by Kimyō Tabibito (奇妙 旅人)
illustrated by The Winter Cynic

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/285051.html)

“It feels like another world up here.” Geoff looked out the window at the trees blurring past as they drove, scattered with twisted, spindly pines and white flashes of birch. Even the soil had changed, sandy and pale.

“It’s kinda magic,” Brannon looked over at Geoff for just a moment, before maneuvering the car off I-75 onto an empty exit headed east. The sun set in a riot of red-oranges behind them, giving the illusion of truth to Brannon’s words. “It’s why I own a house up here and rent a place in Detroit. Everything falls away when I drive up North and see the landscape shift, and it’s just…magic,” he repeated, voice falling soft.

“It just makes sense.” Geoff reached across the console and laid a hand on Brannon’s thigh; when Brannon dropped his hand to cover it, Geoff lifted Brannon’s hand and pressed a soft kiss to the palm, lips lingering against warm skin.

“That’s distracting when I’m driving.” Brannon’s hand jerked back to the wheel, but his face was hot with pleasure.

“Fair enough.” Geoff smiled as he eyed his…significant other? Boyfriend? Lover? All the terms seemed either too clinical or relied on language he wasn’t comfortable using. Relationship and sexual labels had never been Geoff’s friend, but Brannon loved them.

Gay. Kinky. Submissive.

Geoff had known these from the very beginning. He was jealous of Brannon’s ability to identify himself with such surety. For himself, Geoff was somewhere on the asexual spectrum, never quite settling into one particular label. His attraction wasn’t something he could quantify or understand.

To add the potential for more complication with kink was daunting.

He closed his eyes and laid his hand back on Brannon’s thigh. A comfortable silence filled the car as they drove toward the lakeshore. Geoff’s emotions shifted somewhere between hesitance and eagerness as he thought about the friends who would be joining them.

“Hey, penny for your thoughts?” Brannon broke the silence as it went heavy around them.

“This week, the party.” Geoff’s eyes stayed closed. “Kink and sex.”

“Totally not a requirement,” Brannon reassured him, for about the tenth time. “Either one. I want you, Geoff.”

Geoff stayed silent, thankful that Brannon never pushed conversation; sometimes, he needed a moment to gather his thoughts. “I am overwhelmed by you. By wanting to be with you in a way I don’t have words to explain.”

“I…think I understand.” Brannon’s voice had a smile in it, and Geoff opened his eyes and turned his head.

“What, that I overwhelm you?” Geoff snickered.

“I want you in ways I can’t explain. It’s like we’re both uncharted lands to one another, and I don’t know.” He shrugged, a sheepish expression tugging down the corners of his lips. “That sounds super-pretentious.”

Geoff pressed his lips together to keep from laughing. “That sounds like something I’d say.”

“Yeah, well.” Brannon shot him a sly grin. “If the shoe fits.”

“Brannon McKenzie!” Geoff’s snorted with laughter and he shook his head. “You are…are incorrigible!”

“And you, love, are a little pretentious.” Geoff’s heart caught in his throat from Brannon’s easy affection.

“That is not… untrue.” He slapped his arm anyway with a disgruntled little sound.

“Do that again when I’m not driving,” Brannon teased, wiggling like the overgrown puppy he was.

“Mm. Maybe. Maybe I want to see someone else slap you this week?” Geoff was proud that his voice didn’t waver much.

“Oh yes, yes,” Brannon all but purred. “Harper and Loren. I’m sure if I asked nicely they would see me suitably slapped.” He offered Geoff a goofy grin.

“Those two are–” He shook his head. “Are something else.” Almost overwhelming.

“They’re good with me. But they’re good with teaching, too.”

“Right.” Geoff swallowed down the anxiety rising up the back of his throat. “I’ve heard enough about what you do. It’s time for me to see. I don’t want to just watch your friends play, I want to really know what you like.”

“Geoff,” Brannon’s voice was tight, “I… The fact that you want to understand. That you’re even considering trying this for me–”

“I’m the one supposed to be saying that to you,” Geoff murmured, cutting Brannon off. “It’s been what, seven months? You’ve never pushed for more.”

Brannon sputtered for a moment, awkward and earnest in a way Geoff loved. “I’m not a jerk,” Brannon huffed. “Anyway, I could say the same to you, you know.” Brannon turned the car, tires crunching on gravel, the lake in the distance.

“I. Yes. Yes there is.” Geoff looked out the window thankful for the dark to hide the color in his cheeks. Lake Huron was visible through the trees and scattered houses, gleaming dark in the moonlight. “Magic, is it?” He turned back to Brannon, eyebrow arched.

“Magic,” Brannon confirmed as he pulled into a house at the end of the road. Geoff stepped out into the evening air, warm and humid after the chilled air in the car. He could hear the water lapping against the shore as the trees rustled in the wind.


Over the next few days the cottage filled up. Bedrooms had been first-come-first-serve. Harper and Loren ended up nesting in the living room with Stefan and Eli, the four of them outrageous and boisterous as they teased one another. Their energy was contagious; Geoff couldn’t help grinning as he watched.

Thursday night they gathered out on the beach. A fire blazed in the middle of the group. Most everyone was still in swim shorts or, in some cases, naked. Rafael and Simon captured Geoff’s attention. Simon spent his evening at Rafael’s feet, when he wasn’t getting drinks or dinner for his lover. He even ate from Rafael’s fingers.

“It can be a bit much, when you’re new.” Keith sat down alongside Geoff, following his gaze to where Simon knelt between Rafael’s legs. “Those two play deeper than anyone else here. Actually, no. It is not a game for them. It’s a lifestyle.”

Geoff digested those words, holding them up against Keith and Zachary’s playful behavior. The easy banter between Keith and Zachary was in sharp contrast to the formality Simon offered Rafael. Yes, there was humor between them, but also deep respect and love that gripped Geoff, holding him fascinated.

“I’m surprised by how lovely I find it.” He turned away then, hand rubbing across the back of his neck. “It’s, no, I’m not really surprised at all,” he corrected. He’d spent enough time in the company of these men to know that he enjoyed how BDSM shaped their intimacy.

Keith offered him a wide smile. “It is lovely,” he agreed.

“Lovely maybe isn’t the word I’d use. Fucking amazing?” Zachery offered as he picked Keith up and resettled him into his lap, taking the opportunity to grope his fiancé as much as possible. Geoff smiled at the pair, but turned back to Simon and Rafael once more.

From across the fire there was a sound of skin hitting skin and a soft grunt. “Hey! That hurt, you sadistic fuck!” Harper yelped and glared at Loren.

“Oh, honestly.” Rafael finally looked up from Simon. “At least a third of us here are sadistic fucks, Harper. You could be a bit more creative with your insults.”

A marshmallow flew over the fire and bounced off Rafael’s chest to hit Simon in the face. Simon blinked but he picked it up and whipped it back with impressive aim. It smacked against Harper’s cheek and Harper retaliated. Ignoring the marshmallows that began to fly from all directions, Zachery kept up his steady teasing of Keith, hand sliding into his pants.

Conversation derailed and sweets launched every which way he watched. “Thank you,” Geoff whispered, his head resting against Brannon’s shoulder.

