Learning The Ropes

Title: Learning the Ropes

Disclaimer: We own nothing from DC Comics or the movie Justice League

Summary: Clark finds a way to get through to Bruce using less force and pain. Sequel to New and Different

Warning(s): Spanking; spoilers for the whole of the movie Justice League; D/s relationship; sandpaper as an implement; AU

Authors: BlackFox12 and Hope1iz


Bruce held onto Clark tightly as they flew toward Clark's childhood home. The week of imposed rest, care and stillness had ended the night before and Bruce had fully expected Clark to pack him up and send him home, so he could be with Lois. Unfortunately, she'd been sent on assignment early this morning and the only way Clark could be there was if he flew with her, which he hadn't. If he showed up now, thanks to his being Superman, it would have raised more questions than could be easily answered.

Even so, Bruce hadn't expected Clark to tell him to call his assistant and have her reschedule any meetings he had to the end of the week and take the next three days off. Bruce had almost balked; he did have a job, after all, and -in charge or not- Clark needed to remember that. The problem was, Clark looked like he was thinking of something important and needed to talk and Bruce was afraid the Kryptonian had changed his mind about being Bruce's Dom. And if Clark told him they had to end, Bruce would need those extra days to get his feet under him. Why they were going to the farm, Bruce hadn't a clue.

Clark came in for a landing, very careful to make sure his charge didn't get hurt or even so much as bump himself. He'd had plenty of practice; and just like with Lois, he was as careful with Bruce as if he was made out of glass.

"Mom's out." Clark didn't let go of Bruce as he guided his little one into the farmhouse. "We have a bit of time and space to talk privately."

"When will she be returning, Sir?" Bruce asked curiously, as he let himself be led. He liked Martha Kent. She was kind and caring and hadn't held his actions against her son, against him at all. He liked to think his own mother would have been that way if she'd lived.

"Later on, this afternoon." Clark led his little one into the house and to the living room, sitting on the couch and gently drawing Bruce down to sit next to him, wrapping his arms around Bruce to hold him close and tight...as tight as possible without hurting him.

Bruce glanced at Clark uncertainly. If Clark wanted to end things, he wouldn't be snuggling Bruce. Would he? Allowing himself to relax, Bruce put his head on Clark's shoulder. "Did you have something we need to talk about?" He winced as his voice sounded nervous and timid.

"Yeah, little one." Clark let his fingers run gently through Bruce's hair. "I interviewed someone earlier. Another person in the lifestyle. The interview wasn't about that, but I put two and two together. Came up with four." Still gently stroking Bruce's hair, he continued, "You know what to expect when you disobey me. When you put yourself in danger. But I also know you have a high tolerance for pain...and I don't want to risk causing you bruising or otherwise lasting harm."

"Are you...do you want to...?" Bruce swallowed. "Please don't give up on me..." Bruce finally settled on, his voice worried. "I'll do better, so you won't need to worry about hurting me!" he added, close to promising.

"I'm not giving up on you. I would never give up on you," Clark was quick to reassure him. "I love you. You're my little one. I'm your Verndari. This is about knowing how to meet your needs. Remember, this is new to both of us. We're still feeling our way around this."

At Clark's words, Bruce completely relaxed, not able to do anything but believe his Dominant. "Yes, Sir." He swallowed. "I'm sorry for worrying..." He snuggled some more. "I need you, Verndari..." he admitted in a whisper.

Clark kissed the top of his head. "I need you too, little one," he murmured. Continuing to just stroke and touch over his charge, Clark continued, "The woman I interviewed mentioned using sandpaper just before a spanking. To make the skin more sensitive without the need to use too much force or strength when spanking."

Bruce wrinkled his nose in a mix of bafflement and curiosity. "Wouldn't that make scrapes? Or make the skin more...raw?" He swallowed again. He could handle a lot of pain, usually welcomed it. He didn't mind if that was the outcome, but it didn't really seem like Clark's goal.

"It doesn't need to be done that hard to make you more sensitive," Clark answered. "I did some research. It doesn't need to cause scrapes to be effective."

"It just makes me feel it more when you spank me? So, you don't have to smack as hard to get the same results?" Bruce glanced up. That sounded exactly like something that would be a goal Clark would have.

Clark nodded. "My goal is to look after you. Keep you safe. Protect you. It's not about causing you unbearable pain. If it doesn't work the way it's meant to...that's why we have a safeword. Why we'll talk anything new through and both agree to it before putting it into practice."

"You think it will work, though?" Bruce asked quietly, looking up at Clark.

Clark gently stroked his cheek. "I think, if you're okay with it, it's worth trying. With the understanding that pain is not the end goal. You need to promise me you'll use your safeword if you need to. You're my little one. I couldn't live with myself if I hurt you." He still struggled with the guilt from hurting Bruce after he'd been brought back.

Bruce could see the worry and guilt in Clark's eyes and hated that he'd put it there. "I'm willing to try. And I'll try not to get so lost in my own head, I don't pay attention if I need to safe word..." he promised.

"Good." Clark gently stroked over Bruce's back, lightly patting his backside. "I'm glad I have you, little one. Thank you for trusting me to take care of you."

