Cason looked out on the sea of dancing people. He could see several people he knew from the scene and a lot of newbies out in the crowd. Strokes wasn't really a fetish bar; it was more of a place for like-minded people to gather and hang out. Still, there was plenty of eye candy, bare skin held in harnesses, mesh shirts, and better yet, nothing at all. His cock stirred as he watched two twinks dance with each other, their hips grinding back and forth to the throbbing beat of the music.
Taking a drink, Cason savored the bitter strength of the alcohol as it trickled down his throat. It had been a long week, and an even longer day making the wooden rocking chair Tiffany had ordered. He deserved the break to relax his aching body. The tiny woman had wanted something her size and carved along the back with moonflower vines, her favorite plant that had grown by the swing on her grandmother's porch when she was small.
Sentimental, but a lot of what Cason carved for people was. He liked listening to his customers and then carving something to meet their needs out of the responsive wood. It filled a driving force inside him. Rocking chairs, cradles, tables, spanking benches and even dildos had been carved, polished, then boxed up and shipped out of his shop.
It was a good hobby and the way it dovetailed into his other... life, was nice too.
Tonight his body craved a different force. He needed a sub; to control, to please, to drive his cock into until they both came.
There were plenty of options.
"Hey, man." A hand clamped down on his shoulder. Cason smiled and turned to see his best friend standing beside him with a smaller guy tucked against his side.
"Brandon." Cason cocked his head toward Page. "Something come out of your mouth that shouldn't have?" he asked.
Page rolled his eyes but said nothing. He couldn't with his dark red lips stretched tight around a ball gag that was strapped behind his head. Brandon reached over and pinched one of Page's nipples, the small nubs already swollen, and the poor guy went rigid.
"No rolling your eyes," Brandon said in his slow, deep voice. Page nodded frantically and Brandon let up on his grip slowly, then rubbed the abused flesh softly, which would only increase the ache over time.
Cason's cock plumped up more at the small display. He'd met Page a few months back at a munch. Even for one of those informal gatherings Page had pushed limits. They'd talked; Cason even liked him, but the sub's bratty demeanor wasn't what Cason preferred in his partners. A glimpse of Page's inner spirit and he'd known from the tinge of colors in Page that the small man would be perfect for his best friend. All it had taken was an introduction and Page had been smitten with the giant man with a deep voice and very deliberate hands. Just like Cason had known he would. "So, Brandon, having fun?"
"Always." Brandon ordered a beer for himself, ignoring the imploring look from beneath Page's lashes that was being sent his way. "He'll behave and be ready to put that tongue to good use when I finally take the gag out though. Then we'll both be having fun, won't we, babe?"
Page's wink made both men laugh out loud.
The brat had a thing for gags. Cason had an order due in a few weeks from Brandon for Page's birthday gift; he wanted a wood bit gag that would let Brandon restrain and control Page's head movement. It had to be silky smooth wood, to protect his mouth, so of course Cason was the best man to order from. He'd made several toys for Brandon over the years.
"So, how is the counselor doing tonight? Found a new boy to fix and find a happy relationship for?"
Like he needed that reminder. Cason hadn't taken anyone home in a while for just that reason. He'd been in the lifestyle for some time but his particular ability made it difficult to want to play over the last year. One by one, the subs he'd guided through the scenes to their subspace and sent soaring the bliss beyond had thanked him, usually on their knees with their cum still decorating their bodies... and then found someone else that fit the needs his ability allowed them to realize.
He always knew what they needed, but none of them ever needed him.
Cason scanned the dance floor again. Sometimes he couldn't resist; he needed that connection with them too, as fleeting as it was. He was a Dom and they were looking for something to fulfill them, personally, sexually... both of those intertwined for most of them. Creating their perfect scene and guiding them to it seemed to connect them to the submissive inside, whoever that person turned out to be.
None of the dancing singles on the floor captured his attention though, so he turned away, glancing at the door just as it opened. Maybe he'd order a second drink, if he wasn't going to play.
"I don't think there is anyone here that needs me, not tonight."
