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Muse

Zyren asked and received (see, I am a benevolent godd-erm, author). Anyway, that translates loosely to 'blame her'. xp

Muse

By: The Hatter Theory

Disclaimer: I don't own Inu Yasha, but I do love my fandom. Especially when I perv it.

This was supposed to be short. Then my muses hijacked it. It does have a slow start, but I'd like to think the story is worth it. Be patient my little perverts, good things come to those who wait.

Warnings: Bondage. This story revolves around rope art, very fun rope art. Also, a dominant Sesshoumaru (although that is a bit later) and a bit of sadomasochism, but more psychological than physical. Humiliation is debatable. I do have trouble writing humiliation, but I can write discomfort and embarrassment, which does happen in this. For some it might be the one and the same, my definitions are different from other people's. If these aren't your things, don't read, some stories aren't for everyone.

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The front door loomed. It was an innocent front door, with nothing to give away what was inside. There was nothing at all that marked it as different in fact. Unsure if she found that comforting or disturbing, she inhaled deeply, raising her hand for a third time. This time her fist made contact, tapping against the wood lightly before dropping back down.

'Please, please don't let him answer,' She prayed quietly, half tempted to turn and run for the elevator. Or the stairs. She wouldn't have to wait to be out of sight if she took the stairs.

As if summoned by her overwhelming urge to flee, the door opened. The man standing there looked down at her with cool, gold eyes. A long white braid was hanging over his shoulder, reaching below his chest, and his skin was unnaturally pale in contrast to his black shirt and black slacks. It was his eyes that drew her attention though, his intent, assessing gaze evident as he blatantly looked her over. There was no shame or apology in the gold depths when they finally met her own.

“You are Higurashi?”

Swallowing thickly, she tried to answer, but found she had no words. Settling for a nod, she fought the instinctive wave of anger that rose at his open appraisal of her form.

“Come in,” He replied stonily. She stepped inside, passing him and looking at her surroundings. The apartment was older, the brick walls bare of drywall or paint. Several boxes lined one wall, different labels confounding her, from 'sheets' to 'busts'. Leaning against the same wall were several mattresses of varying sizes, and leaning against those were several bamboo poles. In the corner was a small table, three cases sitting on it, and next to it four large travel bags.

The walls drew her attention next. Three wide, tall stands of white fabric that created the illusion of solid walls. She guessed that was where she would work.

“Come,” He rumbled. She followed him over to the table and sat when he gestured to one of the fold out chairs. He sat across from her and opened one of the cases, pulling out a folder and pens.

“These are releases and guidelines. You'll have to sign them before we get started.”

She looked down at the paperwork. Most of it she was familiar with. Some of it, she was not.

“What is the damages clause?” She asked.

“If anything happens to leave marks, I add forty percent to your check.”

“Marks?”

“Bruises and such that might keep you from working for a week or two.”

A week or two? That didn't sound at all like what her agent had told her.

“Look, I don't know what you shoot, but my agent told me that it was light, nothing crazy-” She began, heart speeding up in her chest. Immediately the voice of reason came back, giving her a loud, very annoying 'I told you so' that she should have expected.

“Miroku told me you've never done a fetish shoot before,” He sighed, finally looking up from the papers on the table to her. The look he gave her showed his impatience and annoyance. She wondered if he dealt with people like her often. “Why did you accept this job?”

“I needed the money,” She admitted, running a hand through her wavy, unbound hair. Her career was not going the way she wanted, this latest act of desperation driving that point painfully home. Despite getting older, her face remained young, which was all well and good, but apparently her 'innocent, fresh faced' look was not doing her in good stead. No matter how hard she tried, no matter what the make up artists did with her, she could never achieve 'sultry' or 'sex goddess' like the photographers wanted.

“Miroku mentioned I would have to cover your face. I understand now. You're not the first to turn to this for cash,” He sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose, as if the realization physically pained him. “Nor will you be the last.”

“But if it's going to leave bruises, I mean, I'm not into all this stuff-”

“I thought you were aware that you would be tied up,” He cut in.

“Tied up yeah, but not, you know, that.”

“That what, precisely?”

Odd, he seemed truly offended. Surely he was used to this sort of reaction.

“You know, all that spanking stuff.”

He smiled indulgently, as if he knew something she didn't.

“I did not hire you for a spank shoot.” He didn't stammer over the words, or flush, or pause. In fact, he sounded as if they were perfectly normal. Which scared her, made something quake inside. He was supposedly a world famous fetish photographer. Had he done 'spank shoots'?

“Then what did you want to hire me for?” She asked, trying to remind him that while she was there, none of the papers had been signed, and she was not technically hired.

“A kinbaku scene. While I will do nothing to intentionally hurt you, the ropes might bruise you, causing you to lose work. That clause covers that.”

She looked back down at the paper. A forty percent addition to her check if she was 'damaged'. Like she was an item. This kind of wording bothered her, although she'd seen similar clauses in other contracts and releases. As a model, she did sell her body, it was an item. To the photographers, the clothing companies, the make up artists, and to most agencies, she was an item. Only her agent, one of her best friends, viewed her as a human being.

“If it is too much for you, the door is over there,” He quipped, staring her down. His strong chin was held at an angle, the lines of his face making his words nothing less than a challenge. The entire effect was startling and beautiful. He was beautiful, and she was sure that he could easily find work as a model. Apparently his love for the camera surpassed what could easily turn into a career in high fashion.

“What would the scene entail?”

He seemed pleased by her question, his brow arching slightly and a smirk dancing on his lips to indicate his approval.

“I will tie you with ropes in a few poses, and then raise you up a few feet from the floor, perhaps a few times to get different poses. I was thinking of doing something rougher, but covering your face would detract from the effect. I think I have an idea. No spanking, no beating, no paddles and bits. You will have to be nude though.”

His matter of fact tone as he listed off the random possibilities worried her almost as much as his ease with saying 'spank shoots', perhaps more so. She had expected to be nude for it, although she'd hoped he would allow her some form of underwear.

“What do you want to do?”

“Something soft.”

That was the last word she'd expected to hear, and she did a double take before blinking obliquely.

“Soft?”

“Soft. You'll understand when I do it,” He told her, eyes moving over to the boxes a few feet away.

With no little trepidation she began signing forms. Despite her misgivings she almost hoped for a bruise or two, she could use the money and she healed quickly. The pen scratched against the paper again and again, and he asked for her ID to copy her information. Within minutes she had the contract signed and he was putting the papers back into the folder.

“There's a bathroom where you can undress and primp or whatever it is you do over that way,” He told her, gesturing to the door behind the fake walls. She nodded, more than put off by his easy dismissal of her. Obviously he didn't think much of her, or perhaps any model. She'd met photographers like him, and realized she was an item to him, and nothing more. A vehicle for his art, a doll to be trussed up and posed.

Hoping he wasn't like the last 'artist' she'd worked with, she stepped into the bathroom and turned on the light. It was a small space, barely fitting the shower, toilet and sink. There was no curtain for privacy, and a shelf over the toilet held two towels. Looking at herself in the mirror over the sink, she cursed her lack of 'sexiness', whatever that was. Obviously not her, if a few dozen photographers could be believed.

The money was good. Actually, it was fantastic, and the only reason she hadn't bludgeoned her agent with his desk phone when he'd suggested it. He had mentioned the amount first. Then that Sesshoumaru Ito was a world respected photographer, and that he was a fetish photographer third. Specifically kinbaku photography. She knew what it was, few people didn't. But she hadn't really known what it would entail, still didn't. The lack of knowledge scared her as much, if not more, than going in front of a camera naked for the first time.

“You can do this. You have a beautiful body, and no one will ever know it's you,” She told the other self in the mirror, which mouthed the words back at her. The syllables echoed, as if the girl in the mirror was saying them back. “This is not porn. It's art.”

Which is also something Miroku had told her. Sesshoumaru made art, not porn. Not that she really knew the difference. She'd be naked, and someone, somewhere, would probably end up masturbating to the pictures.

“You can do this,” She repeated, bracing her hands on the sink. “You'll be masked. No one will know.”

It didn't help to ease the knots forming in her stomach as she began disrobing. The chill air of the bathroom crept into her skin, her bones, and she shivered, folding each article of clothing and setting it on the sink. When she'd finished, her bra and panties folded neatly on top of her shirt and pants, she put them on the shelf over the toilet and turned to the door.

“Breathe,” She commanded herself sternly. She'd been naked in front of other people before, and she was sure he had seen plenty of people, men and women, naked or in even more compromising situations. Steeling herself, she straightened her shoulders and lifted her chin. With a burst of not quite real confidence, she opened the door and stepped out, closing it softly behind her.

There was a rustle of fabric, and she turned to the set. Vivid red silk was being tossed over the wall, and she heard a muffled curse as it waved and rustled. Ever helpful, she walked over and tugged it gently, pulling it until it was even.

“Thank you,” His voice rumbled from the other side of the wall.

Another panel of silk came over next to the first, and she straightened it, thankful for the moments she was allowed to grow used to the feel of being naked in the studio without his eyes upon her. Another panel and then another until the walls were covered. He made a satisfied noise, and she peeked around one wall, blue eyes on the set he was creating.

The travel bags were open, and she saw several different kinds of rope peeking out of them, from thick strands of hemp to coils of shiny white.

“Are you ready?” He asked, eyes on her. She still hadn't come around the corner, only her eyes and the top of her head visible to him. His tone was gentler, his expression softer than it had been before. Maybe she'd earned some kindness by helping him. At least she hoped she had.

“I'm nervous,” She admitted, earning a sigh. Obviously she hadn't earned that much kindness.

“If you want to leave, you can.”

She wanted to and she didn't. If she stayed, she'd be photographed naked. If she left, she'd lose out on a month's worth of rent, possibly more. Her bank account made the decision for her.

First one step, and then another, and then another. Her arms shielded her breasts and a hand covered her groin as she walked closer to him, flushing hotly.

“You're tense. Relax,” He snapped impatiently.

“How?” She bit out, as annoyed with his attitude as he obviously was with hers.

“This is just another shoot for you. Think of the rope as an accessory, or clothing.”

“Easy for you to say, you're not the one that's going to be tied up by a stranger,” She snapped petulantly. “Obviously this isn't going to work-”

“Kneel,” He snapped, completely ignoring her almost tirade. His finger pointed to the floor, and she followed it back up to his arm and up to his face. Surely he was joking?

“What?” She finally asked, half afraid of the look on his face.

“Kneel, now.” His tone left absolutely no room to argue. Her stomach bottomed out, and she was sure her heart had climbed several inches higher, taking up residence in her throat, because words would not come out. The floor tilted beneath her feet as she walked over to where he pointed and lowered herself onto her knees.

He moved around behind her, and a length of rope thumped down next to her.

“Had you checked my references, you would know I have never stepped out of bounds with any of my models,” He told her in a tight voice as the rope slid in it's coils and in his hands.

