It had been several weeks since they’d finished playing through the Dragon Age games. Leto was still shaken by it all and was a bit more touchy than usual. He lost patience with Andreas more often than not and the poor man walked around with a sore ass almost daily. Not that he minded. It felt good to be reminded that he belonged to someone. That someone actually cared about him.
There was a marked difference between being punished by someone that loved you, and by someone who despised you. Andreas remembered the whippings he’d received at the Circle, especially whenever he was dragged back after one of his many escape attempts. Those punishments were intentionally cruel, often leaving him bloody. Sometimes they were so bad he’d mercifully pass out, but then they would just douse him with icy cold water to revive him before continuing the beatings.
In comparison, Leto’s spanks and paddles were gentle and loving, and always incredibly arousing. Leto was always careful to never break skin or cause injury. Andreas knew that, after having spent so many years in slavery that it was Leto’s way of dealing with the psychological scars that slavery had left behind. Leto craved control where he had none for so much of his life, while Andreas craved submission. Since being separated from Justice, Leto now gave him the stability and guidance he now almost desperately needed. Without Leto, Andreas may not have been able to cope with the loss of his magic and Justice as well as he’d had.
When Andreas wasn’t busy in the clinic, he began to make use of the local library that was close to their apartment, only a ten minute walk away. He’d often be seen carrying armloads of books to and from the library. Even back in the Circle Andreas had been a voracious reader, finding an escape by reading through all the tomes in the Circle library.
Andreas began by reading whatever medical books he could find, but then began to branch out, researching a number of different science fields. One he felt particularly interested in was physics, as it explained a lot about the properties of things like electricity, fire and ice. Having once been a mage and having at his command the ability to “throw lightening at fools,” he now wanted to understand more about such forces.
Leto rarely accompanied Andreas to the library, still embarrassed by his poor reading skills. He was improving and Andreas patiently worked with him whenever the elf was in the mood to learn, but Andreas knew Leto felt ashamed that at his age he still struggled with reading.
Andreas didn’t want to embarrass him further by getting children’s books for the elf, so he tried to find other works that were easier to read, but weren’t intended for children necessarily. Part of the problem was that Leto often lost interest in a book half-way through and he often returned books half-read to the library. Andreas consoled himself with the fact that at least Leto was trying.
Early one evening found Andreas pacing the living room for what seemed like the thousandth time, his eyes grazing the clock on the wall at each pass. His heart was clenched, his stomach was in knots. He was wracked with worry.
Leto was now five hours late and he wasn’t answering his phone. The elf had wanted to stretch his legs after breakfast and had offered to take Andreas’ latest stack of completed books back to the library. Leto generally never lingered long in at the library, but it was possible he’d gone for a longer walk after dropping off the books. However, Leto had never been gone this long without at least letting Andreas know.
Even if Leto had decided to then take a walk in the park, or go over to the Cherry Creek Mall, he should have still been home by now. Andreas kept second guessing himself. Should he go out and look for Leto? What if he was alright and they missed each other? What if he lay dying in a gutter?
Just as Andreas was about to make another turn in the living room he heard a rattle at the door and a sound of a key being inserted, and Leto came in, carrying an armful of…books?
“Hey! You’ll never guess what I …” Leto began, with an uncharacteristic grin on his face.
Andreas interrupted him, his worry and anger erupting. “WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW WORRIED I WAS?!”
Leto was startled by the ferocity of Andreas’ words. He had never seen him this angry. At least not without turning into a crackling blue abomination.
“I told you…I was going to the library,” Leto replied indicating the books in his arms.
“Do you have any idea how long you’ve been gone?” Andreas asked, still angry, but not yelling anymore, tears threatening to spill.
“I…I…guess I lost track of time, I’m sorry,” Leto apologized.
“You’ve been gone for over five damned hours. You never spend that long in the library,” Andreas said. “I kept picturing you being jumped by a gang of thugs, lying broken and bleeding in a gutter somewhere.”
Leto put down his books on the coffee table. “Andreas, I am sorry. I truly did lose track of time.”
“I kept trying to call, and you weren’t answering either,” Andreas said emotion cracking in his voice. “I was so worried.”
