Title: Dancing with a Stranger

Author: Zalia Chimera

Pairing: Russia/France

Warnings: Breathplay. This is decidedly NOT safe and sane (but is totally consensual) and please don't try this at home.

Summary: There's a necklace of rope around Francis' neck. The things that he fears are the things he loves best.


There's a necklace of rope around Francis' neck, and the dark fibres stand out starkly against his pale skin, against the redness of his face as he draws the noose tighter and tighter around his throat. His mouth is open, pink tongue pressed desperately against his lips as he tries to draw breath. Ivan can see the way his pulse stands out on his neck, the throb of each heartbeat, and he thinks that it's one of the most beautiful things that he's ever seen.

Perhaps that is why he holds back on entering until he sees the blue tint to Francis' lips. It is only then that he pushes the door open more than a crack and steps inside. "Francis?"

Francis jerks and stops, his fingers scrabbling against the rope to loosen it, to let himself breathe, and colour floods back to his lips when he manages it. His eyes are very wide. Ivan can see the little red veins around the edges of them, some burst to let the redness seep out.

"Ivan!" Francis gasps, his voice raw and scratchy. He grimaces and turns his head aside to cough violently, while Ivan kicks off his heavy boots and climbs onto the bed next to him. He crosses his legs beneath himself and then slides his fingers beneath the rope, pulling it away from Francis' skin. He starts to pull it over his head, but Francis catches his wrist, his firm grip always a surprise when one only sees the thin wrists and slender fingers. Ivan stops and gives him a questioning look.

"I like the feel of it," Francis says, and he meets Ivan's eyes while he says it, and Ivan feels a flush of warmth as he realises that Francis is confiding in him, something secret and precious. "It's something real."

Ivan's fingers hover over the twisted fibres for a moment, brow drawn into a small frown, because even in those times when he has hurt Francis, he has never liked to see Francis ihurt/i. He can see the bruises on his skin; some old and yellow and some new and flushed with dark blood. How long has he been doing this, his solitary executions?

He brushes his fingers over the bruises lightly. It makes Francis shiver and Ivan feels the movement right to his cock. There's something wrong though. Francis is gregarious and needy, thriving on touch. Why a rope and an empty room when he could have his pick of partners and instruments?

"You didn't ask me," Ivan says quietly, a statement without reproach, although he is confused. Francis knows that when it comes to the personal, the hidden sides of their lives, he will do anything for him. He pulls Francis back against his broad chest, bony shoulders digging into him. Ivan nuzzles against his temple, fine golden hair tickling his nose.

Francis shrugs and tilts his head to brush his lips against Ivan's. "Would you have agreed, had I asked?"

"I am agreeing now," Ivan says, giving a confused blink. Does it matter what he might have said? Ah, but Francis has always been too fond of 'might haves'.

"You would not have agreed if you had not seen me. I am forcing your hand."

Ivan presses his lips to the pulse in Francis' neck, feels it flutter, and he stifles the urge to bite down and let Francis feel his teeth. He is iRussia/i and people and countries do not force him to do things. "Does it matter? I am here now, and I am agreeing." He will never understand how Francis thinks. His mind is a twisty place full of dead ends and blind corners.

"Most people would stop me," Francis says, giving him a challenging look, as though daring him to turn away, to stop him, the curious masochism of being thwarted in which he indulges.

"I am not most people," Ivan says with absolute solemnity. "Neither of us are. We are not human and our desires are not human desires."

"Ah, Ivan," Francis says, voice husky from more than the bruising to his throat, "you say the sweetest things."

Ivan feels his cheeks flush softly; it wasn't meant to be sweet, it was just the truth and Francis always manages to get beneath his skin like this, digs his claws in just right and it's good, he thinks, that bosses don't listen to them much, because Francis would rule the world by now if they let him speak like that to everyone.

Besides, he's jealous, just a little bit.

He doesn't ask why, doesn't ask how, but runs his fingers over the rope still wrapped in a skilful noose around Francis' neck. It is good rope, silky, and it is just like him to be so picky about the rope that he uses to drive the breath from his body. Francis shifts against him, a sound of contentment escaping his lips as Ivan begins to play, tugging the rope as he likes it, artful positioning so it loops from the short hairs at the nape of Francis' neck, to press against his Adam's apple. He touches it as it bobs nervously. Francis knows that he will not hold back. Francis does not want him to hold back.

