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“I want to tie you up,” Patrick said, between lazy affectionate face-kisses after morning sex at his apartment one Sunday. “Just tie you to the bed and have my way with you for a few hours.”

“Mmm,” David said, and nuzzled Patrick’s neck.

“I mean...I think I might actually want to try something like that.” Patrick sounded hesitant. “Would that be, uh, interesting? For you?”

“Wow.” David pulled back and studied him. Patrick’s ears had gone red. He looked both embarrassed and pleased with himself, not unlike the expression he’d had when he’d given David the framed receipt on their first date. “That would be very...hmm. Wow.”

“I thought so, yeah.” Patrick slid his hand around the back of David’s neck, fingertips pressing into the base of his skull, which always made David go boneless and shivery. “I’ve been trying to think of ways I could dominate the fuck out of you...”

“Oh my god, shut up.” David buried his face in Patrick’s chest, biting at his armpit. “I never said that!”

“You did, yeah, those exact words,” Patrick said, laughing, wrestling him away and holding him off. “Are you saying you didn’t mean it?”

David stopped and looked at him again. “I meant it,” he said.

He had meant it. He’d meant it a lot. And they hadn’t done anything about it particularly, lately, except that Patrick had seemed a bit more inclined to give orders during sex, a bit more forceful and aggressive in general. Which was great: Patrick’s hands on his body, guiding him roughly into place, holding him down. Not yet. Stay right there. Not till I say. Good, David. It was fucking hot, and David did want more.

“Well. Good,” Patrick said, looking embarrassed and pink again. “I’ve sort of been doing some research. But I didn’t want to go too far with it unless you actually...have you done anything like that before?”

David cleared his throat. “I. Yeah. I mean, not a lot, it’s not something I… Not a lot. But I have done some, um, bondage scenes. A couple of times? Yeah.”

Patrick was looking carefully at him now. “Okay, and it’s definitely something you’d be into trying with me?”

“I think,” David took Patrick’s face in his hands and kissed him, “it would be,” he kissed him again, “amazing with you. You’d make it amazing. Yes.”

“Okay. Good,” Patrick told him, grinning more confidently now. “I’m glad you approve. Maybe we could look at some stuff online together, tomorrow, like...ropes? I’m new at this, obviously, but I’ve gathered it’s not great to use, you know, duct tape or packing twine. I want to make sure I’d be getting something you’re comfortable with.”

David shook his head. “Surprise me,” he said. “I trust you. If there’s anyone who knows how to do their research, it’s you.” He kissed Patrick again and snuggled up against him, pretending to go back to sleep.

It was Patrick, he told himself; he really did trust Patrick. Completely. He didn’t want to look at bondage gear online, particularly, that was all. And Patrick was so excited to have thought of it. He’d do a good job. It would be good, with Patrick. It would be fine.

*

“Got something in the mail today that might interest you,” Patrick murmured as he brushed by David on the way to the cash register a few days later. “It’s in the back room, if you want to take a look.” He gave a quick passing squeeze to David’s thigh and kept going.

David headed casually for the stockroom, as if he were just going in there to pick up another roll of receipt tape. The package was on the counter. It was a perfectly ordinary padded envelope from Amazon; David had brought it in himself, with the other mail. It was ripped open now, and he picked it up and peered inside to find four bundles of black cotton rope.

It would have to be black rope, of course. That was a thing that would happen. Because given David’s aesthetic, black was the obvious choice, and he hadn’t wanted to help Patrick pick it out, because he was an idiot. Only an idiot would be standing here feeling like the floor was tilting slightly beneath him just because he’d looked at some pieces of black rope. He wasn’t going to be bothered by it. He refused. He put the package down, closed his eyes and took three calming yoga breaths, and went back out to the floor.

“Interesting purchase, Mr. Brewer,” he said, low in Patrick’s ear, while the customer in front of them searched for a credit card. “Planning on doing some macrame later on? Or is this a product you were thinking of carrying at the store?”

“That’ll be sixty-three dollars even,” Patrick told the customer. “Would you mind bagging that up for her, David? Thanks. Yeah, definitely for the store, but I think it might need a test run first before we buy in a lot of stock; maybe you could help me out with that later on?”

*

I’m gonna make you like it, the voice in David’s head said, on a loop, and he was so over it; it wasn’t anything, it wasn’t even important, but the more he told himself he wasn’t going to think about it, the more it intruded. Don’t fight it. Just give in. You’re so pretty like this.