"I should be thanking you for taking care of me..." Bruce's grin was wry. "Is that all we needed to talk about?"

"Do you have any worries or concerns?" Clark asked directly. "We've been in this relationship for a week now...I can continue to reassure that I won't give up on you. I will always be your Verndari. Is there anything I can do that would help to reassure you?"

Bruce shook his head before hiding his face against Clark's chest. "No, Sir...I don't think so, anyway..." he said softly. "You're doing everything right...if I think of something, though..." He left unsaid that he'd immediately tell Clark.

Clark gently stroked Bruce's hair, closing his hand around his little one's wrist, gently stroking his thumb over the pulse point. "I don't ever want to get anything wrong with you," he whispered. "You trust me to do right by you. I'm never going to break that trust."

Bruce blushed and smiled, looking years younger. "I know, Verndari..." he whispered. "I trust you."

Clark gently squeezed his wrist as he asked softly, "Do you trust me enough to try out the sandpaper, without high emotions being involved, so we know what it'll do, little one?"

Bruce shivered slightly in trepidation but nodded. "Yes, Sir. I trust you..."

"I won't ever hurt you," Clark promised, kissing his head. "And if it's too much, you know you can stop me." He carefully shifted Bruce, so he could run out to the shed and retrieve some sandpaper.

Bruce blinked as suddenly, he was sitting on the couch alone. "That is really unnerving. I'm so glad I'm his and not an enemy..." he muttered in amusement.

Clark was back in a couple of seconds, next to Bruce. "You'll always be mine," he murmured, having heard the muttered comment. He placed the sandpaper on the couch next to him and then gently moved Bruce over his lap, settling him in place and holding him there with an arm wrapped around his waist.

"I'm very glad of that. I'd never let anyone I didn't belong to control me like this..." Bruce chuckled. He shifted till he was comfortably in place, trusting Clark to keep him secure and safe.

"You're safe with me, little one." Clark kept his grip on Bruce tight and secure as he divested his charge of his pants and underwear. He gently and comfortingly stroked his back and then picked up the sandpaper. He was very careful as he began to rub the sandpaper over Bruce's backside, making sure it was very light and soft, making sure he wouldn't scrape his little one.

Bruce winced and couldn't help but begin to squirm immediately. It didn't hurt at all. It didn't hurt, but it was very discomforting; like fingernails on a chalkboard.

As this was more of a test to make sure the sandpaper wouldn't be too painful, Clark didn't rub very long with the sandpaper. He put it to one side and began a gentle patting over Bruce's backside, watching his charge's reactions carefully.

The gentle patting was almost a relief. Almost. Just the short period of using the paper had made his backside sensitive enough that Bruce began to whimper by the third pat. Again, it didn't really hurt; but the over sensitivity made it difficult to ignore. Bruce could handle pain. He didn't know how to handle this agitation to his bottom (and he really didn't know how else to view it. It was an agitating sensation). He whimpered again and squirmed, tears springing to his eyes because he didn't know how to handle the sensations. "Verndari..." he whimpered helplessly.

"I've got you, little one," Clark whispered. "You're here. With me. I love you." He continued the gentle patting, his other arm wrapped tightly around Bruce, holding his little one close and tight against his stomach so he wouldn't fall.

It was the words of love, along with the feeling of being held so securely, that did him in. Bruce began to cry, vocally. He wasn't in pain. He wasn't feeling guilt. But he felt sensitive...exposed...and the only one able to help was Clark. So he cried and reached back with one hand, hoping for Clark to take it and hold him in place.

Clark took hold of Bruce's hand, stroking and squeezing it, continuing to gently pat a few more times before he just began rubbing his charge's backside. "You're mine, little one," he whispered, his voice intense. "Mine for always. I'm never going to let you go."

"Yours always..." Bruce continued to cry softly. The tears weren't distressed...were more a release of emotion than anything else. He couldn't help but let out a tiny, satisfied moan when his Dom began to rub his bottom. The possessive action was comforting in more than one way.

Clark continued to gently rub and stroke Bruce's bottom, his other hand still holding his charge's, gently stroking over the pulse point in Bruce's wrist. "It makes me happy that you've accepted me as your Dom...as your Verndari," he said softly. "I love you. I'm glad you're in my life."

Bruce slowly relaxed at the gentle rubbing until he was completely limp over Clark's lap. His bottom was still sensitive, but it felt so good, he didn't want Clark to stop rubbing. He didn't want to pull his hand away, the rubbing of his wrist contributing to the feeling of safe 'belonging' he had. "Love you, Verndari...my protector..." he whispered.

Clark didn't let go of Bruce's wrist and only adjusted his little one's position enough to make sure he was comfortable. "My little one," he murmured, his tone low and possessive, as he continued to rub and stroke.

Bruce moaned and whimpered softly, feeling lethargic and out of control; feeling completely controlled by Clark and safe because of it. The rubbing felt so good and only the knowledge that neither he nor Clark were interested in making their relationship sexual enabled him to control himself enough not to slip into arousal. It was very close, though; his tone made that obvious. He felt good.

