The soft lighting up against the vaulted ceiling made the dungeon look cosy. Quiet music could be heard whenever the whips and floggers paused or were put down. Someone in the room moaned and gasped.
In the corner by the bar, Octavia had Dan pinned against the wall, her knee against the crotch of his black dress slacks, staring him down. Softly, she whispered to him, too low for anyone else to hear. Dan squirmed, but in a happy, excited way.
When a slender person in a tanktop and rainbow-coloured leggings walked up to the bar to get a drink, Octavia booped Dan on the nose and let him go. She turned around, the skirt of her silver ballgown billowing around her, to greet the person. "Darjeeling, so nice to see you again. Would you like a hug?"
They smiled, shaking their head. "No thanks, not right now."
Octavia beckoned Dan to come closer. "May I introduce you? Dan, this is Darjeeling, I met them at the spiritual workshop. Darjeeling, this is Dan, my good boy."
Dan blushed and cast his eyes down at the mention of the words "good boy" making his face almost invisible under the stetson hat. When he finally made eye-contact, he said: "Nice to meet you, Darjeeling."
They climbed up on one of the barstools and looked at Octavia. "He's your boy? Tell me everything. Have you been together long? How did you meet?"
"Well, this guy was very vocal about the composer Nobuo Uematsu when I first saw him. We got to talking about the music of Final Fantasy and we ended up talking for hours." Octavia beamed as she patted Dan on the shoulder. "It was at a local videogame store that organised weekly nights to play together. After a few weeks, we noticed that we didn't come to play Diablo or Smash Brothers, we just came to see each other."
"Which turned out much better for the game nights too. No one could keep up with her in Diablo II." Dan said with a hint of pride.
Darjeeling ran a hand through their buzzcut. "Wait… You mean you two met outside of the BDSM scene?"
Octavia nodded. "I fell in love with a man. And then when we grew closer, he found the courage to tell me about his 'weird fetish'." She used big air quotes. "Which turned out to be the same as mine."
"What are the chances?" Darjeeling chuckled.
"There were hints…" Dan stuck his hands in his pockets as he looked at Octavia. "The way we both really noticed all the mind control in all the games."
"Noticed." Octavia laughed for a second before continueing. "But seriously, I felt so honoured when Dan let me hypnotise him for the first time. He's the real reason I'm such an 'accomplished' hypnoDom." More air quotes. "I could practice to my heart's content, without worrying about 'doing it wrong'."
Dan blushed again. "You were pretty awesome before you ever practiced on me."
"In theory." She wagged a finger at him. "I was lacking in practical experience."
Dan gave her a stubborn look, and she smiled at him and licked her lips. He let out a dreamy sigh and backed down, folding his hands behind his back.
Octavia turned back to Darjeeling. "I was just exploring the kink scene at the time. Just a young switch trying everything. When my relationship with Dan became real, that's when I first dared to use the label Dominant for myself."
"Oh wow." Darjeeling seemed to think. "So how would you recommend others to find a partner?"
Octavia sighed. "Get to know them as a person. That is what the dating phase is for. It's not for movies or restaurants. It's to talk to each other, about your passions, your feelings and your dreams. To figure out whether you could be compatible. That why there's that rule about not having sex so soon in a relationship, not because of any slut shamey reasons, but because you just don't know and trust each other yet."
Darjeeling looked at them both in turn. "But you're 24/7 D/s now, right? Was that a lengthy, complicated negotiation?"
Octavia inhaled deeply. "At the risk of sounding like a polyamory guru… A good relationship is constant renegotiation. We started with some hypnosis, and then Dan wanted triggers that wouldn't expire. Then I wanted service from him. Then he wanted to call me 'My Lady'. Then I wanted to decide what he should wear. It slowly grew to what it is today. And it will change again in the future."
"You wanted to call her 'My Lady'?" Darjeeling asked.
Dan nodded enthusiastically. "She earned it."
"Oh you…" Octavia took his hand and started to stroke the length of his index finger. Dan started to shudder and screwed his eyes and mouth shut, but it was still obvious that this simple touch gave him a great deal of pleasure.
Darjeeling leaned in closer. "What are you doing, Octavia?"
With a grin, she replied: "Shutting him up. He gives me way too much credit."
"Nuh uh!" Dan panted and squirmed.
Octavia grabbed his wrist and yanked him closer. "You want to be turned off?"
There was a moment of silence as they stared each other in the eyes. With a small voice, Dan said: "That's up to you, My Lady."
