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i.

 

The whole thing started off small - bandaging each other’s wounds, fixing each other’s weapons, traveling the countryside for recognizance and hefty bounties, late nights discussing heists, talking about your pasts over the crackle of a campfire.

 

ii.

 

You and Arthur often go hunting, plundering and exploring together.

 

Which basically means that you’re indestructible, because when you’re together, not a single entity could bring you down.

 

iii.

 

The only thing - repeat, o n l y  t h i n g - that can calm Arthur down is you.

 

With a firm hand around his bicep, soothing words coming from your lips, jade eyes peering up at him through thick lashes...

 

iv.

 

You and Arthur appreciate - respect - each other’s skills and physical prowess.

 

But you find yourself craving the intimate moments where Arthur’s steely grunts melt into soft murmurs, when the hands that can wreak so much carnage bandage your wounds with a tenderness as if you’re made of glass, like too much pressure would shatter you.

 

You’re more than capable of handling yourself - have been doing so for the thirteen years that you’d been separated from the gang, that you’d been shipped across the country to live with your only living blood relative at the tender age of five.

 

But having Arthur by your side, refusing to budge because, “Don’t matter if it’s the smartest way. It’s dangerous. I ain’t leavin’ yer side.”

 

You would’ve hissed at anyone else - you’re a fucking adult, dammit, and just because you’re one of the youngest in the gang doesn’t mean that you’re one of the weakest.

 

But Arthur?

 

No, Arthur doesn’t think you can’t handle yourself.

 

You can see it in his eyes. He knows that you can take care of yourself - by yourself - but he refuses to let you.

 

Because it only takes one miscalculation for everything to go to shit, and Arthur isn’t willing to risk that.

 

v.

 

One day, you’re bandaging each other’s wounds - nothing serious, they never are, because you’re a keen strategist, as well as the ex-right hand of a ruthless mob boss, and he’s a seasoned outlaw who’s been robbing stagecoaches, trains and banks since he was old enough to fire a gun.

 

The two of you combined are invincible.

Save for the occasional bullet wound, such as this.

 

You berate him for looking out for you instead of himself, the bullet that’d torn through his shoulder visceral evidence of this.

 

To your surprise, Arthur cups one of your cheeks in a worn, calloused hand.

 

“I’m fine, Buchanan. Honest. Besides, I wasn’t just going to stand off to the side and watch you get riddled with bullets.”

 

Arthur doesn’t even realize he’s touching your face until you’re holding his hand against your cheek, laying a kiss to the weathered flesh, an action that has his pulse skipping.

 

By then, it’s impossible to discern who’d leaned in first, but within seconds, the distance is closed between you.

 

You’re kissing.

 

The second that your lips part and he tastes the intoxicating flavors of wild berries and sweet rum, Arthur swears that everything is right in the world.

 

vi.

 

Arthur’s at war with himself about your feelings for him - about his feelings for you - but when you come to his bedside to change his bandages and reassess his wounds, he catches your wrist and drags you into a kiss.

 

Part of you thinks it might be a side effect of the opiates, that Arthur won’t remember as much as a second of this in the morning when he’s sobered-up.

 

Part of you knows that even if that’s the case, you wouldn’t do a damn thing to stop him because this was so fucking good.

 

The whole of you doesn’t care either way.

 

You’re selfish, greedy, want to enjoy this intimacy - however short and fake it may be, the latter splintering your heart into pieces - while it lasts.

 

That’s when your arms come to rest above his shoulders, careful of his healing injuries, but Arthur doesn’t care, doesn’t feel as much as an inkling of pain, not when he’s got heaven in his arms.

 

He hoists you into bed with him, so that you’re straddling him, and he can’t contain his groan when you accidentally brush against his straining cock.

 

“Fuck, Art—“ you moan, burying your face in his neck, kissing the scruffy, vulnerable skin with an affection that Arthur’s never felt, never known, never could’ve dreamed of in his life.

 

vii.

 

Arthur refuses to come until you do, wants to see his beautiful little outlaw fall apart above him, grinds your hips just so that his throbbing dick hits your core, as much as he can with these layers between you, and he knows that you’re about to spill over the edge when you try to bury your face in his throat, but he takes you chin in his fingers, forcing you to look at him.

 

“Wanna see you, darlin’. Look at me. Come for me.”

 

When you do come, it’s with a moan that Arthur swallows whole.

 

Only when you’re trembling with the aftershocks of your release does Arthur chase after his own.

