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Chapter 11 of Owned was reposted with revisions on 1/29/2015 - I'm posting the original vversion here in case someone prefers the version with more aftercare



Harvey takes the time Mike’s in the shower – and there’s plenty, the kid’s apparently a hot water hog – to clean up and gather some things for aftercare. There isn’t a lot to be done, just wash the dildo and clean the coffee table (sweaty knee and handprints not something he’s going to subject housekeeping to, thank you); put a topical numbing cream at hand for Mike’s knees, gather up some throw pillows and blankets, a couple bottles of water, the entertainment center remote.

He changes into house pants and a t-shirt. His clothes are comfortable enough, but he sweated through them a little (and jizzed on the pants), and it’s better to put himself back on even footing with Mike anyway.

When Mike emerges from Harvey’s bedroom, scrubbed clean and bundled in old NYU sweats, Harvey tucks him into the corner of the sofa with the pillows and pulls his legs across his lap. He dragged the coffee table close enough that he can prop his own bare feet up.

He hands over the remote. “Pick a movie.”

Between his digital collection and pay-per-view, they have access to just about every movie imaginable; Mike picks Die Hard. Harvey smiles to himself and snakes his hand up the leg of the sweatpants Mike’s wearing.

“How are your knees?” Harvey rubs the one at hand. Mike was on them for a long time – on the glass and on hardwood; even the area rug’s not thick enough to provide much comfort.

“Not too bad.” He’ll probably feel differently tomorrow.

Harvey pushes the fabric out of the way and massages cream into Mike’s skin, working the joint a little and continuing up Mike’s leg – his thighs did a lot of work tonight. Mike watches Harvey instead of Bruce Willis – wiggles himself down the sofa, nearly horizontal as Harvey drags his pants leg back down and starts on the other knee.

He has to get up to wash his hands after that because they reek like peppermint, and when he returns, Mike has helped himself to the entire length of the couch. Harvey responds to his smug face by climbing over Mike and forcing him to the front of the cushions so he can make himself comfortable.

“Drink,” he says before they get too settled in. After they’ve both drained about half a bottle of water, Harvey pulls a blanket over them and rearranges Mike until they’re spooned facing the tv. “You good?”

“Mmhmm. Do you always cuddle on the first date?”

Harvey smiles, and flicks Mike ear, laughing when Mike swears and gives him a dirty look.

They both watch the movie for a while, but it isn’t long before the curve of Mike’s neck becomes pretty tempting, and only a few minutes of indulging himself before Mike turns towards him and they start to kiss. Harvey keeps it reigned in to a light makeout session; Mike’s practically purring, he’s so pleased with the affection. The rest of the film is nothing more than background noise, though Mike does pull away at the appropriate time to murmur “Yippee-ki-yay,” like he can’t help himself.

“What are your plans tomorrow?” Harvey asks after the movie’s gone dead. Mike’s eyes are heavy.

“Didn’t make any. I could always work, but I thought if you….”

Harvey truly hadn’t planned on letting this spill into a second day – his intention, at most, had been to make breakfast in the morning before sending Mike on his way. But now that he’s got him here, he’s greedy…and he’d rather send Mike away feeling successful. If they scene again tomorrow, Mike will be more obedient, he knows it. Wait a week and they’ll nearly start from scratch.

Harvey massages the base of Mike’s skull. “What do you want to do?”

“Make tonight up to you.”

Harvey presses a soft kiss to his mouth. “There’s nothing to make up. You did very well.”

“Not well enough.” There’s a bit of a sulk there that Harvey won’t indulge.

“Do you want me to start going easy on you? Giving you more slack?”

“No.”

“No,” Harvey agrees. “You don’t. But you’ve already been punished for tonight. Be better for me because you want to be, not to make up for something you’ve already paid for.”

“I want to be good for you tomorrow.”

Harvey kisses his forehead. “Then you will be. Time for bed.”

