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Although Elliott had no prior experience with being kidnapped, he was fairly certain the captor wasn’t supposed to make their captive breakfast. He also had it on good authority that sadistic, partially mechanical hunters who were famous for their efficiency when it came to killing especially weren’t supposed to do domestic things... ever, and they certainly weren’t supposed to hum while doing so. 

It wasn’t that he was surprised Bloodhound needed to eat, just more so that he pictured them roasting some poor creature over a fire instead of using something so painfully ordinary as a stove to boil water. He’d seen that they had a kitchen when he’d tried to tear out through the front door, but it still seemed odd that they ever did anything so human as making food. It was easier to pretend they weren’t human and instead some horrible force of nature that he had to contend with. Nearly every time he’d seen Bloodhound it had ended with him trying not to cry and then failing miserably, usually after they’d broken something or drawn blood. When they’d brought him upstairs, he figured they’d at least tie him to a chair and make sure he couldn’t run or try and attack them. Instead they had their back to him while they fiddled around in the kitchen and left him to sit alone at the table. 

Whether it meant they saw him as no real threat or they were daring him to try to make a move and give them an excuse, Elliott wasn’t sure. They seemed content to ignore him and continued humming, leaving Elliott to fidget uncontrollably as he waited for something to happen. They hadn’t said a word as they’d carried him up the ladder and brought him into the spare room he’d first woken up in. He’d been shivering the whole time, pressing himself to their chest to try leech some of their body heat. The cellar was freezing and he had wanted to break down sobbing when they finally took him out, but had settled instead for looking up at them with teary eyes and going limp when they touched him. Bloodhound wasn’t small by any means, but he’d still underestimated how strong they actually were. They had carried him with ease and didn’t struggle at all with setting him down on the edge of the bed. It looked effortless, and Elliott knew he didn’t want to find out what it would feel like as he realized how much they must have been holding back all the times they’d beaten him. 

Once they’d put him down, they’d gestured to the closet and told him to put clothes on and meet them in the kitchen. Elliott had sat there in stunned silence for a moment before he’d pulled himself back together and gotten dressed. The light in the cabin was dim even with the few electric lights there were, and nearly all the curtains were drawn. He figured they must have had a generator or something nearby, which made sense since he imagined all their gadgetry needed some kind of power to work. The bulbs however seemed half dead, either flickering in and out or dull enough to cast long shadows on the wall behind him. Candles decorated the tables with melted wax and smelled lightly of honey when he’d examined them.

 It was still extremely strange seeing them without the layers of green cloth or their full mask. It was another human-like thing that they did, and it was unnerving for reasons he didn’t quite understand. They wore a cut-off shirt and loose cargo pants that were covered in various patches and dark thread where seams had been stitched shut. Without anything covering their sides, he saw even more of the tubes creeping under their skin and in between their ribs. A pair of black bands were visible under their silver hair that must have kept the mask affixed to their face. He could catch glimpses of it when they’d turn slightly, black metal in stark contrast to their pale skin. The only open curtains were a small set in the kitchen, but he couldn’t see anything as daylight was nowhere to be found. The glow from the lamps reflected their face in the window and Elliott swore they looked… content. From what he’d seen their emotions ranged from destructive, violent anger to just looking pleased with whatever work they’d done, so it was strange to see anything else on their face. 

Elliott jumped when they turned around and walked towards the table, worried they’d caught him staring. He kept his eyes fixed on the table in front of him in case such an act had been somewhere in the rules that he’d forgotten. It was hard to keep track of everything they’d told him and even harder trying to remember what they said he’d forgotten. He wasn’t sure how long he’d been in the dark, but he’d put all his energy into remembering the reasons for all the scars and had little left for anything else. His stomach ached from being so hungry and his throat felt scratchy and raw. Trying to gauge time down there was impossible and trying to count the minutes had been maddening, so he’d stopped to focus on remembering. 

Hound slid a plate in front of him and took the seat across from him, a mug of something steaming in their hands. Elliott could smell it even across the table, and the scent of coffee was unmistakable. He must have made a face, because they smiled as they took a sip. 

“One of the few luxuries I afford myself,” they explained. 