Clark could tell that it was close, but he knew that this wasn't about sex for either of them. Yes, he loved Bruce...loved his little one...but it was protective and caring, rather than sexual. "I've got you, little one," he repeated. "I won't ever let you go or drop you."

"I know..." Bruce whispered, his voice almost a slur. "...Trust you... won't hurt me... won't let me fall..." And Bruce truly believed that. Clark wouldn't let him fall...physically, at least. Bruce was finding it very difficult to focus on anything but the sensations Clark rubbing was causing. Finding it difficult to do anything but lay there and accept what was being done. It was a little scary; but as it wasn't harming him or painful, he didn't think using the safe word was appropriate. "Verndari..." he slurred even more, showing how he was losing his ability to function on his own. He was dropping fast.

Concerned, in case he was pushing Bruce into a headspace the other man wasn't ready for, Clark stopped rubbing, though he kept his hands on the other man's body. "Bruce..." he called to him softly, wanting to give his little one the chance to use the safeword if he needed to.

Bruce whimpered softly and didn't move, lying limply over Clark's knee. When it finally registered that Clark had stopped rubbing and had called to him, he blinked, then whispered... "Sorry, Verndari...wa...wasn't trying to ignore you..." He sounded sleepy and almost drugged.

"I know." Clark gently squeezed his wrist. "We're heading into new territory again, little one. I need to know you're doing okay." His voice was low and affectionate.

"...Scary." Bruce sounded more young and innocent than he ever had in Clark's presence. "...Trust you...you keep me safe..." He snuggled and didn't move. He was willing to keep moving forward and show his trust. Even if it scared him, he knew Clark would protect him from anything bad.

"Always, little one," Clark promised. "I love you. I'll protect you. Keep you safe." Very carefully watching Bruce's reactions, he resumed the gentle rubbing, ready to stop if his little one got too overwhelmed.

Bruce hummed softly in response, more of a moan, and gently squeezed Clark's hand in response. He hadn't fully come out, so when Clark resumed rubbing his overly sensitive bottom, it didn't take long to return to the semi-coherent 'blissed out' state he'd been in. And it took only slightly longer for him to lose coherency completely. The only responses and sounds he was capable of making were the soft moans and whimpers of surrender. He was boneless. Incapable of moving without Clark being the one to move him.

Clark was careful not to push Bruce too much or too far, just stroking and rubbing. Touching and caressing. Each touch was infinitely gentle. Clark held back completely on his strength, knowing how fragile his little one was in comparison to him.

Eventually, even the small bit of fear Bruce had at falling into such a totally vulnerable state left him. He was pleasure, sensation and surrender. He was Clark's. He wasn't aware of anything but the hands providing security and comfort. Even the soft cadence of Clark's voice served to keep him under; he certainly wasn't comprehending words.

Clark only spoke soft, soothing words that indicated Bruce was his; that he would always look after and protect him. He kept hold of his little one, making sure there was no risk of falling...at least physically.

Every so often, Bruce would squeeze Clark's hand, as if seeking reassurance subconsciously.

Clark responded, squeezing and gently rubbing. Eventually, though, he began to slow the rubbing, speaking a bit less softly, starting to pitch his voice at more of a conversational level.

At first, Bruce didn't react to the change in rubbing or tone, but soon, he began to stir, listening to Clark's voice and trying to focus on the words.

Clark let his hand rest gently on Bruce's lower back; not rubbing, but still just touching his little one. "That's it. Come back to me," he encouraged gently.

Bruce's grip on Clark's hand tightened as he slowly became more aware of his surroundings and realized what had occurred. "Verndari..." he whispered, almost nervously. He wasn't certain what to say or do. Part of him felt like he should apologize.

"I'm here. I've got you," Clark responded immediately, gently squeezing Bruce's hand. "You don't have to be worried, little one. What just happened is normal."

"It is? You don't mind?" Bruce still seemed a little woozy and unfocused, but he was quickly becoming more coherent.

"Not at all." Clark's voice was low and reassuring. "I would never mind when you need something."

Bruce gave Clark a tiny smile. "I didn't expect to react that way," he said softly.

"Being unexpected doesn't mean it's bad." Clark gently ran his fingers through Bruce's hair.

"No... I... I think I liked it..." Bruce admitted shyly.

"I did too," Clark said. "I liked that you felt comfortable enough to let go with me."

Bruce smiled again and wriggled slightly. It was a bit unsettling, holding conversations while still laying over Clark's knee...but it also helped remind him of his place in Clark's life, so he couldn't complain.

"How are you feeling?" Clark asked gently, wanting to make sure Bruce felt he could be honest and open with him.

"A little unsettled," Bruce admitted reluctantly. "I... I didn't know I was able to let go like that..." he whispered.

"I know it's a scary sensation," Clark said softly. "Is it something you feel like you need to avoid in the future?"

Bruce swallowed hard, but gave the question serious thought. "No..." he finally said, in a shy tone. "It was scary, but I knew you had me. I... I've felt safe with you since you made me yours, but now...I feel safer and like I'm more yours...if that makes sense." He paused. "Is it wrong, you think? To want to belong to you so completely?" he whispered.

