Patrick feels like he’s taken a step back in time when Pete pulls out his key and opens Patrick’s front door, ushering him in before shutting and locking the door behind them. But then Patrick sees himself in the mirror that’s hanging above his couch, sees his bright blonde hair and Pete’s tired expression behind him, and there’s no doubt that this isn’t like the old times. There’s something fractured about them, something that Patrick isn’t sure he even knows how to fix.
He turns to Pete and is about to tell him he’s fine and that Pete doesn’t have to do this, but Pete’s demeanor is already changing. He melts into it so easily, and Patrick wonders if Pete was itching to slip back into this role too. If maybe he needs this just as badly as Patrick.
Patrick watches Pete shrug his FBI windbreaker off and hang it neatly on Patrick’s coat rack before he starts to unbutton the cuffs of his work shirt, rolling the sleeves up slowly. He looks up at Patrick and Patrick almost drops to his knees right there from how dark his eyes are. “Do you want this, Patrick?” Pete asks calmly.
Patrick nods quickly and Pete’s serious facade breaks momentarily into an almost shy smile. It’s what makes Pete such a great Dom for Patrick. He doesn’t let the power go to his head, he doesn’t stop being Pete as soon as they start a scene. “What do you need?”
“You,” Patrick is quick to answer, and when Pete grins, he adds, “Sir.”
Pete hums and kicks off his shoes. “Go into the bedroom. Undress to what you're comfortable with and kneel away from the door,” he instructs, the smile gone from his voice, but Patrick still feels the soft fondness caressing him, “Wait for me.”
Patrick’s shaking with anticipation when he gets to the bedroom. He makes quick work of his shirt and jeans, feeling like the fibers are weaving into his skin and making him crazy with it. He gets his shoes and socks off, but then stops there when he’s standing in the middle of the bedroom with just his boxers on. Of course he’s been naked in their scenes before, but something in him tells him that they shouldn’t jump head first into this again. They need to build back up to where they were.
He turns his back to the door and lowers down to his knees, almost sighing at the feeling of the carpet against his skin. He’s knelt for Doms at the club, but the feeling of sanitized matts under his knees while waiting for a stranger pales in comparison to this. This is all so much more personal, tailored to his needs and comforts exactly. His bedroom, his Pete standing outside the door making him wait.
Patrick’s too giddy to really settle into a pretty position. He tries to bring his arms behind him, to stretch out his arms and create a soft curve of his spine, but he keeps shifting. He starts to lower his head, but then his eagerness makes him turn and look back at the door.
He knows that’s why Pete is making him wait. Either to let him work himself up more, or to let him work out his nerves before Pete comes in. Patrick isn’t sure which is more likely, but he does know that if Pete doesn’t come into the bedroom soon Patrick is going to march out there and drag him in himself.
“Fuck, you’re so pretty,” he hears from behind him, and Patrick’s shoulders sag in relief.
He drops his eyes down to his thighs and tracks the sound of Pete walking around the room to Patrick’s closet where Patrick has his supplies. He wonders what Pete’s going to pick, if he’s had a scene in mind for a while or if he’s just coming up with something on the spot. Either way, Patrick needs him to hurry up and do something. The blissful comfort of kneeling is starting to fade and he feels that same tightness in his skin that he felt when he got in the van earlier, “Pete--”
“Shh,” Pete says, shutting the door to the closet and walking over.
“Please,” Patrick says, his voice hoarse and broken. But that’s ok, Patrick doesn’t mind falling apart in front of Pete when they’re like this. He’s supposed to fall apart, shatter into pieces so Pete can put him back together in a shape that’ll hold.
Pete doesn’t say anything, and Patrick is about to beg again when Pete’s hand comes up to Patrick’s throat. Not to choke or restrain, but to hold him there, just to remind Patrick that he’s there. It makes him feel grounded, like his knees take root into the floor and he can sit up a little straighter without thinking he’s going to fall over. “Good,” Pete whispers into his hair, pressing a gentle kiss there and using his other hand to stroke down Patrick’s cheek, “Safeword?”
