That day they met, he knew nothing about canes. He had never thought about them, never seen one. They were just not his thing.
That day they met, she told him about canes. She had been caned by very few people. She made it clear that caning was no casual thing with her. She so hoped to be caned that weekend... and she obviously did not expect to be caned by *him*. He did not qualify.
The next day, he found one who had caned her before. She agreed to teach him. She spent much of her afternoon, off and on, sharing her wisdom and technique. She taught him to use the short cane *well*.
That same next day, he never found her to play with her. He had learned the cane... and she never knew. Not, that is, until he had once again run the roads, returning the hundreds of miles home.
They met again, and yet again. He had no cane of his own, just a piece of plastic pipe that worked well enough. He actually was pretty good. He saw caning as simply another technique that she happened to like.
Then he saw a caning by The Master. He portrayed the scene in a story, laying it out for The Master to read. In this way his understanding was confirmed, The Master saying "It was as if you were standing inside my head, and forgot to shut the door when you left!" He had focused on *observing* the scene, rather than becoming a part of the energy surrounding the three of them at the time. He had missed the energy... but he had observed, and learned.
And now that he was beginning to understand, she was free to explain. The cane allowed her to *feel*. In that way she could prove herself alive. Perhaps more importantly, he could see, the cane allowed her to reach her submission. He proposed that a caning would do nothing for her unless she felt submissive; they later proved that to be so.
He had his own set of canes, now, carefully chosen just for them. The Master had continued to teach him, and had that very day declared him qualified to teach others.
He watched The Master cane her once again. He paid her almost no attention at all, focusing entirely upon The Master's hands and wrist, and on the cane's tip. He knew The Master was not at his best that day, but he also knew that everything The Master did that day, so could he.
They had talked from time to time, she and he, about having something that was just their own. Perhaps some custom, perhaps some favorite implement that would be used only on her, and only by him. They both liked the concept, but nothing yet seemed to completely fit. She liked the canes, of course, but liked the whole set and not any specific one.
He thought about unrelated things on the long way home, and suddenly realized he had his answer. To be the Master is to be the servant... what did that have to do with canes?
He explored the thought, for he knew it to be important. He knew the conclusion... what had been the subconscious thought process? To be the Master is to be the servant... canes... *their* canes... he was very tired by this time, as he crossed the river to run the last hundred miles home.
He considered having her call him Master Tom, rather than just Master or Sir. But instinct said that did not fit; it was not *him*. He knew he was perhaps too casual about various things, but that is what he was. He knew that to be other than his own self would be a mistake.
There were so many ways she wanted to be more completely controlled. But he would not do it; he did not feel them ready. He chose only to control things which he knew he *could* completely control. He was not yet ready to risk trying and failing. Too much was at stake.
To be the Master is to be the servant... in many ways he was more her support system than her Master. He saw to her needs, and fulfilled them where he could. And where he could not, he acknowledged his limits.
Certainly, he *was* her Master. He defined and enforced her boundaries. He was her need. She found herself unable to manipulate him, except when he knowingly chose to allow it. He could take her where she had never been before, draw more from her than she dared think possible. Even though he did not take absolute control, he was clearly her Master.
He needed her to think for herself... he did not want a mindless extension of his own will. He took things slowly, perhaps too slowly for her own taste. She had waited so long, and wanted so much.
She did *not* want him to be her servant. *She* wanted to be the servant. But he had tried that road, the road of thinking only of himself. Supposedly she wanted him to think of himself, place his own needs first. In fulfilling his needs, she would fulfill herself.
But she was wrong. From his standpoint, that was a mistake. Rather, he needed to become a reflection of what she needed him to be. He needed to be strong, but neither self-centered nor uncaring. He needed to be the one to draw her towards her own fulfillment. It was his role, he came to understand, to discern her need and meet it.
But... but... how could he be the Master, if all he was doing, was doing what he thought she needed? Quite easily, he found. There were many ways. Forcing her to continue to grow, in ways she agreed would be A Good Thing. Drawing her beyond what she thought were her limits. One step at a time, patiently, developing ever-more-secure trust along the way. Giving her boundaries, keeping her safe.
More often than not, he showed himself her Master by going easy on her, being patient and understanding, developing trust, knowing they had time. He could be insistent and supportive while allowing her to work things out for herself. He was always ready to talk things out, rarely arguing or dictating. He truly saw himself in a servant's role, even though he be the Master.
And suddenly he understood what his intuition had been trying to tell him. The canes... they were her proof she had her Master. The canes were her means to feel her submission to its fullest. She had been disciplined from time to time... but that did not define their relationship. Their essence was to be found in the positives, not in the negatives. It was not how far he could *force* her, but how far he could *bring* her.
But there were times. Times to simply control her, take her where he wished her to go. Take her as far as possible, perhaps even a bit further. At these times, they both knew him to be fully the Master, her to be fully the Submissive. Their relationship was mostly on the mental/emotional level... but their physical play brought confirmation and clarity.
And now the cane could be their connection. He thought back to their caning the day before. With each hard stroke she had held, absorbing the shock, submitting to the pain. They both heard The Master Ahhhhhhh in appreciation, and she giggled. He was reaching her as severely as had The Master himself... and she was giggling.
It was not that she felt the pain any less. Or that she felt any less submissive. It was that she recognized, embraced, her Master's understanding of the cane.
They had found their connection.