"No. Not at all," Clark replied. "I want that too." Stroking Bruce's lower back, he continued, "When you accepted me...the first time you called me your Verndari...it made me happy. I want to be that for you. To look after you. No matter what."

"I want that." Bruce relaxed over Clark's knee and sighed softly. "I... if it brings us closer together, I think I'd like if you took me under again," he admitted. He squirmed a little. "The sandpaper seemed to work too...you weren't smacking that hard, but it was...I couldn't brace myself against it the way I normally do with the harder, more painful swats..." he said quietly.

"Thank you for being honest with me, little one," Clark said softly, still gently rubbing Bruce's back. "I noticed the sandpaper made you more sensitive...if it means I don't have to be so stern with you, it's good." He let his hand move down a little lower, gently rubbing Bruce's bottom.

Bruce shivered and wriggled at the rubbing, surprised when his bottom was still a little sensitive. Whimpering softly, he let himself go boneless. "It works," he said softly.

"Good." The very last thing Clark wanted was to risk bruising his charge. He continued the gentle rubbing as he said, "I don't want to cause you too much pain. I know how much stronger I am compared to you. I know how much care to take when handling you."

Bruce whimpered again. "Everything feels more..." he said hesitantly. "It feels more and for longer..."

"How does that make you feel?" Clark probed gently. "Is it too much?"

"I... I don't think so..." Bruce said uncertainly. "I don't know..."

Clark's fingers gently stroked over the pulse point in Bruce's wrist, still continuing to gently rub his bottom. "You're safe with me," he murmured. "I've got you..."

Bruce whimpered again, but noticeably stayed still. The sandpaper had made him sensitive. The gentle spanking hadn't taken long at all to break through his barriers. The rubbing had sent him under, though, and now - even though the reprieve had allowed the sensitivity to calm- now that Clark was rubbing again, the sensitivity was returning double; and the hyper-awareness of his position and Clark's complete control over him was beginning to overwhelm him. He didn't want it to stop. At the same time, he felt like he was going to start sobbing for no really good reason and didn't want Clark to worry. "Verndari..." He choked back a sob, whining softly.

Clark paused, hand resting gently on Bruce's backside, pausing to give his charge the chance to safeword if he needed to. "I'm here, little one," he murmured, his voice low and reassuring. "I've got you. I love you."

Bruce visibly quivered and took a deep breath, trying to regain a small amount of control over his emotions. "You have me," he repeated, in an effort to calm himself.

Clark replaced Bruce's clothing and then gently moved his charge onto his lap instead of over it, hugging him tightly. "I love you, little one," he whispered reassuringly. "And I'm not going to let you go."

Bruce curled up on Clark's lap and hid his face against the other man's chest. "Love you, Verndari...need you so much..." he whispered, snuggling as close as possible.

Clark kissed the top of his head. "I know. And you'll never have to do without me," he promised.

Bruce remained on Clark's lap, pliant and snuggling like a child. He didn't even attempt to get up when he heard Martha's truck on the drive.

Clark held Bruce tightly to himself, but he also heard his mother's truck in the drive. "Do you want to stay sitting like this, little one?" he asked softly, in case Bruce wanted to pull back when it wasn't just them.

"Will...will it bother her?" Bruce asked. They'd already determined that Lois and Alfred needed to know, especially if Clark and Lois moved into Bruce's mansion. Martha wouldn't be living with them, but it would be easier if she knew. At the same time, he didn't want to upset Clark's mom.

"No." Clark gently stroked his wrist. "And it would, more than likely, make things easier."

"Then can I stay here?" Bruce asked for permission softly. Martha was family as much as Lois and Alfred and he felt family should know. Everyone else, no... but family, yes.

"Of course, little one," Clark answered without hesitation. "You don't ever have to ask for permission to sit with me like this. Or for a hug. Or any kind of affection."

Bruce snorted softly, his voice sheepish. "Never thought I needed affection like this," he admitted quietly.

"I never thought I'd need someone in my life as much as I need you," Clark said.

Bruce couldn't help but smile. He couldn't understand why Clark needed him as much as Bruce needed him; it wasn't as if Clark wasn't well liked and needed by nearly every person he met. But he said he needed Bruce and Bruce believed him. He snuggled closer to Clark, ignoring the sound of the opening door and footsteps coming their direction.

Clark tightened his embrace around his little one, looking up with a quick grin as he spotted his mother walking into the room. "Hey Mom."

"Hello, Clark...Bruce." Martha smiled at the two men. "Are you going to be staying here long?" She took the sight of them cuddled on the couch entirely in stride. It wasn't like she hadn't seen Clark's care and affection for the other man.

Bruce smiled crookedly at Martha before looking at Clark for his decision. It was obvious Clark was in charge.

"For the next few days," Clark answered with a smile. He didn't say that it might be longer, depending on how he and Bruce did.

"You're welcome to stay as long as you want, of course," Martha said. "Are either of you hungry?"

Bruce glanced at Clark again, but decided his Verndari would want him to answer this honestly himself. "Yes, Ma'am, I am..." His voice was soft and deferential.

Clark's smile grew wider at Bruce's honest answer and he tightened his embrace around his little one as he answered, "Yeah, Mom, me too. You need a hand?"

