Chapter Seven

A Patreon exclusive story by Meraki P. Lyhne 

 

Waking up with Dawdon made Aaron smile and prop his head up to study the young Cubus’ face. He was still sleeping, and a light snore escaped him. He had a strong jawline. Aaron’s features were softer. He had muscles and a sprinkle of chest hair. Aaron had none and weak facial hair, too. Dawdon’s seemed gruffer. Aaron liked that and wanted to feel it, but he didn’t want to wake him up.

It reminded him of what Matadon had said the day before. That they had the same taste in men and that being bi was the Cubi norm. What woman would Aaron want to fuck? There were many he’d turned his head to get an extra glimpse of—men and women alike—but this was different. Appreciating the view wasn’t the same.

The emotions awoken by Dawdon were something other than the horny playfulness he sometimes shared with Freydon, and that could happen just because they were bored. Might as well suck each other off, then. That was apparently a normal Cubus thing—especially when closing in on the age of Empowerment.

Aaron had noticed that he masturbated more. He could pop a boner by the touch of a breeze. He and Dawdon had slept together two nights now, and they still hadn’t fucked. They’d made out. It gave Aaron a better understanding of what Lord Seldon had explained Daniel when they’d been newly in love. How sex and love together were nice and all but love was something special that was completely besides the physical aspects of also finding sexual pleasure in each other. Until Dawdon, Aaron hadn’t fully understood it. He probably still didn’t because he wanted Dawdon, yet he certainly found a special kind of emotions being held and snuggled.

A phone made a noise. Aaron recognized that as the app’s sound, yet he didn’t want to move. His phone was on the bedside table, so he could just reach across Dawdon and grab it. Carefully, he did. As his hand came into contact with it, Dawdon grunted, opened his eyes, then grinned and pulled Aaron closer.

Aaron settled in against him, leaving the phone on the bed.

“Did you just wake up?”

“No,” Aaron said. “Well, five or ten minutes ago.”

“What time is it?”

“I dunno.” Aaron grabbed his phone and activated the screen. “Six thirty.”

“Ugh.”

Aaron chuckled. He checked the app, finding two messages from the dance team whether training was still on, even though Daniel had to back out of the recital. Of course it was still on. They had a bboy now. “Gotta schedule dance class today. Just a sec.”

“It’s kinda awesome that your dad’ll help.”

“Yeah.” Aaron botched his first attempt at scheduling class.

“Can we come by and watch if we’re in the area?”

“You and Geradon?”

“Yeah. We won’t write about it yet, but I can bring the printouts of the pics we chose for your dad and maybe snap a few of the training progress for later marketing material?”

Aaron managed to set up for eleven o’clock, so he put the phone down and turned to look at Dawdon. “That could be cool. But you’re sworn to secrecy.”

Dawdon grinned. “We’ll stay quiet, I promise.” He stroked Aaron’s back. “I love watching you dance. I’ll love it even more now.”

“Oh?” Aaron leaned over him. “Why’s that?”

“Because…” The smile that stretched seemed laced with enough shyness to make Dawdon cute as he looked down and bit his lip. He looked up at Aaron. “Because now you’re with me.”

Aaron had pegged Dawdon right. He was a romantic, and it certainly affected Aaron. The comment warmed him, and he leaned in to kiss Dawdon, relishing in being pulled tighter and feeling Dawdon open up to the kiss.

Dawdon flipped them over and settled with his weight pushing Aaron onto the bed, while a hand pressed down his flank, hip, and thigh. The caress held just enough pressure to make Aaron feel craved, and he moaned into the kiss.

A phone went off.

“Mm-mmm,” Dawdon grunted, not breaking the kiss. The phone didn’t listen. Finally, Dawdon broke the kiss and sighed, looking off in annoyance. “If that’s Geradon, we will have words.”

Aaron laughed, missing Dawdon’s weight against him as the guy sat up to rummage through his pants and finally locate the thing.

Dawdon picked up. “I was about to explore Aaron’s beautiful body. Okay. No. Great. No, come and get me. Okay.” He hung up. “That was Geradon. He has a tip for us to go look at.”

