[identity profile] kat-lair.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] unmarked_place

So. My esteemed co-author [livejournal.com profile] pushkin666 reckons you lot deserve a caning fic with an actual scene. Too bad this isn't a happy or sexy scene. Still.

Title: more than good hooks
Author: Mistress Kat / [livejournal.com profile] kat_lair
Pairing:  Brendon/Ryan
Rating: NC-17
Word count: 3,052
Disclaimer: See Community Introduction Post
Warnings/enticements: BDSM, caning, punishment scene done in a bad headspace with no aftercare, angst, see Community Introduction Post for further information
Summary: Love isn’t the same as respect. - Takes place before the boys are a part of the Unmarked Place scene.

Author notes:
Beta by the amazing and invaluable [livejournal.com profile] dreamersdare. Title from London Beckoned Songs About Money Written By Machines by Panic At The Disco because I’m rather lame. To reinforce the warnings: this is not how to do a discipline scene. Ryan here is really not in the right state of mind to do what he does.

Ryan is awake when Brendon gets back, his key rattling in the door just shy of nine in the morning.

Ryan had been awake since nine the previous morning too when Brendon had left for another modelling gig. Ryan had been awake at noon when he’d gone shopping and three in the afternoon when he’d started cooking (nothing too complicated, a simple Indian dish that Ginger swore even Ryan couldn’t mess up). Ryan had been awake at seven when he’d set the table, at eight when Brendon had said he’d be back but wasn’t, at nine when he was definitely late and at eleven when Ryan had finally got worried.

He’d held off calling until close to midnight and then he’d finally dialled Brendon’s cell. It had been answered by Shane.

Ryan hadn’t exactly been surprised. “Is Brendon there?”

“Hey, Ryan!” Shane had sounded like he was smiling. The laughter and clink of glasses in the background had indicated a bar and not an emergency room. The tight knot of worry in Ryan’s stomach had loosened while another – this one ugly-bitter and full of anger – had started forming in his chest.

“Brendon’s just gone to the bathroom. You want me to—?”

“No,” Ryan had interrupted. “Don’t. You guys out then?”

Ryan’s voice, clipped and tight, must have tipped Shane off that something was wrong. “Yeah, Ryan, we’re out. Is that not...?” There had been a pause and a noticeable drop in the noise level, Shane obviously taking the call outside. “Brendon forgot again, didn’t he? You two had plans and Brendon forgot.”

Ryan liked Shane. He’d always shown Ryan respect, not just because he was a Dom or because he was Brendon’s Dom, but because Shane genuinely seemed to think Ryan was someone who deserved it.

“There’s a point where absentmindedness turns from a reason to an excuse,” he’d said. “I don’t think Brendon forgot. I think he made a choice.”

Shane had draws a sharp breath. “No. Ryan, no. Brendon wouldn’t. You know how he is, but he loves you, he—”

“Love isn’t the same as respect,” Ryan had said, feeling the truth of it.

Ryan had never been very formal, didn’t require the same kind of deference from his subs as Spencer did and certainly didn’t put up with it on the rare occasions he subbed himself. Usually, Ryan was happy to let Brendon flail and futz around like an over-eager puppy, enjoyed the carefree joy Brendon brought to everything. But Ryan was still Brendon’s Dom. Despite their open-though-not-casual relationship, despite the fact that they played with other people, despite how they were happy living their own lives, neither of them interested in or suited for a 24/7 type of lifestyle – despite all that, Ryan was still Brendon’s Dom.

Only apparently Brendon had ‘forgotten’ what that meant. Or maybe he’d never understood it in the first place, maybe it was Ryan’s fault for not making it clear, not acting like one.

“Look, Ryan,” Shane had sounded hesitant, out of his depth. “Let me just get Brendon so you can—”

“Don’t.” Ryan hadn’t wanted to talk to Brendon. Not like this. “In fact, don’t say anything to him, not that I called, not that I... Just don’t say anything, Shane. Can you do that for me?”

Ryan hadn’t made it an order; it wasn’t his place. Shane wasn’t his sub though the three of them had played together in the past. Shane had thought about his answer for a long time, the silence at the other end of line stretching on. Ryan hadn’t blamed him; Shane was Brendon’s friend, first and foremost, and that was fine, Ryan accepted that.