Unsure of what to say, he just nodded and turned his attention to the food in front of him. Some kind of orange, dried fruit along with what he assumed was jerky was all he’d been given, but just seeing it made his mouth water. He popped one of the fruits into his mouth and couldn’t help a happy sigh from how sweet it tasted. It wasn’t anything fancy, but they could have placed anything in front of him and it probably would have tasted divine. For a moment he forgot everything that had been racing through his mind and just focused on how happy he was to have something so small as food. The jerky wasn’t tough like he’d expected, and the saltiness along with the sugary fruit was perfect. He couldn’t get it down quickly enough, not caring how it looked and instead wishing he could eat faster.

Until he heard them shift in their chair, Elliott had forgotten who it was sitting across from him. He looked up sheepishly, half expecting their face to have fallen and turned into a sneer. Instead, they had their elbow on the table and were resting their cheek on their hand, just watching him silently. Elliott felt like some kind of animal put on display, and couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable under the weight of their gaze. The lack of eyes was still unsettling, making their face nearly impossible to read if they didn’t want him to. From what he could make out, they still looked slightly amused, the corner of their mouth slightly upturned. He leaned back in his chair, moving his head away so he didn’t have to look into the glass. As soon as he did, they spoke, “I am sorry that I had nothing else, not that you seem to mind.”

“N-no,” he stammered, afraid he seemed ungrateful, “It was good, thank you.”

“You are very welcome.”

They slid their chair back and stood, grabbing his plate and placing it on the counter by the window. They swiveled back around to face him as they crossed their arms over their chest and leaned into the counter, looking back at him. “You have been quiet,” they noted.

Elliott nodded, trying to gauge whether or not that counted as something he could respond to freely. Not talking was alien to him as he’d always been the chatty person who most complained never knew when to shut his mouth when it was good for him. Bloodhound seemed pleased, and he perked up a bit when he realized he’d made the right choice. 

“It seems I have found something that you finally understand,” they mused, “Quite a nasty punishment though, is it not?”

They gestured towards him, giving him permission to respond. 

“Yeah, it’s not exactly fun.”

 “Not for you, no.”

Their face grew more serious, and Elliott could already feel himself shaking in fear. He didn’t want to go back down there, unsure if he’d last another hour alone in the dark. “I still must do something because you were so slow in responding, but I will make you a deal.”

Elliott listened attentively, willing to do anything if it would keep him in the light. 

“You have asked me before why I have chosen you, correct?”

He nodded.

“If you do exactly as I say when I punish you, and be a good boy, I will answer that question.”

Elliott leaned forward, hanging on to every word.

“If you chose not to listen, you go back down. Am I understood?”

Elliott nodded as enthusiastically as he could, certain that nothing they would do would be worse than being thrown back into the basement. He didn’t care if they wanted to continue to carve up his face or beat him senseless. Anything would pale in comparison, and if he’d survived being down there for as long as he felt it had been, he could deal with whatever they wanted to do. 

“Before all of that,” they gestured at the door, “Come with me, you must do something else first.”

Whatever was outside, Elliott wasn’t sure if he wanted to find out. He’d only stepped outside briefly before they’d dragged him back like he’d weighed nothing, and the prospect of being out in the forest in the dark wasn’t very appealing. After they’d slipped on their boots, they dug around into a bag they’d slung over their shoulder trying to find something in the bottom of it. A sense of relief washed over him when they pulled out a flashlight and handed it to him before opening the door. The urge to dash past them wasn’t there, instead replaced by confusion as to what they could possibly want that was out there. He gulped and headed through the open door, goosebumps rising on his arms when he was suddenly very aware of Hound standing behind him. They put a hand on his shoulder and steered him towards a small path off to the side of the house. “Follow this. Do not worry, I will not let you wander off and get lost.”

The words didn’t feel as innocent as Hound tried to make them sound, but the last thing he wanted to do was run through an unfamiliar forest, at night, with what most people considered to be the Frontier’s greatest tracker, who would probably have no qualms with throwing a knife in the back of his knee. Though they followed closely, despite his best efforts, Elliott couldn’t hear them moving at all. There was no dirt shifting under their boots or the sounds of the ferns scraping against their legs. It didn’t even seem like they were breathing, even though Elliott knew how impossible that was. Something about they way they moved countered how human they’d been acting earlier, as it shouldn’t have been possible to move like that. He remembered the first time they’d ever met. He’d been crawling across the ground when he’d heard their breathing, the slow, quiet, mechanical sound that had shaken him to the core. They didn’t have their full mask on, but Elliott wondered if it had been deliberate, to scare him even more so he wouldn’t be able to think straight. 

