By Heather

Rating: NC-17

Pairing: Depends on your point of view

Summary: An attempt at a little sex game goes awry.

Author's Notes: Okay, this one is a bit different from my usual thread. Fair warning, it does involve some bondage, and it skates along the edge of non-com, without *quite* crossing that line. I think. It's just an odd ficlet that popped into my head today, and I had to write it. Thanks to go xfphile for her suggestions, typo catches, and honest feedback.

For everyone who said they were tired of the same old thing.


He's looking at me again. That little over the top of his book glance that I'm not supposed to notice. He's been reading that book for the past half hour, but he hasn't turned the page once. I know, because I've been looking at him, too. Whatever the hell has been on TV has slipped entirely past my attention.

He catches me glancing at him, and he smiles briefly, awkwardly---hi, I see you, we're all pals here. Then he focuses on his book again. I wonder if he realizes how transparent he is.

"What is it?" I ask, impatient with this game.

"Hmm?" He looks up, blinking, innocence and puzzlement. "What is what?"

I roll my eyes. "Oh, come on. You're not reading, you're watching me. What's going on?"

He tilts his head to one side, his eyebrows tightening slightly, lips parted. "Watching you?"

I just look at him---my best skeptical look. Chin tucked toward chest, eyebrows raised, arms folded, a slight quirky smile. He keeps the innocent expression for a few seconds, and then he drops it, sighing. He frowns at the book in his hands, and then closes it, putting it on the end table. He doesn't bother with a bookmark.

"You might not like it," he says, and right away, my lips tighten. I hate it when he says that. My mind immediately starts jumping to conclusions about what I'm not going to like. Maybe, 'I've been sleeping with someone else,' or just 'I want to try seeing other people for a while.' Either one is bad. It's the same thing when he makes me promise to not get mad before he tells me something. As soon as someone tells you that, you know you're going to get mad. Why else would they make you promise not to?

He reads my expression, and says, "I know you hate when I say that. But if you trusted me a little more, you wouldn't always assume the worst."

"Who said I assumed anything?"

This time I get the skeptical look, complete with one tapping foot. He's never been able to do stillness very well. His eyes are hooded, patient, expectant. He's waiting for me to admit what we both know I was thinking.

"Fine," I sigh. "Maybe I assume the worst, but what am I supposed to do when you say I won't like it?"

"I said you *might* not," he points out. "I just wish you trusted me a little more, that's all. I love you, you know. I'm not going anywhere." He says it casually, easily, but he meets my eyes and doesn't look away until I nod.

I smile at him a little---sometimes I think I deliberately fish for those reassurances. I *know* he loves me, but... I still like to hear it. Frequently. "So, what is it that I might not like?" I ask, casually dropping my gaze to my hands, rubbing the nubs of my fingernails against my thumbs.

He hesitates long enough for me to look at him again, and I see him biting his lip, staring at something over my left shoulder. For a moment, I almost turn, thinking someone is behind me, until the lack of focus in his eyes makes me realize he's just thinking. I wait for him, leaning back against the couch. I can see the crow's feet around his eyes, the way the tips of his fingers are yellowed from smoking (just like mine), the soft touch of gray coming through at his temples. I love him, but at the same time, it's true what they say. Familiarity breeds contempt.

"I want to try something new," he says finally. "It, ah... it actually has to do with trust, since we're on that subject."

I raise my eyebrows. "Something new," I repeat neutrally. Something new, involving trust, already I'm thinking he's going to suggest some kind of open relationship, or a free night---we both get to pick up whoever we want, no questions asked. Shit... he's right, isn't he? I really don't trust him. Or maybe I'm just too insecure.

His eyes swivel up from his study of the carpet, and his lips tighten slightly---he knows what I'm assuming, but this time, he doesn't comment. "It involves sex," he says, and then he puts a hand up, stilling my reply before I can even open my mouth. Sometimes it's scary how well he knows me. "Together," he adds firmly. "You and me, together, no one else. I just want to try something a little different."

