A/N: Sorry for vanishing without warning. I'm a musician in "real life," and my band flew to New England for a music tour. I had hoped to finish this chapter on my trip, but touring gave me absolutely no free time for writing. The trip was fun, though. Also, I got to march in a 4th of July parade through a hurricane, wheeeee! So if any of you live around Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and you happened to see a lady with ankle-length hair playing a trombone at a music event, that was me. Apparently, my picture made it into the East Bay news. How embarrassing, haha!

Yay for 30 chapters!

ADDED IMPORTANT NOTICE:
I'm getting letters of concern (or flat out nagging) that weeks have passed since posting Chapter 30 with no updates and no notice of what's going on. I have vanished, and so soon after my last disappearing act when I went to New England. Basically, I'm trying to prepare a novel for publication, it's a huge nightmare, but really exciting, too! The whole process—all the last-minute edits, as well as sorting out legal crap and little things like book cover art and pricing—is just sucking up all the free time I have. It's been over two weeks now, and to be honest, I have absolutely nothing written for the next chapter of FMBM. So please be patient with me, and when I can get this damn thing in print, I'll tell everyone about it. You'll even learn my REAL name *gasp!* (Seriously, that scares the crap outta me. I have stalker-fans here who will now be able to find me in real life and bug me for updates. Freaks me the hell out, haha!) For the curious: no, it is not a yaoi novel, nor is it erotic. My mother will be reading this, and she scowls if a story has merely a passionate kiss scene. It does have some sexy hot tub scenes, though (Sorry, mom, you'll have to deal with your daughter writing implied water sex) but I have to be vague. It's all implied stuff, pretty tame. Well, besides the gory parts; I went all out on a beheading, wheeeee! It's a medieval fantasy romance/mystery/adventure based in a matriarchal world. My husband calls it "Game of Thrones with women swinging the swords." I think he gives me way too much credit. Sooooo, please wait and I will definitely LOVE to get back so actual writing and not all this editorial bullshit.


Chapter 30

Blindfolded and Beautiful

After Gray got out of the shower, he immediately went to warm up more tea. All the panting and groaning had worn out his throat, leaving it scratchy and raw. Tea, some lemon, a bit of sugar, and hot to ease the ache. He got the kettle boiling and looked through a cabinet to figure out which tea would be best.

Shortly after him, Natsu walked out of the steamy bathroom and strode around the apartment naked, not bothering to dress since Gray had mentioned that playtime was not over.

As Gray brewed tea, he watched that fit body, how Natsu's cock hung loose, foreskin hooding the head, yet still an impressive sight flaccid like that, those muscles flexing and stretching, the lines of his hips, the tautness of his chest, and how his Fairy Tail tattoo gleamed like fire against his pale skin.

Gray shook his head. Weird words were flitting across his brain: graceful, handsome, alluring, gorgeous. Sure, Natsu was not bad looking, but … gorgeous? That was a term applied for ladies with luscious hair and curvy bodies. He had honestly never thought of a male as being gorgeous before. Hot and sexy, sure … but lovely? Beautiful? Not even his ex-boyfriend had ever been associated with words like that.

Natsu gazed out the window and down to the street traffic going by the apartment. Even if someone looked up, the window shielded him from the waist down. He wondered if people out there had heard him. Were Gray's neighbors even home yet? It was barely afternoon.

"Hungry?" Gray called over.

Natsu glanced into the kitchen and froze. Gray had an apron tied around him as he fixed what smelled like tuna salad. His back was to Natsu, and the ties around the apron formed a droopy bow that trailed down Gray's waist to his ass. Natsu stared at those muscular globes, the scars on Gray's body, the firmness of his leg muscles, and how his wet hair hung slightly to his shoulders. Natsu was used to seeing Gray naked ever since they were kids, but now … why was this so different?

"Natsu?"

The Dragon Slayer jolted out of his distraction. "Sure!" he shouted, realizing his voice was far too loud. "Uh, I mean, we skipped lunch. Food would be nice."

"Good. You'll need energy."

Need it? Natsu realized why, too. Gray was not done. He was not sated yet. Honestly, neither was Natsu. After two weeks of watching out, being cautious, unable to fully enjoy one another, although plenty of sexy things happened, today he wanted to go all out. He wanted to touch Gray everywhere, and to be touched. He wanted to taste Gray, and have himself be tasted. Suck, lick, devour, mark each other, again and again. Once was not enough!

Gray turned around, but his eyes were instantly drawn to the lengthening member. It was not erect yet, but it was stirring, that much was obvious.

"Oh? What naughty things are you thinking about?" he asked with a haughty smirk tugging at his lips.

Natsu jolted, looked down, and turned away in shame.

"Do you like seeing me wearing an apron?"

"As if!" Natsu snapped irritable. Damn stripper! Damn stupid horny ice princess!

Gray crept up behind the Dragon Slayer and slithered his arms around the muscular waist. Natsu could smell the forest scent, the muskiness that was unique to this ice mage, and something else. Himself! His own smell had worked its way into Gray's aroma, like a campfire smoking in a forest clearing. It was a blend of aromas, the smell of a couple, and it intoxicated Natsu, leaving him dizzy.

A cold whisper hissed into his ear. "Do you know what clothes I'd like to see?"

Natsu had to admit, he was curious. If he could wear something that would arouse Gray…

"High heels and a corset."

Natsu yanked away in anger. Women's sexy clothes? "Bastard!" he shouted. "If you want that, why are you with me? Go find yourself a woman."

Gray gave a soft sigh. "I meant on you, stupid."

Natsu's mouth dropped. "On … me? Whuh? Why?"

Gray shrugged nonchalantly. "Because it'd be hot? It'd humiliate you. Corsets can be really uncomfortable. It'd be sweet pain, having you wear one. Plus I think you'd like the heels."

"Why the hell would I like high heels?" Natsu realized he was practically shrieking.

A smile curled onto Gray's face. "Because you have a foot fetish. It's just a guess, but I think you'd really like wearing heels."

Natsu pouted sullenly as he looked away and mumbled, "Is that what you plan to do next?"

"No. I don't have a corset—they're rather expensive—and I don't think they make heels in your size."

"Obviously not!"

Gray had an infuriatingly patient face. "Sit down."

After scowling, Natsu flopped onto the couch. Gray knelt in front of him, picked up Natsu's foot, and rubbed it in a massage. Natsu's tense body slumped. How could a damn foot rub feel so good? Too good! The more Gray touched his foot with his icy fingers, the more aroused Natsu got. His hands rushed down to hide it while his face turned pink.

"Yes, I'm pretty sure you would like your feet decorated. You don't even have to walk on the heels. Just wearing them in bed…"

Natsu gulped hard. In bed?

"… allowing me to admire your feet, touch them, kiss them…" Gray leaned over and planted his lips on Natsu's big toe. Just that much made Natsu groan quietly, struggling to hold back anything more. "Fetishes are strange and wonderful. We don't always understand why we have them, and explaining them can be awkward as hell. I know that better than anyone. We've discovered that you have one, and now I want to see what things I can do with a foot fetish. I've never known someone who had one, so I had to look up what the possibilities are."

Natsu jolted out of his daze. "Look it up?"

Gray was focused on rubbing the foot, but a smile tweaked his thin lips. "After we … had that trouble," he said cautiously, wanting to avoid bringing up their brief breakup, "I went and bought a book on foot fetishes. Sadly, it mostly pertains to women…"

"So that's why you said heels."

"No, that's just a fantasy of mine."

"To dress me up like a woman?"

"To humiliate you, and by the way you're reacting, it would work damn well."

Hardly thinking, Natsu threw a punch at Gray's face, and with practiced ease from their many fights, Gray let go of Natsu's foot and caught the fist.

"Not even flames?" he asked, looking at Natsu's hand trapped in his cold fingers. "That must mean, on some deeply subconscious level, you don't mind the idea."

"Like hell!" Natsu seethed.

