Author's Note: This Penny Dreadful story is what I wish had happened between Ethan and Vanessa in Season 2 Episode 7 titled 'Little Scorpion'. This episode just screams 'spanking' to me. I know that I'm kinky, and that I view all movies, tv shows, and books with an eye for spanking, but this episode makes it easy. Most of the dialogue in this story (before the spanking) comes straight from the show with no alterations whatsoever. Penny Dreadful is on Netflix, and I highly recommend the first two seasons if you're into dark supernatural types of shows. The third season, not so much, due to the ending. And I suppose that might be part of what this story is also – a preemptive strike to alter the ending of the series. If Ethan had done this before things went beyond the point of no return, maybe things could have ended differently.
Author's Second Note: This story was written for the Holiday Bingo challenge over on the LiveJournal group spanking_world. It fills the square for 'Remorse'.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters, and I'm not making any money from this story.
Warning: Non-consensual spanking of an adult. Just to be clear, I don't condone non-consensual spanking in real life, but I love it in fiction.
Vanessa and Ethan had been hiding out at the little cottage for a few days, and the dark presence of evil hadn't invaded Vanessa's thoughts or dreams yet. She wasn't sure if that was due to the protective wards on the shack itself, their physical distance from London, or Ethan's presence. But whatever the cause, it put Vanessa on edge, because it felt as though she was simply waiting for it to find her again. The anticipation was almost worse than the feeling of it inside her. But she knew her friends and loved ones back home were working to find the source of the evil and kill it before it could find her. She simply had to have faith that they would succeed. But her faith in humanity was tenuous at the best of times.
Being at the cottage again after so many years had brought up all the old feelings of betrayal and hatred for the people who had murdered the original owner of the cottage, her friend, the Cut-Wife witch. Vanessa's loathing was especially vibrant for Sir Geoffrey, the man who had rallied the townsfolk against the old woman after she'd helped out so many of those same people during her years there. Back when Vanessa was young and in need of guidance the witch had accepted her into her home, taught her about the dark power that they both had inside them, and warned her not to use it. Months later the townsfolk had burned the witch alive in front of her, branded Vanessa with a hot iron, and warned her they would burn her too if she wasn't careful.
Ethan must have noticed Vanessa's melancholy, because while they were on their mid-afternoon walk he started trying to convince her that their friends back home would surely succeed in getting rid of the thing that was endangering her.
"We should call it what it is," Vanessa said halting in the middle of the wooded trail. "The Devil. Sometimes I just want to let it take me. Put an end to it."
"And then?" Ethan asked, knowing exactly what she was talking about.
"Then I would know why. Why this unending torment. I can't live forever violated. When I sleep, when I wake, when I pray. Those demons tearing into me. I once begged you to put a bullet through my heart, but you thought kindness to spare me. It was cruelty." She glared at the dirt under her feet.
With a frown, Ethan put a hand on her upper arm, and turned her to face him. He put both hands on her arms to hold her still. His eyes bored into hers and he said firmly, "You will not die while I'm here. You will not surrender while I live. If I have one God damn purpose in my cursed life, it's that."
"You are one man," she protested weakly.
"More than that, and you know it."
She did know it. She'd heard the distant inhuman noises after he'd walked outside on the night of the full moon and ordered her to bolt the door behind him. He wasn't entirely human. Neither was she.
"We are not like others," he said more gently. "We have claws for a reason."
Feeling just slightly better, she leaned towards him, and rested her head on his chest. She knew she should refrain from touching him after last night. They'd kissed, and she'd felt a surge of power like no other when their lips met. The intensity of that one touch was so overwhelming, that she'd barely been able to push him away. She'd meant what she said; they were dangerous together, but that didn't stop her from longing for him.
"Do you ever think what it would be like to be like other people? Normal people?" she asked softly.
"I try not to," he said with sincerity, holding her.
The sound of dogs barking startled them both into looking down the trail. Vanessa couldn't believe her eyes when Sir Geoffrey, the very man who had killed her friend, came riding up on his horse and stopped in front of them.
"My God so she's come back," Sir Geoffrey said, clearly as surprised to see her, as she was to see him. "The little quim with the witch," he taunted.
She watched his lips turn up ever so slightly as he saw the expression of pure unadulterated hatred she was giving him.
"And who the fuck are you?" Ethan asked, stepping forward.
"Got herself a man now does she?" Sir Geoffrey turned to him. "Mind your manners, lad. Know your betters when they address you."
The man's dog started barking threateningly at Ethan.
"One word from me and you don't have an arm anymore." Sir Geoffrey turned his attention to Vanessa as he spoke. "They know how to behave. Do you know how to get a dumb animal to behave? You feed it with your own hand. You don't let anyone else do it. You feed them, or you don't. You let some of them starve so the others see, so they know their lives depend entirely on your will. Learned how to behave yet, bitch?"
