you’re happy with.”

He looked up from stabbing at his mess. “What? Katsudon every day? Weren’t you trying to help me lose weight?”

“I am. Just keep the portion sizes reasonable, and I’ll make sure you work hard enough to burn enough calories along with a more modest breakfast.”

“Yes, Viktor.” A twinge of tears hit his eyes as he tried to take another bite. “I’ll need to go back to the grocery store. I only purchased enough for today. I can go now and be back before the lunch break is over.”

“No. You need to eat. You can go after you finish.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He tried to lift another bite to his mouth, but he couldn’t make it go past his lips.

Viktor picked up his bowl. “Come with me. Bring your food.”

(15) He followed his lead to a room layered in black marble with thin white veins and gold bands at the top frilling onto the edges of the ceiling. There were only a few small windows arched with the curve on top echoing the rooves of the castle and filled in with a crosshatch of barely translucent diamonds of blue, purple, and red. Soft lanterns along the walls let off a concentrated light that just barely gave enough light to see the stacks of plush couches spanning the room, each row raised up from the one behind it. A screen covered the wall opposite them. Viktor took off his boots then led him to the first row and sat down, resting against the pillows over the armrest and patted the spot next to him. Yuri sat down a few inches away from him, and he sighed and grabbed his waist to pull him down on top of him. Yuri wriggled until he was leaning back against him between his legs and Viktor smiled and kissed his cheek, picking up a remote from the table in front of them.

“What would you like to watch, Yuri?”

“Um, I don’t know. I’m fine with anything.”

“Okay.” Viktor dragged the word out suspiciously as he clicked on the screen and brought up Dora the Explorer from the menu and settled in to watch, taking a bite from his bowl.

“Um… do you usually watch this?”

“No. But you said you were fine with anything, so I picked the first thing I saw.” Dora asked his name, and Viktor responded. “I’m Viktor, and this is Yuri.”

Dora continued to stare at them.

“Um, I’m a Capricorn, and he’s a Sagittarius which is completely appropriate for him as he’s an amazing rider who looks like he was born on the back of a horse though, to be honest, I don’t really believe in zodiac signs.” He paused to stare back at Dora. “Seriously, what else do you want to know? Our blood types?”

“Great!” Dora said.

Yuri was giggling like crazy. “You’re so weird.”

Viktor lifted his eyebrows into a surprised smile. “Hey, you’re the one who said you’re fine with anything. I’m just going with what you said.”

“Fine. I’m okay with anything you would regularly watch.”

“Alright.” He clicked the tv over to a Russian show that looked to be some type of skit with a live audience. Viktor started chuckling as a man let another man go in front of him to buy one plum at the grocery store and then had to go back to get a sticker put on the plum to purchase it, and the first man had to wait, and the line grew longer through a series of disruptions to the purchase of this single plum with Viktor’s laugh getting louder through every one, finally erupting into a solid fit of laughter that made him hug Yuri tighter as another man approached the line of men who had been waiting through the ordeal carrying a lemon and asking them something which made the men all tackle him. Viktor calmed himself enough to speak. “Still fine with anything?” He lifted his bowl above Yuri’s head to take a bite.

“I didn’t realize you were a smart ass, but yes, Viktor. This is fine with me.”

He scoffed. “I am not a smart ass. I just did exactly as you said. You don’t even understand what’s happening though. How could you be fine with watching it?”

“I can get the gist of it pretty well, and maybe the more I hear Russian, the easier it will be to pronounce your horse’s names. And... I like your laugh.”

He smiled and kissed his cheek. “Do you want to learn Russian?”

“Um… yes, Viktor. It’s a pretty language.”

“Pretty? Most people don’t think of it as pretty. They find it scary and aggressive. Not pretty.”

“I think it’s pretty, but I haven’t really heard it much. Can you tell me something in Russian?”

“Yeah. Yeah, I can. I want you to look at me though.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He turned onto his side so he could look up at him.

Viktor stuck his chopsticks in his bowl to free his hand to rest it against Yuri’s face. *“Юрий, я не могу поверить, что мы встретились всего несколько дней назад, и ты уже заставляешь меня чувствовать с такой уверенностью, что ты тот, кого я искал всю свою жизнь. Я люблю твою улыбку. Я люблю твои глаза. Я люблю, как ты говоришь мое имя. Я люблю, как ты меня впустил и показал, что наши чувства взаимны, несмотря на то что ты сам чувствуешь боль и потерю. Я люблю тебя, Юрий, и я обещаю, что, если ты выберешь меня, я потрачу столько минут, сколько ты готов дать мне сделать тебя счастливым. Пожалуйста, выбери меня. Я прошу тебя.” Viktor kissed his forehead and then his cheek and then his cheek again, lingering with his eyes closed. “Did you get any of that?”

“Not a word other than my name. It was beautiful though.”

“I’m glad you think so. Understanding will come with time like everything else.”

“You’re not going to tell me what you said in English?”

“No. Now eat your food.” He kissed his forehead and pulled him back to relax on him again

Viktor kept him distracted enough with his laughter and translating the simple show for him to choke down the food he refused to call katsudon. With the show’s exaggerated comedy, it was fairly easy to understand what was going on and Viktor managed to get a few Russian words into his brain along with the food into his stomach. He seemed pleased with both.

Viktor took their empty bowls and set them on the table then wrapped his arms around him in the silence after the show switched off. “Thank you for lunch, Yuri. I know you don’t agree, but I liked it.”

“You’re- you’re welcome.” His voice was soft as he turned over to wrap his arms around Viktor as well, resting his face against his chest.

Viktor held him tighter and rested his cheek on his head. “This is dangerous. I want to fall asleep with you, not go back to work.”

Yuri made a little hum of agreement.

“I could stay here forever. You feel perfect in my arms.” Viktor squeezed him just a little tighter.

“You do too.”

He smiled and kissed his forehead. “Thank you, zolotse. Alas, we must get up.”

They managed to struggle to their feet, and Viktor zipped his boots back on and brought the bowls back to the kitchen where Yuri began to clean up.

“I have to get back to the stable. You can finish that and then go to the store and meet me back at the stable when you’re done.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“And take your car this time.” He placed a set of keys in his hands that didn’t match to what he had just said.

“I have my keys back at my house.”

“No. These keys are the keys to your car.”

“Um… I’m confused.”

“There’s a car in the driveway that matches those keys. That’s your new car. The old one needs to be towed away before it kills you.”

“What?! You bought me a car?!”

“Yes.”

“Why?!”

“I believe I just told you why.”

“But, Viktor! I…” Crap. He has to find some way to fight this without arguing. “But a car is a permanent thing that would fall outside of your hours. I don’t think you can make me give up my own car and accept this when it would fall outside of your hours.”

“Okay, you’re going to be difficult about this. I should have guessed as much. Yes, outside of my hours, I can’t force you to drive your new car, but I can say that your old car is very disruptive to my horses, so if you’d like to continue using it, you will have to get it towed in and out of the premises.”

“May I have permission to drive it out once and then leave it parked outside of the gates?”

“No. I’m not going to let you park that hunk of metal for all of my clients to see as they come and go and there is no parking on the street for a few miles so you could park it a few miles away and walk back and forth every time. I will permit you to drive it out once if that is what you’d like to do. Or you could not be difficult and just accept the new car and not make me fear for your life driving around in that old one.”

“What do I say to Phichit? How do I explain where I got a new car from?”

“Say you bought it.”

“With what money?”

“Does he know your current financial status?”

“Well, no. But the kind of car I own kinda says a lot.”

“So, you were frugal and saved up until you could buy a new one, and or you financed it. This isn’t a difficult thing, Yuri. People buy new cars all the time especially when they have ones that are more likely to explode than not at any given moment. Don’t worry. I considered this and I didn’t purchase anything extravagant though I would have liked to.”

“You bought me a car! How is that anything other than extravagant?!”

“It’s not extravagant as it was needed.”

“When did I even have time to go out and buy a car?”

“Say I gave you permission this afternoon as you work during any hours a dealership would be open. Are you done with your tantrum? I’m getting bored. I don’t care how you explain it to Phichit. You needed a new car, and I bought you one. It’s that simple.”

“But I didn’t!... I didn’t ask for this! It’s too much, Viktor!” 

“Are you more worried that you don’t know how to explain it to Phichit or that you don’t know how to accept it?”

“I can’t accept it. It’s just too much. My old car is fine.”

“Yuri, do you need a new car? Ignore what’s happening now. If you were driving your car, would you at any point think, ‘I need a new car.’?”

“Well, yes, Viktor.”

“And weren’t my orders for you to ask me for anything you need?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“So, then you should have asked me. But I’m not going to punish you for that because it’s too much to expect for where you’re at now.” He headed for the door then stopped and pressed his hand against the entryway, speaking without looking back. “As always, you’re free to end this any time you choose. Take the car. Don’t take the car. That’s up to you. But you can’t ask me to give you what you need and then slap away my offers to do just that. That’s not a game I’m willing to play.”

***

Chapter Text

Yuri clutched the keys in his fist staring at the shiny, new, sapphire Subaru Outback that they opened. At least it was a practical car. Something he could picture himself buying if it were used to the final step before the crushing lot. Was he really the one playing games with Viktor? It didn’t feel that way. How could he be the one playing games when he was doing nothing but following his orders? Still, a nagging thorn dug at his conscience. He hadn’t asked Phichit for a kiss and yet he felt guilty. He hadn’t asked Viktor for a car or to do anything but punish him for being late, but here he was feeling even guiltier for hurting him just because he didn’t want to accept something so extravagant. He hadn’t asked him to give him what he needed, just to punish him for an infraction he deserved punishment for. How is that asking him to fill his needs? 'Punish me, Viktor.' Three words that Viktor could have used any way he chose, and he used them to buy him a car and put him back on a horse. Why did he care so freaking much? He wasn’t anything worth caring about. He wasn’t even worth a second glance. Guys like Viktor don’t fall- No one said anything about that.

Basically, Viktor gave him a choice. Accept the car and continue or reject it and end this. He pushed the button on the remote and the car beeped open. He slid into the black leather driver’s seat reeking of new car smell that overpowered the more pleasing leather scent and spotted a business card lying on the passenger’s seat. ‘TJ’s Auto Towing. We buy junkers!’ He flipped it about in his hand then pulled out his phone.

***

He passed through the busy aisles full of horses being groomed in the crossties and people hanging around chatting, all watching him as he ducked under each elastic rope attached to the horses' halters. Apparently, new faces weren’t too common around here. Not all that surprising. A place like Viktor’s isn’t easy to find. Openings must be few and far between. After a little searching, he located Viktor standing with the angry blonde-haired kid who was just finishing tacking up his horse who had the most unique coat color he had ever seen in person. The horse had a buckskin base with the gold coat and black mane and tail and legs, but some mottled sections of black had seeped from his mane onto the base of his neck, down his shoulders, and over his hips with laced dapples looking almost like leopard spots with how much the black outline contrasted the gold covering his back and sides.

“Ah, Yuri! Glad you’re back. Meet Yuri.” Viktor smiled brightly and gestured to the kid next to him.

“What?! He stole my name?!” The angry little thing turned around to screech at him, his fists quaking at his sides.

“Considering he’s older than you, I’d say it’s you who stole his name.” Viktor chuckled.

“But I was here first! Fire him! I don’t need another Yuri around here! Especially not one who looks like such a piggy loser!”

“Call him names like that again, and you’ll be out of here, little Yuri.” All the humor dropped from Viktor’s voice as he used every inch of his imposing frame to back up his words, glaring down at him.

“Whatever. I don’t care. I can go to any stable I want to.”

“Any stable except this one. Once you leave, I won’t welcome you back so choose carefully. I’m sure you’ll do just fine at a second-rate stable so please, feel free to leave any time you wish.”

“Fine. Let’s just ride. It’s time for my lesson.” He growled in resignation.

“Not until you’ve apologized to him.”

“What?! You didn’t say anything about that!”

“I just did. Go ahead.” Viktor leaned back against the stall behind him and crossed his arms.

“Fine. Sorry.” He spat the words then looked at Viktor expectantly.

“Nicely.”

“Fiiiinnee.” He rolled his eyes and huffed out his last bit of defiance. “I’m sorry.”

“Better. Take Pantera and meet me in the outdoor.”

The angry Yuri took the reins over his horse’s head and turned him around. “Get out of my way.” He glared at Yuri.

“Sorry!” Yuri shuffled back to give him space to turn.

“Loser,” he whispered as he passed by.

“Sorry.” Viktor started following Pantera and Yuri far enough away for their conversation not to be heard.

“Avos’s human counterpart.”

Viktor laughed. “Assholes. The both of them. I’ve been tempted to put him on Avos one day just to see what would happen, but I have a feeling it would be a bloodbath.”

“Yeah, two dominant personalities don’t often get along well.”

“Little Yuri’s not dominant at all. He’s what we call a brat. There’s people who enjoy taming brats like that, but I am not one of them. Avos, on the other hand, I’m still not certain if he’s a brat or if he’s dominant and just hates submission. I guess we’ll see how he works with you.” Viktor caught the open gate to the outdoor and held it open for him. “Help me lower this line.” His finger traced a path through the jumps.

“Yes, Viktor. What are we setting them to?”

“Two nine to three and narrow the spreads.”

“Any specific fences you want which?”

“Use your best judgment.” Viktor watched the other Yuri warming up. “Little Yuri! Executive decision! I now know you well enough to call you Yura, as does everyone else here.”

“What?!” He screeched in indignation and spooked his horse making him take off galloping around the ring.

Yuri and Viktor looked over at each other to giggle at his karma.

Yura pulled his horse back to a walk and patted his neck to praise him for responding and ask forgiveness then trotted him back to glare at them. “You can’t do that! You can’t just change my name!”

“It’s not changing your name. It’s weird for me not to call you Yura at this point. As for everyone else, they know you well enough too. You make yourself quite unforgettable from the first moment they meet you.” 

They continued lowering each jump while Yura and Viktor argued across the open space of the arena.

“They’re not Russian! They can’t use Russian nicknames, and you can’t just decide to change my name!”

“I can, and I did. Don’t like it? Ride somewhere else. It’s too confusing to have two Yuris, and I’ve decided that he’s earned the right to be called Yuri by any way you wish to calculate it.”

“You can’t get away with this! I’ll tell my mom what you’re trying to do!”

Viktor laughed. “Did you really just threaten to call your mommy on me? I’m quaking. Fine. You want him to go by a nickname instead? You can call him Master Yuri.”

“What?!” He screeched again even louder than before but held the reins tight to keep his horse in check. “I will not call him that!”

“Then Yura it is. I’m so glad we’ve come to an agreement.” Viktor smiled sweetly. “Now, are you done, or are we going to spend the rest of your lesson time arguing, Yura?”

Yura glared at him quietly.

“I’ll assume that means you’re done. Trot him over the cavaletti.”  

Yura turned his horse around and picked up a trot over the low poles strung on x’s, spaced so he’d have to step over them with every stride.

“That was impressive.”

Viktor beamed. “Thank you. I know how to deal with him. I just hate dealing with him. He’s so exhausting.” He shook his head. “I can’t believe he actually threw a fit over being called Yura. It’s such a basic nickname. Any casual acquaintance in Russia would have called him that. He just likes finding things to be pissed at.”

He watched Viktor teach the rest of the afternoon while cleaning some more tack in a semi-excited state with thoughts of their promised evening riding on Viktor’s commanding voice. 

A gruff man with a fedora and old-school loose-fit tan breeches came in to take over the lessons who Viktor introduced as Yakov. He sat down in a folded director’s chair he carried with him outside the ring after a curt nod to Yuri and waited for his pupil to arrive. Viktor and Yuri headed back up the hill to the castle yet again.

“That’s my instructor. He’s a grumpy old man, but if you ever need help and you can’t find me, ask him. He doesn’t look it, but he’s a big softie and loves being able to share his wisdom.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

Viktor smiled. “How are you feeling about tonight?”

“Um, excited.”

“That’s good to hear.” He held the door open for him and waited for him to take off his shoes then took him into the elevator to go down. “Were you comfortable with everything that happened last night?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Excellent. Have you ever played with your ass when you were masturbating before?”

“What?”

“Do you need me to repeat the question?”

“Um, no. I… got it. Um. No. No, Viktor.”

“Well, tonight should be an interesting experience for you then.” They entered the jade bathroom, and Viktor directed him to the shower where he gave his orders to wash then left.

Yuri stripped his clothes off with his body shaking even harder than it would have if Viktor stayed. Left alone with his thoughts was always a dangerous place to be especially when he had something to worry about. Which was always. He scrubbed himself in the shower again with Viktor’s lusciously scented soap. What is that smell? He couldn’t identify it past something that smelled slightly like the stable with some hints of leather and sweet hay, and maybe some vanilla, but he knew there were other scents he just couldn’t identify. Whatever was in it, it was quickly becoming his favorite smell other than the actual stable and Viktor himself who somehow combined the comforting, homey scent of the stable with pure, unadulterated sex. Not that he ever smelled such a thing, but his imagination didn’t have to take that far of a leap to know he was right. 

He rinsed himself clean and stepped out of the shower, wrapping himself up in a towel from the small table that apparently had some type of heater in it as the towel was warm. He wasn’t sure what to do with it after he dried himself. Looking around, he decided just to throw it over the shower door. He made his way out into the torture room or playroom as Viktor had called it and found a small pillow on the floor where Viktor had placed him yesterday. He assumed that’s where he was supposed to be and knelt down, putting his hands on his knees and straightening his back to wait trembling in the warm room for Viktor’s return.

Viktor entered behind him, closing the door softly and securing the lock. His quiet footsteps came closer, and Yuri’s heart began to race. Viktor took the side of his neck in his hand and leaned down to kiss the other side, taking his time to savor him. He pulled back with a sigh and stroked a finger down his neck over the place he had just kissed.

“Are you ready?”

“Ye-yes, Vik-tor.”

“Are you nervous?” He stepped around to watch him for his response. His hair had been dried and he wore a soft gray t-shirt like the one he had given him before and loose black pants that rode low on his hips and revealed a patch of skin over his lower abs that made him want to lick kisses over it as Viktor leaned over to rest his hand on his cheek. He looked softer, more intimate but still as intimidating as ever. Maybe even more so as his look suggested an intimacy not shared with others.

“Yes, Viktor.”

Viktor took his hand and tugged him to his feet, wrapping his arms around him. “Is there anything you need to feel more comfortable?”

“No, Viktor. Yes, Viktor.” He wrapped his arms around him as well and buried his face into his shoulder. “Just this? For a minute.”

He tightened his grip. “Of course. Let me know when you’re ready.”

He relaxed into Viktor’s hold and felt the tension ease from his body. He still trembled from his nerves, but he didn’t feel so much like he had been shoved twisted into a cage with metal bars digging at his flesh. “Thank you. I’m okay now.”

He held him just another moment before he let go. “Get on the table lying on your back.”

(16) He climbed onto the padded leather top and flipped onto his back. Viktor looked him over, raking through every inch with his attentive, hungered gaze as he circled him, his breath spiking and his nerves twitching as though he were actually touching him. The distance charging the air around them and his eyes slightly darkened in the dim light thickened the air like the approach of a summer storm on the plains and the sky that darkened to a greenish tinge that warned of the impending ripping of the world around him.

Viktor moved to the end of the table. “Grab your knees and pull them up to your shoulders.”

His trembling hands moved to obey his order, gripping his knees hard in an attempt to stabilize himself, but that just sent the trembling deeper into his thighs as he spread himself wide to Viktor’s view. He couldn’t see Viktor staring at him unless he strained to, but his crushing embarrassment still burned his cheeks and drew tears to the edges of his eyes. He managed to hold his tears back by focusing on the center of the X standing on the side of the room.

“You’re so pretty, Yuri. You look so soft and fuckable.”

He whimpered and looked back at him, straining his head off the table to watch him.

“Truly. I want to bury myself right there,” Viktor dragged his nails along his thighs, scraping at the bruises and sending shivers of pleasure through him, “and feel your strong thighs wrapping around me and holding me in your softness and your heat and your pretty little hole as I turn it into a soaking, fucked out mess.” He slopped kisses over the tenderest skin on both sides where his thighs ended making his gut lurch with a desperate craving for a touch just a breath further than where he was.

The silk scarf he picked up fluttered over his skin as Viktor wrapped it around his knee. Replacing Yuri’s hand holding it up with his tension binding it to the table, he pulled tight, opening him even wider. He repeated the binding on the other side then balanced the tension on his body by wrapping another scarf around his hips and tying them down with just enough downward pressure towards the foot of the table to make him feel secure. “Are you comfortable?”

“Yes, Viktor.” He sighed as more tension melted from his body.

“Good. Start stroking yourself.”

He whimpered as he pressed his lips tight and took his cock in his hand which had already begun to harden with Viktor’s eyes and touch on him. Viktor watched him until he fully hardened then handed him a soft black leather strap with a gold buckle that attached before the end of the leather just like the buckles on a bridle designed not to rub against skin.

“Put this on at the base of your cock and tighten it until it feels tight but not uncomfortable.”

He tightened it and felt pressure against the edges of his cock as he tucked the leather into the keeper, his nerves lighting up into a tingly spark.

“Good. Keep stroking yourself.”

Fisting his cock, swollen more than it had ever been, had him already twisting inside Viktor’s silks, his breath growing heavy while Viktor’s intent stare ensured that the blushing heat in him was from more than just pleasure. Pressure built inside him until he started gasping to release just a little.

“You look so beautiful, Yuri. I love that color on you.”

“What- ah! Um, what color?”

“Red. My red. The blue and purple under it are nice too. I like all the colors you let me paint on you. You look like mine.”

He cried out in a trembling gasp at the rippling touch of Viktor’s voice and stroked himself faster trying to relieve the building pressure.

“Are you getting close?”

“I- um, yes, no... I’m not sure. It- Ah! It feels… different!”

Viktor picked up a dressage whip and dragged the long, thin cane against his body, over his thighs, over his stomach and his chest, and down his sides. A sharp sting sounded in his body just after the crack on his thigh which was immediately followed up by a series of bites up and down his thigh and then over to the next. He moved onto his stomach and chest, each crack of the whip sending his body skittering on the table as much as Viktor’s silks would allow.

“How about now?”

He whined and ground into the table with his hips bucking to meet his hand. “Yes, but still no. It feels… um harder to get there, but also- also a lot more intense.”

“Tell me when you feel like you’re about to come.”

“Yes, Viktor! Ah! Ngh! Ah-ha!” His voice broke apart as Viktor dropped down to lick his tongue over his nipple, flicking his tongue over it and pinching the other in his fingers, rolling and twisting it beneath his firm grip sending sharp zaps of pain and pleasure to his cock.

Viktor leaned over him to switch sides, bathing one with his pain and the other with his tongue. He came back to the first and slipped his arms in under him, pulling him into his mouth now sucking hard and sending the brightness of fresh pain in to focus him through the swirling mess of pleasure.

“Ah! Vik- Ah! Close! I’m close!”

Viktor pulled back. “Stop.”

He cried out his distress at obeying this order but released his swollen, throbbing cock anyway. He lay a twitching, craving mess on the table as Viktor picked up a set of rose gold chains linking what looked to be small clamps.

“These are nipple clamps. They’re exactly what they sound like. I’m going to apply them to your nipples and adjust the pressure until it’s at your limit. Tell me when that is. Color?”

“Green.”

He placed the clamps on one side, and then the other and they had a bit of a squeeze, but it was hardly noticeable through his cock still begging to be released. He began twisting a screw on both at the same time, and the pressure steadily increased until it could solidly be called pain. He had an impulse to tell him to stop but decided instead to just let him do as he wished and let him crush as much pain into his body as he could.

Viktor pulled his hands back. “Color?”

“Green.” His nipples ached with an almost numb type of pain. He was beginning to learn that there were different pains like there were different kisses. Some caused recoil. Some felt warm. Some brought calm. Some stung when the touch was too brief. Some opened a craving that ached to be filled. And some were questions buried too deep for answers.

“I’m impressed. You did so well for me as expected. We might have to try the clover clamps next time.” He smiled and brushed his hand along his cheek. “Are you ready to put on a show for me?”

“Um. Yes, Viktor.”

Viktor cracked open a bottle of lube and let it drip down his ass to run over his hole then took Yuri’s hand and slipped his finger into his hot mouth and sucked hard as he slipped it out, sucking it back in again before it reached the end, this time slathering it with his saliva. He pulled his next two fingers into his mouth, sucking hard as he held his eyes on his and coated them all with his hot slickness. He pulled his dripping fingers from his mouth and brought his hand down to his ass, guiding his finger to spread his saliva over his hole. He leaned over, putting his arm on the other side of him, so he was right above him watching his face as he guided Yuri's finger into himself. Yuri gasped in surprise then pressed his lips closed.

“No, Yuri. Show me. Always show me.” His scolding was as gentle as his expression. “I love your expressions.” He leaned down to kiss his throat. “You tell me so much with them. Don’t be silent.” He guided his hand back out of his hole then came back up to watch his face as he pushed it back in.

Yuri whined as the nerves around his finger lit up and stung his aching cock with more pleasure. He began panting lightly.

“Yes, that’s better, Yuri. Keep going with your finger, in and out.” He released the hold he had on his hand, but left it over the back of his, caressing it over the back and up his wrist then back down again. “How does it feel?”

“Um, a little… strange but um, I really like having, um, your spit… inside me.”

A slow smile spread across his face. “Yeah? How does it make you feel?”  

“Hot. Really hot. Want- wanting more.”

His grin widened. “You do look so hot.” He kissed his neck and up over his cheek. “You keep going. I’ll be right back.”

Yuri whined as he pulled away to go to a cabinet behind them to Viktor’s amused delight. He returned a moment later with some pillows and slipped them in under him to raise his upper body up. The chains on the nipple clamps slid down his body tugging a fresh wave of pain into him. He gasped as his cock responded with more demands not to be ignored. Viktor smirked as he hooked a finger in the chains and pulled downward until Yuri was crying out. He gave a few more deep pulls then released it and moved to his ass. Yuri collapsed back onto the pillows, his chest heaving as his body tried to process the pain that wasn’t pain and the pleasure that wasn’t pleasure.

“Watch, Yuri.”

He lifted his head back up to watch himself fuck his finger into his ass and Viktor as he watched the same scene with excitement pulsing in the vein at his throat, his eyes flickering between the show at his ass and the displays across his face. Viktor retook his hand and guided his second finger to his hole, leaning over to drip more saliva down the length of his fingers to pool at his ass. Viktor directed his second finger inside then paused his hand to let his body accept this new stretch. He turned to kiss the fresh marks he had laid down then drew his hand back out and pressed it in again slowly, repeating until Yuri picked up the motion on his own, biting his lip as his face screwed up with the stretch of his hole sending his nerves quivering in yet new directions.

“Try to spread your fingers apart gently. I want to see inside you.”

“Yes,” his head fell back with the deep moan, “yes, Viktor.”

He lifted his head back up to watch as he’d been ordered and locked eyes on Viktor as he spread his hole open, a deep blush of embarrassment rushing into the spaces between pain and pleasure, water swelling the already dense sand on a beach with each fresh wave. His breath pulsed deeply trying to sort the sensations as Viktor licked his lips and kept his eyes fixed on his hole as he spread himself further and further for Viktor’s pleasure. A burn started as he reached a new limit and paused until his body accepted that too then opened himself wider. His cock leaked onto his stomach, and Viktor’s eyes glanced up to make a note of it with a smile then watched his face for a moment before looking back to his gaping hole, swallowing hard. If it’s a show he wants, then that’s what he’s going to get. Viktor’s fingers stroked along the marks on his other thigh as he watched him stretch himself to his limit for his pleasure.

“God, you’re so fucking good, Yuri. Such a natural slut. You’d do anything no matter how dirty it is if I wanted it, wouldn’t you?”

“Ha! Yes! Yes, Viktor!” Viktor’s words made him find a new limit as they ripped apart the old one.

Viktor leaned over and dropped a river of saliva just above his gaping hole to let it flow in. He looked up to watch his face with a sexy smile on his. “My filthy virgin slut. So eager to be used for my pleasure. Would you put on a show for me in front of a crowd if I told you it would please me?”

“Yes, Viktor! Yes! Anything! Please use me to do anything that would make you feel good.”

“God, you’re such a fucking slut.” He rose up to whisper in his ear. “I fucking love it. My little virgin slut. He makes me feel so good. Do you want me to give you your first taste of a cock?”

“Please, please, please, Viktor. I want it so bad. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’ll do my best to make you feel good.”

“I know you will, and that’s all you have to do, my gorgeous Yuri. You look so fucking hot right now. I’ve never seen anything I’ve ever wanted more.” He stroked his fingers down his cheek and over his neck. “Keep doing what you’re doing. I’ll be right back.” He left and picked up a curved purple dildo that was sitting on the cabinet then returned to the bottom of the table and spilled more lube over his ass. “Relax your fingers and curl them upward just a bit and stroke along that upper wall until you find a spot that feels different.”

He prodded about as Viktor said, but he couldn’t seem to locate what he was talking about.

“Having trouble?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

He retook his hand. “Here, curl your fingers a little more and let me move your hand.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

He relaxed his hand and Viktor began sliding it inside him, searching for something. Viktor watched his face as he narrowed in on a spot then thrust his fingers upward making his back arch off the pillows as colorful sparks lit in his eyes.

Viktor smiled. “There it is. Remember this spot. It’ll be your favorite. Stroke it a little on your own until you feel like you can locate it easily.”

Stroking more colors into his vision, he lost himself even more into this world inside him that Viktor was creating but tried to hold enough focus to follow his instructions. “What is that?”

“It’s your p-spot. Your prostate. It’s a small gland men have that feels absolutely amazing.”

“Do- do you do this too?”

“Yes, sometimes. I typically top, but I’ve topped from the bottom before too.”

“What- Ngh! What does that mean?”

“It means that I’d typically order you to take my cock, but ordering you to fuck me senseless is a possibility as well.”

“Ngh!” He whined as the images Viktor created layered behind the swirling colors in a fevered hallucination of unspeakable pleasure.

“Do you like the idea?”

“Yes, Viktor!”

He chuckled. “Such an eager slut. Be patient, zolotse.” He stuck the dildo in his mouth, sucking it into a dripping mess with his pink tongue lathing sloppy strokes along it then handed it to him. “Put this in and put the head of it right against that spot.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He pressed the head to his hole and slipped it in just enough for his walls to clamp down. He sucked back the breath of the bite.

“Just rest it there a minute. You’ll open back up if you relax.” He stroked his fingers over the new marks of pain to help him do just that, kissing lightly below the silks.

After a few seconds, he felt himself soften again, and he slipped the dildo the rest of the way in. He twisted it a bit until he got it seated against the right spot.

“Did you find it?”

“Yes, Viktor. I think so.”

“We’ll find out in a second. I’m going to turn it on and play with the settings. Tell me when I hit on any that feel particularly good.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

He switched on the dildo, and it came to life with a deep thrumming inside him that made him writhe with his gasping cries. “Looks like you did a good job. Don’t worry about telling me. Your response will tell me everything.” He cycled through the settings until he found one that made him respond the way he wanted then increased the intensity until Yuri felt like he was about to break apart then lowered it one click, leaving it vibrating hard for a few seconds then shutting off and coming back on to torment him again. “Color?”

“Gre- Ah!” The cycle came back on and cut off his ability to speak. He panted out the rest of the word as it backed off again. “Green.”

“Good. Since you won’t be able to speak, we’re going to use a physical signal as your safe word. Pinch my ass hard twice if you need me to back off and three times followed by a long pinch if you’re safewording and need to stop.”

“Like morse code?”

He laughed. “Yes, exactly that.”

“Does it mean-… Ah! Any-anything?”

“Well the two pinches would represent the letter I which works as a shorthand for, ‘I need less,’ and the three pinches followed by the long one is a V which is, ‘Viktor, you need to stop.’ You got those?”

“Two pinches is yellow, three followed by a long one is red.”

“Very good. And make sure they’re hard, so I don’t miss them. Don’t worry about hurting me. I prefer it on my ass, but anywhere on me you can reach is fine. Except my cock or balls, please unless you have no other option.” He laughed. “I’m not into pain.”

He couldn’t help laughing as well which cut off into whimpers with the vibrations rattling against his p-spot again. “I- I would have guessed differently.”

He climbed onto the table and straddled his chest on his knees, resting lightly on him, tugging gently on the clamps. His cock was already rock hard, straining through the fabric and brushing against his throat. He grabbed his hands and yanked his arms above his head. “Oh, I’m very much into your pain.” He leaned down to suck soft kisses onto the bare underside of each wrist then brought his hands down to rest on Viktor’s hips as he brought his own back up to hold around his neck. “Where are you okay with me cumming on you?”

“Anywhere.”

“Is there anywhere you’d most like it?”

His blush came back despite everything he had already exposed to him. He couldn’t help feeling the rush of embarrassment with every new layer ripped back. “Inside me, Viktor.” He spoke in a bare whisper as his blush heated his words away.

“My dirty little virgin slut wants me to cum down his throat for him to keep as his filthy little secret?” The hint of a smile warming his face as it always did when he said those words flooded them with affection.

“Yes. Yes, please, Viktor.”

“You want me to be the one to defile that pretty mouth of yours?”

“Please, Viktor.”

“Are you sure? That sweet mouth is the purest thing on you. Everything else on you begs for my touch shamelessly, but that mouth always begs as sweetly as an angel. You really want me to make it another filthy hole begging to be used for my pleasure?”

“Yes! Yes, Viktor. Please, Viktor. Please use me. Please let me feel you inside me.”

His smile widened as he slowly shook his head. “So sweet. You make sure you hold on to that sweetness even as I fuck it into a filthy, slutty mess. Can you do that for me?”

“Yes, Viktor. I’ll do anything you ask. Just, please. Please let me make you feel good.” He cried out as the vibrations came back on and wracked through his pleading body.   

“Just relax as much as you can. If you can keep your throat relaxed it helps keep your gag reflex calmer. Trying to swallow me down like you’re chugging beer can also help, and it feels amazing for me. I’m sorry, but I’m not the easiest option for your first time considering that I’m on the larger side.”

He chuckled. “Please, Viktor, let me taste your huge cock. I promise I’ll do my best not to let it overwhelm me.”

Viktor’s mouth gaped open in an indignant smile as he reached back behind him to tug on the chains. “Are you sassing me?” He pulled harder bit by bit, laughing as Yuri’s cries of pain started to slip from his lips. “I think my little virgin slut thinks it’s funny to sass me. Or maybe that was his way to ask me for more pain. Did you want some more punishment?”

“Yes! Ah! Yes, Viktor!” He twisted under him making his hold on the chains pull harder against his hotly aching nipples.

Viktor pulled a little harder then dropped the chain and dropped a kiss to his throat. “I don’t mind a little funishment as long as you don’t let it wreck your obedience.”

“Funishment?”

“Playfully disobeying or being disrespectful to get me to punish you for fun. It’s a bratty behavior so just be careful about going too far, but I do have a sense of humor even here.”

“How will I know if I’m going too far?”

“You never have to worry about that. I will always inform you of the limits as you reach them. Now, are you ready to taste my cock, my sassy little virgin slut?”

The vibrations made him whine and nod his head before he could answer properly. “Yes, Viktor. Please now?”

He rose up enough to slide his pants down below his ass. His freed cock dripped onto Yuri’s lips. He licked at the drop of precum, swiping it into his mouth to savor his first taste of Viktor.

Watching him with a smile, he stroked his cheek. “Do you like it?”

“Yes, Viktor,” he answered softly. “So much better than mine.”

“Go ahead. Take it all. You’ve more than earned it today. I’m so proud of you.” 

Parting his lips, he licked them then softly rested them against Viktor’s head, looking up at him as his tongue flicked out to gather more of his sweet taste. Hitching his breath at their first contact, Viktor smiled and stroked his thumb over his cheek. Yuri slipped more of his head into his mouth and swirled his tongue lightly over the tip, stopping to explore the ridge underneath that connected his skin. Viktor’s eyes closed for a moment as his chest pulsed deeper. They opened again, and he looked down at him, his eyes soft, warm, affectionate, doing unspeakable things on top of the already unspeakable sensations trying to claim his attention from down below. Nothing could have pulled his focus away from that look in Viktor's eyes directed at him. He opened wider to take more of him in, sliding his ridge and the sensitive skin below his foreskin slowly in and out of his mouth. He sucked gently as he pulled out then worked his tongue around his head again as he slid him back in. Viktor’s breath grew heavier, and his fingers moved to lace through his hair, but he held still, gently gripping him as he let him take him at his own pace.

He worked him in further then brought his trembling hand up to stroke his fingers lightly down the length, feeling his velvety skin below them. Tracing the veins and ridges, he opened further and slid him back along his tongue. Viktor’s hand tightened. Yuri's head swirled into a dizzying pleasure as everything in him joined at once. Moaning and pressed further until Viktor hit the back of his throat, mindless pleasure raced down to his overstimulated cock and hole.

“Yes, Yuri. So good. You feel so good. So incredible. Do you like the way my cock feels in your mouth? You don’t have to use words.”

He nodded and moaned, taking him deeper and hit his gag reflex. He held him there trying to stay relaxed as Viktor had instructed, breathing heavily.

Viktor stroked his hair. “Yes, exactly right. You’re making me feel so good.” His breathy voice backing up his words made a fresh swirl of pleasure roll through him. Viktor smiled and regripped his hair. “My perfect virgin slut.” He took Yuri’s hand and wrapped it around the base of his cock, sliding it back to pull his skin tight. “Hold here. I like feeling it tighten when I go in your throat.”

He moaned and pushed further until his reflex responded again. He tried to wait for it to calm, but he wanted to make Viktor feel good, so he started bobbing his head down his length.

Viktor tightened his grip to stop him as he started gagging. “Just wait. Wait until your body accepts me. I can wait too. Can you breathe?”

He nodded. He couldn’t breathe very well, but well enough and the lack of oxygen only heightened the dizzying pleasure.

“Good. You’re already making me feel so good. Just wait until you’re ready for more.”

He tried his best to follow his instructions, but with everything happening, waiting was the hardest thing to do. His body wanted to come so desperately, but it was held back and teetering on an edge with Viktor’s expert control. God, he needed to see Viktor lose control. He needed to see him fall apart by his touch. He needed Viktor to just let go and use him damn it. He swallowed him down as he pushed all the way until his lips met his hand then stopped, panting through his narrowed breath as he tried to hold back his body’s impulse to remove him from his throat. He kept swallowing him down as he found that helped him win his fight to keep him there and Viktor’s cries growing louder with each gulp egged him on.

“Oh god! Fuck, Yuri! Fuck that feels so good!” His head fell back as he panted and pulled hard at his hair. He lifted his head back to look down at him with a nasty smirk. “You fucking slut. God, what you’ll do to make me feel good. You want me to use you, yes?”

He nodded, his pleading eyes fixed on the blue flame burning hotter than ever in his, Viktor's body trembling with a dangerous excitement on the brink of losing control.

“You want me to make you my filthy little whore?”

He nodded again as a cry slipped out of his stuffed mouth.

Both of Viktor’s hands came to his head to grip his hair and angle his head up to open his throat further as he started to thrust in tiny strokes inside his mouth. Yuri alternated between trying to relax and swallowing when his body stupidly felt like rejecting his cock.

“How does my virgin slut like being used like this? Does it feel good?”

He nodded quickly, moaning as pleasure pressed against every inch of his body. Viktor began thrusting harder, and something triggered at the back of his throat making a deep shiver rock through him. Shaking cries rolled out of Viktor’s mouth between his thrusts as he gained speed and power and his body began to melt under his control. Finally giving up his restraint, Viktor fucked into his mouth. The pleasure inside him rose higher and higher. He had barely enough focus left to watch Viktor’s face and the deep flush over his cheeks and chest and shoulders as he shot his cum down his sloppy mouth spilling down his chest.

Viktor pulled out, and he swallowed the rest of his cum down and greedily licked his lips drawing an amused smile from Viktor as he reached down to crank up the power of the vibrations and turn them into a steady stream. He then removed the clamps which shockingly felt worse rather than better as blood forced its way back into his now painfully sensitive nipples. Viktor pulled his pants back up and moved to the side to watch him writhe on the table. His fingers pinched and rolled his nipples, dropping him further into the pleasure cracking through him. He distantly heard his cries screaming out of him as he finally exploded, every muscle in his body clenching hard as he came sending his cum shooting across his chest. Viktor watched the last twitches of pleasure play across his body then switched off the vibrator and carefully removed it and released the buckle on the cock ring without touching him then dropped down to lap the cum from his body. He writhed some more as he passed over his nipples though he felt so drained, he didn’t even know his body could still move.

Viktor untied him from his silks and held Yuri’s neck inside his hands. “You’re so wonderful, Yuri. You made me feel so incredibly good. Thank you so much, my beautiful Yuri. I’m so proud of you. How are you feeling?”

He nodded slowly.

Viktor laughed. “Okay, that was your last non-verbal answer. Back to using your pretty words. Did you hold on to your sweetness for me like I asked?”

“I don’t know, Viktor.” His words sounded like he was drunk. “You’ll have to tell me. Am I still sweet enough for you?”

He nodded and dropped down to gather him in his arms, burying his face into his chest. “The sweetest. So perfect, Yuri. Did I make you feel good?”   

“Uh, yeah. Yes, Viktor. That was… mind-blowing. I hope you know where you put it because I don’t.”

“Put what? Your mind?” Viktor looked up with a smile.

“Yes, Viktor.”

He chuckled. “Yeah, don’t worry. I’ve got it right here.” He touched his hand to his chest. “Right along with the rest of you.” He scooped him up into his arms and carried him into the jade room and placed him on the pillow, stopping to grab the lotion on the way. How he managed to do that while holding his weight after everything he’d done today was unknown to Yuri.

“You’re really strong. It’s so sexy.” He smiled and caressed his cheek as the swirling in his body settled into giddiness.

Viktor pulled him back into his arms to cuddle him as he laid down next to him. “I think you’re the sexiest person I’ve ever seen.” He kissed quickly all over him making him laugh and squeal with the tickling kisses.

He sighed as Viktor settled in to start massaging the lotion in over his fresh marks. “Why won’t you touch me?”

“What do you mean? I’m touching you right now.”

“I mean… where you set the limits. You said you didn’t want my first touch to be something potentially unpleasant, but you could touch me with your hands or… or your mouth and that wouldn’t be unpleasant at all, and then you’d be free to do what you want. It doesn’t have to be sex that I feel first.”

“I guess you’re not wrong there.”

“Sooo…?” He tugged at the hem of his shirt.

“I think maybe I limited us more than I needed to because I could sense what a force you’d have on me. I think I was very wise to do that.”

“Is that your gentle way of turning me down again?” He dropped his hand from his shirt.

“Yes.” He picked his hand back up and kissed it. “Don’t take that as me rejecting you. It’s not. It’s the exact opposite. It’s me admitting that controlling myself around you is exceptionally difficult. It’s me admitting that you have me so under your spell; I can’t handle what I normally can. I tried pushing our limits today, and I nearly lost it. You have no idea what that took for me to hold back from you just now.”

“What do you mean? You were inside me.”

“I mean,” he took his throat in his hand and leaned down until his face was inches away, “I want to make you mine. All of you. I can withstand you touching me easier than I can hold myself back when I touch you because the more of you I grab, the more I want to take. I want to make you mine, and I know that you would let me.” Sighing, he sat back and released his hold. “But it would be fake because this is all still just a game to you.”

“It’s not.”

“It is and don’t try to deny it. If it’s not a game, tell me. What are we really doing here?” He watched him as he struggled to answer, giving up the fight after a moment and lowering his eyes. Viktor lifted his chin back up to make him look at him again. “It’s okay. I’m still fine with the game. I know you need more time. Just don’t look so hurt when I hold back from giving you more of me when you held back first.”

“I’m sorry, Viktor.”

“You don’t need to apologize. I knew the situation going in. Don’t worry.” He smiled. “I want you to feel just as good as you’ve made me feel. Did you know that you were absolutely amazing tonight?” He tickled his sides to draw his laugh back out. “Seriously, that was the best blowjob I’ve ever had.”

“Li-” He slapped his hands over his mouth and looked over them with wide eyes.

Viktor laughed. “You look so cute like that, I’ll ignore the fact that you were about to call me a liar again. This time. But it truly was. You know what makes for the best blowjobs?”

“No, Viktor.”

“A desire to please that runs so deep you get pleasure off of the other person’s pleasure. Add in a touch of pride in yourself and your work, and it knocks it out of the park. That’s exactly what you just gave me alongside those sweet cinnamon eyes of yours asking if I was happy the entire way.”

"I don't really have pride though." 

"Yes, you do. You put so much effort and attention into what you're doing, and you get pleasure from doing a good job. Someone without pride just doesn't care. You care very much." 

"Yeah... I guess I do." 

Viktor smoothed away his creased thoughts on his face as he worked the lotion in over him again and brought him back to that elevated, giddy place of bliss. He was so good. How did a man so incredibly good have so much time for him? So much patience. So much generosity. So much care. His heart ached at receiving so much from him, and it kept hurting worse by the second until he couldn’t take any more.

“Viktor? Please, can I massage you too?” He spoke over his shoulder as he lay on his stomach while Viktor worked over the back of his leg.

“No. This is your time to recover after the demands I put on you and your body.”

“My time… what time is it?”

“Five fifty-five.” His voice twinged with sadness.

He nodded and settled back onto the pillow. Five minutes. He can hold on for five more minutes.

Viktor kissed the bottom of each foot and sat back. “Six o’clock. You’re free.”

“Perfect.” He sat up and turned around, lifting up the hem of Viktor’s shirt. “May I?”

He looked confused but lifted his arms. “Sure. I was going to give it to you anyway. Put it on.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He put it over his head and sniffed deeply as he put his arms though. He nearly moaned as the scent of Viktor, slightly sweaty and soaked with sex, penetrated his body again. Oh god. This shirt. He never wanted to take it off again.

He grinned. “It’s past six. You don’t have to speak to me like that.”

“Yes, Viktor. Your pants too.”

He laughed in surprise. “My pants? You want to steal everything from me? Fine.” He pretended to pout as he pulled them off and tossed them in his face. “Take them. Put those on too. It’ll be nicer than dirty stable jeans.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He slipped the pants on and climbed off the pillow to roll them up at the waist a bit and re-tie the drawstring. He couldn’t help noticing the slight dampness at the front, and it thrilled him to have it brushing over his bare cock. “Lay down.”

Viktor grinned and flopped onto the pillow on his back. “Like this?”

“Yes, Viktor. Do I have permission to touch everything?”

“Everything but my lips.”

“Thank you, Viktor. May I use your lotion?”

He smiled and nodded. “Do I have your permission to continue touching and kissing you as I have been?”

His blush swelled as he dipped his chin. “Yes, Viktor.”

He brushed his hand over his cheek. “Thank you.”

He straddled him and sat as lightly as he could on his hips as he pumped the lotion into his hands. He warmed it between them before running them over his chest and shoulders pressing deeply into the muscle.

Viktor moaned. “Oh, Yuri. That feels so good. Why are you doing this though? Don’t you want to go?”

“You worked hard today. You deserve some pampering too. And I don’t want to be anywhere but right here.”

***

 

Chapter Text

“Oh, Yuri. Yuri, just like that.” Viktor moaned. “So good. You’re so incredible at this! How?”

Yuri’s blushing smile squeezed onto his face as he pulled his hands away and sat back. “I’m glad you liked it. I just did what felt right.”

Pulling him into his arms, he snuggled him against his chest. “You should always do what feels right for you. That was incredible. The best massage I’ve ever had.”

Yuri blushed harder and buried his face into Viktor’s chest. “I don’t know how you could say that and mean it.”

“Wow. Progress already. That was a much better way to phrase your doubts without insulting me and forming your opinion on the matter before I have a chance to share my side. And it wasn’t even during the hours when you’d have to find a way to phrase it like that. I’m so proud of you, Yuri. Now maybe when I tell you that you made me feel so special and… cared for you’ll believe me. At least a little.”

He nodded. “Yes, Viktor.”

He pulled him tighter for a kiss to his hair. “Thank you for giving me room to speak in there.”

“You’re welcome?”

Viktor sighed in satisfaction, tightening his arms. “How much longer do I have with you?”

“Um… I don’t know. What do you mean?”

“I mean, will you have dinner with me?”

He looked up to meet Viktor’s gentle eyes. “You… want to have dinner with me?”

“Yes, I would like that, but it’s entirely your choice.”

He thought for a moment then dipped his chin. “Okay.”

He beamed. “Thank you, Yuri. What would you like? I can list a few options, or I can decide for us.”

“You decide, please.”

“As you wish.”

(17) They struggled to untangle themselves and leave the comfort of that little room and Viktor led them to the kitchen without stopping to clothe himself where he started gathering ingredients from the fridge. “Can you slice these for a salad?” He filled his hands with bright vegetables then turned back to the fridge.

“Um, sure… Uh… are you going to put clothes on?”

“Nope.”

“Really?”

“Yes really.”

“Uh… why not?”

He set some deep crimson steaks on the counter and sprinkled them with salt. “Would you rather not have dinner with me if I’m naked?”

“No… it’s- it’s fine. I’m just curious as to why. Do you always do this?”

“No. This is just for you.”

“Me?” His voice squeaked as he tumbled the veggies onto the cutting board. “Why?”

“I’m giving you an easier time picturing your audience naked.” He flipped his hair out of his face and winked.

He shook his head at him, wide-eyed. “Who even are you? You’re not… Nothing makes sense.”

“I could say the same for you, Yuri Katsuki. As soon as I start to think I’ve got you figured out, you start showing me something new.” He slipped an apron over his head and tied it around his bare waist then headed for the patio with the potatoes he had cut in half and spread with butter and seasonings and some fresh asparagus, stopping on the way to turn on the oven.

Yuri couldn’t help but giggle at the strings bouncing over his bare ass as he walked away from him.

“I heard that!” Viktor called with an amused lilt in his voice without looking back. “No laughing at me for being hospitable to my guest.”  

Yuri kept giggling as he started slicing the tomatoes. “What kind of person calls this being hospitable? This is insane is what it is.”

“Makes sense to me,” he shouted from the patio. “I have a lovely dinner guest who feels uncomfortable under pressure so I’m taking the pressure off. Plus, you’ve mentioned that you like the view, so why not let you enjoy it?”

“I don’t know if this is taking the pressure off.” He couldn’t stop his smile as he started on a bright orange pepper.

He watched him with his head tilted and a turn at the corner of his mouth. “I don’t know. Seems to be working to me.” He came in and set a cast iron skillet on the stove and cranked up the heat and poured some oil in. As soon as some wisps of smoke began drifting up from the pan, he placed the steaks in to violently sizzle. After a couple of minutes, he turned them over and placed the pan in the oven, turning off the stove.

“What do you mean by audience?”

He came up behind him, wrapping his arms around him and nuzzling into his neck as he worked. “Your issues with food aren’t just issues with food itself. There’s some connection there I haven’t quite worked out yet, but when you felt like I was watching you, you were nearly in tears and tried to run away, but you were able to relax when I redirected both of our focuses to something else. I’d like to enjoy a conversation with you tonight rather than taking our focus off of each other, so I decided to try this and see if making myself as non-threatening as possible would help keep the pressure off of you.”

“If you think you naked is non-threatening, you’ve clearly never looked in a mirror before.”

He laughed as he removed himself to place a bowl in front of him for the salad. “At the very least it’s a good distraction that doesn’t require taking our focus off of each other, yes?”

Dumping the loaded cutting board into the bowl, he smiled. “Da.”

“Yuri! You remembered. Excellent pronunciation too.”

“It’s just one little syllable. It’d be kinda sad if I couldn’t even remember that one.”

“True. It is an easy one. Okay, what’s the word for trust?”

“Um… dobreyat?”

“Close. It’s doveryat’”

“Dov…eryat’”

“Excellent. I don’t want to spend all night quizzing you, so I’ll just ask one more.” He came back to slide a glass of red wine in front of him and wrap around his back again, his hands snaking up under his shirt. His voice came low at his ear. “What’s the word for mine?”

He shivered at the growl from Viktor’s voice rippling down his spine. “Moy.”

“Excellent, Yuri. I’m so pleased that you remember that one so well. Moy krasivyy Yuri.”

His head leaned back onto Viktor’s shoulder as his lips traveled his neck. “I don’t think you taught me that one yet.”

“Hmm, I think you’re right, my beautiful Yuri.” He sighed. “But I don’t think I’m allowed to call you that right now, am I?”

“What’s it that they always say here? It’s a free country? You can say whatever you want.”

He shook his head. “I need your permission to call you mine. You’ve only given it until six.”

“Oh. Um, I guess it’s fine.”

He shook his head again. “If you’re only guessing then it’s not fine. And I don’t trust your definition of fine.”

“Why would you want to?”

“Isn’t it obvious? I want to call you mine for as long as you’ll let me.”

“I can’t understand why.”

“I know. There are so many lies in there about yourself that are blocking out my truth.”

“They’re not lies.”

“I know you believe that too.” He stepped back and took a sip of his wine. “Will you get me a small bowl please, Yuri?” He put down his glass and went to the other counter to pick up the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

“Yes, Viktor.” He turned to the cabinet and pulled down a white ceramic bowl.

“That wasn’t an order. It was a request for a favor.”

“I know.” He handed him the bowl.

Viktor paused looking down at him with another of his unreadable expressions with so many different things going into it before he took it. “Thank you, Yuri.” He spoke slowly with a smile lighting between his words. He mixed together the oil and vinegar along with a few spices then went back to check the grill and pull the steaks from the oven. He smiled when he turned around to see the plates Yuri had set on the counter for him. “Do you enjoy serving my needs?” He slid the steaks onto the plates.

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Do you know why?”

“It just… feels good to make you happy.”

“It does, doesn’t it?” He watched him with that small, analyzing, warm smile then took the plates to the grill.

He came back and placed them in front of him so he could fill the rest of the plates with the salad and drizzle the dressing over it. Viktor took off his apron, and they gathered their utensils and wine then he led them to a staircase that went to a balcony nested high in the peaked domes of the rooves. The sun was just beginning to set against the dusted blue sky.

Viktor set down his plate and glass and the bottle of wine he had snagged on the way then pulled the chair out next to his and held his hand in front of himself gesturing to the chair as he bowed looking every bit like a proper butler. If a butler were ever to serve his guest naked that is. Yuri shook his head at the sheer ridiculousness of the moment and sat down on the plush cushion on the iron patio chair as Viktor pushed it in behind him. Viktor pulled his chair closer so they were sitting askew of each other with their knees brushing under the table while looking out over the stables lit with soft golden lanterns and a fiery sky.

“Bon Appétit.” Viktor raised his glass then took a sip.

He picked up his knife and fork and tried to cut into his steak as Viktor was doing but his hands started to shake, and he dropped them back down with a clatter.

“Yuri, I’d really love to see you enjoy the meal we made together.”

“I know. I’m trying.”

“Do you want me to give you an order?”

He glanced over at the man who somehow instantly retook his dominant aura in full force despite his ridiculous nudity. “Please, Viktor.”

“I’m going to back this one up with pain.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

He stood up and came behind him putting one hand firmly around his throat while the other gripped the bruises on his inner thigh. He squeezed down on his thigh until Yuri started whimpering which quickly turned to moans as his body heated under Viktor’s grip. “Yuri, eat your food.” His voice carried the cool rasp of a threat. “You’re not just going to eat it; you’re going to enjoy it. You’re going to show me your appreciation by savoring every single bite. Do you understand me?”

His pulse throbbed against Viktor’s hand. “Yes, Viktor.”

“Show me you understand.” His grip tightened.

His hands trembled harder than before but he picked up his knife and fork and cut off a piece and put it in his mouth chewing slowly.

Viktor waited for him to swallow. “How is it?”

“It’s delicious. Thank you, Viktor.”

“Drink your wine.” He squeezed just a little harder.

He picked up his glass and drank the decadent wine that chased the rush of Viktor’s grip with a loosening of his own. He melted into his hold as his body refreshed the calm he had in Viktor’s jade room.

“That’s it, Yuri.” He held tighter. “So good for me. Keep going. You need to enjoy all of it to please me. If you don’t there will be severe consequences. You don’t have a choice. You will satisfy me.”

He swallowed, his throat rippling against the hand holding his life. “Yes, Viktor.”

He released his hold and topped off his glass. “Excellent, Yuri. Now that we have that cleared up, we can move on to enjoying our time together, yes?”

He shivered as the heat from Viktor’s body was removed. “Yes, Viktor.”

Viktor stopped at a cedar trunk and pulled out a soft, knitted blush-colored blanket and wrapped it around Yuri’s shoulders.

“Thank- thank you.” His eyes followed him as he went back to his chair and resumed his meal. “Aren’t you cold? It’s a bit chilly with the sun dropping.”

“I’m Russian. It’d take a lot more than a little darkness to chill me.” Viktor watched him with a smile pulling on his lips as he cut another bite and ate it with relatively little hesitation.

It was one of the best things he had ever tasted, and he was starving. Why- He didn’t have the answers to his questions. There was no point in asking himself. He looked to Viktor. “Why is it worse with you? It’s never been this bad before.”

“Hmm… that is a good question and there are a lot of factors to consider when teasing out an answer. You’ve really never experienced it like this before?”

“No, Viktor. It’s been a little uncomfortable sometimes before but never to the point where I had to be forced to eat. I mean you are the most gorgeous person I’ve ever seen let alone shared a meal with so maybe it’s just that.” He took a sip of wine as Viktor watched him with a smile creasing under his eyes.

“Thank you, but I think your issues with food have less to do with your image issues than you think. And it’s hard to say off of how few meals we’ve shared but it seems to be getting worse, not better when I consider that you should have been feeling pretty good and relaxed right now and yet you weren’t able to take a single bite when the other meals you were able to eat at least a little before you met resistance. Exposure should be desensitizing you.” His eyes tightened a little as he thought. “And the eggs and toast this morning you didn’t have much of an issue with…” He glanced at the plates in front of them. “I’m getting a bit of an idea here, but I don’t want to say anything until I have more information to confirm it. I will say though that I believe it’s getting worse because I’m digging up whatever the root of it is. I think you’re going to find that a lot. Things will keep getting worse as we get closer to what it is that you really want me to remove.”

“I want you to remove? I never said anything like that.”

“Come now, Yuri. I know you can understand that one as you understood what I needed from you without my explicit statement.”

“But I don’t need anything.”

“Oh, now that is a huge lie, but as most of yours are, it’s directed towards yourself. We all need something, Yuri. You’re no exception.”

He took a bite of his potato. “What do you need? I mean not what you need from me, just in general.”

“Hmm… what do I need… that is another excellent question. I need something that lasts. I need something that’s strong. The world, everything around me feels like it’s moments away from either crumbling apart or flittering away. It’s always the little things too. I hope to have two more seasons with Toska but he could take a misstep tomorrow and end it right there. No matter how much effort I put into building something strong, it’s always the little things that break it apart. I need something that doesn’t feel like that.”

“I hope you find it.”

“I hope so too.” He smiled gently. “I hope you realize what it is that you need. And I hope,” he refilled both of their glasses, “that I’m the one who can give it to you.”

***

Yuri walked slowly back to his house through the fog that had descended down the hills in the cool air with his smile resting on the bliss Viktor had placed in his body. After a delicious meal filled with light-hearted conversation, he’d sent him off with hands dragging over his bruises as he ravaged his neck and chest with kisses just threatening a bite as a reward for finishing his dinner. He now felt as though the fog itself was carrying him down the hill. Lifting his shirt to his nose, he breathed deeply letting Viktor’s scent dizzy his senses again. Dropping it as he reached his door, he tugged it back into place to make sure the bruises on his chest were covered.

“Yuri!” Phichit tossed his phone aside and jumped up from the couch where the box of leftover pizza from last night sat on the coffee table along with two wine glasses and threw his arms around him again.

He put his hands up between them just before Phichit landed.

He jumped back. “Damn it! I forgot. You’re still bruised, aren’t you? I’m so sorry. I was just worried about you again. Where were you?” His eyes ran over him inspecting his strange outfit.

“I, uh, I was with Viktor.”

“He made you stay overtime? He’s always really strict about making us go home on time. Oh, was he making you make up for being late the other day?”

“Uh, yeah.”

“That sucks. What was he having you do that late?”

He glanced down at the oversized clothing hanging on his body. “Um, Viktor wanted… a yoga partner and asked me to help him. To, um, make sure he was moving correctly. He can’t afford to injure himself right at the start of the season.”

“Right. Of course not. So… are those his clothes you’re wearing? They look a little big on you.”

“Uh yeah. I showered and changed there so we wouldn’t be working out in stable clothes, and he lent me this, so I didn’t have to make a trip back down here.”

“Ah. That makes sense.” He glanced at his empty hands. “You left your clothes there?”

“Oh, yeah.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “I, uh, guess I forgot them.”

“Oh. I wish I had known you weren’t going to be back at six. I thought we were going to watch a movie tonight.”

He winced. “Ah, crap. I did say that, didn’t I? I’m so sorry! I completely forgot about that. I should have texted you.”

“It’s fine. It’s not a big deal.”

He looked over at the box and cringed again. “You waited for me, didn’t you?”

“A bit. I ate a little because I was starving, but I can still eat and it’s not too late to watch a movie if you still wanted to.”  

“Actually… I kinda already ate. I’m so sorry. Viktor wanted to make sure we ate something after working all day, so we didn’t pass out. And, um, I’m really kind of too tired for a movie tonight. I think I’m just going to go to bed. I’m really really sorry.”

“Don’t worry about it. It’s fine. You can’t help it that your boss asked you to stay late. Is it going to be a permanent thing? The yoga?”

“Um… I really don’t know. I’m sorry. I’ll make sure I text you next time so this doesn’t happen again.”

“Don’t worry about it, Yuri. I’m not mad.” He smiled. “In fact, now that Viktor’s not around…” He leaned in and put them into a kiss, his tongue slipping into his mouth.

Even though Phichit was only touching one small part of him, he felt his touch all over his body. He flinched back, breaking the kiss. “I’m sorry. I’m just really exhausted.”

His face fell a bit, but he held onto his smile. “I bet. Viktor must have worked you hard today if he was upset enough about yesterday to make you stay after. Go get some rest. I’ll be here tomorrow too.”

“I’m sorry again. Have a good night.” He waved and stopped in the bathroom to brush his teeth then collapsed onto his bed, glancing at the nightstand next to him as he checked his alarm on his phone and set the little digital clock on the stand for a few minutes after. He pulled out Viktor’s lotion bottle and sniffed deeply then impulsively put a dab on his finger and spread it over his lips before he dropped off to sleep, his nose buried inside Viktor’s shirt.

***

He dropped to his knees, a strange lightness soaking into him. A soft sigh of relief escaped as he bowed as neatly as he could. Straightening his back as he rose back up, he lifted his eyes to Viktor’s delighted face.

“I love the bow.” He stood up and walked over to him with his face still shining. “That is an excellent touch which you’ve now spoiled me on, so I expect to see it every morning.”

He smiled as Viktor’s pleasure became his own pride. “Yes, Viktor.”

His hand brushed over his cheek to his hold on the side of his neck. “Thank you for giving me another day with you.”

He shuddered as his touch both grounded him and expanded the lightness filling him even though his response was still stuck in his mouth. “Thank you for… offering me you… for another day.”

Shivering hot breath ran over his neck as Viktor’s lips chased it. “My Yuri. So warm and inviting.” His voice dropped with his rumbling lust. “Feels so good to have your trust wrapped so thick and hot and tight around me. I intend to push deep today. I need to expose more of you. Will you take more of me?”

He whimpered as his body clenched around every word then gasped and fell into Viktor’s steadying hands, his desire spiking to dangerous levels. “Yes. Yes, Viktor.”

A sighing moan escaped from deep in his chest. “So sinfully delectable. My Yuri. What a perfect way to begin our day together.” With one last sucking kiss to his neck that screamed of restraint, he stood up and held out his hand.

His eyes were wild yet again as his breath heaved before he was able to calm himself enough to put his hand in Viktor’s.

He helped him to his feet, his fingers caressing the roll of flab above his hip that had been exposed when his shirt rode up before Viktor tugged it back into place. “How did you sleep?”

“Um, really well actually. I fell asleep as soon as I got home.”

“Really.” His eyebrows lifted then his face spread into a warm smile as he pulled him into his steady hands making Yuri’s barely regained composure fall apart. “That makes me so happy to hear.” Pulling him into a hug, he ran his hands down his back in long, soothing strokes. “Easy, Yuri. I will take care of that later.” He released him with a kiss to his cheek. “Come now. We’ve got a lot of work to do today.” He turned and they headed back up the hill once again.

***

He stared at the outfit Viktor laid out for him on the bed, his body still damp from their shower after their workout and his hair dripping onto his shoulders. A deep amethyst polo shirt that fell into a near black with dips in the sheen splayed over charcoal breeches laid behind tall black boots polished to an immaculate shine as though someone had once been wearing the outfit then sat down on the edge of the bed and vanished into thin air leaving the clothes behind as the sole evidence of their existence.

“I can’t.”

“You can because this is my order.”

His body trembled as tears pricked at his eyes. “Please, Viktor. I can’t. I can’t wear this.”

“Is that an acceptable answer to my orders?”

“No, Viktor. I’m sorry.”

“You can wear it and you will wear it. Put it on and meet me in the kitchen in five minutes. Do not be late.” He turned and walked off leaving Yuri behind as he wiped at the tears on his face.

Five minutes didn’t even give him a moment to think or prepare. His tears ran down his cheeks and his breath struggled through his sobs as he put on the clothes that belonged on someone, anyone else. Nothing he’d worn had ever fit him better. He zipped up the back of the boot and snapped the last closure shut and raced down to find Viktor in the kitchen waiting with open arms. He crashed into them, and Viktor caught him tight.

“Shh… you’re okay, my beautiful Yuri. You did so well for me. I’m so, so proud of you. I know that was hard for you.”

His sobs ran harder against his chest.

“Shh… easy, Yuri. You’re okay. Everything’s going to be fine. I promise.” He stroked his hair and kissed the top of his head. “I’m responsible for everything here. You don’t have to worry about a thing other than doing as I tell you, and you’re so good at that. Easy, Yuri. Slow your breath for me.” He ran his hand down his back. “Good. Just like that. Nice and steady. That’s my good Yuri.”

Laughter broke through his sobs. “You talk to me like I’m a horse.”

He laughed and kissed his head. “I guess I do. But you are like a horse, aren’t you? So strong and brave but a little uneven crossing or a bit of flapping fabric can send you skittering away. But with the right leader you can put your trust in, you won’t hesitate to show the world what you can really do. I’m sure of it.” He stroked his head with long, rhythmic pets. “Easy, Yuri.” They both started laughing again and Viktor lifted his face up to kiss the tears from his cheeks. “Let me see you.”