“Okay Ryan, I won’t,” Shane had said finally. "Just... Please, keep in mind what I said. Please.”

“Thank you.” Ryan hadn’t made any promises he wasn’t sure he could keep.

After the phone call he hadn’t gone to bed and had therefore been awake for every hour Brendon didn’t come home that night. At six Ryan had made the first pot of coffee, and at seven-thirty he had made the second.

He’d sat at the table, cradling a steaming mug between his hands. He’d thought about calling Spencer, but hadn’t. He’d thought about getting his notebook, but realised he had nothing to say. He’d even thought about just going; just getting up and walking out of the door, disappearing for a day or two. He couldn’t though, not without seeing that Brendon got safely home even though logically he knew that Brendon was in no danger with Shane looking after him.

So in the end, when Brendon finally stumbles in, Ryan is still sitting at the kitchen table. Brendon is clearly hung-over and rumpled in a way that any other morning Ryan would find appealing but today only makes him feel numb.

“Ryan, hey! Morning!” Brendon says, zeroing in on the coffee maker.

Ryan watches him pour a cup, not returning the greeting or pulling Brendon into their customary kiss when he leans in for a one-armed hug. Brendon smells like sweat and last night’s beer, and normally Ryan wouldn’t mind – Brendon mostly goes out to socialise rather than drink – but now it takes all of his self-control not to push Brendon away, maybe all the way to the floor.

There’s a brief moment when Ryan wants nothing more than to lash out, to use his fists and make Brendon see what he—

But no. Ryan is not his father. Ryan knows the importance of control, has been taught it and the only good time to lose control is when it’s safe – for everyone. Ryan remembers that lesson. He doesn’t feel safe right now.

Brendon finally seems to notice that something is wrong. “What is it, Ryan?” he asks, a frown on his face. “Look. Are you mad about last night? Because I—”

“So you didn’t forget.” Ryan sets his cup down with slow, careful movements and presses his hands flat against the table top.


“You asked if I was upset about last night. That means that you remember we had plans.”

Brendon seems genuinely confused, which is maybe the worst part. “I... yeah, no. I didn’t think it would matter.” He shrugs sheepishly. “Me and Shane bumped into some old friends, you know how it is.”

“No, I don’t know how it is,” Ryan says. He’s angry and Brendon’s words feel like a brush-off. “I thought I was your Dom, your Top at the very least if you want to get technical about it.”

That brings Brendon up short, his mouth opening and closing a few times before he manages to speak. “Ryan, what? Of course you are!”

Ryan looks Brendon directly in the eye when he asks, “Am I, Brendon? Really?”

“Yes! What do you me—?”

“Then why don’t you act like it?”

The question hangs in the air for a few seconds, heavy and layered. Then Brendon’s expression clears, settles into something between apologetic and excited. “Ryan, I’m sorry.” And the thing is, he looks sorry, all soft eyes and pouting bottom lip.

But being sorry is not the point.

“Let me make it up to you,” Brendon says, already sliding onto his knees. He shuffles closer, his hands creeping up Ryan’s thighs.

Ryan is slow to react and Brendon obviously takes it as encouragement. “Yeah, I want to,” he says. “Let me show you how sorry I am, please, I...” His eyes are glazing over and he’s licking his lips obscenely and Ryan...

Ryan has never felt less like having sex in his life. He stands up, dislodging Brendon’s hold as he steps away. Brendon loses his balance and has to catch himself awkwardly on one hand.

“No,” Ryan says. “Don’t touch me.”

Brendon blinks a couple of times and then his face crumples. “Ryan,” he says, hands extended in plea, but stopping short of grabbing Ryan’s ankle. “Ryan, please.”

“No,” Ryan says again, quiet and final. “And don’t speak.”

These are probably the two worst conditions to place on Brendon, who’s one of the most tactile people Ryan knows, and who never shuts up.

“You break these for anything but your safeword and I’m going to walk out. Is that clear?”

Brendon’s eyes widen. He nods rapidly, clutching his hands behind his back like it’s the only way he can stop himself from reaching out again.

It probably is.

