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even bad wolves can be good

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Simon living with Athena is not a thing either of them choose. It's just something that happens. She picks him up after his release and brings him home, because he has nowhere to go; the only relation he has is Aura, and she's in jail. Athena has a spare room with a very uncomfortable bed in it and no desire whatsoever to see Simon on the street, so he stays with her, under the guise that it's just going to be a few days.

A month later, he's still there, and by this point he's progressed to writing down Athena's apartment as his permanent address. It's comfortable; he rides her about work and does kata in the living room at 5 AM, but she's enjoying the company. She thinks he probably is too, even if he's still unwinding, coming back to himself by degrees.

Which is funny, because he's winding her up.

She goes back and forth on whether she thinks it's intentional. It's subtle, at first. He'll reach past her in the kitchen, entering her space when he could just as easily have gone around. He's just in her space in general, putting an arm over the back of her chair, letting her put her feet in his lap when they're on the couch. None of it is enough to say anything about, but she feels it, and she suspects he must too.

It goes beyond suspicion when he starts catching himself. He'll go to say something and change it at the last moment; he'll rest a hand on her shoulder and then pull it back like he's been burned. Athena doesn't know how to attack it yet, but she won't stand for it. Him doing it isn't the problem; what he's not doing is what's burning her up. He's been through too much to deny himself whatever it is he's pulling back from, and if she has to push him to make him realize that, she will.

And then it comes to a head, in a way that Athena never would have expected. It's a perfectly unremarkable Saturday evening. She's been doing some cleaning, in her standard Saturday t-shirt and pajama pants. Simon has been in and out, finishing something at the office before coming home and assisting her some. There is nothing at all about the day to suggest anything untoward about them, other than a kind of comfortable domesticity that neither of them would remark upon at this point.

He goes to pass her in the hallway, and she puts a hand on his arm to stop him. She's actually stopping him to tell him his laundry needs to be moved, but she looks up at him and forgets what she had to say. He's just standing there waiting on her, and suddenly she feels like this is her only chance.

Simon is a tall drink of water, and she has to loop her arms around his neck and pull him down to be able to kiss him. She thinks maybe he'll be shocked, tense up, but it's not actually what happens. He kisses back intently, like he's been waiting for this as much as she has. He guides her back until she hits the wall, and he plants his hands on either side of her body, caging her in.

When they part, Athena looks up at him. In this moment, she'd do anything he said; she's so close to finally cracking him open, getting at what he wants.

He steps back. "I'll move out tomorrow," he says.

"Simon," she says plaintively, her heart twisting. "Please don't shut me out. I know you want-"

He laughs, but it sounds indignant. "You really don't have the slightest clue I want," he says. "But it doesn't matter."

"Like hell it doesn't matter," she says.

"You don't want what I want from you," he says, and to her sensitive ears, it's unbelievably grating, the anger and sadness grinding against each other against a background of want.

He turns away, and she grabs his shoulder, yanking him back to face her. "You don't get to say things like that to me and walk away."

"Watch it, girl," he growls.

Athena resolutely doesn't find that hot. "Talk to me," she says. "You owe me that."

Simon puts a hand on the wall above her head, looming over her. "You would have to be ready for me to take you, any time, any place, no questions asked," he says, and her pulse quickens. "You would have to let me treat you like a doll, or run my blade across your skin, or take whatever pain I wanted to inflict. You would have to be at my beck and call, no matter what I wanted." He pushes away from the wall, and she feels a sudden chill. "But you would have to do all of these things because you get off on them, not just because you've resigned yourself to doing what it takes to please me. Don't insult my intelligence by thinking I wouldn't know the difference."

She swallows hard, trying to pull herself together before speaking. "And what would I get in return?" she asks, though her voice is hushed.

He looks like he didn't expect the question, but he recovers. "My unwavering loyalty, and my protection," he says, like his protection has ever been anything she had any control over. "And if you don't think of being mine as a reward, then we are at vastly different starting points."

She feels like she's at the rim of a vast chasm, too deep to see the bottom. If she takes one step, she'll fall over the edge, into the unknown. The smart thing to do is back away as fast as she can, but the thrill of jumping, the weightless freedom of the fall, is too much to bear.

"What if I can't do all of it yet," she says, after a long pause, "but I want to be able to?"

His mouth curves into a wicked smile. "That's something we can work with."

"I have some conditions," she says, putting her hands on her hips.

"I know," he replies. "You have conditions that you don't even know about yet. I too have some conditions."

"How do we find them?" she asks.

"We'll talk," he says. "If we find something else, we'll deal." He looks frustrated for a moment, like he's bringing his thoughts into line. "You should know that I-" He pauses. "I like power only when it's given freely. It gets me nowhere if I think I'm actually forcing you to do anything. Your capitulation is what does it for me, not my coercion."

"That makes me feel a little better," she says. She frowns, not wanting to say what she feels like she has to. "What if we go to all this trouble and five minutes in, I hate it?"

"You wouldn't be honor bound to stay," he says, because that is, of course, how he would think of it. He gets a sly look. "Do you trust me?"

"I wouldn't be doing all this if I didn't," she points out.

"Then let me give you a little sample," he says, taking a half-step closer. "Let me take you to bed and do exactly what I've been craving."

"The first taste is free?" she says, trying to be cool while her heart is racing.

"You hate it, I walk," he says.

"No blades," Athena says. "And I'm- I'm not ready for you to tie me up."

"I accept your terms," Simon answers, sounding genuine. "Birth control?"

She shrugs. "I'm not worried about that."

Simon raises an eyebrow. "I am."

"That came out wrong," she says, wincing. She pats her upper arm. "Implant. And I don't have an STI."

"I stop if you say stop," he says seriously. "Do you understand me?"

"Yes," she says. "I trust you to keep your word."

He smirks. "Then come to bed and let me show you how it's done."

"How you do it, you mean," she says, though she's already walking briskly towards her bedroom.

He catches her in the doorway, pulling her to him. "You'll never want it another way again," he says, bending down and kissing her. It's hard to give up, to let him take control, but she manages it, relaxing and letting him in. He puts his hands on her ass and lifts her up bodily, carrying her in and kicking the door shut.

She thinks he's going to drop her on the bed, maybe just hop on top of her, but that's not what he does. Instead he stops in the center of the room and lets her down, helping her get her feet. "Stay there," he says, taking a step back. She's curious, but does what he says, wondering where this is going.

He walks around her, and Athena tries to follow him without turning around; it's only so successful, but he ends up in front of her again. She's not sure whether he likes what he sees, but she is sure he likes making her sweat. "Strip," he says unceremoniously, standing back and crossing his arms.

Athena's not wearing much, thankfully, but she's struck with indecision as to whether she's supposed to be doing this in a titillating fashion or just as quickly as possible. "You're wasting time," Simon says.