“I used to be pretty good at knots,” Patrick said, undoing the first bundle of rope and looping it into a single column tie. It was impressive to watch; he had such good hands. David focused on Patrick’s hands, deft and sure. “I was a Queen’s Venturer, did I ever tell you that?”

“Well, I’m hardly shocked,” David said. “Do you still have the uniform?”

“Yes, in a closet at my parents’ house, and no, I’m never going to wear it for you. You should have a safeword, I think,” Patrick said, pulling on the knot to test its strength, glancing up at David with a sudden shy expression.

David couldn’t help smiling. “Did they teach you that in scouts, too?”

“Oh, yeah. It’s a pretty modern organization these days. Got my badge in Safe, Sane, and Consensual when I was seventeen.”

“Wow. What did that entail, I wonder. Was there a practical exam? Did you practice on the other scouts, or—”

“Safeword, David,” Patrick said, putting the rope down and kissing him. It was a forceful kiss, a little heated; Patrick was pretty turned on by these ropes, David thought. He’d researched. He’d practiced knots. He’d learned about safewords. It made him smile into the kiss, made his heart ache with tenderness even though it was beating too hard and too fast for what they were doing right now. Patrick broke away, too soon. “Pick a safeword, and get your shirt off for me, okay?”

David had used safewords before, obviously. He’d used pikachu for a while, because his girlfriend in L.A. thought it was cute, and it definitely brought the mood around in a hurry. He’d used eggplant a few times, and then he’d used albatross for reasons unknown, and it was a word he could still never bring himself to say, probably ever again. Luckily he didn’t run across many albatrosses. He needed a new word for Patrick. “Licorice,” he said, after only slightly too long of a pause; it probably wasn’t weird. “My safeword is licorice.”

“Got it,” said Patrick, and helped him lift his sweater off and then his t-shirt. His hands were warm against David’s skin, eager and swift, skimming up and down his ribs. “Can I...I want to tie your hands up now, let me...here, put your wrists together, in front of you, hold them out.”

David put his wrists together and held them out to Patrick obediently. He liked it when Patrick told him to do things, he reminded himself. Sex things, anyway; he usually liked it. There was definitely something that did it for him about obeying Patrick in bed, turning his overactive brain off for the duration and giving up control. Besides, it was hot, Patrick being so excited to do this, and so was the thought of him practicing knots, concentrating hard with his face all serious and intent. He watched Patrick’s face as he looped the rope around David’s wrists carefully. It was good rope, soft and stretchy but not too stretchy. He’d probably spent way too much on it.

“God, that looks good,” Patrick said, admiring his handiwork as he pulled the knot firm. “You’re going to look gorgeous, all tied up for me, David, I can’t believe how—okay, here, put your hands up over your head now, by the bedframe, so I can—” He lifted David’s bound wrists, and David made himself relax and give in to it; he could do that. It was just Patrick, who would never do anything he didn’t want.

But he didn’t want this. His entire body was becoming more and more sure of that now, as much as he tried to shout it down with reason; he could feel his breath coming up short and his skin going clammy as Patrick began looping another rope from his wrists to the bars of the bed. Maybe it would look like turned-on, from the outside, he half-hoped. The other half of him hoped that Patrick would stop what he was doing and notice what David couldn’t bring himself to say. Shouldn’t Patrick have noticed a thing like that, something this huge? Shouldn’t he just know? But that wasn’t fair, obviously. He couldn’t expect Patrick to read his mind.

Patrick would hate having done this if he knew how much David didn’t want it, he realized suddenly.

“Licorice,” he said, without fully knowing he was going to until the word was out, and Patrick stopped. David had his eyes closed. He didn’t want to see Patrick’s face.

“Um.” Patrick sounded unsure. “Is this a test? Or…?”

“No, I’m using my safeword, I need you to stop. I need the ropes off, off, now, can you please, now?” David yanked his wrists away from the bedframe and shoved them out blindly, and Patrick instantly pulled at one of the loops—he’d done a quick-release knot; he was so good, and David hated himself so much, but he lunged off the bed as soon as he’d shaken the ropes off and made it to the bathroom, dry-heaving and shuddering on his knees and wishing he were dead.

*

“It was a long time ago. It wasn’t a big deal,” David said.

