Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Down New Paths"

This poem came out of the June 2015 Creative Jam. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. It also fills the "curiosity" square in my 6-1-15 card for the June Relationship Bingo fest and the "hypoglycemia / low blood sugar" square in my 6-16-15 card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest. An audience poll has selected this poem as the free epic for the August 4, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl reaching its $200 goal. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics. This is the first of the poems about Gray Agamau, so it unlocks the next and "The Breaking of the Shell" is now available for sponsorship. WARNING: This poem contains intense topics meant for mature readers. Highlight to read the spoilery warnings. When Gray's boss loans him out to a lady boss who is also a novice dominatrix, Gray decides to indulge his curiosity about kinky sex. This starts out with a lot of fun, with erotic activity and orgasms but no actual copulation, and ends with a miserable case of subdrop. They break a whole handful of "for your first scene together" rules, and these are some of the things that can go wrong when people do that. It's not malicious, just incompetent. So a bunch of physical and emotional distress ensues. Fortunately Gray has friends to put him back together again, which is really sweet. This is heavy-duty hurt/comfort. Please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward. "Down New Paths" Gray liked working for supervillains. They appreciated his toughness, even though it wasn't at their level, and they paid him well. Ricasso took good care of him, always treating Gray like something special, and frowned whenever Gray demurred with, "I'm just an ordinary guy." Ricasso didn't think of anyone as ordinary. Gray enjoyed getting into fights and pulling people out of fights, running errands and generally making himself useful. Ricasso always asked before loaning him out, though. One day Gray came to see what his boss needed, only to hear, "What would you think about working for a woman? Lupê Hêdonê needs some extra muscle this week, and she likes pretty young things." Gray shrugged. "I like women," he said. "I can take orders from them just fine." "Oh, you'll be taking orders, all right," said Ricasso. "Just remember, you're only obligated for the muscle work. Anything else is your choice." Gray wondered what that was supposed to mean, right up until he saw his temporary boss-lady. A dress made of dexflan panels and capery lace clung to her curves, caramel skin showing above knee-high boots of black leather that matched her wavy hair. It wasn't what he'd call professional, but that was none of his business. Gray was only responsible for looking good and providing some muscle, or a meat shield if someone tried to mess with Lupê Hêdonê. The first few days went well; she was prowling for politicians to screw, and screw over. That was all fine with Gray. He was happy to make sure their bodyguards couldn't interfere with Lupê's hidden photographer. On Saturday night, though, she propositioned him. "How good is your sense of adventure?" she asked. Curiosity blazed up. "I like new things," Gray said, licking his lips. She was beautiful and scary and he couldn't help wondering what the politicians had gotten behind closed curtains. So he followed her down new paths as she led him into her bedroom, svelte as a shadow in her bodice of Payne's grey piped with red. He let her tie him to the wall with silk ropes and slip a blindfold of bunny fur over his eyes. He let her run her long fingernails over him, knowing that they would leave red lines on his white skin. He let her beat him with a flogger made of some soft leather that produced more heat than pain. He floated, blissful, on the soft clouds of sensation that Lupê created. It was all so fresh, so exciting, that he couldn't wait to discover what was to come next. Then she touched him with her superpower. Gray's body jerked in the ropes, caught between pleasure and pain, rocking in the sharp tide of it as she trailed her slim hands all over him. Lupê pushed the energy into him, driving him higher and farther with it, so that he couldn't help wondering where she would take him. He felt like he was flying, swept along by her power into a heady helplessness that left him panting and ecstatic. Lupê humped his leg until she came with a sudden explosion of power that made Gray see stars. He hung limp in the ropes, curiosity sated at last. "Well, that was lovely," Lupê said as she got off him. "You're dismissed now. I'll see you tomorrow." She untied the ropes that held him against the wall. Gray collapsed onto the floor in an untidy heap, too confused even to catch himself. What was happening? Why didn't she want him anymore? What had he done wrong? "You left your clothes there, on the dressing chair," Lupê prompted. Gray dragged himself to his feet. He'd gotten through worse than this, albeit at enemy