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Garlands & Myrrh

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"Are you sure it’s not too tight?" Pyrrha asked.

Blake rolled her shoulders back slowly, feeling where the black ribbon tugged around her breasts, the criss-cross pattern of knots and loops that kept both arms bound behind her without causing strain. Even over her clothes, the subtle slide of the ribbon — soft as silk to the touch, yet strong enough to bear Gambol Shroud’s weight through the air — provoked a shiver. One of Pyrrha’s belts was woven and buckled around her ankles to keep them locked together; they were still at school, and sharing dorms meant anything purchased could easily be found by a teammate searching the wrong drawer, so they made do with what they had.

“No, it’s perfect.” Blake said, heat flaring across her dark face at Pyrrha’s earnest smile.

“Then lay down.”

The calm lilt in Pyrrha’s voice made even firm orders comforting, prompting Blake to lean back so she could swing her bound legs up onto the mattress before stretching out to rest her head against the pillows that were propped up and waiting. For a moment, Blake closed her eyes, listening to the soft scrape of heels against the wooden floor before she felt Pyrrha climb onto the bed and settle behind her. One arm wrapped around her hips, pulling their bodies close enough that Blake’s fingertips could brush underneath the edge of Pyrrha’s hardened leather corset, make contact with warm skin, but she hadn’t been given permission.

There was the creak of a heavy book binding, the rasp of old vellum pages. When Blake opened her eyes, she saw the text Pyrrha had set open on the edge of the bed, angled so the other girl could read over her shoulder without having to pull away. Blake’s eyes focused on the top lines scrawled in heavy ink — it was a duelling manual, the particular chapter dedicated to making offensive use of a shield — and thus stiffened in surprise when gentle fingers slid through her hair, seeking out the bow tied atop it.

To be bound in one way and freed in another. Blake would have appreciated the parallel if her pulse hadn’t just leapt into her throat, the hand around her hip offering circular strokes against the skin bared above the line of her shorts as a reminder to breathe. She knew Pyrrha would never hurt her or say an unkind word, but the moment the bow was gone, ears gratefully flicking and twitching, Blake had no way to put it back. Her hands could do nothing unless the layers of knots were undone, Faunus heritage exposed for anyone to see. Even though everyone on her own team had learned the truth, it still turned Blake’s stomach into tight coils of anxiety.

“Are they sore?” Pyrrha asked, thumb moving to massage near the base of one violet-lined ear.

“Y-yes.” Blake hated the catch in her breath, the telltale lurch of fear.

“The door is locked.” Each soothing word was matched with another touch, easing the low ache from her ears being pinned a single stroke at a time. “Ren and Nora and Jaune are going to be at the beach all day. It’s just us here.”

Blake exhaled slowly, eyes half-lidded as she tried to speak rather than continue the quickening loop of panic through her thoughts. “Jaune’s going to be red as a lobster.”

“I sent him with two different kinds of sunscreen.” Pyrrha mused. “Nora, on the other hand, sprouts a thousand freckles if she’s left alone in the sun. Ren said he was bringing an umbrella so neither of them will be miserable by the time they’ve had their picnic.”

The hand massaging her ears was replaced with Pyrrha softly kissing the backs of both, letting out a satisfied hum when Blake shivered and gasped. She was held through the instinctive desire to resist, wrists pulling taut against the ribbon as her legs twisted, seeking release from the clever loops of the belt. Pyrrha knew to listen for the safeword if the fear of being trapped became too much, but eventually Blake settled down, tears pricking at the edges of amber eyes. She was safe in that strong embrace, protected from the rest of the world.

When Blake turned her head, her lips were met by Pyrrha’s in a firm kiss, lasting as long as she could stand the harsh angle.

“Very good.” Pyrrha murmured when they broke apart, green eyes alight with pleasure. “When I’m done reading, we can relax. Then I’ll untie you and we’ll take a shower together, alright?”

Blake nodded, laying back down into the tight circle of Pyrrha’s arm. Fingers occasionally traced meaningless patterns along her skin, leaving warm trails in their wake, even if the other girl’s gaze was entirely focused on the book in front of them. Desire and heat eventually suffused Blake from head to toe, but she stayed silent to keep from breaking Pyrrha’s focus, remaining still except for the occasional nuzzle back against the other girl’s chest. When a purr accidentally rumbled from her throat, Blake bit her lip, but the only rebuke was a slow scratch of nails across her abdomen, the lightest hint of pain easing Blake back into a quieter space.

How much time passed she couldn’t wager, but finally the book was closed, and Blake found herself rolled onto her back, barely withholding a whimper when Pyrrha straddled her hips. She tilted her head up into another kiss, lips eagerly parting, eyes going wide in a muted protest when Pyrrha withdrew after just a few seconds of contact.

“Are you numb or sore at all?” Calloused fingers traced over her shoulders, across the taut lines of the ribbon.

“No.” Blake said, slightly breathless.

“Good.” Pyrrha’s hand began a path lower, cupping one breast through Blake’s white shirt and offering a firm squeeze before moving to the other. “Spread your thighs for me, Blake.”

Even with her ankles tied, there was just enough slack in the belt that she could ease her knees almost all the way apart. Pyrrha noted her obedience with a dazzling smile, although the sedate exploration over her clothes continued, making Blake want to struggle for an entirely different reason than before. By the time Pyrrha’s hand made its way to her shorts, cupping her through them in a split second of glorious friction, Blake was softly panting, fighting the urge to twist and buck her hips.

“Pyrrha,” Blake whimpered, “please.”

“Patience.” Pyrrha replied, applying a bit more pressure with her palm. “You are so beautiful.”

From anyone else, it would have been hard to believe. Plenty of people complimented the front Blake put up, thinking that stoicism masked something profound, a cool affectation worn like any other style. Pyrrha knew her, though; the other girl had listened to the stories of every crime and mistake, never trying to offer any false absolution, but simply listening and understanding. The truth about her Faunus blood had been only remarked on with a hug and appreciation for the trust and vulnerability tied to such a confession. When they kissed for the first time, hidden behind a shelf in the library, Blake was convinced her heart was going to explode in her chest.

She minded each breath she took, kept her pleas locked in her mouth as Pyrrha continued to tease. Blake knew it would go on until she shattered, tears springing free again out of raw desire instead of fear. There were times where it was so intense they wept together, kissing the salt away from each other’s cheeks, offering a sort of release Blake had never found anywhere else. The safest place lay in their shared embrace, the moments where there was no sound but heartbeats in unison.

Blake’s back arched, held just shy of her peak, and Pyrrha’s smile was bright enough to shame the sun and stars.