"I think I can manage. And you both look quite comfortable," Martha added. "I'll settle for you giving me a hand with the cleanup afterwards, though."

"Sure." Clark nodded his agreement.

"Of course." Bruce was quick to agree. He gave Clark a sheepish smile and snuggled a little more.

Martha gave both of them a maternal, affectionate smile and walked through to the kitchen to begin preparing the food.

Clark wasn't inclined to let go of Bruce any time soon, tightening his arms around his little one...though he was very careful not to risk hurting him.

Bruce wasn't sure how long he sat snuggling close to his Dom, but when Martha came to the door and told them the food was ready, he carefully stood up. He waited for Clark to lead him in.

Clark wrapped his arm around Bruce, leading him into the dining room and making sure he was settled before sitting himself.

Several days had gone by and Bruce was getting restless. As good and right as it felt to submit to Clark...allow the other man to take care of and protect him...it was nearly two weeks of an enforced bedtime, healthy eating and not taking chances. Bruce had never thought he was an addict to unhealthy living, but apparently, he was, because the itch to sneak away and find a bad guy was so strong, he'd found himself looking at the door more than once while watching TV. It didn't help that his secretary had called to tell him his meeting had been postponed yet another week because three necessary board members had come down sick. Clark had decided that meant another week learning their new positions was in order.

The package from Lucius Fox, with new Bat Gear to try out (repelling, from the looks of it) was a life-send for the danger-junky inside of him. He conveniently left the folded letter of instructions (he knew how to use repelling equipment!) on the floor, or he would have read that it was meant for quick release and re-attachment and he should use safety equipment, have a spotter and not go too high off the ground until he had learned the controls enough not to accidentally detach from a sky-scraper and forget how to stop his descent.

Ignoring the note, he waited until Clark was on the phone with Lois and snuck out of the house, intending to head to the abandoned Luthor factory. It was at least five stories tall.

Clark was on the phone to Lois, but it was almost second nature to keep his hearing open in case he was needed by Bruce. Therefore, he heard the front door open and then close. Knowing his mother was out and wouldn't be back for at least another couple of hours, he quickly said goodbye to Lois (ignoring her probing question about if he needed to check on Bruce) and headed out of the room.

He quickly noticed the paper on the floor and picked it up, reading the instructions at a glance. Immediately, his concern grew, and he sped out of the house after his charge.

Bruce had barely opened the car door and was about to toss the package on the passenger seat when Clark was there. He was glad no one else was around to hear him shriek like a little girl at being startled. Giving Clark a nervous, if irritable look, he asked, "Is Lois okay? I didn't think you'd finish talking to her so soon..."

"I heard the door," Clark replied evenly. "Where are you going?" He glanced at the package, but didn't immediately indicate he knew what was in it.

Bruce grimaced, glancing at the package longingly, then faced Clark. "I was heading to the abandoned LuthorCorp building to test out my new repelling gear..." He used the past tense since he had a feeling he wouldn't be going anytime soon, now that Clark had caught him.

Clark held his hand out. "Come inside, little one."

Bruce sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "I'm really tired of being in the house, Clark..." he said, a bit sullenly. Which wasn't really Clark's fault. It had been raining non-stop the last few days and the sun had only come out about an hour before he'd got his package.

"I know," Clark replied gently. "But the weather hasn't made it easy to do much of anything outside. I know you've been restless and feeling cooped up, but that isn't a good enough reason to sneak out behind my back." He took a deep breath. "And I found those instructions you discarded. Did you read them? Did you know they were advising you to be careful?"

Bruce at least had the grace to look sheepishly guilty at the questions, even if his demeanor became more prickly. "You were on the phone and I didn't want to disturb you just to ask if I could practice with my equipment. I figured you'd not mind my practicing, since it helps me be safer in the field!" he accused and deliberately ignored the other question of him reading the note. It was repelling equipment. What kind of warning could be there that he didn't already know?

Clark reached out and took hold of Bruce's arm; not hard enough to hurt, but tight enough to ensure his charge couldn't pull out of the grip. He sped them into the house, to the folded paper, and picked it up, beginning to read the instructions out loud while still keeping hold of Bruce.

Bruce tried to get his arm loose briefly, but he wasn't a fool and he knew Clark would not let go and would take exception to him hurting himself in an effort to get free, so he finally stilled and listened to the words. Inside, he felt all of two-inches tall and stupid. Apparently, this wasn't just 'repelling gear' and he likely would have been seriously hurt had he used it. He didn't know how it would be in his best interest to admit that he hadn't even thought of the possible danger, so he kept quiet, refusing to look at Clark.

Clark let his grip move to Bruce's wrist, gently stroking over the pulse point. "I need you to stop disregarding your safety, little one. It's no longer true that there's no one willing to pull you back when you cross over that line. I told you how much I need you...need you to stay alive. If I hadn't heard you about to leave..." He paused, emotion making his voice hoarse.

Bruce swallowed hard, feeling very guilty. It was difficult to admit how stupid he'd been, though. He hadn't meant to act reckless with his health, but as usual, he didn't think of possible ramifications to himself. That Clark had caught and stopped him in time was the only thing that had kept him safe and he knew it. He didn't want to admit it, though. So again, he kept quiet.

