"Are you ready?" Morgan murmured.

There was no place to ask if he was sure any more. Morgan had been asking that for almost a year. It had been discussed again and again, researched and pondered, countered and supported with facts and statistics. The year had been full of growth, of evolution of their relationship. Where a year previous when Reid had told him his darkest desire, Morgan had panicked and worried, when he had repeated it a year later Morgan had simple nodded his agreement. He wasn't scared any more.

"I'm ready." Reid confirmed.

Morgan shifted his hips a little from his place straddling Reid's waist and looked down at the smooth expanse of pale chest, at the lines of slight muscle and the press of bones upward through skin. Reid's face was completely peaceful, looking up at him from behind soft eyelashes, his arms resting gently by his head. He was beautiful, and Morgan felt a sudden tightness in his throat at the thought of his lover being so relaxed, knowing full well what was coming. Reid trusted Morgan with everything he was.

I want you to cut me.

Pain as an exploration of pleasure wasn't new to either of them, but that request had not been expected by Morgan. At first he'd outright refused, the idea of wounding his lover like that, of scarring him, or marking him so purposefully. Reid had not let it go, and had brought it up again. He was always calm when he did, and it was never framed as something that would jeopardise them if Morgan refused. He simply wanted Morgan to consider it with more than an initial reaction.

Over nine months it had come up every so often. They'd discussed it, researched the culture, history and psychology of cutting and scarification. As they'd learned about things surrounding it, Reid had come to better understand the desire he had, and Morgan had understood what he lover wanted. As he learned, his fear was dissipated.

The last three months the talks had been more purposeful; Morgan had all but agreed to take part. The talk had turned to practical specifics; where did Reid want to be cut, how deep, what with? Everything had been meticulously planned, except the date. The day it happened came when Reid asked.

I want you to cut me, love.

They were on a towel on the floor of their living room because the bed was too soft. They'd put a pillow under Reid's head, and Clooney had been banished to the garden for a few hours. They were both in loose trousers, Reid's pushed low on his hips, shirtless, and Morgan was sitting across Reid's lap, as they had discussed it would be done. Reid gave a small nod, and Morgan inhaled and exhaled slowly. Then he reached for the sterilised metal tray on the coffee table next to them, taking a purple tattooist's marker.

He had drawn the design so many times over, it was second nature. There was a scrapbook of over a hundred and fifty of the same drawing, which had evolved slowly over time into the final design. It was special; the first manifestation of it had been in one of the sketchbooks Morgan had only ever shown to Reid. It had been dated with what Spencer realised was a year after his mother had died from illness, a year that had been the most difficult of his life. He hadn't needed to ask to know that Morgan had drawn it for him.

It was a phoenix. When Spencer had found the first drawing, Derek had apologised for it being such a cliché. Spencer had shook as he traced his fingers over the pencil lines; the bird was elegant, neck long and almost swan-like, wings of fire with long feathers with detail at the end like a peacock, a tail of twisting lines. Its shape was frail, but the flames made it strong, and Morgan had told his lover that the last year watching Spencer work through had been like watching a phoenix rise from ash.

He lowered the pen to Reid's torso and began to draw. He'd practiced drawing on Reid in the last month, both preparing for the day. The head of the phoenix began just under Reid's left pectoral, and stretched elegantly down the side of his chest. The very tip of the tail just reached his hipbone, curling around the protrusion.

He sat up to study his work, because it had to be perfect, because soon it was going to be permanent. Reid was still so relaxed, lying back and watching Morgan with heavy eyes.

"What d'you think, baby?" he said softly. Reid lifted his head to look down his body at Morgan's handiwork.

"Perfect." He breathed, leaning back, eyes closing. He didn't open them against until he heard the sound of Morgan pulling on purple latex gloves. They were to stop any infection, rather than the shield Morgan from Reid's blood.

"Ready?" he asked again as grabbed a handful of tissues and put them by Reid's side, within reach.

"I love you, Derek." Spencer nodded.

Morgan picked up the scalpel from the tray, watching it glint in the light. Reid breathed out slowly, adjusting his arms and sliding them under the pillow. With hands that were steadier than Morgan had imagined they could be, he lowered the blade of the scalpel against one of the simple curved lines drawn onto Reid's chest, braced his other gloved hand against beside the piece, and cut into Spencer's skin.

Reid gasped and hissed in pain, but watched as Morgan made the first cut into his flesh. Blood reached the surface and leaked out immediately, rolling down his side towards the towel.

Morgan made several smaller cuts to the phoenix's head, using tissue to wipe away blood that obscured his lines. By the time Morgan had done that and had to shift down Reid's body, the paler man was no longer so calm. His breathing was deeper and his hands were gripping the pillow. But they had already discussed that it would hurt, and Morgan had promised not to stop until it was finished. There was also the fact that Morgan could feel Reid getting an erection.

The amount of blood seemed like such a lot as it pooled against the towel, stained Reid's skin and soaked into the tissue. But rather than freak out like Morgan expected himself to, he felt surprisingly calm. Reid was so responsive under his hand and the blade; he groaned, whimpered, gasped and moaned. He wasn't watching any longer; his head was back, his eyes closes, biting his lip.

