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WARNING: If you haven't read the warning on the index page, go back and read it. If you don't, and you don't like what you find here, don't come crying to me.

Title: Half Empty

Author: Eleanor K.

Fandom: Witchblade

Pairing: Ian Nottingham/Kenneth Irons

Rating: NC-17

Spoilers: Not so's you'd notice. Maybe some vague ones for the last half of the first season. .

Email: emungere@gmail.com

Disclaimer: I'm actually not sure who Witchblade belongs to, but it certainly isn't mine.

WARNINGS: It's Ian having sex with Irons-- this probably warrants a warning in and of itself. Whether Ian contains genetic material from Irons or not (I am not entirely clear about this), Irons was certainly the only father he ever knew, so there's definitely an element of incest there. Apart from that; morbid thoughts, general twistedness, and punishment with a riding crop.

..___..

Perhaps, if not for the rain, it would never have happened.

I needed time to think, and my master had not specified a time for me to be home, so I walked. I cannot say that the walk cleared my head, but the weather made its impression upon me nonetheless. As I input the security code at the gate, I glanced up at the camera and wondered whether he was watching at that moment, if he would want to see me before I changed. But for the fact that I was merely sopping wet and not filthy as well, one might have thought I had plunged fully clothed into the river. Rain had dripped down my pants into my boots so that I squished when I walked.

Squished. Is that her word? I know I did not learn it from my master or the doctor. Since Sara came into my life, it seems I am not so separate from the world as I once was. I cannot say whether this is a good thing or not. I cannot even say what my master would think of it, and that alone is cause enough for concern. I can separate my thoughts from his now. There was a time when I could not, and the change is... disquieting.

So I grow toward the world and away from him? Perhaps. I had much to think about on that walk home.

He opened the door himself before I could insert my card-key. I bowed my head, and he stepped aside to let me pass and shut the door behind me.

"I would have thought I taught you well enough to come in out of the rain, Ian."

"It was not a long walk."

"And that was not an answer," he said sharply.

"You did not ask a question." See how you rebel even in this, my heart said. How long do you think he will tolerate it? Let him make be submit, I answered. Let him make me. Please.

My master chuckled. "No. I did not." I bowed a fraction of an inch in acknowledgment and turned to go, but his voice stopped me. "A moment, Ian. I won't have you using your foolishness as an excuse to ruin my rugs."

I risked a glance up, uncertain of his meaning.

He smiled a thin smile. "Strip." His face hardened. "Now."

I bent to untie my boots. You see, my heart gloated. You see, he rules you as he ever did. And I smiled down at my boots, thinking to myself, Yes. Yes, let him make me. Let him prove it.

Let him answer all my unanswerable questions.

Straightening, I kicked off my boots and shrugged out of my coat, letting it fall. The pants were difficult, wet and clinging, but they came off and everything else followed. I stood naked on the front hall rug, still dripping and trying not to shiver. Goosebumps began to rise on my skin and still he did not speak.

Finally, after whole minutes of standing there, head down so I saw only his shoes, with my hands clasped firmly behind my back no matter how much they wanted to move to cover my privates, he moved toward me.

His hand lifted my chin until I was forced to look at him. He stepped closer.

"You grow restless, Ian."

I did not know if restless was the right word for it, and again my heart called me a traitor for questioning his diagnosis. A year ago, a month ago, I would not have been capable of it. Still, I said nothing.

"Yes, I see it in your eyes," he murmured. "You can hide nothing from me, you know that."

"I do not wish to hide from you."

I had surprised him. There was the faintest hint of a smile that spread to his eyes as it faded from his lips.

"Perhaps not." His voice was considering. "Perhaps you merely need a reminder." He walked around me, fingers brushing from my jaw to the back of my neck where his hand closed. "Is that it, Ian?" I felt the press of his body behind me and was glad for the warmth. He laughed low in my ear as I leaned back into him. "I require an answer, Ian. Do you want me to remind you to whom you belong?"

I did shiver then, but not from cold. "Yes," I whispered.

I would like to ask the doctor if it is possible to engineer emotion. I was created to serve my master, and it gives me a measure of security to know that I will die before I betray him, but that is not emotion; that is my whole life and purpose. What I do not know is this: Is my love for him only a part of this purpose, or is it my own? There are so few things I can call my own. I would like to know that I had a choice in this, and that I chose him.

His hand ran quickly, firmly down my spine. "Then you shall have it, Ian. Have I ever denied you anything you truly needed? Follow."

I kept my eyes on his heels as he strode quickly through the main hall, through the library, and up the stairs. A panel of pale wood slid aside at his touch, and we entered his bedroom.

It has changed little since I was a child. There are no mirrors in that room, and since I was ten I have shaved him with a straight razor every morning while he sat in his red leather chair by the window.