*

Mike’s confused for a moment when Harvey walks him to the guest room, which he’d made up just in case. He’s clearly not happy about ‘bed’ being separate, but he doesn’t argue, which earns him a ‘good boy,’ and the promise it’s not further punishment.

It’s more about Harvey. No way he wakes up early on a Sunday morning with a tempting body in his bed and doesn’t blow a winning tactic all to hell by indulging himself.

*

Harvey wakes up before Mike in the morning – unsurprising – goes for a jog and comes home to find the apartment still dead quiet. He grabs a shower, throws a record on the player at low volume and starts to make breakfast.

Like Lazarus rising from the dead, it’s the coffee that finally brings Mike stumbling out of the guest room, making sleepy delighted noises at the omelette Harvey’s plating up and sliding in front of his face. They eat at the island because Mike’s not awake enough to go further, though about halfway through breakfast, he seems to come alive.

“This is really good.”

“I know.”

He gets a side-eye for his confidence, and they lapse back into silence.

Harvey clears the dishes to the sink when they’re done and pours them both a second cup of coffee, leaning against the counter opposite Mike.

“I want to give you a second chance with no restrictions – you’ll be able to do whatever you want, for as long as you want. But you still have to earn it first.”

“I’ll do it.”

The blanket agreement goes to Harvey’s cock, but he gives Mike a look. “Don’t agree before you know what you’re agreeing to.”

Mike doesn’t say anything; he just looks at him, on point, until Harvey continues. “I want you to take a strapping for me. I’ll show you the strap – the one I have in mind will do well for your first time, but I want to beat your ass red. And if you take it like a good boy, then I’ll let you suck my cock with free reign.”

Mike looks as excited by the proposition of the beating as he is by the blowjob, which is why Harvey chose it. He also thinks they need to play harder ball to get Mike in the right frame of mind – at least until he’s trained enough to get himself there by self-control.

That was Harvey’s error last night; he tried to start at the shallow end. That would’ve been prudent for most new subs – taking their autonomy away by increments, scene by scene, pushing them further each time, but not Mike. Mike thinks too much, fights too hard, and responds so very beautifully to being smacked back down. Mike needs to be thrown in deep and made to drown a little until he stops feeling the instinct to hold himself up.

Harvey spent his run revising Mike’s training plan, but it comes with an additional complication. They can’t really proceed the way he’d like until there’s a commitment. And Harvey’s already stomped on Gina’s boundaries hard enough. It’s better in the long run – not just for their friendship, but for Mike – if Gina helps Mike figure out what he wants from an exclusive contract.

It leaves today in a murky middle ground, but he feels good about the compromise he’s wrought.

Mike certainly welcomes today’s plan. “Okay. Yes. Yes, please.”

Harvey nods. “Go brush your teeth and strip down. I’ll meet you back here.”

Mike abandons his cup of coffee completely as he does what he’s told, but Harvey takes a few minutes to finish before fetching the strap. Mike’s standing in the kitchen, half-hard and nervous, when Harvey returns and shows it to him, striking his own palm a few times to show Mike what to expect.

It’s far from Harvey’s heaviest instrument, but also far from his lightest. It is one of his favorites – a heavy enough play instrument for a sub who enjoys pain, a light enough punishment for a sub that does not. The harness leather’s broken in and flexible, but the single thickness of the strap is no joke.

Mike’s practically drooling. Harvey hands it over and lets him explore it for a few minutes; he gives himself a test slap on his thigh before Harvey knows he means to, and the angle and force is bad – he winces and looks up at Harvey.

“This one takes a careful hand – here.” Mike hands it back over and Harvey gives him a proper test blow on the other leg; Mike relaxes. “Okay?”

“Yeah.” Harvey holds eye contact. “Yes, sir.”

“Good. This is play, not punishment, so no counting, no set number of strokes, I’m just going to go until I think you’re done. Unless you safeword. Are you okay with that?”