"Different?" I laugh a little. "I think we've pretty much done it all, haven't we?"

He doesn't laugh. "That's my point. That's why I want to try this... and besides, it's supposed to increase trust in a relationship." He gives me a pointed look, and I drop my eyes, pursing my lips and fiddling with the corner of the couch cushion.

"So what is this different thing?"

"It's..." He hesitates again, looking at me steadily. I meet his eyes, giving him patience without pressure, and he smiles. "Well, it kind of involves me tying you up."

Surprised, I can't help grinning. We've done that before, doesn't he remember? Years ago, in a hotel room---and it was great fun, I've got to admit that. If that's all he's been thinking about, I don't understand the hesitation. We had a blast the first time we tried it, although I think he enjoyed it more. The light that came into his eyes when my wrists were tethered to the headboard was something I don't get to see that often.

"Well," I begin, but he cuts me off, shaking his head.

"Not like that. Not like we did in the hotel. That was just playing." He says it almost contemptuously. "I'm talking about doing it seriously."

The grin slides off my face. "Seriously?"

"I knew you wouldn't like it."

Sighing, I rub at the bridge of my nose for a moment, and then my eyes. I'm suddenly tired. "Look..." I pause, and then lift a hand toward him. "Come here." He's still frowning, but he does as I ask, joining me on the couch. I tug at him until our knees are touching, and I take his hand, staring at him intently. "Don't write me off so quickly, all right? Don't just assume I won't like it until I've heard the whole thing."

He gives me a doubtful look, and then shrugs, his lips curving upward ever so slightly. "Okay. Well, this would be like before, except with something stronger than scarves. And... and you'd be blindfolded."

I keep my expression carefully neutral. "Blindfolded. Um... why, exactly?"

"For the other part of the game. It's... I wouldn't just be teasing you. I would be, well... controlling you. And you'd have to do what I said."

I can't help feeling a little unsettled. I've known him for so long, and I really thought I understood the whole package, but this surprises me. I can see how much this idea fascinates him, how his lips are parted, his eyes already a little darker, the pupils dilating. That tying me up and controlling me turns him on doesn't bother me, really---lots of people like that, after all. What concerns me is that I didn't know about it. I didn't have the first clue. What else don't I know about?

"Okay," I say slowly. "That's... a little different, but I'm willing to try it."

"There's more to it." He's leaning closer now, one hand resting lightly on my thigh, and although he seems hesitant still, the rising color in his cheeks is unmistakable. "If you didn't do what I said, or call me what you're supposed to... I get to punish you."

Whoa. That's... okay, we're getting in over my head here. "Punish?" I ask thinly. "As in...?"

"Nothing bad," he assures me. "I wouldn't hurt you. Just... you know, make you wait a little longer for me to touch you, or maybe a light smack on the ass."

Despite myself, I laugh a little, high and nervous. His eagerness is palpable, radiating from his up-and-forward posture, his dark, wide eyes. "And this turns you on?" I ask incredulously.

He shrugs, looking away, and some of the light leaves his eyes. "If you're going to act like it's stupid---"

"No," I interrupt quickly. "I'm sorry. I just... this all surprises the hell out of me. I had no *idea* you were so into the whole dominance thing."

Licking his lips, he looks up at me through his eyelashes, an undeniably wicked smile curving his mouth. "Well, I am. That time, in the hotel, when I tied you up---that was when I realized I really liked being in control. I just haven't suggested it again because I knew that playing the way we did wouldn't be enough for me, and I wasn't sure if you could handle more."

"Come on," I say. "I'm a pretty open minded guy, aren't I? Why wouldn't I be able to handle it?"

"It requires a lot of trust," he says evenly. There is no hint of rebuke in his voice, no accusation, but I feel it anyway.

"I trust you."

He just nods quietly, soothingly. Of course you do. I believe you. Sure.

