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Stardust

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Annie and Jack had talked about this, so many times, but when Jack sat down across from her on their bed and she presented her hands to him, he still looked at her questioningly, those beautiful dark eyes wider than usual.

"I want to," Annie said, and she meant it, even though her voice was shaking slightly. "Jack, please."

The scissors were within reach: it was entirely possible that her idea wouldn't work and he'd need to cut her loose quickly. They'd discussed all the things that could possibly happen, from panic attacks to flashbacks to nightmares, but Annie was determined to at least try. After all, she had already managed to get on a bus—she had just ridden it for one stop, trembling in Jack's arms the entire time, but she'd done it. And in Annie's opinion, it was high time they started tackling the issue of her having been chained up by the terrorist.

Jack took her proffered hands in his, kissed her knuckles, and then he started to wrap the rope around her wrists. His movements were slow, deliberate, and he looked up at her face in regular intervals, searching for confirmation that she was doing okay.

Annie waited for the telltale signs of panic inside her body: the feeling of nausea, the shiver down her spine, the sensation of the world crashing down on her, but none were forthcoming. This wasn't anything like what had happened on that subway car.

She gave Jack a nod every time he looked at her, and then suddenly, sooner than expected, her wrists were bound together tightly. They both looked at Jack's handiwork, then at each other.

Annie tried to move her arms but couldn't, and found she enjoyed the feeling very much.

For a moment, the room was very silent, then Annie started to laugh. They'd discussed all the bad things that could possibly happen, and had entirely neglected to discuss what they'd do if she liked it.

"So, what now, officer?"

The mirth in her voice was contagious, and Jack grinned back at her. He didn't need to ask how she was feeling, it was obvious.

"You want some more?"

Annie nodded with enthusiasm.

"Uh-huh."

"What do we say?"

Oh. Annie loved this game.

"Please, Sir," she said, still smiling, "Could you also tie my ankles?"

Jack looked at her with a serious expression, which Annie always thought of as his "tough cop" face. She never failed to be impressed by how easily he could hide his feelings beneath this mask: Annie herself never managed to be serious when they played like this, she was always having too much fun. It was incredibly hot, seeing her boyfriend like this, his dark eyes exuding such effortless power that the sight never failed to make her shiver.

"Sure, ma'am," Jack told her. "Lie back for me."

There were two ways of Jack calling her ma'am: he somehow managed to make the word sound completely different depending on who of them was in control for a particular evening. Sometimes, Annie felt as though it wasn't even the same word at all, that he must be saying something else entirely, but no, he always called her ma'am.

Annie made herself comfortable on the bed, which was harder than expected without the use of her hands. She managed to lie on her back, however, without any major problems. Thankfully, this hadn't been a very difficult task.

Jack gently positioned her legs so he could bind her ankles together, the intensity of his touches dampened by the leggings Annie was still wearing. The original idea had been for Annie to be clothed so that if she did have a panic attack, she wouldn't find herself panicking naked.

While that had, undoubtedly, been a good idea, Annie wouldn't have minded if Jack had undressed her. Yet she could not deny that there was something comforting about being clothed right now, like the whole thing almost wasn't sexual. She'd been sure it was, for a moment, but now she was less certain whether this was where they were going right now.

The act of the ropes being tied in place was surprisingly sensual: Jack's hands were gentle, and he worked slowly, often caressing her legs, and checking in with her from time to time with that intense look he always had.

He knew her well enough by now to know that as long as she was smiling, Annie was always a-okay. And she was smiling, relaxing into the sensation of being taken care of, of giving him this power over her body.

Not for the first time, she was amazed at the fact that Jack and her fit so well together, that they both liked taking care of each other and being taken care of, that it always felt so right, so natural, no matter who was taking on which role. Not that they always played like this: there were plenty of times when they just wanted to fuck without all the time-consuming flair, and Annie loved those encounters just as much.

Jack finished restraining her ankles, tying one last knot and then checking his work critically. Annie tried to move her legs apart experimentally: the ropes didn't give.

For a moment, Annie wanted to curse that horrible man who had made her fear this, who had made her avoid this for months and months for fear of having a panic attack, who had kept her from something she was realizing she actually enjoyed very much. But these contemplations were useless and she made herself push them aside; no matter how much she hated him, her own negative emotions couldn't do anything to change the past. What was done was done, and the best thing she could do to spite him was to reclaim her power and her pleasure and her life.

"Sir?"

