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Having Zachary tucked in his arms, protected from the biting cold, was the best feeling in the world to Orion. He didn't want to let go, to leave his boy to go back to that cold, disgusting alley... but he had to. With a fake smile, he leaned back. He'd intended to tell Zachary to come back when he was finished thinking, not wanting him to stay outside all night, but instead he just grasped his two chilly hands and squeezed. When Zachary just smiled, Orion licked his dry lips and turned to walk away.

He got about five steps away before soft, cold fingers slid into his. Immediately Orion stopped and turned, his eyes widening in eager hope. "Zachary?" The younger man opened his mouth to speak, taking a step closer to the point where they were nearly flush against each other. He ended up unable to speak, just like Orion had been previously, and instead shifted his coat so that it rested on his shoulders correctlly, then reached forward again to take Orion's hand in his. The gesture read loud and clear to Orion, even though neither of them had spoken about it.

When they finally stepped back through the alley door and into the warmth of the club, Orion couldn't help but sigh in relief. He wanted to scoop Zachary up and cuddle him right where they stood, but he had a feeling that his boy might still be overwhelmed so he withheld, barely. This is going to be harder than I thought. They were just stepping into his bedroom and already he wanted to have his hands on Zachary. 

"Hey Orion?"

Blinking, he gave his head a jerky shake and put on a smile. He might not be able to touch him very much, but at least he wasn't sitting outside freezing without dinner. "Yes, sweetheart?"

Zachary had walked over to his nightstand and was now holding up the book he'd been reading. "Um, can we maybe read a little?"

It was already really late but there was no way Orion would say no to Zach's hopeful face. "Of course. You need to get warmed up first though, okay? Your pants are wet and you look pale from the cold."

Zach glanced down at his pants, then turned so that he could see his damp backside. "Oh." Orion chuckled quietly and nodded for him to go shower real quick.

"I'll go get some dinner ready while you shower, okay?"

The look on his face spelled relief, but that was okay. Orion knew he needed some time, and likely had expected him to follow him into the shower. With a curt nod Orion stepped out and headed to the kitchen, making a simple dinner of mini chocolate chip and blueberry pancakes. He thought about grabbing some bacon or another protein, but eating a ton before bed wasn't usually a good idea. So, he made about ten small pancakes and tossed them on a plate with a small takeout container of syrup before grabbing a big glass of water and heading back to his room. He'd intended to grab a second cup, but balancing wasn't his forte, at least not at four in the morning.

When he opened the door to his room and stepped inside, he couldn't help but grin. Zachary had gotten the pillows propped up and was leaning against some of them with the blankets pulled up to his lap. He already had the book open, though as Orion walked over to set the tray down in Zach's lap, he noticed that he had only just begun reading the second chapter.

As Zachary started digging into the chocolate pancakes--of course--Orion slid carefully into bed and remained atop the blankets to make sure that his boy was comfortable, then leaned back against the pillows and grabbed the cup of water for a sip before setting it back down on the tray and grabbing a blueberry pancake. As he chewed, Orion glanced at the title for the chapter and nearly spit his mouthful of pancake out.

Bonding over Bondage.

Worry immediately settled in his belly as they got ready to read the book. He let Zachary start reading aloud and just skimmed along, willing to help if needed. They just munched on pancakes for around twenty minutes while reading before they got to the eighth page. There was a fully drawn example with the outlines of people, focusing in on the leather bindings. The image was directing whoever was reading on how to wrap a basic binding on your partner's arm.

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