Actions

Work Header

Contractual Obligation

Work Text:

~

April 23, 2012

~

 

The Hawks are a disciplined team, as a rule. It’s not often Jonny has to pick up the paddle or the strap—and never the cane—to fulfill the least pleasant of his duties as Captain. When he was younger, he got away with handing the job off to his As. Nobody expected him to take on team discipline at twenty, hardly more than a rookie on a team of skilled veterans, but after the cup win he’d gone to Sharpy and told him he was ready for the responsibility.

He’s had two full seasons to get used to it, now. He approaches it the same way he does the rest of his duties on and off the ice; focusing on both the goal and his own comportment, the big picture that gives this meaning and the little details he can control. He’s done his best to stay emotionally detached but not distant, taking the time to cover the infraction, connect it to the punishment laid out in the team’s contract, and providing whatever reassurance his teammates may need after. They’re proud men—usually they just want to be left alone to pull themselves together.

So it’s not fun, but it’s the system and Jonny’s done his best to make it work. Usually it’s rote, in and out with no hard feelings and little angst.

That’s not the case, this time. He’s hardly twenty minutes off the ice, still damp from his shower, still sick and furious over the entire series with the Yotes. All those close games they couldn’t close out and then this fucking awful loss to finish it, team frustrated and demoralized and drained. He wants nothing more than to get the hell out of here and lick his wounds in peace, but Patrick—the idiot—had to take a misconduct with less than ten to go in a game they’d already lost.

“It’s not as if it mattered,” Patrick mutters, following Jonny into the coach’s office, down the hall and reasonably soundproofed by thick concrete walls and a heavy door that locks. He’s in sweats and a t-shirt, skin still pink from his own shower, curls damp and flattened. He looks smaller this way, curled in on himself like they all are.

Jonny doesn’t want to be here, doesn’t want to be doing this, but there’s a contract, there are rules, and he’s got as little of a choice as Patrick does.

“It’s about your comportment,” Jonny says automatically. “We can’t undo what happened in the game; that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter anymore.”

“I know,” Patrick says sharply, watching with his arms wrapped around his torso as Jonny goes over to the cabinet and undoes the latch. “But—fuck.” He shakes his head, looking away as Jonny pulls out the strap, thick and solid leather. “Just do it.”

Jonny swallows, thumbing at the handle, and then straightens up on a deep inhale. “Over the desk.”

Patrick doesn’t meet his eyes as he crosses the room. Jonny has to shut his own and centre himself as Patrick bends over. When he opens them, Patrick’s head is bowed, his shoulders stiff, his forearms pressed to the wood of the desk. He looks every bit as miserable as he did when Jonny saw him come back on the ice for the handshake line. Utterly defeated.

Jonny clears his throat and steps closer, putting his hand lightly on the small of Patrick’s back. Patrick shifts uneasily under the touch. Jonny waits until he settles again to say, “Do you understand why you’re being disciplined?”

“Yeah,” Patrick says hoarsely.

“Explain it to me,” Jonny asks.

“I took a game misconduct penalty,” Patrick says stiffly. “I put our team at a disadvantage. I put myself before the team.”

“Good,” Jonny says, mouth dry as sand. He swallows, the knock of his throat loud in his ears. “The punishment is ten strokes with a leather strap. Do you accept?”

He can see the clench in Patrick’s jaw before Patrick answers, a short, “Yes.”

Jonny steps back, fingers sliding off Patrick’s back reluctantly. “Pull down your pants and tuck up your t-shirt, please.”

Patrick does, baring his ass and spreading his legs wider for a stronger stance. He’s tense everywhere; Jonny can see him curling his bare feet on the carpet, the muscles in the backs of his thighs flexing and releasing as he tries to settle himself, but the stiffness just travels up his spine to his tight shoulders and closed fists.

Jonny touches him lightly on the back of the thigh with the strap, watching him jump with a frown. He’s gonna hurt something, trying to take it all wound up like this. “Unfold your hands,” Jonny says softly. “Palms against the desk.”

For a moment Jonny thinks Patrick won’t do it, just to spite him, but then he sucks in a shaky breath and opens his hands, splaying his fingers wide. He bows his head, settling more easily into the submissive pose, and Jonny nods to himself.

“I’m going to count,” Jonny says, because instinct tells him Patrick won’t be able to. There’s enough weight here, already, without pushing for more. “Ten strokes.”

That’s all the warning Jonny gives before pulling his arm back and snapping the strap cleanly across Patrick’s buttocks, hitting them dead centre. Patrick jerks his head back, mouth falling open on a low cry. “One,” Jonny says, waiting until Patrick’s exhaled before striking him again, just underneath the first.

“Two.” They’re heavy blows, firm but not vicious. Jonny’s learned not to insult his teammates by holding back. It’s still tough, listening to the cry torn out of Patrick’s throat as Jonny whips him for the third time, catching the lower swell of his ass, edges of the strap sinking into soft flesh. “Three.”

Jonny’s never beat Patrick with the strap before, only administered a couple paddlings in the last two years, more warnings than outright punishment. He knows Patrick’s taken it good, when he was younger and more prone to idiocy off-the-ice, but he’s gotten better at keeping a lid on it in the time Jonny’s been in charge of meting out team discipline. Jonny’s been grateful for that; as awkward as it is disciplining men older than him, it’s even stranger with Patrick, who’s seen all of Jonny’s faults up close and stood by his side on this team for five years.

Still, Jonny knows Patrick, too. He isn’t surprised to hear the gasping inhale of a sob on “Four,” the first blow Jonny lands on top of an already darkening red stripe, tender skin oh-so-sensitive to the bite of the strap. Patrick’s curled in again, shoulders trembling and then stilling as he tries to hold himself together against the slap of five, a perfectly angled blow that snaps off Patrick’s skin with a loud crack.

“Shit,” Patrick chokes out, leaning heavily into the desk, thighs pressed up against the wood as he tries to get away. Jonny gives him a moment, takes one himself to draw in a careful, quiet breath.

“You’re doing good,” Jonny says, low and rough, and Patrick turns his head away, pressing his face to his bicep as Jonny taps him in warning and comes back with six and seven in quick succession, layered, weighty blows that make Patrick jerk and shout, muffled into his skin. Patrick rocks up on his toes, hips working like he can escape the pain, and sucks in shallow little breaths. The caught sounds in his throat are nonstop now as Jonny waits for him to settle back on his heels.

“Eight,” Jonny says hoarsely. That one’s no good, too light and low across Patrick’s thighs, and Jonny shifts his own stance, adjusting his grip on the handle of the strap before drawing back for nine, this strike punishingly hard, ringing out with a loud crack that makes Jonny bite down on his lower lip in sympathy.

Patrick’s choked-off gasps have dissolved into tears, now, and Jonny’s never been more grateful to land a blow than he is when he says “Ten,” because it’s done, over like this fucking awful season.

He wants to cry himself. Instead, he stands and watches and waits as Patrick does, gasping, wracking sobs into his folded arms. Jonny would rather look away, but he can’t allow himself to. It’d be unfair to deliver the blows without being able to see the consequences. It takes drawing on the last of his emotional strength, whittled down by months of pain and anger and fear.

Jonny doesn’t have to stand it too long. Patrick sucks in one last shuddering sob and holds himself perfectly still, drawing the pain inwards. He lets out a long, unsteady breath and pushes up on his hands. His head is still bent between his shoulders, but now Jonny can step in and rest a hand lightly on Patrick’s back, something in him loosening at the feeling of Patrick’s warmth under the thin cotton.

“I’ll grab the cream,” he says carefully. Patrick’s cracks his jaw and stares down at his hands, then nods once. Jonny puts the strap down on the desk and goes to the mini fridge, pulling out the cool anti-inflammatory cream and a bottle of strawberry Gatorade.

“Drink first,” Jonny says, unscrewing the cap and holding out the bottle. Patrick takes it with a trembling hand and tips it back, drinking carefully and then putting it down on the desk. “You want me to?” Jonny says, opening the jar and holding it out beside Patrick for him to see.

“I got it,” Patrick says, voice nothing but a dry rasp.

Jonny nods and sets the cream down before stepping back to give Patrick some space. He half-turns away, pretending to look at the mess of plays mapped out on a whiteboard and keeping an eye on Patrick’s progress. He winces through smearing the cream over the welts, fingers probing carefully at the extent of the damage—superficial but painful—then carefully pulls his sweats up over the mess.