He looked at her with those beautiful dark eyes, and Annie could feel her heart melting a little. He still had this effect on her, every time, it amazed her when she thought about it.

"Yes, ma'am?"

"Could you hold me?"

The crinkles around his eyes were always the first thing that broke through Jack's tough cop persona, before anything else. Annie could see them now, too, they made his whole face look gentler.

"Of course," he promised, and took her into his arms.

Annie put her arms around Jack's shoulders, her bound wrists behind his head—it reminded her vaguely of their embrace on the subway, but that seemed so far away now, as though years had passed.

Jack knew just how to hug her: as tightly as he could. Which was very tight, all things considered, thanks to his toned body and his arms which were approximately as big as Annie's thighs. That wasn't just because of his job, either; Jack genuinely enjoyed working out.

Annie needed this sometimes, feeling like her ribs were being crushed in his arms, it made her feel so wonderfully safe. She exhaled slowly against his shoulder, breathed in his scent, tightened her own arms around him as much as she could. The angle was awkward due to the restraints and she couldn't get a good grip on him, but she knew Jack wouldn't mind. On the contrary, he probably appreciated the effort.

"You okay, Annie?" Jack asked her quietly after a while. "Want me to untie you?"

Annie shook her head against his shoulder, a smile on her face.

"Quite the opposite, actually..."

Jack loosened his embrace a little so he could run his fingers through her hair, caress her temple, her cheek, the lobe of her ear. Annie leaned into his touch with a soundless sigh.

"I want to be all tied up, so that I can't move at all. And then I want you to take me into your arms like you're doing right now."

Annie could feel Jack's chuckle against her chest more than she could actually hear it.

"Alright, ma'am. I hope we have enough rope."

Jack sat her down on the bed again, and inwardly, Annie bemoaned the loss of his touch—but unfortunately, she just had the one body, and she couldn't be in his arms and have him tie her up at the same time.

"You want to keep your clothes on?"

"Yes, Sir."

Annie had made the choice the instant he'd asked, and she knew it was the right one. Right now, what she needed wasn't sex.

"I want to bind your arms behind your back. That something you want?"

This thought had actually also crossed her own mind. Annie nodded fervently.

"Yes, Sir."

Jack took his time: first, he opened the knots that held her wrists together, the movements of his fingers slow but steady, and once again, Annie relaxed into the sensation of being cared for, of being loved.

When her arms were freed, they changed their positions so that Jack was behind her, and Annie was sitting up on her knees, her back straight. Jack brushed Annie's hair behind her ear and leaned his head over her shoulder to kiss her cheek, making Annie smile once more.

"I love you," he whispered, his breath ghosting over the skin of her ear, making her shiver delightfully.

"I love you," Annie replied, her own voice just as low.

Jack gently took her arms, arranged them behind her back. The feeling was new and exciting and strangely comforting at the same time. Again, she realized that she enjoyed this a lot: giving Jack this control over her body.

"You comfortable?"

Annie supposed Jack was talking about the way her arms were positioned, but no matter whether he meant that or her general state, the answer was the same. She nodded.

"Yes, Sir."

Jack bound her arms again. Like before, her wrists were touching, but her hands were opposite each other now, each palm resting on the inside of the other arm.

The whole process was very relaxing. First, her arms, then, her shoulders, her chest: patterns over her clavicles, patterns around her breasts. This took a while. Jack never rushed these things, and Annie did not want him to, she liked him single-minded and thorough as he was. The ropes pushed the fabric of her shirt into her skin in places, and twice this bothered her and she pointed it out to him unhurriedly. And just as calmly, Jack adjusted the fabric in these places—it almost felt like a collaboration, even though Annie was mostly just sitting and enjoying the sensations.

When Jack was finished with her torso, he hugged Annie from behind, his arms around her midriff. Annie leaned back against him, her eyes closed. The stayed like that for a bit, breathing slowly, evenly, hearts beating with love for each other.

"You need to be standing if you want me to tie up your legs. That sound good?"

Annie nodded. Her voice was barely a whisper when she spoke.

"Yes, Sir."

Jack took her in his arms and physically carried her off of the bed: not for the first time, Annie marvelled at his sheer strength. Not that it was particularly surprising at this point, but still, pretty damn impressive even when he carried her in his arms at least twice a week.

Annie swayed a little when she stood on her feet, unable to use her arms to find her balance. It was a strange sensation: more than before, she could feel that she was confined in the ropes, that her movement was limited, and it made a shiver run down her spine, the good kind.

