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"You won't do
What you'd like to do
Lay back and let me
Show you another way"
It wasn't like Karl'd set out to become a top. It was just something he was naturally good at. Control came to him as easily as breathing. People looked to him for answers and direction, and he was always happy to give it. The principle carried over to the bedroom, even when he was with other men -- even with men who claimed to be his equal out in the world.
Karl never put a label on what he did; it never even occurred to him that there were others out there, others seeking to be subjugated and marked and controlled and others still who did the controlling. It was a cast mate on "Xena" who'd first introduced him to the dark, enthralling world of submission and dominance, of power and desire.
He'd learned the tricks and subtle signs, when to mark, how to set boundaries, took to it like the proverbial duck to water. Being a true top took patience and skill and time -- and one thing Karl had in life was plenty of patience.
The best things in life were worth the wait.
Karl feels the weight of Billy's gaze everywhere, feels the throb and pulse between them like it's a living thing, changing and shifting. He wants Billy -- of course he does. What's not to want? Billy's a great-looking guy, easy-going without being lazy, funny without being overt. And Karl likes that, wants to crawl inside that body, inside that mind, find out Billy's weaknesses, what makes him tick, what makes him moan. Wants those pretty green eyes to cloud over in pleasure, wants that slim body under his as they slide together on soft sheets. Wants to mark Billy, possess him, wants to show Billy pleasure so intense it's like being reborn in ashes of sin.
He tells Billy this all the time, letting glances and looks speak for him in seductive caress. Lets Billy's quick flash of interest as their eyes meet, Billy's own lingering looks, speak in response.
Plays the game as he's always done.
"He digs you, you know," Dom said, flopping beside Karl with a relieved sigh. Karl just pulled deeply from his bottle of water, careful not to dribble any on his costume. The sun beat down mercilessly above them, and all Karl really wanted was a cool shower and some shade.
"Peter's a fucking sadist," Karl sighed, fanning his face. "Fucking wig must weigh a thousand pounds right now. All of it sweat."
"You even paying attention?"
"To what?" Karl glanced over, gave Dom a puzzled glance. "Why, we needed to do another take right now?"
"No." Dom rolled his eyes, tapped Karl's knee with a bony finger. "I'm talking about Billy."
Karl glanced around, sought Billy's familiar form across the set, met a quick smile with one of his own. "What about him?"
"He wants you," Dom said, and leaned back, folding his hands over his stomach in satisfaction.
"Yeah, and?" Karl threw Dom another puzzled glance. "I know."
"So, why don't you ask him out, then? Y'know, go up to him."
Karl smiled, patient and kind. "I don't go to people, Dom. They come to me."
The trick is to listen to what your bottom is telling you, Liz says, motioning towards the bed. Her girlfriend sits on the edge, head bowed, hands clasped, wearing nothing except a jeweled collar around her neck and a waist cincher. Listen to their body language, pay attention to the signs.
And how will I know them, Karl asks, stepping forward, enthralled, enchanted by the pretty picture in front of him. She's so beautiful, he murmurs, trailing a hand along a delicate shoulder. So still.
She knows her role, Liz tells him, and presses his hand down more firmly along a supple arm. She's telling you right now that she's yours, that your pleasure is hers, that submitting fully to you, losing herself in you is her only thought. She awaits your every whim, your every word, with bated breath.
Power courses through him, lightning-quick, unshakable. And what do we get out of it, he asks, gently tilting the other girl's chin up, studying dilated, wide eyes in fascination.
Liz rests her head on Karl's shoulder, smiles against his neck. We get to protect and guide, she tells him. We get to mold them and send them in the world with the knowledge that they're owned and cared for.
Karl nods, and leans in, whispering his first command into a willing ear...
The first time Karl joined Dom and Elijah in bed, it happened by request.
He'd already hear the rumors about the two of them. Already heard about Elijah's tendency to fuck his co-stars, male or female, learned about his predilections for pretty and virginal, and kinked out sex games. Karl'd dismissed it all as bullshit, of course. Kid was all of 19. What the fuck could he possibly know about the slippery world of dominance and submission?
Saturday night after an incredibly long day's shoot, and Karl was blowing off steam, initiating a very pretty, delicate-looking young lady in the fine art of the collar. She'd been wearing one of those velvet chokers above a very nicely filled-out bodice and it hadn't taken much effort at all to train her. A few well-placed kisses along an ivory neck, a murmured suggestion in her ear, and she'd been trembling, eager, pliant under his gentle touch.
It was always easier when they knew that they wanted it.
He allowed her to go off and dance on her own after awhile, after marking his new territory with a beard-rough kiss just above the choker and the promise of more to come if she obeyed. Her eyes -- dark, opaque, lined heavily with kohl -- strayed to his again and again as she undulated, danced for his pleasure. He certainly could have done worse.
Elijah settled next to him at the small table, head bobbing to the grinding beat. One thing Karl could always say about Elijah was that the kid had incredible taste in music. He knew everything.
