"Tell me what you want."
A rare sleep-in Sunday morning had turned to lazy making out, and Lindsey suddenly wondered if there maybe was a fantasy hidden in Eliot's mind that he hadn't talked about yet. Both men were relaxed and in a more than playful mood, and Lindsey was curious. He ran his fingertips along Eliot's back and had to grin as Eliot made a purring sound like a cat and lazily lifted his head.
"Huh - what?"
Lindsey looked at Eliot with an uncharacteristically shy smile and repeated his words. "Tell me what you want. What you like. I mean..." He huffed out an embarrassed laugh. "I'm not exactly... well, I have a pretty good idea by now what makes you growl, but... uh..." He stumbled over his words, feeling slightly awkward, face flushing a bit. Eliot just raised an eyebrow and gave him a questioning look. Lindsey exhaled slowly. Sheesh. This shouldn't be so hard. He had to laugh, but couldn’t completely relax yet. "So, any fantasies of yours I should know about?" Trying to make it look like a casual question, he languidly stretched out his arms over his head, arching his back a bit. Eliot sharply sucked in his breath. Before Lindsey could ask, Eliot pushed himself up and slid next to him, running his hands up and down Lindsey's outstretched arms and nuzzled his neck.
"Actually..." His voice was hoarse. Eliot pulled back and Lindsey could see a flash of arousal in his face.
Lindsey nodded inwardly. Gotcha.
Eliot closed his eyes for a moment, shook himself and then was able to speak more clearly. He met Lindsey's questioning gaze and smiled reassuringly. "Linds, I ain't missin' anything. And we just started... trying new things, right? Take it easy." He reached for Lindsey's still outstretched body and traced random circles over his stomach. Lindsey twitched at the tickling sensation and gave a small squeak. Both men had to laugh at that, but Lindsey's grin faded again quickly.
"There is something, Eliot, I can see it. Just... tell me. I wanna know." He tried to lift himself upright, but Eliot quickly grabbed his wrists, pushed him back and with a swift move slid on top of him. He slowly and carefully moved Lindsey's arms behind his head again. Lindsey looked up at Eliot's flushed face, heard his fast breathing and felt his already half-hard cock pressing against his hips. He groaned a bit at the delicious pressure. Eliot shifted his weight, pushed himself up a bit and looked directly into his eyes. He released Lindsey’s left wrist and traced Lindsey's upper arm with his fingertips.
"God, Linds... one day I'd love to tie you up like this..." His voice was breathless.
Lindsey froze as a bunch of unpleasant memories hit him and his mind suddenly went into overdrive. Associations and fears he never realized he had crashed down on him like a wave. He forced himself to relax, but Eliot had noticed it nevertheless. He lowered his head and kissed Lindsey on the corner of his mouth.
"Forget it, baby. Not important." Eliot’s voice was soothing, and he pushed himself up and slid next to Lindsey, wrapping his arm around him.
For a split second Lindsey hated the fact the Eliot could always, fucking always read him so quickly and precisely. Hated his own treacherous mind, hated the idea that Eliot felt the need to protect him. Hated the small possibility that Eliot actually would deny himself something he liked at the mere thought of Lindsey being uncomfortable. And he hated himself for being afraid of something that he knew wouldn't happen - fuck, this was Eliot. The man he loved, the man he trusted with his fucking life, and he simply couldn't -
He hadn't even realized that he had curled up to a ball, slipping away from Eliot’s embrace, tense like a coiled spring. He released a shuddering breath and felt Eliot's arms around him, chest pressed to his back, murmuring soothing words into his ear. Closing his eyes for a moment, he let himself relax into the hold until Eliot pressed a kiss to his neck, reached around him to cup his face and gently turned his head to face him.
"Linds, I'm sorry. Tell me what's wrong, okay?"
"I..." Lindsey bit his lip and struggled for the right words. Eliot waited patiently, saying nothing, just slowly rubbing his hand in circles over Lindsey's stomach. Finally Lindsey had collected himself enough to speak. "I remembered hell." He felt Eliot's hand still for a moment, then the soft caress continued.
"I understand." Eliot's voice was soft and genuinely concerned. "They tied you to that table, right? I... forgot that."
Lindsey shook his head vehemently. "No. That's... not it. It's not being tied, it's..." He made a frustrated sound. "I don't know how to explain without sounding like I completely lost it! It's so fuckin' stupid and..."