“I'm sorry,” She murmured, feeling strangely chastened. Miroku wouldn't have recommended him if he hadn't trusted the man's credentials. In her own anxiety she had insulted the man, and made herself look like some silly, naive moron. “I haven't been very professional.”

“I have dealt with worse,” He sighed. “Put your arms over your head.” She did as she was told. It helped that he wasn't facing her as he worked the rough rope around and between her arms. It scratched her, and she tried not to wince, determined to be professional after her disastrous beginning.

“Can you tell me about them?” She asked, desperate for some other noise than the sound of rope sliding on her flesh.

“One woman demanded a bodyguard, and that I pay for it,” He replied, tightening the rope around her wrists. There was the sound of something rustling and she looked up, shocked to see him throwing the other end of the rope over a support beam. “And then one wasn't enough. When she realized it would be three men looking at her naked and bound, she backed out entirely.”

The view of him from such an angle was strange. The rope came down the other side, his hand reaching out to catch it before it hit her. The bindings on her arm tugged as he pulled it taut, forcing her to sit up straighter.

“If I were her, I would have just brought a few friends,” She murmured as he tied an intricate knot at her wrists, using up the last of the rope.

“She wasn't worth the trouble.”

“Any other stories?” She asked as he stepped over to a box she hadn't noticed and pulled out another length of silk, this one white.

“There was a woman that came here thinking she would have a fantasy fulfilled. In the lifestyle people often speak of men taking advantage of women. It's not often they speak of a woman pressuring a man. She threatened to ruin my career,” He answered in a quiet voice. “By telling people I'd broken our contract and forced myself on her while she was bound.”

He was winding the length of silk around her torso, pulling it against her skin. The material was smooth and cool, slippery as he pulled it around her body and then over her shoulders. He paused when he came to her face.

“Do you wear contacts?”

She shook her head, still numbed at the thought of anyone being so vindictive and callous. While the photographer had done nothing to earn her friendship, he had, despite her personal issues, been professional.

“I've never seen an asian with naturally blue eyes.”

“My mother says my father had blue eyes,” She murmured, flushing as his eyes stared intently into her own.

“Says?”

“He died when I was young.”

“It's a shame to hide them,” He sighed, bringing the silk around to the front. “Close you eyes.”

She closed them, and felt the pressure of the silk panel being wound around her face before being tied lightly.

“Is this alright?”

She nodded, then found that the silk restricted her movements. Warmth blossomed in her chest, rose up her breasts and neck to her face. Without his voice to distract her, the reality of her situation came rushing back. She was naked and bound, and he could see her like this. People would see her like this, would stare at the photos. Perhaps even be inspired by them, in their own ways.

She couldn't help the gasp that escaped, the quick inhale of air that seemed to echo in the silence.

The camera clicked.

He made barely any noise as he walked around her, but the sound of the flash and shutter could not be hidden. A dozen times the noises clicked, and then paused. She heard him to her left, opening a box and then coming back.

“How are your arms?”

“Fine,” She mumbled as he moved around her. Soft fabric brushed her legs, piled up against it.

“And your legs? Have they fallen asleep, do they hurt?”

“No.”

“Can you continue?”

Her yes came out as an almost plosive sound, half breathed and half forced out. She imagined him nodding since he said nothing. The camera resumed it's clicking, helping her keep track of where he was.

“I need you to turn, this way,” He instructed, his hands impersonal as they grabbed her shoulders and guided her while she used her knees to turn. After a few adjustments to the fabric, the clicking resumed.

Several minutes later the knots were being released and her arms came down. Blood rushed back to them, pulsing heavily as the course hemp loosened and then fell away. The silk around her eyes came away next, and the world was almost too bright at first, the red silks of the set clashing garishly in her vision before settling into something less vivid.

“Are you alright?”

She nodded, unsure of her voice. It was not as bad as she thought it would be and worse at the same time.

“The people that look at your photography,” She began. “What do they do?”

“What do you mean?” He asked as he began coiling the rope. She crossed her arms over her chest, feeling too innocent and too exposed.

“When they look at it, you know. Do they do-” She didn't finish her statement.

“At gallery viewings people just look. I imagine if anyone did anything more they'd be escorted off of the premises. Those who purchase it, who knows? Perhaps they display it proudly and discuss the merits of my technique, or maybe hide it away to look at when they think no one is watching.”

“Why would anyone buy art to hide it?”

“Not all of us can live such open lives,” He murmured as he walked over to the bags and stored the rope. Next he pulled out a thicker coil, and then another before walking over and dropping one on the floor. He knelt next to her, pulling at the white silk. After only a token resistance she let it go.

“How did you start this?”

He was quiet for several minutes, not even moving to uncoil the rope.

“I have enjoyed kinbaku since I came of age.”

She felt that there was something else beneath the question, something dark and painful for him. Something he did not want to share, and something she probably didn't want to know. Choosing not to press the issue, she tried for a smile, tilting her head to the side and shrugging her shoulders.

“Why did you choose modeling?” He asked, beginning to unwind the rope and run it through his hands, obviously checking for something, but what she didn't know.

“I don't know,” She answered honestly. “I liked the idea of it, I guess. And I thought I was pretty enough. Everyone always told me I had wonderful eyes and perfect skin. But recently, I don't know,” She admitted, shoulders slumping. “Apparently I look too sweet to be sexy, and that's what the public wants. Sexy, that is, not sweet.”

“The public has an obscene idea of what is sexy,” He muttered. The statement, given the context, was so absurd and startling that she couldn't stop the giggle before it came out.

“I amuse you?”

“Well, yeah,” She gasped as the giggle became a true laugh in the face of his flat question, his deadpan expression only making it even funnier for some reason. She knew laughing at him was bad, if his expression was anything to go by. But still-

“You're calling the public's idea of sexy obscene,” She replied, trying to explain. “It's just ironic, I guess.”

“I suppose it is,” He rumbled, looking vaguely amused now, his face relaxing. She wondered if he'd been trying to be funny moments before or if he'd actually been angry at her laughter. “I have my own specifications for models, many of them antithetic to what fashion photographers want.”

“Like what?” How had he picked her, or had Miroku brought her to his attention? What specifications did she meet?

“A woman that looks healthy for one,” He sighed as he leaned forward and brought the rope around her torso. “I abhor females that look half starved.”

She had that covered. Despite her best efforts, she had been unable to whittle her waist down to a size four, something several designers and photographers had passed her over for.

“I prefer women that have experience with bondage, but your agent said that you would be fine. You are doing well for your first time,” He told her.

“First impression notwithstanding,” She added, relaxing. He was back to being kind, and she wondered if he would flip to angry again, or impersonal. Despite his shifts in demeanor, he was actually rather stable compared to other photographers she'd worked with, and found herself relaxing bit by bit in his presence.

“Correct. Lean forward,” He commanded. She did so, feeling him wrap the rope around first one leg, and then another. “Back down.” And she was kneeling fully again.

“You photograph beautifully.”

“Thank you,” She mumbled, struck by the sincerity of his tone. “I admit I've never seen any of your work-”

His chuckle interrupted her.

“You will receive copies for your portfolio, should you want to use them, or to keep for yourself. And all models are invited to the gallery for the opening.”

“It would be strange, to be there when everyone is looking at me,” She mumbled, thinking about such an event. “I think I'd be too embarrassed.”

“No one will know it's you,” He added, tying another knot.

“Still. I don't think I could do it,” She admitted. A small sigh escaped from next to her as the silk came up around her face, covering it completely as he tied it. He moved away, and she inhaled, surprised by the feel of the rope pressing into her flesh as her chest expanded. Her arms were tight against her sides, and he'd somehow wound the rope so that she couldn't move her legs, although they were thankfully kept tightly closed. With each inhale she was pricked with the hemp before finding relief in an exhale.

A flurry of clicks, each one making her feel more exposed than the last. At one moment it felt like he was taking a picture of her breasts, and she wondered if someone would buy it, hide it away, or display it proudly for others to see. What would people at the gallery think? Would they be imagining her, or would her breasts, usually 'too large' for designers, completely hold their attention? Would someone imagine cupping them, the rope coarse against the palms?

That thought made her blush hotly, and she was grateful for the silk obscuring her face. Another small eternity passed before he finished, and her legs felt like they were falling asleep. Determined to wait it out, she said nothing as he loosened the silk and then began untying the rope.

“The next is the suspension, I'll need you to stand,” He told her as he walked away, coils of rope in hand. She pushed herself up and stood, abruptly stumbling to the side clumsily. He turned to her, eyes narrowing as he dropped the rope and strode over with quick steps. His hands, which had rarely touched her during the shoot, took her elbows and steadied her.

“Why didn't you tell me?” He asked in a quiet, almost angry voice.

“I didn't want to be a nuisance,” She sighed as she felt the blood throbbing back into her legs. It felt like she was standing on pins and needles, her feet tingling painfully. He muttered an epithet that made her blush as he looked up at the ceiling, then back down at her.

“If it feels like anything falls asleep, tell me. It's not safe to continue if it does. I don't want to harm you.”

She nodded, feeling childish again in the face of his obvious concern. After several minutes the pain faded and her feet feel steady beneath her.

“Can you walk?”

She nodded mutely, still afraid to talk given the edge to his voice. But he began guiding her around the room, helping her although she was sure she could walk on her own. Saying nothing, she let him lead her through the studio until he was satisfied with her steps and then moved back, telling her to walk a few more laps. She did so, once again feeling strange in her own skin. She rarely even walked around her own apartment naked. Despite that, she walked the laps before coming back to the set. He was tossing ropes over the support beam, bringing them down and shifting them into place.

“Are you ready? This one will take longer.”

Another nod. After all, he'd been professional thus far, even concerned for her well being, something new to her where photographers were concerned.

“Legs apart, about shoulder width is all.”

She shuffled her feet until her legs were parted and he began winding the rope, a soft white one this time, around her thighs and knotting it. Instead of asking more questions, she stayed silent. It was then that she noticed there was a rhythm to his movements, a subtle one but there nonetheless. Feeling it as he wound and tugged, she began leaning back when he tugged, pulling against him to help tighten the knots, and leaning towards him when he brought the rope around her body. At first it was halting, her stepping into the odd pace, but he never faltered.

By the time he'd reached her hips she had found time and kept it as he moved to and fro, wrapping her and knotting the smooth, almost silky rope. Her eyes drifted shut, and the thick coil wrapping around her tugged her to him, and then she leaned back for another knot. Back, forth, back, forth. The repetition of the movements soothed her, the sensation of the rope sliding over her skin more vivid, more noticeable before. Unlike the unpleasant, coarse hemp, the white rope was more forgiving, although no less firm when he tightened it.

