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you let your feet run wild

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there’s a sense of anticipation twisting in your stomach. subtly intermixed within that spark of eagerness are familiar and almost comforting nerves. for the most part, the sensation is confined to your stomach, but as you cycle the familiar path to vas’ apartment your mouth goes dry and there’s a distinct pang of anticipation in the palms of your hands and the arches of your feet.

it’s late october and the night is cool, the air refreshing against the sweat along your brow and tracing down the back of your neck. there’s no breeze, but you’re comfortable like this. a thin, formerly silver windbreaker protects you from the worst of the weather national city has to offer. even through a heavy year of use, the jacket remains vibrant, making you a beacon in the headlights of passing motorists.

there’s the distant wail of a siren, the blaring of a car horn, a truck rumbling down an alley – all sounds that are normally lost your headphones. on another night you would have the bone conduction headphones resting over your ears, pressing against the swell of your cheekbone. however, tonight is not like other nights.


despite your usual biking attire – helmet, gloves, reflective jacket, road shoes – you are already abiding by a set of pre-existing rules. rules that went into play a little over forty minutes ago. up until seven o’clock you had spent the better part of the evening burying yourself in the most recent edition of the scandinavian journal of trauma, resuscitation and emergency care. not a normal part of your post-work wind down routine, but if you didn’t occupy your mind the minutes would all but drift backwards. despite your current role within the deo it felt nice to exercise the brain of your former self every once in a while.

soon you would be exercising your brain in a different way entirely.

you looked forward to these fortnightly sessions. you look forward to the way they reset your brain and let the tension drop entirely from your shoulders and spine. inside vas’ apartment, on thursday nights, you are not a deo agent, you are not kara danvers older sister, you are nothing but what vas needs you to be. the relationship is mutually beneficial, your pliance under their command challenges their sensibilities and bit by bit they come unwound.

flashing red lights streak across in the intersection in front of you and your train of thought derails as the sirens scream into the night air at an ear-splitting volume. important, of course, but loud. there’s a delay as the ambulance continues down the street, deeper into the depths of downtown, and the rest of the traffic restarts itself. the light overhead changes from a staunch red to green and there’s a shifting wheeze from the car next to you as it lurches into the intersection. left in its wake is a plume of thick black smoke and you count yourself lucky that you’re turning right instead of following that particular vehicle any further.

you pedal easily, passing in and out of the orange glow from streetlamps overhead. as much as you miss your headphones, you appreciate the awareness cycling without them brings. not only are you infinitely perceptive of the stupidity of cars and their drivers, but you take internal stock of yourself as you near your destination.

for the most part, you feel as you always do – excited, nervous, eager. you trust vas with every inch of yourself, both within the confines of the deo, and beyond it. they are careful with you, in the beginning when you were hesitant and unsure, they were calm and present. they spent months learning and understanding just as you did, and eventually the dedication you both applied to the relationship blossomed into fruition. it is in that new spring of your dalliance that you find yourself in now – as a dominant they are as familiar to you as the sunrise. in return, or perhaps it would be better described as in parallel, as their submissive, they guide you through new and exciting experiences.

slipping out of the cycle lane and up onto the sideway, you swing a leg off the bike and dismount with practiced ease. the light from foyer of the high-rise apartment block vas calls home spills out onto the pavement in a distinct and warped rhombus. unclipping your helmet and using the same hand to hitch your bike over one shoulder, you stall at the entranceway. deftly, and using your free hand, you hold the door open for an elderly woman emerging with her great dane. the dog is nearly as tall as she is, and both survey you with deep brown eyes before the woman flashes you a smile and a “why thank you, young man.”

the woman walks away before she realises her mistake. between the undercut and your helmet, the mistake happens more often than you’d expected it would. more surprising is the fact that it doesn’t bother you. the woman meant no harm and you took no offense. even if you had, you’re not sure there’s anything you would have done about it tonight. it’s nearly eight o’clock and the last thing you want to be is late.

stepping into the foyer properly, you feel the wash of heat that comes with californians experiencing any temperature under sixty-degrees. to your left is a bank of mailboxes that stretch from the revolving door to the bank of elevators on the far wall. on the right is the curved security desk and it is to this station that you make your way.

“hey derek,” you say upon your approach, smiling at the young, black-skinned gentlemen who you know is working this job to get himself through law school “how’s it going?”

looking up from a thick looking tome, derek breaks into a smile “hey alex,” he says “i’m not bad. how ‘bout yourself?” he asks, pushing a pen across the open page of the guest log.

