“We have something for you.”
Athelstan looks up from where he's folding his clothes into a neat pile, and then into the drawer Lagertha and Ragnar insist he should have in their home even though they've been together just under two months. Lagertha, all mostly-naked skin and lacy lingerie, looks uncharacteristically hesitant even as she fondles the vibrator she seems to have plans for tonight. “Before we start the scene?” he asks, a little confused.
Ragnar comes into the bedroom, then, with a tray of juice and snacks for afterwards and a box set on top of it all. “That would probably be best. We want you at full decision-making capacity when we talk about it.”
Athelstan wipes his palms on his thighs, more from nervousness than anything else. “What is it, then?” He's not used to both of them looking so solemn. Serious, often. Stern, sometimes. Never anything close to unsure, and he doesn't like it. “Is something wrong?”
“Nothing at all.” Lagertha gives him a brief smile and puts what she's holding down on the bedside table—both of them have big ones, to hold floggers and toys and lube and ropes and other things they haven't even tried on him yet. “You don't have to worry, Athelstan. Ragnar?”
Ragnar removes the box from the top of the tray but doesn't open it, and Athelstan's breath catches. “You can say no. You can say no for now, and we can revisit it. You can say no and break up with us, or you can say no and nothing changes.”
“Or?” He knows their options by now.
“Or you can say yes,” says Lagertha, smiling again. She must know he understands by now. There are only so many things a box that size can be. “Open the box, treasure.”
Athelstan takes it from Ragnar and fumbles the box open. There, in an innocuous circle on soft white cotton, is a circle of leather braided in the same pattern that the bracelets they always wear when sceneing. It's thin and flexible, with a clasp and a ring, presumably if they want to leash him sometime. It is, unmistakably, a collar, and just as unmistakably meant for him. “What would—what would the rules of this be?” he asks when he can speak. He can't quite touch it.
They approach him from either side, until there's an arm around his shoulders and one around his waist and he feels better instantly, the same way he always does when they touch him. “It's a commitment as much as a proposal would be, on our parts,” Ragnar says, and Athelstan doesn't think he's ever heard him so serious. “So if you accept it, we'd expect that you have at least the hope of spending your life with us in some fashion. And we'd like you to move in when you feel comfortable with that.”
“You would wear it while we scene, whenever we scene, and whenever we visit the club. You could wear it whenever we're here alone together and we'd love it. You will never be asked to wear it out where people might not understand. We can get you some other kind of token for that.” Lagertha strokes his hair and kisses his temple. “Do you need time to think?”
“We've only been dating a few months,” he says, half wanting to sink to his knees and beg them to fasten the collar around his neck and all scared out of his mind.
“As we said,” says Lagertha, “you can say no for now but ask us to keep it for later. That's an option, and one we wouldn't blame you at all for taking.”
Athelstan isn't really given to great displays of courage. Showing up to Kattegat in the first place was the bravest thing he'd done in a long time, and going to breakfast with Ragnar and Lagertha the next morning even more so—so perhaps, he thinks to himself, this is the one place he can be brave, when he's with them. It isn't as though he sees an end to this, not quickly, and definitely doesn't want one. “Can we—could we start the scene?” he asks.
Ragnar frowns at him. “I for one would like an answer of some kind before we do, so we don't have this hanging—”
“I mean ...” Athelstan sinks to his knees and thinks Ragnar understands at that. Lagertha is still frowning down at him, brows knit. He hands the box up, and Ragnar is the one to take it. “That's my answer,” he says when Lagertha still looks unsure. “Start the scene.”
She shudders in a breath and threads her hand in his hair. “Okay. What's your color, Athelstan? Good to begin?”
“Green, ma'am.” He smiles. He can be more sure of this now, with them taking care of him just how they always do, how they always have. Maybe the trick is just to remember that of course they'll do it outside the bedroom just as much as they do in it.
