February 2nd, 2018, 15:20
“Breathe,” Jordi said.
With a sharp inhale, Aiden did as commanded, holding it for a few careful seconds before letting it out again. It was hard to remember that he needed air, hard to keep a rhythm of it when he was suffocating under the weight of his own expectations. Having his hands chained to the headboard didn’t help, his movement completely restricted and the heavy weight of cuffs on his wrists and ankles a constant reminder.
There was a faint tremor running through his muscles that Aiden couldn’t control. His fingers wrapped tight around the chains, the metal skin-warm and hard under his callouses, completely unyielding. The plastic underneath him was skin-warm too, protecting the white cotton sheets on one of Jordi’s rental property bed. Aiden forced himself to breathe again, pulse hummingbird fast in his throat, and listened to the soft snick of Jordi’s knife against a whetstone.
He hadn’t realized how much real estate Jordi owned. With how often the man stayed in hotels, it had been a reasonable assumption that Jordi’s condo in Chicago was the only place he’d bothered to put a name to. And in a way, that was true; Jordi Chin owned exactly one condominium in an upscale high rise in Chicago.
Jordan Chen owned several vacation homes though, including this one—a secluded cabin out in the woods of Michigan with a good view of the lake. There were acres and acres of uninhabited forest around them, and the house itself was fully soundproofed. Most of the time, Jordi rented it out with the usual contemporary and banal furniture that vacationers preferred.
For Aiden, he’d pulled an entirely different set of furniture out of storage.
His breath stuttered as Jordi’s third knife was set down on the plastic next to him. If Aiden turned his head, he could see the dull gleam of metal under the low, sensual lighting of the bedroom. If he turned his head a little further, he could see Jordi, still in his slacks and shirt but with the buttons undone and his jacket hung over the back of a chair. The shirt was a blood red so dark it was almost black, his slacks and jacket bone white in contrast. Aiden had a feeling that the coloring was intentional and he sucked in a sharp gasp when Jordi tipped his head to look at him with a pleased little smile.
“Yeah, I knew you’d be into this,” he said, inspecting the final knife he intended to use, this one smaller than the rest. “What’s your safeword?”
There was already a soft, eager fog threatening to wrap around him, but Aiden knew this mantra by heart now. “Red means stop, yellow means pause, green means go.”
Jordi’s smile widened, his dark eyes gleaming with something very close to malice. Aiden’s heart thudded faster, the trembling in his bound limbs increasing as adrenaline rushed through him again, fight or flight instinct wholly contained by the chains pinning him down. The collar around his neck was soft and warm like a promise.
“Breathe,” Jordi reminded him, before slowly and deliberately dragging the tip of his knife over Aiden’s hip.
It was a small, shallow cut, the edge of the blade so sharp that Aiden couldn’t even feel it at first. The sting came after, welling up like the touch of warmth beading to the surface. Jordi’s thumb smeared over it, pushed the edges of his skin further apart, and Aiden made a noise that was hungry and broken.
The little knife was set to the side, Jordi’s nail biting into the very edge of the cut. He selected a larger one now, curved and rippled with blues through the steel, and set the flat of the blade against Aiden’s ribs. He remembered, belatedly, to breathe, sucking air through his teeth and trembling under the cold metal against his skin.
Jordi turned the blade, parting layers of skin smoothly. This time, the blood welled up faster, spilling out over the edge of it almost instantly, carrying with it an equally hot rush of want through Aiden’s veins. The pain, again, was negligible, but Jordi’s hand followed the kiss of steel to pointedly pull the skin apart. To force him to feel it, feel the sharp sting followed by a sharper ache, a low throb with every stuttering breath.
Jordi measured the distance of the blade between Aiden’s ribs, then turned it to cut again.
Like that, he made his way down Aiden’s unscarred side, leaving cut after cut that burned in the cool air of the cabin once he’d grown bored of them. Blood spilled down Aiden’s side, pooled in the plastic under his back, let a few droplets escape into the divots between his abdominal muscles, until the air around his was heavy with the smell of it.
He breathed evenly now, matching his tempo to the smooth, even way Jordi cut him. There was always a pause for two breaths before he made the next cut, and Aiden sunk into the rhythm of it. When he inhaled, it was like breathing in divinity, washing out every other thought. It made his head empty. It made his head clear.
