Second Chances

Want Vs. Need

Title: Want Vs. Need

Disclaimer: We own nothing from DC Comics or the television series Arrow or Flash and are not making money from this fic.

Summary: Oliver loses it and takes Barry with him.

Warning(s): Non-consensual drugging; Heavier D/s with implications of ownership/high possessiveness; Harsh spanking of a fast-healing meta.

Authors: BlackFox12 and Hope1iz

Oliver glanced around the table at the members of his board. None of them looked overly happy...the only one smiling at him was Walter, but even he looked concerned. It didn't inspire confidence in the younger man; not with at least three of the members looking to take over from him.

One of the board members cleared his throat, apparently deciding to appoint himself as spokesperson. "Mr. Queen, this company has had a lot of ups and downs since you returned...right now, maybe it would be better if you left the running of the company to someone more reliable."

Oliver raised an eyebrow. "It's true there has been fluctuation in the company...but no more than any other company has gone through in the last several years. Things are actually improving," he argued.

"As they have in the past, before another downward spiral hits," the board member said. "The misfortune that seems to plague your personal life also appears to affect the company."

Oliver frowned at the insinuation. "All companies have their ups and downs in the course of business. To suggest that I should step down because of something that happens to every company is absurd..." He looked toward Walter.

The older man looked concerned but supportive. "Perhaps a compromise?" he suggested, worried that if Oliver didn't make a few concessions, there would be a hostile action and he'd be thrown out of his own company.

Oliver narrowed his eyes slightly. "Walter ran the company admirably during my unfortunate stranding on Lian Yu. If he is willing, I offer him a position as my co-CEO. If you don't trust me, surely you can trust him?"

"As it seems many of those close to you personally suffer, I believe that would be a suitable compromise." The board member glanced at the others, all of whom were nodding in agreement.

Oliver swallowed, the man's words cutting deeply even if he managed to hide it. Looking at Walter, he asked, "Are you agreeable to this?"

Walter nodded. "Yes. I will schedule a time with the lawyers to work out a contract."

Oliver nodded. "Are we through here, then?"

"I believe we are," the board member stated, while the others voiced their agreement.

"Then if you'll excuse me, I need to contact my lawyers to set up a time to negotiate as well." Oliver smiled, though it didn't reach his eyes, and stood. "Thank you." He nodded at Walter, his smile becoming more genuine. And then he was walking quickly out of the room and heading toward his office, his phone in his hand as he dialed Slade.

Having finished his shift at the hospital, Slade had met up with Lance and Tommy, making sure the physiotherapy for the younger man was going okay and taking that little bit of time to talk with Lance. Even if there was a lot he couldn't tell his 'older brother', it helped to have someone to talk to.

Even so, as soon as his phone started vibrating, Slade answered immediately, checking the call display. "Hey kid." It was immediately obvious, without the term of address, just how much hearing from his little brother brightened him.

Oliver had been doing just fine prior to the meeting. He'd been feeling confident and settled. Unfortunately, having the board unexpectedly turn on him (and he had to wonder how long they'd been planning this and what would have happened if he'd NOT made the board meeting that morning) and the reminders of all of those who he cared for that had been hurt or died, just because they knew or were with him? It had pulled his legs right out from under him. He was afraid if he didn't get home as soon as possible, he'd end up losing it at work and that wouldn't help anyone. But he didn't want to be alone, either; that was just asking for trouble, he knew. So he'd called his brother.

When Slade answered, Oliver felt himself relax fractionally. "Slade..." he breathed out in an almost whisper, his voice not hiding any of the stress and hurt he was feeling. He'd hide it from everyone else, but not his big brother. "...I miss Shado..." he admitted and then swallowed hard.

Slade didn't waste time asking questions. A quick word to Lance and Tommy that he was needed elsewhere (he wouldn't go into details and risk embarrassing his brother, so that was the extent he'd tell them) and he was heading out of the house. "Okay, kid. Come outside the building. I'll be there in ten minutes. I love you," he added, because he could hear the stress and the hurt.

"Okay..." The relief was clear in Oliver's voice, even if he managed to keep from sounding so young or scared, it would draw attention from his staff. He didn't manage enough to fool Walter, who had come up behind him when he wasn't looking.

"I'll walk down with you," he said firmly and loudly enough Slade would hear through the phone. He smiled at his step-son.

Smiling back hesitantly, Oliver nodded. "Thank you..." he said, meaning it for both men. Hanging up (the longer he was on the phone, the more risk he'd expose exactly what their relationship was like to the rest of the world), he moved toward the elevator.

Walter fell in beside him, placing a steadying hand between his shoulder blades. Some of the older secretaries smiled to see that Oliver's and Thea's step-dad had returned. They hoped it meant things would improve. Everyone had liked Walter.

Soon, they were downstairs in front of the building. "Thea is picking me up..." Walter said when Oliver looked questioningly at him. "We're having dinner together."

Oliver nodded and relaxed further at knowing that his family was taken care of.

Even though he was careful to drive at the speed limit, Slade didn't waste any time and pulled up outside the building just as Thea also arrived.

Thea got out of the car, casting a glance towards Slade that was impossible to decipher. She walked over to Walter and hugged him. "Ready to go?" she asked.

Slade walked towards Oliver, giving Walter a slight smile and nod, as he had heard the other man's offer. He stood close enough to his brother that they were physically touching and turned a wider smile on his little brother. "Straight home, kid?" Although it was phrased as a question, it really wasn't.

Walter nodded at Slade, allowing his hand to drop from Oliver's back. "I am," he answered Thea.

"Yes, please!" Oliver answered more enthusiastically than he meant to and blushed. "Thank you, Walter. I'll contact you later to finalize. Have a good dinner..." he said to the other man and Thea.

Walter smiled and nodded again, walking with Thea to her car. Soon, Slade and Oliver were alone on the sidewalk. "Thanks for coming for me, Koro..." Oliver whispered, pressing closer before allowing Slade to bundle him into the car for the ride home.

"I will always come for you, kid," Slade replied. He got his little brother settled and then himself, reaching his free hand out to grasp hold of Oliver's. "I love you."

"I love you too..." Oliver grasped Slade's hand tightly. Sinking down into the seat of the car, he watched the scenery go by. When they pulled up to where their apartment was, Oliver sat in the car and waited for Slade to tell him what to do.

Slade gently squeezed his brother's hand and then got out of the car, walking round to the passenger side to open the door. He unbuckled Oliver's seatbelt and then helped his brother out of the car.

Oliver quickly got out and shifted closer to Slade, only staying far enough away that they could walk, but not so close that the neighbors would talk.

Slade stayed close to Oliver, enough so that their sides were touching in what would look a casual way to anyone watching from the outside. As soon as they were in their apartment, though, he didn't waste any time in wrapping his arms tightly around his brother.

Oliver burrowed as close against Slade as possible. "They don't like me. I understand that. They have no confidence in me and want to push me out of my own company. I was expecting that. But then...I... maybe they were right. Maybe the company is better off without me. Everyone and everything I care about gets hurt or destroyed because of me..."

Slade tightened his embrace and kissed his brother's head. "They're not right, kid. They aren't better off without you. You've lost more than you should have, but it's not because of you." He shifted his hand to the nape of Oliver's neck, squeezing gently.

Oliver wasn't certain he believed that, but he was beyond arguing. Letting his head fall forward onto Slade's shoulder, he focused on the hand at his neck and slumped.

Slade let his hand move to his little brother's shirt, beginning to unbutton it and slide it off Oliver's shoulders. "I'm saved because of you," he whispered in his baby brother's ear.

"You saved me first..." Oliver huffed slightly. He shifted so Slade could take care of him more easily, relaxing even further as the barriers between him and his brother were removed.

"Not just physically, little brother." As he spoke, Slade continued to remove Oliver's clothes. "You pulled me out of a very dark place."

"Like you do now..." Oliver whispered, becoming more and more malleable as he was undressed.

Slade cupped the back of Oliver's neck, stroking his little brother's cheek. "I would do anything for you," he whispered. Now his little brother was naked, he wrapped his arms around Oliver in another tight embrace.

Oliver snuggled as close as possible, pressing to his brother so that as much of him as possible was in contact with Slade. "I love you...I need you..." he whispered.

Slade kissed his head, gently squeezing the nape of his neck again, just like a lion with its cub. "You have me, kid. You won't ever lose me," he promised, his voice an intense whisper, filled with emotion.

"I can't ever lose you..." Oliver answered. He pressed his neck back into Slade's hand, feeling himself becoming more and more needy and reliant on his brother.

Slade tightened his arms around his little brother, guiding him through to the living room without letting go of him. Stepping over to the couch, he sat down and pulled Oliver down onto his lap.

Oliver shifted so that he was able to wrap his arms around Slade and snug his head under his brother's chin. "I need you..." he whispered.

"I know, little brother." Slade shifted his brother so he could begin to stroke and rub, soothing Oliver with his touch...or so he hoped. He knew sometimes Oliver needed to be taken over his knee to be settled and he was prepared to do that; prepared to do anything that would help to heal Oliver's pain.

Oliver tried to focus on his brother's words and actions and let them calm him. The words spoken to him at the board meeting had cut deeper than he thought they should have; mostly because they were words he'd said to himself on numerous occasions. To his shame, he found himself tearing up, shivering from the emotions bringing him down.

Slade gently stroked Oliver's hair, cupping his cheek and then gently squeezing the nape of his neck. "I've got you. I won't ever let you go," he whispered reassuringly, before gently moving Oliver over his lap.

Oliver nodded, but was unable to stop crying. Once over Slade's lap, he grasped at his brother's ankle. "Promise...?"

"I promise." Slade adjusted his little brother to make it easier to continue stroking and rubbing, pulling Oliver close against his stomach so there was absolutely no chance he'd fall. "How could I, when I owe you everything? You're mine, kid."

"Always yours..." Oliver quickly agreed, squeezing Slade's ankle and slumping slightly at the affection.

"My good boy," Slade breathed, gently stroking over his little brother's back, down over his bottom, his legs...just touching and stroking and rubbing.

"Your good boy..." Oliver quickly agreed, relaxing even further, wiggling slightly so Slade could reach him easier.

Slade moved his hand over Oliver's backside and gently patted each cheek in turn, his other hand continuing the gentle rubbing and stroking over the rest of his brother's body.

"Yours..." Oliver whispered, already sounding a bit less hopeless as Slade's care began to break through.

"Mine." Slade continued the gentle patting and stroking. "You are my baby brother...and it's me who you need to listen to. I'm the one who knows you. Knows everything about you; what you keep hidden from everyone else." Slade knew the reason Oliver didn't hide from him was because his little brother trusted him so completely. And, of course, he would never ever abuse that trust.

"Listen to know best..." Oliver agreed. It hadn't taken long at all for him to reach a completely submissive and agreeable state. It was beyond him to disagree with his brother when Slade was in charge. Knowing that Slade had him and was in charge allowed him to let go of the hurt that had so quickly derailed him in the meeting.

"I love you." Slade kept his hands on his little brother, but both were now rubbing and stroking. "I have you. You're safe here with me."

"Safest with you..." Oliver agreed. He was now fully relaxed and while he was still crying, he didn't have the air of someone hanging in by a thread not to break down. He seemed more stable...strong. "Love you, Koro..." Oliver sniffled softly.

Slade let his fingers thread through Oliver's hair, continuing to gently stroke and rub. "I love you, kid. You're my whole world. I'm alive because of you."

"We're alive cuz of each other..." Oliver whispered, his voice catching before he swallowed and sniffled again. He was feeling much better now and if he had to, he could get up, redress and face the world as if nothing had happened.

He didn't have to, though and the need to just give himself up completely and let Slade handle him was strong enough that he didn't even try. He lay quietly over his brother's lap and focused on what Slade's hands were doing. And while he knew he hadn't done anything wrong and didn't feel guilty about anything, he found himself wanting a bit of Slade's tougher, sterner attention. Swallowing again, he paused before asking in an uncertain, almost sheepish voice, "Make my bottom sore, Koro? So I can keep being your good boy?" As many times as Slade had assured him he didn't need to...he sometimes still wondered if he weren't broken when he wanted to be spanked and made sore.

Slade's left hand shifted to rub soothingly and reassuringly, while his right moved back to Oliver's bottom. "Anything for you, little brother. Anything at all." His voice was warm and heavy with love and affection. Lifting his hand, he brought it down in a firm swat that he then repeated; not anything like as hard as real punishment swats, but stronger than the love pats he had been giving out.

"Thank you," Oliver whispered, before letting himself slump bonelessly over Slade's lap so he could feel everything completely.

"There's nothing wrong with you, little brother." Slade swatted at the same force for two full circuits and then paused, gently rubbing Oliver's warmed backside. "Nothing wrong with what you need, kid."

Oliver squeezed his brother's ankle to show he heard, but otherwise didn't say anything. He was so completely relaxed and in the mindset of not doing anything without Slade's say-so, that he would be hard pressed to form words without sounding drugged. He did let out tiny mewls and sighs of contentment, though. His bottom stung, but it was a sting that felt good; he wasn't in trouble and it meant his brother had him.

Slade continued rubbing for a few more moments and then began swatting again. Still no harder than before, but he rubbed after every couple of swats. "My good boy." He kept repeating words to that effect, reiterating his love for his little brother.

Despite wanting the spanking, eventually Oliver couldn't help but begin to squirm after each swat, the gentle rubbing only soothing enough to allow the next swat on sensitive skin to be felt even more keenly. He began to whimper slightly as well. He knew the soreness would fade within the hour, but it would last past the actual spanking. His brother knew what he needed.

"Your good boy," he finally mumbled in a lethargic voice. He was content to lie over Slade's lap for as long as Slade was willing to keep him there; although he knew eventually Slade would decide he'd had enough. While he might want things to continue well past a safe point if he didn't want to actually be hurt, Slade always knew when he'd had enough.

"I love you." Slade's words were soft, but no less intense for that. "I will always give you what you need. Always. No matter what."

"Love you..." Oliver whispered. I can't live without you. I need you too much... was left unsaid, even though Oliver knew deep down it was the truth. He could barely form words, though; he'd given in too far by this point. He'd have to tell Slade that when he was more in control of himself. Slade's affection and care had allowed him to give up and in completely, knowing that his brother would protect him from everything. No other action of his brother worked so well or so quickly to get Oliver to submit and let himself be vulnerable and helpless.

Slade finished off the current circuit of swats and then brought the spanking to a stop, gently rubbing Oliver's heated bottom. "At bedtime, I'm going to read to you." He didn't ask for Oliver's opinion, knowing his little brother felt safest when Slade was in control.

Oliver whimpered softly in response, pushing his bottom up slightly against Slade's hand and squeezing his ankle again. He wasn't offering agreement or objection- it was completely out of his hands- but he was acknowledging the words, letting his brother know he'd heard.

"I've got you." Slade gently stroked over his little brother's back and bottom. "I always will. I love you."

"Love you..." Oliver couldn't relax any further, but the look in his eyes made it clear he felt so much better than he had when first arriving home.

Slade gently squeezed the nape of his little brother's neck and then gathered Oliver up and into his arms, hugging him tight.

Oliver snuggled as close as possible. He didn't know what Slade had in mind next, but as long as he was with his brother, he didn't care. Even if Slade wanted him to talk.

Slade situated Oliver comfortably on his lap and settled his hand at the nape of his little brother's neck. "Just because someone says something you've thought yourself doesn't make it true," he whispered in Oliver's ear.

"It feels true," Oliver said softly. He snuggled a bit more, letting out tiny sounds as he shifted onto his bottom.

"They don't know what really happened." Slade kissed his forehead. "They don't know you."

"They only said what I've thought of myself so many times..." Oliver admitted sadly.

"What you think about yourself isn't true, kid." Slade stroked his cheek, silently cursing himself, again, for forcing so much guilt onto Oliver about Shado. If the mirakuru hadn't twisted him so much, he wouldn't have blamed his little brother for being forced into an impossible choice. "I know it's hard, kid, but you let yourself listen to me at a time you shouldn't have. Listen to what I'm telling you now. You are a hero. You aren't responsible for people getting hurt. You've saved more people with your actions than anyone else could have done."

"I...I don't blame myself directly..." Oliver said hesitantly. "...Not anymore. But it's hard not to see how everyone I care about and love has been hurt or worse just because of being with or near me..."

"It isn't because of you, little brother." Slade tightened his embrace. "Sometimes bad things happen. Or you're forced to make a choice where there isn't a good outcome. It doesn't mean you're responsible for what happens."

"I want to believe that..." Oliver said softly and just held on tight. "It's hard to believe it..."

"I know." Slade stroked his hair. "You've taken on too much guilt. If I'd been in my right mind, I would never have blamed you for anything, little brother. It was never your fault."

"You've got me now..." Oliver snuggled a bit more. "I'd blame myself even if you hadn't...but I don't feel as lost with you here..."

"I do, kid." Slade pulled him in closer. "I've got you and I won't ever let you go. You'll never lose me again," he whispered.

Oliver relaxed at the words. "Thank you, Koro..." he whispered. "For coming for me...for keeping me..."

"You say that as if letting you go would ever be an option." Slade's tone was gentle and entirely serious.

"Until you...sometimes I felt like it was an option," Oliver admitted.

Slade gently squeezed the nape of his neck. "When I found you on Lian Yu, I chose to claim you then. The mirakuru took me away from you, but it couldn't keep me away. I couldn't stop the unnatural rage taking over, but you were what gave me the strength to hold it back for as long as I did."

Oliver nodded, nuzzling against his brother's chest. "The worst time of my life was the best thing that ever happened to me..." he whispered. "Cuz it put me where you could get me..."

"You'll never have to be alone again, little brother." Slade's voice was very quiet but also very certain and sure. "And for every time you hurt because of what you say to yourself, or others say to you, I'll be there to pull you back together again. To keep you close."

"I know you will..." Oliver sighed softly, content to just continue snuggling for as long as possible.

Slade tightened his embrace, fully content to just hold onto Oliver and feel the warm, solid weight of his little brother.

Thea glanced sideways at Walter as she drove to the restaurant she'd booked them into. "Anything new?" she asked, keeping her voice light.

"Well...Oliver has mentioned missing having me around. Said that my guidance with running Queen Consolidated had been a great help to him and asked if I couldn't be persuaded to relocate closer and take on an advisory position. After today's board meeting, it's become clear that the board doesn't trust him to do what he needs to do to keep the company solvent; so in order to get the board to be more cooperative, he and I are going to work up a contract where I act as co-CEO...lending my name, expertise and the goodwill of the board while Oliver reestablishes and proves himself. Once the board fully trusts him again, I'll be willing to step down, of course; but Oliver seemed to indicate a need for me to be here." Walter tried to explain things in a way that didn't put Thea on the defensive on Oliver's behalf...he also didn't tell her that she was his main reason for returning (since he was fairly certain Oliver's emotional needs were being met elsewhere). "So I'll be relocating back to the city for the unforeseeable future. I'll need to find a place to live, of course. I was hoping you'd be willing to help me with that..."

Thea nodded in understanding. As much as Slade had helped with how Oliver felt emotionally and acted, the older man wasn't actually a part of the company and therefore couldn't step in to help him so easily there. "I have room at my apartment, if you want to stay there until we can figure something out," she offered.

Walter smiled at the offer. "If you don't think it would inconvenience you, I would greatly appreciate being allowed to stay at your apartment. It would also give us time to reconnect. I've missed you as much, if not more, than I missed Oliver..." he admitted quietly. While he did care about Oliver, he'd actually been there for a large part of Thea's growing up and had been there for her in the capacity of a father the entire time Oliver had been missing. It was different, what he felt for Thea. He only hoped she had missed him too and wouldn't mind having him return into her life.

Thea couldn't help but smile, even as she admitted in a quiet voice, "I missed you too." She didn't say that she'd considered him her father more than she'd felt about Malcolm. Truth was, she didn't mind that he wasn't in her life. She had both her brothers, after all...and if Malcolm wanted to miss out on her and Tommy, it was more fool him. "How much has Ollie told you?" she asked, wondering if Walter knew Tommy was back from the dead and had effectively been adopted by Lance.

"He told me enough that I wouldn't be shocked about his relationship with Slade Wilson..." Walter's smile was wry. "He also told me about Tommy being alive. That was very good news. Beyond that, I think he plans to meet and talk again about things that wouldn't be so shocking if I find out in another way...maybe you can fill me in on some of what I've missed..."

Thea's smile grew a bit wider. "I'm happy to do that," she commented. "Ollie calls Slade his brother...I didn't really want to like him, but since he's come back, Ollie's no longer been on such a self-destructive path. It's hard not to be grateful to him for that."

Walter nodded. "From what I've been told, he wasn't really himself the first time he came here. He certainly doesn't act like he did originally."

"True enough," Thea agreed. "He's still fully focused on Ollie...but in a good way."

"I can understand the focus. It's hard to watch someone you care about and protected doing dangerous things." Walter smiled.

Thea nodded. "Where are you staying? We can pick up your bags after lunch," she suggested.

"The Suites at Starling..." Walter answered quickly. "I packed light; I plan to have my more important items shipped overnight as soon as I have an address for the movers."

Thea smiled. "I can give you the address of my apartment over lunch, if you want to call them today."

"That will be most appreciated. Where are we going for lunch?" Walter smiled.

"There's a new Italian place that just opened last week. I got us reservations there." Even as she spoke, Thea parked the car outside said restaurant.

"That sounds good. I haven't had good Italian in a while. Hopefully, this place will be good enough to become a favorite..." Walter nodded, getting out of the car and then walking around to Thea's side to walk with her into the restaurant.

Thea got out of the car, locking it, and then walked next to Walter into the restaurant. She was quick to give the name the reservation was under and it wasn't long before the two of them were seated.

"You're sure this is safe for you to do? Waller isn't going to be following her to figure out where I am and find you...I don't want to put any of you in danger..." Floyd worried.

"You won't," Diggle replied reassuringly. "I'll be careful." He placed a hand on his brother's shoulder and squeezed gently.

Floyd relaxed slightly at the touch, but not completely. He was looking forward to seeing his daughter, though, so didn't voice anymore if his worries. "Thanks, man..." he said instead.

"No problem. I'll do anything to help you, bro," Diggle said.

"Can't wait to introduce Zoe to her Uncle John and Aunt Lilah..." Floyd grinned.

"Don't forget Cousin Sarah." Diggle smiled.

"I'm pretty sure cousin Sarah is on her list of first people to meet..." Floyd laughed.

"You know how to get in touch if you need me, but I don't anticipate any problems," Diggle said. Of course, he had contingency plans in case, but even so.

"Yes...thanks, bro..." Floyd's smile was grateful.

"Any time." Diggle squeezed Floyd's shoulder and then left the apartment after a quick hug and kiss for his wife and daughter.

Floyd smiled at Lilah and settled back so he could wait for Zoe to arrive.

Lance smiled at Tommy as he handed him a soda. "So Thea is busy for lunch...Oliver is want to have lunch with me and maybe catch a movie?"

Tommy took the soda and grinned. "Yeah. I'd really like that," he said honestly.

"I was thinking hamburgers for lunch. Maybe a side salad..." Lance smiled.

"That sounds great." Tommy's grin grew wider. "Did you have someplace in mind to eat?"

"I thought all you kids liked Big Belly Burgers..." Lance laughed. "I'm game for anywhere, though. You pick."

"Big Belly Burgers works for me," Tommy replied happily.

"Great...I'll drive..." Lance ushered Tommy out the door and to the car. It didn't take them long to reach the restaurant and soon, they were happily eating their lunch and discussing what movie to watch.

Sebastian hadn't planned to leave Star City when he'd begun investigating his lead into the newest batch of Mirakuru that had sprung up out of seemingly nowhere. He hadn't planned on it, but he didn't hesitate when his one and only lead decided to pack up and head to Central City because Star City PD had suddenly begun paying more attention to him than he wanted. He kind of wished he'd told someone what he was doing and where he was going, though. It was becoming increasingly difficult to keep himself hidden from the Mirakuru dealer's notice when the Flash kept interfering in the guy's business, making the mark move. Being in the same location once was unremarkable. Twice, maybe a coincidence. Three times? The guy was going to realize he was being followed and if Sebastian wasn't careful, he'd end up being the one getting tailed instead of him doing the tailing. That wouldn't be good, considering the last guy who'd got caught 'nosing around' the creep's lair ended up swimming with concrete shoes on. He was so close to figuring out where the vile substance was being hidden, though. Too close to pull back now. And...

"Damn it," Sebastian muttered, as a whoosh of air blew over a discarded lamp and the Flash yet again made an appearance, rounding up more of the meta's that the dealer had hired to do his dirty work. He hunkered down and waited, not wanting to be among those rounded up, before slowly and carefully beginning to sneak his way out of the now abandoned warehouse...only to walk straight into the man he'd been trying to avoid drawing the attention of.

"Funny that you're around nearly every time we need to relocate due to that human rocket..." The sneer was as nasty as the tone of voice; and it didn't invite any kind of response. Not that Sebastian would have been able to make a response, since he was knocked unconscious only seconds later.

The rest of the evening had passed fairly uneventfully. Slade had spent the entire time talking to and soothing his little brother; and by the time they went to bed, he was fairly certain Oliver was feeling less emotionally at odds. And to the best of his knowledge, there hadn't been any nightmares. All in all, he considered it a win. Every time Oliver didn't suffer as much as he could was a win.

Slade just wished he could stop Oliver's suffering entirely.

Stroking the side of his little brother's face, Slade was considering suggesting they go out for breakfast when his little brother's phone began to vibrate. Picking it up, Slade noticed the display indicated a different area code. Not sure who might be calling his brother and if they'd get suspicious if the phone was answered by someone else, he gently stroked Oliver's cheek. "Wake up, kid."

Oliver was feeling much more settled after a day and night in his brother's care. He'd woken at the phone vibrating, but hadn't moved when he'd realized Slade was retrieving it. As soon as he felt the gentle caress and admonishment, though, his eyes were open and he was reaching for the phone. "Hello?" His voice was business-like in an instant; not at all like he'd just been snuggling in his brother's arms not too long before...and definitely not like he'd nearly had a complete melt-down the day before.

"Oliver Queen?" The voice on the other end was instantly recognisable as belonging to Harrison Wells from Central City. "I understand you are familiar with a man named Sebastian Blood."

Slade's own phone began to vibrate and he carefully extricated himself from his little brother as he reached for it. He glanced at the display, frowning as it showed a number he didn't recognise. He answered, but didn't immediately speak. Considering how many enemies he'd made, he figured he'd let the caller identify themselves first.

Oliver blinked, instantly suspicious. He may have decided to not be antagonistic toward Blood, but he wasn't exactly on friendly terms either. He still didn't fully trust him. "Yes..." he answered hesitantly. "...Why? What's he done?"

"Slade Wilson?" an unfamiliar voice said through Slade's phone. "I retrieved your number from off the phone of someone who I believe knows you. For his sake, I hope I am not wrong..."

"He's been showing up here," Wells answered. "Appearing at different warehouses where there have been drug gangs working. Barry placed a tracker on him, as we weren't sure which team he's playing for." Pausing, he then added, "The tracker indicates he's been taken."

Slade shifted further away from Oliver, not wanting the man on the other end of the phone to overhear his brother and therefore put a target on Oliver's back. "If you put him on, I can tell you for sure." He kept his voice calm, but he was paying as much attention to Oliver's phone call as his own, figuring it was unlikely to be a coincidence that they'd both been called at the same time.

Oliver couldn't help but notice Slade moving further away and followed suit, not wanting to tip Slade's hand to whoever his brother felt the need to hide his presence from. "He's been gathering information on a specific drug that was making a comeback in Star City. If he's been taken, then whoever he was watching must have caught him snooping..." He paused. "...Do you need me to come there and help get the gangs under control? I know Barry and the team normally only deal with Metas..."

There was a pause as Sebastian's captor held the phone up to his ear. Swallowing hard, Sebastian said, hesitantly and obviously in a bit of pain, "I didn't mean to give your number out...I'm sorry..."

"That might well be necessary," Wells answered. "The team will help out, of course, but there's a lot that's going on right now."

Slade, despite moving further away, heard Oliver's words. He didn't say anything about that, though, instead addressing Sebastian. "I know. Just make sure you do what they say." He knew rescue was going to be a priority; the best thing he could do was warn the other man to stay in as good a shape as he could. There wasn't much he could tell his captor that would endanger Oliver and the others.

Oliver glanced at Slade as he responded. "We'll be on our way in half an hour. We'll come straight to the labs as soon as we arrive."

"I'll do my best," Sebastian muttered, before the phone was yanked away.

"So you do know him." The question was rhetorical.

"Very well," Wells responded, before disconnecting the call.

"What do you want?" The question was spoken calmly. To anyone else other than his brother, Slade would appear to be in perfect control.

"I want to know what he told you. I want all evidence destroyed. And I need to see how this stuff will work on living subjects. So far, all my attempts have killed my men. Word gets around. I know you survived the original batch. You should survive this one." The voice didn't bother pointing out that if Slade didn't survive, he wouldn't care all that much.

Oliver waited for Slade to get off the phone.

Slade closed his eye, the only outward sign that he was affected by the man's words. "It will take me a little while to gather everything. Where are you based?" He probably didn't have to ask, but even if word got around that he'd survived the mirakuru...Slade hoped that it hadn't got round that he was working with the Arrow.

Oliver narrowed his eyes and frowned, worried at what he was hearing; and Slade's deliberate lack of reaction. That couldn't be good.

Sebastian's kidnapper gave Slade an address, not suspecting that his location was already known by anyone else, since they hadn't found the tracker on Sebastian yet.

After confirming the address, Slade disconnected the call. Taking a deep breath, he turned to face his brother. "Were you called about Sebastian Blood?"

"Yeah..." Oliver said, with a hint of question in his tone. "...That was him?"

"The person who grabbed him," Slade answered. "The guy who's dealing in the mirakuru."

Oliver swallowed hard and he nodded brusquely. "He needs to be stopped. I told Wells we'd be heading to the lab within the next thirty minutes. I just need to grab my go-bag and my suit and bow..."

"Kid..." Slade reached out, letting his hand rest gently on his little brother's shoulder. "He indicated he has more of the mirakuru." It was all he could allow himself to say to his little brother. But as soon as Oliver was out of earshot, he planned to call Lance and then Diggle. If he couldn't fight back and ended up injected with the mirakuru again, there needed to be steps in place for Oliver's protection. From him.

Oliver cursed under his breath. "Then he definitely needs stopping... They have a tracker on Blood. Chances are good he has the stuff stored there too. Maybe if you meet up with him to get Blood, we can sneak to the location the tracker's stopped now and get the Mirakuru..." Oliver stated, thinking that there was no way the dealer would bring the Mirakuru with him to meet up with Slade. They'd be lucky if the dealer brought Blood with them, even if the meet was supposedly so Slade could retrieve him. "What'd he want in exchange for Sebastian, anyway?"

"Everything I know. All the evidence on him destroyed," Slade answered. He considered telling his little brother everything, if only so that Oliver could be prepared...but he didn't want to admit that it was a possibility. Even if his gut told him that he needed to tell his brother the full truth, his heart was dictating that protecting Oliver from any kind of hurt came first.

Oliver slanted his head and wrinkled his nose. Something seemed off about the demands, but he couldn't quite put his finger on what it was. "That's all...Seems a lot to ask of you. How does he even know you have any evidence? And all your knowledge about Mirakuru- while more than most people would have- it seems he could get that from Sebastian...he was working with you, after all... But I suppose I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. If he is that short-sighted, then it will be easier to take him down."

"Maybe, but Sebastian has had no personal experience with the drug, while I have." Slade's affectionate smile to his brother was sincere as he reached out and gently touched Oliver's cheek. "It won't take long to gather what I need. I'll call Lance and Diggle. Update them."

"True." Oliver sighed. "All my stuff is in my room. Once you're ready, we can go." It was obvious the knowledge of Mirakuru, as well as the fact Team Flash had requested their help, had snapped Oliver firmly into his take-charge Arrow persona.

Slade just nodded. He slipped out of the bedroom to gather his gear, bringing up Lance's number on his phone and calling the other man.

Lance answered on the first ring. While it wasn't so early as to make him immediately think there was an emergency, it was early enough that anyone calling would make him suspicious that something bad had occurred. "Hey, man...everything alright?" he asked, in lieu of saying hello.

"Sebastian Blood's been taken in Central City," Slade answered without any preamble, keeping his voice low enough that Oliver wouldn't hear him. "By the guy who's got his hands on the mirakuru."

"You and Oliver are heading that way to get him back?" Lance asked, for confirmation more than anything; he knew Oliver and Slade wouldn't allow anyone to be taken by someone dealing in Mirakuru without trying to help them. The implications that the dealer were kidnapping people were too serious to ignore, even if Oliver might think Blood deserved whatever he walked into. And Slade wouldn't have just left Sebastian to his own devices anyway; not when he felt responsible for him.

"Yeah." Slade took a deep breath. "I need you and Diggle to be on standby. The guy wants to test the effects of the mirakuru on a living person. If I can't stop him, someone needs to pull Oliver out in case I go after him again." If he had enough of his mind left, he'd make sure he couldn't go after his brother once he lost control. But he couldn't count on that.

"Are you certain you have to be that person? You can't get Blood out without giving in to the dealer's demands?" Lance's worry spiked. While he had no problem with stepping in to make certain Oliver remained safe if something went wrong, he was more worried about the fact Slade felt the need to go through with the demands.