Ryan walks away to the other end of kitchen, turning away so he’s leaning against the counter. He can’t even look at Brendon at the moment so he stares at the dirty worktop instead; bread crumbs and spilled juice, yesterday’s breakfast. When did it all go so wrong? It’s like it just slipped away when Ryan wasn’t paying attention.

He takes a few slow breaths, considering his options. “Get undressed,” he says.

Behind him there’s the sound of Brendon getting to his feet and then a rustle of clothing being removed. Ryan grips the counter edge tighter and doesn’t turn around.

The silence returns and Ryan counts ten ticks of the clock and then ten more before he speaks again. “Go to the bedroom. There’s a plastic bag at the top of the wardrobe. Bring it to me.”

Ryan knows Brendon well enough to sense his surprise and confusion, even though he’s being good and not saying anything. Ryan waits until Brendon’s footsteps fade as he walks further into the apartment, before finally turning around.

Brendon comes back after a minute or so, carrying the bag. He offers it to Ryan but when Ryan makes no move to take it Brendon finally sets it on the table.

“Open it,” Ryan says.

Brendon pulls out a long thin box, casting a sidelong glance at Ryan. At his nod Brendon eases the lid off, folding the layers of tissue paper aside.

Ryan knows the exact moment Brendon realises what he’s unwrapping, from the sharply indrawn breath and sudden tightening of his shoulders. Brendon makes no move to touch the item and for that Ryan is grateful. At least that particular rule of theirs still seems to hold.

“Spencer gave me that.”

Brendon is still hunched over the box, eyes fixed on the contents. Ryan feels a spike of irritation at that. “Look at me!” he snaps. “I’m talking. You need to pay attention!”

Brendon startles, his head coming up like he’s been slapped. After a brief hesitation, he straightens up, legs slightly apart, shoulders back, chest out, hands clasped behind his back. It’s a classic display position, one of the few that Brendon had convinced Ryan to show him. Ryan knows the basic positions and quite a few of the more advanced ones; Spencer’s household was big on formality and Ryan, who had been raised up alongside him, had seen the family slaves demonstrate most of them over the years.

Ryan had always appreciated the beauty of it even though he hadn’t adopted the practice for his personal use.

But now... He sees Brendon visibly still, his eyes tracking Ryan closely. This might be something that Brendon needs more than Ryan and he files the thought at the back of his mind to be considered later. If there is a later.

“Spencer gave it to me,” Ryan repeats. “He said it was good for discipline, for punishment. I said I didn’t think I’d have much use for it and you know what Spencer did?”

Brendon shakes his head, eyes wide. His attention is all on Ryan now as it should have been all along.

“He laughed. He laughed and asked me how was it that you never broke any rules, that he would have thought you’d be at the very least doing it on purpose occasionally, just for the sake of it, because you needed to.”

Brendon blinks, his eyes cutting down and to the side. It’s brief but unmistakable and one of the things Ryan likes best about Brendon is how easy it is to read him, how he always knows exactly where he stands with him.

“That’s it, isn’t it?” Ryan asks quietly.

Brendon doesn’t try to answer. He hasn’t been given the permission to speak and it wasn’t really a question anyway. Besides, Ryan doubts whether Brendon even realised why he was doing it in the first place. Not that Ryan is in any position to judge; after all, it’s only now that he sees his own failings.

Ryan certainly isn’t new to the scene, to being a dom, but he is new to being someone’s Dom, and that’s another thing entirely. He’s never been good at relationships, and he briefly wonders how much worse he would have screwed this up if he hadn’t had the benefit of Spencer’s family.

Ryan feels his hands curl into fists. He’s not sure who he’s angrier at; Brendon or himself. “I said that we didn’t have rules, that we didn’t need some long list of commandments nailed to the wall.”

He walks around Brendon, until he’s behind him, close but not touching. “I still don’t. I don’t think you do either,” he says. “But there has to be a happy medium. Because this isn’t working either.”

Ryan reaches over and picks up the cane from its box. It’s about twenty-four inches long; thin varnished birch and a sturdy leather handle with a braided pattern for a better grip.

Ryan weighs it in his hand, memorising the feel. It’s been a while since he’s used one of these, the only other time being during his training. His mentor had been thorough, making sure Ryan was skilled enough to be safe with even those implements he didn’t much like.

