Warnings, notes etc are here.
Universe: Et Praevalebit
Specific chapter warnings: This is the BDSM section. And this is the BDSM section.
If he really intended to teach Xander to ride, he would need to give it some serious thought; he hadn't realised how much explanation was involved even in something as simple (to him) as dismounting. He showed Xander how to run up the stirrups; he already knew about leading the horse.
"Put him away, Xander. The blue rug, make sure he's got water, the usual stuff. Make a fuss of him; there's a half packet of peppermints in the tack room: give him a couple. He's not a beginner's horse, and he's not really what I would have chosen to teach you on, but he was very careful with you. Pet him and tell him he's clever; groom him and check his feet, and he'll be more inclined to make things easy for you. When he's sorted, come back into the house." He touched Xander's shoulder. "You did well."
Inside the house, he paused long enough to arrange his plan into order, before searching in his side of the bedroom, and picking out a pair of his pyjama trousers. They were soft cotton, old and loose, and he decided on an elderly shirt of his as well, and then intruded on Xander's space to find the slave tag with its leather thong. All three were carefully placed on the wooden chair in the bathroom, and he flicked the switch that would provide hot water. He retreated to the kitchen, and inspected the contents of the fridge, frowning in concentration.
Back outside, he could hear Xander murmuring to Ivo, and the hiss of the brush; he leaned on the half door and Xander looked up at him with a smile.
"When you're done in there," he said abruptly, "and don't skimp it, make sure he's all taken care of, go inside and have a bath. Throw a handful of that muscle soak stuff in it too."
Xander looked at him quizzically; he added firmly, "I've laid out what you're to put on, nothing else." The look morphed to faint surprise, and he allowed his own expression to shift towards severity. "Is that clear, Kay? Nothing else."
It was clear; Xander coloured hotly, and Giles saw his whole body quiver, before his eyes dropped and he said submissively, "Yes, Master." He waited until he was sure Xander was concentrating on the horse again, before he took himself off, back across the road and into the trees, fingering the knife in his pocket.
His dinner preparations were well advanced when Xander emerged from the bathroom, properly attired in Giles' clothes; they looked at each other wordlessly for a moment. It was as close as Giles could get to the loose garments Xander had worn on Coblan, and he had a brief moment of concern, second-guessing himself about possibly bringing back traumatic memories, before he reminded himself that he had given Xander what Xander had referred to later as 'owner clothes'. These were too big for Xander; the shirt was tunic length, and the trousers slid low on Xander's much narrower hips the way they didn't on Giles himself, but Xander still contrived to look comfortable in them.
"What does Master need me to do?"
He'd got it, then. Giles relaxed. "Set the table, please." He allowed a beat while Xander turned away, and added smoothly, "for one." Xander glanced back, plainly surprised, but he smiled, and did as he was told, coming back to start to tidy around Giles, washing up the cooking things as Giles finished with them. It amused Giles; Xander, it seemed, was keen to get to the main part of the evening's entertainment. He allowed himself to hang a hand over Xander's shoulder when he came back, to draw him in against his chest, arms wrapped around his waist, and to stand quietly that way while water boiled and vegetables cooked.
"Go and fetch the floor cushion; put it down beside my chair." They had found it in a second hand shop; Xander had wanted it because of his tendency to loll on the floor beside the stove while reading. Giles dished up neatly and carried his plate to the table, fixing Xander with a glare. "Kneel, please, here." So he wasn't nearly harsh enough as a master, but the slate floor was hard on the knees, even through a rug. He wanted to control Xander's discomfort, or at least that was his excuse. "Keep your hands out of the way. Rest them on your legs if you want; if they come up, you'll have to put them behind your back."
Xander folded them obediently on his thighs, and looked up hopefully; Giles smiled down at him. He hadn't fed his pet by hand since...
Not since Kay really had been his pet, and they had eaten lunch in the park in the breaks between research sessions. His fingers trembled as he cut the meat; he controlled them ruthlessly. He had denied enjoying that then; now he was allowed to enjoy it and he damn well would.
Xander liked it too. Afterwards they washed up the few remaining dishes together, in silence.
"I'm going to lock up outside, and check on Ivo. If you have anything else to do, you should do it now, because when I come back in, I want that floor cushion on top of the little table, and you on your knees in front of it, ready for whatever I feel like doing."
He deliberately didn't look back.
He hadn't really doubted it, but it was nonetheless gratifying that when he came back with something disguised inside his coat, Xander was where he ought to be, on his knees, looking calm. "Set the wards, make up the fire, and come back to your place."