“Uh. Anything interesting?”

“It better be.” Dawdon climbed back into bed, flopped down, and yawned loudly. Aaron laid down with his head on his shoulder, but the spell had been broken.

About to explore Aaron’s beautiful body? Aaron liked that.

“You know…” Aaron got up on an elbow and smiled at Dawdon. “We could go explore under the showers.”

Dawdon grinned. “Fantastic idea.”

They got out of bed, and Aaron found fresh clothes to lay out, while Dawdon turned on the shower. Watching Dawdon get into the stall allowed Aaron a moment’s view of a nice ass and a strong back. Dawdon turned and held out a hand for Aaron. He had a sexy grin on his face as he pulled Aaron under the sprays and stepped closer.

Feeling Dawdon up under warm water was the best lazy start to the morning, and Aaron relished in the exploring hands gliding over his own back. They grew hard against each other, slowly grinding their hips to tease themselves and each other with sensation.

Aaron wanted their first sex to be planned better than now. He liked that Dawdon was a cuddler, though. He’d loved their evening the night before, looking through a lot of photos while lying close together on the bed and staring a laptop screen. He’d appreciated the geekiness of Dawdon explaining angles and golden ratios, even though it meant nothing to Aaron. He merely liked the passion and wanted to support Dawdon as best he could. Dawdon certainly supported Aaron, and Aaron did find a lot of beauty and skill in the many photos. He could see the eye as people kept saying Dawdon had.

Aaron had his own folder on the laptop. And subfolders. One said candids, and Dawdon had apparently been taking pictures of Aaron in the hallways, too, without Aaron knowing it. He obviously did of a lot of people because they’d gone through a lot of those, too, but Aaron had his own folder. He liked being watched by Dawdon. It was a Cubi trait—he had no doubt. The old King and Daniel had pegged him right when trying to describe why Aaron loved dancing for them. Being lusted for. He did. But it was very different from what he loved seeing in Dawdon’s eyes now.

Dawdon claimed Aaron’s lips, pushing all thoughts from his mind and a moan into their kiss. Aaron thrust his hips slowly, making Dawdon growl and pull him closer while grinding against him, too.

Now that was a morning shower.

Dawdon released Aaron with one arm and snuck a hand between them to squeeze their cocks together. They soon found a rhythm while continuing their kisses, and Aaron relinquished into everything Dawdon was showering him with. It helped push all thoughts of the day back and released tension from the day before.

Aaron had been in love before, but he’d never felt like this. Being with Dawdon felt so natural. So safe.

A shudder raced through Dawdon’s body, sending shivers through Aaron’s. God, he loved making Dawdon feel like that. He loved the sounds that escaped into their kiss. Dawdon broke the kiss and latched onto Aaron’s neck, squeezed him tighter, and thrust with neediness.

It fired Aaron up, and he leaned his head to the side to give Dawdon room, while pleasure rose.

“Oh fuck, oh fuck,” Dawdon whispered against Aaron’s throat, his hips snapping faster.

A moment of imagining Dawdon fucking him raced through Aaron’s mind, and his asshole wanted that attention. It was an amazing image and imagined feel. Coupled with the needy whimpers and moans, Aaron’s pleasure soared, and he bucked and cried out.

“Yeah!” Dawdon stumbled a bit, mashing Aaron against the tiled wall, thrusting a bit harder, then quaked against Aaron and groaned loudly as his cock pulsated against Aaron’s now oversensitive organ. It sent ripples of intense sensations through Aaron, who shivered hard.

Blissful aftermath, filled with heavy breathing and nimble touches, let Aaron surface to the warm droplets of the shower and less heat from the hard, tiled wall. The temperature difference made him shiver again, but not from pleasure.

Dawdon stepped them back under the sprays, and Aaron groaned at being warmed up again and held. “Wow.”

“Yeah.” Aaron chuckled and looked up, finding a goofy grin and a lazy bedroom look on Dawdon’s face. He looked cute. Aaron leaned in for some sweet kissing before they finally got it together to move the shower along.

