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to the rhythm of a wild heart

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"you know this could kill you," electro tells harry as he hovers sparking fingers over the thin, bare chest beneath him.

"i’m already dead, max,” harry laughs. then his blue eyes fill with desire and he croons, “you’re the only one who can make me feel alive again."

they’re on the couch, harry lying back comfortably against an armrest stacked with pillows, wearing nothing but his jeans. electro is crouched above him, lured there by harry’s needy eyes and lips and the promise of getting to use his talents in a way he never has before.

when electro looks down at harry, he sees inside his body a whole city of light, a highway of neural connections and electrical pathways that runs through every inch of him. electro’s fingers are drawn to harry’s center, the source of it all, the power plant behind his ribs that’s pulsing with energy. it’s so bright and alluring that it’s just begging to be played with. electro can feel the vibrations of its movement, see the effect of each pump both outside and inside harry’s chest. this single organ and the sparks that stimulate it are what keep all the other lights from flickering out. and that just makes it all the more enticing.

electro looks at and into the man beneath him and knows his statement is not true. he’s not dead, not with all this inside him. this thing electro can see, this glowing system of brain and nerves and spinal cord, is harry’s life. and with his hand held above the beating organ in harry’s chest, feeling each electrical impulse rippling across it, that life is completely in electro’s control.

"you’re not dead until i say you are," electro says, and touches his fingers to harry’s skin.

with a single jolt, harry’s heart stops completely, forgetting how to beat in the absence of its natural electrical signals. harry makes a choked sound and his eyes gloss over as the lights inside him go out all at once like a power outage, and for a long moment electro is the only living thing in the room. but then he touches harry again, zaps his heart back into action and harry gasps suddenly and his insides light up again.

harry can feel his heart hammering, frenzied and erratic, against his ribs. he raises a shaking hand to press into his chest for a moment and feel it pound as he takes shuddering breaths, tasting life again on his parted lips.

instead of being scared or shocked harry is elated. sickness and psychosis had dulled his senses for so long that he’d forgotten what it felt like to really breathe. but as soon as he can no longer feel electro’s power thrumming in his veins, his desire for it surges through him in its absence and he looks at electro with a wild grin.

“do it again.”

each shock of death and life makes harry more and more excited. the electricity crackles over his chest and leaves marks of red and purple to complement his sores of green but harry pays no mind, so engrossed in the thrill of it to realize the consequences, realize that he’s getting weaker with each revival. he’s desperate, greedy as he pleads for another shock with a dry-lipped smile.

but while harry's excitement increases, electro grows bored. he’s sure that there’s more he can do here, different ways he can control harry’s body. he's not just here to please harry - he's here to control him with his power. he likes stopping harry’s heart, but he wonders what he can do to change it instead, make it play by his rules. he hovers his hand an inch over harry’s skin, closing his eyes to feel each electrical pulse move from node to node, telling harry’s heart when to contract to properly circulate blood through his body. it’s pumping quickly, still not slowed from being repeatedly shocked back to life, causing harry to keep up an open-mouthed pant to provide it with oxygen. electro looks up at harry, keeps his gaze on him while he begins to manipulate the impulses in his heart, space them further apart, force his heart to slow despite his body’s insistence that it go fast.

harry gives a soft whimper when he feels his heart slowing in his chest. he knows his excitement should be making it go faster, not slower. “w-woah. what are you doing?”

"slow down, harry," electro intones, spacing the impulses further apart with each beat.

harry’s breath is slowing with his heart rate, and his eyelids begin to droop with tranquility as he inhales and exhales deeply. he can feel each sluggish beat of his heart inside him in a way he could never feel its fast pounding - as a wave, a slow calm ripple in his chest every few seconds. as the gap between each beat grows, he finds himself unable to focus on anything else.

by the time his heart rate drops below 10 beats a minute harry isn’t even sure if he’s conscious anymore. his eyes fall shut and he can’t feel the rest of his body - numb eternity exists in the endless space between beats and every time the organ contracts he is acutely aware of its existence and relishes it, craves the feeling of its motion in his otherwise motionless body.

eventually the space between beats gets so long that harry stops breathing at all, and electro sees his lights begin to fade. before they go out, however, electro manipulates the impulses again and harry’s heart beats once, twice, three times fast, jumping back to life inside him and harry gasps, eyes flying open, as its pace picks up impossibly fast under electro’s control. there’s barely any space between beats now, just one continuous motion, and harry struggles for breath to feed its increased pace, chest rising and falling spastically with his lungs’ rapid expansion.

"holy shit -"

electro’s lips curl into a smile at harry’s reaction and he forces the impulses to go faster, adding his own sparks to cause some extra erratic beats.

harry gasps and shakes beneath electro, his heart pounding fit to explode. each beat racks his body like an earthquake and he almost expects the organ to crack his ribs and burst out of his body. his extremities twitch with the blood coursing in them and as electro continues to speed his heart well past 200 beats per minute his whole limbs shake, his torso jumps with the force of his heart and the powerful shocks electro is pouring into it to make it beat inhumanly fast. it’s all he can hear, all he can feel, and he loses himself in its thundering.

then electro pours a bit too much electricity into him, and his heart just stops.

electro backs off, looking at the limp body lying on the couch, devoid of light. harry’s head is lolled to the side, no pulse beating in his exposed throat. electro wonders if he’s gone too far - pushed harry’s limits too much. he rubs his palms together to gather sparks and presses both crackling hands to harry's bare chest, recalling what harry had said before he did the same thing to that man at oscorp - clear. harry’s back arches but he falls back into the couch, still lifeless. electro tries again with the same result, then decides that if harry’s body won’t restart itself he’ll have to restart it for him. he knows how it works by now - he’s observed and manipulated and flowed through harry’s nervous system before. he can surely bring it all back to life on his own.

he starts with a hand over the heart, sends little impulses across it like it would naturally. the organ responds, begins to beat again faintly, hesitantly, moving blood through the otherwise lifeless body. he sends shockwaves up and down harry’s spine next by slipping a hand around the back of his neck, stimulating his nervous system to feel again. as both hands continue to press into harry’s skin and send regular waves of electricity through his body to keep his lights going electro leans in and presses his lips to harry’s forehead, sparking the neurons in his brain. harry’s eyes open then, bloodshot and terrified, and he makes a strangled noise of shock and pain as electro pulls back, letting go of his neck but keeping his hand on his heart to keep sending impulses through it, afraid it might stop again without his help.

one of harry’s trembling hands clasps over electro’s on his chest, too numb to even feel pain when static pricks his skin. he still isn’t exactly sure what happened, but he can guess - he’d died there, actually died, but now he was alive again, and he knew who to thank.

"you brought me back," harry rasps out, throat dry and sore.

"i told you, you’re not dead until i say you are."

electro lifts his hand from harry’s chest and harry tries to cling to it, pull it back, but he’s too weak. his own hand falls back onto his chest in the spot electro just vacated and he feels the hot, burnt skin there and the regular, rhythmic beats of his heart, pumping on its own again.

“that was amazing,” harry says, a weak smile finding its way back to his face. “max, you’re amazing.”

"no more tonight," electro says, and it’s an order, not meant to be debated. “how do you feel?”

“better than i have in years,” harry tells him. his nerves are still tingling and stinging from overstimulation and his chest aches like it's been hit with a battering ram but harry can only smile and close his eyes in bliss. despite all the pain, he feels rejuvenated, reborn.

harry falls asleep shortly after that, finally letting his exhausted body rest. electro stays with him the rest of the night, just to make sure his lights keep glowing.