Super Sucker pt. 21

Marcus brings Bernard further under his thumb, bringing him some much-needed pleasure and relaxation in the process.

The door hissed shut behind Marcus and Bernard as they stepped back out into one of the lower-security parts of the Barb. No place in the building was without security—the price of complacency was far too high for that—but here at least, the presence of esper containment measures wasn’t as suffocating.

"And that’s the actual end of the tour," said Bernard with a light laugh. "I have to admit, it was oddly refreshing to break protocol but I doubt I’ll make much of a habit of it."

Marcus nodded. "I think it is in our nature to seek some variety in life, especially in places where rigor and discipline are the norm," he said.

Bernard chuckled. "Maybe so," he said.

"I am grateful for your time. It has been a rather informative tour and I am glad you gave me the opportunity to see Luxus—even if it was from afar," said Marcus with a small smile.

He reached over and gently squeezed Bernard’s shoulder. "You do not know how much I appreciate that you broke protocol to give me access to one of my heroes."

Bernard glanced at Marcus’ hand, a tinge of pink blossoming in his cheeks. "I hope it has been worth your time?" he said softly. "And I do hope this doesn’t come across as too forward, but I know you’re a great philanthropist—"

Marcus chuckled to himself. Androphile and philanderer, perhaps, but philanthropist was not a word Marcus would associate with himself.

"—Perhaps the next time you consider which causes to lend the considerable influence of your foundation, you would think of me and the Barb," Bernard finished, having the grace to look at least a little bashful for the thinly-veiled solicitation.

A smile tugged at the corners of Marcus’ mouth. "Was today truly meant to be nothing more than a tour of the facilities, Bernard?" he said. "Nothing more?"

Bernard nodded. He seemed almost alarmed that Marcus would think otherwise. "Nothing more," he said. "I would not wish to presume or impose on your time, Marcus. I know what it’s like to be ambushed with business talk when not expecting it."

Marcus chuckled. "You need not be so on guard, Bernard," he said with a little smirk. "talking business is but another part of the life that I lead. It is hardly an imposition."

"Truly?" said Bernard. He looked up into Marcus’ blue eyes as if to search for any hint of a lie. Such was his first mistake.

Instead of answering directly, Marcus opted for implication. It was a far more convenient means of delivering suggestions. "You would not see a guest out without a cup of tea… would you?" he said with a small smile.

Bernard frowned. "You know, you’re right," he said. "And we have been walking around a fair bit. Apologies. I’m not used to hosting people. Shall we head to my office?"

Marcus smiled and squeezed Bernard’s shoulder. "That sounds lovely," he said.

"Follow me, then," said Bernard. "A-and just to be clear, we don’t have to talk business or funding or sponsoring the Barb. We can just chat."

Marcus found it rather adorable how conscientious Bernard was. It probably came from the boy’s upbringing. Not that he was complaining. "But should the conversation, in the course of its wending, from one topic to the next, happen to stray toward such matters, I imagine you would not brook any objections?"

Bernard laughed as he led Marcus through a door and into a hallway. "I will admit, I would like to make friends with you. However, I have not made it this far without knowing to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself."

Marcus chuckled. "That pleases me," he said. "You and I are of the same mind in that respect."

Bernard flushed. The fading tinge of pink in his cheeks darkened. "I’ll take that as the highest compliment," he said. "Truth be told, I’ve always looked up to you. You are, after all, one of the most influential men in the Commonwealth."

"Hah." It wasn’t an inaccurate statement to make. Marcus was one of the most influential men in the Commonwealth but perhaps not for the reasons Bernard had in mind. "Perhaps ‘Silvertongue’ would have been a more fitting hero name for you," he said.

The crystalline laugh that burst out of Bernard took Marcus by surprise. "It’s the first time I’ve heard that joke," he said. "Usually people ask if I’m Silver Serpent because of what’s in my pants."

Marcus chuckled. "Well, are you?"