 

You kiss his neck, jaw, cheek.

 

“Let go for me, love.”

 

Your voice is low and husky against his ear, biting into the skin beneath his ear sharply, and he can’t stifle his groan when his hips buck-up at those words, at the feeling, coming in his pants like a fucking teenager.

 

But he knows for a fact that none of his previous experiences - by himself or with a partner - was as satisfying as this.

 

And you hadn’t even taken your clothes off yet.

 

viii.

 

You hum absentmindedly, before you’re tugging his boxers down and laving your tongue around his cock, which twitches from the delicious heat and overstimulation.

 

Arthur cants his hips up regardless, biting back a curse and hissing.

 

“Darlin’, what’re you— fuuuuuuuck.”

 

You don’t laugh, simply hum around him, leaving a kiss to the head that’s glistening with your saliva.

 

“Thought you wanted to clean up, baby...?”

 

His cock is already hard again. Despite his age, he’s ready to go again. But he isn’t going to take you just yet.

 

What kind of man would he be if he didn’t return the favor?

 

It’s when you’re lightly nipping at the rim of his jaw that Arthur reacts, switching your positions in a fluent motion that has the breath vacating your lungs in a startled ‘oomph’, and he begins to trail a searing path from your throat - licking and biting at the vulnerable flesh until there’d be bruises that’d last for days, that couldn’t be covered by the collar of your shirt, jacket or bandana, because Arthur is possessive and he wants everyone to know that you are his - easing down to nip at your collarbone, kiss down your sternum, his rough hands providing a startling contrast as they knead your breasts, leaving searing kisses down your stomach until he reaches the apex of your thighs, his hands moving to flatten against your hips, pinning you down to the bed.

 

He groans, low and deep in his chest, when he sees the slick from your release coating your thighs, dripping from earlier.

 

“A-Arthur, you don’t have to— fuck!”

 

You cry out as if you’ve been electrocuted when his tongue licks up your folds, when he moans at your taste spilling into his mouth.

 

I want to.”

 

Arthur hums, lapping at your juices with such a satisfied, content look across his face that has you blushing to the tips of your ears.

 

“Taste like fuckin’ heaven, baby girl,” Arthur moans, reveling in your flavor.

 

While the fingers of his right hand are working you open, his left hand tangles with your right, your laced fingers resting by your hip, your left hand threading through his hair, tugging whenever his teeth graze you, whining.

 

“Art, Art, Art—“

 

His name has never sounded so fuckin’ beautiful to his ears.

 

ix.

 

One day, a job goes horribly, terrifyingly, inexplicably wrong.

 

So much so that you’re at the threshold of Death’s Door, five bullets perforating your chest and stomach, a vicious gash in your right calf, a deep stab wound in your left shoulder.

 

Arthur, clutching your dying form to him, begs you not to leave him — he’d just gotten you, he can’t do this without you, he doesn’t remember what his life was like before you’d met and he doesn’t want to.

 

 

He doesn’t leave your bedside until you wake up.

 

He doesn’t eat, drink, sleep until he sees your eyes open.

 

Because every minute that they were closed, that the prospect of you waking dwindled with each passing second, Arthur was dying.

 

x.

 

You’re the one who proposes.

 

Because there’s still that inkling of doubt in Arthur’s head, gut, heart that you’re too good for him.

 

But one day, out of the blue, when you’re taking a stroll around the outskirts of Strawberry, walking around, enjoying the peace that’d been stolen from you for months after the debacle with those fuckin’ O’Driscolls, Arthur realizes that you’re at the edge of the forest clearing where you’d first met - where he’d found you - five years ago.

 

And when he turns around to ask why you’d brought him here, he finds you on one knee, brandishing a hand-carved box, opening it to reveal a simple but stunning gold band (you know that he hates gemstones, so you’d forgone those) and tell him that you don’t want to spend a single day without him and ask him if he‘d make you the happiest woman alive.

 

Arthur’s so stunned that he doesn’t realize he hasn’t answered until you’re swallowing thickly, flushed red from the base of your throat to the tips of your ears - a horrible combination of embarrassment, shame and horror because you’d just ruined the best thing that’d ever happened to you - are about to apologize for taking it a step too far.

 

Before a word can leave your mouth, Arthur all but tackles you to the ground, twisting around so that he’s the one that takes the brunt of the fall on the ground, his arms tightly wound around your waist, kissing you with a vigor, intensity, passion that you feel right down to every single nerve ending.

