Neither Nick nor Greg had given any thought to their back up during their lessons with Lady Heather. Having been sequestered in her house for three days, they had become so used to the groans and screams that they no longer noticed them.
It was otherwise with their back up team. Grissom, of course, was tranquil and accepting of everything. Brass had also been there before. But Warrick had only heard tales about Lady Heather’s and Archie, rarely emerging from the lab, was shocked.
Two police officers arrived with them to be outfitted in jeans and casual clothes. They would be stationed in one van with Brass, while Grissom, Archie and Warrick would be in another. Archie had been brought in to orchestrate the wires that both men would wear.
Greg had become reconciled, with the help of an awesome blow job courtesy of his boyfriend, to the fact that he would be wearing the harness and mesh shirt, but he was quaking when he realized Archie would see his scars in all their glory as he adjusted and tested the wiring hidden in the harness.
His sullen expression was enough to alert Nick to his mood, but he was unable to warn Archie. He was so used to Greg’s scars that he never really thought about them and he hoped that if Archie did have a reaction, he would do it quietly behind Greg’s back and not say anything.
Maurie was there to buckle Greg into the complicated harness and Archie stood by waiting. Once it was in place, Archie listened through his earpieces and asked Greg to say something quietly. He then traced over the leather to check that the wiring was safely embedded without crossing. When he saw the scars, he touched them softly and merely said, “Sorry, Greg.” The younger man relaxed and Nick was so relieved, he flashed Archie a grateful smile.
Warrick had been shocked when he heard what Nick and Greg were about to do and agreed immediately to be part of the back up team. Grissom was pleased to accept him, knowing he was Nick’s best friend; he wanted the two men going undercover to feel comfortable, knowing that every word was going to be overheard.
The team got a bit of a shock when Lady Heather spoke quietly to Nick. He nodded and snapped his fingers, pointing at the floor. Greg knelt immediately, bending his head so Nick could fasten the collar on him.
The two officers started to laugh but were frozen into the deep Antarctic by Brass’s glare. Warrick looked startled, while Archie was merely interested.
Lady Heather was interested to notice that there was something about kneeling that seemed to put Greg into subspace; he never even noticed the reactions of the others, his attention was focused solely on Nick.
Nick released him and he seemed to recover a bit. Lady Heather drew Nick aside and pointed it out to him, telling him that if Greg was struggling, he should just command him to kneel and it would help centre him. She reminded him again that Greg would have fewer defenses and warned him not to leave his side.
Nick and Greg were riding in Lady Heather’s car, with her driver. The two vans, containing the back up teams drove separately and parked close by, one in the front and one down the alley that backed up against the club.
Forgetting about their wires, Nick asked Greg, “You think Warrick or Archie was more shocked?”
Greg laughed. “Definitely Warrick. I’ve always thought he was more of a free spirit than that.”
“Are you okay with Archie seeing your scars?”
“Yeah, he was cool with it. I guess watching all those weirdo aliens on Star Trek builds your acceptance. Maybe he just thought they were latex.”
“I’m sure he didn’t think that,” Nick said reproachfully.
“I know,” Greg said softly, looking out the window. Nick took his hand and twined their fingers comfortably. They held hands all the way to the club.
When the car pulled up, Greg had a brief meltdown about who should get out of the car first. Finally, they knocked on the smoked window shielding them from the driver’s observation and consulted with him. He advised that Nick get out first and look around, then snap his fingers for Greg to join him. He also recommended that Greg be on the leash when they entered so the Doms inside knew he was taken.
Warrick and Archie shook with silent giggles as they listened to these negotiations.
“Who knew this stuff was so hard?”
“God, I’m dying to check out Nick leading Greg along on that leash,” Warrick laughed.
Nick led the way into the club, tapping his crop against his thigh. Greg followed on the leash, focusing on Nick’s movements. During his training, he’d crashed into the woman leading him when she stopped short and had almost been throttled when he anticipated her movements incorrectly and went the wrong way. He’d finally been able to master the art when she compared it to dancing.
Nick surveyed the room while Greg checked it out under his lashes. Finally Nick sauntered over to an empty booth, taking in the crowd inside the club. There were many men and fewer women, and thanks to Lady Heather, Nick was able to identify which were Doms and which were subs with no difficulty. He stopped and Greg crowded into his boyfriend. Nick turned to glare at him.