His hand ached, remembering that day in the ring and he shook it off as he kept walking. The flashlight wasn’t very bright, but it kept him from stumbling over the myriad of tree roots or getting swatted with a low hanging branch. Most of the trees were covered in layers of green moss with curtains of it dangling in the path. Ferns covered the ground and rose almost to Bloodhound’s height. With only the dim light he wasn’t able to see the tops of the trees as the canopy blocked out most of the light from the moon, which made it impossible to tell where the trees actually ended and the sky even began. The air was thick with a cold humidity that sunk into his skin and he wrapped his arms tightly to his chest as he walked.  

Something about the forest seemed… off. It was hard to pinpoint exactly what it was, as Elliott had never been the outdoorsman of his family. He’d been the social butterfly who thrived in big cities where there was always someone to show off to or chat up, and the forest didn’t exactly make for thrilling conversation. Now though, everything still just seemed too quiet. There were no birds, no insects chittering or things darting away into the underbrush. It felt like he was alone yet somehow had a million eyes staring out at him from places unseen. Bloodhound’s presence at his back was unforgettable but it felt like the forest was holding its breath, afraid to make even the slightest of noises. 

I wonder if everything out there is scared of them too…

When Elliott finally heard a noise in the distance he was filled with a strange sense of relief for a break in the deafening silence. It was a dull roar that got louder with each step he took. The trees finally parted to show a stream of clear water trickling downhill back into the dark. Bloodhound brushed against his shoulder as they walked past, sitting on a rock and starting to undo the laces on their boots. “Elliott, come here.”

He obeyed silently, trying not to lose his balance on the sharp rocks that made up the bank. Bloodhound set their shoes aside and let out a happy sigh when they dipped their feet into the water, looking back at him and waving him forward. Before he spoke, he awkwardly pointed at his mouth, afraid to ask for permission verbally in case it broke the rule. It wasn’t hard to see Bloodhound due to the blue glow under their skin, lighting up their face so he could see when they nodded. “Uh… What… what are we doing here?”

“You have been down in the basement for quite a long time,” they said, half covering their mouth with their hand like they were trying to stifle a laugh, “And not to be crude, but you do not smell good.”

Elliott felt his face grow hot, embarrassed despite the circumstances. Suddenly grateful for the lack of light, he grimaced as he ran his hand through his hair and felt how greasy it was. He placed the flashlight on the ground and peeled off his shirt. He couldn’t help but feel self-conscious, despite the fact that Hound seeing him naked wasn’t a new thing, but he didn’t want to hesitate since they’d told him to do something and the threat of being thrown into the basement again loomed over him. He dropped his clothes in a pile on the rocks and padded his way over to the water, arms crossed over his chest to ward off the cold. 

“Jesus Christ!”

Elliott couldn’t stop himself from cursing as he jerked his foot back from the water’s surface. It was ice cold and hit him like a punch to the face. He remembered going camping as a boy when his brothers had shoved him headfirst into a mountain lake, and he’d almost drowned when he’d frozen up in the water and couldn’t swim. This water was just slightly warmer, but cold enough that the goosebumps on his arms rose and he was already shivering. A familiar deep, rich laugh sounded behind him, and he knew it was Bloodhound’s directed at his expense. He was relieved they weren’t angry by him speaking, but he had to resist the urge to tell them to go shove it anyway. It was even harder to force himself to take a step into the water, and then another until he’d waded in up to his waist. Grumbling, he knelt down in the water and braced himself as he dunked his head under and did his best to wash out his hair. The cold seemed to sap every last bit of heat he had left, but he kept his head submerged until his cheeks went numb. 

Wet strands of dark hair clung to his face as he brought his head up, flopping in front of his eyes and obscuring his vision. He grunted in annoyance and brushed the offending locks away, looking back towards where Bloodhound was sitting. Like in the kitchen they were just staring at him, resting their arm on their knees and not trying to hide it as they watched his every move. Elliott did his best to not look bothered by it and rubbed at a streak of dirt on his arm a bit too intently. His nails were filthy but he did his best to scrape the dirt from underneath them and rinse away any that he could see on his body. He splashed a bit more water on his face to rinse away the dried blood, and frowned when he ran his hands over his cheeks. Usually, he was rather meticulous when it came to keeping his facial hair trimmed and neat, but it had grown out and for a moment he worried about it looking shaggy and unkempt. When he heard the sounds of water splashing, he snapped out of it and turned towards the source of the noise. Bloodhound had gotten out of the water and was putting their socks back on. He took it as a sign that they were ready to go, and he was grateful when he stepped out of the icy water and Bloodhound chucked a towel at his head from the bag they carried. 

