[players not pups, takes place October 25, Tim Roth is an NPC played bypadawanhilary]
Tim sits back as the beginning of the video capture comes to an end, hands folded sedately in front of him. They're all three--Simon, Jon and himself--sitting around a small computer screen, taking in the interview between him and Jason.
Jason's first reactions are coming up now, and Tim watches Jon closely, though he's got an eye on Simon, too.
Simon's got his arm around Jon, alert to the tiniest hint of stress. Jason appears angry and defensive, and as Simon watches, it becomes clear that he has no clue that he did anything wrong. How do you reach someone like that?
Jon's grateful for the arm, and he tucks into Simon a little, seeing how angry Jason looks at moments and feeling little creeping fingers of "what did I do wrong?" slither up his spine as he watches. He breathes deeply, though, reminding himself that they're here because he wants to be, and that he's safe and he's getting past this part of his life.
The breaths, the tension in Jon's shoulders and hands, they tell Tim a lot. "When you see Jason disparaging you as not being 'very chill,' what does that make you think?" he asks.
"I, um... I think because I was kind of needy," Jon admits. "He didn't like that very much. Or maybe he did sometimes. I don't know," he says, taking a death grip on Simon's thigh.
"Did you know he didn't like it? Was it something you discussed before you signed the contract?" Tim eases his posture, well aware that this is triggery territory.
"No," Jon admits, shifting a little. "I... didn't really want to bring it up. It's not an attractive trait in a boy," he explains, grateful for Simon's close hold.
Tim raises an eyebrow. "Well, that's a matter of opinion, I suppose, but...regardless." He notes Jon's increasing discomfort. "What about this is bothering you so much? Is it the video?"
"Sorry, it's just... regressing, I guess," Jon realizes, trying to make an effort to sit straighter. "I... I've learned a lot lately, but... old ideas stick." He frowns a little, remembering the meeting with Jason, how he'd called him Sir. He backed down too quickly, he thinks. Thank God for Thandie.
Simon rubs Jon's back soothingly, still keeping quiet for the moment. Jon needs to do this part for himself.
"What about this is putting you in that place?" Tim persists. He knows, or is pretty sure he does, but he needs Jon to say it.
"Hearing about my flaws," Jon says softly. "From his mouth. Seeing him... angry, like that. I want to fix it," he admits, his eyes flicking down. "It's an instinct."
"I understand that," Tim says. "And it's a good instinct to have as a submissive. But you have to realize how dangerous that is at this point. For you, for Simon."
"I wouldn't go back to him," Jon says, horrified.
Tim cocks an eyebrow. "I didn't suggest that at all," he says mildly. "But the longer you hold onto your innate, uncontrollable need to serve someone who, by your current dominant's reckoning, doesn't deserve it, the more likely it is to cause problems for the two of you down the road."
Jon's body tightens, and he feels a wave of something almost like anger. It's surprising--Tim's the kind of gentle, fair, firm man that he normally responds very well to, but he feels chastised and it hurts given the context. "All right," he says quietly, his jaw tight. "So I'm a fuck-up. Thanks."
Tim holds up a hand and is silent for a moment. He doesn't want this to go this way, and he doesn't want Jon to feel persecuted. He didn't want Jason to, either, though, and he deliberately eases his posture. "Jon," he says quietly, "you're not a fuck-up, and I didn't suggest that, either. I know you must want to be rid of the feeling that you have to fix what's wrong with Jason, don't you? It's got to be some miserable shit to deal with."
Through this exchange Simon has been silent, and now he says, "Jon. Tim is trying to help us. He's not picking on you or trying to hurt you; he's pointing out ways in which you can take control over your feelings about Jason. If you react by getting defensive and hurt when he does that, it's going to work against you."
"But," Jon starts, and frowns, feeling rebellious. He glances between Tim and Simon and Jason's face, paused on the screen, and scoots back against the back of the couch. He feels a little like a kid. "I'm not... you think I'm going to sabotage my relationship with Sir?" he asks Tim, unsure of how to react. He kind of wants to run away, but that's not an option.
"I don't think you mean to." Tim is very serious about that. "But whether or not you mean to, I do believe you're capable of it--because anyone would be."
