Actions

Work Header

It's All In The Cards

Work Text:

“Your tie is crooked, darling. Let me fix that for you.”

Ryou sighed. Another week, another press conference, another day in which Maximillion Pegasus found some excuse to have to correct his attire. Again. If it wasn't his tie, it was the set of his lapels or the fold of his pocket square or the orientation of his cufflinks. But, one way or another—without fail—there was always something about his suit the owner of Industrial Illusions deemed “inappropriate”.

“It's fine.”

“Don't be silly, it's a few millimetres off center.”

Rolling his eyes, Ryou planted a hand on his hip as his boss reached forward and started loosening the knot he'd specifically spent extra time on perfecting earlier that morning. “It looked perfectly straight to me when I left the house.” When the only response he got was a patronizing hum that sounded distinctly like Pegasus had said, “I'm sure it did, dear,” Ryou tried to pull his tie out of the other man's grip, only to have his hands smacked away. He huffed. “You do realize you're literally the only person who would even notice something like that, right?”

“Well, maybe other people should learn to pay closer attention to detail.”

“Pegasus.”

“It'll just take a moment.”

“We don't have time for this. You have to be on in thirty seconds.”

“Yes, yes. I'll be done in twenty-three.”

“Pegasus!”

Pegasus' brow rose, and he spared Ryou a single glance before turning his attention back to the younger man's tie. “Ryou, darling. You're my publicist, not my mother. Now stop complaining.”

“I'm not—” Another glance from his boss, this time accompanied by a knowing smirk, made Ryou swallow the rest of that sentence, but his compliance only made Pegasus grin more, causing the young man to roll his eyes. “I'm not the one who's going to be on stage. You are.

“That's no excuse to look sloppy, dear.”

Ryou held his tongue for a few more seconds before having enough and batting Pegasus' hands away. “I can handle my tie, thank you. Now, here.” Retrieving a set of cue cards from his jacket pocket, he handed them to his boss who took them without complaint but also without even looking at them. “And please, this time—”

“Yes, yes. I know. 'Follow the cards'. It's the same thing every time.”

“I wouldn't have to keep repeating myself if you'd actually—”

“Oh, look at the time,” Pegasus interjected, a grin on his face. “I'm on in five.” And without another word, the owner of Industrial Illusions waved the cue cards in Ryou's face, then turned and joyfully dashed up the stairs to the stage that had been set up for the press conference.

Ryou sighed and shook his head, then grabbed his tie and finished “fixing” it. As he smoothed it down the front of his dress shirt, Emma, one of his coworkers, joined him behind the stage, a smile on her face. He didn't even need to look at her to know what was coming.

“Don't—”

“Tie was wrong again, huh?” She didn't even attempt to keep the mirth out of her voice.

“Shut. Up.”

Emma giggled, then laughed harder when Ryou glared at her. “I'm sorry, but it's funny.”

He sighed and started buttoning up his jacket. “Maybe to you, but you're not the one getting told on the daily that you don't know how to dress yourself all because you didn't use a protractor.

“Hey, just remember, it could always be worse.” When Ryou tilted his head up and quirked a brow, she grinned. “He could be trying to 'fix' your belt instead.”

He snorted and shook his head, but was unable to keep a smile off his face as he ran his hands down the front of his jacket, making sure it sat just right so Pegasus wouldn't have another thing to complain about after the conference. And following that train of thought, he quickly double checked his cufflinks and pocket square too.

Emma tried and failed to hide her amusement.

“Oh, come on!”

She laughed again, then put a hand on his shoulder, patting it in a way that he assumed was supposed to be a friendly, calming manner, but really just came across as condescending. “Just look at it this way, Bakura. It means he likes you.”

“Yes well, that's not saying much,” he huffed, rolling his shoulder to shrug her off. “He likes almost everyone. Which is the very reason we're in this mess to begin with.”

Ryou had been working for Pegasus for nine years, and in that time—along with his other responsibilities such as managing both the company's and founder's public social media accounts, arranging meet and greets, scheduling and preparing Pegasus for interviews and press releases, writing the man's speeches and public bios, preparing press kits, and pitching Pegasus as a brand to journalists and other influential businesses and media circuits—he had spent a lot of those nine years helping Pegasus clean up after his affairs. Literally.

On a near constant basis, the owner of Industrial Illusions would end up in the news for having “allegedly” slept with a new man. Sometimes the reports were accurate, other times they missed the mark, but the media never failed to have a story about Pegasus' “scandalous” personal life. And it was Ryou's job to put out the metaphorical fires that resulted from those reports.

Every. Single. Time.

And considering he had been with the company for nearly a decade, he had plenty of experience with writing speeches about his boss' most recent “alleged” hookup. Of course, it wasn't technically necessary for Pegasus to address these matters publicly, but he wanted to. Every whisper of an affair, regardless of whether or not it was true, meant more publicity for Industrial Illusions. Even Ryou couldn't deny that the company's stocks spiked every time his boss was in the headlines. Which was precisely why Pegasus went out of his way to let the media “accidentally” catch him with a potential bedroom partner. The man was a sucker for attention.

But what the media wasn't aware of was that there was more to the man's antics than met the eye. Pegasus had confided in Ryou early on that by keeping the press focused exclusively on himself, it allowed his employees the freedom to go about their lives with little trouble from the media, especially if he was willingly open with the public. Why would the reporters turn to the staff of the company for a story when they were literally being handed the juicy details by the owner himself?

Unfortunately, that meant a lot of extra work for Ryou, but he had known what he was getting into from the start. Pegasus had been entirely transparent about what being his publicist would require, but the younger man had seen the opportunity as an exciting challenge. A way to push the limits of his capabilities and test his skills as a writer.

That said, there was one particularly frustrating part of his job—well, two if he counted the older man's persistent need to “correct” his attire all the time—but it wasn't his boss' affairs. In fact, they didn't even remotely bother him, and Ryou had even caught himself encouraging Pegasus' interest in a potential lover from time to time. What did bother him though …

“Do you think he'll stick to the cards this time?”

Ryou snorted. “Does he ever?”

Emma laughed, while he just crossed his arms and shook his head at the very thought of Pegasus actually listening to him for once. Sometimes Ryou didn't even know why he bothered preparing the cue cards when the man purposely didn't follow them. Granted, he was positive that if he ever dared try to get away with not writing Pegasus' script, his boss would call him out for it, “scolding” him for dropping the ball with a cheeky grin plastered on his face the whole time.

Sometimes there was just no winning with that man.

And, as if on cue, Ryou—who had been half listening to the start of Pegasus' speech as his voice floated down to them from the stage—heard the exact moment when his boss stopped following the cards. He groaned, palming his face as Emma tried to stifle her giggles because when Pegasus went off script, he wasn't the least bit subtle about it.

“... Besides, how could I possibly say 'no' to someone with an ass like that?”

Well, once again, Pegasus had the press' undivided attention in one fell swoop but was it really that hard just to follow. The damn. Cards?!




“Seriously?” That was the first word out of Ryou's mouth as Pegasus stepped off the stage and rejoined him, grinning like a Cheshire cat. The reporters he'd left behind were calling his name, begging for more of his time and camera flashes were bouncing off the walls, even illuminating a portion of the backstage area with how enthusiastically the photographers were trying to catch every second of Pegasus' retreat. Ryou grabbed his boss' arm and dragged him away from the stairs—and from the other employees—as quickly as possible, hissing under his breath, “Why don't you just burn the cards while you're at it?”

“Oooo, that's an excellent idea, darling! That would go viral in seconds!”

“Pegasus!”

Smiling in a brilliant, falsely innocent manner, Pegasus shook his publicist off and busied himself with straightening his sleeve while saying, “Yes, Ryou, darling?” as though he had no possible idea what could be making the younger man so agitated.

“That was not a suggestion, and you know it.”

"Oh, come now, bunny. Can't you let a little fox have a bit of fun now and then, hm?”

Ryou crossed his arms and rolled his eyes. “You don't need my help with that, actually. Besides, letting you have 'fun' isn't in my job description.”

“Hm, yes. I've noticed.” Before Ryou could respond, however, Pegasus looked up and grinned. “Perhaps I should change that. Maybe then your speeches won't be quite so drab. Oh, and,” he stepped closer and tapped the knot in Ryou's tie, “look at that. Turns out you can teach an old bunny new tricks. Why didn't you just do it like that in the first place, darling?”

The younger man curled his hands into fists and glared, but it didn't seem to have an effect on his boss, who merely smirked as if he was just waiting to see what Ryou would say or do next.

He drew in a deep, controlled breath. “Maximillion.”

“Ryou.”

As they stood there, brown eyes meeting amber, a small smile slowly tugged at Ryou's lips, something that Pegasus took notice of immediately. His gaze darting down to his publicist's mouth for a moment before returning to his eyes—

Ryou's phone vibrated in his pocket.

He sighed, and Pegasus stepped back so he could retrieve his phone. It was a schedule notification. “You have a meeting in the eleventh-floor boardroom in two minutes.”

“With whom?”

“Another idiot from one of the local papers.”

“Tsk, tsk, darling. Such language.” Pegasus teased with a smirk as he stepped around Ryou, leading the way to the elevators located at the end of the hall. “I can't believe you kiss your boyfriend with that mouth.”

Ryou snorted but otherwise ignored the comment, following behind his boss. “Should I bother briefing you on the questions he'll be asking or would that just be a waste of my time too?”

As they reached the elevators, Pegasus pressed the up button on the panel on the wall. “Why would you say that?”

“... Because you ignore nearly everything I tell you.”

Pegasus gasped and pressed a hand to his chest in an overly dramatic fashion. “I most certainly do not ignore you, Ryou, darling.” When the publicist quirked a brow and shot him a skeptical look, the older man grinned. “I listen to everything you say, bunny. I just choose not to follow your instructions.”

“Hm. Remind me why you hired me again, then?”

“Because you're pretty.”

Ryou pressed his lips together to stop himself from laughing, right as the elevator arrived on their floor, and the doors slid open. They both waited for those inside to step out, then Pegasus gestured for Ryou to enter the elevator first. Nodding politely, he stepped forward, and upon reaching the back of the small space, he turned to look at his boss—only to find Pegasus with a smirk on his face and his head tilted to the side, his eyes very obviously shooting up from where Ryou's butt had been a moment before.

“Yes, that is definitely why I hired you.”

Ryou rolled his eyes. “Shut up and get in here or you'll be late.”