 

 

Aaron and Dawdon went into the kitchen, where only Oliver was present. He looked like he’d just stepped out of the shower, too. Matadon apparently wasn’t up yet, but if he’d spent the remainder of the evening catching up with an old friend, Aaron kind of understood.

“Good morning.” Oliver sounded too fresh. He did every morning. “Coffee?”

“Yes, please.” Aaron sat by the breakfast bar.

“No, thank you.” Dawdon sat next to Aaron and looked at him. “Do you always drink coffee this early?”

“Yes. I kinda run of caffeine.” He looked at Oliver. “As fresh as he sounds, he’s gotta have had at least half a pot.”

Oliver cackled while pouring for Aaron. “Actually, I’ve always been an early bird. I crash around ten. I’m useless by then.”

“That’s when I kick into gear,” Aaron said. He thought about why. “Well, I guess that came to be the case when I started stripping because that was a night gig, and having to be up for school, coffee became my best friend.”

“Sounds rough.”

“What about you?” Aaron asked Dawdon.

“I dunno. Dad says I sleep too much, but I think it’s because I’m a teenager.”

Aaron nodded. That seemed plausible.

Matadon entered the kitchen, looking toast and wearing the same clothes as yesterday, but he broke into a grin when he saw Aaron. “Good morning!” He did not manage to sound as awake as he obviously tried to.

“Good morning.” Aaron had trouble hiding a grin as Matadon joined them at the end of the breakfast bar.

“What?” Matadon asked.

“Coffee?”

“Yes, please! In a bucket.”

Aaron laughed and got up, considering he’d been the one to offer. “We were just talking about whether we’re early birds or night owls.”

“Night owl.”

“Me, too.” Aaron found a big mug and poured the rest of the coffee in the carafe into it, then handed it over.

“Oh, perfect.”

“Mind making more?” Oliver asked as Aaron put the empty carafe back.

“Uhm…no.” Aaron set about the project. “Home late?”

“Early. I actually just arrived.” A yawn cut Matadon off from taking the first sip of coffee.

“I remember when me and Daniel were first reunited. We must have spent the entire night talking, and he zombie his way through half the next day with Seldon and Caledon keeping him upright.”

“I seriously hope that won’t be my day, but yeah, Geo and I did chat. And she’s an early bird who insists I get up, too.”

“I planned dance class for eleven. We’re practicing the recital, so if you’re to take Daniel’s spot, you need to be fresh.”

“On it.” Matadon raised the mug. “Seriously, by eleven, I’ll be good to go.”

“A shower does wonders.”

“Had one. I won’t need to feed anymore today, I think.”

“Cool.” Except Aaron had no idea what to answer to that because it looked and sounded pretty certain that Matadon had had breakfast in the shower, then.

“What are you two up to today?” Matadon looked from Aaron to Dawdon.

“I have work soon,” Dawdon said. “Geradon and I usually run around the place and find stories.”

“Never getting tips?”

“Sometimes. Got one today. Usually, we get the good ones from Tunra-Nol or Daniel.”

Matadon smiled, but he looked puzzled.

Aaron finished up his project and closed the lid on the coffee grounds, turned on the machine, and returned to his seat. “You look puzzled.”

“Just hearing our King’s human name so often is odd. He sounds very approachable.”

“He is, I think,” Aaron said.

“At home, at least,” Dawdon said. “Outside these walls, I’d never call him Daniel.”

“Yeah, he’s the teenage friend here,” Aaron said. “Outside, he’s the King.”

“Good balance, I think,” Matadon said.

“It’s really easy,” Oliver said. “If his eyes are human, he’s Daniel, if they’re blue or golden, he’s King.”

“Especially golden,” Aaron said. “His eyes are usually human with humans when hanging out, blue with Cubi when hanging out, and golden when in kingly mode.”

“He’s quite intense then,” Dawdon said.

Aaron and Oliver nodded.

“And when dancing? He’s Daniel?” Matadon asked.

