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I had no idea how much time had passed since Perrie and the last of the group had left the playroom.

Even when my joints started to creak and my muscles were stiffening up, I didn’t ask to be untied. Harry had lowered down my waist shortly after my legs, and I was now only attached to the hard points above us by the ropes he was undoing along my back and chest. 

Harry hadn’t spoken a word since the room had cleared and I felt his eyes burning into me every second. I’m sure he’d caught me staring at him, too, but he said nothing. No cocky smirk or silly face like he usually made to ease the tension. He was quiet. His hands worked just as surely as before, but I could see the hesitation in his movements. Soon enough I was free from the hard points completely, but my body was still tightly bound as I struggled to stay on my feet with the rope looped under my shoes. 

Unintentionally, I freeze once Harry stops moving next to me. He’s stood slightly behind me, and he’s just close enough that I can feel his heat in the cold air of the room. You could hear a pin drop, not even our breathing could be heard.

My mind begins to reel - and after such complete tranquility when I was suspended, my head almost aches with the force of it. My cheeks warm before the thoughts start to flood my head. With him standing behind me, I can’t see Harry’s face or make out what he’s feeling. My skin heats up, and the more I think about all the things that could possibly be wrong, the more the lump in my throat builds. 

I’d thought seeing Harry’s… problem had maybe been a good sign, thought that maybe it was me he was reacting to. But the longer we go without speaking, the more I feel that I’ve done something wrong. Had I messed something up? Was he realizing how unattractive I am? Was he regretting taking me on as his sub? 

I don’t think I ever fully came back up, because I don’t feel my breaths catching until Harry’s hand is resting heavy on my chest. 

There’s arms winding around my shoulders, twisting me and pulling before my face is resting in the crook of Harry’s neck.

“You’re alright, darling. Everything is fine. I’m going to untie you now, okay?”

I sniffed a bit, trying to find a way to get the words stuck in my throat out, but nothing happens.

“I need words, baby,” He pleads, voice just above a whisper.

“I’m - I don’t know why,” I was fighting just to breathe while I tried to choke the words out, but Harry never let me go. He’d wrapped me in his arms so tight I couldn’t have gotten away with my arms and legs free.

“It’s okay. That was a lot to handle, but you did so perfect. I’m gunna take care of you,” He rubbed along my spine, fingers sliding over the lines of rope, and rocked us just slightly as he spoke. “Everything is alright, love.”

As he held me I could feel my muscles slowly relaxing, still just on the verge of cramping. I let his hand rubbing circles into my shoulders guide my breathing, and as I started to calm down and come back to myself I shut my eyes and rested my forehead on his shoulder. 

“I’m sorry, I don’t… know what happened,” I tried to explain myself but the words just wouldn’t come out. I couldn’t figure out how to describe what was going on inside me. The fear was colliding with the adrenaline and it was as if I’d been ripped out of a soothing warmth and thrown into ice cold water with no way out. 

Harry was the only thing holding me up now. He never let me go, even as we stood there for what must’ve been ages while I calmed down. Eventually hyperventilating stopped entirely and I could breathe on my own again. My energy was gone, and I felt exhausted. Every inch of my body was sore and tight, but the kind of soreness that comes after a good workout, the kind that makes you smile when you stretch and feel the familiar burn. The more I let myself relax and focus on my body, the more I felt the panic fading. 

“Listen to me.” His voice is firm, and he leans away from me to grip my chin and tilt my face up to look at him. “You did nothing wrong. You might have dropped a bit, and that’s my fault, but right now everything is fine. I’m going to sit you down and untie you before we do anything else.” He speaks low, and there’s an edge to his voice that I haven’t heard before. Even in his most dominant moments, he’s never sounded so firm.

I nod, but I doubt he sees me as he grabs a pillow from a nearby couch and sets it on the stool I’d previously sat on. He grips several rounds of rope around my chest to help me sit without me falling over, which I greatly appreciated. 