"Here we are," said Bernard as he placed his palm on the biometric scanner next to the door in the back of the office space.

If the size of the window next to the door was any indication, the interior was likely to be quite spacious. At the moment, however, the privacy screen was up and there was nothing to see past the fogged-up polyglass pane.

"You know, they say that you can learn a lot about a man by the look of his office," said Marcus as the door hissed open, allowing him to take a step inside.

Bernard followed close behind before the door hissed shut. "Is that so?" he said. "I imagine most people would say that I am an old man trapped in a younger man’s body if that is the case," he said.

Marcus chuckled. "Hardly," he said as he looked around. To the right, under the window that looked out over the office space, was a couch with a table in front of it.

Near the door, on the left, was a small serving table. On top were an electric kettle, a small tea set, and a plate of biscuits.

Marcus eyed the spread with suspicion and laughed. "Did you not say that you were unused to entertaining guests?" he said with a small smile. "Did you perhaps send word ahead?"

Bernard scratched his cheek, turning a faint shade of pink when Marcus glanced over at him. "I may have taken the liberty of informing my subordinates to put something together," he said. "We don’t really get too many guests here."

Marcus nodded. "Understandable," he said. "Few people have cause to drop by on social visits, after all." He turned his attention to the rest of the room.

The back half of the room was practically a small library. Bookshelves lined the walls, with a desk sitting right in the middle of the cozy nook they created.

"You know, I am rather pleased that we share a taste for furniture of this kind," said Marcus as he walked over to the couch without waiting for permission, tracing his fingers along the smooth finish of the handcrafted wooden piece.

"Hah. Really?" said Bernard.

Marcus nodded as he took a seat, sinking into the plush, upholstered cushions of the couch. "Do you not recall the conversation we had in my study?" he said.

Bernard’s eyes widened. "Ah! Yes. I’m sorry. I was probably too focused on my embarrassment at the time to notice," he said, the pink in his cheeks turning a deeper shade of scarlet as he turned toward the serving table.

"As I said at the time, there is no need to be so harsh on yourself," said Marcus. "I know my boys can be rather tempting. I do not hold it against my guests if they show genuine remorse for overstepping. To whit, I will reiterate: I am satisfied with your apology."

Even though Bernard was turned away from him, Marcus could still see the young man’s embarrassment. The tips of Bernard’s ears were bright red. It looked as if the slightest provocation would set them alight.

"I-I’m glad to hear that," said Bernard.

"These pieces are truly masterful in their make," said Marcus. He steered the conversation elsewhere before Bernard could feel too uncomfortable.

He was comfortable with his ability to navigate a mind that was on guard against him but he preferred not having to deal with the hassle. As such, a little bit of massaging was in order.

"You clearly have a good eye for furniture," said Marcus. "The desk is a particularly gorgeous piece—though the bookshelves are stately in their own right."

"T-thank you. But to be honest… Even though these look the way they do, they’re not actual antiques," said Bernard as he poured tea for him and Marcus.

"I know," said Marcus. "Indeed, I am confident I can pinpoint exactly where you sourced these pieces from."

Bernard approached the couch with the tea and laughed. "I didn’t think you would be familiar," he said. "I imagined a man of your means would have paid the premium of having genuine antiques shipped up from Planetside."

Marcus waved his hand dismissively before accepting a teacup from Bernard. "Time is money, my friend, and no antique, however beautiful, is worth that much hassle."

Bernard snorted as he sat down on the couch beside Marcus. "I take it you know the eponymous Jonah Simmons, then?" he said.

Marcus glanced at the tea. It smelled wonderful and the tendrils of steam curling off the surface were almost spellbinding to watch. "Jonah Simmons’ Furniture Store…" he said, looking thoughtful for a moment. "Yes, I know him. And I must say I still find the name disagreeable."

Bernard laughed. "How come?" he said, taking a sip of his cup of tea. "I think it’s charming. Straight to the point."