Pegasus chuckled as he entered the elevator and pressed the button for the eleventh floor. “I don't mind being late, darling, so long as I'm—”

“'Fashionably late', yeah. I know.

Despite knowing that his boss would see fit to answer the journalist's questions however he wanted, Ryou still did his part and briefed him while the elevator took them to their destination. As was standard, the questions had been pre-approved by Ryou himself, and the journalist had been ... less than pleased to see that some of his inquiries had been rejected, but Ryou was used to that. Most media circuits got their backs up when they were told they couldn't ask whatever they pleased, and he wouldn't put it past this particular journalist to still attempt to slip in a question or two that Ryou had vetoed anyway. This man had a reputation of pushing the limits and getting on people's nerves. Which was all the more reason to ensure Pegasus knew what the authorized topics were so they would both be aware of when the interview was going off script.

As they stepped off the elevator—Ryou insisting that his boss do so first—he followed Pegasus to the boardroom but stopped him before they entered. The journalist was already seated inside, looking rather smug as he sipped his overpriced coffee and stared at the two of them through the clear glass wall. Ryou rolled his eyes and stood so Pegasus was facing him, putting his boss' back to the glass in order to block their interactions from the other man's view.

“Wow, he really does look like as much of a prick as he's rumoured to be. And here I thought maybe he was just an ass on paper.”

“What did I say about your language, bunny?” Pegasus smirked. “Besides, you know better than anyone not to judge clothing while it's still on the rack.”

Ryou shrugged. “I'm just calling it as I see it. But you're welcome to start the interview and prove my assessment of him wrong.” They stared at each other, Pegasus' smirk remaining in place while Ryou's own lips twitched into a small smile. “Not that my assessments have really ever been wrong though but please,” he gestured towards the door, “be my guest.”

Pegasus chuckled softly, the sound barely above a whisper, as he reached out, his hand brushing the edges of the perfectly folded and set pocket square in Ryou's suit. They were both silent for a moment before the older man withdrew his hand and grinned brightly.

“Well, it's a good thing you figured out how to dress yourself before going in there, now isn't it, darling?” With a twinkle in his eye and skip to his step, Pegasus strode straight for the door to the boardroom, pulling it open and gesturing for his publicist to go inside before him.

Ryou rolled his eyes, but couldn't stop a small smile from dancing across his lips as he approached. Though, right as he was stepping through the doorway, he remembered the stunt his boss has pulled with the elevator and whispered, “Don't.”

“Too late~” Pegasus sang under his breath.

Ryou had to work very hard to keep a straight face.

As they approached the man waiting inside—who had obnoxiously decided to take the furthest seat from the door as possible—the journalist's first words to them didn't bode well for him.

“You're late.”

Wow, Ryou thought, resisting the urge to roll his eyes. This guy was really sitting there, inside Industrial Illusions headquarters, after begging Ryou through multiple e-mails to allow him an audience with Pegasus, only to behave like a spoiled brat the moment they walked into the room? They were literally one minute past the scheduled time, and he had seen them standing outside the boardroom. Ryou turned his head to glance at Pegasus, who had also sought out his gaze, and gave his boss a very particular stare that practically screamed, Asshole, confirmed.

Pegasus shot him a small smirk before extending his hand to the other man in greeting. “Sorry to keep you waiting, darling, but you looked as though you had a pretty hot date with Joe and we didn't want to interrupt.”

The man's confused expression amused Ryou, who merely gestured to his empty coffee cup.

“Oh, right.” For a moment, the journalist looked a little thrown off, but he quickly recovered. “Anyway, good afternoon, Mr. Pegasus. I'm Klint Davis.” He rose to his feet and accepted Pegasus' hand, which actually surprised Ryou. Maybe the guy wasn't as much of a dick as he thou—“And who's this?” Klint waved vaguely in Ryou's direction. “Your Asian sidekick?”

Nevermind.

His boss stiffened. It was almost unnoticeable, especially if you didn't know the man well, but Ryou certainly picked up on it. However, in true Pegasus fashion, he carried on as though nothing was wrong. “Ah, this right here,” he said joyfully, stepping back to stand slightly behind Ryou, clapping his hands down on the younger man's shoulders, “is my publicist, Ryou Bakura.”

Ryou watched the journalist's face as the familiar name from their online correspondences sunk in, getting far too much satisfaction out of Klint's reaction.

“Oh … You're Ryou Bakura?”

“It's a pleasure to finally meet you, Mr. Davis.” He almost gagged on the words, but Ryou was used to having to be the better man. Nine years working as a publicist for one of the biggest international companies in the world had taught him how to pick his battles, even with racist assholes like this guy.

Klint blinked. “I um … didn't realize you weren't—”

“American?” Ryou smiled as politely as he could manage. “Yes, well, I don't exactly have my lineage written in the signature of my emails.” Prick.

The journalist gaped for a second before stupidly digging an even bigger hole for himself by saying, “But, you're fluent in English.”

And you are fluent in douche. Ryou cleared his throat and moved to one of the chairs at the table, gesturing for Pegasus and Klint to join him. “So it would seem, but since you are such a stickler for your time, Mr. Davis, why don't we get the interview started?”

That seemed to sober the man up a little bit. “Yes, of course.”

He resumed his chosen seat at the head of the table, while Pegasus sat down in the first chair to Klint's left, and Ryou slipped into the one right beside his boss. The two of them exchanged a quick glance, amusement shining in Pegasus' eyes before he turned his chair to give Klint his full attention.

This had become a fairly standard practice for them. Pegasus would always position himself so Ryou could quietly listen from behind his boss, the interviewing parties often forgetting about the younger man's presence entirely. It was a purposeful strategy. It helped them sift through the good and the bad in the journalism field. Anyone who followed the list of questions, regardless of their level of awareness of the publicist who had approved said inquiries, were always welcome back to Industrial Illusions for future interviews and event coverage. But anyone who went off script the moment they forgot Ryou was in the room, got banned and depending on how badly they crossed the line, some even lost their jobs.

Pegasus saw it as doing the companies of northern California a favour by weeding out the bad seeds.

And this guy was already off to a riveting start.

However, oddly enough, the interview seemed to go rather smoothly. Well, smoothly wasn't quite the right word for it, but at least Klint stayed on script. And of course, Pegasus phrased his answers in an overly dramatic and grandiose way that only he was truly capable of, but in general, all was well.

Until …

“You sure seem to make quite the elaborate show out of your alleged affairs, Mr. Pegasus.”

Ryou, who had been replying to e-mails on his phone, tensed and lowered the device so he could listen more carefully.

“I do, don't I, darling?” Pegasus chuckled. “Not to worry, though. Anyone who gets involved with me knows what they're getting into from the start.”

“So you're accusing your hookups—sorry, I mean your 'alleged' hookups, of being clout chasers or fame seekers? Gold diggers, maybe?”

Putting his phone back in his pocket, Ryou sat up straighter and waited. Klint was already way off script, but he wouldn't interject just yet; the guy was a total asshole, but he hadn't quite finished digging his professional grave.

“Of course not, though it does certainly sound like that is what you are insinuating, my dear.” Leaning forward, Pegasus placed his elbows on the table and folded his hands together. “What exactly are you getting at, Mr. Davis?”

Klint smirked. “I just think it's rather interesting how much attention you draw to yourself. It's almost like you're trying to … I don't know,” he shrugged his shoulders far too casually, “cover something up?”

“Okay, we're done here,” Ryou announced, making his presence known once more by pushing his chair back and rising.

“I'm not finished yet.”

“Yes. You are.”

“I still have five minutes left!”

Ryou gave a humourless laugh. “No, you don't. You signed an agreement, remember? Mr. Pegasus or any member of his staff are authorized to terminate the interview at any point, regardless of their attendance, should they deem your inquiries to be inappropriate or offensive, or your behaviour abusive. Not to mention the fact that these last few questions were not granted approval and therefore must be stricken from your records or you will be hearing from our lawyers.”

This was not the first Ryou had to remind an interviewing party of the agreement they had signed before being granted a private audience with Pegasus, but unlike most of the others, Klint didn't seem to have any sense of self-preservation because he didn't back down. He didn't even flinch. Instead, a smirk remained plastered on his face as he sized Ryou up.

“Why are you so defensive? I'm just asking a simple question, and if you guys really aren't hiding anything, then there is no reason to avoid answering the question, right?”

“Goodbye, Mr. Davis.”

“What's your problem, dude? Are you sleeping with your boss or something?”

“Enough.” Pegasus' unusually stern voice echoed through the mostly empty boardroom. Both men went quiet, their gazes on the older man instead of each other. Pegasus looked between the two of them, a small smile gracing his lips. “My my, Klint,” he purred, and Ryou had to work very hard at resisting smiling. He knew his boss had switched to the journalist's first name as a subtle insult. “If I didn't know any better, I'd say you're jealous. And here I thought you weren't the type to be interested.”

Klint blanched. “Wait, what? No! That's not—”

“Well, I'm sorry to burst your bubble, darling, but I don't fraternize with anyone with such a foul heart.” For a moment, the journalist was silent, too shocked by the turn of events to say anything as Pegasus rose to his feet, flashing the man a dazzling smile. “Besides, Mr. Bakura is right. You signed a legally binding agreement before stepping into the building today, so if you'll excuse us.”

Unfortunately, as they turned away, Klint found his voice again. “So you're not even going to deny that you sleep with your employees?”

Ryou and Pegasus held each other's gaze for a moment before his boss turned back towards the other man. “I don't need to deny anything because I have nothing to hide. I have never slept with anyone I pay. That would be incredibly unprofessional, not that you would know anything about unprofessionalism though, right, darling?”

“But—”

“If you refuse to leave, Mr. Davis,” Ryou snapped, now officially done with this guy's bullshit, “you will be forcibly removed by security.”

Finally, Klint seemed to clue into how serious they were, but only after he saw that there were already two very large security guards standing just outside the boardroom. His eyes flickered from them to Ryou, who merely gave a small smirk and pulled his phone out of his pocket, wiggling it tauntingly at the man; he had texted security just before he'd tucked his phone away when things with Klint started to go south.

The journalist huffed, grabbed his notepad and pen, as well as his audio recorder, stuffing them back into his bag before storming out of the room. He threw the glass door open and strode angrily towards the elevators, closely followed by the two security guards.

The moment the door to the boardroom closed, Ryou sighed, his whole body slumping a little as he tried to let go of the tension from the entire situation. Pegasus stepped up beside him, putting a gentle hand on the younger man's shoulder.

“Are you alright, bunny?”

