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gather 'round the table, we'll give you a treat

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Stiles stands up, sets the graters on the counter, and says, "See, I told you the second one would come in handy."

Lydia's grater is a standard metal box grater, the fineness different on each of the four sides, the handle a little dented. She doesn't remember how long she's had it; maybe her mom bought it for her when she moved off-campus junior year, maybe she swiped it off a roommate in the years since. Stiles's grater is a red plastic oval dish with different faceplates from IKEA, bought for simpler and more cost-effective nacho preparation his freshman year of college, as Stiles explained at length when they moved in together in June and started comparing kitchen tools.

"Fine," Lydia says now. "For the handful of days a year that we make latkes, yes, two graters will be helpful. On the other hand, there is no reason we need eight—"

"We'll discuss the peelers next year," Stiles says, hitching up his jeans to cover the flash of pink at his waist.

For the most part, Lydia and Stiles's belongings have little overlap. They read different books, they practice different kinds of magic, they wear different brands of makeup, and in no universe can Stiles fit into Lydia's delicate lingerie. Lydia buys him his own, panties of sleek satin and tissue-thin silk chiffon, soft and teasing against his inner thighs. For Hanukkah dinner with Lydia's parents and her bubbe, Stiles is wearing dark jeans, a navy cashmere v-neck sweater over a gray t-shirt, and beneath those, a pair of lace panties that are Barbie Doll fuchsia.

Lydia laid out his outfit on the chair next to the bed last night. "If you make it through dinner with my family," she said, "I'll make it worth your while."

Stiles's mom was Jewish—she grew up in Queens, her parents were registered members of the Communist Party—which is good enough for Lydia's parents, despite the occasional digs from her Dad about how Stiles could maybe get a better job than teaching kindergarten. Like Lydia doesn't work at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Someone will have to stay home with the kids.

"These are amazing." Bubbe gestures at the latkes on her plate with her fork. "Are these your family recipe?"

Stiles shakes his head. "No, they're the ones from smitten kitchen. The applesauce is my mom's, though."

"It's very—applesauce," Dad says, spooning more sour cream onto his stack of latkes. He jerks midway through, sour cream slopping over the side, like Bubbe kicked him under the table.

(Bubbe loves Stiles. When they met at Bubbe's Purim party this year, they got into a long discussion about Bubbe's decision to go as Natalie Barney's place setting from Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party. Stiles was Han Solo to Lydia's Princess Leia, because he'd won the coin toss over joint costumes.)

After dinner, Mom hands them a gift bag overflowing with tissue paper. Inside, there's a new menorah of sturdy brass to supplant the small one Lydia took with her to college. "Here you go, honey," she says. "The candles should go with your color scheme for the living room, too."

Lydia puts the menorah on the windowsill for now, and they cluster around, old and new, while Stiles lights the shamash and then the first candle, reciting the blessing together.

"So," Stiles says when everyone else has gone and the dishes are in the dishwasher, the pans scrubbed and drying on the rack. "I think you mentioned something last night, about—"

Lydia presses her hand to his chest and backs him up against the counter. "You were very good," she says. "And I didn't give you a present yet."

Stiles clamps his lips together and raises his eyebrow. He's not very good at dirty talk; unless he's already loopy with pain or pleasure, it just makes him giggle. Sometimes Lydia gags him so he doesn't even try.

Tonight, though, she wants him to make noise. "Strip, leave the panties on," she says, tugging at his waistband. "Then get your heels and the play bag. I'll be in the dining room."

The dining room is not big, but it has its advantages. It's at the back of the house, away from the street, and there's a nook created by the bay window where the table fits well enough when Lydia takes the leaves out of it. Then, curtains drawn, there's nothing else in the room for distractions; Lydia has left the walls purposefully bare. She ducks into the pantry between the kitchen and dining room for a moment to grab the basket she prepared earlier.

Clothespins, kitchen twine, two lengths of sturdy nylon rope, masking tape, a hardcover copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and—Lydia'll leave that for last. She's already done the work of running the twine through the spine of the book, though she knows from experience that it's easier to get the twine where she wants it before pinning than to stick the clothespins on beforehand for some kind of expediency. It creates suspense, too—how many will she put on, how far will she go?

"Here." Stiles drops the play bag at her feet. "Do your worst." He's already flushed, excited, nipples taut in the cool air of the house, dick half-hard beneath the stretchy lace of his panties. These are designed to accommodate his junk, but Lydia deliberately ordered them a size small, so the elastic digs into his skin, painfully tight. They'll leave pink grooves in his skin when she pulls them away.

Lydia kicks off her shoes and flexes her toes. "Ask nicely, baby."

"Please," Stiles says, grinning at her.

Now that he's teetering on stilettos and Lydia's discarded her own, their height difference becomes comical, exaggerated. Lydia's still wearing her dove gray velvet dress with its circle skirt that swishes becomingly around her knees and, beneath it, her favorite long-line bra and matching high-cut panties. When she doms, she likes to be comfortable. There's something about watching Stiles struggle to keep his balance in 5" heels and strain at the constriction of his dainty underwear that makes Lydia feel all warm and fuzzy inside while she bends him over the table and spanks the hell out of him.

"I want you to hold this up in front of your face, closed, spine down," Lydia says, passing him the book.

"…okay," Stiles says. Lydia gives him a moment to look it over, at the pieces of twine hanging from each end, waits for the penny to drop. His mouth curves up into one of his small, genuine smiles. "Okay."

Lydia could make him wait, make him hold the book until his arms start to tremble under the strain, but she has other plans this evening. Instead, she pulls a handful of clothespins from her basket—they're the hinged, wooden kind—and starts pinning, one line of pins down each side of his chest over each end of the kitchen twine. When he drops the book, they'll all yank off in sequence, and it's going to hurt like hell.

