“So you did it, huh?” Matt teases, and I refuse to blush, dammit. I won’t do it because I have nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, I’m proud of it.
“I took him. More than once.” And I wanted it.
Don sighs. “At the risk of being accused of being an old softie, that’s amazing. And the look on your face… you look happy and I couldn’t say that about you before.”
Matt nods. “To be honest, you look like a new man.”
“I feel whole. Finally. I feel like I belong here.”
“That’s great. You aren’t the big bad scary dude here, are you?” Matt chuckles, and Don outright cackles.
“We’re the least scary guys here,” Don notes. “Smallest too. It’s a nice change, eh?”
“Yeah, it is. It’s surprising and wonderful.” And I’ve never been so happy. Never.
“You know there’s a catch, right?”
My heart skips a beat, and I shoot Don a look but try not to worry too much, not to let it show. “Yeah?” My master said there were things to take care of, but we haven’t really talked about specifics. We were too busy being busy.
“Yeah. You can’t come permanently until you find someone to take your place.”
“As the new guy.”
“The new guy?”
Don nods. “Someone brought me in, introduced me to my master. I brought Matt in and introduced him to his master. He brought you in and introduced you to your master. So now it’s your turn.”
“So—” I have to go out there all…bound and plugged and pierced and caged to the gym?
Don and Matt look at me expectantly. And when I don’t say anything, Matt goes on, “So… if you’ve got questions, ask them. We don’t have anything to hide.”
“I…How do you know who to ask?” I can’t even imagine.
Don shrugs. “Matt was a friend, and I knew he was single. I also knew…” He shrugs again. “I could tell, instinctively, that he could use what someone here could give him.”
Matt nods like one of those dolls with a loose head. “It was pouring off you, Steve. I’m not sure I would have recognized it before I met my own master, but once I did, I knew you needed to be here.”
“So I can find someone—someone who needs this.”
Matt nods. “Even if he doesn’t know.”
“Yeah, they might fuss about coming, but they need to be here. And ultimately, if they choose never to return, then they don’t return and you find someone else. No one is forced to stay here against their will. In the end, it’s a good thing. I mean, look at you, right?”
“Yes. Yes, I—I needed to be here. I’m happy. I’m warm, safe, well-fucked.”
“In love,” Matt suggests, more than a little smugly. I don’t let it get to me, though, because he’s not wrong.
“All the way. Just like you.” Because I know how much he adores his own master, how much joy and fulfillment that gives him.
Matt nods. “You’re part of our family now.”
Oh, that thought really resonates as I don’t have a family out in the real world. It’s just me.
Not anymore. Now your family is eternal, baby boy.
I shiver at the sound of his voice inside my head. And at the words. Master, I think back at him.
He comes into the room, like I summoned him and smiles when he sees me, opens his arms. I go to him like the moth to the flame I am. I’ve never been so happy to be seen.
“Are you busy, baby?” He hasn’t let go of me, holding me close against all his magnificent muscles.
“No, Master. The guys let me know what my job is now. I’m willing.” I want to be able to help someone else find what I’ve found here.
“You’ll be helping someone very much. Two someomes actually, a human and a demon.” He shifts over, tucking me into his side. “Say goodbye to the guys for now, baby boy.”
“Goodbye, guys. My master needs me.” And I’m so happy to be needed.
“I so do.” His hand slides to swat my ass, making me speed my steps but also getting my cock’s attention.
I hear goodbyes from the other room, but all my attention is on my master.
“I want to talk about giving you my mark.”
“Yes, Master.” Oh. Oh, I’ve been waiting. I’ve been wanting to be able to show in every way that I’m his.
“The big decision we need to make—well, I suppose there are two. Where are we going to put your mark, and whether or not you’re going to feel it happening.”
“I want to be able to see it.” And I don’t want to hurt for days, but if he needs me to…
“Yes, I want you to be able to see it too. And I want you to feel it happening, but once it’s done, I don’t need the pain to linger. I don’t see any point in that.” He touches my chest, fingers sliding over to my left pec. “Here over your heart, yes?” He traces lines on my skin with his fingertips.
“Yes, Master. Where it belongs.” He is my heart, and I can be brave. After all, he promised to make the pain go away.
He tilts my head up and brings our mouths together, the kiss long, his passion for me clear.
Are we in our rooms already? Has he moved us that far?
It seems we are as he bends me over backward, controlling the kiss, controlling me. All I can do is grab onto his shoulders and cling to him as he devours my mouth and increases my need.
My cock is full, as always with him, and aching.
He ends the kiss, far sooner than I want, and far quicker than usual. “I want to get my brand on you before we do anything else. I want to know that when you leave our rooms, you’re marked as mine for everyone to see.”
“Yes, Sir.” I don’t argue, because I need this. I strip off my shirt, trying not to shiver, trying to be brave for him.
He shakes his head. “Fully naked, boy.”
I nod and toe off my slippers, then the soft, loose pants he gave me—comfortable, easy access. Perfect.
Kalos takes a half a step back and licks his lips, makes a pleased, rumbling sound. It makes me stand straighter, proudly letting my master look his fill. “My stunning boy.”
“I’m nervous.” I don’t want to be, but it’s the truth.
He cups my cheek. “I love that you honor me with your truth. And that this is important enough to you that you’re nervous.”
“It is important. It’s your mark!” And I’ll wear it forever, because I’ve learned, this place doesn’t have a time or an end.
“It is.” He steps back up to me and lays his hand over my heart. “Ready, baby boy?”
Not a chance, but that doesn’t matter to me. “Yes, Sir. I’m ready.”
Kalos removes his hand and uses his fingernail to scrape my skin as he traces his symbol into it. A stylized K, it has swirls and curls and several sharp lines. Blood beads up in the wake of his fingernail, and for a moment, the mark is crimson. Then Kalos places his palm against my skin and I can feel the heat of it intensify. It gets hotter and hotter, and I swear that for a moment I can smell my flesh burning.
I gasp, but I force myself to accept it, to understand that this is his will.
The pain eases suddenly, fading along with the heat, and when he removes his hand, his brand is revealed. Still crimson, it looks like my own blood has been seared into my flesh. The sigil is slightly raised and absolutely stands out against my skin. It’s beautiful.
I sway a little, blinking at it. “Yours.”
He puts a hand on my shoulder, steadying me. “Yes, you are, my baby boy. All mine. And now absolutely everyone can see it. Here and out there.” He traces the brand lightly, a smile on his face.
“Is it pleasing to you?” Am I pleasing to you?
“Oh yes, it is most pleasing. You enhance the beauty of my brand.” And you yourself are the most pleasing to me.
“Oh, Master. I’m so glad. So glad.” My eyes fill with tears, but they aren’t sadness.
I took him. I took his knot, his mark, and his love.
And I’ll take them again.
He makes me crave.