“Yes, sir.” Mike’s breathing is elevated, his pupils are big, and it’s probably a 50/50 split between nerves and excitement. Harvey crooks a finger to reel him closer and gives him a kiss, resting his hand at the base of Mike’s neck.

“You’re allowed to make noise, but you’re not allowed to speak. That won’t always be a rule, but it will be for a while. You know why?”

“I get myself in trouble.”

“You get yourself in trouble,” Harvey confirms. “Other than that, all I need you to do is stay relaxed and take it. Can you do that?”

Mike’s cheeks are flushed, and Harvey doesn’t hold it against him when he simply nods instead of answering. He’s so turned on that it’s turning Harvey on, and they haven’t even started yet.

Unlike Mike’s, Harvey’s sofa is the optimum height for bending someone over, so they use it. He takes his time positioning Mike, bending him ninety degrees until his head and shoulders rest there – he doesn’t care what Mike does with his arms, but he’s not allowed to hide his face in them completely. His legs are planted just inside of shoulder-width, and Harvey stands to the side and draws one finger up Mike’s spine. It’s too tense. “Relax this.”

He waits until Mike loosens up, back forming a more natural S-curve, before he warns, “I’ll start with my hand,” and gives a swift sharp smack. By the second strike, Mike’s tightened up again, and Harvey reminds him without words, stroking his spine. Mike makes an effort to loosen up, relaxing far more when Harvey says, “Good boy,” full of approval.

He continues to struggle with being relaxed through the hand spanking, but it’s instinct, and a trust he hasn’t practiced yet; Harvey doesn’t scold him. Outside of the first time, Mike makes the effort without reminder, and Harvey doesn’t have to say anything until he pauses to switch to the strap.

Immediately, Mike’s back is knotted. “Relax,” Harvey says again, putting a hand on Mike’s head and soothing his scalp. After a moment, he decides anticipation’s half the problem, and lands a light blow – much lighter than Mike’s expecting, but not light enough to draw attention to the fact that he’s pulled it. Mike jolts with it, but not with the second, and by the third and the fourth, he’s relaxing, finally. “That’s good, Mike. Just like that.”

Now that Mike’s calmer, Harvey moves down his body a little, laying his hand in the small of Mike’s back as he begins to really work. Mike’s skin was flushed from the manual spanking already but it responds so goddamn beautifully to the strap, stripe after stripe as Harvey builds up to maybe 80% of what this instrument can do.

He levels off there – it’s a sweet spot for Mike. The choppy exhales that came with every blow have given way to moaning. His cock’s drooling precome on Harvey’s floor and he’s got a handful of upholstery in each fist; his spine’s finally lax except for the occasional, desperate flex of his hips, and as the beating continues, he gets so turned on he actually sinks his teeth into the cushion.

“You’re being such a good boy; I want you to get off like this.” The sound Mike makes is gratitude and pleading, and he doesn’t even think about reaching for his cock until Harvey says he can.

He sobs out a breath as soon as he gets his hand around it and jacks himself off furiously while Harvey hits him – by this point, there’s no part of Mike’s ass that hasn’t been well worked over, and each strike makes Mike cry out in pain; it’s no time at all before he’s jizzing on Harvey’s floor.

Harvey stops as soon as Mike’s spent, leaning himself against the couch back and pulling Mike upright into his arms. Mike burrows into his neck as Harvey takes his weight; he’s panting and probably light-headed from what looked like an intense orgasm.

“You were perfect. You took that so well,” Harvey murmurs, rubbing Mike’s back as Mike starts to come down. For all intents and purposes, everything from here’s aftercare, but it’s a very blurry line.

Harvey gives Mike all the time he needs to get his feet back underneath him, but Mike doesn’t move away. The way he shifts against Harvey seems innocent enough, like comfort-seeking, until you account for the brush of his lips against Harvey’s throat, and the way his hand finds Harvey’s cock through his sweats.