He hurriedly threw his clothes back on and went back to the path, peeking his head over his shoulder to make sure Bloodhound was trailing behind. They waved him on and he turned back to focus on the uneven ground ahead, doing his best to ignore the feeling of eyes on him that followed the entire walk back to the cabin.


“What exactly are we doing?” asked Elliott nervously.

 “I am going to answer your question Kærr, the one you asked me last night. I decided it would be easier to show you rather than tell.”

Elliott glanced at the plastic sheet that had been placed on top of the bed and the floor-length mirror that had been set down across from it. He could catch himself in the reflection of it, shuffling his feet uncomfortably as Bloodhound moved across the room. Their face was a blank mask, absent of any of the mirth they’d shown earlier. “Take off your clothes and get on the bed.”

He stifled the questions that bubbled up his throat and did as he was told, trying to silence the warning bells that rang incessantly in his ears. He lowered his gaze timidly and sat on the bed as instructed, waiting quietly for his next set of instructions. 

“Get on all fours, facing the mirror.”

The plastic crinkled as he brought his legs over the side of the bed and crawled over to the middle, keeping his eyes lowered so he didn’t have to look at his reflection. 

“Do you remember what I told you earlier?”

He nodded.

“Say it, so I know you understand.”

“If I listen and be a good boy you’ll answer the question, but you have to punish me first.”

He tried not to curl his lips at the mention of being a good boy, the condescending words sounding awkward as they left his mouth. 

Bloodhound’s face didn’t change as they responded simply, “Good. Now, do not move.”

Panic ignited in his chest when they pulled a small knife from the belt of their pants and stepped onto the bed. His muscles tensed involuntarily, urging him to kick them away and make a break for the door. He inhaled deeply, trying to ease out the stress from his body and prepare himself for whatever they were about to do. 

They rubbed their thumb against the blade, testing its sharpness as they spoke. “Some of the scars I have gifted you I admit, are rather ugly. The one on your hand has left it looking rather mangled, and the bullet holes are not my favorite. But, I think it is time I gave you another, one that I will enjoy seeing. I will take my time with this, as you chose to take your time answering me in the basement. If you flinch or pull away, you go back. Noise is permitted, but do not cry. Understand?”

Elliott exhaled a shaky breath and nodded, biting down on his tongue to prepare himself as best he could. Bloodhound pressed the knife into the skin near the base of his spine, pushing until the tip pierced the skin with a soft pop. With little muscle to impede it, the knife bit into the thinly-stretched skin until they were satisfied with the depth of the blade. Elliott clenched his jaw as tightly as he could until it felt like it would creak under the pressure. He was determined to keep his mouth shut and not give them the satisfaction of hearing him in pain, even if it meant chomping holes into his tongue. They slowly pulled the knife to the left, carving an upwards curve deep into his flesh. His body urged him to curl up and protect himself from the pain, but he just dug his nails into the palms of his hands until the small crescent moon shapes filled with blood. 

Bloodhound looked extremely focused, grabbing his hip with their free hand as they continued to cut some sort of design into his lower back. The knife seemed to leave a trail of fire wherever it touched, sending wave after wave of searing pain up his back and down into his legs. Blood leaked down his sides in warm, red trails, dripping onto the plastic and splashing his legs where the droplets hit. A small stream flowed down over the curve of his ass, running uncomfortably down his balls. Suppressing the tremors that threatened to overtake his body was an exhausting task, but Elliott was desperate not to go back down into the basement, no matter how long this took. He raised his head slightly to see how far along they were, but they shoved his head roughly back down into the bed and pushed the knife in deeper. This time, he couldn’t help but howl in agony as it tore through the skin just above his ass, moving steadily back up to where they’d made the first incision. It was impossible to get away from the pain as they scraped away bits of his flesh, sliding the knife over the broken skin to separate it and saw through the tough sinew that stood in its way. Each stroke of the knife forced out another scream between his clenched teeth, tearing it from his chest as they ripped through the layers of muscle tissue.   