"Unimaginative, though," said Marcus. "Indeed, the shop has received much patronage over the years on my recommendation."

"It’s good to hear someone else is pushing good old-fashioned furniture in this day and age," said Bernard.

"There is something to be said about having a sturdy wooden desk, would you not say?"

Bernard nodded. "Indeed," he said. "You know, I really do find it admirable that you would go so far for a small workshop like Jonah’s."

Marcus quirked an eyebrow. "What gives you that impression?" he said.

"Well, you’re one of the most well-connected people in the Commonwealth," said Bernard. "Your recommendation carries a lot of weight. I imagine Jonah’s shop wouldn’t have seen the success it has if not for you."

Marcus chuckled. "Hardly," he said. "Whatever success Jonah might have had these past years, he owes it more to the hard work and dedication of his team than my passing recommendations."

"Humble despite all the power at your fingertips," said Bernard with a little smile. "You are an amazing human being, Marcus. Let no one else tell you otherwise."

Marcus waved his hand and laughed. "Hardly," he said. "I simply wanted good furniture. And seeing as the alternative was a veritable mountain of paperwork, I elected to support a local craftsman."

He sipped at his tea. "Things are better now but there remain far too few businesses that are esper-run or esper-friendly," he said.

"I agree," said Bernard as he set his tea down. "The way things are, it may be that new espers find themselves pressured to join the Hall. Or stand against it, for that matter."

"The Hall does plenty of good," said Marcus. "I should not begrudge young espers if they want to contribute to the betterment of society in such a fashion."

"I wouldn’t either," said Bernard. "But I wouldn’t want them to feel obliged. There is another way. They can have normal lives. The freedom to live is one of the Commonwealth’s founding principles, after all."

Marcus chuckled. "You may be right, Bernard," he said.

"This is one of the reasons I admire the work that you do," said Bernard. "You’re actively making the Commonwealth a friendlier place for espers. I think we would all be just a bit more unhappy if you were to somehow disappear."

It was a surprising sentiment, Marcus had to admit. Perhaps there was truth to it. His endeavors had led to a better quality of life in the Commonwealth over the years.

Bernard was wrong about his motivations, though. Marcus was a villain at heart, despite his philanthropy. He had desires and the means and determination to fulfill them.

Insight was one of his born gifts and with it, he’d determined that a healthy society that embraced espers was more likely to produce high-quality ones. His philanthropy wasn’t born out of the goodness of his heart, it was born of his insatiable desire to add to his growing collection of super-powered men.

Marcus chuckled to himself as he finished off the last of his tea. "Enough of that dreary topic of conversation—me—and let us speak of other things," he said.

"You? Dreary? I don’t think so," said Bernard. "I think your story is uplifting and heartwarming. But if you want to move on to other topics, I’m happy to oblige."

Marcus smiled. It had been fun sitting down to talk with Bernard but it was time to work. "You will oblige any topic I wish to speak of. Yes?"

Bernard nodded. "Within limits," he said. If he noticed the switch in Marcus’ register, he didn’t show it. "I’m not at liberty to discuss confidential things. I’m sure you understand."

"I do," said Marcus with a small smile. "I have no intentions of speaking with you about such things at this moment. Tell me how you feel about the work you do here. About the responsibilities that rest on your shoulders."

"Ah," said Bernard. "Where to begin?" he said.

"Wherever you feel is best," said Marcus gently.

"I should say that I love what I do," said Bernard.

That much had been clear to Marcus. If nothing else, Bernard was dedicated to the work he did.

Bernard continued. "I believe the Barb is where I am best able to help my city. And the wider community of the Commonwealth."

"I see. Positive feelings all in all, then?" A wry smile tugged at the corner of Marcus’ lips as his and Bernard’s eyes met. "You will tell me of any misgivings you might have… won’t you?"

