Prompt: kink_bingo branding
Summary: Buffy gets a brand to match Giles's.
Notes: A section of Tradition & Protocol part 3. Happy, uh, Labor Day Weekend.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. I claim no ownership and am making no money.
They were dressed nearly alike, Buffy in black tank top, faded jeans, and boots, Giles in a black t-shirt she made him take off as they approached the front door. Coyote welcomed them in warmly, quietly, and led them through the house. Giles folded his shirt and tucked it through his belt. They emerged into the yard and into the private party Coyote had promised.
The first thing Giles saw was the bonfire in a pit, and the circle of drummers. He counted something like twenty people all told, mostly ranged around a patio, talking in groups. Giles knew several people present from his contacts at the magic supply shop. He felt a little shy to be so exposed in front of them, but there were people present who were wearing less. Incense burned in pots set around the stone-flagged patio. Sage, piñon, copal. Giles restrained his urge to lift his nose at the utter California-ness of it. But he did not show any disrespect openly. He'd been to coven events, in England, that were more absurd.
It was difficult to show disrespect for anything Coyote did. Especially when the man was going to brand his Slayer.
They waited and watched a man walk on coals and another have patterns drawn on his back in alcohol and then set afire. The theme of the evening was fire, Buffy told him. She wouldn't be the only one being branded. Giles looked but could not see any irons set in the bonfire. But it turned out he was behind the times, or the Council was: Coyote used a blowtorch to heat metal for branding. A blowtorch, and short lengths of wire held in tongs. He beckoned Buffy over to watch while he set out the equipment for her.
So different this was from his own experience, a frightened and angry boy, enduring without understanding. Buffy had chosen this.
Giles knelt behind her and slipped his arms around her waist. She twisted slightly to present her right arm to Coyote. She breathed. Coyote held the wire in front of the blowtorch for a moment, then brought it to Buffy's flesh. She gasped, then went still. Giles spread his hand across her bare belly, under her shirt. She was tense and almost quivering under him, but she did not flinch. A whiff of burned flesh rose to his nose along with the incense. Then Coyote pulled the wire away again and held it again in the flame of the blowtorch.
Giles nuzzled the back of Buffy's neck. She was breathing steadily and deeply, as he'd taught her. Then Coyote was there again, with the red-hot wire.
It was more clinical than his branding had been. If his memory was trustworthy. They'd used two irons on him, one for each rune. The second had been pressed to his arm while he was still gasping from the shock of the first. Had he screamed? He remembered swearing at them, telling them how he'd hunt them down and kill them. But it had been over in two bursts of agony. Buffy's experience was longer, and more careful. Her brand would be prettier to look at.
Algiz. Protector. Uruz. Power.
Coyote pressed the glowing wire to her once for each stroke while Giles held her steady. Six burns. Six times Buffy gasped in his arms. Her eyes had closed after the first two. Sweat ran down her sides. Her control of herself amazed Giles. He couldn't have held her if she'd decided to struggle. But she submitted herself gracefully. She chose this, an outward sign of inner power, a sign to all who could read it that this Slayer had risen to the challenge the Powers had thrown to her.
Buffy leaned back against him, her warm body between his thighs, and he felt himself grow hard. Best Slayer ever, he'd told Stamford, and the man had laughed, as if to say the Watchers always thought that. But this one was. Buffy was the best. Giles knew it. Desire surged in him and he held her trembling body close against his. He watched the glowing metal press against her arm the last time, felt her body coil itself but remain still.
When it was over, Giles rubbed the un-salve into the burns, tracing the shapes of the runes with firm fingers, not sparing her. She wanted the marks to last, not to be obliterated by the very powers of the Slayer she celebrated. She made a soft sound, a moan that Giles could not read as pain or pleasure, but sat still for that as well. He opened herself to her physical state: pain-trance, endorphin bliss, deep arousal to mirror his. Likely the cause of his.
She lay back on him, breathing and sweating. He kissed the back of her neck and let the hand on her belly wander upward. No bra, of course. He kissed the back of her neck tenderly even as his fingers found her nipple and pinched. A distraction, if she wanted it, from the pain she must be feeling on her shoulder, with the Slayer healing suppressed by the salve.
"You always know when I'm turned on," she said, unsteadily. "Even when it's weird to be turned on. Kinda unfair. I never know what's up with you."
Giles pulled her against him and pressed his erection against her back. "Do you know now? I'm yours if you want me."
"Not here. Not in front of anyone. At home. You'll build a fire in the fireplace. We'll make love on the floor."
"Shall we leave now?"
"Not yet. Wanna watch the other people for a while," she said to him. "See what Coyote does to them."
Giles left his hand where it was and played with her nipples while they watched. Coyote had more brandings to do, apparently. He had another piece of metal, a larger one, held in tongs before the blue flame of the blowtorch. The person to endure next was a muscular young man with a buzz cut, who was loudly expressing his disbelief. Giles disliked him on sight. He was stripped naked by four friends, also bulging in pecs and biceps. They held him down while Coyote burned chevrons along the outsides of his thighs. He swore and struggled, entirely graceless.
"I know one of those guys," Buffy said to him. "Initiative hazing. Riley claimed there was nothing homoerotic about the military. Ha!"
Giles tensed, but Buffy rested her hand across his and squeezed.
"They won't fight us while we're all here. This is neutral ground. If they started something, Coyote would never do anything for them again."
Coyote moved on to the soldier's other leg. He was working more quickly than he had with Buffy. The boy was not struggling any more, though Giles could see from his screwed up face that he was still fighting the pain. Giles felt sympathy for him. He knew what it felt like to have this experience without choosing it. The last chevron was done, and the young man was released. He lurched to his feet and staggered. He cursed his squadmates unimaginatively. They threw his clothes at him, and he clutched them over his genitals while he stumbled away from the fire.
Giles looked away. Coyote was holding the metal in the flame of the torch again. Giles didn't know what for. Buffy broke away from his embrace and stood up. She gripped his wrists and held them up over his head. Giles swallowed. Her mood had changed so quickly he wasn't sure where he stood.
"If I asked you to strip and hold still while Coyote branded you just like that, would you?"
"Of course." Giles' breath started to come fast. Her fingers were digging into his wrists.
"Would you want to?"
She wanted honesty, so Giles considered his answer carefully. The tattoo he'd liked for himself, but he didn't like the brands as decoration. They were ritual, endured because of their vocations. It would cheapen the ritual, he thought, to repeat it for a frivolous purpose. "No. I don't feel it's right."
Buffy released him. "I wanted you to get something tonight too. Something just for you."
For you, Giles thought but didn't say, because it was the same thing as for him. "Whatever you wish. I'm yours."
"Whatever you wish, too, sweetie."
"Buffy ... I, uh." Giles swallowed. He knew what would please her, and oddly he found himself wanting it as well. Out with it. "Do my nipples? Now? Please? If you would like it?"
Buffy kissed him and he knew he'd guessed right.