When Jonny turns back, Patrick meets his eyes for the first time since entering the room, and says, “Thanks.”

Jonny nods stiffly, sore and drained. “Just doing my job.”

Patrick huffs a miserable laugh, wiping wetness off his cheeks with the back of his hand. “I guess the boys weren’t kidding when they said you took this as seriously as everything else.”

“Would you want me to not?” Jonny says carefully, biting back on a rush of defensiveness.

Patrick shakes his head, then nods, then makes a face. “I’d be lying if I said that was fun.”

“It’s not supposed to be fun,” Jonny says, raking a hand through his damp hair. He blows out a breath. “It’s for—”

“I know what it’s for,” Patrick says, rolling his eyes. “I get it. Don’t look at me like—I feel better, okay?”

“Yeah?” Jonny says uncertainly.

Patrick shrugs. “Everything but my ass, man. Life goes on.”

“I guess,” Jonny says, still too raw to feel that sanguine.

Maybe the guys he disciplines feel better afterwards, but Jonny—he never does. It takes something out of him, every time, leaves him hollow. After this game, this series, this season, Jonny feels barely held together to begin with. Beating Patrick only makes his chest ache, the thick knot of regret drawn tighter.

Patrick lifts a hand to his mouth, cracking his jaw to the side and watching Jonny thoughtfully. “What did you get?”

“Me?” Jonny says, straightening up.

“Not today—for the concussion and car accident crap,” Patrick says, waving his hand in the air.

“There’s no discipline in the books for getting injured,” Jonny says, stomach flipping over as Patrick frowns at him, brows drawing down in confusion.

“But—there is for endangering yourself. For lying to the doctors. For fucking driving a car while concussed.”

Jonny’s silent.

“You got nothing?” Patrick says in disbelief. “What the fuck?”

Jonny flattens his lips. “They said—it was decided that the injury was its own punishment.”

“That’s not how it works,” Patrick says flatly. “Or us fucking falling apart out there would have been more than enough punishment for me.”

Jonny shrugs, sick and helpless because he knows Patrick is right. “I was concussed, they didn’t want to—”

“They can defer it,” Patrick interrupts. “Q just said fuck it? Management decided you’re a good Canadian boy and didn’t deserve it?”

“Shut up,” Jonny says sharply, turning away and leaning against the side of the desk. “It’s not like that.”

“Sure,” Patrick says sarcastically. “Have you ever been disciplined at all?”

“At UND—”

“I mean on the Hawks,” Patrick says. “Everyone knows you took a caning at UND, man.”

Jonny swallows, trailing his fingers along the length of the strap. “Just a couple warnings. Nothing—not like this.”

“That’s fucked up,” Patrick says, quietly furious. “That’s not fucking fair, Tazer.”

“I know,” Jonny says, voice cracking. He ducks his head, pressing his cheek hard to his shoulder. “You think I don’t—I fucked up, Kaner. I fucked up so bad, I couldn’t…” he trails off, swallowing compulsively to clear his throat, his heart hammering in his chest. “I would have taken anything,” he says in a whisper. “If they’d said—anything.”

The room is devoid of sound, except for the harsh, unsteady breaths Jonny’s taking. He feels sick, dizzy like he was for months—like he still is, some mornings. He’s not okay, he’s still not okay, isn’t sure if he’ll ever feel 100% again. Maybe this is his new normal, always wondering if he’ll have enough in his tank to play a single game, or if his body is just going to fail him utterly.

“Jon.” Patrick’s voice makes him jump; he’s come right up beside Jonny and puts a heavy, warm hand on Jonny’s shoulder. When Jonny meets his gaze, it’s one of cold, focused determination, and Jonny goes hot, his throat closing up as Patrick says, “Give me the strap.”

Jonny can’t breathe, at first. The strap is lying across the desk in front of them, right next to Patrick’s hand, but he’s watching Jonny instead of picking it up.

It’s not that Jonny’s never taken a beating. Both his parents had a traditionally firm hand, and Shattuck has a deserved reputation for never sparing the not-quite-metaphorical rod. Jonny was well-behaved there but the coach used the paddle pretty liberally for training.

And at UND, he took the cane twice—once a court-mandated punishment for his misdemeanour, which is to this day the most painful thing he’s ever experienced, and then a second time a few months later when the team (but not the cops) caught him drinking underage, again. Both experiences were brutal, but the second was at least a rite of passage—you weren’t a true Sioux until Coach had striped your ass with his vicious, narrow cane.

But he was a kid, then. He hated getting disciplined, always felt so sick afterwards with an intense feeling of failure, of shame—it was harder to shake than the physical pain. Pain, Jonny can handle; shame knocks him over, every time. That alone has kept him on the straight and narrow for the last five years.

Today, though, he’s already lost in his own unhappiness. He wants to let it go, more than anything, and Patrick’s right—he shouldn’t have gotten away with the decisions he made this year. They hurt too many people, including himself.

It’s that truth that makes him lift his hand, heavy as lead, and pick up the strap, handing it to Patrick without meeting his eyes.

“Over the desk, Jon,” Patrick says, stepping back.

Jonny sucks in a hitching breath and leans over, bending at the waist. He’s taller than Patrick and stays up off his elbows, sweaty palms sliding on the shiny surface of the desk as he arches his back.

Patrick’s fingers at his waist make him start, cool against his skin where his t-shirt’s ridden up. They curl underneath his shorts. Jonny wants to protest that he can do this himself, but he’s not quite sure that’s true, so he lets Patrick tug his shorts down until they slip to the floor. Jonny presses the tips of his fingers into the desk, twitching as Patrick slides a hand over his ass, like he’s mapping out the shape of it.

“Have you done this before?” Jonny asks, not really because he wants to but because he knows he should.

“No,” Patrick says calmly. “Do you trust me?”

Jonny thinks about Patrick’s hands, his control with the stick, his precision and care, and nods. “Yeah. Yes.”

“Good,” Patrick says. “Do you understand why you’re being disciplined?”

Jonny shivers at those familiar words echoed back at him and nods jerkily.

“Tell me why.” Patrick says, hand still resting lightly on the top of Jonny’s ass, thumb moving in small strokes over Jonny’s tailbone.

Jonny licks his dry, chapped lips. “I fucked up.”

“How?”

“I pretended I wasn’t hurt when I was,” Jonny says, voice trailing off into a whisper. He clears his throat. “I hid symptoms, I lied to the doctors, to the coach—to the team. I put myself in danger.”

“What’s an appropriate punishment for that?” Patrick asks. He probably doesn’t know, but there’s no uncertainty in the question. He wants Jonny’s answer.

“Twenty,” Jonny says, shivering at the thought of it. “At least. But twenty is the max—”

“—in one set, yeah.” Patrick slides his hand up Jonny’s spine, rucking up his t-shirt along the way. “I’m not giving you twenty, Jon. Ten.”

“That’s not enough,” Jonny says, voice cracking. He drops his head, eyes squeezed shut. “I deserve more than you.”

“Fifteen,” Patrick offers. “I’ll split the difference. If it’s not enough, we can come back to it.”

“Fine,” Jonny says tightly.

Patrick presses between his shoulder blades, forcing him down until he folds to the desk, hands curling around his elbows. Jonny has to spread his legs, the stretch in his hamstrings a steady burn that he can latch onto, ground himself in as Patrick pulls back and leaves him bent over and bare-assed and hardly breathing.

“You’re going to count for me, Jon,” Patrick says, and then there’s a whistle of air and a crack that Jonny hears before he feels, out-of-body for a breath.

Then he's thrown back into it by the searing pain that radiates out from the strip of contact between leather and skin.

“Fuck,” he gasps out, twitching when Patrick taps him lightly at the back of the knee. A reminder. “One.”

“Better,” Patrick says, and strikes him again.

Shit, shit, it hurts. Jonny thinks he’s only breathing to be able to count for Patrick, his chest locked up, arms shaking, skin on fire. Patrick might be new to this but his aim is perfect, working carefully down Jonny’s ass for two and three and four. Jonny’s done this enough to recognize the care Patrick’s taking to lay down the strap exactly where Jonny can take it best—all pain and no damage. That alone makes him want to collapse and give in and take it as best he can, for Patrick, for the team—for himself.