Reid's cock was rock hard and forming an awkward tent in his pants, but Morgan worked around it. The wings were intricate; long and short lines, but Morgan worked slowly; making sure his incisions were perfect and extending the sensation for his lover.

The first cuts were starting to clot by the time he put the last incision on the second wing.

"Baby," Morgan said softly, "the next couple are long. You gonna be okay?"

"Yes!" he gasped, taking the opportunity when the blade wasn't pressed to him to lift his hips. "Love, please. Please."

Morgan put his hand on Reid belly, stilling him. He put the blade to Reid's skin and pulled, smoothly curving it with the first long line of the tail. Blood rushed up and out, and Morgan gave it some time to snake down over Spencer's waist, as Derek watched his lover shudder and moan.

Reid came undone a little more with each cut. His breathing was ragged, his skin was alight, and there was a wet patch on the front of his grey pants.

Blood from the next cut rolled the other way onto Spencer's belly, into his belly button. The next one and Reid let out a long sound of pain. Morgan could see his lover crying, but he didn't stop, because he knew he wanted this. This wasn't any kind of pain; it was pain that Reid wanted. It was planned and consensual, offered and taken by lovers. He knew his lover was in subspace, knew his brain was under a huge dump of chemicals; they'd been there before with pain play, but never like this. Reid was entranced, floating, almost gone.

"Last one, baby." Morgan murmured. Reid couldn't form words.

Morgan sliced into Reid's flesh for the last time with the scalpel, separating the skin and watching the blood seep from the wound. Reid groaned, a small sob torn from his throat. Morgan quickly dropped the blade back onto the tray, bloody, just to get it out of the way. Reid's hips lifted wantonly, and he was shaking from the adrenaline and the excess of chemicals from his heightened state.

The top of his pants were stained with blood but Morgan ignore that as he pulled them away and then his own, transfixed by the sight of Reid still bleeding; cut open, vulnerable, but safe with him.

"You're safe." He said, because for some reason he needed to. "Safe, baby." He said as he crawled up Reid's body, pushing his legs apart and slotting between them. He pulled his gloves off with his teeth, reached for the tube on the tray and did as they had planned for after the cutting; he coated his hardness with lube, lifted the hip which didn't have wounds close to it, and pushed past his tightness into gripping heat.

Under him Reid gasped, arching his back which must have set his gashes on fire with pain, but Morgan knew every painful stimulus was now reaching the man's brain as pleasure. That would have been dangerous if he wasn't with someone who understood his limits, but as it stood Morgan knew exactly how far he could push Reid. He thrust within him, long hard strokes that burnt with friction.

There was blood on his hand as he drew it up to Reid's face, taking his cheek in hand as he pounded into him, tilting the man's face so their eyes met.

"You're safe." He grunted, and Reid just stared, pupils blown wide, panting from the utter devastation of it all. Morgan's thumb smeared blood over the man's cheek, over his lips, down his chin, and then he kissed him.

He knew subspace could last for hours, but also knew Reid needed aftercare soon, so he dropped his hand to Reid's raging erection and grabbed it, twisting and pulling in time with his strokes in his tight ass.

When Reid came, he broke open; the cry that came from his mouth was unlike anything Morgan had heard from him before, his body spasmed wildly underneath him and he cramped so tight that it actually hurt to keep fucking him, but Morgan did, headlong into his own orgasm, emptying his cum inside his lover. He had enough sense to angle Reid's own cock to the right to stop his release spilling into his cuts, and continued to pump furiously.

Reid slumped, wrecked, barely conscious. Morgan pulled out gently and began the aftercare, which was the most frightening but most important time because it's when he assessed the damage.

Reid, although technically conscious, didn't come round for almost an hour, until Morgan had cleaned him up and carried him to their bed, and was preparing a dressing to put over his phoenix cut into his skin, crimson lines and angry red skin around them.

"Wait..." he said, bringing his fingers to trace around the edge of the cuts. "It's perfect, love."

"Thought I'd lost you for good, there." Morgan said gently, lowering his mouth to kiss right beside the head of the phoenix.

"How long was I out?" he asked lazily, hazy through the fuzz of brain chemistry.

"About an hour after you came."

"Wow. Longest yet."

"Well, considering what we did..." He nodded at the phoenix.

"It's perfect." Reid murmured.

"You said that." Morgan smiled, tearing off measures of medical tape to adhere the dressing with.

"I mean it..." Reid said. Morgan knew it was because Reid didn't want Morgan to feel regret or guilt, as he used to after they'd played with pain. He was beyond that now, knowing it was what made Reid happy in his skin. Carefully he dressed the wound he had inflicted on his lover, because it could likely bleed again in places in the night, and he wanted the healing to go as well as possible.

"Love..." Reid breathed, "I've wanted you to do this for so long... and you did.. for me..."

Morgan could sense what was coming next, so he curled up around his lover's side, kissing his forehead and holding him close as the tears came. They were normal after such an intense session, a release Morgan was glad to see. He kissed at Reid's cheeks, tasting his tears like he'd tasted his blood on his mouth, savoured their life. He held his lover's cheek and brushed his lips with the pad of his thumb, smiling softly against him.

"I would do anything for you." Morgan promised.