"That's enough." Ethan stepped forward again, but stopped when Vanessa put a hand on his chest.
"Not hardly lad." Sir Geoffrey said without taking his eyes off Vanessa. "Maybe I'll come visit you, huh? Bring a match and start another fire. Young flesh burns best." With those words he galloped past them and his dogs followed.
After a few seconds, Ethan asked, "Are you alright?"
Snapping out of her momentary stupor, Vanessa replied curtly, "I'm fine," and started walking swiftly back to the cottage. She was thankful that Ethan kept his distance and remained quiet as he followed her home, because the only thing she could concentrate on was her desire to see an end to Sir Geoffrey's wretched life.
As soon as she stepped into the cottage, she started making the evening meal for them automatically, barely noticing what she was doing with her hands as her mind considered all of her possible options. Her eyes darted to the spell book on the shelf several times while she cooked. The Cut-Wife had warned her about that book, and Vanessa knew if she used it, there was no turning back. But maybe giving in to her true nature, giving in to the darkness that was always there under the surface, would be a relief. Maybe that was to be her fate no matter what path she chose.
Once the food was ready, she dished it up, and set two plates on the table. She sat, and her eyes met Ethan's for the first time since Sir Geoffrey had annihilated the small measure of peace she'd found from being at the cottage. The sympathy that she expected was there in Ethan's expression, but a healthy dose of suspicion was there as well.
She picked up her spoon, and pushed the food around on her plate. He left his spoon where it was and said, "I know what you're thinking, Vanessa. Don't."
She looked him in the eye and said, "I swore one day I would see him again, and be avenged."
Ethan shook his head. "You don't need his soul on your conscience."
"I can live with that guilt," she assured him.
"No you can't," he said sternly. "That's not who you are."
"Of course it is," she snapped, and put her spoon down. "Stop looking at me with those eyes and see me for what I am!"
"Is that what she would want?" He asked while leaning towards her, clearly getting angry. "Your friend? One more step into darkness. For what? Her memory?"
"Justice." She stood up and turned away from him.
"What are you gonna do? Kill him? Sneak up and cut his throat? Is that what you're gonna do? You do that and you won't be able to stop. So stop now!" he smacked his hand on the table to emphasize his point.
She turned back around, slapped both of her hands on the table and leaned in close to hiss, "I'll stop when his soul is burning. Like hers was."
He shoved his chair away from the table, and stood abruptly, startling Vanessa into taking an involuntary step back.
With barely contained rage he said, "I can't live with that." He grabbed his jacket and hat. "I won't." He moved towards the door, but then stopped long enough to glare back at her. "And don't worry, I see you for exactly what you are." With those words, he stormed out, and slammed the door behind him.
Breathing hard, she heard his footsteps stomping away from the cottage, and almost went after him, but then her eyes darted to the spell book again. She wrenched her eyes away, went to the table, and scraped the food from the plates back into the cooking pot for later. Needing to get away from the book's influence, she went upstairs to change out of her nice dress, and into her lounging attire. After that she washed the dishes, and cleaned up a bit, but the book kept calling to her incessantly. As the night started to fall, her dark urges became harder and harder to stifle.
Then she had a horrible thought. What if Ethan is on his way to kill Sir Geoffrey? As soon as the thought was in her head, she knew without a doubt that it was true, and she didn't even want to resist the darkness inside her anymore. She picked up the spell book reverently, knelt down on the floor, and gently opened it up. It was as if the book itself knew which spell she wanted, and opened to the exact page, begging to be used. Vanessa put her shaking hands on the pages, and let the darkness swell up inside her. The words of the devil started coming out of her mouth as she willed the spell into existence.
# # #
It hadn't taken Ethan long to find out where Sir Geoffrey lived, because he was the richest man in town. If Vanessa wanted this disgusting man dead so badly, then the man would die, but Ethan refused to let it be by her hand. He crept onto the man's property, and crouched down behind a small cement wall that only came to his knees. He saw the dogs milling around near the front door, and assumed it was close to feeding time. He got out his gun, cocked it, and waited.
A few minutes later, Sir Geoffrey came out with a plate of food that was clearly not enough for four adult dogs. It was barely enough for one. Ethan felt nothing as he aimed at the man's chest. He'd killed too many men to count, and this man was worse than most of the others he'd dispatched. Before he could pull the trigger, the man's dogs started growling and barking menacingly at their owner, even though he was still holding the food.
Ethan watched with shock as all four dogs attacked at the same moment, pulling Sir Geoffrey down, and trying to tear the man apart with their teeth and claws. Instantly understanding that Vanessa was causing this, even if he didn't know how, Ethan leapt over the little cement fence, and rushed into the fray. The dogs completely ignored him, too intent on their task to pay him any heed. Sir Geoffrey couldn't speak, because one of the dogs had him by the throat, but his eyes begged Ethan wildly for help.
