[personal profile] milieva posting in [community profile] magicknightrayearth
Title: Fettered
Rating: Mature
Length: 1,475 words
Author notes: I plan to extend this more, but here's the first bit of it.

Summary: Umi gets a little tied up with Clef... literally.



It wasn't the first time that week that Umi ended up taking food up to Clef because he'd forgotten to come down to dinner. Given it was the end of the year, most of Clef's time was being eaten up by the end-of-year reports, so Umi, Ascot, and Hikaru (sometime Ferio) were all taking turns delivering an evening meal to be sure he ate something each day.

When she didn't find him in his office, Umi headed up to his rooms.

The first knock was met with silence, and she hoped he wasn't in some dinner meeting he hadn't told them about. (It wouldn't be the first time.) The second time she knocked - harder than the first - there was a distant shout of "Come in" as the door clicked and swung away from her as it opened.

"I brought dinner," Umi called, walking in. She took the tray to the table in the main room.

Clef called what was presumably a thank you, but he'd barely gotten a word out when there was a loud thump and low groan from the far room. Umi rushed to see what happened and found Clef sat on the floor rubbing his head. The few inches to the shelf above him, told Umi what he'd done.

He was surrounded by perhaps a dozen open crates. Books, clothes, and other paraphernalia spilled out of them and on to the floor about him. Not a single thing looked like it had anything to do with the reports he was supposed to be working on.

"What's all this?" Umi asked, once Clef seemed to recover from his knock to the head.

"I needed a break," Clef said.

"Coming down to eat wasn't good enough?" Umi looked around at the mess. "You had to bury yourself in - stuff?"

"I didn't actually notice the bell," he said, sheepishly.

Umi let out a soft laugh. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say you missed today on purpose."

"Oh? Why's that, then?"

"Because you knew it was my turn." Umi grinned at him, but Clef just rolled his eyes. Crouching down by one of the crates, Umi poked at a stack of books. "What is all this stuff, anyway?"

"I was trying to find something." Clef looked about the room and sighed. "But I've now forgotten what it was."

"Old age finally catching up to you?" Umi asked, peering into the crate. A small book thumped against her side, and she turned to pull a face at Clef.

"I got - distracted. I'll remember soon enough." He carefully leaned forward as he got to his feet, and reached a hand down to Umi. "Probably after dinner."

"More like the middle of the night when you should be sleeping." Umi grinned at him and accepted the pull upright. "Then you'll be grumpy and annoying all day tomorrow."

Clef turned out the light as they left the room. "I thought I was grumpy an annoying every day?"

"Only sometimes." Umi bounced along beside him.

.*.



Umi didn't have to stay with him as he ate, but if she was honest with herself, she missed him.

On a normal day, she could wander into his office after her lessons or sword practice and have a long talk with him about her day, but during report months, he was even more short-tempered and irritable than usual, and he didn't seem to appreciate her chatter while he was trying to concentrate. So they had barely seen one another the past few weeks.

Only watching him eat brought its own distractions.

Ever since he'd grown up, she found him a bit more eye-catching than she probably should have. Especially, when he had more or less made it clear he wasn't interested in doing anything with her besides talking.

Which was way she probably shouldn't have been staring at him.

But the grip of Clef's hand on the spoon, the movements of his wrist, and even the occasional flick of his tongue were distracting. Every action deliberate in a way that made her wonder things she had no right to imagine.

He wasn't interested.

At least not in her.

She'd done her usual poking and flirting - the sort that had worked for her well enough with other lovers - but Clef hadn't responded at all. Umi had just resigned herself to looking without touching. He was a good friend, so she had no plans to ruin their friendship over the fact he didn't want to be anything more than just friends.

.*.



"Have you remembered what you're looking for?" Umi asked, following Clef back into the little store room.

"Not at all," Clef said, with a shrug. Kneeling down in front of one of the crates, he started putting books back into it. "I thought I'd know it when I found it, but I've merely mad a mess."

"Where'd all this stuff come from?" Umi sat down on the floor by one of the boxes. He hadn't asked her to leave, so she may as well stay.

"Here and there. It's all stuff I've collected over my lifetime."

"Huh. In seven hundred years, I'd think you'd have more than than this."

Clef snorted. "This is only what I had stored in one crystal. I've got a few dozen more tucked about."

Umi turned to the nearest crate, only to find some weird feathered creature curled up inside. Reaching in, she poked at the curl of feathers and it fell off the stack of books in the corner onto a collection of smooth wooden and stone rods, unwinding slightly. Curious, she stroked a hand over the silky feathers and found it wasn't a creature, but more of an object. It turned out to be some sort of thick cord a little longer than her forearm with two metal claws on either end. The whole thing was covered over with soft, iridescent feathers, giving the illusion of being some sort of living creature.

"What's this thing?" she asked, holding it up.

She'd never seen Clef move so fast as she did then.

One moment, Clef as piling books into a crate on the other side of the room, and the next he was by her saying "Don't worry about that box" as he reached out to snatch the thing out of her hand.

Only, the moment he touched it, some sort of spell or something burst to life and it wriggled in Umi's hands.

She'd have dropped it the moment it moved, if one of the claws hadn't flexed open at the same time and snapped shut about her wrist - the other clenched tightly about Clef's.

"Shit!" Clef said.

Umi tried to pry the thing off, demanding to know "What is this thing?" But the claws wouldn't budge, it was almost like they were fused to her skin.

Clef just stared, wide-eyed at their joined wrists, up at Umi, then back down to their wrist. Rather than answering her question, he just swore under his breath again.

"How do you get it off, Clef?"

Face going the brightest shade of red Umi had ever seen it, Clef shook his head. "It'll come off in eighteen hours."

"Eighteen Cephiran hours?" Umi stared at him, hoping it was some other time system, but the look on Clef's face told her it was exactly that. "I can't be tied to you for a day and a half. I have stuff to do tomorrow! There has to be another way to undo it, right? A key or something?"

The colour of Clef's face went even darker as he made an abbreviated gesture with his hand.

Looking from him, to the box this had come out of, Umi came to a sudden, startling revelation. "This is some sort of kinky sex toy, isn't it?"

Clef hissed in a breath.

"It is!" She tugged at the claws again. "We have to have sex to get if off, don't we?"

"Or we just wait. It will come off on it's own," Clef said. "I can cancel my meetings tomorrow. It's just until late tomorrow night."

"I'm not missing my lessons, because if your weird fetish!" Umi declared, glaring back at him.

"Well, we're not going out like this!"

"Then you better come up with a better plan than 'just wait' because I'm not sticking around here all day." Umi automatically crossed her arms, unintentionally dragging Clef forward and even more into her space. He swayed unsteadily, and Umi swallowed. "I'm guessing that plan is 'we have sex', right?"

"I'm not having sex with you." Clef sat back at little, putting space between them.

"Then how else do we get it off before tomorrow?"

Clef silently looked between her and the thing on their wrists, presumably weighing his options.
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