His balls ached at the thought. Pleasuring himself was fine from time to time, but he got tired of using his hands on his own cock. He wanted to knead malleable flesh, to stroke and smack it. He wanted hot lips wrapped around his cock while his hand was buried in sweaty blond hair as soft, gray-green eyes stared up at him.
He knew better than to go there.
Vince, Page's roommate, had just entered the bar. Cason had been watching him for a few months, ever since he got to know Page. Vince sidled up to the edge of the bar and ordered. Cason hoped it would be a nice alcoholic beverage, something fruity maybe, or a rum and coke. Those would fit the way the young man seemed, flirty and fun or dark and smoldering when the eyes of interested men were on him. Cason frowned when the bartender smiled back at Vince as he handed Vince a bottle of water, saying something to the cheerful blond who slid his change in pants damn near too tight to get his hands in the pockets.
Someone else had come out to play tonight.
"Hey, Cason!" Brandon's big elbow nudged him.
"What?" He rubbed at his ribs, then realized he'd lost Vince in the crowd when Brandon distracted him. He glared at Brandon. "Keep those damn things to yourself." He tried looking around subtly for Vince. "Hey, a booth just opened up. Let's go sit down, unless you're going to dance?"
Page looked up at Brandon who shook his head. "Not yet."
They headed over to the booth, putting their glasses down and sitting on the soft leather benches. Page snuggled up against Brandon's side, his hands out of sight under the table. He was probably begging to go dance, in the only way he could with his mouth plugged.
Cason enjoyed the thick cushioned seat as he leaned back and sighed in relief. "Long day."
Unfortunately, Brandon was more focused on him than his sub, and they wouldn't be going dancing. Cason recognized the obstinate look on Brandon's face; they'd sit there until he answered his friend's questions. "What's up with you?" Brandon asked. "You've been acting off for the last few weeks."
How was Cason supposed to tell him about the stories he'd heard about Page's little roommate? About how he wanted to snap the so-called Doms the poor man had been playing with in half?
His friend looked down at Page who had turned away and was staring out at the dance floor. Brandon shifted his gaze out at the sea of people, looking in the direction Page was staring. Cason turned in his seat and looked too. He knew what he'd see before he looked, but he did it anyway.
The dance floor was lit up. The song had changed but the beat stayed the same, calling for dancers to move and writhe together in a parody of a more intimate act.
Of course if this was a fetish club people probably would have been having sex on the dance floor, but Strokes was too mainstream for that. Cason saw a woman whose breasts were being fondled under her shirt by the man behind her. Swaying next to her were a couple of men grinding into each other's thighs. They were locked in tight together; the dancer's ass he could see looked like a tight handful and it was being squeezed happily by a grinning man that scooted into the pair's space and joined them.
But Page wasn't looking at any of that. His roommate was on the edge of the dance floor, his chin tucked to his chest as an arrogant redheaded man standing beside him stroked his hand down his stomach toward his belt before hooking a finger into it. The man hauled Vince up against his body. Vince tilted his head back and smiled, saying something before he looked down again. His smile disappeared when he looked down, though.
Cason narrowed his eyes at the pair. He resisted getting up and interfering, even though the sneering curl in the redhead's lip pissed him off. Something about the blond triggered a protective instinct in him, but the man's spirit wasn't touched in any way Cason could see. He needed guidance, obviously, but not the type that Cason could offer him.
Some days he cursed his daimon heritage. He could see the color of the spirits inside a submissive and know, based on that influence, what would drive them to reach their center. Inside each submissive lay their truth, and finding that brought them to find peace in their individual submission. His own ability lay in taking them on the journey, through the scenes he planned for the submissive he took under his protection.
The last few times he'd been with a sub he'd succeeded in breaking down their barriers, but after each scene ended and he'd soothed their shattered nerves, gave them water and praised them, they left. He'd been sated, in a way, but the longing grew for someone who needed more from him.
But Vince didn't need him.
And Cason needed someone to need him. He drained his drink. "I'm going for a refill, can I get you anything?"
Brandon shook his head. "No." He polished off his beer. "I think we are going to dance."
Instead of getting up and losing their table, Cason had held up his hand until a waiter noticed him. "I'll take a beer."