He released him and stood back for Viktor’s eyes to roam his body appraisingly.

“You look gorgeous, Yuri. Absolutely stunning. I’m so pleased that I’ll get to see you looking this perfect every day.”

“I look wrong. I feel wrong.”

“Hmm…” He placed his finger on his lips to think. “There is one thing we can do to improve your appearance and make you feel better about this.” His finger dropped away from the dark lust on his lips. “Kneel.” He took off his glasses and set them aside and combed his fingers through his still damp hair, pushing it away from his face as he looked up at him from his knees. “Take my cock out.”

His own lurched as he reached for Viktor’s buckle with shaking hands. He unzipped his breeches and carefully exposed his cock, already thickening under his touch. Looking up from under it, he licked his lips as he waited further instruction.

“Yes, you’re already looking better like this; on your knees and hungry for my cock. Go ahead. Make me feel good. But don’t make a mess.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He took him in his hand and licked over the tip, sighing as a calm pleasure washed over him with his taste. “Thank you, Viktor.”

He smiled and laced his fingers into Yuri’s hair. “That’s my good little virgin slut. Don’t spill a drop.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

He licked his head and ran his lips over the ridge as he admired the rapid swell filling his fist and his mouth. Looking up to watch his response, he slid him in until he hit the back of his throat then swallowed him further, breathing slowly to keep his throat from struggling against the intrusion as he moved him in his mouth. Viktor’s hands gripped his hair as his breath spiked and his eyes rolled back.

“Oh god, my Yuri. Such a good little virgin slut you are. Yes, just like that. You remembered so well.” He looked down at him and released one hand to caress his cheek. “Yes, you do look so much better with my cock in your mouth. You feel better too, don’t you?”

He nodded and took him in further, moaning as feeling more of Viktor inside him pushed his own pleasure deeper. The taste of his precum started filling his mouth and he sucked it down to the sound of Viktor’s cries laced with praises and curses, slurping and sucking along his length when it threatened to spill. His cock started to pulse as his orgasm approached and Yuri pressed further, taking him in as much as his body would allow then moved in small thrusts trying to match the rhythm Viktor had used when he fucked into his mouth, watching Viktor struggle to keep his eyes on him through the pleasure trying to tear them away.

“Fuck. Fu- fuck, my Yuri. My perfect Yuri. So- So- Ah!” His gasping words fell into just Yuri’s name stumbling and breaking over his lips as he filled him with his cum.

Swallowing every last bit of his taste, he pulled back and sucked the rest from his cock to clean him thoroughly as it jumped against his lips. Satisfied that he’d done as he was told, he wiped his chin and sat back, looking up to await further instructions.

Viktor didn’t take his eyes off of him as he tucked himself back in and refastened his clothing, and it filled him with a greedy pleasure that longed to keep his eyes on him always. Taking Yuri’s chin in his hand, he ran his thumb over his cheek. “That felt incredible. You did such an amazing job. You should be so proud of yourself. Even better than the first and that was already mind-blowing.” He smiled and ran his thumb over his lips. “Such soft lips too.” He released his hold and turned to the table. “Come now. Time to eat.”

He ran his finger over his lips as he stood up. They were softer than usual. He joined him at the table where two plates of scrambled eggs and toast sat with a slice of honeydew melon and coffee.

Viktor filled their cups. “Sorry, I burnt the toast a little.”

“It’s okay. I don’t mind. Thank you, Viktor.” He picked up a piece and started eating while Viktor watched him carefully between bites.

After breakfast, they went down to the tack room and Yuri gathered Toska’s tack then followed Viktor out who stopped at a saddle rack just a bit past Toska’s stall.

“Put his things here and go get him. Time to teach you how to perform blood magic.” He smiled and tossed his hair into an adorable, sexy wink. When Yuri returned a minute later, he gestured for him to follow him into the little side aisle where a horse vacuum stood. He flipped it on and picked up a shedding comb from the brush box that was just a long straight handle of wood with a fine row of metal teeth coming off the edge. “First thing is, make sure you’re not standing where you’ll be pulling the dirt and hair onto you. Stand ahead of the brush and push it away from you. Second thing.” He picked up a clean white towel from a stack on a shelf and tossed it over his shoulder. “Don’t use your clothes as a napkin.” He smiled and shook his head. “Surely your mother taught you that one.”

He cringed remembering the other day when every time his face got too loaded up with dirt and hair, he lifted the bottom of Viktor’s shirt used it to clear it away. By the end of the day, his shirt had been more brown than gray. It was just the simplest way to do things and dirt was an accepted part of working with horses. But of course, Viktor had a better way. “Yes, Viktor.”

“You start with the shedding comb to help loosen the dirt and hair and follow right behind it with the vacuum before it has a chance to drift onto you and all over the aisle.” He started working long strokes down Toska’s body taking an already clean horse and making him gleam. As soon as a light sheen of sweat worked up on Viktor’s skin from the muggy morning he used the towel to dry it away before it could work as a magnet for the dirt. “All of the horses are already used to the vacuum, so you shouldn’t have any issues there. If this one is in use, there’s another one in the next aisle up and another at the far end by the stairs to the loft.” Once he finished with the shedding comb, he picked up the rubber curry and repeated the same procedure, giving Toska a thorough massage with the rubber fingers on the comb who showed his appreciation with deep grunts. He picked up the hard brush next and again followed with the vacuum while also stopping every three strokes to run the vacuum over the brush itself. “You also need to keep your brushes clean. You can’t clean a horse properly with a dirty brush.” The long strokes of the polishing soft brush got the same treatment, and just when Yuri thought that any further efforts could only be wasted as Toska was already impeccable, he picked up a bottle of coat conditioner and a soft rag from the shelf next to the towels and used the rag to work the conditioner into his coat until he took on the luster of liquid silver with his dapples glinting even in the low light inside the barn. A thorough detangling of his mane and tail, picking his hooves of any dirt and stones, and a quick sweep of the aisle with the vacuum left the stable, the horse, and Viktor all spotless.

He turned to him with a smile. “See? Blood magic is easy with the right technique. Plus, I’ll let you in on one more little secret. The fabric is designed to repel dirt. It won’t hold up against your technique of burying yourself in as much dirt as possible, but it works fine for mine.” He smiled, amused at his own little jab. He tossed his dirty towels into a bin below the shelf. “Tack him up.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He put the crimson sport boots on his lower legs first then added the matching saddle pad that had a trim of gold rope around the edge and hefted the black dressage saddle weighted down with solid craftsmanship and fine leather over his back. Toska opened his mouth readily for the shiny gold bits he had polished himself yesterday as he slid the headstall of the bridle over his ears. He buckled everything in place then followed Viktor outside to the dressage arena that had no more fence than a one-foot rail lined with flowers to mark the border. Letters at regular intervals along the border that made absolutely no logical sense other than tradition marked the spots for the rider to give their cues. The only letter that did make sense was unmarked; an imaginary X in the center of the arena where every test began and ended with a salute. He gave Viktor a leg up into the saddle then settled in to work on cleaning the jumping tack as Viktor rode through the labyrinthine weaving of a test on his gleaming horse after giving his salute to Yuri as if he were the judge.

It was Toska’s perfect obedience to Viktor’s faultless guidance that made him excel and it was the dressage that many overlooked in favor of the more thrilling jumping that made that clear. Viktor had control of his every muscle and could alter each one at his call. While jumping is judged by the fences, it’s won on the ground. If Viktor needed a shorter path for a faster time, Toska would whip through the turn with a touch. If he needed him to contract and collect himself to hit the right mark, Toska would contain his forward momentum into a compact bundle and wait until Viktor released him. If Viktor needed him to cover a distance of five strides in four, Toska would stretch himself out and take up the extra ground simply by reaching for it. Viktor could take risks because he knew that whatever he asked, Toska would be there to provide it, leaving his mind free to find the best possible path for them.

It would be easy to miss what Viktor was truly doing out there with how quietly he sat and how subtle his commands were, but the way Toska came alive under his touch was unmistakable. Viktor’s will flowed straight into Toska and took control of his speed and power and rendered them utterly balanced and perfectly precise. It was humanity finding a balance with nature and building a relationship that elevated them both on the trust that flowed in the unbreakable connection between them. He had never in his life seen anything more worthy of being called perfect.      

After Viktor dismounted, Yuri brought the saddle he had cleaned in and followed Viktor into the stable with Toska’s reins in his free hand. Finished untacking him, he rinsed the sweat from Toska’s body in the wash stall and iced his legs and put him back out in the pasture as Viktor had directed him then met him back in the tack room where Viktor stood in front of his cabinet.

“Get Avos’s brush box, saddle pad, boots, side reins, cavesson, lunge line and a lunge whip.” He opened the cabinet and pulled a helmet out of a box and sat it on his head, checking the fit. Satisfied, he handed it to him. “This is yours. You can leave it in my cabinet for now. His saddle racks now have his name. I was able to get the saddler to loan some temporary saddles for him that should fit you better until the custom ones come in.”

“Viktor.”

“Is there something you’d like to share regarding my orders?”

Yes! His body battled him to release this word. To scream at him that he couldn’t do it, that he was asking too much and he had no idea what he was asking and what the consequences would be. He looked up to Viktor’s patient eyes asking for his trust. “No- no, Viktor.”

“That’s my good Yuri.” His lips touched his neck then he walked off expecting him to follow.

He gathered the listed items focusing on finding a spot for each one in the growing load in his arms rather than on the way they shook. He unloaded his arms at the saddle rack next to the vacuum then met Viktor at Avos’s stall just next to Toska’s.

“Go get some cookies so you can greet your horse.”

He whimpered at Viktor’s phrasing but went to the box and grabbed a few cookies and offered one to Avos who put on the deception of being a perfectly kind and obedient horse in order to gain the treat.

“Look at those eyes. He has the best puppy dog eyes I’ve ever seen on a horse.” Viktor shook his head. “I got suckered with those. I thought surely he really was as sweet as he looks and he just had some issues preventing him from obeying as he wanted to, but oh how wrong I was. He enjoys disobedience. I’ve never seen him more content than after he’s ignored my every command and then laughed in my face by taking the jump as he pleases and cleared it with six goddamn feet to spare.” He chuckled and joined Yuri stroking his neck on the other side while Avos chewed happily. “At least I can say he enjoys jumping. For all of his faults, he’s never refused and he has yet to even touch a rail. Alright, time to get him tacked.”

Yuri gave him one last scratch under his cheeks then slipped the chain through the halter and brought him out to the vacuum and groomed him as Viktor had taught him. When he finished, he looked down to marvel at his perfectly clean outfit that any errant hair had slid off of and touched the still smooth skin on his forearm lacking the gritty coat he’d just grown accustomed to wearing.

Viktor smiled as he slid his hand down Yuri’s other arm. “Yes, you do feel so much better like this. And you always want to look good for my eyes to enjoy and feel delicious for me to touch, yes?”

He shivered as Viktor’s hands traveled his body. “Ye- yes, Viktor.” His eyes fluttered closed as his breathing picked up with Viktor’s breath leading kisses over the back of his neck.

“And taste. You taste so much better after following my orders correctly. How good you are that you want to please me so much and learn so quickly how to do that. You’re taking me so well today. I’m about to stretch you wide open to fit everything I want to give you. You’re going to make yourself nice and soft for me and take me without complaint, yes?”

A violent heat quaked through him. “Vi- Viktor.” He moaned then gave his answer hot and breathy from his chest. “Yes, Viktor.”

He sighed. “Yes. That’s it. That’s what I need to feel.”

“I’m scared, Viktor.”

“I know you are. I promise everything will be fine. Don’t let your fear shut me out. Trust me instead of your fear.” His hands paused on his waist to grip him, steadying the quaking.

“Yes, Viktor.” He sighed and leaned into his hold as Viktor’s arms came to wrap around him.

“That’s my sweet Yuri. You know, you’re exactly who I hoped Avos was. But his sweet eyes were nothing but a lie. Yours are so honest.” He nuzzled in for one last kiss and sighed. “Tack him up and let’s go.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

He set to work getting Avos booted up in his teal sport boots and added the matching saddle pad that had the same gold trim as Toska’s then put on the black dressage saddle that Viktor had added a grab strap to on the front. He slipped the cavesson over his nose and around his ears and attached the side reins to the rings on the sides then clipped the other end to the d-rings on the saddle, buckling everything in place. The lunge line clipped to the ring on the top of his nose and Yuri held the long line in a neat loop. He grabbed his helmet and the whip and followed Viktor out with Avos at his side.

Viktor led them to an indoor arena that had a pale gold wall set well inside the white steel beams of the rafters and angled towards them so mischievous horses’ feet would be stopped before the wall could bash the rider’s knees. Matching pale wood bleachers filled in the space between the arena wall and the wall of the building on both sides. Viktor closed the gate after them and then went to close the large doors at the end leading outside while Yuri and Avos waited in the middle of the arena. Viktor returned and stood behind him, putting his hands over his.

“Send him out.”

He whimpered, the burn of Viktor’s command already feeling like too much.

“Yuri…” His voice dropped to threatening levels. “You don’t have any control here. Don’t think yourself strong enough to override my control.” His hands gripped down over his.

He sighed and flicked the whip at the ground and Avos moved out onto the circle around him while he unwound the line from his hand. How did Viktor’s voice like that bring him such peace and comfort? And how did Viktor always know exactly what it was he needed when he didn’t even have a clue? “Thank you, Viktor. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to resist.”

“I know you didn’t. You just needed my help. Trot him.”

He took a deep breath then flicked the whip at the ground again and clicked with the side of his tongue. “Trot.”

Avos tossed his head but moved into a huge trot that floated over the ground with each launch of his legs. The mane tossing about on his neck with his snorting breaths and the glossy shimmer on his coat were hypnotizing as he stood in place and pivoted in the center of the dizzying circle that blurred out everything beyond Avos circling around him.

“What do you think of him?”

“He’s beautiful. He really is an amazing mover. He’s in the air more than he’s on the ground.”

“He’s got more. Move him out.”

He clicked again with his tongue and gave a firm crack with the whip above the ground and Avos responded with a powerful launch from his hindquarters and stretched out his stride beyond the limits of his body with his time suspended in the air letting him cover more ground than just his legs would allow.

“You’re a clicker, huh? I’m a kisser.” Viktor’s smile spread through the kiss on his neck.

He held back his smile. “I never would have guessed.”

Viktor laughed and pressed his teeth into the curve between his neck and shoulder and threatened a bite which he dropped with a kiss instead. “He’s still got more in there.” He placed a commanding kiss in the air and Avos snorted and moved out harder. “He’s actually pretty good on the lunge. I think he thinks we interfere with his beauty too much on his back.” He watched him for a moment and laughed. “I can’t say he’s wrong. No matter how skilled the rider, I’ve never seen a horse give exactly under saddle what he can give when he’s free. A little flash gets sacrificed to our weight. Of course, they get a protected life in exchange, and you’ve now restored my hope that they enjoy our bond as much as we do. Ask for a walk.”

“Woah, easy. Walk.” He slid his voice through the words using his tone more than the words themselves to give meaning to the command, and Avos dropped back huffing and bobbing his head.

“Canter him.”

He clicked and cracked the whip sending up a little flurry of the footing. “Canter.”

Avos broke into a trot then rushed into a canter.

“Walk him again.”

“Woah… Walk.”

“That was you; not him. You didn’t feel it enough. Command him as I would. Remember, you’re acting out of my will; not your own. If I wouldn’t do it like that, neither will you.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He filled his lungs with his shaking breath and locked it in the base of his chest for his command to launch from. “Canter.” He clicked and cracked the whip and Avos cantered right off from the first beat.

“Good. Get some more engagement from him.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He flicked the whip toward his hind leg for a few strides to encourage him to step under his belly further and lift his back. When Avos responded he cooed his praise. “Good boy, Avos.” He asked for a little more and Avos rounded up through his back and stretched for the contact of the side reins. “Yes. That’s a good boy. Just like that.”

“Good, Yuri. Just like that.”

They both started laughing with Viktor dropping his face onto Yuri’s shoulder. Avos decided that since they couldn’t have the courtesy to give him his rightfully earned attention, he wouldn’t work for them and dropped back to a walk.

A man cleared his throat in the distance and they both sobered up their laughter and looked to the sound.

“Trot him.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He glanced at the man with dark hair standing on the other side of the gate then clicked and focused on getting the proper engagement from Avos while Viktor dealt with their intruder.

“Yes, Georgi?”

“Um, what are you doing?”

“I’m teaching my new hire how to lunge my horse properly. Do you need something?” He somehow managed to sound both annoyed and utterly disinterested at the same time. Typically, annoyance requires a certain amount of engagement with the subject, but Viktor didn’t seem to agree.

“Uh, the hay that came in this morning. Half of it is moldy. We’ve still got the last shipment we’re using up but the loft was stinking like mold so we just opened some bales and about half of the ones we checked were bad.”

“Really? I’ve used Jake for years. He’s never given me a bad bale.”

“Check for yourself if you want, but I promise they’re bad. Not even fit for cows. The rest are likely to go soon too if the harvest went that bad.”

“No, I believe you. I just can’t believe Jake would mess up like that. We still have a few weeks of the old stock, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Thanks, Georgi.”

Georgi hesitated a moment, watching them, then glanced at Viktor’s face and walked off.

“Excellent, Yuri. You didn’t take your focus off your task even with the distraction. Walk him.”

He cued Avos back to the walk.

“Good. Just keep him walking. I’m going to remove my hands for a few minutes.”

“Please don’t.” His anxiety which had been surprisingly quiet leapt in his chest.

“You’ll be fine, Yuri. I’m still right here and it’s just a walk. It’s no different from leading him and you’re just fine with that.”

He sighed out as much tension as he could. “Yes, Viktor.” Trying to steady his cold, shaking hands, his eyes fixed on the ripples cascading over Avos’s perfect shoulder with his every step around the wide circle.

“Huh. That’s strange. Jake isn’t picking up.” Viktor frowned at his phone and tapped it again to make another call. “Sally, hi. It’s Viktor. I tried calling Jake about a shipment of hay, and I couldn’t get ahold of him… I see. I’m so sorry to hear that. Is it okay if I stop by to pay him a visit? Great. Can you text me the hospital he’s at along with your son’s phone number? Thanks, Sally. I’m so sorry again. Take care of yourself. I hope he gets well soon.” He tapped off his phone. “Apparently Jake fell ill and has been in and out of the hospital for the past few months. His son took over, but he clearly has no idea what he’s doing. He should though. I know Jake mentioned that he’s been training him to take over since he was a kid…” He put the phone to his ear again. “Pete, this is Viktor Nikiforov calling. I heard about your father and I’m very sorry to hear he’s been having health issues. He’s a good man, and I wish him well… The reason I’m calling is that the shipment you dropped off this morning is rotten. How do you plan to address this?... I assure you, it’s bad. My staff opened some of the bales and they’re full of mold. You are aware that moldy hay can be deadly to horses, correct? You’re lucky that my staff is so observant… Listen.” Viktor’s voice hardened. “Out of respect for your father and your unfortunate circumstances at taking over the business, I’m giving you a chance to correct this. What you proposed isn’t a solution at all. The next words out of your mouth better be an actual solution or your chance ends… And what would you do with it then?...” Viktor’s anger flared off of him in deep waves. “You fail to grasp the seriousness of the situation here. This isn’t a case of ‘not being satisfied with the quality.’ You delivered deadly hay to feed my horses. That entire batch is not safe to feed to any animal and needs to be recalled and your customers refunded immediately. If you can’t see that on your own, you’re unfit to take over for your father. You should be ashamed of yourself. Three months and you’ve destroyed his reputation that he spent his entire life crafting.” He tapped off the phone and held it in his clenched fist, seething as he tried to keep himself contained.

“Viktor?”

“I’m okay. Just pissed. He first proposed just throwing in a few extra bales on my next order and then to take it back but sell it to someone else.” He shook his head and sent a text.   

Phichit showed up a minute later. “Yeah, boss? What do you need?” He glanced at Yuri with a confused expression.

“The moldy hay. Jake’s business got taken over by his son who’s unfit to run it. The batch that just got harvested is rotten and should not be fed even if it seems fine and anything delivered in the last three months is suspect. The son has no intention to rectify the problem. Can you use our social media accounts to spread the word?”

“Woah. Really? That sucks.”

“Yes. Also, contact the feed stores and inform them so they don’t refer new customers to him.”

“Yeah, no problem. Anything else?”

“Yes. Pull the bad hay from the loft and put it next to the fire pit then vacuum out every bit of bad hay and scrub down the floor with a ten percent bleach solution. Obviously, gather as many people as you need for this and wear face masks. Then I’d like you to plan a cookout for a bonfire for next Thursday at eight. Everyone who works or rides here and their families are invited.”

“Woah. That’s going to be a huge bonfire. I think we’re going to run a little short-handed with pulling the hay and still trying to get our regular chores done. Can we borrow Yuri for today?”

“No. Call the students trading work for lessons and see if any of them are interested in coming in. I can either pay them or offer extra lesson time. Their preference. You can wait to start planning the bonfire until tomorrow, but make sure the warnings go out right now. That’s all. Thank you, Phichit.”

“Yeah- yeah, sure. No problem.” He waved and walked off, glancing back at Yuri before he left.

Viktor sighed and ran his hands over Yuri’s shoulders and down to his hands, gripping around them harder than before, muttering under his breath. “…thinks he can steal you right out from my hands.” His kisses reclaiming his neck were flooded with tension.

“Do you want to hurt me?”

Viktor stilled. “What? Why would you say that?”

“You’re upset and you feel better after hurting me, right? I’m just saying you can hurt me if you want to.”

“Oh. Don’t say it like that. Ask if I want to give you pain. I separate the two in my head by calling what we do for pleasure giving you pain and actual unintentional pain by saying I hurt you. Giving implies it’s intentional and wanted while the other implies an unwanted accident.”

“Oh. I’m sorry, Viktor. I meant the intentional kind.”

“It’s okay. You didn’t know.”

“Do you want to give me pain, Viktor? Or- or I can make you feel good another way.”

He smiled against his neck and slid his hands down to wrap around his waist. “You’re so sweet to offer yourself to make me feel better. Just that is enough for now. Reverse him.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

They finished exercising Avos’s other side then Yuri called him in and stood trembling while Viktor pulled down the stirrups on the saddle and removed the side reins then checked the girth. Viktor took the lunge line from him and pulled his glasses off then put his helmet on, tightening it and checking the fit until he was satisfied that it would stay in place.

“Alright, Yuri. I’m going to give you a leg up and this time I want you to do it properly. Don’t punish him for accepting you on his back.”

“Yes, Viktor.” Tears rolled down his cheeks and into the divots of his wrinkled chin before falling off onto his still spotless shirt. “I have to do this?”

He seized his throat in his hand and leaned down to his ear. “You absolutely have no choice. I am going to have my way here whether you like it or not because I can see exactly what it is that you need. So, be my good little slut and lay down and open yourself up for me so I can ravage you the way I want to.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He gasped and leaned harder into his hand. “Thank you.”

“Careful, Yuri. Press any harder and people will start seeing my marks on you.”

“I don’t care.”

“Oh, so cruelly close to the right answer.” He shook his head and dropped his hand. “Come on. Give me your leg.”

He turned and took hold of the saddle and breathed deeply trying to find a rhythm for his snarled heart. Placing his leg in Viktor’s hands, he looked over his shoulder at him. “What is the right answer?”

“That’s another one I want you to learn on your own. One. Two. Three.” He launched him up, and Yuri swung his leg over Avos’s haunches and settled lightly in the saddle. “Much better. You did great that time.” He adjusted the stirrups until they were the perfect length and checked the girth again to make sure the saddle wasn’t going anywhere then took a deep breath and paused before removing the lunge line. “You’re certain you’re not scared to ride him with no control but his?”

“I’m not scared of anything he can do to me.”

He smiled and shook his head. “Bravest rider I’ve ever met.” He pointed his finger in Avos’s face. “I swear if you hurt him I will make you into glue.”

Avos stared back unimpressed with his threat.

(18) Viktor closed his eyes and unclipped the lunge line from the cavesson freeing Avos to do as he wished within the confines of the empty arena. It took him half a beat before he realized his freedom and took off galloping. Resting his hands on his thighs, Yuri focused on finding the rhythm of his rough stride instead of on the way bile burned at the edge of his throat. This was only the beginning if he didn’t stay away from Viktor. His certainty that all of this was a terrible idea only grew stronger with every inch he allowed him in. But the only thing he had left was terrible ideas. He wasn’t capable of anything better. Avos found the wall and slid to a stop as he pivoted and darted off again in a new direction. His outside thigh braced against the sudden disappearance of Avos’s back from under him, and he stretched his leg down and sat up taller rather than allowing his natural instincts to curl him up to fight the forces trying to tear him from his back until Avos settled in his new path, and he was able to follow his rhythm once again. He ran full out for several minutes, kicking up his heels and throwing in a few bucks here and there, but while his body was rattled from trying to keep up with his rough, capricious ride, he was still in place as Avos finally slowed to his explosive trot, snorting through the deep bellows of his lungs. His quads and abs burned as he fought to keep his hips forward enough to keep centered in his powerful movement. A few more turns around the arena and Avos stopped dead as if wondering what the crazy humans were up to now before he walked off, meandering about and poking his nose at any interesting tidbits he found to see if any of them were tasty.

“Wow. Yuri! That was incredible!” Viktor’s jaw hung open from behind his phone that he had fixed on them from his spot pressed against the gate. “How did you learn to ride like that?! I’ve never seen a better seat on a rider. Ever. You moved as if you knew everything he was about to do even though there’s no way you could have. He was all over the place. How?” His eyes were huge with his mouth falling back open.

A coy smile flicked onto his panting lips. “Blood magic.”

“Oh, you little…” He shook his head and started laughing. “Okay. I’ll accept that answer as long as you promise to eventually tell me the truth as I did.”

“I promise I’ll show you.”

“Show me?”

“Yes, Viktor. I could tell you, but I think you’d enjoy it more if I show you.”

His eyes gleamed. “I can’t wait. You are utterly magical, Yuri Katsuki. How do you feel right now?”

“Like my spine is now six inches higher than it used to be.” He laughed which came out all light and quivery with his body still trembling. “But… it felt good. Amazing actually.” His tears embraced his cheeks again as if they were returning home from a long visit in his eyes.  

He switched off his phone and put it away as he stepped slowly towards them. “Why does that make you cry?”

“I hate that it felt good. I hate that I’m up here and that it feels so… right. I don’t belong here.”

He came closer checking to make sure he wouldn’t send Avos running again and followed his meandering around the ring. “I have never seen anything belong somewhere more than you do on that horse. He looked free. Just a few minutes ago I was saying that I’ve never seen a horse give under saddle what he can give while he’s free. I just saw it. You didn’t weigh him down at all. And he didn’t look like he was trying to get rid of you. He looked like he was playing with you. We all know you belong there.” He shook his head, scowling. “Whatever this thing is telling you lies, it’s so wrong. It’s so incredibly wrong, and I hate that it exists in you of all people. I’m going to destroy it. Whatever it is. I don’t care. It doesn’t belong there. That’s the only thing here that doesn’t belong.”

“It’s not a lie.” His tears ran harder. “It’s the truth. I wish it wasn’t but it is. I wish I could tell myself that it’s all one big lie, one horrible nightmare, but I can’t.” His chest fell and he had to brace onto his hands to keep himself sufficiently upright. “If I had a single thread I could grasp that said it was a lie, I would grab it and unravel it all in a heartbeat. I’ve looked for it, but it doesn’t exist.”

“Whatever happened may be true, but what’s inside you now is nothing but a lie. What happened is done. Right now… Right now you just rode a horse that I even have a hard time riding without any control at all, and you looked stunning while doing it. Anything in your head telling you anything but that is blind and a liar.”

He looked over at him wanting to believe him, searching himself for anything that would let him believe Viktor’s words and leave his own behind. “I can’t. I can’t believe that. It’s not just in the past. It will happen again.” His fists tightened on his thighs as his tears turned to bone-rattling sobs. “It will happen again, Viktor.”

His eyes flashed open in surprise before they hardened. “Choose, Yuri. Either tell me what’s tearing you up inside, or trust me that I know what I’m doing with horses and won’t let anything bad happen to anyone under my protection to the best of my abilities. Whichever’s easier for you.”

He laughed a little through his sobs. “Trusting your skills with horses is the easiest thing in the world.”

“So then act like it.”

“I’m trying.”

“I know.” He gave a little shake of his head as he glanced down. “You don’t have to answer this next one because it’s not an order. It’s a plea. Please give me enough time. If you tear yourself away from me before I’ve had a real chance to reach you… I can find it and I can destroy it if you give yourself to me for long enough. I promise.”

They stared at each other while he tried to find the ‘yes, Viktor’ he knew would please him while his sobs quieted but could only summon a small smile and the shadow of a nod.

Viktor returned the wistful smile. “I’m going to push even deeper now because I think you’re strong enough to take it. I want you to follow his lead and cue with your legs and seat anything he offers. If he turns, press a little on the outside leg. If he slows or stops, restrict your seat. If he trots, give that little tap with your heels. So on and so forth. And praise after every one. You’re not controlling him, you’re following him.”

He whined, and his tears started back up. “Viktor, I can’t.”

His jaw hardened his voice. “Two.”

“What?”

“That was the wrong answer, Yuri. You know that and you will be punished for it later.” He pulled out his phone and made a quick note. “Two is how many hits with my belt that you’ll owe me for that infraction. And don’t get too excited at the idea. I know how to make you hate this pain.” The tension in his jaw washed out with the sadness touching his eyes. “What happened to my good little virgin slut who opened himself so far for me? Where did he run off to? I like you soft and vulnerable and so slutty you’ll let me do whatever I want to you. I hate feeling shut out from you.”

“I’m sorry, Viktor.”

“Prove it.”

“What? I don’t understand.”

“Prove that you’re sorry.”

“How?”

“Prove that you understand what it is that I want and that you’re willing to give it.”

He chewed on his lip as he thought then looked over at him and softened his expression. “Please, Viktor. Please… order me to do more. I want to do more to please you. I want to show you that… that I trust you.” He drew in a trembling breath. “That I trust you more than my fear.”

“Good, Yuri. So good. I’ll drop your punishment to a one if you actually prove your words with my next command. If you prove yourself a liar, three hits will be added.” He glanced at Avos who had stopped his wandering and was just waiting for something interesting to happen. “Ask him to walk.”  

He was instantly blinded by tears but found the right words by feeling his way to something solid resting in his heart that hadn’t been there before. “Yes, Viktor.” His calves contracted into Avos’s sides for a brief touch, and he walked off with Yuri blind and deaf to the praises Viktor was spilling. The next order he was supposed to follow wrapped around his attention and returned his senses. He began following Avos’s wanderings with light pressures on his sides and praising him after every touch with his trembling voice and hand.

Viktor’s voice slowly faded in. “… so good! The best, Yuri! The absolute best! You look so beautiful up there. So incredibly beautiful.”

He glanced over at the Viktor blurred from his tears and lack of glasses, and he couldn’t be sure but it almost looked like he was wiping away tears from behind the phone he had fixed on him once again. He tightened his focus on following his order and following every little shift in Avos’s body with a matching pressure in his. While he had to keep fighting his body to stay supple enough through the nerves shaking tension into it, he found Avos moving in much more focused ways than his earlier meandering with his ears flicking back towards him in interest.

“He’s having fun, Yuri! He’s trying to figure out what game you guys are playing.”

Avos broke into a trot and he followed with his heels and Avos lifted his back and arched his neck forward creating a much springier step that cushioned the blows rattling through his spine. It still took all of his effort to absorb that powerful motion into his body and stay seated in the saddle but at least it wasn’t as jarring.

“Look at that frame he’s offering, Yuri! He’s looking for your hands!” Viktor followed them with his camera at a far enough distance to keep out of the way of any sudden changes in his path.

Avos lifted further and rocked into some frolicking bucks and rears and leaps forward, tossing his head while Yuri tried his best not to let his play unseat him and slam him into his back.

“Look, Yuri! He’s doing airs for you! Apparently, he wants to be a dressage horse after all. Though I still doubt he’s got the tolerance for that much obedience. But you’re sitting it so well! Those hips and thighs… so talented.”

“You keep saying ‘look.’ You know I can’t see, right?” He got caught back on another leap forward and had to scramble to get his shoulders back over his hips.

“Yes, I know that. It’s an expression. Though, how bad is your vision without glasses?”

“Pretty bad. Um, I can see clearly for maybe a foot or two.”

“Wow. That’s it?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“How do you feel about contacts?”

“I don’t mind them. I’ve worn them for shows and stuff but haven’t in a while. They’re more expensive.”

Avos broke into a canter, and he followed with his cue and his praise then settled into the rolling stride that was far more comfortable than his hollowed-out gallop. He bucked here and there as he went, but as Viktor had said, they weren’t anything intended to toss him off so it was fairly easy to sit them. Avos quieted his play and stretched out his canter as he arched his body further.

“Praise him!”

He scratched into the base of his mane then stroked his neck. “Good boy, Avos. You’re such a good boy. Whatta pretty pony.”

Avos’s ears flicked towards him to listen to his words.

“Wow, Yuri! You two look beautiful together! Look at that frame and that suspension. Just, wow! He loves this! I guess he really is just dominant. I think we can work with this. I’m so thrilled! Thank you, Yuri! This is so much better than I hoped it would go. I mean, I knew you said you can ride but… Wow! This is the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen. Just keep praising him and doing what you’re doing! So beautiful, Yuri!”

He kept cooing praises while stroking and scratching along his neck, his heart bunching and smoothing almost in rhythm with his strides as he struggled to submit to where Viktor had him. Avos slowed back down again to his bounding trot and Yuri restricted his seat for a moment then resumed his praise through the strides getting smoother to ride even if he was getting exhausted from trying to keep up with him with muscles that had atrophied over a year. Avos was showing no signs of tiring or losing interest in their game.

“Avos!” Viktor whistled and held his hand out. “Come on, boy. I’ve got something for you.” He made little kissing noises until he drew Avos’s attention and lured him in with the promise of cookies. Viktor carefully reached for Avos’s cavesson to clip the lunge line back on as he held out the offered cookie.

“You did so beautifully, Yuri. You can come down now.”

He jumped down onto his wobbly legs and into Viktor’s solid support then scratched the base of Avos’s mane and stroked his neck. “Thanks, boy. You did great.” His hand fell from his neck, and he turned to bury his face into Viktor’s chest with his sobs restrengthening.  

Viktor breathed deeply as he left a kiss on the top of his head and held him tight. “Shh… you’re okay.”

“I’m not worried about me.”

“I’m well aware of that one. That doesn’t mean it’s not you who’s upset and in need of comfort. Thank you for turning to me to give you what you need. I want you to leave every tear you shed with me.”

He held him tighter because his weak, trembling body craved something solid and he couldn’t turn away if he tried. They held each other with all of their strength until his tears ran dry.

He finally quieted again, and Viktor gently pushed him back and wiped the remaining tears from his face. “Go hose him down and put him away and then I’m going to have you locate a new hay supplier and locate a good florist in between here and Duke Raleigh Hospital while I ride Bytiye. And this last one… You’re going to have to summon all your bravery. Can you do that for me?”

“Umm… Yes, Viktor?”

“You remember the woman who was riding with me yesterday morning?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Her name is Liliya. I need you to call her and ask her to cover my afternoon training horses and possibly the lessons too if we’re not back by then. She’s going to throw a fit because Yakov- you remember Yakov, right?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Yakov is her ex-husband. They’ve coexisted here by her taking mornings and him the afternoons and she’s not going to be happy about having to see him. She’ll do it if you don’t let her intimidate you. She can smell fear, and she won’t do anything for someone she doesn’t respect. You’re speaking for me here so just act as I would. That’s all you have to do. Just call and ask with confidence.”

He cringed. “Yes, Viktor.”

“Alright, get to it.”

He led Avos to the crossties and untacked him then brought him to the wash stall and rinsed his body of the sweat with cool water then turned the temperature down even more to just above freezing and soaked away the damaging, inflammatory heat from his legs. His free hand came up to scratch his soaked neck while they waited. “I’m so sorry, boy. I wish I could stop, but I can’t.”

“Oh, they don’t mind it.” Phichit beamed at him. “Don’t worry. They’ll stand in the snow happily without a bit of discomfort.”

His hand jerked at the sudden voice sending the water stream skittering about the wash stall. Aiming it back to his legs, he put on a smile then turned back and continued stroking Avos’s soaked neck as he focused on his task. “I know.”

“How are you liking working for Viktor?”

“Um… it’s pretty good.”

“Can I ask… I’m just a little confused. You said you don’t ride. Why are you wearing riding clothes?”

“Viktor wanted me to wear this.”

“Oh really? Why?”

“He…” He searched for any lie that would be even remotely believable but only had the truth which begged questions he also had no answers for. “He wants me to ride him.”

“Him?” Phichit looked at Avos then back at him. “Avos? He wants you to ride Avos?”

“Yes.”

“But… you don’t ride. That’s so dangerous. I can’t believe he’d be so reckless.”

“I said I don’t ride; not that I can’t ride.” His hand tightened on the hose as his voice snapped. Where did that burst of anger come from? And why the hell did he offer even more information to lead him places he didn’t want to go? He winced as he kicked himself.

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to insult you. I just thought when you said you didn’t ride that meant… just that.”

“It’s okay. I’m sorry for snapping at you. It was a fair assumption.”

“So, being nosey again here. Sorry. I have a tendency for that, but why did you quit riding if you have the skills to ride a horse like Avos?”

“I wanted to.”

“That… doesn’t really answer the question, but if you don’t want to talk about it, that’s fine. How does Viktor know you can ride?”

“It was on my resume.” Lies dragging lies. His life was nothing but lies oozing from a gaping truth.

“On your resume? You rode professionally?”

A small shake of his head told his next lie and introduced the one after. “I just put it because it was relevant experience.”

“Oh, right. So you changed your mind then on wanting to ride? That’s great! Maybe we can ride together sometime.”

“I didn’t change my mind. I don’t want to ride.”

“Viktor’s forcing you to ride even though you don’t want to? He’s forcing you to ride Avos? That…”

“He’s not forcing me. I could say no, but I’m not.” The water thwumped in little patters onto the cement floor as the shaking in his hand grabbed his aim and fired in chaotic directions. He tightened his hand to contain it as he moved to the next leg.

“Oh. Okay. Um, I should head back. I just stopped down here to grab my water. I don’t want to slack on my work just to chat with cute boys.” He smiled and winked. “I mean, I want to, but it’d be unfair to the other guys. Um, are you going to be home tonight?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know if Viktor wants to…”

“Do yoga?”

“Yeah. I don’t know if he’ll want to do yoga again today.”

“Oh, well if you’re free… are you interested in doing something with me? It doesn’t have to be a movie if that’s too boring for you. We could do something else if you want.”

He turned to smile at him. “I like watching movies with you. It’s hard to find the energy for anything else after working all day and getting up so early.”

He beamed. “I’m glad you like it. I thought maybe I was just… a little too boring for you.”

“If I’m free tonight, I’d definitely love to hang out with you and watch something.”

“Okay, great! Just let me know if you’re free.”

“Yeah, I’ll definitely let you know this time.”

“Don’t worry about it. I’m there either way. See you at home.” He waved and headed off down the aisle.

He shut off the water and felt Avos’s legs with shaking hands for any strange bumps or spots that didn’t cool the same as the rest. Finding nothing but clean, tight tendons, he unclipped him and slipped the lead over his nose to bring him back to his stall. He then went to Viktor’s office to use his laptop there to do the other things Viktor had asked of him with his anxiety continuing to spike. By the time he made the call to Liliya, he didn’t have an ounce of courage in him. She was about to hang up with his task unfulfilled before he gave in to desperate pleading, ready to literally drop to his knees if he had any hope of her hearing that through his voice, begging her not to make him disappoint Viktor. He’d already be disappointed that he didn’t follow his instructions, but it would be worse if he also failed to get her to agree. She finally relented, and he breathed a sigh of relief and went to go find Viktor.

Viktor was leading his next training horse out to the arena and smiled upon seeing his return. “Yuri. You finished what I asked?”

“Yes, Viktor. I emailed you the details on the supplier and there’s a florist just next door to the hospital.”

“Excellent. How did the phone call with Liliya go?” He swung open the gate, and Yuri followed him in.

“Um… not so well at first… But I did get her to agree!”

Tension seized his shoulders and his hands stilled on the stirrup leather. “Explain that. How did you get her to agree?” He let go of the leather and turned to watch him.

Sensing that he was now in dangerous territory, his anxiety rose to the peak of a drop. “Um… I tried doing what you said but I couldn’t. She was about to hang up and had said no so I…” With the look on Viktor’s face now lighting up exactly where he went wrong, he couldn’t bring himself to finish his sentence.

“You what, Yuri?” Anger slashed his words into weapons.

“I… I begged her.” He dropped his eyes to the ground.

“Look at me, Yuri. Don’t you dare hide from what you’ve done.”

He forced his eyes up, still cringing from his mistake and while Viktor’s voice held the edge of anger, his eyes were weakened with hurt. He was too fixed on having put that look on him to even think of apologizing.

“You failed to follow my orders and on top of that, you offered your submission to someone else when you were mine.”

Tears returned to his eyes. “I- I didn’t! I’m yours! I just… I didn’t want to fail you! You asked me to get her to cover your afternoon, and she wasn’t going to, so I did the only thing I could do. I’m so sorry, Viktor! I’m yours. I swear. I just…. Didn’t think that’s what I was doing, but I get it. I do. I’m so sorry!”

“Except you weren’t following my order. What was my exact order, Yuri?”

“To… to call her and ask her to cover your afternoon work here. And to… have confidence and act as you would.”

“So you did remember. You just chose to do it your way instead of mine.”

“I’m sorry, Viktor!”

“Stop apologizing. I don’t want to hear it right now. Did I tell you that you had to get her to agree?”

“No, Viktor. You… You just told me to ask her.”

“Yes. Sometimes I care about the results. Sometimes I care about the process. You will know the difference because I will either specify a way to do it and, or a result you are expected to achieve. If I don’t specify a way to do it, then you are free to do it as you wish as long as it’s completed but that’s not what I asked here is it?”

“No, Viktor.”

“And I would normally let this first offense slide as you didn’t know that explicitly but you’re smart enough that it’s reasonable to have expected you to figure that out. And I can’t overlook the fact that you offered yourself to someone else. Does your submission mean nothing? Is your sweet begging just empty words you’ll say to anyone to get your way? Could I have been anyone sitting in that office whom you begged to punish you? Is that all I am to you? A nameless, faceless means to satisfy your needs?”

“No, Viktor! I was just trying not to fail you! I swear it’s only you I want to submit to! Only you, Viktor.”

“But you did fail me because you decided that your way of doing things was better than mine. I don’t give orders blindly, Yuri. As long as you’ve done exactly as I’ve said, you’ve succeeded. And an honest attempt is accepted far more easily than complete disobedience.”

He nodded and sniffed back his tears. “Yes, Viktor. I’ll never make that mistake again. Please let me make it up to you.”

“Two for failing to follow my orders as I’ve stated them. For giving your submission to someone else when you belong to me… Five. Just so you’re aware, five is my limit for a single offense and the numbers correlate directly with how much you’ve hurt me.”

Tears sputtered over his lips as he sucked his breath back into his lungs to burn. “Yes, Viktor.”

He stepped closer until he forced him to lift his head to meet his gaze. “You should also know that you’ve hit a hard limit for me. I won’t have any subs who treat their submission so lightly. I would have let anyone else go right now. I’m not terribly strict, but I do expect you to show that your submission means as much to you as it does to me. If you treat it carelessly, I’ll assume it means nothing to you and will regard our relationship as the same.”

“Yes, Viktor. I understand. Please let me make it up to you now. I promise I’ll never do it again.”

“I’m willing to hear your apology now but you’ll finish making it up to me tomorrow along with any other punishment you’ve accumulated during the week. Until then your honest apology and efforts not to repeat your mistakes will suffice as amends.”

“Thank you, Viktor. I’m so incredibly sorry. I understand exactly how I hurt you with that, and I swear that wasn’t my intent. I only want to make you happy. I’m so sorry. I won’t ever make you feel that again. In the sunlit hours between sixes, I am yours.”

He brushed the tears away with his thumbs. “Thank you, Yuri. I forgive you.”

He winced as Viktor kissed the remaining tears from his cheeks.

“It still hurts, doesn’t it?”

“Yes, Viktor. I’m so sorry I hurt you.”

“Pain does tend to linger, doesn’t it? And apologies don’t fix everything, so I am still hurt that you gave your submission to someone else, but we’ll remove all traces of that when you serve your punishment so it doesn’t fester. In the meantime, it’s nothing for us to worry about because I’ve forgiven you by accepting your apology. Don’t let your worry and regret drive us apart. You’re mine, and you’re right where you belong.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He closed his eyes and tried to relax as Viktor kissed the lingering tears. “Can I… You said she’d only agree if she respected me but I was trying my best to act confidently and she turned me down. Why would she agree when I begged?”

“You must have put on quite the display. She’s not easily impressed.”

“I still don’t understand.”

“You were probably faking it too much at first. You weren’t feeling it as you did with Avos. She could tell that and treated you as such. But you begged sincerely, and she found it impressive enough to earn her respect and agree.”

“I earned her respect by begging?”

“You think I don’t respect you?” He took a little step back and raised his eyebrows. “You think I view your submission as a weakness or something pathetic?”

“Um… I don’t know. I guess not, but I don’t see how you could respect me.”

He shook his head and came back in to grip his face in his hands. “I respect you, Yuri. Your submission is a precious gift that I feel a great honor to receive. I admire you. I know I couldn’t handle what you do in our playroom. When you accept the pain I give, I’m in awe of you, both of your strength and your trust. I respect you, Yuri and your submission frees me as I hope it frees you.”

“Um… thank you, Viktor, but I still don’t understand. What does that have to do with Liliya?”

He smiled. “Liliya is a good Domme. She respects an honest act of submission as I do.”

“Oh.”

“Don’t repeat that to anyone. Just so you know, identities are supposed to be kept secret in this community. Many don’t want this side of their lives exposed.”

“Yes, Viktor. I understand.”

“Good.” He turned to the saddle. “Give me a leg up.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

***

“What do you think, Yuri? Do you like this one?” Viktor held out a large bouquet of yellow lilies with crimson centers, surrounded by buckets bursting with flowers.

“Yes, Viktor. It’s pretty.”

He smiled and turned to the clerk. “Do you know precisely how many flowers are in this?”

The woman’s face creased slightly as she thought. “Um… I’m sorry. I don’t.”

“No worries. Thank you.” Viktor gave her his best smile and started counting the flowers.

Yuri watched him, curious as to what he was doing but didn’t want to interrupt and make him lose count.

Satisfied, Viktor purchased the bouquet and selected one blossom from the bunch and handed it to him with a smile and a kiss on his cheek. “For you, zolotse.”

“Me? Why?”

“Why not you? I can’t think of anyone else I’d want to give the extra flower to.”

“Extra flower?”

“There was one too many. Old Russian superstition. You never give even numbers of flowers unless it’s a funeral and giving flowers to someone when they’re sick is the worst time to make that mistake.”

“Oh. Is Jake Russian?”

“No, but I am.”

He blushed as Viktor grinned at him. “Right.”

“Come on, zolotse.” He kissed his cheek again and wrapped his arm around his waist to lead him out of the shop and into Jake’s hospital room.

“Jake, good to see you again. I wish it was under much better lighting.” Viktor glanced up with a smile at the sickly fluorescent lights. “These things always make people look terrible. I’d like the inventor of these to have to always walk under them while holding a mirror.”

Jake coughed as he laughed. “Don’t worry. I still think you’re gorgeous.”

He laughed. “I was more worried about you over there. This lighting is doing nothing for you. You need to get back out in the sunshine where you belong.”

“Yeah, I tried to get one of the nurses to smuggle me in a bale of hay just to make this place smell a little better but they all turned me down. Think you could give it a shot? You’d have a way better chance than I would.”

“You’ve got it.” Viktor filled the vase he bought along with the flowers with water and placed them on the side table.

“Aww, flowers for me? I’m blushing.” He struggled to sit up in the bed and Viktor jumped forward to give him a hand. “Thanks. So, who’s your little flower thief?” He nodded in Yuri’s direction.

“Thief? I will have you know that he just saved your life. You were almost cursed with this flower but Yuri bravely dove upon it and took it upon himself to carry the burden of the twenty-fourth flower.”

Jake raised a wired, gray eyebrow. “Do I wanna know what the hell you’re talkin’ about? Is this one of your superstition things?”

“Better safe than sorry.”

“Better sane than superstitious.” He laughed and looked at Yuri. “Word of advice. Don’t forget anything when you’re leaving the house. He won’t let you go back to get it. Bad luck or somethin’. I once forgot fifty bales of hay on his order and was gonna go back to get them but he tackled me to stop me.”

“You lie.”

“Do not. Still got the scar on my knee to prove it.”

“Not my fault you can’t walk over straight ground.”

“There was a rock.”

“There’s always a rock.”

“Yeah, yeah. So this one yours?”

“Yes.” Viktor turned to beam at Yuri. “I just hired him but he’s already my favorite.”

“Employee?”

“Yes.”

“Oh, you scoundrel.” He smiled and shook a finger at him. “I thought you were always on the up and up and here you are Bill Clintoning it.”

“That’s unfair,” he scoffed. “He was the President of the United States. It’s much easier for Yuri to turn me down.”

“You never looked in a mirror before? Clinton has to be the president to match your natural gifts.” He turned to Yuri and jabbed his finger at Viktor. “This boy sexually harassing you? You can tell me. I’ve known him since he was all gangly bones, so I don’t mind taking him down a few if I need to.”

Yuri laughed. “No. He’s not hurting me.”

“See? He likes me.”

“Yeah, yeah, but I got my eye on you. You tell me if I need to give him a whoopin’ okay?”

Yuri tried his best to hold back his laughter. “Yes, sir.” He glanced at Viktor at realizing his words, but Viktor seemed unbothered with his smile still radiating onto him.

“Good. Now that’s settled, good of you to think of visiting your lowly hay supplier. I feel honored.”

“Nah, just being a decent human being. Anyone you’ve known longer than ten years deserves a visit and flowers.”

“You still got that horse of yours eatin’ gold instead of hay?”

“I do. Still hoping to turn him into pure gold on the outside too.”

“I think you’ve got enough medals to cover him by now.”

He laughed. “You might be right on that.”

“My boy shoulda delivered your next order today, right? How’d he do?”

“You want the truth?”

He nodded solemnly. “That bad?”

“Half of it was moldy.”

“Shit. I’m sorry. Did you talk to him?”

“Yeah… That was the bad part.”

“Shit. Come on, spit it out.”

“His first offer was to throw in a few extra bales. His next was to take it back and sell it to someone else.”

“You’re fuckin’ with me.”

“I wish I was. I’m sorry.”

“That little shit. He knows better.” He shook his head then looked back at Viktor. “I’m really sorry. I was hoping he’d at least care enough to do good for his mama’s sake. None of it got into your horses, right?”

“No. My guys caught it before that.”

“Good.” He shook his head again. “I wanna call him a son of a bitch but damn it.”

“You should know, I just put my best efforts into destroying your business. I’m sorry. I had to.”

“Yeah. You did.” He sighed at stared up at the greenish lights. “Shit. I got no one else to run it. And my guys. And Sally. If it goes under… Can I give it to you? You don’t gotta pay me for it. Just don’t fire Sally or any of the guys. They’re all good. Been with me a long time.”

“I don’t know the first thing about hay farming.”

“But you know how to run a business.”

“Damn it, Jake, what do I need with a hay farm? Especially one that I literally just blacklisted a few hours ago.”

“Just slap your name on it and that’ll be all fixed. Viktor Nikiforov, hay farmer.” He stretched his hands out in front of him framing an imaginary banner. “It’s an impressive title, eh, Yuri?”

“He’d be impressive no matter what title he has.”

“Aww… Look at that cutie you got there. Alright. I can’t blame you for breaking any morals to be with that.”

“Hey, no buttering me up through him. That’s unfair.”

“He’s already got you weak, huh? I get it. That is unfair, so I’ll plead for my own weakness. Please. If you don’t take it, Sally’s not going to have any way to support herself. She’s been taking care of me and my home and my kids and my business and she’s been out of the workplace so long doing that, no one’s going to take a second look at her that’d actually pay her enough to make it. Especially not with my medical bills on top of her too.

Viktor sighed. “What’s your yearly net?”

“Thirty-five k.”

“Are you drawing a salary before that?”

“Nah. That’s it.”

“Wow. Why weren’t you charging more?”

He shrugged. “Good hay, fair prices. That’s what I built. That’s what I’m gonna keep doing.”

“Yeah, but that’s not fair to you.”

“It was better a few years back but fuel’s been going up and well, everything’s been goin’ up.”

“Then so should you. Assets?”

“Two hundred acres. Don’t know what the current prices are on that. I got twenty of that in organic fruits and veggies that pull in most of the income with crop shares and farmer’s markets and the like. Few tractors, balers, tiller, seeder, trailer for an office, hay barn. All in good condition. I could get you a solid list a few days if you want.”

“No, that’s fine. Just trying to get a rough idea. Debts?”

“None.”

“How many employees?”

“Three guys, Sally on the phones and sellin’ at the markets, Pete if you wanna count him. Four to five.”

“So four.”

Jake nodded. “Four.”

Viktor placed his finger on his lips as he thought. “One point five million. That’s my offer.”

“What are you talkin’ about? I said I’d just sign it over to you.”

“You taking my offer or not?”

“Man, that’s not an offer. That’s insane. You’ll never make that much back.”

“I’ll break even in forty-fifty years if I keep running it like you. I think I could do a little better.”

“You’re not planning on cutting pay or anything like that, right?”

“Of course not. I’d treat your guys like I do mine because they would be mine.”

“Damn it, you’re an asshole. You know that, right? Why you offering me that much? I didn’t ask for charity.”

“I know.”

“You know I can’t look her in the eye if I turn it down, right?”

“I know.”

“Goddamn asshole. I didn’t want your charity.” His voice roughened.

“Consider that point five back pay on your hay. You’ve been undercharging me. And you’ve got some decent assets there.”

He shook his head and scrubbed the tears off his face. “You goddamn asshole. Deal.” He buried his face in his hands. “Thank you, Viktor.”

“Thank you for being so reliable for so long. I appreciate it.”

He took a deep sniff then brought his head up from his hands, his eyes fuzzy red, and looked at Yuri. “If you’re not already considering it, marry this one. They don’t come better.”

He blushed and ducked his head.

“Aww, Jake, don’t put him on the spot like that. He’s shy.” He grinned and squeezed Yuri’s hand. “Though, I like the way you think.”

***

They drove over to Viktor’s new farm after a few calls to lawyers to get everything finalized. Viktor walked straight into the tiny trailer set on the edge of the field without knocking. A man in his forties behind the desk jumped at his arrival.

“Pete Dewitt?”

“Yeah, that’s me.”

“You’re fired, effective immediately. Get your things and get out.”

“What the ever-loving fuck? Who the fuck do you think you are?”

“Viktor Nikiforov. New owner of this farm.” Viktor stared placidly at him waiting for his brain to process his new situation.

“What the fuck?” He stared bewildered then jumped to his feet, slamming his hands on his desk. “What the fuck did you do to my old man?! You go in there and bully him just cause you didn’t like the hay?!”

“This deal was settled fair and square; our lawyers both assured us of that fact and you can confirm it with him if you like. If you fail to leave my property, I will have to resort to calling the police for trespassing. You have fifteen minutes.”

“Fuck you! Fucking pansy-ass prick! You think you can do whatever the fuck you want cause you got money?!”

“No, I think I can do whatever I want with this business because it is mine.”

He came around the desk and gripped Viktor’s collar in his hand, red, twisted face straining to reach his height. “I’ll fucking kick your goddamn ass. I don’t give a fuck who you are, you fucking spoiled little shit. You don’t know the first goddamn thing about hay farming. You’re just a fucking sack of money on an ego trip.”

Viktor smiled. “You’re right. I don’t know the first thing about hay farming, but I still know more than you do on how to run this place right. Would you like to add assault to your trespassing charges?”

He glared at him, fuming then released his shirt with a hard shove. “Fuck you, fucking sack of rotten money.” He continued his insults as he threw his stuff into a box after a raging call to his father confirmed Viktor’s position.

Viktor watched calmly as he exited the door. “There’s truly nothing more pathetic than watching a grown man throw a tantrum like a spoiled child. I can’t believe Jake is your father.” He shook his head. “How far you have failed him.”

“Fuck you!” He slammed the door as he left rattling the trailer and everything in it.

Viktor turned to meet Yuri’s wide expression. “Quite eloquent, isn’t he?”

He started laughing. “Wow. He was… something else. How do you do that? Just stand there while he’s threatening and insulting you.”

“I’m not in the habit of giving people what they want when I’m not pleased with them.”

“Huh?”

“He wanted a fight; I refused to give him one. Pretty simple actually.” He pulled out his phone and sent a text then started digging through the mess Pete had left behind on the desk. “Help me sort these papers.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

They spent the next twenty minutes trying to make sense of the chaos with Viktor growing more irritated with every paper he picked up.

“Viktor? Are you okay?”

His hands balled up on the desk as his head twisted to the side. “Yeah. I just… You know I built that stable myself when I was fourteen? Everyone thinks I inherited it from my father like I did everything else but it wasn’t there until I put it there. Of course, I used my dad’s money to build it, but back then, no one would take me seriously when I tried to contact suppliers and contractors. I offered them upfront payments so they didn’t have to worry about that just to get them to work with me but even after that they still treated me like a little kid playing games. I had to fight them to get them to do things my way even though they were supposed to be working for me. Jake was the first one to actually treat me with respect and treated me exactly as he did every other customer. I started offering him upfront payments, and he refused, saying I wasn’t supposed to pay until I’d received the product and I was happy with it. It’s a little thing, but those little things matter. Our lives are in the little things.

“I liked the way that felt and started expecting everyone else I was working with to treat me with respect too. If they didn’t, I just refused to work with them. It was amazing how much that one little thing affected me. I don’t think my stable would have ever taken off without it because that’s also what gave me the confidence I needed to convince people that I could be trusted. And I’m just pissed that a man like Jake could pour the energy needed into raising a child and have that piece of shit be the result of his efforts. He deserves better than that.”

Yuri stroked his fist and slid his hand up his arm, hesitating as he drew closer when Viktor turned his cheek towards him, still looking down at his fists. Finding his courage, Yuri brought his other hand up to his cheek and gently turned his face to him. Viktor’s breath picked up as he caressed his lips with his thumb and leaned in. Pressing his lips into Viktor’s cheek, he slid his hands up around his neck as Viktor reached for his hip.

“I’m sorry, Viktor. Can I do anything to help you feel better?”

Viktor pulled him in with his hands around his waist, sighing and relaxing his weight onto him. “You just did.” After a few minutes, he pulled his hand up and stroked his hair. “My sweet Yuri.” He sighed again and placed a kiss on his cheek. “Time to go.”

They walked outside and three men and one woman were walking up to the trailer from all directions. Viktor waited for them all to arrive then lifted his posture ever so slightly.

“Thank you for joining me here. I’m sorry to pull you from your work. I’ll try to keep this brief. I’m Viktor Nikiforov. Jake just sold me his farm.” He waited for the surprised whispers from the three men to quiet. “I’m going to count to three, and I’d like you all to point to the person who knows the most about running this place. One. Two. Three.” Viktor smiled as everyone pointed at one man with burnished skin while he pointed to Sally. “Excellent. May I have your name, sir?”

“Javier.”

“Javier, congratulations. You’ve just been promoted to field manager. I’m not going to lie to you. I don’t know the first thing about farming, so you’ll have free rein to manage the crops as you see fit as long as they meet the standards Jake has set and as long as your farm manager doesn’t decide on a better way to do things.”

He scowled. “That’s not free rein at all. Pete’s…” He broke off and glanced at Sally. “Sorry.”

She shook her head. “No, you’re right. Pete’s always been Pete.”

“You have no need to worry about him. I fired him. Yuri Katsuki here is your new farm manager.”

“What?!” Yuri gasped.

Viktor nudged his side until he closed his mouth and straightened his back and turned back to the group. “He’s as inexperienced at this as I am but he will do an excellent job if you can all give him a little time to learn and help him as he gets things figured out. He’s smart, dedicated, and a quick learner and most importantly, he’s a good person who cares very deeply about what he does and takes pride in his work. I’m certain you will all enjoy working with him. He won’t be here every day as he works for me at my stable so Javier will be in charge of day-to-day operations while Yuri will oversee the whole farm and make sure it’s running profitably and putting out a good product. Speaking of the product, we’ve got the issue of the bad harvest to deal with now. My first thought was to burn it, but since you’ve all done such a wonderful job over the years, I haven’t had to deal with moldy hay, so I have no idea if that’s the best course of action and wanted to check before I proceed.”

“Yeah, you can burn it,” Javier said, “but depending on how wet it is it may not burn well, and if it smokes too bad it’ll stink. Best is to compost it and use it.”

“Is that safe?”

“Sure. Composting is just letting things rot. Mold is rot. Time and heat cooks it all out and makes good soil.”

“Good. I’m going to need you guys to collect it back from anyone you delivered to and throw anything from that harvest still here in and compost it. Make sure you remove all of the bad hay. Bring some shop vacs with you and clean the floors with a bleach solution. And make sure you all wear masks when handling the bad hay.”

“That’s going to be a shit ton of compost.”

“If it’s more than what we can use ourselves reasonably, we can sell it and recoup some of the loss.”

Javier nodded his agreement of the plan.

“Since I had planned to burn it, I’ve already got a bonfire and cookout planned. I guess I’ll be switching to wood for the fire, but you all and your families are welcome to join us for the party next Thursday at eight. I know you’ve all been with Jake for a long time, and you’ve had some rough transitions here with his illness, but I’m hoping we’ll soon be able to operate as smoothly as it was with Jake at the lead. I’ve always admired and respected him, and I hope to do him proud by running this place to the best of my abilities. Does anyone have any questions?”

“Yeah, I got one. Pete cut our pay when he started here. Do you plan to keep that?”

“What’s your name?”

“Dan.”

“Thank you, Dan, for bringing that to our attention. Yuri, how would you like to handle this?” Viktor turned to him and gave him an encouraging smile.

“Um… I, uh…” He stared at Viktor helplessly. Why was he throwing him under the bus like that? He had no idea how to run a farm, and now he’s expecting him to answer a question about the budget without even looking at it? He chewed on his lip as he thought. Viktor knows he doesn’t know the finances. Viktor doesn’t care about the finances. It’s not about the money; it’s about the morals. He looked at Dan and straightened his back. “We will return your pay to what Jake was paying you effective immediately, and I will look at the finances as soon as possible to see what I can do to make this place more profitable for everyone.” His voice shook like crazy but his answer still garnered applause from the small group as well as Viktor who also gave his brightest smile. Yuri blushed and shrunk back into his collar until Viktor nudged his side.

Viktor concluded his meeting then they walked around the property exploring the singing land. The panting beat of crickets, the peeping of frogs in the stream running the east border of the land, and the trilling notes of birds rose and fell over the gentle hills. They came to the garden where a long strip of wildflowers was growing in between the black soil of the garden and the billowing hay. Viktor who had been carrying a pair of scissors from the office cut a thick bundle of the still growing hay then snipped frilled white and blue, glossy yellow, and red bursts of flowers and laid them on top of the bundle. Satisfied with his bouquet, they went back to the trailer and searched the drawers. Pulling out a length of yellow ribbon, he snipped it off then tied the hay and flowers with a bow. Sally came in as he was finishing.

“Thank you, Viktor, for what you did and your offer… It was too much.”

“I did some math. It seemed right to me.”

She shook her head. “I hate to do this to you after all you’ve done, but since I can retire now, Jake needs lookin’ after and…”

“Say no more. You don’t need to apologize at all. I was hoping you two would take this opportunity to finally rest and recover.”

“I’ll stay on until you find someone to replace me. I’m not going to leave you high and dry here so take all the time you need to get settled and…” She started crying. “I’m sorry. Can I give you a hug?”

Viktor stepped around the desk and opened his arms. A small twinge of jealousy struck Yuri as Viktor held Sally in a tight hug that he instantly hated himself for. Viktor was just being a good person, and he had no right to claim that away. He examined the shine on the boots that had dulled after just half a day on him until his irrational surge of possessiveness passed.

Viktor released her then handed her the bouquet. “Here. Will you bring these flowers to him the next time you visit? They’ll probably do best out of water.” He smiled and winked.

***

(19) He knelt on the black satin pillow, his body still damp and heated from the shower, staring at the dark nail buried deep in the pale wood just in front of his right knee. Had the wood stretched around the blunt nail, spreading open some fibers and compressing others to accept it in or had the nail simply torn its way through shredding everything in its path, the force of its very nature proving too strong for the wood to do anything but silently release its hope of ever being anywhere else ever again before the penetration was even complete? Or maybe it wasn’t either of them that bound them here together. Maybe it was the hammer striking blows upon them both that decided this wood and this nail would be wed, a marriage arranged by force, disguised as fate. Maybe they now clung to each other, the violence of their wedding march now over, seeking safety in their hold because they know if they ever let go of the other, the hammer will find them again. He ran his finger over the head of the nail, his soft flesh falling into the divots gouged from the hammer and catching on the rough edge of wood wrapped around it; evidence the sander left behind. The wood smoothed out to a buttery consistency over the lightly waxed surface the further from the nail he went but his finger kept coming back to caress the splintered edges of the hole.

The knob rattled behind him, and he jerked his hand back to his knee and straightened his back. The clunk of the lock reverberated in his body grabbing the quivering tremors that had been wracking through him all day and dragging them into deeper waves. Viktor’s hand came around his neck and then his breath and then his lips. Silk slid over his eyes and tightened around his head, blacking out the world.

“Color?”

Taking a deep breath, he let it trickle from his body around his answer. “Green.”

Viktor’s hands brushed down his back then took his hand in one and his waist in the other and helped him to his feet. He eased him onto the cool leather of the padded table then pushed his legs apart letting one fall open onto the table and holding the other folded in his arm. A bottle cracked open and warm, slick liquid poured onto his cock and dripped down his ass.

“Finger yourself as you did yesterday.” Viktor’s voice was soft and low dripping over him even warmer than the liquid coating him.

His finger slid easily into his hole and he lined the second one up to join the first.

“Wait. Slow, Yuri. Take your time. Make it feel good.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He backed off with his second finger and focused on thrusting the first in and out of his hole.

