Harry lay half tied down to his wooden preparation table and tried to draw the final marking on his chest. This would have been infinitely easier if firstly, he wasn't trying to do it with red, dripping candlewax; secondly, he didn't have his legs tied down at the ankles; and thirdly, he didn't have to use a mirror.
"There has to be an easier way to do this, Bob."
"Why yes, people summon Artemesian Nymphs from the Elysian Fields all the time, using their iPads. I believe there is an app for that."
Harry glared at Bob, who was hovering, supervising and criticising every time a drop of wax got away from him.
"I'm sure I don't need to be tied down."
"Oh of course, and you would know having been alive for less than a century and doing such in-depth research during that time."
Harry lay back, grinding his teeth and attempted the final, complicated sigil. His horn knife lay beside, ready for the last and more bloodthirsty aspect of the ritual.
"It would just be a lot easier if I could move freely."
"It would," Bob agreed. "Up until the point that the wax metamorphoses and creates a whirlwind around you that, were you not tied down, would suck you into the ether like so much litter.”
Harry sighed, resignedly. "Times like this I wish you could at least hold the mirror"
"Trust me dear boy," Bob replied, darkly, "if I could pour the markings myself, I would."
Harry looked at Bob, suspiciously, but was distracted when he heard a knock at his door. The door he couldn't quite remember locking. The door that now sounded a lot like it was opening.
"Dresden, you in here?" Oh crap, it was Murphy. Of all the people he really didn't want to see right now, she would come top. Okay, maybe second to Morgan.
"No!" hissed Bob "Get rid of her!"
Harry's mind was racing "Bob, it's Murphy, there is no getting rid of her."
"Got your crazy crystal stick here." Murphy was exploring the front; it was only a matter of time before she came into the back.
“Look just go!" Harry whispered urgently.
"And what exactly are you going to tell the lovely Detective?" Bob asked, sarcasm dripping from every word. "Sorry, I tripped and ended up tied to a table, half naked and covered in candlewax?!"
"I'll think of something, just get out of here!"
Bob fumed, looking angrily at Harry for reasons Harry couldn't fathom. It's not like he invited Murphy round. Okay, maybe probably forgot to lock the door again, but he couldn't help it if Murphy just walked right in.
"I look forward to the humiliating explanation of why you are in this situation." Bob retired to his skull, grumbling all the way.
Harry decided on the 'pissed-girlfriend' approach and tied one hand down with an elaborate knot and spelled the other with the same knot. Now tied completely down, he realised the knife was still to the side of him. No time to move it as Murphy rounded the corner and dropped his divining rod on the floor. He really hoped it hadn't chipped the crystal; those were hard to find.
"Oh." She sounded shocked. Harry couldn't really blame her "You're busy."
"Heh, yeah, funny story, Julie-"
"Julie who left you three days ago?"
Damn, he'd forgotten that he'd mentioned that.
"Yeah, well, we were saying goodbye and things got a little, uh, kinky."
Murphy walked towards where the candle was still burning.
"Funny, these indentations look the same size as your fingers. Wasn't Julie a pianist? Long, delicate fingers I remember you telling me."
Harry decided that he had to stop talking to Murphy. Ever. Because anything he said would be used against him now.
Murphy leaned down to whisper in his ear "Don't bother lying to me, Dresden. I'm a detective and I've known you too long."
Okay, next viable excuse. Preferably one that didn't make him look like a complete deviant.
"I'm curious how you managed to tie yourself up completely, though."
"Trade secret," Harry said, quickly.
"Uh-huh," she said, walking down the table towards the door. She was staring at the marking and Harry fervently hoped that she was on her way out. No such luck, as Murphy seemed fascinated by the wax.
"What have you been doing, Dresden," she said, under her breath.
She slid a nail under the piece of wax nearest to her. It lifted and then cracked, leaving a small droplet firmly stuck on what Harry realised was a clump of leg hair. This was going to take half the oil in the shop to get off.
