Warning: This poem contains a little angst and a lot of high-impact affection. Highlight to read more details, some of which are spoilers. There is a toddler tantrum, mention of possible dietary issues, repeated kitchen failures, a graphic kink scene, Gray popping out of subspace abruptly because he gets a cool idea, and other challenges. If these are sensitive subjects for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before moving onward.
Gray walked into the kitchen
to find Cason's daughter Leta
sitting at the table, crying.
"What in the world is wrong?"
he asked, eyeing the toddler.
"Cream of wheat makes her sick,
so do muffins, and cookies,"
Cason said. "We think she
might be gluten-intolerant."
"So no muffins?" Gray said.
A platter of them sat on the table,
just outside of Leta's reach.
"No muffins," Cason said.
Leta screamed louder.
"Okay, how about soufflé?"
Gray said. "It's sweet, it doesn't
use flour, and I've been wanting
to try my hand at making one."
"I'll try anything," Cason said.
"She hasn't hushed for an hour."
So Gray looked up some recipes
and settled on banana-chocolate
since he knew Leta liked those.
He made batter, whipped egg whites,
folded everything carefully together,
and put the ramekin in the oven.
Fifteen minutes later, Gray opened
the oven door to test for doneness.
The soufflé collapsed into a puddle.
Gray frowned. He'd heard they were fussy,
but so were pastries, and he made those.
The failure was abrupt and unexpected,
but he could handle it. He scraped
the gunk out of the ramekin and
set the dish into the sink.
Leta, who had quieted somewhat,
began to squall all over again.
"Okay, time for Plan B," said Gray.
"Why don't you set up her playhouse
and I'll look for a different recipe."
Cason got out the decorated tablecloth
and draped it over the table to make
a colorful little cottage in the kitchen.
Leta crawled inside and sulked.
Well, at least that was quieter.
Gray studied the recipes and
chose one with blackberries
on the bottom, which might
provide a little more support.
Once again he made the batter,
covered the bottom of the dish
with berries, carefully spooned
batter into the ramekin, and
tucked it into the oven.
Twelve minutes later,
he took out a lovely soufflé --
which fell as soon as it hit the table.
Gray groaned. "Sorry, sorry,"
he said. "I guess I need more practice
before I try to serve this dessert."
"That's all right, Gray, it was
nice of you to try," Cason said.
Under the table, Leta threw another fit.
"What's going on in here?" Ricasso said
as he walked into the kitchen.
Cason explained about the lack of muffins.
Gray explained about the lack of soufflés
as he scraped the latest failure into the trash.
"Cason, why don't you take Leta to the park?"
Ricasso suggested. "They have a truck
that sells frozen yogurt and fruit treats."
"Park!" Leta demanded, so Cason
scooped her up and left.
"You look tense," Ricasso said,
watching Gray struggle to chip off
the bits of soufflé stuck to the ramekin.
"I'm frustrated," Gray complained.
"I can't get this stupid dish
to do what I want."
"Let me help you relax,"
Ricasso offered. "Maybe that
will put you in a better frame of
mind. We can go back and use
the flop room with the double bed."
"Okay," Gray agreed. He always
enjoyed a little extra attention
from Ricasso, especially
at times like this.
When they reached the room,
Ricasso locked the door behind them
and then just stood for a long minute
holding Gray against his front until
the tension began to melt away.
"Strip down," Ricasso said.
Gray removed his clothes
swiftly and gracefully, then
folded them into a tidy pile
which he placed on a chair.
"Ready, boss," he murmured.
Ricasso cupped the back of
his neck, fingertips ruffling
the fine hairs there in a way
that made Gray's knees buckle.
Ricasso caught Gray with
his free hand and lowered him
gently to the floor, letting Gray
kneel with his face pressed
against Ricasso's waist.
"Up on the bed," Ricasso said.
"Lie down on your belly first.
I'll start warming up your back."
Gray crawled onto the bed
and watched Ricasso open
the kink cabinet, which held
a selection of colorful toys
alongside some black items
the boss preferred for discipline.
Ricasso took down a long flogger
of dark red deerskin, which patted
gently up and down Gray's back,
over his butt, and along his thighs.
It raised a soft, delicious heat.
Gray relaxed into the sensation,
letting it brush away his frustration.
He didn't need to worry about anything
now; Ricasso would take care of him.
After a few minutes, the boss warned,
"Time to step this up a little," and changed
to a flogger whose black leather tails
had tiny red tassels on the ends.
After the gentle warmup, that one felt
sharp and peppery on his butt, making
Gray squirm and wriggle on the bed.
Ricasso pinned him with a hand
between the shoulders. "Lie still."
"Sorry, boss," Gray panted.
"I'm trying. It stings."
"You'll thank me in a minute,"
Ricasso said, and Gray knew
that was true -- he needed a push
to get the endorphins going.
