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Jensen's skin shines with perspiration. A single, round bead drips from his hair and trickles over his cheek, tickling a path to his neck. He thinks it odd that this sensation stands out when the whistle of Jared's belt is cutting through the warm air of the playroom to land with a sharp, stinging, clarity, across the top of his thighs. The plug that nestles in deep inside him shifts and he groans. 

Jared lets the belt slap to the floor and waits for Jensen, with a faint upturn of his lip.

"Ten. Thank you Master."

He knows that Jensen needed this. He had returned from work wound as tight as a clockwork soldier, bitching and pale. He complained of stress and described his stomach as tightly coiled and cramping. A common enough occurrence after a busy day at work with meals sacrificed for output. Jared had tutted and pushed dinner at him before retrieving the thick leather collar and having his sub kneel while long fingers reverently placed it around his neck. Even then Jared had made him wait, running his hand through his sub's soft hair as he curled at his feet, until their favorite TV show had finished. 

Jared studies Jensen. He loves that he gets to have this, his partner's total trust, his submission and his love. In return it is his honor to give Jensen what he needs, to push his boundaries and take his control. It's not a responsibility he takes lightly and right now he is concentrating on every quiver of Jensen's muscles, the slick of his skin and the pallor of pale skin that accentuates the dusting of multiple freckles. He flexes his muscles and rolls his arms.

Lust-blown, green eyes lock on to the movement in anticipation. Jensen's muscles are taut against the upright cross, trembling with the effort and exhaustion of the scene. The welts that criss-cross his body throb and ache in precisely the right way. This is all there is. Only the sub, his Dom and the sharp, satisfying sting of the belt that keeps him grounded, right here, right now, taking the guilt of every little grouch and grump from him, cleansing him. 

Number eleven strikes with a heavy 'thwack' and a deep burn right across the center of his ass and Jensen hisses but Jared is observant and it is followed by an unusual wince and a sharp intake of breath. More than the usual reaction, thinks Jared.

"Eleven. Thank you, Master."

Jared lets the belt hang easy from his fingers, feeling it brush against his thigh. He takes longer before he readies himself because something is not right with his sub. 

He stalks to Jensen, stands directly in front of him and runs his hand over the unusually bright flush of his cheek, across his plump pink, lips and down to his collar. He caresses the curve of the leather with his fingertips and places a kiss on his neck, just below his ear.

"What is your safeword, Jensen?" he whispers, hot breath on his ear.

"Impala, Master."

"Why aren't you using it?"

"It's not you, Master. I'm fine."

"Don't try to fool me Jensen you're not fine. Do you want me to save a special punishment for another day?" He stands tall and crosses his arms, firm in his command.

"No, Master."

"Tell me where you are hurting, Jensen. Then tell me what it is we should do." Jared looks at him sternly, his multi-hued hazel eyes gaze expectantly at him.

"It's just stomach ache, Master." Jensen bites at his lip and his long lashes drag on his cheek as he closes his eyes, ashamed that he hadn't told Jared before now. "Impala." He says regretfully.

"Good boy, in future when you feel unwell, you must use the safe word." Jared unbuckles the soft leather bindings with skilful fingers, lets Jensen collapse into his arms and mould into the curve of his body. He kisses the crown of his sub's head then places his lips on Jensen's forehead. It is hot, too hot. "I love you." he says as he gently guides him to their bathroom with small steps, careful not to jar the livid evidence of his lashes or roil his stomach further.

He lets Jensen lean against him as he turns on the shower and adjusts it to a fine spray that won't fall viciously on the sore skin and is not too hot or too cold.

"Gonna take the collar off and get you in the shower. You understand that I'm not ending this scene because you have done anything wrong but because you're ill. Tell me you understand."

Jensen nods miserably and Jared cups his chin and raises Jensen's face so he can look into the now over-bright eyes. "Tell me why Jen."

"We're ending the scene because I'm sick, Master."

"Good boy, c'mon." The leather collar slides soft over Jensen's skin leaving raised goosebumps in the cooling air. Jared puts it in a drawer before pressing Jensen forward into the shower, removing his own leather pants and joining him. He squeezes a generous portion of shower gel and soaps Jensen thickly, smoothing it over his shoulders and massaging it over his body. He uses deft, soft strokes on the reddened flesh of Jensen's muscular globes then parts them with care and works soap over the base of the plug, teases it out, slow and careful, using the slick of the soap to help him, reassuring his lover all the while. Jensen has his arm bent at the elbow, pressing hard into the pain of his gut and Jared kisses a trail up his spine before turning him around to repeat the lather on his chest, over his abs, down between his thighs. He looks at his lover's ashen face and decides to speed things up. He would love to play, to stroke Jensen's cock to hardness, to push him harsh against the tiled wall and take him there, while the water beats down on them but this isn't the time. He switches off the shower and grabs a warm fluffy towel from the rail to wrap around Jensen.

Jared dries his lover first, then scrubs a towel roughly and rapidly over his own expanse of tan flesh. Jensen sighs and it ends in a high pitched whimper.

"You spent an awful lot of time playing with Mac's horrors last weekend. Didn't you say that one of them had a stomach bug on Sunday evening?" asks Jared.

"Ugh. Yep. Brandon spent the entire night with the cramps, sicking up at every opportunity." Jensen rolled his eyes at the memory. "Ew. Do you think....?"

Jared grasps his hand and leads him in to their bedroom. Before he attends to Jensen's general health he must tend to the wounds that he has inflicted. "Let me look after you." Jared pushes him onto the cool linen of the bed and Jensen huffs as his sensitive skin settles into it. The brunette snatches up a pot of antiseptic balm and dollops it on his palm before warming it in his hands. He kneels over his lover, looking down on his chest as it rises and falls, fast with excitement and pain. He leans in to steal a quick kiss, swiping his tongue into the hot, wet cavern of Jensen's mouth, tasting him, tangling with Jensen's tongue and clashing against his teeth before pulling away with an appreciative hum.

"Mmm. You're amazing." comments Jensen, licking the spit from his lips.

Jared uses a firm caress and smooth swipe to massage the lotion into supple flesh. He rubs a soothing circle on Jensen's belly and peppers kisses in it's wake. By the time Jared urges Jensen to turn onto his front, so he can repeat the aftercare on the rest of his body, Jensen's eyelids are hooded and heavy. "M'love you." Jensen mutters and Jared chuckles because Jensen is adorable like this, half asleep and childlike.

When Jared is finally finished spreading ointment, he dresses his lover in the rattiest PJs he owns, knowing that they are also his most comfortable. He settles him into their bed and pulls the covers over before pulling on a pair of boxer briefs and padding into the bathroom to collect a bucket, a flannel, a glass of water and some painkillers.

He returns to find Jensen curled in a tight ball, a tear glistening between his lashes. He runs his hand through his hair and encourages him to sit up and take the tablets before sliding into bed beside him. He cradles Jensen in his strong arms, letting the fingers of his right hand trail over his skin while his left hand settles over his heart. Jensen snuggles into him and turns his head to latch on to his lips and kiss Jared deep and slow. "Feelin' better already." he murmurs. Jared continues to caress Jensen until he falls into a fitful sleep. He guesses he will be waking again soon enough and then he will look after Jensen for as long as it takes.