“I’m sorry, I kept the phone on mute in the library. There’s a sign that says you should, so I did.” Leto explained.
“That’s still no excuse for making me worry,” Andreas said gruffly. “You could have texted me…or…something.”
“Andreas…Amatus…what can I do to make it up to you?” Leto asked, giving his best impression of a puppy dog with his eyes.
Andreas stood thinking for a moment, took a deep breath and then walked over to the elf holding out his hand. “Give me the key.”
Leto looked confused for a moment.
“You deserve punishment. Give. Me. The. Key,” Andreas said sternly.
Now he understood. Andreas had never insisted on actually punishing him for anything before. Yes, they’d played around and Leto occasionally let Andreas spank him, when the mood struck. However it was always Leto that insisted on actual punishments in their relationship. Not that Andreas ever seemed to mind.
Now Leto stood before Andreas, feeling small and vulnerable. He hadn’t felt this vulnerable since...not since he’d been a slave in Tevinter all those long years ago.
At first Leto wanted to protest, but he stopped himself. If Leto had been in Andreas’ place? If Andreas had come home late and made him worry? Leto would have dragged Andreas to their Play Room without so much as a word and beaten the poor man black and blue. Leto realized he deserved no less.
Leto fished the key for the Play Room out of his pocket and handed it to Andreas, keeping his eyes to the ground and affecting a more submissive posture. A posture he’d learned well in the house of Danarius.
Andreas led Leto to the Play Room, opening the door and letting Leto go inside first. Once in, Andreas closed the door firmly. Leto felt butterflies in this stomach, truly fearing what was to come.
“Strip.” Andreas said simply, and Leto obeyed.
“Tell me, if you were in my place, what punishment would you mete out?” Andreas asked plainly.
Leto swallowed. Andreas knew he wouldn’t be lenient and he can’t hold back a tremble of fear as he realized how harsh he would be in Andreas’ place.
“I would have you take your place on the bench. I would then give you fifteen lashes from the strap, ten hard blows from the paddle and five from the cane,” Leto replied weakly.
“What else?” Andreas asked. Of course, Andreas knew Leto wouldn’t have stopped there.
“Then I would leave you alone for 1 hour to contemplate your actions,” Leto replied, quickly adding. “With the lights on of course.” Leto knew never to leave Andreas alone in a dark room, because of the horrific year in solitary confinement that he’d spent at Kinloch Hold.
Andreas seemed satisfied with that. “Go select the implements you would use.”
Leto walked to the shelves that held all of the various toys and implements they used in this room. He selected the strap, paddle and cane he would have chosen as punishment and brought them to Andreas, who set them aside on the table next to the spanking bench.
“Position yourself on the bench.” Andreas said sternly.
Leto complied, trembling slightly. Leto knew he didn’t have to go through any of this. They both had their safe words and Leto trusted Andreas that if he used his, this would end. This could end now if he said it, but Leto knew that Andreas would bear this punishment if it had been him. Andreas always bore his punishments, almost always gladly. Leto felt as if he could do no less.
Andreas began to tighten the buckles around Leto’s wrists and ankles, securing him to the bench. Andreas picked up the strap Leto had selected. “I will be giving you the punishment you said you would find appropriate for this transgression. The first fifteen lashes with the strap will be for losing track of time.”
Andreas began the punishment, laying the strap on hard, not giving any quarter. Leto cried out as each lash hit home, leaving a red welt in its wake. Leto began to have flashbacks of Danarius meting out punishments like this, although he’d been secured by magic, not leather straps. Also Danarius would hit until he broke skin and Leto’s back was often bleeding profusely at the end. Leto doubted that Andreas would ever take it that far.
Still, the lashes hurt, and near the end he was sobbing. “I’m sorry. Andreas, I’m so sorry!”
Once the fifteenth lash hit, Andreas stopped, and laid the strap back on the table. He gave Leto a moment to catch his breath before picking up the paddle. Andreas had never used the paddle on Leto yet. In their play he’d only ever spanked him with an open hand, or used a strap. Even Danarius had never used a wooden paddle and Leto trembled visibly now.
