kneeling AU

Random headcanons/AUs that won’t get fics anytime soon. If anyone wants to add on/chime in/create something, feel free.

Hockey rpf aus often have bdsm aus that focus on kneeling.

So awhile ago that made me think about that kind of AU for this fandom

Except it also turned into a literary journal AU, too

cw: casual bdsm, I guess. migraines, poor stress management, anxiety. If I need to tag something, let me know.

generic office business?
shirts and ties, button downs with the sleeves rolled up

literary journalism? fiction monthly journal
reading books, writing articles
everyone’s surrounded by novels and infinite sources of tea/coffee
list of monthly assignments up on the wall, what books need to be covered
bulletin board of other news and book advertisements, lists of author meet-and-greets and writers/publishers conventions

columnist- Ross, regular column in their literary journal, covering New York Times Bestsellers and his book pick of the month
blogger- Smith, dabbling mostly in the fantasy genre
copy editor- Trott

Sips, who would be the lead copy editor, out of seniority, but who instead is a columnist of shitty paperback romance novels (when 50 Shades was on NYT BS, he covered it instead of Ross).
you would think he hates it, but he doesn’t (nobody else wants to do it anyway.) he loves writing them, going to conventions and chatting up all the older ladies. gayest old man they’ve ever met, and loves being single. has no desire to date anyone, too much time, too much effort. fuck it.
spends half his time in his office napping, the other quarter writing and reading, and the last quarter wandering around the office peering over everyone’s shoulders with a cup of coffee, critiquing their writing. “You used the wrong ‘there’, Smiffy.”

Nano- copy editor/occasional blogger.
Lomadia- copy editor
I have others, too, but I don’t feel like detailing further atm.

people are split into genres they cover, or columns



so where does the casual kink come in?
this job gets stressful, and in businesses like this, it’s common to kneel for others while they work.
human resources puts out policies that basically state you can’t force anyone to kneel for you, and though kneeling is suggested, it’s not explicitly required.

Smith is usually finicky when he’s stressed. snapping, grumbling, insulting people like a grumpy cat. (Sips buys him a mug with a grumpy-looking pug on it)
Trott catches his arm when he gets jittery from all the coffee, tugs him over and has him kneel next to him
Smith groans and whines a little (Trooooott, I have fantasy to read! I don’t have time for this.) but he eventually settles, kneeling beside Trott’s desk on the little cushions they have. watching Trott edit and do publishing work for a little while, before closing his eyes and more or less meditating, chin dropped to his chest, hands in his lap.
Trott lets him rest for half an hour, then taps Smith on the shoulder.
Smith lifts his head and blinks up at him. Trott splits his snack for the day with him, and helps Smith up.

(I’m thinking Trott and Smith knew each other before working here, but lost touch for a long while. childhood friends.)
(meditation thing made me think of karate, maybe he and Trott were in karate together as kids. neither kept up with it after they passed it. Trott got to first dan black belt, whereas Smith had 1st kyu brown belt and one very unsuccessful year of judo)
(awww, now I’m thinking of kid!Trott kicking kid!Smith’s ass in karate. hahahah)

Ross, unbeknownst to everyone working there, has never kneeled for anyone. he’s so outwardly calm in the face of stress people just think he kneels when no one sees, or kneels for someone at home. even though the instance of people kneeling at home is nowhere as common as in businesses.
but Ross spends a lot of time late at night, late in the office, writing and rewriting articles, editing them over and over until his eyes feel raw from staring at the bright screen in the dark. gives himself migraines from the eyestrain, and then people start slowly noticing. you’re pushing yourself too hard, Ross.
Ross, who never met Trott or Smith until working here. became friends with Trott first, and then slowly Smith later on when he started working there. Ross is not as close to Smith as he is to Trott. he always feels overshadowed in some way, because they have a rapport that Ross doesn’t really feel like he’s involved with. sure, they all get along, but. Smith and Trott just have this thing.