Harvey cups the base of Mike’s neck and squeezes. “Where should we go – bed? That might be easiest on your knees.”

Mike shakes his head, still tucked against Harvey’s shoulder. “My knees are okay. I can be on them.”

“Whatever you want.” Harvey forces Mike’s chin up so he can look at him. “Is that what you want?”

Mike still looks muzzy and high, but he nods, sure of himself.

“What else do you want?”

Mike licks his bottom lip, eyes flicking away from Harvey’s face before returning. He’s softer, right now. Even a little shy. “I want you to ignore me. Watch tv or read while I suck you. And then eventually…fuck my face.”

A lot more likely to keep Mike in subspace than the straightforward blowjob Harvey anticipated, but Mike looks vulnerable and hopeful and like everything Harvey wants, so Harvey says, “I’d love that,” and gives him a soft kiss.

*

Harvey brews himself a new cup of coffee – half-caf, and mostly as a prop to assist with the illusion of detachment that Mike wants. He keeps Mike close, and at the risk of destroying any kind of scene flow, takes a few minutes to give Mike the care that can’t wait if Mike wants to draw the blowjob out.

Next time Harvey breaks out impact, they’re doing it when he can let Mike suffer the next day – he thinks Mike will enjoy that – but for now, it’s best to counteract the swelling before it even takes hold.

He applies a cold-pack to Mike’s ass and ignores his grumbling, feeding him ibuprofen and a partial bottle of water. Mike will thank him when he can actually sit at his desk for ten hours tomorrow.

“This is not sexy,” Mike mumbles; even halfway in subspace, he’s challenging Harvey for control. It doesn’t even feel worth scolding him over, not when he’s bent over the counter, holding the compress in place and blushing. He’s just feeling a little exposed.

“I beg to differ.” Harvey lays his hand across the base of Mike’s neck like a yoke, pushing a piece of dark chocolate into Mike’s mouth. “I like you exactly like this.”

He has yet to find a way he doesn’t like Mike, even when Mike’s behaving in a way that’s counterproductive to his own needs.

He feeds Mike one more piece of chocolate and lets him lick his fingers clean, then he takes the compress away and inspects Mike’s skin; Mike’s in for some tenderness and bruising, but there probably won’t be welts.

Harvey gives Mike’s neck a squeeze, encouraging him to stand upright – he’s broken out into gooseflesh, and while he’s not shivering yet, Harvey’s going to err on the side of caution.

“Go pull that hoodie on,” he says, and cuts Mike off before he can even begin to protest. “Don’t argue. Just the hoodie. You can take it off later, when you feel like it. By the time you get back, I’ll be watching tv.”

That gets Mike moving in the direction of the guest room. Harvey takes his coffee and settles himself on the sofa, turning the television on and throwing a pillow at his feet. Someday, Mike’s going to realize his knees won’t be young forever. There are mornings Harvey wishes someone had warned him.

He’s flipping channels when Mike pads back into the living room a few seconds later, and Harvey’s careful not to look at him as he gets on his knees. He has a small kernel of concern that Mike’s request to be ignored will backfire in the wake of his first beating, though, so he spares Mike a glance when Mike doesn’t reach for him right away.

Mike’s face is clear – if anything, eager; his lips part a little when Harvey loosens the drawstring of his sweatpants and hooks the waist under his balls, exposing his mostly-soft cock. Mike darts a look up and catches his eyes, and Harvey holds the look for three deliberate seconds before turning his attention to the tv.

Or, appearing to. Harvey’s doing his best impression of being absorbed in the Sunday-morning programming – some kind of political round-table – but his focus is wholly on Mike.

Mike, whose throat and tongue are working while he stares at Harvey’s cock, hands kneading Harvey’s thighs…he looks sex-dazed and horny, and just that look is enough to get Harvey’s cock to fill. Then finally, Mike raises himself up and leans forward.

