Rating: NC17 for very adult themes
Summary: Just breathe.
Warnings: Asphyxiation as comfort. Mentions of Spike/Dru
Prompt: hc_bingo: Falling
With thanks to theladymerlin for the read-through
They used to play games when human instincts still crawled under his skin, demanding obedience. The rope was always the softest cotton, winding around his flesh in a lover’s touch. Then the slow tightening would begin and he was reminded of the muscles in her thighs. He’d gasp just a little. Not the true fight she was looking for, but it signalled the beginning. She’d smile as though she knew exactly what he was thinking… but then, she probably did.
She’d hold him tight in her arms like a babe. While the human instincts still reined in those unconscious thought moments, he wasn’t human enough to be concerned by the image they would have presented. Then she’d let him slide so slowly, teasing with her body as the rope squeezed a little more at each movement.
By the time he was hanging freely she was looking up at him like he’d offered her the moon. He never saw the expression in its entirety before instinct took hold and his muscles would tighten, fighting desperately for air he didn’t need. She’d laugh then - silver bells on breaking glass - and his body would buck once more, straining towards and away from and towards again until it was just straining. It was in that last moment, when his body forgot to remember the things it no longer needed that he felt like he was flying, snatching unneeded breaths from the wind.
Then the demon would snap its teeth and he would fray the rope with harsh movements, lifting himself away from its hold easily. She’d come to him with a face that said she had been praying to a Divine standing right in front of her, to him.
He saw that look on Harris’ face. Not her worshipped revelation, but the expression that started it each time. Started the ropes curling, and her quiet crooning that thrummed through him like a heartbeat as he forgot all he was in the pull of something deeper than thought. She may have been insane, but there were parts of that twisted mind that saw more; saw the insides of people in ways that left him awed. He’d learnt at her feet, learnt to see the insides of things. Now he saw the workings of the boy, staggering a step at the rawness of it before an overly familiar grin wiped it all away.
Not much had been said on the ex-demon’s sudden departure from the brunet’s life and Spike was left wondering if perhaps she had seen this, seen the need in him, and been cowed. He began to watch the boy with fleeting glances that would be dismissed if noticed and was surprised by the clockwork routine he’d never noticed before.
He had never meant to do anything about it; his interest in the boy’s hidden secrets was a distraction from mundane routine, nothing more. The new mantra followed him all the way back to the human’s basement home and he could almost hear the gears skipping as Xander tried to figure out where this fit in his little mechanical world. He would lie about it later; tell himself the boy was already nodding by the time he was half way through the order because he was a demon and while chipped, he still had the ability to torment the boy into doing whatever he wanted, even if he had to hire another demon to do it – and didn’t that rankle a little bit. Ockham’s razor said it was because there was something identical in their faces; a shared truth he refused to acknowledge. But Ockham could take a long walk off a short pier with concrete boots for company.
He could see the boy’s need to fight, the need to push against the pull of something he wanted so badly, and stopped it with a gentle hand in surprisingly soft hair. Without conscious thought the boy had knelt, comfortable between Spike’s knees where he sat on the threadbare couch. There wasn’t so much as a flinch when pale hands wrapped around a tan throat, the order to just breathe earning nothing but a quiet sigh.
Spike couldn’t help but mimic those stuttering breaths, fascinated by the twitch of fingers when he pressed just so. He listened to the heart pound, frail as bird’s wings. Watched brown eyes dilate to black before lids shuttered and another twitch, stronger this time, had him shifting his fingers ever so slightly. He was rewarded with a faltering breath before work roughened hands came up to grip his wrists without force, grounding the boy beneath his hands into the here and now as he flew.
A final ghost of a breath and he was loosening his fingers, a little at a time. When warm hands didn’t let his wrists go he stroked that softly bruising throat, watching the fall to earth with rapt attention. He felt his own lungs fill in sympathy at the hard breath that almost knocked the boy over, glazed brown eyes staring at him with a complex emotion he refused to look at too closely.
There was no conscious decision to move, but he suddenly found the child of a man held carefully in his arms, one hand still resting protectively on the neck he had yet to let go of completely, the other running slowly through sweat damped hair. Tugging a blanket almost as worn as the couch over the pair of them he felt more than heard the sigh of content against his own throat.