“Yeah, then he’s just Daniel.” Aaron smiled, but it fell pretty quickly. He already missed Daniel, so he checked his phone, hoping he’d sent something. He had. Pictures of beautiful nature that looked far different than here. Aaron showed it to Dawdon, who smiled. “I should teach him to avoid sun flares.”

Aaron chuckled and scooted the phone to Matadon.

“East wing. I lived with that view for six years.”

It reminded Aaron that his dad had insight into…court life. That could come in handy—especially since Aaron often botched the hierarchy. Grand Lady Geodin could look very disapproving, and Aaron figured he needed some help to avoid making his dad look bad in her eyes.

But that was for later. First, Aaron needed to share something with Daniel, too, so he picked up his phone and leaned into Dawdon, holding it up for a selfie. Dawdon grinned and leaned in, and Aaron snapped a photo.

“Oh, God,” Dawdon mumbled when Aaron showed it. But he should definitely send one of him and his dad, too.

“Wanna do a selfie for Daniel?”

Matadon grinned. “Absolutely.”

“Can I?” Dawdon asked.

“Selfie style? Kinda has to have the candid feel.”

“I can swing that.” Dawdon held out his hand and began arranging stuff on the table. Aaron stood and went to Matadon, who grinned and turned a bit. Dawdon moved Aaron’s coffee to the end of the breakfast bar, while Dawdon scooted up to sit on the marble surface. “If you hold your right arm up like this, it’ll look like you’re the one holding the camera.” Dawdon swayed with the phone to apparently catch the right angle, while Aaron held out an arm. “And coffee.”

Aaron and Matadon grabbed their mugs and stepped closer, smiling at the camera. A few clicks later, Dawdon handed the phone over, grinning, so Aaron took the camera and leaned into Matadon to show him.

“That’s a good selfie,” Matadon said.

It was. Dawdon had captured something. He’d snapped off a few, but only one held that spark.

Aaron grinned and put captions on the images. “I so want to send him a reel of your one-armed air flare.”

“Let’s do that,” Matadon said. “Who’s on your detail today?”

“I don’t know.” Aaron sent the two photos and returned to his seat. “I have five Guards who’re usually with me, but I don’t know their schedules.”

Matadon looked around. “Is a Guard present?”

“Yes.” Lady Artidin dropped her camouflage and stepped away from the wall by the door into the kitchen.

“Thank you. It’s been a few centuries for me, but I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it again and aid my son.”

“If you have questions, do ask.”

“I will, thank you, Guard Lady.”

She smiled and disappeared again.

Yeah, Aaron definitely still had some things to learn about life around a King’s household—especially since being a Fountain was more than he’d imagined it would be. And he apparently didn’t have a choice.

Aaron drank the rest of his coffee, then looked at Matadon’s huge mug. He had time for another. “When do you and Geradon need to go?” Aaron asked as he rose and poured more coffee for himself.

“Master Harrodon had a tip for us.” Dawdon smiled. “Having Geradon pick me up here means I save thirty minutes to spend with you.” Aaron grinned and leaned into Dawdon.

“Breakfast before you go?” Oliver looked at the clock on the wall. “I promised Alex I’d start making it if he hadn’t finished feeding by seven thirty.”

It was almost that.

“I can make us something quick,” Aaron offered.

“No, thank you. Geradon and I have a routine. We usually plan the day over breakfast. When do you think it would fit you that we stop by the studio?”

“I don’t know.” Aaron’s brain tuned in on his schedule for the day. “We kinda have to start all over with choreography today to show it to Matadon and to incorporate what he brings, so…two hours at least.”

“As long as there’s none of that oriental dancing in it, I should be able to catch up,” Matadon said.

“It’ll take a few days, then.”

Matadon gaped. “Seriously? That’s in there?”

“Yeah.”

Matadon groaned and closed his eyes, but he was smiling. If he was anything like Aaron, he loved the challenge of it. Aaron would have to wait and see.

“We can wait,” Dawdon said. “If you need some time to focus, My Lord.”

“Huh?” Matadon looked at him. “Oh, no, cub, that’s more than fine. I don’t mind fumbling at something new, even with spectators.”