“Explore, Yuri. Don’t focus on the motions, focus on the sensations. You don’t know this part of yourself yet. What feels good here?”

“Um… I don’t-”

“Don’t tell me, show me. I’m watching to learn exactly what you like.”

“Are you going to tie me up?”

“Yuri,” his voice scolded softly, his tongue caressing away the sharp edge of his tone, “didn’t I tell you that I decide everything? I decide when to punish and when to praise, when to hold you down and when to set you free. You don’t need to know my plans ahead of time because your only job is to accept what I give you when I give it to you. If I feel you do need to know, I’ll tell you, but right now, you’re supposed to be focusing on showing me what feels good, not on what’s going to happen.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

He backed his finger out of his hole and felt along the raised rim, each bump and dip sending a different coded message into his body. His head tipped back as those signals began to work their way through.

“Yes, that’s it, Yuri. That’s what I want to see.” His lips brushed a kiss just below his knee.

His finger dipped in and caressed the space between the outer band of muscle and the inner one, stretching lightly the outer rim as he circled it. He played between those two rings feeling the rougher outer one sending jittery signals and the slick inner one enjoying the deeper stretches, pulling out occasionally to scrape his nails lightly against the skin above his hole. He moved his second finger over to tease the outer rim while he probed deeper with the first. Slipping the second in, his head tipped back further with the stretch filling with the satisfaction of a deep itch being scratched. When his hole relaxed around the stretch, he spread his fingers apart to restore the feeling.

“You like the stretching more than the stroking?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Try thrusting while keeping your fingers apart like that.”

He pushed in and the stretch eased as he moved toward the narrow point of the V but as he pulled back out, the sudden expansion on the widened end of his fingers pulled a moan from his lips.

“Did that feel good?”

“Ha, yes, Viktor.” He thrust back in again, this time opening his fingers even wider as he pulled back out. He groaned with the pleasure rolling down his shoulders and into his hips.

“You just love opening up for me, don’t you, Yuri?”

He nodded. “Yes, Viktor.”

“That’s good,” his voice came shivering right at his ear, “because I’m going to open you all the way.”

His earlobe was sucked into Viktor’s mouth right as he pulled out on another deep stretch and the cry coming from his lips rang in his ears. Viktor licked and sucked over his ear and his neck as he added a third finger to his stretch, thrusting his hips now to meet his hand.

“Tell me how it feels.” His breath rustled his voice into his ear followed by a lick along the edge.

“Ha, it feels good.”

Viktor’s hand ran down his torso and down his thigh to his knee and back again.

“It feels really good.” He leaned towards the direction Viktor’s voice was coming from seeking more contact but the warmth radiating from his body had vanished.

He put a rubbery stick into his free hand. “Here, put this in.”

He eased it into his loosened hole and twisted it until the curved head was against his p-spot then Viktor clicked it to life and his back arched with a gasp when a thick band of rotating beads rolled around his rim and more beads at the tip massaged his prostate. Twisting on the table without Viktor’s bonds to hold him down he worried that he might fall off but Viktor would never allow that to happen.

“Feels good?”

“Yes, Viktor. So good.”

“Good. Stroke yourself.”

He took himself in hand and started pumping the slick lube down his length.

“Slow, Yuri. I want you to take your time and make yourself feel amazing. You like to rush to the end as quickly as possible. This isn’t a chore to get over with. This is an experience for you to savor. How would I touch you?”

“With whips.” He held his smile tight.

He chuckled. “Ah, nice try, zolotse. No whips for you today, but I will give you that was a pretty funny answer.”

“No whips?”

“No. I want you to feel only pleasure today.”

“You mean… you’re not going to give me pain?”

“No pain. Only pleasure.”

“Pain is pleasure.”

He chuckled again. “I understand that but pleasure is also pleasure, so be good for me and do as I told you.”

With slow, tight strokes down his length, he fought back the urge to argue that the pleasure he had felt on his own was nowhere near the pleasure he felt under Viktor’s whips.

“You’ve slowed down, but you’re still not being very good to yourself… How would you touch me? How would you make me feel good? Show me on yourself. Make me want to be in your hands.”

“I could just show you on you so you don’t have to imagine it.”

“Careful, Yuri. You’re starting to get a little bratty with my orders here. It’s not going to get you what you want. I don’t give people who don’t please me what they want and brats don’t please me. Now be a good boy and make me long for your touch.” A lick up his neck carried his words back to his ear.

“Yes, Viktor.” He took his hand off for a minute to try to get his mind to quiet and accept what Viktor was giving him. The beads slowly rolling and stretching inside him had more of a soothing pleasure than a stimulating one, and he guessed that was no accident. He brought his hand back up and hesitated as the circle of his fist touched down on his head then he dragged it down letting his grip adjust to the terrain. Softening and expanding over the ridge, tightening again to caress every freshly exposed nerve below his foreskin, his thumb running along the sensitive band where his skin connected under his head as he moved down, pulling the skin tighter and learning that Viktor was right; just that little bit of stretching there felt amazing. He carried the stretch along as he moved down his shaft and over his balls, surrounding them with his hand and giving a gentle tug as he moved to the skin below them, running his finger around his stretched hole before he moved onto his thigh.

“Yes… That’s it, Yuri. That’s a hand I want touching me. It felt good, yes?” The tip of his tongue flicked against the skin behind his ear.

Moaning softly as he came back to flow his hand over himself again, he nodded. “Yes, Viktor. So good.”

He turned his face towards his voice seeking some part of him to taste. His lips landed on Viktor’s neck as he moved to grant him access. He sucked and kissed lightly along it as Viktor held his face against him,  smiling as he drew out a moan from him.

Viktor pulled back gently. “Keep making love to yourself. I’ll be right back.” He withdrew his heat from him again but left a fresh drizzle of heated lube over his cock before his soft footsteps moved across the room.

His hand plunged down his length as his body contracted with pleasure rising inside him. Viktor returned just as the wave running through him settled. Focusing his efforts on the more sensitive structures around his head, he caressed each spot, exploring the ways his body liked touch the best.

“That’s my good Yuri. Following my orders so nicely.”

Silk fluttered against his inner thigh, and he gasped as his body reacted with a deep thrust into his hand.

“Easy, Yuri. Keep it slow.”

Flowing ends of silk traveled his body even joining his hand in the places Viktor refused to touch with his own. Shivering under each lick of the cloth, he twisted through the unpredictable pleasure freely until Viktor tightened the silk around his left knee and hoisted it up and out to the side with the light clangs of jostling metal sounding above him. Another loop of silk caught his ankle to hold his whole leg bent and off the table then his other knee was drawn up in the same fashion. With his knees now above his hips and every inch of him bound, exposed, and open to Viktor’s every whim, his blush burned into him again. Viktor’s hands slipped down the back of his thighs, his fingers dropping into the widened valley of his ass, then carried his electrifying touch along the crease of his hips and back up his inner thighs to his knees.

“Mmm… much better. Now I can reach so much more of you.” His hands fell down his thighs again. “Thank you for obeying so we can enjoy more pleasure together.”

“Are you enjoying this? I don’t feel like I’m doing anything for you.”

“You’re doing everything for me. You’re trusting me and obeying me, and that’s what I want to feel from you.” His hand gripped gently around his hip. “Remember, Yuri, all you have to worry about is if you’re doing as I’ve said. If you’re doing that you can rest easy that it’s exactly right and that I’m perfectly happy with you and enjoying myself immensely. Are you doing as I’ve said right now?”

He was still touching himself as he’d been told but… “No, Viktor.”

“That’s right. You’re worrying about things that are outside of what I’ve told you. You can’t be focusing on making yourself feel good if you’re worried about me.”

He sighed and tried to bring his mind back to the sensations his hand was creating. “Yes, Viktor.”

It was harder than it should have been to obey his order. Every time he got his mind back to what his hand was doing or the beads massaging his ass it’d flit right off again, not even anywhere specific; just a spacey, empty chaos grabbing control of his mind.

Viktor’s hand pressed down on his chest just above his bruises. “Submit.” His command brushed over his neck. “Submit, Yuri. You’re fighting when you need to submit.”

“How? I’m trying and… I don’t know how to obey this order.”

“Finding your submission is something you have to do on your own. I can guide you to it and my pressures highlight where your resistance lies, but you are the one that needs to move away from the pressure, so I can guide you deeper.”

He took a deep breath and relaxed on the table, his body stilling along with his emptied mind.

“No, Yuri. Don’t numb yourself. Numbing isn’t submitting. Numbing is shutting me out, blocking out my touch. I need you to feel everything; feel everything and accept everything and then feel even deeper.”

A hot liquid poured over his stomach and down his cock, dripping into the valley of his hip. The heat contracted against his skin raising light goosebumps. Viktor’s tongue followed the trail and Yuri cried out as pleasure washed over him with the hope that his tongue would follow the entire path.

“Good, Yuri. Make your hand feel like my tongue licking up your cock.”

He writhed on the table as his imagination replaced his hand with that very image, licking and sucking and pulling pleasure to wash over him straight from his core.

Viktor’s tongue licked the delicate skin next to his cock. “You taste so good, Yuri.” He moaned and drizzled a fresh trail of heat to chase with his tongue over his thighs. “So, so good.”

“What do I taste like?”

Chocolate covered cherries seeped over his tongue as his finger slipped into his mouth. The syrup flooded his mouth and dripped down his chin. Viktor’s tongue chased the syrup off his chin and up to his lip where he hesitated just a moment before licking right over it, a slow, savoring taste. “Delectable.” He sighed and licked his lip again while Yuri held perfectly still in shocked hope. “Only you taste even better than that because it’s not just the syrup that I’m tasting. It’s you. And you taste unexplainably good to me.” His tongue licked across his lip again, passing across his open gasp to taste the edge under his upper lip. His heat pulled away just a little. “Are you starting to understand? The more you submit, the more I can do.”

His left hand was wrapped in silk and tied above his head, slightly raised off the table so Viktor could access all of it as he could his legs. Finally freeing him from the task of making himself feel good, he bound his right hand the same. His hands slipped under his body, lifting him slightly and dragging him down the table until he felt a gentle stretch opening all of his joints. Viktor then bound his hips with that light downward tug to lock him fully in place.

Sighing as Viktor’s bonds wicked the stress from his body, he smiled at having pleased him enough to be rewarded this way. “Thank you, Viktor.”

“My good, sweet Yuri. Always so understanding and grateful. Yes, you’re doing so well for me. I know you’re struggling here to submit, but I can see that you’re trying so hard for me. Just relax and feel. That’s all I want you to do. Feel everything I give you.” His hand wrapped around his neck, his thumb brushing over his lips. “Don’t spill a drop.” A smile lightened his tone into a gentle laugh.

He returned the smile. “Yes, Viktor.”

Viktor created a map of his body with the syrup then explored it with his tongue, sometimes cooling the heat with a gentle blow of his breath across his wet skin only to douse it in heat again. His body prickled with the sensation and when Viktor’s mouth went down on his toes, he yelped at the tickling of his tongue twisting between his toes, but it started to feel good when Viktor’s increased enthusiasm became apparent.

He gasped in the sensation between tickling and pleasure. “Do… do you have… a, um, a foot fetish?”

He licked across the very tips of his toes. “Am I so obvious even someone as inexperienced as you can figure that out?”

“I- I guess so?”

He laughed and licked the arch of his foot then released his foot. “You have lovely feet. I will fuck them someday, but not today. Though, I’m surprised you commented on my foot fetish but not my fetish for your thighs which surpasses it greatly. Even if we never lift your limits, I could happily fuck your thighs forever.”

“You want to keep me a virgin forever?” His tone fell flat.

He laughed. “No, I’d much rather be free to do whatever I want, but your thighs alone are enough to satisfy me. I can’t imagine what having all of you would do to me.” Heat poured over his throat followed by his tongue. “I’d be ruined for anyone else ever again.” His voice murmured low against his throat. “Now be quiet before I have to gag you.” His words rumbled ever so slightly with a threat.

He resisted the urge to point out that Viktor had spent most of the week encouraging him to talk and was now telling him to be quiet as he realized that this was an exception to his general command. Talking violated his immediate order to submit to what he was giving and immediate orders must override general ones.

Soft leather sinking down the backs of his thighs and nudging towards his stretched hole and his hardened cock flipped into scratching nails only teasing the edge of pain. He cried out and impulsively thrust up into the spikes, but he was bound and Viktor flipped his touch back into caressing leather. Down the inner thighs now, he teased the pain he knew he craved but never gave, taunting him over his stomach, his sides, up the tender, tickling skin on his arms and down the backs, over his chest and back around his legs, pulling cries from his lips with each step towards and away from pain. Over and over him again, Viktor tormented him with pleasure his restraint refused to give over to pain. He thought Viktor was done with his teasing when feathers dusted shivers over his skin, but that blinding promise of pain was always moments away.

Tears started soaking the silk around his eyes. “Please, Viktor, please give me pain.”

“No.”

“Please, I’m begging you. Please, Viktor. I need it.”

“No, you want pain. What you need is exactly what I give you. Are you doubting that I know what it is you need?”

“No, Viktor. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that. I mean… I’m trying. I’m sorry. I’m trying to accept it. I’m… I’ll be good. I’m sorry.”

“That’s my sweet Yuri.”

A new shimmering heat poured over his foot and calf and Viktor’s massaging hands followed along with trails of a new kind of tool pricking the edge of pain. It felt a lot like the first tool he had used on him with the wheel of spikes only this was much wider and Viktor never deepened its touch. Silky pleasure and the tease of pain covered every inch of him that Viktor could reach and after time refused to end, a single word rang in his head. Katsudon.

***

Chapter Text

The spikes rolled over his nipples, their sensitivity drawing him even closer to the pain he needed, but they passed as quickly as they came. Katsudon. Viktor’s mouth on his inner elbow sending the pleasure out along his whole arm. Katsudon. Salt-soaked silk burned the sensitive skin around his eyes, but not enough. Katsudon. The spikes and his tongue both claimed a side next to his cock at the same time, trapping him in the pleasure that clamped down on him like a vice.

“Ah! Ngh! Ka- Yellow! Yellow.” He heaved as his tears soaked completely through the silk and started down the sides of his face. “Yellow. I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Viktor.”

The beads in his ass shut off. “Don’t apologize. You did exactly as you were told. What’s wrong?”

“I- I don’t know. Just please either give me pain or let me give you pleasure. This is… I don’t know.”

“What were you thinking and feeling just before you called yellow?”

“I was thinking… I couldn’t think of anything but- but katsudon. I’m sorry.”

“You don’t need to apologize. I’m going to take your blindfold off, okay?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

He removed the silk from his eyes and even the dimmed lights in the dark room felt too bright. He closed his eyes against it.

“It’s soaked… How long were you crying for before you called yellow?”

He opened his eyes to look over at him staring at the strip of black silk looking wounded with it limp and heavy in his hand. “Um, I don’t know. A while.”

“Can I touch you?” His eyes drooped into his rare, sad innocence.

“Yes, Viktor.”

He sat down on the table next to him and held his hand against his cheek. “I’m sorry. I was pushing you to tears, and I didn’t even know it. I’m so sorry, Yuri.”

“It’s okay. You make me cry a lot.” He laughed.

“Yes, but I didn’t know this time. I should have known. I thought I knew what your crying sounded like, but I didn’t know this silent one. I should have been paying more attention.”

“Would you have stopped if you’d known?”

“No, but I would have used a lot more caution if I knew you were approaching a limit. I will likely push you to tears again, but I should always know when you’re getting close to your limit so you don’t have to tell me to back off. I’m sorry, Yuri. You did nothing wrong. This was entirely on me. I was trying to find your limit, not run over it. I’m so sorry.”

“I forgive you, Viktor.”

He smiled and rubbed his thumb against his cheek. “If you were wanting to safeword, it might be best to end this for today.” 

“No, please. I was thinking about it, but I chose yellow. I don’t want to stop you.”

“And I don’t want to damage you. I’ll only continue if I’m convinced that I won’t be. Tell me what was going on.”

“I don’t know. I can’t explain it. It just felt like too much and not enough at the same time.”

“Too much pleasure, not enough pain, yes?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“I’m thrilled with how much you love pain, but you should also be able to enjoy pleasure. I knew you’d struggle with this, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this bad. Why do you reject the pleasure I want to give you so hard?”

A fresh tear slipped down the side of his face, and Viktor’s thumb brushed it away. “You give me too much. You barely know me and you just… It’s just so much. I can’t handle it.”

“Do I barely know you? I know I still have a long way to go to know you completely, but do I really only barely know you?”

“No, Viktor.” He looked down then back into his soft eyes. “You know me better than anyone else.”

“The problem, my dearest Yuri, is that you can’t even imagine me finding you worth my time and attention and resources and my- my care. And I’m trying to tell you every possible way I can that you are. I’d go up on the roof and scream it right now if I had any hope that would affect you, but I know it would have more effect on heating the air. And the bigger problem here is that it’s not just me you won’t accept pleasure from. You can’t even give yourself pleasure. You can get yourself off to satisfy a basic need as long as you get it over with as quickly as possible, but you can’t find yourself worth even a little bit of extra care from your own hand. It broke my heart when I realized just how bad this is for you. You deserve pleasure. You deserve to treat yourself right and accept the pleasure I want to give you. If I’m giving you anything, it’s because I think you deserve it. Actually, what I’m giving you is only a tiny fraction of what I think you deserve, and the only reason I’m not giving you more is that you’re not ready for it. You accept so little while I’m fighting so hard to give you more and I’m not mad at you for that because I know you can’t help it, but I’m at a bit of a loss here to find my way around this block when I have so little room to maneuver. What can I do that will help you accept more?”

“Give me pain. Please. It helps so much.”

“I know it does, but that defeats the point of what I’m trying to do here as does letting you give me pleasure directly. While those are both good, you need to be able to accept simple pleasure. I really think we should end this today and we can try again when we’ve had some more time together, and I’ve had time to think about a better way to help you through this.”

“Please don’t. I haven’t done anything for you.”

“That right there is the problem, Yuri. One of them at least. You’re trying to control too much.”

“What? But I don’t want control.”

“No, but you’re still trying to do it. You’re treating me like a prostitute.”

“What?” He gasped and shook his head. “I’m- how?!”

“You’re trying to pay me for everything I give.”

“I’m not… I’m… That is what I’m doing, isn’t it? Oh my god. I’m so sorry, Viktor.”

He laughed. “It’s fine. I found it pretty funny when I realized that’s what you’re doing and I mean, at least you don’t think I’m a cheap whore.” He wiped at the horrified look on his face. “I don’t really mind that part, but you’re trying to pay me for what I give, and as soon as I hit that limit of what you feel you’re worth, you start holding me back because you’re not comfortable with letting me determine how much you’re worth to me. That would be a good thing to not let others determine your value except for the fact that you’re completely, utterly wrong about how much you’re worth. This is something you need to give over to me so I can start correcting your perception of yourself.”

“I’ll try.”

“This one isn’t trying. It’s allowing. You said you’d consume me, so consume me damn it.” He smiled. “I’ve been holding onto everything by myself for far too long, and it’s just stagnant in there. I need you to take it. You’re not taking things from me that you need to pay for. This is a connection so as long as you’re connecting with me as I am with you, whatever you take flows right back to me, refreshed and expanded and reshaped with your touch on it, and I know that scares you too, but I love the way you feel, Yuri. The darkness you have hiding in there doesn’t scare me. It doesn’t hurt me. I don’t know exactly what it looks like, but I know what it feels like, and I’m still saying that I love the way you feel in my hands. Please trust me.”

“Keep going. I want to keep going. Please. I’m not very good at it, but I want to trust you more. Please show me how.”

He glanced at the oversized train station clock on the wall behind the giant X. “I’m going to need more time tonight if we’re to keep going. I don’t want to be racing the clock here.”

“Take all the time you want. Just… can you text Phichit that I won’t be back at six? I’m sorry. I just… when I had dinner with you, I didn’t tell him, and I’d said we could watch a movie before that and he was waiting for me.”

“That’s fine. I can text him. But be careful about flaunting that cheap promise around. You never know when my self-control will break and I’ll take you up on it.”

“Cheap promise?”

“To take all the time I want. You don’t mean that.”

“I do. I don’t have anywhere else to be except tomorrow morning at six, but I doubt you’d hold me from that.”

He smiled, tight, his head tilted to the side. “So then let’s untie you, and we can go elope in Vegas right now, and I’ll move you in here so I can spoil you until you beg for mercy for the rest of our lives.”

“What?!”

He winked. “See? You didn’t mean it.”  

“You’re- you’re right. I’m sorry, Viktor.”

“It’s fine, Yuri. Is your phone in with your clothes?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

He went into the jade room and returned a moment later with his phone and put it to his finger to unlock it. Viktor smiled as he typed the message. “So sorry. Can’t make it back by six because I’m tied up in Viktor’s basement with a dildo up my ass. By the way, Friday’s his as well. I’m going to be with him all night long. Winky face.”

“You didn’t really say that, did you?”

“No,” he laughed, “though you’re not nearly as upset by that idea as I expected you to be. Is it because you trust that I’d never do something like that or because you wouldn’t care if I did?” He turned the phone to him to read the message. “Is this one okay? I haven’t sent it yet.”

The message read, ‘Not gonna be back at 6. Sorry Viktor’s being an ass and making me stay late. Also just a heads up I’ve got plans for Friday night. I promised a friend I’d go with her to some stupid party to make her ex jealous and I’m probably going to end up crashing there.’

“Uh… I guess that works. But I don’t know how I’d be making anyone jealous, and I told him I don’t really go to parties, and I wouldn’t call you an ass.”

Viktor cocked an eyebrow.

He blushed. “Well, not behind your back I wouldn’t.”

“Okay first of all, please get it through your head that you’re fucking hot. I mean, not just a little bit. I mean enough to drive me fucking crazy with lust for you. And Phichit clearly agrees as do I’m sure a long string of broken men and women who didn’t stand a chance against your self-esteem. You’re not ‘acceptable’ to me or whatever it is that you say in your head to explain why I’d be saying these things. I think you’re so hot, I hired you on the spot without checking your background, which is probably a good thing as I would have discovered your lies too soon, just so I could stare at your ass and those thighs and that gorgeous face and find some way to get you to go out with me. You dropping to your knees and offering yourself up on a silver platter was just… I must have done something right in my life to earn a blessing from the universe like that. You’re hot. That’s all there is to say on that subject. Yes, Viktor?”

His blush hardened. “Yes, Viktor.”

“Good. Second of all, the closer the lie is to the truth, the easier it is to tell. Not often going to parties isn’t saying you don’t go at all, so you’re fine there. And lastly, I could take out you calling me an ass, but it’s far more believable with it in, and he doesn’t know you well enough to say otherwise, yes?”

“Yes, Viktor. It’s fine with me as is but… which friend? I’m not close to anyone here.”

“An old friend from your last stable. Any female name will work. Madison? That sounds like someone to go to a party with. Sending it?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“And we’re done with him.” He returned the phone to the jade room, coming back in with a smile. “Now, where were we?” He sat back on the table with him and started tracing the bruises on his chest with his finger. “Don’t focus on how much you’re worth or how much I’m doing or what you’ve given. Focus on connecting with me by feeling what I give and giving what you feel. I was trying to get you to come indirectly by overstimulating you with pleasure the same as I did with pain on the first day, but you’re rejecting that too much right now to get you where I want you to be, so I’m going to take a slightly more direct path to your pleasure and push our limits a bit to help you through this. I will touch your cock and your hole, but only when there's no pain and only if you’re accepting me as I want to be accepted. The more you accept me, the more of myself I’ll use to touch you.”

“Please don’t. I thought I asked you not to offer me things that would hurt you.”

“And I thought you understood that I’m the one who decides what we do as long as it’s within your limits. Is me touching your entire body a zero or a one?”

“No, Viktor. It’s… it’s a three.”

(20) “Good. I think you’re worth the pain. If you don’t want me to feel it, then take it from me.” He leaned down to kiss his chest just below his collarbone as his hand clamped over his mouth, blocking his reply before he could think of one to give. “Take it from me and give it back to me as your pleasure. You’re so good at turning pain into pleasure. Can you let me feel what that’s like?”

He kissed slowly over his chest then stood up went to the cabinet to grab a bottle of water and dripped a dark stain onto the bottom hem of his gray t-shirt. He made a satisfied nod and stripped his shirt from his body then grabbed the collar in both hands and ripped the shirt right in two.

Yuri gasped. “Viktor! What-”

He was cut off by Viktor taking one of the halves and tearing that in half again. He held it up and measured it by eye then placed it over Yuri’s eyes. “In case you didn’t catch this one, I think you’re worth everything up to the literal shirt off my back. Open your mouth.” Viktor slipped his hand in behind his head and lifted it up to tilt the water into his mouth pausing after each swallow. “Did you get enough to drink?”

“Yes, Viktor. Thank you.”

“How is the blindfold?”

“Good. But, um… I’m okay with it, but I think it’d be easier for me without it?”

“Tell me why.”

“I want to see you. Please?”

The blindfold slipped from his eyes to Viktor’s smiling face.

“I’m sorry. You tore up your shirt for nothing.”

“Nothing I do for you is ever for nothing. But I’m proud of you that you felt you might be putting me out by asking for something you needed and yet you did it anyways.” He kissed the open palms above his head and went to put his scraps of shirt on the cabinet.

Viktor stood between his raised legs, massaging long, slow, deep strokes down his thighs. Rumbles of pleasure and anticipation rolled through him, low, thick clouds sparking with their carried storm over the open plain. Viktor watched him, his eyes focused rather than burning. A tremor in a frequency foreign to own rushed through his thighs and it took him a minute to realize it was Viktor’s hands. Was he… nervous?

He untied his legs from the rings hiding behind the blood-red cloth flowing across the ceiling. The swaths of fabric opened to reveal a matrix of rings and closed to hide them away. Viktor retied him as he did the day before with his knees up by his shoulders and splayed open. He stood back to admire his work, his eyes penetrating him and rehardening his cock. “You like it when my eyes are on you.”

He whimpered with the flood of embarrassment senselessly rushing over him. “Yes, Viktor.”

He leaned over him and stroked a hand down his thigh, running into the crease and brushing over the skin between his cock and his hole. “That’s why you don’t like the blindfold. You like watching me as I watch you.”

He gasped as pleasure started rising with Viktor’s hand teasing over his sensitive skin. “Yes, Viktor. And… you’re so beautiful, and you’re… you. Before it felt more like my imagination. Knowing it’s really you doing this… it’s overwhelming.”

He traced the back of his nails over the edge of his hole making his entire body contract with the sudden jolt of pleasure. Viktor leaned down towards his face. “Then I’ll make sure I never take my eyes off of you.” His eyes locked on him as he traced above and around his hole, and Yuri couldn’t look away.

He eased the dildo out of his ass and brought it to the cabinet where he picked up a new bottle of oil from a warmer. He tested the temperature on the underside of his arm then drizzled it from Yuri's fingertips down to his chest and followed it with his strokes following the path and coming back up along the other side of his arms in an unbroken circle. Nibbling, licking, and sucking along all ten fingers, he filled his palms with kisses to hold. Moving to his side, he coated his hands with oil as he sat on the edge of the table. Brushing his fingers over his forehead and down his cheeks with feather-light touches, he smiled as he moved on to tickling his finger over his lips with even lighter touches along the ends of nerves that found his touch so breathtakingly pleasurable they summoned his whole body to experience it.

Taking his nipple gently into his mouth, his tongue caressed every ridge, and without the overwhelming pleasure of pain, his care and attention were magnified. How does he care about everything so much? Doesn’t he ever get exhausted from it? Viktor answered with an even more detailed search for his pleasure on his other nipple and for the first time Yuri wanted to fight the restraints just so he could hold him. But that wasn’t what Viktor wanted from him right now. If it were, he’d be free to do so. What Viktor wanted was for him to accept whatever it was he wanted to give. Not just pain. Freedom and restraint. Confidence and submission. Striving and accepting. Giving and withholding. Pain and pleasure. His body opened like a fist released, and he fell into Viktor’s securing bonds.

“Yes, Yuri,” his voice soft against his skin, “yes. Just like that. So good. So soft in my hands.”

His voice eased him further, and Viktor murmured more praises that Yuri finally heard his sounds of pleasure in. They weren’t the wild cries of ecstasy demanding its say but the satisfied sighs of bliss settling in.

“Yes, my Yuri. Moy krasivyy, Yuri. This is just how I want you.”

He moved down pulling more layers off his body with his tongue leading gentle sucks to draw them away. His kisses went to his thighs to lavish them with his pleasure, and Viktor’s sighs settled deeper as Yuri’s moans rose.

“Yes, my Yuri. Let me give you everything. It feels so good.”

“Please.” The word joined a moan from his lengthening throat as his head tipped back to let Viktor’s touch reach as far as it could. “Please let me feel all of you.”

“Those are the absolute sweetest words I’ve ever heard spoken. Yes, I have more to give you than just pain. That’s not all that I am, and that’s not all that you are.”

He whimpered as he reflexively fought his claim but Viktor’s hands went to his stomach and his chest to put just enough pressure to ease him back down.

“Shh… it’s okay, Yuri. Stay where you are and accept that too. My words are right and the ones screaming against them are wrong. No matter how true you think they are, they’re not. I promise. Trust me, not your fear. Fear can lead people to do all sorts of things that are wrong for them and wrong for the world, and that’s where this fear is leading you. I will lead you to where you belong. All you have to do is trust me and go where my words take you.” He kissed the center of his chest. “Submit, Yuri.”

“Yes, Viktor.” Those words he had spoken so many times now shifted into living things taking root deep inside him and gave him something to hold onto in the chaos that consumed his mind. “Yes, Viktor.” He moaned as the pleasure rejoined them with Viktor’s hands dropping lower once again.

“Yes, perfect. So perfect, my Yuri.” Viktor stripped off his pants revealing his cock, stiff and dripping, and mounted the table, straddling him over his thighs. He brought one hand around the back of his neck while the other traced down the length of his body.

Warm, slick fingers caressed his hole, and his eyes stayed closed to savor the sensation that his own touch couldn’t hold a candle to. “Feels so good, Viktor.”

His fingers traced up along his cock, bare, slow brushes with his fingertips that lit every nerve in his body with flickering fire. Sweat beaded on his skin in a vain attempt to cool the flames, and Viktor kissed it from his throat leaving even hotter flesh behind. His fingertips surrounded his cock stroking up and down twisting pathways in slow drags that he craved to be faster, but each little shift of his fingers over the bumps and ridges jolted more pleasure through his body. His body clenched and pulsed and heaved. He cried out wanting to move to release the building pressure, but Viktor gave him nowhere to go but deeper into it so that’s where he went as Viktor’s finger slipped into his hole just enough to trace every nerve inside his rim. He cried out louder and Viktor rewarded him with the lightest of stretching tugs giving him more sensation and pleasure than anything he had done on his own.

“Viktor! Yes, Viktor! Please… Please. It’s so good.”

“What are you begging for, Yuri?”

He shuddered at the sound of his voice, low and a warm growl. “You. You. Your pleasure. Your pain. Anything as long as it comes from you. Please, Viktor.”

Viktor closed his eyes and tipped his head into a new kiss on his throat. “Yes, my sweet Yuri. That’s what I want to hear.” He thrust his hips long and slow, their cocks next to each other, barely, barely touching, and pressed between their slick stomachs. Viktor rocked over his shivering body, clutching him tight and laying kisses everywhere but his lips that he could reach.

“Ah! Yes, Viktor! Yes, Viktor! Feels so good! Feels so- Ah!” He broke into sobs of pleasure as Viktor rewarded him with a little more pressure and a faster rhythm. “Viktor! I’m- I’m going to come!”

“Yes, good. Come for me, zolotse. Let me see this pleasure.” Platinum fringe falling in front of his eyes, soothing warmth and destructive burn all at once, pleasure flickering on his face, he picked up the pace just a little more, his eyes never leaving his. “Come for me, my Yuri.”

With those blue eyes giving him everything there was inside him, it was Viktor filling him now without his mind trying to make sense of it by dicing him up to make him easier to take. He wasn’t easy to take, so much, too much in every way, but the force inside him Viktor created made him crave him that much more. He roiled through his pleasure as he came inside the pressure and heat between them.

Viktor gave a few final thrusts then stilled with his eyes closed and his cock still pulsing with desire as his chest heaved. He glanced at him and lunged forward then flinched back and sucked desperate kisses into his chest, his body trembling. “My Yuri. That was so good. You did so well.”

“Viktor? Are you okay?”

He smiled and sucked deeper kisses. “Never better, zolotse. How did it feel?”

“You… didn’t come.”

“Yuri,” his tone gave warning, “I asked you a question.”

“I’m sorry! It felt good. Everything you did felt so much better than anything I did. And when I came… it felt like you.”

His eyes were bright as he looked up. “Did you like the way I feel inside you?”

“Yes, Viktor.” The words churned the pleasure flowing through him still, and a soft moan escaped as Viktor’s lips found a sensitive spot on his neck.

“Are those words starting to feel good?”

“Yes, Viktor.” Deeper still and another moan. “Yes, Viktor. Yes, Viktor.”

He smiled into another kiss. “I’m so glad. You’ve made me so happy. Thank you so much, my beautiful Yuri.” He sat up and caressed his face before he stood up to untie him.

His arms felt both stiff and light as Viktor slowly brought them down to relax on his body while he freed his hips and legs as well then untangled him from the loose silk and scooped him into his arms.

“I’m not giving you any pleasure?”

“You already did.”

“But… you’re so hard. It must be painful. I can’t help you come?”

“No.” His voice was stern, but his eyes were still gentle as they gazed at each other while he carried him into the jade room. “It’ll go down. I’m so happy with you. That’s all you need to think about.”

He winced but sighed. “Yes, Viktor.”

“That’s my good Yuri. So happy you’ve made me.”

He sat him down on the edge of the pillow and turned on the water to fill the tub and added a heaping scoop of bath salts that filled the room with his signature scent. He helped him into the porcelain tub then sat on the floor next to him, holding his hand.

“Please join me?”

Viktor smiled and slid into the tub behind him, holding him tight in his arms and slowly laying kisses over his neck and shoulders.

Irritation poked at his bliss, and it took him a minute to figure out why and then another after that to work up the courage to say what he needed to say. “Is it okay… can you not kiss me right now? I’m sorry, it just-”

“It’s okay. I understand. Is the holding okay?”

“Yes, Viktor. It feels good.”

He tightened his arms, and they both relaxed back into the warm stillness with only the sound of Viktor’s heart beating below his ear.

The water grew cool, and Viktor’s whisper sounded at his ear. “Join me for dinner?”

He nodded, a fresh smile on his face. “Yes, Viktor.”

“Do you mind takeout? I thought it might be good to go over what we need to do with Jake’s farm.”

“That sounds good.”

“Thai? Indian? Chinese? Oh, there’s a really great middle eastern place that has really amazing lamb kabobs.”

“Yeah, that sounds good.”

“It’s technically work, so you’re free to change your mind here and go home and rest. I’ve put you through a lot today.”

He laughed. “Yeah, just a bit, but if you want me, I’d still like to stay.”

“I do want you to stay. Thank you.”

They climbed out of the tub and Viktor dressed him in his black pants and gray shirt then put on a white t-shirt and navy pants that were two sizes too small for him. He slid the pants down low so they weren’t so short on him and the t-shirt stretched across his sculpted body and exposed the skin on his lower stomach that just demanded Yuri’s tongue.

“Viktor?”

“You said you told Phichit we were doing yoga but it’s going to be suspicious if you keep coming home in my clothes so this way you can have clothes that fit you that also smell like me and I can have ones that smell like you.”

“You- you want that?”

“Yes. Very much. I think you smell delicious too.”

“How do you do all of this so quickly? I just told you that this morning.”

“I solve my problems like the spoiled trust fund kid that I am and just throw money at it until the problem is solved. The more money I throw, the faster it gets done.” He smiled and winked when Yuri started laughing. “Though, that seems to have the opposite effect on you.”

They headed upstairs, and Viktor placed an order on his phone and then poured some wine while they waited. They sat on the floor in front of an emerald couch in a peacock blue living room that had paintings of peacocks and more stuffed ones like the one in Viktor’s room while they sorted through the papers that Viktor had brought home from Jake’s.

“Can I ask, what does your family do?”

“My dad started his own oil company when he was only twenty that drilled in the places in Russia no one wanted to go to. He was the first to go deep into eastern Siberia and up into the Arctic and while a few more have followed his lead, there’s still nothing there except the little camps he built for his workers. It’s a harsh place to go looking for fortune, but there’s tons of oil if you’re bold enough to go that far for it. Fortune favors the bold as he likes to say which is true but too much boldness can become recklessness. So there you go. Not only am I terrible enough to have been born into money, I was born into oil money.” He took a deep drink from his glass. “My mom likes the peacocks.”

“Huh?”

“You were looking at them. You seemed curious.”

“Oh. Yeah, I was. So, you grew up here with them then?”

“No. I grew up in Russia for the most part. This was their summer home.” He glanced at the peacock on the wall and smiled. “She isn’t that pretty. My mom. I think she’s beautiful but objectively speaking, she’s a little on the plain side. You have to take more than a glance to see her beauty. She said people always thought she was my nanny since I look like my dad rather than her. 

"She likes the peacocks because it’s the males that are the flashy ones while the females are duller to blend in. My dad always told her it was better that way, that humans got it all wrong by throwing women out to be ornamental and exposing them to higher risks to be seen that way when they’re supposed to be protected. He said the males were supposed to prove their worth to the females because theirs was already a given.”

“Your dad sounds like an interesting person.”

“He certainly thinks so.” He chuckled and went to get the door when the doorbell rang.    

They arranged the food and the laptop and the papers and themselves amongst the furniture until they were in an ordered chaos with Yuri seated against Viktor’s body which leaned against the couch in the center of it all.

Viktor’s hands were occupied with Yuri and the paper he was currently frowning at so Yuri held up a stick of lamb for him.

Viktor smiled and took a bite. “Thank you.” His response sounded a bit clipped, and while they were comfortable, their interactions were feeling a bit off.

He ripped a bite of the lamb off the stick which was meltingly tender and seasoned to perfection with exotic flavorings as he thought then held it out to Viktor again. “You- you can kiss me again if- if you want to. And, um, zolotse is okay too.”

He grinned and pulled him so tight he lifted off the ground as Viktor twisted him to the side to kiss every inch of his exposed neck and shoulder while he squealed with the ticklish attack. “Thank you, zolotse.” He settled them back into place and kissed the top of his head as he looked back to the paper. “Man, hay farming is rough. How did I get into this business? Oh yeah, I’m a sucker.”

“No, you just have a big heart and the resources to match.”

He smiled and squished him to fit a kiss on his cheek. “And I have you to help me. What do you think we should do? If I have to hire someone to replace Sally, that’s going to more than take up the profits.” He laughed. “I’d have had to pay Sally something anyways as she was just sharing his profits before. Probably why he tried to insist on me just taking it rather than paying for it. I don’t really care if it turns a profit or not but on principle, I’d rather not have it be draining money.”

“Well like he said, the fruits and veggies bring in most of the profit. What if we expanded that? Would that work?”

“That is an excellent idea, but he’s growing a bit of a surplus right now. He’s selling at all of the farmer’s markets in a reasonable distance and was advertising his crop shares decently, so we’d have to come up with some other way to sell them before we think about expanding them. His hay isn’t as profitable, but it’s at least consistent, and he sells everything he grows. He’s actually running it pretty efficiently if I look back to before Pete took over. It was pretty smug of me to think I could do better without even looking at it.”

“Maybe. But I doubt you’re wrong.” He offered Viktor his wine and took a sip of his own. “I… I think I have a crazy idea. I mean really crazy, so I won’t be hurt if you don’t like it…”

“Tell me. I love crazy ideas.”

“Okay, um… what about doing a farm to table restaurant? Like, isn’t that a popular thing now? And he’s already certified organic, and the land is really pretty, and there’s that peak you can see the land and the mountains from, and it’s not too far from town. It’d need a ton of investment though. The building and advertising and a greenhouse for the winter and getting people who know how to do that sort of thing… And I don’t know if it’s a good idea or not, but it just kind of popped into my head and…”

“First of all, I love that idea. Second of all, I hate how you presented it. Don’t steal my enthusiasm for a great idea with a presentation like that. Let me show you how it should have been done.

“‘Hey, Viktor, I just thought of a really great idea. We’ve got this amazing piece of land in a nearly pristine scenic setting with a sizeable population nearby that’s growing more delicious fruits and vegetables than we can sell directly, so I was thinking about adding more value to them by transforming them into delicious meals and opening an organic farm to table restaurant on the land. It would merge all of the wonderful assets this farm has into one main product that already has a growing and enthusiastic market. We need to do some research on the feasibility and potential profits, but I think it’s really worth looking into. What do you think?’

“To which I would have replied, ‘Yes, Yuri! I love that idea! You’re absolutely right that the market is eager for something like this and it would create more jobs and bring value not just to us but to the community as well, and I can’t think of a better place to do something like that. Let’s look into it right now. We should start with some market research and go from there. How did you come up with such a brilliant idea?’”

“Um, well, when tourism started slowing down in my hometown and onsens started going under, my mom started selling her homecooked meals and opened up a part of our home as kind of a restaurant slash gathering place to hang out in and drink beer and watch sports after taking a bath and people seemed to like that. It’s the only onsen left still open in my town. So, um, I just kinda thought about that for here.”

“Wow. Your mom has an excellent understanding of business. I’m very impressed. That’s where a lot of people go wrong. When things start getting bad, they cut back and start offering less value and things just keep spiraling down because the offerings get less and less attractive. She did exactly the opposite and offered more value which goes against some basic logic but is exactly what you’re supposed to do and she did it safely by offering what she already had without needing to throw in tons of capital to offer that extra value. Did she go to school for business?”

“No, she married my dad and had my sister right out of high school.”

“Wow. So, she just figured that out on her own. Well, now I know where you get your smarts from. I had to go to college for years to learn stuff like that.”

“Oh really? You went to school for business?”

“Yeah, I have an MBA. I wasn’t sure of what else to do besides horses, and that seemed like a safe bet and helped me run my stable better. And apparently now it’s going to be useful for when old farmers shove their hay farms on me, and my brilliant farm manager comes up with excellent ideas needing some business sense to execute.” He hugged him tighter into a kiss to his shoulder. “Really, Yuri. I do love that idea, and I’m so proud of you that you came up with it. I knew you’d be good at this. If we’re going to do a true farm to table, we should look into raising animals there too. Maybe it’s a good thing that I killed a good chunk of the hay business. We can shift it from selling to outsiders to just growing what we need to feed my horses here and the animals there. What type of food would you want to do?”

“Shouldn’t we look first to see if we can even do it before we start thinking about stuff like that?”

“Yes, you don’t want to get too attached to an idea before you’ve done the research, but the research feels so much easier to do if you’re at least excited by the idea. It’s okay to indulge in some excitement for your amazing idea before we throw it into reality.”

“Okay, um… this may seem random to other people but obvious to us, but what about Russian, Japanese fusion?”

“Perfect. Strange is good. It makes it more compelling, and I think that’d make a wonderful fusion. What would you think about adding a little French twist too? My mom is French, so I have a fondness for the food and culture plus French is always a good draw.”

“Oh really? I didn’t know that. Do you speak French?”

“Oui, Mon Cherie. Fluently.”

“Wow. I don’t think I’ve had enough French food to identify it really, but I do know they’re known for it, and I trust that you know what’s best, so I’m more than fine with that.”

(21) “What’s Japanese for yes?”

“Hai.”

“Hai…” He mulled over the word with the lamb chased with wine from Yuri’s hands. “Oui, Da, Hai. A name for the restaurant. Oui, Da, Hai. Yes in each of the three languages. Yes, yes, yes: also commonly cried out during passionate sex. A sensual, romantic place for pleasure as a prelude to pleasure. What do you think?”

“I like it.” He blushed into his glass of wine as Viktor’s hand slipped down into his pants to stroke the skin above his thigh. “Especially the way you say it. It sounds like…” He blushed deeper as Viktor’s silence told him he didn’t intend to fill in his sentence for him. “Like sex.”

“Say it for me.”

“Oui Da Hai.”

“Slower, like how you say yes, Viktor.”

He dropped his voice as he breathed out his tension. “Oui, Da, Hai.” The words came out slightly quivery with his nervousness, but Viktor moaned softly and pulled him tighter.

“Yes, it does sound like sex. Say it again. Like a magic spell. Make it come into existence. I want this.”

He twisted back and gazed into Viktor’s eyes then dropped down to kiss his trembling lips along Viktor’s neck. “Oui, Da, Hai,” he slowly breathed against his skin.

Viktor shivered and pulled him tighter. “Again.”

He moved his kisses to the line below his ear. “Oui, Da, Hai.” He drew out the last yes in a breathy kiss that made Viktor gasp.

“Yes, Yuri,” he shivered, “so, so good. Again. Please.”

He kissed down to his collarbone, his hands sliding down his stomach. “Oui… Da… Hai.” He looked up at Viktor as he threw his leg over his hips, straddling him as he kissed back up a new line on his neck, whispering those three words against his skin.

Viktor started to harden against his rocking hips, and he pressed into him tighter. He seized the back of Yuri’s neck as he closed his eyes, flinching into his quickening breath. He looked back, his eyes wild with lust. “Yuri… I don’t know if I can control myself if you keep going.”

He pulled out of his distant hold to grab him tighter, grinding his hips against him as he leaned into his ear. “So then don’t.”

He groaned. “Your limits…”

He shook his head. “Your limits. Those aren’t mine. They’re yours. Do whatever you want to me.”

He whimpered, a soft, helpless sound he never imagined Viktor could make. “So cruel. Saying things you don’t mean.”

“What if I do?” He thrust their cocks together in the deep friction of the fabric between them.

He gave a breathy laugh. “Answering with a question of course.” He gripped his waist but allowed the motion of his hips to flow unhindered. “Too many questions and walls in there still to mean it.”

“So take them from me. Give me your answers. Make me jump anything in our way.” He gasped with the rising heat.

He shook his head but held him tighter still, feverish lips on his shoulder. “I can’t force your submission. You have to give it to me. Any other way and-” he sucked in a deep gasp as a roll of pleasure went through his body, “and you’ll fight me and want to run away as soon as the lust wears off because you didn’t choose this. I only want it if it’s your gift to me. I won’t ruin what we have by taking you too soon. This is the best way. Trust me.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He pressed his face into his neck as he gave the only answer he had to give. “Yes, Viktor.”

Viktor groaned and pulled back to watch his face, their lips dancing dangerously close to a kiss as they panted open-mouthed and pulling even closer. Viktor leaned in just enough for their lips to spark with a touch then turned and dove into his neck sucking kisses so deep Yuri was sure he was leaving marks. He gasped and tilted his chin up to allow him room to leave more as Viktor’s hands clung desperately to his low back.

“Oui, Da, Hai…” He moaned and thrust faster as their cocks pulsed against each other through the thin fabric. “Viktor! Ah! I’m-”

“Oui, Da, Hai,” he moaned into his neck. “Me too. Come for me, zolotse. Come for me.”

The sound of his voice was the last thing he needed to tip over the edge and plummet into pleasure. He cried out as Viktor joined him and they came into their mutual ecstasy.  

Viktor tossed him down sending papers scattering and pinned him to the floor with his weight, yanking Yuri’s shirt up over his lips as he was crashing down onto them with his own. Viktor kissed him feverish and hurried, hard, claiming, and demanding without kissing him at all as he gripped him near to the point of bruising. Heat and wetness seeped through the fabric along with hints of Viktor’s sweet tongue. He pulled back to just a gentle play of their lips then rolled onto his back, pulling Yuri on top of him, their breaths pressing into the other’s.

“I’m sorry. I couldn’t-” Viktor gulped and swallowed hard. “I couldn’t kiss you, and I couldn’t not kiss you.”

“It’s okay. I liked it. A lot.”

He looked down and smoothed the sweaty bangs out of Yuri’s face. “Really?”

“It’s… it’s my favorite kiss.”

“But it wasn’t a kiss.”

He tucked his face into his chest to tame the heat. “Still my favorite.” He glanced up and was rewarded with Viktor looking at him with an expression he couldn’t define but still wanted to claim.

Viktor smiled and brushed his lips with his fingers then held him tighter and looked up at the ceiling. “Wow. Yuri Katsuki put the moves on me after seducing the hell out of me. That was… deliciously unexpected.”

“I didn’t seduce you.”

He looked back at him. “Uh, you damn well did. Holy shit. I’ve never been so seduced in my life.”

“I was just doing what you said.”

“That was well beyond what I said. I didn’t tell you to kiss me or ride me like your life depended on it. That’s what I love about you. You don’t just follow my orders like a robot. You take them and obey them perfectly while also adding so much of yourself into them. I asked you to say three little words, and you seduced me with them until I was so turned on, I couldn’t even think.”

“Oh.”

“Oh? That’s what you have to say for yourself? Oh?” He laughed and kissed his forehead. “Oh.” He shook his head then looked back at him. “How are you feeling?”

“Amazing. But, um, I ruined our pants. I’m sorry.”

He chuckled. “No worries. I have an entire wardrobe for you here.”

“Of course, you do.” He tried to frown at him, but it came out all wavery with the smile trying to force its way through.

He laughed and kissed his forehead. “I mean, I haven’t had the time to really fill it out, but I’ve got plenty of the basics.”

He turned his face into Viktor’s chest and held him tighter then forced himself to let go. “I think I should get going. If it gets too late…”

“Yeah.” He sighed resigned but held him tighter. “You don’t have to hide us, just so you know. I’m only hiding because that’s what you want. It’s not what I want. You don’t have to respond, I just wanted you to know how I feel.”

“… I know. I’m sorry.” He sat up, and Viktor nudged his glasses back into place.

They stood up and stripped off their pants and used them to clean themselves up then went up to Viktor’s bedroom where he gave him a new pair and put new pants on himself. They pulled off their shirts and handed them to each other to put on the now perfectly fitting clothes. Yuri lifted the shirt to his nose, blushing but not stopping as Viktor watched him with his lopsided smile.

“Is it right?”

“Yes, Viktor but… I like your gray shirt more. It’s a little cozier.”

“Bring it to me tomorrow, and I’ll exchange it with a fresh one. You should still go home in these though.”

“Yes, Viktor. Thank you.” He checked his neck in the mirror and was irrationally, slightly disappointed to see that Viktor hadn’t left any marks behind.

Viktor led him to the door with his hand on his low back then leaned down to kiss the corner of his mouth. “Goodnight, Yuri. Call me if you need anything.”

He picked up the bag containing his workout clothes they had left at the front door and put it over his shoulder then smiled and reached up to press his fingers to his lips. “Thank you. Goodnight, Viktor.”

Viktor kissed his fingers then pulled his hand up to kiss his knuckles as well then Yuri started for the hill.

“Yuri? You can take your car down if you want.”

“I know, but it’s such a short walk, and it makes more sense to have it here since I really only need it when I’m running errands for you.”

“As long as that’s your real reason that’s fine.”

“It is. Goodnight, Viktor. I’ll see you in the morning.”

He smiled. “Yeah, I’ll see you in the morning.”

When he reached the stables at the bottom of the hill, he looked back to see Viktor’s figure still shadowed in the glowing rectangle of light behind him.

He opened his door, and Phichit bounded up as usual but stopped before leaping on him.

“I remembered this time.” He beamed.

“Yeah, thanks.”

“Are you still bruised?”

“Yeah.”

“Wow. You must have gotten yourself pretty good.”

“Yeah, it was a pretty nasty fall. I wasn’t looking where I was going. So what are we watching? It’s a little late, but I think we have time for a movie if you want.”

He beamed. “I do want. Um… have you seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s?”

“No? What is that?”

He gasped. “You haven’t even heard of it? Oh my god. We have to watch it! It’s soo good! Oh, but it’s an old movie, and there’s a really racist depiction of a Japanese man. It’s just a short part, but is that going to bother you?”

“It’s just a movie. I’ll live.”

“Okay, great!” He started hunting down the movie from his collection. “So, what have you been up to? I haven’t really had a chance to talk to you.”

“Uh, mostly just grooming and running errands for Viktor. But you know the thing with the moldy hay?” He sucked in a deep breath and prepared himself to do it exactly as Viktor had said. “Well, Jake twisted Viktor’s arm until he bought his farm, and he didn’t really want it at all, but he didn’t want Jake to suffer with someone buying the land and developing it or something like that and letting his guys go so he agreed.”

“Wow. So Viktor’s a hay farmer now?”

He laughed. “Yeah. He’s so thrilled about that he shoved it onto me to manage. I mean he’s got one of the guys there who actually knows how to grow hay managing that part but apparently I’m supposed to try to at least keep it from draining him.”

“Wow, really? Do you have experience with stuff like that?”

“Uh, not really, and he doesn’t care. He just said to make sure it doesn’t bankrupt him and not to hassle him with any of the details.”

He laughed. “Oh, you’re fine then. I don’t think you could do that if you tried. I mean, not that I know what he makes in a year, but he’s clearly loaded. Oh! Here it is!” He waved his bounty in the air then popped it in the player. “Wine?”

“Uh, no. I’m good, thanks.” He sat down and pulled his legs up onto the couch, wrapping his arms around them.

Phichit flopped down next to him and kissed his cheek as the screen came to life. “So how was yoga?”

“Um… intense.”

“Yeah, Viktor’s always intense. I can help relax you if you want.” He leaned in for a kiss.

He pulled back. “Um, is it okay if we… Um…”

“Go slow?”

“Yeah.” He sighed in relief. “Go slow. I’m sorry, I just-”

“It’s okay. That’s fine. You don’t have a lot of experience dating, do you? I don’t mean that in a bad way at all, just you seem a little awkward, but in a really cute way!”

He smiled. “Yeah. I don’t have a lot of experience. Thanks for understanding.”

***

He flopped onto his bed dressed in Viktor’s gray shirt and tried to sleep, but he was wired and knew further tossing and turning would only twist the wires tighter, so he grabbed the book from the nightstand to pick up where he left off.

Chapter Six

How to tell if he’s into you

Ah, the wonderful dance between being a conceited dick and an oblivious ass. It’s a hard road to travel full of indirect messages that can be interpreted in dozens of ways. Spoiler alert: If he’s always into you, you’re either a conceited dick or Viktor Nikiforov.

What?! That can’t be- He read over the words until his eyes blurred.

Don’t know who that is? Do yourself a favor and google it. Don’t have a kink for skin-tight white pants and knee-high leather boots? Congratulations, now you do. Even this specimen of human perfection with the most exquisite command of pleasure that has ever graced this earth knows that not everyone’s into him. If you think you’re surpassing that, wow have you got some serious ego to contend with. Get on that. It’s annoying as hell. Trust me. Everyone thinks so.

Viktor knows this Christophe Giacometti well enough for him to put him in his book? How? Were they lovers? He certainly seems into him and seems to imply that he knows what his pleasure feels like. Are they still involved? Are these questions he’s allowed to ask?

On the other side, if he’s never into you, you’re an oblivious ass. Even Hitler had a wife. Someone out there will be into you.

Now as for the in-between which most of us are- Actually, hold up a second. Before we go there, let’s cover the topic you should always ask yourself first before you start worrying about whether or not he wants you. Are you into him? Yeah, I know it should be obvious, and if you’re wanting to know if he’s into you that’s a pretty big clue that you’re into him, but that’s not always the case, and a little study of this question up front can save you some serious heartache. So, here’s a handy little checklist. Check two or more? You’ve got some sparks to flame. Check four or more? Awesome. You’re into him, and the relationship has serious potential.

  1.  You smile and laugh and generally have a great time with him even if what you’re doing isn’t all that fun. Maybe even doing your taxes doesn’t seem that bad if he’s by your side.
  2.  You’re eager to help him when he needs it. Is he stranded and out of gas? You’re there at mile marker forty-seven swinging the red can. He needs someone to help him move? You volunteer and do it with a smile (see point one). Is he upset and in need of a tissue? Your shirt is soaked before you hand one over.
  3.  You don’t just know the color of his eyes; you know every fleck of green or gold and how many freckles are on his right cheek and his left because you can’t keep your eyes off of him. It’s science, Mon Cherie. Couples in love spend far more time looking at each other than people engaging in casual conversation do. So, if you’re looking at him far more than you would someone else, and especially if you direct more of your attention to him in a group, your eyes are telling you your answer.
  4.  You make him the priority. Yes, you’ve still got to go to work and feed the dog, but you drop anything you can to be with him and hand over as much precious free time as you can. Those prime Friday and Saturday time slots are his, and you couldn’t be more thrilled about it. Sunday is his too? Great. You’re there listening to him complain about his shitty Monday without trying to get off the phone as soon as possible? Woah, sweetie, do you even need the rest of this list?
  5.  You don’t just lend a sympathetic ear when he’s upset. You find yourself reacting to his emotions as if they were yours. His happiness is yours and guess what? So is his pain. You don’t just say, “Aww, that’s too bad. I’m sorry,” and carry on with your day. You need to make him feel better because damn it, it hurts when you don’t.
  6.  You remember the little things. How he likes his coffee, which paper he reads, his favorite food... If you know more than his mother does, you’re either his secretary or way, way into him (or a stalker, but let’s not go there).
  7.  Following off of number six, you’re interested in the little things. You want to know how he likes his coffee and what paper he reads and his favorite food and not just because you’ll get fired if you don’t. You want to know what he loves and what he fears. You want to know his past- every warm fuzzy and every scar.
  8.  You find yourself using we followed by the future tense a whole lot. He’s included in your plans for the future because, naturally, he’ll be there.
  9.  Our and ours. Possessions, plans, plots to polish off the president (Okay maybe not that last one; I was just on a roll with the alliteration there.) are joined with ours more often than not. This one tends to come in later than the rest, so if you’re there, you’re there, Mon Cherie.
  10.  You’ve checked every item on this list. The birds are singing. You’re becoming the best version of yourself. And are those wedding bells you hear? They very well could be. If you’re here, you’re in deep.

Now, want to know if he’s into you? Reverse every item on this list into his perspective and check it again. You’ve checked number ten twice now? I want an invitation to not just the wedding but the bachelor party too (I’ll bring the stripper pole) because, congratulations, baby, you’re in love. Real, lasting, sappy, let’s grow old together kind of love.

Now, if you want to know if a potential hook up is into you, just ask. It’s not worth the-

He shut the book and tossed it back into his nightstand.

***

wanted

 

 

Chapter Text

In the section of aisle tucked away behind a corner that Viktor’s horses were in to protect them from the busier main aisle, the endless buzz of the vacuum droned on as Yuri polished Avos’s copper coat. Viktor’s way may be cleaner and more effective, but it was far less peaceful.

“Something on your mind, Yuri?” Viktor traced a finger over the back of his neck and ruffled the ends of his hair.

“I’m just tired like I told you before.” He gave a hard flick with the brush sending loose hair and dirt flying and had to wipe it from his skin before he continued with more careful strokes.

“Yes, not getting enough sleep would explain your mood, but I feel like there’s something more.”

He bit his lip as he watched the light bloom across Avos’s neck as he gave his head a light shake. “Am- am I allowed to ask about your past?”

“Yes. I’ve already told you you’re allowed to ask me questions.”

“But I mean… personal questions.”

“I never excluded them. You can assume that something is allowed unless I’ve said otherwise or basic logic tells you it would violate an order.”

He dropped the hard brush in the bucket and picked up the soft brush to start back at his neck. “I’ve- I’ve been reading that book… the, uh, the one when I moved in…”

“The Gay Man’s Bible?”

“Yeah, uh, that one. Um… did you know that you’re in it?”

He laughed. “Is that what’s been nagging at you? You could have called or texted me as soon as it came up instead of worrying about it. That’s always an option for you; to reach out to me when you need me even if it’s outside our hours. Yes, I know I’m in it. Chris asked, and I gave him my okay as long as he didn’t reveal anything personal. I wasn’t quite expecting what he ended up writing, but I don’t see why it’s got you so worked up.”

“Were you two… lovers?”

“Not in the sense that you’re using that word, no. If you’re asking if I’ve had sex with him, then yes.”

He paused to look over at him, yet another atrociously skewed expression on his face. “How do you say stuff like that so casually?”

“Because it was just a casual thing. We’re friends. We had sex during some scenes together. It’s not really that strange. Humans have sex as just about every animal on the planet does. It feels good. It’s healthy. There’s nothing strange about it. Now, are you upset because I can so easily say things like,” he leaned in, putting his hand on his hip and pulling him closer, “Yuri, I had so much fun with you last night. Your body, your cock felt incredible on mine, and I am dreaming about the moment you give yourself over to me so I can fuck you into places beyond your wildest fantasies,” he placed a kiss on the goosebumps on his neck and released him, “or are you jealous that I have a past that includes other people?”

He shivered out the effects of Viktor’s words and set back into grooming Avos. “Neither? Maybe… intimidated. Your past lovers are, I’m sure, all incredible, beautiful people and include a literal sex expert. What could you enjoy about me after having that?”

“Hmm… that is a good question. What do I enjoy about you? Well as we discussed last night, you’re beautiful. You’re challenging but not because you’re fighting me. You’re funny and intelligent. You’re kind and compassionate. You’re trustworthy.”

“I lie all the time. I’m not trustworthy.”

“One.” His voice lashed against him, his punishment already working into him before he’d even given it. “You asked me a question and are now arguing with my answer. I know you lie. I help you lie. That doesn’t make you untrustworthy to me. I don’t care what other people might answer because to me you are trustworthy and mine is the only opinion I care about when it comes to you.”

“But I’m not, Viktor. I’m-”

“Two.”

He winced at the lash again but couldn’t stop himself from needing to argue. The fact that Viktor would likely beat him black and blue for it only drove the impulse harder. “Please don’t trust me. I’ll only let you down.”

“Too bad. I do. You don’t decide what I do with you. If you don’t want to feel like you’ve let me down, then don’t. But you’re not going to stop me from putting my faith in you. You’re also not going to stop me from putting you on that horse, and you’re not going to get me to give you the pain you want by arguing. Unless you enjoy my suffering, you’re not going to enjoy your punishment.”

“What? I don’t understand.”

“You will. Behave yourself, and I promise I will give you all the pain your body can take tonight.”

He looked over at him; his eyes brightened with relief already brushing its cool hand across his fevered skin. “Really?”

He leaned over him to slide his hand down his thigh and grip his fading bruises. “Really.” He kissed the back of his neck. “Don’t ever forget that I know what it is that you want and what you need and as long as you trust me, I will give you more than you can imagine. You don’t have to worry. I will never forget that you’re the little pain slut who fell to his knees begging me to punish you. Trust me, Yuri. Don’t waste our time fighting. The more time you give me, the more I can give you.”

He trembled with pleasure flicking through him and leaned into Viktor’s solid body. “Yes, Viktor.” He moaned quietly at the release of his tension. “Thank you, Viktor. I’m sorry.”

“You’re forgiven. This. The last piece of the answer I was giving is this. What you’re feeling now is what I am feeling too, and no one else has ever given me that. You don’t have to worry. You’re mine. That’s all you need to know.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He closed his eyes as another soft moan spilled over his lips with his words and Viktor’s caressing hands joining with pleasure as their bond. “Yes, Viktor. Why does that feel so good?”

“Your training is starting to take effect. I’ve rewarded you nearly every time you’ve said it so now your brain is releasing those good chemicals just upon the words alone. I’m impressed though. It’s taken effect much sooner than I expected. You must really enjoy my rewards.” His hand passed over his clothed cock as it made its way up his body.

He shuddered. “Viktor, you’re going to make me hard.”

“Just a little.” His hand moved down again to trace the outline of his cock in the tight breeches. “You’re still fine. Tack him up and let’s go.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He pressed his lips against a gasp as Viktor palmed him, slowly dragging his heat over his cock.

“Good, Yuri. Let’s make those words feel even better for you. You’ll give me plenty of opportunities, yes?”

He trembled before the words even left his mouth. “Yes, Viktor.”   

“That’s my good, beautiful Yuri. Right back where I want you.” His fingers clawed lightly over his dangerously interested cock with his lips over his neck.

“Yes, Viktor. Yes, Viktor. Yes, Viktor.”

Viktor’s hand clamped over his mouth as heat flashed through his body. “Easy, Yuri. You’re going to get yourself too worked up. Let me control it.” His hand moved off his mouth to allow his response.

“Yes, Viktor.”

He hugged him tight allowing the rush of heat to settle in his quiet arms. “That’s my good Yuri.” After a moment he stepped back to allow him to complete his orders.

He got him tacked in the jumping saddle and cavesson, and they went back to the indoor arena to lunge him that now held a single jump in the middle. Viktor had gotten his okay in the tack room to set it up, and now Yuri was curious too to see if Avos would try to take it on his own. They finished lunging him together, and Viktor was checking the girth as Yuri glanced at the jump yet again.

“Nervous?”

“Yes, Viktor, but I was just thinking that it was lower than I expected.” The fence was only about two feet high. Avos could probably step over it if he felt like it.

“Yes, I know you can both do higher, and I’m sure he’ll be insulted by that height, but I don’t want to push you too much. He’ll probably take it higher anyway if he does take it. He always overjumps so be on guard for that.”

“Yes, Viktor.” A warm swirl passed through him easing out some of his tension as he took his place at Avos’s side.

Viktor tossed him up and adjusted the stirrups and checked the girth one more time before letting him loose. His body was sore all over from riding yesterday and their workouts but at least he was feeling a little strength returning as Avos galloped around the ring. He didn’t have to brace his muscles as hard to keep up with him even without the deep seat of the dressage saddle to help hold him in place. He rose up into a two-point position with his upper body folded down and his ass sticking out behind him with only his knees and lower legs holding him in place. The position took the shock out of his spine and put it into his absorbing knees and thighs. He had a higher risk of falling like this in Avos’s sudden turns, but that was hardly a concern. He sank his weight into his heels and focused on keeping his upper body solid and balanced over his center point while he followed his motions with his pressures and praise. Avos jolted to the side, and he dropped back into the saddle for just a moment to rebalance before coming up again.

“Beautiful, Yuri! You’re looking so amazing up there! How are you feeling?”

“Um… okay, I think.”

“Better than yesterday?”

“Yes, Viktor.” Tension dropped out a little more allowing him a better posture in his shoulders.

“Beautiful, Yuri.” Viktor gave his soft smile. “So beautiful. Feels better, yes, Yuri?”

“Yes, Viktor.” He sighed, easing into his movements a little more.

“Again.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“So good, Yuri. So beautiful. You look amazing on him.”