Under his breath, Greg whispered, “Sorry, someone grabbed my ass.”
“That’s gonna happen sometimes in a gay S&M bar. Next time tell me and I’ll do something about it.”
“I feel like there’s a flashing lighthouse on my ass in these fucking shiny pants,” Greg grumbled.
“Quiet,” Nick ordered, feeling a glow of gratified dominance as Greg obeyed him, following him silently.
Nick slid into the bench seat of the booth, catching Greg’s eye as he was about to sit on the other side. He snapped his fingers and pointed, watching Greg slide gracefully to the floor. Only he could hear his boyfriend complain, “My fucking knees.”
Nick wondered what to do next.
Greg took the problem out of his hands by asking, “Would you like me to get you a drink, Sir?”
Nick nodded. “Get me a coke and you can get yourself one too.”
Greg looked up at him expectantly. Nick shrugged, as if to say, ‘what?’
“My leash, I can’t go very far with it wrapped around your hand,” Greg pointed out. “Sir.”
“Oh, right,” Nick started to unravel it and leaned forward to ask urgently, “Do I give you money to pay for the drinks?”
“Yes Sir,” Greg said. “I bring you the change and drinks. Make sure you count the change.”
He almost grinned at Nick’s startled look, but this part he knew because his trainer had covered it. He surmised that Lady Heather would be upset when she found out that the whole getting out of the car thing hadn’t been covered, but at least her driver had known what to do.
Nick handed the leash to Greg and was startled to see his boyfriend put it in his mouth, crossing to the bar with that little irrepressible strut in his walk. He shook his head. “Fucking uppity sub,” he muttered.
Archie rolled onto his back in the van, giggling, his hand pressed over his mouth.
Warrick looked at Grissom and asked, “What were we thinking, sending the Abbott and Costello of Doms and subs in there to do a man’s work.”
Grissom remained calm and focused. “They’ll be fine, Warrick.”
Greg returned from the bar, having replaced his leash in his mouth after ordering, bearing the two cokes and knelt to offer his master the drinks and the change. He’d thoughtfully put a straw in his glass in case Nick decided to put it on the floor and order him to drink without the use of his hands, but Nick held the glass where Greg could reach it. He drank thirstily, forgetting all about restrooms, sticky PVC pants and the difficulties relating to them.
In the meantime, Nick relaxed, leaning back threading his fingers through his boy’s hair negligently as he observed the activity.
Unclaimed subs knelt against the walls, hoping to catch the eye of a Dom on the hunt. The more powerful Doms stood where they could be seen, chatting with their subs by their sides. Some subs were standing, others were kneeling and there was a great variety of dress.
There were four or five men that Nick realized were the top dogs in this club. One in particular had an aura of quiet power. The other men subtly deferred to him. He was older, with dark hair that glinted with grey, dressed in a black suit.
Nick thought he and Greg looked better than most of the men in the club. He noticed that he was attracting attention from the subs lining the walls and he began to understand for the first time Lady Heather’s emphasis on his looks. Privately he thought the lines beginning to form on his face were rather aging, but perhaps it added to the stern look that subs seemed to enjoy.
The music was throbbing with a jungle beat and Nick was startled from his thoughts when a young man came to the table.
“Would you honour me with a dance, Sir?”
Nick looked at the kid; clearly he was a sub, and a very pretty one. He wore no collar so he was unclaimed for the evening. He had long blonde hair, luscious lips and wore tight designer jeans. Greg was envious of them; his PVC pants were hot and he was sweaty.
“You’re asking me, boy?” Nick said contemptuously.
Greg almost glanced up in surprise; he’d heard Nick’s Dom voice before but never with such conviction. With difficulty he suppressed a grin.
“No? Well, could he dance then?” The blonde pointed at Greg.
“Sure,” Nick said in his regular voice, thinking Greg might enjoy a dance. He unhooked the leash and when Greg shot a glare at him under his lashes, recollected that he was the Dom and commanded, “Dance for me.”
The blonde caught Greg’s hand and he was unsure about whether to free himself, so he allowed it until they took the floor. The blonde immediately started writhing and twisting, making a great show of himself, pushing his ass out. Appreciative hands patted it and he rotated his hips with greater abandon.
Greg thought it was a great pity that although the other sub was so pretty, he had absolutely no concept of how to dance in time to the beat.
