Another Life Chapter 4
That evening as they ate their dinner, Archer and Trey talked to Joel about dominance and submission. Trey explained the different types of dominants through a mouthful of potatoes. "There's three basic dominants. You have the care-taking dom, the protector dom, and you have the authoritarian. But then you have combinations of the three."
"What do you mean, combinations of the three?" Joel felt as though the full understanding was just out of reach. What the men were saying, telling him, kept pulling at something deep inside of him.
After taking a drink of water, Archer set his cup down and started to explain. "There are very few absolutes in life. You know that better than anyone, Joel. A dom may be more of the care-taking dom, but when needed becomes more of an authoritarian. Or the protector dom may slip into the care-taking role."
"How do we know what kind of dom we are? What kind of dom are you?" Questions were flying through Joel's head, he didn't know which to ask first.
"I'll answer your last question first. I'm a care-taking dom with a strong authoritarian side. Eat your dinner, Joel," Archer said.
Brushing aside Archer's directive, Joel asked, "What kind of dom am I?"
"You'll know when you meet your sub," Trey answered.
Meeting his partner seemed so far away. All his life, Joel had been focused on just basic survival, he'd never given thought to a life partner. "That's the only way to know?"
"The Historians know. They know everything," Trey mumbled through a mouthful of food.
Before Joel could ask, Archer intervened. "They won't tell you. The Historians will not interfere in life's path."
Although Joel wanted know what kind of dominant he'd be, he knew he'd have to wait. There were still plenty of other things to learn. Details about this kind of relationship that he wanted to know before he met his partner.
"So are the doms, dominant in every part of life?" For some reason, that both scared and reassured Joel.
"Doms like to be dominant in every way, if you know what I mean," Trey said with a wink.
"You mean they always top in sex?" Joel's sexual experiences were limited. For the most part, they were quick physical interactions that relieved an itch. But thinking of those encounters, Joel remembered he'd always been the top, except for one time.
"Usually, but not always," Archer replied. "Joel, you need to eat. You are still too thin."
Joel looked down at his plate full of food. Never in his life had there been a time he'd rather talk than eat. How fast he was learning to take things for granted. But there were so many things to discover, so many things he had no knowledge of. As his body grew healthier, he was starting to notice the undercurrents of power-
"Joel," the large dominant growled. "This conversation will be delayed if you can't eat as we discuss this."
With a deep breath, Joel pushed down the need to growl back to the man. Lifting a fork full of meat, Joel silently toasted Archer with a sarcastically raised eyebrow.
"Whoo hoo! You're gonna learn about dominance right quick if you keep that up," Trey said laughing.
Joel felt a rush of shame. He didn't want to challenge Archer. Not only because he'd disrupted Archer's and Trey's life, but deep in his soul, Joel knew that the power in Archer and himself was designed for their partners. Not each other.
Swallowing what was in his mouth and reaching out, he placed a hand on Archer's arm. "I apologize, Kalos. There is no fairness in..." Joel's voice dwindled. He didn't have the words to explain.
But Archer did. "There is no fairness in exchanging power between us."
"Yes. I'm sorry. I'll eat this wonderful dinner Trey made for us; we'll talk when you feel I'm able to listen." Joel blushed as Trey stared at him.
"Oh. Rydir was right. You are going to make an amazing dom," Trey said causing Joel to blush more.
"Quit teasing the dom, Pais," Archer laughed. "As long as you eat, Joel, we can talk. Now, where were we? Oh, yes. Sex. Who's on top."
Except for some bumbling conversation with his father when he was just entering puberty, Joel had never discussed sex with another person. Making sure he continued to eat, Joel asked. "So are the dominants always on top?"
"Usually, but not always. Remember, Joel, there's always an exception. To everything. You, yourself, are an exception. All the New Ones are," Archer said.
As Joel ate, he thought about exceptions. Yes, he knew there were no absolutes, that there was to every rule broken at some point. His thoughts were interrupted by a flash of lightening.
"A storm is coming," Trey said nervously.
"Let's finish eating, then I'll build a fire. You can tell Joel, how much you suffer at the hands of a big bad dom as the fire keeps us warm."
Joel watched as the two men seemed to draw closer together. Not just physically, but an invisible bond connected them. He wanted to know more about dominance, but he knew with sudden clarity, to know more about his own power, he also needed to know about submission.
With this new insight, Joel started watching Trey more closely. The smaller man who always seemed to have a smile appeared nervous tonight. Joel wondered if Trey had always displayed this nervousness, and he'd been more focused on himself or if there was something he'd missed. Had the conversation upset the man?
Joel couldn't stop the compulsion that was burning inside to comfort the smaller man. Scooting his chair closer to Trey, he finished eating. But between bites, Joel's hand would reach out and stroke the man's back. Joel noticed that Archer would take a forkful of food while Joel was stroking the young man, then Archer would run his hand down Trey's back when Joel ate.
Although Trey seemed to calm with the reassuring touch of the two doms, when dinner was finished and they were clearing the table, his nervousness seemed to increase.
"Did you hear that? The storm is closer. It's raining hard. Is it going to rain all night? The ground's too wet to hold any more, right?"
Trey's fear pierced straight through Joel's heart. Trying to calm the sub's fear, Joel said, "It's a good rain. The crops need the water."