He didn't watch. He didn't need to; Xander would set firm, bright wards and Giles could take the time to prepare himself. He used the bathroom and selected his own clothes to match Xander's. Kay's. Then, deliberately, he calmed his mind. If Xander – if Kay – were to be safe, Giles had to be totally in control of both of them. He crossed the stone floor, and carefully laid down on top of the cushion the item he had retrieved from the tack room; Xander's eyes widened.
"Do you know what it is?" It even looked wicked: seven slender but branching switches, each one the length of his forearm or thereabouts, bundled together and with one end bound with cord to make a handle.
Kay shook his head, doubtfully.
“It’s a birch. Any one of those rods on its own would be enough to get your attention. Together?” He lifted it, and hissed it through the air, allowing Kay to see how it splayed, and flexed. “All the effect for you, much less work for me. With a whip, if I want marks over, say, the span of my hand, how many times would I have to use it? Five? Six? With this?” He swished it again. “Once. Do you see how the rods bend? They’ll curve around you the way a strap does, and each one of those limber little ends will sting ferociously – all at once. If I use this on you, it will hurt you a good deal, and it will mark you. You'll feel it for a day or so, and see it for longer." He waited. This needed express consent, and Kay was trembling, but he lifted his eyes to Giles'.
"You haven't done anything to deserve it, not as a punishment. Are you afraid of it?"
Kay swallowed again. "Yes, Master."
"You're right to be." He waited for three heartbeats. "Do you want it?"
It was hardly more than a whisper. "Yes, Master."
Inside he went limp with relief at having judged correctly what Xander wanted; physically he couldn't afford to show it. He moved behind Kay and knelt, his thighs outside Kay's, his chest to Kay's back, arms gently around Kay's body. He kissed the presented nape and shoulders, allowed his hands to run tenderly down Kay's arms, over his back, around his hips and thighs, using the touch to convey everything his reserved nature struggled to say aloud. This was communication at its most basic, and Kay, it seemed, understood him perfectly, arching his back, leaning into Giles' touch, and smiling, eyes closing. Giles slipped his finger to the shirt buttons and Kay's hands came up to help; he lipped lightly at an earlobe and kept his voice down to a breath. "No, let me do it," he murmured; he might be Master and Kay might be his pet, his possession, but that didn't mean that Giles should be other than respectful, and Kay's hands fell away, although he wriggled a shoulder free and pushed up to allow the trousers to be taken from him.
Giles set a large warm hand in the middle of his back and pressed gently to get Kay up on his knees, chest and stomach on the big cushion that rested on the coffee table. He rose, less gracefully and reached past Kay's back to lift the birch, allowing the very ends to whisper down Kay's back. "I'm not deciding on a number; I'm simply going to give you as much as I want." He waited for the little shiver. "If it's really too much?"
Kay nodded. That was enough. He had safe-words, he knew how to use them. He never had.
Very well. He started very lightly, with only a light snap of his wrist. The birch was unlike anything else he had ever used: the individual rods flared in the air and there was almost no resistance on contact, but Kay jumped as if startled. Giles sympathised. When he had made it, he had experimented in the tack room against his own thigh; he knew that was no more than sting with no serious after effect, but sting there certainly was. He flicked it again and again, across Kay's arse, down his thighs, watching him wriggle. He seemed unable to be motionless, but as soon as Giles stilled, Kay settled too, easing slowly into the cushion.
Well. He tried again, a little harder, watching Kay tense and relax. He was breathing faster now, squirming against the cushion; the birch was raising tiny weals, almost like scratches, and Kay's skin began to flush into an uneven mottle. Another half dozen and he was becoming noisy, gasping, a note of pain sounding in every out-breath. He slowed. It would be a shame to rush this, a shame for both of them. He let the birch tickle, up Kay's back and down again with a smart rap across his arse, eliciting the first buck.
"Excellent," he approved. "A reaction. I won't ask if it hurts: I can see that it does. It's going to hurt a great deal more before I've finished with you. You're quite red already in some places, but I think I shall colour you from here" – and he swiped briskly across the broadest part of Kay's backside – "down to here," and he flicked a stinging blow six inches above the backs of his knees; Kay leapt like a fish, obviously having expected something else. "You won't sit tomorrow, not willingly, I don't imagine, but I think I shall order it. No cushions. You'll sit on the wooden chair, and if I catch you squirming, I'll take you across my knee and add some more heat." Kay was squirming already, hips shifting forward and back. "Let's try... I know. Back away from the table a little. More. Yes, there. Now, keep your chest down, weight on it. Hands under your balls, hold everything out of the way." Kay's back tensed nervously. "And legs wide. Wider. Wider still. Lovely." He watched carefully to make sure that Kay did have everything vulnerable held safely out of harm's way; then he applied the birch lightly to the inside of a thigh.