He was comfortable with
his lifestyle choice and
all that it brought him.
Sure enough, the flogging
soon unlocked a sudden flood
of pleasure, and the pain receded
to the back of Gray's mind.
"Roll over," Ricasso said,
and Gray obeyed.
A soft white leather strap
wound around his ankles,
snugging them together.
"Open," Ricasso said,
tapping a finger against
Gray's lips, and Gray
opened his mouth.
Two fingers slipped inside,
sliding over his tongue,
and then moved down
to Gray's nipples.
The wet touch made him
gasp and arch into it.
The pinch of fingers
was quickly replaced by
nipple clamps, and Gray
whined against the pain.
"Remember, you like this,"
Ricasso said. "It just takes
a little while. Settle, settle."
He brushed his hands
over Gray's skin, gentle
The pain mellowed
into something that
was merely intense,
and Ricasso moved
on to the next phase.
Fingernails trailed across
Gray's chest and belly,
to pinch and twist.
Gray's superpower tried
to squirm out of control.
"Lift off," he warned, and
Ricasso let go instantly.
"Do you need the blindfold?"
Ricasso asked, tilting a hand
toward the waiting cabinet.
"Yeah," Gray admitted.
Blue silk settled over his face
as Ricasso carefully arranged
the nose flap to block out all of
the light, lifting Gray's head
enough to secure the straps.
Part of the point to practicing this way
was to develop Gray's control, but
it was harder for him to let go and
relax when he had to keep
a grip on his ability.
Besides, it was always easier
to submit when he couldn't see,
when all he could do was feel.
Gray sighed and let himself go.
Ricasso went back to teasing him,
his touches alternately tender
and fierce as his slim hands
moved over Gray's body.
There were other touches, too,
some kind of tassel that tickled
so much that Gray had to hold
his breath to avoid giggling from it.
Ricasso would hit him harder if he laughed.
Eventually the wicked fingers returned
to Gray's chest, tapping the clamps
hard enough to make him moan
from the sharp, silvery thrill.
Tapping turned to tugging
and then to twisting as Gray
writhed against the covers.
A fresh surge of pleasure
swept through him and left
Gray sprawled limp on the bed,
gasping and panting for breath.
Ricasso's hands flattened
against him, stroking Gray
through the endorphin rush.
"That was deeply beautiful,"
Ricasso said. "If you could only
see yourself -- you look like
a debauched angel."
"Your fault," Gray said,
and burst into giggles.
Ricasso slapped his thigh,
but Gray only felt the heat and
the pressure. It didn't hurt.
A sharp crack of leather
made Gray buck in surprise.
Then he recognized the sound.
Ricasso had picked up one of
the strap paddles, which had
a length of leather doubled up
and rolled into a handle at one end,
leaving a loose loop at the other.
It whacked against Gray's thigh,
just enough to sting a little,
but more noise than pain.
Ricasso set up a steady rhythm,
working one leg and then the other,
from near the hip almost to the knee.
Gray groaned as it built into
a thrum of energy inside him.
Then Ricasso changed to
a much thinner quirt that left
burning stripes along both legs,
making Gray yip and yelp.
That pushed him over the edge
into another endorphin rush,
leaving him giddy and blissed.
He felt himself floating, falling,
sinking into the middle of ...
Suddenly Gray sat up and
exclaimed, "I know how
to fix the soufflé!"
Ricasso laughed. "Leave it
to you to have a culinary epiphany
in the middle of a play session," he said.
"Sorry, boss, I didn't mean to seem
unappreciative," Gray said as
he lifted the blindfold off.
"Don't worry, Gray, plenty of people
find it inspiring," Ricasso said. "Submission
lowers inner boundaries, so of course
it helps you think outside the box."
Gray started to scramble off the bed,
but Ricasso held him back with
a gentle hand. "Hey, let me go,"
Gray protested. "I want to start
before I forget the details."
"Wait," Ricasso insisted.
"Let me unhook you first."
He took off the nipple clamps,
which left a rush of pain and pleasure
behind, then untied Gray's ankles.
"There you go," Ricasso said
as he rubbed away the marks.
"Are you clear-headed enough
that you don't need much aftercare?"
"Yeah, getting that idea woke me
right up," Gray said, nodding.
He felt almost normal, if
still a little woozy.
"All right then," Ricasso said.
"Go shower, and after that
you can return to the kitchen."
Gray ran the shower warm at first,
remembering the sweet submission
and tamping the new ideas carefully
into the fuzzy edges of his mind.
Then he turned the water cool,
and finally cold, until it made
his skin tingle and his brain
wake up properly again.
Quickly Gray dried off and
dressed in comfortable clothes.
When he went to the kitchen,
he sat down for a glass of milk
and a superfood chocolate bar
to restore the energy he spent.