"I'm hoping it won't come to that," Slade answered. "There's a tracker on Sebastian. We should be able to trace it and hit where we're not expected. But I can't leave things to chance if he does get the drop on me. I know what he wants to I have to prepare for the fact it might happen despite every attempt I make."

Lance sighed. "Well, you know I'll do whatever I can to help. I can't imagine Oliver likes the idea any better, though."

"I haven't told him that was one of the demands," Slade admitted.

"Do you think that's such a good idea? Not letting him know?" Lance asked curiously. He knew Slade and Oliver tended to tell each other everything, so the fact Slade didn't immediately tell Oliver this was unusual.

"I don't know," Slade admitted. It had already felt wrong to hide that from his brother; now his instincts were screaming it. He sighed. "No. He needs to know." He'd just have to trust Oliver wouldn't react badly to the possibility.

"Well, if you need someone around to help calm him down after you tell him, I can be there in ten minutes. I'm sure Digg can be as well..." Lance offered.

"I suspect I'll be able to handle him, but I'll let you know if I need you," Slade promised.

"I'll contact John, then. Give him a heads up on what is happening and both of us will be ready if you need us," Lance promised.

"Thank you. I'll let Oliver know to call you if anything does go wrong." Slade disconnected the call and then gathered together his gear before moving to find his brother.

Oliver had everything together and was waiting by the front door. He glanced up as Slade entered the room. "You want me to drive?" he asked.

Slade nodded, but said quietly, "Kid, I didn't tell you everything about the demands of the guy who has Sebastian. That wasn't the right decision."

Oliver blinked, pausing just before opening the door. "What is he demanding?" He couldn't keep the nervousness out of his tone. He couldn't think of anything good that Slade would want to keep hidden, so it was obviously something that would upset him.

"He wants a live test subject for the mirakuru," Slade answered. "He wants me, because I survived it before." Never mind that it had twisted the man inside into something that had done so many horrible things, he'd come close to forcing himself to stay away from his brother.

Oliver paled. "No! Absolutely not! You don't know that it couldn't kill you this time!" he protested.

Slade gently squeezed his little brother's shoulder. "I'm not planning for it to happen, kid. I promised you'd never lose me again. That I would stay in your life. But if the worst does happen...I've asked Lance to be on standby to get you out. If I can't stop it."

"No...Slade...we don't have to do it at all! We can go in and get him sneaky-like. He doesn't know about the tracker yet. We just go in before he finds it. Take him out and get him to tell us where the Mirakuru is... You don't have to take it!" Oliver swallowed hard and was finding it difficult not to panic at the idea of his brother being subjected to the vile substance again.

"Kid, that is my intention." Slade was quick to try and reassure his brother. "I'm not intending to risk exposing myself to it. I just have to make sure there are contingency plans for your safety if he finds a way to follow through."

"I can take care of myself..." Oliver protested half-heartedly, still too focused on the fact that his brother might be subjected to the Mirakuru again to worry about what might happen to him after if Slade was forced to take it.

"I know, kid," Slade said, very gently. "But I also know how much you suffered when I had the mirakuru in my system before. What I did to you. I would do anything to protect you and keep you safe."

"I don't like it..." Oliver commented again, hoisting his bag onto his shoulder and turning toward the door, almost shrugging into himself, as if refusing to talk about it and address it any further might change his brother's mind. Although part of the reason he was acting that way was because he had an urge to start begging Slade not to do what he'd indicated he'd do and they didn't have time for Oliver to get his head on straight. Oliver had to be in control of himself if they had any hope of getting Blood out of the mess he was in, getting the dealer and getting the Mirakuru off the street.

"I know, kid." Slade sighed, resisting the urge to say that neither did he. He didn't like the thought of putting his little brother in danger for anything. And truth be told, he'd be happy if he could just wrap Oliver in his arms and protect him from everything.

Oliver waited for Slade to exit before closing and locking the door, then quickly heading down to the car and throwing his bag into the trunk. He waited by the trunk for Slade to put his bag in, glancing up long enough to ask, "Do you want to drive, or do you want me to?" Normally, he'd be itching to drive, but as worried as he was about Slade, he knew he'd be distracted at best. He really needed to get control over that before they went in after Sebastian; distraction could get someone killed and he knew it.

"I'll drive." Slade could tell his little brother was distracted and needed to get in the right headspace. If they didn't need to leave so urgently, he wouldn't have wasted any time in settling his little brother the best way he knew how. As it was, all he could do was hope Oliver would hold out until Slade could handle him properly.

"You got it, Koro..." Oliver gave a tiny smile. He may not like what was happening, but it wasn't like he hadn't dealt with bad situations before. Both of them had, really. Just because Mirakuru was involved didn't mean they couldn't handle it, right? He quickly got into the passenger seat and buckled up.

Slade smiled at his little brother, relieved to hear the familiar nickname. Knowing that Oliver needed to stay in the adult mindset, he refrained from taking his hand or resting his hand on his brother's leg, instead shifting enough that their thighs could press together as he drove.

Oliver was lost in thought for most of the trip and so it seemed to go by much quicker than he thought it would have. Soon, they were pulling up to Star Labs and heading inside to see Barry and the rest of his team. "Any new developments?" he asked, before any greetings were uttered.

"Well, hello to you too..." Cisco muttered and rolled his eyes before snorting. "Nothing new. The tracker hasn't moved locations, except to go from one area of the warehouse to another and then back again."

"Who all is going on this retrieval? I'm assuming Barry... are we keeping it small, or do you need your whole team?" He glanced toward the Flash.

Barry smiled crookedly. "Just me. The others are staying here to keep an eye on things and just in case we need back-up."

"I can vibe a portal between the warehouse and here so no one has to drive. Barry won't even need to run." Cisco grinned.

Slade, remembering his past experiences with members of the Flash team, kept to the side and let Oliver take the lead. Even though everyone knew he wasn't the same under the influence of the mirakuru, he was still painfully aware of what he'd become.

"Is there anything else we need to be aware of about this drug or Blood?" Wells asked.

"The drug kills nearly everyone that takes it. Those who don't die become more prone to violence and lack control over themselves." Oliver was short and to the point, not commenting on Blood at all.

"And Sebastian Blood? Will he cooperate or cause a problem?" Barry asked curiously, glancing between Oliver and Slade, as if wanting to ask questions but knowing it wasn't his place.

"I believe he will cooperate, at least as far as he's able to," Slade stated. Glancing at his brother, he continued, "I also don't believe he'd willingly reveal the identity of the Arrow...but he could have had the information forced out of him." Even the strongest could buckle under torture.

"Do we have some way of finding out if that happened? Before anyone who found out gets away?" Barry asked.

"I don't see how, unless Sebastian knows who all is present during his questioning and who they may have talked to after. Not to be all Gloomy Gus or anything..." Cisco shrunk back at Oliver's irritated glance.

Slade frowned. "I can call back and ask to speak to Sebastian...I could feel that out with the correctly-worded question."

"Yeah. He can warn you if he spilled...even if he can't tell you who he spilled to..." Cisco grabbed something and tossed one each to Oliver and Slade. "Earbuds...on our frequency...we'll be able to hear if you need help."

Slade took the earbud with a nod. "I'll go outside to call. Less chance of background noise that way."

Oliver nodded, glancing toward Barry as the younger man came over. "So... how is everyone else? Felicity okay? Thea? Diggle, Lilah and baby John?" Barry asked.

Oliver blinked. "Baby John?" He sounded confused. "Far as I know, they only have one kid; baby Sara." He gave Barry a befuddled and amused look.

Barry looked horrified and crestfallen at that news. "Baby Sara..." He swallowed uncomfortably. "Yeah. Don't know what I was thinking..."

Slade, as he slipped out of the base, overheard the conversation, but didn't think too much of it. Once he was outside and out of earshot, he took out his phone and dialed the number that had called him.

"Yeah?" The dealer answered immediately.

"This is Wilson." Slade didn't waste any time. "I'm gathering the evidence to pass on to you, but I'd like to speak to Blood."

"Sure. I can afford to be generous..."

Muffled noise outdoor be heard in the background and then, "You can't give him what he wants..." Sebastian was worried.

"Don't worry about that," Slade said. "You need to hang tight. Survive."

The phone was taken away before Sebastian could respond.

"Be here soon," was all the dealer said before hanging up.

Barry and Oliver had suited up by the time Slade returned. Oliver wasn't sure why exactly, but his younger companion and protege (hey! He had taught him a few things!) seemed like he felt guilty about something. Barry hadn't been acting that way when they first arrived and no one had done anything in that amount of time to feel guilty about, so Oliver chalked it up to his own feelings of guilt and inadequacy and ignored it.

Slade sighed, but went into the base. He didn't have the mask anymore; after everything he'd put his little brother through while wearing it, the thought of using the mask as Deathstroke made him feel like the monster. Still, it didn't take him long to prepare.

Oliver and Barry quickly followed.

Slade had got more than a little used to things out of the ordinary happen, but it was still odd to step through a portal and find himself at his destination with no travelling involved. He didn't dwell on it too long, though, and addressed the two younger men. "We need to get to Blood and the mirakuru first. Every trace of the mirakuru has to be destroyed."

"Got it! I'll get Sebastian," Barry answered quickly, running off.

Oliver blinked, then turned toward Slade. "We get the Mirakuru, then..."

Slade nodded to his brother, though he couldn't help a slight frown. He wasn't responsible for Barry, though, so couldn't really comment. He touched the earbud. "Barry, check with Sebastian if he let slip anything about the Arrow," he requested, then focused fully on Oliver. "We should look for any evidence it might have been shipped elsewhere."

"Got it!" Barry quickly answered, before tying up all of Sebastian's guards and freeing him...and then asking him exactly what he'd told anyone else.

Oliver had found the stash of Mirakuru and was bundling it up to take back to the labs. He was a bit worried that it seemed to be missing a vial.

The dealer waited until Slade was close enough to inject without being able to fight it off before making his attack. His goal wasn't to capture Slade or kill him; he only needed to maintain contact long enough to jab the needle of Mirakuru into Slade's neck.

Some instinct warned Slade that there was someone behind him and he quickly turned, ducking out of immediate range of the needle.

The dealer smirked. "Breaking your end of the deal, I see." He began to circle Slade, needle held at the ready.

The color seemed off to Oliver, but the shadows and darkness of the area could explain that.

Slade didn't respond to that, only watching the man warily. He had drawn his sword, but now cursed the fact he hadn't brought a gun. If he wanted to strike, he would have to get close and personal, which put him at risk of being injected.

The dealer grinned, as if he had something up his sleeve. "You'll take it one way or the other..."

Oliver swallowed hard as he watched the two men circle each other. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw movement and tensed, raising his bow even as he yelled, "There's a sniper!"

Slade half-spun in that direction, but not fast enough to fully dodge the dart that landed in his shoulder. It wasn't a direct hit, but it was enough to slow him down.

"!" Oliver screamed, as the dealer took advantage of Slade being slowed and distracted to jab the Mirakuru into Slade's neck.

Slade had tried to turn to dislodge the needle, but couldn't prevent the mirakuru from entering him. He dropped to one knee as the dart combined with the mirakuru to weaken him, but unlike the first time, this time, he tried to focus entirely on Oliver and what his little brother meant to him. He could live with obsession. He couldn't live with hurting Oliver again.

Oliver drew his bow and quickly took out the sniper, then shot the dealer in the leg so that he couldn't get away. As far as he was concerned, all bets were off, though. Slade had not only been shot, he'd been given the Mirakuru. He wasn't going to be merciful to anyone that had done that to his brother.

By this time, Barry had returned to the area with Sebastian. "Joe...can you send back up, please? The hostage is safe and those who were in charge of the kidnapping have been apprehended..." he said into the comms.

Slade would have worked on helping his brother, but the effects of the drug were leaving him woozy and he didn't want to give the unnatural rage even more of a foothold.

There was an acknowledgement and then it didn't take long for the backup to start arriving.

Oliver managed to hold on until Vibe arrived with Wells and Joe. But it was difficult. All he could think about was how enraged Slade had become the first time he'd been given Mirakuru, when Oliver had to stab him in the eye with an arrow to escape from him...when he'd left his brother for dead. It didn't help that he had a litany of the people that had died under Slade's Mirakuru induced obsessive paranoia, his mother in top position. Slade may have felt guilt for what he'd done while under the drug's influence, but Oliver held himself responsible. Between his guilt at what had happened to his brother and fear that it was about to happen again, he felt panic rising and knew he had to get away before he drew Slade's attention to him and somehow set him off on a killing spree again. He had no doubt any rage Slade got overtaken by would be focused on him and would be taken out on everyone else. He moved closer to Barry, taking out his comm so no one else would hear. "I've got to get out of here. Now."

Barry had been fighting his own guilt at what his actions had done to his team...finding out his actions had had a much further reach than he'd realized had caused him to fall into a spiral of self-loathing and guilt that he'd managed to hide from everyone else. Or, at least, he thought he had hidden it. At any rate, Oliver's request to be taken out of the warehouse immediately was the perfect excuse for him to run away from the reminders of what he was so guilty of. Well, mostly. At least his guilt wouldn't cause them any problems if he wasn't there. "Sure..." he whispered back, turning off his own comm, grabbing Oliver and speeding the two of them as far away from the warehouse as he could get them without Oliver getting sick (or catching fire) from the suddenly rapid movement. Once he'd stopped, he looked at his older friend. "What now?"

"Now I hide..." Oliver admitted, almost sheepishly, wanting nothing more than to go back to his brother, but also not wanting to set off a powder keg.

Barry bit his lip. "Can I hide with you?"

Oliver just stared for a moment, before nodding. Slipping into an empty alley-way, the two removed their outfits and hid them, not wanting the trackers in their suits to give them away. The two began a slow walk down the street to figure out where they were and where they could catch a bus to a more secure and hidden location.

The tranq hadn't only slowed down Slade's physical body, but had also slowed him down mentally. For that reason, it took him longer than it should have done to realise he couldn't feel the unnatural rage taking hold. For whatever reason, the mirakuru hadn't taken hold. And with that knowledge, the worry about how his little brother would react to what had just happened came to the forefront of his mind.

Raising his head and focusing on his surroundings, Slade's worry sparked when he realised his brother was gone. "Where's Oliver?"

Wells hadn't seen Barry or Oliver move, but it didn't take long for him to realise that neither of them were in the warehouse. He approached Slade, a bit warily. "You were attacked?"

"I was injected." There was no point in lying. Slade was fairly sure the mirakuru hadn't taken, but he wasn't prepared to put anyone at risk. "Run whatever tests you need to before I look for my brother."

"We'll have to do that back at the lab. CCPD will be here soon though..." Cisco remarked. "...Joe, can I take Deathstroke back to the lab to run tests? Blood can stay with you and answer questions to tie up loose ends...and while we're there we can try and figure out exactly where Barry and Oliver went, since their trackers are still working as far as I know..."

"I don't mind..." Sebastian said, giving Slade his own worried look and not wanting to make things difficult.

"The trackers are both working- and they aren't moving anywhere- but neither of the guys are answering coms..." Caitlin could be heard through the earpieces they all wore.

Slade closed his eye. "Oliver saw the mirakuru injected into me. Considering what happened the last time, he won't want to make it easy for me to find him. If he and Barry are together, he'll have made sure they removed their trackers. Probably left the comms, too, and their phones." He stood up. As much as he wanted and needed to track Oliver...he had to be certain he was safe for his little brother to be around first.

Wells frowned, but didn't give voice to whatever he was thinking and nodded to Joe. "Meet us back at the lab when you're done."

Joe frowned and did give voice. "Why would Barry just take off like that? He has never had a problem standing up to Oliver if he disagreed, so for him to do all that meant Oliver either convinced him he was right... or Barry was ready to do it himself without Oliver having to say anything..." He was obviously worried about his son. He didn't attempt to stop the other men from going through the portal Vibe had opened, though. He was still wearing his comms and they could talk to him that way if they actually had an answer.

Sebastian looked at the detective with worry. "The Flash...couldn't see much of his face, but his eyes looked like something was weighing him down..."

Cisco didn't say anything right away, either, but he had his suspicions and as soon as they got back to the lab so Caitlyn could run tests on Slade, he'd mention those to everyone. Instead of saying anything, he opened a portal so they could jump through.

Wells just nodded to Joe. "Whether he was convinced to or was prepared to run anyway, we'll check that we're not dealing with someone infected by the mirakuru and then focus on finding them."

Slade stood by the portal, just about holding back his impatience. All he wanted was to have his suspicions confirmed so he could bring his brother safely back to him.

"Hop to..." Cisco clapped his hands and motioned toward the portal. "Chop chop..." He looked at Slade and even though the man really wasn't taller than him, his presence was so 'big' that he found himself shrinking back slightly and looking up at the man. "Only if you want to, of course...I wouldn't be giving you orders or anything like that..." he began to ramble nervously.

Slade's lips twitched, almost like he might smile if he wasn't worrying so much about his brother. With a slight nod, he stepped through the portal.

Wells followed along behind him.

Cisco took a deep breath, then smiled reassuringly at Joe and nodded at Sebastian. "We'll see you back at the lab when you're able to leave here." Stepping through the portal himself, it closed quickly behind him, leaving Sebastian and Joe to wait for the police.

It didn't take long. Soon the dealer and sniper were being cuffed and carted off to lock-up, while Sebastian explained how he'd been taken...carefully leaving out any information about Slade. If the dealer mentioned him or anyone else, then they'd cross that bridge, but the less Slade's situation was brought up with law, the better he figured.

Barry and Oliver hadn't lost any time in taking a bus out of the town they'd stopped and left their stuff. Oliver glanced at Barry curiously after he finally got bored of watching scenery fly by the bus window. "So...why'd you want to come with me? You could have just got me outside of the warehouse...taken me back to the labs or something...instead you get us both as far away as possible and readily agree to running with me..."

Barry swallowed. "I... I didn't know how to face everyone. When you told me about baby Sara... See..." He swallowed again nervously. "...It wasn't always baby Sara. It used to be baby John. But..." He winced.

Oliver slanted his head thoughtfully and narrowed his eyes. "You went back in time again. And something you did changed things."

Barry looked at his hands, twisting them around on his lap. "Yeah..." he finally whispered. "It changed a lot of things..." It was obvious he felt very guilty about what had occurred.

Oliver wondered if Barry and his team had ever talked about any of this. It seemed like Barry had been carrying this guilt for a while now. "Does everyone...?"

"...Know?" Barry finished the question. "My team does. I didn't realize the effects went so much further than them until you mentioned Baby Sara. I should have realized, but I guess I just didn't want to think about it. I don't know if I should apologize to John and Lilah, or not tell them and let them be happy with the daughter they obviously love instead of wondering about the son that could have been..."

"I... I think I don't have any good advice to give you. I mean. Whatever you changed, changed things before Baby John was even a though they don't have him now, it isn't like they ever had him. At least not in this time line. I don't think they would look at it as negatively as you are looking at it. It isn't like your actions caused a child they knew they had and loved to suddenly be dead when he wasn't before..."

"...Like Cisco's brother..." Barry muttered unhappily.

Oliver blinked. "...Oh..." Heavy silence weighed on the two as the bus continued to drive. Oliver didn't know what to say to help Barry feel better about that.

Sitting still and waiting for the tests to be run was hard; far harder than Slade had anticipated. He took to pacing while it happened, battling down the urge to leave and try to track down his brother. His worry about Oliver was skyrocketing and as soon as he had the all-clear, he had his phone out and was dialing Lance.

Maybe, just maybe, Oliver had seen sense and had contacted Lance or Tommy.

Cisco watched the man pacing and frowned. "Good thing he wasn't affected by that stuff. I'm not sure he'd be able to wait for it to work its way out of his system if we hadn't been able to clear him. Wonder why Barry left, though..." He quieted as Lance had apparently answered his phone.

"...Hi, Slade. You get Blood out alright? Without getting hurt yourself?" Lance asked quickly.

Slade continued to pace, even after Lance answered the phone. His brother's response made it clear he hadn't heard from Oliver...but maybe he would. "The dealer injected me with mirakuru. It didn't take and I've made sure the tests are done to prove it. But Oliver saw it happen and took off." He raked a hand through his hair, keeping his voice calm with only supreme effort. "If he calls you...or Tommy...I know he's got rid of anything that could help me find him..."

Lance sighed and muttered a curse under his breath. "Yeah. If he contacts us, you'll be the first one we call. Until you need me?" As worried about Oliver as he now was, he couldn't do anything for the runaway. He could do something for the runaway's big brother, though. If he was needed.

Slade took a deep breath. In many ways, it was tempting to say yes. To let someone else be the support for him. But he couldn't afford to lose any kind of edge. Oliver was thinking clearly enough to remove himself from a potentially dangerous situation...but he wasn't turning to any of his allies. The only one he had with him was Barry; who, by all accounts, was wrestling with his own demons. "If you could stay case he does find his way to you. Maybe call Felicity and ask her to see if there's any trace of either of them?"

"I'll do that as soon as we're finished talking," Lance agreed. "You know he will come back to you, right? That kid's whole world hangs off you and even if he's scared because he thinks you've been drugged again...he's most likely going to spend his time away coming up with a plan to get you 'clean' again. He won't be able to help himself..."

"I need to get him back." Slade dropped his voice low. "But I know it terrified him. All I can think about is bringing him back to me." He didn't put into words that he was going to have to handle his little brother. Ideally, he should have taken care of Oliver before.

"I know. I also know the team you are with is going to do everything possible to find those two will work out," Lance encouraged.

"Yeah," Slade agreed. "Just do what you can your end. I'll do what I can this end."

"I'll talk to you later." Lance ended the call.

Cisco wrinkled his nose. "We might want to set up a wider range on our scanner. If Barry uses his speed or Flash powers, we can pick it up and have an idea where he is...if they don't return on their own."

Wells nodded, glancing at Slade. "Do you have any idea the kind of area Oliver might head to?"

"Away from here. Away from Starling City," Slade answered. "I stand a good chance of predicting where Oliver might end up, but I don't know Barry and I don't know how much his presence might influence my brother."

Caitlyn interrupted. "Joe is on his way back with Sebastian..."

Cisco nodded at the words before glancing toward Slade. "I don't know that Barry would run anywhere in particular. Usually, he runs to here or to home..." He frowned.

"If I was just predicting Oliver's actions, I'd say that he would make sure to get rid of anything that could mean he'd be tracked. That would be his first priority. Then he'd probably take a bus somewhere he thought I couldn't anticipate," Slade said.

"Barry will probably go with what Oliver wants. He'd trust Oliver's experience in being in unusual situations and hiding," Joe said, as he walked into the lab with Sebastian.

Slade nodded and sighed. "He'll keep away from cameras as much as he can." As he spoke, he glanced at Sebastian, giving the other man a quick once-over, checking for any sign of injuries.

"Our only hope, then, is that Barry has to run fast at some point and trips our scanner." Caitlyn sighed as well.

Sebastian held still and actually moved closer, knowing Slade wanted to make sure he was alright, though he wasn't sure why the other man cared.

Wells nodded. "All we can do right now is wait."

Although he was able to satisfy himself that Sebastian wasn't hurt, Slade wasn't completely satisfied...and it wasn't just about his little brother having taken off. He took a step closer to Sebastian and glanced at the others. "When you have a hit, let me know." He then focused on Sebastian. "We need to talk."

Everyone but Cisco and Wells had a curious look on their face at Slade's words; Wells looked bored and Cisco looked decidedly uncomfortable, but no one said anything.

Sebastian blinked. "Yeah. Ok. We can borrow one of the other offices, I'm sure." He was clueless.

"Uh, yeah." Cisco gave Blood a sympathetic wince. "Use mine. Down the hall and on the right..."

Slade nodded to Cisco and then began heading in that direction, expecting Sebastian to follow.

Sebastian blinked, then sighed. He fully expected to be chewed out for the fact he'd been careless enough to get caught. It wasn't like he didn't know he was dealing with dangerous men. He hoped that the fact he made it out unscathed would be enough to help Slade stay calm, though. Being chewed out was not fun, but it was worse when the person doing the chewing was furious. Straightening his shoulders, he followed Slade.

Slade didn't speak until they were inside the office with the door closed and then he turned to face Sebastian. "Why did you leave Starling City without checking in with me?"

Sebastian's eyes widened. "I...I didn't realize I was supposed to..." he said, with a bit of indignation. It was one thing to agree that he would report to Slade whenever he found out anything about Mirakuru or the people trying to reproduce it. It was quite another thing to say that Slade was the one in charge and that he had to check in. Although...maybe he shouldn't be surprised at this development. He eyed the other man uncertainly, not completely sure he wasn't in the wrong. Had he missed a clue somewhere along the way?

"When we spoke before, when you returned to Starling City, I warned you not to do anything dangerous." Slade looked straight at the younger man. "I don't say things just to hear myself talk. You could have ended up in the hospital. Or dead." And that was a hard thing to fathom. When he'd come back from the mirakuru, the guilt about everyone he'd hurt...not just Oliver...had nearly crippled him. Sebastian being alive meant he had a second chance to do right by the other man.

"It wasn't supposed to be dangerous..." Sebastian said, almost sullenly. "Besides...I figured you were just warning me because at that point in time, Oliver had someone after him and you figured they'd be able to use me to get to him if I wasn't careful... Oliver shouldn't have been affected by this." Sebastian winced. "He wasn't hurt, was he?" If Oliver had been hurt because Sebastian had got caught, then it was no wonder Slade was upset with him.

"It's not just about Oliver," Slade said, taking a step closer to Sebastian. "I thought you were dead and I knew I was responsible for it. I warned you to be careful because I wasn't prepared to let anything happen to you again. Why do you think I came immediately?"

Sebastian blinked uncertainly and flushed as he realized Slade had been worried about him. "I...I thought because I knew who the Green Arrow really is and you wanted to make certain I wasn't made to talk..." he admitted, almost ashamed at realizing he'd misjudged his friend's intentions and feelings so badly.

"You didn't know me before the mirakuru took hold," Slade said. "Oliver is extremely important to me, yes...but he's not the only person I care about. He's not the only person I regret hurting."

"Yeah, well... I deserved to be hurt. I never blamed you for that..." Sebastian fidgeted and looked at the ground. "I'm sorry I didn't realize, though. I would have called if I had known you'd worry...if I'd known you meant all the time and not just when you originally warned me..."

Slade reached out and gently squeezed Sebastian's shoulder. "I'm glad you realise now, but I'm afraid we need to deal with you putting yourself in danger."

"Man..." Sebastian sighed and ran a hand through his hair. " do you plan to deal with me?" he asked reluctantly, expecting to be told he was supposed to stay away from anything Mirakuru related; not allowed to help Slade and Oliver any longer (at least when it came to the drug).

"I'm going to punish you. Specifically, I'm going to spank you." Slade kept his hand on Sebastian's shoulder and his voice calm and level.

Sebastian opened his mouth to argue but couldn't think of anything to say beyond, "Really?" He bit his lip and thought. From the way Slade had reacted to him being taken- the way he'd talked after he'd rescued him- the older man really cared what happened to him. And Sebastian had worried him a lot. Unnecessarily. It really wouldn't have taken much to call the other man and let him know what he was up to and why. Called in for back-up. Anything that would have made what he was doing safer. He only hadn't because he hadn't thought Slade really cared. But knowing now that he did care? It seemed to him he had a choice. Accept Slade's caring in whatever form it took, or push the older man away and tell him he had no right to enforce any type of control, let alone punishment.

"You..." he started, then sighed. "...Okay. What do you need me to do?" he whispered. He didn't want to push Slade away.

"You don't have to do anything other than cooperate and not fight me on it." Slade still had his hand on Sebastian's shoulder and he used that grip to gently propel the other man towards the chair behind the desk.

"Yeah. I'll try. Can't guarantee I'll succeed..." Sebastian huffed slightly, but let himself be led.

Reaching the chair, Slade took a seat and gently guided Sebastian across his lap, securing him with an arm wrapped around his waist and adjusting his position to make sure the younger man wouldn't fall.

"I can't believe you're doing this..." Sebastian muttered. Oddly enough, he didn't find it hard to believe that he was allowing it; which made him wonder at his own feelings about the man he'd just agreed to submit to.

Slade gently patted Sebastian's back. "I'm not going to risk you getting hurt. Or killed." Tightening his hold, he tugged the other man's pants and underwear down.

Sebastian couldn't help but whimper when he felt himself being bared and threw a hand back to cover himself, even as he began to blush. "Slade!" He meant to sound forceful and disapproving, but since it came out in a pathetic whine, he had a feeling his opinion wasn't going to sway his friend.

"I'm going to spank you, but I'm not going to harm you." Slade's voice was gentle and reassuring, even as he took hold of Sebastian's hand and moved it out of the way. Lifting his other hand, he brought it down in a firm swat that he then repeated.

Sebastian let out a tiny grunt at the first swat, managing to answer with a voice that clearly indicated how ashamed he was. "I know...I know you won't harm me..."

Slade couldn't help but wince. Being trusted by the people he'd hurt in the past went a good way towards healing the emotional wounds he still carried; but also served as a reminder of how much he had lost and could have done. He continued landing the firm swats down to Sebastian's thighs and then began again from the top. Partway through the second circuit, he began to speak. "I know I gave you no reason to trust me when I was under the control of the mirakuru, but in my right mind, I expect you to understand that I'll try to keep you safe. Leaving without a word was not acceptable."

"I...I won't do it again..." Sebastian all but promised; not because the spanking hurt and he was attempting to get out of it (although it did hurt), but because knowing Slade cared enough about him to insist on him being safe made him want to make the other man happy. If telling him what his plans were would make Slade happy, it was an easy thing to do. Even if he was accepting Slade's orders and accepting the punishment, his body had other ideas. He began to squirm the longer the spanking went on, tiny whimpers escaping every other smack.

"I hope you won't, because if you put yourself in danger, in any kind of danger again, you'll end up in this position again," Slade promised. "You know me well enough to know I keep my promises. And my promises now are about keeping the people I care about safe. You are one of those." Completing the second circuit, he began a third, going a bit harder and faster.

"I won't! I promise!" Sebastian had been doing just fine, accepting the punishment without losing control over himself. Until Slade said he was included among those the older man wanted to keep safe. Sebastian didn't have any family left and he'd burned so many bridges, he'd felt like he didn't have any friends either. He figured Slade had chosen Oliver and Oliver hated him, so he'd contented himself with being Slade's informant. If Slade cared, though... "I'll do my best to keep myself safe!" he added, in case his promise wasn't entirely clear; he then slumped and began to cry softly, tiny whimpers after each swat.

Slade delivered a final few swats to Sebastian's sit spots and thighs and then brought the spanking to a stop, rubbing the younger man's lower back. "I know what it's like to regret mistakes you've made, but don't let that regret make you put yourself in danger."

"I...I just want to help you..." Sebastian admitted quietly, sniffling and wiping at his eyes as his tears slowed at the gentle comfort. "...Make up for how I messed up..."

"You aren't the only one who's messed up - and I would rather have you alive and safe," Slade said seriously, continuing the gentle comfort.

"O...okay..." Sebastian sniffled again, then cleared his throat. "...Thank you for coming for me..." he said quietly.

"Not coming for you was never an option," Slade replied. "And now you know I do care about you, I hope you'll be more careful when deciding to investigate. And make sure you keep me in the loop."

"I will..." Sebastian promised again. Wriggling just a tiny bit, he waited for Slade to give him permission to get up and fix his clothing. While he trusted Slade completely and knew the older man wouldn't harm him, it was still a bit disconcerting to be over his friend's knee with his pants around his ankles. It made him feel very vulnerable. Still...if Slade felt the need to correct him in this manner, then he'd wait until Slade was through saying whatever he needed to say.

"And for right now, once Oliver's back, you'll be going back to Starling City with us." Slade gently rubbed his back a moment more and then removed his hand. "You can get up now," he said gently.

"You don't want me investigating anymore?" Sebastian asked cautiously, even as he carefully stood and righted his clothes with a tiny hiss.

"Not without running what you're investigating by me first," Slade replied.

Sebastian paused at that, then nodded. "Yessir. You're in charge..." he agreed, with a sigh and a crooked grin. "...Just like before, I guess. Cept this time, I'm not afraid of you..." He shook his head then gave a rueful smile.

"The mirakuru had control of me then and you were right to be afraid, but I'm free from it now and won't focus on anything other than keeping you safe," Slade promised. "I can't change my actions then, but I can promise I won't ever hurt you again."

"I know..." Sebastian hesitated for a brief moment before moving closer and slowly wrapping his arms around Slade in a hug, in case the older man wanted to pull away.

Slade didn't hesitate or pull away, wrapping his own arms around Sebastian in a tight hug. "I'm glad you're safe."

"Yeah...I'm glad you're safe too. I thought for sure he'd got you..." Sebastian held tighter as he thought about the fact Slade had been injected again.

"It didn't take," Slade replied reassuringly. "I made sure the tests were run, so I wouldn't put anyone at risk again."

"I'm glad. I...if it had taken..." Sebastian paused. He wasn't certain what he would have done. He knew it wouldn't have been good, though, since it was his fault Slade had been in that position in the first place.

"It didn't," Slade replied reassuringly. "You and Oliver are both safe." There were other people he could have targeted, too, but considering his relationship with his little brother and his history with Sebastian, it was more likely they would have suffered the most. He tightened his embrace, relieved that neither of them had been harmed...even if he was desperately worrying about his little brother.

At the mention of Oliver, Sebastian pulled back. "You found Oliver?" he asked hopefully.