Considering Jon's abandonment issues, it takes everything Simon's got to stay quiet now, but he has to trust that Tim knows what he's doing. He bites his lip and quells the urge to protest that he'll never leave Jon no matter what.
"But I wouldn't do that," Jon exclaims. "Jason's the asshole. I know that. Jason's the asshole. I'd never leave Sir, that's crazy," he insists, rocking forward a little in his seat.
"I know you wouldn't leave," Tim clarifies. "There's plenty you can do to kill a relationship from right inside it. That's what concerns me. This thing with Jason still impacts you, it carries weight in spite of the fact that you don't want it to. You tense up at the sight of him on a monitor. You feel a desire to fix things even though you're calling him an asshole. You have to let go of what he did back there and stop giving him power, because right now? It isn't Jason doing anything to you. It's you." He knows that this stands to piss Jon right off, but that's what he's hoping for--Jon needs to be shaken out of this need to shrink down into nothing when he feels that he's done wrong.
Jon breathes in sharply through his nostrils, glancing between Simon and Tim. "Twenty years," he says quietly, but there's an obvious anger behind his words. "Twenty years I've been trying to get it right, and I don't need a stranger to beat me down. I've had enough of that, all right? Cut me some fucking slack." His hands clench on his thighs, and he breathes in another deep, quick breath. "What do you want from me? You want me to admit that the abuse was all my fault, that Jason wasn't involved?"
"No, that's not what I want at all," Tim says, "because that would be a lie, not an admission. You just gave me what I wanted--you told me this goes far enough past Jason that it's going to be an issue if you don't treat it." He gentles his tone now. "Jon, this isn't your fault. You just need to see where the problem stems from--and I don't think it's Jason at all, any more than Jason's problems stemmed from you."
"So what does it stem from?" Jon asks, some of the tension dissipating as he realizes how childish he's being. "It stems from me, but it's not my fault? I don't get it."
"Something happened to you, and I don't think it was a singular event. Twenty years is a long time for this kind of pathology to hang onto a psyche. What was it, Jon?" Tim has set the clipboard down and is now leaning forward, elbows on his knees. "This is coming from a lot of hurt. Someone making it very clear to you that you weren't good enough."
"I don't know," Jon says quietly, the word pathology hitting him like an arrow in the chest. He deflates a little, back to cuddling Simon instead of sitting on the edge of his seat. "Dr. Gillespie thinks that maybe my father disowning me around the same time I started training might have been not great," he admits. "But he wasn't in my life, anyway, before that. And then my mom died and that was hard but then I met Richard and came to LA right after that and that was good, I had a good place. He didn't make me feel like I wasn't good enough. We were together for six years."
"But moving to Los Angeles still came with emotional upheaval," Tim points out. "Weddings, the births of babies, promotions, relocations...good stress is still stress. On the heels of a death and a disowning and in the process of taking on training--do you see where I'm going with this? You had so much change in your life, it was bound to impact your emotional state. It takes a lot to recover from that kind of overload."
Jon nods. "I know that... there are things in my training that the people in my life now disagree with," he says diplomatically. "I'm working on them already. Trying to ask questions, express preferences, not automatically respect someone because they're dominant, things like that. I don't... think it's that unusual that I would have trouble remembering those things when confronted... by my abuser," he argues, stumbling a little on the words.
"It's not," Simon agrees. "But you have to be willing to listen to what Tim has to say, without being defensive, and you need to focus on what you can do now to help yourself heal, not on what Jason did in the past. You've made a good start, but it's still going to be hard."
"Yes, Sir," Jon replies quietly, looking at his shoes. "I'll do my best."
"You're not being blamed," Tim says carefully, leaning forward. "This is all just to get you thinking about what you can do to move forward." He makes some notes on his clipboard. "I'm going to recommend that you take classes--specifically for dominants. Not," he adds quickly as he sees protest mounting on Jon's face, "that you have to become or even act dominant. I just want you to see what a responsible dominant would look for and recognize the differences between what you have now and what you were dealing with then. It's also to help you recognize what you can do to develop your own strength." He glances between them when he's done writing. "It's not terribly unusual for submissives to take dominants' classes, but if it makes you feel more secure, Simon can go with you."