Bernard gulped audibly. A thin blue ring had begun to form at the edges of his irises, a sign that he’d begun to come under Marcus’ sway."Positive feelings in general, yeah," he said. "A-and I would."

Marcus smiled. "Then if you please."

Bernard nodded. "I… am uncomfortable with the things they do in the bowels of the Barb. And the job is physically and mentally demanding. Sometimes I can’t help but wish someone else was in charge."

Marcus had already suspected as much. His gift of Insight had allowed him to quickly grasp the kind of person Bernard was but it always helped to have confirmation.

The gift of Insight was not some magical ability to pluck truths from thin air. It was a means of organizing and associating bits of existing knowledge to draw conclusions. Given only the name of a complete stranger, Marcus would have no more idea about their nature than the average person. But even a photograph would allow him to make some guesses the average person could never.

"You know as well as I that your word carries enough weight in the Hall that none would blink an eye should you name a successor," said Marcus. "But you do not. Because you believe yourself the best fit for the station. Yes?"

Bernard sighed. "You’re right…" He trailed off for a moment, breaking eye contact to glance wistfully at the fogged-up window. "But sometimes I wish I could take a break from it all."

"Why is that?" said Marcus.

"To be honest, I spend most of my waking hours worrying about the Barb," said Bernard. "The stakes are too high. I can’t afford to be complacent for even a minute because the consequences are just… They don’t even bear thinking about. I have to be aware of what’s going on at all times."

Marcus pursed his lips. That Bernard felt bad because he found the job burdensome was further evidence of the younger man’s dedication to the work he did. "You know as well as I that what you describe is more than a single person can be expected to shoulder," he said.

Bernard sighed. He looked up, his eyes meeting Marcus’ gaze. The blue rim around his irises glowed softly as it expanded, taking over the steel grey. "You’re right," he said. "But I’m the only one that can do this."

Marcus quirked an eyebrow. He wanted Bernard to see his skepticism, to introduce a seed of doubt into that steel conviction. "You are confident in the security of the Barb. Yes?"

Bernard nodded. "There is no place better equipped to contain dangerous espers. Be it here or planetside."

"Consequently, you do not believe that the prisoners will be able to break out on their own. Yes?" said Marcus.

"It would take outside intervention, a total breakdown of our systems, or an act of some vindictive god to crack the Barb open," said Bernard. "I have no doubt about that."

Marcus nodded. Inwardly, he smirked. It was a simple enough suggestion that would serve him well for today’s purposes but it was one that he guessed would play a part when it was time to put the plan in motion.

"I see," said Marcus. "You trust your subordinates, do you not?" he said.

Bernard paused for a moment. His brow furrowed in concentration as he mulled over the question. Unfortunately for him, Marcus’ gift of Suggestion left few answers but the one Marcus wanted. "I do," said Bernard, after a minute or so.

"Then you must be confident that they can maintain the security of the Barb in your absence. Yes?" said Marcus.

Again, Bernard went silent as he considered Marcus’ words. After some time, he nodded. "I do," he said. "They wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think they could hold their own in an emergency."

Marcus quirked an eyebrow. "But?"

"I don’t know," said Bernard, a tinge of pink blooming in his cheeks. "I just… I prefer to stay hands-on. For peace of mind. I can’t help but worry whenever I’m away."

Marcus chuckled. "But you just said that you would trust your subordinates with running the Barb in your absence," he said. "Those facts seem rather contradictory, wouldn’t you say?"

"Y-yeah, I guess," said Bernard. He frowned as if he’d never considered the matter before.

It didn’t come as much of a surprise to Marcus. Many people held contradictory beliefs without realizing it. Not without outside intervention, anyway.

When Bernard spoke again, he did so with uncertainty. "I-I don’t know," he said with a shrug. "I do trust them but I also can’t help but worry."

Marcus hummed to himself for a moment. "I wonder… Tell me, Bernard. Is there anything in your life besides the Barb?"

