Ken looked beautiful bound. Crawford spread a hand against the one-way glass, imagining touching Ken's body. Not yet. This is better. He reached for his mental connection to Schuldig. //Have you found someone yet?//
Schuldig snorted. //I've got possibilities panting and drooling all around me. He looks utterly fuckable. Sure you don't want me to do him?//
//No. I wouldn't be able to kill you afterwards.// Crawford wasn't certain he would kill the stranger who fucked Ken, but he also wasn't sure he wouldn't.
//Just don't kill the poor bastard tonight. It'll make repeat business here hard.//
Crawford nodded absently and ran his eyes over Ken's body. Ken's legs were spread wide and trembling, bound to the bench with crimson cords, and he bent forward at the waist, his arms bent at the elbows and restrained together behind his back. A blindfold covered his eyes. I wonder if he's crying... Do I want him crying or not?
//If you want him crying, I'll have to tweak his memories a bit more. Right now, he still feels hope.//
//Leave him hope. He'll want that when he remembers. He asked for pain, for fear, for ignorance. What hurts worse than hope broken?//
Schuldig snorted again. //He asked, and you, indulgent lover, are giving it. Right.//
//I wouldn't cherish him so much if he weren't already broken in interesting ways.// Crawford moved his hand as if cupping Ken's chin then traced the line of the ball gag.
//I have three good candidates. They all know he's someone else's property. They're all willing to and capable of delaying their own gratification to give you a good show. They're all going to look good with him, too.//
//You're enjoying this too damned much.//
//You're the one who asked me in on this sex game.// Schuldig's mental sneer carried more disdain than his visible or audible sneers ever could. //If you didn't want me to participate, too, you should have found a different telepath.//
Ken shifted his feet minutely, as much as the cords would allow. His buttocks tensed and flexed as he tried to find a comfortable position.
Crawford licked his lips and pressed his lower body against the wall under the one-way glass, letting the pressure tease his straining cock. Not until it's over. Watch and enjoy but don't come until you're in him. He glanced at the video feeds that showed him Ken from other angles. He planned to take the tapes home to enjoy again later. //Pick one-- No. All three. Will they cooperate? I want to see him take it from both ends. They're allowed to hurt him as long as there's no permanent damage, nothing that will take long to heal, no damage to the scarred areas beyond bruising. Stop them if they go too far.//
//You're not asking much.// Schuldig did sarcasm better than most people.
//You can do it.//
//If I didn't know you had your hand hovering over your dick, I'd think you weren't emotionally involved.//
Crawford frowned. If I had another telepath I trusted, I wouldn't be using you. He didn't particularly care if Schuldig heard the thought or not but suspected that Schuldig wouldn't unless Crawford called attention to it. He's too fond of getting the last word. He poured himself a glass of ice water and wondered if Ken was thirsty. He dipped his fingers in the water then watched the drops run from his fingertips. He thought about dripping that water into Ken's mouth, about Ken begging for more, about Ken crying when Crawford chose to drip water on other parts of Ken's body.
//You're a sick puppy.// Schuldig's words contained no condemnation. //They're willing. They want to know if he's allowed to come.//
Crawford laughed. //As often as possible. If they can get him to come more than once, I'll pay a bonus.//
//One of them's disappointed. I think he has a thing for cock caging.//
Crawford growled. //Get them started. I have no patience left.//
//As you wish. If you do decide to kill any of them, let me fuck them first.//
//You can fuck them even if I don't decide to kill them. Just don't let it get traced back to us.//
Schuldig chuckled. //As if.//
The door in the wall opposite Crawford's vantage point opened. Three men filed in. Crawford barely spared them a glance. His attention focused on Ken's reaction.
Ken raised his head, craning his neck, obviously trying to see through the blindfold. He tugged at the bonds on his arms and rolled his torso until he was nearly upright.
Oh, my... Crawford sat down and opened his trousers. Look at his muscles working. They can't achieve anything, but-- Yes. He hissed as his fingers touched his cock through his boxers. He imagined the wideness of Ken's eyes and regretted the obscuring blindfold.