 

He can’t stop saying, “Yes, yes, yes - a hundred-thousand times yes, darlin,” against your lips - when you part for sips of air - between each and every kiss.

 

You delicately brush his stray tears away with your thumbs, kiss the wet, salty tracks they’d left down his cheeks.

 

“I love you... I love you so damn much, Buchanan...”

 

You peer deeply into his eyes, touching your forehead to his, murmur sweetly, adoringly, sincerely, “I love you too, Arthur.”

 

xi.

 

“You make the sweetest noises, love...”

 

Arthur almost comes from those words alone.

 

xii.

 

He has you sit at the edge of the riverbank, because the only thing he intends to drown in is your sex.

 

Arthur drapes your legs over his shoulders, dropping wet, revering kisses to your inner thighs, his beard scratching the sensitive skin deliciously.

 

He doesn’t tease you - he couldn’t do that to you, he can’t do that to you, he needs you right now - so he dives in, thrusts his tongue, curls it around your swollen clit, his teeth grazing oh-so-carefully.

 

You thrash above him, but Arthur has a solid, heavy arm pinning your hips down, so that he can properly indulge in the delicious meal before him.

 

He gradually introduces one, two, three fingers alongside his tongue, reaching that bundle of nerves deep inside you with his thick, calloused digits, that has you writhing, his name interspersed with soft curses leaving your plump, kiss-swollen lips.

 

Arthur moans into you as sweet ambrosia spills into his mouth when you come, so hard that your vision goes blinding white for a few seconds.

 

But that isn’t the end of it.

 

No, Arthur doesn’t want you to feel as much as a pinch of pain when he slides into your glorious heat, so he brings you over the edge two, three, four more times, with nothing but his mouth and fingers, your slick coating his beard, painting his lips, digits and tongue, a flavor that he’ll never tire of, that has become his favorite taste in all his years of living, that he’d love to keep wringing out of you until you’re nothing but a sobbing, trembling, begging mess—

 

But you tug at his honeyed locks, urging him to move up the expanse of your flushed, trembling body, kisses him full-on the mouth, the two of you moaning at the taste of each other on the opposite’s tongues.

 

xiii.

 

You grin down at him, your hands finding their place on his shoulders as you sink onto his throbbing, hard cock.

 

You both moan deliciously at the sensation.

 

“Yer gonna be the death of me, sweetheart,” Arthur grunts, thrusting up into that delicious heat, a groan rumbling deep in his chest as you clench around him, lift yourself up slowly before slamming back down.

 

“But what a way to go, hm?” You purr, licking and biting at his throat.

 

Arthur gets the idea, his hands curving around your waist, maneuvering you up and down his length, grinding your hips together, the only sound in the air being that of slick skin against slick skin, heavy panting, throaty growls and wrecked moans.

 

You’re biting your bottom lip in that tantalizing, scandalous way that’s been an image in more dreams than Arthur cares to admit, but when he realizes that it’s muffling the beautiful sounds you’re making, he raises a hand to your chin, gently tugs your bottom lip from between your teeth with his thumb, and murmurs, “Don’t. I wanna hear you. I need to hear you.”

 

Your slick has become his favorite taste and your moans have become his favorite sound.

 

He makes a solemn vow that the night won’t be over until your voice is fucking wrecked with him.

 

xiv.

 

Arthur tries to play it off as nonchalantly as he can, but you’re as sharp as a tack.

 

When you hear his bones and joints shift into place, see the wince that pinches his face for less than a second but long enough for you to catch it, you feel unbelievably guilty.

 

Arthur kisses the apologies out of your mouth, murmuring in between them, “Don’t. Have. Nothin’. To. Be. Sorry. For.”

 

“You’re the best fuckin’ thing that ever happened to me. And that last night was the best fuckin’ I’ve ever had.”

 

You laugh, but refuse to sweep it under the rug.

 

xv.

 

The second day of your honeymoon is you indulging him - massages, blowjobs, spreading soothing ointment along his wounds from a job few days previous, kissing each and every one of his scars, lavishing them with the attention you’ve been wanting to give them for months — years.

 

Arthur tries to return the favor - multiple times - but you cut him off, whether it be massaging the gnarled knots in his back, stroking his scalp and beard with light fingers, licking his cock dry of every last drop of cum, your tongue running across the leaking slit, earning an embarrassing whimper from Arthur— “Too much, baby, ‘s good, ‘s so fucking good, b-but—”

 

“Mmm — it is good. Delicious, actually. Can I give you a taste?”