When he reached her breasts she opened her eyes, shocked by the feel of it going below and then crossing over to the top of each one. His gaze was more intense than before, the gold of his eyes hot, burning into her skin. Her cheeks flamed as he continued, hands still barely touching her skin. When he draped the rope over her shoulders he paused, looking down at her. For a moment he looked ready to say something, then shook his head and walked around to her back.

“Arms behind your back,” He demanded in a gruff voice. He tied her arms in an elaborate spiderweb, at least she imagined he did from the time it took and the pressure of each band holding her limbs together. After tugging on the ropes from behind and then coming around and tugging various spots in front, he nodded and looked to her again.

“Are you ready?”

Feeling oddly lightheaded, she nodded once, swallowing her nervousness. There were four long lengths of rope hanging down from the beam, and her tugged one, causing the intricate knots around her chest to pull against her flesh.

“On your tiptoes, it will make it easier.”

She stood on her tiptoes, almost falling over before leaning into the rope. Realizing that the rope held her, that she was safe, startled a relieved sigh from deep in her chest. The ropes tugged again and she was off of the ground, the bands in her chest digging in painfully. Before she could complain however, he was knotting the rope and then pulling another, taking some of the weight off of her chest. That was knotted more quickly, and then another, and finally the last, until she was hanging facing up, several feet above the floor. Her hair fell freely, and she felt oddly comfortable in the position now that her weight was distributed evenly.

“Are you alright?”

“This feels-” She paused. “Nice. Sort of like I'm floating.”

He nodded, a strange sort of half smile tilting his lips before he turned away and bent. The white silk was in his hands, then covering her face. She felt more fabric wound around her torso and legs, trailing from the tip of a foot. The strangest urge crept up on her, making her arch her foot and bend the other.

“Keep that,” He commanded, and she heard quick strides, then the camera clicking.

“Move,” He commanded. And she tried, within her limited range, to do so. Shifting her legs and moving her neck and tilting her head, curving her back, what little the ropes allowed she achieved. He came closer and moved away, then came closer again.

And then she was swinging back and forth, the silk fluttering around her body as the world shifted on it's axis. Weightless in the sensation, feeling more that the world moved and not her, she giggled and tilted her head back. The silk began to slip down her face, and by some miracle she caught the edge with her teeth, keeping her nose and eyes covered.

Several clicks in quick succession as he shuffled around her taking picture after picture, more than the other two poses combined, she thought. Hoping he was pleased, she tilted her head as far back as it would go, the silk slipping from her face completely, still held between her teeth. She saw his stomach and gave in to the impish urge to blow air at it, causing the silk to puff out from her mouth and brush against his shirt.

“You seem to be enjoying yourself,” He chuckled. His time the sound was real, the hint of laughter flavoring his voice with something dark and rich.

“I didn't think it would be fun. It's like taking over four swings at once,” She replied haughtily as he moved to take picture of her lower body. After a few more shots he sat the camera down ad came back up to her head, staring down at her with an amused smile.

“Shall I let you down?”

“Swing me?” She asked instead, ignoring that she was naked, that she was posing for kinky photos, and that he was one of those kinky people. Because he was smiling like he was enjoying watching her smiling, and she was enjoying the odd weightlessness and giddiness that had swamped her good sense.

And he swung her gently at first, using the ropes to rock her back and forth. Then he added strength to the pushes and pulls, and she closed her eyes, allowing herself to enjoy the ride. Another breathless laugh escaped, echoing through the studio as he shifted the ropes so that she moved in tight little circles.

“Had enough yet?” He chuckled several minutes later when she was gasping for breath around her laughter. Unable to speak, she nodded, grateful when he stilled the ropes. First her legs lowered, then her middle, and then he was behind her, arms working in front of her to loosen the last knot holding her in the air. The pressure eased as he lowered her, and then he was the only thing keeping her from falling into a heap on the floor. Ever so slowly he eased them both down, keeping her supported in strong, strikingly warm arms until she was cradled between his legs, leaning against his chest.

“That was unexpected,” He rumbled, although she could hear no anger or tension in the sound, only a mild surprise and a hint of-something. Still giddy from being pushed and spun, she couldn't quite grasp the word, the letters vanishing into smoke when she tried to grasp them in her mind, chased away by the solid warmth of his body surrounding her.

“Is that good or bad?” She finally asked.

“It is rare that I enjoy a shoot. I have enjoyed this one.”

“Because I like swings?” She asked, still dazed.

“Yes, because you like swings,” He chuckled, the sounds vibrating against her back and head.

Little by little the odd giddiness faded, leaving her feeling strangely tired and oddly drained. Instead of comforting, his support of her grew awkward, so much so that she pulled away, scooting across the floor and bracing herself on her palms.

“Are you feeling alright?”

“Yeah,” She lied. Because she felt awkward now, exposed and disoriented. Her own actions seemed incredibly silly to her, even childish, more so than her initial behavior.

“Let me untie those,” He said, moving forward to help her. A dull ache awakened where the ropes had dug into her flesh, throbbing as he freed her quickly and efficiently. Still feeling like she was mentally listing, she stood and wobbled away from him, eager to get to the bathroom and put her clothes back on. Only once did she stumble on her still uncertain feet, righting herself quickly so that he would have no cause to touch her, as he had before.

Once back in the bathroom she closed the door and pulled her clothes from the shelf. In her haste her bra fell into the open toilets, soaking up water before she could catch it. A sniff escaped as she grabbed the end sticking out of the water and pulled it out.

Logic had obviously disappeared, given that she turned to the sink and dropped it in, squirting hand soap all over it and then turning on hot water. Another sniff escaped as she pulled the stopper knob and watched the sink fill up. The water steamed as it filled, and shut turned the knob to shut it off just before it spilled over the edge. Her bra floated, and she grabbed it to try and scrub, only to yank her hands out of the water with a hiss.

Needing to sit, to give her brain time to stop tilting and swerving, she sunk to the floor, leaning against the cool wall of the tub. Steam wafted up from the sink to obscure the mirror as one minute followed another.

Why had she done that? It was stupid, and she didn't understand why trying to clean it had been a good idea. Nor could she figure out why sticking her hands in steaming hot water had seemed okay.

A knock sounded at the door.

“Are you alright?”

Her voice would not answer. Another knock, and then the door cracked open. Apparently satisfied that it was somewhat safe, he opened the door more, eyes widening when they landed on her sniffling form. A quick glance at the sink had his brow furrowed, and then he was picking her up, carrying her from the bathroom as the tears began escaping.

With surprising gentleness he sat her in one of the chairs at the table and dug through a box, producing a blanket and wrapping it around her in an economy of motions. His hands, suddenly very large, rubbed her arms up and down, generating warmth as he knelt at her feet, looking up into her eyes.

“It's alright, this is normal,” He murmured.

“Normal?” She stuttered around a sob that was trying to force it's way out. “Why didn't you warn me?”

“Because I didn't expect it. It's normal when someone lets go. I didn't think you did,” He sighed, voice soft. “I am sorry, I should have realized.”

They stayed that way until her tears abated and her sniffs quieted. Rubbing her face, she clutched the blanket, the irrational urge to cover herself returning threefold.

“How are you feeling?”

“Tired,” She answered honestly.

“You bottomed out, that's expected. Would you be alright with me buying you some lunch, since this is my fault?”

Was she okay with him buying her lunch? All she really wanted to do was go home and sleep. Far, far away from him.

“If you don't eat before you sleep, you'll only feel worse when you wake up,” He warned, voice still quiet. There was no warning in his tone, but his words made it clear. And the offer of free food appealed to her ever precarious budget. Nodding dully, she let him lead her to the bathroom. She walked in and listened to the door close behind her.

Cautiously she tested the water in the sink. It was chilly, and her bra was a cold, sodden mess. Ignoring it, she pulled on her panties and pants, then her shirt and socks, and finally her shoes. Knowing she should be mortified at the prospect, she left the bra in the sink, unable to muster the energy to think on it after she walked out of the small room.

He was waiting, obviously. All of his equipment was packed and stored next to the mattresses, and his keys in hand. He led out of the studio, locking the door behind him, and then to the elevator. Awkward silence ensued as they waited first for the elevator, and it continued during the ride down.

When she was finally sitting in his car, his comfortable, warm, expensive car, lunch wasn't just a bad idea, it was an awful one.

“Can we just get something through a drive through?” She mumbled.

“Would you eat it?” He asked, not looking over at her.

Probably not.

He seemed to understand what she didn't say, mumbling something under his breath as he drove through the city. The restaurant he finally chose was by no means cheap, but it was thankfully middle class, so she didn't feel under dressed and conspicuous as they walked in and let themselves be seated by a smiling hostess.

“Order whatever you'd like, but if you only get a salad, I'll order for you,” He warned. She nodded woodenly. “What's your favorite flavor?”

“Strawberry.”

A waitress came over and he ordered a strawberry milkshake and a coffee. Minutes passed and the woman returned, coffee in hand and a noticeable wink for Sesshoumaru.

She didn't like the waitress. Which made no sense.

“The milkshake?” He rumbled. She was strangely pleased that he seemed as put off by the woman;s behavior as she was.

“Just a minute,” The waitress cooed as she walked away.

“If she sashays any harder, she's going to dislocate something,” She muttered, then clapped her hands over her mouth. The blood rushing to her cheeks was nothing compared to the sudden, sure knowledge that a hole was going to open up beneath her at any moment.

“If she did it would be a mercy. What an eyesore,” He murmured, smirking back at her.

“That's awful.”

“But undeniably true.”

He had a point.

The waitress came back, a tall milkshake in hand. She set it in front of Kagome, who suddenly very much wanted the milkshake. And food.

“What would you like?”

“Kagome?” He asked. When had he started using her first name? And why hadn't she looked at a menu? She grabbed a menu when he shot out two orders, the same, and gave the waitress a pointed look.

“Anything else?” She tried.

“No, thank you.”

Pouting, the woman turned and sashayed away, hips swinging wildly from side to side. She tried not to choke on the large gob of milkshake sliding down her throat.

“Want to place bets on when she'll break something?” He asked, voice low. This time she did choke, sputtering indelicately into a napkin as she tried to breathe. After several seconds of hacking, she sat up and inhaled deeply.

He had changed, again. But this man was safer than the one in the studio. This man was not someone who knew her naked and swinging around childishly, begging for another push.

“When she asks if we want dessert,” She finally answered.

“The second refill for my coffee,” He replied as she dipped her spoon back into the milkshake glass.

The milkshake proved to be exactly what she needed. By the time their food came out, she felt alive again, her lethargy fading into nothingness. However, with the departure of her sleepy apathy, curiosity had come bounding back.

“So,” She began, not really sure what to say.

“You're curious, but you don't know what to ask.”

“Well, can you blame me?” She shot out, taking a bite of the cheeseburger he'd ordered for her.

“I suppose not. I suppose you should ask whatever comes to mind.”