"Let's do it," I say suddenly, and I grab his hand, sliding it up from its resting place on my thigh until his fingers are pressed where they've been so many times before. I'm so used to his touch there that it almost feels like my own hand, and I have to admit that maybe he's right. Things have gotten a bit stale between us.

He leans back, his eyebrows shooting up. "Just like that? Are you sure you're up for this?"

"I will be, if you move your hand a little."

Laughing, he shakes his head. "That's not what I meant. Something like this... if you're doing it just to humor me, it could be bad. You have to like it too, or it ends up being..."

"You wouldn't hurt me," I reply calmly, confidently. He brightens. Sometimes I think he needs my trust as much as I need his reassurance.

"There are rules," he breathes, leaning a little closer. His hand begins to move on me, and, confronted with the arousal and excitement in his eyes, I feel myself responding quicker than usual. "You have to call me a certain name. And even if you say no, if you tell me to stop... that's part of the game. You get to pretend that you're totally at my mercy. I'm told that it can be a very freeing feeling."

I blink twice, blowing a quick breath through my teeth and trying to think clearly---difficult, with those sure, strong fingers kneading at me through my pants. "What do you mean, if I say no? You mean you won't stop, even if I ask you to?"

"We can use a safe word," he says quickly. "Don't worry---if you want me to stop, all you have to do is say the safe word, and that'll be it. I'll untie you, and we'll stop, no questions asked."

I nod, tilting my head back and closing my eyes as he slides his hand past my waistband. His fingers are shockingly cold, and I gasp, feeling my skin tighten in reaction. His breathing changes slightly, and even with my eyes closed, I know he's smiling.

"Fish," he says. "That's the safe word. Quick, easy, and has nothing to do with sex. Okay? You got it?"

"Sure," I mumble. "Fish, great, okay."

"And you have to call me master."

I pause, my breath catching in my throat, and my eyes shoot open. I look at him, and he's meeting my eyes steadily, challengingly, daring me to laugh. I very nearly do, but I manage to bite it back, and just nod. He returns the gesture, and then gives me an extra hard squeeze, making me jerk my hips and yelp.

"Jesus Christ, what are you trying to do to me?" I mutter, sighing in relief as he goes back to a gentler stroking pattern.

"You were going to laugh at me," he growls, and I feel the skin on the back of my neck prickle. "That's not allowed."

"I didn't laugh," I protest, and he squeezes me again, not *quite* hard enough to hurt.

"Don't contradict me."

I turn to stare at him, and I see that he's perfectly serious. He's also very, very turned on, his mouth hanging open, his tongue constantly darting out to wet his lips. His cheeks are flushed, his breathing fast and hard, and his eyes are darker than I've ever seen them. I realize that I'm smiling.

"Yes," I say softly. "Master." For a moment, I think I'm going to crack up---it's so damn silly calling him that---but he leans forward and kisses me roughly, passionately, and I forget about laughing. He's actually trembling with excitement, and even though I haven't even touched him, I can see the cloth of his jeans tenting over his groin.

He keeps kissing me, his lips mashing mine back against my teeth, almost biting at me. Like his touch below, it's not quite rough enough to be painful, but it skates along that edge. I can feel myself getting close, responding to his excitement, his heavy breathing, the little moaning catch in his throat. He's brought me off this way a thousand times before, but this time, it's different, and I'm startled to realize that I love it. There's no responsibility at all---nothing is my fault. It's all on him. I suddenly understand why he said it could be a freeing feeling.

"Faster," I whisper, pushing up against his hand. I'm very close; a tight ball of heat is growing in my groin, expanding like a swirl of electric energy, and there is a delicious pressure that seems to come from everywhere and nowhere, growing and pulsing with each heartbeat.

Then, suddenly, his hand is gone, and he slaps my leg, light but still stinging a little through my pants. "You don't make demands of me," he snaps, and my head jerks up. For a moment---just a moment---I'm scared, and then I remember it's just a game.