Eliot's sharp voice cut off his sentence, and Lindsey flinched. He turned further around, wanting to face Eliot completely. Eliot hesitantly loosened his hold and waited until Lindsey had settled again before looking him straight in the eyes. His voice was soft again.
"Don't do that. Don't ever feel stupid for something that's not your fault, hear me?" Lindsey snorted and wanted to reply, but a stern look from Eliot made him close his mouth again. Eliot sighed. "Linds, no one knows what can trigger bad memories until it happens. And with the things you saw..." He huffed out a forced laugh. "It's a miracle that you don't have more of them."
Lindsey snorted again, eyes shifting away from Eliot's face. "I have just enough of those, thank you very much. You should know." But he sounded more lost than angry. Eliot reached out and nudged Lindsey's chin upwards.
"Tell me what it was? It's more than that cellar, right?"
And in this moment Lindsey was incredibly grateful for the fact that Eliot could always, fucking always read him so quickly and precisely. Because it meant that Eliot understood exactly what he was going through. Lindsey let out a shaky relieved laugh and leaned forward to press a kiss on Eliot's mouth, giving his voice a deliberately light tone. "I love you, y'know."
Eliot's lips twitched a bit and he looked awkward and pleased at the same time. Lindsey grinned despite his inner turmoil. Not used to it, darlin'? Not wanting to put any pressure on Eliot, he spared him the need to reply by turning serious again. "It's not being tied up," he repeated. "Shit, I've been cuffed up by Angel and his gang so often that I almost felt naked when they finally came off for good. It's..." He hesitated, trying to find a way to make his careening train of thoughts understandable. Finally he straightened himself and began to talk, voice a little rough but determined. "Most of the stuff that happened in that house and the cellar, I only remember it through nightmares. What I do remember clearly is that fear of going down there, the feeling of being fucking helpless, being... a puppet." He shuddered. "And the pain. I feel it when I dream about it."
Eliot nodded, his face hard and expressionless, but Lindsey knew that the boiling anger under the surface was not directed at him but at a certain ex-vampire. "I know. You always clutched your chest when you woke up from them."
"I did?" Lindsey was surprised. "Yeah... must have. So..." He took a deep breath. "I'm not afraid of you hurting me. Don't think that." His voice began to sound choked as he got more and more desperate. "I'm scared of those memories coming up, like they just did. One little word and there they are. I... never thought they would, I fuckin' don't want those... with you.” Somewhere in the back of his brain he hated himself for sounding so helpless, for spilling thoughts out that he should not have, that were just ridiculous in the first place because this was Eliot. But he couldn’t stop, not anymore. “I don't want to feel like that when we... shit, Eliot, I fuckin' trust you so much it's not funny anymore and this is so fucked up and random and..."
Eliot very effectively ended his outburst by leaning forward and kissing him. Lindsey made a choked sound and grabbed Eliot's shoulders, clinging tightly and fiercely kissing back. Finally Eliot pulled back a little and brushed his fingertips over Lindsey's swollen lips. "Better?"
The open concern on Eliot’s face made Lindsey choke up. He closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths before opening them again. He managed a small crooked smile. "Yeah. Sorry, I..."
"Sssh." Eliot tipped his finger on Lindsey's lips again. "Linds, I know how you feel. Got a few of those myself, believe me. They ain’t comin’ up that often anymore, but..." He shrugged and gave Lindsey a calm, resigned look. “I know where I’m goin’ for the things I did, y’know. Just sometimes...” He snorted out a humorless laugh. “Sometimes I think that maybe...” He shrugged again and looked away.
Lindsey opened his mouth and closed it again. He felt a little dumbfounded. Eliot always seemed so unflappable - sure, there were things that caused his fiery anger to burst out, but it had never occurred to him before that all that hidden darkness inside of Eliot's soul could actually affect him that much. He knew about occasional nightmares, but this kind of helpless panic he had felt so unexpectedly at Eliot's words? Seemed so un-like Eliot that he just stared at him, hoping for further explanation. Eliot seemed to sense that. He looked back at Lindsey and gave him him a small knowing smile.
Lindsey shook his head slowly. "I... shouldn't be, really. With everything you've been through..."
Eliot huffed. "I keep those to myself, normally. Ain't got a lot of people that I trust with gory details."
Lindsey gave him a curious look. "The others?"
