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Pretty Eyes

Chapter Text

Hwang Jun-ho sat on the edge of a richly appointed bed as the man in the sparkling golden panther mask dragged Junho’s serving mask up and off. Touching under his chin, the VIP tilted Junho’s face up until he was looking directly at his glimmering mask. “That’s not the kind of face,” the man said, his voice echoing slightly, “you should keep behind a mask.”

Junho’s skin tensed all across his body. It was almost go-time, but not the go-time that panther-man thought he was in for. The VIP’s breathing was heavy as he shrugged out of his robe. His mask tilted down, and his words came between the heavy breaths. “If you can satisfy me. In five minutes. I’ll change your life.”

The man’s erect cock pointed directly at Junho’s face, and his balls hung below in Junho’s line of sight. Waiting. The masked man extended a trembling hand and rested it on Junho’s dark hair, pulling his head closer.

Go-time. Junho reached one hand forward, fingers shaped like claws, and dropped his other hand to the butt of his gun.

But his falling fingers encountered nothing. His gun was missing. His plans to grab this man by the balls, twist, and squeeze everything he knew out of him popped like a champagne bubble in that instant, filling his stomach was acid and his mouth with the sour taste of fear.

Junho knew that the VIP would kill him if he didn’t perform. He had threatened as much in the viewing room, where he’d casually watched people die while lamenting that the ones he’d bet on hadn’t made it. He’d ordered Junho to remove his mask in front of the others there, not caring that it would mean his death, before Junho had coaxed him into this more private area with a caress on his palm and a soft, meek suggestion.

Junho's own plan had been to get the VIP alone to question him, to force a recorded confession out of him. Well, that had backfired spectacularly. He could have sworn he had his gun only a moment ago.

He didn’t have time to look for it now. The VIP pulled Junho’s head forward, drawing him toward the quivering cock. Junho glanced up, not wanting to put this disgusting man in his mouth, and he knew the VIP could see it in his eyes. His cock lifted and stiffened further. Of course this was the sort of man who was aroused at the thought of coerced oral sex, Junho thought bitterly.

But what choice did he have? He couldn't find his brother if he was dead.

Junho resisted slightly, the VIP's fingers twisted into his hair, hard and cruel. He said in a voice that shook with desire and sadistic pleasure, “Four minutes, fifty seconds.”

Shit.

Junho allowed the VIP to pull his head forward. He opened his mouth and took the man in. Despite the VIP’s soft body, his cock was hard and hot, the skin silky against Junho’s tongue. One of his hands went to the man’s shaft, and Junho sucked and stroked like his life depended on it. Since it did.

The VIP grunted in pleasure, the sound echoing through the mask, and he began fucking into Junho’s mouth. His soft stomach bumped against Junho’s forehead, but then the man pulled his head back by the hair, forcing him to look up at the mask.

“You'll have to do better than that, Pretty Eyes.”

Junho hadn’t done anything like this since a brief period of experimentation in university, but despite his disgust at the situation, his only chance to survive rested on sucking this man off. After the VIP pulled Junho’s head forward again, he flicked his tongue over the head of his cock, and the man's pleased grunt was deeper, more gutteral.

But Junho knew he wasn't going to make it. The VIP was hard and thrusting into Junho’s mouth with each stroke of his hands and tongue, but his grunts didn't have the urgency they needed. He could feel the time counting down to a bullet in his head. If he was lucky.

A thought formed in Junho's racing mind like a single raindrop falling on clear water. The hand he’d intended to crush the VIP’s balls with lifted again, moved forward assertively, but not shaped into a claw. Instead, he cupped his palm around the VIP’s heavy balls, gently massaging them in time with his suckling strokes.

The VIP moaned in surprise and pleasure. Junho felt the cock in his mouth harden, the skin of the hairy balls against the palm of his hand tighten, the balls draw up.

The man twisted his fingers in Junho’s hair and held him in place as he violently thrust forward, crushing Junho’s face against the fat of his soft stomach.

Despite the warning, Junho choked when the VIP came. His cock pulsed against Junho’s tongue, and bitter seed shot against the back of his throat, gagging him.

The VIP relased Junho’s hair and lightly slapped his cheek. “Four minutes, forty eight seconds,” the panther purred, and pushed Junho back toward the bed by the forehead. “You’re a good little cock sucker, Pretty Eyes. You’ll be a good addition.”

Before Junho could process the words, he felt a sting on his shoulder, the wave of fire spreading from the spot followed by an alarmingly cold tingling. He hadn’t seen the needle coming, but when he looked down, he saw it sticking out of his shoulder. The pluger was fully depressed. As a wave of giddy vertigo rushed through Junho’s head, he heard the VIP say to someone, “Put him in my room.”

The VIP’s voice sounded as distant and muffled as someone yelling through a padded room, even though he was still right in front of Junho’s face, shrugging back into his clothing and tucking away his wet dick. Junho tried to make a grab for him, but instead, he pitched forward bonelessly.

Somehow, Junho was on his face on the thick carpet, the wetness around his mouth smearing up his face. When unfamiliar hands began to move him, he tried to fight them off, but he discovered that his limbs were just as distant as everything else, and very, very heavy. As he felt himself lifted, everything faded gently to black.

Chapter Text

There was something wrong with Hwang Jun-ho’s body. It wasn't pain, or tied to a specific location, it was instead a general sense that he was compromised. His mind surfaced and descended like a drowning man trying to keep his head above water.

He had only vague impressions of things taking place, like snippets from a barely remembered dream, vivid in the details, but the specifics foggy and without context. Powerful nausea as a boat lifted and fell. Being buckled in to the softest airplane chair he'd ever felt on his skin. Lying on a seat in a limousine, his cheek pressed against what smelled like real leather. Cool rain hitting his face.

Darkness.

When Junho surfaced for the last time, he was in complete darkness. He felt powerfully hung over, nauseated but hungry, mouth dry and sticky and foul-tasting. He didn't realize he was upright until he lifted his chin from his chest. The darkness lurched and spun, and he gagged, but he didn't have anything to throw up.

He tried to put out an arm to catch himself in case he was falling, but found that he couldn't move. His arms were fastened low behind his back, held together and to something else. The burst of adrenaline and alarm caused him to suck his breath in quickly, but his chest wouldn't fully expand.

The animal part of his brain began to panic, and his breath came quick and necessarily shallow. He couldn't take a deep breath. He couldn't move his arms or his legs. His attempts to find some give in whatever was binding him, or to rock on what he had been sat on, got him nowhere.

He needed to find his brother. No, that wasn't right. No, it was right but also wrong. He'd been looking for Inho, and.

It came back to him like a punch in the stomach. Sucking off the man in the panther mask. Being told he'd make a good addition. The drugging. And then here.

Here couldn't be good.

Junho didn't know how long he sat in the darkness, but it was long enough to need to do several calming breathing exercises when he started to panic. Breathing as deeply as he could and trying to let the thoughts pass without engaging them. Trying not to think about how he smelled stale, unwashed, and like he'd pissed himself. Trying not to wonder how long he’d been out.

Junho sat in the darkness long enough to wonder if he was going to die of thirst before anyone came for him. Long enough to wonder if no one was actually coming, or if seeing how long he lasted was the subject of some sort of sick betting game.

When the lights came on, the transition from dark to bright was so sudden and thorough that it stuck needles of pain through Junho's eyes directly into his brain. It took several long moments for him to be able to squint his eyes open, but his mind immediately began to sort egress routes and threats.

There was a door and there was a man. The door was made of wood, looking tastefully expensive, with a golden knob on this side. It was set into a wood-paneled wall that complemented the glazed terracotta floor. There was a light switch by the door, the switch was up. If the wall he could see defined the room, it was fairly large.

The man between Junho and the door wasn't armed, and he didn't look Korean. He was brown-skinned and dark-haired, beautiful in a profoundly masculine way. Squarish jaw, broad nose, thick and expressive lips. Dark eyes with the barest hint of an epicanthic fold.

He was well-built and shirtless, wearing only silky-looking dark slacks. Elastic waist band, no buttons or zippers, the sort of pants someone rich might work out in. The man also had pierced nipples, little gold hoops which would give Junho an advantage hand-to-hand.

Except that Junho was thoroughly tied to a chair, so he wasn't grabbing anything.

He didn't want to look away from the threat posed by the other man, but when he glanced down to assess his options, he saw that he was tied back to the chair in something that looked like a complicated rope harness, high on the chest of his black button-up shirt.

Tying someone to a chair was usually a stupid move, the sort of thing amateurs who had watched too many movies did. But whoever had done this knew what they were doing. He didn't have any room to twist his arms or legs, to find any small amount of give he could exploit.

Not good.

The beautiful man watched Junho assess his situation with an attentive expression, like someone watching an interesting drama on TV. He hadn’t moved, and he hadn't spoken.

“What’s going on?” Junho said in Korean. His voice was a dry, raspy rattle. Like it hadn’t been used in a while. He tried to lick his lips, but his tongue was sandpaper.

The man didn't respond, didn't even blink. Junho tried again in English. “What is this?”

The other man's brows hiked and his dark eyes raked Junho to the floor and back up, as if to ask what he thought it was.

“Where am I?” No response. “Who are you?”

“I'm your trainer,” the man said. His voice was low and smooth, the English accented in a way Junho couldn't place. If they'd been speaking Korean, he would have known, but while Junho spoke passable English, he wasn't a native speaker. Not good enough to pick out accents.

He didn't ask what sort of trainer the man was. He had the build of a personal trainer, but the context suggested something else. Junho tried to clear his throat, but his throat was so dry, there was nothing to clear.

“I need water,” he said.

“Try again,” the beautiful man suggested mildly, his low and smooth voice seeming to caress even the simple words.

Junho breathed slowly out through his nose. “Can I please have some water?” His question was as polite as someone asking a dinner host for something that had been overlooked.

“When you ask to suck my cock, you may have some water,” the beautiful man responded, slowly, as if to make sure Junho understood.

A knot twisted deep in Junho's gut. He’d known it was like that, of course. But knowing it and hearing were two separate things.

The beautiful man watched Junho as if he was an interesting curiosity. A bug trying to escape a jar when the lid was closed.

Junho decided that he wasn't going to ask. He’d take whatever the consequences would be. He stared flatly at the man, and the man looked back without any hint of expectation. Patient.

They stared at each other, Junho with his jaw set, the beautiful man serene and without expectation.

Then the man turned, his slacks rippling softly in the breeze of his own making. He flicked off the light, plunging the room back into darkness. A wedge of light expanded when the door opened, implying a hallway that hadn’t been lit when the other man came into the room. As the wedge grew smaller, Junho stopped himself from crying out.

The wedge disappeared. The door clicked. Junho was left in the darkness, only the sounds of his heart pounding in his ears and his oppressive thirst for company.

Chapter Text

It had been a long time since the man calling himself a trainer had left. Hours, maybe days. Junho's attempts to free himself, to work some give into the ropes or at least to get them to abrade his wrists so that he could use his blood as a lubricant, failed entirely.

He had tried to meditate to pass the time, but he'd stopped quite a while ago. The thirst was too much. It broke his concentration, intruded into every aspect of his being. It was the only thing he had, and it was eating him alive. He was going to die of thirst here, alone in the darkness.

Junho would have cried if he'd had any moisture in his body to spare.

He dozed and woke, woke and dozed, both states full of nightmares.

When his eyes stabbed with pain from the light coming on, it was a welcome change in sensation. Junho's shoulders shook just one time with some sort of emotion. Fear? Relief? He wasn't sure. He'd call it relief, then.

After Junho managed to squint his eyes open, he saw that the beautiful brown-skinned man, shirtless and in slacks, again stood in front of the richly appointed door. Junho had the powerful urge to thank him, which he just barely bit back. He knew it was the isolation and thirst and uncertainty and fear, that his very human needs were being weaponized against him.

Knowing the torture techniques didn't stop them from working.

The man's dark eyes were on Junho's face. Patient. Attentive. He was so beautiful, the light glistening off his muscled chest, glimmering on his nipple piercings. He knew that it was just his isolation-starved brain craving visual variety, but again, knowing didn't make it not work.

Junho took in a breath to speak. He made himself let it out, but only to find his chest expanding with air again, taking that little pause before speaking. The knot in his gut tightened. His cracked lips screamed for water. But he couldn't. He wouldn't.

After too short a time, the beautiful man turned. In slow motion, his hand lifted toward the light switch.

“Wait!” Junho croaked in Korean, not realizing he was going to do it until it was already done.

The man's hand stopped. He turned back to Junho, his expression patient. Not expecting. As if there was nothing to expect, as if everything were predetermined and he was simply waiting for Junho to speak his lines.

Junho tried to lick his lips, tried to clear his throat. He was still too parched to do either. The little attempts to buy himself a few seconds of time with the light emphasized how desperate his situation was.

“Please,” Junho croaked in English, raspy and extremely polite. “Let me suck your cock.” When there was no response, he said again, “Please.”

The man's nod was a bare hint of motion that Junho clung to like a man dying of thirst in the desert.

“Very good,” the man said, his low and mellow voice actual music to Junho's ears. “Though you'll address me as ‘trainer.’ “

“Please, trainer,” Junho's face burned with humiliation, “let me suck your cock.”

The sad thing was, Junho honestly hadn't realized that he would ask until he did it. He should have known that he'd suck a stranger's cock to save his life. He'd already done it once. And he'd do it again, to not die here alone in the darkness, minute by painful dehydrated minute.

The trainer stepped forward from the door and Junho tensed. But the man diverted around him. Junho clamped his mouth down on a shout, which would have opened the floodgates on begging the man to please come back.

The sound of a faucet filling a cup focused every ounce of Junho's attention. His parched body strained for the water so hard that his stomach cramped. Junho couldn't even blink his dry, burning eyes out of fear that he'd miss the water somehow.

The beautiful man reappeared with a glass made of actual crystal held in his hand, brim full of water. Junho again discovered that he would have started weeping if he hadn't been so parched. He wanted to feel something about that, but the water was there.

When the water touched his lips, he felt his body literally drinking it in before it even passed into his mouth. The lifegiving moisture trickled over his dry tongue, which felt as if it were literally expanding to take it in. When the rim of the glass pulled away before he had even enough to swallow, Junho made a noise of protest.

“A little at a time,” the trainer explained without a hint of malice. “You'll make yourself sick.”

“Thank you,” Junho whispered. He hadn’t intended to say it, and that he actually meant it made the shame-knot in his gut tighten another notch. Even though he knew, logically, that it was a psychological response to torture. He still knew it, and still that he knew it didn't help him.

The glass returned, and sip by controlled sip, Junho felt the water spreading through his body. With the torment of thirst receding into the background, he could suddenly feel how sore his butt and lower back were from sitting motionless on a hard surface for who even knew how long, and how his shoulders ached from their unnatural down-and-back position.

The glass disappeared, empty, taken away. Junho felt a little ill, knowing what was going to happen next. Knowing that he'd do it, because he had to.

When the trainer reappeared, he straddled Junho's chair. It was at the perfect height for the man's cut abs to be directly in front of Junho’s eyes. The dark elastic band of the man's pants cut across the flat expanse of stomach over his Adonis belt, the V cut so deeply that it actually created a gap. The cloth smelled faintly of something floral.

Junho's body tensed, and he took a short, sharp breath. Then fingers touched under his chin, lifting it, tilting his head back and making him look up the trainer's body and into his distinctive dark eyes, rimmed with tastefully applied, subtle eyeliner.

“Don't do anything stupid,” he said. It wasn't a warning, just a simple and calm instruction.

Junho nodded slightly against the man's fingers, and he released his chin. The trainer's manicured hand dropped, shifted down the elastic band, and pulled out his penis.

That it was large didn't particularity surprise Junho. He had the build of a man with a big dick. The Prince Albert piercing, the gold loop through the end with a ball in the middle, that was surprising. That the trainer was soft was surprising, too.

For some reason, Junho had expected this man to be enjoying this, getting off on it. In retrospect, the trainer had been purely businesslike, as far as men who tied other men to chairs and left them to dehydrate in dark went. Junho passingly wondered if it was the water making him giddy, the situation, or both.

The man pressed the tip of his penis against Junho's lips, and he opened his mouth, because he was the sort of man who'd suck a stranger's dick to not die.

The beautiful man's cock started to harden as Junho sucked on it. He was very clean, just a subtle hint of a masculine smell and flavor. Junho worked his head back and forth as best he could, but his range of motion was very limited. He didn't have any idea how he would actually get the man off without being able to move his head well, or use his hands. Maybe that part would come as the trainer got aroused. If Junho's hands were free, he’d have more options.

So he might as well do a good job, build some trust so that he could more quickly make it to a place where he could escape this ordeal. Right?

Junho caressed his tongue around the head of the beautiful man's cock, ran the tip over the smooth ring piercing it. The man hummed out on a pleased note, which was the first reaction he'd had to Junho pleasuring him.

Then the beautiful man was pulling away, tucking his cock back inside the soft slacks, where they tented the clingy fabric. He took a step back and brushed his manicured thumb across Junho's lips. “Good enough for now.”

The man walked away, his broad back glinting and the slacks clinging to his legs. He clicked the switch down, plunging Junho's room into darkness. The wedge of light from the unseen hallway expanded and receded, leaving Junho alone again.

Chapter Text

Without the overwhelming thirst, the slowly deepening ache of Junho’s body, the increasing pressure from his bladder, and the gnawing sensation of hunger made themselves known. And being known, they got worse, though not bad enough to keep him from reflecting on his situation.

He was trapped, and he knew the panther-masked man wouldn't hesitate to have him killed. The trainer didn't shy away from using torture to get Junho to comply, and to make him in some ways complicit. He tried not to think about what he was going to be made to do next time the trainer appeared. Made to ask the trainer to do to him.

Surely, there would be a next time? There had to be, he assured himself.

He rehearsed what he's say several times, and quickly got bored. He’d almost welcome a beating over this endless, isolated waiting, the anxiety and uncertainty that came and went, the exhaustion. A beating would at least be something tangible, easier to resist than his body's desire for movement, his mind’s persistent reminders that he didn't want to die in the dark. He was so tired. A bad enough beating would let him sleep.

At some point, they would let their guard down and Junho would escape. Maybe the situation was fortunate, in a way, since this location was likely the VIP's house or at least some property he owned. Escaping from it would make it become known, and being known, it would help crack the case. Cracking the case would help him find out what had happened to Inho. If he was still alive. Whether his kidney had been harvested by the goons downstairs.

If he could escape, whatever happened to him wouldn't be for nothing. It could be considered worth it.

Okay, that was a little optimistic, but he had to tell himself something.

Junho dozed, passing in and out from exhaustion without finding his way down to real sleep. His eyes were already closed the next time the light clicked on, blooming pink through his eyelids. Opening them was still a slow, squinting process.

The beautiful trainer stood between Junho and the door, looking at him. Junho had already decided to cooperate.

“Please, trainer,” he said very calmly in English. “I need more water. And I need to go to the bathroom.”

There was so much more he needed, but he made himself stop there. He preferred to ignore that he smelled like he'd already wet himself. What a person did while drugged and what they could do while conscious were separate things.

When the trainer didn't respond, Junho added the magic words. “Trainer, please let me suck your cock.”

It was easier to say now that he'd done it before. And now that he knew what kind of man he was.

“Better.”

The trainer moved across the room, and Junho heard the him fill a glass. This time, it was a lidded plastic glass with a straw, and when the trainer pressed it to his lips, he was allowed to drink as much as he wanted. Junho made himself drink slowly.

While he drank, the trainer said, “If you want to piss, you'll have to ask me to cut you out of your clothes.”

A single thud hit deep in Junho's stomach. He wondered how many times the trainer had done this. How many previous people had fucked up their half-wit schemes to escape. It was going to cost him.

The straw pulled away, and a short time later, the beautiful man reappeared. Without a word, he straddled Junho's chair. Like it had been easier to ask, it was easier to do. For one thing, the trainer was already getting hard when he pulled himself out. For another, Junho knew that he liked having his piecing played with. He took the trainer into his mouth.

“Pull your lips over your teeth,” the trainer said calmly. “You do not want to graze him.”

A few moments later, still even, “Vary the circles with longer strokes under the tip.”

Junho's tongue lapped under the tip of the man's cock, running over his piercing, and the man breathed out sharply through his nose. His manicured fingers touched under Junho's jaw and made him look up.

The beautiful man was expressionless, but his breathing was too even to be natural. “I'm going deep,” he said. “You should relax your throat, don't resist.”

He thrust slowly forward into Junho's mouth. He was large, not particularly thick but long. Junho tried to keep his throat relaxed, but there came the point when he gagged and started to choke. The trainer pulled out and tucked himself away, tenting the silky material of his pants.

He rubbed his hand through Junho's hair before he stepped back, like someone would stroke a cat. “Very good.” He sounded thoughtful. “That might actually be good enough to start.”

Junho had thought that there would be more, that the man would go all the way this time. He had remarkable self-control. Junho tried to imagine himself in the same situation, and he couldn't imagine he'd be able to stop.

He'd always been horny, though he'd never once pressured a woman. And his girlfriends rarely stuck around long, saying he was too dedicated to his work to pay them enough attention.

The irony.

Junho still needed to pee. He cleared his throat. These words, he hadn’t rehearsed, and between his nerves and the English, they were difficult to find. “Trainer, would you please… take off my clothes. With cutting.”

The man actually gave Junho a small smile. “Very good.”

He walked around the chair. For the first time, Junho tried to turn his head to watch him, but the chair’s tall back didn't allow it. He heard plastic shift against metal back there, and tried to figure out how far behind him the sound was. Was he in the direct center of the room? Was it square or rectangular? There were tools back there, and at least one crystal glass. Something to keep in mind.

When the beautiful man reappeared, he had a small plastic trash can in one hand and bandage scissors in the other. All across Junho's body, his skin tightened. Tied to a chair was bad enough. Naked and tied to a chair?

But he'd asked for it. Even though he had no other choice.

Chapter Text

The trainer held the bandage scissors up for Junho to look at. He was familiar with them from the first aid classes he'd been required to take as part of his training. The scissors were blunt at one tip and had a flat wing on the other, that would prevent them from cutting into flesh while cutting through clothing, even if the patient was struggling.

After the trainer let Junho look at the scissors, he moved them toward Junho's neck. Sweat prickled on his skin, and not because he was afraid of getting cut. Being naked around strangers was one of two things: a power move, or a vulnerability. This was definitely not a power move.

The black button-up dress shirt he'd taken off the server at the compound had been high quality. Even the masked servers of the VIPs had been dressed to impress. The cold scissors slid into the fabric just under Junho's ear and downward, parting the stiff collar like butter as Junho tried not to shiver at the intimate sensation. The scissors followed the shoulder seam down to where it met the ropes on Junho's forearms that held his arms behind the chair, then stopped. His hope that the trainer would remove the ropes to finish the job was a half-hearted, wouldn't-it-be-nice sort of thing.

No luck. The scissors slid down Junho's other shoulder, the cold tickle as erotic as someone drawing a fingernail down the curve of his neck. He tried to ignore the pressure in his groin like a kid trying not to get a boner in front of the class. He told it to get lost, like that ever worked. He didn't want this man getting the wrong idea.

After the trainer peeled Junho's shirt down, he circled around with the scissors, sliding them along Junho's chest from armpit to armpit over the rope harness. As the scissors moved across Junho's body, he learned that there wasn't just a harness high on his chest, but also one down on his waist where he'd mistaken it for a belt. The trainer pulled the shirt out from under it, then slid the scissors up Junho's ribs from his waist and pulled the tattered pieces of cloth out from under the ropes. Junho thought he felt them give slightly. He tried not to let any hope show on his face.

The trainer made a faint, approving noise when he revealed Junho's muscular chest and stomach. “Surprisingly fit. Less work to do there.”

Junho wasn't as well-built as the trainer. He wasn't broad enough through the shoulders to support all that muscle. But he'd enjoyed working out. Getting lost in the routine of exercise was easier than meditating.

When the scissors cut through the waist band of Junho's dress slacks and boxer-briefs, his entire body tensed. His skin hummed in the wake of the tip of the scissors. If the trainer noticed, he didn't show. He just continued cutting down the seams at the outsides of Junho's legs, then the insides.

When the scissors passed up Junho's inner knee for the first time, he couldn't breathe. The tip caressed up Junho's inner thigh, and his touch-deprived skin tingled with sensation. He was suddenly, intensely aware of the heaviness of his dick, the way his compromised boxers weren't holding it down, the way the half-parted cloth draped over him and rubbed against him.

So much for not giving the wrong impression. He wanted to tell the man, look, I haven't jerked off in at least a few days. And who wouldn't get an erection with someone stroking the inside of his thigh.

Since it sounded defensive in his own head, he doubted it would be more convincing than not saying anything at all.

The beautiful man didn't say anything, he just kept cutting and pulling off cloths scraps and stuffing them into the trash can until the only remains of the dress shirt, slacks, or his underwear were the small scraps directly under his ass. The rest left in the trash can as the trainer left with it.

It turned out that being tied up naked in a chair made Junho feel equal parts embarrassed and helpless. At least that and the cold air killed his erection. When the trainer came back and untied him, he’d have to fight him naked, but at least he didn't have pierced nipples. It was really going to suck for him when Junho tore those out. The beautiful man was too cut, in a way. He looked like a guy who worked out for show, not practicality, and Junho was pretty good at hand-to-hand. Not the best in the department, but decent.

Junho tensed and relaxed his muscles, trying to force some blood into them so that he could move when he needed to move. He was going to be ready when the trainer came back to untie him.

Instead, he came with a metal bedpan.

Alarmed even more than disappointed, Junho said, “I can't use that.”

His face felt hot and the rest of his body cold, except for where he hurt from sitting for too long. He tried to think of the words in English to explain being pee-shy. “I can't go in front of someone.”

The trainer looked at Junho. Serene. Patient. He didn't say anything, but he wasn't giving Junho his clothes back. The man's nonexpression seemed to say ‘piss in the pan or on the floor, it's all the same to me.’

So, Junho wasn’t getting untied. He cleared his throat. “I'll try the pan.”

After Junho finally managed to relieve himself, feeling completely mortified about the whole thing, the trainer took the bedpan to the back of the room. He heard water in the background, and the sounds of a brush on metal. The smell of a floral soap drifted in the air.

Junho wanted more water, to move around and stretch the aches out of his body, some food. Most of all, he didn't want to be left in the dark again. But he didn't want to ask for any of those things. He didn't want to know what they would cost, or what sort of half-assed bargain he might make in his sleep-deprived state.

The beautiful man moved around Junho, heading for the door. Junho couldn't stop himself from trying to prolong the company, the light. “Why are you doing this?”

The beautiful man paused, half turning toward Junho. The lines of his slacks were perfectly smooth, now, clinging to his butt and legs. He didn't say anything, but he was paying attention.

“Not him, of course. I know about him, why he would be doing something like this. He's sick. Do you know what he does? The sick games he makes people play? Or watches people playing.”

Junho had intended to ask just the one question, but now his pitch and volume were rising, and he could feel that he was pronouncing the words badly. “He bets on people dying! He's evil! Disgusting! He’s a rapist, and so are you! You're doing disgusting things for an evil man!”

Junho ran out of breath at the end, and he clamped his mouth shut to keep from shouting the rest of the things he wanted to yell at him.

“Questions are above your station,” the trainer said, his voice as low and mellow as aged whiskey, the accent unplacable. The sounds of words that came from someone other than himself caressed Junho's ears, and he wanted more even as he wanted to leap out of the chair, beat the man unconscious with his stupid bedpan, and burn the whole place to the ground. “Don't ask them again. And you won't shout, or be insulting.”

The trainer flicked the switch and the lights went out. Like a parent putting a tantrum-throwing child in the most extreme form of time-out. The triangle of light from the hallway expanded and contracted across the glazed red tiles. And Junho was left alone again in the darkness and silence, breathing hard and wanting to fight, but having no one to target.

Chapter Text

The first thing Junho did after the door closed was try to shift his limbs. When the trainer had cut his clothing off and pulled it out from under the ropes, he thought he'd felt a little give. Twisting his wrists caused whatever was binding them to give, but not slip. He could twist them, now, but he couldn't get enough leverage to pull the ropes over his thumbs.

Okay. He wasn't getting his wrists free right away. He'd have to get them around front and use his teeth.

Thinking through his exhaustion was like trying to do a puzzle while drunk. Doable but very slow. How to get his arms around front. He pictured the problem in his mind.

Ankles tied to the chair. Waist tied to the chair. Back of the chair was tall.

Waist, tied to the chair?

Junho mentally tracked the path the scissors had traveled over his skin. Across his lower back in a smooth motion, the tip of the scissors pressed in from the back. He got goosebumps from the memory of those scissors caressing.

Moving on. His waist wasn't tied securely to the chair, or the scissors wouldn't have had room to do that.

When Junho put pressure on his heels and tried to shove his body up hard enough to jump his wrists over the back of the chair, he discovered what the waist harness was fastened to. It happened to be his wrists. Jumping slammed that connection point into the chair's back panel, effectively punching him in the stomach at the same time it jerked his arms down and tried to dislocate his shoulders.

The pain spoke two languages. The pain in his legs, back, and butt shouted angrily in pins and needles. The pain in his shoulders spoke in a bone-deep ancient tongue that lapped across his back and down his spine. And he was still tied to the fucking chair.

Junho shouted out loud, channeling his pain and frustration into anger instead of fear, “I'm trying!”

Yelling at the dark room like a crazy person wasn’t helpful or comforting.

He began tensing and relaxing every muscle group in his body, holding one flex as long as he could before moving on to the next. It hurt like hell at first, but seemed to get his blood flowing again. The pins and needles subsided. The dull aches remained.

The boredom and exhaustion came back to the front. He found himself straining after noises that he knew didn't exist. He talked to the darkness to keep himself company. He imagined entire conversations with Inho. In some of them, he was talking with his brother as a zombie on a table, organs shredded by bullets. Sometimes, Junho was the doctor, and his brother kept asking him why. Sometimes, he raged at Inho for getting caught up in the game. Sometimes they were boys playing together in the dirt under a hot sun.

The light woke Junho up again, even though he’d thought he was already awake. When he peeled his eyes open, the beautiful man was back in front of the door, the bright light gleaming off his muscles and piercings. Nothing about him had changed. Junho could have been trapped in this room for hours or days, he had no way to tell.

“Please, trainer, I need to move around. I'm going to get…” There was a word for 'crippled' in English. His brain couldn't find it. “I'll get stuck from sitting here too long. Please, let me suck your cock.”

Those words came easy now. Junho had already done it, hadn't he? He already decided to live. He’d peed in a pan while the man watched. He didn't need to pretend to have pride right now.

The trainer’s subtly melodic voice lapped at Junho's ears the same way the water that had soothed his parched tongue, even though the words were horrible. “You can suck my cock from right there.”

“I'll…” Junho want ready to say he would do anything to be able to walk around the room, but that could be taken more literally than he wanted. “I'll be better with my hands, trainer.”

“I don't need your hands. I could just,” he made an obscenely illustrative hand-gesture, as if to make sure Junho understood, “ride your mouth while you sit there.”

What the crazy fuck?

Junho gave up on trying to figure it out himself. He was so tired. “Please tell me what you want me to say, trainer.”

“If you ask for him to see you, I'll let you out of the chair.”

There was no question who the trainer meant by ‘him.’ Junho didn't want to see him ever again, but particularly not while he was tied naked to a chair and his guardian devil was talking about riding his mouth.

On the other hand, escape would get a lot more complicated if he was crippled.

Junho cleared his throat. “Please, trainer. I'd like to see him.”

“You'd like him to see you.”

Junho wanted to pull out his hair. What did the word order matter? “I’d like him to see me, please, trainer.”

The beautiful man lifted his index finger as if to say ‘one moment please,’ and walked around the chair. A short time later, his honey-whiskey voice said, “He's asked if you would see him, sir.” A pause. “Yes, sir.”

The trainer reappeared and stood at the side of Junho's chair. He folded his hands behind his back, set his feet shoulder-width apart, and spoke to Junho without taking his eyes off the door. “Address him as ‘sir.’ Anyone above your station is 'sir' or 'ma’am.' ”

The beautiful man didn't specificy who all was above Junho's station, but it was strongly implied that he meant everyone.

When the VIP came, Junho was to address him as sir. Fine. Dread twisted his stomach, then anger, then exhaustion. “Will he come soon?”

Junho's head jerked to the side, all the muscles in his neck speaking in tongues for half a second before the fire of the backhand spread across his face. His eyes watered with shock, and he sucked in a ragged gasp. He tasted blood, not as heavy as a loose tooth, but at least a tooth-cut cheek.

The trainer’s well-manicured brown hand returned to the other at the small of his back. They folded together. He spoke firmly, “Questions are above your station.”

“I apologize,” Junho said reflexively, in Korean. Then in English, “I'm sorry, trainer.”

He'd been warned. No questions. Also no shouting, no rudeness, and address the VIP as 'sir' when he showed up. Whenever that would be.

Chapter Text

The next time the wooden door with the golden knob opened, the man who came in looked like a wealthy banker in a dark blue custom suit and lighter blue tie. Even without the panther mask and decadent robes, Junho recognized the VIP immediately. It was in the way he held himself. The way his deep-set eyes fastened on Junho and eyed him like a rare steak.

The animal part of his brain screamed that he was in the presence of a predator, and helpless. His heart rate kicked up, his breath caught in, his balls climbed into his throat, and he immediately began to sweat. His mouth tasted like copper and fear.

The beautiful man dropped to his knees and rested his palms on his legs in front of his waist. He dropped his eyes but didn't bow.

“How’s this one coming along?” The VIP asked the trainer, though his eyes were locked on Junho, busy eyefucking him. His eyes combed from Junho's face, down over his muscular chest and abs, down farther to check out his crotch, then slowly back up to his face. Junho's eyes dropped, not out of respect, but because he couldn't bear to look at that hungry expression from his humiliating position. He made himself pick them back up and stared the man down, intending as much disrespect as possible.

“As well as can be expected, sir,” the trainer said, low molasses voice calm and subservient.

“Really?” The VIP's shoes squeaked on the floor, and Junho suppressed a flinch when the VIP reached for him. The man's soft hand smelled like fresh cigar smoke and caressed his bruised cheek. “It looks like he’s already been in trouble.”

“Just once, sir. Getting used to the rules,” the trainer confirmed, as if it had been a question.

“Naughty,” the VIP practically purred. His hand raked up into Junho's hair, pulled, then dropped to his shoulder. He brushed thumb up and down the line between Junho's shoulder and neck, and he managed not to shiver. He wasn't sure whether it was a fear shiver or an erotic shiver. Fear, he decided, though neither spoke well of him.

“I love it when you look at me with those gorgeous eyes.”

Junho tried to telepathically send ‘fuck you' through his stare, since he was pretty sure that saying it would result in the trainer knocking his head off. That man slapped as hard as some men punched.

The VIP didn't seem to get the message. He watched Junho's face as he traced his thumbnail up and down his neck. He clenched his jaw tight, denying that his body was trying to tell him it felt really nice. Then the VIP stroked the sensitive place behind Junho's ear, and he didn’t stop the shiver in time.

The VIP smiled. The phrase cat with cream fell into Junho's mind like a single raindrop splashing on asphalt. He caressed his palm down Junho's chest, his smile growing by the moment as he watched Junho’s face, sipping his discomfort like a fine wine. He tracked his damp palm across Junho's pecs.

A sick feeling gathered in the pit of Junho's stomach. Not there. He’d always been sensitive there.

The VIP caressed Junho's nipple, then tweaked it. He gasped and was horrified to feel a completely unwelcome but not unexpected tightness between his legs. The VIP glanced down, and his smile turned into a grin.

His other hand went to Junho's oposite nipple, thumb caressing back and forth over it, and Junho felt his face flush as the pleasant tingling went straight down to dick. He could feel his heart pounding in his chest. Worse, he could fell his heart throbbing in his cock.

The VIP chuckled. “Sensitive. And I think he likes me.”

He pulled his hand away, fishing a handkerchief out of his pocket and wiping it off as he backed away. His words were punctuated with heavy breaths. “But he smells foul. It's a turn-off. And his breath? No.”

The trainer said, serene as ever, “I'll clean him up, sir.”

“I see.” The man hiked his brows curiously at Junho. “Have you ever been fucked by a man, Pretty Eyes?”

What the fuck, Junho thought.

“What the fu—” he started to say, after he found the English words through his exhaustion.

The trainer stood up at the first word. Even knowing it was coming this time, the backhand cracked Junho's head to the side, and a high-pitched tinnitus whine started in his ears. Through the buzzing, he heard the trainer say, firm as a parent with a disobedient child, “Questions are above your station.”

Then, “I apologize sir. We're still working on basic rules.”

Junho let his eyes slide closed. He didn't want to look at the VIP's devouring eyes, he didn't want to look at the soulless yet beautiful man, and he didn't want to look at his erection. He just wanted to sleep.

Junho heard the VIP say, voice thick with a disturbing avarice, “I'm not sure whether I hope he's easy to train. Or hard.”

The trainer spoke slowly, as if the language barrier had been the problem, and as mildly curious as someone asking if he'd ever traveled abroad. “You were asked if you've ever been fucked by a man, Pretty Eyes.”

He didn't need the weight of a verbalized threat or even a threatening tone. His presence was the threat, the impersonal and predictable violence he presented. Junho could picture him lifting his hand.

“No,” Junho choked out. Then, “Sir.”

“Hmmmn.” The VIP's hum drew out over several long syllables. In the pause that followed, Junho heard every single thud of his heart in his ears, felt each one throb in the erection he really didn't want.

“I'm dying to be his first," the VIP said thoughtfully.

The next pause was a new form of torture.

The VIP's voice turned brisk and decisive, like someone addressing a secretary. “It’d be a shame to ruin such an exquisite creature with impatience. Let me know when he's ready.”

“Yes, sir.”

“He’s not allowed to get off unless I say so.”

“Of course, sir.”

“Bring him to the formal den after you've cleaned him up.”

“Yes, sir.”

Junho heard the scuff of the VIP’s shoes get fainter as he walked away. The door clicked shut behind him.

Chapter Text

The knot of dread in Junho's gut felt like a permanent new organ, but his body kept telling him that it would be really nice to touch his dick just a little, which was really messed up. Meanwhile, his brain kept throwing phrases at him with alarmed question marks attached.

Had he ever been fucked by a man!? The VIP wanted to be his first!? When he was ready!? What did that mean!? What the fuck!?

His exhaustion made it hard to think. He had a decision to make, but he was too tired to even frame it properly in his head. Go with it or try to escape now? Try to make them kill him? He didn’t want to die.

He had thought he could put up with the blowjobs and other humiliations until he could escape. When he had the use of his limbs, escape would only be a matter of time. The question now was, what did a 'matter of time' look like? They weren't making the usual mistakes. And there were some things he wasn't sure he could put up with.

The trainer had moved to the back of the room and was shifting things around. He returned a few moments later with a black plastic case, which he set on the floor, out of Junho's line of sight. He heard the springs release and the lid pop open when the trainer thumbed the locks.

“The bondage ropes are attractive, but not practical,” the trainer said.

Junho couldn’t remember another time the man had spoken without Junho speaking first. He got the sense that the trainer was trying to get him to ask a question so he could slap him again. He wasn't going to take the bait.

The trainer lifted a black circle into Junho's line of sight. Unlike the scissors, he didn't recognize it immediately, though its purpose was obvious even to his sleep-deprived mind after a long look. It was a cheap-looking black plastic cuff with stainless steel buckles, and it had D-rings spaced along the outside. The trainer lowered it, and Junho felt the man’s hand on his ankle.

It took the trainer less than a minute to untie the rope that Junho hadn’t been able to twist his ankle out of after hundreds of attempts. The cool plastic snugged around his ankle, and then Junho heard a small click. When the trainer moved to Junho's other ankle, he subtly and cautiously walked his foot to the side.

But not very far. He was still fastened to the chair.

Kicking would have been stupid anyway, he told himself tiredly. What could he have done with his arms and body still tied to the chair? If only the trainer had done his wrists first.

Which was why he hadn't. How many times had they done this before?

Junho had a decision to make, but he didn't want to think about it. They’d make a mistake. They had to.

The trainer shucked him out of ropes and buckled him into the plastic restraints so swiftly and precisely that Junho thought of an experienced mother changing an infant's diaper. Plastic fit snugly around his ankles and wrists, held his waist in a snug band, formed a harness over his upper chest and shoulders, and he’d never had more than one limb free at a time. The plastic ring around Junho's throat was the worst.

By the time the trainer finally let Junho stand, he had a short length of chain clipped between his ankles, and his wrists had been clipped together and to the small of his back. The trainer put a solid hand on Junho's shoulder, pulled him to his feet, and steadied him when his disused legs tried to buckle. He took a moment to adjust the broad band across Junho’s waist, snugging it tighter before he said, “Into the shower.”

“Yes, trainer,” Junho said, to avoid getting slapped.

He assessed the room for the first time. The chair bolted to the floor was closer to the wooden door and than he'd thought. It was clearly meant for restraint, smooth along the outer surfaces but with welded metal rings along the inner surfaces. Like the doorknob, it was plated gaudy gold.

The side and back walls were of a lighter beige tile than the red-tiled floor. No rich wood paneling there, but what first looked like silvery accents in the grout turned out to be eye bolts on a second glance. They weren't concealed in the structure, like they were in the chair.

The detective in Junho pointed out that throwing someone against the wall might bruise organs. Good to know.

One side of the room was almost normal, workout equipment along the wall, a rolled floor mattress in the back corner. The other side looked like a nightmare playground of frames, posts, and surfaces, all with rings. Junho didn't look too hard. He had enough to deal with. The shower and toilet were in that corner, entirely open to the room.

There were no windows along the back wall, not even the high, basement-style sort. Counters stretched over closed cabinets and drawers from near the toilet to an industrial-style sink with an adjustible head, past which was a floor-to-ceiling cabinet with a black electronic lockpad.

The trainer steered Junho into the shower and clipped him to the wall in three places. He unclipped Junho’s hobble, ran it through the front ring on his plastic collar, and clipped it to itself with carabiners before moving one of Junho’s wrists around to it, all so fast that it left Junho dizzy.

Just carabiners, fancier than hardware store carabiners, but just carabiners. Junho could work with that, if his foggy brain could sort it out.

He didn't have enough slack to unclip his back, waist, or ankle from the wall. But he could get his wrist up to his mouth. Hold the clip open with his mouth somehow. Bite it? Tongue? Get the ring up and around his face. That would take doing, but once he had his wrist free—

Water rained down from a metal frame above, warm but not hot. The trainer stood outside the fall of water, hand dropping from a panel. He nodded to an unlabeled bottle of soap and a wash cloth that were tucked in an inset in the wall. “Wash yourself.”

He stared at Junho. Expectant. Waiting.

Junho took a moment to figure it out. “Yes, sir.”

The trainer walked away along the counter wall. At the moment Junho started to lift his hand to his mouth, the man’s head turned for a visual check on him. Junho reached for the washcloth instead.

The textured tiles sloped subtly down to a drain in the corner. The water sluicing over Junho's body made him realize exactly how grimy he truly was, and the warm water pouring over his stiff muscles felt wonderful.

The combination shampoo and body wash had a familiar scent that Junho couldn't place at first, but then it brought vividly to mind sucking on the trainer's cock, swirling his tongue around, tasting him while smelling that floral smell. Junho almost dropped the bottle.

The next time Junho glanced toward the trainer, he was hidden by the open door of the tall cabinet. Junho lifted his wrist toward his mouth. The trainer stepped back from the cabinet, glanced at Junho, then set a black box on the counter.

Oh come on. The man couldn't be distracted for at least a few seconds?

He could wash a lot more of himself one-handed than he would have thought, the waist and shoulder harnesses helping him balance. The trainer came over and washed the parts Junho hadn't been able to reach, some of them very intimate, then turned off the water and toweled him off like a child. The other man brushed and flossed his teeth, watched him use mouthwash like a particularly disapproving father.

Junho was too tired to be ashamed by any of that. And too worried. He was getting closer to having to make a decision, time was flying past him now when he'd had nothing but time before.

With Junho still clipped to the wall, the trainer rapidly replaced each of his plastic cuffs with ones from the black leather case. Those restraints were of gold-buckled, softly sueded black leather. Every time the trainer unclipped one of Junho's restraints, he held the limb until the new restraint was on, then clipped it to the wall or another cuff with a carabiner like a man working an assembly line. It was infuriating.

The last thing the trainer pulled out of the leather case was a leather collar lined with soft silk, the same gold-plated D-rings set along it that studded the rest of the cuffs. The trainer held it so that Junho could see the gold embossing on the throat, on either side of the front ring.

It read “Pretty Eyes” in English.

Junho's frustration and anger started rising into panic as the trainer buckled it at the back of his neck. When he swallowed the panic down, it went hard past the snug collar. He was rapidly coming up to having to decide how far he was going to go along with this.

The trainer put the leather case back on the counter, empty of everything but carabiners, and opened a drawer under a cabinet. He pulled out a set of brushes and a flat black box.

“What…” Junho started to ask, then caught himself.

Too late. He tried to jerk his head away, but the open-handed slap spread fire across his face. He would have fallen if his waist and shoulders hadn't still been clipped to the wall. He tasted blood again.

“Close your eyes,” the man said in his mellow voice, like he hadn’t just slapped Junho so hard it would have knocked him off his feet. The trainer’s masculine beauty and casual violence were a surreal contrast.

After Junho closed his eyes, something light patted them. Brushes kissed his lids, followed by a light tracery on the edges. The strange sensations finished with a gentle pulling on the lashes themselves.

“That'll have to do on short notice,” the trainer said. Junho thought he heard a faint note of disappointment.

The man unclipped Junho’s wrists and then fastened them together back-to-back. There was the snick of a clip at his waist.

But the carabiner ticked very slightly against Junho's stomach. Loose. He realized that his wrists were clipped to each other, but not to his waist.

His pulse sped up and his tired fog cleared like sunlight burned through it. He kept his hands down in front of the loose clip and willed the trainer not to notice it. He was still clipped to the wall in three places, but if the trainer was going to take him to a different room, that would change.

The trainer clipped a length of thicker, gold-plated chain to the front ring on Junho's collar. Then he unclipped him from the wall in three fast, efficient motions, top to bottom.

He turned toward the door. “Come.”

Chapter Text

Giving a stranger a blowjob so that they didn’t kill you was rape. No question about it, Junho had already been raped, and he had to live with that. But there was a difference between being the sort of man who sucked cock to stay alive, and the sort who went meekly to his own involuntary ass-fucking.

There was a line.

“Come,” the trainer said, turning to the door, firmly holding a gold-plated chain that ran from his hand to Junho’s neck, thicker than a bike chain but thinner than chain link.

Junho reached up with his unfastened hands, grabbed the chain, set his feet on the textured tiles, and yanked hard. He hoped to pull the trainer off his feet at best, yank him off balance at least.

Instead, the man just let go of the chain. It was the right thing to do under the circumstances. It was the exact opposite of the instinctual thing to do, which would have been to hold on to it. As Junho stumbled back without the resistance he’d expected to encounter, his mental detective informed him that this was a setup.

Good job, Detective Hwang. Very observant. Cracked that case wide open.

Junho reset his feet on the shower tiles. If he could just get the trainer on the ground, he could get a knee on his throat or the chain around his neck. It didn't matter how big you were if you couldn't breathe.

Then he could get to the door. There wasn't a lock on it. And then run, find a way out, someone who would help him. Find Inho, if he was in this sick place somewhere, and save him. He could do it.

Junho shifted his weight and pulled the chain up until the dangling end wasn't too awkward. He could only bring one hand to bear with his wrists fastened back-to-back, and that limited his motion as well. But he was armed.

The trainer's dark eyes were intense, but not angry or shocked. While Junho got the chain under control, the man's weight settled low into his hips and his feet spread on the red tiles. Low center of weight, maximum mobility. It turned out they weren’t just show muscles.

He was between Junho and the door. They both knew Junho had to go through him.

Junho yelled and charged, pivoting his body to swing the chain in front of him. When the man flinched back and moved out of his stance, Junho could kick his knee out from under him, or bring the chain back around lower to trip him.

But the trainer didn't flinch back, he stepped inward. The chain struck his arm and wrapped around his back, picking up momentum fast so that the thud when the end cut into his back traveled up the chain. Junho's momentum carried him forward, and his body slammed into the trainer's set stance like a car hitting a brick wall.

That was when the trainer punched him just below the belly button, a close-range boxer's jab, and the fight was all over but the shouting. Junho bent around the fist in his stomach, wheezing.

The trainer spun him around, hooked one hand through the back of his waist harness, hooked the fingers of the other through the back of his collar, and muscled him toward the equipment by the shower. The collar had been snug before. With fingers under it, Junho choked and struggled, clawing at his own neck, trying to get his feet back under him. Every time he planted a foot, the trainer kicked it out from under him.

He was a half-strangled house cat fighting a determined truck.

The trainer slammed Junho down on his chest on a padded table. The edge dug into his aching stomach, and to add insult to injury, his elbows bounced off the table and he hit himself in the jaw.

“Be still,” the trainer said firmly, and Junho was vindicated to hear that the man was at least breathing hard from the effort of controlling him.

Junho continued struggling, breathlessly, desperately, instinctively, but without a plan now. The larger man grunted, lifted Junho up by his harnesses, and slammed him down again. The breath Junho still had coughed out and grey crept in at the edges of his vision.

The trainer took his hand out of Junho's collar. As he wheezed, the man spread his fingers on the back of Junho’s head and pinned his forehead down. Junho’s hands were under his chin, still attached together with a carabiner. He bucked breathlessly, but it was a lost cause.

The trainer's weight shifted, pressing down Junho's back, tugging his waist harness first one way, then the other. Two clicks. The next time he tried to buck, he discovered that he was stuck to the table.

He still tried to fight, but the trainer didn't have any trouble getting his hands out from under him one at a time and clipping them to the back of his waist harness, like a police officer cuffing a suspect. His neck was next, the trainer clipping something to the back ring and tightening it down until Junho was firmly cheek-to-table, facing the wall.

When Junho felt the hand on his ankle, he kicked. It landed solidly and the man grunted in pain or irritation, but it didn't do any more good than giving Junho a brief sense of satisfaction. The trainer clipped his ankles to the legs of the table.

Junho could rest his weight painfully on his stomach and droop his ass, or lock his knees and stand at a 45 degree angle. Both options sucked. Worse, he couldn't close his legs.

“That,” the trainer said, breathless but frankly informative, “was a mistake.”

The trainer's feet slapped on the tiles as he walked to the back of the room. Junho heard the cabinet door thump against the counter and the snap of a case opening. The trainer's feet slapped on his way back, and Junho tensed.

The man put what looked like a leather-covered table tennis paddle against the wall, leaned upright directly in Junho's line of sight.

He wanted to tell the trainer what he could do with his paddle, but he was still wheezing from the blows to his stomach. His chest heaved against the table. He could feel the sweat standing in the small of his back, beading on his sides and running down. He didn’t regret anything.

The trainer’s feet slapped away toward the cabinet again. “He didn't pass, sir.” The trainer's voice was low and smooth, but still a little breathless, like a man who’d been working out. A pause. “No, sir.” A pause. “I'll put the discipline in his file, sir.”

The knot of dread in Junho’s stomach reminded him that it lived there, now. It didn’t matter, he would have done it over the same way, even knowing that the VIP was going to watch his ‘discipline’ and probably get off on it.

The trainer returned to the table. He reached over Junho and picked up the paddle. “Did you ever have a dog, Pretty Eyes?”

“Fuck yourself,” Junho said.

“You answer when you're asked a question.”

Sharp pain seared across Junho’s ass with the meaty sound of someone dropping a steak into a counter. Junho cried out in surprise and pain, then gritted his teeth. It hurt way more than he’d expected it to. As the adrenaline rushed through him, he was fully present in his body again, and wished he wasn’t quite so awake.

“You aren’t rude.”

The sharp pain came on the other side of Junho's ass that time. He yelled and tried to jerk away, but he was clipped against the table, and all he managed was a short hop.

“You don’t use foul language.”

Junho tensed. The trainer struck him again. It hit in the same place as the first blow, and it burned like fire, farther and deeper. He heard pain more than shock in his shout that time. He could feel himself starting to shake.

“Did you have a dog, Pretty Eyes?” The trainer had the same tone and inflection as the first time he asked the question, a man with nothing better to do than wait for Junho to say his lines and beat him if he didn’t.

The silence stretched. Junho didn’t want to give the man the satisfaction of an answer but he thought the man would keep beating him until he gave him the answer, one way or another. He could even picture the man lifting the paddle.

“You answer—"

“Yes, trainer!” Junho said. He sucked in a breath and braced himself for a blow, but it didn't come.

“Have you ever trained a dog?”

“No, sir!”

“When you train a dog, you have to provide immediate reinforcement. Negative reinforcement when he does wrong, so he knows doing wrong has consequences. Positive reinforcement when he does right, so he associates doing right with good things.” The trainer was calm, reasonable. Like he wasn't a grown man spanking another grown man with a paddle and discussing training him like a dog.

The trainer set something new on the table in front of Junho. It was a tablet held upright in its case. The screen showed a still image of Junho from behind and above in the shower, the trainer looking at him with the gold chain in his hand.

The trainer reached over Junho, and his manicured brown finger pushed play. Junho heard the small trainer in the tablet say through the speakers, “Come.”

The trainer above him paused the video and said, “You obey when you're given an order.”

Junho tensed. The strike came, the fire he couldn't avoid, even though he twisted. He felt his hands jerk open, snap closed into fists. He couldn't do this.

He didn't have a choice. “Yes, sir!”

The trainer pressed the back button, restarted the video. He paused it again when the small Junho on the screen pulled away.

“You respond ‘yes, sir' to any order by your betters,” the trainer said, as implacable and immovable and inevitable as a wave in the ocean.

The strike came. Junho choked hard on his cry, discovering that wounded animal sobs lived closer behind it than he would have expected. He wasn’t weak, he told himself, he was exhausted, starving, and half-crazy from isolation. “Yes, sir!”

From a different angle, he watched himself charge the trainer with the chain, slam into him. “You don't strike your betters.”

Junho tensed instinctively, preparing for the crack on his ass. But it was so much worse.

The paddle landed low between Junho’s legs. Against the back of his thigh, it felt light compared to the previous smacks.

Except it didn’t just hit Junho’s thigh. His world bloomed white as the air was sucked out of the room. It was an atomic bomb, the white flash, the destruction rolling outward. The mushroom cloud as the pain settled deep in his stomach. His legs went out from under him and he tried to writhe on the table, but he couldn't even clutch himself through the cramps and nausea.

He'd thought being paddled was bad. Now he knew that it could be so much worse.

The trainer let him sit in that knowledge until Junho stopped writhing on the table, then he pressed play again.

It went on, but now with nausea-pain when the trainer spanked him, the strikes jolting through him to his sore balls. Junho didn’t bother trying to avoid the sobs. He didn’t think he could have, even with an iron will.

Avoiding discipline. Resisting. Failing to obey, failing to acknowledge orders. When he closed his eyes and stopped watching the images on the tablet, the trainer hit him two more times, once for avoiding discipline and again for failing to follow orders.

The side of Junho’s face was wet where his tears ran and stood on the table’s padded surface. His body was stuck to the table with sweat. His full focus was on enduring the pain, everything else fell away.

Then angle on the tablet changed. Junho saw his heel connect with the trainer's arm, knocking it away. His head swam. “Please don't, sir,” he begged hoarsely. “Please don't. I won’t do it again.”

“You don't strike your betters.”

The mushroom cloud was the world, and Junho wanted to die. Instead, he blacked out, which was almost as good.

When Junho came to, he was back in the chair. His testicles buzzed like a nest of angry hornets, throbbing a dull pain that spiked nausea into his stomach with every heartbeat. His head was lolled forward against his chest, his mind too fogged to even think.

The trainer moved his fingers through Junho's hair, pushing it back and away from his sweaty face and tears. The movement was surprisingly gentle. His hair was as damp as if he’d just gotten out of the shower without toweling off, and it fell right back into his face. The beautiful man stroked his fingers through it again, pushing it back and up. The movement had the feeling of ritual, like he’d been doing it for a while.

This man was Junho’s trainer. He’d known that before. Everything from the circumstances to the room to the man's name reinforced that. He had known.

But now he truly understood.

When the trainer noticed that Junho’s eyes were open, he picked up Junho's chin and studied his face. His eyes were dark, calm, and peaceful. The sort of eyes you could fall into. “Have you ever trained a dog, Pretty Eyes?”

“No, trainer, sir,” Junho whispered hoarsely.

His trainer wiped Junho's cheeks with his thumb, one then another, and his brown thumb turned black with smeared eyeshadow and mascara. “Some people say that once a dog’s gone bad, you’ve got to put him down.”

It wasn't a question or an order. Junho wept.

“I'm not one of those people. I think any pet can be trained with enough attention and dedication.”

The man stroked his fingers through Junho's hair, smoothed the tears off his face again. His voice was honey and aged whiskey, but he smelled like mint and crumbling flowers. “Are you going to behave?”

“Yes, sir,” Junho whispered. He felt sick. In his stomach. In his heart.

“Good boy.”

Junho's trainer stroked his face, massaged his fingers gently through his hair. Then he left Junho in the chair and clicked off the light.

Chapter Text

They started over from the beginning, only in plastic restraints this time. Water. The bedpan. The addition of a thick and chalky sludge that tasted like one of those so-called full meal replacements Junho had tried once. He almost got used to sleeping upright.

Sucking his trainer's cock. Taking him down the throat until his he could press his nose against his pelvis and his silky pants caressed Junho's chin. Worse, Junho came to crave his visits despite knowing what they meant. Not wanting them to end. It was humiliating and completely wrong, but at least the trainer was some sort of company, and he always turned the lights off and left right after meeting Junho’s needs.

Knowing what was being done to him didn’t stop it from working. He craved the company on an undeniable biological level.

Still, he told himself that he refused to just go along with it. What was happening to him wasn't his fault and he wasn't just going to lie down and take it. But he had to be smarter. No more half-assed, predictable attempts to escape. If they crippled him, he'd never leave this hell-hole. He would do what he had to until the next opportunity presented itself. When he was sure he'd get it, he’d make his run for it. But it needed to be a real opportunity.

He hoped his trainer would release him from the chair on his own, this time. He didn't want to ask. He let his time in the chair go on as long as he could stand it. It wasn’t as long as his pride would have liked, but at that point, his pride was tattered clothing held against the wind.

When Junho asked if the VIP would like see him, his trainer slapped him. He remembered the right phrasing. “Please, trainer, I’d like him to see me.”

His trainer made a call, then put Junho in the shower. They both washed him, took care of his mouth. His trainer swapped out his cuffs and did his eyes. This time, he didn’t miss any clips, and Junho didn’t have to make a decision.

The long wood-paneled hallway that Junho was led out into had the cool humidity of a basement. It was lined with five other sets of evenly spaced doors exactly like his, and that was just in the direction he was facing. Junho was led along the tiled floor, his steps brought up short by the hobble between him in a way that took some getting used to.

The heavy door at the end of the hall only opened when the trainer set his palm on a sensor. He led Junho through, then up a set of bare concrete stairs to a landing, then up a set of carpeted stairs, and finally through another door.

As suddenly as stepping from shade to sunlight, Junho was in the living space of a mansion. The succulent smell of real food hung in the air. His stomach cramped with hunger around the knot of dread that sat inside him like a stone.

The room across from the stairwell looked like a kitchen. An older white man in a silky black shirt and slacks was washing pans and setting them in a rack to dry. He noticed Junho and his pale eyes widened a touch, but before Junho could decide whether to risk calling out for help, the man turned back to his work like he hadn’t seen a trussed and naked man being led out of a stairwell by a chain.

Junho wanted to feel something about that, but he was already dealing with too many feelings. Tired, mortified, hungry, aching, numb, and full of dread. Being naked around his trainer had lost its sting, but someone new seeing his circumstances brought it all back to the front.

A tug on Junho's collar pulled him on.

The house was sprawling, but they ran into no one else in the high-ceilinged hall. Except when crossing an intersection, the floors were carpeted white, the walls papered in shades of cream with a subtle floral pattern. No windows, only doors. Trainer opened one of those doors and pointed for Junho to go through it first.

Junho entered the formal den from a small door in the corner. It was a massive room done in dark greens and browns, thick with real plants. The opposite wall was floor-to-ceiling with windows, and anyone looking into the lit room from the darkened grounds would have been able to see Junho, bound and naked, if they were able to see anything past the profusion of plants. In the dark reflection, Junho could only see himself, his eyes appearing larger in the dark eyeshadow his trainer had applied to them.

“Bring him over here,” the VIP said in a husky voice from deeper in the room.

The trainer stepped around Junho and led him in past the edge of the wooden case that almost entirely concealed the small door from the rest of the room. The case displayed old guns and mounted animal heads, all centered around a golden panther mask on a crystal stand. Across the room, there was a curved, well-stocked wet bar within easy access of a larger, closed door.

In the main area, overstuffed couches were directed toward a massive television. Some financial program was on it, muted. The trainer led Junho over to one of the high-backed couches, where a shorter white man with a head full of blond curls stood off to the side, holding a whiskey decanter on tray.

Like Junho's trainer, the blond man was muscular, wore only pants, and had gold hoops through his nipples. Unlike the trainer, he wore a black collar with gold accents like Junho’s. There was something embossed across his throat, but Junho couldn't read it from his angle.

The VIP lounged on the overstuffed couch in a lush, maroon silk robe edged in deep green, a glass of bourbon in one hand and a remote control in the other. When the trainer pulled Junho into his line of sight, the VIP pushed up, setting his feet on the floor. His deep-set eyes studied Junho's face, then visually caressed down his body and back up.

“Beautiful,” the VIP breathed out huskily, and it took Junho a moment to realize that he meant him. They locked eyes, then Junho remembered he was supposed to look down.

The trainer unclipped Junho's wrists from his waist but left the hobble on his ankles. His typically serene expression shifted with the subtlest lift of his brows.

That tiny expression made Junho realize what he was expected to do. He stumbled to his knees on the plush carpet in front of the VIP's couch, legs still unsteady from such a long time sitting. “Please, sir,” he heard himself saying around the lump in his throat, “may I suck your cock?”

The VIP's chuckle was a low animal purr. “Oh,” he drew the word out, “you've done a good job with this one.”

“Thank you, sir.” The mellow voice of Junho’s trainer was polite and deferential.

The VIP ignored Junho, reaching to take Junho's golden chain from his trainer and speaking over his head. “How far have you gotten with him?”

“He’s very good at blowjobs, sir. No anal training,” the trainer said with disturbing casualness. Junho wanted to strangle him and the VIP with the gold-colored chain, in that order.

“Hmph,” the VIP breathed out, wrapping the golden lead around his wrist and settling back against the couch.

Junho’s skin tightened and his body broke out in cold sweat. He desperately wanted to look up at the VIP’s expression, take the temperature of that situation, but he wasn’t sure where the line was between getting slapped and getting paddled again. His eyes settled somewhere on the man’s knees, and he made himself breathe, though his breaths came short and uneven.

Was he really going to allow this to happen?

Yes. Not because he was afraid of being beaten again or being put back on the table, he told himself, but because he had to if he wanted to hold on to any hope of escaping to bust this sick case wide open and find Inho.

“Present for me, Pretty Eyes,” the VIP said. Junho knew the words in English, but he had no idea what they meant when put together in that order. His eyes flicked over to his trainer, though he knew better than to ask the question.

“He doesn’t know that command yet, sir,” his trainer apologized. He snapped to get Junho’s attention, then spoke slowly while he gestured the instructions with his hands. “He wants to see your ass. Turn around. Shoulders down, butt high.”

Sick and numb, Junho forced a ‘yes, sir' past the lump in his throat and did what he was told. It was humiliating. Worse, it was terrifying, and he had to hold himself tight to keep from shaking.

The lie he’d been telling himself about not being afraid hadn't really been fooling him, anyway.

The couch creaked as the VIP shifted his weight forward, but Junho still flinched when the soft palm, slightly damp with sweat, caressed over the curve of his bruised ass.

“Still naughty,” he said, not sounding at all disappointed.

The VIP’s fingertip caressed down the crack of Junho’s ass and he stopped breathing. It circled lightly around his pucker, and the worst possible thing happened.

It felt good. The circling fingertip left heat and tingling in its wake, and Junho’s breath sucked in. He felt himself start to get hard, heavy, aching pleasantly, in the way he would if he didn’t take care of himself on a regular basis.

No. No, no, no.

The soft fingertip pressed in and Junho tightened against it instinctively. The flex left him profoundly aware of how hard he was. What was normally an enjoyable, powerful sensation felt completely different from this perspective. The fingertip moved away, the soft hand caressed down the other side of his ass, then slid down to fondle his balls.

Junho’s body was trembling. Fear, he told himself now, was a normal response to something like this. What was bravery but what you did in response to the fear?

What was brave about letting a middle-aged man with a hobby that involved watching people die for sport fondle him, Junho’s mental detective asked unhelpfully. He had no answer.

“Alright,” the VIP grudgingly, though heavy breaths. “Start anal training right away. I want this one, but I don’t want to ruin him.”

“Yes, sir.”

The VIP’s fingers pulled against Junho’s pubic hair as his hand withdrew. “And he needs a shave.”

“Of course, sir.”

He slapped Junho’s ass, not even hard enough to sting, but it startled him made his bruises ache. “Suck me off, Pretty Eyes.”

The watery knot in Junho’s gut relaxed a notch. Not fully, but enough to allow him to take a deeper breath. He relaxed from the terrible pose and shifted to face the VIP.

This was something he'd done before. It wasn't right, but he could do it again.

The lushly robed fat man clicked the remote, and the quality of light from the screen shifted, the new program throwing the room into semi-darkness. He tossed the remote aside. As he undid his tented robe with one hand, he held his empty glass out to the blond man with the other. “More.”

Junho’s eyes flicked over and up to the blond man. His round jaw was set and he was pretending to not see Junho. No help there.

The VIP pushed his robe open and spread his legs. The lewd pose centered around his hard cock. He beckoned, and Junho shifted closer on his knees and started to lower his face, mouth sour with acid and the remnants of his deeper fear.

The VIP caressed Junho's face, then pulled his face up by the jaw. Hand trembling with desire, he forced Junho to meet his eyes and said, “I want you to look at me. Watch me watching you suck me off.”

“Yes, sir,” Junho said. The monster wasn’t raping his ass. This was a win.

“And this time, you're going to swallow.”

Junho nodded against the grip on his jaw. Then, to be safe, he said, “Yes, sir.”

The VIP released Junho's jaw. The blond man placed a glass of whiskey in his hand, and he knocked it back and settled back against the couch, watching Junho with hungry, predatory eyes.

Junho made sure to keep his eyes on the VIP's face as he rested his forearm on the pillow of the man’s soft leg and gripped his cock. He tried to ignore that at least two people had watched him enjoy getting his ass fingered and were about to watch him give a blowjob to the disgusting man who had done it to him. He lowered his head and took the VIP into his mouth.

The man’s cock was different than the trainer's. What did it say about him, that he knew his trainer's cock was longer but not as thick? That his trainer had a lighter smell and a different flavor? That the VIP pulled slightly to the left? He had to put it out of his mind and focus. He’d have time later to dwell on how fucked up everything about his situation was.

Junho’s tongue caressed the tightly stretched skin of the tip of the VIP’s cock, then traced back and forth underneath. The VIP grunted with pleasure as Junho's tongue worked him over and his eyes half-lidded. He rocked his hips up, and Junho took him deeper.

The VIP was vocal with his pleasure, leaning his head back to moan from time to time when he thrust up into Junho's mouth. But every time he looked down, Junho's shadowed eyes met his. Junho made sure of that. He'd been through too much already.

Junho had settled into a steady rhythm when the VIP's heavy, hairy legs closed around him, pinning him to the couch. The VIP said, in a voice full of desire and gravel. “Jun-ho Hwang.”

Junho's veins ran with ice and he froze. They'd never used his name. He hadn't thought they knew it. The VIP dropped his free hand to the back of Junho's head and pressed down, making it clear he wasn’t excused from performing.

“Detective of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency. Shitty security, hiring a police officer.”

Junho realized he was going to die here, with this man's dick in his mouth. He started to pull off, but the VIP's hand twisted in his hair and pushed him back down. “Don't. Stop.”

It was as threatening as a tiger's low growl. Junho resumed sucking, but his concentration was shattered, heart and mind both racing without direction.

“Detective Jun-ho Hwang. Went absent. Without leave. Has been erratic lately. Missing brother case.” Each short phrase was punctuated by a heavy breath, a thrust into Junho's mouth. “They'll find his body. Bottom of a cliff. So far to fall. Unrecognizable. Badge in his pocket. Car at the top. Picture of the. Missing brother. On the dash.”

Junho’s body did what it had been doing on autopilot, the pressure of his hand stroking back and forth, the gentle suction of his mouth punctuated by swipes of his tongue.

They knew. He'd had his phone on him when they'd taken him. His car was at the dock. His badge? He'd thrown it over the side of the ship, but maybe they'd be able to make a new one. They probably had someone in the police department.

The VIP groaned, as if watching the panic on Junho's face was hotter than any of the work he’d done with his mouth.

His cock thickened, and Junho closed his lips around it reflexively. He thrust hard into Junho’s mouth cried out hoarsely, “Fuck!”

His cock pulsed, the thick cum coating Junho's tongue instead of going down the back of his throat. He wanted to gag as his mouth filled with the taste of the VIP's seed, the hot stickiness of it.

He swallowed.

The VIP’s fingers twisted Junho’s hair painfully hard and pulled him off. He was flushed and sweaty, and a fierce postcoital pleasure shown in his eyes. “Jun-ho Hwang is dead. You belong to me.”

He threw Junho by the hair backward to the floor, and threw the golden lead down on top of him. The thick, plush carpet padded his fall, but the breath went out of him anyway. His entire body and soul felt beaten and exhausted. The chain rattled when Junho’s trainer lifted it off of him.

“Back downstairs,” the VIP said.

There was a tug at Junho’s throat, then a second, more insistent tug. Junho struggled to his feet. His trainer fastened his hands back together and to his waist, then led him through the small door and back downstairs.

Chapter Text

Junho felt as if someone actually had killed him. He hadn’t realized how deeply he’d been holding on to the hope that someone from the department would be looking for him until that hope was gutted. The energy he’d saved up to be ready to escape crashed and burned, leaving him with only exhaustion, despair, and the knowledge that his body could betray him more thoroughly than he’d ever thought possible.

The trainer closed the door to Junho’s room behind them, then led him toward the torture-chamber side of the room. To the shower, Junho thought, feeling an urgent need to be clean. Until they detoured toward the table.

Junho froze. The chain at his collar went taut. His trainer paused, the silky black pants shifting forward a moment, outlining his ass and legs in the way they did whenever he made a sudden stop. He turned his head and gave Junho a look said ‘come, or I make you come, it's all the same to me.’

Not going wasn’t a choice available to him, so Junho went. As his trainer clipped him down to the table, he had the passing thought that he should put up some resistance. But what was the point?

At least he was facing the room this time. He watched the trainer go to the cabinet and come back with the paddle and tablet. He set the paddle down in front of Junho’s face. While Junho tried to control his breathing, the man tapped quick sequences on the surface of the tablet, then swapped the paddle for the screen.

It showed a still image of Junho with his face in the VIP’s lap. The manicured finger of Junho’s trainer tapped the play arrow on the screen, and Junho watched the VIP throw him by the hair onto the carpet, toss the golden chain down on top of him like he was discarding an unwanted toy.

“Back downstairs,” Junho heard the VIP say through the speakers. He watched himself lie on the carpet in a heap as the VIP began pulling his robe closed over his glistening-wet cock.

“You respond ‘yes, sir' to orders,” the trainer said.

Fire cracked across Junho's ass, and it burned even though he felt cold and empty all the way through. Junho jerked and twisted in his restraints, but he had nowhere to go. The fire went out, but the dull ache of the bruise underneath remained.

“Yes, sir,” he said. It was the only thing he could do.

The trainer pressed the back icon, pressed play again. It didn't seem to matter to the man that Junho didn't sound pained. When he lifted the paddle, Junho tensed.

“You move when you’re ordered.”

The fire burned twice as hot, layered over the previous flame, and stabbed the same bruises deeper. Tears of pain leaked from the corners of Junho’s eyes.

It was important to him that they weren’t tears from crying. This man wasn’t making him cry, the tears were just his shock response to the pain itself.

On the tablet, Junho didn’t get up when the trainer pulled on his leash. “You don’t resist your restraints.”

He breathed out raggedly after the strike hit and said, “Yes, sir.”

"You don't stop in the middle of service." One hard strike as Junho watched his head lift and the VIP push it forcefully back down.

Service, Junho thought, and it brought his nausea swimming back up through his empty stomach. What a sick euphemism. What disgusting people.

He thought that was the end of it. He hadn’t actually struck anyone, only fantasized about it. He couldn’t think of a single other thing that could have been expected from him that he hadn’t done properly.

No, not properly. Nothing about this was proper. As expected, then. He thought he'd done everything as expected.

But Junho’s trainer left him fastened to the table, walked to the door, and left without turning the lights off behind him. Junho stared at the tablet in front of his face, which had paused on a still image of him struggling up from the carpet. On the screen, his mouth was wet and his lips redder than usual. His face was snow-pale. The man on the screen looked shocked, like someone had informed him of the death of a dear relative.

Was making him look at the image supposed to be part of his training in some way? Did it matter?

Time slipped through Junho’s mind like a handful of wet sand slipping through fingers as waves pulled it away. He wondered if the trainer would leave him fastened to the table all night. If this was where he lived now, instead of the chair. If the lights would please go off so he could sleep.

The thoughts had the same impact as watching passing traffic, there and gone, noticed only for the instant and immediately forgotten.

Junho’s trainer came back with a sealed plastic container between his hands. He set it over Junho’s head on the table. The man’s manicured hand tapped the skip button on the tablet’s screen, then play.

The video began again from a new angle. This camera had been over the VIP's shoulder, with the focus on Junho's face. Through the speaker, he heard the VIP say, “This time, you're going to swallow.”

Junho watched himself take the VIP into his mouth. Watched the way his smokey, darkly shadowed eyes stayed up while his head bobbed. Heard the VIP say the words that had been so hard to hear the first time, and that he simply refused to listen to now. Passing traffic to the Junho on the table, but he saw the fear and rage and despair flicker across his expression in the video.

He watched the VIP's hips buck upward, saw his mouth close around the cock of the man he hated more desperately than he had hated anything in his life. He watched himself swallow.

The trainer paused the video. His hand stroked down Junho's back and ass, ice cold against his burning skin, then he opened the plastic box. A deliciously meaty aroma poured out of it and stuffed itself up Junho’s nose. He salivated so hard that it was painful.

Junho’s trainer pressed something warm and wet against his mouth, and he opened it almost automatically. The steak was delicious, medium rare, chewy on the outside and butter-soft in the middle. Junho's mouth flooded with juices, with the flavors of fat and salt. His body's focus on the food made the pain of his paddled ass recede into the distance.

The trainer pressed play again. Junho watched himself suck off the VIP over and over as the trainer hand-fed him steak and steamed vegetables bite by bite. He sipped an entire glass of water from a straw, then was allowed a second.

Positive reinforcement when the pet does right, so that the pet associates doing right with something pleasurable. Junho could have laughed. Or cried.

He let himself enjoy the steak. His body was enjoying the steak whether he acknowledged it or not, so he might as well appreciate the quality of the cut and the fat-salt flavor. But he told himself that he didn't enjoy his trainer’s gentle touches between bites, the way the man smoothed his hair out of eyes or stroked a hand down his back.

Even as he tried to convince himself, deep down, he knew it was a lie. He couldn’t help how much his body craved simple human contact. He couldn’t help enjoying the trainer’s touches any more than he could change that he was a human animal. His body used as a weapon against him again, betraying him again.

After Junho was done eating, the trainer led him to the toilet. Hands locked together and clipped to his waist, he was allowed to hold his own dick and pee in a toilet. Another reward, the sort of thing he never even thought of before this.

As he stood over the toilet, he almost passed out into it. The sleep deprivation, prolonged stress, and his body’s insistence on shunting all of his blood to his stomach combined into a powerful sleeping potion, and he welcomed that oblivion. The trainer saw him nod and grabbed the back of his chest harness before he went over.

The last reward was the best. Junho’s trainer clipped him to the wall by the exercise equipment while he unrolled the soft-looking, silky black floor mattress. The man clipped Junho’s wrists behind his back, hobbled his ankles together, and unfastened him from the wall.

“Lie down,” he said, and Junho responded faster than he ever had before, “Yes, sir.”

The thin mattress was the most comfortable thing Junho had ever been horizontal on in his life. He was dead asleep almost before the trainer had fastened him to the wall and thrown a blanket over him.

Chapter Text

When the lights came on, Junho felt as if he was waking from the dead. At first, he wasn't sure why he couldn't lift his arms, why his body hurt, or why his morning wood was so mentally uncomfortable. It all crashed back home when a voice as low and smooth as aged whiskey said, “Time to get up, Pretty Eyes.”

The adrenaline that jolted through Junho’s system woke him faster and far more thoroughly than a cup of tea. He struggled to his knees and then to his feet, unbalanced with his arms cuffed together at his back and half tangled in the blanket, and smacked up against the wall. One of the eyebolts that stuck out from the grout in random intervals dug into his hip. When he pushed off, the short lead at the back of his harness didn't let him stand fully.

His beautiful, soulless trainer was dressed as he always was, black slacks smooth and gold nipple hoops glittering in the bright overhead lights. His eyeliner was subtly blue, and Junho wondered if that meant something. He had a plastic container in one hand with a snap-locked cover, and even just the sight of the container made Junho's mouth water in anticipation.

In one sense, Junho felt better in the morning. The pounding headache he’d had for so long that it had simply become a part of his life had faded and taken the heavy pressure behind his eyes with it. He hadn’t realized how dull his mind had been until it kept waking up, expanding like unfolding paper. And in his body, the aches and pains were still there, but the stiffness was resistance instead of immobile concrete, and he stretched the best that he could while being subtle about it.

In another sense, Junho had been happier unconscious, so deeply asleep that he hadn’t even dreamed. Coming awake was the nightmare.

Junho’s trainer assessed him from top to bottom. His attentive expression went slightly disapproving, and Junho felt a spike of anxiety. “Your face is a mess. We should’ve removed your eye makeup before putting you to bed, but it’s been a long few days for both of us.”

Was the man being conversational? Not sure whether it was a question or needed a response, Junho cautiously said, “Yes, trainer.”

The man’s lips contorted in a small upward compression, so unexpected and gone so fast that Junho wondered if it was a product of his imagination. It couldn't have been a smile, he thought uncertainly.

The trainer dropped the plastic box by the chair on his way over, then unclipped Junho from the wall. “Off the bed. There's breakfast.”

Junho staggered off the thin mattress, his entire body stiff and sore despite its new flexibility. He didn’t even think about fighting or trying to escape, his full focus on the box as his trainer transferred him over and clipped him to the chair. The muscular man beckoned for Junho to sit on the floor. “Sit.”

“Yes, sir.” Junho lowered himself to the floor slowly and cautiously, aware that it wasn’t just his soul that was bruised. Sitting hurt, but he wasn’t sitting in the chair. He was just sitting, able to stretch out his legs as far as they would go, the hobble chain rattling against the tile floor. The plastic box sat next to him like an unopened gift.

“I'm going to unfasten your hands,” the trainer said. He left the ‘so don't be stupid' implied.

After Junho acknowledged, the trainer unclipped his hands from his waist and then unclipped them from each other. It was the first time in a long time that Junho’s hands hadn’t been clipped together, and he rolled his wrists.

Then he froze. The trainer’s attentive eyes were on him, but the man gave a small nod. Relief surged through Junho, and he flexed his hands open and closed, then rolled out his shoulders.

Moving felt so good. Simple movement. Another thing he'd taken for granted.

His mind flickered back to the night before, to something else that had felt good, and he shoved the thought away. Pushing away from it centered Junho in his body again. The decision was back, deeper and darker under the placid surface of his mind, and he didn’t think about it. Not until after breakfast.

The trainer snapped open the lid of the box, revealing a plastic bottom heaped high with scrambled eggs and chunks of ham. One corner of the box held sautéed peppers and mushrooms. There was a small plastic sip cup full of juice in another. No chopsticks, no western cutlery, no napkin.

Eating with his hands. Another way to break him down, his mental detective pointed out, still with him.

It took everything Junho had not to jump into the box. His body hadn’t forgotten that he had been starved, that he’d only had one real meal in however long it had been. That meal seemed to have lit a fire under a deeper hunger. He dug his fingernails deep into his palms and dragged his eyes away from the food, looking up to the trainer.

When his trainer nodded permission, and Junho immediately dug in. His hands still smelled faintly of the previous night’s activities, and he tried to ignore that. The sip cup held grapefruit juice. He hated grapefruit juice, and drank it down eagerly.

While Junho tried to pace himself, his trainer spoke. “We’ll begin today with stretching, which should normally come before breakfast. Then basic hygiene. After that, you’ll start learning how to prepare your ass.”

Junho choked.

Serene and soulless as a talking statue, man simply went on. “After that, if we have time, basic service rules until lunch. After lunch, we work out until dinner. Then you'll serve, if he wants you. Of course, if he wants you to serve at any time before that, you're at his convenience.”

When the trainer paused, Junho said, “Yes, sir.”

He just had to make it through breakfast. He wanted to eat first. All of the other thoughts in his mind were passing traffic, there and gone without acknowledgment. He wasn't sure whether he did a good job of keeping them from his voice or off his face while they visited.

If the trainer noticed the direction of Junho’s thoughts during his perpetual intent looks, he didn't say anything.

When Junho finished the meal, he was pleasantly full but not stuffed. The trainer placed the lid back over the plastic box and slid it across the tiles toward the door. “Stand,” he ordered.

“Yes, trainer.”

The trainer attached a second chain between Junho and the chair, this one at the back of his waist, twin to the one high on his back harness. Then he did something that felt unthinkable.

Without clipping Junho’s wrists back together, the trainer took the hobble from between his ankles. For the first time in as long as he could remember, Junho's limbs were all free at the same time.

Junho looked down at his free hands, past them to his free ankles. Then his eyes skipped to his trainer. The muscular man was watching him. Alert, feet set, arms hanging loose from his shoulders.

Two chains ran from Junho’s back to the chair, and his trainer was standing right next to him, close, alert, guarded. The edges of the chair were very smooth.

Not yet, the tired detective advised him. Not yet.

His trainer instructed him through basic limbering exercises that Junho already knew, and it felt so good to stretch his muscles that he almost forgot he was bending and flexing naked in front of another man. Besides, it was a good idea to stretch. Working some of the stiffness out of his muscles wouldn’t hurt.

After, Junho’s trainer hobbled his ankles again, he fastened his wrists together, though this time they were back-to-front and both facing up. The solidly built man moved Junho not to the shower, but to the counter by the toilet, always watching him. Assessing.

Junho let the thoughts and comments of his mental detective part around him like a soft breeze, hoping they didn’t show in his eyes. The tastes of ham and eggs and peppers still lingered in his mouth, and he enjoyed them.

There was a mirror set into the wall under a layer of acrylic. His face was pale and smeared black with mascara and eyeshadow that had run with his tears and smeared in his sleep. The makeup formed black wounds around his hollow, empty eyes.

He looked like the Jayuro gwishin, and the thought made him shudder. It was too on point.

Pointing to one of the drawers in the cabinet under the sink, the trainer said, “Open the top drawer.”

The drawer didn’t have a handle. Junho pressed the panel in, and it popped open with a magnetic click. Inside were a variety of flat black boxes, a set of brushes held through loops on a flat piece of cloth, and some unmarked bottles, tubes, and packets.

The trainer indicated a little container of packets. “Those are eye makeup remover. Wipe your face. We should've done this before you slept, and in the future, you'll do this before bed.”

Junho acknowledged the order and grabbed one of the tear-open packets. When his face was clean, he put the soiled towelettes in a familiar-looking plastic trashcan in the lowest drawer under the counter.

Now when he glanced in the mirror, the dark circles around his eyes were all from the prolonged exhaustion that hadn’t fully cleared. His cheekbones both had greenish-yellow bruises, and his right cheek had a fresh purple bruise as if to vary the color.

A week or two since the trainer had slapped him the first time, Detective Hwang noted, getting closer to the surface. Not now, Junho told him, and he slid back under.

The trainer drew Junho’s attention to the toilet. Now that he was fully awake, he saw that it was the most complicated toilet he’d ever seen. He hadn’t imagined that a toilet could be high tech. The trainer touched a panel in the top and drew out a flexible length of tube.

“This is an enema,” he said, like someone pointing out a faucet or some other normal appliance. Junho felt his brows climb his forehead.

“He's a very clean man,” the trainer said, like that had anything to do with Junho's look of objection, and then he started giving instructions about how to use it.

Junho heard the English words as the trainer pointed and gestured and spoke to him like he was a slow child, but his mind didn't bother comprehending them. It didn’t matter.

The eyebolts studding the wall by the toilet glittered in the bright overhead lights. The decision was easy to make with Detective Hwang Jun-ho already dead.

He was escaping today. One way or another.

Chapter Text

There were eyebolts studding the tan-tiled wall behind the toilet, just as they studded three of the four walls in the room. Junho’s eyes assessed the distance from the trainer to wall behind him. One hard push, the tired detective that lived inside Junho’s mind informed him.

It would work or it wouldn't. Either way was a win.

The trainer held the enema tube out to him. “The first time can be overwhelming. Do you want to try it? Or do you want me to help?”

“I'll try it,” Junho said. The trainer would give him the use of his hands, and then they’d see which way he was escaping.

The muscular man gave Junho's face a long look, then spoke slowly, clearly, and without a hint of malice. “You should think very hard about whether you want to try it.”

He wasn’t talking about the enema.

“Yes, trainer.”

Junho wasn’t talking about the enema either.

He’d thought about it. He would escape, or he’d escape. He was at peace with either outcome. Being dead would be better than being used by the disgusting man who lived upstairs. He was already dead to everyone that mattered. His job and family. Including his brother, if he was still alive.

The trainer shifted his weight and set his feet before he unfastened Junho’s wrists from each other. Junho immediately pushed off the floor, trying to shove the larger man into the bolt-studded wall. He might as well have tried to move a brick house by blowing on it.

He hadn’t truly expected it to work. He shifted to his backup plan and went for the trainer’s eyes with his fingers and the man's balls with his knee.

The outcome of the fight was never in serious doubt. The trainer’s head shifted aside and Junho’s nails scored his cheek on their way past. He turned his knee inward, grunting when Junho’s knee connected with his thigh. Then he grabbed Junho’s wrists, and pulled him in close.

Junho wasn’t precisely sure how the larger man got him into a headlock. It happened too fast for him to follow. He instinctively clawed at the arm at his throat as he choked. Then his self-defense training kicked in, a different sort of training from a different time in his life, and he turned his head into the bend, fixed his hands inside the man’s elbow, and curled his body forward.

The trainer saw the throw coming. Of course he saw it coming, his intuition was frightening. His foot wasn’t where Junho expected when his leg snaked back, and instead of tripping his opponent, he had his knee kicked out from under him.

The end was as predictable and inevitable as a sunset. The trainer ignored Junho’s repeated elbows to his ribs, his clawing fingers that scored lines of blood into the man's arms. He winced with pain when Junho sunk his teeth into his arm, but he didn't curse or loosen his grip. He just hooked a hand into Junho’s waist harness, lifting him and muscling him toward the table.

Junho was slammed chest-down on the table, pinned, and clipped in despite his best efforts to thrash and struggle. His trainer wasn't more forceful about it than necessary. He simply asserted himself and made sure that Junho lacked the power and leverage to effectively fight back.

When he fastened the strap at the back of Junho’s collar and pulled it through the slot in the table so that Junho was cheek-down to it, his face was to the room this time. The trainer got the paddle and placed it on the table in front of him, then left to wash and disinfect the bite and scratches. It satisfied Junho to see the dark bruise on the trainer's back from when he had hit him with the chain what felt like ages ago.

Junho cursed at him in Korean, then in English, and when he eventually ran out of words and phrases in both languages, he threw in the smattering of French he knew. He called the man every foul thing he could think of, and then insulted his parents and the lineage that had produced such a creature.

He exhausted himself. His stomach pressed hard into the table's padded edge and he panted, the edges of his vision hazy, his heart pounding in his ears, sweat sticking him down. It was all too familiar.

As if that had been what he had been waiting for, the trainer went to the cabinet and took out the tablet. Junho watched him return, slacks silky around his legs, the tight downward V of his hips stopping close in front of Junho’s face.

Junho rolled his eyes up as far as they would go. “Fuck yourself,” he said in English. “I'll make you kill me.”

The trainer crouched down and looked Junho in the eyes. Expressionless? Vaguely disappointed? Then the man's beautiful dark eyes, rimmed in the faintest blue liner like the edge of gathering tears, dropped to the tablet in his hands. His thumbs worked then screen for some time, then he put the tablet on the table in front of Junho's face.

The first still was of him clipped to the table, the angle showing him tied down and spread, recorded from a camera somewhere behind and above him.

The trainer picked up the paddle. His manicured brown finger pressed play. Junho heard himself speak in a weak voice, much more pathetic than it had sounded in his head. “Fuck yourself. I'll make you kill me.”

The trainer spoke, low and calm, “You don’t give orders. You take them.”

Junho tensed his exhaustion-trembling muscles and told himself that he wasn't going to give this man the satisfaction of crying out. When the loud crack of the paddle came, it licked the familiar fire across Junho's ass, chased by the deeper pain of a bruise being stuck. And below even that, the black ocean ache of his loss and the sharp rocks of his determination.

He hadn’t wanted it to be this way. It was only that this was the least horrible of his options.

After a while, Junho didn't keep his promise to himself not to cry out. It didn’t matter. It was just this one last time. He was on his way out.

Except he wasn’t.

Junho’s world became pain, but every time he thought he might die from it, or at least pass out, his trainer took a break. He toweled the sweat off Junho’s body and off his own body. He filled a syringe with water, forced Junho’s mouth open, plugged his nose, and shot it down his throat. Junho’s body wouldn’t let him breathe it in. When he tried, he coughed it back up across the table and the trainer gave him a new syringe. Sometimes the trainer left the room and came back. But the pain always started again.