“For what? My insane friends?” A marshmallow glanced off Geoff’s cheek, and he tossed it at Stefan who appeared to be signing something lewd at Eli, if his hand gestures where anything to go by.

“Just that,” he said with a solemn little nod.

There was a little crash of chairs and Geoff jerked his head around to see Rafael picking Simon up around the waist. “That was ice!” Rafael sounded shocked and Simon grinned.

“Oops, sir?” Simon waggled his eyebrows and did his best to sound sweet and innocent.

Not that anything happening around the fire was innocent, but it devolved from there. Rafael stuffed a handful of marshmallows into Simon’s mouth; they went everywhere as he sputtered.

“Oh god.” Brannon came to stand beside Geoff. “I’m pretty sure Zachery is going to make Keith come in his pants,” Brannon pointed out as he nudged Geoff forward in the lounge chair and settled behind him. “And if I’m judging things right, Rafael just ran off to get their toy bag, and the play party might be starting early.”

Geoff wrapped Brannon’s arms around him, taking refuge as much from the marshmallows as the emotions rolling in his chest. “I’m all right with that. If I’m not, I can slip away with no feelings hurt?”

“Of course,” Brannon promised with a kiss to Geoff’s throat. He tilted his head to the side, letting Brannon know that it was welcome. Tension Geoff hadn’t realized he was holding melted away and he relaxed back into Brannon’s hold.

Rafael came back with a large black suitcase and a length of dyed blue hemp rope. Simon let out a delighted bark of laughter and started a cat-and-mouse game with his lover. Rope in hand Rafael gave chase, darting around the fire and friends.

Not for the first time since meeting Brannon, Geoff felt like he had lived a rather small and sheltered life. He’d been vaguely aware these kinds of things happened, but thought them relegated to fantasy. And yet, here he was, a smile tugging up his lips as he watched everyone play.

Simon went down in the sand as Rafael caught him, hands jerked roughly behind his back. He struggled, but he laughed as bright blue rope wrapped around his wrists. Geoff let out a startled sound as Rafael put a knee to Simon’s back, holding him down in the sand as he finished tying off the rope around his wrists. Brannon’s arms went a little tighter around his waist.

“It’s fine, if you’re worried,” Brannon said softly enough that only Geoff should have been able to hear over the laughter and the whistles of approval. “They play rough, but know what they are doing.”

“No, no, I’m not worried,” Geoff assured Brannon, his voice distracted.

Simon was small, but he squirmed out of Rafael’s grip. Hands bound, he darted out of reach, leftover rope snaking behind him like a tail. He slipped behind Harper, using the taller man as a human shield.

“You’re losing your edge, Rafael,” Stefan’s voice boomed a bit over the general laughter, taunting.

“He’s still tied up, unless one of you bastards unties him.” He eyed Harper as Simon giggled behind his shoulder.

“It might make things more interesting,” Harper said as he pulled Simon around front of him and reached for the rope at his wrists, “He might tie you up.”

“I’ll leave the role-switching play to you and Loren.” Rafael laughed as he sauntered towards the two men. Harper didn’t untie Simon. Instead, he took the trailing rope and drew it up to a D ring at the back of Simon’s collar, slipping the rope through it and back down to that on his hands. The leather bit into Simon’s neck, making him hold his head back at an uncomfortable angle.

“Harper!” Simon gasped and his eyes fluttered closed. The bondage restricted his breath ever so slightly and a shudder of pleasure ran down his spine.

“Payback is a bitch, sweetheart.” Harper flashed a grin and kissed Simon’s cheek. “Think about that next time you pelt me with marshmallows.” He gave Simon a little shove and he stumbled right into Rafael’s waiting arms.

Simon’s breath came fast as he leaned into his lover, eyes closed as Rafael stripped his swim trunks off, leaving him naked and, to Geoff’s surprise, half-aroused. He held quite still, though, as Rafael picked him up and unceremoniously tossed him over a shoulder with a hard swat to his ass. The sound silenced the last of the conversations remaining around the campfire.

Rafael took Simon to the edge of the circle and settled him on his feet. The position gave Geoff a perfect side view. More rope came out of that big black bag and was tossed up over a tree branch. With military precision, Rafael tied the loose ends around Simon’s body. Before Geoff’s brain had processed what was going on, Simon was on his toes with arms lifted over his head, the rope in his collar gone and worked into a harness to support his weight.

Geoff shivered at the intensity that seemed to radiate out from the scene. Rafael focused only on Simon, securing the rope, giving a pinch here or little adjustment there. Finally satisfied, Rafael leaned over his boy and kissed him hard. Geoff watched as Simon let out soft sounds and pushed against Rafael’s body as much as his position would allow.

Brannon snerked as both Geoff and Simon jumped when Rafael brought his hand down across Simon’s thighs. The spanking turned into something more violent and forced cries out of Simon’s lips. Simon fought to keep his balance against the strokes over his thighs and down the curve of his ass. His arms tugged in the bondage, but the cries spilling from his lips turned into soft sounds of pleasure.

Geoff found himself sitting forward in his seat as Rafael reached into his bag and came back out with what looked like some kind of leather strap with a handle. Fascination and a strange sort of desire lodged in Geoff’s throat.

“Oh, Jesus,” Geoff whispered as Rafael brought the wide strip down where thighs met Simon’s ass. He wasn’t horrified–aroused wasn’t the right word, but it was as close as Geoff had felt in a long time. His skin prickled as Brannon touched his chest and laid a hand flat over his heart. Still, he did not take his eyes off the scene.

The leather struck hard against Simon’s skin; it cracked and he fisted his hands hard in the ropes.

Even in the shadows cast by the fire, Simon’s skin burned red. Geoff’s hand twitched. His response took him by surprise and he curled his fingers against his palms. He could feel the grip of the wood handle against his skin and clenched his fist tighter. Brannon worked his fingers with Geoff’s, uncurling them and holding.

“I think my heart is going to beat out of my chest.” Geoff’s admission came in hushed tones. “It’s beautiful.” He could feel Brannon’s erection hard against his ass. Geoff wanted to rock back against him, to see if he could make Brannon whimper.

Simon screamed.

Geoff dug his fingers into Brannon’s palms and deliberately rolled his hips back against his cock. He was rewarded with the whimper he’d wanted to hear.

“Geoff?” There was a beautiful quaver of uncertainty in Brannon’s voice that made Geoff shiver. This was not something they’d done often, certainly never like this.

Simon screamed again, and Geoff pulled his attention back to Brannon.

“Let’s trade places.” He untangled himself from Brannon and slid off the lounge. Brannon, skin flushed and eyes dilated, inched forward. Brannon was bigger and chubbier than Geoff’s angular features and lean body; Geoff only reached his shoulder when they stood side by side. Brannon wouldn’t fit between his legs, so he knelt carefully on the lounge, chest to Brannon’s back.

His touches along Brannon’s shoulders left goosebumps. Geoff wasn’t surprised to see them pebble against his own skin.

Simon sobbed as Rafael pushed him harder. Rafael paused to cup Simon’s chin in his hand, wiping away tears and murmuring words of encouragement. Simon tried to rub against his thigh, eyes pleading up at Rafael. Rafael spoke to him in words that Geoff didn’t understand and stepped back around him to lay the leather strap to skin once more.