There’s no teasing – they had enough of that the night before, and this time Mike sucks Harvey in immediately, drawing him inside, further and further, until the tip’s against the back of Mike’s throat. His mouth’s thick with saliva, and Harvey realizes that’s what he was doing in the delay: Mike was making his mouth water so he’d be wet for Harvey’s cock.

Harvey breathes. He doesn’t moan or move or clutch in response the wet sound of Mike’s throat working against him, but he does let himself look. Mike won’t notice: head angled down, eyes closed, all his focus on nursing Harvey’s erection to fullness, and it’s working. Mike’s hands are resting softly on his hipbones, and the rhythmic suction he’s creating only breaks once Harvey’s hard enough that Mike can push farther forward, choking around the head of his dick and drooling copiously down the shaft. Then he draws back and milks with his mouth…pushes forward and chokes, drools, drools, drools. Three bobs in slow motion, until Harvey’s stiff and so slick.

Mike pulls off like coming up for air after a deep dive, and Harvey’s quick to turn his eyes to the tv before Mike can see. Then Mike’s eyes are on him, watching intently, so Harvey reaches out for his coffee, takes a sip, and turns the volume up. He doesn’t react as Mike wraps his hand around Harvey’s cock and pumps it, gliding fast and smooth on the absurd amount of spit he left behind.

When Harvey doesn’t so much as acknowledge Mike’s attention, Mike moans softly and buries his face in Harvey’s groin, so pleased he melts into hedonism, nuzzling the base of Harvey’s cock while he strokes it. It shores up Harvey’s resolve – his personal preference would be to watch Mike’s every move and talk him through it, but his mind settles into place at Mike’s desperate gratitude, and he feels the role Mike wants him to play saturate his bones.

It requires no effort, after that, to pretend indifference while Mike worships him – it’s still a façade, but it’s easy to put on. After Mike has gotten his fill of breathing Harvey’s scent and mouthing at his balls, he pushes himself up and runs his tongue over Harvey’s cock, bathing his shaft with the flat of his tongue and then running it all over the head, swiping the soft underside of the muscle over the crown. Harvey stares at the screen and drinks his coffee; it feels right to let his free hand rest on Mike’s shoulder in an absent kind of encouragement, and the soft, pleased sound Mike releases confirms the instinct.

It’s the way you’d acknowledge a pet whose need for attention is less important than what you’re doing, and that – that connection – does so much to clarify what Mike needs. Harvey slides his hand up to rest on Mike’s crown and gives his scalp an idle massage; Mike makes a helpless sound and sucks Harvey’s cock between his lips.

Mike enjoys this so much, it’s obscene; Harvey knew, Mike had told him, but actually receiving it’s an experience. His approach to this is much the same as it was to riding the dildo: restless, curious, natural. Constantly trying out new things. Harvey indicates what he likes best with casual affection, stroking his fingertips behind one of Mike’s ears, massaging his nape, all the while denying eye contact. It’s not long before Mike’s wrestling out of the sweatshirt, overheated.

The tongue bath gives way to more sucking after that, so varied in depth and pace that Harvey never knows what’s coming next, and can’t make progress towards actual orgasm.

It’s the best goddamn kind of tease, and Harvey wishes he could watch. He can feel Mike’s eyes on him, almost constantly, more absorbed in Harvey’s reactions than the actual execution – he’s well-practiced. It’s intoxicating; next time they do this, Harvey’s going to be staring right back.

Mike alternates between taking him in his throat and rubbing the head against the silky inner lining of his cheek, between bobbing deep and fast and pulling back to dig his tongue into the slit, and after an eternity of being played, Harvey gives up all pretense of watching the tv. He keeps his eyes fixed in place but doesn’t bother trying to focus, all his attention turned inward, and downward.

