(In)Experienced Hands

2020

Tags: underage

Sthen, the warrior of legend, is in the midst of speaking with one of his old allies, now captain of the royal guard of Meddlia, Walker Button, when a girl—the girl, the heir to the Meddlian throne, adopted from who knows where but clearly not here— comes into the room with tiny steps, boots clicking on the tile of the palace hall, lingering around the two of them like a fly around honey.

Out the corner of his eye, Sthen watches her.

He had no quarrel with her, not in the way everyone else seemed to. In fact, this was his first time seeing her out and about, and from the looks of it, that wasn’t an accident. She was wearing a black gown, cut short to just below her knee, and black boots, slightly scuffed and speckled with mud. Her tights are a dull gray color, as is the shawl around her little shoulders and the cravat at her neck. Clearly a uniform of some sort, and though it’s not like there are many of those around, Sthen can’t place where it’s from.

That doesn’t really matter though, not as much as her long black ears, twitching just slightly as she comes closer to him and Button. Sthen is very much watching those ears, barely notices when she taps him lightly on the thigh with her black lace fan.

“You’re in my way,” she says, softly, head cocked as if she’s asking permission, like she doesn’t know she’s giving a command, like she’s testing him to see if he can be commanded.

She’s in luck.

“Oh, am I?” Sthen says. “My apologies.”

He shuffles aside slightly. She’s in luck, but he isn’t going to make it easy for her. The girl is smart, staring up at him with something like a glare, but nowhere as mean as it should be, as if he hadn’t moved at all.

“You shouldn’t get in people’s way,” the girl says, long ears stiff like steel, as she pushes forward in the way that Sthen wants.

Sthen cocks his head to the side and kneels down, trying hard to hide the smile on his lips but not quite keeping it out of his eyes. He doesn’t want to scare her off when she’s come this far after all. “Do you mean to punish me?”

The girl thinks for a moment, as if she’s wondering if that’s the endpoint she wanted to come to, if that’s the secret code she’s meant to listen out for, then nods once.

Button starts to say something— they were in the middle of a conversation, and while he knew the terms of Sthen’s contract and Lovelette was to be the heir to Meddlia, there had to be a line drawn somewhere— but Sthen stands just to put a finger to his lips and shush him before crouching back down to scoop Lovelette into his arms.

The captain is prepared to follow them, but Sthen merely takes her down the hall to a courtyard that’s usually empty at this time of day, setting her down on the edge of a quietly burbling fountain, her legs still too short for her feet to touch the ground quite yet.

Sthen adjusts himself, then carefully drapes himself across her lap, stretching himself across the fountain’s edge, then sort of scrunching up and leaning forward so that Lovelette won’t have to stretch so much to dole out his punishment. Not that it matters, Sthen still dwarfs her in this position.

While the situation is not ideal, Button should’ve known better, knowing Sthen’s proclivities. The least he can do is turn his back on them, stand guard while this is…taken care of.

It was probably good that Lovelette had one person who didn’t instinctively distrust her.

“How many then?” Sthen asks, glancing back over his shoulder at her. Despite his whole…everything, he knew the various objections to the scenario and quite frankly he didn’t care. This wasn’t an opportunity he could afford to pass up, he could void this whole contract and still have everything he ever wanted, and he was practically salivating at the idea.

Seemingly unaware, the girl thinks for a moment before settling on her answer. “Three.”

So she understands. Presumably. Certainly saved time. “Shall I count for you?”

The girl nods and holds up her fan.

“Very well.”

Sthen turns his head, facing forward again. The first strike comes sooner than he expects, and the initial of surprise and delight— yes! Yes! She gets it!— immediately dissipates. It was too blunt, it hurt too dull like the pain he hated, a bit too close to being hit with a firm pillow and not like the sharp crack of a whip.

“One,” he finally says, soothing her shaky confidence. “Focus on the motion of your wrist, make it sharp, flick it quickly, but keep your grip firm.”

There’s a shift above him, then another hit. Sthen winces as pain blooms across his thighs, and he shifts through it so that it’s easier for her to aim next time. He was desperate for pain, starving even, but he couldn’t account for who would come after him, for the expected future flings. He ought to teach useful things too, safe things, even if that didn’t matter to someone like him.

“Two. Avoid the thighs, focus on the buttocks to avoid lasting damage.”

Lovelette soothes the site of the impact with a small gloved hand. Then—

The sound is loud enough to make even Button start.

“Th-three,” Sthen says, struggling to keep his grip on the fountain’s edge and his wits about him as the perfect pain— sharp and quick after only two tries, like she saw into his soul and pulled out exactly what he’d been dreaming of since he was brought to this miserable realm, since he was barely an adolescent, that had defined him— as the perfect pain overrides all his senses and draws the desired script of submission out of him. “Perfect.”

What else can he say? He knew it was a possibility, he was willing to take the risk on this girl he didn’t even know, but it was as if he wasn’t expecting perfect pain at all, didn’t know what it would do to him, and was now struggling to maintain some sense of composure and propriety.

He…should’ve waited until she was perhaps a bit older, but the lure of having this now eases away his regret.

Sthen’s drawn back to himself by the feeling of a little hand patting the top of his head, as if unafraid of what lies there.

“9 more?” Lovelette asks, and Sthen can feel his heart swell.

10 full portions of perfection.

“Yes, seems appropriate,” Sthen says, sure that his own shaking voice is betraying his desperation more than he’d like.

As promised, 9 more come, all of them perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect. By the end he’s barely in his own head, or perhaps too far in it, lost in the depths of the pain she’s given him, a drooling, panting mess, not even 100% sure if he ever actually counted for her, through if it nets him 10 more hits, well—

She seems to read his thoughts, setting her fan down with a little clack on the fountain’s edge by his head before doing her best attempt at aftercare, rubbing his head and back like he’s some large dog that wandered up to her in the park. It leaves much to be desired, but it’s enough to drag Sthen back to himself at least.

He carefully rises and climbs off her, careful not to jostle her from such a precarious position, and, with wobbling, unsteady legs, kneels down before her.

“You have my apologies for blocking you way earlier, my lady.”

Sthen’s attempt at continuing the scenario falls apart when he can barely keep the smile off his face. Lovelette barely acknowledges it, just grabs her fan and opens her arms wide to be carried again, now knowing full well that Sthen can’t not indulge her.

Button turns and watches his approach, eyebrows raised, attitude judgmental, and Lovelette as transferred to his arms.

“What can I say?” Sthen says, sauntering back to his quarters on still shaky legs. “She’s a natural.”