Finally Falling - Chapter 2 - SplatxDragonSmut - Red Dead Redemption (Video Games) [Archive of Our Own]
When Evan comes in looking all sorts of out of sorts, Jake is worried. He tries not to show it - she’s always seemed utterly repulsed by all kinds of concern - but is sure it’s obvious on his face.
When she doesn’t seem to notice, that makes him all-the-more concerned. She is pale, dark circles around her eyes which are glassy, river-stones to their usual jades, and clutching her jacket to herself as though it’s the only thing holding her together and, from the way she shakes and hunches, if only slightly, just barely at that.
And she doesn’t smile at him like she usually does, that way that lights up her eyes, the one she gives him doesn’t even crease them, and he wants to ask her to ‘stay’ and ‘warm up’ but he knows better, it would send her scarpering for the door, so he takes his time getting the money out, gives her time to warm up because she looks so cold , practically vibrating against her coat, and then their fingers touch and she folds, going to her knees in a way that would have been beautiful if it isn’t so horrifying.
They’d both noticed her Bracelet. The one that marked her Switch and Unclaimed, it was only natural to look. They’d both looked for a Ring at first, expecting to find one that marked her Dominant and, maybe, Claimed although Unclaimed wouldn’t surprise them. Switch had surprised them, a bit, but the way she goes down for him, so smoothly, instinctively spreading her legs to balance herself and, even now, folding tighter, grinding her forehead into the wood in a way that looks painful, can only ever be Sub.
But it is all wrong.
Still she shivers, and shakes, and he can make out her fingers clenching and unclenching on her knees, digging into her denim pants in a way that looks painful, grabbing so forcefully her knuckles go white.
He wants, nothing more, than to run and get Sadie. She is out in the barn, not very far away - though he is a Switch and, hypothetically able to take a Sub Down, and bring them Up, he’s never done it before and, with how Evan is acting, he knows she is far beyond Down. Jake feels so very out of his element; but even he knows better than to leave a Sub that is Down, to do so is putting them at risk of going even further Down, to make them feel abandoned, like they are a bad Sub and nothing is worse than making your Sub (which she isn’t, but she is Down and kneeling for him and that makes her, for the moment, his Sub) feel like a bad Sub.
So all he can do is pray that Sadie will hurry her ass inside as he moves to crouch in front of her only to freeze as she flinches, digging her forehead into the ground even harder, daring to, slowly, touch her shoulder, the Sub drawing in on herself in such a tight kneel it looks painful, would have been a ‘perfect’ kneel to some Doms but it tastes sour on his tongue.
“Shhh,” he finally manages, shushing her as he takes a knee, then shushing her again when she cowers, resting his other hand on her other shoulder, “Evan, hey, it’s me. It’s okay, you’re good, sweetheart.” and she shudders, makes a funny whimpering sound that goes straight to his heart. “It’s alright, look at me.” and she tucks in tighter on herself, though he is sure he sees something wet slide down her face and drip to the floor and his heart breaks, she shudders and he hums, “Look at me,” trying to pitch his voice down like a Dom’s but he is no Dom, he is a Switch and though he can dom he can never Dom.
But that’s enough, her head snaps up so fast he gets whiplash just watching, and he tries for that soothing croon that Sadie loves to aim at him and watch him stutter and blush but can’t quite manage when he sees the redness of her eyes, the way tears are barely held back, streaks barely-there on her face. “Hey, hey, sweetheart,” the term of endearment rolls off his tongue without any thought, “It’s okay, you’re okay,” he reaches up with his thumbs to wipe away the tears and she flinches, but he tries for a croon “No, no, I’m not going to hurt you, I just want to clean your face, is that alright?”