“not bad,” you reply easily, grabbing the pen and first writing your name, and then signing it before scribbling the date in the right-most box “how’s your mock trial prep going?”

“it starts tomorrow,” derek says with a sigh, handing over a temporary keycard “i’ll be glad when it’s all done.”

“well good luck,” you say “i can’t wait to hear all about it.” you’ll ask in two weeks’ time, when you’re back, with your bike once again over one shoulder and your road shoes clacking against the marble flooring.
for now, you bypass the single awaiting elevator in the bank and turn right down a hallway. the floor beneath you is concrete and there’s the rumble of generators in the distance. about twenty paces from the main foyer, there’s a locked metal door with bike shed emblazoned on it in neat lettering. you flash the key card in front of the receiver, listening for the click as the door unlocks and swings in slightly. locking your bike to one of the free racks along the wall takes seconds and before the door has even swung shut, your back and on your way.

the pounding in your chest is impossible to ignore now. your fingers tug at the worn velcro of the gloves and as you pull them off one at a time, you step into the elevator. holding the shed gloves in one hand, you use the other to take the key card from your bra and hold it against another receiver. after the light flashes green you press the button for the fourteenth floor. it takes a small age for the doors to slide shut and another eternity before the elevator jerks up. it’s usually at this time that you’d take in your appearance, sweaty and helmet clad still, but the elevator is adorned in the soft of blanket covering that usually means someone is moving in, or out.

without the normal sign postings on the interior of the elevator to occupy your mind, the floors drag by one at a time until finally, after long and desperate seconds – thirteen becomes fourteen. as the elevator stops, you step towards the doors before they’ve even begun to open, so impatient now to arrive and be there already. it’s not even a long walk from the elevator, but still, you’re sure the hallway has grown a few football lengths since the last time you were here.

at long last, and with two minutes to spare, you arrive outside number fourteen eleven. the door is a matte grey with gold plated numbers adorned at just above eye level, and a spyhole just below them. you take a moment to breathe and calm yourself before raising a hand to knock. closing your eyes, you take a series of five deep inhalations. it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done this, or how many times you’ve rapped on the door, there’s still something exhilarating about handing yourself over to someone.

as calm as you’ll ever be, you take a last breath and rap three times in quick succession on the door.

you hear the slide of a deadbolt in the half second before the door opens. the sound knocks your heartrate a few notches higher and you close your hands into loose fists. as the door swings and the interior of the apartment is exposed, you see vas standing there, a hand curled around the door, holding it open “come on in.” they say, both appraising you and greeting you at the same time.

stepping over the threshold, you feel instantly calmer.

you’re here.

adjacent to your back, vas is closing the door behind you. there’s the hitch of a deadbolt and the click of a chain before you hear them turning. the hallway to the door is narrow and you feel their hand skate across your shoulder as they turn “good ride?” they ask, slipping the helmet off your head and hanging it on a hook.

the question is a relief, permission to talk, to let the tangle of nerves escape into the soft darkness of vas’ apartment “yeah,” you say “good ride. there’s an accident on the one and the sharks are playing the seahawks so it’s gridlock.”

“a good night not to go anywhere.” vas says and already there’s a soft lilt to their words that curls around your nerves and stills them. vas is slipping past you, their fingers brushing against the exposed skin of your wrist before reaching for the hallway light with a hand “do you want to shower?” they ask.

sometimes you don’t feel like it, but tonight, with sweat still dripping down your cheeks and the nape of your neck, you nod “please.” you say.

in the half-light of the hallway, vas partially illuminated by the living room lamp light, you catch the flicker of pleasure in their eyes at the single word. they like manners, and you’ve come to appreciate them. vas has no preference of formal title on the nights where your work lives fade into the background. all they ask is that you speak when spoken to and use your manners to the best of your abilities. it’s comical now how much you struggled with such simple commands in the beginning.

where you expect a response, you get none. instead vas steps forward cups your cheek with their hands before their fingers slide back and scrape along the patch of shaved hair along the back of your head. the touch is meandering, there is no destination. it is contact for the sake of contact.

your eyes flutter shut, and you let out a soft exhale. without realising you’re chewing at the inside of your cheek, words caught and stuck on themselves

“what’s on your mind?” vas asks, and you’re no longer surprised that they can tell when your caught on a thought, a thread of a thought.

eyes closed, you speak softly after a beat “i’ve needed this.” those words feel the most honest, the most true.