Every foul and obscene thing he’d said to the trainer or about the man's parents, one strike each. Every time he’d struck the man in the ribs, each rake on his arms, the bite, one low strike each. Every strike after a calm, firm instruction.

The real lesson Junho learned was that he couldn’t provoke the trainer to anger or undirected violence. The only violence the man displayed was that terrible, implacable drive to correct what he viewed as Junho’s mistakes.

Junho also learned that a man could endure a lot of pain without dying. He broke all of the promises he’d made to himself. To let himself die. To not give in to the torture. By the time he watched himself try to shove the trainer into the wall, his voice was hoarse from begging for it to stop, from promising he’d do anything. Promising he'd be good.

When it was truly over, the trainer unclipped Junho from the table and peeled him off it. Head swimming and only semiconscious, Junho couldn't support his own weight, and the trainer breathed out on a grunt as he lifted Junho and supported him from the side.

For a delirious moment, he thought that he was himself as a child, being carried out of bed by his father when he was desperately ill.

Junho ended up back in the chair, in the darkness, and there was nothing he could do about it. He couldn’t even choose to die.

Chapter Text

Hwang In-ho received word of his brother’s death at the apartment he kept solely as a front to keep his brother out of his business. When he checked on the room to bring the rent current, he found a business card wedged in the door. The card was from a detective from Junho’s department and had “call me as soon as possible” written on it in black pen.

Inho’s hackles rose. He studied the card, looked at the request to call the number for a few long moments. He mentally prepared himself to be arrested. If he was arrested, he would say nothing. He would trust the old man to get him out of it.

Because Hwang In-ho was the perfect front man, and no one – not even those who had played for the home team more than once – could run the game, or appreciate the running of it, as well as he did.

After calling the number, Inho was politely asked to remain where he was. He pulled the chair out from the neat but cluttered desk and waited, watching the door. He wasn’t armed, would never be armed in this place, where his brother might notice and become suspicious. Now, it gave him plausible deniability.

Eventually, the knock came, and Inho opened it to see two uniformed police officers standing in the hallway. Grim-faced and serious, the younger of the two asked if they could come in. Inho stepped back from the door and invited them into the small, crowded apartment.

He offered to make tea. They apologized that they wouldn’t have time to drink it. He made tea anyway.

The older of the two officers told Inho that there had been a terrible accident and that his brother was dead. There was irony in that, he thought. Police officers arriving at Inho’s door to tell him that someone was dead.

Whatever happened hadn’t been an accident. He knew his brother had been in the massive, sprawling compound somewhere, that the body that washed up on the beach with his brother’s badge hadn’t been his. He could have handled it if the VIPs hadn't arrived at the worst possible time.

Instead, Inho been on the lookout for Junho as much as he could while acting as host to the VIPs. During the stepping stone game, he had spotted a masked worker who had a similar build as his brother, who moved like his brother did.

Inho had kept an eye on the situation, intending to handle the matter quietly when it wouldn’t disturb the VIPs’ enjoyment of the games. Or arouse any suspicion. So he noticed when the Panther VIP had called the worker who moved like Junho over to his couch.

When he glanced back over later, the Panther VIP’s couch was empty. Inho had ordered the VIP room checked. A worker leaving with a VIP was never good for the worker, particularly not the Panther VIP. That man was notorious.

But Inho also knew how capable Junho could be.

The Panther VIP had reppeared and the workers who had checked the VIP room reported nothing out of the ordinary.

The officers in Inho’s apartment didn’t want to offer details, but they weren’t prepared for how insistent he could be. He learned that the so-called accident was a presumed suicide. The older officer said that Junho had left his job without notice, explained the car, the cliff, the rocks below. The picture of Inho on the dash.

It was the younger officer who asked if Inho had any idea what might have happened. The question was so seamlessly worked into the discussion that, had he not been listening for it, its importance might have escaped him.

Inho paused, then said with deliberately low-key uncertainty that Junho had seemed agitated lately, then he strengthened his voice and said that his brother never would have done something like that. It must have been an accident, maybe a slip while sightseeing. People fell to death taking selfies all the time. The Junho he knew wouldn’t have jumped, Inho said.

The last part was true. And it was the sort of thing a person would say when confronted with a brother’s suicide.

Inho demanded to see the scene photos. The officers didn’t want to show him, but he was the next of kin and said he’d hire a lawyer if they insisted on withholding them. After the officers emailed him the photos from their report, he said that he needed some time alone.

They left with their apologies. The tea on the edge of the crowded desk was cold, untouched.

The body resembled Junho, how he would have looked had he actually jumped off a cliff onto sharp rocks and changed from a man into a shattered doll.

But Inho refused to believe that it was truly Junho. A worker killed directly by a VIP would have been a special, notable incident, though not unusual. A tied-up worker had been found and disposed of for incompetence, but no one had mentioned the death or disappearance of any other worker.

Deaths of workers were always reported, identities carefully checked, promised amounts paid to family members. The front man was ultimately responsible for the home team. His brother’s body wouldn't have ended up in the incinerator without his knowledge.

And so someone else had taken Junho off the board. It didn’t take genius to figure out that the Panther VIP had abducted his brother. At the time, with the games ongoing and the VIPs to look after, Inho had felt only relief that Junho had disappeared. It solved the problem, and if Inho felt a pang about that now, at least he hadn’t had to kill his little brother himself.

Inho looked at the photographs again. The possibility that the Panther VIP had thrown Junho off the cliff centered itself in Inho’s mind, and he examined it mentally, turning the thought over to look at it from different sides.

It was possible.

He looked at the photos of the body again. The eyes were wrong.

And so he wondered who the man was that had been pushed off the cliff. He wouldn't have been dead when he went over the edge. Forensics wouldn’t investigate such an open-and-shut suicide, but the organization was all about covering contingencies. If the Panther VIP had someone else shoved off a cliff, it was because Junho hadn't been there to shove.

Only the game master knew the names and identities of the VIPs. The old man was on his last legs, and Inho half suspected that the old man intended to leave the games to him. Could Inho convince him to release the identity of the Panther VIP?

If he asked about the fate of a single worker, the old man would ask why he was interested, and then he’d have to lay his whole hand on the table. That security had been breached. That, but for a happy accident, the game and VIPs could have been exposed.

He knew what would happen then. It wasn't an acceptable outcome.

Inho knew that he should simply appear to accept that his brother was dead and move on with his life. He should be grateful that he hadn’t had to kill Junho himself. He would make himself accept that his brother was dead, regardless of whether his brother was dead.

For now.

Inho closed the open photographs on his laptop and deleted the email.

Chapter Text

Being awake was agony, but the pain and upright position prevented Junho from truly sleeping. It was familiar but not comfortable. The pain radiated from his balls to his ass, from his thighs up his back and down to his feet. His balls hurt. His scalp hurt. His entire body hurt. His balls really hurt.

Time passed without being counted or recorded.

Junho dozed. His dreams were fractured and chaotic, blending dreams and reality until it wasn’t clear which was which. Nothing felt truly real anymore. He was trapped in a nightmare, as capable of escaping as an insect was capable of pulling itself off a sticky trap.

He saw a wedge of light expand by the door, revealing tiles crimson and running with blood. Inho was cut open on a table, blood flowing out of his bullet holes and onto the floor like a waterfall. He woke up.

He heard the trainer praising him. Those fine, well-manicured fingers gently smoothed his hair back from his face, took a twisting grip, and held his head back. He could feel a knife's pressure on his throat. He woke up.

He opened doors upon doors in an endless candy-yellow hallway, passing men and women in green jumpsuits, tied up and begging for help. He ignored them, looking first for Inho and then for a bathroom that didn't exist. He woke up and smelled urine.

He screamed at the darkness. Yelled at it, talked to it, laughed and cried with it. It never spoke back, but it listened. He woke up. Or at least he thought he woke up.

Junho had been in the dark for a long time. It would go on until he died, or it wouldn't. He had no control over it. The idea that he’d ever had control had been an illusion. He couldn’t even die.

When the lights came on and Junho squinted his eyes open, a god was between him and the door. A masculine statue sculpted in rich hues of brown, the light sheening of his defined abs and pectorals, glinting off the gold loops through his nipples. His eyes were lined in hints of gold, too, and Junho knew him as a god of mercy and death.

Those gold-rimmed dark eyes looked at Junho from across a gulf of space and time, as detached and distant and uncaring as any god’s. Junho wondered uneasily if the god was here to lead him along the path of self-loss.

He woke up. The lights were on and the trainer was there. Just a man, he told himself. Just a man.

Junho knew what was expected, and his pride was rotted shreds of fabric, a grave shroud buried with the dead body of Hwang Jun-ho. He was dead but he couldn't die.

“Please trainer,” he croaked past his sore throat, “may I suck your cock?”

Instead of approaching and finishing the ritual, the trainer said, “Yes. But first, I want you to know that In-ho Hwang is alive.”

Junho blinked. The changed routine kicked him out of his death-fogged headspace, then it took his brain a moment to process the anglicized name. His brother was alive?

He wanted to believe it, but he didn't know if he could. Even if it was true, he didn't know if he could afford to believe it. It might give him something to live for.

He didn’t know if he wanted that.

“If you're wondering how you can trust me,” the trainer said calmly, slowly, the honey-smoke words caressing the air and lapping against Junho’s deprived ears. “I’d like to remind you that I've never lied to you. This is a motivational tool.”

Junho's breath caught in. He believed, only because it was a tool. His trainer had never lied to him about how he was being manipulated.

Warmth spread through his body, seeped into his soul. His brother was alive. He didn’t need to ask what the motivational part was. He was feeling it.

Junho's eyes locked on the face of his trainer. His trainer’s dark eyes looked back into Junho's soul, the golden highlights adding gravity to them. “We’re going to start the hygiene routine again this morning. He’s been patient as I've corrected your mistakes. But he wants you, and he will have you.”

Junho’s trainer spoke slowly, as if to make sure that he understood not just the words, but the substance of them. “It's going to go one of two ways. You’ll be prepared, and he won’t injure you badly. Or you won’t be prepared, and he’ll claim you anyway.”

The trainer paused, studied Junho’s eyes as if to make sure he was truly awake. Junho hadn’t felt so awake since he first woke up in this place.

“He could injure you bad enough to kill you. Poisoned blood's a bad way to die. Do you understand?”

“Yes, trainer,” Junho said. The dread was back in his stomach, but above that, his heart was pumping life back into him.

His brother was alive. Someone would wonder what had really happened to him. Inho knew him too well to believe he’d commit suicide.

“Stay,” the trainer said, as if Junho could go somewhere else.

Or maybe he meant that Junho should stay in the mindset of the living. “Yes, trainer.”

When Junho’s trainer returned to the chair, he had the tablet. It was strange to see it from this angle, held in the man’s hand instead of in a stand on the table. It was even stranger to see it display someone other than Junho.

The still image was of a vaguely familiar-looking blond man on a soft-looking black surface. He recognized the posture as one he had been taught: presenting. Junho’s unease came back.

The trainer pressed the play button and the image came to life. There was no sound, but the man was obviously weeping. The VIP climbed onto him from behind, and the man hid his face in his arms as the VIP began rocking against him. Or he tried to hide his face. The VIP pulled his head back by the hair.

Junho’s stomach clenched on empty nothing as he realized what he was watching. He wasn’t sure why the trainer was showing it to him, but the man’s gold-edged eyes were on Junho’s face, so he watched it through until it was over. The VIP pulled away and slapped the blond man’s butt, and he crawled away unsteadily on the uneven surface until he was out of the frame.

When the trainer tapped the skip forward button, the point of the videos became clear. The next still image was of a dark-skinned man that Junho didn’t recognize clipped down to the hated table. The trainer pressed play.

Again, there was no sound, but the man’s mouth was moving angrily. The VIP stalked into the scene, tore his robe open, and raped the man brutally. When the VIP pulled out bloody, Junho's stomach heaved, but he had nothing to throw up.

“You’re going to behave,” the trainer said, and it wasn't a question.

Junho swallowed his nausea in a hard lump past his plastic collar. “Yes, trainer.”

The beautiful god stepped to him, reached his perfectly manicured hand down below the elastic waistband. The dick he pulled out and pressed against Junho's lips wasn’t hard. His deprived brain drank in the sensations. The faint smell of flowers and his trainer’s specific aroma made him dizzy with the sweetness of them after he’d been left along so long with just his own stinks.

Junho’s mouth was dry, but he did his best, moving his head as well as he could, swirling his sticky tongue around and taking his trainer deeper like he was supposed to. The man didn’t get hard.

“That's enough.” He pulled away and tucked his penis back into his silky slacks. The low, slow, smooth words were a balm on Junho's ears.

“When you want out of the chair,” the trainer said calmly, “ask me to allow you to give yourself an enema.”

“Please let me give myself an enema, trainer,” Junho said, without pause or hesitation.

He had to adapt. There was no adapt or die, there was only adapt. There was no good death in this place. A death he could accept, one where he took something the VIP wanted away from him as he went down, even that was off the table. Out of his control.

They hadn’t broken him, he thought. He'd just have to be more cautious with his life. Saving his strength to make a break for it on his own, if the opportunity presented itself. If not, then when Inho found him.

If the tired, battered remnants of Detective Hwang disagreed with the new plan from the death-place in the back of Junho's mind, he kept his own counsel.

Junho would do what he had to until then. He'd be who he had to be until then. He knew that he'd told himself these things before, but he hadn’t meant it then like he meant it now that he knew Inho was alive.

Chapter Text

Junho’s trainer helped him out of the chair after adjusting his restraints. The man’s nostrils flared and the corners of his mouth tightened.

His reaction drew Junho’s attention to something his brain had put to the back of his mind, and he was able to smell himself again for the first time in however long it had been since he had a shower. Too long, from the smell. As he became painfully aware of how foul the chair was, how badly he smelled, he realized that enough of his pride had risen with him from the grave to be ashamed at how filthy he was.

“Usually, the shower comes after you clean inside,” his trainer said, “but today you’re showering before, too.”

Was that a hint of compassion Junho heard in the man’s voice? Certainly not, the tired and worn detective said from the dark place in the back of his mind. He must be mistaken.

The process of showering with one hand in an open room in front of cameras while another man watched him like a hawk was so familiar now that he could do it quickly. While Junho worked on his teeth, his trainer washed the areas he couldn't reach, then moved him to the toilet and released his wrists from the restraints.

Nothing about the way he looked at Junho this time was intense, though he was certainly attentive as he walked him through the process. Then Junho was on his side on the cool tiles, wondering if he was really going to do this.

Yes. Because even if he still wanted to die, which wasn’t the case anymore, being raped to death wasn’t an acceptable way to die.

The trainer handed him both the lube and the tube, and the centimeters to the stop point looked to go on forever, though they were just centimeters. He was given the instructions he’d already heard once, back when he was alive.

Junho did as instructed, face hot at the idea of the trainer watching him, despite that he had no pride left. The lube was very slippery. He hesitated, then circled his finger around his pucker.

He’d never touched himself in that way before. It felt good. Different when he did it to himself, he thought, and his brain fed him the memory of the VIP doing something similar. At the same time Junho shuddered, his attention went to his dick, swelling against the inside of his thigh. He shifted as much from shame as from a desire to not encourage it.

He hadn’t jerked off in what, over two weeks? That it felt good had nothing to do with the actual sensation, he assured himself, but only with how he hadn’t had any satisfaction at all lately.

Junho wasn’t even able to convince himself, much less the detective.

“You aren’t allowed to touch yourself.” The trainer’s usually calm voice had a hint of warning.

Junho was becoming aware of the subtle nuances in the man’s delivery and better able to read the small expressions that crossed his face. If a person paid attention, even the trainer had tells, and having his wellbeing contingent on paying attention seemed to have honed the skills he'd learned in his previous life to a razor edge.

“Do you need me to do it for you?” The trainer’s tone said it wasn’t the first time he had asked the question.

The lubed enema tube was in Junho’s hand. The distance to the stop point was intimidating, but having another man put something inside him was a thing he wanted to put off as long as possible.

“I’ll do it myself, trainer,” Junho said. And he did, while his trainer dispensed advice in the same dispassionate voice he always used.

“It needs to go farther than that.”

“Relax. Try opening up.”

“No, opening up, Pretty Eyes. Not pulling in. Opening.”

It wasn’t as unpleasant as Junho had thought it would be, but it wasn’t comfortable either. His trainer was as unmoved by his plight as a cliff would be moved by the brush of a bird’s wings. He was a being of simple, calm instructions, and if those instructions were horrible, at least they came from a god. You could forgive a lot of things if you did them for a god.

He isn’t a god, the detective said from the back of Junho’s mind, and he snapped back into wakefulness like he'd been yanked back by a rubber band.

Junho didn't feel the warmed water pass into him, cleaning him out. He felt only increasing fulness and pressure, and then uncomfortably full before the cramp hit.

“If you shit on the floor, you’re cleaning it up yourself,” the trainer said as conversationally as someone talking about doing the dishes.

The trainer watched him use the toilet, too, and he felt his face flush with humiliation. Just when he thought he couldn’t be ashamed of another single function of his body, circumstances conspired to prove him wrong.

“The bidet— ” the trainer began to say, but Junho said, “I know how to use a bidet.”

That was stupid, the detective’s warning came too late. You don't have pride left to be offended.

The front-hand slap cracked Junho’s head to the side. “Don’t interrupt.”

The fire spread across the face, hurt longer and deeper over Junho’s bruises, but he wasn’t in danger of being knocked off the toilet. Was it possible to get used to being slapped, or had the man stopped hitting so hard?

“I’m sorry, trainer.”

The toilet flushed automatically, and it even had a heated dryer. It was hard to appreciate those nice little features under the circumstances.

“After you clean inside, you shower,” the trainer said.

Junho was already mostly clean when he went into the shower. As his trainer clipped him to the now-familiar spot, he said, “When you're trusted, you'll have freedom of your hands. And when you’ve fully— ” a word he didn’t know “ —you'll have freedom of the entire room.”

Eventually. Freedom of the room. Junho didn’t want to think about how long that might take, how long he might be here.

Inho was alive, so he would endure. He couldn't go off on another half-cocked escape attempt and end up back in the chair. Not now that he knew how bad the table could be.

The more he reminded himself, the more it felt like a deliberate choice he was making than a choice that was being made for him. It disturbed him, but he knew deep down that he wasn’t controlled, even if he was compliant.

Chapter Text

Usually the trainer had Junho stand at the edge of the shower while he washed from his upper back down to his thighs from outside the fall of the water. But this time, his trainer pulled off his pants, folded them neatly, and put them on the counter. He held himself naked like he did in any other state, a being of calm stability that promised violence if disobeyed, as if being clothed or naked had no meaning to him.

And Junho suddenly understood what the VIP had meant when he said that Junho needed a shave. His trainer unnaturally and completely hairless.

He stepped into the shower behind Junho, soaping the washcloth and scrubbing down his back. The cloth went lower, to the places in back Junho couldn’t wash and had tried to ignore being washed before out of sheer embarrassment. But this time, his trainer was focused on cleaning the lube out of the cleft of Junho’s ass and lower, and the scrubbing was more insistent.

Junho hadn’t been able to fully will away the semi he’d gotten from touching himself earlier, and the water sluicing down his stomach and over his dick hadn’t helped matters. When the trainer scrubbed Junho's ass, he inhaled sharply.

His cock throbbed, suddenly very present. It was the powerful, insistent erection he would have excused himself from company for, hidden just long enough to get somewhere private to take care of it.

The water caressing him became impossible to ignore. One of his hands moved down to touch, not as much a conscious decision as an automatic response. His cock was hard and it demanded attention, and he’d masturbated in showers since he was a boy, when it had been the only privacy he had.

Not thinking at all. Here, the shower wasn’t private. Here, he wasn’t allowed to get off.

“Don’t,” Junho’s trainer said in his ear, low and very dangerous.

Junho yanked his hand away from himself, and the trainer immediately grabbed his wrists and fastened them to the wall over his head. He wanted to shout curses, not sure whether he wanted to curse himself or the trainer more. They would both be equally futile. Worse than, since he wasn't allowed to be rude.

And he was already in trouble.

The trainer finished washing him, directing him to turn with touches of his hands. When the head of Junho’s cock slid across the wall tiles, he made a low noise, then apologized. “I’m sorry, trainer, that wasn’t on purpose.”

“Tuck your hips in next time,” he said, without the warning and danger he’d had before. Or maybe Junho just couldn’t pick the tones up through the sounds of falling water.

The trainer turned off the water and padded dripping to the cabinet. He came back with a safety razor, safety scissors, and shaving cream. He held the scissors up for Junho to look at first, then the razor, turning it from side to side in his manicured hands. It was a quality brand, five-bladed.

“This won’t cut deep,” he said, “but it'll hurt if you try anything.”

Junho gritted his teeth as his balls preemptively climbed into his stomach. “Yes, trainer.”

The trainer slathered Junho’s skin with the cream and worked the razor in slow swipes, starting at his cheeks and moving down, razor always stroking against the grain of his hair. He was efficient, trimming down areas of longer hair with the scissors before soaping them up.

“Be very still,” Junho’s trainer said before he started working below his hips.

“Yes, trainer.” He didn't need to be warned twice.

Junho thought he held his breath the entire time the man was working around his balls, the base of his dick, the area between his butt cheeks. He didn’t get anything even approaching an erection this time, finding nothing erotic about a man holding blades around his balls.

He barely breathed until the trainer had moved on down his legs. The man was thorough, even shaving the tops of Junho’s toes. “You’ll start doing this yourself as part of your routine, until we get the laser hair removal unit back out here.”

It was another phrase where Junho knew all of the words in English but had trouble putting them together into a coherent mental image. Laser hair removal? On his balls? He was lucky the trainer was done with the razor because his shudder was equal parts horror and the chill of not having been dried off.

The tired detective in Junho’s mind nudged him toward the rest of the words. ‘Out here’ implied that this mansion was somewhere distant. Not good news for Junho’s future escape, but something to tuck away.

The trainer solved the problem of Junho’s cold shivering by turning the water back on. The shaving cream that hadn’t come off on the razor went down the drain, and afterward, the man toweled Junho off with the intensity of a parent toweling off an errant toddler.

The sensation of the soft towel against Junho’s skin was strange. Another thing he’d never thought about, how it might feel different having shaved legs brushing against cloth. Every touch was more sensitive. Even just the air against his body had a different quality.

Junho stood in the shower area, tiles warm against his bare feet, while the trainer dried himself and pulled his pants back on. Then he clipped Junho’s hands to his waist behind him and fastened a short lead to Junho’s waist before unclipping him from wall. He hadn’t changed Junho into the leather cuffs.

His trainer stepped toward the discipline table, saying, “Come.”

Chapter Text

During most of the time Junho had been in the room, his anxiety and uncertainty had prevented anything but the most random arousals. Except the times he tried not to think about. Like when the VIP had touched him until he stood hard, then grinned like a cat who had caught a mouse. Or when the man had fingered his ass.

He could estimate from the colors of his bruises that he’d been here at least two weeks, but he couldn’t be sure. How long was he drugged? How long before the first time his trainer had come in? It had felt like an eternity. And the days before that as a worker in the compound.

When he added up all that time, it was the longest he’d gone without getting off since he figured out how his dick worked. He hadn’t meant to break the rules by touching himself in the shower, hadn't even thought about it. But his intent mattered as little as his desires, in this place, so he knew what was coming.

Still, when his trainer stepped toward the hated table, he froze.

The animal part of his mind took over, the part that let a child touch fire only once. The table was pain, and the deepest of his instincts said that he should avoid it.

The chain at Junho’s waist went taut, and the trainer looked back at him. The man’s gold-edged eyes said Junho was going on one way or another. Gods demanded sacrifices, and this wasn’t sort of god who would be appeased by anything less than the blood owed.

Just a man, the detective reminded him. Stay awake.

“Yes, trainer,” Junho blurted out, and he stepped forward so forcefully that he almost took himself out with his own hobble. As if haste now could make up for something.

The trainer didn’t fasten Junho’s legs open, and only gave him a few strokes. One for touching himself without permission, two for failing to obey orders. Like with the slap, either the man was going easier on him or he was getting used to the pain. It didn’t seem to sear as hot or stab as deep.

When the trainer paused the tablet, the still image was of Junho on the table with his ass in the air, red on the surface and bruised dark underneath. He looked ridiculous. He didn’t want to look at it, so he closed his eyes just for a moment.

He couldn’t sleep with his knees buckling every time he nodded, putting the weight so uncomfortably on his diaphragm. But he could rest and appreciate the pulsing pink inside his eyelids, the shapes of the white stripes.

"Pretty Eyes." Junho’s eyes shot open and he jolted fully awake. Patient, serene eyes edged in gold were in front of his face, the trainer having squatted to look at him directly. “Who owns your cock?”

“Him, trainer.” Junho had never been asked before, but he knew the right answer.

“Neither of us wants you to cum without permission,” the trainer said, and there was something in his gold-edged eyes that made Junho realize the gravity of this particular rule.

Then, the man did something unusual and intensely unnerving. He took something off the table over Junho’s head, and without showing him the thing he’d taken, he stood and went around behind him.

“Spread your legs.”

“Yes, trainer.” Heart in his throat, Junho stepped his feet out as far as the hobble would let them go.

He didn’t know what new torture his trainer had in mind. Maybe he should have been more suspicious when he had gone easy on him. But he did know what he could do to prevent the trainer from doing whatever he wanted.

Nothing.

When the trainer touched Junho’s freshly shaved balls, they tried to jump right up into his throat. But the man’s strong-fingered hands expertly and quickly manipulated Junho’s junk. Pulled him through something firmly but not painfully, slid something slick over his dick.

A carabiner clicked. Junho felt the touch of straps low on his stomach, and a moment later, carabiners clicked at either side of his waist.

The pain from the paddling had killed his erection, but even the brief sensation of his dick slipping into something slick sent a thrill shivering its way down Junho's stomach. Something cradled his balls from underneath like a firm but gentle hand, but without the warmth of fingers. The heaviness and pressure in his cock was as familiar as a favorite song. He was on his way up.

Except that he wasn’t. His swelling cock pressed up into something, the material soft on one hand but far too rigid on the other. It held him down. It wasn’t uncomfortable at first, but Junho hit the limit of whatever was holding him down before he was truly hard.

He had the vivid memory of one of his first real erections, getting hard in jeans that were a little too tight before he knew how to adjust himself. Just like it had back then, the pressure became maddening. Not as painful as being held directly down, but not unpainful either.

“No more accidents,” the trainer said, a combination of affirmation and instruction, as if he were addressing child who had been put in a diaper after a potty training incident. Then more firmly, “Stop fidgeting.”

“Yes, trainer.”

As Junho tried not to squirm, tried very hard to ignore the sensations from his cock despite its every effort to get his attention, his trainer walked him through the rest of the morning on the tablet.

“Remember how you balked at the enema the first time? But here, you’re doing it very well.” His trainer wiped a cool washcloth against Junho’s cheeks, clearing away the sticky residue of pain-tears from his brief paddling.

“Look at your face here. Uncomfortable but following instructions.” The man brushed a soothing cream over Junho's ass and thighs, his warm and steady hand moving with a slow and gentle pressure.

He allowed Junho long sips of water while he watched himself with his arms pinned above him in the steam-fogged shower. “You held still very well while I shaved you, just like I asked. And I didn’t have to ask you to turn, you responded to pressure from my hands. You’re doing a very a good job anticipating my needs, there.”

“I can see in your face that rubbing on the wall wasn’t on purpose. And you apologized. Very good, Pretty Eyes.” The trainer’s hand stroked down Junho’s back. It was a soothing gesture, not a sexual one.

When Junho watched himself resist the trainer’s tug on his collar, then start forward so fast he nearly fell. The trainer stroked his hand through Junho’s hair, riffling it back from his face. “You didn’t want to come when I called, but you corrected. A mistake, but a good recovery. You did well.”

Junho was disgusted at how much he appreciated the gentle and comforting touches, the hints of encouragement in the low and serene voice.

The detective in Junho's mind set farther back in the darkness, now, but he still knew he was being conditioned. Don't forget he's your jailer, the ghost of himself whispered.

At last, the trainer let Junho up from the table. He immediately looked down, trying to figure out what was holding him down.

At first, his sleep-deprived mind couldn’t make sense out of what he was looking at. There was something wrong with him, and the stab of anxiety woke him up. His dick was inside something, straps rising to his waist harness to hold it in place.

Then he realized with a dawning sense of horror that his dick was in a prison.

Soft, he had plenty of room. But, as if noticing his attention, Junho’s cock grew heavier, ached for attention more. He watched himself swell, caught between arousal and sick curiosity.

The inside of the cage was bigger around than he was, but not by much. The plastic-looking frame didn’t pinch but it did hold him firmly in place.

The problem was that the curve that had held him down was unyielding. His erection tried to come into being and simply couldn’t. He throbbed and pressed up, but that fucking curve held him down, kept him from becoming truly hard. It crossed from uncomfortable into mildly painful the harder he got.

He shifted, grimaced, shifted again. Stared at his dick prison. It was going to drive him insane.

After the trainer clipped Junho to the counter by the toilet, and a new problem occurred to him. “What do I do to pee?”

Junho flinched instinctively, and the trainer did slap him. But he also answered, in a way. "It's a cage, not a box.”

The man left while Junho was still trying to figure that out. The toilet was right there, as functional as a chair, so he sat on it and let himself nod, the connections at his back and waist holding him up.

His mind clicked back on when he heard the door. His trainer brought over one of the meal replacement shakes and held the straw to Junho's lips, and uncertainty and anxiety made it difficult to swallow. Was he going back in the chair? But after the shake, his trainer unrolled the floor mattress.

When the man came back to transfer him, he read Junho's confused expression. “You’re in time out,” he explained, “but you weren’t so bad that you deserve the chair.”

So he was being sent to bed early. It didn’t feel like a punishment.

The beautiful man led Junho to the bed and clipped him securely to the wall, hands fastened to the front of his waist harness. No blanket. Less freedom than he’d had the last time he was allowed to sleep on the mattress. But it wasn’t the chair, and if he fell onto his side, he’d be horizontal.

This time the trainer clicked off the lights on his way out.

Junho breathed in and out slowly in the dark. He shifted, trying to rub his crotch, as much to see if he could as from its ever-present reminders that it was there and would really like some attention. He could feel the ring behind his nuts, not uncomfortable but unyielding. He could grip the plastic-like material with his hands, press it against his pubic bone.

The device kept him from touching himself, but the awareness of his cock roared back to life as he tried. Junho groaned, almost immediately so stiff that he hurt. He breathed slowly, and eventually the mild pain eased back down to discomfort.

It was maddening. He'd almost rather have been paddled.

At least when he flopped onto his side, he sank almost immediately into a dark and dreamless sleep.

Chapter Text

Junho slept as long as he wanted and then some. He was already awake, thirsty and hungry and needing to piss, when the lights stabbed into his brain. When he opened his eyes, his trainer was by the door with a plastic shake cup in his hands.

The trainer’s eyes were edged blue, and Junho felt a surge of apprehension before he remembered the last time they’d looked that way. When he’d tried to push the muscular man into the wall bolts and had been beaten and tortured for hours or days.

“Please, sir, may I suck your cock?” Junho asked in the expected formula, keeping his voice as steady as possible.

“No,” the trainer said to Junho’s surprise. “You don't have to earn your way out of the chair.” The man put the shake cup on the counter. “And you’re already as good at blowjobs as I can make you. Beyond this point, it’s just learning the rhythms of his body and how to read his mood.”

Junho had the feeling that a different time, a different him would have felt something about that series of comments. The current Junho wanted to drink the shake, and hopefully another glass of water, then to get up and stretch muscles that were sore from sitting too long and visit the toilet. Most of all, he wanted the trainer to let his dick out of dick prison.

He wasn't sure how likely that was. No more accidents, the man had said the day before. It implied a more long-term solution.

When the trainer unclipped Junho from the wall and helped him up, Junho’s stiff legs tried to cramp and he gasped. A muscular arm caught him, taking most of his weight and holding him upright until he could stand on his own.

“Being in time out isn't good for you,” he said, rubbing his hand across Junho's abs, which had already lost definition.

With a profound sense of embarrassment, Junho felt his dick grow heavy at even the casual touch of another man. When it hit the limit of the cage, it pressed uncomfortably, and he tried to think about anything else.

It was as effective as telling himself not to think about an elephant. The mere act of trying not to think about something specific reinforced what he was trying not to think about.

The trainer didn't comment, though there was no doubt in Junho’s mind that his suppressed erection was visible. The plastic was clear, after all. His dick still got bigger, pressed the top and sides of the cage instead of just resting in it. It was just that there was just only so far it could go up.

Right now, he could feel it pressing into the top of the cage like a kid who wanted to go outside and play with friends.

The trainer’s matter-of-fact voice broke into Junho’s thoughts. “Now that you’re behaving, you’ll need to build back up. He likes his pets fit.”

“Yes, trainer.”

They stretched. The weight on his dick was strange and unfamiliar, the way the plastic prison shifted against him constantly rubbed him into a state of arousal, and pressing against the cage made him ache to tear it off. The trainer gave him the chalky, unpalatable shake for breakfast, and Junho drank it down, his stomach just happy to have something in it.

He worked his way through the morning routine without help or instruction. Even the discomfort of the enema wasn't too bad, his trainer’s attention a soothing presence as he stroked his hand through Junho’s hair and told him how well he was doing.

The trainer moved Junho to the shower area and gave him a look. “I'm going to check your chastity device now. I might have to take it off.”

The ‘don't fuck it up if I do’ was left strongly implied.

Junho replied, “Yes trainer.”

Even the passing thought of being given its freedom made his cock thicken and grow heavy. He needed to think about something other than his erection if he wanted to avoid the pressure-pain. He tried to grip the embarrassment of being so horny in front of a man he barely knew and certainly didn’t like, tried to wield it like a sword against his horniness.

His cock was unimpressed.

Junho’s trainer clipped him into the edge of the shower with his hands above his head, like he was a naughty child who couldn’t be trusted. It was embarrassing to have another man inspect his body, ask him questions about whether he was chafing in deeply personal areas, then wash and shave his body.

But what was truly humiliating was how hard he got from another man’s touch, how his skin tingled behind the razor and washcloth. Junho couldn’t even pretend that it was his body’s craving for human company. The touches of the man’s hand and razor drove Junho’s recently revitalized body crazy.

He throbbed and couldn't think about anything but how hard he wanted to be and couldn’t get, how it felt to have the water run along and through the cage from the top and out the end. He wanted to rub himself against the trainer’s hand, the wall, anything.

Junho breathed slowly through his sexual frustration. Urges that had been suppressed by deprivation and the constant anxiety and disgust were starting to come back, now that…

Now that what? He knew what to expect? He’d decided to cooperate?

Now that you’re fed and rested, the detective suggested, and Junho found himself wanting to believe that.

The man toweled Junho off but didn’t switch him to leather restraints, which left him vaguely uneasy. The trainer confirmed his instinctual anxiety by taking his hobble and fastening him in at the counter with his ankles spread to wide points.

“Stay,” the trainer said, and left after Junho’s acknowledgment. He left the lights on.

Junho stayed. His wrists were fastened together in front, and he probably could have gnawed his way out of the wrist restraints and unclipped his ankles. But the room was wired with cameras, and he wouldn’t get through the door at the end of the hallway without the trainer’s palmprint.

The trainer’s words from a different time floated through his head, that Junho had failed a test. He was waiting for a solid opportunity, he reminded himself. Biding his time and building strength.

He tried not to feel disgusted by how his inactivity felt like acquiescence.

When Junho’s trainer came back, he had a covered plastic box in one hand. Junho immediately started to salivate, and sure enough, when the muscular man opened it and put it on the counter, the aroma of real food crashed up Junho's nose like an unexpected ocean wave smacking him in the face.

The bottom of the box was heaped with fried ham covered in some sort of syrup. There was a portion of sweet rice, studded with fruit and nuts. The sip cup appeared to hold orange juice. The amount wasn’t large, but the fact that it was heavy with sugar and carbs wasn't lost on Junho.

“Go slowly,” the trainer said after he unclipped Junho’s wrists from each other. “You haven’t eaten a lot lately. Don't upset your stomach.”

“Yes, trainer.”

The man watched Junho eat without speaking, his eyes patient and attentive. Kind?

In the far, shadowed corners of his mind, a wary detective snorted with disgust. He suddenly remembered one of the domestic cases. The family had been well-off, her bruises clearly hadn’t come from walking into a door. But she always went back, never pressed charges, refused to testify. Said that he loved her, he hadn't meant it. If only she hadn't made him angry.

That was who he reminded himself of.

When he finished eating, the trainer put the lid on the box and set it aside. Then he said, “Under that cabinet, open the second drawer from the top.”

“Yes, trainer.”

Junho slid out the drawer. His heart thumped hard and then fell somewhere deep in his stomach. The drawer seemed to be full of torture devices. Except from the facts that some of them were shaped like dicks and each had a flared bases, Junho knew what they were.

“Breathe,” the trainer said, his voice low and gentle. “Ignore everything above the first row.

Junho breathed in. “Yes trainer.”

The row nearest him had four plugs in gradually increasing sizes, from barely bigger around than his thumb to nearly as large as the trainer's cock.

“We’ll start here,” his trainer said, indicating the smallest one. “The” — a word Junho didn't know — “plugs are more comfortable, but we’ll use the glass for training.”

I can't do this, Junho thought. But then the table flashed in his mind and his balls ached with remembered pain. He knew the only question was whether he would do this before or after he'd been tortured into it.

Or something even more horrible happened, he thought, his mind skipping along the surface of a video he didn’t want to remember.

The trainer was looking at him, his tastefully blue-rimmed eyes attentive. His expression appeared impassive, but Junho could see the dark eyes assessing him, paying attention to the location of his hands, a hint of wary readiness. He was getting better at reading the man's small expressions.

The trainer said something, but it didn’t register. He was gradually becoming more fluent, but if he didn’t pay attention, he didn’t always pick up the English words. “I'm sorry, trainer, I didn’t understand.”

The trainer’s spoke slowly, clearly, and patiently. “Use plenty of lube, both on the plug and inside you.”

Junho's mind sidled away from the implications, the mental images associated with everything he was doing. Supposed to be doing. He heard himself say, "Yes, trainer."

The touch on Junho’s arm was gentle, but he flinched. His trainer’s expression was calm, his eyes serene and solid. “If you ask, I’ll do it for you.”

Junho looked at that first row in the drawer. Even the smallest one, far smaller than any dick he'd ever seen, looked immense when he thought about where it was supposed to end up. Then he thought about the enema tube, how narrow that had been in comparison, and knew what he had to do.

He took a breath. “Will you please do this for me trainer?”

The trainer nodded. “Lean against the counter.”

Even when he had been hitched to the table, Junho hadn't felt so exposed. It was the difference in what he thought would happen, he decided. In the mirror, his eyes didn't need makeup to appear dark-rimmed and haunted. He crossed his arms on the counter and rested his forehead on them, not wanting to watch himself accept such a fundamental violation.

His mind fed him a picture of a blond-haired man burying his face in his arms while the VIP climbed onto him from behind. He shoved it away.

Junho’s cock started to stiffen the moment the trainer’s fingertip swirled lube around his pucker. He’d known it would happen, but he still hated that his body could feel so good when his mind wasn't there with it.

He clenched his teeth together so hard that his jaw hurt, but he couldn’t stop himself from focusing on the sensation of that finger circling, sending tingles through his body and blood throbbing into his cock. It pressed into its prison. The finger massaged and pressed, and Junho had to hold back a groan.

“Open,” his trainer said, as if he was asking Junho to open a door, as if the request was normal and reasonable.

Getting the plug in ended up being a drawn-out process. Physically, every time he thought he couldn't open any wider or that the plug couldn’t go any deeper, his trainer proved him wrong. The man frequently took it out entirely to press in more lube, always more lube, but any relief was short-lived.

Emotionally, all he could think about was the purpose behind why this was happening. So that the VIP wouldn’t tear Junho open when he raped him. When, not if. When.

It had looked thin, though Junho had known it wouldn't be. But he hadn’t expected to feel so full. When his body pulled the last bit in and his asshole closed around the base, gripping it, Junho exhaled relief into his crossed arms. It didn't hurt, exactly, but it was intensely uncomfortable.

And at least he knew that was the most it would be. For now.

By then, he had been painfully hard for a long time, the head of his cock sensitive from pressing into the cage. He knew he didn’t actually like it, hadn’t asked for it, and didn’t want the erection. It was only his body betraying him again, and he tried not to think about how it might betray him in the future.

Chapter Text

Junho didn’t lift his head from the counter even after the glass training plug was fully inside him. He was shaking from the effort of holding still, from mentally holding the line while his body insisted that it felt good to be fingered and slowly stretched open. It was wrong for him to feel that way, but it was another thing he couldn’t change.

The area in the small triangle of his arms smelled like the faintly floral-scented soap he used here and the clean smell of his so-called unscented deodorant. The water in the sink was running, and if he tried hard enough, he could imagine that he was at the park by the fountain. The day was clear and the sun warmed his skin, the air was fresh. He mentally painted a child flying a kite into the scene.

The water stopped and a slightly damp hand stroked down Junho’s back. The daydream popped like a soap bubble.

“You did well,” his trainer said, and Junho could hear the faint approval in his voice. “That was a difficult thing, but you were a very good boy.”

Junho didn’t want to feel comforted by the hand of the man who had done this to him, or to have him feel the way Junho was still shaking. He wanted to go back to the park by the fountain.

What he wanted didn't matter.

The trainer stroked his hand down Junho’s back slowly, over and over until Junho's breath stopped shuddering in and out. “Pretty Eyes, you did very well. That's all for this morning. You can relax.” Then, “Stay.”

“Yes trainer,” Junho said into his crossed arms. He could stay. He wasn’t sure he could relax, but he didn’t think it was the sort of order that the man could enforce.

What could he do? Beat Junho until he relaxed? He could have laughed. Or cried. Or laughed and cried at the same time like a madman.

He heard the far door click closed and knew he was alone in the room. His hands were free. He thought again about how he could just unclip himself from the counter.

And then what? Try to run down the long hallway to the heavy door with half an erection and a plug up his ass? Say he made it. The door ended in a hand pad.

He knew that when he escaped, it wouldn’t be from this room. Even the detective concurred. It had to be a moment when there was a real chance.

Junho went back to the park until the sound of the door closing dragged him back to reality. The trainer’s feet slapped lightly on the tiles as he came back to Junho. “I’m going to touch you.”

Even with the warning, Junho flinched when the man’s hand started at his hip and moved inward. He again inspected Junho intimately, checking the fit of the chastity device. Junho’s dick grew heavy.

Pressure in the front and pressure in the back. He didn't want to think about it, but he couldn’t go back to the park. Grown men didn’t get molested around children flying kites, at least not in Junho’s imagination.

“You’re doing so well, Pretty Eyes,” the trainer said, and Junho could hear the approval in his low voice. He smoothed something over the curve of Junho’s ass, cold as ice. Too cold for a hand. Junho shivered, but the cold felt good on his bruises.

“I’m proud of you,” the trainer said as he ran the icepack slowly over the curve of Junho’s ass, down his upper thighs.

When the icepack finally pulled away, the ever-present pain of the bruises had numbed down to a dull ache. He didn’t realize how much he’d gotten used to that particular pain until it was muted.

The true relief was that it pulled the energy out of his erection. He took in a deep breath, let it out slowly.

A plastic box was on the counter. Lunch was the most delicious stew of fish and vegetables that Junho had ever eaten. Three meals before the day was half gone.

The message was clear. Behave, and you eat well. Don't, and you drink chalky protein through a straw while strapped to the torture chair.

Much like his dick prison, the butt plug wouldn't let him forget it was there. It shifted every time he moved, always a pressure, sometimes even a pleasant one. He'd expected it to hurt, but it was more simply uncomfortable.

It was thinking about what it meant that hurt. Thinking about the VIP climbing onto him from behind. Being the sort of man who did, in fact, go to his own involuntary ass-fucking.

Anger gripped the bottom of Junho’s heart, tightening his chest and blooming out into his arms, demanding violent action. But anger was too dangerous here. When he willed it away, all that was left was the lump of dread in his stomach. That lump had moved in so full-time that it could have painted the walls and hung pictures.

Junho’s trainer changed him into the plastic restraints after lunch, fastened him near the exercise equipment with long chains through the back of Junho's harnesses, then unfastened his wrists and ankles.

The freedom of movement made his heart race. His heart racing made his cock press against the chastity device, and that pressure made the pressure and discomfort in his ass profoundly pleasant. He clenched and released a few times, testing, and the tightness in front started to grow unpleasant.

He almost jumped out of his skin when the trainer cleared his throat. The beautiful man was eyeing Junho’s body frankly, and he was suddenly aware just how much was visible through the clear plastic. His face got hot with blood.

The man’s voice was all business. “Do I need to explain how to use the workout equipment?”

“No, trainer.”

Junho had always enjoyed working out, not just the meditative quality of the exercise itself, but putting the effort into his body and seeing that work reflected in the mirror. He was aware how vain it was to be attracted to his own body, but he’d be lying if he pretended he wasn’t.

His shape had slipped during his period of inactivity. His muscles lacked their usual definition, and as he started to work the machines, he winded easily. His usual reps were beyond his abilities.

Junho felt just a little better about getting his ass kicked so thoroughly. If he hadn’t been strapped to a chair, starved, and dehydrated, maybe he would have put up a better fight.

He still didn't think he would have won. He had been fighting a trained opponent outside his weight class. He would have needed to get lucky, and luck was as absent from this pit as any god.

It surprised Junho when the trainer took off his slacks, folded them over the torture chair, and worked out with him. Not as a personal trainer but more like a gym buddy, each of them focused on their own sets as they swapped out on the equipment.

There were no free weights, bar bells, or anything he could have used as a weapon. But pulling at the machines and feeling the resistance, working simple bodyweight exercises, feeling the way his body warmed to the work, focusing on keeping count and pushing himself for just one more rep, it all made his situation fade into the background.

He was almost able to forget.

By the time the trainer made him stop, Junho was beyond sweaty and breathless. He craved the meditative quality of that state so badly that he was on the brink of seriously overdoing it.

“Into the shower again,” the trainer said, and they showed together. It went faster with Junho already in the plastic cuffs and just needing a quick rinse. After the trainer dried them both off, he swapped Junho back to the leather cuffs.

Why did the man swap him back and forth so often? If he wasn’t leaving the room, why swap him out of the plastic at all? He wanted to ask, but he didn't care to be slapped or lose his quality meals. Building his strength back was part of his escape plan.

The trainer fastened Junho to the counter by the toilet. “Open the first drawer under the counter.”

He tensed, expecting to see some new set of torture devices arranged inside. Instead, he recognized the drawer with the eye makeup remover and compact black cases. The trainer indicated which ones to take out and put on the counter.

The trainer explained in a voice as low and mellow as aged whiskey. “Unless he specifically says otherwise, he wants your eyes done.”

“Yes, trainer,” Junho said. He was about to say that he’d never worn makeup, but his mind fed him the vivid image of how his eyes had the look of his eyes in the window in the formal den the night his life was shattered.

The man patiently instructed Junho through applying concealer and foundation, and he was surprised that he had to cover his entire face just to hide one greenish-bruised cheekbone. Then the trainer walked him through the five hundred steps involved in putting on the eye makeup.

He had thought the makeup would feminize him, but it didn't. It evened the color and planes of his face, erased the dark circles from under his eyes, and drew attention to the eyes themselves. He’d never expected that his lashes could look so thick, that his eyes could give the illusion of leaping from his face, somehow more velvety than before.

Junho didn’t say it, he barely allowed the thought to pass through his mind, but he thought he looked pretty fucking sexy.

Sexy enough to get fucked, the detective commented sourly, and Junho felt the lump of dread in his stomach tighten into a knot.

His trainer made him wash it all off and reapply just the eye makeup. “He prefers to see your discipline,” he said as casually as if he were talking about a sports preference. “You’ll wear a full face only you’re serving with other people around.”

Junho realized that he didn’t mean other prisoners. He meant normal people. The thought that a normal person might watch a bound man giving another man a blowjob was disgusting. Then his mind slid to other possibile activities, and he examined them with the horrified, macabre fascination of a particularly grisly crime scene.

The trainer smacked the back of his head. “Pay attention.”

Junho redid his eyes, and he only needed direction through the more difficult steps.

The trainer's warm, slightly rough hand rested on Junho’s shoulder and gave it a squeeze, voice warm with approval. “Good work, Pretty Eyes. Clean the counter up quickly. He wants to see you.”

The bottom dropped out of Junho’s stomach so fast that it was like the knot had collapsed into a black hole. His heart began pounding, forcing the cold sweat out onto his skin, and his breath came short and fast. The sour taste of fear filled his mouth with saliva and he swallowed it hard.

The last time the VIP had seen him, Junho's sense of self had died. The last time he’d seen the VIP, it had been in the rape videos.

Junho put all the supplies back in their proper places with numb fingers. His reasons for not trying to escape again felt hollow, now, even though he knew there hadn’t yet been a real opportunity for it.

The trainer hobbled his feet and clipped his wrists together in front of him. He retrieved the gold-plated leading chain and fastened it to Junho’s wrists instead of his collar, then unclipped him from the counter.

“Come,” the trainer said firmly.

Junho acknowledged and went, because the thought of what the VIP might do to him if he refused was more horrible than the thought of giving him another blowjob, or whatever else the disgusting human excrement masquerading as a man might demand from him.

Chapter Text

Every time Junho thought he knew what to expect, he was wrong. Even though he knew the deliberate uncertainty was part of the torture technique, designed to keep him off balance, it still surprised him when it happened.

Instead of stepping toward the gold-knobbed door to the hallway, his trainer moved toward the torture-chamber side of the room. Junho almost balked. The trainer’s blue-lined eyes suddenly felt significant.

The video of what had the VIP had done to the dark-skinned man on that table slammed into his brain. He’d been trying! Hadn’t his trainer just said he’d been doing well!? He didn’t deserve the table! Or anything else that might happen on that table!

Unless seeing whether he'd go to the table was a test to see whether he deserved the table, the detective whispered more forcefully than usual. Move.

Junho followed his trainer before the chain at his wrists drew taut.

The man led him past the table to a different piece of equipment in the nightmare playground. It was a huge A-frame, secured upright by a pipe running from the top of the A up to the ceiling. The crossbar was high enough that Junho could have only just reached it with his fingertips if he stood on his toes. The sides were a little wider than he would be able to comfortably stretch his legs.

“Stand in the middle,” his trainer said, all business. “Legs wide, arms up.”

“Yes, trainer.” It was too late to make a different decision.

The trainer threw Junho's lead over the crossbar. Metal rattled on metal, and his wrists rose higher as the chain pulled them up. By the time the trainer clipped the lead to itself, Junho’s arms stretched fully over his head and a little more than that. If he stood on his toes, it took the pressure off his shoulders. If he rested on his heels, his shoulders were uncomfortably tight.

The trainer replaced his hobble with a length of rigid metal that clipped to his ankle cuffs and kept him from closing his legs.

Helpless again. Junho's balls crawled into his throat. Sparks flickered in the edge of his vision.

“Breathe,” the trainer suggested serenely, his blue-edged eyes calm, deep pools in his expressionless face.

Junho sucked in a breath so deep that it stretched the backs of his shoulders, then he made himself breathe slowly and evenly. Hyperventilating wouldn't help either.

The trainer left Junho hanging there like a side of beef. He wanted to call after him to beg him to come back. Not even to ask to be let down, just to please come back.

This is the man who beats you, the detective reminded him.

The isolation-drunk part of him shouted back that when the trainer was around, he wouldn't be left neglected to die. His trainer at least took care of him.

As long as you don’t forget that this man doesn’t actually care about you, the detective responded wearily. He's your jailer.

Junho knew that his reactions had been deliberately engineered in the same way that he knew that the circumference of the earth was about forty thousand kilometers. Interesting trivia, but it had very little impact on his needs. He craved the trainer’s company because he was the only stable thing in his unpredictable world, the only person who made sure that his needs were met. He hated his trainer and needed him and wanted his company all at the same time.

When the door to the hallway opened, it wasn’t the trainer who stepped through.

The VIP had a cigar in one hand, a glass of whiskey in the other. He wore an actual velvet smoking jacket over lounge pants. He was as surreal and terrifying as any monster, and at first, Junho couldn’t take his eyes off him.

Read the room, his detective whispered warily.

Behind the VIP came a pale woman holding a golden tray with a crystal whiskey decanter and a crystal ashtray. Hair the color of a fox’s coat tumbled to her shoulders, and her creamy skin was frosted with freckles. She wore a knee-length, silky black skirt that clung to her legs when she moved, golden hoops through the nipples of her high breasts, and a black collar like Junho’s with golden English script on the throat.

Junho’s trainer came in last. He knelt just inside the door. He didn’t look over.

The VIP walked toward Junho with the intensity of a stalking cat, giving nothing else in the room a look. Blood raced in Junho’s ears. He wasn’t a side of beef, he was an animal in a trap and the hunter was here. He didn’t want to look at the VIP but didn’t want to look away.

The VIP stopped a short distance away and puffed on his cigar while he eyefucked Junho. The air filled with the fragrant smoke from Junho’s nightmares.

The woman with the tray studied Junho with curious eyes the color of burnt caramel, then looked away. Her collar read ‘Peaches & Cream.’

When the VIP spoke, his voice was thick with avarice. “I almost forgot how exquisite he is, Trainer. Those eyes, the shape of his face.”

“Yes, sir.” Junho's trainer said from where he knelt by the door, as if there had been a question.

“Is he ready?”

Junho thought he might throw up. Or pass out. Breathe, he needed to breathe.

“Not yet, sir.” The trainer said in his low, respectful voice. “A few days.”

The VIP's grunt was impatience and irritation. “I want him.”

“Of course, sir,” Junho's trainer said, politely offering a man up to be raped. “Should I ask the doctor to stand by, in case you injure him?”

Junho wasn’t ready. He would never be ready mentally, but even the small plug sat uncomfortably inside him. It had taken so long to put in. Junho held his breath, felt the cold sweat trickle down his back and from under his arms.

The VIP drained off his whiskey and Peaches took the empty glass. She refilled it, but when the VIP didn't take it back, she set it on the tray. Junho could see the terrifying man working calculations in his mind, his eyes no longer on Junho but looking through him to something else.

After a wait long enough for Junho to regret every decision that had led him to this place, the VIP finally said, “No.”

Something wouldn't let Junho relax. The VIP’s look of disappointed avarice was shifting to malicious mischief.

Peaches took the VIP's cigar when he held it out, placing it with precision in the crystal ashtray. There was no visible signal, but she stayed in front of Junho when the VIP began to prowl around Junho. She glanced up long enough to meet his eyes, and he was fairly sure that her eyes held pity and sympathy before she dropped them to the tray.

Junho’s skin tightened and the sour taste in his mouth filled it with saliva. His head was trapped in place in front of his fully extended arms and he couldn’t turn it to follow the VIP. The dizziness and sparks at the edges of his vision told him he’d forgotten to breathe again, but when he did breathe, he could only manage short breaths, sharp as glass.

He flinched when a soft hand stroked over the curve of his ass. The VIP chuckled behind him. “Only a few setbacks. But those were. A true pleasure to watch.”

Velvet pressed against Junho’s back. The man took a long breath in through Junho’s hair, then he felt him bend. The tip of the his tongue trace down Junho's spine. He suppressed a shudder, but he was suddenly aware of how his chastity device cupped him.

No. Please not now.

There were no gods in this place to listen to prayers, much less intervene. And his body ignored him like it always did.

The VIP’s soft fingertips caressed down the underside of Junho’s arm from elbow to armpit, the horribly electric sensation raised bumps all over his body. They slid along his ribs into Junho’s line of sight, and his eyes followed the hand like the eyes of a rabbit might follow the motion of a snake. He gasped when the VIP caressed his thumb in a circle around his nipple.

He’d always been sensitive there. There was an answering throb from his groin. The tightening sensation, the awareness of his cock, the heavy feeling of his balls. As his head hung down loose from his neck, he could see himself pressing into the plastic cage.

He closed his eyes, feeling sick, aroused, and sick at being aroused. He didn’t want to watch this. If it had to happen to him, he really didn’t want to watch.

“Still so responsive,” the VIP purred against the back of Junho’s ear, and he could feel his lips move, smell the cigar and bourbon on his breath.

The man's soft hand fondled Junho's pecs and toyed with his nipples, caressed down over his abs. He was starting to get painfully hard, the tension having nowhere to go, but he’d rather be in agony than free from the prison. It was at least some barrier between his body and the VIP.

“Does he respond to pain?” The man’s lips caressed and warmed the curve of Junho’s shoulder as he spoke.

“Not high amounts, sir. He responds very easily to anything else.” The trainer could have been discussing the weather instead of betraying the secrets of Junho’s body.

Junho flinched again when the VIP circled a fingertip around his belly button and tracked down. The chastity cage pressed hard into his groin and he heard the pained noise he made before he knew he’d made it. His eyes startled open, and he saw that the VIP’s hand was over it, the warmth from his hand oozing through the open spaces.

The man's tongue licked the sensitive place behind Junho's ear. His voice was low and full of gravel. “Who does this belong to?”

Junho's breath shuddered on its way in. “You, sir.”

“That's right.”

His hand slid up the device, and Junho felt as much as heard the little carabiner click.

He’d wanted the device off since his trainer put him on it, but not like this. The sensation of the cage being pulled off his cock was delicious. It rubbed all the way down like pulling out of a woman, and it caressed across the head of Junho’s cock as it all but shot up the moment the device was off. Junho shuddered.

He willed himself to believe it was a shudder of dread rather than pleasure.

The plastic clattered onto the floor, and Junho was free of everything but the ring caressing from around the underside of his balls. Without the plastic holding him down, he was visibly throbbing.

Junho watched one of the VIP’s hand settle low on his stomach, fingers splayed to hold him in place. Velvet rubbed against his back. He knew should close his eyes again, but not watching wouldn’t make it stop happening, and he couldn’t stand to have it happen without him knowing.

White sparks danced to grey in the edges of his vision. Breathe, Junho heard, and he wasn’t sure whether it was his detective or his trainer. His breath shuddered unevenly in and out.

The VIP’s other hand started at the small of Junho's back and tracked down over the muscular curve of his ass, fingers brushing down the crack, meeting no resistance with the bar spreading Junho's legs.

The VIP pressed the base of the butt plug inward.

Junho's breath left him all at once in a strangled sound and his weight sagged onto his shoulders. It felt good. Fuck, it felt so good.

His eyes had closed without him noticing, but he knew what he would see if he opened them. He knew how it felt to be this hard. He didn’t want to look anymore.

Junho’s hips shifted with the VIP’s slow presses and releases of the plug. He didn't know whether he was rhythmically pressing back against the VIP or whether the building and receding pressure as the VIP working the plug in and out was rocking him against the man's hand.

He didn’t want to know.

He could feel the VIP's cock pressing against his hip through the lounge pants and velvet jacket, could feel how iron-hard his molester was even through the layers of fabric as he rocked against Junho. His hand slid down, and his soft fingertips trailed along the silky skin on top of Junho’s cock, teasing, circling the head.

Junho gasped and arched. He throbbed so hard he thought he might cum simply from the strain.

The VIP’s tongue traced the shell of Junho's ear. Every word was heavy with sweet smoke and bourbon. “You want me. To get you off. Don't you.”

“No, sir,” Junho whispered. He didn’t know if he was lying.

The VIP's voice was a low, pleased rumble, like a well-fed cat. “Your body says you do.” His hand lifted away. “But not yet. If I let you cum. It'll be with me inside you. And not until then.”

The weight and crush of the velvet pulled away and Junho sagged backward in his restraints. He barely noticed his shoulders protest. He panted and ached for something he didn't want to think about.

The VIP trailed his hand around Junho's waist as he walked back around front, and Junho's skin sung in its wake despite his flinch at the touch. He made himself open his eyes again.

The man plucked the bourbon glass off the tray, drained it in one swallow, and set it back with a thunk. “Suck me off.”

For a confused moment, Junho thought he was the one being addressed and tried to make sense out of how he could comply.

Peaches dropped to her knees and set the tray aside. She untied the front of the VIP's smoking jacket and undid his lounge pants. He was as hard as Junho.

A damp hand gripped Junho's jaw and forced his face up. “You. Look at me. Not her.”

“Yes, sir,” Junho said unsteadily.

As the wet noises started, the VIP caressed Junho's face and neck, his shoulders and pecs, his waist, his cock. He fondled Junho’s now-smooth balls, high and tight and aching, his body demanding attention he couldn’t give it. He stared into the VIP's eyes, knowing the man could see what he wanted and that he hated himself for wanting it.

The VIP's heavy breaths grew ragged as he swayed. “Fuck!”

Junho watched the VIP's eyes lid heavily, watched the orgasm pass over his face.

After he was done, the VIP slid his hand over Junho's abs one last time. Peaches did his pants back up, and he turned away. On his way out, he said, “Trainer. You were right. I'm keeping him.”

The words seemed laden with a deeper meaning that Junho couldn’t process. The trainer’s face remained impassive, eyes down, his low voice deferential. “Yes, sir.”

The door closed, but the man’s cigar smoke lingered in the room, choking Junho as he tried to remember to breathe.

Chapter Text

Junho’s trainer took his weight and helped him stand before he unclipped Junho’s ankles, and only then let his wrists down. He flinched when the large man touched him, stroked a soothing hand down Junho’s back as he shook and breathed in short, sharp pants.

“You did well, Pretty Eyes,” the man reassured him over and over in a voice as warm as flannel. “You were very good. You're fine.”

Junho wasn’t fine. If he hadn’t known better, he would have thought he had a fever. Hot and cold surged through his body, and he couldn’t stop shaking. The heady smell of cigar smoke made him dizzy, brought to mind those soft hands on his body, and he had…

The trainer helped Junho down to the floor and tucked his blanket around his shaking shoulders. It smelled comfortingly of his own body. He wanted to curl up on the hard floor and sleep, but when he closed his eyes and leaned against the angular leg of the A-frame, the only thing he could think about was how hard his heart was pounding. Images tried to intrude onto the canvas of his eyelids, and he opened his eyes to shove them back out.

He didn't notice that his trainer had left until he came back with a plastic box and an ice pack.

He wrapped the ice pack in a washcloth and put it directly on Junho’s dick. It was painfully cold, and he welcomed it. He didn’t feel even marginally safe until his arousal flared down and the chastity cage was back in place. Until he wouldn’t — couldn’t — get off on what had been done to him.

When Junho was secure, his trainer snapped the lid off the plastic box and set it down in front of him. Something smelled very good.

But Junho’s eyes were stuck on the tablet that trainer had set up on the other side of the box. The still image showed Junho from the side as he stretched up toward the frame’s crossbar. There was a play button in the middle.

Junho didn't want to watch the video. He didn’t have an appetite anyway. He closed his eyes.

“Look at the screen,” his trainer said firmly.

“Yes, trainer,” Junho whispered and opened his eyes. Of course he didn’t have a choice. There were no choices, here. He couldn't even control his own body.

When the trainer’s brows furrowed in confusion, Junho said again, but in English, “Yes, trainer.”

“Eat.”

"Yes, trainer." Junho picked up the food with his fingers. A manicured brown finger touched the screen.

On the screen, the VIP enter the frame. Junho watched the way his own shoulders had tightened as the VIP prowled around him. Saw the VIP press up against him from behind.

The food fell back in the container from Junho's numb fingertips.

The trainer touched the screen, and it paused on a still of the VIP smelling Junho's hair while Junho tried to pull away from him.

He flinched when his trainer rested his hand on his shoulder, despite that he spoke in a calm and steady voice. “Do you need me to feed you?”

“I'm okay,” Junho said in Korean, flinched, then said in English, “No, trainer. I can” — where were the words? — “feed myself.”

Blue-edged eyes intently studied Junho's face. The man left his hand on Junho's shoulder, warm and secure.

Junho picked up the food, put the food in his mouth. The trainer touched the tablet and the video played on. Junho had the vivid memory of the smell of the VIP's bourbon and nearly choked. He made himself chew and swallow, because he had to.

No choices, here, the detective whispered. It wasn't your fault.

Junho was unconvinced.

He watched the VIP caress him, molest him. Watched himself respond to the VIP’s hands, watched himself press back against the man, watched his hips rock back into him.

The expression on his face was distress or pleasure. Maybe both. Probably both.

When the trainer spoke, Junho fumbled the food again, even though the man’s voice was soft and low. “You did a very good job right here, Pretty Eyes.”

Junho watched the VIP's lips move on the screen, the words said too quietly to pick up on the microphone. He watched his own lips move. He didn't need to hear the words to know what they'd been. The VIP’s grin went feral and predatory. His teeth were very even and very white.

‘Cheshire cat’ floated through Junho’s mind like a lost party balloon.

The trainer's hand stroked down Junho's arm, shoulder to elbow, solid and soothing. “That was very well done,” he said as the video played on. “He enjoyed that.”

Junho wasn’t finished with the food by the time the VIP left the frame of the recording. His trainer reached forward and started it over from the beginning.

Junho tried to eat quickly so that he didn’t have to watch how he responded to the VIP touching him. He wolfed down the food until it was gone, the trainer's hand steady on his shoulder, and his stomach churned food and acid and guilt and dread together.

After Junho set the plastic box down, the trainer paused the video.

“Tell me that you did well, Pretty Eyes.”

Junho's stomach twisted. His mouth tasted sour. He made himself say, “I did well, trainer.”

“Tell me his favorite part.”

Junho's mind tripped and fell down a flight of stairs.

A strong, broad hand squeezed Junho’s shoulder. “Tell me his favorite part.”

“His favorite part was. When I told him. That I didn't want him to get me off, trainer.” Junho heard the slow, stumbling English words said in his voice, but they didn’t feel like they came out of his mouth.

“Why was that his favorite part?”

Junho looked from the tablet to the food box. Back. He didn’t find the answer there, or anywhere on the floor. “I don’t know.”

The man’s broad hand rubbed down Junho's arm. For a moment, he remembered the VIP’s soft caress along the underside of his arm, and his skin prickled with cold sweat as nausea tried to overwhelm him.

But this was his trainer, and he was touching the outside of Junho’s arm, not the inside. There was nothing sexual about it. It was just a touch, strong and steadying. Junho closed his eyes and felt how his butt was on the floor, his back was against the crossbar, his arm steady in the trainer’s hand.

“He wanted you to want him. To want to be touched by him.”

“Yes, trainer,” Junho whispered.

“Look at me.” When Junho opened his eyes, and his trainer’s blue-edged eyes were deep and serene pools. “It’s okay that you wanted him to.”

That was when Junho started weeping. His trainer let him, his hand on Junho’s arm as steady as an anchor.

When he was done, the trainer helped him to the counter, helped wash his eyes and face, helped him clean his teeth. No boxed dental floss, Junho thought in passing, and Detective Hwang shepherded him past that thought. He was getting out of here a different way. He had to crack the case and find Inho.

He learned that the butt plug was only for day wear and should come out at night. But he shook so badly when he tried to take it out that his trainer helped him with that, too.

The trainer clipped his wrists in back and fastened him to the wall on his futon, and Junho suddenly, desperately wanted to ask a question. But he felt like his bones were made of glass. If the man slapped him, he'd shatter into thousands of sharp, bright-edged pieces, and no one would be able to put him back together.

“What is it, Pretty Eyes?” When Junho glanced up, the man’s attentive eyes were on his face.

He looked away, deeply ashamed of what the other man knew about him. He had to find the words in English to say that every time he closed his eyes, he started to choke on the things he saw. That the trainer was the only thing keeping him moored down.

“Could… would it be possible, to ask for something?”

“You've been a very good boy today,” the trainer said, slow, low, and steady. “You may ask. But I might not give it to you.”

Junho wet his lips, looking at the glossy terracotta floor tiles. Adapt, the tired detective whispered to him from the back of his mind. We have to adapt if we want any chance to get out of this nightmare.

He needed to sleep. It didn’t matter what it cost him or what it said about him. “Please trainer, would you not leave me alone in the dark?”

There was a long silence. Junho couldn’t make himself look up.

“Face the wall,” his trainer said, and Junho did. The trainer moved his wrists to the front and fastened them to the wall before he spread Junho's blanket over him.

A few moments later, the light clicked off, plunging the room into darkness. Facing the wall, Junho pulled his knees up as high as they would go, not caring that his chastity cage pressed into his pelvis so hard that it hurt. He shivered, listening to the rapid thud of his heart, a drum heralding the arrival of the nightmares. He tried to breathe through the choking panic, the thick-sweet smell of cigar smoke.

Junho had been a detective once. Everyone in the department had to take a mandatory training course in recognizing stress and trauma in yourself and your unit. The step after recognizing the stress or trauma was to talk to the department psychologist.

Back then, he’d been skeptical that talking to a stranger would help him overcome anything. It had sounded pretty weak, and Junho wasn't weak or cowardly. And yet here he was, shaking under the covers and unable to close his eyes because he was afraid to have nightmares.

Not weak or cowardly, the tatters of the detective whispered to him. Traumatized.

“I'm going to touch you now,” the familiar voice warned, low and steady. He felt floor mattress and blanket shift. A strong hand touched Junho's shoulder, then slid down and squeezed Junho's bicep.

He could feel the warmth of his trainer along his back. He didn't press in, like the VIP had. He was just nearby. Solid. Reassuring.

Junho slept.

Chapter Text

After the next morning’s hygiene routine, the trainer fastened Junho's wrists high on the wall in the shower instead of changing him into the leather restraints. He looked at Junho, his eyes seeming even more serious for being naked of liner, and said, “What’s going to happen this morning isn't a punishment.”

The words made Junho’s heart and mind race. He couldn't think of a single thing he'd done wrong. He'd even put in his own butt plug. He hadn’t touched himself on purpose or put his fingers anywhere near the carabiner that held his cage in a single piece. He hadn't even failed to acknowledge an order.

“Pretty Eyes,” the man said, calm and steady. “Tell me that you're not being punished.”

Junho took in a deep breath, but his voice was as uneasy as the other man’s was steady. “I'm not being punished, trainer.”

Junho’s trainer stroked his hand down the side of Junho's ribs like a man calming a skittish dog. His eyes conveyed steadiness, solidity. “He's decided to keep you, not just use and discard you. It’s a good thing.”

Junho shivered. He wondered what would have happened if the VIP had decided to ‘use and discard’ him, and when his imagination started fill in blanks, his mind skipped away from the images. He couldn’t handle them this morning.

The trainer’s broad hand continued to stroke down Junho's ribs, keeping him secure in his time and place. “He’s a collector. Cars. Boats. Safari trophies. People.”

People in the list of items and things. Like a dystopian movie.

But the trainer was speaking on, and Junho needed to pay attention to what he was being told “—adds something to his collection, he takes care of it. That doesn't mean he'll be kind to you. But it means he finds you valuable. Like an investment, or a work of art. He won't injure you seriously if he can help it.”

How many times hadn't he been able to help it?

The trainer’s strong hand squeezed Junho’s shoulder. “Tell me this is a good thing, Pretty Eyes.”

“It's a good thing, trainer,” Junho echoed.

Saying it made him realize that it was true. He hadn't given up on escape. If he saw a good opportunity, he'd take it. But it had to be a good opportunity. Not a thing he would find in this basement torture room.

He seriously doubted he’d have found a chance to escape if the VIP had instead chosen to ‘use and discard’ him.

Junho startled and tensed when the door started to open. But it wasn’t the VIP.

An unfamiliar woman came into the room with a dark leather case in her hands. She was round and had lightly browned skin. Her glossy, straight hair was the color of spilled ink, as black as the silky skirt that clung to her legs. Like the trainer, she had no collar, but unlike him, she was covered in some sort of sparkling gold cosmetic.

As she came closer, Junho saw that it wasn't a cosmetic that made her skin glitter. The woman’s body was pierced with hundreds, possibly thousands, of glittering gold balls and rings. And all of the skin on Junho’s body tightened as he realized why his trainer wanted him to know this wasn't a punishment.

When the woman spoke, her voice was as high and clear as struck crystal, and it resonated with a girlish excitement that was profoundly out of place in his torture room. “Trainer!”

Junho might not be well-versed in accents, but this one was as American as an actress on television. That she sounded so normal with so many rings through her lips was almost as startling as her good cheer. And the way she said it, 'trainer' was his name as well as his title.

“Glimmer,” Trainer acknowledged professionally as she crossed the room with her case.

He was acutely aware she was a woman, nearby and mostly naked. It was intoxicating and overwhelming. The hoops through her dark nipples caught his eyes and held them, as well as the stripe of piercings up and down each full breast.

He couldn't think of the last time he'd seen a woman’s bare tits this close. Longer than since he’d gotten off. He could imagine licking and sucking on her nipples, stroking her open and sliding into her. His cock throbbed, heavy and full of pressure but not able to get hard, pressing the cage painfully.

The woman's eyes went from Junho's face, down his body, then back up to his face. Every word was vibrant and energetic. “So this is your new project! What stunning eyes! Such a nice body!”

Glimmer placed her case down on the counter and thumbed open the closures. One glance at the needles and rings, the pads and gauze, was enough to make Junho’s mind jump its tracks.

“It’s okay sweetheart!” Glimmer winked at Junho. “I’m very good at this. It’ll barely hurt.”

Junho closed his eyes. Trainer stroked a hand down his ribs and he remembered to breathe. He made himself open them. He didn’t want to shriek like a child when this woman touched him.

“Which first?” Glimmer asked, eyes flicking between Junho’s chest and crotch.

“That depends on whether you want him up or down. He’s very responsive, but not to pain.”

Even as Junho’s balls went up into his stomach to join the rest of his crawling insides, his face burned hot to have the practices of his dick be discussed so objectively in front of a stranger.

Glimmer tapped a fingernail as well-manicured as Trainer’s against her chin, studying Junho’s imprisoned cock. “I should measure him up, but down will be less painful for him.”

“Nipples first, then,” Trainer responded.

The release of pressure as Trainer unclipped the carabiner on his dick prison and pulled his rapidly stiffening dick out of it made Junho shudder. Glimmer’s gentle touches on the head of his cock to hold him still and study him were purely professional. That didn’t help anything, nor did the knowledge that she was looking him over to decide where to stick a needle through it.

But still, he was throbbing hard. If he didn't get off soon, he could imagine himself exploding into a cloud of semen, blood, and sexual frustration.

Glimmer stood and began taking things out of her case, setting them on the counter. When she noticed that Junho’s eyes were following her, she said cheerfully, “You probably don’t want to watch the next few parts, sweetheart.”

Junho’s eyes slammed shut harder than an angry teenager could slam a door. He caught a strong whiff of alcohol, and the cold she dabbed on his left nipple thrummed a plucked string down to his cock. But then she pinched, pulled, and stabbed a bolt of pain straight through it.

Junho had the vivid memory of stepping barefoot on a hornet in the grass. There was a heavier tug on his chest, and like the time he’d been stung, the immediate burst of pain flared down to an angry, muted throb.

“How's Lush?” Junho heard Trainer ask. His hand continued its slow, calming stroke of Junho's ribs and his body tensed and relaxed.

As if he known that, while Junho wasn't watching, he had been listening with his entire being for some indication of where exactly Glimmer was and what she was doing.

“Oh, you know Lush.” Glimmer giggled, and dabbed Junho's right nipple with cold. Pain lanced through it a moment later, and then the heavier tug. Glimmer’s bright voice was colored with a wistful note, “I just wish she wasn't one of his favorites. I miss her when he takes her off on these business trips.”

The tired detective drew Junho’s mind to the phrase ‘business trips,’ but before he could finish that thought, Glimmer dabbed his nipples again, that time with something that added a sting to the ache.

“But what about you? I heard that you,” Glimmer dropped her voice, like they weren't all standing in a tight knot in the shower, “spent last night in here.”

“Not like that,” Trainer said stiffly.

Glimmer laughed, musical as windchimes. “I know not like that, silly! I just can’t think of the last time you spent a night out of your room.”

There was a thick silence. Glimmer's beautiful voice eventually cut through, clear and sharp as crystal, “I thought you said he didn't like pain?”

“I also said he's very responsive.”

“Cold shower?” Glimmer suggested.

"Cold shower,” Trainer agreed.

As far as Junho had known, the shower only had one setting, which was ‘on.’ It turned out he was mistaken.

As the cold water sluiced over his aching, freshly gold-ringed nipples, he watched Glimmer and Trainer talk by the counter. They had the energy of old friends, though he couldn’t hear what they were saying over the running water and his chattering teeth. She was dynamic, gesticulating and talking and laughing. He was calm, serious, and frequently checked on Junho with his eyes.

He was painfully cold before Trainer turned the water off.

Glimmer bounced over, and Junho shut his eyes again. She dabbed Junho's junk. He smelled alcohol. “Just a quick pinch!”

It was more than a quick pinch, but not significantly worse than his nipples. Was it over? He cautiously squinted downward.

He definitely had a ring through his dick. Thinner and smaller than Trainer’s, but it was there.

“All done!” Glimmer wrapped it over with gauze and smiled over at Trainer. “You might want to put him back in his cage before he—” She lifted a finger into the air.

Trainer had Junho back in the dick prison before he could even think about getting an erection, the gauze making it fit even tighter than usual. When Trainer patted the towel gently over Junho's chest while drying him off, his nipples buzzed like disturbed and angry bees.

Glimmer snapped her case closed and fluttered a wave at Trainer. Junho thought that her fingertips might be the only unpierced part of her body. “Make sure he takes proper care of them, Trainer! No picking at the scabs! Bye!”

“Goodbye, Glimmer,” Trainer responded, his voice seeming even slower, lower, and more mellow by contrast.

When she was gone, Trainer said, “You’ve about turned blue. We’ll work out first, and have lessons after lunch.”

He unclipped Junho from the wall without changing him out of the plastic restraints and led him over to the machines.

Chapter Text

The next week or so settled into a routine. Junho prepared himself in the morning, then Trainer instructed him in whatever Trainer thought he needed to know. He learned how to shave his entire body while wearing a dick prison. Trainer taught Junho how and when he was expected to kneel, how far to follow behind if he was being led, how to walk gracefully in his hobble.

He practiced applying eye makeup, taking it off, and applying it again until he could do it rapidly and to Trainer's exacting specifications. He learned how to take care of his new piercings, which ashamed and aroused him in equal parts. Trainer handled his dick, apparently not trusting Junho with the task.

Disinfecting and shifting his piercings so that they didn’t heal in place was both painful and erotic. He been sensitive before, but touching the little gold rings was like setting his hand on a live wire that couldn’t decide whether its electricity carried pain or pleasure.

He practiced putting in his own butt plugs, and worked his way up to the largest in the series. He learned how to go from kneeling to presenting his ass, and different ways to make himself available. When Trainer corrected Junho's hang-ups about that particular line of knowledge, he learned that if he didn't fight the table, Trainer didn’t go as hard on him.

He mostly learned the difference between an order, which he was expected to affirm, a question, which required a polite answer, and a suggestion, which required no response. He earned the right to ask questions about his training, and discovered the boundary between permitted and forbidden questions. He could ask the Trainer where to put his hands when he knelt or why it was important to arch his back a certain way, but when he cautiously asked if Glimmer and Lush were a couple, he earned a slap.

Underneath it all, the detective held the tension. The VIP had to return eventually. Junho preferred not to think about it, to let the time be what it was.

“He wants to see you,” Trainer said over breakfast one morning.

The knot of dread that had slowly dissipated suddenly bloomed in Junho's stomach and grew like kudzu, the tendrils spreading rapidly through his body. He took a few slow, meditative breaths, and chose his words carefully. “Will it affect my day, trainer?”

Trainer put his steady hand on Junho’s arm. His gold-edged eyes were dark pools of calm water. “He wants to see you after his lunch. We’ll take extra care preparing you, you’ll do your eyes right after your shower, and then we’ll review positions and preferences until lunch.”

“Yes, trainer.”

Time, which had reluctantly settled into a daily rhythm, began to run too slowly and too quickly. His light lunch tasted like ashes, and he only ate it because the look Trainer gave him said ‘eat it or I put it in your mouth.’ Not eating was not an option.

After lunch, Trainer checked Junho over as thoroughly as a parent sending a child off to school, then fastened his hands together at his waist in front and clipped the lead to his collar. He focused very intently on the exact distance between his steps and where he should place his feet while following Trainer to the door, making the act of concentrating take up his entire mind.

At the door, Trainer turned back and rubbed his thumb along Junho’s jaw. “Behave,” he said. “Make me proud of you.”

“Yes, trainer.”

It shouldn’t have given Junho something to hold on to, but it did.

Trainer didn't lead Junho along the same path as the last time. They went up another landing and stepped out into a richly carpeted hallway. The walls displayed beautiful works of art accented by indirect lighting. Rain pounded huge panes of glass that looked out over a gently sloping roof, then a massive rain-swept expanse of landscaped yard that ended at a rocky beach crashing with storm-pressed surf. It looked like it belonged more on a movie set than real life.

Trainer led Junho along by his golden leash, and he followed, feeling like he was floating through a dream or watching a TV show.

The hallway wasn’t empty. The occasional servant in a clingy black uniform passed them, carrying trays of used dishes or freshly laundered sheets or cleaning supplies. None of them gave a second look to a half-dressed man leading a mostly naked man down the fine hall.

Trainer led Junho to a set of double doors made from an expensive-looking wood with golden knobs. He realized with a start that the doors were siblings to the door in his torture room. Trainer didn't do anything to announce their presence, but a very dark-skinned woman with striking blue eyes opened the door. She wore a silky blouse and knee-length skirt, soft black sandals, and she had no collar.

“Thank you, Trainer,” she said in a cultured accent, extending a hand out. “That will be all for now.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Trainer said, handing over Junho's lead. It was strange hearing that unfamiliar formula from his lips, hearing him address anyone other than the VIP with that level of deference.

Trainer turned and walked away, leaving Junho alone with the woman. It broke Junho's deliberate concentration on nothing, and he crashed back into his body like the waves crashed on the rocky beach. His eyes followed Trainer down the hallway with building alarm.

“Come,” the woman said, and turned to go through the open door.

He had the vivid mental image of himself running. No, if he ran with his hobble on, Trainer was still close enough to catch him, and he had no idea where an exit was from here. Unless he wanted to try to jump through the window. But as much as everything felt like the set of some terrible movie, real windows shattered into sharp shards of death, and he’d long since decided not to die.

You’ve come too far, the detective whispered. There will be a chance. It's just not here.

The woman led Junho into a massive and richly appointed room, and his eyes flickered to take it all in. The broad bank of windows across the room was lined with heavy red curtains. He saw rain-lashed pine trees through them.

To one side, a familiar gold-hued torture playground was set against a wall whose sanguine-hued insets held profoundly erotic paintings. The other side had a bar and lounge area. The man who stood behind the bar was as well-muscled as Trainer, though his skin had the olive-toned brown of the Mediterranean or the Middle East, and his short black hair was streaked with silver. He was shirtless and collarless, and the gold rings through his nipples had a muted glitter in the indirect lighting.

He eyed Junho warily, not hiding his readiness for violence in the way Trainer would have. The man could vault the bar and be on him in a moment. And happily beat him to death, judging by his expression.

Junho had avoided looking at the low bed in the middle of the room as long as he could. Its modern frame rested on a lush rug patterned in red and gold, and it was made up with black sheets. He recognized it from the video of the blond man’s rape. Which was exactly why he hadn’t wanted to look.

The air was cool and smelled dizzyingly of fresh tobacco smoke and old sex.

In the lounge area, a curvy white woman with golden-brown hair that spilled down to the top of her silky black skirt rested her bountiful breasts on the back of chair. The VIP's head was nestled between their soft pillows, and he was facing a screen that took up a good portion of the wall near the wet bar.

As the dark-skinned woman led Junho to the lounge area, he stutter-stepped and almost took himself out with his hobble when he saw that the video playing on the screen was of him sucking off the VIP in the formal den, his mouth around the VIP’s cock and a panicked look on his face.

Junho vividly remembered that moment. It was the moment he’d died. There was no bottom to his stomach, only dread and ice.

He had to look somewhere else. The only other place was at the VIP. He had one slippered foot up on the muscled back of the blond man, who was posed like a stool on the floor. Junho had seen him before in a different den wearing pants. This time, he was in a harness like Junho's.

The VIP’s other foot was down and spread wide. Peaches had her face in his lap, and his hand was twisted in her hair, pulling her head up and down. With an ashamed lurch, Junho felt feel his cock stir at the tableau, heavy in its cage but not yet pressing against it.

The woman leading Junho dropped into a kneel, and Junho followed her down. Not that looking at the floor as he was supposed to was comforting in any way.

He could still hear the wet noises that Peaches made, heard the man’s grunts intensify. Tried to ignore the heaviness in his own cock, which hadn’t been touched in so long and could surely be excused for its interest. The VIP’s grunts turned into a low moan, and Junho glanced up.

He had pushed Peaches’ head down in his lap. When he released her hair, she sat back onto her heels in a low kneel, mouth wet. She didn’t look toward Junho.

The VIP sighed, a sound equal parts pleasure and anticipation. He slid his foot off the blond man and thumped it down on the rug. “Lush and Peaches, out. Song, corner. Venus, unclip him.”

Around Junho, people slid into action like a well-oiled machine. The woman with the bountiful breasts and Peaches didn't look at Junho on their way past. The blond man, Song, uncurled from the floor and headed for the corner by the windows, and Junho saw he wasn’t the only person aroused by the situation. The blue-eyed black woman, Venus, took his hobble, freed his wrists, and unclipped the lead from Junho's collar. The only person who didn’t move was the well-built man behind the bar.

“Pretty Eyes,” the VIP said, looking over for the first time. He took his time raking his deep-set eyes down Junho from head to knees, then back up. He pointed to the floor between his knees. “Come here.”

“Yes, sir,” Junho said. He stood, even though it felt like the gravity of his body had increased by a factor of three, perhaps to account for the collapsing neutron star in the pit of his stomach. He made himself step around the lounge and kneel in front of the VIP, eyes on the floor. Little dribbles of wet dotted the rug between his knees.

Junho could feel the weight of the VIP’s eyes drinking him in. Keeping his chin down made the back of his neck tingle and bristle. His body hair probably would have stood on end if he’d had any left.

“Look at me,” the VIP said, and Junho acknowledged and looked up. The man's deep-set eyes burned with a terrible, predatory fire. “I love the training. But you look up at me. I want to see those beautiful eyes.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Trainer tells me that you're ready to be fucked.”

Junho tried for an even voice but didn’t think he made it. “Yes, sir.”

The expression on the VIP’s face was nothing Junho would have termed a smile, though it resembled one in some superficial ways, like the bared teeth and the upturned corners. He leaned forward and stroked his soft fingertips under Junho’s chin. “Do you want me to fuck you?”

He tried to clear the blockage out of his throat and went with honesty, not caring what it might cost him. “No, sir.”

The VIP’s chuckle was warm and pleased and threatening. He gripped Junho's chin. “Does it matter what you want?”

“No, sir.”

"Got that right."

The VIP pushed up from the chair, and Junho made himself take a slow, deep breath. He stepped in close. Even his pubic hair smelled like cigar smoke. He straddled Junho’s knees and Junho lifted up as he knew he was supposed to.

The VIP pressed his mostly soft dick to Junho’s mouth, still dripping, and Junho took it in and began sucking despite knowing what was going to happen when the VIP got hard again. Because what else could he do. He'd already made all the choices he had available to them, what few there had been.

You’ll get through it, someone said softly in Junho’s mind. He wasn’t sure whether it was the detective’s voice or Trainer’s. In any event, he didn't find it comforting.

Chapter Text

Junho worked the VIP over with his tongue and hands, fondled the man's balls like he liked. They were low and empty for now. Junho knew what was going to happen when he got the VIP hard, when the balls in his hands grew heavier and pulled up a little, but he also knew he couldn't avoid it.

Endure. Adapt. That was all he had. He hadn’t even been able to die to avoid this.

So he focused on his work instead. It certainly wasn't under five minutes, the man had just gotten off. But it was still too short a time before the VIP began to stiffen against Junho’s tongue, before he could taste the bitter flavor of his precum. His fingers twisted in Junho’s hair, and he began rocking into his mouth, grunting with each short thrust.

The VIP pulled Junho back off his cock and yanked him up by the hair without any warning.

Junho stumbled up to his feet. The VIP’s hands steadied him, but only in the physical sense. They gripped Junho’s hips, then one went low on his stomach, unclipping his chastity cage.

When it was pulled off, it jostled the golden ring through his dick that marked him as belonging to this man. He told himself that his shudder was dread, but he didn’t really convince himself.

“Look. At. Me.” The VIP’s voice was the low and dangerous rumble of an irritated lion.

Junho hadn’t realized he’d looked down to watch the cage fall. When he looked back up, the VIP’s eyes were waiting in ambush. They were the intensely possessive eyes that stared at Junho in his nightmares while hissing that he was dead.

The eyes said Hwang Jun-ho is dead, the VIP killed him, and there is only Pretty Eyes. Who belongs to me.

That’s a lie, the detective whispered from the back of his mind like a puff of sane smoke in an insane sky. You’re biding your time. You'll find the right moment.

One of the VIP’s hands fondled the curve of Junho’s ass. There was evil mischief in his eyes. Junho knew that the man wanted him to see it and tense, but he tensed anyway.

The pad of the VIP’s thumb came out of nowhere, circled around Junho’s nipple, toyed with the ring through it. It still ached with newness despite the week or more since Glimmer had put it in, and when the VIP played with it, an electric pleasure-ache stabbed through him and right down to his dick. He breathed in hard.

Trainer had advised him not to resist his body, said that the VIP would take from him until he got what he wanted anyway. Resisting would only draw it out. At best. It was okay that he made the noise, then.

The teeth in the VIP’s grin were too white, too even. His thumb flicked Junho's nipple ring, gripped it and pulled it gently. He couldn’t help but gasp again, the sound harsh in his own ears.

Junho also remembered Trainer saying that the nipple piercings took a long time to heal. But not to worry if the VIP tore one out. They'd have Glimmer put it back in.

The VIP watched Junho's face, sampling his reactions like he was at a high-end wine-tasting in the vintage of misery and fear. “Wanted you since I saw you. Those eyes through that mask. But Trainer was right. This is much better.”

Junho wanted to close his eyes, to not look at the VIP’s hungry expression. He wanted to not feel his cock pressing throbbing-hard against the VIP’s leg as the man toyed with his aching nipples. He wanted to be anywhere else.