“We all get to fumble now,” Aaron said. “We now have a bboy to teach us, and I want something like that incorporated.”

“Is there a theme to the choreography?”

“It’s kinda like a marketing ploy. A dance medley to show off the different styles students can learn, and I’m testing and taking in more dance instructors.”

“Oh, awesome! So, belly dancing, bboying, oriental something I have no idea what’s called, and…”

Aaron chuckled. “Salsa’s new. Pole dancing is an entire class already, which is fun because I’m in one end, closest to the door, and dosing Cubi are in the other. When they lose it, I’m shown out the door, and class is interrupted.”

Matadon chuckled. “That happens often?”

“Sometimes. And then a human usually gets fucked before the place is disinfected.” Matadon kept snickering.

“I remember thinking doses from a nature’s niche point of view is really stupid, considering you’re kind of a danger to your cubs,” Oliver said.

“Not until we’re teenagers,” Dawdon said. “Once we start being able to smell kin feeding hormones, we’re also old enough to know to stay away. Until then, doses don’t do anything.”

“Good to know,” Aaron mumbled.

Alex, Leon, and Geradon entered. “Good morning!” Alex beelined for the coffee maker, grunting pleased at finding a full carafe.

“Good morning, Butler,” Matadon said.

Alex snickered and poured two mugs of coffee, then placed one in front of Leon. Who was also naked. “Next time you surprise me with a spectacular morning feeding like that, I promise breakfast in bed for you, too.”

Leon blushed.

“Can I ask…” Matadon looked around. “Uhm…”

“What?” Aaron asked.

“So, we have an Incubus present with a classification tat, and a human without one?”

“I’m a human representative from the Canadian government,” Leon said. “A liaison of sorts. To do that job well, I immerse myself in the Cubi culture and…learn interesting things.”

“I bet.” Matadon looked at Geradon, who stood with Dawdon and leafed through a day planner. “You must be Geradon.”

“Yes, My Lord.” They shook hands. “I was actually wondering if you have some interesting news from the world. We’d love to sit down with you later.”

“All news on that front would go through Lady Stadin, but I can call her for you.”

“No, we don’t want to be a bother.”

“You’re not. With how little we get to know of what happens in House, then I can’t even figure out what would be an interesting story for you.” Matadon smiled at Aaron. “But I can think about it, and we can meet for a late lunch somewhere.”

Aaron got the feeling that Matadon was seeing to Aaron having time with Dawdon, and he appreciated it. “Are you going to the Natural Beauties today?” Aaron asked.

“Oh, yeah,” Matadon mumbled, apparently having forgotten that. He rose and grabbed the coffee, walking around the breakfast bar and topping people off.

“We plan to,” Geradon said.

“Are you?” Dawdon asked.

“I think it’s important,” Aaron said.

“Especially you,” Leon said. “You have the right age and a unique insight, considering you know the world they come from, yet you also know the cultural clash.”

“You spend a lot of time there, too, right?” Geradon said.

“I do. Human to human, considering they haven’t been Empowered yet.”

“What value would I be able to bring?” Matadon asked.

Leon smiled. “Humanity.”

Matadon chuckled. “I see.”

“There’s someone who wants to learn ballet,” Aaron said.

“We should definitely talk to them, then.”

“We seriously need to get going,” Dawdon said. “Our lead is at the other end of the House.” He leaned over, pulled Aaron in, and give him a kiss. “I’ll text you,” he whispered.

“Yeah.” Aaron grinned goofily.

“See ya!” the two called out as they hurried from the kitchen.

Matadon grinned into his coffee mug.

The breakfast project commenced, and Aaron helped out.

 

 

By ten thirty, Aaron and Matadon arrived at the studio with Guard Lady Artidin. They were both in their dance clothes already, and they’d chatted about the choreography on their way there because Aaron wanted those power moves to have a central spot. Not that he’d be able to teach it for a while because he had to learn it first, and he obviously couldn’t get a Lord to be a teacher there, considering Matadon would soon get a proper assignment to add value to the House’s Cu’Boka.

“What about clothes?” Matadon took a seat on the floor close to the music shelf. “How do you find something that fits everything?”