"Yeah, yeah, keep your pants on," she says.

"I don't think you really want me to," he says. "That's better," he adds, when she tosses her shirt away, her pants and panties following after it. Her brain doesn't really catch up at first to the fact that she's naked in front of Simon; he's too good at distracting her like that, and one of these days, it's going to get her into trouble. Right now it's just gotten her naked, and the way he's looking at her like he wants to eat her whole makes up for it.

"On your knees," he says, and something makes it so easy to go, just sink to his feet. He looks impossibly tall from this angle; she's used to having to look up at him, as tall as he is, but this is a different level entirely. She feels small, less than him, but she doesn't dislike it at all.

"What am I going to do with you?" he says, cupping a hand around her cheek. She has no end of ideas, but he runs his thumb along her bottom lip, dragging it slowly across. She can't resist catching it between her lips, licking it in a thoroughly unsubtle manner. "Maybe the answer is everything I want to." She hums encouragingly before sucking, trying to be as blatant as possible about her intentions.

"You're eager, aren't you," Simon says, and Athena hears the surprise in it. With his free hand, he undoes the drawstring of his pants, shoving them down with his boxers. He can't hide how much he wants this, his cock hard and already wet at the tip. "If you want it so badly, open up."

If she hesitates at all, she's going to lose her nerve; she desperately doesn't want to do that, when she's so close to having what she wants, no matter what form it takes. Instead of thinking, she lets her mouth drop open, ready to take him in. He swears softly, almost reverently, but Athena barely even pays attention to it, too focused on getting his cock in her mouth as quickly as possible.

She doesn't have to wait long; he doesn't even get all the way there before she leans forward and catches him, taking the head of his cock between her lips. It's a good size, and she intends to get just as much of it down her throat as she can. That can wait, because it's too good a job to rush. Instead she works her tongue against the underside of his cock, taking a little more and a little more.

"You want this," he says; it's probably supposed to sound menacing, but it doesn't get there. He sounds a little amazed, like this is not going quite as he expected it to. Athena thinks it's going perfectly fine, the solid length of him in her mouth, sliding against her tongue, scratching an itch that just doesn't get scratched enough.

Simon pulls away from her; he tries, anyway, but he has to put his hands on her shoulders and push her back to get her to turn him loose. He doesn't say anything at first, pulling off his shirt and kicking aside the rest of his clothing. He goes to sit on the bed, arranging himself, propped up on the pillows, but she doesn't move, waiting for instruction instead.

"Here," he says, crooking a finger at her. She weighs her options and elects to crawl, crossing the short distance and climbing up onto the bed that way. Simon manhandles her until she's where he wants, against his side rather than on top of him. He kisses her, his hand sliding down her back; she jumps despite herself when he brings a hand down on her ass. It's not enough to really hurt, but enough to get her attention, especially when he follows it up with a good squeeze.

He lets her go, rolling onto his back and putting his hands behind his head. "Convince me I should keep you," he says.

"How?" she asks.

"You're very clever," he says. "You'll figure something out."

This is a game, Athena knows, but it is also not a game at all. There are very real consequences if this doesn't go well. Simon will hold to the outcome, but if this goes wrong, he'll also leave her. She just doesn't want it to go wrong, because she's increasingly sure that this, everything Simon is offering her, is exactly what she wants, even if she didn't know it was even on the table an hour ago.

She straddles him, and the pressure of him against her clit makes her bite her lip. She doesn't stop, rocking slowly against him; if she moved just so, he'd be inside her, but she doesn't, drawing it out, just grinding on him. She considers her plan of attack, because she needs to drive this a little higher.

She's too short to kiss him at this angle, so she sits back instead, not breaking the friction between them. She cups her breasts in her hands, kneading them just the way she likes. Her nipples are hard, and she finds them with her thumbs, rolling them; she dares to pinch, tugging on them lightly. He wouldn't be so gentle, and that thought makes her pinch harder, to the point of real pain. She shuts her eyes, moaning softly.

"This is your idea of convincing?" Simon asks, though his voice betrays how much he's into this, at least to her ears.

"You could have all of this," she says, and he hisses when she grinds down harder. "If you don't reach out and grab it, you won't get any of it."

"So it's like that, is it?" he says, grinning. "You want to feel like I caught you? Doesn't seem much like it when you're willing to put on such a wanton display for me."

"If that's what it takes to draw your attention, I'll do it," she says.

"Oh, you have my attention," he says. "That's never been the problem."

"Then what's the problem?" she asks. "You want this, and I want to give it to you." She stares him down. "Take it."

Athena makes a noise of surprise when Simon abruptly pushes her back. She's barely hit the mattress before he's on top of her, shoving her legs open wide. She lets out a cry as he pushes into her, fast and rough; she'll be sore, but it feels so goddamn good that stopping him is the farthest thing from her mind. He sets up a punishing rhythm from the very beginning, and it's all Athena can do to hook her legs around his waist, unwilling to let him go.

"Mine," he growls. He catches both her wrists, pinning her to the bed as he fucks her hard.

"Yes," she gasps. He sinks his teeth into her shoulder, sucking, and she knows she'll have a bruise there later; right now, it's exactly what she wants.

"Say it," he says against her skin.

"I'm yours," she says. "I'm yours, take me-"

Simon doesn't even respond in words, just snarls and moves faster, pounding into her so hard that the bed shakes beneath them. Everyone below and above them is certainly going to be able to hear what's going on, but Athena doesn't care. She almost wants them to, to hold up this new thing, fresh and fragile and incendiary. This was only supposed to be a trial run, but they're past that now; this matters, and Athena's not going to stop it.

"Close," she manages to say, so close that she's barely hanging on, but unwilling to do the wrong thing.

He looks down at her, and she thinks she'll burn to nothing under the weight of his stare. "Come for me," he says, in a voice that says she doesn't have another option.

That's what turns the key; she rocks up against him and comes, shaking in his grasp as it moves through her. Simon gasps like he's been suddenly overcome, and she feels it when he pulses inside her. His grip on her wrists goes tighter, and she surges up, kissing him fervently.

He finally lets her go, and she tries not to wince when he pulls out, even though she's already sore. He makes to get up, and she pulls him down with her instead; they end up at an odd angle across the bed, but she can't see getting up in her future.

"You need to move your laundry," she says.

Simon looks at her like she's lost her mind. "What?"

"That's what I was trying to tell you," she says, and for some reason it makes her laugh. "I stopped you in the hall to tell you about your laundry."

"I'm going to choose to believe this is the fault of the endorphins and not your belief that me taking care of my laundry is what's important right now," he says.

"Don't go," she says, grabbing on to him, but he takes her hand, lacing their fingers together.

"I'm not going anywhere," he says gently.

