When Jean starts to wake, Sky is inside him.
He’s barely moving, just kissing his face and murmuring to him, pressed up against him, stroking his hair.
Hopefully: "Somewhere people will know what it means? Not just -- somewhere softworld?"
"Obviously. That's the best part."
"You know all the best places, don't you?"
And the places his father, and his father's friends, are likely to be. If Sky lets him pick, he can avoid them.
"Tell me about some of them. The ones you think I'd like the most."
This gives him some amount of latitude without straying into disobedience. There are a lot of places, and many of them have various good qualities, and he can't after all guess perfectly at which Sky would like most.
"There's the club you went to," which, after all, Sky might well enjoy re-visiting in a different capacity. "There's a tea-house," because Sky liked the tea very much, didn't he? "And a living sculpture garden," which Sky would surely appreciate, "and a winery," which Sky would certainly appreciate, and Jean would not, so he feels he is being particularly scrupulous in including it, "and a little further away there's a sort of coffee-shop."
"...I don't want to go back to that club."
He shoves down the feelings. Be quiet. He's trying to think about nice things.
"What's special about the winery? And the coffee shop?"
"The coffee shop -- it's really mostly just a coffee shop? Our sort of people do want to drink coffee, sometimes. I've been there often on business. But people often bring new slaves there, or particularly fine slaves, or -- anything they want to share."
"The winery, on the other hand, is ... very formal. They do tastings, and dinners with wine pairings." Get to the point. "And pain pairings. They specialize in ... the aesthetics of sadism."
Also, his father is unlikely to attend either.
"Well. I don't need to pick just one."
"We'll go do a tasting once you have your real collar. But...tea or coffee first."
“Yes, Sky. Thank you.”
He knows better than to play games of interpretation like this. But he’s good enough to get away with it — for a little while — and in this matter the little while is worth it.
Tea or coffee first, then sculptures, then Jean will be properly collared and so Sky can take him to somewhere he'll be hurt in public and he won't have to worry about him being taken away.
This is a good plan.
And now that he has his plan he can curl up and cling to him for a little while.
...sad ... Sky?
"Is something the matter?"
It's hard to put the words together.
(Being pet is good, though.)
"I don't...like. Remembering. Being nothing for nobody."
"I was thinking about you, the whole time. Every minute."
He exhales, tucks his face in closer.
"Tell me. About – what you were thinking. How you felt."
"I was jealous. Jealous of the people using you -- jealous of you, I'd rather have been in your place than where I was."
"Lonely. Scared. I was afraid you wouldn't ever ... let me touch you again, not really. Like you had been. Obeying but being untouchable. I had to hurt you enough that you wouldn't dare try."
"I was afraid it wouldn't work. Afraid you'd carry on like that -- and I'd have to try to come up with something worse -- that I could bear to do to you -- or else never have you again..."
"All I wanted was you there with me. I think I got up and got my keys half a dozen times, to come get you. But I was afraid that if I did, you'd be cold and distant and it would be worse than nothing."
"I felt so. Stupid."
His voice is wavering.
"For thinking you, wanted me, at all–"
And now he's crying.
Oh no oh no--
"I wanted you so much, I didn't know how I could possibly have you..."
He curls up tighter against him and weeps, for a minute.
"...you really did it to...get me back?"
"You missed me," he mumbles into Jean's shoulder.
And then – "You figured out. How to get me back."
"Yeah." Touching the bruises on his neck, a little smugly: "I did."
"And now you're mine forever," he says, almost singing it even though his voice is still unsteady.