Avos’s movement rippled through him, and his sudden turn to the jump went right along with the rest without a break in their motion. He waited as Avos collected at the base of the jump letting him compress Yuri's body as his front end rose up and pushed his hips back so his shoulders could balance over his knees. Avos's hind legs thrust off the ground, and they lifted into the air together. His hands went forward as they would if he had reins along the sides of his neck but he left his weight where it belonged, centered in their aligned cores. Avos overjumped as promised but his set up was clean and straight, so the arc flowed smoothly from the ground. Avos trotted off snorting from the landing, and Yuri went into a posting trot, rising out of the saddle with his thrusts and settling back on the next beat, the rush of the jump still buzzing through him.

“Yuri! That was so good!” Viktor thrust his hands into the air. “That was absolutely perfect positioning! Your leg! Your freakin’ leg was as solid as a rock! You’re so incredibly talented!” He pressed his hands over his gaping smile then dropped them with his eyes still sparkling. “What did you think?”

“He’s a lot easier than I expected.” He gave another pat on Avos’s neck with his shaking hand.

Viktor laughed. “You make me look utterly incompetent at riding that horse. I can’t get over how beautifully you go together. He loves you. Whatever you’re doing up there is perfect for him. You’re so… musical. You have perfect rhythm and you flow so well with him, but you’re not floppy up there either. I hate that, seeing riders who think they’re helping by hanging loose and going wherever the forces put them instead of staying quiet where the horse’s center actually is. You’ve got that balance perfected and you’re still so young to have mastered that so well.”

“I had a good trainer.”

“You must have. Wow. How did it feel?”

“Um… it felt… good.”

Viktor waited, watching him for a moment. “No tears?”

Stuck between sheer panic and the thrill of doing something he used to love, his emotions had nowhere to go to relieve him of the burning pressure. “I guess not.”

“Wow, Yuri. Amazing! God, how good you are. Just amazing.”

Avos circled around to line up the jump again from the other direction. He charged for it and took it at an angle, landing with a surprise buck that almost tossed him off, but his rewired instincts from endless training and experience kept him from eating dirt, and he settled himself back into the saddle.

“Good recovery!”

Avos retook the jump, this time holding a straight line and actually taking a reasonable amount of effort to make it over rather than putting senseless energy into jumping air. He praised him for having some brains in there as he cantered off from the landing.

“Beautiful, Yuri! Nicely done! Wow, that horse loves to jump. And he just adores you.” He whistled and offered cookies to draw Avos over and patted his neck as he clipped on the lunge line. “He chose you too. Now both of us have to wait for you to choose us. He is just as good as I thought he was. He was just very picky about who he chose as his rider. The person I bought him from said he tossed his riders more often than not so you should feel very honored.” He kissed Avos’s forehead. “Good boy. You chose very well. I must say, you have excellent taste and you’ve earned my respect. I hereby remove your title of ‘asshole.’ Now we can keep each other company while we wait for him, yes?” He gave him another kiss and scratched behind his ear. “Don’t worry, buddy. I’ll do everything I can so we can both keep him. You just keep doing what you’re doing. I’m sure he likes you too.”

God, how was he so cute around his horses? Yuri’s manically stupid smile slipped onto his face and he couldn’t stop it though he tried which only made it worse.

Viktor glanced over with a silly smile starting on his face as he continued to coo to Avos. “See that? He does like us. We just have to help him. Poor thing is so scared.”

Avos got bored and bobbed his head, nudging Viktor's chest to encourage him to do something else.

“I know, right? What does he have to be afraid of? He’s ridiculously talented. I’m certain you two could give me some serious competition even on Toska. I’ve never had a challenger like him. He could steal everything from me. And I’ll tell you a secret. Come here, don’t tell anyone, okay?” He leaned in to stage-whisper in his ear. “I would love that. It would make starting over worth it to have a challenger nipping at my heels.” He leaned back and patted his neck, looking over to Yuri with his smile still in place. “You can get down.”

He hopped down and into Viktor’s open arms. That frozen burn of his emotions bulged against the limits of his body locking out his thoughts and sensations. Viktor’s quiet, strong arms helped ease it back down and cleared his mind enough for a few tears to leak through until it receded deeper into him.

Viktor kissed his head. “That’s my good Yuri, yes?”

“Yes, Viktor.” He sighed into his hold.

“Good, Yuri.” He pushed him back to kiss his cheek. “Put him away and meet me in the outdoor. I should be on the course today, but I have special training I want to do today think it’d be easier in the ring to do it.”

“Yes, Viktor. Um, do I need to bring anything?”

“Just yourself.”

“But-”

“Yuri…” His warning rang out sweet and clear.

“Yes, Viktor.” He turned Avos to the gate and led him out.

After getting Avos cleaned up and put away he met Viktor in the outdoor who was just about to get on Bytiye.

“Oh good. Excellent timing.” He bent his left leg back and Yuri tossed him up. “I want you to stand in the middle of the ring and watch me.”

“Um, yes, Viktor.”

He moved to a spot in between the lines for the jumps and watched while Viktor warmed Bytiye up on his long rein. Viktor was wearing purple today with his white breeches and had put him in a golden yellow with the dark charcoal breeches and he couldn’t help but notice that the colors went rather well together. He doubted it was an accident. Viktor didn’t do things on accident.

Viktor took his golden horse down the first line of jumps and pulled him up to ride over to Yuri, looking back at the rail on the ground. “What can I do better?”

“What?”

“You have a bad habit of that. Asking me to repeat myself when you fully heard and understood my question.”

“Um… I don’t know what you could do better. You’re perfect.”

“No one’s perfect and I know damn well that I’m not nearly as solid over the fences as you are so tell me. What can I do better?”

“Um… well your rhythm is a little weak so he doesn’t have a strong rhythm himself. Toska must have a good natural rhythm because I don’t see that on him. You must have been relying on that so you didn’t develop it in yourself as much.”

“Excellent, Yuri. That was very sound advice. Thank you. Do you have any specific exercises that you prefer for strengthening rhythm?”

“Having someone call out a rhythm can be helpful until you internalize it.” His lips twitched into a smile. “My old trainer uses a metronome. She’d set it to the right speed for the horse and call it out endlessly. I trained with it for years, and I can still hear the exact little swict swict swict sound it made when I passed by it.”

Viktor smiled warmly. “That’s a brilliant idea. You grew up with so many intelligent people around you.”

“Yeah. I did. I was really lucky.”

“I bet we can find an app for that, yes?”

“Yes, Viktor.” He pulled out his phone and started looking. A few minutes later he had one installed on his phone that sounded nearly identical to the one Minako had.

“Excellent. I take it we should start with some ground work?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Good. Tell me which gait you want and sound it out for me.”

“Yes, Viktor. Let me get his walk worked out first.”

“Short rein or long rein? There is a clear difference on him.”

“Long rein but driving him forward should get you something in the middle, right? He gets tense and choppy with the short rein so hopefully a steadier, slower rhythm will help correct that.”

“Yes, that sounds good.” He took Bytiye out to the rail and drove him into a marching walk while Yuri adjusted the settings.

Set to a beat that should work for him, Yuri began clapping a four-beat rhythm, emphasizing the first beat when Bytiye’s inside hind leg swung forward. The little driving pushes in Viktor’s seat and legs began to time with his claps and he took up the reins just a bit, squeezing his fingers lightly in time as well to keep him from rushing forward. Little by little, the steady rhythm calmed Bytiye and Viktor was able to take up the reins until he had a soft contact with his mouth without his brain switching into go mode.

“How am I doing, Yuri?” Viktor smiled as he passed by.

“Beautifully, of course.”

“Am I ready for more?”

“Yes, for now. You’ll have to drill each one a lot to internalize it. Eventually you’ll be able to find any horse’s rhythm in a few strides and the stronger your rhythm is, the easier you can alter theirs as needed.”

“Excellent. Trot next?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

He let out the reins a bit and cued him to trot and slowly picked them back up again as he timed his lifts from the saddle to Yuri’s claps rather than Bytiye’s thrusts and used his legs to drive him to match. They repeated the process through the canter and the gallop and Viktor slowed him back to a walk and rode closer so they could hear each other speak.

“Wow, Yuri. That really is helpful for him. I’ve tried so many times picking up the reins a little bit at a time like that and he’d always tense at the slightest touch of the rein. Having that consistent rhythm I think gave him something to focus on that was staying the same and he didn’t notice that slow tightening in the reins. I’m going for a jump and I want you to call the rhythm that will get me to the right mark. I’ll time it and release him exactly as you direct.”

He gasped as panic seized his throat. “No! You’re the rider! Don’t give that to me!”

“On your knees.” His expression darkened and his voice growled menacingly.

He dropped into the pale gold footing.

“Three.” His voice banged with the gavel dropped. “You’ve forgotten, Yuri, who’s really in charge here. That was an order and you are required to follow it no matter what you think of it.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He fought back the tears that welled up in his eyes. “I’m sorry, Viktor.”

“Stand up.” He waited for him to get back on his feet. “Let’s try this again. I am the rider and I would never do something with my beloved horse that I considered too risky. I am taking the jump and I will time his strides and his release to what you tell me. If we crash right through the fence, that is still my responsibility because I am the one giving this order. Understood?”

His tears spilled over. “Yes, Viktor.”

“Come here.”

He walked over and Viktor reached down to wipe his tears away.

“You’re still holding onto your worries. Give them to me. Why do you want them?”  

“I don’t know.”

“This is another pressure you need to move away from. You’re following my orders most of the time but you’re not trusting them. You’re not trusting me. When we start going outside of your comfort zone, that lights up like a forest fire. Let me guide you. I won’t lead you wrong. I promise.” He smiled gently and leaned down, tugging him up onto his toes for a kiss to his cheek. “Okay, I’m going to take the birch oxer coming off a circle from the corner at a canter. If things are going well, I’m going to continue the diagonal line and you will continue marking my rhythm.” He pointed out his path to the jump that looked like the fallen ghosts of trees.

He closed his eyes and kissed the ornate logo branded into the top of his boot and would swear that he could still taste and smell the smoked edges where the fire had brushed its darkening licks over the light leather. “Yes, Viktor.”

He looked down with a smirk shading his smile. “Now this is a fun development. I love it when you offer such surprising and adorable glimpses into your kinks. I know you had an interest in my whip but was the boot also drawing your attention when we met?”

He blushed and released his hold on his boot. “Um… maybe a little.”

“You don’t have to feel ashamed of your kinks. I want to know every little thing that turns you on. I promise, you won’t shock me.” He put the end of his crop under Yuri’s chin and lifted it up until their eyes were locked. “Kiss it again.”

He leaned into the trill of pleasure and pressed his lips to his boot.

“Lick it.”

His tongue ran over the soft edges of the sunken logo, his eyes still fixed on Viktor’s as the heat was passed from the brand into him.

Viktor tilted his head, his smirk deepening. “Does this pair of boots hold more of an interest for you than my dressage boots do?”

“Maybe, um, yes, Viktor.”

“What about them is so interesting?”

“Um… I like the color and um, the logo. How it… contrasts. It’s beautiful.”

“You like how an artist took something simple and functional and branded it permanently with their skilled hand rendering it more beautiful and interesting?”

He shivered. “Yes- Yes, Viktor.”

His whip tipped his chin up further. “You like all of this, don’t you?”

“Yes, Viktor.” He squirmed trying to keep himself contained.

“Be my good virgin slut and maybe we can play here one day. That one will have to be a very special reward though so you’ll have to really impress me.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Good, Yuri.” He dropped the whip from his chin and trotted off. “Go ahead.”

He considered setting the metronome to help him, but he hadn’t yet figured out the speed for his faster pace to the jumps and decided it would be more of a hinderance than a help to his own established rhythm. Viktor picked up his canter and made the loop and Yuri measured it with his eyes, bobbing his head as he picked up his beat and slowed it just a click to keep Bytiye more measured. Five strides to the fence. He started clapping as Viktor passed the halfway point on the circle and Viktor timed his half halts to keep Bytiye checked and balanced to Yuri’s rhythm. Bytiye’s natural fire surged ahead, but Viktor tightened his control and held him to the beat, driving and checking in turn to keep him to it. Yuri’s heart raced as they approached the jump but the take off was right and Bytiye sailed over with a rounder arc than usual, making a tight, clean jump. Viktor patted his neck and looked ahead to the next jump. Yuri jogged to keep up with the line as he continued his loud claps, his stinging palms helping to distract from the static in his mind. A bounce jump was next and Bytiye leapt into the small gap between the fences and bounded back out again immediately after landing. Viktor sailed over the triple bar and then the last vertical, both clean and well-arched.

Viktor came over beaming. “That was the best he’s ever gone. Still a little rushed but nice and clean and I felt like I had more control of him. Everything felt more predictable.”

“Yeah, I didn’t want to go too far off his natural rhythm. If you keep working on it, you should be able to work him down slower.”

“Beautiful. Thank you, Yuri. I’m so proud of you. You’re so talented, yes?”

He blushed. “Yes, Viktor.”

He smiled and stroked the crop over his cock, enhancing his words. “That’s my good, Yuri.” He touched the crop over his lips like a kiss. “What else do you see that I could be better at?”

“Um… It’s a really minor thing and it doesn’t really get in your way at all but… you’re thinking about how to take the jump wrong so your lower leg isn’t as solid as it could be.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“You’re thinking up because the horse is coming up and you’re trying to will the horse over the jump with that forward leap of your body but it doesn’t work like that. You know that and so your position is a lot better than most people who think that, but it’s still there messing you up a little. You need to think down.” He turned to the side so Viktor could see his balance as he mimicked a wide squat over a horse. “Most people think of jumps as up so they lean their upper body forward and rise up in the saddle as the horse takes off.” He mimicked the rise, pushing off the balls of his feet and leaning his upper body forward of his feet, wobbling and having to curl his toes to hold his balance in the precarious position. “You see riders do this all the time, right? But it doesn’t look as bad because they’ve got the horse’s neck to lean on and help hold their balance. And this is actually considered correct by many people, equitation hunters especially, with the hips over the heels as you would be in for a basic riding position, but it’s not very balanced and you'll see that clearly on the bigger jumps. Even if you’re strong enough to hold this position like you are without getting up on the horse’s neck, you’re still fighting the forces of the leg wanting to slip back and your shoulders are ahead of the ideal balance point. You're already up out of the saddle if you're in two-point so you need to think down.” He dropped back into the basic two-point position and then squatted lower letting his hips thrust backwards while his lower leg stayed perfectly solid beneath his shoulders as his body folded into a balanced jumping position. “You sink your upper body down like a squat and let the horse push your knees up towards your armpits as he rises up. Your leg won’t go anywhere and you’ll be perfectly balanced throughout the whole jump. Your leg will be where you need it to give effective cues over the fence and it gives you more drive on the takeoff to have your leg where it belongs than the upper body jump ever will.”

“Wow, Yuri. That was the clearest instruction I’ve ever received and you’re so right.” He rose up out of the saddle and played between the two demonstrations he had offered, feeling the tipping of the forward lift he had to correct with strength and the easy balance of the squat.

“Since you never do that forward lift, your shoulders are always over their shoulders rather than ahead of them onto the neck making it safer. The FEI did a study and in every fatal summersault fall, the rider’s shoulders were coming forward ahead of the horse's. It makes sense if they’re lowering the horse’s arc over the jump with their weight on the forehand and then making him catch his forearm on the obstacle.”

“Wow. I mean, I know it’s safer to stay with the horse, but I didn’t know about that study, and I didn’t know how to correct it so easily. Yuri… You’re not just good at this; you’re incredible. Did you ever teach before?”

“Yes, Viktor.” The pleasure of the words battled the fear that rose with Viktor’s clear set up. “A lot. Um, I started when I was about twelve helping my instructor with the younger students and up until I quit.”

“What number?”

He stared at the pale footing while trying to calculate his fear and transform it into an easily understood and manipulated number. “One and a half.”

He laughed. “Now that’s a new one. Please explain your new numbering system. I’m very intrigued.”

“Um, it causes anxiety, and I really don’t want to do it, but I can’t think of any specific limits so I’d do it if I’m forced to, but it’s really not a two either.”

“Is it like the lunging?”

He looked up, relieved yet again that Viktor had understood what was inside of him better than he did. “Yes, Viktor. But maybe lunging is like… a one and three quarters.”

“I understand. Okay, thank you, Yuri. I’m going to take a few more fences and try out your way. Tell me if I’m doing something wrong or if you see how I can do it better.”

He cringed. “Yes, Viktor.”

“You don’t like that. Tell me why.”

“What if I tell you something wrong?”

“Do you know how to ride?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“How well? Don’t give me your opinions. Just facts.”

“I was at the upper levels when I quit.”

“Would you ever say something that you don’t believe is correct and beneficial or that’s beyond your knowledge?”

“No, Viktor.”

“Will I take any advice that I believe is faulty or dangerous?”

“No, Viktor.”

“So why are you worried now?”

“I- I’m okay.” He sucked in a deep breath and let it out. “Thank you, Viktor.”

“That’s my good, Yuri.”

“Um, raising your stirrups a hole, maybe two might help too. The more compact your fold is, the more balanced you are.”

“More like a jockey?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Come here, zolotse.”

He came over, and Viktor caressed his face. “I’m so proud of you.” He dropped his feet from the irons. “Correct my stirrups.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He pulled the leather to expose the buckle from under the flap that covers it to protect the rider from rubbing on it. “One hole or two?”

“I gave you a result to achieve, not a way to do it. Correct it as you see fit.”

His mouth twisted to the side and his eyes narrowed as he looked up. “You certainly didn’t lie about not going easy on me.” Yanking the free end of the leather up, he popped the buckle loose.

Satisfaction stretched on Viktor’s face. “I’m glad you’ve grasped one thing at least.”

He started to slip the peg into the first hole up then closed his eyes and slid it up another hole and pulled the buckle back into place and moved to do the other side the same.

Viktor put his feet back in the stirrups and played with the strange adjustment, rising up and down in the saddle.

“How does it feel? It’s partly personal preference so lower can work too.”

“Preferences are often just what you’re used to. I’m sure I’ll adjust to this. Well done, Yuri.”

Viktor trotted him out, taking a few laps around the ring to adjust to the shorter stirrups and control the lift out of the saddle that had him rising higher than usual. “Mark my rhythm again. I’m taking him down this line.” He pointed to the line over the Russian nesting dolls, and Yuri started up his beat.

A few lines later and Viktor was riding over, his smile beaming its brightest. “Amazing. Absolutely amazing. That felt incredible, and he went so well. It wasn’t quite like on Toska, but it’s the closest we’ve ever come to that. How did we look?”

“Incredible. Your leg was perfect.”

“Thank you, Yuri. I’m so proud of you, and you’re proud of yourself, yes?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Ah, I want to give you a hug, but someone’s coming.” He jumped down and handed his reins to Yuri.

Phichit came up to the rail and waved to Yuri then looked at Viktor. “Wow, he’s looking great. Looks like Toska’s finally got his successor.”

“Possibly. Did you need something?” He smiled politely.

“Yeah, I wanted to ask if you were planning on cooking yourself or if you were going to cater this one.”

“I’ll cook myself. The usual cookout fare is fine. Don’t worry about getting the supplies. Just make a list of anything we’ll need and how much and I’ll send Yuri out for them.”

“Okay, great. I just wanted to check before I called someone.”

“Thank you for checking, though texting is a little faster and saves you a trip over here.” Viktor smiled as sweetly as one should for expressing standard concern.

Phichit returned the smile. “You’re right. I’ll do that next time.”

“Of course. Thank you, Phichit.”

They spent the rest of the morning with Yuri alternating between clapping out a rhythm for Viktor and counting it out whenever his hands or his voice grew tired until it was time to head back up the hill for lunch.

Yuri started up the katsudon in the kitchen while Viktor attended to the business side of his stable at his laptop on the kitchen table.

“Have you made any plans for the next few months?”

“Um, other than here? No, Viktor.”

“Are you interested in joining me at shows to work as my groom there? We didn’t discuss this when you were hired so it’s up to you if you’d like to. I can bring Georgi if you’d prefer.”

His head snapped up from stirring the onions. “No, I’ll go!”

The clicking of the keys halted as Viktor looked up with a smile.

“Um, I mean. Yes, Viktor. I’ll go with you.”

“Excellent. I, of course, cover all travel expenses and meals and you get double your rate for your hours worked on the road.”

“You don’t have to pay me more. You already pay me more than enough.”

“I will pay you exactly as I would pay anyone else filling that role. Are you asking me to give you preferential treatment?” His professional mask was solidly in place, but the satisfied smirk played in his eyes and his voice.

“You are absurdly good at getting your way.” He frowned and dug at the onions in the pan so they wouldn’t burn.

His smirk broke apart his mask as he resumed typing. “I just sent you an email of dates that I’ll need you.”

“Should I take it as complete or should I ask you before I make any plans outside of our hours?”

“It’s complete as far as I know but I like the idea of what you’re offering.” His smirk warmed just a touch.

“Yes, Viktor.”

He scattered the finished bowls with scallions and placed Viktor’s in front of him with a small bow then sat across from him with his own.

Viktor closed his laptop and smiled warmly. “I will never get over how adorable that little bow is when you hand things to me. Thank you, Yuri. It looks delicious.” He took a careful bite of the steaming bowl. “Wow. This is really good.” He took another bite. “I mean, really really good. You’re improving so much in every area. I’m so proud of you.” He glanced at his untouched bowl. “Eat, Yuri.”

He put a piece of crispy pork topped with egg and onions to his lips and unlocked his jaw to take a small bite. Sickness flushed through his body, and his chopsticks clattered in his bowl.

“Yuri? What’s wrong?” Viktor leaned forward and pressed a cool hand onto his forehead.

“Do I have to eat it?”

“Yes.”

“Please, Viktor.”

“Go get one of the pillows from the couch.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He returned a moment later with a teal and sage chevroned pillow.

“Put it on the floor at my feet.” He had turned away from the table, so Yuri had room to do so. “Get your bowl and give it to me.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He handed the bowl over, and Viktor handed him his.

“Kneel.” He gestured at the pillow. “Feed me. But,” he put up one finger to pause him, “you can only feed me a bite after you’ve taken one from me first.”

His face crumpled with dry tears. “Please, Viktor. Not this.”

“Are you safewording?”

His hands clenched on his knees. “No, Viktor.”

“Then go ahead.” He held out a bite of katsudon on the end of his chopsticks. “Open your mouth.”

“You won’t eat at all if I don’t, will you?”

“No.”

“Why do you go so far for me?”

He shrugged. "You’re mine. Would I let one of my horses suffer if I had a way to prevent it even if it was uncomfortable or painful to me?”

“No, Viktor.”

“Yes, and you’re not a horse. You’re my Yuri.” The back of his hand stroked his cheek. “Now open up.” He tipped Yuri’s head up with his hand under his chin.

“You come up with the strangest things. I hope you know that.” He opened his mouth, and Viktor filled it.

He smiled. “Strange is good. I can’t rewire your brain with what you already know. Fresh experiences allow me more openings as long as they’re still connecting to the right things. Besides, you gave me the idea for this one yourself last night.” He opened his mouth for Yuri to fill.

“It’s all so chaotic though. I thought being predictable made training easier.”

Viktor passed him another bite. “For some things, but when you’re trying to build trust, working through a variety of experiences together is essential.” He opened his mouth to receive another bite then offered one back. “Besides, it’s not as chaotic as you think. It’s all stemming from two main things I want you to learn.”

Swallowing the lump of food, he held up another bite. “Which are?”

“One is that I believe in you. Far more than you do. I think you’re capable of so much and I want to see you achieve it.” His lips pulled the katsudon from Yuri’s hand, glistening and wrapping softly around the sticks. He touched Yuri’s face as he swallowed. “The second is one you need to look for yourself.”

“Where do I look?” His lips parted.

“Wherever you find answers.”

He frowned in thought as he brought another bite to Viktor. “What is your favorite food?”

“You know, I don’t really know. I don’t think I’ve ever had a favorite anything other than Toska. I’ve always more enjoyed experiencing a wide variety of things.” He accepted his next bite with his eyes closed into a satisfied smile. His clear eyes refocused on him as he gave him another taste. “But I’m really liking this. Can you make it become my favorite?”

“I don’t… I’ll do my best.”

***

Yuri stood in the outdoor arena with Viktor and Yura who was warming up his horse. The afternoon sun was already becoming uncomfortably hot, but the tree-lined edges provided a welcome escape.

Viktor pressed a quick hand to Yuri’s lower back and dropped it. “Tell Yura that my throat is sore and you will be relaying all of my instructions.”

Yuri looked to him with pleading but resigned eyes as he grasped another piece of himself. “You’re brutal. You know that, right?”

He gave a little half smile as he looked down at him. “I do. That’s your favorite thing about me.”

“Is it?” He ripped the chunk away and handed it over.

He leaned in to growl in his ear. “I’m certain of it. Be my good little virgin slut, and I’ll give you a taste of just how brutal I can really be tonight.”

He shivered and summoned the voice he needed to be heard clear across a football field. “Yura! Viktor’s throat is sore, so he’s going to have me relay all of his instructions.”

“What?! Hell no! I’m not paying for that!”

“Tell him he can get down and leave then. No Viktor says. Just relay the message.”

“You can get down and leave then.”

“He can not teach, but he can’t make me leave the arena!”

“I wouldn’t be so certain of that. He gets his way. Don’t ever doubt that. And this is his property.” He tensed as he checked Viktor’s reaction to his impromptu outburst.

“Well done, Yuri. Just like that. If you have anything to add at all, do it. Tell him to take the birch oxer a few times. He likes jumping. It might calm him down.”

He took a deep breath and resummoned his voice. “Make a circle over the birch oxer and keep it up.”

Yura glowered as he rode over to where they were standing at the edge of the rail. “Pick someone else.” His voice was laced with venom as he glared at Yuri.

“Excuse me?” Viktor asked.

“If you really have a sore throat and need someone to relay instructions that’s fine as long as it’s anyone but him.”

Viktor’s eyebrows flicked up then he smiled. “Still pissed about the name? This is who I picked. Take the jump.”

“I don’t give a shit about the stupid name, Vitya.” He smeared the nickname through his defiant anger. “I’m just not going to take instruction from someone like him.”

“Take the jump, Yura.” His voice took on an unmistakably dangerous edge.

“Make me.”

“I have no interest in making you do anything. Your only two choices are to cooperate or leave. I’m preferring the latter so I wouldn’t recommend using up too many more choices here or I’ll remove yours altogether and decide for you.”

Yura’s green eyes fixed on Yuri with disgust. “Why him?”

“Why not him?”

“You won’t let me answer that question.” He sneered seeming satisfied with himself that he got a dig in and left to start his circle for the jump.

“Wow. Sorry, Yuri. He’s really being his whole ass today.”

“It’s fine. I’ve had worse.”

“You’ve given yourself worse. Far worse. I’m still sorry.” He nodded at Yura and Pantera leaping over the oxer. “What’s he doing wrong?”

“Everything. He rides like a rich kid.” He glanced over with a smile at Viktor’s indignant expression. “You’re an exception.”

He laughed. “Okay, do tell, how does one ride like a rich kid?”

“He hasn’t actually learned anything. He’s just been slapped on one expensive babysitter after another, and they make him look halfway decent and collect the ribbons for him. He chose Pantera though, didn’t he?”

“Yes, but how can you tell?”

“He looks frustrated. Pantera’s not a babysitter at all. He’s expecting his ride to go one way and it’s just not happening, so he’s totally lost on what to do.” He chuckled. “And he looks like a horse a punk teenager would pick.”

Viktor laughed. “He does at that. What would you have him correct first?”

“No jumping until he learns how to ride but his ego won’t be able to take that hit, so lower jumps, and he needs form and rhythm training too. He’s way too aggressive. He’s just flinging himself at the jump."

“Come on. Let’s lower the line. What are we setting it to?”

He eyed Yura taking another turn at the fence splayed out over his horse’s neck and nearly a whole stride too early. “Eighteen inches.”

“Ooh, harsh.” Viktor smiled. “I like it.”

He grabbed one of the cups on the next jump in the line. “I thought you liked me soft.”

“For me. Confidence is sexy. You know what you’re doing here. Do it.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He put the pin through the new hole then looked across to him. “I still need you.”

“I’d be devastated if you didn’t.” He smiled gently, and they moved to the next jump. “How are you feeling with this?”

“Um… nervous. Shaky.”

“Color?”

“…Green.”

They finished changing the line, and Yuri ordered Yura to work over the cavaletti while they lowered the oxer as well as he’d been ordered to do by Viktor. They went back to the other side of the rail to avoid the heat in the middle, and Yuri leaned against Viktor’s side for a brief touch.

Viktor grasped his hand to give it a squeeze. “Don’t worry. Yura won’t give you any control over him until you’re ready to take it. That's why I picked him to start with despite his unpleasantness. He won't accept anything you're telling him without a fight unless he agrees. And I won’t let him follow something I think is wrong.”  

Yuri righted himself and took a shaky breath. “You want me to teach as much as I can?”

“Yes. I’m here to provide any support you need, but the more you take control, the happier you’ll make me.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He sighed out another deep breath and strengthened his voice. “Yura! Come here.”

He glowered at him but trotted over with disdain all over his face. “What?”

“What kind of rider do you want to be?”

“An eventer, duh.” He rolled his eyes. “You’re so-”

“Watch it, Yura.” Viktor’s voice snapped like the crack of a whip making Yura jump slightly.

He glanced at Viktor to regain his strength then looked back to Yura. “What I meant was do you want to rely on your horse to carry you through as nothing but a burden or do you want to be skilled enough to be an effective and equal partner?”

“I want to win.”

“People win both ways. Which way do you want to win?”

He sneered down at him as he tightened the reins to halt Pantera’s bored shifting. “I want to be good. Why are you asking me? Not like you’d be able to teach me that.”

“Knock off that attitude right now, or your lesson is done.” Viktor took a step forward to place himself in front of Yuri. “Yuri is the most competent rider I’ve ever seen, and he’s an excellent teacher. He’s been improving my riding all day. You should consider yourself lucky to be receiving his expertise. I won’t tolerate you disrespecting him. You have no idea how thin the ice you’re skating on is, so I suggest you shut your mouth and listen.”

“Wow. I didn’t expect you to be so stupid. I thought you knew what you were doing, but if you’re taking lessons from him, maybe you’re not as good as you think you are.”

Viktor stepped back to Yuri’s side and smiled. “You overestimate your importance to me. I really have no motive to keep you here at all. I don’t need your money, I have no desire to correct your shitty behavior, and I certainly don’t consider your opinion of me to be worth anything at all. You’re only allowed to be here as long as I tolerate you. So would you like to learn how to actually be worthy of that horse you love so much or are you going to leave and continue on as the talentless, spoiled little shit you are right now that’s nothing but a burden to those you depend on?” He smiled sweetly as he waited for his answer.

“Fine. I’ll listen.” He rolled his eyes then glared at Yuri again.

“We won’t have this conversation again. The next time will simply be me telling you to get your shit and get out.” He nodded at Yuri to encourage him to take over.

“Um… so, what I was saying before was that right now the only thing you know how to do is pull the reins and kick, and you’re not doing either of those well and Pantera’s getting frustrated with you. You both have the potential to be great, but you need to drill the basics and learn how to be effective rather than just bullying him while flopping around on his back. It’s going to feel like a step back, but you’ll be a lot stronger for it in the long run. We’re going to start with your form.” He ducked through the slats of the fence and walked up to them, reaching out for the saddle. “First of all, you need shorter stirrups.”

“Don’t touch my horse.” His snarl was quiet but ripped at Yuri’s tenuous grasp of confidence. “I can do it myself.” He yanked the stirrup down and twisted his lip in disgust as he stared down at him, keeping his voice quiet, away from Viktor’s ears. “I don’t want you anywhere near my horse. I’m not as dumb as Viktor. I know better than to trust you.”

***

He managed to finish Yura’s lesson though his words reverberated in his head since then rattling his chest like a bass line too deep to notice anything else above it. I know better than to trust you. That made two of them. But did he really mean it with that much accuracy? Viktor reassured him several times that he was an asshole to everyone, but he couldn’t shake the specificity of the way his words cut.

He knelt now on the pillow, naked, waiting for Viktor’s punishment. Even though Viktor had promised its unpleasantness, he couldn’t stop himself from feeling thrilled at the prospect. It hadn’t even been a week, but he now craved Viktor’s pain and needed it to drown out everything else inside him. It was the only thing that could. I know better than to trust you. It summed him up so neatly. So accurately. All the chaotic thoughts in his head suddenly had a clear direction. One simple phrase to gather around and they swelled with their new leader.

The sound of the lock rattled inside him deeper than his own mind, and he breathed a sigh of relief as it shut off and handed his body over to Viktor’s control. Viktor’s firm but soft grasp came at his neck. He sighed with his strength flowing into him and leaned into his hand.

“Come with me.” His hand wrapped around his.

He looked up with a small smile as he rose to his feet. “Yes, Viktor.”

Viktor, wearing a fresh riding outfit, black polo with shiny black boots and his white breeches, cupped his cheek in his hand. “So beautifully you say that.” He led him to the red velvet couch stretched along the dark damask wall and sat him down and took a seat next to him, holding both of his hands. “We’re first going to discuss our week, both things that went wrong and things that went well, as we will do every week at this time. It’s our chance to make sure we’re on the same page and have dealt with any challenges we’ve faced properly. My behavior is up for discussion here too so don’t be bashful about telling me things you liked or didn’t like. We’ll then go into the punishment room, and I’ll execute the punishment you’ve earned from the week to purge us of any lingering negative feelings surrounding it and put those sins to rest for good. We’ll then come back here to talk again and reconnect, and we’ll move onto the scene. Questions?”

“No, Viktor.”

“Color?”

“Green.”

“Good. Let me start by saying how impressed with you I am. You’ve given me so much this week. You’ve let me in so much more than I expected and have given so much of yourself to me and that makes me feel absolutely incredible. I’ve never felt anything like this. Not even close. You let me put you back on a horse, and I can’t even begin to comprehend just how painful that was for you. I can only go by what I felt from you which was just overwhelming trust. I’ve inflicted lots of pain, and I’ve never felt that much trust from someone, so I can only imagine that what you endured for me was nearly insurmountable. I don’t know how you even did it.”

“Only because of you. I don’t think anything or anyone else would have gotten me to do that.”

He smiled and lifted his knuckles to kiss them. “See? So utterly perfect. How can you not understand what I feel about you when you say such perfect things? Can’t you imagine what I feel to be told something like that? To be told that I’m so special to you?”

“Maybe. A little. If it was from someone whose opinion of you could matter.”

He flinched and shook his head. “Three,” he whispered flinching harder. “Yuri, why do you hurt me so much by being so cruel to yourself? Why do you insist on hurting what’s precious to me and then forcing me to hurt him further because you’re the one who hurt him? These thoughts you have about yourself are wrong, and they hurt you just as much as they hurt me. I can only hope right now that eventually, my punishment will make you cringe away from even the idea of hurting yourself like that as much as I do.” He cupped Yuri’s face between his hands. “You’re precious to me. Your opinion matters to me. You matter to me. Don’t hurt someone so important to me.”

“I’m confused on how to follow that order while also following your order to share my thoughts.”

“Do exactly what you did the other day when I praised you. Present your thoughts to me as just that. Thoughts. Questions. Not judgments of yourself. I’m the judge. I decide what punishments you deserve; not you. I control how much pain you receive and when and how. Your job is to submit to that. Stop trying to punish yourself. I’m in control of that now, and I’ll do a much better job than you have done.”

He laughed lightly. “Cocky much? I’ve got a lot of experience there.”

“Not at all. Punishments aren’t supposed to last. They’re supposed to be quick and help you grow past the incident. You’re absolutely atrocious at punishing yourself by those standards, aren’t you? You haven’t moved past anything.”

He stared down at their hands. “Yes, Viktor. I’m sorry for being sassy.”

He smiled and brushed his cheek up to lift his face back to his. “I like your sassiness. You’re only sassy when you’re feeling comfortable with me. It feels different than typical brat behavior. It feels more like you’re connecting with me rather than challenging my authority or being disrespectful. As long as you’re not disobeying an order with your sassiness, you can assume I’m enjoying it.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Alright, let’s talk about the big one this week. Your submission to Liliya during my hours. I really do hate to punish you for that one because it stemmed from ignorance, not defiance but it was just so huge to me to override that distinction. I know I wouldn’t be able to move past it without being assured of your complete education on just how important that is to me. The betrayal of our time together was only half of it. I rely on the safety I feel in having earned your trust and your submission, and if I feel like those are things you could hand to anyone for the pettiest of reasons, then they’re not something I can rely on.”

“Yes, Viktor. I think I can understand that one.”

“I need you to completely understand it. If I feel unsafe with you, like what we have is flimsy and not built on anything substantial, I’ll end it. That’s not something I’m capable of enduring. Especially not with you. The more you make me feel that what you give me is something precious to you and something you protect as much as I do, the more confident in us I’ll feel.”

“Is that why you’ve been trying to get me to act confident when we’re around others?”

“I want you confident always. Submission isn’t the opposite of confidence. I want you to have confidence in yourself, in your submission, and in me. You don’t have confidence anywhere right now. It feels unsteady with you because of that. You’re not sure of anything even when I think some things should be very apparent to you by now.”

“Like what?”

“Am I confusing? Am I unclear in my signals and commands?”

“No, Viktor. Not at all.”

“So what are you picking up from me on how I feel about you?”

He blushed and ducked his head. “You… you like me.”

He laughed and lifted his eyes back up to his. “That’s one way to put it if you’d like to claim the title of king of the understatements. Yes, I do like you. You should be able to say much more than that with confidence. See how that works? You have no confidence in yourself, so you can’t understand me. Nothing I say gets through in there. You have your mind locked far away from me where I can’t reach it and have to rely on your pathetically inaccurate relay of my messages to get anything to you. It’s very frustrating on my end. It feels a bit like I’m screaming at a brick wall.”

“I’m sorry, Viktor.”

“It’s okay. That one doesn’t require an apology. I don’t expect you to just hand everything to me so easily within days of meeting me. You’ve given me far more than what I expected. I’m just telling you, so you know the direction you have to move in. I want full access to not just your body but your mind as well, and as long as we’re moving in that direction, I’m satisfied.”

“Yes, Viktor.”   

“Also, you’re allowed to be nice to people. I saw you worry over calling Jake sir, but there was no need for that. That’s not submission. That’s a general nicety. Even if you’d said you begged someone, I would have taken it in the more lighthearted way that’s not a serious submission. It’s only because I know Liliya as I do that I knew what you did went far beyond something light. You weren’t asking Liliya for a favor, you were opening yourself up to accept her judgment of what you’re worth and begging her to find you worthy enough of her fulfillment of your needs. That’s my job.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“I have my own hard limits, and the biggest one is infidelity of any sort. That may sound strange to you considering how okay I am with our lack of commitment outside of our hours but that’s just the way I see it. We’ve made a commitment to each other during these hours, and I promise I will never break that for a single second. I expect the same from you. That’s why you must be on time and why I won’t tolerate you making yourself vulnerable to anyone else.”

“How? I- I am vulnerable to other people’s opinions of me. I always have been. I’m… I think that I’m mentally weak.”

His praising smile spread slowly on his face. “Yes, Yuri. I’m so proud of you. You gave me an actual thought there without a judgment even though you wanted to. You’re not weak. Nothing about you is weak. You’re lost, not weak. You’re hurt, not weak. It takes a lot of strength to battle your mind as you do and look how much you’ve won this week. How many times did your mind tell you to run?”

He laughed with a tinge of bitterness. “I don’t know. Dozens.”

His smile gathered a bit of water at the corners of his eyes as it reached them. “You battled your mind that much to stay by my side in spite of everything I was putting you through?”

“Yeah… I guess so. Yes, Viktor.”

He tugged him in for a soft kiss on his cheek. “And here you are. You won every single battle. I’m proud of you and so overwhelmed by how much you did for me. Thank you, Yuri.”

“I needed your help though. I couldn’t have done any of it without you.”

He sighed and kissed his other cheek. “Even better. But you say that as if you still think it’s a weakness to submit, to need someone, as if saying you need me isn’t a gift. I hate this idea that we’re somehow better if we’re totally independent and alone. As if not needing anything or anyone makes us strong. It makes us weak. Maybe that’s why you feel so weak. You’re dealing with your pain all alone so weakness is all you can feel because it’s draining you. Find strength and shelter in me, and I’ll look for mine in you, and maybe then we both won’t feel so vulnerable to the world.”

“You feel vulnerable?”

“I’ve been alone for a long time. I speak from experience on what that does. I remember feeling safe and strong, and it was when energy flowed freely between me and the people I loved, supporting each other and being supported. Every year away from that I feel more vulnerable. Don’t you remember what that felt like growing up in such a loving family?”

“Not really. I’ve never been good at relying on people especially not when I’m upset. I was lucky enough to have great parents and a big sister who was always looking out for me along with many others but… I don’t know. I just couldn’t accept their help very well. My first instinct is always to run away and hide.”

He nodded slowly, processing this information. “What about me? Do you have any comments on our week together?”

“Um… It was a lot. So much. Too much.”

“What specifically was too much?”

“You give me too much. A car. You gave me a car.”

He smiled. “Still not over that one, huh?”

“No! How could I be? You gave me a fucking car! You knew me for a day, and you gave me a car.”

“It was a great day.” He smiled and tickled his inner thigh when his face screwed up into one of his expressions that conveyed nothing but the confusion on what his response actually was. “Would it help if I told you that I am so grotesquely rich that had no more impact on my bank account than a cup of coffee would?”

His face twisted further into his confused response. “No? I don’t know. It’s a car!”

“And I have more money than I know what to do with so whenever I see something I don’t like that could be effectively solved with my money, I do it. I didn’t like you driving around in a death trap, and the equivalent cost of a cup of coffee for your safety and my piece of mind was a no-brainer.”

“I still didn’t like it.”

He sighed. “Will it make you feel better if I make you feel less special here? I wrote a bigger check than the cost of that car to help get medicine, food, and education to people in poverty-stricken areas that very day and I will again next month and the month after and that’s not the only cause I support. Hell, I dropped over a million dollars on a hay farm.”

He looked up from his pout. “Maybe.”

“Don’t begrudge me having a conscience here. I enjoy my lifestyle, but I’m not going to go to my grave having hoarded every penny I can or blown it all on strippers and coke. I’d like to do something more than that with my life. Getting you a car was just a symptom of that desire and not because I see you as a charity case. I just didn’t like it, and I could fix it easily so why wouldn’t I? Wouldn’t you?”

“Yeah… maybe… I guess that sounds… reasonable. I would feel like a jackass if I could help someone that easily and didn’t.”

“Exactly. You really want me to feel like a jackass and not help you when I’m both fully capable of it and have a strong desire to do so?”

He whined. “But it’s a car.”

Viktor mock whined right back and poked his side. “But it’s my humanity.” He laughed as Yuri squirmed under his fingers on his ribs. “Is a car really more important than that? Who’s being materialistic here? The rich boy or the one who wants to guilt me for valuing my humanity over money?”

He buried his face in his hands muffling a sobbing, defeated laugh. “You’re no fair at all. You don’t just go for the kill. You go for utter decimation.”

“I told you I was brutal.” He kissed his knuckles on both hands and dropped their joined hands back in his lap. “What else?”

“Um… nothing else really. You’re intense and relentless and brutal and… I liked it.”

He smiled. “What did you like the most?” The smile drew tight, and he cocked an eyebrow. “I mean other than the pain.”

“I liked… you. You’re not who I expected you to be. I liked getting to see you like this and the moments when you… opened up a little. I liked that moment in Jake’s office when you made me feel like I was actually comforting you and before that too in the arena.”

“You were. That was one of my favorite moments too. It was one of the few times you offered something, and I felt like it was offered just because you wanted to. Nothing more. Nothing less. You respected my limits and didn’t make me rebuff you in such a tender moment. And it was so incredibly sweet and made me feel truly comforted and connected with you. Can we have more moments like that?”

“I hope so. I think so.” He frowned and bit his lip. “Yes, Viktor.”

He pulled him into his arms. “Thank you, Yuri.”

Viktor released him with a kiss on his cheek. “Onto the punishment you’ve earned. We discussed the big one already and your cruelness to yourself. Overall you did very well with only minor defiances of my orders, and I’m so proud of you that I hate to punish you, but it’s important for you to learn this, and I hope with time the punishments decrease to the point of not needing to give you any at all. The main thing you need to work on is not accepting your first impulsive response that stems from fear. You’ll feel the fear I’m sure for a while still, but you need to pause when you feel it and consider which of the voices you want to obey: your fear’s or mine?”

“I understand that, but it’s so hard. It’s so strong and so hard to fight.”

“I know and look how many times you won against it. And the times you lost a little in the beginning, you only needed a bit of my help to overcome it. Rely on me more, and that fear won’t stand a chance. Not with both of us against it.” He brushed the back of his fingers over his cheek and settled his hand around his neck. “It hurts me when you choose anything over me. I want to be your first and only choice. I want to be your support and your comfort. Turn to me; accept me. Don’t reject me.”

“I’ll… try. It’s… stronger than you know.”

“And we’re stronger than you know.” He closed his eyes and kissed his forehead. “Come on.”

He led him to a room in the alcove opposite the jade room. It was bare, dingy gray walls and nothing but an exposed lightbulb in the center of the room hanging from a cord over a sawhorse padded with a few coarsely woven blankets, a basic tub sink on the back wall, and a small desk with a chair in the far corner. The desk held two bowls on each side. One wooden and the other, the only thing that looked like it belonged in Viktor’s house, made of crystal half hidden in the dark corners and the other half shattering rainbows in the light.

“First of all, no ‘Yes, Viktor’ in here. I’ll try to avoid any questions requiring a yes answer, but if I can’t, simply say yes or nod. Sit down at the desk, both feet flat on the floor and back straight.”

He took a seat on the roughly sanded wooden chair with his heart racing with the uncertainty of what to expect. An oddly shaped leather belt was laid out between the two bowls. It was clearly designed for use as a tool rather than something to wear with the end of it being too fat to fit through the buckle. There were also two notebooks on the desk. One basic spiral bound notebook and another leather journal. 

Viktor placed his phone down next to him. “This is the punishment I’m giving you and the reasons why. Take the notebook and for all the ones you accept as fair and just, write a line in the book with, ‘I hurt Viktor by,’ and follow that up with what you have done. Do you have any questions?”

He looked over the phone, tapping it to keep the light on when it started to dim. “It’s… shorter than I expected. I messed up a lot more than this.”

“Messing up and doing something requiring punishment are two different things.”

“But… if I made a mistake I should be punished for it, right? What about me being late? You expected me to be there and I failed you.”

“You’re already making up that time to me in a way I see fit. I decide the punishment, Yuri. Not you. Your only choice is to accept what I’ve given or end this.”

“I understand that but,” he glanced up to check if he was arguing or not. Viktor looked nothing but patient, so he pressed on, “but I feel bad about making those mistakes that I know also hurt you, and I’d like to make them up to you as well.”

“It’s unnecessary. You already paid for them with an apology and evidence of your desire to do better. I have no doubt that you’d like to be punished for every breath you took wrong but that’s not going to serve either of us. Accepting my judgment isn’t accepting just my condemnation of your behavior; it’s also accepting my absolution. That’s the side you really need to work on. Submit to my judgment of you. It’s more accurate than yours.”

“You’re too nice to me.”

“Hardly. You yourself say that I’m brutal and I pushed you to your breaking point more than once. Once I even pushed you over your breaking point. I’m not holding back in that regard. If you’re looking for a Dom who will bully you and just use brute force for every little infraction, I’m not the Dom for you. That might very well be the kind of Dom that you want, but I’m the Dom that you need.”

“I don’t want a different dom.”

“Then don’t try to make me something I’m not. I don’t bend to you; you bend to me. It’s not always comfortable, and every time you feel that discomfort you start poking at me trying to make me bend to what will make you feel comfortable. That’s not the way this is going to work. You need to start trying to change yourself when you feel that discomfort.”

He cringed. “Yes, V- Yes. I get it. I’m sorry. I’ll try to do that.”   

“Good. Go ahead.” He touched his finger to the sensor on the phone to turn it back on.

He turned back to the spiral bound notebook and copied the first line. I hurt Viktor by failing to trust his assessment of my capabilities and replying to an order with “I can’t.” I hurt Viktor by deciding that I know more than he does about his opinions and arguing with his answer to a question I asked. I hurt Viktor by continuing to think I knew more than he did on his opinions and continued arguing even after I had been corrected. He sounded so egotistical here, and it was hard to imagine himself that way, but that was really what he’d done. He cringed and sunk into the chair as he started the next line.  

Viktor jabbed him in his side with his finger making him yelp back into his straight posture. “Don’t cower from the pain. Take it.”

His side ached with a dull throb that he wanted to rub away, but he moved his pen instead. I hurt Viktor by deciding that my way of doing things was superior to his and performed an order the way I wanted rather than the way he wanted. His chest ached at the memory of that specific screw up, and he had to fight the impulse to flinch back from it again. I hurt Viktor by rejecting him and his control over me, preferring my own control and rejecting his order. His eyes closed with pain for a moment before he moved onto the next. I hurt Viktor by being cruel to someone he cares about and- His pen jittered on the paper, and he had to wait to get his shaking under control enough to continue. Saying his opinions are worthless, saying he couldn’t possibly matter to Viktor, saying Viktor is wrong to value him and forced Viktor to hurt someone he wants to protect. He wanted to apologize to ease the pain, but he pressed on instead. I hurt Viktor by stealing away a gift I gave to him and giving it to someone else. A tear rolled down his cheek as he sat the pen back down.

“Good, Yuri. Are you unclear at all about how I see and feel your sins?”

“No, Viktor.”

“Open the drawer. You’ll find some leather cleaning supplies. I want you to clean my belt while reading that list out loud until you’re done. Use the water in the bowl. Make sure that you’re feeling the pain you caused me while you do this.”

He took the tools from the drawer and slid the wooden bowl closer that was filled with water and began reading aloud as he polished the brown leather belt until it gleamed in the dim light. Feeling like he was polishing the belt with Viktor’s pain, his chest ached harder with each dip of his sponge into the water, his heart clenching tighter as he squeezed the sponge in his fist to remove the excess water that dripped through his fingers. He inspected the belt for any missed spots the best he could, and when he was satisfied that he’d done enough to satisfy Viktor, he laid it on the table and waited for his next instructions.

“Now, if you’ve fully accepted your punishment and you understand what you did wrong, bring the belt to me and present your body to me over the sawhorse. Rip out the paper from the notebook and bring it with you.”

He tore out the paper and handed Viktor the belt and bent forward over the rough blankets itching at his skin and waited, trembling as he looked over the paper. He’d hurt him so much.

Viktor inspected his work on the belt then wrapped the narrow end around his hand leaving the fatter end to hang from his tightened fist. His hand touched down on Yuri’s back making him startle at the sudden gentle touch. “Don’t move.” His hand pressed firmer into his back as he nudged his feet out to spread them wider and take away his instinctive closed off protective stance. “Read each item on the list, pausing only long enough for me to deliver the punishment between each one. Focus on what you’re doing. Feel what it is that I’m giving you. I’m sharing with you what you made me feel by committing these sins. Do I enjoy pain, Yuri?”

“No, Viktor.”

“Is it your right to give me pain by refusing the role you’ve willingly taken on?”

“No, Viktor.”

“You’re accepting back the pain that you gave me as I felt it, not as you would. If you accept this, say, ‘I accept your punishment.’”

His whole body trembled with the fear of anticipation. “I accept your punishment.”

“Start reading.”

“I hurt Viktor by failing to trust his assessment of my capabilities and replying to an order with, ‘I can’t.’”

The belt cracked down sharply on his ass but not nearly as hard as he expected. In fact, it barely hurt at all beyond the initial sting.

“Next. Don’t make me wait for you.”

“I hurt Viktor by deciding that I know more than he does about his opinions and arguing with his answer to a question I asked.”

Another slap in a spot just next to the first.

“Feel what you are saying. Don’t hide from that pain by focusing on the one on your ass.”

“I hurt Viktor by continuing to think I knew more than he did on his opinions and continued arguing even after I had been corrected.”

Two more stings on two new spots on his ass and his heart flinched in response.

“I hurt Viktor by deciding that my way of doing things was superior to his and performed an order the way I wanted rather than the way he wanted.” The pain stung even before his belt cracked down on the other side of his ass and fresh tears rose to his eyes. “I hurt Viktor by rejecting him and his control over me, preferring my own control and rejecting his order.” Who did he think he was? Rejecting Viktor? Finding his opinions worth more than his? Preferring his own shitty control to Viktor’s expert one? The questions hurt more than the three new stinging touches each over a fresh patch of skin. A tear dropped onto the page. “I hurt Viktor by being cruel to someone he cares about and saying his opinions are worthless, saying he couldn’t possibly matter to Viktor, saying Viktor is wrong to value him and forced Viktor to hurt someone he wants to protect.” Even doing this, accepting his punishment, was hurting Viktor further. Forcing him to punish him when he didn’t want to just because he couldn’t do what he’d agreed to do. The tears fell down his cheeks. “I’m sorry, Viktor. I’m sorry.”

“Keep reading.”

“I hurt Viktor by stealing away a gift I gave to him and giving it to someone else.” The force didn’t increase, but the cracks from the belt struck all the way into his heart. He didn’t just do that once. He did it by small degrees every time he failed to obey. He’d agreed to give himself over to him, and he kept trying to steal himself back. Why? His body rattled with his sobs as Viktor’s hands smoothed over his stinging flesh and kissed every spot he had touched with his belt.

“Thank you, Yuri. You did so well for me.”

“Why are you thanking me?” His chest squeezed tighter. “I made you do that, and you didn’t want to. I hurt you over and over because I couldn’t do what I agreed to.”

(22) Viktor pulled him up from the sawhorse and into his arms. “You’re right on both counts, but you did exactly what you need to do to make it up to me.”

“You didn’t punish me for making you punish me though. How do I make that one up? And you didn’t punish me nearly enough. I hurt you so many times.” He had the audacity to bury into him deeper to try to relieve the pain he well deserved, and Viktor responded by holding him tighter.

“What did you learn from this?” He softly shushed his deepening sobs.

“I kept rejecting you and stealing back what I’d given you every time I disobeyed or argued. I’m so sorry.”

“Good, Yuri. And now you’ve made up for making me punish you. As long as you’ve learned what you were supposed to, it was worth it.”

“I didn’t do enough. I’m so sorry. Please let me do more.”

“You’ve done enough. Don’t forget the other side of accepting my punishment. I’ve given all that I think you deserve. It’s time to let the rest go.”

“It still hurts.”

“I know it does, but that’s only because you’re refusing to let go. I don’t want to dwell on any past hurts, so you have to let this go.”

“How? I don’t know how.” He coughed away the choking sobs.

He wrapped his arms tighter until he had a solid hold on each of his shoulders and started squeezing them in an alternating rhythm the same way they used little alternating pressures on a bit to ease a horse into submission. “What do you feel the most right now?”

“It hurts. My chest. It hurts so much.”

“Why does it hurt?”

“I hurt you. I took your pain. I made you feel this bad.”

“Do you really think I was hurting like this? You took my pain, yes, but that was done the moment the sting on your ass went away. What you’re feeling now is your pain. This is your reaction. What is causing such a violent reaction in you?” His hands kept up the steadying rhythm back and forth across each shoulder.

“I failed you.”

“What did I say about your performance this week on the couch?”

“You- you said you were proud of me. That I did better than you expected.”

“Yes and now you’ve come to the conclusion that you’ve failed me. Do I feel like you have failed me?”

“You said I did when I messed up the phone call.”

He winced. “Ah, I did, didn’t I? But that was just one little moment. I certainly wasn’t speaking about you overall. It was one little moment of poor behavior that only happened because you didn't fully understand, and it’s done, and you’ve made up for it completely. It’s not a shining memory, but it shouldn’t be a painful one either. It’s now just a lesson you have learned. And I learned something just now too. I’m making a note to never use that phrase with you again. You can’t fixate on that one moment. We’ve had so many together this week. How many times did I say ‘good’ or that I was proud of you or happy with you?”

“I don’t know. Hundreds.”

“Yes, and you’re fixating on the few times I was less than happy with you and making judgments on yourself from extremely limited and biased data. That is exactly why you’re not to be trusted when it comes to matters of yourself. Do I think you have failed me?” His hands pulsed as steady as his heartbeat and his own heartbeat slowed with each pulse.

“No. No, Viktor.”

“That’s right. Far, far from it. I’m absolutely thrilled with you. I’m practically floating with how happy I am with you. You don’t know how to let go because you don’t focus on the right things. What just happened?”

“You punished me.”

“Focus on you. What did you do?”

“I… accepted your punishment.”

“Yes. And before that?”

“I talked with you on the couch.”

“Was it a pleasant talk?”

“Most of it was.”

“What was unpleasant?”

“I messed up and made you give me more punishment.”

“What else?”

“You made me admit that I was being unreasonable about the car. I still can’t believe how you did that one.”

He chuckled. “I’m rather proud of myself for that one. Anything else that was negative?”

“No, Viktor.”

“Good. Now tell me what was enjoyable.”

“You held my hands… I like it when you touch me. Um, just talking to you is nice. I… had your attention the whole time. I… I earned your praise. Lots of it.”

“Yes, good, Yuri. Anything else? It’s okay to change your focus here to anything you enjoyed.”

“You gave me good advice and helped me clarify some things to help me better please you. I don’t know what else to say, but I just liked talking to you.”

“Did you feel closer to me during that?”

He nodded. 

“So we had an enjoyable, fulfilling, and educational conversation that bonded us deeper. And then what happened?”

“I accepted your punishment.” A calmness took control of the raging emotions inside him and held them in a soft frame, taking the shock out of them and making them feel like something he knew how to ride.

“You did everything exactly as I said?”

He nodded.

“So you’ve pleased me then?”

He sighed as the motion inside him halted perfectly still and nodded.

“Good, Yuri. Just like that. And what’s happening right now?”

“You’re holding me.” 

“And how does that feel?”

“Safe. Warm. I can hear your heartbeat and feel your hands, and it’s relaxing.”

“Am I giving you myself right now?”

He nodded.

“Why?”

“Because you want to.”

“Why do I want to?”

“Because… because it feels good for you… to be with me. When I’m accepting you.”

“Yes, Yuri.” He gave a few more squeezes then kissed his head and pulled back. “Do you have anything else to say on your sins this week or my punishment? This is your last chance to bring them up. Once we’re done here, we’re done with them. The only thing I expect you to hold onto from this is your lessons. I expect everything else to be left here.”

He twisted to look at his unmarked ass. “You didn’t hit me very hard.”

He put his hand on his face, watching his eyes with sincerity. “I will never leave a mark on you out of anger or hurt feelings. The physical pain you felt was symbolic and was used to drive my psychological points. I love the bruises on you, and I hope you grow to love them too. I’m not going to leave you with any that have this bad pain lingering in them.”

One side of his face turned into a pout. “How do you always make everything right?”

“I devote as much care and attention to this as I do my horses. Whatever level of performance you’d expect from me there, you should expect the same from me here. Anything else?”

“No, Viktor.”

Viktor directed him to the desk to write down what he had learned in the leather journal. When he finished, he was directed to pull out two lighters from the drawer and handed one to Viktor and kept the other. He placed the paper containing his sins into the crystal bowl, and they each took a side, touching their fire to it. Yuri watched as the fire came to life inside the sparkling bowl, living solely to purify his sins with its heat. His eyes fixed on the sight that drove strange, steady emotions into him that he had never felt before, heated and vibrant but peaceful. The paper burned to ash, and the purifying flames went out from the bowl but grew inside him. He wiped the belt once on each side with a fresh sponge dampened in the bowl of water, pressing his weight over his arm to wipe away his sins and the pain he’d put into it and placed it back on the top of the desk. He washed the ash from the crystal bowl into the bowl of water then took it to the sink and poured it out. Returning the bowls each to their corners with a swipe of a towel, every trace of his sins wiped clean, Viktor then led him out of the room and locked it away and settled him back into his arms on the couch.

His hand brushed over his forehead with his kisses. “How do you feel?”

“I… don’t know. I’ve never felt anything like this.”

“Good. You did everything perfectly, and I’m so proud of you. Thank you for accepting my punishment so we can begin a new week together with our bond refreshed and strengthened.”

Viktor snuggled him closer and let them sit quietly for a moment before he started listing off every little thing he could think of that he enjoyed about their week together and encouraged him to do the same. Viktor’s list was ridiculously long, and he felt a little bad that he wasn’t able to give as much detail as Viktor did but Viktor didn’t seem to mind at all, instead only beaming brighter with each thing he said. He made a note to pay closer attention next week so he’d have more to say. By the end, they were holding each other tighter through laughter and smiles, and Yuri looked up to his brilliant eyes and his smile widened as he thought of one more thing to say.

“I loved being punished.”

Viktor laughed and rolled his eyes. “Of course you did.”

“No, not like that. That pain was horrible but… after. With the fire and the water and the ritual of it all and how I felt after.”

“Do you enjoy rituals?”

“Maybe? I guess so. I’ve always enjoyed the cultural rituals growing up, and when I’m stressed I like doing drills and stuff like that and I never really considered them being rituals but what I felt after the punishment was like an intense version of what I feel doing the repetitive drills. I never got bored with all of the circles in dressage when a lot of the other riders complained about them. I find them soothing.”

He nodded. “You find comfort in using symbols to express yourself and performing tasks you know you can succeed at because you know what to expect?”  

“Yes, Viktor. I think that sounds right.”

“That’s excellent to know. I’ve never been big into rituals generally favoring fresh experiences myself, but I’m more than happy to work on developing some for you and expanding the ones we have. When do you feel that rituals would be the most helpful to you?”

“Um, I really like kneeling in the mornings and the little ritual exchange we’ve been doing there. Um, when I’m stressed. I don’t know what exactly to do there-”

“Don’t worry about that. I’ll figure out the what.”

“Right. Um, so when I’m stressed, I think the hugging is nice, but we can’t always do that so maybe something we could do that wouldn’t be super weird in front of others?”

He smiled. “Right. I’ll think on that one.”

“And um… maybe when we say good night. I’ve been feeling good when I leave but a little off balance and it’s probably just me adjusting to this still but it might be nice overall.”

“Good. Give me a little time to think these over, and I’ll come up with something for you.”

He smiled. “Thank you, Viktor.” He blushed and glanced down before returning his gaze to his eyes. “You’re so sweet.” The slight gasp and blush on Viktor’s cheeks along with his bewildered smile inspired his next question spoken with a slight crease between his brows. “Has anyone ever told you that?”

“No. Not since I was a kid.”

“Really? That’s… hard to believe. You’re as sweet as you are brutal.”

He laughed and pulled his face closer for his kisses with his eyes looking a bit watery. “I’m glad I got to hear that from you.” He left a few more kisses on his cheeks then released him. “Are you ready for my brutal side?”

“Yes, Viktor.” He moaned lightly at the words and the promise. 

He chuckled and nuzzled in a little kiss to his neck. “Good.” He brought him over to the big X on the side of the room and chained him to it at his wrists and his feet with iron shackles with his back exposed to Viktor’s whim. “Comfortable?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Good. I’m going to play with my whips today. Color?”

“Green. Please.”

His hands melted shivery paths along the back of his body then he left and returned after a few minutes of excruciating anticipation with his flogger tickling his thighs. “Let’s make you pretty for the party.”

 ***

Chapter Text

Yuri stood in the shower off Viktor’s bedroom as Viktor stripped him of every skin cell that had anything but the utmost commitment to being a part of him. He wasn’t certain of everything he was doing, but Viktor had mentioned something about acid and the grit in the potion was backed up with the sandpaper-like gloves Viktor had working vigorously over his body. This was after applying and rinsing and applying again various concoctions over a ridiculous amount of time rather than doing another scene during his promised hour. Viktor promised he’d satisfy that need later which he didn’t doubt, but he couldn’t stop the itch building inside him that all of Viktor’s scrubbing couldn’t take away. It was a strange kind of sensation bordering on pain, not altogether unpleasant especially when Viktor went over his bruises without any restraint, but he needed something deeper like what Viktor had given him last night.

He looked down at the bruises on his chest that had the mottled, fading ones from earlier in the week behind freshly cut lines of deep red welts drawn by the thin dressage whip rising over dark purple lines forming a V on one pec and an N on the other. They were mirrored on his back as well with another set of his initials on his shoulder blades that swooped gracefully over his skin with artistically formed lines the way the logo on his boots did. He would swear that the marks passed all the way through him to meet in the center of his chest. He’d spent forever in front of the mirror last night looking at them rather than sleeping as he should, but he didn’t feel tired in the morning at all. He buzzed with electricity that fired off deep waves of pleasure any time his shirt rubbed on them or Viktor traced them lightly through his clothes. Viktor was typically pretty handsy with him, but today was on an entirely different level with him hugging him around the waist from behind while he traced the marks any chance he could get. They almost got caught more than once, but Viktor had been able to cover it by walking past him to get something as if that was his mission the whole time and just happened to pass a little too close to Yuri. Two sides of himself battled for his relief and disappointment each time. The marks cried out on behalf of disappointment wanting to scream openly that he was Viktor’s. He was nearly a helpless mess from the battle, but simple logic won out in the end. The bruises were temporary. They would fade in just a few days. No sense in laying claim to a state that wouldn’t last.

Viktor continued to strip his body even barer than naked until he was finally satisfied that there was nothing left to be removed. After slathering him in a richer version of his lotion, he sent him out to wait for him to finish in the shower himself. With nothing to do but wait with a towel around his waist, he looked around Viktor’s room again. His eyes landed on the picture on the top shelf. He doubted that it would be considered an intrusion to look at it as he had been invited in and it was in plain sight, but something about its location being so high up made it seem like something in hiding. Or at least partially so. And why for all of his talk about framing pictures did he have only one? A man like Viktor seemed like he should have so many people in his life he’d have a hard time finding places for them all, but from what he’d said and what he was seeing, Viktor’s life was almost as sparse as his, just with a fancier shell. Why? Viktor could easily get just about anyone he wanted, even sex expert Christophe Giacometti agreed, so why did he say he was so alone for so long? He tried to think of a single logical answer for that but came up with nothing other than he wanted to be. If that were true, why did he seem so sad about it, and why was Yuri the one he had consuming his time now? Every time he inched closer to the bookshelf, his heart raced like he was doing something illicit and he’d turn back away from it. After a few minutes of vacillation, he sat down on the bed to wait for him rather than satisfy his curiosity.

Viktor came out of the bathroom, his hair dried and styled into his usual swooping fringe, dressed in gray dress pants, a crimson dress shirt, open at the collar, with the sleeves rolled up and held in place with gold bands around his arms and a gray vest that had a gold pocket watch clipped to it looking like a 1920’s businessman just getting off of work who was now ready for pleasure. Yuri had thought he didn’t get any hotter than in his basic riding clothes but when Viktor’s eyes fixed on him with sudden lust and stalked towards him with his muscles rippling below those rolled up shirt sleeves Yuri was incapacitated, his mind ripped straight from his body.