They’ve always used the traffic light system, but Pete asks for Patrick’s safeword at the beginning of each scene. Sometimes it annoys him because Patrick hates repeating himself, but other times it helps him find the right mindset. Patrick knows he needs to settle down, but it’s just been too damn long and he can practically taste how good it’s going to be. “Red.”
Pete hums and rewards him with another kiss to his hair, “And if things need to slow down?”
“Yellow,” Patrick replies quickly, then, “Pete, I, fuck, you’ve got to do—”
Pete taps twice on his throat and Patrick falls silent. “Good boy,” Pete whispers, stroking his throat. Pete’s hand slides from his throat and Patrick is about to complain until he remembers that he’s not allowed to speak again unless it’s his safeword. He wonders if Pete is surprised that Patrick’s remembered his non-verbal cues, something that Pete likes to do a lot. And it makes him smile a little. He wonders if their exchange in the van reminded Pete of how much power he still holds over him. The thought hangs above Patrick's head a little, before he realizes he’s not scared anymore. Not like this anyway.
“Stop,” Pete says, “I can practically hear you thinking.”
Then do something about it , Patrick thinks, biting his lip to keep the words in his throat. Pete chuckles anyway, as if he can read the words on Patrick’s face. He feels Pete kneel down behind him, reach forward to take Patrick’s wrists and bring them to rest at the small of his back.
“I was going to use one of those fancy cuffs you’ve got,” Pete murmurs against his temple, “But there’s something about seeing you in mine.”
Patrick jumps a little at the clicking sound of the metal cuffs closing around his wrists. Pete keeps them loose enough not to hurt, but snug enough for Patrick to feel secured. He hums happily and closes his eyes so he can focus on the slight stretch of his arms, settles into the ache that’s starting to bloom in his shoulders.
He hears Pete pick up something that rattles, and it has Patrick furrowing his brow in confusion. He always likes this part, where he’s given hints and pieces of a puzzle but not asked to solve it. He just lets the clues dance around his senses and then he lets them go. And it’s incredibly freeing, to give up that control he struggles with every day.
Pete’s hands slide down his chest, creating friction like he’s trying to warm Patrick up. It feels delicious after the cold nightmares, feels like Pete is giving each nerve attention, coaxing them all awake to participate in whatever he has planned. Patrick sinks into the feeling of just Pete’s hands on him, shaping and molding him, turning him back into the man he used to be before everything got dismantled. Turning him back into someone that Pete could love.
Patrick doesn’t mean to let out a shaky breath, too close to a sob, but it slips out and Pete’s hands still. No, don’t stop , he begs silently.
Pete’s cotton covered chest presses against Patrick’s back, the buttons making indents into his flesh. “Easy,” Pete murmurs into his hair, his hand curving around Patrick’s jaw, “We’re going to take this really slow this first time, ok?”
Not the first time , Patrick wants to sneer, but Pete hasn’t released him from his silence yet.
“Just some easy directions for you to follow,” Pete tells him, and Patrick feels something in his mind click into place, “Something for you to focus on.” Pete’s nose brushes against Patrick’s temple and then slides down as Pete says against his ear, “You want to be good for me, don’t you, baby?”
Pete taps twice on Patrick’s throat, so he answers, “Yes, sir.” His own voice sounds muffled to him, and he hadn’t even noticed the effect Pete was having on him already. Now that he’s noticed, he can’t stop feeling as if everything is getting smaller. When Patrick had been in the car on the way home, he couldn’t help but feel like the world was too big. Couldn’t help but feel like there was so much stacked against him. But now he’s not sure anything exists beyond the bedroom door, isn’t sure he’s supposed to do anything other than what Pete tells him.
Two more taps on Patrick’s throat tell him that he’s supposed to be silent again and Patrick leans into that order. He feels caught by it, by the fact that he doesn’t need to be afraid to mess up since Pete’s set the boundaries for him. He’s not playing a guessing game, this isn’t a case that he has to analyze every angle. This is simple. Be silent.
“Good,” Pete whispers, “You’re always so good for me, Trick.”