"Sorry," I murmur. This only earns me another light slap, along the side of my hip, making my skin tingle.

"What do you say?"

I swallow, lost for a moment, leaning back from his dark gaze, and then I remember. "Master," I say hastily. "Sorry, master."

He smiles and nods, and then kisses me, gently this time. I recognize the reassurance, and I accept it, feeling some of the nervous tension leave my body.

"Get up," he growls when he pulls back, and I obey quickly, without thought. I don't know what's going to happen next, and I have to admit, the feeling is exciting. I'm not in any real danger---not with him. My skin is still buzzing from his touch and his slaps, and while I'm not into pain, the electric sensation is undeniably turning me on.

"Take your clothes off."

I blink at him, hesitating. He's seen me naked plenty of times, of course. Hell, we sleep together every night in the nude. But when he's still dressed, and just watching me strip, I can't help feeling a little self- conscious.

"Now," he barks impatiently, and I see his hand raising again, the palm flat. Not a fist, never that, he won't hurt me, but I check anyway.

I'm undoing the buttons of my shirt before I even realize that my hands are moving. They're also shaking slightly, but it put that down to arousal rather than fear. I'm not afraid of him. I'm not. My pants follow, and then my boxers, pooling around my ankles. I step out of them, and fight the urge to figleaf my hands over my erection. There is nothing quite so absurd looking as an aroused man, with that silly wagging thing out in front of him, and the gaze on me is hard, piercing. I feel myself blushing.

His eyes soften, and he steps forward, putting his hands gently on my shoulders. "Good," he says. "You're beautiful."

My blush deepens, but I smile anyway, leaning forward to press my face against his neck. To my surprise, he holds me back, his hands suddenly tight and hard. "Did I say you could do that?"

I shake my head, my eyes wide, and he shoves me---not hard enough to make me fall, but enough to rattle me a little.

"I asked you a question," he says sternly. "Did I say you could do that?"

"No, master," I whisper, my head down. He reaches out and lifts my chin, and I see that he is smiling again.

"Good. You're learning. *Now* you can touch me."

I step into him immediately, and his arms come up, warm skin and thin t- shirt against my bare back. He holds me for a long moment, and I feel my stomach settle. I'm still shaking, but I'm not sure why. Excitement. Must be.

"Go to the bedroom," he murmurs in my ear. I can feel his breath along the side of my neck, warm, tickling, and I want to lean into it. I want to lean back against him and wrap his arms around my chest, ask him to kiss my throat, but I don't. He didn't tell me to.

He follows me into the bedroom. I can hear his footsteps, soft, bare feet on carpet. My face is still burning, and I quicken my steps, wanting to avoid the gaze I can feel on my bare backside. I find myself standing up straighter and sucking in my slight gut, my shoulders tight. He is close behind me, almost close enough to feel his breath between my shoulder blades. I don't know how I know that---I can't actually feel it, but I can feel the nearness. I move a little faster.

Our bed is unmade, rumpled, simple white sheets and mismatched blankets--- the fuzzy, baby blue one that is near tatters but that we keep anyway because he loves it so much, the off-white knitted cotton blanket with the lining that's starting to come loose on the corners, the brown, diamond patterned bedspread hanging slightly askew on the bed, one corner touching the floor, the other dangling above it. We share this bed every night, we have for years, and it looks warm and inviting and familiar.

Then, without warning, he darts around me and hauls all the blankets to the floor. I blink, watching him warily, dropping my eyes when he looks my way. Only the fitted bottom sheet is left on the bed---he tosses the pillows aside, too.

"Get on the bed," he says. "Face the headboard, on your knees."

I raise my eyebrows at him, and he suddenly steps close, his eyes narrowing. I turn to climb onto the bed, but he grabs my arm, yanking me back. "What do you say?" he hisses.