"Why did you never say anything?" she asks. "You had to know I'd say yes."

"I really didn't think you would," he says. "Call it pessimism, or call it misplaced realism."

She still feels hazy, but it brings her a kind of clarity. "You thought I'd say yes to a little and no to the whole thing," she says.

Simon sighs. "Just so."

She hugs him tightly. "I don't know what I'm doing, but the whole thing looks pretty good to me."

"We'll see what you say when you're a bit more put together," he says.

"If that's what it takes," she says. She shivers despite his body heat, and he looks around, finding the blanket that was at the foot of the bed and pulling it over to cover the two of them. "Thanks."

"Of course," he says, and she nestles into his side.

"Walk me through this," she says the next day; they haven't actually managed to get out of bed yet, and both of them are experiencing epic levels of sex hair.

"I want to be in control of you," he says. "That's the simplest way to put it. I can ease you into it if that helps, but I don't want a part-time arrangement. That's not how I do these things."

"So you've done this before?" she asks.

"Yes," he says. "I was much younger. It ended amicably, but I haven't spoken to her since."

"Because you went to jail?" she says.

"Things were already over, but that did make it much easier to avoid the situation," he replies.

"I've never even thought of doing something like this before," she admits.

"Never?" he says with a smirk. "So you've never once wanted someone to hold you down and-"

She removes his hand from her abdomen. "We're trying to have a conversation here."

"Spoilsport," he says.

"I don't even know enough about it to know if I want it," she says. "But last night-" She bites her lip.

"I told you you'd never want it another way again," he says.

"I don't know yet," she says, though just thinking about it makes her want to do it all over again. "I don't know what you want that's not sexual."

"It's not particularly onerous," he says.

"Easy for you to say," she says, which he ignores.

"I make the decisions when we're together," he says. "I have no desire to choose things related to your profession, or make other drastic changes to your life. But if I perhaps tell you to attend to me, or if I choose to show you off, you'll let me do it. If you don't meet expectations, I'll punish you."

This feels pretty drastic already, but it's the weirdest thing; none of it sounds like something she doesn't want to do. "And if I say no?"

"There are nos, and there are nos," he says. "You can say no. If you enter into this with me, I choose when to listen to it." He must feel her going tense, because he takes her hand, kissing her knuckles. "If you don't trust that I know when to listen, then we can't do this."

"I'd trust you with my life," she says.

"Then do it," he says.

"Okay," she says softly.

And that's where it starts, but it is by no means where it ends.

--

The first major thing Simon asks for is no trouble for Athena at all.

They do have jobs, and they do continue to do them. This week sees them both at the courthouse, but in different courtrooms; Athena's okay with not coming up against him in court right away. Athena's backing Mister Wright on a pretty straightforward case, not that anything that happens with Wright is truly straightforward. Unfortunately, they reach an impasse, and the judge halts the proceedings for the day.

"I'm going to go to the detention center," Wright tells Athena and Apollo, who's joined them from the gallery. "Apollo, you're with me. Athena, I need you to meet up with Ema and see what you can find out about those fingerprints."

"You got it," Athena says, and they break.

She's barely stepped out of the Defendant's Lobby when a hand comes down on her shoulder. She stops, turning to see that it's Simon, and her heart flips. He tosses his head in the direction of the side hallway that runs along the length of the lobby, and she nods, walking that way. Not as many people use it, mostly just the bailiffs, and it's quieter than the main hallway.

"I have fifteen minutes before I'm needed back at the office," he says, and she doesn't need to ask what he means.

"It just so happens I'm headed that way too," she says with a grin. She twiddles her earring while she thinks. "How much of an exhibitionist do you want to be?"

Simon just looks at her for a moment. "You are taking this so much better than I expected."

"Just doing my job," she says. "It's too far to go back home, but if I took my car to the roof of the parking garage- oh, or there's an out of order bathroom on the third floor, though I don't know why it's out of order- or we could leave and find a parking lot somewhere-"

"Bathroom will do," he says, grabbing her by the arm and pulling her along.

And that's how Athena ends up bent over a sink, clutching the sides of it as Simon fucks her relentlessly. She's trying as hard as she can to be silent, and it's not working. It's so good, too much to keep quiet. Simon's doing a better job of it, the only sounds coming from him heavy breaths. She makes the mistake of looking up into the mirror to see how he's doing, and what she sees there makes her drop her head again.

In the brief look she gets, Simon is worrying his bottom lip with his teeth, an intent look on his face, but the effect is ruined somewhat by the fact that he's grinning. He looks pleased to be doing this to her, excited, even. She's not sure why that gets to her, why it's hotter than if he looked like he was taking this seriously, but it is and it does.

She must give some kind of sign, give away how much it got to her, because Simon puts a hand on her shoulder, pulling her up so that she has to look. She has to put her hand over her mouth to keep from moaning, and he kisses the top of her head, smirking at her in the mirror.

She comes before he does, overtaken by it, but he's right behind her. She feels him coming, and she doesn't stop her answering groan in time. Neither of them moves for a long moment, just trying to catch their breath.

Simon finally pulls away, and Athena doesn't move, still trying to pull it together when she's just been fucked within an inch of her life at work. He pulls up her panties, putting them back in place, and she feels a thrill when she realizes he means for her to go back to work like that, with him still inside her.

She manages to straighten up, somehow, and Simon is still right there. He bends down and kisses her, and she wonders why going back to work is even a thing she wants to do. He doesn't linger, though, stepping back and adjusting her hair bow.

"I'll see you at home," he says softly. Then he opens the bathroom door and walks out nonchalantly, like it's unremarkable that he's walking out of a closed bathroom that some interesting noises were probably coming from.

Athena sighs. She considers cleaning herself up, but all she does is splash a little water on the back of her neck to cool down. She gives it two minutes, then sneaks out of the bathroom. The coast is clear, and she books it out of there.

"Are you okay?" Ema asks, as Athena belatedly tracks her down. "You look flushed."

"Never better," Athena says, trying to mask how she feels with a power stance and a victory sign. Ema gives her an inquisitive look, but Athena turns the conversation to science and Ema couldn't care less.

Athena bites her lip absently and tries to think about the case and not what might be waiting for her at home.

--

At home, things are different. It doesn't take her long to get adjusted to things like fixing Simon's coffee or rubbing his shoulders, even if sometimes she has to do it naked. It gives her this sense of peace that she never thought she'd have; she's not even quite sure how to articulate it, but it feels good. It has a sense of rightness to it that only makes her want more, and every well-earned bit of praise makes it better.

There is also the matter of the raucous sex, to which end she finds him in front of her computer, his debit card propped up on the keyboard.

"What are you up to?" she asks, putting her hands on his shoulders and smoothing them down his chest.