Jordi broke his momentum by dragging his thumb over the last cut, gathering blood up on the pad. Aiden had the feel of it now though, the careful push-pull of air in his lungs that kept him in that perfectly crystalline place where everything was perfect and exactly as it should be. When Jordi pushed that thumb between his lips, he dragged his tongue over the callouses, swallowing the taste of copper without hesitation or complaint.
Jordi’s smile was very wide and very white. The sound Aiden made at the sight of it was desperate for more.
“It looks worse than it is,” he said conversationally, grabbing a silk cloth and methodically wiping the blood of his knife. “Surface wounds bleed more readily and the blood smears, but you haven’t really lost more than a few dozen milliliters. If you got your blood drawn, you’d be down about as much.”
His fingers grabbed the edges of one of the cuts, peeling it open where the blood had gone sticky and coagulated. Aiden gasped, unable to arch the way he wanted to, the sharp pain running like a wire down to his neglected cock.
“Yeah, it looks pretty bad. But red’s your color. Brings out the green in your eyes.” Jordi smiled again, flipped a smaller knife up and then traced the edge of Aiden’s collarbone too light to actually do damage. The threat of it was enough, a low moan vibrating through his throat as Aiden tipped his head back and tried to expose his neck.
But Jordi clearly didn’t want to risk getting blood on the collar. He dragged the edge of the knife against Aiden’s cheek too, close enough to shave if he hadn’t insisted on Aiden being clean-shaven first, then turned his attention lower. Past Aiden’s cock, past the wet mess of his chest and the blood congealing under his ribs, down to the meat of Aiden’s thigh where Jordi let the blade rest for a second.
And then he began to cut again.
These were shorter slashes, left alone instead of being pulled open for Jordi to examine the muscle underneath. The stinging pain wasn’t given a chance to fade before Jordi was turning the blade to his skin again and again and again, moving with the same lazy deliberation he had on Aiden’s chest. There wasn’t any need for him to rush, not with Aiden bound and hungry for it, so Jordi took his time.
A pleading litany spilled from Aiden’s lips like the blood spilled from his cuts, rising and falling with his breathing. Everything narrowed down to the red of Jordi’s shirt and the red on his knife and the red that painted across his fingers when he pushed them between Aiden’s lips again to silence him. He sucked, blood thick on his tongue, and keened softly when Jordi moved to his other thigh to continue.
The crystal clarity of his thoughts was gone now, replaced by the heavy pulse in his ears and a lightheadedness that was one part pleasure, one part pain, and one part—something else.
There was a crinkle of plastic as Jordi set the knife down again. Aiden watched him with lidded eyes, basked in the warmth of Jordi’s hand when it cupped his face and sighed when Jordi’s clean thumb dragged over his lips.
“Look at you,” Jordi said reverently, his dark eyes threatening to swallow him whole. “What’s your color, Aiden?”
“Green,” he whispered against Jordi’s finger, feeling the way the skin caught against his lips.
“Still with me?” Jordi asked, tracing the edge of Aiden’s mouth.
“Mm,” was the best he could do in response, because he was focused entirely on Jordi but not on anything else. There was a soft huff of what might have been laughter over him, and then the warm hand left his face as Jordi reached for his cuffs instead.
Aiden let his hands drop to the mattress, plastic cool against his knuckles. The cuffs on his ankles came next but he made no other attempts to move, content to remain still and obedient until Jordi told him what to do. That was something he could always trust, the regularity of Jordi’s orders and the knowledge that he didn’t have to care about anything else.
Jordi’s hand cupped his face again, thumb dragging over the hard curve of Aiden’s cheekbone this time. “I’m going to make you stand up and move somewhere for me. Think you can do that for me, sweetheart?”
He made an agreeable noise, pressing his face more firmly into Jordi’s palm. Those fingers shifted back into his hair, Jordi pulling him upright until Aiden was sitting straight, his arms slumped down beside him. The motion split open a few of the cuts on his chest and he made a shuddering noise of want, leaning sideways until his forehead pressed to the hot muscle peeking out from between the folds of Jordi’s shirt.
