Mr. Crowley frowned down at them, which Sam would’ve thought impossible, given the fact he was the shortest man in the room. The man’s presence, however, was larger than life.
“This is the second time you boys have been found out of bounds,” Mr. Crowley said as the patrolmen removed the handcuffs and left them alone in Crowley’s office.
“We didn’t realize…,” Dean started, but trailed off when he saw the expression on Crowley’s face darken.
Crowley glared at them as he straightened his uniform needlessly. “You’ve been on my planet for just over a week, and this is the fifth time they’ve had to haul one of you in here for various misdemeanors. This is becoming a habit.”
Sam glanced out the window, wishing he could see their ship. He always felt trapped when they were undercover on a hunt and couldn’t see the Impala. Dean seemed to have a sixth sense about the ship and never appeared to have that separation anxiety, as if he knew exactly where she was at all times, but Sam was beginning to wonder if they were ever going to finish this job and make it off the planet.
“As you know,” Crowley said as he sat down behind his desk, “we have a three-strikes rule here.”
“Yes, sir,” Dean said with a nod. “But we weren’t escaping.”
“We heard something about an urban legend from one of the other workers,” Sam said, knowing a little truth in times like these could help. “We just wanted to check it out.”
“Stevie,” Crowley drawled.
Sam swore he could see Dean smirk out of the corner of his eye. He really needed to stop letting Dean pick their cover IDs. Because… Stevie?
“You really should know better,” Crowley continued.
“Angus,” Sam said sharply, as he pointed at Dean, “said the urban legend had to be true. He told me the boundaries were another mile out.”
Crowley nodded. “And that’s why he’s going to be punished more severely than you.”
Sam’s stomach clenched. He’d been so busy getting into their cover story, he hadn’t thought his argument through. Now he’d gotten his brother in deeper trouble than he had been.
“Well, it’s not like he dragged me through the forest with a stunner to my head,” Sam back-peddled.
Crowley stood up and walked to the large wood cabinet to their right. “Angus has broken the rules three times, whereas you’ve only broken them twice,” he said as he pulled a long cane out of the cabinet, then shut the door.
Sam could hear Dean’s breathing change, become shallower as he shifted on his feet. Dean hated canes. It’s not like he loved paddles. He pretty much hated any implement being used on his ass. But the sting of a cane was something that freaked him out like the thud of a paddle freaked Sam out.
“Angus, please stand over here while I deal with your brother,” Crowley said as he pointed to the carpet beside the cabinet.
“Yes, sir,” Dean said, voice shaky.
Sam met Dean’s eyes and gave him a little nod. It always warmed Sam’s heart that Dean’s first concern was about him, even when he was facing a cane. Dean knew full well that Sam could handle it, but the big brother in him felt the need to save Sam from things like this.
“Drop the pants and shorts,” Crowley said, tapping Sam’s leg, “spread your legs and put your hands on the desk.”
Sam did as he was told, feeling awkward even though it wasn’t the first time he’d been in this position. He saw Dean flinch as Crowley tested the cane’s flexibility by swishing it quickly through the air.
“Six,” Crowley said from behind Sam. “Count them out, and if your hands leave the desk, you’ll be starting over.”
Sam grimaced. He wouldn’t have a problem keeping his hands on the desk, but he knew Dean would, especially if Dean’s punishment was going to be more severe than his. He heard the cane cut through the air, heard it hit him, but the pain didn’t hit until after he said, “One.”
He gripped the desk a little harder as the sting radiated outward, then squeezed his eyes closed as Crowley landed another strike. “Two,” Sam hissed.
The third strike landed, and even though it stung badly enough that Sam gasped, he was impressed by Crowley’s proficiency with the cane. Each strike was close to the original one, but not on top of each other, and the pain was equal in each cheek. Crowley knew what he was doing, and Sam would bet money on there being no broken skin on either he or Dean when this was done and over with.
“Five,” Sam hissed through clenched teeth, spreading his legs a bit more even though it wouldn’t help with the pain. “Six,” he said, relieved that it was over.
“You took that well, Mr. Young,” Crowley said as he patted Sam’s side. “Change places with your brother.”
Sam quickly pulled his underwear and work pants up, knowing that nothing would stop the sting of the material rubbing over his skin and just wanting to get it over with. He changed places with Dean, letting his fingers graze Dean’s left forearm in a subtle show of support.
Dean didn’t wait for Crowley to order him into place. He dropped his work pants and underwear, then leaned forward, hands on the edge of the desk, a determined look on his face.
“You’ll be getting ten,” Crowley said.
Sam winced as Dean shivered, his knuckles turning white he was gripping the desk so tightly. Crowley wiped the cane with a white handkerchief, then swished it through the air twice, which impressed Sam even more. Not everyone cared about transferring germs from one person to the next when they used implements of punishment.