"There's so much to buy," he says, sounding a little dazed.

"Let me see that," she says, leaning forward, but he covers the shopping cart with one hand.

"You'll see it when it gets here," he says.

"I would have thought you had stuff for this already," she says.

"Unfortunately, I have to rebuild my collection from scratch," he says. "Aura gained control of my material possessions when I went to prison, and she threw out everything of a suggestive nature."

"That's a shitty thing to do," Athena says, frowning.

He shrugs. "If you left Justice-dono to watch your worldly goods for seven years, would you expect to collect your vibrator at the end?"

"I don't have a vibrator," she replies.

Simon pauses for a moment, then opens a new browser tab.

"If you're not going to let me see, I guess I'll leave you to it," she says.

He catches her wrist before she can go. "Athena," he says. He falters, not a common sight.

She runs her free hand over his hair. "What is it?"

"I wouldn't normally be so transparent, because that's not how this goes," he says. "But I need you to understand that I am rebuilding this all from scratch. I know what I want. I haven't been anywhere close to having it in seven years."

The word, Athena thinks, is not transparent, but vulnerable, and she can count on one hand the number of times she's seen it from him. Without pulling her wrist from his grasp, she rolls his chair back, sitting down in his lap. "We'll work it out," she tells him. "I'm not pretending I know what we're doing, but I'm here to help." She presses her lips to his forehead. "Just tell me what you need from me."

"You are just what I needed," he says, making her feel warm, but she doesn't miss it when he reaches for the mouse again.

"Me and some stuff from," she says, peering at the monitor before he can stop her. "Well, that's one way to name a website."

"You'll spoil the surprise," he says.

She kisses him briefly before standing up. "Surprise me, then," she says, and he lets her walk away.

--

A few days later, Simon receives an overly large brown box with almost no markings on it. It is everything Athena can do not to rip it open immediately, but good things come to those who wait.

When Simon sees it, he takes it into the bedroom and locks himself in.

"Oh, come on," she says through the door, but he ignores her.

A while later, the door opens again, and he ushers her into the bedroom. "Surprise," he says.

There are now restraints coming from all four corners of the bed, not to mention the variety of things laid out on the chair, some of which she doesn't even recognize.

"What is this?" she says, holding it up a strappy belt thing and looking at it from different angles. "Is this a strap on?"

"That's an idea, but no," he says, not elaborating. "Take your clothes off."

Athena's used to hearing that by now, and she knows Simon cares more about her being naked than the process looking good, so she throws her clothes off and waits. He picks up the unidentified object; it may not be a strap on, but it goes on the same way, requiring her to step into it. He pulls it up, buckling the belt part around her waist and adjusting the straps around her thighs. There's another strap that goes between her legs, and he pulls it up until it's snug against her ass. That leaves her exposed in the front, with the last piece hanging down, looking like something goes in it.

"On the bed," he says, and she lays down. She knows what's coming; he reaches for the restraints, attaching them so that she's spread-eagled. She's a little self-conscious for a moment, but the way Simon licks his lips handles that.

"I suspect you know what this is," he says, holding up one of his new toys.

"I'm pretty sure," she says; she may not have one, but a vibrator's pretty hard to mistake, especially when it's the wand kind. "Oh no," she says, when it hits her.

"Oh yes," he says, with a wicked grin. He climbs onto the bed, getting in between her legs. He does some quick arranging, inserting the vibrator into the belt; it's held in place, pressed right against her clit. "Are you ready?"

"I don't know if-" she starts, but she breaks off sharply when he turns the vibrator on.

By about thirty seconds in, she knows why vibrators are so popular. She's never felt anything like it; she knows it's on the lowest setting, but she's still shaking a little. She wants to close her legs against it, but that's not an option, not when Simon's got her thoroughly tied down.

"I'm gonna come," she says, barely five minutes in, shocked that she's so close already.

"You're going to come until you can't anymore," he says, bending over her. "Or until you run out the batteries, whichever comes first."

She doesn't respond, too close to talk; she pulls against the restraints when she comes, the feeling so intense, so acute. She goes limp when it passes, but Simon's made no move to turn the vibrator off.

"Fuck," she sighs. "Where has this been all my life."

He laughs. "You say that now," he says. "You're not going to think so favorably about it later."

"Are you just going to watch?" she asks.

"Far from it," he says, turning the vibrator up. "I'm just giving you a head start."

True to his word, he doesn't leave her alone. He starts by running his hands over her; he particularly likes to pinch her, and restrained, she can't move away from it. He can do whatever he likes, and he does.

She cries out when she pinches her just below her armpit, where she didn't even know she was sensitive. "Does that hurt?" he says, twisting.

She groans when he lets her go. "You wouldn't do it if it didn't."

"You're right about that," he says, pinching her thigh next. No amount of it can stop her orgasm from building, and she tips over the edge a second time. "Having fun?"

"So far," she says, even though she's starting to get sensitive; her reluctance to let him see her sweat is possibly going to get her into trouble.

Orgasm three takes a little longer, though Simon helps it along, lowering his head to her breasts, biting and sucking her nipples. Now the vibrator is getting genuinely uncomfortable, and she realizes that she's really completely helpless. If he doesn't want to let her out, he doesn't have to; she can say no, but she suspects her protests will fall on deaf ears.

He turns up the vibration again, and she thrashes against the restraints. He will definitely not be listening to her complaining.

She's grateful for the distraction when he climbs up her body, straddling her head. He guides his cock into her mouth, and she tries to stay focused on it instead of the feeling between her legs. If she shuts her eyes and concentrates hard enough, she can just get him off, and maybe he'll let her go.

"Does it hurt yet?" he asks, though he doesn't seem to care if he gets an answer. "You must be sore by now. I can't imagine what it must be like." She makes a noise around his cock; she sounds pitiful, but he just laughs. "I should keep you like this. You look good when you're ruined."

He's fucking her face by this point, and it's not helping; numbers four and five happen anyway. Her body is treacherous, her hips working as she gets close, looking for more despite the fact that she's had too much already. It's torture, but she can't stop it.

She loses track after that, because it seems like it goes on forever. All that she knows is Simon's cock in her mouth and the ache between her legs. She's completely helpless, no way to fight back.

She doesn't know what to do with the part of her that doesn't want to.

Simon finally pulls out, coming on her face, which doesn't make her feel any less wrecked. He runs his thumb through the worst of it, pushing it into her mouth, and she sucks it clean, unable to find it in her to protest. She's completely gone by this point; she can't do anything but lie there and come.

She lets out a shaky breath as Simon turns the vibrator off. Just the press of it against her clit is too much, but thankfully he removes it from its harness, setting it aside. "I've got you," he says softly, running a hand up her thigh in a gentling motion.

"Simon," she says shakily.