"Not yet." Slade sighed. "They've widened a trace to hopefully pick up the Flash's use of his abilities. As soon as there's a hit, I'll head there." He had no doubts that he'd be followed. Barry had his own family, after all.

" you want me to head back to Star City and wait there? Or wait here?" Sebastian had no doubt that Slade wouldn't want him investigating anything for at least a few days.

"When I get Oliver back, I'll be taking him home, so it depends very much on whether you want to head back now, or return with us," Slade answered.

"I...I think Oliver won't want me around, so it will probably be better if I just head back and you call me when you need to see me again..." Sebastian gave a crooked smile. Oliver still hadn't completely forgiven him, though the younger man had made an attempt to at least give him a chance.

Slade gently squeezed his shoulder. "Give it time. Maybe we can see about the three of us meeting for coffee or lunch in the next few days."

"I'd like that..." Sebastian smiled, leaning toward Slade before straightening up. "You think they've heard anything yet?" he asked quietly, figuring Slade would want to be returning to the main area of the lab so that he could be there if they found the two runaways; and asking gave the perfect excuse to go back right away.

"We can find out." Standing, Slade gave Sebastian's shoulder a quick squeeze. He was still worried desperately about his little brother, but he knew Oliver could defend himself. It was, however, concerning that his brother hadn't checked in with any of his friends.

Sebastian nodded, letting Slade lead the way back into the main lab area.

Oliver and Barry had finally got off the bus in a tiny town an hour to the north of Central City. Barry was still eaten up with guilt, the look in his eyes giving testament to that fact. Oliver was too busy fighting off his own worry and fear for his older brother to give it much attention, though. He did pay enough attention to ask, "Why'd you come with me? He won't be after you, you know. Once the Mirakuru starts working, it's me he'll come after. You would have been better off staying."

Barry frowned. "Do you know for sure that he got the Mirakuru? He didn't seem that volatile. Or does it work more slowly? And... yeah. I... I can't face everyone right now. It was hard enough when I learned how I'd messed up Cisco and Caitlyn's lives. Knowing how disappointed Joe was in me. Finding out my actions affected people not even that close to me...I mean. I knew it had to be the case, but I never expected to be faced with it."

"You mean baby Sara not being baby John, don't you?" Oliver took a guess. It had been obvious that Barry was shocked when John's little girl was mentioned and his excuse for thinking John had a boy had been flimsy at best.

Barry winced. "Yeah. I... I went back in time again. Rescued my mom. changed everything. My whole life. Everything seemed so good...but then. Then I started seeing all these things that were happening because I hadn't been adopted by Joe...and didn't become the Flash because I wasn't in the right place at the wrong time... and I saw how everyone else's life wasn't as good as it had been and I knew I couldn't let it continue. It wasn't right. So... I went back again and stopped myself from stopping my mom's murder. But somehow, something along the way got messed up anyway. When I returned to what I thought was the correct time- I found out Caitlyn was a meta. Cisco's brother had been killed. And then you told me about baby Sara when I know it was baby John before I messed everything up and... I dunno..." Barry shrugged helplessly, not able to look Oliver in the eye.

"Baby Sara is as loved as Baby John would have been if he'd been conceived. You didn't actually kill him, you know; he just never came into existence." Oliver tried to help Barry feel better.

"I know that mentally. Emotionally, it feels like I killed their baby..." Barry swallowed hard and shook his head. "Let's go find a place to stay. I don't want to sleep on the street."

"Yeah." Oliver sighed and began walking, looking to see if there were any motels or bed and breakfasts in the tiny town.

Slade returned to the main labs, walking next to Sebastian. "Anything?" he asked, just barely hiding his impatience.

"There are no hits yet," Wells replied.

Slade nodded, trying to hide just how worried he was, and took out his phone to text Lance and ask if Felicity had found anything.

Lance immediately texted back that they hadn't found anything and Oliver hadn't contacted them.

Cisco wrinkled his nose. "Did either of them have cash on them? Because if not, they'll have to pay for lodging using a credit card..."

"That's unlikely, unless either of them planned to leave," Wells said.

"It wasn't planned," Slade said quietly, fighting down his worry and the need to track his little brother. If he thought Oliver might still have his phone, he'd be frantically calling and texting. But he knew Oliver too well.

"So I guess we just wait and hope they check into a room somewhere..." Joe said, his own voice worried. Just then, his phone buzzed. Glancing down, he grimaced then looked back up. "I've gotta go. Robbery at ...the museum...?" He sighed and immediately headed out the door.

"Where are we going to stay?" Barry asked Oliver curiously. "I didn't bring any money and if we use credit cards, they'll find us for sure..."

"I've slept in the elements before." Oliver shrugged. There had been plenty of time to get used to sleeping on the ground when on Lian Yu, after all. He looked at Barry skeptically, as if uncertain the younger man could handle roughing it.

Barry straightened up and frowned. "I can do it if I have to! Don't try and coddle me..." he protested. "Food is gonna be another issue, though. I doubt there will be quite as much flora or fauna that we can scavenge if we stay within town limits..."

"How you feel about 'lifting' some items?" Oliver asked cautiously.

"Steal?!" Barry only barely managed to keep his voice at a whisper so that no one walking nearby would hear. "If...if we have to. But I want to keep track of whatever we take and from where, so we can send money to cover it when we are able to get jobs..." he finally conceded, if reluctantly.

"Let's find shelter first, then we'll deal with food," Oliver finally said, taking a detour down a side road in the direction of what appeared to be a park.

The group at Star Labs had spent thirty minutes trying to brainstorm different ways they could try and locate their two missing friends when the monitor began to screech. "Is it Barry?" Sebastian asked curiously.

Caitlyn frowned. "No... it's a the museum..." She quickly keyed into cameras in the vicinity of the museum and turned on the police scanners they had to monitor potential metahuman crimes.

"...Officer down...repeat...officer down...c'mon, Joe..." filled the air.

Cisco's eyes widened and he glanced quickly toward Iris. "I'll get you to the hospital," he quickly said.

Iris nodded quickly, her eyes wide and worried as she waited for the portal to be opened. "Please just bring Barry back safely?" she asked, torn between her worry for her father and her worry about Barry.

Wells simply nodded to Iris, but as there was nothing he could physically do right now, he didn't say anything.

As soon as the portal was closed, Cisco and Iris having disappeared through it, Sebastian grimaced. "This day just keeps getting better and better. I'm so sorry I dragged you all into this mess..." He glanced around the room.

"It's not as if you were responsible for Joe being in the hospital," Wells replied.

"We would have had to deal with the mirakuru resurfacing sooner or later," Slade said. "You aren't responsible for that."

"I... I know. It just feels like everything is mushrooming and it all began with me..." Sebastian grimaced.

Slade gently squeezed his friend's shoulder, trying to reassure him even through his own worry that something might happen to his little brother before he could get to Oliver.

It was several hours later and finally a portal opened again, Cisco stepping through. He looked tired, but he was smiling. "Joe is in stable condition. They want to keep him for a couple of days for observation- to make sure the meta that whammied him didn't cause some type of unseen damage. But overall, he's good. Iris is staying with him and both of them have ordered me to let them know as soon as we find Barry and Oliver..."

Sebastian smiled and slumped back in the seat he was in. "So far, we haven't found anything new..." he said. "I'm glad about Joe, though."

Slade nodded to Cisco. "That's good to know." His eyes were narrow with concern, though, and he was alternating between pacing and staring hard at the monitor, as if he could summon a hit through sheer force of will.

Oliver and Barry had found an empty shed behind a small house toward the edge of town. It looked like it was seldom, if ever visited, let alone used, so they felt fairly safe in staying there; Oliver didn't think the owner would notice their presence, especially if he was careful to remove all traces of them being there from outside. Of course, now that they were settled in, they had to figure out what to do about food.

"We aren't staying here long... just long enough to figure out which direction we want to go," Oliver commented. "We'll need to eat, though, even if we aren't staying more than one night. So... You think you can speed in and out of that tiny store we passed? Get a few things that don't require cooking or heating? You can remember what we took and how much it cost and we can send payment later..." he conceded. He didn't like the idea of stealing either, really.

"Yeah. I can do that." Barry sighed. "Be back in five minutes, if not sooner..." he said, before flashing away.

As soon as the monitor screeched, Slade was there. Wells was a split second behind him. Wells checked the screen and nodded. "It's Barry."

Slade took a deep breath and stood back, waiting for the portal to be opened.

Cisco only took a few seconds to get the proper coordinates for the last point where Barry's signature was tracked before opening a portal a few blocks away from it. "You'll have to walk to the specific location," he told the two men, before they could step through. "I didn't want Barry or Oliver noticing the portal opening. Call me when you're ready for me to reopen the portal for your return..." He waited for the two men to acknowledge his words before he watched them step through and then let the portal close behind them.

Barry, meanwhile, had managed to get back into the shed without tripping any of Oliver's 'alarms' or 'traps' and began pulling out the food items he'd gathered. "This stuff came to $57.34, so as soon as we get to a place where we can earn some money, I want to mail what we owe back..." he mumbled.

Oliver sighed. "We will, Bar. We'll pay back anything we have to take."

Wells and Slade didn't waste any time in heading towards the coordinates indicated where Barry had stopped; and they very quickly discovered the likeliest place for the two to be staying in.

Slade was very careful when he approached the shed, aware that his little brother would have set up traps and alarms. He took his time making sure they passed all of the alarms and traps without setting them off and then proceeded to work on the lock of the shed, as quickly and quietly as possible.

Oliver was just about to bite into one of the apples Barry had filched when he paused, his eyes darting toward the back of the shed. "Someone is out there..." he whispered to Barry, tensing up and putting himself between the younger man and the door, holding up a knife Barry hadn't even realized he had.

Barry swallowed hard and moved to the side. If they were attacked, he was fully capable of fighting. Or getting him and Oliver out of harm's way by speeding them away. Whichever seemed best.

Slade held a hand up to indicate that Wells should stay back as he got the door unlocked. Taking a deep breath, he eased the door open, stepping through with his hands held up, indicating he wasn't armed. "Kid..." There was a whole lot he wanted to say to his little brother, but before he said anything else, he had to reassure Oliver. "The mirakuru didn't take. It's not in me."

Wells edged through the door after Slade, but didn't speak immediately, waiting to see if the younger men would respond favourably or not.

Oliver stood tensely for a moment, almost analyzing Slade and how he was he was holding himself.

Barry stood nervously behind Oliver, ready to run them both out of there the minute Oliver indicated Slade wasn't safe, glancing at Wells and making a note to grab him as well, since if Slade wasn't safe, that meant the older man was in danger. He couldn't help but slump in relief when Oliver lowered the knife he held.

"It didn't take?" Oliver's voice was strained and hopeful.

"I made sure the tests were run before I came after you." Slade took a step closer to his brother. "You know I didn't lie to you even then. You haven't lost me, kid. I promise." If they'd been alone, he wouldn't have wasted any time in pulling Oliver into his arms. He settled for moving close enough that it would only take a few more steps to touch.

"The results from the bloodwork are back at the lab, if you need the proof," Wells said.

Oliver swallowed and glanced at Wells. "No... I don't need proof. He's right. He never lied to me, even when he was under Mirakuru's influence." He turned back toward Slade. "I... I don't know what to say. I'm very relieved..."

Barry bit his lip. "Does this mean we are going home?"

"We're going to need to talk." Slade's voice was very gentle and low enough to only carry to Oliver's ears, despite the serious tone of his words. He angled himself just enough that his arm could touch his brother's; a movement that only Oliver would know was done by design and not accident.

"It does," Wells replied. "And once we're there, I think we'll be having a talk." He might not have heard exactly what Slade said to Oliver, but considering the other man had clearly taken Blood in hand, it wouldn't surprise him if a similar thing was about to happen between Slade and Oliver.

Barry's eyes widened, Wells' tone cluing him in that this might be a talk like Cisco had mentioned to him once, when he was just inebriated enough to not care if Barry knew. "A regular talk?" he asked hopefully.

Oliver swallowed and nodded, his relief that Slade was still himself the dominant emotion. He knew he'd done a lot of questionable things in his attempt to put space between him and his brother. He wasn't going to argue whatever Slade decided.

"We'll discuss that back at the lab." Wells took his phone out to give Cisco a call and ask him to reopen the portal.

Slade gently squeezed Oliver's shoulder as they waited. "I'm glad I have you back safe," he whispered to his brother.

Oliver gave Slade a tiny smile, then a more guilty one. "I guess now that we aren't running, we should pay for those groceries we took..."

Barry's look was guilt filled angst. "I got the address here..." He quickly held it out to whoever would take it.

Wells took the address. "I'll make sure the money is sent to the shop," he said. Then, when Cisco answered, he spoke to the other man. "We need the portal opened."

"I'll open it the same spot as before, if you can meet me there," Cisco said.

"That's fine." Wells nodded to Barry. "Come on. Let's go home." He started heading out of the shed, expecting that Barry and the others would follow.

Barry's shoulders slumped and he shot Oliver a sheepish look as he began to follow the professor. Oliver didn't notice. He was giving Slade his own indecipherable look, that Barry could tell was an 'I'm in trouble' look. Looking back toward Wells, Barry asked, "Where's Joe?"

"There was a metahuman attack he was called in on," Wells answered. "He was hit...he's fine, but needs to stay in the hospital for a couple of days for observation."

Slade walked next to his brother, close enough that he could feel Oliver there.

Barry's eyes widened. "Joe was attacked by a meta-human?" His voice sounded almost lost as he took in that information. "...I should have been there. He wouldn't have been hurt if I'd been there..."

Oliver glanced at Barry, a bit worried about his friend. Barry had come with him because he'd felt guilty about what his actions had caused with his time-travel; having his father hurt because he had taken off wouldn't help with that guilt. He should have insisted Barry go back to the labs after he got Oliver out. Even if Barry was an adult who could make his own decisions, he was still a kid in so many ways when it came to family, specifically parental figures. Without thinking, Oliver shifted so he was pressed closer to Slade, reaffirming the older man's place in his life.

"That isn't necessarily true," Wells answered. "It might have still happened, but you're right. You shouldn't have run."

Even though Slade didn't want to embarrass his brother, or show more of their relationship than either was prepared to, he responded to Oliver's shifting, letting his hand drop to his brother's hip and gently squeezing in a way that, although it wouldn't send his brother into the submissive mindset, was still possessive.

Barry slumped at the words. "I've got to go see him..." he said softly, uncertainly. Even if Joe was out of danger and was only being kept for observation, he felt guilty and didn't want Joe to pick up on that guilt. It would make the older man worry.

Oliver relaxed at the possessiveness of his brother. If Slade was being possessive, then even if he was in trouble, his brother still had him. He hadn't messed things up between them by running.

"You can see him after we have our discussion," Wells replied, as they reached the site the portal had originally been opened at.

Slade didn't let go of his little brother, angling his body so that the touch wasn't seen by other people.

Within moments of them reaching the site, the portal was opening and Cisco was calling for them to come through.

Oliver blinked at the evidence of Cisco's powers. "Was he able to do that before?" He glanced at Barry curiously. Barry had mentioned Caitlyn, but he hadn't said anything about Cisco.

"Sort of? Not to that degree, but he was able to do it..." Barry shrugged slightly, before following Wells through the portal.

"Huh..." was all Oliver could respond, as he waited for Slade to direct him when to go.

Slade paused, just after Wells and Barry had entered the portal, to take advantage of the fact he and Oliver were alone to do what he'd wanted to since getting to his brother. He wrapped his arms around Oliver in a quick but tight hug.

Oliver was quick to respond to the hug, cognizant of the fact that he couldn't let himself fall into the mindset he normally was while at home, but needing to rely on his brother all the same. "I'm sorry," he whispered in Slade's ear, before reluctantly stepping back so they could follow through the portal.

Slade didn't make a verbal response, but he gently squeezed Oliver's hip before they stepped through the portal.

Barry glanced around, nodding at Cisco and giving Caitlyn a crooked smile. "Wally with Iris and Joe?" he asked quietly.

"Yeah. They want you to join them once you've been debriefed..." Caitlyn answered.

Cisco closed the portal as soon as everyone was through and then glanced at the two older men. " can use my office again if you need..." he said to Slade, knowing that Wells had his own office that he could talk to Barry in. "I'm gonna head home. Get some food and catch some Z's. You want to walk out with me, Caitlyn?"

"Yeah. I'll come with you..." Caitlyn quickly grabbed her belongings and met Cisco at the door so they could exit the building together.

Wells nodded to acknowledge Cisco and Caitlyn and then turned to Barry. "Follow me." He didn't wait for a response and began heading to his office.

Slade sent a quick text to Lance, letting him know Oliver was back safe and sound, and then looked at his brother. "Shall we talk here? Or head home?" At least at home, his brother could go into whatever mindset he needed to.

Oliver glanced hesitantly toward where Wells and Barry were exiting. "I... home might be better." He glanced toward Barry. "I'll talk with you later, Bar..."

"Yeah. I'll call and let you know how Joe's doing..." Barry nodded, before quickly following Wells.

Oliver swallowed, then turned toward Slade. "Did Sebastian go home already?"

Slade nodded. "He thought that was for the best." Gently rubbing his little brother's hip, he added, "He didn't reveal your identity to the people who had him." As he spoke, he steered Oliver out of the lab and to their car.

"He kept my secret?" Despite his attempts to give Sebastian another chance, he was still surprised the other man had maintained that bit of loyalty. And then Slade rubbing his hip took precedence, the motion causing him to begin to lose some of the tight control he'd been maintaining over himself. He was beginning to wish he'd asked Cisco to stay long enough to portal them home.

"Yeah, kid." Slade let go of his little brother long enough so they could get in the car. Then, once they were settled, he reached across and took Oliver's hand, squeezing it gently. Oliver was safe back with him. The mirakuru hadn't turned him into a monster again.

"You were right about him..." Oliver reluctantly agreed, squeezing Slade's hand back and wishing that Slade could do more. He was beginning to itch under his skin; the guilt from what he'd put his brother through, the fact he'd run from his brother, the fact that he hadn't even thought to warn anyone else that he was running or why... it was all beginning to hit him just how wrong he'd been.

"He wants to make up for the past. I know it's hard to forgive him, little brother, but he isn't a bad person." Instead of starting to drive straight away, Slade let his other hand rest on Oliver's thigh, rubbing gently.

"After all the wrong things I've done in my own life, I'd be a hypocrite not to give him a chance..." Oliver admitted. "I want to try...if you want to have him come over so we can have dinner or something..." He sounded nervous at the last comment; not because he didn't want to give Sebastian a chance, but because he knew in his home he was more likely to slip into 'Slade is in charge of everything' mindset and that was just between him and Slade. He didn't know how Blood would take it, even if some people in Oliver's life might suspect.

"I think it might be better if we went to his place," Slade said. "Or even meet in a restaurant or cafe." He knew their home was a safe space for his brother and wanted to keep that safe haven for them both.

"That would be good..." Oliver quickly agreed, relaxing slightly at his brother's words. The gentle rubbing of his thigh was helping to calm him as well, but the itch under his skin was getting worse. He wished they could just be home already.

Slade prided himself on reading his little brother well and he could tell Oliver was feeling unsettled and really needed Slade to take control straight away. He continued rubbing his little brother's thigh a bit more as he thought it through, then said gently, "I know you need me to take control as soon as possible, kid. I think we can work it so I can give you the contact you need during the drive home."

Oliver gave his brother a pathetically hopeful look. "Please?" He whispered his need.

Slade gently stroked his brother's hair, pressing a kiss to his forehead before he leaned over to lever the seat down as far as it would go. With gentle touches and murmured encouragement, he got Oliver turned over and as comfortable as possible, before he tugged his little brother's pants and underwear down and lifted his shirt enough to bare as much skin as possible without actually stripping his brother naked.

Oliver shivered and whimpered as Slade maneuvered him, but as soon as he was in position and vulnerable to his brother, he went boneless with relief. Slade had him. "Yours..." he whispered, in a tiny, needy voice.

"Mine," Slade affirmed. "Always." He let his hand rest gently on Oliver's back, rubbing and stroking, as he began driving.

Oliver lay on the seat, barely moving, just watching Slade and focusing on the gentle rubbing. He thought about another time where he'd completely lost it and his brother had needed to reel him in with petting mixed in with correction.

Slade had returned to the plane with two rabbits he'd caught for him and his little brother to have and cook for lunch. But when he stepped inside, he was looking around in concern and worry, unable to see Oliver. He dropped the rabbits and quickly headed back out.

Oliver hadn't planned to leave the plane when Slade had left him to go get food. The older man had told him to stay put and Oliver had become accustomed to obeying. But he'd got bored...and gone snooping...and found a pocket watch with a photograph and lock of hair...and somehow broke the watch. He was sure Slade would be furious and couldn't face that, so he'd carefully put the watch back in place, left a note and run.

It didn't take long for Slade to realise his brother wasn't close by outside the plane. When he went back inside, he found the broken watch and the note. Trying to breathe past the stab of worry, he headed back outside and began tracking Oliver's progress.

Oliver had learned quite a bit from Slade about hiding his tracks so he could stay out of Fyers' sights. Still, Slade was the one who had taught him. And he was scared of his brother being angry at him and so wasn't as careful as he could have been, even if Fyers wouldn't notice his mistakes. It made it easy for Slade to track him to a tiny cave behind a waterfall.

Slade very quickly tracked down Oliver to the tiny cave and headed inside, moving carefully because he didn't want to spook his little brother.

Oliver was sat on his heels, arms wrapped around himself, his head bowed in dejection. He wasn't focused enough to hear anyone come in, let alone his ninjaesque brother.

Slade sighed, feeling a rush of affection and love for his brother, and walked over to Oliver. "Kid," he said gently.

Oliver sprung to his feet so fast, he tripped and landed on his butt. "Slade!" He shifted nervously, rubbing at the spot where he'd landed on a rock, but he didn't get up or try to run away. He knew better than that; Slade caught him too easily without trying. There's no way he'd get away if Slade was trying.

Slade crouched down and reached out, letting his hand slip to the nape of Oliver's neck and squeezing gently. "You don't need to run."

"I snooped and broke your watch..." Oliver confessed guiltily. "I didn't mean to...I'm sorry..."

"I found it. And the note." Slade brought his brother into a close embrace. "I don't care about the watch getting broken. I care about you running away from me."

Oliver couldn't help himself. As soon as Slade had hold of him, he snuggled close. "I shouldn't have run," he admitted softly. "It was bad..."

"Not bad." Slade gave him a semi-hard swat, making it clear he wasn't going to accept his little brother calling himself bad.

Oliver yelped at the swat, but instead of pulling away, snuggled closer yet, nuzzling into his brother's shoulder. "Was...naughty?" he tested.

"Yes, naughty," Slade said, gently stroking the nape of his little brother's neck. "My 'naughty' boy."

Oliver shivered; the possessive tone and words made him feel so young and vulnerable that he couldn't control himself. He shifted to plaster himself against Slade as close and tight with every part of him as possible, needing to feel that he was Slade's.

The touch at his neck had him softly whining for more. "Your naughty boy..." he agreed.

Slade tugged him in closer, delivering another couple of firm swats before gently rubbing the areas he'd just smacked.

"I'm sorry I ran..." Oliver mumbled into his brother's shoulder. Now that he'd confessed and could see Slade wasn't furious at what he'd done to the watch, he was more able to focus on what he'd done to his brother by taking off without more than a note.

Slade sighed and tightened his embrace, hand still gently scruffing his little brother. "I thought I was going to lose you," he murmured into his little brother's hair.

"Didn't think about that..." Oliver whispered, ashamed of himself. "...Was selfish not to think..." He nuzzled again, sighing softly at the firm control his brother had over him.

Slade held him a few more moments, considering whether his brother needed to be taken in hand now, or would wait until they got back to the plane. Deciding Oliver wasn't up to moving in this state of mind, he gently guided his brother across his lap.

Oliver whimpered slightly, but didn't fight. It had only been a few weeks since he'd finally admitted to Slade that his need for Slade to give him boundaries and hold him accountable went a bit further than just punishing him when he messed up. This was actually the first time he had messed up since the confession, though. He was confused, having a hard time figuring out if this was punishment for running (and snooping in Slade's personal belongings), or if this was Slade making sure he was emotionally alright; and the punishment would come later, back at the plane. "I was bad..." He swallowed hard, unable to stop from saying the hated word when that's how he truly felt.

"No, kid." Slade's voice was gentle and reassuring as he settled Oliver in place over his lap, beginning to gently stroke and rub over his little brother's body. "You aren't bad. You might be naughty at times, but that doesn't change that you're mine. You belong to me. With me."

Oliver folded his arms and lay his head on them, forcing himself to hold still for his brother. "Yours..." he whispered, a tiny hint of relief bleeding through his tone at being able- being allowed- to say that. It wasn't so hard holding still when his brother was petting him. When the smacks began, it might be more difficult; but he felt so guilty, he knew he'd be welcoming the pain from those too.

Slade didn't immediately start spanking, instead pushing up Oliver's shirt and his pants down so he could rub and stroke over bare skin, every touch possessive. "No matter what happens, kid. No matter how naughty you are...I won't let you go."

Oliver shivered, feeling his walls crumble the minute Slade went that extra step in making him vulnerable to him. Slade was completely in control now; and Oliver wondered how he had never felt as safe and protected as he did when his brother had hold of him. Even knowing Slade was going to be making him sore soon didn't change the sensation of warmth and 'home' that he was feeling. "Slade..." He whimpered again and closed his eyes tightly, not sure exactly what he was asking for; more of the possessive touch, or for the punishment to begin (so it could end and he could go back to the comforting).

Slade rubbed and stroked for a few moments more and then lifted his hand, bringing it down in a firm swat that he then repeated, going all the way down to Oliver's thighs before he paused to begin rubbing again.

Oliver held his breath as Slade smacked his bare backside, letting it out in a garbled whoosh when his brother began to rub out the sting. Tears began to pool in his eyes and he had to take several deep breaths to try and stay calm. It was easier to stay calm with his brother rubbing, but the sting hadn't taken long to build up and it had hurt. What hurt worse was knowing how he'd scared his brother and he knew he had to have disappointed Slade with his behavior. "...'m sorry..." he whimpered.

"I know, kid." Slade's voice was still low and gentle as he continued rubbing. "And I love you. Nothing could ever change that." He rubbed a second or two longer and then started a second circuit of swats, the same force and speed. Once more, he began rubbing Oliver's bottom and thighs.

By the time Slade had finished a second circuit of smacking, Oliver was crying. His breathing was hitched as he had to gulp in air between the whimpers, whines and moans; not quite sobbing, but very close. When Slade began rubbing the heated skin a second time, it hurt as much as it felt good and Oliver just kept crying. "...Love you..." he admitted through his tears.

Slade could hear the tears and knew his little brother was hurting and it made him ache. Gently squeezing the nape of Oliver's neck, he said, "You don't have the right to run away from me, little brother. You belong to me. And you can't take yourself away." His own voice was low and hitched slightly, indicating just how emotionally affected he was by this.

Oliver lost control at those words, breaking down into heartbroken sobs. "...No...not 'lowed to 'eave you... 'm yours... fo'ever... so sorry... so so sorry..." He reached back blindly with his hand, not trying to stop whatever Slade decided to do, but needing to hold his brother's hand.

Slade quickly took Oliver's hand, holding it and gently rubbing his back, bottom, thighs. "I've got you," he whispered. "You're mine, kid. I'm never going to let you go."

"...So sorry... not leave you... not 'lowed..." Oliver continued to cry softly, holding tightly to his brother's hand, the rubbing easing his fear of losing Slade and settling him down into a mindset where the only thing that existed for him was his brother and whatever his brother chose to do.

"No, kid. It isn't allowed," Slade agreed. "And if you ever run away from me again, I'll come after you. I'll bring you back to me. I'll put you over my knee and I will spank you, but I won't let you go. No matter what."

"Always?" Oliver asked in a tiny voice...needy in a way he only displayed when he'd done wrong and Slade needed to correct him; as if afraid his poor choices would pull the older man away from him.

"Always," Slade promised, his voice intense. "No matter what happens. Even when I have to punish you, you will still be mine."

"I want always..." Oliver whispered, relaxing over Slade's lap.

"I won't let you go," Slade reiterated. "I don't ever want you to run away from me. I can't lose you, kid. It would destroy me."

"I'll never run 'gain..." Oliver promised.

"I'll keep hold of you, every time." Slade carefully reclothed his brother and gently pulled Oliver onto his lap and into his arms once more, hugging him tightly.

Oliver blinked, his face turning pale from the memory. "I broke my promise..." His whisper was horrified and full of guilt. He began to cry. "I'm so sorry, I broke my promise..."

"No, kid." Slade was quick to wrap his arm around his little brother. "You ran because you thought I was going to be taken over by the mirakuru again. You ran because you didn't feel safe."

"I didn't wait long enough to find out...I'm sorry, Koro...I'm sorry!" Oliver began to try and squirm up, despite his brother's hug, though his pants being down and lying on the car seat on his stomach was more hindrance than he expected, as he wasn't able to move far. Tears were streaming from his eyes by this point, even if he wasn't vocally crying and was still able to talk.

Deciding his little brother needed his full attention, Slade quickly parked the car by the side of the road and wasted very little time in wrapping both his arms around Oliver in a tight hug. "If it had taken, if you had waited, it could have been worse," he whispered in his little brother's ear, stroking his cheek and then rubbing his hip. Just touching and stroking. "How I hurt you before nearly destroyed me."

"If it had taken, that'd be worse..." Oliver squirmed, though his brother's tight hold kept him from moving much and the gentle stroking was calming him slightly. "...I ran without waiting to see and left Wells and Sebastian in there alone with you to deal with it...I didn't even call for back up." The guilt and shame in Oliver's voice was thick. "And I broke my promise and I didn't need to..."

Slade squeezed the nape of his little brother's neck and hugged him tightly. "Running wasn't wrong, kid. Not calling any of your friends or allies...that was something you should have done. I was worried and scared, but primarily because I knew you were out there with only Barry with you."

"I'm sorry..." Oliver continued to cry, but his efforts to escape had ceased, his brother's tight hold making him feel trapped; which luckily had made him feel safe instead of threatened. The hand at his neck, as usual, left him dropping into a young, vulnerable, obedient mindset.

Slade kissed his head. "I love you. I've got you," he whispered, reiterating the words over and over again.

Oliver slowly eased down into the car seat, Slade's words and unbreakable grip calming him further. "Love you..."

Slade gently squeezed the nape of his neck. "If you settle back into position, I can continue touching and stroking...even swatting...while driving."

"Yessir..." Oliver slurred, sniffling slightly as he finally stopped crying. He settled down onto the seat.

Keeping one hand on his little brother's back, rubbing and stroking in smooth, circular motions, Slade pulled back onto the road.

Oliver whimpered softly and sunk further onto the seat. "Love you, Koro..."

"I love you, kid." Slade continued stroking and rubbing and when he reached Oliver's backside, he swatted; not very hard, but not a pat, either.

Oliver let out a tiny gasp, wriggling a tiny bit at the swat, arching so his bottom rose slightly to meet Slade's hand before settling again.

Slade landed another swat, at the same force, before he gently rubbed and then swatted a third time.

Oliver let out a tiny hiss, then moaned at the swats, but didn't try to get away. Instead, he raised his bottom up again, while bringing his hands up so he could fold his arms under his head. He felt so guilty, the only way to address the guilt was giving up to Slade and accepting everything his brother chose to do.

Slade covered his little brother's backside in the swats, still not going any harder, and then began gently rubbing Oliver's bottom and thighs. He squeezed one thigh and then swatted again.

Oliver arched again, hiding his face against his arms briefly before giving his brother a heavy lidded glance.

Squeezing Oliver's hip gently, Slade returned to rubbing and stroking over his shoulders and down his back, before he delivered a few of the mild swats to his brother's sit spots.

Oliver whimpered again, moaning slightly. "Was wrong to run, Koro... was naughty... so sorry... yours... can't run..." Oliver began to ramble.

"You're mine, kid," Slade murmured. "You're right, kid. You don't run from me. Not unless you're sure." On every other word, he smacked; on the other words, he rubbed.

Oliver let out a tiny, distressed huff, but didn't try to get away. Instead, he shifted so his bottom and sit spots were more accessible. "...'m sorry..."

"I know, kid. I forgive you. I love you. You are the most important thing in my world." Slade rubbed a bit more and then resumed swatting for one full circuit before he resumed rubbing his little brother's warming bottom.

Oliver relaxed at the words of forgiveness, just focusing on the stinging swats followed by gentle rubbing. It didn't take long at all for his bottom to become very sensitive and he was soon quietly sniffling and wiping his eyes...but he never once asked for the spanking to stop. As sensitive as they made him and as painful as they sometimes were, it helped him feel more controlled. He needed to be controlled by his brother; anything else was too scary at that moment.

"Yours forever..." he repeated in a sleepy voice, his emotions dragging him down into that headspace where the only thing that existed were him and his brother and his brother showing him who was in charge.

Slade focused a bit more attention to Oliver's sit spots and thighs, stroking and rubbing and every so often smacking.

Oliver alternated between closing his eyes in an attempt to blink back tears and just watching his brother as Slade drove them home. Even with his eyes on the road, his brother's aim was unerring and his control over the force being used was absolute; just as his control over Oliver was absolute. Oliver found himself wanting Slade to begin giving him orders that he could he could prove to his brother he accepted his authority. Even if the orders were telling him different ways to move so Slade could spank out the naughtiness and settle him more thoroughly.