Patrick lays a blistering stroke over the top of Jonny’s thighs, soft sensitive skin spiking with pain as Jonny chokes out “Five.” He shakes, unfolding his arms and stretching them out across the desk to grip the other ledge and pull, like he can crawl away from the pain of six and seven, crisscrossed over burning welts. They’re lighter than the last, Patrick checking how Jonny reacts. Jonny takes a heaving breath and settles more firmly against the desk, trying to stay still and calm and ready.

Patrick puts his strength into the next blow, the leather cracking loudly over Jonny’s hot, throbbing skin. Jonny cries out and presses his forehead against the desk, trying not to kick out as the end of the strap bites into the clenching muscle of his ass. Patrick must have moved back. Jonny’s throat seizes up, fingers curled so tight their ache breaks through the brilliant pain in his ass.

“Eight, eight,” Jonny groans, turning his head towards Patrick. The desk is cool under his cheek, slippery-wet. “Pat, Patrick, I…”

“More than halfway there, Jonny,” Patrick says. He seems to know what Jonny’s really looking for and steps in until Jonny can feel the soft brush of cotton against his thigh. His hand on Jonny’s ass is too much; the gentle slide of calluses over flaming, raw skin tears a whimper out of Jonny’s throat. Jonny rocks forward, away from Patrick’s too-careful touch, and realizes with a shock that he’s hard.

He shuts his eyes, panting, cock bobbing between his stomach and the desk on each shuddering inhale. Patrick drags his fingers over the swelling ridges at the edge of the marks. Jonny's let go of too much to hold back on a groan that’s far more than just pain.

Patrick’s hand stills. “Jonny—”

“Keep going,” Jonny says, an unsteady plea. “Please, I want—”

“This isn’t about what you want,” Patrick says distractedly. He slides his hand over the jut of Jonny’s hip and along the crease of his thigh, in and in until his fingers bump up against Jonny’s dick, solid and unmistakably aroused. Jonny feels the blush pour down his neck and chest, soft warmth blooming under damp skin, and shivers as Patrick slides the tip of his fingers along the length of him before pulling away.

“Pat,” Jonny starts, pushing up just a fraction, but Patrick strikes him again before he can do more than lift his head. The force of it makes him gasp and curl back in, pulling a hand under his chest to brace himself. “Nuh—nine.”

Ten and eleven and twelve fall in rapid succession, pain so bright Jonny’s knees give out, knocking hard against the back of the desk as he tries to stay upright. The hard press of the wood into his kneecaps and dick are drowned out by the flood of agony in his ass, throbbing lines of pain that sing up his spine and down to the soles of his feet.

Any thought of being good and taking it is gone, now, wiped clean by the strength of Patrick’s blows. All Jonny is now is a vessel of pain, like a delicate vase laced with cracks, ready to shatter at the softest breath. He presses his cheek to the wood and jerks at the slap of “Thirteen, oh fuck oh fuck,” trembling non-stop.

Patrick pauses. Jonny can hear his breath, heavy with exertion, the only sound beyond the ragged whimpers that keep spilling out between Jonny’s lips. An inhale, like Patrick’s steeling himself, and Jonny arches up as the strap whips over his burning flesh, buttocks clenching tight and dick grinding into the wood. “God, I,” Jonny groans. “Fourteen.”

The last stroke is fast and low, tearing one more sob out of Jonny’s throat, his “Fifteen” lost to the ragged tatters of his voice. The strap falls beside his head and Patrick’s hands are on him, rubbing up his aching, tense thighs, over his hips and up the sweaty span of his back. Jonny doesn’t think he’s crying, but his whole body is trembling, low blood sugar and dehydration mixing with the vivid pain coursing through him and the inexplicable, fierce throb of his dick.

There’s a cool slide over hot skin; Patrick’s tending to him, Jonny realizes, and settles his weight more firmly against the desk. Patrick’s fingers are careful but not tentative, painting the welts with cool cream. The delicate touch makes Jonny whine, feet sliding apart on the floor as he pushes back into the sensation.

“Shit, Jonny,” Patrick says. His voice is wrecked, too, more than it was when Jonny finished with him; hoarse and awed. He slides his fingers between Jonny’s cheeks, a slick drag over untouched skin, catching on Jonny’s hole and making him shudder. Jonny makes a distraught sound when Patrick lets go, but Patrick shushes him and then—fuck, fuck, Jonny cries out as Patrick pushes his cock between Jonny’s throbbing cheeks, sliding up along the crease of his ass until his hips are a solid press against bruised, aching flesh.

“Oh fuck,” Patrick gasps, thrusting hard, cock bumping over Jonny’s hole as he fucks between Jonny’s cheeks.

Jonny groans and scrabbles for purchase on the desk, arching to push back and then crying out at the intensity of the pressure when he does. Patrick gets a hand under Jonny’s belly and finds his dick, aching in counterpoint to the welts laid out by the strap. Jonny can’t tell pain from pleasure anymore. Patrick layers more of both on top with the punishingly tight grip around the head of his cock, drawing out an orgasm that burns through Jonny with a roar of sensation, a refiner’s fire that leaves him soaring and pure and nothing at all.

Patrick swears behind him, banding his arm around Jonny’s waist, his hips slamming against Jonny’s ass. He grinds his cock in between Jonny’s cheeks and comes, bowed low enough over Jonny’s back that Jonny can feel his heavy panting breaths. The shallow flow of air across his skin draws Jonny’s focus away from the pain of the marks Patrick’s left on him.

Patrick’s forehead touches Jonny’s spine just as a knock on the door and a muffled voice comes through. Patrick jerks away with a gasp.

“One minute!” Patrick shouts roughly.

Jonny takes a slow breath and pushes up, getting his hands under him. His skin is buzzing everywhere it isn’t aching. Holy shit, holy—he laughs, a stripped-bare sound that makes his chest seize up.

“Damn,” he says, taking a deep breath and staring down at his own hands, spread wide on the desk.

“Yeah,” Patrick says, clipped. Jonny turns his head to see him strip off his shirt and flinches when Patrick drags it down his back, cleaning Jonny off. He’s careful not to scrape over the rising welts, but he doesn’t take his time, finishes up quickly and steps around to the side of the desk. He’s flushed and sweating from the exertion, head bowed as he cleans up Jonny’s come. When he’s finished, he finally lifts his head to look at Jonny, and Jonny takes in the wide, terrified set of his eyes with a jolt of surprise.

“Tazer, I’m—”

There’s another rap at the door, this one insistent. “You all right in there?” Duncs hollers.

Patrick bites down on his lip, jaw tight.

Jonny frowns, swallows. Clears his throat and yells back, “Fine, be out soon!”

Patrick passes a shaking hand over his face. Shit, Jonny thinks, stomach dropping out—he forgot, in the brilliance of Patrick’s work, that Patrick’s never done this before, never beat a man until he cried because it was the right thing to do. Jonny still feels torn up about it, much of the time, and he’s had years of practice. He bends down with a swallowed groan, finding his shorts and pulling them up, biting down on his lip to keep from yelling at the drag of fabric over tender skin, then reaches out for Patrick.

“I’m sorry,” Patrick blurts out, shying away from Jonny’s touch. “Fuck, Jonny, I’m so fucking sorry, I don’t know what—”

“Hey,” Jonny says, trying to meet Patrick’s eyes. “It’s good, it’s fine. You did good, Pat, that’s what I deserved. What I needed. You were right.”

Patrick won’t look at him, hands twisted tight into the ruined shirt in front of him. “But—”

Another knock, and Patrick jumps.

“Fuck,” Jonny says, ticked off. They’ve been too long here, he knows, and there’s a team he needs to get back to, be a Captain for. He thinks he can, now, believes he’ll be able to look them in the eye as he says what he needs to to send them off for the summer, focusing their anger into determination not to be humiliated like that ever again. “We should—”

“Yeah,” Patrick says. “Let’s go.”

“Are you sure?” Jonny says doubtfully.

Patrick nods, looking up momentarily, bright blue eyes rimmed in red skittering off Jonny’s and away. “It’s done.”

He leaves the room without looking back. Jonny stands beside the desk, hands clenching and releasing, then looks down at the strap. He picks it up, runs his fingertip along one edge, and goes to put it away before joining his team.