The VIP’s thumb slid down between Junho’s pecs, down the line between his well-defined abs, stopped low on his stomach. “I wouldn't have expected all this under that shirt,” the VIP purred. “But look at you. My collar. My rings. Mine.”

His hand went down farther, fingers slipping around Junho’s cock but not gripping. He shuddered as the soft fingers slid underneath him, and then they went where he’d known they would.

The VIP toyed with the ring through the head of Junho’s cock, tugging gently as just the tip of one finger circled the edge.

That time, the electric pleasure-pain didn’t have to shoot down to his cock because it was already there. The stroking came from inside and out at the same time, too intense. The strangled noise that he made landed somewhere between a moan and a sob.

The VIP pulled Junho in tight, stabbed hot and hard into Junho’s stomach. The rest of his body was soft with fat and conformed to Junho’s. It seemed improbable that that one point could be so hard.

At least with his chin over the VIP’s shoulder, he didn’t have to look into those terrible eyes, read his own expressions reflected in them. He was so dizzy from forgetting to breathe that he wasn’t sure he could stand. Everything smelled dizzyingly of cigar smoke and bourbon, and the air was too thin. He couldn't catch his breath. He panted.

The VIP’s tongue trailed from the top of Junho's shoulder, along the side of his neck, under his ear. He chuckled and ground himself against Junho. “Listen to you. But. What you said. Was. You don't want me to fuck you.”

When the man’s fingers pressed the plug deeper into Junho's ass, it slid deliciously against his sweet spot, and his cock throbbed hard. That time he moaned, not even trying to pretend to himself anymore that he wasn’t going to.

The VIP held Junho tight to him when he pulled the plug out. The heavy glass thudded on the rug.

The VIP slapped Junho's ass and pulled away. “On the bed, Pretty Eyes. Present for me.”

He had to breathe in to respond, “Yes sir.”

Junho's legs felt strangely liquid as they walked him to the bed with its silky black covers. His cock throbbed, bobbed heavily between his legs, tugging his tight skin in that way that always felt so good. His aching balls were so heavy. His body badly wanted to fuck.

His mind wasn’t there with it. It was a horror movie, and he was the idiot who had run upstairs to get away from the killer. He didn’t have a way out. No, that wasn't right. He’d traded his ways out for a chance to escape later, only to find out that the price was too high.

Junho knelt on the silky covers, and the mattress underneath gave easily beneath his knees. He arched his back, presenting his ass to the man he despised more than anyone in the world.

He pressed his face into the covers as shame coursed though him. He was letting this happen. People were watching, doing nothing to stop it. Including the blond man, who had been in the same position once.

He had so little time to settle himself before the VIP’s warm, damp hand slid over the curve of his ass. He could feel it trembling with anticipation. Or it was Junho trembling.

Fingers pressed in and out of the space where the plug had been without resistance, and Junho moaned into his arms and tried to remember to breathe. Whatever flower scented the sheets was cloying, mixing with the smell of old smoke and choking him.

Breathe. Endure. Adapt. It was too late now. The mantra offered no comfort.

When the VIP’s hand gripped Junho’s hip and flipped him over, his dark little world of anticipatory misery and arousal and denial shattered into a thousand bright shards of surprise and confusion.

“On your back,” the VIP said, fingers slick from the lube inside Junho moving along his own cock, thumb rubbing the head and smearing his precum. “I want to watch you.”

Junho acknowledged and pulled his knees up, presenting from this direction, making himself open and accessible. Like he’d been made to practice until he didn’t hesitate. The VIP climbed on top of him. He felt the softness of his stomach against the backs of his thighs, the man's hands gripping by his knees to hold his legs apart and open, the heat and harness of the man’s cock against him.

He kept his eyes on the VIP's hungry face because he had to. Watched how the man savored the moment, how his deep-set, heavy lidded eyes flicked between Junho’s. It felt like the entire world held its breath, like the rain pelting the windows was crying for him.

The VIP thrust into Junho hard and filled him all at once.

He should have expected the bloom of pleasure from inside, the answering throb from his cock as it rubbed against his own stomach. The plugs had always felt good when they shifted inside him, the larger plugs more so. Even the largest had never been so hot, moved so fast, or filled him so completely.

He hadn’t wanted to think that having this monster do this to him could feel good. But when the VIP raked directly into him the second time, and it didn't just feel good, it felt amazing. Junho cried out, closed his eyes without meaning to.

The VIP hilted into him a third time, the slap of their bodies much softer than the pleasure-sob the VIP pulled out of him. The man’s fingers, which could be so soft, gripped Junho’s legs cruelly tight and their bodies stayed joined deeply. “Look at me.”

Junho forced his eyes open. The VIP’s grin was that of a large cat about to have a live meal. His eyes burned. “You like that. Don't you.”

“Yes, sir,” Junho whispered.

It was okay that he wasn’t lying, the trainer’s voice said quietly in his head. It’s his favorite part.

“I'll tell you what,” the VIP said, between heavy breaths, digging his fingernails into Junho like claws. “You can cum. As long as you do it. Before I do.”

When the monster rocked into Junho again, the pleasure was just as intense. He watched Junho’s face, eating his expressions, and Junho saw the predatory satisfaction in his eyes.

He told himself that it wasn’t really a choice. Giving in was what the VIP wanted, was what he should do, he told himself, so that the man wouldn’t take more. His body was already betraying him, his cock throbbing for attention, his balls heavy and aching. He might cum just from the slide of his head on his own stomach.

The detective was silent.

One of Junho’s hands untangled itself from the covers and gripped his cock. He didn’t let himself think about what he was doing as he began to stroke.

He abandoned his thoughts and drowned himself in the sensations. The pulsing pleasure-fullness of himself in his hand, the way that running his thumb over the ring shot thrills through him in a way that no longer had anything to do with pain, the intense spikes of deeper pleasure when the VIP raked across his sweet spot.

When Junho came, it was the most intense orgasm he'd ever had. The pleasure crashed through his entire body. Jerking off, cumming inside a woman, being sucked off, nothing had ever been so intense.

He was still gasping when the VIP slammed into him for the last time with a guttural noise of pleasure and triumph. Junho felt him pulse, and felt the heat deep inside. Hot as his own cum, not just on his stomach, but high on chest from how hard he’d shot.

He knew he had to open his eyes eventually, and when he did, the monster’s expression was feral and satisfied. His hands gripped Junho's legs crushingly tight for a moment, then he pulled out, leaving Junho aching and empty as his body fed him humming bliss and his mind fed him shame and horror.

The VIP reached up and brushed his thumb along Junho’s jaw in a sick parody of the Trainer’s when he’d told him to behave. And Junho realized that he’d actually cum so hard that he’d hit himself in the face, not just onto his chest. He hadn’t done that since he was a teenager.

“Mine,” the VIP said. Then he lightly slapped the side of Junho’s face. “Now get the fuck out.”

Aching and empty, confused and dripping, legs shaking with pleasure or shame, Junho got off the bed and staggered away. Behind him, the VIP laughed, the sound heavy with pleasure. Then his voice sharpened. “Where’s my damned cigar, Song?”

The blue-eyed black woman led Junho back out to the hallway, and Trainer was there to take him back to his room.

Chapter Text

“Let's get you cleaned up,” Trainer says, voice warm and gentle as a down blanket. They’re back in Junho’s room, though he’s not clear on how they got here. Drying cum itches on his chest and stomach. His jaw.

Trainer’s statement isn’t a command or question, so Junho doesn’t answer. He floats.

Inside him, under the surface, there’s a raging chaos of emotion more turbulent than the storm-tossed sea outside. But he floats over it, so it can’t touch him.

The words ‘trauma response' drift by in a man’s voice, he knows that voice, but without anything to attach to, the words float away. Party balloons in the storm. A kite let go and floating toward a clear sky.

Someone taps the skip forward button on the tablet. Junho loses his place in time.

Skip.

He’s alone in the shower with hot water sluicing down. His wrists are fastened together in the plastic cuffs, and he’s attached to the wall with a short lead. All of his other cuffs are off, even the base ring for his dick prison is gone. He wonders about that, but doesn’t bother following the thought and instead floats away.

Skip.

Soap stings his eyes, and he closes them with a ragged gasp that fills his mouth with water and the bitter taste of lye, even more bitter than the VIP's taste. Trainer's fingers massage the floral-scented soap through Junho's hair and he says, “We’ll need to have Glimmer cut your hair again sooner than I'd have thought.”

He’s been talking in the same low and steady voice for a while, and he’s going to keep on talking, but Junho stops paying attention. It’s easy to do. He has to focus to process English, so all he has to do is not focus. But he doesn’t want to float away from the sound of the words.

Trainer talks the entire time he washes Junho, more words than Junho has ever heard him say, a monastic chant rather than the rising and falling notes of speech. It isn’t what he says, it’s how he says it. Calm. Solid. Reassuring. That’s what keeps Junho moored down.

The hot water runs over them. Trainer’s strong fingers massage the knots out of the back of Junho's neck, out of his shoulders, down his back. When they get to Junho's legs, he has the vivid memory of the VIP's soft, chubby fingers turning hard, clawing into his thighs just below his knees, holding Junho in place as he thrusts inside him that first time.

Skip.

Trainer’s arms are around him, holding him while he shakes. He isn’t sure if he’s weeping or that’s the water sluicing down. He rests his forehead on Trainer’s shoulder, and the circle of the man’s arms hold him solid. He doesn’t want to be solid. He doesn’t want to be here. He wants to be a kite, a child’s brightly colored kite floating toward a blue sky that he hasn’t seen in too long.

Skip.

The water is off. Junho and Trainer are both wrinkle-skinned. His dark eyes are directly in front of Junho’s and he says, “Stay with me, Pretty Eyes. I'll be back with the towels.”

“Please don't call me that,” Junho says in English, then flinches. He knows it’s a mistake the moment the words come out of his mouth. He’s a kite, paper and sticks held together by string, and the coming slap is going to knock him apart.

It doesn’t come. Trainer's hand settles on his bicep, squeezes. “It’d be right for your full name to belong to him alone.”

Junho doesn’t mean it that way. Trainer knows he doesn’t, but he’s letting it slide. He gives Junho’s arm another squeeze. “I need to get us towels. Stay with me, Pretty. You’re okay.”

He’s not okay. The detective is silent. Maybe he’s finally caught a bullet. Or floated away with the kite.

Junho tries not to float, but when the towel moves down over his hips, he’s back on the black bed, crying out in pleasure as the full-body orgasm tears through him. Arching into the man he despises. Pulsing in his own hand. Complicit.

Skip.

The shower’s textured tiles were wet against Junho’s knees. The short lead held his arms above his head toward the wall, like a religious supplicant begging for a miracle. He was weeping again, and Trainer was stroking his large hand down Junho's back. He hated himself even as he was doing it, that he had become this weak and unsettled creature. The man he had been would have despised the man he’d become.

That’s not true, the detective whispered from the dark corners of his mind, barely more solid than a wisp of cloud. Junho had never blamed the victims. He hadn’t even blamed the domestic case for going back to her husband. He’d only been disappointed.

Junho waited for the next skip. But it didn’t come. Somehow, he’d settled more fully into itself. The proper time and place of things were strung like pearls on a necklace, all in order.

He didn’t look at them too closely, and they stayed put.

When Junho took a deep breath, and his lungs creaked but didn’t shudder into sobs. Trainer helped Junho up and finished drying them off. He put Junho back into the full set of leather cuffs, put on his collar. Hobbled him, but loosely. Trainer didn't put him back in chastity, and that left Junho feeling unbearably naked and vulnerable.

“Are you hurt?” Trainer's asked with calm steadiness, his voice slowly flowing molasses, as if he could stick Junho’s feet to the floor with it.

Junho tried to find the words in English, then tried to sound sane and steady. “My chest is hurt. And. In my places.”

“Okay,” Trainer said, and gave Junho's arm a solid, mooring squeeze. “Let's take a look at you.”

He applied ointment to Junho's raw places, checked his piercings, and disinfected and put liquid band-aid on the crescent-shaped scratches on the outsides of Junho’s thighs by his knees.

He didn’t start to relax until Trainer put him back in chastity. Junho wished for the familiar fullness of the butt plug instead of his sore emptiness. He wanted everything to be normal.

When Junho started laughing, Trainer gave his shoulder a squeeze. Junho could feel that the laughter could turn to pain and crying again. Trainer’s hand held him down and solid, and his eyes were calm dark pools of empathy and compassion.

Generous of the man who engineered this, the detective whispered, but Junho ignored him. He needed this right now.

After Junho coughed his way down to chuckles, Trainer took him over to the chair, and Junho sat when Trainer gestured for him to. On the floor, not in the chair. He clipped Junho in with the short lead.

A mid-room fastening place, the detective noted, smooth-edged, no bolts to throw himself against like there were on the wall. Not much slack.

Working the case settled him even deeper into himself. This wasn’t the first time they’d done this to someone, and Junho wouldn’t have been surprised if someone else’s response to the impossible situation had been self-inflicted pain.

He could have told the trainer that he wasn’t going to try to take himself out. That he’d already gone through too much to walk that path. The detective approved but counseled silence.

“It’s time for dinner,” Trainer said slowly, eyes attentive on Junho's face as if to make sure he understood.

“Yes, trainer,” he said. He understood that dinner would mean the tablet, watching the video.

He pulled his knees up to his chest, trying to stall the shaking before it started. He wasn’t sure he could stand to be alone right now, but like everything, it wasn’t his choice. Trainer studied him, went to Junho’s floor mattress, and returned with the blanket. He tucked it around Junho, as if his shivering had anything to do with the temperature.

The blanket covered him, hid him when he hunched into it. A child’s charm against monsters under the bed. But Junho’s shaking eased, and he was able to keep himself tied in the proper place and time even after Trainer left.

Chapter Text

Trainer sat down next to Junho with two boxes. He put the larger one down and snapped off the cover. It contained a little steak on a bed of steamed vegetables, a little pile in a corner that looked like had been liberated from a green salad. It even came with a sip cup of some dark reddish-purple liquid. Usually he only got juice in the morning.

Junho tried to avoid looking at or even thinking about the tablet that Trainer set up on the other side of the plastic box. The still image was a side profile of him kneeling in front of the VIP, who was sprawled back on the lounge chair with his legs spread and his cock glistening.

He was going to eat a very delicious dinner and watch himself get raped. Worse, he was going to watch himself get off while it happened. Not enjoy it, not really, but giving in was bad enough.

Watching it was going to be bad. Junho had just gotten the pearls of himself in the right order. He was worried he would drop them and the cord would break, that they would fly apart on the floor, never to be put back together again.

In one sense, having Trainer there was a good thing. Trainer's presence helped Junho hold himself together. In another sense, having Trainer watch it with him would be worse. He didn’t want Trainer to see how he’d been used and gotten off on it, as if what had happened might somehow change how the man thought of him.

Like it reduced his reputation in his own eyes.

Trainer’s warm hand settled on Junho’s blanketed shoulder and gave it a squeeze. “Eat.”

“Yes, trainer.” The words had been calm and low, but it wasn’t a suggestion. It was an order from his trainer. He shrugged out of his blanket, and Trainer folded it and set it aside.

He had to lift the entire little steak to take a bite. No cutlery for even the good boy, but it was such a good cut that it barely required the pressure of his teeth to part. Trainer touched the screen, and the video started to play.

Junho didn’t really watch it. Without Trainer’s voice to draw attention to it, he could just focus through the tablet instead of watching the movement of the images. He stared through the tablet, mechanically chewing and swallowing, forcing the food down into the nausea-filled void in his stomach.

He couldn’t ignore the sound he made the first time the VIP thrust into him. It slapped against his ears and he choked.

Skip.

“Pretty?” Trainer gave Junho’s shoulder a squeeze. “You still here, Pretty?”

He was there. He was in order. It had just been a moment.

“Yes, trainer,” Junho answered as if it was the first time he’d asked. He didn’t think it was, but Trainer didn’t slap him, and he stopped repeating Junho’s name.

Junho made himself pick up a something from the box and start eating again. It didn’t matter what, the entire box had to go. The sip cup contained something that tasted like red wine, an assertive flavor that would have gone well with the steak. It lacked the dry alcohol sensation as it went down the back of his throat.

He made the mistake of looking at the screen. On it, he was stroking himself. He yanked his mind away like it had touched something hot, before it could yank itself away from him entirely.

What was the etiquette behind drinking wine in a torture chamber? Was it rude to gulp it down? Even if the wine was fake and served in a child’s sip cup? Were you supposed to swirl the sip cup and look at the fingers, pretend you knew what that meant about the quality at all? Would fake wine even have fingers? He thought very hard about it.

It was difficult to pack so much food into his body when he was nauseated. Junho ate the last piece of fresh tomato from the salad on the second playthrough, somewhere after the view had changed to the bed. He hated raw tomato, but that was the last of it. He studied the interior of his dinner box, the smears of grease and the speckles of seasoning, the few loose tomato seeds stuck to the side.

Trainer touched the screen and the image stilled. He lifted the lid off the smaller box. It was full of honey butter chips, and Junho could almost feel them in his mouth, smooth and sweet, oily and salty. There weren’t many sweet flavors in his life, now. There was certainly no junk food.

It was a reward. Or a bribe. Likely both. He eyed them mistrustfully.

Junho had been right to not trust it. Trainer said, “Now that you’re settled, we’ll go through it step by step.”

Trainer fed the chips to Junho as they watched the video again, this time with his low verbal commentary. His eyes were attentive on Junho’s face, making sure he was paying attention, and Junho couldn’t help but focus on the video.

But Trainer treated it like any other video they’d gone through as a training exercise. The more businesslike Trainer was, the more he praised Junho, the more weight lifted from his shoulders. He was still dirty and used, he’d still betrayed himself in a fundamental way, but at least it didn’t lessen him in Trainer’s eyes.

“That was the right thing to do,” Trainer said when Junho untangled his hand from the sheets and gripped himself. He fed Junho a chip. “He said it like it was a challenge. Or something he was doing for you. But he likes feeling desired.” He fed Junho a second chip. “He wanted you to get off, your first time.” He fed Junho another chip.

If Junho thought about it as an act he was putting on, it wasn't so bad.

Except he knew better. He didn't even need the detective to point that out.

There was only one chip left in the small box when Junho watched the VIP order him out of the room. The Junho on the screen stumbled off the bed, staggered for the door under the watchful glare of the burly man behind the bar.

Trainer fed him the last chip. “I can tell you’re struggling, but it was very good to leave right when he ordered you. So much better than that first time. You did very well with that, Pretty.”

Trainer tapped the screen, pausing it. “Look at me.”

Junho knew the slap was coming. He even knew why it was coming. He made sure to say “yes, trainer” before he turned his head, so his teeth wouldn't risk landing on his tongue.

The slap cracked his head back the direction it had come from. Fire spread across Junho’s face, his eyes stung with startled pain-reaction tears, and his mouth tasted like honey butter and copper. Trainer hadn’t hit him that hard in a while.

“You acknowledge when he gives you an order.”

“Yes, trainer.” The hint of disappointment in Trainer’s voice hurt almost as much as the slap, sent a stab of anxiety deep into his churning stomach. And Junho’s face burned as much with shame as pain. He did know better than not to acknowledge an order. And part of him felt bad for making Trainer hit him as the very last thing, after he’d gone through so much to help him endure.

The domestic victim, the shadow of the detective whispered from the back of his mind, when she told you that she shouldn’t have made her husband angry. Junho could still see the way she’d turned her eyes down and to the side, as if she truly believed it were her fault.

Trainer’s voice was no less calm or low than before he’d hit Junho. “And next time, thank him when he lets you cum.”

Junho tensed his neck and waited for a second slap, but it didn’t come. Then he realized that it was the first time he was receiving this instruction. Trainer had never slapped without a warning.

The food sat heavy and uncomfortable in Junho’s stomach, but he filed it away with the rest of the rules. For next time. “Yes, trainer.”

Trainer turned off the table, snapped the smaller box closed, put it inside the larger. He slid the boxes toward the door. He only turned to Junho after he finished cleaning up, when he could look Junho in the eyes.

His eyes were deep, calm pools in what would have looked like an impassive face, but Junho knew the man’s tells now. The little lines in the corners of his eyes lightened his expression, the corners of his mouth were relaxed instead of pressed slightly. It was more meaningful than a smile because it spoke of a deeper pleasure than a surface smile would have.

“Only one mistake. I’m proud of you. You're the easiest submissive I’ve ever trained, and a natural bottom.”

Junho wondered if this was the first time the man was joking. A natural bottom? He liked women, and other than some fooling around in university, he’d never given men a thought. Certainly not as a bottom. And submissive? He was a police detective. Nothing fit together.

His brain fed him the vivid memory of how good it had felt to have another man inside him.

Skip.

When Junho came back to himself, Trainer was massaging his shoulder like a parent coaching a kid before a soccer game. He watched Junho’s face closely, not with the attentiveness of Junho’s trainer, but with what appeared to be genuine concern. “Did you hear me, Pretty?”

“No, trainer.”

“I said you’ve earned a reward. What do you want?”

Junho blinked in surprise. He hadn’t been asked what he wanted in so long that just being asked was almost a reward in itself. He could ask for anything. Within reason, of course.

It took him a few long moments to decide what he wanted. “Could we work out, trainer?”

Working out often took him away from this place. Focusing on his form, the movements, the counting, he could almost forget where he was. If he tried to picture the fountain while he did it, add as many details to the little scene as possible, there might not be an unoccupied corner of his mind to dwell on what had happened. What had been done to him. What he did.

Trainer nodded and pushed up to his feet. "I'll switch you back to the plastic cuffs. Then we'll work out.”

Chapter Text

Junho hadn’t asked for Trainer to stay the night with him, but the other man must have seen the darkness in his eyes after the workout. When he came back to himself and nothing had fundamentally changed, waves of despair had crashed into Junho, shaking him to the bones.

It was the storm-tossed sea that being the kite had protected him from. Trying to shake him apart.

The words ‘next time' echoed in his head in a cruel playground sing-song. There would be a next time, just like there had been a next blow-job and a next molestation. His body could betray him again next time.

Next time, next time, will it happen next time.

Even with Trainer’s solid warmth near his back in the pitch darkness, Junho couldn't sleep. He would start to lose tension and close his eyes, then some vivid memory from the day would set his heart pounding.

Usually, the memory was of touching himself, or of the full-body bliss of the mixed orgasm. Things the VIP had been done to him made appearances, too, but it was what he had done to himself that caused the chorus.

Next time, next time, would he do it next time.

The detective tried to hush the little demons with thoughts from the logical part of his mind, tried to act as a life raft. As if any comfort or sanity could be found in analyzing what had happened. As if by knowing, he could stop it. As if knowing had ever stopped it.

Learned helplessness, the ghost of himself whispered. They’ve used trauma you can’t control to make you passive. You’re no longer equipped to disobey.

Except that stroking himself hadn’t been an act of obedience. He had done that. Chosen to do that.

You were driven to it, the quiet voice responded. You’ve had so many choices taken away from you that you don't even know when a so-called choice isn't actually a choice.

I just chose to exercise, he retorted.

Anger burned in the pit of his stomach at the thought that he might try to step away from his own responsibility. He was relieved that his stomach had a bottom again, that anger was an emotion in his reach.

Only because you were asked to choose by your jailer, the detective noted pointedly. You do remember that the man behind you isn't your friend, don’t you? He struck you so hard that you can still taste the blood in your mouth.

Junho's anger flickered and died. It had been a lantern guttering in the storm, not a flaming sword. He was suddenly too tired of trying to hold his head above the waves in the ocean of despair.

The part of me that finds him comforting is probably the same part of me that enjoyed having my ass fucked by a monster. There's something deeply wrong with me. This place has changed me in ways I’m not sure I'll be able to change back.

Learned helplessness, the detective whispered, and the argument started again.

Nothing proved the existence of fear more thoroughly than the effort of trying to reject it. Junho was very afraid that he might never escape this place. He’d rather argue with himself then listen to the horrible chorus of cherubic child-devils singing ‘next time,' reminding him that next time was inevitable.

Junho didn't realize that he'd started whispering the argument to himself until Trainer's hand settled onto his bicep and gave it a reassuring squeeze. The man's voice was low in volume as well as tone, as if he was trying to comfort a man having a bad dream without waking him. “You're okay, Pretty.”

Was he? No. He was not okay. The little candle of anger was back, and it made Junho bold.

“I'm don't think I am, trainer,” he whispered back in English before he could think the better of it.

“Tell me what— wait.” Trainer was quiet for the space of two long breaths. When he spoke, he chose his words as carefully as a man walking across fresh ice. “I'm curious what you mean. But you don't have to tell me.”

Something about a whispered conversation in the dark, or maybe the weight of his thoughts, made the detective want to work the case. And Junho had very little to lose by letting him.

“May I ask you something? That isn't about training.”

There was another long pause. Trainer shifted in closer, rested lightly against Junho's back. His breath was warm on the back of Junho's neck, and calling his volume a whisper would have been generous. “You may, but I don't promise I'll answer. And you have to ask very quietly.”

Having a man that close made Junho tense. He smelled whiskey and bourbon, remembered in his bones how it felt to dangle helpless from his wrists as the VIP pressed his velvet jacket against Junho's back and made his body want him.

Trainer's hand squeezed Junho's arm, and he reminded himself that this was Trainer. Not the VIP. Trainer’s breath smelled faintly of mint, and Trainer hurt him but had never been cruel to him. He had never seemed to take pleasure in his sexual assaults.

Now that Junho had permission, he didn't know what to ask.

Learned helplessness, the detective muttered. Work up to it.

Not a question, then. Something easier. He whispered, “I'm not sure that I am okay.”

“You are, Pretty.”

He tried to put his feelings into words, to explain why he wasn’t. As much to justify to himself what was wrong with him as to try to explain it to Trainer. “I couldn’t stop what he did to me.”

“You couldn’t.”

“I let him do it.”

“You did.”

“I didn’t want him to. But— ” and it was hard to find the English words, hard to say, harder to admit— “I liked it. Just in my body. But I let me like it.”

“I know.” Trainer gave Junho’s arm a squeeze.

The detective wanted more. His anger burned, a tiny coal in his stomach, but there. He took a deep breath, squashed the impulse to raise his volume, then made himself speak as quietly and evenly as Trainer. “You set me up for it. Not just in my body, but in my mind. So I wouldn’t fight him.”

“I did.” Trainer’s confirmation was just as calm and unapologetic as any of his other confirmations.

Junho didn’t know why that surprised him. The man had never hidden what he was doing or why.

Or at least he'd never hid the immediate why. And Junho had finally worked his way around to the question the detective wanted to ask.

“Why?”

Why are you a torturer? Why are you complicit? It was the same part of him that had shouted at his trainer so long ago that he was a rapist working for an evil man. The trainer hadn’t responded then.

There was such a long stretch of silence that Junho thought he wouldn't respond now, either. When he spoke, it was even more slowly than usual, his words spreading into the small space between as reluctantly as honey spreading out on a cool tile. “They've done this a long time. Collecting people. Before me, much less well. When— ”

There was a brief pause, and when Trainer spoke, it seemed to be on a different track. “I thought if it was done better, there’d be less pain. Fewer deaths. Fewer replacements.”

Junho didn't know what he expected, but it hadn’t been that. The detective had prepared several lines of follow-up questions for the witness, but none addressed that answer.

Trainer spoke again before the detective had recovered, and he sounded just as tired and battered as that part of Junho's soul. “I know it’s twisted to think I do any good in this terrible place. I do know that. But it's the only way I can help.”

The detective was so close to the surface, now that he was working the case, and Junho couldn’t keep the detective's bitterness out of his whisper. “So. You think you're helping me.”

“I know I'm helping.” Whatever Trainer’s version of the detective was, it was gone from his voice. He was a parent explaining to a child why it was bad to eat candy before bed. “You're still alive and not badly injured. I've never seen him this obsessed, but he allowed me time to get you ready.”

Junho had a sudden and vivid imagination of how things would have gone had he woken up from his drugging to find the VIP on top of him. He would have killed the man or died trying.

He had no doubt that, if Trainer had been there, he'd have died trying. “So that I wouldn't die.”

“So that this won’t kill you.”

Some subtlety of emphasis made Junho realize that Trainer wasn’t speaking in the past tense.

Memories flicked through Junho's mind as fast as turning pages. His decision to make the Trainer kill him. The times he’d thought about the dental floss, the upstairs window, the bolts on the walls, the other small times he’d considered a more permanent way out and the detective discarded them so fast that he'd barely noticed. He'd noticed the mid-room fastening point with a short lead by the smooth-edged chair and known immediately what it was trying to prevent.

The bitter resentment was almost choking. Who was this man to decide that living under these circumstances was better than death?

It is. The detective was placid now, satisfied with the answers, sated from working the case. We still have a chance to get out of here and bust this open.

Junho was stunned that that part of himself was taking the trainer’s side.

Not taking his side, the detective whispered. Taking the side of life. Dead is game over. No chance to win if you're dead.

“Go to sleep, Pretty.” Trainer’s voice was calm, low and soothing, and yet there was no question that it was a command. “Tomorrow’s Sunday. He’ll spend the morning at church with his family, and in the afternoon he’ll golf if the weather’s nice. But if the weather’s bad, you might be in for a long day.”

“Yes, trainer.”

Trainer didn't need to say that the conversation had never happened. They wouldn't have spoken too low for the cameras to pick up if he wanted the VIP, or whoever might be monitoring Junho’s room, to know that they'd discussed anything in the dark.

Junho didn’t relax until Trainer had shifted away from his back, warm and nearby but not touching him. But after he did, Junho fell asleep almost immediately.

Chapter Text

“He wants you to serve after the family has breakfast.”

Trainer’s words dropped into Junho’s mind like a sack full of bricks. He’d gone through the morning on autopilot, turning his brain off and letting his body drive itself, but now the breakfast he’d been making himself eat turned over in his stomach. The yogurt was too much like cum, the nuts and pieces of fruit a joke and a blatant bribe respectively.

Trainer’s hand settled onto Junho’s shoulder and squeezed. His voice was low, steady, and calm. “The family breakfast isn't for another hour yet. But you need to move quickly through your prep.”

For a moment, Junho was under the VIP again, the man’s arms gripping under his knees, holding him in place as he violated him. As Junho pulsed with a powerful orgasm as his body betrayed him. As he betrayed himself.

Junho tried not to hope, but it seemed possible that his body may simply refuse to respond to the VIP's touches. He hadn’t had a random erection since the day before. He hadn’t even had the brief but maddening morning harness in his dick prison. It was as if his body was rejecting him for what he'd done.

What devastated him the most about what had happened was that he gave in. Had voluntarily become a part of what was being done to him. He wasn’t responsible for what the VIP had done, but he had betrayed himself.

Then don't betray yourself this time, the detective whispered from the dark corner that Junho kept for himself. You can’t control your body, but if he gives you a choice, you can choose ‘no.’ Do it now, so you aren’t paralyzed in the moment.

Junho doubted the VIP would let him choose. He got off on making Junho respond to him.

If he lets you choose, choose ‘no.’ The detective was firm. What that cretin does you do isn’t the same as what you do yourself.

The slap caught Junho by surprise. It stung more than it spread fire, and it turned his chin aside but didn’t jerk his entire head. A light slap, then.

“Pay attention,” Trainer said, and even the small amount of irritation in his voice made Junho wince. “I said finish eating. We’re on a schedule this morning, Pretty.”

“Yes, trainer. I’m sorry.”

The slap lingered in Junho’s mind. He now believed this man wasn’t a sociopath or a cold-hearted killer, and Trainer had shown that he could be both kind and gentle. But he wouldn’t hesitate to use violence if he thought it would be for Junho’s own good.

And whatever justifications Trainer had for what he did, Junho didn’t doubt that if the VIP ordered Trainer to kill him, the man would kill him. Regardless of whether Trainer would feel bad about it after, Junho would still be dead. He tried to put that thought out of mind but the detective held onto it.

Junho was so practiced are preparing himself that the first steps flew by, and Trainer encouraged him with warm words and kind touches. Junho hoarded them, saving those little morsels in case he needed them later.

When he opened the second drawer under the counter, he was surprised to see the largest of the glass butt plugs back in its space. He wasn’t entirely sure how it had gotten there, since the last he knew it had been—

Junho shoved the thought away hard. He was on a schedule, and losing his place in time would only earn him another slap.

Trainer touched the back of Junho’s hand when he reached for it. “Not that one. He wants this one today.”

Trainer's hand moved up a row and tapped a plug, and Junho’s stomach lurched. It wasn’t one of the torture shapes. It was just shaped like a cock.

The problem was that he knew the shape of that cock intimately, and he didn’t want it inside him.

But what he wanted didn’t matter. Trainer was moving on, and he needed to pay attention. “For this kind, you use a different lube.” Trainer handed him a different bottle, yellow-striped instead of green. “You can’t use the other kind with these softer plugs.”

Junho’s stomach ached, the yogurt taking up too much space to coexist with the cold knot of dread that lived there. But he took the lube from Trainer and lifted the butt plug shaped like the VIP’s cock out of the drawer, because it wasn’t a choice.

The plug was thicker than the largest of the glass plugs, but softer at the same time. The larger size pressed deliciously against his sweet spot, and his mind fed him the vivid sensation of this particular cock sawing in and out of him. The icy knot in Junho’s gut expanded into an iceberg, and he shuddered as his breakfast tried to come up.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the comforting thought that he might not be able to get it up didn’t last. The moment the warm water in the shower rolled over Junho’s body, caressing his nipples and sliding over and through his cage, Junho was profoundly aware of his dick in the way he only got when he was aroused.

Junho’s body thought it would be nice to get off in the shower. Even after what had happened, his body still took pleasure from sensation. His mind wasn’t there with it, was in fact vehemently against it, but his dick had never listened and didn’t start now.

His hope that he simply wouldn’t react to the VIP’s touch popped like a champagne bubble.

Too short a time later, his eyes were done and Trainer led him out of his room. To Junho’s relief, they didn’t go up to the mansion’s second floor. At least he wouldn’t have to confront the place he’d been raped the night before.

Yet. Junho’s stomach clenched again, and the playground devil-children started up their chorus of ‘next time.’

The cream-and-white hallway was more populated than Junho had ever seen it. People in silky black uniforms carried used dishes from an open door farther down on the left, taking them into the kitchen across from the stairwell. Junho didn’t recognize any of them.

How many people were there in this place? How many had golden hoops through their nipples under the silky shirts? How much were the rest paid to see nothing?

If any were paid at all. Now that was a sobering thought. Before he’d seen the games, Junho wouldn’t have believed that this many people could just disappear. But the VIP’s cabal had killed off thousands of people, if his glimpse at the records was any indication. What were a few dozen in comparison?

The door to what must have been a dining room was shut when they passed it. Junho’s mental detective was assembling the pieces of the house he had seen into a crude floor-plan, trying to compare what Junho knew of the rooms with the orientation of the ocean and forest.

Trainer led Junho to what he had thought was the end of the hallway, but it was actually another door. They passed through it and across a broader, much more elegant hallway, then back into the cream-and-white hallway on the other side. Trainer led him to the last door on the left and gestured for Junho to go through first.

Morning sunlight streamed into the room, not only through a massive glass window-wall, but also through the glass that formed half of the sloping ceiling. The sunroom looked out over a patio area and the yard sloping down to the rocky beach. The sky was the clear cerulean blue that followed a storm, and the sun was rising over the dark green ocean, not dawning but low enough to sparkle on the choppy waves. The pounding of the post-storm surf was audible through the glass.

Such a fine morning to be sexually assaulted, the detective whispered sourly, and what a nice place to be assaulted in. But the detective also filed away the information that the beach was to the east. He had no idea which ocean it was, or if it was just a large sea, but every piece of the puzzle helped build the case.

The sunroom’s floor was flagstone, the plush, wooly rugs were sand-toned, and the furniture was light and airy. As always, the room was filled with a profusion of plants. Plants even hung from the ceiling in baskets that trailed steamers of green ivy. The scent of the flowers mingled with the smell of sweet tobacco smoke.

Junho’s eyes stuck on a set of glass double doors that led out onto the patio. Their ornate golden handles had no visible locks.

Trainer dropped to his knees on the floor, and Junho followed a moment later. It was real stone, cool and rough, the thin lines of mortar between the well-fitted stones almost blending into the stones themselves. Trainer’s chin dipped low as his palms settled onto the fronts of his legs, but Junho kept his chin up and forced his eyes toward the VIP.

The man was sprawled on a loveseat facing the ocean, his arms spread wide across the back. From behind, he appeared dressed in a heavy-textured blue t-shirt, but a pair of beige-colored pants and a set of boxer briefs were half on the flagstone floor and half on the rug under the loveseat. The VIP's head was tilted back, the silver in his hair seeming to shimmer in the light.

After they knelt, Trainer spoke in a low and deferential voice. “I’ve brought Pretty Eyes for you, sir.”

The VIP’s eyes opened. He didn’t lift or turn his head, but his voice carried over the sound of the choppy surf. “Get over here.”

“Yes, sir,” Junho and Trainer said at the same time.

“Just Pretty Eyes,” the VIP clarified. “Unclip him.”

After they stood, Trainer unfastened Junho’s wrists and took the lead from his collar, then knelt to remove the hobble from between his ankles.

Junho's eyes flicked to the patio doors. Were they unlocked? If he got out, where would he go? Into the ocean? Attempting an ocean escape was never a good idea, even a row-boat had more mobility than a man in the water. Try to get around the house with Trainer on his heels, and then where? There had to be some sort of driveway, but if the yard was fenced across the front, or had some sort of hedge—

A hand touched the outside of Junho’s calf and his eyes dropped. Trainer's alert, dark-lined eyes were on his face.

Junho read ‘don't try it’ as easily as if it had been written in pen on the man’s forehead. A friendly warning or a directive from his jailer, it didn’t matter which.

A different Junho would have risked it rather than let the pestilential creature on the loveseat lay hands on him again. It was possible that the doors were unlocked, that he was faster than Trainer, that he had more endurance and wouldn't hit a barrier on his way to the nearest road.

But it wasn’t a sure thing, and this Junho wasn’t willing to blow the attempt and end up back on the table, or worse. This Junho was cowardly.

Or wise, the detective whispered from his dark corner of Junho’s mind.

He’d endured this once, he could endure it again. And he wouldn't betray himself this time. He’d been weak before, but now he had a line to hold to.

Junho took a deep breath and stepped forward. He glanced back and saw Trainer settling his weight back down fully into his kneel, Junho’s equipment on the stones next to him. His eyes were down, but if he had been a dog, his ears would have been perked as high as radar dishes.

Junho straightened his shoulders, set his mind firmly around his promise to himself, and moved toward the VIP’s loveseat with more obedience than he felt.

Chapter Text

As Junho got closer to the loveseat, he saw a familiar blond head bobbing up and down in the VIP’s lap between the spread, hairy legs. Song was in a leather harness like Junho’s, the glints of gold from the D-rings and buckles sparkling in the bright morning sun.

Did this gross middle-aged man never just lounge around without having his cock sucked? Every time he saw the VIP, he was doing something sexual.

Then again, Junho was basically a sex slave in the man’s ocean-front mansion. What else should he expect.

Trainer had mentioned that there was a family somewhere in this house, but Junho had never seen even a hint of a family photo. He didn’t know if the VIP kept his family ignorant of the people he ‘collected’ or if the man’s family was part of everything that went on in this cursed house. Or maybe, like the servants, they simply turned their eyes away from what they didn’t want to see.

Junho dropped to his knees on the wooly beige rug. The VIP had been sitting with his head lolled back, as if just enjoying the blowjob, but he opened his eyes and turned his head to look at Junho.

He looked back, as he’d been instructed to do, meeting the deep-set blue eyes. He felt surprisingly calm and centered. Whatever this monster had in mind wouldn’t be more horrible than what Junho had already been through. He had already done the worst Junho could imagine, violating him in the most fundamental way and getting him to betray himself while it was happening.

What the VIP wanted to happen would happen. Junho only had to hold his line.

The VIP’s eyes studied Junho’s face, then narrowed suspiciously.

Suddenly uneasy, Junho realized that, for the first time, he was looking into the VIP’s eyes without either sending him a mental ‘fuck you’ or being scared shitless.

He hoped that the VIP would chalk it up to good training rather than defiance. If anyone could train someone in how to not respond to being stared at by one's rapist, it would be his stone-faced Trainer. Or maybe the VIP would believe that, having been with him once, Junho would now be eager for more. That level of narcissism seemed possible.

On the lower edge of Junho’s line of sight, Song’s curls continued their slow bounce against the VIP’s broad stomach, yellow against the blue of the man’s polo shirt. As if feeling the weight of Junho’s attention, the blond man’s eyes slid sideways, looking at Junho sidelong while his lips continued their slow up-and-down slide over the VIP.

Song’s eyes were flat with antipathy. Junho had no idea what he could have done to upset him. Maybe being called up to light cigars and give blowjobs was all the reason he needed. Or maybe the VIP’s new toy had increased his libido, and Song had suffered for it while Trainer was getting Junho ready. He wanted to apologize, to explain that it wasn’t his fault, that they should be on the same side.

The VIP took a handful of Song’s curls and lifted him off his cock before tossing him backward. Song thumped to his ass on the rug, his mouth was wet and very red. A fresh, reddish-purple bruise darkened one of his cheekbones.

Song also had on a dick prison, and his cock was straining as hard against it as Junho’s did on a horny morning. He didn’t think it had been there the previous night, but he wasn’t entirely sure. The night already had the surreal quality of a fever dream or a nightmare. It was like his mind was trying to shove it into an unlabeled basement cabinet and then cement it in so that it couldn’t keep ambushing him.

In any case, the bruise and dick prison explained Song’s bad mood.

The VIP snapped his fingers and pointed at the rug in front of him. His voice was thick with desire. “Pretty Eyes. Get over here.”

Junho acknowledged and unfolded up from his kneel. But the VIP had pointed to where Song was sprawled directly between his legs, and Junho wasn’t really sure how to comply.

“Out of the way,” the VIP said irritably, and thumped Song’s ribs with one of his feet.

He didn’t have the angle or leverage for it to be anything more than a nudge, but Song’s face reddened with humiliation and he scrambled away, crabbing backward.

Junho stepped into the vacated spot and started to sink down, but the VIP held up a finger. “Stand.”

“Yes, sir.”

Junho looked downward at the VIP while trying to make it seem that he wasn’t actually looking down on the man. Whatever his personal feelings, overt disrespect wasn’t going to help anything. Besides, when someone looked down at shit in a sewer, there was no point to eyeballing the shit disrespectfully. Shit wasn’t insulted by what it was.

The VIP’s eyes raked Junho’s body up and down. Something about his expression was hard and angry, and Junho’s sense of calm centeredness was starting to crumble. The man enjoyed frightening him. Maybe he shouldn’t project too much serenity.

Maybe pretending to be a mouse might turn him into one, the detective countered.

It didn’t feel like the problem had a right answer.

“You don’t look any worse for wear," the VIP said. "No discipline?”

“No, sir.”

“Learning your place, then. Makes one of you.” Junho wasn’t sure whether it was mean to be a compliment, an insult, or just a statement. Then VIP smirked. “Taking my cock seemed to come natural to you.”

Insult it was. Junho had no tatters of pride left and no desire to antagonize this man. He had his line, and that was all he had anymore.

He hoped his even voice would pass for deference. “Yes sir, I’ve been told that.”

“Hmph,” the VIP said. Then he beckoned him forward, “Come here.”

“Yes, sir.” Junho edged closer until his knees touched the frame of the loveseat.

The VIP pulled his shirt up over his head and dropped it. Then he heaved himself out of his slouch and grabbed Junho’s ass, crudely squeezing the curved muscles. He pulled Junho in tighter and he lost his balance, having to catch himself on the VIP's shoulders. Junho felt the air move against his stomach as the man sniffed him, taking a deep breath in through his hooked beak of a nose. The tip of his tongue slid up the line between Junho’s abs.

The sensations of the VIP’s assertive grip and the feeling of his tongue made Junho’s skin tighten. A vivid mental picture of the VIP’s hungry expression as he pounded Junho’s ass came unbidden into his mind, and he shuddered. Then, to his disgust, he felt himself start to get heavy.

“Straddle me,” the VIP said, sounding a little mollified.

“Yes, sir.”

Junho followed when the man leaned back into his previous lounge. The cream-colored cushions gave easily under Junho’s knees, but though the frame appeared light and airy, it was sturdy enough to support both of them. The outside of the VIP’s hairy thighs were warm and tickled against the insides of Junho’s recently hairless knees.

The VIP’s interest was hard against Junho’s thigh. He could feel his own breath start to pick up. He was fighting a losing battle against his anxiety.

Even looking down at the VIP’s face, Junho could see Trainer in his upper peripheral. The night before, he hadn’t wanted Trainer to watch the video of what the VIP had done to him. He didn’t want Trainer to be here for this now.

The VIP’s grip on Junho’s ass softened. His hands caressed down the backs of Junho’s thighs, up the outside of his legs. The fingers of one hand stroked the inside of Junho’s thigh, then shifted up to his balls and fondled them. He still wasn’t fully used to being hairless, and the sensation was intensely arousing.

Junho wasn’t sure when he’d started shivering, or when his grip had tightened on the VIP’s shoulders to steady himself. But the moment the VIP cradled his balls was the moment his breath caught in.

The VIP grinned, and even though he was grinning at Junho’s abs instead of up at him, Junho knew how white and even his teeth would be. While one hand fondled Junho’s balls, the other tracked up over Junho’s lower stomach, caressing his recently re-defined abs like someone might rub their hand over a particularly enjoyable fabric.

“Mine,” he purred.

Junho knew where that hand was going. He was starting to learn the rhythms of the VIP’s disturbing brand of seduction.

Still, when the man ran his thumb over Junho’s nipple and toyed with the ring there, he gasped sharply. He was glad that Trainer didn’t react to the noise, didn’t lift his eyes from the stones. He would have felt profoundly ashamed had the man looked up.

The VIP, however, did look up. His grin was at its most predatory as he rubbed his thumb back and forth over Junho’s nipple. Perpetually pushed out by the lines of metal running through them, his nipples had been even more sensitive since they had been pierced, and the sensation was so electric that it was almost too much.

Junho groaned and felt himself pressing against the curve of his chastity cage, the pressure growing a little painful. His cock wanted to be hard, and while the cage prevented it, he had still thickened so much that his ring was through the slot at the end.

The VIP’s eyes lapped the expressions off of Junho’s face like a cat lapping cream. “Had so much fun last night. Still don’t want me to fuck you?”

Junho tried to ignore how ashamed he was of his behavior the night before, how uncomfortable his cage was as his body responded now, how he would have been throbbing-erect if he hadn’t been held down. He had a line. He was going to hold on to it.

He struggled to keep his voice even. “No, sir.”

The VIP pinched Junho’s nipple, and the still-tender nub shot fire into his chest and electricity down his stomach. The air went sharply out of his lungs, and his eyes prickled with pain.

“Ungrateful slut,” the VIP said, but there was pleasure in his voice. “I can see you’re lying.”

The VIP caressed his thumb back and forth over Junho’s nipple. The live-wire electric-pain-pleasure buzzing had only intensified after the pinch. When he caressed Junho’s ass, pressed the base of the plug, Junho felt his hips tighten, move forward.

Stop. Hold the line.

He trembled from the effort of holding still, but when the fondling stopped, it was only for the VIP’s fingers to circle around Junho’s thigh and settle his low stomach.

The carabiner clicked, and he felt every centimeter as his cage was pulled off, heard it clatter off the stone when the VIP tossed it over his shoulder. Junho tried to ignore how his cock was high and throbbing hard almost the moment it was free.

“See? Stiff was a board,” the VIP drawled. He was breathing heavily, and his cock throbbed against the inside of Junho’s thigh. “Good thing. I’m the one who tells you. What you want. Isn’t it?”

“Yes, sir.” Junho was breathing heavily too, despite his best efforts to keep calm.

He told himself that it only had to do with the VIP’s continuous caress of his aching nipples. It had nothing to do with how he was already unsure whether he could keep his promise to himself. Nothing to do with his whether his mind was any match for the needs of his body.

Let this man do his worst, he told himself. He was going to hold his line.

Chapter Text

The VIP continued to toy painfully with Junho’s nipples while Junho straddled him on the couch. His chubby fingers chose one and caressed it to an intense level of sensitivity before pinching it or twisting the ring through it. The confusing input of pain and pleasure from his body was making Junho dizzy, unable to breathe deeply between his gasps. Each sharp breath tasted like cigar smoke and damp earth, and the smell of the flowers was overwhelming.

He was only able to stay upright by gripping the VIP’s shoulders. His cock, which ached and throbbed in strange ways at the mixed pleasure and pain, felt tight and hot even to him.

It didn’t matter, he told himself. Just a physical response. He was holding the only line that mattered.

“Take out the plug.” The VIP’s command was full of gravel.

“Yes, sir.” Junho’s hand hesitated, then moved to comply. It wasn’t a choice.

He’d never taken his plug out from this angle, always leaned against the counter and worked it out gently. It was harder to pull out, and when the plastic cock slid past his tailbone, he wasn’t sure whether the noise he made was pain or relief.

So much of Junho’s life had become a state of uncertainty between pain and pleasure, a Schrödinger’s cat of forced sensuality.

The moment Junho’s plug was out, the VIP’s grinned, teeth baring like an animal about to tear into the soft belly of a prey animal. He grabbed Junho’s hips and forcefully dragged him down. Junho tensed instinctively, which was exactly what he shouldn’t have done.

He inhaled sharply in pain as the VIP’s real cock opened him back up despite his resistance. The brief flare of pleasure as the VIP stroked across Junho’s sweet spot came right before his thighs thudded down. The moment before his cock slapped down on the man’s soft stomach.

Junho’s piercing exploded with sensation. Pain or pleasure or both. The animal sound he made echoed in the glass room, in his own ears.

The VIP pulled Junho in close. His mouth went to Junho’s pec, his nipple, and the man's tongue flicked over it, around and through the little ring. Junho’s felt his abdomen contract around the thick cock inside him as he shuddered.

The VIP laughed, and the slight bounce made Junho profoundly aware of how full he was. “You do realize. I can feel how much you like this. Don’t you?”

“Yes, sir,” Junho said unsteadily.

The VIP’s soft fingertips stroked the tip of Junho’s cock and it leaped toward his hand. He couldn’t help himself that time, his hips rocked forward to chase the caress, and the rub of his piercing against the VIP’s stomach sent another shudder contracting through his body.

The VIP’s head canted slightly to the side, a curious predator. “Going to ask me to let you cum?”

“No, sir.” He was conflicted and aroused and miserable, and he didn’t try to keep any of it off his face.

It was alright. He was okay. His body was betraying him, but he hadn’t expected anything else. He couldn’t be surprised. As long as he wasn’t complicit, he was okay. He hadn’t done anything to be ashamed of.

Yet.

No, not 'yet.' He was going to hold the line.

The VIP laughed again, the monster loving that he was taking Junho against his will and that he was enjoying it despite his clear efforts not to.

He slapped Junho on the side of the leg. “Ride me.” Then the man lounged fully back and stretched his arms across the back of the loveseat. His deep-set eyes lidded half way. “Don’t fall off.”

“Yes sir.”

Junho moved uncertainly, unsteadily. For all that Trainer had made him practice sexual positions and moving between them, there was nothing that precisely simulated balancing on the edge of something while trying to ride another man.

He tried rocking his hips back and forth, but that barely moved the VIP inside him and rubbed his piercing against the man's stomach very dangerously. The man snorted with impatience and bounced his hips up against Junho. What had been comfortably open became, for a moment, uncomfortably too open.

He didn’t need more of a hint than that. He worked himself up and down, alternately filling himself and giving himself relief.

Is was different than when the VIP had pounded into him. That had been fast and violently pleasurable, the thud of meeting bodies shocking through him. The spikes of pleasure had been intense and quick.

With Junho controlling the pace and slowed by his precarious position, the constant rub back and forth across his sweet spot was a slow-building pleasure, the straining of his cock a solely mental pain. It felt good every time his heavy balls touched down, and the electricity that zinged through his piercing when he landed hard enough to slap his cock off the VIP's the generous stomach was amazing.

His first and second times were as different as if the rain that had pounded the windows last night and the soft sound of the ocean this morning had manifested as sensations.

Junho couldn’t have contained his gasps and the other noises he made. Trying only would have led to failure, taken his attention away from holding the line. His vocalizations were softer counterpoints to the VIP’s grunts as the man started to fuck up into him. Junho was familiar enough with the man’s pleasure noises now to know when he was close to getting off.

That this wasn’t going to go on very long was relief on more than one level. The ache in Junho’s cock was insistent, but he wasn’t so aroused that he was at a risk of losing control of himself.

Another few strokes and the VIP’s hands slapped to Junho’s hips. “Fuck!”

The claws pulled him down hard, and he felt the VIP pulse, felt the heat of his cum deeper inside.

Junho endured, his balls throbbing heavily with need on just this side of painful, resting against the warmth of the other man’s skin. He breathed through the other throbbing that demanded his attention, trying to ignore it.

After a few rugged pants, the VIP’s crushing grip on Junho’s hips eased. He spoke between heavy breaths, in a low voice that purred with postcoital pleasure. “You didn’t. Ask me. To get off.”

Alarm bloomed in Junho’s chest and his eyes dropped. He was extremely hard, visibly throbbing with his heartbeats, leaking everywhere. But he definitely hadn’t cum.

“I didn’t, sir.” Junho’s voice was ragged. It ached in his throat.

“This hard,” the VIP’s hand caressed down Junho’s cock, toyed with the ring in a way that made Junho’s entire body spasm and curl forward. “And you don’t want to?”

“No, sir.”

He was lying. He badly wanted to. He was gripping the line with both hands and barely keeping his head above the ocean.

The VIP studied Junho’s face. “Liar. I should send you back throbbing. What would you think about that?”

Please, Juno thought. Please do that. Please let this torture end. Let me hold the line.

But he wasn’t going to step into that sort of trap. “I’d have no opinion, sir,” he said raggedly. “What I want doesn’t matter.”

“You’re right.” He gave Junho a predatory upward grin. “So you’re getting off. With me inside you. Get to work.”

Junho’s shoulders shook once, some strong emotion there and gone before he could acknowledge it. Disgust? Relief? He couldn’t have said. He didn’t want to get off with this man’s cock softening inside him, with this man’s cum inside him. But he was so powerfully aroused.

What he wanted didn’t matter. Not to the VIP, not to him. Following an order was different from being complicit.

“Yes, sir,” Junho said and gripped himself. His cock was as hard as it could get, and his balls drew up tight and eager at just that one touch. So close already.

The VIP knew it, too. His lips pulled up from his teeth while he devoured the expressions off Junho’s face.

As his body rocked with his hand, the VIP moved inside him. The man was going soft and didn’t rub Junho’s sweet spot, but he couldn’t ignore that the VIP was still in him.

It was another thing the VIP knew. His Cheshire Cat grin couldn’t get any wider.

It was hard to keep his eyes open and on the VIP’s face while stroking himself. His usual pattern took his index finger under the head of his cock. These days, that jogged the VIP’s ring, and the extreme sensitivity was pure electric pleasure now.

He came in only a handful of strokes, like he was a horny teenager. He hit the edge, knew he was going over, leaned into it. His breath left him on a hard, sharp noise when the orgasm pulsed through him. His hips strained forward as his balls emptied, slicking his own hand and spattering cum on the VIP’s stomach.

And then Junho was panting, slammed back into his body. The knowledge that he’d gotten off at the hands of his rapist again was waiting there to pounce on him. He could still feel the VIP inside, not as filling as he had been, but still there and holding Junho open while he came. His cum fresh inside Junho. Just like he’d wanted.

But Junho hadn’t chosen it this time. The VIP had ordered it. He’d held the line. The shame passed through him without carrying him off with it.

Good job, the detective concurred from the quiet corner of Junho’s mind.

Junho was caught by surprise when the VIP pushed him backward. His arms flailed senselessly and the floor rushed up to meet him, slammed into his back, knocked the breath out of him. He barely managed to avoid bouncing his head off the rug.

The VIP smirked down at him. Junho’s cum glistened on his stomach. “Done with you. Get out.”

“Yes, sir.” Junho more mouthed than said. He couldn’t pull air into his lungs. He couldn’t move his arms or legs.

He was finally able to pull in a breath, struggled to get his hands and knees under him. There was something he had to do. Something else. Before he could leave.

“Thank you for letting me cum, sir,” he mumbled.

The VIP didn’t even seem to notice. His attention had already turned away, as if, having been used, Junho barely merited the attention it would take to see whether he followed the command to leave or had any gratitude.

The VIP pointed at the streaks of cum on his stomach. “Song. Get up here. Clean this up.”

Junho finally got his legs under him and headed for the door on shaky knees. He wasn’t stumbling or out of his mind, even if the contented emptiness of his balls resonated postcoital bliss through his body.

Trainer stood by the door waiting for him, Junho’s cock cage in his hand. He tried not to think about the things Trainer would have heard, failed, felt his face heat. The muscular man clipped his wrists together and put his hobble back on without a word.

Junho told himself that he couldn’t have heard the lapping sounds of Song licking his cum off the VIP’s stomach, not over the distant rush of the ocean. It was just in his head.

Chapter Text

As Trainer led Junho back out into the cream-and-white hall, he tried to change his panting to slower and more even breathing, tried to get his rapidly beating heart under control. His body hummed pleasantly in the wake of his orgasm, and he wanted to take a nap, as he often did after sex.

He hated how open he felt if he didn't actively flex his pelvic floor muscles, how he could still feel the VIP inside him. But he didn’t feel the waves of self-loathing and disgust he had the night before. The shame had washed through him but not swept him away in the storm.

He was floating in the ocean, not drowned by it but not floating over it uncontrolled.

Junho hadn’t given in. When given the choice, he had said ‘no.’ He was fully present in his body. He had, in a way, won.

That didn't mean he was feeling right. He still felt dirty and used, still felt embarrassed that Trainer had been there while it happened, that people could see him like this. Junho stepped back in his mind, floated, let the detective work the case to distract himself.

His eyes studied the servants moving in the hallway. None of them appeared to pay any attention to a bound and naked man leaking cum he walked. They never had.

But it wasn’t that they weren’t seeing him. Their eyes were actively averted. That they weren’t looking at him was, in itself, a gesture.

What he would have previously mistaken as disinterest, he now recognized as the deliberate decision not to get involved. As if people didn’t see him because they didn’t want to invest emotion in something they had no control over. He could identify with that.

It wasn’t apathy. It was self-preservation.

The detective thought he could see the distinctive bumps of nipple rings through some of the clingy shirts. How many of them had been in his position before, might torment themselves over being unable to help him? Might have their own flashbacks if they looked at him too closely?

But there were so many of them. If these people had been in his position, had they decided to stay? Hadn’t manage to escape? Decided that escape was impossible?

How had no one escaped to bust this place open? Or was it that some had escaped, only to be treated as unhinged by the police as the disheveled man who had tried to explain the games to the police back home? If they had people in the police department in Seoul, they could have people in the police department in this place. If it was even in a democratic country.

The detective wanted to question the other servants, gather intelligence that might apply to his own situation. Something more concrete than that the mansion faced east on a rocky shoreline and had a pine forest to the west.

Trainer returned him to his room, where the air was warmer than in the rest of the house. Deliberately set for a naked prisoner, able to accommodate him despite being two levels underground.

After closing the door behind them, Trainer turned and studied Junho’s face, his expression attentive, his eyes deep and dark as forest ponds. Even if he could have fooled Trainer — which he doubted — it was too late to pretend to be more traumatized than he was feeling. Junho looked back into the Trainer’s eyes and let him see what he wanted.

After a long moment of mutual regard, Trainer nodded slightly to himself. “I’m glad you’re doing better this morning, Pretty.”

He sounded like he meant it. But for a moment, Junho wondered uneasily whether the man could see the little kernel of defiance he held there in the back of his mind, the slowly building escape plans that the shadow of his old self kept alive. What would the man do if he thought Junho wasn’t sufficiently broken?

Cautiously, Junho said, “I don’t feel good, Trainer. But not as bad.”

“Are you hurt anywhere?”

Junho had been trying to avoid thinking about how his body felt. Turning his attention to himself, with the high of his orgasm wearing off, his nipples were raw and his ass was sore.

He remembered the moment the VIP had grabbed his ribs and pulled him down, the way it felt to be forced open when he resisted, and he broke out in cold sweat. But he didn't skip.

When he told Trainer where he was sore, the larger man nodded. “Let’s get you cleaned up and taken care of.”

Trainer swapped Junho into his plastic cuffs and had him remove his eye makeup, clipped him into the shower with a single long lead attached to the back of Junho’s chest harness. Then he left the room.

Junho looked at the long lead, at his unclipped wrists. He could have undone the clips on his back harness or the wall, and then just left. It would be as awkward as scratching the middle of his back, but he knew he could reach it.

It’s a trap, the detective whispered.

No shit, Junho whispered back.

He remembered Trainer’s hand on the side of his calf, the alert look the muscular man had given him. The way the man’s eyes had told him not to try it.

In any case, he only would have made it as far as the palm-pad door. The right time would have been the patio doors. If he hadn't risked it then, he wouldn't risk it now.

Junho scrubbed himself hard where he could, gently where it hurt too much. He imagined that the soap was carrying every slimy molecule of the VIP off his skin and down the drain. Joining the rest of the shit in the sewer.

It didn’t matter how hard he scrubbed, or what he imagined. He couldn’t feel clean. But the thought of what the VIP had done to him didn’t drown him like it had the night before.

He knew he was still traumatized, but he had something to hold on to. He’d done what was needed to survive without giving up an essential part of himself. He still had some small amount of control. He had a line to hold on to, to keep his head above the churning ocean.

That he had given in the first time continued to haunt him. But the most important thing was to not disappoint himself in that way again.

When the trainer came back into the room, he wasn’t alone. Junho could only see the second person as a shorter shape through the fall of water and rising fog of the shower. Adrenaline shot into his system, making immediately wary and alert, but it was too late to detach his harness from the wall. He was cornered.

His heart was beating too fast. He couldn't breathe and couldn't get out. Junho decided that, if it seemed necessary, he would fight like a cornered animal. He had come too far.

Junho had pressed back against the wall between the bolts, protecting his back and ready to push off, before Trainer turned off the shower.

Glimmer gave him a cheery wave. “Pretty Eyes! It’s so good to see you again!”

Junho edged away from the wall but his anxiety didn’t abate. He hadn’t expected to have someone with such positive energy intrude into his place of dark and serious thoughts. To have someone use that name for him in this room.

“He prefers to save his full name for him,” Trainer said calmly, then stepped onto the wet tiles between Junho and the corner and set a hand on his shoulder.

Junho didn’t realize until that moment that he had started trembling. Maybe he wasn’t as okay as he’d been trying to convince himself.

Fake it until you make it, the detective advised wryly.

“Pretty!” Glimmer corrected herself. “It's good to see you so well!”

“Thank you, ma’am.” Junho tried not to sound as uncomfortable as he felt.

The last time this sparkling, cheerful woman had been brought to his torture room, he'd been fastened to the wall with his hands over his head, and she’d stuck needles and metal through some very sensitive and intimate places. His wrists weren’t fastened to the wall this time, but that settled him not at all.

Glimmer still had a little leather case with gold thumb-locks in her hands, and he couldn’t keep his eyes off it. She set it on the counter and clicked open the locks. The inside had the piercing supplies he recognized, as well as two different styles of scissors and a set of combs.

Junho’s unease stayed with him. He wasn't sure what to do with his hands. If he didn't keep his focus on them, they balled into fists.

Glimmer’s bare feet made wet noises on the textured tiles as she stepped into the shower corner. He didn’t realize he’d edged away until his side fetched up against Trainer’s.

Trainer’s hand gave Junho’s shoulder a steadying squeeze.

Glimmer smiled and took a step back. The rings through her lips glittered. “Trainer said your piercings have seen some use. I need to check them to make sure they aren’t damaged, okay?”

It wasn’t phrased as a true question. Was she looking for him to respond? He wasn’t going to give her permission to touch him intimately, even to be polite. Anyway, nothing he said or didn’t say would stop her.

The silence stretched a few awkward moments before she stepped forward again, and this time Junho made the effort to hold still.

Glimmer put her cheek to Junho’s chest, studying his nipples from one side, then the other. “A little irritated,” she tutted, “they really shouldn’t be seeing use like this yet.” She added quickly, “Not too bad, though.”

He smelled the disinfectant, the same he used on himself, when she dabbed it on his nipples. She manipulated the piercings, and he knew she was just seeing if they slid like they were supposed to, but the touches on those extremely sensitive areas was too much.

Like a napping dog when someone moved past the door outside, Junho felt that twitch of tightness and the awareness that told him dick was perking up. You just got yours, he told it angrily, but as usual, his dick didn’t care.

It only cared that there was a woman nearby, touching him intimately. He cursed his refractory period and hoped she didn’t need him to be perfectly flaccid, because as much as he wouldn’t mind another shower, he didn’t want it to be ice cold.

When Glimmer shifted the loop of his Prince Albert piercing, Junho couldn’t stop his shudder. Trainer’s hand squeezed his shoulder reassuringly. His erection wasn’t as sudden as it had been when he hadn’t gotten off for weeks, but he was definitely on his way up.

She dabbed disinfectant, touched the bead in the ring, tipped upside-down to look at everything from underneath. He could feel himself blush from his cheekbones to the middle of his chest.

Glimmer popped back up, announcing cheerfully, “All done!”

She said aside to Trainer, “I really wish that these weren't getting used so early.”

Trainer’s response was steady and calm. “He’d already been more patient than I expected.”

Glimmer patted Junho’s shoulder, butterfly light. “Sit!”

“Yes, ma’am,” Junho said, and tried to sit. His harness was still fastened to the wall, and it jerked him up short.

Junho could tell that Glimmer was trying not to look amused as Trainer unclipped him. “Well, don’t you know your work. He’s so well-trained!”

“He’s a natural,” Trainer said as he unclipped Junho from the wall. “Which is good, considering.”

As soon as he was unclipped, Junho folded into a kneel. The textured tiles ground against his knees. He still didn’t consider himself a ‘natural’ anything, and he was less than enthusiastic about Trainer telling Glimmer his opinion. As if the more people who thought he was naturally submissive, the more true it would become.

You’re not submitting to shit, the detective whispered sourly. He was biding his time. That was all.

Glimmer took a small comb and a set of scissors out of her case and started combing Junho’s wet hair forward. It was long enough to get into his eyes.

“How short, do you think?”

“Enough to grip. But other than that, just shorter. I don’t want to change Pretty’s look from when he captivated him.”

“I didn’t see them bring him in. Lush was just getting back, you know?” Glimmer giggled.

It constantly baffled Junho that any person could be so cheerful and happy in this terrible place, even if it was just outwardly.

Trainer went to get the tablet. A short time later, after consulting the tablet, Glimmer’s scissors went to work. Damp chunks of Junho’s hair began dropping to the shower tiles around him. She chatted with Trainer over Junho’s head while the hair showered down around him, and as much as the detective wanted Junho to pay attention, his body said that he’d slept poorly and was still traumatized.

He didn’t turn into the kite, but he went to the fountain. It was sunny there. He worked the crystal chimes of Glimmer’s voice into the tinkling of the water. He put a few clouds in the sky, disrupting the clear blue of it, as if to provide a backdrop for the child’s kite. Or a ceiling.

When Glimmer was done snipping and combing Junho’s hair, she slapped a mesh over the drain, and he was treated to a second shower while sitting on the shower floor, his cuffs not attached to anything, not even themselves. The lack of fastenings was almost as unnerving as Glimmer’s continued presence. At least the shower was warm this time.

Glimmer packed up her things while Trained toweled Junho off, despite that he could have done it himself. As if the post-shower ritual of Trainer toweling off Junho and changing his cuffs to leather was so ingrained now that it was simply a thing that happened.

After Glimmer’s case was all packed up, she said to Trainer, “Oh, the laser hair unit is here! But if he’s asking for him a lot, we really shouldn’t do that yet. If you don’t mind shaving a little while longer. He could get sweat burns, and those are no fun for anyone.”

“It can wait,” Trainer said as placidly as if they weren’t talking about using lasers to remove the hair from Junho’s balls.

Glimmer fluttered a wave at Junho and spoke as cheerfully as if she, too, hadn’t just been talking about using lasers on his balls. “Bye, Pretty! See you again soon!”

Junho was more comfortable when Trainer fastened his wrists together behind him and clipped the back of his chest harness to the wall. No choices involved. Trainer saw Glimmer out, and when he came back, he coated the inside of Junho’s chastity device with lube and slid him into it without comment. Junho was relieved that he didn’t get hard at the other man’s touch.

He moved Junho over to the counter. “I’ll be back with lunch. Do your eyes, in case he wants to see you again tonight.”

Twice in one day? He’d expected to have a little time to process what had happened to him. To get more sleep. To ask to work out, to take another trip to the fountain. Not to become the kite, just to imagine it floating against the sky.

Instead, he said apprehensively, “Yes, trainer.”

Chapter Text

During most of Junho’s life, he had been focused on one thing or another. He spent the vast majority of his time at the station, either working on his cases or socializing with his colleagues. It would have been safe to say that Junho’s job had been his life. When he wasn’t working, he was at the gym, out with friends, trying to date, streaming videos. He had always been doing something, going somewhere, working on something until he fell into bed to start the next day.

His mother was big on meditating at the end of the day. Then again, his mother also believed that gods were everywhere. His father had been more of a distant presence, through no fault of his own. He had to work hard to support their family after Junho’s kidneys started to fail and the doctor bills started rolling in.

Maybe that had been why he and Inho had been close. Two boys left largely to themselves, playing outside together, attending a small school together, recovering in the hospital together after Inho saved Junho’s life.

In any case, Junho had left behind his mother’s insistence on meditative reflection when he left home. But in his current life, reflection was the majority of what he did. When he wasn’t busy preparing to be raped, anxious about being raped, actually being raped, falling apart over being raped, or any number of other things related to his lack of control over his body.

The way he had shattered the night before had deeply worried him. What happened to his body was out of his control, but he needed to keep a firm grip on his mind if he was going to escape. He couldn’t turn into a kite and float away.

He still had to find out what had happened to Inho. He had a case to work.

Lunch was delicious. Dainty vegetable sandwiches and a fish dish that had just the right notes of butter and lemon, the fish barely seared and full of flavor. The bread was a rare treat. Junho couldn’t truly enjoy it because he had to go through the morning’s video with Trainer.

He had hoped to catch a glimpse of Song, to watch how the man reacted to what happened to try to get a better read on him, but the view of the video was from sideways over one of Junho’s shoulders. Instead, he got to watch the VIP’s facial expressions, which didn’t make his meal appetizing.

It wasn’t as bad as the night before since he didn’t have to watch a self-betrayal, and Trainer didn’t slap him even once. Instead, he gripped Junho’s shoulder and said warmly, “You did very well, Pretty. I’m proud of you.”

The knot in Junho’s gut loosened its icy grip then, and almost disappeared when they worked out the entire afternoon. Nothing too strenuous, but the sort of maintenance work that Junho could get lost in for hours if he let himself. Which he did.

After their shower, Trainer fastened Junho in by the counter to get dinner. But when Trainer came back in, he didn’t have a plastic box in his hands, and Junho’s body flooded with apprehension.

For a good reason. “Do your full face,” Trainer said briskly. “And put in the largest glass butt plug.”

His entire face? Junho had already acknowledged and was moving to obey, but Trainer’s words from a while ago floated into his mind. Full face around normal people only.

As his hands were working over his face with the rapidity instilled by Trainer’s incessant practices, Trainer said, “He wants you at supper. It isn’t usual.”

Junho’s hands stumbled.

So. He was going to be naked at a dinner with normal people around. That was disturbing enough, and he tried to put out of his mind anything else that might happen at dinner. What the fuck did ‘not usual’ even mean when it came to the VIP?

Worrying about it now wasn’t going to do him any good at all. What would happen would happen, and he’d hold the line.

He might even find a chance for escape. An opportunity to whisper something to some normal person. An unchained moment near a ground-floor door. He’d gotten pretty adept at moving in his hobble. If his hands were in front, maybe he could make the pine forest and buy enough time to get his restraints off.

The thought of trying to run barefoot and naked through pine trees was more welcome than thoughts about what might happen at dinner.

Trainer studied Junho’s face and gave a brief nod before changing his fastenings around, clipping his wrists at the small of his back, fastening the golden hobble between his ankles, clipping the short golden lead on his collar.

Then Trainer did something more or less unthinkable. He not only unfastened Junho’s chastity cage, he carefully pulled Junho’s junk through the base ring and slid the entire thing off. Junho hadn’t been free of the ring that supported his chastity cage since the first time Trainer had installed it. It felt strange to hang freely.

At least he didn’t get an immediate erection when Trainer touched him, though his dick got a bit of pleasant heaviness to it. He thought about having a semi at a dinner with normal people, and for once, the heaviness showed itself out.

Trainer led Junho up to the ground floor. The kitchen across from the landing was bustling, and the air was warm, moist, and fragrant with the smells of food preparation. The detective noted that there might be an escape route through the kitchen. A place as fancy as this wouldn’t bring produce in through the front door. The sun room had been on the left of the hall. The kitchen was on the right. West, then, facing the pine forest.

Trainer led him further down the hallway, past a door on the right that had been closed that morning. It was open into a narrow room full of linens and cutlery. The window did look out across a yard toward trees, and they stopped just before a door on the left.

Trainer shifted aside to allow a servant with a bottle of wine to go past them, then turned to Junho and looked him over like a parent checking a child over before sending them off to school. He gave Junho’s collar a solid tug, grunted when it didn’t slide. “Slightly off center.”

“Hold on to him, then,” a cultured feminine voice said from behind Junho. His skin crawled at having a person get that close to his back without him noticing. Damn the carpet.

“Yes, ma’am.” Trainer took a grip on Junho’s waist harness in the front.

Junho wanted to tell Venus that he wasn’t stupid enough to try to make a break for it with Trainer right here, but he wasn’t supposed to speak to someone above his station unless he was responding to a question or command. He doubted Trainer would screw up his carefully applied face makeup by slapping him, but he didn’t want to pay for it later either.

The brush of Venus’s fingers on the back of Junho’s neck as she undid the golden buckles there was feather-light and profoundly erotic, and he was suddenly very aware that his dick wasn’t in a cage. He’d just gotten off that morning. Why couldn’t it behave?

Probably because a woman was touching him in a sensitive area, and Junho was a horny man. Or ‘responsive,’ as they put it here. He bit his tongue and hoped the pain might help the situation.

Venus made a small adjustment to Junho’s collar before fastening the buckles back up. She came back around to the front, gave Junho an assessing look. The brilliant blue of her eyes against her very dark face was no less striking than it had been the first time Junho saw her.

Her look grew a little pointed and dropped below Junho’s waist. To Trainer, she asked, “Am I going to have to worry about him dribbling all over the floor?”

Junho’s face burned with embarrassment, and he hoped that the facial makeup hid it. He wanted to say that, first of all, it wasn’t his fault, and second, being in the dick prison inexplicably made him drip more, not less. Instead, he ground his tongue between his molars.

Calm and deferential, in what Junho was coming to recognize as Trainer’s professional voice, the beautiful man said, “I hope not, ma’am. I’ve done what I can. He leaks less out of chastity, and I was ordered not to train him in control.”

“We’ll just have to deal with it, then.” Venus didn’t sound any less irritated. She’d put up with it because she had to. The same as the rest of them.

She took Junho’s lead, and stepped toward the dining room. “Come.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Junho said, but his eyes flicked to Trainer, panic rising in his stomach.

Trainer’s dark eyes were calm and steady. They said ‘behave’ and ‘make me proud of you.’

Junho took a deep, settling breath as he followed Venus through the door. It was cleverly inset into the back corner of the room, but as Junho stepped into the dining room, its majesty spread out before him.

Across from him, sets of tall and narrow windows looked out over the lawn descending toward the rocky beach. The gold accents on the rich blue valences matched the gold of the chandelier. The hue and slant of the indirect light implied that sunset was taking place on the other side of the house, adding a rose shimmer to the diamond-patterned wooden floor.

The room’s other walls were paneled in a luxurious dark wood, pale blue columns at intervals breaking up the visual flow and lightening the room. The shorter walls corresponded with the ends of the table. The archway in the middle of the shorter wall across the room led into a broad hallway.

It had to be the hallway that cut across the cream hallway. The detective filled the dining room in on the floor plan.

Two people in silky black outfits with sandals chatted quietly as they set places at the magnificent dining table. Junho didn’t recognize them, and neither paid him any mind. The table had at least a dozen chairs with decoratively carved wooden backs and pale blue upholstery, but there were only five places set at the end nearest Junho.

The only surprise about the room was that it didn’t have any plants. The only other room in the house that hadn’t had plants was—

Junho wrestled his mind away from that thought, that place.

Venus led Junho to the space between the two chairs nearest the door, facing the windows. She pointed at the floor, where there was enough room between the chairs for him to fit comfortably, and Junho was careful not to overbalance as he folded his knees. His wrists were still fastened together at the small of his back, and he didn’t want to crack his head on the edge of the dining table.

Venus’s dark hand moved the other end of Junho’s short lead to the chair nearest the head of the table and clipped the carabiner to one of the decorative whorls that formed the chair’s back.

“I’m going to keep this brief,” she said from behind him, not seeming to care that Junho couldn’t look at her while she talked. “Normally, pets aren’t allowed at the table. You will do anything that you’re asked to do by anyone here, unless it conflicts with something the mister tells you to do. They means if the missus tells you to leave, you unclip yourself and go into the hallway unless the mister then orders you to stay. Do you understand?”

“Yes, ma’am.” He had no idea how he'd unclip himself, between the short lead and having his wrists behind his back, but he understood.

There was a long pause. Junho wondered if she was going to say anything else. When he finally decided to risk turning his head, she wasn’t there anymore.

The black-clad servants lit completely unnecessary taper candles before they left. At the level at which Junho was kneeling, he could comfortably look across the table. The waves rolled against the stones on the distant beach, reflecting a beauty in the sky that only grew more intense as the sun set. Junho started to settle back into a peaceful state.

Somewhere out there, Inho would be looking for him. He doubted that the sun was setting at the same time wherever they were, but at least they shared the same sunset.

The peaceful silence stretched until Junho heard the click of women’s heels echoing into the dining room from the hallway, growing louder as the steps got closer.

Chapter Text

The woman who walked into the dining room was marvelously curvy in a Marilyn Monroe way. The teal sundress she wore looked expensive and elegantly understated. Pale gold and diamond jewelry sparkled at her neck and one wrist, dangled from her ears, and she carried a brown handbag that matched her rich brown heels. It was the heels that had been clicking.

The moment the woman saw Junho kneeling by the table, she stopped dead. Her antipathy was palpable, her too-pink lips pressed with anger, and the peace Junho had taken from contemplating the sunset shattered into dark fragments. He was kneeling naked on the floor, legs under him, wrists fastened to the back of his waist, and hooked to a chair by his throat. Having someone look at him in anger when he was so helpless made cold sweat start at the back of Junho’s neck, and under his arms.

She turned and spoke back down the hallway in an American accent laced with anger, “What is this?”

The answering voice didn’t decrease Junho’s discomfort. The VIP sounded irritated rather than pleased. “I decided I wanted to bring him. You have a problem with that?”

The heavy man rolled into the room like a freight ship powered by a high-quality brown suit. He cut past the elegant woman and made his way straight toward Junho. Once he was past her glare, he smirked.

Junho kept his eyes on the VIP, but he saw the woman raise her chin and set her jaw. Her heels, clicking a rapid pattern of annoyance, took her to the other side of the table. Her anger cut toward Junho without her eyes needing to direct it.

She pulled out the chair across the table and smoothed her dress demurely before she sat. A waft of spicy perfume drifted to Junho's nose.

Junho’s body, normally so responsive to even just the sight of a woman, had no response to her at all. It was as if his dick recognized her as a predator, as dangerous in her own way as the VIP.

When the VIP went around behind Junho, he was torn. On one hand, he was under standing orders to look at the VIP’s face. On the other hand, he didn’t see how it would be possible from his position. Junho angled his eyes down and hoped he wouldn’t be punished too harshly if it was the wrong choice.

The short lead on his collar didn’t jerk him backward, but it did tug as the VIP pulled the chair back. After the chair creaked, the leg of his high-quality suit rested against Junho's side, the man deliberately putting it in contact. There was the faintest smell of tobacco smoke from his clothing, but the spicy perfume was stronger and Junho focused on that.

One of the servers brushed by, turning over glasses and pouring iced water for the VIP and his wife. He didn’t say anything, drifting in and away as silent as a shadow. Junho kept his eyes set straight at the edge of the table, not daring to look anywhere else.

“Where are Victoria and Junior?” The VIP addressed his wife with a hint of irritation.

“How would I know?” She snapped back. “Where’s your father? And why the fuck is your new pet here?”

The knot of dread that lived in the bottom of Junho’s stomach started sinking toward the center of the Earth. Never mind their argument. Were there seriously going to be children sitting at this table?

Junho flinched when the VIP’s hand landed on top of his head, ruffling through his newly shortened hair. “Pretty Eyes is a good boy. He won’t cause any trouble.”

“That isn’t the issue. The issue,” she strongly emphasized the word, “is that you’re breaking the no-pets rule. Again.”

The long, tense silence broke only when a new set of feminine shoes clicked on the floor. A young woman with unnaturally blonde hair drifted into the upper peripheral of Junho’s vision, texting furiously. Her tight jeans and short green blouse were profoundly at odds with the formal feeling of the room, and she flopped down into a chair next to the VIP’s wife.

Without looking up, she said, “Dad brought a pet to the table again? Seriously?”

“Apparently,” the VIP’s wife said.

The VIP’s fingers ruffled back and forth through Junho’s hair. Junho very carefully stared at edge of the table in front of him, not looking at either of the women, and trying to ignore daughter in particular. His dick got a little heavy against his leg anyway. A moment later, he about jumped out of his skin when the chair next to him pulled out and a young man settled into it.

Like the daughter, the son was dressed a lot less formally than the VIP or his wife. Junho didn’t look over, but he was wearing dark pants and what looked like a button-up maroon shirt, so he was at least one formality step above the young woman.

At least they weren’t children. The idea of young people being totally okay with a naked man chained to their father’s chair was disturbing, but not as disturbing as the thought of actual children seeing him like this.

“Dad brought one of his pets again?” The young man, Junior, sounded amused rather than angry.

“Clearly.” The young woman, Victoria, didn’t look up from her rapid-pace texting.

Junho heard the final chair on his side slide out, and there was a masculine grunt as a man settled into it.

The wife’s voice dripped false enthusiasm, “So nice of you to join us on time, Victor.”

“Always a pleasure to see you, Sarah.” The new man’s deep voice was equally sarcastic.

“If you didn’t want to see me, you could put an end to these ridiculous dinners. Some of us have important things to do.”

Victor’s laugh boomed through the spacious room, echoing as it bounced off the hard surfaces. “And then when would I see my family?”

“Christmas and Easter,” Victoria said, face still in her phone.

“Phone down,” the VIP said. “Family dinner is family time.”

“Ugh,” she breathed out, and the phone clicked face-down onto the table. “If it’s family time, why did you bring one of your pets?”

The VIP scritched his fingers through Junho’s hair again. “People say pets are like family.”

Junho certainly didn’t feel like family. Though the detective in him was curious to watch this fucked-up family dynamic play out, he would much rather be in the basement. It was strange, how safety could be so relative.

Servers moved around, pouring water and wine, setting what looked like salads in front of the family members. The only one who didn’t seem invested in the continued verbal sparring was Junior.

The first time the VIP held a forkful of food in front of Junho’s face, a drop of the vinegar-smelling dressing landed on his thigh before he realized what was expected. The lettuce was fresh and crisp, the dressing flavorful, the bit of fresh tomato disgusting and slimy in the way fresh tomato always was.

The VIP continued feeding Junho tiny bites throughout the meal, like a man surreptitiously feeding a dog under the table, while the conversation flowed around him. Most if it sounded forced and venomous. The detective learned that only the VIP and his father wanted to be at this dinner, that the others’ spending money was contingent on it. Just a little family blackmail.

After the salad, there was some sort of poultry, greasy and dense in a red wine sauce. When the black-clad servers cleared that away, some poured a new wine into different glasses and the food changed to medallions of the most tender and succulent pork Junho had ever had a tiny bite of.

When the young man’s hand settled on Junho’s back, below the line of the table, he barely stopped himself from jumping. The fingers weren’t as soft as the VIP’s, instead having a slight roughness to the pads. They caressed the space between Junho’s shoulder and spine in a way that would have made a previous version of him shudder and lean into it. Instead, he made himself sit perfectly still and breathe evenly, even as the sensation tightened his skin.

And not just the skin of his shoulders. He felt the twitch as his cock shifted against his thigh, and he became profoundly aware of himself as his expanding heaviness made him thicken and lengthen against his leg. The feedback loop as his body shifted, and those shifts pulled on his piercing, was maddening.

He endured the young man’s caresses through the change to dessert. He didn’t watch what the servers put down, focused hard on the edge of the table and on keeping his breathing even as the young man’s fingers tickled against his spine.

The next time the VIP held a forkful in front of him, he was grateful to lean for it. But the resulting quick brush of the young man’s fingers down his back made Junho shudder.

“Junior,” the VIP said sharply. “Hands off.”

The hand jerked away. The young man was sullen. “If I had my own, I wouldn’t touch yours.”

“They’re expensive, and you’re already wasting a bunch of money with your shitty grades.”

Voice tight and sarcastic, Junior said, “Then I guess I should go study for next semester or something. Mom. Grandfather.”

The chair next to Junho shoved out hard enough to squeal on the wood floor. A crumpled cloth napkin was thrown down directly on the dessert plate to Junho's left, and the cadence of the young man’s retreating footsteps was fast and angry.

Sarah’s voice was saccharine. “Oh my, someone got upset you brought a pet to the table and he was supposed to just look and not touch. It’s almost like there’s a reason for the ‘no pets at the table’ rule.”

Victor chuckled low. “I don’t know what you expected, son. Setting something so delicious next to that boy. I’m sure you remember what it was like to be that young.”

“Maybe I was testing his self-control.” The VIP was irritated again, not amused, and Junho’s body went cold as the ice vines spread through his veins.

Victor snorted. “It seems like your usual impulsiveness to me.”

Across the table, Victoria’s chair slid against the wood. “This is seriously embarrassing. I feel bad for you.”

She flounced off in the way only young women can, but not before picking up her phone.

Another chair pushed out. Victor’s deep voice did not offer a suggestion. “Son, let’s have a cigar in the den, why don’t we.”

Junho’s collar tugged when the VIP’s chair pushed out as well, and his suit rubbed his side when the man stood up. “Coming, Sarah?”

Still sweet as sugar, the VIP’s wife said, “I think I’ll finish my wine and let your daddy dress you down in private, darling.”

The VIP’s grunt was pure irritation, not the sort of grunt Junho was used to hearing from him. The two men discussed something about golfing on their way out, Junho barely knowing enough of the sport-specific words to pick up even that much.

After their conversation faded, the VIP’s wife pushed something back and forth on a plate with her fork. Despite Junho’s laser focus on the edge of the table, he could feel her eyes on him as she studied him. He felt like a rodent being eyed up by a snake.

He waited for someone to unclip him, take him back downstairs to his room where he’d be safe. Relatively. But no one did.

Chapter Text

The sounds of the conversation had fully faded down the hallway before the VIP’s wife pushed her chair back. Junho thought she would storm out the way the young woman had, but instead she went around the end of the table.

And around behind Junho. The ice in his stomach consolidated, turned into icebergs, put the sour taste of fear in his mouth. His heart pounded loudly in his ears, louder than the distant sound of the surf on the rocky beach.

But he still heard it when the carabiner clicked, before he felt the weight of his lead shift.

“Turn so I can see you.” The woman’s voice was no longer saccharine. It was as flat and black as a snake’s eyes.

“Yes, ma’am.” Junho shifted up and turned on his knees.

“Don’t you dare talk to me.” Her voice held a level of pure nastiness that pumped the ice from his stomach into his veins, freezing Junho for a moment before he continued to comply.

He didn’t look up at the woman, but instead kept his eyes unfocused and held at a downward angle. The deference he’d practiced with Trainer before the VIP had changed the rules.

For all that her tone of voice gave him pause, the woman's legs were directly in front of his face. The sundress tucked in at her waist and flared at her hips, then flowed loosely over her legs and hit just above her knees. Her calves were the tan shade that western white women cultivated.

With her so close, so visible, the fact that she was a woman and nearby overruled his mind’s warnings that she was a predator. His dick came to the front of his mind, the way it grew heavier. He'd only drooped back to a semi since the young man left, and the track of his fingers still lingered on Junho's spine. That he’d been in a cage for so long made him almost hyperaware of exactly how hard he could get without it.

Junho had hoped that his entire lack of response earlier would have prevented this. He put his tongue between his molars, bit down, and thought about the glare she had given him on the way in. If they did anything to stop his rise, he didn’t notice.

“Look up at me,” she said, in the way someone might actually talk to a dog. An authoritative command colored by just a hint of false sweetness.

He almost said ‘yes ma’am’ automatically, just managed to stop himself in time. She’d told him to stay silent. He had been ordered to do whatever he was told to, unless the VIP ordered otherwise.

None of her orders could be countermanded, the detective whispered.

Junho was suddenly and acutely aware that he was in serious danger.

He skipped his eyes up her body, flashing past anything else that would normally interest him. Her face was beautiful and youthful in the too-perfect way that spoke of plastic surgery and whatever other treatments older women used. There was nothing beautiful in flat way she was studying him.

“ ‘Pretty Eyes,’ ” she read out loud. “Well, you are pretty, aren’t you. I can see why you’re driving him out of his mind.”

The words might have been complimentary, but they weren’t stated like a compliment.

She jerked out the chair at the end, spun it so the back was against the table. “Get on the chair.”

Junho scrambled as best he could to his feet and sat his butt on the chair. It was upholstered with a soft but glossy fabric, still warm from the VIP’s ass. Junho’s wrists pressed against the back of the chair, he squeezed his ankles tight together.

He tried to think of anything other than the pull of his cock as it bobbed between his legs, now fully awake and erect at having a physically attractive woman in front of him. It turned out that his body didn’t care that she was a predator about to tear into him.

The woman’s eyes dropped down to Junho’s lap, flicked back up to his face so fast that she might have been watching a ping-pong ball bounce on a table. Now her eyes were fire and anger.