Jack caressed her face in his hands, kissed her languidly. His lips were soft against Annie's, and she sighed into his mouth, wishing she could close her arms around him even as she was enjoying the feeling of being so vulnerable, unable to command her limbs as she usually did.

Then, Jack went down on his knees and bound her legs, too, just as thoroughly, just as single-mindedly as before.

When he was finished, Annie's throat was very dry.

"Sir? May I drink some water, please?"

Jack looked her up and down.

"Of course, ma'am. After I sit you down on the bed."

His description turned out to be very precise—Annie wouldn't even have been able to make her way towards the bed on her own without resorting to hopping, and she was glad that Jack picked her up once more and moved her where he wanted her: sitting on the edge of the bed, her feet on the floor.

One thing that Annie hadn't anticipated at all was the way she felt when Jack was standing next to her, holding a glass of water to her mouth. It was humiliating, only being able to take small sips to avoid spilling the water, completely dependant on Jack, but it was humiliating in a way that made her skin tingle, that made her stomach flutter, that made her smile so brightly she could hardly drink at all. It was the sort of humiliation that made Annie feel loved.

Jack took the glass away from her mouth, still half-full.

"You like that?"

Her expression was probably more than answer enough, but Annie nodded enthusiastically just in case it wasn't.

"Yes, Sir."

"You want more?"

"Yes, Sir."

It was a good thing that this wasn't a particularly large glass. As it was, Annie could drink all of the water without having to pause for longer periods. She looked into Jack's eyes as she did so, trying to convey those feelings she could not put into words, trying to show him just how much she was enjoying herself. Not that there were a lot of expressions available to her while drinking a glass of water, but she did her best.

When Jack sat the empty glass down on the night-stand, all Annie wanted was to be in his arms. He knew this, and he didn't make her wait. It took them a few moments to figure out how to arrange their bodies, but then, they found a way for Annie to sit on Jack's lap that worked despite her bound legs—fortunately, Jack had arranged the ropes so that Annie could still bend her knees.

Annie leaned against Jack's chest, and he closed his arms around her, so very tightly. It felt a little awkward at first since her own arms were still bound behind her back, but Annie got used to this quickly. A sigh escaped Annie's throat as the feeling of safety swept over her: she embraced the sensation of utter powerlessness, and it seemed like Jack was shielding her from the whole world in this moment. She was entirely his.

Jack's scent was enticing as always, beautiful, delectable. Annie breathed it in greedily, like she was afraid that it might no longer be there when she took her next breath.

For the first time this evening, having her hands bound did feel like a true limitation, for she wanted nothing more than to touch him, to feel his skin against the tips of her fingers, to hold onto him, to hug him closer, closer—and yet there was joy in this torture of not being able to, a strange sort of serenity.

"I love you," she whispered, "hug me tighter, closer, please..."

Jack's grip on her was almost painful, and yet this was exactly what she craved, what she yearned for deep in her soul.

"I love you, Annie."

Jack's voice was very quiet; she could feel the vibrations of it in his chest.

A shuddering breath left Annie, and she closed her eyes and simply was. Like taking a step back from reality: letting go of all concerns of existence, giving herself over to pure sensation. The moment didn't last long, but Annie had never felt more at peace.

**

"How are you feeling?"

Annie laughed.

"Is it weird if I say refreshed?"

Jack grinned back at her.

"Yeah, that's weird."

They both laughed together, then, and Annie raised her hand to touch his face, now that she could again. She ran her fingers through his hair, the way they both liked, and she watched the expression on his face soften as it always did.

"I feel like I'm fragile and unbreakable, at the same time."

Jack raised an eyebrow mockingly.

"Maybe we shouldn't do that again. I don't think it's good for your head."

Annie's body was shaken by giggles.

"I feel like I'm high on stardust."

Jack pulled her closer, kissed her temple playfully.

"You do know that drug possession is illegal, don't you?"

Annie tried to keep a straight face when answering, a challenge at which she failed spectacularly.

"Oh, officer, I've been such a naughty girl. Are you gonna arrest me now?"

Jack was grinning again, as well.

"Awfully eager to be tied up again, aren't we?"

Annie sighed, a sound of delighted passion.

"Absolutely. But this time, I want you to fuck me."

Jack kissed her, hard.

"Well, in that case—hands above your head, please, ma'am."

Annie's smile was wide enough to encompass the whole universe.