Not like that. Definitely not like that.
"You know, Murphy, I should really get myself cleaned up. Just pass me my knife, yeah?"
Murphy grinned, and Harry could see what was behind that. You've caused me how much annoyance, frustration, confusion and down right pain at times?
"You know, the regulations are really clear in matters like this." The faux sympathy in her voice didn't quite mask the underlying tone of amusement. "Where mental imbalance is suspected-"
"I'm not crazy." Harry interjected.
"-Officers should remove all dangerous materials and weapons from the person's vicinity"
"Murph, c'mon." Harry couldn't help the slight tone of desperation to his cajoling.
"So this knife will stay over here." She slowly and deliberately put the knife down where Harry could see it, but too far out of his reach without telekinesis.
"So how long-aagh!”
All attempts at machismo aside, when Murphy ripped that clump of wax and hair off his leg, Harry was ashamed to hear himself scream like a girl.
"Want me to kiss it better?" Murphy asked, innocently.
In some small way, Harry vowed, Murphy would be made to pay for this.
"Yes, or even better, you could stop and untie me."
"Oh I'm not going to stop." And at that point, Harry started to realise he might have completely misread the situation. Time to find out for sure.
"Then kiss it better."
If Harry had seen this in a dream, or scrying, or any recognised form of clairvoyance, he'd have shaken it off as the result of an overactive imagination. But here was Murphy, bending down to first blow across what must be a red mark from the heat and then gently press her lips to his new bald patch.
He didn't even manage a second of enjoyment because what he'd missed was Murphy curling her nails under another sigil. Lips still against his skin, she ripped it up without mercy.
Harry clamped his teeth shut, forcing the scream into an aggravated moan. Again, Murphy shifted and blew, then kissed, the skin. This came much sooner after the rip, while the skin was still hypersensitive and forced a surprised noise out of Harry.
"Is this the point where you're going to ask me to stop again?"
"No, I don't see the point in endlessly repeating myself."
"Look at that. You do catch on."
She emphasised the sentence with the next splash of cooled wax, almost immediately attending to the pink, raw skin below.
While his hind brain dealt with the remarkable sensations that his pleasure center was shooting through him, the small part of Harry Dresden capable of thinking rationally noticed that Murphy wasn't going to be able to reach the next sigil from where she was standing. He was curious to see how she got around this.
Pragmatically, it turned out, as Murphy climbed onto the table in the space between Harry's legs, crawling forward. The increased intimacy of the position didn't go unnoticed by Harry's already stimulated libido. He thanked everything and anything that he did not favour tighty-whiteys. The boxers may not save him much longer, but at least Murphy wasn't yet aware of what was going on under there.
Another rip, another cooling kiss and Murphy was where Harry had been trying to forget about. The last symbol on his leg was elaborately constructed but unfortunately positioned just below the short of his boxers. His very thin boxers.
Murphy looked up, and then up a little further to meet his eyes. She didn't even say a word, just raised her eyebrows.
Harry rolled his head back onto the table with a dull thud and waited. Murphy took her time, sliding her nail around all the edges of the wax, digging it into the skin just slightly.
Spanish inquisition? Too obvious. Some Castle dungeon maybe. Idly contemplating in which past life Murphy had honed these skills distracted Harry enough that he forgot to brace for the final pull of the wax. He gritted his teeth and growled through it until he felt Murphy's lips on the skin.
Lips weren't enough this time, apparently, as Harry felt a flicker of tongue on the skin and shuddered violently.
Well hell, he thought, may as well just be naked now for all the good the boxers are doing.
So of course, of course Murphy chose that moment to get back off the table. Because he's Harry Dresden, and stuff like this only happens if there is something seriously wrong with the universe.
Harry sighed loudly. "Could you at least let me loose before you go?" Silence. Harry raised his head to see Murphy get...something he couldn't quite see out of her bag. To small to be either her cell or gun, thank God. She picked up the knife on her way back.