"Yes!" said Bernard, though the hasty defensiveness of his answer betrayed the truth behind it. He seemed to realize his misstep as he continued, rather sheepishly, "I go out to eat. I spend time with other people. I attend events," he said.

Marcus had to laugh. Heroes—at least the ones who truly had the soul of a hero—were all rather similar in many ways. "Those all sound like good things on the surface… But tell me the truth, Bernard."

Bernard flushed, clearly embarrassed to have been caught in the act. "Okay, I admit. I eat out with business associates. I spend time with other people in meetings. And the events I attend are mostly fundraisers like that party at your place."

Marcus chuckled. "And so the truth comes out. Perhaps it does not bear saying, but nevertheless… it may behoove you to have something in your life besides business."

The tinge of red in Bernard’s cheeks darkened even further. "I-I don’t know," he said. "I wouldn’t even really know where I would start."

A smile tugged at the corner of Marcus’ mouth. "Is there anything you do for pleasure? A hobby, perhaps? Something which you do solely for the enjoyment of it."

Bernard frowned. He was silent for a good, long while. After a moment, he shook his head. "No… Not that comes to mind," he said.

He threw up his hands. "How could I spend time on that kind of triviality anyway?" he said with a scowl. "The stakes are so high that I can’t possibly spare the time for something as inconsequential as a hobby."

Marcus shook his head. That wouldn’t do. Then again, he’d anticipated that Bernard would go so far. The man was a pathological workaholic.

"It is precisely because the stakes are so high that you must find the time to take a moment and breathe," said Marcus rather sternly. "You know that a person is liable to make more mistakes when he is stressed."

Bernard’s shoulders slumped. "You’re right," he said, deflating before Marcus’ eyes. "Do you take an occasional step back from your work?"

Marcus laughed. "Oh, yes," he said. "I have many hobbies. I have found that when I am struggling with a difficult problem, I often make better choices after taking a break and returning to work re-energized and with a fresh perspective."

Bernard nodded, humming softly to himself as he seemed rather deep in thought. After a moment, he looked up, eyes bright as he met Marcus’ gaze. "Perhaps you would be able to give me some guidance," he said.

It was precisely the response Marcus had anticipated and it brought a smile to his face. Bernard was well and truly dancing on the palm of his hand.

"As much as I hate to admit it, you’re right. I really do need to take my mind off work," said Bernard.

Marcus chuckled. It was funny that Bernard had chosen those precise words to describe what he wanted. "You can rest assured, Bernard, this is something of a specialty of mine. Though I should forewarn you: some of my interests might be somewhat off-putting."

Bernard, besides the tinge of pink on his cheeks taking on a darker red, seemed largely unperturbed. "I’ve seen many things in my time as head warden here… I would try anything at least once, I think. I doubt I’d be too disturbed," he said.

Marcus smirked. Bernard was making this almost too easy. "You would be willing to try truly anything. Yes?" he said.

Such a suggestion would have taken some more building up to but Bernard had given him the perfect opportunity. If it took, the blank cheque would make it all but trivial to get Bernard under his thumb.

Bernard nodded. "I will," he said rather confidently as he looked into Marcus’ eyes. "I said I would and I’m nothing if not a man of my word."

Marcus laughed. "I will hold you to your word, then," he said.

Bernard smiled. "Please do. I look forward to whatever you might have in mind."

The corner of Marcus’ mouth curled in a little smirk. "There is no better time to start than right now," he said.

Bernard’s eyes widened. "I-I suppose not," he said. "But I wouldn’t want to impose on your time…"

Marcus chuckled. "You need not worry about that," he said. "You might consider today one of my recreation days."

Bernard gulped audibly and nodded. "I’m afraid I don’t have anything that can be used for hobbies here," he said.

Marcus smiled. "You should have no need for anything besides your body," he said.

It took a moment for Bernard to register what Marcus was implying but his face turned red as a tomato the moment it clicked. "I-I’m supposed to be finding a hobby, right? I-I don’t see how…"

"You trust me. Don’t you?" said Marcus.