Gray chuckled and pulled away. Natsu was so easy to tease, but it was incredibly hard to hold back from doing far more to him. As the ice mage walked back to the kitchen, Natsu's eyes were again drawn to how those apron strings dangled over Gray's buttocks.

"Are you staring at my ass again?" Gray called back, not turning around.

Natsu growled and looked away. "Of course not! Stupid stripper."

Gray returned carrying two small plates with sandwiches and sliced peaches. Natsu dug into the sandwich, far more hungry than he had first imagined. Gray sat at his table, still naked and damp, and drank deeply from a mug. The tea soothed out the pain in his throat and relaxed his flustered mind.

"Was it all right?" Gray asked quietly. He bit into a peach, and its juice dribbled down his chin. He quickly wiped it with a napkin.

"Food's good," Natsu said with his mouth full.

"I mean earlier. Did you like it?"

"Obviously I did!"

"Even … even the leash?" Gray glanced over worriedly. That had been something Natsu once specifically said he did not want, so to return to it was technically ignoring Natsu's needs.

"You treated me like a dragon, with respect, so it was fine."

"I still demanded you to follow me at the end."

Natsu chuckled and gulped some tea. "You were just eager. I can forgive that."

Gray looked down, debating if he dared to press his luck. "Would it be okay to try it again?"

"Sure," Natsu said casually.

Gray let out a sigh of relief. He hardly realized just how tense his muscles had been until they all went limp. Muttering, he asked, "Why do you spoil me?"

"I don't. I only agree to what I want. You're the one spoiling me."

"You agree to almost everything, though. Realize, you're allowed to tell me no."

"I know that," Natsu nodded. "I've said no to some things."

"Still…"

"Gray."

The ice mage looked over anxiously, only to find a slice of peach shoved roughly into his mouth.

"Shut up already." Natsu shook his head in amusement at the worrying mage.

Gray chewed the peach and ate his sandwich in silence. Once they were finished, they carried their plates to the kitchen. Natsu offered to wash them, and Gray went to the bedroom.

Transitioning from average, normal life—eating and chatting—into their little sensual fantasy world was always just a little awkward. If it was heat-of-the-moment passion, that was one thing. Setting up a scene was quite another. Gray had a vague idea about what he wanted to happen, but now he had to pick the tools. He glanced out the bedroom door, but Natsu was still facing the sink. Gray opened his chest of supplies and began to search.

"This, and this … this one … no, not that one. This one. Maybe? Oh, and we might need these."

"Are you done?" came an impatient shout from the other room.

"No," he cried out, finding his voice to be shrill. He grumbled to himself, "Dammit, calm down."

Gray began to line things up on a dresser. He rearranged items as he planned out in his head how he wanted this to go.

"Oh crap, do I even have … wait, I can use … no, that wouldn't work at all. Screw it!" he growled. He grabbed a cloth and ran to the kitchen.

Natsu was on the couch, still naked, glancing at the pictures in a Sorcerer Magazine. He looked up, but he saw determination in Gray's face as he marched swiftly by. Natsu was intensely curious what the guy was planning so precisely. He never realized that their moments were planned. They just happened. Or so he thought. He remembered how much trouble he had gone through when setting up the "lunch" for Gray, cutting up meat and cheese and digging through a whole jar of olives to find ones that fit on his toes. To go to so much trouble, Gray must be planning something just as special.

Gray returned, still holding a cloth, but with a citrus smell following him. Natsu watched him, but Gray did not even glance over.

"Will it hurt?"

That made the ice mage stumble, as if he just now realized someone else was in his house. He looked over to Natsu, but his startled eyes softened and narrowed lecherously.

"Oh yes!" he promised, and he continued on his way to the bedroom.

Natsu's heart fluttered at that. There was fear in pain, but the fear filled him with excitement, the same rush he got just before battling an enemy. Pain was to be feared but also accepted. Fear could wound you deeply, or it could be used as a weapon. Best to accept the pain, the fear, and transmute it into something greater. Pain led to victory. Natsu found himself licking his lips as he imagined the pain and what victorious pleasures it would bring him.

He heard some rummaging around, and then Gray called out, "Do you really prefer my ice? Would you want to try ropes? Ice might not be ideal this time. Can't figure out where to attach it, anyway."

Natsu gulped hard. "Ropes are good. They might burn, though."

"I bought fireproof rope. It should be fine, even for you."

Where did Gray get the money to buy all this kinky stuff? Then again, rope was inexpensive.

"Close your eyes. Don't open them at all."

Natsu chuckled and played along. "Okay."

He heard Gray walk in, but he kept his eyes closed. "Really, don't open them."

Something was put over Natsu's head and pressed against his ears. Earmuffs? Headphones?

"Gray?" He knew he said the name, but he did not hear his own voice. "Gray!" Natsu felt his throat vibrate. Definitely, he was speaking, but no sound at all reached him. Even if they were normal earmuffs, he would be able to hear his voice, his breathing, or the pulsing rush of his own heartbeat. Instead, it was as if the whole world had vanished into oblivion.

Suddenly, the item was pulled away. "Perfect."

Natsu's eyes opened wide. "What the hell was that?"

"You'll see," Gray smirked, heading back to the bedroom.

Natsu's pulse raced faster, thrumming through his body. What the hell is he planning?

"Okay, come in. No! No wait."

Natsu sighed. This was a lot of hassle for sex. Of course, with Gray, it was rarely just sex.

Gray finally stepped out of the bedroom. He was wearing tight jeans and a form-fitting, sleeveless, black shirt with a neckline that went up his throat. The shirt clung to him so tightly, Natsu could see every contour of Gray's muscles. He wondered why Gray had just now decided to get dressed after eating lunch and preparing everything stark naked.

Still, Natsu had to admit that Gray was damn sexy wearing those tight clothes.

"Stand up," he ordered, and Natsu hurriedly complied. Gray was speaking in the deeper tone he used when he wanted to take control. Then Gray handed Natsu a tiny strip of clothing. "Wear this."

Natsu held it between his hands. It was a white jockstrap.

"What the hell?" Natsu whispered, blushing at the sight of it.

"Put it on," Gray ordered.

"I thought we were going to use the cock ring."

"You shouldn't wear that for more than fifteen minutes. We'll get to that eventually."

Eventually? Which meant that whatever extra Gray had planned, he was expecting to spend far longer than fifteen minutes. This was going to be slow and torturous, and the thought of that prickled Natsu's nerves.

"Now, no more talking. Put it on."

With a sigh and a shrug, Natsu pulled the underwear on and adjusted himself to fit inside. So much for staying naked so they would not waste time undressing!

"Good. Now…" Gray pulled out the white collar and began to wrap it around Natsu's neck.

As he was collared, Natsu could hardly help but notice the contrast between Gray's black clothes that covered him up, and his white clothes that revealed almost everything. He did not understand why wearing clothes like this was even more humiliating than being naked, but somehow that was the case.

Gray locked the collar in place and tucked the key into his back pocket. Then he stepped back and admired his pink-haired submissive.

"Perfect," he whispered, eying everything about Natsu. "Down on your knees." Natsu dropped to the rug. "Lean over, hands on the ground. Good. Keep your eyes lowered. Now, lean your head down but keep your butt in the air."

Natsu felt the pull of the jockstrap and how it completely exposed his ass. He could almost feel Gray's stare as he admired the sight of Natsu kowtowing with his butt raised like an eager bitch in heat.

"You've been bad, Natsu."

Hearing that sent an electric thrill through Natsu's muscles. So, this was punishment time!

"You really put me through a lot," Gray said in a smooth but accusing tone. "You invited me to your house despite knowing I couldn't have sex. You even had me sleep in your bed, as if being near you wasn't tempting enough."

Natsu cringed at the truth of those words. Why had he offered that to Gray? Why did he have them sleep together? He knew it would be torture, but he had been selfish. He hadn't thought about how this edged Gray into desperation.

"Then you seduced me," Gray said in a low growl. "You fucking seduced me. You and your tempting ass."

Natsu suddenly felt Gray's hand slap him hard. He gasped in shock, but he kept his head down.