“I mean, clearly it kind of was,” Patrick said carefully.

They were back on the bed now; the ropes had vanished, and Patrick had washed David’s face and helped him back into his t-shirt and kissed him approximately seven thousand times and told him it was okay, it was okay, everything was okay, although it really and absolutely wasn’t; still, it was nice to hear.

“You don’t have to tell me,” Patrick told him. “Or you can tell me some other time, if you want to talk about it; have you ever talked to anyone about it?”

David nodded. His eyes were closed, and his head was in Patrick’s lap, and Patrick’s fingers were carding through his hair, which felt amazing, but he still kind of wanted to die of shame. “I told my therapist, right after it happened,” he said. “He said that I needed to explore the reasons behind my compulsion to put myself into risky situations. He wasn’t a very good therapist.”

“No,” Patrick said. His fingers had stilled in David’s hair. They started up again, very gently. “What happened, David? I know I just said you don’t have to, but...I want to know. And I think it might be good for you to tell me.”

David felt a sudden rush of gratitude that nearly overwhelmed him, even in the midst of his misery. You don’t have to tell me could easily mean please don’t, whereas I want to know meant he was satisfying Patrick’s curiosity, not just wallowing in self-indulgence. Still, he hesitated.

“It really was stupid,” he said.

“Mmm. When did it happen?”

David sighed. “I was twenty-seven. Definitely old enough to know better. I was on...kind of a lot of drugs? And I went home from a club with this older guy, and he told me I was pretty so I let him tie me up. The sex was fine, but afterward,” David had to stop and clear his throat. Patrick just waited, rubbing warm circles on David’s chest through his t-shirt. God only knew what he was imagining.

He decided to say the rest as rapidly as possible. “Um. Okay. So after we had sex, the guy wouldn’t untie me. I safeworded and he just laughed and told me to chill out. He told me he was going to keep me there until he got sick of me, he told me all the things he was going to keep doing to me over and over and make me like it. He didn’t,” he said quickly, because he could feel that Patrick had gone very tense. “Nothing actually happened. He didn’t do anything to me. It just felt gross, and I sort of freaked out and, uh, probably started screaming my head off—I was still really high.”

David paused to breathe. There was only one more bit to say. “He had a, a knife, and I thought he was going to stab me to death and they’d find pieces of me in trash bins all over the city, but he just cut the ropes and told me to get the fuck out and threw my clothes after me into the hall. Nothing happened!” he repeated. “It could have been bad, but it wasn’t.”

“It sounds bad to me,” Patrick said. He still felt tense, all the parts of him that David could feel, and his voice had that slight tremor to it that it only got when he was very upset.

“Well, it wasn’t,” David insisted. “It was just a random, dumb, unpleasant experience. I didn’t even think about it that much, after, and it didn’t stop me from letting people pick me up at clubs, but...not older guys, so much, or anyone bigger than me. And I don’t...I don’t like being tied up, I guess, because of that, and I should have told you so right away when you asked me about it, but it’s stupid, because I know you would never ever ever do anything I didn’t want. I really do know that. Completely. And I didn’t want you to think I didn’t trust you, and I didn’t want you to know in this much detail what an irresponsible idiot I used to be, letting people I didn’t know do stuff like that to me. And I didn’t want to let it matter. So, fuck everything, but there it is. Now you know.”

He wasn’t crying, exactly, but his eyes were watering a little. Maybe more than a little. Patrick brushed the dampness away with his thumbs, very carefully, and leaned over to kiss him on the forehead. “Thank you for telling me,” he said. “I’m not surprised you’re not into ropes, after that. I’m glad it wasn’t worse, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a...a really awful thing to go through.” He hesitated. “David, you do know it wasn’t your fault at all, right?”

“Obviously,” David said, because that was what he was supposed to believe, even if it didn’t feel true. “The guy was a dick. And gross.” And I was the one who decided to go home with him, he didn’t say. Not just decided; he’d actively pursued him, flirted all night, fluttered his eyelashes and felt lucky and flattered to be chosen when he heard the words you’re coming home with me tonight, like it was a prize he’d won. Or like he was the prize, the way the guy had looked at him. What had he seen? Something dumb and pretty he could use for a night, probably. David shuddered.

“Could we have sex now?” he asked Patrick abruptly, sitting up.

Patrick blinked a few times. “Uh. Right now?”