One of the men shoved Ken back down toward the bench. Another caught Ken halfway and started pinching one of Ken's nipples, working it with fingertips and fingernails. Ken writhed but couldn't escape. The man shifted his grip so that one hand circled Ken's throat and the other wrapped in his hair.
"Your master wants to see you thoroughly fucked." The man holding Ken's throat leaned in close. "We're happy to oblige." He licked Ken's jawline. "We have permission to hurt you. A lot. Scream if you want to. Beg. Nobody will hear you but us." He moved his hand from Ken's throat to unfasten the gag.
Ken arched his back, trying not to let his weight hang from the hand in his hair. He choked and coughed as the gag came out of his mouth. He spat in the general direction of the man who'd been speaking. Then he froze.
Crawford again regretted the blindfold. Next time. He had no doubt that there would be a next time. Ken's desire for punishment-- And for innocence-- ran too deep. He considered pushing his precognition to See for sure, decided against it, then found himself caught in a vision anyway. It lasted only a minute and might well save Nagi's life in a few weeks, but Crawford resented the distraction.
Ken was making a keening, unhappy sound while one of the men finger fucked him. One of the others played with Ken's cock and balls, forcing him to hardness. The third man stood next to Ken's head, fisting his own cock.
Crawford's own cock had gone soft during the vision. He let it be, knowing that he'd have torturous arousal again soon enough. He leaned forward to watch the muscles in Ken's arms tense as he tried again to free himself. He took a moment to imagine Ken gutting the three men who were playing with him. Pity he won't want to. Or, rather, he will, but he won't think he should.
The man playing with Ken's cock took it into his mouth as the other two started rolling on condoms.
Crawford smiled approvingly to see his instructions being followed. He ran a thumb across the head of his cock as Ken moaned. He squeezed his cock as the man behind Ken pushed into Ken's ass. Ken's mouth opened. Whether it was to protest or simply to cry out, Crawford never found out because the man by Ken's head took advantage of the opening to start fucking Ken's mouth.
Crawford wondered what Ken was feeling. Is he angry or afraid or even numb? Is he ashamed? Wondering why this is happening to him? What hurts and what feels good? Schuldig would tell him if he asked, but Crawford didn't want Schuldig openly in his head right now. He looks good helpless. I can't see him like this when I'm fucking him.
The man sucking Ken's cock pulled back and used a hand to finish the job. Ken's hips jerked once as he came. Semen splattered the floor. The man pounding into Ken's ass stilled for a moment, his mouth open in pleasure.
Crawford frowned. If he came already, I'm docking his pay. Ah. Good. He pulled on his cock as Ken rocked forward again. Yes. Fuck him hard. He wants to hurt. Ken's body shifted back and forth as he was fucked from both ends. Crawford spread his legs wider so that he could run his hands over his balls.
The man working Ken's mouth pulled out and stepped back, giving his place to the man who'd sucked Ken off. He leaned down and spoke into Ken's ear. Crawford suspected that it would be a whisper if man weren't playing for his unseen audience.
"I'm going to spend some time decorating you before I get my turn at your ass." He ran a hand along Ken's arm and squeezed. "Your mouth was nice enough, but I like muscle under my hands and around my cock."
Ken twisted to bash his head against the whisperer's. "Bastard!"
Ah. Angry then. Crawford grinned. And that will earn the punishment he doesn't remember he wants.
The man fucking Ken's ass pulled out and stepped back so that the man Ken had hit had a clear shot to assault Ken's buttocks with a paddle. Rubber covered wood met flesh with a thwack.
Crawford winced. He's not pulling it. That's going to hurt later. He narrowed his eyes and considered ways to kill the paddle wielder.
Ken twisted his upper body again to bring himself nearly upright. He snarled and tried to throw himself backwards. One of the currently uninvolved men grabbed Ken in a stuttering motion that suggested that it hadn't been entirely his own idea.
//I won't let him hurt himself,// Schuldig told Crawford.
Crawford was on his feet and almost to the glass. He couldn't manage more than a mental growl in response.