hands. He felt cold. He felt sick. Even standing up blurred his vision. "You're just ... leaving me like this?" he said, trying to focus on Lupê. "I came. You came. Show's over," she said with a shrug. "Don't be clingy. I hate it when they get all clingy." "Hard to believe that anyone does," Gray said. "I could do better than this. And I never even ... did this, before." He waved a hand at the ropes. Lupê snorted. "Tell me that tomorrow, sweetie, when you're begging for more." Well fine then. "I quit," Gray said. Her face turned from cool to harsh. "Get out!" she snapped. Evidently she did not take rejection well. Gray fumbled his way into his clothes, belt buckle jingling a taunt as he tightened it. His whole body shook as he tried to force it into some semblance of normal performance again. He staggered outside, determined to make his way back to the safety of Ricasso's territory. It wasn't raining, but it was damp and chilly. Within a few blocks, though, a car pulled alongside him. Gray shied away, and then realized that it was a taxi. The driver cracked the window enough to say, "Hey, buddy, you don't look so good. Do you need a ride?" Taxi. Ride. Yes. Gray patted his jacket, relieved to find the flip wallet that he kept for emergencies. He let it fall open to show the emergency card in its plastic sleeve; behind it, the long pocket held his crisis cash supply. "Here," Gray said, slapping the wallet against the car window. The cabbie rolled down the window enough to take it. "You want me to drive you to the top address on your list, or the nearest hospital?" "Not injured," Gray muttered. "They got shock rooms, if you need some EFA," the cabbie said. "Wallet," Gray said. "Okay," the cabbie said. "Your hide, your ride." Gray's stomach growled, but he felt too queasy to eat anything, even if he'd had something at hand. They went down new paths, the cabbie finding a fast route to the listed address. When they arrived, he tucked the wallet back into Gray's jacket pocket and then insisted on helping him out of the car and up to the door. Evidently Thriver had seen the taxi pull up, because he hurried to meet them. "What the hell happened?" "Kid gave me this address for emergency contact," the cabbie said. "He claims he's not injured, and I don't smell any kind of booze on him, but it's plain to see something isn't right. Can you take care of him?" "Yes, I have first aid training," Thriver confirmed as he took Gray from the cabbie. "Thanks for your help." Thriver handed off a small wad of bills. "I don't need a tip that big!" the cabbie exclaimed. "Then put it in the skippy fund," Thriver said, maneuvering Gray indoors. The building was one of the several that their organization used. Thriver put Gray on the cot in the breakroom and then demanded, "What's going on? Did Lupê Hêdonê hurt you on purpose, or was it something consensual that went wrong?" "We just played," Gray said, not wanting to sound like a total pussy. "Was fun ... at least 'til she threw me out." "She ran a kink scene and then just dumped you into a taxi?" Thriver said as his hands patted over Gray to check his condition. "Jesus fuck, that is not okay!" Gray shook his head, then instantly regretted it. "Was walking home. Cabbie found me." "That explains a lot," Thriver grumbled. "All right, I know what's wrong with you. You've got the worst case of subdrop that I've ever seen, which is why your blood sugar and your body temperature are both so low. I'll start by giving you an energy boost." That was Thriver's superpower, Energy Transference. His hands pressed over Gray's chest, pouring that warm bright power into him. It helped a little. "Thanks," said Gray. Thriver bundled him into a blanket. "Stay here until I get Ricasso," he said. "I think he's doing paperwork in his office." "You can't bother the boss for this," Gray protested, trying to get up. Thriver pushed him back onto the cot. "Trust me, Gray, Ricasso can fix this better than I can. You look up to him. That makes a big difference for subdrop." So Gray stared at the ceiling and tried not to feel like a total waste of space until the boss came for him. Ricasso showed up with a worried expression and a cup of hot chocolate that he pressed into Gray's hands. "Drink that, it'll help," he said. "If you're queasy, sip it slowly." Just having something simple to do was helping. Gray sampled the cocoa. It warmed the cold spot inside him that Thriver's power hadn't quite reached. He finally started to relax. "Lupê Hêdonê likes to fool around," said Ricasso, "but this is the first time anyone's come away in bad shape. Any ideas what went wrong?" "I don't think anyone else went down for her like Gray did," said Thriver. "He was pretty deep when he got here -- still is, that's why I called you." Ricasso clasped a hand over Gray's shoulder. "Gray, I need you to tell me what happened," he said, a soothing command. "She tied me up and hit me and made me feel wonderful. She didn't do anything that I didn't want," Gray said. "She just stopped before I was ready, I