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To say that Shige is nervous would be an understatement. He's done a lot of questionable things in the course of his career, but attending a kink club takes the cake.

"Think of it this way," Koyama says. "Maybe you will find inspiration for your next book."

Shige thinks that his next book would be banned in several countries if he were to base it on his upcoming experience. As it is, he's still amazed that this is actually something he is doing for work.

"It's important for people to understand BDSM relationships and abandon any misconceptions and stereotypes, just like any other group of people," the NEWS na Futari producer had told them. "Witnessing them in their own environment will be more educational than any interview."

"You don't have to participate," Koyama rushes to assure Shige. "You can keep your clothes on and just observe. No one will bother you if you do not wish to be bothered."

In the days leading up to their outing, Shige starts to think that there's more in this for Koyama than the viewers. He sure seems to know a lot about the lifestyle anyway. Shige had thought he knew everything about his best friend until Koyama's excitement grew more and more every day. He's usually curious to learn about different people and experience new things, but this is on another level.

"Are you going to participate?" Shige finally asks him, unsure whether he wants to know the answer or not.

"Probably not with another person," Koyama says, and Shige feels oddly relieved. "This is the one time I can do what feels good without worrying about someone taking pictures or running to the tabloids. There are no cameras allowed and anonymity is respected. I could walk around naked if I wanted to, to have the freedom of doing so, and I just might."

Shige's not sure what he expects, especially considering all of the rather interesting pictures he had seen on the club's website, but a well-lit, spacious area was not it. After signing a waiver and stashing their belongings on a baker's rack, Shige steps out into the Shibuya Playhouse to find what looks like a warehouse party.

To his right are kiosks selling sex toys and bondage paraphernalia that will likely not be promoted on News na Futari. Shige notices what looks like a fox tail and smiles until he realizes it’s attached to a butt plug. To his left are tables set up for socializing, with a sign that reads NO SEX IN THE SOCIAL AREA. A small group of people are already coloring and congregating, their attire ranging from a latex catsuit to nothing at all.

He tries not to stare until he remembers that this is the kind of environment where he can stare. Once he starts paying more attention to the patrons, he starts recognizing details that stand out—a person with a full beard and exposed breasts, and a person wearing matching lingerie with cleavage and a prominent bulge in the crotch. A few people who were small in stature were going topless with scars under their pectorals, indicating a surgery to remove what had been there before.

“There are a lot of trans people here,” he mentions to Koyama, who looks right at home in the leather get-up he’d changed into.

“It’s a safe space for them to be who they are,” Koyama explains. “Also, there seems to be a large correlation between being transgender and being into kink, for some reason.”

Shige stores that piece of information in the back of his mind to mention on the show as he continues to look around. Past the social area, there’s a section of medical gurneys complete with privacy curtains, followed by massage tables and these giant swings that Shige’s 100% positive are for having sex. On the other side were open areas for multiple people to play together, but everyone was just cuddling and talking. There were a couple furries crawling around with their butt plug tails, but they were just being petted and played with.

“Why isn’t anyone having sex?” Shige asks, bewildered at all the innocent behavior surrounding him. The patrons of this establishment may be dressed erotically, but none of them seem to be acting on it.

“It’s a kink club, not a sex club,” Koyama says with a wink, and Shige’s about to ask what the difference is when Koyama flits over to one of the sex swings and plops right into it. Shige watches as he gets comfortable, placing his feet into the stirrups and swinging with his legs grotesquely spread, his hair danging over the edge.

“Sex is not just an act—it’s also a state of mind,” Koyama calls out, and Shige quickly moves closer so they don’t gain an audience.

“I think that thing would break if someone tried to fuck you on it,” Shige points out, and Koyama laughs.

“Maybe, but right now that’s not what’s making me hot. It’s lying here like this, on display for anyone who wants to look, weightless with my legs spread and my neck in traction.”

“So it’s about exhibitionism?” Shige asks, nodding to himself. That makes sense. “Voyeur and exhibitionists.”

“Yes, but it’s more than that.” Koyama sighs as he continues to swing. “I don’t know how to explain it to you in a way you will understand. You just have to experience it.”

“I don’t know about that,” Shige mutters, and Koyama rolls his eyes upside-down. “I’m going to walk around, see what’s on the other side.”

“Remember, Shige,” Koyama begins, taking on his leader voice that has more effect in that outfit. “Don’t interrupt anyone’s scene, and if anyone asks you to be in one, decline respectfully. They can only ask once.”