He was bleeding a lot more now, gauging by the amount of blood that he heard splattering against the plastic. The gash ached horribly, and the knife tugged uncomfortably as they withdrew it, sending a cascade of blood down his ass. It pressed down again, this time back into the wound and pulled straight down, close enough to the bone Elliott swore he felt it scrape it as it cut. Bloodhound’s hand never shook and their grasp on his hip never lessened, their attention solely on whatever they were scarring onto his body. Sickening, wet tearing noises filled the room as they twisted the knife to gouge what felt like a circle into the center of the design. Elliott wanted to vomit hearing them, remembering for a moment how he’d heard similar noises before when Bloodhound had slit a young girl’s throat right in front of him. He remembered tasting her blood when they’d forced him to clean it off their glove, and how they’d painted it on his face like a warrior’s stripe afterwards. 

When the knife was finally pulled from his lower back, Elliott nearly collapsed forward onto the bed. His legs were cramping from being so tense and his arms barely had any strength left to hold his body up. He couldn’t stop them from shaking now, and he prayed it wouldn’t be enough for them to throw him aside and make all the pain worth nothing. They gently lifted his head back up and stroked his hair, the blank mask replaced with one of pride. “Good boy. You handled that very well, Kærr. I am impressed. Would you like to see my new gift?”

“Yes,” he croaked weakly, tongue further swollen from biting down on it so hard.

They pulled his hips higher up so he could see the design in the mirror when he lowered his head. As they wiped away the blood steadily oozing from the wound, he saw what looked to be an eye staring back at him. Instead of an inner circle however, a reticle was carved inside the oval with thick, curved lines around it. Elliott wasn’t sure exactly what it was, but Bloodhound looked down at him happily, so he was just grateful it was done and over with. He was about to ask if they’d finally answer his question when they slowly traced their finger down his spine, over the cuts and down between his asscheeks. Their touch was feather light, but it was enough to bring out a small whimper that made them smile. His nerve endings felt like they were all on fire after the ordeal and Elliott hadn’t realized how sensitive his skin now was, but he suspected Bloodhound had planned this from the beginning. 

As their finger brushed over his hole they pushed against him slightly, grazing his entrance and pulling his hips back so he couldn’t shy away. Their fingers were covered in blood, so when they pushed one in up to their first knuckle, there was little resistance. Elliott clenched his hands into the plastic as they slowly withdrew their finger, only to push back in ever-so-slightly deeper than before. He buried his face as far into the bed as far as it could go to hide the flush of his cheeks and how he was biting his lip to stop from moaning. Bloodhound’s finger sunk in deeper, teasing him open with a crooked finger until he couldn’t help but groan. He could feel himself growing hard, the pain mixing bliss as their finger stroked his prostate. He mewled in protest when they removed their finger but quickly stopped, instead letting out a breathless sound when he felt something hard press against him instead. 

Bloodhound hadn’t fucked him since their first encounter. Before they’d dug their fingers inside his gunshot wound and he’d learned how sadistic they truly were, he’d fantasized about it happening again. When they’d taken him in the ring it had been an experience he was worried he’d never have again, since he couldn’t imagine anyone else fucking him with the same intensity as they had. The fear that he was going to die had just made him come harder, even if he’d never admit it to himself. They hadn’t felt real, but Elliott had been hooked and he remembered desperately begging them to continue despite the horror of the situation. Even though it had probably led to the mess he was in now, Elliott had wondered if it was worth it, and he knew he’d be lying to himself if he said he hadn’t hoped for it again. There was just something about them that was undeniably irresistible, even if he wasn’t sure exactly what his feelings towards them were. He’d never seen their entire face, but their body was something out of a dream he was excited to experience again. 

His inner walls stretched painfully as they pulled him onto their cock, but it was a burn he happily accepted if it meant getting fucked by them again. Bloodhound muttered something softly under their breath as they pushed their entire length in, a smile creeping onto their face. They rocked against him slowly, the blood making him slick enough that they could thrust into him with ease. 

Fuck …” Elliott breathed, voice strained. 

Elliott had always been bashful when it came to his own moans, embarrassed of how his voice would go squeaky and high pitched, especially when he was close to coming. It wasn’t something he could help, but Bloodhound didn’t seem to mind as they picked up their pace. They slammed into his hips with enough force that he whimpered with each thrust, the pain of forcing him to accommodate their size along with how deep they were going rendering him unable to remain quiet. He’d always been noisy, and the more noise he made the harder they went, digging their fingers into his hip with enough force that he knew there’d be bruises there the next morning. He was happy the bedsheets were muffling his cries, but when Bloodhound grabbed his hair and forced him up they rang out loud enough to make him blush. 

