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Yes, I lied to him.

Oh, my friend, your suspicions are writ plain upon your face. Of course, I have told you that I watched him from when he was a very young boy, that I followed him from that moment on. I would have told him that myself, but for the fear of alarming him. He was unsettled enough; he did not need to know such things. Not then.

However, it was not a lie that the Veil told me he was the one. That much is true; it simply told me far earlier than I admitted to him. I did nothing to change his life, though I could have done. I could have prevented him from meeting his second wife, purely because it was a chance happening caused by his being early for a meeting. Had I twisted time to delay his arrival, they would never have met, though being as determined as she was to hook her claws into him, she would have found another way. But then, twisting time for one's own ends in that manner rarely works out to the good.

No. Gunther had to live his life and come to me when he was ready. I knew that he would, eventually, and I have had many years to cultivate patience.

To see him beneath me, with that collar of my will around his neck - invisible to him and to all others, save me - was the culmination of centuries of searching. I cannot begin to explain to you how I felt in that moment. He was so strong, even when he thought himself weak; a reed in my hands, supple and bending so perfectly to my desires. I could not have asked for a more beautiful companion through eternity than one who needed guidance and care and love so desperately, and who silently offered such devotion and love in return.

There is a mortal clich; that of the 'soul mate'. The Veil has its equivalent, and the only name you might understand for it is aeternus. It has many meanings but, to those that seek it, its definition is 'eternal and everlasting'. Gunther is my aeternus, and I am his. He just... *sigh* He never fully understood it.

Shall we continue?

Gunther closed his eyes, breathing slowly and softly, his attention focused on the sensation of the collar around his neck. His collar, he thought. Oh god, I never thought I'd have this.

Valois's voice broke gently into his thoughts:

~ Do you feel safe? ~

"Yes," he whispered.

~ No need for words. Only think it and I will hear it. Is this home? ~


~ I promise you that under my hand you will never feel lost, never want for anything. Do you give me your complete trust and faith to be this for you? ~

Gunther could feel tears welling up again, and he just let them flow unchecked.

With all my heart... Sir.

~ Open your eyes and look at me, my beautiful boy. ~

Without a moment's hesitation, Gunther obeyed, and the tenderness that he saw in Valois's gaze broke him open. He bit his lip, tears streaming down his face.

~ You have needed this so desperately, for so long. ~

He held his breath. He'd heard that, but Valois's lips hadn't moved!

~ Oh, my boy. You are so close to the Veil right now that we have no need for words. This is what is given to us when you place yourself so completely and trustingly in my hands. ~

Slowly, gently, the sensation of the collar began to fade. The cuffs remained for a few moments longer, but after a minute even those were no more.

"Don't stop," he whispered, not even remembering that he could think it.

"Mon cur, that was your first time under my hand." Valois, too, spoke aloud now. "I promised you only a few minutes, because you now need time to understand it and come to the knowledge of what our relationship could be."

"Could be? You mean... it isn't already?"

Valois kissed him. "You told me, just a few days ago, that you would be willing to try it. Nothing more. I want you to think about this brief experience and decide if you wish for the reality of a leather collar and leather cuffs."

"I do," Gunther said, immediately, but Valois laughed softly.

"Spoken so eagerly after but a few minutes. Ah, my love, such a contract of submission should never be entered into so lightly. I want you to think and consider before making your decision. We shall discuss it. I will tell you what I expect and what I will offer you, and you will tell me what you need."

Gunther stared up at him, his tears drying and leaving his face cool and damp. "Contract? Do I have to sign something?"

"Not physically, no. The Veil will hold your promise, as it holds mine. Two contracts will be made: one in the conscious, mundane world of reality, such as we now speak in. The cold light of day, as you might call it. The other is made in the world of the Veil, where we speak to each other without words." At Gunther's quizzically-arched eyebrow, Valois smiled. "Oui, mon cur. You touch the Veil when you submit so completely."