The rope burns his fingers as he pulls it taut in a sharp movement, Francis' breath rasping in his throat, but all is set aside for the artful arch of Francis' back as Ivan drags his head back, and oh, it makes Ivan's mouth go dry.

He doesn't try to struggle. His eyes go dark and hungry, mouth slack and pink and perfect as he draws thin gasps of breath into his lungs and even that he would claim is only a requirement of his weak flesh. Ivan wraps the trailing end of rope around his fist, pulling it taut and dragging a mewling sound from Francis' lips. Francis' skin bunches as the rope tightens, his pulse standing out above it, a steady throb, throb and Ivan trails his free hand to it, feeling the pulse fade, and fade, becoming weaker as Francis' gasps rasp in his throat. He could pinch it shut, if he wanted to, speed the degeneration and...

He loosens the rope, eyes fixed on Francis as he gasps a thick breath. Flushed skin and lips slightly parted, slicked with saliva. Francis leans back against him, eyes bright and he laughs softly, languid as a cat.

"More," he mouths, eyes closing as he reaches up to touch the rope, fingers running over Ivan's own softly.

He looks so calm, relaxed as Ivan has not seen him in years; not the practised rehearsed relaxation that he normally displays to the world. Ivan presses his lips to the nape of Francis' neck, rough rope and soft skin and softer hair against them. He feels oddly honoured to see this, this part of Francis that he had kept hidden. No-one would have been surprised to know it, and maybe that is why it is a hidden thing, a private, personal one, that no-one can make comment upon.

Yes, he likes knowing this, even if he does not understand it.

When the rope tightens next, Francis does not hold back his moan and it jolts electric across Ivan's skin, the tiny hairs rising to meet the sound. Francis looks blissful, a smile on his lips as he dies slowly, as Ivan chokes the life from him with a hangman's noose as he had executed French soldiers who remained once Napoleon fled. And now he chokes France himself and feels a soft laugh bubble in his throat.

The desperate breath when the rope loosens once more loosens the tightness in his chest, and he squirms a little on the bed, guilty thoughts flitting through his mind like awkward little birds. "You are very beautiful," Ivan says when Francis can speak again, and his eyes are not rolled back in his head.

"You are not usually one for flattery, Ivan," he says warmly, the roughness of his voice sending heat fluttering through his stomach and downwards.

"You are very mad," Ivan adds with a half-smile and Francis laughs, high and bright and Ivan is sure that it is at least half hypoxia, the lack of oxygen bringing out the part that does not think as humans do.

"Flattery," Francis repeats and draws Ivan's hand down his body, skinny and tough, the base flesh, and presses it against his groin and the hardness there. He is hot and wanting and Ivan squeezes a little, then too hard, and the hitch in Francis' breath has nothing to do with rope, just Ivan's fingers and hand and the way that he twists his wrist, the flex of muscles and sinew which create such a feeling from nerves and chemicals, a beautiful machine.

"Only you would call it flattery," Ivan replies, smile never fading. He slides his hand beneath the waistband of Francis' unbuttoned jeans, and he's not wearing anything beneath. At Ivan's raised eyebrow, he just grins lazily, then bucks his hips up against Ivan's hand, expecting his touch and knowing that he will get it. He always does. Ivan thinks that Francis knows him too well, but when he licks that spot beneath Ivan's jaw... oh, he couldn't care less.

He pulls Francis back to kiss him, the rope tightening slowly and he feels Francis' cock twitch in his grip. His lips are warm, and Ivan steals away the soft puffs of breath, drawing them out of him even as he tightens the rope inch by painful inch.

"I saw a hanging once," he says calmly, watching Francis gasp and choke and rock against the hand around his cock. "They dropped him down but it didn't snap his neck, no, he hung there, struggling and wheezing like an old horse." He gave the rope a sharp tug, drawing a strangled gurgling sound from Francis' throat, jerking his body like a marionette.

When his fingers tighten around Francis' cock, he cannot even cry out.