He undoes the restraints on her ankles, and she draws her knees together, like she's been wanting to do. He doesn't say anything about it, just undoes her wrists as well. He lies down next to her, pulling her into his arms, stroking his hand over her hair.

"I'm here," he says. "You're okay."

"Simon," she says again, unable to say anything else.

He just holds her for a long time, while she comes down from whatever place she's gone off to. She feels it like floating, the world fuzzy around the edges.

"Holy shit," she says, after some time.

Simon huffs a laugh. "Feeling a bit better, are you?"

"That was evil," she says.

"But did you like it?" he asks.

"That's a dangerous question," she says. "If I say yes, you're going to do it again because I want it. If I say no, you're going to do it again because you like fucking with me."

"Now you're getting the hang of it," he says.

"I plead the fifth," she says.

"Then I'll just have to do it again so I can get a clear answer," he says.

"What did I just say," she says, but she kisses him.

--

They're three weeks in when Athena freaks out.

Athena has a way of going into things while damning the consequences. She knows this about herself, but that doesn't mean she can stop it. She's a creature of impulse and strong passions, and the whole thing with Simon is no exception. She's never been wrapped up in something so intense before, and she dove in headfirst, all the way there on practically the first night. It's not something she can avoid or get away from; he lives in her apartment, ready at a moment's notice. What he wants from her is comprehensive, all-inclusive.

And she's freaking out.

"Okay," Apollo says, putting his paperwork aside. "I need you to not."

"Not what?" Athena says, because freaking out has carried over from her apartment, where she crept out while Simon was in the shower, to her drive, where she didn't respond to his texts, to the office, where she's been staring at the same file and finding it impossible to read any of it. Out of the corner of her eye, she sees the flashing that indicates her phone is blowing up, and she can't stop looking back at it.

He holds up his wrist, where his bracelet is visibly cutting into his skin. "Not lose your shit. Do you need a klonopin or something?"

"I'm fine," she says. She raises her fists. "I'm fine!"

"You need more bass," Apollo says. "It has to come from your gut, not your chest." He squares his shoulders. "I'm Apollo Justice, and I'm fine!" he pronounces, illustrating the proper technique.

"I'm Athena Cykes, and I'm fine!" she says again, and she feels like it might be starting to work.

"Does anyone know where Prosecutor Blackquill got my cell phone number?" Wright says, walking in, looking at his phone.

Athena's not fine.

Wright assesses the scene quickly; he reaches a hand into his jacket for his wallet, pulling out a bill indiscriminately and handing it to Apollo. "Time for a coffee run," he says.

"Wait, what-" Apollo starts.

"Don't forget to get almond milk in Athena's," Wright says, gently but firmly shoving Apollo out the door. "Keep the change," he adds, before shutting it behind him.

Athena has started pacing without really thinking about it, and it's hard to make herself stop. She can't be doing this, and she especially can't be doing it at work, but here she is, doing it anyway. "It's fine," she says under her breath. "It's fine. I'll just call him. I'll call him, and it won't be a big deal. It's just a phone call."

"You can talk to me," Wright says, snapping her out of it, with an odd kind of intensity in his voice that she can't quite place.

"It's nice of you to offer," she replies, "but I don't think this is something I can talk to my boss about."

He rubs the back of his neck. "I don't think you're quite picking up what I'm putting down."

"And what are you putting down?" she asks, stopping and crossing her arms.

"Cards on the table," he says. "I know what you're doing and I've been there." He puts a hand on her shoulder, looking at her seriously. "Breathe with me."

She doesn't realize she isn't breathing until he coaches her into it. Shakily she inhales, holding it before she exhales, trying to reach some kind of equilibrium. After a while, it starts working; she forces her shoulders to relax, trying to shake herself loose.

"It's gonna be okay," Wright says. "Let's talk."

"How did you know?" she asks, letting him sit her down on the couch.

"Maybe you're not to that point yet, but once you know the score, you see it everywhere," he says, sitting down next to her; there's a little discord in his voice, and she wonders if Simon's been running his mouth. "Please don't take that as me saying it's obvious to everyone."

"So you and the Chief Prosecutor?" she says, unsure if she wants the answer.

Wright reaches into the collar of his suit, fishing out a necklace. On it is a simple pendant, just a red stone with a gold wrap. It's tasteful and elegant and as obvious as a neon sign, if you know the context.

"I never intended for you and Apollo to know," Wright says, weighing the pendant in his hand for a moment. "Though I have the weirdest feeling that Trucy has figured it out, which is a conversation I will never, ever have with her." He tucks the necklace back into his shirt. "So what I'm saying is that I'm listening."

"I've never done this before and I'm scared," Athena blurts out.

"What about it scares you?" he asks. "Does Simon scare you?"

"Not as much as he would like to, I'm sure," she says. She shakes her head. "He'd die before he let me come to harm."

"He almost did," Wright says. "Are you scared of being a deviant? Because the deviant life is pretty good."

"I don't recognize myself when I'm with him," she says, trying to make the words line up correctly, distilling everything into a few sentences. "I've always been so independent. I would never let someone control me like this. I'm afraid I'm going to wake up and come to my senses. I'm afraid I'm not going to come to my senses."

"Ah," he says, nodding. "So it's that one."

She runs her hands over her ponytail. "Is it normal?"

"Oh, yeah," he says, smiling at her. He looks contemplative for a moment. "What it is that we do, it shows us parts of ourselves we didn't know about. It lets us do things we'd never think of doing, in a place where it's safe to do them. You are independent, but if there's some part of you that wants to give up a small piece of that, then follow where it goes."

"You make it sound a lot simpler than it is in my head," she says.

"It gives me clarity," he says, shrugging. "I'm also not the one who has to make the plans. Miles is the person to talk to if you want to hear it get complicated."

Athena tries to picture having this talk with Prosecutor Edgeworth. She can't get over the idea that he'd have slides prepared.

"Feeling any better?" he asks, patting her back. He draws his hand away. "Sorry, should I not do that?"

"He doesn't mind," she says. "And I actually do feel better."

"One conversation probably won't fix everything," he says, putting his hand back; she's glad of the contact. "Just do some thinking, and if you need to tell him to pull back, you're within your rights to do it."

"Thank you," she says.

"I would definitely call him back sooner rather than later, though," Wright says, standing up from the couch. "Take it from me, avoiding it will only make it worse."

As he walks out, Athena looks back at her phone. It's ringing again, displaying the picture Simon assigned himself in her phone; it's taken at a low angle, as if the viewer is looking up at him, and she knows exactly why he picked it. She swipes the screen and puts the phone to her ear.

"Where did you get Mister Wright's phone number?" she asks.

"From the Chief Prosecutor," Simon says, sounding smug. "We understand each other."

"What a coincidence," she says, looking towards the door that Wright has just left through.