 

~

July 22, 2012

~

 

“I should have been disciplined for it,” Patrick says, so quietly Jonny thinks he’s misheard until Patrick says louder, “I deserve it.”

Jonny pauses in the middle of opening his beer, the cap bent but still stuck to the lip of the bottle. “It’s the off-season,” he says carefully. “Partying and drinking aren’t against the rules.”

“They said I choked a girl,” Patrick says flatly, head bent as he picks at the label of his beer.

“Did you?” Jonny asks. Not that that would be his jurisdiction, anyway, but he doubts Patrick wants to hear that right now.

Patrick shrugs, presses the bottle to his mouth and takes a sip. “Dunno.”

Jonny sighs. “Look, I don’t know what you want me to say—”

“That I shouldn’t get away with it?” Patrick snaps, his sharpness startling Jonny. “You of all people shouldn’t be okay that...” Patrick trails off, fingers curling tight around the neck of his beer as he looks away.

“What is that supposed to mean?” Jonny bites out, hackles up and throat tight. “Me of all—I don’t set the god damned rules.”

“You just get to beat us when they tell you to,” Patrick says meanly.

Jonny’s fingers tighten around the neck of his beer bottle. “The fuck is wrong with you?” he says through his teeth. “I don’t—you think I like it? You think I sit around waiting for you all to fuck up so I can whip your asses? I’ve got news for you buddy—I fucking hate it.”

Patrick laughs, ugly and rotten. “Oh, c’mon, Tazer. That kind of power trip? As if you aren’t dying to discipline me for what went down. Don’t you want to bend me over your shiny dining table and beat me black and blue, make me cry, make me sorry?”

“I—” Jonny cuts himself off and takes a deep, steadying breath, and watches the shifting mess of emotions on Patrick’s face. Patrick stares back, overwrought and roiling with anger.

“You didn’t break the rules,” Jonny says as evenly as he can manage, voice still tight around the edges. “Not the ones I’m in charge of.”

“Maybe you should be,” Patrick says, refusing to meet Jonny’s eyes.

Jonny gets it. He does. Nothing he can do about it, though, and Patrick should know that. He shouldn’t be trying to goad Jonny into something they’d both regret. “Pat,” he says quietly. “Quit it.”

“I—” Patrick starts, but Jonny cuts him off with a sharp shake of his head.

“You didn’t do anything that I can punish you for. Even if I wanted to—and I don’t, okay? I really don’t—it’s outside of our contract.”

Patrick’s face twists, eyes sliding across Jonny’s even expression and away, shoulders curling in tight. “But I hurt you,” spills out.

Jonny frowns. “Me?”

Patrick swallows. “Them. Her. Whatever.”

The silence crackles between them, Patrick’s gaze fixed on his own hands, fisted tight on the table, Jonny’s sliding between that white-knuckled grip on nothing and the hard press of Patrick’s white teeth into his bloodless lower lip.

“Patrick,” he says, coming around the island, but Patrick jerks off the stool before he can get there.

“Why does it matter?” Patrick says, low and urgent. “That it’s not in the contract? I did—I did something dumb, and I’m saying you should fix it.”

“That’s not how it works,” Jonny says, hand coming up to rub awkwardly at the hot, prickling back of his neck. “I’m not—we don’t have an agreement outside the team contract.” Patrick’s staring at him now, gaze hard and glittering, and Jonny feels pressed and helpless, like he’s sitting in the box, watching the clock tick down on a one-goal deficit. “Shit, Patrick, it’s illegal to beat somebody without contractual consent.”

“People do it all the god-damned time,” Patrick says.

“Not like this!” Jonny explodes. “Not when I’ve already got authority to discipline you—I can’t just pick and choose when to enforce it!”

Patrick sucks in a breath, chin jerking like Jonny just landed a punch. He’s deathly pale, the scrape of his teeth audible over the shallow rasp of breath through his mouth.

“Then what the fuck,” Patrick says lowly, each word a precise bite of fury, “did I do to you?”

Jonny licks at his lips, mouth dry. Patrick’s trembling finely, held tight and fragile. Jonny’s acutely aware of the knife-edge he’s standing on, keeping Patrick there with a tenuous grip. “After the playoffs?”

“Yes.”

“That’s different,” Jonny says dumbly. “I’d broken the rules and gotten away with it.”

“I had no authority!” Patrick shouts. “It doesn’t matter what you did, I had zero contractual authority to strap you!”

Jonny steps back, heart hammering in his chest. “It wasn’t like that,” he protests, holding up his hands.

“Then what are you waiting for?” Patrick goads. “Go get a belt, I’ll take it here. Twenty strokes should just about do it—or you could probably justify the cane.”

“Patrick—”

“I don’t scar easy, you know,” Patrick says. “But I bet you could leave marks if you wanted to. I bet that would feel really fucking good for you.”

The smash of glass registers before Jonny’s even aware he’s thrown the bottle, flung hard and instinctive against the ground, a shattered mess of beer and glass beside them. Patrick goes deathly still, not even breathing until Jonny brings up his empty palm and presses it to Patrick’s shoulder.

“Stop,” Jonny says softly. “Just stop.”

Patrick inhales jerkily, Adam’s apple bobbing up and down on a swallow. “I need—” he says brokenly, eyelids fluttering shut. “Please.”

There’s only one answer. This isn’t an edge case, there’s nothing fuzzy about the rules. Jonny has to say no. He can help Patrick another way, maybe—get drunk with him or get him sober, whichever he needs more. Put him to bed, maybe, let him cry it out. Tell him he can fix it, that he has to fix it, for the team if not for himself.

Jonny looks at the wretched bow of Patrick’s neck, the aching curve of his shoulders, the miserable line of his forehead, and says, instead, “Okay.”

Patrick jerks his chin up, startled. “Are you—don’t fuck with me, man.”

“I’m not,” Jonny says, gripping Patrick’s shoulder. “I wouldn’t—you’ve gotta trust me, or else this is done.”

Patrick straightens minutely on a shallow inhale, and nods. “Where do you want me?” he asks, looking steadier, stronger than he’s been all evening.

Jonny glances down at the wreckage at their feet, shards of glass and spill of beer spidering across the floor. “Bedroom,” he says, burying his uncertainty underneath well-constructed layers of practiced responsibility. “Go, get undressed. Put your hands on the dresser and wait for me.”

Patrick nods and turns, taking careful steps past the mess and then disappearing down the hall. Jonny watches him go, holding still just until Patrick’s out of sight. A tremor goes through him and he sags into the counter, thick marble edge digging into the side of his ribcage. One breath, then another—a third, because he needs it, but that’s it. That’s all he gets. There’s a mess to clean up, and Patrick’s waiting.

 

~

 

It takes less than ten minutes for Jonny to clean up the glass, floor still sticky but no longer likely to injure anybody, but he knows it must feel like hours for Patrick. When he walks into the bedroom, Patrick jerks his head towards the door, hardly an inch, and then looks back at the mirror, a flush rising on his face. He’s naked, which Jonny expected, but it’s the neat pile of folded clothes on the chair in the corner that makes Jonny’s heart skip a beat.

Jonny takes a breath and waits for his heart rate to slow, enough that he can be sure of the steadiness of his hands, of his voice when he says, “Do you know why you’re being disciplined?”

“Yes,” Patrick says softly. His fingers curl in on the wood of the dresser, then flatten out.

Jonny steps closer, close enough to see the white tips of his fingers under the nail. He touches Patrick carefully, pressing the tips of his own fingers to the dense muscle on either side of his rod-straight spine. “Explain it to me.”

“I…”

“If you can’t, I’m not,” Jonny says.

“I hurt you,” Patrick says in a whisper.

Jonny flinches. “Pat—”

“I hurt you,” Patrick interrupts, a frantic edge to his voice even though his body is statue-still, tension carved through every muscle and tendon. “I hurt you without permission, without legal authority. I didn’t know what I was doing, I didn’t have your consent—”

“Patrick,” Jonny interrupts, firmer. “I consented. I did. I practically begged you to do it.”

“To beat you, maybe,” Patrick says, head tipping forward, his first movement since Jonny stepped into the room. “You begged me to discipline you, not—not fuck you.”

Jonny shuts his eyes. A flush rises up on his skin, one he hopes Patrick can’t see.