The squeal was accompanied by an instant break in position; he backed away at once, half expecting a safe word, but it didn't come. Instead Kay babbled something bewildered, and slowly put himself back the way he had been, legs wide. Giles smiled to himself, but he kept his voice stern. "I should think so indeed. Did I give you permission to move?" He let the tips of the rods whisper across the violated skin.
"No, Master. Sorry, Master."
"Oh, you will be," he promised, darkly, and swung again at the same spot. Kay bucked, and his legs half straightened, lifting his arse more temptingly than he perhaps intended. Giles waited for him to settle, and repeated the stroke in precisely the same place. The buck was higher, stronger, and the squeal closer to a wail. Again, and this time there was no doubt: Kay yelled, his feet drummed on the floor, and he writhed. Giles waited for him to still.
"Other side," he said in a businesslike tone, and Kay sobbed.
The reactions were as strong as before, and when he paused again, Kay's face was wet and strained. "Hmm. What next? I think... Yes. On your feet. Now, bend, nice and tightly. Forearms on the coffee table. Legs apart."
He stared. He had seen Kay – seen Xander – opened to his gaze before, but never like this. This took vulnerability to new limits. The hanging cock, regaining stiffness as he looked (he was well aware that Kay's arousal had come and gone over the course of their interaction); the lightly furred balls, tightening as Kay shifted his weight nervously from one foot to the other. The red and wealed cheeks, widely parted with his stance, revealed everything. He set a finger to the very top of Kay's cleft, feeling him jump and flex, and with extreme delicacy, drew it downward, over sensitive flesh, hesitating at the wrinkled hole, and passing on to the tenderness of his perineum.
"Shall I strike you here?"
That, he thought in amusement, would be a No; he had rarely heard Kay beg with such sincerity, although for all his desperation, he didn't break position, and the specific words for which Giles listened with such care never came. No, the fragile arse was offered to him as surely as the bruised buttocks. Kay didn't want to feel the slender ends of the twigs kissing between his cheeks but if Giles wanted to do it, Kay would try to endure it. There were tears now, dripping from his face to the fabric of the cushion cover, and his breath was coming in great gulping gasps but for all that...
"Arch your back. Push your arse up. Present yourself to me."
He must keep a grip on his own desires, because Kay's willing submission was a powerful drug. He rapped the birch down one thigh, quick smarting flicks, enough now to exact low sobs, and Kay danced lightly on his toes – but his forearms stayed flat on the low table, so that every shift was merely a new angle of the delectable arse. That had to be repeated on the same thigh, and the sobs were higher pitched and more desperate; he changed legs and marked the other thigh the same way, this time without a break half way. Kay was squirming and stamping, but his head stayed down, his arms braced, his arse lifted.
Three hard strokes across the presented buttocks; even without his deliberate intent, the wickedly fraying ends of the rods ventured into tender territory and Kay howled. He flicked again at the pinkened thighs, no weight in the strokes but every loose frond of birch stinging. He changed sides and laid three backhand strokes low on Kay's backside; Kay was all but beyond speech, and with the flurry on his legs again he was reduced to snatching desperate breaths, his sounds of dismay no longer resembling words.
When Giles paused again, he could see that Kay was done. His arms were giving under him; his knees were bending, and he was recovering himself with a jerk, pushing back to position, and failing again.
It was more of a collapse. Giles knelt too, coming close to hold Kay, tugging him back until he was almost sitting on Giles' lap. The heat from his skin bled into Giles' thighs; Giles braced an arm across him and pulled, forcing Kay's weight against him. Stillness was apparently impossible: Kay squirmed helplessly and pointlessly. Giles let his left hand wander, stroking Kay's hair back from his wet face, sweeping the tears from his cheekbones, before trickling down to tease and tug at a nipple. Kay's head thudded back against Giles' shoulder, but his hips continued to make little jerks as he tried to find ease for his arse. Giles' hand ventured lower; Kay was half erect again, and Giles ringed his cock loosely with his fingers, pulling once or twice, and then opening his hand so that the flushed head rested on his palm. Now every involuntary squirm behind added the slightest imaginable rub in front, and Kay's hands closed tightly on Giles' forearm. He was whimpering, soft breathy noises that made Giles' own cock swell, as if the constant wriggling were not enough to bring him to a state of almost unbearable arousal. He began to move a little himself, against Kay's shifts, and the pressure and friction on welted skin drove Kay's hips into ever greater movement. Giles cruelly eased his palm still further, until Kay's cock, now thickened and slick, skated wetly over it with every movement, racking up the stimulation while denying even the hint of future release.
