Longing To Belong
Title: Longing to Belong
Disclaimer: We own nothing from Agents of SHIELD and are making nothing from this story.
Summary: Written for the 'erotic' square in Advent Holiday Bingo. Coulson discovers something
Warning(s): Spanking; D/s; abuse and mentions of abusive relationships (not between two main characters); blurry relationship lines; violence with one character punching another
Authors: BlackFox12 and Hope1iz
Grant watched John Garrett walking away from Skye's sick bed and saw red. He'd always knew his mentor was cold and calculating, with others, but he'd always hoped that he at least had some small part of the man's trust, if not affection. What Garrett had ordered done to Skye? Showed a distinct lack of both. He'd been trying not to be around the other man too much since he and Antoine Triplett had arrived on the Bus, afraid that he might say or do something to give away the fact that they were a little more connected than their records indicated; especially since he was so angry over Skye being shot. But seeing the older man in Skye's room was too much and he needed to let Garrett know that he had overstepped. He needed to. He quickly followed the other man down the hall and pulled him into the interrogation room, shutting the door with a click. It was soundproofed, so the only way anyone would hear anything was if they turned on the sound equipment. And Grant would know if that went on; the tiny red light on the video camera would give it away.
"Why'd you do it?" he growled at his mentor.
Garrett eyed Grant coolly, straightening his lapels from when Grant had pulled him inside. He didn't pretend not to know what Grant was talking about. "That wouldn't have been necessary if you had done what you were supposed to, instead of being weak," he replied.
Coulson had intended to check on Skye and had reached her door just in time to see Grant grab Garrett and tug him into the interrogation room. He wasted no time in getting on the comms, changing the frequency so that it wouldn't be picked up by Grant's or Garrett's. "FitzSimmons. I need eyes and ears inside Interrogation Room B."
"On it," Fitz's voice responded cheerfully. "Does that mean you want me to activate one of the hidden cameras?"
"Yes. And send the feed to my phone," Coulson directed.
"I have been doing everything I was supposed to do and then some. None of it was being weak!" Grant protested hotly, glancing toward the camera to make certain if it was still off. If his voice betrayed the hurt confusion he felt at Garrett's accusation, he didn't realize it.
Garrett raised his eyebrows at Grant's response, but merely said, "You care about them. You think they care about what happens to you? That they want you? It's not like your blood family wanted you."
"That..." Grant faltered, then shook his head; but when he continued, he sounded less sure of himself. "That isn't the point. The point is I was doing everything possible to follow your orders and then you went behind my back and had her shot!" he hissed. "If you didn't trust me to find out what you wanted, then why go to all the trouble of requesting Coulson to take me onto his team? I could have continued as a solo agent just fine. I'm better at it. You wanted me on the team. And... I have to act like I care about them. If I didn't, they'd become suspicious!" He deliberately avoided any mention of his blood family. That had been a low, calculated blow; but it had worked. Grant was nowhere as confident as he had been and now visibly seemed more willing to give in to whatever Garrett said, even if he didn't like it.
"If you don't care about her, why are you arguing with me about my actions?" Garrett answered. "Don't forget that I'm the one who saved you from your blood family. You weren't going to save yourself." He took a step closer to Grant, his stance threatening. "Do you need to learn the hard way again?"
The sound and video was as clear as anything and as Coulson watched and listened, not only did his anger at Garrett grow...his worry for Grant did, too. Far from the confident agent he had on his team, he was seeing a young man manipulated and forced down a path it seemed like he didn't want to go down.
Grant visibly cringed, but forced himself not to back away from Garrett. That only encouraged the other man to be harsher in order to 'toughen' him up. "You...I just don't see why you couldn't have warned me! I could have found another way to get you on the Bus if that's what you were after... Now everyone is jumpy and it's going to make finding out things that much more difficult..." Grant was obviously grasping at straws; not wanting to admit to caring about Skye. If he admitted to caring about her, Garrett might view her as a 'weakness' that needed to be eliminated. It wouldn't be the first time that had happened. It was one of the reasons Grant had typically shut himself off from other agents prior to being put on Coulson's team. "I... I know you saved me. I couldn't get away from them...I'd have been locked away for the rest of my life it they'd had their way..." His voice faltered and his eyes were looking at the ground. He swallowed hard. "I just...I do everything I can for you...and you don't trust me!" This time, he winced, as even he could hear the hurt in his tone.
"I don't trust anyone. And you need to learn not to question me." Garrett took those final few steps into Grant's personal space and he punched him in the stomach, gripping him by the shirt collar so he wouldn't fall.
Coulson's jaw went tight and his hand went to his gun. He was about to kick the door down and shoot Garrett, correct protocol be damned. He was almost taken aback by how much he wanted to save and protect his...yes, his...younger agent.
Before Coulson could do more than draw his firearm, an alarm was sounding.
Grant had been expecting the punch, but he deliberately did nothing to prevent it or to prevent it from harming him; Garrett looked at any mode of self-protection as fighting or questioning him and that always resulted in worse punishment. If Garrett hadn't been gripping his shirt collar, he would have doubled over from the pain. As it was, he had to swallow back nausea and blink back tears, forcing his expression into a neutral facade. Even if Garrett knew how badly he was hurting, no one else would. The alarm sounding was welcome and unwelcome all at the same time. Garrett was obviously still angry at him. Postponing whatever punishment the other man felt it necessary to give was never a positive thing for Grant. At the same time, Grant didn't feel emotionally capable of standing up to the man any longer. Worry for Skye, as well as the double life he was leading, was taking its toll. The fact Garrett had acted in ways to make his job even harder because the man didn't trust him to do what he needed to do? Grant had given his whole life to Garrett. If Garrett didn't trust him, what did Grant have?
Coulson lingered by the interview room, keeping out of sight until Garrett left the room, expecting Grant to follow.
Before the younger man could, Coulson stepped in his path. He checked behind him long enough to make sure the other man was gone and then was quick to reach for Grant's shoulder. "You're with me."
Grant blinked; but, figuring that Coulson had information on the alarm and needed his 'muscle' to handle something, he quickly moved to follow the older man. "Yes, sir. What's going on?" His voice was steady and confident; with no sign at all that he had been slugged as hard as possible in the stomach, or that he had been feeling anything but confident not more than two minutes before.
Coulson didn't say anything until he'd heard over the comms that everything was all right; the intruders had been apprehended. He then activated his own comm. "Fury? You need to arrest John Garrett." While he was speaking, his hand rested on Grant's shoulder, not letting the younger man move away.
Grant's eyes had widened at Coulson's words to Fury and he twitched. Only years of extreme training under Garrett's hand kept him from jerking free and running. He didn't know why Coulson had ordered John's arrest, after all, and if he immediately ran as if he was guilty of something and they didn't suspect him of anything? He'd be giving everything away due to a moment of nerves. Swallowing, he forced himself to ask, "Sir...?" He glanced toward where Garrett had disappeared and frowned, forcing any worry he felt deep down. "Why are you arresting John? What did he do?" He sounded much more confident than he felt and any worry that bled through could be attributed to the fact that John had been his training officer and was a friend.
Coulson looked at Grant, while he waited for Nick to update him. His hand gripped tighter; not enough to hurt, but to hold Grant in place. "I know, Grant. I heard you both talking." He quickly tucked the unit in his belt, so his other hand could hold onto Grant's other shoulder. "I can't see there being any hope for him, but there's still a chance for you."
Grant blinked, not entirely certain what Coulson had heard; but knowing that he couldn't have heard the worst of it. They hadn't actually mentioned HYDRA, after all... only that Garrett had arranged for Grant to become part of Coulson's team so that he could spy on him. Unless Coulson had somehow found some other information; but Grant had been so careful. That was impossible! Wasn't it? "...Sir...I...I'm not following..." He decided playing dumb was his only option; he certainly couldn't just agree with Coulson when he didn't know exactly what Coulson had heard. It was still very concerning that he'd asked for Garrett to be arrested, though.
Coulson still held onto Grant, but he began moving with the younger man. If he didn't want Grant to get mixed up in the arrest, he had to get him away from Garrett. Away from the abuse. He was guiding Grant to the garage, where Lola was, but quickly said, "I know he was the one who ordered Skye to be shot and you didn't agree to it,"
Grant couldn't stop the quick intake of breath, but didn't say anything either. He wouldn't insult Coulson by trying to pretend the man hadn't heard what he'd heard. Garrett would be furious with him, though; if Grant hadn't confronted him with the accusation that he'd had Skye shot, he wouldn't have responded in a way that incriminated himself. He wouldn't blame himself, that was for sure. Grant would be blamed. Grant couldn't help but cringe at the knowledge of what punishment awaited that error of judgment on his part. He moved as if on auto-pilot, waiting for the other shoe to drop. He may not have had any part in Skye being shot; but he was still working for Garrett when he made that order. And if Coulson had heard that part of the conversation, there was no doubt he'd heard the rest of it and knew of Grant's duplicity. "...Sir...I..." He paused, not sure what to say. Or how to say it. If Coulson was anything like Garrett, he wouldn't take the betrayal lightly. Grant could put up with a beating, if necessary, but he couldn't help but glance around, making note of the best way to escape if Coulson decided the betrayal was worth taking his life.
Coulson hid his wince at the sight of Grant's cringe. As they reached Lola, he turned fully to face the younger man, grasping Grant's upper arms. "You listen to me, boy. I am going to make damned sure that Garrett is put away for the rest of his life. That he's not free to hurt you or anyone else ever again. I believe you're a good person, even if you have been hiding this from me." He paused, gentling his tone, hand lightly brushing over Grant's waist. "I'm not going to hurt you. He was wrong. I care about you."
Grant's eyes widened at Coulson's form of address - boy? - just as Coulson's hand brushed over the already forming bruise from where Garrett slugged him, and he was immediately distracted. Coulson hadn't just heard; he'd been watching and saw how Garrett handled him. How else would he know exactly where Garrett had hit him? For some reason, knowing Coulson knew about that shamed him. He turned dark red and then Coulson's final comment sunk in. "You do?" He cringed again and closed his eyes. For Coulson to try and make sure he knew that; it meant he'd heard about Grant's family too. If he tried to find out what had occurred, he wouldn't find anything; Garrett had been thorough in altering Grant's background. But now that Coulson knew that he and Garrett had been working behind his back, he probably wouldn't believe any files he read anyway and would expect Grant to tell him the truth. This situation was getting stickier and stickier. But the only way to get out of it was to behave in a completely suspicious manner and run- and if he did that, he wouldn't be able to help Garrett and the other man would be even more livid. Better to not give anything away unless Coulson indicated he knew of it already. Better to continue to go with the other man. "...Sir...why are we at Lola?" he asked hesitantly.
"I'm taking you off the Bus and somewhere private," Coulson replied. His eyes narrow in concern, he added, "There's a first aid kit in the trunk. As soon as we're away from any prying eyes, I'll check that over." He let his hand brush gently over Grant's cheek as he said quietly, "I'm going to take care of you."
"I... I appreciate the concern, Sir, but Jemma can check me over. We don't have to leave the bus. What if Skye needs us?" He couldn't help but glance back the way they'd come; the direction of Skye's sick room. Yes, they'd got the vial of whatever medicine had miraculously helped her; and Garrett being arrested meant she was safe for the moment, but still...
Coulson let his hand move down to Grant's backside, giving it a firm pat, almost in warning. "I'm not asking you, boy," he replied. "Skye is in good hands. If she needs anything, the rest of the team are trustworthy enough to handle it."
Grant's mouth dropped open at the pat, his eyes darting toward Coulson in shock; and almost as if searching for something in the older man's gaze that would give him some clue as to how to act. Coulson very rarely touched him and now, within the span of ten minutes, he'd not only physically pulled him to Lola and told him they were going somewhere private to talk, but he'd rubbed his stomach where Garrett had hit him, brushed his hand gently over his cheek, and now had...had...spanked him. Nearly, anyway. Grant swallowed hard. "Yes, sir..." he quickly answered to Coulson telling him it was an order.
Coulson let his hand linger on Grant's lower back, almost possessively, as he opened the passenger door and gently settled the younger man in the seat, putting Grant's seatbelt on for him before he moved round to get in the driver's side.