"Then you scared the hell out of me. Do you have any clue how terrified I was when you licked my blood?" he shouted down at the prostrate Dragon Slayer. "You knew better, dammit!"

Another slap hit his ass. Natsu cringed. This was true, it hurt to hear it, but he wanted to face what he had done. The pain in his heart far outweighed the pain to his flesh, and that imbalance made him crave more pain. He should hurt equally as much as his aching heart.

"I was scared to death," Gray went on, walking around Natsu. "You know how I feel about you, and you know that emotion scares me. I've had nightmares of confessing only to lose you. Nightmares!"

He slapped Natsu's butt with a resounding smack.

"I'm terrified that feeling this way will damn you to an early death, just like what happened to everyone else. And what did you do? Potentially put yourself at risk."

Gray spanked him again, and Natsu shuddered at the sweet pain.

"I'm sorry," he whimpered.

Gray dropped down and put his head near Natsu's lowered face. "What was that?"

"Sorry," Natsu whispered. "I'm sorry."

"Sorry?"

Natsu could hear the sardonic smile in Gray's voice.

"Do you think a simple sorry is enough? You made me so mad and so scared that I had to push you away. I didn't want to, Natsu. I hated myself for doing that. Then you made me feel like I was the one who was guilty. I'm not the bad man in this. I was sick, you knew it, and you seduced me anyway. So, how should I punish you?"

Natsu gasped softly, trying to hold back more noise. Punishment! He still felt guilty for putting Gray through all that. Gray was about the beat the darkness out of him again. He would get beaten and then fucked. Natsu got hard thinking about that cathartic release from guilt, and he felt the discomfort in how the jockstrap restrained him. That little bit of cloth told him that he was not going to get sex yet. Lots of sweet fun laid in store first.

Gray chuckled lowly. "Get up. Your punishment is in the bedroom."

Slowly, shaking with arousal pain and flooding hormones, Natsu rose off the floor. Gray grabbed the ring of his collar and yanked Natsu forward, roughly dragging him to his doom. They went to the bedroom, and Natsu saw a dresser with many items on it all laid in a row like medical tools in an operating room. Some he knew: the riding crop, the paddle, the vibrating butt plug; but some he did not know, like a stick with feathers on the end, something that looked like a mask, and a bar with cuffs.

Suddenly, Natsu felt frigid air on his ear. "Do you think you deserve pleasure yet? Or should you be punished first?"

Natsu wondered if Gray really was giving him the option. He wanted Gray to pleasure him, but he also felt deeply guilty now. There was no way he could enjoy sex with the guilt nagging his heart. That dark emotion needed to be purged before he could take pleasure in anything.

"I … I need to be … p-punished."

A cold finger stroked his neck just above the collar. "I agree," Gray said with wry amusement. "Now, how should I punish you?"

"Gray," Natsu sighed.

"Shhh. No talking. The only sounds I want to hear are your moans."

Natsu hissed between his teeth at hearing that.

"Do you want it beaten out of you?"

"Yes!" Natsu breathed.

"What'd I say? No talking. Only moans."

"Nnngh!"

"Better. I love to hear that. Now, stand here, right beside the bed. Don't move."

Gray walked over to the dresser and picked up the straight bar. Natsu stared at it, no clue in his mind what it could be. Gray knelt behind him and wrapped one of the cuffs onto Natsu's ankle.

"Spread 'em," he ordered.

Natsu moved his feet apart, and Gray attached the other cuff to the left ankle. Natsu stood there, so spread that his balls hung, and no way to close his legs together. He was stuck in this spread position. The feeling of being trapped, locked in, and exposed made his heart flutter.

"Now carefully lean over and lie your top body on the bed."

Breathing harder with each command, Natsu leaned down with his feet still planted on the ground. Gray walked around the bed and pulled up some rope. It was connected somewhere under the bed, probably tied directly to the frame. Gray yanked Natsu's arms up and began to wrap cords of rope around his wrists. Around and around, the rope bound his wrists and forearms. Natsu watched as the bondage looked almost beautiful, tied so perfectly. Once he was tied up, Gray pulled on the end of the rope, and Natsu was yanked across the bed, arms stretched until his shoulders ached.

Now, he really could not move. His legs were bound and spread, making walking utterly impossible. The rope felt rough, cords pressing into flesh. Natsu knew that if he pulled too hard, he would have bruises on his wrists again.

"You're so slutty, spread like this."

Natsu cringed at the humiliation.

"Spread apart, hanging down."

Gray grabbed the jockstrap and the balls hanging heavily in the cloth. Natsu gasped and panted at the cold hands. He tried to close his legs, but he could not. The spreader bar immobilized him.

"You're so tempting, Natsu," Gray moaned. His lips ghosted over the exposed buttocks. "Just like this, you seduce me. You make me so hard, it hurts. Just like this." His body leaned over Natsu, covering his back and pressing him into the mattress. "If having you standing here gets me this aroused…" Gray thrust the lump in his jeans up against Natsu's bare ass. "… do you have any idea how tempting you are when you sleep? Yet you invited me to stay at your house. You promised you would be good. You broke your promise. That deserves punishment."

Gray rose back up and walked to the drawer. Natsu dared a glance over at him, gasping for air, dizzy with lust. Gray picked up both the riding crop and the paddle. Then he walked over and stood in front of Natsu. He held both items in his hands.

"Which one of these will punish you?"

Natsu felt stunned. Was Gray actually giving him the choice? Which had he liked more? The riding crop had been the first, and it had hurt. The paddle, with its metal studs, had hurt far worse. The crop made a loud smack against his flesh, while the paddle was slightly more dull. Natsu had loved both.

"Only one," Gray warned, seeing the look in Natsu's face.

He gulped hard and hesitantly decided, "The paddle."

Gray smiled as if he had already known the answer. "Do you want me to paddle your ass?"

"Nnngh!" Natsu moaned.

"Oh God," Gray gasped. He grabbed Natsu's chin and yanked it up. Fervently, he crashed his lips against Natsu's. It was a desperate kiss, and Natsu sensed the feelings in it. This was Gray's way of saying I love you.

After that passionate kiss. Gray turned away so sharply, Natsu was left with his lips parted and wet. The ice mage strode to the dresser, put the riding crop away, and walked back over to the end of the bed.

"Paddling, then. I was supposed to stay away from you for two weeks. Fourteen days. You couldn't behave for even fourteen fucking days! So you get fourteen paddles, one for each day, and each hit will purge you from the sin of tempting me on that day. Count them!"

Natsu closed his eyes, tense and waiting for the pain. It came soon enough, a firm and flat hit, but the metallic studs punched deeper into his flesh, down into muscle, leaving behind pain and bruising.

"One," he gritted out. It hurt, but it was punishment. Fairy Tail mages had to accept punishment whenever they did something bad. And he had been bad. He was a bad dragon. So bad…

Smack!

"Nngh … two."

Smack!

"Arrgh … th-three."

He had tempted Gray so quickly. They had only spent three days apart before the separation became unendurable. Natsu had not even lasted three days.

Smack!

Natsu's fists clutched the bed covers. It hurt. It hurt so bad! "F-f-four."

For a split second, Natsu considered using a safeword. He did not remember the paddle hurting this much. Maybe Gray was swinging it harder, now that he was used to the weight of it. Maybe Natsu was just imagining it as hurting more. Whatever the case, Natsu felt tears about to come to his eyes. He opened his mouth, about to say Yellow.

That was when Gray's cold hand touched the fiery flesh, and the chill soothed the pain. Natsu shuddered as those fingers tenderly caressed him. His knees felt so weak, he thought he could fall right there, despite the spreader bar.

"Good job. Is four enough?"

How did he know? How did Gray figure out that this was almost Natsu's limit? Natsu did not trust his throat. He was pretty sure any words would just choke up. He nodded instead.

"I'm sorry if that was harsh," Gray whispered so tenderly, Natsu wanted to sob. "How about I do the other ten with my own hand?"

Somehow, that sounded more … intimate. Gray would do it himself. Slapping him would hurt Gray as well. He was willing to experience pain along with Natsu, all so the Dragon Slayer could have his release from the darkness in his heart.