“You were upset,” Patrick goes on in a rasp. “You were upset, you were emotionally—I took advantage of you. I beat you, and then, then…” his voice breaks, shoulders tightening up.

It takes Jonny a long time to figure out what to say. Patrick’s skin is hot under his fingertips. He wants to move his hand away, turn Patrick around with it, grab on and shake him—but he keeps his hand steady against Patrick’s tense stillness becomes fine trembles.

When Jonny speaks, the words feel insufficient, meaningless against the weight of Patrick’s anguish. “You didn’t,” Jonny says. “I liked it. I wanted it. You know I did.”

“You had a physical reaction,” Patrick says, every word precise and empty. “It was an extreme situation, and you reacted—I should never have…it didn’t mean you wanted. That. Me to—”

“Stop,” Jonny says, high and sharp. Patrick starts under him, twisting away from the dresser, but Jonny crowds up behind him, pushing him in with his body until he’s trapped. He wraps one hand around Patrick’s waist, holding him still, and brings the other up to his chin, tipping Patrick’s head up until he’s forced to meet Jonny’s eyes in the mirror. “Look at me.”

Patrick shudders, twisting in Jonny’s grip. Jonny plants his feet wide and lets Patrick feel the strength of his stance, lets him push back halfheartedly, until the fight seeps out of him and he goes limp in Jonny’s arms. “I’m sorry,” Patrick says. “I’m really fucking sorry, I’m sorry, Jonny, I’m—”

“Shush,” Jonny says, gentler even as his fingers tighten on Patrick’s chin. Patrick stops talking, panting through parted lips as he watches Jonny, pale and frantic. “You think that was—you think that’s how I usually get? You think being hit gets me hard? Pat, that’s never happened to me before in my life. And I—I loved it, okay? All of it.” He’s blushing, again, he can’t help it.

“It doesn’t matter,” Patrick says, heavy against Jonny’s chest. “I didn’t have the right. No matter how much you liked it, I should never have done it.”

“It’s okay,” Jonny says, letting go of Patrick’s chin. He splays his fingers across Patrick’s collarbone instead, shaking him lightly.

“It’s really not,” Patrick says.

They stand like that, Patrick blank-eyed and defeated, like beating Jonny and getting off on it hollowed everything out of him. Jonny wants to shake him, yell at him to get over it. He’d walked away feeling a thousand times better, not just because of the strapping but because of the release that came with it, for both of them. But he can’t, because whatever good it did for him, it took from Patrick.

“You’ve always been allowed,” Patrick says tiredly. Jonny starts at the interruption of his thoughts. “Maybe it’s different because I wasn’t.”

Jonny thinks about how he feels after disciplining a teammate, how he centres himself in the knowledge that he’s doing his duty, following the rules. Patrick has none of that, just a deep-seated shame that Jonny can’t stand the thought of growing into self-hatred. Something so pure, so releasing for him shouldn’t be pulling Patrick to pieces inside.

“You liked it, though,” Jonny says. It’s half-hearted, delaying even as an idea begins taking shape. “You got off on it, too. That wasn’t just me.”

Patrick shrugs. “Is that supposed to make me feel better?”

“I guess not.” Jonny takes a breath, his chest pushing against Patrick’s back on the deep inhale. “There isn’t a book for this, Patrick. There’s nothing that tells me how to discipline you for this.”

“However you want,” Patrick says, eyes fluttering shut. “Give me what I you think deserve.”

“You sure?” Jonny asks. There’s a way forward, here, but Jonny’s certain Patrick will fight it. “You’ll accept whatever I choose?”

“Yes. Please.”

“Alright,” Jonny says. He steps away, unwinding his arms from Patrick’s torso, and heads to the bed. He sits down on the end of it, feet planted firmly on the ground, hands resting carefully at his sides. “Come here.”

Patrick turns around slowly, frowning. “What are you doing?”

“Administering your punishment,” Jonny says lightly. “Or trying to. Over my lap, please.”

Patrick blushes, mouth dropping open. “That’s—what the fuck. You want to…” he waves a hand at Jonny’s position.

“Spank you?” Jonny completes, raising an eyebrow. “Yes.”

Patrick flushes deeper, flustered. “That’s for children. Or—not this.”

“You said whatever I want,” Jonny observes, calmness seeping through him. This is the right choice, he’s sure of it, he just needs Patrick to see it. “Your parents spank you a lot?”

Patrick jerks his head in a reluctant shake. “No. My mom didn’t—she let my dad. And he…” Patrick trails off with a shrug and the kind of rueful smile Jonny’s seen before on the faces of friends whose parents pushed them hard and young and didn’t hold with those ‘newfangled ideas’ about reasonable limits for child discipline. It makes Jonny’s stomach twist, but he turns it aside and holds out a hand.

“Come here,” he says again, holding out a hand.

Patrick comes forward reluctantly. He seems conscious of his nakedness for the first time, hands flitting in front of his junk nervously before he takes Jonny’s hand and lowers himself down. Jonny’s in loose shorts, smooth and slippery and hardly anything between them. He wraps an arm around Patrick’s torso, hand slipping under his ribcage to haul him firmly up, Patrick’s face pressed into his arms where they’re folded on the bedspread.

“This okay?” Jonny asks. “Secure?”

“Not really,” Patrick says, muffled.

He shifts his feet, trying to find purchase on the ground. Jonny moves with him until they find their balance together, Patrick’s hips pressed heavily into Jonny’s right thigh, abs braced over his left. Jonny pulls his hand from around Patrick’s ribs and rests it lightly in the middle of the pale expanse of his back.

“You can keep your hands over your head, or behind your back, if you want me to hold onto them,” Jonny says, tapping his fingers against Patrick’s spine.

Patrick shakes against him; it takes Jonny a moment to realize it’s laughter. “It’s just a spanking, man,” he says, turning his face to look back at Jonny, lips curling derisively. “Pretty sure I can take it.”

Jonny bites down on the flare of annoyance at Patrick’s flippancy. He’s embarrassing Patrick by offering this. He can’t fault Patrick for pushing back. If he were turned upside-down on Patrick’s lap, exposed and waiting for a child’s punishment, he’d be flustered and pushing back as well. “I don’t have to do this,” he reminds Patrick. “You don’t want to do this, just say the word.”

Patrick’s mouth opens, his lower lips trembling before he bites back down on it and looks away. “Fuck you,” he says.

“Or is that not what you want?” Jonny says, resting his right hand on the swell of Patrick’s buttocks, flushed pink from the humiliation like the rest of him. Patrick flinches, and Jonny presses down with both hands, holding Patrick still. “You want me to punish you for what you did to me, yes?”

Patrick’s throat clicks with a swallow as he nods into the fold of his arms.

“You decided what I deserved,” Jonny says. “Even if it wasn’t right. I get to choose for you.”

“Fine,” Patrick says roughly. “Fine, you want to embarrass me? Go right ahead, I’d fucking deserve it. I get it.”

“You really don’t,” Jonny says, and slaps Patrick hard on the meat of his ass.

Patrick twitches with a short inhale. Jonny doesn’t give him time to relax, delivering sharp blows that crack off of Patrick’s buttocks. They’re heavy enough to shock, but Jonny doesn’t think they really hurt, not like the strap or a cane. Patrick’s tense over his lap, buttocks tight as he holds his breath.

“Breathe,” Jonny says, holding his hand away until Patrick exhales, unclenching, and then spanks Patrick harder, palm leaving a quickly-reddening marks across the soft, pale skin. Patrick starts squirming as Jonny ramps up the force, bringing the strength of his shoulder into each blow, his palm feeling the counterpoint burn.

The strap and cane are instruments of pain, designed to hurt with minimal work on the part of the discipliner. Ten strikes of the strap, well-delivered, bring most people to shuddering tears—a cane can break someone in one.

A spanking, though—Patrick’s right, it is for children, where the shock and humiliation and knowledge of disappointing a parent is the punishment, not the pain. A few short slaps is all most parents deliver with the hand. Jonny’s hand is skin and muscle, too, and each strike to Patrick’s ass, red deepening across the swells of each cheek, is one against himself, as well. It’s a tiring, painful way to deliver a punishment, especially one like this, one where Jonny knows he isn’t going to stop until Patrick’s taken everything he needs from it.