None of the hungry spirits in the room called to him; no one truly needed him. He wasn't in the mood to play, so instead he drank. He was on his second beer when Brandon led Page back over to the table. They were breathing hard; Page's nipples were an angry red. Brandon had probably been teasing them the whole time they were gone.
"I got you some water."
The bottle sat unopened on the table on their side of the booth. Brandon cracked it open and drank, his head tipped back and his Adam's apple bobbing as he swallowed. Page whimpered. Brandon put the bottle down on the table and sat down. He pulled Page into his lap, staring down at his sub's face.
He traced his fingers around the lips stretched wide around the black ball gag. "You thirsty?" His voice was a low rumble. Page nodded. "If I take this out to give you a drink you won't move or make a sound, will you?"
The sub shook his head; folding both hands together and putting them in his lap. He rested against Brandon and waited.
"Remember, don't move." Brandon picked up the water bottle and took a drink. He slid a hand over Page's cropped hair and unbuckled the gag, holding the strap to the back of Page's head so it wouldn't fall when he slowly removed the ball from his sub's mouth. Page didn't move, leaving his mouth wide open.
Brandon traced those lips with his finger again. Page's lips trembled and he breathed out hard through his nose. He closed Page's mouth with one hand under his chin and then kissed him, slowly giving him his drink. Cason shook his head as Brandon's tongue followed the water as the two kissed. Brandon gave Page two more drinks the same way.
He used his thumb on Page's glistening lower lip to part his lips again, then fit the black ball back into his mouth and fastened the buckle tight at the back of his head. Instead of acting resentful, Page melted against Brandon's body with a whimper, hugging him.
"I'm impressed," Cason said to Brandon. "He is very sweet tonight. I didn't think he'd like being gagged in public so much."
Brandon smirked. "He likes it when I'm mean."
His sub stroked at Brandon's neck, his eyes half-shut. He slid those naughty hands down, over the hard chest and stomach to drop below the table.
Brandon's eyes flared open wide and he shuddered. "I think we're going to go home early tonight though."
It was evident in the slow squirm of his body that, if Page could have smiled around the gag, he would have.
"You good?" Brandon asked. "Need a ride home?"
Cason waved his hand. "No, I'll be fine. I'll grab a cab when I'm done." He decided to have one more beer before heading home. That way he'd sleep really well. Just one more wouldn't give him a hangover but would see him comfortably buzzed.
While he drank he watched. He observed the people swirling in front of the bar, watching as those destined to meet up did and those who were still lost to their way searched for what they were looking for. Here, the spirit Kydoimos had touched a man with confusion; his eyes clouded with a pale white shade, so he couldn't see the way the young woman at the table beside his looked at him shyly through her lashes. He would remain oblivious, tonight at least.
Caerus exposed his influence, in a blue flash in another man's eyes, as he took a sudden chance and seized the opportunity to ask the guy waiting for a drink at the bar in front of him if he wanted to dance instead. Oizys, green with tinges of red, had sunk heavily over a woman crying into her wine glass, her woes being soothed by the friend rubbing her shoulders and insisting that "the jerk didn't deserve her."
They were everywhere, the spirits his ancestors had venerated in ancient Greece. He'd scoffed at the stories his grandfather told until puberty struck. Then he knew the truth. Cason's grandpa told him about using his ability to help people, but he had to learn focus so he could see the truth of the path for those in need of help. Pappous had suggested eastern meditation practices, but Cason had rejected the lessons as stupid and old-fashioned.
It was during his senior year when Cason learned how right his Pappous was. One kiss and grope after class in the empty locker room had Billy, the oh-so-straight jock, seeing the light shine into his closet of denial. Somehow it also showed Billy that he really wanted Sam Drisver from his Geography class to pin him against the lockers, not Cason.
The sting from that first encounter still lingered. Deciding to heed his grandpa's advice on channeling his abilities through breath and focus, Cason had turned to vispassana exercises. He never let his friends catch him doing it, but the breathing and meditations, and the weight of history he felt when he finally understood what it really meant to search for that inner peace, had allowed him to reach new levels of confidence in his ability. After nearly a year, he'd learned to invoke the necessary state of calm within the space of one deep breath. He often wondered if that was what subs felt when they reached that high many of them called subspace.