He was a very neat eater, fastidious as he consumed his food. There was a method to his eating, two bites of his burger, and then he would press his fingers on a napkin and drink some coffee. Repeat. Not one fry was touched.

“What got you into photography?” She finally asked. The question made him pause and set his burger back down, and he wiped his fingers on the napkin.

“It's there if you dig deeply enough, I suppose,” He sighed. “I was engaged once, and my activities were private. My fiance shared my interests. At the time I worked for a law firm. One night I came home and my fiance was with another man, one that made substantially less money than I did. When I told her the wedding was off, she threatened to out me. I ignored her warning, thinking it was an empty threat. It wasn't.”

It wasn't difficult to imagine what happened next, and she felt badly for bringing it up at all.

“However, I was already somewhat known in the community for my abilities as a rope artist, and I had several investments. I took some photography classes on a whim and changed my last name. Now I am Ito Sesshoumaru.”

“Why Ito?” She asked.

“Seiu Ito is considered the father of modern kinbaku.”

“I'm sorry, I didn't mean to bring up something painful,” She sighed, looking down at her own half eaten burger.

“It's in the past. Besides, it wasn't a total loss. There's something to be said for living without fear of who I am being exposed, and I do something I love. I was never disbarred, so I'm still technically a lawyer, and a very good one. It's why the releases are so detailed.”

“I'd say you're lucky, but I'm not sure you'd appreciate it.”

“I am, and I do. Law is the family business. I was good at it, but I didn't love it.”

“You said you didn't usually enjoy photo shoots though,” She said, then stopped, realizing what she had implied. “Never mind.”

“No, it's alright. Shoots are different than actually practicing my art. It's the same with shows. Only rarely do I lose myself, and the same goes for the models.”

“You keep saying that,” She mumbled.

“What?” He asked, brow quirking. She had a feeling he knew exactly what she was referring to.

“Losing yourself. I don't get it,” She bit out defensively, bringing her burger back up to her mouth to hide part of her face, even though she wasn't particularly hungry.

“It's when you drift, or when you're in the moment, everything is beautiful and bright. When you relaxed and allowed yourself to enjoy the experience, you lost yourself for a time. I didn't expect you to,and I should have expected-”

“You called it bottoming out.”

“I am sorry for not anticipating it. Sometimes people will fall very quickly, and land hard once they hit reality again. When you fled, I should have known what was going on.”

His tone belied a deeper anger, and a regret she couldn't quite fathom. There was a moment of silence when the waitress came back and refilled his coffee silently, leaning over the table low enough that her entire decolletage was in his face. When she left, the anger had not abated, and he seemed to be staring inward, beginning to retreat from the restaurant surrounding him to some place inside of himself.

“It's alright now, I'm fine,” She tried to assure him, wanting to soothe that anger. It was obviously aimed at himself, and she felt there was no real need. Never in a million years would she have dreamed of something like that happening, and he barely knew her.

“Even if it's for a shoot, you become my responsibility,” He told her, voice firm. “I do not like shirking my responsibilities.”

That thought was as novel as it was intriguing in it's own way.

“Responsibility?”

“To keep you safe, to make sure you're alright, that you're not brought to any harm, physical or emotional.”

“You did,” She began, stopping when she realized what she said. But the truth was there. In those breathless, giddy moments, she had felt safe. Which made absolutely no sense. Obviously something was wrong with her if she felt safe while tied up and at the mercy of a stranger.

“Then what happened?”

“It's just weird,” She muttered, dropping her burger.

“Why?”

“I'm not into that whole thing.”

“What do you define as thing?” He rebutted swiftly.

“You know, the whips and chains and stuff. I don't get it.”

“I never use whips or chains,” He chuckled. “Although there are those who do. Why do you think the people who practice such strange activities do it?”

He had her there. She had no idea why. Seeing that she was obviously stumped, he leaned forward, elbows on the table, neck bending so that he was eye level with her. His entire posture bespoke secrecy, although his smile hinted at mirth.

“It is because it can be whatever you want it to be. You can give in and be free to be whatever you want. You can swing innocently, or you can be forced to give in and enjoy yourself. It can be catharsis, release, sex, art, punishment, nirvana or hell. It's only as limited as your own psyche.”

“I don't get it,” She sighed, leaning back.

“It doesn't have to be dark,” He reasoned. “It also doesn't have to be light. That's the draw. You do what you want for your own reasons. If you're lucky, you'll find someone that compliments your needs.”

“Why do you do it then?” She was back on the defensive, and her tone reflected it. Feeling distinctly out of her element, it was with a herculean effort that she kept her arms on the table and clear of hugging herself.

“Dessert, refills anyone?” The waitress asked. They both shook their heads and she gave a disappointed noise as she spun on her heels.

“Because a woman is never more beautiful to me than when she is bound and forced to completely give in to what she desires.”

The waitress made a distressed sound and her ankle twisted beneath her seconds before she was falling to the floor, a sudden manic heap of energy. The coffee pot hurtled through the air and shattered on the floor.

“Looks like we both win,” She pointed out, trying not to giggle at the poor woman, who had obviously been as startled as she was by his declaration.

“What is your prize?”

“Shouldn't they just cancel each other out?” She muttered, trying to forget his concise, clear statement.

“I don't think so.”

She was afraid to ask what he wanted. Unable to help herself, she asked anyway.

“I want you to come to the opening of my show."

As far as prizes went, it wasn't the worst thing he could have asked for. It didn't mean she liked it though.

“I'll think about it,” She mumbled.

“And your prize?”

“I don't need anything.”

“I'll give you time to think about it then,” He offered. She murmured something unintelligible into her milkshake.

___________________________________________________

The rope sat innocently on her bed. It wasn't the wonderful, silken rope he had used on her in the last pose, but it was close. In the past week the hours in the studio had been on her mind non-stop, and she'd even begun looking at websites, searching for his photography. All of which had done little to stop the bombardment of twisted imaginings her own hormones -she refused to believe it was anything else- supplied. Women in a range of races, body types and ages were pictured strung in spiderweb patterns of rope of all colors and materials. Some photos were dark and frightening, others sensual and sexy, still others raunchy and obvious. Some women wore masks, some had exposed faces. All were beautiful.

And his words haunted her. She had little doubt that he didn't cross the lines he had created for models considering his reaction to her 'bottoming out'. But the idea of being bound and forced to give in to what she desired...When was the last time she had even thought about what she desired? Her boyfriend had long ago left her when her career had taken a turn for the worse, and she'd been so stressed that even masturbation had lost it's appeal. A quick check the night before at her vibrator had provided nothing but leaking batteries, it had been so long since she'd used it.

Feeling like her mother would open the door any minute (even though she hadn't lived at home in years), she climbed onto her bed and lay next to the rope, fingers moving to run over it's ridged surface. The smooth strands twisted together and shifted beneath her fingers.

“It's just a curiosity,” She told herself as she wriggled out of her clothes, tossing them next to her bed in a careless heap. Gingerly sliding the rope onto her stomach, she closed her eyes, imagining the pictures she'd seen.

One particular one came to mind, of a black woman that had been bound, legs splayed wide open and bent at the knee. Her hands had been tied over her head, and her breasts had been covered in intricate knot work. With little effort the woman was replaced with herself, the white rope pressing into her skin.

Slowly she unwound the coil of rope on her stomach. It slid over her skin, deceptive in it's softness as she bent one leg and caught an errant segment with her foot, tugging it down and then letting it drop beneath her. Inch by inch she tugged it further up her legs until it was resting against her slit.

Sesshoumaru hadn't splayed her legs wide open, but she imagined he had, that he was grabbing his camera. Feeling brave, she spread her legs, pulling the rope until it was nestled between the lips of her sex. In her head, the camera clicked, his lips quirked in that small smile as he knelt and aimed it at her breasts. Her hand wandered higher, dragging the rope over the swell of her breast, drug it over her nipple. The sensation was like electricity as she looped the rope around it, cupped it as if she was presenting it for the camera.

Her other hand pulled the rope between her lips, the pressure soothing the tight ache of her clit. She felt slippery and hot, felt the rope slide smoothly as she tugged harder, sought even more pressure.

He was tugging against the ropes, his camera gone. Now it was only her and what he was doing to her. His warm hands yanked the ropes on her chest, hard, jerking her roughly. Wetness slicked her thighs, she imagined it slipping down, shameful, exciting evidence of her craving. A warm, wet mouth closed over her nipple, sucked and nipped gently. His knuckles were hot against her mound as they slipped under the rope, tugged it up to increase the pressure against her clit.

No choice, nowhere to go, no reason to do anything but give in to the pressure of the ropes everywhere, but especially there. Her orgasm was as sudden as it was exquisite, so sharp it was almost painful as she flew up, flew apart, and shattered.

Lazily she drifted back down like so many sparks from fireworks, lethargic and content. The rope was twisted around her body, tangled in her legs, a solid, soft assurance. That is was something safe, something solid, didn't bother her. After all, it didn't have to be dark, and it was beautiful. Bound up in the tangles, she felt more beautiful as she drifted off to sleep, content in the afterglow of her orgasm.

___________________________________________________

 

His home was even more innocent and innocuous than the studio had been. Set in the middle of a suburban sprawl, his house was like every other house on the street. A car in the driveway, a neatly tended line of shrubbery creating a natural fence on both sides, a normal color scheme for the paint. There was nothing at all to hint as the man who lived inside, other than perhaps that he was normal.

Walking up the steps, she knocked firmly, feeling slightly more sure of herself then the last time she had met with him.

The front door opened within moments, and he was looking down at her, his expression slightly warmer than it had been the first time she had ever seen him. Unlike last time however, his hair was unbound, hanging heavily down his back and over his shoulders.

“Higurashi,” He greeted.

“You've seen me naked. Kagome is fine,” She joked, tilting her head to the side. Unsure of where her strange confidence came from, she extended her hand anyway, warmed when he smiled and shook it gently.

“Kagome then. Follow me.”

His home was a showcase to strange but beautiful art, all of it related to, well, not quite sex. But everything looked sensual. Nothing showed outright intercourse, but the vast array of activities depicted, from a beautiful, flowing sculpture to an old painting of an ogre woman bound in intricate knots, all made her flush at their suggestion.

“You have a beautiful home,” She murmured as he led her to the back of the house and to an open room. Three large computer screens sat on a glass desk that dominated the room, and a computer tower sat beneath the top, whirring quietly in the silence.

“I have finished developing the photos, as I said,” He told her, walking over to the desk and grabbing a large portfolio. “Would you like to view these over a larger surface?”

She nodded shyly, curious and afraid to see what she looked like bound. Even more art was exposed to her eyes as she was led through the house again, this time to a dining room with a big, wooden table or dark, red wood. A soft thank you puffed into the air when he pulled out a chair for her and then helped her scoot forward. Instead of sitting as well, he stood next to her and opened the folder.

