There isn't any other light in the room apart from the candles: two on the bedside table, one in her hand. Skin looks better by candlelight. The skin of Tseng's back stretches out before her, broken here and there by scars but otherwise quite smooth. He's very still; no movement but the rise and fall of his breaths. His eyes are closed, head on his folded hands, his hair a dark spill across the back of his neck and the pillows.
He's not watching. For this Elena doesn't want him to watch—doesn't want him to know when to brace himself, when to tense up. The wax of the candle in her hand has melted nearly enough, a pool of luminous red in the pale golden light.
She tilts the candle, little by little, watching the bead of melted wax swell at the edge, listening to his even breaths. The drop falls, splashes just to the side of Tseng's spine—and all the long muscles in his back ripple, and he catches his breath sharply. He doesn't make any other nosies, so neither will Elena, but she slicks between her legs, wet and swollen already. She fights to hold still and keep from squirming. The muscles in his back are still tense; she can see them defined clearly under his skin, so she waits, to let him relax again, the hand not holding the candle toying with his hair. His hair is slick as poured water between her fingers. When she sees him relax again, she continues.
Each spill of wax makes him jump, despite what she knows is his desire to hold still. He will not move his wrists from where she had told him to hold them, crossed just above his head, unbound but still unmoving; yet he cannot keep himself from tensing when the beads of hot wax touch his skin. It is not only his muscles. Tseng's skin trembles at each touch of the wax, and keeps trembling for some time after in anticipation. Nonetheless he holds still for Elena, and that, in itself, is a rush that makes her tremble, as he trembles.
The wax leaves an abstract pattern of red across the fairness of his skin—not as much a contrast as it was on her own inner arm, when she was testing the temperature, but still dramatic. It looks nothing like blood (Elena knows blood). Despite the tension in his limbs with each drop of wax, she can see his face—turned to one side on the pillow, eyes closed, lashes dark and enviably beautiful, thick and curved and shadowing his cheekbones—and he does not look tense. The lines and planes of his face are softened by bliss. That, too, makes her wet, makes her want to squirm where she sits beside him, and this time she allows herself to do so, the bed dipping beneath her hip.
When Tseng's breath begins to hitch and catch in earnest, when he can no longer breathe evenly, she touches his shoulder and urges him to turn over. He does, the wax crackling, until he is on his back. His cock lies almost flush to his belly. The insides of his wrists are translucent and shockingly vulnerable in the thin golden light, blue veins visible beneath the pale skin. "Don't move," Elena whispers, "but open your eyes."
(She is as secular as anyone in Midgar, having given up even her mother's perfunctory celebrations of Odin's sacred days, and she knows that he has renounced the faith of his ancestors; nevertheless watching him watch her in the circle of light, she knows she feels something.)
Tseng's eyelashes flutter and then his eyes meet hers, pupils expanded, a flush to his cheekbones. His voice is low but even, smooth as suede, when he says, "You're so beautiful."
Her ribcage feels as though it has been filled with warmth and light, and she cannot help but smile. She tilts the candle again, and lets the red wax blossom like a flower on his collarbone. He arches, flat stomach tensing, muscles tight, himself beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
(What she feels like this is a confidence and power she usually associates with battle-rush or too much alcohol; and yet unlike either of those things what she also feels is control, and responsibility. She is not powerful because she is running at the edges of her ability but because she is centered inside herself, and he is letting her—allowing her—holding still for her not because she has cajoled or forced him to but because he wants to, and that is the best thing. He wants her in the full flush of her power; he wants her when she is powerful.)
When she tilts the candle and wax splashes on one of his nipples, he makes a sound—low, hungry—and tilts his head back so that his hair spreads out more. His fingers flex but he does not uncross his wrists, does not move or reach for her. She drips red wax on his other nipple, and he shudders. Now she does not wait for him to relax again but marks an impatient path down his chest and belly and then hovers over his cock, waiting for his eyes to focus on hers again. She holds there a moment and gives him a chance to protest, to say the word that will stop this. He does not. She feels larger than her body, overflowing. She tilts the candle and the red wax splashes on his shaft, and the sound he makes is a moan and his whole body stirs. His eyes close again, his mouth open, breathing not hard but swift, transfixed or transported.
She cannot wait longer. Her hands are shaking as she puts the candle to one side, as she straddles his hips, and then—the wax there just hardened—pulls it away from his shaft. He makes a little broken noise, face flushed, beautiful, and she steadies him with one hand and rises up to take the tip between her legs, but no further. Tseng says, "Elena."
"Elena," he says, and his voice breaks, desperate: and that is what she wants and has been waiting for. The willingness to express his need is, from him, a truer submission than his perfect obedient control. She sinks down on him, inch by inch—it is the easiest thing in the world, as wet as she is, as hard as he is—and he says her name again, and then again, and the longing in his tone is so clear that she feels scorched, as if she were the one doused in candle-wax and not him. She can feel every inch and every movement, slick and sensitive as she is. She braces her hands on his chest—her short nails drag through the wax and make him moan again, hoarse and hungry, his hips twitching as though he wants badly to thrust and so she says, "Go ahead. Move. Touch me."
He shakes, catches her hip in one hand, and with the other presses his fingers to her clit. He smooths her fluids over it, and then strokes her with hard steady pressure. Tseng is insistent, and as Elena rides him she can feel the desperation: he is touching her so unhesitatingly because he wants her to come quickly, because he himself cannot wait—and that is nearly miraculous in itself. He can always wait. He has such good control—but it is gone, it is not here, she fucks him and he fucks her with a rhythm that is all hunger.
Her thighs shake and she is slick with sweat when she comes, and she is loud as ever; he arches tight beneath her and sobs with it. She thinks she can hear her name lost somewhere in the sound. It is so much, so good, that she is dizzy and shaking as she slides off him, coming to rest by his side, her head against his arm.
The look on Tseng's face is both blissful and utterly stripped, raw and bare. Elena doesn't say anything. There aren't any appropriate words. She touches his parted lips, his cheekbone, his hair. There is shattered wax beneath her, clinging to her skin. They will worry about cleaning it up tomorrow. Tonight she will lie here with him, and hold him, shaking; having seen his defenses down she will watch over him, until he sleeps.