Ethan took aim and shot Sir Geoffrey in the forehead, ending his torment prematurely. The dogs continued to rip the man into pieces, while Ethan turned and walked away. With every step he took towards the cottage, he thought of Vanessa and what she had attempted to do. By the time he arrived he was more dedicated than ever to proving that he could and would protect her at all costs, even when that meant protecting her from herself.
# # #
Vanessa had collapsed once the spell was completed. She lay on the floor beside the book, and wondered what the Cut-Wife would think of her now. She doubted the old woman would have anything nice to say, she never did. But just maybe she'd brought the old woman's soul some peace.
Soon Vanessa started to shiver, and pushed herself up. She closed the spell book carefully, and set it back on the shelf where it belonged. The cooking fire had died down, so she went and built it up to warm the small cottage. She pulled one of the chairs away from the table to sit next to the fire and waited for her protector to come home.
Tilting her head to the side in thought, Vanessa realized she had no fear about the inevitable confrontation. She knew he would be angry, she knew he wouldn't approve of her actions at all, but that didn't matter, because he was devoted to her. He wouldn't leave her, he wouldn't harm her, and he'd stand beside her, no matter what she became.
She heard his footsteps outside, and rushed to open the door. The second their eyes met, she could feel his displeasure, and it made her shiver. He walked past her into the house, and she shut the door behind them. He moved slowly, put his gun and hat on the kitchen table, sat down in the chair beside the fire, and finally looked up at her.
"You were going to kill him," Vanessa said with certainty.
"I did kill him," Ethan corrected.
"The dogs attacked, but before his life had drained away, I put a bullet between his eyes."
"No," she whispered, not wanting to believe it. "That can't be true," she muttered, but even as she said it, she knew he hadn't lied.
"I just saved you from being a murderess, and you don't want to believe it?" he snapped. "I suppose that's what you learned here, isn't it? From your nice old lady friend. How to kill babies. How to kill men. How to lose your soul piece by piece."
"You had no right," she said.
He stood abruptly and walked up to her until they were less than a foot apart.
"I had every right." He glared down at her. "Do you know what it is to walk with someone's body tied around your neck for the rest of your God damn life? Do you know what that is little girl? Let me tell you about it. First time is hard. I'm sure you cried a bit, when you thought you'd killed him, didn't you? Don't worry that will pass. Second time is easier. Third time you don't blink." She tried to step away, but he put his hands on her and held her still. "Then it's all just repetition. You don't cry anymore. You don't even remember when you used to cry. You're alive, and they're dead. So fuck them!" He gave her a little shake.
"Stop it!" She wasn't sure if she was asking him to stop the words, the shaking, or both.
He stopped shaking, but didn't let go. "If I'd let you kill him, you never would have gotten your soul back. Not ever. Do you understand that?"
She looked him in the eyes and said, "Yes."
He shook his head. "No you don't; not really. But that's okay, because that's what I'm here for. You will not lose your soul on my watch, Vanessa."
He pulled her back to the chair, sat down, and tossed her across his lap.
"Ah!" she cried in surprise, and her hands shot out to catch her fall as her stomach landed on his thighs
His left arm wrapped around her waist, while his right hand slammed down across her backside.
"Mr. Chandler! Have you lost your mind?!" She tried to push herself off his lap and failed.
"No, I'm thinking quite clearly." His hand went up and down, jerking her body forward with each harsh smack.
"What exactly are you trying to accomplish by using brute force against me?"
"I'm going to help you cleanse your soul. You're going to show remorse, and then beg forgiveness from your God for letting the darkness inside you take hold. Before this night is done you'll be committed to walking the path of righteousness, because I'm not letting you up until I'm certain that your soul is out of danger."
She was stunned into silence. Of all the things she could have imagined him saying, saving her soul would have never crossed her mind. She felt him pushing her skirt up. "Mr. Chandler!" she exclaimed with dismay. She should be scandalized that he was seeing her bloomers, but he'd already seen her in her pajamas, so she supposed this wasn't any worse.
When his callused hand slapped down across her backside with only one thin layer of cotton covering it, she yelped loudly.
"Pray," he demanded as he spanked.
The words came automatically to her. She'd said them all so very many times over the past couple of years; the Lord's Prayer, Hail Mary, Contrition, Morning Offering, and Apostle's Creed to name a few. She'd begged them, she'd yelled them, she'd whispered them, and she'd desperately clung to them while the darkness scurried around inside her trying to push its way to the center of her thoughts.
Now as the words of the Lord's Prayer came out of her mouth in Latin, she didn't really think about the words themselves, because she was too busy trying to deal with the bursts of pain that happened every time his hand landed.