"You look wonderful like this." It was breathed into Kay's ear. "Maybe tomorrow I'll keep you naked all day so that I can see what I've done to you. Maybe I'll do it again. Who do you belong to?"
It seemed that Kay couldn't speak: he gasped twice, his hips driving uselessly forward towards Giles' hand, and then he turned his head, straining round to kiss Giles' jaw.
"You're mine," Giles told him fiercely, and he nodded, eyes shut; "you're mine and it shows in that tag at your neck. It shows in every mark on your skin. Yes, tomorrow you can dress to go outside, but as soon as you step inside again, even if it's only for five minutes, you're to strip. In here, you belong to me. First thing tomorrow morning, you'll be spanked over my knee; after that I'm going to lube you up. All the time you're in here, you'll be naked. You'll be spanked often, not for any reason except that I want to do it. I'm going to check your arse often too: you're to keep yourself slick and loose, whether you're in here or out there. When I want to take you – and I will – you're to be ready to receive me, whatever way I fancy. You may come as often as you like, but you'll find that a spanking after you've come stings a damn sight more than one before. You will find that because I'm going to spank you on at least one occasion both before I fuck you and afterwards." He swallowed hard, wrestling with his self-control. "Once a day between tomorrow night and Saturday, you're to come to me and ask to be spanked. Ask me to keep your arse hot and red and sore, the way my pet's arse ought to be, so that he remembers that he is my pet, he belongs to me. It will be my choice whether I give you a nice light little spanking, just enough to make you wriggle and warm you up, or a proper thrashing that will make you cry, but you choose when it happens. That will be extra to anything I feel like giving you."
Kay's cock was jerking helplessly against Giles' palm. He took his hand away. "I'm going to give you three more strokes with the birch now. Get up, put the cushion on the floor, kneel on the coffee table, near the end. Lean forward over the edge and get your elbows on the floor."
Kay whimpered, but he didn't move.
"Master, please... please!"
"Five. Or use your safe-word; tell me you can't do it."
Kay moved. Slowly, stiffly, he uncoiled himself from Giles' lap and rose. His legs wobbled and he put a hand on the table to steady himself, pushing the cushion away and taking its place. He crawled awkwardly to the edge and leaned over; Giles stood up and put a hasty arm around his waist, steadying him for the ungainly drop. His head rested on his clasped hands against the floor.
"Knees apart. Now hollow your spine." He couldn't keep Kay there long; the strain on his back would be excessive. "Beautiful. Beautiful." He was beautiful, opened to anything Giles wanted to do, totally exposed. The table was sturdy, he had tested it earlier while Xander was outside; he stepped up onto the wooden surface. Kay was almost totally inverted in front of him, weight so far down that he was helpless. The now ragged rod touched one cheek, not crosswise, but up and down.
"Oh, please no!"
The birch fell, briskly but not harshly, once to left and once to right; Kay squealed. "That's two."
Two more, harder, each drawing a wail and a long squirm. "Knees wider."
"No, no, nonono..." but the knees were slipping, the thighs parting obscenely wide and Kay sobbed harshly as Giles touched the birch gently into the space between his cheeks.
"Arch your back. Push up. Open yourself to me."
Kay made a keening sound of visceral fear even as his body did as it was told; his shoulders were shaking with the strain as Giles carefully, silently, transferred the birch into his right hand, leaned forward, and flicked one fingernail lightly against the vulnerable arsehole. Kay made a weird noise that started as a yell and strangled into a 'huh?' and Giles laughed aloud, broke a single twig out of the birch and tapped it with no force at all into the gap. Kay's arms gave; he slid off the table with a jump and a yelp, rolling to his side and staring up at Giles. "You said five," he objected indignantly. "That was six!"
"I lied," agreed Giles cheerfully, stepping off the table. "Or maybe I miscounted. Shall we start that last round again?" He leaned over and ran his hands with infinite tenderness over Kay's welted arse. "No, we won't, I think. Come here." He encouraged Kay to his feet and then to the couch where Giles drew him down, curled sideways, head against his Master's body.
"Beautiful," murmured Giles again, but that had not been the point of the exercise. "Who do you belong to?"
Kay spoke to his Master's chest. "I'm yours."