“There’s my good boy,” Jordi murmured, hand sliding lower to curl around the warm leather of Aiden’s collar. His thumb ran over the stretch of skin at his nape, dragging over the sweaty strands of hair there.
He basked in Jordi’s attention, the glide of Jordi’s hand over his shoulders and the way he let himself work as a rock for Aiden to balance against. With his head in the clouds and the stinging burn down his thighs, Aiden wasn’t sure of his footing, but Jordi led him straight, steering them both towards the bathroom. The floors in here were waxed hardwood, like the rest of the cabin, plush bath mats soft under his toes as Jordi directed him to sit on the edge of the tub. The porcelain was cold against his skin and Aiden left smears of red on it when he shifted uncomfortably.
There was already a first aid kit laid out on the counter, tape and gauze set neatly in piles next to the clean white plastic. Jordi started the water in one of the sinks, testing the temperature with his fingers, then came back to drag his fingers through Aiden’s hair in slow, lazy sweeps.
“I could pin you up on a corkboard and keep you forever,” he said, voice rich with affection and possessiveness. Aiden leaned forward to tuck his face in Jordi’s stomach again, breathing like he’d been told to and floating in the wash of staticky pain that came with every inhale.
This was good, he thought dreamily, the silk of Jordi’s shirt warm against his cheek. He didn’t want to reach out and touch Jordi’s legs, not with the fabric bright white and Aiden’s hands debatably clean, but keeping a firm grip on the edge of the tub was a decent compromise. Jordi’s hands were still firm and commanding in his hair, the combination of touch and the collar still wrapped around his throat enough to remind Aiden where his place was.
Jordi could do all the thinking. Aiden was content to float.
Eventually, the hands left his hair, Jordi’s bulk moving away. Aiden tipped forward into the space where he’d just been, catching himself at the last second against the tub, and blinked his eyes open tiredly. Jordi was back again almost instantly, a dark washcloth in his hand that was hot and damp when he carefully pressed it to Aiden’s side and began to wipe the blood off.
He couldn’t help a quick, soft gasp when the cloth first dragged against the edge of one cut, stinging pain surging up like lightning through his veins. Jordi shushed him gently, his other hand cupping the back of Aiden’s head again as he carefully cleaned off the worst of the blood, only standing up to rinse the washcloth out before returning again. In its own way, it was as hypnotic as the cutting had been, the rough pile of the washcloth scraping against the edges of each cut with Jordi’s slow, methodical movements.
His forehead found Jordi’s shoulder, the fingers in his hair petting absently as Jordi let him nuzzle into the fabric there. The red of Jordi’s shirt blended into the red smeared on the tub blended into the red disappearing off of Aiden’s chest with each sweep of the washcloth until Aiden shut his eyes and drowned in the red behind his lids instead.
Jordi hummed softly and finally set the washcloth aside, his hot fingertips touching the very edge of a cut on Aiden’s ribs.
“I wonder if you’ll scar?” he mused, fingernails scraping over Aiden’s scalp and sending a rush of prickling down his spine. The heat of his palm dragged down, fitted over Aiden’s neck and eased over the curve of his shoulder.
Aiden hummed a soft, hopeful noise, one that turned into faint disappointment when Jordi pulled away and stood up again. At least he wasn’t gone for long, coming back within seconds to start carefully pressing gauze against the cuts on his side, taping them down with neat, precisely cut strips of silicon tape. His thighs received a similar treatment, Jordi occasionally pausing to inspect a cut critically before taping it over. Only once Aiden was wrapped up like a mummy did Jordi finally stand again, tugging him upright and huffing out a laugh at the aggrieved noise Aiden made in the back of his throat.
“Can you say a couple words for me?” he asked, fitting his fingers under the warm leather at Aiden’s throat and tugging slightly.
“A couple words,” Aiden said, swaying into Jordi’s space and deliberately not thinking about anything else. The soft fog wasn’t wrapped around him anymore, and he couldn’t find that cold, clear emptiness in his head, but he was still fuzzed enough around the edges that his thoughts couldn’t catch up yet.