Both Brannon and Geoff were shaking as they touched. “He can take it, right?” Geoff asked as his hands lay flat against Brannon’s stomach, just shy of his waistband.

“He can take it and more, I promise.”

“Can you?” One of Geoff’s hands slid into the waistband of Brannon’s shorts, shy fingers skimming his cock.

“Not that much,” Brannon admitted as he tried to hold still and allow Geoff to set the pace. He did, however, arch his hips and push his shorts down to his thighs. “Simon’s a special kind of masochist,” he whispered.

Geoff wrapped his hand around him and stroked. “Tell me about it, the pain.” Geoff let his nails trace against soft skin, drawing out another sound from Brannon’s mouth before he started to speak.

“It overloads my senses,” Brannon’s voice strained. He struggled to keep his eyes open and on Simon, who was now on his knees, hands still bound over his head. Geoff acted out of instinct, fingers closing tight around the head of Brannon’s dick until he whimpered softly, but he didn’t soften in the slightest. “It pushes open my brain until there is only sensation and I can’t think.” He groaned as Geoff squeezed tighter, body going tense against his chest. “I can’t think.”

“You don’t have to now,” Geoff promised. He dragged a finger against Brannon’s slit, through the pre-come, finger gliding around the crown of his cock in lazy circles. His interest in Rafael and Simon had melted away, even as Rafael thrust his cock into Simon’s waiting throat. Brannon’s head fell back against his shoulder as Geoff kept teasing the head and underside of his dick with rough touches and little pinches.

“Geoff, I, oh my god.” Brannon hissed as Geoff rolled his palm against the head of his cock. He wanted Brannon to come for him, needed to see him peak. He pressed his lips to Brannon’s throat, kissing, then biting. Teeth scraped over the juncture of throat and shoulder as he kept moving his hand, faster, pushing Brannon over his edge.

Brannon’s hips jerked and he bit back a soft cry as he came over Geoff’s hand. For a moment more, Geoff played his fingers against over-sensitive skin, drawing out soft mewls as aftershocks left Brannon shuddering.

illustrated by The Winter Cynic

He drew his hand away and went to wipe it on the towel over the lounge when Brannon caught him. “Stop me if this…if this is weird for you,” he said, almost shy, as he brought Geoff’s fingers to his lips and licked his come from them in delicate little flicks of his tongue.

“Honestly,” Geoff watched, the sensation shooting little waves of pleasure down his hand, “it makes me want to call you names?” Geoff’s voice came out in a question. “I think your friends are a bad influence.”

Brannon’s lips curled into a wicked smile and he met Geoff’s eyes, his lips wrapped around Geoff’s fingers. He pulled back with a soft, wet ‘pop’. “Such as?” he purred.

Geoff blushed and let out an annoyed and sheepish little huff. “If you must know–”

“I do!”

“It makes me want to call you a slut.” He smirked, even for his blush.

“…I am more than okay with that,” Brannon agreed as he turned back to licking Geoff’s hand clean.

“A slut and a prude,” Geoff shook his head and grinned. “What a pair we are.”

“You are…” Brannon stopped himself and he leaned up and rubbed noses with him, until Geoff kissed him. “Wait–” Brannon knew his mouth still tasted like come.

“It’s fine, it’s not like I haven’t–” Geoff pulled Brannon forward. Hand on the back of his neck he kissed him, tasting salt and bitter and Brannon. “It’s more than fine.” Breathless and calm, he pulled Brannon over him and lay still.

Meanwhile, in the edges of the firelight Simon cried as Rafael held him, whispering into his ear and petting him. Soon enough, Simon crawled into his lover’s lap, tucking his head against his throat.

Brannon draped over Geoff in a similar position; he didn’t quite fit, but Geoff held him close. He kissed Brannon’s head before a sound drew his attention to the side. Zachary was fucking Keith over the back of a chair, hand on the back of Keith’s neck, holding him down.

Twined in a pile on a blanket, Loren, Harper, Stefan, and Eli kissed and touched in languid movements. But mostly they watched. Rafael smiled, tender and loving, as Simon went still in his lap. Zachary slammed into Keith, nails scoring lines down pale sides. Geoff drew in a sharp breath.

“I take that back,” Geoff murmured, almost to himself.

“Huh?” Brannon was slow to respond, blinking confusion from his expression.

“I don’t think I can be a prude anymore.” The label wasn’t going to stick, not now. Not visible and here with all these curious people.

“Never thought you were,” Brannon mumbled as he nestled back against Geoff, sated and sleepy.


Geoff reconsidered his position as Not a Prude the next morning as he took his coffee out to the deck. There he discovered Eli bound, arms folded behind his back, ankles together. Stefan pulled him into the hot tub with hands tight on his shoulders. No one cried out. No one said anything. There was certainly no hint of anything that resembled a warning in the way they moved. Stefan shoved Eli under the water. That was it.

Geoff’s mug crashed to the deck, coffee running and pieces of pottery flying.

As focused on Eli as he was, Stefan didn’t even hear. Deer-in-the-headlights still, Geoff stood and watched. It was only seconds that Stefan held Eli under. Eli thrashed once, struggling before Stefan lifted him up. Eli came up wide-eyed and gasping, sucking in air.

Stefan rested a hand on Eli’s jaw, making him meet his eyes. “You can take this, Eli.” Stefan’s voice was loud in the still of the morning. Eli jerked his head forward in a nod. Stefan, intent and calm, lowered him under once more. This time, Eli did not struggle and only bubbles broke the surface of the water. Eli’s eyes opened slowly as he rose from the water. They locked onto Stefan’s, still wide, but trusting, and above all, blissful.

It was awesome, in the traditional sense, inspiring awe with ecstasy and fear. It filled Geoff up at once. People did not trust one another this way. It wasn’t usual, safe, or anything that seemed to match with what he knew of trust. It made his heart race. The ecstasy was plain in Eli’s expression.

But, it was terrifying too, watching them, wanting that trust for himself and Brannon. Geoff scrambled backwards into the house. Dizzy nausea took hold of him, and he swallowed hard.

“Do you need me to wake up Brannon?” Rafael’s hand landed on his shoulder and turned him away from the scene.

“No, no, I just was taken by surprise.” He shook his head, almost more to settle his thoughts. Out of them shivered an image of Brannon on his knees. The images were emblazoned across his mind. How many times could he feel like he was choking, this weekend?

“But if Brannon gets up before I’m back, just let him know I went for a walk on the beach, please?” His hands twisted together, tight, almost to the point of pain before he turned on his heel and left Rafael standing in the doorway.

He half-stumbled to the beach. The sand trickled cool against his feet as he walked, the gravel in it digging into his soles, but the sun was up and warmed his skin. There was a small sailboat just out from the beach with its sails a vivid splash of yellow against the morning sky. He watched the boat’s progress, toes digging into the sand.

Two days. Two days of watching had taken the weeks of conversations shared with Brannon and turned dominance and submission, a collection of kinks and fetishes so far removed from his own life, into something he wanted.

The sailboat tipped onto its side; seconds later, shrieks of laughter echoed across the water as two figures bobbed alongside the boat. Geoff rubbed a hand across his forehead and turned, heading back to the deck.