Slade continued the touching, stroking, smacking...speaking in a soft voice that was still firm and not in any position to be disobeyed. "Don't hold back, kid. You need to do that."

"Yessir," Oliver said in a tiny voice, before sniffling and beginning to do just that. He wasn't sobbing, he was feeling too safe and comforted to need that, but he was crying and doing so obviously so that Slade could see and hear.

Oliver crying and in pain was difficult for Slade to see, even when necessary, but this was as much about emotions than anything else. He gently stroked his little brother's damp cheeks before he resumed gently touching and stroking.

"I panicked," Oliver admitted sadly. "I'm sorry I panicked..." The fact that Slade didn't get irritable or mock him for the tears allowed him to relax further and focus on his brother's words and hands.

"I know, kid. I understand why you were scared." Slade's voice was very gentle as he continued to touch and stroke, each motion possessive and reierating just who Oliver belonged to.

"I don't like being scared of feels awful wrong..." Oliver's voice was insecure and needy.

"You don't have to be scared of me now," Slade pointed out gently. "You never have to be scared of me again."

"I know..." Oliver whimpered. "You're my big love me and take care of me. Not scared anymore..." He gave a trembling smile to the older man.

Slade squeezed the nape of Oliver's neck, thumb gently stroking his little brother's cheek. "You're mine," he whispered. "Nothing's going to take you away from me or me from you."

"Okay..." Oliver said trustingly. "Always yours..."

"Always," Slade promised. "No matter what." He pulled up outside their apartment building and gently stroked his little brother's hip. "Time to get out, kid. But as soon as we're home, I'll get you comfortable."

"Okay, Koro," Oliver said drowsily, lifting his bottom up so that Slade could reclothe him.

Slade carefully reclothed his brother. Leaning over, he kissed Oliver's head and then got out of the car. Moving round to the other side, he opened the door for his brother.

Oliver waited till his brother had opened the car door and reached in for him before he moved to exit the car. He leaned into his brother as soon as he was standing, acting almost as if he were drunk. Given the time of night, that was probably what any neighbors would assume.

Slade immediately and without hesitation wrapped his arms around his little brother, from the outside looking just as if he was offering support. Knowing he didn't want Oliver to stay outside when he was in such a vulnerable mindset, he wasted no time in guiding his little brother into the building and to their apartment.

Oliver didn't know how he put one foot in front of the other, let alone make it upstairs and into their apartment. As soon as they were safely inside and Slade had closed and locked the door, he slumped and began to tremble. Tears pooled in his eyes again as he realized he'd almost lost everything again because of not slowing down long enough to think or even call a friend or family member. If he'd called someone...Lance or John or even Cisco or Wells, they would have told him everything was alright. The only reason he hadn't lost everything was because his brother loved him enough to come after him. "Slade..." he whispered, in a lost and broken tone.

Not wasting any time, Slade wrapped his arms tightly around Oliver, kissing his head and squeezing the nape of his neck. "I've got you, little brother," he whispered. "You aren't lost. You're still mine."

The hand at his nape and the gentle words were all the permission Oliver needed. He just began to sob. It was quiet. Only Slade would be able to hear it. It was still obviously sobbing.

Slade tightened his embrace around his little brother, gently guiding Oliver into the living area and taking a seat so he could cuddle, caress and stroke his brother on his lap. "I've got you. I love you." He repeated the words over and over.

Oliver just continued to quietly sob, hiding his face against his brother's chest and snuggling as close as humanly possible. "A... almo... almost took m'self from you..." he choked out, in a guilt ridden tone.

"You didn't succeed in taking yourself from me. I've got you. You're here and safe with me," Slade murmured, stroking his hair.

"B...but I shouldn't a run at all!" Oliver almost wailed.

Slade took only a moment to decide that Oliver needed him to take complete control. Still with his little brother on his lap, he began to divest his brother of his clothes, shifting Oliver enough to make it easier.

Oliver didn't fight being undressed and helped as much as possible by moving wherever Slade directed him to. He couldn't stop crying, though, the thought he'd nearly ruined and lost everything overwhelming him.

Slade got his little brother undressed fairly quickly and then held him close for a few moments. Pressing a kiss to Oliver's head, he then helped him to lay across his lap, face up so they could look at each other.

Oliver squirmed a little at the unfamiliar position. He was used to having his brother take him in hand and not having to face him so Slade could see how guilty or afraid or worried he was. This way, Slade could see everything he felt. There would be no hiding. He didn't fight the position, but he did nervously close his eyes and whimper through the tears.

"No, kid." Slade stroked the side of his face. "Open your eyes. I've got you. There's nothing to be scared of."

Oliver whimpered again but obeyed his brother, opening his eyes and forcing himself to look Slade in the eye. His guilt and the torment it caused was easy to read.

Slade continued gently stroking his brother's face and over his chest, across his stomach and legs. "You're here with me, kid. You ran, but I brought you back to me. Because you're mine."

Oliver blinked out more tears, but his gaze eased a little at those words and he gave his brother a tiny smile. "I'm yours..." he agreed softly, before letting out a hesitant sigh. The petting was easing him into a calmer place.

Slade continued to stroke and caress a bit more, but he knew his brother needed to know Slade was completely in control. And needed his running to be dealt with. "Trust me, kid," he ordered, rather than requested. Shifting his little brother, he began moving Oliver's legs up.

Oliver swallowed hard at the tone, his stomach flipping. "Yessir..." he agreed, not fighting as Slade shifted him around, even though he was nervous because he wasn't sure what Slade was doing. This position was new territory. Slade had never put him so he faced him while being punished.

Slade gently stroked his little brother's cheek and continued to move Oliver's legs, raising them so that his brother's backside was exposed. He gently encouraged his little brother to hold his arms around his legs, to keep them supported.

Olive pressed his cheek against Slade's hand, whimpering as Slade raised his legs. He was completely exposed to his brother in this position, but he forced himself to keep his eyes open and on Slade, even though he wanted to close his eyes tight. Obeying Slade's unspoken command, he held onto his legs so that they would stay in place.

He couldn't stop himself from turning dark red; the position so closely resembling a baby being changed that his emotions dropped to fit what he was certain he looked like: a very young child. He whimpered again. It wasn't that Slade hadn't already seen every part of him before; he had seen and, for that matter, touched due to bathing him or searching him when Oliver had hidden the vials of Mirakuru on himself. The difference was Oliver had never had to face his brother or look him in the eye while so completely exposed and vulnerable. It was unsettling and he knew Slade could see that. Slade would be able to read him completely in this position.

"I've got you," Slade repeated reassuringly, stroking Oliver's face. He began to rub his little brother's bottom, beginning to gently pat each cheek in turn.

Oliver didn't know why facing his brother while Slade rubbed and spanked his bottom was so much more humbling and caused him to feel so much more out of his depth, but that's exactly what was happening. He took in a shivery breath and moaned, unable to stop from closing his eyes tightly, positive Slade would be able to see into his soul and would find him lacking. The realization that he wanted Slade to dominate him completely-show his control over every part of him-swept over him and his shame at wanting that was nearly as quick in rushing over him.

"No, kid. Open your eyes. Look at me," Slade directed, his voice firm even while it was gentle and soothing. "Don't feel ashamed. Don't hide from me."

"Koro..." Oliver whimpered but obeyed, opening his eyes and looking up into his brother's eyes. He knew Slade would see the guilt. He knew he would also see his deep need. Quivering, he shifted nervously, blushing at the fact that his shifting just emphasized how exposed and vulnerable he was.

"I love you." Slade's voice was soft but completely sincere. "I'm not going to be ashamed of you or think you're weak for how you react." He continued the patting, just a fraction harder.

"Love you..." Oliver whimpered, having a hard time keeping his eyes open, but forcing himself to obey his brother. It was made more difficult because having his legs bent up the way they were stretched the skin and muscle of his thighs and bottom, causing the smacks to sting a lot more than they normally did. It did give him an excuse for continuing to cry, although Slade's words indicated he could cry just because he needed to and his brother wouldn't look on him badly.

The position parted Oliver's legs enough for his inner thighs to be exposed and Slade began to gently pat and rub there, knowing this was more intimate for his brother, but needing to make sure that his brother felt what he needed to; that Oliver didn't need to be scared, because it was Slade in control and Slade who had him.

Oliver let out a tiny choked sound when his brother began on his inner thighs; not because it hurt unbearably, but because it was so much more intimate, that he was feeling the last vestiges of his self-control being ceded to his older brother. "Koro..." he whispered, in an almost begging tone.

Slade moved his other hand to Oliver's cheek, gently stroking it. "You aren't in control here, kid. I am. I came to get you, I would never let you go, because you belong to me." He continued the pats to Oliver's inner thighs, interspersing a slightly harder one after every few.

"I'm yours..." Oliver said with a slight slur and whimper. His legs fell open wider, exposing everything to his brother, accepting with his actions that he belonged to Slade.

Slade kept his hand on his little brother's cheek, gently stroking and caressing, even as he continued to gently smack and then rub Oliver's bottom, thighs and inner thighs. "I won't ever let you go, kid," he whispered. "You're everything to me."

Oliver continued to whimper and sniffle, but he kept his eyes open and on his brother the entire time, even as he began to wriggle because of the sting building up. "...Yours...never run again..." he whispered, his eyes beginning to take on an unfocused, hazy sheen.

As the warmth began to build up where he was swatting, Slade began to gently rub Oliver's heated skin. "You can't take yourself away from me, little brother. Being separated from you nearly destroyed me before. I can't go through that again," he whispered, his voice low and hoarse with emotion.

"Won't, Koro! Won't...can't!" Oliver's voice was shaky and tears streamed down his face as he frantically shook his head against the idea of not being with his brother. His eyes were still unfocused, but they held a hint of fear in them too at the idea of separation. He wiggled his bottom slightly. "Was horrible to run. Horribly sorry!" he blurted, the anguish on his face making it clear he believed everything he was saying...the guilt obvious and making it clear he didn't feel like he'd paid nearly enough for his actions and breaking his promise.

"Oh, kid..." Slade let his fingers tangle in the strands of Oliver's hair. "No matter how many times we have to go through are not bad. You were naughty, yes. But you are not bad. No matter what's happened in the years we were on the island and afterwards, you have never been bad." He gently stroked his little brother's cheeks, wiping away the tears falling. "I claimed you when we were on the island. Claimed you as mine. My little brother. Losing you because of what I did nearly destroyed me."

"I ran..." Oliver began sobbing...this time hard enough to shake his entire body. "I broke my promise! Was horrible, awful, bad!"

He argued about that because it was the one thing he couldn't seem to obey; the indirect order to not believe he was bad.

Slade closed his eye, pain lancing through him. His thumb stroked his little brother's cheek and neck. Opening his eye again, he gently squeezed Oliver's thigh. "I broke my promise to you, kid. I promised I'd never hurt you or let you go or let you down. I did all of those things to you. I made you scared of me. I made you believe things that weren't true. You ran from me, again, because you were scared of what I might turn into. You thought you were about to lose me."

Oliver listened intently, slowly relaxing as Slade's words sunk in. "I'm not bad...?" he asked, as if still having trouble believing that. "I feel like I'm bad..." he admitted, baring his emotions as completely as he was baring his body.

"You're too hard on yourself, kid." Slade gently squeezed his leg. "You aren't bad. You know I wouldn't lie to you. Please believe what I'm saying to you, little brother. I can see how much you've been hurting. How much you still hurt. But you need to trust that I know what I'm talking about. Making mistakes doesn't mean you're bad. You learn from those mistakes. You grow. Just like you have been doing."

"I'm sorry, Koro...I don't mean to argue..." Oliver sniffled. He let his legs fall open a little wider still so Slade could rub easier. "I'm yours...shouldn't argue...shouldn't be so b..." He paused. "...So naughty."

Slade continued to gently rub, shifting Oliver enough to make it that much easier to touch and stroke. "I love you, kid. I won't let you go. I promise."

Oliver went limp at those words, a tiny smile letting Slade know he'd heard him. "I...I like being able to see you when you take care of me..." he admitted almost shyly, wriggling as Slade continued to rub. "Even if it means I can't hide things..." His smile turned rueful. He still had a bit of unresolved guilt in his eyes, but he seemed a bit more at peace too.

"If you hide things from me, it can mean you hide things that hurt you," Slade said gently. "This way is better. It means I can see what I need to." He gently squeezed his little brother's thigh. "I can spank all of that naughtiness out of you so you can be my good boy again."

"I want to be your good boy." Oliver's voice hitched slightly and his eyes became unfocused for a moment.

Slade stroked his cheek and then gently smacked his bottom for a full circuit before he paused to begin rubbing again. "Either way, you're my boy. Whether you're naughty or good."

"I'm your boy..." Oliver whispered in agreement, his voice only slightly teary from the smacks. He kept his eyes on a Slade. The guilt was lessening slowly and being replaced by a hazy, trusting, almost drugged look.

"That will always be true," Slade promised. "I lost my way for a while, but I've got you now." He rubbed a bit more and then delivered another circuit of smacks, including Oliver's inner thighs in that.

Oliver's whimpers almost sounded relieved, as if each smack was helping him feel that his brother had him completely and wouldn't let go. He couldn't open his legs any further or pull his legs any further up toward his chest...he was already as open, exposed and vulnerable as it was possible to be without harming himself. It didn't seem to be enough, though and he whined softly, his need clear in his eyes, even if he couldn't voice what he needed.

Slade stroked Oliver's hair back from his face as he rubbed and then resumed swatting again, moving his little brother enough to make it easier to smack and to rub and caress. "I've got you. I love you. I'm right here to catch you when you let go."

"Love you..." Oliver slurred before he let himself go lax, allowing Slade to move him wherever and however needed so he could smack, stroke, rub, squeeze. By this point, as long as his brother was physically handling him, he didn't care how. His eyes were glazed over and the sounds of pain from the punishment didn't really sound pained at all. Oliver was getting exactly what he needed...his brother being in charge and owning him.

Slade continued to physically move his brother, his every touch possessive and declaring Oliver as his. He stroked and rubbed and swatted and smacked. The swats were getting harder, though he was very careful not to go too hard.

Oliver just continued to whimper and moan while his eyes glazed over. His needs were being met. He couldn't say it, but they were.

By the time Slade paused in the spanking and just rubbed his little brother's bottom and thighs, he could feel the warmth from there. As he knew they were going to need to keep addressing this, he just kept up the rubbing and stroking for a few minutes, also cupping Oliver's cheek in his hand.

Oliver blinked up at his bother, far enough in his head space that the lack of smacking hadn't registered yet. His brother was touching; no, controlling him, and that was enough to keep him pliable. He was completely unfocused; or maybe it was just that he was hyper-focused on Slade. "Yours..." he whispered again.

"Mine," Slade agreed, stroking his cheek. "Always." He kept up the stroking, rubbing, caressing, the touches probably among the most intimate he'd done. He knew how vulnerable his little brother was in this state and was completely grateful Oliver trusted him enough to let himself fall. "I've got you."

Oliver didn't move away from the more intimate caresses. His eyes glazed further and his whimpers and moans turned a bit more needy at Slade's display of complete ownership. His body was flushed and he couldn't help but squirm and shift so Slade could lay claim to all of him. He wasn't aroused at all, though; it was completely a mental and emotional need he was reacting to and it was plain on his face for Slade to see- he needed his brother in charge, in control and in possession. He didn't belong anywhere else. Just with Slade.

There wasn't anything sexual about Slade laying claim to his little brother. Touching, stroking, letting his brother move into that headspace because it was safe for him to do so and because taking care of his little brother eased an ache inside Slade.

Oliver finally reached the point where he wasn't capable of doing anything for himself. If Slade didn't move him, he didn't move. He was like jello, quivering from his body's sensitivity to Slade and what Slade was doing, limp and loose limbed, barely able to hold his legs in place and almost about to lose that ability as well. His whimpers and whines had softened to an even keen of need. If he didn't sound so needy and if the sounds had been an octave lower in pitch, it might have sounded like purring. The pain of the spanking and the soothing rubbing and squeezing had combined; it felt good and if he'd been able to form a coherent thought, Oliver would have asked Slade to never stop. His thoughts were scattered, though; he was unable to think or focus on anything other than his brother's voice and hands. And even focusing on Slade's voice, he couldn't focus enough to understand the words; it was the tone he listened to. Oliver was a bundle of sensitive nerves- his brain had decided to take a break. He kept his eyes on Slade, but they were glassy and out of focus. His obedience in letting his brother look on his face was more because that's what he'd been doing before he'd slipped completely under, than maintaining enough control over himself to obey.

Slade could tell that his brother was slipped right under and his entire being was only focused on Oliver and his attention was fully focused on his little brother. He spoke quietly and softly and soothingly, just reiterating his complete and utter love for his brother and that Oliver was his.

Oliver's legs began to slip down as he lost the final bit of grip he'd maintained. He was laying loose-limbed over his brother's lap, completely at Slade's mercy.

Slade was very careful to make sure his brother losing his grip didn't hurt him. He adjusted Oliver to make sure no part of his body was unsupported, stroking his face, his legs, stomach, hips. "I've got you, kid. You're mine. I won't ever let you go."

Oliver's skin twitched wherever Slade touched and he shivered at the words, letting out tiny groans, but it wasn't easy to tell if the groans were a reaction to the stimuli or to the words.

Slade's thumb gently stroked over Oliver's cheeks, wiping away the remnants of the tears, his other hand continuing to stroke and caress the rest of his little brother's body. He could feel and see the amount of scars covering his little brother's body and he touched and followed the trace of each one, as if he could go back in time and take that pain from his little brother.

Almost instinctively, Oliver turned his face into his brother's hand, nuzzling gently while he remained limp and pliant everywhere else. His body reacted to the touches, but it was obviously an uncontrolled reaction on Oliver's part. He continued with the soft, keening sounds of need-pleasure-pain.

"I've got you," Slade whispered. "I won't ever let you go. I'm here, where I'll always be." He knew Oliver wouldn't really listen to the words, but he needed to say them. To keep repeating his reassurance and love to his little brother.

Oliver didn't respond to the words, but the tone of voice he responded, nuzzling into his brother's hand again and whimpering softly, his body twitching toward wherever Slade's other hand moved; as if Oliver's skin didn't like being away from his brother and was trying to make contact, even if Oliver was beyond moving his body.

Slade didn't let his other hand leave Oliver's body, touching and stroking and caressing, entirely focused on his little brother. If any outside sound intruded, there was a good chance his reactions would be slowed because of how intensely focused he was on his little brother.

Their apartment was safe and more soundproofed than many other places due to Oliver needing to be certain his and Slade's secrets weren't found out. Because of that, nothing was intruding and it left Slade free to do whatever he wanted to his brother with all his focus; it left Oliver free to let go and just be, accepting everything Slade did. Oliver wasn't capable of breaking the moment. He'd need help to regain his sense of self and climb back up to a point where he could respond to anything. If Slade wasn't there watching over him, he'd be completely at risk to anything that happened.

Slade stopped the gentle stroking and caressing, though he still kept his hands on his little brother's body. He knew he needed to encourage Oliver to come back to himself, as staying in that state for too long could be detrimental.

Oliver whimpered a bit more, pressing against Slade's hands like a cat seeking petting. When the stroking and caressing didn't continue or follow his actions, it was enough of a difference in circumstances that he very, very slowly began to focus on other things occurring outside of the petting he'd been receiving.

"Hey, kid." Slade called to him, very gently, as if he was trying to catch his brother's attention; which, since Oliver was far away emotionally, was actually fairly accurate.

Oliver tried...he really did...he could hear his brother's voice calling him, but it was just so hard to wade through the fog. And he felt so safe and secure in his brother's arms, he didn't see any urgency to do so. He blinked, though. Slade would know he'd been heard, even if Oliver couldn't truly respond.

Stroking his brother's face with one finger, Slade reached out and picked up the book he'd been last reading to Oliver. One hand resting on his brother's body, he began to read out loud.

Oliver blinked again as Slade's voice began to break through the fog he'd fallen into, the different cadences and tones as he read jarring enough that he was able to focus more fully on his brother's voice; and then on the words being spoken. Five minutes after Slade had begun to read, Oliver slurred, "Koro?"

"I'm here, kid." Slade's voice was low and gentle, but pitched at a slightly different tone to the one he had been using to cause his little brother to sink.

"I..." He blinked and swallowed, still feeling slightly woozy. His bottom had a stingy ache...not bad to the point he couldn't sit and it would likely be gone within the hour, but it was obvious he had received a thorough spanking. Except he didn't remember receiving such a thorough spanking that it would leave behind what he currently felt. Not to mention "...When did you start reading?" he asked in confusion, still slightly slurring his words, but not as badly. He was thinking more clearly now and slowly regaining control over his body.

"About five minutes ago." Slade gently stroked some hair from his little brother's face. "Don't be worried or scared. You sank. I don't think you've been fully aware for a little while now. But you've been safe."

Oliver gave his brother a crooked smile. "I'm always safe with you, Koro..." he responded quietly, ignoring the times that he hadn't been. As far as he was concerned, those were the exceptions and if Slade was with him, he was always safe now. Still... "I sunk?" He sounded slightly surprised. While he'd become very relaxed in the past, allowing Slade to do what he wanted, he'd never become so relaxed that he lost all focus and control over himself. He bit his lip and looked up at his brother uncertainly. "...Is that alright?"

"Kid...everything you need is all right," Slade promised. "I'm right here with you. I'm never going to let you go. So if you need to can do that and know I'll be there to watch your back."

Oliver gave another tiny smile and shifted, noting the 'pain' of a well-heated backside and thighs. He was very sensitive, even on the areas that he hadn't been smacked. He knew Slade had spent a great deal of time rubbing and squeezing the areas he hadn't smacked for his skin to be so sensitive everywhere on the front of his torso. He shifted again and couldn't stop his wince at the sudden sharp pain he felt; not the welcome 'pain' of a well-heated backside, but the unwelcome pain of a wound that had been neglected for the better part of a day and could be neglected no longer.

Slade, sensitive to everything to do with his brother, immediately noticed his little brother's wince and the difference in that compared to the wince from a spanking. Without a word, he turned Oliver over so he could check his back.

Oliver, still not completely stable from going under, felt slightly dizzy at the sudden change in position; but since his brother had a firm grip on him and he wasn't afraid of falling, he didn't say anything...just closing his eyes tightly and waiting for Slade to smack his backside again once he discovered what Oliver had neglected to tell him about. He knew he should have mentioned it immediately when Slade got hold of him again.

Slade touched the cut on his little brother's back, forcing down the sick sense of guilt and self-loathing when his fingers grazed the brand he'd placed on Oliver's back. He needed to stay strong for his little brother, not let himself get crippled with guilt. He reached out and picked up the first aid kit he kept close by, beginning to treat the cut. It wasn't deep enough to need stitches, but did need to be cleaned out.

Oliver relaxed slightly when he realized his butt was going to get a tiny reprieve (he could never understand why he loved 'settling' spankings, but dreaded actual punishment spankings, but he did). Still, knowing that he should have told his brother about the wound and knowing that Slade wouldn't be happy about it, did cause him to fret. "I...I...I should have told you immediately. I didn't want to worry you and then everything was going crazy and I forgot..." he admitted sheepishly.

"You don't need me to tell you how important it is to treat the wounds you get, little brother," Slade said seriously. "You should have told me straight away, instead of leaving it." He placed his free hand on Oliver's backside.

"I know..." Oliver sounded resigned and regretful. "I really did mean to tell you, but it happened right before..." He swallowed "...And then I was panicking and running and even though I knew I should get it taken care of, I just kept finding reasons to put it off and then you found me and it completely slipped my mind..." He bit his lip. "I know that isn't an excuse, but..." He sighed.

"Even if you are running or scared, it isn't an excuse to neglect taking care of yourself," Slade said. "You need to tell me, kid, as soon as it's possible to do so." He gently rubbed his brother's back and bottom, figuring out if he needed to give a few reminder swats.

Oliver slumped slightly. "Yessir. I know that. I shoulda told you immediately. Was wrong of me not to..." he said guiltily. He almost said it was naughty of him too, but this was more than just a case of naughtiness. It wasn't like it was the first time he'd failed to inform his brother of a wound he had. He always had an excuse...a 'reason' ... but the fact was, he was a horrible patient. He knew that. And he often failed to inform his brother of things or get wounds treated because he just plain didn't want to. He suspected if he hadn't been running and everything had gone well and he hadn't been afraid, he still wouldn't have said anything. He just hoped Slade didn't ask him if he would have, because then he'd have to admit it and his bottom was so sensitive at the moment, he knew it wouldn't take long at all for him to begin bawling like a baby if he earned himself a spanking.

"It was very naughty of you not to tell me," Slade said sternly. "And this isn't the first time we've had to have this conversation." He let his hand rest on Oliver's backside, gently rubbing the skin that still held a bit of warmth.

"I...yessir...I've been reminded often. I was very naughty..." Oliver admitted and slumped over his brother's lap.

Slade moved his other hand to Oliver's lower back and rubbed gently, while lifting his other hand and bringing it down in a fairly mild smack. While he didn't plan to spank too hard or too long... they had talked about this repeatedly.

Oliver whimpered sadly. While the smack wasn't nearly as hard as it could have been, it was on extremely sensitive skin. On top of that, he had been warned of not hiding injuries repeatedly. He felt guilty.

"You know I expect you to tell me about any injuries you have, little brother. I suspect you wouldn't have told me even if I hadn't been injected with the mirakuru." As he spoke, Slade swatted at the same force for one circuit and then paused to begin rubbing.

"'re right, Koro. I'm sorry. I wouldn't have said anything...was wrong of me. Is wrong. I'm sorry. Was naughty..." Oliver sniffled.

Slade gently rubbed his brother's lower back. "Here's what's going to happen, little brother. From now on, every time we come home after a completed mission, I'm going to check you over for injuries."

Oliver slumped a bit further. "Yessir..." he said as respectfully as he could through his disappointment in himself. He knew better. He did! Why couldn't he do what he knew he was supposed to?

"It isn't a punishment, kid," Slade said gently. "It needs to become instinctual for you to tell me when something's wrong. If the best way of doing that is to check you over myself, that's what I'll do."

"I...I know, Koro..." Oliver whispered. "I just wish I could be your good boy without having to be trained to be your good boy..." Oliver sighed.

Slade gently squeezed the nape of his neck. "You are my good boy. Even if you're occasionally naughty, it doesn't change anything."

Oliver relaxed at the words and the gentle scruffing. "Sometimes...sometimes wish we could stay inside the apartment forever. I could always be your good boy and chances to be naughty wouldn't happen as often. Don't like disappointing you..."

"You don't disappoint me often, little brother. I'm proud of you the vast majority of the time." Slade gently stroked over Oliver's back, letting himself trace the scars that had damaged so much of his little brother; even the brand he himself had placed there. "You don't need us to stay here all the time, kid. You need a safe place where you can let yourself submit to me, rather than having to be the strong one outside."

"I know, I don't need it all the time..." Oliver admitted. "It just feels so good and safe and right when I submit to you, sometimes I don't want to stop."

Slade gently stroked Oliver's back as he thought about it. "We've talked about how you can communicate your need to me when we're outside, kid, and I know you've asked me to make sure you can still feel the effects of a spanking when you're out. But maybe there's a way of signifying our bond outside that's personal to us...kind of a symbol to wear."

"Something to remind me I'm yours? Even when I'm outside pretending I'm in charge and don't need to be yours?" Oliver asked curiously. "Something to remind me that I won't get away with being naughty? Because you have me all the time, even if we're not at home?"

"Exactly," Slade replied. "Something that we know what it means, even if no one else does."

"I'd like that," Oliver said, almost shyly.

"I'll make it for you tonight," Slade promised, thumb stroking the nape of Oliver's neck.

"Koro?" Oliver asked hesitantly.

"Yeah, kid?" Slade's voice was low and reassuring.

"I hid my injury from you..." Oliver's voice was hesitant, regretful and guilty. "...Am... are... ?"

Slade gently squeezed the nape of his little brother's neck. "I know you're already sore and sensitive, kid. We've got a lot to go through. I'm not spanking you more for hiding that injury. But we are going to deal with you hiding your injuries from me."

"How?" Oliver asked, not certain if he was relieved or disappointed. He felt guilty for all the hassle he'd given his brother and didn't know how to make up for it.

"We're going to spend the next couple of days, as long as necessary, reinforcing what's between us." As he spoke, Slade let his hands gently rub over Oliver's neck, shoulders, back, bottom and legs. "You did run from me, kid. And it's going to take time for us to get past that."

Oliver sniffled and pushed up against his brother, as if seeking reassurance that he wasn't going anywhere. "I'm sorry, Koro..." His voice was full of remorse. "Shouldn't a run..." He hid his face in his arms.

Slade reached down and wrapped his arms around his little brother. "No. You shouldn't have. But we'll get past this," he promised. "I'm not gonna let you go, little brother."

Oliver twisted and squirmed until he was face up over his brother's lap and able to wrap his own arms around Slade in a tight hug. "Love you, Koro..." He whimpered. "Can't run..."

Slade kissed his little brother's head. "No, kid. You can't run. You can't, because I can't lose you. Losing you...being apart from you when I came out of the was the worst pain I've ever experienced," he whispered. "Made so much worse because it was my own fault."

Oliver just held on tighter and snuggled closer. "Never want to be separated again..." he mumbled.

"We won't be," Slade promised. "Because I won't ever let that happen again. I'll come after you, each and every time. You're mine, kid. You belong to me."

"I belong to you..." Oliver repeated, nuzzling into Slade.

Slade stroked his cheek. "And you have no right to take yourself from me, whether physically or emotionally. You have no right to run from me."

Oliver looked into his brother's eyes and nodded, pressing his cheek to Slade's hand. "Can't run or hide from you. I belong to you..." he whispered.

Slade continued to gently stroke his cheek for a few more moments and then pressed a kiss to his forehead. "Are you ready to eat?" he asked softly.

"Do I have to?" Oliver asked softly, not wanting to leave his brother's grip for even a second more than necessary.

"We can order takeaway and get it left just outside the door so I can retrieve it," Slade suggested. "And then you can sit on my lap and I'll feed you."

"Yes, please..." Oliver quickly responded. Anything that allowed him to stay with Slade as long as possible was what he wanted.

Slade gently stroked his brother's hair as he picked up his phone, quickly placing an order for food he knew was among Oliver's favourites.

"Love you, brother...I'm glad you caught me..." Oliver shifted slightly so he could feel the remnants of his spanking and gave a rueful smile. He was content to sit there snuggling until the food arrived. He only reluctantly got up for Slade to retrieve the food because he was naked and didn't want to shock the delivery person. While Slade went to get the food, he twisted around to look at his backside, wanting to see if Slade's correction was still visible, even though he could still feel it. He wondered what it said about him that he hoped it was. "I belong to my brother..." he said softly, as he noticed a few small patches of pink, though most of the color had returned to normal.

Quickly plating up the food, Slade guided his little brother to the table and sat down, drawing Oliver down to sit on his lap so he could start feeding him, hand wrapped around Oliver's waist with his fingers lightly resting on his brother's hip.

Oliver obediently opened his mouth, eating everything Slade fed him...even the vegetables he wasn't fond of.

Slade gently patted and stroked Oliver's hip in silent encouragement and praise for eating so well. "I love you, kid," he whispered.

Oliver's eyes brightened at the praise and he straightened up in an attempt to do even better for his brother.

Slade kissed the side of his little brother's head, continuing until all of the food was gone. He gently stroked Oliver's hip. "My good boy," he breathed in his little brother's ear.

Oliver smiled shyly, snuggling closer before moving just far enough way that Slade could eat. "Koro?" he asked hesitantly, not sure if Slade would like the idea he'd just had.

"Yeah, kid?" Slade immediately turned his full attention to Oliver.

"Would...would you mark me? As yours, I mean? Something that will always be with me no matter what and can remind me? M...maybe cover up the brand that you keep staring at? You always look so sad when you look at it and...I...I'd rather you look and be proud or possessive than sad..." He whispered the last.

Slade tightened his arm around his brother, pulling Oliver closer to him as if he could protect him from the pain of that time. "I don't know if I could stand to mark you again, little brother," he whispered, gently nuzzling Oliver's shoulder.

"I...I know it would be hard...but...maybe if it's something we decide together? Instead of being a reminder to you of how you hurt me...a reminder to me of how I failed you and can remind of how far we've both come from that time. Remind us both that I belong to you...I choose to belong to you..." Oliver bit his lip. "Maybe...just think about it?"

Slade took a deep breath, holding his little brother tighter against him. "I'll think about it, kid. I just know how much I hurt you before." He touched the brand with gentle fingertips. "Having to see it...every my punishment for how I failed you," he whispered.

"You've punished yourself so much for it already..." Oliver whispered. "You don't allow me to punish myself over the same thing repeatedly. You don't even let me punish myself..." Oliver's gave a tiny, chagrined smile. "...Why do that to yourself?"

"It was always my job to protect you and I turned into the very monster you needed protection from. I could have lost you for good, but I didn't." Slade kissed his shoulder. "You let me back into your life. You forgave me. Gave me another chance to do better by you. I can't ever...let myself forget what I could have lost." He stroked Oliver's cheek. "I love you so much, kid."

"I love you too, Koro...I just don't like seeing you so sad when you look at me...these scars? Helped make me who I am. You helped make me who I am." Oliver swallowed. "I ... what you did to me...while hard... it wasn't really you. I know that. I just wish you could see it," Oliver whispered, before leaning up to kiss Slade's forehead.