“That's me?” She whispered, looking at the woman amid the piles of silk, which seemed to have grown up around her body and over her eyes. Soft, plump pink lips were slightly open, and her head tilted back. The lighting was such that she looked like she was a supplicant, not a prisoner, regardless of the fact that her hands were tied over her head.

“It is,” He rumbled quietly as he flipped the photo to show another.

She thought she knew herself from every angle. She'd had photos of herself taken from every possible angle. But the same pose, only showing her back, was a small revelation. Her wavy hair fell down past her shoulder blades by a few inches, exposing the rest of her to the camera. Each line and curve seemed vivid, more real as she followed it down to the swell of her bottom and her feet below it.

Each picture was more beautiful than the last, each more relaxed than the last. She could see where she had begun relaxing with him in the first two poses, and when he arrived to the third, she was startled to realize that she had not only relaxed, but done well. Despite being bound she had positioned herself perfectly in the third pose. There were easily twice as many pictures of her hanging from the ceiling, and they were just as easily the best.

The last few pictures showed the scarf slipping down her face until it was clenched in her teeth. A smile danced on her lips, a cheshire grin that exposed the bit of scarf held tightly, and the last was of her swinging, the scarf gone from her face and an expression of breathless joy suffusing her features.

“That is the only one taken of your face. It will never be public,” He told her, his voice solid, sure. She knew instinctively that he meant it as a promise, and she trusted that.

“I look sexy,” She finally said, still amazed by how he had captured something in her no other photographer had captured. Even giddy and smiling she looked sensual and inviting.

“It's good to know your sense of self has not been polluted by high fashion,” He murmured as he closed the portfolio. “You are sexy, when you choose to show it.”

Unsure if he was complimenting her as an artist or as a woman, she nodded mutely, flushing despite herself.

“Thank you. I've never seen myself like that before.”

“It is my job to bring that out. Should you ever like to do another shoot, I would be happy to oblige,” He added. “Miroku has my information.”

“About the showing,” She mumbled. “I would like to go.”

She had a feeling he didn't often do double takes.

“The bet,” She added lamely.

“The bet,” He said, taking a seat across from her and nodding. “Alright. Have you considered your own prize?”

This part was harder.

“Another shoot.”

“I have already invited you back to the studio,” He began.

“Not for art, for me. I mean, I would like to have another set, just for me. Without masks or anything.”

He was quiet for several minutes, eyes narrowed slightly in thought. It was the only indication he was thinking at all. His face was an impassive mask that gave nothing else away.

“Alright,” He murmured at last, nodding. “Would you like a contract drawn up?”

Did she? Theoretically it would keep her safe. If they ever leaked in any way, she could probably sue him into oblivion. But there was another part of her, one that felt strangely reckless and stupid.

“I trust you.”

And if she was a model, there would be lines. A barrier. With the reveal of the photos, she wasn't sure she wanted that in place anymore.

Another long silence ensued, one where he watched her carefully, his lips compressed slightly and his brow furrowed in thought. One hand went to his face to hold it, elbow propped on the arm of the chair. He was the very picture of graceful thought. She knew people had taken pictures of him while practicing his art at shows, but had anyone ever taken the time to take a picture of him like this?

“Fair enough. Instead of a contract, we will have a safe word.”

She knew from several internet articles that a safe word was the word used to end the scene. Nodding once, she let him continue.

“It will be jiri,” He rumbled, making her blink. Reason, logic, sense. Given the context it was a strangely appropriate word. Would she have to use it?

“Follow me,” He said, standing and leaving the folder sitting on the table.

“Now?” She asked, heart remembering it's former home in her throat and beating up there.

“Yes, now,” He rumbled, pulling her chair back with a swift yank. On unsteady knees she stood, followed him from the room and back to his office, where he retrieved the familiar camera case. Wordlessly he led her down the hall and opened a door.

“After you,” He said, gesturing to the stairs.

Everything in her life had been the same for months. It was time for change. With that fortifying thought bracing her, helping her breath, she grasped the rail and began her descent into the shadows of the stairs. He followed, and when the door closed behind him, darkness blanketed her. She could hear the sounds of his breathing, her own, their footsteps on the stairs, her fingers sliding over the smooth rail. Gingerly feeling for each step, she continued until there were none left. Reaching blindly, feeling lost and disoriented, she grasped at the wall gratefully.

A light clicked on, and after blinking once, she wondered at the wisdom of her decision.

Everywhere through the room were various stands and pieces of furniture, some so oddly shaped she couldn't begin to imagine how one sat or laid on them. Others were more recognizable, inspiring a trill of terror and a thrill of nervous excitement in turn.

“Have you looked at any of my photography since we spoke?” He asked, moving over to a table and setting his camera down.

“I-I have,” She admitted, feeling like she was admitting to watching porn.

“Was there anything you liked?”

Everything.

“There was one woman, a black woman in white rope. She was,” Here her voice deserted her. The word stuck in her throat, and she felt childish again, naive. What must he think of her, an expert looking at the ignorant?

His presence was almost overpowering as he stepped closer. Something in his step had changed. Gone was the gentle man she had known, the one who had made a playful bet. Something predatory had replaced him, something altogether too feline and dangerous. Even as he walked behind her she could feel the heat radiating from his body. Breath puffed against her neck, warm exhales tickled the shell of her ear.

“She was what, Kagome?”

A shiver ran down her spine, shuddered through her body.

“Open,” She choked out.

“Exposed, you mean?” He asked, the vibrations tingling against her ear.

“Both.”

“I think I might have an idea,” He purred, taking her hand and leading her to the corner of the room.

“Undress, but keep on your panties and bra. Place them on the table there. When you're done, stand right here, feet apart.”

She was really there, she was really doing it. Anxiety warred with anticipation as he walked away.

“And keep looking at the wall as you do. If I catch you looking over here, you lose your prize.”

His voice was silky, light, but the threat very clear. Disobeying that command was not an option. Feeling slightly safe and yet also disappointed that he wanted her to keep on her under clothes, she began disrobing, folding everything neatly and putting it on the table, even her shoes. Her underwear was one of her favorite sets. Since meeting him, she'd begun wearing her sexy lingerie, or what she considered sexy. The white lace bra held her breasts, but concealed nothing, and the matching panties were no better. Already she could feel the dampness between her thighs, the heat beginning to thrum and pulse from her core radiating out.

Going back to where he'd had her stand, she set her feet at shoulder width and waited.

“Very good,” He purred in her ear, making her jump. Not once had she heard a sound to betray his movements despite straining to. “Remember the word. I will not stop otherwise,” He warned, the blindfold covering her eyes before she could protest. Afraid he would end the moment before it began, she stayed silent.

The rope was soft, silken as he began binding first one leg, and then the other, working above the knees. That odd rhythm was there, easy to find now that she knew it existed. Push, pull, tug, tighten. His hands were not so impersonal as they moved over her skin. Measured breaths that matched the pace he set with his hands wove into the sound of the rope sliding over her skin, against itself. Lean, pull, breath. His hands were rough, strong over her skin. Unlike last time, he seemed to be taking every opportunity to touch her, to let his hands rest on her body.

Legs finished, her began on her hips, wrapping them securely in a belt of the soft rope. Push, pull. Her skin warmed beneath his touch as she allowed herself to be lulled by the sound of their breaths coming in unison, the rocking of her body.

Breasts, and this time she was not afraid, not even when his hands smoothed over the cups of lace, pausing to hold them both before continuing. The ropes were tighter this time, forcing her breasts up and closer together as he crisscrossed the ropes around her chest.

Her arms were next, and by now she was both charged and calm, the floor strangely static beneath her feet, as if she was sinking into it. There was a sound of rope rustling and thumping, and then she felt the first tell tale tug pulling her body.

“Are you ready?” He asked, voice a soothing rumble that swept over her skin like velvet. Unable to form words, her tongue thick in her mouth, she nodded.

“On your toes.”

She forced herself onto her tiptoes, wobbling precariously. He steadied her with his own body as his arms pulled the ropes. This time her feet were completely off of the floor before he tied the knot and began working on the others. Her hips came up, and her legs hung heavily, swaying as he worked the knots. She felt her foot brush his leg and rubbed it against the leg of his slacks before he was moving down, securing her legs. A blush burned from her chest up to her cheeks when she realized that he was tying her legs far apart, the rope tight on her thighs when she tried to bring them together.

“I thought you wanted to be exposed,” He chuckled, making her flush even more hotly.

The sound of the camera clicked, echoing through the strange fog that had clouded her mind.

“I rarely tie anyone like this, even though it's one of my favorite poses,” He said aloud. “Would you like to know why?”

“W-why?” She stuttered, trying to find her voice.

And suddenly his was between her legs, pressed against her. His slacks were still on, but she could feel him there, could feel the hardness of his thighs between her own, burning her. The blindfold came off, the dim light almost too bright at first as she tried to adjust.

“It's very versatile.”

He had a knife in his hands.

A big knife.

A big fucking knife that was catching the dim light of the room and flashing ominously.

“What-”

He was holding it near her chest. Panic forced her heart into her throat where it struggled for room with a scream that was also trying to escape. The knife pressed against her flesh and she struggled to move, but was completely immobilized, his body keeping her from gaining any momentum.

“I lied when I said I love watching women forced to give in to what they desire,” He admitted, eyes reflecting the light, turning them almost orange. A feral smirk danced on his lips. “I do enjoy it, however, there is something about terror.” His statement ended in a murmur as the tip of the blade pressed against her flesh, pricked her lightly. Her startled gasp was laced with a light sob as terror, the very thing he wanted, spiraled through her, made her want to scream.

“Please don't-”

“Don't what?” He whispered, slipping the knife down. “Pleasure you? I think that's what you wanted, what you were too scared to ask for. Wasn't it?”

The knife tip was slipping over one breast, dragging across one suddenly too sensitive nipple.

“Answer.”

She whimpered.

There was a flurry of movement and the sound of ripping fabric. The cups of her bra were pulled roughly away, the lace burning against her skin as he bared her breasts. Her wail ricocheted off of the walls, laced with fear and denial.

“You have beautiful breasts. I've never seen a model with such a wonderful body,” He sighed as he cupped her flesh, his hand squeezing gently. The knife came back, slid over the flesh softly, it's edge barely touching her skin.

“Do you enjoy being helpless?” He asked, eyes finding her own and boring down, demanding an answer.

The bipolar contrast of his hard, almost angry tone and the gentle ministrations of his hand was dizzying, and she wasn't sure what was going on. Was this how kinky people played? Was he trying to keep her off balance? Did it excite him? More importantly, did it excite her?

“Answer me Kagome,” He barked, voice rough and scraping against her skin, making her shudder.

“I don't know,” She whimpered.

Another frightening blur of movement and the knife was in her panties, going in the leg and up through the top. A slight tug, and she felt it come undone, a gasp whispering into the silence. With the same swift economy of motion he repeated the motion on the other side. With the knife he pushed the torn fabric away, exposing her completely.