“Yeah, I'm … fine.” He sighed again, shaking his head. “Please tell me he's going to get fired?”

“Absolutely.”

“Good.”

Pegasus dropped his hand and leaned back against the table, sitting on the edge and crossing his arms. He started at Ryou, a steadily growing smirk on his face. The publicist rose a brow, but his boss just kept watching him, grinning all the more as they remained silent.

“What?”

“You wanted to punch him, didn't you?”

Ryou blinked. “...What? N-no.” He cleared his throat and tucked his hands into his pockets. “Of course not.”

His boss' smile grew impossibly bigger. “Ryou, darling. You may be good with words and know how to play with the truth, but you're a horrible liar.” The younger man huffed and looked away, which just spurred Pegasus on more. “You. Wanted. To. Punch him~

“Okay, fine,” Ryou rolled his eyes. “Maybe I might have been tempted to react inappropriately, but he was a total prick! He was literally asking for his face to be rearranged!”

Pegasus laughed, finding the entire situation far funnier than Ryou did, who merely glared, a hint of a pout on his face as he crossed his arms. “Aw, bunny,” the older man purred, still giggling a little. “I'm sorry, darling. I know you aren't a violent person, and that it takes a particularly special kind of asshole to set you off, but,” Pegasus straightened up and drew closer, pretending to whisper as he said quite openly, “I would have paid to see you do it.”

Ryou tried—he really did—to keep a straight face, but with Pegasus standing so close, smiling like that with a gleeful, mischievous look in his eye, he couldn't do it. A small smile broke through his stern expression, and a second later Ryou actually laughed a little.

Seeming quite pleased with himself, Pegasus stepped back, grinning. “There's my little bunny. Now,” he retrieved his own phone and was silent for a moment while he glanced at the screen, “I have a few more appointments to attend to, so this is where we part ways for the day, I'm afraid, darling.”

Sobering up a little, Ryou checked his own schedule. “I suppose so. I have a few publishers to get back to and some more interview requests to handle. Margo said someone was trying to hack into your bio on the company website this morning, so I need to check with her to ensure that's being handled. I'll have to comb through the whole thing too, just to make sure nothing's changed.”

Pegasus chuckled as they started for the door. “Let me see if I have this right then, darling. You're not the least bit concerned about the actual hacking, just about the bio?”

“I wrote the damn thing, and it took me far too long to get it the way it is now.”

They paused at the elevators, Ryou pushing the button this time.

“Well, you're awfully anal about things, aren't you, bunny?”

Ryou pressed his lips together and turned his head to stare at his boss, who merely smirked and quirked a brow expectantly, waiting to hear his reply.

“I prefer calling it 'meticulous' or just 'doing my job', actually. Sir.

They held each other's gaze in silence, Pegasus grinning and Ryou fighting a smile from dancing across his own lips. When the elevator arrived, and the doors slid open, his boss stepped inside first, saying, “Speaking of your job, darling, do me a favour and reach out to Klint Douche's boss for me, please.”

Ryou joined him in the small space, selecting a different floor than the one Pegasus was going to. “Not quite what I would have called him, but that works too. And I'd be happy to. I'll copy the correspondence to you so you can jump in anytime you see fit.”

“Thank you. And while you're at it, indulge me a little. What exactly would my little bunny have called him instead, hm?” When Ryou just shook his head and remained silent on the matter, his boss grinned. “Maybe a four letter word, starting with the letter 'c'?”

“Pegasus!”

“Well, it's not that dissimilar to his name, now is it?”

The elevator dinged before the doors slid open and Ryou stepped out, utterly stunned that they were even having this conversation. Instead of leaving for his office immediately, he turned to face his boss and huffed. “I am not answering that.”

“Because I'm right, aren't I?”

“Pegasus.”

“Ryou.”

Even if he hadn't been looking right at the man's gleeful smile, Pegasus' voice was dripping with enough mirth to give it away. The publicist sighed, lowering his head in an attempt to keep a straight face but couldn't resist smiling a little regardless. Pegasus' almost child-like personality was sometimes far too infectious.

Turning away, Ryou started down the hall towards his office, calling over his shoulder, “Still not answering that!”

“Love you too, bunny!” Pegasus called back, laughing as the doors to the elevator slid closed.




Ryou retrieved his keys from his trouser pocket and approached his vehicle, pressing the button on the keyring to unlock the doors along the way. The headlights flashed, and he immediately pulled open the driver's seat door once he reached the side of the car, slipping in and smoothly locking himself inside. He secured his seatbelt, started the engine, and carefully backed out of the company assigned parking spot.

It had been a very long day. After checking in with Margo about the potential hacker, he'd gotten into a professional disagreement with Klint Davis' boss over e-mail. Though Ryou had done what he could to handle the situation himself, eventually Pegasus stepped in, which at least had helped to take some of the edge off. Even in written form, Pegasus was still … well, Pegasus. And once his boss had gotten involved, all it took was a quick reminder that his word went far—especially considering how honest he was known to be around the media circuits—and that a single whisper from him that she employed racist, ignorant liars would be enough to destroy her entire career and ruin the paper's reputation.

Quite suddenly, she assured them that Klint would be fired immediately. Imagine that.

After many hours of near constant e-mails and phone calls, as well as proofing some of the scripts for the next few press conferences that Pegasus would undoubtedly not follow anyway, Ryou was tired. His boss and many of the other employees of Industrial Illusions had already left the office a while ago, and though he always felt there was never a good point for him to stop his work for the day ... Today was his anniversary, and right now, he just wanted to go home and spend the rest of the evening with his boyfriend.

Listening to some of his favourite music, comprised mostly of instrumental pieces, Ryou tried to relax as much as he could during the drive home. He and his boyfriend had agreed long ago that once the working day was over, they were to leave their job at work, including all the stress and tension that came with it. Neither of them had easy careers, and their home was the one place they could both just be themselves without others watching their every move.

He smiled to himself as he pulled up to their building and entered the heavily secured underground parking garage. Just a few more minutes and he would be with the most important person in the world.

Exiting the vehicle, Ryou grabbed his briefcase before closing and locking the car, then strode straight to the elevators. The security guard standing on duty smiled and nodded politely at him, a gesture he easily returned.

“Mr. Bakura.”

“Good evening, Roger.”

“Another long day at the office, huh?”

Ryou snorted. “When is it not?”

Roger smiled knowingly and nodded again. “Very true, sir.”

The publicist often returned home around this time of the evening, so Roger—as well as one or two of the other security guards—had quickly gotten accustomed to his busy schedule. Back in Japan, in his old life, the idea of other people being so privy to his comings and goings would have made Ryou very uncomfortable. But since moving to America and working for Pegasus, his own name and face becoming relatively well known to the public as well due to his constant presence by his boss' side at events and interviews, he had become grateful for Roger and the others. They helped to keep him and his loved one safe, and since they knew so much about his daily schedule, if anything bad did happen to him, they would easily be able to assist the police with that information.

His personal safety being on the line was an unfortunate side effect of Ryou's career, but he wouldn't trade it for anything. Despite the stress and constant workload, he loved his job, and Pegasus ensured that he always had the best security team at his disposal.

The doors to the elevator slid open, and Ryou stepped inside, waving at Roger. “Have a good evening.”

“Thank you. You too, sir.”

They exchanged a final smile as the doors closed, then Ryou pulled out his keycard, swiping it through the console on the side of the button panel. The machine dinged and a little green light illuminated, signalling his card has been correctly read and accepted, and the elevator started moving up to the penthouse.

The moment the doors opened again, Ryou eagerly stepped out. Placing both his briefcase and his shoes in the entryway, he walked through the doors into the penthouse and smiled as he spotted his boyfriend standing by the grand windows looking out over the city. Before he had even made it halfway across the room, however, his lover turned to greet him. The man's maroon jacket had been discarded, his dress shirt half unbuttoned, bolo tie unbound and hanging loosely around his neck …

Maximillion Pegasus grinned the moment he laid eyes on Ryou.

“Welcome home, bunny.”

“Glad to be home.” The younger man drew closer, raising a hand to gently brush his fingertips along the tie hanging around Pegasus' neck before trailing lower and softly stroking the smooth skin of his boyfriend's chest, a smile still firmly plastered on his face. “Happy anniversary, Maximillion.”

Pegasus set aside the wineglass he had been drinking from, putting it on top of the grand piano that sat in the middle of the common room, then cupped Ryou's cheeks, running the pads of his thumbs along his lover's skin. “Happy anniversary, Ryou.”

They gazed into each other's eyes for a moment before Pegasus lightly tugged Ryou's face closer, bringing their lips together in a soft, tender kiss.

Like most mornings, Ryou had been out of the house very early, and they'd barely had a chance to see each other until they were both at the office. And just like the rule of never letting work spill into their home life, they had a similar rule about not allowing their home life to leak into their work. They had agreed to keep their relationship a secret since the very beginning, mainly because of the unusual circumstances of how they got together, and why they remained together.

After everything that went down with Diva twelve years ago—when he had forced the latent memories of the horrible things the spirit of the Ring had done into Ryou's conscious mind—the young man ended up in a bad place, mentally and emotionally. It wasn't just the memories of his first encounter with the Ring that had been unlocked that day. It all had. Every time he had blacked out when the spirit had locked him away in his soul room to have full control over the body, every time he had been manipulated by the spirit into helping with its twisted plans to kill his friends … every single thing had slowly leaked into the forefront of Ryou's mind. And being the sensitive soul that he was, it had caused a gradual descent into darkness. He couldn't handle all the pain that had been caused by his own two hands, even though he hadn't been the one personally doing all those terrible things.

Ryou fled Japan, seeking a new environment to hopefully help distract him from his struggles, but no matter where he went, he couldn't escape his own mind and heart. He hopped from city to city, country to country for almost a year, endlessly searching for freedom from himself.

In the end, he found himself in America. Ryou barely spoke English at the time, but at that point, he was just ... tired. Tired of running from things he couldn't ever really get away from. Tired of the nightmares that haunted him most nights. Tired of not having a place he felt he could call home anymore. There was always the option to go back to Japan, but he didn't want to because that would mean returning to the very place where most of those horrible memories had taken place. So he stayed in America, investing his time in improving his English and getting all the legal documentation he would need to start working there.

Eventually, he got brought on by the San Francisco Chronicle as an intern, and that was how he crossed paths with Pegasus.

The journalist he had been shadowing at the time had an interview with the head of Industrial Illusions, so they drove out to meet with Pegasus at the company's headquarters, a few hours north from the Chronicle. Just as what Klint Davis has experienced, Ryou and his mentor had been required to submit their questions ahead of time for approval by Pegasus' prior publicist before even being granted an audience with the man, as well as sign the same termination clause.