 

To which you’ll kiss him, spilling his essence into his mouth, has him groaning weakly because his cock is already twitching with interest and it hasn’t even been five-fucking-minutes since you’d wrenched the last orgasm out of him.

 

xvi.

 

The third day of your honeymoon is when Arthur repays the favor.

 

You don’t wake at first - thoroughly exhausted from yesterday’s explicitly delicious events - even though he’s eased two thick fingers inside you.

 

Even in your sleep (where you’re experiencing an incredibly vivid, delicious wet dream), you moan out a broken, “Fuck, Arthur... More... Please...”

 

The fact that you’re thinking about him - conscious, unconscious, subconscious - gets Arthur rock-fucking-hard, but he isn’t coming any time soon.

 

Not until he brings his baby girl over the edge at least a dozen times.

 

xvii.

 

You plead for him to untie your hands, one hand even.

 

“Hafta touch you, Art. Please. Need to feel you.”

 

Oh, and how his heart aches because you beg so beautifully, but this time around, it’s all about you.

 

“In time, darlin’. But after everything you did for me... It’s your turn.”

 

You’re torn between cussing up a storm and begging him to fuck you.

 

But Arthur slides his pointer finger inside you before the whisper of a word could leave your mouth, giving way to a wanton moan.

 

“Like I’d ever leave you high and dry, baby girl...”

 

He takes his time adding a second and third finger, the pace ranging between agonizingly slow or torturously fast, but regardless of which, he stops right before you reach your climax.

 

To the point where there are tears sluicing down your cheeks from the overstimulation, but never the release, to where your wrists and ankles are long-past just being chafed - they’ve started bleeding from your struggling, but you don’t breathe a word about it because you can’t feel it, nerve endings blurring out anything that isn’t the sweet torture evoked by the beautiful sadist between your legs and Arthur hasn’t noticed because he’s absolutely transfixed on your dripping sex, sweat-slick skin, desperate pleas for release.

 

“Arthur, p-please... I can’t... T-too much, I can’t—“

 

“You can, honey. You’re strong. You can hang on just a little longer for me, can’t you?”

 

You - desperate, trembling, mangled into nothing but a heap of sweaty flesh and weary bones - don’t want to disappoint him, never want to disappoint him, he’s your everything, you’d do anything he asked, so of course you can do this.

 

You will do  this.

 

Even if it’s absolute  fucking hell.

 

“Anything for you...”

 

Your voice is raw, vocal cords scraped to hell from begging, but it’s strong.

 

Just like you are.

 

Just like you’ve always been.

 

And this just shatters Arthur in a euphoric, beautiful, sadistic way.

 

Because he realizes the extent of your trust in him.

 

That’s when he slices off the ropes from all your limbs, though they can hardly move at this point, will need a few minutes for circulation to flow through them.

 

But Arthur takes care of you - like he always has - slings your arms around his shoulders, hoists you into his lap, hooks your legs around his waist and takes care of everything.

 

“So good for me, baby girl. Perfect. You are perfection.”

 

Even though your sex is soaked, Arthur taps two of his fingers against your lips - softly, asking for permission - which you give without hesitation, licking and laving the digits, moaning around them at your taste, before he’s plucking them from your mouth and reaching down for your clit.

 

By this point, his cock alone would’ve been enough to make you come, but with him driving into you at a breakneck pace, alongside his fingers massaging that neglected bundle of nerves?

 

You come so hard after the hours of denial that you black out.

 

xviii.

 

You come back to earth in a few minutes, folded against Arthur’s chest, who’s spreading the healing ointment you’d used for his wounds the previous day to tend to your bloodied wrists and ankles.

 

“Why didn’t you say anything?” Arthur asks, but there isn’t anger in his voice.

 

There’s worry, remorse, guilt.

 

“Felt... Felt too fuckin’ good,” you slur, cum-drunk and exhausted, placing lazy kisses to the scars across his chest, burying your face in his throat, try to scoot a bit closer to him, only to feel a jolt between your legs.

 

Arthur’s inside you.

 

He’d finished - you can feel his seed inside you, filling you to the brim, so much that it’s leaking down your thighs - but he hasn’t moved.

 

He starts at the feeling of you accidentally grinding against him, before abashedly ducking his head, delicately rubbing the ointment around your ankles.

