Luo Binghe muttered something, no doubt disparaging, under his breath.
Stepping up to the window next to his disciple, Shen Qingqiu raised his eyebrows in mild disapproval, his gaze following Luo Binghe’s to come to rest on the retreating forms of Liu Qingge and Gongyi Xiao.
"You could've at least tried to be civil," Shen Qingqiu pointed out amiably.
"Oh? Because he did?"
Liu Qingge's presence never failed to put Luo Binghe in a bad mood. What a lucky coincidence it was that Shen Qingqiu had plans to disperse the unpleasant atmosphere.
"Liu-shidi is a Peak Lord-"
"Not of Qing Jing Peak as far as I recall," Luo Binghe muttered.
Shen Qingqiu couldn't suppress the twitch of his lips. "And you're a guest on Cang Qiong Mountain," he finished undeterred.
Luo Binghe shot him a look but remained silent.
Turning his back to the window, Shen Qingqiu leaned against it and folded his arms as he studied his disciple. "You're being very contrary today, Binghe."
Luo Binghe had the grace to look at least vaguely chastised. "Shizun…"
"Are you feeling unfairly treated?"
Luo Binghe’s eyes returned to the view outside the window, although Liu Qingge and his disciple must've been gone by then.
"A little? You always berate me, even if he's the one starting it."
Shen Qingqiu chuckled. "How is that possible? He can't start something that never ends. You two are always at each other's throats."
And it's really doing this old teacher's head in sometimes.
But he kept the thought to himself because he didn't want to guilt Luo Binghe into treating Liu Qingge at least half-decently (no matter how tempting the prospect was), mainly because he knew the sentiment wouldn't be returned by the other Peak Lord.
Luo Binghe pressed his lips into a thin line and didn't reply.
"Well, nevermind that now." Shen Qingqiu sighed. "Your punishment is long overdue."
Shen Qingqiu didn't think he'd seen his disciple looking so wronged in a long while and almost laughed.
"Punishment? Because I told that-"
Shen Qingqiu's lips quirked. "No. Because you gave an inadequate answer when I asked you a question."
Luo Binghe’s expression changed abruptly.
"Do you remember?"
There was a bit of colour on his disciple’s cheeks now, his previously recalcitrant attitude gone. "I do."
"Oh, good." Pushing away from the window, Shen Qingqiu closed the small distance between them, unable to ignore the fluttering in his stomach at the way Luo Binghe looked down at him, torn between guilt and apprehension. "You thought I forgot?"
"No," his disciple admitted at last.
"Follow me then." Shen Qingqiu made to leave.
"Shizun, what will you-" Luo Binghe fell silent when Shen Qingqiu pressed a finger to his own lips.
It was just after dusk, the lessons for the day had ended and Shen Qingqiu didn't expect anyone else to come to the bamboo hut. All the same, he slid the doors to the bedroom shut once they had entered and lowered the blinds.
Luo Binghe watched him quietly, eyes falling onto the bamboo cane that Shen Qingqiu drew from a cabinet by the door.
It was the first punishment Shen Qingqiu had to dole out and he didn't intend for it to be too severe. They were both new to this after all but he also didn’t want to go back on his word that digressions would be punished.
He had racked his brain for days trying to recall if the original Shen Qingqiu had ever punished or disciplined Luo Binghe with a bamboo cane because the last thing he wanted to do was bring up some old trauma.
In the end, he couldn’t remember any such incident and not even the system had turned up anything.
Shen Qingqiu tapped the cane against Luo Binghe’s chest. "I will spank you."
His disciple swallowed and nodded slowly.
There was an odd, exhilarating sort of tension in the room that made Shen Qingqiu feel a little breathless.
He's not looking reluctant or uncomfortable, Shen Qingqiu noted with relief and yet he asked, "Are you alright with this?"
Placing a hand against his disciple's chest, Shen Qingqiu looked up at him. "I'm not going to do anything against your will, Binghe. We'll only do what we're both comfortable with."
Luo Binghe’s gaze flickered down to the cane again. "It's fine."
"Don't think, I'll be disappointed if you're reluctant about something."
There was a shy smile on his disciple’s lips as he exhaled slightly. "Shizun knows me too well."