Once they arrived, though, the interview went … fine. There weren't any hiccups since his mentor had stayed on script as he was expected to, but for the majority of the time, Pegasus kept looking at Ryou, even though he wasn't the one conducting the interview. Not constantly, but between questions and sometimes even while giving his answers, the older man's eye would inevitably find its way to the young intern. Ryou tried to keep his head down and avoid meeting Pegasus' gaze, but he did glance back a few times, which always earned him a small, barely noticeable smile.

Just for him.

When the interview wrapped up, Ryou and his mentor had been packing up to leave when Pegasus shook both of their hands, but in doing so, left a business card in the intern's palm with an address and a time written on it. But when he had turned to ask the older man about it, Pegasus had already left the room. Ryou had never really had any direct contact with the head of Industrial Illusions until that moment, only the spirit had, so to say he was confused by Pegasus' actions would have been an understatement.

Why would someone like that man give Ryou the time of day when his ancient alter ego had nearly killed him while stealing the Millennium Eye?

Curious enough to want to find out what this was all about, Ryou declined returning to San Francisco with his mentor and waited until the appointed time to arrive at the address Pegasus had provided him.

Turned out to be the older man's personal address, the place they both now call home.

Security instantly let Ryou inside the building and granted him access to the penthouse—much to his surprise—and he found Pegasus waiting for him the moment the elevator doors slid open. The older man smiled brightly and handed Ryou a glass of red wine before leading him to the common room.

“Why am I here, Mr. Pegasus?” he'd asked once they were seated.

“You tell me.” When Ryou just stared, the businessman took a long, drawn-out taste of his own wine before pinning him with knowing smile. “I'd recognize a soul suffering such as yourself anywhere.”

Ryou tensed, his gaze dropping to the floor. “... I don't know what you're talking about.”

“Oh, come now, bunny,” he teased, swirling the wine in his hand. “You're a terrible liar. Besides,” lifting his glass again, Pegasus added, “'birds of a feather flock together', you know.”

Frowning, the younger man's eyes returned to his companion, studying him, and Pegasus merely waited, patiently, giving Ryou all the time he needed to understand what he was offering. The moment it clicked, Ryou's eyes widened slightly, and he whispered, “oh”.

“'Oh', indeed. Honestly, darling, did you think you were the only person left scarred by the presence of the Millennium Items? Now, drink up and let's try this again, shall we?” He watched as Ryou's gaze dropped to the wineglass in his hand, staring at it for a moment before finally giving in and taking a sip. Apparently satisfied, Pegasus smiled. “Excellent. Now, tell me, bunny; why are you here?”

For a man who was notorious for sleeping with nearly any other man who crossed his path, Pegasus had remained surprisingly hands-off with Ryou that night. They just … talked. About the spirit of the Ring, and Ryou's very complicated feelings for the being. About Pegasus' lost love, Cecelia. They spoke of things neither of them had ever revealed to anyone else. It had been a shockingly therapeutic evening for them both, Pegasus even admitting that he hadn't had a truly meaningful conversation with anyone since the death of his wife.

And by the time Ryou left the older man's home late that night, they both knew they had connected in a way that neither of them could really explain.

They met several times after that, always in private. Sometimes they would talk as indepthly as they had that first night, sharing their deepest fears, sorrows, and dreams with each other. Other times they spent the night not doing much talking at all but being rather vocal in other ways, indulging in their deepest desires instead.

Neither of them really knew when it was they had really become official, though. They'd never really talked about it. They just allowed things to happen when it felt right, from their first time having sex to moving in together to Pegasus “hiring” Ryou as his publicist. The owner of Industrial Illusions hadn't lied to Klint though; the younger man had never actually be paid for his work with the company. By the time Ryou had accepted the position, he'd already moved into the penthouse and thus was more than taken care of financially by his “boss” who enjoyed spoiling his boyfriend rotten. And since they really couldn't narrow down exactly when things had gotten so serious between them, they had settled on their anniversary being marked by that very first night instead.

As for Pegasus' other lovers, they never bothered Ryou. Hell, even he had taken the occasional bedmate over the years. Both of them led busy lives and weren't always able to spend time together—and besides, the older man's rather public hookups continued to keep their real relationship a secret.

It had been a purposeful decision on their part to have an open relationship because what they shared wasn't the same as most other couples. Yes, they loved each other very deeply, but having both already loved and lost before, they full well intended to return to their loved ones again once they passed into the afterlife. Their entire relationship had been built on that knowledge, but they still desired love and companionship in the interim. To be with someone who they could be open with and who could support them through their mental and emotional battles, but who also understood where their heart truly belonged in the end. Which was something they quickly realized they could have with each other, so it just made sense for them to spend the rest of their time on Earth together.

Both Ryou and Pegasus saw what they had as incredibly special. Not everyone got a chance like this, to be happy and loved and cared for with a trusting and supportive partner. Some people didn't even get a chance to experience that once, let alone after losing love the first time.

However, while they treasured their romance, they knew that not many people would approve of their relationship. Either because of the eight-year age difference or their sexuality or the fact that they worked together or because of the way they loved each other, or any other number of reasons people would use as an excuse in their own heads to try to tear down what they had together. And so, Pegasus continued to keep the media out of their real personal lives with his sometimes fake hookups, and Ryou assisted in helping to “clean up” the mess afterwards, playing the role of a frustrated publicist. Which, all things considered, wasn't too difficult to do since Pegasus really did frustrate him at work. A lot.

In the end, considering their unusual situation, they only had three rules in their relationship.

Firstly, if they did manage to find time in their busy schedules to spend together, they ensured it happened, one way or another. No other sexual partners would ever get in the way of the limited time they had.

Second, additional lovers weren't allowed in the bed they shared, ever.

And lastly, to always come home to one another in the end. They were allowed to care about the other people they slept with, but deeper emotions and connections remained exclusively between the two of them. With anyone else, it was just sex. Plain and simple.

As their lips parted, both men smiling again, Pegasus purred, “So, bunny, are you done trying to tell me what to do for the day?”

“I don't know, sir,” Ryou smirked. “Are you ready to start?

“Hm,” Pegasus hooked a finger under his lover's chin, bringing his thumb to run along Ryou's bottom lip. “I'm always ready, darling. Now,” lowering his hand, he ghosted his mouth over his partner's, then pulled back and smirked, pointing to one of the bedrooms, “hop along in there, cottontail. This little fox wants to play.”

Grinning, Ryou turned on his heel and strode straight for the room Pegasus had indicated. Opening the door, he flicked on the sconces, illuminating the room with a muted, fuzzy pink glow, and stepped into the middle of the space where he waited for his lover with his back to the entryway.

This was their playroom. Before Ryou had moved in, it had been Pegasus' playroom alone, but since then, it had been altered to include things they both loved doing. This room was available to other sexual partners as well, but they had special cabinet off to the side that held things that were exclusively used with each other and no one else. There was also a bed, designed to allow for multiple kinds of bindings, a swing, x-rack, dance pole, a couch made of Victorian leather, a costume wardrobe, and an appropriately fancy display of various toys, tools, and accessories. The vibe of the room was less sex dungeon and more sex palace, though. The walls were a deep royal purple, most of the bedding, furniture, and accessories were either red or purple as well, and there was a mix of leather, velvet, satin, and silk fabrics throughout.

They didn't always use this room when together. Sometimes they would go to their private bedroom and slowly make love instead, but today was their anniversary, and they had a tradition on their special day: multiple rounds starting in the playroom.

When Pegasus entered the room, Ryou remained unmoving, his back still turned so he couldn't see his lover yet. The older man kept his pace light and slow, purposely drawing it out, making Ryou feel like he was being stalked by a predator … There was a method to their playtime. Sometimes Ryou had more control, other times Pegasus did. Generally, Pegasus was more dominant than Ryou, but they liked to switch it up. However, when in this room, Pegasus was king.

Finally stepping up behind the younger man, Pegasus brought a hand up to firmly hold the back of Ryou's neck, the other coming around the side of his body to start working his tie off.

“All that riding my ass about my tie today, just to have it messed up now?” Ryou didn't bother disguising the laughter in his voice.

Pegasus' hand stilled, and he chuckled. “Of course, darling. How else am I going to ride your ass at the office, after all? That said, however,” temporarily releasing his prey, Pegasus stepped around his lover, placing a hand on Ryou's chest, but it didn't remain there. It slowly travelled up, following the path of his tie, passing over the knot to settle on the younger man's neck. “That sounded awfully bratty of my little bunny, now didn't it?” He closed his hand around Ryou throat and gently squeezed. Not enough to actually interfere with the younger man's breathing but enough to assert his dominance as he purred, “Care to talk to me like that again, cottontail?”

Mischief danced in Ryou's eyes, a small smirk playing on his lips, but he merely whispered, “No, sir.”

“Good boy.” Grinning, Pegasus ruffled the other man's hair, then removed his hands entirely and stepped away, holding his arms behind his back. “But for that attitude, you can undress yourself. Be sure to take your time and fold every piece of that suit very carefully, darling, or it'll wrinkle, and we wouldn't want that, now would we?”

Well, that certainly wiped the smile off Ryou's face. He loved it when his partner undressed him because it was generally accompanied with kisses, licks, occasional scratches and loving spanks. But Pegasus knew how much he enjoyed the experience, which was precisely why this was his punishment.

Ryou clenched his jaw. “No, sir.”

“Good. Now, strip.

Withholding a sigh, the younger man did as he what told, starting with the very tie that had gotten him in trouble in the first place. He worked the knot free, tugging it out of his collar and gently rolled it up before setting it next to his feet. While he was down there, he removed his socks and lay them on the floor as well. Straightening back up, he stripped off his jacket and tried to ignore his lover's burning gaze as he carefully folded it.

Pegasus had taught him ages ago how to handle all types of fabrics correctly, so Ryou knew the older man was staring for more than just the show; he was ensuring his boyfriend did everything properly.

And he had had the nerve to call Ryou anal today.

He kept that thought to himself though and carried on with his task. Ryou unbuttoned his dress shirt, folding it with just as much care before laying it on top of the jacket, but once he reached his belt, his eyes finally lifted to meet his lover's gaze.

Pegasus smirked. “Something you'd like to say, darling?”