 

“S-sorry. Lemme just clean your ankles and—“

 

You cut him off with a hard kiss, one that has him groaning as you grind down - hard - against him.

 

“Art... If you really think you’re taking your cock out of me so soon after that round of orgasm denial... You’ve got another thing coming.”

 

xix.

 

The air shifts - like crackling electricity, like the oxygen’s been replaced with methane and all it’d take is the strike of a match to light the room in flames.

 

 

“With all the blood on my hands... I would’ve told you that I don’t deserve a goddamn thing. Other than an unmarked grave,” you laugh, but there isn’t any humor in it, a hollow and empty noise that makes Arthur’s blood - which had been boiling just minutes before - ice over in his veins.

 

“B-Buchanan—“

 

Fuck, it feels like you’ve been gutted with a rusty blade when his voice cracks, desperation and fear tangible in his voice, twisting your insides and impaling your heart.

 

You shake your head.

 

“One thing I know - more than anything else - is that I love you. And the only way this will ever stop beating,” you take his worn, calloused hand and place it above your heart, “is if yours does.”

 

Arthur can’t help it.

 

Tears stream down his face, a body-wracking sob cracking his lips apart - tears of despair, anger, love scalding his skin - as he crushes you to his chest, your face buried in his throat.

 

xx.

 

“Look at you. Haven’t even touched you and your cock is leaking. Could you come from my voice alone? Bet you wouldn’t even have to touch yourself. Don’t think I’d let you, either. No, I think we’ll tie your hands to the bedposts. Been wondering what you’d sound like with a gag in that deliciously sinful mouth. Oh, sweetheart— by the time we’re through, you aren’t going to have a voice.”

 

Arthur has tears streaming down his face from the overstimulation, from the praise spilling from your lips like molten honey (he didn’t know he had a praise kink, but fuck, he’s as hard as a fucking diamond from your words and your words alone), from the fact that he wants to touch you, he needs to touch you, he has to feel you—

 

You’ve got a safe-word, of course, but neither of you have ever used it.

 

You’ve never had to.

 

Because the two of you know just how to bleed the lines of torture and pleasure into absolute euphoria.

 

But he begs.

 

Begs and pleads and cries for you to let him touch you.

 

“Oh, baby... Do you think I’m anywhere near done with you? No, no, no... You’ve been so good, so absolutely perfect for me... You won’t be getting out of those ropes until you’ve been thoroughly rewarded.”

 

But you’ve been doing this for so long that you know he’s going to get out of those ropes at some point - it’s just a matter of when.

 

You think about switching out the ropes with cuffs for next time, but you’d be lying if you said it wasn’t unbelievably arousing for Arthur to switch your roles in a burst of adrenaline.

 

You tangles your fingers in his disheveled honey locks, tilt his head, angle yours so that your mouths slot together perfectly.

 

“Take what’s yours, love.”

 

Your arms drape around his shoulders as Arthur first thrusts in - a low, jagged groan cracking his voice as you choke on a moan and a cry at being filled so suddenly, perfectly.

 

But his slow thrusts evolve into hard, fast, precise snaps of his hips as he pounds into you, to the point where your fingers tangle in his hair, looking for an anchor of some sort to keep you grounded.

 

You can’t hold your moans back - whining, whimpering, chanting, “Yes, yes, yes. J-just like that, baby. Fucking wreck me.”

 

His thrusts become razor-sharp and erratic, his eyes rolling to the back of his skull when your fingers tighten in his hair to that blissful mix of delicious pain and absolute euphoria, before your hands roam down his shoulders, nails raking down his back.

 

When the two of you spill over the edge together, chests heaving from the exertion, skin slick with sweat, panting to catch the breath you’d stolen from each other’s mouths, you drape your arms around his shoulders, brush his messy bangs out of his face and kiss a stubbled cheek sweetly.

 

“I love you, Arthur.”

 

He buries his face in your throat, tears stinging behind his eyes at the words he’ll never tire of hearing because he doesn’t think he deserves them - he doesn’t think he deserves you - but as you thread your dainty fingers through his disheveled honey locks, kiss his temple, his brow, his cheek, moan as he shifts against you, not letting a drop of himself slide out of you, cock buried to the hilt with no intention of leaving you...

 

Arthur’s words are punctuated with licks, bites and kisses trailing from the sharp ridges of your collarbone to the red, plush sanctuary of your lips.

 

”I love you too, angel.”