“We figured kind of like a dance uniform that works for most stuff to keep focus on the skills and not the splendor. To kinda indicate that it’s not the clothes and fanciness that makes the dancer but what you bring to the floor.”

“True. Good point.”

“By the way, what size are you? We need stilettoes for you.”

“Oh, gods.” Matadon squeezed his eyes shut, but he was grinning.

Aaron chuckled. He also noticed that Matadon used plural gods like the old King and Randr did. It would make sense if he’d lived around him for so long and was from Scandinavia. “I’m nine and a half.”

“Roughly the same, then, yet I seriously haven’t danced in heel since forever and never anything like that.” Matadon pointed to Aaron’s bag. He’d brought a few pairs, so he picked them out and handed a black pair to Matadon, who squinted at them, yet he tried one on. “If my feet swell from this, we need a bigger size.” He zipped up the boot and put on the other one.

“Provisions have more and more in stock. Daniel started the new trend of makeup, and I made stilettoes trendy.”

Matadon chuckled. “You know you’re doing something right then.” He grunted as he got up to step around. “Oh, this will take some getting used to. I need a pair just to walk around in at home.”

“If those fit, then keep them. They’re almost new. I think I danced in them once. And Daniel once.”

“Problem solved, then.” Matadon moved purposefully with some fluidity, working on balance while shifting weight. He tapped his foot on a small cover in the floor. “For the poles?”

“Yeah.” Aaron pointed to the end wall where they were neatly lined up in a rack. He put on the white boots and got up to join Matadon.

“What’s your favorite dancing in these?”

“Anything with hips.” Aaron turned to face the mirror, and Matadon joined him, lining up and looking curious. “I like how they accentuates my long legs.” Aaron took a pose he’d learned brought him positive attention on the stage.

“Well, it’s obvious where you got those from.” Matadon took the same pose, testing out the right tilt of hips and sway of the back. Looking at them side by side and in the mirror, Aaron noticed that they resembled each other a lot. But not their facial features.

It prompted an idea, so Aaron went to stand right next to him, still looking at their reflection.

“What?” Matadon stood straight next to Aaron.

“We’re the same height, and we’re pretty close in body composition.”

“Yeah, except torso. I’m guessing that’s my bboying because that takes a great deal of overall physical strength for poses and holds.”

“You look twenty-five, max. How does a Cubus body even change?”

Matadon chuckled. “We have our genetic expression, and it keeps pretty steady, but it’s possible to change like humans can. If I wanted to get buff for instance, I’d just work on that and keep it up like humans have to, too. But this is my genetic expression without a lot of training. Once I start training with you, it’ll change again. Why?”

“Imagine a synchronic dance with masks. Mirrored. Twin dance or something.”

“Oh! I’m loving where you’re going with this. Maybe…” Matadon looked down. “Black boots, white boots.”

“Ah.” They looked at each other, and Aaron felt the connection. He and his dad had something strong to build upon. “Do any of my siblings dance?”

“Your sister. Zaidin is good.”

“Is she in House?”

“No, only Ramudon.”

“And he can’t dance.”

“Well, he can, but it’s not with the fluidity and confidence you bring.” Matadon grabbed Aaron’s shoulders and turned them both so that he stood behind Aaron. They looked at each other from the side. Matadon stepped closer, guiding Aaron’s arms up in front, giving them a better view.

“We could be twins.”

Matadon smiled. “I hope this means we move similarly, too.”

“Let’s try.” Aaron turned a bit toward the mirror again, and Matadon copied. “Pick a move.”

“Uhm…” Matadon did a body roll. Aaron followed. A few rolls later, then synched up. “Look at our arms.”

Aaron did, noticing they didn’t have a lot of synchronization work ahead of them to pull off a twin dance. He felt increasingly excited.

Matadon stopped and stepped around eagerly. “Do you think Dawdon can help us with a video camera? If we film our dance as we develop it, we can see what needs work and where.”

“We should definitely ask. So…” Aaron turned to the mirror again. “So, we make a routine that focuses on the art of synchronization?”