//Would you like to ghost any of them? Or ride? I could do that.//
Crawford shook his head. He watched as Ken was wrestled flat and strapped to the bench. He hesitated then set his jaw. //Show me Ken's mind.// He wasn't certain it was a good idea, but he needed to know. Is he getting what he wanted?
Schuldig hesitated. Crawford could hear it in the silence of their linked minds. Finally, Schuldig said, //I don't recommend it, you know.// in a way that told Crawford that Schuldig would do it if Crawford insisted.
//Why not?// Crawford pressed his head against the glass and closed his eyes. He heard the paddle smacking Ken's ass again.
//It's...primal in there. He's not exactly Ken right now. He didn't want to be, and we decided against a full alter build. He's just programmed not to look at the gaps. It's just.... He doesn't even have a name right now.// Schuldig's sigh came clearly across the link. //He's sensation, emotion, a generic sense of himself as a normal guy who does vague normal things and a certainty that he never did anything to deserve this. That's what he said he wanted, exactly that, and you said to give him what he asked for.//
And Ken didn't really understand what he was asking for. Crawford sighed. //Suppress the berserker. Gradually. He forgets that it's there, and it wouldn't fit his view of being an innocent.// He opened his eyes to watch the paddle descend again. //He doesn't like to remember that it's part of him on a basic level.//
Ken's curses and struggles slowly changed to whimpers, flinches and pleading as Schuldig leached away the killer. Schuldig let Crawford watch that process, and Crawford found himself wishing for enough telepathy to be able to touch that part of Ken as it passed away behind the walls that kept his memories separated from his current awareness.
//Can you help him accept the killer, too? He needs that as much as he needs this. I've Seen that he needs this, that he'll be glad of it afterwards. Purged for a while. He needs the punishment. He needs the helplessness. He needs the berserk bloodlust.//
Schuldig's mental fingers massaged the stress out of Crawford's mind. //We'll talk about that later. For now... Enjoy the show. Watch how he looks with them fucking him hard-- the way he begs you to fuck him. Watch him respond to pain and to pleasure. You can't see it nearly so well when you're doing all the work.//
Crawford sighed and let Schuldig soothe him. He worked his hand over his cock, attempting to rebuild the lost physical edge. After several minutes he sighed. I'm not even paying attention. At least I know he'll be pleased with it after. Hurting but very pleased. That's what I need to do... //Schuldig, I'm going into the Sight. Keep things going. You know the boundaries. The cameras will catch everything for me for later.// He closed his pants.
//Seems a waste to set up sex and then go away.// Schuldig didn't really sound like he was trying to be convincing.
//I know he'll be happy afterward. I need to See why, and I need to see what this does later, in the long term. I know he'll want it again. I need to See how to make that help him.// Crawford started the timer on his watch. //Have them done in forty-five minutes.//
//And rouse you after that whether you're done or not.//
Schuldig didn't ask if Crawford would really take that long. They both knew it was possible. Seers who chased visions risked putting a foot in continuity's snare. Those who undertook it without a spotter sometimes failed to come out, either fixing on a particular future and not being able to escape or fragmenting beyond reconstituting. Schuldig had been Crawford's spotter for years.
Crawford took a deep breath, closed his eyes and let himself fall backwards into the depths of his own psyche. Ken's best interests. Our best interests. What we need...
He emerged from the seeking, blinking, and looked immediately at his watch. Forty minutes. //Schuldig.//
//Ah. Good. I was worried.// There was the slightest trace of relief in Schuldig's words. //They're almost done.//
Crawford glanced up then looked away. //Ken and I will watch the tapes later.// He stood and straightened his clothing. //Anything to report?//
//One very tasty case of guilt.// Schuldig sighed. //I quashed it. How someone with a conscience got in here... Is there anything about this place that looks safe, sane or consensual?//
Crawford laughed sharply. //Ken walked in here under his own power with no bonds. Let that one go with a suggestion not to come back. And blur the details.//
//Done. You missed quite a show. One of them spent a while working on your man's cock and balls, an expert job if a bit rushed. Oh, and they got him to come again, so you do owe that bonus.//
//Expert?// Crawford smiled. //Tag him. We'll want him later. I want to see Ken bear that for me when he knows who he is and knows he can stop it any time.// He brushed a hand over his hair, making sure it lay the way he expected it to. //You haven't asked if I found it.//
//You wouldn't be this pleased with yourself if you hadn't.// Schuldig still didn't ask. //They're gone. You can look again. Should I bring him back?//
//Not yet. Not until after we...talk. Pay the men. You can watch if you want, ghost either of us. No commentary, though.//
//Talk? Is that a new euphemism?//
Crawford waited two minutes to be sure the corridor had cleared. Then he stepped out the door. He paused at the door to the other room and took a deep breath. That's not Ken in there. Anything I do, it's not to Ken. It's for Ken. He allowed himself a smile.