Of course I do, you gorgeous fool. If ever there was a prime example for somebody going through ordeals in order not to disappoint someone, it would be you.
"I love you, Binghe. I don't want to hurt you." Shen Qingqiu's lips twisted into a sardonic smile. "Although this will hurt some."
Luo Binghe ducked his head. "I love you too."
Leading them both over to the bed, Shen Qingqiu placed a few pillows on top of each other.
Initially, naively, Shen Qingqiu had assumed spanking someone as punishment couldn’t be all that difficult and had started to do a bit of light reading more out of curiosity than anything else until he’d realised that depending on what tool he would use and where he struck, he could cause serious harm.
After that, he’d pestered the system about proper information in earnest and had even searched Cang Qiong Mountain’s libraries which had turned up a disconcerting amount of books on how to discipline disciples. None of the sexual variety, of course.
Shen Qingqiu fought down a blush.
"Lie down on your stomach."
Luo Binghe did as he was told, tugging the pillows under his stomach, a flicker of embarrassment crossing his face.
Sitting down on the edge of the bed, Shen Qingqiu placed a hand on the hem of his disciple's pants. "Lift your hips."
He tugged the pants down to the middle of Luo Binghe’s thighs, eyes trailing over his disciple's (naturally) perfect ass.
Really, Airplane-ge, it makes me wonder… and I really don't want to contemplate whether you've fantasised about Binghe one way or another.
The thought almost made him grimace. It was a good thing that Shang Qinghua (as he'd recently and not exactly voluntarily, found out) was completely besotted and apparently in a relationship with Mobei-Jun.
Shen Qingqiu ran his fingertips over the exposed skin, making Luo Binghe tense slightly.
"How many strikes do you think you deserve?"
"However many Shizun sees fit," his disciple mumbled into the pillow.
"Let's start with ten. Since it's your first punishment." Leaning in, Shen Qingqiu pressed his mouth to Luo Binghe’s ear. "You'll keep count."
His disciple nodded with a shiver.
Standing back up, Shen Qingqiu weighed the bamboo cane in his hand, a sharp crack echoing through the room a moment later and Luo Binghe jumped in surprise.
The second strike followed immediately after and it didn't take long for two red welts to appear on his disciple’s backside.
Crouching down by Luo Binghe’s face, Shen Qingqiu brushed a strand of hair aside. He was a little breathless and not from physical exertion, a part of him wondering if he should feel guilty for enjoying himself.
"Look at me."
With noticeable reluctance, Luo Binghe met his eyes.
"Good. Don't look away."
Shen Qingqiu got back to his feet and raised the cane again, only glancing away for a moment, to not accidentally hit anywhere unintentionally.
He saw Luo Binghe’s wince and heard the sharp inhale that followed the sound of the third strike.
Another brisk snap had Luo Binghe gritting his teeth before he counted out, "Four." Despite the obvious struggle, his eyes never left Shen Qingqiu.
Luo Binghe’s breathing had grown slightly uneven and he shifted, perhaps unconsciously, on the pillows as the fifth strike landed.
“Five," he grunted.
A smile tugged at the corner of Shen Qingqiu’s lips. He sat back on the edge of the bed and rested a hand on the small of his disciple’s back, rubbing circles with his thumb.
“Don’t heal the welts for three days."
Bending forward, Shen Qingqiu studied Luo Binghe’s face. The flush that was high on his cheeks, the parted lips and the dilated pupils.
It seemed to become increasingly harder for Luo Binghe to maintain eye contact.
"Binghe," Shen Qingqiu purred. "Are you enjoying yourself?"
"I…" A frown was tugging at his disciple's brows as he struggled for words, embarrassment now plain on his face. "No, I…"
"No?" Shen Qingqiu slid a hand between Luo Binghe’s legs, fingers brushing along the arousal that was pressed against the pillows.
Luo Binghe shuddered, expression helpless and guilty at the same time. "Shizun…"
Shen Qingqiu had never been more grateful for his elaborate robes that hid his own arousal perfectly. He got back to his feet before he'd get carried away by the temptation to kiss his disciple.
Once again a sharp crack filled the silence.
Luo Binghe clutched at the blanket, nostrils flaring. “Six.” He sounded a little hoarse.