Gray sat on the bed and pulled Natsu around, since the spreader bar made walking impossible. Then he leaned Natsu over his lap. Natsu felt Gray's legs, and his cock was pressed up against the muscular thigh in its black jeans.

"Don't bother counting," Gray said gently.

Natsu felt burning in his eyes. Gray was really spoiling him now.

The smack to his butt was gentle, and immediately Gray rubbed it out. Those fingers rubbed over pained areas where the metal studs had bruised deeply. The next smack was also just a swat, no pain at all, followed by tender rubbing. Somehow, this was not enough for Natsu. It was too gentle. The pain in his heart was not being balanced at all.

"More," he whispered.

"Shh. No talking." Those words were so gentle and loving. It was like Gray was telling him that he knew precisely what Natsu really needed.

And that need was an open-handed, fiery smack that took Natsu by surprise. It was so hard, even Gray hissed and shook out his hand.

"Yessss," Natsu growled. This was the pain he craved, pain that balanced and ate away at the ache in his chest.

"Did you like that?"

Natsu nodded, keeping obediently silent.

"Such a masochist."

It was true. The pain no longer scared him. He craved it. He wanted Gray's hand to purge him.

"Tell me," Natsu whispered. That was all he said, and he hoped Gray understood his need.

Icy fingers stroked up his spine. "You were really bad. So naughty. So slutty. Tempting me. Torturing me. Scaring me. You deserve your punishment."

Yes! Yes he did! For scaring Gray, for not realizing how much the ice mage might fear for his life, and how his own phobias would be tormented with dread for Natsu's safety through that time of sickness … for not being understanding toward Gray's heart, he deserved punishment.

The smack came, and Natsu almost sighed in relief. It was like Gray's hand had pushed some of the black sin out of his soul. Then another smack hitting the other butt cheek, and Natsu groaned with such deep pleasure, he hardly understood where it came from.

"Five more," Gray said. "Do you want it harder? Would you like the riding crop?"

Harder! Yes! He wanted this blackness gone. Five more hits. Those would represent the worst of his actions, those last five days, when he had tempted Gray, put food on his body, touched him with the glove, bit him, licked his blood, and made Gray so scared. Then those three days apart, which had made Natsu depressed, but which were probably far worse for Gray, living with the guilt of having to push Natsu away just to keep him safe, fearing that anything more might put the Dragon Slayer's life at risk. Natsu understood now, it was due to Gray's phobia, his fear that a cursed emotion of love would kill Natsu.

Gray placed Natsu on the bed again, still tied up with rope. He could not move, and that was good, because he would have been wriggling too much at this point. He turned his head and watched Gray in his black outfit, a bulge in his trousers, walking to the dresser. He pulled forward the riding crop and stalked back over to Natsu.

"This will be the tenth one," he said. "Count them." He sounded so cold and harsh now, but it was what Natsu craved.

There was no waiting. The strike came, and Natsu had forgotten just how sharply the riding crop hit. It was not spread out like the paddle or Gray's hand. It was like a whip slapping into his skin so hard, he thought the flesh might split apart.

"Count!"

Natsu clenched his teeth. "Ten."

Snap! Another strike hit hard and spiked pain through his ass, all the way up his spine to his heart, shredding apart the darkness.

"Eleven!"

Wuh-crack!

"Shit!" Natsu cried out, but not so much from fleshly pain. The blackness was struggling to stay in place, and the strikes were driving it all away, like the whip cracks of a cowboy driving buffalo over a cliff. "Twelve!"

More! He wanted more. He steeled himself, but he craved it to be harder.

"Harder?" Gray asked impassively.

"Yes," Natsu screamed, clenching the sheets to keep his nails from breaking skin in his palms.

He could hear the whistle through the air of the riding crop just a split second before the crack splintered his mind into shards. He did not even scream this time. He gasped! This was what he needed. One more. Just one more!

"Thirteen…"

"No more darkness," Gray whispered raspily.

Whiss-spak! It struck so hard, Natsu was sure he would be bleeding. He even thought he felt liquid dripping down his legs, but as he snuffled, he smell only pre-cum. It had leaked, dripping through the jockstrap, and slithered down his inner thigh. With the spreader bar, he could not close his legs.

"You're gonna come, right here," Gray said, rubbing Natsu's ass. "Come in this jockstrap."

Natsu shook his head. Coming while wearing something … that was too humiliating.

Gray walked back over and returned with the butt plug. Natsu's teary eyes widened. He wasn't joking!

"I wanna see you mess yourself up while wearing it."

Gray rubbed lube on the plug, and then slowly, gently, eased it into Natsu through the opened bareness of the jockstrap that exposed his ass so perfectly. He was already loose from earlier, and it slipped in, fitting in place. Then Gray turned on the vibrations. Natsu cried out, eyes wide, overwhelmed as pleasure flooded away all the pain.

"I want to see you fall apart. I wanna watch!"

Gray knelt beside Natsu's torso, and the Dragon Slayer could do nothing. His hands were restrained and pulled toward the other edge of the bed; his feet were stuck; he was helpless and restrained, completely at Gray's mercy.

And he got no mercy from the Ice-Make mage.

Gray stroked Natsu through the white jockstrap. Natsu shook his head. He was so aroused, so ready to go, but … while wearing something? It was more embarrassing than when he had pissed in his clothes. To come while wearing something, to lose himself while clothed…

"G-Gray!"

The vibrator purred sadistically, pleasuring him with no effort at all, and Gray stayed knelt beside him, stroking, watching, waiting to see the moment when Natsu honestly lost control. Natsu did not want him to see that. Watching while naked was fine, but messing himself…

"You're making this wet," Gray whispered, utterly enthralled. He thumbed over a moist spot in the fabric. "It's white, and the liquid makes it almost see-through. I can practically see your dick hiding in there."

"No…" he whimpered, knees shaking. "Please, Gray."

"You want to obey me, right? You want to learn how to be submissive."

Natsu buried his face down. He wanted to close off his legs, hold himself back, but the spreader prevented it. He felt his balls grow heavier, as if they were swelling with impending release. He could smell the pre-cum, and his skin felt the moistness on the fabric. Gray's hand kept stroking, rubbing him faster. Natsu heard heavy breathing from Gray. He could not look that far down, but he wondered if Gray was touching himself. He wondered if seeing him leaking in the underwear was that arousing. He could smell Gray's sexual scent increasing.

"Nnngh … Gray." He was so close. So close.

"Just let go, Natsu," he whispered.

"Not in my … nnngh … in my clothes."

"Yes, wearing this. I want it to be messy."

Natsu gasped and yanked on the ropes hard. "No!"

"Relax."

"No!" he screamed.

Gray rubbed his back. "Natsu?"

His voice was filled with so much concern. Natsu realized that Gray was probably worried if this was pushing his limit. That was not it, though. It was simply too humiliating.

"Not … nnngh … not Yellow," he whispered.

Gray let out a sigh of relief. "Good."

"Gray," he weakly cried.

"Do you need more?"

Gray massaged the lump tenting the jockstrap tightly. Then his other hand reached to the bare backside and palmed the butt plug in deeper in rhythm to his other hand. Natsu's head shot up, and he cried out loudly. Gray felt wetness on his hand, and as he watched, the white jockstrap turned darker with spilled liquid. The thick fluid leaked through the underwear, squishing through the weave of the fabric, and dripped down to Gray's floor. He watched, stunned by how potently seeing that affected him. Gray knew it would be kinky to have Natsu come in clothes, but he honestly felt like he was about to come as well, tight jeans notwithstanding.

"Please," Natsu begging weakly. He was not sure what, but he needed something. "Please."

Gray turned off the vibrator, slid it out gently, unstrapped the ankle cuffs on the spreader bar, shimmied the wet jockstrap down, and untied the ropes binding the wrists. Natsu's whole body had gone limp, so Gray lifted Natsu up and placed him on the bed, his head on the pillows, resting as he breathed hard. Gray laid beside him, stroking Natsu's damp pink hair and smiling down at him.