The smell hit him first when he opened the door. Sweat, fear, used condoms, semen. He wrinkled his face, allowing the disgust to show and looked straight at one of the cameras. He walked carefully as if picking his way around debris. His shoes clicked quietly on the tile floor. //Easy to clean and cheap as hell. We deserve better.//
Ken raised his head a little when the door opened then sagged again. He trembled, whether from fear, exhaustion or some combination of the two Crawford couldn't tell. His breath came in gasps and pants.
He's shaking too much to breathe easily. Crawford touched Ken's hair, just the barest brush of fingers against scalp. "Tired already?" He let an edge of contempt into the words. "I expected better."
Ken raised his head, turning in the direction of Crawford's voice. The cloth covering his eyes was wet. "Please-- Whatever you want--"
"Whatever I want, I'll take." Crawford walked around Ken. He made sure to make enough noise that Ken would know where he was. "If I release you, will you obey me? You're filthy, and I'd rather have you clean yourself."
"Please-- I--" Ken seemed to be having trouble getting words out.
"Close your eyes." Crawford allowed the barest hint of gentleness in his voice. After a moment for Ken to obey or not, he tugged off the blindfold.
Ken's eyes were closed. After a fraction of a second, they blinked open then squeezed closed.
Crawford ghosted fingers over a darkening bruise on the side of Ken's face. Where he hit that smug bastard. "You may open your eyes when you can tolerate the light." He ran fingers over Ken's lips. "You look lovely with your mouth full. I enjoyed that."
Ken shuddered and struggled to keep his eyes open.
He's utterly terrified, but even this shadow of him, given time to think, would try to find balance. "I'm going to release your legs first." Crawford removed himself from Ken's line of sight. The shadow needs a name. Later. He studied the cords then shrugged. Scissors made short work of them. They're not needed now.
Ken started to shift his legs then froze.
Crawford patted Ken's hip, studying the bruises so obvious from this angle. I will not kill them. Not now. Ken would find out. That would shatter him. "You may move," he said. "I'd not have you fall just now." Leaving open that a fall may be in his future. Yes. He moved on to the straps holding Ken to the bench. These he undid slowly, giving Ken time to wonder. "There's nothing for you but what I want." He squeezed Ken's still immobilized arm. "Nothing." He laughed softly. "No responsibility but obedience."
Apart from his trembling, Ken lay very, very still as the last strap released.
Crawford patted the top of Ken's head. "Excellent. I'm going to pull you upright now. Let me know if your legs won't hold you."
Ken staggered against Crawford as his legs refused to hold him up. Ken jerked himself upright.
By sheer will. Crawford stepped back, hoping to get a look without letting Ken fall.
"My-- my arms?" Ken had trouble getting the words out, and he swayed, trying to keep his balance.
"Soon enough." Too soon. Except... "You reek, and you'll need your hands to wash." Crawford gave Ken a nudge that he hoped was slight enough not to send Ken to the ground. "There's a bath across the hall. We'll use it when you're clean."
Ken took one step toward the door, hesitated then took another.
Yes. That hurts, doesn't it. Ken would take it and be planning something. This one... Crawford raised his eyebrows. Does he remember sports training or does he have no idea what to do with pain? "It's a lesson," he said softly, watching Ken's shoulders twitch at the words. "Did you learn it?"
Ken froze. He ducked his head and didn't answer.
"I see." Crawford closed the distance between them. He traced Ken's spine. "There are ankle shackles in the shower. Don't get any ideas."