He looked over at Nick to find his boyfriend watching him, his nostrils flared slightly in that way that Greg knew meant that he was admiring him. He decided to put on a show. Swaying to the beat, he started to touch himself, as if offering himself to Nick. He saw the older man catch his breath and the love shining in his eyes. Somehow, he felt himself slip into the peaceful submissive place where he was focused only on giving Nick pleasure.
He knew that Nick found him attractive in this outfit and even though the pants were hot and shiny, they did do a lot for his ass. Staring into Nick’s eyes, Greg allowed all the love he felt to flow out through his body. His dance was a paean announcing his devotion and both men were so engrossed in it, neither realized the dangerous attention that was focused on Greg.
The music changed and the blonde put his hands on Greg’s hips, aware that he was the centre of attention and jealously wanting to claim a share for himself.
“Your master must not care for you a great deal,” he shouted over the music.
“Yes, he does. I have his collar,” Greg said angrily. He jerked away from the other man’s hold.
“He doesn’t mark you. He must not value you if he doesn’t mark you.”
“Fuck you,” Greg snarled, turning to walk off the floor.
The blonde scooted in front, grabbing him and keeping him from leaving the floor. “We’re all going to try and get him from you, you know. If he really cares, maybe you should get him to give you a few licks with that crop.”
Greg was disgusted with the blonde’s look of envious lust and pushed him away. The blonde stumbled dramatically into a Dom dancing with his sub and fell immediately to his knees. “Forgive me, Sir, he pushed me,” he said, pointing at Greg.
Greg met the Dom’s gaze, furious with the brainless little twit and froze when he realized his mistake. Immediately he dropped his eyes and said, “Forgive me, Sir. I was trying to return to my master.”
The Dom was older and very fit. There was a glint of grey in his dark hair and a disturbingly powerful aura around him.
“See that you return to your master immediately then.” He turned back to his sub.
The blonde reached out and grabbed Greg’s ankle, so that he fell full length on the floor. Instantly several other unclaimed subs were on him. At first he thought they were trying to molest him, but then he realized they were trying to claim his collar. He grabbed it with both hands, squirming to avoid the knees and elbows flailing around him.
Suddenly there was the sound of a crisp slap and a hand closed on the ring of his harness, hauling him to his feet. Nick was standing there, his eyes blazing, but his voice was quiet as he commanded, “Don’t touch him! No one touches my property but me!”
The subs on the floor scuttled away, bowing, hurrying to take a position against the wall.
The older Dom watched as Nick put his arm protectively around Greg.
Greg hissed, “Push me, order me around, don’t comfort me!”
“Get over there and kneel!” Nick responded, giving Greg a shove that nearly sent him to the floor again. He bit his lips as he followed, tapping the crop against his leather pants unconsciously, unaware that he presented a rather menacing picture. Actually he was feeling horrible about first not noticing right away that Greg was in trouble and secondly, pushing him so hard, but he was shaking with adrenaline and he misjudged the amount of force he’d used.
“Fuck, what was that all about?” he muttered, snapping his fingers for Greg to kneel.
“They were trying to take my collar. Maybe they thought if they put it on, you wouldn’t notice the difference and take one of them home instead,” Greg murmured back.
Warrick looked at Grissom. “Call Brass. I don’t have a good feeling about this.”
Grissom shook his head. “Brass knows what he’s doing, if we need to pull the plug, he’ll do it.”
Nick snapped the lead to Greg’s collar and wound it around his hand.
“Give me a hickey,” Greg growled, completely forgetting about the men listening to their every word.
“Mark me, give me a hickey. They all think you don’t like me if you don’t mark me and I’ll be damned if I sit here and let you use that crop on me.”
Nick pulled Greg up and over his lap, holding him at an awkward angle as he sucked and bit at his neck, over the collar. Greg wanted to cry out because Nick was hurting him and the usual anaesthetic of passion was missing to alleviate the pain, but he couldn’t disrespect his Dom that way in the club.
Nick sucked fiercely, determined to make the biggest, most obvious mark ever. He would be damned if anyone was going to take Greg from him and if making a mark was what it took, then that’s what he would do.
He released Greg, looking at the purplish bruise with satisfaction. Greg was stunned into silence and simply remained limp in Nick’s arms until a shadow fell over them both. Nick snapped his fingers and pointed. Greg slid to his knees, breathing hard and swaying.
“Your sub is very attractive. You were a bit remiss in marking him, weren’t you?”