Ragnar opens the box, and Athelstan isn't sure what to do with his eyes. They rarely tell him where and where not to look unless he's blindfolded, but usually he keeps his eyes dropped. This time he wants to see. With a great show, Lagertha lets go of his hair and takes the collar out of the box, tests its flexibility and the clasp as if she hasn't already done it before, probably more than once. “I thought about getting a tag for it,” Ragnar confides while she shows it off. “Maybe our fingerprints, one on either side. Maybe for our first anniversary, hm?”
“Which one of us should put it on him, Ragnar?” That's probably theatricality too. Athelstan knows how much they like planning their scenes, taking delight in every last thing that might drive him a little more wild.
“If you hold it, I'll clasp it,” Ragnar says, and then they're moving, Lagertha in front of him and Ragnar in back, both of them bending a little, hands hovering around his shoulders. “You'll take our collar, then?” Ragnar asks, almost casual.
“What a way to ask. Will you wear it for us, treasure? Be ours, let us keep you as long as we can?”
“Yes, ma'am. And sir.”
“Then kiss it,” she says, and the leather's in front of his face and there isn't much to do but to obey her, ridiculous as he feels pressing his mouth against the collar and not her hand. Ragnar strokes his back, though, and she croons out a “Good boy,” so he stops. “Now hold still.”
Athelstan does, and she puts the collar around his throat, settling it around the base and making sure it settles right before Ragnar takes over in back, doing up the buckle until it sits just right, so he's very aware of the feel of it when he swallows but his breathing stays clear. “Any discomfort?” Ragnar asks.
“No, sir. Still green.”
“Good,” says Lagertha. “We're going to say all manner of sentimental things to you later, but now, I think, we would like you to get up and get on the bed. Hands and knees, please.”
Athelstan scrambles to go, only letting himself brush his fingers on the collar around his neck as he does. He'll have time at some point to test every sensation of it on. For now, though, he has Lagertha and Ragnar to concentrate on, and he settles himself as comfortably as he can on his hands and knees. “We have a special treat for you tonight,” says Ragnar, and that's the sound of the cap on the lube bottle. “You get to come whenever you want, as many times as you want. The only trick is that you have to tell us when you're coming. We'd hate to miss it, after all.”
He catches his breath and nods, then verbalizes it when someone pinches his thigh. “Yes, sir. I'm not going to come yet, sir.”
“I should think not, the fun's just getting started.” And then there's a finger sliding inside him, a sensation he's getting used to. Ragnar never bothers with going gentle on him, even when they're having sex outside a scene. Tonight, there's enough lube to make it messy, but he hardly pauses on one finger before there are two, curling around, searching until they find his prostate and spark pleasure there, rubbing until Athelstan's gone from half-hard to all the way there in the matter of perhaps a minute.
“Thank you, sir,” he says. It can never hurt to be polite.
“Such a good boy.” Lagertha's at his head in a sudden moment, kneeling with her legs a little spread. He's going to have to bend his head to get his mouth where he assumes she wants it. “Get me warmed up a little, there's a love.”
Athelstan lowers his head, mouthing at her through the lace of her panties, knowing he'll look like he has beard burn when he goes into the library tomorrow afternoon. Siggy will laugh, if she sees him. They've done this before, Ragnar preparing him and Lagertha in front, or the other way around, but it's different this time, because the first time Athelstan makes Lagertha gasp, instead of clutching for his hair, she clutches for his collar, wrapping her fingers around it. It tightens it enough to constrict his breathing and he comes up gasping. She lets go. “Athelstan?” Ragnar asks, fingers going still inside him.
“Still green, all green,” he promises, and goes back in, trying to show Lagertha just how much he likes what she did.
“I've been meaning to try breathplay,” she muses, and then she's grabbing the collar again, rocking against his face and pulling just enough to make him aware of his breath, every one he takes, every embarrassing little noise he makes at the heat of her, the taste of her, and the feel of Ragnar adding a third finger, and enough lube to make him slippery inside and out, dripping down his thighs.
“Stay right where you are,” Ragnar says, half purring the words and sliding his hands up and down Athelstan's sides. “God, one day we're going to get you like this and then just make you stay there and take pictures so you can see how fucking gorgeous you look.” Athelstan thinks he makes a noise at that, but he isn't even sure. Everything is Ragnar's hands and Lagertha's taste on his tongue and the collar.