“No, sir.” It was an absolute lie, but Ryou wasn't going to tell his partner that he was purposely trying to entice him into abandoning the punishment. Instead, he “casually” bit his lip as he slowly started working his belt loose. Very slowly. Pegasus tensed, and Ryou smirked. “Something wrong, sir? I thought you wanted me to take my time.”

The older man narrowed his eyes. “That's not what I meant, bunny, and you know it.”

Ryou shrugged, continuing to unbuckle his belt at an agonizingly slow pace. “It's not my fault you left it up to interpretation.” He saw a slight shift in Pegasus' jaw and knew he was winning. Feeling quite pleased with himself, he finally pulled the prong from the belt and hissed, “Sir.”

There was silence for a moment, then Pegasus slowly smiled. “You're absolutely right, darling.” Stepping forward, he grabbed Ryou's hands, yanking them away from the belt. “And I take full responsibility for this grave misunderstanding.” As he spoke, he moved Ryou's hands behind his back and grinned. “Now, my sweet bunny, please allow me to … rectify the situation.”

Holding both of his lover's wrists in one hand, Pegasus reached into his pants pocket with the other and retrieved a pair of leather cuffs, linked together with a small but thick metal chain. Ryou eyed them for a moment, a small smile gracing his lips as his lover brought the cuffs behind him and securely wrapped them around both of his wrists, locking his arms behind his back.

“Now,” Pegasus purred, leaning close to brush his lips along his lover's again, “where were we? Oh, yes, I remember.” Reaching down, he took hold of Ryou's belt and quickly finished unbuckling it, pulling it free from the loops around the waistband. He then purposely dropped the strip of leather on the plush carpet below them with dramatically fake “oops” before bending down to unceremoniously tug Ryou's trousers to the floor. “Oh, but what a shame, darling,” he chuckled as Ryou stepped out of them. “You suddenly seem to be unable to properly care for your garments now, anyway. It looks like I'm just going to have to do the rest of the work for you.” Grinning wickedly, Pegasus rose to his feet and stepped back, staring at Ryou as he started to slowly fold the trousers—just as slowly as Ryou been with the belt. “I suppose you'll just wait there like a good little bunny while I ensure these are properly taken care of, now won't you?”

They held each other's gaze as Pegasus slowly worked the fabric into a nice even fold, smirking knowingly. Ryou may have successfully taunted his lover into action, but he certainly hadn't won the round. And full well knowing that, the younger man remained entirely still and silent throughout the agonizingly long wait, accepting his altered punishment. He had brought it upon himself, after all.

When Pegasus finally deemed his work done, he stepped forward and bent down to add the trousers to the pile of discarded clothes. “Very good, darling. I'm impressed.” Straightening up, Pegasus grinned as his eyes greedily scanned his lover's nearly naked body. “I suppose I can help you with this last step as well since you've been such a good little bunny.” He hooked his thumbs into the side of Ryou's briefs, tugging playfully while purring, “And good bunnies get rewarded.”

Ryou stood with his back straight, head lowered so he could watch his lover's descent to the floor. If his hands weren't bound, he would have run his fingers through Pegasus' silky white locks, but he knew the lack of contact between them was all part of the other man's plan. Without instruction, he stepped out of his underwear once they reached his ankles, then Pegasus rose again and tossed them aside, not giving the briefs the same care he had demanded with the rest of the clothing.

“That's better,” he purred, reaching up to stroke a single finger along Ryou's jawline. “Just one thing missing now.”

Stepping around his partner, Pegasus walked over to their personal supply cabinet. Ryou remained as he was and thus couldn't see what his partner was doing, but he didn't need to watch to know what older man was looking for.

A small smile graced Ryou's lips.

“Ah, there it is.” Stepping back up behind him, Pegasus leaned in close to whisper into the younger man's ear, “You can't be my little cottontail without one, now can you?”

Ryou's smile grew bigger. “No, sir.”

“Good boy. Now,” Pegasus reached for the leather cuffs around his partner's wrists, unclipping the chain in the middle. Then his hand trailed up Ryou's back, coming to rest on his left shoulder so Pegasus could squeeze the flesh there while hissing, “bend over.

Continuing to keep his back straight to avoid getting scolded for his posture, Ryou silently knelt on the floor before bending at the waist and putting his arms down in front of him to support his upper body so he was on all fours. His lover followed the moments, Pegasus' hand never once leaving Ryou's skin.

Once he was in position, Pegasus gently started massaging the younger man's shoulder. “Lovely. Now,” he reached up with his other hand, placing the bunny tail plug on Ryou's lower back, “I'm going to prep you, darling, but do be mindful of the precious cargo you're carrying. If it falls, I'll have to punish you. Is that understood?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good boy.”

Pegasus' hands left his boyfriend's body for a moment, but few heartbeats later, one returned to his shoulder, continuing to massage the younger man's soft, pale flesh as though he hadn't let go at all, the other coming up behind Ryou to press a single lubricated finger against his entrance.

Having gotten used to this from all the years they had spent together, Ryou didn't move or twitch in any way. He just focused on his breathing, drawing in air at a calm, rhythmic pace as his lover's finger swirled and teased around the rim. This was the easy part though, and he knew that Pegasus wouldn't give him any kind of verbal warning before entering him, so he would have to pay attention for a physical cue instead.

When Pegasus' finger stilled for a moment, Ryou braced himself just as the older man pressed the tip inside before slowly pushing in further, until his finger was buried deep inside Ryou's body.

He twitched and gasped softly from the intrusion, the plug resting on his back wiggling a little but otherwise remaining in place. For now.

Ryou lowered his head and tried to maintain control over his breathing, but didn't get a chance to ground himself properly before Pegasus started moving his finger. It slid back and forth inside him, and Ryou couldn't resist shivering and moaning as his lover picked up the pace of his movements before purposely pressing against his walls and gently curling his finger.

The plug wobbled dangerously along his back, and he heard Pegasus giggle behind him, his grip on Ryou's shoulder tightening.

“Something bothering you, bunny?”

“N-no, sir,” Ryou panted.

“Oh, really? Nothing at all, darling?” As he spoke, Pegasus continued to softly tease and stretch his partner. Then, with another taunting chuckle, a second slick finger pressed against the younger man's rim. “And how about … now?

Ryou gasped, the sound morphing into a deep moan as his lover pushed forward, bringing both fingers together deep inside him. He trembled from the effort to keep still, but it turned out to be all for nothing a second later as Pegasus started relentlessly pumping his fingers back and forth. Ryou cried out in pleasure, his whole body squirming from the sensations shooting through him—

The plug rolled off his back, landing on the plush carpet beneath him.

Pegasus' hands stilled, and another teasing laugh reached Ryou's ears. “Well, well. What do we have here, bunny?” Extracting his fingers from his lover's body, Pegasus reached down to pick up the plug. “You know what this means, don't you, darling?”

“... Yes, sir.”

“Good boy.” The hand that had been massaging Ryou's shoulder remained, still working the soft skin there as he spoke. “I'm going to strike you ten times, five on each side, and I want you to count each one. Is that understood, bunny?”

Ryou smiled. “Yes, sir.”

“Lovely.”

There was a moment of silence before the first strike fell, but when it did, as Pegasus' hand connected with his right ass cheek, Ryou gasped and moaned happily. He had known from the moment the older man placed the plug on his back that Pegasus' goal was to ensure he dropped it. It was part of their play. The “threat” of punishment was far from intimidating. Ryou would attempt to follow through on Pegasus' instructions to the best of his ability, but only because it made the game more fun since it forced his partner to work him harder to get him to fail.

The punishments Pegasus gave him were never actually meant as real forms of discipline, anyway. Ryou loved getting spanked. The sharp sting from the impact felt amazing to him. Sometimes they went more in-depth with their play, including a little bit of legitimate pain and even some anxiety play, but those were rare occurrences that only took place when Ryou asked for it. And regardless, Pegasus never did anything that would actually harm his boyfriend or cause any kind of permanent marking, physically or otherwise.

“One.”

“Good, bunny. Keep going.” Pegasus purred, continuing to knead his lover's shoulder as his other hand slapped against the skin of the opposite cheek.

“Two.” Returning to the right side, Ryou's partner struck again. “Three.” Smack. “F-four.” Each strike was making it more and more difficult to speak. “F-five.” His body was trembling from the impacts, and his moans were becoming more intense. “... S-six.” Ryou shivered, his breathing turning laboured from the mix of pain and pleasure. “S-ah-ven.”

“You're doing so well, my darling,” Pegasus crooned. “We're almost there. Then you can have your tail, I promise.” Continuing to alternate which side of Ryou's ass he hit, he returned to the left cheek, adding another satisfying slap to the younger man's tender skin.

“E-eight.” Ryou was barely even actually enunciating the words anymore. They slipped out more as moans and gasps that vaguely resembled the numbers themselves.

“Good, bunny. Good. Just two more.”

Slap.

“N-nine.”

Slap.

“T-ah-n!”

If the room hadn't been so well insulated, Ryou's lewd whining moans would have echoed off the walls. Instead, they were swallowed up by the plush fabrics and padding surrounding them.

The hand that had been loyally massaging the younger man's shoulder remained, while Pegasus' other hand slid along Ryou's ass so he could gently rub his partner's supple flesh, soothing the sting. “There you go, darling. You did so well.”

Ryou panted softly from his position on the floor, a small smile dancing across his lips. The only thing about getting spanked that he liked more than the actual act itself was the care he received afterwards. The gentle touches along his tender skin felt like heaven.

As Ryou's heart rate eased, Pegasus' fingers slipped from the round peaks of his boyfriend's ass to between the cheeks, finding and teasing the rim again before sliding back inside. Ryou gasped softly, then chuckled.

“Yes, bunny. As promised,” Pegasus purred as he carefully started scissoring and stretching his partner again, “you get to have your tail now.” He continued to gently work Ryou open for a little while, drinking in the soft moans and mewls from the younger man before withdrawing again, only to replace his fingers with the plug itself. Pressing the tip of it against Ryou's entrance, Pegasus paused for a moment to give his lover a chance to take a breath before sliding it in place.

Ryou sighed with relief the moment it was inside, his walls clenching around it happily. This was one of his favourite parts of their playtime.

At first, it had been a bit of private joke between them, Pegasus calling him a “bunny”. He'd explained during their second meeting that he had chosen that nickname for Ryou because the young man reminded him of the gentle creatures; curious but sensitive, easily startled, exceptional memory. The fluffy white hair and pale skin obviously added to the analogy, but since Pegasus himself had a very similar appearance, he doubted that had been taken into account. He was fairly sure, however, that the choice of nickname had been a play on the fact that Ryou was rather gentle and timid compared to the spirit who had inhabited his body.