"Y-yes master." I'm startled when I hear myself stutter. I'm just getting into the role, though. Maybe my hard-on is starting to wilt a little, but that's just the chill of walking through the house naked, and the fact that he hasn't touched me in a little while. That's all it is.

I get up on the bed, my back curved, knees tucked beneath me. I keep myself as low as possible---I don't want my ass sticking up in the air. I feel exposed enough as it is. He moves around behind me, and I keep my eyes studiously forward, despite how much I want to see what he's doing. I can hear him rummaging through something---a zipper is swicked open, a long sound, not his pants but some kind of bag or suitcase. I risk a glance out of the corner of my eye, and see that he is crouching by the side of the bed, his shoulders moving as he searches for something.

At least he's terrible with knots. He's many things, but he's no boy scout, and anything he ties me with will come undone with a little tugging. The thought reassures me, but it shouldn't, should it? There's no reason to be scared here.

I go on thinking that right up until he stands again, and I quickly drop my gaze. He grabs my wrist, pulling it toward the vertical column on the side of the headboard, and I offer no resistance. There is an odd sound, like jingling keys, and I tilt my head to one side like a dog, trying to place where I've heard that before.

Then a cold circle of metal closes around my wrist, and the sound suddenly makes sense. I jerk my head up, staring at the handcuffs with wide eyes. They are not trick cuffs. They are steel, industrial grade, the kind with an almost blue tinge in the light. There is no padding, no leeway, no give. Tugging will not make them let me go.

"Handcuffs?" I squeak, tucking my free arm beneath my chest, where he can't reach it.

He is suddenly beside me, his face close enough to lightly brush my cheek with his nose, his eyes hard. "Are you questioning me?"

I edge away from him, and he relents, sitting beside me on the bed and rubbing my back a little. His warm hand reminds me how cold I feel, and I lean into him, staring blankly down at the sheet.

"Are you okay?" he asks, and I understand this isn't the game now. He's giving me a chance to back out. We haven't even done anything yet, and already I can't trust him.

"I'm fine," I say shortly, fiercely. "Keep going."

He waits just a moment, his palm tracing warm circles on my skin, and then he suddenly pulls it back and snaps it down, lightly, just below my tailbone. I jump, and he whispers in my ear, "That's for questioning me. Now give me your other hand."

I give him the hand.

When I am securely handcuffed to the headboard, he pulls something else out of his little bag of tricks. I don't see it until it slides in front of my eyes---a rolled up bandanna, dark blue---a blindfold. I shut my eyes against the cloth, and he ties it behind my head, perhaps a little tighter than necessary, but not enough to hurt. Well... not much. Now I can't see him, I don't know where he is, and he's silent... my stomach tenses as I curl my knees in a little closer.

Hands, on my waist, sudden, warm, gentle. I can feel his breath on the back of my neck, the material of his shirt brushing against the small of my back. I relax a little, and he starts to kiss me, just behind my ear, where he knows I like it. My erection, which had all but disappeared, suddenly rebounds, like a prizefighter coming off the ropes. His arms slide around me, holding me, his chest against my back, his fingers rubbing along my breastbone, and I sigh, relaxing a little more. This is better... this is what I love.

"Good," he whispers, his voice a pleasant vibration against my skin. "You're mine now."

Before I have time to think about what that means, he is gone, pulled back, my skin cold without his touch. I turn my head, looking for him despite the blindfold, but it's useless. I want to say something, to ask him where he is, but I bite my tongue, trying to wait. Trying to trust him.

The bed shifts beneath me and I know he is moving, but he can be quiet when he wants to be and I have no idea what he's doing. Another shift, this one closer, and I can feel him behind me, not touching me, but close, close. There is a tingle in my skin, as if his hand is hovering bare millimeters away, the warmth he radiates teasing my nerve endings. I'm shaking again.

