John can always tell when the Professor's in town. The air in Soho grows heavy and hot and thick, and The Whip—grand old dame of the London sex scene—lights up like a birthday cake for those who have the sight. “Hello, sailor,” the magic-soaked building all but calls to him. “Looking for a good time?”
He's no longer young and pretty enough to get in for free, but with age comes cash in the pocket, and he pays admission at the door. Then he steps inside, immediately enveloped by the shadows and the pounding bass. He takes a deep breath and then lets it out slowly, the hair on the back of his neck standing up and his nipples hardening. He feels positively filthy just being in here. Not that it's lingering prudishness. The Whip is fairly wholesome as far as seedy goes, and he barely bats an eye at the S&M panto unfolding onstage or the sweat and slap of half-naked male bodies all around him. No, the oily, seductive miasma radiating from downstairs is something different entirely, and it draws him towards it almost irresistibly, magic calling to magic.
The cellar is made of concrete and bare wood. Dark and dingy, and without a scrap of carpet or upholstery, it invites the sort of acts you can only clean up with a pressure washer. It's winter and there's only the most minimal insulation down here, but the heat and humidity grows as he approaches the row of stalls. His clothes are sticking to his skin, and the walls are dripping wet with psychic energy.
He doesn't have to guess at which crib the Professor's set up in. There's a short queue, and he can hear it besides: the brutal choke and rattle of someone getting fucked hard at both ends. He opens the door on the adjacent stall, interrupting a well-muscled skinhead who's got his cock in hand and his eye glued to the peephole.
"Oi," John says. The skinhead turns reluctantly, his eyes glazed, drugged on the waves of sex magic that are rolling out from the other side of the wall and doing interesting things to the hypothalamus of every man in a twenty-foot radius. John clamps his cigarette between his teeth and waves his hand Jedi-style. "Your car's being towed."
"Shit." The skinhead blinks slowly and then staggers off, dazed, not even bothering to zip up.
John steals his spot and latches the flimsy door. The crib's seen some proper action tonight, the wall and floor filthy with half-dried come. Oh well, his suit needs dry cleaning anyway.
"Let's see what we've got this time," he murmurs, peering through the higher of the two holes drilled in the wooden partition that separates the cribs. He's not usually a watcher—more of the hands-on sort—but the Professor knows how to put on a show. Not the choreographed kind that goes on upstairs. This is a dark and dingy affair, all discreet elbowing and word of mouth. 'Bloke in the cribs is taking on all comers...'
He can feel the magic seeping into the wood, pooling towards his fingers as he leans against the partition. His nostrils flare as he sorts out whose limbs are whose in the shadows. There's a metal-framed cot, and a pair of skinny wrists are shackled to the headboard by way of a long, twisted chain. That's about all he can see of the Professor at first, as he's got two thickset muscle daddies on top doing their best to break him in two. It's him all right, though. That indignant moan for more is well familiar now, as is the ugly, faded tattoo stamped on a pale forearm. There's a pair of fancy boots lined up under the bed, and a pair of comically old-fashioned drawers, laces and all, crumpled in the corner.
That's the whipped cream on the sundae, of course, John reflects as he lights another cigarette and gets a hand down his pants. The Professor's not just a fellow magician, but one of those Scottish weirdos who decided the Amish had the right of it. They all live north of nowhere, save for few hidden districts in the cities. They dress like it's 1850, forswear electricity, and marry off young, all nice and proper. They're no slouches, though. Any untrained talent would be on fire—literally—with all the energy playing around the room tonight.
And as for the cherry...
It took John some time to notice the pattern. He has enough trouble keeping on top of his own calendar, let alone a casual acquaintance's. After a few occasions upon which cursing a bank holiday coincided with his visits to the Whip, however, he started to catch on. The Professor only comes to town four times a year. Christmas, Easter, start of June, end of August. School breaks.
He shakes his head. It's the stuff of porn, isn't it. A teacher, buttoned-up and strict in old-fashioned scholarly robes. Maybe the terse type, maybe a bully. Wielding the cane on all the little schoolboys and girls, and then coming down to the big bad city on his day off to play cum slut for a club full of horny men. And play he does.
"Dirty bastard," John mutters fondly, his eyes growing heavy-lidded as he watches the parade of eager tops march through. The magic settles on him, hot and itchy and dirty, smelling of violence and sex. The Professor takes them all on like a champ, snarling and sneering when he's unimpressed, and biting and clawing when he is, and at one memorable point of the night, letting out a warble of pleasure when a cock big enough to choke a horse drives into him with no more than a gob of spit as a "how d'you do."
Three cigarette butts join the mess on the floor before there's a break in the queue. The air is thick as mud by now, and John barely has to move his hand to bid the main door to shut and lock. Neat trick, that. His head swims, and when he licks his lips, he tastes salt.
He steps out of his stall and into the Professor's, the floor nearly sinking under his feet and something subtly sucking at his skin. The Professor lies limply on the disgusting cot, his legs splayed and his skin splattered with come in various states of drying, but he looks up sharply when John enters. His eyes are so dark as to nearly be black, but John can just about make out the dividing line to see that his pupils are blown.
"Ah," the Professor says, his lips swollen and chapped. "It's you."
John grins, making no attempt to hide the tent in his trousers as he takes his cigarette packet out of his pocket. "Fag?"
The Professor ably slips free from his restraints and holds a hand out expectantly as John takes out a cigarette for him and lights it. Fingers snap impatiently, and a moment later he's taking a long, lazy draw, his legs spread wide in not so subtle invitation, raw and red and dripping in between. He wrinkles his nose when John next fishes out a condom.
“Sorry, love,” John says, turning the foil packet over between his fingers and getting on the cot. The Professor's skin is nearly scalding to the touch, making him want to shape it in his hands like wax and burn his tongue on it. “I know where you've been.”
A pale, spindly leg hooks around him, pulling him down roughly. John barely misses a burning cherry to the eye as the Professor blows smoke a puff of smoke in his face. He laughs, throwing off his coat as the shadows slither around him like slick black snakes, moving cool and oily over his skin and popping the buttons on his shirt and trousers.
"Show-off." John employs slightly more conventional sleight of hand, gloving up and hoisting the randy bastard's hips.
He kisses him, tasting smoke and come and everything else about sex that's neither divine nor sinful but mucky, earthly, human biology. The cigarette falls by the wayside, as does a certain smug smirk, and there's a sound that borders on obscenity as he pushes into that wet, well-used arse. The heat of the room descends heavily, the air very nearly shimmering, and with a rattle of the headboard and a snap of his hips, he shows the Professor a little magic of his own.