Safe is a relative word. Ryan rests the tip of the cane against Brendon’s neck. “We are not working like this,” he says and Brendon flinches.

Ryan’s hands are steady, but inside he’s shaking with anger, with disappointment, because Brendon didn’t, doesn’t, respect him, and because Ryan maybe doesn’t deserve it anyway. His thoughts twist around like the leather braiding on the handle, getting more and more tangled until it’s impossible to make out which is the cause and which the symptom. Everything is a bitter mess of emotions and half-formed regrets and Ryan breathes fast and shallow, still holding the cane even though a part of him knows he should put it down.

Normally, he would tease. If this was something they were doing for pleasure, Ryan would take his sweet time running the cane all over Brendon’s exposed skin, leaving faint scratch marks from the bevelled tip. He might pay particular attention to Brendon’s ticklish spots, poking him under the ribs or between his toes just to hear him squeal and laugh. It’s entirely likely that the cane would never get used for its original purpose at all, that they would get distracted with tickling and play-fighting and end up sweaty and naked on the floor, Brendon arching up under Ryan’s grip.

But this isn’t like that. Not even close.

“Hands on the table,” Ryan orders. He taps the cane against Brendon’s shoulder blade. Not anywhere near full force but not gently either.

Brendon bends over, leaning on the kitchen table, his head hanging down. He’s shivering, but Ryan doesn’t know if it’s from cold or something else and can’t bring himself to care at the moment.

“Level your back, legs slightly spread,” Ryan instructs, using the cane to guide Brendon into the position that yields the strongest impact.

“Safeword only,” Ryan reminds him, positioning himself next to Brendon’s hip. “Not another sound.”

His arm is already raised before he’s finished talking. The cane makes a thin whooshing sound as it slices through the air, the first blow landing neatly across Brendon’s buttocks.

Brendon’s eyes and mouth widen in shock, but as instructed he stays silent, his startled yelp bitten off before it escapes.

Ryan doesn’t linger. He changes the angle slightly, hitting Brendon’s thighs, then his ass again. A row of red welts starts forming almost immediately and the sight of them makes something break free inside Ryan, something ugly and uncontrolled.

He strikes again and again, the cane hitting Brendon’s flesh with a rhythmic thwack-thwack-thwack that reverberates all the way up Ryan’s arm. His breathing is harsh and laboured, heartbeat thundering in his ears. Brendon is panting now, small whimpering sounds falling out unbidden, his hands white-knuckled around the table edge.

Ryan finally breaks skin; a bright flash of red welling up on Brendon’s thigh and making him cry out.

Ryan! Ryan, stop, stop, please.” Brendon’s voice is thick, choked with tears, and he tries to scramble up, knees buckling.

Ryan doesn’t stop. The next strike catches Brendon across the shoulder blades and pushes him down until he’s not so much leaning on the table as he is collapsed over it. There’s a terrible pressure inside Ryan’s chest, building and building until he wants to scream, but when he tries nothing comes out.

Brendon is chanting Ryan’s name, over and over again; a desperate broken litany of raw emotion. His face is wet.

So is Ryan’s. His shoulder aches, fingers cramping on the handle, and none of it matters because Ryan doesn’t matter. Not to Brendon and not enough. He brings his arm around, the cane sweeping back in a graceful arch, and—


It’s no more than a whisper, but Ryan hears it. He hears, and at the very last second he changes the direction of the hit and the cane crashes against the table instead of Brendon. Ryan’s grip goes slack from the impact and the cane ricochets off the side, falling to the floor with a loud clatter.

Everything is in slow motion; each tick of the clock seems to take forever, time stretching thin and unreal between the seconds. Brendon is still collapsed against the table, his breathing harsh and choppy, like waves before the storm. Ryan straightens his fingers with an effort, muscles protesting. It feels a little like he’s floating free from his own body, disassociated, his head full of white noise. He can’t bring himself to look at Brendon. Intellectually, he knows what he should do next, but emotionally he’s got nothing left to give.

Well no, he has one thing. Ryan turns around and walks out of the apartment, softly closing the front door behind him.

To Be Continued...

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Unmarked Place

August 2013


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