“Look at yourself, Kærr.”

The suddenness of the demand caught him off guard, but Bloodhound twisted their fingers into his hair and pulled hard enough to force his eyes open. “ Look at yourself, Elliott. See how much you love this ,” they hissed. 

Elliott was ashamed to see himself in the mirror. He seemed completely caught up in the moment, cheeks a bright cherry red while his mouth made borderline obscene sounds. “Look how much you love it when I fuck you. Such cries like this, you cannot deny it.”

Bloodhound leaned in close so they could whisper, hot breath tickling his ear and neck. “Listen to yourself, moaning like a whore. Such a beautiful face. Such a beautiful body. Such a perfect little toy.

“You asked why I picked you, but how was I supposed to resist such a temptation?” they asked, voice gravelly with arousal. Elliott couldn’t look away from his own reflection. He saw the scars on both corners of his mouth, how his face was screwed up in pleasure and how it only turned him on more to see what a mess they’d made of him. How quickly they’d broken him down from a proud man to someone that had begged for them to continue and was so grateful to have that wish granted.  

“That sweet mouth and the lovely sounds it makes, and how good it looks when I fuck it.”

Elliott remembered when they’d forced their cock down his throat, and how now all he could think about was how he wanted them to do it again. How he wanted to taste them, how he wanted them sing praises to him if he did a good job or just pin his head against a wall if he didn’t go fast enough.

They dug their nails into his hip, and Elliott cried out in pain, snapping out of his dream. “Perfect skin that bruises and breaks so easily for me. A body that practically begs to be touched and gives in even when you do not want it to. I can see on your face when you feel shame, and yet you will give up for me anyway. I just had to have you Kærr, I had to have you so no one else could.”

Elliott could feel a pressure building, getting close to coming even though he hadn’t touched himself at all. Their words, as degrading as they were, just added to the fire that had flared up in his groin and made it burn brighter. They pulled their nails from his skin and wrapped their hand around his throat, crushing the air out of him until he felt dizzy. “What are you, Elliott?”

“A…” Elliott could barely choke out the words, could barely believe he was even saying them, “A... whore.”

“Good boy, and whose whore are you?


Bloodhound’s grin was animalistic at best, but seeing their face twist up as they cursed and squeezed his throat harder only brought him closer. They pushed him off the edge completely when they sunk their teeth into the side of his neck, and he barely had enough air to call out their name before losing himself to the wave of pleasure that crashed down on him. His whole body clenched as he lost himself in it, which was enough to drive Bloodhound to finish soon after as they came deep inside him, clutching his throat like a lifeline. Only moments before the darkness that had collected in the corners of his vision swallowed him completely did they let him go and push him down into the sheet, gasping for air. 

They pulled out and sat back on the bed, panting from the exertion. Elliott could barely move, only managing to pull himself up on his elbows so he could breathe freely without the plastic smothering him. He could already feel the bruises on his neck, and the eye on his lower back was still bleeding, mixing the blood with the cum that leaked down the backs of his thighs. His neck was bleeding too, perfect holes where their canines had broken through. He felt the bed behind him shift and Bloodhound slid off it before kneeling down in front of him. The look on their face was wild, a devilish grin that made his heart race even in his exhausted state. They placed their hands on his cheeks and kissed him, every bit as harsh and as deeply as they’d fucked him, and Elliott wanted to lose himself in it. The warmth of their lips, the hunger behind the kiss, the smell of woodsmoke that clung to them and the passion behind everything they did to him. Elliott prayed the moment would last, savoring the tinny taste of his blood on their tongue and how soft their lips were. Their very essence was addicting, and it was a high Elliott was grateful to experience. 

They finally broke off and Elliott licked up the blood they’d smeared on his lip, still trying to catch his breath in case they stole it away again. “Thank you,” he whispered, head drooping in their hands. They placed a final kiss on the top of his head before they stood back up and walked out the door, flicking the light off as they went. Elliott didn’t have the strength or endurance to roll onto his wounded back, so he instead, bloodied and bruised, laid his head down on the bed and sighed. He curled up as best he could and drifted off slowly into a peaceful, dreamless sleep, too exhausted to do anything else, but content nonetheless.