Grant began to glance around the Bus's bay area, looking for anything weird that might explain Coulson's odd behavior. He felt like he'd been dropped into an episode of the Twilight Zone; since when did Coulson act possessive of him? And buckle him into Lola as if he were a child who couldn't manage to buckle himself in? Along with everything else that he'd already done, that was completely out of behavior. "Sir?" he asked hesitantly, wincing when his voice came out sounding very nervous. "...Um...are you okay? Are...are you sure you don't need Jemma to check you out?" He ran through his mental checklist of all the weapons he had secreted on him. Not that he wanted to use a weapon against Coulson, but if the man completely lost it, it would be good to know what he had available to defend himself or escape.
"No." It was hard not to sound clipped or angry at Garrett. Truth be told, Coulson's own behaviour was surprising him. The only explanation was that seeing Grant treated so badly and becoming aware his past wasn't any better had struck something inside of him. Taking a deep breath, he buckled himself in and turned fully to look at Grant. "No one is going to hurt you again, Grant. I'm not going to let them. I'm not going to let you go back to Garrett. You're mine."
Grant swallowed hard. That was...unexpected. "I've been his for a lot longer..." he finally whispered; not wanting to admit to it, since it made things more difficult for him, but knowing that Coulson probably already knew that, since he'd apparently seen enough to get possessive. Although, truth be told, if Grant couldn't be of use to Garrett any longer, the man probably wouldn't give a damn if Coulson claimed him. He'd be too busy trying to pin all the blame for whatever happened on Grant so he could get out of jail.
"Not anymore," Coulson stated. "You aren't his anymore." Only the tight clenching of his hands around the steering wheel as he started Lola betrayed the true depth of his emotion. "You're mine," he repeated, his voice low and intense. He wanted to kill Garrett. But it was with a supreme effort that he calmed himself down, not wanting to frighten Grant.
Grant's eyes widened at the physical evidence of Coulson's anger. The intensity of the words only reinforced the resulting perception. Grant swallowed hard and took a quick breath, trying to calm himself down; not wanting Coulson to see how his words scared him. What was shocking to him was that he wasn't scared that Coulson was suddenly feeling so possessive of him to the point that he was physically taking him away from Garrett. What was scaring him was that some small part of him was responding to the possessiveness in a needy, wanting way. What the hell? He owed Garrett everything, but the thought of belonging to Coulson made him feel good in a way he hadn't felt in a long time, if ever. It had to be a trick. Garrett must be testing him again. He wasn't really arrested. He was working with Coulson somehow to see if Grant remained loyal or not. "I owe him everything...you don't just walk away from that..." he said hoarsely.
"It doesn't matter how much you owe him or you think you owe him." Coulson freed one hand, so he could gently touch Grant where Garrett had hit him. "He should never have hurt you. He lost any right to you the first time he did that...and I know that wasn't the first time. I will never hurt you, boy. Even if you end up in a position where I have to put you over my knee." Once more, his hand gently brushed over Grant's cheek. The younger man hadn't reacted badly to Coulson touching him so far. And Coulson needed to touch him. The protectiveness he felt had him wanting to stop the car and pull Grant into his arms, so he could completely shelter him.
Grant blinked again, uncertain what to respond to first; the fact that apparently, no one who ever hit him was allowed to own him per Coulson's decision, or the fact Coulson actually said he might someday put Grant over his knee. He decided to leave the possibility of future spankings off the table and focus on the possessiveness. "If everyone who's ever hit me loses the right to me, then I've never belonged to anyone a day in my life." He tried to sound amused, but it came out pathetically sad.
Coulson gently squeezed Grant's shoulder and then moved his hand to gently squeeze the younger man's knee. "Someone who's abused you in that way doesn't deserve to have you," he said seriously.
Grant gave Coulson an uncertain look. "You're serious...you actually..." He wasn't sure how to word the rest of the sentence without sounding like he was picking a fight with the other man...challenging him. But it seriously sounded like Coulson believed that Grant belonged to him.
"I want you," Coulson stated. "To look after you. Protect you. Keep you safe. I wouldn't ever hurt you."
Grant blinked again. This was so unexpected and so far from the realms of normality that he didn't know how to react. So he smirked. "You do realize, as your specialist, it's my job to protect you and keep you safe..." And that just reminded him that Coulson had overheard him and Garrett talking about spying on him; which wasn't terribly protective and wasn't meant to keep him safe. Grant swallowed and looked out the window, slightly ashamed.
He'd pretty much betrayed the man and Coulson wanted to protect him and keep him safe. He'd done everything for Garrett and the man had left him out to dry more than once. But he owed Garrett his life, didn't he?
"You were sent to spy on me," Coulson commented. "And even so, I'm not prepared to let you go. Or not give you another chance."
"I'm surprised I'm not in a cell next to Garrett, to be honest..." Grant admitted. "I was spying on you...you haven't even questioned me about that. You never seemed that inclined to...protect me...before. Why now? It can't just be because Garrett hit me. I've been in so many fights since coming on the bus and it didn't matter then. Why now? After you find out what I've been doing? I don't understand it..."
"Before today, I saw you as a trained specialist," Coulson said. "It's not true that the fights didn't matter. I always made sure I knew how you were recovering," he admitted. "But when I saw you with Garrett, I saw you being abused by someone who didn't deserve your loyalty. I was prepared to kick the door in and take Garrett out."
"I'm still a trained specialist!" Grant protested, semi-offended. "As for Garrett...It was my own fault. I was weak, and he had to teach me to be stronger..." He shrugged.
"Do you think it's weak to question a decision someone makes that hurts another person?" Coulson asked. "And I know you're a trained specialist. That doesn't stop me caring about you."
"Caring is weakness..." Grant whispered.
"I disagree." Coulson parked the car outside of a small apartment building he rented for when he needed somewhere more private to stay. He reached over and undid Grant's seatbelt and then his own.
"Yeah...I guess you would..." Grant said, with a slight grin. He got out of the car and stood uncertainly, not sure where he was meant to go.
Coulson got out of the car and moved round to Grant's side, placing a hand on his waist to guide him into the apartment building.
"You aren't the quiet, unassuming neighbor with a box freezer that you read about in those 'Real Crime' mags, are you?" Grant teased nervously. He wasn't sure it was a good thing that Coulson had brought him to a house that no one else knew about. It was probable that Coulson could change his mind and shoot Grant when he discovered what he'd been spying on him for.
"No." Coulson headed to his apartment, letting them both in and closing the door behind them. "You're safe here with me, Grant."
"Yeah. Because it makes so much more sense to bring me some place private to ask why I was spying on you, than to do it in interrogation. You either really do care, or I had you pegged completely wrong..." Grant ran a hand nervously through his hair.
"If I took you into interrogation, it would make this official and not personal," Coulson replied. "And this is personal, as it's me you betrayed."
Grant shot Coulson a startled look, but didn't argue the point. It wasn't like he had a lot of choices left, now that he'd been discovered, and Garrett was in jail. "Where to, Sir?" he asked quietly.
"I'm checking your stomach first." Coulson had retrieved the first aid kit from Lola's trunk and now he gently guided Grant into the living room to sit on the couch.
"It's okay, Sir. Really. I'm sure it's just bruised. The last time it felt like this, that's all it was." Grant tried to make Coulson feel better.
"The last time..." Coulson shook his head. "From now, boy, you don't get to treat your wounds like they don't matter. Like you don't matter."
"I... but... I..." Grant floundered at the order. It couldn't be termed as anything but an order, after all. Coulson repeatedly calling him boy was knocking him off his game though. It was making him feel young and like an inexperienced rookie. Normally, he would be arguing, but between Coulson finding out his secret, arresting Garrett and insisting on taking care of him...he wasn't entirely certain how to argue.
Coulson put the first aid kit down and carefully raised Grant's shirt, so he could check how bad the bruise was and began to treat it.
Grant couldn't stop the wince and he made a late attempt to stop Coulson; not because he didn't want the other man to see the bruise, but because Coulson was acting so oddly that Grant was afraid he'd catch sight of the other older bruises and cuts for the fight he'd been in the day Skye was shot. He'd said he was alright and didn't need medical attention. That hadn't exactly been true- he'd needed to stitch himself up- and if Coulson kept raising the shirt, he would see that wound. It wasn't that far higher than the bruise on his stomach.
Coulson gently pushed Grant's hands out of the way so he could finish raising the younger man's shirt, raising his eyebrows as he noticed the older bruises and the cuts that had been stitched. "You didn't tell me about those."
"Didn't tell Jemma, either," Grant snarked peevishly, before relenting slightly. "I didn't want to take anyone away from Skye for something unimportant. I could take care of it myself." He had taken care of all the places he could reach. The ones he couldn't reach weren't doing so well.
"I'm afraid I can't just take your word for that," Coulson said. "Take your clothes off."
Grant frowned, "Coulson...Sir...Really. There's nothing wrong with me..." Grant really didn't want Coulson examining him that closely. The other man was just... "You're acting weird and you'll get mad!"
Coulson sat back and looked seriously at Grant. "I know, to you, I'm acting strange. I imagine you're not used to being cared about." Reaching out, he gently touched the younger man's cheek. "I'm not going to hurt you, even if I am upset about you hiding how bad your injuries have been."
Grant wrinkled his nose and pulled away from Coulson, an uncertain look on his face. "Damn right I'm not used to it...you never got all handsy- comforty- 'let me take care of you' before. I was beat up worse after the Beserker staff and you never made me take my clothes off so you could check me over then..."
"I didn't think you needed me then," Coulson replied honestly. "I still cared. But like you said. You're a trained specialist. I thought you'd tell me if you needed anything. But I've seen more to you now and I know the face you put on to me and the others isn't accurate." He paused and then added, in a softer tone, "I still wanted to check you over then. But now? Those feelings are a lot more intense."
Grant didn't know how to respond to that. John had always told him caring was a weakness. If John was right, then Coulson was one weak man... but Grant didn't really believe that. He did believe what Coulson was telling him. It didn't make this whole situation any less surreal. "Best marks since Romanov..." he said, with a tiny hint of pride under his breath. Until Coulson had overheard him and John talking, he hadn't suspected a thing. Now the gig was up, and all Grant's carefully kept secrets were in danger of being exposed; and his tendency to hide his wounds instead of being truthful about them was the least of the secrets he had to keep hidden. "So... now you want to check me over and make sure I'm not lying about being hurt..." he said, more loudly, but it wasn't really a question. Grant was pretty certain that's what Coulson wanted to do.
"Not only to make sure you're not lying," Coulson corrected. "To treat any wounds you might not have been able to get to yourself. You said you thought it was unimportant. That you were unimportant. That's not true. You're important to me, boy." Touching his leg, he continued, "You're already due a spanking for hiding things from and lying to me for so long. I don't think you want me to add resisting treatment to that."
Grant had only been half listening to Coulson's remarks about helping him with wounds he hadn't been able to get to; trying to think of what all he'd said to John, what Coulson might suspect, and how to spin it so that every secret he had didn't become public knowledge; or at least known to Coulson. Because of that, he was a half-second behind when Coulson told him what he was due, and it took a bit longer than that for him to process the statement. His head jerked up, his eyes widened, and his mouth dropped open when he realized exactly what Coulson had said. "A spanking?! You...you aren't serious..." He sounded disbelieving. He also sounded very nervous; Coulson was acting weird, after all. The man could very easily be serious.
"You've lied to me and hidden things from me. I just found out that you've been betraying the team...betraying me," Coulson said. "I can't imagine it was for a good reason. Garrett chose to have Skye shot. Those aren't the actions of a good man. But I believe you're better than him. I could have had you arrested along with him. I didn't. Putting you away isn't on the table. Will never be on the table."