Joel took a step back when Archer grabbed the smaller man firmly. "It is fine. There will be no flood here. We are on high ground."
"You never know with a flood," Trey responded defiantly.
Archer cupped his hand around Trey's chin, lifting his face to meet Archer's eyes. "I know about floods. You are safe. I will let no harm come to you."
Trey seemed to calm slightly with Archer's terse, confidant tone. Though as they finished cleaning up the kitchen, Joel noticed that Archer took every opportunity to touch the man. Joel found himself doing the same. Patting the man's back, brushing arms, bumming shoulders, physical contact that couldn't be denied.
As soon as the last dish was washed, Archer handed it to Joel and then took Trey's arm. "Come on, Pais, we'll get into our night-clothes and tell Joel more about the relationships of our world."
Joel dried the dish and put it away after the two men went into their bedroom. He did want to know more about this world and about relationships, but he wanted to make sure Trey was ok. Joel wanted to comfort the man, to chase his away. But he didn't know what was causing the fear. Joel assumed it was the rain storm, but this storm was mild. Compared to the violent storms on earth that had brought sheets of rain and destructive tornados, this storm was naught but nature's way of watering the crops.
"I'd like Trey to have a calming drink, could you put some water on the stove to heat?" Archer said, stepping out of his bedroom. "In the cabinet to your left, there's a jar with some herbs; its labeled Valerian Root."
Joel moved automatically, putting water in a pot, and setting it on the stove. "Is he ok?"
Throwing a quick look over his shoulder, Archer made sure the door was still shut. "He was caught in a flash flood when he was a young Pais, um, Pais means boy, child. His parents were swept to their deaths. Rain, storms, are a great source of fear to him."
The short terse sentences told Joel that Archer's mind was on his boy, his Pais. "Go on. Back to him. I'll fix his drink."
"Just a teaspoon. Valerian Root is powerful; one can become dependent on the herb. And it can create a headache in the morning," Archer instructed as he went back to the one who he was worried about.
Joel was thankful he had something to occupy his hands; his need to take care of Trey, comfort him, take his fear away, was almost more that Joel could handle.
The men were just coming back into the kitchen when the water started to boil. Joel walked to them and gave Trey a quick kiss on his forehead, and softly said, "Go on and sit with your big bad dom. I'll bring your drink over."
Trey's eyes speared him as he gave a small smile. "Yes. A fine dom."
Joel shrugged self consciously and gently pushed Trey toward the couch. Stirring a teaspoon of the sedative into the hot water, he could smell the bitterness. Although Archer hadn't told him to, Joel added a teaspoon of honey to sweeten the drink.
Carefully he handed the drink to Trey, but Archer quickly took hold of the cup. "Here, Pais, let me help. You're hands aren't steady."
Joel sat on a padded chair and waited until Trey had taken a few sips of the hot drink, and then started to talk. "I'd like to know about submission. Of how it feels to you."
Trey looked to Archer as if gaining approval. Joel found that odd; Trey was usually outspoken. But before he could voice his thoughts, Trey took a deep breath and spoke. "Submission is deep within those of us blessed with the gift. It's different for each person, yet the same. It's a gift we give to our doms. The submission allows me, those like me, to give the ultimate trust to our mates. We trust them not only with our love, but with our life."
Joel nodded. He was starting to understand it was a gift given. And he'd been given a small parcel of that gift when Trey allowed him to comfort him at the table. But he couldn't understand the ease in which Trey gave that gift.
"Does it make you uneasy to be cared for?" Joel didn't know how to ask the questions without causing offense. "Are you embarrassed when Archer swats you?"
"You think of submission as a weakness. That may be what it was on Earth, but here everyone is born with power. Power to submit or power to dominate. It's who we are. It's who you are. There is no shame in that."
Joel couldn't stop himself from asking, "Even when he swats you? You feel no shame?"
"Even when he spanks me, I feel no shame," Trey confirmed. "I've felt shame that I've deserved a spanking. That I've done something to deserve his hand or strap on me, but not that I've been disciplined."
Joel let that sink in. The words Trey spoke made sense to him and gave him a feeling of relief. He knew he'd eventually find his own sub and he didn't want his sub to feel shame. He wanted a man who'd feel safe in Joel's dominance. He wanted to treasure the gift that would be given to him. Joel watched Trey sitting on Archer's lap, sipping from the cup that Archer held to his mouth. He watched Archer's muscular arms wrapped tighter around the small man. The younger mate's eyes drifting shut. The sedative was starting to take hold of Trey.
Archer must have noticed it too as he said, "You've gained a lot of knowledge tonight, Joel. Why don't we go to our rooms and get a good nights sleep. Let the knowledge you've learned take hold in your mind and your heart."
Joel got up and took the cup that was in Archer's hand and watched as the man lifted his mate securely in his arms. "I'll rinse this out and then retire."
He waited until Archer had carried a mostly sleeping Trey into their room, and then rinsed out the cup. He'd learned a lot tonight, both through the discussion and through giving into his desires to comfort Trey. Making sure the house was secured for the night, Joel went into his own bedroom. Changing his tunic for sleep pants, he laid down on the soft bed. He knew sleep would come quickly as he listened to the soft rain on the roof. He also knew that on the morrow, he'd have more questions. For the first time in his life, Joel was looking forward to a new day.
End chapter 4