josephine_marrs: Merlin reading a book. (pic#6497413)
[personal profile] josephine_marrs
summary/preview: And then Merlin, who had been sipping his tea quietly all this time, said, “It is pretty relaxing. I’ve got one.”
content notes: No standard notes apply.

      “Come in!”
      The door swings open easily, and Morgana gets her first glimpse of Merlin’s little studio flat. The little table near the kitchen is piled high with books and papers; the two chairs in the far back corner have clothes (clean ones, presumably) draped over and stacked atop them. Merlin is seated in the small gap provided by the line of baskets of laundry (the dirty clothes, perhaps) that form a strange little parade on the futon. “Just about done,” he says, casting a dimpled smile over his shoulder at her.
      The thing that he’s working on is in the middle of the floor. Morgana has never seen one up close, and now that she’s looking at it, the vacbed is rather different than she’d imagined it. It almost looks as if a very large garbage bag had been drawn up over a framework of PVC drainpipes.

      Morgana had never even heard of a vacbed until a week ago. She had stumbled across Merlin and Gwen at the coffee shop, and apparently had arrived just in time for Gwen to relate some saucy story about what a friend of a friend had gotten up to at a Saturday night play party – whatever that means. These sorts of things always seem to happen to friends of Gwen’s friends, to the point where Morgana wonders if that’s not just some sort of code to try to make Gwen seem less adventurous than she really is – which seems to defeat the whole point of adventure, but it's her prerogative, Morgana supposes.
      Anyway – this friend of a friend had clambered into something called a vacbed, and had found it so relaxing that they had gone to sleep in it. Taken a proper half-hour nap in it, Gwen had said.
      “Is that…the whole point of it?” Morgana had asked.
      “No!” Gwen had laughed. “It keeps you immobilized. Like you’ve been shrink-wrapped, head to toe, in rubber. But you can feel things through it, like people touching you. And there’s a tube so you can breathe, of course. But it’s supposed to be more like the thrill of you’re trapped in one place, can’t see or move, and people can mess with you through the fabric. But they said that it was really relaxing, once they were in it.”
      And then Merlin, who had been sipping his tea quietly all this time, said, “It is pretty relaxing. I’ve got one.”
      “Do you really?!” Gwen’s eyes had gotten large, not just with prurient interest…she actually had a bit of a hungry look to her, Morgana had thought. As if, for a moment, she were not the least bit worried about being thought adventurous.
      But, when Morgana had glanced over at Merlin, she had been surprised to see that he was looking at her.
      It is no secret among their circle of friends that Morgana has insomnia. But only Merlin knows that the nightmares are the reason that she has such trouble sleeping. It had come up, once, when she had discussed her medications with him. She’d wondered if, in his final year of study for a Master of Pharmacy, he’d come across anything that could control such a thing. No, he’d said, wryly, he didn’t know more than her physician at that juncture…but he would help, if he could.
      And the way he had looked at her, just then, had said, Perhaps drugs aren’t what you need to help you.

      And so, here she is, in his flat, staring down at the vacbed.
      He’s explaining how it works. “You crawl in at the far end, just like a sleeping bag, and then I’ll roll up the ends and seal them. A regular old vacuum hose goes in at this end, here, and it sucks the air out of the inside of the bag and makes a seal. It’s not perfect – air seeps in slowly, so you have to run the vacuum for a few seconds, every ten minutes or so. But that could be a good thing. I reckon in ten minutes you’ll either be very relaxed, or very irritated with it.” He flashes another grin.
      “We’re not in a hurry, are we? Gwen’s not coming over tonight to kick me out of it?” She feels terribly nervous all of a sudden, as she usually does right before bedtime. Her joke is excruciatingly lame, but they both laugh, and the gleam in his eyes puts her at ease again.
      “Well then, I should…get ready. Um…your bathroom is…?”
      “Right there.” He thumbs at it, and it really is right over there, in the corner, in front of God and everybody. She’s heard of open layouts, but…damn.
      He spies her looking about for a curtain to draw, and blushes. “Sorry. I, um, don’t have people over much. Never thought about hanging anything up.” He ducks his head, and dithers for a moment. “I’ll be in the kitchen,” he offers. That would put him ten whole feet away. He makes a great show of running the water in the sink, and looking for something to wash. He has plenty of books and clothes, but not a whole lot of dishes, it seems.
      And he’s still at an angle to her…he could look out of the corner of his eye, and watch her as she slides her skirt and panties down and squats to pee, if he were a creep. She reminds herself that he’s not. He’s quite kind, and perhaps the most thoughtful person she’s ever met.
      But even with the sound of the water running, it’s hard to let go and relax.
      She tries to distract herself by looking about the bathroom area. Merlin is one of those strange people who can pull of clutter while still being clean; there is a smell of bleach in her immediate vicinity, hedged round by the scent that permeates the rest of his flat: like a mixture of myrrh and almond, a warm smell like dusty sunlight, even though the weather is gloomy outside.
      It’s still not working.
      Come on, get it over with, she tells herself. He can’t wash the same three cups all night…
      At last, she feels herself give in to the tickling sense of pressure between her legs, and lets go. She can hear the urine splashing down into the toilet, even above the sounds at the sink. She can see him above the edge of the cabinets that form a preemptory wall between them, tinkering conscientiously away as she tinkles. But he never once looks over, that she can tell. Good man.