"That was insanely wonderful," Gray praised. "You were so sexy."

"Too tired now," Natsu panted, eyes closed, ready to fall asleep.

"I think that's fine. You don't need to be aroused for the next part."

"Next?" Natsu forced his eyes open. "More?"

The stormy blue eyes glanced him over. "Do you want more?"

Natsu thought about it. He was so tired, emotionally exhausted, and he hurt. Lying on his back like this reminded him of the pain in his ass. He wanted sleep, but he wanted Gray to keep going.

"We can stop."

"No!" The word blurted out so quickly, Natsu hardly realized he said it. "More. Just … rest. Need to rest."

"You'll get to rest. All I need to do is handcuff you and put some stuff on you. You don't need to move a muscle."

"Stuff?" Natsu asked warily. "What sort of stuff?"

Gray had a mischievous smile as his stormy blue eyes gleamed. "Oh, you'll love it."

Gray raised Natsu's arms for him, placing them above his head, resting on the pillow, and iced them to the headboard in a way to be comfortable. Natsu laid still, relaxed and limp. Gray smiled down at him and stroked his flushed cheek.

"First thing," Gray whispered.

He walked back to the dresser with his supplies all lined up and lifted something. When he climbed back onto the bed, he stared down into Natsu's face. Rarely did he ever really look at Natsu, but for some reason, today he was noticing things he never had before. He soaked in everything about the Dragon Slayer's face: the round shape, how his cheeks still looked childish, the tiny button nose, the parted lips still panting with exhaustion, the sharp canine teeth peeking through that mouth, and his eyes…

"You have beautiful eyes," he whispered, not realizing he said that out loud.

Natsu blinked in surprise. A compliment like that from Gray was totally unexpected.

Gray jolted when he realized he spoke those words aloud. He blushed a bit and looked away. "I … I'm going to blindfold you," he warned, pressing past that awkwardness.

"Why?" Natsu asked sharply. Now he wanted Gray to look at his eyes more. He liked being told he was beautiful. It warmed him up inside.

Gray slipped an eye mask over Natsu's face, adjusting the elastic band until it seemed comfortable. Natsu instinctively flinched away. With nothing to see, his heart began to race in a panic.

Gray's voice went deep and seductive again. "This is what I meant earlier by sensory deprivation. I'm going to take away your senses one by one. You'll just lie there. You don't have to move. The next thing I'm putting on is a plain mask, like when you have a cough, but it's scented. You'll smell only the citrus, nothing else."

Natsu felt a cloth cover his nose and mouth, and then the elastic bands of the mask hooked around his head. His sensitive nose was inundated with the smell of lemons, just like he had smelled when Gray raced to the kitchen. Had he been preparing this part? It was so strong, it was all Natsu smelled and all he could taste.

"The last piece are the noise-canceling headphones I had you try on earlier. They're magical, and there's a setting that will completely render you deaf. I figured this was the only way to block the hearing of a person like you. Once I put these on, you won't hear me, so I'll explain this to you now. Focus on the pleasure, all the sensations I give to your body. When you can't see it coming, can't smell my approach, can't hear anything at all, you can feel it better. Where will you be touched next? What am I about to do? What will I use on you? You have good ears and a good nose already, but this will heighten your sense of touch. You feel it more when you don't know what's coming. If it's too much, say the safewords, or just tell me what you need. I can give you back any of your sensations if you really can't handle it. Don't be stubborn. Some people simply can't handle this, and I don't want you freaking out again."

Gray set the headphones over Natsu's ears. Instantly, all sounds vanished. Natsu gasped, but he inhaled lemon. When he whispered, "Gray?" he again realized that no sound reached his eardrums. The world around him had vanished.

Gray walked over to his dresser and pulled off the feathered stick. He caressed Natsu's hip with the feathers, and the Dragon Slayer jolted harshly away with a cry. By how loud it was, it was obvious that Natsu could not hear himself, and therefore the volume of his voice had no control.

"Perfect," Gray smiled. "You'll yell a lot louder when you can't tell just how noisy you are, and I can say anything to you. Anything at all. I don't have to be embarrassed or worried about saying the wrong thing and having you freak out. Maybe … could I even tell you that? It's not a confession if you can't hear me, right?"

He lazily drew patterns on Natsu's torso with the feather stick and watched those muscles tense and cord up.

"I know I … I … have feelings. Feelings of … of l-love." Gray gulped hard and focused on the feathers sliding over Natsu's body. "It's not like I haven't already admitted this much to myself. I feel … love … toward you. I already know that. I've known that for a while now, and see, you're still alive. So admitting it to myself is safe. I was really scared that just that much was cursed too, but it's not. Admitting that I … that … I…" His heart was pounding so hard, he felt dizzy. "Love. I … love…" He gulped and felt his palms sweating in terror. "…you."

He froze, the feather stick pulled back, and he looked at Natsu with dreading anticipation. However, the Dragon Slayer's face was gazing around obliviously, blind and deaf to everything.

"Saying this when you can't hear me, it's not a confession," Gray said insistently. "It's just me speaking out loud what I've known in my heart for a while. I … love … you." He still flinched, terrified something awful would happen. He even looked around the bedroom in paranoia. "Like this, it's okay to say it. You can't hear me. It's safe. I hope to God it's safe," he muttered.

"Gray?" Natsu asked, breathing hard as he waited for something more to happen.

He stretched out and cradled Natsu's cheek with his hand. "My beloved," he whispered. "I say love every time I call you that. Do you realize that? It's like building up a tolerance to poison, ingesting it little by little, but keeping things safe." He lifted the mask, and Natsu gasped at the fresh air. Gray rubbed his thumb over Natsu's lower lip. "Do you have any clue how many nights I've woken up from nightmares of you dying in front of me, like what I had to watch with my family? Every tiny step I take gives me nightmares. I'm pretty sure this will, too. But I know you're facing the same. I don't know how to heal you, no more than you know how to heal me. We're so fucked up, Natsu. We're seriously the worst people for each other, but … but I don't want anyone else … because…" He leaned in close enough to feel the breaths escaping Natsu's mouth. "I love you."

Then Gray kissed him. Natsu jolted at the touch and gentle taste. Gray's smell pushed aside the overwhelming lemon. It was like smelling a lemon tree in the midst of a snowy forest, so odd together.

Gray pulled back and gazed at those red lips. "I love you," he said softly with a smile. "I can't tell you directly. Even though you know, even though I can admit it to myself, I can't say the damn words. One day, though. One day, I'll confess to you. I'll tell you directly, so you can hear me say it. Just put up with me, and keep healing me. Like this, little by little, I'm building a tolerance to that poisonous fear. I'm slowly progressing, just like you are. I wanna say it—so damn much it burns me inside—but I can't yet. I'm still too scared to lose you. So keep being patient with me until the day I can. I don't think it'd change anything between us, but … it'd still be nice, being able to tell you directly." He leaned over Natsu's chest and spoke with his lips fluttering over the frantically beating heart. "I love you." He kissed that heart that had won him over, and slowly he lowered the mask back over Natsu's nose and mouth.

For Natsu, the world had gone silent. He felt tickles, Gray had kissed him at one point, but otherwise, the outside world had vanished. He wondered what was going on. Gray seemed to do things, but then he would stop. A full minute sometimes passed before he did more. Was Gray doing anything? Was he preparing things? What was happening?

Each touch shocked him. They were all so gentle, though. Natsu was left trying to guess what each item was. He figured out one must be the feathers. They tickled. Another felt like satin or silk. Something else was fuzzy, like fur. Another item prickled, like spikes rolling over his skin. He was confused what Gray was getting at with all this, but he supposed it was arousing to the ice mage. Besides, it allowed Natsu time to rest and recover his strength.