“Yeah, because I really don’t want to think about this anymore, it’s like...a bad place in my head,” David rubbed his wrists and then shook out his hands a few times, “and I feel like I’m getting stuck there, and sex with you is basically the best thing ever, plus it makes it really hard to think about anything else, so could we just do that, now. Please.”

“David.” Patrick looked stricken. “I’m, I mean, that makes complete sense, and I’d like to, if it helps, I just...I don’t think I can, right now.”

“Oh,” David said, trying not to feel small and crushed. He wanted to slink away, off the bed and out under the door, maybe; he felt flattened enough to do that, at the moment. “That’s fine. I get it.”

“No, you don’t,” Patrick said, watching him. “You definitely don’t. I think what you just heard was ‘I don’t want to have sex with you ever again,’ but what I actually said was that I don’t think I can have sex with you right now. Hey. Stay here. Look at me.” He reached out and captured David’s hands, keeping him still, and his eyes were so soft and brown and sincere that David couldn’t look away. “I do want to have sex with you, David, a lot of it, only with you, and I never want you to have sex ever again with anyone who’d make you feel the way that guy did; it makes me really sick to think about that, so I just need a little time to change gears before I start feeling sexy again. Okay?”

David nodded speechlessly. “I...okay,” he said. “But, um, how much time?” he added after a few moments.

Patrick began to laugh, the sort of despairing laughter that overtook him sometimes, apparently against his will, when David was being just too ridiculous. He collapsed back onto the bed, letting go of David’s hands. “I don’t know. Fifteen minutes.”

“Fifteen?” David thought about it. Most of his skin-care routines lasted longer than that. Much longer, in some cases. “Are you sure that’s enough?”

“Maybe twenty,” Patrick allowed, and opened his arms to him. “Come here.”

“Oh,” David said. “Okay.”

*

“I’m sorry about the ropes,” David said after a while. “They seemed like good ones. Did they cost a lot?”

“Not too much, and I can return them,” Patrick said absently. He had pulled down the loose neck of David’s t-shirt and was kissing his way very delicately across his collarbone. “Except for the ones I started to use; I already threw those away. It doesn’t matter.”

“Mm,” David said. “That feels nice,” he added. “Has it been fifteen minutes yet?”

Patrick glanced up at the clock. “Ten,” he said, and went back to what he’d been doing.

“You should tell me some terrible thing now about your sexual history,” David suggested.

Patrick stopped kissing him. “I think that might extend the clock time, if I did,” he said. “It’s not the best foreplay.”

“Is that what this is? Foreplay? Hm. I thought it was more like aftercare.”

“It’s both,” Patrick said. “It can be both. I read it in the scouts manual.” He very gently bit the spot he’d been kissing, which made David squirm with pleasure.

“Tell me something, though,” he begged. “I want to know. What was your worst sexual experience ever?”

“Oh, god,” Patrick sighed, rolling away from him onto his back. “All of them? No, not all of them. But there was a lot of bad sex, and it was all really boring; I just didn’t enjoy it very much, and a lot of times I couldn’t...finish. I got good at faking it, up to a point. And I got good at oral sex. I didn’t mind that.”

“You are really good with your tongue,” David agreed. “But that’s sad, Patrick; that’s just really sad.”

“What you told me was really sad, too,” Patrick pointed out. “Mine is just less dramatic. I don’t mean dramatic like—”

“I know,” said David. “It’s okay.” He reached over and touched Patrick’s hand, and they just lay there like that for a while, side by side. There was something else he wanted to ask, and after a few more calming breaths he was able to make himself say it. “Is it going to be difficult for you to be, um, forceful with me from now on? After what I told you? I don’t have a problem with anything else, just, you know, restraints. That I know of. I haven’t actually tried everything. I haven’t tried a lot of things.”

“We’ll have to make a list,” Patrick said, as if it gave him great satisfaction, and David managed not to groan. “Things you’ve tried, things you might want to try, things I’m okay with trying...actually, maybe more of a Venn diagram would be good…”

“Oh my god,” David said, covering his face with his hands. “Now I need fifteen minutes. I can’t believe you want to make a Venn diagram of our sex life.”