Ken's shoulders sagged a little.
Crawford allowed himself a small, silent laugh. "I won't test your obedience too strongly. Yet," he said. You will learn to be good, shadow of my lover. I Saw that. He guided Ken across the hall and into the shower stall. He squeezed Ken's calf muscles as he clipped the restraints around Ken's ankles. He stood. "I'm going to release your arms now. Don't do anything stupid. I'd rather not have to punish you right now."
"Is that what that was?" Ken had gotten his breath back.
"No," Crawford lied. "That was for my pleasure. Punishment is something else." He unfastened the straps holding Ken's arms then stepped back quickly.
Ken's right arm jerked in a quickly aborted move. Crawford wasn't entirely sure if it had been meant as a grab or a shove and guessed from that that Ken also wasn't sure. Ken shuddered when the spray first hit him.
"The soap is on your right." Crawford kept himself carefully beyond splashing distance. "The shampoo is on your left."
Ken washed rapidly at first. His movements slowed as he worked his way down his body.
Efficiency means being done which means... Me. Crawford considered commenting but decided to wait to see if the shadow would be smart. Ken's smart. You have the same brain he does. He let himself admire his lover's body. Even without the night job, you'd never let yourself go. I'll have my hands on you soon enough. His lips twitched in a ghost of a smile, and he tugged on his tie. In fact, I'm not going to wait any longer.
Crawford stripped rapidly. He placed his clothing and his glasses on a shelf beside the door. Without his glasses, Ken's body became a vaguely moving blob. What do nearsighted people do without precognition? He allowed himself a smile. Other people don't matter.
A few seconds later, he pressed his body against Ken's wet back. "Brace yourself. I'm going to fuck you, and I expect you'd prefer not to smash your face into the wall."
Ken started to shrug Crawford off then froze. After a few seconds, he inched toward the wall, covered his face with his arms and bent forward. "Are you going to kill me?" He sounded more resigned than terrified.
Numb. Crawford slipped a hand into the crack of Ken's ass to see how tight he was. "If I were going to kill you, little shadow, I'd have spent considerably less money on the project." I'll call him 'Shadow.' Better than giving him a real name that I'll just have to take away. Or that he might realize isn't his.
Ken gasped as Crawford's fingers pushed into him.
"Hurts does it? They were-- relatively-- gentle with you." Crawford nuzzled the back of Ken's neck then bit hard. "I don't want you broken. Physically." He was hard already, remembering how Ken had looked with his body moving under the force of being fucked. He pressed against Ken, letting him feel the hard cock that would soon be inside him. Something to up the ante... "A little game, Shadow. I'm going to fuck you. I'm going to look at every inch of you. There's a bath here. We may use it. We may not. The game is this-- If you can manage to come again, I'll give you something for the pain you're feeling. If you can't, you live with it until it heals."
The body under Crawford's hands gave a shuddering sob.
You don't think you can do it? Ken could. Crawford reach around to tweak a nipple. Shadow's flinch and gasp of pain surprised Crawford for a fraction of a second. Ah. So they tortured you that way, too? He allowed himself a chuckle. "Classic tortures are classic for a reason."
Shadow sobbed once then went silent. His body still shook. Spray from the shower bounced off his back.
He's biting his arm, isn't he? Crawford aimed his cock at Shadow's hole and pushed inside. He bit his lip. Slowly. Make this last. We only get one first time. Except-- Fragments of vision flickered into being and shattered as he pulled back slowly. Except that it could be the first time every time if we want.
Shadow reached a hand down to touch his own cock then flinched and let the hand fall.
Crawford gripped Shadow's hips and pulled. "Give me some enthusiasm." He dug his fingers into Shadow's flesh, letting his fingernails scrape skin. Yes, touching yourself must hurt like hell. I wonder exactly what he did to you there...
Shadow pushed back to meet Crawford's next thrust and ground his ass against Crawford's body.
"Very good." Crawford pulled Shadow back and up so that he was no longer leaning against the wall. Crawford wrapped one arm around Shadow's waist and the other around Shadow's chest and neck. He bit Shadow's ear, licking moisture from it. He rocked his hips a little but didn't try to pull out or push in.