Mike can see it. Harvey knows that Mike can see it because the kid moans around a mouthful of cock, a deeper, more heartfelt sound than all the eager noises he’d let slip before. And he finally, finally sets a rhythm Harvey can latch onto, a pace that makes it hard to keep his hips on the couch, and there’s no point in trying.

“Gonna fuck it now. I’m gonna fuck that sweet mouth.” Mike groans, and Harvey can feel it straight to his balls. This won’t take long. “I want you to pinch my thigh right now. Harder. Okay, there – that’s your safe signal, if you need me to stop, or even just ease up. Understand?”

Mike makes a sound in the affirmative and Harvey swears, hips jagging forward without conscious thought. Mike’s response is to knead Harvey’s thighs and choke himself further, until Harvey takes ahold of his scruff and pulls him away a little.

The first few thrusts are slow, testing the amount of space he’s given himself to work and exactly how far he’ll push before he hits the back of Mike’s throat.

“Look up at me,” he says, even though Mike is already looking. “Keep your eyes here.”

And shit, Harvey feels his cock pulse just from seeing Mike’s pupils this blown.

Sitting isn’t the best way to do this, but Harvey’s going to come before long, so it’ll be fine. He gives Mike’s neck a squeeze – stay – as he starts to pump his hips faster. It’s the third thrust when Harvey overshoots and hits flesh hard enough to really bruise; Mike gag-coughs but he’s okay. Harvey grits his teeth and focuses on keeping a workable depth.

There’s a moment, after Harvey hits his stride, when Mike just goes loose… muscles turning to taffy as he gives in completely. “Oh fuck, look at you,” Harvey gasps, “oh fuck,” his balls draw up, “oh fuck, take my come,” and he buries himself so deep he feels Mike’s high needy sound on the tip of his dick and he just…fucking loses it.

Mike’s nostrils flare for oxygen as he works Harvey’s come down his throat, and the suction is – God, he’s a fucking champ, but eventually he coughs just a bit, and Harvey lets him up.

His dick’s still stiff and flushed and his hips are juttering with aftershocks; Mike licks him, root to tip, and Harvey laughs, shuddery. His head falls back.

“Fuck.” His whole body jolts when Mike suckles the head. “Okay…okay, stop now. That was. Shit. Get up here.”

Mike smiling as he climbs in Harvey’s lap. “So that was good then?”

Little fucker’s even licking his lips, so smug, and Harvey can’t help but grin back. He lands a light smack on Mike’s cheek before pulling him close. He tastes like come but his jaw must be one big ache, so Harvey reigns it back to nibbling, close-mouthed kisses.

Harvey’s not entirely surprised, given what he knows, to feel Mike’s cock prodding his stomach. He loves sucking cock, and he was down there quite a while. When Harvey wraps his hand around it, it’s the first time he’s touched him, and Mike abruptly breaks the kiss, wiggling forward on Harvey’s thighs.

“Ohhh,” he moans when Harvey finds the stroke that makes his toes curl into Harvey’s thighs. “Oh God, I’ve never been so grateful for a handjob in my whole life.”

Harvey smiles. “Not even your first?”

Mike’s fists ball the cotton of Harvey’s tee at the seams. “Before my first, I didn’t know what I was missing.”

“Good point.”

Mike looks so good, cheeks flushed, lips abused. The poor kid has cotton mouth at this point, so Harvey’s the one to spit down onto the head of Mike’s cock, smooth it down and ease the way.

Harvey catches Mike’s groan in his mouth, teasing kisses utterly at odds with the rough way he’s handling Mike’s cock.

“What if I told you you could only have my hand…for the next month?”

The sound Mike makes is pathetic, but his dick twitches. Harvey laughs, feeling breathless.

“Would you rather have my hand, or someone else’s mouth?”

Mike’s breath stutters at the twist of Harvey’s hand, and he sounds put out when he says, “It’s better than a lot of mouths.”

“What about cock?” Harvey puts his mouth against Mike’s ear. “What if I told you you couldn’t get fucked, couldn’t even play with your own hole, that you had to make do with me jerking you off? Indefinitely?”