Eliot shook his head. "'s not that I don't trust them. But they already know more than I’d like’m to, an’ they've got enough baggage of their own. They don't need to carry mine." He gave Lindsey a sharp look. "And I'm only tellin' you because it'll help you. To understand, y'know."
And because you need to get it off your chest. Before it chokes you one day. The thought came with an almost brutal clarity and Lindsey flinched inwardly. He held Eliot's gaze. "I think you got that right. What... was it?"
Eliot curled his lips into a humorless grin that didn't reach his eyes. He obviously tried to keep his voice neutral, but Lindsey could detect a hint of strain. "Few years ago. Had a really bad week. And we're sitting in the conference room, I grab myself a soda and look up. And there's Hardison, popping a lollipop in his mouth. Biggest fuckin' thing I've seen for a while, looked like the size of a tennis ball. Orange, of course." He chuckled, but there was no humor in it. "Talk about random triggers. If that wasn't one, I don't know any."
Lindsey blinked in confusion, but didn’t want to interrupt with questions. "Go on," he said, sounding a little hoarse. Eliot pressed his lips together and looked like he'd refuse, but then he sighed and continued.
"You can guess. I stared at that fuckin' thing for I don't know how long, getting tunnel vision and everything. Clenched my fists so hard I broke the goddamn glass. That... pulled me out of it at least." He looked at his hands for a moment. Lindsey followed his eyes and noticed that Eliot now deliberately unclenched his fists. He looked up again as Eliot spoke on. "Gave me a reason to leave the room and get myself under control again. The others didn't realize what really happened, thank God. They thought the glass was faulty." He reflected that thought for a second and then grinned, this time honestly amused. "Except for Nate, of course. He kept giving me weird looks, but didn't ask. Not sure if he got it right, but he might have. He is way too perceptive sometimes."
Lindsey didn't laugh at that. He had tried to picture the image in his head - Hardison, the lollipop, combined with the haunted look in Eliot's eyes he wasn't completely able to hide - and the result made his stomach turn. An ugly thought began to form in his head. He inhaled sharply and felt himself going pale. God, I hope I’m wrong. His voice failed him as he tried to speak, and he managed to get words out only at the second try. "I... don’t really want to know where this is going, but..." He had to clear his throat, and the self-loathing expression that flashed over Eliot's face told him that he was on the right track. He balled his fists. "Tell me."
Eliot hesitated again, but gave in as Lindsey reached out and covered his hand with his own. He closed his eyes. The strain in his voice began to bleed through more. "There was this guy who... got off on torturing people." He opened his eyes and looked at Lindsey again, tensing visibly. "And I mean really got off on it. He thought it would be a great idea to force me to blow him by puttin’ a gun on my head. Funny enough, he didn't want me to bite him while doing it." He bared his teeth in a ghastly parody of a smile, and Lindsey felt sick. "I... made it abundantly clear that he could kill me, yes, but I'd make sure that he would still sing soprano for the rest of his life." The scary smile disappeared and Eliot's face hardened. "He saw the point. And so he did... something else." He caught Lindsey's eyes again. "You don't wanna know."
Lindsey's mouth felt dry and rough like sandpaper. "No, I think... I got the picture." His eyes narrowed. "What happened to him?" Eliot still held the gaze, face still hard, eyes dark, only the very tiniest trace of a wolfish grin appearing at the corner of his mouth. He didn't say anything, but he didn't need to. Lindsey released his breath. "Good."
Eliot gave him a small nod and relaxed his posture a bit. "Anyway, so much for random triggering." His voice now carried its normal calmness again. "It doesn't happen every time I see a lollipop, don't worry. Was just... a lot of things added up then. And..." He huffed out a small embarrassed laugh. "Don't be disappointed if you never get a blow job from me, okay?"
Lindsey leaned forward and kissed him softly. "Won't. Dunno, I didn't think you would, anyway."
Eliot gave him a quick but honest smile and cradled his neck. "And I'd never do anything you don't want."
Lindsey leaned his forehead against Eliot's. "I know. You never asked once if you could..." He snorted out a slightly embarrassed laugh. "Y'know. Go further."
Eliot snorted. "Linds, in that first few weeks you tensed up like a violin string every time you thought I'd go for it. And not like ya didn't know what to expect, but... scared." He shrugged. "I just figured ya tried and didn't like it. Lot of people don't." He hesitated and then added "'M not big on being on the receiving end either." Lindsey pulled back sharply and stared at Eliot. The unspoken question must have been clear, because Eliot laughed a little and shook his head. "No, ain't what ya think right now. It's just..." He rubbed his nose, searching for words. "I need a big level of trust for that, an'... yeah. As I said. Not a lot of people."