"This is the best Hanukkah present ever," Stiles says.

"Oh, honey." Lydia pinches one of his nipples until he squirms. "I haven't even gotten started." When she finishes putting the clothespins in place, she grabs his hips and turns him until he's facing the wall, walks him over with one hand against the small of his back until his toes are pressed up against the baseboard, the book in his hands pressing up against his nose. "Now you're going to keep holding it up without your hands."

Stiles goes totally still.

"Color?" Lydia says.

"Green, green, green," Stiles says, so eager he trips over the words. He puts the book up against the wall, shifts so his head is turned, his cheek mashed up against the book for support. "Wow, you're—"

"Starting now," Lydia says pointedly. "And no cheating and using your shoulder for help."

Next she ties Stiles's arms behind his back, binding forearm to forearm so each elbow is tied to the opposing wrist, then ties him together more loosely at the ankle and the knee. All she wants to do there is make sure the rope takes any strain from his struggle so she doesn't put tension on the—right. The lights are still in the basket.

"Now I'm going to decorate you," she says, holding the strand coiled around her hand in front of Stiles's face.

"But—Hanukkah?" Stiles mumbles carefully so he doesn't jar the book.

Lydia smiles. "It is the festival of lights."

The strand of string lights she picked out at the hardware store isn't particularly long, but the star-shaped bulbs are plastic, the lights are LEDs that stay cool, and the whole thing is powered by two AA batteries, so the risk of injury is relatively low. Lydia wouldn't put any serious tension on them, but that's what the bindings on Stiles's legs are for. She secures the battery pack to one of Stiles's ankles with masking tape before she starts winding the lights around him, a careful spiral around his legs until she gets to his upper thighs, where she does a few passes between them while Stiles shifts on his heels. Last, she flicks on the switch before getting up to dim the overhead light.

As predicted, the effect is beautiful. Lydia pauses to take a photo with her phone.

"Are you just going to leave me over here?" Stiles says after a minute.

"Hmm, maybe." Lydia extends the exposure time in her camera app and takes another photo; hopefully this one will be less grainy. "You're my present, too."

She gives Stiles another minute to squirm against his restraints and the prickle of the stars against his skin, counting to sixty in her head, before she puts her phone down on the table and strides over toward him. There's no point in trying to surprise him, even in bare feet—the house is old, the floor creaks. Lydia tries to view that as a feature, not a bug. She weaves a back and forth pattern out of his line of sight for a few seconds, though, so hopefully her angle of attack will still come unexpected.

Stiles yelps when her hand lands on his ass; his shoes scrabble against the floor. The book slips an inch.

"So," Lydia says, relishing her words. "I'm going to make you count to thirty. Every time you have to ask me to help you adjust the book, you have to start over. If the book drops—well. You're going to hurt a lot more than those pins will. Color?"

"God, you're evil," Stiles says appreciatively. "Green."

The first round, Stiles makes it all the way to twenty-three before he asks for help. The second, he gets to sixteen. Lydia alternates soft, teasing slaps and caresses with harder blows. Her hand and her arm are going to start hurting after a while, too, and she doesn't want to use anything with a larger span when she's got such a limited area for her target. Stiles whimpers and gasps as he struggles to keep upright, outright moans when she pauses to cup his dick through his panties. He'll get to come later—Lydia's not a monster—but he's going to suffer for it first.

The third round, Stiles makes it to twelve before the book drops.

It takes a moment for the pain to hit, for Stiles to let out an involuntary cry. Lydia waits for him to crouch down, curl in on himself, before she strides over and twines her fingers through his hair so she can tug back his head. He's a mess, his face red and wet from crying. "Look at you," she says, wiping some tears away with her free hand. "You did so good for me, baby. You tried so hard."

"That was too hard," Stiles whimpers, closing his eyes.

Lydia bends down to press a kiss to his forehead. "Do you think you can take a little more?" She planned further than this—was going to bend him over her knee, break out the plastic pinwheel in the play bag and run the pins over his sensitive, bruising skin—but Stiles looks wrecked already, and she doesn't want to push him too far.

"Yellow?" Stiles says.

"Mmm, no," she decides.

Lydia unties Stiles's arms so he can brace himself more comfortably against the wall while she releases him from the lights and the ropes around his ankles and his knees. Then she helps him out of his shoes and leads him back to their bedroom, where the bed is still mussed and unmade from this morning. "Sshhh," she says as she eases him down onto it. "I'm going to take care of you, baby."

Stiles nods, watches placidly while she undresses. As soon as Lydia climbs in next to him, he octopuses all over her, tucking his head beneath her chin. "I'm sorry," he says, "I—"

"Nothing to be sorry for," Lydia says. "This is your present, remember? Did you like it?"

"Yes," Stiles says, relaxing against her.

Lydia strokes her hand down his back. "Do you want to have sex? Or do you want to go to sleep?" It's been a long day, after all, and they don't always have sex after scenes.

"Hmm." Stiles brings his hand down from her waist to her hip, teases at the curve of it. "Maybe. I want to get you off."

They cuddle for a few more minutes before Stiles slips his hand between Lydia's thighs and fucks her with his clever fingers until she's keening and digging her nails into his shoulders. Then he rubs off against her, tugging the lace of his panties so he can rut against her thigh until he comes.

In the morning, Lydia's hand and arm are pleasantly sore, and she's just as pleasantly warm with Stiles curled around her in their bed. She looks up at his sleeping face and smiles.

Last night was the first night of Hanukkah.

They still have seven more to go.