"No, not like that; it'll slip."
Jim's voice was both patient and not.
Patient, because it was only Blair's first try and a combination of emotions was making him all thumbs, all sweaty hands, all nerves; not so patient because until Blair got the hang of this --
Okay, maybe Jim wasn't the only one wishing Blair would catch on faster.
The rope slid between his fingers, soft and supple and strong; pure white, dazzling. Rope was supposed to be brown in Blair's world; brown, rough, tough, but this wasn't. Well, not the first two, anyway.
And when you were planning to try something as out there as bondage, starting the preparations off with a trip to Home Depot was… weird.
But Jim had taken one look at the bondage kits sold online, his eyes widening at the tacky packaging and the prices, giving a disdainful, incredulous sniff, and driven them to the store, where Blair had started blushing at the first sight of the ropes on display, his dick hardening, his back breaking out in a hot, damp sweat as they were approached by a sales assistant beaming and eager to help.
Jim had given Blair a considering look, vaguely amused, placing himself so that Blair could duck behind him, and started to explain to the man what he wanted, tossing out specifications about diameter, braiding, and a lack of core.
They'd ended up walking toward the checkout, a cut, coiled length looped over Jim's arm, swaying slightly with every step. Blair's face had been flaming, his eyes blinking fast, but Jim was calm, a small smile there if you knew where to find it.
Jim had added a roll of duct tape at the counter and when Blair had asked why, assuming it wasn't connected, he'd been told that it was to stop the bare rope ends from fraying when they were cut to size.
Which really wasn't any reason for Blair to choke on spit and force Jim to buy a really expensive bottle of water, as well, but he still did.
And now they were back in the loft, about to start small -- wrists and ankles, nothing fancy -- neatly cut and bound lengths of rope waiting to be twisted and knotted around waiting, wanting skin.
Once Blair had worked out how to tie a safe knot. The French bowline. Which was kicking his ass.
"I'm just -- it's complicated."
"Not really." Jim's voice was soothing but there was a faint huskiness to it that was even more reassuring because Blair wanted Jim to know what he was doing, definitely, but he wanted to know that Jim was nervous even more.
Blair did something that made the rope squirm and tangle. It looked wrong. It looked messy. He made a soft, frustrated noise and jammed the heels of his hands into his eyes, pressing down hard enough that the darkness behind his eyes burst into light. Jim's fingers peeled his hands away a moment later, patting at him gently, tap-tap-stroke.
"Chief. We don't have to do this."
"Oh, we so do." Blair shook his head, dismissing every negative thought. "Jim, I'm… I'm adamant about this."
"Right." Jim still sounded doubtful.
"Yes." Okay, this; being certain, lecturing someone; this he could do. "It turns you on. It's what you want. And I -- you saw what I was like just buying it."
Jim smiled, looking a little bemused. "Yeah, about that…"
"It was the location," Blair said hastily. "We'd been in a perfectly normal sex shop and I'd have been fine."
Jim considered that, nodding his head. "Yes. Makes sense. I get it. Like if I'd taken you with me to the supermarket when I bought those wooden spoons --"
"Oh, God. Oh, God."
"You bought those for…? Jim, I used them to cook spaghetti sauce with!"
"All of them?"
Jim was frowning.
"Yeah. Well, one for the pasta, one for the sauce… then I dropped the sauce one -- I cleaned up the splatter, I swear! -- so…"
"Well, it doesn't matter," Jim said reasonably. "We weren't planning on using them tonight. We're doing this."
"Except for the part where we're not."
"Let's take this upstairs," Jim suggested, doing something that made the rope behave, untangle, and slide obediently free of the chair arm Blair had been practicing on. "Maybe what you need is an incentive."
Blair followed him up the stairs, mind busy with speculation, mouth shaping questions he didn't voice because Jim's ass was right there and he'd lost his ability to multitask around the third step up.
Incentive turned out to be both of them naked, lights dim enough to be relaxing, not low enough that Blair had to squint.
And a single candle, low and wide, sending a flickering wash of light over a pair of heavy-duty scissors on the night table.
"You're not all that into it now," Jim observed, his voice mild.
Hard to argue with now he was naked and as limp as the rope. "I am. I really am. I'm just… freaking."
"Over what I want? What I asked you to do?"
"No." Blair was sure about that and it must've shown in his voice because Jim's shoulders lowered an inch, some tension leaving him. "You can ask me for anything, man. And I can say that and mean it, because I know you, and I know you won't ask for anything weird."
Jim held up one of the four lengths of rope. "This doesn't count as weird?"
"Not really." Blair winced, remembering. "There was this one girl I dated --"
"Sorry, sorry." Blair waved his hands in an agitated apology. "What I'm trying to say is that this is something most people, well, a lot of people, try. More than you'd expect. They're curious. They want to play with the idea of restraint, safe submission…"
He was all set to continue, but Jim stopped him cold.
"I'm not playing here, Blair. And I'm not all that curious. I know how I'll feel. It's why I want it."
"You can't know," Blair protested. "Unless you weren't telling me the truth about never doing it before."
There was a shadow of hurt in Jim's eyes. "I wouldn't lie to you, Chief."
"No, I know." Blair patted Jim's hand and felt his fingertips brush over the rope Jim still held. "Oh --"
Jim's eyebrows rose. "I take it back. You are interested."
"Holy…" Blair swallowed, dizzy with sensation. The sense memory of the rope strands against his fingers was lingering, tingling. If he concentrated, he could separate out the smell of new rope under the candle's waxy smoke, indefinable, alien. His heart was pounding in a run up three flights of stairs fast, way. He was beginning, dimly, warily, to see why he was having so much trouble tying the knots. "Jim, I'm not sure I'm going to last long here."
"You don't have to. Only me. You want to come, go ahead. Use me."