Ricasso came in a minute later
to pick up a bottle of ginger ale and
a chocolate-almond butter bar.
"Mind if I join you?" he asked.
"Please," Gray said, waving
for him to sit down. "Thanks for
unwinding me. I really needed it."
"Any time," Ricasso said. "So,
what was your big idea?"
"You'll see," Gray said with
a wink. He ate the last bit of
candy and then went to work.
"It looks like you're making that
the same as before," Ricasso said.
"Mmm," Gray said. "I realized that
I couldn't force the soufflé to do
what I wanted. So I've decided
to coax it into submission instead."
He scooped the batter into
the ramekin and put it in the oven,
though not for quite as much time.
While the soufflé baked, Gray
made the blackberry sauce, but
did not strain it, instead leaving
the soft berries to thicken the liquid.
The oven dinged.
Gray took out the soufflé,
held it over the countertop --
and dropped it.
The center of the soufflé
deflated like a balloon.
"What did you do that for?"
Ricasso said. "I thought
you didn't want it to fall."
"Wrecked another one?"
Cason said as he came in
with Leta on his hip.
"No, I know what I'm doing
now," Gray said, scooping
the center out but leaving
a thick layer of soufflé on
the sides and bottom.
He turned on his hot wand,
waited for the end to glow red,
and held it inside the hollow,
carefully rotating the ramekin
until the inside of soufflé
turned a golden brown.
Gray shut off the hot wand
and put it back in the rack.
Then he filled the shell with
blackberry sauce and dusted
the top with powdered sugar.
This time, when Gray placed
the soufflé atop a folded towel
on the table, it behaved perfectly.
"There you go," he declared.
Leta looked at it. "I'm full."
Cason burst into laughter.
"Don't worry, Gray," he said.
"We'll all help you eat it."
The taste of success was very sweet.
* * *
Cason Contreras -- He has tinted skin, brown eyes, and brown hair buzzed short. His face is rectangular with a pointed chin. Built like a fireplug, he is burly with bulging muscles. However, his bulk makes it harder for him to twist or bend. Cason has a year-old daughter, Leta. She was born in America, but has no identification because she was born at home to an undocumented immigrant mother who has since been deported back to Mexico. So Cason has no way to prove that she is a citizen. He lives in constant fear that someone will take her away from him, hence working with people who excel at protection.
Cason looks like a complete badass, which he is, but he doesn't look particularly smart, which he also is. He never gets tired of surprising people with sophisticated literary quotes or cultural references. Because of his intelligence, he gets along well with Ricasso, and also helps look after his friend Ryland who is much less bright.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Strength, Expert (+4) Enforcer, Good (+2) Friends with Ryland, Good (+2) Smarter Than He Looks, Good (+2) Sophisticated Culture, Good (+2) Steadfast
Poor (-2) Not Very Limber
Leta Contreras -- She has tinted skin and curly black hair. Her eyes are an exotic dark hazel with hints of brown, gray, and forest green. Leta is the daughter of Cason Contreras and a Mexican woman. Leta was born in America, but has no identification because she was born at home to an undocumented immigrant mother who has since been deported back to Mexico. She has her father's face, rectangular with a pointed chin, but the hair and eyes match her mother. Her ears are pierced and she wears tiny gold studs.
Qualities: Good (+2) Adventurous, Good (+2) Bilingual, Good (+2) Sturdy
Poor (-2) Accident Prone
* * *
This is Ricasso's larger office building. See the floor plan. Office 6 beside Reception is the boss' office. Office 7 next to that is the general office. In the back, office 3 beside the Dottie's potty is the patch room. Offices 1, 2, 4, and 5 are flop rooms. Here is the kitchen. It has a sink, dishwasher, holotank cookbook, two conventional ovens, a microwave oven, and a refrigerator/freezer along with built-in cabinets. The stovetop is located in an island which helps divide the kitchen from the large assembly room. Office 5 is a flop room with one double bed. It also has a desk and chair, a large viewscreen, a round table flanked by two chairs, and an endtable with a super-gizmotronic privacy generator. It has a kinky toy cabinet.
Gluten intolerance ranges from mild to complete, with several distinct conditions along with less specific problems, sharing many of the same symptoms. As with any food-related complaint, first try reducing or eliminating it from your diet. If that works, then fine, don't eat any more of the thing that is bad for you. If it doesn't work, or produces a notable but not complete improvement, then consider seeking expert assistance. Because modern wheat is bred to produce much gluten, and is sprayed with many chemicals, some people find they cannot digest it but are perfectly okay with wild-type wheat such as einkorn.
Tantrums are aggravating, but a natural and necessary part of growing up based on various causes. It is vital to recognize the difference between tantrums and meltdowns, because they need slightly different responses. There are ways to prevent and handle tantrums. Chief among these is the importance of staying calm yourself and coaching children to calm themselves down.