Slade tightened his arms around his little brother. "You give me strength, little brother," he whispered. "The only way I can repay you is by holding on and never letting go. You are my whole world."

"Never let me go..." Oliver repeated the words, snuggling close again.

"Never," Slade whispered hoarsely, squeezing the nape of his little brother's neck. "I owe you everything." His hand stroked gently over Oliver's back, down towards his backside, just touching and caressing.

Oliver leaned into his brother, wrapping his arms around him in another tight hug and nuzzling his chest. This had the added benefit of making his back and bottom easier for Slade to reach.

Slade pressed a kiss to Oliver's shoulder, continuing to gently rub and caress, lightly patting Oliver's bottom.

Oliver smiled and wiggled a little, pushing his bottom into Slade's hand. "Can't run ever again...belong to you..." he whispered.

Slade continued to gently rub and pat. "No, kid. You can't ever. Only if you're sure that you can't come to me."

"Yes, Koro..." Oliver sighed softly, snuggling a bit more.

"Shall we move back to the sofa?" Slade suggested, figuring they could be more comfortable.

"Yessir," Oliver responded quickly. The sofa always allowed for closer cuddles and more ability for Slade to take control.

Slade helped his brother up, moving over to the sofa and then sitting down, drawing his brother closer to him. "Do you want to cuddle on my lap or go over it?" he asked softly, stroking Oliver's cheek.

Oliver blinked owlishly at the question, not able to make up his mind. If it were possible, he'd choose both. "...Cuddle?" he finally said uncertainly.

Slade kissed his forehead and gently drew Oliver down onto his lap, wrapping his arms tightly around his little brother and adjusting his position enough that he could easily get to his back and bottom.

Oliver snuggled up, putting his head against Slade's shoulder. "Love you, Koro..."

"I love you, kid." Slade stroked Oliver's hair with one hand, while his other continued the gentle rubbing and stroking over his brother's back and down over his bottom.

Barry followed Wells down the hall and to his office, guilt causing him to drag his feet. It wasn't clear if he was clueless about what was going to happen, though, or if he just hadn't connected the dots fully.

Wells waited until they were both inside the office before he spoke. "Why did you decide to run?"

"Oliver said he needed to get away. I just went with it and didn't think..." Barry muttered at the floor, unable to look Wells in the eye.

Wells frowned. "There was a reason you ran with him and I know it wasn't just because he's your friend," he stated. "You learned something when they got here. What was it?"

Barry frowned and fidgeted, giving the worst 'innocent' look he could have hoped to give, if he wanted Wells to believe him. "Learned...nothing! There...there was nothing. We were just catching up on how everyone else was doing..." He snort-huffed, as if to say it was crazy to think anything else had been said.

"You were acting guilty before you went on the mission." Wells was firm and unyielding as he added, "Don't lie to me."

Barry flushed at the accusation of lying and looked at his feet again in shame. "He was just telling me how John and Felicity and Thea and everyone else was doing..." He continued to hedge, but not lying at least.

"What else did he tell you?" Wells pushed.

"He...he told me that baby Sara is doing well and growing quickly..." Barry's voice caught at the end and squeaked.

"And that didn't match what you knew?" Wells guessed.

"Last I talked to them, it was baby John..." Barry whispered.

"And you felt guilty. And instead of dealing with that guilt, you decided to run." Wells' voice was quiet, but serious and nearly stern.

"It wasn't like...! It was...!" Barry slumped. "Yessir..." He finally mumbled an admittance.

"That isn't acceptable," Wells said. "You shouldn't have run away, no matter how guilty you felt. And you shouldn't have stayed away."

"Yessir..." Barry answered again, sounding more like a teen that's been caught in an unacceptable activity, than a confident super-hero. He knew all of that. Joe had taught him better than he'd behaved, that was certain.

"That behaviour can't pass without being answered," Wells stated. "If you were feeling guilty, there were all sorts of better ways you could have handled it."

"How?" Barry semi-scoffed. "It isn't like telling Oliver that I changed history enough that it changed a baby's gender... Or that it caused two people who had previously escaped exposure to dark matter to be exposed and become meta...or that my best friend's brother ended up murdered when he was alive before..." Barry choked on the words. "To everyone else, time hasn't changed. I'm the only one who lived what could have or should have been..."

Which was why Barry shouldn't have been trying to change the past, but Wells didn't point that out. Even he could see that the younger man didn't need more guilt being piled onto him. "By being punished for the choices you made, not the mistakes that were outside of your control."

"How?" Barry sounded hopeless. "I thought when Cisco and Caitlyn and Joe and Iris and Wally found out, they'd be livid and do something...the only one to react was Cisco. And he only avoided me for a few weeks. I deserved worse. If the people closest to me, who I affected, don't want to address isn't like I have the right to make them..."

"Then I'll address it." Wells' solution was simple. If the guilt was going to be enough to cause Barry to run...and just because Wells wasn't good at relating to the younger members of the team, it didn't mean he didn't care.

"You'd do that for me?" Barry sounded equal parts baffled and relieved. He'd looked on Wells as a mentor before discovering who he really was. It had made it difficult to trust Earth2 Wells, although the man had more than proved he was good and would help them as much as he was able. Earth2 Wells tended to remain aloof, though. "I didn't think you liked me enough to take care of me..." he whispered, then blushed.

Wells knew that it had taken him a while to open up and let anyone outside of his daughter in. He couldn't really blame Barry for being questioning. "I wouldn't be here right now if I didn't," he said.

Barry bit his lip, then gave Wells a tiny, almost bashful smile. "What do you plan to do?" he asked. It was obvious he'd just agreed to let Wells handle him. He had no clue what that meant, though.

"I'm going to spank you." Barry's quick agreement and the fact he clearly needed someone to step in was enough for Wells to lower his voice to an almost gentle, almost reassuring tone.

Barry blinked, so many things falling into place that he'd noticed but not paid attention to around the lab. It wasn't as much of a shock being told he was going to receive a spanking as he might have thought it should be. "Okay..." His own voice dropped into a hesitant, almost childish tone as he agreed to submit to what Wells was suggesting. "I...I've never..." he admitted, turning bright red. Neither of his parents or Joe believed in spanking a young child and by the time he was old enough that Joe might have implemented it...Barry was too busy trying to be the perfect son and it hadn't been necessary.

"It won't cause any permanent or even lasting harm and it's a personal punishment from someone who cares about the person they're taking in hand." It was easier for Wells to voice it like that, rather than outright say 'I care about you and that's why I'm going to do this'. He wasn't sure how it would be taken, for one thing. "There isn't anything you need to do other than submit."

Barry nodded quickly and relaxed. He could hear what wasn't being said and knowing Wells cared about him was soothing. "Yes, sir..." he said softly, quickly falling into a respectful and submissive tone.

Wells took a moment to decide that, rather than tell Barry what he expected, he'd use touch to guide the younger man. Stepping closer, he placed a hand on Barry's shoulder and guided him round to the chair behind the desk. Taking a seat, he tugged the younger man across his lap.

Barry swallowed hard, but he didn't fight the direction. Once he was in place and staring at the floor, he let out a tiny breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. "Over your knee, instead of the back of a chair?" He couldn't help the curiosity in his question. Even if Wells liked him and was trying to help him, this felt more personal than the older man seemed like he'd feel comfortable with.

Wells placed a hand on Barry's back. It was personal, but if he was taking one of the youngsters in hand, he forced himself to make it as personal as he could. Even if that made him uncomfortable. Because he did like them and he did care about them. But it was hard to put voice to that, not used to caring about anyone other than his daughter. "This is better." He gave a slightly awkward half-rub and then divested the younger man of his pants and underwear.

Barry relaxed at the hand on his back. Wells' answer about it being better begged the question of why or how, but he didn't have time to ask, as the older man had quickly and efficiently bared him and left him speechless. "Wha..aa..aa.." he garbled out, before turning bright red from the roots of his hair to the tips of his toes and everywhere in between.

Wells didn't respond to the garbled sound, instead lifting his hand and bringing it down in a hard swat. He wasn't prepared to weaken Barry and potentially cause damage to his abilities, which meant that he needed to be a bit harsher than usual. He quickly settled into a pattern of swats, smacking a few times in one spot before moving on to the next.

"Oh...ooowww!" Barry tried not to make too much noise. He'd agreed he needed to be punished and that Wells would be the one to do the punishing, after all. Still...the swats were hard and frequent and even with his speedy healing, they hurt! He did his best to hold still and accept what was being done, though.

Wells continued in the same pattern, keeping his other hand braced on Barry's back. He completed the one circuit down to the younger man's thighs and then started over from the top with the exact same pattern.

By the second circuit, Barry thought he might be able to control the sounds coming out of his mouth; he thought he could recognize the pattern and while it still hurt a great deal, knowing where the next smack would land was a bit of a help. He still whimpered, of course. And flinched when a smack landed. But at least he wasn't blubbering and begging Wells to stop while promising to be a good boy. That was something, right?

Partway through the third circuit, Wells began to speak. "I know the temptation to meddle in time and change things is great, but by doing that, you ran the risk of making things even worse. Not just for your friends here, but you could have harmed yourself doing so."

"I know you're warned me...Jay warned me...Oliver even warned me...and I still..." Barry gasped out, whining as a particularly hard smack landed on a spot that had received attention numerous times already. His speed force healing had been making the painful smacks not so painful a few seconds after receiving them. But being smacked so hard in the same spots over sand over and over? It was beginning to take longer for the healing to be felt. Barry was feeling the sting of each swat for longer periods of time. It was becoming difficult not to react, especially after Wells' words.

"You still went back," Wells finished. "You disregarded the advice of everyone around you because you believed you knew better." He was still smacking, knowing he couldn't let up, as Barry's fast healing would mean the effects of the spanking would fade before it could do any good.

"Yessir.." Barry swallowed hard as he suddenly found tears streaming down his face. "I thought that, but I didn't...I didn't know better. I was wrong. I know that now..." He couldn't stop from shifting as the spanking began to build on itself, the sting lasting now... lasting well past when the next swat would land. The punishment was sticking and now Barry was finding it difficult not to react.

"When you choose not to listen to the warnings of your friends...the people who care about shows a lack of respect and care for those people in return." Wells' hand didn't stop or even slow as he spoke. "If you're faced with a similar situation, do you plan to completely disregard your friends' advice again?"

"No! No, sir! I won't! I'll be good! I will! I won't be dis...disrespectful." Barry forced the words out from between clenched teeth, in what could only be described as a pain filled moan.

"If I tell you not to do something, will you immediately go behind my back and do exactly as I tell you not to?" On that last part, Wells delivered more swats to Barry's sit spots and thighs, focusing there.

"No, sir! No! I'll obey...I'll obey you... I'll be good!" Barry whined, then whimpered, then choked back a cry as his sit spots were set aflame. By this time, his healing factor couldn't keep up any more. Every swat was felt and felt for a long time after it was given. His bottom and thighs ached and weren't stopping. He tried squirming away from Wells' unerring aim.

"If you don't, this is the exact same position you will find yourself in." Wells wrapped his non-spanking hand around Barry's waist, pulling the younger man in tighter against his stomach. "The next time you act against something I tell you for your own good, I will be the one to respond to your behaviour."

"Y..yessir!" Barry squirmed more frantically, trying to move his- by now- very sore bottom away from punishment. Tears began to stream down his face as it dawned on him what Wells' promise meant. "'ll take care of me?" he gasped out, even as his body began to jerk forward in an attempt to get away from the smacks. While he couldn't see what Wells was doing, he wouldn't be surprised if his bottom was a dark cherry red.

"Yes. I will take care of you." Wells kept his grip firm on Barry, not letting him try to jerk away. His palm was growing red and hot, but he discarded the thought of switching it up. Maybe it should hurt him as well. It would stop him going too far.

It was Wells' promise more than the pain (and his bottom hurt so bad right now) that broke Barry. Barry didn't have a lack of people in his life that loved and cared about him, or that wouldn't offer help and guidance when needed. He didn't have a lack of people that expected the best from him and would let him know if he disappointed them. What he did lack? Was anyone willing to step in and punish him when he deserved it...when he needed it. They all felt he was an adult. Stepping in like that wasn't necessary. But Wells had seen that it was needed. Wells was doing that for him and had just promised to keep doing that for him when needed. And Barry found he couldn't fight the older man any longer after that promise. Letting himself go limp over his mentor's lap, Barry finally gave voice to the tears that had been running down his face. He began to cry, hard, all while promising, "I'll be good...obey you..not disobey...will listen. I'll be good..."

Wells stopped the spanking, letting his stinging hand rest on Barry's lower back and start to rub gently. He cleared his throat, not sure how to say what he was thinking. "And once you're punished, the slate is wiped clean. You've paid for not doing what you should and you don't have to feel guilty anymore."

Barry slumped further and began to cry harder at those words, but it was obviously in relief. "...Forgive me?" he asked uncertainly.

"Yes." Wells response was given without hesitation. And then he added, "But I did that before today."

"You did?" Barry's voice was hopeful. If he'd been forgiven before today, that meant forgiveness didn't hinge on if he was punished or not. Not that he thought it did, but it was good to get confirmation.

"I did," Wells reiterated. "I know you didn't intend anything bad." He kept his hand on Barry's back, still gently rubbing. Part of him wanted to offer more comfort, but just like voicing his care, he couldn't anticipate how that would be taken. Barry had a lot of friends and people who cared about him already. Would he even welcome one more, or did he just need someone to hold him accountable and nothing else?

"I'm glad..." Barry admitted, pausing hesitantly. "I know we didn't exactly get off on the best footing when you arrived. It wasn't your fault. I just kept thinking about what I'd lost when we found out the truth about our Wells. I was afraid to trust you, cuz I knew how much it hurt losing you...him..." Barry grimaced "...The first time." He sniffled and rubbed a hand over his eyes. "And then you didn't seem like you liked me that much..." This time, he sounded sheepish.

"I never thought you'd care enough to step in and stop me from being a little idiot. No one else who loves me has ever..." He swallowed again, before suddenly realizing what he'd said and blushing. "...Not that you love me, or want to have anything to do with me beyond making sure I don't accidentally screw your life up because I didn't listen..." Barry's eyes widened as he suspected he was talking himself into a hole he could never get out of, but unable to stop himself. "...But I'm thankful you spanked me! Well...maybe not being happy about being spanked, cuz that hurt, but that you held me accountable, even though you could have ignored me and it just made me remember when you were my friend...well not specifically you, but the you that hurt me when he betrayed me ... but you didn't betray me, so maybe..." Barry paused and swallowed hard, slumping further over Wells' lap. "I should shut up now..." he said, in a mortified whisper.

Wells was quiet throughout Barry's speech, but he didn't stop rubbing the younger man's back. "I can't speak for him." He'd actually tried, in his mind. Not to make excuses, but to understand how the man who'd come before him, who was meant to be him, had turned against the people who'd looked up to him and cared about him. And he hadn't been able to find it. He hadn't found that part of him that would so willingly betray the group who looked up to him, even while he'd held himself aloof.

"But I'm not him." The words weren't uttered as a defence or as an excuse. A fact, plain and simple. "You thought I...didn't care." He stumbled over the words, but made himself say them, even though he was voicing more of himself than he ever had in the past. "If I held myself aloof, I didn't have to disappoint you by not being him. Before he turned."

Barry sniffled. "He wasn't even him, before he turned. He was an imposter, made to look like Harrison Wells, but not really him. He was setting us up for betrayal before we even knew him..." He sniffled again. "You might have been aloof, but at least you're really you. And when you had to make a choice, you chose to tell us the truth instead of betraying us. I just didn't think you liked me..." he admitted bashfully. He notably had not got up off of Wells' lap or even attempted to reclothe himself. Was he waiting for the older man to give permission? Or did he just not want the gentle rubbing to stop and if he got up, it would?

Wells cleared his throat. "I know, but that isn't the truth. I do like you." It was hard to put voice to that, but if the alternative was letting Barry continue to think Wells didn't like him...he'd rather go through the discomfort of actually opening up.

Barry couldn't help but smile at that and his voice was obviously happy when he answered, "I like you too..."

"Good." Wells hesitated. "You feel like getting up? Moving into a more comfortable spot?" He was actually kind of reluctant to let go of Barry, but figured the younger man was getting uncomfortable.

Barry bit his lip. He was actually comfortable, despite his backside still being bare, and he wasn't in a hurry to move. Moving might break the connection that had been forged and then he'd have to leave and while he did want to go see Joe, he wasn't ready to leave Wells yet. Still. "Do you want me to move? I know I'm not exactly light..."

"You're not too heavy," Wells replied immediately. "You don't need to move." He hadn't moved his hand from Barry's back, continuing the gentle stroking motion.

Barry relaxed. "If you don't mind..." he began. "...I think part of me is afraid our conversation will end if I move," he admitted sheepishly.

"We don't have to be in this position to talk," Wells said. "Now that we are talking, I don't think I'd want to go back. Do you?"

"No...I...I don't want our conversations to end," Barry said. "...I kinda like the back rub too..." he admitted, with a blush that he was pretty sure Wells would see, considering his pants were still down.

"Okay." Wells paused, though he continued the gentle rubbing. "I may not be very good at it outside of times like this, but you don't have to be spanked to get that either."

"Thanks..." Barry said gratefully. He still didn't get up, some part of him feeling like it should be up to Wells when he got up after a spanking; the man had already asked him if he wanted up, though. Was that his cue to get up and pull up his pants? He wasn't sure. He was comfortable, so there wasn't a hurry. Still.

"What would you like to do?" Wells asked again. "However you're comfortable, it isn't as if anyone's going to come back to the labs. But I know you want to go and see Joe." Continuing to rub Barry's back, he suggested, "Why don't I head there with you? Then maybe you can come back to mine later."

"I'd like that...if you go with me. Iris will be staying there with her dad and I'd rather not be alone tonight..." Barry admitted. "You won't mind?"

"Not at all," Wells replied. "It'll give us a chance to talk more."

Barry smiled as he carefully got up, only blushing a little as he tugged his pants into place. "Thank you..." he said, making sure to look Wells in the eye.

Wells nodded and gently squeezed Barry's shoulder as he stood. "You're very welcome."

Barry smiled and impulsively threw his arms around the older man in a quick hug. Before Wells could feel uncomfortable with the affection, he backed away and pulled his phone out, dialing Iris. "Hey. Let Joe know I'm coming to see him. Doctor Wells is coming with me. We'll be there in twenty."

Wells waited for Barry to finish and then left the labs with the younger man.

Making the pendant hadn't taken nearly as long as it could have done, as Slade had had a very clear picture of his head of what he wanted it to look like. Finally attaching the chain, he looked it over with a critical eye and then smiled at his little brother. "It's finished."

Carved from silver, the pendant depicted a wolf, missing an eye, pierced through the heart with an arrow. Slade was confident the only people who'd realise what it signified were him and his brother.

Oliver smiled. "It's perfect, Koro..." he breathed.

Oliver had been sitting to the side, watching as Slade made the pendant, close enough to keep himself calm, but far enough away not to be in the way. Now that his brother had finished the piece, he moved as close as possible, giving in to the anxiety he'd been hiding while he'd been unable to touch his brother. Normally, being in the same room was enough to calm, but he hadn't fully come out of his 'needy' mindset.

Slade reached out and gently squeezed the nape of his little brother's neck, knowing not being able to touch had been hard. "Would you like me to put it on you now?" he asked gently.

Oliver relaxed as his brother's hand found its rightful position. "Yes please!" He was eager, wanting an outward sign of who he belonged to.

Slade pressed a kiss to his forehead and then very carefully placed the pendant around Oliver's neck, pleased to see that the wolf hung in just the right place.

Oliver looked down at the pendant, his hand ghosting over it. He appeared to be mouthing something to himself, but he had been doing that off and on from the moment Slade began the project. The smile he gave his brother when he looked up again was grateful. "Thank you..."

Slade gently stroked his brother's cheek. "I love you, kid. I'm glad you've got something that will help you remember who you belong to when we're outside."

Oliver quickly wrapped his arms around Slade and held on tightly. "I love you, Koro. I'm glad you gave me a way to remember when we're outside..."

Slade hugged his little brother tighter to himself and kissed his head. "I'll always be here for you, kid. No matter where we are. But this way, it's a reminder even when everyone else needs to see you in control."

Oliver nodded. "It feels good..." He nuzzled against Slade's chest as he examined the pendant, noting the writing carved on back. "I am not allowed to run. I am my brother's..." he read the Chinese characters softly, then nodded and looked up into Slade's eyes. "It's perfect"

Slade gently squeezed the nape of his little brother's neck, thumb stroking his cheek. "I heard you saying that. I thought it would be good to remind you."

Oliver blushed and gave a shy smile. "It's important. I wanted to memorize so that I never forget. I don't want to take myself away from you..." he whispered, letting his gaze drop down.

"I won't ever let you take yourself away from me," Slade promised, touching his cheek to persuade his brother to look at him.

Oliver looked up again obediently. "Will water hurt it? I never want to take it off, but I'll need to bathe eventually..." His lips quirked in a smile.

Slade smiled. "It should be fine," he replied softly.

Oliver nodded. "I...may I bathe now?" He bit his lip as he waited for permission.

Slade gently stroked his cheek. "I'll bath you, kid."

Oliver nodded and smiled again, visibly relieved. He hadn't wanted to leave his brother's side. He'd actually been trying to keep the nerves from bubbling up at the idea of being separated.

Slade stroked and squeezed the nape of Oliver's neck, kissing his forehead, and then guided him into the bathroom, where he began to run the bath.

Oliver leaned towards his brother whenever he wasn't directly leaning on him. He also had a grip on his new pendant; and was visibly mouthing the words inscribed on it to himself. At the time, he hadn't realized what running was doing to him emotionally. Once back at home and in his brother's care, he'd realized what he'd almost given away in his fear and that terrified him. The only reason he wasn't showing that fear more visibly or strongly was due to not having left his brother's visible presence since entering the car to come home. He didn't know how he was going to function outside the apartment, when just the thought of not being next to Slade caused anxiety.

Once the bath was filled, Slade carefully tested the water to make sure it was at a comfortable temperature before he carefully helped Oliver into the bath, making sure his brother didn't so much as slip.

"Love you, Koro..." Oliver whispered, as he let his brother direct his every move. He finally released the pendant so he could sink down into the water, limbs akimbo, and soak.

"I love you." Slade stroked Oliver's hair before picking up the washcloth and just beginning to wash his little brother. "I know you're bothered about the fact you ran," he whispered. "But I've got you. I'm not going to let you go."

"I...can't stop thinking about it. I almost took myself from you...from everyone, really...but I can't live without you..." Oliver whispered, his eyes downcast.

"Kid...I can't live without you, either," Slade murmured. "But I would have kept fighting to get you back."

"I need you, Koro..." Oliver sniffled and leaned toward his brother, though he kept enough control over himself that Slade could bathe him.

Slade kissed his cheek. "I know," he whispered. "And you won't ever have to do without me. I promise."

Oliver relaxed a bit more, the warm water, his brother's care and the promise easing him. He kept his eyes on Slade the entire time, shifting whenever his brother indicated he should.

Slade continued to gently wash Oliver, moving him enough to make sure he could get to every part of his little brother, his entire being focused only on Oliver.

"Slade?" Oliver finally asked. "Am...are you...?" He swallowed then sighed. "I was really naughty..." he whispered, instead of asking the question on his mind. While he'd been smacked as soon as Slade had got him alone, Oliver didn't feel like he'd truly been punished for his wrong choices and actions. Slade had spent more time making certain Oliver knew he was loved and wanted.

Slade gently cupped his cheek. "We aren't finished with dealing with you running away, kid. Over the next couple of days, you'll be taking several trips over my knee. But we'll be spending just as much time reconnecting as dealing with your naughtiness."

Oliver bit his lip and nodded, not exactly reluctantly, but not enthusiastic either. He was grateful for the chance to reconnect and strengthen their bond, but he never did want punishment spankings. They only occurred when he'd done something to hurt or disappoint his brother and knowing he'd done that was always difficult. "I deserve to..." he finally admitted.

Slade stroked his cheek. "It isn't just about punishment, little brother. You won't just be going over my knee to deal with the naughtiness."

Oliver smiled crookedly at that. "I know, Koro...I go over your knee cuz I need to..."

Kissing his head, Slade said softly, "And your needs come first, kid. Always." He began to gently wash off the soap.

Oliver cooperated as much as he was able and soon, he was rinsed and ready to get out. He carefully stood with his brother's help and stepped out of the tub onto the bath mat, then held still while Slade took a towel to dry him.

Slade dried his little brother carefully and then wrapped his arms around him in a tight hug. Washing Oliver off had given him ample time to look at the brand and realise...his little brother was right. Maybe it was time to let go of that pain in the past. He gently touched his little brother's back. "Were you thinking of a tattoo?" he asked softly.

Oliver gave Slade a curious yet hopeful look over his shoulder. "I hadn't thought of anything specific. I...I wanted it to be something we chose together...that would mean something to both of us, so when we looked at it, it'd make us both happy..." he said softly. He didn't say that he specifically wanted it to remind Slade of all the good he'd done and been for help him put the past in perspective and not let it hold him back. "Something like the pendant." He looked down at the physical sign of Slade's claim and smiled, wrapping his hand around it as if to reassure himself it was real.

Slade gently stroked his little brother's cheek. "The pendant signifies your place in my heart, little brother...if you wanted me to make a bigger version of it to mark you..." His thumb gently stroked the nape of Oliver's neck. Seeing the brand did nothing but make him hurt at the memory of the harm he had done his brother.

"Yes! Please..." Oliver flushed at his begging tone. "I... your design. It helps me remember you don't hate me anymore..."

Slade couldn't help the wince at that comment. "I never hated you, kid," he whispered, arms convulsively tightening around his little brother.

Oliver tried not to flinch at those words, because he really needed to believe them. "You said the Mirakuru didn't make you hate me. I figured that meant you hated me for another reason and I just..." He swallowed hard. "I'm so sorry for doing anything to give you a reason to hate me... even if you don't..." he added belatedly.

"Kid..." Slade's voice broke, knowing how much it had hurt Oliver to hear those words and how much emotional damage had been done to his little brother. He'd been hesitant to tell Oliver what he knew, not wanting to make things worse. But now that Oliver had brought it up, he had to tell him the truth. "The mirakuru didn't make me hate you because I never hated you, even then," he said softly. "It warped my love and possession of you into a vile obsession, where all I was willing to do was drag you to me and away from anyone else."

Oliver blinked and bit his lip. "You never hated me? It... it just warped everything so you would rather hurt me than me not be with you?" Oliver swallowed, trying to understand.

He wasn't sure which was worse. The thought of Slade hating him, or the thought that Mirakuru had warped his brother's love for him. He supposed he was lucky Slade had retained enough control over himself that the warping of his affection hadn't led to its inevitable conclusion. He didn't think either of them would have recovered from that. Not easily, anyway. "You were stronger than you gave yourself credit for..."

"You gave me my strength, little brother," Slade said, stroking his cheek. "Even in the middle of all that darkness, I wanted you. You were what helped me to battle the effects of the drug as long as I did when we were on the island." He sighed, hugging tighter. "I wanted to take everything from you, so all you could rely on was me. But I've never hated you. You could never do anything to make me hate you. Or make me love you even slightly less."

Oliver leaned back into his brother, trusting the words. "I love you, Slade. I'll always love and rely on you. You're my Koro..." Oliver twisted around so he could wrap his own arms around Slade and hug tightly.

Slade kissed his head. "I am so grateful to you," he whispered. "You've been healing me since you forgave me and accepted me back into your life. You're right, little brother. It would be better if you carried a mark that signifies what we mean to each other."

"So... you're okay with the tattoo?" Oliver asked, with a hint of excitement, but wanting verbal confirmation.

"Yeah, kid." Slade kissed his head. "You're right. Looking at the hurts to remember what I did to you. It does make me sad."

"So... we can use a drawing similar to the pendant?" Oliver asked, a tiny smile on his face. "Will you put it on me?" He didn't want to ask anyone else to be the artist. Not for something this personal and important.

"I wouldn't trust another person to put it on you," Slade said honestly. He might have been responsible for the brand on his little brother, but he had got one of the others to do that, making it impersonal. Like his brother had meant nothing. He pressed a kiss to Oliver's forehead, stroking over his back.

Oliver relaxed. "Me either..." he admitted. "It wouldn't feel right for anyone else to do it..."

Slade tightened his embrace. "When would you like me to do it?" he asked softly.

"How soon can you get the materials together?" Oliver responded with a tiny giggle. When he realized he giggled, his eyes widened and his mouth dropped open with an embarrassed, almost aghast look, his hand flying up to cover his mouth before he laughed.

Slade smiled and gently stroked the nape of his little brother's neck. "I told you not to feel embarrassed or ashamed about how you need to react," he said softly.

"Yessir." Oliver gave Slade a shy smile. "It's just... I know I can be pretty immature when I'm alone with you, but still..." He shrugged faintly so that he wouldn't dislodge Slade's hand.

"When we're alone together, you're honest in your actions and words," Slade said softly. "I would never belittle or think less of you because you're being more open."

"I know, Koro," Oliver whispered and snuggled into his brother's chest. "I won't hide anything from you. I don't have that right. I'll try not to get embarrassed. Sometimes I can't help it..." he said sheepishly.

"I know, little brother." Slade squeezed the nape of his neck. "When we were on the island and you first realised the way you need me, you were worried and scared then and continually fighting yourself. And after that, I'd lost myself, so you had to learn to function without me. I know it was hard for you. We took steps forward together when we were first on the island; and I think now we have to repeat those steps."

"I need you to reteach me." Oliver nodded against his brother's chest as he thought back on the island and how he'd learned there. The lessons weren't easy and were often emotionally or physically painful... but he had learned to let go and accept himself. He'd learned to let his brother be in charge. And he'd been happy...

Slade smiled and said softly, "Lance was surprised when I mentioned you were more settled on the island."

"He probably would be. I wasn't settled at all before the island. Was completely out of control," Oliver admitted.

"You still had some moments like that even after I took hold of you," Slade remembered.

Not that long after their relationship had adjusted, Slade was taking Oliver from the plane, teaching him how to set and bait traps; just in case the worse happened and his little brother was left to fend for himself.

Oliver was eager to learn. He was also eager to prove himself. It was with that in mind, that as soon as he thought he had learned everything Slade needed to teach, that he just took off in the direction of where he remembered having seen some wild pheasant; without even telling Slade what he was about to do, let alone getting his okay.

"Kid!" Slade was quick to head off after his little brother, moving as quickly and quietly through the foliage as it was possible to do so, He remembered that, while doing recon the day before, he'd caught a glimpse of a soldier in that direction.

Oliver wrinkled his nose, hearing Slade but not wanting to turn around. He could do this! He could set the traps and catch their food! And he was traveling as quietly as Slade...well, as quietly as he could, at any rate. He doubted anyone could travel as quietly as Slade.

Slade quickly went after his little brother, reaching his side in a few steps and placing his hand on the back of Oliver's neck. "Kid, this area is taken."

Oliver immediately stopped when Slade's hand met his neck, but that didn't stop him from arguing. "What do you mean taken?" He managed to keep his voice at a whisper. "There were pheasant just over that ridge. Like a whole herd of them!" He waved his arms to exaggerate how many there were. Just as he ignored the fact that they might not be pheasant and even if they were, there wouldn't be a herd of them.

Slade put his mouth very close to Oliver's ear and whispered, "I did recon here yesterday. There was at least one soldier on patrol. Fyers has this territory."

"We can't just put a few small traps away from the main trail? They wouldn't see them!" Oliver nearly whined. He would have whined if he wasn't trying to whisper.

"You can't be sure of that. Him and his men aren't stupid. If they see anything out of the ordinary, they'll investigate it," Slade said.

"But you're really good at hiding things...and I'm sure I could too. You taught me, after all..." Oliver appealed to Slade's ego.

"I still wouldn't place a trap here, kid," Slade said. "Not with soldiers patrolling and looking for signs of us. Not when it could put my little brother in danger." He gently squeezed the nape of Oliver's neck.

"But Slade! I wouldn't be in danger!" Oliver sighed and squirmed, the hand on his neck making him want to stop arguing, but part of him didn't want to give in.

"You don't know that." If he hadn't been worried about the possibility of Fyers' soldiers, Slade would have pulled Oliver over his knee there and then. But he couldn't allow himself to waste time arguing with his little brother. Covering Oliver's mouth with one hand, to quiet any verbal responses, he swatted his brother's backside with the other.

Oliver's eyes widened at the swat. Luckily, since his mouth was covered, the sound he made didn't travel past his brother's hand. He swallowed hard and looked longingly in the direction where the birds were, but he didn't make a move toward them.

Slade very quickly decided he wasn't going to argue verbally with his little brother any longer. If he carried Oliver back to the plan the way he had in mind, it would serve to demonstrate, to his little brother, the nature of their relationship. Quickly checking to make sure no one was in visible view, he lifted his brother over his shoulder.

Oliver had enough self-preservation to not vocalize his surprise at finding himself lifted off and then facing the ground. He didn't have quite enough to just stay still and let Slade have his way. He began to squirm. It was surprisingly ineffective. His brother was strong.

Slade swatted his brother's backside, hoping the surprise would be enough to still his struggles, and started walking back, hand resting lightly on Oliver's bottom and delivering a smack every few steps.