Once she'd recited the whole thing, she turned her head to look back at his profile, hoping to see some kind of acknowledgement that she'd done as he asked.
"Again," he demanded while keeping his focus on her behind. His hand fell again and again like a metronome.
The words came out of her with along with some gasps and hisses. Once she'd completed it a second time, she again paused, expecting some kind of reaction from Ethan.
"With sincerity," he said.
The pain was beginning to be intolerable, and Vanessa squirmed in his hold. "Please stop, Mr. Chandler! Let me up, and we'll pray together. Please!"
His hand continued to slap against her bottom as he said. "I won't be sullying your prayers by adding my voice to yours. I already belong to the night. You don't, and you never will. So you're going to say it again and again, until you fucking mean what you say."
She hadn't fully understood his commitment to her until that very moment, and something shifted inside her. She didn't feel remorse for wanting Sir Geoffrey dead, but she did feel remorse for trying to cause his death, because in doing so she'd turned her back on God. Ethan's faith in her helped her reclaim some of the dedication she used to feel towards her savior. She clasped her hands together on the floor, lacing her fingers, and then leaned her forehead on them. She closed her eyes, and focused on the words she was saying as she started the prayer again. The same words she'd been devoutly reciting since she could talk. The pain dropped into the background and tears of relief started running down her fingers as she felt the light inside her building back up with each word. The darkness was forced back down into the corner of her subconscious where it always lay in wait. She started the prayer again and again without being asked, and each repetition helped absolve her of the sins she'd committed that day.
Vanessa's words eventually became whispers, and soon they stopped all together. She had no idea how many times she repeated the prayer, she had no idea how long she'd been hanging across Ethan's lap, and she had no idea when he'd stopped spanking her. Her entire backside throbbed and burned, but the sharp pain had dulled.
After several seconds of silence, she unclasped her hands, wiped her face a couple of times, and looked back over her shoulder at him. He still appeared quite stern, and she shuddered with apprehension.
"You will never try to take a human life again, Vanessa, no matter how vile, repugnant, and deserving of death that human may be. Never again."
She nodded rapidly and agreed. "Never again."
He smoothed her skirt back down over her backside, took his arm off her waist, and tugged at her arm to get her upright. She started to stand, but he pulled her back down to sit in his lap instead.
She thought about protesting, because it was highly improper, but when he pulled her into a solid hug, she couldn't find it in herself to utter a disagreement. The spent several quiet moments simply holding each other and finding mutual comfort in the touch.
Eventually he broke the silence. "How did you do it?"
Without pulling the side of her face off his chest, she pointed behind her at the shelf. "The spell book."
"Burn it," he said. He patted her back and helped her to stand.
"Burn it?" she asked, looking into his eyes. "But it has…"
"No. You're going to toss it in the fire and watch it burn." He put his hand on her hip and gave her a little push towards the shelf. "Right now."
Her eyes darted between him and the book a couple of times, before she stepped up to the shelf. She could practically hear the book screaming at her to protect it. She lifted it, and cradled it to her chest, not wanting to let it go.
She hadn't heard him move, but he was suddenly directly behind her. He leaned down and whispered in her ear. "You're stronger than the darkness inside you, you're stronger than the woman who used to own this cottage, and you're stronger than this book."
She turned to look up at him, and knew he believed the words he'd just said. With a small nod of agreement, she walked to the fire, and threw the book in as quickly as possible, before it could influence her against that course of action.
He put a hand on her shoulder, and pulled her into his arms. They stood together and watched the flames envelop the book. The cover popped, sizzled, and hissed as it burned, as if protesting its death. They watched it until the book had become a smoldering pile of ash.
After what seemed like an eternity of silence, Ethan said, "Did you save any supper?"
Finding the question funnier than it actually was, Vanessa laughed out loud. "I did," she said, and went to get him a plate. She handed it to him, and then got herself one as well.
He sat down to eat, but when he saw her looking at her chair with distaste he stood back up with his plate and started to eat.
"You can sit Mr. Chandler," she said.
He shook his head. "Not if you can't sit with me."
They smiled at each other while they ate standing up.
Once they'd eaten their fill, Vanessa said, "I should clean up," and moved towards the wash basin.
He stopped her with a hand to her shoulder, and then took the empty plates out of her hands. "That can wait until morning. It's been an emotional and draining day for you. You should go to bed."
She looked up at the loft and shivered. Her dreams were often unpredictable and after today, she knew there would be no peaceful sleep to be had.
He took her hand in his and said, "I'll sleep beside you."
Opening her eyes wide, she started to shake her head.
"Fully clothed," he added, "to protect you from any darkness that tries to invade your dreams."
She knew she should say no, but the words that came out of her mouth were, "All right."
That night she fell asleep with her head pressed against his chest, and found enough solace in his presence to easily keep the darkness at bay.