Soufflé is a low-carb, gluten-free food. It comes in many flavors, including chocolate-banana. This is a delicious but delicate recipe. It is famous for falling due to various reasons, such as sudden changes in temperature or vibration. However, it must be eaten quickly because even a successful one will deflate slowly as it cools. "Falling" refers to a abrupt and unplanned collapse.
See Leta's tablecloth playhouse.
Kink may seem daunting, but it actually conveys many benefits, including relaxation.
Touch makes a powerful connection, especially in courtship or nonsexual intimacy. The back of the neck is among the most erotic places to touch someone while clothed, especially in Japanese culture. Mouth contact comes near the middle of the stages of physical intimacy.
Endorphins arrive in waves, carrying people into subspace. Sometimes people pop out abruptly, especially switches, so aftercare for switches can be a bit different. This relates to role dynamics such as service topping and topping from the bottom. It's important for partners to understand each other and respond to the type of care needed -- or not needed -- in the moment.
During a kink scene, it's important to respect vulnerable parts of the body and to aim high-impact affection toward more durable parts. People debate exactly what the safer areas are, but really it depends on your implements. Rigid toys and heavy blows are only for well-padded parts such as the butt. Semi-rigid toys or floggers made of forceful materials, and moderate strokes, can expand at little more for use on places like the thighs and back. Very soft toys with light strokes can go almost anywhere, as long as you avoid the vulnerable points. You can see Ricasso moving around as he warms up Gray's body and changes from gentle to more vigorous toys.
While there are plenty of cuffs and other custom restraints, it's fantastic to have some plain leather straps, such as soft belts, for freestyle bondage.
Risk in kink has subjective and objective aspects. The famous "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex" essay lays out some risks associated with superpowers and sex, but it goes beyond just that pairing. Really it covers any case where one person has an ability that could negatively affect other people. So most or all sex with a superpowered person qualifies as Risk Aware Consensual Kink. This means, for example, you need to understand what to do if things go wrong in a scene, such as a panic attack. Ricasso is always alert to Gray's status, and they have backup plans ready to go as needed. Here is a handy flow chart for analyzing mishaps in kink.
This is the silk blindfold that Ricasso uses on Gray. That little flap at the bottom goes over the nose to block out all light, a feature found on the better sleep masks and sensory-play blindfolds. You can blindfold someone with any suitably-sized soft cloth, but for maximum protection -- which is necessary here -- a specially made product is required.
Flogging involves hitting someone with a flogger made of multiple tails. These vary in design and materials. The experience of floggers and their uses also varies. When Ricasso changes from deerskin to suede, that ramps up the intensity. Here are some floggers and a video of different strokes.
Paddles provide opportunity for higher impact play than a hand can provide. Again, the material influences the effect. Here is a video introducing different types of paddles.
(Some of these links are intense.)
A strap paddle is a type of slapper. Two layers of leather produce a loud crack when struck. A strap paddle is literally just a single strap doubled over itself; a slapper is usually two pieces fastened together. Both emulate the sound and feel of a leather belt, but they are designed for easier use. Many people find the sound exciting, arousing, and/or scary in a fun way; this is a selling point for such implements. A further advantage is increasing the psychological impact without doing any more tissue damage. However, the crack of leather is also a common trigger for survivors of child abuse, due to the prevalence of belts for punishment. Sudden noises can also make people jerk, which is bad for anyone prone to muscle cramps. Know your play partners, choose implements accordingly, and approach sound effects with caution. Ricasso knows that Gray is pretty durable, and susceptible to surprises in a fun way.
Aftercare involves emotional and physical aspects. Know how to take care of yourself too. Regular players should assemble an aftercare kit. Some people decline aftercare because it's not what they need, or they don't want the intimacy. That can change from one instance to another; Gray usually loves it, but wants something different this time. Ricasso still makes sure that Gray is close enough to everyday headspace to take reasonable care of himself, before letting him go. Yes, that happens occasionally, and it's important that the top neither take it personally nor abdicate responsibility without double-checking the bottom's functionality.
Creating or adapting a recipe is fun. Know how to write down the recipe so you can replicate your successes.
Healthy chocolate makes a fantastic after-scene snack. Check out these superfood chocolate and chocolate-almond butter bars.
Apparently nobody's thought of using soufflé as an actual container here. I did find some recipes with blackberries or apples inside. The closest I came was soufflé egg white balls stuffed with red bean and banana, similar to this recipe.
A hot wand is a kitchen tool with a long slim rod that gets red-hot the way a cigarette lighter does. They're used for precise toasting, as Gray does, although they can also be submerged for mulling. A mulling gizmo was the closest I could find in our world. There seems to be nothing commercially available. I don't know why, it would be useful and people already make culinary blowtorches.