"Now let's discuss the matter of you sneaking out and then dodging my phone calls," he says flatly.

"I-" she starts, but she doesn't know how the sentence ends. "It won't happen again."

"Are you alright?" he says, gentler this time, betraying some of the concern he feels.

"I think so," she says. "Nothing happened, I just- it's complicated."

"We'll talk when we get home," he says. "Until then, stop screening me."

"I wasn't-" she starts, but he's already hung up. She does feel a little better, even if Simon is going to be displeased with her. Maybe she just needed to feel like she wasn't twisting in the wind; she doesn't know if it's the kind of thing she'll ever speak to Wright about again, but it feels so much less scary when she doesn't feel like she's alone.

It's another ten or so minutes before the door hesitantly opens, Apollo peeking his head in. "Is it safe?"

"It's fine," Athena says.

"I brought stroopwafels," he says, shifting the tray of drinks to one hand and gingerly holding out a paper bag.

"Ooh," she says, taking the bag, but he still looks a little scared. "It really is okay."

"I'm just gonna take your word for it," Apollo says. He puts the drinks on the table, taking the one marked "Paula" and sipping from it.

They haven't even tried with Athena's name, so she takes the one that says "almond" and isn't a mocha frappe. She considers, for the briefest of moments, telling Apollo what's actually happened, but that's just not going to work. "So tell me about the so-called blood stains?" she says, even though she knows the answer.

"Well, it turns out that horseradish reacts with luminol," he begins, and Athena just lets him talk.

--

Simon is not the kind of person who's given to looking hesitant or at all unsure, but when he enters the kitchen a few nights later, that's exactly what he looks like. Athena frowns at him, already a bit concerned by his appearance.

"What's up?" she asks.

"There's something we should do," he says, holding out the red folder that he's carrying. "It's time, if it's not overdue."

She takes the folder and opens it, not sure what she's going to see. "Draft Memorandum of Understanding Between Simon Blackquill and Athena Cykes," she reads, getting its significance immediately. "I thought people made contracts for these things."

"They do, normally," he says.

"An MOU isn't legally binding," she points out.

"Neither is a slave contract," Simon says. "I don't see the value in playing pretend when there's a real alternative."

Athena isn't sure whether that's actually true. Contracts was during the semester when she sowed her wild oats, to what little extent she ever did; it was probably laughably tame by anyone else's standards, but special brownies and skipping class to eat them might have been involved. Still, it's the kind of thing Simon should know. "Wow, you actually put signatory pages in here," she says, flipping through it. She just hopes he doesn't want it notarized.

"It's not much of an MOU without signatories," he says, giving her an odd look.

She hits the cover page of the appendices and flips back to the front. "Whereas an arrangement of the nature specified below has been enjoined by Simon Blackquill, hereinafter referred to as-" she starts.

"Please don't read me an eight page document that I've already read," he says.

"Fine," she says. She stops, looking up from the paper. "You said 'read.'"

"Yes?" Simon says, looking confused.

"You didn't say 'wrote,'" she says.

"Ah," he says.

"Explain," she says.

He looks downright amused. "I perhaps had some counsel in drafting this memorandum," he says. "I was provided with a copy of a very similar document for reference."

Athena sighs. "Why do I feel like I know where it came from?"

"I told you we understood each other," he says. "But I was not offered the appendices and I did not ask for them."

"So that's where the dirty part is," she says, flipping to them immediately.

Simon takes the MOU out of her hands, turning it back to the first page. "Focus."

She reads carefully, but doesn't get very far. "I need a pencil," she says.

"Already?" he says, but he doesn't look surprised.

"You have a comma splice there, and I don't like this wording," she tells him, pointing to the paper. She rummages around in the cup of pens on the kitchen counter, finding a pencil and sitting down with the document.

"I made coffee," he says, pouring her a cup.

"Don't think you can bribe the opposing party," she says, though she takes it, kissing him on the cheek.

She doesn't notice that he's left until she looks up; it's an hour later, by the clock, and the MOU is covered in scribblings. She cracks her neck, getting up to grab another cup of coffee. She sits back down, taking another glance over the papers. She's got a lot of quibbles about it, but it strikes her that that's what most of them are. The bones of the agreement are there, and she's surprisingly okay with ninety percent of it.

She flips past the signatory pages, landing once again at the appendices. She approaches them with a little bit of trepidation; as with documents like this, they contain the real specifics of what's going to happen. The body of the agreement refers back to them in bloodless generalities, but all the things that make this very different from a business deal are in the back pages.

She opens the appendices and picks up her pen.

Thirty minutes later, the door to the bedroom slams open, and Simon looks up to see Athena marching in. He's sitting in bed reading a book, and she takes it out of his hands, putting it out of his reach. She climbs on top of him, kissing him harshly.

"What are you doing?" he asks, sounding amused at her expense.

"I'm halfway through the appendices," she says against his neck.

He puts his hands on her shoulders, pushing her back. "Then you'd better go back and finish them."

Athena doesn't whine in complaint, but she almost does. "Don't be like that."

"I already am," he says. He grins. "In fact, I'm not inclined to entertain you until after you've reviewed the whole document thoroughly."

"You asshole," she says, thumping him in the chest.

He waves a finger at her. "See Appendix B, specifically the section about mouthing off."

"I did," she says, and boy, did she. "Even if you didn't like it when I talk back, it's completely unenforceable."

"We'll see about that," he says. He guides her off of him and back onto her feet. "Get back to work."

"This isn't over," she says.

"It's just begun," he says, and she slinks back to finish the document.

When she's done, she leaves it, fully marked up, on the table. Simon picks it up without saying anything, and a few days after that, another version appears on the table. It has almost all of the wording changes that she asked for, but at least one of the substantive changes she wanted is not there. It still says "draft" on it, and Athena knows that's Simon's concession, an admission that he's still willing to negotiate.

She pores over it again, making notes, but what she really wants is a second opinion, another set of eyes that might see things she doesn't.

She waits until late the next day, until Apollo has finally gone home; Trucy is at a rehearsal, so at the agency, it's just her and Wright. The folder has been in her bag all day, hopefully not looking very obvious or interesting, and she slips it out, drumming her fingers on the front for a moment before taking a deep breath.

"Would you read this?" Athena says, presenting the folder to Wright.

He flips the folder open, and his eyebrows go up when he sees what it is. "The appendices aren't in here, are they?"

"I definitely left them at home," she says. "This is incriminating enough."

"And you want my legal opinion on it?" he asks.

"Consider yourself amicus curiae," she says, sitting on the couch.

Wright goes to the set piece against the wall, the one that's meant to separate a lovely assistant into three pieces. He opens the middle section, pulling out a bottle of scotch and two glasses. He sits back down, sloshing a measure of the liquid into each glass.