Across the room is the bed. He told me once that he brought it with him from a castle in Germany, looted from the Nazi looters. The four posts are carved into spirals that always recall for me the double helix of DNA.

When I was only twelve I started dreaming about him laying me out on that bed and-- well, I had to read books to find out what came after 'and,' but I did find out. All my education in that area was on my own initiative, but my master has an extensive library.

With my reading, what came after 'and' became ever more creative, but when I woke from pubescent wet dreams, one element remained constant; his name held in my mouth at the point of crying out, his body, pale and strong, held in my mind's eye.

Again, I wish I could ask; was this what they intended? Surely they must have realized I could desire no one but him. Except...

Except that now there is Sarah. Was that their plan, then?

My master turned from his survey of the view from his window and looked at me. Though I could not see his eyes, I could feel them on me, willing me to look up. I have had more than enough practice to know when he wants this of me, but this time I pretended I did not. Another small rebellion.

He was in front of me in three quick strides, forcing my chin up once again. His eyes were on fire, and with the twisting quality of flames they changed too fast for me to read them.

"Hands on the bed, Ian. Brace yourself."

Assume the position, I mocked him in my head, but my heart quailed. He had not punished me like this since I was a child, and I feared my body's reaction to his touch, even if that touch was meant only to give me pain.

I bent from the waist and let my hands sink into the grey-green silk of the bed clothes. The wait wasn't long. I sensed the movement of air as he approached and then his hand was running over my skin, down my back to my buttocks. The touches there were exploring, as if he was mapping the details of my skin. His hand stroked and brushed lower, down the cleft and to my upper thighs. I felt myself growing hard and wondered if he would notice. Or care.

His hand left my skin, and I thought the loss could not be half as bad as the pain that would follow.

I was wrong. I should have know, perhaps. A child's spanking for a grown man? No, I should have known he had more in his mind than that.

A strip of fire cut across my upper thighs, and I stiffened and almost turned. I could hear the smile in his voice when he spoke.

"I did not think my hand would be enough to get your attention, so I have augmented it. Twenty, I think. Count them."

"One," I gasped out, still so shocked that it affected not just my voice but my thoughts. Nothing coherent would form in my mind save the desire to know what he was using on me. My goosebumps fled before the tingling warmth that spread from that first blow.

Whatever it was, he swung it again, hitting my left buttock this time.

"Two."

 The third blow fell across the back of my thighs again, and I thought I had identified his weapon; a riding crop, perhaps. The unyielding sting of a rod followed by the sharp flick of pain at the end of each stroke.

My cock grew hard again. By five, I was sweating, pushing back against the blows. There was no word from him, though he must have noticed.

By ten my voice was strained. The heat building from the blows was making me tremble as the cold had not done. He stopped for a moment to smooth a hand over my heated skin, and it felt so cool I almost flinched from it. The wait made it worse when he resumed.

At fifteen the first tear fell from my eye to stain the silk beneath my hands. I cried because it was what he desired, and the pain was a thousand times worse for knowing that he wanted it to hurt me.

At twenty I fell forward onto the bed without permission, split between the desire to give into the sobs that waited in my chest and the need rub against the bed and relieve my aching cock. I did neither-- both were unthinkable-- but held myself still there until I felt his weight settle on the bed beside me and his cool hand soothing the welts he had made.

His fingers traced each one lightly, gently, and I began to relax. When he rose, I did not move. Some part of me was waiting for orders, but mainly it was only that my very bones seemed limp and shaky. Even my erection was fading, and I dared to think that I would not embarrass myself when I stood.

I felt his presence behind me once more and tensed, but no blow fell. Instead, there were his hands again, coating my hot flesh with some cooling cream. It was almost as much of a shock as the first stroke of the crop had been, and he must have heard my quick intake of breath.

"Calm yourself, Ian." His voice was amused. "You took your punishment as well as ever, though I think you enjoyed more than you used to." His hands continued to rub in the cream, and his fingers strayed between my buttocks, delving into the cleft and out again.

I was hard again and uncomfortable enough that I shifted slightly, not more than an inch or two, but he saw it of course.

He slapped my ass lightly. "Stay still now. We're not quite through yet." His fingers moved once again down between my buttocks, lower and lower still until one cream-coated finger was pressing against my opening. The other hand reached between my legs, stroking my balls.

I closed my eyes, bit down hard on my lip in an effort to remain still. From this position my feet were flexed hard to keep flat on the floor, and I concentrated on the stretch of my hamstrings and calves as he pushed into me up to the first joint of his finger. I could feel the slight bulge of it and the release as it went in.

My mind was gibbering at me, half trying to convince me it was real, the other half trying to convince me it was another dream. I forced myself to relax, told myself it didn't matter whether it was a dream or not; I had been instructed to stay still, and that was what I would do. For the first time in weeks, that instruction was all I needed to set me at peace.