"How the fuck do you do it?" Elijah asked, pitching his voice to be heard about the throb of the music and the hum of the crowd.
Karl raised his glass to his lips, studied Elijah as he took a sip -- vodka-cranberry, never drank anything else. "Do what?" he asked.
Elijah gestured in the girl's direction as she slithered and swayed to the driving beat, those smoke eyes locked on Karl. "Get so far into them, man. You fucking own that chick and you just met her."
Karl shrugged. He'd never really thought about it. "Dunno," he said. "There's an art to it, I guess. Like anything else. I learned by doing."
"Teach it to me?"
Karl leaned back in his chair. "You want me to teach you to be a top?" he asked, more than a little surprised. Guess the rumors weren't that far off the mark.
"I want you to teach me what you know," Elijah replied. "I want to be the best top I can for Dom."
Karl nodded, studied Elijah for a long moment. Kid had potential, Karl thought. Elijah had that something that drew people to him in effortless waves, that special, indefinable air of command without being overbearing about it. A good top was never overt, never flashed their power in another's face. They didn't have to. Elijah definitely knew the fine art of persuasion.
And, Dom...well, Dom could definitely be the perfect bottom. Karl had known that at their very first meeting. The best submissives were the brash ones, the bold ones; the ones most likely to strip naked and run through the streets, to make outrageous bets and drink too much and dance until dawn. The perfect submissives were always a bit wild, more than a little untamed. Submissives were forever in search of boundaries and rules -- and a good top knew how to set them without breaking that wild spirit.
Karl thought Elijah could be that for Dom, given the right instruction. "Yeah, alright," Karl drawled. "Grab him and let's go."
Karl laughed -- a low chuckle coming from somewhere deep in his belly -- at the incredulous look on Elijah's deceptively pixie face. "Yeah, now. We'll go back to my place. More privacy."
Elijah nodded, a jerky motion. Crooked a finger in Dom's direction. Karl was pleased to see that Dom didn't waste any time answering the command. They'd already started on their own, which meant Karl wouldn't have to work as hard.
"What about...?" Elijah's voice trailed. He tilted his head in the direction of the dance floor.
"She'll wait," Karl said. And she would. They always did. He stood and threw a generous tip on the table. "You wanna learn to master him or not?"
Sweat pools in the small of Dom's back and Karl watches as Elijah leans forward, licks a slow path up to the nape of Dom's neck. Dom's straining against his restraints, begging pleasemoreplease in broken, reedy gasps, and he really is pretty when he begs. Pretty as Karl had thought he would be.
Shh, Elijah says and Karl nods his assent. Elijah nods back, shaky, but only Karl sees it, so it's alright. And then pale, slender fingers slide up, wrap snug around Dom's throat, squeezing slow. Dom goes instantly still, eyes slipping closed and Karl sits back amongst the pillows, watching. A vein throbs under Dom's skin, throbs with the beat and steady squeeze of Elijah's hands, Elijah's shallow breaths as he pushes the slick, oiled head of his cock into Dom's ass.
Beautiful, Karl murmurs, giving encouragement, permission to continue. They're both so slender, so pale, like pliable porcelain, and Karl follows the lines of muscle and bone as they rock into each other, over each other in sin-soaked harmony. Tighter, Karl says, and Elijah's fingers spasm before obeying. Dom's fighting for air now, gasping and pushing back, pushing Elijah's cock deeper inside him, pushing into Elijah, arms rigid with the strain of pulling against the ties holding him in place.
Faster, Karl says, and Elijah bows completely over Dom, riding him hard and fast, squeezing precious air from Dom's lungs with each push. Karl curls a comfortable hand around his cock, watches and instructs. Their surrender into each other is so beautiful...
Karl had never been much for surfing until filming started, but one outing with the HobbitsandOrli had made him a convert. Now he joined them whenever he could, swam and raced with Orli, caught the killer waves with Dom, cajoled Astin into staying just one more hour, c'mon, it'll be great...
The pub was almost always crowded by the time they arrived, and they always piled close, crowding around one small table with a pitcher of whatever was on tap, and tales of the day's waves. A perfect ending to a perfect day.
Karl caught Billy's eyes again, smiled at him, slow and long. His gaze raked over tousled hair, a stubbled chin, a tightly muscled body clothed in a casual tee and jeans. He wondered what Billy would taste like right now, with the scent of the sea still strong on all of them, despite the showers they'd all had before hitting the pub. He parted his lips, tongue tracing the ridge of his teeth, imagined running it along the curve of Billy's jaw as Billy trembled for him, knelt for him in submission.
Karl had a lot of fantasies involving Billy on his knees.
Billy's eyes widened marginally, and Karl's gaze lingered on Billy's lips, the shape and curve of them, before turning his head, nodding and responding to Orlando's laughing question. He heard the quick intake of breath cutting under the myriad conversations, and smiled to himself. One step closer, he thought.
