Aaron didn't notice Spencer standing in the doorway when he delivered the quick swat to Jack's bottom. The boy had deliberately disobeyed him and got mad when he got in trouble. The swat was light and only to get him to pay attention to his father and just slow down for a second.
"Jack!" Aaron yelled as he walked into the kitchen not five minutes ago. The young boy was holding a knife and trying to get a piece of toast out of the toaster.
Jack jumped, dropping the knife on the floor eyes wide.
"What did I tell you?" Aaron asked, picking him off the counter and setting him on the floor.
"Wait till you come down to make toast."
"Why didn't you listen to me you could have gotten seriously hurt!" Aaron exclaimed.
Jack started to look a little angry. "I was hungry! So, I put the bread in and pushed it down and waited for it to pop up! You weren't here when it popped!"
"I was on my way down you should have waited!" At this point Aaron was only loud out of relief that his son hadn't electrocuted himself, the rush of adrenaline coursing it way through his body.
"I was hungry!" Jack yelled stomping his food. "I just wanted my-"
Aaron quickly, but gently, turned his son around and landed a quick swat to his bottom.
Jack stopped and looked at his dad, finally seeing that his dad wasn't actually angry. Concerned and relieved, but not angry. He was about to say something when he saw someone in the doorway, white as a sheet.
Spencer barely heard the boy, memories from his childhood flashing through his mind.
A strong hand holding his arm so tight that it bruised while the other delivered blow after blow on his bottom, legs, and lower back. Twisting and turning trying to escape the two hands hurting him.
"Stop! Please! It hurts!"
"Papa?" came the voice again.
Spencer rushed forward and pulled Jack to his chest and turned, shielding the boy. He wasn't going to let anyone hurt him. Not like that.
"Spencer?" came a confused voice.
There was a hand on his shoulder, and he flinched, curling tighter around Jack.
"Papa what's wrong?" came Jacks slightly scared voice.
"I won't let you get hurt." Spencer said to him. "You'll be okay."
Aaron sucked in a breath at those words. He watched as his boyfriend curled around and protected his son. From him. Aaron would never hurt Jack, and Jack knows that he'd never hurt him.
"Daddy wouldn't hurt me." Jack says confidently.
Aaron watched as Jack put a small hand on the side of Spencer's face. Spencer blinked, hazy eyes slightly clearing as he looked at the child.
"Spence." Aaron said in a slightly pained voice.
Spencer shot up and turned around, face still pale, eyes wide. "I'm sorry."
Aaron was confused. "What are you sorry for?"
"I'm sorry." Spencer repeated, starting to shake. "Please don't hit me." He whispered.
"Daddy?" Came Jack's small voice.
"Jack go upstairs for me buddy." Aaron says softly.
"Is Papa okay?"
"I don't know and I'm going to find out." Aaron says. "Upstairs please."
Jack nodded and quickly left the kitchen.
Aaron looked to the man in front of him. Spencer was shaking, looking down at the floor. Aaron walked forward trying not to let it break his heart when Spencer flinched at his footsteps.
"Spencer… love." He says quietly, placing a hand on his boyfriend's cheek.
"Please." Spencer whispered, clenching his eyes shut.
Aaron shushed him gently. "Open your eyes love."
Spencer shook his head.
"You're safe I promise. No one here is going to hurt you. Please open your eyes."
Spencer, after a minute of deliberation, cracked an eye open. The hazy face of his boyfriend was in front of him. And he looked extremely worried.
"There you are." Aaron said gently.
"I would never hurt you, Spencer. And I would never hurt Jack." Aaron says looking him in the eye. "I think we might need to have a talk."
Aaron led them to the living room and sat them on the couch. Aaron sat sideways so his legs were on the cushions in front of him. Spencer curled up between his legs and leaned against his chest. Aaron wrapped his arms around him like a security blanket.
Aaron started carding a hand through Spencer's hair and the younger man melted into his chest. "Can you tell me what happened in there?"
"I heard you yelling so I came down to see what was going on." Spencer started quietly. "I had just gotten into the doorway when you spanked Jack."
Aaron was quiet as Spencer gathered his thoughts.
"All I could see after that was my dad. He'd grab me by the arm and spank me so hard. Over and over and over and it would hurt so much. I'd beg him to stop but he wouldn't. Sometimes he'd get my legs or my back. There would be so many bruises. All I could think about was protecting Jack. I couldn't let him get hurt. I wasn't going to let him feel that. It hurt so much." Spencer choked on a sob.
Aaron held him tightly, stroking his hair as he cried. The man's reaction made sense now and despite the situation, the fact that Spencer would shield Jack from something like that made him love the man even more.
"You're okay love." Aaron whispered. "You're safe here."
After a few minutes Spencer took deeper breaths and started calming down. Aaron started talking.
"What you described is not a spanking, that is abuse. Especially if it happened multiple times and from what I've gathered it did. What I did to Jack was a light swat, he won't even remember it happened come dinner time. Sometimes he just gets so caught up in his yelling or tantrum and the swat startles him enough to take a breath and slow down. It's not a punishment and we always talk about the problem right after and then how he feels about the swat."
Spencer opened his mouth, but Aaron gave him a look.
"But I can see that the idea makes you very uncomfortable, so." Aaron looked into Spencer's eyes as he says the next part. "I will stop, no more swats to the bottom. We can find another way to get his attention if he starts throwing a tantrum."
"You'd do that?" Spencer asks.
"If it meant you felt safe here and that you were comfortable? Of course, I would." Aaron smiles. "Now the question I have to ask for my own sanity. You do know that I'd never hit you right?"
Spencer looked down and blushed. "I do know that. I was just so caught up in my head and memories that it just kind of came out and-"
Aaron cut him off with a soft kiss.
"That's all I needed to hear."
"I love you."
"I love you too."
"And I love you too!"
The two men startled as Jack jumped onto the couch with them, curling up on Spencer's lap. They laughed and the family curled up together just enjoying being together.