“mmm,” vas hums their agreement “what have you needed?” they ask.

it’s a press to use your words, a skill you struggle with even all this time later. as often as vas can read your mind, there are many times they can’t. times where the knots in your back keep your shoulders rigid and your hands dig into your thighs and the days or weeks events are just too raw to shake. in those times, you have learned to use your words. in starts and stops and occasionally tears, you’ve been coaxed into recognising feelings and naming them. all of them. even the ones you’d rather keep buried in the dark.

“you.” is the simple response, it’s also the truth and despite the flicker of amusement that comes in the tug at the corners of vas’ lips, you know they want more “to be here.” you continue “to not have to think or worry. i can just,” you pause, struggling to find the words.

“do as you’re told?” vas supplies easily.

you nod, turning your head into their hand – there are callouses, from hours spent with a barbell, or curled around the grip of a gun, but the touch is familiar, comforting “that.” you say, “that exactly.”

“how about this,” vas says, dropping their hand “you shower, change, be back in the living room in fifteen minutes and i’ll see what i can do about turning your brain off.”

“yes, please.” you say, already missing the touch.

“your towel is on the hook.” vas says, stepping aside and into the living room.

you make to move, but vas’ raised eyebrow stops you “what’s the rule about your bike shoes?”

a flush prickles at your cheeks and rises to the tips of your ears “off by the front door.” you say.

“what was that?”

“my road shoes stay by the front door.” you clarify, using a proper and full sentence this time as you bend down and undo the first of two velcro straps.

“there’s my good girl.” vas says smoothly, sinking down into a spot at the corner of the couch.

the flush in your cheeks darkens and their words and you swallow hard. after both shoes have been removed, you place them neatly next to vas’ work boots. checking mentally that you’re not forgetting any other of the rules, you exhale and move back into the living room.

for as expansive as the apartment is, it’s a place that has always felt comfortable and home-like. the living room is tastefully decorated with solid, well-loved furniture. more than a couple of the pieces scattered through the apartment were made by vas themself – the translucent resin and pippy oak coffee table in the living room serves a prime example. in the kitchen, tucked under the overhang of the breakfast bar, the set of three wooden, tri-legged stools are another display of vas’ carpentry abilities. when you asked, once, when they got into woodworking and the like, vas explained it was the farm where they grew up.

none of their younger brothers could be trusted with a saw, so vas set about learning the ins and outs of fence repair and apparently it spiralled into a full-blown hobby. you mentioned once that if they ever got sick of the deo that they could make a killing selling their wares. vas had laughed and asked what made you think they weren’t making money off of it already.

a fair question.

you use the master bathroom, because vas likes you too. because they keep your brand of shampoo and conditioner and bodywash under the sink. because they always hang a towel from the second hook on the back of the bathroom door. before getting to that point, you’re in the bedroom. you’re dropping your backpack to the floor and stretching your arms up and out, feeling several pops along your back as you do so.

knowing that time is ticking, you bend down and unzip your pack to pull out the clothes neatly folded within. they’re the clothes you wear almost every time you’re here, clothes that leave you comfortable beyond all else. at the top of the bag is a black baseball tee and beneath that, black sweatpants. bra and underwear are neatly rolled in with the shirt and you clutch the items as you move into the bathroom.

your pulse has already slowed to a steady thump, a comfortable crawl even. you move through the practised motions with ease – flipping on the light, closing the bathroom door behind you, slipping out of your clothes and folding them neatly, leaving them by the door. moving across the small space you turn the shower on, remembering the first time you tried to work it without prior explanation. you remember having to re-emerge from the bathroom, a towel wrapped around you as you asked vas sheepishly how to work their overly complicated shower.

now you could work it with your eyes closed.

there’s a spot in your back that won’t quite crack, a spot covered with touch scar tissue. you keep your eyes deliberately away from the mirror. focusing on the tiled pattern of the walls and not on the garish and obvious scars that descend down your spine and along your upper arms. you have a matching set on your thighs as well, a complete collection really. the stark remnants of the harsh burns from non’s exo-suit.

steam curls along the ceiling of the bathroom and you step into the shower, feeling the sweet sear of just-hot-enough water cascading down your side, your back. it washes over you and for a brief moment your thoughts are distracted from scars and burns and just how unsightly they really are. not even vas has seen them, or rather, not even vas has seen them when you’ve been here – bar one series of short times.