Mike thrusts into Harvey’s fist. “I’d beg.”

“But would you give it up?”

Harvey feels how very close Mike’s getting – the way that drives him closer. “Yes. Jesus.”

“It’s a privilege to come in my hand. Say it.”

“Unh. It’s a – ” Mike stops, short of breath, and Harvey lets go of his dick; it brings a full-body gasp of disappointment. “It’s a privilege to – ” He works Mike’s cock with intent, and Mike’s whole body strains. “ – come in your hand. Oh God.”

It’s a matter of moments before he does, desperate fingers twisting Harvey’s shirt beyond all saving. It wrings him dry and leaves him gasping.

*

They stay right where they are, with little movement, until Mike’s stomach growls. It makes for a very belated lunch, and Mike’s so hungry he finishes Harvey’s deli meat. He looks alive though, and slowly untangles himself from Harvey – by the time they’re both done, he’s reestablished independence, albeit unconsciously.

“I should probably get going,” he says eventually. Not guilty or self-conscious, just ready.

“Sure. But before you do….” Harvey waits until he has Mike’s full attention. “When we meet with Gina, I want to discuss an open-ended contract.”

Mike looks incredibly pleased by that and trying to stifle it. Harvey’s mouth tips and without a real decision, he reaches out to touch Mike. They both turn on the sofa to face one another.

“Here’s what I’m thinking, and tell me if any of it doesn’t sound good to you.” Harvey pauses for a moment, gathering his thoughts. “A lot of the time, the motivation behind two people establishing a long-term contract is primarily exclusivity. It’s good to make sure everyone’s clear on what’s happening, but that transition from regular scene partners to more…that’s the primary reason, in my experience. That’s a factor here – I don’t want you with anyone else unless we agree on it – but it’s early for that. My main reasoning here is that I want more…flexibility than individual negotiations provide.

“Tell me if I’m reading you wrong – ” he’s not, he knows he’s not, but it’s bad manners to presume at this point, and it’s pushy, “– but I think you have fantasies of a Dom having more extensive control.”

Mike’s ears go pink at the tips when he nods, and Harvey concentrates considerable energy into maintaining a mask of sincerity. That blush does something to him, but it’s not the time.

He satisfies himself with letting it show, just a little, when he tells Mike, “Me, too.” Then it’s back to business. “So I’m thinking that you and I should discuss specific limits extensively – in the immediate kind of sense, things we’re ready for right now – and make a list of things I’m allowed to spring on you without discussion. Obviously safewords still apply, and we can discuss more or renegotiate any time you like, but it would give us some room to be spontaneous.”

Mike’s eyes are bright and excited, and he’s nodded through half of Harvey’s speech. It’s no surprise when he says, “Yeah, that sounds really good.”

Harvey’s mouth keeps pulling into a smile. “Good. Before Friday, you should make a list of things you really want to try. Mine is…extensive, so I’ll email you ahead of time and you can take your time and decide what you’re comfortable with.”

Mike lifts an eyebrow. “Afraid I’m going to run screaming?”

Harvey looks away for a moment, trying to quell some of his amusement. “No, I’ll save those for the third date.”

Mike grins and ducks his head.

“In the meantime,” Harvey says, and waits til Mike’s looking up again, “I know I just said it’s not about exclusivity, but I’d prefer that we both abstain until the contract’s in place.”

“Between now and Friday? Won’t be a problem. How much free time do you think I have?”

Harvey holds up his hands in surrender. “I know what I got up to in the file room.” Mike opens his mouth, clearly bent on specifics, but Harvey waves him off. “Okay, we’re done. Get out.”

“Is that how you end all your negotiations?”

“Just the ones where I have the clear advantage.”

“So, all of them.”

It’s the basest kind of flattery, but Harvey preens a little and then herds Mike out the door.




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