He felt sudden tightness wrap around his penis. Was that the cock ring? If Gray was putting it on, that must mean the finale was coming up. Just thinking about it made Natsu excited, and he felt the pulsing of his own heartbeat in the veins along his shaft. Slowly, the pulsing grew, he felt blood building inside, and he knew he was getting erect. Gray's hand stroked him, and Natsu opened his mouth to moan. He heard nothing at all, only felt vibrations in his throat.

Just how loud was he? He had no clue, and like this, he suddenly did not care if anyone heard him. He was trapped in his own dimension, and pesky things like neighbors no longer mattered.

Then Natsu felt something cold touch the mask right over his lips. Was it ice? No, not cold enough. He parted his lips, wanting to feel more, hoping that if he could taste it, he might figure out what it was. The touch went down, and the chill caressed over his neck. Suddenly, he realized it must be Gray's fingers. The icy touch was too gentle to be anything else.

"Gray?"

He heard nothing. The touch went lower and lower. Those cold fingers circled Natsu's nipple, not touching it directly, but teasing. Natsu tensed up in anticipation. Would he pinch it? Although unable to hear anything, Natsu realized he was hyperventilating and moaning.

"G-Gray!"

His whole body waited in anticipation, but the fingers kept circling lazily. Then heat was on his chest. He thought he felt vibrations. Lips? Was Gray talking? He wanted to hear Gray's voice again. He wanted to know what was about to happen to him.

Suddenly, the fingers stopped. A pinch, for sure. Gray would twist his nipple, probably hard. Natsu was ready for it, all of his muscles on edge, when instead…

Moist warmth lapped over his nipple. Two lips wrapped around, and Gray sucked the nipple into his mouth. Natsu had not expected that at all, and he shouted as a totally different sensation to what he had expected broke down his defenses.

Then on the other nipple, he suddenly felt the pinch he had been waiting for, only this time he was not ready for it. Natsu cried out, and his spine arched up into the mouth and fingers. He felt like he could have come again, but the cock ring was doing its work. Still, he felt the wetness of something drip down his sensitive length. He was leaking pre-cum again. He could not smell it, but he could feel it.

The mouth left his chest, and he felt icy air by his covered ear. The headphones lifted just a little. "I like hearing that," he heard Gray say, the first clear words he had heard since the headphones went on.

"Gray?" he shouted, but the headphones went back over him.

Natsu wanted to hear more. He wanted Gray to talk to him, whisper seductively in his ear, praise him … but wasn't that greedy? He always wanted things from Gray. Tonight was about letting Gray get the pleasure he had always wanted, but always set aside out of fear.

"Gray, my cock … it's leaking."

He did not ask anything to be done. He just pointed it out, in case Gray had not noticed. Still, he hoped to feel something, at least a touch.

Instead, he felt something more dripping down his cock, something that was definitely not pre-cum. Natsu wondered what it was. It felt … thick. Then finally he felt fingers touch him, but not full strokes. Those cold fingers were rubbing the thick fluid around.

The bed moved, what he guessed was Gray climbing up, and suddenly strong thighs straddled him. A hand grabbed his cock firmly, almost too hard, and then…

Something was surrounding him. A mouth? No, too tight.

"Shit! Gray!" Natsu screamed. He had felt this tightness once before, when Gray took him inside.

Instantly, the headphones came off, followed by the blinder. Natsu blinked out his eyes at the sudden light. The mask came off last. Gray leaned over him with a stern but caring face.

"I won't let you come in me," he said firmly.

"No, Gray…"

"Listen to me," he shouted, and he held Natsu's shaking face with both hands. "I won't allow it. Do you hear me? I won't let you come inside." His eyes softened. "I won't do that to you. Let me know the instant this becomes too much. Just, please … let me feel you inside me, just a little. Only as much as you can handle. Are you okay right now?"

Natsu panted hard, but he shoved aside fears. Those terrors belonged to another man. Gray loved him. He had cared for Natsu's safety for two weeks. He would care for Natsu again through this.

"I trust you," he whispered.

Gray still looked guilty. He knew this was toeing a dangerous line for Natsu, but he wanted to be even more greedy this time. He had already stripped off his clothes and prepped himself, so he slid down slowly. He watched Natsu's face the whole time. There was fear, but the tenseness slowly eased until something else took over. Anger? When Natsu opened his eyes again, the fury faded, and pure joy teared up in them.

"Gray," he sighed happily.

He leaned over and kissed those burning lips. "I won't let anyone hurt you," he swore. Gray slowly raised his hips up, and then slid back down. Natsu moaned at the tightness sheathing him. "I care for you so damn much!" He rose again, and then pressed down harder, feeling that cock fill him up. "My beloved dragon," he sighed in ecstasy. "Is this okay?"

"Just go slow," Natsu whispered. "It's … really intense … being inside you."

"You think it's intense for you? I'm the one with a horse-sized cock shoved up my ass."

Natsu laughed and blushed at the compliment to his size.

"Just focus on that," Gray said. "You're inside me. Don't think about anything else."

"It's … not easy."

"I can pull off…"

"No!" Natsu cried out. "You really want this, right?"

"Not if you're going to freak out again."

"I won't. I trust you this time. I wasn't ready for it last time, but now … now, I know more about how my body will react. I'm pretty sure I know my limits." Natsu got a cocky smile and a mischievous gleam in his eye. "Ride me, Gray."

"Oh God," Gray whispered, feeling a surge in his groin from that dangerously seductive voice.

"I wonder who would win: you making me come with your ass, or me making you come with my voice."

Gray rolled his eyes. "You'd win." He knew too well he was weak to Natsu's words, plus there was a reason he had already worn out the Dragon Slayer earlier. "I won't do a contest like that with you anyway."

"Then what if we skip the contest and I tell you how musky your dripping cock smells as I fill your ass."

"Natsu!"

"I want you to come while riding on top of me, Gray." His smile twisted up like some predatory animal. "I want my cock to be inside while you tense up and spray me with your cum."

"Sh-shit!" Gray grabbed himself and began to stroke. "We shouldn't."

"I'm not anywhere close to coming again, but I can smell that you are. I'm putting trust in the cock ring and myself. I really wanna feel your ass tense up around my cock as you blow your load."

Gray looked down worriedly. "Are you sure?"

"Yes. Free one of my hands. Just one."

Gray released some of the ice until Natsu could pull his hand around. Those hot fingers grabbed the ice mage and began to stroke him. Gray arched back and let his cock thrust into those rough fingers. Natsu stroked him quickly, not bothering to tease.

"Don't thrust on me too much," he warned. "This is … not easy."

"Then don't…"

"Dammit, shut up and let me fuck your ass."

"If you want me to come quicker, keep talking."

Natsu smiled up as Gray's body began to flush with intensifying arousal. "By the time I'm done with you, you won't be able to take two steps without remembering how good it felt to have me inside you. You'll burn with memories of it. You'll be aching for my cock all the time now."

Gray moaned as he realized Natsu was partly right. He felt a burn in his inner thighs already, and he knew that this feeling, having such a large and fiery shaft up inside him, was something he would probably recall at the worst possible moments.

Natsu chuckled slyly. "You really took me in fast. Were you playing with yourself the whole time you had me blindfolded? Is that why, Gray? Did you cover my eyes so I couldn't watch you fingering your ass? Or did you use a toy? Were you naughty and thrusting some dildo up your ass?"

Gray groaned and shook his head. "Just fingers."

"Your fingers, huh? Do have dirty hands now? Take those dirty hands of yours and reach behind you, Gray. Spread your ass cheeks. I want you to really feel me as I enter you."

Gray gasped at the aggression in those words. He obeyed, pulled his cheeks apart, and slid down onto Natsu again. As he felt that hot length glide into him, Gray moaned with a shudder that jolted right up his spine.

"Do you like riding on top of me? I'm gonna have to start calling you Ice Cowgirl."

"Fuck you!" Gray hissed in pleasure.

"Other way around, Gray. I'm the one fucking you this time. Do you like how I fuck your ass?"

"Shut up!"

"No. You're the one who wanted me to talk. Or if you don't like how I talk, maybe you should keep my mouth … busy. Your fingers were very naughty. You were pleasuring yourself, and you weren't letting me watch. You know I don't like that," he said in a deep, disapproving tone.