Shadow didn't resist as Crawford forced him to turn his head. Shadow's eyes were shut, and the water on his face might have been tears or drips from the water soaking his hair. His heart raced under Crawford's arm.
"Even through the water, I can smell your fear." Crawford was lying. All he smelled right now was soap. Should have brought our own. This stuff is crap. "That's mine. You're mine, just a shadow for me to play with." He squeezed Shadow's waist. "A shadow with some substance. I like that." He licked then bit Shadow's jaw. With this soap, he tastes different. Maybe that's a good thing. He pushed Shadow down again to give himself a better angle and began fucking Shadow hard.
The white static of orgasm surprised Crawford, coming several minutes before he expected it. He shuddered, his legs giving enough that only Shadow's arms braced against the wall of the shower kept them both from hitting the floor. Crawford sighed then straightened up and stepped back. Slipping out of Shadow's body felt like a loss. It's not the last time.
Shadow sagged, slowly collapsing to his knees. He covered his face with his hands and curled to protect his belly.
Crawford simply looked for a long moment, watching the water bounce off the huddled body. He reached down and seized a handful of hair.
Shadow twisted in response until his face was aimed at Crawford's groin. His eyes widened then closed. He whimpered.
Crawford laughed. "Wash me." He pushed the bar of soap in Shadow's face. He kept his grip on Shadow's hair so that there could be no mistake as to what needed washing.
Shadow took the soap, almost going cross-eyed to look at it.
Crawford mussed Shadow's soaking wet hair. "Soap," he said. "Wash me." He really thought I was going to fuck his face, too. A flattering estimate of my virility.
Shadow's hands shook as he rubbed the bar of soap between them. He reached for Crawford's cock then started scrubbing Crawford's thighs instead.
You can't avoid it forever. Crawford gave Shadow a small smile of encouragement as Shadow's fingers brushed his balls.
Shadow answered with a flicker of a smile that Crawford suspected Shadow hadn't even noticed making. He rubbed Crawford's balls then ran the bar of soap along Crawford's cock.
It looks small to hurt so much, doesn't it? Crawford remembered his own disbelief at just how much being fucked could hurt. Perhaps I should be glad they meant me for leadership and taught me to hurt others before teaching me that I could be hurt. Not that I'd failed to See it coming. "You're doing well, Shadow."
Shadow's touch became a little more sure.
Crawford remained still while Shadow applied soap to his cock, balls and surrounding hair twice. Then he intercepted Shadow's hand, pushing it away. He let water wash the soap away. "Finish washing yourself." He turned away and stepped out of the stall. He didn't look back as he toweled off. I think we'll skip the bath. A bed is better for cuddling.
He put his glasses, his boxers and his pants back on but left everything else on the shelf. He hung the towel to dry. Then he gave Shadow his full attention again.
Shadow stood under the water without moving. His chin rested on his chest. His arms hung limp at his sides.
Crawford turned off the water. One more push.
Shadow looked at him, face expressionless.
Shadow sank to his knees on the wet tile. He looked at Crawford's bare feet.
"You belong to me. Say it." Crawford wasn't sure that Shadow would. Maybe not yet. Soon enough, though. "I do suggest obedience. You'll lose more if I have to force you." He allowed himself his nastiest smile. "I won't release the shackles until you do, and I doubt you can stand cold water pounding your body for long."
Shadow put his hands on the floor and bent his back until his head almost touched his hands. "I..." He shuddered. "I belong to you." It came out as the barest whisper.
"Good Shadow." Crawford almost regretted missing the sight of Shadow huddled under icy spray. Some other time. He took his time walking over. He put one hand on the back of Shadow's neck and used the other to unfasten the restraints.
When Crawford stood and walked away, Shadow remained unmoving.
"Good," Crawford said again. "Stay." He retrieved two large towels and carried them back to where Shadow knelt. He draped one over Shadow's back and used the other to start drying Shadow's hair and face. //Give him back to me now, Schuldig. Please.// He ignored the water soaking into his pants and continued drying his lover's body as muscles tensed then relaxed in a shudder, and he knew Ken was with him again. He pulled Ken up to lean against his chest. He kissed the back of Ken's head. "Was that what you wanted?"