As I sit and watch him carefully untie the largest connecting knots I begin to feel the embarrassment fade in. I can’t believe I just stood here, bound shoulder to toe, and almost cried in front of Harry of all people. I’m glad no one else was around but imagining what Harry must think of me now, acting like a baby over being tied up, it’s almost enough to make me wish I’d never set foot through the glass doors of that pizza shop for the first time. The crushing emotions fighting in my head just make me want to rip off these ropes and run away to avoid having to face Harry’s thoughts. I’m happy he hasn’t spoken again - I don’t want to hear the awful things he must be thinking about me. 

I do my best to follow along as he unties my legs first. It takes much longer to undo, and I had to admit I loved the way the rope looked on me. Somehow, as he pulled the rope away I felt more and more like I was being caged in. I felt more restricted as he let me loose than I did hanging in the tangle of rope.

His face was set, eyes dark and focused on expertly working the lines. As he went, he massaged into my skin past each knot. The warmth of his hands was comforting, even through the denim of my jeans, but it still felt wrong somehow. I wanted Harry to wrap me up even tighter, bind my whole body and do what he wanted with me. My conscious mind was still fighting off the haze that was hinting around the edges of my vision.

I shook my head out to keep from spacing out any more, and Harry looked up at me worriedly. I tried to smile, but I still felt the heat of embarrassment on my cheeks and I knew I must have looked horrible.

 “I’m sorry. I think I was just overwhelmed. That’s never happened to me before.” I say quietly, chin down to avoid his eyes. He doesn’t miss a beat in removing the rope.

“If that was what I think it was, you likely dropped.” He hummed quietly. His head tilted to the side, but he still didn’t look up. “The combination of being suspended with all the adrenaline and endorphins going through you was too much, and you don’t know how to deal with that. It might seem scary, but I promise everything is fine.” He finished completely releasing my legs and carefully bundling the rope before looking at me. 

His hands slid up my legs to rest on my knees as he stared at me. I tried to casually stretch a bit to bring my focus to my body and avoid drifting off again.

“I feel okay now, just spacey. I didn’t feel panicked, even while I was...well, panicking. I felt worried and embarrassed, but I kind of wanted to stay up even longer.” I could feel my brows pinching as I frowned, unable to find the right words to describe the explosion in my mind.

Harry nodded, not speaking. His eyes still watched my every move as we sat. It was almost unnerving, but even as focused as he was his eyes softened when he looked at me. I felt like I was truly relaxing and my body had calmed down. I started to feel that familiar sense of safety that usually came with being around Harry now. 

I took some deep breaths and pulled my legs up to my chest to bend my knees and stretch the muscles. With that, Harry stood from where he’d been kneeling and walked around to face my back and begin untying the chest harness. My arms had long since gotten cold, and my hands were not as mobile as they should be, but nothing had gone numb or tingly so I figured it was alright. The chest harness was much less complex and knot-heavy than the leg harness, and it seemed like Harry was a little more practiced as it took him about half the time. We didn’t really speak while he slowly took down my arms, but it was less strained. I felt less tense, and it seemed like Harry was beginning to relax as well. The intensity was no longer burning in him when he looked at me again, moving to kneel in front of me and untie my wrists. 

“Move your fingers and wrists around for me.” He was gently rubbing into my skin and fairly soon I felt all the blood flowing through my arms and hands again. It hadn’t been too bad but my joints were sore and I know my shoulders will be aching tomorrow morning.

I start to feel myself smile. After all the panic and fear, after being near tears even, I felt empty. It was like all the stress and anxiety built up in my chest had just forced itself out of me. My body was exhausted as if I’d run a marathon or took three rides on a roller coaster and my brain had been rattled just a bit too much. For the time being, I felt genuinely at ease. I was still embarrassed, and afraid of what Harry really thought of me now, but I shook the thoughts away and told myself that worry was for another time. 

Harry peeked up at me before finishing getting the last of the rope off of me. He frowned for a moment, but when I only smiled in return he just stared at me curiously.

“Do you feel alright?” His voice was still quiet, but he’d more or less eased up and come back to normal.

“I feel good now.” I didn’t even try to explain the sensation, I knew I couldn’t find the words, but the look in Harry’s makes me feel like he might understand.