The Sub hesitates, then inclines her head. But that isn’t enough, and so he says, “Can I clean your face? I need you to tell me,” and the words flow out of her like water from a river,
“Yes, ‘m sorry, ‘m s’rry,” and then tears are streaming down her face in earnest, trying to duck her head but he cradles her chin in one hand, the other working to wipe the tears from her face,
“No, no, sweetheart it’s okay, don’t cry. I’ve got you,” and he wishes Sadie would come inside because he is so lost, has no idea what to do, tries to remember what he likes when he goes Down for Sadie though he never goes as far Down as a Sub does and definitely never this far Down.
“Here sweetheart, shh look at me,” and she looks him in the eyes though in a way that said she wants nothing more than to look away, “Let me bring you Up, alright?” if he can, that is. He’s never brought anyone Up before, much less a very Down outlaw.
She whimpers, then again begins to gasp, “‘m sorry, so sorry, sorry, sorry, ‘m sorry,” and he reaches out and pulls her close and, though she goes rigid at first she quickly goes limp, slumping against him and making a funny whining sound, tears wetting his jacket.
“Don’t apologize,” he tries for that Dom voice, fails miserably, “you don’t need to apologize. Can you walk?” and it doesn’t surprise him at all when she hunches her shoulders, tries to fold in on herself again though he doesn’t let her, “Alright, that’s fine. I’m going to pick you up, alright?” and she nods, just slightly, with another “S’rry,” then, after a moment, another one and he hums, stroking her back as he hooks an arm under her knees and carefully scoops her up, turning her over to cradle her like a bride, getting a glimpse of a flushed, shamed, tear-streaked face before she hides it in his chest, clutching his jacket as he stands, humming soothingly,
“I’ve got you, sweetheart, just hold onto me,” and careful not to jostle her he walks over to the bed, setting her down so she’s leaning against the wall - laying her down felt like he’s far overstepping. Granted, any of this felt like a major overstep, it felt like they were just managing to make it into ‘friendship’ with the closed off outlaw (and they are of no mind that she is anything else) and he is terrified this would ruin all their hard work, but what can he do, leave her to Drop and spiral?
And here is where he got stuck.
They don’t have a Contract. He has no idea how to bring her Up - every Sub (hell, every Switch and every Dom) is different. What can bring one Sub out of Subdrop or Subspace can put another into it and, being a switch, he’s never had to take Dom or Sub classes.
God, he hopes Sadie hurries up.
What makes him feel better after a scene?
Chocolate. Chocolate and warmth.
And even still, with his hands still, awkwardly, on her shoulders, she is shivering. Huddled down in her jacket and looking at the wall, lips moving on silent words that he is fairly certain are apologies, and he strokes his thumbs on her shoulders before addressing her, “I’m going to get a blanket, is that alright?”
and she looks up at him as though just noticing he’s there, before giving him the slightest nod and he takes what he can get, stepping away to grab a blanket from their pile (Sadie chills easily) and bringing it back, only to discover a new dilemma.
Her jacket is wet. It had gotten snow on it while she was outside and, now that they’re inside where there’s a fire going (and he makes a mental note to throw some wood on) it’s melted, leaving the fabric soaked and, surely, uncomfortable. Irritating, he is sure, to a Dropped Sub’s sensitive skin.
He reaches for it, and hesitates. She’s slumped against the wall, head lolling against the wood and eyes closed, seemingly dead to the world though still shaking and shuddering and slumped, arms crossing loosely at her stomach. “Evan?” he asks, and she jolts, sitting upright and crossing her arms in her lap like a proper Sub, red-tinged eyes (though he’s glad to see she isn’t crying anymore) locking on him though still hazy and unfocused. “Your jacket is wet, is it okay if I take it off?”
She nods, “Yessir,” immediately, and it sets something wrong in his chest - he hasn’t realized until just then how much he wanted to hear her call him Sir, but the context is all wrong and it sounds wrenched from her throat, but he doesn’t want her getting sick or her skin getting roughed up, so he carefully manipulates her (she is like a puppet, moving only when directed) to pull off the long coat. He sets it aside to be put out on the line later, moves for the blanket only to pause when he spots a tear in her jacket, stained with brown.