“I read the rules,” Shige huffs, folding his arms over his chest as he leaves Koyama to his devices and walks away. He doesn’t know why he’s being so closed-off; usually he’s the one explaining uncomfortable things to Koyama. Being in a place where Koyama has all the information and Shige is clueless is surreal.

A loud smack clues Shige what’s happening on the other side, followed by a shrill scream. He’s not sure what to expect as he turns the corner, but naked people tied up and flogged was not it. In the back of his mind, he knows it’s all consensual, but it looks so painful and Shige winces in sympathy every time someone is flogged.

To each their own, he tells himself as he approaches another scene. The bearded person with breasts is hooking thin rope on one of the wooden arches, then creating knots in specific places. Someone walks up to them and they smile and start to loop the rope around newcomer, pulling them up in various places until they were tied up and swinging weightless, the operator taking care to keep a hold on them and soothe them when they made a noise.

“Kinbaku,” Shige says under his breath, recognizing the act. It’s mesmerizing to watch, and Shige sways a little in his stance as he becomes entranced by the emotion radiating from this pair. He doesn’t even think they know each other, but the operator dotes on the participant like a lover, their full attention on them and their comfort as they’re swung around and around.

Shige’s heart aches when the participant is let down, because they’re almost crying and the operator cradles them, stroking their hair and whispering to them until they’ve recovered enough to stand up. It looks so intimate that Shige feels like a pervert watching them, even if it’s a kink club and the entire point is to perform scenes in front of strangers. And with strangers, it seems.

“Hi,” someone says, and Shige pulls himself out of his trance to find himself facing the operator. They’re even more fascinating up close, wearing skin-tight jeans and a hat with no shirt. Their smile is kind and inviting, and Shige feels comfortable being approached by them despite the context.

“Hi,” Shige replies, his voice a little groggy from not being used. How long has he been standing here, even? What is Koyama up to? Does anyone here recognize them?

“Would you like to be tied up?”

Shige blinks as he considers his options. If he says no, they won’t ask him again. It’s in the club rules. If he says no, he might regret missing out on what seems to be an incredibly emotional experience with a stranger. Somehow doing it with a stranger seems more appealing.

“Yes,” he answers, surprising himself with how certain he sounds. “What’s your name?”

“You can call me Shibari,” they say with a smirk. “Do you have any injuries or sore areas I should know about?”

“I don’t think so,” Shige replies, feeling a little like he’s sleepwalking as he tries to recall his medical history. “My shoulders hurt sometimes, but that’s because I hunch over a laptop so much.”

“I get that,” Shibari says, offering that comforting smile again. “Do you have any questions for me before we get started?”

The reality of what’s about to happen catches up with Shige and he starts at the question, suddenly feeling insecure. “Can I keep my clothes on?”

“Absolutely,” Shibari answers. “That won’t impede the act any. And I won’t touch you anywhere inappropriate unless you ask me to.”

“Okay,” Shige agrees, his nerves on fire as he starts to walk toward the set. The mat feels hard under his bare feet and he looks helplessly up at this person he just met, whose name (or gender) he doesn’t even know, in whose hands he’s about to place his body. It feels more like his safety or even his life, though the worst thing that could happen is that he would fall. With the careful way Shibari had handled the last participant, that’s the last thing Shige’s worried about.

“If anything starts to hurt, or you just want to stop, tell me,” Shibari says firmly, and Shige nods. “I don’t fuck with safe words. If you tell me to stop, I will.”

“Understood,” Shige says.

“Now, we begin.”

Shige closes his eyes even though he hasn’t been instructed to. It feels right to be sightless while Shibari wraps the rope loosely around his limbs one by one, making sure they’re snugly in the right place before yanking them up. Shige’s gasping before he’s even weightless, both feet on the floor with his arms bound. It doesn’t hurt at all; in fact, it feels a little like he’s in a tight embrace until Shibari loops one of his legs and he starts to lean back.

Everything turns upside-down, literally and figuratively, his blood rushing to his head while Shibari adjusts all the knots and guides him into a fetal position. Their hands don’t leave his back and legs, slowly spinning him around before dipping his head low and turning him around that way.

He quickly loses his sense of direction, and it’s amazing. The force of the ropes binding him, his own weight that’s suspended in mid air as he faces up, down, who knows. It’s a little like riding a roller coaster and doing a backflip, but in a sensual way. Shige’s not much of a romantic, but he feels Shibari’s affection everywhere they touch him.

At one point, Shige’s pulled into an embrace, his hair stroked much like he’d watched Shibari do to the last person, and it takes him higher. It’s not sexual by any means, but he feels sufficiently seduced. More than that, even. All of his clothes are on and he’s not even hard, but he feels like he’s fucked through a marathon and come several times over.