"Yes, please," Jon says immediately. "I... I don't know if I really want to be alone in a room full of dominants that need classes in how to be responsible," he explains. "This isn't, uh... hands-on, is it? I mean, I don't have to... uh..."
"No, of course not. I wouldn't put you in that position." Tim shakes his head, making another note. "These are mostly beginners," he promises. "There aren't going to be many people in these classes for punitive reasons, if any--for the most part, dominants end up assigned to submissive courses." He's not allowed to tell Jon specifically that that's what's been recommended to Jason, but....
Something about that makes Jon let out a startled giggle. "Submissive courses? Really?" He tries to hide his grin, squeezing Simon's thigh.
Simon nudges him, grinning back. "I took a couple when I first got a membership," he says. "Really helped me become a better dom, actually."
"See--it isn't meant to be a humiliating gesture or a derogatory one--but it really does depend on where the dominant is coming from. If a dom is secure in his nature, he's not going to feel threatened by the idea of taking a course designed for subs." Tim shrugs; it's much like anything to him. He's seen too many examples of people being stupid about their traits.
"Right," Jon smiles. "Hey, um, do you think the dominant class, uh... do you think maybe they have one about dominant basics and stuff? Not--" he adds quickly, looking at Simon, "that I want to top anybody. Just, I was thinking, uh, see, we have this girlfriend," he explains, smiling at Tim. "And she's kind of feisty. And I think she might like it if I could be more... aggressive, in bed. Sometimes." He smiles a little as his eyes drop to the ground, blushing heavily.
Tim considers, then pulls a pamphlet from the small table beside his chair. "You might find something in this one, though it's geared more toward dominants." He grins. "Your girlfriend might like to teach you that herself. That's usually what we recommend for something so...tailored."
Simon's proud of JW for voicing his question so clearly. "I think the two of you need to have some serious alone time. Maybe a weekend or something. I'll be lonely, of course, but I'll manage."
Jon frowns, considering. "Well, I like the idea of Thandie teaching me... I don't know how much she knows about it, really, she's kind of a beginner to kink," he explains for Tim's benefit. "But she's a quick study. Maybe... you could stay with someone else for a weekend, Sir?" he suggests. "So you're having kinky sex, too?"
"Oh, I'm sure I could get a room at the club and find some trouble to get into," Simon agrees.
"I'm sure you can," Jon agrees, grinning. "Being hot and all."
"Such a good boy," Simon replies, kissing Jon's nose.
Smiling in the cool, professional way he's trained himself to do, Tim nods to himself. "I think we're done, yes?" he asks. "And you're welcome to come back, or visit with another counselor. I can give you some names, if you'd like, but--that’s right..." and he flips back a page on the clipboard, "you're already doing that. Gillespie."
Jon nods. "So... is everything okay? Is... Jason going to stay away from me?" He knows that's not really why they're here, but the club membership, it's really what it boils down to for him.
"He's restricted only to the classroom areas for now," Tim promises, "and he's not attending the same types of classes you are."
"Oh. That's really good, then," Jon smiles. "Thank you for... not assuming I'm lying, you know."
"I don't make that assumption," Tim says simply. "I would never have any basis for it." He closes the file and stands. "I think we're all set."
Jon nods and gets to his feet with Simon, holding out his hand and shaking Tim's. "I'll... see about those classes. Thank you for your help. And I'm sorry I got mad," he adds, blushing a little.
"It's all right," Tim promises with a little smile. "It's an emotionally-charged situation. Please call me if anything else comes up, if you have any questions...anything." He nods to Simon. "Thank you for your trust."
"Thank you," Simon replies. "I think we're going to accomplish a lot."
"I think you will, too. And you may not care to hear this right now, but I think you might take a little comfort in knowing you have probably contributed to helping Jason, too." Tim is walking them to the door now; they're his last clients for the day, and he really needs to get home to his own boy.
"I...right now, no, but maybe later on. I mean, obviously he had a horrible upbringing. That doesn't give him the right to mistreat anyone, but knowing it..." Simon shrugs. "It makes me understand better how he became who he is."
"Good." Tim opens the door for them. "Seriously, call if you need anything more."
"We will," Jon promises, smiling at Tim as he tucks in against Simon, Simon's arm slipping around his waist. "Thanks again."