"Na- … -tsu."

"Maybe I should suck on your dirty, naughty fingers."

"Not the ones that were … uh … not those." He did not want to chance making Natsu sick with fingers that had been up his ass.

"Then the other hand," Natsu said. "Give me the hand that's okay."

Hesitantly, Gray reached out his right hand.

"Good. Now, wipe your pre-cum off your dick. Rub it onto your fingers."

Gray swiped a clear pearl off the tip of his cockhead.

"More than that," Natsu demanded.

"There isn't any."

"Yes there is, because if I stroke up like this…" As Natsu's hand heated and glided up, Gray shuddered with intense pleasure. "See, plenty more inside. Wipe it up. Coat your fingers in it." Gray obeyed. "Now, put it in my mouth. I wanna taste you."

Gray hated how sexy Natsu could be. From being his cute little submissive to being an aggressive Dragon Slayer, this man was so complex. Yet as he put his fingers inside that hot mouth, Gray did not care which side Natsu played: aggressor or obeyer. He just wanted to pleasure his man and take as much pleasure from him as he could get.

Natsu knew Gray's fingers were especially sensitive, and that was why he wanted to suck on them. The tightness of being in Gray's ass was really almost too much. He wanted to give Gray what he had always wanted, but he knew he had to make this quick before he reached a point where he could freak out. As much as Natsu would have loved to take his time and thoroughly pleasure Gray, or even flip positions and take him that way, he knew he could not. Not yet. Even like this, flashes of past scenes haunted him, but he kept his focus on Gray, on stroking him and sucking those fingers. As that bitter-salty taste entered his mouth, the past melted. This taste, this smell, these moans, all belonged to only one man in the world.

Gray could not stand the wet sucking anymore. He began to jerk his hand back, but Natsu caught his wrist.

"Don't pull away," he warned sternly. "Keep your fingers in my mouth." He pulled Gray's hand back to him and curled his tongue around two fingers, slurping them up.

"Dammit," Gray hissed, looking away from Natsu's satisfied face.

"Whuh?" Natsu asked with his mouth full of Gray's dripping fingers.

Gray gulped hard and panted out, "You know my hands are sensitive."

"Mm-hmm," Natsu hummed around the fingers, sucking them hard.

Gray instinctively flinched back again.

"Don't pull away," Natsu growled. "I'll stroke you off, but I want to suck on you, too." He saw Gray slightly shaking his head.

"Too fast," he whispered in shame.

"I'm doing this for a reason, you know. I need to make this quick."

"Sorr-…"

"No! Don't say sorry." Natsu smirked haughtily. "Just let me enjoy myself. Let me pleasure you for once." He pulled Gray's wrist back to him and sucked vigorously on those two fingers, thrusting them into his mouth.

Gray choked back a cry and tensed up. Then Natsu's hand released Gray's wrist and began to stroke him without mercy. He did not slow down or let Gray savor this. As the ice mage moved his hips to thrust harder, it took all of Natsu's mental strength not to break down completely and bite those fingers he was lavishing.

"N- … Na- … oh God … oooh…"

Natsu pulled the dripping fingers away. "I want to feel you come, Gray," he whispered hotly. "I wanna feel it."

"Nnnngh! F-fuck!"

Gray's free hand clawed into Natsu's hip as he went silent, tensed up, and felt his whole body and soul focus on one sensation: pure and utter pleasure.

Natsu's stroking hand felt a jolting surge, the ass around him tightened, and a second later milky fluid arced out, splattering on his chest. Then a second surge hit only as far as his stomach. A third just dripped some down his cock and over Natsu's hands. The Dragon Slayer felt each surge in his fingers, intensified by twitching muscles around his cock. He smelled the scent of cum, sweat, and musk as he stroked more carefully now, watching Gray's face, focused on the way his mouth hung open in gasping pleasure. As Gray's breathing slowed and went heavy, Natsu's hand stopped moving, and he pulled his mouth back off of Gray's fingers.

Gray weakly opened his eyes and gazed down. Natsu was a mess, and he still felt the burning length inside him.

"That was perfect," Gray sighed. He was about to say something more when Natsu's face flinched.

Natsu shook his head. He had managed to keep memories away by focusing on Gray, but now that it was over, those memories gushed back into his head.

'That was perfect, boy. Look at this condom. You filled it up. This will work wonderfully. You can rest now. I'll be back tonight.'

Natsu screamed, "Gray, pull off!"

Gray had almost forgotten that Natsu was on the border of what he could handle. He yanked himself up and off of Natsu's cock. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

"No. It's … it's fine," Natsu lied. "That was … wonderful." He still flinched at how similar the words were. "Unhandcuff me, please," he whispered. Gray released the hand still trapped in ice, and Natsu grasped around Gray's body with desperation. Gray felt him shivering slightly. "I just need to hold you. Damn, that was amazing."

Gray hugged him back, not minding that they were squishing his cum between their chests. "That was…"

"Don't say perfect," Natsu warned sharply.

Gray held back any words. Was it his compliment that triggered this? He never knew what he could say, since he had no clue what things that man in the past had said. "You did really well," he praised instead, stroking Natsu's hair. "Good dragon." That, at least, was a safe thing to say.

"Kainushi," Natsu whispered, shuddering as the past slowly faded.

Gray kissed his forehead. "I'm right here, my dragon. I told you, I wouldn't let you come. I won't let anything bad happen." He closed his eyes. The emotions in Gray's heart brought about scenes of blood on the snow. "I won't let anything hurt you," he swore, while thinking to himself, 'Not like how I couldn't protect anyone back then!' As he felt Natsu calm down, he also realized the Dragon Slayer was still hard. "Do you need help with that? I can restrain you again."

"Maybe in a bit," he muttered. "I just need to hold you." Natsu squeezed him, and then he looked up into Gray's face. "Was that what you wanted?"

Gray smiled happily that Natsu had gone that far just trying to please him. "Yes. But was it okay for you?" he asked with worry.

Natsu laughed off the last of his tension. "Somehow."

"Don't push yourself," Gray warned sternly.

"I wasn't. It's just … when I felt you tighten up on me like that … oh God, I almost lost it," he moaned, savoring the memory of how intensely wonderful that had felt. "You had quite a sexy face."

"… Shut up."

"Thank you, Gray, for letting me do that, and for making sure I wouldn't come. That's why you wore me out first, right?"

"I was hoping it would be easier."

"I think it worked."

Gray stroked the flushed face. "Did you like it?"

"Yeah. I just wish I could do more."

"I know. Someday. This is an amazing start for now," he smiled proudly. "You fucked me until I came."

Natsu laughed with embarrassment and pride. "Yeah, I … I did." It was not topping precisely, but it was a start. He had managed to enter Gray and not completely freak out. Granted, he had to rely on a cock ring to hold him back, and Gray's promise that he would pull off, and he still had a small problem at the end; however, overall, this was a huge improvement for Natsu. "I wanna try it again sometime. Probably not too soon," he frowned, "but I wanna try it again."

"Definitely!" Gray moaned. He wrapped his arms around Natsu, crushing him into a hug. "I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am to have you as my boyfriend. Thank you for doing this."

Natsu smiled to himself. He felt Gray's hands drift over his skin, and Natsu hummed at the cold touches. He stretched out, surrendering to the feel. Gray gazed down at him, so much like a cat begging for a belly rub. Instead, Gray's hand went to the half-hard cock. Two strokes were all it took to get Natsu fully erect again.

"Gray?"

His hand stilled in fear.

"I'm totally ready to come."

Gray relaxed. So, that was the issue! "You were so good, I'll let you pick. How do you want me to finish this?"

Natsu gazed up at him. "Your mouth. And your hand. Little of both."

"Greedy," Gray teased. "I'll need to wash you up. I prepared for that as well."

"Always prepared," Natsu teased as Gray got up, walked over to a large bowl sitting by the window, and pulled a wet cloth from it.