“Smartass.” Jordi’s voice was fond again, shifting his grip from under the collar to the D ring on the front. With another gentle tug, he commanded Aiden to follow.
They passed through the bedroom, where the clear plastic on the bed was covered in smeared and cooling blood, looking more like a murder scene than anything else. Jordi’s knives gleamed with sharp menace just past the edge of the largest pool, and the cuffs rested forlorn against the mattress. Like the bathroom, the hallways past the bedroom door was brightly lit, massive windows letting in the clear, cool sunlight that cut through the clouds over the lake. Jordi tugged on his collar again, then turned away from the living room towards the kitchen, Aiden obediently at his heels.
The smell of stew simmering in the slow cooker overtook him as they grew closer. With a sharp, dismissive gesture, Jordi indicated that he should sit at the counter, so Aiden sat, the barstool and countertop both cool against his naked skin. Sensations like that kept trying to intrude on the emptiness he was trying to cultivate, but closing his eyes to cut off another avenue of sensory input was impossible—without Jordi touching him, Aiden needed to watch him move. Without Jordi around, he’d be empty in the bad way.
Jordi stayed in sight though, moving around the kitchen with purpose. Bowls, spoons, napkins, all neatly arrayed on the counter in front of Aiden. A glass of water was set in front of him as well, Jordi’s fingers tapping on it imperiously. “Drink at least half that.”
Aiden wavered between obedience and lethargy, the tiresome idea of actually lifting the glass itself weighed against Jordi’s mood if he didn’t. Obedience won out, the residual sting of his gauzed over wounds reminding him about the consequences of disobeying: if he didn’t play along, Jordi wouldn’t cut him again.
And he really wanted Jordi to cut him again.
Jordi made an approving noise as Aiden drank, pausing long enough to reach over and ruffle his hair again, then swung back around to the slow cooker to taste the stew. He’d put it on earlier this morning, around the same time he’d told Aiden exactly what they were doing that day, and several hours of slow simmering had made it rich and hearty. After tasting the stew again and humming happily, Jordi refilled the empty glass in front of Aiden.
“About five more minutes,” he said, pulling a few sourdough rolls out of the breadbox. “We’ll see how much you can get down before I start thinking about dessert. Still with me?”
“Still with you,” Aiden said, rubbing his hands over his smooth face and remembering the way the blade dragged over his skin. More and more he was remembering his body as something more than just an instrument of feeling and it was an uncomfortable place to be.
He wanted a bath. He wanted a hug. Neither seemed feasible, but Jordi glanced back at his face and sighed before coming around to Aiden’s side of the counter again. He dragged Aiden’s head forward, tucked Aiden’s face into the fabric of his shirt and dragged his palm over the curve of Aiden’s back. The muscles there were unmarked, but that didn’t mean they would be forever.
It was easier to handle being a person again if Jordi was holding him. Aiden wrapped his arms around Jordi’s waist, daring and tentative all at once, then sighed when Jordi just laughed softly and smoothed a hand over his shoulder blades again.
“Did you like it?” Jordi asked, gentle where he ran his fingers through Aiden’s hair.
“God yes,” Aiden whispered in response, his eyes shut and his cheek rubbing against the red silk between himself and the muscle in Jordi’s chest. That was the scariest part of coming back up from the headspace Jordi had put him down into—the idea that Jordi might not do it again.
Intellectually, he understood the reasons why Jordi couldn’t just cut into him whenever he pleased. But the bone deep craving he hadn’t known existed, the part of him that was desperate for the knives he knew were still in the bedroom, that couldn’t be reasoned with. He hadn’t realized how badly he’d want it until the moment he had it.
But Aiden had always been an addict. Jordi was just the one thing he never tried to moderate anymore.
“Maybe next time I’ll fuck you while I cut you.” Jordi’s voice was thoughtful, his fingers tracing out strictly separated lines down Aiden’s shoulders. “I’m not sure if I want you on your knees or your back though. We’ve got time here for me to figure it out.”
A shudder rolled through him at the thought. Jordi’s thumb moved deliberately over the soft edge of his leather collar, the blunt nail just barely scratching the skin at his nape. However Jordi wanted him—Aiden would take anything. If he had a whole list, that was even better.
They had time to work through it all.