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Patrick feels Pete’s alarm through the bond before he gives any outward sign. By the time Pete raises three fingers emphatically, Patrick’s already moved away. Pete sits up and coughs violently for a couple minutes. Patrick hands him a tissue when it eases up a bit.

“Ugh,” Pete says, with feeling. “Gross.” He tosses the used tissue away and plays with the handcuffs Patrick put around his wrists. They’re not tied to anything, since as demonstrated Pete may need to move fast, but he likes the weight of them against his skin.

Patrick pats his shoulder in silent commiseration, and pushes Pete back down so they can continue. They’re not playing hard tonight. A little bit of spanking, barely even enough to hurt by Pete’s standards. Serious pain wouldn’t work for either of them tonight: they keep having to stop and start, in a way that would compromise the kind of headspace Pete needs to really get into pain. 

But the playful smacks of a paddle against his ass - Pete can appreciate those even without extra buildup. Patrick waits for Pete to settle down again before bringing the paddle down.

Pete makes little contented noises, raising his ass up to meet the paddle as it lands. “You’re such a pain slut,” Patrick says, fond. He grabs Pete’s ass to make his point.

It’s cut off by Pete flashing three fingers again, as well as saying, “Pause.” He sits up to blow his nose, wincing a bit when his ass hits the bed’s top sheet. He glares at Patrick, who gives him an innocent look.

“We could wait until you’re feeling better,” says Patrick, who’s not always above being a dick to his bondmate. 

Pete sprawls on his back. “You know what, maybe.” The sentence is rendered half-incoherent by Pete’s stuffed nose. His legs are bent up and splayed open, though, inviting. 

Patrick lays a careful hit on the thin skin of his inner thigh, just hard enough to make Pete tense and gasp. “Maybe that’ll teach you to start wearing a coat like a normal person.”

Pete snorts. It’s kind of a gross noise, at the moment. “Oh, fuck you, who died and made you my mom?”

Okay, that’s just too good of an opening to pass. “Nobody died, but your mom did say you’re my job now.”

Pete’s eyes fly open. “The fuck she did.” He sits up, adding, “And don’t talk about her while hitting me, you’ll give me an Oedipal complex.”

“I thought everyone were supposed to have one of those.” Patrick doesn’t remember much of the psych class he took in high school but he’s pretty sure that the Oedipal stage was a thing. It had something to do with spankings, actually, he remembers sitting up and paying attention at that point.

“Not really. I mean, yeah, but then Freud’s theories--” Pete waves off his own point. “Anyway, what the fuck were you talking to my mom about?”

Patrick raises his eyebrows. “You.” Pete glares at him, and Patrick relents. “She wanted to say congratulations and good luck, that’s all. She wants to meet my parents when we get back to Chicago.” 

“Didn’t she meet them already?” Pete scrunches up his nose. It would be adorable if not for the snot factor. Patrick shoves another tissue at him in the name of prudence.

“Yeah, but this is like, an official thing.” Patrick might be blushing just a tad. “She says you can’t just meet your son’s Dom’s parents at the collaring ceremony, it’s a whole thing.”

Pete stares up at him, face blank. The bond is all minor-key violins. “We’re having a collaring ceremony?”

“We’re not not having one,” Patrick hedges. The bond doesn’t resolve, and neither does Pete’s expression. “I don’t know, what do you want? I get that you’re not into hugely formal shit--”

“Says who?” Pete demands. “Maybe I am.” The violins are joined by drums and bass guitars. 

Okay, Patrick can tell Pete is agitated, great, but he can’t tell why. “I don’t know,” he says, exasperated. “I just want you wearing my collar, I don’t care who’s there when I put it on you.”

There is a moment of actual stunned silence from the bond. Then Pete’s in Patrick lap, showering his face with kisses. Which, again, would be more romantic if there were less snot involved.

Patrick doesn’t actually care, though. He wraps his arms around Pete, kissing his forehead. He actually likes the idea of taking official responsibility for Pete in front of witnesses, especially since he’d already felt non-officially responsible for him for years now. Having a legal document saying that he’s in charge of taking care of Pete, whether that involves paddling or hugs or vegan chicken soup--

Yeah. Patrick’s good with that.