The first strike landed, but it stunned Dean long enough that by the time he said “one,” the pain had already hit and what came out of his mouth was more of a whimper.
“You need to relax,” Crowley said softly. “You’re wound up so tightly I’m going to bruise you. Take a breath.”
“Just get it over with,” Dean hissed.
“Excuse me?” Crowley said incredulously.
Dean finally realized what he’d done and winced. “Sorry, I just really fuckin’ hate canes.”
“That much was obvious,” Crowley said, “but I would think that would give you incentive to save your arse more strikes with my cane.”
“Sorry,” Dean said, then took a cleansing breath, his body relaxing minimally.
Sam rolled his eyes. Crowley was giving Dean a chance to save himself more pain, but his brother was too stubborn to realize it.
“Ready?” Crowley asked, cane up in the air.
“Just get it over with,” Dean demanded again.
Crowley met Sam’s eyes, a look on his face that said ‘it must suck putting up with him all the time.’ Sam smirked and shrugged his shoulders. Crowley shook his head, then focused his attention on Dean again, bringing the cane down on Dean’s naked ass again.
“Ah!” Dean yelped, beginning to stand up.
Crowley stopped him, placing a hand on Dean’s back. “If you break position, we’ll start over again.”
“Shit,” Dean hissed, lowering his upper body again and spreading his legs.
“A number, please,” Crowley prodded.
“Two,” Dean said.
“Thank you,” Crowley said, then brought the cane down again.
“Three,” Dean growled.
Sam felt bad for Dean, of course, but he was having a hard time not laughing. Crowley was trying to make the whole experience less traumatic for Dean, and he could tell by the look on Crowley’s face that he was struggling with having said Dean would be getting ten strikes when they were only on the third strike and Dean was having this much trouble with it.
It wasn’t that Dean couldn’t handle pain. No, Dean had a pretty high pain tolerance when it came to injuries. Rather it was the anticipation and knowing that it was a punishment from someone of authority that he had a hard time with. And also the embarrassment of it all. He hated appearing weak in front of others.
“Four,” Dean said as he began panting.
Sam saw the look on Crowley’s face change. He’d given up on trying to make it easier on Dean and decided to just get it finished, like Dean had demanded.
“Five, six!” Dean yelped, then squirmed, his nails digging into the wood of the desk.
Crowley gave him about fifteen seconds to calm down from the surprise of getting two strikes in quick succession before he landed two more.
“Oh, fuck!” Dean whined, his thighs shaking.
“Count,” Crowley reminded him.
Dean’s bottom lip quivered. “Seven and eight, sir,” he hissed.
Crowley brought the cane down two more times, then began wiping it with his handkerchief as Dean crouched down, knees almost touching the carpet, pressing his forehead against the desk. He was breathing heavily through clenched teeth, and Sam knew by the way Dean was behaving that there were tears running down his brother’s face.
“What’s the count, Mr. Young,” Crowley said softly.
“Nine and ten,” Dean said, and yes, Sam heard tears in his brother’s voice.
Crowley put the cane back in the cabinet, then sat down at his desk. He picked up his PAD and started entering the report on what had just happened, giving Dean time to recover.
Dean wiped at his eyes with the backs of his hands, then slowly stood, pulling his underwear and work pants up. Sam caught a glimpse of Crowley’s work and his eyes widened. The stripes were damn near perfect on Dean’s ass, evenly spaced, the redness from the strikes spread out equally on each ass cheek, and not one break in the skin. Crowley obviously was very good with a cane.
Dean didn’t seem to appreciate it at all. He winced as he pulled his underwear and work pants up, then wiped at his eyes again.
“You both know where the boundaries are,” Crowley said, looking up at them. “I trust that you’ll behave from now on. I could easily ship you back to Earth if the cane didn’t impress upon you the need to be good little boys. You’re dismissed.”
“Thank you, sir,” Sam said as he grabbed Dean’s forearm and started to pull him toward the door. Sometimes Dean could get mouthy after a punishment, and Crowley might follow through on his threat of sending them to Earth if Dean decided to let an insult rip.
It wasn’t until they were walking through the forest to the housing for workers that Dean finally spoke. “I’m chafing,” he grumbled. “Do you think they’d mind if I walked back with my clothes draped over my shoulder?”
Sam snorted. “I have a feeling the parents would be a little pissed if you traumatized the kids like that.”
“You bring any of that salve with ya?” Dean asked.
Sam grinned. Yes, Dean sometimes got mouthy after a punishment, but most of the time he got a little clingy and needy. It was the only time Sam felt like the older brother, and he kinda liked it, even if he didn’t like why his brother was feeling this way.
“Yeah, I brought it,” Sam said. “I’ll put it on when we get back to the room.”
“Thanks,” Dean mumbled. “I’ll put some on you too.”
Sam smiled as they walked into the housing area, already planning how they could check out the south quadrant without getting in trouble.