Ross getting a migraine, and people try to help him deal with it. Trott getting him some ibuprofen or something. Ross hunched over his desk, head hurting so bad, and he can’t work, can’t even move, can’t touch his face because it hurts. Trott asks him if he wants to kneel somewhere dark- no. Ross snaps back. not- kneeling is not going to help me.
okay…Trott exhales heavily. is there anything else I can help you with? I don’t like seeing you like this, mate.
I don’t like being like this. murmur.
do you get migraines often?
grunts
waits. I’m gonna grab my laptop and sit with you. I’ll be right back, alright?
says nothing, holding his head in his hands, eyes closed

I’m thinking Ross is uncomfortable with the idea of kneeling
grew up in a household and a place that didn’t think it was of any value
some even thought it was wrong, but most just thought it was weird.
goes off to college, more common, and now he’s the rarity for thinking that way
doesn’t look harshly on people who do it, anymore. he’s a lot more open minded on a lot of fronts, now. but the idea of kneeling is something he sees as a weakness, not for others, just for himself doing it. he sort of knows that’s not the greatest way to think of it, but doesn’t do much to change it either. decides he just won’t kneel for anyone, and then no one will run into the problem.
he wouldn’t look right doing it either, he doesn’t fit in with people who do that sort of thing. an adult, who shouldn’t feel like an outcast like he did when he was younger.
it’s an insecurity that shouldn’t matter much, so he ignores it.
any kneeling jokes of any kind aimed towards him make him uncomfortable. his old college friends joked about it all the time- it was a natural casual thing, not judgemental- but it still made Ross uncomfortable. he’d complain about being stressed out over tests and projects, as students are wont to do, and his friends would joke, “should just get on your knees, mate, all that stress isn’t worth it.” he’d chuckle and smile tight-lipped back, agreeing. but inside his mind battled with that.

Trott kneels for Sips a lot when he’s stressed. slips into Sips’ office, this fern filled, air conditioned room with an old lazy-boy Sips somehow moved in. Sips with a glass of ice tea, reading his romance novels, leaning back in his chair with his feet propped up on his desk. neither of them say anything, Trott just takes the pillow from the nearby visitors’ chair and sets it next to Sips’ side. sinks to his knees and leans his face on Sips’ leg. Sips reaches over and occasionally pets Trott’s hair, just resting his hand on his head and only lifting it to turn a page in his book.

Even Sips kneels, though most people see this as him pestering (editing). kneeling at someone’s desk, leaning over and asking them what they’re writing. pointing out things they could reword. Lom hates it. Nano jokes along with him. Trott puts up with it, not liking to be bothered. Ross feels scrutinized, can’t focus, mainly ends up rereading his own work a word at a time until Sips moves on. Sips doesn’t stop by Ross often because he can see how much it makes him uncomfortable.

It’s not a requirement for works to do the kneeling thing, but it’s recommended.

Trott hung up the phone and put his face in his hands.
Today had not been good. literary journal
The click-clack of keyboards around him makes his fingers itch to throw something. Everything is starting to piss him off, and he’s too stressed. He needs a break.
Groaning, Trott pushes himself up out of his desk chair and strides down the cubicle-lined carpet path to Sips’ office. He knocks twice on the front of the door. The frosted glass pane on the front reads, “Lead Copy Editor.”
“Come in,” Sips’ voice calls from inside.
Trott pushes open the door and closes it behind him. The room within is blissfully air conditioned, and, most importantly, quiet. Sips is reclining back in his old recliner he somehow smuggled into the building, with his feet propped up on his desk. He doesn’t acknowledge Trott’s entrance, sipping at his glass of ice tea, paperback romance novel in hand. Without saying a word, Trott walks around the desk, taking the pillow from the nearby visitors’ chair and avoiding the dust-covered fake ferns in the corner. He drops the pillow next to Sips’ side and sinks to his knees.
Sips drinks the remainder of his tea and smacks his lips. He sets his glass onto his desk and turns another page in his book.
Trott sighs heavily, feeling the tension in his muscles already starting to loosen. He closes his eyes and leans his face on Sips’ leg. Sips reaches over and occasionally pets Trott’s hair, just resting his hand on his head and only lifting it to turn a page in his book. need want relax destress deal

