Work Header

Half a Promise

Work Text:

He doesn't look up as he comes into the room, doesn't ask, just kicks off his dusty boots and pulls his shirts up and over his head, crossing to the unused fireplace and dropping to his knees. He's silent as he settles into place, his knees spread, his ankles together and he reaches up to grip the mantle, his hands spread out to the end of his reach, his head bowed down between them, offering up the expanse of his back for the punishment he's come here for.

“Eliot.” It isn’t really a question or an answer for anything. It’s half a promise, his name hissed out to acknowledge what they both know he needs.

His head dips and he hears himself murmur, “Please…” as his eyes close and he breathes in deep.

The exhale is slow and long and at the end of it, his skin stings, sharp leather kisses from the end of a riding crop across muscles tense and tight. “Harder,” he squeezes from between clenched teeth. The next kiss is hard enough to make him inhale sharp and deep, nodding slightly in encouragement. “More.”

His skin heats as the blows rain down, the crop finding every nerve ending down his back and sides, his low grunts the only admission of anything until his hands begin to tremble and he has to adjust his grip. It isn’t enough, not yet.

He breathes deep between blows and surrenders to the pain, sinking into it, letting it drive out the memories of what he had done, the knowledge that he’d do it again to keep them safe. His focus narrows down to the sound of the leather-bound rod and its tongue as it strikes his skin, to the breathy sound of counting and the way his muscles contract with each strike, the harsh hiss of air through his teeth. Flashes of memory roll through him, disappearing as quick as they come under the onslaught that pins him to his skin, to the rush of blood rising to heat his back and the welts and bruises that will follow.

Silence drops as the blows cease, but he isn’t there, not yet, even as his thighs tremble and the air burns in his lungs. “More.” It’s gruff and dark and filled with a need he can’t vocalize any clearer. Behind him there’s a soft sigh, the whisper of leather over skin before the thud lands across his shoulder, heavy tongues that draw a grunt from him before he can swallow it.

He gasps as the flogger comes down faster and harder, sting and burn and push, countered by the sharper bite of the crop, one then the other in rapid succession until suddenly his body stops holding on and he slumps forward, his hands slipping from the mantle as muscles release and a sob escapes him and he curls in on himself.

A warm hand offers forgiveness he can’t ask for, caressing over raised welts and hot skin until his breathing slows and he can lift his head again.

He doesn’t look up, just nods his thanks as he eases back onto his feet, slips them into his boots and grabs the pile of his shirts. He wipes his face with one shaking hand and goes to the door.
“Eliot.” It isn’t really a question or an answer for anything. It’s half a promise, his name hissed out to acknowledge what they both know he needs.

He leaves just as he came, slipping out the door and away before he can change his mind, before anyone sees. No one needs to know what he’s done or what he needs to let go of it now that it’s over.