Evidence of the spirits' influence was easy for Cason to spot after that. Gradually he grew into his sexuality and learned how to know who was touched by the spirits, and how to help them... if they wanted help. His grandfather's gifts had been different; they certainly didn't revolve around sex like Cason's did, much less the BDSM kink he used, but Pappous had told Cason to remember that using his gift to help others would be rewarded one day.
His eyes returned again and again to Vince. He could see behind the bright smile and easy pliancy to Vince's anxiety as he molded his body to the redheaded man who'd claimed him, exposed by the tight clench of his fists and the expression in those eyes that no one else saw.
Fuck it. His ability might not be able to help Vince, but maybe he could. He knew a lot of Dominants in the city who would jump at the chance at the young sub. It needed to be soon too; with each scene he did the blond man seemed to break a little more.
He'd find the right man for the submissive, but first he'd have to find out more about him. That meant he'd need to talk to Page.
He was damn sure the sub's tongue was going to get a whole other type of workout that night.
"So what can you tell me about Vince's interest in the lifestyle?" Cason barely waited until Page sat gingerly in the chair beside him before questioning him about Vince.
"Not a lot you don't already know, unfortunately. He's different now. We knew each other as kids, you know." He shivered, blowing on his hands. "It's cold outside today." Snow was swirling around the sidewalk just outside the window they sat in front of.
"I ordered you a mocha." He nodded at the cup on the small table between their chairs. His own preference was simpler; he enjoyed the rich bitter flavor of black coffee. His special blend of coffee at home was better, but he wasn't going to meet with another man's sub in his residence alone, even if it was his best friend's sub. "Tell me what you do know, as soon as you warm up a little."
"Thank you," Page said as he pulled off his gloves and set them in his lap. "Ah, this is nice." He held the cup curled between his hands.
Cason smiled. "Polite today, aren't you?"
That made Page laugh. "Well, I don't have anyone here who will gag me and paddle my ass if I'm not, now do I?" He winked as he took a sip. "They make the best mochas here. Sweet with a hint of dark roast coffee, like a rich hot cocoa for adults." Page held his cup up and blew on it before taking another sip. .
"That's Vince's favorite drink, you know. Cocoa." Page looked up at him. "I can tell you more about him, as a person, than I can tell you about him as a sub."
Excellent. Cason already had one little tidbit of information to tuck away. He gestured for Page to continue.
"He doesn't like caffeine, or sugar. He has a wicked way with cars. He knows how to get the broken ones purring in seconds. There's no one better at restoration."
"You live and work with him, right?" Cason asked.
Page shook his head. "We're roommates, but I don't work at the garage. I do custom work for him sometimes, leather seats for the cars he fixes up, or the motorcycles. I can't program a coffee pot, much less fix a car." He took another drink of his mocha, then sighed. "Growing up, most people would never have guessed we were friends. I met him when we were in high school. We were a pair of openly gay kids in a school that didn't always keep an eye on the goings on between students."
"Oh, nothing too horrible," Page assured him when Cason frowned, "we weren't jumped in the locker room and beaten or anything. But kids like to tease, and when you're a social outcast, you tend to band together with other social outcasts. Vince hung out with these slacker guys in the shop. They all took this automotive class before the school decided to fire the teacher for selling parts from the shop's teaching supplies.
"One day I got a bunch of food on me at lunch and I had an allergic reaction to the salad dressing. Vince drove me home to change and get some medicine, blowing off his plans with his other friends." The small man's voice was matter of fact about the incident. "Turns out the assholes who tripped me into the garbage can accidentally did him a big favor. The rest of the guys he hung out with spent the hour in the shop, after they stole the principal and vice principal's cars and chop shopped them in protest, right there on school grounds. Idiot teenagers."
"I'm assuming they got into major trouble."
Page nodded. "Yeah, and the class was canceled anyway. After that Vince got a job working part time at Pearson's. He sucked at school. He has ADHD, but cars just seem to focus him, you know? But he can do more than that, if he has a good reason. Pearson told him to go to college and learn how to run a business and when he retires, he'll let Vince buy the place. It was the one thing that got him through and made him focus enough to graduate this year."