Later, he’ll understand what Koyama had meant when he said sex is a state of mind, but right now Shige’s too overwhelmed by living it. This person he doesn’t even know is cradling him to their chest, unconcerned about his face between their bare breasts, which provide Shige with more comfort than arousal. This isn’t about attraction—it’s about intimacy, or at least the kind of intimacy kinbaku induces.

All too soon it’s over, and he actually whines when he’s right-side-up on the ground again. Shibari doesn’t make any effort to leave him, rocking him gently and telling him it’s okay and he doesn’t have to get up until he’s ready. After a few minutes, the overwhelming dizziness goes away, and Shibari helps Shige get to his feet.

Only then, does his open his eyes. And standing in Shige’s line of sight, just over Shibari’s shoulder, is Koyama.

“Thank you,” Shige says to Shibari, who bows their head and steps aside to let him pass.

“Wow, Shige,” Koyama greets him, sounding like he’s in a cloud. “That looked intense.”

“It was,” Shige answers honestly. He feels himself gravitating toward Koyama and doesn’t bother to fight it, wrapping his still-limp arms around a very surprised Koyama who happily hugs him back.

“There’s someone doing fire play,” Koyama says into Shige’s hair. “Let’s go watch.”

“Okay,” Shige mumbles, obediently following Koyama who leads him to a section with cots and supplies. There’s a naked woman lying on her back while a man with a Captain America T-shirt sticks a giant cotton ball on a stick and douses it in rubbing alcohol.

Shige’s eyes widen when the man taps the woman’s chest with the flame, then quickly follows it with his hand, like he’s wiping it away. He repeats the process further down her belly, then one of her breasts, and each time she jerks and cries out like she’d been electrocuted.

It’s fascinating to watch, but what actually draws Shige’s attention is Koyama. The flames dance in his eyes that are locked on the fire, his body visibly twitching whenever the woman moans.

“Do you want to do it?” Shige asks him gently.

Koyama nods. “Will you watch me?”

“Yeah,” Shige agrees, his lingering kinbaku trance inviting inhibited honesty. “I think I’d enjoy that.”

“Then I’ll do it,” Koyama says, his smile genuine and a little shy. “It’ll be better for me knowing that Shige is watching.”

Koyama gets up before Shige can unpack that statement, and Shige can’t take his eyes off of Koyama as he carefully approaches Captain America after the scene ends. They have a brief conversation where Koyama keeps nodding, then he’s shedding his clothes and Shige’s jaw drops at the cock cage fastened between Koyama’s legs.

“My eyes are up here, Shigeaki,” Koyama calls out, and Shige gives him an incredulous look. “We’ll talk about it later.”

Instead of lying on his back, Koyama stretches out on his belly, his eyes closed and arms dangling over the sides of the cot like he’d fallen asleep. Shige knows better, watching closely while Captain America repeats the act with Koyama.

Despite the exact same motions, watching it happen to Koyama is completely different. When Koyama jerks and moans, Shige feels a a surge of pleasure. Captain America starts on his lower back, then his shoulder blades, then back down to the flesh of his ass. Each outcry in Koyama’s voice gives Shige a deep zap of stimulation, until he’s more of a quivering mess than Koyama is.

When it's over, Koyama’s coherent enough to hop right off of the table and thank Captain America for the scene while Shige attempts to function during this mental orgasm. He’s so sensitive that he moans when Koyama touches his shoulder, his torso naturally gravitating toward the contact.

“Oh no,” Koyama says, and any other time Shige would be amused at Koyama fretting while naked and wearing a cock cage, but he’s too dazed to move. “Kinbaku has lasting effects, and watching me must have ignited them. I didn’t think you were into voyeurism?”

“I didn’t think so either,” Shige gets out. “It must be you.”

Koyama stares at him a beat too long, then a small smile crosses his lips. “Come on, I’ll take you somewhere more comfortable.”

The inside of a makeshift treehouse on the other side of the warehouse isn’t exactly more comfortable, but it’s more private. Shige gravitates into Koyama’s embrace, his only conscious thought that Koyama’s flat chest feels more intimate than a pair of breasts, and after who knows how long of Koyama rocking him in silence, his mind slowly returns.

“How did it feel?” he asks, not recognizing his own voice. “The fire.”

“It was amazing,” Koyama reports, shivering at the memory. “I still feel it everywhere.”

Shige frowns as he struggles to lift his head. “Didn’t it hurt?”

“Well, yes, but it’s a good pain.” Koyama leans back as Shige sits up straight for the first time in what feels like hours. “Kind of like the pressure of the ropes binding your elbows and knees together.”