"And for all the time that he hung," Ivan continued, stroking his thumb against the slick tip of Francis' cock, watching his eyes roll and his mouth form voiceless words, "he was hard. Harder than I've seen anyone, as though he were waiting for someone to take him into their mouth." Francis jerks against him, pushing back and pulling the rope taut and tight, a line of black around his neck. Ivan licks his lips, releases Francis' cock and brings his hand up to his neck instead, a point of heat against his madly fluttering pulse. "I saw the moment when he came," he says, whispering against Francis' ear, right to his dying mind, "how he couldn't even scream."

He pinches the spot of the artery sharply, squeezing it tight, feels Francis' body shudder against him violently as he comes, all the more intense for his forced silence, fingers scratching madly at the bed covers.

Finally Francis stills, a dead weight against him, and Ivan blinks at the slack face for a second before he loosens the rope and slides it from around Francis' neck. There are slick bruises already forming, and his skin flushes pink-red as blood floods it. The rope coils onto the bed at his side.

He hums softly as he cradles Francis' body against his own; a cheerful dirge as he forces Francis' mouth open and massages his throat. He is so still and Ivan might think him dead if he could not feel the subtle shift against his body. His chest is rising and falling, that Ivan can feel and all he can do is wait while Francis rides his orgsam, the sweet hypoxic lucidity.

Consciousness comes slowly, and each waking movement is fog-thick lazy.

"You are awake," he says, because sometimes he isn't certain that Francis realises it.

Francis mewls which trails off into racking coughs as he stretches in Ivan's arms, slowly testing air-starved muscles and movements and learning how to breathe again. "I..." he manages to wheeze, before giving up and settling for turning in Ivan's arms, pressing his face into the juncture of shoulder and neck. He rocks his softening cock against Ivan's knee, drawing out the last shreds of feeling and heat. Ivan can feel slick wetness soaked into the front of Francis' pants and it smears against his own, he knows it. The mess makes him cringe to think of, but he does not begrudge it.

"They hung me once," Francis rasps, voice barely above a whisper, and that muffled by Ivan's shoulder. Ivan coils a strand of golden hair around his finger, fine strands twisting together and making the tip of his finger turn blue. "I think it was... they thought I was a witch..." He trails off into hiccuping laughs that still shake his chest when his teeth sink into Ivan's shoulder.

Ivan makes no attempt to pull away and enjoys the feeling when Francis' fingers rake hard down his back.

"It is funny," he says and when he speaks that way, Ivan thinks it does not sound funny at all, "the thing that made me a witch in their eyes, is what kept me alive. I remember their screams when I walked away." Another of the discomforting laughs which trails off into something that is not a sob but is far from a laugh.

"You are not a witch," Ivan says when the shudders stop, tracing the outline of Francis' shoulder blade. He has wondered sometimes, if Francis would have preferred to be mortal. He wonders now whether Francis had wished that the hanging had worked. He is France though, and he can never tell.

"You should not have seen."

Ivan cocks his head to the side curiously, a bird-like gesture, and tilts Francis' head up to look at him. His eyes are still heavy lidded and pleasure hazed, no matter his words. Losing his breath has loosened his tongue. "I like to see you undone."

"You did not even come," Francis replied, peering down at the front of Ivan's trousers which are still pristine save for the smear of come across them from Francis' jeans. He sounds so put out that Ivan cannot help but smile. He gives himself away and it has always seemed to frustrate him, when a partner is willing to give but not to take as much or more.

"I am not in need," Ivan replied easily, his honest smile seeming to satisfy Francis as he scrutinises his face. He does not have Francis' sex drive. It leaves him exhausted and he wishes that he could convince Francis that he is as happy giving pleasure as he is receiving it.

"You indulge me too much. You should be more greedy."

"I enjoy indulging you," Ivan replies, his smile widening. "If I enjoy that, then I am greedy enough, yes?"

Francis blinks at him and then laughs, shaky but genuine and presses a light kiss to Ivan's lips. "You should worry more. I am greedy enough for both of us. I am demanding." And Ivan sees the way his fingers brush the coiled rope like a lover's skin.

"I know," Ivan says honestly, and he is honest. Francis is often violent in his passions. "I would not have anything different."

And after a moment, a long stare, Francis beams and kisses him and murmurs breathless promises against his skin and they do not sleep that night.


Notes

'Dancing with a stranger' is a euphemism for hanging./small