When Ragnar fucks into him, it isn't a surprise, but it's still enough to make him strain forward and make Lagertha pull the collar tighter on his neck. All three of them let out some kind of noise at that—he thinks Ragnar's is a punched-out “Yes,” but he's fairly sure neither he nor Lagertha managed words. They all freeze there for a second, the only sound all of them breathing, and then Ragnar thrusts deep, and Athelstan is barely able to keep the presence of mind to keep licking into Lagertha, nosing around the lace of her underpants so he can get to her, daring to balance his weight on one hand so he can slide a finger inside her, which makes one of her hands slide up to clutch at the back of his head. When he dares a peek up, her head is thrown back, chest heaving.
“You aren't going to touch yourself at all,” Ragnar says, a promise as much as its an order. “You're going to come just like this, just from me fucking you.”
Lagertha's voice is throaty when she speaks. “And then we have plans for that vibrator.” Athelstan makes another noise and she laughs, pulls him in even closer until it isn't her hold on the collar that makes it hard for him to breathe.
Athelstan is all pleasure, every nerve lit up with it. He's barely holding himself up, rocked between the steady drive of Ragnar behind him and Lagertha's hips hitching against his face, more and more uneven as her muscles contract around his fingers.
“Make her come,” says Ragnar, and that makes Athelstan gasp and pull away, suddenly ready to tip over the edge himself.
“I'm going to,” he gasps. “Please, sir?”
“Greedy,” Lagertha says, sounding amused, but his cheeks burn hot with embarrassment anyway. He isn't meant to, he's— “Just come, sweetheart, I can wait a little. Go on, I want to see you.”
Athelstan is getting used to responding to those words, and he can't help it this time either, pressing his face into her hip and gasping as Ragnar laughs and fucks him through it, giving him nothing like quarter or mercy. Athelstan doesn't expect it to slow at all until Ragnar comes. And if he's not going to be given time to recover, he won't give himself time either. As soon as he can, he lifts his head and goes back to Lagertha, concentrating as hard as he can on obeying Ragnar's last order.
“Such a good boy,” Lagertha praises when he goes back to it. Athelstan bites gently in response, almost going too hard when Ragnar rocks into him especially deep. “A little deeper with your fingers—there you go, that's wonderful, just like that.”
It isn't long after that (or he thinks it isn't, he loses time when they scene sometimes, lost in sex like he gets lost in books, and will think he's spent ten minutes being fucked instead of most of an hour) before she's pulling tight on the collar again, tight enough to make him gasp, and he feels her come.
“Lovely,” she says, pulling back, and moves to sit cross-legged. “Down on your elbows, will you, Athelstan? Give Ragnar a bit of variety.”
Athelstan does, gasping immediately at the change of angle, at how easy it is to get hard again even after coming so recently. Ragnar lets out a low, satisfied noise and picks up his rhythm until the headboard is knocking into the wall. Lagertha fingers his collar with one hand and touches herself with the other, just in his field of vision.
Ragnar's hips hitch after another few minutes, and then it's only a matter of strokes before he presses in and stays there, coming, panting, rubbing Athelstan's side again like he needs to be soothed through it. Athelstan gasps, just aroused enough again to want to writhe against him and ask for more, but he stops himself before he can. He won't have to beg. They seem to have plans.
They all stay where they are for a moment after Ragnar finally draws away. Athelstan is painfully aware of just how much he wants more, Lagertha is still touching herself lazily, and Ragnar is panting behind him. “Do you need a break? Some juice or food?” Lagertha asks.
“No, ma'am. Still all green.”
“Well then.” When Athelstan looks over his shoulder at Ragnar, he's grinning wide open and honest, his eyes focused on Athelstan's collar. “I suppose we'd better keep going, hadn't we?”
“Yes,” says Lagertha, fussing at it until it's fitted perfectly around his neck again, “I think we should.”