But then when things started turning intimate between them, and Pegasus had started introducing Ryou to the realm of anal play and plugs, it just made sense to get ones with fluffy bunny-like tails for him. Now, unless they were heading straight for their private bedroom to slowly make love, Ryou would nearly always get a tail at the beginning of their playtime. He'd gotten so used to it after all the years they had been together that playing without one didn't feel quite right.

Sometimes Pegasus wore one too, and though his were also white, he didn't use the bunny ones. Those were exclusive to Ryou.

Pegasus wore fox tails instead.

“Feel better now, my precious bunny?”

Ryou smiled. “Yes, sir.”

“Good.” With a final squeeze on his lover's shoulder, Pegasus let go and rose to his feet, stepping around the other man's body so he was standing in front of him. “Come now, darling. Up you get.”

Tilting his head up to look at his partner, Ryou was graced with a sly smile, and a hand held out to assist him. He accepted the offer, taking the older man's hand and let Pegasus gently pull him to his feet, the chains attached to the leather cuffs still strapped to his wrists clinking softly as he was brought into his lover's embrace. Ryou gazed into Pegasus' amber eyes, smiling as he wrapped his arms around the back of his partner's neck.

“What now, sir?

“Hm,” snaking a hand down Ryou's back, Pegasus softly squeezed his boyfriend's ass. “Now, I think it's time you get on the bed, cottontail. You've been awfully bossy lately, so I think this little fox should teach his bunny who's really in charge.”

The gentle, almost lovestruck expression on Ryou's face changed, his soft smile becoming a smirk, his loving gaze filling with lust and anticipation. “Yes, sir.”

Extracting himself from Pegasus' grasp, he crossed to the bed, ensuring to move at a measured pace, his small hips swinging as much as his thin frame would allow. Ryou could feel his lover's eyes on his back, or more so on his backside as he moved, watching the tail protruding from his ass. In a way, it made him feel powerful. Even though the older man was the one in control right now, just knowing that he had Pegasus' undivided attention gave Ryou a bit of a rush.

When he reached the bed, Ryou climbed on top of the perfectly set sheets and sat on his legs, placing his hands on his thighs as he waited for further instructions. Again, this was just part of their fun. They didn't have a contract stating the rules of their interactions as a dominant and submissive, so nothing was enforcing a certain kind of behaviour, but they had found they quite enjoyed specific things when together, so it felt natural to default to those behaviours when playing.

Pegasus grinned as he approached the bed. He sat next to his partner and reached out to gently stroke Ryou's cheek. “Good, bunny. Very good.” He leaned in for a quick peck on the lips but didn't linger. Then he drew back and opened the drawer to the nightstand nearby, retrieving a blindfold from inside. He didn't put it on his boyfriend right away though, instead holding it out for Ryou to see first. “Would you like this tonight, darling?”

The younger man's eyes darted down to it, then back up to his lover, his own smile barely containing his excitement. “Yes, sir.”

“Lovely.”

Leaning closer again, Pegasus lifted the blindfold up to hover over Ryou's head, then carefully brought it down to cover his partner's expressive brown eyes. Taking a moment to ensure it sat comfortably on his face, Pegasus fiddled with the set of the elastic around the back of Ryou's head for a moment before sitting back to look at him.

“How's that, darling?”

“Perfect, sir.”

“Good. Now, lay back.”

Ryou didn't hesitate to follow the older man's instructions, immediately shifting so he could comfortably rest back against the plush pillows at the head of the bed. He felt his naturally thick and fluffy white hair spread along the satin pillowcase, something that Pegasus had obviously observed because Ryou felt the other man's fingers softly brush along the strands.

“You're so beautiful, my little bunny. Now, arms up.”

Smiling, he did as requested, bringing his hands up so the cuffs on his wrists were right next to the metalwork frame. A second later, Ryou felt Pegasus' hands on his skin, sliding up his arms until he reached the chains hanging off of both wrists. He waited in silence as his partner took hold of the clips on the end of the chains, fastening them to the swirling, artistically bent and warped bars of the headboard. Then his lover's touch disappeared.

“How do you feel, darling?”

“Good.”

“Good?”

Ryou smirked. “Sir.”

Pegasus chuckled, then Ryou felt the weight on the bed disappear as well. “Good boy. Now, I'll go collect a few things, then we'll get started on your 'lesson', alright, baby?” He nodded, biting his lip in anticipation, earning him another amused laugh. “Good.”

For the next few minutes, all Ryou could hear were the gentle sounds of movement. Drawers sliding open and closed, cabinets being rummaged through as Pegasus collected the items he intended to use on Ryou. Between each new sound was utter silence, his boyfriend's footfalls swallowed up by the plush carpet covering the floor. Which was why he didn't hear when Pegasus returned to his side, only recognizing that his lover was nearby again by the scent of the man's cologne.

Ryou smiled, turning his head towards his partner. “Are you ready now, sir?”

“I don't know, darling,” Pegasus purred. “You tell me.”

The soft brush of a feather trailed across his skin, starting at the navel and travelling up to circle his nipples. Ryou's back arched, and he mewled from the almost ticklish sensation.

This was a rather important part of their play. The feather was a silent signal, marking the start of something new or indicating when things were about to change. Pegasus had learned quite quickly that Ryou was very sensitive and very skittish, and that meant most sensations couldn't be suddenly sprung on his partner, at least generally speaking. The rules were a little different when his boyfriend asked for anxiety play, but that wasn't something Ryou needed right now. What he needed was comfort, and this method was a good middle ground for both of them. The feather allowed Pegasus to surprise Ryou by not directly telling him what was coming next, but still gave the younger man the ability to feel safe in the scene, proving him with an opportunity to say if he wanted to slow down or stop at any point.

They had a safeword just in case Ryou panicked regardless, but over the years, the need for its usage had become far less frequent as he slowly learned to trust Pegasus more and more. Together, they had trained his body and mind to recognize and respond to the feather, and worked on his breath control and other coping mechanisms, and now, Ryou's safeword was almost entirely exclusive the rare times more intense play was requested.

Ryou let out a soft breath and smiled. “Yes.”

“Good, darling. Let's get started then.”

The feather left his skin, and there was a moment of silence before it was replaced with something else. It took Ryou a moment to register what he was feeling as the item in question trailed down his chest, but when he did recognize it, he chuckled.

“Maximillion.”

Pegasus couldn't help but laugh a little too. “Yes, bunny?”

“Stop teasing me.”

“Isn't that point though, darling?”

“You know what I mean.”

The fluffy object came to a stop just before it reached the younger man's stiff erection, and Pegasus giggled. “I did say the fox wanted to play, baby.”

Ryou huffed, twitching in the cuffs holding him to the bed. “Honey.”

“Oh, all right, fine. Have it your way.” And with that, Pegasus took the fox tail away, laughing a little at his joke.

Ryou heard his partner set the plug down on the nightstand, then a second later, felt Pegasus' lips against his own. The kiss was tender and loving, and he practically melted into the mattress beneath him. As much as he hated to admit it, his lover's teasing had helped relax him a little more, which would make the rest of their playtime that much better. Pegasus must have realized he needed to let some extra tension out first.

His boyfriend had always been disturbingly perceptive when it came to Ryou's needs.

Their lips parted, and Pegasus purred, “I'm going to actually start now, darling.”

A small smiled twitched at Ryou's lips, and he nodded, feeling completely ready now. “Okay.”

Silky tassels whispered against his thigh a moment later, and he sighed happily. They danced along his skin, over his hip, across his abdomen, then up to his chest and Ryou shivered a little from the sensation. The tassels lingered for a while, trailing back down his body, Pegasus even allowing them to tease along his shaft before they disappeared and he felt the feather again.

Ryou nodded.

“Good, bunny. Very good.” He teased his lover with the feather for just a moment before moving on.

A brush of Pegasus' fingertips over his nipples told him what was coming and Ryou took a breath to brace himself just before his partner attached little clamps to each peak. Pegasus must have been holding the thin metal chain that was attached to them because Ryou didn't feel it against his skin until a moment later when it was slowly lowered to his chest, so slowly it almost felt like some kind liquid trickling along his flesh.

“I love you in jewelry, darling,” Pegasus purred once the chain was laid down, a single finger hooking onto it to pull on the clamps gently. Ryou gasped softly, and he chuckled. “You're so beautiful like this, baby.”

Ryou smiled almost shyly. “Like what?”

Another soft laugh, then his lover moved, leaning down to brush his lips against the shell of Ryou's ear as he breathed, “At my mercy, of course.” Another gentle tug on the chain had the younger man gasping again. “Yes, just like that.”

After a quick kiss to his cheek, Pegasus pulled back, and Ryou felt the bed shift around him, allowing him to track his partner's movements … To right between his legs. Then everything went still and quiet for a moment before the feather tickled along his thigh, warning him.

He nodded.

“Excellent.”

The feather disappeared again, and a second later, Ryou was gasping and moaning as both the clamps and the plug were being toyed with at once. A few tugs on different parts of the chain, a few twists and pulls of the plug. His head tilted back, pressing into the pillow beneath him as Pegasus played. It had always been a bit mindblowing to Ryou how much was possible without his lover really even touching him. It had taken him quite a while to get used to this kind of thing, and even now, it was still a little overwhelming sometimes.

He really was quite sensitive.

When Pegasus stopped, Ryou lay there, bound and panting, completely unsure how much time had passed by. Logically he knew it had only been a few seconds, but time felt completely different when drowning in stimuli.

“You doing okay, darling?”

“... Y-yes.”

“Good.”

Nothing happened for a moment, which he was grateful for—Pegasus was giving him time to steady himself again.

Ryou took a few deep breaths, focusing exclusively on that task until he felt ready to continue. And as the younger man's breathing started to level out, Pegasus brought the feather back, brushing it calmingly along his boyfriend's stomach. Now was not the time for teasing and they were both aware of that, so he kept the strokes of the feather innocent to help ground his partner, refusing to continue until he had Ryou's consent.

Eventually, Ryou nodded, and the feather disappeared.

The bed shifted again as Pegasus moved and he heard something being picked up off the nightstand. Again, there was a pause before the item in question touched his skin and Ryou used that moment to take another calming breath.

Something dropped onto his hip, and it took a moment for him to recognize it, but once he did, the younger man smiled. Wax. Pegasus had lit a candle before they'd started and it had been sitting on the nightstand this whole time to soften and melt the wax.