Grant closed his eyes. He was positive if Coulson every found out the true extent of the betrayal, being put away would not only be on the table, it would be preferable to being put down...which was what he'd expect. Yeah. Coulson was acting very odd. But if he was to believed- and yet again, Grant thought what he said could be believed- it was only because Coulson hadn't felt like Grant needed him to step up and show he cared in quite so hands on a manner. Coulson had proven he was different so many times in so many ways and he'd shown this caring side to his other agents; just not to Grant. Grant had thought Coulson didn't really like him. Now, Coulson was not only saying something completely different to what Grant thought, his reasons for not coming forward sooner made sense. Grant had been feeling guilty about what he was doing for a while now and hearing it spelled out so blatantly- that he'd betrayed the team and Coulson- pulled at the guilt. It was a festering sore in him that wouldn't go away. He couldn't confess everything, but he could admit to what Coulson had learned and accept Coulson's decision regarding what would be done about it. It wouldn't get rid of all the guilt, but it might help a little; and that might help him keep the deeper secret he was keeping. "Okay...I won't resist treatment..." he said softly, his shoulders slumping slightly in defeat. "...How...how undressed do I need to be?" He blushed. He wasn't normally shy about his body; but then again, he normally wasn't undressing in front of a superior officer.
Coulson knew Grant was right to question his actions now. He'd assumed the younger man wouldn't accept any caring and was only now realising how wrong he'd been in that. Determined not to give Grant any more reason to doubt him, he gently squeezed the younger man's thigh. "I'd prefer you take everything off. I don't want to run even the slightest chance of missing something."
Taking a slow deep breath and nodding briefly, Grant stood and carefully began to undress. He started with his shoes, carefully placing them to the side and out of the way of any walking traffic. Then he carefully peeled off his shirt, folding it neatly and placing it on the nearby chair. He moved slowly so that he could also remove all his hidden knives and guns that he wasn't certain Coulson knew about. Even if Coulson was aware at how heavily armed Grant was, even when in a place that was supposedly 'safe' and with friends, it was an altogether different thing to witness it. By the time he was removing his underwear, the last bit of clothing he had on, he'd already handed Coulson seven knives, two small handguns and a shuriken. He trusted the other man to store them properly. Swallowing hard, he finally straightened, not quite able to look Coulson in the eye, so he looked up at the ceiling as if it was the most interesting place in the apartment.
Coulson put the weapons away safely and then returned to Grant's side. Picking up the first aid kit, he began to very carefully check over every inch of the younger man's body, careful to cause as little pain as possible and making sure every cut and bruise received treatment. "When you and Fitz were on the mission together, did he tell you that I'd asked him to look after you as well as asking you to look after him?" If Grant doubted him, Coulson hoped that letting him know he'd told them to watch out for each other would help him believe.
"Yes, sir..." Grant answered softly, finally looking into Coulson's eyes and giving a sheepish smile. "It was the first time I thought maybe you might begin to like me instead of tolerating me..."
"I'm sorry I failed you in that way," Coulson said with open frankness. "I shouldn't have let your reticent nature keep me at arms length. I've always liked you. Always cared about you. And what I saw and heard doesn't change that."
Grant bit his lip and glanced away. "Maybe it should..." He shivered slightly. "...I didn't know he was going to have Skye shot. I didn't..." He glanced back at Coulson, his eyes beseeching the older man to believe him. "...But I can't help believe it's still my fault."
Coulson reached out and gently brushed his hand over Grant's cheek. "I believe you. You aren't responsible for what he chose to do. I know you feel responsible, but you're not. Not for him."
"I'm his man...you'd think that would have some sort of power, however little, to sway him. He shot her because I was failing him. Ergo...my fault." Grant wasn't even whiny in his tone. It was obvious he believed it. The fact that Coulson had been repeatedly saying that Grant was his boy...hadn't quite stuck yet.
"I don't know why he shot her," Coulson said. "But it wasn't your fault." Keeping his hand on Grant's cheek, he continued, "You're not his anymore. I won't allow him to take you again. I won't let him to get out and hurt you again. I'm claiming you."
Grant's eyes darted to Coulson's and he licked his lip before biting it nervously. "I... I don't know if you can do that..." Coulson probably thought he meant that Coulson would have to convince him to be his or some such; but Grant honestly didn't know if Coulson could claim him that way. Garrett wasn't going to let him go that easily, not after investing so much time and effort to get him in position. After everything that Grant owed him. And even if Garrett didn't make things difficult, when the truth finally came out- and it would, HYDRA wouldn't remain hidden forever- Coulson wouldn't want to have anything to do with him.
"It's already been done." Coulson kept his voice gentle as he finished treating the last of the wounds on Grant's body. "I've already claimed you. It doesn't matter what Garrett tries to do or say. He's never going to get out. Even keeping you out of it, I have his admission on recording that he was responsible for Skye getting shot."
Grant swallowed. "So... he's really not going to have anything to do with me again?" He didn't know how that made him feel. A little scared. The better part of fifteen years had been spent learning how to be the best specialist he could be so that he'd be of use to Garrett. And as cruel as the man could often be, he was also often generous with praise and affection (as long as he hadn't done something wrong). "He was like a father to me, you know..." he said quietly. "...That's not easily forgotten..." He didn't know why he'd confessed that last bit to Coulson. Maybe so the older man would realize that Grant still cared what happened to Garrett, even after what Coulson had witnessed.
Coulson let his hand gently rest on Grant's neck, thumb lightly stroking the pulse point. "How he treated you isn't the way a father should treat a son," he said softly. "He punched you in the stomach for no other reason than that you questioned his actions. Skye could have died if we didn't get what we needed in time. And I know you care about Skye. He didn't take anything of how you would feel into account."
Grant gave Coulson a confused look. "That's how fathers treat their sons all the time. Especially when their sons are weak screw-ups..." He didn't elaborate. There was no reason Coulson had to hear about all his bad deeds that resulted in him getting the belt, or worse, before he finally got thrown into Juvie and pulled out by Garrett.
"No," Coulson said gently. "For one thing, Grant, you are not a screw-up. I've been proud to have you on my team and in my life. And today's events haven't changed that." He used his hand on Grant's neck to gently pull the younger man into an embrace, continuing to talk softly in his ear. "That's not how fathers treat their sons. They look after them. They take care of them. They love them."
Grant swallowed. The show of affection shouldn't have been unexpected, but it was; and it made Grant nervous. He didn't know how to respond. "Only in an ideal setting..." He finally shrugged, though he didn't dislodge Coulson. "...My bio-father never did any of that... Garrett actually treated me really good, compared to him. He only hit me when I messed up..." The fact that he messed up frequently and often with things he wasn't even aware that he was or wasn't supposed to do didn't matter.
Coulson wrapped his arms a fraction tighter around Grant. "Messing up like questioning him?" he gently pushed. "That isn't okay. How many of those scars I've seen were caused by him?"
Grant stiffened, as much at the question as at the tighter hug. "I dunno..." he mumbled, in what was obviously another lie. He really hoped Coulson didn't point out each individual scar and make him tell him where he'd received it. A good fourth of them came from his blood-father. Another fourth came from Garrett's training when he was still a teen, before he went to the academy. No one knew about that time, though; and he couldn't tell them about it, or they'd start to question why Garrett was recruiting a child and training him outside of SHIELD purview. Three-eighths of the scars came from actual operations he'd gone on and the remaining one-eighth? That came from Garrett after he'd actually joined SHIELD, gone through the academy and was doing operations. It was Garrett's way of reminding him who was in charge.
"I'd like you to start being honest with me, boy." Coulson wasn't sure if continuing to call Grant what he felt like the younger man was to him was the right move or not. He knew he wanted to protect and heal Grant, though.
"I haven't lied!" Grant protested. Just because he hadn't volunteered information, and had avoided talking about some things, didn't mean he'd lied. Although, Coulson seemed to think he'd lied about his injuries and Grant honestly hadn't thought those were bad or that he was lying; so maybe he was lying and just didn't realize it. It was so confusing. He didn't know what Coulson wanted from him. And Coulson constantly addressing him as 'boy' was making it difficult, too. Garrett had always called him son. It was affectionate and had a way of making Grant feel like he belonged. Coulson calling him boy was starting to give him that same feeling and considering what Garrett had done, even knowing how much Grant cared about Skye, Grant wondered if he dared let himself get dragged in by it. "Why do you call me that?" he blurted, frustrated at himself.
"Because I want you," Coulson replied, without any hesitation. "Because I care about you. I want you to be mine. I don't care about what Garrett might or might not want; it's you I have to convince to let me in."
Grant slumped slightly at those words. "What...what does being yours involve?" he couldn't help but ask. He knew what being Garrett's entailed and right now, he was still furious with the other man for what he'd done to Skye. Not that he'd ever be brave enough to leave Garrett...not when Garrett could easily set him up for an accident or to take a fall. But sometimes, he wondered what it would be like to actually have someone in his life that cared about him, instead of what he could give to them.
"It involves me taking care of you. Looking after you. But expecting you to be honest with me and to do what I say, when it comes to your health and safety," Coulson said. "Lying to me or breaking a rule will get you punished, but only with a spanking over my knee."
"Don't I kinda already do what you say? Mostly?" Grant wrinkled his nose. Of course, when it came to his health and safety, he was more prone to keeping those to himself and secret, so maybe that's what Coulson was taking exception to. "...What rules?" This time, he was confused. If he broke one of SHIELD's rules, he'd be put on some type of leave or restriction. Possibly even lose his job. If it was serious enough, he could end up in a cell like Garrett. But he'd never broken any of Shield's rules (not obviously so, anyway; no one could ever pin it on him when he had broken them).
"If you keep the fact that you're injured from me. Or if you were to disappear without a word, or disobey an order in the field," Coulson replied, using those as examples. "Even though I wouldn't make or expect you to act like I have that control around other people, you would still be answerable to me in private."
"So... if I did something in field in public that you didn't approve of and I knew you didn't approve... in public, I'd get chewed out like the rest of the team and in private, you'd bust my ass?" Grant snorted softly. That wasn't really all that different from Garrett. Even if Coulson chose to call it a spanking instead of a beating.
Coulson raised his eyebrows at that, fairly certain Grant didn't really understand what he meant by a spanking. Choosing not to immediately point out that he rarely chewed any of them out in public, he said, "I'm not talking about beating you and just using another word to describe it. I'm talking about my open hand on your bare butt with you across my knee."
Grant blinked at that, then flushed dark red in embarrassment. "Oh..." he said, in a tiny voice. "...Sorry?" He wasn't certain if Coulson was offended at the fact Grant assumed he would beat him. Especially since Coulson had taken exception to Garrett beating him.
"I'm not upset with you because you thought I'd treat you like everyone else in your life has," Coulson said seriously.
Grant gave Coulson a hesitant smile, still blushing, and then looked down toward his feet. "...Oh...that's good...thank you..." he whispered.
Coulson gently stroked the side of his face. "When did you last eat something?"
Grant winced. "I thought you wanted me to be honest and not lie..." he muttered, obviously reluctant to tell the older man.
"I do," Coulson replied. "And if you haven't eaten today...then that needs to be the first priority. Getting you fed."
"I had a sandwich before we went to the compound to get the serum for Skye..." Grant reluctantly admitted. Considering it had been two days since that time, he knew he should have eaten by now. Trying to change the subject so Coulson wouldn't chide him for not taking proper care of himself, he asked, "Can I get dressed now?"
"No." Coulson gentled his tone as he continued, "I'm going to fix us something to eat and then I'll be spanking you for your betrayal. There's no point putting your pants on, as I'll only be pulling them down again."
Grant couldn't help the look of shock that passed over his face. Yes, Coulson had told him he'd be spanked and he'd even told him what that involved, but he didn't think he'd be naked for it. Even if he was bare, he'd thought he'd still be dressed. The feeling of vulnerability was difficult not to react to. "Sir..." he began, hoping to change Coulson's mind, but then stopped. He had betrayed the man. That couldn't have felt good to find out and probably had made Coulson feel vulnerable aboard his own vessel. "...This is one of the times I'm meant to just obey, isn't it?" he finally finished, in a resigned tone.
Coulson gently stroked the side of Grant's neck. "I won't do anything that would harm you," he whispered. "You might not be there yet, but I am."
Grant gave Coulson a confused look at the words, not really understanding what he meant by him 'not being there yet', but didn't say anything. Instead, he just bit his lip and shifted slightly. "C... can I have a blanket while I eat? I'm a little chilly..." He was hesitant to ask that much. Garrett would have told him to tough it out. That only babies needed their 'blankies' and he could handle being cold for however long Garrett deemed it necessary. Coulson had been fairly consistent in his words and actions that he wasn't like Garrett, though.
Coulson reached behind the couch and removed one of the blankets that he then handed to Grant. "I can put the heating up, too," he said gently.