Patrick smiles loosely at the praise, and feels his body melt into something pliable for Pete to hold. Pete hums appreciatively and slides the hand that was on Patrick’s throat, up to his jaw and tilts his face up so he’s looking up at the ceiling.
“Just like that,” Pete tells him quietly, “I don’t want you to move from this position. If you do, I’ll be disappointed.”
Patrick is grateful for the few minutes Pete holds him in the position, keeping him where he wants until Patrick’s body settles and Pete can move away without Patrick falling out of it. He keeps his head turned upward towards the ceiling even after he hears the rattling again. It’s not as loud as it had been before, it sounds more like echoes from above the surface of a pool and Patrick keeps sliding further underwater.
A shock of cold brings him back up to the surface, has him sputtering like he was actually sinking.
“Easy,” Pete murmurs, and the cold slides up to Patrick’s clavicle, “It’s just an ice cube.”
Pete traces his collarbone with the ice, letting Patrick’s skin melt the ice until it’s turned into cool water sliding down his chest and pooling into the waistband of his boxers. He jumps when the next ice cube is pressed to the side of his neck and Pete chuckles, “What did I say about moving?”
He’ll be disappointed , Patrick thinks and a sinking feeling gathers in his chest. He straightens back up and tries to separate his mind from his body, tries to search for that place that lets him float dreamily.
“There you go,” Pete says, sliding the ice cube up to Patrick’s jaw. Patrick doesn’t flinch this time, instead he just acknowledges the cold and lets it drift away somewhere else so it doesn’t clog up his mind.
The next burst of cold is at the top of his spine and Patrick bites his bottom lip to keep from moving. He’s rewarded with a kiss on top of his shoulder before the ice cube slides down his spine. “Don’t move,” Pete reminds him as the urge to coil away from the cold gets strong again. He keeps his back rigid as the ice cube trails down to his tailbone. “Good boy.”
It feels like hours of ice being pressed into Patrick’s skin, of his muscles tightening to keep still, and he’s close to crying from how tense he is. He’s cold and the icy water drying on him makes his skin feel extra sensitive.
He almost loses his focus when he feels the cold press against his lips. “Open,” Pete whispers, nudging the ice past Patrick’s lips. He opens his mouth and lets Pete place the cube on his tongue. Patrick doesn’t suck on it, just lets it melt into cold water down his throat.
When he feels warmth against his icy neck, he has to fight the urge to moan and lean against Pete’s hot mouth. But he doesn’t, he stays still and lets Pete’s lips trail over the paths the ice took across Patrick’s body. After the chill, the warmth makes him feel like he’s floating. Like Pete is turning his skin into fuzzy, soft cotton and he can drift asleep against it. Like he’s wrapped in the safest blanket, but it’s just himself. Pete makes him feel safe, makes him find a peace within himself that Patrick always forgets exists.
The bedroom shrinks to just Pete’s mouth and where it lands on Patrick. Patrick isn’t even sure he knows where his own toes are, just where his skin comes into contact with Pete. As if he doesn’t exist where Pete doesn’t. And it’s just so fucking relieving, to not have to be anything. Patrick can finally breathe without feeling the responsibility to do so, he just does.
He just is.
“Trick? Baby, time to come back up now,” he hears.
He’s still staring up at the ceiling, but the angle is off. He blinks and turns his head a little to see Pete looking down at him. He smiles and then there’s a warm hand against his cheek.
“There he is,” Pete says softly.
It takes a bit for Patrick to realize he’s laying on the floor with his head in Pete’s lap, but Pete lets him take his time. He strokes Patrick’s cheek, then into his hair and scratches his scalp to bring the feeling back to Patrick’s body. Patrick turns his head and rubs his cheek against Pete’s jeans to feel the rough denim against his still tingling skin.
He feels his arms get manipulated by Pete and he wonders when he missed getting uncuffed, but Pete is moving his arms to work out the stiffness. He rubs at Patrick’s wrists even though the cuffs didn’t irritate him or leave a mark, then sets both his hands to rest on his chest.
Pete taps twice on his throat, “Are you with me?”