Bernard hesitated.

"You admire my philanthropy. My charity work. You admire the success of my enterprise. Yes?"

Bernard nodded. "I do," he said.

"You do not believe I accomplished all this through sheer luck. Yes?" said Marcus.

"I-I didn’t mean to imply—yes. Yes." Bernard blushed, the red spreading to the tips of his ears.

"You can trust that I know what I am doing, then. Otherwise, I could not be as successful as I am. Yes?"

Bernard shivered. Marcus could tell there was a part of him fighting the suggestion but it was a losing battle.

His eyes glowing faintly blue, Bernard nodded. "Alright," he said. "I’ll trust you."

Marcus smirked. "Good," he said. "Then you will do as I say. Yes?"

Bernard once again hesitated but Marcus had him now. He nodded. "I will," he said.

"Because you trust me," said Marcus to reinforce the suggestion.

"Because I trust you," said Bernard. The tension in his shoulders visibly melted away as a small smile tugged on his lips.

"Good," said Marcus. "Remove your jacket."

Bernard flushed darker but voiced no objections. "Is this one of the things you thought I might find objectionable?" he said as he slipped the expensive jacket off his shoulders.

"Mhm," Marcus hummed. "Tie."

Bernard’s gaze didn’t waver. He took a single breath, his shoulders trembling ever so slightly in the process.

He reached up and hooked a finger into the loop of his tie, loosening it with a light tug. "I-I haven’t had much in the way of experience," he admitted as he slipped the tie off and set it down beside him.

"Then you will learn," said Marcus with a little smile. "Unbutton your shirt."

Bernard gulped, scarlet in his cheeks. He deftly undid the buttons of his shirt, tugging the hem out of his pants. "This would help me?"

Marcus chuckled. "Trust the process," he said.

Bernard flinched as Marcus touched his body, the fingers of both hands splaying on his exposed stomach. "I-I will," he whispered.

Marcus didn’t miss the telltale signs of arousal. The sharp intake of breath, the stifled moan, and the distinctive twitch of that lump between Bernard’s legs told him all he needed to know.

Routine physical training had given Bernard a honed body. Marcus’ touch wandered over every chiseled ridge and valley on their way up along his torso. It didn’t take long before the first earnest noise spilled from him, bringing a small smile to Marcus’ face.

"You said that you spend most of your time thinking about the Barb, yes?" said Marcus.

Bernard nodded, gasping as Marcus’ roaming fingers found his nipples. "Y-yes," he breathed, pushing out his chest as Marcus rubbed gentle circles around the stiff nubs.

"You understand this to be a heavy burden to bear."

Bernard took a moment to respond, distracted by the sensation of his nipples pinched between Marcus’ thumbs and forefingers. "I-I do," he said.

"You wish you did not have to shoulder it at all times."

A low moan spilled out of Bernard as Marcus tugged on his nipples. His back arched. His fingers curled against the cushions of the couch. "I-I do," he said, gulping audibly.

Marcus smiled. "You wish that for a while at least, your mind could be free of the Barb. That you could be free of worries. Of concerns. Of responsibility."

Bernard closed his eyes and moaned as Marcus roughly rubbed the nubs of his nipples. "T-that would be wonderful," he admitted, lips parted ever so slightly as he breathed out another moan.

Marcus said nothing more for a few minutes, focusing his attention on Bernard’s nipples. He worked them over, reveling in the low moans that spilled from the younger man’s lips. There was nothing more effective than pleasure at making a man’s mind more susceptible to suggestion.

"You haven’t thought at all about the Barb. Have you?" he said, purposefully adopting a low, soothing register that his words might massage Bernard’s mind into the shape he desired. "Tell me. It is the truth. You know it to be."

Bernard shivered, his eyes flying wide open. His irises were blue and glowing faintly. Surprise was plain on his face. "I-I haven’t," he whispered in wonder.