The swat did startle him into holding still. And then Slade timed the following swats so that, each time he was just about to squirm, a swat would land. Oliver felt heat pool in his stomach, something he couldn't put a name to that confused him; but it felt so similar to how he felt when Slade cuffed his neck that he attributed it to some new aspect of his need. He blushed darkly as he realized- he didn't just want Slade in control and punishing him when he was naughty. He wanted Slade to spank him now...even if he wasn't naughty. (He hadn't yet figured out that he had been naughty.)

Luckily, being face down over Slade's shoulder, the older man wouldn't see the blush and make him tell him why he was blushing. How could he admit to his brother that he wanted to be spanked? As more than just an element of Slade taking control? There was something seriously wrong with him.

Even with his attention primarily on his brother, Slade remained alert to what was going on around him. Even when he wasn't swatting Oliver, he kept his free hand on his little brother's backside, rubbing and holding him in place along with the swatting.

Oliver couldn't help himself. He slumped over his brother's shoulder and just kept an eye on what was behind them...and tried not to make any sounds when he was swatted that would clue Slade into the fact he liked the smacks.

Slade kept it up until they reached the plane, where he carried his little brother inside. Taking a seat, he deposited Oliver face-down over his lap, gently rubbing his brother's bottom.

"Aw, Slaaaade," Oliver nearly whined. "I wasn't naughty..." he protested half-heartedly. He didn't actually want up or for his brother to stop, which was confusing.

Slade didn't immediately point out that Oliver had been naughty. He hadn't failed to notice that his little brother's reactions weren't those of someone being punished. Since he was adjusting to every need, he settled his little brother in place before tugging down his pants and underwear.

Oliver huffed slightly, but didn't argue or fight. "I coulda set the trap," he muttered.

"Maybe you could have, without drawing attention to yourself." Slade lifted his hand and brought it down in a firm swat that he then repeated. "But going back to check the traps could have ended with you getting caught."

Oliver hissed and wiggled. "Maybe..." he reluctantly agreed. "But maybe not!" He didn't try to get away, the heaviness in his belly settling at the position and swatting. He bit his lip and wiggled a bit more.

Slade moved his other hand to the nape of Oliver's neck, squeezing gently, even as his other hand continued to swat, down to his little brother's thighs, before he paused to start rubbing.

The hand at his nape settled Oliver further. "Slade..." he murmured softly.

"I've got you, kid," Slade said, keeping his hand at Oliver's neck, while his other swatted for another circuit and then resumed the gentle rubbing.

Oliver sighed softly. "I know you do..." he answered trustingly. "Was...was I naughty?" he asked uncertainly.

"You shouldn't have run from me," Slade said seriously. "And you shouldn't have argued with me about leaving when I told you we had to go." He continued rubbing his little brother's bottom as he added, "But I love you and I'm not going to let go of you."

Oliver slumped at those words. "I love you too...I really was naughty, wasn't I?" The first twinges of guilt began to form. It made the spanking a bit less desirable; he never did feel good when he disappointed his brother.

"You don't argue with me, little brother. Not when I'm trying to protect you." Slade rubbed a bit more before delivering another full circuit of swats. "You can't just run straight after something you see. You have to stay aware." He returned to the gentle rubbing and stroking.

"I...I got excited...I actually knew how to do what you taught me..." Oliver's voice was contrite. After hearing his brother's version of his behavior, he realized what he'd done wrong. Of course, now the guilt was bothering him and the warm 'need' in his stomach had twisted into painful remorse. "I'm sorry," he added sorrowfully.

"I know, kid. And I forgive you. I still love you." Slade rubbed gently a bit more before he began swatting a fraction harder than before, focusing on Oliver's sit spots and thighs.

It didn't take long after that for Oliver to go boneless and start sobbing as quietly as possible, having shoved his arm into his mouth to muffle any louder sounds that might escape. (He'd learned to make as little noise as possible when doing anything, to avoid drawing attention.)

His brother's approval and pride in him mattered more than anything and knowing he'd disappointed the older man and made punishment necessary hurt; it hurt so badly that the spankings that always resulted ended up being more of a balm than a deterrent. At least if he was punished, he knew his naughtiness could be forgiven, as Slade wouldn't be disappointed anymore. Still...punishment spankings were something he loathed; because he knew how much he had to have messed up to receive one and he hated the hurt that disappointing his big brother caused both of them.

Slade didn't waste any time in gathering his little brother into his arms, nestling him on his lap and hugging him close and tight. "I've got you," he reiterated. "I love you."

Oliver pressed close and just nuzzled and let his brother comfort and take care of him.

Slade kissed his head, squeezing the nape of his neck and just hugging him tightly. "Mine, kid," he whispered.

"That...was the first time I realized I couldn't do whatever I wanted just because I let you know about it first... dunno why I didn't realize that immediately, but..." Oliver shrugged sheepishly.

"You didn't realise because there was no one else who expected that from you," Slade pointed out gently. "You needed me to teach you."

"No one before you ever expected much of anything from me..." Oliver smiled crookedly.

Slade gently stroked his cheek. "I know. And now you're too hard on yourself. You expect perfection and when you make a mistake, you try to punish yourself for it." He kissed Oliver's forehead. "You carry too much guilt on your shoulders."

"If I do something wrong, I deserve to be punished. Until you returned..." Oliver paused and looked down. "...It's hard to remember I don't take care of me anymore."

Slade touched his chin to encourage his little brother to look up at him. "When you're naughty, kid, it's dealt with. You go over my knee and get spanked. I know you take it to heart if you think you've disappointed me, but I don't stay that way. And I'm very rarely that way. You trust me to punish you, little brother. Trust that I forgive you, too. That I understand why you ran and I came after you because of how much I love you, not because you were naughty."

Oliver looked up at the encouragement. "I do trust that you forgive me, Koro. I wouldn't be able to let go if I didn't believe that."

"But you still carry so much guilt." Slade's thumb stroked his cheek. "You don't let my forgiveness be enough."

"You aren't the only one I've hurt..." Oliver whispered in a hurt voice.

Slade wrapped his arms around his little brother in a tight hug. "I know what it's like, kid. I wasn't a saint before we met. I did things I still regret even now. And sometimes, I can't face looking at myself." He paused, gently squeezing the nape of Oliver's neck. "But you make me see myself differently," he whispered. "Ever since we first met on the island. If it weren't for you, the guilt I carried would have crippled me. I would have lost hope. You gave that back to me, then and now." He tightened his embrace. "You've been my salvation and I owe you everything. Let me be the same for you."

Oliver relaxed at Slade's cuffing his neck. "I want to, Koro...I want to so bad."

"Don't keep fighting," Slade whispered. "You aren't allowed to punish yourself, kid. Let me take that guilt away from you."

"Help me, me to stop fighting..." Oliver whispered.

Slade kissed his forehead, hand still gently squeezing his little brother's neck. Without saying anything, he led Oliver through to the living room and to the couch, where he sat and gently pulled his little brother across his knee.

Oliver relaxed immediately once over his brother's knee. "Love you, Koro..." he whispered.

"I love you, little brother." Slade gently squeezed the nape of his neck. "No matter what happens, I always will."

"I know..." Oliver smiled crookedly as he pressed back into Slade's hand. "I trust that..."

"You're not going to lose me, kid. You can't, because I will always stay alive and whole for your sake." Keeping his hand on Oliver's neck, Slade began to gently smack his brother's backside with his other hand.

"You can't promise that..." Oliver whispered. "But I'd be really happy if you did your best..." His voice caught as he remembered when he'd thought he'd killed his brother.

Slade gently smacked for one full circuit and then paused to gently rub his little brother's bottom and thighs. "I will do everything within my power to stay alive for you," he promised.

Oliver let his breath out slowly and just relaxed, focused entirely on Slade's hands; one gently cuffing his neck, the other smacking. He couldn't help but notice the way his stomach got a heavy warm feeling from the smacking...knowing that Slade wasn't disappointed in him, and that he wasn't being punished, gave this spanking a feeling that wasn't normally there. A feeling he hadn't had since the island. He couldn't help the sigh.

Slade continued to gently smack and rub Oliver's backside, keeping his little brother pulled close and tight against his stomach. "I love you," he reiterated.

The warm feeling spread from his stomach to his arms and legs, making him feel a bit lethargic. "Koro?" Oliver asked hesitantly. "I have to confess something... something I discovered on the island, but wasn't brave enough to admit..."

"You can tell me anything, kid," Slade replied reassuringly.

"I..." Oliver paused and began to blush. "...When you aren't punishing me...I..." He swallowed and tried to get the words out. "I like when you spank me..." he finally forced out in one breath, turning bright red.

"Kid..." Slade gently stroked his lower back. "There's nothing wrong with that. Or with you. And I already had my suspicions about that," he added, thinking of the times Oliver asked him to make sure he would still feel the spanking.

"I should have known you'd figure it out." Oliver sighed. "I just never knew how to say it...especially when I absolutely hate being spanked when you punish me... It confuses me."

"Being spanked for punishment is different. You've said that before," Slade said. "I think because you take it to heart when you do something naughty."

" is different. I've said that a lot. Still..." He bit his lip, suddenly thankful he was face down over his brother's lap instead of facing him. "...I know you say there's nothing wrong with liking or wanting you to...I just don't know how to ask when I haven't earned a punishment."

"You don't have to ask outright," Slade answered. "We can use a codeword for that, too."

"Like what?" Oliver asked uncertainly. "I can't think of anything to clue you in to that..."

Slade gently rubbed his little brother's back as he thought. "What about if you say something involving the inscription on the pendant?"

"Which part? It's very personal...then again, I can't imagine asking unless we were alone." Oliver's smile came through in his voice.

"Maybe the part about belonging to me?" Slade suggested. "If you needed to say something when we weren't alone, you could sign the words to me."

"That would work," Oliver agreed quietly. "I do...belong to you...I belong to you," he said softly, as if to test.

"Yeah, kid. You do." Slade resumed gently smacking his little brother's backside.

Oliver's tiny murmur of contentment made it clear that he wanted Slade to handle him. Even if it hadn't, the way he wiggled his bottom so that it made a better target would have made it clear.

Slade continued the light smacks, careful not to use too much force or go too fast, pausing periodically to rub. "Don't be ashamed of or worried about your needs, kid," he said softly.

"I'm trying not to be..." Oliver sighed, a sense of relief overcoming him that Slade knew and was willing to give him what he needed. "...Thank you for taking care of me," he whispered and then wriggled to try and make it easier to reach all parts of his bottom. "I...this makes it feel like I'm yours even more. Dunno why. But it does..."

"It doesn't matter why, does it?" Slade asked softly. "It's what you need. And I'll always give you what you need." He began focusing more swats to his little brother's sit spots.

"I guess it doesn't," Oliver admitted. "As long as it doesn't bother you..." Oliver figured it was probably too much to hope his brother got something out of the entire endeavor other than making Oliver more secure. Then again, Slade thrived on taking care of Oliver, so maybe it was enough.

"Not at all, kid," Slade replied. "It makes me feel good to take care of you and fulfil your needs." Gently rubbing Oliver's backside, he continued, "Taking care of you is what I need, little brother."

"Guess it works for both of us that I need so much from you...need you so much..." Oliver said, with a hint of self-mocking humor. "I could never let anyone else..." he said. "Only you..."

Slade gently squeezed the nape of his neck. "You're the only one I could take care of in this way, little brother. I love you so much, kid. It makes me feel good that you trust me to be this for you."

Oliver just slumped at the hand squeezing his neck. He was completely vulnerable to Slade. He felt like he needed to be more vulnerable, somehow and so he began talking...just telling his brother the first things that popped into his head about what he did and where he'd been since the island before Slade returned to claim him. He'd already told Slade a lot of it; but there were still some things he hadn't been able to stomach facing that he thought he might be able to face now, since Slade had him.

Slade gently squeezed and swatted, rubbing and stroking, throughout his little brother talking. What he heard didn't disgust or make him think any less of his brother; only made him hurt for what Oliver had gone through.

The repetition of the swats with the gentle squeezing enabled Oliver to be completely open and honest with his brother. Eventually, though, the repetition and sting caught his focus enough that he stopped talking, falling into a hazy zone of feeling. He moaned and whimpered softly, but they weren't frightened or pain filled noises. They were relaxed and almost happy.

Slade continued touching and stroking, speaking soft, soothing words to his little brother in more than one language, reiterating how much he loved his little brother.

Oliver hadn't reached that point of sinking under that he had earlier that day, but he was far enough down that he wouldn't be able to react very quickly if needed. He was trusting his brother to protect him if something happened.

Slade's entire attention was fully focused on his little brother, caressing and stroking along with the swatting. His hand remained at Oliver's neck, squeezing gently.

Oliver continued to make tiny moaning, whimpering sounds that were anything but unhappy. If he'd realized how pleased he sounded, he likely would have blushed dark. He didn't realize, though, since his entire focus was on Slade and what he was doing. "I'm yours, Koro..." he said, a wealth of feeling and love in the tone.

"Yeah, kid." Slade continued to gently stroke and rub, his touches as possessive as they were gentle. "You're mine. I'm never going to let you go."

"Love you." Oliver's voice was drowsy.

"I love you, little brother. You're the most important thing in my world." Slade gently squeezed Oliver's hip.

Oliver tried to stay awake. He wanted to spend as much time as possible with his brother, but it had been a very long day and a stressful one at that. It was too hard to keep his eyes open. Soon, the possessive, comforting actions of his brother lulled him nearly to sleep. Slade would need to carry him to bed if he didn't want dead weight over his lap all night.

Slade could tell his little brother was nearly asleep and he kept up the touching and stroking, wanting to soothe Oliver all the way. Moments like these were the ones that worked best to soothe his own memories of guilt; knowing that his little brother trusted him enough to let go completely.

Soon, Oliver was sleeping peacefully over his brother's knee. While the position wouldn't customarily be considered comfortable enough to encourage sleeping, Oliver's complete trust in Slade and Slade's love for him allowed him to let go. He knew his brother would look out for him and do whatever was best for him.

Slade waited until he was certain Oliver was fully asleep, then picked him up to carry him through to the bedroom.

Oliver immediately snuggled against his brother, nuzzling into his shoulder, but didn't awaken. He could tell, even in sleep, that it was his brother who had him. He was safe.

When Oliver woke, it was early morning and he was plastered against his brother, his head on Slade's chest and the rest of him tangled up around his brother like a toddler that'd crawled into bed with a parent because of nightmares. He didn't remember having bad dreams, though. Sheepishly, he carefully disentangled himself and tried to pull away without waking Slade up.

Slade woke immediately as Oliver began pulling himself away and touched his little brother's cheek. "Morning, kid."

Oliver glanced up and smiled brightly, if a bit shyly. "Morning, Koro..." He smiled. He bit his lip, then asked, even more shyly, "May I get up?" He'd had no problem getting up without permission while his brother was asleep, as he didn't want to wake Slade just to ask if he could go to the bathroom and brush his teeth. His brother was awake, though and it didn't feel right just getting up and doing his own thing when Slade hadn't told him he could. Not when they were home, alone, and he didn't have to be in charge.

Slade's thumb gently stroked Oliver's cheek. "Sure, kid." His voice was warmed through with affection and love. He kissed his little brother's forehead. "I'll get breakfast started in a moment."

"Okay, Koro..." He carefully got up and head to take care of business. Right before disappearing into the bathroom, he turned and asked, "Can I help? With breakfast?" He enjoyed helping his brother, but given the way he was typically dressed while at home and the way Slade took care of him for nearly everything, his brother may not want him to do anything in the kitchen but keep him company.

Slade smiled warmly at him. "Why don't you help with cutting up fruit?" he suggested, planning on making pancakes.

"Yessir!" Oliver grinned, then disappeared to 'get ready' for the day.

Slade headed through to the kitchen to start cooking the pancakes, leaving the responsibility of the fruit to his little brother.

Oliver didn't take long 'getting ready' and soon he was in the kitchen carefully cutting fruit for their breakfast. He was tempted to show off his knife skills to his brother; but Slade already knew he was good with a knife (although nowhere near as good as his older brother) and would likely not approve of him doing anything unnecessarily showy, so he managed to refrain. He grinned at Slade before commenting, "I remember when I first tried to help with cutting up our food on the island. You about had a fit at the way I was holding the knife. You were certain I'd cut off a finger or worse and ended up spending a whole afternoon teaching me how to hold the knife correctly. I think it was at that point that I realized how hopelessly inept I was at taking care of myself before being washed up on shore. I never had to do anything for myself before..."

Slade smiled at the memory, watching his brother with a fond, loving look on his face. "It wasn't your fault. You weren't used to anything. And I knew I had to make sure you knew enough to survive." In case the worst had happened and his little brother had ended up alone. But even though it was a possibility Slade had had to prepare for, he'd never wanted to admit as much to Oliver and risk frightening his little brother.

"You taught me a lot, Koro; things I should have known but never learned because I was a selfish, lazy brat who thought the world would cater to me if I paid them enough. Which, sadly, probably isn't all that wrong; but it wasn't a good way to think. I can take care of myself if I need to now and it's all because you wouldn't let me be lazy or selfish..." He smiled crookedly.

Slade reached out and gently squeezed the nape of his little brother's neck. "You needed someone willing to believe in you and push you to be the best you could be."

"I needed someone to not let me get away with slacking off..." Oliver laughed softly, leaning in toward his brother. "...Although knowing you believed in me was a big part of me not wanting to slack off, so..."

Slade gently stroked the nape of his neck. "I believed in you, and still do, because I know what you're truly like," he commented. "The first time we met on the island, I knew there was more to you. I knew I'd been given someone important and valuable to look after and train."

Oliver closed his eyes, then opened them again and looked at his brother. "Thank you for seeing the best in me...and for insisting I show it..."

Slade kissed his cheek. "I love you, kid. Finding you on the island was the best thing that happened to me. Being with you then and now makes me happy."

"I'm happy too, Koro..." Oliver quickly leaned over -after making certain his brother wouldn't be in danger of dropping something or hurting himself- and hugged Slade tight.

Slade wrapped his arms around his little brother just as tight. "I'm glad I have you and that I didn't lose you," he whispered.

"I'm glad I wasn't lost...despite being a foolish brat..." Oliver said, chagrined.

"I wouldn't say you were a foolish brat." Slade stroked his cheek. "You just had some things to learn."

Oliver gave Slade a skeptical look. "I argued and whined about everything...a less patient man would have let me suffer the consequences for my arrogance. I figure calling myself a brat was actually being kind to myself..." he huffed, a tiny smile on his face.

"Even if it was difficult at times, it was still worth it. You were worth it and still are." Slade kissed his forehead.

"That you can still say that after all the hurtful mistakes I've made..." Oliver sighed, his gaze dropping toward the ground. "I'm very lucky." He finished cutting the fruit and put the used knife in the sink.

After plating up the food, Slade gently squeezed Oliver's hip. "I made mistakes too, little brother."

Oliver nodded. "That's what humans do..." he said softly. He waited for Slade to put the food where he wanted, waiting for his brother to direct him.

Slade put the plates on the table and then led his little brother to the table. Taking a seat, he gently tugged Oliver down to sit on his lap.

"Did you...when we were on the island, and we first couldn't have imagined that you'd end up with a twenty-something child to take care of. Especially not in such a physical way..." Oliver snorted faintly in amusement, even as he snuggled down so his brother could feed both of them.

Slade wrapped his arm around Oliver's waist, pulling him tight against his stomach, and began to feed him. "I might not have expected it, but that doesn't mean it wasn't welcome."

"You're a protector at heart...You saw me and knew I'd die without you and you were more than ready and willing to step up..." Oliver said quietly, in between bites. "I've tried to be like you...protect people as much as I can. And most times, I think I do okay. But deep down, there's always some part of me that's just a scared kid looking for his big brother to take care of him..." He gave a slightly embarrassed smile, but he'd come to terms with how he related to Slade and it wasn't hard to admit like it might have been when he first realized what he needed from his older brother.

"I think you do more than okay, kid." Slade kissed the top of his head. "I'll do everything within my power to make sure you won't lose me again," he whispered. "The only reason I didn't start looking for you straight away was because I needed to be sure. That the mirakuru hadn't taken hold again. That you would be safe. I couldn't have lived with myself if I'd hurt you again."

"I never blamed you for what you did under Mirakuru. It helps, though...that you're sure it's all gone. I think I've made it obvious that the idea of you on Mirakuru scares me..." Oliver looked down.

"It scares me, too, little brother," Slade said honestly. "It scares me because I was deaf and blind to you. It scares me because you suffered so much at my hands." He tightened his arm around Oliver. "It's part of the reason I need to hold onto you so much. You keep the nightmares away. Holding onto's like a balm to those memories."

"That's good, cuz I find myself wanting...needing to be held by you as much as possible. Needing you to prove your claim over me I belong to you as much as possible. Makes me feel safe..." Oliver whispered.

Slade gently stroked Oliver's hip, squeezing lightly. "You do belong to me, kid," he whispered. "Even when we're away from home, it doesn't change that. Even though no one else can see, it doesn't change anything. It doesn't change that you are not allowed to take yourself away from me. It wasn't acceptable when we were on the island. It isn't acceptable now."

"I'm not allowed to run away from you, I'm yours..." Oliver nodded solemnly, his hand coming up to wrap around the pendant tightly before he leaned further into Slade and put his head on his brother's shoulder.

Gently squeezing the nape of his little brother's neck, Slade tightened his arms around his little brother, stroking down his back. "That's right, kid." He gently patted Oliver's backside.

Oliver let out a tiny squeak at the patting before shamelessly shifting so Slade could swat a bit easier. He'd finished eating his plate of food- and his brother's plate was empty as well- so he didn't feel he was being too forward or obnoxious with his actions.

Slade let the pats become a little bit firmer, taking advantage of his little brother's shifting to cover more of his bottom.

Oliver hid his face against Slade's shoulder and just held tightly, every so often letting out a tiny hiss or whimper, but more often letting out tiny sounds of contentment; almost as if he was purring. It didn't take long at all for him to reach a state where he'd do whatever Slade said, however Slade said to do it. His entire focus was on Slade.

Shifting his little brother a bit more, Slade increased the strength a tiny bit more, now focusing more on Oliver's sit spots and thighs, pausing every so often to rub or stroke possessively.

Oliver let out a tiny groan, shifting only enough to make it even easier to reach him. "I'm sorry I ran..." he said, yet again. "...I know you understand and don't blame me, but I'm still sorry..."

Slade pressed a kiss to his head. "I know, little brother. I forgive you. I love you." He continued gently smacking and rubbing Oliver's bottom, feeling the skin warming up.

Oliver sniffled. "I love you too, Slade," he murmured, holding still and focusing on the swats. He wished he could just ask his brother to spank him whenever he felt this itch under his skin, but it was difficult to admit to having needs like that; no matter how many times Slade tried to reassure him that it was all right and didn't bother him. It was easier to just focus on the guilt he continually carried around with him and pretend that the swats were punishment. He wondered if he should confess that to Slade, since Slade was trying to help him and probably needed to know that.

Kissing his little brother's head, Slade stood them both up and moved to the couch. Sitting down, he guided Oliver over his knees and resumed smacking his backside, every so often putting a bit more strength behind a swat.

Oliver sighed softly, letting himself be led and maneuvered into position, grateful his brother seemed to understand what was needed and when. Even if he couldn't put voice to it, despite all of Slade's admonitions that he didn't have to be ashamed and to be honest about it. He wriggled a bit until his bottom was up a bit higher, then gripped Slade's leg with both hands. "...I belong to Slade..." he repeated to himself again in a whisper. "...Can't run...can't ever run..."

"No, kid. You can't run." Slade focused a bit more on Oliver's sit spots and thighs, smacking and stroking the more sensitive areas.

Oliver closed his eyes tightly and tried to muffle the sounds he was making; not because he didn't want Slade to hear how he was being affected, but because he was afraid he was about to start begging for Slade for more. Even if there was nothing wrong with him needing more, he didn't really feel like he deserved to have Slade cater to his whims...not after he had run.

"Kid, stop trying to hide from me." Slade delivered a couple of swats that were close to punishment strength ones, to get Oliver's attention. "Don't hold back your reactions." A serious, nearly stern note crept into his voice.

"I'm sorry...Koro..." Oliver squeaked out, ashamed at his hiding. " reactions are yours..." he agreed and then almost immediately whimpered and groaned, just barely refraining from squirming into a position where he'd be even more vulnerable to the swats.

Slade gently rubbed the area he'd just swatted harder. "No hiding or feeling ashamed, little brother. Your needs are just that. You are not allowed to try and hide them or your reactions from me."

"No, sir...not 'lowed to hide...not 'lowed to hide anything..." Oliver sniffled. "...Jus...just...want more..." He whimpered, unable to hide the fact that he did feel ashamed at what he needed.

Slade stroked his hip gently, resuming the swats at the milder force. "What you need is something I need to know, little brother, so I can give it to you." He paused for a few moments to rub, then resumed the gentle smacks. "I need to know when you need me to do something and when you don't."

"Sometimes I don't know exactly what I need..." Oliver sniffled again. "...I just know I need something..."

"And you can let me know that," Slade said gently. "I told you before, you don't need to feel ashamed because there are other people who have similar needs to yours."

"I don't see how..." Oliver admitted, his breath catching in his throat. "...How is it normal for a grown man to wa...want his...his older brother to spank him till he feels it for hours after? I isn't...I don't want...It's not about sex. So I don't even fit in with that crowd with my needs..." he whimpered.

Slade gently stroked his back, bottom and thighs. "It's not always about that for other people either, kid. If you're worried, we can research it. See if anyone's shared their experiences online."

"You think I'm not the only one?" Oliver couldn't help the hopeful tone in his voice. While he knew a lot of his life was messed up in so many ways, it was hard to think he was so messed up mentally that his needs were completely different and unheard of to anyone else.

"I think there are other people with needs similar to yours," Slade answered, still gently rubbing. "I have a similar need to you, little brother. I need to take care of you in this way."

Oliver relaxed at those words. Knowing that Slade was having his own need met by taking care of him helped somewhat. Still. "C...could we look it up? Find some of the others?" he asked hesitantly. "A...after you warm my bottom?" He bit his lip, not sure how to ask for Slade to make his bottom hot enough that the warmth wouldn't fade and would still be there while they were reading.

"Yeah, kid." Slade's voice was very gentle and very reassuring. Squeezing one thigh, he decided to ask...just so his brother knew there was nothing wrong with voicing what he needed. "How much?"

Oliver blushed, but forced himself to answer. "...Enough that my bottom stays hot for a while after we start reading..." he whispered.

"Don't feel embarrassed, little brother." Slade gently stroked his lower back and over his hip, before he resumed swatting. This time, the force was increased more...not at the strength of punishment swats, but harder than before.

"I...I'll try..." Oliver agreed, as much as he was able, then slumped over his brother's lap so he could just experience.

Slade kept the swats at the same force and speed, pausing periodically to rub his little brother's bottom before he started up again. He moved his other hand to the nape of Oliver's neck, gently scruffing him.

Oliver whimpered as Slade scruffed him, relaxing even further and letting out tiny sounds of appreciation as he began to wriggle over his brother's knee.

Slade gently pulled his little brother closer, so Oliver wouldn't wriggle off his knee, and then resumed swatting, shifting his little brother to make it easier to cover every part of his bottom, down to his thighs.

Oliver continued to whimper and squirm, but the noises weren't distressed and he was actually relaxing more and more, the longer Slade swatted. Every so often, his whisper of, "...Yours..." would float up to Slade's ears.

Every time he heard his little brother's whisper, Slade responded with, "Mine." He continued warming his little brother's bottom, the skin beginning to turn from a rosy pink to a slightly darker one.

Oliver finally squeezed his hands around Slade's ankle before letting out a low pitched, but long-lasting groan. He'd reached the point where, if he stayed in place and Slade continued swatting, he'd begin to fall. While he didn't mind that- anything that put him completely into his brother's hands and control was fine with him- he was interested in looking up that proof that he wasn't alone in his needs.

Slade brought the spanking to a stop, gently rubbing his little brother's heated backside before helping him up, hugging him tightly. "If we sit at the table, you can sit on my lap while we look," he suggested.

"Yessir!" Oliver quickly agreed, wrapping his arms around Slade in his own tight hug. He carefully stood so that Slade could lead him to the table.

Slade settled them both comfortably, his hand resting on Oliver's hip, as he opened the laptop and began searching.

Oliver only shifted minutely, as if testing, and then he settled, a happy grin on his face as he let his head fall onto Slade's shoulder and he began to read along with his brother. He could feel the heat on his backside still, the sting as the sensitive skin brushed against the material of Slade's jeans. It was exactly what he'd wanted.

Slade kept his hand on his brother's hip, gently stroking and squeezing possessively. "This looks promising," he murmured into Oliver's ear, indicating what was on the screen with a tap of his finger.

Oliver blinked. "The guy calls himself DeadPool..." he said skeptically.

"It's not really any stranger than our codenames." Slade clicked on the link and then widened his eye a little as he scanned the first entry of the blog. "I wonder if he talks like that when not online..."

Oliver read, blinking. "If I talked like that at any time, you'd wash my mouth out with soap..." he muttered, not joking in the least. He was fairly certain Slade wouldn't appreciate him talking in such a manner.

"I wouldn't need to. You don't talk like that." Still stroking his little brother's hip, Slade continued scrolling down until he found the lines that had come up when they first searched. "He asked his brother, Colossus, to spank him every day until he felt more settled," he commented.

Oliver bit his lip. "That...does sound kinda like what I'm asking you for..." he admitted. "It does help me feel more settled and secure..." he whispered.

Slade kissed his head. "You don't have to worry, kid. If 'Colossus' is anything like me, it fulfils his own needs to take care of his little brother."

"He also mentions that if he doesn't ask his brother for help in settling him, he tends to seek out ways to hurt himself so he can 'feel'..." Oliver swallowed hard. "...I don't think I do that. If you aren't the one making my bottom sore, I'd rather not be in pain..." He fidgeted, that particular subject making him uncomfortable.

"You don't seek out ways to hurt yourself, but you did act like you had a death wish before I came back to you," Slade said softly. "You had no hesitation in putting yourself in harm's way." His arm tightened around his little brother, remembering that he hadn't cared at all about that when the mirakuru had been in control. Now? Now he cared. Now it hurt.

"I...I didn't value myself as much as I should have..." Oliver said softly. "I thought as long as I was keeping everyone else I cared about alive, like I wasn't able to do for you or Shado... Like I wasn't able to do for my mom and dad... That it didn't matter what happened to me." He snuggled closer. "Now I realize how wrong that was. I'd have hurt everyone else... hurt you... if anything had killed me."

"It would have destroyed me," Slade said honestly. "Even with the mirakuru driving me...I wouldn't have wanted to continue living without you."

"I'm glad you got me before it reached that point..." Oliver said softly. "..If I ever start feeling like I'm expendable again..."

Slade pressed a kiss to his cheek. "Keep in mind your worth to me and everyone else, if you can't think about your own," he whispered.

"I'll try...If I forget, though...I know you'll reel me back in." Oliver's voice was entirely confident in that declaration.

"I will, kid," Slade answered. "I'll pull you back to me, where I can keep you safe and make sure you know what you're worth." Running his fingers through Oliver's hair, he continued, "There aren't any mentions made of a safeword I can see."

Oliver nodded. "I saw that too...maybe he trusts his brother to know when to stop, like I do with you..." Oliver looked at Slade sideways. They'd had this discussion before, on the island.

It had been shortly after Oliver had admitted his needs to Slade that Slade thought he should probably broach the subject of safewords. His brother was curled against his side, a warm, solid weight that Slade questioned how he'd existed without it before he met Oliver. Just like the kitten his brother seemed like, Slade was stroking his hair and down over his back, petting him. Just needing to touch and hold onto Oliver. "I think there's something we should discuss," he said softly, reluctant to disturb the moment, but not wanting to ignore his concern.

"Mmmm?" Oliver said drowsily, stretching just enough that he could look up at his brother. The serious tone in his brother's voice had caught his attention. "What do we need to talk about?" he asked uncertainly, nervous that maybe he'd done something he wasn't supposed to and had earned himself a punishment.

Slade cupped his little brother's cheek, thumb idly stroking his chin. "It makes me happy that you trust me to look after you and take care of you, little brother...but we're both on a learning curve here. I don't want to push too hard or too much, or risk frightening you, so I think it makes sense if we discuss having a safeword you can use if you need me to stop whatever I'm doing."

Oliver blinked. "Don't those usually get used with the rougher stuff? Like whips and floggers and restraints and stuff?" He blushed as he talked about it, not quite able to look his brother in the eye. "You don't use stuff like just use your hand..." He squirmed slightly.

"I'm not necessarily talking about it being too much physically," Slade said gently, though he had no doubts he could go too far if he didn't love his brother so deeply. "I want to make sure you're safe. That you have a way of making me stop if necessary. Even if it's only so you can calm your emotions."

"So... if I feel like I'm gonna cry and it isn't a good kind of crying...I can say it and you'll stop and help me work through it?" Oliver asked curiously. He couldn't imagine ever getting so emotionally overwhelmed that he'd have to use such a word, but it made him feel good that Slade cared enough about him to worry about it.

"Yeah, kid," Slade replied. "It's to protect you. I don't want to run the risk of even coming close to hurting you."

"What kinda word?" Oliver smiled up at him, trusting that if Slade thought it was a good idea and wanted to do it, then that's the way it should be.

Slade continued to gently stroke his little brother's cheek. "If you just say stop, I will," he said.

"I know you will..." Oliver said quietly. "...I'd never say it, but I know if I did, you would."

Slade brought his brother in closer. "If you do ever need me to need to tell me."