Everyone had gathered around the patio table in the meantime, yawning into their coffee as if Eli weren’t struggling to keep his head above the water. There was no trace of the broken mug as Geoff took to the deck and looked back to the two men.

Stefan caught his curious gaze and motioned for Geoff to come over, a wry little smile on his lips. For a moment, Geoff wondered if he had noticed his abrupt departure. His face flamed as he inched toward them.

“Good morning,” he half-mumbled. Stefan tapped his ears, bringing attention to the fact he wasn’t wearing his hearing aids. Geoff looked directly at Stefan and repeated himself.

Stefan’s lips curled into a lazy smile. “Good morning,” he said, calm as he drew Eli to his chest, fingers playing in damp hair.

Geoff couldn’t quite meet Stefan’s eyes. “Do you mind if I watch?” He asked for lack of anything better to say.

“You’re scared?” he asked, cutting right to the point and disarming Geoff.

“Ah…yes,” came the admission.

Stefan took Geoff’s hand. He almost jerked back at the unexpected contact, but Stefan smiled as he drew Geoff into the scene, his hand warm and wet against dry fingers. It was almost like being led to a dance, except he found his hand over Eli’s chest. With a splash and as Geoff’s heart lodged in his throat, Stefan pushed, and so Geoff pushed too. Eli went down. From there, Stefan placed Geoff’s hand over Eli’s throat so he could feel his heart beating, a steady thumping under his fingers.

Stefan let go of him a few long, wet moments later and Eli surfaced. Geoff stayed in place, marveling at the sensation- the pulse and the soft tremble under his fingers.

Geoff understood the power here in this quiet space and he swallowed down hard as he met Stefan’s eyes, fingers still pressed to Eli’s skin. “This is…what is…?” Words didn’t want to come.

“I turn off all the noise in Eli’s mind,” Stefan said, gentle. “Force him to focus on his own breath, his own body. It takes him out of his head.”

“What do you get out of it?” The words fell out without much thought, easy as his absent caress through Eli’s hair.

“I love watching him struggle. I love watching him fight his own responses and take what I give him. It’s a rush to know I make him lose control.”

“It’s different for everyone. All of us do this for different reasons. It doesn’t have to make sense,” Geoff hadn’t been paying enough attention to the other men to catch who had spoken. He turned and Loren gave a little wave.

“I don’t think sexuality is a rational creature,” he finished.

“Fuck, that’s an understatement.” Harper looked up from his coffee and snorted. “But anyway, pain play? That I understand. The pure fucking rush of laying my mark on another person’s back?” He groaned. “Watching someone cry for you? Ugh.” Harper laid a hand over his heart and swooned into Loren.

Loren wrapped his arms around Harper as he fell back, both of them laughing. “Nothing like it in the world.”

Geoff turned to Brannon, naked longing in his eyes.

Brannon held his arms out and took Geoff’s wrists, drawing him down to his lap. He curled his fingers against Geoff’s wrist, playing against his pulse point. “If you want it, Geoff, you can explore all you want with me.”

Geoff pressed his hands to his face then to hide his blush. “Yes. I, yes.”

“Then, tell me what you want.”

“I want…I don’t even know what I can do to you.”

“Is this a group event?” Loren leaned over before anyone could answer, head against Geoff’s shoulder. “Because I bet Harper and I could assist you. We’re helpful like that.”

“So helpful,” Harper nodded in mock solemnity.

“Suspiciously helpful, but helpful,” Brannon dragged himself away from the kiss and flicked Loren on the nose, getting his fingers bit for his trouble.

“Maybe I could watch them do a scene with you? And if I feel comfortable, step in?” Geoff suggested, head reeling. It wasn’t as if they hadn’t talked about Harper and Loren helping, but now that it was so clearly out there….

Brannon’s fingers twined tight around his, and he turned his gaze to Loren.

“Tonight.” Loren nodded his approval and leaned over to kiss Brannon’s cheek. “You are in so much trouble.” He sat back up and motioned to Geoff’s cheek. “May I?”

Color crept over his face, but Geoff nodded and Loren pressed a soft kiss to his cheekbone. Geoff tilted his head and brushed his lips over Loren’s cheek in return, no longer quite so shy.

“Tonight,” he echoed.

Though ‘tonight’ seemed a million hours away.


Brannon caught Geoff around the waist as they stepped into their bedroom. “You’re amazing.”

Geoff turned into his arms, awkward laughter on his lips. “What? No.” He pushed on Brannon’s shoulders so there was space between them. “I have no idea what I’m doing, I just know that I want to do it with you.”

“I think you’re amazing anyway.” Brannon kissed his nose, nuzzling along his jaw. “Shower with me? I well, I want to do something for you. Wash you.” He looked self-conscious and lowered his eyes.

The submissive gesture knocked Geoff off-balance, and he stared before cupping Brannon’s chin in his hand. “Yes, please.”

Brannon’s whole countenance shifted with Geoff’s assent. He undressed Geoff, tugging his t-shirt over his head and kneeling as he coaxed his shorts down narrow hips. “I want to show you service, too.” He looked up at Geoff, eyes soft. “Pain is something you could give me, but this is something I can give you.”

Struck by a sudden tenderness, Geoff cradled Brannon’s head against his stomach, combing his fingers through the messy curls. He remembered Simon kneeling at Rafael’s feet, offering up drinks, holding his plate, eating off his fingers. His throat went dry and he swallowed hard. “I’d love that from you.”

Brannon held still until Geoff broke contact. The room was silent as he walked into the shower and readied it, fussing over little details until Geoff stopped him, pressing against his back and pulling his hands away from the knobs on the shower.

Brannon flushed and turned to face him and Geoff forgot how to speak. Forgoing a washcloth, he lathered the soap in his hands, starting at Geoff’s shoulders and working downward. Slick hands glided over skin, tracing collarbones and the planes of his chest and down over his stomach with reverent fingers.

This was not a prelude, this was not foreplay. This was worship.

Geoff had never felt so wanted. Brannon’s hands traveled over his chest, arms wrapped around him he stroked down his back. He went down again and Geoff shuddered as Brannon’s knees hit tile, looked so peaceful and focused. More soap poured over his fingers. Gentle caresses went up Geoff’s calves to his thighs, sliding between his legs.

“May I?” Brannon’s whispered as he looked up at Geoff, hands resting on his inner thighs just shy of his prick.

Geoff’s head jerked forward in a nervous nod. He steadied himself, hand gripping at Brannon’s hair, waiting for the mood to shift from quiet devotion to demanding expectation. It never came.

Brannon’s hands were gentle as he cupped his cock, leaving a trail of soap swirls against skin. He worked his way back up his thighs, over the curve of his ass, so patient. Geoff shuddered when the warm water rinsed away the soap. When he reached for his own shampoo, Brannon stopped him.

“This, too.” Brannon told him as he took the bottle and ran fingers through Geoff’s hair.

Geoff moaned at the touch and let Brannon continue, reveling in the warmth, in the simple contact and connection. When the last of the soap was washed off, he turned and wrapped his arms around Brannon, pulling him down, kissing him until they were gasping for breath.