He turned away, sat the knife down on the table, but when he turned back to her, there was something shiny in his hands, something small that jangled loudly.

“You're so damnably inviting,” He sighed as he leaned forward, dotted the middle of her lip with the tip of his tongue. Then his head swooped down, obscuring her vision in a haze of white as his tongue swirled over her nipple.

Terror fled in the face of the warmth flickering back to life in her belly, between her legs. It spread as he groaned, sucked her nipple into his mouth. Teeth nipped almost painfully, sending cold bolts of sensation through the jagged spirals of heat, lancing it the pleasure with pain. Seemingly satisfied with the first, he switched to her other breast, repeating the motions until she was whimpering with want.

When he pulled back, the feral smirk was back in place. His eyes glowed in the dim light, drawing her attention.

Until something pinched her nipple painfully. She looked down just as he placed another silver clamp on her other nipple. The little clips had small teeth that bit into the flesh, and she didn't particularly like how they felt. Even worse though, was the weight. The jangling had been the sound of the bells, one at each end, and there was a slender cord connecting the two. His finger hooked over the cord, tugged lightly on it, making the bells jangle and eliciting a gasp at the surge of pain that blossomed and pulsed through her breasts.

His warmth pulled away from between her legs and she watched him warily, unsure if she liked what was happening or terrified. He turned, and she shuddered when he came around, the knife in his hands.

“Be very still,” He said, the smirk still dancing on his lips. As if she needed to be warned. The steel was cold against her skin, so cold as he slipped it under the ropes tying her arms over her head, freeing them. Confused by his actions, she brought over arms over her chest, wondering if he was stopping the entire thing after all. When he grabbed one of the support ropes and held it firmly, then cut through it cleanly with the knife, she felt a strange flicker of panic. Was he stopping it, had she done something wrong?

He pulled the cut rope, and she felt her chest tugged, then the rope went slack, lowering her head toward the ground until her hair was brushing the floor.

“Kagome, look up at me,” He commanded. She looked up, having to crane her neck uncomfortably against gravity. He nodded once, obviously pleased with her. “I want you to hold on to this,” He told her, holding the rope end. “Bring your hands up, good. Hold onto it, do not let go.”

She took the slick rope into her hand, let him wind it around her palm once before clutching it tightly in both. The ropes bit into her skin, held her hips and legs high. Blood felt like it was flowing into her head, making her dizzy.

And then she was jerking up roughly, going higher. The bells jangled loudly, covering the sound of her whimper as her hips were pulled up, the ropes lifting her whole body further from the floor. With a rough, almost rude movement her legs were bent straight and pushed to where they were hanging over her head, the ropes holding them slack. All of her weight was on her hips, an almost unbearable heaviness.

A soft gasp hissed in the room as breath puffed over her exposed pussy, warm and wet. His groan vibrated over her slick flesh. The fist around the rope tightened, dug into her palm as his tongue slipped between her spread folds, pointed and hard. An appreciative hum buzzed over the sensitive flesh, lost in the sound of her long, low moan as he continued, his tongue following lazy, nonsensical patterns. With each deep breath she took the ropes dug into her chest, the bells jangled lightly. The pain in her nipples had faded into mere pressure as he began to go faster, the patterns tighter, closer and closer around her clit until he sucked it between his lips. Her scream echoed through the room, blood roared, throbbed in her ears as dizziness made her vision swim.

Darkness hazed her vision, began taking over until there was only a pinpoint of light.

Her hips were being lowered, weight being put back on her legs. The ropes on her chest began biting into her skin again. Blinking, trying to see something, she shuddered when she opened her eyes and realized she was at eye level with him again.

“Hold it here,” He rumbled gruffly. She let go of the rope and grabbed it where he told her to. A long, callused finger pushed into her cunt, rubbed the top until it found the sensitive gathering of nerves inside of her. His other hand went behind her neck, forced her closer until his lips crashed against hers. Disoriented from being upright, from the sensation of flying and burning and wanting she gave in, kissed as hard as she was kissed, tongue sliding against his, sucked in his breath as he exhaled.

A second finger joined the first, stretching her, filling her. Friction sparked against each nerve inside of her, and in the moment she forgot the rope, began falling back from him as her gravity tried to take her back. With desperate fingers she grasped his shoulders, pushed her lips against his, whimpering in need. His movements were just as quick, but sure, steady as he continued.

“Come,” He snarled in a voice she barely recognized. The sudden rush of blood to her nipples as he pulled the clips off savagely was as startling as if was painful, wrenching a guttural cry from her throat. His fingers sped up, focused solely on that spot until she was sobbing his name, rising, falling, breaking somewhere in between the two, too lost to be afraid of the intensity as fire coursed through her blood, burned it into light, filling her with weightless warmth.

Shivering, shuddering, she clung to him. He nuzzled the side of her face, dusted her cheek with kisses before claiming her lips again. As awareness slowly came back, the first thing she noticed was that she still felt curiously weightless. The pressure of the ropes didn't register at all. The next thing she noticed was that his own breathing was as ragged as her own, his chest expanding with a deep shudder now and then.

“Hold on to me,” He rumbled, voice strange as she wrapped her arms around his neck. His hands worked between their bodies, and she felt the rope sliding between them, against her skin, pressed into her when another deep breath pushed his chest against her own. With swift, sure yanks he pulled the ropes from between them and from over the beams, each one landing with a heavy, dull thud. Her legs came after that, more quickly until she was left with nothing but the ropes crisscrossing her breasts, a sort of harness.

He carried her, ignoring the ropes on the floor behind them, ignoring her clothing and the light. Her legs wrapped around his waist and one arm went around her back to hold her more tightly as he walked up the stairs, away from that room, through the house and up another flight of stairs until he was laying her down on a bed so soft she was sure it was a cloud.

With gentle, slow movements he unwound the remaining ropes on her chest, each movement accompanied by an unwavering gaze filled with something that was, once again, just beyond her grasp. Ignoring the need to chase it, to figure out what it was, she contented herself with knowing that it made her feel soft, warm.

“How do you feel?” He finally asked, voice quiet and gentle, at odds with the man from that room.

“Like I'm still up there,” She sighed, smiling even wider as he finished removing the ropes and tossed them over the side of the bed. A leg and arm went over her body after he lay next to her, both pulling her closer until she was safe ans secure next to the solid wall of his body.

“Just drift,” He murmured against her temple.

There was nothing strange or awkward this time, nothing that brought her crashing back down to the earth in a tangled mess of emotions. There was only the soft feel of his blankets and the heavy warmth of his arm and leg over her, keeping her from floating up into the air, or so it felt. Taking the time to savor each sensation, each inhale and exhale that moved his chest, the feel of his breath in her hair, she drifted.

Little by little she came down, lazily spiraling back into herself. Feeling sleepy and lethargic, she cuddled deeper into his body, smiled when his arm tightened around her. It could have been a few minutes or hours that had passed, but he didn't let go, barely moved. Eventually she wondered if he had fallen asleep, and tilted her head away, looked up at his face.

His eyes were open, swirling and burnished in the dim light.

“How are you feeling?”

“Lazy,” She admitted with a shy smile, her confession earning a smile in turn.

“I should probably feed you,” He sighed, nuzzling her face. She realized he hadn't let go. She also understood that she didn't mind. “Can you walk?”

Possibly. But she didn't want to. Making a small sound in the back of her throat, she buried her face in his chest, rubbed her cheek against the fabric of his shirt. A chuckle rumbled in his throat, vibrated in his chest and against her cheek.

“Devilish woman, you need to eat. For that matter, so do I.”

When he got up, he pulled her with him. The sensation of stepping onto the floor was novel, as if she hadn't done it in years. Her first few steps were awkward, and he let her lean against him as they made their way to the door. A light giggle escaped, one she couldn't really find a reason for, and she looked up at him, afraid he would think she was strange.

But he was smiling, looking for all the world as if he had been the one pleasured that afternoon. Wondering if he had been, in his own way, she stood a little straighter, wanting to ask. But the stairs were next, and took all of her concentration. Her balance was still off, and he walked ahead of her, half turned in case she fell. Thankfully she made it without embarrassing herself, and he led her into another room she hadn't yet seen, the kitchen.

“Are you allergic to anything?”

“No,” She sighed, grateful when he helped her up onto a bar stool at the high counter. From her vantage point she was able to easily watch him work as he pulled out several bags, each containing bright colors of fruit. He cut them quickly, neatly, reminding her of his work with the large knife in the downstairs room. Her blush was hidden by her hair, and she watched from behind her bangs as he pulled two bowls down from the cupboard and another container from the fridge.

Within minutes he had a bowl of yogurt with cut fruit layered into it sitting in front of her, a spoon perfectly lined up at it's side.

“Thank you,” She murmured, taking a small bite. The yogurt was sweet, tasted like honey. The first bite instantly awakened a dormant hunger, and she had to struggle not to make a pig of herself in front of him as he stood across from her, eating his own.

He finished first, and when she finished he took both bowls and put them in the sink, making no further move to clean them.

“I have never taken a model downstairs before, or to my bed,” He finally said, the words neutral, as if he didn't quite know what to make of his actions. “I make it a rule-”

“I wasn't a model today,” She reminded him. “No contract,” She added bravely when he gave her a speculative look. Then he relaxed, looking somewhat less tense, although there was still something else bothering him, something that worried her because it bothered him.

“I do not engage any of the women that model for me,” He finally said. “It has always felt unethical to me. But I do not regret this afternoon. That day, in the studio, I was tempted to steal you away, bring you here.”

She wasn't sure what he was trying to say, so she stayed silent, equally unsure of how to respond to such a statement.

“I can pull your photos from the showing-”

“No!” She gasped, heart tightening. “Your work is beautiful, why would you pull it from the showing?”

“Because I would like to keep seeing you,” He admitted. “If you feel comfortable with the idea.”

Stupidly, she hadn't considered anything beyond being bound, hadn't thought of a relationship outside of the rope. She didn't really know anything about him. Except that he was kind, that he made her feel sexy, that he was gentle and that he felt safe. She opened her mouth to say something, but he interrupted her.

“If you agree, remember that I am known, and that I hide little. Association with me would mean others would at the very least assume you practice similar activities.”

That she had not thought of, and it scared her. Seeing him, being seen with him, would mean her own desires would be broadcast to the world. People would know, or assume, any number of things. That sort of risk could not only tank her career, as it had his, but destroy her life if the wrong person found out.

“I'd like my clothes, please,” She murmured. The flash of disappointment in his eyes was quick, but did not go unnoticed as he left her sitting alone in the kitchen. Her own heart twisted in her chest as she contemplated her choices.