"I didn't give this to you," he says, handing one to her.

"Give me what?" she says, tilting it towards him before taking a sip.

He scans through the first page of the document before picking up a pen from the coffee table. "May I?" he says.

"Please do," she says.

He circles a passage. "This sounds good in theory but will get old by the second week," he says. "For you and, uh, the party of the first part."

"Fair enough," she says, because she'd been skeptical herself.

He continues to read, underlining another passage and writing "awk." next to it. "That one's not a big deal I don't think, it's just worded badly," he says.

"I feel like you know where at least some of this wording came from," she says, amused.

"And let's just exercise some attorney-attorney privilege and not discuss that with the person who wrote most of the original," he says.

"I agree," she says.

He moves on to the next page. "Do you really want to have to take Widget off so often?" he asks. "That seems like a lot."

"That's my stipulation, not his," she says. "It's like trying to do it in front of the dog, if the dog could broadcast your thoughts."

"Then that's a very good stipulation," he says, drawing a check mark next to it.

He continues to talk her through it, and they get to the last page. "Honestly, it looks pretty solid," he tells her. "What I have marked here I would definitely change, but you could sign it as is and probably still be fine."

"You make this feel really normal," Athena says.

"Because it is normal," Wright says. "It's normal for me, and if you sign this, it's going to be normal for you, too."

"To normality," she says, raising her glass, and he clinks his against it.

She returns the MOU and gets a third version back. This one does not say "draft" on it; there is instead a post-it flag on the signatory page pointing to where her signature goes, right under where Simon has already signed.

Simon doesn't ask her about it when she doesn't return it.

--

Athena mostly knows the King of Prosecutors Gala as something Wright grumbles about. She gets the sense that he thinks it's gotten out of hand, but she figures that's probably understandable, given how long it's been a custom. She knows he goes to it, but given that he's married to the Chief Prosecutor, that's not a surprise.

What's also not a surprise is that Athena isn't ever actually invited to go. Rather, what happens is that Simon walks into their bedroom one morning with a cloth measuring tape and a notepad.

"Up," he says. She's a little confused, but she stands. "Write down what I tell you," he says, handing her the pad.

"Okay?" Athena says. He starts to wrap the tape measure around her chest, and she lifts her arms to give him room. "You could just ask me my size, or look at the tags in my clothes."

"Hmph," he says. "As if women's sizes mean anything."

"Well, you're not wrong," she says.

"Take this down," he says, and he barks out a series of body parts and measurements, moving the tape measure in between them. The whole process is very clinical compared to what usually happens when Simon puts his hands on her, and it doesn't take him long to finish up.

"Can I ask what this is for?" she says.

"The gala," he says.

"You're taking me to the gala?" Athena asks, surprised.

"Who else would I take?" he says, like he doesn't understand the question.

"I just didn't expect it," she says; she's thinking of the MOU, sitting without her signature in the desk in what was once Simon's room. He's still looking at her oddly. "Never mind."

"You are exactly who I would take to such an event," he says, not letting it go. "Are you saying you don't want to accompany me?"

She can see all this falling out of her hands and hitting the floor and breaking into a million pieces, so she goes up on her toes and pecks him on the cheek. "Of course I want to," she says. He still looks suspicious, so she tries to redirect him. "What's with all the measurements?"

"I'm going to have something made for you," he says.

"Just like that?" she says.

"It's surprisingly affordable these days," he says.

"Do I get to pick it out?" she asks hopefully.

"No," he tells her.

"Do I even get to pick the color?" she says, frowning.

"You'd pick yellow," he says.

"I look great in yellow," she says, crossing her arms.

"I have no complaints as to how you look in your favorite color," he says. "But I have my own ideas as to how I want you to look on my arm."

"I always get into trouble when you order things without me seeing them," she grumbles.

"And I always enjoy the outcome," he says with a smirk. "You knew I was mean when you got into this."

"You've softened up," she says, but she reconsiders it. "You've softened up at home, anyway. All bets are still off in the courtroom."

"And that's going to continue to be the case," he says. He looks at the measuring tape consideringly, then he gets a wicked grin on his face. "Turn around and give me your wrists."

"You're going to ruin your tape measure," she says, but she does it anyway.

--

Quicker than Athena expects it to, the day of the gala arrives. Simon has received two packages that are definitely clothing-sized, and she valiantly resists the urge to peek. Before she can see what's in either of them, he sends her off to shower and dry her hair, which she does. She comes back into the bedroom, and Simon is already mostly dressed. He's wearing the shirt and pants from a tuxedo; his waistcoat hangs unbuttoned, his tie undone, and she wants to jump him immediately.

"Down, girl," he says, seeing her expression. He begins buttoning up his waistcoat. "Yours is on the bed."

In terms of undergarments, he's left her a pair of panties- not new, but ones he likes particularly- and nothing else. She gulps, realizing there's no bra involved in this outfit; she can pull it off, but not wearing one at what is essentially a work function is a lot. Still, she sets aside her towel and steps into the panties, pulling them up before she reaches for the dress. She doesn't really look at it before she puts it on, wanting to see the whole effect and not how it looks just laying there.

Dressed, she turns and looks at herself in the mirror. The dress is gorgeous; there's no other way to put it. It's a rich green, complementing her hair color. The front hem is higher than the back, coming all the way up to her thigh on one side and then falling down in soft waves. The neckline is much lower than she'd ever wear normally, but it looks flattering on her, more so than she expected.

"It's beautiful," she says.

Simon looks at her critically, appraising his handiwork. "I made the right choice," he says approvingly. "Go do your makeup."

She tries not to rush the process; she looks too good to have subpar makeup, but it's hard not to get through it as quickly as she can. She's happy with what she accomplishes, though, and soon enough she comes back to where he's waiting. He stands up, giving her a once-over, and he seems content with what he sees.

"Turn around," he says, and she does it. He takes her hair, combing it back with his fingers, and she enjoys the feeling of it. She's about to offer to put it up, since he's never gotten the hang of her preferred look, but he keeps going. He begins braiding her hair instead; she can't tell what he's doing, but it feels complicated. He doesn't say anything, focused on his task, and she doesn't say anything either, unwilling to break the silence, like the spell will end if she does.

He finally steps away, turning her to face the mirror. She doesn't look anything like she does normally; she looks like a knock-out, more than appropriate for a gala. She feels like a completely different person, maybe even an improvement.

It strikes her then that it's because she is.

"Hold on," she says, turning away from the mirror and putting a hand on Simon's chest. "I'll be right back."

He looks suspicious, but he lets her go, sitting down on the bed while he waits. She rushes into the spare room, opening the desk drawer and retrieving the folder inside. She comes back, standing in front of him.

"I don't really know why I waited," she says, handing him the folder.