Ryou quite enjoyed this. Not that he didn't enjoy everything else they had been doing, as evidenced by the constant twitching and pulsing he felt between his legs, but there was something almost soothing about the hot wax meeting his skin. It was heated enough to still give his body a little jolt of surprise but not so hot as to actually burn him. And the warmth of the wax as it started hardening again was almost as comforting as a soft hug or gentle kiss along his skin.

His boyfriend must have seen the smile on his face because Pegasus giggled.

“What?”

“Nothing. You just look so at peace.”

“Because I am.”

“Hm.” The older man couldn't keep the smile out of his voice as he purred, “Well, I'll have to fix that then, now won't I?”

A sound on the nightstand told Ryou that Pegasus had set the candle aside and he felt the feather grace his skin again. Technically, Pegasus didn't need to use the signal this time because he had already warned his lover that he was about to change the sensation, but Ryou appreciated his partner's dedication to keeping him entirely comfortable with everything they did.

He smiled and nodded.

A familiar noise nearby told him what was coming and Ryou braced himself just before a fresh ice cube was pressed against his chest.

Ryou hissed, his back arching in response to the cold touch and he squirmed against the bed. This wasn't the first time they had played with ice, but he never seemed to get used to the feeling. Temperatures had always been a challenge for him. Even now, at thirty years old, he couldn't take showers that were too warm without being at risk of fainting or getting ill, and he nearly froze in winter weather no matter how many layers he wore. But after all the years he had spent with Pegasus, though Ryou had been able to become more accustomed to different temperatures in general, he had better adjusted to sensations involving heat than cold.

Chuckling, Pegasus slowly but surely slid the cube down his lover's body. First, he traced the clamps and chain, then moved lower to tease it along Ryou's ribs before bringing it down to the younger man's navel. The whole time Ryou squirmed and whined, but they both knew he was enjoying it far more than it would appear to anyone else so Pegasus carried on, dragging the cube even lower, bringing it tauntingly close to the base of his boyfriend's shaft.

Ryou's breath hitched.

“Yes, bunny?”

“N-nothing, sir.”

He didn't need to see his lover's face to know Pegasus was grinning. “Good boy.”

The ice cube left his skin and was instead replaced with Pegasus' tongue, which he dragged lazily along Ryou's body, following the trail of water that had been left behind by the ice, starting at his chest. This time, Ryou was writhing for an entirely different reason as his boyfriend lapped at and sucked along his skin. And in true Pegasus fashion, once he had cleaned up the mess, he didn't let the absence of the water deter him from continuing to tease the man beneath him.

He licked at Ryou's nipples—still held between the clamps—and tugged at the chain with his teeth, then dragged his tongue down to his lover's navel to snake it around and into the younger man's belly button. Ryou moaned and squirmed, the chains on the cuffs clanging loudly against the metal frame they were attached to, but Pegasus didn't stop until he'd licked all the way down to his lover's twitching, rock hard erection.

Finally lifting his head, Pegasus blew a soft breath along Ryou's damp skin, chuckling at the reaction that garnered him.

“Is something bothering you, darling? You seem awfully excited, but I just can't imagine why.”

Ryou's only answer was a low whine, which just motivated Pegasus to keep taunting him. His hands softly stroked along his boyfriend's hips, one remaining there while the other moved to Ryou's leaking shaft. With another amused laugh, Pegasus brushed his fingers up his partner's length, stopping at the tip to rub Ryou's damp slit with the pad of his thumb.

“Hm, looks like you're quite a naughty little bunny right now, aren't you? Would you like me to help you take care of that, darling?” Ryou offered a weak nod, but that apparently wasn't good enough because his partner just tsked him instead. “No, baby,” Pegasus teased, his voice low. “Say it.”

Ryou swallowed, trying to find his voice among the haze of lust swimming through him. “... Y-yes.”

“'Yes', what, bunny?” When Ryou whined again, Pegasus merely laughed and rubbed his slit once more, dragging another, though much louder, whine out of his lover. “Go on, you can do it, darling,” he purred, the hand on Ryou's hip squeezing the soft flesh there. “I want to hear you. Tell me what you want.”

Ten years together and yet this was still something the younger man struggled with. Asking for what he wanted. Which was precisely why Pegasus was doing this. Sometimes he gave in and would just give Ryou what he knew his boyfriend wanted or needed at the time, but other times he refused until Ryou faced his shyness and uttered the words. It didn't matter if it was barely a whisper, so long as he tried to state his desires.

“Come on, my love.” Pegasus voice softened, and his hands left Ryou's body. A moment later, the mattress shifted around him as Pegasus crawled up the bed, gently straddling the younger man as his hands came up to cup Ryou's face. He stroked his lover's cheeks and whispered, “What do you want?”

“... You.

Unable to resist a small chuckle, one of Pegasus' hands moved higher and removed the blindfold. Ryou peeked through his lashes, giving himself a few seconds to adjust to the low lighting of the room before he pried his eyes open all the way and he smiled shyly at his favourite person in the world.

Returning the loving gaze, Pegasus stroked his partner's face again. “I know that, darling. Tell me how you want me.”

“Why?”

“Because it's hot.”

A light blush tinted his cheeks, and Pegasus grinned, which just made Ryou pout. He knew the older man loved making him embarrassed, especially now that it was such a rare occurrence in their relationship, but he hated it just as much now as he had in the very beginning.

“Don't.”

“Aw, baby.” Still grinning, Pegasus pressed a light kiss to his lover's lips. “Come on. Tell me. Would you like me to fuck you like the horny bunny you really are?” Ryou's cheeks heated even more, and he whined, turning his face away in a failed attempt to hide his embarrassment, which just made Pegasus laugh. “Should I take that as a 'yes'?”

“I … just ...” Unable to find any way to deny it, and barely able to form words right now with how flustered he felt, Ryou sighed, giving in. “... Yes.”

“Well, why didn't you just say that in the first place then, darling?” Of course—of course—Pegasus was going to use this opportunity to tease him a little more. Ryou groaned, and his partner giggled before pressing a playful kiss to his lips. “You know I'm always more than happy to fuck you, baby. However ...” Grinning, he pulled away and slipped off the bed so he could start undressing, letting his statement hang until he was utterly naked. Then he returned to the bed, climbing up between Ryou's legs with a predatory gaze. “Because you were such a stubborn little cottontail,” Pegasus purposely reached forward, nudged the plug, “we'll be doing this on my terms.”

Ryou mewled, his whole body twitching with excitement but not just from the shifting of the tail. The drawn-out anticipation of their coupling was starting to get to him, making his pulse race and his breath deepen. His eyes fluttered closed for a moment, and when they reopened, they sat half-lidded with desire.

A sight that pleased his lover.

Pegasus' smiled, then properly took hold of the plug to carefully but swiftly remove it. Ryou moaned, only to whine immediately after as he was left empty, his ass puckering and clenching, begging to be filled again. The older man sat back and just watched for a moment, his own erection twitching happily at the view before him. But after a moment, Pegasus took mercy on his partner and stuck three fingers in his mouth, coating them with saliva before inserting two of them into his boyfriend's body.

“Hm, you're so greedy for me, darling. Can't you just feel how you're clenching right now?” Ryou panted and moaned, squirming in the bindings again, and Pegasus chuckled. “You look so good like this, baby. So good. It makes me want to devour you.” Separating his fingers, he ensured Ryou was still nicely stretched before pressing the third finger inside too, purring, “but I won't. Not this time. Don't worry, bunny. I'll give you what you want.”

Ryou's lewd moans grew even louder as he squirmed on his lover's hand. All the play, all the build-up almost made this moment become too much for him. He could feel the curl of heat in his belly, but he couldn't stop it himself with his hands bound. Thankfully, Pegasus knew what was happening, and Ryou suddenly felt his boyfriend's other hand wrap around the base of his shaft, squeezing.

It wasn't exactly a secret between them that Ryou quite often was able to cum from anal stimulation alone.

“Not yet, bunny. Not yet.”

It wasn't until Pegasus felt his partner was sufficiently stretched that he finally extracted his fingers and released his grip on Ryou's erection. Then he moved up the younger man's body, smiling as he reached for the bed frame …

Clink … clink ...

Coming back to his senses a little, Ryou lowered his arms and stared at the leather cuffs still very much attached to his wrists but no longer chained to the bed. Confused, he looked up at Pegasus.

“What?” His lover grinned. “How else are you going to ride me, darling?” Ryou's eyes widened, his already flushed cheeks reddening just a little bit more, and Pegasus chuckled. “I told you this would be on my terms, didn't I? And I ...” He rolled off the younger man's body. “Want you ...” Slipping an arm around Ryou's back, he helped support his boyfriend as he shyly climbed up on top of Pegasus instead. “To hop on me like the slutty little bunny I know you are.”

Looking not too dissimilar from a frightened little bunny rabbit at that moment, Ryou ducked his head down, hiding his face with his hair, his hands resting on the other man's chest. Yes, they'd had a lot of sex over the years, but Ryou was most comfortable when being completely submissive. It was a fact they were both well aware of, but Pegasus adored when his lover took more initiative, despite—or possibly even because of—Ryou's shyness about it. Hell, the older man had spent years working on his partner to get him comfortable with giving any kind of striptease, and even that was still challenging to coax out of Ryou.

The only reason he had been able to tease Pegasus with the belt earlier was because he had known it would force his boyfriend into taking over. And everything else they had done that evening up to this point had been with Ryou in the submissive role, with his face either turned away or mostly hidden.

“Hey.” Smiling much more gently now, Pegasus reached up and pushed Ryou's hair out of his face, hooking it behind his ears before putting a finger under the man's chin and tilting his head back up. Brown eyes met amber, and Ryou bit his lip nervously, his cheeks still tinted with embarrassment. “Just breath, darling. I know this is hard for you, but this way we both get what we want, yes?”

“... Yes.”

“Good.” Pegasus' hand trailed up to his boyfriend's lips, gently brushing a finger along them. “I love you, Ryou.”

A shy smile finally worked its way onto the younger man's face. “I love you too, Maximillion.”

They just sat there for a moment, staring into each other's eyes while Ryou gathered his courage. Pegasus never rushed this part. He knew that his boyfriend had a lot more steel in him than Ryou believed he did and that it just took time for him to find it sometimes, especially during sex. But Pegasus also knew that once Ryou did find it, he was a force to be reckoned with and there was nothing sexier to him than that, inside and outside of the bedroom.

When he was ready, Ryou took his lover's hand in his own and pressed a kiss to his palm.