"Why're you smiling?" Orlando asked, leaning into Karl's arm, eager to share in the joke, in Karl's pleasure.
Karl gave Orlando a quick, brotherly kiss on the cheek. "Just enjoying the day," he said, studying Billy's wrists under lowered lashes.
He wondered what they would look like in restraints.
Whenever Karl reads or hears someone dismissing S&M as some freak show for adults, complete with whips, chains and bad leather outfits, he has to laugh. Most people don't have the first clue what we're about, he always replies. He's never offended, why should he be? To reduce something so complex as trust and submission to tacky parlor games is to completely miss the point.
Karl thinks Billy might get the point, though, thinks Billy would understand the delicate nature of balance that any true dominant must have with their submissive. He wonders if Billy and Dom have talked about it at all, wonders if Billy's expressed his feelings on the matter, if he aches the way Karl aches, to take that next step, go beyond looks into the realm of touch.
Karl waits and waits for Billy to come to him. He knows the rules -- tops never make the first move, never push the bottom faster than they're ready to go. But Billy never does take that next step, never does push further. Every word he speaks to Karl is carefully measured, every interaction in a crowd.
Only Billy's eyes -- hot, hungry, wanting -- give him away. Karl can feel the weight of them in a crowded room, feels the curiosity and need for answers. Karl would be happy to provide them, would happily mark Billy and lead him gently into his world, if only Billy would indicate his wishes.
The lessons were always at Dom and Elijah's leisure. Karl never pushed, never asked, never assumed there would be a next time. He knew the day would come when they'd go on their own, stop using him as a safety net, as a guide. One day they'd find their own rules, their own safe words. Elijah would figure out how to mark Dom as his and Dom would proudly wear that mark for all to see.
One thing Karl knew for certain was Dom and Elijah may be alright at the moment with sharing themselves with Karl, but the occasion would end.
Tops were possessive.
But bottoms were even worse.
Hold still, Karl says, and runs the tip of a finger along the underside of a curved breast. She bites her lower lip to keep from reacting, from moving her body instinctually into his. The leather collars fit snug around her wrists and neck as she stretches on her back, held in place on the bed by nothing more than Karl's soft command.
Dom and Elijah lean forward, eyes wide, and Karl leans back, allows them both to glimpse pink, pouty lips hidden under a golden thatch of hair before his fingers slide inside, and his thumb rubs lazily over her clit.
Her breath hitches, her pulse scrambles.
But she doesn't move.
"Is he wearing what I think he's wearing?" Dom asked.
Karl twisted in his chair and blinked once. And again. "Well," he said, thoughtfully. "Guess he's finally ready."
"He's not ready for this," Dom whispered furiously. Billy continued to wind his way to their table, white turtleneck snug -- too snug -- around his neck and chest and arms. A declaration of intent, and everyone at the table knew it.
"You'll be patient with him, right?" Elijah asked and Karl spared him an annoyed look. "Just checking," Elijah shrugged.
"He's still not ready," Dom insisted.
"No one forced him into this," Karl pointed out. His eyes finally met Billy's and he felt the tug, insistent and there. His hands itched with the need to trace the definition of tricep and shoulder, his lips burned with the need to taste and sip upon delicate-looking skin. Billy's step faltered, his nostrils flared. And the answering flash of heat and fire would have sent a lesser man than Karl to his knees. If Billy wanted to declare himself, Karl certainly wasn't going to say no.
"Look at him, for fuck's sake," Dom said. "He has no idea."
"You're just being over-protective," Elijah said.
"I'm not a fucking monster," Karl stated softly. "However Billy wants to handle this is how we'll handle it. But he brought it to me. Don't forget it."
Karl watches Billy bolt for the bathrooms and safety with a quiet sense of inevitability. He knows he's partially to blame, knows he should have done a better job of masking his desire. This was too public, too much, too soon.
He wants to be the one to go after Billy, to reassure him, comfort him. Dom argues that Karl's the last thing Billy needs right now, that he needs a friend -- another bottom -- to help him see this part through. Karl, I love you, Dom says, but you're overwhelming even in the best of times.
Karl can't really disagree with that. After all, he doesn't really know any other way to be. But, seeing the panic cloud normally bright green eyes has him rethinking a lot of things.
"I'm sorry," Billy said as he sat back down. He still looked a little pale, a little shaken, but Karl thought maybe he'd make it to the end of dinner.
A million thoughts raced across Karl's mind -- the chief one being why. Why did Billy declare himself if he wasn't sure? Karl hadn't remembered pressing, had been content to let Billy come to him when he'd been ready.
Karl's been many things in his life, but impatient has never been among them. The best things in life were worth cultivating, and Billy certainly promised to rank with the best.
Karl reached his hand out to curl over Billy's -- relaxed, non-threatening. "It's okay," he murmured...and meant it.
The best tops always knew that the bottoms were the ones in true control.
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