“Or you could just tell me what you want, and I’ll see how I feel about it,” Patrick suggested, rolling over half on top of him again and looking him in the eyes, challenging, back to being amused. It really was extremely easy to amuse Patrick, very swiftly, like the wind blowing clouds away from the sun. David wondered if he’d ever stop being thrown off balance by it. He felt suddenly blinded, with that much interested attention being directed to his face. He nodded slowly, biting his lips, and Patrick laughed at him. “It really would be a lot easier. There’s actually an excellent chance you’d enjoy the results, if you did.”

David shut his eyes. It would not be easier, but Patrick probably had a point. “I like it when you hold me down,” he said finally.

“Yeah?” Patrick’s voice was soft, and his fingers were soft against David’s hair again, stroking. “That’s not too...restrainy?”

David shook his head, with his eyes still closed. “It’s different,” he said, and he hated talking about it. He didn’t want to have to explain; he didn’t even know why. “It’s just...you. Ropes and things don’t feel safe. You feel safe. Your skin is warm, and you’re right there, and it’s just...it’s safe. I don’t know!”

Patrick responded by taking David’s wrists in his hands and raising them up, pinning them against the bedframe in nearly the same position he’d been tying them earlier. “Like this?” he asked, gripping David’s wrists tightly, using a little force to hold them in place.

David’s eyes flew open and his breath went short again for an entirely different reason. “Yes,” he said emphatically. “Oh my god, Patrick, yes. And you could...you could tell me to keep them there, and sort of, oh god.” He shut his eyes again and swallowed hard, but he really wanted it; he could say it. “You could like, remind me, pretty forcefully, and, and...maybe even shove me back into place, if I started to let them down.”

Patrick had gone quiet, and for a moment David wanted to sink through the floor in humiliated despair, but then Patrick shifted, letting his body weight drive David down into the mattress. Patrick was getting hard, David could feel now, against his hip, and a sharp tingly thrill raced through him.

“David, that’s so hot,” Patrick said into his throat, kissing it, and ground down against him harder, making him moan. “God, that’s so fucking hot. You have no idea what you do to me, telling me things like that.” His voice was rough, breaking a little; he really meant it, and the thrill of it was coursing all through David’s body now. Then Patrick moved off of him, sitting up, and the loss was crushing until he heard Patrick’s next words, a low command. “Get your clothes off. All of them.”

He’d never stripped so fast in his life. Patrick was on him the minute he was completely bare, not even bothering to undress yet himself, shoving him roughly back onto the bed and then pushing his hands up above his head. “Hold on to the bars, David,” Patrick said, nudging his chin up to kiss along his jaw, crushing David down with his whole body. “Don’t let go.” He kept a tight grip on David’s wrists for another minute as he kissed him, and it was perfect, the weight of Patrick pinning him down, the total immobility. He was completely surrounded and overcome; he was owned, he was safe.

“I’m gonna get up again in a second,” Patrick warned him, low in David’s ear, and he heard himself make an animal sound of protest, a keening little whine. “And you’re going to stay right here where I’ve put you. All right?” David couldn’t speak, but he nodded. “All right,” Patrick said, and released his grip on David’s wrists, then eased his weight off him slowly, and then he was off the bed, standing up, unbuttoning his shirt, keeping his eyes on David the entire time.

It was only bearable because he’d been told he had to stay; the order was almost as comforting as the weight and heat of Patrick’s body had been. He had to test it, though, and when Patrick turned away to drape his shirt over a chair and unbuckle his belt, David let one of his hands drift down, not far, just to his chest, where he began to touch one of his own nipples, dragging his fingernails over it in little circles until it stood up in a tight, firm little peak. He pinched it, just lightly, and his cock gave a twitch in response.

Patrick glanced back at him. “Both hands up, David,” he said. “I’m not telling you again.”

David shivered with pleasure. That was good enough on its own, but after Patrick got his jeans and socks off and left them on the chair, too, he came back over and clamped his hands around David’s wrists again, forcing them up further, and leaned in close and bit him on the nipple he’d just been playing with. He bit down hard enough to hurt, and David cried out. “Please do that again,” he begged quickly.

Patrick kissed him there instead, letting his tongue lave around the tip of his nipple, and brought his hand up to the other one at the same time, giving it a hard tweak that made David’s mouth open wide, made him gasp for air. “Listen to me,” Patrick said, letting go, moving back. “Are you listening?”

“Trying to?” David managed, breathlessly.