His heart raced as Viktor shoved him back onto the bed, his eyes burning as he dropped down to kiss his chest, placing his knee between his legs and stripping the towel from him as he used his knee to push him higher onto the bed.

“Viktor?” The question wavered in his breathless throat.

Viktor clamped his hand over Yuri’s mouth as he switched to the other side of his neck then worked his kisses down to his chest. Viktor’s free arm slipped in under his waist and held him tight to him and lifted off the bed as he inched him higher without pausing his worshipful kisses over the initials marked on his chest. Yuri was already rock hard between them, his body shaking with desire, anticipation, and a hint of fear. What did Viktor plan to do? This was what he wanted, wasn’t it? To have Viktor just make the decision for him. Claim him without asking his input because his input was always wrong anyways. Viktor moaned and worked his mouth lower, nudging his legs wider apart to give him room. Little helpless sounds dropped muffled from Yuri’s mouth as he let his legs fall open when his mouth worked down to his thighs, kissing and sucking along the fleshiest part that was painted deeply with his bruises. His body pulsed hard with every kiss and cried out, Yes Viktor with every clench. God yes, Viktor! Please hear it. Just do it before it’s over. It’s enough like this.  

“Right here. I need them right here.” Viktor switched to his other thigh. “But that means I’d have to restrain myself enough to let these heal and not get too excited and ruin them with more bruises on top. I don’t want to restrain myself. That’s why it’s so hard to do it.”

So, don’t. He couldn’t tell him that with words but his body might work. He drew his legs wider and rocked his hips towards him. Yes, please, Viktor.

Viktor got the message and sat back chuckling lightly as he heaved to recover his breath and released his hold on his mouth. “Sorry, zolotse. I got a little carried away seeing you in my bed like that.”

Tears drew up to his eyes but stayed contained as he gasped air back into his lungs. “Why did you stop?”

“You’re still not ready for me not to.” His eyes still burned bright as he looked between his face and his chest and traveling down to his hardened, dripping cock twitching angrily at the interruption. “You want it like that though, don’t you? Not with me asking but with me taking.”

He wished for Viktor’s hand back over his mouth to hide his soul-bearing whimpers. Not that that would have hidden the shiver of pleasure that ran through him. No sense in hiding anything from him. He knew anyways. Still, the words were hard to speak. “Yes, Viktor.” His face burned hot with his blush.

“God how perfect you are.” His hand slid down his body to wrap gently around his cock and give him slow drags that had him grabbing for the sheets to have anything to help hold him onto the planet. “So pretty, so smart, so good for me.” He leaned down to his neck covering his whimpering mouth yet again with his hand as he kissed up to his jawline. “So badly you want to be mine. I want to give you what you want, but first, I will give you what you need. My pretty Yuri. I absolutely love those marks on you. You’re beautiful always, but you’re stunning when you look like mine. Yes?” He moved his hand off to allow his reply.

“Ngh! Hai! Yes, Viktor.”

“So perfect.” Dropping down lower, his mouth joined his hand with little licks over his head.

He gasped, arching off the bed, his twisting body searching for any weight to hold him down. “Viktor! Oh my god. I’m going to come.”

“No, you’re not. Not yet. Hold it back and let me play some more.”

“I- I can’t. It feels so- I don’t know how.” Tears built in his eyes as his pleasure rose, threatening his disobedience.

“Clench like you’re waiting to pee, slow your breath and relax your body in an inward sort of pull. Focus on enjoying feeling my hands and mouth on you for as long as you can.” He resumed his licks over his head, curling his tongue to caress under and around the ridge but at a slower pace than before helping him back off from the edge a little.

The very fact that Viktor wanted to help him succeed was nearly enough to throw him over the edge, but he held on feeling pleasure coursing through him nearly as intense as Viktor’s pain did. He obeyed his instructions the best he could and rode the smooth edge that Viktor created, his easy touch giving him what he needed to please him. Viktor was never against him. Not for a single second. He always wanted him to win.

He wanted more; he wanted less, but he stayed writhing in the middle until Viktor pulled back and went to the closet leaving him heaving in the agony of incomplete pleasure on the bed.

Viktor looked back with a wicked smirk. “Such a good little slut you are. You never look better than when you’re so desperate for me.”

“Are-” he gulped, his body splayed wide open on the bed acutely vulnerable to anything he wanted from him. “Are you going to frame it?”

Viktor turned back, his eyes on fire and already searching his pocket for his phone. “Can I?”

His chin dipped once. “Yes, Viktor.” He gasped as the words spiked his pleasure right back to where it was with Viktor’s touch on him. “Anyth- Anything you want.”

Viktor’s phone was firing off shots as he came closer, rearranging him as he liked, occasionally spiking his pleasure again with more hot licks along his cock. “Everything. I want everything.” He flipped him onto his stomach, pulling his hips back over his splayed knees and pushing his upper body down. His hand dragged along his arched spine pulling out groans from both of them then he stood back to take more pictures of his ass presented to him for the taking, his cock hanging heavy between his legs, and the initials beaten into his back.

Yuri looked back at his gorgeous face savaged with lust and his cock straining against unforgiving fabric.

“Oh god, Yuri. A picture’s not enough to capture that. You look like fucking perfection.” He reached for the nightstand and pulled out a bottle of lube and poured it over his hole. “I’m going to film you begging for me. Open yourself up and show me how much you want me to take you.”

“Yes, Viktor.” His hand went to his hole, spreading the lube around before working his finger in. He gasped and closed his eyes for a moment at the still foreign sensation of being penetrated. “Yes, Viktor. Anything for you. Anything you want, I want.” His second finger worked in, and he started grinding into the satisfying stretch, moaning deeply and keeping his eyes now fixed on Viktor and his unwavering focus on him. “I want you, Viktor. Please.” His fingers spread apart, opening himself to Viktor’s view.

He groaned and palmed his cock with his free hand, his grip tightening on the phone. “So fucking beautiful. My pretty little slut. You’re my little virgin slut, aren’t you, Yuri?”

“Yes, Viktor.” Pleasure rolled through him to his spreading fingers. “Yours. Please take me. I need you.”

“You don’t even know what it feels like yet you want it so bad.”

“I do. So bad. Please, Viktor. I want to make you feel good. I want to satisfy you. Anything that will make you feel good I want to do. Please use me, Viktor.” He moaned and pushed harder onto his hand. “My body is yours. Please find your pleasure in me. I promise I’ll be your good little slut and let you do whatever you want.”

Viktor’s breath caught on another deep groan. “Why would you offer that without even knowing what it would be like?”

He gasped as his fingers found his prostate and he slid a third one in to stroke it while the other two held him open for Viktor. “Because I trust you. Because I know that what you want is to give me what I need. I need you, Viktor. Please. I’ll be so good for you. I promise.”

“I know you will, precious.” He came closer and stroked his fingertips over Yuri’s heavy cock, putting his phone away. “You’re so perfect. Give me everything, so I can give you everything.”

“I am… What else do I need to give you?”

“Everything.” He gently took hold of his hand and eased him back out of his hole. Flipping him onto his back, he caressed his thigh with the back of his hand. “All of it.”

He nodded, his body dropping back away from the edge. “Not yet then.”

He smiled and swiped his thumb over his lips. “Not yet.” He laid kisses over his initials. “Thank you, Yuri. Those pictures and that video are one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. I’ll treasure them forever.”

“Really?”

“Yes.” He chuckled, his smile pressing to his skin. “You are the hottest person I’ve ever laid eyes on. Eros incarnate.”

“I… I’m not- you really think I’m… hot?” He cringed.

“I have photographic evidence.” He grinned and bit his nipple as he pulled out his phone. He scrolled through the roll, his tongue flicking over his nipple as he searched for what he wanted. He turned the screen to him showing Yuri looking at him, his brown eyes wide with unabashed lust, on his knees, his body ready with Viktor’s initials above his hole waiting for his cock to fill him as much as he wanted. “Tell me that’s anything other than sexy. I dare you.”

The view of his initials clear and unreversed in a mirror swelled him with pride and pleasure. “I won’t dare you. You wouldn’t like it.”

He rewarded him with a deep sucking bite to his nipple. “That’s my good Yuri.” He put his phone back in his pocket and left him to cool off on the bed.

He returned a moment later with a hanger draped with leather and lace, a pair of black heels with a red sole, and a small black pouch. “Come here, beautiful.” Viktor tugged him up from the bed and turned his face to him. He pulled out a black pencil from the pouch and tugged his eyelid tight to run it around the edge, using his fingers to smudge it as he went. He dabbed a little gold shimmer on the tops of his cheekbones then swiped a light gloss over his lips and wiped his hands off on a tissue. He pulled out a jar of some type of paste and combed it through his hair, slicking it back from his face then pulled back to study him with a smile. “Gorgeous.” He kissed his cheek and zipped the pouch back up. “Put on the stockings, the underwear, and the shoes. I’ll help you with the corset.”

Corset? “Yes, Viktor.”

Viktor left to wash off his hands while he wiped the lube off with the towel. He slipped on the skimpy red underwear trimmed with black lace that left half of his ass still exposed at the bottom and pulled the black stockings up his silky-smooth legs that stopped with a wide band of lace right at the bottom of his ass. They had a bit of a fishnet pattern to them but were lined and comfortable on his skin. He slipped on the shoes and stood up to test them out, wobbling on the thin spikes. How did women do this? They made it look so easy. He could barely stand. He took a few wobbling steps around trying to figure out how to make it work without embarrassing Viktor by not even being able to walk. The only part left to the outfit was a black leather corset with red laces that didn’t look like it would be covering much at all. But if it at least held in his pudgy stomach, he could call that a win. Viktor likely picked it for just that reason so he’d feel more comfortable. Not likely, of course, he did.

Viktor came back and led him to a wall, holding out his arm for him to use as support which made walking in the heels feel something close to doable. Viktor slipped a black tube of a shirt on him that only covered his middle then opened the gold buckles at the front of the corset and undid the gold buttons holding it together. He wrapped it around over the liner and hooked him into it with the gold buttons then did up the buckles that came from black velvet straps of varying thicknesses crisscrossing in all directions in an artistic grab around his waist.

Turning him around to use the wall to lean on as he did up the laces in the back, he went slow and steady, gently easing him into the confinement, pausing to give him breaks and let the corset settle onto his body. With Viktor’s care, it wasn’t intolerable at all even as it squeezed tight. It just felt like another one of Viktor’s bonds. One he could wear anywhere. One he would expose to a room full of people with Viktor’s initials claiming him to everyone who looked his way. He shuddered at the thought and had to lean onto his forearms along the wall for support.

“Oh? What’s on your mind, Yuri?” Viktor’s satisfied grin traced his words as he tied it off and started attaching the stocking to the garters hanging from the bottom of the corset.

“The- the corset. It feels like your bonds. And your initials. Everyone will see them, won’t they?”

He leaned down to his ear, his hand stroking over the swell of his ass and fingers picking at the hem of the stockings. “I made sure of it.”

He gasped and sunk his mouth down over his arm trying to keep from ruining his outfit right there.

“You like that, yes, Yuri? You want everyone there to know without a doubt that you’re mine?”

He nodded, whimpering into his mouthful of flesh before pulling off to answer. “Yes, Viktor.” He whined as his knees buckled below him.

Viktor caught him around the waist and helped him stay upright, but his touch only weakened him further. “My pretty Yuri. Let me look at you.”

He calmed himself enough to turn around with some deep breathing and stood, still trembling, as Viktor’s eyes raked his body.

“So gorgeous. Just one more thing.” He pulled out a small box from his pocket and opened it to reveal a set of shiny gold nipple clamps with five diamonds of varying sizes in a cascading cluster each hanging from a delicate chain. Viktor picked it up to put it on him, and they sparkled brilliantly in the light. Smiling, he lightly clamped it into place. “A gift for you.”

“Please don’t tell me these are real.”

He fingered the constellation of diamonds letting them drip from his touch before giving the clamps a hard tug. “Of course they’re real. I would never give you something fake.”

“Viktor,” he whined. “I don’t need this.”

“Thank you, Viktor, is the appropriate response.”

He looked down at the diamonds sparking light below his initials drawing even more attention to them and couldn’t find himself anything but pleased. He bit his lip and looked back up. “Thank you, Viktor. They’re beautiful.”

He smiled and leaned in to kiss his cheek that was now almost the same height as his. “Not nearly as beautiful as you. You look stunning.”

“Thank you but, um, how am I going to walk? I tried it on my own and can barely stand without you.”

“I have no intention of leaving you alone. But, just in case, you can practice a little here.” He backed up to the other side of the room. “Walk to me as I told you on our first day. Shoulders back, chin up. You still walk heel to toe as you normally would but step one foot in front of the other in a straight line and put more of your weight into your hips, letting them sway while holding your core strong.”

“Um, quick question… How do you know how to walk in heels?”

He laughed. “I googled it.”

“Oh, so you’re just about as clueless as I am here.”

He smiled. “Just a bit. Try it out. The source seemed legit.”

He followed Viktor’s googled instructions and found himself settling into the strange gait after a few steps. After a few laps across his room, he was feeling steady enough, and he sort of liked the feeling of confidence sinking into his body. Viktor’s smile growing brighter with each pass only encouraged that.

“God you look so sexy. You need to see yourself. Come on.” He took his hand and led him into his enormous closet to stand him in front of a full-length mirror. “See? You look beautiful.”

He didn’t recognize the person in front of him apart from the thick thighs and ass and the flesh oozing out a bit at the top and bottom of the corset. He poked at the flesh on his ribs with his nose wrinkled and Viktor rolled his eyes.

“Yuri, you’re ignoring the overall image screaming how beautiful you are and zeroing in on one tiny thing that is a totally normal part of having a body. What do you think happens when you squeeze one part of your body and not another? You’re not made of plastic. You’re made of soft flesh, and I mean that in the best of ways. I do genuinely prefer you with exactly the body you have. The only reason I’d ever prefer you toned is from the confidence it would give you, and even that is only a consolation prize because I’d much rather you be confident in this body. I would have forced the issue but there is one practical benefit to you looking anything other than this, and that’s so you’re strong enough to compete should we get you that far. Other than that, this body is superior in every way. You’re literally my ideal type.”

“How?”

He gave a light toss of his shoulder. “I like what I like. You look perfect for grabbing and fucking you into oblivion and then cuddling with you after. I can’t keep my hands off of you.” He ran his hand over his ass to prove his point. “Look at yourself. All of you. What do you see? Tell me.”

“Um… my thighs and ass that I think are always too big no matter what I do.”

“Really?” His eyes lit up. “You won’t lose them if you lose weight?”

“No, Viktor.”

“Perfect. I feel much better about our workouts now.” He grabbed a handful of his ass then gave it a smack. “See? You’re perfect for manhandling. I don’t have to be as cautious with you.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really. That flesh is protective. I can go much harder on you than I can on someone who’s thinner without having to worry as much about hitting too deep. It makes it much more satisfying for me.”

“Oh.”

“I should have opened with that, yes?”

He smiled a little. “Yes, Viktor.”

“What else do you see?”

He took in the makeup and feminine clothes on his more masculine upper body and feminine lower body. “Um, I look a little androgynous.”

“How do you feel about that?”

“I’m not sure. I guess I don’t have any strong feelings on that. I don’t mind it.”

“Perfect because I think it’s so sexy. It’s like you were made specifically to please me.”

He preened a little at Viktor’s sincere praise. “How so?”

“I’m romantically gay but sexually bi. I’ve been with men and women almost equally. I have a preference for men overall, but I often find the lower body on a female more appealing. It’s rare for me to find that on a male, but when I do, it’s by far my top choice.”

“Oh, really? I didn’t realize that.”

“Does it bother you?”

“No, Viktor. Not at all.” He smiled. “I guess I’m glad then that I… suit you.”

He beamed. “Yes, Yuri. Now you’re getting it. You have a preference for more sculpted, masculine bodies, so that’s what you want to see on yourself and find anything other than that less than ideal. I have a preference for softer, more fluid looking bodies which is exactly what you have. I like seeing your body yield to my hands.” He grabbed more handfuls of his ass and thighs, kneading them in his hands as he smiled into kisses over the top of his shoulder. “See? Perfect.” His hand moved up to trace the letters on his chest. “Would I put my name on anything other than what I considered the highest quality?”

He smiled as he shrunk back a little into Viktor’s support behind him. “No, Viktor.”

“That’s right. And I have very high standards. You exceed every one. What else do you see?”

He looked at the strands of hair escaping Viktor’s hold and falling into his face. “Um, I think my hair looks a little messy. It’s not staying where you put it.”

“And I think it looks sexy as hell because it looks like we were just doing deliciously dirty things. Yes?”

The heat rose on his cheeks. “Yes, Viktor. I guess I can… see that.”

“What do you think is the most attractive on you?”

“Um…” His blush grew hotter. “I guess my eyes.”

“Excellent choice. I’d personally choose everything, but your eyes are particularly beautiful.” He stood next to him, straightening his posture and offering his arm to hold for support. “How do we look together?”

His eyes snapped wide realizing that’s how people would see them all night. Viktor’s name blaring on his chest above the eye-catching diamonds. Viktor claiming him tonight without leaving a single doubt in the mind of anyone who even glanced their way. They didn’t match at all, but looking between them, they complimented each other well. “Um, good.”

“That’s all we get? I know this is hard for you, but give me a little more.”

“Um… we look… right together.”

He beamed and kissed his cheek fueling the blush to burn brighter. “We are right together. We fit perfectly. Time to go, zolotse.”

He led him out of the bedroom, slowing his pace to make it easier to keep up with him in the wobbly shoes, and brought him to an expansive garage off the back of the house that held several cars all built in a time when style and power were the first and only concerns for suitability.

(23) “I forgot to mention my favorite car.” He smiled as he led him to a sleek black thing that screamed raw power with its long, sharp front end and a roof that swept into the back filled with vents and weighted to look like it was already in motion with the front end lifted. “I like all of them, but this one is a definite favorite.” He opened the passenger door and helped him into the car smelling of grease, gasoline, and hint of must embedded in the fibers after over half a century of life, closing it behind him. He came around to the driver’s side and ripped it to life with a deep growl. “Nineteen sixty-seven Shelby Mustang. One of the finest things ever to be put on four wheels.”

The car surged ahead as Viktor put it into gear and tapped a button overhead closing the garage door before they even made it out. Thrilled satisfaction sank into his entire being as he floored the pedal, racing the closing door. Yuri considered being terrified for a brief moment but then looked over to see the same focus in Viktor’s eyes that he had every time he rode or picked up a whip to use on him and the tension fell out of his shoulders and into his cock. Viktor made it out with time to spare and slowed his car back to a throaty rumble as he drove around the house to the hill where he stopped at the top.

“I hate to say this, darling, but you might want to hide until we’re out of the gates. There’s a blanket at your feet. Duck down and put it over you.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He unfolded the blanket and tried to bend forward, but the corset wouldn’t let him fold in half like that. “Um, Viktor? I have some-”

“The corset?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Can you lay on your side?” He lifted his arm off the gear shift to open space.

“On your lap?”

“Yes.”

“Um, won’t that look suspicious?”

“The guard won’t be inspecting my car. This is just so no one sees you in passing.”

“Oh. Um, I can try?”

“Go ahead.”

He shifted onto his hip and put his head on Viktor’s thigh while Viktor covered him with the blanket.

“There we go. This should work. Comfy?”

“A little stuffy, but yes, Viktor.”

“It’ll only be for a minute.” He rested his arm on him to put the car back into gear. He chuckled as the car started to move. “I can’t believe I’m smuggling a boy out of my own home like this, like some teen sneaking their boyfriend out the window. You’re always coming up with something new for me.”

“I’m sorry?”

“Don’t be sorry for that. You’re so much fun.” The car turned and roared to life, and Viktor lifted his arm to free him. “It’s safe. You can get up now.”

He pulled the blanket from his head and folded it back up to place it back at his feet. Yuri had never understood the appeal of such wasted power in a car that would never stretch out to its full potential, but watching Viktor hold such massive raw power in a tight coil exposed the allure. Hunting down the mountain curves with his ravenous car, accelerating through the smooth turns, his jaw tight behind the satisfied curl of his lips and unwavering focus in his eyes as his hand shifted through the gears, Viktor’s sex appeal became a palpable thing. The power simmering through the seat from the engine vibrated through his cock and all the way into his core, and he found himself squirming to keep himself under control.

Viktor’s eyes flicked to him for a brief second then looked back at the road with a smirk. “Something the matter, Yuri?”

“You’re so fucking hot.” He gasped as he realized that he had voiced his thoughts unfiltered without considering them for a second.

He chuckled, but the curl of his lips tightened with his praise and the car accelerated just a touch. “Thank you, beautiful. Are you okay over there or are you going to make a mess of your outfit?”

“I don’t know. You’re so so fucking hot. How are you so hot?” He blushed, but for once it wasn’t from embarrassment.

Viktor smiled. “You’re not nervous for the party?”

The trees whipped past them at an alarming rate, but the smooth control of the turns never wavered. “I should be terrified of dying in a fiery crash right now, but you’re too hot for me to care. If this is how I go, it’s a great last moment.” He wasn’t even holding the handle on the door. He felt instead like he was on Viktor’s table, fear and danger reshaping and weighting pleasure heavier in his body.

“You’re not dying. I’m not done with you yet.”

“I know.”

He turned onto the highway leading into the city. “Rules for the party are simple. Be on your best behavior. Any disobedience will be punished much harsher here. You’re reflecting on me so keep that in mind.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Also, people are exposing the deepest parts of themselves here, things that are normally kept totally private, so treat them with the same care you’d like to receive. There may be things that shock or disgust you, but you are to keep those reactions to yourself. You can talk quietly with me about it if you want to. I understand expressing a bit of surprise, and that’s totally normal for someone new to the scene, so it shouldn’t be harmful to anyone there, but no expressing revulsion or horror in a way that anyone can see it no matter how strongly you may feel it. Imagine that these people are sharing a page from their diary with you, trusting you to be gentle and accepting. You can imagine the damage you could cause by saying or acting like they’re disgusting or weird for liking something, yes?”

“Yes, Viktor. I understand.”

“Good.” He flew by the cars in the slow lane, looking over behind them to check for clearance before ducking into the right lane to get around a slow car lingering in the fast lane. Now with a clear route ahead of him, his car growled as he opened it up and moved his hand from the shifter onto Yuri’s thigh. “Stay by my side at all times. If you need something, tell me. If you feel uncomfortable, tell me. Talking to me about anything is always your safe bet, yes?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“And lastly, have fun. If anything looks intriguing to you, tell me. Treat it as a chance to explore your sexuality and find new things that turn you on.”

“I don’t think I need to be any more turned on.” Viktor’s fingers dangerously close to his tingling cock made him acutely aware of that fact. “You already have that mastered.”

He smiled, little crinkles forming around his eyes. “You’re so cute. You’ve barely even scratched the surface of what I can make you feel.”

They survived the drive into the city, and Viktor’s hand returned to the shifter to navigate the tight streets. They came to a stop at a red light at the top of a steep hill.

“Shit.” Viktor glanced in the rearview mirror at the car stopping behind them. “Asshole,” he muttered, shaking his head.

“What’s wrong?”

“Ah, nothing much. Just people have no idea that cars with manual transmissions roll back before going forward when stopped on a hill. The guy behind us is too close.”

“You mean we’re going to hit him?”

“No. You’re just going to have to hold on a bit.”

“Huh?” For the first time since racing the garage door, he got a little worried as he grabbed the door handle.

The light turned green, and Viktor revved the engine as the car lingered in place with his right foot split between both the gas and the brake while his left foot pressed the clutch pedal to the floor. He waited while the cars in front of him got well ahead. The car behind them started honking angrily that he hadn’t gone yet. Viktor cursed him under his breath in both English and Russian as his engine snarled then launched them forward with every bit of power it possessed. Yuri was pinned to the back of the seat, unable to move as Viktor ripped through the first three gears then hit the brakes to slow enough as they approached the cars that were down the block just a moment ago. Yuri braced against the force flinging him forward, his free hand grasping at Viktor’s leg. They eased into to a steadier pace, and Yuri pried his hand off the door to shake it out, his eyes huge and his chest heaving, his other hand still fixed to Viktor’s thigh.

“You okay, zolotse? I’m sorry about that. It’s only that bad when the hills are steep, and they don’t give me any room to work with.”

“I’m fine.” His voice squeaked through his tight throat. “That was… an interesting driving technique…”

“Yeah, the only way to get out of that situation is to get enough power going to defeat gravity before you let off the brake.”

“I guess it’s a good thing it’s got so much power then. I was thinking it was useless since you can’t go fast enough to use it.”

“You always need more power than what you use on a regular basis to get you out of a jam. The horse that has more in him than you know what to do with for the average ride is also the one who will save your ass when you misjudge a jump, yes?”

“Ah, that’s true. Yes, Viktor.”

“And my commands are only so effective when they’re gentle because you can feel the power I have at my disposal to enforce them if need be.”

He nodded. “Yes, Viktor.”

“Plus, while this one is a bit on the overkill side, it just feels good to have that power in your hands.” He clasped his hands tighter on the wheel as he turned into a parking garage and wound his car up the tight spiral to bring it to the upper levels. At the top, he parked the car, the sudden quiet spinning eerily in his head after the prowling engine cut off.  “Wait there.” He didn’t have to say it. Viktor told him to wait every time. He seemed to take pride in acting chivalrous. He didn’t like it at first, but Viktor had a particular kind of smile any time Yuri let him take care of him without fussing about it. Half warm, half proud and lighting up every glimmer in his eyes, it was a hard look to refuse to put on him. And at least this time he was truly grateful for the assistance as he opened his door and held out his hand, holding a black duffle bag he had retrieved from the trunk in the other. Viktor took his trembling hand and pulled it to his mouth with a kiss before tucking him next to his side. “Nervous?”

“A little.”

“You have nothing to worry about. Just follow my every word, and you’ll be fine.”

He nodded and leaned onto his support as much as he desired. “Yes, Viktor.”

He led him down a short hallway that looked rather non-descript, like what you’d expect any office building to look like, to a set of dark mahogany double doors with large gold letters matching the ones on his body. A V and an N were lashed onto the doors with gilded whip marks.

Yuri turned to him, his eyes huge despite the fact that it was so obvious he should have expected it. “Yours?”

“Mine.” The side of his mouth twisted up as he pushed a button on an intercom and a crackling voice sounded from it.

“Welcome to The Loft at VN. Do you have an appointment?”

“Hey, Red. It’s me.”

The door buzzed and Viktor pushed it open, escorting him through ahead of him then retaking his arm at his side as they entered the spacious lobby thrumming with dampened music coming from behind closed doors. The walls and ceiling were a deep cocoa almost the same as the color in his bedroom with a toffee colored marble floor. Gold padded benches like you might find in a Victorian parlor ran up one side of the wall while brown leather chairs with looping wicker backs sat on the other leading up to a desk with the whole front panel and sides illuminated behind a crosshatch pattern of gilded whip lashes. Crystal encrusted golden rings above them, three twisted together holding thick curtains of gold strands seeping glimmers of light with the strands gathered up in the center while a few dangled free, formed a row of chandeliers between sconces warming the walls. A pretty young woman stood at the desk with short, bright red, wavy hair wearing a black dress with straps crossing over her breasts where panels of flowing fabric coming over her shoulders split open to reveal nothing covering her but a bra until the fabric rejoined again below her navel with a wide belt. She looked vaguely familiar but couldn’t place her.

Her deep blue eyes widened as they approached. “Boss? You have someone with you? Who is this cutie?” Her friendly smile flashed onto her face as she stepped around the desk revealing more straps around her thighs where the panels split back apart over both legs as they descended to the floor. She took Yuri’s free hand as she examined up and down his body unabashedly, her eyes widening further as she took in his marks.

“Red, this is Eros. Eros, Red.”

Yuri’s eyes shot over to Viktor trying to make sense of what he’d said, but Viktor just nodded at him indicating he should say hi. “Um, nice to meet you.” He blinked trying to refocus his new contacts so he could see if there was any reason for the familiar vibe she was giving off.

“Nice to meet you as well.” She had a Russian accent, a little thicker than Viktor’s. “Wow. Eros. Let me look at you.” She tugged at his hand slightly to pull him away from Viktor.

He looked for Viktor’s encouraging nod before he allowed her to remove him from his arm. She held his hand firmly as if she understood that he was precarious without him as she circled to his back and let out another gasping wow before she moved back to his front. Yuri glanced at Viktor again, confusion and worry on his face.

“That’s enough, Red.”

She handed him carefully back to Viktor then stepped back and beamed at him from a more comfortable distance. “Wow. Boss, you didn’t even warn me before you brought a heart attack in here. I didn’t know I was going to have to be on high alert for damage control tonight.”

“Where’s the fun in that?” Viktor grinned and kissed her cheek. “Can I get your help with something? This is Eros’s first time wearing heels. We practiced a little at home, but it’d be great to get a woman’s tips for making it easier for him.”

“Of course! Walk for me please so I know where you’re at.”

He stepped away from Viktor’s arm again and walked to where Red had backed up.

“Good, you’re stepping right, go back and let me see you from behind.”

He walked back to Viktor.

“You need to swing your hips more. Every step should ring like a Pavlovian bell to the male brain. You want to seduce him with your walk. Not just that, but it really is more comfortable since that’s what the shoes naturally make you do.”

He nodded and walked back to her letting his hips swing freely.

“Yes! You’ve nailed it! Wow. So quickly you got that.”

“What she said. Walk for me again, beautiful. That was so sexy.”

He followed Viktor’s command to keep walking back and forth for him while he ogled him unapologetically.

“Wow. Eros. So much eros.” He kissed his cheek as he pulled him back to his arm. “I almost regret that I won’t be walking behind you all night.” He gave Red another peck as he led him away. “Thanks, Red. You look gorgeous, by the way. I love the dress.” He leaned into his ear as they left her bubbling on his praise. “You may recognize her from the stable. Don’t say anything about this place to her there and if she recognizes you, she won’t say anything either. As far as both of you are concerned, the two worlds don’t exist in the same universe. We have different names here as well to help keep that distinction clear and our identities private.”

“Yes, Viktor.” That’s where he’d recognized her from. He hadn’t talked to her yet, but he’d seen her in passing a few times. “But… Eros? Me?”

“Absolutely you.”

“How did she end up working here too?”

“She got here on accident really. She came with a friend to one of the parties after she started at the stable, and it was a bit of an uncomfortable surprise when we recognized each other, but it ended up working out fine. She was interested in being more involved here, so I let her have the front desk position.”

“I see. Wait, if we have different names, what about yes, Viktor?”

“It’s fine. Keep using it. You’re allowed to call me Viktor as you like.”

They turned down a hallway lined with doors on the right side with gold nameplates and a row of magenta orchids in glass vials lit from below on the left. They passed the first nameplate reading, ‘The Lion. The next, ‘The Wolf’ followed by, ‘Minx,’ ‘The Madame,’ and at the end, ‘The Boss.’ Viktor opened that door with his finger on the sensor by the handle and brought him inside, setting down his bag at the door.

“I have a few matters to attend to here before we join the party. Kneel right here and wait for me.” He pointed to the magenta pillow in the middle of the room that looked like any other executive’s office apart from rings hanging from the ceiling and a wall of whips and paddles next to a large cabinet he imagined held many more tools inside.

He dropped down carefully using Viktor’s hand to help him and rested his hands on his knees, straightening his posture even more than usual with the help of the corset. Folded straight and attentive to Viktor’s needs and his belly held firmly in place, a hint of the idea that he could look desirable like this lit in his mind. Viktor took a seat at the mahogany desk and opened his laptop. Having nothing to do but watch him work, he traced his chiseled lines with his eyes. The slight dimple in his chin, the ripple in his solid forearms as his fingers moved over the keys, the warm light glinting in his unwavering eyes. His cock started to fill as a heated frustration rose in his chest. The more time passed, the more those conflicting feelings grew. More turned on but more annoyed. Viktor’s eyes flicked to him for the barest of seconds before his attention went back to his work and jealousy burst in his chest followed by fear. Viktor never went that long without looking at him or interacting with him in some way. Had he messed up? Was he being punished? He racked his brain for anything he could have done to hurt him, but he found nothing specific. Viktor was just growing bored with him. He just wasn’t interesting enough to hold his attention for very long. Viktor would have told him if he did something specific. The more he worried he was right, the more the jealousy grew and the more turned on he got watching his flawless beauty. It was a toxic, haphazard concoction that burned through him.

“Come here, Yuri.” Viktor didn’t look up from his screen.

Relieved just to have his name on his lips again, he cautiously got to his feet and walked to him.

Viktor slid his chair back a bit without stopping his work. “Kneel at my feet.”

He dropped down using nothing but his own support and looked up eagerly, but Viktor’s eyes still didn’t go to his.

“Suck my cock.” He said it as if he was asking his secretary to move his four o’clock appointment, but Yuri could only sigh in relief as he scrambled for Viktor’s buckle and pulled his glorious cock free. If he was allowing him to pleasure him, he wasn’t mad and still wanted to feel his touch on him.

“Thank you, Viktor.” He looked up to catch Viktor glancing down at him with a smile before he went back to work. He sighed again as he licked his lips and wrapped them around his head, his tongue flicking over him as he slowly sank down on his length. Viktor hardened quickly in his mouth though he gave away nothing with his face.

Alternating between exploring his cock with his tongue and working him deeper into his mouth, Yuri’s eyes kept flicking up to Viktor’s face to catch any hint of his enjoyment. Other than his cock pulsing in his mouth and clenching when he went to a spot he remembered Viktor liking before, Viktor had no reaction to anything he was doing. His fingers typed steadily in between clicks of his mouse. Was he not doing a good job? Viktor had always liked what he’d done before. Was he just being nice because he was new at it?

Frustration solidified as he grasped him firmly and plunged him deeper into his mouth, letting him slip back in his throat before pulling off again to suck and lick over the parts he hadn’t reached and the places he knew he liked best. Viktor’s chest rose and fell in deeper waves, and his thighs started to tremble, but still, he kept on working, totally ignoring him as he reached for some papers he had printed out and started writing.

Pissed that he was being ignored in favor of paperwork, Yuri made it his mission to make it impossible for him to do anything but look at him. Moving all of his fingers out of the way except for a circle he made with his thumb and index finger not even coming close to meeting around the base of his cock to hold him back as he liked, he picked up a steady rhythm. Viktor’s breath rasped, his body twitching against his will, but his determined hand pressed on over the papers.

Taking the reactions his betraying body gave as encouragement that he was on the right course, he held his pace steady as he drew nearer to his pleasure. Every stroke brought him past the point where his gag reflex kicked in but it soon began to subside in its reaction, and he pushed his strokes deeper. Whimpers eked out from Viktor’s pressed lips, and Yuri’s satisfied smile stretched around his cock.

Viktor’s hand jerked across the paper, red heat climbing up his face. Remembering that Viktor liked the stretch as he went in and realizing that he needed to relax it first to make him experience the stretch fully, he brought the circle of his fingers up as he lifted off his cock and pushed them back down as he took him into his throat all the way until his nose was buried in his heated scent. Yuri brimmed with pride that he had done it- he’d taken all of him- as he took up a steady rhythm holding him deep inside his throat.

“Fuck!” Viktor’s fists slammed down as his pen skittered across the desk. “Holy sh- shit. Yuri. Yuri. Oh my god! So- so- so- oh, fuck!” He pressed deeper into the chair trying not to thrust into his mouth. “Oh my- Fuck!” His whole body clenching and twisting, his hands went to Yuri’s hair mussing it further as he gripped hard. “Shit! So fucking go- good! Ah! Ngh! Yu-” He tried to look down at him, but his body was twisting too much to allow him to look for long. It wasn’t what Yuri was trying for. It was so much better. Viktor kept trying to look at him, but his body kept tearing his eyes away. Writhing and arching in the seat, the only thing that stayed steady was the grip in his hair with his cries spilling freely as he came down his throat.

It was a strange feeling, being stuffed and filled, his throat stretched around him but having won his battle, it became a mark of pride. This is what success here felt like. It felt good. He looked up at Viktor’s sweaty, flushed face just coming down enough to look at him. Viktor blinked to focus as he tried to shake some senses back into his head. Finally, his eyes settled on him with a warm, bewildered smile.

“Holy shit, Yuri. That was incredible. So fucking good.” His heaving chest started to even out. “How did you do that? How did you take all of me?”

“Um… you remember the book? Well, uh, there was a tip in there I read earlier this week about- about giving better blowjobs, and he’d said to use your toothbrush and every time you brush your teeth to put it back in your throat and kinda move it around and desensitize your gag reflex. He said some people take a few months but others are luckier and it only takes a few days and, uh, I guess I’m one of the luckier ones?”

“No, I’m the lucky one.” He released his hold on his hair to cup his face in his hands and kiss his cheeks everywhere on both sides. “Holy shit. You’re the best. The absolute best. I can’t believe you took it upon yourself to learn how to pleasure me better even though I already said you are amazing. And I’ve had people deep throat me before but no one has ever thought to add in that stretch that I like at the same time, and it just made it a million times better.”

“Really? You said you liked it and it’s easy to do, so it seemed kinda obvious to me to do it?”

He smiled and pulled him up to put him in his lap and leave his praise on his neck. “That’s because you’re the best.” His voice murmured low against his skin. “Perfect. Wonderful. Amazing.”

“You were working through most of it.” He pouted like a petulant child but couldn’t bring himself to be embarrassed about that with how thoroughly annoyed with it he was.

Viktor laughed and picked up the paper he had been writing on to show him. It was a letter he was adding a handwritten note to the bottom of. He’d gotten a few clear words in related to the letter, but they’d quickly devolved into shaky scratches of Yuri’s name and curses scrambling over the paper. Yuri’s chest flooded with pride and satisfaction as he studied the page.

“I’m going to have to shred this one and try again.” He laughed gently against the tender skin on his throat.

“No! Please don’t shred it. Can- can I have it? Please?”

He grinned as he pulled back to look at him. “You want it?”

“Yes, Viktor. Please?”

“How badly do you want it?”

“I… I want to frame it.”

He beamed and pulled him into his arms, holding him tight. “It’s yours, zolotse. I’ll get it framed for you.” He kissed along the lines of his marks. “You’re very competitive, aren’t you?”

He cringed. “Yes, Viktor.”

“Don’t cringe over that. Not if it drives you to do that. Holy shit. The best ever. I love this. Did you enjoy it?”

“Um… it was really annoying at first but… it felt really good to- win.”

“Hmm… I’m definitely going to use this trait of yours to my advantage. Stand up and bend over my desk. I want to give you a little reward. You deserve more, but this is all I can give you right now.”

He leaned onto his forearms over the desk. Viktor pulled his hips back and widened his stance then yanked the underwear higher out of his way. Running his hand over his ass and stroking the sensitive skin between his hole and his balls before he left him untouched in quivering anticipation. His hand cracked down on his bare ass and heat flared in his body along with a pleasure that was both the craving for more and the satisfaction of fulfillment at once. Each crack drove both sensations higher and deeper, and he whimpered into his arm as his body shivered and his cock began leaking.

“Viktor? I’m getting wet.” He gasped as Viktor’s hand came down even harder.

“Good. I want you out there looking like mine in every way.” His hand burst against his remaining control and Yuri cried out as his legs started to wobble. “Hold still for me, baby.”

He whined as he tried his best to follow his order, his entire throbbing body being the enemy he had to battle. His cock strained against the fabric that it was soaking through as he bit into the flesh on his forearm to help him focus.

Viktor halted his rhythm. “No. Only I give you pain.”

He released his arm with a gasp. “I’m sorry!”

“You need a sharper pain too?”

He nodded. “Please, yes, Viktor.”

His hand cracked down again once more as he dropped down on top of him, his weight pressing him into the desk as he sank his teeth into the top of his shoulder just beyond the edge of where a shirt collar could cover it. His hands slid over his thighs and his ass dipping into the crevice of his thighs but refused to go further because there was pain. Knowing what his touch felt like there, it was pure torture not to have it.

“Please, Viktor. Please touch me. I promise you won’t traumatize me. Please, I need it so badly.”

Viktor responded with a tightening of his jaws and hand drawing back to resume his cracks on his ass. Yuri could feel his words through the bite at his neck. Submit. You have to submit.

“Yes, Viktor.” He moaned as his pleasure spiked and his body dropped. “Yes, Viktor. Whatever you want.”

Viktor rewarded him with more pain bringing him right to the edge before he pulled back and lifted him from the desk. “That’s my good Yuri. I’m so proud of you.” He kissed his indented bite mark gently as he stroked over the wetness over his hardened cock. “Now you look perfect. Let’s go.”

His eyes widened as his body clamped in unexpected pleasure. “Viktor?”

“Color?”

He gasped with Viktor firm grasp of his head. “Um…” His body screaming with pleasure raged against his mind screaming about dangers unknown. One look into Viktor’s patient eyes and his opposing mind laid down though it didn’t stop grumbling about lions in the brush or whatever it was it was afraid of. “Green.”

“Beautiful.” He leaned in as he stroked firmly down the front of his cock in a delicious drag as his breath drifted over his skin. “Mine.”

He shivered into the hold he took on Viktor’s arm. “Yes, Viktor.”

Viktor’s chest swelled as he led him to the door.

Applause and lascivious eyes met them on the other side. Red and three men were clustered in the hallway making not even a motion at pretending to be ashamed at being caught listening in. Yuri’s entire body burned scarlet as he huddled into Viktor’s side.

Viktor shook his head at them but beamed as pride swelled his chest even further. “What are you miscreants doing out here? Red, you should be at the desk.”

“Right, sorry, Boss. I just had to tell them.” She scampered off back to her station, wiggling her eyebrows at Yuri as she left.

One of the men still applauding with approving nods had hair and skin almost the same color of light brown giving him an almost golden glow. He carried a thick black whip coiled in his hand and wore black leather pants under a red and gold coat and a top hat with his toned chest exposed. He was smaller in stature, but that whip and his presence made him look more substantial than his physical size. A black-haired Korean man next to him with a stern face was about the same size only his cold presence made him much more intimidating despite the fact he carried no tools and wore nothing but a pair of black pants.

The third man who was larger, even bigger than Viktor, had his green eyes rimmed deeply with sable liner and bronze shimmer covering every inch of exposed skin which was quite a vast territory with him wearing nothing but a thong and nipple clamps with several layers of dangling chains over his sculpted abs. On his head was a set of two tiny ears covered in luxurious looking fur matching the color around his eyes. He caught Yuri looking him over and turned to reveal a matching tail, short and sleek looking like it was sprouting naturally from his plump ass. He winked as he gave it a little shake and came to Viktor’s free side to toss his arm over his shoulder after looking over Yuri thoroughly. “Oh, my my, mon cher. Who is this tasty little thing you’ve got pleasing you so?”

“This is Eros. Eros, this is Lion,” he gestured to the young man in the top hat, “Wolf,” he pointed to the Korean man, “and Minx, though,” he looked at the man draped on his shoulders, “can I out you here? I need to thank you.”

“Oh?” He chuckled looking delighted. “Go for it. What did I do?”

“Eros has read your work. Thank you for your toothbrush tip.”

Minx, apparently also Christophe Giacometti, groaned and put his hands on his ass to stretch out his back. “Oh, that thing? The Gay Man’s Bible? Oh my god, you should have asked permission to bring up my horrible youth. What kind of pretentious ass writes a self-help book and proclaims themselves a sex expert at nineteen?” He chuckled and shook his head. “I guess that would be me. Pleasure to meet a reader of my work even if it is one of my early ones.” He took Yuri’s hand and gave it a kiss.

Painfully aware of his still hardened state that seemed to only be getting worse rather than better that only he seemed to have any concern for, he found his words trickier than usual, but he didn’t want to let Viktor down. “It’s really good. I haven’t finished it yet, but it’s been very… enlightening.”

“Aren’t you a doll? Thank you, mon cheri.” He released his hand with another kiss. “I hope though that you’ll read one of my newer books and judge me by that rather than my idiot teenage self.”

“I would have never guessed it was written by someone so young. You seem very… uh… experienced?” He cringed hoping he wouldn’t take that in a negative way.

“Well, I am a huge slut, so I did have a lot more experience than your average nineteen-year-old.” He winked, and Yuri breathed a sigh of relief that apparently, he didn’t take being called a slut as an insult either.

The light caught the shimmer on Minx’s shoulder just right to highlight raised scars across it looking like claw marks or… whip marks. Jealousy and a wave of hatred for the friendly, surprisingly unpretentious man in front of him made everything but those glittering marks fall away. He had Viktor’s marks permanently on him, and he hated him for it. He grabbed harder to Viktor’s arm as he scrambled for rationality to fall back into his lust-addled mind. Viktor had marked Minx by accident, and it made him feel awful. So bad that he didn’t ever do another scene with him. He never touched him again. Those careless marks strewn over his shoulder had driven him away as permanently as they themselves were. Yuri’s marks were given to him. Viktor chose to lay down every single lash exactly where he put it to form his own name on Yuri’s body, and those were what had been drawing all three of the men’s attention while his aroused cock got barely a passing notice. Gloating pride at being the one Viktor chose maybe wasn’t the noblest thing to cling to, but it was the only thing that eased his anxious jealousy back down.

“Yuri?” Viktor’s voice came whispering at his ear. “What’s wrong?”

“Huh?” He startled at the suddenness of Viktor’s voice striking his focus back into the room. He glanced around at them all watching him with concern. Shit. How long had he spaced out this time? “I’m fine. I’m sorry, Viktor. I promise I’m fine.”

“Are you sure? I tried to get your attention and I couldn’t.”

He cringed, hiding his expression in Viktor’s neck. “I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have let my focus wander. I’ll do better.”

“I’m not worried about that. I’m worried about you. Why did your focus change so hard like that?”

“I… I saw his scars. I didn’t like it.”

Viktor’s warm arms wrapped around him. “You got that jealous?” His warm lilt lifted his voice as he hugged him tighter. “I chose you. His were a mistake.”

“I know.”

“Good, Yuri.” He kissed over his face. “Good.” He turned back out of their huddle and Yuri straightened at his side.

“God, how precious.” Minx smiled and shook his head. “Make him scream on one side of the door and cuddle you close on the other. Bravo.” He held his hands up in slow applause. “I didn’t think anyone would achieve either one of those let alone both. You- Oooh! Oh! Oh yeeesss… So-” He arched his back as his cock jumped to attention and pleasure rolled down his body. “Ah, damn.” He stood back straight despite the quiet buzzing that could only be coming from the tail vibrating at his ass. “So close yet so far.” He shook his head. “They really suck tonight. Don’t you hate it when that happens? I want to come damn it.”

“I, uh…” He looked at Viktor having no idea how to respond.

“Eros is a virgin. He’s never played any of your dirty games.”

“What?” Minx and the two others gaped at him. “You mean like… a virgin virgin?”

“Yes. I’m the only one who’s touched him other than kissing.”

“What?! You’re joking. How long have you had him?”

“Not quite a week yet.”

“And he made you scream like that?” Minx’s jaw dropped further with every word. He shook his head and dropped to his knees in front of Yuri. “Mon cher. Teach me your ways. What did you do to him?”

“Um…” He looked at Viktor and got his approving nod. “I just did what he likes?”

He laughed riotously while the other two nodded with a ‘not bad’ type of expression. “That is such a brilliantly simple bit of advice. I’m going to steal it if you don’t mind.”

“No. Go ahead.”

Minx stood back up chuckling and looked at Viktor. “What number is he?”

“One.”

“Oh my god. You’re serious?”

“Yes.”

“Not even a week?”

“He was late to an appointment with me on Monday, and he felt so bad about that he dropped to his knees and begged me to punish him. He’s been mine twelve hours a day since then.”

“You’re kidding. Did he know?”

“He understood a few of the hints I gave him on some level, but not really, no.”

“Wow.”

All three men now studied him with far more impressed looks on their faces, Lion particularly so.

“You brought him here after that little time?” Wolf spoke flatly as if he was disapproving of Viktor’s lack of care.

“Yes.”

“Weren’t you worried?”

“No.”

He nodded once, his stone face unchanged. “Nice to meet you, Eros.”

“Uh, yeah, nice to meet you as well.”

Lion offered his hand with a pleasant smile. “You’re very beautiful. The Boss is lucky to have such a lovely canvas to put his mark on.”

“Um, thank you. Nice to meet you.”

He nodded. “Yes, nice to meet you.”

“Oh! Oh! This one’s close!” Minx wriggled down to his tail. “I think it’s- And no. Goddamn it, one of you win already! I’m dying here!” he shouted down the hallway to no one in particular.

Viktor chuckled. “Playing Here Minxy?”

“Yes, and they’re all awful at it. It’s been a damn hour, and no one has gotten me further than a little tease.”

“Sorry, baby doll. I’m sure one of them will get it.” He turned to explain to Yuri. “He likes playing this game where he passes around the remote for his plug and whoever lands on the right combination for him gets him for the night.”

“Really? Like… whoever?”

“It’s surprisingly effective for finding the right person to please me,” Minx purred. “This plug is special in that it does nothing for me on every setting but one specific combination, but that one is, oh my god, fabulously good. It’s delightfully fun, and I’ve never been disappointed by the winner. There are so many combinations on this thing, he really has to have either a ton of persistence or a ton of luck. Either way, I consider him blessed.”

“Of course, he can always back out if he doesn’t like the winner for whatever reason but Minx has never been one to back down.”

“Never. The ones I’ve initially been a bit meh about are often my favorites in the end, so I give just about anyone or anything a chance.” He rolled through a deep shudder and dropped to his hands and knees. “Oh god. This is it. Don’t you dare give up.” He moaned and rocked his hips, his breath spiking as he got closer. “Yes! Lion, please be a dear and call the winner over here? I can’t quite make it to him. Oh god yes!”

“You’ve got it, Minxy.” Lion went to the end of the hallway and opened the doors to the right letting the music thump freely. “We’ve got a winner! Come collect your prize.”

A hulking man with a thick waist and thick arms and a thick everything strapped and studded in leather followed him down the hall with a satisfied smile and a remote in his hand that had a green wristband on it like the ones you’d find at carnival rides. He stopped in front of Minx and lifted his face from his throes of building pleasure. “I knew you’d be mine tonight.”

Minx looked him up and down with a smile quirking on his lips. “I don’t know about that. I haven’t come yet. Could still pick another winner.”

“You think so?” He grasped his ear and pulled him to his knees, reaching into Minx’s thong and pulling out his cock as he pushed a button on the remote making the buzzing and Minx’s cries grow louder. “I think I’m going to make you my bitch tonight.” He pulled out his thick cock and shoved it into Minx’s mouth. “Why don’t you do something more useful with that mouth instead of being a smart-mouthed little brat.” He pushed him all the way down his length, and when Minx responded by sucking him with fervor, he rewarded him with his fist jerking over his cock. “That’s right. I knew you were my little bitch. Make it good.”

“Don’t worry, he likes it.” Viktor leaned over to whisper in his ear as Yuri watched them with his eyes huge. “With everything you see here you can assume that it looks a whole lot scarier than it feels to the person it’s being done to.”

“Yeah, but he doesn’t know him, right? How do they know about limits and stuff?”

“The winner is random, but those who are playing have to enter the contest first. They check in with Red when they arrive. See the wristband on him?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“That means he’s gone over his checklist and Red has interviewed him and given him her approval to play. To Minx, that band is a mark that he’s safe. He won’t play with anyone without it. Plus, he’s in a public setting which is safer.”

“Oh. That sounds better.”

“Safety is always first here.”

“Right.” He smiled. “It’s your place. I should have assumed you had that covered. So… why is this your place?”

“I wanted a nice, safe place to play, and I like having control of things myself.”

“What about your home?”

“It’s very rare for me to bring someone there. They have to drive through the gates so having an endless stream of new people visiting me there starts to spread rumors.”

“Endless?”

He smiled and kissed his cheek. “You’re adorable when you’re jealous. I train subs. I’m a professional Dom in my free time.”

“I… I’m not sure I understand.”

“People new to the scene come to me because of my reputation, and I introduce them to this world in a safe way so when they go to someone else, they know how they’re supposed to be treated, and the person taking them gets a sub with most of the initial kinks worked out. We also train Doms here on how to be good Doms and provide general classes to anyone who wants to learn. Minx is my top Dom trainer. It’s rare to find good subs able to do that who are willing to put themselves at a higher risk with someone inexperienced, but he’s the best at it. The more people we educate on good practices, the further that extends. It’s my way of doing my part to keep this fun and safe for those who choose to participate.”

His heart rate kicked up. “I see… so how long do your subs usually stay with you?”

“It depends. Some a few weeks, others a few months. Never more than that.”

“Oh. I…” He wanted to cry, but he shoved it down deep to deal with later. A few weeks or months from now he estimated. “I guess I got lucky that I ended up with someone who knows so much for my… first.”

“You got extremely lucky.” His voice went hard. “Had you wandered into this with anyone else… I don’t even want to imagine what would have happened to you if even a mediocre Dom got his hands on you. You are such a special case, you take every bit of my knowledge and attention to take care of you. Just imagine what your experience would have been like if I had taken your first checklist as an honest representation of what you are okay with. Imagine me spending this past week calling you cruel names instead of the sweet things I say.”

He cringed feeling words he hadn’t even suggested.

“See, you can feel that now that I’ve shown you the difference. Imagine me diving right in with pain in areas that haven’t even begun to understand pleasure. You might think you want that but really think for a second on how that might wire your brain permanently to have that be your first connection.”

He nodded. “I think I understand that.”

“And the things you do actually need are the ones you hide and reject the hardest and need me to ignore you saying and acting like you’re not okay and force you into it anyways.” He shook his head. “Many would take everything you say as clear consent and be so assured by that they wouldn’t notice your signals to what you really need and would destroy you without even realizing it. You have no idea how dangerous you are to your own self, and that terrifies me.”

Taking this turn of their conversation to the soundtrack of slurping and moaning from a real-life porno not two feet away was a surreal experience he doubted would ever be matched in strangeness. Minx writhed looking like he was in agony holding on to his order not to come until his dom did while doing his best to bring him there as quickly as possible to end his torment. Finally choking down his load, he released with a deep cry spilling all over the floor.

“Good boy. Clean up your mess.” The winning dom put his heavy boot on Minx’s back and shoved his face to the floor as Viktor led him away.

Viktor stopped at a man standing at the end of the hall with shaggy light brown hair and a sweet but chiseled face who was wearing a green wristband. “Better luck next time.”

“Yeah, I hope so.”

“Want a hint?”

“No, I want to win him fair and square.” He looked down the hall at the man lapping the floor with a wistful smile.

“Good man. I’m rooting for you though.” He leaned in to speak into Yuri’s ear as they walked away. “He’d be so good for Minx. He’s been trying to catch his attention, but Minx gets way too distracted with his games. I’m hoping he can snag him one of these times so he can prove how good for him he’d be.”

(24) Viktor opened the door and the elegant loft they entered plunged into the depths of a cave. A vast room with stone outcroppings covering the walls and stalactites dripping from the ceiling in various shades of that nearly black brown veined with glittering rocks rose and fell with varying terrain from a deep pit down to the left that glowed with a soft light and was filled with magenta couches and cushions and chairs that people were lounging in up to an elevated dance floor with a DJ stand next to a long stage jutting out from magenta velvet curtains with a number of dips and rises in the floor along the way with strips of light illuminating the stairs to each change. Soft lanterns looking like torches littered the walls and pillars of jagged stone throwing off flickering firelight made it both eerie and comfortable at the same time. A screaming man just to his right had an entire fist inside his ass while numerous people tied to the stone pillars by embedded iron rings were either being whipped or waiting to be whipped.

Large pieces of equipment like the ones in Viktor’s playroom, along with a great number more that he didn’t recognize, covered the undulating terrain along with the thick of people using them and mingling about all wearing outfits Yuri’s brain hadn’t even begun to process. Next to the pit filled with couches, a stream of turquoise water passing in front of a stone bar was lit from within and cast rippling waves of light that bounced off the sparkling bottles and glasses lining the wall.

In the center of the cave, a human heart hung suspended from the ceiling composed of a matrix of red and blue ropes supporting a boulder for the left lobe and a naked woman filling in the right lobe with her bent knees forming the point. Yuri marveled at it. How it was possibly created, the stunning artistic skill woven into every knot, and the serenity of the woman radiating out to every edge of the room. His jaw fell slack along with the rest of his body taking in the overwhelming sight.

“Welcome to The Cave.”

It was pungent with sex and earth after a rainstorm and the air pounded with music and screams and moans and the sizzling cracks of whips and every second in there gave his mind fifty more things to process while he was still working through the first five. In the first step in after the doors closed behind him sealing him in this alternate world his mind lacked a single concept of, he was knocked into Viktor’s side by a naked man leaping at him from the ground, floppy ears on his head, a panting tongue, and a tail raised high and excited from his ass. Viktor steadied him as the man barked at him excitedly as if trying to get him to play.

“Down, boy. Bad puppy.” A woman wearing a leather mini dress and thigh high boots snapped a leash attached to a collar around his neck and smacked a crop across the man’s ass making him whimper and crawl over to her feet to present his ass to her for more punishment. “You don’t jump on people.” She cracked the whip over him until he bowed down on his front end and looked up at Yuri apologetically. “I’m sorry. He’s still a new puppy. He gets a little overexcited sometimes when he sees someone he likes.”

“It’s- it’s okay.” He looked to Viktor to see if his response was okay and received an approving nod.

Viktor reached out to scratch behind the dog’s ears when he came over and sat politely at his feet. “What a cute puppy you are.”

“Good boy. That’s how you greet people you want to play with.” The woman pushed a button on a remote making the tail wag, and the puppy howled with a sound of pleasure.

The tail went still, and the puppy barked excitedly as he came over to Yuri and sat at his feet looking up eagerly.

Yuri cast a glance to Viktor then bent forward with a smile to scratch the top of his head. “Are you a good boy?”

The puppy barked again and nuzzled into his hand then circled around him jumping in the air and barking occasionally looking at his owner.

“He likes you.” She smiled at Yuri. “He’s very excited to see The Boss in here with someone so stunning on his arm. He pulled me right over here so he could say hi first.”   

“Oh, hi.” Yuri blushed like crazy as he pet his head again but thankfully the dim lights hid most of that. “It’s nice to meet you…” He looked to his owner to learn his name.

“Snow.”

“Snow, like Jon Snow? Are you a Game of Thrones fan?” He spoke with excitement as one should for communicating with a puppy.

He barked eagerly.

“Me too.”

The puppy barked again then went back to his owner to sit at her feet and whine.

She leaned down to give him a kiss. “Yes, you’ve been a good boy. That’s how you play with new friends.” She made his tail wag again, and the puppy clung to her leg, humping it as he licked the thigh of her boot. She stroked his head absentmindedly as she turned her attention to Viktor while her puppy whined with pleasure. “And who is your new…” She looked between them trying to figure out his role. He’d like to know that himself.

“This is Eros. Eros, this is Lady Rose.”

She offered her hand, and Yuri shook it. “Eros, that’s quite a fitting name. Is this your first time here?”

“Yes.”

She smiled, flicking her long red hair behind her back. “Well, I feel honored that we got the chance to greet you first. I’m sorry that my puppy was so rude in his greeting.”

“It’s okay, really. I like dogs.” It felt strange knowing he was talking about a person even though the statement itself was true. “Puppies can be easily forgiven. They don’t know any better.”

She beamed at him. “I’m glad he didn’t harm you.” She looked to Viktor sincerely. “My apologies.”

“No harm done. I’m going to show him around. I’ll catch up with you some more later.”

Viktor led him deeper into the cave as the puppy came all over his owner’s boot and she shook her head at him with an indulging smile.

“Look at this mess I have to clean now. You’re so troublesome.”

Viktor stopped him a few feet away to smile as he pulled him in to stroke over his cock. “So good Yuri. You made me so proud there. You were flawless.” He kissed over his neck and dropped down to kiss his marks pulling him tighter into his arm while the other hand slipped inside his underwear to stroke his bare cock and fill it back up completely.

Yuri shivered as he looked around the room to see nearly everyone in the vicinity watching them. “Viktor… everyone’s watching.”

“I know. I want to show you off tonight. I want them all to see how beautiful you are in my hands. Color?”

Red heat raced through him, and he gushed precum over Viktor’s hand. “Green.” He choked on the word as more heat filled him at agreeing so easily even though he had no idea how extensively Viktor meant that. Would they be playing here? Viktor had promised they would be later. He pressed into Viktor’s touch when he rewarded his trust by swiping through the slick fluid and running his thumb over his head. Their eyes bored into him, but Viktor’s touch was stronger and claimed the majority of his focus. His body went soft in his arms, his eyes fluttering back as Viktor took their attention and used it to hold him in place for a new kind of pleasure- one that rose from the depths as a part of himself he never knew existed- one wholly opposed to who he thought he was and who he would claim to be. “Viktor,” he purred, “It feels so good.”

He arched him back over his forearm to kiss from his marks back up his throat. “So beautiful.” His hand slipped out from his underwear, and he brought his thumb up to his mouth.

Understanding what it was he wanted from him, his tongue flicked at the tip then he cleaned him with long, slow draws along his sensitive palm making Viktor shiver as his hand closed around the side of his face and Yuri pulled him into his mouth sucking slowly. Viktor lifted him back upright and pulled his thumb from his mouth staring at him with his eyes flickering in the firelight and a tug at his lips.

“How gorgeous you are.”

He put him back at his side with his body spiked again to its peak and paraded him past eyes raking his body trying to tear into him to see what secrets he held to put him on Viktor’s arm, whispering to each other as they passed. Viktor seemed unconcerned for what they might have to say, so he tried to lock them out too, listening only for what Viktor had to say.

“What do you think so far?”

“Umm… In the hallway, I was thinking that nothing could be stranger than our conversation set to the soundtrack of a porno and then I took one step inside, and that was instantly surpassed ten-fold, so you know, I’m a little cautious about determining any of the rest of this as the strangest thing ever.”

Viktor laughed and snuggled him close for a kiss to his cheek sparking even more violent whispers in the bystanders. “I think it’s a rite of passage to be accosted by something bizarre upon entering. I think mine far surpasses yours.”

“Really? What happened?”

“Oh my god. So, this was back when I was an eighteen-year-old kid, just barely, a complete virgin, even less experience than you, and I walk into my very first experience with any of this and I’m greeted by the sight of my riding instructor, the very Yakov you’ve met, hogtied on the floor with Liliya stomping on his balls with a pair of heels.”

“No,” he gasped.

“Oh yeah. We all just stared at each other completely frozen until Yakov comes a few seconds later because there are very few things more humiliating than having your student seeing you like that, and Liliya steps off him and comes over to me, looking me up and down and says, ‘I can usually tell with a glance, but I can’t tell with you. Do you want to be in his place or mine?’ And I’m still just horrified, but I manage to say yours, and she says, ‘Are you willing to put in the effort it takes to be good, or do you just want to take the power without working for it?’ And I say I want to be good, and she says, ‘Okay. He is your trainer during the day; I can train you at night. Do you accept?’ And after a few more moments to get my brain working right again, I agree. It ended up being one of the best things I’ve ever agreed to. She spent a few years training me, and I wouldn’t have been anything close to what I am now without her expertise. It’s why I wanted to then guide others myself.”

“Wow. So, how did she train you?”

“She taught me about good practices and how to read my sub and handle whips and just about every other tool you can think of. I did all of my first scenes with her watching over me to make sure I didn’t hurt them, so I ended up having my first time with her guiding and instructing me which was so very awkward at first, but it turned out to be immensely helpful.”

“Wow. That is… Wow. You didn’t want to have your first time… normally?”

“No. Normally included things I wasn’t comfortable with. It’s a big part of why I was drawn to this. I could control what I was okay with and only do those, and no one questioned it or thought it was strange or expected me to do it even if I wasn’t okay with it.”

He nodded. “So, your boyfriend didn’t mind being watched for that?”

“It wasn’t a boyfriend. Just a random sub Liliya picked for me. She was nice, but I never saw her again after.”

“I thought you said you didn’t do that outside of relationships.”

“Now. Things you’re comfortable with can change over time.”

“Oh. So you… got less okay with being that intimate over time?”

“Yes. It was just too close for me and harder for me to control, so it was better to drop it.”

“Oh. I’m sorry if I’m prying too much.”

“Don’t apologize for trying to get to know me. I want you to.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

Leather was the dominant theme among the outfits followed by latex and lace and corsets and metal on parts of the body he’d never expected metal to be worn with tails filling in a surprising number on the chart. Dog tails, fox tails, bunny tails, horse tails all attached to eager subs, many of them attached to leashes, who seemed to take delight in shaking and swaying their perked-up asses. A woman in a dressage show outfit with breeches, boots, a tailcoat and top hat walked by leading another woman dressed head to toe in black latex with a horse head over her own complete with a bridle. A flowing black tail followed them, and Yuri watched them go with an inkling of suspicion rising.

“Please don’t put any tails on me.” He gave Viktor the best pleading eyes he could manage.

Viktor laughed. “No? But I think you’d look cute with a little bunny tail.” He poked his nose making it wrinkle before he kissed it.

He pondered this a moment. “Well… maybe.” He considered the possibilities of playing like that, and it maybe had some potential for fun. Rabbits are known for their vigorous breeding abilities. “Not a horse tail?”

He shook his head. “I’ve got plenty of horses. I want something new.”

They passed scene after scene of people being whipped and flogged with all sorts of exciting tools and Yuri found himself nearly aching with his desire for Viktor to use them on him. He’d been turned on and traveling the borderlands of an orgasm for hours now, and he wasn’t sure how much more he could take. A man beat the bound breasts of a woman with a flogger that had the ends capped with metal studs. A shiver rolled through him and settled neatly in his cock.

“Oh? What’s got your interest?”

He nodded in the direction of the woman bound to one of the stone pillars. “His flogger. It looks a little different. What is it?”

“Cat ‘o nine tails or cat for short. Do you like it?”

He watched the flogger draw deep red lines with every lash while the woman screamed with agony that gasped into pleasure. “Yes, Viktor.”

“That one’s more intense. It has a much higher risk of breaking the skin and a lot more pain.”

He looked over with his eyes bright.

Viktor chuckled and poked his nose again. “You just love going zero to sixty as fast as you can, don’t you? I can start dialing up the pain for you as long as you keep being my delicious little virgin slut.” His lips and hand raked over his neck and cock. “Give me every reason to give you everything you want.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He whimpered as an orgasm drew very near.

He led him away as he whispered into his ear. “Be patient, zolotse.”

Viktor stopped at a naked woman covered in whip marks and black tally marks on her ass with her head and hands locked up in wooden stocks holding her in place.