Jonny thought about finding a paddle, or folding over a belt, something to let him keep up a sharper, stronger blow, but his own weakness here is the point. The echo of Patrick’s pain keeps Jonny grounded in the act, keeps him aware that he doesn’t have to stop. Three strokes with the cane would have hurt Patrick more, but have given him no time to understand.

Jonny needs Patrick to understand.

“Shit,” Patrick whispers, when Jonny spanks him flat across the top of one straining thigh. It’s the first word he’s spoken since Jonny started spanking him, nothing but soft, choking sounds escaping him before. Jonny slaps him there again, right under the meat of his ass, careful to avoid the swell of his junk where it’s tucked down between his thighs, and Patrick draws up his shoulders, bracing himself against the blows.

Jonny works back up silently, sweat beading at his temple. He presses Patrick down with a hand on his back, feeling Patrick’s abs clench and release against his thigh as Patrick tries to hold himself still. Each spank seems like it echos in the quiet of the bedroom, breath and the crack of flesh the only sounds left.

“I—you aren’t counting,” Patrick says on a rush of an exhale, voice catching on a gasp as Jonny doesn’t stop. “You didn’t say—ffu—how many.”

Jonny bites down on his lip and pulls his arm back, landing the heaviest blow thus far, right across the middle of Patrick’s ruddy cheeks. Patrick’s head jerks up, legs stiffening.

“Jonny,” he whines. “How many?”

Jonny dips his head to wipe away sweat that was dripping down his forehead, gripping Patrick’s ass tight. Patrick groans, pulling his shoulders in as he tries to push up. Jonny slides his left hand up between his shoulder blades and forces him back down to the bed as he picks back up, giving Patrick blows that build in intensity and pace.

“Hurts,” Patrick gasps. “Wait, fuck, it hurts.”

“What were you expecting?” Jonny says, gritting his teeth to keep from gasping himself. He leans more heavily on Patrick’s broad back, keeping him still as he lays burning spanks up Patrick’s far thigh, watching him jerk and shake as he reaches inflamed skin, no longer pink but bruised-red. His narrow hips jerk on Jonny’s thick thigh, the darkening flesh of his ass trembling between spanks.

Patrick’s next inhale is a sob, leg kicking out as Jonny hits him again and again. Jonny runs his hand down the back of Patrick’s thigh, pushing in and then slapping hard against the straining muscle. “Hold still,” he says.

“I—” Patrick says, whole body jerking as Jonny lays another blow on the neglected middle of his thigh. “Fuck, I—” He kicks out again when Jonny spanks low on his ass, jerking and making Jonny’s palm fall above the rosy swell of his balls. Too close, really, and Jonny pauses, wiping at his forehead with the back of his hand.

“Are you done?” Patrick gasps, and it’s not—it’s still defiant. It’s not enough, Jonny can’t be done, no matter how tired he is, no matter how much he wants to pull Patrick up and tell him it’s over.

“Hold on,” he murmurs, wrapping his arm back around Patrick’s middle and moving him roughly, manhandling him until he’s pushed higher up the bed and Jonny can free his right leg, shifting Patrick up over his left thigh and hooking his calf behind Patrick’s knees, until he’s trapped tight against Jonny’s body, nowhere to move. Patrick moves with him, limp and gasping, until Jonny spanks him hard again and he jerks ineffectually.

“Oh fuck, fuck,” Patrick pants, throwing back a hand to try and cover his wounded ass.

Jonny catches it in his own and twists it up, pressing it into the small of Patrick’s back as he goes back to smacking Patrick hard, hard enough his shoulder aches. Jonny can’t even feel his palm anymore, but Patrick’s shaking continuously now, twisting against the cage of Jonny’s body. The marks on his ass are speckled-dark, bloody bruises rising up under the brutal weight of Jonny’s hand, and Jonny can only cling to the hope that this is enough, that this is right, that it’s not for nothing.

A strap, or even a belt, and this would have been done before Patrick could accept it. Every line of Patrick’s body, a body Jonny knows nearly as well as his own, from years of trying to mold theirs into perfection on and off the ice, said—nothing is enough. Nothing you give me will absolve me. He’d asked for a punishment that Jonny could see would have been a band-aid, at best.

Here, on Jonny’s bed, in the haven of his own bedroom, holding Patrick tight with one hand and making him cry out for it to be over with the other, Patrick can’t hold onto his blistering self-hatred.

“Stop, stop,” he sobs, arching away from Jonny’s hand, scrabbling at the bed and then back at Jonny’s hip with desperate fingers. “Oh fuck, I need—stop, please.”

“You asked me to choose for you,” Jonny says, breathing hard. He presses his palm hard into Patrick’s abused flesh, and Patrick bucks under his grip, sweaty hand slipping free to reach back. “Accept it, Patrick.” Jonny recaptures his wrist and holds it away, spanking him again and listening to Patrick’s sob break into continuous, shuddering tears, shoulder giving out and face pushing into the bedspread.

“Yeah, there you go,” Jonny says softly. He’s dying to stop, aching for it, but instead he lightens his blows from punishing to quick, sharp slaps, peppering the whole of Patrick’s ass while he cries. “There you go, Pat, just like that.” He lets go of Patrick’s wrist gently, and Patrick lets it fall limply, fingers curling softly. There’s no tension left in his body, just shivering jerks at each fresh spank, and Jonny has to tighten his hold, pulling Patrick against him.

Jonny slows his slaps to a stop, laying his numb hand across Patrick’s bruised ass. He leans up Patrick’s back, pressing his mouth to the arc of Patrick’s shoulder, and lifts his hand experimentally. Patrick doesn’t even flinch, his sobs dried up to shuddering inhales that just barely catch when Jonny snaps his wrist and spanks him again, abused flesh rippling.

“Perfect,” Jonny whispers, lips catching on Patrick’s sweaty skin. He slaps him again, and this time Patrick groans, soft and broken. “I wanted you to beat me,” Jonny says. “Just like you wanted this.”

Patrick stays quiet, and Jonny sinks his teeth into the thin skin over bone, spanking down carefully and then digging the tips of his fingers in. Patrick’s hips hitch and then he falls still again.

“Maybe you didn’t have the right to touch me,” Jonny says, smoothing his palm over Patrick’s ass. He snaps his wrist again and waits for Patrick to relax again. It takes hardly any time at all. “Not with the strap, not with your hands—or your cock.”

Patrick twitches. Jonny pinches his abused flesh and Patrick yelps, chin curling into his chest.

“Relax,” Jonny says, waiting until Patrick’s gone heavy and loose, his hand resting heavy and still against Patrick’s ass, to go on. “You didn’t, but I forgive you. I forgave you before you even started, I forgave you with every stroke of the strap, I forgave you when you made me come and I forgave you when you used my body and took your pleasure in it.”

“I—” Patrick says, voice torn-up and dry from crying.

“Accept my forgiveness, Patrick,” Jonny orders, smoothing over Patrick’s ass.

“But you…” Patrick’s throat shifts as he swallows. “You should fuck me. You should use me, like I did. For it to be—fair.”

Jonny straightens up. He shifts his leg, working it between Patrick’s calves, making him scrabble for purchase rather than slip off Jonny’s lap, and slides his hand up between Patrick’s thighs to cup at his cock, soft and hanging against Jonny’s thigh. “It wouldn’t be fair,” Jonny says. He lets go, and lifts his hips until he’s pressing his own soft dick into Patrick’s hip. “I don’t want it, and neither do you.”

Patrick’s chest hitches with a thready inhale of breath, but he doesn’t speak.

“Stand up,” Jonny says quietly.

Patrick doesn’t move for a long moment, then draws his hand back to push up, legs trembling as he puts weight on them and straightens. Jonny helps him, steadying him with a hand on his hip, another on his arm, before pulling him back to stand between Jonny’s thighs. He’s flushed and sweaty, goosepimpling up quickly in the chill of the room.

Jonny rubs his hands over Patrick’s hips in heavy, soothing strokes. Patrick licks at his lips, swaying into the touch, lids heavy, and Jonny watches carefully as he slides his hands back to cup Patrick’s buttocks. The heat of them on Jonny’s left hand is astounding, but Patrick’s steady and loose at what must be a blindingly bright shock of pain at the touch. Jonny leans in and presses his mouth to the jut of Patrick’s hip, slick forehead sliding across his stomach, and then stands up.