The touch, when it comes, is sudden and sharp, as he put it, 'a light smack on the ass.' I think it could have been a bit lighter, but the sting is fleeting, and then there is a kind of warmth. I should enjoy it, I know. This is supposed to turn me on, and it's clearly working for him---I can hear his breathing. I can do this for him.

When he touches the place he just hit, a gentle brush with his fingertips, I flinch. I was expecting another blow.

"Don't," he murmurs. "Be still."

I nod until another stinging strike lands in the exact same place, and then I tense up, trying to pull away from him.

"I told you to be still," he says, a little harsher.

I press my face against the sheets, swallowing. I can *do* this, dammit! I can do this for him. It's not so hard. And he won't hurt me, I know that, why can't I just have a little faith?

The mattress shifts beneath me as he leans back, his presence no longer a tingle on my skin, and I can't help feeling relieved. I hear a click, soft, metallic, and the rustle of cloth, and then the unmistakable sound of a fly being opened. The bed shakes a little more, and then I hear his pants hit the floor in a jingle of spare change and the snap of his belt striking the wood.

The fact that he didn't hold onto the belt makes me feel a little better. Not that he would, but... still. It does.

He is behind me again, his hands framing my hips, and I feel something smooth and warm nudge the back of my thighs, which are tightly pressed together. It takes me a moment to recognize the feel of him. Apparently unconcerned with the sudden chill in the room, he is hard and ready; I only wish I could say the same about myself. The earlier sense of freedom and abandon is gone---I hate to admit it, but I might have to stop this. He wouldn't want me to go through with it scared.

"Relax your legs," he barks, and I involuntarily do the opposite, tightening my body. His voice is close, hard, just above me. He must be straddling me, bracing himself without actually touching me. I wish he would---I don't like not knowing where he is, and I'm cold. I want him to touch me.

Another slap on the ass, this one harder, or maybe it just seems that way because the skin is tender. I press my mouth against the sheet, my eyes squeezed tightly shut.

"Don't make me tell you twice." Right in my ear, low, threatening---he's never taken that tone with me before. He's been angry with me, we've had our fights, we've even hit each other once or twice, but he's *never* sounded like that. The warning is there, growling, but there are bright, silvery threads of excitement, almost like suppressed laughter. He's loving this.

I can do it for him. After everything he's done for me, it's not so much to ask. Just a little trust, that's all. A little faith.

I relax my legs, forcing my back down from its tight curve, giving him access to do what he wants. His hand is there immediately, cupping me, and he makes a slight grunting noise when he finds me soft. I wince, expecting some kind of punishment for that, but nothing comes. He rubs me, gently, perhaps realizing that I don't enjoy pain, but it's too late now. I'm still trembling, my skin cold everywhere except for my ass, where it's hot, tight, and burning. I tug at the handcuffs a little, and the steel has not gotten any more forgiving since the last time I tried it. I feel a flutter in my stomach that might be real fear, but it isn't. Can't be. I'm not afraid of him---I love him.

"What's wrong with you?" he asks, and I listen for sympathy, but I don't hear it. Instead, there is accusation, resentment. I blink against the blindfold, biting my lip, not sure what to say.

"Answer me!"

"I don't know," I mumble quickly, already tightening my body again, trying to dodge what I know is coming.

This time he slaps the other cheek, which is something of a relief, but now both sides hurt. "What do you call me?" he growls.

"Master." I pause, taking a deep breath, controlling my voice. I don't like how high it's gotten.

A long pause, and I can feel his touch anywhere. Maybe he's going to ask if I'm okay again. I think, this time, if he asks, I'll tell him I'm not okay. I'll tell him I want to stop. I start to move my head from side to side again, searching for him; my hand goes to pull the blindfold off but is stopped short by the implacable steel cuff. Then his hand is on my back again, gently rubbing, stroking up and down my spine. I let out a breath that I didn't know I was holding and my muscles relax a little, settling me against the mattress.