She smiled, sighing as she licked her lips. “Boss. Please help me fulfill my punishment? Please fuck my throat until I gag. I’ll let you go as deep as you want. I’ll make it so good for you.”

He looked down at her as if she’d displeased him in some way. “I see you haven’t improved from last time. You’re disappointing me, Mouse.”

The chill that settled over him sunk into Yuri’s bones.

She put on a show of looking ashamed, but a slight sheen in her eye that Yuri recognized all too well showed her excitement at having captured Viktor’s attention. “I’m sorry, Boss. I didn’t mean to disappoint you. Please punish me so I can learn how to be a good sub. Please, Boss? Please, please punish me so I can learn how to make you proud.”

“You should already know how to make me proud.” He looked over the tally marks on her ass and tsk’d as he looked to the dom standing over her. “How long has she been in the stocks for?”

“Two hours.”

“Two hours and you only got five people to fuck you? You can’t even entice them into using a free hole for a few minutes? You’ve got three of them and not one of them was worth stopping at to fuck however they liked?” He shook his head with disdain settling over him like a cloak. “You want me to punish you one last time so you can have one last hope at ever making me proud?”

“Yes, Boss! Please, Boss! Please, please punish me.”

He leaned over to grab her face, a sneer on his own. “It’s going to hurt, and I won’t be the one to pick up your pieces.”

Her eyes lit up while Yuri shrunk back from that tone in his voice even if it wasn’t directed at him. How could she be excited? Didn’t she know that Viktor was screaming danger with every breath? “Please, Boss, give it to me hard. Please, I can take it.”

“Pay close attention.”

“I will. I promise I’ll be good.”

He patted her cheek, his flicker of a smile not shaking the disdain at all. “Good girl. This one’s a secret I’m going to share. A Dom is never weaker, never stronger, never more satisfied, never hungrier than when he’s holding honest submission in his hands. Nothing is harder for him to resist. You, little Mouse, are so easy to resist you’re not even worth a lazy fuck.” He let go of her face like he was throwing away a piece of revolting trash and turned to Yuri, shedding his cloak with a warm smile just for him. “My beautiful Eros. Kiss me.”

He gasped along with the shattered woman in the stocks. Kiss him? Where? Those were questions. Not a real kiss then. No other specifications. Anywhere but there. He gave a soft smile as he picked up Viktor’s hand and pressed a gentle kiss to his knuckles. Viktor sighed, his smile crinkling as he held his face gently. Yuri pecked the back of his hand then moved up to the exposed dip in his throat from his open shirt collar and began softly laying down kisses, licking gently over his skin.

Viktor sighed again and pulled him in close, wrapping his arms around him as he tilted his head to allow him to go further. “Yes, that’s it. It feels so good, my beautiful Eros. Make me feel it completely.”

He raked his fingers through the back of his hair, his tongue stroking and lips closing over the edge of his jaw in the gentlest kisses he had as Viktor melted into his body. “Viktor,” he sighed, “you feel so good. Thank you.”

“Yes, zolotse, yes. That’s it. You feel so amazing.” He sighed, relaxing deeper into his arms. “Let’s go see something more interesting.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He retook his spot on his arm as Viktor gave him a kiss on his cheek.

“Lord Jones? A word please?” He waved Mouse’s dom over.

Yuri glanced back at the woman while they were talking whose eyes were burning with hatred for him with a depth he’d never before experienced. If she was Viktor’s old sub was this what his future looked like? He pictured tally marks on his ass offered up to anyone who liked it instead of Viktor’s name written so beautifully where everyone could see and clung to his arm a little tighter as he looked back to Viktor’s conversation. His heart made little shivering attempts to shake off her gaze he could still feel on his back.

“Good and make sure you’re extra attentive to her, okay? Let me know if there are any problems.”

“Will do, Boss.”

He led them away without looking back at his aftermath.

“Who- who was she?”

“Just an old sub. Not one I’m proud of. I had to kick her out to one of my other Doms rather than letting her graduate with my stamp of approval. Sadly, not everyone can be taught. This just isn’t right for some people, but they cling to it anyways. I’m hoping that will wake her up to the fact that she’s just not suited to be a sub. Better to make her let go of this and find what she is suited for.”

“Graduate?”

“When my subs have earned my approval for having achieved my standards for training, they’re allowed to take part in a graduation ceremony of sorts. Some choose not to, and that’s fine, they still earn my mark and can say they graduated from my training, but most see it as an honor and are excited to participate.”

“What is the ceremony?”

“You’ll see it later tonight.”

A man passed by completely naked apart from a leash leading out from the center of his erect cock. Yuri studied him trying to figure out how it was attached. He was walking a little too slowly for his dom so he gave him a pull, yanking his cock tight until he caught up.

He turned to Viktor, his expression asking the question for him. “How?”

“Ah, he’s got a cock screw in.”

“A what?” Something thick rolled through him that felt like horror with those two words used so closely together, but it had a hot edge that carved tremors into him on its way.

Viktor tilted his head as he studied him with a smile. “Oh, that’s an interesting one.”

He looked around the room for a moment then led him up to one of the higher levels and stopped at a scene with a man tied up to an elaborate chair with his legs spread and bound like a frog and a large rubber ball strapped to his mouth as another man selected a long, twisted rod from a metal tray and coated it in lube. He slipped it right into the slit of his penis and let it start sinking into his body. Yuri’s eyes fixed on the twists sparkling brighter just before they disappeared into his body. It was so long he didn’t expect it all to go in, but slowly it plunged into him until it disappeared completely. Yuri was transfixed the whole way. The dom turned on the vibrator in his ass then grasped both the small ring that was the only part exposed of the metal rod and the vibrator and thrust them both into his sub at the same time. The sub’s muffled screams sounded so much louder than they were as the flickering light of a nearby torch seemed to time with his desperate writhing.

Yuri’s body was on fire as he leaned over to ask Viktor a question without taking his eyes off of that sparkling rod flaring and extinguishing with every thrust. “What is that?”

“Sounding. They’re hitting the prostate directly like that rather than going through the walls of the ass along with the entire urinal tract being sensitive so it’s a very profound pleasure or so I’m told. You can also go deeper and go right through the prostate which is even more intense.”

“Through it?”

“Yes. The urethra passes through the center of the prostate so you can reach it by going all the way to the end. You can also stimulate by going wider, using thicker rods and plugs and stretching the urethra.”

His legs clamped together instinctively trying to hide the pulsing in his cock.

Viktor’s hand disappeared from his support and ripped into his ass making him yelp with the sudden pain. “You don’t hide from me. It’s my right to know every reaction you have and to put you on display as I see fit.”

“Yes, Viktor!” He straightened back out, spreading his feet slightly as he retook Viktor’s offered arm, his cock straining against the tight fabric holding it against his stomach. He glanced around at the others watching him, and he turned in to Viktor to bury his face in his shoulder as his cock pulsed thick and hot and heavy with an orgasm weighing on it. “I’m gonna come.”

“No. Not yet.”

He whined and snuggled in deeper when Viktor wrapped him in his arms. “I’m dying here.”

“What’s turning you on more? The sounding? The idea of me stretching out your every hole? The people watching you get so pretty and ready for me, watching you bare yourself to me completely, watching, seeing how clearly you are mine?”

He gasped. “Yes, Viktor. All of it.” His heart raced through his chest as he tried to slow his breath to hold onto Viktor’s order. “Please. I’m… I need help.”

“Oh? Shall I ask if someone here is willing to help you?”

“No, Viktor!” His eyes shot up with horror. “Please, Viktor, no.”

“You weren’t specific, so I assumed you were just looking for help in general. Is that not the case?”

“No, Viktor. I need your help.”

He smiled and kissed his cheek as his hands wrapped around to his shoulders, and he started up his alternating rhythm to give him something else to focus on. “That’s much better, zolotse. Do you want to go see something less exciting or do you want to see the end?”

His body had backed away significantly with the scare Viktor had given him, and his calming technique dropped him further into safer territory though he was still thoroughly turned on. “I want to stay, but can I stay like this?”

“Yes.”

“Thank you, Viktor.” He sighed and turned his face to the side, resting his head on Viktor’s shoulder as he watched the scene play out. “What do you think of it?”

“I think anything that turns you on that much is hot as hell.”

“But… if I didn’t react like that… would you like it? Have you ever done it?”

“Yes, I’ve done it, given it rather, not had it done myself. I didn’t have a strong opinion on it though until just now. Now I’m dying to try it on you. And since it’s not painful unless I choose to make it so, it’s something that’s on the table for trying now.”

“Oh.” His cock gave a few rapid pulses against Viktor’s stomach.

Viktor grinned. “Number?”

“Three.” He squirmed as another orgasm peaked before he remembered he was supposed to relax and breathe slowly to hold it at bay. He took a few deep breaths until the sensation dialed back a few degrees. “Is… is there anything else that you… want to do?”

“Hmm… other than the things you know about, I tend to be fairly simple in my kinks. I like things that give me lots of options for play and have some artistry to them. Kinbaku. I’m dying to try that one on you. You’d look so gorgeous.”

He looked up at him with confusion. “Kinbaku? That’s a Japanese word, but it doesn’t mean anything sexual. It means to tie tightly.”

Viktor pointed to the human heart above them. “Kinbaku or shibari. Both are used here with some debate on their actual meanings though I do understand they originated in Japanese bondage circles which are the ones who passed on the lovely art of bondage with ropes tied with an emphasis on the aesthetics.”

“Oh. That… makes sense. I could see how they’d be used like that. What’s the difference here in the way the words are used?”

“Well, a common one is that kinbaku involves more of the experience of being tied up and has a deep emotional connection, using the ropes to communicate with your partner. Shibari is a bit more generic rope bondage though still in an aesthetic way.”

He nodded. “Interesting. It’s funny hearing everyday words used to mean things like that though.”

“Is that something you think you’d like more now understanding what it is? You’d marked it a two on your chart.”

He looked up to the woman still resting peacefully with her hands folded up against her own heart, her energy thrumming through the whole work infusing it with life. Bytiye. That’s what Viktor had described. Existence expanding to completeness. He pointed up at her. “Bytiye, yes?”

He looked up trying to figure out what he meant then a slow smile spread over his face. “Da. Bytiye.”

“Three.”

The scene ended with a forceful gush of cum as the rod was pulled out and Viktor led him away. “I didn’t expect that one for you, though it makes sense. You still have a lot of things buried in there.”

“Is that bad? Am I weird?”

“No. You’re perfect. You’re kinky as hell, and I love it.”

“I… didn’t know I was kinky.”

“How would you? You have to experience things to know your reaction to them.”

He stopped him next at another scene where a man had his balls bound tightly in a rope. A woman took them in her gloved hand and skewered them straight through with a needle. That same rush he felt at hearing the words cock screw floated through him only it carried a wave of nausea and blackness along with it.

“No. Viktor, please no.”

He was already leading him away before he finished his short sentence. “It’s okay. Slow breaths. Do you want to go sit down for a minute?”

“No, Viktor, I’m okay.” The nausea and spinning in his head eased as they walked further away. “Have you ever done that one?”

“Yes.”

“Do- do you like it?”

“Yes. It’s a nice change of pace. Very serene type of pain. I’ve had some describe it like acupuncture. The size of the needle plays a big role in how much pain you feel.”

“I want to go back.”

His lip quirked with displeasure. “You almost passed out.”

“Please? I’ll be fine.”

He scanned him over once then checked him deeper and nodded. “Okay, but if you start getting woozy again, I’m taking you away.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

Viktor walked him back, glancing down at him with a smile flickering on his face that he tried to hide away when he looked back ahead. “You want to go back for me, don’t you?”

He dipped his head with a smile. “Yes, Viktor. If you like it, I want to at least try to like it too.”

“You make me feel so good, Yuri. Thank you.”

By the time they came back, the sub held several more needles in his balls and piercing through his shaft. Yuri’s stomach started to churn, but he held it down and tried to keep his breathing even.

“How are you doing?” Viktor leaned in to keep his voice just to him even though the music would have covered it anyways with the music being set to such a level that it created a bubble for private speech between anyone within a foot of each other where the more intense scenes were being carried out and expanded that bubble wider towards the soft pit where the music quieted along with the scenes. Had Viktor ordered that or just shaped it that way with his attention?

“I’m okay. I’m calming down a bit.” It was true, but that sick feeling was still coating his insides. At least his mind started pricking with curiosity that helped distract him as he watched Viktor watching the scene with that flame sparking in his eyes as another needle passed straight through the sub’s cock. “What number is this for you?”

“Three. On you, it’d be a four.” He chuckled. “I’m using your flexible numbering system here. I like it.”

He swallowed the nauseous saliva flooding his mouth, picturing himself in that position. “Why a four for me?”

“You had an intense reaction to it, and while it wasn’t pleasant, it’s not impassive. The things you look at calmly on first glance are rarely the ones you love the most. It often happens that a little exposure flips that strong reaction from negative to positive and you would have gone through that transformation entirely to please me which increases my desire for it. I could create all sorts of beautiful designs on you. This Domme isn’t really showing off the artistry of it which is fine as she’s going for sensation rather than art, but I like making it beautiful too. The pain is not nearly as intense as it looks. You’d likely find it to be more of a meditative session than anything else unless it’s a strong fear of needles driving that reaction.”

“No, Viktor. I’m generally not afraid of needles but needles there… yeah, that’s…” He shuddered rather than finish his sentence.

“Well, that would be off-limits for you anyways for now. Needles can go many other places. They’re another very flexible tool.”

He couldn’t remember answering this one on the checklist and guessed that Viktor had crossed it out. “Three.”

“Three?” His eyes widened. “I wasn’t expecting anything other than a zero for now, but if you’re going to give me a positive number, I would have guessed a two.”

“For you, a three.”

“Yuri…” His face melted as he grabbed him into kisses, laughing as he squirmed under his tickling breath. “That both delights me and concerns me. That right there is why you’re not to be trusted for anything you say about what you desire without confirming evidence. It’s not really a three. You don’t deeply desire it. You’re just willing to try it because I want to. That’s a two.”

“I understand the numbering system. I do deeply desire it because you want it so badly.”

“Yuri!” He littered him with more bubbling laughter and kisses as the audience watched him with great curiosity. “You’re such a sweet little liar.”

“I’m not lying.”

“I know you think that.” He kissed his nose and settled him back at his side.

The domme picked up some small clamps attached to wires and started connecting them to the needles.

“What’s she doing?”

“Electricity, nice touch. The electric current passes through the needles and increases the sensation.”

“Would I like that?”

“Most likely. The needles alone would be too boring for you once you get used to them. Not enough pain for my little pain slut.” He smiled and gave his nipple clamp a little tug. “Though it depends on how you feel about the electricity in general. You love pain from impact play and seemed to like the sharper pain from my teeth, so I think there’s a good chance you’d like the needle pain as well, but electricity is another kind of pain. Even masochists don’t always love every type of pain. You can love some and hate others.”

“Oh. Will we be trying it?”

“Yes, soon. Come on. Let’s go see some other things.” He looked around and grinned. “Maybe something fluffy.”

He couldn’t say he wasn’t relieved to go, but the next sight he was brought to left his mind so reeling in confusion, he longed for the focus the needles had given him back. A tiger like the ones used for sports mascots was humping a screaming bunny bent forwards over a table. He watched their plush fur bouncing off each other with his head tilted.

“Viktor?”

He laughed as he pulled him in to hide his reaction. “Is it getting you hot?”

“Um… no? Is it supposed to?”

“It does for some.”

He jerked back to watch his face. “Does it make you hot?”  

“No, can’t say that it does.”

“Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why are they doing that?”

He shrugged. “They like it. I didn’t think this would be one of yours, but you surprise me a lot, so I thought I’d check.”

“I don’t get it. Why?”

“Careful. Watch your face. You’re starting to look a little horrified.”

“Yes, Viktor. I’m sorry.” He took a deep breath to clear his expression.

“Better. As for you not getting it, what’s there to get? They enjoy it. It brings them pleasure. It doesn’t have to be analyzed and a thesis written on it for it to be a valid form of pleasure.”

“Have you ever…”

“Yes.”

He nodded slowly trying to contain his reaction. “Okay.”

He laughed and kissed his efforts. “Better. I’ve had subs into it so why not? To help you narrow down your questions, the answer to have I tried it is yes to just about everything you see here tonight. There’s only about two things I can think of that I haven’t tried and never will. There might be a handful of other things I haven’t tried that particular variation of, but I’ll have likely done something similar.”

“Okay. I’m sorry if I offended you.”

“You didn’t. I’m comfortable with my experiences. Though someone newer or less comfortable could be hurt by your reaction. Work on being more accepting.”

“Yes, Viktor. So… what did you dress up as?”

He smiled and bopped his nose. “A polar bear.”

“Did you like it?”

“The suit was hot,” he laughed, “and I mean that in the non-erotic sense. It was so hot in there. And the paws made it so hard to do anything. I didn’t hate the experience, but it wasn’t my favorite either. The role-playing was fun though. I always enjoy that.”

“Do you… still have it?”

“Oh! Interested now, are we?”

“My mind is interested. My cock isn’t.”

He gave a surprised laugh and pulled him in to kiss his forehead still laughing. “Zero to sixty in three seconds flat. That’s you. You speak so timidly and then out of nowhere such a bold statement. Do you want to see me in it?”

“Yes, Viktor.” He grinned and kissed Viktor’s cheek. “I can’t picture it. I need to see it.”

“Are you sure? It could be dangerous. I tend to get very into what I’m doing. I just might forget that I’m not a wild animal and decide to hunt you.” His hand curled around his thigh.

Confusion settled into his now very interested cock. “Viktor?”

He leaned in, his words growling in his ear. “And running would do you no good at all. It would only make me crave you that much more.” His hands clutched at the softness of his ass, pulling his hips into his heat. “I’d tear into you and claim you as my tasty prize, make a meal out of that lusciously tender flesh.”

“Viktor…” he rolled into his grip and groaned, “how do you make everything so damn hot?”

“I know what you like.” He released him and led him to another bizarre inch of the cave.

They walked past a woman strung up on metal rods holding her arms and legs apart wearing nothing except for a black hood covering her whole head except for small slits for her to breathe. Her dom stood nearby just watching her.

“What are they doing?”

“Sensory deprivation play. A more extreme version of what we tried with the blindfold.”

“Oh.”

The dom ran his hands over her body then up to her breasts, caressing them before giving a hard-twisting pinch then went back to soft caresses as her body tensed and then slackened. He was a little jealous that she had it with pain. He would have been able to endure it longer with that. Viktor didn’t treat his failure there as one, and he knew he was supposed to accept his version, but he couldn’t help feeling like he’d failed.

“I want to try it again. With the blindfold.”

“You will when I decide you’re ready for that. You struggled even without the blindfold. We need to work through that first.”

“How do I get better at it?”

“You need to let go of trying to punish yourself, and I need to figure out how to make your mind a less terrifying place to visit. I know one part that I’m still working you towards but there’s still a lot more I have to work out. I’m sorry. Your mind is a complex one to figure out, and I’m trying to do it with very little information. I’m not using that as an excuse, just an explanation for why I’m struggling to find the right key here for you. We’ll get there though. I promise. Just have some faith in me.”

He saw it as his failure? “It wasn’t your fault. I was the one who couldn’t handle it.”

“I’m the Dom. It’s always my fault. Everything is always my responsibility. If I push you into something you can’t do, it’s because I misjudged your current state or didn’t give you the right tools to succeed. Your life is in my hands. I’m as responsible for everything you experience as I am for my horses. The only time you ever bear any responsibility is when you reject my control and choose your own instead.”

“You don’t mind that?”

“I love it. The heavier your life rests in my hands, the more secure I feel.”

(25) A couple in a clear box just big enough to fit them hung from the ceiling on metal poles behind the heart. Steam clung to the walls and ran down in rivulets as the couple pressed into each other in a fit of passionate sex. The simplicity of it drew his attention, and Viktor stopped to let him watch.

“Small spaces and, or exhibitionism kink,” Viktor supplied. “Likely both. Do you like it?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Which part?”

“Um…” He imagined himself up there and could only picture it with Viktor, a crowd below them watching Viktor fuck him, seeing their desire for each other cling to the walls as a physical entity. “You. You fucking me.” He gulped, his eyes staying locked on the box holding his fantasy in clear sight. “Everyone watching you fuck me.”

He moved over behind him, slipping his hand inside his underwear to take a firm grasp of his cock and started jerking him slowly, his fingers trailing after his thrusts. His lips over his neck, the eyes constantly on them more focused than usual, Yuri rested his trembling body into Viktor’s supporting one.

“Like this? Having them watch every bit of pleasure I give to you? Knowing they can only watch and desire because you’re the only one who can feel my touch?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

His thumb circled his slick head. “Exhibition kink. It’s a big one for you. I’d love to fuck you up there. You know,” his hand slipped down to caress his hole with his fingers now slick from his precum, “once a year we have a fancy dinner party here. It’s an evening of finery and kink, and because I’m the boss, I always sit at the head of the table. I’m picturing finishing the dessert course and still not feeling satiated and throwing you over the table and fucking you right there where everyone can see me open you up and take my pleasure from you. How does that sound?” His finger slipped in followed by a second and a desperate gasping sound fell from Yuri’s lips.

He rocked into the stretch begging for more. “Please, yes, Viktor. I would love that.” His face screwed against the assault of pleasure. “Please, can I come?”

“Oh, I like the way you said that much more. Asking me so prettily.” He took his cock in hand as well, forcing pleasure into him in both places with agonizing restraint. “I’d love to say yes, but it’s not time yet.”

He whined. “Please, Viktor. When is it time?”

“When I say it is.” The growl in his tone and the thrusts gaining force demanded his submission as he brought him to a new peak higher than any he had felt before and didn’t back off. “Don’t you dare come. You’re mine. Everything you experience is mine to control. Don’t steal it from me.”

He gasped and tried to relax into his quaking body, trying to hold in everything he gave. “I won’t. I won’t. I won’t fight you, and you won’t let me fail.”

“Perfect.” He sighed and stretched his pleasure wider and deeper. “You’re perfect. I won’t let you fail. You’re right. As long as you’re in my hands, you won’t fail.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

His fingers stroked over his prostate building the pressure inside him just until his ability to obey started to crack. Viktor pulled his hands free and turned him into the safety of his arms, taking away the force of their eyes while his body eased back down. “Beautiful, Yuri. Perfect. Trust me, and you will never fail. I won’t let you. Remember that one.”

Viktor led him around some more pointing out more confusing, terrifying, and stimulating kinks and sights than his mind had slots for, while eyes and whispers followed them the entire time. Some were comfortable enough to strike up a conversation with Viktor, but apart from the puppy, no one even approached Yuri without first speaking to Viktor, and if Viktor didn’t like a question or turn of the conversation, he’d shut it down without hesitation. When Yuri struggled to find his words, he’d bolster him with a tighter grip or a kiss on his cheek. He didn’t have to worry about stammering awkwardly trying to find the right small talk that wouldn’t make him feel like an utter failure at being a normal member of society. He wasn’t normal. Nothing about this was normal. He’d never felt more at ease at a gathering.

Viktor paused him yet again to pull him into his arms and bring him to another peak, stroking his cock until he was ready to break, disregarding of everyone but him. Holding him at the very top longer than usual, Viktor grinned at his agony. “That’s right, beautiful. Hold on. You can hold on as long as I want you to, yes?”

“Yes, Viktor!” He gasped as the words made his cock twitch dangerously.

“Not yet. Not yet, beautiful. I know you can do it. For me. I know you will do it.”

He found a space just under his skin where the pleasure could sit without feeling like such a risk. “Yes, Viktor. More. I’ll hold on through more if that’s what you want from me.”

Viktor fell into his own pleasure melting on his face. “Yes. So perfect. God, you’re like a drug.” He picked up the pace on his cock sparing him no kindness. “Yes, more. I want so much more.”

“Yes, Viktor.” All he had to do was follow his order, and he’d be fine. He relaxed around his challenge, his body both stimulated and relaxed, stretching him between the extremes. Viktor knew what he was doing and as he rested in Viktor’s pleasure, he could feel the shifting strokes and rhythm that metered what he felt and see his eyes focused on every twitch of his muscles to know precisely when to change. A small laugh escaped his lips. He wasn’t lacking in rhythm; he was just used to changing it to best fit rapidly changing states.

He pulled off with a kiss to his cheek. “Very good, zolotse. What was so funny?”

“Um, just that I figured out why your rhythm on the horses sucks.”

“Oh!” He laughed, playfully swatting his ass. “Is that so? Do share.”

“You mastered rhythm here not there. You change your rhythm a lot in response to what’s happening here, but the horses need something steadier and for you to override their changes with that steadiness.”

He shook his head slowly with a smile. “God you’re sexy when you show off how insightful and smart you are.” He started layered him in tickling kisses breaking them both into a fit of laughter. “So. So. Smart. Sexy. So sexy.”

“Viktor!” Yuri squealed as he pushed back against his kisses. “It tickles!”

Viktor didn’t let up, wrestling his kisses and praises onto him until a woman in a short black dress with a long sheer train that reached to the floor and a blue beacon of light streaming up from the center of her back walked up and cleared her throat.

Viktor looked over like he’d been caught in the cookie jar. “Oh, Madame, how are you? You look lovely in that dress.”

“Vitya…” She fell into a string of Russian burying the nickname in the incoherence, or she would have likely been able to do that had Yura not spoken it so clearly every time he addressed Viktor today.

Viktor smiled as he settled Yuri back to his spot on his arm. “I wholeheartedly disagree, and it’s rude to speak a foreign language in front of someone who doesn’t speak it when they’re a part of the conversation as well.”

She raised her eyebrows. “A part of the conversation? Fine. If that’s how you want to treat your sub.” Her tone carried her disapproval in no uncertain terms.

“It is.” Viktor’s tight smile carried his threat just as clearly.

“Fine. May I have your attention alone for a moment? There’s something I need to discuss with you.”

“It’s a party, Madame. Can it wait?”

“No, it cannot.”

“Fine. I’ll give you five minutes. That’s it.” He turned to Yuri and kissed his cheek. “Wait right here for me, zolotse.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

Madame pulled in a quick breath before her stern face creased further into a frown and she stepped away to wait for him. Viktor joined her just a few feet away where they picked up a conversation that flowed in heated Russian.

A hand grabbed Yuri’s ass, fingers digging into his bruises. “What a little pain piggy you are. Wanna play?” a man’s deep voice said.

Before Yuri could think to move or respond in any way, Viktor had his hand clinched around a man’s face, higher than his but Viktor’s rage was already dragging him down. “Get on your fucking knees right now.” His accent thickened, his tone showing all the power he had at his disposal that was only held back by his wavering humanity.

“I’m a Dom. I don’t fucking kneel.” Terror cowered behind his strong words.

“Get on your fucking knees if you want any hope of ever finding a partner ever again you fucking shit stain who dares call himself a Dom. I will make it my life’s mission to inform every person you meet that you are as close to being a Dom as festering sewage is to being a fine wine.”

The man sank halfway down then stopped. “You can’t fucking do anything to me.”

Viktor yanked his hand down as he stomped on the back of his calf to drop him the rest of the way. He seethed from inches away, his hand shaking as it gouged bruises in his face. “It wasn’t fucking optional.”

“Ow! Hey, man, you can’t do this! This is assault.”

Viktor’s rage turned incredulous. “What do you think what you just did to my sub was?”

“I was just asking if he wanted to play.”

“Oh? Is that all? Fine. Then I’m in the wrong here and I’ll call the police for you, and you can explain to them exactly what you did and then exactly what I did and see what they have to say.” He made a move to pull out his phone without dropping his grip.

“Okay! Okay! I’m sorry! I didn’t know it was like that.”

“You didn’t know it was like what? That you fucking ask before you put your hands on someone? That you fucking ask before using names no one in polite society would use? You didn’t know that the basic standards of being a human being still apply? You didn’t know those are held even stricter because we play so close to the line? You didn’t know that breaking that for a second instantly turns this from being fun and pleasurable to being assault and rape? You didn’t know that consent is not fucking optional?”

The room turned eerily silent below the still playing music with everyone in the area halting all of their conversations and activities to watch.

“I’m sorry. Okay? I’m sorry.”

“Why are you apologizing to me? It’s him you hurt. To me, you just fucking beg for my mercy.” He dropped his face and stood back straight. “Kiss the ground at his feet and start groveling.”

The man dropped down to kiss the ground while spewing apologies.

Viktor took Yuri in his arms and stroked his face gently. “Are you okay?”

“Yes, Viktor. I’m fine. It wasn’t anything major. Please don’t do anything that would get you into trouble over me.”

“He touched you, Yuri. He said things to you that were beyond unacceptable. It needs to be dealt with.”

“I know, but I’m just saying that I’m fine. Really. He didn’t get to me. It just startled me, and then you were there. That’s it.”

“I’m glad you’re okay.”

“I am. Really. Please calm down. I don’t want to see you this stressed over it.” He brushed his thumb over his cheek before he rested a kiss on it. “Please?”

“You’re sweet and I’m glad that you weren’t traumatized by it, but I’m going to deal with him as I see fit. What he did was not okay, and he needs to learn.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Good, Yuri.” He turned his attention back to the man still apologizing profusely, his posture bracing his power. “You will stay on your knees the rest of the evening. If someone asks why you are on your knees, you are to say, ‘Because I didn’t know that I was supposed get consent before I touched someone’s body or began play, and I thought it was okay to grab The Boss’s sub’s ass and use degrading names before I even said hi.’ Fail to do that even once, and my threat from earlier becomes your future. Do not underestimate my ability or determination to haunt you for the rest of your life. Does someone have paper and a marker?” He waited a moment until both were hand delivered. He smiled at the pale young man who delivered it with quaking hands. “Thank you.”

He wrote a message on the paper then propped it on his lap. ‘I think I’m a Dom, but I’m on my knees. Ask me why.’

The man looked down to read it then looked back up to hiss at Viktor. “You’re going to ruin my reputation.”

“You’re the one who created your reputation. I’m just letting everyone know where it stands.” His lip snarled in disgust. “Madame, get someone to stand guard over him for the rest of the night to ensure my orders are followed.”

“Yes, sir.” She lifted her dress slightly to unholster a radio from a strap on her thigh.

Viktor gave her a quick nod then led him away.

As soon as they got out of view, Viktor stopped to recheck him. His hands cradled his face. “You’re sure you’re okay?”

“Yes, Viktor. It was just a little surprise. That’s all.”

“You know that what he called you has nothing to do with your body, right? It’s just a derogatory term that some people like to be called who really enjoy pain. He was referring to the bruises on you. That’s it.”

“I understand. I was just trying to figure out what he was saying to be honest.”

“Good. I’m so sorry, Yuri. I shouldn’t have let that happen.”

“It’s fine. You didn’t do it.”

“I’m supposed to control everything that happens to you, and I didn’t control this. I’m so so very sorry. I’ll do everything I can not to let it happen again.”

“Are you going to never let me out of your sight for a second? Because that’s all you were gone for.”

He sighed. “I guess it’s unreasonable to say yes to that, isn’t it?”

“Yes, Viktor. I’m fine. I promise.”

“Use a different word.”

“I’m great. I’m stupendous. I’ve never been so comfortable at a party before.”

He smiled just a bit. “Is that so?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Even though I’ve been doing all sorts of scandalous things with you?”

He blushed. “I- I kind of like it.”

He hummed appreciatively as he slid back in to raise his pleasure once again. “That’s because you’re a kinky little thing, aren’t you?”

His back curled him into his touch. “Ah! Hai- Yes, Viktor.”

“You’re certain you’re okay? This doesn’t feel uncomfortable to you?”

“No, Viktor. Just- just so good.”

“Good.” He kissed his cheek as he found a new, crueler spot.

“Um, can I ask- is it rude to ask… now?”

“Ask what?”

“Ngh, ah, um that was Liliya, wasn’t it? She looked familiar, but I wasn’t sure.”

“Yes.”

“Oh. Ungh- ah! Sorry. It just feels so good.”

He chuckled. “It’s supposed to.”

“Yes, but um, should I wait to talk? Or-”

Viktor shifted and somehow made something already incredible feel ten times that.

“Oh god. So good.”

“Keep talking. Do your best to talk as you normally would.”

“Ngh! Yes, Viktor. So um, I wanted to ask about- about her- oh god.” He gripped Viktor’s shoulders to save himself just a little from his ruthlessness. “The blue light?”

“Oh. She’s a cave monitor. She walks around making sure people are all playing by the rules, and nothing’s getting too carried away. There’s a few of them here, but Madame is the Mistress of this place.” He pointed out a few more blue lights shining up to the ceiling wavering about that he just now noticed. “If you ever need help for anything and I’m not there, find one of the blue lights though, if it’s not urgent, I prefer it if you seek out Madame specifically. You can always tell which one is her because her light is always the steadiest. She takes great pride in that.”

He looked around and did spot one steady stream of light that barely wavered. “Oh yeah, I can see her. Um, oh god you’re so- um so I also wanted to ask you about- Ahngh! Do you get along?”

“Usually, yes. It can be tense at times because we have a strange power balance with her being my elder and teacher for so many years, but I’m the owner here and her boss plus she is a freelance trainer at the stable, so we have a kind of delicate balance with that, but for the most part it’s mutual respect keeping it working.”

“Oh, um, she seemed… unhappy? Um with me?”

“No, not with you. With me. It’s just a difference in styles. She’s never quite accepted the fact that I have my own now.”

“Oh. Um, Ah! Ha! Viktor! You’re- so mean.”

He leaned in to kiss behind his ear as he pushed him even closer to the edge. “Don’t ever forget it, beautiful.” He dropped back to retake his arm with another kiss. “Come on. Let’s get something to drink.”

Viktor brought him to the bar crossing the stone bridge over the glowing river. He sat him on one of the stools and caught the bartender’s attention who came hustling over. “Two of whatever non-alcoholic drinks you feel like making. Something light.”

“You’ve got it, Boss.” He started grabbing bottles and cups as he looked to his next customer who ordered a whiskey on the rocks. “Count to ten and back again for me, nice and fast.”

Yuri’s brow wrinkled as he looked at Viktor. “Why is he having him count?”

“He’s checking his sobriety. No one’s allowed to get drunk here. Alcohol at all isn’t the greatest idea but some people are here just to socialize and aren’t playing, so it makes it more enjoyable for them, and I’m not going to tell a bunch of adults they can’t have a drink or two if that’s what they prefer. I just try to draw the line at anything unacceptably risky and being drunk and what we do here is unacceptably risky.”

The bartender slid over two glasses of a bubbling red drink, still clear enough to see the flickering lights wriggling through the tiny bubbles. Viktor led him over to the quieter couches and took an open spot next to Lady Rose and her puppy and pulled him into his lap. Yuri sighed and wriggled his toes letting the blood recirculate from the torture devices called shoes. Viktor’s warm arms around him made him feel safe even in the pit filled with a thorough mix of strangeness. Since Viktor’s arms were filled with him again, he held out his glass for him to drink as he took a sip of his own. Watermelon. Sweet and crisp with a few other flavors floating around in there that finished with a hint of salt and pepper, it restored his energy and sense of balance as he drank it down.

Viktor took a sip and smiled, kissing his cheek as his hand snaked into his underwear to placidly stroke his cock. “Thank you, zolotse.”

Heat raced to his cheeks as Snow watched them unabashedly from only inches away on the floor but Viktor’s strokes were soothing, and the combination left him feeling much like he did with the first steps into the onsen at home with its intense heat stripping the stress from his body. Settling now into this state Viktor had kept him in for so long, he began to accept it deeper into his body instead of letting it ride on the surface while he did everything to hold it at bay. As soon as it dropped in, it expanded. His head fell onto Viktor’s shoulder as he opened more to give him more room inside him.

Viktor grew hard beneath him as he leaned in to whisper in his ear. “Yes, that’s it my beautiful Yuri. Let me in just like that. It feels so good inside you.”

“Yes, Viktor,” he nuzzled in, his voice a bare whisper. “As far as you want.”

He made a sound of pleasure, something between a growl and a whine and found another pathway on his cock to slide in deeper. “That was real. You meant that.” He closed his eyes and pressed his face into Yuri’s neck. “That’s true submission. That’s what I want from you. Thank you.” He pressed into kisses over his neck. “Stay right there and enjoy it, but finish your drink as well.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

A few people near them whipped their heads around and started whispering to each other at hearing him use Viktor’s name, but he ignored them to follow his order. The whispers expanded rapidly from the little pebble Yuri had dropped.

The puppy whined quietly as he watched them stroking his own cock as well and looked at his owner pleadingly.

Lady Rose smiled at them. “He loves your sub. He wants to know if he can play with him.”

Yuri didn’t bother with worrying about what Viktor would say. That was outside of his orders, and anything other than his word and his touch felt so far away.

“He can watch and play from a distance. No touching.”

It wasn’t relief he felt but pleasure. Somehow even more pleasure at having placed his trust in Viktor not to push him places he didn’t want to go and having that upheld without a single waver between them.

The puppy gave a disappointed whine but palmed his cock a little more rapidly.

Viktor smiled at him. “Sorry, boy. I don’t share him.” That garnered even more murmurs from the attentive crowd, but Viktor paid them no attention.

“How long have you had him?” Lady Rose smiled as she slung back on the couch.

“Five days.”

“Five days? That’s it? He’s so well trained. Was he ever a sub to anyone else?”

“No.”

“Wow. You seem to have quite the bond already.”

His smile crinkled up to his eyes. “Thank you. Yes, I’m so proud of him. He learns so quickly, and he wants to please so badly, and he’s so strong. He’s pushed through everything I’ve given him so far, and I’ve not been going easy. He adapts so beautifully to whatever I ask of him.”

“I see that. I have to say I’m a little surprised you’re not interested in sharing him. You’ve always been keen to show off your best subs.”

“Eros is special. He’s a virgin. I’m hoping to be the one who gives him every first touch.”

Yuri stirred enough from soaking in pleasure to look up at him with a smile quirked on his lips. “’Cept kisses.”

Viktor smiled and nipped at his nose. “Drink your drink, my sassy little virgin slut.”

Lady Rose laughed with her eyes wide while her puppy grew more excited in his play. “A virgin? That’s incredible. You’re still only hoping to be his first? It looks pretty certain to me.”

“Eros is never as simple as he looks.”

(26) They chatted a bit longer with a few other people coming over to join Snow in blatantly jerking off to Viktor’s ministrations on Yuri. The more people watched, the hotter he got, and every rise in degree got Viktor’s cock throbbing harder and his hand seeking his pleasure with more earnest. It was a vicious cycle that forced Yuri to abandon their empty drink glasses to the floor while he clung to Viktor’s neck, writhing into muffled sobs.

“Hey, my pretty thing. Are you enjoying them all watching you?”

He whimpered and nodded. “Yes, Viktor.” His thighs clamped down trying to dampen just how much he liked it. It wasn’t him. This kink didn’t fit him. He was always trying to keep himself as invisible as possible. But the way their eyes burned into him as an extension of Viktor’s touch, one he commanded as easily as his own hand, he couldn’t deny its certain power over him. He didn’t just want to be Viktor’s; he wanted everyone to know he was Viktor’s. Erase any uncertainty in their minds. Maybe then it would erase it from his own. Shame burned his cheeks. Who was he to want that? Who was he to claim he was Viktor’s so completely?

“Come on, beautiful, I want to show you off.” Viktor turned him facing outwards on his lap and tugged his legs apart a few inches. His body stiffened when he discovered Yuri’s resistance. His hands played over his thighs, making a show of teasing their audience as his voice growled in his ear. “What is this, Yuri? I know you want this. I can see it all over you. You’re mine, and I am going to do whatever I want with you. I want to show you off. I love having a crowd admiring the work I’m proud of so open your legs.”

His breath heaved in his chest as Viktor’s words of strength and reassurance corroded his resistance and he wriggled his legs out a little wider. “You do?”

“I do, and if you think that little bit is enough to please me, you’re so wrong. You think you can get away with giving me anything less than everything I want? I want to show off my beautiful sub who fell to his knees begging me to punish him, and if you think a little thing like your shame is going to stop me from getting what I want and giving you what you need, you haven’t learned a damn thing.” His hands slipped between his trembling legs preparing his grip. “You know how to stop me if that’s what you feel like doing. Otherwise, open your legs, and don’t you dare make me tell you again.” His hands dug into his soft flesh as he ripped his last bit of resistance and tore his legs apart. Viktor spread his legs as wide as they could go then pulled off his shoes and brought his feet up onto the couch to straddle him. Stroking along the inside of his thighs, his fingers caught in the lace circling his legs teasing both Yuri and their bulging audience with his vulnerability.  

With his blush scalding every inch of his skin, his cock twitched thickly showing Viktor exactly how much he liked being exposed for their attention without him saying a word. Oh god. He was going to come right there. He liked it too much. He was going to disobey Viktor and fail him just when he was trying to show off what he was proud of. He whimpered as he scrambled to hold on.

“Yes, that’s it, beautiful.” His voice softened back to the gentle rumbles of his idling engine. “I want to show off how beautiful my sub is and how good he is in my hands.” He slipped back inside his underwear, still keeping him covered. “I want them to see my softest Yuri.” He coated his fingers with the fluid from his dripping cock as Yuri’s heart slammed into the walls of his chest, his vision flickering at the edges as Viktor slipped his first finger in and then his second, opening him up as soon as his body gave.

More people gathered wanting to know what the commotion was. They packed the small, sunken space and surrounded them from behind on the higher floor looking down to take in every angle. Sex ripened in the air over the leather and wet earth richer here next to the stream than anywhere else. Their strangeness descended upon him in full as his eyes darted from one eye-catching sight to the next but the one thing they had in common was their eyes all focused on him. If Viktor said he was worth looking at, that was more than enough for them. Pushing in over each other to get a better view, they started up pleas of, “Please let us see him.” Polite, respectful, but desperate all the same.

Viktor shifted him on his lap to give himself more access and the audience a better view as he slipped a third finger inside, his underwear still blocking their view. “What do you want, zolotse?”

Yuri arched back, his hands straining at Viktor’s neck to hold onto him, to hold onto his faith that he could hold onto his order to wait, to hold onto the promised truth of his words that he wanted it as badly as he did as his heart kicked up harder staining every one of his heightened senses blood red. “I want whatever you want to give me.” His rushing breath crushed him against his corset. “Please, Viktor, give me whatever you are willing to give.”

Viktor groaned as the crowd made approving sounds at his answer and slid a fourth finger in giving him as much stretch as his body could take, his own neglected cock twitching against Yuri’s back.

Sweat poured over his convulsing body as the audience pleaded with Viktor for more, begging him to show them his virgin hole.

“Color?” His voice breathless at his ear nearly made him come right there.

“Green. Please don’t let me fail. I need all of your help.”

“I won’t. I’ve got you.”

Taking his fingers back out of his hole, he gave him a moment of respite as he taunted their audience with his fingers playing over him. His lips cooled his burning neck as he nudged his underwear over exposing first the head of his streaming cock to the licking air. His fingers danced along the length, teasing them with tugs at the elastic lace, unfurling him to their view one tiny bit at a time. Easing the underwear to the side, he bared his hole to the crowd leaning in as close as they could possibly get. Their craving to be the one to touch him, the one to open him, rested on his skin from their panting breath but he knew not one of them would dare try when everything on him screamed Viktor’s claim.

Viktor coated his fingers with lube slipped from his pocket and traced his hole, slipping just into the edge and then back out again, making a show of their first view of his penetration. Slowly, smoothly, he sank his finger in and the crowd groaned, as weak to his command as Yuri was. Viktor pulled back then pressed his second finger in as well, spreading them apart just enough for Yuri to feel as he eased back out. Thrusting his two fingers up to his knuckles, he pulled at his pleasure in his favorite spot as he eased every one of them into a groaning rhythm. How was he not on literal fire yet? How had his heart not shattered inside his chest?

Alternating the first two fingers on each hand, Viktor pressed in and back out again, catching his rim and holding him open for a flashing glance inside as his other two fingers moved in to take its place. Fucking into him fully for the first time, stretching him as wide as he wanted with each change in hands, he rode Yuri’s body to a gasping, trembling peak, his cries of pleasure shaped as they could only be by Viktor’s touch leaving his mark in the air as well. A deep groan filled the space as he paused him right at the edge. Hooking two fingers in from each hand catching his rim, he held him as stretched and as open as he could get him for their audience to gawk and admire.

His thickened blood carried his pulsing heartbeat to every inch as Viktor lifted him up into the cradle of his arms to lap at his cockhead and give everyone a better view, his fingers tugging at his rim as they shifted. He’d never felt so desperate for anything in his life as he was to come, but Viktor wasn’t done showing him off, and he was stronger than the people in the crowd already spilling into tissues that had been passed around and each other’s mouths.

Viktor pulled off to whisper in his ear. “Look at them, Yuri. Look how badly they want you. But I’m the only one who can have you. I’m the only one who can make you feel like this.”

“Yes, Viktor. Yours. I’m yours.”

His fingers filled his hole again as he thrust in over his gland, his hot tongue back on his cock before he pulled back again, his voice lifting to reach their entire audience with his sadistic glint. “And what if I’m cruel? What if I don’t let you come even now? Even after all this teasing?”

“I’m still yours.”

“And what if I push you harder than you ever imagined you’d go?” His voice dropped back to just him. “My cock is aching for you. I want to be inside you so badly, and you are so, so ready for me. What if I steal your perfect first time and take you right here and now?”

“I’m still yours. But,” he smiled, turning to kiss his cheek and drop his voice, “you can’t steal my perfect first time because if it’s with you, it’s perfect.”

He pressed his face into Yuri’s neck, his face scrunching hard against his skin, his fingers snaring him open once again, stretching him to his limit. “Yuri. You’re perfect. You’re so perfect. I l- Tell me what you want. I want to give you whatever you want right now.”

“I want what you want to give me.” His pulse pounded on his throat, his palms, his stomach, his aching, leaking cock and twitching hole in a new rhythm all from the beast inside his veins snarling its claim to his life. Viktor. Viktor’s touch laying claim to everything inside him as it raged against the iron walls holding his own begging, desperate heart, tearing it apart one piece at a time.

Viktor buried his face deeper into his neck, opening him further to the new limit his body gave as the audience murmured their praise and approval. “I don’t have words for you. Perfect doesn’t do you justice.” He pulled out as he moved Yuri into the spot on the couch he was just in, laying him on his back and pushed his legs back to lift his hips higher. He worked his hand back in with all four fingers up to his knuckles, letting him feel that stretch once again from the beginning. Thrusting up into his prostate, his body opened and stuffed with his hand, he split him apart with pleasure. Just when he thought it impossible to feel any more, his knuckles slid into him giving him more of everything with every deep thrust. “My beautiful Eros. Put on your best show for me. I won’t take my eyes off you.”

“I can come?” Hopeful. Desperate. Begging and accepting.

Viktor grinned wickedly as he took a hold of his cock and picked up a pace with both hands that went against every bit of humanity he ever claimed. “When I say you can.”

Nothing to hide from him or anyone he wanted to show him to, he sobbed at his cruel tease, the wrenching force with which he milked his body of pleasure, the fear that he’d fail him. Viktor went harder, faster still, burying his hand up to the base of his thumb on every thrust. Bared open, his fear spilled out. He couldn’t hold on. It was too much. Too brutal. Too relentless. Too good. Viktor used every single thing he knew about him as a weapon and attacked without mercy.

He was going to fail. He was going to let him down in front of everyone. Viktor had spent years crafting his reputation as the finest and had preserved it by keeping his distance from anyone who could taint it, and he had chosen Yuri of all people to stand by his side as a reflection of his skill. Why? Why him?

“Come on, zolotse. Give me more. I’m not going to stop until I get what I want. I’ve got you, and I’m not letting you go so you better find the answer. It’s the only way you’re getting free.” He shifted his stroke or performed blood magic or whatever it was he had that only he could do to perfection and broke him even deeper.

His screams and sobs floated somewhere above the pleasure Viktor had smothered him in as he searched for the key. Sifting through their every moment, he seized upon something solid. All he had to do was exactly what Viktor said, and he’d be fine. Viktor wouldn’t let him fail. Nailed into his mind, it settled into place surrounded by the jagged edges of his struggle. His body writhing beyond any control of his own, jerking and spasming, screaming as Viktor directed, Yuri locked his eyes on him, knowing he could wait until he had pleased him fully no matter what he demanded of him. Viktor gave him a tender smile below the inferno in his eyes.

“Come for me, zolotse.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He managed a twitching smile just before his body exploded. Clamping down around Viktor’s hand thrusting harder than ever driving him back apart, his cum shot all over his corset and onto his chest and over his face, every single touch beginning from the start of their day at six fused into one single punch. It didn’t end. He emptied himself of every cry of ecstasy he had, but in the timeless space Viktor created, it didn’t end.

Viktor’s tongue lapping over his chest was the first thing he felt that wasn’t his body ripping apart. His whispering words came next as his broken pieces fused into an arrangement that pleased Viktor better. Yuri brought his hands over the sides of Viktor’s head, and as he came up closer, he kissed the top of his head. “Thank you.”

Viktor looked up, surprised, happy and then in agony before he dropped back into bruising kisses over his chest, taking care not to ruin his marks. Finally back under his own control, he looked up with a sweet smile. “You’re welcome. Thank you for being perfect.” He dabbed at his corset with the wet towel someone had handed him.

Yuri glanced around, noticing for the first time the applause and cheers filling their part of the cave. “He’s a virgin. Only five days,” was heard reaching out to the far reaches of the enormous crowd. Viktor finished cleaning him, pride filling his chest and smile then pulled him back into his lap on the couch. The bartender was kind enough to bring them two fresh drinks, and Viktor thanked him then ordered Yuri to drink, holding him tight and snuggling kisses down over his skin.

“Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect is so pale compared to you. I don’t have enough to give you. I’m sorry.”

“This is perfect.” Viktor still buzzed inside his veins, his unabated joy bubbling through him as his own. He took a sip of his fizzy, sweet drink then kissed his temple and held it out to him.

He closed his eyes and smushed his face against Yuri’s before placing a kiss on his cheek and accepting his offer. “Thank you, zolotse.”

Minx shoved the crowd out of his way that hadn’t dispersed at all and laid down on the floor above them, staring at them wide-eyed and shaking his head. “Goddamn.”

“Hey! I didn’t say you could leave me!” his Dom for the night bellowed.

Minx looked back with a Cheshire smile. “Don’t worry, Daddy. You’ll make me pay for it later. I trust you’ll give it to me nice and hard. I’ve been so bad.” He purred and arched his back to give his tail a little shake.

He relaxed a little with Minx handing him the keys to saving his face. “You bet your ass I will.”

“Make me remember it, Daddy.” He winked and turned back to Viktor. “God fucking damn. How long were you edging that boy for?”

“What time is it now?”

“Just about ten thirty.”

“Then about five hours of more or less solid edging plus consistent teasing over the course of the day starting at six am.”

The crowd gasped and started relaying the vital info to anyone that had missed it.

“Fucking hell. I knew you were a goddamn sadist with the best of them but goddamn. Five hours? Poor baby is just a virgin. You had no mercy?”

“None.” His twisted smile flashed. “He loved it, didn’t you, zoltse?”

He nodded. “Yes, Viktor. So good. You made me feel so amazing.”

Minx’s jaw fell open as he waited for a punishment that didn’t come. “That’s not a slip?”

“No. I told him to keep using it. He was good enough to ask though as soon as I told him we typically use different names.” He smiled into another prideful kiss.

“What are his kinks?”

“We haven’t had the chance to test anything beyond interest besides impact play and obviously exhibitionism, but he seems to have a bit of a size kink, and he nearly came just watching the sounding, so that seems to be another solid one.”

He blushed with the pain of Viktor exposing him that way too, but the pride and joy he had lighting him up made it another pleasurable penetration to take.

“He nearly passed out watching the needle play but went right back for me and started to relax a little and agreed to try it because it’s one of mine, so I’m hoping that one will flip for him. I’m going to try kinbaku on him as well, and I’m fairly certain that will be something he enjoys. He likes active challenges though so it’ll be a challenge for him to submit to stillness like that, but he likes my looser bonds, and I have confidence in him.” He brushed a gentle hand over his forehead. “He’s got a few more that I’m picking up on, but I want to keep them to myself for now.”

Yuri glanced up. What ones were these? He’d listed all the ones he knew of.

“Goddamn. He’s fucking perfect for you.”

“I know.”

“I want to hear it from you. What did he do to you on the other side of that door? I’m dying to know. I’ve never heard you scream.”

“He did exactly what he said. He gave me what I liked while deepthroating me. He took me all the way.”

“He’s never given a blowjob before Monday, and he deepthroated you? Fuck, I can’t deepthroat you. You’re just too thick to fit down my throat.”

Viktor grinned. “It was Tuesday for his first. And he loves a challenge. I was doing paperwork, and he hated being ignored, so he made damn sure I couldn’t do anything but think of him after I ordered him to suck my cock.” He pulled Yuri back out of his sinking blush with his praising kisses over his face while Minx laughed and the crowd churned over the information. “I loved it so much.”

“Really?”

“Yes.” His eyes widened as he tried to force as much meaning into the word as he could. “Absolutely loved it.”

“Which one is your favorite with him?” Minx asked.

He turned back to their audience relishing in his pride in him. “All of it is my favorite, but what first impressed me was that he comes from pain alone. In our very first scene, he came solely from my whips on his torso and thighs. His cock and hole were untouched.”

“Oh, putain.” Minx shook his head. “Fuck, Boss, you’re making me want him, and I haven’t tried topping in years.”

Viktor scoffed. “You try topping in every scene.”

“True, but I always want to be stopped.” He looked up to his Dom and winked.

“He can’t really come just from pain. Especially not that soon.” A voice in the audience called out.

“I’d never make a claim I can’t prove. I’d prove it right now, but he just came. He needs a little time to recover.”

“Ah, he’s young. Give him a go. If he’s as good as you say he should be fine.”

“No.” Viktor turned away from the voices backing up the first to smile at him and give him more kisses, his indifference to their words sharpening his point. When they quieted, he tossed them a few breadcrumbs of his attention. “Maybe if I feel he’s ready for it later, we’ll play again.”

The crowd gave eager nods, showing they would all be good, hoping he’d give them more of what they wanted.

“If you do play again, can we see the blowjob?” Lady Rose asked.

Viktor put his finger to his lips as he thought, teasing them with a smile. “Perhaps.”

Yuri looked up and touched his lips with his finger as well. “Please, Viktor? I want to make you feel as good as you made me feel. Please let me.”

Viktor laughed and pulled him closer as the crowd cheered for his begging on their behalf. “You’re already thinking about more?”

He blushed and nodded. “Yes, Viktor.” He pressed his lips against his ear. “Oui, Da, Hai. I want you so much. You have no idea.”

Viktor shuddered as his cock snapped against Yuri’s leg. He groaned and pulled him into his chest to prevent any more words. “Dear god, save me.”

“What did he say?” Minx rolled in closer.

“Just a private little seduction.” He winked. “But he’s helping you all get what you want.”

The crowd cheered the name Viktor gave him. Eros.

“Can we see a first time trying a new kink?” Someone else asked.

Viktor laughed. “You just did.”

“But… another one?”

Viktor shook his head. “You’re all insatiable.”

“We want to see all of his firsts,” Minx purred. “Share them with us, please.”

“Yes, please!” Echoed through the group. “He loves it!”

Viktor glanced down at him, cocking a playful eyebrow as if he didn’t already know his answer.

His blush deepened, but he nodded. “I do.”

He smiled, shaking his head once again. “I have a new name for you. My insatiable virgin slut.”

The crowd roared.

Viktor looked over at the stage studying it with thoughts running over his face then glanced down at him and kissed his cheek. “You really think you’re ready for more?”

“Um, yes, Viktor.”

“Show me you can get it up again. Leave it covered.”

He glanced around at the eyes that perked with new interest and gulped. “Um, yes, Viktor.” His hand trembled as he started to stroke over his cock. It was one thing letting Viktor do it and something entirely different to do it himself. His heart quivered timidly as he opened his legs a bit and lifted out of the safety of Viktor’s tight hold to open up his body to his own hand. He didn’t respond at first. With his thoughts flitting around too many things and nothing at all, he had a hard time staying focused on his order.

Viktor’s voice whispered at the edge of his ear. “One finger at the tip then a slow drag down to your hole. As slow as you can make it.”

His eyes closed as he wiggled his legs apart to give him room to follow his order. “Yes, Viktor.” His cock twitched before he even began and by the time he reached the end, his cock was warm and tingly with another order resting in his mind. He followed his every word, and within minutes, his cock was begging to be freed.

“That’s my beautiful, zolotse. So good for me. When you’re like this, I don’t have to be afraid of pushing you. I know you’ll make me so proud. Do you want to please me more?”

“Yes, Viktor. Nothing feels better than giving you everything you want. Please let me?”

The crowd sighed at his response.

“Yes, you’re so, so good. I’m going to use you to show off everything I can do. You are the only one who can do that.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He moaned and grazed his fingers down his length on his own that carried a shiver up his body.

“Goddamn,” Minx whispered. “What are you saying to him?”  

“That’s just for him. He’s the one who makes them mean anything other than simple words.” He took his hand to release him from his order. “If you all can be on your best behavior, I’ll show you more of what he can do on the stage. If you prove yourselves worthy of witnessing it, after the auction, I’ll be playing with his virginity.” He kissed Yuri’s cheek and brought him to his feet as the crowd clamored over this information. “Spread the word.”

Viktor was walking him up to the stage when his mind began to come back to his control just a little which of course directed his heart into all sorts of chaotic directions. “Um, Viktor? I have some information that may be useful to you. May I share it?”

“Yes, zolotse.”

“I, um, have really bad performance anxiety. I don’t know if I can do this.”

“You just gave a perfect performance.”

“But I didn’t know I was going to. I just responded to what you said. Now I know I’m giving a performance and my anxiety is starting to go up. I’m scared.”

“What are you scared of?”

“Um,” he cringed “that I’ll fail you. That I’ll embarrass you.”

“Did you fail just now? Did you embarrass me?”

“No, Viktor.”

“Why not?”

His voice softened. “Because you won’t let me.”

“That’s right. Your anxiety was going up at the end of that performance too, but you looked for the answer in the right place, and you found it. I won’t let you fail. I promise.”

“But that’s only when I’m totally under your control. What if my anxiety holds you out?”

He stopped. “On your knees.”

He dropped to the ground as quickly as the shoes would let him.

Viktor leaned down to hold his face between his fingers. “You doubt my ability to make you submit? You doubt my power over you? You doubt I can handle your fear?”

He shook his head, pressing into his grip. “No, Viktor. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I don’t doubt you. I know you can make me submit no matter what. I’m so sorry!”

“Stand up.”

He got back to his feet under his own wobbling power with Viktor’s held out of reach.

“Where does it feel better for you? There with your anxiety as your Dom where it will tell you to run and hide from everything you love, or here by my side with me as your Dom who will absolutely use any force necessary to demand anything of you that I want?”  

“With you. Please. With you.”

“Then come here and take my arm and never make me hear of any power over you but my own again.”

He sighed and took his warm, strong arm and leaned onto it as much as he liked as Viktor led him backstage. “How do I follow that order? It’s been there for so long.”

“How do you feel my strength the most?”

“In- in your voice, the tone of it when it’s strong and clear, and when you make me kneel.”

“And how does anxiety make you feel its strength the most?”

“In its words. It says so many things I can’t hear anything else over it. It’s chaotic in there. Fuzzy and unfocused but it hurts. The little barbs it catches me with spins me from one direction to another. I never know where I’m going. All I know is it hurts, and it tells me to run and so I do.” His tears welled up, and Viktor’s hands were there to brush them away. “And in my heart. It races and steals my strength making me feel weak and shaky all over.”

“When you feel that, I want you to say, ‘Viktor, I need to feel your strength.’ If we’re alone and it’s something that is possible at that moment, I will order you to stay and then order you to kneel. If I’m not there or if there are others who shouldn’t witness that, I want you to tell yourself, ‘I need to feel Viktor’s strength,’ and then say, ‘stay’ as you squeeze your left fist and, ‘kneel’ as you squeeze your right and keep going back and forth making sure you can hear them in my tone and feel your submission to me in your body until they’re the only things you can hear and your mind is cleared enough to proceed. That is my permanent order. You don’t have to doubt or ask if it’s changed. It won’t. It overrides everything else.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Good, Yuri. I’ve got you. I’m not going to let you fail, yes?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

He smiled and stroked his cock lightly as he ordered the stagehands to prep for a surprise early show before the auction and to add mics to Yuri at his mouth and his thighs then turned back to him while some guy started clipping wires to him. “Ah, not there. The stockings are coming off, and I need a clear space on the thighs. The underwear is out too.” He put his hand on Yuri’s face with a firm but gentle look. “Stay. Let them do what they need to. I’ll be right back, and I expect to find you right here.”

He planted his feet and braced against the certain battle his mind would wage against his order lodged in his mind. “Yes, Viktor.”

“God, you say that so pretty every time. It just keeps getting better.” He kissed his cheek and left him to obey. “If any of you touch him in any way that is not absolutely necessary to accomplish my order, you will be dealing with the basest side of myself.”

He stood through Viktor’s order with anxiety battling Viktor’s word which achieved nothing and left his mind gashed and bleeding as the sole casualty. It was the one pain he’d felt from Viktor’s touch so far that stayed as pain through and through. His mind was always his weak point. Viktor knew that too. Whenever he wanted to truly hurt him, that’s right where he hit. His mind and his heart. Both weak and timid. Both cowered from Viktor’s touch while his body screamed for it.

The backstage area filled with men and women dressed and polished into their finest kinkwear or their finest skin. The man strapping mics into his corset and around his head finished with him and went off before Viktor returned leaving him standing awkwardly in the center of everything still fighting his mind to stay.

A black duffle bag dropped next to him, and Viktor’s arms were around him only moments before his kisses were. “Well done, zolotse. You stayed perfectly. I’m so proud of you. Come on.” He led him away from the gaping-mouthed cluster and to the edge of the curtains. “Are you nervous?”

He looked him over for any sign of what he intended to do. He had a mic over his ear, and he carried a thin yellow stick. He guessed it was likely used to hit him but other than that he had no idea what he planned. “Yes, Viktor.”

“How bad?”

“Um… less than the first order with the horse.”

“More than the second?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Good. Follow my every word, and you’ll be fine.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

(27) Walking through the magenta curtains, they stepped out onto the thin stage where nearly everyone in the place was huddled at the edges while ignoring the chairs set out at a polite distance. The crowd erupted into applause laced with wolf whistles and chants of Eros. Holding tighter to Viktor, he heard his panting breath rising above the noise of the crowd. Their mics were already on ready to amplify their every sound.

Viktor paraded him to the end of the stage. “Thank you all for such a warm reception for my beautiful Eros.”

They all cheered again and as they died out one man called out above the crowd, “That’s because we love him! Will you share him after you get the first taste?”

The crowd clamored their cheers and agreement and begging with some protests that Viktor hadn’t told them about the first show, so some of them missed it and therefore deserved first dibs.

Viktor laughed. “Okay okay, calm down. I am truly sorry to anyone who missed it. I would have absolutely announced it, so every one of you got the chance to witness something so spectacular, but it was impromptu so that just wasn’t to be. I hope to make up for that though right here and now, and I expect you all to be nothing but the most pristine examples of what this is all about for my beautiful Eros.”

They all cheered their promises to be good.

“On that note. You, the festering sewage on his knees, I didn’t get your name yet, but you know who you are. Go kneel in the hallway. Make sure you bring your sign and put it back where I had it.”

The man got up and scampered across the room with a blue beacon and boos and hisses following him the whole way.

“Ah, much better. Alright, so welcome to our very special performance. Why am I doing this? To be honest, it’s because I’m so damn proud of him I can’t help but share it with those who can appreciate him properly and because I want him to experience all that he desires.” He paused again for the crowd. “Now, Eros, do you know what I have planned for you?”

He dug his shaking hands into Viktor’s forearm. “No, Viktor.”

“How long have you been my sub for?”

“Five days.” The mic amplified every rustle of his heavy breath.

“Have you enjoyed it?”

Did Viktor want him to make him look good, or did he want him to be honest? He’d ordered honesty and hadn’t given him anything to contradict that. Still, he shook with fear. “Most- most of it.”

He smiled. “What don’t you like?”

“When I f- When I make-… When I steal myself back from your control. When you punish me for that.”

“What do you like?”

“Everything else.”

“Be more specific.”

“You.”

The crowd aww’d.

Viktor grinned and pulled him in to kiss his cheek. “You are too sweet for words. Why is a single word your answer when I ask you to be specific?”

“Because you make everything happen so if I like something it’s because you knew I would like it and decided to give it to me so really everything I’ve experienced is just you. You in different ways, different touches, different pains and experiences. It’s all just you surprising me with one thing after another.” His shaking, breathless voice rattled over the sighing, applauding crowd.

“Perfect. As expected. Five days and I already know I can rely on your absolutely perfect response to everything I ask of you. It feels so good.” He arched him back to expose his marks to his kisses. “If anyone was wondering, he absolutely earned these, and you’ll see why right now.” He pulled him back up and moved him over to stand in front of him, and just that small removal of his support and exposure had him shaking even harder, his breath rattling so noisily no one could miss hearing the fear in it. “Are you scared?”

“No, Viktor. Terrified.”

“You have performance anxiety, yes?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“How bad is it?”

“The worst.”

“And yet you’re up here, ready to put on a show because I told you to.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Now, the million-dollar question, do you want to know what I have planned for you?” His voice took on that breathy tone that hinted at his excitement.

Did he want to know? He felt like he had entering his playroom for the first time with terror and arousal and no idea what to expect only so much thicker. He shook his head slowly. “No, Viktor.” His body clenched so hard against a stab of arousal he doubled over.

Viktor’s arms came warm and steady around him. “You hate it when I blindfold your eyes, but you love it when I blindfold your mind.”

He gasped at another deeper stab of arousal, his cock rising to display it all to everyone there. “Yes, Viktor.”

“I want you to guess at why that is.”

“Be-because… I love trusting you with everything. As long as I can see it’s you, I’m okay.”

His lips covered his neck with his savoring sighs. “Yes, zolotse, so perfect.” He lifted up his foot to remove one shoe and then the other leaving him spinning in the sudden vulnerability the drop in height had given him. “There is absolutely no touching allowed, but you all are welcome to look as much as you want, come as close as you want, as I do whatever I like to this sweet, innocent boy.”

Viktor covered him in kisses as the crowd panted their arousal through cheers and groans. His hands went down to his stockings and unclipped the garters. “Take them off. Keep your eyes on your audience. Focus on their eyes watching you.” He stepped back leaving him alone on the end of the stage to follow his order.