"I'll try..." Oliver sighed and snuggled. "...Sometimes I don't know what I need, though."

"But when you do know..." Slade gently stroked his hair. "You need to let me know. Just in case I don't see it straight away."

"Ok, Slade. I'll tell you if I need you to stop...if I realize I need you to." Oliver grinned up at his brother again, before rubbing his face against the older man's shoulder affectionately.

Slade gently stroked his hair, tangling his fingers through it. "Good boy." Encountering a knot, he added, "Why don't I brush your hair for you and cut it so it doesn't keep getting in your eyes?"

"Okay..." Oliver agreed easily. His hair was currently longer than it had ever been in known memory. He'd thought maybe he'd let it get long enough to tie back, but it really was frustrating having to constantly push it out of his eyes. And it knotted a lot easier than it used to, which could be painful on occasion.

Slade gently guided his little brother into a sitting position, reaching for the makeshift brush they'd been using on the island and also for one of his knives. Setting the knife to one side, he began to carefully run the brush through his brother's hair.

Oliver held still as his brother groomed him. "Feel like a pet..." He giggled, then blushed at the fact he'd giggled.

Slade gently stroked the nape of his neck, even as he continued brushing, careful not to snag on any knots and cause his little brother pain. "You're my little brother," he murmured.

Oliver grinned again. "Yeah...your pet little brother..." he teased gently.

"Maybe later, you could curl up in my lap and nap." Slade was smiling, semi-teasing, even though his little brother did tend to curl up close to him. Not that he would ever complain about that.

"I think I will. That sounds puuuuurfectly comfortable..." Oliver gave another cheeky grin.

Slade gently squeezed the nape of his neck. "Well, kid, it's always open to you." He still kept very gentle, working the knots out.

Oliver's grin turned more soft, subtle. "You mean that, too..." he observed. "I'm so lucky I stumbled onto this plane. I can't imagine I'd be alive now if I hadn't...if you hadn't taken me in..." His tone was entirely too serious.

Slade's free arm snaked around his stomach, pulling his little brother against him. "Not taking you in wasn't an option," he whispered. "You burrowed your way into my heart, little brother. I can't imagine my life without you in it."

Oliver grinned again and snuggled close, before holding still so Slade could finish cutting his hair. "Fur-ball..." he said, in a teasing tone.

Slade's smile was soft and very gentle as he finished cutting Oliver's hair, giving it one last brush through to make sure there were no knots. "All done. You can curl up in my lap now."

Leaning up to kiss his brother on the cheek, Oliver smiled back. "Thanks...I can see better already...!" Hugging his brother tightly, he then proceeded to curl up beside Slade, his head and upper torso on the older man's lap, his bottom and thighs within easy reach for more 'petting'.

Slade began to gently stroke and rub over his brother's body, letting his hand stroke Oliver's bare skin under his shirt, caressing over his lower back, bottom and thighs.

Letting out a tiny sigh of contentment, Oliver fell asleep, taking a real nap.

"You always cut my hair so much better with just a knife than even the barber does it..." Oliver commented, remembering the events that surrounded the conversation about safe words.

Slade gently stroked his hair. "Because I know what a great amount of trust you placed in me to allow me that close to your throat with a knife. And there was nothing and has been nothing more precious than you."

Oliver pushed his head gently into Slade's hand. "I still do trust you that much..." he said. "Completely..."

Slade closed his eye, gently caressing the side of his little brother's head. "I love you, kid. I don't think I ever knew how much until I woke up and knew I didn't have you anymore." His other arm tightened around Oliver, pressing his little brother closer against him.

Oliver nuzzled against Slade for a few seconds, tightening his own arms around the older man. Finally, though, he leaned back enough to look into Slade's face. "I never had to use my word before. I don't believe I ever will. But if I ever got emotionally distraught enough that I needed to? Just saying it out loud will probably jar me out of any despondency..." His smile was cheeky. He continued in a more serious tone. "You don't need to worry about me, Koro. I trust you with every atom in my body. I know you'd never hurt me...not deliberately. And... if you hurt me accidently? Chances are high that it'd be during a situation where I'd want to be hurt, so..." He shrugged. He knew that wasn't something Slade would want to hear, but his brother wanted openness and honesty and truth. And that was the truth.

Slade cupped his little brother's cheek, gently stroking it. "You're my whole world, kid," he said softly. "I know things are different here than they were on the island...but just like there, my feelings about you are no different." He smiled softly. "You're still my 'pet little brother'."

Oliver couldn't help but giggle at the term, it amused him now just as it did then. "Guess my word fits, then..." He smiled and wriggled a little bit, reigniting the sting on his bottom.

"It does, kid." Slade gently squeezed the nape of his little brother's neck. "And you still fit just as well in my lap as you did then."

"No matter how much I work out..." Oliver groused good-naturedly. "My big brother will always be bigger..."

Slade cupped his cheek. "You can fit just as well over my lap, too, kid," he said, teasing, even though he knew his brother needed to.

Oliver blushed, but grinned at the words. "Yeah...I do...both ways..." He glanced at the computer screen. "You gonna comment to him?"

"Do you want to?" Slade asked. "He's in your position in his relationship with his brother."

Oliver slanted his head thoughtfully, then quickly typed up a brief comment, showing it to Slade before hitting 'post'. He didn't go into any detail, but made it clear that Wade wasn't alone in his 'needs' and that if he ever needed to talk to someone in close to the same 'position', he'd be willing. He then signed it 'Arrow'. And hoped like hell no one who actually knew that was his code-name would be reading the blog.

Slade smiled and gently squeezed his little brother's hip. "I'm glad finding this has made you feel better, little brother."

"It helps...realizing I'm not as odd as I thought I had to be..." Oliver admitted, wrapping his arms around Slade and holding on tightly. "Thank you, Koro..."

Slade kissed his cheek. "I'll do anything within my power to help you feel better," he whispered.

"You do a lot," Oliver said. "Can we go back into the bedroom and watch tv...or you read to me...or something?"

"We can." Stroking his hair, Slade added, "Or, if you want me to do it now, I do have the materials for the tattoo."

Oliver looked up at that. "Yes please!" He was eager for a permanent, visible sign of belonging to his brother.

Slade pressed a kiss to his little brother's head. "If you think you can hold still enough, you can lay across my knee while I do the tattoo," he suggested. Given how impersonal the brand had been, he wanted the tattoo to be as personal as possible.

"I can hold still," Oliver promised. He'd gone through a lot of pain when he'd left the island, for less desirable reasons. He could hold still if needed.

Slade gently squeezed the nape of his little brother's neck, then helped Oliver to stand. Retrieving the materials he needed, he moved over to the couch and gently guided his little brother over his knee once more.

Oliver moved exactly where Slade directed, when Slade directed it. He wanted the tattoo to be perfect and while he knew it would be painful, Oliver also had an extremely high pain tolerance (despite what his reactions to spankings indicated). He wasn't worried, though; he was excited.

Slade settled his brother in place, wincing when his eye found the brand. When Oliver had fallen asleep the night before, he'd figured out how the design would work to merge with the brand and change it. He placed a hand gently on Oliver's lower back. "I love you, little brother." There was a whole wealth of emotion in his tone, chief among them remorse. But there was also relief, knowing that his brother had forgiven him; that he hadn't lost the most important thing to him.

"I know..." Oliver's voice was confident and full of love for his brother. He trusted in Slade's love, even if Slade had a difficult time trusting himself. Carefully, he folded his arms in front of him and lay his head on them, getting as comfortable as possible since he wouldn't be able to move from his position until Slade had finished and he wasn't certain how long that would take.

Slade gently stroked a little more and then picked up what he needed. Placing a hand on his little brother's back to hold Oliver steady, he began to work on the tattoo.

Oliver gritted his teeth for a few moments as he adjusted to the pain of the tattooing itself, then managed to relax. He was over his brother's lap, Slade was the one doing the inking, he was safe...there was no reason to tense up and as he'd originally felt would be the case, the pain was negligible. He began to focus more on his position and his brother's control- and what the tattoo meant.

Slade continued to do the tattoo, very careful not to cause his little brother more pain than was necessary. "You're mine. This tattoo, along with the pendant, is going to make sure you remember that even when we're outside the apartment and everyone else has to see you in control."

"Thank you..." Oliver whispered. "...It helps...knowing that, even if no one else knows it, I'm yours. Having visible reminders that you've got me...all I need to do is come to you..."

"I do have you, little brother. No matter what happens, I always will," Slade promised. He continued working on the tattoo, wanting to make it completely perfect.

Somehow, despite the pain of receiving a tattoo, Oliver managed to fall into a drowsy, nearly asleep, state of being. His trust in Slade was so complete that he didn't feel compelled to try and stay awake or aware. He only stayed awake enough to do whatever Slade told him; beyond that, he may as well have been out cold.

Eventually, after making sure it was completely perfect, Slade was satisfied with the tattoo. The brand was completely hidden over the image representing his and his little brother's relationship. He gently touched Oliver's lower back, a bit taken aback by how much better he felt, seeing the image they'd both decided on there.

Oliver let out a slow breath at the gentle touch on his back. "It's done?" he asked hesitantly, not moving just in case Slade wasn't finished, but almost vibrating from excitement and wanting to see it.

"It's done," Slade replied, gently squeezing Oliver's hip.

"Can I see it before you put the bandage on it?" Oliver smiled over his shoulder at his brother.

"Of course." Slade gently ran his fingers through his little brother's hair.

Carefully sitting up, Oliver then stood and walked to the full length mirror in the hall, standing in front and twisting his head around to look at the design now covering the scar. "It's perfect..." he said quietly, his tone slightly awed.

Slade moved over to his brother, gently squeezing the opposite shoulder. "It was a good idea, little brother. Seeing this helps me remember you've forgiven me for the monstrous things I did to you."

Oliver faced Slade and carefully wrapped his arms around the older man. "Just as you've forgiven me for what I did...and took me back. Took responsibility for me. Not many would do that, Koro. Don't sell your own forgiveness short..." he whispered, letting his head fall onto Slade's shoulder.

Slade tightened his embrace, careful not to put any pressure on the tattoo, and kissed the top of his head. "You're my little brother," he whispered. "Not taking you back could never be an option." He sighed, gently squeezing the nape of Oliver's neck.

Oliver slumped against Slade, the kiss and the scruffing easing him back into the pliable, submissive demeanor he so often had when alone at home with his brother. "Do I have to put a bandage on it? Or can I leave it unbandaged until we leave the apartment?" he asked quietly. He liked looking at the tattoo...the sign that he was his brother's. The reminder that he couldn't ever run again; he wasn't allowed.

"If there's a bandage on it, it'll at least mean it's protected while it heals," Slade said, his arms wrapped tightly around his little brother. Oliver's warm, solid weight continued to be a balm to his tormented soul and it was always a struggle to let him go when it was needed. Stroking the side of his face, Slade had to say, "You're the one who heals me, kid."

"Okay..." Oliver's voice was reluctant, but he didn't argue. He let Slade lead him into the bathroom where the first-aid kit was, so that his brother could put the bandage on. "After, though... I wanna be held...handled..." he half-whispered, half-muttered and blushed at the fact that he was still feeling so incredibly needy. He didn't understand what was wrong with him. Normally, after one trip over his brother's knee and all the affection and care that went along with it, he felt more at ease and able to face the world. Currently, he still felt unsettled and at this rate, he'd be lucky to be able to leave the apartment when the days Slade planned to keep him in were up.

Slade's thumb gently stroked his little brother's cheek. "As soon as we're finished here, I'll put you back over my knee," he promised. He gently patted Oliver's backside and then began to cover the tattoo. That was done quickly and then he gently led his little brother back through to the living room, where he could sit on the couch and guide Oliver over his knee.

Oliver snuggled as tight to Slade as he could get while over his lap and let himself relax again. "Dunno what's wrong with me...why I can't calm down..." He sighed softly. "Running like I did...I think it broke me or something..." His tone was sheepish and a little worried.

"You were scared." Slade began to gently stroke over Oliver's back, down over his bottom, squeezing his thighs. "You thought you were about to lose me to the mirakuru again. That I wouldn't be your big brother anymore."

"I'm not scared about that anymore, though...why am I still" He sighed. "...Usually, a spanking helps. I get focused and am able to let go of whatever is bothering me and then I'm fine. As many times as you've settled me since getting home, it hasn't lasted at all and I just... what if the only thing that helps is being spanked non-stop until I literally can't sit for a few days? I don't want to be that pathetic..."

Slade gently stroked Oliver's hip, moving his hand a little lower to begin gently smacking his little brother's bottom. "You said being scared of me felt wrong. Since I came back into your life, you haven't felt that; not since the very first time you saw me again and weren't sure. Even if you're not scared now, having to experience that fear of losing me can still have a lasting effect."

"So you don't think I'm pathetic for still...still needing you to handle me? Even if normally, I'd be alright by now?" Oliver swallowed and bit his lip. He trusted Slade. If Slade wasn't worried, then maybe he should stop fretting over it and just go with it. He knew Slade wouldn't hurt him- even if he begged him to- so maybe it would be okay...

Slade gently squeezed the nape of Oliver's neck, even while his other hand continued to gently smack. "Your needs are just that, little brother. It doesn't matter what form they take. I would never think less of you or belittle you for what you need."

Oliver pushed his neck up into Slade's hand, as if seeking to test his brother's control, even as he slumped further over his lap and accepted the gentle smacks. "Okay..." he whispered and just decided to go with it. If Slade was willing to give him what he needed, then he'd just ask until he either didn't need it anymore, or Slade thought it was time to stop.

Slade continued, one hand alternating between gently scruffing his brother and rubbing over his back, while the other gently smacked, squeezed, rubbed, stroked. "When we're here at home, kid, it's a safe place. You can tell me what you need. I won't think less of you. I won't find it strange. My first priority is you."

"Even if I... I need you to keep doing it almost non-stop?" Oliver's voice shook slightly.

"Even then, kid," Slade promised. "I love you. I will always be happy that you trust me with your needs."

"Love you, Koro...please don't let me go..." Oliver swallowed back sudden and unexpected tears. "...Don't let go of me..."

"I won't, little brother," Slade promised. "I won't ever let you go. I need you too much."

Oliver whimpered. He didn't know what he wanted. What he did know was that he didn't want to leave Slade's arms.

Slade let his hand rest gently on his little brother's neck and bottom as he thought and then gently turned his little brother over, so that they were face to face with Oliver across his lap.

Oliver looked up at his brother, tears pooling in his eyes. "I'm sorry I'm so messed up, Koro..." he whispered brokenly, even as he reached up and tangled his fingers in Slade's shirt.

"You aren't messed up, kid." Slade stroked Oliver's cheek and kissed his forehead. "I love you. You've suffered a lot, physically and emotionally. But you aren't messed up. Your needs aren't bad or wrong."

Oliver swallowed back his tears, leaning into Slade for a moment before letting himself relax over Slade's lap. "...Yours..." he whispered.

"Mine," Slade agreed, thumb stroking his little brother's cheek. "I need this relationship too, kid. All aspects of it. I need to take care of you. And, yeah, occasionally I need to take you over my knee; and not only for punishment. I fulfil your needs, little fulfil mine."

At those words, a look of relief filled Oliver's eyes. "You need me over your knee as much as I need to be there?" He sounded uncertain but hopeful.

"I do, kid," Slade confirmed, stroking his cheek. "I need to be in control of you, little brother. To almost dominate you."

Oliver let his breath out with a whoosh. "That...that's good. Since I need you to do that..." He laughed slightly. He relaxed a bit more, becoming malleable.

Slade adjusted Oliver's position, gently stroking over his chest, stomach and legs. "When we were on the island, I told you that you were welcome to my lap any time," he said softly. "That's still true, little brother. Whether you're over it or on it."

"I feel like such a baby...but I don't want to be separated from you," Oliver admitted.

"I don't want that either, kid," Slade said. "That's the last thing I want." As he had when they'd returned home, he gently encouraged Oliver to raise his legs and grasp onto them.

Oliver immediately did as urged, pulling his legs up toward his chest and gripping them tightly. The position immediately made him feel more vulnerable because of being so much more exposed.

Slade began to gently rub and stroke his little brother's legs and inner thighs, swatting a few times along with the caressing.

Oliver shivered and relaxed further. "Love you, Koro... yours always," he whispered and took several deep breaths.

"I love you, little brother." Slade continued to gently smack and caress and rub his little brother's bottom and thighs, pulling Oliver closer to himself so there was no danger of him falling.

Oliver whimpered then moaned softly. As before, the added vulnerability caused him to slide down emotionally. This time, he wasn't fighting it, though; he welcomed the chance to give Slade full control and submit in whatever way he was asked and so he fell further, faster than he ever had. As he fell deeper into the space of complete submission, his body loosened and his legs fell open as wide as they were able to go, his eyes began to get hazy even as the pooled tears slid down his face. He kept whispering the mantra on the pendant and on his tattoo. "I belong to my brother..."

"Yeah you do. You're mine and you aren't allowed to run." Slade's voice was low and intense as he stroked and rubbed, cupping his little brother's cheek and keeping a firm hold on him so he wouldn't risk hurting himself as he sank.

"Not allowed to run..." Oliver repeated, sounding almost drugged as he pressed his face into his brother's hand. His eyes were completely unfocused by this point, his attention solely on Slade's voice and hands.

Slade continued to gently stroke and rub, caressing and gently smacking. "I've got you, little brother. I won't ever let you go. You belong to me."

Soon, Oliver wasn't moving at all, just accepting every touch, caress, squeeze, or smack. His breathing was steady, even with the consistent tiny moans he was voicing. His eyes were completely glazed over and every reaction of his body was beyond his control. He was too under to be embarrassed at his reactions, though.

Slade continued to gently stroke and touch, speaking in low, soothing tones, just reiterating how much he loved his little brother.

Eventually, Oliver was completely under. Slade would be able to do anything he wanted and Oliver wouldn't react at all, save for tiny whimpers or moans.

Slade, watching his little brother very carefully, could tell Oliver had sunk and he began to change the smacks to light, gentle pats and softer, lighter strokes and rubs.

Oliver continued with the quiet whimpering, the more gentle and quiet actions of his brother soothing yet keeping him in that place of total need and dependence on Slade.

Slade, knowing that his little brother was safe with him, kept a careful watch over Oliver as he continued to gently stroke and rub, just as if Oliver was a pet. Knowing that it could be dangerous for his brother to stay under for too long, though, he'd already planned to bring him out by reading to him.

Oliver was just a quivery, whimpering, limp mass over his brother's lap by this point. He didn't try and talk; couldn't form a coherent thought, let alone word, if he tried. But he knew his brother was there and he knew he was safe; Slade would protect him. It was what let him go so completely.

Slade continued to stroke and soothe, letting his brother 'stay under' for as long as it was safe for him to do so. Eventually, though, he picked up one of their books and began reading to Oliver, to gently bring him out.

If Slade's touch and control enabled Oliver to just let go and trust, it was the cadence and tone of Slade's voice that often was the only thing that could bring Oliver to laser-sharp focus. It was one of the reasons why, even though Oliver was so good at what he did and so focused in the field, that he was ten times better when teamed with Slade. This was no exception. As soon as Slade's voice changed from soothing and comforting to a more quiet, 'you'll want to hear this' tone, Oliver's head turned toward his brother and his unfocused, glazed over eyes began to struggle to focus on Slade.

Slade gently touched his little brother's cheek, even as he continued reading, his voice pitched differently, rising and falling and varying in pitch to give Oliver something to focus on.

Oliver didn't know how long it took for him to come to himself completely. Eventually, his entire focus was on Slade and the story being read. "Koro?" His voice sounded befuddled and amused. "Are you reading me 'Winnie the Pooh'?!"

Slade smiled and stroked his little brother's cheek. "I thought it might be a nice change."

Oliver grinned, leaning into Slade's hand. "Yeah. Haven't heard it since I was only tall as your knee, though."

Slade continued the gentle touch, thumb gently stroking his little brother's chin. "I thought it might be good for you if we could find books that you read or had read to you as a child." Especially as Oliver tended to get so childlike with Slade...he figured maybe his little brother needed that too.

Oliver smiled. "Never really had much of that, so other than Winnie the Pooh, I'd have no idea where to send you for books..."

"We can look together for some you think you might like to read," Slade suggested.

"Yeah...okay," Oliver agreed. "I like when you read to me..."

"I like it too, kid. I like that you trust me enough to let go and let me take care of you." Slade gently squeezed his leg. "You're so important to me, little brother."

"I like when you take care of it's good for both of us..." Oliver commented. "You gonna read me some more?" He couldn't help the hopeful tone in his voice. "Maybe we can go to bed and you can read to me..."

Slade's smile was warm. "That sounds like a very good idea to me, kid." He carefully helped his little brother to stand.

Oliver was wobbly for a few seconds, as his legs adjusted to being back down and standing, but with his brother's help, he made it to the bedroom.

Slade kept his arm around Oliver's waist, supporting his little brother. In the bedroom, he pressed a kiss to Oliver's head. "If you curl up in my lap, I can 'pet' you while I read to you," he suggested.

"Okay, Koro," Oliver quickly agreed. He waited for Slade to get into place and then did exactly that, crawling into his lap and snuggling.

Slade wrapped his arm around Oliver's waist, drawing his little brother in close and tight. He began to read, while his other hand gently rubbed and stroked over Oliver's neck, back, bottom...wherever he could reach.

At some point, Oliver had fallen asleep; he hadn't even been tired, but the emotional upheaval had stressed his body, he supposed. He knew Slade didn't mind, though.

Slade had let himself fall asleep not long after his brother, but he woke up when Oliver, though didn't immediately get up, instead gently stroking his little brother's hair and back. It was still a source of amazement to him how easily his brother trusted him.

"I shouldn't be this tired..." Oliver sighed and snuggled close. "I'm not even sure what time it is now..."

"I think it's about six," Slade answered, letting his fingers comb through his little brother's hair. "Probably time to have dinner," he added.

At that moment, Oliver's stomach growled. Looking down he grinned crookedly. "Looks like my stomach agrees with you..."

Slade kissed his forehead and then stood, helping his little brother from the bed. "Anything in particular you'd like to eat?"

"Not you have something in mind?" Oliver asked.

"I thought perhaps we could order a takeaway, unless you'd rather we cooked," Slade answered.

"That sounds good to me," Oliver agreed.

Slade smiled and kissed his head, before calling in the order. "How's the tattoo feeling?" he asked, once he'd finished speaking on the phone.

"Not bad. Just a little achey, but nothing horrible," Oliver answered. "Do you need to check it?"

"I think I should, but I can do that after we've eaten," Slade replied, wrapping his arm around his little brother's shoulders.

"Whatever you decide, Koro," Oliver agreed quickly, wanting to be obedient.

Slade kissed his forehead. "I love you, little brother." He gently squeezed the nape of Oliver's neck.

Oliver leaned into Slade and smiled. "I love you too, Koro..." He walked with his brother toward the kitchen. "Want me to get drinks together while you get the food? I think the delivery will be here soon."

Slade smiled and nodded. "That sounds good to me, little brother." He let his hand linger a moment or two longer and then went to collect the delivery.

Oliver smiled and began putting ice in the glasses and pouring the drinks while Slade got the food. He stayed out of sight of the delivery people, since he didn't want to have to get dressed.

Slade collected and paid for the food, then placed it on the table. Stepping into the kitchen, he wrapped his arms around his little brother's waist and kissed the back of his head.

"Drinks are ready." Oliver smiled over his shoulder at Slade.

"Food is too." Slade wrapped his arm around Oliver to guide him to the table, sitting down and settling his brother on his lap.

Oliver snuggled close and waited for Slade to begin feeding him, making certain his brother could move enough to feed himself as well.

Slade began to feed his brother, gently squeezing Oliver's hip. "Mine," he whispered, the possessive tone and touch clear.

While he maintained enough control to eat and hold himself up instead of going limp against Slade, the possessive tone and words caused Oliver to sink enough that he wasn't going to do anything at all- even move- without his brother's permission or help. "Yours..." he said, in a submissive tone.

Once, that would have made him ashamed of himself; but Slade had finally broke through to him that it was okay. Hearing that his brother needed him to be submissive and needy toward him had made the biggest difference. While he might have denied his own need, even if it left him miserable, he wouldn't ever deny Slade. He owed his brother too much. That giving Slade what he needed helped him? That was just proof that they should never leave each other again.

Slade gently stroked Oliver's hip, feeding his little brother and eating as well. "When we were on the island together," he said softly. "That was when I realised I needed you to give in to give me that control and let me be in charge. Even before the first time I took you over my knee, I knew that what was between us was different to anything I'd ever felt with anyone else before."

"I'm glad you knew and understood it..." Oliver answered quietly. "I was so busy fighting myself, thinking there was something wrong with wanting you to take control of me...wanting you in charge of everything...I can't imagine if I'd kept fighting ...if you hadn't understood and helped me..."

"I wouldn't have let you keep fighting yourself," Slade answered. "I could see how much it was tearing you apart. And since I need you as much as you need me, I wasn't going to let anything come between us."

"Thank you...for stepping in. It's better this way. Me not fighting..." Oliver admitted.

Slade gently squeezed the nape of his little brother's neck. "Fighting was only hurting you. And I would never allow you to be hurt, little brother." He let his hand cup the pendant Oliver wore. "But you'll never have to doubt my love for you again. And there won't be even a second where you'll worry I love you any less, let alone worry that I hate you."

Oliver wrapped his own hands around Slade's. "Because I'm yours. I belong to you and I can't run...but I don't want to run either. And I know you'll always come get me..." He let his head lay on his brother's shoulder.

Slade kissed Oliver's head. "I would, little brother," he whispered. "Because losing you again isn't an option. I thought I could stay away from you when the mirakuru left my system...but I've realised I could never have stayed away from you. Because I wouldn't have been whole if I'd lost you."

"I'm not lost now..." Oliver sounded relieved.

"No, kid. And I'm not planning on letting you go," Slade said. "I keep my promises, little brother. And I promise I will never let you go."

"Good!" Oliver was emphatic. "I'm yours. I don't belong anywhere but in your grip..."

Slade gently gripped Oliver's hand. "I love you. You are my whole world, little brother. And when I put you over my knee, whether it's for punishment or because you need it, it's not going to change how I feel about you even a little."

Oliver nodded, smiling at his brother. He'd finished everything on his plate, so he quietly waited for Slade to finish.

Slade finished his own food and then carefully helped his little brother up. "I'll check on your tattoo...and then we'll talk about one of the things you should have done when you ran," he said seriously.

Oliver looked down, guilt shading his eyes. "Yessir..." he answered obediently and waited for Slade to check him over.

Slade gently stroked his cheek. "I'm not upset with you, little brother." He carefully removed the bandage from the tattoo, making sure it wasn't inflamed.

Oliver relaxed a bit at those words and held still while Slade checked out the tattoo. "I was naughty," he couldn't help but say.

Making sure the tattoo was healing well, Slade put a clean bandage over it and then gently cupped Oliver's cheek, encouraging his brother to look into his eyes. "When you ran, you only took Barry with you. Neither of you contacted any of your friends or your allies."

Oliver nodded, tears pooling in his eyes. "It was dangerous and unfair and thoughtless..." he whispered, forcing himself to keep his gaze up and on Slade.

Slade's thumb gently stroked his cheek. "I can guess what you were thinking, kid. That under the influence of the mirakuru, you'd be the one I would focus on. Take yourself out of the picture and I'd go after you and not anyone else. Am I right?"

"Yes, Koro..." Oliver quickly but hesitantly answered. "I thought it was dangerous to be near anyone else..."

Slade nodded. "I know you got rid of the trackers in your suits and your cell phones...but you could have found a way to get in touch. Like Felicity, who you know would be able to get a secure e-mail account or something set up."

"Yessir. I tried to do everything on my own again. I wouldn't have even gone with Barry if he hadn't been there when I ran..." Oliver said softly, his guilt growing.

"This is something else we need to work on," Slade said softly. "Along with telling me about your injuries...your first instinct can't be to just take off without turning to the people you trust and work with." He let his hand slip behind Oliver's head, gently squeezing his neck.

"I know, Koro. I'm sorry. I just didn't let myself think enough..." Oliver whispered.

Slade kissed his forehead. "I love you, little brother." He stroked Oliver's cheek before guiding him towards the couch. Taking a seat, he gently tugged his little brother across his lap.

Oliver whimpered quietly. "I love you too, Koro. I'm sorry..." It was all he could do not to immediately start crying. He hated punishment spankings. Knowing he'd disappointed and let his brother down hurt and not just physically.

Slade settled his brother in place, rubbing Oliver's back for a moment or two. He then lifted his hand and brought it down in the first firm smack that he then repeated. "I know, kid. I know you're sorry. I've already forgiven you. We just need to work on making this kind of thing instinctual." He completed one circuit of the swats and then paused to begin gently rubbing Oliver's bottom.

"I should've known already. Shouldn't have just not thought..." Oliver lamented, already crying hard because it was torment knowing he'd made a mistake that could have seriously hurt his loved ones and that had made his big brother disappointed with his actions.

Slade moved his other hand to Oliver's neck, gently squeezing it, even as he swatted for another full circuit and then began to rub once more. "You're too hard on yourself, little brother. You expect to be perfect and not to make any mistakes. As you said to me...making mistakes is part of being human. Things didn't go badly. The person hurt the most by what happened was you."

Oliver just sobbed softly, listening to what his brother was saying but having a hard time internalizing it. "I should've called them...Diggle or Lance, at least..." He whimpered. "Barry didn't know what to do. He was scared, but taking his cue from me...I should've had him go back to his team...his family..."

"I know why you didn't, little brother." Slade continued the gentle rubbing and then swatted for a third circuit, going a fraction harder and faster. "You were barely able to make decisions for yourself, let alone someone else."

"Supposed to let you make decisions when I can't...or Diggle if you can't...messed up so bad!" Oliver began to sob harder, if that were possible, and went limp over Slade's knee.

"You didn't mess up, little brother." Slade stopped spanking, rubbing instead, his other hand scruffing Oliver's neck. "I was scared, too, kid. Scared I'd become the monster who caused you so much pain before."

"Sorry made you chase me...sorry didn't think..." Oliver continued to cry. Slade's words helped a little, though and he slowly started calming down.

Slade gently stroked his back, bottom and thighs, his other hand gently squeezing the nape of his little brother's neck. "I chased you because without you, I'm not worth anything," he whispered. "I owe you everything, kid. When I came back into your life, I was broken by the guilt of what I'd done to you. What I'd put you through. Not chasing after you wasn't an option. Not when you healed me and let me back into your life."

"I shouldn't a made you chase after me...glad you did, but shouldn't a made you," Oliver sniffled. He'd finally calmed enough not to be sobbing.

"You didn't 'make' me, little brother," Slade murmured. "I chose to come after you. Because you're in my heart, kid. Just like the pendant and the tattoo show."

Letting out another tiny sob, Oliver twisted around so he could sit up and throw his arms around his brother, holding on tightly. He hid his face against Slade's neck. "I love you, much..."

Slade wrapped his arms tightly around Oliver, kissing the top of his head and gently squeezing the nape of his neck. "I love you too, little brother. You're my whole world," he said softly.

Oliver just held tight and snuggled. He would have to admit, even to himself, that he didn't feel quite as guilty as he had. As much as he hated being punished, it did enable him to let go of guilt, at least for a little while. At that moment, though, all he wanted was to snuggle and obey his brother. Not talk about his feelings.

Slade tightened his arms around his little brother, stroking his hair and back and squeezing the nape of his neck. "I've got you, kid. I'm never going to let you go," he whispered.

Oliver whimpered softly in response and nuzzled closer, but it was obvious he was settling down and more at ease than he had been.

Gently running his fingers through Oliver's hair, Slade closed his eye, letting his brother's warm weight be a comforting balm to his soul.

Oliver lost all track of time. The one thing he did know was that he didn't feel nearly as awful about himself as he had. Eventually, when they left the apartment and met up with everyone else to debrief on the Mirakuru and what had been done with it, he would need to apologize to everyone else that had been affected by his running; although he suspected it was only Diggle and Lance that knew, so maybe they were the only ones he owed apologies to. Right now, though, he was warm and safe. He didn't want to do anything to interrupt the peace he was currently cocooned in, so he didn't speak and he barely moved; only shifting every so often to relieve pressure on his sore bottom. He'd even stopped whimpering, any residual soreness from the punishment a welcome reminder that it didn't matter what he did, his brother would always come for him and take care of him; make sure he was okay physically, emotionally, or mentally.

Slade let his fingers thread gently through Oliver's hair. It wasn't nearly as long as it had been on the island, but he could still continue to gently stroke and pet his little brother, squeezing the nape of Oliver's neck. His brother didn't say anything, so neither did he, just holding on tight, his brother nestled as close as he could get him. Because when Oliver was in his arms, it calmed him and he knew he could keep his little brother safe.

Oliver closed his eyes, pressing his ear to Slade's chest so he could listen to his brother's heart beating. He didn't know if Slade had plans for the rest of the night, or if there were any other items that needed discussing. What he did know was that Slade was in charge. Oliver wasn't going to do anything without Slade making the first move to indicate it was alright. Oliver might take charge outside- and after the enormous blunder he'd made by running, he wasn't entirely certain he should be in charge outside, but that was another item to deal with on another day- inside the apartment, Slade was in complete control and Oliver didn't want to try and wrest even a small amount of authority back.