Marcus was all but certain that Bernard had thought about the Barb in the past few minutes. But those would have been little more than passing thoughts, easily forgotten or justified to be minor enough to not count.

Though the gift of Suggestion had its own drawbacks, it had one invaluable advantage: the target’s mind, if susceptible to the suggestion, did all the hard work for the one making the suggestions.

"You feel good," said Marcus. A truth thrown into the mix, muddling the line between fact and fiction.

Bernard nodded, a breathless moan escaping him as Marcus pinched his nipples and tugged on them. "I-I do," he whispered. "Very good."

"It feels good, not thinking about the Barb," said Marcus with a small smile. It was but a hint of an association but Bernard’s mind, primed to make the connection, would seize on it.

Bernard gasped, the bulge in his pants twitching. "I-It does," he groaned.

The corner of Marcus’ mouth curled into a little smirk. It was just as he’d predicted. The link was forged now and his gift of permanence would ensure that it remained in place. From today, Bernard would associate not thinking about the Barb with pleasure.

It was time to forge another connection. "Thanks to me," said Marcus simply.

Bernard’s eyes widened again. "Thanks to you…" he murmured, trailing off as he looked a Marcus.

Marcus smirked. "You want more."

Bernard nodded. "Yes. Please. More. I-I’ve never felt this way before!" he said, the words tumbling from his lips with particular urgency.

Marcus chuckled. He hadn’t even suggested that Bernard needed what he could offer yet and already the man was practically begging for it.

"Shirt," said Marcus with a small smile. It seemed Bernard recognized deep down that he needed a break from his duties and Marcus was all too happy to take advantage.

Bernard didn’t even need prodding to do as he was told this time. He stripped off his shirt, his arms and shoulders breaking out in goosebumps as the cool air touched his pale skin. "Please…" he breathed.

"You believe I can give you what you need. Yes?" said Marcus as he moved a hand up along the middle of Bernard’s chest.

Bernard gulped and nodded. "I do," he said, shivering as Marcus caressed the side of his neck and cupped his cheek.

Marcus smiled, rubbing the tip of his thumb over Bernard’s lower lip. "You want what I can offer."

Bernard moaned, his lips pressing against the pad of Marcus’ thumb. "More than anything," he whispered, the bulge in his pants twitching at the admission.

"All I ask is your surrender," said Marcus. It was as simple as that, six words he didn’t even need his gift of Suggestion for.

Bernard hesitated but that was within Marcus’ expectations. The man was dedicated to his work—and a hero through and through, besides.

Marcus didn’t push the issue. Moments like these were pivotal. Instincts were at their most sensitive, the minds of his subjects most at their guard.

He bided his time, watching Bernard work through the conflicting emotions that were sure to be twisting inside him. And then, when he sensed the defenses were faltering, he struck.

"You need this," said Marcus. The three simple words had no particular gravity to them but they were enough to tip the delicately balanced scale inside Bernard. Once equilibrium was broken, all that remained was a precipitous slide.

"I’ll do it," said Bernard almost breathlessly. "I’ll surrender."

Marcus applied gentle pressure on Bernard’s lips with his thumb. They parted for him with ease and he pushed his thumb inside, running the tip over Bernard’s teeth. "Good," he said. "You will surrender all that you are to me."

Bernard nodded, remaining still as Marcus pushed his thumb deeper. His eyes remained locked with Marcus’, glowing an even stronger blue.

"to escape the burden of your work, you will surrender your body to me," said Marcus. Without waiting for a response, he continued. "Suck."

Bernard closed his lips around Marcus’ thumb. He gently sucked on it, cheeks flushing a dark shade of red.

"And you will surrender your mind as well. Emptying that pretty head of yours of thoughts. Focusing only on my words and my commands."

A soft moan escaped Bernard as his eyes glassed over.