guess. I really hated that part." "Then what?" the boss asked. "Told her I quit. And I could do better than she did," Gray said. "Least I know not to dump anybody like she did to me. Pretty low bar." "I'm sure you could do better," Ricasso agreed, smiling. "Good job on the report. I'll take care of things now." "Really?" Gray said. For some reason, he craved reassurance tonight. "Yes, really," said Ricasso. "That is the last time I loan any of my people to Lupê Hêdonê. It seems that she's too new to know what she's doing with them, superpower or no." "But you know," Gray guessed. "I do, but that's a conversation for another time when you're clear-headed," said Ricasso. "I want to learn," Gray said. "It was fun until she fucked it up." "Another time," the boss repeated, giving Gray's shoulder a gentle squeeze. The pressure settled something in him that he couldn't name, making Gray feel less like he was about to shake apart. Ricasso and Thriver sat with him, helping Gray piece himself together. Gray was glad that he'd broken it off with Lupê before he got in so deep that not even they could pull him back. She was beautiful and sexy, but all kinds of trouble too. He was determined to learn, because damn it, that had been amazing before it all went to hell. The hot chocolate was making him drowsy, though, warm and content on the comfy little breakroom cot. Ricasso lifted the empty mug away and set it on a nearby cabinet. "Get some rest, Gray," he said. "Thriver has the watch, and the outer perimeter is secure." That was an order he was happy to obey. * * * Notes: Gray Agamau -- He has fair skin, gray eyes, and ash-blond hair swept up toward the crown of his head. He's on the slim side for a fighter, but still has nicely defined muscles; they're just not overbuilt. He is heterosexual, but omnisensual, and often mistaken for homosexual. He tends to take out his temper on the homophobes when they pester him. Gray is popular among supervillains for combat support and running errands, talented with knives. He works for Ricasso, who sometimes loans out his services. He's prone to low blood sugar after stress or exertion, and needs to be careful to eat often enough. Qualities: Good (+2) Cook, Good (+2) Observant, Good (+2) Supervillain Henchman, Good (+2) Tough Poor (-2) Low Blood Sugar Ricasso (Antonin Torriani) -- He has fair skin, hazel eyes, and short wavy black hair with a mustache joining a complex beard. His eyes are the shade of hazel that blends amber and green toward the outside with darker brown near the pupils. His name refers to the unsharpened part of a sword blade that allows greater precision by placing a finger over it. His father's family comes from Duno, Province Varese, Lombardia, Italy. His other heritage includes French, British, and Spanish. Antonin is first-generation American. Ricasso runs a supervillain gang, providing muscle and showmanship and other services. His preferred weapons include knives and swords, which he learned to use before gaining superpowers. As a hobby he enjoys kink and other forms of power exchange; he's a talented gentleman dom. He also likes dancing and other fashionable entertainments. Origin: He inherited a sword pendant which granted him superpowers. It was made during the French Revolution. Qualities: Expert (+4) Crime Boss, Expert (+4) Power Exchange, Good (+2) Ballroom Dancing, Good (+2) Fashion Sense, Good (+2) Lockpicking, Good (+2) Strength, Good (+2) Suave Poor (-2) Coping with Crudity Powers: Good (+2) Cutting, Good (+2) Precision, Average (0) Minions The Spadonari include both superpowered and ordinary gang members. Their name means "sword dancers." While they aren't as numerous as some other gangs, their quality is beginning to attract attention. Lupê Hêdonê (Guadalupe Payne) -- Guadalupe is Hispanic-American of very mixed heritage, with an interest in ancient Greek culture. She has long, slightly wavy black hair, caramel skin, and brown eyes. She is tall and svelte, with a moderate swell of breast and hip. She resents being overlooked for white girls, or vanilla ones, or naries; hence her tendency of doing things to jolt people into paying attention to her. Her codename is Greek. Lupê means pain or distress, one of the Algea or spirits of pain. Hêdonê means sensual pleasure, the opposite of the Algea. She can use a combination of pain and pleasure for healing, interrogation, and other practical uses as well as recreation. Lupê likes to target soups who have sensual gifts, but she'll take other soups or even naries if that's what she can get. Among her first exploits is a scandal racket where she targets politicians who annoy her, seduces them, gets photographs, and then either blackmails them or just releases the materials to discredit them. Origin: Guadalupe was studying psychology in college, which led her into BDSM. Her then-boyfriend was a super-gizmologist who tied her up and experimented on her with weird science sex toys. This activated superpowers, but she had no control at that point and accidentally wiped his mind