Lindsey nodded slowly. "Yeah, I can understand that." He caught Eliot's eyes, not daring to ask. Would you let me? Not that I... but...
Eliot held the gaze, expression very earnest. For a small moment his face was completely unguarded, open like a book. The words that Eliot hadn't spoken out aloud yet were almost readable on his face and Lindsey choked on his breath a little. Eliot obviously realized what he had let slide, because his lips curled into a very tiny smile. "Are ya askin'?” His voice was soft and despite the light tone Lindsey knew that he wasn’t teasing. He returned the smile, not hiding how touched he felt, but slowly shook his head.
"I... like it okay as it is. For now.” He chuckled a little awkwardly, trying to lighten the mood a little before Eliot would feel uncomfortable at the level of emotions displayed. "If ya don't mind."
Eliot grinned, looking more than a little grateful. "Not at all."
Lindsey grinned back, feeling much better. "And that other thing... I'll think about it. Promise."
Eliot smirked. "Sounds good." He flopped backwards on the bed, pulling Lindsey with him. They just lay in comfortable silence for a few minutes. Finally Lindsey propped himself up on his elbows and gave Eliot a questioning look. "Did the others ever realize how good you are at this psychological stuff?"
Eliot had to laugh. "I still surprise 'em sometimes. Never show all your cards, ya know? But..." He shrugged and got serious. "'S all about finding weaknesses. Emotional ones are as important as physical ones. Can give ya the amount of advantage you need to win. To - survive."
Lindsey nodded slowly. "Like in court. I always knew if someone lied or hid something."
"Yup." Eliot nodded his approval. Then he grinned again, teasingly. "An' right now, I can tell that you're dying to know if I like being tied up."
Lindsey threw his head back and laughed out loud. It took a while until he caught his breath and was able to speak again. He gave Eliot an incredulous look and shook his head in amusement. "You are good at this. Looks like I'm out of practice. I used to be better at hiding my thoughts." He chuckled. "So - do you?" His grin faded. "I'm guessing not. Right?"
Eliot shrugged again, looking thoughtful. "Same as blindfolds. I... ain't freakin' out, but no, I don't like it. Not enough positive associations, y'know?" He gave Lindsey a quick apologetic smile. "Another reason why I'd never have said anything if ya hadn't asked."
Lindsey smiled back, quickly leaned in to kiss him and dropped back at Eliot's side, curling up against him. He traced his fingers over Eliot's arm and huffed out a resigned laugh. "Whoa. That's not how I imagined this morning to end..."
Eliot started to chuckle. "Really not." He tilted his head to look at Lindsey. "How about you stay here, I get up and make some breakfast and we eat in bed?"
Lindsey stretched himself and sighed happily. "Breakfast sounds good. I'll help ya."
"Nuh-uh." Eliot shook his head adamantly while getting up. "You stay in bed."
Lindsey cocked his head and mockingly arched an eyebrow, grabbing the chance to lighten up the mood. "You're not just mother-henning me here, darlin'?"
Eliot obviously caught on, giving him a smug grin. "No way. 'S just that I'll have cold feet when I come back and..."
He didn't get further. With a very fake indignant sound Lindsey grabbed the pillow and threw it at Eliot, hitting him fully in the chest. Eliot caught it before it could fall on the floor and gave Lindsey an innocent wide-eyed look. "What? What did I say?"
Lindsey snorted and tried to look outraged, but failed spectacularly. His lips curled into a smile. "I take back everything I said about you being good at this." He couldn't suppress his laugh any longer, and was honestly grateful about the change of mood. He leaned back and folded his hands behind his head, still laughing. "Make yourself a hot water bottle, softie. And there better be blueberry pancakes."
Eliot gave him a mock salute. "Blueberry. Yes, sir, coming up." Before Lindsey could react, he threw the pillow back. By the time Lindsey had pushed it away from his face, Eliot had vanished into the kitchen, letting his soft laughter chase after him.
Lindsey chuckled and stretched out on the bed again. Life. 'S got bumps 'n curves, alright. Ain't like the movies, with all their happily ever afters an' riding off into sunsets. He listened to the familiar sounds of Eliot rummaging in the kitchen and his lips curled into a smile. But it just might be even better.