“Are you hurt?” and guilt, that is definitely guilt, they always feel awful sending her out into the cold but it has become so commonplace that they tend to forget how dangerous the situations they send her out into actually are.
She looks at her arm, seems to notice it for the first time, and slurs, “S’rry sir.”
“Don’t apologize,” he frowns, and she bows her head, shivering all-the-harder, “I need to roll your sleeve up to look at this, is that okay?” and she nods her head, more a bobble than anything and he’d rather have words but it’s the best he’ll get so he grabs her sleeve and rolls it up, tisking (“S’rry,” “Don’t apologize, sweetheart,”) when he sees the tear in her skin - just a graze, thankfully, so he tells her “I’m just going to step away for a second, okay?” and she bobbles again so he runs his finger through her hair; it’s long, dark and his fingers stick in knots and he wants to brush it, suddenly, have her sit between his legs as he spends hours carefully working them out but that’s a want not a need so he frees his hand and stands, retrieving the kit they use after a particularly harsh session and bringing it back to the bed.
“Look at this, sweetheart,” and she does, lolling her head to look into the box he opens in his lap, “Sadie and I use these after a scene, is it okay if I use these on you?” and she nods; he barely feels it through the thick of his jacket but it’s there so he sets the box aside, “If I do anything you don’t like, tell me, alright? Say ‘red’, can you do that?” and she nods again but that’s not enough, “I want to hear it.”
“I…” her eyes are hazy, and she stares at him as though she’s lost, as though she’s looking at a stranger, “if… if I don’t like what you’re doing, say red.” and her eyes dart across his face as though looking for something, and even if they weren’t he can’t help the way his face softens and lights up, or the way he croons,
“Such a good girl for me, such a good Sub,” and the look of shock on her face hurts, and then she tries to pull away and duck her head but he catches her arm and manipulates it to get the best view he can of the wound, humming, “Lookit this, got it helping us. Such a good Sub for Sadie and me, taking care of us.” She shivers, looking at him as though he, personally, had set the sun and the moon in the sky, “and we’ll take care of you, fix this up for you,” and he does, swiping out a crooked-finger-full of the salve they use in particularly rough scenes and swiping it over the wound. She doesn’t flinch, watching his face and the way it twists in concentration as he rubs it in until it’s gone, before grabbing a bandage and wrapping it around her arm until he’s satisfied and tying it off, snipping the end with the tiny scissors they keep for just that purpose and setting the box aside.
There’s chocolate in there, and he eyes it - maybe?
He wants to strip her down, get her comfortable and out of that shirt, but worries - maybe she’d be more comfortable if Sadie were to do it? Then again, Sadie was a woman but she is also a Dom and while Evan is a woman, too, she is clearly a Sub and maybe not? And he chews on that before looking to the door and praying Sadie hurries up, he worries there might be other wounds and besides, the shirt is a little damp, but he’s already crossing so many lines that he doesn’t want to cross any more.
He digs through the box and pulls out a Miracle Tonic, shakes it and finds only a few gulps left but only a single draw is needed. Jake knows he always feels better when he has a sip after a scene, so he holds it to her lips and she drinks without prompting, he’s relieved to see some of the haze leave her eyes, and she leans some more of her weight on him with a sigh.
“Aw hell, she’s in a bad way, isn’t she?”
And it says to just how much of a ‘bad way’ she’s in that Evan doesn’t jump or even flinch or react, though Jake does, startling and looking at Sadie who closes the door behind her after stamping her feet to knock the snow from her boots. He nods, running his fingers through her hair again, and Sadie comes over to sit on Evan’s other side, taking her gently by the chin to make her look at the Dom, frowning at what she sees.
“Hey darlin’,” Sadie hums, running a thumb along her cheekbone and frowning when she finds a scratch there, “ain’t you just the prettiest little Sub?” and Evan frowns, tries to pull back but Sadie doesn’t let her, “We’re gonna bring you up, is that okay?”