"No will but my will," said Marcus as he thrust his thumb in and out of Bernard’s mouth. "No thoughts but my thoughts."

Bernard’s tongue swirled around Marcus’ thumb as Marcus slid his other hand down the front of Bernard’s body. With one hand he undid the clasp of Bernard’s dress pants and tugged down the fly.

"Feeling so good to have no worries, no concerns, no responsibilities to speak of," murmured Marcus as he slipped his hand past the waistband of Bernard’s boxer briefs to wrap his fingers around the younger man’s straining erection.

Bernard groaned around Marcus’ thumb, his hips rocking ever so slightly as he thrust his cock into Marcus’ hand.

"You will be the same as ever in your day-to-day life," said Marcus. He pulled his thumb out of Bernard’s mouth with a soft pop. "But when you feel that the stress is getting to be too much, or when I call for you, you will seek me out."

Bernard nodded, closing his mouth around Marcus’ index and middle fingers after they pressed against his lips. He said nothing, but Marcus was certain he was listening.

"When I, and only I, say the words, ‘time for a break, Bernard,’ you will return to this state," Marcus murmured, leaning forward to speak the words right into Bernard’s ear. "Your mind will empty of thoughts. Your body will flush with heat. You will feel so good to surrender to me, focusing only on my words and commands, eager to do all that I ask."

Bernard moaned. His cock throbbed in Marcus’ hand as Marcus moved his fingers up and down the stiff length of it

"And every time you enter this state, you will slip deeper and deeper into your surrender," said Marcus, moving his fingers in and out of Bernard’s mouth in counter-rhythm to his stroking of Bernard’s cock. "Becoming more and more mine every time the thoughts melt out of your head. Every time you surrender to me."

Bernard bucked his hips, his tongue swirling around the tips of Marcus’ fingers. His skin glistened with a thin sheen of sweat as wanton moans and whines spilled from him.

"You feel so good when you surrender," whispered Marcus. "You feel so good when you obey."

Bernard nodded, his eyes desperately pleading, his cheeks tinged a deep scarlet like the tips of his ears. His chest rose and fell with hot, shallow breaths as he squirmed under Marcus’ masterful ministrations.

"And every time you surrender, every time you obey, you feel the need to surrender and obey become stronger and stronger," said Marcus, pumping his hand faster up and down Bernard’s erection.

The corner of Marcus’ mouth curled upward in a little smirk. "You are close," he said.

Bernard whined.

Marcus slid his fingers up and down along Bernard’s length. "You are riding the edge, teetering on the precipice."

Bernard’s back arched. He gasped and moaned, bucking his hips with urgency as his eyes glassed over even more.

"You can feel the imminent orgasm. It coils in your groin, churning in your balls, ready to spring free at the slightest provocation."

An unintelligible plea bubbled out of Bernard, the words muffled by the fingers fucking in and out of his mouth.

"You will become mine when you come," said Marcus as he pressed his lips to the side of Bernard’s neck and smiled. "Your orgasm will be your final surrender. When you spill, you will belong to me. Forever."

A ragged whine spilled from Bernard.

"You want it," said Marcus.

Bernard shut his eyes and nodded, humping his cock into the loose circle formed by Marcus’ fingers.

"You need it."

Bernard whined. His back arched. His toes curled. Marcus could practically feel the tension in the younger man’s body, coiled tight like a bowstring drawn.

"Go ahead," said Marcus. "Come for me. Spill into my hand and become mine forever."

Permission was all that Bernard needed. He threw his head back and moaned, bucking his hips a few more times before his cock pulsed.

Bernard came hard, his entire body shuddering with the pleasure of the orgasm as he spilled shot after shot of hot, sticky cum into his boxer briefs. When the orgasm finally subsided, Bernard collapsed against the couch, dazed.

Marcus chuckled. "How was that?" he said.

Bernard shivered at the low, sultry tone of Marcus’ voice. "Incredible…" he whispered.

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