one time when an encounter with a particularly spikey alien had left you with three gashes along your back that, try as you might, you couldn’t reach yourself. unwilling to let kara see the damage the suit did to you and wanting nothing less than to let the medical staff at the deo poke around, you turned to vas. they gave you soft praise when you lifted your shirt, and they tended to your wounds without comment on the brutal scars beneath. they did not ask, and you appreciated the way they avoided putting you in a position where you would have felt compelled to give an answer. it happened three more times, then the wounds were healed, and you could resume ignoring your scars.

you do so now, choosing instead to work through the routine of washing your hair, your body and then letting the conditioner sit for only a minute or so. time is no doubt passing quicker than you can account for and the last thing you want to do is start this night off having gone over the allotted fifteen minutes. so, you work efficiently. you do not notice the way, as your washing your body with mango bodywash, that the harsh rub of the loofa against your thighs makes the scars prickle with discomfort. you focus instead on washing the suds from your body, your hair, and cutting the water.

you’re eager now.

eager to be taken out of you own head.

you emerge into the living room hair mostly damp but dressed and just thirteen seconds shy of the deadline. you know this because vas tells you, with a wry smile as they raise an arm and beckon you over to the couch “sit.” they say, and you do. you slip into the space under their arm with ease, feeling their fingers play at the nap of your neck “have you eaten?”

you duck your head, but vas’ fingers slide up and grab a tuft of hair with a single tug. you look over at them, knowing they’ve reserved the disapproved look until after you’ve admitted to the several hours it’s been since your last meal “not since lunch.” you say, biting your lip.

vas’ fingers relax, running through your hair is short, soft scratches “go make yourself something to eat. anything in the fridge is yours.”

you’re not particularly hungry, but you know better than to argue “do you want anything?” you ask instead.

“i ate earlier,” they say “but i wouldn’t mind some toast. butter and orange marmalade.”

you wrinkle your nose and vas can’t help but smirk “go.” they say “cook, eat. don’t set my toaster on fire.”

“that was one time.” you mumble, standing.

“what was that?” vas asks, their tone has dropped, a clear warning.

“i won’t set your kitchen on fire.” you promise.

“please don’t.” vas nods.

you walk, barefoot across the hardwood floor to the kitchen. behind you, vas resumes the sudoku they had started during your shower, saying “get yourself a glass of water too.”

“okay.” you acknowledge, moving to the fridge and standing in front of it. you tug a door open and peer inside, inspecting its contents. there’s eggs on the top shelf, a few tupperware containers on the shelves between and at least four types of vegetables in the crisper “vas,” you say, turning, “does eggs on toast count?”

you can see the pleased expression that settles in the back of the gaze as you ask, and the nod in response “that’s perfect.”

“thank you.” comes the easy reply as you set about not burning the building down.

fed and dishes hand cleaned, dried, and put away, you settle back on the couch beside vas. they raise their arm, letting you curl against their side and watch as they finish their puzzle. there is no rush to their movements, no hurry, and you are forced to sit and wait and be patient. you haven’t been spoken to, so you don’t speak, instead focusing on the light touches vas’ fingers play against the curve of your neck. you know the contact is deliberate, to remind that you haven’t been forgotten.

in the early days, this would have been excruciating for you. to sit and be forced to be quiet and more or less still. however, vas was unrelenting in introducing you to the benefits of still and silence. it had taken many months for you to welcome to these easy moments shared, but tonight it feels right and soothing to sit and watch them work out the last of the missing digits. when, at long last, the puzzle is completed, vas puts the small book away next to the pencil by the lamp and they say, into the soft darkness “it’s been a while since i tied you up.” it is both comment and question, fact and proposal “how do you feel about that, how do you feel about some rope?”

you nod, the words slow to come – not for a lack of eagerness, but for being consumed by the thoughts of vas tying you up “green.” you say, voice thick.

they have, well, they have a way with rope to say the least. it, so much like their woodwork, an art unto itself. you are not tied up and left for hours, in fact you are not left at all. when within the confine of their knots and ties, vas is always within a few feet of you, always the same room. they are careful that the knots do not rest on your scars or any fresh bruises. they are the custodian of your helplessness, of tying your wrists together, or your elbows, your knees and your ankles, of working with you until your mind is swimming somewhere distant from your body. be it rope or gentle commands, they, unlike anyone else ever has, guide you to a state of calm and freedom. all this without sex or orgasms, that is not a facet of your relationship with them. they will kiss you, when your breathing is trembling and you’re entirely in the palms of their hands. they kiss you gently, easily, reverently. they kiss you because they want to, because you’re so tactile and even more so when your head is in the clouds.