"I... have a lot of questions."

Valois chuckled. "And that is why I told you we must discuss this first. Ask."

"What about work? I mean, a leather collar would show when I'm at work. Would I have to wear it then? I guess... I guess I could keep my shirt buttoned up, or buy higher-collared shirts..."

"Nothing will change at work. I do not expect you to wear the reality of a leather collar and cuffs when you are with others. You usually wear your shirt collar open when at work, non?" To Gunther's nod, Valois smiled. "Then people would question the change, if only internally, and that would cause unease for you. No, at work the collar and cuffs of my will shall suffice. You would feel the sensation of them, as you did just now, but they would not be visible. The physical collar and cuffs would be for when we are alone together. I do not intend to share your submission with others."

Gunther hesitated, then ventured, "But maybe sometimes you could? If I could hide it then I could wear it. Like, say, we went for a walk in the park in winter and I'm wearing a scarf. I could wear the real collar under that."

Valois's smile widened. "Of course, and the cuffs under gloves. Now, tell me how you feel about piercings."

"I had my ear and nose done when I was at university." Gunther pushed back his hair to show Valois the tiny hole in his right earlobe. "My nose piercing has closed up, but this one hasn't." He grinned. "I sometimes used to go to fancy dress parties as a pirate with a big coin earring or something."

"Mmm, well we could join those. A fine chain, for example."

Gunther's breath hitched. "That... sounds kind of hot, actually. But, not in public?"

"None of this would be in public, mon cur. Unless, of course, we decided to go to a fancy dress party." Valois winked at him. "I rather like the idea of you as a pirate with a big coin earring."

"I had thigh-high leather boots, too," Gunther murmured, the corners of his lips twitching as Valois groaned.

"You, my wicked boy, are a damned tease," he muttered. Then, he swooped down to lick the shell of Gunther's ear and murmur, "Would you wear heels?"

Gunther squirmed. "God, if it got you this hot, then yes," he groaned.

"Stockings?" It was a heated whisper as the heel of Valois's hand pressed down against Gunther's cock.

"Aah! YES! Fuuuck, whatever you... you want."

"I think," came the murmured response, "that I shall enjoy seeing you in stockings and heels. Could you walk in heels, I wonder? Or would you need a hand to guide you; to lean on, hm?"

"I'd... I'd try. Depends how-- nngh! Fuck, what the hell--? Oh no! No!"

"It is only the cage that you are so familiar with, mon cur..."

Gunther whimpered. "I was enjoying that, too."

"A little too much, I think." Valois chuckled. "Now don't pout. I dislike pouting. When does Mortimer return to his schooling?"

"Huh?" Gunther opened his eyes, his deliriously-hot train of thought derailed by that sudden little sidetrack. "Uh... Monday. Monday morning." He blinked. "What day is it today?"

"Sunday, and I believe you must call a meeting for work tomorrow morning. Am I not correct?"

Well, fuck. Wasn't that the perfect boner-killer? Gunther sighed and nodded.

"Yeah. Yeah, I should. Shit."

"Conscious mind," Valois reminded him. "Mundane and everyday. When you return home, I will care for you. Have we an accord on this?"

"With the collar?" Gunther looked up at him, hopefully.


"Real, or your... your will?"

"A real one must be measured and made, so formed of my will until such time as one is created for you."

"Nobody's going to know it's for me, though. Right?"

"You told me that you trusted me, mon cur..."

Closing his eyes briefly, Gunther mentally kicked himself and nodded. "Sorry."

"No matter. You have so much to learn, and many years in which to learn it."

Gunther laughed softly. "I'm gonna look pretty daft when I'm an old man wearing a collar."

The response was a caress of his face that made him look up. Valois was regarding him with a curious tenderness; a gentility that made Gunther feel fragile and breakable.

"You will always be beautiful," was all Valois said. "Now, shall we have dinner?"

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