He leaves Patrick standing while he unfolds the comforter, then walks around Patrick, careful to keep his hands lightly touching him. “Lie down,” he says as he pushes him forward until Patrick folds, sliding up the bed on his stomach. Jonny follows, crawling up on the right side of the bed so he can tuck his abused hand underneath and trail the still-sensitive tips of his fingers over Patrick’s ass.

Patrick sighs, turning his head in his arms to watch Jonny with a heavy gaze, lips parted.

“I’m sorry—well, not sorry, but I guess…” Jonny trails off, feeling awkward for the first time since he pulled Patrick over his knees. “I understand why you wanted me to fuck you, as well. Why you feel like you need both.”

“Yeah?” Patrick says hoarsely.

Jonny nods and rolls away to pick up the half-full glass of water off the bedside table, bringing it back. Patrick pushes up on one arm and lets Jonny tip the glass up against his lips.

“Every time I have to discipline one of the team,” Jonny says, lowering the glass as Patrick swallows, and then tipping it up again when he parts his lips, “I feel like I’ve been beaten instead.”

Patrick licks a drop of water off his lips, gaze heavy and uncertain. “Because you got away with things that others didn’t?”

“No,” Jonny says. “Before that, too, but that made it worse, I think. But I’m not—I’m not good at this. You think I’m absolving you of your mistakes—but I’m just making them my own.”

Patrick’s fingers curl into the bedspread. “Fuck, Jonny,” he says quietly. “I’m sorry.”

Jonny shrugs, holding the glass up again for Patrick to take another sip. Patrick does, and then pushes it away, so Jonny puts it aside. He brings the comforter back with him, folding it over both their bodies as the sweat cools.

“It didn’t feel like that, to me,” Patrick says, eyes flickering shut. “It felt...good. Even before I saw that you were hot for it, I was halfway there.”

“And that scared you,” Jonny says.

“Yeah,” Patrick says. He rubs his cheek against the pillow with a sigh. “Still does.”

“You were giving me what I needed,” Jonny says gently. “Is it so bad that it felt good?”

“This didn’t for you,” Patrick argues, his eyes opening narrowly, like he can’t quite pry them all the way open.

Jonny shrugs, flattening his sore hand against the cool sheets between them. He reaches out again, unable to stop himself from sliding his fingers up over Patrick’s hip and across his ass. “I’m not built that way, I guess. I do it because it’s my duty,” he says. “To the team—to you. Even if this wasn’t in the contract.”

Patrick mouth curves into a shallow smile, his hand sliding across the sheets until his fingers wrap around Jonny’s wrist, thumb pressing into the swollen skin of his palm. “Thank you,” he whispers. Jonny rubs his thumb in a careful echo across the swell of Patrick’s ass and then rolls away, his hand still cupped in Patrick’s grasp as he falls into a heavy, exhausted sleep.

 

~

 

Jonny wakes up abruptly with a racing pulse, skin slick with sweat. It takes him a breath to realize the weight on his side is Patrick, and that he’s aroused rather than terrified. His skin is singing with sensation, cock lying hard along his belly. Patrick’s hand is resting just above the swollen head, his leg slung over Jonny’s thigh. Jonny can tell from the twitch of his fingers and the rapid pace of Patrick’s breath on his shoulder that he isn’t asleep, either.

“Hey,” Jonny says, voice scratchy from sleep.

“Hey,” Patrick says back, lips pressing against Jonny’s shoulder. His fingers curl, stroking along the soft skin of Jonny’s stomach. “Good dreams?”

Jonny lets out a short laugh, embarrassed. “I guess. Don’t remember.”

Patrick’s hand slides down, just an inch, until the back of his hand grazes Jonny’s dick, and then he pulls it away with a jerk. “Sorry,” he says, rolling onto his back.

Jonny can just make out the wince on his face in the dimness. Patrick shifts his legs, knees coming up so he can lift his hips and take some pressure off his ass.

“Don’t,” Jonny says, reaching out under the covers. His wrist grazes Patrick’s erection as he reaches across to pull on Patrick’s hip, dragging him back in. He ignores it, for now, urges Patrick back over his body, warm and solid.

Patrick takes a short breath and keeps going, sliding up until they’re chest-to-chest, his face tucked into Jonny’s neck, hands curling under Jonny’s shoulders. Jonny shivers, bringing his own hands up to stroke carefully down Patrick’s spine.

Patrick says something, a ticklish hum against Jonny’s neck.

“What?” Jonny asks.

Patrick lifts his head and pushes up on his elbows. “I accept,” he says quietly.

“What?” Jonny says again, feeling stupid with arousal.

“Your forgiveness,” Patrick says. “If you—if you meant that. I think I can—”

“Yes,” Jonny says, a rush of breath across Patrick’s mouth. “Yes, I meant it.”

“Okay,” Patrick says. “Okay. Good.”

There’s a moment where they’re both still, breath whispering between them the only sound in the bedroom. Jonny’s whole body is humming, relief and anticipation discordant vibrations. His toes curl, his fingers twitch against Patrick’s skin. Patrick breathes in, his cock jerking. Patrick dips his head and grazes his lips across Jonny’s, a touch so light on skin so sensitive that it aches.

“Will you fuck me, now?” Patrick asks. He presses his lips to Jonny’s again before Jonny can even process the question. “Don’t say no.”

Jonny laughs. It surprises him, the lightness in his chest, so much the opposite of how he usually feels after meting out discipline. But he and Patrick have always been in balance with each other, on and off the ice, and to have that back again sets Jonny’s heart singing. “There’s lube in the side table,” he says.

Patrick stays curled over Jonny, kissing him sweetly while Jonny opens him up, careful and delicate like he couldn’t let himself be last night. He’s thrumming with arousal, each bump of Patrick’s dick against his own sending sparks up his spine.

“I lied,” Jonny says, smoothing over Patrick’s thigh with one hand and pushing his cockhead against Patrick’s slick hole with the other. “I remember what I was dreaming about.”

Patrick lifts his head from where he’d been resting it on Jonny’s shoulder, kissing him again. “Yeah?” Jonny’s eyesight has adjusted enough to see the how his hair is darkened with sweat, his cheeks shadowed with an aroused flush.

“We were at the UC,” Jonny says, pulling Patrick down and pressing up with his hips, feeling the tightness of his hole as it resists and then unfurls. Patrick’s quiet, but for a soft hum against Jonny’s cheek, as Jonny slides inside. “In the room, but it was—it was quiet. Empty. In the whole building, it was just you and me.”

Jonny bottoms out, his feet flat on the bed, knees bent as he pushes up into Patrick. Patrick groans, arching back in until his face is tucked into Jonny’s shoulder. “Go on,” Patrick says roughly.

Jonny can feel the heat of Patrick's ass on his thighs. He curls his fingers back to cup a cheek, and Patrick lets out a pained hiss. “Come down,” Jonny says, shifting with Patrick until they’re pressed chest-to-chest again, Jonny’s knees tucked in-between Patrick’s heavy thighs, his cock only half-buried at the angle but it’s enough, it’s so much more than enough, having Patrick’s heavy body pressing Jonny into the bed while he's inside him.

“There,” Jonny says, starting up a careful movement of his hips, fucking Patrick shallowly while Patrick’s dick rubs up against his stomach. “Good?”

“Mmm,” Patrick says, lazy agreement. “I wanna hear about your dream, though.”

Jonny wraps his arms around Patrick and kisses the shell of his ear. “You were furious at me. I’d disciplined a teammate, and you thought I shouldn't have.”

“I wouldn’t—”

“It’s just a dream,” Jonny interrupts. He brings his knees in and pushes up, dick sliding a little deeper. “You said you wanted to hear.”

“I do,” Patrick says. “But I thought it was a wet dream.”

“I don’t know if it was,” Jonny answers.

“You woke up hard,” Patrick says. “No morning wood, either. And before, you were breathing like—moaning, even.”

Jonny can feel the heat in his own cheeks and he turns his face away, seeking out cooler air. “You spanked me,” he says softly, scraping his nails along Patrick's skin.

“Like you did to me?” Patrick says breathlessly. He’s doing most of the moving, now, cock dragging between them as he rolls his hips, Jonny holding himself still as Patrick rides him.

“No,” Jonny says. “I had my hands on the whiteboard. You had a paddle, I think.”