“And you aren’t even under control." Her voice spat venom like a cobra. “This is the last. Fucking. Time.”

She started hiking up her dress. Junho had no idea what she was doing. It made no sense. His brain couldn’t put the pieces together. It was terrifying and arousing in equal measure as her legs came into view and she pulled aside her thong.

It took him by complete surprise when she straddled his chair, grabbed his cock, lined him up, and sat on him. He’d experienced a lot of fucked up things, but he hadn't expected to be raped by a woman. Certainly not by a woman who looked so angry as she slammed down onto him, who dug her fingernails into the backs of his shoulders with the rapid closure of a striking snake.

Junho’s cock was suddenly enveloped by warm wetness. The long tug on his piercing was delicious and electric, the feeling of being inside someone after so long intense and powerful.

He groaned under his breath, but thankfully that didn’t seem to count as speaking. Her fingernails dug into the backs of his shoulders with points, and if she slapped him, he might lose an eye.

“Huh,” she breathed out hard herself. Junho felt her flex around him, a single testing pulse.

“Venus!” She shouted at the top of her lungs, scenting her cloud of spicy perfume with notes of wine and chocolate.

Shouted, not screamed. This wasn’t a woman in distress, this was a woman enraged.

Junho heard the slap of running sandals on the wood floor. They stopped. The pause between the stop and Venus’s cultured, carefully neutral voice seemed to last a lifetime.

“Yes, ma’am?”

“Go tell my husband what I’m doing,” the VIP's wife commanded flatly.

There was another noticeable pause from Venus. When she spoke, her voice was still carefully neutral. “Of course, ma’am. Right away.”

Venus’s sandals slapped on the floor as she sprinted away.

The VIP’s wife lifted her body and slammed it down again, and the deliciously sweet rub on his cock and the achingly electric tug from his ring made him throb.

“You had better not,” the woman said as she lifted up from Junho’s lap, slammed back down. “Fucking cum.”

The nails that the VIP’s wife dug into the backs of his shoulders weren’t points of pain with even mingled pleasure. They were pure pain, the grip so hard that Junho thought he felt blood trickle down his back. It was too warm to be his cold sweat.

She rode him hard, and every shift tugged his piercing. Junho dug his own nails into his palms, bit his tongue hard enough to taste blood, tried to keep himself under control. But he wasn’t sure that he was going to be able to hold back. The pleasure was rapidly dulling the pain, his free balls ached. If he closed his eyes, his brain strained toward the sensations, but if he opened them, tits bounced in his face.

Junho’s cock throbbed in time with his increasingly hard heartbeat.

He wouldn’t say that the VIP saved him, but the man did prevent something even more disastrous from happening. Junho was hit from the side by a rolling wave of brown fabric. The VIP’s wife was off him, the chair flew out from under him, and he was falling.

He instinctively tried to put his arms out, but they just jerked ineffectively in their fastenings. His shoulder hit the floor first, but that pain was the baby brother of the white lightning that shot through his head when the side of his face impacted the wooden floor.

One moment, his head was an explosion of pain, and the next, the VIP was kicking him and shouting in English. Junho had to struggle to focus on the words.

“ —think you’re doing!”

The VIP wasn’t shouting at him.

“Using the pet you brought into our fucking dining room like they’re supposed to be used!”

She must have gotten to her feet while Junho was out. Her brown high-heels were directly in front of Junho’s face, between him and the small door. He realized that his nose was bleeding. No, it was his mouth, his mouth tasted like iron. Or both. Something was bleeding.

He felt detached from the unfolding drama. A boy on the edge of a road, watching dogs fight in a dirty gutter. No attachment to either and no significant interest in who had the upper hand, as long as they didn’t turn on him.

But of course they turned on him. He was the bit of meat they were fighting over.

The VIP kicked Junho again in the back of one of his thighs, and Junho curled his legs up to protect his vitals in the way animals had been doing since before humans came down out of the trees.

“He isn’t fixed or orgasm trained you dumb bitch!” The VIP’s echoed through Junho’s head like the roar of an avalanche rolling down a mountain, white thunder that buried him inside it. “What if he’d cum inside you?!”

A glass shattered in a small explosion. Wine as red as the blood on the floor flowed down the wall by the little door, studded with sparkling shards. “Maybe the slanty-eyed bastard would remind you not to bring a pet to the dinner table!”

The woman’s shoes were suddenly gone from Junho’s line of sight, the clicking sound of them resounding through the soundless noise-space in Junho’s head.

He breathed in hard, then coughed blood from his mouth onto the floor. The coughing split his head with pain. He tried to ask the detective what had happened, but the darkness at the back of his mind was just darkness. It crept closer when he studied it.

The VIP’s next roar cut into the fog. “VENUS!!”

“Sir?” Junho hadn’t heard her approach, but suddenly her knees were on the floor in front of him.

“Where the fuck is Trainer!?”

The kick to Junho’s ass came close enough to his plug to jolt it painfully. He felt the fog in his head lift a little as his body surged with adrenaline.

“Here, sir,” Trainer’s voice was apologetic and deferential, but with some sort of strain underneath. His knees were in front of Junho’s face.

Hadn't they just been Venus’s knees? Junho mind swum.

The VIP’s shoe hit somewhere near Junho’s kidney, but the blossoming pain was nothing compared to the splitting pain that cracked in his head when the man shouted. “Put this piece of shit on his table!”

“Right away sir.”

A strong hand jerked Junho to his feet by the back of his collar, and he gagged and choked, coughed bloody saliva down his chest. When his feet were under him, Trainer switched his grip. One broad hand through Junho’s harness high on his back, the other digging his waist harness into his stomach.

Trainer muscled Junho out of the room, and Junho tried to keep his feet under him, to take the pressure off his stomach. There was a sharp pain in his foot, and Junho’s brain registered smears of blood on the white carpet, like footprints.

Was it his blood? Had he already come this way? It didn’t make sense.

Who the other bloody footprints belonged to didn’t matter. Enough of his brain fog had cleared for Junho to realize that he was so deeply in trouble that he would have to climb upward to reach the Marianas Trench. That it hadn’t been his fault wouldn’t matter any more than it ever had.

Chapter Text

Trainer didn’t release his grips on Junho's harnesses until he had marched him back to the torture room. It surprised Junho that he was released at all, lowered to the floor instead of tossed. The muscular man unfastened Junho’s hands from the small of his back, pointed at the table.

“Go stand there,” his trainer said. His voice wasn’t louder than usual, but it split through Junho’s aching head like a low roar of drums. “Don’t make me put you on it.”

This wasn’t the man called Trainer. This was the trainer, completely different in his voice and how he carried himself. The god of mercy and death.

He whispered, “Yes, trainer.”

Even the whisper was almost too loud.

The trainer moved toward the back of the room, not waiting to see if he would comply.

Junho swam up to his hands and knees, started to stand, sat back down. One of his legs flatly refused to allow him to stand on it. The shard of glass had gone entirely through his foot, a glittering triangle standing out from the top like one of Glimmer’s piercings. But covered in blood.

It was hard to get a grip on, harder to make himself pull it out from the bottom, but he did. It was almost as long as his index finger. Junho climbed to his feet, and his leg didn’t collapse that time.

The trainer was opening the floor-to-ceiling cabinet, the one with the black electronic lock pad that held all the torture equipment. Junho looked down at the shard of glass, tried to think about what he could do with it. It was slippery, with both the shard and his hands smeared with fresh blood.

He asked the detective what he should do, but the detective didn’t answer.

His thoughts felt sluggish, hazy. He forgot for a moment what his plan was, then it came back into his mind. Hold it to Trainer’s throat? Demand to be let out?

It wouldn’t work. The trainer would either hear him coming, and the shard was too slippery for him to hold it tight. Or the trainer would outright refuse, and then what? Junho would cut his throat?

Even if he hadn’t felt a pang at the thought – and fuck him, but he did feel a pang at the thought of hurting Trainer — he was still behind the palm-locked door. Once upon a time, he'd thought about dragging the trainer’s body to it, to get out. Now, he could barely stand. He’d be stuck in his torture room with the murdered corpse of the only man who even seemed to give a shit about him.

Junho didn’t stop looking at the shard as he limped toward the table, one foot both sticky and slippery on the tiles. Blood dripped from his face down onto his forearm.

He could probably use the shard of glass for a self-inflicted injury. He wouldn’t have to hold it too tight, he could press the blunt part that had been part of the rim against his palm, push the sharp end up the inside of his forearm.

He waited a moment for the detective to comment. There was nothing in the back of his mind but fog and darkness. It was up to him.

He didn’t want to die.

Junho limped over to the table, leaned his weight against the wall. He held the curved shard of glass between his finger and thumb, looked down at it. The smeared blood was already clotting and getting sticky. He wiped the back of his forearm across his chin to keep more blood from dripping on it.

He heard the slap of the trainer’s feet on the tiles as he came over. Heard the footsteps pause.

Junho looked up. The god of mercy and death had the plastic case of cuffs and two long straps in one hand. His eyes were attentive, flicking between Junho’s face and the shard of glass. Wary. Alert. Waiting.

Like the time he had waited for Junho to try to go through him to get to the door. A long time ago. With a chain.

Junho held out the shard of glass in the middle of his palm.

"I didn't choose to, trainer," he tried to say, but his voice clogged and it split through his head. He wasn't sure if his English was good enough to understand, whether he meant the glass, what had happened in the dining room, or both. Probably both.

Look at how compliant I’m being, he willed Trainer to understand. There’s no need to go hard on me.

The trainer took the curved shard carefully, set it on the farthest corner of the table from Junho. Then he started stripping off Junho’s leather cuffs, sticky with the blood that was already clotting and congealing, and transferred Junho to the plastic.

“Lie on the table,” the man said in his softest honey and whiskey voice, and even that was too loud.

Junho carefully lowered himself down to the padded black surface. It had been a good decision to not make trainer put him on it. Even the careful movement of his head ached like it was trying to split it. His body was ice cold, even though he’d decided this route.

When is a choice not a choice. Someone had said that to him, once. Maybe Inho.

When the trainer fastened him to the table, he didn’t leave Junho's wrists fastened to the small of his back, but instead clipped them to the straps and pulled those up to the corners, far over his head. He pulled Junho so far up the table that it wasn’t his stomach that rested against the edge of his table, it was his hips.

The slot through the table was there. He could rest his chin and forehead on the sides and watch his blood drip on the floor, if he wanted to.

He didn’t. He turned his head toward the room, and the blood tickled and dripped off his ear instead. He watched the trainer wash the blood off his hands, use a towel to dry them off before picking up the tablet. He watched the man’s thumbs work the screen.

Junho tried to breathe slowly and deeply, but his nose was plugged and it was harder to do meditative breathing through his mouth. He couldn't swallow the copper-and-fear flavor, he let that drip too. Dribbling on the floor. That one was definitely in Venus’s voice.

When the trainer came back over, Junho tried to keep his body relaxed. If he relaxed, it would sting more, but the bruises wouldn’t go as deep.

The trainer didn’t place the tablet on the edge of the table. That was Junho’s first indication that something was very wrong.

No, it was his second. He had been alarmed at his unusual position on the table, but he’d lost it in the fog and only found it when the second alarm rang and pulled the two together.

The trainer stood still with the tablet in his hands, looking at it expressionlessly. His thumbs moved over it again, paused. Moved over it again. Paused. He put the tablet high on the table.

Time passed, Junho was fuzzy on how much.

The door slammed open and bounced off the wall, the cracking sound shooting through Junho’s aching head like someone had fired a weapon close to his ear. The VIP boiled into the room. His face was a demon’s blood-red mask of rage. The burly olive-skinned man came in behind him, stood by the door with tightly crossed arms.

“You fucked! My wife!” The war-cry cut through Junho’s aching head. The door had been a bullet. The war-cry was a bludgeon.

Junho had been frightened in this place before. Scared. Even terrified. Terror was a splinter off the tree of what he felt at that moment.

“Please sir, I didn’t— "

He had been going to plead that he hadn’t wanted to, he’d only done as ordered, he didn’t have a choice. Instead, the trainer’s slap seared fire into the side of his face. His head was already hard against the padded table and didn’t move, but he tasted fresh blood.

His head hurt so badly. He closed his eyes to get them out of the light and plunged deep into the dark fog. His body invited him deeper, but he didn't want to go. Worried that if he followed the detective down they'd both die.

Distantly, he heard the low, rumbling drums of god of mercy and death. “You only speak when spoken to.”

The god of rage and war blared trumpets. “Fuck his mouth until your nuts are dry! Maybe he’ll learn to keep his mouth closed!”

The drums rumbled, “Yes, sir.”

The trumpets blared, “No, don’t take him of the table!" Thud. "After, you fucking idiot!”

The drums rumbled, “Yes, sir.”

Nausea rocked through Junho, sent pain down into his bowels, the cramps of food poisoning or the flu.

No, that was wrong. It was the slam of something into him that was causing the pain in his bowels. The nausea was him being rocked with it. Junho gagged from it, spat out a mouthful of thick saliva and blood.

Fingers twisted in Junho’s hair, the sharp pain bringing the sting of tears to Junho’s eyes and the adrenaline into his blood. It woke him up. He wished it hadn't.

The VIP shouted, “Answer me, you little shit!”

Junho didn’t know the question. He knew one thing, tried to say, “I’m sorry, sir.”

He was sorry about a lot of things. Decisions. The bright shards of decisions that had brought him here.

But even he had trouble understanding his English. There was something wrong with his nose, his lips.

“I fuck you! You don’t fuck my wife! Simple rules! Do you fucking understand?!”

Pain seared into his bowels and coughed out through Junho’s mouth. “Yes! Yes sir!”

Stop resisting, he told his body, and for once it listened to him. He went limp and let it happen, and it was painful and horrifying. He had never been treated so brutally.

He had a memory of a dark-skinned man on a table like this. The trainer telling him that blood poisoning was a bad way to die.

It went on, but all things end eventually. The pain and nausea rocked him one more time, the VIP's roar was dominance and rage, not pleasure. It thundered like an avalanche of white noise and pain that buried Junho in his own head. Heat seared deep into him, stung and burned in a way it never had before.

And then it was over. His scalp stung with the sensation of torn hair, but it was back on the padded table’s surface. His body cramping with pain and burning, but not rocking with nausea. The slam of the door shattered the silence and sent a bolt bright pain through Junho’s aching head.

He heard Trainer speak at a great distance, voice echoing oddly in the fog. “Ma’am, I could use the doctor in Pretty Eyes’ room.” A pause. "Sooner is best, ma'am." A pause. “Of course, ma’am.”

Junho let his head hang loose. The blood wasn’t dripping anymore. So there was that.

He wondered about the shard of glass, if he'd made the right decisions. The detective would know, but he was gone, and Junho was terribly lonely without him.

Chapter Text

Junho sprawled on his stomach on the table, his breath shuddering in and out. He was nauseated and his body flared hot and cold, the endless fog shot through with sickness. Maybe it was a poison fog.

“You with me, Pretty?” Trainer’s low, honey-smooth voice pulsed to him through the fog, low enough to slip underneath. Different from how the drums of the god of mercy and death had pounded through it.

“Yes, trainer,” Junho whispered in a voice that didn’t sound like his. It got stuck in the back of his throat, where it couldn’t go up the back of his nose, and it echoed strangely in the fog.

Junho felt a plastic straw press against his mouth. He tried to take a sip, but the water tasted like blood and stung his crackled lips. He couldn't make himself swallow it through his nausea. He let just fall back out of his mouth and it made a wet noise somewhere in the fog.

“Look at me.”

Junho rolled his head to the side and opened his eye. Just the one on top. The other felt stuck closed. “Yes, trainer.”

Trainer’s broad brows were folded together, his mouth was curled down in the corners. It was the largest expression Junho had seen on the stoic man’s face, and he was suddenly very anxious.

Whatever was making the unmovable man look at him like that was not good.

He went looking for the detective in the fog. He needed a second opinion.

Trainer's voice came to Junho, not the voice he was looking for. “Doctor’s coming to have a look at you. Pretty?”

“Yes?”

A hand touched Junho’s shoulder. “Open your eyes.”

Junho opened his eye. He wet his split lips with his tongue, tasted blood. “Yes, trainer.”

He tried, but it was a struggle. The light hurt and the darkness was far more inviting.

Every time his eye started to close, Trainer squeezed his shoulder and told him to open them.

Junho had to keep them open for him. Not just because it was an order, but also because he didn’t want to disappoint him. He needed Trainer on his side right now.

Junho struggled his feet back under him and took some of the weight off the bruised crease of his legs. Tried not to think about where else that movement made him hurt, or how much, or why.

When the door opened, the man who came had lightly browned skin, and his short black hair was going silver at his temples. Like Venus, he wore not only a clingy black uniform, but also soft sandals on his feet. The leather bag in his hands was a medical bag, marked with a white cross.

“Doctor,” Trainer said in his low and deferential voice. His eyes dropped, but he didn’t rise from his kneel by Junho’s table.

“Trainer.” The doctor’s English was thickly accented, and he sounded as tired and worn out as Junho’s detective ever had. “This is the one who started all the trouble?”

Trainer looked at the doctor. Silently. Expressionlessly.

The smaller man’s thick, dark brows lifted a little, pulled in, then his expression cleared. He nodded slightly, as if Trainer had said something.

“I need to look him over,” Doctor said brusquely.

“Yes, sir.” Trainer rose and moved away from the table. Junho hadn’t realized how much smaller the doctor was until he saw how Trainer towered over him.

Doctor knelt down and peered into Junho’s eyes. “Pretty Eyes. Tell me what happened with you.”

Junho winced at the volume, but acknowledged and then tried to describe his pains from start to finish.

The items he counted slipped through his fingers like wisps of cloud in the thick dark fog. He couldn’t start at his head, or he finished at his head. If he started at his feet, he could count the pulsing pain in his foot. He was fairly certain that one of his knees was badly bruised, but if he went higher than that, his thoughts wandered off. If he started at his fingertips, he got as far as his wrists, which had chafed in their unusual overhead position on the table while he had struggled...

Mentioning his injuries brought them to the front of his mind, describing them made it feel like they were being done to him again. He looked for Trainer.

The muscular man had knelt by the door with the plastic trashcan in his hand and a red washcloth. It took him a moment to resolve what was happening. Trainer was cleaning blood off the floor, rinsing the cloth back down to pink in the makeshift basin he’d made from the trashcan. Junho watched him go back to the sink to dump out the rust-red liquid and refill the basin with clean water.

Trainer had cleaned the blood off his body, but the silky pants still clung in strange ways instead of moving freely. His dark and alert eyes checked on Junho every few moments, even though the doctor was with him at the table. He relaxed.

Then he remembered that he was supposed to be describing his injuries, realized that he’d lost track of where in the sequence he was, and started again at when his face hit the floor.

“Okay, that’s good enough,” Doctor said, and Junho was relieved.

The man’s slim fingers felt from Junho’s chin, up the injured side of his face, and then pressed against Juhno’s forehead just above his eye. Junho winced away when his fingers pressed, though there wasn’t very far he could go.

Doctor got a penlight out of his bag. “Eyes open.”

Junho opened his one good eye. The small man sighed and gestured to Trainer. “I need a washcloth, wet, warm, and clean.”

The doctor soaked the scab off his bad eye, and when Junho couldn’t keep his eyes from flinching closed at the painful light, the doctor held his eyelids open for him. Doctor made Junho follow his finger with his eyes.

The doctor muttered something in a language Junho didn’t know.

He looked aside and up at Trainer. “I think nothing is broken in his face or nose or skull, but he is concussed. Concussion is always serious. I do not think more serious than usual, but hey, I have no equipment here. Call me immediately if he reports that his headache is worse from now, or if he starts vomiting or seizing.”

“Yes, sir,” Trainer said with an unusual stiffness to his voice.

“He needs a rest, a slow return to activity, or he will risk a permanent injury.”

“Yes, sir.”

Junho hoped that he would be allowed to get rest. But he had the vivid mental image of being required to go up to the second-floor den and present on that bed, no matter what condition he was in. For the VIP to do again what he’d done to Junho on the table. Nausea rolled through him.

“I will tell him, too, myself,” Doctor said, as if reading the concerns right out of Junho’s mind, his tone as firm and inarguable as any doctor Junho had ever heard in a hospital. “I will tell him if he doesn’t want this man to risk bleeding in his brain, he will give him time to heal.”

He didn't say that it was up to the VIP to decide whether he wanted to risk that. He didn't need to. They all understood.

Trainer said, “Thank you, sir.”

The doctor took a good deal of time cleaning Junho’s split brow and his foot, pinching the skin together and using some sort of glue on it. Either the doctor was muttering in a different language, or his words were too soft and distant in the fog for Junho to parse.

It was strange for Junho to have someone finger his ass in a nonsexual way. After Doctor took off his gloves and washed his hands in the sink, he said, “Nothing torn, but irritated. He will bleed some. If he gets a fever, give him the antibiotics from your kit and call me.”

Doctor and Trainer went to speak quietly by the door for a time, then Doctor left. Trainer came back over with two white pills, a plastic cup of water with a straw, and another fresh washcloth and the basin. Junho took the pills and sipped the water and made himself swallow despite his nausea. Taking pills was what you did after a doctor visited.

After, Trainer gently sponged off Junho’s body, cleaning off the sweat and blood, doing basic first aid on the things the doctor hadn’t bothered with, like the cuts on the backs of Junho’s shoulders, though he was careful not to disturb the areas that the doctor had cleaned and closed.

He touched Junho’s back gently and spoke to him in a low voice about how good he was being, how happy it made him that Junho was trying to keep his eyes open, and whenever Junho started to relax and close his eyes, Trainer ordered them back open in a low voice as warm as flannel.

Trainer’s touches were as soothing as his mother's had been when he was sick. What had happened was no more Trainer’s fault than it was his own. The VIP was a force of nature that they both had to endure.

He asked Junho to drink an entire cup of water before he came back and crouched down. His eyes were deep and dark and calm as forest pools, and there was a hint of regret at the corners. “I’m going to move you to the chair.”

Junho didn’t resist as Trainer moved him over to the chair and fastened him in the punishment position.

When Trainer pulled his dick out of his pants and started to stroke himself, Junho was confused. Trainer warning himself up was not a part of any of their usual sequences after he cared for Junho's needs while he was in the chair.

The VIP’s words echoed in Junho’s mind as if they were coming to him out of a dream. “Fuck his mouth until your nuts are dry,” and, "After, you fucking idiot.

Oh. Right.

Trainer’s face appeared expressionless as he looked at nothing, but Junho could read the subtle lines at the corners of his eyes and mouth. Had it been up to him, he wouldn’t be doing this.

Then his face shifted, settled into calm and serene planes as unmovable as desert hardpan. It was the trainer who said, “Don’t speak unless spoken to.”

He straddled the chair and Junho opened his mouth. The man’s broad hands settled on either side of Junho’s head, avoiding his lump and gripping firmly but not hard. Holding Junho's head very still.

“Relax your throat.”

Junho closed his eyes. He didn’t have to watch this man’s face, and didn’t want to. He had the vivid memory of the lights coming on in this room, once, an explicit hand gesture made that illustrated this exact act.

He tasted different than Junho remembered. His smell was heavier and more masculine, his taste sharper. Not freshly showered, Junho realized, and wondered what it said about him. That he knew that men tasted stronger when they hadn’t showered. Not sweaty, just stronger. He hoped that detail would get lost in the fog, but the fog was distant and muted now.

The trainer’s pace was fast but not violent. Junho’s problem was that his lips were swollen and painful, that he could truly only breathe through one nostril. If the trainer saw distress in Junho’s face, he ignored it. The man’s breathing picked up, and his sudden hardness and sharp exhale were the only warnings Junho had to stop trying to breathe.

The hands in Junho’s hair held him close, and the trainer’s cock pulsed against Junho’s tongue. That too tasted different, still a little salty and bitter, but not as bitter as the VIP's seed. Junho swallowed.

The trainer pulled out. The pink behind Junho’s eyelids went black when the lights clicked off. He didn’t need to open them to know the way the wedge of light would expand and then contract across the red-glazed floor tiles. It was just him, now.

Chapter Text

There was no rational reason for Hwang In-ho to keep his studio apartment without a detective brother to hide the rest of his life from. But he paid the next month’s rent on time, even as he wound up Junho’s affairs, arranged a funeral for their mother to attend, attended the memorial that his police colleagues had arranged for him, and put his things in storage.

He even oversaw the dispersal of the ashes under Junho's name, cast them over the cliff where 'Junho' had died. It felt appropriate.

He kept the apartment because there was a not-zero chance that Junho was alive. He was one of the most resourceful people that Inho knew. If anyone could escape from captivity, it would be his brother. And if he escaped from the Panther VIP, or whoever the man had sold him to, Junho would either call Inho’s phone or show up at his apartment.

He was legally dead and lacked things like money or a place to stay. Why wouldn't he look for safety at his brother's apartment?

Junho was likely to just call him. But the mere existence of that not-zero chance made the small investment in the apartment worthwhile.

Inho believed that it was far more likely that he would find Junho than the other way around. He didn’t fool himself – his chances of finding Junho with the information he had were surpassingly small. He had very little information to go on and had to conduct his search slowly and quietly.

Conducting his search quickly, and therefore noisily, would get him noticed. The old man kept eyes on everyone who had been involved in the games, no matter which side the person had played for. Inho had no doubt that the old man kept extra eyes on Inho, the heir apparent.

The key word being ‘apparent.’ If the old man discovered that Inho was trying to determine the identity of one of the VIPs, that could very well be game over.

So Inho went carefully. He had plenty of time. If anyone lacked time, it was Junho, and he could have run out of time the day after the Panther VIP abducted him. If Junho was still out there, it wouldn’t serve either of them for Inho to be murdered.

Carefully also required more money, but money wasn’t a thing Inho was short on anymore.

His deficit was information. The identities of the VIPs were kept strictly confidential. The cameras were turned off from where the helicopter landed to the VIP area, and that area wasn’t monitored or recorded.

That was part blessing, part curse. There were no recordings of a gun-toting police officer going through rooms and filing cabinets, shooting open ladder wells, and whatever else Junho had gotten up to. It had been a pain in the ass to put things back in their proper places and replace the shot-out lock without anyone noticing, but that was easier to fix slowly and quietly than it would have been to hastily destroy and replace recordings. A physical lock had no metadata.

Inho knew only a few things about the Panther VIP, none of them specific. From his accent, he was American, an American expatriate, or someone who had attended a boarding school in America from a young age. The man was overweight, old enough to have grey in his facial hair, enjoyed fine food, preferred whiskey to wine. He wore bespoke suits. Inho suspected, but didn’t know for sure, that the Panther VIP and the old man were acquainted through the world of finance.

What he knew could have described thousands of Americans who thought of themselves as wealthy. It would have helped if Inho knew whether the man still lived in America or had moved abroad, was new-money or old-money, what his specific line of work was, if he had a family. If he kept his abductees or sold them or killed them. A recording of the man’s voice or a single partial photograph of him, even wearing his panther mask, would have been worth its weight in gold.

He had no photographs or recordings, knew none of that information. What he had was ₩10 and tenacity. Therefore, his chances of finding the Panther VIP were slim and more or less dependent on the man being sloppy. Direct public flights to areas that correlated with the games, connections or mentions on social media or in financial news, things of that nature.

But a slim chance was also not zero chance.

And so Inho discretely engaged private investigators through layers of people who didn’t know who they were working for or looking for, and had those investigators look into every angle he could think of and some they thought of on their own. So far, not one of the possible contacts had been the person he was looking for.

Inho had plenty of time outside the games, just like he had plenty of money. He organized the information they did bring him and combed through it, looking for clues to the man’s identity.

Looking for clues. Like a detective. That amused him.

There were two likely paths to finding Junho. The first and most likely was that the Panther VIP would be back for the next games. He was a regular, and Inho would gather what information he could about the man then. The second was that the old man’s cancer finally killed him and he left the running of the games to Inho. He would find out what the old man had on the Panther VIP then.

All paths led to the same destination. He would find Junho alive, or he would find him dead, and he would decide what to do from there.

For now, he walked the unlikely path and hoped that he got lucky. Who knew? It wouldn’t be the first time Inho had been lucky. He’d won the game, after all.

And when it came to his brother, Inho intended to live up to his name.

Chapter Text

Junho’s time in the chair had been better and worse. His ass hurt, but it was a different sort hurt than it would have been from sitting on bruises. Not nearly as physically painful, but it made him feel sick to think about what had been done to him to cause the pain.

He was so tired, but he didn’t think a person with a concussion was supposed to sleep. If the chair had a silver lining, it was that it was impossible to truly sleep in it. Every time he started to nod, his collar dug into his throat and he choked awake.

The loneliness was the worse than the pain. Without Trainer to anchor him in the right time and place, his mind unmoored and drifted around on a dark sea that held all sorts of disconnected nightmare pearls beneath its waves. He tried not to allow his eyes to fall on them, but they called to him like sirens. Whenever he so much as glanced at one, images and sounds and sensations invaded his mind.

Junho relived everything he had been through again and again. Being brutalized on the table was foggy, but his waking nightmares were happy to add details to that until he wasn’t sure how much had happened and how much was imagined. His times on the VIP's black bed or dangling from his wrists while the VIP molested him also were frequent features, the sunroom couch less so. He also looked at the pearls that held the VIP telling him that he was dead, his decision to give the man a blowjob in the first place.

And yet, he didn't know how his choices could have differed. He didn’t know where he'd misplaced his gun and now thought it likely that someone had lifted it from his pocket on his way into the VIP room. The decision that would have led him along a different path was his decision to follow the abduction vans onto the ship. If he hadn’t followed the vans, he wouldn’t be in a torture dungeon.

He didn’t regret looking for his brother.

His lack of regret didn’t stop the nightmares, or lighten the horrors they held.

The detective rose from the darkness as the fog cleared from over his sea-mind. He tried to hold Junho’s head above the waves of nightmares and despair, but not in a way that he appreciated. That part of himself tried to bait him into an argument, as if flailing his arms would keep his head from going under instead of just prolonging the drowning.

Now you know what he is, the detective said after Junho jerked out of a memory of the black emptiness in the trainer’s eyes as he fucked Junho’s throat.

The trainer and Trainer aren’t the same person, he responded to himself. And I don’t care which comes back, as long as they turn on the light. I’m not looking for a friend. Just light.

Even after he strapped you to that table, knowing what the VIP had in mind? And then raped your mouth, like you were just very vividly remembering?

It was the nightmare that put that dead look in his eyes. That wasn’t how it was. I wasn’t looking at him when that happened. He hadn’t wanted to.

He still did it.

How is this time different from any other time he’s stuck his cock down my throat? Because he came this time? Because this time I hadn’t done anything to deserve it?

It isn’t different from any time. It’s always been wrong and it’s never been your fault. By the way? ‘Just following orders’ is a terrible excuse for violence. You’d never buy it from yourself. You can’t buy it from him.

Yes, he hurts me, Junho responded with frustration. But he also helps me as much as he can.

He isn’t helping you. His actions aren’t based in altruism. He’s manipulating you. If he was helping you, why hasn’t he helped you escape?

He helps me escape, then what? I’m replaced. He has to start over with someone new, unless he’s caught at it and killed himself.

He could help you escape by escaping with you, the detective sounded weary. You could go to the police together, and you’d be more credible for having similar stories. One of you might be dismissed as a crazy person, but they’d have to at least consider it if there were two of you.

Please leave me alone. I just want the light.

It isn’t just the light you want, either. You can’t hide this shit from me, I am you. You want his hand on your shoulder and you want to hear him tell you that you’re okay and that everything will be alright, even though that’s a fucking lie.

“I know!” Junho shouted at darkness.

The sound cracked through his head and stoked his headache back to full roar. The flavor of rust invaded his mouth, and warm liquid resumed its slow roll down his chin, dripped down to his chest.

Drip.

Drip.

Drip.

He had the vivid mental image of Peaches’ saliva spattered on the carpet in the VIP’s playroom or sex den or whatever it was, little spots of wet that he’d stared at before the VIP took Junho’s ass for the first time. The memory kept unfolding and wrapped Junho in it, drowned him in waves of shame and anguish.

We have to get out of here, Junho thought when he resurfaced, and he wasn’t sure which part of him that was. Probably both. He fully wanted to get out of here.

Was escape a dead hope? There were people like Trainer, who walked around without hobbles or harnesses, who were able to pass the hand-pad door, who could probably just walk out the front door regardless of whether it was allowed.

People like Trainer, who hadn’t left. So why were they all still here?

What if there was no way out? Cameras in the woods? Scent dogs? Booby traps?

If people have escaped, the detective pointed out calmly, they wouldn’t still be here. These would be the replacements you just went on about. Maybe these people lack the balls or skills to escape, or they’ve let this place beat them down so badly that they can’t stand to make a try.

Junho took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. He was so tired of arguing with himself.

Regardless of whether it was wise to sleep with a concussion, he couldn’t put the weariness off forever. He sloped his shoulders forward, tipped his head down, found a marginally comfortable way for his plastic collar to rest, and began passing in and out of consciousness. Very little marked one state from the other. His dreams had headaches, his awake mind held nightmares.

When the twin daggers of light stabbed into his brain during one of the waking nightmares, he shouted in pain and confusion.

Junho hadn’t truly expected the possibility of the light yet. He wasn’t able to keep time in the darkness, but he was intimately familiar with each step of neglect. He was thirsty and drying out, but his tongue wasn’t gummy. He’d been in the dark long enough to relive the previous two days and more, over and over, in vivid flashes of nightmare. But not so long that he’d pissed himself.

It wasn’t as long as he had been left alone when he was being punished before.

When Junho managed to squint his eyes open, he looked to the wooden door with its golden knob. Trainer should have been standing between Junho and that door. He wasn’t.

The unexpected raised a profound anxiety in Junho, made his heart pound so hard that his head started pounding with it. His wild eyes located Trainer next to the chair, placing a plastic box down on the floor.

When the muscular man looked up, his eyes were gold-lined, but they were Trainer’s calm and compassionate eyes. Not the empty eyes of the god and mercy and death. A bruise darkened one side of his jaw, made the brown uneven.

Junho took a breath to ask something, but his mind stuttered between the usual formula of asking to suck the trainer’s cock and asking what was happening and asking why he was here and asking what had happened to his face. He clamped his mouth closed. He didn’t want to risk his precarious deliverance on a potentially impermissible question.

Empty your nuts down his throat until he learns not to speak unless spoken to.

Trainer seemed to understand what Junho wanted to ask. He placed his warm and mooring palm on Junho’s thigh and spoke in his slowest and steadiest voice, “What happened made him very angry. He regrets the extent of it, and believes you have been sufficiently punished. You'll be okay, Pretty.”

That wasn’t an apology, the detective whispered. ‘What happened,’ not ‘what his wife did to you.’ And ‘you have been sufficiently punished,’ not ‘you shouldn’t have been punished in the first fucking place.’

He remembered what the trainer had said before Glimmer pierced Junho with the VIP’s golden rings. He was like work of art or an investment, not to be harmed unless the VIP couldn’t help it.

Apparently, this had been one of the times he hadn’t been able to help it. Threw the art down the stairs in a tantrum because someone else touched it. Junho’s mouth was bitter with more than the taste of old blood.

After Trainer brought Junho a cup of water, he unfastened him from the chair and helped him down to the floor. Then he went and came back with wet a washcloth and the makeshift basin, half filled with water.

He wiped the sticky blood off Junho’s chest first. Junho had to struggle not to flinch away when Trainer carefully dabbed his face. The formerly white fabric was now a riot of colors. The red of flesh blood, the rusty color of rewet blood, patterned smears of pale and dark makeup, they all blended like a macabre piece of modern art.

It took Trainer a long time to clean Junho’s face, going carefully so he didn’t disrupt any scabs. The entire left side of his face had been caked in dried blood. He remembered the doctor saying that no bones were broken, but the swelling was still bad enough that he had trouble opening that eye, breathing through his nose at all. His lips felt as swollen as balloons.

Junho was almost afraid to touch his teeth with the tip of his tongue, but when he got up the courage, they were all there. None felt loose to his tiny prods. Little blessings.

It was revealed that the plastic box contained a soup heavy with vegetables and shreds of chicken. Trainer took a hunk of bread from one of the pockets of his silky black pants. Bread, a rare treat.

Junho stared down at the box of soup, took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. He was willing to risk a question now that it seemed less likely that the nuts thing was a standing order. “May I ask a question, trainer?”

“Yes, Pretty?”

“How will this… affect my service?”

Trainer looked Junho in the eyes. His gold-rimmed eyes were dark, still pools. “He’s agreed with Doctor’s recommendation that you be given time to heal.”

Junho glanced away, knowing that it wouldn’t keep Trainer from seeing his anxiety, but still not wanting to look him in the eyes. “So, just blowjobs, trainer, or…?”

Trainer set his hand on Junho’s shoulder, squeezed gently. “Rest means rest. And your face is injured, too. You can’t give good blowjobs with those fat lips.”

There was the subtlest hint of a joke underneath the slow current of Trainer’s voice, almost a ribbing. The blowjob he’d taken from Junho had probably been terrible. Junho would have cracked a smile if he hadn’t been worried that it would open his split lip up again. It was a horrifying thing to share a moment of humor over, but they were in a horrifying place.

The idea of not having to see the VIP for a while lifted a little weight off his soul. And that there was no tablet on the other side of the box made it seem unlikely that he’d be required to watch that particular video. It had been bad enough to be brutalized. Those flashes of it he could remember through the fog and confusion were more than enough horror. He didn’t want to see it from an outsider’s perspective, have it fixed even more firmly in his mind.

After Junho finished the meal, soaking the bread in the soup so that he didn’t have to chew it, Trainer slid the plastic box over toward the door. “Up. We’ll clean your face again properly, shower and shave.”

Junho acknowledged and went. Between his foot and bruised knee, his limp was pronounced, and his other aches and pains had him moving gingerly. The thought of a shower was more than welcome.

He started to go through the usual hygiene routine, but Trainer stopped him with a touch when he reached for the panel that held the enema tube. “Skip this for now.”

Trainer taped a plastic bag over the ankle of his wounded foot but left his forehead alone. Even though Junho knew that nothing was going to be required of him, when Trainer took off even the base of his dick prison before putting him into the shower, he was immediately anxious and wanted it back.

He never would have thought something as maddening as having his dick locked up could feel like such a safety net. But maddening or not, his dick prison felt like safety. If his dick was caged, nobody could make him cum, not even himself. His dick only came out when the VIP was assaulting him. His mind made those associations without him.

“Shave extra well today,” Trainer said when he put the safety razor in Junho’s hand.

Junho didn’t ask why, he just took extra care when shaving. Trainer took off his plastic cuffs one at a time so he could shave under them before they were fastened back on.

Not having to shave around the dick prison was strange. There was no chance at all of him getting it up with his headache coming and going like an uncertain breeze, sometimes bringing a feeling of wrongness or fog with it, and with the painful memories ambushing him randomly. But his brain kept touching on how naked he felt.

He didn’t think anything of it when Trainer wrapped his glued-together foot in gauze after the shower. But when he held out four little orange pills, that gave the detective pause.

More painkillers seemed unlikely or he would have given them before Junho started moving around. An antibiotic seemed unlikely, too. Junho felt unwell, but he didn’t think he had a fever.

Trainer’s expression as he continued to hold out the pills shifted from ‘take these’ to ‘don’t make me put these down your throat.’ Junho took the pills and the plastic sip cup and swallowed them down one at a time.

Trainer fastened Junho’s wrists together and clipped them to the front of his waist harness, then clipped the long lead to his collar. He didn’t put the hobble between Junho’s ankles, which he was grateful for, considering that he couldn’t help but limp. His foot really hurt to stand on.

The detective nagged in the back of his mind. If he wasn’t being called to serve, if he was supposed to be resting, then where were they going?

But Junho was no longer at risk of hesitating when Trainer said, “Come.” He just acknowledged and limped behind Trainer to the gold-knobbed door.

Chapter Text

Instead of turning the usual way down the hall, Trainer turned in the other direction, and Junho got his first real look at the other end. Four more sets of doors exactly like his, across the hall from each other, then a blank stretch of wall leading to another palm-pad door.

Twenty torture rooms in the sub-basement, then. Too few rooms to house all the people he’d seen. Special rooms for those who ‘served’ like Junho, maybe, or for those who couldn’t be trusted not to make a break for it.

Still. Twenty rooms in all. Twenty.

Trainer pressed his hand to the pad at the end of the hallway and led Junho through the unfamiliar door. On the other side, another hallway extended at a perpendicular angle. There was an identical palm-pad door directly across from them, but Trainer led him to the left.

The doors in the new hallway were different, plainer, cheap-looking. Maybe wood-veneered particle board. The cement floor had some parallel-line wear, and the muted sounds of machinery hummed somewhere. The air was chillier than it had been in Junho’s room, a basement temperature not designed to accommodate a naked man. He shivered.

The room that Trainer led Junho into looked almost like a doctor’s office. The floor was a durable off-white linoleum, though the walls were unfinished drywall. There was a table with a white cloth covering and even a pillow. A tall box with tubes sat near one end of it, equipment that someone might see near a hospital bed. In the far corner was a dental stand, plastic covering a series of small picks and mirrors, hooked into a sink with a short length of hose. A stool with wheels sat next to the bed, adding to the doctor-room feel. The miniature refrigerator under one of the off-white counters seemed out of place, though. As did the fastening places on the bed.

Trainer turned and looked Junho in the eyes. He spoke in a voice as low and slow as molasses spreading across the very cold floor. “After I release you, you’re going to lie on the table and behave.”

“Yes, trainer,” Junho said.

Trainer not only unclipped the carabiners from each of Junho’s restraints, he unbuckled the cuffs and set them on the counter above the minifridge. Junho was well and truly naked, and it made his balls crawl up into his throat.

He wanted to make a run for it, not out of any escape plan, but because his body was shoving adrenaline into his system and telling him to get the fuck out of this unusual and therefore dangerous situation.

Instead, he made himself sit on the edge of the bed, settle back carefully, and put his head on the pillow. He was starting to feel a little woozy, not precisely like being drunk, but similar. A little off balance, his body buzzing pleasantly. For the first time in a long time, he felt himself truly relaxing. He closed his eyes.

Behind his eyelids, he watched himself and Inho play in a sandpit with a set of trucks, digging and pressing with their hands to make tracks for the vehicles and little bulldozer to run on. Which didn’t make sense, when someone thought about the point of a bulldozer. Silly children.

He didn’t think he’d fallen asleep, not exactly, but an exclamation reoriented him in reality by spiking pain into his head. “Trainer!”

Glimmer’s beautiful crystal voice was like a sharp knife stabbed directly into his frontal lobes. Junho flinched but didn’t want to open his eyes. He’d been having a nice dream for once, and he just wanted to get back to it.

He must have made some sort of noise, because her volume dropped immediately. “Oh goodness, I’m so sorry. I heard he and Venus were hurt, and Tydeus on the other side, but I didn't think it was.” She paused. “He looks…”

“The concussion is the most concerning,” Trainer said in his lowest molasses voice. "Nothing's broken, and Doctor thinks any brow scaring will be minimal, if it scars at all."

“Oh no,” Glimmer said, and Junho was touched that she actually sounded distressed. “I hope he's able to get well soon.”

“He’ll be on light activity until Doctor clears him. It seemed like a good time for this.”

Glimmer laughed softly, and even muted, her laughter tinkled like ice bells and shimmered pain through Junho’s head. “How utilitarian.”

He didn’t startle when Glimmer set her hand on his shoulder, but he did open his eyes.

She smiled down at him. The fluorescent light above gave her ink-black hair a halo and glinted off the rings through her lips. “Good morning, sweetheart. We’re doing laser hair removal today, okay?”

Junho smiled back up at her, searched for the words in English. “You’re very beautiful. Even the lip rings. I thought they were strange at first, but now I see that they’re a reflection of your inner self.”

“I sedated him pretty heavily.” Trainer’s low voice was apologetic.

Glimmer smoothed her hand down Junho’s forehead, and he was happy enough to close his eyes again. “Thank you. I’m going to put some goggles on you, dear. Don’t take them off, okay?”

It reminded him of his mother, singing to him and smoothing his forehead as she put him to sleep. The weight on his eyelids didn’t hurt at all. He dreamed.

He and Inho were sitting together in the back of the car. From the whir of the motor, he thought they were going somewhere, maybe into the city. At first, they were coloring together, but then Inho leaned over and started flicking him.

Junho kept calling for their mom to put a stop to it, but she ignored them. She was no more than a shadowy shape in the driver’s seat. Every time Inho flicked him, it was in a new spot, and Junho was almost in tears.

When Inho flicked the inside of his knee, it hurt particularly bad. There was a press of something so cold that it was just on this side of painful, then another little snap as Inho flicked him.

“Mom! Make him stop!”

A warm, solid, and familiar hand pressed down on Junho’s chest, just under his collarbone. “You’re okay, Pretty.”

Junho was okay. He took in a deep breath in through his mouth and sighed it out.

“A minute, Glimmer,” Trainer said.

“Oh, sure!”

“Can you go heavier on—” a word Junho didn’t know. “He sounds distressed.”

“Oh, you’re so much nicer than Handler.” Glimmer’s voice was fond, at first, then for the first time, her voice went sober. “He uses this as punishment sometimes, did you know that? When I said I wouldn’t do it anymore, he said—”

Trainer cut her off, his voice stiff. “Let’s not talk about that with Pretty here. He’s out of it, but not ‘out’ out.”

Part of Junho wanted to wake up, to pay more attention. Gather clues for the case.

Junho felt a hand slide up the inside of one thigh on something slippery, lightly and thoroughly rub his junk, then slide down the other side. It felt very nice to be touched gently, but then it was like the cold room invaded him. Everything went tingling numb, and then just numb.

It was profoundly weird. “Did my dick just freeze off?”

Trainer gave his chest a pat. “You’re fine, Pretty. You're doing very well. I'm proud of you.”

“Okay,” Junho said, “I'm going to look for Inho.”

“Do you speak…” Glimmer started conversationally, but Junho went off looking for Inho.

They flew kites in a park by a fountain. Inho showed him the best way to fasten the sticks and paper together, then showed him the trick behind how to bank. They were going to fight kites later, and Inho wanted Junho on his team. He was very good at fighting kites, and Junho was excited to learn his secrets, to finally be allowed on the big boy team.

He woke up again when Trainer lifted his torso up off the pillow, cradling the back of his head like an infant. “C’mon Pretty, wake up. Pretty. Wake up.”

“Yes, trainer,” Junho said. It felt like his head was stuffed with cotton, and he was having the most beautiful dreams, if only he could get back to them.

“I need you to help me get you on your stomach. Gently.”

Was that all? Junho rolled onto his stomach, careful of the headache he didn't really care about. He clutched his arms around the pillow under his head and tried to remember what he’d been dreaming about. Kites. Something with kites.

There was a press of cold on the back of his calf, a little snap like a rubber-band being flicked against his skin. It kept him from finding the kites.

Glimmer’s crystal voice shimmered through Junho’s head like windchimes stirred by a breeze. “I’m worried about you, is all. And with how Song’s been acting up…”

Junho drifted off to the sound of windchimes. There were chimes on the little shrine in the back yard. They used to play with marbles back there, all sorts of games. There was something sinister about the marble games though, something he had to keep an eye on, and when he saw a storm coming, he grabbed Inho’s hand and they fled into a boat that rocked on choppy dark waves.

Trainer’s gentle squeezing and releasing of his shoulder worked him awake. “Pretty,” His patient tone had a rhythm that made Junho think he’d been saying it a while. “It’s time to get up. Come on, Pretty. I need you to wake up.”

Junho made a sleepy noise that wasn’t a sound in any language he knew.

“Up,” Trainer said more firmly.

“Yes, trainer,” Junho said, peeling his eyes open. He was mildly surprised to find that he could. They’d been so heavy before.

The little room was empty. Glimmer was gone. He smelled aloe before he realized that his entire body was sticky with it. His wrists didn’t have cuffs on them, and Trainer was wearing the long lead like a necklace with cuff-shaped beads. Junho felt disoriented and wasn't quite sure whether he was awake or asleep.

He sat up carefully on the sticky bed. He wasn't sure how he'd gotten onto his back again. And his entire body felt strange, like parts of him had been in the sun a little too long but other parts had been numbed in the cold. His mind had trouble sorting and making sense of the sensations, trying to put the puzzle together while drunk and sleepy.

Trainer’s hand on his shoulder steadied him. “You with me, Pretty?”

“Yes, trainer.”

Trainer gave Junho’s shoulder a squeeze. “Up then. And behave.”

Junho acknowledged and got to his feet. He only realized why Trainer had told him to behave after he’d limped almost all the way back to his torture room. He was as naked as the day he was born, not wearing cuffs and not attached to anyone or anything.

But the door still had the palm-pad on it. And he was so tired.

Trainer turned the knob to the door on Junho’s room, held it open, and Junho went in. He waited for Trainer to come in with him, but the big man stayed in the hallway.

“Stay,” he said, and closed the door without waiting for Junho to acknowledge.

Leaving Junho alone in the room. No cuffs, no chains. Nothing.

Junho just stood there, feeling like he should do something, but he was far too tired to try to work it out. Then he remembered that he had never planned to escape from the basement, so it was okay to sit down and doze with his back against the wood-paneled wall. Dream about Inho and kites.

Trainer came back with a plastic box and sat with Junho while he ate dinner. The feeling slowly came back to numbed areas, and it was not at all comfortable to feel like his nuts had a mild sunburn.

A distressing thought rolled through his mind like a ship rolling through an ocean fog, and he repeated something he’d heard earlier without thinking about it. “Laser hair removal?”

Then he flinched, expecting a slap, but Trainer didn’t raise his hand. Maybe it was considered a training-related question.

Placid and calm, Trainer said, “Yes. A few more treatments and you won't have to shave anymore.”

The rings were bad enough, but when he escaped from here, he’d at least be able to take them out. To have his entire body marked by the VIP for the rest of his life was too terrible to think about. Junho’s shoulders shook once with a strong emotion, and he decided not to try and figure out which one.

Seeming to misjudge the reason for Junho’s upset, the muscular man said, “They have to take place at least a month apart. We’ll schedule them around his business trips.”

“Yes, trainer,” Junho heard himself say.

Trainer leaned over, gave Junho’s shoulder a squeeze with one of his warm, broad hands. It hurt a little and felt good at the same time. “You’ve been very good today, Pretty. I’ll find a reward for you. But first, you need to rest.”

Trainer took the plastic box away while Junho cleaned his mouth in the sink. When he came back, he made Junho shower off the aloe, then covered his entire body in a fresh coating and ordered him to go to bed.

Junho lay down on the floor mattress for the first time without being clipped to anything. Trainer tossed the blanket over him, and Junho was asleep again before the lights clicked off.

Chapter Text

When Junho first woke up in the pitch black, without cuffs on but with his entire body sticky and smelling like aloe, his groggy mind briefly contemplated whether he should try to explore in the night. But then he stretched his limbs and woke up a little more, and he could sense the familiar warmth of Trainer near his back, hear the man’s deep and even breathing.

A jailer staying nearby to make sure that a cuffless and cageless Junho didn’t get up to anything. Or the only person who cared about his wellbeing making sure that, if he woke up with nightmares, he didn’t do anything to injure himself further. The answer to the question depended on which part of himself Junho consulted. The real answer was probably some of both.

Glimmer had said that she’d never seen Trainer sleep out of his room before. At the time, the strongest implication to Junho had been that there were even more rooms elsewhere. But the detective had also held on to the uncomfortable implication about the Trainer’s interest in him.

Just then, the detective was silent. As if letting Junho lead himself along that path was more convincing than anything that part of his mind might add.

As Junho’s mind continued to turn on with the slowness of a rising sun, he decided that trying to explore the room or the hallway beyond would have been stupid. You wouldn’t custom-build a sub-basement to hold twenty captives without putting heat sensors or something on the cameras.

It wasn’t long before Trainer’s breathing changed, drew in deeper. Junho felt the blanket shift as the other man stretched, then he got up and turned on the light.

For Junho's body, the next few days were a time of quiet and healing calm. It had been the concussion that worried Doctor the most, and that meant slowly working back up to a normal amount of activity. Trainer put him back in his cuffs the second day, and by the fourth had him going through the morning hygiene routines, though he didn’t have Junho do his eyes.

Junho spent a lot of time cuffed to the wall on his floor mattress, just him and a sip cup of water and the bedpan nearby, nothing to do but think and nap. He slept when his body wanted. His random headaches and brain fogs eased. But when he was awake, he had plenty of time to reflect on the tattered pieces of his soul.

When Junho thought about the things the VIP might do to him, and how he wouldn’t resist those things, it was hard for him to get upset by the thoughts. The lost anger and fear felt like phantom limbs. He knew logically that there was only so long he could maintain a constant state of fear and outrage, but the losses lingered at the edge of his awareness, tingling.

Another betrayal. As if his lack of anguish at every part of his life normalized those things. Like it was normal for a person to give himself an enema before his morning shower, like putting in a butt plug was just something a person did instead of commuting to work.

After a while of formless waking, sleeping, and meal periods, Trainer reintroduced limited exercise routines and limited lessons, now mostly focused on finer points of caring for himself, etiquette, and improving his English. His hands became as well-manicured as Trainer’s, and he had an easier time finding the words for things like ‘manicure.’

One day, Junho had a breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and he did his entire workout routine. The day after, he did his entire day’s routine again. He knew what was coming, and if he gripped the emotions tightly, he could feel the fear and anxiety.

But holding them was a lot of work. And for what? To feel bad about things that were going to happen anyway?

He let go of the emotions and embraced the apathy.

It’s called depression, the detective whispered in the back of his mind.

Okay? Was he supposed to fight it? With what, logic? The things existed on different planes. Besides, he didn’t want to fight it. He’d felt so many things for so long that feeling nothing was sort of nice.

The third morning after his full workout, Trainer brought in breakfast and said, “You’ll serve sometime this afternoon.”

Junho didn’t even feel a spike of anxiety. What was the man going to do, strap him down to a table and violently rape him? That had already happened. Junho had lived through it. Whether that happened again wasn’t in his hands, and he’d live through it or not.

When it was time, Trainer fastened his wrists to his waist in front, hobbled him, clipped the lead to his collar, and led Junho to the door. He realized that the hallway was as familiar as any hall in the police station.

As Trainer led him up the now-familiar stairs toward the ground floor, Venus was coming down from above, limping slightly. Trainer paused below the first basement landed and lowered his head respectfully. Venus didn’t acknowledge him, didn’t even appear to see them. She opened the door on the first landing and passed through it before closing it behind her.

The detective filed that information away.

Trainer led Junho almost as far down the cream-colored hallway as the sunroom had been, though the door he gestured for Junho to go through was on the other side. Junho emerged into an exceptionally normal-looking, if very large, living room.

It had all the trappings of a living room. A massive U-shaped sectional, a large wall television, family photos on an inwardly curved wall. Shelves with books and knick-knacks and sports ribbons or trophies. A baby grand piano with the top open, catching the light from the distant windows, looking more artistic than functional.

The TV was on and the VIP's son lounged on the sectional, playing a sports video game. But the young man’s head turned at the sound of the door, and he put his game on pause to watch Trainer lead Junho across the back of the room.

The living room wasn’t their destination. Trainer led Junho briskly along the wall, past a couple of doors, all the way to the windowed end of the room. There were no plants obscuring the view that looked out across a paved area with some decorative features. Driveway? When Junho turned his head to the right, he saw a large archway and something that might have been a foyer beyond it, but Trainer was already opening the door to the left and gesturing for him to go through.

Junho stepped through into a crowded home office, flooded with light from the windows set in the walls beside him and across from him. A profusion of plants in golden planters sat on complex mesh shelving, though Junho could see the tops of the pine forest above and through them.

The VIP was behind a rich wooden desk with golden tones in the wood. It faced them, its back to a pale green wall hung with siplomas, certificates, and awards between two doors. Junho took a couple of steps into the room and dropped to his knees. Trainer closed the door behind them and also knelt.

The room smelled strange, and it took Junho a few moments to pick out the difference – he didn’t smell tobacco smoke. There were no ashtrays on the desk, only office supplies beneath the computer monitors on their adjustable arms.

As Junho watched, the VIP shifted one monitor higher and to the side so that he could look at Junho and Trainer. Despite the home-office nature of the room, the VIP was in a full suit, the navy jacket unbuttoned over a lighter blue button-up. He even had a subtly patterned brown tie, not even loosened at the collar.

He spoke in his most authoritative tone of voice. “No. Look at page sixty-eight.”

Junho was relieved to see earbuds in his ears. He wasn’t talking to them, and he didn’t appear to be speaking into a camera. While he began spewing financial jargon toward the monitors, he gestured at Trainer in an overt unclipping gesture.

Trainer unclipped Junho’s hands, lead, and hobble. The formula was so familiar that Junho knew which of the carabiners would go first, the small sounds they made as Trainer dropped them into a pocket in his silky pants. He had nightmares that featured the sounds of his lead and hobble being neatly coiled, though in this room, they made no sound when Trainer put them on the thick carpet.

The VIP made a snapping gesture at Junho and pointed downward. He mouthed ‘under the desk’ without speaking the words out loud.

“Yes, sir,” Junho acknowledged quietly.

He could have predicted that as well. The desk apparently had been selected or designed with this purpose in mind, open through the side facing him. A previous version of Junho would have been disgusted at the thought of crawling across a floor to get under a desk like this, much less the desk of this cretin, but that version of himself was no longer in the driver’s seat.

It made no sense to get up, take two steps, and then kneel again. Why shouldn’t Junho crawl? He had no dignity left.

The VIP’s deep-set eyes were set with feral pleasure as he watched Junho crawl across the thick carpet. Despite his expression, the man’s voice remained crisp and professional as he responded to something in his earbuds.

When Junho was under the desk, the VIP pushed his chair back on its wheels, leaned back, and spread his legs. The gesture made what he wanted very clear, not that that hadn’t already been obvious.

Junho had to position his knees carefully for stability and take care not to knock his head on the desk as he reached up. He undid the man’s gold-buckled leather belt, unbuttoned and unziped the suit pants. The VIP briefly lifted in his chair to allow the pants to shift, to provide more room, though he didn’t lift far enough to allow Junho to slide them down.

The VIP was half hard when Junho moved down the band of his boxer-briefs and pulled out his cock. Junho shifted and leaned in and worked his tongue over the VIP’s velvety skin the way the man liked when he wasn’t fully hard, moved his lips over the head slowly.

Junho heard him breathe out through his nose. His legs spread even wider and his hips shifted lower. Then he said sharply, “Yes I’m annoyed. I don’t see how the cap rate—”

Junho returned his focus to his work instead of trying to translate the unfamiliar words. He had been told how to do this, but learning about something and doing it for the first time were separate things. There was more to it than a simple blowjob. He had to keep the VIP’s zipper away from his cock, had to be careful not to let moisture mar the man’s pants. He didn’t have much room to move his head and mostly had to work with his hand, his lips, his tongue.

When Junho’s own cock started to thicken in its cage, he was neither happy nor surprised. It was just his dick being his dick. It wasn’t that he was getting off on sucking the VIP's cock, it was that he hadn’t gotten off in a while and having another hard dick around made his own wonder whether it should join the party.

When the VIP was fully hard in Junho’s mouth, when the little flicks of his tongue could easily pick up the ridge of the head and the skin had gone from velvety to tight, he moved his other hand to slide into the VIP’s pants, so he could fondle his balls.

The VIP flicked the top of Junho’s head with a finger, the sort of flick someone would use to move an unwanted item off a table, quick and hard.

Junho eased off. He focused not on getting the VIP off, but on providing him with an enjoyable experience, as Trainer would have put it. The VIP’s fingers moved through Junho’s hair like someone might absently scratch a dog.

After the sounds of English good-byes drifted down to Junho’s ears, he wasn’t entirely surprised that VIP’s fingers tightened in his hair. What did surprise him was that, instead of holding Junho in place to thrust into his mouth, the VIP held him up.

What should surprise him was that he could still be surprised by anything in this place, the detective commented sourly.

The wheels of the chair slid on a thick plastic carpet-protector as the VIP pushed it back. “Come out from under there.”

Chapter Text

Junho made sure to keep his dark-shadowed eyes up as he crawled out from under the VIP’s desk. The plastic chair-protector was hard under his knees. The VIP had pulled out his earbuds and set them aside, leaned back in the chair, and was stroking his cock with the casual air of a man just enjoying the feel of his own hand.

He smirked down at Junho. “You look good down there.”

It didn’t require a response, so Junho didn’t give one. His apathy made it easy to not want to give an answer when one wasn’t required. He didn't even think in anger or sarcasm anymore.

The VIP’s brows lifted, almost pale enough to be nonexistent, the gesture more seen in the way his forehead creased. “Should I put you a little bed down there? Food bowl, water dish? Make sure one of the servants takes you to the bathroom from time to time? You could suck my cock whenever I’m working from home. What do you think?”

The idea of having a slave less dangerous than Trainer unclip him this close to ground-floor windows with a chair protector he could toss out onto any glass shards sounded ideal situation. Saying ‘that sounds like a brilliant idea, sir, please do that’ would only make the man deny it to him out of spite.

“Whatever would please you, sir,” he said instead, the exact phrase he had been taught and practiced, with the correct level of polite deference in his tone.

The VIP’s tilted his head, a predator hearing an interesting sound and trying to decide whether to investigate. His deep-set blue eyes narrowed subtly. “You used to be afraid of me.”

Now that sounded like a statement, but it was actually a question. Junho answered it honestly, knowing it was the truth even though he couldn't feel it through his apathy, “I still am, sir.”

The VIP’s thumb smeared a bead of precum around the head of his cock, studying Junho with the curiosity of a cat playing with a mouse. Not ready to just snap its neck and put an end to the moment just yet. Happier to bat it around and see if it had any squirm left in it. “But you're not afraid of me fucking you.”

“Yes, sir.”

Junho’s had betrayed himself, but he hadn’t been prepared for it. Now he was and it wouldn’t happen again. Then the VIP had brutalized him, and it had been a horrible thing he never wanted to repeat, but what he wanted had never mattered. And there wasn't any way he could avoid it. The VIP was cruel and capricious.

He might have Junho’s body, but he didn’t have his soul. He knew where his line was. The man couldn’t use him harder than he already had been, make him more used than he already was, but Junho wasn’t going to be complicit. That was the only thing he had control over.

The VIP stopped stroking himself. He leaned forward and reached down. The smell of his precum was on his fingertips, and the sliminess of it smeared against Junho’s law. He held Junho’s chin in a tight pincer and looked into his eyes.

“I would think,” he spoke each word slowly and carefully, as if to make sure that the English words weren’t lost on Junho, “that after I broke you in on that table. You would be more afraid of me. Not less. Were you too out of it to remember that? Maybe we should do it again.”

Junho felt the blood drain from his face. The shield of apathy he had been wielding against his fear, his despair, his anxiety, shattered. The VIP had known exactly where to hit it, and he’d know what Junho had been trying to protect.

The ice was back in his stomach, ripping through it with splinters of nausea. His shoulders shuddered and he didn’t have to guess which emotion shook them: fear. He was, in fact, very afraid of this man brutalizing him like that again.

The monster’s smile spread across his face like a drop of blood spreading out to stain clear water. He let go of Junho’s chin and caressed his jaw with his thumb. “There it is. I knew you were lying.”

The monster’s voice became a sick parody of gentleness. He caressed his fingertips along Junho’s cheekbone over the deep bruise that still stained his skin yellow-brown, then brushed them downward and cupped the base of Junho’s skull. “But you don't have to worry about that, Pretty Eyes. It was an accident. You’re a good boy, and I want you to enjoy our times together. Yes?”

“Yes, sir.” Junho’s voice shook. He tried to gather the shards of his apathy back to himself, but they were as shattered as the wineglass had been, and his emotions had spilled everywhere.

One corner of the VIP’s mouth curled up. His deep-set, pale eyes raked down Junho’s body to his crotch, where his cock was fastened securely in its cage but not pressing against the clear curve of it. His terror had knocked the interest out of his dick for once.

The VIP’s fingers curled around the back of Junho’s neck, encouraged him upward. Junho wasn’t paying attention and scraped his spine painfully along the edge of the desk on his way out from under it. The older man’s voice was heavy when he said, “On the desk, Pretty Eyes.”

“Yes, sir.” Junho was breathing fast, but his voice was steadier that time.

He knew from his lessons with Trainer that ‘get on the desk’ didn’t mean to get physically up onto the desk, it meant to bend over it, to present from that direction. He was going to get fucked, and he didn’t want to, but it wouldn’t be the first time.

He presented without hesitation, because there was no point to avoiding it. At least he was prepared. And he wasn’t on the table.

There were so many things strewn around on the desk, Pens, legal pads, an old whiskey glass, a stress ball. Junho tried to disrupt as few items as possible when he positioned his hands. All six of the computer monitors on their adjustable arms were full of information, some of it scrolling by, some in spreadsheets or PDF documents.

The detective wanted him to look. He didn’t want to appear to be looking. They compromised.

The monitor in front of Junho scrolled global stock exchanges from Shanghai to New York. The one directly above it displayed columns of financial information. He could have read the English characters in the headings with enough time but didn't know any word other than 'cash' at a quick glance. The document title was an obscure collection of letters and numbers that meant nothing to him, but the detective memorized them anyway.

The date mattered more to Junho. Wednesday, August 5. It had been a little over a month since this man had abducted him. It felt like so much longer. A little more than a month since he had woken up to the trainer…

That was the moment he realized that Trainer, who often studied Junho’s eyes, was facing him. He glanced down from the monitor, and the beautiful man was kneeling in the precisely appropriate posture that Junho could only have held with a great deal of effort and focus. His back was straight, his palms were on his thighs, his shoulders were back, his chin was down. His subtly lined eyes were on the floor.

He wasn’t overtly watching Junho. He might not have seen what he had looked at.

Trainer wasn’t watching what was about to happen, either. He had been in the room where it happened before, watched the videos with Junho afterward and commented on every aspect of Junho’s behavior. He had been there when the VIP brutalized Junho.

Still. Junho was almost as relieved that Trainer wasn’t going to watch this happen as he was that the muscular man hadn’t caught him looking at the computer screens. Almost.

The chair creaked as the VIP stood up. His soft hands caressed the curves of Junho’s ass. The hairy fronts of his thighs pressed against the back of Junho’s, and his pants were still on, just pushed down. As if raping a man weren’t worth getting even half-undressed for. The hot length of his cock rested against Junho instead of pressing into him.

One of his heavy hands smoothed back up over the curve of Junho’s ass, slid around to that sensitive space under his hip toward the inside of his thigh. Junho shuddered involuntarily. He knew where the VIP’s hand was going, and he shifted his hips to allow the man to put his hands on his chastity cage.

Not to be complicit, but because it was going to happen anyway.

The warmth of the VIP’s fingers oozed through the holes in the plastic. Despite how turned off he was by the VIP, his deprived cock never seemed to get the message. It didn't help when the VIP pressed the plug into him. He felt himself start to thicken, then to press uncomfortably against the curve that held him down.

When Junho was this heavy, he was long enough to fill the cage, for the head of his cock to press uncomfortably into the end, for his ring to press through the slot there. The VIP’s hand slid down the plastic, and Junho's body tensed preemptively. He still gasped sharply when the VIP’s fingertip toyed with the ring through the tip of his cock.

The man rubbed only the curve of the ring, the molded plastic keeping his finger from coming into contact with Junho’s skin. The sensation was all from the ring sliding in him and through him, and it focused all of Junho’s attention on that electric point. He throbbed so hard against the cage that he ached, and the VIP’s finger toyed around until Junho got dizzy, realized he’d been holding his breath, and let it out only to start panting.

The VIP rocked against him, not thrusting, just grinding his cock in the crack of Junho’s ass. “Still don’t want me to fuck you?”

“No, sir.” A lie would have been easier, but his honesty was the only shred of honor he had left.

The VIP’s voice grew heavier with his false musing. “Maybe. I shouldn’t let you get off this time. You might, hmn. Appreciate me more.”

The man’s hand slid up to Junho’s chest, toyed with one of his gold-ringed nipples. Those were no longer sore and painful, but the sensitivity hadn’t gone away. Having them touched was now solely and intensely pleasurable when the evil man wasn't pinching or twisting them.

One of Junho’s pants came sharper than the others, and his body trembled from the effort of holding still, of not shoving away and running across the room. For all that his body was responding, his heart was beating ‘danger’ and alarm bells were blaring in his head.

It wasn’t just a person at his back, it was the monster. He couldn’t slay the monster, he could only run and hide.

Except he couldn’t do that either. He could only stand and tremble and hate himself. He wanted the apathy back.

The VIP continued playing with Junho’s nipples while he tugged at the base of Junho’s plug, pulling it slowly out. It clinked against something else that rang subtly, glass on. Junho made his shoulders relax, let his head hang, grateful that he didn’t have to watch the monster’s face as he did this to him.

The head of the VIP’s cock pressed against Junho and into him. Even though part of him was afraid it was going to hurt, he didn’t resist. He relaxed into it. It hadn’t hurt the first two times, but that was before—

Junho yanked his mind away before he could drop into that nightmare.

It didn’t hurt this time. Even though the VIP was uncomfortable inside him, filling him more than the plug had, it didn’t physically hurt. That was a small relief.

When the VIP’s cock rocked past Junho’s sweet spot, the throb of pleasure didn’t surprise him. But he hadn’t been fucked while still wearing the cage. The answering throb of pleasure from his cock wasn’t muted at all, it was instead uncomfortably pleasurable.

The pleasure came from inside, the discomfort from in front. His dick badly wanted to get hard, but the curve of the cage held him down, made that impossible. As always, it made him want to adjust himself, to free himself from the tight pants or whatever it was that was holding him down.

He gritted his teeth and told himself that the discomfort was for the best. He couldn’t betray himself if he couldn’t get fully hard.

The VIP’s chubby hands had settled onto Junho’s hips, holding the two of them in place together. The back of his thighs pressed against Junho’s and he didn’t pull back out, as if he enjoyed the sensation of Junho’s small shifts as he tried to find a comfort that wouldn’t come.

His stretched pucker twinged pleasantly when the VIP flexed. “Well, Pretty Eyes. Do you want to get off?”

“No, sir.” Despite the words, Junho could hear the strain in his own voice.

The VIP chuckled low and dangerous. He pulled out and rocked into Junho more quickly, and he gasped at the deliciously painful sensation of the man raking his sweet spot while his cock had nowhere to go. The man pulled out and hilted into him again. And again.

No more talking, no more teasing.

The VIP was evidently taking his own pleasure, no longer trying to convince Junho to give in and go with him. And that was fine. Because as achingly uncomfortable as his cock was, he could relax into the pleasure from his sweet spot without worrying that he might betray himself.

The VIP’s breathed out a sharp “fuck” when he drove into Junho for the last time. Junho felt the VIP’s hips flex, felt him pulse, felt the deeper warmth. He tried to breathe evenly as the last bloom of pleasure from inside like a coal turning from red to black.

The VIP’s slapped Junho’s ass and pulled out. “Out,” he said. “I’ve got work to do.”

“Yes, sir.”

Junho took in a steadying breath straightening carefully, flexing tight. He didn’t want to send the cum spilling down his leg now that he’d learn the trick of stopping it. He’d save that for the shower. What he hadn’t expected was how much precum he’d leaked, a little lake of it on the VIP’s floor mat.

He started to step around the desk, but the VIP smacked his leg to get his attention. “Hey.”

Junho stopped. “Yes, sir?”

“Take the plug.”

Junho’s eyes scanned the desk. The VIP had deposited his glass plug in the empty whiskey glass. Junho plucked it up between his thumb and finger. “Yes, sir. I’m sorry.”

“Out.”

“Yes, sir.”

Junho went carefully over to Trainer, who clipped his wrists together without regard for the slippery butt plug that Junho struggled to hold on to by the base. He didn't want to wrap his hands around it. It had been up his butt, and that still weirded him out, though how it was any different from just washing his hands after handing it, he couldn't have said.

Trainer clipped the lead to Junho’s collar, and his face was all business as he led Junho out into the completely normal-looking living room, past the curious eyes of the VIP’s son.

Junho was shortly back in his room, in the warm-water rain of the shower, trying to wash the VIP’s smell from his skin and scrubbing the feeling off from where the man had touched him, when Trainer beckoned him to the edge of the falling water. Junho went, turning his back so the muscular man could wash the areas Junho couldn’t reach.

With the sound of the water pattering off the tiles, Junho almost missed Trainer’s low words. “If I can tell what you’re doing, he’ll figure it out.”

Chapter Text

Junho had been given some advice when was a rookie: criminal and stupid aren't synonyms. It was sloppy detective work to think that your suspect would be less intelligent than you. It was also incorrect to associate a muscular build and a slow pace of speaking with lower intelligence. But he’d done both recently.

Had Trainer glanced up while Junho was studying the VIP's monitors? Or was he talking about something else? The escape plans the detective was carefully constructing? The promise he’d made to himself to do only exactly what the VIP ordered, and no more? That he was planning to cultivate the apathy again but pretend fear when the VIP was looking into his face?

Trainer didn’t elaborate, and Junho didn’t ask for clarification. Whatever it was that Trainer saw, or thought he saw, Junho hoped it was at most only one of his secrets. Asking for clarification not only would draw the attention of the cameras, but could reveal that there were more secrets to discover.

I wonder if he’s going to rat you out, the detective wondered idly.

If he was going to, Junho responded, then why warn me quietly in the shower, where the falling water would be likely to hide the warning from the cameras?

The detective didn’t have a response to that. He just wanted Junho to know to be wary, to remember that Trainer wasn’t on his side. Trainer might or might not be fully on the VIP’s side, but he wasn’t on Junho’s side. At best, he was on his own side.

For the rest of the afternoon, Trainer still treated Junho as if he were a good boy. He wasn’t given the run of the room, but Trainer didn’t take pains to make sure he couldn't have unclipped himself from the wall. Junho didn’t take advantage of it. Testing his leash would only buy him more time in this basement purgatory. He needed to build trust to get out of here, especially if – as he suspected – the trusted slaves’ rooms weren’t behind a palm lock.

Waiting continued to feel like acquiescence, but the detective counseled him that it wasn’t, and it was that part of himself whose judgment Junho trusted on practical things.

As they watched the video from the VIP's office, Trainer provided Junho with delicious food and gave only positive feedback. He squeezed Junho’s shoulder and told him how he’d done a great job for his first time under the desk, praised him for responding quickly for anticipating the VIP’s needs, complimented him on his improving English.

The angle of the video wasn’t the best, clearly selected to avoid showing the content of the monitors. Junho didn’t see any place where he appeared to study the screens.

So which of his little defiances had the man picked up on? How far would it set Junho back? The anxiety gnawed at him, a new set of teeth chewing his liver.

That evening, when Trainer said that the VIP wanted to see him in ‘the den,’ Junho was worried that he meant the crimson playroom with the black bed from his nightmares. Instead, Trainer took Junho to the downstairs room with the green-and-brown safari theme.

This time, Junho wasn’t scared out of his wits, and the detective noted the den’s location on his mental map. The curved wall behind the bar didn’t seem like an affectation this time. It structurally mirrored the wall in the living room, and he wondered if there was an open archway past the bar that he couldn’t see.

Junho preceded Trainer into the room as usual, and Trainer closed the door behind them before they both knelt. The barest hints of sunset still lingered over the forest, turning the sky beyond the windows a reddish pink. The VIP slumped on one of the couches in a smoking jacket and lounge pants, a still-smouldering cigar in his hand and a crystal ashtray on the gold tray held by Peaches.

Smoking a cigar in the formal den seemed to be part of the VIP’s after-supper routine. The detective filed that away, too.

Peaches’ tray also had a crystal whiskey decanter and a used but empty glass. Venus stood behind the bar, tapping on a tablet. She only briefly glanced up when Trainer and Junho entered, then immediately went back to her tapping, but Peaches hazarded the briefest smile at Junho. It was there and gone in the space of a blink.

On the VIP’s orders, Junho was unclipped and he went to kneel by the arm of the couch. He knew this couch, this screen. This was the couch he had died in front of.

He let the knowledge flow over and through him rather than trying to face directly into it, and the wave passed without dragging him under. He kept his eyes up and watched the VIP give his cigar to Peaches before shifting away from her side of the couch. He settled against the arm above Junho.

The VIP’s soulless pits of eyes stared down at him with a predatory gleam. “Did you have a good afternoon, Pretty Eyes?”

The question baffled Junho. The man had never asked about his day before. He wasn’t sure what it would mean to have ‘a good afternoon,’ but he said, “Yes, sir.”

The VIP’s head tilted a degree. He studied Junho with curiosity at first, then the predatory gleam came back and combined with a look of mischief that turned Junho’s sweat cold.

“Stand up,” the VIP ordered, and Junho acknowledged and complied.

The moment he was on his feet, the VIP grabbed Junho by the wrist and pulled him around the couch, down onto the cushion next to him. Sitting on the couch knotted Junho's stomach with ice and made it hard to breathe. It reminded Junho of something, some moment that featured in one of his nightmares.

Then it came to him.

The VIP viewing room during the glass stepping-stone game. That moment the VIP had grabbed his arm pulled him down onto the couch. Looked into Junho’s eyes and told him to take off his mask. Junho had caressed the VIP’s hand and asked him if there was somewhere they could have privacy. The start of everything.

The VIP put his arm around Junho’s shoulder and pulled him in against his side, as if they were a couple of teenagers having a date-night snuggle. His velvet jacket crushed against Junho’s skin, and the cigar-smoke smell of him became stronger. The feeling of the cloth viscerally reminded Junho what it felt like to hang helpless. And the only way that Junho could follow the order to look up at the VIP from the awkward angle was to rest his cheek on his velvet-clad shoulder.

The VIP took a remote out of his jacket pocket and pressed the button. The TV lit up. When Junho glanced over, he recognized the playroom, himself, the black bed. He didn't want to watch. For once, he was glad about the VIP's standing order for Junho to keep his eyes on his face.

As the sounds of sex started up from the speakers, the VIP slid his sweat-moist hand down Junho’s arm, over his bicep. Now that he had recovered from the starvation, the dehydration, and the enforced inactivity of his concussion, his shape was coming back to him. The food that they fed him here reinforced that. It wasn’t quite a chicken-and-broccoli muscle-show treatment designed to destroy all body fat, but the daily workouts had given Junho’s biceps and shoulders great definition.

The VIP’s voice was heavy and husky when he said, “You’re a stunningly attractive man.”

It wasn’t a question or a command, so Junho didn’t answer. He just watched the VIP’s face while trying not to appear that he was staring, looking for any of the small clues about the man’s mood and what it might bode for the night. He didn’t have to reach far to project fear.

The VIP’s hand slid under Junho’s arm and tucked against his ribs, toyed with the band of his waist harness. “Even when I was younger. When I was in shape. I didn’t look this good. I envied guys who looked like you. Wanted them. Couldn’t have them.”

Junho was absolutely sure he didn’t care about the VIP’s youthful rejections.

What he did care about was the way that the man’s hand settled onto Junho’s waist, his fingers spreading out in the way they did before the man was going to do something that might cause Junho to jerk away.

What the VIP had in mind was worse than tweaking Junho’s nipples. He turned his heavy body and leaned in, giving Junho one moment of disgusted realization that the VIP was going to kiss him before it happened. Junho was as stiff as a board when the VIP’s lips pressed against his.

The knot of ice tightened its fist around the bottom of his stomach, sent the ice vines out into his limbs. He was fully prepared for the VIP to stick his cock in his mouth. But to have him stick his tongue in Junho’s mouth? He couldn’t have said why, but it was far more repulsive.

For a moment, it felt like his mouth was being assaulted by a slug with hair, if that slug had just crawled up from a sewer filled with shit that was on fire. The VIP’s tongue caressed Junho’s lips, and then he pulled back.

The hint of a growl is his voice and the burning look in his eyes were both dangerous. “Think you’re too good for me, Pretty Eyes?”

“No, sir,” Junho blurted quickly. “Just startled. I’m sorry.”

The next time the VIP leaned in, Junho kissed back as best as he could while keeping down his gorge. The man’s mouth tasted like stale smoke, and the thought that their tongues were pressing together made Junho want to rinse his mouth out with acid. He couldn’t have closed his eyes even if he wanted to. And he really didn’t want to.

It felt like the VIP was trying to devour Junho’s mouth, sucking his tongue, chewing on his lips. Even if Junho hadn’t been biased, he would have called the VIP a terrible kisser.

Then the man brought his other hand around, stroking along the lines of Junho’s abs. His hand did what Junho had thought it would before, sliding over his pec before the soft thumb began rubbing back and forth across Junho’s nipple.

A place where he had been sensitive before which was even more sensitive now, with the metal running through it. It was as if the little golden ring was wired to shoot pleasure straight to his cock. Junho held his breath.

When the VIP pulled back, the predatory gleam in his eyes had intensified. “What? No more gasps?”

He pinched Junho’s nipple between his fingers and twisted it. Junho did gasp, then, and he felt the prickles of pain-tears in the corners of his eyes.

“I’m sorry, sir.” He didn't try to keep the pain out of his voice.

The VIP flicked Junho’s nipple with the tip of his middle finger, and Junho flinched. “Good. Quit fighting me. I hate it when you fight me.”

“Yes, sir.”

Junho relaxed his grip on his control, invited the ice to consume him and bury him, sink him under the waves. When the VIP’s thumb caressed Junho’s other nipple, he allowed the low moan that his body wanted to make and didn’t stop himself from arching into the caress.

Besides. He thought it might be a good idea to save his energy. Something about the mischief in the VIP’s expression said that he was in for some special sort of torture.

Chapter Text

The VIP’s hand tightened on Junho’s waist harness, crushing him in against his velvet jacket while his other hand toyed with Junho’s nipple rings. The gesture pulled Junho’s head in close, and the VIP’s warm tongue, smelling like sweet cigar smoke and bourbon, assaulted Junho’s mouth again before tracing wet from the corner of his mouth to his ear.

The VIP suckled on Junho's earlobe gently, reminding him of the disgusting kiss that had just been forced on him.

He allowed his shoulder to droop, allowed his head to tilt to the side to give the VIP easier access to his neck. Allowed himself to gasp, as if they were in fact two teenagers making out on a couch.

When the monster’s teeth sunk into Junho’s earlobe, he gasped harder with pain. The warm trickle down his neck when the VIP pulled away was either saliva or blood. He didn’t want to know.

The VIP’s hands dropped to Junho’s chastity cage. His cock was trying to get hard, pressing against the curve uncomfortably but not yet with the mild pain of a truly suppressed erection. It didn't matter how grossed out his mind was, the VIP barely had to touch his nipples to get Junho started up. And the piece of man-shaped garbage knew it.

He whispered in Junho’s ear as his thumb worked the little carabiner clip that held the plastic pieces together. “You still tell me. You don’t want this.”

Junho's breath went sharply out when the VIP tugged off his cock cage. The sudden and relieving release of the pressure also stroked him like he had just pulled out of a woman.

“But your body.” The VIP slid a fingertip along the top of Junho’s cock, which was rapidly hardening with each thump of his heart. His dread expanded with it, but his traitor cock twitched toward the monster’s finger. “Says you do.”

His soft hand gripped Junho and rubbed him in a long, slow stroke. He didn’t resist his body’s desire to press his hips up toward the VIP’s hand. His nasal moan was sexual desire rendered as a sound.

Distantly, Junho heard himself moan on the TV screen as the pornography of his time on the black bed played on. He told himself that this time wasn’t like that time. It was within the line he’d drawn for himself. What this man made him do wasn’t his fault. He pushed aside the shame and allowed his hips to rock into the VIP’s hand, soft with fat, as it slowly worked it along Junho’s cock. He throbbed with every heartbeat now, and his balls throbbed along with it.

The VIP’s grin was too broad, too white. “You do like that, don’t you?”

“Yes, sir.” Junho’s voice was thick with physical pleasure. It was no longer a secret, no longer something he had to hide from himself, from the VIP.

“Do you want me to fuck you, Pretty Eyes?”

Junho closed his eyes to gather his resolve, opened them again. Hoped it was short enough to be considered a long blink. “No, sir.”

The monster’s blue eyes burned into him like the heart of a fire, hot and dangerous. “Not even if I let you get off?”

“No, sir.”

“Hm-mn.” The VIP’s eyes wandered the room, shifted back to Junho’s with the mischief of a cat knocking things off a shelf. “What about. If I had Peaches suck you off?”

Junho’s head turned and his eyes flicked to Peaches. Her burnt-caramel eyes held only pity or empathy, neither desire nor lack of desire. Another person who had accepted that she would do what she was ordered.

The thought of being any part of the VIP’s sick rape games, doing something sexual to someone else against their will, filled Junho's icy stomach with fresh nausea. It was bad enough that it was happening to him. He would never choose to be a rapist.

Junho turned back to the VIP, his voice was stronger than it had been before. “No sir.”

The dangerous edge went out of the VIP’s eyes. But not the mischief. His fingertip rubbed the piercing at the tip of Junho’s cock, and his entire body shuddered and arched against the heavy arm pinning him in place.

He didn’t moan that time. He didn’t have the breath for it.

The VIP’s gravelly voice was pure evil as he whispered into Junho’s ear, “Since you don’t want this. Supposedly. You best not get off.”

He pulled away and unlaced the tie that held his smoking jacket closed. Junho could see how hard the man was, the lounge pants doing little to hold him down. He stuck out past the curve of his belly through the silky material.

The heavy arm around Junho lifted and the VIP pointed with his chin over Junho’s shoulder. “Present.”

Junho took in a shuddering breath, turned his head to study where the VIP had gestured. Even off balance, his mind flipped through the sexual positions Trainer had taught him like someone flipping pages in an unwanted book.

After the moment’s assessment, Junho turned and pressed his chest against the arm of the couch. He pushed one leg in tight against the back and dropped his other foot to the floor to brace. It wasn’t the most natural angle, and not something he’d ever practiced with Trainer. No couches in the basement. But it held Junho open and made him accessible.

The most shameful aspect of the position was that his face was no more than a handful of centimeters from Peaches’ crotch. He hadn’t looked up at her face when he shifted, didn’t look at her body now. He closed his eyes. It was bad enough that he could smell her, the faintly floral scent of the soap they used here layered over the heavier smell of a woman.

At least his hang-ups about letting the VIP take his ass were long gone. He didn’t flinch when the soft hands caressed up the backs of his thighs, but he did gasp when the base of his plug was pushed inward. It raked over Junho’s sweet spot as it was pushed in, pulled out. He heard it thump down on the rug.

The VIP’s thumbs pressed into Junho, spreading him open. He groaned and didn’t resist the attempt to expand him farther than his body wanted to go. The VIP didn’t force him wider, just said, “Not too loose.”

Junho breathed out his relief when the thumbs receded. One smeared the outside of his pucker with lube, sending pleasant tingles into his body. “Last chance,” the VIP spoke between heavy breaths. “Admit you want this. And I’ll let you cum.”

For a moment, he thought about Trainer’s eyes. Dark-lined and calm. Not what he had said in the shower, but the thing he had said a long time ago – give him what he wants because he’s going to take it anyway.

We’re not giving him this! The detective wasn’t a shadow in the back of Junho’s mind, he was a friend shouting in his ear over a raucous party.

“I’m sorry, sir,” he heard himself say, the words sounding oddly muffled with Peaches’ skirt so close. “I don’t want you to do this to me.”

He started to tense, made himself relax. He’d take whatever the consequences were, but he wasn’t going to betray himself in that way again.

He hadn’t expected the VIP to laugh, the sound as evil and monstrous as the rumble of a creature rising from the deep. “God damn. The balls on you.”

Junho felt the man’s weight shift, one hairy knee against the inside of his leg on the back of the couch, one hairy leg on the floor next to his, one moist hand on his hips, and then the VIP was inside him. Hard, sudden, and filling as he raking across Junho’s sweet spot.

Junho didn’t resist the low, animal noise of pleasure he made. Not that time, and not any of the other times.

The VIP’s fingernails dug deep crescents into Junho’s hip, pulling his body as much as thrusting, and he rocked with it. Every time the VIP pulled out, every time he thrust back in, Junho not only pulsed pleasure inside, but his cock rubbed the soft fabric of the couch. The golden ring through his dick sparked electricity directly into him.

The monster must have been able to hear the real pleasure in Junho’s gasps and moans.

“Better not cum,” he growled as he drove into Junho.

“Lost your chance,” he said.

“Sort’ve hope you do,” he said
.
“Be fun to punish you,” he said.

Junho’s cock rocked heavy and stiff against the couch, the skin pulling every time he shifted in the way that demanded his hips to move with it, to grind more friction.

He was teetering dangerously. Not on the edge of the precipice, but within spitting distance. It had been so long since the last time he came. His body badly wanted to fuck, wanted to drop his pelvis a few centimeters and really grind against the couch, wanted to get off.

Every time he felt the insides of his thighs start to tense, he focused on relaxing them. He’d never resisted these impulses before. He was the sort of man who jerked off in the bathroom while on break at work. It never took him long.

Shit, he used to jerk off before his girlfriend came over so that he’d be a little less sensitive, last a little longer. Get her nice and warm with his mouth and then—

—and then he needed to stop thinking about this while the VIP was pounding him in the ass and his nose was just about pressed into Peaches’ crotch. Not helping.

The sounds he made, the arousing sounds of sex from the TV, he tried to put them out of his mind. Ignored even the turn-offs that were the VIP’s grunts and how much he hated this. He focused only on keeping his groin muscles relaxed and not straining after an orgasm.

If it happened, it wouldn’t be his fault. He was doing everything he could. He’d be punished, but he wouldn’t have to deal with the shame of betraying himself.

It lasted the sort of eternity that only the long hours of meditation could have prepared Junho to endure. Letting everything pass over, around, and through him. Focusing only on the tension down the insides of his thighs, making sure every one of his sharp exhalations as the VIP thrust into him relaxed them.

Finally, after that eternity, the VIP pressed in tight against Junho. His weight came down. The claw-grip of his hand on Junho’s hip tightened, and the couch arm creaked where the VIP’s other hand had clawed into it. Junho felt him pulse, felt the heat of the VIP's cum deeper inside.

He ignored the way the pulsing and grind of the VIP made his asshole tingle in disturbing arousal. His body wanted more. That was okay. His mind was in control, and his mind wasn’t giving in.

The VIP didn’t pull out right away. He scratched his nails over the sharp lines of Junho’s hip-bone. “Fuck. Fuck, that was good. Didn’t cum, did you, Pretty Eyes?”