“This punishment is starting to look more and more like a reward.” Shen Qingqiu murmured against the nape of his disciple's neck, hand pressing down on Luo Binghe’s lower back, who had tried to shift again. "Don't move."
Luo Binghe opened his mouth, possibly to apologise, before he caught himself.
The next strike was decidedly harder and Luo Binghe jumped and clenched his jaw. “Seven.”
"Did you want to say something, Binghe?”
“No, I… just… I’m sorry, Shizun.” He really did sound endearingly apologetic.
Shen Qingqiu ran his hand gently over Luo Binghe’s abused backside in a soothing gesture, avoiding the fresh welts as much as that was possible. “About what exactly?"
"About…" Luo Binghe drew in a shaky breath. "About not answering Shizun properly and…"
Tapping the cane against the back of Luo Binghe’s thighs, Shen Qingqiu bit back a chuckle when his disciple tensed, obviously expecting another slap. A moment later, his fingertips trailed up the length of his disciple's arousal.
"And about this?"
Luo Binghe resisted the urge to squirm. "Shizun… I, yes."
You should be. Shen Qingqiu thought half-despairingly. I can't even say if I'm tempted to call off the punishment to rip your clothes off or if I don't want the punishment to end.
On top of all that, having Luo Binghe practically presenting his ass to him in such a way, inevitably had his thoughts returning to his intention of fucking him.
After he’d told Luo Binghe as much only a week ago, Shen Qingqiu had been surprised at how much the prospect actually tempted him. Considering his vehement denial to entertain the possibility of him being interested in another man, he’d naturally pushed aside even the tiniest thought of engaging in anything remotely sexual with Luo Binghe.
Now that he’d more or less resigned himself to the fact that he had been in love with his disciple for years and the fact that they were in a relationship (a fact that continued to astonish him), he had no ready excuse to berate himself for his wandering thoughts.
The next slap landed higher up on Luo Binghe’s backside, an as of yet unblemished part.
"Perhaps we should extend the punishment?"
“Whatever Shizun deems appropriate, this disciple will accept it,” Luo Binghe mumbled.
“I’m glad we agree.” The smile in his words was audible, his expression turning sympathetic when his disciple flinched at the sharp snap that followed his words.
Leaning the cane against the bed, Shen Qingqiu let his fingers trail down the back of Luo Binghe’s thigh as he bent down and breathed a kiss against his disciple’s lower back. “Almost done.”
His fingers drew an invisible line on the inside of Luo Binghe’s thigh, inching upwards without reaching anything of consequence but the possibility that they could was enough to elicit a stuttering exhale from his disciple.
Shen Qingqiu’s teasing alternated between being pleasurable and painful, and he watched Luo Binghe squirm in both discomfort when he pressed against the red welts and pleasure whenever his touch reached his arousal.
Luo Binghe muffled a moan against the pillow before burying his face in it.
Oh no, he really is embarrassed about this.
"Binghe," Shen Qingqiu admonished with amusement as he straightened back up and grabbed the cane.
On the downswing, Shen Qingqiu realised that the last strike would be decidedly sharper and he winced in sympathy as it landed.
It was hard to tell if Luo Binghe’s gasp was one of pain or pleasure but his knuckles had turned white where he clutched the blanket.
For a few moments, Shen Qingqiu didn't move. The cane rested at his side, his eyes roaming over his disciple's tense back, the red streaks on his ass and his taut thighs.
The sight made him feel a little lightheaded. Part of him, the very aroused part, was tempted to fuck Luo Binghe then and there. The other, more level-headed, part reminded him that he'd need a lot more research and preparation for that particular scenario.
Heavens, look at him.
Shen Qingqiu took a deep breath, tearing his eyes away. “Don't move," he said, before he walked into a side room.
From one of the drawers he retrieved a soothing ointment that would take the sting away and help with the healing, despite the fact that Luo Binghe could self-heal in seconds and that the welts were a minor inconvenience at best.
This wasn't really about treating a wound but rather about showing his disciple that he cared. Luo Binghe had consented and the whole thing had gone better than he could've expected but nevertheless Shen Qingqiu had worried.
They were still new to all of this and he'd rather err on the side of caution.
Besides, a punishment was still a punishment and he knew how much Luo Binghe took these things to heart, even if his disobedience had been minor.