Evan stares at her and, when prompted again, nods, “Yes ma’am,” and Sadie’s smile could light up the room,
“Such a good Sub for us.” and Evan shivers, leans into her touch until Sadie’s hand is taking most of her weight, and Sadie croons in the way that only a Dom can, Jake running his hand up and down her back.
“I bandaged up her arm… took off her jacket since it was wet. Her shirt’s damp, didn’t want to take it off though. Gave her some Tonic.” he says lowly to his partner and she gives him an approving smile that, as always, makes a proud warmth set in his chest.
“Evan?” and she opens her eyes from where she’d allowed them to drift shut, Sadie’s gloved hands cool against her skin, “Can you eat chocolate?” and the Sub nods, closing her eyes again, “Jakie, can you grab the chocolate squares from the kit please?” he’s more than happy to do so, of course, as Sadie turns back to Evan, “Darlin’, is it okay if we take your shirt off? I want to make sure you’re not hurt anywhere else, and it’s pretty wet.”
“Words please, Darlin’,” The Sub squints at her,
“Yes’m,” and with that Sadie grabs the hem of her shirt and tugs it up - Jake’s relieved to see that the Sub participates this time, raising her arms as Sadie slips it off over her head, revealing a scarred, pockmarked chest and a breast band, though no active wounds that either could make out.
“Such a good Sub,” Sadie croons, reaching out and gesturing for a square of chocolate that Jake’s quick to unwrap, holding it up to Evan’s mouth as she props her back against her chest, the Sub taking it from her hand, chewing slowly before taking another with more vigor, “Jake,” she gives the Sub another, “can you grab one of my shirts?” another chocolate, “Look at you, such a good girl for us, such a good Sub,” another chocolate, “We’re going to get you into a shirt of mine now, okay?”
Evan’s eyes are much brighter as she replies “Yes’m,” though she yawns, sitting up and raising her arms for Jake to slip them through the arms, buttoning the front of the shirt with so much concentration that he stuck the tip of his tongue out and bit down on it,
“Your pants are wet, darlin’,” Sadie makes sure to keep the disapproval out of her voice; while Evan seems far more Up than she’d been, she is still well Down and doesn’t want her to make a decision based on what she thinks Sadie and Jake want, “Do you want a pair of my pant’s? Or would you rather go pantless?”—
—Sadie, after all, is very tall for a woman, even for a woman Dom, at 5’8”, and Evan, while tall for a female Sub, is still much shorter, and her shirt reaches far passed her waist.
Another chocolate popped in the Sub’s mouth.
“Pantless… pantless is okay.” she lolls her head back on Sadie’s shoulder as Jake carefully, business-like, undoes the fly of her pants and tugs them off, careful not to look as Sadie tugs her shirt down.
“Good girl,” Sadie presses a kiss to the crown of her head, “Jakie, can you get her some water please?” and he hurries to do so, throwing some extra wood on the fire as Sadie scoots back until they’re lying down, grabbing the glass and holding it to the Sub’s lips, Evan taking a sip before leaning back, Jake setting the glass down on the nightstand and waiting for the Dom to nod before crawling in and carefully laying down behind the Sub, watching as she nuzzles into the hollow of Sadie’s throat, reaching out and stroking along her side until she relaxes between them.
Sadie reaches out, allowing her arm to drape over the Sub as she sets her hand on his waist as she always does, and he does the same.
Come morning, things will be different, but for the moment all they will focus on is making sure the Sub sleeps well and wakes up refreshed.
Jake buries his face between Evan’s shoulder blades, unable to get the image of her folding in front of him out of his head; maybe, in some other context, it would have been beautiful. But she’d looked so scared, so horrified, that it’s burned into his memory.
He never wants to see her, see anyone like that again.
Neither Dom nor Switch sleeps well that night.