Clark, knowing his emotions were running too high to let him safely deal with Bruce's actions, put the paper down and gently led the other man to the corner. "I want you to stand here and think, little one."

"Claaaaark!" Bruce whined. It couldn't be called anything else. He whined...and then turned bright pink at realizing he'd just whined. Huffing softly to himself, he turned and faced the corner, letting his head fall against it with a loud thunk.

Clark let his hand shift gently to Bruce's shoulder, pushing the shirt down enough so he could gently squeeze bare skin. "No arguments, little one." His voice was firm...approaching stern. "You treated your life as if it was worthless again. I could have lost you..."

"I would have been careful..." Bruce whispered, not willing to argue more defiantly, because as true as his statement was, being careful wouldn't have saved him from an accident a lack of knowledge about the equipment might cause.

"But you wouldn't have known what steps you needed to take," Clark countered. "By not taking in the instructions, you could have ended up seriously hurt. Maybe even killed." He swallowed, and his breath hitched before he said, very quietly, "Your life is important. Your safety is important. And you're mine. Which means you don't have the right to take yourself away. It's not just you who you're living for now."

Bruce closed his eyes tightly at the words and the sound of his Verndari's voice. "No, sir, I don't have that right. I'm sorry..." His voice caught. If he'd just waited for Clark to be off the phone and asked permission, he wouldn't have upset the other man. Clark would have made sure he read the instructions and likely would have come with him as backup. Why couldn't he think of things like this sooner?

Clark gently squeezed his shoulder, as always careful to moderate his strength so he could comfort without risk of harm, and then stepped back, no longer holding onto Bruce...though he was close enough that his presence could still be felt.

Bruce hated being in the corner. It made him feel young, childish and only occurred when he needed to think; usually because he'd been thoughtless and hurt or upset his Dom. It was hard, but he managed to avoid pouting or making any sounds of disagreement. He stood quietly, eyes tightly closed, and thought about what he could have done- should have done- and could only think he was lucky Clark had caught and stopped him before he'd actually acted on his initial impulse.

Clark took advantage of Bruce standing in the corner to calm himself down and reassure himself that his little one was safe. He'd got to Bruce in time; and he didn't have to worry about losing Bruce. At least not today. He waited for a few minutes before saying quietly, "I know you were restless and frustrated, but those feelings are not an excuse for doing something so potentially dangerous. Nothing is a good enough reason for that...to risk taking yourself from me. Putting yourself in danger wasn't acceptable even before our relationship started, but it's even less acceptable now."

Bruce squeezed his eyes tight, surprised when tears slid down his cheeks. "I'm sorry, sir..." he whispered and finally admitted what he'd been avoiding admitting. "It wasn't deliberate...I didn't think. I just assumed that it was regular repelling equipment and I didn't need instructions. I should...should have waited. Asked your permission. You would have asked me to read them and I would have known then. I was thoughtless, but I didn't mean to risk taking myself away from you..." His voice caught on the last.

Clark might have left Bruce in the corner for longer, if it wasn't for the tears. He stepped back into Bruce's personal space, wrapping his arms around his charge and holding on. "I need to make sure you think next time," he said quietly. "That telling me becomes instinctual. Being your Dom is fulfilling your needs and mine...but I don't like punishing you any more than you like being punished."

Bruce sniffed back more tears and swallowed hard. "I know, sir...I'm sorry I made it necessary. It's hard to remember to ask...too used to doing what I want without anyone to tell me no. I'm trying to learn, though..." he offered hesitantly, not sure Clark would see it the same way.

"I know you are." Clark kissed his head. "But I'm afraid learning means getting punished when you do something naughty, little one." He gently guided Bruce over to the couch.

"Even if you stop me before I actually do it?" Bruce asked hesitantly.

"If I hadn't stopped you, you wouldn't have stopped yourself," Clark pointed out. He sat down on the couch and moved his charge across his lap.

"No, sir." Bruce sighed. "I wouldn't have..." he admitted sadly, reaching down and grasping Clark's leg.

Clark rubbed his lower back a moment or two and then bared him before reaching over to pick up the sandpaper.

Bruce started to whimper, but managed to stop half way through, the aborted sound ringing around the room pathetically. He clenched the muscles of his bottom nervously, but didn't argue or struggle at all. Clark was in charge of him; Clark wouldn't harm him; he needed to obey and submit. He needed to. Even if it was difficult.

Clark didn't immediately start in with the sandpaper, instead beginning to rub over Bruce's bottom with his hand, his touch light and gentle. "I'm not letting you go, little one," he murmured.

Bruce couldn't help but relax slightly when Clark began rubbing. It was comforting, the gentle touch, even though he knew the hand being gentle at this moment would soon be providing pain. Discomforting pain that, for some reason he couldn't ignore, though he ignored worse pain easily. "I'm yours..." he whimpered in response.

"You had no right to risk taking yourself from me," Clark said seriously. "No right to leave here without even taking the time to read those instructions and endanger yourself because you were tired of being cooped up inside. I would never have ignored you or refused to listen if you'd come to me the first time." He rubbed a little bit longer and then began to carefully rub with the sandpaper. As before, he made sure it wouldn't scrape the skin.