"If you needed to wait, you needed to wait," he says unconvincingly.

"I'm not waiting anymore," she says, and he turns to the signatory page, where Athena's name has joined his.

When he looks up again, Athena has gone to her knees in front of him. He looks struck, maybe even overcome, but he stands. "Stay," he says, walking away from her and into the spare room. He returns almost immediately, carrying a thin, flat box, and sits down on the bed. He puts the box into her hands. "Open it."

She does, and what's inside is not what she expected. It's a flat black bracelet, its only adornment an embroidered white feather; if you weren't looking closely, you might mistake it for a piece of the glove she wears to control the Mood Matrix. With the bracelet is a screw and two hex keys, and it's not hard to work out what for.

"Yes," she says, handing him back the bracelet and holding out her wrist.

"No one asked you," he says, though he's smiling fondly.

"I beg to differ," she says, and he puts the bracelet around her right wrist. It fits perfectly, and he fits the screw into the clasp, securing it with the hex key. She could maybe get out of it in an emergency, but she definitely doesn't want to.

"It's only a shame we don't have any more time before the gala," he says, with a wide grin on his face that she's sure he doesn't know he's making.

"What's a little more waiting," she says, and he kisses her forehead.

"Get your things," he says. "It's time for me to show off."

They arrive at the gala in good time, and Simon gives her his arm, leading her inside. The first person they encounter is Ema, who's wearing a long blue dress, her hair swept up off her neck. She has a camera hanging from her shoulder and a full plate of snacks.

Ema sets the plate aside. "You guys look amazing," she says, though she's still got a mouthful of food. She swings the camera around, holding it up.

"Did they tell you you couldn't come unless you took pictures?" Athena asks.

"Actually, they told me I was coming and taking pictures," Ema says. "But the food is great. Say cheese."

Simon puts an arm around Athena's waist, pulling her in. He smells distractingly good up close, and Athena's not sure how she's going to get through this night.

"Got it," Ema says, putting the camera back on her shoulder and picking up her plate. "You guys have fun."

Simon leads her deeper into the party, and he doesn't let go of her the whole time. If it's not a hand on the small of her back, it's an arm around her shoulders; all of it is tasteful but unmistakably proprietary. She has to remind herself that this is what she signed up for, not something that's happening despite her input. The problem is not that she doesn't like it, but that she likes it too much, a thing that everyone does not need to know. Still, this is Simon's show, and her job is basically to make him look good. She thinks she's doing an admirable job of it; Simon seems to have no complaints about her performance so far.

They circulate through the room, and finally their orbit leads them to Mister Wright and Chief Prosecutor Edgeworth. The two of them look very dashing in their tuxedos, but Athena wouldn't expect any less. Wright also looks a little harried, but this isn't the kind of environment that he excels in.

"Edgeworth-sama," Simon says, giving him a nod.

"Prosecutor Blackquill," Edgeworth replies. He looks Athena up and down with clear appreciation; if he wasn't just as gay as the day is long, she might be a little offended. "And Miss Cykes. You do make a handsome pair, if I may say so."

"You may," Athena says, and Edgeworth looks amused. She puts her hand on Simon's arm. "I need to speak to Mister Wright for a second."

Simon raises an eyebrow at her. "Be quick about it."

Wright looks a little confused, but he lets Athena lead him away; there's a conveniently located pillar, and she takes him around back of it, away from the crowd.

"I signed," she says excitedly, holding out her wrist.

He takes her hand, examining the bracelet. "That's absolutely perfect."

"I know!" she says. "I just had to tell somebody."

"I'm excited for you," he says. He squeezes her hand. "I think you made the right choice."

She lets out a breath. "Okay. Let's go back before we're in trouble."

"I'm following you," he says.

The rest of the night follows on, and Athena feels the whole thing as a blur. Her only responsibility is to look pretty, and she does her best, hanging on Simon's arm. Every brush of his hand feels heightened, goes straight to her. They're not even doing anything explicit, but it gets to her in the same way. It feels like everyone knows, and right now, that feels perfectly fine.

The award is presented, the gala winds down, and Simon ushers her back to the car. She gets in and buckles up, Simon joining her, and before they can drive away, he leans over and kisses her fiercely.

"Good work," he says softly.

"Just doing my job," she says.

They make it back home in record time, stumbling through the door already kissing. Simon presses her up against the wall, dropping to his knees in front of her. He works her panties down, leaving them on the floor and parting her legs. Her head thuds against the wall as he starts to lick her, sucking her clit. She cries out when he presses his fingers inside her, fucking her with them quickly. It's rough and fast and she loves it, exactly what she needed after so much extended foreplay.

She comes hard, a hand fisted in his hair, and he kisses her thigh before he lets her go. "I've been wanting to do that all night," he says, sounding satisfied.

"Ungh," is all she manages to say.

"Eloquently put," he says. He gets back to his feet, kissing her soundly before smacking her on the ass. "Bedroom. I don't intend to ruin these clothes."

Athena doesn't wait to be told twice, walking briskly with Simon right at her heels. That was nice, but it barely took the edge off; there's so much built up in her, and she wants to discharge it like lightning, let it all out. She takes her dress off and sets it aside carefully, also not wanting to ruin it. It leaves her in nothing but her bracelet, her heels kicked off somewhere inside the front door.

He grabs her by the wrist, pulling her to him and kissing her. "Undress me," he says, and she hastens to do it. She picks out the knot in his tie before working on the buttons of his waistcoat. She puts them both over the chair in the corner, not wanting to wrinkle them. His shirt is next, and she's deeply disappointed that he's wearing an undershirt, another layer to get through.

"Am I frustrating you?" he says, sounding amused.

"You frustrate me all the time," she says. "That's never stopped me from wanting to see you naked."

"I'm touched," he says, as she pulls down his zipper.

Soon enough he's stepping out of his boxers, and it's all she can do not to tackle him onto the bed. She waits for directions, even if her hands itch to touch him. She wants him more than she can express, and she's so close to having him.

"What to do with you," he murmurs.

"Anything," she says.

"You're right," he says. "Because you're all mine."

"Yes," she breathes.

He sits down at the end of the bed, but that's as far as he goes. He pulls her into his lap, her knees bracketing his hips. She sighs as she lowers herself onto his cock, exactly where she wants to be.

"Is this what you want?" he says, as she starts to ride him.

"I want everything," she says, too gone to lie. "I want whatever you give me."

"You are exactly what I wanted so badly," he says, and she feels it in her chest, the warmth spreading. She puts her arms around his neck, holding him close to her as she takes his cock.

They're both too far gone to draw it out too much, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that the two of them are together, joined. And they'll stay like that, Athena and her protector, Simon and his girl, linked.

Athena feels the bracelet against her wrist and knows it's true.