“No. Sir.” Junho was gasping breathless. He never would have thought that the effort of not cumming could exhaust him so much.

The VIP pulled out and forcefully flipped Junho off the couch. Junho was starting to learn his ways and wasn’t surprised to be used and shoved away. He relaxed into the fall and sprawled on the rug.

When his eyes popped open, Peaches was looking down at him. Her fox-red hair tumbled to her shoulders and her chin was straight-ahead, but her caramel-colored eyes had followed him down. She seemed to be trying to send him strength and empathy, but there was no doubt in Junho's mind that she could see how aroused he was.

His face burned with shame, his body ached with need. He looked away. He was supposed to be looking at the VIP anyway.

For one long and terrifying moment, as the VIP’s squinted at the end of the couch, Junho thought the man might mistake his leaking for cum. Then he rubbed his finger through the wet and studied it. Sticky but clear.

The VIP shifted and settled against the back of the couch with a disappointed grunt. He looked down at Junho with half-lidded eyes, and something about them made Junho’s hair stand on end. “Right. I’m done with you. Get out.”

“Yes, sir,” Junho said and scrambled to his feet. He picked up his plug, but when he bent to reach for his dick prison as well, the VIP snapped, “Not that.”

Junho snatched his hand back like the plastic was made of lava. “Yes, sir.”

The VIP’s words rang after Junho as he retreated toward Trainer, cruelty and amusement and warning all rolled up in a single package. “Have a good night, Pretty Eyes. Best not cum.”

“Yes, sir.”

Junho was wading knee deep in shit. He’d been in deeper shit before, but he wasn’t sure how much deeper this particular shit was going to get, and that worried him.

When Trainer fastened Junho back up for transport, he clipped Junho’s wrists together at the small of his back instead of in front. Junho’s cock bobbed heavily as he followed Trainer back into the cream-colored hallway, the cage that was both prison and protection left behind on the carpet.

Chapter Text

It wasn’t until Junho was back in his torture room that he realized he was with the trainer. The man’s face was as starkly beautiful and closed-off as a statue. There were no lines of tension around his eyes or mouth to read subtle expressions from. His face was the mask of the god of mercy and death, showing nothing.

Still, he followed the usual formula. “Let’s get you cleaned up.”

It had become typical for Junho to be clipped into the shower with just the long lead in the middle of his back. It was nice to wash his own ass, to take as much time as he wanted to get as clean as possible, though he was explicitly forbidden from cleaning out the VIP’s cum.

He had started to wonder what the point of being attached to the room was. He could have detached himself several times in the last few days. Surely Trainer knew that he was too smart to make a run for a palm-secured door. Maybe it was symbolic? In any case, Junho wasn’t going to say to the man, ‘when I try to escape, it won’t be from here.’

This time, the trainer clipped Junho's wrists together and fastened them high on the wall over his head in the shower. It was the position he’d been put in after he touched himself, and when Glimmer had pierced him. No freedom at all.

It was a good precaution. When Trainer turned on the shower, the water running over Junho’s free dick roared his semi back to full life so fast that he gasped hard and coughed out water. The rolling sensation was maddening, and Junho tucked in his hips and hung his head down to provide some protection.

“Stop fidgeting,” the trainer said. He took off his pants and folded them on the counter.

“Yes, trainer.”

Junho actually groaned when the other man cleaned his intimate areas. Just the touch of his fingers on Junho’s pucker made him throb. His balls were a pair of watermelons, he was so aware of his cock that it felt like a lead bar made from need. He panted from the effort of not tightening the insides of his thighs, from not straining after an orgasm.

He’d never gotten off without friction directly on his cock before. He’d heard some people could, and he’d tried and failed a few times. He didn’t want to find out if he could now.

The trainer dried Junho off and swapped him into the leather cuffs one at a time, put the ointment from the cabinet on his raw places, doctored the scratches from the VIP’s nails and teeth with disinfectant and liquid bandage.

“Your foot's healing nicely,” the man said in his serene and empty voice as he replaced its gauze wrapping. “I’ll have Doctor come in tomorrow and look at it, if there’s time before he calls for you.”

“Yes, trainer,” Junho said through clenched teeth.

When the man straightened up, it was the Trainer’s dark eyes that met Junho’s for a moment. The barest lift of one brow, the tiniest ceases in the corners of his mouth said ‘I told you so’ as loud as words would have. Then the man turned to put away the medical supplies, and when he came back, he was the trainer again.

The pieces of the puzzle of why Trainer was so distant clicked into place. He hadn’t withdrawn back into the trainer because he was disappointed or angry, he withdrew whenever he had to dispense punishment.

Trainer didn’t think Junho was going to make it through the night.

Junho didn't blame him. He hadn’t had a wet dream in a long time, but he hadn’t gone so long without masturbating on a regular basis, either. Or shot so hard he got cum on his face. Or nearly gotten off from grinding against a surface.

Just thinking about it got him throbbing hard again and made his balls ache. He should stop thinking about it. He also couldn’t.

The trainer told Junho to sit on the tiled floor by the chair. His wrists were behind his back and fastened to the chair leg. His back harness was fastened to the chair leg. His waist harness was fastened to the chair leg. His collar was fastened to the chair leg.

The theme was that Junho was fastened very thoroughly to the chair. The trainer even pulled Junho’s legs straight and clipped his ankles directly together. Junho hadn’t been so tightly bound since the last time he’d actually been in the chair. Then he left.

It was for the best. Junho’s hard-on alternated between a semi and raging. The moment he noticed it start to go down, his attention sent it up again. He squirmed where he was sat, trying to find some sort of contact despite knowing that, not only was there no way he could touch himself, he shouldn’t. It was like an asleep foot that was waking up and tingling. It was impossible to not want to touch it.

He was in neck-deep shit now and getting deeper. The VIP had deliberately stoked Junho up to roaring and left him there without satisfaction. There wasn’t even a line to hold. This wasn’t about telling the VIP he didn’t want to get off. At this point, there was no one to fight against but himself. It was about self-control, and he’d never needed to have much when it came to jerking off.

When the trainer returned, he hand-fed Junho a delicious meal of lamb and vegetables. He didn't release Junho when he took back the meal box, but he also left the lights on.

When he returned, he got the bedpan. And despite Junho's usual mortification, it took him so long to soften enough to go that he thought he might have to sit there all night with the trainer’s serenely patient eyes on him.

The trainer cared for Junho’s teeth, not even releasing one wrist for that long. Then the man moved him over to his sleeping mattress at the wall.

Junho wondered if he was going to have to try to sleep sitting up, but the trainer removed Junho’s wrists from the small of his back and refastened them to each other in front. He kept a firm hold on them. “Lie on your back.”

Junho acknowledged and lowered himself to his back on the floor mattress. Shifted. Tried not to squirm.

The trainer studied the wall, then slid Junho atop the floor mattress with as much effort as a man sliding an empty cardboard box. He fastened Junho’s wrists up with the short lead, too high to drop anywhere near his waist. Junho was sure his hands were going to be cold and asleep before the night was over, and he was grateful. Then the trainer used adjustable straps to clip the D-ring on Junho’s collar and waist to the wall at a slight upward angle, so that Junho couldn't roll. Then clipped Junho's ankle to the wall.

The location had changed, the theme hadn't. Junho could barely squirm around. And yet, his body still tried.

The trainer shook out Junho's blanket and tossed it over him. Even the brief brush of the thin but soft fabric put his dick back on the lift.

After a study, the trainer removed the blanket, and Junho made a pained pleasure noise as it moved over the head of his cock and slid against his piercing. When the man put the blanket back over Junho, he curved it carefully around Junho’s waist before spreading tucking it in spreading the rest over Junho’s legs. His feet stuck out from the end.

“Thank you, trainer,” Junho mumbled, truly grateful.

The man’s broad nostrils flared. But his voice was serene. “Sleep.”

“Yes, trainer.”

After the lights clicked off, Junho couldn’t fall asleep. He could feel himself, somewhere between a little thick and a semi, firming up again every time he put his attention on it. Thinking about it didn't help, but he still couldn’t think about anything else. It itched in the back of his mind. He tried to shift, to fidget, and couldn’t. He rubbed his ankles together like a little boy needing to pee.

When he finally fell asleep, all his dreams were of sex. Giving oral to a woman that he knew represented his most recent ex-girlfriend, though the woman in his dreams didn’t look like her at all. A man giving him a blowjob. A man deep inside him, rubbing Junho’s sweet spot while he stroked himself. His ex-girlfriend as a different woman this time, though the more he tried to slide into her, the more impossible it became to find his way in. It was like a dream of trying to find a toilet when he had to piss.

When the lights clicked on in the morning, the little puddle of precum that had formed in the divet around his balls was itchy and chilly.

The trainer came over, gave Junho a look. The muscular man gave him one of the trainer’s tight-cornered, meaningless smiles and ticked his chin in a small but approving nod. And then they started their day as if Junho had just been released from the chair, no freedom, one large and muscular hand on Junho at all times unless he was thoroughly fastened to something.

Chapter Text

Junho's day of ‘freedom’ from dick prison was a day of endless torment and embarrassment that he preferred not to reflect on. Doctor didn’t hesitate to tell Junho off for dripping on his hand while the man was working Junho foot through exercises to try to see if any of his nerves or tendons had been damaged. There appeared to be minor nerve damage, but Junho was overall declared well and told that he didn’t have to cover the liquid stitches in the shower anymore. The sealing would fall off on its own, as would the one on his brow.

Junho wasn’t allowed to work out. He stretched as best as he could in his restraints, ate what the trainer hand-fed him, tried to ignore how he ached. The trainer repeatedly smacked him on the back of his head get his attention while he quizzed him on sexual positions and requested answers in increasingly complex English grammar.

The VIP called for Junho again after supper, as he had anticipated with dread that he would. Trainer put the plug shaped like the VIP’s cock in Junho, and it pressed his sweet spot uncomfortably rather than pleasantly, as if even his prostate was sick of him.

Trainer took Junho up to the second floor of the mansion, led him along the hallway with its richly patterned white carpet and its broad banks of windows looking out toward the sea. He had only been in the hallway once in person, but he had visited it in countless nightmares.

No rain pelted the windows, and the moon was so full that he wouldn’t have needed a light to see if he were out in the yard. It glimmered off the distant waves. A strong, spicy perfume rode the air and choked Junho with memories of the dining room, but his feet placed themselves the correct distances apart in the hobble without him needing to think about it.

A topless and collared woman traveled the softly lit hallway in the other direction. She glanced at Junho as she passed, her eyes dropping to his rocking semi before she looked away swiftly. Junho wanted to feel humiliated, but there wasn’t any room in his mind for it.

Trainer led him to the VIP’s playroom. Venus opened the door as she did in all of Junho’s nightmares, but instead of taking his lead, she said to Trainer, “You’re both to come inside.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Trainer said deferentially.

The VIP was in one of the lounge chairs angled toward the door. Before they could even kneel, he said in a heavy voice, “Bring him over here.”

Trainer led Junho past the bar. The burly, olive-skinned man who greying hair stood behind it, and Venus joined him there. She picked up a tablet and began tapping the screen, as if Trainer and Junho were beneath her notice. In contrast, the olive-skinned man eyed them both with flinty eyes.

The lounge area was full of people. Lush rested her breasts on the back of the lounge for the VIP to pillow his head between, her long honey-brown hair more framing and decorating than obscuring them. Her fingertips worked the man’s scalp, massaging. Peaches stood by the lounge, holding a golden-hued tray with a crystal ash-tray and whiskey decanter, and an uncut cigar. The VIP’s glass was half-full in one of his hands. Song was curled up on the floor in leather restraints, and the VIP’s slippered feet were up on the blond man’s back like he was a footstool.

It felt like some sort of sex-slave family meeting.

“Stand,” the VIP said to Junho before he could kneel.

“Yes, sir.”

Junho tried to look down into the man’s eyes without seeming to look down on him. He especially tried to avoid seeing the various boobs in his peripheral vision. But Lush’s huge chest framed the VIP’s head, and even without looking, he could see that the golden tray reflected the light up at the curves underneath Peaches’ smaller tits, made the gold hoops through her nipples catch that much more light.

She had watched the extremely embarrassing event the night before. It didn’t feel fair for her to be here now, when he barely needed the glimpse of a boob to stoke his cock back to life and throb pain into his nuts. What was he, twelve?

Junho made himself breathe evenly, and the smells of flower perfume and old tobacco smoke coated his tongue.

In response to a hand gesture, Trainer unclipped the long lead from Junho’s collar before the muscular man knelt on the rug.

The VIP eyed Junho’s body with undisguised avarice. He circled his finger around, and Junho obediently turned in a slow circle. The burly man behind the bar watched Junho spin with an expression that clearly communicated that, at a word from the VIP, he’d be happy to tear off Junho’s head and piss down his throat.

The overt viciousness was a welcome change from the VIP’s casual, passive-aggressive violence. Junho squinted and then and lifted his brows at the man in a ‘come at me bro'. The burly man's scowl deepened, and Junho’s face wiped clean. He didn’t know why he’d antagonized him.

Because you’ve never been able to stand bullies, the detective whispered, and they haven’t killed all of you yet.

Junho continued turning, and it took an amazing amount of self-control to drag his eyes away from Lush’s nipples and back to the VIP’s face.

The VIP’s pale squint met Junho’s eyes. “No discipline.”

“No, sir.” Junho’s affirmation was quiet and respectful.

“No, sir,” the trainer said at the same time that Venus said, “None warranted, sir.”

The trainer, he'd expected. But Venus?

He didn't have time to think about it. The VIP studied Junho like a predator eyeing up a meal. “Want me to fuck you, Pretty Eyes?”

Junho took in a deep breath and his eyes dropped. He made himself lift them, meet the VIP’s burning blue coals of eyes. “No, sir.”

“Not even if I let you cum?” He swirled his whiskey in a slow, hypnotic circle in the glass.

Junho had to hold the line. He imitated the Trainer’s low deference as best he could. “No, sir.”

“I have a theory,” the VIP drawled dangerously.

Anxiety spiked through Junho’s body, tensing his muscles, making it hard to breathe.

The man eyefucked Junho as he knocked back his glass and held it out to Peaches. He lounged back in his chair, waved Lush's massaging hands away, and watched Junho literally sweat the suspense while Peaches poured two fresh fingers of whiskey in the glass and handed it back.

“My theory,” he said, resuming his slow glass-swirl and studying Junho’s face. “Is that you think you’re too good for me for me to fuck.”

The VIP’s eyes burned into Junho’s like blue-hot fire as he lifted his brows. “Are you trying to hide that you're too good for me, Pretty Eyes?”

Thank fuck that didn’t hit on any of Junho’s secrets, since he was apparently a shitty liar. Both the VIP and Trainer caught his lies easily, and Trainer read Junho like a particularly large-print book. It would be easy to answer honestly.

“No, sir.” He wasn't trying to hide that, not in the way the man meant.

“I see,” the VIP said. He knocked back his new glass of whiskey and passed it back to Peaches. Junho’s eyes followed it far enough to land on one of Lush’s improbably large tits, then flicked back quickly.

The VIP didn’t admonish him. He was still studying Junho’s face. “So. If it isn’t that. Then. Second theory. Are you holding out on me, Pretty Eyes?”

Junho’s veins bloomed with ice. He felt like one of the suspects he’d interrogated, stumbling into a trap. Except he was the one stumbling, now, and he tried to skirt around it.

“Sir, I do everything you ask.” He hoped his panic didn’t come through, but in a wouldn’t-it-be-nice sort of way. Or perhaps the panic would make his answer sound more genuine. The panic was certainly genuine.

The VIP’s expression lost some of its intensity. He beckoned at Junho. “Come suck me hard.”

“Yes sir.”

Junho didn't feel any relief. The VIP wasn’t staring at him like he wanted to light him on fire, but he wasn’t confident in his ability to take a pounding and not get off on it. He was not looking forward to learning what the punishment would be.

The VIP lowered his feet from Song’s back and booted him out of the way. As the blond man scrambled away to kneel off to the side, the brief sidelong look he gave Junho was pure venom. Junho saw that the man’s cock cage was gone, but his anger hadn’t changed. The detective filed the knowledge away.

Junho knelt between the VIP’s legs, untied and opened his maroon silk robe, took his cock into his mouth. The man tasted fresh and clean, though with the VIP, that still meant he had a heavier scent and a slightly bitter taste. The perpetual whiskey and cigar smoke, maybe.

Junho was either getting practiced at blowjobs, the VIP was horny, or both. It felt like only a moment before he had the VIP hard in his mouth and could feel the slide and taste the flavor of the man’s precum.

The VIP tugged Junho’s hair and pulled him up to half-standing. He studied Junho’s face. Then he smiled.

Junho’s stomach fell through the center of the universe and the place it had been was filled with the cold of space.

“Venus, when was the last time a pet tried to hold out on me?”

Venus’s cultured voice managed to sound deferential and disinterested at the same time. “November thirteenth of last year, sir. It was Merlot. One of Hot Teacher’s.”

Junho had never seen a person with ‘Merlot’ on their collar, had never heard the name. He told himself that he saw a lot of people whose names he didn’t know, but something about Venus’s tone had an air of finality to it. Or maybe he was projecting his own fear. It was hard to tell.

Junho's brain mapped the route he could use to make a run for it. Tear away from the VIP, make for the door, grab something on the way, throw it through one of the windows, jump down to the slanting roof facing the ocean. Find a gutter to slide down, or a low place to drop from. The moon was full. He could make it to the trees.

The detective thought it was a plan of last resort. He’d had glass in his foot very recently and doubted his ability to run far on sliced feet, but it would take a stroke of luck to get even that far. Trainer was close, and even if he dodged him, the olive-skinned bully would be over the bar and on him before he made the door.

That man wouldn’t just stop him, he’d probably tear Junho’s arm off and beat him to death with it.

“Take out your plug,” the VIP ordered. No teasing, just avarice and a malicious enjoyment.

It sounded like an ‘I’m going to fuck your head on straight’ order, not an ‘I’m going to have you killed’ order. Was he going to be tortured again? Probably yes. He didn’t have to look at the nightmare playground across the room to know that there was a table over there. And a bunch of other things whose uses he could only guess at.

Was it last resort territory? No.

Junho breathed out his held breath. “Yes, sir.”

He felt empty after the plastic plug slid out of him, though he doubted he would be for long. The VIP gestured, and Junho obediently dropped it.

“Straddle me,” the VIP said. The order was unexpected but not surprising. Junho was finally coming to lose his sense of surprise at the unpredictability of this man.

“Yes, sir.” Junho stepped inward, ready to put his knees on the lounge.

“Not like that. Face the other way. Straddle. Line me up. Yes, just like that. Now sit.”

Junho made himself relax as he impaled himself on the VIP’s cock. It opened him back up and slid pleasure-pain across his sweet spot, and he breathed out short and sharp when it did. His face was hot from cheeks to chest as the eyes in the room turned toward him, except for the trainer’s. His serene and emotionless eyes were fixed on the carpet.

Junho’s cock throbbed visibly. It was only who he was sitting on that reduced the temptation to touch it just a little bit. He still flexed, and found the sensation of being held open and full very pleasant.

One of the VIP’s hands settled on Junho’s abs, fingers spread like they did when the man was about to do something that Junho wouldn’t like. When the VIP spread his legs wide, his hairy legs splayed Junho’s even wider.

“Trainer, set it up so he can’t touch himself. Or pull off me.”

Well. Junho had known that nothing good was going to take place.

The trainer rose to his feet, spoke deferentially, “Yes, sir. One moment please.”

He left in the direction of the nightmare playground. The VIP ordered Peaches to light him a cigar and began to smoke it, the soft fingertips of his other hand stroking Junho’s abs until the trainer retuned. When he was back, the beautiful man clipped Junho’s wrist to one of the adjustable straps, ran it through something behind the lounge, and clipped the other end to Junho’s other wrist. He knelt and fastened something between Junho’s ankles that rattled under the lounge.

The result left Junho effectively spread-eagled, and very helpless.

The situation was starting to have the quality of his nightmares. Held helpless while the VIP molested him or fucked him, the man always at his back when he did the worst things to Junho. His heart began pounding, every thud echoing as a throb in his cock and an answering ache in his balls.

He shuddered when the VIP’s tongue caressed the shell of his ear. He could smell the bourbon and tobacco on the VIP’s breath. The man’s hands slid across up to Junho’s chest, but he didn’t play with his nipples.

He whispered in Junho’s ear, “You’re a smart pet. You can see where this is going.”

Junho did know where it was going. Please, he begged any gods that might be listening. Please let him phrase it as an order. If he ordered Junho to stop holding out—

The VIP’s soft thumbs rubbed Junho’s sensitive nipples, toyed with the rings in them. Junho gasped and arched, his body squeezed the VIP’s cock, and he felt the man throb.

The whisper in Junho’s ear was vanilla and tobacco and nightmare, “You’re holding out on me, Pretty Eyes. Can’t have that. When you want to cum, ask nicely.” The predator’s teeth grazed Junho’s painful earlobe. “You will beg me for it.”

There were no gods in this place. There never had been.

The VIP’s soft fingers tweaked Junho’s nipples as he fucked up into him, rocking his cock against Junho’s sweet spot. Junho’s moan tore at his throat.

Junho knew in the depths of his soul that he would beg for it eventually. This vicious man would make him cum and punish him, make him cum and punish him, make him cum and punish him, until he got what he wanted.

Junho didn’t know what the punishment would be, but he’d seen enough of this place to know that it would be something effective. There was no doubt in his mind that he would eventually beg for it to stop. He remembered his decision to make the trainer kill him, how by the end he was begging hoarsely for it to stop, promising he would do anything.

But the line felt like all he had left. He was going to hold it as long as he could stand to. It might very well be the last thing tying his soul together.

Chapter Text

There was no time in the place where Junho existed. The world was made of tobacco and bourbon waves and he had to focus in order to skim over them without being pulled under. The VIP’s cock pulsed pleasure into and through of him, his nipples were caressed and toyed with until they went from pleasurable to far too sensitive and then back out the other side to electric pleasure-pain. He’d lost his conviction that he couldn’t cum without friction directly on his cock. He knew that he absolutely could get off on this. Already would have, if the VIP hadn’t stilled every time Junho’s breathing started to get too ragged, and if Junho hadn’t made himself relax and breathe.

It wasn't a comfortable thought that both he and the VIP were trying to keep him from cumming. Despite knowing that there were no gods in this place, he couldn’t stop himself from praying that after the VIP came, he would lose interest in the game.

And the VIP did eventually cum, grunting and pulsing as he crushed Junho’s hips down and rocked against him. The man reclined back against the lounge, panting, and Junho sagged back against his hairy chest, as limp and damp as a sweaty rag. In one sense, Junho had won. He'd deprived the VIP of getting Junho to beg him for release.

It was a stretch. But he was going to claim that small victory, because he needed it.

“Fuck.” The VIP panted the word out. “I thought you hadn’t control-trained him.”

“I haven’t, sir,” the trainer said deferentially.

The VIP’s hands stroked up and down the insides of Junho’s widely spread thighs, pulling a shudder out of him. He felt his balls jump up and his cock twitch, and he breathed through the painful ache of need.

“Well, shit. He’s fighting hard.” The VIP’s voice thrummed with postcoital pleasure and the enjoyment of a large feline toying with a meal. “Advice?”

“It’s his little defiance, sir,” the trainer said.

Junho’s stomach twisted, even though he had known that the trainer would choose to obey the VIP over protecting Junho. He had to. What someone did under duress wasn’t the same as choosing to, Junho told himself, but the detective was waving the betrayal like a giant red flag. Junho’s eyes had long since closed from the sting of sweat in them, and he told himself that that was the sting he felt there. Just more sweat.

The trainer went on, “I've found persistence to be important with Pretty Eyes, sir. When he learns that he can’t get away with something, he gives it up.”

“Well. We can do this all night, Pretty Eyes,” the VIP said, toying with one of Junho’s intensely sensitive nipples, making his body jerk and draw in a gasp as sharp as glass. “Shit, we could do this for days. I’ll have Venus cancel my meetings. I would love. To do this for days.”

Junho’s shoulders shook once before he could stop them. He didn’t have to play guess-the-emotion: It was despair.

The VIP chuckled, sliding his hands along Junho’s sweat-streaked abs. “Nothing’s as hot as breaking a man down. Or a woman. Right, Peaches?”

“Yes, sir.” Her voice was surprisingly low for a woman’s, the accent in her English strange and soft to his ears. In his world of personal misery, he’d forgotten she was there, that they were all there watching. As if torturing Junho was some sort of lesson, or as if him learning this lesson was supposed to be a reminder.

Junho stopped trying to pretend to himself that he wasn’t weeping. He’d thought he’d been so aroused it hurt, that his balls ached with how full they were, before he’d even stepped into the room. Now, he knew it could be worse. And Trainer’s betrayal hurt, even though he’d known it would come.

But the line held up his decision not to betray himself. If he let it go, how deep would his self-betrayal go? If he just gave up, it would be different from being made to give up. It had to be.

The VIP’s fingers stroked down Junho’s sweaty abs. “Peaches, fresh cigar. I think we’ll be here a while. Song, get over here and edge him.”

Junho’s eyes shot open. Song was acknowledging in a polite tone and with a blank expression, but if Junho knew the man didn't like him, the VIP probably knew that too. Junho didn’t want to be part of the man’s sick rape games.

His objective changed. He no longer cared whether he was put on the table or how else he was tortured. He needed to get off as soon as possible, spare the others as much humiliation and pain as he could.

For the first time, he tried to disobey instead of endure. He attempted to lift one of his legs, to shimmy his hips to the side, to pull his wrists forward to touch himself. To get a grip on himself. But the leads caught him.

One of the VIP’s fleshy arms hugged around Junho abdomen, not groping him but instead holding him like a man would hold on to an overly excited dog trying to jump out of a lap. The VIP’s softening cock pulled out of him. He chuckled. “Interesting.”

Then Song was between Junho’s legs, enveloping his cock in warm and wet. Junho couldn’t have said whether his sharp vocalization was more alarm or pleasure or horror. His hips bucked upward on their own.

“Just edge him,” the VIP warned, shrouding everything in a cloud of sweet and evil smoke, as if he could read Junho’s mind. “I don’t want him getting off easy.”

Song’s blond curls bounced softly against Junho’s stomach. He trembled from the effort of straining toward the orgasm he was sure he only needed a little friction to obtain, to put an end to this. The warm wetness of Song’s mouth slid along his cock. When the man’s tongue played with Junho’s piercing, he keened. He was so close. Just one m—

“Sir,” the trainer said urgently, “He’s—”

“Shit!” The VIP didn't waiting for the rest of the trainer’s warning before he kicked Song away. Junho didn't have the breath to react to the painful graze of teeth. The only thing that mattered was that he was straining against nothing but air.

Junho’s balls ached and he tightened his hips, tried to make the orgasm happen without friction outside or in. Couldn’t. His shoulders ached from the effort of trying to pull his arms around to touch himself.

He sobbed once with frustration when he realized he wasn’t going to get there. He was long past caring how he appeared to anyone in the room. He’d been so close.

The VIP’s voice was as hard and sharp as scalpel steel. “Song, you jackass. You nearly fucked this up for me.”

“Please, sir, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to.” Junho had never heard Song speak before either. Even though the man’s voice was rising in panic, it was a vibrant singer’s tenor that lilted in a television British accent.

Junho couldn’t open his eyes to look. His eyes stung and burned, sweat or tears, it didn’t matter.

“Handler!” The VIP barked in Junho’s ear.

The answering voice from behind the bar was as deferential as Trainer’s had ever been, but made out of grinding and falling stone. “Yes, sir?”

The VIP’s leg shifted as he nudged Song again. “Give him the table.”

“Yes, sir,” Handler said with a note of pleasure in cruelty that Junho had never heard in the trainer’s voice.

“Please, sir!” Song’s begging was frantic. “Please, sir, I was trying to behave!”

Junho was sorry, deeply and sincerely sorry, for what Song had been made to do and what would happen to him. He didn’t have the breath to communicate the extent of it, he could barely whisper, but he tried. “I’m so sorry.”

If anyone heard him over Song’s continued strident pleas, they gave no sign.

“Well,” the VIP said after Handler muscled the sobbing Song out into the hallway. The smell of fresh tobacco smoke was on the air, sweet and heady. “Since you know his body so well, Trainer. You edge him.”

No.

Junho’s eyes shot open.

“Yes, sir.” The muscular man was unfolding up from his kneel on the rug, face as expressionless and impassive as a statue. Another man doing what he was ordered to because there was no choice.

“Please, sir, no,” Junho whispered, Song’s words echoed in his hoarse voice.

And just as useless. The VIP’s chuckle shook Junho’s entire body. “You can end this any time, Pretty Eyes. You know how.”

The trainer knelt between the VIP’s legs, which held Junho’s so far apart and vulnerable. But it was Trainer’s deep, dark pools of eyes looked up Junho’s body.

‘Just give him what he wants,’ his eyes said as clearly as if he’d spoken the words. ‘He’s going to take it eventually.’

Junho shook his head and closed his eyes. He’d rather take the punishment than let the VIP win. Especially after what had happened to Song because of him.

He just needed a little friction. Just a little.

There was a warm breath, then sensation exploded along the head of his cock, dove into his balls. He cried out in ecstasy and pain and horror, and tried to thrust up into that friction that was going to push him over the edge, give him relief. Not just physical, but to let it be over.

The pressure he needed wasn’t there. He was throbbing painfully against nothing, writhing in the VIP’s grip.

The sound the VIP made as he held Junho’s flexing abs was pure sadistic glee. A man who had pinned open a butterfly’s wings and was watching it struggle and die.

It happened again and again. Trainer’s tongue caressed the head of Junho’s cock, warm and wet and soft as the touch of a feather, always gone when Junho started to strain up against it.

He lost track of everything but the edge of the cliff and his struggle to reach it. Taking a step forward and sliding back. Panting or sobbing with the effort, far past phrases like ‘too sensitive’ or ‘painfully horny.’

From time to time, the VIP would nuzzle Junho’s sweat-damp hair, or lick or suckle on his ear. The taste of tobacco smoke and the smell of bourbon was thick on everything. Junho could feel the way the monster’s hands trembled with desire, how hard his cock had become again against Junho’s back.

At some point, while the trainer was both allowing Junho to catch his breath and forcing him to slide back away from the edge of the cliff, Junho opened his eyes and looked down. It was Trainer who looked up at him through the haze of cigar smoke. Calm. Determined. Apologetic.

He waited until Junho’s panting had hitched down, then leaned forward and opened his thick and expressive lips. His tongue lapped over the head of Junho’s cock, and Junho’s body arched with it, but Trainer had already sat back. Extremely careful with his mouth. Precise as the stroke of a calligrapher’s pen.

He could keep Junho straddling this edge all night. Part of him had known it was a theoretical possibility, but now it was a true knowledge, deep in his bones. There was no way this man who could read him so well would let him cum before he gave the VIP what he wanted.

Nor was the VIP wasn’t getting tired of the game. Junho had settled into him like a form-fitting chair but for that one single point of hardness. Both of the monster’s arms were around Junho, his second cigar finished some time ago. His soft hands caressed across Junho’s stomach and pecs, avoided his nipples.

Pleasure and pain exploded through Junho's reflections as Trainer's tongue worked him over and withdrew. Junho strained and sobbed.

It was never going to stop.

Junho let go of the line, let go of his promise that he'd say no if he was given the choice.

“Please, sir.” His voice was a hoarse whisper.

It had been inevitable when the night started. It had probably been inevitable since the moment Junho had decided to make a line. The VIP got what he wanted. Always.

“Please what, Pretty Eyes.” The VIP’s voice was malicious pleasure leavened with avarice.

He knew exactly what he was taking from Junho, and he was going to pull it out of him with his hooked claws centimeter by centimeter, enjoy every moment of the death of Junho’s promise to himself. Savor each moment of crushing Junho’s defiance under his heel and grinding it against pavement.

Junho whispered, “Please, let me cum sir.”

The tears rolled down his face. He didn’t want to give the VIP his anguish, either, but monster would have it if he wanted it. He would always get what he wanted. Junho let himself weep.

“Didn’t hear you,” the VIP purred against the back of Junho’s ear.

Having said it once, it was easier to say again louder. It always had been easier to do unthinkable for the second time. “Please let me cum, sir.”

The VIP’s thumb circled Junho’s nipple, and he cried out hoarsely in pleasure and pain.

“Who do you belong to, Pretty Eyes?”

“You sir. I'm so sorry. Please don't— please let me cum.”

“If you’re sure, Pretty Eyes. Beg to cum while I’m inside you.”

Junho’s shoulders shook. He gathered his voice back to himself. “Please let me cum with you inside me, sir. Please.”

It was only the start of it. The VIP made him beg for a while. Made him apologize abjectly for ever thinking he could hold something back, for thinking that he had a right to any part of himself. Made him tell the VIP that he had wanted to cum every time the VIP fucked him, and that burned because it was true.

“Since you want it so badly,” the VIP said. He hooked his paws under Junho’s legs and slid Junho up his chest with a grunt. Junho hadn’t expected that the fat man would be strong enough to help lift him when his shuddering body wouldn’t allow him lift himself. Junho held himself up a moment while the VIP positioned, and then he slid back down onto his cock like someone slotting a peg into a hole, if the hole were relaxed and waiting to be filled.

And maybe that had always been inevitable, too.

Chapter Text

Junho’s body shuddered with exhaustion more than pleasure as the VIP’s cock massaged his sweet spot. The monster’s breath against the back of Junho’s ear was smoke, the words were fire. “Bet it’s a relief. To finally get what you want.”

“Yes, sir.” Junho’s voice sounded hoarse and foreign to his ears. Dead.

He just wanted to have this specific nightmare be over. That was all he wanted, to be released so that he could curl up in his room and wait for the other nightmares to tear him to pieces. To allow himself to fly apart.

"Suck him off,” the VIP said to Trainer as he rocked up into Junho again, drawing a shudder from him.

“Yes, sir.” Trainer’s voice was honey-smooth and calm.

Junho didn’t want someone to suck him off who had no choice in the matter, not even the man who had been made to tell his secret and to help torture the defiance out of him. He wanted to ask to use one of his own hands.

But if he asked, he’d be denied. What he wanted had no place in this room, in this mansion, in his life. He believed that now.

Trainer’s breath was warm on Junho’s impossibly sensitive cock. No longer just teasing with the tip, his tongue caressed around Junho’s head before he took him in fully. Junho was too sensitive for it to be anything but painful and he instinctively tried to pull away, but he still had nowhere to go. He relaxed into it.

Trainer sucked and ran his tongue along the piercing that marked Junho as the VIP’s in a way that was no longer teasing. There was pleasure under the pain. When Trainer’s hand joined in, stroking, Junho didn’t cross the edge into cumming. He was shoved over it.

The first time he had cum with the VIP inside him had been the thunder. This was the storm. Junho's body was made of electricity and fire and pulsed in colors as every ounce of strain he had built up burst. Each flick of the Trainer’s tongue, each stroke of his hand, each rake of the VIP over his sweet spot stoked the fire and lightning.

When Junho came back to himself, he was trembling and shaking uncontrollably and his breath tore in and out. His balls were blessedly empty and his cock no longer ached, though it felt strange in the way that told him he was going to feel raw later. Not too long after, he heard the VIP grunt, felt him grind, felt the warmth deeper inside.

A hand stroked down Junho’s wet ribs, and for a moment, he thought it was Trainer trying to calm his ragged gasping.

He was wrong. When he opened his eyes, the hand was the wrong shape and color. The VIP’s sweaty hand stroked Junho’s ribs possessively, and his lips caressed Junho’s ear as he whispered, “You belong to me, Pretty Eyes. Every single bit of you. Mine. Don’t forget it.”

Junho was too strung out physically and emotionally to even weep. He slumped against the VIP’s chest, waiting for him to decide whether it was over. He knew better than to expect anything, now.

His body bounced with the VIP’s stomach as the man chuckled. “Good catch, Trainer. Song almost ruined my fun. Earned a reward. What do you want?”

Trainer’s voice was low, even, and steady. He bowed his head, hiding his flushed face, his damp lips. “Sir. I would respectfully ask your permission to share this pet’s room.”

Junho wouldn’t have thought it would be possible for someone he barely knew to break his heart. But the knife slipped between his ribs, and it shattered.

The detective took the shards and re-shaped them into a stained glass window. Then he made Junho look through what he'd put together.

Junho had been excusing the betrayal as something Trainer had been made to do. But through the detective's window, Junho saw that the muscular man hadn’t been made to do anything. The secret defiance had been read, not by the VIP, but by the man who knew him best. And Trainer hadn’t given the information to follow orders – he had traded it, hoping to get something that he wanted for himself.

It made sense and it was worse than anything Junho had imagined. He had thought he knew who Trainer was.

The detective didn’t have to whisper an ‘I told you so’ as he faded back into his dark corner, but he did anyway.

“Really.” The VIP’s voice still thrummed low with pleasure, but now it had a dangerous edge. “That’s what you want? To share a room with my pet?”

It was an invitation to back down. Trainer didn’t take it.

“Yes, sir.” The beautiful man spoke to the floor, his face too low to be visible, but his voice deferential and controlled, smooth as the aged bourbon on the VIP’s breath.

“I see.” The pleasure of the VIP's victory was still in his voice, the heart beating against Junho's back had picked up, thumping with the rise of blood pressure. “Lush. Peaches. Out.”

His tone said they should hurry up about it, and Junho watched them stride so quickly past the bar that their skirts nearly streamed out behind them. The VIP didn’t order Venus out, and her startlingly blue eyes met Junho’s briefly. Even from a distance, he could see that she was a detached but curious member of the audience watching something going wrong on the stage. Not that he’d expected help there.

Junho sagged and closed his eyes, dropped into the choking gloom of Trainer’s betrayal.

“Think it would interfere with his training?” The VIP’s question was too casual.

“I don’t, sir. He’s well-trained, unless you want me to train him in orgasm control.” Trainer’s discussion of sex was as frank as it ever was, as if he were discussing the merits of a student’s grades. “If you still prefer his natural responses, we’ve moved into reinforcement. I wouldn’t allow my sharing his room to affect that, sir.”

The man Junho had become was too tired and heartbroken to even react to the conversation, though the shadow of the detective bristled.

A sharp breath from the VIP’s nose flared over the back of Junho’s ear. The monster’s hand slid slickly over Junho’s chest, up his throat, over his chin. A sweaty paw settled over his nose and mouth, pressing against Junho’s lips, and claws pinched his nostrils together.

And just like that, Junho couldn’t breathe.

Part of him was surprisingly calm about it. That part thought that nothing would stop the VIP from suffocating him, if that was what the man wanted to do. His shattered heart encouraged him to just let it happen so that all the nightmares could end.

Detective Hwang Jun-ho shoved that part of himself to the back. The part of Junho that still wanted to live tried to jerk his arms around to claw at the VIP’s hand, but his wrists were still fastened in place, and he only wrenched his already-strained joints. He jerked his head to the side and got a tiny gasp of breath before the VIP’s sweat-damp hand closed over his mouth again, sealing it so tight that he couldn’t even bite.

The demand from his lungs went from ‘it would be a good idea to breathe now’ to ‘breathe now.’ He tried to buck, but his exhausted body could barely move. His leg and arm cramped at the same time, and he tried to scream. The sound didn't go far.

The VIP said, “Trainer. Look up.”

“Yes, sir.” Trainer looked up.

Junho thought he saw something in Trainer's eyes. But no, he was wrong. The trainer’s face was impassive and serene, as if watching the VIP suffocate the man he had spent most of the last month with was to be expected and accepted.

Junho sent Trainer ‘fuck you’ with his eyes, but he might as well have tried telepathy on a wall.

His lungs stopped demanding air and started to scream for it. The cramps were bad, but he tried anyway, until he couldn't get his exhausted body to move. His limbs were too heavy.

He didn't know why not going out easy was so important to him. But it was, and he was grateful that the detective had stepped in when he would have given up. It hadn’t changed anything. But there was something to be said for doing as much as he could, for as long as he could.

Because they haven't killed all of us yet, the detective thought. They were two brothers leaning against each other at the end of time, two halves of one whole.

Grey fog started to creep in from the edges, and Junho blinked to try to clear his vision. When he struggled his eyes open again, they were on the trainer’s face.

Was there something there, behind the impassive mask? If there was, he made no move to help.

Junho's eyelids were almost as heavy as his limbs. He wasn’t sure how much longer he could keep them open, keep himself in the world. Not long.

The rumble of the VIP’s voice was the last thing Junho heard before he rolled through the grey fog and fell into the black ocean underneath.

Chapter Text

Junho’s chest heaved, and he coughed so hard that something pulled painfully in his back. He swam back to the surface of consciousness to the honey-and-whiskey sound of the trainer’s serene voice. “…as you please, sir.”

The VIP’s hand was no longer over his mouth, though he could still feel the warm sweat of where it had been. One of the monster’s hands was low on Junho’s stomach, but he didn’t know where the other was. It seemed very important to him, to know where that other hand was.

“That’s right.” The VIP’s voice was vicious. “Take him off me.”

The trainer began unfastening Junho, lifting, pulling, carefully sliding him down off the VIP. Junho was put on his side, wheezing and panting, his head swimming and achy. His cheek pressed against the rug and he just wanted to keep his eyes closed and appreciate its softness, even if it stank like old smoke. He wanted to sleep.

But he wasn’t safe. He was never safe, but he was particularly unsafe now. The detective made him open his eyes, flopped him onto his back. Accepted the pain of the cramps as a necessary price for movement.

The VIP and Trainer loomed over above him, the haze of smoke that still lingered around the recessed overhead lights giving them fuzzy halos. Trainer was bent forward over Junho at a sharp and uncomfortable-looking angle, and the VIP had the large, muscular man by the jaw.

Junho thought he might be able to see pain in the corners of Trainer's mouth, then actively decided not to look. Not to care. Where had caring got him? The tears still stung at the backs of his eyes, his stomach still felt punched from Trainer's recent betrayals. Almost dying because of what he’d done hadn’t lessened any of Junho's pain.

The VIP stared Trainer in the eyes with the same intensity he had when he was trying to read Junho. “How about you. Forgotten what you are to me, Dog Boy?”

“No, sir,” Trainer said placidly, as if his face wasn’t held in the claws of a man who had nearly suffocated another man to death.

The VIP released Trainer’s jaw and patted his cheek. “On the bed. Present.”

Trainer straightened strode away. The VIP lurched up from the lounge chair, and when he glanced down as if to make sure he didn’t trip over Junho, the deep-set eyes paused on Junho’s face. Too late, Junho wished he'd had the presence of mind to pretend to be unconscious.

The twist on the VIP's lips superficially resembled a smile. He crooked a finger. “Come watch, Pretty Eyes.”

The ‘yes, sir' that Junho wheezed out started a new round of coughing that rang his aching head like a gong. He worked his painful way to his hands and knees, but his entire body felt drained. Even his blood felt strange, overloaded. He knew that he wouldn’t be able to get up to his feet. The cramps in his calves were too intense as it was when he got to his knees.

He didn’t need to get to his feet. He crawled.

Trainer’s pants were folded neatly on the floor by the black bed. On it, the man’s shoulders were down and his ass was high, a posture Junho had never seen him in without pants. He looked good. Junho hated him, and still couldn't help but appreciate his statuesque masculine beauty.

The VIP got onto the bed behind Trainer, on his knees. The man stroked his hands over Trainer’s ass, up the backs of the man's thighs then out and down from the center, while he watched Junho’s halting crawl across the floor. When Junho finally worked his way across the red and gold rug, the VIP pointed to a spot on the black sheets. “Right there.”

Junho managed a hoarse and breathless acknowledgment. It took all of the strength left in his body, but he managed to shove himself up onto the black bed. He sprawled on his side where the VIP had pointed, leaking cum and dripping sweat, so exhausted that he could barely keep his eyes open. But the VIP had said to watch.

Junho watched the VIP pump two fingers into the ass of his instructor and jailer and betrayer. When he pulled them out, the light sheened off the lube on his fingers.

“Huh.” The VIP sounded both surprised and pleased. “You still prepare for me?”

“Yes, sir,” the trainer said in his serene, deferential voice. He hadn’t hidden his face in the sheets like Junho would have, but instead rested his chin on his crossed wrists and looked out across the bed toward the nightmare playground. If he was at all aroused by what the VIP was doing to him, he didn’t show it.

The VIP stroked his own cock. He wasn’t hard, wasn’t even half hard. He’d already came twice, and he was a middle-aged man, though Junho never would have guessed that from the rest of his libido.

It took the VIP a while to get himself back up. Junho slowly caught his breath. The sheets absorbed his sweat and spread it around him. If he didn’t move, the cramps didn’t visit, though his muscles trembled the constant threat of possibility.

When the VIP was finally hardish, not truly hard, but hard enough to penetrate, his deep-set eyes shifted to where Junho sprawled. “You have any opinion about this, Pretty Eyes?”

What?

It wasn’t just the trauma of the evening, the betrayals, the drawn-out torture, the heartbreak, being suffocated. He honestly didn’t know why he’d have an opinion, or if he did, why it would matter.

He was too exhausted to try to figure it out. “No, sir.”

“Good.”

The VIP lined up and rocked into Trainer. It wasn’t the sort of hard thrust he would have given Junho. He went slowly, and Junho couldn’t decide whether he was taking the time to enjoy it or taking care because he was pushing rope.

“Fuck, you’re tight.” The VIP groaned. “I should fuck you more often.”

“If you’d like that, sir.” The trainer’s voice remained as low and respectfully deferential as it ever was.

“How long’s it been?”

“Two years and some, sir.”

Junho suspected that Venus would know.

As the VIP pulled out, Junho saw the muscular man’s ass flex. He could imagine how that must squeeze the VIP inside him, and the VIP groaned as if to confirm Junho’s thoughts.

“How about this.” The VIP spoke between slow thrusts. “If you get off. Before I do. You can share a room. With Pretty Eyes.”

“Yes, sir.”

If the trainer did anything differently to try to cum, Junho couldn’t see it. His cock got hard, but he didn’t move to touch himself or close his eyes to focus on sensations. He just kept flexing his ass when the VIP pulled out, milking him.

It was a long time before the VIP came. But Trainer didn’t cum first.

After, the VIP flipped the muscular man over by the hip and studied him. Trainer’s face was flushed a deep brown and his breathing was heavy, but his erection was clearly evident.

Junho thought that if the point of everything – the betrayal, selling Junho out, getting him nearly killed – had been for them to share a room at the end of the long night, Trainer had really stopped fighting for it in the end.

The VIP’s brows hiked toward his greying hair, and he spoke between heavy breaths. “Thought. You wanted. To share a room.”

“I do, sir.” Even a little breathless, Trainer managed more deference than Junho could when he tried. “But your pleasure comes first.”

It was disgusting, pandering flattery that no reasonable person could take literally.

The VIP’s laughter was so breathless that it was barely louder than a chuckle. He ran his dry hand back through his sweaty, thinning silver hair, grinned, shook his head.

“Ah, Dog Boy. I forgot how good you are.” The VIP flopped onto his back. "Get over here."

Trainer shifted and the VIP pulled Trainer’s head onto his chest. He rubbed his hand over the man’s short, tight curls. “You were my favorite, once, weren’t you.”

“Yes, sir.”

Trainer looked across the bed at Junho. It wasn't an accidental look, he had to angle his eyes to do it.

Junho didn't even try to read whatever small expression might be lurking at the corners of his eyes and mouth. Was he supposed to react somehow? Even if Junho had been inclined to forgive him, the detective was seeing red, and nearly getting killed had pulled the two halves of himself closer together than they had been in a while.

Fuck him, they both agreed.

“Know what?” The VIP kissed the top of Trainer’s head. “You can have him. Since you threw the bet. Good work deserves a reward.”

The VIP scritched his fingers through Trainer’s hair. “You can have his mouth. His hands. His feet. Shit, you can have his elbows.” Then man's fingers tightened on Trainer’s head, the pads pressing so hard that his knuckles went white. “But not his ass or his cock, Trainer. Those belong to me. Don’t fuck it up.”

“Yes, sir.” Trainer sounded content and unbothered. “Thank you, sir.”

The VIP released the muscular man’s head, patted him on the ass. “Out. Done with both of you.”

They both made their acknowledgments, Trainer’s voice strong and polite, and Junho’s weak and raspy. Trainer rolled off the bed, his softening dick shifting in that awkward phase between up and travel-ready, and Junho did his best to flop himself to the edge of the bed, moving like a landed fish.

It was the trainer who looked at Junho with the serene threat of casual violence. He remembered what he was missing.

“Thank you for letting me cum, sir,” Junho said, even though the words tore at his throat and burned his soul.

The VIP didn’t say anything. His eyes were closed and his face was loose. He might already be asleep.

Junho did try to follow the VIP’s order to leave. When he moved his legs to try to put his feet on the floor, they were wracked with cramps, and he writhed and clamped down on his pained noise. He didn’t want to wake the VIP if he was sleeping or draw his attention if he wasn’t.

He would crawl if he had to, and hope that his hamstrings didn't give out.

Trainer held up his finger and Junho stopped trying. The larger man pulled him to the edge of the bed and crouched down, then lifted Junho onto his shoulders in a fireman’s carry. Like a pirate carrying a captive back to the ship.

Chapter Text

Junho made his twitching muscles relax as Trainer carried him out of the VIP’s playroom. He watched the backs of the man’s legs as he moved, watched the way his feet indented the carpet. His silky pants were neither loose nor tight, tailored to his shape, though they shifted against his legs and outlined their well-defined muscles briefly when he stopped to open a door. When he walked again, the fabric rippled softly.

There was something strange about Trainer’s feet, and it took Junho until he had been carried out into the hallway to realize what it was. He would have expected an ashy callus around his heels, but there was nothing but smooth, well-moisturized skin. He wondered how long it had been since Trainer last wore shoes.

You’re distracting yourself, the detective whispered.

Junho hurled questions at the detective like a man trying to drive off an unwelcome animal.

What should he think about? How Trainer’s back smelled like sweat and old cigar smoke in a way that made Junho think of the VIP? How, if he took in a breath very slowly, he could smell sex? Should he think about the cramps waiting to explode in his limbs, how his exhausted muscles twitched without reason or warning? His pounding headache? The persistent ache in his ass, the sharper raw pain of his overstimulated dick?

How he’d given in and broken his last word to himself? Should he regret that he and the detective had decided that it would be better to endure than to die? Be scared shitless about what Trainer intended to do once he got Junho back to his room? Reflect on how much harder it would be to escape with his watchful jailer around 24/7?

At least you know what he is, now, the detective said before he faded back, as if he had no response to the rest of the hurled questions. Junho was neither surprised by that, nor sad to feel him go.

Besides, it was true. He had known Trainer wasn't on his side, but there was nothing like a demonstration to solidify a theory.

Trainer grunted, shifted carefully through the doorway and into the stairwell. The plush gold pattern of the upstairs carpet turned into the stairwell’s utilitarian carpet, and they went down. Then the stairwell lost its carpet and became cement stairs. Trainer carefully shifted Junho through again at the palm-pad door, then again as the cement became red tiles.

When they were back in Junho’s room, he closed his eyes. Trainer’s walk rocked him until the big man crouched and shifted Junho down carefully from his shoulders. Trainer leaned him against a wall, and the textured tiles of the shower were rough against Junho’s butt and thighs. A carabiner clicked through a ring at the back of his chest harness, and Trainer's feet slapped on the tiles as he walked away.

The smells of sweat and sex and cigar smoke didn’t leave with him. They were on Junho’s body, in his hair, in the leather of his collar and cuffs. As if the VIP had become an immutable part of his substance.

His soul wasn’t the seething surface of a stormy sea that he had expected. Instead, it was a glossy obsidian black, the waves low and dark, the depths inviting. He didn’t need to become the kite to skim over it, and he found that he didn’t even want to try. He wanted to sink beneath the dark waves, to sleep, to be at peace.

There’s peace at the fountain, the detective whispered too softly to ruffle the surface of the water.

Junho didn’t want to go to the fountain. He wanted to let go, like he had let go of the line, and drown. He didn’t want to die, but he didn’t want to exist anymore.

It’s the same thing, the detective argued more firmly.

Okay, then. Maybe he did want to die.

No, you don't. You can't find Inho if you're dead.

Junho wasn't sure whether the anger was from himself or the detective. He sighed and let the anger go, dropping it into the sea.

He wasn’t going to find Inho in this dungeon, and he was never getting out of this place alive. The person he had thought was on his side had betrayed him, and he’d taken the final step of betraying himself. Trainer had probably even lied when he said that Inho was alive. Inho wasn’t out there, wasn’t looking for him.

That man has never been on our side, the logical part of himself argued, but he’s never lied to us. And he’s never been part of the plan. And Inho is family. After everything you shared as kids, everything you did to keep him afloat after dad cut him off, he’d never think you committed suicide and left him to fend for himself. You have his kidney and bone marrow, for fuck sake. He knows you’re a fighter.

His brother was a deadbeat, and he’d never been the same after their mom lost faith in him. Even if he was out there, what good would that do them?

Maybe he’s half-assed his way through most of his life, but even half an ass looking for you is better than nothing. Do you really want to leave him with no family support at all?

Before Junho could respond, the detective fed anger into him, and the mental equivalent of shouting: And you haven’t betrayed shit! Ask to cum, don’t ask to cum, it was never a real choice!

It was very hard for Junho to admit to himself that those things he thought he’d had control over had been illusions, seafoam towers he had carefully constructed around spiderwebs. The line he had been holding had been thinner than thread, had less tensile strength than a piece of hair. But it had seemed so important.

“Water,” Trainer said, and a plastic straw rested against Junho’s lower lip.

There was a pause, then Trainer said, “I know you’re not asleep, Pretty, and I know you’re in there. Drink the water.”

Even phrased as an order, Junho didn’t move his lips around the straw. He waited for the signal that Trainer was the VIP’s creature. Because apparently he needed that reminder.

He heard the man sigh through his nose, then Trainer withdrew the straw and slapped Junho. His head jerked to the side and he tasted blood.

Fronthand or backhand, the slap was always right on the cheekbone, never directly on his teeth. Sometimes hard enough to bruise, but never hard enough to break the bone. If slapping hard without inflicting permanent injury had been an Olympic sport, Trainer would have been a medalist.

The straw was placed back against Junho’s lips.

“Drink the water.” It was the trainer’s calm, serene, implacable voice. Junho could drink the water, or the trainer would force it down his throat, it was all the same to him. The water was going down one way or another.

And there it was – the steel under the soft glove of false care. Junho had just wanted to make sure it was still there, to orient himself in that knowledge, to keep his hand firmly on it for as long as he could.

“Yes, trainer.” Junho’s voice sounded hoarse and dead in his ears, as flat as if it had already slipped beneath the waves.

The nausea from the iceberg in his stomach had kept him from wanting to drink, but once the water was past his parched lips, his body greedily demanded more. He sipped from the cup until the trainer took it away. Even before the man came back with the second cup, some of the cramping in Junho’s legs and back had eased. He drank the second cup down without being ordered. He’d already made the point to himself that he needed to make.

The muscular man shifted Junho’s head forward, unclipped him from the wall. “Let’s get cleaned up,” he said in the same tone he always used.

It wasn’t a command or a question, so Junho didn’t have to respond. He opened his eyes, and there was a broad, strong hand being offered down to him from above. It was the last thing he wanted to grab, the last person he wanted to depend on, but he wasn’t sure that he could stand on his own even with the water slowly spreading through his body and calming the cramps.

He gripped the man’s hand and allowed himself to be pulled to standing. He could barely stay upright on his rubbery legs, even leaning against the wall.

Trainer swapped Junho into the plastic restraints and clipped the back of Junho’s chest harness to the wall with a short lead. If he fell, it would catch him before he hit the floor.

How kind and considerate, Junho thought bitterly.
Trainer cleaned the streaks of eyeshadow and mascara off Junho’s face and chest with the eye makeup remover pads like a parent wiping off a toddler who had smeared food all over himself. Then he put a washcloth in Junho’s hand and turned on the water.

It rained down from overhead, warm but not hot. Junho watched it soak into the washcloth.

There was no point in trying to scrub the VIP off of himself. The VIP was inside him, would still be in there even if Junho washed his skin raw trying to get the phantom touches off his skin. Even if he forced as much of the man’s semen out as he could without breaking the rules, the VIP was under his skin. Thinking that he could wash the stain away was as futile as thinking that he could have held a part of himself back from the man.

Just another seafoam tower held together by spiderwebs. He broke that one himself. Not a child smashing a sandcastle in a tantrum, but a man letting the sea take back what had belonged to it in the first place.

Trainer took the unused washcloth out of Junho’s hand. He washed himself first, generous with the soap and scrubbing thoroughly. Junho had never realized how much he’d tuned out the floral scent in the steam until now.

It was the VIP’s smell, he put it on everything. His sheets, his slaves, the clothing of his slaves. Those that got clothing. It was probably his favorite smell.

Junho wished he knew which flower it was so he could picture it burning. Imagine it erased from his universe. Instead, it was just a smell, and it was hard to target a smell.

Then he let that thought go, too. Another pointless little defiance.

You're wallowing, the detective said. It's not helping.

Junho turned the anger on himself, the only safe target in the room, and the detective retreated.

Trainer washed Junho after he’d finished washing himself, starting with Junho’s hair and working toward his feet. Not scrubbing as hard as Junho would have, but washing him thoroughly, unclipping him and turning him when he needed to be turned. Junho hissed with pain when Trainer cleaned his intimate areas. He was very raw.

The muscular man turned off the water and toweled them both off. Junho waited to see whether Trainer would move him back into the leather restraints, which were stiff with sweat where they sat on the counter and smelled like tobacco smoke even from this distance.

Instead, the muscular man took a leather case out of the locking cabinet and started fitting Junho into a fresh set of leather restraints. He put the soiled ones into the old case and slid it across the tiles toward the door.

It bumped gently off the wall, just the right amount of force applied to land it there. If sliding things across the tile floor of a torture room had been a sport, Trainer would have been a professional at that one, too.

Part of Trainer’s conversation with the VIP drifted through Junho’s mind: Two years and some since the VIP had last fucked Trainer. That didn’t mean that Trainer had been Trainer for a little over two years. Clearly, he sometimes fucked Trainer anyway. Two years and some was the floor of the man’s experience, not the ceiling of it.

At least two years and some of painstakingly lubing up every day so that, if the VIP decided to fuck him, the monster wouldn't be going in dry. It felt like an impossibly long time to someone who had been here a little more than a month and already was so broken-down and exhausted by it that he wanted to not exist.

You do want to exist, the detective insisted tiredly. You haven’t given up. Stop it with the self-indulgent wallowing bullshit, it isn’t helping.

Junho didn’t want to stop wallowing, yet, so he told the detective to go fuck himself. He pictured the exact act, sexually creative and physically impossible.

After Trainer had Junho back in the leather cuffs, he checked and disinfected his piercings and the scratches on his face and ear, then applied ointment to Junho's raw nipples, dick, and ass before putting him back in chastity.

He took no comfort from the dick prison. Its safety was an illusion. It had never kept him safe from the VIP, only from touching himself, and he never wanted to touch himself again. For the first time in as long as Junho could remember, even his body was profoundly disinterested in sexual stimulation. Maybe if he maintained this level of sexual disinterest, he’d become useless to the VIP. He’d stop being ‘naturally responsive’ or however they’d put it, and then.

Then what?

It didn’t matter. It was just another seafoam castle. His body would come back to life, like it had before. It had never needed his mind to be with it and Junho doubted it would start now.

The muscular man took a step back and looked at him with Trainer’s eyes and face. Not the blank-as-stone, impassive expressions of the job, but with the subtly expressive features of the man. It didn’t really matter. They were both creatures of the VIP.

His whiskey and molasses voice was even slower than usual. “The kitchen’s probably dark, but I’m going to see if I can’t find us something to eat.”

Trainer moved Junho over to the chair before he left the room, fastening him in so thoroughly that he couldn’t have done himself any damage even if he had wanted to. Another choice taken away, even if it wasn’t a choice he would have acted on.

Junho wished that Trainer had clicked off the light to signal that he wasn’t coming back. He would rather sit in the darkness.

Chapter Text

Junho rested the back of his head against the vertical line of the chair’s leg and stared at the exercise equipment across the room. He thought about visiting the ocean of sorrow that his soul had become, staring into the darkness beneath the waves.

The detective didn't want him to, and Junho was tired of fighting him. He'd had more life since the VIP had almost killed them, and he was harder to fight off.

Instead, Junho closed his eyes and went to the fountain. He put in his usual bench, but instead of flowers, he surrounded the fountain with gravel paths and a rock garden. Fuck flowers. The fountain was the same, a massive stone bowl shooting water into the air in patterns that required concentration to maintain.

There were no boys, no kites. He covered the sky in grey clouds. Before he could decide whether the rain should be impending or in progress, he heard the door click.

Junho opened his eyes and let go of the fountain. There was no point in pretending that he was asleep, Trainer was just too observant. Junho didn’t look toward his jailer, though. He didn’t want the man to think he wanted to see him or gave a shit that he was back.

He hoped that he could maintain this level of antipathy toward Trainer indefinitely, but he didn’t count on it. There was no point in building another seafoam tower.

It wasn’t physically out of his control, but he knew that after the shock of the betrayal wore off, Trainer would still be the only person in his life other than the VIP. Junho was still a human, and humans were still social creatures that sought comfort and reassurance from each other. His brain would do what it had done before because it was hardwired to.

Junho trusted that the detective would hold on to his anger, his bitterness, his resentment, and remind him when he got complacent. He hoped that he’d never become too far gone to listen to the logical part of himself.

Trainer lowered himself to the floor near Junho, not next to him, not across from him, but nearby and angled toward him. He put down two snap-locked plastic boxes, then leaned in to unfasten Junho’s wrists from his waist before opening one and putting it next to Junho.

The food box contained a heap of triangle-cut sandwiches and a plastic sip cup of protein shake. It was a meal designed to be eaten with hands instead of to remind him how helpless he was. The bread was unusual, especially in this amount.

Treat. Reward. Bribe. All of the above.

Junho waited for Trainer to set up the tablet. Instead, the muscular man snapped the lid off the second plastic box and said, “Eat.” Then, as if he could read the question in Junho’s mind, “We’ll review it tomorrow. It's very late, and it's a long video.”

“Yes, trainer.” Junho wasn’t relieved to be spared it now and didn’t dread having to watch it later. It just was what it was.

The sandwiches contained thin slices of some sort of poultry Junho wasn’t familiar with, cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, lettuce. No tomato. The protein shake was chocolate-flavored. Another treat, reward, bribe, whatever way he decided to look at it.

Trainer ate the sandwiches from the other plastic box, drank his own shake from a plastic sip-cup. Would the man be eating with him regularly, now? Would they eat the same things, or was this just because the kitchen was closed? What did it mean for him to share Junho’s room exactly?

The VIP’s words floated through his mind like a cut kite drifting aimlessly over the black ocean. Trainer could have his mouth, feet, hands, elbows, whatever he wanted to take except for his ass or his cock.

Was there any point in worrying about it? He’d find out soon enough.

Not worrying about it and not being apprehensive turned out to be different things. He tensed even without obsessively rolling scenarios over in his mind. He’d make himself relax, only to start tensing again a few moments later.

Trainer didn't try to reach out to reassure him. Other than the necessary contact in the shower, he hadn’t touched Junho at all.

When everything was gone from the boxes, Trainer snapped them closed and unfolded from the floor. He fastened Junho’s wrists to his waist in front before he left, taking the case of smelly leather cuffs and the empty boxes with him. He left the lights on.

Leaving the lights on meant that he’d be back. Trainer had never left Junho fastened to this area of the chair to sleep. The lights only went out when he was in the chair or his sleeping area.

Then again, the idea that there were any rules in this place was just another seafoam tower. The rules and routines were whatever they were until the VIP or the trainer decided to change them. The VIP’s changes weren’t even predictable.

That that had always been the case, the detective said.

“You can stop now with the ‘I told you so,’ ” Junho said out loud to himself in Korean.

You need me here with you right now, the detective said instead of fading back. It wasn't just an I-told-you-so. You need to be firmly fixed in reality.

Junho grudgingly concurred. He didn’t know if the detective would actually stop working if Junho pushed him back to the dark corners in the back of his mind, anyway. Might as well invite him into the front.

It seemed to work this time. The conversation stopped, and Junho was left alone in his careful state of not thinking. He breathed and existed and that was the extent of it.

When Trainer came back into the room, he held a huge black bundle over one broad shoulder. His other hand juggled a small plastic box until he got the door closed behind him. He didn’t look at Junho on his way across the room, and Junho didn’t look at him.

Just two people making a great effort to show how disinterested they were in each other.

The muscular man tossed the black bundle toward Junho’s floor mattress, then placed the plastic box on the counter while he pressed the combination into the cabinet's lock pad. His fingers unsnapped the lid from the box, then he lifted something out and placed it on the counter. It was hard to tell what with his broad body in the way.

Trainer put the plastic box in the cabinet, closed it, and then used a small magnet to fix something to the front. When the man moved back over to the bundle, Junho studied what he'd left behind.

It was a photograph of a long-eared, black and tan dog with a heavily scarred muzzle sitting on sun-scorched grass over a hard beige ground surface. The dog had a huge doggy grin and perked ears.

Something about having a picture of a happy dog in Junho’s room tugged his heart painfully. He wasn’t sure what the pain was. Not alarm, he didn’t think the photo of the dog had anything to do with his training or there would have been a photo of a happy dog in Junho’s room from the very beginning.

He took a deep breath and invited the detective to work the case.

Trainer had brought the photo in with his things. It had been the first thing Trainer attended to, and it hadn’t been placed in the cabinet with whatever else was in the plastic box. That meant it held a special significance.

The VIP had called him Dog Boy. Junho had thought that Trainer was both the dog and the boy, like ‘Pretty Eyes’ referred to him. Now, he wondered if Trainer was the boy and this was the dog.

He wasn’t a boy. He was a grown man. Junho couldn’t really read his age, but he didn’t have any obvious wrinkles or white in his hair. ‘Boy’ to break him down? Or ‘boy’ because he had been young.

Now, there was a disturbing thought.

Trainer pulled three pairs of pants out of the black roll of things, folded them carefully, and made space for them in the towel cabinet. He unrolled a floor mattress, placed it down on top of Junho’s. Not next to Junho’s – on top of it, the doubled floor mattresses looking both more comfortable and ominous.

The bundle had been made from the blanket, and Trainer unwrapped the last little item from it. It was a small, square, silky-black pillow.

The muscular man studied it, considered it. He turned to the locked cabinet, opened it, placed the pillow inside. Unplugged and took out the tablet. Closed the cabinet. His thumbs worked the tablet’s surface briefly, then he placed it on the counter, standing upright but with its screen dark. Each gesture was an economy of motion.

When Trainer turned back to Junho, his face was Trainer’s and not the trainer’s, but his expression was unsettlingly unfamiliar. His eyes were calm, but in a way that spoke of careful control rather than relaxed neutrality, his nostrils were flared slightly, his expressive lips were pressed a little. His jaw was set.

Junho had never seen the expression, and wasn’t quite sure what it meant. He felt himself start to tense, felt how stiff his worn-out body had become from sitting in one place after his strenuous evening. His shoulders threatened to cramp, and he made himself relax. It was out of his control, whatever had happened would always be out of his control, had always been out of his control.

Until the chance to escape comes, the detective concurred. It wasn't defeat to acknowledge his lack of control. It was just realism.

Trainer returned to Junho, crouching down and unfastening him from the chair, but he didn’t remove Junho’s hobble.

“Up carefully,” he said. “Don’t pull anything.”

“Yes, trainer.” Even to his own ears, his voice sounded bleak.

Trainer’s broad hand was steady on Junho’s arm as he got stiffly to his feet and hobbled over to the toilet and sink to take care of evening tasks. Then, inevitably, to the doubled floor mattress.

“Lie down.”

“Yes, trainer.”

Junho settled to his knees, hesitated, flopped onto his side. The doubled mattress felt strange to lie on. It was softer than he was used to, and he couldn’t feel the tiled floor as hard against his hip or shoulder. He pressed his back against the wall and pulled his legs up tight, protecting his stomach.

Trainer leaned over Junho, and his entire body tensed, sending a small cramp knotting the back of his shoulder between his shoulder and spine. There were two clicks, then Trainer straightened, shook Junho’s usual blanket out of its careful folds, and spread it over him. He turned away, heading for the door.

Junho edged back as far as he could go, until he felt one of the randomly placed bolts press into the middle of his back uncomfortably. He scooted a little farther forward so that it didn’t press too hard but still assured him that the wall was right there.

The lights clicked off. Junho found himself tensing again despite the ache of his muscles, and his ears strained to follow Trainer’s footsteps on his way back across the room. He felt the mattress shift as Trainer’s weight settled onto it. Felt more shifting, heard the rustle of a blanket.

Then nothing.

Junho only realized that the was holding his breath when the dizziness hit. He let it out and then took in another, found himself holding it, made himself breathe out.

“Go to sleep, Pretty.” Trainer’s voice echoed in the room like the man was facing away from him, and he sounded tired.

The words didn’t relax Junho at all. His body was intently telling him that this man’s presence was no longer reassuring, it was a danger. He made himself breathe out. “Yes, trainer.”

It took Junho a long time to comply with the order, and when sleep came, it was shallow and troubled by nightmares.

Chapter Text

In Junho’s dreams, something stalked him through the halls of the police station, an alien creature made of darkness and too-straight teeth and powerful claws. He kept trying to pull himself into cabinets or close doors behind him to get away from it, but it always found a way in. The station was endless, and one of these times it was going to eat him before he could get away, and then—

—and then his work alarm beeped in an unfamiliar tone, his phone not on his bed table, but across the room in his pants. Junho tried to roll out of bed and smacked into a hard, warm wall.

And then he was back in the real nightmare. The one where the monster had already caught him.

Trainer said a curse in a language Junho didn’t know as he rose rapidly from under his blanket. The room was black except for a strange pale space in the air. Junho’s waking brain at first couldn’t make sense of it as more than a color and shape that didn’t belong. The tone sounded again.

The muscular man was barely more than a darker space in the near-blackness until he picked up the tablet. Then he became a sepia-toned face floating in the otherwise black room, barely defined by the tablet’s reflected light. The angle of the light shifted and Junho watched the surface flicker with the rapid press of Trainer’s thumbs on the screen before he put the tablet back down on the counter.

The bright lights in the room snapped on a few moments later. Trainer approached rapidly, unhooked Junho from the wall, and helped him up. His entire body was stiff from the previous night’s torture session, and he tried to let his mind skate past most of those areas and settle on the knot between his shoulder and spine. It felt like he’d pulled something there.

Trainer moved Junho over to the sink and attached him there with a long lead. He got a plastic cup from the locked cabinet, put it in Junho’s hands, and said firmly, “Drink. Stretch.”

Junho took the cup. He still felt numb through, and not just from the physical exhaustion, which was still with him. “Yes, trainer.”

“I’ll be right back.”

And then he left Junho fastened to the wall with a long lead and a plastic cup in his unclipped hands. It was a good thing he'd decided not to die, Junho thought, or he could have done some real damage to himself.

But the previous night’s bleak depression had faded. The detective was right – he’d never had control, he’d never had Trainer’s loyalty. He hadn’t truly lost anything but his illusions. And his self-respect, but that wasn't necessary to survive here.

The only thing that was necessary was getting to the next day. And the day after that, and the day after that, whatever he had to do to make it to the day that he escaped.

Junho drank a full cup of water and started working through the morning stretching routine by himself. His muscles were intensely stiff and sore, and he had to take it slow so he didn’t hurt himself further. He had barely started the routine when Trainer returned.

He didn’t have a plastic box in his hand. He had a single banana, which he tossed underhand to Junho, who almost fumbled the unexpected missile.

“Eat now, then prep.” Trainer’s delivery was terse. “He wants to see you before he leaves.”

Junho’s brain, still slowly clicking its way towards fully awake, needed a little time to process the words, the changes to the routine. Leave. The VIP was leaving. He'd said something about leaving when—

Trainer slapped him, and it stung and turned his head to the side only a little. A soft slap. “Now means now, Pretty.”

Apparently he didn’t have those moments to think or process. Junho’s face burned from the slap and his thumbs started working the peel off the banana. “Yes, trainer.”

Junho wolfed down his breakfast while Trainer swapped him into plastic cuffs, then he and started his prep. He was sore and would have liked to ease himself through the hygiene routines, but Trainer’s impatience told him that he didn’t have the time, so he went as fast as he could without skipping any of the important steps.

Trainer showered with an economy of motion that Junho admired, despite not wanting to admire anything about his jailer and betrayer. After the muscular man toweled off, he put Junho in the shower, then did his own prep. At least the he had dialed the shower up to hot, and it relaxed Junho’s muscles somewhat as he scrubbed himself and shaved and did his teeth as fast as possible.

He was still raw, sore. This was really going to suck.

He stretched a little and watched Trainer curiously as the man did his eyes, to distract himself from thinking about what was probably coming. Trainer ran his thumb over the liner tubes and selected one, lining his lids with fast, assured motions. Then he did his own prep, lubing and stretching with just his fingers, with the same economy of motion he used to shower and without getting smears of lube everywhere. It was macabrely fascinating.

After he washed his hands, he turned to Junho, and his eyes were subtly lined in a dark blue that complemented the brown of his skin and eyes. It froze Junho’s heart in a case of ice. For a moment, he was back on the table for the first time. He made himself move when Trainer unclipped him, not wanting to fail whatever the test might be.

In no time, Junho was toweled off, his cuffs were leather, his eyes were done, and his hobble clattered on the tiles as Trainer led him out of the room.

He wondered if he was ever going to wake up from the nightmare. Instead of being chased through his place of work by an alien, he was being dragged through a nightmare mansion to the alien by, what? A minion?

It felt inevitable that Trainer led Junho up to the mansion’s second floor. They moved along the line of windows that looked out over the back yard, the ocean. It was later in the morning than he’d realized, and Junho wondered how late the VIP had kept them all up last night with the torture. He was almost angry that the sky was clear of everything but just the faintest streamers of white finger-clouds. He wanted the weather to reflect his surreal mood, maybe something with banks of moonlit fog, dark and confusing.

Junho’s body tried to slow automatically as they approached the VIP's playroom, but he made his feet keep moving. It didn't get easier after Trainer led him past the familiar doors and into the unfamiliar part of the second floor. Junho's anxiety spiked, and the detective kept them both centered by working on his map.

They kept going to an intersection, and turned away from the ocean-framing windows to move deeper into the house. The new hallway was carpeted and decorated the same as the part that Junho knew, but it was subtly wider and far shorter.

The other end opened out onto a balcony area. As Trainer led him into the space, Junho saw a pair of wide stairways descending from a landing in the middle. They curved with the walls down to the ground level. The ceiling disappeared overhead, heading up at least one more level, possibly two. A gold and glass chandelier centered the space, clearly within the view of the windows facing outward onto what seemed to be a driveway.

That’s interesting, the detective whispered. He slotted the foyer between the formal den and the living room, then marked it with the bright mental exclamation points of a known exit.

Now wasn’t the time to make a break for it, though. Trainer’s eyes were lined in blue. And there were quite a few people moving around below, including a person who hauled a wheeled suitcase out through the door and the muscular woman who held the door open. A waft of warm air carried the smell of sun-baked pavement up to Junho's nose.

At either end of the balcony, a standard staircase went up to the next level, and Trainer led Junho to the set on the right. None of the stairs had been easy to ascend, but the latest set truly taxed Junho’s rubbery muscles as he followed Trainer up to the third floor.

The stairwell ended in the brightest and most open library Junho had ever seen in his life. One ‘wall’ was just a railing facing out over the massive open space of the foyer. The bookshelves were freestanding creations of lattice and glass, not disrupting the flow of light in from the numerous windows, which were decorated with a few desert-looking plants. They moved along the wall on the right until Trainer stopped at a door and knocked.

Venus opened it. There was a faint furrow between her brows. Her black, densely curly hair had been freshly arranged into twists and pinned up.

But the strangest thing was that she was wearing clothing. Normal clothing. Slacks, low-heeled shoes, a button-up blue blouse with ruffles. A small golden necklace glittered at her throat, the thin chain catching the light. It was difficult for Junho to read the English cursive script, but he thought the pendant might be shaped into her name, like a fashion statement instead of a sign of ownership.

“He’s already running late.” Her cultured voice had a hint of strain or warning. “And I don’t want to have to change his flight plan.”

“I apologize, ma’am.” Trainer’s voice was as calmly deferential as usual, his lined eyes downcast.

Every time Junho caught a glimpse of that subtle dark-blue liner, his balls tried to jump into his throat through the iceberg in his stomach.

Venus’s dark brown lips pressed tight before she held out her hand. “I’ll take him, you stay here. When it’s time for him to go back, I don’t want to have to wait around for you to get up here.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Trainer passed over Junho’s short lead. He stepped to the side and began to kneel.

Junho didn’t give him a backward glance as Venus led him through the door. There was no safety or comfort to be found in him.

The normalcy of the bedroom was startling. It was situated on a corner of the house, done in shades of rich brown accented with gold. The windows across the huge room faced the ocean and let the morning sunlight stream in. Racks of plants lined the windows facing the north, most of them having a ferny look to them. The floral scent that the VIP liked was so heavy on the air that it was almost a taste.

The room’s size was startling. He wouldn’t normally expect a room to have its own sitting area or minibar, but despite that, it was very clearly a bedroom. Across the expansive space was a normal bed with covers, nightstands with reading lamps on either side. One of the stands even had a couple books and a box of facial tissues. There was no nightmare playground equipment, nor was there any hint of femininity.

The VIP came out of one of the open side doors, naked and toweling at his hair. “Venus, is he—”

For all that she was dressed like a normal person, Venus dropped to her knees. Junho had already been on the way down the moment he saw the VIP. He rested his hands on top of his thighs and looked up at the man.

“Here, sir,” Venus said, eyes low, voice deferential.

“Wonderful,” the VIP purred like a pleased lion. “I didn’t want to leave without saying goodbye.”

Chapter Text

On one hand, hearing that the VIP was saying goodbye was a positive thing. The word, the luggage downstairs in the foyer, Venus wearing normal clothing, all of them indicated that he was in fact going on one of his business trips. Which meant that Junho might get a few days to physically recover and process everything that had happened.

On the other hand, it meant that he was seeing the VIP again very shortly after the man had sexually tortured him and shattered everything in the world that Junho had been holding on to. The cons outweighed the pros.

Vividly, Junho remembered what it felt like to have sweat sticking his back to the VIP’s stomach. He saw Trainer's eyes look up at him, felt the betrayal and the certainty that resistance was futile, heard his own voice begging brokenly for the VIP to allow him to cum, apologizing repeatedly, calling himself an idiot for thinking that he could hold back any single worthless part of himself. Felt the VIP’s hand close over his nose and mouth, felt the certainty that he was going to die. That no one was going to save him. That he wasn't going to be able to save himself.

Junho’s pulse soared so fast that he got lightheaded. His throat closed tight against throwing up, but also against swallowing. Cold sweat burst from his pores and his nuts shot up like they wanted to hide out in his throat.

All he could see were the deep pits of the VIP’s eyes staring into his own from across the space between them. Every defense Junho had built had been torn down the night before, and he hadn’t had time to repair them. Those eyes burned into the intensely sensitive areas in Junho’s soul, vicious pleasure in them as the monster devoured the Junho’s despair and fear and the black pit where his defiance had been.

As if from underwater, he heard the VIP say, “Unclip him.”

Venus affirmed and unclipped Junho with the same efficiency as Trainer would have. Junho’s limbs felt like they were made of ice, or maybe glass. He wasn’t sure whether they were too heavy to lift, or too brittle.

The VIP threw the towel into the room he had just come out of and crooked his finger at Junho. “Come here, Pretty Eyes.”

“Yes, sir.” Junho's lips were numb, his feet were equally numb as he crossed the large room to the VIP.

The man’s soft hands, still damp from his bath or shower, lifted and cupped either side of Junho’s face. He pulled Junho’s face in close and kissed him deeply, and Junho tried to kiss back despite his numbness and roiling stomach. Because he knew he had to.

And he had to put his hands on the VIP’s shoulders because he couldn’t stop his shaking. He couldn’t even kid himself that it was his exhausted muscles, though they were making it harder to stop the trembling. It was fear, pure and simple fear, images and sensations flashing so quickly through his mind that he barely had time to recognize them, much less process them. He hated that he was afraid, but he couldn't deny that he was.

The way the VIP studied Junho’s eyes after he pulled back and reveled in his terror was horrifying. The corners of the VIP’s blue-fire eyes curved in pleasure. “Beautiful.”

Junho didn’t know whether the VIP meant his face or his fear. His eyes started to drop. He made himself pull them back up, hold the VIP’s eyes. The VIP’s mouth widened, showing his too-white, too-even teeth. Like a shark.

The man released his grip on Junho’s cheeks and spun him around without warning, wrapping him in a hug from behind that crushed Junho against his stomach. Junho's body flared nauseated cold at having this man at his back again so soon, at feeling the cock against him stiffening.

It wasn’t fair. Junho was still raw and sore from the last time, and not just his body. He wanted to weep.

One of the VIP’s hands splayed on Junho’s abs, warning him that the man was about to do something evil. His other hand went to Junho’s chest, toying his fingertips across Junho’s flat pec, gently sliding the ring back and forth through Junho’s nipple. When the VIP’s tongue traced from Junho’s shoulder up to the sensitive space behind his ear, he shuddered. The monster’s hot breath smelled confusingly, not of whiskey and cigar, but of mint. Mint like Trainer’s.

Junho didn’t resist the sounds he wanted to make, the gasp at the pain, the moan at the electric pleasure. He couldn’t have resisted the way his legs sagged in a combination of exhaustion and fear and sensation. The VIP’s grip on Junho’s abs was, for a moment, the only thing that held him up.

Despite the way his mind had frozen in terror, the way that his raw nipple ached pain as well as pleasure, his nerve endings told his body that it was time to get ready. His dick grew heavy in its cage.

The VIP chuckled against the back of Junho’s ear. “Still so responsive.”

The VIP’s hand spread on his chest instead, and the other slid down Junho’s abs. The pads of his soft fingers traced their way down each ridge in his sick seduction, and Junho felt his cock start to press against the top of his cage.

When the carabiner clicked, it was a relief. Not physically, though that came too as the VIP pulled his cage off and tossed it on the floor, and Junho’s erection was allowed to ascend to where his body wanted it to be. The relief was mostly mental.

Here he was. It was happening again. No more need to be afraid of it happening, it was in progress, and there was nothing he could do to stop it.

Junho could feel the VIP’s cock against his ass, the one spot of hot hardness in amidst everything else that was so soft. The VIP rocked it there with soft presses of his hips, and his fingers slid around Junho from his base to his tip over each centimeter, toyed with the piercing at the end in a way that made Junho gasp in pain and pleasure as his sore cock twitched in the VIP’s hand.

The man’s breath was hot against the back of Junho’s ear, smelling perversely of mint instead of cigars and bourbon. For a moment, Junho’s brain spun with confusion around the idea that Trainer was pressed against his back, but no. This was the VIP, soft fat instead of hard muscle, in tight instead of giving Junho space.

The VIP shoved Junho into the wall, and he would have rebounded off if the VIP hadn't pressed against him from behind at almost the same time, pinning his chest to the patterned wallpaper. The man didn’t even ask him to present, just held him there with the weight of his body and pulled out Junho's plug.

Junho closed his eyes and pressed his cheek against the wall. He didn’t resist the nudges of the VIP’s feet that encouraged his farther apart. He felt the heat of the man’s cock against his pucker, relaxed into it.

Opened, as Trainer had said, so long ago, when this didn’t come so easily to him. When he didn’t know what it meant.

The VIP entered him easily, like Junho had always meant to be used this way. He was sore, yes, but he gasped hard in pleasure too. More than the rake of the VIP across his sweet spot, the man had gripped Junho’s cock again, and there was an intense spike of pleasure as the shift of their bodies stroked Junho at the same time.

Almost by reflex, his eyes opened, looked to see whether Trainer had heard him make the shameful noise.

Trainer wasn’t kneeling in the room by the door, Venus was. And yes, she was looking at him with her startlingly blue eyes, but not judgmentally. She looked impatient. This was holding up the schedule.

He closed his eyes, not wanting to look at her apathy as the VIP held him against the wall and rutted into him. He gasped with the physical pleasure of it even as his mind felt, not even denial or anger, just resignation. There was nothing he could do about any of this.

The VIP said against the back of Junho’s ear, in heavy breaths between the thrusts, the slap of bodies. “Still think. You. Don’t want this?”

Junho swallowed hard past the icy lump in his throat. “I...” what was the point? “My body does, sir.”

“Your body.” The VIP’s chuckle was pure evil pleasure, the chuckle of a child that tore wings off butterflies. He stroked his fingers under Junho's cock, toyed with his way-too-sensitive piercing, making his cock twitch and his breath draw in sharply. Not in pain anymore, not exactly. “What does your body want?”

Having said it before, it was easy to say again. It was always easy for him to do the horrifying, the unthinkable, for the second time. He pushed down all those parts of himself that would have resisted for the sake of his dignity or his sanity, and said what needed to be said.

Which was the truth. “It wants—” He gasped as the VIP slammed into him. “If you would please let me cum, sir.”

“Want me to fuck you, Pretty Eyes?”

Junho'd had balls once, self-respect. He didn't need that right now. What he needed was to get through the day. So he gave the right answer. “What I want doesn’t matter, sir.”

“True. But some day. You’re going to say ‘yes’. And. You’re going to mean it.”

Junho’s stomach was ice and acid. Because the VIP always got what he wanted.

The VIP thrust hard into Junho and he gasped again with it, moaned out on the stroke of the VIP’s hand on his cock. He let go and pressed back against the VIP because that was what his body wanted to do, and the man nuzzled through Junho’s hair, breathing heavily.

“You can cum,” he said. “If you do it before I do.”

It wasn’t even a contest.

Junho let himself get lost in the blooming pleasure inside that pulsed from the VIP’s thrusts, the sharper spikes of pleasure from outside as those thrusts stroked his cock in the man’s soft hand. He allowed himself to brace and press back against the VIP like his body wanted to, to position his hips to take the VIP deeper, to make the strokes across his sweet spot longer.

He felt the orgasm rush toward him and let it happen. His low animal noise, the pulsing release from his cock complementing the full-body pleasure as the VIP moved inside him, his body was going to do it without him, so he might as well enjoy it. It wasn’t as good as it had been the first time or the night before, but it was still one of the best orgasms he’d ever had.

At the hands of his rapist. And that was something he was just going to have to live with, because he wasn’t willing to die over it.

The VIP’s slick hand let go of Junho’s cock and spread wet and sticky on the wall in front of his face. It was no more than a handful of thrusts later before the VIP ground hard into Junho, hilted as deep as he could go. He growled an obscenity into Junho’s hair, and Junho felt the man pulse, felt the heat even deeper inside.

They stayed pressed that way a few moments, the VIP’s heavy body pinning Junho to the wall, Junho panting in the wake of the bliss his body fed him.

The VIP pulled out. But instead of shoving Junho away and telling him to get out, he spun Junho around against the wall, held him there. Studied his face.

Junho was panting and he could feel that his face was flushed with pleasure. His body buzzed pleasantly in the wake of his orgasm, and he was ashamed that he felt so good, but he didn't regret giving in. It had been inevitable. He didn’t try to hide any of it from the VIP's intense gaze.

The monster grew even more sated off of whatever he saw. His hand lifted, slick fingers touched Junho's mouth, and he knew what he wanted.

He licked the VIP’s fingers without the man needing to command it. The VIP’s cum had always tasted bitter and salty to him, but Junho’s cum tasted just like had when he’d tasted it experimentally – because who hadn’t tasted his own cum at least once – a little salty, mostly tangy. Junho licked his seed off the VIP’s fingers until the man pulled his hand away.

His pale eyes shown with a feral pleasure as he studied Junho’s eyes. “That was good. Wasn’t it?”

“Yes sir.” It had been a good orgasm, and he didn’t try to hide the truth of that from his eyes. He’d stopped his pointless resisting. “Thank you, sir, for letting me cum.”

The VIP tapped Junho’s nose with the tip of a wet finger. “Glad the lesson stuck.” He stepped back and smacked Junho on the hip. “Now get the fuck out, I’ve got shit to do.”

Junho stooped for his dick prison on the way out, and the VIP didn’t tell him to leave it. The water had already started up again in the bathroom. Venus clipped Junho back up and passed him off to Trainer in the hallway, and then he was headed back down to the basement, his own flavor heavy in his mouth and his legs rubbery on the stairs.

Chapter Text

When they were back in the basement torture room, Trainer studied Junho’s face. “How are you doing, Pretty?”

Not well, physically or emotionally. Sore and exhausted. Disgusted. Angry. Bitter. Frustrated. Full of emotions, which was better than being full of nothing. Theoretically. According to the detective.

But he didn’t want to confide anything in his betrayer, his jailer, so he spoke guardedly, but without caring whether the man saw that he was lying. “Well enough, trainer.”

“Good,” Trainer said in his low, calm voice.

There was something in his eyes, if Junho cared to look. He didn't.

“Let’s get you cleaned up.”

Trainer took Junho to remove his eye makeup and swap his cuffs, then over to the shower, where he clipped Junho in with enough slack to wash himself. Trainer started the water running, warm but not hot. He watched Junho for a moment, seemed content with what he saw, and left the room.

Junho washed his hair and scrubbed himself, thoroughly but not as hard as he’d done before. He knew now that, no matter what he did, even if he rubbed his skin raw, he’d never feel clean in this place. Even the subtly floral-scented soap was tainted with the VIP.

Clean would have to wait until after his escape. He promised himself that he would spend an entire week in a hot bath, after.

When Trainer came back to the room, he set three boxes on the floor by the discipline chair, then he came over and gestured Junho to the edge of the shower. The man washed his back, then turned off the water, toweled Junho off, put fresh ointment on his raw areas, and fitted him back into his dick prison.

He put Junho in his leather plastic restraints but didn’t clip a lead to him. Instead, he steered Junho over to the discipline chair with a hand on his shoulder. “Sit.”

After Junho acknowledged and sat, Trainer didn't clip him in. That change in his routine was enough to set him on wary alert, and between that and Trainer’s blue-edged eyes, his wariness went up to eleven out of ten.