“Yeah, and diversity in it.”

The door opened, and the dance team entered, chatting.

Dammit. Aaron’s mind was completely wrapped up in his and Matadon’s idea. He smiled because they’d found something to work on together, though. They had something to bond over. He’d never had that with Dan. Now he knew why, and he felt less afraid that Matadon would find it easy to dump him, considering he’d never been apart of his life.

“A Lord?” Miguel asked.

Freydon grinned, looking happy on Aaron’s behalf that they’d found a commonality to build upon.

“This is my dad, Lord Matadon. I asked him to try out for Daniel’s spot, considering he was called away on Kingly business.”

“Cool!” the dance team said.

“And this is Bao. She’ll be teaching you to dance.”

“Not in those.” She pointed to the stilettos.

“I like you already, young lady.” Matadon had enough balance to take the boots off while standing.

Aaron grinned and looked at his team. Other than Daniel, it had been a completely human and non-dosing team. He hoped they wouldn’t mind a feeding Cubus among them.

 

 

They trained until one o’clock, having fun with bringing in a new one to learn Bao’s cultural dancing. As alluded to, Matadon was a festive guy, and he laughed a lot—especially at his own mistakes. He caught salsa pretty quickly, and he and Miguel danced well together.

Dawdon and Geradon arrived about thirty minutes before the training ended, and they sat on the floor at one end and watched as the team counted out the choreography to no music.

As per usual, the dance team ended up sitting on the floor and talked about the day.

“Round of feedback,” Aaron said.

“Genes are easy here,” Miguel said. “I vote for the Lord to be on the team.” His hand shot up. The others followed.

Aaron looked at his grinning dad. “You’re in.”

“Thank you!”

“So, next time, we’re going to learn the bboy part?” Miguel asked.

“I think we’ll try to come up with something for then, right?” Aaron looked at Matadon.

“Yes.” Matadon nodded vigorously. “Some of the really technical stuff takes a lot of practice, other parts can be easily picked up by a team as talented as this one.” Everybody beamed at the Lord’s praise. “I think we can put in three levels. Toprock, downrock, and a few powermoves.”

“What’s the difference between the three?” Miguel asked.

“Technical skills and physical conditioning. Toprock is basic footwork and dance where you’re standing up, downrock is where you begin adding some moves on the floor, freezes and stuff. And powermoves are the high skill level stuff.”

“Can you show us a few things to maybe practice?” Bao asked. “Downrock?”

“Yeah.” Matadon got onto hands and feet and effortlessly bear crawled backward to have room. “This one is the very basic move, and I’m sure you’ve all seen it.” Matadon slowly lifted his feet to counts, shifted his weight and ended up in a crab crawl, counted out the feet kicking along with the shifting of weight to once again be in the bear crawl. “Full speed, it looks like this.”

Aaron thought the slow part looked ridiculous, but the full speed added the fluidity that made it look coordinated. Adding a mental beat, it looked like dancing, and not someone having a seizure on all fours. Bboying was so not Aaron’s style, but he’d never limit his repertoire.

Apparently, training wasn’t over. The team found spots and slowly counted out what they remembered. Aaron joined in, and Matadon walked around, watching, patiently correcting, and going over the rhythm and moves with everybody individually. He was a pretty good teacher.

Matadon came to Aaron, watching and studying him. He leaned in and put a hand under the small of Aaron’s back. “Support your back a bit so you don’t collapse. It’ll help you in the turn to not have to raise your hips first.” Aaron tried it. “Around there. Now arm over.”

“I see what you mean about strength needed here.” Aaron certainly felt muscles strain and burn from holding his own weight and shifting it like that.

“Should we do a Calisthenics class, focusing on functional bodyweight strength training that’s supporting dance?”

“If we need that to add the bboying, then yeah.”

“Optimally, at least three times a week. About an hour.” Matadon plopped down to sit on the floor, thinking. “I need help with some of that, so I’ll see if I can find someone who’s good at that. Maybe among the Natural Beauties? Have something they can already add to House might make them acclimatize and feel invested faster.”