Slade gently stroked and rubbed over his little brother's body. "I've got you," he murmured. "I'm not letting you go, little brother. You're mine." His voice was low and possessive. "And that's why I will always come for you. Why I won't let you go. Because you've been mine since we were on the island together. We lost each other for a while, but now I have you back, I won't let go of you again."

"Was so the end...on the island...needed you so much and I...I'd killed you. It broke me..." Oliver whispered.

"You didn't kill me, kid," Slade whispered. "And I pushed you into taking that action. I knew what to say to stop you injecting me with the cure." He gently stroked Oliver's cheek. "I wasn't strong enough to fight it back so I could come back to you. I was blind to how much you suffered. I couldn't hear you then. I might have lost my eye...but I finally have you; and that's worth so much more to me."

"Always been yours...always will be..." Oliver muttered, snuggling closer.

"You soothe my soul," Slade whispered. "When I came back, the guilt over what I did to you crushed me. I couldn't close my eyes without seeing what I'd put you through. Without seeing how I'd let you down. That I'd broken every promise I'd made to you that matter." He squeezed the nape of Oliver's neck. "I can't fully explain to you how much you forgiving me has healed me. If I didn't have you, I'd be lost." He kissed the top of his brother's head. "I want to heal you as much as you've healed me," he whispered.

"You're here...that's all I ever really needed..." Oliver whispered, relaxing further against Slade. "Even if we didn't go back to what we had...what we have now... that would have been enough to help me heal. That...that you want me back the way we were on the island. Family. That's just extra..."

"Because you are my family," Slade whispered. "You're everything to me, little brother. I couldn't just stay in the shadows and keep away from you." He stroked the side of Oliver's face. "I thought I should. I thought, after everything I did to you, I didn't deserve to have you. That you were better off without me." His smile was tinged with sadness. "The first moment I saw you, fighting those goons alone, I knew I couldn't stay away."

Oliver's mouth quirked up at that. "If I hadn't been so messed up when you laid eyes on me again, I'd prolly have been over your knee the moment the fight was over..." he said, with a hint of amusement. When Slade had returned and decided that he wasn't leaving Oliver alone any longer, he'd stepped completely back into his role of big brother, protector, and 'boss'. It hadn't taken much longer for him to step into role of 'Dominant', with Oliver's full acceptance of him in that position. "How did you come to find me when I was fighting those goons, anyway? You were in an Argus cell...what made you decide it was time to come retrieve me?" he asked curiously, glancing up at his brother.

Slade gently stroked his cheek. "While I was coming out, my guards were talking. I'd decided staying in prison was the best place for me, but they were talking about you. That there were big bad things coming for you. I knew I couldn't leave you alone to face what was coming. Choosing to put myself between you and that was an easy decision to make. After that...I just stole a police radio and waited until the Arrow was mentioned."

"If I was part of the guards' chit-chat, thousands of miles away where I shouldn't have mattered, I must have really been messing up badly. I obviously needed to be reigned in..." He snorted softly. "I'm just lucky you were listening and still wanted the job."

"By that time, you were lost. Hurting." Slade stroked his hair. "I'm glad they were talking about you. It pierced through my self-loathing. Made me stop feeling so guilty and start focusing on who was really important. If you weren't in such a bad shape...I might not have felt able to reveal my presence. All it took was for you to collapse in my arms...and then my resolve to just help from the shadows was lost. I always feel fiercely protective of you. What I felt then...holding onto you for the first time in years...I can't even put into words what that was like."

"I don't remember much before you started taking care of me..." Oliver admitted. "I can't imagine what would have happened if you hadn't been there to catch me, though..."

"I was." Slade's thumb gently stroked his cheek. "And I'm still not prepared to let you treat your life as if it doesn't matter, kid. I'm just grateful, and always will be, that you let me back into your life."

Oliver nuzzled against Slade's hand before smiling crookedly again. "I'm yours...not allowed to do anything that will take me from you..." he whispered shyly.

"No, little brother. You aren't." Slade continued to gently stroke Oliver's cheek. "And if you do, you'll go over my knee and I'll spank you. But I won't ever let go of you. I won't let you get lost to me."

"Good..." Oliver snuggled again. "...If I mess up like that I deserve to be punished..." He deliberately used that word instead of spanked because, in some instances, he found he wanted to be spanked; but when it was a punishment, he didn't want it - and if he did anything where Slade had to step in and stop him? He didn't deserve to get something he wanted.

Slade tightened his embrace. "And when you need to go over my knee at other times, when you want to, I'll fulfil those needs as much as your others, little brother."

"I know..." Oliver's voice took on a tiny, almost childlike tone. "...You take care of me good, Koro... I never need anything that you don't give me."

Slade kissed the top of Oliver's head. "I'll always take care of you, kid. I'm never going to let go of you again. No matter what happens, you won't lose me."

Oliver just nodded and continued to snuggle. He wondered if Slade wasn't getting tired of holding him on his lap like this- if it wouldn't be more comfortable for the older man if they moved so that Oliver was more leaning into him than directly sitting on him- but Slade was in control. If he wanted Oliver to move, he'd move Oliver. If he didn't move him, then he must want Oliver sitting on his lap for some reason. Oliver had to admit being on his brother's lap made him feel more young...childish...vulnerable. It was also currently keeping him on the edge of dropping; the physical connection stimulating his already very, very sensitive skin. A small part of him wanted to ask for 'attention' again, but only a small part. The more rational part of him recognized that his relationship with his brother wasn't just about physical domination and he needed the emotional and mental component as well. He wasn't sure how that could be achieved or how to ask, but he recognized that diverting his brother's attention to rubbing and smacking his bottom every chance he got didn't leave much opportunity for the non-physical. He bit his lip. "Am I your good boy now?" he whispered.

"You are, kid," Slade replied. "My good boy." He stroked his cheek. "That's what you are the majority of the time, little brother. Even if you are occasionally naughty, that doesn't last; and you're still my boy anyway, no matter what."

Oliver smiled at that and let his head rest against Slade's chest again. "Always..." he agreed quietly. Sighing softly in contentment, he remained still and silent for several minutes before he asked, "Who do I owe an apology to?" He knew he owed at least one person an apology, beyond Slade. But his brother knew more than he did who all had been aware of his running and who had been most affected or worried by it.

"I told Lance and I think he let Diggle and Felicity know," Slade answered. "Tommy perhaps knows as well...I called him in case you had got in touch with either of them."

"Oh..." Oliver's voice turned sheepish, shamed and a bit nervous. "...Then...pretty much everyone needs an apology. They would have all been worried; and Felicity would have called Thea immediately too, so... I'm gonna get yelled at so bad!" He groaned in resignation.

Slade tightened his embrace. "Kid, I think they'll understand. Remember that each of them has had experience with me being on the mirakuru. They've also all seen how you relate to me even outside our home."

"So... they know that I lost my shit and panicked. Not sure that's much better than being thoughtless, but it might at least let me keep my hearing..." Oliver muttered, with a hint of amusement.

"They know I was a monster obsessed with destroying your life and everyone around you under the mirakuru's influence," Slade pointed out. "I think they'll understand you were trying to draw me away from them."

"I hope so..." Oliver admitted. "I've hurt and disappointed each of them so many times before. At least if they understand what I was doing and why, it might not hurt them quite so much."

"I let Lance know I had you back," Slade said. "He'll pass on to the others that you're safe."

"You took care of everything..." Oliver nodded, nuzzling against his brother again. He couldn't stop the needy, childish shows of affection.

"Because I know you need to be here with me, so we can reconnect and you can heal from the wounds that were reopened," Slade replied.

"I do need to be with you..." Oliver agreed. "So much I did after we were pulled away from each other, I never would have never would have let me do. I was broken, Koro. Broken. Having you back in my life is fixing me, though..."

"You're fixing me in exactly the same way, little brother," Slade whispered. "I love you so much. I will do everything to keep you safe and continue healing you. I know you've told me a lot of what happened after we were separated. I want you to feel able to tell me about anything."

"I will..." Oliver easily agreed. "I trust you with all of me."

"I know you do, little brother," Slade replied gently, stroking Oliver's hair and the nape of his neck. "I love you. You're my whole world."

"Love you too, Koro..." Oliver snuggled some more, perfectly content to never move as long as his brother was willing to hold him.

Slade tightened his arms around Oliver and kissed his forehead. "And I'm not going to let you go," he promised.

Oliver hummed happily, before sliding down into Slade's arms a bit more and relaxing enough that the older man could easily do whatever he wanted or felt necessary.

Slade gently squeezed his little brother's neck. "I've got you," he reiterated. "You're mine. No matter where we are...nothing is going to change how I feel about you. Or even so much as lessen my love." He gently stroked over Oliver's back.

"Yours..." Oliver mumbled, drowsy from comfort.

"Mine. No matter what," Slade promised, hand gently touching the pendant and then lightly tracing the bandage covering the tattoo, careful not to press and cause pain. "Your pendant and your tattoo...both of those are visible signs of that."

Oliver nodded against his brother's shoulder before catching Slade's hand and pressing it over his heart. "Not visible, tells me I'm yours constantly..." he whispered, almost shyly.

Slade smiled and cupped Oliver's cheek in his other hand. "Every part of me lives for you," he whispered, stroking his brother's hair.

Oliver smiled again, turning his head enough to kiss Slade's hand, then slowly - in case Slade didn't want him to - slid down so he was lying over his brother's lap again, just looking up at him trustingly.

Slade's smile was gentle and reassuring as he placed his hand on Oliver's lower back, rubbing gently. He then slid his hand a little lower, beginning to gently rub his brother's bottom. There was still a bit of warmth left over from the spanking he'd delivered a few minutes ago.

Oliver's breath hitched as Slade's rubbing caused the remaining sting in his bottom to flare up before gently easing it away. The fact his brother was willing to ease the after effects of the punishment helped him relax further, as it offered physical proof that he'd been forgiven his mistake and wasn't expected to dwell on or remember it beyond not repeating it.

Slade didn't even pat, instead just continuing to gently rub his little brother's bottom and thighs, his other hand rubbing up over Oliver's back, squeezing the nape of his neck.

Oliver began to make tiny little sounds of appreciation, occasionally moaning softly. In his head, he began a litany of 'My back belongs to my brother,' or 'My thigh is Slade's,' or 'Koro owns my bottom.' He didn't say any of it out loud, but the more he repeated it to himself in his head, the more pliant and relaxed he became. Slade always took care of what was his, so he had no reason to hold anything back. Slade would take care of him, too...better than he took care of himself even.

Slade continued to gently stroke and pet his little brother, running his hand over the entirety of his little brother's body, not lifting his hand at all, so he was still touching Oliver, stroking and squeezing.

"...Belong to you..." Oliver finally said again out loud, paraphrasing what he'd been repeating to himself in his head. He couldn't seem to help himself; he needed to hear it said as often as possible, needed to admit it himself and needed Slade to acknowledge and accept it. As often as possible.

"You do belong to me, kid," Slade confirmed. "You have done since we were on the island together. I won't ever let you go. I won't allow anything to risk taking you from me."

"...Not even me..." Oliver responded in agreement. "...No matter how naughty I am..." he added, wriggling just a tiny bit.

"Being naughty doesn't change our relationship or how I feel about you," Slade said seriously, tugging his brother in closer and tighter against his stomach. "It will get you punished, but it won't stop me loving you or wanting to look after you."

"...Don't like being punished..." Oliver whined just a little, pouting. It wasn't terribly effective as far as complaints went, though, since he was too busy squirming as close to his brother as possible and pushing his bottom up to make a better target.

"I know. And I don't like punishing you, little brother. I do it because it's necessary to prevent me from losing you." Slade gently patted his brother's bottom. "But spanking you for settling purposes, or to prove that you belong to me? That, I like."

Oliver settled as soon as the patting began, sniffling slightly. "...Don't wanna be lost..." he admitted softly. "...Rather be punished than lost."

"I won't ever let you be lost," Slade promised. "I will never let you go." He continued to gently pat Oliver's bottom, covering the areas he'd spanked harder earlier.

"Thank you, Koro..." Oliver whispered, closing his eyes and just letting himself feel the sting reigniting.

"I love you, kid. You're in my heart. You belong to me." Slade began another circuit of pats, pausing to gently rub Oliver's bottom and thighs after every third or fourth one.

"All of me is yours..." Oliver whispered again, his tone happy and content. He wiggled a little, feeling a bit impish.

Slade gently squeezed one thigh. "Yes. All of you," he agreed.

Oliver made a sound that sounded so much like a cat purring, it startled him and he gave Slade a wide-eyed, sheepish glance over his shoulder.

Slade smiled warmly. "Don't ever feel ashamed of how you need to react, little brother," he said softly.

"...Okay..." Oliver responded, still sounding a bit surprised and uncertain, but certainly not willing to fight his protector about whether he should purr at the attention he was getting.

Slade gently squeezed his opposite thigh and then returned to gently patting and lightly rubbing Oliver's bottom.

Oliver purred again, this time just letting the sound occur without fighting it. He was learning how to just accept a lot of things without fighting them. It wasn't always easy (although it was easier when he was in position over his brother's lap and Slade was telling him it was okay), but he was learning to accept himself.

Slade smiled at hearing his brother just being able to let go and began putting just a bit more strength behind the swats. "I love you, kid. I'm sorry I pushed you into losing your innocence," he whispered, needing to give voice to that. He knew that was where his little brother had started to fall. He knew it was his doing.

"I had to grow up sooner or later..." Oliver protested weakly, not certain exactly how to voice what he was thinking; that maybe if he hadn't been so innocent and naive, he wouldn't have done any of the things that led to Slade needing Mirakuru to survive. And without Mirakuru, none of the other stuff would have happened either.

"Not like that, little brother," Slade whispered. "Not suffering through so much guilt over killing me, even though I pushed you into it."

"You wouldn't have pushed if you hadn't been influenced by Mirakuru..." Oliver whispered. "...And I'm not sorry I gave it to you, since it saved your life. was my fault you even got hurt so badly you needed it to live. So... everything that happened was my fault." He swallowed hard. "I had to grow up fast and I'm not innocent anymore...but I don't blame anyone but myself."

"Little brother, you weren't responsible for me getting hurt," Slade said gently. "The plan had a hitch in it. And I told you to give me the mirakuru. Not for my own sake, but for yours. I didn't want to leave you alone...but I did that anyway," he whispered. "Even worse, you spent the rest of the time thinking I hated you. That you'd done something wrong that took me away from you. If I could, I'd convince you that you weren't to blame. For any of it."

"The hitch was me..." Oliver said, his voice catching. "I wasn't good enough to protect you like you protect me. If I'd been better..."

"It wasn't your job to protect me," Slade replied gently. "It was my job to protect the precious person who'd fallen into my life. I didn't want to leave you alone to face what was coming. When I woke up from the mirakuru, before it submerged me was you I was coming for. But somehow, everything got twisted when I saw Shado. I focused on her, when I would have focused on you in my right mind."

Oliver swallowed. "I was yours...and then I thought you didn't want me anymore...and it was my fault Shado died, so I was positive I didn't deserve to be yours..."

"Her death wasn't your fault, little brother," Slade whispered, gently stroking Oliver's lower back. "I wish I'd made that clear to you before. You were forced into an impossible choice. I know how much it hurt you, what happened to Shado. I know how long you've carried that guilt for. But she wouldn't blame you either. She cared about you too, even if what we had was vastly different."

"It's hard not to feel like it is my fault..." Oliver sniffled, beginning to cry as he remembered the woman that he'd begun to fall in love with on the island. "I was too slow. I didn't want to make a choice at all, but my head didn't work fast enough to figure out a way to stop him before he hurt either of them..."

Slade leaned over, wrapping his arms tightly around his little brother and pressing a kiss to his head. "You were in shock. Of course you were slow. We'd been attacked. As far as you were concerned, I was'd realised Sara was alive. You had no time to process anything, kid. It's time to let that guilt go. You can let it go."

Oliver let his own arms move so he could grip his brother's arms. And then he began to cry. Deep, body shaking sobs that he quite honestly hadn't been expecting and so they frightened him and he gripped onto Slade even more tightly, desperately. He hadn't really grieved Shado the way he needed to. Too much had happened when she had died and by the time everything had occurred and he was off the island and had a moment to stop and reflect...he'd pushed it down deep and ignored the grief. His brother giving him permission to let it go loosened it all and brought it bubbling to the surface.

Slade tightened his arms around his little brother, leaning right over so that he was almost laying across his brother, coccooning Oliver protectively in his arms. He just held on tightly, speaking soft, soothing words of love.

Oliver just continued to cry brokenly, sobbing hard. If it hadn't been for Slade holding onto him- protecting him- he would have fallen to the floor, or hurt himself in some way, but his brother's protective grip kept him safe and enabled him to grieve.

Slade pressed a kiss to his little brother's head, gently tugging and pulling so Oliver was on his lap and in his arms instead of over his lap, so he could hold and protect his brother through his tears much better.

Oliver just curled up on his brother's lap so tightly, he seemed much smaller and fragile than he normally was. He couldn't stop crying, now that he'd started; he'd held onto the grief of Shado's death and Slade's subsequent estrangement for so long, it was like poison being drawn out of him ounce by tiny ounce.

Slade wrapped his arms tighter around his little brother, pulling him tight against his chest and stroking over his hair, kissing his head repeatedly. "I've got you. I love you. I'm not letting you go." He repeated the words over and over again, kissing and caressing. Touching and stroking. Trying to soothe as much as he could with touch and voice.

Oliver felt so safe, cocooned in his brother's embrace, and he couldn't stop crying, no matter how hard he tried. Eventually, he wore himself out and fell asleep in Slade's arms, tears still streaming down his face and having to breathe through his mouth because his nose was swollen and stuffy from the crying.

Slade's love and worry for his little brother pierced through him and he held his brother a bit longer before he carefully carried him through to the bedroom. Placing Oliver on the bed, he left only long enough to retrieve a damp washcloth that he brought back to carefully and gently wipe his little brother's face with.

Oliver didn't waken, though he instinctively shifted toward Slade.

Slade continued to gently wash his little brother's face, then dried it, just as carefully, so his little brother wouldn't wake up feeling uncomfortable. He then settled on the bed, gathering Oliver into his arms.

Once again, Oliver had no clue how long he'd slept for, the emotional fallout causing his body to tire faster and more deeply than it normally would. When he finally re-awoke cocooned in Slade's arms, warm and safe, he stretched against the older man before snuggling closer. He was reluctant to get up again and disrupt the comforting warmth.

Slade woke up as soon as he felt his little brother stir and gently stroked Oliver's hair. "Hey, kid," he whispered. "How are you feeling?"

"Like I just cried my eyes out like a big baby..." Oliver groaned slightly and snuggled into the older man.

Slade gently stroked his cheek. "I told you it was time to let go about Shado. I think you listened to me."

Oliver nodded, nuzzling into Slade. "...Yours...needed to obey...was hard, though..." He took a deep breath and sniffed, before slanting his head. "My face doesn't hurt..."

Slade pressed a kiss to his head. "I washed your face while you slept. I didn't want to let you hurt." He never wanted his little brother to hurt...but there were times when it was necessary. He ran his hand down Oliver's spine, gently squeezing one hip.

"You take good care of me, Koro," Oliver whispered, before pressing himself as close to Slade as possible from head to toe.

"I will always take care of you, little brother," Slade murmured. "You're buried deep in my heart. I couldn't ever remove you."

Oliver snuggled for a bit longer before asking, "Is there anything else we need to talk about?" He knew he'd messed up not calling his family, friends and allies. But if there was anything else he should have done, he'd like to find out sooner than later.

"I think we've covered everything," Slade replied. "You know how to handle things next time. Even if you need to know now to reach out to your friends and allies. Because it might not be as bad as you think."

Oliver nodded, nuzzling into Slade's chest. "Yessir...running without talking to anyone is bad all around..."

Slade stroked his hair and squeezed the nape of his neck. "Exactly, little brother. If you'd called anyone, you wouldn't have had to be scared of having lost me. You'd have known the mirakuru didn't take."

"I coulda come home to you sooner..." Oliver whispered softly and let out a tiny sigh of remorse, sinking against Slade even further.

Slade kissed his head. "You wouldn't have had to hurt so much, thinking you'd lost me." He stroked and rubbed down his brother's back.

"That hurt a lot..." Oliver admitted hesitantly. "Was my own fault, though..."

Slade adjusted Oliver's position, enough to make it easier for him to stroke and rub. "Being scared wasn't your fault, little brother. I don't blame you."

"You never blame me..." Oliver said, a hint of a smile in his tone. "...You punish me if I'm willfully wrong...or if I'm accidently wrong in a way that would hurt me badly and need to not make the same mistake again...but you don't blame me. Even when I blame myself..."

"You carry too much blame on your shoulders, little brother," Slade said. "I'm not going to add to it. I won't ever do anything that would add to the pain you carry all the time."

"I makes it a lot easier to... to just give in to you, knowing that you don't hold anything over my head. All you want is to protect me and help me be happy..." Oliver said quietly.

Slade tightened his embrace around his little brother. "I spent so long in the darkness, trying to drag you down with me. I don't want that for you. I wish I could give you back your innocence...but I'll settle for trying to help you deal with the guilt you still feel. Whether it's giving you permission to let go. Or taking you over my knee to settle you. Every single need you have...I'm up to the challenge of responding to those."

"I'll never be innocent again, Koro..." Oliver said, with a hint of sadness for his brother worrying about such a thing. "...And it wasn't you who took it away from me. Not completely, anyway. Waller did that. I might have at least been able to move on a little bit after what I did to you if she hadn't turned me into an assassin...hadn't used me to kill innocent people..." Oliver swallowed hard and pushed the guilt he always felt about that down. He couldn't bring those innocent people back. All he could do was promise himself never to do something like that again.

"You were forced down that path, kid," Slade murmured. "I know you've been working on doing the right thing. You saved my life and you injected me with the cure for mirakuru, even though you had no reason to think I would ever come back to you. That proves you're a good person. That you save people. That you're a hero."

"Forced or not, it was still me that did those things... But I am trying to do the right thing. Diggle helped a lot. He was my moral compass a lot of the times when I was going to just do what was easy instead of what was right..." He wrinkled his nose. "...You being here now helps a lot. You've helped me remember who I was before Waller warped me... You're helping me be better..."

Slade gently stroked Oliver's cheek, cupping his brother's face. "You were happier and more settled on the island. With me. With it just us. That's one of the reasons for us spending this time together. Just us."

"Not that I don't want to be with the others...that I'm not glad to be home with them again...but I'm glad we have this time just us. It helps a lot. You keep me sane..." Oliver glanced up at Slade, smiling crookedly.

"The same as you do me, kid." Slade kissed his forehead. "I love you so much, little brother."

"I love you too, Koro." Oliver snuggled some more, content to just be held tightly.

"I thought we could make some cocoa and sit on the sofa together later to watch television," Slade commented, one hand gently rubbing over Oliver's hair and back.

"That's so domestic...I love it..." Oliver teased impishly, continuing to snuggle into his brother.

Slade's smile was gently teasing. "I'd be willing to keep you over my knee and give you a 'good boy' spanking all day, kid, but I think you might end up feeling more sensitive than comfortable by the end."

Oliver blushed faintly. "Yeah. I think you're right. Just having you rub my bottom, I feel myself beginning to lose focus..." he admitted sheepishly.

"But it's still important that you feel able to tell me when you know you need something," Slade added, running his fingers through Oliver's hair. "Even if it's just as simple as you putting yourself over my knee."

"I do feel able to tell you, Koro. Sometimes I get hung up on if I should or not... but that's not because I don't feel able to tell you. It's because I'm questioning myself again..." Oliver said quietly. "And sometimes...sometimes I think I need something, but it isn't really what's best for me? LIke...right now...I feel like I want to pull my legs up and have you start swatting me again...but you were right about becoming too sensitive. Even if I feel this itch telling me I need it..." he whispered. "I need you in complete control, but the only way it feels like you are is when you're holding me in place, I can't move and you're swatting me..."

Slade gently squeezed the nape of Oliver's neck. "I know you responded well when I put you in that position. But even if I decide that something you want isn't what you need at the time, it doesn't mean you can't tell me. Just trust me to make that decision, whatever you tell me."

"Yeah...okay..." Oliver whispered. "You I need to let you decide if I need it or not?"

"Exactly, little brother," Slade replied. "Don't ever worry about telling me what you need to. I'm in control and I know what's best for you."

"Okay..." Oliver hesitated, then shifted slightly away from Slade and blushed, but managed to keep his eyes on the older man. "I...I still feel I need you to spank me again... hard..." He bit his lip. "...Or...or maybe I just want you to have physical hold of me and make me obey you? I...I don't know for sure. But my insides are all itchy..."

Slade reached out and gently stroked Oliver's cheek, cupping it, thumb lightly brushing over his skin. "What happens to the itch when I do that?" he asked gently, before sliding his hand down to Oliver's hip and squeezing gently. "Or this?"

Oliver blinked, pressing his cheek into his brother's hand, then bit his lip and concentrated on how he felt. "I..." He swallowed. "...It eases a little, but it's still there..." he admitted shyly.

"How about if I do this?" Slade slid his hand down over Oliver's back and down onto his bottom. "Does it ease it at all?"

Oliver wiggled a little bit, keeping his eyes on Slade's face so his brother could see his reactions, even if he couldn't figure out how to voice his feelings. "A little, but its still there...and it kinda makes me want to wiggle until you smack..." he admitted, with a blush.

Watching his brother's face and body language, Slade rubbed a moment or two and then gently smacked Oliver's backside.

Oliver let out a tiny gasp that sounded more relieved than anything else. He bit his lip harder and tried to keep his eyes open and on his brother. Slade hadn't been wrong, though, and Oliver hadn't been exaggerating about the sensitivity he was currently feeling. Just the rubbing had made it hard to keep his eyes focussed on Slade. The gentle smack had them going half-open within seconds.

Slade gently pulled his little brother in closer and rubbed for several more moments before he gently smacked a second time.

Oliver whimpered and pressed closer so he was tighter to Slade and couldn't help it; he let his head shift to Slade's shoulder, hiding his eyes from him- in fact closing them tightly. "Fe...feels a little better," he forced out, but it was obviously difficult for him to talk, as the words were bordering on slurred. He didn't know how to say that the itch was easing only a little and he wasn't certain what it was he really needed. He'd thought the spanking would take care of it. But while that felt good and while just letting go felt wasn't what he needed; not at that moment anyway.

"But not enough," Slade finished for him. He held his brother for a few moments, just breathing in Oliver's scent and stroking his hair, touching the bandage that covered the tattoo. "What if I bath you?" he said softly.

Oliver snuggled closer, as if trying to merge with the older man. "Maybe...that helps ease me sometimes..." he admitted uncertainly; not sure if it would work this time, because he just felt like something was missing and couldn't figure out what.

Considering what might help the best, Slade responded automatically to Oliver snuggling closer, wrapping his arms tighter around his little brother, tight enough that he was effectively holding Oliver 'trapped' against him.

The sigh of contentment Oliver expressed was as relieved as it was long. He snuggled closer still, hiding his face against Slade so that his head was under Slade's chin. " feels better, Koro..." he said quietly. The itchiness was slowly easing the tighter his brother held him...the more confined and unable to move he became, the more the 'itch' eased.

Slade kissed the top of his head. "I can hold you this tight for as long as you need," he whispered, stroking his brother's hair.

Oliver shivered but pressed closer, feeling himself calm as he tested Slade's grip and realized that his brother had him firmly in control; he couldn't move unless Slade allowed it and currently, Slade held him so tight, all he could do was breathe. The itchiness eased, which let him relax more and he nuzzled against Slade's chest. "...Feels so much better, Koro..." he admitted softly. "...Safe and... and good... Not so itchy anymore..."

Slade let his fingers run down Oliver's back, cuddling his brother tightly against his chest, arms wrapped around Oliver's body, effectively trapping him. "I want to hold on this tight to you," he whispered in his little brother's ear, kissing the side of his head.

"Love you, Koro..." Oliver mumbled against Slade's chest. He was completely relaxed now; not drowsy at all and more focused than he normally was when Slade had him over his knee and swatting. The itchiness had finally abated and Oliver felt capable of enjoying his brother's company in a way that didn't involve him staring at the floor; he'd been settled in an entirely different way than he would have thought of. "How you always know what I need?" he asked curiously, nuzzling against Slade's chest again, secure in knowing that he wasn't moving anywhere until his brother wanted him to.

"I watch you closely, kid," Slade whispered in his ear. "I change my actions based on your reactions to what I'm doing or saying at any one time. I always want to make sure you get what you need from me."

"You know me better than I know me..." Oliver smiled and pressed a kiss to the bottom of his brother's chin. "...I feel easier, Koro. Not itchy any more..." he said, his voice relaxed, but clear and focused. He wasn't in danger of falling under at the moment. "Can we watch tv with you holding me tight like this?" he asked curiously. "...I like how it feels..." He blushed. He'd just admitted he liked his brother restraining him.

"Of course, little brother." Slade didn't tease or embarrass Oliver about his admittance. He helped them both to stand, keeping a tight hold of his brother, and guided Oliver through to the living room, where he settled them both on the couch, still with the tight grip.

Oliver pressed close to Slade, shifting so he was firmly and completely in his brother's grip, before smiling up at Slade. "What are we going to watch?" he asked curiously, perfectly content to let his brother be in charge of everything.

"There are a couple of movies we have saved. I thought we'd watch one of those." Kissing Oliver's head, Slade switched the television on and selected one of the movies.

Oliver nodded happily and settled down to watch. His bottom was still tender from all the spankings- reminding him who was in charge- but it was his brother's tight grip making it clear that he wasn't going anywhere without Slade's permission that eased him. He was completely relaxed and focused on his brother and the movie they were watching together.

Slade didn't loosen his tight grip on his little brother, his arms snug around Oliver's body. He kept most of his attention on Oliver, with only a bit on the movie; always alert to his little brother's needs.

"Thank you, Koro..." Oliver whispered, turning his head and kissing the older man on the cheek, before going back to watching the movie.

"I love you, little brother," Slade murmured back, hand gently stroking and rubbing over his little brother's body.

The movie had been over for approximately thirty minutes and Oliver was feeling safe, relaxed and stable enough that he'd actually been able to walk around without clinging to his brother; taking care of basic needs and even helping Slade get a snack together. They had been talking quietly, just idle chit-chat, so the sound of Oliver's phone ringing startled him for a moment and he shot Slade a worried look as he reached for it and answered. "Hello?" he asked calmly, if curiously.

"Hello, Oliver...I...I just wanted to make certain..." Sebastian's voice was a surprise, but Oliver pushed down his initial distrust of the man and actually listened to the tone and realized... he was worried.

"Slade is fine, Sebastian...the Mirakuru didn't take hold and there haven't been any other negative side effects either..." Oliver offered, actually warming up to the man when he realized Sebastian cared about what happened to his brother.

"And you? Are you okay?" Sebastian sounded even more hesitant. He knew Oliver didn't trust him. It didn't mean he didn't care what happened to the younger man, though. He'd been fond of him and considered him a friend before he'd discovered his dual identity; and he still cared about him. He regretted every day that he'd been too far down the path he'd chosen to undo what he'd done to cause Oliver not to trust him.

Oliver blinked. "I'm doing good..." he answered honestly, giving Slade a warm smile.

Emboldened by Oliver actually speaking with him in a cordial manner, Sebastian worked up his courage and asked, "Can we meet up? At the coffee shop, maybe?"

Oliver blinked again, motioning at Slade and signing to him, 'Can I go meet Sebastian at the coffee shop?' He wasn't about to agree to do anything without Slade's permission. Not when they were at home, where Slade was in charge.

Slade had listened to his brother's side of the conversation with relief, hearing the way he was talking to Sebastian; but it was still a surprise when Oliver turned straight to ask him. A pleasant one. It made him hopeful that there would be a chance for his little brother to repair things with Sebastian. He wasted no time in signing back, 'Of course. Do you want me to go with you?'

Oliver smiled before answering Sebastian, "I'll meet you at the coffee shop in an hour. Would you like Slade to come?" he asked, figuring, since it was Sebastian's invitation, he should have a say in if Oliver brought company.

"If...if you don't mind, I thought maybe you and I could talk, alone. But if you want Slade there..." was Sebastian's hesitant response.

Oliver signed, 'I'll be okay, Koro. I'll call if I need you, though,' as he answered Sebastian. "That's fine, Sebastian. I think Slade probably wants to check in at the hospital anyway, so he can drop me off on the way..." This time, Oliver wiggled his eyebrows at his brother, as if to question if Slade would drop him off.

"Great!" Sebastian's voice was relieved and pleased. "Thanks, Oliver..." He hung up the phone.

Slade smiled warmly at Oliver and wrapped his arms around his little brother in a tight hug. "Thank you for being willing to give him another chance," he whispered, kissing Oliver's cheek. "If you get dressed, I'll drive you there."

"I...I can't keep holding a grudge. He made mistakes, but so have I..." Oliver looked down before looking back up at his brother and smiling crookedly. "You forgave me for mine. I should at least give him a chance to prove himself before I write him off." He hugged Slade tightly before heading back toward the bedroom. "Do you think blue jeans and an Oxford works?" he asked, as he began to pull out clothes.

Slade followed his little brother into the bedroom. "Sure. I'll help you with those, kid." He stepped over so he could begin dressing his little brother, demonstrating his control even while his little brother was preparing to leave the apartment. He gently touched the bandage covering the still-healing tattoo. "You're still mine, kid. Even when we leave here."

Oliver relaxed at the words and gave his brother a grateful smile. "Always matter where I am," he agreed easily and then let his brother dress him.

The End