Shen Qingqiu returned to the bedroom and sat down on the edge of the bed once more. “Come here.”
Hesitantly, Luo Binghe sat up while trying not to put any weight on his behind. When he saw the ointment, a flicker of surprise crossed his face.
Shen Qingqiu pulled a pillow onto his lap and patted it for his disciple to lie down. “It will sting a little.”
For a short while, Shen Qingqiu dabbed ointment on every angry red welt without speaking, his other hand resting on his disciple’s lower back reassuringly. He could feel the tension in Luo Binghe’s body gradually easing.
“Listen to me carefully, Binghe.” Not waiting for an answer, he went on. “With the completion of your punishment, I’ll not dwell on your digression any further. I expect you to do the same. In fact, I forbid you to worry about it. You accepted the punishment without complaint and didn’t lose count of the strikes. You did well. I’m proud of you.”
Closing the small jar, Shen Qingqiu placed it on the nightstand and looked at the ten distinct marks on Luo Binghe’s backside. With his self-healing ability, they would have been gone already if Shen Qingqiu hadn’t forbidden it.
“You’re not allowed to heal yourself yet, so you remember that I took the time to teach you.”
Luo Binghe nodded, face still half-buried in a pillow. “I understand, Shizun. Thank you.”
Slowly, Shen Qingqiu pulled his disciple’s pants up, before moving back on the bed to lean against the pillows at the head of the bed, allowing Luo Binghe to rest his head on the pillow in Shen Qingqiu’s lap and lie down on his stomach.
Shen Qingqiu ran a hand through Luo Binghe’s hair, slowly pulling the hairband loose. “What is it?”
A few moments of silence passed, before his disciple pushed up on one elbow, his hair falling over his right shoulder.
Heavens help me, why is he so beautiful?
Even his contrite expression and the way his lips, once again red and swollen from biting them, turned down, was breathtaking. “I was… I’m sorry about disappointing Shizun before and I…” His words trailed off.
Shen Qingqiu caressed his cheek. “I know you were, that’s why I said what I said, Binghe. You’re always too hard on yourself.”
“And, um…” Some colour crept back into his disciple’s cheek and he averted his eyes. “I don’t want Shizun to think that… that I didn’t take the punishment seriously because… Ah, I really don’t know why…”
At Luo Binghe’s words, Shen Qingqiu felt a fluttering heat in the pit of his stomach. His lips twitched but he kept his face composed. “Hm?”
Opening his mouth to clarify, Luo Binghe faltered and glanced up at him through his lashes. “Shizun is teasing me.”
For a moment, Shen Qingqiu was rendered speechless by the sight in front of him, his mouth going dry.
He really makes me want to do all sorts of things to him…
Taking a measured breath, Shen Qingqiu raised an eyebrow and tried to ignore his rapid heartbeat. “Am I?” He reached out and pushed a strand of hair behind Luo Binghe’s ear. “It wasn’t the pain, was it?”
“I don’t think so.”
Luo Binghe had a high tolerance for pain but what with his childhood and his time with the original Shen Qingqiu, he didn’t think pain was something his disciple enjoyed, no matter how good he was at enduring it.
His words died on his lips when Luo Binghe grabbed his hand that had been lingering at his disciple’s ear and pressed a kiss to his palm, the light brush of lips sending a prickling sensation up his wrist and arm. His fingers twitched involuntarily.
“Maybe it was just because it was Shizun,” Luo Binghe murmured, thumb caressing over the spot on Shen Qingqiu’s palm that he had just kissed.
“Oh?” The sound came out a little strangled.
Lowering his lashes, expression bashful, Luo Binghe said, “I… can’t explain it well. But… submitting to Shizun…” He paused, swallowing. “Always-”
Shen Qingqiu used his free hand to press his slightly trembling fingers against his disciple’s lips to stop him. His heart had skipped a beat at Luo Binghe’s awkward explanation and he was suddenly even more breathless than before.
I really can’t listen to him go on.
Something must’ve shown on his face because Luo Binghe’s eyes darkened, teeth sinking into his still bruised lower lip. “Shizun…”
Shen Qingqiu shuddered, a little scared at how helpless and exposed he felt. “Be quiet.”