“to the bedroom.” vas says, the timbre of their voice descending, changing “are you hurting anywhere?” they ask as you both rise.

you imagine someone else might try and make you crawl or shed your clothing before preparing to tie you. vas asks for neither, you stand as they do. their hand finds yours after the lamp light blinks out, and they guide you through the shadows of their apartment until the soft warmth of the bedroom envelopes you both.

“no,” you reply “nowhere new. my shoulder, left, is still sore.”

“i’ll be careful.” vas promises and then, “sit on the edge of the bed.” they tell you “nice and still for me while i get everything ready.”

“okay.” you reply, your voice not sounding like your own as the door is shut and vas is moving across the space to a bottom dresser drawer.

the bed dips beneath your weight and you sit, running you palms along the fabric of your sweatpants.

“still, alex.” they remind, and you nod once, letting your hands drop to your sides.

you hear them getting ready, you hear the drawer open, items being shifted about, and then it closes with a hitch. you hear their footsteps across the rug, items being placed on the bed and then vas is standing in front of you. their fingers trace the cut of your jaw and obediently, you tilt your head up, meeting their gaze “what’s your word if you want me to stop?” they ask.

“red.” you say easily.

you have no fear of that word. no fear of saying it. no fear of a situation where vas would do anything other than stop and cut you free and guide you away from the turmoil.

“and if you need me to pause?”


you’ve used that word a lot over the months, more in the beginning than any time more recent. however, however, your mind can turn on a dime and you’ve been green one moment and yellow the next. all the while, vas has been there, has listened, has kept you safe.

“good girl.” vas praises easily, and you know they say it because of the flush that rises up your neck and sweeps across your cheeks “you ready?” they ask, “we’ll start with something simple.” they promise.

“i’m green.” you reply, voice thick and foreign to you in the dark, your heart beating with anticipation.

“stand up for me.” vas commands, their fingers skating along the bend of your elbow as you obey.

the silence of the room is comforting, the darkness and the way the closed door shut out the rest of the world encourage the tension along your spine to dissipate. vas steps forward, well into your space “hands in front.” they say, murmur, their voice carrying in the dark.

you place your hands at waist height in front of you, nearly in line with your belly button. you bring your wrists together unasked, knowing the tie that vas prefers to start with. on nights where rope is involved, vas always starts with this tie – a simple double column that cinches your wrists together. it’s a tie they’re well versed in, folding the rope in half before encircling it around your wrists and feeding the tails through the folded end. they near repeat the process by wrapping the rope once again around your now lightly bound wrists, but this time the rope sits a bit further from your hands. you watch as vas feeds the tails once again through the original loop before giving a gentle tug. you know they’re watching to make sure the rope tightens evenly around your wrists, that no skin is caught or pinched.

vas works with the rope easily and you know that their attention is on the tightness of the rope around your wrists, but more so their attention is on you. it’s why they enjoy using this as the first tie. there’s a certain close proximity that comes with their fingers working around securing your wrists. from this vantage point they’re able to watch the flicker of your face and the way your eyes flutter shut, already descending towards a hazy space. the next steps they take, working the rope between your wrists, are lost on you. with your eyes shut, you let your other senses take over.

you hear vas’ soft breathing, the murmur of satisfaction when they finish construction. you feel a tug and their question sits low in the air “how does that feel?”

they ask for your safety and you take a moment to consider. you curl your wrists as best you can, eyes fluttering open and seeing the length of rope curled around their hand. a single tug and you would helpless but to follow. you take seconds more to open and close your hands into loose fists before nodding, saying “it feels good. green.”

good is an understatement really. the sensation settling in your stomach as you stare at the deep purple rope coiled around your wrists is beyond words. you’ve tried before to articulate what being restrained like this does to you, but you failed. nothing you could say seemed to accurately encapsulate what you feel. it’s freeing, giving up this control like this. you’re required to do little beyond be pliant and honest and obedient.

“i’m going to get changed.” vas says, sidestepping to their left and feeding the rope through one of the convenient breaks in the headboard “you can wait here,” they continue, securing the tie in such a way that you’re left facing the wall “until i’m ready for you.” there’s nothing in their words that needs a response. it’s not a question, nor is it up for debate. instead, vas commands gently “pull for me.”

you tug three times at the rope securing you to the bed, but there’s no easy escape to their knots.