He peeled them from his smooth legs to the soundtrack of his broken breath and cheers and screams from the audience.

“The underwear too.”

He sucked in a breath then nodded, holding his eyes on the crowd even though he wanted to close them tight to see his face in front of him. “Yes, Viktor.” It was so much harder to follow the commands he had to actively do. Simply allowing him to do what he liked was comforting in a way. Still terrifying at times, but this… this was painful in the worst of ways, and Viktor loved it. He could hear the excitement pick up in his breath as his hands tugged the top of the underwear free from the corset and his own breath started rushing desperately through the air creating a windstorm in the cave with his rising panic. He tugged them down over his aroused cockhead and whimpered when the crowd groaned with approval. This pain wasn’t pain instantly switching to pleasure; it was pain and pleasure riding side by side as he slid them down the rest of the way and left them lying on the stage. His sounds of pleasure and distress filled the cave, and the crowd quieted to listen.

“Walk forward three steps and drop to your knees pretty as you can for me.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He lifted his chin and pulled his shoulders back as he took the three steps forward and sank to his knees which landed right at the edge of the stage.

“Beautiful, Eros. You’re doing so well for me.”

The crowd only inches away nodded their agreement and murmured their own praises.

“Open up your legs. Let them all see how much you like this.”

How far did he want? Viktor wanted everything. He spread his knees until his thighs split straight out from the sides of his body. That had pulled his knees back from where Viktor put them. He glanced down at them deciding for a moment then pushed his body forward through the pain until they were back at the edge of the stage which left his cock sticking straight out over it into the audience forcing the people right in front of him to pull back to prevent breaking their order not to touch.

Viktor gasped and held his breath while Yuri’s raced harder than ever. Had he done it wrong? Had he displeased him by risking that touch? Time stripped away from him waiting to know if that sound was good or bad.

“My god.” Viktor’s breath gushed out. “My god. There needs to be a word better than perfect. I have only one that I can’t share. His name. His name is all mine, and this right here is what it means to me. Not perfect. Beyond perfect. Precisely as I said but then even more always in the direction he knows I want from him. What were you thinking about thrusting your cock right into the audience like that?”

“I- I was- was thinking… I wasn’t really thinking about that at all. I was thinking about how best to please you, and I just knew they’d move out of the way.”

“How did you know that?”

“You ordered it.”

“Eros, you bring me more pride and pleasure than you can ever realize. That right there is why I gave him my own name on his body after just five days and why I let him keep it on his tongue even here. Yes, zolotse, yes.” His voice melted from his body and into Yuri’s. “You did perfectly. So beautiful.” His hands brushed down over his shoulders soothing his pain with pleasure.

“Th-thank you, Viktor.” His cock dripped onto the ground far below him, and the people gathered closest watched it fall.

“You guys up close here need to back up just a bit more. I don’t want to get you in the face with my cane.” He waited for them to move then checked that he had enough range for his swing and seemed satisfied with them still close enough for him to feel their breath over his wet cockhead. “You’ve never even seen this tool have you, Eros?”

“No, Viktor.”

“Can you guess how badly it hurts?”

“As much as you want to make it hurt.”

“Ah, so smart. Look into your audience’s eyes. Don’t pull away from them no matter what I make you feel. Don’t come until I tell you.”

His breath howled through the cave as he worked on keeping his first order, finding the eyes of someone who was not Viktor and looking into them, feeling them watching him, before he sought out another set of eyes who was also not Viktor and feeling their force over him, weakening him, raising his panic and his arousal and then his shame when they smiled at their clear effect on him. Viktor stroked his thighs with the cane, teasing him with its bite before the pain started as he murmured praises of how good he was and how strong he was to obey such a hard order.

Little patters started and amplified by the mics on the bottom of his corset, it sounded like fat raindrops were falling from the stalactites. Heat warmed on his thighs, and the promise of pain quieted his mind just a bit as he locked onto another set of eyes that were not Viktor’s. A rattling crack of thunder from his cane then back to the little patters then again on the other side. His fisted hands behind his hips opened up as the thunder became more frequent and the first gulps of pain quenched his dry nerves. Pain rose in his body with steady rolls of thunder falling back into that warm summer rain over his skin.

Viktor struck with deep lightening cracks, and his cock bobbed with his deep clenches of the best pain he had given him so far. The crowd, a mix of the softest of soft and the hardest of hard and endless strangeness in between, his trembling gaze took in every one of their penetrations. Fear, shame, pain, pleasure. Guilt. Everything rose higher until he was swallowed into the heated storm.

It didn’t take long for an orgasm to start weighing his cock pulling his body forward away from Viktor’s grip and into the audience holding his focus. Viktor’s hand worked into the laces at the back of his corset and held his swaying body back from the edge. Relaxing, pulling in, holding everything- holding Viktor deeper inside him, letting him fill him to breaking for as long as possible while his voice screamed over the audience everything that Viktor made him feel was a drug beyond imagination.

The thunderstorm ripping through the cave turned savage as he chomped at the air, drool dripping down his chin as he strained against the demand to relax, the demand to stay focused when every muscle in his body was spastic with pleasure at heights he hadn’t known. However much force he thought Viktor had, he always had more. Everything in him snapped electric and bright with Viktor striking him on all fronts. Trying to hold back from simple pleasure was a walk in the park compared to holding back from releasing the pleasure that came from pain. Every crack of his cane demanded release while his simple, steady words still said, “Not yet.” Not yet. Not yet. Not yet. It was the only bit of dry land, a sharp edge for him to grab. Clear and easy to find but excruciating to hold. He wanted to beg for mercy, beg for release but this was what Viktor wanted him to feel. He wanted his mind put under the worst of conditions then silenced under his force, and so it was for as long as he wanted it to be. It was so easy for him. A few little swings of his wrist and two simple words and Yuri was broken between them, and that’s how he’d stay until Viktor decided he wanted him a different way.

The whip stilled just before Viktor’s voice whispered into his ear and whistled through the quieted cave, an order carried on the wind. “Come for me, zolotse.”   

His release was the final crack of lightning in the storm Viktor created large enough to flood the massive space. His eyes sparked with vivid light as he still held his order not to look away as everything Viktor shoved into his body rushed forth all at once while everyone screamed his name. Jolts of crackling electricity played through his body long after the storm silenced.

He looked up at Viktor’s smiling face. “I did great, right?”

“Oh, you did. So amazing. So beautiful. I’m so proud of you.” He kissed his forehead as he wiped off his chin. “Flip over onto your hands and knees. Show them that I didn’t cheat by putting anything in your ass.”

“Yes, Viktor.” His voice, both floaty and grounded at once.

Viktor helped him back from the edge and onto his knees where he pushed him low enough for his still twitching cock to drag on the stage. “Open yourself up. Show them nothing is inside.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He sighed and rested his cheek on the floor as he slipped his fingers into his ass that Viktor had lubed for him and slowly pulled them apart. His cock twitched harder, blood already rushing back in as he saw them all leaning in to get a good look.

Viktor chuckled. “Wow. You really are insatiable, aren’t you?”

“I don’t know, Viktor. Am I?”

“Yes,” he laughed, “I’d say so. That should have wiped you for a while especially after your earlier show. You did so good for me. Do you want more of my touch?”

“Yes, please! Please, Viktor!” His body buzzed through his pleasure and bubbling bliss. “That felt so so good. Please, I’ll hold on as long as you want.”

“I know you will, baby. You’re so good for me. I’m done beating you though. I want to be gentle with you now.”

“Yes, Viktor. Whatever you want.”

“How nice and soft you are for me.”

“Well, I should be after you tenderized me.”

Viktor laughed so hard he clutched his sides while the audience cheered along with him. “God, you’re precious.” He bent down to give him some kisses then laid down on his back with his head at the end of the stage. “Come here, zolotse. Get on my face.”

The crowd whistled and cheered while he crawled over then swung his leg over him as if he were getting on a horse. Viktor’s hands wrapped around his ass and he kissed his thighs on both sides before taking his cock into his mouth all the way down. Yuri’s scream of pleasure and surprise ripped through the cave, the first still bouncing freely as more chased it.

“Oh my god! Viktor!” His back arched pushing further into the pleasure wrapping around him as comfortably as his arms but as heated as his pain. “Oh fuck! Oh my god, that- that feels so good! Ngh! Viktor!”

His fingers slipped into his ass and worked him open quickly giving him the most satisfying stretch he had felt yet. He held him open to the audience with both hands while he sucked his cock into pleasure rolling as smooth and easy as the hills blanketed with fog.

“Holy shit that feels so good! Why were you holding out on me? You’re so mean.” He looked back to glare at him.

Viktor laughed so hard he had to gasp around him which tickled and cooled his cock. He pulled off for a second to swat his ass while the audience pealed with laughter. “I’m trying to make you feel good. Stop making me laugh.”

“I can suck your cock if my mouth is getting me into trouble. It’s right here.” He looked back to grin at him as he stroked over his cock.

“Eros gets so giddy after I beat him. He’s so funny. Why do you want to suck my cock?”

“Cause I’m the best at it. You said so. It feels so good to take you all the way. And you have the best cock. It’s so huge and pretty.”

“Oh, right answer. So good. Go ahead, zolotse.”

“Yes! Thank you, Viktor!” He giggled as he pulled him free. “You’re already so hard. You like touching me so much, I don’t even have to touch you at all to get you like this.” He stroked lovingly along his cock as he stared at it. “So pretty just for me.”

The audience howled with laughter.

“I thought this was supposed to shut you up,” Viktor laughed. “Get to work.”

“Yes, Vikto-” He broke off as Viktor pulled his ass down more to lick around the edges and into his opened hole. “Oh fuck. Oh my god. Oh- oh shit. I’m not listening. I’m sorry!” He made up for his error by taking him down as far as he could and then because he didn’t want anyone to think that Viktor was wrong about him being the best, he opened his throat and swallowed him down to the root.

Viktor pulled off with a gasp, arching up into him. “Oh fuck! Fuck, zoltse! You’re so fucking good.” Not to be outdone, he took him back into his mouth and silenced them both with a competitive focus taking over the pleasure, each one trying to make the other pull off to release the building cries and curses.

Pleasure finally settling them both, they relaxed into heated slurps and moans boiling the air. The audience milled around them, coming up onto the stage to watch as closely as they wanted as Viktor had allowed. With the giddy state burning off with the freshened pleasure but without pain to silence his mind, he became acutely aware of the fact that Minx had laid down to watch him, putting his face right next to his slurping mouth, and a few others followed his lead. People were lining up to gape into his virgin hole which Viktor was stretching wider and wider, and he could feel their breath tickling the edges of his rim as they got as close as they could without touching. His body scalded with pleasure and then with embarrassment that he so clearly liked it. Minx winked at him with a deep grin. An orgasm peaked, and Viktor pulled off.

“Not yet, baby. Not everyone’s gotten a good look yet. Everyone wants a chance to see your pretty hole.”

He whimpered as his cock pulsed and dripped onto Viktor’s face with the tops of his ears burning.

Viktor teased his cock with little licks. “You like that, don’t you? You like them all keeping their eyes just on you as you put on a show for them.”

He whimpered and nodded trying to focus on doing a good job for Viktor so he wouldn’t come from his words as more pulses hit his gut.

“You’re all welcome to say any nice things you want about him. No derogatory language even if it’s phrased nicely. Only I call him a slut.”

The crowd eagerly took him up on his offer with a swell of praises about how he was so pretty and such a natural sub that any Dom would be proud of and how he was taking Viktor’s cock so well and how he had the most enticing hole and how jealous they were that Viktor had already staked his claim. So much focus on him raised both his pride and his embarrassment equally adding heavy punches to his pleasure.

Viktor worked his fingers around his ass, sliding and stretching him all around as he licked and nibbled little kisses over his cock trying to keep the fist tightening within him from taking over too soon. Yuri could feel Viktor’s orgasm twitching through his cock deep in his throat which must have taken much more effort for him to hold back with Yuri having no skill at metering his pleasure. Viktor’s body writhed beneath him as he tried to hold on and he could tell he was losing the battle before Viktor released his order and took him fully back into his mouth, giving him a little extra tug sending him over the edge as he emptied into his mouth. They came to the sounds of their cheering audience.

Viktor heaved for a moment then flipped him onto his back and covered him with his kisses and smiles. “So so pretty you are. So perfect. So good. Did you like your first blowjob?”

He nodded and pecked his cheek. “Yes, Viktor. Thank you. Felt amazing.”

The crowd aww’d again as they backed up to give them some room while finishing out their applause. Viktor redressed him then jumped down off the stage and pulled him down after and took a spot in the first row while a stagehand cleaned up their mess and removed their mics. Viktor tucked his cock in between Yuri’s thighs as he put him in his lap and kissed his cheek.

“Keep me warm. Feels good there.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He snuggled into him and his ever-present kisses. He glanced down at the welts covering his bright red and purple thighs, each one with a sharp edge on each side and struck to form V’s all over from his knee to his groin. He smiled and nuzzled into Viktor’s neck. “Thank you. They’re so pretty.”

“You’re so pretty.”

He sighed. “If you say so.”

“I do.” He pressed a kiss to his temple as the lights dimmed everywhere around them and concentrated in thick streams on the stage.

Lion took the stage, cracking his long whip as he walked to the end with tantalizing snaps.

“What is that?” Yuri whispered.

“Bullwhip.”

“Looks fun.”

“It is. I’ll show you someday.”

He reached down to stroke Viktor’s head sticking out between his thighs and smiled as it responded to his touch. He continued caressing it as Lion welcomed them and the music came back up a bit quieter than before. A naked woman with chains on her wrists walked down the stage while Lion started rattling off facts about her including age, height, weight, her kinks, limits, achievements, and personality facts.

“Alright, guys, this one’s an extra special one. She’s up for permanent slave status twenty-four seven. Let’s start the bidding at five thousand.” He started taking the bids which rapidly tallied up.

“Did he say, permanent slave? Like… permanent? Whoever buys her tonight owns her forever?”

“Yes. That one is very rare, but it does happen. Think of it as an arranged marriage of sorts that she initiates. We use the term slave but don’t take it literally. It just designates more the type of BDSM style she’s comfortable with. In this case, slave status, she wants to be completely dominated in every aspect of her life while serving her Master typically in domestic ways. She’s not one of my subs, so I don’t know her, but I think it’s likely she has a kink for being bought. Look at the flush on her cheeks and how her breath is quick. Embarrassment also causes flushing, but it tends to come with shrinking in and cringing. She’s opening, receptive. The bigger the stakes for being bought, the more it turns her on.”

“Yeah, but like what happens after the auction? She just goes off and lives happily ever after with the highest bidder?”

“That’s likely exactly what she’s hoping for. But like all of this, if you want to end it, you can. Slavery, real slavery, is obviously wrong and illegal. This is slavery in name only. She can leave it the same as she’d leave any relationship. I don’t agree with this method of finding a partner myself, but it’s a valid way to do it. Mmm… that feels so nice, zolotse.”

“In general, or what I just did?”

“Both, but the last thing you did felt particularly nice.”

He repeated the stroke over his head that he liked and tried to seal it in his memory as the whip cracked sealing the final bid at one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. “Woah. That’s so much money. Who can afford that?”

Viktor laughed. “You’re sitting on one. Do you want to know how much your chair is worth?”

“No!” He hissed his whisper with as much force as he could manage. “Sorry, I meant, no, Viktor. I absolutely do not want to know.”

Several more people were auctioned off for various lengths of time and amounts. Most common was to be auctioned for a day or so. A week on occasion. That at least felt a lot more reasonable. The amounts were smaller for those shorter times too but still a crazy high number for Yuri to wrap his brain around. Some of the people being auctioned tried to drive up their prices by performing talents or dancing or being alluring or shy and dressing up or disrobing as to portray the image they wanted.

“Now for the crème de la crème, les Dauphin et Dauphine de VN!” Lion gave three sharp cracks to punctuate his announcement.

The audience perked up and applauded wildly as the first young male came out. Tall, cut like a knife, gorgeous face. He was wearing a chastity cage around his cock which he had learned was thing some people liked and that those people were not him. Lion started listing his stats the same as the rest and then gave him a grade of approval of a four.

“Grade of approval? What’s that?”

“These are my graduates now. They all receive the title of Dauphin or Dauphine de VN, French prince and princess respectively, and a final grade from me.”

“Oh. So that one… you’ve… played with him?”

“I trained him. That does involve scenes, yes. If you want to know how far I went with him sexually, he’s sucked my cock and I gave him handjobs and shoved toys and my fingers up his ass.” He looked down at him with an amused raised eyebrow.

“Oh. He’s uh… I guess I can see why you gave him a high score.”

“Four is fairly low. It’s on a ten-point scale.”

“Oh. That- why?”

“Most of my subs rank somewhere in the three to six range.”

“Why so low?”

“I’m not impressed enough to rank them higher. They meet the minimum standards, but they don’t surprise me with anything special.”

“Has anyone ever gotten a ten?”

“No.”

“Why is he on the low end even for your average scores?”

“He thought that because he’s pretty, that should be enough to please me. He never fully grasped the fact that I considered him average at best and should actually work harder to make me desire him. He kept thinking I was just playing with him whenever I explained that. It took me a while to convince him that I wasn’t.”

“Oh. That’s… a little harsh, no?”

“He had a flaw that needed correction. It was irritating and getting it through his head that being pretty isn’t enough will serve him in the long run. I told you, I never go easy.”

“I meant more that you only considered him average. He looks like a model.”

“He’s not my type. I thought I already told you what my type is.”

“Yes, but he has a decent butt.”

He chuckled. “It’s not just butts. It’s the overall feel. And I like darker features. Like yours. Does he look like you?”

“No, Viktor.”

“Then he’s not my ideal type.” He smiled and kissed his cheek as his old sub was sold off for a day of fun for ten thousand dollars.

A female with long brown hair came out next entirely nude. She was a touch on the plump side but still well-toned. She had a ranking of six and was being auctioned for a month.

“You liked her?”

“Yes, she was sweet. She learned quickly.”

“Why- why not keep her?”

“I don’t keep any of them. They know this going in. It helps keep them from getting too attached to me and I always demand play with others unless it’s a hard limit for them. The stocks you saw the other sub in is generally how I break them in and they go back to it whenever they need to be reminded of their place so it usually ends up that I’ve touched them less than others have. And this graduation ceremony helps break our relationship in a positive way by framing it as an honor to go to their first real Dom who is the one who desires them the most. This is set up the same as Minx’s game where they have to be vetted before bidding and their first play sessions are supervised so it’s safe. It’s actually worked out quite well for a lot of them. I’ve had several end up marrying their first Dom.” He kissed his cheek. “You’re making me feel so nice, Yuri. Thank you. Come on, I want to make sure you’re hydrated before we begin the next one.”

Viktor tucked himself away much to his grumbling protest that his pants were so cold and brought him over to the bar for another of the bartender’s tasty drinks while another three of his subs were auctioned off. After insisting he use the bathroom to remove the liquid he just put into him, he sent him backstage to have a couple of sound guys stick two black circles to his back and have him speak and scream while they tweaked some settings on a laptop until they were satisfied while Viktor went off to prep for the scene.

He came back with his soothing kisses greeting him first. “How are you doing, Yuri?”

“I’m… I don’t know how I’m doing. I’m scared but not scared. I’m calm but excited. I don’t have a word for it. In this language or Japanese.”

“Do you feel safe?”

He smiled and dipped his chin. “Yes, Viktor.”

“Good. You’re still okay with going out there not having any idea what I have planned for you?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

He smiled. “Thank you for trusting me so much. You do need to know a few things though. They’ll be vague now, but they’ll make sense once I do them to you. If you feel any tingling or numbness or any significant pain, tell me immediately. This is not a pain scene. There might be very light pain or discomfort, but it’s not intended to hurt you physically. If it does, tell me immediately. If you feel nauseous, light-headed or like you can’t breathe, tell me immediately. I’m relying on you to communicate clearly with me. I watch you as carefully as I can but some things can’t be seen and can only be felt. You need to tell me if you experience them. Understand?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“That being said, I want you to let me go as deep as I need to here. This one is going to hurt and not in the ways you expect. I want you to hold on for me as hard as you can. But even though this is in front of others, you will never disappoint me by following an order; you can only disappoint me by breaking it. What is my order regarding your safeword?”

“To use it if I need to.”

“Good, Yuri. That is extremely important. I need to know that you absolutely will use your safeword if you feel you need it.”

“Yes, Viktor. I will.”

“Good. You also need to know that this is not a roleplaying scene. Every word I say to you is the absolute truth. Take them as such.”

“Yes, Viktor. We’re going to the line you like to walk, aren’t we?”

“God how smart you are.” He grinned and grabbed his hips to pull him in. “You do know you’re smart, right?”

“Um, I guess I always did well in school.”

“How well?”

“I graduated number two in my class.”

He smiled. “You hated that didn’t you?”

He blushed. “Yes, Viktor.”

“Don’t be ashamed of that trait. I love it. I’d only let the number one submissive wear my name on his body.”

The blush deepened, but he smiled. “I’m number one?”

“Absolutely.”

“What grade would you give me?”

“You’re not graduating.”

“But if I was…”

He leaned in, kissing over his bite mark and threatening another where it couldn’t be hidden. “I’m not finished with you.” He left a lingering kiss then took his arm. “Time to go.”

He led him out through a side door and to the clear area below the heart in the middle of the cave. Just to the side of it, a gold ring now hung from the ceiling. The audience gathering as they walked over, the music shut off, and the cave quieted other than the whispers among the crowd. Viktor stopped him below the ring where his black bag sat and nodded to the DJ at the stand. A quiet, wavering beat started up that didn’t sound like any music he had ever heard.

Viktor’s hands rested over his shoulders as he stood behind him to address their audience. “I only have one order for you all for this scene. Be silent.”

Viktor swallowed against something thick as he dropped his lips to his ear. “You should know… You’ve unlocked something in me that I’ve been trying to hold back. I tried to hold it back longer but I can’t. I don’t want to just play with you. I don’t want to just punish you. You asked about my kinks and what I enjoy. My answer then was true. I enjoy things that are flexible and artistic because those are usually the right tools I need, but anything that looks like the right tool to satisfy what it is that I really want burns me with lust just as easily.” He paused to take a deep breath as the quivering beat got a little louder and more erratic. “My deepest desire, Yuri, is that I want to break you.”

The liquid beat raced just as Yuri realized the sound filling the cave was his own heart.

***

 

***

Chapter Text

His heartbeat throbbed against the walls with Viktor's broken voice following its unstable rhythm.

“I’m a sadist. You know that already. I get off on your pain and the more pain there is, the more I crave it. But I’m not just talking about the thrilling pain you turn into pleasure. I mean the pain that hurts too. Your wounds and scars and your tortured mind and panicked heart and those are the things I want to break the most, and the more it hurts you down to your core, the harder it is for me to resist.

“I tried. I tried to leave you whole so you could leave this without any of my scars if you chose, but you’re just so fragile you started cracking with my very first touch. I touched you as gently as I could and you just fell apart in my hands and that was stunning just by itself but then you opened up all the way to that twisted inner core and I could see it. All of your fault lines, exactly what you would look like with my scars all over you, through you… I’ve never wanted to shatter anything more.

“But I don’t want to break you into pieces and leave you lying on the ground. That’s boring and leaves you as nothing worth looking at and takes no skill at all. I want to break you into art.

“And I should have been more careful. I shouldn’t have pushed our limits before you had truly chosen this. I knew it when I set them up that we were playing the most dangerous of games and those limits holding me back from you were our only safety net. But I let them slip and gave us more room to play but also more room to fall. I thought I was strong enough to resist and maybe I could have but then I did something even worse. I put my name upon your body and gave myself a taste of something I really shouldn’t have tasted. And then that look on your face when you saw what I had done… I felt it snap, the last thread holding you safely away, and you fell completely into my hands.

“But I still tried. Really, I did. I tried to tell myself that one day is not long enough, that you’re not really ready for me to see what you’re made of, that you still haven’t truly chosen this, but you put yourself in my hands so gently, so completely, so openly, I couldn’t resist making one little scar just for me, just to see what it would look like. And so, I gave a little squeeze on that inner core, the parts of you even you didn’t know existed, and you just cracked so beautifully. And I tried to tell myself that was enough but then you steadied yourself for me and made yourself whole again around my little cracks and they just looked so pretty I had to do it again. And again. And again. Each time I went harder, each time you got stronger, more beautiful, more fascinating. And every time I told myself to put you down and just let you rest by my side for now, you’d start to dim and retreat into your cage and I- I had to see what would happen if I broke you into pieces.

“And so, I shattered you. I ripped you open the rest of the way and exposed you and my god you looked so beautiful like that. You snapped and sparked like a log in the fire, and I was afraid I’d burn you into ash, but you only got brighter the deeper I went. And then you healed so quickly, so solidly, stronger than before as if your body was just waiting for those cracks to be there- as if they were meant to be there and were missing, and so, I did it again. And now, Yuri, now you have my scars all over you, and I can see myself burning within you and you look so beautiful there are no words. And I know now that I can’t stop myself. I won’t be able to do anything but break you over and over again until no part of you exists without my scars and unless you get yourself as far away from me as you can get, I will either destroy you completely and irrevocably or make you my life’s work.

“I’ve told you I’m no monster, but I’m afraid I’m lying to myself because even though I should tell you to run, the only thing I can order you to do is to stay.”

His heartbeat raced a broken beat, stuttering to a stop before clunking ahead as hard as his broken engine in his rusted car that slammed into the hood every time his foot went to the gas. “Yes, Viktor. I’m yours. Use me to fill your deepest desires.”

The crowd stared at them, faces gaped and eyes glittering in the dim light as a herd of animals hiding in the dark, not knowing a word of what was said but feeling it all the same through the broken rhythm of his heart.

Viktor pulled a twisted length of red rope from his bag. “Even though even I don’t know which way this will end, keep following my every word. It’s your only chance.”

He swallowed, cold burning his skin as it crept over him. “Yes, Viktor.”

He looped the rope over his shoulder then bent down to remove Yuri’s shoes, his hands sliding up his legs to unclip the garters and pull the stockings from his legs. His underwear came down next with Viktor gulping back his desire as he looked up at him, the tight control that was his constant mask finally stripped from his face but with his focus clearer than ever. The face of a predator, starved but strong, the first taste of blood just hitting his tongue. He stood up and came around behind him and Yuri’s heart shrank into his chest as it scrambled to get away when Viktor untied the bow from his corset and began loosening the laces.

A tear slipped down his cheek. “Please, no.”

His fingers ripped at the laces until the corset was gaping around his body. “You know that’s not going to stop me. You’re mine, Yuri, and all the pleading and begging in the world won’t stop me from doing what I want with what’s mine.” His hands came around to the buckles undoing them with noisy clatters. The gold triangle hooks popped free from the buttons and the corset fell from his body. Viktor tugged the lining down over his hips and stepped him out of it leaving him stripped and on display while his scrambling heartbeat scraped the walls seeking a way out.

Grasping his wrist, Viktor folded his arm up behind his back until he had ahold of his other elbow then folded the other up the same and began wrapping them together with the smooth rope. Tying it off with a firm knot, he passed the rope around his upper chest, his hands smooth and steady as they wound the rope tightly around him. After enclosing his chest and arms in his bonds so he couldn’t escape his hold in any direction, he passed the rope through his fingers like clasping hands and sealed the rope in place.   

Pulling another rope from his bag, he wove it into the cage over the center of his chest and passed it over the ring giving little tugs until his weight was just barely supported by the rope. Looping it over a few more times, he tied it off then began ensnaring his hips. He couldn’t hear his heartbeat over the screaming in his mind telling him to run. It was already too late for that. Viktor had him in his grasp and he wouldn’t let go until he was done.

He looked around at the audience. There were enough of them. If he screamed for help, surely at least one of them might care enough to release him. But they were Viktor’s too. Why were they still standing there watching Viktor tie a boring, doughy man to a ring? How could this be in any way entertaining? Maybe it was amusement. Just one big joke that Viktor would choose him to flaunt as if he were bathed in gold. As a rope hooked around his knee and Viktor hoisted it up, he saw that none of them looked amused in the least. They were still watching him with the same wonder they had in their eyes he had seen from his place on the stage.

Viktor bound his leg so it was folded in half with the ropes a little looser over his fresh marks, but still, it was going nowhere as Viktor adjusted the ropes, pulling it up higher, leaving his weight split between the ropes and his leg on the ground. Attaching the rope he left loosely over his hips so it caught them just off center towards his raised leg, he lifted them up too until his body was arched backwards over the stable strength of Viktor’s ropes pressing into his back.

He shifted in the ropes as Viktor folded his other leg in half and bundled it neatly with a basket weave of rope over the top of his foot and around the arch, pointing it as he had done the other one. With that leg left hanging from his body in a neat package, it weighed on his hips opening them away from the grab of the rope. Finished with his work, Viktor stood back to stare as Yuri shifted and twisted trying to find any sort of comfort or balance in his new state. He expected him to smile as he always does when he’s satisfied but instead, he just watched him struggle while his heartbeat pleaded for escape.

After a few minutes of quiet watching and desperate struggling, Viktor walked to his bag and picked something up and brought it to his face. Soft fabric enveloped his head, covering his eyes and nose as Viktor tied it in place.

“Viktor. Viktor, please. Please let me see you.” His heartbeat, wet and thick, began to drown in Viktor’s silence. “Please. I’m begging you. Please let me see you. I’m scared. Viktor, please. Please. I’m so scared.” Struggling to break free of the swaying ropes only left him spinning in place. His jerking attempts to stop it only sent him skittering even more. “Please, Viktor. Please, you know I don’t like this. Please just give me a minute and I’ll try again, but please take it off. Please, Viktor.” He gave up trying to hold his head up to watch what was happening and let it fall back where Viktor had obviously wanted it and felt an opening of his body even though it was encased in rope.

A hand slid over his stomach and that simple caress of Viktor’s- wait. Was it Viktor’s? He hadn’t forbidden them from touching him this time. As long as they were silent, they could do what they wanted and Viktor always shared his subs.

He sucked his stomach away from the touch as the fingertips lifted off. “Viktor? That was you, right?”

Another hand went over his thigh and he jerked at the touch making him sway in the ropes. Viktor’s hand. It must be Viktor’s hand. It feels right, doesn’t it? Can he know after five days what his touch feels like especially when he had nothing to compare it to? The hands touched everywhere over him and it felt impossible for it to only be one person, but maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it just felt like more in his head. Fingertips brushed over his cock and he shuddered.

“Viktor, you’re the only one touching me, right?”

His answer was the rising tremors in his heart and a slick finger over his hole.

“Viktor, please just tell me if it’s you. Please?”

The finger pressed in and he screamed.

“Viktor! Viktor, please! I need to know!”

A second finger slipped in and opened up inside him, pulling out while still splayed wide giving him the stretch only Viktor knew he liked. His heart nearly shut off entirely in his relief then slammed back into the wall of his chest when he realized Viktor could have told anyone that. He was out there alone twice and had all the opportunity in the world to tell someone to touch him like that. Or more than one person even. Forced play with others and swinging had been crossed out on the list so it wasn’t on his limits. Viktor didn’t even know that it was a zero for him.

“Viktor, I don’t want anyone but you touching me. Please. I know it wasn’t answered but please. It’s a limit for me. Please don’t let anyone else but you touch me.” Cold dragged through his veins.

The fingers inside his ass added a third and opened right over his prostate. He screamed with terror and pleasure as they dragged slowly out of him and thrust in again in exactly the same spot.

“Viktor! Viktor! Please! Please just tell me! Is it you? I need to know! Please!” Was a prostate that easy to find? They’re in the same place on everyone, right? But Viktor had to search for it a little too. But he wasn’t using his own hand. Would he have been able to find it instantly with his own? Can someone else?

“Viktor, how can I follow your every word if you won’t say anything?! Please, please just say it’s you! Tell me it’s you! Viktor!” He was deafened by his screams of Viktor’s name and his own heartbeat as he struggled to get away, making him just rock harder on the hand slowly fucking him open.

The fingers came out and something thick and warm nudged at his hole. Oh god. Was Viktor going to let someone else take his virginity? He’d said it would happen earlier. The cock slipped over his hole, sliding between his cheeks and occasionally nudging at his hole as he sobbed. It was big. So big. It was going to hurt. There was no way something that big could go in without hurting.

“Please. Please. Just you. Just you, Viktor. Please don’t let him. Please.” His lips sputtered with his endless pleas.

The cock slid faster, nudging more insistently, more frequently at his hole. So excited by the misery he was inflicting, it throbbed heavy against him.

“Viktor! Viktor! Please! Viktor!” With every scream of terror coming from inside him hammering him from the outside as well, his mind shattered into splinters.

Follow my every word. How could he do that when there weren’t any words? He said it so specifically. Follow my every word.

His body shook as tears soaked the fabric that clung to his face a bit differently than the first one had. His desperate heaving drew in the scents and taste of the cave. He breathed in deeper trying to grasp the words for something ringing through the splinters in his mind. Viktor’s scent. His t-shirt. The one he’d torn into a blindfold and was now over his head. He’d brought it for him. He kept breathing through his nose, the thin fabric allowing air to pass easily, and Viktor’s scent, the little piece of home in this strange place, the fact that Viktor planned this little gesture of comfort drew endless words to his mind.

His fingers tightened around Viktor’s clasping ropes. It was Viktor. Even if it wasn’t him who was touching him, it was still what Viktor wanted him to feel and so it was still Viktor’s touch just in a way he didn’t expect. If Viktor wanted someone else to take his virginity, that was his right. He was his to do with what he liked. He stopped screaming and stopped struggling and his body dropped into the swaying ropes exactly how Viktor wanted him to be.

A soft kiss to his inner thigh and his body melted into the ropes. Viktor. He could practically hear the gentle, ‘Easy, zolotse,’ in the kiss. Of course, it was Viktor himself. It could only be him. He always knew it was him. His mind was just blocking out the truth with panic and easy answers. He had said over and over that he wanted to be the one. He was Viktor’s not to share but to possess. To show off, but hold close. To protect and shape until he was safe even from himself. He felt a little stupid that he thought for a second that it could be anyone but him, but that was obviously what Viktor had wanted him to think. He wasn’t just capable of controlling his body; he could absolutely seize control of his mind as well. He insulted him by ever thinking otherwise.

With his screams now quieted, his heartbeat pounded against the walls of both his chest and the cave with a strength and steadiness he had never felt. It wasn’t his weak heart racing in timid little directions. It was his heart pounding steady and still in the center with every bit of life he had in him, confident that this was exactly where he was supposed to be. That no matter what happened here in Viktor’s hands, it was safe. Tears of relief flowed easily and were caught in Viktor’s shirt the same as his hands always caught every one. His heart slammed so hard into his chest he thought it might break, but it only felt stronger with every beat.

God, it felt so good under Viktor’s absolute control. His body supported safely in an easy sway, his mind dropped just below his strengthened, centered heart so it simply floated, his own weight grounding and opening him to whatever Viktor wanted, his own arms solid against his back, lifting himself up to Viktor’s hands. Viktor pulled back to let him just drift in this perfect sensation then the slight clanging of metal and packages being torn open and Viktor sank into the center of his cock.

Thick and warm, spreading his cock open just enough to feel a satisfying stretch but not enough to hurt, he sank deeper and deeper into his body and he could feel it through his every cell. He gasped as his heart beat even stronger but just as steady as he kept going deeper until he reached his very core and Yuri exploded with life. He was blind but he could see colors. Pleasure coursed over his tongue, through his heart, down to the marrow of his bones. His mouth gaped with ecstasy but he had no cries to give because every drop of euphoria was held so deep inside him it didn’t have a chance of escape. Viktor rocked his cock gently back and forth, churning the waves of pleasure sealed inside him then closed his lips around his cock and took him into himself.

Viktor inside him at the same time as he was inside Viktor was impossible and yet he’d done it. Infusing the metal sound with his touch, forcing him to accept anything he gave the same as he accepted him, it felt no different than Viktor himself penetrating him in a place he hadn’t even known was possible before today. With his cock plugged up tightly, he had no chance of disobeying his order not to release so he simply relaxed into how Viktor rocked pleasure into him, intense, more intense than anything he had felt but easy, going into his body as if he had places inside him designed to hold just this very feeling. His mouth did little more than rock the sound inside him and wrap his cock in his gentle warmth but it was still more intense than it had felt before. He slipped his fingers into his hole and started stroking his gland from the other side as well and an orgasm rolled through him without release more intense than anything he had ever felt followed quickly by another and another. With even his writhing dampened in Viktor’s tight ropes, his silent cries and heartbeat strong enough to shatter the walls were the only evidence left behind of their jagged but perfect union.

Viktor stilled and then withdrew the sound and Yuri nearly sobbed to have it back. Viktor kissed his thigh then licked his cock that was harder than it had ever been, opening a pathway for the pleasure to boil up to his skin. “You can come as soon as you feel like.” That was all the warning he gave before he sucked his cock to an inch of his life.

His cries broke free and battled his amplified heart to be the sound that would deafen them all. Viktor had an orgasm ready for him after just moments but he didn’t want this to end. He held on as long as he could but he didn’t stand a chance against Viktor’s pleasure unleashed. He erupted into his mouth and clamped around his fingers, pulsing until he returned every bit of what Viktor gave.

Viktor marked his path up to his head with kisses laid over his body then teased his lips with his cock until he opened up and gave himself over for his pleasure. Viktor was so hard, bigger, thicker than ever but his body gave no resistance as he fucked into his mouth, releasing all the desperation that had built in his restraint. Viktor came with heavy cries coming from a depth in him only Yuri’s shattering could give him.

He pulled out and left a few trembling kisses as he pulled off the blindfold and sank to the ground, cradling Yuri’s head in his hands as he rested his cheek next to his.

Yuri sighed, a smile on his lips natural with the position Viktor put him in. “Viktor. Was I good for you?”

“The best. The absolute best. You killed me, zolotse. I can’t even give you your kisses right now because I can’t even move. Give me a second please.” His body rocked with his heaving breath.

He turned to kiss his cheek. “It’s okay. Take your time. It’s comfy here.”

He chuckled weakly. “Sixty to zero. Two seconds flat. Chaotic little bunny.”

“Hmm… you kinky people really like turning people into animals.”

Viktor laughed until he cried, his body shaking them both. He wiped his hand across his face to clear his tears. “Newsflash, sweetness, you’re one of the kinkiest people I know.”

“Mmm… If you say so.”

“Oh, I do. I’ve never had a newbie slip so easily into the setting or find so many tantalizing things that interested them at first sight. It just seemed appropriate to take the kinkiest part of your virginity here.” He looked up, smiling a smile Yuri hadn’t yet seen, and stroked his cheek. “Hey, beautiful. You look so gorgeous.”

“You’re the gorgeous one.” He sighed when Viktor protested with a kiss to his forehead shaking his head. “I wish I could see your work. It feels comfy and the part I can see is pretty.”

“I’m going to fill my house with pictures of you.” He gave him another kiss on his forehead then pried his still shaking body from the ground. “I’m going to get some pictures of him. If you all could clear out behind him, please, I’d appreciate it.”

Taking that as their cue the scene was done, the audience finally exploded, screaming their applause as they cleared out for Viktor. Yuri’s settled heartbeat shut off from the room which was a bit disorienting at first but it still beat as steady as Viktor decided it should in his chest. Viktor snapped his pictures as he relaxed and enjoyed the gentle sway of the ropes while people kept coming up to give them their praises which mostly consisted of, “Holy shit, that was intense.” A large portion of them teamed up to give themselves their own releases from the tension Viktor created.

Yuri smiled as Viktor started untying him. “You’re so powerful.”

Viktor kissed his cheek with a smile. “You’re so strong to take it all.” He paused his work to watch him, affection melting his eyes. “You’re so beautiful. I’ve never seen anything more stunning. Thank you, zolotse. That felt incredible. You… I was afraid of telling you, of showing you just how deep my brutality goes. Thank you for accepting me so easily.”

“I knew it was there. I told you, I’m a virgin, but I’m not stupid. I could see the spark in your eyes every time I was afraid. I knew you were holding back.”

He left another kiss and resumed his work. “You know it’s not just fear, right? It’s tormenting you and pushing you in every way I can while you choose to stay anyways, while you fight to stay with me. I will never be easy and comfortable to take. I like strange things and I don’t really know why. I just know that I feel a rush and then at peace when it goes the way it’s supposed to. The more afraid you are, the more it hurts, the harder you have to hold on, the deeper the rush. I’ve never tried pushing anyone that far before. I’ve never had a sub who I felt confident enough in to both hold on as hard as possible but end it if they needed to, and it was such a huge risk to try it with you so soon, but I had the perfect set up and I just… I knew you would be perfect for me.” He pulled him free from the last bit of rope and steadied him in his arms, looking deep into his eyes. “Thank you. Thank you so much, Yuri. You just gave me more pleasure than I’ve ever felt and then made me feel so… safe. What can I give you?”

“I don’t know, clothes might be nice.” He smiled and kissed his cheek.

Viktor laughed and shook his head. “Anything for you, zolotse.” He dug through his bag and pulled out a worn gray t-shirt and his soft black pants and put them over his body after checking him for any marks he didn’t like and removing the microphones from his back.

He had rope marks now that left pretty red twists around his limbs. He couldn’t stop himself from running his fingers over the indentations. “How long will they last?”

“Just a few hours. They’ll be gone in the morning.”

He pouted as Viktor packed up his equipment and cleaned the area then led him back to the couches and ordered them another round of drinks.

Viktor snuggled him in close, watching his face. “You’re upset they’ll be gone soon?”

“Yes, Viktor. They’re pretty. I like them.”

He smiled and kissed his head, smoothing away his pout. “Then I’ll just have to do them again, won’t I?”

He practically purred at the idea and had zero shame about that as he tried to bury even deeper into his arms. “Yes, Viktor.”

The music picked back up but gentler than before as people either went back to playing or made their way out the door. The heart was slowly lowered and Yuri watched with fascination how they pulled it apart piece by piece to free the woman inside. He had been wondering how she stayed in it so long but he would have happily stayed in Viktor’s ropes for as long as he would let him and now he was a little jealous that she had gotten to stay so long.

Minx came up to sit next to them with a grin on his face. “So… when’s the wedding?”

Viktor shook his head. “Have you no propriety at all?”

“Absolutely none.”

“It’s been five days. Don’t put him on the spot like that.”

“Fine, fine. Okay, I’ll ask my next burning question. How did it feel?”

“Umm…” Yuri sipped his drink as he tried to find any way to describe it. “Indescribable. I don’t know how there could be anything better.”

“Oh, zolotse, there is so much more to make you feel. I didn’t even go into the prostate for that one. It was just the entrance I reached. We need a few more times to get you nicely stretched out before I try to go all the way.”

“What?!” Yuri’s screech startled nearly everyone around them and he clapped his hand over his mouth in apology. “You’re not serious.” He watched his face. “Oh my god. You are serious. How are you serious? Oh my god. I’m gonna die. I knew you were a bad idea.”

Viktor laughed as he held his head to his chest and covered him with kisses between his laughter. “Oh my god you are so cute! How is that what makes you say I’m a bad idea? I’m a bad idea for a lot of reasons, but that is one of my highlights.”

“Oh, is that the truth.” Minx laughed. “I couldn’t stand subbing for you for many many reasons but that pleasure you have mastered still had me crawling on my knees for it. And that was years ago. I can’t even imagine how good you are now.”

“He’s the best. The absolute best at everything. It’s impossible anyone could be better.” Yuri glared at him that he could dare to say otherwise which if he considered it was highly irrational based on how much he hated the fact that he knew his touch at all.

Minx chuckled. “Getting protective of your Dom, I see. What a sweet little pet you are.”  

“We haven’t discussed what he is yet, but I agree he is the absolute sweetest.”

“I’d love to interview you sometime for research for my books. It looks like The Boss has taken you on a hell of a ride for your introduction to sex. Nothing simple and straightforward about that at all.”

“Um… I don’t know. Ask him.” God he loved that he had such an easy answer available to him. And if Viktor wanted him to do it, it was easier to do anything with his word backing him up.

“I’ll allow it in a little bit when we get more settled ourselves and I’m there to keep your dirty mind in check.”

“That works for me.”

Yuri smiled and kissed his cheek for his perfect answer. “Thank you.”

Minx shook his head. “My god. So, when’s the wedding again?”

Viktor playfully shoved his head. “Shut up, brat.” He looked back down at Yuri with his lips drawn to the side. “For the record, if you ever leave me, don’t ever do with anyone else what you did with me. Any of it. I should have told you long ago just how dangerous you are, but since it was me you were risking so much for… I’m telling myself that it’s only because of me that you’re doing it. I just wanted you to know so you wouldn’t be putting yourself into danger. You could have been so hurt so many times. You barely know me.”

Minx’s playful smile fell away. “God, mon cheri, he’s so right. I know how he is as a Dom and he’s my best friend and I was still scared for you. I kept telling myself that he would never do something he thought would actually damage you but damn that was terrifying. He’s only known you for five days. I don’t even know how he felt okay with doing something like that so soon.”

“It has been a short time, but he’s also been my sub for twelve hours a day in that time. That’s equivalent to over a year of training if going by the schedule my training subs have. I know how he responds to my commands and where his mind would go with that, and how to comfort him and lead him through the scene. But that’s only why I felt okay with it. You should absolutely not have been. Anyone can keep up a front for five days. That terror you felt was real and for a damn good reason.”

“Yes, Viktor, but you’re right. It is only you. I knew you weren’t faking. I’ve been with you twelve hours a day too, and I see how you treat your horses so naturally and how they respond to you. You can’t fake their trust in you. It’s only you.”

He smiled. “I know. I wasn’t expecting you to react quite so hard at the idea of anyone other than me touching you. Even a hand on your stomach was too much if it wasn’t mine.” His face creased a little. “Do you know why they didn’t touch you even though I had lifted that ban?”

“No, Viktor.”

“I thought not. They didn’t have an explicit no from me but they didn’t have an explicit yes either. I only told them no when either they asked or I needed you to know for sure they wouldn’t touch you, but they know not to touch you unless they’ve gotten a yes. It’s the first rule here. The same goes for your limits. You were afraid that I didn’t know it was a zero, but anything you hadn’t given me a yes to was automatically a zero.

“I hate that your roommate kissed you, not just because I’m jealous, but because he shouldn’t have kissed you by surprise when you were drunk and barely knew him. I’m glad you weren’t upset by it, but I was. If I wouldn’t be outing the fact that we’ve discussed your kissing habits, I would have absolutely had a discussion with him about that.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Oh, he’s right again, sweetie. That is so not okay. Listen, if you ever leave him for some stupid, insane reason, give me a call if you ever want to get into this again. I mean it. He’s my friend but I would have no issues talking to you and helping you keep yourself safe. Boss?”

“That is an excellent idea.” He pulled out his phone. “I just sent you his number. Take him up on his offer if that ever comes up. It’s just a smart idea to have that backup, okay?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

Minx shook his head with his eyebrows lifted. “Protect that baby. He needs it.”

Viktor hugged him a little tighter. “I will.”

Viktor’s body hadn’t stopped trembling even now as he watched him rest. “You screamed for me. I was the one who put you there, but you didn’t scream for help. You only screamed for me.”

“It was the only thing that felt safe.”

***

Back at home in Viktor’s bedroom, Viktor started stripping the clothes from Yuri’s drained and blissful body.

Yuri clutched around his chest, holding onto them tight. “But they’re cozy. I like them. Please, can I keep them?”

Viktor smiled and kissed his cheek. “I have something better and we need to rinse off all that sweat and makeup.”

He sighed and relinquished his hold. “Fine. Yes, Viktor.”

Viktor stripped himself and brought him into the shower, slowly caressing his body with a gentle sponge as Yuri sat on the stool with the warm spray hitting his back.

“You like taking care of me.”

The light caught the little flecks of green in Viktor’s eyes as he pulled his hand up to his smiling lips giving them the depth and power of an ocean wave. “Yes, zolotse.”

He nodded slowly then used Viktor’s grip on his hand to tug him in and press a kiss to the top of his head, scrunching his eyes closed as he held it there. “Thank you.”

Viktor looked up at him, blinking in surprise with his hand held over the spot he had kissed. Slowly, his hand came back down and he resumed his gentle washing with a smile on his face.

He frowned and chewed on his lip which Viktor halted with a light tug. “You’re not a monster.”

His hand stuttered to a halt. “What was that?”

He reached out to stroke his cheek. “You’re not a monster. You’re afraid you’re a monster. That you’ve been pushing me too hard and risking too much. I love your torment. It’s clear and focused and there’s always a right answer just below the surface and it ends. I’ve never felt torment end before. It always just sort of fades and sometimes it’s quiet but it always comes right back making me churn for the answer to stop it but it’s always the same questions and no matter how many answers I try, they never really work. Your torments shut down my own and end with a clear answer that makes me stronger, that I can hold onto as true. And then on top of that, you give me unspeakable pleasure as a reward for having pleased you, for doing a good job, for finding the right answer you dropped into my cage. If you think that part of you is something I should fear, you’re wrong. It’s the best part of you for me. You’re not a monster, Viktor. Not to me.”

He blinked rapidly while his mouth worked in little waves, not meeting his eyes. “What am I to you?”

“A gift.”

“Yuri. I-” his voice cracked and he dropped his head onto Yuri’s knees.

“It’s okay. Give me whatever you want to give me.” He combed through his wet hair, tugging at the short ends, and Viktor’s sobs broke free. He wiped his cheek, and Viktor caught his hand to press it to his lips and held it through it all.

***

Pulling him out to dry him, Viktor turned the dryer to warm and lightly raked through his hair, letting the warm air drift down his skin. After putting some lotion on his fresh marks and drying his own hair, he finally brought him to bed, tucking him into the silky sheets while still completely naked.

“Um… Viktor? I usually sleep in clothes.”

“Not with me you don’t.” He slid in next to him also completely naked and watched his face on the pillow for several moments before slowly reaching out his hand to find Yuri’s fingertips with a hesitant touch. “Hi, beautiful.” Clasping his hand, he tugged it onto his hip then reached for the rest of him and pulled him into his body, tangling them up in each other as tightly as his ropes.

Yuri sighed and buried his nose into the scent coming straight from his skin. “Oh, I need to set my alarm. I have somewhere to be in the morning.”

“Oh? Where’s that?”

“In your office, on my knees.”

He smiled and pulled him tighter. “You’re with me. You don’t have to leave me just to meet me again in my office.”

“You said no exceptions.”

He chuckled into a kiss against his floppy hair. “You’re right. I did. Temporary order, tomorrow you can sleep in a bit. As long as you’re in my bed, you can stay there until I tell you otherwise.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He closed his eyes and pressed his face back into his chest with a sigh.

“Sweet dreams, my beautiful Yuri. Thank you.”

He nodded but fell asleep before he could think of a decent reply to give.

 

Chapter Text

(28) Slackened cold wriggled in, separating him from Viktor’s taught warmth. He whimpered as his hands sought him out. “Viktor?” His voice crackled with the grogginess of half sleep.

“Shh… sleep, darling. I’ll be right back.”

“Yes, Viktor,” mumbled out as he pulled in tight to himself trying to hold on to the last bit of his warmth.

He drifted in that in-between state of sleep and wake until Viktor slipped back into the bed, his body chilled and smelling of the fresh stable and early morning air. They both shivered upon contact as they reentwined, but slowly their temperatures exchanged until the passes heated them beyond their normal range.

“Sorry, couldn’t quite fall asleep. I tried.”

“It’s okay. You can sleep now, yes?”

“Yes, Viktor.” He sighed and burrowed into his warmth and obeyed until bright panels of light fell over his eyes. He groaned at the interruption to the most blissful sleep he could remember having but then cracked his eyes open to feel his heart stop at the sight of Viktor watching him with a tender smile just for him. How was it possible?

“Good morning, zolotse.” He took a deep sniff of his skin before letting his kisses drift down it. “How are you feeling?”

He sighed as he stretched out his achy body to find his answer then curled back in to wrap around him again. “Perfect.”  

He hummed. “That’s what I like to hear. Are you sore?”

“The right amount.” He kissed his chest and pulled back just enough to watch his face lit in the morning light. “How are you?”

“Perfect. I got to wake up to the best sight and feeling twice this morning. It felt so good.”

He blushed lightly and tucked back into his chest. “Me too.”

They rested there a little longer trading kisses on chests for kisses on cheeks until Yuri’s stomach started rumbling.

Viktor gave him one last lingering kiss to his forehead. “Wait here. I’ll bring you breakfast.”

“Please, can I help you?”

“I’d rather you rest, but I’m willing to consider it if you tell me why.”

“I’d rather be with you.”

“Yuri!” He laughed as he tackled him with kisses, clasping his wrists above his head. “You’re just the sweetest. The best.” He left a few more kisses over his palms then sighed and released him. “You’re sure you’re not in any bad pain?”

“I’m sure.”

“Okay. Come on.” He gave him his gray t-shirt and pants in the perfect stage of being worn from his closet and just slipped on black pants himself leaving his torso cruelly bare as they headed for the kitchen.

“So… did you start a collection or something? How do you have so many always on hand?”

“I figured out it only takes a few hours of me wearing it to put my scent on it enough, so I just wear a new one for a few hours in the evening and then you have it for the next day. Do you want more variety in colors or material?”

“No, Viktor. I like it always being the same.”

He smiled and kissed his head as he opened the fridge. “Then that’s what you’ll have.” He pulled out a colander lined with paper towels filled with a mound of something white and the bowl sitting under it to capture the liquid along with a carton of eggs. “Are you ready to try some real Russian food?”

“Yes, Viktor. What is that?”

“Ricotta.”

“Wait. That’s Italian.” He went to the coffee maker to get a fresh pot brewing.

He laughed. “Yes, but it’s the closest I could find to the right cheese in the states. It’s too watery though so I drain it overnight. Then it’s just about perfect.” He dumped the ricotta into a bowl and added some eggs and a bit of sugar and salt and a scoop of flour then mixed the whole mass together into a yellow glob. “And that’s pretty much it. Can you get the butter?”

“Yes, Viktor.” He pulled out the butter while Viktor turned on the burner under the griddle on his stove.

He slathered the griddle with the butter then grabbed two spoons and handed him one. “Here, just take a small scoop and drop it on the griddle. You can get them pretty close. They don’t expand much, but still leave room to flip them.” He dropped a small scoop of the cheese batter onto the frothy butter while Yuri started in on the other side.

“So what are these?”

“Syrniki. They’re vkusno and have a lot of protein.”

“Vkusno?”

“Delicious.” He flipped them over with a small spatula to let the other side cook. “Can you get some-” he smiled as he glanced at the plates Yuri was setting down next to him, “plates.” He kissed his cheek and pointed to the plates. “Tarelki. Thank you, zolotse. We’re going to need one more tarelka to put the rest on. I always make more than what I can eat since they make great little snacks to keep in the fridge. They’re just as good cold as they are warm.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He handed him the other plate, and Viktor started pulling them from the griddle. “Tarelki is plates, tarelka is one plate?”

“Yes, very good, Yuri.” He gave him a beaming smile and a kiss on his cheek. “You want to make sure you don’t overcook them. Just long enough to let them get a little brown. And never too much flour. Just enough to bind the batter. That’s the worst part to get wrong.” He topped the small stacks of pancakes with a huge dollop of sour cream that slid down the edges and a spoon of cherry preserves.

“Sour cream on pancakes?”

“Smetana on everything.” He laughed and handed him a plate. “It’s not Russian without smetana.”

They sat down at the table streaming with morning light by the large windows that glimpsed the lower pastures with some coffee Yuri poured for them.

Yuri took a bite of the lightly sweet, pillowy pancakes with the sour cream that balanced nicely with the preserves then smiled. “It’s vkusno.”

Viktor beamed. “Excellent, Yuri. I’m so glad you like them.” He started eating as he saw Yuri eating without hesitation. “So, what’s your research saying on our restaurant so far?”

“Um, honestly, I’m still trying to make sense of how to do the research in the first place. I mean, I got that company doing the market research you told me about, and I’m still waiting for them to finish that, and I’m doing research on what exactly a restaurant needs to run so I can start pricing equipment and overhead costs. And the architect is drawing up plans and a proposal. She was out there yesterday to see the site. Sorry, I didn’t tell you that.”

“It’s okay. It sounds like you’re doing a great job. It is so much to cover, but I’m certain if you keep working through it, you’ll get it all sorted. I want you to learn as much as you can and do as much of it yourself as you can, but don’t be shy about asking me for help. I want you to use every resource you have available to you, and I’m one of them.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He took a lingering sip of his coffee, enjoying the buzzing warmth lighting up his brain. “In that case, can you help me understand the projected income? I mean, how do you predict that? Isn’t it entirely dependent on how many people actually come out?”

“Yes. It’s really just an estimate. That’s all this is. You gather as much information as you can to make an educated and reasonable estimate, but don’t think of it too literally or too precisely. It’s not going to match in the end. I’ve started many businesses, and I’ve never had those initial estimates be the actual results. This really is just a way to filter out the worst of ideas and things that just won’t happen no matter what you do and make sure you know what you do need to succeed.”

“Oh. How many businesses do you have? I know about the stable and the loft and the farm obviously, but there are others?”

“Yes. Several. Or many if you consider the ones I’m invested in but mainly play a silent role. I don’t entirely rely on what my dad gave me. I’ve grown that over the years myself. The stable started turning a profit for me before I got access to my trust fund and I was able to buy him out after a few years. Then when I got access to it, I started investing in businesses I found interesting. In addition to the ones you know of, I have complete ownership of an alternative energy company and varying levels of investment and interest in, I think, about twenty or so more. Plus a few charities I started. I’d have to look it up to tell you concretely.”

“Wow. How do you have time for all of that?”

“Most of my waking hours are spent working. And it’s not like I’m doing all of it myself. I’m able to hire whatever help I need to help me manage the rest. I’m a manager. I oversee and make plans and guide while they execute my vision.”

“An alternative energy company? Isn’t that sort of against your best interests if you stand to inherit an oil company?”

The corner of his mouth turned up. “Yes. It was the first thing I invested in with the oil money once I had full control. My dad is an idealist for many things, but when it comes to success and fortune, he’s a complete pragmatist. I’m just an idealist for everything. The business I start are all idealistic and are things I’d like to see grow in our world.”

“Like what?”

“Well, I’d like to actually preserve our planet as a place to live, so that’s a big one for a lot of them. There’s an advanced tech one that is doing some really cool work that both improves our standards of living while reducing our consumption of resources and another that’s working on geoengineering which may be a sad necessity to reverse the effects of our current destruction. We’ve already pushed too far over the limit, and while geoengineering is risky, it might be the only way to go back.”

“So, you’re basically a multimillionaire control freak who lives alone in a Russian castle who wants to engineer our entire world and society and who takes pleasure in causing people pain.”

He laughed. “Well, I suppose that is all true. I have no defense against your charges.” Taking a sip of his coffee, he leveled his eyes at him. “Do I frighten you?”

He smiled. “No. I’ve never felt safer about our future.” He scraped up some of the sour cream and preserves lingering on the plate with the side of his fork. “How do I not know this? I mean, you seem like a very noteworthy individual, and I’ve obviously followed the horse world, so I knew of you before I started here, but the only thing I knew was that you are the best eventer in the world. Even articles about you were pretty limited for what they shared.”

“I like to keep quiet about my varied interests mainly for exactly what you just said. If someone had a whole picture of my interests combined with my influence, well… I really don’t care to hear what rumors about me would be inspired by that.” He smiled as he cleared their plates. “I’m proud of you. You ate everything without a fuss.” He put the plates into the dishwasher and wiped down the griddle. “I’m just teaching today so you can stay here and rest and work on Oui, Da, Hai planning if you feel up for it.”

“I can’t work down there with you? It’s not really any different if I’m working on the laptop there or here, right?”

“I suppose not. Alright, you can work down there. Let’s go get changed.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He picked up their empty coffee cups and put them in the dishwasher then prepped the meat and loaded the rice cooker for their lunch later and followed him back upstairs. He started pulling on a pair of black breeches, sitting at the edge of the bed.

Viktor pulled a sapphire blue polo over his head. “What’s so fascinating about my bookshelf, Yuri?”

“What do you mean?”

“You keep looking at it.”

“Oh, um, I was just kinda curious about the picture.” He stood up and picked up the gray polo from the bed.

“Is that all? I’ve been watching you look at it since you first came in here. You could have simply asked me. You really like torturing yourself rather than taking the simpler more direct route, don’t you?” He smiled as he walked over to lift it from the shelf. “It’s going to be a little anti-climactic after that build up you gave it in your head.” He handed it over as Yuri finished tucking in his shirt.

It was a picture of him as a child with waist-length hair and a man who was so clearly his father, he would have believed it to be a picture of Viktor himself, and a woman who he guessed was his mother who stood almost the same height as young Viktor with natural blonde hair. He’d heard of people described as having a square-shaped face, but hers was literally so with a tiny, slightly hooked nose and wide green eyes. Viktor was right. At first glance, she looked rather plain with almost a strange face, but with a few more moments of gaze, her overall aspect took on a youthful, fairylike appearance that was echoed and expanded in young Viktor. In fact, he could now see her innocent features in Viktor’s pleading expressions. His parents hugged him tightly in the photo as they both beamed as brightly as Viktor did in the middle. It was an innocently simple picture, but the fact that it was so tucked away was enhanced by a slight snag in Viktor’s casual expression. The photo was simple, but something about it wasn’t. He looked back at Viktor to decide if he should ask further and the lengths Viktor went to to hide the deeper significance told him the answer. Viktor wanted him to believe the surface view at least for now. He would likely tell him if he asked, but he wasn’t quite ready to offer that part of himself yet.

Yuri smiled, his eyes widened with a bit of surprise. “You had long hair?”

“I did.” His smile looked just a touch relieved. “Until I was nineteen.”

“Really? That’s so… why?”

“Hmm… I guess because I liked it. It was fun surprising people. They could never guess if I was a boy or a girl and it was fun seeing their reactions to me whichever way they leaned. Plus, I got a lot of compliments on it, and I’m a bit of a sucker for that. I liked catching people’s attention.”

“It was very beautiful. You look so different though. So delicate.”

“Well, I was a child.” He laughed.

“Why did you cut it?”

“It just didn’t suit the image I wanted to have any more.”

“Do you have any pictures from just before you cut it?”

“Yes. Would you like to see?”

“Yes!” He held back his lips between his teeth. “I mean, yes, Viktor.”

He laughed. “Why are you so excited by my hair?”

“Um… just that I didn’t know that about you, and it’s kind of a surprising thing to learn.”

“Hmm, if you’re going to react so cutely when you learn more about me, maybe I should share more often.”

“Yes, Viktor. I do want to know more about you.”

He smiled as he pulled out a photo album from one of his dresser drawers and started flipping through it. Landing on the right pages, he handed him the book. “I had no idea you were so curious about my past.”

“Of course, I’m curious.” He took in the sight of Viktor’s silver hair cascading around his rippling body as he held a young Toska with a blue ribbon clipped to his bridle.

“His first one.”

“You’re so beautiful.” He sighed as he devoured the page filled with photos of the very start of their reign.

Viktor turned the page, and he gasped. Viktor galloping him bareback in the pasture, his hair flying out behind him on the wind. He looked a little younger and slimmer than he did now, but not by much. Viktor turned the page again to reveal young Viktor and baby Toska nibbling at the ends of his hair and in the next photo Viktor scolding him followed by a hug and a kiss on his neck in the one after.

Yuri smiled as he ran his fingertips over the photos tucked in the plastic envelopes. “You’re so unfair. You were just as beautiful as a teen as you are now. Did you never have an awkward stage?”

“Maybe not physically but coming here with nothing but broken, textbook English and culture shock made it a little challenging to fit in with the other kids. It probably didn’t help any that their afterschool activities included going to the mall while mine was building a horse stable.”

“You moved here as a teen?”

“Yes,” his eyes flicked down as his face creased for the briefest moment, “to go to school here to prepare for college. My dad said that having a degree from an American school would help me get further in business even though Russian schools were clearly superior in every way.” He chuckled, though it seemed a little stiffer than usual. “If you can’t tell by the house, he has a lot of pride in Russia.”

“I see. Why did you build the stable?”

He breathed out a little sigh as a warm smile came onto his face, and he stroked Yuri’s cheek. “I only half hired you for your ass. I would have hired you without that as soon as you gave your reason for leaving your last job.”

“Huh?”

“You said you quit because you didn’t care for the way they treated the horses.”

“Yes, but what’s that got to do with the stable?”

“I had Toska there when I first got him. I caught them being rough with him, and he was just a little baby. I decided I couldn’t trust anyone but myself to take care of him, so I built this place for him and as many other horses I could take care of.”

“Really? Wow.”

His hands slid down to settle on Yuri’s hips. “You quit that place knowing you had nowhere to go but your car, didn’t you?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“I’m impressed with your integrity. That must have been a hard decision to make.”

He shrugged. “Not really. It would have been harder to stay.”

“How long were you living in your car for?”

“Three months or so.”

He gasped. “Over the winter? It was a particularly nasty one this year too.”

“It wasn’t so bad. At least I had shelter.”

“Still. I can’t even imagine that. How did you survive?”

“I sold my blood.”

“What?” Viktor gasped like he’d been punched in the gut as he gripped him harder. “Please tell me you’re joking.”

“I’m not? Well, my plasma to be more specific.”

“You sold your blood to survive?” He looked horrified. “I don’t even know what to say.”

He shrugged again. “I could donate twice a week and made forty bucks for each donation. It wasn’t great, but I was able to pay for a cheap gym membership and keep my phone bill paid and some food and gas.”

“Did you suffer any side effects?”

“Um… well, I passed out a few times?”

“What?!”

“Yeah, I googled it though and found out that the ingredient they use to stop blood clotting can bind to calcium and lower your levels, so I tried drinking milk more often, and that seemed to help some. I’d still get really tired, but at least I wasn’t passing out.”

“Oh my god. When did you last do this?”

“Last week.”

“Oh my god. I should have known this. I was beating you in that state. Why didn’t you list it under your medical info?”

“It wasn’t really a medical procedure. Just a way to make some cash.”

“Yuri! There’s not a distinction for things like that between if you do it for money or not.”

“I’m fine though. I’ve been feeling much better since I started here. I don’t feel any symptoms anymore.”

He shook his head, his eyes still wide in shock. “You risked your health for eighty dollars a week just to survive, and you shrug like it’s no big deal?”

“It wasn’t. I was fairly lucky. Others there were much worse off than I was.”

“So what, you have to be at the absolute bottom to consider that what you’re going through is not okay?”

“I knew it wasn’t great, but what else was I going to do? I had to get money somehow. That was the best I could find until I found another job.”