“These 10 blows with the paddle are for you not calling or at least leaving your phone on vibrate so I could reach you,” Andreas said with an edge of anger and pain creeping back into his voice.
Andreas swung the paddle and connected with Leto’s already reddened arse. Leto cried out in agony. Leto had sustained many injuries in his years at a warrior, but the adrenaline of battle made them tolerable until Andreas had had the chance to heal them. This pain was bringing back more memories of when Danarius was punishing him. He’d always tried to be a good slave, to please his master, but there were days when Danarius was in a mood and it seemed that everything Leto did was wrong. It were those days that Leto had feared the most. Those were the days when he was almost guaranteed to be punished harshly, no matter what he did.
Andreas kept the blows coming in a regular rhythm and Leto just sobbed, unable to even voice an apology now. By the time Andreas was done, the elf’s backside was a deep red.
Leto was breathing harshly now, wondering how he could ever think to do this to Andreas. Yet he knew he would have.
“These last five with the cane are for making me worry so damned much,” Andreas said, emotion dripping from his voice.
Leto braced himself. If the paddle had hurt that much, he was terrified of how much the cane would hurt.
When the first stroke of the cane hit, Leto screamed. His mind went immediately back to Tevinter and he was a slave once again, being brutally punished. Even as the second stroke hit Leto was screaming. “No! Please! Master Danarius, please! I’m sorry, I’m sorry!”
As soon as Andreas heard the name, he dropped the cane. “Shit.”
Andreas immediately unbuckled Leto from the bench and gathered the sobbing elf into his arms. “Leto, hey, come back to me, Love. It’s alright. You’re safe.” Leto curled up into his embrace like a child and sobbed.
Andreas carried the elf out of the Play Room and into their bedroom, lying him gently onto the bed. He went to get the salve they used after their Play Room sessions and began to gently massage it into the elf’s tender rump. Andreas wished for his healing magic now more than ever, but there was nothing to be done about that.
Instead he just curled himself around Leto and whispered words of love and forgiveness, kissing him tenderly, holding him in a loving embrace. Leto remained somewhat catatonic for nearly an hour, whimpering, mumbling words of apology, and Andreas worried all over again. This was his fault and he knew it. He should have known that a harsh punishment would bring back Leto’s past traumas. He had just been so angry. He’d never been so angry at Leto before. He’d never wanted to punish Leto before, and now he probably would never want to again.
Finally Leto seemed to come out of it. “Andreas? What happened?”
“I’m so sorry Love,” Andreas wept with relief. “I didn’t mean to trigger your memories. I didn’t mean to…I’m sorry.”
Leto’s eyes went wide when he recalled what had happened. “No, Andreas, I’m the one who is sorry. I didn’t mean to worry you like I did. I deserved to be punished. I didn’t realize what the punishment was doing to me until it was too late.”
“That’s no excuse, Love. I should have known better,” Andreas said. “Now, I’m the one who deserves to be punished. I was afraid I’d lost you tonight.”
Leto pulled him close. “I think there has been quite enough punishment around here for one day, what do you think?”
“In fact,” Leto continued. “I think in the future, we’ll only use the Play Room for play. No more punishments. If one of us fucks up, we talk about it, yell at each other, have make-up sex. Like normal people.”
“Since when are we normal?” Andreas chuckled, kissing Leto softly. “But…we will still play in there occasionally, right?”
Leto smiled. “Yes, Amatus. I know how much you enjoy such play. We will still play, but only when we’re both in a good mood.”
“So, what kept you so enthralled at the library that you lost track of time?” Andreas asked, remembering what started all this in the first place.
“Let me show you,” Leto said, getting up. He came back cradling the books he’d brought back with him. “I found these books. They call them graphic novels. I find I quite like them. They are a lot less boring than the kinds of books you read.”
Andreas looked at them, with their colorful pages of drawings. In fact they were mostly drawings, with few words. “They look perfect for you, Love. Shall we read one together?”
“Yes, I’d like that,” Leto said smiling.
They settled against the pillows and spent the next few hours cuddled together, reading Leto’s new books, until they fell asleep in each other’s arms.