“What does this bring? I mean…me dancing.”

“To Cu’Boka? Joy and beauty.”

“At parties.”

“And dance offs in hallways, I’ve heard.”

“Yeah, but is it…serious enough?”

Matadon smiled, but it seemed a patient and fatherly smile. “What jobs did you hold in the human world?”

“Washing dishes, stripping, and cleaning backrooms of stores.”

“All but stripping are the necessary evils,” Matadon said. “Stripping is an artform.” Aaron nodded. “And we all need to tend to the necessary evils, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the main priority or even a nine to five.”

Aaron gnawed his lip, thinking. Some of the students dropped around them, apparently thinking it was harder work than anticipated, and Aaron totally agreed. They needed physical training to be part of the dance class. “Let’s schedule that training.”

They crawled back to the circle and Aaron’s phone, and the others joined them. They plotted in two more trainings that week and three dance classes and training days the following week.

“I’ll work on a playlist for the bboy choreography,” Matadon said.

“Work with Bao. She’s our music wiz,” Aaron said.

“Okay.” Matadon smiled at her. “Oh, by the way, considering the ways of the House are new, I have a question. Do humans still schedule feeding us?”

“That depends,” Miguel said. “If in the pads, no.”

“Why?” Bao asked.

“Because you fit my feeding pattern. If we can have fun with that while working on music, I won’t have to stress about breakfast.”

Bao looked down. “I can’t manage pure yet, but…”

“I need to understand this better, but my hope is that we can grow close as a dance team. You know. Friend stuff that just happen to include sexy fun stuff.”

Bao smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes. “I’m mostly into women.”

“Ah! Well, that would explain it. Forget I asked, then. I’ll make sure to be well fed.”

“When do you want to look at the music?”

“Tomorrow morning? Also, I might need your help with your part of the choreography then. I seriously have some catching up to do.”

Bao nodded.

Aaron smiled, happy they’d found a team member who took it seriously. They’d started out fifteen. Now they were six because the rest of them kept prioritizing other plans. The ones left scheduled dancing rigorously—even practiced between classes. Aaron had wondered whether he was too anal retentive as a trainer, but he’d decided that he was allowed to be as the one running a dance studio. He was supposed to be the driven one, pushing students a bit toward excellence.

The students left, and Aaron smiled at Dawdon and Geradon, who joined Aaron, Matadon, and Freydon. Dawdon sat close to Aaron and leaned in for a kiss. He then handed Aaron an envelope.

“Thank you.” Aaron took it, then passed it on to Matadon. “For you.”

“For me?” Matadon smiled and opened it, but his smile fell, and he gaped, yet his eyes lit up. “Wow.”

“One is a marketing photo, one is a candid from rehearsal, and one is from the Halloween dance off.”

Matadon put them out next to each other on the floor in front of him and stared at them. The marketing one seemed so professional it didn’t hold a lot of personality, but Aaron liked it because he thought it caught a good side of him. The other two held way more, and the candid was of Aaron and Daniel being goofy teens, sitting on the floor and snickering immaturely at a stupid idea that Aaron had since forgotten the details of.

Again, Matadon stroked Aaron’s face on the photo, smiling. Aaron thought it was a sweet gesture.

Matadon looked up. “Can we go to provisions? I need to find frames.”

“Sure. We also need clothes for your dance uniform.”

“Did we settle on something?” Freydon asked.

“I still think we need the t-shirts with the street cut Daniel made,” Aaron said.

“That matches the boots?”

“You need a name and a logo,” Geradon said. “Something that’s easy to reference to so that no one doubts what I’m writing about.”

“Good point.” Aaron nodded, but nothing interesting dropped into his mind. “We should make a suggestion box.”

Geradon fished out a small pad and pen and handed it to Aaron. “For people to write suggestions on.”

“Cool, thanks. Let’s go to provisions before lunch.”

They left the dance studio and headed for provision, shopped clothes, got the frames, and Matadon ordered a massage bench, promising he’d take good care of the dance team.

Aaron felt ridiculously happy and looked forward to new training. Now he just wished Daniel would stream the recital.