“I don’t understand it. I’m not capable of understanding it. It’s so beyond my own view that I can’t even imagine being in that situation and reacting anything like how you are.”

He smiled and put his hands against Viktor’s cheeks. “Well, that makes two of us. I can’t picture your life at all either.”

He huffed out his tension then smiled. “At least we both understand the horses.”

He kissed his cheek. “Right.”

Yuri stopped in the kitchen to grab the laptop and extra battery Viktor had gotten him, because why wouldn’t he, then followed him down to the stable. He settled against a tree next to the arena and set to work making sense of endless numbers and pieces of equipment and procedures and health codes and staffing requirements and… the list was endless. Every new thread unraveled dragged fifty more into the knot. Still, the answer was buried in there somewhere. It had to be there. It was another of Viktor’s torments. And while this one was harder and required more endurance than the rest, at least he knew the answer he was looking for. Yes or no.

“Do we know if we’re doing this yet?” Viktor leaned over the fence post while waiting for his next student to arrive with a coy smile.

“I have no idea. I’m sorry. There’s just so much information.”

“I know. It’s okay. I only ask out of excitement. Don’t feel rushed to give me an answer. I can be patient.”  

He looked up from another article explaining a concept he had already read three on and still wasn’t quite grasping with a sigh and a smile. “Thank you, Viktor.”

“Anything I can help you figure out?”

“Um, well I’ve read a few articles about exit strategies, and that’s apparently important to plan for now, and I understand the definition, but I’m not sure what a good exit strategy is.”

“Exit strategies in the planning stages are mostly to assure investors they’ll be able to recover at least some of their investment if the business goes south but you’ve already got all the investment you need, and I’m not terribly worried about losing what I put in. But, to answer your question, exit strategies for small businesses like this are pretty limited. You can either close up shop and sell off assets or sell the business. Selling the business is almost always the best option. It has more value sold whole and operational even if it’s not doing too well.

“You do want to plan for the possibility though that the business might not be worth running to you anymore and that’s mainly done by considering what it would take to make a smooth handoff to someone else. Let’s say you mire yourself in the day to day operations and you’re the only one who knows what’s going on there. If you leave, you take that value with you and strip it from the business. Plus, it demands that your attention is focused entirely on the business because it will fail without it. Setting it up so it can run without your direct involvement makes your life easier and frees you to do what you like rather than getting bogged down in running the business, and it assures that if you ever do want to leave it, you can hand it off smoothly without stripping any value.”

“How do I do that?”

“By creating systems for everything and hiring and training the appropriate employees who can keep it running efficiently even without you.”

“Systems?”

“Structures put into place that automatically do the things that need doing. Let’s say for marketing. You obviously need to market the business consistently. It’s not a one and done thing. You can either spend time each month putting up ads and mailing out postcards and so on, or you can set up a method of those things getting done automatically without you. The simplest and best way would be to hire a marketing company. They’ll be efficient, have their own systems in place that you can rely on, and it’s their specialty. They’ll likely do a much better job than you will as a novice. You’ll know you have all the systems in place that you need if you could totally ignore the business for a month and have it operating just as well or even better when you come back. That’s how I can run so many businesses. I don’t want you running a restaurant. I want you managing a business.”

“Ah, that helps. Thank you, Viktor. I was thinking I had to figure out every little detail, but if I can find the right companies and employees that specialize in what needs to be done, I can let them handle the details?”

“Yes, that’s exactly right. Your job is the overall picture. Getting everything gathered and organized and having others actually run it. I don’t expect you to become an expert in every little thing that needs doing. You just need to understand them on a higher level, so you know what to look for and identify good solutions from bad.”

Phichit passed by leading one of the horses out to the pastures and waved to Yuri. “How was the party?”

“Uh, it was great.”

“Awesome. I hope you didn’t party too hard and have some left for tonight.” He gave him a beaming smile.

“Uh, I’ll be fine.”

“Oh, are you guys going to a party tonight?” Viktor asked.

“We’re just having a little party here so Yuri can meet everyone.”

“Ah, that’s an excellent idea. I hope you have a good time.”

“Thanks! Do- do you want to come?”

“Thank you for the invite, but I don’t think you want your boss at your party. It makes it rather difficult to vent about how awful he is when he’s right there.” He smiled and winked. “Plus, I’ve got some things to do in the city tonight.” In the city? Did he mean at the loft? Is he training subs tonight?

“We would never do that. You’re the best boss. The invitation stands if you change your mind.” He waved and continued on with the horse.

Viktor finished his morning lessons before they went back to Viktor’s house for another round of katsudon. Yuri chewed on his lip as he scooped the rice out of the cooker that had enough settings to jet it off to the moon if that’s what Viktor wished and topped it with the sauce, egg, and pork. It was starting to look a little nicer at least. He sprinkled on the scallions and picked up the chopsticks to deliver the bowls to the table. His hands started shaking before he even took a bite.

Viktor’s mouth quirked to the side as he watched his jaw lock against the food. “You did so well with breakfast, I had hoped this would be a little easier for you too.”

“I’m sorry, Viktor.”

“It’s okay. I know you’re trying.” He stood up and pulled Yuri’s chair back a bit then knelt at his feet. He unzipped Yuri’s breeches and pulled his cock free. “You can come when you’ve finished every bite.”

“Yours is going to get cold.”

“Two. That’s arguing and worrying about things that are mine to worry about.”

He flinched. “Yes, Viktor. I’m sorry.”

“Apology accepted.” He dropped onto him with his intentions not to go easy clear in the reckless pleasure already bathing his cock.

“Viktor!” He gasped as blood raced from his churning mind to his rising cock. He picked up his chopsticks with trembling hands and tried to shovel the food in as quickly as he could so Viktor wouldn’t have to wait.

Viktor picked up his pace to match until an orgasm was bubbling dangerously in his core. He was so close to coming, the slightest breeze over his cock would make him disobey. He wasn’t pleasing him. He was warning him with his threatening pleasure. Ah, crap. He was worrying about the same thing again. Viktor wanted him to slow down and enjoy it. Focus on feeling his pleasure on him for as long as he can. He paused to take a quaking breath and refocus his mind on what Viktor wanted from him.

He grabbed a strip of meat with some egg and lifted the pork to his mouth. He smiled. It was good. Not quite as good as his mom’s but as good as any other katsudon he’d had in Japan. Maybe even better than some. He’d made katsudon. A tear rolled down his cheek as Viktor rewarded his answer with comfortable pleasure. He wanted him to linger, to savor his own success. Salting and piercing the meat with a fork in the morning had made it tender, well-seasoned, and juicy. Viktor’s tongue dragged hot and slow as his mouth sealed just enough to create a slight suction drawing pleasure across his body. He moaned as he filled his mouth with another bite. So good. Sweet and savory at once and satisfying. He’d caramelized the onions before adding the liquid. He couldn’t remember if his mom did it that way, but it had been suggested as a way to add flavor to anything, so he tried it to enrich his previously bland sauce. He remembered what katsudon used to mean. Comfort. Love. Safety. Pleasure. Pride… Success. The pleasure ached as he filled himself with every one. The places those things used to live had shriveled in his rejection, so now it was pleasure turning to pain as they forced their way in. He finished his bowl and pleasure overtook him along with his tears trying to relieve the glut stuffing his body. Viktor clasped his hand as he emptied into his mouth.

He moved over into the chair next to him and pulled him into his lap, his hand smoothing over his back as he ruined his shirt yet again. “I’m so proud of you, Yuri. You did so well. Shh… it’s okay.” He squeezed him tighter as he kissed his head. “You’re okay. I promise. You did so well for me, and you’re so smart to figure out exactly what I was telling you.”

His sobs rocked him harder at Viktor’s lavish praise. Viktor took a deep breath and smothered him with more, driving every tear from his body with every kind word he could think to give.

Empty now, too empty, his fingertips stroked over Viktor’s cock. “Did I do good enough?”

“You did so good, Yuri, but I want to know why you want it.”

“It feels too empty, incomplete without your pleasure too.”

“Go ahead.”

(29) “Thank you.” He sighed and dropped to his knees as Viktor pulled his bowl over. He pulled him out and teased him with little licks until he was nicely hard. Moaning with satisfaction, he stuffed himself with Viktor’s cock and felt pleasure as Viktor would feel it soak into him.

“Ungh, Yuri! Oh god. Sweetheart, you need to learn how not to make me come in two seconds.”

He pulled off with a deep smack of his lips making Viktor grab his shoulder to steady himself. “Sorry! How do I do that?”

He chuckled and brushed his fingertips over his cheek. “Slow your rhythm when you see my body twitch and tense. And you don’t have to take me all right at the start. Save it for the end. Tease me with it since now I know you can do it, I’ll be wondering with every stroke if that one will be it or not.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He wanted to protest that taking him all just felt too good to resist but this was about pleasing him and if teasing him would do that, then that’s what he’d do. He licked his lips and started up again just sucking lightly over his head as his tongue flicked against it.

“Yeesss, Yuri. So good.” He took a bite of the katsudon and moaned. “Vkusno! Oh so good, Yuri! Both what you’re doing and what you did. It feels so good, and your katsudon is so tasty. Oh my god. I’m in heaven.” He groaned and took another bite. “Oh my god. So so good! I can’t believe this.”

He smiled as he slowly took him in deeper and backed out again even slower after almost letting him slip into his throat.

Viktor groaned, his eyes rolling as they closed. “Oh shit, that was perfect. I’m going to die of pleasure, just so you know. ‘Killed by Yuri Katsuki, died the happiest man in the world’ is going on my grave.”

He filled his mouth with katsudon, moaning unabashedly as Yuri tried out different ways of pleasing him. Slower, faster, deeper suction, teasing licks, longer and shorter strokes, all changed up and combined in turn as he watched Viktor flood with pleasure.

Viktor finished his meal and put his bowl down and covered him with more praise. “Ungh, Yuri. Yuri, it feels so good. You did such a good job. Best meal I’ve ever had. You can make me come now.”

He looked up from sucking along the side of his cock. “Is that an order?”

He smiled. “Have you got an idea for how you want to please me?”

“Yes, Viktor.” He kissed his head and swirled licks onto it.

He settled back in his chair. “Pleasure me as you like.”

“Thank you, Viktor.” He took him back in, and he knew Viktor was expecting him to tease him further as he had been doing, so instead, he took him all the way down and pressed his free hand against his stomach to feel for the telling clenches as his other hand gave him a deeper stretch than he usually did.

“Oh my god, Yuri! I thought you didn’t want to make me come yet.”

Slowly he dragged back out adding suction as soon as his throat was empty enough to do so and pulled back all the way to the tip before plunging down again in the same slow rhythm.

“Oh, shiiit,” he huffed as his hands clamped down on Yuri’s shoulders, “that felt amazing.”

He drew back again to the tip and caressed his tongue against the spot just below his ridge that always made him twitch before going back down as steady as he had before. Keeping his rhythm deep and slow he kept the stretch and suction going as his tongue explored every spot he had discovered during his teasing while Viktor fell apart in his hands. Viktor never lost control. He never got thoroughly teased because he always knew what his subs were going to do. He wanted to be surprised, so he decided to give him a taste of his own medicine. Driving him to the edge of release without giving enough to go over, his own steady rhythm set the pace for his tongue dancing over every one of his favorite spots. What would happen if he didn’t go faster as Viktor liked to do at the very end to drive him over the edge? If Viktor did it, it must be the most effective way, but would this work too? Judging by the contorting puddle of Viktor, it seemed to be good so far.

“Please.” His voice was the softest of whispers. Almost indistinguishable from his heaving breath, only the harder P giving it away. “Please, Yuri. I’m already dead. I’m in heaven it feels so good. Please make me come.”

Moaning as he pushed deep once again, he gorged himself on Viktor’s thick cock and his words even thicker with pleasure. He made Viktor beg. Had anyone ever made him beg before? He pulled back and the tells of a rising orgasm showed through the pulsing grip of his core and the twitching of his cock. He resisted the urge to go faster and instead chose the combination that Viktor responded to the best. Down with a twist of his hand leading into the stretch and his extended tongue shifted over to run along the path just left of center that seemed to be more sensitive than anywhere else then burying him deep in his throat as he made slow attempts to swallow him even more. Viktor came clinging to Yuri with all of his strength as he cried out his name.   

Viktor, slumped in the chair and twitching still as his orgasm played out its final touches, looked up at the ceiling with unfocused eyes. “He made me beg. Oh my god. He made me beg.” His eyes lowered to his. “You made me beg. Yuri, that was incredible. It felt so, so good. There are no words for how amazing that felt. You made me beg, Yuri.” His mouth hung open as he stared at him in disbelief.

He kissed his oversensitive cock, smiling as it twitched in his hand. “Am I the first one to do that? Did I surprise you?”

“Yes to both. I can’t believe you made me beg. I was utterly helpless. I’d told you to pleasure me as you liked and suddenly, I’m just lost in you. You did things I’ve never felt, and I don’t even know how that’s possible considering how many different people have tried their best to please me. How did you think of doing it like that?”

“Um, I just thought that you might not have had anyone do to you what you do to them. The edging gets almost painful after a while so I knew you wouldn’t like it to that degree, but I thought you might like a little bit because it does make the orgasms more intense.”

“That is so true. Everyone’s always in a rush to please me as soon as possible, and it ends up all feeling the same no matter what they do. But you did more than just that. You hit every perfect spot.”

“I tried to memorize the spots that made you react more when I was teasing you.”

“Oh my god, Yuri. You make me helpless. I don’t think you understand just how good you are. You made me beg.”

He hid his beaming smile with more kisses and light licks to his cock.

“You genuinely like doing that, don’t you?”

“Yes, Viktor. You feel so good inside me.”

He smiled and pulled him up from his knees to cuddle him and cover him with kisses. “Now, that is the way to a man’s heart. Cook him the best meal ever then give him mind-blowing pleasure while he enjoys it.”

“You really liked the katsudon?”

“You made it my favorite, hands down. It was so good.”

“My mom’s is better.”

“Don’t do that. Don’t take away your victory by belittling it. I told you to make it my favorite, and you did. I don’t care if your mom’s might be better. I loved your katsudon. It was so tasty even without the blowjob. You really did an amazing job. I want you to give your recipe to the chef at our restaurant and teach them how to make it so we can put it on the menu.”

“We don’t even know if it will happen yet.”

“I’m confident it will.”

“You really liked it that much?”

“Yes, Yuri. I truly did. It was so well-balanced and satisfying. I’m not known for being easy to please. I would have no hesitation to tell you if it was bad. I’m not flattering you. You did an excellent job, and you earned my praise. Every bit of it.”

His cheeks touched pink as he kissed Viktor’s cheek. “Thank you. I’m glad you liked it.”

“Shit. I learned something else critically important about you.”

“What’s that?”

“Never unleash you when I have to work after.” He laughed and kissed his forehead. “How do you expect me to teach like this?”

“Um, well putting your cock away first might be a good idea.”

He laughed, pressing his forehead against Yuri’s. “Yes, thank you, zolotse. My brain is still pure goo after what you did to me. I might have forgotten that.”  

“And, um, you might want a new shirt. I’m sorry. I ruined it.”

“No, you followed my orders to leave your tears with me. But yes, I do need a new shirt. Come on.” He kissed his forehead again then tucked his cock away but left his pants unzipped as he pulled the polo from his body.

Yuri groaned as he went to the counters to clean up his mess. “You’re so hot. It’s so unfair.”

“I’m unfair? Who just made me comatose with pleasure then slapped my ass and sent me off to work?”

“I did not!” He giggled as Viktor grinned at him, stalking forward like he was about to pounce.

“Oh, you have no idea how brutal you are with that innocence.” He crept around the corner, his hands raised into claws. “Make me beg for you and you don’t even know what you did. Make me work to get what I want. Make me need to give you everything while you barely accept anything. What if I just,” his hands came down to scoop his thighs up in his hands and set him on the counter, his mouth inches from his, his eyes burning with hunger, “force you to accept it. Hold you down until I’ve given you everything I want to give, until I don’t feel like I’m going to burst holding it all inside me.” He leaned in, his hands gripping him tight as his mouth was held just in front of his. “That’s what I want to do.” He took his chin in his hand then turned Yuri’s head to land his kiss on the edge of his jaw and sighed. “But what I need is your choice.” He kissed his cheek and left to go change his shirt.

Yuri heaved on the counter then stared down at his hardened cock. “Seriously? You can’t let me have any dignity, can you? We knew he was going to stop. He has to teach, you idiot.”

Viktor’s muffled laugh drifted around the corner.

Yuri groaned as his whole face turned red. “You’re so mean!”

“And you’re so adorable!”

He shook his head as he jumped down and started cleaning, giving his stupid cock the silent treatment.

***

(30) Yuri was just coming out of Viktor’s office after spending the past hour on the phone contacting several companies to get quotes on their services. Table linens and marketing stats and recruiters were running through his head, but those were only background noise to the fact that it was nearly five and time for another scene with Viktor. What did he plan to do? He mentioned they would play with the electricity soon. Is that what he had planned for today? Or maybe something they’d seen at the party. Or the sounding again. He wouldn’t mind repeating that one at all.

He was walking through the short aisle between the tack rooms that led from Viktor’s office to the main aisle lost in his thoughts when he bumped right into someone. “Oh! I’m so sorry. I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going.”

“Of course, you weren’t.”

The snarl told of only one person it could be before he even pushed his glasses into place. Yura.

“You never know where you’re going, do you? You never pay attention. You just wander around destroying everything in your path.”

A crushing hand seized his throat, choking him while tears burned behind his eyes. He didn’t mean it- He couldn’t mean it the way he was taking it. “I- I’m sorry. You’re right. It’s all my fault. I- I wasn’t paying attention. Are you hurt?”

He sneered and dug into his pocket, pulling something out and clenching it in his hand. “I don’t know. I can’t decide. Why don’t I flip a coin to find out?” He pinched the shiny penny between his fingers, holding it up for Yuri to see.

He gasped as every broken piece locked so far inside himself even Viktor couldn’t reach it, twisted their jagged points inside his heart. “What?” He started to drown in the tears he locked away.

Yura tossed the penny in the air and snatched it before it hit the ground over and over, his sadistic sneer widening. “Heads it’s not hurt, tails it is. Let’s see… hurt?” He flipped the penny in the air, caught it, and slammed it onto the back of his hand. He lifted his hand to peek. “Not hurt.” He flipped the penny again. “Hurt? Not hurt.” He shook his head as he checked the penny resting on the back of his hand. “You’d think this would give me the right answer, but it’s just not. Why don’t you try? I’m sure it’ll come up with the right answer for you.” He tossed the penny at him.

Yuri screamed and clamped his hands over his mouth as the penny struck his chest then fell to the bricks, bouncing a few times before it lay still on the ground.

Yura stared down at it then looked back up with his cruel smile gone and nothing but hatred in his eyes. “You would drop that, wouldn’t you, Yuri Katsuki?” He pulled another coin from his pocket and tossed it in the air, snagging it from its fall as he turned and walked away.

Yuri’s hands stayed clamped over his mouth as his heart raced with the clammy panic shorting out the circuits in his brain until he dissolved into the snow found on empty stations of old television sets. A distant voice crackled his name behind the deafening static. He had as much hope of responding as he would of sorting those black and white specks into a whole image.  

“Yuri! Yuri! What’s wrong?!” Viktor’s hands were shaking him as he tried to pull him back into his grip. “Yuri! Please, tell me!” He couldn’t get a response, so he looked around the area, looking for clues. His eyes followed Yuri’s line of sight and settled on the ground in front of him. He slowly bent down and picked up the penny.

Yuri sucked in a fresh breath, and his head jerked away.

“This? A penny has you like this?”

“Please,” Yuri’s voice croaked as he shook his head, trying to escape while being nailed in place, “please get it away.”

He tucked it into his pocket and tried to grab him again, but Yuri jerked back. “Is that not far enough?”

He shook his head.

“Okay. I’ll go throw it away.”

“No! Don’t! Please!”

“Shh… It’s okay. I won’t. Tell me, where should I put it?”

“Keep it safe. Keep it away from me.”

“Does it have to be away from you to be safe?”

He nodded.

“Go into my office and wait for me there, and I’ll put it somewhere safe.”

“I ca- I can’t- can’t move.” His voice sounded hollow, distant as the static tried to mimic him.

“Yuri, go run and hide in my office and wait for me on your knees there.” He braced his command with the threat of his anger, driving him a step back. “That’s where it’s safe.”

“If I hide in your office… it’ll be safe?” His foot moved another step back.

“Yes, Yuri. Go now.”

He turned and raced to the office and fell onto his knees, huddling into a ball with his hands over his head, trying to block the screams in his head as guilty bile sought justice in his stomach.

Viktor came in a minute later and put his hand on his back.

“Punish me. Punish me. Please. Beat me as hard as you can. Please.”

“I’m not beating you like this.”

“Please, Viktor. Please. I need it.”

“I don’t know what’s going on in your head, so I can’t confirm that. Tell me, Yuri. How did a penny make you like this?”

“I can’t- You said it was okay. It’s okay- if I don’t tell you this.”

“You don’t have to tell me this if it’s part of the exception I granted, but I won’t be beating you or doing any type of scene with you like this and not knowing what’s going on.”

His mind brimming with hollow static scrambled for anything to get what he needed. “I- I panicked in a scene last night, and you were okay with that.”

“Yes, because I knew what you were panicking about and I knew how to control it. I’m clueless here because you won’t trust me enough to tell me. Yuri, please. I thought I understood your panic in this area, but I’m not getting how a penny ties into it at all. I promise you can tell me whatever it is. Please trust me and share this with me.”

“I- I-” He gnashed against the gag in his mouth. “I can’t. I’m sorry. I can’t.” Hands ripped at his hair as his sobs broke free.

Viktor pried his hands away and tried to gather him in his arms, but Yuri pushed against him. “Yuri! What the hell is going on?”

“I don’t- I don’t deserve it. Please, Viktor, I can’t.”

“I decide what you deserve.” His voice lowered to a growl as he sat down and wrestled him into his arms, pinning him tight as he fought to get away. “You’re getting my comfort. That’s what you need.”

He felt like he was going to be sick at Viktor’s touch. He thrashed against him, sobbing desperately to get away. He needed to be anywhere but here.

A knock came at the door, and Viktor shoved his face into his chest to bury his sobs.

“Viktor?” Georgi asked. “Can I come in? I needed-”

“No. Go away. Ask me tomorrow or send me a text.”

He waited for the footsteps to fade out then released his face and retook his firmer hold on his wrists. “It’s okay, Yuri. You deserve my comfort right now, and I don’t care what you think about it. You’re going to get it. Submit to it, Yuri. Submit to me.” He locked his arms around him and threw his leg over his, hooking it around the leg behind his back to hold him in place.

He couldn’t stop. The static screamed, piercing panic over clattering wood. He had to get away before he destroyed more.

“Shit, you’re a lot stronger than you look.” His hands slipped on Yuri’s sweaty skin, and he scrambled to regain his hold. “Yuri, tell me your name.”

He heard the command, the demand to obey, but he didn’t have the control over himself to even hand it to Viktor. Instead, Yuri’s hands pushed harder, and his fingers dug into Viktor’s chest.

Viktor yanked him back tighter, using all of his strength to hold him where he had no leverage to fight. “Where were you born?”

He tried to answer. Some part of his brain held the answer, but it was lost on the way to his mouth. His head twisted in a wretched shake.

“Where are you right now?”

“Arena.”

He sucked in a breath. There was a long pause before his next question came. “What do you see?”

“It’s so loud. Too loud to see.”

“What do you hear?”

He torqued his head. “Too loud to hear.”

“What’s too loud?”

“Nothing. Everything. It won’t stop screaming.”

“What’s screaming?”

“The static. It won’t stop screaming. It’s so scared. Have you ever heard something so scared?”

“No. I haven’t.” Viktor’s voice broke as he kissed his head. “Who is with you right now?”

“Viktor.”

He sighed. “Is Viktor in the arena?”

He shook his head.

“Where is Viktor?”

“In his office.”

“And you’re with him?”

He nodded. “Yes, Viktor.” The static skipped into silence for just a beat, but it was enough to regain control of his limbs enough to lock them in place so he couldn’t fight.

He sighed again and kissed his head. “Good, Yuri. So good. I’m so proud of you. If you’re with him, that means you’re in the office too, right?”

He nodded. “Yes, Viktor. Viktor wasn’t there.”

“Good, Yuri. You’re right. I wasn’t there then. If you’re with me you’re not there either. Where are you right now?”

“With Viktor. In his office.”

“Yes, Yuri. That’s exactly right. You’re with me. What do you smell?”

“Stable. Leather. Hay. Sweet. Warm. You.”

“Good, Yuri. You’re doing so well for me. What do you see?”

“Your medals and ribbons. Pictures. Of you and Toska.”

“Yes, Yuri. That’s right. Look at me.” He smiled when he obeyed. “Good, Yuri. What do you see now?”

“Your eyes. Always so pretty.”

He smiled and kissed his cheek. “There’s my sweet Yuri. What do you feel?”

He shook his head. “Nothing. Empty.”

His face creased but he tried to hold his smile in place. “It’s okay. That’ll go away, and you’ll feel something again soon. This will pass. It’s only temporary. It’s okay, Yuri. You’re safe.”

“I shouldn’t be.”

“Yes, you absolutely should be. You’re mine, and I want what’s mine to be safe and protected. You don’t get a say.”

He nodded. “Yes, Viktor.”

“Good, Yuri. Can you hear my voice?”

“Sort of. It’s scratchy.”

“Because of the static?”

He nodded. “Yes, Viktor.”

“How long have you had the static?”

“Always. It wasn’t so loud before though. It was silent static. Now it’s so loud. It hurts.”

“Your head hurts?”

He nodded. “Yes, Viktor.”

“Okay, I’ll get you some medicine when I’m certain you’re safe. Is the static always loud now?”

“It’s louder than it was before but not usually this loud.”

“What made it loud?”

His face crumpled as he shook his head.

“Okay. You don’t have to answer that one. Have you had this loud static since you started here?”

“Yes. On Avos. Not this loud though.”

“Does it only get this loud when it has something to do with horses?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Say it again.” His command sharpened his voice to help it slice through the static.

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Good, Yuri. Say it again.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Good, Yuri. Does my voice sound clearer?”

He nodded. “Yes, Viktor.”

“Good. What’s your order? What are you supposed to do when you feel this?”

He clawed through the static, trying to find the answer. He knew there was one. Viktor was asking. It was somewhere in there. It had to be. He wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t. He seized upon something sharp. It drew blood across his tongue as he forced the words out. “Viktor- I need- I need to feel… your strength.”  

“That’s right, Yuri. You found it. Stay, Yuri. Kneel.” He released his arms and lifted his leg off of him to allow him to obey.

His body numbly made its way to his spot in front of his desk, crawling on his hands and knees. He tucked his feet under him and dragged his body upright, resting his fists on his knees.

“Soft, Yuri. Eyes up and relax your hands.”

He lifted his chin and opened his hands, resting his palms on his thighs.

“Good, Yuri. Stay. Kneel. Just like that. Work on getting as soft as you can for me while I’m gone. Submit to what I want from you. You know how to please me. What’s your order?”

“Stay. Kneel. Be soft.”

“Good, Yuri. Don’t you dare break that order. There will be severe consequences if I find you gone when I come back.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Good, Yuri.” He left, closing the door behind him.

Stay. Kneel. Be soft. Be soft. How does he do that? What did it feel like when Viktor praised him for being soft enough for him? It felt warm. Easy. Still. Quiet. His muscles around his chest and throat unclenched allowing the air to pass through his lungs. His slowing breath dropped his shoulders from his ears, and he found a better posture that would please Viktor more.

Viktor returned and stopped to observe him for a moment. “Excellent, Yuri. You did exactly as I said. You’re so good. Is the static getting a little quieter?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Is it still there?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“You’re doing so well for me. Here, take this.” He put some pills in his mouth and offered a bottle of water.

He swallowed them down without even thinking to ask what they were.

“Good, Yuri.” He put the bottle on his desk and sat down on the edge, looking down at him. “Do you trust me?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Then why can’t you tell me what this is?”

He shook his head, flinching. “I can’t.”

“You mean you literally can’t? You can’t make the words come out?”

He sighed and nodded. “Yes, Viktor.”

Reaching behind him, he opened the drawer to the printer and grabbed a piece of paper and handed it to him with a pen. “Can you write it?”

Pressing the pen to the paper on the floor, he tried to drag the words onto the page, but he only managed to draw a shaky line that tore a hole through the page. His breath started to seize up, and Viktor snatched the paper back and crumpled it into a ball.

“Okay. It’s okay, Yuri.” He tossed the paper into the wastebasket behind his desk. “Stay. Kneel. Be soft.”

He nodded and lifted his eyes back to Viktor’s. “Yes, Viktor.”

He studied him with his finger against his lips, examining his sub he was so afraid of destroying. He worried for nothing. He can’t destroy something already gone. He had come to him already obliterated. “What are you feeling right now?”

“Fuzzy. Numb.”

“Everywhere?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“Has this happened before?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

“How did you get through it?”

“I ran.”

“How far did you run?”

“Until the ground ran out. Until I hit the ocean.”

“Here.”

“I had to turn back a little bit to get here. I didn’t stop until I couldn’t drive any further.” He bit his lip and shook his head, his eyes watering. “I didn’t go far enough. It followed me. I shouldn’t have turned back.”

“You can’t outrun your problems. You have to stay and face them if you ever hope to be free of them. If you have to run, run here. Any time. Even in your hours. Run to my office, kneel, and send me a text to let me know you’re here. This place is always safe for you to come to.” He moved his laptop onto the shelf behind his desk along with his golden horse statue. “Take off your boots and lie on your back on my desk.”

“Yes, Viktor.” He undid the snaps then slid the zippers down the back of his boots then stepped out of them and onto the desk with the shaky numbness fumbling his motions the whole way.

Viktor picked up his wrists to examine them along with the rest of his arms. “Shit. These are going to bruise. I’m sorry, Yuri. I didn’t mean to hold you that roughly but you were fighting me so hard. Are you okay?”

“I didn’t even notice anything.”

“They’re going to be harder to cover. Long sleeves right now are more than a little strange. I can get you some makeup.”

“I’m not worried about them.”

“Yuri, these aren’t going to be explainable any way other than someone grabbing you violently. Then you either have to say you were attacked or wanted it. Or I suppose you could go with the truth and say you panicked and I had to hold you down so you didn’t hurt yourself.”

“I’ll just wear long sleeves.”

“Alright, Yuri.” He kissed over the bruises. “I am sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

“It didn’t hurt. I wish it did.”

He gave a small, sad laugh. “Yeah, I know you do. I want you to focus on two things now. Stay and be soft. Connect to your body through my order.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

He pressed his hands into Yuri’s shoulders and held the deep pressure without moving for several seconds. Slowly releasing his hold, he moved to another spot a few inches away. He worked over his entire front then flipped him and pressed over his back as well while Yuri struggled to keep his focus on his orders. The static was quieter, but his focus was still fuzzy making his hold on Viktor’s command waver.

Viktor finished his massage over his feet then stroked slowly from head to toe a few times before he pulled his hands back. “It’s six o’clock. You’re free.” His eyes wavered between scrunching in thought and drooping with sadness flicking at the corner of his mouth. His posture slumped unnaturally before he pulled his shoulders back upon catching Yuri’s eyes.

He sat up and hopped down to pull his boots on. “Thank you, Viktor.”

He gave a little shake of his head as he winced. “You can stay. I’d like you to stay. I’m still worried about you.”

“I’m fine. I’m sorry I fought you. I didn’t mean to.”

“I know you didn’t. That’s what worries me. Please stay?”

“You said you have to go into the city tonight and I promised Phichit I’d go to this party. I can’t stay.”

“If you want to come over after your party, you’re more than welcome.”

He fastened the last snap and stood up with a huff. “I’m fine, Viktor. You don’t have to worry about me.”

“Now I’m even more worried.”

“I’m better. The static is quiet.”

He shook his head, tossing his hair out of his face and narrowing his eyes as he dropped his voice to his insistent tone. “If you need anything at all call me, Yuri. You haven’t taken me up on that even though there were times you should have.”

“I will if I need to, but I haven’t needed to.”

“You are atrocious at knowing your own needs. If you feel off in any way, if you get so much as a mosquito bite or a bad case of the hiccups, I want you to call me. Please.”

He came around the desk to kiss his cheek. Lingering there for just a moment, he found a smile to reassure him. “You worry too much. I’m just going to be here eating pizza and drinking beer. Please don’t worry about me? I’ll see you on Monday.”

Viktor caught his fingers before he could leave. “Please… Can I get a hug?” His mother’s innocent face shone through his eyes peeking under his fringe.

He smiled and nodded, stepping back over and opening his arms. Sighing, he relaxed against his chest finding something like normal there. “You look like your mom sometimes.”

“Huh? No, I’m nearly a carbon copy of my dad.”

“In your expressions sometimes like just now. And your face has just a little more softness than your dad’s. It makes you prettier than him.”

He squeezed him tighter. “Thank you. No one has ever seen her in me in any way. I always found that sad. She never said anything, but I’m sure it must have hurt her to have strangers act so shocked to find out I was actually hers. And for you to say her influence actually improved on his… If you ever meet her, please tell her that.”

“I will.”

“Thank you, Yuri, for the most amazing week of my life.”

“Thank you, Viktor, for the strangest week of my life.” He laughed. “I’m pretty confident in saying that now. I doubt anything could ever be stranger than… any of it. But it was the best week too. Thank you. And thank you for this. It’s a good way to end our days together.”

“Oh, I was still working on something for that. This isn’t really a ritual.”

“If you do it consistently it is. It doesn’t have to be complicated. I like simple.”

“Can I give you kisses?”

“Yes, Viktor.”

He smiled and pressed his lips to his cheek. “Thank you, Yuri, for another amazing day with you. Please, I’m begging you, call me if you feel off about anything. With the sudden drop in endorphins, you can experience sub drop which can make you feel depressed or lethargic or any number of emotional or physical imbalances. I was hoping to help carry you over Sunday with our scene today, but it didn’t happen so just be extra alert of what you’re feeling tomorrow and contact me, please. I can help you with anything you’re going through, but I can’t help you if you don’t reach out to me. Actually, just please, call me tomorrow and check in with me, so I don’t have to worry so much?”

“Okay, I’ll call you. Thank you for being so generous. And thank you for everything, Viktor.” He kissed his cheek then left and headed for the cottage, taking the longer path around the stable rather than the shorter one through it.

He opened the front door, and Phichit bounded up to him. He opened his arms and Phichit grinned and leapt into a hug. He didn’t land hard enough.

“Your bruises are gone?”

“It’s fine.”

Phichit pulled back blushing then kissed his cheek. “So, give me details. How was your party? Did you successfully make the ex jealous?”

He started taking off his boots which was a welcome diversion from eye contact. “I doubt it. I have no idea why she’d want me for that. But the party was fine. Pretty much exactly what you’d expect.” He told a lot of lies lately, but that one was easily in the top five. The guilt that hadn’t stopped burning in his stomach appreciated the extra fuel. He put the boots on the rack. “I’m going to go shower and change.”

“Okay, cool. I’m going to place the order for pizza. Any requests?”

“Anything’s fine.”

“All anchovies and pineapple it is.” He grinned.

He gave a weak laugh. “I’d still eat it. I just wouldn’t be thrilled about it.”

He stopped in his room to get his clothes so he wouldn’t have to walk from the bathroom to his bedroom in a towel. He opened his closet and pondered which of the two long sleeved button up shirts he owned he should wear. Gray or blue? He grabbed the gray one and a pair of jeans from his dresser. Fewer choices made things so much simpler.

He finished checking himself over in the mirror to make sure the open collar of his shirt wouldn’t shift enough to expose any of his bruises. It looked a bit derpy with the sleeves down and buttoned, but with fingerprints blooming on his arms all the way down to his wrists which bore the brunt of it, anything else wasn’t an option. Bracing himself for the horrors of a party, he opened the door.

“Hey, Yuri! While you’re over there, can you grab the beer from the garage? I forgot to put it in the fridge earlier.”

“Yeah, no problem.” He walked past his bedroom to the side door leading to the garage. Dragging the cases over so he wouldn’t have to put his clean feet on the dusty floor, he braced his hand on the hood of his car so he wouldn’t fall over. Another chunk of rust knocked loose with the jostling. He watched it fall, breaking into red flakes and dust on the concrete floor.

“TJ’s Towing. How can I help you?... Hello?... Is anyone there?”

He tapped off the phone and put it away, throwing the card into the glovebox on top of the brand-new manual. Viktor hadn’t told him to sell his car, and it’s not like he could anyways. That went beyond their terms. It was just a suggestion.

Just a suggestion. Right. Maybe it was factually true, and Viktor wouldn’t punish him for it, but he would be hurt by it. Why keep it? It’s not like its going to last any more than a few months at best. The only thing it was going to do was show Viktor he truly wasn’t his outside of his hours. Not even deferring to him enough to take a reasonable suggestion. Is that what he wanted? He didn’t know. He didn’t know anything anymore. He just reacted. Went wherever the forces put him.

The box dragging on the gritty concrete turned up the volume of the static a click. Heaving it up into his arms along with the other one, he kicked the door shut behind him.

“Did you get lost?” Phichit beamed as he took one of the cases from him and started putting the cans into the freezer.

“Huh? Was I out there for a long time?” His hands shook as he tore the other box open. The static went up another few clicks.

“A little bit, yeah.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.” He cracked open one of the cans and started drinking.

“Eww. Warm beer? You’re killing me. I’m sorry I didn’t put them in earlier, but these will be cold in about twenty minutes.”

“It’s not that bad.” He alternated between helping Phichit load the freezer and chugging the beer.

“If you really want to start drinking now, there’s some liquor in the cabinet over there.” He pointed behind Yuri. “That’ll be much better than warm beer.”

“Oh, I really shouldn’t drink liquor. That’s a terrible idea for me.”

“Oh really?” A mischievous grin spread on his face. “Tell me, Yuri Katsuki, are you a troublesome drunk?”

“Umm… maybe.”

“Oh my god. What kind of trouble are we talking here? Like dancing on tables or starting brawls or oh! Are you a great ideas drunk?”

“Great ideas?”

“You know the people who always get amazingly bad great ideas and immediately want to go do them and get everyone else in trouble too?”

“Uhh… I… dance. And maybe a bit of the great ideas too.”

“Oh my god. That is awesome! What have you done?”

“I tried to get a tattoo once? They turned me down because I was obviously wasted, but I apparently… uh, challenged the tattoo artist to a dance off? I said that I wasn’t drunk and could prove it by beating him in a dance-off.”

“Oh my god! Did he take you up on it?”

“No. He wasn’t amused according to my sources. Thank god. He was probably sick of drunk idiots like me wanting him to do stupid, stupid shit to their bodies.”

“What was the tattoo you wanted?”

“I don’t remember, but I’m sure it was something awful.” He cracked another warm one open to toast to another wonderfully blatant lie. He’d take the truth of what he’d wanted tattooed on his ass to his grave.

“Oh my god.” He cringed. “I need a drink just to watch you drink that.” He opened the cabinet and pulled down a bottle of tequila and some shot glasses then grabbed some limes from the fridge and started cutting them into wedges.

Yuri grabbed a plate from the cabinet to hand to him. “Tarelka. Plate,” he muttered under his breath. “Tarelki. Plates.”

Phichit took the plate and started setting the limes on it. “Huh? What did you say?”

“Huh? Oh. Um, nothing really. Just thinking about work stuff.”

“How is work going?”

“Um, chaos. I still haven’t the faintest idea of how to run the farm. I’m still sorting through so much information there trying to learn as quickly as I can.”

“Don’t stress too much. Viktor’s hard for sure, but as long as he sees that you’re making a good effort, he’s pretty patient too.”

“Yeah, I got that. Thanks though. I still want to do a good job.”

“I’m sure. Was it something you wanted to do?”

“I guess? I don’t know really. He… asked and it just seemed right to go along with it.”

He laughed. “That’s an interesting way to sort your job choices.” He poured a glass and licked his hand then sprinkled it with salt. “One shot with me?” He held out the shaker.

“Alright fine. One.” He licked his hand as well and seasoned himself with salt while Phichit poured another shot. He picked up the glass of golden liquor and paused to let his brain consider how much of a terrible idea this one was. Was it, ‘I shouldn’t have taken the expiration date on the milk as a general guideline’ bad or ‘I want to permanently disfigure my body in the most embarrassing of ways’ bad? He licked his hand and tossed it back. It tasted like, ‘I haven’t even considered that my abilities to fuck up my life reached such heights.’ The tang of the lime settled it nicely.

Phichit hissed through the burn. “Damn, I shouldn’t have cheaped out here.”

“It was fine. Tasted smooth enough to me.”

“Yeah, well you also drink warm beer, so your opinion is invalid. Freakin’ masochist.” He shook his head and poured another shot.

“What? I’m not- I mean it doesn’t taste great, but it’s not that bad.” The tequila quieted the static back down, and he was grateful for its assistance.

Phichit held up the bottle as a question, and Yuri offered his glass to fill. “Woot! Party time! I’ve been dying for this all week. I’m glad I finally get to spend time with you again. How long is Viktor going to make you stay after; do you know yet?”

He didn’t bother with the salt this time and just tossed the glass back. “No clue. But if he wants me to stay late, well he pays enough I’m not going to risk losing this job.”

“True. I never realized how much a decent salary and the best working conditions you can hope for can give a boss the power to grab you by the balls. I’d clean this place in a French maid outfit if he asked me to.”

He laughed. “I doubt he’d… ask that.” He would absolutely ask that. Just not of Phichit.

“I mean, where else can you get even half of what he pays? Jesus, when my old roommate quit, I seriously asked if he was right in the head.”

“You didn’t really say that.”

“I did. He said he was going to another stable. Like… where? Why? To take a massive pay cut? He wouldn’t give me any details, but I shouldn’t have expected that from him. He never says anything unless it’s absolutely necessary.”

Someone knocked on the door as they opened it. “Knock knock! I’m coming in!”

“Mila!” Phichit tossed his arms up even though she couldn’t see. “We’re in the kitchen getting wasted! Join us!”

“Ooh, fun. What are we drinking?”

“Tequila. Or warm beer if you’re a masochist like Yuri.”

“Eww! Yuri! What a terrible first impress-” she came around the corner and tilted her head as she examined him “-ion. So… You’re Yuri, huh?”

He chugged down the last of his warm beer and extended his hand. “You must be Mila.”

Another knock sounded.

“Come in!” Phichit called. He waited, but the door didn’t open. “Damn Georgi. I swear he’s a vampire. Needs me to open the door for him to come in.” He shook his head and went to answer.

Mila stepped in uncomfortably close making him back up into the wall as she looked him up and down with her eyes narrowed. “So… You’re Yuri.” Snatching the glasses from his face, she pushed back his hair. “Oh… Yuri. What games you play.” She shook her head and put his glasses back on as she leaned in closer. “You know Peach is really into you, right?”

“I know. Please don’t say anything.”

She stepped back and grabbed the bottle. “Say anything about what? You should maybe say some things though.” She poured a glass and held it up. “Na zadrovye.”

His hands were shaking hard as he poured his next shot. It tasted catastrophic. His head swirled with the rising static, and the sloshing focus of the tequila only made it worse. He went into the bathroom and tried to undo his bad decisions by sticking his finger down his throat, but with his gag reflex desensitized, it had no effect. Chris had warned of this. The trade-off for being able to suck a dick all the way was not having a functioning gag reflex, and that meant a higher risk of choking and apparently, no way to undo poor life choices. He groaned as he pulled out his phone. He could call Viktor. Ask him to come to the party or get him out of there. But he’d probably be in the city right now. Training his subs. Letting other people give him pleasure. He shoved his phone back in his pocket and stumbled back out the door.

Phichit had some upbeat music going, and two new people had shown up.

“Yuri! There you are. Praying to the porcelain gods already?”

“No, I wish. I already drank too much.”

“Ah, the pizza will be here soon. It’ll help soak it up.”

“That’s a myth.” Georgi sniffed. “Nice to meet you officially, Yuri. Viktor sure has kept you well hidden there.”

Lion and Mila exchanged glances.

“Yeah, he’s been keeping me busy. Nice to meet you too.”

“And this is Leo and Emil.” Phichit pointed to Lion and a taller man with a goatee.

Leo did a better job than Mila at hiding his judgment of his lies, but it was still there in his glances between him and Phichit. Emil was a blissfully benign presence and was nearly as friendly as Phichit. Yuri found himself hovering near him as the rest of them started in on the pizzas that had been delivered during his failed attempt at redemption.

“So, how long have you been riding for?” Emil asked him.

“I don’t ride.”

“Really? I thought you were riding Avos.”

“Um, not really. I’m more just sitting on him. Viktor wanted to… try a new training technique for him, so I’m the test dummy for it.”

“Well you must know how to ride to stay on him,” Georgi said.  

“He didn’t even have a bridle on. I was just sitting there. That’s not really riding.”

“Uh, that’s riding. That’s advanced riding. Why do you say you don’t ride if you’re riding a horse like Avos bridleless?”

“I just don’t- It’s not riding. It’s just sitting there. I’m not telling him to do anything. I don’t ride.”

“Okay, fine. So how do you know how to sit on a horse?”

“I used to ride, okay? I don’t anymore. I quit, and I won’t ever ride again.” Yes, he will. That’s what Viktor wants. He will absolutely get what he wants. Viktor won’t let him fail. He won’t just ride, he’ll compete.

“Why did you quit?” Emil’s head tilted in innocent confusion.

“I didn’t want to ride anymore.”

“But you are riding,” Georgi said.

“Alright, guys, just drop it,” Phichit said. “He’s a little touchy about this. Have some pizza, Yuri.”

“I’m not hungry.”

“Really? Weren’t you working all day?”

“Just on the hay farm. It’s not strenuous.”

“Still, it’s dinner time. Eat something.”

“I’m not hungry. Does anyone else want a drink?” He went to the kitchen and pulled the now cold beers from the freezer and put them in the fridge, grabbing one for himself as well as the others who wanted one on his way back. He unloaded the beer to its proper recipients and another one into his own mouth which was the most improper location for it to be.

“Alright, I’ve gotta ask, what is your job description?” Georgi asked.

“I uh, don’t really have one. When I agreed to be his personal assistant, that kinda came with anything he wanted me to do.”

“Ooh, I see.” Mila raised her can slightly before she took a sip. “Instead of hiring a bunch of people to do all those random little tasks he needs done, he just got you.”

He had no idea if she was trying to help him or not with her complete condemnation of him earlier, but this answer at least seemed reasonable. “Yes, thank you. That’s exactly it.”

“Okay, so he’s got you doing what now? I mean other than not riding.” Georgi cocked an eyebrow.

“Um, grooming mostly. Taking the hay farm off his hands, um, some errands. Cooking his lunch. Uh…”

“Did I see you teaching Yura the other day?” Emil asked.

“Uh… yeah. I guess so.”

“Why? Viktor is the best there is. Why would he have someone else teaching?” Georgi asked. “And Yura wouldn’t be happy with someone other than Viktor teaching him. I mean, what level were you at when you quit?”

“I, uh,” he blinked rapidly trying to hold back the tears, “I was up to advanced.”

“Hey guys, let’s change the subject.” Leo’s voice had the same firmness Viktor’s had when issuing a command, but his tone was a little softer. He gave Yuri a quick smile.

“Wait, but, what?” Phichit was staring at him with his jaw dropped. “You mean you were riding at nearly the same level as Viktor? Why would you quit that, Yuri? Were you competing against him?”

“Seriously? He’s clearly not comfortable answering those questions. I thought this was supposed to be a party; not an interrogation.” Leo’s voice cracked harder.

He tried to give him a smile in thanks as he polished off his beer and headed back into the kitchen.

“Alright, I’ll drop Yuri’s little secrets over there. I’ve got one on Viktor to share.” Georgi’s voice lit with the delight of gossip waiting to be released. “I went to ask him a question earlier this evening, and I’m pretty sure I heard him crying in his office. Like… hard crying. He sent me away and told me to ask him tomorrow.”

Yuri skipped the glass and just poured the bottle into his mouth.

“Tomorrow? But tomorrow’s Sunday,” Emil said.

“Right? I’m pretty sure he wasn’t aware of that.”

Yuri came back in with a beer in his hand. “Why would you do that? Why would you spread things about him that you’re just guessing at? What if it’s not true?” His words slurred into those of a belligerent drunk.

“Well, I know what I heard.”

“And? What if he was watching a video or something?”

“Oh, yeah I guess that’s a possibility.”

“And even if he was crying, what a shitty thing to go around spreading like some kind of dirty secret. Is he bad for crying?”

“Well, no.”

“So why would you do that to him? Doesn’t he give you more than enough? Doesn’t he treat you with respect?”

He cringed and downed his beer. “Yeah.”

“So why would you give him this in exchange?”

“Yeah, okay.”

“Wow, Yuri. I had no idea you had such strong feelings for your new boss already.” Phichit studied him with a strange intensity.

He peered down into the can and lifted it to his lips. “I just hate gossip.” He mumbled against the can as he took a sip. “People should keep things to themselves.”

“Well,” Mila sighed and clapped her hands, “who’s up for a game of Gloom?”   

They gathered around the coffee table moving the pizza boxes to the floor and set up a card game where the objective was to make your players as miserable as possible while your opponents did good things to undo their misery. It was a weird and twisted game that at least took the focus off of Yuri and onto telling stories about the suffering they inflicted upon themselves, and he was able to make the somewhat wiser decision to switch to beer and steer well clear of the tequila. The actual wise decision would have been to not drink any of the tequila and only about half of the beer, but he was left to his own devices, and bad decisions were his forte.

The static grew louder again, but instead of the fuzzy scream of terror, it was clearer, little glitches of pictures coming in and cutting out to rainbow lines. Tally marks on his ass. Viktor’s smile. The penny on the ground. Himself on stage again in shackles and Lion’s whip sealing the bid. Viktor begging for his mercy. His tears on his knees. Clattering green and white. The coin flipping in the air. Yura’s eyes. Avos’s powerful stride. Mila’s look of judgment. Viktor’s innocent eyes. His thoughts slopped about in his head as they played several rounds of the game. When his hand wasn’t bringing beer to his mouth, it was joining the other to hold down the shaking as he held his cards. “Hey, uh, question. Yura’s new here, right?”

“Yeah, sort of. He’s the newest one here. He’s been here about six months or so,” Phichit said. “Haha! I delighted your Balthazar the Unfaithful Hound with ducklings. He just couldn’t resist their little quacking and found joy and loyalty to his new friends.” He set the transparent card down on Yuri’s.

“Oh? You think that’s enough to change his cold, uncaring heart? You weren’t paying close enough attention. That smile wasn’t one of joy. It was one of dark pleasure plotting their demise. He released his pack of vicious poodles and reveled in the havoc of duckling fluff. But karma found Balthazar, and after finishing with the ducklings, the pack turned on him, and he was pursued by pitiless poodles.” He laid down the card on his own undoing Phichit’s attack of happiness.

“Woah, that was some dark story-telling, Yuri.” Phichit nodded appreciatively. “Who knew you had such twisted things behind such a sweet face.”

“Don’t let appearances deceive you.” He drew a new card to replace the one he had played. “Does anyone know where Yura was before?”

“Umm… I think somewhere in the Midwest?” Emil said.

“Yeah, Michigan I think,” Georgi said. “He’s mentioned Detroit before. Why the interest in Yura?”

“Just curious.” Maybe he could try being sick now. His stomach was undoubtedly angry enough at him. Yura knew. Was he going to say anything? If he knew… if he saw him on Avos… there was no way he wouldn’t tell. That would be the end of him and Viktor right there. Viktor probably thought he was blaming himself for something that wasn’t really his fault. As soon as he learned the truth- He should call Viktor. Just tell him. But he can’t. He can’t because he’s in the city getting blowjobs from pretty people and he can’t talk. Not like he deserves to call anyway. Seeking relief from something he deserved punishment for. How pathetic. God alcohol was a horrendously stupid idea. The static wouldn’t stop sloshing.

“Hey, are you okay?” Leo leaned over to examine his eyes.

“I just drank too much. I’m fine. I’m gonna go to the bathroom. I forfeit or whatever.” He waved his hand at the game as he stood up.

“But you were crushing us again! You can’t just forfeit. We’ll wait for you,” Phichit said.

“Don’t have to do that. I quit.” He stumbled into the bathroom and laid down on the cool tiles while the screaming room spun around him. Too many things. Too much everything. He needed to end it.

(31) A hand rapped on the door. “Yuri? Are you okay?”

Yeah, that’d work. Take away the one thing that has Viktor interested in him. He wanted his virgin slut. Wanted to make him his. Wanted to put him on a horse. Wanted to make him compete. He’d do it too. There was no stopping him unless it wasn’t what he wanted anymore. He can stop at any time. Right. He’s too weak to stop it himself. Can’t do anything but go where the forces put him. He needs Viktor to stop it for him. He picked himself off the floor and opened the door. Make himself into a boring old slut. Then Viktor can just dump him before anyone learns the truth.

“Um…” Phichit shifted uncomfortably under Yuri’s stare. “Everyone’s gone. You’ve been in there a while. I just wanted to make sure you’re okay.”

“Do you want to kiss me?”

“Uh, yeah. I’ve been trying to kiss you again all week.”

He grabbed him and kissed him, his mouth slopping everywhere, but Phichit didn’t seem to mind. Yuri put his hands on his waist and started pushing him back to his bedroom.

“Mine? Yours is closer.”

He shook his head and kept leading him back. “Your room.”

“Okay, that’s fine. But I thought you wanted to go slow.”

“This’s slow enough.” He kissed him again to quiet him. His voice was too soft. It added to the chaos in his head. He got Phichit into his room and closed the door and started taking off Phichit’s shirt, bringing his sloven kisses down as the shirt came unbuttoned.

Phichit reached to turn on the lamp next to him.

He grabbed his hand and yanked it back. “No! No lights.”

“But I want to see you, Yuri. You have nothing to be ashamed of. I think you’re really hot. Please, can we turn on a little light?”

“No. No lights.” He kissed him again to shut him up then felt bad about it. “Sorry. I just…”

“Okay, it’s fine.”

“Sorry,” he mumbled again as he moved down to Phichit’s pants to unbutton them.

Phichit grabbed at some of his bruises, but it wasn’t hard enough. His own mouth on Phichit’s stomach turned bruising in his frustration.

“Ow, Yuri, it’s uh, a little rough.”

“Sorry.” His hands fumbled for his own zipper as he cringed back.

“It’s okay. We should have maybe talked about this before but are you a top or a bottom?”

“What are you?”

“A bottom.”

“That’s fine. Should still work.”

He laughed. “Still work? Are you a switch?”

“Sure. I don’t know.” He went back up to his mouth to shut him up again. So much talking. He just wanted to get it over with. His frustration spilled out in his sloppy, hard kisses as he grabbed Phichit’s wandering hands and pinned them to the bed. Why did there have to be so much touching?

He shook his head, breaking away from their kiss. “Ow! Yuri! You’re hurting me.”

He released his hands and jumped back, staring down at him in the dim light. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”

He pushed up onto his elbows and ran his hand over Yuri’s chest. “It’s okay. Um, can I ask you… are you a virgin? It’s okay if you are. I really like you no matter what kind of experience you have and I’d be honored to be your first.”

“I can’t- I can’t do this. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” He scrambled off the bed.

“It’s okay, Yuri. Don’t freak out.” He crawled forward and grabbed his hand. “We can go slow just like how you wanted.” He rose up onto his knees and grabbed his shirt to start kissing him again.

He shook his head and shoved him back onto the bed. “I can’t. I’m sorry. I can’t.” He raced out of the room and into his own, locking the door before he fell onto his bed.

Phichit knocked on his door. “It’s okay, Yuri. Let’s just talk about this. We don’t have to do anything right now if you’re not ready. Just please talk to me?”

The static was so loud he barely heard him. Curling up into a tight ball, he put the pillow over his head trying to block it out.

“Yuri! Please. Please, let’s just talk about this. It’s really not a big deal.” He waited a minute for him to respond then his footsteps went down the hall.

Everything was spinning, and he couldn’t make it stop. Like some creaking, haunted carnival ride that trapped him with no escape. His stomach wouldn’t stop seeking justice for every awful decision he made. His tears started up, and just before they immobilized him, his fingers grasped at the lump under his covers. He pulled Viktor’s t-shirt out and started unbuttoning his sleeves so he could trade his own shirt for Viktor’s, but he didn’t have enough time before his sobs took over. He clutched it to his chest as he huddled into his anguish.

***

The first cracks of light lit the wilted petals resting on the dresser where they had fallen from the drooping blooms. He had stared at them all night, numb, deaf in the static that never quieted in the hours he waited. The light grew a little brighter casting the first shadows below the dead flowers. He should have thrown them away already, but instead, he waited for them to rot into their inevitable end. It was so much worse. Watching them slowly die and knowing there was nothing he could do to stop it.

Daylight hours were approaching and would only bring more. More days with Viktor pushing him, confident that he’d be able to achieve everything Viktor wanted him to. Every second with him was a gift, but it was a gift that was stolen because he knew he’d never be able to make him proud in the long run. Viktor would hit his wall just as he had and there was no way around it. He’d spent years trying to do just that, and nothing on this planet would break it. Viktor would try. He would absolutely try with everything he was capable of, and he’d do nothing but smash himself into it until he was shattered just as Yuri had done.

He climbed out of bed and went into the kitchen to grab some trash bags from under the sink. Ripping open his dressers, he shoved his clothes in by the armful. He pulled the remaining clothes from his closet and tied the bags, glancing at the books on the shelves for a second before deciding they would stay. He was done this time for good. He’d get a job doing anything but horses. It was stupid to cling to the scraps of his life as he’d done before. All of this could have been avoided if he was capable of making a single smart choice. He grabbed his sleeping bag and pillow and was just about to head out the door when he spotted Viktor’s shirt still lying in the middle of the bed.

Just stop. Stop trying to cling to things that aren’t his. Didn’t he just make that decision two seconds ago? What was so fucking broken in his head that he can’t even stick to a good decision for two seconds? These things don’t belong with him. He’ll only destroy them. The horses. Viktor. It was the only end for them in his hands. He tried to force himself away leaving the shirt behind like he was the lotion and the book and the riding clothes, but he couldn’t. He cringed trying to tear himself away, but his body wouldn’t move. Stay. Kneel. He winced as his hand snatched the shirt from the bed as he turned to leave.

***

 

Chapter Text

(33) His car rattled down the cobblestone path with the first streaks of light highlighting the treacherous pits in the distant terrain covered with the deceptively inviting fog waiting for weary travelers to rest on its illusory body and be trapped forever in a pit of lost souls. He had no idea where he was going, but at least he had some money to work with this time. Between his signing bonus and his paycheck that had luckily been deposited on Friday, he had more than enough for a one-way ticket to Japan. He cringed, hating the idea even though it was probably the best thing to do. He came up to the split in the path that went either to the gate or down to the stable. Lifting off the gas, he started to make the turn to the gate then swerved at the last second to go to the stable instead. He couldn’t leave without giving at least one goodbye.

Stopping at the wide door, he cut off his engine then untied one of the bags in the backseat to rummage through it, sniffing his shirts until he found one that seemed worn enough. It was a strange goodbye note, but it was the only one he had to give. Viktor would understand it. He walked down the dark aisle with the horses greeting him with soft nickers and huffing breath taking in his scent. God, he would miss that. The scent that smelled more like home than home did, their soft sounds giving cadence to the easy quiet. It always made so much sense. When nothing else made sense, when his own mind didn’t make sense, this always did. They were content to just wait with him until the quiet cleared his mind and their steady muscles soothed his trembling hands. But it wasn’t that anymore. Now, it was just debris and memories.

He opened Avos’s stall and slipped in. “Hey, buddy. Sorry to wake you.” He patted his glossy neck then buried his fingers in his mane and tightened them as thick tears rolled down his cheeks. “I’m sorry.” His voice broke, and he grasped the coarse hairs tighter. “I need you to do something for me. Tell him goodbye for me, please? I can’t.” His throat swelled until he only had cracks for air and his voice to squeak through. “Tell him it’s not his fault. Tell him he is far better than I deserve. I didn’t even deserve a single glance from him and what he gave me… Even though I don’t deserve to, I’m going to hold on to every bit of it. And you…” He used his free hand to scratch his favorite spot under his cheeks while Avos craned his head. “You’re the most incredible animal I’ve ever seen. Don’t give Viktor a hard time and he’ll guide you perfectly through the most amazing of adventures. You won’t find better than him, so just trust him, okay? Maybe if I had fewer glitches in my brain… You are everything I wanted. I can’t tell you how much it hurts to see what could have been so clearly.” He had to stop while his body tried to force out more tears at once than it had the capacity for leaving him gasping in silent sobs. “I wish I wasn’t so broken. There’s not even a reason for it. I was just born cursed with a mind too broken to hold all of the dreams it created. I want to hold on so bad but I can’t. That’s what will destroy you. Me holding on selfishly when I shouldn’t.” He released his hand from his mane and pressed one last kiss to his solid neck. “I’m sorry. It’s the best I can give you.” He wove his shirt into the bars on the front of the stall and latched the door behind him.

A second latch echoed his own. “That’s all I get, huh?”

His soles ground on the gritty brick as he whipped around. He gasped at the figure standing in front of Toska’s stall, his pale, bare torso illuminating the dark. “Viktor? What are-”

“I expected more. More than an overheard goodbye and an empty shirt.” Tears glistened in his voice. “I thought I had earned at least a little of your faith. I guess I was wrong.”

“What do you mean? I do trust you. This has nothing to do with that.”

“Faith and trust aren’t the same. You trust me not to hurt you, but you have no faith in me. You have no faith that I’m capable of fixing a few little glitches. You have no faith that I’m capable of helping you find the strength you need to hold all of your dreams.”

“I do know that you’ll get me to compete again! That’s the problem! I know what you want to do with me, and I know you will absolutely succeed in making me do it. You’ll put me out there with complete faith that I will please you as I have done, and I won’t! I’ll destroy it all, and you’ll blame yourself for my failure! I don’t want to give that to you, Viktor! You have no idea how awful it feels!”

“Stop doing that, Yuri! Stop imposing your view over mine! Stop hearing your words instead of mine! Stop thinking you know everything that will happen to you!” His hand flung out to the side following his voice halting the gentle quiet and replacing it with his binding silence. “If you really are incapable of having faith in me, go ahead and go. I’m not going to chase you down again and again every time you choose something over me. I can’t play that game. Just know that if you do, you’ll have disappointed me more than anyone ever has, and I will go the rest of my life feeling that disappointment and that hurt as a scar.” His fist thumped against the center of his chest, bruised from his struggle to hold on to him yesterday.

“Viktor… I-” Every time. A single touch of his words and that’s all he needed to shatter him into pieces, each one shaped precisely as he wanted it. It was excruciating standing there watching Viktor’s tears fall knowing he had caused them and every bit of his self-preservation was telling him to leave him with them. He couldn’t take it if he destroyed them too. He’d never survive that. What Viktor was demanding was his life. He watched him in their mutual agony until he couldn’t take any more. He walked forward and dropped to his knees.

“Are you mine?”

“Yes, Viktor.” He was bent onto his hands, unable to kneel the way it would please him through the pain.

“Then act like it.”

“I’m trying. It hurts.”

“Good. Make it hurt more.”

He sat up and lifted his eyes against the tears holding him down, opening his chest that wanted to curl in to protect, settling his weight on his feet that wanted to run.

“You are here to please me. Don’t ever think for a second that I will allow you to do anything that doesn’t please me when you are in my hands.” He pulled his cock out of his black pants, already hardening with Yuri’s tears at his feet and pushed him onto it. “Make me believe in you again. Show me that you’re as strong as I thought you were.”

He had no idea what time it was. The horses would be fed at six. People could be coming any minute for all he knew. He went as slowly as he could, taking the time to give his attention to every spot he liked best.

“Show me how much you like being mine even when it hurts.”

He unbuttoned his jeans and pulled them and his boxers down to his knees, opening his kneeling stance as he worked over his cock just enough to get the slickness on his fingers that he needed to slip into his hole.

“Make yourself come as many times as you can while you wait to make me come until I tell you.”

He was massively hungover and exhausted and still sobbing on Viktor’s cock from the pain and the absolute last thing he wanted to do right now was to come. He took his own cock in hand as he made deep thrusts down on Viktor and inside himself with his mouth dragging pleasure slowly from Viktor’s body while his hands raced to obey. He managed a quick orgasm but trying for another right after was worse than the first with his cock wanting anything but his touch.

“Wait to touch your cock for just a minute. Focus on your prostate until the oversensitivity passes.”

Obeying the only voice that would both torture him and guide him through it, he waited until his cock recovered while starting the pleasure building again in his ass until his cock responded yet again and he forced another orgasm from his body. Viktor demanded five orgasms from him while he let his sparkling tears fall like cutting diamonds onto Yuri’s face before he finally allowed him to end his tears with pleasure.

Viktor dropped to his knees in front of him, still heaving from his release as he held his face in his hands. “You were going to leave me.” He gasped as a sudden sob surprised him with the depth of his pain. “You were going to leave me.”

“I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! Please. I’ll do anything. I’m so sorry. I didn’t want to hurt you.”

“But you did. You hurt me because you couldn’t have faith in me. You couldn’t believe that I am capable enough. You couldn’t believe that I wouldn’t put you in a position I had any doubts of you succeeding in. You thought that I valued putting you on a horse over you.”

“But you don’t even know what it is!”

“And there you go doubting me yet again! You think I can’t adapt to whatever new information comes our way or that I’d be so reckless as to put you in a situation I don’t have enough information about to control. I won’t fail you, Yuri! I promise! Please have faith in me.” His voice shook with his sobs.

“I’m sorry, Viktor! Please let me make it up to you! Please tell me how to make you stop hurting!”

He shook his head and wiped off his face. “You prove yourself to me. Come on.” He stood up and pulled Yuri to his feet and redressed him. “Drive your car up to my house and meet me there.”

“Yes, Viktor.”

Climbing into his car, he realized that Viktor had given him an order that left him free to drive off if he wished. Made it easy in fact. All he had to do was turn left instead of right. He made leaving the easy choice, the freest choice while staying with him was guaranteed to be the hardest path. He could refuse. Take the route without the tough questions. Viktor had no interest in him if that was ever a choice he’d make. His horses, as different as they all were, all had one thing in common. They never refused. Not once. He didn’t mind them a little too bold or reckless or chaotic as long as when it came down to it, they’d have the courage to make the jump.

His car lugged up the steep hill, straining in a high-pitched whine as he reached the peak. If Viktor wanted his life, he could have it. Not like he was doing anything with it anyway. He got into the kitchen and had no idea what to