“That was…” Geoff closed his eyes, reminding himself to breathe. “Thank you.”

illustrated by The Winter Cynic


“Those boys are going to murder each other with a shuttlecock,” said Loren as he dropped down onto a chair.

Geoff choked on his water. “I’m sorry, what?” Somewhat recovered, if not a little damp, he whipped around to the game of Badminton that currently involved Harper and Rafael shouting at each other in Spanish.

Loren’s lips curved into a wicked smile. “The wiffly thing they are hitting with rackets, it’s called a shuttlecock. Stefan has been making crude comments about since they broke out the rackets; I think he threatened to shove it up Rafael’s ass a minute ago.”

“That doesn’t sound very hygienic. Or comfortable. Or safe. Perhaps we should suggest beating with the rackets instead? Wait, did Rafael just call Harper what I think he just did?” Geoff was surprised to hear Rafael so vulgar.


“But…we are all queer. And frankly, I’d wager most of us have had a cock in our mouths at some point. Including me.”

Loren’s lips twitched, not quite holding back a smile. “Are you queer? I mean, it’s not a word everyone likes, Rafael regularly makes pained faces when anybody calls him queer.”

“I …don’t know? I’ve mostly dated women in the past, but Brannon… My limited sexual experiences have been with men. Thirty-plus years and you’d really think I’d have figured this out by now.” Geoff let out a huff. It was a painful process to have never settled.

“Is there some rule that says we need to have a timeline to figure out our sexuality?” Loren tossed a half-melted cube at Geoff, smacking him on his fingers, still tapping. “Let me ask you this. Do you want to be ‘queer’?”

Geoff flicked the cube away and resumed drumming his fingers on his thigh. After a certain amount of consideration he spoke. “I’m certainly not straight. Asexual of some kind. Biromantic, I guess would be right.”

“You sounds so enthusiastic,” Loren said, voice dry.

Geoff flicked his fingers against one another. “I like how queer sounds, I like how it feels.”

“Then take it,” Loren told him, meeting his gaze.

Geoff’s fingers drummed faster. “If there are no queer police–”

Loren’s laughter cut him off. “There are no queer police in this group, but they do exist.”

“If there are no such things here, then there is nothing stopping me from being queer asexual?” His fingers finally stopped tapping. “I don’t think there is any denying that some kind of kink is going to be in with that label.” He couldn’t stop the smile tugging up the corners of his lips.

“Feels good, doesn’t it?” Loren’s smile lit up his whole face.

“Oh God, yes.” He let himself laugh, shocked by the force of that revelation.

“Can I be completely patronizing and hug you right now? Because dammit, we should throw a party for you in celebration.”

“I think tonight is a party,” Geoff said as he leaned over and wrapped an arm around Loren.
Loren shifted and enveloped Geoff in a fierce hug. Geoff’s face flamed but he hugged Loren tight, eyes closed as he leaned into the contact.

“Idea: you should look at our toy bags, get a sense for what we have, ask questions, set things off limits.” He kept an arm around Geoff’s shoulders as he fished out another ice cube and tossed it at Brannon.

“Come join us,” Loren half-commanded, crooking his fingers. He then turned to the game of badminton and Harper, “Hey, pendejo! Stop trying to murder Rafael with a wiffly thing and get your ass over here to plot our scene.”

“How did I end up friends with you people?” Geoff asked, bewildered and meaning it – mostly – as the four of them made their way into the house.

“Luck! You should thank your deity of choice for us,” Harper said, flouncing alongside of them. “Personally, I’d call upon our Lady of Chaos, but that’s just me.” He winked and Loren groaned.

Suitcases came out and flipped open on the living room floor. Harper’s was a huge neon green monstrosity, Loren’s hard-sided and covered in stickers, and Brannon’s a simple black bag. Geoff smiled at the rainbow luggage straps around it.

“What?” Geoff blinked as Loren pulled out a mailing tube and Harper pulled a large art tube from behind the sofa.

“Cane and crop transportation, or anything too long to fit into the suitcase.” Harper popped the lid to the tube and laid out a handful of wooden and plastic canes.

“Is that a PVC plumbing pipe?” Geoff’s voice squeaked as he looked to the pipe, three feet long and an inch across.

“Indeed.” Harper beamed and handed it to Geoff, letting him roll it between his fingers. “Thuds nicely for people who don’t really like the sting.” He smacked it lightly against Loren’s ass.

“I, ah, see.”

“Maybe the bags weren’t the best things to start with,” Brannon said as he flipped them all closed and took Geoff’s hand, tugging him onto the sofa. “Let’s try: my limits, what I can take, what I can’t take. What I won’t even try. If I mention something that you don’t want to see, please tell me.” He squeezed Geoff’s shoulder and gave him a little kiss on the cheek. “This isn’t just about me.”

Brannon’s skin was cool and he carried with him the lingering scent of sunblock and the lake. “Tell me,” Geoff finally said. “Tell me what your limits are.”


They’d moved out to the deck to stage the scene, Geoff turned away from the sunset and the little yellow sailboat, back on the lake. Harper brushed the falls of a buttery soft flogger over his arm.

“So: softer the leather, thuddier it’s going to feel against your skin. Like a deep tissue massage. Harder leather means more sting.”

“Stands to reason. Oh!” He purred and buried his fingers into the soft leather.

“That one is a mop flogger, which is why it totally looks like a leather mop.” Harper grinned as Geoff gave the flogger a few testing swings, feeling its weight and translating that into his mind as impact.

“This one,” Geoff nodded. Between the feel on his arm and the lip-biting stare Brannon gave it, it was perfect. “And that soft rope flogger you showed me?”

“Perfect contrast to the crops and canes you picked out.” Loren nodded his approval. “Soft, sting, and thud. Well-rounded.”

“Well,” Brannon drew in a few deep breaths. Harper and Loren set to work moving the patio table out of the way. “I think I can safely say that you are a budding sadist.”

Geoff covered his smile at those words, turning and kissing Brannon’s shoulder. “I don’t think you are in any way, shape, or form wrong. I’m going to enjoy watching this. Even if I have no idea what I’m doing,” Geoff repeated for the second or third time that day. He turned Brannon to face him, hands tight on his forearms. “But I’m glad I’m doing it. I’m glad I’m here with you.” He turned to face Harper and Loren, “And everyone else.”

“What’s a friend for?” Harper slung an arm around Loren’s shoulder.

“If not to help you tie up and beat your boyfriend?” Loren finished with a smirk.

“I have never had friends like you before,” Geoff said in a soft voice. “But I’m ready for it.” He looked up and met Loren’s eyes, and then Harper’s, hesitance fading into a warm smile.

“Are you four quite finished and ready to get on with it?” Stefan asked from the side, grinning like a loon. “I want to enjoy the show.”

“I’m sure poor Brannon is going to go faint from anticipation if we don’t act soon.” Simon nodded his agreement. “It’s always fun when I’m not the centerpiece on the kink table,” he teased. “I could use some fun! It still hurts to sit.”

Harper cocked his hip to the side, hand settling on it and turned to face their audience. “I think we’re ready, if the peanut gallery shuts up.” A perfectly arched eyebrow rose, as if daring people to talk. Stefan mimed zipping his lips shut and tossing away the key while Eli smothered his laughter.