To Natsu's surprise and delight, the small washcloth was hot and felt gentle against his sensitive skin. Gray washed away the filth of his own body, and then he rubbed the soft, moist cloth erotically up and down. Natsu moaned pleasantly and felt like he could melt right there.

"All clean," Gray whispered, dropping the washcloth to the ground in the same place where the jockstrap had been placed. "Hands above your head."

"No. Ice them to your skin again. I still need to hold onto you."

Gray stroked the pink hair, hoping to calm him. Natsu's hands were in the same place as earlier. Gray allowed ice to cover just those spots. Then he slid down, letting his body rub against the burning cock. Natsu moaned and flexed his hips slightly. Gray licked up the clean shaft, lapped around the head, and sucked on the tip. He nibbled lightly on the foreskin and kissed up the veined shaft. Natsu's hips shuddered.

"More," he whispered.

Gray gazed heatedly at him. He licked with a wide, flat tongue up the shaft, and then dived his head down, taking Natsu to his throat.

"Nngh! Yeah, like that."

Gray bobbed on him, grunting at the heavy muskiness pressing into his nose. Natsu thrashed under him.

"Oh God! So good. Nnnngh!"

Gray stroked Natsu's balls, rolling them gently in his hand, and reached up to his chest. Two fingers twisted his tit, and Natsu's whole body arched up with a shivering cry.

"Touch me, Gray," he begged. "Stroke me. More. Please, more!"

He pulled up with a pop to his mouth. "Do you want it?"

"Yes!" Natsu screamed, clawing into Gray's shoulders until the skin became bloody wet.

"Say it," Gray ordered. "Say, I want to come, kainushi. Let me come."

Want to … come?

Natsu used to hate the idea. It terrified him, and he had to make himself think he had no choice but to give in to aggressive forcefulness. Memories of that horrific past still haunted him from time to time. Those weeks of torture left him so deeply scarred, hating his body, hating any sensual pleasure. He never wanted to ejaculate again after being with that man. But now…

Now, he wanted it. He needed it. It would be the third time that day, but he did not care. He looked up into those tempestuous blue eyes, and the past shattered like ice. Only Gray existed. Gray, and the love he felt so deeply, he struggled with his own demons to try and say it. Only Gray, and only love. Nothing else mattered.

"I want to come, kainushi," Natsu whimpered softly. "Please, let me come. Please, touch me. I want it. I want you to make me come again. Please."

"What more do you want, Natsu?"

His brain did not even want to work, let alone think. Still, there was one thing he really wanted. "Bite my hip, like you did that one time. I really liked that. I know it's not the neck, but … that felt real good."

"Down here?" Gray touched the area, and Natsu jolted with a giggle. "Ticklish here, eh?"

"Umm, maybe just a little," Natsu confessed with a blush. "Maybe just tender from earlier. Please, bite it."

"Okay." He licked the area, and Natsu giggled again. "Wow, I really did find a ticklish spot. Good. I'm gonna mark this spot, so I always know that when you tickle me, this…" and he licked it again, "…is where I'm going to tickle you."

Gray bit hard into the tender skin, and Natsu gasped. The feel of those teeth on him was blissful, being marked, belonging to Gray, being his … his…

No, not bitch. Beloved!

Gray's beloved.

Those teeth physically marked him as being the receiver of Gray's love.

Gray stroked faster, and the teeth bit even harder. Natsu cried out from pain and pleasure. Both sank into his soul, transmuting into an intense satisfaction, the knowledge that Gray would bite him, mark him, and claim him. Belonging to someone! Being loved by someone! It made Natsu tremble, and he came with a long, low moan: exhausted, sated, utterly fulfilled in soul and now also in body.

When Gray raised back up, Natsu looked quickly to the bite. There were purple bruises already from the sharpness of the teeth, but not a single trace of blood. Natsu felt slightly disappointed. Once again, Gray did not break skin. He looked up at Gray with surprised eyes. He thought for sure, now that Gray was healed, they could progress to the next step in their relationship, and to Natsu that meant being a marked mating couple, tasting each other's blood.

"I know what you want," Gray said softly, stroking Natsu's hair back off his sweaty face. "That's enough for now."

"Enough?"

"I don't know if I'm ready for that much."

"Oh." Natsu's eyes dropped subserviently. Tonight was about Gray's desires, after all. "I…"

"No, shut up. Shut up!" Gray said sternly. He released the wrists and rubbed out the bruised bite. He laid beside Natsu, resting his head on the warm chest. "I care for you so much, but I'm messed up in the head. Before I give you what you want and bite you like that, I need to work on myself. Can … can you wait?" he requested, looking down into those narrow green eyes. "Wait for me. You're getting so much better, and … and I feel like I'm still stuck."

Natsu rolled to his side and hugged the ice mage. "Gray, you have no idea how much you've gotten better. I see it. Really, you've made progress."

Gray frowned, wanting so badly to believe him. "I wish I felt that way. I still want you, Natsu. I need you." He hugged the Dragon Slayer tightly, clutching to him desperately. "You said tonight is about my needs. That's all I really need: you, here with me. I need you to make me better. I need you, so much!"

Gray leaned over, and he began to lick up the pale splattering. His tongue ran along the rolling hills of abdominal muscles, cleaning diligently, swallowing it down, until nothing remained.

'A mate cleans up the mess, and the dragon protects the mate, cures any wounds, and stays with the mate until both recover.' Natsu once asked What happens when both mates want to clean and protect? They had no set roles between them. Both cleaned, both protected each other, and they healed each other's wounds, both in flesh and in spirit. The dragon and his mate were equals, in their case.

"Gray, can … um … uh."

"What?"

"Um … next time … can I suck you off?"

"Absolutely!" he declared with wide eyes. They both laughed, and Gray blushed as he realized how eagerly he had said that. "Sorry," he chuckled. "But yeah. You don't need to ask."

"Okay. And … um … thanks."

"For what?"

"For being a lot more gentle than I thought you would be."

"Oh, I could have been a lot worse. Today, I wanted to show you how dark I could get. It's not all about pain. I like to humiliate you. I don't know why."

"It's just how you are. You're a sadist, and that's fine. I know I'm a masochist."

"You're really sadistic yourself at times."

"You like when I'm aggressive, though."

"Heh! Yes. Maybe we can do that another time. Someday … switching? I know you have limits, but I kinda like when you're aggressive, and … and I like when you let me be as aggressive as I want to be. Thank you." He hugged Natsu and sighed deeply. "Thank you. Now, let's wash up. I need to change the sheets, then we'll cuddle."

"Sounds good."

They got up and showered again, silently this time, both sleepy and direly craving a nap. Natsu almost fell asleep leaning against the shower wall. Gray nudged him awake and pulled him out of the shower before he slipped and drowned.

He brought Natsu back to the sex-reeking bed. First, Gray stripped the sheets with the same speed as he pulled off his clothes and already had new sheets set to the side, prepared for this. Once the bed was cleaned, Natsu flopped down wearily and curled onto his side, facing Gray. Instead of spooning into him, Gray also laid on his side, his face pointing to Natsu's, their noses touching each other with playful tenderness. He laid there on his hip as he stroked back the damp pink strands of hair.

"Gray?"

"Hmm?"

Natsu looked up at him. "Do I really have beautiful eyes?"

The ice mage said nothing for a while.

"You always insult my eyes. Squinty-eyed bastard. And I always insult your droopy eyes, but … but I like their color. I like how your eyes look like a stormy winter sky. They droop, but that means I can really see their color. Mine are just … squinty."

"They're fierce eyes," Gray muttered sleepily. "When you look at me, I think you're going to attack me at any moment. That's why having you be submissive to me is so erotic. I have to … to tame you. Tame that fierceness in your eyes. When you're tamed, it's like I see another shade of your eyes. A shade only I can see. Eyes that you show to no one else but me. The way they look in that moment is really beautiful."

"Really?"

"Go to sleep now."

Natsu nuzzled his head into Gray's shoulder with his arms wrapped around the chilly body and closed his eyes, drifting off to sleep with a weary but satisfied smile.

End of Chapter 30