When he came back, his back was straight, shoulders stiff. Not only had he retrieved her clothes, but the folder of photos for her portfolio. He didn't watch as she dressed quickly and slipped on her shoes. It wasn't until she laid a hand on his arm, which was tense and hard beneath her palm, that he actually looked at her.

“I need to think,” She murmured quietly. “I still don't know if this, I mean, I just don't know,” She finished lamely. “But I need some space to think about it before I can answer.”

He nodded, looking down at her from behind a mask of neutrality. It hurt her to have him look at her like that, and she felt the strangest urge to hug him, but refrained.

“I understand.”

It was because he understood, because he was giving her the space to think that made it so hard to walk away.

___________________________________________________

“These are wonderful Kagome,” Miroku murmured as he stared down at the spread of photos on his desk.

“I don't know whether or not I should put them in my portfolio,” She said quietly, eyes locked on the photos. The shades of black and white blended together in her eyes as tears pricked at them. It had been a week since Sesshoumaru had quietly declared himself to her, and she hadn't gone back, hadn't called, hadn't attempted any sort of contact.

Miroku propped his elbows on his desk and folded his hands before propping his chin on them and staring her down. His violet eyes seemed to see straight through her, and unable to bear such a gaze, she looked back down to the desk.

“As your agent, I have to give warning that if you do, your work will be severely limited in mainstream media, if not completely ended,” He finally said, voice even and neutral. “But other avenues would become available. All of them would be lucrative, but you would be required to show your face at some point.”

Meaning she would be known, just as Sesshoumaru was. No matter if she practiced the activities depicted, or what people would assume she did, or not, she would be associated with it forever.

Just like if she began seeing him.

“Do you know one of the reasons Ito is so prolific amongst we agencies?” Miroku asked after a moment of contemplative silence.

“Why?”

“He has never asked for the same model twice, and he never accepts if approached first.”

“I don't understand.”

“He called me the day after your shoot, and said that if you were ever interested in doing another, that I should call and arrange it.”

“He was thinking of pulling the photos from the show,” She murmured thoughtfully, hugging herself. Had she crossed over a boundary she shouldn't have? Miroku had always warned her against getting too close with photographers and designers. But Sesshoumaru was both and neither at the same time. How was she supposed to explain that she wasn't sure if she had broken the 'golden rule' or not?

“Why? They're all wonderful, and perfect examples of his work.” Miroku sounded truly surprised and somewhat offended, making what she was going to say next even harder.

“We, I, I got close,” She sighed, bringing up a hand to push her hair back from her face.

“That's a serious accusation, Kagome. Sesshoumaru Ito has an impeccable reputation. If he took advantage of you-”

“No!” She shouted, flinching when she realized how angry and offended she had sounded. “It wasn't like that. It was later, when I went to pick these up. It wasn't as a model,” She sighed, tipping her head back and covering her face with her hands to block out the world for a moment as she tried to gather her thoughts.

“You mean, you slept with him?” Miroku asked flatly.

“Kind of.”

“Explain 'kind of'.”

“I let him- do that,” She said, bring her head back up and waving her hand at his desk.

A long, awkward silence followed, one that made her fidget and squirm in her chair as Miroku looked first at her, then down at his desk, and then back again.

“I'm not speaking to you as your agent right now, Kagome.” It was his disclaimer, a distinction so that what he said next she would know was coming from her friend, and not someone speaking to her from a professional standpoint.

“Did you enjoy yourself?”

She nodded, eyes on the pictures. “It was wonderful,” She finally sighed, the sound not happy in the least. “He said he wanted to see me again, to keep seeing me. It's why he thought about pulling the photos from the showing.”

“It's not easy, making such a decision with such a public life,” Miroku sighed, leaning back in his chair. “Very few people can afford to be so open. Even though we sometimes cater to more outre shoots, we've never had a fetish model work here. The only reasons I agreed was because he agreed to mask your face and because he is regarded highly as an artist, despite his subject matter.”

“I don't know what to do.”

“What do you want to do?” Miroku asked.

“I've never looked like this before,” She murmured, taking the lone photo that had her face completely exposed. “All of the photographers have told me I'm too innocent to look sexy, most of the designers told me I'm too fat for their dresses, or that my breasts are too big. Make up artists hate my hair because it starts waving ten minutes after straightening. Maybe I'm not meant for fashion.”

“What about Ito?”

“I want to see him again,” She admitted.

“And this isn't a break from fashion so that you can see him, you're not giving up so that you can pursue a relationship?”

“Miroku, be completely honest with me. Where would these fall if I put them in my portfolio?”

“They'd be your best,” He admitted. “Especially the one you're holding. Any photographer that said you look too innocent to be sexy would shoot themselves if they saw that.”

“Exactly.”

He nodded, blinked slowly, and a smile began to emerge, small at first, then wider, until it was a grin.

“Well then, my not so innocent angel, perhaps it's time to change the rules a bit. As your agent, I have to warn you there's no going back.”

“Maybe that's what I need,” She said, feeling breathless and giddy and afraid. A change, a life altering change. Hopefully for the better.

“And if your mother finds out?”

“I'm sure she'll keep it from grandpa,” She thought aloud. “Mama's always been very understanding.”

“I'm sure she will be if you bring Ito home to meet her.”

Sesshoumaru.

“Miroku?”

“Yes, angel?”

“I don't want to tell him until after I've done another shoot, with someone else.”

“I doubt it will be difficult to find some quick work for you,” He laughed, making her grin widely in return.

No going back. Suddenly it was as amazing as it had been frightening.

___________________________________________________

She knocked quietly, wondering if he would hear her from wherever he was in the house. For several minutes there was no answer, and she knocked again, this time more forcefully, while wondering why he didn't have a doorbell.

Several more minutes passed, and she thought she could actually feel her heart sinking in her chest. His car was in the driveway. Maybe he was asleep. Or worse, he was with someone else in that room, downstairs. It had been two weeks since she had left him standing in the kitchen. Perhaps he had given up. She doubted he would have problems finding someone else.

Determined not to feel bad, she turned and began walking down the steps, ready to wait however long she had to for the bus to come along again to take her home. She was on the last step when the door opened, and she turned quickly on her heel, so quickly that she almost fell over, grabbing onto the railing to save herself an embarrassing moment.

“Kagome?” He asked, eyes wide. She noticed his hair was still tucked in his shirt, which was rumpled and obviously hastily thrown on. Had she interrupted something?

“I-I wanted to talk to you, if that's alright.”

“Yes, that's fine. Come in,” He told her, waiting for her to walk up the few steps to his door and for her to enter first.

“I need to show you something,” She told him, nodding at the folder tucked under her arm. “The table would be best.”

They walked back to his dining room and she stood while he took a seat. Nervously she opened the large folder and began pulling out photos. Since changing her portfolio, she had not only gotten two immediate jobs, but several others scheduling future work for her. Most of them had, ironically, been for clothing. It seemed there was a high demand for models willing to wear fetish clothing, and in the course of a week, Miroku had worked miracles in getting her name and face out in the open.

The two shoots she had worked had been for clothing, and they had both been enjoyable. No one had told her she was too fat, or that her breasts were too big. Not once had anyone told her she didn't look sexy enough, and there had been so much cutting up and joking that she had fallen into place, feeling strangely at home with the others, even though some of them spoke of thins that clearly went over her head.

“I don't understand,” He finally said, leaning back in the chair and looking up at her. Finally she took a seat next to him, wondering how exactly to word what had happened, and why she had done it.

“After I left, I thought about everything, a lot. When I took the photos from our shoot to Miroku, he told me that if we put them in my portfolio, I would probably never find work in mainstream media,” She explained slowly. “It was the same choice I had to make with you. If I used them, I would be known.”

“But these-” He began, gesturing at the table. All of the photos were of her clothed. Yes, she was in several suggestive positions, modeling corsets and vinyl and leather, but none of them were of her bound or nude.

“I made the decision to do it. I've got more work scheduled, and these shoots have been fun, more fun than I've ever had working,” She admitted. “And I wanted to do at least one before I came back with my answer.”

“Why?”

“I don't want there to be any question that I made the choice, I don't want either of us to worry about being in public together, being seen together. Even if I hadn't come back, I would have sought someone out eventually, I think. What I felt, it was too much to let go. I would always be hiding, and perhaps whoever I was with would be hiding too. I don't want that.”

“So you did this so you wouldn't have to hide?” He asked, expression unreadable.

“In part,” She agreed. “But also, I've never felt what I felt in the studio, or downstairs, or in your bed. I was terrified and excited and helpless and free and forced all at the same time. And safe. I felt safe with you.”

He was quiet for several moments, and she could see him thinking, could see him thinking, the wheels in his head turning.

“Come with me,” He told her, standing and taking her hand when she followed suit. She was lead up the stairs, back up to his room. On the bed was a large drawing board with two neat stacks of paper and a box of pencils. On the drawing board was a large sketch of a structure with a woman hanging from it. There were few features, and those that were drawn were the work of an talented but obvious amateur, yet she could still see tat he had taken care to draw her features, and not someone else's.

“Look through these,” He instructed gently as he walked over to his dresser. She sat on the edge of the bed and looked over the sketch on the pad, amazed that he could dream such a thing. The bindings were too thick to be rope, they looked almost like silk holding the woman, her, above the world. The pose was the lotus position, and breasts and groin were modestly covered.

“It's beautiful,” She murmured quietly. The bed shifted and dipped behind her, and she felt his chin on her shoulder.

“You have inspired something new in me,” He admitted quietly. “After the first week, I did not think you would come back. I have not been able to stop drawing you in my designs.”

It was frightening and touching and awe inspiring, that she had caused this, that she had moved something within him so intensely. Before she had worried that he would refuse her when she came back. She had even begun telling herself that at least he had given her a second start in her career, perhaps even in her life as a whole. But this-this she had not been ready for, had not expected.

“I would love to do this,” She finally said, voice thick as she reached for one of the piles of paper, obviously sketches. Some were of the same thick binding as the first, and others of rope. Some were modest, and others exposing. All of them bore the marks of her features, and all of them excited her.

“These are amazing.”

“I have never had a muse before,” He said, bringing his hands around her neck. She felt the caress of the rope against her neck as he brought the ends around to the back. Automatically she lifted her hair, and she felt the weight settle and something click. The rope slid, and she felt something cool resting between her collarbones. Fingers brushed over the metal, and she realized what it was as she dropped her hair.

“I do not intend to let you go,” He murmured, bringing his arms back around you. “Artists are insanely possessive of their muses.”

“When-”

“I took apart the rope from that afternoon and rewove it. Do you like it?”

She nodded, unable to formulate any words. She'd received jewelry before, from family and boyfriends. But none of them had been made for her, none of them had such meaning or history.

“Good. I've never done this before,” He chuckled. “Most women prefer metal, or something more discreet.”