Shige nods at the comparison. “And the cock cage?”

“Is something I’m trying out.” Koyama shrugs. “It was a gag gift, but I kinda like it. It helps me to experience sensual feelings without being solely focused on penetration. You get that, right?”

Shige thinks about all of the pleasure he’d felt while watching Koyama and how absolutely none of it got him hard. He’d been too focused on the new sensations everywhere else.

“Yeah,” he finally agrees. “I get it.”

“I think that’s a pillory,” Koyama says suddenly, pointing to the front wall of the makeshift treehouse.

Shige waits for him to say more, but instead Koyama gets to his feet and unceremoniously pushes his wrists and neck through the gaps. Shige’s body seems to move on its own accord as he gets to his feet and shuffles around to the other side, where all he can see is Koyama’s head and hands sticking out of a wall. Absently, he feels around in the doorframe adjacent to the respective openings and finds latches that tighten the locks, effectively trapping Koyama in the pillory.

“Are you okay?” Shige asks, because it feels like the right thing to say, and Koyama nods. It briefly occurs to Shige that Koyama’s butt ass naked and bending over in a room where no one can see them. Strangely, the thought of having actual intercourse after all of this doesn’t seem to fit. Shige’s not interested, for one thing, and he’s not that into having Koyama bound and helpless.

Quickly, like there was some kind of time limit, Shige unlatches the locks and Koyama pulls free. Shige watches him shake out his wrists and rub his neck and vows to never do anything like that to anybody, even if they want him to. He doesn’t like how it feels to watch them ache afterward.

“Can we go?” he ends up asking, his mood suddenly plummeting.

“Oh, you’re coming down,” Koyama says, going into fret mode while Shige gives him a questioning look. “It’s called sub drop, and it’s okay. Let me find my clothes and we’ll go back to the hotel.”

Shige just wants to go home, but they’re hours away and he’s not that bummed that he wants to get in a car and drive. Koyama had driven anyway, and while Koyama would absolutely drive them all the way home if Shige asked, Shige doesn’t want him to.

The ride back to the hotel is quiet, Koyama looking out of place in his regular clothes. Shige wonders if he still feels the burn from the fire against the fabric of his shirt like Shige himself feels the pressure of rope against his skin, but he doesn’t have the energy to voice it. He feels exhausted but not physically tired. It’s like his mind has been overworked and he just wants to be somewhere where he doesn’t have to think.

When they reach the hotel, Koyama invites himself into Shige’s room and Shige doesn’t fight him. They wash their faces together in the bathroom, Shige’s muscle memory guiding him through his nighttime ritual.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Koyama asks while Shige channel-surfs without paying attention to any of the shows.

“I didn’t like seeing you in the pillory,” Shige blurts out. “I don’t like the idea of you being helpless with me as your only way out.”

“There goes the handcuffs,” Koyama replies, and Shige gives him a hefty side eye. “I’m kidding! I’m not that into bondage anyway. It’s the mental aspect of it that I like. Though I wouldn’t mind trying kinbaku.”

Shige has a flash of an image of Koyama hanging upside-down in a maze of ropes, only Shige’s the one tying the knots and swinging him around. It sends a wave of sexually-charged energy cascading over Shige’s shoulders, making him shiver until Koyama wraps strong arms around him.

“I was actually asking you if you wanted to talk about this,” Koyama says softly, speaking the words into Shige’s hair much like Shibari had done earlier. “You and me.”

“You and me,” Shige repeats, his brain short-circuiting when he tries to think of a valid response to that. “But it’s not about sex.”

“It doesn’t have to be,” Koyama says, and now his fingers trail down Shige’s bare arm, bringing back the sharp shiver. “But it could be.”

“I’m not going to just have sex with you,” Shige huffs, struggling out of Koyama’s embrace enough to look up at his face. “I want all the mental and emotional stuff too. The way it felt...it could only be stronger with you.”

“Come here,” Koyama says, lifting a hand to Shige’s jaw to gently guide him closer.

It occurs to Shige that Koyama is going to kiss him a fraction of a second before he actually does, leaving him even less time to panic and more time to enjoy it. He’s allowed a brief period of coherence before his mind leaves again, his arms wrapping around Koyama’s neck to pull him closer and kiss him deeper, all of the events of tonight combining together in one giant ball of intensity.

Koyama pulls back before Shige’s ready, eliciting a whine and a pout while Koyama grins.

“I love you too,” Koyama says, and Shige scrunches his face up at the words while simultaneously melting into Koyama’s arms.