Harper turned to Brannon, hand still on his hip, and Loren took up a similar position at his side, giving Brannon twin predatory smiles.

Brannon swallowed hard. “I’m in trouble.”

“Oh, yes,” Loren stalked forward. He managed to loom for all that he just skimmed 5’6″. He carried himself not so much straighter or taller, but menacing. “But you’re going to be good,” he purred, hands sliding down Brannon’s throat to his collarbone. Behind them Harper tossed a length of chain through the trellis overhanging the deck and secured it with climbing carabiners.

“Yes, sir.” Brannon licked his lips and held still against the touch that swept over his chest. He let out a sharp hiss as Loren’s fingers brushed over his nipples and pinched. Then, as Loren let his nails bite into tender flesh, the hiss turned into a strangled little whimper.

“One of the best things about playing with Brannon is how responsive he is to everything.” Loren twisted his fingers and Brannon jumped, yelping his surprise and pain.

Harper’s hands fell heavily on his shoulder and pushed him back down.

“Although he’s a fucking jumpy sub.” Still, he pressed a soft kiss to Brannon’s throat. “Shall we tie you up, darling boy?” Brannon didn’t bother to answer. Harper snatched up a set of heavy cuffs and had them wrapped around Brannon’s wrists in short order.

Geoff circled once before settling on the best vantage point, to the side where he could see the most of Brannon. Harper adjusted the chain and Brannon’s arms stretched taut over his head. The tension stretched Brannon’s body out and limited his range of movement.

Loren’s lips just curled into a smile and he set to work, scratching along his captive’s belly. Harper stood pressed to Brannon’s back, holding him steady as he jerked. “He’s such a pretty boy,” Loren cooed as he dug his nails in Brannon’s hips and jerked upward on one violent motion. Brannon’s mouth opened, but no sound came.

Geoff made one for him, breath hissing between his teeth, when he saw the trail of red left behind by Loren’s nails.

“Loren and I just lean toward sadism.” Harper laid a land on Brannon’s cheek and pushed his head toward Geoff. “But Brannon… he loves to serve. Have you noticed how he aligns himself to you, just to the side, slightly behind? I think you could lead him around with the crook of your finger, Geoff.”

Brannon whimpered and nodded, quick to confirm Harper’s words.

Harper tangled his fingers tight in Brannon’s hair, forcing his head back and whispered against his ear. “Isn’t that true, boy?” he asked, his tone gently condescending. “Look at Geoff when you answer.” But Brannon hadn’t taken his eyes off him.

He licked his lips and swallowed. “Wherever you take us from here, I’ll go.”

The absolute rightness in those words washed over Geoff in a wave of need. Confidence was in his stride as he walked to Brannon’s side, Loren stepping aside to give him space. Geoff leaned up and kissed Brannon hard on the lips. Teeth and tongues and sharp. Brannon cried out into the kiss and pulled at the cuffs, trying to get his arms around Geoff. He let out a needy little keening sound as Geoff broke the kiss.

“You’re so pretty when you struggle like that.” He laid his hands over the warm welts left by Loren, fingers dragging against skin. The exchange from breakfast made sense to him, in this place, as the power rushed over him. He pressed his lips to Brannon’s throat, feeling the quickening beat of his heart. He let his teeth scrape across skin before he pulled back, grounding himself with a breath.

“I’m going to lead. I need to see the rest of this, all of it.” He looked to Loren and Harper and beckoned. “Show me how to undo him, please.”

“Oh honey.” Harper’s laugh was rich and throaty. “I think you’re going to be a natural. It will be our pleasure to continue.”

Geoff had almost forgotten the six other men behind him, but there was sudden swell of applause from Stefan and Eli’s direction, and hissed shushing from Rafael.

Geoff laughed, the sound bubbling up, bright and happy. He rather felt like he’d earned all of the approval and happiness that the clapping stood for.

Brannon swayed and beamed at Geoff before Loren’s hand struck across his cheek and he snapped back into the scene with a muted cry of pain.

“I think,” Loren said to Harper as he stroked a hand down Brannon’s throat, “we have a show to put on.” As if they hadn’t been thoroughly into that before.

Harper stepped away from Brannon’s back, making him stumble. He pressed a kiss to the cheek Loren had just slapped while Loren kissed the opposite side of his face. Brannon’s eyes fluttered shut for one brief, delicious moment.

A rope flogger whispered against skin: fanning, teasing sensations that did not hint at pain but grew in intensity. The repeated contact left Brannon’s skin red and warm from shoulders to thighs. Sensitive, too.

He stumbled forward into Loren’s chest. The leather flogger slapped against his back in a harsh opposition to the whisper of the rope.

Loren dug his nails in tight and pushed back. “Still,” he snapped.

“Yes, sir,” Brannon’s voice cracked. He braced himself as Harper continued, lines of his back set tight. He groaned and his arms strained. He fought to keep his feet planted, not pitch forward with each strike against his back. Harper was unrelenting and the blows came faster, harder, pounding like waves against his skin.

Brannon’s whimpers and hisses lessened, becoming choked grunts and deep gasps of breath. As he grew quieter, tension leached from his body. Brannon no longer fought to hold still, body swaying in time to the floggers, but not away from them: toward them.

Geoff stood in awe. Brannon became his only focus. He drank in the lines of his body, the unfocused euphoria in his expression.

Loren picked up a long riding crop and flicked his wrist. The leather loop bit into Brannon’s hip with a snap. The sounds that Brannon lost in the flogging came back; he yelped, but his feet remained planted. Each time the leather loop hit flesh, he rolled back into the blow of the flogger, caught between the two sensations. Cries and whimpers fell from his lips as little red welts flared over his chest and his thighs. The strike across his nipple drew a shout.

Every time Brannon cried out, every time his face shifted in, or his mouth opened in a broken moan, Geoff wanted more. He approached, skirting around as Harper worked over Brannon’s back, now using another crop. Short, vivid lines glowed up Brannon’s skin.

Geoff circled him again to see Loren wrap a hand around Brannon’s cock. He was hard, prick curling up against his stomach. Geoff wanted to dig his fingers against the welts – press and push – and drag out those whimpers for himself, drink in the energy radiating out of Brannon.

“Lore,” he said softly, creeping up behind Loren’s shoulder. “Can I touch him?”

Loren dropped the crop in favor for Geoff’s hand, drawing him into the scene, resting his hand on Brannon’s chest.

“Brannon,” Lore’s voice was thick, “does Geoff have to ask to touch you?”

To Geoff’s ears, Brannon’s voice sounded distant. “No,” the word stretched out as he tried to focus on Geoff, a hazy smile settling over his features.

Geoff met his eyes, intent as he touched. “The welts are as hot as they look,” he said as his fingers played lightly against the marks. Fingers trailed over his shoulders and arms.

Brannon could only murmur, not quite in pleasure, but surely not in pain. Geoff leaned in for a slow kiss, wanting closer contact than just his hands on his skin. “I…you’re beautiful like this.”

Brannon’s throat worked for a few moments before he could speak. “Th-thank you. Keep touching me, please.” His voice was raw and pleading.