"If...if it wouldn't be a problem..." Grant took the blanket gratefully, honestly surprised that Coulson had allowed it. That he was concerned about his comfort. He wrapped the blanket around his shoulders, then waited for Coulson to tell him what to do next.
Coulson turned the heating up and then gently wrapped an arm around Grant to steer him into the kitchen. "I'll order some more food in, but there's enough for today and tomorrow, at least." He gently guided Grant onto a chair in the kitchen and began preparing food.
Normally, Grant would have jumped right in with helping. He knew where everything in the bus was and wasn't a half-bad cook. But this was Coulson's safe house. His kitchen. Plus, Grant was naked. He watched the older man uncertainly, the vulnerability he was feeling beginning to show in his eyes. He trusted Coulson, so was finding it difficult to hide his reactions. "Do you want me to do anything?" he finally asked.
Coulson smiled at him, gently and reassuringly. "I just want you to let me take care of you," he answered. "You've been hurt, and you haven't eaten in two days. I know it's difficult for you to sit and relax. I know you're not used to it. But I'd like you to try."
Grant smiled crookedly, if a bit ruefully. "Yes, sir. I'll try."
"Thank you." Coulson finished preparing their food and put the plates on the table, retrieving two bottles of water from the fridge before he sat down and gestured for Grant to eat.
Grant forced himself to eat slowly, knowing that he was at risk of eating too much and making himself sick if he ate fast. It was difficult, though. Now that he was eating, he realized how hungry he really was. "This is good, Sir...thank you."
"You're welcome." Coulson smiled, seeing that Grant was eating, and began doing so himself. "Why did you go so long without eating?" he asked, in case it was more than simply a case of forgetting.
"At first, I was worried that the formula wouldn't work and...and Skye would die. I just didn't have any appetite." Grant frowned, suddenly finding his plate interesting. "After it worked, and we didn't have to be afraid of losing her, I knew Garrett expected me to get a sample of her blood. And if I couldn't do that, he wanted... wanted me to kill her so that he could intercept her body before she could be buried. He wanted the formula. I knew I couldn't do that. I was just so upset and angry at the situation and I couldn't lash out at who I wanted, so...so I punished myself instead. Figured if we got an assignment, I'd eat before leaving, so I'd be back in peak shape." He didn't hold anything back in his answer; Coulson already had Garrett under arrest for arranging for Skye to be shot. Any information on that situation wasn't going to make a lot of difference. He just hoped Coulson didn't ask anything that would require him to give up information on Garrett and his other activities.
Coulson reached out, letting his hand rest gently on Grant's neck, thumb gently stroking over his pulse point. "Punishing yourself in any way isn't acceptable, boy. While you're with me, you will be eating a healthy amount."
Grant blinked, then nodded hesitantly. Coulson kept rubbing his neck, over his pulse. It made him feel exposed and vulnerable each time the older man did it. It also made him feel like he should agree to the man's demands. "Y... yes, sir..." He swallowed, feeling his throat move against Coulson's fingers. If Coulson had any bad intentions toward him, Grant would be in for a world of hurt, if not dead. Just a minute shift and Coulson could break his neck, slit his throat, any number of things. Instead, the man gently caressed the skin over his main artery in a rather possessive way.
"Good," Coulson said softly, still gently stroking over Grant's pulse. He didn't know how much or how often Garrett touched Grant, if at all, outside of beating him. But if he kept touching the younger man and showed Grant physically that he was safe and wouldn't be hurt...he hoped Grant would feel able to start responding.
Grant gave a crooked smile, then continued eating, trying to relax at the gentle affection Coulson was giving him. Garrett's idea of affection was an arm around the shoulders, roughly pulling you into him and then giving a hard pat on the back. He wasn't used to the more gentle shows of dominance; and he couldn't help but feel that Coulson rubbing his neck, the way he was, was a show of dominance. One meant to show him he was safe and Coulson would protect and take care of him, he imagined, but a show of dominance all the same. He'd been Garrett's yes man for so long, he felt disloyal even thinking about obeying Coulson, let alone changing allegiances like the older man wanted him to do. He hadn't found the cure Garrett needed, after all, and he owed the man. He had to remember that, no matter how nice Coulson treated him. While he was lost in thought, he finished his meal. "I'll clean up," he offered softly, noticing that Coulson had also finished eating.
"We can clean up together and then we'll go back into the living room, where you'll go over my knee." Coulson's voice was gentle as he lightly squeezed Grant's shoulder and then stood.
Grant sighed silently, but didn't argue. Instead, he quietly stood up and began to clear the table. Coulson had decided he'd be spanked for his betrayal. He was lucky he hadn't been arrested. As embarrassing as the whole situation was, he knew it could be worse.
Coulson cleaned up, helping Grant, and then, once they were done, he grasped Grant's shoulder, gently leading him back into the living room.
"You're really going to put me over your knee?" Grant couldn't help but ask, his face turning pink. "You can't like...have me lean over the back of the couch, or something less childish?" he nearly whispered, not wanting to be seen as complaining, but having a hard time wrapping his head around the fact that Coulson was punishing him in this manner.
"I'm really going to put you over my knee," Coulson replied. "It's more personal that way. You betrayed me, but I'm choosing not to have you locked up. Or push you away. Instead, I'm pulling you towards me."
Grant swallowed hard. "Yeah...I... I think I understand..." he said. He understood the making it personal part. He even thought he understood how putting him over his knee was a way for Coulson to pull Grant towards him. He wasn't entirely clear on why Coulson would want to do so, but didn't want to ask again, since he'd already voiced confusion about that.
Coulson let his fingers gently stroke over Grant's pulse point in his neck, then led him to the couch and sat down, guiding the younger man across his lap.
Grant shifted till he found a mostly comfortable position, then reached down to brace himself against the floor. It was mostly comfortable because he didn't see how he could ever become comfortable when the only thing separating his nakedness from Coulson's leg was the material of Coulson's suit pants. It didn't seem to bother Coulson, but Grant just wasn't used to being this up close and personal with anyone. Not even Garrett had wanted him to be this close to him.
Coulson rested one hand on Grant's lower back and then lifted his other hand, bringing it down in the first firm smack that he then repeated on the other side of Grant's backside, then landed two more just below the first.
Grant let out a tiny hiss of air, but that was the only acknowledgement he gave that he felt the smacks. He did look over his shoulder quizzically, however. "Is that the hardest it's going to be?" he asked uncertainly. He couldn't see how it would be much of a punishment when it didn't really hurt that much.
"This isn't just about causing you physical pain, boy," Coulson replied, sliding his other hand up over Grant's back so he could gently stroke his cheek. His other hand continued the swats down to Grant's thighs.
Grant turned forward again so he could hide the blush Coulson calling him boy again caused. It was disconcerting enough when he was fully clothed and facing the man, but when he was naked over the man's knee? Getting his bare butt smacked? He felt all of three feet tall and extremely young. He doubted Coulson's intent was to make him feel so childish and vulnerable. "Why do you call me that?" he couldn't stop himself from asking again, even though he was scared of what the answer might be.
"Because I care about you. Because I'd like you to be my boy," Coulson answered, beginning the spanking again from the top. He let his other hand shift to Grant's neck, fingers settling in place over his pulse point.
"You really want me to be yours..." Grant said softly. "Even though I'm Garrett's and betrayed you for him..." He couldn't wrap his head around the fact Coulson was willing to forgive him and take him back. That the older man wanted him. He shifted slightly as the second circuit started, but even though the sting had built up a lot, he didn't react. He'd been through so much worse pain, become numb to it, he often didn't even realize he should be hurting.
"I do want you," Coulson replied. "And I've forgiven you for betraying me." He knew it was possible that voicing that forgiveness would leave him vulnerable if Grant chose to keep pulling back...but he hoped his honesty would convince the younger man. While still gently stroking over the pulse point in Grant's neck, he completed a second circuit of smacks and began a third, a little bit harder and faster.
"You aren't afraid I'd turn on you for Garrett again?" Grant asked, his voice slightly higher pitched as Coulson began swatting harder. He shifted again as his backside began to become more sensitive from the swatting. He was trying not to shift too much, still fully aware of his naked state and the fact he was over Coulson's knee, but it wasn't easy. Something about the position, Coulson's words and the fact that the older man kept touching and caressing his pulse point was making it difficult to hold still. Even if it didn't hurt as much as it could have.
"I have hope that you'll let me pull you to me," Coulson replied, one hand smacking, while his other stroked and rubbed over Grant's pulse point.
"I... I was trying to save his life, you know..." Grant said quietly, finding it difficult to concentrate with Coulson rubbing his neck the way he was. "He's...he's dying, and I owed him everything, so...I was trying to get him what he needed for a cure..." He could afford to tell that much. Maybe Coulson would find a way to help John, even if the other man was in jail. Grant wouldn't have totally failed him that way. He shook his head gently, not dislodging Coulson's hand at all, and took a deep breath as he squirmed. "You still want to...to pull me to you? To...to be yours?" He asked the last hesitantly. Coulson spoke of him so possessively, but it wasn't like when Garrett had spoken possessively. Grant didn't fear for himself when Coulson acted like Grant was his. Garrett could be mercurial and because he saw Grant as his, he could get jealous and turn violent if he thought Grant's complete focus wasn't on obeying him. Coulson didn't seem to be that way.
"I want you," Coulson said, his voice soft, but no less intense. "I want to pull you to me. I want to look after you. Take care of you. I want you to be mine." He still stroked and rubbed Grant's neck; still swatted with his other hand, focusing more swats to Grant's sit spots and thighs.
Grant let out a tiny grunt and hiss as Coulson focused on his sit spots. He couldn't help but feel that maybe he wasn't reacting properly. Coulson had already gone through three circuits and he was carrying on a conversation. The only sign he'd given that he felt anything was his squirming. And it wasn't that he didn't feel anything. He did feel it. And if he was being truthfully objective, it did hurt. Unfortunately, it was also a bit pleasant,although that was mainly because Coulson kept rubbing his damn pulse point and that just relaxed him so much. His mind was going on auto-pilot. The squirming wasn't helping either. To his shame and embarrassment, he felt his body begin to react to the friction the squirming caused, and he immediately forced himself to hold as still as possible to not to make the situation worse...hoping that Coulson didn't notice and become disgusted by him. He wasn't even attracted to the older man and was fairly certain Coulson's interest in him was entirely non-sexual. He took several deep, steadying breaths to center himself, hesitantly glancing over his shoulder, hoping that maybe seeing Coulson's face for even a second would remind him of why they were here in this situation and enable him to regain a bit of control over himself.
Coulson noticed; both Grant glancing at him and also how the younger man was beginning to react. His thumb gently stroked Grant's pulse point. "You don't have to feel ashamed or embarrassed." While he didn't intend to draw any attention to it, he also wanted Grant to know he was aware it was a reaction the younger man couldn't help.
Grant blushed darker and groaned. "You're punishing me. This shouldn't...It shouldn't...I shouldn't..." He groaned again, still holding himself unnaturally still.
"I am," Coulson agreed. "In a personal way that you haven't been punished in before. I know you can't help it. I'm not angry with you or disgusted by it."
"That's... just great...thank you for understanding..." Grant's voice was strained. "Any ideas to help it not happen at all?" He winced as he shifted again. He'd obviously not thought this through when he'd agreed to letting Coulson punish him in this manner. He knew himself well enough to know that he liked 'rough' play. It was only logical that being punished in this manner might lead to this problem. Since it didn't really hurt enough to take him to the point where his body considered it a punishment as well.
"I can certainly spank harder, enough to make sure it hurts more," Coulson commented, having stopped the spanking, but still stroking over Grant's pulse point. "Or I could spread my legs enough that there isn't any friction."
Grant thought about it. "I...no friction would be good..." He winced again as he had to admit, "...Harder might make it worse." He let his head drop in mortification. He'd never in a million years wanted to discuss his sex life with Coulson. It was bad enough when the older man had found out about him and May. He could only imagine what the man was thinking now.
"Don't feel ashamed," Coulson said gently, shifting his position so he could spread his legs and make sure that Grant's shifting couldn't create any friction.