"I'm sorry, Verndari...it was wrong. I took rights that aren't mine anymore. I'm yours and you decide if I go somewhere. I'm sorry I was bad..." Bruce's voice quivered and then he choked back a tiny cry as he felt the sandpaper.

"No, not bad," Clark corrected. "You aren't bad, little one. And when you're naughty, we take care of that." Still being careful and gentle, he continued to rub with the sandpaper, but only for a few more moments before he put it aside and lifted his hand, bringing it down in a firm smack that he repeated.

Bruce wasn't surprised when tears were already sliding down his face from just feeling the sandpaper. It may not be as painful as actual swatting; but then, it wasn't about pain. Not with his Verndari. It was about control and about Bruce giving that control to Clark. It made his bottom so sensitive that every tiny touch was amplified...and he knew how painfully uncomfortable the swats would be because of it. But he held still and accepted it because his Dom, his Verndari, felt it was needed. Felt it would help him learn. And he trusted Clark, so he held still as every bit of his bottom, including sit spots and upper thighs, was readied for the discipline he had coming.

When the first firm swat landed, he couldn't hold still any longer. He'd thought he had an idea of what to expect from the initial test. He'd been wrong. Clark had only gently patted him with the test. Now? He was smacking firmly; the same steady force and tempo he always used when he needed to punish Bruce- and because of the sensitivity, Bruce wasn't able to hold himself still and stoic. He stiffened at the first smack and began to wriggle on the second.

Clark kept his grip on Bruce tight, making sure his little one wouldn't fall, as he continued the swats at the same strength down to his charge's thighs before he started over from the top again. Partway through the second circuit, he began to speak. "Even with my speed, I might not have been able to get to you in time if I hadn't realised you were leaving. I told you before that, if I'd killed you, it would have hurt badly...if I'd lost you today, it would have been a devastating blow. Enough to cripple me."

Bruce had already been crying before the swats even started, but when Clark spoke it caused what little control he had to disappear. He began to sob even as he wriggled. "I'm sorry Verndari...sorry! Didn't mean to be naughty... never wanted to take m'self way from you! So sorry!"

Clark never did get any pleasure from punishing his little one, even if dominating Bruce was something they both needed. All he really wanted was to stop the spanking...hold onto his charge...let him stop crying. The tears were like knives piercing through him. He tightened his hold on Bruce, though, forcing himself to begin a third circuit...a fraction harder and faster. "The days of you treating your life like it's meaningless are over, little one. You are mine. And I'm going to protect you. Keep you safe. Make sure I never lose you. Because I love you."

At the words of love, Bruce went limp and just cried, accepting whatever Clark decided to give him. "I love you, sir..." he whispered through the tears. He was limp and compliant. His bottom ached, the discomfort of the sandpaper amplifying the sting from swats that normally wouldn't have had him squirming until the third circuit, let alone crying. Clark hadn't needed to be as harsh and it had taken far less time for Bruce to submit. He didn't know if it was the sandpaper that had contributed, or if he was just becoming more used to belonging to Clark, but he supposed it didn't matter. He wanted to be held by his Dom and be told he was forgiven his mistake. He remained limp, crying softly. "I love you, Verndari..."

Clark stopped the spanking immediately and didn't waste any time in gently moving Bruce into his arms onto his lap, wrapping his arms tightly around his little one and hugging him tightly to himself. "I wish I could have been there for you before," he whispered, his voice low and intense. Full of feeling. "But I'm here now. I have you now, little one."

"You have me...I'm yours...can't run off and do stuff that might take me from you. Need to remember to ask you; you'll tell me if I can do something or if it's dangerous..." Bruce was talking to himself as much as making a promise to Clark. He pressed closer and hid his face against Clark's chest.

Clark wrapped his arms tightly around Bruce, gently closing his hand around his charge's wrist, gently stroking the pulse point. "I love you," he repeated. "You made a mistake, but you've been punished. I forgive you."

"How do I not make mistakes like that? I didn't mean to...how do I keep from making mistakes?" Bruce whispered.

Clark gently squeezed his wrist. "You're not used to being accountable to me, little one. It's the main reason for us spending this time together, so that you can get used to it. Even if you make a mistake...even if you're naughty...I take you over my knee. I spank you. You're forgiven. And we move past it."

"I want to learn to obey you without having to be spanked..." Bruce whined softly, pouting at what he viewed as weakness on his own part.

Clark kissed the top of his head. "You're smart enough to know that any behaviour has to be learned. We're breaking habits you've been learning for years. There are going to be setbacks. But those won't change anything. I won't stop being your Verndari. You won't stop being my little one."

Bruce sighed. "Yes, sir." He was very obviously holding as still as possible. His backside was still so sore and sensitive, he was afraid he'd start crying again if he shifted. And if Clark turned him over his knee to keep pressure off, he wasn't entirely sure he wouldn't drop. He was feeling emotionally vulnerable enough that it was a possibility. Not that dropping would be a bad thing, but he was being punished. Clark might view that as an undeserved outcome.