My body adjusted slowly, and I was able to relax again. He withdrew the finger and added more cream, unwarmed, and the temperature was a shock. Then his hand was back with two fingers. I could not stop the noise I made as he found my prostate.

He did not bother to stretch me any more, and the next thing I felt was the head of his cock at my entrance. I melted into the bed, heat pooling in my stomach, and my cock pulsed as he slid into me.

I do not know when he undressed or how I could not have been conscious of it, but his body was bare against my back as he leaned over me.

"Perhaps I should have done this sooner," he said softly into my ear. Then he pulled back and took my hips in his hands.

His first thrust was hard, pushing inside me in a burst of pleasure that I could barely distinguish from the pain of his skin sticking against mine where he had marked me. It didn't matter. His hands held me tightly and pulled me back to meet every stroke. He filled me until I was aware of nothing else but the feel of him sliding along my body, inside and out.

I was hard and rubbing against the bed every time he thrust into me, but it wasn't enough. Every thrust drove me further from my mind, further from my control, and eventually my control broke.

My movement wasn't much, just enough to try to get a hand to my desperate cock, but he stopped me immediately, grabbing my wrist and twisting my arm behind my back. The next thrust was vicious, and then he stopped for a moment, holding my hip tight in his other hand.

"Mine, Ian. Remember that. All that you are is mine."

I think I made some noise, though whether I intended it as agreement or not I could not say. He stroked the line of my back and scraped his nails over the welts he had left near the base of my spine. Then he began to move again.

It was everything I had always wanted, and it was torture. Long and slow, and it seemed to last forever. Fractional movements of my cock against the bed, bright spears of pleasure as he hit my prostate, but never enough to send me over the edge.

His pace quickened eventually, when it felt as if he had been inside me forever, as if I had never known anything else. His breath came in pants and fierce whispers that I could not hear for the blood pounding in my ears. He released my wrist and used both hands to hold my hips as he slammed into me one more time and then jerked, once, twice, coming inside me. I heard the triumph in his cry and smiled.

He lay over me for a time afterwards, unmoving but for his hand on my side slowly stroking. At last he moved, pulling out. I must have made some sign of the pain it gave me, for he laid a hand on my back and spoke.

"All right now? You can move," he added. His voice was softer than I heard it for a good while.

I wiped my eyes, sat up, and looked at him. I could not think how to answer, but his face said an answer was required.

I shook my head, blinking to clear the lingering wetness from my eyelashes. "I don't know. I'm sorry. I don't know." My voice was barely a whisper.

He smiled and stroked my cheek with one finger. "Ah, my Ian. I don't think any apologies are necessary."

His Ian. I was his Ian only when I was very, very good, and it still had the same effect on me that it had when I was a child. When he said that I wished that I had the choice of serving him or not, of giving my life for him or not, so that I could choose to do it.

"But you're not all right. I can see that." He was looking at my cock, flat against my belly and drooling at the sight of him, naked in front of me, at the possibility of his touch. "We shall have to do something about that."

I closed my eyes as he reached for me; I couldn't bear to see it if he did not... But he did. His hand closed loosely around me, and I choked out some noise, barely human. The only warning I had was his warm breath before he swallowed me.

My arms ceased to support me. I gripped the bed clothes with spasming fingers and arched toward him, pushing into his mouth without thought, without anything but desire. He took me in easily, parting my thighs still further and working his throat muscles around me until I came, blind from the intensity and nearly screaming. It couldn't have taken more than ten seconds.

I came back to myself some time later; I do not know how long. I was stretched out against his side, his arm around my shoulders, my hand on his stomach. I lifted my face from his chest to look at him.

"Ah, back again." His smile was not so hard edged as it usually was. "You do my ego good, Ian. You always have. All right now?"

"Yes." I let my head drop to his shoulder. I could ask, I thought. I could ask if this would ever happen again, if he would ever let me... No.

No, I had wanted him to make me his again, and he had. He had settled my questions, at least for the moment. Possessions do not ask questions and, whatever doubts creep into my heart, I know what I am.

It was his decision now, and I was content with that... though not so content as I would once have been.

I closed my eyes and sighed against him, my body conforming to his as easily as it had when I was a child, creeping into his arms to ward off my nightmares. His hand came up to stroke my hair as it had done then, and I went limp as the tension leached out of me. He is not a monster, no matter what he thinks of himself.

Sleep was stealing over my body when I heard his voice, just a murmur as he spoke into my hair.

"My sweet Ian. I almost wish it wasn't too late to stop this." He kissed my hair and held me close.

I lay still, storing the sound of his voice in my heart and wiping his last words from my mind as best I could. I would carry out his plans, whatever they were, whatever they brought me. That was fact; all else was fruitless speculation.

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..end..

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