I’m Quint Hanniford. Ask me anything.

Note: These “Ask me anything” posts (inspired by Reddit) are created when I post as a character and invite other group members to ask questions.

Q: What was your first impression of Zain?

A: My first thought when I saw him over Skype was Good grief, he’s young. I knew beforehand that he was a college student like Seb, and of course Tops can be any age, but I was still taken aback, by that and by his boyish manners. However, it was obvious how much he loved Seb, and the more he joked about the situation, the more relaxed Seb became. They complement each other well.

Q: How did you bring up DP into your relationship?

A: Theo actually brought it up first, not me. It was about three months after we moved in together. He had been acting strange for a while, and then one night as we ate dinner, he told me he wanted me to read something and gave me a printout of an article on discipline relationships. I read through the whole thing while he stared at his plate, looking terrified.

I want to say I was shocked, and on one level I was. I have never been a violent person. As a doctor, I have been taught and faithfully followed the principle of primum non nocere — ‘first, do no harm.’ I couldn’t imagine striking him. On another level, I recognized myself in what I read about Tops, and him in what I read about Brats.

I set the papers down on the table when I was done and tried to absorb what I’d read. After a moment, Theo got up and started for the bedroom, saying, “I’ll just get my stuff and leave.”

I went after him and took hold of his elbow to stop him and turn him around. He stared at the floor with tears in his eyes, until I said, “Angel, please look at me.” It took him a few seconds, but he did. I told him, “I love you, no matter what, and you aren’t going anywhere.” Then we hugged for a long time, before sitting down on the couch to start discussing it.

Q: When was the most serious spanking Theo got?

A: I would say the first time I used my belt, which was after he got drunk and picked a fight with a group of homophobic men.

((This story is in Too Close For Comfort.))

Q: Have your face-to-face meetings with Zain altered your first impressions of him at all?

A: I would say they deepened my understanding. I thought it spoke well of him that he would drive to New York, and then call me and ask to use our apartment. It showed his commitment to giving Seb the support he needed. When we met in person, I could see that even clearer, in the way he held Seb’s hand and stood just slightly in front of him. He was cheerful and amiable — not what I’d expect from a Top about to spank his Brat, but I don’t think Seb would have responded well to sternness — and along with that, he exuded a self-assured maturity beyond his years.

The second time we met, when I drove down to pick Seb up from Annapolis, also impressed me. He had explained his rule about all implements being tested on himself first, and I respected that — and him, for keeping it so closely. I knew I wouldn’t be fulfilling my end of the bargain if I held back in swatting him, yet I still felt odd about it, even when he prompted me by saying “Fire when ready,” which I thought was a bit cheeky. I could tell he was controlling his reaction because Seb was watching. Thankfully, he allowed me to hug him afterward.

Q: Has there been a “worst” experience for you during a time you had to discipline Theo?

A: The second time I had to spank him. The first was very short, and while it was also extremely powerful and memorable, we were both too caught up in the newness of it to fully process our emotions and reactions in the moment. The second was only twenty-four hours later, for the same offense (refusing to stop practicing at bedtime), which told me I had to step up the punishment. He started crying in the middle of it and said, “Please, Quint,” and my heart broke. Finishing was extremely difficult, even when I knew he needed it.

Q: When that guy tried to kiss you at the hospital fundraiser, what was going through your mind?  Have you seen that guy since?

A: I was angry at him, and at myself for not believing Theo. Then I was disgusted that Stephen would think I’d cheat, or that his firm’s support of the hospital meant I owed him something. I tried to maintain a professional demeanor as I stepped away from him and explained that nothing of that kind would be happening.

I’ve seen him only once since, at another hospital event which he attended with his father. Theo was there as well, and the moment he saw Stephen, he plastered himself to me. I let him, until I felt his hand slide down into my back pocket. Then I took him aside in a corner of the room and told him while I understood his need for comfort, he was not going to stake his claim by groping me in public. He scowled, but said, ‘yes, sir,’ and kept the touches appropriate thereafter.

Q: Has Theo met any of your exes?  Have you met any of Theo’s?

A: The men I dated (very few of them were serious enough that I would consider them an ‘ex’) live mostly in Boston, and the couple of times Theo and I have both gone back there, we didn’t run into any of them.

I have met Eric, his high-school boyfriend with whom he remains friendly, just once, since he lives in LA. I found him to be sweet, if a bit overdramatic.

I know between breaking up with Eric and meeting me, he also had several flings. He pointed out a man in a park once and told me he was a bar manager he’d met on a gig with his band and dated briefly. Unlike Eric, this one bore a slight resemblance to me. I don’t think of myself as a jealous type; however, when Theo and I got home, I took him to bed almost immediately and left quite a large bruise on his shoulder from biting it. He joked that he was going to start pointing out tall, dark, and handsome strangers and telling me he’d slept with them before we met, just to provoke me into doing that again.

Q: Were you ever spanked as an adult?

A: No, never.

Q: What is your favorite way to hold Theo?

A: We often go to sleep or wake up with him lying half on top of me. I love the trust that shows, even when it does make my arm go numb.

Q: Would you allow Theo (if he would) to punish you if you did the same thing that you punish Theo for, like texting and driving or jaywalking?

A: *smiles* Coincidentally, you picked two things for which I would never punish Theo. Like many people who grew up in New York City, he doesn’t know how to drive, and jaywalking is normal here. I’d only be upset if he wasn’t paying attention and didn’t check for traffic first.

To answer your question, if he wanted to and it wasn’t based on anger, I would let him. However, I don’t think he’d want to, and I know it wouldn’t help me in the way it helps him. We process our emotions differently. My way is not better than his, it’s simply different.

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