Geoff edged his nails against Brannon’s nipples, making him hiss. He stumbled slightly, hanging for a moment just from his wrists. Harper was quick to react, giving him slack and lowering his arms, rubbing briskly at his shoulders.

“He can take more,” Loren said on a purr.

“Can you?” Geoff looked up at Brannon, who nodded.

“Let us show you.” Harper smiled and leaned over to kiss Brannon’s temple. “We’ll make him cry for you.”

“Oh,” Geoff moaned, catching himself by surprise, hand slipping over his own mouth. There, he still carried some of Brannon’s scent.

“He’s magnificent when he cries,” Loren added. Having offered Geoff a moment to kiss his lover, which he drank down greedily and edged with bites, he and Harper guided Brannon over to the padded lounge. There they settled him onto his hands and knees. Loren used rope to cuff his legs open, sliding it into the metal frame under the cushions. Brannon groaned and dropped his upper body down, ass high.

“See how much he wants it?” Harper asked Geoff.

“Oh I… fuck.” Geoff flinched as Loren, with a great deal of gleeful malice on his face, brought a crop up against Brannon’s balls, drawn tight in his arousal. Brannon fought to close his legs, bondage forcing him to stay exposed.

When the pain settled, Brannon thrust back again, Harper and Loren both smirked back at Geoff. Loren’s crop came up repeatedly. Brannon choked on a scream, burying his face against the cushions.

Geoff could not take his eyes from the Brannon; his cries and the bright sounds of the crop. As tears started to track down Brannon’s cheeks Loren interspersed the strokes of his crop with gentle touches. Fingers feathered along the underside of Brannon’s cock, tracing a thick vein before flicking at his cockhead.

Loren’s fingers wrapped around Brannon’s cock, jerking him in slow movements, pausing every now and then to flick or pinch. Geoff could only think, halfway between joy and indignation himself: that should have been his hand.

Loren drew his hand away with a vicious little slap that set Brannon rocking forward again, fingers clutched tight into the cushion.

“Lore,” he whined. “Yellow.”

Geoff’s breath caught as Brannon called out for a moment to breathe. Panic threatened to rise up, just for a heartbeat.

“I’m too mean, aren’t it?” Lore cooed as he stroked his fingers against Brannon’s skin.

“Just mean enough,” Brannon gasped as he pushed back against the touch, relaxing now he knew another slap wasn’t imminent. “You could let me come though.”

Loren looked back at Geoff and winked at him. “Geoff seems to be enjoying himself.” At least, now that the panic settled and he realized Brannon was boneless and unharmed.

“I am enjoying myself.” Geoff’s voice was thick and unrecognizable to himself. “I’ll enjoy myself more if you don’t let him come.”

“Fucking sadist,” Brannon groaned, a lazy smile on his face nevertheless.

“…Oh boy,” Harper laughed. “Three sadists, one boy in bondage. Want to keep calling us names?” He swatted Brannon’s ass.

“How’s it calling you names? It’s true, isn’t it?” Brannon laughed, and then whimpered as Harper picked up Loren’s discarded crop and snapped it against his ass.

“Because we get to make the rules, not you.” Loren reached out and unbound Brannon, freeing his legs. Brannon sprawled face down, stretching out, but only for a moment. “Flip over. Face Geoff.”

Brannon moved slowly, like he had forgotten how to work his limbs, how they interacted with one another. Harper caught him and helped him shift around. His eyes fixated on Geoff and he gave a hazy little smile. “No orgasms?” He pouted, resigned.

“I think not,” Geoff shook his head. “I mean, if I can go without…”

“You are a fucking sadist.” Brannon’s laughter bubbled up and Geoff almost joined him. “Why am I so happy you just said I couldn’t come?” Brannon turned to face Geoff, eyes still red from crying but a wide smile on his face. To the side Loren and Harper clasped hands, watching, Lore’s head resting on Harper’s shoulder.

“Because it means I’m taking the lead,” Geoff said, forcing all his uncertainty down and letting the rightness of the moment shine. He stepped toward Brannon.

Brannon looked up and met Geoff’s eyes as he approached, hesitating just at the foot of the lounge. “Please, Geoff, I want your hands on me.”

The plea caught Geoff in his heart and the hesitation left him. He pushed Brannon’s legs open and settled between them. This was…. Geoff dug his fingers hard enough into Brannon’s skin that he yelped. The sound went to Geoff’s core and he raked upward, scoring more lines onto Brannon’s chest

This was perfect.

Mimicking what he’d seen others do, he tangled his fingers into Brannon’s hair and pulled his head forward. As leaned down to kiss him, Brannon whimpered into his mouth.

When Geoff broke the kiss, Harper leaned down and whispered into his ear. “You know, you could tease his cock until he’s incoherent. Then, it’s even more fun to say no.”

“Oh, fuck, no,” Brannon gasped.

Geoff rather liked that response.

He was about to ask advice on just how when Loren flipped a little bottle of lube between Brannon and himself. Geoff poured some into his palm and wrapped his hand around Brannon, stroking upward in a slick movement.

Loren kissed Brannon full on the mouth. “Geoff is new, so you have be very good and tell him when you’re too close so he can stop for a few moments.”

Brannon made a sound: half snarl, half whine.

“And he can go until he yellows out of it,” Harper added as Geoff explored, working his hand steadily against Brannon.

“Stop being helpful,” Brannon moaned, bucking his hips up with each slow pull from Geoff’s hand.

Harper ruffled Brannon’s curls. “Never, darling! Now, be a good boy.” He looked to Geoff with a wicked smile. “Just under the head, if you rub him right there, he’ll go crazy.”

“Noted.” Geoff flushed, but took the offered advice. He rubbed his thumb in tight circles just so, until Brannon was twitching, leaking under the touch.

And then they were alone. Well, not quite literally. From the corner of his eye Geoff saw Keith pulled down over Zachary’s lap and Harper jerk Loren into a kiss. But his focus, his world, was Brannon.

He could tell by the pained look on Brannon’s face that he was doing the right thing. “I think I need to talk more to Harper and Loren, for tips.”

He groaned and trembled. “How did you get so… wicked?”

“You like it.”

“I…. Do you? Is this too much?” It was clear that Brannon was having trouble finding his words, as if they were just out of reach. Geoff purred, delighted he’d made Brannon forget how to speak.

“I’m right where I want to be,” he whispered. Geoff moved closer to Brannon, their knees touching. “Doing just what I want to be doing.” He kept circling and drawing out little mewls and whines from Brannon, touching him until he was slick with pre-come and shaking. When he wrapped his hand around and stroked him, Brannon groaned and jerked upward with a ragged cry.

“Geoff,” he panted

Geoff kept stroking, slow, steady, and unstopping.

“I, I can’t.”

“No. I don’t want you to come.” He pulled his hand away and Brannon melted back into the cushions, panting, staring doe-eyed up at Geoff, pleading silently.

“At all tonight?”

“At all tonight,” Geoff confirmed.

“Yes, sir,” he murmured, quiet and pliant.

Geoff curled his arms around him, shaking softly as he did so. “Say that again, please.”

“Sir?” Brannon lifted his head up and Geoff cupped his face between his hands.

“That sounds right.” After and through it, a warmth heat rose in him his heart was burning in his chest.