Grant let out an unhappy huff of air. "It's hard not to, Sir..." he admitted, in almost a whisper. "You now know more about my... leanings...than I ever intended or wanted. Not to mention I can't help feel like I'm not reacting the way you want. You probably think I'm a mess..." He settled once Coulson readjusted him. "Maybe I'm just a lost cause. Garrett always said I was a disappointment."
"Garrett was wrong," Coulson said seriously, returning to gently stroking Grant's pulse point. "You've been deeply wounded by people who should have looked after you. Taken care of you. You are not a lost cause. You are not a disappointment. And someone who makes you think that way is not someone who should have responsibility for you."
"I always do what he says..." Grant said hesitantly. "I don't know how not to..."
"He's not here," Coulson pointed out gently. "He isn't. I am."
"You are here." Grant let himself relax. "You're here and you're punishing me...but when you're done, I'll be able to walk after. It somehow doesn't feel like punishment if I can walk after..."
Coulson kept his fingers gently stroking the pulse point, even as he said, "When I punish you, it's not about causing you lasting harm. Leaving bruises over your body." He began to swat again, no harder than he had been previously. "It's about you learning that I'm taking that responsibility for you. About teaching you to do the right thing. And proving that I mean what I say when I tell you I want you. That I already consider you mine. My boy."
"You want to teach me?" Grant's voice caught. Garrett hadn't taught him. He'd left him alone to learn without help or die trying. He couldn't help compare what Coulson wanted to what Garrett did. He let himself squirm again as the swats reignited the sting.
"I do," Coulson confirmed. "Teach you. Look after you. Protect you." He continued swatting, once more going down to Grant's thighs, focusing more swats there and to his sit spots.
The pain was actually catching Grants attention now, but it wasn't that that caused him to slump over Coulson's knee and grasp the older man's ankle. It was Coulson's words. He wanted to believe it would work...but he still had a huge secret that, once it came out? He'd be lucky if Coulson would look at him again, let alone want him.
Coulson landed a few more smacks and then stopped, gently gathering Grant into his arms and on his lap and hugging him tightly.
Grant shifted with a tiny wince and put his head on Coulson's shoulder. "I didn't like spying on you..." he admitted in a whisper. "But I've always done what Garrett said. I had to figure things out and make decisions on my own and... I liked you. I liked the team. I liked obeying you...you're fair and care about people and... I felt like I could be a good guy if I listened to you. Then Garrett came back, and I had to obey him. I didn't know how not to...I'm pathetic."
Coulson tightened his embrace and gently stroked Grant's pulse point. "No. You're not pathetic," he whispered. "You've been deeply hurt, and no one could see it. I like you. I want you. I want you to be my boy."
"I owe Garrett, though...he won't like it...me being yours. If he dies because I left and didn't do what he needed, it'd be my fault..." Although, to be honest, Grant was beginning to believe that he didn't owe Garrett as much as the other man implied.
"Garrett isn't a good man," Coulson said. "And he didn't treat you well. I saw him punch you. If the alarm hadn't gone then, I would have kicked the door down to protect you."
Grant twisted enough to hide his face against Coulson's neck. "I wish..." He sighed. It wasn't any use making wishes. He was HYDRA- not through any choice of his own- and if Coulson found out, he'd change his mind quick. Grant didn't want that to happen. Better keep it to himself, then...even if his gut was telling him to confess everything so Coulson could help him.
Coulson let his hand rest gently on Grant's back, just below his neck. "What do you wish, boy?" he asked softly, his tone encouraging.
"Wish you'd found me first," Grant admitted obediently. "Wish I was yours all along..."
"I have you now," Coulson murmured to him. "And I'm not going to let you go. No matter what."
Grant could only hope that was true. He was too afraid to confess, but he knew when the secret came out- and it would- he'd be lucky not to lose everything. "I'm yours now?" he asked hesitantly, needing to hear it said again.
"You're mine," Coulson promised, tightening his embrace. "My boy."
Grant let out a tiny sigh of relief and just leaned into Coulson. He wasn't used to all the physical touching and squeezing, but found he liked it. A lot. "You know...it hurt worse being reminded that I'd betrayed you all than it did being spanked. If...if you want spanking to work as punishment, you should know I have a very high pain threshold..." He spoke softly and uncertainly...since he was basically giving information that could be used against him.
Coulson let his hand gently stroke over Grant's neck and down over his back. "I know, but even if I spank you again, I won't use too much force. Or anything other than my hand," he promised.
"Because you don't want to really hurt me..." Grant sounded surprised at that. Garrett had never worried about actually harming him...only teaching him to do as Garrett said. "What will get me a spanking?" he asked quietly. If he was going to do this, he wanted to know all the rules and consequences for breaking them.
"Putting yourself in danger that's avoidable," Coulson answered immediately. "If you argue with me, I'm likely to swat you, like I did back on the Bus, to get you to settle down. Ignoring or disregarding my orders without a very good reason. I won't ever tell you to do something or not to do something for the sake of it." He touched Grant's chin, encouraging the younger man to look at him...which had the added bonus of allowing Coulson to settle his fingers over the pulse point in his neck and rub gently. "If you feel guilty about something and you can't let go of that guilt alone."
Grant shivered as Coulson began to gently rub his neck again. He couldn't help himself, slanting his head so his throat was open and vulnerable to Coulson, even as he kept his eyes on the older man. He whimpered slightly at the last reason given. He felt guilty all right. He just couldn't confess why. Or, at least, he wasn't sure how to. "I'm your boy..." he whispered again.
Coulson's touch was very gentle and careful, but still possessive, as he stroked over Grant's throat and neck, gently caressing his pulse point. "Yes. You are my boy," he whispered back.
Grant closed his eyes and slumped against Coulson. He'd been holding himself together by a thread ever since Skye had been shot. That whole ordeal had not only forced him to admit to himself that he cared about his team (he was weak), but it had proven that Garrett, despite the fact Grant had given his whole life to the man, had no regard for him whatsoever. No respect. Not even a little concern. He hadn't wanted to see it, but Coulson had figured it out immediately and had no problems at all making him face it.
Grant hadn't been lying. Garrett was the one in charge. Oh, Grant was able to function with day to day decisions. Or decisions that enabled him to meet his objective. He was very good at that. He wasn't good at planning for long term, though. That had always been Garrett's role; being in charge over all. Grant's role had been to obey and the thought of not having Garrett there to tell him what to do made him afraid in a way he hadn't been since he'd been facing being charged as an adult and being sent away for life.
But...Coulson wasn't letting that happen. He was claiming Grant. He wasn't facing this new hurdle alone and, in fact, was expected to let Coulson face it for him. He was only expected to do the one thing he'd always been so good at. Obey. Obey Coulson. He could do that.
He just had to figure out a way to tell the man about HYDRA without completely blowing it and losing everything again. Not hard, right? Tears of weariness, fear and frustration pooled in his eyes and began to slide down his face.
Coulson immediately stroked the side of Grant's face, noticing the tears and wiping them away. "Tell me what's wrong, boy," he directed, the words soft, but the tone still obviously an order.
"I can't..." Grant whispered, his fear clear, even if it wasn't clear what exactly he was afraid of. Could he tell Coulson everything and not have it blow up in his face? HYDRA was a worse betrayal than spying on him for John, even if Grant didn't believe in their cause and only joined because of John.
Coulson gently stroked his fingers over Grant's pulse point, his other arm hugging the younger man tightly to himself. "Do you trust that you're mine? That I've taken hold of you and won't let go, no matter what?"
Grant swallowed hard. He wanted to trust that, but his secret was just too big to believe it wouldn't change things immediately. Coulson would drop him immediately when he found out and Grant was scared enough of having to be on his own and selfish enough to not want to have it happen that he would keep the secret as long as possible to postpone the inevitable. The urge to obey Coulson and tell him was strong, though, reinforced by the possessive caressing of his neck.
"I'm too scared," he finally admitted, completely ashamed and humiliated at the fact he felt such a strong fear. He was a specialist, deadly in his own right. He shouldn't be acting like a four-year-old who'd had a bad dream. He shouldn't need anyone to take charge of him. "I'm weak...pathetic..." He whispered the last, before hiding his face against Coulson's shoulder.
Coulson let his fingers move to the nape of Grant's neck, still gently stroking and rubbing. "Whatever you tell me, I won't be angry. I won't throw you away," he whispered, tightening his arms; holding on as tight as he'd wanted to while he'd been driving. "You aren't weak or pathetic. You're mine. And I won't ever let you go."
"It's a really bad secret," Grant forced out. "You might not have a choice but to throw me away. And you couldn't help but be angry. I'd deserve you to be angry. I'd have a harder time trusting that you wouldn't be..." He let out an unhappy laugh.
"Grant...boy," Coulson said pointedly, "Wanting you in my life...wanting you...doesn't mean I expect you to be perfect. Or that you haven't made some mistakes or errors in judgement." He stroked Grant's neck. "Trust me that, whatever you tell me, it won't change how I feel about you."
Grant closed his eyes tightly. It was difficult. He'd lost Garrett- couldn't help thinking it was somehow his fault (if he hadn't confronted Garrett on the bus, Garrett wouldn't have punched him in the stomach, or confessed in an area that he could be found out)- and was facing the prospect of being cut off and adrift from anyone willing to give him direction. Coulson was offering that, and he needed it. He was too afraid to have to make decisions on his own. He'd hardly ever made decisions on his own; the few he had made had ended spectacularly badly and the thought of having to do so made him feel sick inside. Telling Coulson the rest of his crimes? Was pretty much leaving himself open to being destroyed. But every time Coulson called him boy, had stroked over his neck where his life was closest to the surface, he'd felt drawn to the older man. Had heard in Coulson's voice that Coulson would be what he needed. And if he didn't trust Coulson with this secret, then it wouldn't really be possible to have anything that he needed because he'd be living a lie.
Swallowing hard, he forced himself to sit up and face Coulson. "Ga... Garrett found me when I was fifteen..." He then proceeded to tell Coulson everything that had happened, starting with his actions that had led to him being in Juvie, to Garrett finding him and leaving him with Buddy. He told it all, up until the day Garrett retrieved him. Swallowing again, he began to tremble. "...When he came to get me that day...to take me to the academy...he told me who he really worked for. Who I would really be working for, since I was his and I'd do what he told me..."
Coulson listened to Grant without interruption, his hand resting on the side of his boy's neck. He was beginning to suspect what Grant was about to say, but he didn't press on it, instead letting his thumb stroke gently over the younger man's pulse point, looking encouragingly into Grant's eyes. "Who?"
Grant somehow managed to keep his eyes up and on Coulson's, even though he wanted to hide his face in shame and avoid seeing the accusation and disappointment in the older man's face. "...HYDRA..." he finally forced out, his voice tiny and scared. Now would be the time that Coulson realized what a viper Grant really was and would either personally eliminate him or arrange for him to be contained and out of the way of all decent people.
Coulson didn't act angry or disgusted. Letting his thumb continue to stroke over Grant's pulse point, he asked softly, "Garrett believes in HYDRA's ideals...do you?" He let his other hand rest gently on Grant's cheek, almost cupping the younger man's face.
Grant let out a disbelieving huff of air, not quite a laugh and not a snort. "Garrett doesn't believe in their ideals. He believes in what they can give him if he helps them. If he thought it'd be more profitable to him, he'd turn on them as easily as he turned on me..." His eyes took on a hurt look at remembering how little he actually meant to the man he'd viewed as a father for so long. "...And no. I don't believe in their ideals either. I only joined them because Garrett told me to..."
Coulson nodded, still keeping in close physical contact with Grant. "Thank you for being honest with me, boy," he said, his voice quiet and laced with affection and fondness. "You never have to worry that I'd turn on you. Telling me this doesn't change anything about how I feel about you. How much I want you."
Grant blinked at the calm acceptance and affection. He couldn't help but wonder if Coulson realized exactly what he was admitting to. "You heard me, right? HYDRA is still around. John joined them, and I joined them as soon as he retrieved me? They've been around since Captain America went into the ice? They've infiltrated SHIELD..." He paused as a second thought occurred to him. Maybe Coulson wasn't acting all that worried because he'd already known...and he wasn't acting upset about it because he was HYDRA too... in which case, Grant's willingness to tell on them could have just earned him a bullet between the eyes.