Junho let his eyes linger on the plastic boxes with their snap-lock lids. Three. One for him, one for Trainer, and one for whatever so-called reward Junho was going to get for watching the videos.

As predictable as the sunrise, Trainer put the tablet down on the other side of the boxes. The still image on the screen was of the VIP on one of the black lounges in his pleasure den, the crimson walls the red of fresh-running blood. Trainer pressed the play arrow.

Junho focused his eyes through the tablet instead of looking at it. He picked up pieces of steamed vegetables and pieces of baked chicken, rich with herbs and seasonings, put them into his mouth, chewed. He allowed his body to appreciate the quality of the food. He was going to have to eat it anyway, and the faster he ate, the less of the video he’d have to watch twice.

He tried to look through the screen without paying attention to it, but he couldn’t fully ignore it. Sometimes, a flash of movement or an expression would put Junho back in the room, bring some smell or sensation to the front of his mind, and he would float for a time until the food brought him back down.

The protein shake was orange-flavored. Not as good as the chocolate flavor, but not as weird as the mint flavor. It went pretty well with the chicken.

Trainer ate with him, the same food, the same way. Chicken, vegetables, and a protein shake eaten with his clean fingers, though he had a larger portion than Junho’s. When he paused the video, it was only about fifteen minutes in. Nowhere near the worst parts.

A good time, as far as Junho’s lunches went. There were some parts he didn’t want to watch more than once.

Trainer put the lids on his boxes, then slid them over to the door and opened the smaller box. It was full of miniature chocolate chips. Real chocolate, not gritty chocolate-flavored protein drink. Junho’s mouth immediately flooded with saliva. He could vividly imagine the silky feel of chocolate in his mouth.

His body was going to appreciate the chocolate, even though his mind was sick at the thought of watching the video.

Before starting the video over, Trainer said in his low honey-and-whiskey voice, “He enjoyed this session a lot. Tell me why.”

Junho swallowed hard past the lump in his throat, tried to clear it out before he spoke. “He enjoyed destroying my defiance, Trainer.”

The defiance that Trainer had told him about.

Trainer gave Junho’s shoulder a squeeze, fed him a chocolate chip. “He did.”

They watched the video for hours. Junho had held out far longer than he thought, between when the VIP had him spin in a circle and when he came in Trainer’s mouth. The view was solely from above and angled, and Junho guessed that the camera had been over the bar and focused on the VIP’s lounge. It showed an excellent view of Junho against the VIP’s stomach and hairy chest, and captured the expressions on both of their faces.

Trainer fed Junho the little chocolate chips during the entire video, his comments low but loud enough to carry over the sounds on the tablet. Sometimes, he squeezed Junho’s shoulder, and as much as he hated Trainer, his body desperately wanted the nonsexual physical contact.

Besides which, if he shrugged off the other man’s hand, it was probably going to earn him a slap.

He’d already earned one slap for avoiding the VIP’s question when the man had asked if Junho was holding out on him. It had been a straightforward question, and his attempt to squirm away from it didn’t fool anyone, not even himself. He wished he’d just answered it so the taste of blood wouldn’t have marred his chocolate.

“Your tone when you responded to this question was perfect.”

“You followed directions very well here.”

“It was good of you to anticipate his needs by lying back against him.”

It was mostly praise, said in a soothing tone and with chocolate and gentle touches. Mostly.

After the VIP on the screen told Song to edge Junho, he earned a fronthand slap for resisting his restraints, followed by a backhand slap for trying to touch himself.

But being physically slapped was nothing compared to the betrayals. Watching Trainer on the tablet and knowing what he knew now, Junho's heart burned like acid. He could only see the back of Trainer's head from the angle, and his voice was a little muffled, but it was more than enough.

When Trainer told the VIP about his secret and how to break it, when he kept Song from getting Junho off, the Junho in the tablet didn’t react beyond looking tired and vaguely sad. The Junho watching the video wanted to shake his past self and tell him to wake the fuck up. To scream in his ear that Trainer wasn't being made to do shit, he was making a choice.

More than a third of the video was watching Trainer edge him. Junho was a little proud of how long he'd held out as he watched himself strain and relax through the torture and breaks.

Until he saw the eyes of the Junho in the screen open in their sea of streaked eyeshadow and mascara and look down at Trainer. It was like watching a tiny chisel gently tap a granite cliff and shear off an entire boulder. He saw the despair shatter his determination as the Junho in the screen looked at Trainer. And heard himself ask the VIP to allow him to cum.

Trainer fed Junho a chocolate chip that he couldn't taste or swallow, gave his shoulder a squeeze. “You did a very good job, once you stopped fighting it.”

Junho tried to keep his voice even, but to his own ears, he sounded dead. “Like you knew I would, trainer.”

“Yes.” Trainer didn't sound regretful when he said it. Junho didn't know why he'd supposed that he might have felt regret, or felt anything at all.

Junho wanted to scream at the man and flip over the container of chocolate, accuse him selling out every bit of his trust, but he made himself let the anger go. It would have been a stupid move. Not only would he be put on the table, but he'd reveal to Trainer his naïve he'd been.

Despite that the detective had reminded him over and over again the fact that he never should have lost sight of. This man was his jailer, just his jailer and nothing else.

The video played on. Trainer fed Junho another chocolate chip every time he repeated something the VIP had told him to say, and there had been a lot of that. If he hadn't been so starved for sweet flavors, and if the mini chips hadn't been so small, Junho might have gotten sick of them.

They both watched Trainer suck Junho off, swallow. Junho heard the words from his nightmares again as the VIP on the screen said, “You belong to me. Every single fucking inch of you. Mine, Pretty Eyes. You’re mine.”

His skin tightened across his entire body, a cold sensation creeped up his back and over his scalp.

Then it was gone, the detective burning it away with fire. Let the monster think that he had him, that was fine. Junho’s body was in the VIP's control, but the man couldn't have his soul. The detective wouldn't let that happen.

Junho took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. He didn't want Trainer to see the anger in him. It was probably stupid to hope that Trainer wouldn't read it, but if he did, hopefully he'd also see that Junho was trying to push it away.

Trainer hit the pause arrow in the middle of the tablet. He stretched, and Junho unconsciously joined him. They had both been sitting still on the hard tile floor for a long time.

Trainer gave Junho’s shoulder a fresh squeeze. “Only a few mistakes, Pretty. Other than the one that led to the situation, but that was corrected in the session.”

He unfolded from the floor. “I’ll get supper, then we’ll watch this morning’s video.”

Then he left, taking the boxes with him. Leaving Junho unclipped from anything, alone in the room. He took his blue-lined eyes with him, too, but they didn't leave Junho's mind.

He was exhausted and emotional numbness was creeping up on him. After a fresh sexual assault, he'd spent an entire day watching himself try to resist the VIP and be slowly broken down. He didn’t want to watch the second video, he didn’t want to eat, he just wanted to sleep.

His wants didn’t matter. They never had, and they never would. Not here. Except…

Rest, the detective whispered, and Junho closed his eyes. While their betrayer was gone, the detective plotted.

Chapter Text

Trainer returned with two boxes of dinner, and the detective tried not to get his hopes up when he saw the absence of a third box. They held a kind of dense fish steak that Junho had never had before, and whatever slow steaming had been done to it had soaked the flavors of butter and lemon into the tender flesh without any bit of sear. The fish was served on a bed of salad, and despite that the chocolate still weighed heavily in his stomach, the portion wasn't so large that he felt stuffed.

Trainer played the morning’s video and commented on it between bites. It wasn't particularly bad. Junho watched the VIP use him, but it was a ripple compared to watching the tidal-wave of Trainer's betrayal. By the end, Junho suspected that, as much as wanting one last fuck for the road, the VIP had wanted to confirm that he was still broken.

Trainer squeezed Junho's shoulder and told him that he’d been a good boy, that it was right for him not to resist the things his body wanted to do, because that was what the VIP had wanted. He said something in his low, calming voice that Junho remembered from a different time, a time when he’d trusted Trainer and the man had held him close to comfort him. “It’s okay that you wanted it.”

Junho's body had responded to what had been done to it, but it wasn’t okay, the detective assured him. Nothing that was happening to him here was okay because his mind didn't consent. But his body was outside his control, and so he’d do what he had to with a clear conscience.

He knew that he didn't like it or want it and it wasn't okay. That was what mattered.

Trainer's low whiskey and honey voice held a hint of warmth, though Junho knew now not to believe it. “And you did well cleaning up for the first time. Not even a little hesitation, and you'd anticipated his what he wanted without being asked. Overall, Pretty, you did great.”

His tone went musing, spreading low and slow as molasses over the glazed red tiles as the man snapped closed the lids on the boxes and turned off the tablet. “If he stays so obsessed with you, it might get hard to keep up with video reinforcement.” Then his tone lifted. “But you've certainly earned a reward. What do you want?”

It was the moment the detective had been waiting for to spring his little revenge. He couldn't show his anger. But that didn't mean he couldn't act on it.

Junho phrased his request carefully, so the words themselves couldn’t be construed as disrespectful. “I’d like for us to watch the rest of the video from last night, please, trainer.”

Trainer’s face froze, then relaxed into the statue of the trainer’s expression. Watching that little shift as he hid his reaction was, itself, a reaction, and Junho knew that he’d hit the man exactly where he’d wanted to. Trainer didn’t enjoy his ‘service’ any more than Junho did, and he’d have to know that there was only reason Junho would want to watch the video – to hurt him.

It was exactly as satisfying as the detective had hoped it would be.

The beautiful man’s dark eyes were calm, even though the blue eyeliner gave him the impression dark tears, and when he spoke, it was in the trainer’s calm and serene voice. “Of course, Pretty, if that's what you want for your reward. I'll need a minute to set it up.”

Everything just business as usual. Even though they both knew it wasn't.

The trainer turned the tablet back on, his thumbs tapping and sliding in sequences like someone playing a familiar instrument. When he put the tablet back down, it was on a still image Junho recognized, though the view was from the side instead of from above the bar.

It showed the moment Junho had cum in Trainer’s mouth. In the tablet, Junho’s face was a mixture of pain and relief as his body arched, the VIP looked like a cat in cream, Trainer looked determined. Not resigned to his job, but determined, as if he were going to see the rest of his betrayal through no matter what.

While the video played, Junho watched the face of the man in the room more than he watched the screen. When the VIP choked Junho unconscious, he thought he saw some emotion in the corners of the trainer’s eyes, but with his face turned toward the tablet and his thick lips motionless, it was impossible to tell.

The detective surged with anger. What right did he have to feel any emotion when he hadn't taken a single fucking step to help? Had instead taken the step that put Junho in that situation? Fuck his pity.

In his peripheral vision, Junho watched his own eyes slip closed on the tablet. His tense body loosened, and the expression on his face went from anguished to peaceful, pain-free, though he hadn’t remembered feeling peaceful.

“I’m tempted to cut the whole thing off at the pass.” The VIP’s voice through the speakers was as low and dangerous as the growl of an irritated cat, his hand still over the unconscious Junho’s mouth. “Should I call Handler back up here, in case you lose your shit?”

The VIP's free hand acted like he might lift it toward the bar.

Next to him, the trainer was as still as a statue, but his face was too tight. Too stiff. Not the mask, but the effort to try to hold it.

If he was cracking the trainer, he could only imagine what he was doing to Trainer. Good. He hoped the knife hit just as deep going back the other way.

On the screen, the VIP asked after his pause, "Or are you one-hundred-ten percent sure you won’t fuck it up again?”

In the tablet, Junho saw the way the back of Trainer’s shoulders flexed subtly, a ripple just under the scapula near the spine, as if he was tightening his shoulders in place.

“I won’t fuck it up, sir,” Trainer said, and his voice had the same deference as it always did, his face was a graven brown statue. “I’ll do my job. I know who I belong to—”

On the screen, the VIP loosened his grip on the mouth of the unconscious Junho, and the Junho in the room saw the way he had hung limp in the VIP’s arms a moment before his body started coughing convulsively. Junho watched the tightness in the shoulders of the Trainer on the screen lose a tiny notch of tension at that moment. Saw the man's subtle tension melt.

“—and that Pretty Eyes is yours to do with as you please, sir.”

Junho remembered some of those words, if distantly.

That was the part of the video that Junho mulled over as the rest played. The VIP raping Trainer on the bed, the conversation about what Trainer could and couldn’t do with Junho’s body. He more or less ignored it as he pieced things together.

Slowly. Too slowly. He should have recognized that he was compromised by how tired he was. But he'd been too compromised to realize exactly how much his exhaustion had affected his ability to reason.

On hearing it the second time, he realized that Trainer had explicitly rejected that his purpose in asking to share a room was sexual. It was Junho’s brain that had made it about sex. Understandable, in the sexual context of the situation, when the VIP had made it about sex, and when he’d worried that Trainer had some special interest in him.

But he should have realized that Trainer hadn’t taken a single sexual action toward Junho since moving in. The only way his demeanor toward Junho had changed was that he gave him more space. The opposite of forcing himself on Junho in some way.

Junho had enough information to get the shape of the puzzle, though there were pieces missing, or perhaps he was just too tired to assemble them properly.

Trainer had said he wouldn't fuck it up again. That's what Junho's mind kept coming back to. So. He’d asked to share someone’s room before. He’d failed to do his job, and it had ended badly.

If he’d taken any action to help Junho, it would have shown the VIP that he would fuck it up. Would fail to act according to the VIP's desires. From the moment Trainer had made the ask, anything he’d done to help Junho likely would have gotten one of them killed.

Or maybe both. The VIP had implied that Handler could take Trainer in a fight.

Why then? Why had he requested to share Junho’s room?

On the screen, a wrung-out Junho thanked the VIP for allowing him to cum, and Trainer bent down to carefully lift his cramp-wracked body onto his broad shoulders. Their miniature selves left the picture.

The trainer’s manicured brown finger pressed the middle of the screen, and the video stopped on the VIP sprawled on the bed in apparent sleep. When he spoke, his voice was calm on the surface, but Junho’s ears could pick up a stiffness even through the trainer's mask. “Are you satisfied with your reward, Pretty?”

Hurting Trainer had been the point of making him watch the video, as he’d hurt Junho by making him watch the video of his betrayal. It has seemed so reasonable. And the knife had landed right where Junho had wanted it to.

Junho felt ashamed, then angry at himself for feeling ashamed. He could be forgiven for reading things wrong. The man had still betrayed him and almost gotten him killed. And yet…

And yet, Trainer had never tried to tear Junho down the way that Junho had tried to tear him down tonight. Vindictively. Taking pleasure in causing pain.

Each of his emotions were rich and complex, and they all tried to exist in the same space. Anger, fear, despair, frustration, shame. Regret.

He should be angry, had every right to be angry. But he'd let it get out of control. He could be forgiven for losing sight of his read, but he couldn't forgive himself easily for acting from vindictiveness.

In this, Junho was the one who'd been the bully. That wasn’t the kind of man he'd been, and certainly wasn't the kind of man he wanted to be.

Shit. Fuck. — He should have asked for picture of Inho, now that he knew that a picture might be allowed. Proof that his brother was still out there. Fuel for his own determination. Not a petty revenge that alienated the good-will of the person he relied on.

Who wasn't a good person, not a friend or ally, but at least not a person who'd taken pleasure in harming him.

Junho’s English came out more clipped than he would have wanted it to, as he tried to hold down his emotions. “Yes, trainer.”

“Good.” The word was as empty as a hole. The trainer pushed up to standing, held a hand down to Junho, and helped him up. “Go clean your teeth and get ready for bed.”

The man took the plastic boxes out of the room, and Junho went over to the counter and sink to clean his face and teeth, to use the toilet. He was completely unattached to anything.

So. Despite his requested ‘reward,’ he was trusted to not be stupid enough to try to make a run for the palm-pad door.

Junho was sitting in the middle of the doubled floor mattress when the trainer came back. The statuesque man’s serene eyes scanned the room, found him. “Lie down.”

“Yes, trainer.” Junho stretched out on his side, his back against the wall. The trainer tossed Junho’s blanket over him, then went crisply about his own chores without clipping Junho in.

He didn't look at Junho once as he removed his eye makeup, cared for his mouth, saw to the other needs of his body. He didn't radiate hurt, he radiated tight control. Which told the same story.

After cleaning up the counter, Trainer went to the light-switch without looking toward Junho once, and clicked it down, plunging the room into darkness.

Chapter Text

In the darkness, Junho kept his back pressed reassuringly against the wall now that he'd found a good spot between bolts. He had nothing to rely other than his ears, but his eyes strained futilely anyway. Trainer’s feet slapped on the tiles as he crossed the pitch-black room, then scuffed more softly as his foot slowly slid until it hit the edge of the mattresses. His blanket rustled when he picked it up and shook it out. The mattress shifted under Junho, the big man careful not to touch Junho as he settled in. Junho knew from the sound of Trainer’s breathing that he had faced away.

Tired as Junho was, his mind churned, bouncing from nightmare images of the last few days, to the exchange of words between Trainer and the VIP that had placed what he thought he'd known into a different context.

The detective warned that even though he’d been wrong to act out, he shouldn’t forget that Trainer was his jailer.

Junho knew, he told himself. He did know.

The blackness between them was no wider than the span of a hand, but it felt as wide as an ocean. Trainer didn’t sleep either. He had markedly heavy breathing when he slept, somewhere just this side of soft snoring. At the moment, he was silent.

Junho drew in a deep breath, let it out. Drew it in again and whispered, “Trainer, I’m having nightmares.”

He wasn’t. Well, he was in a nightmare more or less all the time, and he’d have nightmares when he did sleep. But he’d intended it as a code, and Trainer wasn’t an idiot. He would either pretend to be asleep, or—

“Roll over and face the wall,” Trainer said. The stiffness was still in his voice, trying to conceal whatever emotion was under it, but Junho wasn’t an idiot either. Thankfully, despite his anger or hurt, at least Trainer was willing to hear him out.

“Yes, trainer,” Junho said quietly.

Having someone at his back made him as anxious and nauseated as a kid in a rowboat in a storm-tossed sea, but he had to do this. Not because someone was making him, but because it was right. He still believed in doing the right thing.

Because they haven’t destroyed all of us yet, he thought, and he wasn’t sure which part of him it came from. Maybe both.

Junho forced himself to shift onto his back, then onto his side to face the wall. That his body was still so stiff from the day before wasn’t the reason he moved so slowly. Just the thought of putting his back to Trainer made his heart begin to race, and made it impossible for him to take a deep breath.

When the wall was at Junho’s front, he automatically tucked his knees up to protect his stomach, his body protecting his vitals from danger. He couldn’t will away the fear by telling it that this wasn’t the VIP. It was the visceral, animal part of his brain in control, not the logical part.

He flinched when the large hand settled onto his bicep. Trainer waited a moment before he eased in close. The two thin blankets between them were a paper shield. Junho could feel the weight and heat coming of Trainer, and his breath shuddered on the way in.

The squeeze on Junho’s bicep was warm and settling. When the man whispered against the back of Junho’s ear, his voice was as soft as down but carefully neutral. “What is it, Pretty?”

He could smell the mint on Trainer’s breath, and for a moment he was back in the VIP’s bedroom, his cheek pressed against the wall while the man raped him. Trapped against the wall by the weight of his body.

When Junho came back to himself, his breath was shuddering in earnest and his knees had pulled up so tight that his dick prison pressed painfully into his pelvis. Trainer had eased back a few centimeters.

You don’t have to do this, the detective whispered. He isn’t your friend, he’s your jailer, and you’re exhausted and barely holding it together. It can wait until later.

It can’t, Junho responded. This man has never torn me down like I tore him down tonight. Friend or jailer, it was wrong. I’m not a bully. And we need his good-will.

The detective grudgingly agreed. If this needed to be done now, they’d best just do it.

Junho took in a slow breath and edged back until he could feel Trainer’s heat along his back again. He hoped the truth came through in his voice as he spoke as softly as he could manage. “I apologize.”

The subsequent stretch of silence made him need to put words into it, even if those words were barely louder than breathing out. “I acted in anger. What happened last night, what you… asked for, I thought… it was a… sex thing.”

He didn’t say the other part, that he felt hurt and betrayed and angry at being betrayed because he’d been foolish enough not to realize that Trainer would side with the VIP over him. Not necessarily because he wanted to, but because he had to. Same effect, but the reason made all the difference to him.

Nor did he need, or want, to hear Trainer confirm that he’d side with the VIP again without hesitation. Junho had known he would before he lost sight of that, and hopefully he wouldn’t forget it again.

The stiffness wasn’t gone from Trainer’s voice, despite that it was softer than a whisper. “The fact you thought I’d asked to share your room so I could rape you is, what, supposed to make me feel better somehow?”

Junho winced. It was all coming out wrong, and he just kept digging his hole deeper. He was so tired.

“No. It isn’t. I’m sorry I thought that about you. I’m sorry I asked you to watch that video. It was wrong of me, and I regret it.”

Junho pressed his lips together to make himself stop talking. And when the silence came, he didn’t try to fill it. No amount of justification or excuses would make Trainer forgive him, if the man didn't want to.

“Alright,” Trainer whispered eventually. Apology received and considered, maybe or maybe not accepted.

The big man didn’t immediately pull away. Junho hadn’t realized that he had more he wanted to say, but the moment he realized Trainer was waiting for him to finish was the same moment he realized he was breathing hesitantly. Deep breath, held as if he was going to say something, let out slowly.

Trainer was scarily observant. Or Junho had become dangerously oblivious about himself. Or both.

He was tired and traumatized, the detective assured him. He’d be sharper after he got some sleep. If he wasn't, they'd work on it. But for now…

Junho had more context now, more pieces to the puzzle. There was still a lot of it that he couldn’t make out. But the detective was missing one critical piece, and he was insisting it was important to ask.

Life was all about compromise. Even when that meant compromising with the voices in your head.

“I just couldn’t figure out why.”

“To protect you, Pretty.” Despite that Trainer’s voice was no louder than a sigh, he packed a lot of tiredness into it. Not just physical exhaustion, but emotional exhaustion as well. “Hard as you make that, sometimes.”

“Protect me from who?”

Not the VIP, that was for sure. Neither of them could do that. Which meant there was some other threat out there, lurking.

The silence stretched, and Junho wasn't sure that Trainer would answer. For the longest time, the only sounds Junho heard were the pounding of his heart and the near-subliminal rush of blood in his ears. He had never spent so much time in a place so silent.

When Trainer spoke, his soft and slow voice had lost some of its edge, crossing the space between them as gently a handful of packing foam falling onto a thick carpet. “I don’t trust you with that.”

There was nothing accusatory in Trainer’s tone. He didn’t say ‘not after what you pulled,’ and maybe he wasn’t even thinking it, but Junho implied it.

The detective wanted to protest that he had a right to know, especially after Trainer’s attempt to protect him had almost gotten him killed. He was still pissed about that, and he had a right to be.

And Junho wanted to protest that he had a right to know what threat was coming, so he could be ready to protect himself. To the extent that was possible. Or at least to work with Trainer toward that end.

Junho sat with both parts of himself for a moment. Frankly, he’d been as erratic and emotional as a teenager punching a wall not more than an hour or two ago. He wasn’t sure whether Trainer not trusting him was the price of his bullying, or resulted from how easy it was for people to read him.

In any case, he was fully convinced that he wasn’t going to get anywhere from being pushy. After a certain point, pushing a witness wouldn’t yield any good information, it would just make them reticent, more reluctant to being approached later.

He was going to have to be satisfied with the information he had, for now.

“Thank you, Trainer.” Junho tried to pack as much meaning into the three soft words as he possibly could.

He felt as much as heard Trainer's slowly and deeply indrawn breath. The following silence wasn’t a withdrawn silence.

Junho could almost feel the big man’s mind turning things over, picking ideas up and looking at them from angles and setting them back down after a serious and frank consideration. He had previously mistook Trainer’s slow way of speaking for stupidity. His slow way of thinking wasn’t stupidity, either.

The man just took time to think and make up his mind before acting. He considered things, examined the causes and the effects and possible consequences. Perhaps even consulted with other parts of himself, or talked himself away from any immediate emotional response he might have. He deliberated and then only responded intentionally.

Junho could stand learn something from that.

Eventually, Trainer breathed out. The man’s broad hand squeezed Junho’s bicep once, solid and gentle at the same time. There was still tiredness in his voice, but it sounded more like genuine exhaustion than masked feelings. “Go to sleep, Pretty.”

“Yes, trainer.”

He still wasn’t sure whether his apology had been accepted. But it wasn’t as if, had Trainer apologized to him right then about nearly getting Junho killed, he would have said ‘thanks very much for your apology, Trainer, no harm done in the end.’

Short of going back in time to undo his petty and rash revenge, Junho had done what he could to make it right. Some of the weight of shame and regret lifted off of his soul. Not all of it, but some. Enough.

The man’s broad hand lifted away before he eased back and turned over in the blankets, facing out into the room. Away from Junho. Giving him space.

As much as it made Junho’s skin crawl, he stayed facing the wall. The gesture of allowing Trainer to stay at his back felt more important to him right then than sleeping well. He’d fall asleep eventually.

Chapter Text

Junho slept until the lights clicked on, though at some point during the night he’d rolled to put the wall at his back again. He sat up and stretched, then realized that he wasn’t clipped to anything. The change made him feel unsettled rather than happy or relieved.

Which was messed up. His logical self knew that his anxiety at the change was a trauma response. He still reserved the right to feel weird about feeling more secure chained to a wall than not, though.

“Up,” Trainer said after he returned from the light switch. “Time to stretch.”

“Yes, trainer.”

They worked through the morning routine together, each stepping as gingerly around the other as two men walking on thin ice. Though Trainer’s betrayal wasn’t for the horrible reason Junho had initially thought, it still had been a betrayal and had shredded Junho’s misplaced trust in him, as well as his confidence in his own reads. And though Junho had apologized for making Trainer watch himself be raped, that didn’t erase that Junho had tried to harm him and had made him relive an awful experience, or that Junho had thought the reason that Trainer wanted to share a room with him was to sexually assault him.

At least there was no need to talk much. Trainer fit himself seamlessly into Junho’s usual routines, making sure that they weren’t occupying the same area at the same time. Instead of Junho eating breakfast by himself while Trainer watched, they ate the same food together, though Trainer’s portions were larger.

Junho had already wondered in passing if his proportions had been determined by whoever monitored the room. Working out a few hours a day would burn a lot of calories which would need to be replaced. If it was the case that his portions were tailored to his body mass, then Trainer would have to receive larger portions. The man had about 25 kilos on Junho, and all of it was muscle.

He wasn’t fastened to a single thing all morning. At first, the freedom was disconcerting, but it rapidly became clear that it was less work for both of them, particularly as they swapped out on the exercise machines.

Where was Junho going to go, anyway?

After lunch, when their routine would normally contain lessons, Junho decided to hazard the question he’d been holding on to all morning. He thought it could be considered training-related, but if he got slapped, he got slapped.

“Trainer, may I ask how sharing a room will affect things?”

‘Things’ was very vague, but Junho wanted to give Trainer as much room as possible to interpret the question in a way that wouldn't result in either him hitting Junho, or misinterpreting Junho’s curiosity as worry. Even though part of it was, in fact, still worry.

Besides, the way Trainer interpreted ‘things’ would tell Junho something about his state of mind. He needed to work on getting his mental sharpness back into shape.

Yes, he was traumatized, and that warped his perceptions, as well as just being shitty in general. But if he didn't work on his read, it was going to atrophy just like his shape atrophied when he didn't exercise.

The muscular man snapped the plastic lids back on the boxes and slid them toward the door. His calm, dark eyes met and held Junho's. “I live here, but I’m still your trainer. We’ll eat meals together and share a bed. You’ve done very well lately, but I’ll still discipline you when you make mistakes.”

Nothing Junho heard made him particularly concerned. Then the man’s dark brows pulled together slightly, and Junho held his breath.

When Trainer's brows smoothed and he spoke, it wasn't the dire news that his expression had led Junho to worry about. “And you can ask me questions. But I don't promise I’ll answer them.” There was the thinnest wisp of another hestiation before he added, “Or you can just talk. If you want.”

Junho nodded and hoped that his own eyes showed that he understood and appreciated how much Trainer was offering. “Thank you, trainer.”

Not that Junho was likely to go crazy with questions. It was safer to assume that the room was still monitored. But it was a little packet of privileges, and it told Junho that there were no hard feelings from the previous day.

Trainer grunted and pushed up to standing. “When I get back, I'll teach you how to change your own cuffs. You don’t need to be restrained in here anymore, so you should start doing them yourself.”

“Yes, trainer. Can I ask—” Junho’s flinch as he cut himself off was an automatic response. He knew logically that he’d just been given permission to ask questions, but his animal brain associated questions with pain, and it didn’t want him to touch fire twice.

The corners at the edges of Trainer’s mouth lightened slightly, the functional equivalent of a smile on any other man and far more meaningful than the trainer’s tight-lipped but empty smiles. This one held humor. “You can, yes.”

Junho dropped his eyes to his wrists, turned one back and forth to make it obvious what he was talking about. “Will there ever be a time I don’t need these?”

As the silence stretched, it felt to Junho like having permission to ask questions might be a slippery slope down the path to sounding ungrateful, saying something offensive, or giving away his plans. Any of those things could risk his precarious freedom.

But the detective wanted to know when they could expect to be released from the bindings in the house proper, so that they could make that chance for freedom far, far more permanent.

Junho cleared his throat, still looking at his wrist. Was there a way to sound just curious? He tried for it. “Like how Song didn’t used to, trainer? Or Peaches doesn’t.”

“Probably,” the trainer said, voice serene and face expressionless.

And just like that, Junho knew he’d pushed his luck far enough. He could ask, but Trainer might not answer. And asking was going to be a risk.

There were so many questions the detective had, but he and the detective were just going to have to compromise about when and how many to ask. And he was going to think each through instead of just blundering ahead on his instincts and hunches. That his instincts and hunches – two things he’d relied on so much in his previous life – were no longer things he could trust was both intensely painful and going to take some getting used to.

Atrophied. Not gone forever. Probably not likely to be accurate as long as this place continued to heap trauma onto him, but he'd build back up after he got out. He was sure of it.

That afternoon, Trainer taught Junho the tricks of buckling himself into his own restraints. He was expressly not allowed to touch his dick prison, though he was allowed to unbuckle its straps from the waist harness to change them. It always amazed him that it stayed on without support, feeling weirdly heavy but not coming off or becoming painful.

Trainer told him that he needed to be able to get a finger under his cuffs, that they should be tight but not too tight, like his body harnesses. Bucking his own wrists into cuffs, and getting the shoulder straps for his chest harness fastened to the ring in the middle of his back, both were tricky.

But surprisingly, the most difficult thing was getting his collar centered to Trainer's satisfaction. Apparently the VIP liked the collar precisely centered, which meant trying to keep the D-ring in front snug below his Adam’s apple while he shifted the back D-ring through a slot and then manipulated two sets of buckles behind his neck.

At least there was only one hole in the collar-band for each of the two buckles. The collar was precisely measured for his neck circumference. Which was creepy, but also relieving in the sense that Junho didn’t want to accidentally tighten the collar so snugly that he cut off blood flow, passed out, and died. That would really suck.

Trainer made him practice until his arms were shaky and cold from being held at such an unnatural angle. After he rested his arms and hydrated, Trainer made him practice more. Then he practiced even more while Trainer timed him on the tablet and smacked the back of his head when he messed up or went too slowly. It was like the eye makeup all over again.

After, Trained moved two cases each of plastic and leather cuffs to a space under the counters. “Make sure to alternate the leather set regularly and sniff them before you put them on. They get a sweaty smell if they aren’t cleaned regularly, and you don’t want him to smell that. If you notice that, put the box over by the chair and I’ll swap it out.”

“Yes, trainer. Can I ask…”

Trainer straightened from his crouch but stayed silent while Junho powered through his conditioning around asking questions.

Junho cleared his throat, then tried again. “Sometimes, the butt plugs come back when he’s had me leave them. I was just curious, how that happens?”

The corners of Trainer’s eyes shifted in the faintest hint of humor. “I wash them and put them back.”

Well. That was awkward to know. But he didn’t know what else he’d expected. Butt plug fairies? Some secret conveyor of butt-plug shelves in the walls?

To learn whether someone else creeps in here at night, the detective whispered, perhaps someone easier to overpower and drag to that hand-pad door. If Trainer’s ever somewhere else.

Ah.

They at dinner together. And when Trainer took the empty boxes back into the hall, Junho wondered what they were going to do when he got back.

After dinner, Junho was usually expected to serve, but with the VIP on his trip, that was off the table. Last time, he’d been healing from a concussion and just slept. It seemed like a long time to just sleep, now, but unless they were going to work out again, it seemed like a long stretch of nothing.

Welcome nothing, over getting raped. But a lot of nothing. Maybe it would be a good time to ask some questions.

Junho wanted to pace the room while he thought, but didn’t think he should. How would it look on the cameras? It would be easier if he was clipped to something. Then, he wouldn't have a choice but to sit where he’d been put.

Junho cautiously sat on the low seat of the rowing machine, feeling uneasy about it, even though he’d never been told he couldn't.

When Trainer came in, he took one look at Junho and said in a flat voice, “Get off that. Your place is in the floor unless there’s a good reason otherwise.”

“Yes, trainer,” Junho said promptly and slid to the floor. “I’m sorry.”

So. That was deliberate, then. Another way to break him down. Good to know.

Junho’s heart started racing as Trainer headed immediately for the locked cabinet. Junho hadn’t thought that sitting on something would be paddle-at-first-warning bad. He didn't usually even get slapped on a first offense.

For all his telling himself that the table wasn't that bad when Trainer was going easy on him, even a mild spanking hurt like hell. He made himself breathe deeply and evenly as the man retrieved the tablet. And he watched like a hawk as Trainer's thumbs manipulated the screen.

Then the man's legs folded under him and he settled down on the floor mattress, put his back against the wall in a place between the lowest bolts, and lifted that tablet until the screen lit up his face from below. It was strange and unfamiliar, and Junho barely breathed.

The man’s dark eyes looked up at Junho over the edge of the tablet. His eyebrows ticked up slightly, and when he spoke, it was very slowly and calmly. “When I know we won’t be called to serve. I like to read after dinner.”

Junho was dumbfounded. “Read?”

Trainer explained like he was talking to a particularly slow child. “Books. On the tablet.”

After a moment of silence, the man went on, as if the problem was ignorance rather than shock. “The network’s just local, but the selection of e-books is pretty good. I’ve been working my way through classics.”

There was another stretching silence as Junho tried to drag his mind around to what the crazy fuck the man was talking about and Trainer watched him work through it.

Books. Not a paddling. Someone reading. In his torture room. It wouldn’t quite fit together. It was like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

Trainer’s honey and whiskey voice poured slowly into the space between them, as if he was afraid that speaking too quickly or too loud would shake Junho further. “I could try to read out loud. If you want to listen. If not, that's fine too.”

Junho’s ice vines slowly started receding back into the knot in his stomach where they lived. He felt as cautious as a rabbit sticking its head out of a hole.

Reading. Books. To pass the time.

“I think… I’d like that. If… you wouldn’t mind, trainer.” Junho's tongue was too large and it kept tripping him.

“Okay, then.” Trainer’s voice was as slow and calm as any other time he’d tried to talk the edge off Junho’s anxiety. His finger flicked across the tablet, sliding something. “I’ll start at the beginning.”

He cleared his throat, then lifted the tablet higher so that Junho couldn’t see his face.

Could Junho trust his read. Was his trainer actually nervous to read out loud? To another slave in a torture dungeon? When his English was far better than Junho’s?

The man's low voice had no trouble penetrating the air around the tablet. “Thebaid.” He had to sound out the word, then he paused. “A Song Of… Thebes.” A pause. “By… Statius.”

Trainer began to read more confidently after that, though he still paused to work out some of the less common words. “Brothers crossing swords, held by turns, their kingdom vied for in fiendish hatred…”

As Trainer read to Junho, some of the words that rolled through his brain stuck with him, seeming all the more significant for coming in the waves of Trainer’s low and slow voice: “Should I sing of the dire people and their origins? Rapes, the merciless terms of exile, Cadmus scouring the seas for Europa?”

There were many words Junho didn't know, which sounded like names mostly. He lost the thread of the story for a while as he sat with the opening lines. The ideas of rape and exile, of someone scouring the sea for someone lost. It felt meaningful that this was the book Trainer had been reading.

When he began paying attention again, Junho's entertainment-deprived brain inserted himself into the drama of two brothers, cursed by their father, trying to rule a kingdom in alternating years. He just had to close his eyes and the story unfolded around him. He didn't want it to end, but Trainer eventually said that it was getting late and put the tablet into the locked cabinet to charge.

After they got ready for bed and the lights went out, Junho pressed his back against the wall. The mattress shifted when Trainer settled in. His back was to Junho. Giving him space.

Junho took a few deep breaths. The detective wanted him to ask a few more questions, but Junho didn't want to break the delicate peace of the day by stirring something. He fell asleep before he could resolve the argument with himself.

Chapter Text

Over the next couple days, Junho and Trainer slowly worked their way toward a new sort of normalcy. It wasn't that Trainer's betrayal was forgotten, but a lot of the sting went out of it once Junho truly believed the muscular man didn't want to use him sexually. Junho couldn't speak for what went on in Trainer's mind, but he also seemed to allow Junho's deliberate injury to him to fade.

The detective advised him that this bonding was a different sort of control. When the time came, would he hesitate to leave Trainer behind? Would he confide his plans to Trainer, and have those plans betrayed?

Junho reassured the detective that Trainer wasn't part of their escape plans. He just needed the friendship, the human connection. He craved it as much as he craved food or water.

He’d heard that humans were social animals, but that had always sounded like a cute oversimplification. Now he knew that it was more deeply true than he ever would have guessed. Having Trainer nearby didn't solve all of Junho’s mental health problems, but it did seem to somewhat settle his anxiety, and the man's solid presence and subtle near-snoring in the dark helped ground him when the nightmares woke up him.

The detective wasn’t happy about it, but he understood. There was exactly one person for him to bond with, and while he knew that was by design, he also knew that he couldn’t help it. Knowing what was being done to him had never prevented it from working before. But Junho wouldn’t lose sight of the fact that he couldn’t count on Trainer.

And the detective took the opportunity to look for clues.

“Where do the rest of them live, trainer?” Junho asked one morning over breakfast. He picked up some scrambled eggs between his fingers and popped them in his mouth, and looked over when Trainer didn’t answer.

The beautiful man studied Junho’s eyes for a long moment, as if trying to decide why he was asking. Junho was honestly curious, and he hoped it showed.

He let the detective hold their escape plans and defiance, these days. The anger. All of the things that were too dangerous, that might cause him to lash out at Trainer or need ‘correction’ by the VIP when the man got back.

“One level up.”

“What is it like?”

Trainer took his time to decide what and how much to say before he began speaking in his slow, low voice. “Smaller rooms, some common areas. Kitchen, workout, recreation. Everyone from both sides can mix, there, if they want to.”

Junho had so many questions. “Everyone from both sides?”

Trainer nodded. “His and old mister’s. The missus usually keeps one fixed man. And the young missus has a woman the mister gave her as a graduation present.”

The whole family was so fucked up.

Fixed man, though. Not the first time Junho had heard that. He wanted to ask and he really, really didn’t want to ask.

Junho cleared his throat. “Fixed man, Trainer?”

Trainer’s dark eyes were steady. “Just vasectomies mostly. No unwanted babies. Don’t worry about it, Pretty.”

“Yes, trainer.”

Junho was absolutely going to fucking worry about it. But he dropped his eyes and studied the inside of his breakfast box, separated the eggs a little more from the fruit. Scooped up some more eggs. They were done harder than he liked, which made them easier to pick up, though not as nicely textured.

“Will I ever get to live up there, trainer? Do you think?”

When Trainer didn’t answer, Junho looked up. The muscular man studied Junho’s eyes, and the corners of his own gained some tension, then lost it. “Probably.”

Junho wasn’t quite sure how to interpret that precise pattern around Trainer’s eyes. He felt increasingly like he was pushing his luck, and he didn’t want to risk another question. He let the silence stretch while he picked at the chunks of some sort of melon in the bottom of the box. It was a grapefruit juice morning, and he wasn’t sure whether to delay that experience until the last, or to chug it now and wash the taste down with the melon after.

He hadn’t been trying to bait Trainer with the silence and was startled out of his thoughts when the man said, “Usually.”

Junho looked up. Trainer’s attentive eyes were on his face, calm and dark and deep, the sort of eyes he used as reassurance. “He gets attached to some of his pets, and finds some other use for them after his interest’s moved on, though he still uses them in the usual way sometimes.”

Trainer’s eyes said that he knew exactly what information he was giving Junho. They also communicated, as clearly as if he’d spoken the words, that attempting to persuade the VIP to lose interest early would be a bad idea.

If Junho could trust his read, Trainer was telling only part of the truth. He was going to ask something else, but then an upwelling of emotion began behind his stomach and moved up through his chest, tightening his throat and stinging his eyes.

He couldn't bear to look at Trainer, instead studying the tiles like they held something interesting. Junho cleared his throat. “I was worried he’d just, you know. Kill me after he got tired of me.”

Junho honestly hadn't realized how deeply he'd held that belief, how far under the surface he’d pushed it, or the way that wordless dread had invaded his soul. He could put words to it, now. That he’d run out of time and lose. That everything he’d gone through would be for nothing. That this terrible half-life he lived would be the rest of it.

He was so lost in his own thoughts that he flinched when Trainer's hand settled onto his shoulder. The man's voice was low, slow, and warm as a down blanket. “He gets very fond of the good pets, Pretty. They get other jobs.”

Junho took a few deep, settling breaths and swallowed hard before he could speak. “Other jobs, trainer?”

Trainer's warm hand gave Junho's shoulder a gentle, reassuring, mooring squeeze. “Cleaning. Cooking. Landscaping. Taken on trips as company or bodyguards. You’ve seen a lot of us, if you think about it.”

Bodyguards? Junho couldn't keep the incredulity off his face. He’d trust his life to people he’d had tortured? And they didn't kill him?

But Trainer seemed to take a different question from Junho’s look, and answered that one instead. “I know you still resist staying here, Pretty, but not everyone has a better place to be. Finish your breakfast.”

“Yes, trainer.” Junho hunched his shoulders, finished the sweet melon, then picked up the grapefruit juice and chugged down the bitter beverage. He had enough for the detective to unpack, anyway.

He didn’t doubt that some of what Trainer said had been manipulation. ‘He gets fond of the good pets’ was both an encouragement to be one of those good pets, and a threat about what might happen if he wasn’t.

Some of what Trainer had said had been a warning as well. If Trainer was comfortable saying out loud in a monitored room that he knew that Junho was still looking for a way out, then it wasn’t a secret that he wasn’t completely broken.

And Trainer had very strongly implied that if Junho was still looking for a way out when the VIP got tired of him, then he wouldn’t be moved upstairs. A nebulous something else would happen, which probably meant being killed. He couldn’t imagine the VIP keeping around a person who he no longer had a use for.

The idea that the VIP used pets as bodyguards was weird but not inexplicable. Handler seemed like a complete sociopath. It might explain where his gun had gone, if some bodyguard had spotted the bulge of the weapon in his pocket and lifted it from him with light fingers on his way into the room. The room hadn't been well-lit. And clearly someone else had been lurking, since they had stuck a needle in his arm.

Then there was Trainer’s statement that some of these people had no better place to be. As seriously messed up as that was, it could explain something that he’d wondered about for a long time – why people might choose to stay here when they weren’t in chains, no matter how far into the wilderness this cursed mansion was.

The people who had been abducted for the game had been debtors. If these people had been other sorts of undesirables, it was possible that after the VIP stopped raping them, shelter and regular meals were better than what they’d had. Or they were so broken by the experience that they might think they deserved no better. Or that they didn't think they could bear their shame out in the world.

He had a lot of theories, and they had several holes, but it gave the detective something to stay active with while Junho piloted them through the rest of the day. He slept relatively well that night, and he could almost feel his mind revitalizing as some of the pervasive exhaustion lost its hold on him. Like his mind was a drought-wilted plant drinking in water after a rain.

The next day, Junho decided to try for some personal information. Every time he walked past the picture of the happy dog, it pulled at his heart, but he hadn’t wanted to ask about it with things between him and Trainer still sharp and delicate. With the wound healing, and after their long breakfast conversation, he thought it might be safe enough to risk it.

He waited until they’d finished working out and Junho was standing at the counter, fitting himself into the leather cuffs. He studied at the photo of the dog on the cabinet. It had soft edges and a small corner crease. No fingerprints marred the glossy surface. It was clearly a precious thing.

Junho hesitated, then asked. “Who’s your dog?”

Trainer's face closed off. His face wasn’t the trainer’s carefully sculpted lines, but his shoulders went tight, down and back. His jaw set. Everything about his posture said he wasn’t comfortable. “His name was Shimba. And he wasn't mine.”

Was. Ease back, ease back.

The detective wanted him to press. Junho wasn't going to ask about Trainer’s dog anymore. They compromised.

“And, what was your name?”

Trainer’s tension broke. His nostrils flared with an indrawn breath. When he spoke, his eyes were tired in that way that had nothing to do with physical fatigue, but his voice was firm. “My name is Trainer. And yours is Pretty Eyes.”

“Yes, trainer,” Junho said automatically. His statement had the weight of a command behind it.

Trainer announced he was getting lunch. He was gone longer than usual, and when he returned, they ate in a sharp-edged and stony silence. After, he worked Junho's English with grueling exactness that left no space for questions and ended with Junho's neck being tight from resisting the smacks on his head when he answered incorrectly.

If Trainer had wanted to communicate that he didn’t appreciate Junho prying into his past, he couldn’t have done it more clearly. But Junho didn’t have the sense that Trainer was punishing him. It was more like Junho had put him into a particularly bad mood.

There was no reading before lights-out. But instead of facing away into the room after he eased down to the mattresses, after Trainer’s blanket rustled, Junho could smell the mint of his breath, hear his steady breathing in a way he couldn’t when the man was faced out into the room. Junho tensed, but Trainer didn’t say or do anything else.

Junho's heart began to pound hard, but he swallowed his anxiety down hard and rolled to face the wall.

Trainer rested his broad hand on Junho’s arm until he stopped shaking, then slowly eased in until his solid warmth radiated against Junho’s back like the heat coming off sunbaked concrete. His voice was fainter as the brush of a feather. “Alhaadi. But he died a long time ago, Pretty. There’s no good in digging up the dead.”

And then Trainer rolled away before Junho could even begin to form a response. His tone had had an air of finality to it. That was all he would say about himself, and Junho had better not ask again. It was a while before either of them slept.

Chapter Text

The night’s conversation broke down the rest of the wall that had been between Junho and Trainer. Over the next couple days, things settled into a state of relatively relaxed calm. They ate together, prepared together, worked out together, showered together. They worked on English and refreshed any other things that Trainer thought Junho needed to be refreshed on. And after dinner, Trainer read to him from the ancient Roman poem, which rang against Junho's mind in a way that was both strange and familiar.

At first, Junho still slept with his back against the wall, and Trainer still slept with his face toward the room, clearly not wanting to disturb him. But after Junho woke from a nightmare about being brutalized on the table until he was choked to death that left him shaking and holding himself against a deep drowning cold, he found himself creeping slowly toward Trainer’s back.

He had no clear goals beyond physical nearness and not waking him up. Despite Trainer's previous assurances, Junho was still concerned about the extent of the other man's interest in him. It was just that Trainer’s warmth and solidity tended to calm him down, and he was weeping and cold and needed something he couldn't give himself.

Part of him hadn’t forgotten the safe feeling of having Trainer at his back that first night the man had spent in Junho's torture room so long ago. Trainer wasn’t on his side. But he was also the only person in Junho’s life, and the only source of comfort available.

Junho was still shifting forward centimeter by centimeter with a long pause between each, trying to decide how close would be too close, when a low honey-and-whiskey voice rolled gently out into the darkness of the room. “I don't mind.”

Trainer’s tone was subtly amused, like there was some deep and private joke under the words. As if he knew that Junho did, in fact, mind having someone at his back, and was amused that Junho hadn’t picked up his trust-signal sooner. Or as if he was amused that Junho was being so careful not to disturb him when he was already awake, because of course the man was a light sleeper.

Or as if he was amused that Junho might think he minded, because his feelings were on the opposite end of the spectrum. Junho hesitated, waiting for the detective to weigh in.

Whatever helps you sleep, the tired detective whispered from the back of Junho’s mind, though we should ask about that later. Just don’t forget that you being attached to him is by design. He’s not on our side.

Junho sat with that a moment, considered it, and tried to objectively consider where he was emotionally. He was already attached to Trainer, regardless of whether he maintained the sea of darkness between them. He had come to like him even in the short time they'd lived together.

Just don't fall into the trap of thinking it's real, the detective advised, and retreated back to his corner.

"Thank you," Junho whispered, and edged closer until he could feel the heat from the Trainer’s body, and focused on the muscular man’s warmth and presence until he stopped shivering and drifted off.

Junho woke up before the light, and when he did, he was pressed in against Trainer’s back and had his arm around his waist.

He absolutely had not meant to do that. There were several ways the situation might signal an interest he didn't have, and ways that could make things, what was the correct word. Complicated?

But Junho didn't want to offend Trainer and couldn't afford to. Could he lift his arm away without waking him? He’d just decided to risk it when he noticed that Trainer’s breathing wasn’t his heavy-sleep near-snore. It was slow, even, and quiet. Junho’s breath froze in.

The big man shifted, and a single finger touched the back of Junho’s hand where it had curled against the blanket over the man's waist as if to say, ‘I’m awake, I know you’re awake, and I’m getting up now, so don’t freak out.’

Junho lifted his arm away. He wasn’t sure how much of the fire in his face had dissipated by the time the lights clicked on, but he set his jaw and refused to be embarrassed about it.

You shouldn’t be, the detective advised. It’s not like you can help it. Frightened and anxious and lonely people seek comfort from each other, and contact builds bonds. You know that. So don't be shitty to yourself for getting pulled along by currents you can't control. But don’t mistake this for real friendship. You can't trust him, can’t rely on him for our escape, and can't let him hold us back.

Junho took in a deep breath and let it out slowly before he got up to stretch. Trainer was starting to feel like a friend, but he wouldn't ever be an ally. He was still the VIP’s creature, and Junho kept that firmly in his mind.

Trainer and Junho didn’t talk about it during the day. They didn't talk about much at all, really. The detective was still chewing on the new information he had while reminding Junho to be wary.

When Trainer had said that Junho could talk, he apparently meant that very literally. Trainer himself didn't talk more than absolutely necessary. Without Junho asking questions or carrying a conversation, it was a quiet day, but unlike the previous day, Trainer's silence felt grounding and peaceful.

That night, after Trainer clicked the lights off and got into bed, Junho rested his hand on Trainer’s bicep. The muscular man’s broad palm settled over the back of it briefly, in permission, and Junho edged in closer until he was resting against Trainer’s back.

Junho’s breath drew in shallowly, he let it out. Drew another breath in shallowly. “Is it okay for me to sleep here?”

“Yes.” Trainer’s answer was even lower and slower than usual, his single word spreading out from him into the room as gentle smoke that rolled slowly back around to Junho.

Junho teetered on the edge of just going to sleep. He wanted to simply accept that the contact was fine and allow himself to pass out.

But the detective was wary. If he was going to allow this, he needed to know if the tension he felt was real, if his read was accurate. And as far as he could tell, Trainer had never lied to him.

“Can we talk?” Junho mumbled against the back of Trainer’s shoulder.

“Alright.”

When Junho took a breath to steady himself and started to shift the other way, Trainer put his hand back over Junho’s. “It’s okay. Just don’t be loud about it.” His low molasses voice took on just the faintest hint of amusement. “She knows we talk. And at this point, she probably just fast-forwards to make sure we don’t get up to anything that isn’t allowed.”

She?

Oh. Venus. The woman who always had a tablet in her hands, who was always watching. Who was so trusted that she dressed in normal clothing to go with the VIP on his business trips. Of course.

Junho thought very carefully about how to phrase his question and Trainer didn’t seem to mind that he took his time. He kept his voice quiet, his forehead pressed against the back of Trainer’s shoulder to hide the motion of his lips from any IR camera anyway. “I was wondering. If protecting me was the only reason you wanted to share a room.”

Trainer was still through enough breaths that Junho thought he might decide not to answer. When he did speak, his tone was as careful as a man holding a handful of broken glass. “No.”

Junho flinched away so hard that one of the wall bolts dug painfully into his back. “I don’t want to have sex with you. Not even—”

“You think I don't know that?” Trainer’s stiff words cut him off. “I’m aware, Pretty.”

Junho had hurt his feelings. And if he’d considered before he’d spoken, he might have realized before he reacted that Trainer had never made his interests an issue. Or pressured Junho in that way. He probably hadn't even needed to ask.

The detective disagreed. The reason for the tension was important, and it was important for Junho to hear what Trainer did or didn't intend. He was in a position where even feeling subtly pressured carried weight.

Fine. But Junho could have found out without hurting Trainer's feelings, that was all.

Junho breathed out slowly, edged forward again until he rested against Trainer’s back, put his hand on Trainer's waist, and gave it a small squeeze. “I’m sorry.”

“Someday.” The big man’s smooth-whiskey voice still had a stiff edge, even though the tension slowly bled from his body. “You’re going to realize that an apology doesn’t call back whatever you’d said.”

Junho wished he’d kept a tighter hold on his reaction. He’d been doing better with that lately, though not good enough, it turned out. “I am sorry, though. I reacted without thinking.” Like that was some sort of secret. “I don’t think that about you anymore. I know you wouldn’t hurt me.”

“Oh, Pretty.” Trainer’s voice was suddenly both bleak and exasperated, as if Junho had said something unintentionally cruel and stupid. “I absolutely will hurt you. I'm still your trainer, and I’m not going to fuck that up.”

They were hard words in a hard tone, and Junho flinched. But he caught the rest of his reaction in time and didn’t jerk away.

For all that the man could do an excellent impression of a statue, Junho had cracked the surface enough recently to know that a man did live under there. And as the detective had recently pointed out, humans are social animals who seek reassurance from others.

That wouldn’t just go one way. Providing comfort felt like the least he could do, and he knew Trainer wouldn't ask for it himself.

“I know,” Junho whispered against the back of Trainer’s shoulder. “I wasn’t talking about the you who does your job.”

Trainer’s breath pulled in faster than normal, and was let out more slowly. It was a wonder to Junho, how well he’d become able to pick up even the smallest of Trainer’s physical signals, though the black and silent room probably didn’t hurt.

He wondered what Trainer was working through. Was it possible that he’d never thought of himself that way, the man different from the job? Junho couldn’t imagine not having split himself apart. Though he hadn’t meant to, it had just happened. How had Trainer survived in this place if what he did wasn’t separate from who he was?

“Sex and intimacy aren’t the same things.” Trainer’s voice was so low and soft that if Junho had been breathing too loudly, he might have missed it.

Junho actually blinked. It wasn’t what he’d expected to hear, wasn’t anywhere close to the tracks of his thoughts.

“I hadn’t thought about it that way,” he whispered against Trainer’s back. To Junho, sex was intimacy. Even after being forced into sex without intimacy, he’d never thought about the other way around.

The detective had questions, but Junho’s panicked flailing had knocked the metaphorical shards of glass out of Trainer’s hands. It felt to him like they’d sort of swept the pieces into a pile, but Junho didn’t want to cut things open more than he’d already done. If Trainer said anything else, it was after he fell asleep.

The next night, Junho cautiously asked they could share the blankets. He made it sound like it was a warmth thing. He wanted it to be a warmth thing. He didn’t want to admit that he’d missed Trainer’s reassuring touches on his skin, but he didn’t really fool himself.

Anyway, the detective wasn’t going to let him lose sight of where his feelings actually sat. It was important that Junho be aware of what he was feeling, what was happening, and why. To keep his finger on the pulse of it. Trainer wasn’t part of his escape plans, couldn’t be, and he wasn’t taking Trainer with him when he left.

Even if, after a few nights tucked in against Trainer’s back, arm around his waist and cheek pressed against the big muscle at the back of his shoulder, Junho couldn’t imagine any other way of sleeping. It almost kept the nightmares at bay. Well, not really, but he was better able to get a hold of himself after they woke him, and fall back to sleep.

Junho was sure there was going to be a price to pay for that little bit of comfort. There was always a price to pay for any nice thing in this hellish place.

Chapter Text

When the tablet beeped inside the cabinet, Junho was pulling at the weight machine, lost in the rhythm of the full-body motion that was necessary to maintain his form. Trainer was working the elliptical, but he immediately stopped, toweled off his hands, and punched the code into the cabinet.

He still took care to place his body between Junho’s line of sight and the punch-pad. Not that Junho would have expected any different. It was as routine as the way he tried to catch sight of the code, now that his hands had been set free.

From his brief and hopefully unnoticed glances in passing, there was slight wear on five numbers. Meaning something like 3,000 possible combinations. Or 15,000, if one of the numbers was used twice, and he thought from the way Trainer's elbow moved that it might be six digits.

Junho roughly estimated that he could push two buttons a second. If it was a five-digit code, five buttons plus enter, three seconds each combination. He would need something like 15 uninterrupted minutes at the cabinet to work through the possible combinations. And if it was a six-number combination using those five digits? Over an hour. If it was a seven-digit code, he could just forget about it. He hadn’t bothered doing the math.

Trainer pulled the tablet out of the cabinet and tapped at it, then held it up to his ear. Junho tried not to overtly slow his pace on the machine as he watched and listened curiously.

“Ma’am?” Trainer paused. “Yes ma’am.” A pause. “Of course, ma’am.”

Trainer lowered the tablet and tapped it some more. He was still far too fast for Junho to even imagine where his thumbs were falling on the screen. He set it up on the counter, its face showing black.

The muscular man came over to the weight machine and put his hand on Junho’s shoulder. Junho released the machine and didn’t try start a new set, so that he wouldn’t try it with the wrong form and injure himself. Tensed. The man’s need to give him reassuring contact meant that bad news was on the way. Junho knew what it was.

Trainer’s voice was low and even. “You’ll be serving tonight.”

It still hit like a blow even though he’d known it was coming. Junho’s skin tightened and the rush of dread nauseated him. In the week or so that the VIP had been gone, the iceberg of dread had reduced to a small cube of its former self, but it didn’t take much for the full berg to come back.

Trainer gave Junho’s shoulder a reassuring squeeze, his voice calm, low, and warm. “He wants to see you in his bedroom. That likely means you’ll be spending the night.”

Junho’s breath shuddered in and out dangerously.

Trainer gently turned Junho until he faced him, put his other hand on Junho’s shoulder, and massaged both of them. His eyes were calm, dark pools. “You’ll be fine, Pretty. We'll refresh your lessons after lunch.”

“Yes, trainer.”

Trainer gave Junho’s shoulders a final squeeze and let him go. “Finish your workout.”

“Yes, trainer.” Junho's hands felt slightly disconnected from the rest of his body as he fitted them around the handles.

The first time Trainer had told Junho that he might be expected to spend the night with the VIP, Junho had approached the possibility with the mentality of a future hypothetical. A sense of ‘wouldn't that suck’ combined with ‘maybe there will be a way out of his bedroom.’

But that had been ages ago. Long before he’d learned that the VIP’s bedroom was on the third floor and the windows weren’t an option, and even longer before Junho had begun to spend the nights against Trainer's back.

Trainer treated the afternoon’s lesson like business as usual, walking him through the VIP’s expectations and preferences, the layout of the VIP’s room, where supplies were located, how he might be expected to position to make himself available.

It kept Junho’s mind too occupied for dread. The way Trainer provided new information and quizzed Junho on the old at unexpected intervals made it so that he had to pay attention and know the answers without thinking about them first, or he’d get smacked on the back of the head. Trainer still hit hard, and trying not to get hit took up a good deal of Junho’s attention.

They ate dinner together, and after, they sat in silence. Trainer was still and solid as a statue. Junho tried to shove every last scrap of anger and resentment and hatred and fear into the detective’s dark corner, then he went to the fountain and tried to cultivate some peace. He hadn’t visited the fountain in a while, but carefully painting the scene outward from the stone bowl was familiar and comforting.

Grass and trees, no flowers. Boys flying kites. The bench was wrought-iron, none of that cheap plastic fake wood, and very solid underneath him.

The tablet beeped. Ice vines spread from Junho’s stomach out into his limbs, crawled up and down his back, and made the cold sweat start on his skin. The sour-penny taste of fear was back in his mouth like it had never left.

After Trainer told him to stand and started clipping him in for transport, Junho tried to keep his breathing even. Trainer took him along the same route as last time. Past the playroom, around, through the foyer balcony. Junho glanced down, despite that he was fully hobbled and trussed up and being led by a very perceptive and muscular jailer.

He wasn’t trying to memorize the foyer area on the way past, it was just a distraction, he told himself. He’d bottled the detective up so tight that he might as well not exist.

The library was very dark, the night seeming moonless. No light came in through the windows, no lights were on other than the soft LED glow from a thermostat panel, and slivers of light coming out from under two of the doors.

Including the VIP’s door, the last door. Junho counted his breaths as the wedge of light grew closer like the headlights of murderous truck. His body threw adrenaline into his blood, wanting him to fight it or jump away, but a man couldn’t fight a truck and win, and it was far too close to avoid.

Trainer knocked gently on the door but didn’t wait for a response before he opened it and gestured Junho through. Junho stepped from the wooden floor of the library onto the richly chocolate-hued rug just inside the VIP's door. He moved to the side and knelt, and Trainer closed the door and joined him.

After the dimness of the hallway, the room was very bright, though in truth the recessed lighting was rather low. The smell of flowers was cloying, dizzying, but there was no smell of smoke. The VIP was in the bedroom’s sitting area – it still blew Junho’s mind that the bedroom had its own sitting area – watching what looked like a sports program on a wall television.

The fat man was reclined back in a comfortable chair. He wore one of his silky robes, but not one Junho had seen before. Dark blue with golden embroidery. His feet were up on low footstool rather than Song’s back, and a bottle sat on a side table without other slaves around to serve it. Not even Venus was present.

There was no sign of the VIP’s wife anywhere, either. Junho had generally thought of spouses as people who shared bedrooms, but with how poorly they’d gotten along at the dinner table, he supposed he shouldn’t have been surprised to find the VIP sleeping alone.

Well. Alone only in that sense.

The VIP’s head turned toward them, away from the TV. “Trainer, unclip him. Cock cage off entirely.”

Trainer and Junho both made their acknowledgments and stood. Trainer unclipped Junho. There was a moment where the touch of Trainer’s hand on Junho’s dick prison made him start to grow heavy. He hadn’t gotten off in a week or so and had no idea how Trainer would be able to get him out of the base ring if he had an erection.

He shouldn’t have worried about it. Trainer grabbed Junho’s hand and pressed his palm at base of his thumb. An intense spike of pain radiated into the center of Junho’s hand and traveled up his arm to the elbow, and by the time he was done breathing through it, Trainer had expertly manipulated Junho’s junk out of the dick prison.

Fucking ouch. That was one way to keep him from getting an erection.

Feeling naked and oddly light without the ring cupping behind his balls, he remained standing while the VIP eyed him up and down with a predatory look.

“Aren’t you a sight for sore eyes.” The VIP’s voice was subtly different in real life than it was in Junho’s nightmares, slightly higher pitched and less resonant. “Get over here.”

“Yes, sir.”

Junho piloted himself from the rug by the door to the rug in the room’s sitting area like a ship’s captain piloting a boat through dense fog. The other island was cursed and had a monster dwelling on it. Things had become very surreal.

He needed to wake up, now. It felt for a moment like someone shook him, and Junho’s head cleared. He took a deep breath.

He could do this. He had to.

Junho was starting to kneel when the VIP grabbed his wrist. “Don’t sit. Pour.”

“Yes, sir.” He crossed behind the lounge, not getting between the VIP and his TV. The smell of the bourbon as Junho poured it from its crystal decanter into a glass had strong notes of vanilla.

He offered the glass out to the VIP, and the man took it with an expression that superficially resembled a smile. Curved lips but soulless eyes. “Reminds me of how we first met.”

“Yes, sir.” Junho thought his voice might have grown a little thick, but he didn’t want to risk clearing his throat.

The VIP’s eyes raked down Junho’s body, lingered on the semi that was the response to being free from dick jail, raked over Junho’s stomach and up his abs, then lingered on his face. “Do you know how much money I’ve got riding on this game, Pretty?”

“I don’t, sir.”

“Not enough to matter.” He smirked. “Get on the bed.”

Junho swallowed a mouth full of thick, sour saliva. It went down hard past his collar. “Yes, sir.”

He placed the whiskey decanter down and turned away. The bed was in the corner where the windows met, and it angled into the room. Refresher course fresh in his mind, Junho pulled the dark comforter down, revealing the sand-hued sheets underneath.

The bed was extremely comfortable, far more comfortable than a doubled floor mattress on a tile floor. The sheets were smooth and silky against Junho’s skin. Satin, maybe. They smelled strongly of the VIP’s favorite floral scent, and weren’t wrinkled before Junho stretched out on them.

On his side, because the VIP would want to see all of him, Trainer had said. With his hand under his face to keep his eye makeup off the pillow.

The VIP turned the TV off with a remote. Apparently it could also be used to control the lights, because they dialed down to dim before the VIP clicked it down onto the side table next to the empty glass of whiskey. He shoved up from his chair and sauntered over to the bed like a cat prowling toward something interesting.

At first, Junho’s anxiety crashed through him like an icy wave and dragged him under, drowning him. He wouldn’t have thought that his heart could beat any faster or harder, but having the VIP stand over him made it pound so hard in his chest that he could feel his skin vibrate with it. His breath came shallow as he looked up at the heavy man.

Then a wave of calm warmth from the quiet part of his mind lifted him as suddenly as a buoy released to the surface. Nothing would happen to him that he couldn’t get through. He could get through anything.

Chapter Text

Junho lay on his side on the VIP’s bed, fully naked and displayed, curled up like a person posing for a photo of someone just going to sleep. As Trainer had told him the man preferred. The VIP’s eyes slowly raked along Junho’s body, drinking in the picture he painted. Muscular shoulders, strong biceps, well-defined abs, a flat stomach, muscular thighs and calves, all arrayed in a submissive posture and posed for the man's visual pleasure. All marked with the signs of the man's ownership, golden rings glittering on his collar and nipples and dick.

The VIP’s eyes lingered on that last place, which was heavy on Junho's leg and growing heavier. “Someone’s happy to see me.”

It wasn’t a question or command. Junho didn’t have to respond, but he knew that he should. “Yes, sir.”

Then his stomach clenched. It took his mind a moment to catch up to why.

Not because he was lying to the VIP, he’d lie to him until the tide came in and not feel bad about it. What knotted his stomach was the possibility that he might not be fully lying. The man hadn’t even touched Junho yet, and already his body was responding.

Being released from his dick prison might explain the increasing awareness of his cock, the heaviness that was rapidly becoming a tightening that was the next step toward throbbing. That could just be his dick doing dick things. What it didn’t explain was almost-tingling of his asshole where it gripped the base of his plug. The way he had just flexed around it, enjoying the feeling of pleasant fullness.

Every time Junho had been touched sexually since he had been brought to this place, it had involved this man, except for that one harshly punished experience with the man’s wife. Every time he’d gotten off in the last two months, it had been with this man inside him. Every. Single. Time.

It wasn’t by accident. Oh, that was sick. That was so fucked up.

“Aren’t you going to kiss me a welcome back?” The VIP’s heavy voice, thick with the pauses it got when he was getting aroused, cut into Junho’s horrified realization about how deep the conditioning was going.

He shoved his disgust and horror and fear into the back corner where the detective lived. Feeling it, thinking about it, wouldn’t change anything he had to do now.

Right now, he needed to pretend to be the Pretty Eyes that the VIP was expecting. Submissive and broken by that long session of sexual torture. Not eager, but not defiant. He didn't have to reach far to imagine how that man might feel, think, react.

Junho pushed up and slid off the side of the bed as if he’d practiced it. He kept his eyes on the VIP’s face. The man’s deep-set eyes were shadowed in the dim light and had their usual predatory gleam, though there seemed to be more anticipation in them than mischief.

Junho started to lean in, but the VIP purred, “Undress me first.”

“Yes, sir.”

He untied the man’s silky robe at the waist, opened it, and slid his hands along the VIP’s shoulders, and without anything to hold it down, his hard cock pointed straight at Junho.

The VIP stepped into him, sliding his hands around so that they gripped Junho’s muscular ass. He was pulled in tight against the VIP’s body, and the man ground the heat and hardness of his cock against Junho’s stomach.

He wasn’t quite sure what to do with his hands, so he rested them up on the man’s shoulders. The VIP fondled Junho’s ass and looked across at him, his half-lidded eyes studying Junho’s face. Waiting.

Junho leaned in and kissed him.

He’d somehow forgotten how terrible of a kisser the VIP was, but at least this time he only tasted like a hairy slug coated in a sweet bourbon slime rather than one that was also on fire. His hands slid up and down Junho’s back and ass and thighs while Junho tried to kiss him without vomiting ice and acid.

The VIP continued to grind against him, and his body responded. Of course it responded. The rub of the VIP’s thigh against Junho’s own thickening erection sent a twitch of pleasure and anticipation through him. His body wanted more of that friction.

The last time the VIP’s hands moved up, he gripped the back of Junho’s neck and pulled down. The signal wasn’t subtle.

He disengaged from the kiss and let the VIP press him down onto his knees. He’d honestly rather have the man’s cock in his mouth. Kissing had that feeling of intimacy rather than just sex, and now that he knew how to divide the two things in his mind, it explained why the one disturbed him so much more. As if the monster wasn't satisfied with his body and wanted his soul, too.

Junho looked up into the VIP’s eyes as he took him in, circling his tongue around the head of the man’s cock like he liked. He was fully hard, that particular skin smooth instead of velvety. He groaned and took a grip in Junho’s hair, pulling him in tight so that his forehead rested against the man’s soft stomach. Junho did the best he could with the VIP all the way down his throat until the grip started pulling him back and forth.

When Junho slid his hand up the inside of the VIP’s thigh toward his balls, the man said thickly, “Don’t. We’re just getting started.”

Junho dropped his hand. He couldn’t really blame himself for hoping that this was just going to be a quick blowjob sort of thing. But he hadn't truly expected it.

The VIP held Junho in place by the hair as he thrust into his mouth. Junho’s hands rested on his thighs for balance and he focused more on providing the VIP with an enjoyable experience than trying to get him off. It was hard to maintain eye contact in so close, especially when he was sometimes pulled so far in that he felt likely to smother in the man’s soft stomach, but he did the best he could.

When the VIP pulled Junho back by the hair, his breathing was heavy and his voice thick. “On the bed.”

“Yes, sir.”

Junho was on his feet and had just started to turn when the VIP added, “On your back.”

“Yes, sir.”

Junho sat on the soft, satiny covers. After so much sitting on floors, it was almost strange to have a surface try to pull him in comfortably. The sheets under him hadn’t quite cooled from where he’d been lying before. He scooted backward, and the rub of the sheets against the base of his butt plug rocked the glass inside him pleasantly. His cock throbbed.

It would be the VIP soon, and then he’d be able to get some relief. That was what his body anticipated.

Junho couldn’t think about it. He needed to just let his body be, so the VIP wouldn’t think he’d grown his balls back and needed them crushed again. He let his thoughts go. They weren’t helpful, here and now.

Instead, he watched the VIP’s face to see how far back was supposed to go. It said something, he thought, that he could read the man’s expression. That he knew he’d gone far enough without the VIP having to say so. Junho reclined onto his back and pulled his knees up and wide. Presenting.

The bed shifted under Junho as the VIP joined him on it. He paused to tug Junho’s plug out by the base and toss it onto the floor. Junho was ready for the fingers that worked into him when it was gone. When they circled his pucker, the sensation made his body sing, and he felt himself throb.

He didn’t try to keep the physical pleasure off his face or out of his eyes. The VIP grinned.

The man didn’t stay kneeling, like he’d done their first time. Instead, he leaned over Junho, onto him, using his body to keep Junho’s legs up and spread. He was thoroughly pinned to the bed, and had to make real effort to keep his legs high enough. To stay presented and open and ready.

The VIP's first thrust sent him sliding hot off Junho’s tailbone. The man grunted and shifted his hips, and the second thrust went in.

Junho’s breath caught in ragged, and it wasn’t just because the VIP’s cock raked his sweet spot. The man’s soft stomach also slid along Junho’s cock and piercing as he moved with delicious friction. The multiplicity of sensation was more intense than he’d recalled, as if his mind had refused to remember that being raped could feel physically good.

The VIP looked into Junho’s eyes from no more than a handful of centimeters away, lapping up his expressions as the pleasure rocked through him. Junho’s face felt hot from his cheeks down to his chest.

“Please, sir, will you let me cum?”

The VIP's expression shifted. He looked as satisfied as a cat in cream. It was the first time Junho had asked without being asked first.

He felt a pang deep in his gut, a burning twist like acid reflux but lower. He shoved it into the detective’s corner too. Not helpful now. Right now, he needed to be what the VIP expected him to be.

The VIP rested his weight on one elbow. His eyes studied Junho’s face, and he circled his thumb around Junho’s nipple, sending a pleasant heat down to his dick. He felt himself twitch and his ass flexed, testing the fullness of his body.

And then the man’s chubby fingers pinched and twisted Junho’s ribs, and he gasped in pain and felt the sting of the pain-tears in his eyes. Then the thumb circled again, the pleasure buzzing instead of warm.

The VIP studied Junho’s eyes. “You saying you want to come on my cock?”

“I am, sir. Please.”

The VIP pulled out and drove into him again, harder and faster now that he was already in, raking right over his sweet spot at the same time his stomach rubbed Junho’s cock deliciously. A moan tore out of Junho. He didn’t try to stop it.

The man’s face was close, his eyes locked on to Junho’s and enjoying every moment of his physical pleasure.

“You can cum. Long as it’s. While I’m in you.”

“Thank you, sir,” Junho whispered.

Then he let his mind go, let his body enjoy the sensations. He rocked his hips as the VIP slammed into him, shifting to draw out the pleasure deep inside. The heat there seemed to build upward from his feet every time the VIP pounded in, and the way the man’s stomach rubbed his cock provided delicious friction. It was far lighter than Junho’s hand would have been, the sort of friction that he wouldn’t have thought he could get off on back he was jerking off regularly. He knew it would be enough, now.

Junho’s entire world was evil blue eyes and the vanilla-sweet smell of the VIP’s bourbon, the smell of flowers and the smell of sex and the burning heat of their bodies. The VIP’s grunts, and his own greedy noises. It didn’t matter.

When Junho came, it was the slow explosion of a mixed orgasm. He clutched the VIP’s body and rocked against his stomach, the friction combining with the VIP’s continued thrusts across his sweet spot to send the fire exploding into a storm shot through with the pulses of lightning. He couldn’t have kept his eyes open even if he’d tried.

He crashed back into his body to the feeling of the VIP still pounding into him. He was getting sore and sensitive, and every thrust dragged a ragged gasp out of him. At least it only went on a little while longer before the VIP thrust in harder and deeper a few times, then ground in and pulsed.

“Fuck!” He panted a moment. “Fuck. That was good. Good for you, Pretty Eyes?”

It had been, no matter how sick admitting it made Junho feel. He made himself open eyes his and look into the VIP’s avaricious face. So that the man could see the truth in them. “Yes, sir.”

The man’s too-white, too-wide Cheshire Cat grin glittered in the dim lights of the room. “Good.”

He pulled out and flopped onto his back next to Junho. Still panting, he gestured to his stomach, sticky with Junho’s cum. “Clean that up.”

Despite the way his body still hummed with bliss and just wanted him to take a nap, Junho acknowledged and shifted onto his side, then slid low. The VIP’s fingers worked into Junho’s sweaty hair, scratching against his scalp in a way that was thankfully nothing at all like how Trainer would stroke his hair sometimes to soothe him.

Most of Junho’s cum was on himself, but he lapped what of it there was off the VIP’s stomach while the man’s glistening cock deflated nearby.

Junho had been worried, very seriously worried, that the VIP might want him to suck his dick after he’d been up Junho’s ass. The thought made him gag. But Trainer had assured him that the VIP wasn’t interested in that, or in having Junho do anything to his ass with his mouth. Which he hadn’t even thought of before that.

The man might be a disgusting, sadistic piece of rotting human flesh stuffed with manure who degraded and tortured and raped and killed people, but he was also a germaphobe. Thank the nonexistent local gods for small miracles.

When Junho was done cleaning his seed off the VIP’s stomach, the man patted the side of his face. “Good boy. Change the sheets, then join me in the bathroom.”

“Yes, sir.”

The VIP heaved himself off the bed with a grunt and padded toward one of the side doors. The light he clicked on cast a wedge of light across the brown carpet. The carpet was chocolate brown, not red and gold, and the bed was brown instead of black. Junho took in a deep and shuddering breath, and everything settled gently back in its proper place.

Keep your shit together, the detective whispered. He’d stayed in his dark corner while Junho had done what they’d needed to do, but the touch of his presence was like the hand of a friend pulling him to his feet after he’d been knocked over.

Junho hadn’t thought of the Trainer until that moment. The thought that Trainer had watched Junho enjoy having another man fuck him crashed through him like a wave, and his breath tripped for a moment on the way in. He’d never liked Trainer to watch him be used even before, but there was a new edge to the humiliation.

Junho couldn’t think about that right now. He was under orders.

He knew from Trainer’s lessons that the clean bedding was in the large walk-in closet, as was the hamper for the used bedding. Junho stripped the bed and used the loose sheets to wipe himself off. He changed the sheets and put the bedding back on without looking at Trainer once, despite that he passed nearby on his way to and from the closet.

He thought he could feel the weight of Trainer’s eyes on him as he picked up his butt plug off the floor and followed the VIP into the bathroom. But he didn't look over. If Trainer was looking at him, he didn't want to see the man's eyes.

Chapter Text

The VIP’s large bathroom suite was lit with the same softly recessed lighting as his bedroom. The lighter brown tiles set it off from the chocolate-hued bedroom rugs over the dark-hued wooden floor while still complementing it at the line where the flooring changed.

But Junho shouldn’t be studying the flooring. He swallowed his shame even though it tried to choke him on the way down. He shouldn’t be ashamed of doing what he had to do, which was pretend to be a good pet right now.

Or.

Junho looked up. There were cameras even in the man’s bathroom, and he couldn’t imagine that Trainer wasn’t listening with his entire body. So. No ‘or.’

The VIP was neck-deep in a soaking tub full of steaming floral-scented water. Junho knew this smell for once – rose. The soaking tub was black marble that rested under a broad, uncurtained window looking out onto the black night. The man's head was tilted back, his silver hair was plastered to his skull, and his eyes were closed.

Junho hoped he would stay like that. The general rule was to clean up, get back into bed, and wait for the VIP’s instructions. If the VIP was napping in the tub, Junho might be clean and gone before he thought to ask for anything else.

All of the supplies were where Trainer had said they would be. After Junho cleaned the butt plug, he took off his cuffs and used the eye-makeup remover. Then he studied the shower panel.

The VIP’s shower was much fancier than Junho’s shower in the basement, which was itself fancier than any shower Junho had ever used before. He didn't know how to operate the electric pad that controlled it, but he hoped he didn’t need to be. Since the VIP had just showered, it likely wouldn’t be set on cold or boiling.

Junho touched the shower panel and water began to patter down from the rack set into the ceiling like rain, steaming where it hit the tiles.

The VIP spoke from across the room, his voice almost slushy with relaxation. “Join me when you’re done.”

“Yes, sir.”

Junho carefully cleaned his body with the separate bottle set aside for pets, the usual combination shampoo and body wash that he used in his torture room. When he stepped out of the shower and reached for a towel, the VIP rumbled, “I don’t give a shit if you drip on the floor. Get in the tub.”

“Yes, sir.” Junho’s hand fell away from the towel hanger.

The VIP’s eyes superficially looked closed, but Junho could see the glitter where the man was watching him from under slitted lids. Junho kept his eyes on the man’s face as he carefully stepped up the textured tiles to the deep-bottomed soaking tub. The rose-scented steam rising from it was almost choking.

Even just sticking a toe in, the water was intensely hot. Junho lowered himself in slowly and carefully. His dick piercing shot heat directly into a very sensitive area in a profoundly uncomfortable way.

When Junho was in the tub up to his shoulders, the VIP sloshed his arm up and draped it over the back of the tub. “Get over here.”

“Yes, sir.”

Junho slid carefully over to the VIP’s side. He’d been worried that the man might make him try to suck his cock under the gently moving water or something, but instead, he pulled Junho sideways into his lap and wrapped an arm around him.

Junho was trapped, but at least his back wasn't to the man. And he wasn't sitting on an erection.

The VIP’s smile was relaxed, truly relaxed for the first time Junho could remember, as he looked up at him. He tried not to think about the man's attempts at intimacy as he allowed himself to press the side of his body against the man’s chest, the water sloshing and shifting away from the area between them with a heavy resistance, as if the water itself was opposed to what was happening.

As the VIP rubbed the lines of Junho’s bicep, he said, “Song. My last acquisition before you. Came to really enjoy it up here. Used to beg me for it. Want to spend the night, Pretty Eyes?”

Junho really didn’t, but it wasn’t truly optional. “Yes, sir. If that would please you.”

The VIP leaned in and his lips pressed against the curve of Junho’s shoulder. “I know you still aren’t. Hmn. Fully committed. But I’m starting to think you’re coming around.”

He was a narcissist, a delusional narcissist.

Junho shoved the thoughts into the back.

He let the rest of his thoughts drift free from his mind, passing traffic to the Junho in the tub. His muscles relaxed into the heat and he found himself almost drifting off. Eventually, the VIP shifted and kissed Junho’s jaw under his ear. “Let’s go to bed.”

Junho acknowledged and got out of the tub, and the VIP sloshed out behind him. Junho toweled him off with the same care that Trainer had shown all the times he’d toweled off Junho off, then took down the plush, sand-hued bathrobe Trainer had told him that the VIP favored and helped him into it.

After the VIP left, Junho followed the rest of Trainer’s instructions about what ‘go to bed’ meant. He toweled himself off and fixed his collar back on, centering it as much as possible. He found the toothbrush and flosser where Trainer had said they would be and tended to his own mouth.

He glanced at the window looking out over the darkness. A three-story drop, and him without anything to use as a rope. He folded up the thoughts and shoved them into the detective’s corner.

Junho combed his hair, then found the little tube of liner under the sink and lightly lined his eyes. It didn’t have the same visual effect as the full eye makeup the VIP favored on him, but even just the liner made his eyes stand out from his face. He liked it better, honestly.

He touched the panel that turned the lights off and went back out into the bedroom, leaving the mess for someone else to clean up.

The VIP was sprawled on his side, the angled bed allowing him to watch Junho emerge from the bathroom. His robe had been discarded and his legs were tucked under the sheet and comforter, but his upper his body oozed into the bed like a rotting carcass of a fish being reclaimed by the soil. He patted the empty space beside him.

Junho obediently went over and eased onto the bed. He hesitated, then lay on his back, his head turned so that he could look at the VIP. The man stared back. His blue eyes, initially loose and relaxed, began to narrow in the corners.

His voice had a bit of a predator’s rumble under his contentment. “I heard you’re a cuddler.”

Junho shoved a thought, a feeling, to the back of his mind too fast to acknowledge it. He obediently rolled onto his side, and then the monster was at his back.

Heavy arms enveloped Junho and trapped him. One of the VIP’s hands held Junho low on the abs and splayed there like it had when he’d held Junho against him and tortured him. The other passed under Junho’s neck and went down his chest. The VIP pulled Junho in close, like a grown man with a stuffed animal instead of one lover cuddling another.

Junho’s mind began screaming and skipping back and forth between the time he had been hung from his wrists and molested, and the more recent time he’d been tortured in the VIP’s playroom. His heart pounded and he could feel the sweat start on his body from more than from the VIP’s radiating warmth. He couldn’t swallow the fear-sour saliva gathered in his mouth past his collar and the lump in his throat.

“Trainer, get the light,” the VIP said into Junho’s hair. “Then you can sleep in the corner.”

“Yes, sir.” The trainer’s serene voice came from by the door.

The light clicked off. For the first time in a while, Junho was in a dark room that wasn’t pitch black. A few little lights around the room combined to give it a washed-out dimness. It wasn’t enough to see color by, but it was enough to see shapes.

Junho could feel the VIP’s breath stirring his hair. It smelled like mint, and Junho’s mind occasionally short-circuited Trainer into his place, even though their body types and ways of holding him had been nothing alike. His mind dropped him into a waking nightmare of the time the VIP had smothered him.

Skip.

When Junho came back to himself, he was trembling and couldn’t get his heart to slow down. He wondered if it was possible for it to beat so hard that it simply stopped. He found himself timing the thuds, afraid he couldn’t feel them, and sometimes between beats he desperately wanted to check his pulse.

The VIP snored into Junho’s hair, asleep and oblivious.

It wasn’t a good time to think, but there was nothing else to do. His lines of thought were as bad as the nightmares, at first, with how powerless they made him feel. But only at first.

Junho thought about the ways he could kill the VIP right then and there, his hot anger tempered by the black bitter despair that came from knowing he wouldn’t try it. Not because of the cameras, he was fairly sure he could get it done too fast for anyone outside of the room to stop him. But he couldn’t trust the trainer not to stop him, and he couldn’t trust Trainer to try to help and then make a run for it with him. Junho still didn’t want to die, especially not the slow and bad death the VIP's family would probably give him if he killed the VIP and got caught.

Junho thought about how his body had been conditioned to associate the VIP with the pleasure of sex. How deliberately and deftly that had been handled from the moment he’d touched himself in the shower so long ago, and he was filled with bitter despair at how not even the detective had seen it coming. The despair went tarry and black when he wondered if he’d ever be able to enjoy sex again.

Junho thought about how much it bothered him to have Trainer watch the VIP fuck him. That wasn’t new – he’d never wanted Trainer to see or hear his reactions to the sex – but he knew without needing to be told that it was especially important that the VIP not learn that now. This game, test, or whatever. If it was the man’s response to Junho cuddling with Trainer, he could imagine the sick games the VIP might play if he learned about Junho’s aversion. He examined each of those possibilities with the macabre fascination of looking at a grisly crime scene, not wanting to look but unable to look away.

Junho thought about how he felt about Trainer. And he did have feelings. Friendly affection toward the man underneath the job. Frustration that he didn't think that man would want to win free. Worry about how much closer they might get. If not wanting to leave him might affect his plans. Worry that his affection might get more than friendly. Could he come to care for the man who'd tortured him? If he did, would the feelings even be real?

He thought about Trainer’s words that some of the people here had no better place to be, and about Trainer’s words that if things were done better, there would be fewer deaths and replacements. He thought about each statement in the context of the other, and he wondered how many of the servants too dispirited to escape were the result of the trainer’s methods. Anger burned through him as he wondered if the trainer hoped that Junho would be one of those servants. And then despair threatened to drown him when he wondered if Trainer hoped so too, so that Junho wouldn’t leave him here alone.

Junho quit thinking for a time, only to drop into a formless nightmare of looking for something precious while being chased, and knowing he was running out of time. He rose out of that one with the sense that the detective was holding his head out of the cold black water like a rescue swimmer.

He couldn’t go on like this.

He had to. But he couldn’t let himself sleep. He'd rather be physically tired than emotionally ruined and vulnerable.

Junho began peeling open each of the secret notes that he’d shoved to the detective's corner and studied them like a man checking his wallet to make sure all the money was inside. He allowed the anger to flame, soaked in the despair, and allowed himself to tremble with the anxiety. For the first time, Junho allowed himself to acknowledge that some parts of him were broken, and he let himself feel the grief and loss. He wept silently in the dark, and Trainer didn't comfort him.

The detective didn’t tell him to stop, either. The detective was right there with him, both of them together, his emotions informing the detective’s logic, and the logic providing context for the feelings.

This is why we can’t trust Trainer. This is why we have to escape as soon as a reasonable opportunity presents itself. This is why we have to get better at pretending. We have to figure out how Trainer made his mask, but we can’t put ours on so tightly that we forget the reason we’re holding on to this fear and anger and despair. And grief.

Junho didn’t wallow in the emotions, and he didn’t try to escape from them. He used them. And when he was done using them, he folded up each of his secret notes and put them away in the back of his mind, trying to hide them safely out of sight.

Chapter Text

Dawn had long since started to slant in the windows before the VIP woke up. When he did, his arms, which had loosened as the night wore on, flexed tight around Junho and pulled him in close.

The last thing Junho wanted to feel after a long night was the VIP’s morning wood against his ass. And the last thing that Junho wanted to hear was the VIP nuzzling into his hair and telling him, “You smell good.”

It didn’t matter what Junho wanted to feel or hear. He folded away the last pieces of himself and put them into the detective’s closet.

He said what he was supposed to say. “Good morning, sir. Would you like me to suck your cock?”

The VIP chuckled low, then gave Junho a squeeze before releasing him. “Sure would.”

Junho shifted around carefully to face the VIP, ready to try to figure out how the man wanted him to do this. But instead of giving him an instruction, the VIP grabbed Junho’s chin. His predatory, cold blue eyes flicked between Junho’s, studying them.

Junho let the man see what he wanted to, not trying to hide anything. No enthusiasm, but no resistance, either. The VIP released his chin without saying anything else.

The man didn’t act like he was going to change his position, so Junho pulled up the covers and went underneath. It wasn’t his favorite way to give oral, even when he enjoyed who he was giving it to. He typically found it was stiflingly hot and suffocating, and that covers made it hard to move freely.

Giving a blowjob was no different, it turned out. Junho rested his body across the VIP’s pillowy thigh. He wasn’t fully hard when Junho took him into his mouth, his skin soft and velvety instead of stretched tight across the head. He didn’t object when Junho put both hands to use, one to fondle and one to stroke.

The VIP wasn’t hard to warm up. Then one of his hands gripped into Junho’s hair and he started thrusting up into his mouth.

Just a blowjob, then. Not getting fucked. That was a relief, because Junho didn’t know how long the lube lasted inside him. He knew enough English now to know that there were different kinds and that they didn’t use the water-based one because it didn’t last too long and the VIP liked them to be ready for him immediately. He wasn’t a patient man. That didn’t answer the question of how long the other kinds lasted.

So Junho was glad it was just a blowjob. Even if, because of the odd angle, the VIP’s seed filled Junho’s mouth with its slimy texture and bitter flavor instead of going down his throat. Not what he wanted to taste, first thing in the morning. But nothing new.