blank. Uniform: Fetish wear, such as thigh-high leather boots, a dexflan corset, and an overrobe of capery lace. She loves classic red, but prefers Payne's gray to black. Qualities: Good (+2) Beautiful, Good (+2) Greek Mythology, Good (+2) Kinky, Good (+2) Psychology Poor (-2) Taking Rejection Powers: Good (+2) Hurts So Good, Average (0) Allure Motivation: To shock people. Thriver (Alec McKinney) -- He has fair skin with freckles, green eyes, and short wavy brown hair. He is slender and graceful. He can go for a long time without resting, if necessary, because of how his body stores energy. After his superpower developed, Thriver lived on the streets for a while. He earned money by selling himself, not for sex, but for the thrill of playing with superpowers. Some supervillains in particular liked the fact that he could juice them up. Ricasso met him in passing, gave him money and food more than once, and tried to convince him to go to a shelter. Thriver always refused. Then one night, Thriver gave away too much of his energy. Ricasso found him passed out on the pavement and took him home. After some coaxing the next day, Thriver agreed to stay with him, and eventually joined the gang. His job is basically taking care of the other gang members, things like food and medical care and a sympathetic ear when they're upset. Origin: His superpower manifested while he was in paramedic training, probably stimulated by the intense study. They kicked him out. Uniform: Street clothes. He often wears a black leather jacket. Qualities: Good (+2) Endurance, Good (+2) First Aid, Good (+2) Loyal, Good (+2) Soup Friends, Good (+2) Supervillain Henchman Poor (-2) Hates to See His Friends Hurt Powers: Good (+2) Energy Transference Motivation: Keep everyone running. * * * "We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." -- Walt Disney Kink and power exchange offer adventurous ways for people to explore their sensual selves. There can be, but isn't always, an erotic aspect to this. For some people it's all about sensation, for others the power is the key. Read some tips for novice dominants and submissives. There are important parameters of ethics, safety, and responsibility to keep in mind. Notice that the novices in this scene are making various mistakes, with unpleasant consequences. Endorphins released during pain play create a progressively altered state of consciousness. Gray is actually more able to think effectively than is typical for someone who's been rode hard and put away wet. Know the red flags for kinky relationships, and how to break up in a healthy way. Another altered state is submissive headspace. Subspace comes in different flavors. Gray doesn't actually understand what's happening here, he just goes down very easily and loves it until the support is abruptly taken away. Subdrop is an emotional crash that can follow a scene, especially if it ends badly. Proper aftercare looks after the submissive's needs. It helps to have a drop kit for this. Some subs find it very helpful to have a trusted authority care for them during a drop, while others need space to reconstitute themselves; Thriver is able to figure out what Gray needs based on Gray's report of what happened and how well Thriver knows him. Low blood sugar results from burning all the body's immediately available energy. Sex, like any other vigorous activity, can have that effect. This is why aftercare instructions often recommend a sweet food or beverage. Taxi drivers are everyday heroes even in Local-America, doing such things as taking drunks home safely or talking with depressed riders. In Terramagne-America, they often take extra training for emergencies such as these. Just like a bartender, a cabbie may keep a skippy fund to cover travel for someone in distress who can't afford to pay for a ride. This makes T-American cabbies more inclined to watch for and assist people who need help. An emergency wallet is a very simple wallet that you can flip open and give to someone who's trying to help you. Include at least emergency contact information, plus instructions if you have urgent health conditions, along with some cash. Keeping it separate from your regular wallet means you don't need to worry if it goes astray in a crisis; you're not losing anything vital like ID or credit cards. L-American advice is not to take people to a hospital for treating emotional shock, because they're just not equipped to cope with that. T-America has quiet rooms to help people keep calm or for basic Emotional First Aid, and hospitals usually have a shock room with even better facilities and trained staff for Emotional Trauma Care. Ricasso has definite protector tendencies. It gives him a very interesting flavor as a boss -- and of course, you don't want to piss off someone who has a dom's comprehensive knowledge of human anatomy and psychology, and a supervillain's creatively tailored ethics.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, romance, weblit, writing

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