"Saying stuff like that isn't helping." Blair told him, flashing on an image of Jim making him come, hands behind his back, his eyes bright and interested, his mouth busy, his own cock hard, untouched.
Jim had explained, slowly, carefully, his gaze drifting away a lot, that once Blair had tied him up, down, whatever, Blair was in charge.
Which seemed to mean following the instructions Jim had given him to the letter.
Jim wanted to be made to wait. Wanted to be teased -- but not tickled. Tickling was out, and the pinched tightness around Jim's mouth and the twitch of a jaw muscle had underlined that very firmly, thank you. Wanted Blair to take away his control.
"I still want to know how you know you'll like it," Blair went on, ignoring Jim's smothered sigh. "So no one did it to you for fun, but… well, we've both been caught and tied up before -- way too often -- and maybe then --"
"No. Never." Jim's expression was one of pure revulsion. "God, no. I couldn't get off on that, Chief. Someone trying to kill us? How could you even--?" He shuddered. "It's not the same."
"No, I get that," Blair said gently. "I'm sorry, man, that was stupid of me."
"It was, yes." Jim sounded curt and the tension was back.
Blair realised glumly that he'd trashed the mood with one question. Way to go, him.
"I just know, okay?"
Blair began to nod, agree, but he couldn't do it. "Jim -- that's just not enough."
The silence stretched and then snapped. "I've seen pictures. Read… stories. I've come just from that. Without even touching myself. The way it looked, wrapped around this guy's wrists, the expression on his face -- just waiting, helpless -- God." Jim shook himself, his neck flushing the way it did when he was angry. "Anything else you need to know?"
Blair met Jim's eyes, his own squirming edginess dissipating in the face of Jim's embarrassment. "Hey, man. Relax, okay? I want this to be good for you. It's information I need to know, the way you needed to know all that stuff about the rope. You took care of the supplies; I'm taking care of you. I fuck this up and it's not going to make me happy, you got that?"
There was a pause and then Jim nodded.
Blair frowned. "I can't promise I can do anything, like, complicated, like a harness or --"
"I don't want that," Jim interrupted, his voice steady again. "That didn't -- it didn't do as much for me. The whole body -- no. I just like the idea of… just enough to hold you."
"'You'? Me? What?" He sounded panicked but he wasn't. He knew panic. Since he'd met Jim, it was an emotion he'd come to know really well. Panic was painful, uncomfortable, to be avoided. This was a zing and a sizzle of shock but it wasn't unwelcome.
"You, in a general sense," Jim clarified hastily. "Enough to hold someone, anyone, got it?"
"Got it," Blair said, exhaling audibly. He stared at the rope. "Except for the part where I still can't tie this knot the way you say it should go."
"You need to relax," Jim told him. For the first time since they'd started this, he leaned in and kissed Blair, his mouth warm and firm. Blair edged closer, his knee nudging the coils of rope, his skin heating, flushing. "I trust you."
Spoken against his mouth, the words soaked in, like ink, staining, like water, drenching. Blair felt the significance, even though he was sure Jim had said that to him before.
"Trust you, too, man," he managed. "Totally. With everything. Anything. With me."
Jim nodded, eyes blue enough to hurt to look at, that gentle, incredulous smile spreading over his face. Blair had never known anyone who asked for something expecting to get turned down the way Jim did. The guy had been kicked, hard and often, and man, did that make Blair want to… want to… do something.
"Show me again," Blair said, pulling back and picking up a piece of rope, holding it lightly, gingerly, feeling wrongness and arousal and confusion and trying to concentrate on the sharp, sweet ache of lust.
Jim took the rope, the braid bumping and sliding over Blair's palm as he offered it up. That felt good. That felt amazing. Jim shifted over to the head of the bed, clearly intending to tie one end in place and save Blair a knot.
"No. Do it… do it on me," Blair said.
Blair looked at him, lost for words to say what Jim should've known, because both of them shouldn't have got it this wrong for this long, and then moved to his back, his breathing shallow, choppy. Spreading his arms and legs wide took forever, a slow surrender, exposure, reveal under Jim's unblinking stare.
"Do it, man. Just do it." He was begging, but he'd beg better if he had to.
"Oh, God." Jim's eyes closed and Blair watched him adjust to the situation. Sometime that wasn't now, he was going to find out why Jim had fitted himself that readily into the wrong space, Blair's place. Sometime.
"Please, oh, please… Jim --" Saying the words aloud turned him on so much he shut up, closing his mouth to keep the words in until Jim told him to say them. Jim would grin over that if he told him; that Blair had come close to talking himself into an orgasm. Would say something dry and funny and ruffle his hair, pat his cheek…
The rope was white and clean in Jim's hands as he tugged it, testing it.
Then he doubled it, holding it so that a small loop hung on one side of his closed fist and the taped ends trailed on the other, and dragged the loop over Blair's mouth, letting him taste it, chase it; down his chest, rubbing it over each nipple until they stiffened; over the clenching, jumping muscles of Blair's belly and down to his cock.
The loop fitted over it, behind it, loosely, casually, and settled in the dark, damp hair.
Blair held his breath and then released it in a soft, keening wail as Jim smiled and tugged and bent his head to lick at what he'd captured, lassoed.
"Come, and I won't use it on you," Jim whispered, the threat hollow, Blair knew it, knew it, but he wasn't <i>sure</i>, because this was Jim, who was the most --
Blair's hands squeezed closed around air and he panted harshly, fighting his body but not Jim. Not yet. Not this time.
He would, just to see what would happen, one time he would.
But not this time.
His body relaxed, compliant, complaisant, complicit.
And Jim tied him, hand and foot, perfect knots, over and under and round, and let him come from that, just from that, watched Blair stay just where Jim had put him and come.
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