Obediently, his disciple closed his mouth but the way he was still looking at him was worse than anything he could’ve said. The heat in those eyes and the pale shimmer of red, the black hair framing his perfect face.
Suddenly, Shen Qingqiu was transported back to events of two weeks ago. Of him standing in front of Luo Binghe who had teetered on the edge of coming, the sounds of his shallow gasps and strained moans.
“Come here.” Shen Qingqiu breathed before he could second guess himself.
Luo Binghe sat up with a wince, his gaze still brazenly on Shen Qingqiu’s face.
“Where do you think you’re looking?” There was no heat or anger in his words but he really couldn’t bear his disciple’s eyes on him anymore, the way they looked both smoldering and demure at the same time.
Averting his gaze, Luo Binghe mumbled an apology, hands on his thighs curling into fists.
Shen Qingqiu grabbed the lapels of his disciple’s outer robes and pulled him close, crushing their lips together.
The kiss was anything but gentle. How could it be with the desire curling in Shen Qingqiu’s stomach, the heat racing through his veins. He felt lightheaded before the kiss had even begun and maybe there was also a spark of anger at how easily his disciple could make him lose his carefully cultivated composure.
Luo Binghe’s lips were hot against his, the curl of his tongue in Shen Qingqiu’s mouth recalling what the same mouth had felt on his cock. The press of those soft, full lips.
Shen Qingqiu’s lashes fluttered, one hand clutching at his disciple’s hair if only to have something to hold onto.
The murmured word sent a shiver down his spine and Shen Qingqiu pulled back, struggling for air as he looked at Luo Binghe’s face that was just a breath away.
"There's something I want to try, Binghe."
"What is it?"
Instead of answering, Shen Qingqiu's hand trailed down his disciple's clothed chest, feeling the accelerated rise and fall, until he reached the hem of Luo Binghe’s pants. His fingers slipped beneath the fabric, his disciple's skin was hot to the touch, his stomach tensing.
A moment later, Shen Qingqiu's hand curled around Luo Binghe’s arousal, drawing a startled gasp from him.
Their faces were still right in front of each other, with Shen Qingqiu watching his disciple's reactions, a slow smile tugging at his lips as he ran his fingers along Luo Binghe’s throbbing cock, thumb rubbing lazy circles on its tip.
Luo Binghe shuddered, hips twitching.
"I thought…" Shen Qingqiu whispered against the corner of his disciple's mouth. "What if, you're not allowed to come for…" He faked a moment of contemplation at Luo Binghe's sharp inhale. "Hm, a week?"
Shen Qingqiu chuckled at his disciple's relieved reaction. "Do you think it will be easy, Binghe?"
Luo Binghe swallowed, having a hard time concentrating while Shen Qingqiu's hand was still on his cock. "I… I don't know," he admitted.
"Do you want to try?"
"If Shizun wants… This disciple has no objections."
Shen Qingqiu pulled him into another kiss, by now painfully aroused himself but he had no intention of stopping yet. His grip on Luo Binghe tightened as the movement of his hand rose steadily, fingers tugging, teasing and pressing against all the places he by now knew would push his disciple closer to the edge.
Luo Binghe’s groan was muffled by their kiss. He braced himself with one hand against the headboard, his other hand on Shen Qingqiu's neck, tilting his head back slightly to deepen the kiss.
Abruptly, Shen Qingqiu's fingers stilled. He could feel how close his disciple was and didn't dare make another move.
Interrupting their kiss, he watched Luo Binghe’s face carefully, the clenched jaw and flaring nostrils.
"Remember what we just talked about?"
From his disciple's expression, it looked like he had trouble remembering his own name that very second. Struggling to catch his breath, Luo Binghe tried with trembling lips, "About… That I'm not allowed to…" His eyes widened as realisation dawned on him. "Shizun…"
Shen Qingqiu smiled at the pleading tone. "What? You didn't think we'd start today?"
When Shen Qingqiu slowly pulled his hand back, Luo Binghe buried his face in the crook of his neck with a regretful whimper.
"It's only a week and since I'm not without mercy, I'll let today count as the first day."
Luo Binghe’s voice was a little hoarse when he finally spoke again, "Will… Shizun tease me every day?"
Pressing a kiss against his disciple's temple, Shen Qingqiu chuckled. "Of course I will."