“I wasn’t aware that it was a part of the cover charge,” Nick answered sardonically.
“My name’s Bill,” the tall Dom said, holding out his hand. Nick caught the glint of a ring on the man’s finger and took his hand, hoping to get a glimpse of the insignia.
“Nick.” Nick shook hands briefly, dropping one hand to grip the back of Greg’s neck, feeling the tremors in his lover’s body, hoping to calm him.
“Is he new? He doesn’t seem very well trained,” Bill observed.
Despite the possibility that they might be getting their first glimmer of a lead, all the men in the first van grinned at the thought of Greg being well trained.
“He’s still in training,” Nick said shortly.
“His devotion to you is admirable, however. When he was dancing with that boy, his attention was focused solely on you. It was a lovely display.”
“Thank you,” Nick said. He forced a smile. “Your sub is rather attractive as well.”
“Yes, he is, but I would be willing to make a trade. You carry that crop as if you know how to use it. Perhaps we could switch for the evening?”
“No thank you. I’m very satisfied with this one.” Nick gripped Greg’s hair and tilted his head back, swooping down to capture his lips in rough kiss. Greg opened his mouth to allow the caress. He was beginning to feel a little mauled and his knees were sore.
“May I touch him?”
Greg cowered against Nick’s leg, shrinking away from the other man.
“No,” Nick said calmly. “He’s mine.”
“I really would like to give him a try sometime. Upstairs there are rooms with slings, benches, posts, anything you might like. Why don’t you send him away and we can talk.”
Nick nodded to Greg, pointing to a spot near the wall. “Wait there.”
Greg didn’t dare raise his eyes but he didn’t have a good feeling about this.
Bill engaged Nick again while Greg slowly went to his spot, his leash in his mouth.
“Fuck, guys, help me, come in, please, please, please,” Greg said as quietly as he could.
Unfortunately with the leash in his mouth and the music in the background, the back up team couldn’t make out what he was saying.
Nick flicked his gaze between Bill’s face and his hand as he talked, trying to see if his ring matched the jewellry that linked the murders together. Bill was suggesting to Nick that perhaps they might like to watch their subs entertain them by permitting them wrestle to see who would fuck whom, when Nick’s attention was drawn by a muffled cry. He turned his head to find that Greg had disappeared from where he’d been told to stand.
“What the fuck did you do?” he snarled at Bill. “Where did you take him?”
“We merely invited him upstairs for a little fun. I don’t know what your negotiations with him were, but we’re merely offering him a chance to make a change.”
Nick stood up and gripped the other man’s shirt in both fists. “I want him back right now!”
“Come with me,” Bill nodded with a smile that accentuated the harsh lines in his face. He snapped his fingers and his sub came running, following the two men up the stairs.
Remembering that he was wearing a wire, Nick demanded, “Why are we going upstairs? Where did you take him?”
“Right here,” Bill answered, opening a door. Nick was horrified to see that Greg had been gagged and his hands cuffed in front of his body. Three larger men, all clearly Doms were holding him bent over the back of a couch, running their hands over his body. Greg was struggling and his eyes were frantic when they met Nick’s.
“Hands off him,” Nick roared. He lunged for Greg, pulling him away from the other men. Five younger men, obviously subs, were kneeling, watching the entire episode without expression.
“Very nice,” Bill said approvingly. “This, gentlemen, is a man who values his sub. He’s willing to fight for him, aren’t you, Nick?”
“Yes, but I won’t have to,” Nick said, backing to the door. He turned the knob only to find that the door was locked.
The four Doms faced him, watching with interest as Nick tried to decide what to do. Greg reached up to yank the gag out of his mouth with his cuffed hands.
Warrick tapped his ear piece and snatched the ear piece from Archie. “What happened? Fuck, they’re gone! What happened to the transmission?”
Archie grabbed his ear piece back and fiddled with the dials. “Nothing. Maybe they have a scrambling device.”
Brass, in the other van, slammed his hand against the side. He dialled Grissom’s number. “What the fuck is happening? Did we lose them?”
Grissom said, “Archie is working on it but he suspects that possibly they have a scrambling device.”
“I’m calling for more bodies. Three cops against that gang would be useless.” Brass hung up abruptly, dialling dispatch immediately.
“Well at least we know they haven’t come out,” Grissom said.
“Do we? What if they were carried out–” Warrick started.
“Don’t, Warrick. We can only wait for the cops.”