Geoff shifted against Brannon’s chest, and Brannon stole a kiss, deep, his tongue sweeping across Geoff’s. Their teeth clicked before they settled into the right angle. Geoff pushed him down and perched over Brannon’s hips, kissing him harder.

“Please, sir, I need to come,” Brannon mewed as their lips skidded apart.

“You can keep begging, but the answer isn’t going to be yes.”

“I’ve created a monster.” He stilled and twitched, trying not to grind against Geoff’s hip, cock leaking as he did so.

“I rather think I created myself.” Geoff kissed him lightly. “You helped,” he promised.

With that, Geoff slid off Brannon’s lap and held out his hand. “Let’s go watch. You can cool down that way.”

Brannon just groaned but took Geoff’s hand and followed him, stiff, a bit lumbering, to where everyone else was.

Loren, deprived of his boy, instead draped over Harper’s lap. “Someone looks like they were left wanting,” he teased.

“Good for Geoff.” Stefan paused in twining rope around Eli long enough to look up, taking in Brannon’s naked body, eyes raking over the welts, the hard curve of Brannon’s cock against his stomach.

Brannon scowled. “I hate you all.”

“I love you all,” Geoff countered. “For teaching me. It’s…well. As much as I want to crack a stupid joke, I mean it. Thank you for this.”

“It’s why we’re here,” Loren said, voice thick with his own desire as Harper slid his hand down the front of his shorts. “It’s why I started the group.” He arched against Harper’s touch and inhaled sharply. “Public sex, too. Let’s be honest.”

“A safe place to engage nudist tendencies,” Eli chimed in. He had been naked all weekend.

“You’re welcome,” Brannon told Eli as Geoff dropped down onto a blanket on the sand and pulled Brannon with him. His welts stood out beautifully against pale skin. Geoff indulged himself, pressing and teasing them. Brannon squirmed against his lap and let out a high-pitched whine.

Friday night stretched into the early hours of Saturday morning. Stars filled the sky; someone built up another fire. Geoff simply held Brannon in his arms. His hand played against Brannon’s cock every now and then, just to tease out those pained whimpers and choked mewls. A lazy contentment seeped through Geoff’s body.

Never in a million years would Geoff have pictured himself here. And now, he couldn’t imagine himself anywhere but with Brannon in his arms.


Saturday dawned, altogether too bright through blinds. Geoff awoke to this, vaguely aware of Brannon getting out of bed. A few seconds or a few hours later, he stumbled out of bed himself to lurch down to the hall bathroom. On the way back he nearly tripped over Stefan and Eli nestled in with Loren and Harper in a puppy pile across the two air mattresses shoved into the living room.

He stared at them for a moment, his brain dimly registering that these men were now an important part of his life, before he turned to go back to Brannon. There, he collapsed back into the sheets. This place had become the same kind of safe and magical place for him as it was for his partner. Or maybe it was just the people.

Brannon had already reclaimed his space beneath the covers. “G’morning,” he said, nuzzling against Geoff’s throat. He was naked and warm. Geoff burrowed close.

“Morning.” Geoff’s voice still had an early-morning roughness to it. He ran his hands over Brannon’s back, the welts and redness having faded over the night, lingering in only faint spots of red against skin.

Brannon mimicked the touches, soothing hands over Geoff’s shoulders, kneading gently at knots until Geoff sprawled onto his back, boneless against the bed. Geoff let himself he flipped onto his stomach as Brannon straddled his thighs. Clever, strong fingers followed the line of muscle along his shoulder blade, working out tiny little stores of tension and stress.

“You’re good at this,” Geoff mumbled to the pillow, too comfortable to lift his head.

“I would learn to be better for you,” Brannon offered. “It would be something I’d enjoy being able to do.” Geoff froze, shivering involuntarily.

“It’s non-sexual intimacy, right?” Brannon offered. “Besides, we’re going to be exploring pain and service, I think?” Geoff nodded and twisted under Brannon, reaching to take his flailing hands in his own. “So it’s service, but it’s also pleasure for you. Maybe it’s…”

“Balance for both of us.” Geoff pulled Brannon down by his shoulders.

“Right!” Brannon settled over him. “I’m going to squish you.”

“You are not. I like how it feels,” Geoff promised. He rocked up, not intentionally, but enjoying the contact.

Brannon hissed. “I’m, also potentially, extremely horny.”

“Funny, I’m not,” Geoff teased, shimmying up against Brannon and pressing a thigh to his prick.

“Ha ha.” The last sarcastic sound turned into a gasp of pleasure. “Geoff?” Brannon’s voice went serious. “I don’t want to assume this is all right and start rubbing off against you.”

“I initiated,” Geoff countered. He bit back an apology for being complicated. He didn’t need to make that point, not with Brannon. “I want to torment you like this forever.” He kept rolling his hips, eyes turning wicked. “I like seeing you aroused.”

“I think we’ve found another kink for you,” Brannon said in a strangled little voice. “Orgasm denial. F-fuck, Geoff.” That name came out in a hiss as Geoff just reached down and took hold of his cock.

“And yet, you aren’t really complaining.”

“Ah.” Brannon shuddered. “N-no. I’d let you control ’em. We should…we should talk about what you want. You could – oh fuck – ask questions.” Brannon’s eyes stayed fixed in Geoff as he kept touching and stroking.

“I’ve been asking questions since I got here,” Geoff stated, just slightly out of breath. “Since I met your friends.”

“Don’t wanna push you.”

Geoff shifted with his words and pushed Brannon onto his back. “Do I look like I’m being pushed?” He arched an eyebrow, laying a hand on Brannon’s chest and pushing down for emphasis. Brannon’s cock twitched and forced his hips back down against the bed.

“No.” The word was long and drawn out as Geoff wrapped his hand around Brannon’s cock and resumed stroking him, with the intent to make him orgasm this time. “I can’t,” he gasped out after only a few rough pulls. “Geoff. Sir. Please.” Geoff met his eyes and nodded once.

An instant later Brannon bit down on his lip to keep from shouting. He came over Geoff’s hand, over his own stomach and chest in a hot spill. Geoff delicately wiped his hand on Brannon’s hip and sat back his own, lips curled into a self-satisfied smile.

“I’m going to get used to this,” he said, an amused warning for his lover. “And god, please keep calling me sir.” For adding that much, he only blushed a little.

“Gladly, sir.” Brannon winked.

“I…” Geoff trailed off. “I am going to be awkward for a while.”

“I can handle awkward as long as you are happy.”

“I’m terrified and happy,” Geoff promised. “I feel…light.”

“I love you.” Brannon’s voice came so sure and so steady that Geoff’s heart stopped for a few beats.

Geoff curled his fingers against the stubble on Brannon’s jaws and leaned up to kiss him again. “I love you as well,” he said against his mouth, letting his hands fall from his face in favor of wrapping his arms tight around him and drawing him close, clinging. Brannon was too big to fit on Geoff’s lap, but he tried. “This is terrifying. I’m afraid that I’m happy.”

Brannon pressed his face against Geoff’s shoulders, sides shaking as he tried not to laugh. “Oh Geoff. God, that’s…”

“A good problem to have,” Geoff admitted.

“A good problem to have,” Brannon repeated.



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