“Yeah,” he croaks, then clears his throat and repeats, “Yeah.”
Pete chuckles at him, “I forgot how pretty you are when you go under like that.”
Patrick rolls his eyes, but still feels his traitorous cheeks blush. “Whatever.”
“Gotta film you one time,” Pete says.
“Not going to happen,” Patrick grins, too blissed out to feel the irritation he normally would.
Pete keeps looking down at him and strokes his cheek with the back of his hand. “Think I can talk you into moving to the bed?”
“You make a good pillow,” Patrick says, nuzzling against Pete’s stomach.
Pete hums, then tries again, “Patrick, stand up.” And Patrick’s still malleable enough to follow the direction, leaning against Pete when his legs wobble like he’s made of jello. Pete pulls the blanket back and guides Patrick onto the mattress, coaxing his head to the pillow. “I’m going to the kitchen, I’ll be right back.”
Patrick nods and feels his heavy lids close. He feels like he’s floating, drifting instead of plummeting from some place up high. That’s the difference. Pete brings him up slowly, talks him through each part of the journey and supports him when he missteps and needs to try again. And then when he’s at the highest point, when it’s nothing but bliss coursing through his bloodstream, Pete helps him take slow steps back down to the ground.
“Hey, don’t go to sleep yet,” Pete says, rubbing a hand over Patrick’s shoulder.
Patrick opens his eyes and sees Pete standing there with a bottle of water. He sits up slowly and takes it, smiling when Pete moves over to Patrick’s chest of drawers and pulls out the drawer that’s still Pete’s. He drinks his water slowly as Pete exchanges his jeans for a pair of sweatpants before he comes back and climbs into bed next to Patrick.
Patrick sets his water down and sinks back down into the mattress, curling into Pete and laying his head on his chest. Pete reaches up and runs his fingers through Patrick’s hair, making him hum happily. “Feel better?”
Patrick grins, and a giggle slips out before he looks up at Pete and nods. Pete smiles back at him, his face more relaxed than it’s been since Patrick came back to work with him. He reaches down and traces the upward curve of Patrick’s lips, which only makes him smile more. Pete chuckles a little at that and leans down to kiss his forehead.
“Do you feel better?” Patrick asks carefully, his words still feeling too big in his mouth.
“Yeah,” Pete says, almost like he doesn’t believe it, “I forgot how much it...helps.”
Patrick makes a sound of agreement in the back of his throat and lays his head back down on Pete’s chest, reaching up to trace the design on Pete’s shirt. His head still feels empty, but the good kind. Or, maybe not empty, stuffed of something soft and cozy. It makes his eyes droop and feel like he could actually sleep without falling into a nightmare.
“I was thinking about getting a cat.”
Pete snorts. “You’re allergic.”
“They have hypoallergenic cats, don’t they?”
Pete laughs harder and presses a kiss to his hair. “What about Shamu?”
“They can be friends,” Patrick says, rubbing his cheek against Pete’s shirt. He smells like spice and oranges. “You still have that cologne I bought you.”
“You’re free associating everywhere, aren’t you?” Pete muses, rubbing his back. Patrick arches into the touch, feeling like all his nerves are trying to attach themselves to Pete’s hand. “You don’t need a cat, you are a cat.”
“I don’t do furries,” Patrick says, moving up to nuzzle against Pete’s neck.
Pete giggles and squeezes his shoulder. “Don’t kink shame,” he teases.
Patrick grins against Pete and hums happily, and he has to bite his lip because he doesn’t have much of a filter now and he knows he’s so close to saying things he can’t take back. Things he’s been keeping inside for too long.
Pete reaches down to pull the blanket up them and tucks Patrick in against him. “Get some sleep,” Pete whispers, brushing his lips against Patrick’s temple, “I’ve got you.”
Patrick doesn’t know how Pete knows these things. How he just fucking knows Patrick and what he needs. He’s not sure if Pete really knows that Patrick has nightmares, if he knows that he hasn’t had a decent night's sleep since he started the case. But he sinks into that belief, that Pete knows Patrick more than he knows himself, and closes his eyes.