“Did it hurt?”

“Dreams never really hurt,” Jonny says. “Maybe it’d be easier if they did.”

Patrick stills. “Jon—”

“I have that dream a lot,” Jonny says, cutting him off with quiet, steady words. “It’s not you, not usually. Sometimes it's a teammate, or management. Sometimes nobody I know, or I can’t even see them. Sometimes it’s a cane, or a belt, or the strap. But ever since I took over from Sharpy, I can’t stop dreaming it.”

“And you usually wake up like that?”

“I usually wake up in a cold sweat,” Jonny corrects, tightening his arms around Patrick when Patrick pushes like he’s trying to sit up. He couldn’t say to his face, “Sometimes I wake up crying.”

Patrick gets enough weight on his hands that Jonny can’t keep him close, hauling himself up to look back down at Jonny. His mouth is twisted, lip caught on his teeth. “What’s different?” Patrick asks. “About me?”

“I don’t know,” Jonny says honestly. “Maybe nothing. Maybe you were just the one who gave it back.”

Something flickers across Patrick’s face. It’s good, Jonny thinks, bright and clear in the hazy darkness. Certainty—or the look on Patrick’s face before a set-play, where he marks his place and promises to get it done. “Yeah,” Patrick says. “I did.”

Patrick bends back down and captures Jonny’s mouth in his own, kissing him with careful concentration. The urgent blaze of arousal that woke Jonny with a shock settles into a slow burn. Jonny is blanketed by Patrick’s supple, warm body, pressed under him and inside him, and he feels—safe. Whole.

He can’t stop running his hands down the flexing muscle of Patrick’s back, skin slick with sweat. Patrick’s breath hitches each time Jonny’s fingers dip low to slide across his ass, his mouth open and trailing over Jonny’s lips, on his neck, on his shoulders, his cock grinding into Jonny’s abs. When Jonny finally gives in to the insistent desire to cup Patrick’s cheeks and pull him in tight, Patrick comes with a gasp, spilling wetly between them. Jonny can feel the pulse of his orgasm as Patrick tightens around his cock. He arches up into Patrick and pulls him down and follows him over with a shuddering groan.

 

~

 

The second time Jonny wakes up, mid-morning light streams across the bed. Patrick’s gone, the covers tucked neatly back up around Jonny, and Jonny has to take a calming breath and tell himself there’s no reason why Patrick would have fled, not this time. When he finds his phone, there's a text from Patrick that says on the roof, and he relaxes completely.

Want anything from the kitchen?

Caffeine drip, Patrick texts back, and Jonny grins. Patrick likes to pretend he’s better in the morning than Jonny, but if he goes too long without a cup or five he turns into a total asshole.

Jonny makes a cup for each of them and carries them carefully up the stairs to the rooftop deck. The door is propped open with a brick and opens easily as Jonny pushes his shoulder into it, stepping out into the clear sunshine. The air is still morning fresh, but the sun has warmed the sandstone under Jonny's feet. Soon it will be stifling, summer hot.

“Morning,” Patrick says when Jonny turns the corner and comes into view of the round of seating. Patrick’s sprawled along the length of a couch, arm up over his head, and feet propped on the far armrest.

“Morning,” Jonny says back. There’s an empty mug on the ground beside Patrick, and Jonny bends carefully to put the fresh cup of coffee beside it, then settles into the armchair by Patrick’s head. “S’gonna be hot today,” he murmurs, bringing his mug to his mouth and taking a sip.

“I’m already sweating,” Patrick says agreeably. He’s in borrowed basketball shorts, drawstring comically long to keep them tight enough on his hips, but he’s thrown a Hawks hoodie on top. The sleeves are already rucked up, his tanned, corded forearms flexing as he sits up and stretches.

“Everything feel okay?” Jonny says. It’s more out of rote responsibility than any real worry, and Patrick’s flash of a smile and nod absolves him of that. It’s behind them, and Jonny figures that’s for the best. There’s no place for what they’ve done, from the moment Patrick picked up the strap to their intense, dreamlike coupling last night, in their lives going forward. Jonny’s resolved to take from it all he can and move forward without regret.

That understanding makes it difficult for Jonny to process what Patrick means when he says, “Jonny, I want to give you what you need.”

“Sorry?” Jonny says blankly.

Patrick smiles again and leans down to pick up his coffee, taking a long drink before settling his elbows on his knees. “You’re not going to give up being responsible for team discipline,” Patrick says, matter-of-fact.

“No,” Jonny says roughly. He takes another sip to cover his uneasiness. It’s unthinkable, and he feels like a failure to have ever wished it. “Pat, even if you wanted to, even if you’d be better at it—”

“No,” Patrick says, shaking his head. “That’s not—I wouldn’t. It’s not my duty, and I don’t think—I wouldn’t be as good at it, for the team.”

“You could be,” Jonny says, still off-balance. “You were good—perfect—at it. It took me forever to be that comfortable with it.”

“You still aren’t, though,” Patrick says carefully.

Jonny drops his head, looking down at his coffee, a flush of shame curling through him, but Patrick’s on his feet, taking the mug from Jonny and wrapping Jonny’s empty hands in his own.

“Hey, no,” Patrick says. “I don’t mean you’re doing wrong by us. You aren’t. You aren’t. Nobody likes being disciplined but I’ve never heard a single teammate speak poorly of how you act—and that’s fucking rare and you know that.” He tightens his fingers until Jonny looks back up at his face. “Seriously, Jonny,” he adds. “Even right after when everybody’s pissed, nobody’s ever said anything against you. You take care of us.”

Jonny lets out a breath he didn’t know he was holding. It rushes out of him like air out of a bellows. “Then why do I hate it?” he says. All his morning peace has left him, anguish rising with the sun.

“I don’t know why,” Patrick says. “But I want to help anyway.”

“How?” Jonny asks.

“I want to take away the burden you put on yourself,” Patrick says steadily, eyes never leaving Jonny’s. “I want to discipline you.”

“When?” Jonny says, stunned.

“When you need me to,” Patrick says. “For as long as you need me to.”

“Pat…” Jonny says. His mouth is powder-dry, and he twists a sweaty hand out of Patrick’s grip to reach for his mug where Patrick set it on the little table between the chair and couch. He wets his mouth and puts it back. “That’s not a good idea.”

“Why not?” Patrick says, tone falsely light. He’s still crouched low, balanced precariously on the balls of his feet, coiled with tension.

“Because—Christ, Pat,” Jonny says, frustration welling up. He pulls his hands away, forcing Patrick to shift his balance as he leans back in the chair. “Last time you did that you fucking—you fell apart! Maybe it was good for me but until last night you were fucked up.”

Patrick nods, expression calm and serious. It’s not what Jonny expects, his own heart beating too quickly in his chest. “Yeah, I’ve been thinking about that.”

“Since you woke up?” Jonny says, sneering in shaky defensiveness.

Patrick just nods again and pushes upright, settling back onto the couch. “I was fucked up,” he says, bringing up a hand to tug at his hair, glinting bright in the sunlight. “But actually strapping you, that was...it was amazing. You were amazing. Beautiful, even."

Jonny ducks his head, blushing at the praise. He draws his thumb along the wet rim of his mug, trying to centre his thoughts.

"Jonny," Patrick says. He waits until Jonny looks back up and meets his eyes to go on. "I want to do that again, but I need to be sure of where we stand, first."

It settles, then, like the resonant click of a perfect pass.

“You’re talking about a contract,” Jonny says, straightening.

“Yes.”

“Our contracts with the team—”

“Separate from that,” Patrick says, waving a dismissive hand. “Private, independent termination clauses. It couldn’t contradict them, but…”

“What would the terms be?” Jonny says, wary and trying to tamp down on the hope flickering in his gut.

“That’s up to you,” Patrick says. “I’d want—I’d want to pick how. Like you did, last night. But I don’t need to pick when. That’s for you. This is for you.”

“Just me?” Jonny says, mouth twitching in the corner.

Patrick rolls his eyes, ears pink from more than just the heat. “It’s a contract for corporal punishment, Jonny. If there’s anything else, the rest of it—that’d just be us.”

“The answer to the ‘rest of it’ is yes,” Jonny says, smiling properly now. “You won’t have to ask.”

“I will, anyway,” Patrick says solemnly.

 

~