“Well, try hard, because I want you to hear this. I want you to stay right there, hands on the bars, and spread your legs so I can hold you down and fuck you with my tongue,” Patrick said, and his tone was even and calm, as if he were telling David he wanted him to pick him up a turkey on rye at the cafe after he got more change for the register from the bank. David didn’t know why this drove him especially crazy, but it did. It really did. Other people who’d tried to dom him would too often put on some deep rough voice as though it went naturally with their strappy leather underwear, and it had never done much for him, but here was Patrick in his light blue Jockey boxer briefs and his firm yet reasonable list of relatively vanilla demands, and David was already so hard for him that it hurt.

“You’re not listening,” Patrick said patiently. “I’ll wait.”

“I’m listening!” David said. “Hands on the bars. Legs spread.” He spread them, as he spoke, and Patrick got between them and leaned over him, hands braced on David’s shoulders, pressing down hard.

“So I can do what?” he prompted.

David shut his eyes; he was fucking trembling. He could feel his knees shake. “Hold me down and f-fuck me,” he said faintly. “With...with your tongue.”

“Good, David,” Patrick said, and kissed him, licking into his mouth, reminding David of all the things he could do with his tongue.

I am going to lose my entire mind, David thought, almost calmly, and without thinking about it he brought his hands down to try to pull Patrick’s body closer, wanting that weight on him again, but Patrick broke away and took his hands and placed them firmly back on the bars.

“No, keep your hands up there,” he said. “I’m gonna eat you out now, and I want to take my time and do it nice and slow, and I don’t want you to touch yourself; I want to make it last. Is that okay with you? Can you do that?”

David made a high-pitched sound.

“David,” Patrick insisted.

“Yes, fuck, yes, do me,” David gasped. “Get down there, put your tongue in me, fuck, I’ll do anything—”

“Raise your hips,” Patrick said calmly, and tucked a pillow beneath him. “And bend your knees up more,” he added, moving down into position, pushing David’s legs wider open with his hands. “Yeah, just like that. Good,” he said, and David could feel Patrick’s breath on him now, between his legs; he was twitching with anticipation.

And then at last he felt the lick of Patrick’s pointed tongue-tip against his rim, circling once, coming back to stab at his opening in teasing little darts and tastes; then circling again, and again, more firmly.

“Fuck,” David whimpered; he couldn’t keep still, but Patrick’s hands came up to hold him down, warm and strong on his hips. He licked at David with a few long flat tongue-swipes, then put his whole mouth on him, wet and open, sucking at him gently, flickering his tongue-tip rapidly, and then finally, finally, pushing it into him.

It wasn’t as though Patrick had never rimmed him before. He had, and it had been pretty great, but not like this; never when David was so oversensitized from all the emotional drama earlier, and from being ordered around and pushed down. Never for so long or so slowly and intently, either. Patrick was devoting his entire focused attention to the task, using all the combined force of a take-charge mind and a very wicked and clever tongue to take David deliberately to pieces.

He wasn’t sure how he managed to keep his hands up on the bed frame. He couldn’t quite keep his hips still, not even with Patrick holding them down; he tried, but he couldn’t keep them from jerking a little, trying to buck. Patrick’s tongue fucked in and out of him, withdrew to flicker and tease at his rim again, then plunged in again deep while Patrick worked at him with his whole mouth, moaning into him. He could feel precome welling up out of him, dripping down onto his stomach, but this wasn’t going to make him come, not without at least a little friction on his cock, and it was exquisitely maddening.

“Patrick, please,” David breathed. “You’re so good at this you’re killing me, but please, I need—oh god—need to touch myself, please can I,” he begged, and his right hand came down from the bars of the bed frame. He let his fingers skate lightly up the aching length of his cock, hand encircling the underside of the head, then gave himself one quick perfect, desperate squeeze; it wasn’t going to take much more.

Patrick withdrew his face entirely from between David’s legs, leaving him with a cold shock of damp emptiness, and seized him by the wrist, forcing it back up. “No, you don’t,” he said, very firmly, and David gasped and shook; he was right on the edge, clenching, twitching as another bead of precome surged up and welled over. Patrick looked down and saw it and made a slight sound, a little hmmh of satisfaction and wanting, and touched the wet tip of him and then put his fingers to his mouth, licking them.

David thought he might actually come right then after all, with nothing touching him at all, but Patrick’s right hand clamped down hard on the base of his cock.

“No,” he said again. “Not yet. I want to be inside you when you come. It feels so good, when you—can you do that for me? Wait till I’m inside you?”