“good.” vas hums, obviously pleased “stand nice and still for me.”

it’s a reminder not to fidget, not to shift in place.

they step away, but even as you hear them cross the room you know they’re not leaving. you can hear the open and closing of a dresser door, the hitch of a wardrobe drawer being tugged open. the sounds serve as a guide for your aimless thoughts as vas changes into something more comfortable. the entire process doesn’t take long, a few minutes, but long enough for you to be reminded how little you enjoy waiting.

“be still.” vas warns, when you start shifting your weight from foot to foot.

“sorry.” you murmur, some nights are easier than others when it comes to being still, but the present is not one of those times.

“don’t worry,” vas says, their voice suddenly much closer, their hand skating down the curve of your back “i’ll help you be still.” there’s an amused lilt to their voice and you wonder what exactly it is they have in store.

you wonder,

and then you stop.

you don’t need to wonder because in time you’ll find out.

you just have to trust them.

deftly, they untie you from the headboard and free your wrists from the rope “leave them.” vas says quickly as you start to roll and shake out your hands and fingers.

you let them still, following vas to the end of the bed where there’s far more room to work with.

“i’m going to tie your wrists to your waist.” vas says, “and then i’m going to tie your ankles to your thighs.” you swallow hard “then you’ll kneel and be still like a good girl while i do some reading.” you nod and there’s a tap to the soft underside of your jaw “use your words.” vas reminds.

“green.” you reply, the word thick on your tongue – you’re not quite in subspace, but you suspect you will be by the time vas is done tying you.

“good girl.” vas praises, a reward for using your words “we’re going to start with your wrists.” they say.

you close your eyes again “can i ask what you’re going to read?” the question slips from your lips as the first touch of rope hits your wrist.

“you can.” vas nods, tying an easy cuff you don’t know the name of around your left wrist “it’s a book called beartown.”

you’ve never heard of it.

there’s the press of rope against your waist and vas tugs on your shirt, making sure it won’t get caught half-up, half-down in the rope-belt they’re making “is it a good book?” you ask.

“it is.” vas confirms “it’s about a town in sweden, a hockey team and some other stuff.” they skate over the other stuff, moving to the right side of you and working on a cuff for your free wrist.

silence descends and it’s comfortable. your thoughts are turning sluggish and contented. you almost look forward to kneeling, to having but a single task to occupy your mind. the rope continues to wrap around your waist, and you know without a doubt that the knots will hold. vas prides themselves on their rope work, you a willing participant in their practice, their confidence in any number of ties has improved in leaps and bounds since the pair of you started this exploration. by the time they step back, your wrists are secure to your waist and no amount of tugging will free you.

“how does it feel?” they ask.

“secure.” comes your reply after a beat “good.”

there’s a shuffle of movement and your eyes flicker open. you see them stepping away and grabbing a pillow from the head of their bed. they place it on the floor, next to another full coil of rope. it’s for you, you know. a mistake was made early on and too long was spent kneeling on the hardwood floor. upon finally standing there were bruises and deep-set discomfort that left you hobbling for the rest of the night. it is not a mistake that has been made a second time.

an arm slips around your left and vas guides you gently, gently, to kneel on the pillow. it’s plush and comfortable. you start to shift but catch yourself. vas’ fingers play at the nape of your neck, scratching lightly against your buzzed hair there “you can get comfortable.” they say “you know what position you need to be in.”

“thank you.” you reply and take a moment to shift and steady.

“ready?” they ask.

“i’m ready.” comes your easy response.

the first-time vas proposed this tie, apparently called a frog tie, you were nervous. having your hands secure was one thing but losing movement of your legs felt like another thing entirely. it was unnerving and had you stumbling over the word yellow before they’d even begun. to build up to a frog tie, they had started with more simple things, tying your legs together, then to those of a sturdy, high backed chair. then to the footboard, and then, finally to the frog tie. it had taken months, but eventually you’ve found comfort in this position. not because it was forced upon you, but because it brought a more total absence of control. once vas was done securing the ties on both legs, you would be rendered all but immobile.

“i don’t want the rope to press against your scars,” vas says, as they always do, “so i’m going to start running my hand down your leg and i need you to tell me when i’m at the top. okay?”

“i can do that.” you nod, swallowing hard.

this is as close as anyone gets to seeing, or touching, your scars and vas only gets away with it because you trust them. their hand is feather light against your thigh, moving gently down your leg until –

“breathe for me alex.” they say, their hand coming away from your thigh “look at me.”

you do.