When the soothing hand suddenly moves down to cup my ass, I flinch, pulling away, but he holds me in place. "So that's how you want to play it, huh?" I hear laughter in his voice this time, and a kind of approval. He thinks I'm pretending to be scared of him.

I'm not scared. I'm not. It's just a game.

His hands are on the insides of my thighs, forcing them apart, and I resist automatically, trying to keep them tight, shifting and avoiding his grasp. He delivers another quick smack on the ass, leaving a stinging tingle that seems to take a long time to die down.

"Don't fight me."

I swallow and nod, forcing my muscles to relax, and he positions me where he wants me. He's not trying to arouse me anymore, no gentle stroking, no kisses. He's taking what he wants. My breathing is starting to get faster, and much as I want to believe it's excitement, I know better.

Maybe I should stop this before it goes too far. But what am I so afraid of? We've had sex thousands of times, and he won't hurt me. He won't.

He has already, but... but he won't.

His fingers, prodding at me, hard, impatient, dry. I tuck my back a little tighter, trying to sit on the sheets, to block his hand, and he yanks at my hips, growling under his breath. Biting my lip, I let him do it. He's been in me plenty of times, and with how turned on he is, it won't take long at all. Sure, he always uses lube and makes sure to prepare me, but... I can handle it. He won't hurt me.

Then he is actually penetrating me, two fingers, not one, and I yelp, jerking away. He smacks the back of my thigh, using the back of his hand this time, his knuckles hard and startling. "Hold still, dammit," he snaps, and I cringe, holding still.

This isn't right. He wouldn't want me to feel this way; I know he wouldn't. He thinks it's just a game, but it's not fun anymore. It stopped being fun a long time ago.

Three fingers now, shoving, no patience, no gentleness, and I have to admit that it hurts. Maybe he doesn't mean it to, but it does. I press my face into the sheet, swallowing back the protests that are bubbling up in my throat, and moisture starts to slip past my tightly shut eyelids.

No. This has gone far enough.

"Stop it," I say, my voice alarmingly weak. "That's enough, you're hurting me, now stop."

He removes his hand, and I sag against the bed, releasing a long breath as those invasive fingers leave me. I'm already relaxing, anticipating him unlocking the handcuffs and holding me, telling me he's sorry it went too far, when he suddenly lands a stinging strike on the soft place where my thigh joins my ass.

"What are you doing?" I yelp, twisting away. "I said stop it!"

"Don't tell me what to do," he snaps back. "You're just asking for punishment, aren't you?"

What the hell is he doing? He wouldn't actually force me, would he? No... no, of course he wouldn't. He'd never do that. Right?

But... but he's not stopping. He hits me again, harder this time, and I bite my lip to keep from crying out.

"You like that?" he asks, and I can hear the smile in his voice. "Does it turn you on? Is that why you're back-talking me?"


He just laughs and does it again, and then I can feel him behind me, prodding me with something that isn't his fingers. How can he think I'm still playing? I told him to stop, didn't I? I said... wait a minute... there was a word. He said something about a word, some safe word that I could say... what the hell was it?

He's starting to sink into me, hot and smooth and familiar; I've felt it so many times, and it's never turned my stomach like this. I whimper against the mattress, the blindfold growing damp as I squirm and try to get away from him.

What the fuck was that word? He was rubbing me, so excited, I could see it in his eyes, and he was talking... dammit, I can't think with him pushing into me like that.

"Stop it!" I gasp, trying for commanding but coming off as pleading. "You're hurting me!"

He laughs and slaps the side of my thigh, and pushes in a little more. I can hear his breathing getting fast, catching in his throat, and I know he's close. Maybe I should just let him finish. It won't take that long, and then this will be over.

But how will he feel knowing that he forced me? Knowing that I let him? No... I can't do that to him any more than I can let him do this to me.

"I forgot the word," I say breathlessly. "The word, the safe word, I don't remember it but I'm saying it! Stop!"