David wasn’t sure if he could or not, but he would have agreed to literally anything Patrick asked of him at that exact moment. He shut his eyes and nodded, slowly, and tried to think about the least arousing things he could imagine. Wet coughs. The word slacks. His father’s nightshirt. The need to come right then slowly ebbed. He could do this; he could wait for Patrick.

Patrick let go of him, and David felt his weight disappear from the bed. He heard the sounds of fabric against skin as Patrick got rid of his underwear, and then the opening clack of the wooden box where they kept lube and other things. He shifted uncomfortably, waiting; he’d had his arms up for a quite a while, he realized suddenly, and tried to find a way to adjust his grip on the bars. “You can put your hands down now, if that’s not comfortable for you,” Patrick told him. “Keep them flat on the bed, okay?”

“Um,” David said. He opened his eyes to see Patrick stroking lube onto himself; he was very hard, his cock rising up thick and dark and ready, and David swallowed and shut his eyes again. “Could I, though, maybe it would be better if I used some of that on myself, because if you do it I might…”

Just the momentary suggestion of Patrick fingering him open any more, when he already felt so soft and wet and oversensitive from being sucked and licked there, made him have to think about coughing and slacks and nightshirts again. Luckily Patrick seemed to agree. “Yeah, that’s probably...a good idea,” he said, and took David’s hand, pouring a generous amount of warming lube into it.

“Okay, but, like, turn around,” David told him. “Because I can’t make this sexy to watch if I’m trying not to come.”

Patrick shook his head and smiled slightly, that tight little turned-down smile he had when he was trying not to. “David,” he said. “There’s no way you could make yourself not sexy to watch. Trust me.” But he turned his back, and David got on with working the lube into himself, quickly, in case Patrick changed his mind.

“Um, is this—don’t turn around yet!—is this working for you, what we’re doing here so far?” David wanted to know. “Because I’m obviously enjoying the hell out of it, probably a little too much, but is it...is it doing anything for you? I know it’s not as exciting as actual bondage—”

“Yeah, I’ve got to stop you there,” Patrick said. David could see from his back muscles that he was having a hard time not turning around; he could also see that Patrick was still stroking himself, very slowly, keeping himself hard. “One, there is absolutely no such thing as you enjoying yourself in bed with me too much, and two—are you finished yet?”

“Yes,” David said. “You can look. Was that two? Or…”

“No,” said Patrick, getting back on the bed with him. “Hands on the mattress, David. Legs apart. Lift up.” He tucked the pillow back beneath David’s hips, then settled himself between his spread knees. “Two,” he said, putting his left hand on the center of David’s chest, “is that this is, without a doubt, the most exciting thing I have ever done, with anyone—seeing you like this? All turned on and, and just waiting for me, letting me—fuck,” Patrick said, his voice going raw and a little strained. “David, I can’t even begin to describe what it’s doing to me, and knowing how much you want it is making me so fucking—”

It was easy to tell when Patrick actually meant what he was saying; the cursing was a dead giveaway, plus his chest and throat got all flushed with it. David felt pretty warm himself, from his fingertips through his spread-out arms and all the way down his body. “I know,” he said, wishing he could stop smiling. This wasn’t how domination scenes were supposed to go, to his knowledge, but nothing ever really went the way it was supposed to go, with Patrick, and it had all been pretty amazing so far. “Okay, that’s good, we’re both into it, then, so how about if you hold me down and come in me now?”

“Oh, so you’re giving the orders now?”

“Why, did you have a better idea?” David challenged.

“No, that...that was a pretty good one,” Patrick said, and got into position, holding himself, letting the head of his cock brush against David’s ass. The brush turned to a firm touch, slick, sliding, and then a steady press.

David had thought he was ready for it—more than ready—but he sucked in a gasp of air and bit his lip, feeling himself open against Patrick and then contract.

“Mm,” said Patrick, looking pained, and his left hand pressed down hard on David’s chest as he began to push inside.

Why was it always so overwhelming, letting Patrick in? He wanted it; he always wanted it, so fucking much, this moment of finally getting a part of Patrick inside of him. This moment of too much, too full—and the look on Patrick’s face, like he’d never had anything like this before, never felt anything so good, even though they’d done this dozens of times—it was all too much to process. He wanted it to be over, this too-much moment. He never wanted it to be over.