“This is perfect,” She sniffed, afraid she was going to cry for all the swelling in her chest. The meaning was not lost on her. It was the first time she was accepting such an offer, and though she was new, she understood it's significance. That it was the first time he was offering moved her, made her treasure it all the more.

“Wonderful.”

It was.

___________________________________________________

The white, slippery fabric covering her breasts and winding around her bottom and groin were soft to the touch. The wide lengths of fabric holding her body up supported her evenly, making her position comfortable, so comfortable that she didn't feel much pressure at all.

“How do you feel?” He murmured. The crowd outside of the room, the people looking at his work were a quiet rumble, like a storm far off in the distance.

“Nervous,” She admitted as he came back in front of her, another long strip of fabric in hand.

“They have adored you thus far,” He chuckled. And it wasn't a lie. Before they escaped she had mingled with the people that had come to admire and buy his photography, and the pieces featuring her had been among some of the favorites.

Her agent had been poleaxed when he saw some of the newer additions, and she'd felt a sort of manic glee when he'd seen one of her bound to another woman in the air. Even more, she'd felt inordinately pleased with herself when she had introduced him to the model, a woman named Sango. She had met the woman at a clothing shoot and immediately taken a liking to her. No nonsense to a fault, Sango had obviously taken a liking to Miroku and decided to not only pursue, but capture as well, not that her agent seemed to mind.

“I love seeing you like this,” He admitted as he brought his arms around her waist and nuzzled her leg. She swayed gently and felt the fabric stretch slightly.

“I hope the others do. I don't want anyone to dislike your art.”

“Everyone will see you and be awed,” He told her, looking up into her eyes. “They'll imagine being you, or having you. They'll want to rip you down and carry you away and ravish you.”

“I think you're projecting,” She laughed breathlessly, flushing at his words.

“No. They'll go home tonight, they'll fuck and imagine you. And you will be mine.”

“I already am,” She reminded him, only to be bitten on her thigh. A soft whimper escaped, earning a chuckle. The dark, feral smile was in place, the one that scared and excited her.

“I have made a slight change,” He told her. She had noticed the difference from their practice with the structure he had commissioned, but hadn't said anything, trusting his judgment. He moved back behind her and she felt the tugging of the fabric pulling her arms together over her head. While it was not a huge change, she wondered at the significance. Obviously he had a reason for the difference, but she couldn't understand what it was.

Two minutes later she felt the fabric on her upper torso pull up, forcing her to arch her back. It was tight, but not painfully so, the fabric itself too wide to truly dig in, But she was uncomfortably aware of her nipples hardening, pushing against the smooth texture.

“Sesshoumaru-”

“Muse?”

She said nothing, not willing to argue with that voice, or that dangerous smirk. In the past several months she had learned to tell the distinction between the gentleman that was tender, that took care of her, and the dangerous predator that enjoyed far darker things, things that had ceased to be frightening. The distinction between the two had also ceased to be strange, instead easily held within the same man as she had come to love.

The last length of fabric looped over the metal structure hanging from the ceiling that held her in the air. He easily used it to hold himself up as he tilted his body sideways to kiss her, swaying gently away.

“Imagine every set of eyes on you is a caress,” He murmured quietly. “That even the women want to kiss your skin, that their lips brush against you lightly.”

“Sesshoumaru,” She murmured, feeling his hands between her legs. Mortification warred with the desire that flamed in her groin.

“Imagine their heat, their need, their hands reaching out to touch you.”

“Sesshoumaru-”

“Imagine being made to come, helpless.”

She didn't have to imagine, the fantasy strangely real as his hand worked between her legs, bringing her closer and closer to the edge. His head dipped down and captured one of her fabric colored nipples between his teeth, and she had to bite her lip to keep from crying out as the pain shuddered through the pleasure, making the pleasure itself all the more vivid.

Phantom hands and lips were all over her body, kissing, licking, nipping, caressing, pinching every nerve into delicious awareness. Her breath escaped in light pants as she came closer to the edge. Just as she felt the tightness of her body about to shatter, he stopped and retreated, slid back down the fabric and patted her bottom.

“We'll finish later,” He promised.

And seconds later the door was opening, allowing people to walk into the room. Though she was not the only 'art piece' in the room, she was the most interesting. Sesshoumaru had never done a live display of his talents at a gallery showing, and it was apparently beautiful, she was beautiful. Eyes moved over her form, some appreciative, some envious, but many of them filled with heat, with want. It was not difficult to do as he said, to imagine a person coming close and touching her.

Keeping her expression calm, serene, was tested when Miroku walked in, Sango on his arm. He looked both shocked and vaguely hungry. Sango stood on tiptoe to whisper something in his ear and he nodded, flushing brightly at whatever her words had been.

Realizing that she was the center of attention, that many people in the room were staring her down, wanting her, was both mortifying and titillating. That she was not quite a woman, but more to some, perhaps less to others, burned through her, made her skin hot, made it harder and harder to keep the mask of divine calm on her features. Everyone spoke as if she was deaf to them, and there were compliments and gasps, half whispered suggestions that only reinforced their gazes.

“She is an art piece?” Miroku asked as Sesshoumaru came over to him.

“My muse,” Sesshoumaru told her. “She is my inspiration and my art.”

“And the fabric?” Sango asked, looking enviously at her. In return she tried to blank her mind, to look beyond Sango, not wanting to ruin the effect Sesshoumaru was aiming for.

“It is the same used for aerial silks by gymnasts,” Sesshoumaru's voice said, as if from a distance. She was floating, drifting. A stranger caught her eye, his gaze intense. For a strange moment it felt like he was touching her, his hands warm on her skin, her breasts.

It happened again only minutes later. It became more and more difficult to remain detached as people came and looked into her eyes, as they looked over her body, arched as if in offering to them. The wetness between her legs grew, and she hoped it didn't seep through the fabric, that nobody saw it. But the possibility that it had, that they did, was intensely arousing. That they saw her, imagined touching her made her feel like a sensual goddess, wrapped in her silks, unreachable by any of them, save one.

The realization made her want to gasp, to moan as she gave in to the staring, the whispered commands of the man that had put her on display for all to see. Little by little people filtered out, then more came in. Sensation, though imagined, was vivid. Eternity passed, tortuously slow, the phantom teasing leaving her a tense, coiled spring ready to snap beneath the lightest touch. Eventually the gallery owner told the crowd that it was time to leave. People filtered out with lingering glances at her form, some with regret, others with envy.

And then only he was left, and the mask of civility was gone. The predator was back, was stalking toward her smoothly, and she felt like prey that had been trapped and was sure of it's end. His hand reached up between her legs, slipped under the fabric.

“Slut,” He growled as his fingers pushed into her, making her cry out in relief. “What were you thinking?”

“Everything,” She stuttered as his fingers worked her sex, the fabric forcing the heel of his palm to press against her clit, providing more aching friction.

“Good.” It was a snarl, and had anyone heard they would have thought him almost angry, but she knew better, knew that he had enjoyed showing her to the world, had enjoyed them wanting her as much as she had, perhaps more.

After the hour of teasing she had endured in her own head, the physical sensation of him was too much to bear, and she hurtled over the edge only to fall up, screaming his name as she lost herself in the peak.

Before she was even fully aware, she felt herself tilting back and forth, up and down, and her eyes opened. She was lower, was sitting on the supporting loop of fabric, legs spread wide. The head of his cock pressed against her slit, rubbed against her clit. His hands caressed her breasts, pushed the fabric around them away to expose them.

“The gallery owner-”

“Might walk in,” He interrupted. “Would see you like this. Open and wet and wanting.”

Even if the man didn't walk in, he could surely hear her moan as Sesshoumaru pushed into her, stretched her around his girth. Her position made it all too easy for him to squeeze her breasts and pull her close as he thrust in. The impromptu sex swing let him withdraw and slam back in, using her momentum to fuck her harder and harder, his cock slamming into her as his fingers pinched her nipples. Every thrust was both pleasureable and painful, filling her so completely she both feared breaking and craved it as his blunt nails dug into her skin. 

“He's probably listening at the door, pulling on his cock and wishing it was buried in you,” Her lover growled.

His crude suggestion only made her hotter, made her cry out even louder.

“That's it. Let him know how good you feel,” He snarled. The command filtered through the haze of lust, lost any hint of obscenity. It was a command, and so she obeyed, no longer taking pains to hide her noise as a hand moved to her hip to force her onto his cock in shorter, harder thrusts and another tangled in her hair to tug painfully and tilted her head back. Her scream came out higher, more shrill from the strange angle, the letters of his name lost in the sheer ecstacy of the sound.

Her scream lingered in the air as pleasure crested and then swept over her, drowning her. His cock throbbed as heat spilled onto her, burned her.

She swung back as he leaned against her, and for all the world she wished she could hug him. The fabric was not so tight at the rope, but just as difficult to escape. Settling for nuzzling the crook of his neck, lips resting on his pulse. Feminine delight coursed through her own post orgasmic bliss when she felt it fluttering wildly.

“You will be the death of me,” He groaned as he pulled out of her. Immediately she missed the feel of him within her, but said nothing as he made himself presentable. Several minutes later she was trying to keep herself upright as he wrapped the fabric around her and knotted it in various places, taking care to fold it so that her body was modestly covered. By the time he was finished, she felt like she was wearing a particularly tight dress, one that limited her movements slightly.

The gentleman was back, his eyes tender as he wrapped an arm over her shoulder.

“The rig,” She mumbled.

“We will come back and pack it up tomorrow,” He rumbled as he guided her to the door. When he opened it, she wobbled out ahead of him, not surprised to see the gallery owner, a handsome, older gentleman, flushing brightly and looking out of breath.

“Good evening,” He mumbled, blushing even more when his eyes landed on her.

“Have a good night,” She replied lightly, looping her arm around Sesshoumaru's as they walked out. As they turned the corner, he burst into rich laughter, a sound she was sure she would never tire of.

“I love you,” He rumbled in his gentle baritone.

“I love you,” She sighed happily, leaning into him.

___________________________________________________

A/N: I like the idea of Sango going after Miroku for once, and her being the pervy one. Just sayin. And as for the last scene, I love how aerial silks look, and since first seeing them, I've pictured someone using them for shibari suspension. Just UNF. And as for Sesshoumaru's switch between the gentleman and the predator, it's not unusual, although it can be difficult to write without making him sound like he's suffering dpd.

Two points I feel the need to make (I always give disclaimers to my smut, like any responsible pervert). This is fantasy. Get training before trying anything, and really know a person before letting them tie you up or before getting out the sharp pointy objects.

I feel the need to give this final warning given accidents that have happened in the past (not to me before you even think it, giggling monsters). Do NOT fall asleep tangled up in rope. It's just a bad idea. Possible sleep strangulation aside, family or friends could walk in (awkward), your cat could wander by and decide it's a bigger better yarn, the dog could decide to play tug of war or whatever. Always put your toys away, or at least kick them off the bed.  

 

INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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