For a moment, he keeps thrusting, and then, thankfully, he pauses.

"The safe word? You mean, fish?"

I can feel myself sag in relief, and I jerk away from him, removing him from my body with an audible pop. "Yes, that, fish, please stop, fish, fish, fish..."

"Okay," he says quickly. "Okay, okay, easy, I'll take those cuffs off... are you all right?"

I don't answer him. My face is pressed against the mattress again, and my shoulders are shaking. He touches me, lightly, and I flinch away.

"Oh God," he mutters. "Oh God, I'm sorry." Then he is off the bed, and I hear a metallic scrape somewhere to my left. He touches my wrist, and I jump again, releasing a thick, wet sound in my throat. I can feel his hands shaking, and the key rattles as he tries to get it into the cuff. The circle of steel is gingerly removed from my wrist, and I immediately tuck my hand in close beneath my chest, feeling the burn of the raw skin where I was tugging at the metal.

He moves to my other side---I know because I hear him. I still haven't removed the blindfold. For some reason, I don't want to. Maybe I don't want him to see me crying. When my other hand is freed, I curl on my side, wanting a blanket to cover myself with. I'm still very cold, and I can feel his eyes on me, raking over my skin.

His weight settles onto the bed again, and he reaches behind me, tugging at the blindfold. I stiffen, curling a little tighter, but he's just undoing the knot. The tight cloth releases its hold on my head, and I rub at the skin, sure there must be a mark there. I keep my face pressed against the sheet.

"Okay," he murmurs, rubbing my back. I let him do it, but I don't look at him. "I'm sorry... baby, are you crying? Did I really hurt you?"

I hunch my shoulders a little and shake my head. "I'm okay," I mumble, hearing my voice break, knowing the lie is transparent.

He sighs, reaching up to stroke my hair; his hand is still trembling.

"Can I have a blanket?" I ask plaintively. "I'm cold."

"Sure, sure, just a sec..." He shifts, and I open one eye, peeking at him. He is dressed only in a t-shirt, bare from the waist down, and he looks very pale. His erection has disappeared with unprecedented speed. That makes me feel a little better.

Then he is pulling the blankets back up, and I grab for them, burrowing beneath them, my body in a tight ball. I'm still shaking. I can't seem to get warm. I cover my head with the soft, baby blue blanket that he loves so much, catching his scent. I don't know why, but it makes my cry harder, the sobs audible now.

"God, I'm sorry," he says, rubbing my back through the blankets. He slides down the bed, lying next to me, and tries to get under the covers with me. I pull away, keeping the cloth barrier firmly in place, and he stops trying. Instead, he holds me, wrapping himself around me, rocking both of us.

"I'm okay," I say again, no more convincing than the first time.

"Baby, hush," he replies soothingly. He almost never calls me that, and here we have twice in five minutes. Must be a record. I should let him almost rape me more often.

The thought makes me laugh, a short, barking sound, wet and hysterical. He tightens his arms, and then he slides the blanket down with one hand, uncovering my head. I duck, not wanting to face him, and he kisses my forehead.

"I'm sorry," I whisper, finally letting myself relax a little. He tugs at the covers again, and I let him in, releasing my stranglehold on the cloth. He curls against me, warm and smooth, and I sigh, closing my eyes. I'm not shaking anymore.

"Why? *You* didn't do anything wrong." The self-accusation is clear in his voice.

"I should have trusted you."

He sighs, rubbing his jaw against my hair, kissing my cheek when I raise my head a little. "No... I shouldn't have pushed you into something you weren't ready for. Just because it turns me on, I thought it would for you, too. Guess I was wrong."

I can hear the disappointment, the dull acceptance that he's never going to get to fulfill his fantasy with me, and I swallow, hunching my shoulders. "I'm sorry."

He looks at me, wiping a thumb beneath my eyes, tenderly, with love, but he's not happy. "I know, baby," he whispers. "Me, too."



April 15, 2003