“Okay?” Patrick said, looking at him now, a little worried, and reached up to touch David’s face. David had to close his eyes again.

“Mmhm,” David said, nodding. “Very...very okay. More. Please.”

“All right,” Patrick agreed, and gave him more.

David couldn’t do what he wanted to do, which was to clutch at Patrick’s back, at his ass, pulling him deeper in. Not getting to do what he wanted was its own kind of satisfaction, though. He kept his hands obediently down and tried lifting his hips to help things along, but once Patrick was all the way inside, he put his forehead down on David’s shoulder, moved his hands to cradle David’s pelvis in a tight firm grip, then set the rhythm himself, fucking slickly in and out of him.

He’d known it wasn’t going to take long, as worked up as they both were. It wasn’t going to take long at all. He was right on the edge again already. “Patrick, please, can I, I need to, can I just please, please—”

“Yeah, do it,” Patrick gasped. “Touch yourself. I want to feel you come.”

David’s hand flew to his cock, and it took almost nothing; three quick firm strokes and he was there, pausing at the last moment for just an instant to try to prolong it, but he couldn’t. He’d been waiting too long. He gave a trembling cry and let the balance tip. He was allowed; he was doing just what he’d been told to do, and it was perfection.

Coming was always good; coming when he was full of Patrick’s cock was even better; coming when he’d been teased and held down and tongue-fucked halfway to oblivion, it turned out, was the best thing yet. No, the best thing was the way it made Patrick react: he raised his head to watch David, and at once his rhythm fell apart and he stilled, stiffened, trembled on the edge. “Oh,” he said. “God, you’re making me— That feels— Ah, fuck, I can’t hold on, I’m gonna—” He shut his eyes and bit his lower lip and groaned, clutching onto David’s hipbones bruise-tight, and came. David had just enough brain left to wish he were a little more clear-headed himself, so he could appreciate the beauty of Patrick’s face at this moment, wrecked and vulnerable with ecstasy; as it was, he could still hardly see straight.

And then it was over, much too soon.

Patrick was still draped bonelessly over him, breathing in sawing little gasps, and he was getting heavy; in another couple of minutes David would have to move, but he held out for as long as possible, tracing his fingers lightly up and down Patrick’s spine, kissing him meditatively on the shoulder. Patrick looked up at him, dazed and overwhelmed, wonder-eyed, and that—right there, that look, David wanted to keep it; it hurt that he couldn’t keep it forever.

“What?” Patrick said. “Am I— Do you need me to move, is it too…” He started to pull out, softened now and everything too wet, and David wasn’t ready for that; he shook his head quickly and pulled him closer.

“Stay,” he said. “Don’t move yet,” and Patrick sighed and kissed him on the neck and let David take the full weight of him again.

“I just want to keep this,” David said out loud, without meaning to; he hated the way he said things without meaning to, right after sex when his brain was stupid with endorphins. Then he had to try and explain himself, like a fool. “I mean...right now, this whole...I want to keep it. Like. You know what you said, that time that started this whole thing off?”

“No,” Patrick said, muffled and amused-sounding, half into David’s neck. He lifted his head and smiled. “You’re making no sense. I love it. Keep talking.”

David sighed. “When you said you wanted to just tie me up and have your way with me. I kind of get that, now. Not that I want to, literally, with ropes—”

“You could,” Patrick said, sounding a little interested. “If that wouldn’t be...I mean. You could.”

“Oh,” David said, and thought about it. “Okay, that’s a conversation for another time. No, but what I meant was, I just want to have this, you, what we just did...I want to keep having it, I don’t want to let it go. Yet. Ever. Like if I could have a recording of it—that moment right at the end, especially, when you sort of lost your mind, I’m sorry but that was so fucking hot, and I wasn’t paying enough attention because—anyway, that, I want to keep it and just play it over and over again on a loop, maybe. Is that weird? I know it’s weird.”

“I want to keep it, too,” Patrick said, kissing his neck in that same sweet spot, again and then again. “I know what you mean. But you don’t need to tie it up or record it, or anything. You’ve got it. You can do it again, any time. Okay, almost any time. I mean...a lot, you can do it a lot, you always make me lose my mind; I thought you knew.”

“I know it now,” David said, and kissed him back, then wrapped his arms around Patrick’s back to pull him in closer and savour the anchoring weight of him for as long as he could bear it. He could have it back, he reminded himself. Almost any time.