“i can do another tie if you want.” they offer.

you shake your head “this one.” you say, “it’s okay.”

“are you sure.” they press.

you nod “i’m okay.” they bring their hand to your thigh and trace downwards once again until “there.” you say, “that’s the start.”

you watch them make a mental note and unfurl the coil of rope, also a deep purple. you could keep your eyes open, you could watch and maybe ask another question about their book, but you don’t want to. your mind is still dropping vaguely downwards, towards a hazy, warm space where your body will be just a bit further away from the rest of you. in this position, knowing you have to do little more than be still and be obedient, it’s easy for you to drop into the headspace you enjoy so much. the room is warm, and vas’ fingers are cool but not startlingly so. they work the rope easily and for several minutes until you’re definitely not going anywhere fast.

“now you’re going to stay just like this,” they say, “you’re going to be nice and still and quiet, unless you want to use your colours, and i’m going to read my book.”

you blink once, twice and nod before a distant part of your remembers that you should be using your words “okay.” you say “i’ll be good.”

“i know you will.” vas reassures, moving across the room and grabbing their book from the bedside table before dropping another pillow on the floor by the baseboard. they also retrieve a bluetooth speaker and their phone, connecting one to the other and choosing light, celestial music to fill the silence. they take another moment to shuffle and settle themselves there on the floor, with their back against the end of their bed. sure, they could sit on the bed, but you know they like being close to you. you know they like being able to watch you, make sure you’re keeping still.

“could you, could i,” you fumble “can i have the blindfold tonight?” you ask.

you’re craving the darkness, the way your other senses heighten when sight is taken from you.

“of course.” vas says, and you wonder if another dominant would be upset at you for making a request. on the contrary, you know vas welcomes those moments where you find yourself able to vocalise what you need and what you want.

you let your eyes flutter open and watch as vas stands, their weight having left an indentation in the pillow. they stand and move across the room, retrieving the thick black tie they use as a blindfold when the time calls for it. they kneel behind you, fingers tucking hair behind your ear and then the blindfold is slipping across your vision. it’s a relief almost at once, the safety of the darkness, of the inky and endless black. there’s a moment where vas secures it behind your head and then they keen forward, pressing a kiss to the curve of your shoulder “nice and still for me.” they remind “such a good girl.”

your mind is floating now, floating away happily. your body is getting further and further. the world becomes nothing more than your breathing, the music, and the sounds of vas turning the pages of their book one at a time. you just let go, staying still and quiet and drifting happily, deeply along in the moment.

it takes long seconds for you to become aware that someone is talking to you. caught in the lazy drift of your thoughts the distant and yet familiar voice does not quite cut through the haze. the words are garbled, yet unmistakably words, but you’re unable to capture a specific meaning. distantly you’re aware of a touch along the exposed skin of your forearm, two fingers slipping into the palm of your hand. an instinct is awakened, and you squeeze once, twice, a third time.

you’re okay.

there’s a tracing of fingers along your cheek and the first coherent words break through your own inner dialogue “take your time.” vas is saying, their voice light and easy to follow “you did so well. you’re such a good girl.” you shiver, becoming more and more aware of yourself.

you’re still kneeling and a warmth radiating from somewhere to you right tells you where vas is located. they’re close, a hand coming to the small of your back, above the bands of rope securing your hands to your waist. you feel something akin to jello, but your breathing comes easy and your thoughts remain sluggish and calm. the world is still caught in darkness, the blindfold still secured around your eyes. you know vas won’t remove it until you’ve spoken, until you’ve come back to yourself enough that such an action won’t startle you.

that time is not yet.

you’re floating along still, slipping back into your body at an uncertain and unhurried pace. all the while, vas provides a tether of soft words spoken just over the volume of the music. their touches are grounding, firm but not unduly so. their hands skim over your scars with practiced knowledge, instead touching the tops of your thighs, the soft skin of your inner forearm, the divot of your wrist and flutter of your pulse. by the time you’re all but back in your body, aware of the stiffness in your ankles and your own thirst, vas is working at the knots and ties around your thighs.

“hi.” you say, voice rough.

“hey there.” vas replies, voice smooth, soft “you with me?”