“What are you so afraid of, Ross?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about…” suspicious glance as he refilled his coffee.
“You have more tension in your shoulders than a puppet on strings. Your muscles look more tightly wound than Trott’s on a bad day.”
“And?” Ross sipped at his coffee like it was ice. If Sips was going to suggest he get on his knees…
“And, that’s saying something. All that stress wears on you. I know.”
“So what are you saying, Sips?”
Sips raised an eyebrow. “Are you doing anything about it?”
Ross drank his coffee silently. Sips knew he wasn’t. “Just spit it out,” he snapped, “Say what you came here to say.”
“I did.”
“Sure.” Ross snorts.
“Was there something else you wanted me to suggest?”
“No.”
Ross could feel Sips’ eyes on him as he left the break room.
it was childish, and he knew it. but he had work to do. he doesn’t have time to- to deal with this on top of everything.
If one more person tries to insinuate Ross should get on his knees and calm the fuck down, he’s going to snap.
in the back of his mind, he knows he doesn’t have proof, and Sips was only concerned and wanting to help if he could. but that doesn’t matter right now. Ross isn’t going to kneel for anyone.

Ross, mate. Sips ordered in a stupid amount of spaghetti for lunch. You coming?
Just as soon as I finish this.
Alright. I’m holding you to that. Don’t make me bring you food, I know how you hate eating over your keyboard.
Yeah, yeah. Be there in a bit.

and then Ross stays at work all night
winds up with a bad migraine
Trott guides him into the break room and has him lay down in the dark on the couches

Ross hiding tears in the fabric of his hoodie because this is stupid, he’s stupid, if he wasn’t so fucking stressed out he wouldn’t have this stupid fucking migraine, and he could get his work done. but he’s terrified of something harmless. fuck.

asking Trott what he does to destress
asking him what it’s like to kneel
what he gets out of it.
and trott doesn’t press or question. just sits with him, until he falls asleep.
Ross sleeps fitfully. he feels bad for taking up the break room, but no one holds it against him. they order in sandwiches again and Sips, Trott, Ross eat a late dinner.

and Trott and Ross gently talk about how he’s never kneeled before
you know we’re equals, right? everyone here thinks of you on the same level, ross
I know.

and Trott slowly asks if Ross would like to give it a try. there’s no one around. no one has to know or find out. it doesn’t even half to be for very long- he can stand up at any time.

I trust you. I don’t know if I trust myself. what if it’s bad?
so what if it is? if it is, then we can stop. no one’s /making/ you kneel for stress relief, Ross.
right.

would it be better if we turned the lights off, and I closed my eyes until you get settled?
nod
okay. I’m going to set an alarm on my phone for half an hour. you can back out at any time.
is there anything else you’re okay and not okay with me doing? sat in the dark, Trott settled on the couch and layered pillows by his feet
like what?
sometimes Sips pets my hair, for example. do you want anything like that?
no. shakes head might be too much
mkay. whenever you’re ready then.

I can’t- Trott, I can’t-
gulping panicked breaths
alright, sunshine, alright…
purses his lips momentarily, concern written across his features. his hand reached up to loosen his tie and pull it free. we could try something else?
I don’t know what’s going to work. I…
sit down next to me. Trott patted the couchseat next to him, and Ross sat down with relief.
I’m sorry.
it’s alright. there wasn’t a hint of regret in Trott’s voice, and it made Ross a little more relaxed. he watches trott’s thin fingers undo the knot in his tie and smooth out the fabric.
okay. so, how about this- Trott held out his tie for Ross to take. you could sit here with a blindfold on?
blindfold… Ross repeated. he looked down at the fabric in his grasp, rubbing his thumb in circles across the silk.
also, your neck is strained to shit, mate. I could work the knots out if you want? or we can just sit here. I’m not going to do anything you don’t want me to do.
I…that’d be nice, actually. Ross swallowed thickly and looked up. can we try that?
yeah. course we can. trott gave him a small smile. you can put that on as a blindfold then. unless you want me to?
no, that’s alright… Ross quietly did as Trott said, closing his eyes and making sure the tie fabric covered them enough.
I figured it would be easier if you did it.
Ross hears Trott shift behind him. he takes a deep breath and lets it out, trying to relax. you can rub my shoulder and neck or whatever, trott.
okay. Trott gently rests his hands on Ross’ shoulders, which Ross can’t help but hunch slightly.
just me, sunshine, Trott reminds him.

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