The VIP seemed satisfied with it. His barely pulled Junho’s hair hard enough to hurt as he tugged him out from under the covers, and his shove toward the edge of the bed was relatively gentle. “Out.”

Junho’s relief was short-lived. The VIP’s lazy voice followed him to the door. “I’ve got shit to catch up on this morning. But. Got the entire afternoon set aside for that fine ass.”

Junho found that he couldn’t draw in a deep breath. Trainer acknowledged the VIP’s order to take him back to his room and make sure that he ate well so he’d have ‘plenty of energy.’

He couldn’t make himself look at Trainer while the man buckled him into his cuffs and clipped him up. The shame burned deep. But he’d have done the same thing again. He wished he didn't feel guilty about it.

The VIP was in the bathroom by the time Trainer opened the bedroom door and gestured Junho through. His hobble rattled against the wood, and he studied the floor, thinking about the guilt and trying to talk himself away from it.

Trainer was closing the VIP’s door behind them when a shadow shifted. Junho’s glanced up and saw that a tousle-haired young man had stood up from one of the chairs in the library. It was the VIP’s son, wearing in a t-shirt and loose pajama pants. He tossed the book in his hands on the lounge behind him, like his place in it wasn’t important.

Junho’s read was that the young man had been waiting for them, and the book was just plausible deniability in case his father came out.

He hadn’t had a good look at the VIP's son when they were sitting at the table. He was slightly shorter than the VIP, and not nearly as heavy. His straight up-and-down shape spoke of neither fat nor muscle. Hair the golden-brown color of a well-done bread crust was messy from sleep. He’d inherited the VIP’s unfortunate nose, but his jaw wasn’t as long and his eyes didn’t appear quite so recessed into his face. Neither handsome nor ugly. He couldn’t be over twenty.

When Trainer turned from closing the door and stepped past Junho, ready to lead him, he could tell the exact moment that Trainer saw the VIP's son. Trainer’s shoulders relaxed, and Junho could imagine the trainer’s face and posture settling over him.

The young man stepped between the trainer and the route past the library, cutting it off. Junho dropped his eyes to the floor, though not so far that he could still see the young man’s body in his upper peripheral vision.

“So, this is dad’s new favorite toy.” The VIP’s son didn’t yet have his father’s predatory way of speaking, but entitled and greedy tones were already present in his voice. He sounded petulant rather than commanding, but Junho could imagine how he’d sound when he was older.

“Step aside, Trainer.”

“Yes sir.” The trainer took one long step to the side, not letting go of Junho’s lead. “Sir, your father ordered me to take Pretty Eyes to the basement.”

“I’m sure he did.” The son's tone of voice said he didn’t care. “Did I tell you not to do that? No, I didn’t. I just want to look at him, first.”

“Of course, sir.” The trainer's voice was as deep as a good whiskey and smooth as honey, but Junho thought he detected a tiny tell in it. Strain or worry.

Junho kept his eyes on the floor as the young man stepped closer. His smell entered Junho's personal space before his body did, an assertive deodorant or aftershave that surrounded him in a cloud, as if smelling more masculine could make him so. His bare feet and patterned pajama pants stopped just in front of Junho.

He tensed when he saw the young man’s hand lift. Slightly rough fingers touched under Junho’s chin. They didn’t press in the firmly authoritative way the VIP liked to manipulate Junho’s body, but instead encouraged his chin to lift with gentle pressure. He let the young man lift his face, but he kept his eyes politely down.

“ ‘Pretty Eyes,’ ,” the son read aloud. He brushed a thumb along Junho’s jaw, then slid his fingertips down Junho’s neck and across to his shoulder in a way that made him shiver. The young man's hand rested gently on his bicep. “I can’t say your eyes were the first thing I noticed.”

The VIP's son dropped his hand but didn’t take it away. Instead, he tracked his fingertips down Junho’s ribs so lightly that they tickled, then caressed the sharp line of Junho’s hip.

Ice shot into Junho’s veins as the VIP’s son began sliding his thumb down Junho’s stomach along the edge of his Adonis belt. Trainer hadn’t put his dick prison back on, and the erotic sensation made him profoundly aware of himself. With his chin down, he could see that he was starting to lengthen, getting heavy.

His cock found that moving thumb very intriguing. But his stomach twisted with ice and dread, and his mind flashed him the memory of what had happened when the VIP’s wife sexually assaulted him. Junho felt his breath go shallow and his heart start to beat hard.

“Sir.” The trainer was both polite and firm. “Please excuse me, but your father has ordered me to take Pretty Eyes downstairs.”

The young man’s hand dropped. His voice was flat. “Then I guess you’d better hurry up and do that before that whore tattles again.”

“Thank you, sir.” The trainer’s polite gratitude made it sound as if the young man had actually decided to give them permission.

Junho’s didn’t think it was his imagination that Trainer walked him more swiftly through the house, past the playroom and down to the basement. To the relative safety of the basement torture room.

Junho’s shoulder-blades crawled with the anxiety from the encounter until he safely back, and even then, he was still a little jumpy. Nothing good could come from the young man’s interest in him.

Junho sat on the floor by the discipline chair while Trainer left to get breakfast. He didn’t think it likely that the VIP’s son had access to the sub-basement. Surely if he did, he would have assaulted Junho down here rather than waiting for him to be in a place where he could ambush him, and with the chance for his father to walk in on it.

When Trainer came back, they each ate omelets heavy with cheese and vegetables, with thick slices of ham and a pile of fresh strawberries. Fast energy and slow energy.

Junho breathed slowly and evenly. “Trainer. Can I ask what it means for him to have an afternoon set aside for me?”

Trainer looked up from his omelet, his dark eyes calm. “Just what it sounds like, Pretty. He wants spend all afternoon with you. Not always sexually, but since he wants you taken to the private den after lunch, almost certainly sexually today.”

He didn’t lie to Junho even to be comforting. There was something to be said for that, though sometimes Junho wished that, just once, Trainer might be reassuring rather than honest.

Trainer picked up a piece of his omelet with his hands, chewed, swallowed. He studied Junho’s face. “Instead of working out after prep, you’re going to nap until lunch.”

“Yes, trainer.”

Junho didn’t think he’d be able to sleep with the threat of an entire afternoon with the VIP looming over him. But when the room was pitch black and he was pressed in against the safety of Trainer’s back, the exhaustion from his long night pulled him down into a deep and dreamless sleep.

Tones from the tablet woke him up, and Trainer unfolded smoothly to turn off the alarm. He tapped something new into in and put it back down before he went to turn on the lights. “I’ll be back with lunch. Stretch.”

Junho acknowledged and worked his way to his feet. When he stretched, he was careful to work out all of the stiffness from his muscles. Then he went to the sink and drank deeply, directly from the tap.

He felt groggy from the nap and wanted nothing as much as a cup of good, strong tea. Instead, he ate the sandwiches Trainer brought in their boxes, heavy with a dark-grained bread and meat and cheese. As well as the protein shake, there was juice again. More fast energy and slow energy.

After Trainer snapped the lids on the boxes and slid them toward the door, he turned to Junho. “He wants you to do your eyes darker than usual, and use a different plug.”

Something about the tone of Trainer's voice implied that it wasn’t going to be the one shaped like the VIP’s cock. Thinking about the torture shapes in the drawer churned his stomach around the food.

Trainer had him take a plug from one of the higher rows in the drawer, a silicone one that was thicker than usual. Thicker even than the one shaped like the VIP’s cock. And it had a curved handle rather than a base.

With buttons. Buttons couldn’t be good.

Trainer gestured at them. “Hold the one in the middle until it starts blinking. There you go. Now, be careful with the lube. We don’t have time for another shower.”

“Yes, trainer.”

None of the words were words that Junho wanted to hear. It was pretty easy for him to get plugs in, now. He could do it one-handed with his dry hand, and even though this on was thicker than usual and he had to go more slowly, the fact that it had something like a handle made it easier to position without the risk of it slipping and streaking his leg with lube.

It was a little uncomfortable, the way it had been to move up to a larger plug when he’d been going through the training set. When it was all the way in, it pressed deliciously against his sweet spot, and Junho was glad that he was already back in chastity. His cock pressed up against the cage uncomfortably.

His body definitely associated being filled with pleasure. There was no question about that, now.

Junho recalled that he was allowed to ask questions. As he was washing his hands, he asked carefully, “This one's electronic, trainer?”

He suspected, but he wanted to know.

“It vibrates. He has a remote control for it.”

And there it was. Junho’d seen vibrators before, and used some with his girlfriends. But not one that went in the ass. He’d never thought of the ass as a place to put things, much less a place where one would get pleasure from having things put.

That wasn’t to say he was sheltered or naïve. He’d known that some men had anal sex, but his thoughts had been uninformed and stereotypical. His idea of anal sex, when he’d thought about it at all, was that one man put his dick into another man from behind, like a stand-in for a vagina, and what the bottom man got out of it was getting jerked off while it happened.

It had sounded very uncomfortable, and he’d wondered why men did it instead of just blowing each other. Blowjobs between two men was something he could understand. A mouth was a mouth, and he’d always enjoyed blowjobs.

He hadn’t realized was that having a cock inside might actually be pleasurable to the bottom man. He’d certainly never thought that it could lead to a more intense orgasm. He shunted his brain away from thinking about those orgasms and the circumstances of them.

Then the rest of Trainer’s words landed as the detective pointed them out with alarmed exclamation points. The butt plug vibrated. The VIP had the remote control.

The VIP had never once let Junho get off without being inside him.

Junho’s stomach knotted hard, the sweat started under his arms, and his balls crawled up into his throat. The Trainer gripped Junho’s shoulder, gave it a solid squeeze, and spoke slowly. “If he punishes you while you’re serving, you won’t be punished again later for the same thing.”

If. Junho could have laughed. Or told him where to put his ‘if.'

He’d had almost managed to get his breathing under control by the time Trainer clipped his wrists together in back and attached the short lead to his collar.

“Come,” Trainer said firmly, and he was all business. And Junho acknowledged and went, not eagerly but submissively, because that was who he was pretending to be.

Chapter Text

The sunlight in the upstairs hallway had the quality of morning that had almost shifted to afternoon, still slanting in through the east-facing windows, but sharply. The day was sunny and beautiful, fluffy clouds coming in off the sea over grass too lush a green for this time of the year. It must be watered somehow, Junho thought.

He knew he was trying to distract himself. The attempt seemed warranted under the circumstances. The curved base of his vibrator rubbed the crack of his ass in a way his plug never did, and its extra fullness shifted pleasantly against his sweet spot every time he moved. Reminding him that it was there, and keeping his cock thick in its prison, though not so hard that he pressed uncomfortably against the plastic.

Venus opened the door to the VIP’s playroom without Trainer needing to knock. She held out her hand. “Thank you, Trainer, that will be all.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Trainer passed over the short, gold-colored lead.

Junho watched the security that Trainer represented leave down the hall the way they'd come. He wasn’t sure whether he was alarmed at being abandoned, or relieved that Trainer wouldn’t be watching whatever the VIP was going to do to him in person.

When Junho’s eyes returned to Venus, she was studying him with her startlingly blue eyes, her expression inscrutable. He dropped his eyes respectfully.

“Come.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

The VIP’s sex den was quiet when Venus led Junho into it. There was no one behind the bar and the big TV was off. He wished he could smell the grass outside instead of the acrid aroma of old cigar smoke and the heavier smell of old sex, so soaked in that even whoever cleaned the room couldn't get the smells out.

Venus led Junho into the room and pointed at the red rug by one of the black lounge chairs. “Kneel there.”

Junho acknowledged automatically, but his mind raced. His wrists were fastened together at the small of his back but not clipped to his waist. There was nothing to stop him from dropping to his ass, pulling his legs through his arms to get them around front, rushing Venus, and making a break for it.

He was still fairly sure that, if he could get his mouth on the carabiner that bound his wrists together, he could use his lips, teeth, and tongue to get the clasp open. He’d put a lot of thought into exactly how to do that during some very long nights.

Venus was only one woman, with none of the musculature or ready violence of Trainer or Handler. But if he went for her, he’d have to make sure that he put her down fast and that she stayed down. He’d have to drop and free his wrists quick, while her back was turned. There was almost certainly a panic button on the tablet under her arm.

He hadn’t seen any obvious electronic locks on the playroom doors, but it possible. There were varieties that could be wired into the handles themselves. In the event of that hypothetical, Venus would be locked into this room with him, and he could work with that.

Otherwise, he'd be out in the hall by then. The house wasn’t a fortress. It wasn’t like metal shutters would drop over the windows.

Trying for the kitchen or foyer would be risky. The house was big, he was pretty distant from both, and he had no idea where the trainers would be, or the bodyguards Trainer had mentioned. He couldn't steal an outfit to try to blend in, not here.

There were always the windows, the plan to throw something through the big window across from the playroom door and jump out onto the roof.

The plan with the broken glass in his feet and no sure way down from the second-story roof. Which faced the ocean instead off the forest where he needed to go. With daylight making it easy for someone to see him and chase him down.

Junho filed it away with the other desperation plans. Trying to be a good boy to get out of the basement seemed the safer bet right then.

The thoughts had passed through Junho’s mind in vivid flashes so fast that he barely hesitated before dropping to his knees on the rug by one of the black-upholstered lounges. “Yes, ma’am.”

Venus clipped his lead to one of the decorative-looking metal whorls on the back of the lounge, then walked back the way they’d come, her silky skirt clinging to her legs and her soft sandals making no sound either on the rug or off it. She took up a position behind the bar, put her tablet down onto the glossy wood, and began tapping at it.

Junho wasn’t sure how long he watched Venus manipulate the tablet. She went from the rapid-pace tapping of someone sending a text message, to a slow flick of her fingers, like someone swiping a page in a book. Or shifting between images on security cameras. Junho knew what his guess was, as far as that went.

It wasn’t too long before an impressively built woman came into the room. Skirt, no collar, no sandals. Junho had seen in her in the foyer when the VIP had been going on his business trip, but that had been from a distance.

Up close, he was glad he hadn’t tried to make a break past her. When Junho thought of Viking warriors, this was the sort of person Junho thought of: blonde and strong-jawed and massive.

She was huge for a woman, almost as large as Trainer. Taller and well-muscled, but without his bulkiness. Even her tits looked hard and proud.

The animal part of Junho’s brain flashed back and forth between ‘breed with her!’ and ‘run away from her!’ Then a powerful attraction slammed into him as the flipping coin of his mind landed heads-up.

The blonde woman looked at him. Her brows lifted, then her eyes raked down Junho’s body and back up, eyeing him like a slab of meat. Studying him like he’d studied her.

Junho dropped his eyes. Heat started in his chest and spread up into his face. He wanted to apologize, but he didn’t know if it was allowed.

His mind didn’t register that someone else had come into the room until after the huge woman's unfamiliarly accented voice said, “Go kneel by the lounges,” and Peaches responded, “Yes, teacher.”

A couple of seconds later, Peaches knelt beside Junho. Her skirt was cut at just the length to allow her to put her knees on the rug without them resting on the fabric. When she returned Junho’s glance, her caramel-colored eyes were warm, though she kept any expression off of her face and quickly turned her gaze back to the rug.

Junho's knees ached by the time the door next opened, and he’d moved from anxious anticipation into a state of subtle tension that bordered on boredom. The VIP’s silhouette changed that right away, sending the ice back through his veins and his heart back into his throat. He took all of his anger and defiance and resentment and shoved it into the closet in the back of his mind, then slammed the door and plastered it over.

He was Pretty Eyes. The VIP had broken his defiance, and he wasn’t entirely on board with being the man's pet yet, but he was being moved in that direction by the circumstances. It was just a part that Junho playing, but he had to sell it, and to do that, he had to become that person. Only for a little while.

The VIP stepped in, changing from a silhouette into a man wearing an expensive and well-tailored suit. It was a tastefully darker blue than the button-up shirt underneath, and the tie and matching pocket square were brown subtly striped with gold. An expensive gold watch glinted on his wrist.

The huge blonde woman, who had to be Hot Teacher, stepped around the bar to help the VIP out of his jacket. She hung it in a niche that Junho hadn’t noticed before. But when she reached for his tie, the VIP pushed her hands away and brushed past her, moving toward the lounge area like a ship flowing in a powerful current.

When he arrived, he ignored Peaches and looked down at Junho, who looked up at him. He wasn't afraid, though he was apprehensive. The VIP’s face shifted into his superficial smile, all teeth and predatory eyes.

“Peaches, unclip him.”

“Yes, sir,” Peaches said softly in her surprisingly low voice. It was strange to have the fingers that unclipped him be soft and gentle rather than hard and deft. And she clearly wasn't familiar with the process, struggling a little to get the opened clips around the D-rings.

“Undress me, Pretty Eyes,” the VIP said after Peaches had removed his hobble and unclipped his wrists.

“Yes, sir.” Since he was already on his knees, he reached for the VIP’s shoelaces and helped him first out of his shoes and socks first, placing the shoes aside and folding the socks into them.

Junho would never understand people wearing their outdoor shoes indoors. For such an otherwise clean man, it was baffling that he could be so uncleanly in this one specific way, as if he’d never really thought about what he might track in on the bottom of his shoes. At least he didn’t have a particularly noticeable foot odor.

Junho unfolded upward from his kneel and reached for the man’s tie. The VIP’s eyes had an icy blue hint of mischief that wasn’t unexpected but still sent freezing dread into Junho’s stomach. “Do it seductively.”

“Yes, sir.”

He reached for the VIP’s tie slowly, his mind tumbling. He’d never undressed another man seductively, and he’d been more of a tearing-off-clothes-to-fuck sort of guy with his girlfriends. But if he’d asked one of them to undress him seductively, how would he have liked it?

Junho looked into the VIP’s eyes as he reached for the man’s tie. He took a deep breath and hoped his next move wasn’t going to get him beaten. Then he wrapped his fingers around the tie and pulled on it. Far more gently than he had in any of his tie-pulling fantasies.

The VIP’s almost nonexistent pale brows hiked so high and fast that it looked like they’d turned into birds and flown up in the sky. But then they dropped back down, and his eyes shone with pleasure when he got what Junho was going for. The man allowed Junho to pull him in for a kiss.

As much as Junho tried to imagine that he was kissing one of his girlfriends, it was impossible. Not only did the VIP have facial hair, but he was a truly terrible kisser. Would Junho have broken up with someone who tried to chew his lips and choke him with her tongue? Yes, he would have.

He shoved the thoughts to the back of his mind and loosened the VIP’s tie while he kissed him. At least the VIP tasted like chocolate for now, instead of the bottom of an ashtray. When Junho pulled away, it was to lift tie from around the man’s thick neck.

The VIP’s deep-set blue eyes were viciously pleased. So that had worked. Junho tossed the tie aside, not caring where it landed. He slid his hand down the VIP’s smooth, high-quality shirt, tracing his fingers over the buttons. But not to undo them. To caress. Building anticipation.

Junho tried to keep his breathing even. Tried not to imagine the top of his head unhinging and his mind vomiting.

By the time Junho’s hand made it under the curve of the VIP’s stomach to his broad belt-buckle, the man was breathing heavily for a different reason. Junho didn’t undo the belt but instead slid his hand lower.

He rubbed the VIP's bulge through his suit pants. He was on his way to hard, though not quite there yet. Still, heavy and hot even through the fabric.

Junho watched the VIP’s face as he rubbed. His eyes half-lidded and he grunted. “Fuck, Pretty Eyes. Should have you undress me more often.”

Junho slid his hand back up to the VIP’s belt buckle and started unfastening it. “If you’d like that, sir.”

The man’s hungry eyes opened and studied Junho’s. He couldn’t bring himself to flirt, but he wasn’t doubled over in disgust, either. He let the VIP see whatever the man wanted to in his expression and hoped he just looked obedient.

The VIP stared at Junho the entire time he was slowly unbuttoning his shirt from the top down. It was the longest Junho had taken to unbutton a shirt in his life, and not just because he’d never done it from this direction. He made sure his fingertips made plenty of contact with the VIP’s skin, especially his wrists when he unbuttoned the cuffs, knowing that he himself was sensitive there.

When the man’s shirt was undone in front, Junho’s hands caressed upward, making plenty of contact on the man’s soft, hairy body as he pushed the shirt off his shoulders and down his arms. Junho pressed his own chest against the VIP’s for a minute, stepping in close enough to rub the man’s erection with his leg.

The VIP nuzzled into Junho’s hair near his ear, and goosebumps broke out along Junho’s arms and legs. He couldn’t believe he was doing this. He shoved that thought into the back corner of his mind and locked it in with the rest.

Then he dropped his hands to the VIP’s pants and unbuttoned them, unzipped them. The man’s cock was straining against his boxer-briefs by then. Junho massaged him again, pushing down the man’s pants as he worked his way back down to kneeling.

The VIP’s bulge was directly in front of Junho’s face when he hooked his thumbs into the boxers and drew them over and down. He took the VIP’s cock into his mouth almost the moment it leaped out.

The VIP grunted with pleasure. He was hard, already slimy and bitter with precum, and he had the heavy scent he got when he was aroused. Junho teased him a moment, and then took him down the throat using just his mouth and tongue. The boxers were down as far as they could go without the man putting his legs closer together.

Junho traced his fingertips teasingly up the inside of the VIP’s hairy thigh, then fondled his balls in one palm, gently shifting them in the softest massage. His other hand went to the VIP’s shaft and started to stroke in time with the movements of his head. Junho knew what he was doing, now, when it came to sucking cock.

He looked up at the VIP as his hands stroked and massaged, as he sucked and his tongue stroked. The VIP's grunts of pleasure and the shifts of his hips told Junho he was doing it right. Then the man's fingers twisted in his hair, confirming his thoughts.

When the VIP's balls drew up and he went iron-hard in Junho’s mouth, he took the cock as deep as it would go. The bitter seed went down the back of his throat. He swallowed.

When the The VIP tossed Junho’s head backward, he rocked with it but didn't go over backward. Junho had hoped the blowjob would have taken some of the edge off, but the man’s eyes still had a predatory gleam to them, full of mischief.

It was very unexpected to have the man’s wet dick slap the side of Junho’s face. Weird and humiliating, despite that his mouth and chin had the same wetness to them.

“That,” the VIP said, smacking Junho's face with his softening dick a second time, “was a real fucking pleasure.”

The VIP dropped his dick and rumpled his hand through Junho’s hair, his voice equal parts postcoital pleasure and avarice and desire. “We’re going to have so much fun today, Pretty Eyes. Got a lot planned.”

“Yes, sir.” Junho hoped that his fear and dismay didn't come through, but he didn’t actively try to hide them either. The VIP must have seen them, because the look of mischief in his eyes grew deeper.

Junho didn’t know what the VIP had in mind. But he strongly suspected that it was going to be a very long afternoon.

Chapter Text

The VIP stepped out of the pile made by his pants and boxers and moved to one of the lounges. He didn't seem the least bit uncomfortable naked around other people. Then again, why would he be? Junho and Peaches and the others weren’t people to him, not really.

Junho had never wondered what his exgirlfriend's cat thought about him being naked in her bedroom, as long as the cat didn’t jump up on the bed when they were making out.

The lounge creaked when the VIP flopped onto it. “Peaches, get me a cigar and something to drink. And my tablet.”

Peaches stood up gracefully and went to the bar. While the VIP was distracted by watching her, Junho subtly tried to suck more saliva into his mouth to wash the VIP’s taste out of it. Peaches came back with a golden tray in one hand and a tablet in the other.

She held the tablet out to the VIP with a deferential bow of her upper body. As he took it and tapped it, Peaches knelt next on the other side of the lounge. Her tray held an empty, upside-down whiskey glass and a crystal whiskey decanter, as well as a separate flat crystal plate that held a cigar and ended in an ashtray.

The huge TV came to life. It was a computer display of an incongruously normal home screen showing a yacht on the ocean. But as the man tapped his way deeper into the file system, although the background was still the beautiful ocean scene, the file names became dark.

“Come sit on my lap, pet.” The way the VIP said it made it clear that he was only referring to one of the collared people in the room.

“Yes, sir.” Junho stood and stepped close.

He’d learned several different directions of lap-sitting from Trainer. The way the VIP was sitting didn’t give Junho any clues about what the VIP wanted. Junho would prefer to sit across the man’s legs like he had in the tub, though. He stepped and started to turn, but the VIP’s hands turned him the rest of the way and pulled him down.

The impact of the curved handle of Junho's butt plug on the VIP’s thighs jolted both pleasantly and unpleasantly. The VIP arranged Junho like a doll, first pulling him so that his back rested against the man’s soft front, then pulling Junho's thighs apart, so that his legs were spread either side of the fat man's soft hairy. The VIP’s own knees spread, too, splaying Junho’s legs even wider.

Helpless. Vulnerable.

It was his nightmare position. Not only having his back against the VIP, that was bad enough. But this was the specific position that played during his nightmare of Trainer’s betrayal.

Junho felt himself start to lose it. Despite his attempt to breathe and focus, to hold himself together so that he could act his part, he started to tremble. His breath came faster.

The last thing he shouted to himself before the hurricane hit was that he needed to hide. Hide, not run.

Junho's perception of reality shattered into a confused jumble of images and sensations that swamped his mind, less like reliving what had happened the last time in this room, this chair, this position, and more like being thrown into a washing machine with the memory churning him around in dark water. Waves of physical pain and despair and betrayal swamped him and pulled him down into a black ocean.

Skip.

Junho wasn’t quite sure where or when he was, only that he was in danger and it was important to stay still.

He’d lost some time. He was looking at a wall TV displaying a file tree, a folder labeled 'Pretty Eyes,' a subfolder was labeled 'Fucking.' The pointer had stopped over a still of Junho pressed up against the wall in the man's bedroom, his cheek against a wall papered in a pattern of brown and gold.

That wasn't where he was. He was in the VIP's nightmare playroom. So that was a start. Not a good start, but things began clicking into place around it.

He was pressed back against the VIP, hugging himself and shuddering and breathing far too quickly. The VIP's arms were around Junho’s waist, belting him in place. In case he tried to pull away? Because Junho had tried to pull away despite himself? He didn't know.

Junho drew in a deep, shuddering breath. His cheeks were wet, though he didn’t know when he’d started weeping. Wet dripped off his chin and landed on the VIP’s forearm, a little spatter of ink, dark with eye makeup.

The VIP’s lips moved against the back of Junho’s shoulder, breathing and speaking in the heavy way he did when he was aroused. “Crying already? Going to be an interesting day.”

“I’m sorry, sir.” Junho’s lips felt numb.

“The adjustment period. Is a pleasure. In its own way.”

The VIP’s lips pressed the place where Junho’s shoulder met his neck, then his teeth grazed there, pulling a different sort of shudder out of him. The man’s dick was still wet and soft against Junho’s ass, but he knew it would get hard again before too long.

Sick piece of shit.

Junho folded that thought up and shoved it into the back closet of his mind.

“Going to answer the question?” The VIP’s voice had a hard edge to it.

Junho flinched. “I’m sorry, sir, I didn’t hear it.”

“I asked if you can guess which one of these.” The mouse pointer slid back and forth over video thumbnails in the folder. “Is my favorite.”

Junho drew in a deep breath. The VIP’s hand moved slowly up from where it had been pressed against Junho’s stomach, working between the lines of his abs. He knew where it was going and that he couldn’t keep his arms crossed over his chest.

He unfolded them, but wasn’t sure where to put his hands. He settled on resting them on his thighs. And even though he knew what the VIP was going to do, he still gasped when the VIP began to toy with the ring through his nipple.

The immediate pressure in Junho's groin was as familiar as it was unwelcome. He’d become pretty fluent in English, but now, he struggled to find a good answer and the right words. His voice still shook “I. Can’t guess your mind, sir.”

The VIP licked the back of Junho's shoulder. He moused over the video whose thumbnail showed Junho on his back on the black bed.

“This one.” The man's words scented the air with bourbon. Junho didn’t know when he’d had a drink. Maybe his mind had skipped for longer than he’d thought. “You know why?”

“No, sir.”

The VIP's fingers twisted Junho's nipple ring and he gasped. He pressed his fingertips hard into his thighs.

“This is when. You go from hating me. To wanting me.”

Junho didn’t want to watch the video, but he couldn’t look away. The Junho on the screen climbed onto the black bed and presented his ass. In such high definition that he could see his individual pores, he saw himself arch his back, watched the VIP kneel behind him and pull out his plug. He saw the way he’d trembled when the VIP had worked his fingers into him.

The Junho in the VIP's lap breathed heavily, his cock starting to press uncomfortably against the top of its cage. The VIP still toyed with Junho’s nipples, one then the other, rubbing and playing with the rings, shooting pleasure straight down into his dick.

Then, the VIP tapped his tablet and the plug up Junho's ass began to hum a pulsing rhythm against his sweet spot, about the same speed as the pulses when the VIP fucked him hard, but more intense. His eyes slammed shut and he arched back against the VIP, making a strangled noise between alarm and pleasure.

His cock immediately began to throb uncomfortably.

Junho tried to squirm, but the VIP’s hands had dropped and his fingers dug into the insides of Junho's thighs. As he panted and tried to get his bearings, he realized that what mattered most was–

“Please sir, may I have permission to cum?”

The VIP bit the back of Junho's shoulder hard. The pain did nothing to cut through Junho’s arousal. “No.”

The word dripped with evil pleasure.

“Please, sir, please,” Junho begged. He was already getting desperate. His cock throbbed hard, pressing unpleasantly against the top of his cage, but the pleasure from the humming inside was more than a match for the discomfort.

He didn’t know if he could get off without getting hard, but there had been so many things he hadn’t known before coming to this cursed place. If it was possible, the humming pulse against his sweet spot was going to do it.

He didn’t want to find out. But if he was going to find out, he didn’t want it to be without permission. He didn’t want to end up on the table or somewhere else in the nightmare playground.

His wants almost certainly didn't matter.

“Do you want me to fuck you, Pretty Eyes?”

It was one of the inevitable moments that Junho had feared, once. The VIP had promised him that, some point, he was going to answer ‘yes’ to that question and mean it.

That point was now, and Junho didn't hesitate. “Yes, I do, sir. Please fuck me?”

The VIP’s tongue traced wet against Junho’s neck. “If you last five minutes. Watching the video. I'll fuck you. And. I might allow you to come.”

“Sir, please.”

“All you have to do,” the VIP purred. “Is win the bet.”

Junho tried to control his breathing, but he could feel his breath getting ragged and coming in gasps. He was throbbingly, achingly hard.

The VIP released one of Junho’s thighs and messed with the tablet. On the screen, the video switched to a different video, this one a clip that was a closer view of Junho’s face. He watched his expressions change from fear and disgust to surprise, then reluctant pleasure. He saw the moment he stopped resisting and allowed himself to give in to what was happening. When he began stroking himself while the VIP raped him.

The VIP’s tongue traced the shell of Junho’s ear. “After this. Every time you said you didn’t want it. I knew you were lying.”

Junho’s hips rocked on their own, pressing and releasing the buzzing plug against that sensitive spot inside him. He tried to stop himself, trembling with effort of holding himself still.

The VIP chuckled like a cat in cream, and his fingers dug into the inside of Junho’s thigh. “Here comes the best part.”

Junho watched his eyes roll up and close on the video, watched the way that his body had arched up into the VIP’s. Shame flooded him, but it didn’t stop how powerfully aroused he was. He wasn’t sure anything could stop him from being this aroused with the vibrator buzzing away inside him. It had nothing to do with the pornography.

He was on edge, he’d never cum without at least some friction on his cock, certainly never had cum when he couldn’t get hard. He suspected now that he could cum without someone touching his cock as long as he was being rubbed inside. Or with the pulsing throb of the vibrator going.

But without getting hard? It had to be impossible. That was the lie he told himself.

How long had it been, since the bet started? How long had that video taken between when the VIP took out his plug and he’d touched himself? He couldn’t remember. It seemed desperately important.

The VIP gripped Junho's cock cage. His fingers slid forward along the plastic, the movement jostling Junho’s heavy balls pleasantly. His abs spasmed and he began to tremble again. His cock was so thick and heavy and throbbing in its cage that he didn’t have to look to know that the ring was sticking out the slot for it at the end.

“Please,” he whispered unsteadily, not sure whether he was asking the VIP to stop or to fuck him. What he did know, he knew in his bones, and that was that he wouldn't get permission to cum without the VIP’s cock inside him.

“No.” There was laughter in the VIP’s voice. “We’ve got a bet going.”

He caressed the ring through Junho's cock that marked Junho as his with one hand. The tugging on that most sensitive spot on his body, working every single one of his nerve endings not only from outside but from inside, was impossibly pleasurable. And as if that wasn't enough, he toyed with one of Junho’s nipples with his other hand.

The buzzing from inside felt like it intensified. He could feel the fire starting at his feet and building up his legs.

The VIP was fucking cheating. But Junho had never expected the man to play fair.

Junho tried to breathe evenly instead of gasp. He tried to keep the insides of his thighs from tensing. There was no way he could cum without getting hard. He was still in his cage, his cock held down by the curve.

It didn’t matter. He could relax his entire body and nothing would stop that hum from inside him or the VIP’s fingertip sliding the ring through the head of his cock or his caressing and tugging on Junho’s nipple.

Junho’s balls went tight, and the feeling of it happening while the cage still held him down was intense and profoundly strange. He tipped over the edge of the moment between knowing he was going to cum and doing it. And because he’d already lost, he leaned into it.

His body bloomed with pleasure, fire bridging the gap between his sweet spot and his cock. He arched back against the man and cried out with the powerful sensation that washed through him. Even the way the VIP twisted his nipple was a point of pleasure rather than pain in that moment. The pulses were still there, somehow, and they were even more intensely pleasurable for how tight his cock was hugged as they passed through him.

For a moment forgot who he was, where he was, who was doing this to him. There was only the ocean of pleasure drowning him. The buzzing inside stopped, but the buzzing in Junho’s body went on even after he found himself again. It was the strangest sort of postcoital pleasure, still part arousal. As if he could go again.

The VIP chuckled against the back of Junho’s shoulder, which heaved with his hard panting. When the man held his sticky finger to Junho’s mouth, he sucked it clean.

“Someone’s been a naughty slut.” The VIP purred into Junho's ear, then bit his earlobe. “Naughty sluts get punished.”

“I’m sorry, sir,” Junho said.

But it was just a formality. He knew that his apology or intentions didn’t matter for shit. The VIP had intended him to fail from the moment he’d started toying with him. No, that was wrong. This outcome had been destined from the moment the VIP told Trainer to have Junho put the vibrator in.

Chapter Text

Despite Junho’s dread at the thought of getting punished, his body still buzzed in the aftermath of his orgasm and he lay back limp against the VIP. The man still caressed Junho’s pecs and played with his nipples, which were far too sensitive to be handled.

“What should I do with you, you naughty boy.” The VIP’s voice was pure predatory anticipation. If there was any real musing in there, Junho didn’t hear it. The VIP had already decided and just wanted to keep him in suspense.

It wasn’t a real question, but Junho drew in a shuddering breath and gave a response just in case. “I don't know, sir. I’m sorry. I tried not to cum.”

The VIP stroked his hand down Junho’s abs, then his stomach. “Too late for sorry. You did cum, and without permission.”

“I did, sir. I’m sorry.”

The VIP actually laughed. He dug his manicured fingernails into Junho's stomach, and his voice held the fierce amusement of a cat toying with a mouse. “You’re not. Not yet. But you will be.”

The heavy arms lifted from around Junho. “Hot Teacher. Put Pretty Eyes on the horse. Peaches, cigar.”

The horse? For a moment, Junho imagined himself riding a horse down the hall to freedom. Obviously it had a different meaning in context, but still, it was nice to think about.

“Yes, sir,” the huge blonde woman said from behind the bar, her accented English musical and rolling.

“Yes, sir,” Peaches also said, her accent with its broad vowels having more of a lilt.

“Should I get up, sir?” Junho asked uncertainly.

The VIP’s lips pressed against the back of his shoulder. “So eager to be good, now? Sure, Pretty Eyes. Help Hot Teacher put you on the horse. Doesn’t matter to me.”

“Yes, sir.”

Junho peeled away from the VIP and was on his feet when Teacher arrived. Not because he thought it would result in the VIP, or more likely the woman, going any easier on him. He just didn’t want to be on the VIP’s lap a moment longer than he had to, and he’d rather go than be dragged. He was going to end up on the horse either way.

Junho took a deep breath and centered himself in Pretty Eyes. Calm and submissive. It didn’t matter whether he deserved this, all that mattered was what the VIP wanted. When Teacher stopped in front of him, she studied his face like Trainer would have, and Junho thought he saw faint approval in her eyes.

The woman beckoned with a finger, and when Junho went to her, she took him by the arm and steered him past the black bed to the nightmare playground on the other side of the room.

Junho knew what a few of the pieces of gold-colored equipment were, now, and he was no longer afraid to study them. He was very familiar with the table. The A-frame was similar to the one he had hung from when the VIP molested him in the basement. He didn’t know what the giant circular thing was with places to be clipped on to it. He imaged that the odd mesh sling-looking thing that hung between posts had to be a sex swing, something he’d heard of but never seen. A few things, he didn't know.

The insets in the crimson wall beyond the gold equipment held paintings of people in erotic, intimate moments. Junho didn’t find them arousing at all.

Teacher took him to one of the pieces of equipment he hadn’t been able to place. Even up close, he didn’t know why it was called a horse. It didn’t look like a horse at all. It looked like a tall, padded bench with equally padded wings.

Teacher nodded toward the bench. “Get on. I’ll clip you in.”

“I don’t know how, ma’am.” Junho tried to sound politely apologetic.

Teacher’s expression was as calm and businesslike as Trainer’s, and she gestured in the same way he did when he instructed Junho. “Your stomach there. Elbows here and here, knees here and here. Yes?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Junho arranged himself as indicated. The surface under him didn’t feel or smell like leather. It had a plastic sort of smell to it under the clean smell of bleach. Vinyl, maybe.

His dick prison rested on the bench padding and pressed uncomfortably against his pelvis. His elbows and knees weren't doubled under him but weren't straight, either. He shifted his knees and elbows to get a feel for the most comfortable position.

Teacher didn’t like where Junho had put his stomach, and she pulled him back until his butt was near the end. Accessible.

Junho was surprised when the only thing she clipped in was a short hobble through his wrist cuffs, run through a ring that would keep him from just getting up off the horse. He wasn’t as immobilized as he would have been on the table.

And then Teacher unbuckled his chest harness, told him to lift up, and took it off him. The knot of icy dread that lived in his stomach spread out through his veins at that unexpected development. He wanted to ask for it back. He felt naked without it.

“Don’t you move, now.” Teacher gave his shoulder a pat, resting her hand a moment and pressing down. “Don’t take your knees off the pads.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

He admired Teacher’s legs as she walked away. It surprised him that his mind could be interested in anything these days, but maybe that was something hopeful. That a hot woman’s legs still piqued his interest. He folded the knowledge up, and put it in the back of his mind to give him a little lightness later.

Junho looked straight ahead, the ‘horse’ was at an angle that let him look at the bar. It wasn’t comfortable for him to keep his head up. He was supposed to be looking at the VIP anyway, so he rested his cheek on the wide bench.

The VIP was still on the same lounge, under a puff of thick white smoke ascending toward the ceiling away. The pornographic video had restarted on its loop, but Junho ignored it as best he could.

The sound of VIP’s voice reached Junho’s ears, but he couldn’t hear the specific words. Peaches looked openly apprehensive. Her fox-coat hair bounced as she nodded, then her chin stayed down and her eyes stayed low.

The VIP stood and gestured to the bar, something complicated that Junho only half-saw. Venus brought a lush maroon robe with golden embroidery from behind the bar and helped the VIP into it. She belted loosely and started to drop to her knees, but the VIP waved her back to the bar.

Junho felt like the forgotten audience to someone else's play, and that was perfectly fine with him.

As he watched, Teacher crouched and lifted the heavy lounge chair. So she was a strong as she looked. She hauled it over to the edge of the red and gold rug by the bed, faced it toward Junho, and thumped it down.

Why didn’t the VIP just have a different chair facing the playground? Maybe he preferred to have the chair arranged exactly where he’d like it, or he sometimes would rather watch from the black bed?

While Teacher positioned the chair and Junho tried to distract himself from his anxiety with questions, the VIP strolled over. He looked down on Junho with his mischievous-predator eyes. Junho really wished he wasn’t coming to learn the man’s expressions so well.

The VIP blew out a cloud of sweet tobacco smoke, the sting of it touching Junho’s eyes while the VIP studied his position. “Do you know what you’re on, Pretty Eyes?”

“You said this is a horse, sir.”

“Do you know what it’s for?”

“No, sir,” Junho said, though he guessed paddling or fucking. Considering where his ass was at, probably both.

The VIP grinned, teeth too white, and he swirled the whiskey in his glass. “It’s called a spanking horse.”

“Thank you, sir, for telling me that.”

“Pleasure’s going to be mine.”

The VIP took another puff on his cigar and shifted it to his whiskey-glass hand. He made holding both together look easy, as if he’d had plenty of practice. Then he stepped in closer, bringing the smells of bourbon and smoke with him.

Junho flinched when the man’s soft, moist hand smoothed down his back and settled over the curve of his ass. He made his body stay relaxed. Considering the name of the thing he was on, Junho wasn’t surprised when the VIP’s hand lifted away and smacked down.

It barely stung, in terms of Junho’s new pain scale. The indignity of being spanked like naughty a child stung more. A bit of ash floated down past Junho’s face, dislodged from the end of the cigar.

The VIP rubbed his hand in a circle over Junho’s ass. “Going to get you nice and red. Naughty pet.”

Junho wouldn’t mind the VIP spanking him all day, if that was what the man wanted to do. Trainer putting him on the table was a gale-force wind compared to the pursed-lip blow of the VIP’s open-handed smack. But Junho knew it wasn’t going to be that easy, not with that evil look on the man’s face.

The VIP stepped away, chuckling, and settled into the lounge.

Teacher thumped the side table down next to the VIP’s lounge. Peaches had followed her over. From the way her jaw moved, she might be chewing on the inside of her lower lip. She didn’t kneel, but instead placed the tray with the whiskey decanter and ash tray on the table, then twisted her hands together.

Peaches didn’t meet Junho’s eyes, not even to give him her usual look of pity or empathy. Steeling herself for something she didn’t want to do. She looked truly distressed.

The fucking VIP. Peaches was a sweet woman. He was more angry than dismayed, now that he knew the VIP was involving her in Junho’s torture somehow.

As soon as he realized what he was feeling, what might be showing on his face, he folded the thoughts and emotions up tight and shoved them to the back of his mind.

The VIP studied Junho’s face, his eyes, his body. Junho could imagine how he looked and didn’t need to see it reflected in the man’s expressions, but he didn’t want to get punished for looking away, either. He grinned his shark grin and took another puff from his cigar.

Junho felt himself settle into a state of almost meditative calm, as if he was storing up his energy. The icy knot of dread in his stomach was there, but quiet. If he didn't allow himself to feel angry about Peaches, he didn't feel anything at all.

Teacher disappeared from Junho’s view again, going around him into the playground. He heard a door open there behind him, but he didn’t turn his head away from the VIP to watch.

When she came back, she had a small folding frame and a tray with. She set the frame up by the horse, in Junho’s line of sight if he flicked his eyes down toward his feet. The tray held not only the broad leather-faced paddle Junho was familiar with, but little whips and other things.

When he looked back to the VIP’s face, the man said with a smirk, “Don’t fall off, Pretty Eyes. Or do. Up to you.”

Junho clenched his thighs against the bench and released them, testing. Don’t move his knees off the wings of the bench, don’t move his elbows. Those were the rules. He took a deep breath and was pleased that it didn’t shudder.

“Peaches,” the VIP said. “Top me off before you get started.”

“Yes, sir.” Peaches might have taken her time carefully pouring the amber liquid into the glass, or it might just have been Junho’s imagination. She watched the VIP’s face, and he nodded when the glass was half-full.

The VIP gestured with his cigar. “Get to it.”

“Yes, sir,” Peaches said with quiet apprehension. She placed the whiskey glass and decanter back down on the tray, and stepped off the rug toward the nightmare playground side of the room, twisting her hands in front of her skirt.

Junho wasn't worried and he wasn't afraid. He wondered if he should be. He was surprised that his heart wasn’t pounding. This was really going to suck.

But it was going to suck in a way he was familiar with in the broad strokes, if not in the specifics. But all he felt for the moment was calm resignation.

Chapter Text

Peaches slowly crossed the VIP’s playroom to the tiled floor under the playground equipment. Her feet moved toe-to-heel as she stepped over the boundary between the wooden floor and the tile toward the tray of whips and things, as if walking loudly would spook them. Or Junho.

When he looked up at her face, water stood in her caramel-colored eyes, though her tears hadn’t spilled down her cheeks. Her pale face was so white that the flecks of her freckles were like cardamom seeds floating in a bowl of milk.

“It’s alright, ma’am,” Junho said quietly. He wanted to reassure her, hoping to convince her with his forgiveness that this wasn’t her fault any more than it was his. He wanted Peaches to know that she had his permission to do what she had to do.

Junho's head thumped off the bench and fire spread accross his face before he realized that he'd been slapped. He tasted the fresh copper of blood from where his teeth had cut into his cheek.

“You don’t speak without being spoken to.” Teacher was behind him. Her tone wasn’t the serene, implacable calm of the trainer’s. She sounded annoyed.

Junho bit down on an apology, not sure whether it would earn him another slap. He hadn’t realized she was still back there. To intimidate him, or to intimidate Peaches? To watch the VIP for signals? He supposed it didn’t matter, since she'd do all three effectively at the same time.

Junho closed his eyes a moment. When he opened them, they fell on the VIP. The man looked as entertained as a man at a sport’s game. He puffed the cigar into his mouth, held the smoke, and released it on a slow outward breath. Then he lifted his whiskey glass.

It wasn't a salute. He was a man waving the starting flag at a race.

Junho kept his eyes on the VIP but unfocused them. Looking without looking.

“Pick up the middle flogger,” Teacher said.

“Yes, ma’am.” Peaches’ voice was almost a whisper, the lilt there thick with emotion.

The thing that Peaches picked up from the tray was one of the little whips. The handle had leather decoratively braided around it, and thinner pieces of leather fanned out from the end. It looked like it would hurt like hell to get struck with.

Junho breathed out slowly and made his body stay relaxed. Better to sting than bruise.

“It doesn’t matter what you’re hitting him with,” Teacher said. “You avoid from here to here.”

The woman must be gesturing at some places on Junho’s body, but he wasn’t facing her and couldn’t see it.

“Hit his ass with it. Hard, but not too hard.”

Junho really wished he could see where Teacher was gesturing, to mentally prepare for it.

“Yes, ma’am,” Peaches responded in her thick whisper. Her arm drew up.

When it came down, he felt the leather fringe bounce off his skin, but it barely stung. It was only slightly worse than the VIP’s smack had been. The man pulled Junho's hair harder when he was in a bad mood.

“Too soft.” Teacher’s voice was firmly disapproving. “Again, but harder.”

Peaches hesitated. Her arm went up, and Junho made sure he was relaxed and breathing out when it struck. He still flinched as the sting traveled through his body, tightening his skin, gripping the padded bench tighter with his arms and legs. He saw Peaches flinch when he did.

He was going to have to do a better job resisting his impulses. Not to deprive the VIP of them. But for her.

Junho felt Teacher lean over him nearly as much he saw her shadow shift. A finger tracked the stinging line on his butt. “Better. See the little pink marks? This is a light blow. But still not hard enough for now. You are doing it more like playing together. Again. Harder.”

The thud and sting came on the same spot, but the sting was sharper and followed by a warmth just short of burning. As much as Junho tried to hold it in, he yelped. Peaches jerked her arm back as if she was the one who had been struck.

His eyes began to sting, too. They were pain tears, his body's reaction to the sting. Not crying, just another physical reaction he had no control over.

Junho closed his eyes, not from the pain, but from trying to center himself. He'd failed to hold the sound in and Peaches was the one suffering for it. He knew from his times in the table that he could live through any pain the VIP threw at him, but she was clearly upset at being the one dealing it.

When he opened his eyes, the VIP’s eyes shone with a vicious, predatory amusement. Junho could see the tent in the silky robe. In his peripheral vision, the little leather tails of flogger jittered in Peaches’ shaking hand.

He wanted to tell her it was alright, but didn’t want to make her feel responsible for his getting slapped again. She was having a hard enough time. He was just going to have to do better at containing his reactions.

“You can also safely use this one up higher, from here to here.” That was Teacher. “Trail the leather around like so, and then hit him again there. Part of the punishment can be that he isn’t going to know exactly when you’re going to hit him, so he can’t prepare for it.”

The tickle of the leather was almost pleasant. The thud came a fraction of a second before the spikes of pain where the leather tails had landed on the thin skin over the bone across the back of his shoulder. Junho jerked, clutching the padded bench with his arms and thighs so that he didn’t pull off. His eyes stung harder.

But he hadn't yelled. He'd choked it down.

“Again, just like that." Teacher's voice had the hint of approval Junho associated with Trainer's encouragements. "But now, you pick where.”

The leather tickled Junho’s back as he tried to get his quickened breath back under control. When the leather tails fell on his hot, stinging butt, he wasn’t prepared for it, and he yelped.

The handle of the flogger clattered on the floor. When Junho opened his eyes, Peaches’ hands were up against her mouth, pressing so hard that her knuckles were white. Her eyes were liquid with tears and wetness shimmered on her cheeks.

“I’m sorry, ma’am.” The apology barely carried to Junho’s ears past her hands.

“Pick it up.” There was a note of warning in Teacher’s voice.

“Yes, ma’am.” Peaches stooped to snatch up the little whip with a trembling hand. Her breath was coming as fast as Junho’s, which reminded him to try to breathe more slowly, more deeply.

He closed his eyes again so that she wouldn’t see the expression on his face. What was the VIP going to do to him for not looking? He was already being punished for something that hadn’t been his fault. The man did what he wanted for any excuse or no excuse at all.

Teacher’s voice went on like someone coaching a kid through the process of pitching in a baseball game. “Put it back. Yes, right there. Now pick up the crop. No, that’s the dragon tongue. The crop. Right there. Good. Now, this one should be used only on the ass and thighs.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Peaches said in a choked voice.

“Go on.”

Junho yelped despite himself when the sharp sting came on his already-burning ass. It burned sharper afterward. He kept his eyes clenched firmly closed, but one of the pain-tears leak onto the side of his nose. It hesitated for a moment, then rolled up toward his brow instead of down.

“Try the back of his thigh. Careful not to hit his genitals.”

Junho’s balls crawled up. When the blow came, he yelped again. It didn’t just sting, it just burned like fire.

Over his own ragged breathing, he could hear the sounds of Peaches’ little gasps. He thought she might be crying, now. Not the silent weeping, but choking back sobs.

He wanted to murder the fuck out of someone on her behalf. Instead, he clung to the bench like a coward. A helpless, useless coward who couldn't help a woman in distress.

Junho listened when the detective told him that any emotional pain he was an unwilling part of causing her now wouldn't be made better by his needing to be punished further. When he escaped, he could save her, and therefore it was more important to do what he needed to do to escape.

It still felt like bullshit.

Teacher said, “See? You can tell from how he moved that that hurts more.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Peaches was definitely crying.

“Now. Between his ass and his thigh. A little lower. A little higher. Yes, right there. That’s the sit spot. Strike him hard.”

The bright pain traveled up and down his leg and it burned like someone had lit the back of his entire thigh on fire. There was no way Junho could have choked down his sharp yell, though he tried. He really did try.

He heard the crop clatter on the floor. Peaches started sobbing in earnest. More than the stinging and burning on his ass and back, that was what hurt him.

Junho opened his eyes and blinked tears out of them, the black of his running eye makeup staining the golden vinyl under his face. The VIP puffed on his cigar, looking like a cat in cream. If he was upset at all by Peaches’ failure, he didn’t show it.

Peaches had hugged her arms tight around herself as she sobbed.

“Pick up the crop,” Teacher said firmly.

Peaches hugged herself tighter and continued crying.

“Peaches and Cream.” Teacher’s voice was harder. “Pick up the crop. Now.”

Peaches shook her head. Her lilting voice was thick, choked, “I can’t. I’m sorry, ma’am. I can’t.”

“Last chance. You have three seconds.”

Peaches’ head continued shaking, flinging the little glitters of her tears off her chin.

The lithe muscles of Teacher came into Junho’s line of sight, her thighs so defined by the clingy skirt that the fabric itself appeared to have muscles. She picked up the broad, leather paddle Junho was so familiar with on her way past.

Teacher grabbed Peaches by the arm and pulled her out of his line of sight. But he knew where they were going as surely as he knew what Trainer would do to him if he refused to follow an order.

Peaches yelped after the first meaty thud. Junho flinched, and his body shook where he gripped the bench. He didn’t want to watch the VIP’s pleased eyes flick back and forth between his bench and the other place in the room. But the tears rolled out from underneath his eyelids as he heard Teacher give Peaches the table.

It was worse to hear it happen to someone else. Junho didn’t feel like he could tune the sounds out, like he owed it to Peaches in some way to acknowledge her pain. The increasingly strident quality to Peaches’ cries of pain. The sobs that started coming between the thuds. Her begging for it to stop, saying she was sorry.

Teacher didn’t instruct Peaches after each blow like the trainer would have. She just beat her.

When the meaty sounds stopped, and all that was left was Peaches’ sobs.

“Go to your room.” Teachers’ voice was heavily laden with disappointment and disgust.

Junho made himself open his eyes. Peaches walked past stiffly, arms clutched to her chest, face mottled with crying. Her skirt covered what had been done to her, but he could see the pain in how she moved. He felt sick to his stomach.

Venus didn’t even glance up from her tablet when Peaches walked past. The door opened and closed, but not quickly enough to cut off the sobbing that started back up the moment she was out of sight.

Junho let his cheek fall back to the wet vinyl and closed his eyes.

“She’s not going to work.” The VIP sounded mildly disappointed.

Teacher’s knees dropping to the tiles was a sound both familiar and unfamiliar. From the echo to her voice, she might have bowed her head. “I’m sorry, sir. She’s too tender-hearted for this sort of work.”

“Can you train it out of her?”

There was a long pause as Teacher considered. “No, sir. I apologize, but I don’t think that I can.”

“Would Handler share your opinion?”

Teacher didn’t hesitate that time. “Yes, sir, he will. Her nature is just too soft. She'd rather suffer herself than inflict pain on others.”

Was that being soft? Junho didn't think so. Perhaps it was only because he'd like to think he'd have done the same thing in her situation, and he didn't consider himself soft.

The tinkle of crystal sounded like the mouth of the decanter clicking off the edge of the VIP’s glass. “I see. Well. We’ll have to find some other use for her.” Then his voice hardened. “And hope your next one turns out better.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Guess you’re going to have to discipline Pretty Eyes.”

“Of course, sir. Whatever pleases you.” There was something about Teacher’s voice. It was hard to read her, through her strange accent and not really knowing her, but his guess was that she’d be happy to take Peaches’ failure out on him.

No. That wasn't right. He was reading something in to her voice that wasn't there. This place was making him assume the worst of everyone he met.

Not that it mattered whether she wanted to hurt him or not. Either way, he would end up hurt, because it was what the VIP wanted from his afternoon.

Chapter Text

The pain that Teacher gave Junho on the spanking horse was worse than what Trainer had given him on the table, in the ways that mattered. It didn't physically hurt more, though it did hurt, stinging and burning until Junho wanted to tear off his own skin and wash it in ice water.

It was worse because he hadn’t done anything wrong, couldn't have done anything to avoid it, and there was nothing he could do to make it end. Junho suffered at the whims of a depraved man. He had no control, and while that wasn't new, it sucked extra hard right then.

Teacher left the tray in front of Junho, so that he could see what instrument she took. She didn't hold them up for him to look at, like Trainer would have, but he did see anything she lifted before she went behind the table. He learned that differently sized floggers and crops hurt in different ways, carrying different levels of sting and thud and burn.

The one time Junho tried to turn his head to watch, she slapped him hard enough to ring his head like a bell and told him to keep his face forward. He’d known he’d get slapped almost before he’d tried, but the impulse to see where the strikes were going to come from had been too strong.

Teacher varied what she struck him with and where and when. If he’d been on the table, the paddle would only have fallen on his ass unless he’d done something egregiously bad, and he would have known when a strike was coming because Trainer would have instructed him. With Teacher, he had no idea when she was going to strike him or how much it would hurt when she did.

She gave him plenty of time to anticipate each strike was going to fall. She ran a flogger or crop over his skin before she struck him. But she didn't always rub it where she was going to hit, and the time between when she lifted it and struck him was unpredictable.

That left Junho wondering every time she pulled it away whether he was going to be teased or hit again, and if he was going to be hit, whether it would fall on that excruciating place between his ass and thighs.

He didn’t realize how tight he’d clenched his hands into fists until they cramped, and he had to relaxed them. One more thing to focus on. It was hard to stay in place, impossible not to tighten up or finch.

Junho mostly kept his eyes closed, except when a particularly bad strike shot them open. The only thing he had to look at was the VIP. At first, the man smoked his cigar and sipped his whiskey. Then there was only the whiskey. Sometimes, Junho would see him playing with himself through his robe or under it. He was clearly having a great afternoon.

Junho was not.

When he felt the pleasant pulse inside him, his entire body, from the back of his neck to his thighs just above his knees, was hot with pain. The pulse came between Teacher trailing the leather strings of a flogger on his the skin of his back and hitting his ass with it.

At first, he thought it was some weird artifact of how he had shifted the thick plug inside him when he jerked. Then the pulse came again, and he knew it for what it was.

The vibrator was pulsing much more slowly than when the VIP had been getting him off with it. Still, despite the pain, Junho’s dick came back into his awareness, thickening.

As the pulsing went on, the pain began to feel strange. It still hurt – and it hurt a lot. But the burning began to feel almost more like the pleasure-burn than the fiery welts Teacher's tools had left on his skin.

Junho knew that begging wouldn’t put an end to it, but he had no pride or shame left. He started begging again. Refrains of 'please sir' around requests for it to stop, or for the VIP to use him, or cum inside him. Whatever would make the VIP happy as long as it would stop.

“Wait,” the VIP eventually said to Teacher.

Junho collapsed onto the padded bench as the tension he'd been holding himself together with released from his muscles all at once. His entire body stuck to the vinyl spanking horse with sweat. His tears had formed a dark pool near the side of his face, and he panted for breath. The major muscle groups of his arms and legs spasmed and went rubbery.

He opened his eyes and immediately wished he hadn't. The VIP’s face said it wasn’t over. But until the VIP gave Teacher the signal to hit him again, at least he didn't have to worry about falling off the horse.

The VIP clicked down his whiskey glass and stood. He made the process of untying and opening his robe a series of grand gestures that probably would have scared a previous version of Junho shitless. His current incarnation just wanted whatever way the VIP decided to fuck him to take long enough for the burning to flare down and his overtaxed muscles to recover a little.

When the VIP stopped in front of Junho’s face, his cock was so hard that the head was shiny. A pulse of pleasure came from deep inside Junho, and he gasped.

“Open your mouth,” the VIP said.

Junho acknolwedged and opened his mouth obediently. The VIP fucked his face for a while. He didn’t seem to mind the strange angle that the position of Junho’s head on the bench required. For his part, Junho just did his best to keep his lips pulled over his teeth, breathe through his nose, and endure.

A few seconds, a few minutes, a few hours, Junho had no idea how long it went on. Until the VIP decided he was done doing it, that was how long.

Junho could taste the bitter of the VIP’s precum before the man pulled out. He made sure his body was fully relaxed, because he knew what was coming.

The next part was indeed every bit as predictable as the sunrise.

The VIP he went around the bench to the bottom, tugged out Junho's big vibrator, and thrust into him in almost the same motion. His sweet spot ached when the man raked across it, and Junho wasn’t sure whether his sharp exhalation was pain or pleasure.

His ass and the backs of his thighs stung when the VIP’s body slapped softly against the welts. The strange sensation on his feet had to be the silky robe moving against Junho's shaved and hairless legs.

The man stayed in deep after that first thrust. His hands stroked along Junho’s hot skin, feeling almost cold against his body, like he had a fever.

“Beautiful.” The VIP exhaled as much as said the word, his voice heavily aroused voice. Then he started fucking Junho in earnest.

He breathed in sharp pants. The rock of his pelvis on the bench, where his dick prison was trapped under his body, outright hurt, though the shifts pulled and pressed the base ring under his balls in a way that felt very nice. The strokes against Junho's sweet spot were almost entitling painful. Almost.

The VIP didn’t seem to be trying to get Junho off, though. He was just taking his own pleasure, going hard and fast, slapping their bodies together until he grunted and ground in.

“Fuck!” The VIP pulsed inside Junho, far less intensely than any of the vibrator's pulses, but there.

The VIP stayed in for a few moments, panting. Junho also panted, though his pants were more from the exertion of holding on to the horse while the VIP had tried to drive him up the surface. He hoped, without knowing that he was allowing himself to hope, that the sex would be the end of it.

When the VIP pulled out, Junho’s relief was short-lived. It was a good thing he was so loose and open, because the man jammed the vibrator right back into him without any warning.

Junho’s gasp felt like fire in a throat raw from pained noises and begging. The VIP sauntered back over to the lounge and tapped his tablet.

His voice was still heavy with postcoital breathlessness when he said to Teacher, “Right. Take a break.”

Pleasure-pain pulsed inside Junho, drawing out a strangled noise from him. The VIP had turned the vibrator back on. He thought it was faster, now, but that could just be his perception of time slipping.

The VIP said, “Dinner’s coming up. I need a fucking shower first.”

“Yes, sir,” Teacher said.

“Make sure you water him.”

“Yes, sir.”

It sounded like the VIP left, his heavy bare feet smacking on the wooden floor. In the distance, Junho heard a door open and close, then heard what sounded like a shower running somewhere beyond the playground.

The pulses of the vibrator hurt and felt good. He let the sensation happen not straining for it. He wanted to tear the vibrator out and throw it across the room and then jerk off.

A soft towel pressed against Junho’s body, burning on the welts. Even the touch of the soft fabric yanked a cry of startled pain out of him.

“Shush, now. Take a break.” Junho thought at first it was Trainer, but no. It was Teacher.

She gently patted him with the towel, wiping away the sweat from his back and limbs, though she didn’t clean Junho’s tear-and-mascara-streaked face. She made comforting noises the entire time, though they meant nothing to him coming from her.

Despite the occasional low, unpredictable pulse of the vibrator, Junho caught up to his breath. Teacher brought over a glass full of water with a plastic straw sticking out the top. Parched as a desert, Junho sucked it down. She brought another glass of water and Junho sucked that one down, too.

He didn’t sleep, but he did pass in and out for a while. In his weird state of semiconsciousness, he imagined that he was being fucked by a man he couldn’t see at a strange, slow interval.

But when he opened his eyes, the room was silent. Teacher was still there, kneeling by the spanking horse. It had started to get dark outside and the lights in the room were on.

By the time the VIP came back, Junho was painfully hard in his cage again. The pulses of the vibrator had shifted from pleasure-tinted pain to pain-tinted pleasure. His heavy balls ached and his dick throbbed. He wished his body would just give it a fucking rest already.

After Venus had helped him out of his clothes and into a fresh robe, he brought a glass of whiskey over to the playground side of the room and scratched his fingers in Junho's sweaty hair.

“Are you enjoying your evening, Pretty Eyes?”

Junho had no idea how to answer that. He was too wrung out and strung out and hurt and horny to find the right answer, so he told the truth. “No, sir. I’m sorry I came without permission.”

“Ah," the VIP breathed out on a note of mock-disappointment. He tousled Junho's hair like he’d scratch a dog's head. “Can't have you not enjoying yourself.”

Part of Junho wanted to weep for guessing incorrectly. But another part of him knew that, no matter what his answer had been, it would have been wrong.

After the VIP flopped back into his lounge, he tapped into the tablet and then drew his finger along the surface. The strength and frequency of the pulses inside Junho intensified.

Between the throbs of pleasure-pain, he started begging the VIP again to please stop, that he would do anything. Or at least to let him cum.

The VIP just laughed.

“Am I inside you?” His question was mocking.

“No, sir.” Junho’s voice was hoarse from begging.

“Then you can’t cum.”

After what felt like eons, Junho came again. There was no pleasure in it, only a sense of strange release. The orgasm was almost defensive, as if his body was going to put an end to it if he wasn’t.

The pulsing in his ass stopped. He collapsed on the vinyl bench, shuddering with exhaustion.

That was when Junho’s shoulders started shaking with more than the strain of holding himself to the bench. He’d somehow managed not to start crying again until then, though the pain tears and sweat had gathered together in a puddle.

“I’m sorry, sir,” Junho pleaded. “I’m so sorry.”

“Did you cum again, Pretty Eyes?”

“I did, sir. Thank you. But I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to.”

“What happens to naughty sluts?”

Junho wept. He cried out when the stroke of the flogger came high on his back.

The VIP’s smirk was in his voice. “What happens to naughty sluts, Pretty Eyes?”

“They get punished,” Junho whispered thickly.

“That’s right.”

The beating went on. As it had during particularly bad times on the table, time slipped away through Junho’s fingers like a child holding a fist full of wet sand in the ocean. He didn’t even want to hold on to it.

The VIP took Junho’s ass one more time before the night was over. He was pushing rope, at first. It seemed to go on forever before the thrusts became more forceful. Junho listened to the grunts and the slap of bodies, felt the burn of the soft impacts on his welts, smelled the sex, but he felt disconnected from it.

After the VIP came, his body stayed pressed against Junho’s as he panted. He rubbed his hand up Junho’s back, burning and stinging. “Ah,” he breathed out. “Wasn’t that fun?”

“Yes, sir.” Junho’s voice came from somewhere else. Like the core of his being had pulled deep inside himself and left someone else in his body, a person who had nothing in common with him but his body.

The VIP’s hands slid from Junho’s hips, up his sweat-wet body over his waist, then back down. He pulled out, and when he spoke, he sounded winded. “I’ve really enjoyed. Spending the day with you. Pretty Eyes.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“Tell Trainer to come get him.”

“Yes, sir,” Venus said in her cultured accent.

French. The knowledge dropped into his mind like a single drop of rain on a still pond. The cultured accent was French. He had no idea why he thought so, but he knew it was. The way she pronounced certain sounds in English was the same was a French person would sound if they were speaking Korean with a French accent.

It was such a stupid thing to center his mind. But that drop of clear water started pulling Junho back into himself. Or maybe it was that nobody was beating him anymore. The VIP left, and Teacher started cleaning up the tray, rubbing a disinfectant and then an oil over the leather tools.

Junho didn’t think it was too long before Trainer arrived, but in his exhaustion, he was passing in and out. When he came to, a plastic straw was against his lips and Teacher was gone.

“Drink,” Trainer said, and Junho drank the cup of water and tried not to weep from relief.

After Trainer peeled Junho off the horse, he trussed Junho’s hands together and clipped them to his waist in front instead of at the back. He didn’t put the hobble between Junho’s ankles, or the lead on his collar. Instead, he wore them and Junho’s chest harness like a set of weird necklaces.

Trainer hooked one broad hand through the back of Junho’s waist harness and gripped his other around his upper arm.

“Walk,” the man said. And even the trainer’s voice was as welcome as shade on a warm day.

Junho more staggered than walked. But every time he started to fall over, Trainer hauled him back upright. He probably would have tumbled down the stairs if left to his own devices. But Trainer had him, so nothing else bad would happen to him.

Chapter Text

Junho was the one who opened the door to his room, since Trainer had his hands full with Junho. Hands full of Junho. He almost chortled, he was that giddy. He didn’t know whether it was from relief or from being light-headed. Maybe he was light-headed with relief.

When the textured tiles of the shower were under Junho's feet, Trainer said in a warm but firm voice. “You don’t want to sit on these tiles right now, Pretty. Take your own weight.”

“Yes, trainer.”

Junho opened his eyes. He wasn’t sure when he’d closed them. Trainer’s hand was under his arm, helping to support him.

He took a deep breath. It burned in his hoarse throat. Then he carefully slid his feet apart until he could balance and braced himself in the corner of the shower with his hands. His limbs were shaky and overtaxed, but he wasn’t rag-limp. He’d been worse off, physically speaking. Mentally, too, he supposed.

“Good.” Trainer’s approval was like a soothing balm. He started unbuckling Junho’s leather cuffs. They were sticky with sweat.

Junho wanted to say that he could do it, like a toddler insisting he could dress himself, but he suspected that he could not, in fact, handle getting his own cuffs off just then. Not without sitting on something, which seemed like a terrible idea.

Junho let his head rest in the corner. There were the clinks of metal against metal over on the counter, then Trainer said, “The water’s going to be cold.”

True to his word, the water that sheeted over Junho’s back started cool and only got colder. Normally he hated cold showers, but this one felt very good on his hot, tight skin. His breathing slowed down from its tense in-and-out, and he allowed himself to relax into the feeling. The cold took the stinging sweat off and numbed the heat.

“The soap is going to sting,” Trainer said from just over Junho’s shoulder, making him jump a little.

He hadn’t expected Trainer to get into the cold shower with him, and the fall of the water had muffled his steps. But it was Trainer, so that was okay. He breathed deeply and willed his heart to beat more slowly.

The soap more than stung. Junho drew in a quick breath, but his chin was low enough that he didn’t breathe in any water. And the air began to smell like floral soap instead of old smoke and sex, so that was nice.

Trainer’s low mumble seemed more as if he were talking to himself than trying to speak deliberately low. “No skin broken. She knows what she’s doing, at least when it comes to a whipping.”

He could only be talking about Teacher. Peaches clearly had no idea what she’d been doing. Junho didn’t think that Trainer would have had enough time to review the video yet.

“You were watching, trainer?”

“Yes,” the trainer said in his calm, serene way.

Okay. So they weren’t going to talk about it now. But it was something to think on, or maybe something to prod him about later.

Junho focused on holding himself upright, keeping the corner where the walls met at the same angle as his body while Trainer thoroughly washed his body. The man applied the soap and rubbed with his hands instead of the washcloth, but it still hurt.

Junho didn’t realize that the vibrator was gone until Trainer’s hands were low. It said something about Junho’s mental state that he’d missed a sensation like that. He was usually only this empty when he was going to bed or waking up. The VIP must not have put it back in him after that last time.

Already, Junho’s memories of the very long afternoon were sharp-edged but foggy in the middle. He was sure they details would come back to him in his nightmares. Or something like them would, even if it wasn’t the truth of what happened.

He felt mentally exhausted but at least he wasn’t skipping at random. And he was awake, and aware that he was awake. That was good. He could be proud of that. There was a time where a day like that would have sent his mind on a nosedive into the darkness.

Trainer washed slowly down the backs of Junho’s thighs, and he could feel the welts there, too, half-numb from the cold. He was much less careful with the rest of Junho’s body, grabbing the washcloth out of its niche and scrubbing him like a dirty sink.

He turned the water off and toweled Junho off carefully. It didn’t sting quite so much without the sweat on his back to press into the welts.

“Keep your hands on the wall.”

“Yes, trainer.”

Trainer surprised him by taking him fully out of chastity, not just unclipping the cage but carefully manipulating Junho’s junk through the base ring. He handled Junho professionally, without any hint of fondling or sexual interest.

Junho turned his head curiously to watch, his fingers splayed on the beige tiles of the shower wall. Trainer cleaned the inside of the cage with his finger and some soap, then and ran his finger around the ring.

“Turn around, but keep your hands up.”

Junho acknowledged and turned, bracing himself backward with his hands. He could probably stand on his own, now, but he expected the reason Trainer wanted him to keep his hands up had more to do with not touching himself than balance.

Not that it was a precaution they needed to take. He’d gotten off twice whether he’d wanted to or not, and the shower had been very cold.

Trainer dropped into a crouch and touched Junho’s junk again. Junho didn’t even feel a twitch of interest. But when the man’s fingers moved around under Junho’s balls, he winced.

“Tender there?”

“Yes, trainer.” It felt like he’d been rubbed raw.

Trainer didn’t seem at all surprised. “You’ve got some chafing. Keep your hands up.”

Junho obediently kept his hands up on the shower wall. He wondered whether the chafing was something Trainer had observed from the way he moved, or whether he’d suspected it would be there from experience.

Junho imagined the shape of his dick prison, the shape of the bench, the way he would have moved. Not when Teacher was striking him, but it would have rocked with his body when the VIP fucked him, no matter how he braced. That would do it. His pelvis was probably bruised, too.

Trainer went to the cabinet and came back with the bottle of ointment, a bottle of lube, and a new base ring. He lifted the ring for Junho to see.

“This one is going to be looser. Don’t fuck around with it. Looser means you can pull a nut through.”

Junho shuddered, imagining how much that would suck.

Trainer applied ointment to his raw nipples and intimate places, lubed up his dick prison, and put him back into it. Then Trainer buckled on a new set of leather cuffs with sure, precise motions, like they’d gone back in time.

Junho prepared himself for pain when Trainer reached for the broad waist harness, but it didn’t lie over any welts. However, he didn’t put Junho’s chest harness on him.

“Go lie face-down on the floor.”

“Yes, trainer.”

Junho stepped off the textured tiles. When he had enough room to not be lying on wet tile, he dropped to his knees, then carefully laid himself down, curling his arms up under his head. Even that gesture pulled his back, which was starting to warm up again.

His pelvis was definitely bruised. Theory confirmed. Good work, detective.

Trainer washed his hands, then knelt next to Junho with the unlabeled bottle of ointment. He squeezed far more of it into his hand than usual. It had a clean herbal smell that Junho couldn’t place, but which reminded him of his mother's home remedies.

The big man started with Junho’s shoulders. He didn’t press and smear. Instead, his hands worked in the slow, soothing strokes he used when he was trying to calm Junho down. The ointment made his hands glide softly over Junho’s skin, almost like a light massage.

Junho had thought he was calm. But every stroke of Trainer’s hands pulled some tension out of his body that he hadn’t been aware he was holding on to. If the floor hadn’t been so cold and hard, he might have passed out right there.

Trainer put the supplies back in the cabinet and said, “I’ll be back with supper. If you can’t find a comfortable way to sit, you can stand at the counter.”

“Yes, trainer.”

Junho found out that it wasn’t too bad to sit on the welts, though the ointment made the tiles under his butt weirdly slippery and greasy. The backs of his thighs ached and stung, but they weren’t deeply bruised. Nor was his ass for that matter. His discipline hadn’t left the bruises of a paddling.

It wasn’t discipline, the detective commented quietly. You didn’t do anything wrong. He did it to you because he wanted to, nothing more.

His mind flashed him an image of how his back might have looked, lined in welts as the VIP fucked him, and jerked away from the image like it was hot.

He’d probably find out soon enough what it really had looked like when they reviewed the video. And they hadn't reviewed the videos of the previous evening. He and Trainer might have to watch videos forever to catch up, and now he knew why the muscular man had said it might get hard to stay caught up with reinforcement.

A chill broke out over Junho’s skin that had nothing to do with the cold shower or soothing ointment, and the bottom dropped out of his stomach. Was this what it was going to be like, from now on? Being used by the VIP, morning and night? Surely not.

But why couldn’t it? The man did what he wanted. He’d often used Junho in the evenings. Why not use him in the mornings, too? And his free afternoons for that matter?

Trainer had said that he sometimes still used the pets he got tired of. So if Junho wished that he got a break, that might mean that other people were being raped in his place? Likely Peaches or Song. Junho didn’t like the thought of that either.

There was no way to view the situation that wasn’t entirely horrifying.

Dinner was a hearty stew of meat and vegetables, flavorful and savory, with a piece of the dark thick-grained bread to wipe the gravy out of the box. The protein shake was chocolate-flavored. Good food for a good boy, not punishment food for a naughty slut.

Trainer hadn’t lied when he’d said that he wouldn’t be punished for something he’d already been punished for. Junho couldn't think of a single time Trainer had lied to him. He knew it was to build rapport, but maybe Trainer also had a sense of honor.

That was good. Not just a comfort, but something Junho could use.

While Trainer was gone taking the boxes back, the calories entering Junho’s blood started turning his brain back on. Mental alarms started blaring. Memories from the long day and the night before it pounced on him and savaged him with their claws.

It was as if his body had only given him permission to fall apart once it was safe to.

Junho pulled up his legs and wrapped his arms around them. He pressed his forehead down against his knees. It didn’t stop him from shaking or his eyes from dripping tears down his thighs, but it did hide them from the cameras.

After the door clicked closed, the soft slaps of Trainer’s feet on the tiles were faster than their usual deliberate pace. The man dropped to his knees beside Junho. He settled his warm, broad hand onto Junho’s arm, present but not holding onto him. Not pressing.

Before he knew he was going to do it, Junho uncurled and turned in toward Trainer’s solid body. He wrapped his arm around the man, and pressed his face against the solid shoulder while his own shoulders shook. He didn’t care about the awkward angle, though he felt a little sorry that Trainer seemed so stiff and uncomfortable with Junho clutching at him.

But that moment passed. One of Trainer’s hands rested lightly on Junho’s bicep, not holding him in place or trapping him in any way. His other hand rose and stroked slowly back through Junho’s hair.

“You’re okay, Pretty.” His voice was warm and comforting as flannel as he repeated the phrase over and over with the gentle strokes of his fingers.

Junho no longer felt that Trainer was trying to convince him that he was, in fact, fine. They both knew he wasn’t fine. He was just using the steadiness of his voice as much as the touch of his hands to try to calm Junho down.

The crying jag eased eventually. Junho pulled away from Trainer and wiped his face on the backs of his forearms. His voice was rough, from the day of shouting and begging as much as from the fresh weeping. “I thought I was past that.”

Trainer didn’t have to ask what he meant. His broad, solid hand gave Junho’s bicep a squeeze. “You’re adjusting. It doesn’t come all at once, but you are. Give it time.”

What a terrible thing to say, the detective thought.

But it was true. Junho was gradually becoming desensitized to his abuse. That's what it meant to be mentally 'better’ after such a terrible series of events. Had what had happened to him that afternoon happened to him a month ago, he would have had a breakdown.

Well. He’d had a breakdown. But he would have broken down harder and worse. He wasn’t skipping or disconnected. All of his mind was together in the right time and place, and waves of despair weren’t swamping him and pulling him under.

Trauma heaped on trauma, the detective agreed. Conditioning and learned helplessness. Designed to make us passive, to become resigned to it and stop resisting.

Wasn’t that already what was happening? Was his decision to pretend that he was submitting to try to attain a more trusted position, to get a room on the unlocked floor, just the excuse he was giving himself to not go on fighting?

No, the detective said. And Junho believed him.

Trainer hadn’t spoken for a while. When Junho looked up, the man’s calm, dark eyes were studying his face.

“I was just thinking about how much easier it’s become to not resist.” Junho hoped Trainer could see in his eyes that he wasn’t lying, even if it was only part of the truth. And he hoped that Venus, or whoever else was monitoring the cameras, would pick up the words.

Trainer’s head dipped in a slow nod.

“And about how that’s a…” Junho looked for the word. “Deliberate thing. A thing you’ve done to me on purpose. Part of the training.”

“It is,” Trainer confirmed.

Junho hadn’t expected him to hide it. He looked into the man’s face, studying him back. His dark eyes, so deeply brown that they were almost black, were calm and still and slightly reserved, as if he expected Junho to break down again or lash out.

But Junho’s fear and anger were safely back with the detective. And he wasn’t trying to deny his trauma, now.

He was learning how to use it.

“Is this how Handler trained you?”

Trainer’s pupils widened slightly, there was the barest upward tick of his eyelids. He hadn’t expected the question. Junho studied Trainer silently while he decided whether to answer it.

“Some parts I do the same,” he spoke slowly. “Some parts I do different.”

He didn’t deny the part of the question that the detective had been curious about. Handler, who would have been consulted about whether Peaches could have been trained out of something, was the person who had trained Trainer.

Handler, who seemed from all of the clues to be more brutal than Trainer. Who Junho knew was a bully. Who seemed to enjoy causing pain.

That was what the detective had wanted to know. Now Junho wanted to ask something for himself.

He looked away, not able to meet Trainer’s eyes. “Do you share a room with everyone you train?”

For a moment, Junho thought that he probably shouldn’t have asked it in front of the cameras. But whether Trainer did or didn’t get this close to everyone he trained would be public knowledge to everyone but Junho. What it might imply about his feelings for Trainer, well, it wouldn’t be anything that wouldn’t already have been implied from their cuddling at night.

“No.” Trainer’s voice wasn’t the calm voice he usually used, or the stiff voice that tried to hide things behind. There was some deeper resonance to it.

Then the muscular man snapped the lids back on the boxes and gathered them up, preparing to take them out to the hallway. It was one of his tells: Trainer found some excuse to retreat from a conversation when he didn’t want to shut Junho down, but he'd treaded onto personal ground that Trainer didn't want to continue talking about.

“I’m going to take these back.”

Junho watched the broad back retreat, watched him open the door and step through and close it behind him.

He took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. He had to hide as much of his true self from Trainer as he could. He couldn’t let Trainer in on his plans, because he couldn’t trust him. He couldn’t take Trainer with him when he left.

But he desperately wished he could. He didn’t want to leave him here for as long as it would take Junho to convince the police to investigate this place.

If there were police in this country, if the police weren’t entirely owned by the VIP. If he wasn't treated as a crazy person, like that man back home who had tried to explain the games. If Junho left Trainer here, there was a possibility that he wouldn’t be able to get him out.

And no matter which way it came down, he’d think Junho had abandoned him.

That was how it had to be, the detective said.

It was. But he didn’t have to like it.

Chapter Text

In the pitch blackness that was lights out, Junho pressed against the wall. He wasn't feeling secure enough to leave any space at his back. The tiles hurt on his welts like touching a freshly picked scab, though the cream had definitely helped with the burning. When Junho had cautiously reached his hand back and touched his butt, the raised lines in his skin had already gone down.

He wondered if he’d still be marked tomorrow. If he’d have scars. No skin broken, Trainer had said.

What would a few more scars be, the detective asked. We’re already going to have scars. The thin line across our brow and the way we can’t fully feel our two smallest left toes from the day you don’t want to remember. The piercing scars through our nipples, and probably through our dick. The hair that’s only started to grow back in patchy.

Junho took a deep, shuddering breath. He didn’t know why he was tormenting himself like this.

The detective told him that he was just being realistic. He shouldn’t start falling apart over the possibility of new scars when he’d already been scarred.

And that was just physically. The nightmares wouldn’t suddenly stop because he’d escaped. He knew enough about trauma to know that.

Junho was just going to have to live with it, because he wasn’t willing to die over it. That had become his mantra. He wasn’t going to let this place kill him, he wasn’t going to let the VIP win in that way after everything else he’d taken from Junho.

“That was a long sigh.” Trainer’s honey and whiskey voice barely broke the silence of the black room.

Junho had known he hadn’t been sleeping, just like Trainer would have known Junho wasn’t sleeping. He was as familiar with Trainer’s patterns of breathing as he was with his own, now.

But it was rare for Trainer to open a conversation.

“I’m okay.” Junho spoke quietly into the blackness.

It was a lie. Even he could hear the lie in his own voice. He sighed. Again, apparently. “I’m not okay.”

Trainer’s voice was low and slow, cautious as a man stepping out onto a newly frozen lake. “Do you want to talk about it?”

He was always careful during their nighttime talks not to order Junho to do anything. Not to press back into Junho’s space when his back was to the wall. But this time, Trainer’s voice was unusually careful, almost tentative.

Trainer had said he’d been watching. Chances were that he’d watched Junho beaten for an entire afternoon and a couple hours into the evening. And before that, he’d had his own sleepless night while they were up in the VIP’s bed.

Junho remembered how wrenching it had been to listen to Peaches on the table. It had been in some ways worse than being beaten himself.

He cared about Peaches, as much as someone could care about a stranger who he shared shitty circumstances with. He’d been distressed by listening to the punishment of a woman who had given him kind looks.

But Junho wasn’t a stranger to Trainer. The muscular man cared about Junho, deeply cared unless Junho had misread him. He’d not only listened to Junho be beaten, but had watched. For hours.

The pieces clicked together in his mind. And he felt like an idiot for it taking Peaches’ being beaten for him to put it together.

It was Trainer who wanted to talk about it, he just didn’t know how to ask. Just like he would never ask for reassurance or comfort of his own. Just like he wasn’t pressing back into Junho’s space, though his presence had to be as much of a comfort to Trainer as the other way around.

Well, fuck.

Junho’s fingers found Trainer’s back, moved down and over to his waist. Once he had an idea of where the man was, he took a deep breath and edged forward away from the wall. He shifted in until his forehead rested against the back of Trainer’s shoulder.

He said, “It was a rough day.”

“Yes.” Trainer already sounded a little less tense, a little less tentative. His broad, muscular hand settled over Junho’s. Lightly. Not holding him in place. Just touching him.

Junho cleared his throat, but no amount of verbal stalling was going to take the rough edge off his hoarse voice. “I wondered. If it’s going to be like this from now on. Nights, and then days. All so close together. With so little time to… process. Recover.”

Trainer’s fingers briefly pressed against Junho’s. “When he gets back from a trip, he likes to make up for lost time. He missed your time the most. But he won’t want Lush, Peaches, or Song to forget about him either.”

Junho took in a deep, slow breath. Lush, Song, and Peaches, all waiting until the VIP wanted to assault them to remind them that he could. Trainer preparing every day.

“Does it ever get better?”

“It doesn’t.” Trainer’s cadence was that of the stoic bearer of bad news. He wouldn't lie to Junho even about this. “But you get better at living with it.”

Junho mumbled his mantra without thinking about it. “I’m going to have to live with it. Because I’m not willing to die over it.”

The big muscle in Trainer’s shoulder, which Junho’s forehead was pressed against, lost the tiniest thread of tension. So. He was still worried about Junho trying to commit suicide to escape.

He should have realized sooner how much the big man was carrying. How much caring cost him, when he was helping to torture the man he cared about. That it was wrong and fucked up wouldn't make it easier on him, any easier than Junho's emotions were even when he could explain the logic of them to himself.

Junho hadn’t asked Trainer to care about him. And he didn’t want to bear the guilt of how much it was going to hurt Trainer when Junho abandoned him. He hadn’t want to think about it. That he hadn’t asked for it didn’t make the consequences disappear.

Junho pressed in tighter and slid his arm around the muscular man’s waist. “How are you doing?”

“Me?”

It was a stalling tactic that witnesses sometimes used. If you didn’t want to answer the question, repeat some part back to the questioner to buy yourself time. Hopefully the questioner would explain, and in the explanation, and the witness might find a different question to answer. One that wasn’t so on the nose.

Junho let the silence stretch.

Trainer shifted under his arm. Not moving away, not moving closer, just a fidget. Junho wondered if he realized that he’d done it.

Then his broad shoulders drew in with a deep breath, and he let it out slowly. “It was a rough day.”

The words echoed Junho’s, and the warm and low voice had a hint of humor, as if by joking about it he could deflect the real emotion behind the words.

“It was a rough day for you because it was a rough day for me.” Junho phrased it like a statement, but it was a question.

“Yes.” There was no humor, now.

“And you were with Handler.”

“Yes.”

“Who trained you, like you’re training me.”

“Yes.”

Junho wasn't sure whether Trainer’s short answers were hiding something, or if it was just his usual reticence. He let that silence stretch but Trainer didn’t fill in the gaps. If Junho wanted to know, he was going to have to start guessing and just hope Trainer didn't shut him down.

Junho gave the man’s flat slab of a stomach a small squeeze with his fingers. “Handler takes pleasure in watching you hurt?”

“Probably.”

But that wasn’t ‘yes,’ so it wasn’t why. Well, it couldn't hurt to ask.

“That’s why Handler ordered you to watch?”

“Handler doesn’t order me, anymore.” Trainer sounded tired. From him, the tone never meant weariness, but instead an attempt to sound like nothing was wrong. Now that Junho knew him better, it didn’t put him off. He waited.

“The mister does.”

Aha.

Junho kept his voice very low, barely more than the brush of his lips against the back of Trainer’s shoulder.

“So. A test then.”

“Yes.”

“Because they want to make sure you can do your job.”

The ‘this time’ hung in the air between them.

“Yes.” Trainer sounded as weary as someone who had worked a gruesome murder case for too long.

Junho hesitated. He wanted to ask what happened to the last man Trainer had cared about, but he strongly suspected that the stoic man wouldn’t talk about it. He already had enough of the context for the broad strokes, anyway. That man wasn’t here anymore.

Abruptly, Junho felt a wave of intense guilt wash through him. He’d meant to comfort Trainer, and instead he was picking at his scabs. Because the detective had questions and curiosity, and the puzzle distracted from the horror of his circumstances.

He set his own curiosity aside. He squeezed his arm around Trainer's waist and tried to put as much of his true feelings into his voice as he could. “Please don’t feel bad about what he makes you do to me, Trainer. You don’t have any more choices than me.”

It was what he hadn’t been able to say to Peaches while she was being forced to torture him. That he knew it wasn’t her fault, and that he didn’t hold it against her.

“I still do it, Pretty.” Trainer wasn’t going to let himself off the hook so easily.

“Yes,” Junho said. “And that makes you feel bad. But what you choose to do and what you’re made to do are different things. It isn’t a real choice for you, or for me. It's okay to do what you have to.”

“Alright.” The tone of Trainer's voice said that he appreciated Junho’s words, but he still didn’t buy them.

That was fine. Junho couldn’t make the man not feel guilty. But regardless of whatever other guilt Trainer carried, now he’d heard from Junho’s lips that he didn’t hold it against him. Hopefully that would make it easier for him to do his job.

He wished he’d only reassured the man out of altruism. That had been part of his motivation, sure. But only part of it.

The previous man Trainer had cared for wasn’t here because Trainer hadn’t been able to do his job. Junho did not want to end up like that man.

Chapter Text

In the morning, Trainer led Junho gingerly through their usual routine. Junho’s stretching was gentle at first to pull some freedom into muscles that had been tightened from overuse. The skin on his back felt weird, not tight or hot, but not quite right, either. He prepped carefully, even though his ass was intensely sore, because it was Sunday.

After checking the tablet, Trainer had said it was a nice Sunday and the VIP would be golfing, but he would probably call for Junho afterward.

The sadistic piece of shit would probably make Junho turn in a circle while he examined Junho’s marks and bruises, and then fuck him because he was turned on by things like that. Better to be as slick as possible since he was already sore.