Swallowing, he schooled his face into a neutral position, not wanting Coulson to realize he'd figured it out (if that's what was what was really going on). He couldn't stop his heart from racing, though, as he mentally went over all avenues of escape, just in case.
"Grant, I've come to terms already with the fact you were hiding something from me," Coulson said. "I understand the implications. I'm going to contact Fury and pass on what you've told me, but I will be keeping you out of it." Stroking Grant's pulse point, he continued, "Keeping this from me was effectively a stronger betrayal and I will be punishing you for it...but only a spanking. Over my knee. With my hand. And I'll forgive you. I'll pull you tight to me. Because I care about you. I want you. And I love you."
Grant blushed at Coulson's matter-of-fact and so gentle, it almost wasn't, chiding. "Of course, Sir. I should have thought of that..."
He didn't comment on Coulson's promise of another spanking. He deserved some type of punishment for being foolish enough to join the evil group (even if it was only because of Garrett) and if Coulson felt spanking would be effective, who was he to question it? It wasn't as if the older man didn't see his high pain tolerance and witness the fact he hadn't responded over much to the first spanking.
He had to comment on one thing, though. "You love me?" He sounded skeptical. "How could you love me after everything wrong I've done?"
"Many of the poor choices you made were because you were manipulated and controlled into following the lead of someone who was not a good man or role model." Still cupping the side of Grant's face, Coulson continued, "I realised how deeply I cared about you when I saw the way Garrett treated you. And now you're my boy. So, yes. I love you."
"I'm sorry, Sir..." Grant said quietly, looking uncomfortable. "...I'm not really sure I know how to love..." He didn't want to say something like 'I love you' unless he was certain.
Swallowing, he shifted. He was still sitting bare...on Coulson's lap. "Should I get dressed while you let Fury know what's up? I can give you some names..." Now that he'd confessed, he was eager to tell Coulson everything. And he was beginning to feel embarrassed at being naked.
Coulson gently stroked over his pulse point. "Names would help, but you don't need to get dressed yet." He picked up the blanket and draped it carefully over Grant, so that he was warm while still being vulnerable.
Grant gave Coulson a tiny smile, his gaze dropping toward the ground. He tugged the blanket around his shoulders, but didn't move otherwise. He was still sitting on a Coulson's lap. It felt odd sitting on the other man, especially when he wasn't wearing pants, but it seemed Coulson wanted him to stay like this and he didn't want to argue. "When you want me to talk..." he said softly.
Coulson gently stroked over Grant's pulse point and then wrapped his arm tightly around his boy, accessing his comm and informing Fury of what he'd learned.
"Garrett's been questioned," was Fury's response through the comm. "He's claiming the responsibility is entirely Ward's."
"A HYDRA agent is going to say anything to divert suspicion from themselves," Coulson was quick to point out.
Grant sat quietly, not wanting to interrupt, but it was difficult, and his pulse was rapid the longer he listened to Coulson's side of the conversation. He'd already offered to name names. He wouldn't speak unless Coulson asked. It felt like the best thing to do.
Coulson felt the more rapid beating of Grant's pulse and he gently and reassuringly stroked a finger down the younger man's face even as he said to Fury, "I have Ward with me in a safe house, as I was concerned about his safety where Garrett's concerned. He has some names you need to look into."
"Then tell him to fire away," Fury said.
Coulson gave Grant an encouraging smile and nod.
Grant swallowed and nodded. "The ones I know met with Garrett on HYDRA business were Jasper Sitwell, Brock Rumlow, Senator..." Grant's list of names was impressive. Garrett hadn't even realized he knew half of them, so hopefully, that would work in their favor. Even with Coulson stroking him, attempting to keep him calm, Grant was highly agitated by the end of his recitation.
Coulson had pulled Grant closer to him by the time his boy had finished the list of names, stroking and caressing in a soothing, reassuring manner. He quickly checked with Fury that his friend didn't need anything else and then wasted no time in wrapping his arms tightly around Grant.
Grant wasn't used to all the physical affection and part of him felt he should pull away- not be weak- but Coulson had claimed him fairly quickly and very thoroughly as his. Would Coulson be upset at him pulling away? Especially when what he was doing was actually working to calm Grant down? The older man had given him rules. Was one of them that Grant wasn't allowed to pull away?
He couldn't remember and decided to test. Slowly, reluctantly, Grant pulled out of the embrace and made to stand...put some distance between him and his new owner- handler- damn it, he wasn't sure what Coulson was. Boss just didn't seem to fit.
Coulson gently but insistently pulled Grant back to him, settling his boy on his lap once more. "I know you're not used to being held...touched...cared for in this way, but as mine, I'm not going to hold back on caring for you." He let his hand linger over the pulse point in Grant's neck.
Grant swallowed and found himself relaxing enough to allow his neck to be more firmly against Coulson's hand, inviting the older man to grip him more tightly there if he decided to. He shivered slightly, though, pulling the blanket a little closer around his shoulders and letting the remainder fall over the rest of him (and Coulson's legs) like a tent. The blanket may have helped with his feeling vulnerable, considering he was still naked and Coulson was fully dressed, but since he wasn't sitting on the blanket and could feel the material of Coulson's dress slacks against his bare backside, it didn't help that much. He felt exposed and vulnerable and scared...and he'd never felt safer. The contrasting emotions were making it difficult for him to maintain his aloof demeanor...were making it difficult for him not to give in to the young boy still inside of him that craved an adult to take care of him and correct him and love him in a way that didn't hurt.
He swallowed again and whispered, "I'm not allowed to pull away when you have me?" He winced as his voice came out nervous, uncertain and unfortunately hopeful. Did he want Coulson to say he wasn't allowed? That he had to sit wherever Coulson put him and accept the affection, no matter if it made him nervous, because deep down, he wanted it? He was so completely confused, and he couldn't afford to be confused. Not after everything that he'd confessed. The only thing keeping him from being thrown into a deep dark cell and waiting for execution was Coulson. If Coulson turned out like everyone else who'd ever claimed to care about him, he had to be ready for when the man changed his mind and turned on him.
Coulson gripped his neck, but gently and very carefully, so Grant wasn't hurt; like he might hold onto something infinitely precious and fragile. Because that was what his boy was to him. Someone precious to be protected and looked after. Coulson let his other hand stroke over Grant's cheek. "I won't let you pull away from me, boy. I won't hurt you. I won't let go of you. I'm not like Garrett. I'm not going to suddenly turn on you and hurt you. I'm not going to change. I'm going to stay consistent. And I'm still going to love you."
Grant slanted his head slightly; not enough to dislodge Coulson's grip, or move away from having his face caressed, but in a quizzical manner as he thought about Coulson's words. "So... I'm allowed to try and pull away if I need to, but I won't succeed..." he finally determined. "Okay...I... that makes sense..." he said quietly and gave Coulson a tiny smile.
Coulson pressed a gentle kiss to his boy's forehead, unable to help but keep giving affection. "I will also be very clear about what I expect and what will get you into trouble. I won't ever just spring a spanking on you," he promised.
Grant blinked at the kiss, but found it didn't bother him. He was becoming used to Coulson being handsy; kissing him was just another aspect of that and he was beginning to realize that he didn't actually mind it. It was comforting, after all the upheaval and uncertainty of the last several weeks. "Thank you...I... I don't want to be bad or weak or anything that will upset you...knowing what you expect will help me be good..." he muttered, remembering all the times he'd messed up and got on John's bad side because Garrett hadn't been overly clear in what he wanted or expected and Grant had guessed wrong.
"You are not 'bad' or 'weak' and even if you do something naughty, that won't make you either of those things," Coulson promised. "I won't ever pull the rug out from under you and do something you don't expect. And I'm not going to stop touching you or being affectionate with you, even if that's something I have to hold back on until it's just us," he added.
Grant bit his lip. "You don't think I'm bad or weak? Even though I was hiding things from you? Even though I joined HYDRA?" He swallowed hard, yet again. "...I... I kinda like you touching me..." he admitted, in a tiny voice, before blushing.
"No. Not bad or weak. And we'll deal with the naughtiness." Coulson then smiled at Grant's admittance and stroked gently over his pulse point. "I like touching you too. Being affectionate with you. Demonstrating that you're mine." He let his other hand continue stroking and almost cupping his boy's cheek.
Grant gave a bashful look to Coulson. "I'm yours..." he agreed verbally, before asking hesitantly, "Does...does this mean you're my Master?" Grant wasn't naive. He knew what belonging to Coulson normally would mean; knew what type of relationship was normally implied for him to belong to Coulson. But Coulson also didn't tend to follow normal patterns; Grant certainly hadn't expected to receive a spanking for the betrayal of spying on the older man (let alone a spanking for being a member of HYDRA and keeping that from Coulson for so long). It was highly possible Grant was misreading the cues and Coulson didn't mean what Grant thought he meant at all.
"Not in the strictest sense of the word." Stroking the side of Grant's face, Coulson continued, "Yes, it's like a dominant and submissive relationship...but it's also about wanting to take care of you. Look after you. As a son as much as a submissive."
Grant thought about that. "I don't know if my viewing you as a father figure would be a good idea. I hated my father; he hated me first, but...and Garrett...he...I..." Grant shrugged faintly. "I don't have very good memories or luck with father-figures..." he said softly. "You really want to look after me?" He forced himself to look up into Coulson's eyes.
"I do," Coulson confirmed, gently tracing over the pulse point in Grant's neck and holding the side of his face. "And I wouldn't ever hate you. If you're worried...you've just told me you were working with HYDRA. And I still want you. I'm not going to hurt you. I'm going to spank you, but that's about pulling you towards me. Not harming you."
Grant nodded carefully. "I believe you..." he whispered and gave a hesitant smile. "...I still don't understand how spanking is a punishment, but you're in charge..." He cleared his throat.
"I don't think you've ever had someone punish you in a way that was about teaching rather than pain." Coulson gently squeezed the side of his neck; very careful not to harm or risk cutting off Grant's breathing, but dominant all the same.
Grant half-closed his eyes at the gentle pressure and raised his chin up a bit so that his neck was more exposed. "You'd be right..." Grant agreed easily. It wasn't like it was something he could hide. Coulson knew about his history now and he'd witnessed first-hand Garrett's form of correction.
Coulson kept his hand there, still gently squeezing, letting his fingers stroke lightly over the more exposed part of his boy's neck. "I don't want to cause you pain," he murmured. "I don't hurt someone I care about...someone I love."
Grant swallowed again. He couldn't seem to stop swallowing; it was becoming an almost nervous habit. He had to ask, "...How do I learn if the lesson doesn't hurt?"
Coulson continued the gentle affection, stroking Grant's neck and his cheek. "I've had you here, with me, for less than a day; and you're already letting me see more of you than you ever did before."
Grant blinked. "I'm yours now...it seems wrong somehow to keep hiding myself..." he admitted. He didn't know what to say about the fact he had so easily moved over into being Coulson's. He'd been Garrett's for so long, but Coulson was right. Garrett had never really valued his loyalty. It was almost a relief when Coulson had seen and had the other man arrested. Almost because the part of him that had been loyal to Garrett for fifteen years felt like he was being disloyal and shirking his responsibilities by not fighting for John.
Coulson nodded, gently pulling Grant in closer to himself, even while he continued the gentle touching and stroking. "You told me that what hurt was being reminded that you'd betrayed me and the team. I don't need to harm you to make you think if you're naughty."
Grant blushed. "Betraying you was worse than naughty..." He sounded sad. "...But that was what hurt most. It...it hurt inside, where the smacks didn't reach..." He took a quick breath and blinked, suddenly fighting tears as he was reminded of how much wrong he'd done. He didn't see how a spanking would make any of that better.
Coulson pressed another kiss to his boy's head. "I've forgiven you for that betrayal, boy. You aren't bad. And you chose to question Garrett's actions. You knew he was wrong and you tried to stand up to him." He gently touched Grant's stomach. "It hurts I couldn't get there in time to protect you. That I couldn't protect you any of the other times. But I've got you now. I won't let you get hurt again."
"I don't deserve your forgiveness..." Grant muttered, shifting to hide his face against Coulson's shoulder. "If I'm not bad...and I can't help but think I am... but if I'm not bad, then I must be the naughtiest, sorriest boy you've ever had the misfortune to run across..." he huffed unhappily.