"Thanks. I'll just try and deal with the ragged remains of my dignity."
But Murphy stopped short of his hands and past his bound feet. She was, Harry was slightly disturbed to realise, about level with his boxers. He was reasonably sure he'd done nothing to piss Murphy off that much.
"You trust me, Dresden?"
"You have a knife in your hand, so I'll go with yes, Detective."
"Good." She pulled up the waistband of his boxers and looked back at him "Don't move."
Holding his head at this angle was starting to become painful, but there was no way he could stop watching as Murphy sliced through the cotton-coated elastic.
She continued, carefully avoiding the less-than-subtle protuberance until she had slit the fabric all the way down to the legs, creating what Harry could only think of as an easy-access flap. His head thunked back down on to the table and he tried very hard not to start laughing. The grin, however, was going nowhere.
Murphy straddled his waist and began to cut through the rope confining his left wrist.
"One day, you will honestly tell me what you're doing here like this," she said, carefully sawing through the coarse fibres. With one wrist free, Harry turned himself and pulled the end of the knot in a complicated fashion that released his right wrist. He propped himself up on his forearms, muscles aching from the change in position but he couldn't help himself.
"You wouldn't believe me." Harry knew he was pushing it, and hoped it was pushing it just right.
Murphy leaned forwards, her hands on either side of his chest, the knife, Harry noted, well within reach now.
That was his cue. He pushed himself up further, back and arms throbbing but there wasn't a pain in the world that would stop him from kissing her right now. Murphy was trying to keep her lips together but he wasn't playing games here. He scraped her bottom lip with his teeth, dragging it down and giving him an in. With that, she sat up, more kneeling around him than on him. The shift allowed him to sit upright and finally get his arms around her, pulling the hem of her neatly tucked blouse out of her skirt and running his hands underneath it. God she was warm, smooth, but he could feel her muscles moving as she pressed her arms to his chest. A small reminder that, whatever else she might be, Murphy was no delicate flower.
As though earlier wasn't enough of a demonstration.
The pressure left his chest and he looked down to see Murphy un-buttoning her shirt. Harry decided to encourage this behaviour kissing every newly exposed inch of skin, pushing her back to reach her beautiful, if confined by blue silk, breasts.
Her change in position had brought another problem to bear. Her skirt was already hitched up around her waist, but the blue panties currently rubbing against his newly-exposed cock weren't going anywhere. He wasn't going to risk her leaving his lap to get rid of them.
Harry brought a hand back down to the table and felt for the knife hilt. The smooth handle spun from his searching fingers but his second grasp was successful. Murphy cupped his face and brought it up to look her in the eyes.
He breathed out deeply, a happy but horny sound at the sight of her. Flushed cheeks, a sheen of sweat on her skin and mouth just so open for him. He flashed her his most persuasive smile.
"Do you trust me, Murphy?"
"Not in the slightest."
He laughed and carefully sliced through the blue fabric that was keeping him from his prize. His damned hard won prize.
"You owe me for that, Dresden." Murphy said, slightly breathless but still impressively intimidating.
Dresden dropped the knife and returned his hand to the now shredded fabric, feeling his way slowly until Murphy jolted upright. There we are.
Harry mouthed a line of kisses along Murphy's jaw while still massaging her.
"Now we’re even," he murmured.
A sharp-tipped finger pulled his jaw up and again he was staring into almost black eyes, so dark from the candle-light and her dilated pupils.
"They were part of a set."
Well, Harry could help with that. Without breaking eye contact, Harry reached for the knife and sliced the thin strap holding the cups of Murphy's bra together.
"Now they still match."
Hypnotising though it was to watch Murphy watching him, Harry couldn't resist the temptation of her bare breasts. He cupped them roughly, massaging the space between with his thumbs and alternately kissing and running his teeth down the tops. Rubbing his thumbs over the nipples granted him a moan, but pinching them between thumb and forefinger elicited a much more high-pitched sound.