Clark noticed the stiff way his little one was holding himself and he gently stroked Bruce's wrist. "If I put you back over my knee, it'll help keep the pressure off your bottom," he said gently.

"I might slip, verndari. I'm being punished..." Bruce admitted hesitantly, but it was obvious he was waiting for Clark to decide.

"No, little one," Clark corrected gently. "You were being punished. You're not now."

"You won't mind?" Bruce asked nervously.

"Not at all." Clark gently stroked his wrist and then carefully moved Bruce over his lap, beginning to gently stroke his little one's backside.

Bruce began to relax as Clark rubbed. "Love you, sir..." he whispered.

"I love you. You're my little one," Clark murmured. "No matter what happens, that won't change." He continued to gently rub and stroke.

Between the sensitivity and the high emotion, it wasn't long before Bruce was limp over his Dom's knee, on the edge of falling. He was only holding on by a thread because he didn't want to do anything without Clark's direction or permission.

"Let go." Clark's voice was soothing. Reassuring. "It doesn't matter if you fall. I'll be here to catch you. I won't let you go. I won't leave you alone."

That was all Bruce needed, Clark's permission, before he went completely slack and quickly spiraled down. His whimpers moans and shivering indicated how out of control of himself he was, the unfocused glaze to his eyes showing how unable he was to pull himself back or stop any reaction his body might have. And it was obvious he wasn't able to protect himself. He had put his entire being into Clark's hands. Live or die, it was up to Clark.

Clark kept hold of Bruce, making sure he wouldn't fall. He spoke softly and soothingly to his little one, reiterating his love and concern.

Bruce wasn't able to focus. His entire being was one of sensation. His moans and whimpers became more breathy and he squirmed; not to get away, but because squirming enabled the other nerves of his body to feel, easing the nerves of his bottom so he didn't completely zone out. He was very close to zoning out. Clark's touch was like a drug by this point.

"I've got you, little one," Clark murrmured. "I love you. I won't let you go. I promise." He continued to gently stroke and rub, over Bruce's back and legs as well, shifting his clothes out of the way to expose more of his charge's bare skin to the contact.

Bruce slipped even further at Clark's promise of protection. His whimpers and moans were beginning to blend into one keening sound of need and his squirming became more focused as he tried to get every part of himself in contact with Clark.

Clark kept his hands stroking over Bruce's body, shifting his clothes even more, pushing his shirt further up and his pants further down, stroking and carressing. "You're mine, little one. I won't let you go."

Bruce whined, squirming, rubbing against Clark wantonly, eyes glazed and uncomprehending. "Verndari..." His voice was high pitched, if low in volume. His body had been shaking from the tension of over-stimulation and continued to shake; and then the shaking became faint spasms before Bruce just went slack again. He was unable to move or react to the over-sensitivity except to whimper, whine, moan, or cry softly.

Clark let the stroking and rubbing stop, though he kept his hands on Bruce's body. "I'm here, little one." He pitched his voice at a more conversational volume, to start drawing his charge back out to him.

Bruce slowly came back to himself, his eyes and focus becoming clearer. It was obvious when he was finally completely back with his Dom. His breathing hitched, and he began to cry softly when he realized how thoroughly he had lost himself to the sensations. "I'm sorry..." he whispered, guilt thick in his voice.

"No, little one," Clark replied firmly. "No apologies. You reacted because you relaxed enough to let go. It wasn't bad. Nothing to be ashamed of."

"But you don't...we're not...Lois...I don't want her to think I'm..." Bruce tried to sound assured of himself in pointing out why he should feel guilty for his reactions, but he only sounded confused and in need of his Dom to take over.

"You're not. I'm your Verndari...you're my little one," Clark said, hand resting gently on Bruce's lower back. "It's not unnatural that your body might have reactions you don't have control over, especially when I take you under. It isn't about sex. Or foreplay. It's about reacting to stimulus. That's all."

Bruce took a quivering breath as he listened to Clark. "You aren't upset?" he asked hesitantly. What Clark said made sense. He didn't have control of how his body reacted to stimuli when he let go and gave everything to Clark. He wasn't meant to have control; control belonged to his Verndari. If Clark wasn't upset, maybe he could stop feeling guilty for a natural response to something that felt good.

"I'm not upset, little one," Clark confirmed. "You don't need to feel bad about a natural reaction when you've given up that control to me."

Bruce was able to stop crying at those words, relaxing slightly. "You control all of me..." he admitted sheepishly, not sure Clark wanted that much control over him.

"I do," Clark agreed. "And I love you, little one. I need you as much as you need me."

Bruce relaxed completely at Clark's reassurance. He didn't need to be afraid or ashamed at whatever reaction his body had to whatever Clark did, because his Verndari not only had complete control over him...he wanted that control. If he started reacting in a way that Clark felt was unacceptable, his Dom could change whatever he was doing that brought about that reaction. The only thing Bruce needed to worry about was submitting. The only thing to be ashamed of was if he wrested control that wasn't his to take.

"I love you, sir..." he whispered, remaining boneless over Clark's knee. "I belong to you...all of me." The release he'd had while under Clark's hand left him tired and perfectly willing to just lay in place while Clark did whatever he wanted to him.

The End