Coulson let his fingers gently stroke the back of Grant's head and neck. "Coming across you isn't a misfortune, boy," he said, his tone warm with affection. "I'm glad I have you."
Grant giggled slightly. "You don't deny that I'm the naughtiest boy you've met, though..." he couldn't help but tease.
Coulson smiled as he said fondly, "I'm sure there are naughtier boys out there...the difference is that you're mine."
Grant looked up again, smiling crookedly. "And you plan to teach me not to be naughty..." He blushed again at the term, as it made him feel very childish. Then again, this whole situation had made him feel like he'd lost fifteen years in age. He felt like the same scared kid that Garrett had pulled out of juvie. The only difference was, Coulson actually planned to stick by him and teach him instead of letting him sink or swim.
"I do," Coulson agreed, gently squeezing the side of his neck again. "I'm going to teach you. Look after you. Protect you. Love you..."
"I hope I don't disappoint you..." Grant sighed. "When...?" He swallowed again nervously. Agreeing to submit to Coulson and be his 'boy' was one thing. Actively asking to be punished (even if it didn't really hurt; shouldn't it hurt more?) wasn't something Grant felt capable to do.
"I'm not going to be disappointed in you," Coulson promised. He squeezed Grant gently to himself, kissing his head, and then moved his boy across his lap, adjusting Grant's position so there was no friction.
Grant blushed at the fact Coulson even had to consider friction when taking him in hand. That shouldn't have happened. He wasn't a randy teenager and he normally had much better control over himself. The fact that it had happened was still a bit of a shock to him. He didn't fight or try to place himself. As soon as Coulson had him in position, he put his hands forward onto the ground so that he could help hold himself in place.
Coulson stroked one hand gently over Grant's lower back and then moved that hand up to his boy's neck, so he could stroke and rub over the pulse point. He lifted his other hand and brought it down in a firm swat at the crest of Grant's backside, then repeated the smack.
A tiny hiss of breath was the only acknowledgement Grant gave that he'd felt the smack. He shifted his head, though, trying to make easier access to his neck. Something about the possessive affection eased any fear he had that Coulson didn't mean what he was saying.
Coulson kept his hand on Grant's neck, stroking over his pulse and gently and carefully squeezing enough to put a dominating pressure on him, while his other hand landed firm smacks down to his boy's thighs before starting over from the top again. "I know you only joined HYDRA because you felt that you owed Garrett, but you know they were the bad guys and that Skye getting shot was only the least of the amount of people they could hurt."
"I... I know, sir..." Grant shivered, not wanting to think of all the people who had been hurt under John's orders. How many of those were due to HYDRA and not SHIELD? There really wasn't much difference in their methods, but the reasons for what they did? He shivered again.
"You are not Garrett's anymore; and you are not HYDRA's, either," Coulson said firmly, continuing the spanking, even as he continued the gentle affection. He had another idea in mind...one he thought might pull Grant very firmly to him. He watched Grant's reactions very closely. "You're mine," he continued. "My boy. Even when you're naughty."
"I was never HYDRA's!" Grant protested feebly. "But I'm not John's anymore. I'll never be his again." Grant wished there wasn't the hint of sadness in his tone that was there...but he'd spent half his life under Garrett's control, so he guessed it was natural. Coulson's words were making it difficult, even if the smacks weren't doing much to alter his thinking.
Coulson heard and understood the note of sadness in Grant's voice and he gently stroked his neck. "I know that's daunting, but I promise you aren't alone." He very gently began to move his boy, so he could settle Grant face-up over his lap, adjusting his position enough to raise Grant's legs to further expose him.
Grant wasn't sure what Coulson was doing, but he let himself be maneuvered. Once he was lying face up, his back supported by Coulson's legs and his own legs drawn up as close to his chin as he could get them, he let his head fall back. His throat was completely exposed, along with his entire lower body.
The sense of vulnerability was staggering, and his body began to react in much the same way it had when Coulson first spanked him. He shot a scared and extremely vulnerable look toward the older man, his eyes wide and pleading for help.
Coulson reached out, stroking the side of Grant's face and over his pulse point in his neck. "Don't be scared," he murmured. "I've got you. You're my boy. I won't let you go, or get angry or disgusted."
Grant searched Coulson's gave, staring into his eyes. He could tell the older man was being honest...truthful with him. He wasn't angry or disgusted, even though Grant was reacting to the punishment in a way that he didn't think he should be. And he could see that he was Coulson's boy; the look of love and affection in the older man's gaze was proof of that. And somehow, realizing that changed everything. The arousal died a swift death that left a confused, embarrassed boy in its wake. "I'm sorry," was all Grant could think to say.
Coulson gently squeezed the side of his boy's neck. "You don't need to apologise for that," he said gently. "I love you. I've got you." Stroking Grant's cheek, he began to smack again with his other hand, not swatting any harder than previously.
"I... I'm not sure what you did, but I don't think it will happen again..." Grant whimpered, still obviously ashamed, even if he couldn't help it and Coulson said it was okay. He bit his lip and let his head fall back again, neck stretching and open to Coulson's grip. He whimpered again. Something about this position made it harder to ignore the pain of the swats, even though Coulson wasn't smacking terribly hard.
While he swatted, Coulson continued to gently stroke Grant's pulse point and gently squeeze his neck. He didn't stop touching his boy, whether it was smacking his backside or possessively touching and stroking his neck.
Grant felt himself relaxing due to the gentle stroking and squeezing of his neck, feeling himself fall more open and vulnerable to Coulson's ministrations. At the same time, his whimpering increased in tempo and pitch. Something about being on his back let the swats sting more. Something about feeling Coulson's eyes on his face and being able to look into the older man's eyes just by lifting his head a few inches made everything feel more...
"I've got you...my boy..." Coulson murmured, his hand stroking and squeezing Grant's neck, possessive and dominating. "You've been naughty, but you're forgiven now. A second chance. And I have you."
Grant turned his face so he could look up toward Coulson without moving the other man's hand. For the first time in forever, he felt safe and wanted. He felt owned and while it wasn't a surprise to him that he liked that feeling, it was a surprise how much he wanted it to stay. He wanted to be Coulson's boy. "...'m your boy..." he agreed, his voice wobbly as tears pooled in his eyes. "...'m yours f'ever..."
Coulson smiled at the words, stroking and caressing. "My boy," he repeated. "I'm not ever going to let you go. You're safe. I have you."
Grant blinked, the tears sliding down his cheeks. So much had happened in the last few hours and the biggest of which was Coulson making him his...he belonged to someone who cared about him and would take care of him. Even if that care was to punish naughtiness. "...'m sorry..." He whimpered and squirmed slightly.
"I know. I've already forgiven you." Coulson stroked his neck. "I love you." He was still swatting, focusing more smacks to Grant's sit spots and thighs.
"It hurts..." Grant whimpered again, this time sounding a bit surprised. He opened his eyes wide and lifted his head enough to look in Coulson's eyes again. "It really hurts..." He wriggled his bottom some more and sniffled.
Coulson paused the swatting and began to gently rub his boy's bottom and thighs, gently squeezing the side of his neck. "My boy," he reiterated.
"Yours..." Grant sniffled again, the squirming slowing as Coulson began to rub. "...I belong..." He let out a short bark of laughter, then he repeated it, his voice wobbly with tears. "I belong..."
Coulson gently stroked and rubbed his boy's bottom, soothing the heated skin slightly, and let his fingers put gentle pressure against Grant's exposed throat. "You belong to me, boy."
"I belong to you, sir..." Grant agreed quickly and more easily than he would have thought possible even as early as that morning. "Yours...your boy..." He choked on the words, a tiny sob escaping. The rubbing felt good. How did he deserve good?
"My boy. I won't ever let you go." Coulson continued to gently rub, fingers gently stroking the areas he'd been smacking, lightly but possessively squeezing his neck.
Grant shivered and closed his eyes so he could focus on the feeling of Coulson rubbing and squeezing. Tears continued to stream down his face, even though he was feeling safer and more secure the longer Coulson handled him.
"I love you," Coulson murmured, stroking and caressing. Squeezing and touching. "It doesn't matter what happened before. I've forgiven you. And no one is going to hurt you. No one is going to take you away from me."
"Promise?" Grant's voice quivered as he lifted his head up again to look at Coulson, the position of his head making him light-headed.
"I promise." Coulson reached out and picked up a pillow, carefully placing it under his boy's head so Grant didn't need to strain so much.
Grant gave Coulson a grateful smile and let his head drop back again to rest on the pillow. "Because you...care about me."
"Because I love you." Coulson gently squeezed the side of his neck. "Because you're my boy."
"You love me..." Grant whispered and swallowed, his throat moving against Coulson's hand. "...You love me and want to be my...my..."
"I want to be your father," Coulson finished. "Your protector." His thumb gently stroked over Grant's pulse point.
Grant swallowed again. "What should I call you, sir...?" If Coulson really meant to be his father, it didn't feel right to keep calling him by his last name; unless that's what Coulson requested.
"If you ever felt comfortable enough to call me a variation of 'Dad', it would make me happy," Coulson said. "But until or unless you do, whatever name you feel comfortable with."
"I don't have good memories with that word..." Grant whispered. "...But if that's what you want, I'll use it; at least when it is just us. Maybe the word can get some good memories to go with it." He wriggled a little. "In public, I'll just call you Vader..." he teased.
Coulson stroked the side of Grant's face, raising his eyebrows. "Vader?" He knew Star Wars, of course; but wasn't certain why Grant thought of it in particular.
Grant grinned. "He's a pretty bad ass father..." His teasing answer didn't give much information. He knew Coulson would look it up eventually.
Coulson's smile was warmed through with affection as he gently rubbed over Grant's pulse point. "Whatever you feel comfortable calling me."
Grant quivered and swallowed again, shifting to press his neck more firmly into Coulson's hand. "I belong to you. You...you want to protect me and teach me and take care of me... you love me." His voice was uncertain as he tried to find words to explain. "Y… you say that's what a father does. You've already forgiven me for the unforgivable..." He smiled crookedly. "You want me to call you some form of dad... I want to make you happy with me..." His voice was nervous and almost childlike. "I can't use father or dad...f…for reasons." His gaze dropped, but not before Coulson could see long buried hurt in his eyes. "I... if it's not too childish to you and I only use it when it's us." He paused and looked up again, obviously nervous, even if his pulse didn't increase in speed. "I could call you daddy..."
Coulson's smile grew, and he stroked Grant's neck, putting more pressure behind the touches. "That would make me very happy," he said quietly. "And I am happy with you...you're my boy. I love you."
Grant's smile was more at ease when he heard those words. Coulson wasn't offended or disgusted by what could be perceived as childishness. Coulson hadn't been offended or disgusted by any aspect of Grant, even the unintended arousal, and seeing the proof of Coulson's acceptance helped Grant relax further. Still...
"I'm sorry I was on the wrong side for so long. I'm sorry I didn't tell you immediately when I realized you were a good guy... I'm sorry I betrayed you so many ways..." He sniffled and looked away, embarrassed to find himself crying. "I know you forgave me already. But I'm sorry I disappointed you..." he ended, in a whisper that was heartfelt and very repentant.
Coulson leaned over and pressed an affectionate kiss to Grant's forehead. "I have forgiven you," he whispered. "And I'm not disappointed in you. You've let me in and I promise I won't ever betray your trust or make you regret becoming mine. My boy."
"Thank you..." Grant whispered, as he gave Coulson a grateful smile. He hadn't moved since Coulson put him into position and he realized; he'd been much more open and honest in this position than ever before.
Coulson gently squeezed the side of his neck. "I've got you, boy. You're mine and I'm not letting you go."
Grant smiled again, pressing against Coulson's hand. "...Yours..."
Coulson let his other hand cup Grant's cheek, almost cradling it. "I love you." His voice was soft, the words intense and filled with affection.
Grant bit his lip, not able to say the same back- not yet- but it still felt good to hear it. He believed Coulson.
"I... I know...Daddy..." He tried the new form of address out hesitantly...uncertainly. It surprised him that it didn't feel as wrong as he had been sure it would. Maybe it was alright because that had been the one term he hadn't been allowed to use, so it wasn't tarnished by bad memory.