Interesting. Not only does Murphy like it rough, but she's probably a screamer. Good thing I don't have much in the way of neighbours.
Murphy's hands left his shoulders, one bracing her as she leaned backwards, the other wrapped around his hardened cock.
As he tried to thrust up into it, he found himself pinned down, both by her weight and his still bound feet.
"You wanna give me a hand with the last bit of rope?"
Murphy simply smiled. That would be a no, then. Okay, this was going to get interesting.
Harry curled an arm around Murphy's back to support her, only to find himself supporting all of her weight. He moved his other arm to hold her up as she just smirked at him. He toyed with asking her what she was doing, but instead decided to do his damnedest to distract her from whatever it was.
His tongue flicked out, stroking the underside of her nipple and causing a noticeable deepening of Murphy's breathing. He did it again, once, twice, three times in quick succession before taking the whole thing into his mouth, sucking and flicking at it.
Still Murphy was doing something behind her back, something that apparently required both hands as the steady rhythm she had built up was stopped and her hand removed from around him.
He released one breast, blowing cold air on it just to watch her shudder and started on the second when the hand returned to his cock. But not one, two, and different. He pulled back slightly and looked up at her, almost disbelieving.
"Did you just put that condom on me behind your back?"
Both hands moved from his cock and she was bracing herself on the table again. Looking down, with a very un-Murphy-like smug expression, she smirked. "Don't know where you've been.”
Harry stopped dead. That was a new one. "Wow."
This obviously did not please Murphy, who ripped a piece of wax from Harry's chest.
His increased body heat had caused it to melt slightly, so the pain was less acute. Still, it wasn't something he wanted to encourage. Besides, if she didn't want talking, that left action. God, he hoped that left action; if Murphy did move herself soon, he was just going to lift her bodily onto his cock.
Not for the first time, Murphy appeared to be reading his mind as she rolled onto her knees and then back down, hard.
"Fu-uck!" She hadn't quite gone all the way down and some part of Harry's brain was grateful for that. It might have been all over if she'd tried that. The next push was all in, though, and Harry realised just how powerless he was to do anything here. He could barely push up against her; he couldn't turn her over and fuck her through the damned table like he wanted - he was entirely at her mercy.
He leaned back and watched Murphy move, up slowly and down hard. She was smiling. Yeah, she knew it. Damn.
He grabbed her by the neck, pulling her down towards him and pushing in even deeper. He sucked hard on her lip, the hand not holding him up stroking slowly downwards until he reached her neatly shaven but wet center. Slowly moving inside he searched for a little revenge. He found it when a moan escaped her, and her body tightened around him. If she was going to keep doing that then all the Viagra in the world wouldn't keep him strong for long.
It'd be worth it though.
He stroked again, longer, slower and watched as she shuddered, her pace increasing slightly. He increased his to match her until they were both rushing to the edge. He kissed her hard and pushed her over. He felt her squeeze him like a vice and gave up resisting.
There was a drawn out noise, somewhere between a moan and a scream and Harry was fairly sure that he yelled Murphy's name. Whatever happened, the net result was that he was lying back on the table, Murphy lying on top of him, her head curled into the nape of his neck.
"Any minute now" he breathed.
"Hmm?" Murphy hummed into his neck. It was surprisingly nice.
"Any minute now I'll wake up."
There was a snort from Murphy, who raised herself up sluggishly.
"Don't think you're getting out of replacing my underwear."
Harry smiled broadly and kissed Murphy one last time before she settled back down. He summoned the blanket from the couch and Murphy either didn't notice or didn't care as it was wrapped around them both.
Everything was going to hurt in the morning, but he was damned if he was moving right now.
Murphy's breathing sounded like she was asleep, so Harry risked a thank you.
"I owe you one, Bob."
"You have no idea," came the faint reply.