Over breakfast, Trainer and Junho watched selected portions of the videos rather than the entire things, with the trainer either complimenting or slapping him, depending on what he thought was warranted. Junho was almost used to the casual violence interspersed among the comforting and encouraging words like razor blades hidden in a basket of flower petals, as if it was completely normal for someone to be slapped for not giving the exactly correct responses while being raped.

The workout after was nice, though. He’d missed it the day before, and he could feel the change in his body from skipping even one morning. He had to start slowly to work the rest of the aches out of his muscles from his straining.

But once he got into his rhythm, he didn’t have to think about anything anymore. He went to the fountain, counting his reps while making the water spray in intricate patterns. The children flying kites in the background took even more imaginary concentration, but they lightened his mood.

Junho and Trainer were eating a delicious lunch of baked fish and a salad with a citrusy dressing, without any tomatoes that Junho would have been forced to choke down, when the door opened without warning.

He put his box down and shifted into a kneel without consciously thinking about it. The anxiety at the unexpected was already closing his throat and choking him up before the person had even begun to step through.

And then the anxiety was touched by confusion and multiplied. Because it wasn’t the VIP who stepped through and closed the door behind him, it was the son.

The young man’s golden-brown hair was less tousled and he wore sneakers and jeans, a comfortable-looking brown polo shirt. His hands were deep in his pockets. His expression was that of a teenager sneaking out of the house, equal parts cautious, bold, and exhilarated.

Trainer, also on his knees, started to ask, “Sir, what—”

“Shut up.” The young man cut him off. “Go stand in the corner.” He stared down at Trainer. “Unless my dad told you that you don't have to listen to me anymore?”

“Yes, sir,” the trainer said in his most polite and deferential voice. “No, sir, he hasn't given me that order.”

Then the trainer unfolded upward from his kneel went to stand in the corner. Leaving Junho effectively alone with the curious-eyed, clearly horny young man.

“Stay there,” the VIP’s son said to Junho.

“Yes, sir.” Junho tried to keep his voice from shaking. The ice-vines of dread were freezing limbs.

This felt as dangerous as if someone had thrown a venomous snake into his room. And he wasn't allowed to leave the room, or avoid the snake. It was an impossible situation.

Junho was glued to his spot as the young man walked past, leaving a cloud of masculinely scented deodorant spray in his wake. He punched a code into the cabinet with the slowness of someone not quite familiar with it and jerked it open, then rooted around like a pig hunting for mushrooms. He tossed things onto the floor with no regard for what he was dropping on the tiles.

The bottle of ointment. Trainer’s pillow. The discipline paddle. Some of Trainer’s pants. A sealed plastic box. A first aid kit. A ball of elastic bands. A ball gag. A bag of flossers.

Finally, he pulled out one of the cases of cuffs from the back with the pleased noise of someone who had found buried treasure. Junho could have told him that most of the cuff-cases were under the counter, now. He was relieved that he hadn't been asked. The longer it took this young man to find what he was looking for, the better.

Junho desperately hoped that someone was monitoring the cameras. That Venus or whoever would send help down to save him before something truly terrible happened.

The young man thumped the leather case to the counter and popped the locks. He scooped out a handful of leather cuffs and smacked Trainer on the back of the shoulder with one.

“Put these on your wrists.”

“Yes, sir,” the trainer said placidly. From where Junho was rooted to the spot, he watched the trainer deftly fasten the buckles as he cuffed his own wrists with no more difficulty than a man putting on a watch.

“And then…” the young man trailed off uncertainly and dug around in the restraint case. “Oh, this and this.”

The VIP’s son pulled out a carabiner and clipped it between Trainer's wrists, then used a short lead to clip him to one of the bolts in the wall. “There. Now you’ll stay there?”

“Yes, sir,” the trainer said with the same level of placid unconcern, as if it had been an order instead of a question.

“Good. I don't want your pervy eyes on me. I don't get off on that weird stuff.”

The young man tossed the rest of the leather cuffs into the case the counter. Upset carabiners bounced out of it and across the countertop. One flew into the sink with the sound of metal-on-metal.

The VIP’s son crossed rapidly back to Junho. Now that his hands weren't in his pockets, his jeans had a telltale bulge. The similarities between him and the VIP made Junho struggle between whether to look down at the floor as if he were a superior, or up into his face as if he were the VIP.

Junho's hands had clenched into fists, digging his manicured nails into his palms, but he made himself relax them. He didn't want the young man think that he was going to direct that violence at him.

The VIP’s son actually rubbed the back of his neck as he studied Junho. There was a surreptitious quality to him, as if he had never studied – or never had dared to study – another naked man with sexual desire.

Junho’s stomach clenched on acid and ice. He had a visceral memory of the VIP’s wife slamming herself down onto him in the dining room, felt the sensation of falling, felt his head smash into the floor, felt the VIP tearing into him later.

“Okay then. You. Stand up.” His voice was so low the VIP’s in pitch, but not in tone, and especially not in delivery. He tried to sound authoritative, without quite making it there.

“Yes, sir.” Junho’s voice shook a little and he tried to get ahold of himself. He pushed his way up to his feet on unsteady legs, feeling like he was trying to stand on the deck of a small and moving boat.

The VIP’s son walked a slow circle around Junho, touching his pecs, sliding a hand along his waist, uncertainly fondling Junho’s ass. As if he were a child knowing that he was playing with something that belonged to an adult, but who had decided to play with it and get in trouble anyway.

When he came back around, he toyed with one of Junho’s nipple rings, not in the deliberately sexy way that the VIP would have, but like he was a bird curious about something bright. Junho felt himself respond, growing heavier in his dick prison, and he swallowed hard.

“So,” the young man said, his voice both excited and uncertain at the same time. “Do you do blowjobs? Or do, you know, anal?” He added hastily, “Taking it, obviously.”

If the VIP’s son used him, the young man might get in trouble, but Junho was the one who would pay for it.

Then the detective sent him, not a whispered idea, but a series of images. All of the anticipatory nausea about what the VIP was going to do to him when he realized that his son had played with his toys fell away. There was no reason not to try.

Junho turned a hand palm-up. He made his expression as inviting as he possibly could.

When the VIP’s son uncertainly slipped his hand into Junho’s, he caressed the young man’s palm with his fingers and pulled lightly.

The young man stepped in closer, eyes curious and a little wide, Junho spoke in a volume that would only carry to his ears. “Take me somewhere we can be alone?”

The VIP’s son had fucked up when fastening Trainer to the wall. He’d clipped Trainer’s wrists together, but then he’d fastened the lead straight to them. If Trainer wanted to, he could easily lift his hand to the bolt where the son had fastened the short lead and just unclip the carabiner. Then all he would have to do to unclip his wrists from each other would be to use his mouth.

This guy clearly had no idea how to bind someone for transport. It was like he’d seen it done a couple of times but had never actually studied or practiced it. He missed the important details. Wrists together and attached to something wasn’t good enough, not on its own.

The young man’s breath caught in sharply when Junho asked him to go somewhere more private. And Junho knew that he had him.

He fucked up when he bound Junho for transport, too. He clipped Junho’s wrists together, both facing inward. He didn’t hobble Junho’s ankles. He just grabbed Junho’s long-lead off the floor by the door, and his eager fingers fumbled as he clipped the lead, not to Junho’s collar, but to the back of one of the D-rings on Junho’s wrists.

Junho tried to keep his breathing slow and easy, despite how his heart beat against his ribs like it had accidentally found its way into his chest and was desperately trying to get out.

Perfectly. It was going perfectly.

Too fucking perfectly. It couldn't all go perfectly. But he knew better than to plan, he just had to be ready to react at the right moments.

The young man led Junho quickly out into the hallway. He shouted over his shoulder at Trainer, “Don’t you move! Do you hear me?”

“Yes, sir.” It was Trainer’s smoothest honey and whiskey voice came from the corner, not the trainer’s calm and serene one. There was no way he was going to just stay put.

Almost as if he heard Junho's mental urging to hurry, the VIP’s son nearly trotted as he led Junho along the basement hall, his steps full of springy eagerness.

Handler stood by the palm-locked door with his eyes politely downcast. The man’s greying hair was still pure black on top. When Junior ordered him to open the door, the burly olive-skinned man put his hand on the palm-pad.

After the young man had gone past, Handler looked up and gave Junho a small, tight smile that said, ‘I know exactly what I’m doing, and fuck you.’

Junho returned a small smile that said, ‘Fuck you right back, asshole, and thanks for the opportunity.’

He really, seriously hoped that when he’d asked the VIP’s son if they could go somewhere alone, the 'alone' part had stuck in the kid's mind. He didn’t want anyone to watch, he’d said. He’d surely dismiss Handler either there or here.

Please tell him to wait here, Junho mentally urged the VIP’s son.

Again, it was like the kid heard him. When Handler started to follow them through the door, the young man said imperiously, “I’m done with you. Go away, now. Go back to your room.”

“Yes, sir,” the man with the falling-gravel voice said. When Junho glanced over, the burly man’s eyes were the flat dark brown of wet dirt.

Still, he didn't look fully disappointed. Handler couldn't read Junho like Trainer could, then. The burly man still thought that his plan was working.

But they were in Junho’s plan, now.

As the young man led Junho up the cement stairs, he talked to him not as if he were a slave, but as if they were boys going on an adventure together. “I thought I wasn’t going to get a chance to do this. I mean, school starts next week, so I’m out of here soon. But then dad was golfing today and, you know. Stuff fell into place.”

Junho wasn’t sure whether a response was required from him. His heart was pounding, rushing in his ears.

They went up the second flight of stairs. “So what's that thing on your dick for, anyway? Did you like, break it or something?”

“It keeps me from touching myself, sir.”

“So you're horny too, huh? Everyone said you get laid more in college, but like, I don’t like that pickup game stuff. I don’t want to get accused of date rape or something. That can really mess up your life.”

Seriously?

And he just kept on talking. “I'm not going to blow you, I'm not gay. But I'll let you jerk off or whatever. I mean, if you want to.”

“Yes, sir,” Junho said after a pause.

The kid apparently was just that oblivious. Junho couldn't complain, since it was working to his favor. But he could marvel.

The young man went up to the second-floor hallway instead of traversing through the narrow cream-and-white hallway to the foyer. It wasn’t the way Junho had hoped he would go. Ideally, the VIP’s son would have gone down the hallway to the larger, intersecting hallway, and from there into the foyer. But this was good enough.

The VIP’s son pulled Junho quickly past the VIP’s hated playroom and into the broader, thicker connecting hallway. In no time at all, they were out onto the second-floor balcony over the foyer, where the strait sets of stairs went up to the bedrooms. Curving stairs spread down to the foyer below them. To the front door.

Junho’s gamble had been that this was the only route to the bedrooms. He hadn’t seen anything else that would have suggested otherwise. The detective’s mental layout wasn’t complete, but there weren't any other logical places for stairwells up to the bedrooms.

The gamble had paid off. But he couldn't feel elated, not yet.

Junho planted his feet and grabbed the chain of the long lead, waiting until it was nearly taut between him and the VIP's son. The moment after it went tight, just as the kid started to turn, Junho yanked the chain hard with both hands.

This boy wasn’t Trainer. He didn’t let go of the chain, he held onto it, and the yank pulled him off balance. His hands spread instinctively wide to catch himself as he fell and his end of the chain flew free.

Junho didn’t wait to watch the kid land. He whipped the loose chain in a loop around his wrists so he wouldn't trip over it, then leaned as he went down the stairs. Instead of trying to take them two or three at a time, Junho opted for the fast, controlled waterfall of footsteps he used to use as a teenager to look cool. He shot from the end of the stairs past a startled slave, grabbed the exterior door handle, slammed it down, and shoved.

He popped out onto a front porch. It was something like two steps above the ground, no railing, broad stairs leading down to a paved driveway. There was a garage off to the left. The woods were straight ahead.

Junho slammed the door behind him to slow down any pursuit even for that fraction of a second, then tore off across the noon-hot driveway for the woods.

Chapter Text

The boundary between the grass of the front yard and the forest was well-delineated. Junho crashed through it and into the trees so fast and hard that it was only a matter of moments before he couldn’t see the house during his backward glances to judge whether he was being pursued.

He couldn’t have said far he’d gotten when the initial adrenaline wave that had been carrying him broke. Before, his body hadn’t even noticed the pine needles and twigs that stabbed into his feet, or the way the branches tore at his unprotected skin. After, he could feel the pain, and his progress slowed considerably.

Junho urged his body on. The pain didn’t matter, not in comparison. And surely his new pain threshold could be helpful.

But the pines were thick and there was very little undergrowth. As much as he wanted to run full-tilt, the stabs of needles and twigs and pinecones into the sensitive bottoms of his feet prevented him from running freely. It was like the shard of glass.

These weren't Christmas trees with their soft, sharp sprays of needles. These pines were low to the ground, twisted and gnarled, the old cones knobby and sharp. He stumbled repeatedly when his feet screamed at him that the ground was sharp and he wasn't wearing shoes.

Then Junho’s lead caught on a low branch and tripped him up, almost sending him sprawling face-first into a thick trunk. He missed it by a handful of centimeters.

He yanked the caught lead free. But he needed to stop and think for a minute. What he shouldn’t do was keep on sprinting blindly with his hands fastened together until he cracked his skull.

It was okay to take a couple of seconds. He’d had a head start, and even if a camera had been pointing directly at the forest, it wasn’t like he’d run in a straight line. He’d had to dodge around trees and branches, and his body had sought the path of least resistance.

Junho staggered over to one of the trees and squatted. Working his wrists free from their bindings with his mouth took him longer than he would have liked, but it did work like he’d pictured it.

Once his hands were free, Junho tore at some of the branches low to the ground. Like Korean pines, these pines had sticky sap. He layered it over the tender bottoms of his feet and pressed as many of the bunches of fresh, soft needles into it as would stick, like the sole of a particularly makeshift shoe. Not much protection, but more than he’d had.

For once, he was truly grateful for his cock cage, though he wished it also protected his nuts. He’d just have to keep a hand down. The rest of his body didn’t care.

He held his breath a second and listened. It sounded like someone was crashing through the brush some distance away. He didn’t have time to unbuckle his cuffs, he had to go.

Junho coiled up the lead and set off as fast as possible through the trees. He couldn’t see the sun, but whenever he came to something – a thick patch of brush, a little gully, a steep incline – he tried to veer left. He didn’t want to venture too far to the north, where the driveway had gone off through the trees. He didn't want to make it that easy to see and catch him. Instead, he did his best to head straight west, away from the ocean and hoping to hit a coast road.

The ground ascended slightly underfoot. The yard at the mansion had sloped down to the rocky beach, so going up slope meant heading away from it. Although it meant Junho was effectively running uphill, he figured it was a good sign.

He’d only just caught the first indications of a broad clearing ahead when he heard the intermittent crashing in the brush get closer. However close his pursuers were, he’d make the coast road before them.

If there was traffic, he’d find it. If not, he’d hide or parallel the road through the woods until he saw a car. Whoever was following him wouldn’t have Junho’s desperation to find even just one passing car.

He could almost picture what it would be like, to ride in a car again. To ask to borrow a phone to make a call. He’d probably have to stand in the middle of the road to get a car to stop. Who would pick up a naked hitchhiker?

Junho staggered up a little bank, not even cursing when something stabbed him in the arch of one foot. The crashing got louder and spurred him on. He could see the light place above through the trees getting closer. And closer.

And then he emerged into bright afternoon sunlight, onto the rocky edge of a headland.

There was no road. There had never been a road. There had never been crashing in the brush behind him.

It had been the crashing of ocean waves, echoing through the trees. He’d been able to taste the salt and iodine on the air for a while. But he’d willfully ignored it, because what it might mean had been too terrible.

Junho moved away from the line of trees onto slippery, spray-covered rocks. The land curved away, saltwater-slick rocks extending as far north and south as he could see. Below, the sea smashed itself against a cliff. But straight ahead, in the west where the sun would set, there was a dark smudge on the horizon.

Another island. Or a continent. Close enough to see on this clear day, too far away to make out details. Too far away through unknown currents. He’d be more likely to get pulled out into the ocean than to make the swim.

He could try for it anyway. Why the fuck not. He wasn't going back.

Junho carefully walked to the edge of the cliff. The rocks were slippery underfoot, but if he fell, he fell. He looked down, and below him, the ocean crashed on sharp black rocks and churned up white foam. The ocean had peeled the cliff back into a slightly concave surface. There would be no climbing down.

Even if a running start landed him in the water, the ocean heaved and smashed violently against the rocks. The current or the tide smashed into the cliff. It didn't matter which, not really.

Part of Junho had known. Of course he'd known. There were so many slaves. The explanations he’d pieced together hadn’t made perfect sense, but he’d wanted to believe so badly. He hadn’t wanted to question what they might know that held them to the mansion, because he wasn't going to stay, and the possibility that there was no way to leave had been terrifying.

It had been important to have hope.

Now, hope was as ephemeral as a strand of spiderweb trying to hold up the walls of a seafoam castle.

There has to be a boat, the detective whispered. They have to get supplies here somehow.

A boat with keys whose location he didn’t know. A boat he wouldn’t begin to know how to hotwire. He wasn’t James Fucking Bond.

He’d snuck onto a boat before, the detective whispered.

They people who ran the games had been complacent and not expecting him. The VIP wouldn't be complacent and he wasn't getting the drop on anyone. He’d never get a second chance to escape.

Anyway, it was probably a plane. Let’s stop building seafoam castles, how about that.

The detective went quiet.

Junho contemplated the waves. If he wanted to escape, he should just jump, but he couldn't make himself. Not yet. It was such a nice day and there wasn't any rush now.

“Jun-ho.” Trainer said his name, his real name, between the crash of one wave and the next.

Junho took two steps back away from the edge, placing his feet carefully on the slick rocks, before he turned.

The trainer stood where the trees ended and the rocks began. His face was as impassive as a mask carved from stone, and his voice was calm. “It’s over. Come with me.”

Junho looked at the trainer like he couldn't understand what he was asking. He wasn't going back.

“Do as I say,” the trainer said more firmly.

For all that Junho’s conditioning made him want to respond to a command from that voice, he fought it. He wanted to think about it. He had time.

Do as he said. Go back with him, knowing that there was no hope of escape. So that he would live.

Junho shook his head.

The trainer closed his eyes and opened them. It was Trainer, the man who shared a mattress with him in the dark. The man who cared for him.

He extended a broad and flat palm up across the distance between them, some deep emotion in his dark eyes. He nodded, as if by doing so he could persuade Junho to nod back. “Let’s go. Come with me.”

Junho shook his head again. He didn’t step backward, but he did glance behind him toward the drop. Even just two steps from the edge, he couldn’t see the waves rolling and crashing onto the jagged rocks below the bluff, but he could hear them.

And he could feel the ocean rolling in his soul, feel himself being drawn down, sinking, crushed. He could feel the water in his mouth, taste the salt of it. The way the cold of it would consume his body and fill his stomach with ice.

Like one of his nightmares. But unlike one of the nightmares, it would end. Everything would. Even the nightmares.

“I'm not going back.” Junho’s voice sounded as dead in his own ears as he felt inside.

“Please, Jun-ho.” Junho had never heard fear or heartbreak in Trainer’s voice before, but his deep voice was resonant with both. “Please come with me.”

The ocean didn’t plead with him. The surf crashed against the rocks as steady as a heartbeat. It was just there, churning black and white, promising the one sure way off this island.

It wasn’t a choice between life and death. It was a choice between death and a different kind of death.

Junho spread his hands, is if he were trying to catch the cool spray on his palms. “Why?”

“Because you can live with it. Because you aren’t willing to die over it.”

The words, so close to Junho’s mantra, punched him in the stomach. It was a good thing he was dead inside, long since dead and drowned, or it might have hurt more.

“Can I? How bad would it be, to go back?”

Trainer hesitated. The beautiful man dropped his dark, compelling eyes.

“Tell me.”

When Trainer lifted them, they were deep black wells of pain and regret. Trainer’s voice was rough when he spoke. “Bad, for both of us. But most of us have been here. It'll be okay, as long as nobody has to drag you. It’ll be okay if you come back with me, now.”

Junho looked away, down at the wet dark stones. He couldn’t bear to look at the pain in the man's eyes, didn't want to see how much he hurt he was causing.

He didn’t want to live with it. He didn’t want to step toward Trainer, but he couldn’t make himself step backward, either. The breeze blew in from the ocean, stroked through his hair like Trainer’s fingers did, sometimes.

“Jun-ho?”

Junho looked up, and Trainer lifted his hands, a flat-palmed gesture of surrender. “Can I come stand with you?”

“You’ll try to drag me away.”

“I won’t,” Trainer said, and Junho could hear the resignation in his mellow voice. “It’s your choice. I won’t take it away from you.”

Junho studied him silently. His eyes were unflinching windows on pain and sincerity.

“Can I please come stand with you?”

Trainer had never lied to him. “Okay.”

Junho dropped his hands and turned back to the ocean. One long step away, or two smaller ones.

Trainer’s hand slipped into Junho’s, and he twisted their fingers together. He didn’t try to pull Junho away from the edge. He just held his hand, calm and steady.

It was Trainer who broke the non-silence of the crashing waves. “I figured it’d come to this. Plotting your escape is how you’ve been holding yourself together, and I knew you wouldn’t ever stop, but I did think...”

The only sound was the rushing of the surf for a time. Junho didn’t feel any need to fill the space between them with words.

When Trainer spoke again, he sounded tired. The steady crash of waves made his voice seem to throb. “I don’t know. I hoped that by the time you got here, you’d have something else to step back for.”

He didn’t have to say what ‘something else’ he meant. Junho’s feelings for Trainer might have been the product of deliberate engineering, but that didn’t make them less real. He expected that if they’d had more time, he might have been willing to put up with the mansion, for him. To not abandon him.

Trainer had never lied to him to spare his feelings. Junho wasn’t going to lie to him now. “I don’t love you. I’m not going to step back for you.”

“I know.” Trainer was surprisingly calm. Slightly amused, even.

Junho started to disentangle his fingers from Trainer’s. The muscular man relaxed his hand but said, “Please don’t. I’d like to hold your hand if we’re doing this.”

Junho’s heart thudded oddly in his stomach. He let Trainer keep his hand. “We?”

Trainer didn’t say anything. When Junho looked over, the man’s eyebrows ticked up as if to ask what he’d thought this was.

“Why?” Junho didn’t want his voice to be thick. He’d wanted it to be dead, for all of everything inside him to stay dead, to make this easier.

Trainer didn’t answer. He didn’t have to. His eyes were the calm, dark pools they always were. They held serenity and love and resignation.

It wasn’t a manipulation. He simply didn't want to go back without Junho, and so he wouldn’t.

Junho couldn’t look at those eyes. He dropped his and turned away, looking back down at the black waves and crashing foam. The opposite of the dark pools that Trainer’s eyes were. Chaos, not calm. An end to the pain instead of a place to shelter from it.

“Would you tell me about Alhaadi?”

Trainer didn't answer for a long few moments. When he did, his tone of voice was the functional equivalent of a shrug. “He's dead, Junho. I killed him years ago. He wasn’t strong enough for this place.”

Junho tried to put what he was thinking into words, and then find the words in English for it. “I want to mourn him.”

When he glanced from the corner of his eyes, Trainer was studying the churning waves. “He was a boy from Dar es Salaam, first. Then he was a ranger with a K9 unit. They ran into the wrong illegal safari operation.”

“Did they kill his dog?”

Trainer's eyes closed, then opened again. “I don't want to talk about him, Junho.”

“I want to mourn his dog, too.”

Trainer sighed. “No, they didn’t kill his dog. They used him. Alhaadi was a sentimental, stupid young man, and as impossibly naïve as you are sometimes. They said they wouldn’t hurt the dog as long as the young man did unspeakable things.”

“Then they killed his dog anyway?”

“Of course they didn’t kill his dog, Junho.” Trainer sounded tired, now. Not concealed-emotions tired, more like he was explaining something to a particularly slow child. “He had a good life, as long as Dog Boy behaved.”

Ah. Allowing Trainer to live with him had been supposed to create a different sort of leash. And Glimmer stayed at the mansion while Lush went on business trips. He wondered who they controlled Venus with, and Handler and Peaches and Song. Or just the pets who left the grounds?

If he was going to jump, did it matter?

Junho stared down at the black ocean, pictured the sharp rocks. “And the other man? Was this where he died?”

“No.”

“Who was he?” When Trainer didn’t answer, Junho squeezed his hand. “It’s okay not to tell me. I was just curious.”

Trainer looked off the edge of the cliff for a while. Junho did, too. There was a rainbow starting to form in the spray from how the sun hit it.

“He was one of Handler’s, not one of mine at first.” Trainer’s voice had never been so thick with emotion. “But later, I could see how he was always thinking, a survivor, never really broken. Not all the way. He was soft and compassionate, even though he tried to act like he was hard. Apparently, I have a type.”

“What happened?”

Trainer studied the churning black below. “We fucked up. Randolph said we’d stolen something that belonged to him alone. When he brought us up to punish us, he asked me which of us he should punish, and I said me.”

Trainer’s voice went as flatly black as Junho felt inside. There was no anger in it, as if anger was too small an emotion. “He killed Gerhart and put me back in training.”

Junho couldn't find the words in English to express how much his heart broke for Trainer in that moment. Maybe that was for the best. He squeezed Trainer’s hand. “I’m sorry.”

The next time Trainer spoke, his low voice was surprisingly steady. “I didn’t want to keep going, but he’d bought my life with his death. I guess I felt like I owed it to him.”

“Will they kill you? If we go back.” Junho didn’t particularly care if they killed him, anymore.

“Probably not, but I can’t promise anything. He’s not always consistent or predictable.”

“And. Do you want us to go back?”

Trainer squeezed Junho’s hand. “I’d like to spend more time with you.”

It wasn't an answer, except in the ways it was.

There was nothing else Junho wanted to ask, after that. The rainbow in the mist grew more solid. His skin began to feel warm from too much sun, even though the wave-tossed spray was cool.

“It’s a beautiful day,” he said.

“It is,” Trainer agreed.

It would be a beautiful day to die. Or a beautiful day to live.

Trainer gave Junho all the time he needed to think about it and weigh his options. Maybe it was was selfish of him, but he didn't think of it in terms of whether he would be responsible for Trainer’s death. He wouldn’t be choosing that for him. Whether the beautiful man went over the edge with him was his choice, not Junho’s.

But it did matter that it would be a consequence of his choice. It mattered more that Trainer truly cared about him. That he could have tried to pull Junho back from the cliff but hadn’t.

And it mattered that, if he was dead, he’d never find out what might have been. Death was game over. So Junho couldn’t escape this way. That didn’t mean he couldn’t find some other way, or that they’d never be rescued. There was no way to know.

Junho had never really wanted to die. All of the options sucked, but he did have them. He could always die later. It was strange that that was comforting.

Junho squeezed Trainer’s hand. “Let’s go back.”

“Okay.” Trainer sounded relieved. He hadn’t really wanted to die, either.

They stepped back from the edge of the bluff, and left the churning black ocean and the crashing surf behind.

Chapter Text

Junho and Trainer didn’t speak during the walk back, as if they’d used their daily allotment of words up on the edge of the cliff. Trainer gripped Junho’s hand tightly while he led them through the pines, as if he was worried that Junho would run back to the cliff if he let go. Or as if he were getting his hand-holding in while he could.

Junho wouldn’t have run. He was at peace with his decision. He hoped he wouldn’t come to regret it, but if he did, a way to escape was always open to him. If it got too bad, he’d take it. But only after he tried to take out the VIP first, for the sake of Peaches, Glimmer, Song, and the others.

As far as the second possible reason went, Junho didn’t want to lose the comfort of Trainer’s steady hand earlier than he had to. And he considered carefully what he was going to say when they got close to the mansion.

Trainer seemed able to follow their trail back through the twisting woods as easily as if it had been marked out with neon tape. Junho supposed that Trainer wouldn’t have stopped being a ranger any more than he’d stopped being a detective. How many people had he followed through the woods, talked off the cliff? How many hadn’t stepped back?

It felt like it took a lot longer to get back than it had taken to get out to the cliff, though that was likely as much Junho’s perception of time as it was their slower pace. Every step that took him closer to the mansion dragged at his feet as if he were walking uphill through mud on the road to hell.

Trainer stopped in a clearing littered with fresh-torn branches stripped of needles. He turned and squeezed Junho’s hand. Trainer’s eyes were deep, calm pools. “It’s important that you walk without me dragging you. So it’ll be clear that you came back on your own.”

“Okay.”

Trainer’s hand relaxed in its grip, but Junho held on for a moment longer. “Trainer?”

“Yes?”

Junho held Trainer’s eyes with his. “I won’t be able to carry your death with me. If one of us lives, it should be you.”

He didn’t know if it was true or not. He might be strong enough to live with Trainer’s death on his conscience, but he didn’t want to. He hoped that if Trainer thought that sacrificing himself wouldn’t save anything, then he wouldn’t try to so it.

Maybe that way, they’d both live.

Trainer studied Junho’s eyes, and Junho wasn’t sure he’d convinced him.

Junho cleared his throat, “Please honor my preference?”

Trainer nodded slowly. He lifted Junho’s hand and pressed his lips to the back of it. Junho would have thought that sort gesture silly and insincere, except that Trainer was deadly serious about it. “I’ll respect your preference, Jun-ho. We have to go back now.”

Junho took his hand away from Trainer’s. The beautiful man took a slow and deep breath, and Junho watched the mask descend over the trainer’s features.

“Go on, Pretty.”

Junho took a similarly deep breath to steady himself. “Yes, trainer.”

He stepped past Trainer and walked through the forest with him at his back. He didn’t need particularly good eyes to see the scuffs in the bed of dense needles, the places his feet had dragged or pulled twigs along. They weren’t consistent, but they were like a child’s connect-the-dots puzzle. He lost the path through a brushy patch but expected that the forest would spit them out onto the driveway or the lawn anyway.

Junho emerged onto the grassy edge of the driveway, not exactly where he’d entered the woods, but close enough. The sunlight slanted in from behind them. It wasn’t quite evening yet, but the trees cast long shadows. Junho hesitated on the edge of the driveway.

“Keep walking.” The trainer’s voice was low and smooth as whiskey.

“Yes, trainer.” Junho walked in the grass until he couldn't. When he stepped onto the asphalt, it was scorching hot. The sap that he had used to stick the pine needles to his feet immediately began to melt, and he imagined how it must look for him to wince from step to step and leave behind pine-needle footprints.

The mansion was a creation of pale stone and sleek windows, looking more like what he thought of as an American mansion than a European one. Like the home of a moviestar, if the star was a sadistic piece of shit. He started toward the front door but the trainer said, “Around the side.”

Junho acknowledged and followed the asphalt driveway around the garage. Security cameras looked like blisters under the eaves of the garage. Another security-camera blister was stuck over the understated kitchen entrance, which had a wide industrial-style door with a metal lever handle.

Junho limped to the door, pressed down the handle, and pushed it inward. It wasn't locked. The savory aromas of cooking meats and simmering sauces escaped past him into the afternoon air. He held the door open for the trainer, who closed it behind them.

They were in a wide space between a walk-in refrigerator and what looked like a pantry. The pantry door was open, and at the other end, a set of steps led down into darkness. Not to the basement, the angle was wrong. Probably a wine cellar.

Trainer nudged Junho in the middle of the back and he started walking again. The short hall led into a kitchen that bustled with activity. A few of the black-clad people glanced over. One grey-haired white man looked over from putting dishes in a sink and did a double-take, then swallowed hard before looking away.

“Left,” the trainer said.

“Yes, trainer.”

Trainer’s instructions took Junho out of the kitchen and into the cream-and-white hallway. He wasn’t surprised to be directed to the stairwell, but he was surprised to be ordered to go up instead of down.

He would have thought for sure that he would be given the table and then the chair. That’s what he thought Trainer had meant by ‘bad.’ If bad was worse than that…

If bad was worse than that, he’d still made his decision. He went up the stairs, his feet sticking to the thick carpet and peeling up like velcro.

“Go to the pleasure den,” the trainer said.

Junho acknowledged and went.

The VIP’s playroom smelled like Junho’s nightmares. The light that slanted through the windows had the deeper golden hue of not-quite-sunset, so it had to be late. The room was eerily empty without Venus behind the bar. It felt smaller without lights on and people in it.

After the door closed behind them, the trainer extended a hand to Junho. “Give me your lead.”

Junho acknowledged and put the coiled lead he’d been carrying into the trainer’s hand, and the muscular man turned and set it on the bar. Then the trainer took Junho by the bicep and led him toward the nightmare playground side of the room.

There was a table up here, and after they'd gone up the stairs, that’s what Junho thought they were heading to. But then Trainer steered him to the crimson wall.

It was good that Trainer was supporting his arm, because Junho’s legs started to tremble, and not from the exertion of his run through the woods. The emotional numbness that had swaddled him on the edge of the cliff was starting to peel away, revealing a deep well of fear and anxiety.

He’d prepared himself to endure the table, up to possibly being brutalized there, and then a long and painful stretch in the dark on the chair. Whatever was happening now, it wasn’t the thing he’d prepared for.

There were three doors set subtly into wall between the painted-portrait insets, their matte crimson push-handles easy to miss. The far one was probably the bathroom the VIP had showered in. Trainer opened the one in the middle, almost directly across from the black bed.

He didn't think it was in the right spot for the storage room that Teacher had gone in and out of, judging by where it was positioned relative to the horse. It was a complete unknown. Junho’s body wanted him to balk, his balls climbing into his stomach and his skin tingling where his body hair would have bristled, if he’d had any.

“In.” The trainer’s voice was serene and held no choices. Junho going into the dark room was inevitable, and it was better that he did it himself.

“Yes, trainer.” Junho’s voice didn’t shake, he was proud of that. He stepped forward into the blackness, his bare feet moving from the playroom tile to a slightly different and yet more familiar tile.

The trainer pushed him farther in, and a single bright overhead fluorescent lit up.

The floor was the same terracotta tile from Junho’s basement room, the walls the same beige tiles but without bolts inset into the grout. Three low steel cages marched off to the left along the wall across from him, the bars welded vertically along the frame. To the very far left, there was a hose and a drain.

There were no windows. There were no drawers, no cabinets, no other furniture.

There were, however, at least four cameras overhead in the corners of the room, and an exhaust fan or air-circulation vent in the ceiling over the drain. And when he glanced back to look at the trainer, he saw that there was flatscreen television inset into the wall across from the cages, behind what looked like a panel of clear plexiglass.

That was it. There wasn’t even a light-switch on this side of the door.

“Get in the first cage.”

“Yes, trainer.”

Junho dropped to his knees harder than he would have liked, his shaky legs more than happy to give out under him. The first cage wasn’t fastened closed, and he pulled open the welded-bar door and crawled into it. There wasn’t enough room to stand up, nor would there be enough room in it to lie down with his legs stretched out.

When he was in it, Junho turned and sat with his back against the wall in the far corner and pulled his knees up to his chest to protect his stomach. He looked up through the bars at the trainer.

The man pulled a simple spring latch and closed the cage. The latch bolt went through a metal ring on the door. Junho could have reached between the bars, and pulled the latch back, and opened the door if he’d wanted to.

The trainer’s serene, dark eyes met Junho’s. The subtleties of his expression said that if Junho touched that latch, one of them was going to wish they’d walked off the cliff.

Junho swallowed hard past the tightness in his throat. He hadn’t needed the warning that the bolt was a test. Had he learned his lesson about running, or not? If he hadn’t, there was pretty much a red-carpet invitation to run again. He wondered if anyone who had been put in this cage had been stupid enough to take it.

The trainer turned back to the door. It wasn’t like the door to his basement room, or at all similar to the playroom doors. The front was a matte crimson that had made it look like part of the playroom wall, but after trainer pulled the door closed, the side facing Junho was the same beige as the wall tiles in the kennel room.

Even though there was a handle on Junho’s side of the door, the sound of the latch clicking home had a finality to it.

Junho had no warning before the overhead light blinked out, plunging the room into blackness and silence. He couldn’t even watch Trainer’s hand hit the switch or anticipate the darkness from a receding wedge of light.

Junho pulled his legs up to his chest and rested his chin on his knees. He smelled like pine sap and the memory of sunlight. He tried to count the scratches he could feel, where the fronts of his thighs and his stomach pressed together, but he kept losing count in the middle teens. He wondered how bad his sunburn was going to be. His skin felt too hot, especially on his shoulders.

He invited the black, cold waves of the ocean into his soul, waited for the water to pull him under the crashing surface and drown him.

But he couldn’t even have that. It was as if, having rejected the ocean, the ocean now rejected him. All of his despair and sorrow were separated from him by a curtain he couldn’t penetrate, and Junho was left alone in the dark with only his fear and anxiety for company.

Chapter Text

Being in the cage was completely different from being in the chair. Junho wasn’t as fully immobilized, but it wasn’t comfortable. The tiles were hard. He couldn’t stretch his limbs. He could lie down if he wanted to curl on his side, or stick his knees in the air, but he couldn’t be that vulnerable. The animal part of his brain kept screaming that he was in danger and should protect his organs.

Better to doze in the corner, away from the cage door. He wasn’t tempted to touch it, he just didn’t want to be near it.

It was some amount of time before the lights turned on. Long enough for Junho to need to pee, not long enough for him to start to dehydrate. Overnight? The fluorescent light wasn’t quite as bright as the brilliantly white LED lights in his basement torture room. It didn't stab into his brain through his eyelids, at least.

Junho’s eyes went to the door, ready to judge Trainer’s mood from his body language and small expressions to figure out how bad it was. But it wasn’t Trainer who stepped through – it was Handler.

The last person I want to see, Junho thought with dismay, before he’d even realized that was true.

He’d rather have had the VIP walk into the room. The VIP enjoyed torturing him, but he didn’t want him dead. Junho had known from the moment Handler had opened the basement door for the VIP’s son that Handler actively meant him harm.

The burly, olive-skinned man stared at Junho down through the bars, a metal bowl in either of his hands, and Junho stared back up at him. Fuck this guy.

Then he grimaced internally and dropped his eyes. He knew, he did know, that open defiance or disrespect was a bad idea. But he’d been startled and was angry, upset, and felt like he had nothing to lose.

That wasn't true. He had a lot to lose. He was only now learning how much he’d had when he’d thought he had nothing.

Handler’s rough voice sounded like an amused avalanche looking forward to crushing an unsuspecting hiker. “Haven’t learned shit, have you? Song would know better than to give me that sort of look.”

The man dropped one of the metal bowls on the floor by the cage. In the small, hard-walled room, the loud clatter of metal on ceramic was a sonic assault. It was a dog’s bowl, of course. Handler went to the hose and sprayed water across the room into it, either not caring that the splash from the tiles hit Junho or actively enjoying his discomfort.

The burly man slid the slid the bowl through a slot in the cage with his foot. Water sloshed over the edges. He stood by the cage long enough for Junho to risk a glance up. Handler have him a tight smile that said he was having fun, then poured the second bowl through the top of the cage. Hard pellets fell down onto Junho, bouncing off him and clattering on the tiles. Some of them landed in the water bowl, some scattering far into the room.

Dog food, or something that looked like it. Handler dropped the empty bowl with the same loud clatter and kicked it, empty, through the cage.

“Enjoy the show.” He left and closed the door. The light blinked out.

Junho couldn’t take a deep breath. He hadn’t allowed himself to even think while Handler had been in the room, instead letting his thoughts and feelings slide by like passing traffic, so he didn’t do anything else stupid.

He knew that he should pull the pellets out of his water before they tainted the entire bowl, or gather the ones off the floor before he lost track of them in case he got hungry later. But whatever Handler had planned wasn’t over and apparently wasn't focused on him. All he could focus on was his apprehension.

The screen behind the plexiglass flickered on. The way the camera was angled, it was on the level of the torture equipment in Junho's room, facing the mattress area. Trainer wasn’t doing anything in specifically, just sitting on their mattresses with his back to the wall. The screen was large enough that it felt like Junho could almost step through it and into the room.

Junho stared at the screen with a sick sensation in his stomach, his intestines twisting around the usual knot of icy dread like a nest of nauseated snakes. The words 'enjoy the show' started repeating in his head, as if the words were being sung by a choir of devils. He couldn't have said how many times the song repeated, but Handler gave Junho plenty of time to marinate in his anxiety and fear.

On the screen, the door to their room opened and Handler stepped through. Trainer was on his feet and off the mattresses before it closed. His weight had settled low into his hips, his legs spread, his arms loose from his shoulders. Ready to move. Junho knew that stance.

Handler walked over and pulled his hand back. The motion was so telegraphed that Junho thought it must be some sort of feint. When he brought his hand around, Trainer caught his arm by the wrist, but he didn’t pull Handler off balance or into a hold.

“Bad enough you let Pretty Eyes get loose,” Handler said conversationally. His phrasing and manner of speech were close to the VIP’s, though his voice had that hint of an accent that sounded like Trainer’s. Almost, but not quite. “Going to resist punishment, too?”

“No.” Trainer released Handler’s arm. “I didn't know if we were sparring.”

Junho couldn't tell through the screen if he was serious.

The next time Handler drew his hand back and brought it around, Trainer didn’t catch it. The open-handed blow knocked him off his feet.

The memory of pain spread across Junho’s face and his skin grew tight across his body. His breath came fast. He didn’t want to watch. But he couldn’t look away. Enjoy the show. Even if he hadn’t owed it to Trainer to watch, if he looked away, worse might happen.

“Get up,” Handler said.

Trainer got to his feet. Handler promptly backhanded him over the other way. Trainer spit blood before he got back up, and Handler knocked him down again.

It didn’t seem like Handler was going to get tired of it any time soon. Junho stared at the screen so hard that his eyes started to burn from dryness. When he blinked, his eyes stung.

When Trainer was slow to get up, Handler kicked him in the thigh while he was down. The older man’s bare feet looked like hard-knotted branches. “Not going to make excuses?”

“No.”

Trainer staggered to his feet, and Handler knocked his leg out from under him. Trainer landed on his hands and knees hard enough to bruise.

Junho’s fists clenched so hard that his nails dug into his palms and hands threatened to cramp. All of the anger tightened his chest, and his arms desperately wanted to hit something. The feelings had nowhere to go.

While Trainer was struggling to his feet, Handler said conversationally, “Why'd you dangle Pretty Eyes in front of that boy?”

“You’re the one who let him into the basement,” Junho said to the screen in English, hoping that someone would be monitoring his room. “Not Trainer.”

Trainer got to his feet, and Handler kneed him in the balls. Junho’s groin spiked sympathetic pain into his stomach as Trainer went down clutching himself. Junho wasn’t going to lie to himself and try to convince himself that the prickle in his eyes was from pain tears, though. Not this time.

Handler kicked Trainer in the shoulder while he was down. “Answer.”

“I didn’t dangle him.” Trainer’s voice was thick with pain.

“Thought you said no excuses.” Handler kicked Trainer again, in the leg that time, hard. “Get up.”

Trainer started to struggle to his feet, and Handler kicked him in the stomach. Not with his full weight behind it, not as if he were trying to bruise organs, but Trainer went back down as his breath blew out.

Part of what hurt was that Junho knew Trainer could have taken the older man if he’d tried. But he wasn’t trying, he was just taking the beating like he deserved it.

Fight back, Junho urged him in his mind.

Stop being an idiot, the detective responded. It’d just make things worse for both of you.

He knew that. But he couldn’t stop himself from feeling the rage and despair on Trainer’s behalf.

You’re going to have to hold it together, the detective said, or you’re going to get both of you killed. Or? Maybe just him.

Junho swallowed his anger down in a hard lump. He blinked on his stinging eyes. Whatever he did, he wasn’t going to cause more harm.

Handler let Trainer struggle all the way to his feet before he hit him with another open-handed blow. Trainer staggered to the side but didn't fall.

“Still think your way is better?” The question was a taunt.

“It is.” Trainer’s voice was pained and breathless, but the conviction behind it was solid as stone.

Handler knocked Trainer off his feet again with a slap that would have rung Junho’s head like a bell. One of these times, Trainer wasn’t going to catch himself and he was going to crack his head open, but he didn’t move like he was dizzy. He moved like he was in pain.

“It isn’t.” Handler’s voice was even, but the expression on his face said he was enjoying himself. “Song hasn’t tried to take off once. Mine knows his place.”

“Honey committed suicide.”

Something flickered over Handler’s face. Despite the size of the screen and the zoom of the camera, Handler was standing sideways to it, and Junho wasn’t able to read it exactly. The burly man kicked Trainer in the stomach, though the muscular man got his arms down in time enough to partially block the blow. “Honey was weak.”

Trainer’s normally calm voice was painful for Junho to listen to. “Moonlight On Water committed suicide, too.”

Junho had never heard the name, but for Trainer to say it in that way, the man had probably been tough as nails.

“Get up.” Handler’s gravelly voice had the fire of anger mixed into it. Trainer got up and Handler knocked him down again. His next question was a taunt. “And Perfect Smile?”

Perfect Smile. That must have been Gerhart. Junho waited for Trainer to lose his calm, but he didn’t.

Trainer’s voice was thick with pain, but only physical pain, no different from how he’d spoken before. “Dead.”

“Because of you,” Handler said viciously. “You never should've been made an instructor.”

He decided that,” Trainer said. Handler went still, as if he might have stepped over a line into dangerous territory. He might be the one in control of the room, but surely it wasn't safe for even him to question the VIP’s decisions.

Junho hoped that whatever trouble Handler had just stepped into was serious. He hoped the VIP would pull his tongue out and cut it off and make him eat it.

Trainer made it as far as his hand and knees, filling the pause with words in harsh pants. “Fine Steak. Favored for a year. And Dancer. Made it through—”

Handler kicked Trainer hard in the stomach, and he fell onto his side, curled around his middle.

“Arguing?” Handler’s voice was spiked through with anger. “I thought you said no excuses, Dog Boy.”

“Answering.” Trainer’s voice was strained with pain and breathless.

“Get up.”

Trainer spat blood and wiped his mouth on his forearm, struggling up to his feet. His face was already starting to swell. Junho’s heart ached.

Trainer braced, but Handler didn’t knock him over.

“Give me your hand.”

Trainer grimaced and extended his left hand. Junho didn’t see what happened, but Trainer – who had just been taking the beating to that point with less expression than Junho ever could have imagined – yelled in pain and tried to yank his hand away. When Handler let him, Trainer’s little finger was wrong. Fingers didn’t bend that way.

Junho beat his fist against the tiles, acid and hatred burning through his stomach and limbs. The sting in his eyes wasn’t dry, not anymore.

Trainer pulled his hand to his chest and his body bent forward, unconsciously protecting his wounded hand. “Song hasn’t run,” he said, and his voice was strained but steady, “but he’s acting up. You have to wonder when the mister is—”

“Give me your hand.”

If Handler had hoped to get Trainer to stop talking, he failed. But Trainer’s normally warm-hued brown skin was going ashy. He was good at hiding his pain, but no one was that good.

“—going to start treating the suicides like stealing.”

Trainer straightened from his protective curl over his hand. He had impossible self-control. Junho wouldn’t have given Handler his injured hand back, not after that. Handler’s arm moved and Trainer cried out in pain. He tried to jerk his hand back, but Handler kept a firm grip on his wrist.

Junho couldn’t see it, but he knew that another finger was broken. He gagged but there was nothing in his stomach to throw up.

“Argue some more,” Handler invited. But he no longer sounded like he was enjoying himself. He didn't even sound angry anymore, not exactly.

Trainer didn’t say anything else. Handler let his wrist go, and Trainer drew his hand back in swiftly. He held it against his stomach, his body curled protectively over it without touching it.

Handler’s hand lifted.

On the counter, the tablet beeped. Handler’s hand didn't come back down, but he didn’t move. Trainer didn’t either. The muscular man’s shoulders heaved in pants of pain.

The tablet beeped a second time. Handler said, “Going to get that?”

Trainer sidled stiffly and carefully over to the counter. His body remained curled forward. He had to turn his back on Handler to tap the tablet with his right hand.

The wall TV in the kennel room went dark.

“Fuck!” Junho shouted in Korean.

He needed to know with a desperation as hot as the sun what the fuck was going on in that room, what was on the tablet, whether it was just a diversion to allow Handler to get behind Trainer for something worse. He wanted to punch the floor, to grab the latch and shove his way out of this shitty little cage and down into the basement and kick Handler through his teeth.

He’d actually started to shift out from his corner when the phantom of his former self gave him the mental equivalent of a hard shake and a shout in the ear: Your emotions are going to get someone killed!

The anger whipped out from under him, leaving only a yawning black pit of fear and worry and terrible mental images of what had happened and what might be happening at that moment. He wanted to beg someone to hurt him instead of Trainer, who hadn’t done a damned thing that wasn’t in the VIP’s interests, but he had no one to beg.

Everything had a cost, here. This was part of the cost of his stupid, impulsive decision to run. He should've let the VIP’s son fuck him and taken the consequences. At least then, Junho would have been the only one hurt by it.

Without the anger holding him up, Junho wanted to cry, to fall apart, but it wasn't safe to lose it, not here. And he didn't want to give whoever was watching the video that satisfaction. He let go and went to the back of his mind. Let the detective work the case, he was going to the fountain.

Chapter Text

The pellets Junho had left in his water had expanded into a gloopy mess by the time he tried to fish them out. He brought a pinch of the sticky nastiness to his nose and couldn’t detect any odor, but the texture felt like room-temperature snot. He wiped the mess in the corner farthest from the one he was sitting in, then found a dry pellet in the darkness.

It had looked like dog food, but didn’t taste like it. It was as bland as the protein shakes had been. And his sip of water from the bowl had a chalky, gritty aspect to it.

Chalky protein pellets instead of a chalky protein drink. Maybe he wasn’t trusted enough right now to even be given a plastic cup to drink from, or maybe it was part of how they were trying to break him down.

Pissing on himself certainly was. When Junho really had to go, he thought about unclipping his chastity device and peeing outside the cage in a ‘wouldn’t it be nice’ sort of way, but he didn’t seriously consider it. He suspected that any misbehavior on his part would be taken out on Trainer.

So he moved to the corner nearer the drain, and tried to pee into the adjacent cage without making a mess. Between his dick prison and piercing, the idea of not making a mess had been more aspirational than realistic. Despite knowing that it wasn’t his fault, he was still deeply ashamed. He vividly remembered his mom spanking him after he’d peed his pants because he’d been too busy playing outside to remember to use the bathroom.

Not that he’d had the impression that Handler would have needed an excuse to go any harder on Trainer in the basement. Every time he thought about the way Trainer’s finger had been bent wrong, it made his stomach swim with nausea. The thought that he might be dead, that the tablet had told Handler to just kill him, savaged Junho every chance it got.

If they’d killed him, they would have shown it to you, the detective whispered from the back corner of Junho’s mind, like that thought was supposed to be comforting.

The next time Handler came into the kennel room, he told Junho to slide the bowls out, then the burly man slid more water and pellets into his cage. “Eat them this time.”

Junho kept his eyes down and swallowed his anger and resentment down hard. “Yes handler.”

In the blackness after Handler left, Junho choked down the pellets one by one until they were gone. They were dry as dust. He couldn’t decide whether it was better to eat them dry, moisten them first, or crunch them in his mouth and add water and drink down the resulting slurry. The options sucked. The food sat in his stomach like a heavy brick made of regret.

The next time Handler came in, he took out the metal bowls and then sprayed Junho and his cage out with the hose. No soap. The high-pressured water stung in the cuts on Junho’s body from his run through the trees. It loosened several of the scabs, including a deep gash on one of his forearms that he thought might be getting infected.

The dirty water ran off into the drain at the corner. After Handler left, Junho slowly walked his fingers over his body in the dark. Some of his cuts were bleeding, but that wasn’t what he was looking for. There were a few sticky places of pine-pitch left, and he found one brought it up to his nose.

Pines and sunlight. He rubbed the stickiness against the place between his nose and upper lip and left it there, refusing to feel self-conscious about it.

The next time the screen came on, the sound was off. It showed Song and the VIP in the formal den. Song was still in a leather harness like Junho’s. He simpered, ridiculously servile and clearly basking in the fat man’s attention, though Junho had the impression that Song’s sucking up didn’t impress the VIP.

The VIP did eventually take a blowjob, and Song was clearly turned on by it. It wasn’t just that he got hard, that by itself didn’t mean much. Junho’s own body responded to the video, pressing against his cage despite his self-loathing and disinterest. His impression that Song was genuinely enjoying himself came from the way he moved and the expressions on his face.

Junho was happier to eat his protein kibble in the dark. But the video was reassuring, in a way. The detective didn’t think that they’d be showing him these videos if they were going to just kill him.

Who had Song been? What had Handler done to him, to turn him into what he’d turned into? Or had it just been the form Song’s insanity had taken instead of a voice in his head?

I thought the insane didn’t know they’re crazy, the detective remarked.

They both knew that wasn’t true.

The next time the screen came on, it showed a room Junho didn’t know. A comfortable little living area, cushions set on the floor in little piles or around low tables. The camera angle showed the lower corner of a television on the wall.

Glimmer was at one of the low tables, her grin glittering with lip rings. She had a variety of tools in front of her and some black leather in a strange-looking wooden clamp. Across from her were the backs of two heads, the old white man Junho had seen a few times in the kitchen and a man whose dark hair Junho didn’t recognize. The sound was off, but whatever she said made the old man nod.

Other people came and went, but Junho was mesmerized by the movements of Glimmer’s hands. Her hands worked needles through the leather, trailing golden thread that waved whenever she gestured with the needles. He watched a good long while as a cuff slowly took shape while Glimmer used different tools on it. Junho absently rubbed his thumb against the cuff on his wrist. There was something oddly comforting in thinking that Glimmer had probably put in the strong stitches that held the cuff together.

The only thing he actively wanted was a glimpse of Trainer, to know that he was okay. Maybe not alive and well, but alive. But none of the people who came or went was Trainer, and the screen snapped off without warning or apparent reason, as if its only purpose had been to show Junho what he could have had if he hadn’t run away.

Later, it played a long video of Song ‘serving’ the VIP in his bedroom, being rewarded with getting off and a bath and a night in a comfortable bed. Nothing about it appealed to Junho, though he noted that the VIP didn’t try to kiss Song even once. If Handler’s words about enjoying the show hadn’t echoed in his mind, he would have just tried to sleep through it.

He didn’t enjoy the show, but the sights and sounds of sex made him uncomfortably hard in his cage. Telling his body to cut it the fuck out didn't help. It was messed up.

After another hosing-down visit from Handler. The TV screen clicked on to a view of the VIP’s playroom, pleasure den, whatever he called it. Judging by the lighting, it was evening again out there in the world. The screen was split this time.

Junho’s eyes immediately went to the side with Trainer’s bruised, muscular back. He was on the wheel-shaped piece of equipment, holding two spokes and resting his feet on two others. He wasn’t wearing pants, but he wasn’t wearing cuffs or a collar, either.

Some of the bruises darkening Trainer’s skin were fresher than the few days Junho estimated it had been. But he was relieved to see that the man's left two smallest fingers stood out in a taped splint, despite that the rest of his hand was curled around the spoke.

The other side of the split screen showed the VIP with Song in his lap. Lush was partially in the frame as well, holding a golden tray that had a crystal bowl full of colorful chocolate pieces among the rest of the VIP’s usual pleasures. The VIP hand-fed the blond one of the little sweets while Junho watched.

His internal tension was validated when Handler stepped into the frame and shook out one of the little multi-tailed whips that had been on Teacher’s tool tray. Ice spread out into Junho’s veins. That whip was small, but it hurt like hell to get hit with it.

Junho hugged his legs close to his chest and flinched with each hit from Handler’s whip. He wished it was him. He wanted to protest that Trainer hadn’t done anything wrong and it was him they should be hitting, but there was no one to protest to.

In the VIP’s lap, the smaller blond man looked smug, almost satisfied. Junho wanted to throttle him.

The VIP’s mouth moved with questions or comments, but Junho couldn't even begin to try to read his lips in English. At some point, Handler hit hard enough to draw a line of blood from Trainer’s back. That time, Junho heard a muffled yelp through the wall.

The VIP’s expression went angry, and he said something that dropped Handler to his knees and made his shoulders tighten. But the VIP fed Song a colorful piece of chocolate, Handler got up, and the whipping continued. For all that Trainer was a man made of stone, he eventually started crying out with the strokes, and Junho could hear him faintly through the wall.

Junho also could see when the VIP shifted Song’s position in his lap and started fucking him. The blond man moved with the VIP, his expression blissful. After they finished, the fat man nuzzled into Song’s curls. Then he must have said something, because Handler curled up the whip.

Trainer stepped down backward off the wheel. His unsteadiness pulled at Junho’s heart. The tight skin of the crossing welts on his reddened back and ass gleamed brightly in even the indirect lights of the playroom. The little line of blood down his back was darker. He turned and dropped to his knees, and crawled across the floor, head down.

Then the split in the screen disappeared, and it refocused onto just a wide view of the VIP on his lounge-throne and Trainer’s injured back. The VIP pushed Song off his lap hard, and the blond man sprawled before shifting slowly to his knees. The VIP held his hand out to Lush, and a whiskey glass appeared in his hand.

Something the VIP said made Trainer look up. The VIP swirled the whiskey in his glass, staring down at Trainer. Studying his face. There was a longer exchange.

Junho’s tension tore him to pieces. He wished someone would please turn the sound on, or that there was anyone else’s face to watch for reactions, but he was left in silence with a shitty camera angle. There were no gods in this place to pray to, there never had been.

A look passed through the VIP’s eyes that made Junho’s heart go cold. He was no longer just interested, he was vicious, leaning forward slightly in his chair like a predator going in to tear out something's throat. He lifted his almost nonexistently pale brow and tilted his head a little to the side while he spoke.

Junho’s heart went cold. He couldn’t breathe and he couldn’t swallow, even though his mouth was full of thick, coppery saliva.

Pick me to die, he thought at Trainer’s back. If it has to be one of us or the other, say whatever he needs to hear for it to be me.

Junho watched Trainer’s shoulders rise with the sort of breath taken in before speech. His head bowed lower.

The VIP squinted, then his eyes relaxed and he settled back. He took not a sip of whiskey, but a good slug. Junho had no idea what he said, but the shooing gesture was unmistakable.

Trainer worked his way to his feet, straightened up, and walked out. Junho could see the stiffness to his gait as Trainer tried to conceal how much pain he was in. Naked and hurt, but on his feet and alive. Junho’s heart unclenched.

The VIP drummed his fingertips on the arm of the lounge. He started to speak.

The screen blinked out, leaving Junho in the darkness. He remembered that he had a body for the first time in a while, and he dropped his forehead to his knees and rested his back against the corner between the bars and the tiles.

When he tried to sleep, the images of Handler’s look of satisfaction as red welts spread across Trainer’s back wouldn’t leave his mind. His ears strained to hear noises in the soundless black, but all he could hear were Trainer’s muffled yelps through the wall. Auditory hallucinations, he told himself. But it wasn't comforting.

Chapter Text

Hwang In-ho’s search for his brother kept turning up nothing. It was intensely frustrating, particularly since Junho had wound up in his situation by searching for, and finding, Inho. Frankly it wasn't fair for his little brother to one-up him like that, make it look like finding and infiltrating a secret bar was so easy, then get in trouble in and leave Inho feeling incompetent for being unable to find his own damn brother.

Whoever the Panther VIP was, he wasn’t sloppy. On the one hand, that was irritating. On the other, it also held a hint of promise.

The longer Inho thought about it, the less likely that seemed that Junho was dead. Why would someone do careful go to the effort of staging the death of a person he intended to kill anyway with someone else’s body involved? Why put occasional surveillance on the family of the man you’d killed? And yes, he did know about that, but his attempts to back-track the surveillance had come up with nothing.

The 'inconspicuous' middle-aged man who occasionally read his phone across the street at too odd an angle to be doing anything other than taking a video or photo wasn’t with the old man’s usual surveillance organization. Inho was tempted to capture him, string him up by his toes, and beat him with a baseball bat until the information fell out of him like a particularly wet piñata, but the man likely didn’t know who he worked for any more than Inho’s people did.

It didn’t help that he was getting into preparations for the next game, which would only become more time consuming as the recruitment phase began. He’d have to oversee the selection and painstaking recruitment of the players and workers. It would cut into the time and energy he could devote to his find-Junho project, and it wouldn’t help his focus on his real job that he was losing sleep over his special project.

Inho was in the process of maintaining his small studio apartment one afternoon – checking the physical mail, putting in face-time with the landlady, dusting, feeding the goldfish so that the place would look occupied – when there was a knock at the door. The room had barely enough space to turn around in, but before he could even get his hand on the door handle, a black envelope with a pink bow slid under the gap.

Inho eyed it suspiciously. He’d known the Panther VIP’s people weren’t the only people who had him under surveillance. This confirmed his suspicions that the old man was keeping eyes on him.

He wondered for a moment of amusement whether the Panther VIP’s surveillance team and the old man’s surveillance people had ever noticed each other. The teams might wonder who the fuck was this guy, who lived in a shabby dorm-style apartment and worked such long hours in a much nicer building, but had at least two people keeping tabs on him.

This black envelope with a pink ribbon wasn't the usual way this summons looked, and its resemblance to the black coffins was uncanny. Inho seriously considered the possibility that some aspect of his coverup of Junho’s infiltration of the games had unraveled, and this little envelope was going to contain some bizarre ace of spades.

The card was still warm from someone’s pocket when Inho picked it up. He turned it to look at the front and back but the envelope itself wasn’t marked. Opening it, the card inside was clearly printed on gold cardstock instead of the usual beige.

When Inho pulled out the gold card, he first saw the black circle, triangle, and square. Flipping it over, the card informed him that he was invited to the Sky Building on August 21 at 4 p.m. by “Your Captain,” which was what the workers called him. The old man did have a sense of humor.

The Sky Building? Well, Inho would have to get his best suit out of storage. He doubted the old man would be inviting him to the Sky Building to dispose of him for incompetence.

Approaching it from the road, the Sky Building was a respectably large building with the air of a bank’s headquarters to it, though there were no open advertisements of which financial conglomerate it was associated with. His sober and formal suit felt almost like being underdressed, as if he should have put on more expensive shoes and a watch, and perhaps brought a briefcase.

When he stepped into the lobby, a young man immediately approached him respectfully. “Excuse me, sir? Are you Mister Hwang In-ho?”

“I am.”

There was no one else in the lobby. There wasn’t even an officer at the security desk, though a half-empty cup of tea that implied that it had been occupied at least some point during the day. For all that Inho could tell, there might be no one else in the building.

It surprised him that there weren’t more people around. It was highly improbable that such a large building would be entirely empty at 3:50 p.m. on a Friday, but here it was. Defying his expectations.

It was possible that the old man owned the entire building. Inho considered the thought, turning it over in his mind like there might be something hidden underneath. He decided it was likely. And if the old man was the president of such a large company said no one should be in the lobby from about 3:45 p.m. until a set time, there would be no one in the lobby. You didn't argue with the old man.

“If you would please allow me to show you to your meeting?”

Inho followed the young man to the elevator. None of the buttons were labeled. It would seem that secrecy was a characteristic of the old man even outside of conducting his death games.

When the elevator stopped, the young man respectfully gestured Inho through.

The entire penthouse was an office as opulent as he would have expected from a man who spent the most enjoyable times of his life wearing a golden owl mask, entertaining some of the world’s richest and yet most depraved men, and watching the poor die. No expenses had been spared and yet everything was tasteful.

Inho had money after he’d won his game. But the old man had wealth. The distinction was subtle, but there was a vast sea of difference.

The old man’s wealth wasn't why Inho respected the him. He was old. He had clearly lived through the occupations, the coups, the democratic struggle, and he’d come out on top. He was intelligent, ruthless, and cunning. A man like that saw fit to treat Inho like a son, and to receive respect in return confirmed Inho’s worth on a deep level.

The young man led Inho through a foyer with an empty secretary’s desk, and equally empty sitting areas, to a corner office with broad windows and beautiful views. They encountered no one on the way, and Inho wondered whether the young man was the personal secretary. He looked a little young for such serious work, but the range of people Inho thought looked like children grew wider every year he got older.

Inho approached the old man’s desk to within a respectful distance and waited until he was invited over. “Please sit.”

Inho acknowledged the gesture with an appropriate amount of respect and took the offered seat. Tea was offered, the secretary left and returned with it, and Inho sipped it politely.

After the preliminaries and tea and pleasantries, the old man worked his way around to the point. “The game has been my greatest work for over thirty years, and I don't have children to carry on after me. I want to ensure that it continues to the same quality and standards the backers have come to expect.”

“Please tell me how I can assist?”

The old man peered at Inho with his rheumy eyes. “I want you to take over after I die. I know you understand that I don’t make this offer lightly.”

Inho tried to allow only the pleasure to show on his face if anything at all, and none of the renewed hope. “You have my word that, anything you cannot do yourself, I'll do for you.”

“I always could count on you. It’s settled, then.” He pressed a button on the phone on his desk. “Send the lawyers and notary to the conference room.”

They must have been in a sitting room on this floor. There was no way the secretary could have gone down to another floor and brought them back up the elevator in the amount of time it took to him and the old man to her to the conference room, regardless of how slowly he was starting to move. Inho suffered through more preliminaries and introductions and polite conversation with the lawyers.

Inho hated the business world, but it was what it was. And he was more than amused to be introduced as the old man’s long-term business partner. That was one way to put it.

On second thought, he supposed that the man who owned the racetrack and the man who oversaw the selection and racing of the horses also had a business partnership. So it was technically accurate.

The relief when Inho walked out of the building with a binder containing his copies of all of the paperwork was palpable. Not that the old man couldn’t choose to disinherit him, but it seemed unlikely at this point. Part of the conversation had involved questions by the old man’s lawyers to determine whether he had the necessary mental capacity to change his will.

And the polite portions of the conversation had strayed into discussion about the old man’s health and how the tumor was extending into some delicate areas, which was why it was necessary to do the paperwork now. A possible complication was declining mental acuity.

When the old man died, everything would be Inho’s. Including the records. He wouldn’t call off the private detectives, for now, but the idea of another possible route to discovering what had happened to his brother was a profound relief. He hated to wish that the old man exit life quickly, but Junho was blood family.

I’ll find you dead or alive, little brother, Inho thought. Though his preference was to find Junho alive.

Chapter Text

Junho’s idea that the kennel would be less uncomfortable than the chair wasn’t working out. That he could shift between several uncomfortable positions in his least foul corner only gave him the illusion of choice, which was in some ways worse than no choice at all. He didn’t have enough room to lie down or fully stretch out his legs. He could at best lie down on his back with his legs up.

To the extent that being in the kennel instead of the chair had any tin linings – he couldn’t go as far as to call them silver linings – it was that he wasn’t left alone in the darkness all of the time. As well as Handler’s visits with the hose and water and protein pellets, the wall TV regularly came on to show him brief streams or videos.

What puzzles there were, the detective worried at in the back of Junho’s mind, not speaking much but not having faded away. Junho was somewhat surprised that the detective still hung around in his brain. He would have thought after he’d decided not to try to escape, the detective’s usefulness would be over, and the detective would just, what, disappear? Die?

In any case, he didn’t. Junho enjoyed some of the videos while the detective puzzled over them. The videos from the basement living area and kitchenette were like the worst reality television, fascinating only because he’d been so deprived of entertainment and companionship. A couple of people laughing and cooking a small meal was like a balm on his soul. He even thought he’d run into one of the women in a hallway, once, though he couldn’t place her exactly. The brown-haired man was definitely one of the servers from the family dinner.

On the other hand, there were the sex videos. The videos of the VIP with Lush, or the VIP with Song. He was at first maddeningly uncomfortable in his dick prison and then just tired of it, particularly after the VIP, Song, and Lush spent a ridiculous amount of time on a pile in the black bed in a variety of configurations. That one went on late into the night. Friday? It could be Friday. He was losing track of time.

Only the VIP got to stick his dick in anyone. That was what Junho learned. The rest was just having his eyes tied the TV and visiting the park as best he could, in case failing to watch would get Trainer hurt.

The glimpses of Peaches were almost as few and far between as those of Trainer. She didn’t look very well. At first, she still moved with pain, which made sense. Even though Junho felt a vast gulf of distance and time between the time before his escape attempt and the time after, that didn’t actually mean that more time had passed.

There was a dullness to Peaches' expression and a bleakness to her eyes that made Junho want to step through the screen and give her one of the brief empathetic looks that she had given him, which had settled him during some particularly bad times. Her listless quality was concerning, and there was no indication of what caused it. His best guess was that she was being punished or neglected. The videos never showed her with the VIP.

In contrast, Song seemed as happy as a puppy getting his stomach rubbed. He gave blowjobs with an enthusiasm that Junho couldn’t have mustered even when he was pretending. He clearly loved to be fucked. He seemed to live for the little breadcrumbs of ‘affection’ the VIP showed him, even though most of the time the man shoved Song away after he was done using him.

So. Song’s angry and pointed looks at Junho must have been jealousy, as baffling as it was. The detective thought that was interesting.

The detective came down firmly on the side of the videos being psychological warfare. A fucked-up variety of ‘this is what you can have if you behave’ and ‘this is what happens when you don’t.’ Almost like reviewing the videos with Trainer had been.

On what he thought must be Saturday, Junho woke from one of his unpredictable naps to what sounded like a scream of pain from the playroom. His heart and balls both leaped into his throat and every single pore on his body popped out a bead of sweat. For a moment, he thought he’d dreamed it, but as he strained his ears he could hear the faint echoes of the VIP’s angry shouting.

There was no TV that night. Junho wasn’t even fed dinner, as much as the protein pellets could be called that.

The icy knot of dread, which previously had been hidden under the pall of Junho’s comfortingly resigned depression, spread out into his veins faster than his blood would have carried it.

Handler came for Junho the next day, the pockets of his silky black pants lumpy. Instead of swapping Junho’s bowls, he crouched down, unlatched the cage, and pulled the door open. “Come.”

“Yes, handler.”

Junho’s heart began pounding harder, loud enough that he could feel it vibrate his chest, hear the rush of blood in his ears. Anything out of the ordinary was a threat under normal circumstances. And these were far from normal circumstances.

Even though his limbs felt numb in more than one way, Junho shifted to his hands and knees in the cramped space, shoved the metal bowls out of the way, and crawled out through the door.

Or he started to, anyway. Only his head and arms were out when Handler grabbed him by the hair and dragged him the rest of the way, like Junho was a net full of fish. His body tensed and one of his hands instinctively started to go up, but he caught himself in time. Instead of trying to resist the pull or the pain, he used his feet to try to help push himself along faster, so the burly man wouldn’t pull his scalp off.

Handler dragged Junho to the drain corner and tossed him on the drain like a man tossing a dirty rag in a hamper. “Strip.”

Junho’s hands worked automatically on the buckles of his soiled leather restraints until they were off. They’d chafed his wrists and ankles in places, and he went through the motions smoothly even when off one of the scabs over a deep cut on his chest was pulled off with his chest harness, like his body had been trying to fuse to the leather.

Finally, he took a deep breath and unbuckled his collar with shaking fingers. He felt naked without it, but he placed it down on the top of the nearest kennel.

Junho’s brain didn’t register that Handler had slapped him until he was already on the ground. His elbow shouted at him that it hadn’t liked hitting the tile that hard, his ears rang, and his face burned from his chin to his ear. The metallic taste of blood flooded his mouth.

“Cock cage too.” Handler’s voice was flat.

“Yes, handler.”

Junho struggled to his feet. His throat went so tight that he couldn’t swallow. He’d watched and felt Trainer manipulate the base ring enough to know how to get himself out of it, but he couldn’t think of a time he’d removed his own dick prison. And he’d never taken it off just to take a shower.

It was the looser ring that Trainer had put on him what felt like ages ago. Back when the VIP fucking him after having him flogged had been the worst thing in his life.

Fuck. What if those had been the good old days?

Junho’s hands trembled as he unclipped the little carabiner and slid off the plastic cage, then got the ring off. It was good that the base ring was the looser one because, as afraid as he was, his body hadn’t been handled in days and was as responsive as it ever was. He didn't think he’d have been able to get the tighter one off fast enough to avoid getting stiff.

When Handler’s arm lifted, Junho flinched back, but his reflexes registered the thing in Handler’s hand faster than his mind did. Fast enough for him to cover his balls with one hand and his eyes with the other before Handler sprayed him with the hose.

The pressure wasn’t enough to strip skin, but the stream of water hurt where it touched, especially when it hit any still-healing cuts. Junho didn’t think it was his imagination that the hose lingered on his nipples longer than necessary. The pain there was also pleasant, and his awareness of his dick leaped into his mind.

Thank goodness the water was cold and the spray of it hurt.

After Handler finished spraying down Junho’s front, he said, “Turn.”

“Yes, handler.”

Turning his back on the burly man was one of the hardest things Junho had ever tried to do in his life. Harder than stepping back from the cliff had been. He didn’t do it fast enough. Handler grabbed Junho’s arm and flung him into the tile wall.

He lost some time, the beads of himself skipping on their knotted string over waking nightmares. When Junho came back to himself, his shoulder and he hurt, and Handler was spraying down his back.

He hated that he was so weak.

Not weak, the detective said in Trainer’s placid voice. Just traumatized.

The spray from the hose hit Junho’s butt. “Spread your cheeks.”

Junho acknowledged, gritted his teeth and did what he was told. It was surprising that he was still bothered by indignities, despite everything that had been done to him.

Something clattered on the tile near Junho’s feet and he jumped. The unlabeled bottle was followed by a washcloth. He waited for the command.

“Wash. Or do you like smelling as disgusting as you look?”

“Yes, handler.”

He could imagine Handler smirking as his acknowledgment of the command sounded like an answer to the question. Junho had never met such a deliberate asshole.

The soap was the same floral-scented combination shampoo and body wash that he always used. The smell was a welcome change over the other smells that had baked themselves into his skin and the tiles of the room. Junho was generous with it, soaping his greasy hair and scrubbing his limbs like he wanted to take the skin off, working top to bottom like Trainer always had.

It took him so long to get the remnants of the pine tar out from between his toes that his scalp was itching from the soap drying in his hair. But he couldn’t help but imagine that the rinse would wash away the last of the sunlight from his skin.

Handler didn’t give him a razor, not even a safety razor. It was the hairiest Junho had been since he’d come to this place, and he wasn’t sure how he felt about it. If his hair hadn’t been growing back in patchy, reminding him that some of it had been permanently removed, he might have felt some other way.

Handler sprayed him down with the hose again after he washed. At least he was thorough. He didn’t give Junho a towel, or towel him off. He just rolled up the hose and pointed to the door to the playroom.

“Out.”

“Yes, handler.”

Junho’s legs shook under him. From the cold water and not toweling off, he told himself. Not from having Handler at his back or wondering whether he was being ordered to his death. Handler might be older and greying, but he was still physically competent, and Junho was stiff and out of shape from his time in the cage.

Junho wasn’t wearing cuffs or a harness of any sort. If Handler decided to kill him, the videos would prove that Junho hadn’t tried to make a run for it. If anyone looked at them. But he’d still be dead, so that wasn’t particularly comforting.

But he had no choice. He stepped out into the familiar smell of old smoke and old sex. It tried to shove more memories up his nose and into his brain, and he pushed them away before they could overwhelm him.

The playroom was as dark as a cloudy day. Rain fell against the windows.

Handler pushed the middle of Junho’s back and he staggered a few steps. “Get on the table.”

“Yes, handler.”

He hadn’t been killed yet. That was promising.

The table was against the wall between the door to the kennel room and what Junho had guessed must be the door to the VIP’s bathroom. Junho walked over to it on stiff legs. It felt entirely strange to walk around completely naked and unrestrained.

Handler hadn’t specifically told him how to get on the table. But there were no straps out, and no other way he could easily be attached to it without his cuffs on.

Junho chose to face the windows. Looking at the distant wet pine trees through the veil of misty rain brought a sense of centered but sorrowful peace to him. He stretched his arms up over his head, hooked his fingertips over the table's rim, and slowly allowed his legs to stretch. A trickle of water moved down from his wet hair past the back of his ear to rest on the table’s surface, like a streak of sweat. Or rain.

He didn’t realize that Handler had just left him there until he heard the distant sound of the door closing.

It was obviously a test. Here was a man who’d tried to escape, left on his own in a room and clearly set up for punishment. What would he do.

Junho shifted from time to time, enjoying the stretch of his muscles and the view of the trees under the grey but open sky. He knew that if he gave up escape, he wouldn’t feel rain on his skin again any time soon. Possibly forever. But he stayed on the table. It was the only choice that made sense to him, under the circumstances.

Chapter Text

The only downside of Junho’s decision to face the windows while on the table was that he couldn’t see the door to the room open and close, he could only hear it. With his arms stretched up, his shoulder got in the way of his chin before he could drop his eyes far enough. The farthest he could see was the closest end of the bar. And the door didn't make a sound when it opened, the latch only clicked when it closed, so someone could be in the room with him without him knowing.

He tried to ignore the way the skin tried to crawl off his back after he heard the latch click for the first time. Since knowing who had come in it wouldn’t affect anything about his situation, he told himself that it didn’t really matter. The droopy, rain-drenched trees were starting to disappear into the darkness of twilight, so he tried to enjoy looking at them for as long he could.

Words carried across the room. “Cut me a cigar, too.”

It was the first time Junho had heard the VIP’s voice since he’d tried to escape. His sigh was only a mental thing. He turned his head and rested his cheek on the leather padding of the table, looking in the direction the voice had come from.

At first, Junho could only see Lush, bent to get something out from under the bar. Her bountiful waves of hair almost covered her face. She came up with a wooden box, then several crystal items that she began arranging on a tray with the swiftness and precision of long practice.

“Go move my chair,” the VIP commanded.

Junho’s chest tightened when Trainer came into his line of sight, moving past the end of the bar. There were too many conflicting emotions for Junho to pick out a single one. Relief and apprehension wrestled to the top of the pile.

The trainer grunted with pain or effort as he picked up one of the heavy lounges. He hauled it around the black bed toward Junho’s side of the room. The thump when it dropped made Junho start, even though he’d watched it fall. The muscular man still looked battered, and the side of his face toward Junho was swollen, though none of his bruises looked particularly fresh. He knelt beside the lounge with his eyes deferentially down.

He didn’t look at Junho once.

Junho took in a deep breath and was pleased that it didn’t shudder on the way in. It was just that Trainer had to be the trainer. He wasn’t angry, Junho told himself.

The door closed again, and Handler took up his usual place behind the bar. His expression was characteristically dour, but when he noticed Junho’s eyes, his mouth shifted into a tight smile. Junho’s heart thudded somewhere in the bottom of his stomach, which was strange because his stomach had fallen through the floor.

Song must have come in on Handler’s heels, because the shorter man’s bouncing step took him past the bar and across the room. He knelt on the other side of the lounge from Trainer.

Song did look at Junho, and his eyes held a vicious sort of pleasure, as if he had taken the most powerful schadenfreude and made it into voodoo needles that he was mentally stabbing into Junho’s flesh. Junho looked back at him, not staring him down, but instead trying to puzzle him out. He couldn’t imagine what it must be like to live in Song’s head.

Junho only looked away when the VIP sauntered over in one of his silky robes, this one crimson with golden embroidery, like he’d tried to match the crimson walls and golden table. He flopped into the lounge, which groaned under his weight. Song had crouched to the right of the lounge, away from Trainer. But that was the side the VIP liked the tray to be positioned on, and when Lush came over, she nudged Song lightly with one of her bare feet.

Song frowned unhappily but shifted to the side, and Lush stepped into his place.

She lit a cigar, puffing it herself until it began to smoke, then offered it over to the VIP. A crystal whiskey decanter and a glass also stood on the tray, but he didn’t ask for a drink yet. He smoked and looked at Junho like a man preparing to eat a very fine dinner, and Junho kept his eyes toward the VIP’s face even as he wanted to look anywhere else.

Well, anywhere else other than where Handler was.

It felt to Junho like they were waiting for someone else. It must be Peaches. Another sex-slave family reunion.

When Peaches ghosted into Junho’s line of sight with her silent toe-to-heel footsteps, he first thought that she was wearing some weird asymmetrical shirt, but no. Her arm was in a silky black sling. Her face was so pale that it seemed to almost glow in the light.

A sour flavor invaded Junho’s mouth and conquered his tongue. The scream he’d heard. The shouting. Trainer had said that the VIP viewed his pets as valuable investments that he never harmed someone unless they made him, but Junho knew from experience that the VIP also injured people when he was in a temper.

He couldn’t imagine what Peaches might have done. Then again, the temper that injured Junho hadn’t resulted from anything he’d done.

Peaches knelt on the other side of the Trainer. Junho waited until the VIP looked toward Lush before he allowed his eyes to shift over. Her haunted, hollow eyes, were on him, and he tried to send empathy to her. It wasn’t much, but it was what he had. It was what she would have done for him.

The VIP started to turn back with a whiskey glass, and Junho dragged his back to the man he hated. The way the VIP eyes him made him feel like a suckling pig on a table before the feast. All he needed was an apple in his mouth.

Dread coiled in Junho’s stomach, but he made himself not move. His mouth tasted like he’d sucked for too long on a sour candy. He didn’t realize that he’d forgotten to breathe until he started to get a little dizzy, then made himself breathe on a count, not wanting to hyperventilate either.

The VIP took another puff on his cigar, filling the air with sweet-smelling smoke. “Trainer,” he said, and his tone of voice added an unspoken ‘get to it.’

Junho drew in a slightly longer breath. It wasn’t Handler who was going to beat him or kill him. Probably not kill him. But in either case, he was glad it was Trainer.

The trainer unfolded upward from his kneel. “Yes, sir.”

He didn’t look at Junho as he went around the table. There was enough time for Junho to sweat before he heard a clatter and then sounds of objects being put down on a hard surface. He recognized the sounds from when Teacher had set up the tray of torture implements the day she’d ordered Peaches to hurt him.

Junho swallowed a mouthful of sour saliva and let his cheek rest on the table. He didn’t know why he was worrying about it. What would happen was what would happen. Junho tried to anticipate nothing, so that he wouldn’t be surprised by whatever happened.

The crop landed on his ass, stinging and burning, and he jerked where he stretched on the table. But he kept his fingers curled over the top so he didn’t pull himself off, knowing what he was supposed to do without having to be told.

Junho wasn’t sure whether this was a punishment or purely a demonstration for the VIP’s pleasure. Trainer’s role was confusing. Teacher had beat him for pleasure, but Trainer usually only hurt him as punishment. He wasn’t giving instructions and but he wasn’t toying with him the way Teacher had by making the strikes unpredictable.

Junho didn’t try to hold in his cries or his body’s responses to the pain. The VIP would just take them anyway. He should have listened to Trainer, the first time he’d said that, and set aside his pride. It would have saved him a lot of pain between there and here.

After the crop had his entire ass stinging and burning like it was on fire, Trainer started in with one of the floggers. Junho couldn’t have helped but to yell then anyway, as the leather fingers impacted his already-burning skin. He jerked with every strike but never allowed himself to pull off the table.

His breath was shuddering by the time the VIP lifted a finger in a clear ‘one moment’ gesture. He untied the front of his crimson and gold robe and spread it open. The man’s cock was hard, of course, and probably had been hard for a while.

Junho’s breath caught in. He wasn’t prepped, hadn’t been prepped for days. Surely the VIP wouldn’t want to fuck him. Trainer had said so many times that the man was obsessed with cleanliness.

But when had the man ever been predictable.

Junho didn’t breathe out until the VIP said in his thick and heavy voice. “Song. Get up here. Sit on my cock.”

Song shot to his feet, his prim voice bright and vibrantly musical. “Yes, sir.”

The blond man eagerly straddled the VIP, adopting Junho’s most-hated position with an evident pleasure that he simply couldn’t understand. The VIP and Song groaned together as Song lowered himself. The blond man was hard as an iron bar even before the VIP started toying with his nipple rings.

Junho hated his own dick for shifting into his awareness, his arousal not fully deterred by the pain or dangerousness of his situation.

The VIP rocked Song in his lap and waved Trainer on.

The first time the paddle fell on Junho’s welts was an agony second only to getting hit in the balls with it. It slapped Junho’s consciousness into the timeless place it went only when he was in an endurance battle with serious pain. He let the pain cut through him without resistance, like the fin of a shark through fog. He was a shuddering, sobbing mess before the VIP called a halt to it.

In a voice that was thick and heavy with arousal, he said, “Lush, give Trainer the tray. Then you and Peaches get the fuck out.”

Junho peeled open his eyes. The VIP was making a shooing gesture with his cigar, trailing a zig-zag of smoke in the air. It couldn’t be the man’s first cigar of the night. Could it? It couldn’t.

The other slaves acknowledged and moved like clockwork figures. Song’s glare was pure venomous hatred, as if he blamed Junho for being the centerpiece of the night.

Junho had eyes only for the VIP. Well. One eye. His other was below the level of his stretched-up arm now that his cheek was stuck on the table, and it couldn’t see much of anything.

He didn’t want to try to read the VIP’s expression. He didn’t want to know. But his mind did it without regard for Junho’s preferences.

The VIP's half-lidded blue eyes held a profoundly malicious mischief and the predatory anticipation of a stalking tiger on the hunt.

Chapter Text

After the door to the VIP’s playroom clicked closed behind Lush and Peaches, the VIP continued to toy with Song’s nipples as absently as he would swirl a whiskey glass. The blond man moaned and pressed his chest out against the VIP’s hand. He erection almost visibly throbbed, and Junho could see the tensing and relaxing of the VIP’s legs as he fucked slowly up into him. Junho had no idea whether it was supposed to mean something, or whether it was just what the VIP was doing because having sex was how he passed the time.

“Tell me why you’re being punished, Pretty Eyes.” The VIP’s voice was thick and heavy with pauses, the way it got when he was aroused, but the dangerously predatory mischief hadn’t left his expression.

Junho willed every bit of submission he’d ever pretended to feel into existence. It was easier to do when he was in so much pain, had just spent a week in a dark cage, and didn’t want to go back. “Because I tried to escape, sir.”

The VIP’s eyes were dangerous blue fires. “Wrong.” Then, “Trainer.”

Junho hadn’t seen the paddle, hadn’t realized that Trainer had taken it with him when he’d replaced Lush. The trainer stepped forward, lifted the paddle up, and brought it down on Junho’s welted ass. He hadn’t been prepared for it and cried out with pain.

The trainer stepped back to the VIP’s lounge. Paddle in one hand, tray on the other. The tray was as steady as if it had been anchored into the side of a brown cliff.

The VIP’s voice burred with anger. “Escape? You’re not a prisoner, Pretty Eyes, you’re my fucking property. I own you. You tried to steal from me.”

Adrenaline flooded Junho’s system, carrying the pain away on a wave of tightening muscles and quickening blood. Stealing was what Trainer said he and Gerhart had been accused of. He wasn’t going to just lie here and be murdered, or watch the VIP kill Trainer.

It has to be a test, the detective warned. There’d be no point to showing you positive things on the TV screen if he was just going to kill you.

Because he always acts rationally?, Junho shot back.

But the detective was probably right. Junho took in a slow shuddering breath, stayed where he was, and was glad he didn’t have to answer. When the venomous disappointment flashed over Song’s face, Junho knew he’d been right.

The VIP settled back a little. Some of the dangerous fire went out of his eyes, and he studied Junho like a housecat watching something interesting rather than like a jungle cat preparing to pounce. “Why’d you come back?”

While he was in the cage, Junho had thought about what questions he might be asked and what answers he should give. He played through possibilities like it was an interrogation in the station, except that the VIP would be the detective and Junho would be the suspect. He knew the usual mistakes suspects made, at least.

Junho knew that he should stick to as much of the truth as possible, to appear more credible and to be less likely to get caught in a lie. To answer with as much of the truth as he could, even if it wasn’t the whole truth. He’d practiced the questions and answers in his mind until they were as automatic to him as fastening on his cuffs.

He kept his eyes on the VIP, didn’t let them slide off to the side in a manner that could be viewed as shifty. “I wanted to, sir.”

“Did you really?” The VIP’s eyes burned like they were on fire and he was going to burn Junho down. But he didn’t order Trainer to hit him.

“Yes sir.” His other option had been death. And he hadn’t wanted to die, not really.

The silence stood for a moment until it was broken by one of Song’s soft, needy noises as he pressed back against the VIP. The shorter, stockier man’s body flexed in a way that made his muscles ripple. Despite the burning of Junho’s ass, he felt that twitch of awareness in his own groin, his dick perking its ears like Pavlov's dog.

“So why’d you run?”

There was a lot of room for truth in Junho’s carefully selected answer. “Your son wanted to do things with my body, sir, that are for you only. It scared me.”

The VIP’s almost nonexistently pale eyebrows lifted. “Trainer.”

Junho flinched as the trainer stepped forward. His paddle came down on Junho’s ass with the sound of a wet steak hitting a cutting board, and he let the pain pull a shout out of him.

Apparently watching Junho beaten wasn’t a sufficient enough outlet for the VIP’s irritation. His fingers twisted on one of Song’s nipples, and the man gave an undignified squeak that was somewhere between pleasure and pain.

“My son scared you? That little shit? Come on, now, Pretty Eyes, we both know you’ve got balls.”

“It wasn’t him…” Junho hadn’t anticipated this level of delicacy to the question, exactly, so he had to think about how to phrase his answer and just hope his hesitation didn’t read like avoidance. “It was how it would make you angry. That’s what scared me, sir.”

It was the truth, as far as that went. And what’s more, he hoped the VIP found it flattering. Junho remembered the way that, on the bed in this room, Trainer had said that the VIP’s pleasure came first. It was the most ridiculously insincere flattery Junho had heard in his life, but the VIP seemed to have taken it seriously. If Junho had balls and was afraid of the VIP’s anger, what did that say about the power of it?

The VIP’s eyes narrowed, but he didn’t order Trainer to hit him again. “Then why'd you egg him on?”

“I’m sorry sir, I don't know what 'egg him on' means. Those words like that.”

The VIP’s tone was flat, but he didn't seem to read Junho's honest confusion as avoidance. “Why'd you encourage him?”

In his mental review of the days, Junho had realized that anyone watching the video would have been able to see him turn his hand over. It could have been an invitation, like the young man had taken it. But it also could be interpreted as pleading. It was the kid who had stepped close, not Junho, and he’d pitched his whisper deliberately low so that it wouldn’t carry to Trainer’s ears.

He couldn’t for the life of him remember his exact conversation with the VIP’s son, so he couldn’t preten