      A few moments later, they are both standing at the head of vacbed. Morgana has slid her shoes off, and then come to a halt again. They both fidget, a little. She wiggles her toes inside her stockings.
      “You can wear whatever you like,” Merlin blurts out, answering the unasked question. “Whatever you’d normally wear to bed.”
      That makes her feel a tiny bit better, actually. It still feels awkward stripping out of her clothes into nothing but her bra and knickers, but he’s here to help. She keeps telling herself that, as she gets down on hands and knees, and crawls into the strange bed, and positions herself inside of it.
      It feels like there’s padding, underneath – perhaps he’s laid some Styrofoam underneath it. The material is rubbery, but soft – a bit like running her hands over the surface of a giant balloon. The plasticky sort of smell inside of it is strange, but also appealing; it smells like something brand-new.
      “So, you’ll want to make sure that your mouth is near the hole – you see it?” She does…she feels it, a slight increase in thickness around it; it’s reinforced. “So you will have to be on your back. And you’ll want to be sure the position you’re in is something you can live with for ten minutes. Otherwise, just lie however you like. Let me know when you’re ready.”
      She fusses about, trying to think of the perfect position; by the time she realizes that she’s overthinking it, it feels as if she’s been messing about for far longer than the ten minutes she is scheduled to be inside. Finally, she simply stretches out on her back, her arms wrapped around her. It’s not how she normally sleeps, but then, the way that she normally sleeps is wracked by nightmares. No harm in trying something different. “I’m ready.”
      She feels the latex tighten a bit over her, and get tugged underneath her, as he rolls up the top edge and secures it. It’s pitch-black in there, she realizes; he’s got the lights on, but she can’t tell.
      She hears his footsteps padding down to the bottom, and feels a jostling near her left foot as he inserts the hose. “Turning it on…now.”
      The rubber starts to shift and slide a bit against her, like a strange, serpentine skin. It tightens – and by the time she realizes that it is doing so, it is snug around her head and her shoulders and her arms and her ribs and her hips and her legs…she wriggles, and is brought up short. Everywhere. She gasps.
      Through the latex, she feels his hands – he’s at her head again – spreading over her face, making sure the hole stays put over her lips. The vacuum’s whirr takes on a higher pitch. All the air has been sucked out; the rubber is tight around her. She squirms again, and feels it give…but not much.
      The vacuum turns off, and there is silence. She’s sealed into this thing.
      She tries to move her legs. They will not move…though she can lift them. She can lift the whole bottom of the contraption, with them – it makes her feel like she has a giant, flapping tail.
      “You all right?”
      “Yes. Just…experimenting. This must be what a mermaid feels like.” She can still smile; the hole presses around her lips, but she can still move them, still breathe, still speak.
      She rolls her shoulders. The rubber gives a stretching sound. She can even flex her fingers, but it takes much more effort.
      What would it be like, to be inside this sort of thing all night long? To be trapped… She feels the clutch of excitement deep in her belly, arousal perking between her thighs. It’s an ambivalent feeling; she wonders how sweaty she’ll be, how fidgety she might get, and wonders how soon…but at the same time, it is wonderful to feel so helpless. The rubber presses over her face, against her cheeks, over her eyelids. She can open her eyes, but she prefers to keep them closed. She knows that she will see nothing but darkness, regardless.
      “Feel okay?” his voice sounds warm and deep from outside the enclosure.
      “Yes, it feels…” It feels wonderful. “It’s nice. Strange but nice. I can live with it.” She smiles again, feels it distended by the latex pressing all around it, and feels her hips wriggle.
      “Good. You start feeling otherwise, you let me know, okay. You’re out as soon as you say the word.”
      She flexes her fingers out against the latex, stretching it, holding, then letting it force her digits down against her ribs again. It is laborious and wearying, and it feels great. She…can almost feel herself getting drowsy, already.
      “So…this is safe?” Her words seem slow and almost slurred; she’s not sure if it’s the strange drowsiness, or an effect of the latex around her face.
      “All things considered, yes…though you shouldn’t use it alone, if that’s what you’re wondering.” It had been. Damn.
      “Ahh, so…if I did sleep in something like this…all night…someone would have to be there, wouldn’t they? To keep an eye on things?”
      “Yes.” A pause. “But I wouldn’t mind.”
      She smiles. Her lips must look flushed and plump against the black latex; the thought of it makes her breathe a little faster. “You’d mind if it had to be you watching over me, every night.”
      “Oh, maybe. But I’m a bit of a night owl anyway.”
      “Well…let’s just see if this works for ten minutes.”
      “Fair enough.” She can imagine him smiling.
      She can also imagine his long fingers tracing over her face, stroking her latex-covered head. How soothing that would feel. And…if he were to venture lower…to touch over her shoulders, her arms, her breasts…She has never thought of him in such a capacity, before. She’s rather glad that he can only see the outline of her face, and not her blush.
      She flexes her fingers, once more…twice…the rubber feels heavy…heavy, warm, and dark…
      “Morgana?” His voice seems to echo across a void to her. “Hey. Morgana.” He is touching her face, his long fingers stroking over her cheeks, patting at her jaw…
      “Wha.” She tries to suck in a breath through her nose, feels latex sucking against her nostrils instead, and draws in a long yawn through  her mouth. Oh, yes, that’s right, she’s in his vacbed… “I must have drifted off.” She licks her lips.
      “You didn’t even stir when I turned the vacuum back on. I was starting to worry.” Relief is flooding into his voice, though.
      “Oh, but it’s nice, Merlin. It really is relaxing. Perhaps I should start saving for one.” She laughs softly.

      No, it really wouldn’t be feasible to sleep all night in this, if only for the fact that she would be constantly inconveniencing someone, all night long. But, if nothing else…she had felt truly relaxed. She had not realized that it was so difficult for her. Perhaps there will be other ways to simulate that…various other ways to relax.
      That night, she wraps the blankets snug around her, and recalls his voice, and imagines his touch…and she sinks into a sleep that is deep, and dreamless.
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josephine_marrs: Colin Morgan wearing a dark-colored beanie, apparently at night (Default)

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