by Sivi

The room is dark, and that's the only reason she's even in it. She can just barely make out where the window is, but other than that this reminds her of a documentary on torture she saw once in class. They said that sensory deprivation was one way to drive someone crazy, or coerce them into confessing their darkest secrets. Didn't work like that for her, though - this isn't about secrets, or about whispering sweet things to her one true love in the middle of the night. This is only about forgetting.

She can sometimes make out the rustling of sheets, but all the other sounds in the room are confusing to her. In some ways, this is all an exercise in honing her other senses, and that's how she'd justify it to other people, if they ever were to ask. But they can't ask if they don't know, and they will never know.

The first crack of the whip always surprises her, even though she knows it's coming the minute she steps into the room. The leather digs into her skin and pulls out sharply, only barely marking her but making her gasp. She instinctively closes her eyes, even though she can't see a goddamned thing anyway. It's better to be safe. No chance of being ashamed, or maybe adjusting to the dark and seeing too much.

She's never really in pain. It's one of those unspoken rules, one that became a habit out of practice, and one that they never had to discuss. This is nothing but a game, and games are about simulating real things, and they are both experts at faking life in general.

She doesn't need the restraints. She can hold perfectly still if she has to. Sometimes, lying there on a satin sheet in pure darkness feels almost like gliding through cold winter air on a set of skates.

The fingers are another surprise, every single time. Even when she instinctively knows the last gash has been drawn on her body; even when she hears the shutting of the drawer meaning the whip has been put away. Every time, she's in that dream-state between being aware of her surroundings but not being near them at all. It reminds her of ...

And then the fingers plunge into her, tearing her apart inside out, and she cries out. The same name, and the wrong name, every single time. She bites through her lip when the pain and the pleasure both become too much. And still, she can't keep her hips from rising.

Sometimes she looks at those fingers when they're both out there, but they never look like they feel. She's glad. It would be too much to deal with.

The first and only touch of a tongue to her clit always sends her careening out of control. That's all it takes: darkness, pain, and the feeling of being stretched beyond her body and into another world.

When it's over, the cuffs are loosened and stored away. The door to the bathroom opens and closes without the lights ever being turned on. She absently rubs at her wrists, even though they're really fine, better than fine, and then sits up and gets dressed. She leaves without saying anything. There is no need for words.

Out there, she's a hero. It's a face she wears well, despite feeling constantly like it's just another part of the giant make-belief world she lives in. She only has one respite from the constant pressure of being the one everyone depends upon.

In the room, she can forget about all of her responsibilities and her failures. She can just be.

Their game is equal parts need and guilt, and they both accept that.

It's the only thing that makes her feel anything.

And it's the only thing that Willow can do to make sure she doesn't give up again.


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