Ken turned his head so that his cheek rested against Crawford's lips. "I belong to you," he said.
"You sound pleased about that." Crawford smiled, feeling something he hadn't known was tense relax. He wrapped the second towel and his arms around Ken's body.
"Who else would-- could-- do that for me?" Ken turned enough to land a kiss in the general vicinity of Crawford's lips.
"We should move somewhere drier and softer."
"That's a weird way to say 'I love you.'"
"I didn't say that. It's just my pants are getting soaked." Crawford stood and helped Ken to his feet. He didn't let go of Ken's arm until he was sure Ken was able to stand. "Walking's going to hurt." He pulled Ken in close, not quite putting his arms around him but silently making the offer.
"Everything's going to hurt." Ken took a step and winced.
"It's not far."
"I know. I was there when we picked the place." Ken put the slightest emphasis on the plural pronoun.
Yes, but you're running on the high. You haven't had your tears yet. Crawford guided Ken toward the third room they'd reserved. When they got there, Crawford was glad to see that it was as clean as he'd been promised. He dropped his wet clothes and Ken's wet towels on the floor and got both of them under the blankets as fast as possible. "Do you need something for pain?"
Ken's eyes were a little too wide. "I didn't come again. You said--"
Crawford ran his thumb along Ken's cheekbone. "That was part of the scene. Also--" He chuckled. "I said you needed to come. I didn't actually give you a deadline. I'm sure you'll manage it eventually."
"Vicodin." Crawford got up to fetch it. When he came back with the pill and a glass of water, Ken lay curled in the middle of the bed, shaking. Crawford set the glass and the medication down and slipped in next to Ken. "I've got you." He rubbed Ken's back. "I'll always catch you."
"How many of them were there?" Ken's voice shook. "I couldn't tell."
"Three." Crawford could see Ken trying to count his memories. "I know we said one or two at most, but... I wanted to see you. I was afraid that I'd end up thinking about how much I wanted to kill the bastard touching you."
Ken tangled their legs together. "Did you? Want to kill them I mean?"
"A little. More than a little when one of them took a paddle to you."
"You hit harder." Ken nuzzled Crawford's shoulder. "And I deserved it."
Crawford closed his eyes. "That was my mistake. I should have talked to Schuldig more carefully." He inhaled through Ken's hair then wrinkled his nose. "That shampoo smells funny."
"I enjoyed the rest of it. More than I thought I would." Crawford knew he had to say that much now. He'll believe me right now. He propped himself up. "It was hot as hell. I didn't know I liked to watch." He reached for the water. "Sit up, Ken."
"Vicodin. I'd suggest ice on the bruises, but I think we're too late." And you're already chilled.
"I want the bruises."
Crawford put the pill into Ken's mouth then propped him up. "Drink." He tilted water into Ken's mouth. "I'd have thought that you'd want water."
Ken sipped and swallowed. "I drank in the shower."
"Was it enough?" Crawford wasn't asking about water.
"I--" Ken shrugged. "It was what I wanted. I don't know if it's ever enough."
Crawford settled them both back on the pillows. "We can do it again. Sometimes. Tell me when you need it, and I'll arrange it." You trust me that much. That's...amazing. "There are a couple of things I'd like to try again while you're...all of you, not just a shadow of you."
"Was I-- Did you really--" Ken blushed. "You told me, while I wasn't me, that I looked..." He mumbled something that Crawford didn't quite catch.
"You were breathtaking." Crawford put a hand on Ken's abdomen. "If I think about it too much, I'm going to want to fuck you again now." He drew in his breath slowly. "When I'm this close, when I have my glasses off, I can't see you. I want to see you. When it hurts, when it's wonderful, when you can't bear it but you have to."
Ken closed his eyes and smiled. "I'm not up to anything more right now. I wish I were."
"I'm a patient man. I can wait." Crawford kissed Ken's forehead. "Sleep now. We have eighteen hours in this room, so you can take your time." He settled in to watch Ken sleep.