He squirmed a little. The position he was in wasn't uncomfortable exactly (he'd stayed in various positions without moving, in harsh climates, for hours at a time, after all). But it was emotionally draining to be so exposed while the one in charge of you was nice. He was still having a hard time wrapping his head around the fact Coulson would show affection interspersed with discipline that only stung, instead of using punishment that would leave him having difficulty moving for the rest of the day. Coulson wasn't doing anything but caressing his face at the moment and gently holding his neck. Did that mean his punishment for betrayal was over? He didn't know how to ask.
Coulson smiled, clearly very happy at hearing the name from his boy, and gently stroked Grant's cheek. "Is there something you need to ask?" he prompted gently, noticing the squirming and that his boy seemed a bit hesitant.
"Is...am I...?" Grant blushed. "Is the punishment over?" He had a hard time believing he didn't deserve worse for his crimes.
"This isn't about hurting you to unbearable levels or making you unable to walk right afterwards," Coulson replied gently. "The punishment is over. Now we focus on us."
"It's over?" Grant couldn't keep the nervous surprise out of his voice. "After everything I did wrong?" He slowly, carefully lowered his legs. It would be easy to put them back in place if Coulson told him to; even easier to smack the fronts of his thighs if needed. He was too busy being confused to hold them in place.
"It's over." Coulson gently stroked the fronts of Grant's thighs. "No more punishment. You're completely forgiven."
Grant hadn't truly cried during any of the punishment. While it had hurt, it hadn't been unbearable. He found himself crying at Coulson's show of mercy and forgiveness. Loud, body shaking tears that caught him by surprise and left him frightened and aching with an unnamed need.
Coulson wasted no time in quickly wrapping his arms around Grant's body, stroking his hair, face and neck. "I've got you. You're my boy," he whispered.
"But I was bad...I was so bad...Don't deserve to be yours... don't deserve to be loved." He continued to cry hard, even as he grasped onto Coulson desperately.
"Yes, you do." Coulson wrapped his arms tightly around his boy, gently stroking Grant's hair and chest. "I love you."
Being held so tightly went a long way to helping Grant calm. The words of love helped as well...but it was the consistent affection that helped the most. The gentle rubbing of his chest had him stretching out so Coulson could rub more. "Yours..." Grant sniffled.
Coulson responded by continuing to stroke and rub over Grant's body, hugging him tight to himself. "Mine," he repeated. "You're mine. I won't ever let you go."
Grant found himself relaxing, his crying little more than whimpers. Those were interspersed with tiny moans of pleasure. He wasn't used to kindness. He wasn't used to gentleness. He found himself craving more. "Yours..." he repeated, even as he shifted to follow Coulson's hand.
Coulson gently stroked and squeezed Grant's arms, chest, shoulders, neck, legs...every part of his boy's body, he paid gentle, affectionate attention to. He moved his hand to Grant's neck, squeezing gently and possessively.
Grant whimpered and moaned softly, his eyes closing slightly, giving him a sleepy look. "...Belong to you..." he whispered softly, his limbs going loose, exposing every part of him to Coulson's ministrations. He wanted to be touched...owned...by the older man. His breathing was more rapid and the sounds he made, more needy. He didn't know how to ask for what he wanted...needed...fear of being misunderstood holding his tongue.
"You do." Coulson continued stroking, touching, caressing, his voice an intense whisper. "Every part of you belongs to me." He adjusted Grant's body, enough to allow him to touch and stroke more intimately.
As Coulson began to touch, to control him, making the ownership more intimate, Grant let out tiny whines of need. It felt good... right... he felt a momentary panic that he would become aroused again, but somehow, he was able to focus on who was making him feel so good and what he knew of Coulson's intentions. "...All of me...yours..." He sighed softly.
Coulson let one hand gently settle on Grant's neck, gently stroking the pulse point and squeezing the side of it. His other hand continued touching and stroking over his boy, putting a bit more pressure behind the touches, gently squeezing Grant's thighs.
Grant looked into Coulson's eyes, pressing his neck more firmly into the older man's hand. His whole demeanor made it clear who he belonged to. His body was becoming more and more sensitive, flushed and warm. He wriggled to seek more attention.
Coulson's entire attention was focused on his boy, gently gripping Grant's neck, stroking his chest, stomach, legs...all over Grant's body.
"Yours..." Grant whimpered again, carefully bringing his legs up toward his chest again, exposing his bottom. "...Always yours..."
"Mine," Coulson reiterated firmly, beginning to gently stroke and rub over his boy's bottom, gently squeezing.
Grant shivered and let out a tiny, satisfied sound that might have been confused with a purr. "Thank you, daddy..." he whispered, in a quivery voice, before wiggling his bottom.
Coulson smiled, warmly and affectionately, the name making him happy each time he heard it. "I love you. My boy," he reiterated firmly, stroking and rubbing and squeezing and caressing.
"Feels so good..." Grant whispered, in a dreamy voice. "...You treat me so good..." Grant swallowed hard. No one had ever been so gentle with him before. So loving and caring. So controlling in a non-painful way.
"This is how I will always treat you," Coulson promised, gently holding his neck; stroking his bottom and thighs. "No matter what happens...you don't ever have to be scared or worried that I'll hurt you."
Grant slanted his head back, exposing his jugular again. "Even if I deserve it?" he asked, his voice shaky and needy. He felt very sensitive now.
"You wouldn't ever deserve it." Coulson stroked down Grant's neck, tracing over the hollow in his throat. "Being mine means I look after you. Take care of you. Protect you. Love you. Not hurt you. Never hurt you." He gently stroked over Grant's inner thighs.
"And being yours means I obey you... and don't hide anything from you... and am honest about everything..." Grant whispered, his voice shaky.
"Exactly," Coulson replied gently. "And you let me take care of you. Even if there comes another time I have to punish you, it will be the same as you've already experienced. I won't ever let you go. Even if you do something else naughty, it won't change anything."
Grant's stomach flipped at the promise. "I'll try not to be naughty..." He smiled crookedly.
"I know. You're my good boy." Coulson gently squeezed the side of his neck.
Grant smiled at that, pressing into Coulson's hand. "I want to be..."
"You are," Coulson promised, pressing a kiss to his forehead. "We've dealt with that naughtiness."
Grant almost shook from the praise and promise that he wasn't to be punished for the same mistake anymore. Like a puppy looking for its master's approval and love. "I'll be your good boy...Daddy..." Grant looked up at the last, having noticed Coulson reacting positively toward the term and wanting to make him happy.
Coulson smiled and wrapped his arms tightly around Grant, kissing his head. "I love you. My boy," he whispered, his voice quiet but very happy.
Relieved that he'd done the right thing, that he hadn't upset Coulson and that- unlike every other 'father' relationship in his life- he wasn't going to be beaten for wanting affection, Grant just slumped against Coulson. His whole body was hyper-sensitive from the caresses and squeezes. As he snuggled as close as possible, bringing himself up so that he was sitting on Coulson's lap instead of laying on it, burrowing tightly against the older man (and forgetting in his quest for closeness that Coulson hadn't given him permission to move), he couldn't stop shivering.
His body was reacting without his permission again, but instead of apologizing once more for something Coulson hadn't got upset about, he just shifted so at least that part of him was protected from stimuli. The fact that his entire body being so sensitive was what caused the reaction didn't dawn on him. He'd never been in a situation where he'd been treated so lovingly before...he'd never felt this sensitive. He blushed darkly, wondering when his body was going to stop acting like a young teenager's and getting turned on at 'absolutely nothing'. What the heck was wrong with him?
If his body had never been that sensitive before, he'd also never felt this wanted and cared about before. By anyone. Tears slid from his eyes as he realized Coulson had to really mean what he'd said. He'd finally found himself someone who wouldn't hurt him; that he could feel good about obeying without question; that he could feel good about belonging to; that he could feel safe giving everything to and know it wouldn't be used against him, wouldn't be used to abuse.
All at once, he realized his position and that he'd moved without permission. Tensing up just enough that Coulson would realize he'd realized his mistake, Grant whispered, "I moved without you telling me to. I'm sorry, sir..." He shifted just enough to hide his face against Coulson's neck, while exposing his own throat, belly and intimate area in submission, like a wolf rolling over for the Alpha.
Coulson gently stroked over Grant's neck and down over his chest and stomach. "You don't have to ask my permission to move unless you're being punished," he said. "Or unless I tell you not to move for whatever reason." He pressed an affectionate kiss to Grant's head, hugging his boy as tightly as he could to himself.
Grant whimpered, but relaxed at the knowledge he wasn't in trouble for moving. Garrett would have left bruises if Grant had done that with him. Then again, he would never have been holding Grant in this way. Feeling a bit more secure and wanting to show that he heard and appreciated, Grant nuzzled into Coulson. His emotions were all over the place. When he whimpered out, "I love you," it was just as much a shock to him as it had to be to Coulson.
He'd never allowed himself to get close to people because he'd known he'd end up betraying them. Now that the secrets were out, apparently his emotions decided they wouldn't be denied any longer. The fact that, deep down, he knew it was the truth and not a spur of the moment attempt to get on Coulson's good side was even more shocking. He blinked, his eyes wide and uncertain as he repeated, in a hesitant whisper, "I love you..."
Coulson smile was instant and filled with affection at the words and he tightened his embrace around his boy, kissing his head again. "I'm so glad..." he whispered. "I love you, Grant. You never have to worry about turning to me for any kind of affection."
"You won't get tired of me asking?" Grant's smile was crooked and a tiny bit impish. "Whenever we're alone, you're liable to end up with me on your lap if you don't set limits..." This time, his smile and tone were entirely impish. The feeling of complete acceptance, love and belonging he felt at the moment was something he wanted to feel again and again.
Coulson gently cupped Grant's cheek. "I'm not going to set any limits, boy. I'm never going to stop you from sitting with me like this. Never going to get tired of you asking for affection." He gently squeezed the side of his boy's neck.
Grant sniffled, tears falling freely down his face. "Thank you..." he choked out, before throwing his arms around Coulson and holding just as tightly. "Thank you for rescuing me and being my Daddy." He left unsaid his thanks that Coulson was willing to take over controlling him. Directing him. Dominating him. The fact Grant was scared not to have that was fairly self-evident, so Coulson providing it? Eased the fear so Grant could function.
Coulson hugged Grant tightly to himself, kissing his head yet again. He didn't say that he wished he'd got to Grant sooner, even though that was the truth. What he said was, "You're mine. I won't let anyone harm you. I'll protect you and keep you safe."
Grant just nodded silently and nuzzled against Coulson. He believed the older man completely.
Coulson stroked Grant's hair and said softly, "We'll be here for a few days, barring any emergencies. I think it would be a good idea to get some sleep. You'll stay with me...don't worry about cuddling. I'm quite happy for you to sleep as close as possible."
"It...it isn't weak?" The nervous, hopeful tone in his voice gave away his desperate need for affection and to not be let go. More clues that he'd never been given that before.
"Not to me," Coulson replied, still continuing the gentle affection. "I want to keep you close to me. I don't want to let you go."
"I want to stay with you..." Grant admitted, in a tiny voice. "I want to wake up with you still having me..."
Coulson smiled and stroked the side of Grant's neck. "I want that too, boy."
Grant gave Coulson an almost bashful smile, then impulsively leaned forward and kissed the older man on the cheek. "You saved me..." he whispered, before carefully standing on shaky legs and waiting for Coulson to lead him to bed.
Coulson stood, snagging the blanket on the way, and wrapped his arm around his boy's waist. "I love you," he reiterated, kissing Grant's cheek before leading him through to the bedroom.
Grant followed Coulson's lead meekly. He didn't try and take lead even once, choosing instead to press close to the older man like a toddler not wanting to leave their parent's side. Soon though, they were in the bedroom and Coulson had drawn down the covers, indicating Grant should get in.
Grant had quickly obeyed and waited for Coulson to get comfortable and crawl in too.
Coulson settled onto the bed and then quickly reached out to wrap his arms around his boy, pulling Grant in close and tight and kissing his head.
Grant let out a happy humming sound as he snuggled as close as possible, nuzzling against Coulson's chest. It didn't take long, the feeling of complete safety and being loved allowing him to quickly relax; the stress of the previous week as well as the physical effects of being spanked and then given physical affection causing a bone deep weariness. Grant was asleep within minutes of Coulson pulling him into his arms.