Darjeeling raised their hand in the air. "Can I ask a question?"
Octavia put her arm around Dan and pulled him close. With one hand, she touched him on the back of his neck. Immediately, he slumped against her shoulder, seemingly unconscious. With a satisfied smile, Octavia looked at Darjeeling. "You had a question?"
"Several. This is a lot to unpack…" They ran their hands through their hair again, thinking. "So I assume the stroking of his finger and the touch on the back of his neck are hypnotic triggers?"
"And licking my lips too." Octavia smiled. "Because we both know what those triggers do, they become part of our language, like a shorthand."
"So…" Darjeeling frowned. "Are you punishing him for giving you compliments? For speaking up?"
Octavia giggled. "I'm giving him sexual pleasure. Which is a little embarrassing, but very enjoyable, and it reaffirms that I am in control."
Darjeeling vaguely gestured at Dan's head, resting on Octavia's shoulder with his eyes closed. "Is this sexual pleasure too?"
"In a way." Octavia carefully shifted on her feet, holding Dan's limp body up. "It's a lot like bondage. He's helpless now, and I decide how long to keep him like this. That's pleasurable, though perhaps not sexual."
Darjeeling nodded and smiled. "So, tell me how you make these triggers that don't expire."
Octavia shifted again, with an uncomfortable grimace this time. "Give me a second." She grabbed Dan by the throat and breathed in his ear. "Come back to me, love. Stand up."
Dan straightened up and stroked her shoulder where his head had been with an embarrassed look. "Thank you, My Lady."
"You know how to create a basic trigger?" Octavia asked Darjeeling.
They nodded emphatically. "And normally, you add limitations, like: tonight, or only when you feel safe and happy to do so, or only when I say, or I do it."
"Yes.Those are good safety measures when your subject is a beginner at hypnosis." Octavia pulled Dan close and hugged him. "But when your partner is as experienced as this guy, you can let them decide those parameters. And then, you just make sure to use the trigger regularly, so that they don't forget it."
Darjeeling stared at Dan. "You're in control of when the triggers work?"
Dan nodded. "It's mostly context. When we're out in public, at work or when we're shopping or with family, the triggers won't work. But here in the dungeon, I will probably comply with every trigger. I might even have trouble resisting if I'm fractionated after a long night of playing."
"Which is why I keep you close, my boy." Octavia kissed him.
"What if someone else says the trigger?" Darjeeling asked.
Dan shook his head. "Even if a stranger or someone here in the dungeon manages to say the right words, my brain knows not to take any orders from them. The effect is nil."
Darjeeling leaned back against the bar. "So Dan, would you mind showing me some of those triggers you wanted so much? Or is that too intimate?"
Dan blushed again. "It makes me feel like I'm a trained dog doing tricks. It's kinda hot."
They both turned to Octavia and gave her an expectant look.
"And I get to play with my toy." Octavia beamed. "What shall we show off?"
Dan gave her big puppy dog eyes, but he said: "That's up to you, My Lady."
Octavia smiled at Darjeeling. "This is a golden oldie." Then she turned to Dan and told him: "You are nothing but a drone."
The change in Dan was immediate. His eyes became glassy and his face went slack and expressionless. His body slumped and swayed ever so slightly, like a puppet on strings.
"A recurring theme among hypnofetishists is 'blank and obedient' and I'm always impressed at how well Dan can do that." Octavia said. "When he's like this, his mind is so blank, he has trouble remembering what happens to him in this state. Take a step closer to Darjeeling, drone."
Dan stepped closer. His eyes were unseeing and his movements were slow.
"Hold out your arm, drone." When Dan lifted his arm, Octavia took his hand and turned it palm up in her hands.
"Now keep in mind that Dan is not a big masochist." And Octavia bit down on the soft inside of Dan's wrist. After a few seconds, she stopped and showed the bitemark to Darjeeling.
Dan just stood there, motionless and silent, as if nothing had happened at all.
Darjeeling gasped. "That's amazing!"
Octavia held up one finger in the air, and said to Dan: "Come back to me, love. Wake up."
Dan blinked for a second, and then clutched his wrist. He swore under his breath and bent over to catch his breath.
Octavia slowly shook her head. "That just never gets old."
"Well done, Dan." Darjeeling said as they got up from the bar stool. "That was wonderful, thank you for the demonstration."
"Anytime…" Dan muttered.
Octavia hugged and kissed him. "Good boy."