Pegasus smiled encouraging, then reached over to the nightstand to grab the bottle of lube he'd set there earlier. He made quick work of coating himself before tossing the bottle aside and gripping Ryou's hips to help guide his lover as he slowly and carefully speared himself.

Due to their lack of sexual exclusivity—primarily on Pegasus' part but occasionally on Ryou's side as well—they always used condoms when with other partners but when it was just the two of them, they didn't want any barriers between them. Just to be safe, though, they both got regular health checkups to ensure they could go without protection when together. Like with most things in their relationship, this little act of trust and giving entirely of themselves was important to them, and they would do anything to maintain it.

Ryou moaned as he slid along Pegasus' length, trembling a little from the sensation and the effort of moving slowly, incredibly grateful for his lover's hands on him as he did so. Once he had enveloped his boyfriend entirely, he groaned and curled forward, pressing his forehead against the other man's chest while he tried to steady himself. Waiting patiently, Pegasus' hands moved up from Ryou's hips to rub soothingly along his partner's back instead.

Eventually, Ryou straightened up and smiled, a hint of shyness still lingering, but now he felt excitement more than anything else. They were finally one again, after all the teasing and play …

He would never grow tired of this.

Pegasus smiled in return, putting his hands back on the younger man's hips as he purred, “Go on, bunny. Bounce.

Blushing a little again, but far too eager now to care about his own embarrassment, Ryou bit his lip and started moving. He just wanted to feel.

With a little help from his partner, he rose up on his knees, then lowered back down. Slowly at first, but Ryou quickly started picking up the pace, losing himself in the building pleasure. The clamps remained in place, adding extra stimulation all on their own, but the chain connected to them danced along his chest, tickling and teasing him, adding to the little jolts of bliss shooting through him.

Enjoying the view before him, it wasn't until Ryou's eyes were clamped shut, his head tilted back, and he was moving along his lover freely, moaning openly, that Pegasus started moving as well. Tightening his grip on his boyfriend's hips, his nails digging into the soft flesh beneath his fingers, Pegasus started assisting in pulling the other man back down onto him, while simultaneously thrusting his hips up to meet Ryou's every movement.

The air was filled with their lewd cries of passion, and the sound of slapping skin as Pegasus slammed his lover down on him again and again. Eventually, Ryou couldn't hold himself up anymore, and he arched his back like a cat, curling towards his lover, his body feeling like mush as he was utterly wasted by the man under him. Pegasus didn't stop, though. He kept moving his hips, entirely willing to take on the rest of the work if it meant he could make his partner happy.

At some point, Ryou tried to speak, failing to get the words out through the attack on his senses, but Pegasus knew what that meant.

“It's … okay, baby,” He panted, struggling to get his own tongue to function correctly. Reaching between Ryou's legs, he gripped his lover's shaft and started pumping him in earnest. “Cum for me!”

The words—no, command—forced out in a half-growl sent an additional shiver through Ryou's body as he tumbled over the edge of pleasure and came. Hard. His scream of ecstasy, though mostly swallowed by the well-insulated room, was music to Pegasus' ears and a few seconds later, he joined Ryou in pure bliss.

Sweating, shaking, and gasping for breath, Ryou collapsed against his lover's chest, his head spinning and ears ringing. Below him, Pegasus trembled a little as well, though not nearly as much as his boyfriend. He wasn't as sensitive as Ryou, and he hadn't been the one getting his ass pounded in. Not this time, anyway.

Pegasus brought his hands up, laying one on the younger man's back, rubbing soothingly along his partner's pale skin again while the other weaved into Ryou's hair to gently scratch his scalp. He sighed happily, practically melting into Pegasus' body with how relaxed and loved he felt right now.

Ryou would have fallen asleep like that if his lover hadn't roused him.

“Come on, bunny. Up you get.”

Cracking an eye open for a second, Ryou nuzzled Pegasus' chest and pouted. “Why?”

“So we can get cleaned up.” He sounded very amused. “We can rest afterwards, I promise.”

Sighing, Ryou weakly propped himself up and rolled off of Pegasus onto the plush bedding beside him, earning a chuckle. He pouted again. “It's not funny. You did this to me.”

“Oh, yes. I most certainly did,” the other man laughed again, moving closer to whisper into his ear, “And you loved every second of it.”

Ryou groaned dramatically, and brought an arm up to cover his eyes, his cheeks flushing again. “Shut up.”

Pegasus laughed, then pecked his boyfriend's lips before slipping from the bed. In his absence, Ryou almost fell asleep again, only coming back around when he felt the clamps being removed. His eyes fluttered open, and he was greeted with a sweet smile, which he couldn't resist returning.

“Hey there, love.”

“Hi.”

Still smiling, Pegasus sat on the bed and leaned in close, pressing a warm cloth to Ryou's abdomen. They were both silent as he cleaned the younger man's body, front and back, his touch remaining gentle through the whole process. Once he was satisfied with his work, Pegasus turned away momentarily to set the cloth aside, then he lay down on the bed with his boyfriend, pulling Ryou into his arms.

“How do you feel, darling?”

Ryou sighed. “Happy … and tired.”

Pegasus giggled, running his fingers through the other man's fluffy white hair again. “I understand, darling. Rest now. We'll have dinner later, then we can head to bed.”

Opening his eyes, Ryou looked up at his lover with a confused expression. “... To … sleep?”

Grinning, Pegasus shook his head. “Of course not, baby. Don't be silly. We still have all night, and I intend to make sure we're both exhausted tomorrow. Besides,” stroking the smooth skin along the side of his partner's face, Pegasus purred, “I have a little burrow of my own I'd like my bunny to explore.”




“Stop yawning, Bakura. You'll make me start if you don't cut that out.”

Ryou rolled his eyes. “I can't, Emma.”

Glancing up from her phone, she rose a brow. “Why? Don't tell me you were stuck here all night again.”

By “here” she meant the Industrial Illusions headquarters. It wasn't necessarily unusual for Ryou to be at the office very late into the night, occasionally pulling an all-nighter when his tasks required it, but he certainly hadn't been anywhere near the office last night. Not that he could tell her that, though.

He shrugged. “Okay. I won't.”

“Bakura!” Actually lowering her phone this time, Emma frowned. “You need to stop doing that! It's not good for you! I get that your job is important to you, but you need to be more mindful of your health.”

Ryou tightened his jaw to avoid smiling. She was legitimately concerned for him, which he appreciated, but it wasn't enough to overshadow the humour of the situation. Yes, lack of sleep wasn't good for one's health, but what he and Pegasus had been doing instead of sleeping couldn't exactly be called bad for one's health ...

The elevator arrived on their floor, and they both stepped out, turning towards the boardroom. Many of the company's head of departments were already filing into the room, chatting amongst each other while they waited for the meeting to start. And standing just outside of the boardroom was Maximillion Pegasus himself.

Ryou smiled politely at Emma. “I'll be fine.”

“Bakura.”

“Everything alright?”

Pegasus cheery voice drifted over them as they drew closer. He must have overheard the whiny, almost scolding tone she had just used. Ryou gave his boss a small smile of acknowledgment and had opened his mouth to answer when Emma cut in.

“Pegasus, please tell your publicist to get more sleep.”

“Emma!” Ryou hissed under his breath, glaring at her.

“What? If you won't listen to me, maybe you'll listen to our boss.” She smiled at them both, then clapped a hand down on Ryou's shoulder. “Look, man. I wouldn't rat you out if I didn't care, okay? Anyway, see you in there.” Releasing him, she stepped around them both and strode into the boardroom.

When the door closed behind her, Pegasus smirked at Ryou. “Tied up at the office again, were you?”

Ryou allowed a small smile to grace his lips before he rearranged his expression to be as impassive as he could manage. “What can I say? I'm quite dedicated to my job.

Pegasus' smirk remained, not caring in the least if anyone saw him looking at his publicist like that. It's not like anyone would think anything of it anyway since Pegasus had a reputation of giving all kinds of looks to the men around him on a daily basis. Besides, after working for the company for nine years, no one would be surprised to see their boss looking at Ryou like that. It had become an office joke how much Pegasus seemed to “like” him.

“Yes. Indeed you are, bunny.”

Another few department heads stepped off the elevator and passed by them, giving Ryou the perfect opportunity to break eye contact with Pegasus. Retrieving his phone, he unlocked the screen and busied himself with his e-mails until they had slipped into the boardroom as well. When the hallway was empty again, Pegasus broke the silence.

“My meeting in Chicago was cancelled.”

Frowning, Ryou glanced up. “What? When?”

“This morning.”

“That was supposed to be tomorrow, right?”

His boss smiled. “Yes. Yes, it was.”

They were both silent for a moment as Ryou digested that information. The meeting had been scheduled for 9:00 a.m. and the flight itself would have taken at least four hours, if not longer, so Pegasus had scheduled it for tonight. That way he could sleep at a hotel in Chicago overnight before the meeting in the morning, which after the events of last night, he would have most definitely needed …

Had the meeting not been cancelled.

A small smile tugged at Ryou's lips. “Well then, it looks like you'll have the night free instead.”

“It appears so, doesn't it, darling?” Grinning, Pegasus pretended to be dusting lint off his sleeve. “I suppose it's for the best, though. I really should catch up on my rest. I was up awfully late last night because my dear pet just wouldn't settle down.”

He quirked a brow. “Oh, so it's the bunny's fault?”

Pegasus smirked. “Of course. It's just so difficult to satisfy him. He's a little needy, you see.”

Ryou snorted, then shook his head but otherwise ignored the comment. They were on company time again now, after all. A quick glance over his boss' shoulder, scanning to see who was or wasn't already in the boardroom told him it was probably time for them to get the meeting started, which clock on his phone confirmed. Tucking the device away, Ryou nodded towards the boardroom door.

“We should get in there. Looks like everyone else is already inside.”

“Yes, I suppose you're right, darling. But first,” suddenly stepping closer, Pegasus reached out to grab hold of Ryou's pocket square, tweaking the edges and the angle of the silky cloth.

Groaning, Ryou rolled his eyes. “Oh, come on!”

“Just because it's an in-house meeting, that doesn't excuse sloppiness, darling.”

“Pegasus!” Batting his boss' hands away, as always, Ryou glared then pointed at the door. “Go. Now.

Grinning just as joyfully as ever, Pegasus practically skipped over to the boardroom door with Ryou following closely behind. And as they stepped inside and started the meeting, all anyone around them thought was that they had witnessed Maximillion Pegasus pissing off his publicist for the hundredth time that week.