“mhm,” you breathe “i’m with you.” you say and then after several more seconds “can i have the blindfold off?” the answer comes in the form of nimble fingers working the knot undone and you blinking into the soft light of a familiar bedroom “i’m floaty.” you say, both to vas and yourself.

vas laughs gently “i can tell. let’s get these knots undone and we can get you into bed.”

you hesitate then, “kiss me first?”

vas obliges easily, slipping in front of you, a hand cradling your jaw and they kiss you softly, softly. your right hand is not quite free, but loose and it takes half a second for you to shake out of the remnants of the bindings and bring a hand to their waist. you let your hand settle there, aware that you’re allowed to touch now that the game you both play is winding down. vas is solid under your hand, their shirt curling in your fingers.

you duck your head against their collarbone when you part of breath and there’s a moments pause before they tilt your chin up and wait. you meet them halfway, eager for more kisses, more contact. the bed can wait. you won’t sleep as much as you’ll nap. an hour, maybe less, and you’ll wake up pressed against vas’ side with the soft sounds of mindhunter playing in the background.

for the moment, you’re in the present and vas as rocked back, settling on their knees and setting about undoing the rest of your bindings. as they come loose, you’re rolling your wrists and rocking up onto your knees as the last of the ropes are freed from you.

“take it easy.” vas reminds “you’ve been kneeling for a long time.”

you don’t ask how long, you don’t care. not right now. instead, you accept the offered hand and with their assistance stand on wobbly legs. they pull you into their arms and you shuffle forward, accepting the embrace. they’re warm and solid and you’re still hazy, floating, a little sore. the contact lasts until you’re ready to move to the bed where you less than gracefully drop down. the bed is cool and comfortable, a relief to stiff joints. you remain with your face buried in the pillow until the mattress sinks on your right and vas’ hand rests on your shoulder “come here,” they say.

you roll over, blinking at the light “how was your book?” you ask, the words winding.

“very good.” vas says “i’m nearly done.” you nod, thinking of something else you could say or contribute, but vas is sitting up and coaxing you to do the same “you need some water,” they say.

you agree, taking the bottle from their hand and drinking in slow sips until you feel sated “head scratches.” you say, adding “please,” before vas has a chance to remind you.

their laugh is warm, and you know it means yes as you settle down with your head in their lap “you’ve earned them.” you say, their fingers play with your hair, scratching lightly, comfortably.

you should say thank you, but sleep is tugging at you before you can begin to say the words.

when you wake next, the music has stopped playing and somehow, you’re sprawled across two thirds of the bed. there’s the sound of david attenborough narrating the hunting strategies of a leopard and a single page turn from another book. turning your head, you look over at vas – catching their profile as they read another page “hi.” you say, rolling onto your back, feeling refreshed and calmer than you have in days.

vas glances over, smiling and folding down a corner of their book before setting it aside “hey you.” they say, “sleep well?” they ask.

you nod and barely stifle a yawn “how long was i out?”

“only half an hour.” vas says, “give or take.” you nod, processing this “how do you feel?”

“less like jello.” you reply with a smile, then “i feel good. really good. you?”

“oh, i’m good.” vas says, “you know i always like seeing you tied up, behaving just for me.”

“don’t i know it.” you say and vas laughs “i think i’m going to change.” you say, “it’s too hot under here for sweatpants.”

“you know where i keep your clothes.” vas says.

you take your time getting out of bed. first sitting on the edge and planting your feet on the ground. you roll your neck and shoulders, hearing, feeling them crack and settle. when you stand, it’s slowly and then you’re moving over to the closet wherein your pyjamas live “when did you clear up?” you ask, noticing the lack of rope on the floor and the scissors put away.

“when you were sleeping.” vas says, “didn’t take long.”

you nod, fishing your pyjamas from their spot on the shelf and heading towards the bathroom. you don’t bother closing the door all the way, just enough that light from the bedroom spills in. you change quickly into shorts and a comfortable albeit old t-shirt. you fold your clothes properly and take a few more minutes to wash your face, brush your teeth and otherwise get settled for the rest of the night.

by the time you’re done, the tv is off and vas’ book is away. they’re setting an alarm on their phone and you’re climbing back into bed “i’ve got to be in at one.” you say “and i need to go back to mine and get ready before that.”

“you can cook me breakfast.” vas says with a grin, reaching over and turning off the lamp.

“i thought you liked your kitchen not on fire.” you reply, then as the darkness settles and your eyes adjust “you feel like cuddling?”

“with you?” vas says “of course.” they say and slip behind you, wrapping an arm over your waist and pressing themselves against the full of your back “how’s this?” they ask, punctuating their question with a kiss to the top of your back.

you’re safe and warm and content “perfect.” you tell them, fingers tangling with theirs “absolutely perfect.”