M/m sex, discipline, spanking. If the idea of a discipline relationship between consenting adult men offends you, so will this story.


Archival Memory

"Fox, you bastard! What the fuck is this shit?"

Alex threw the binder across the room. It hit the floor in an explosion of paper.

"Easy, Alex," Fox said, backing away.

"Stay there, Mulder. Don't fucking move." A knife materialized in Alex's good hand.

Fox froze. Shit.

"You wrote down every punishment I ever got, you sick fuck! You printed every email I ever left!" Alex's rage showed no signs of abating.

Fox took a step towards Alex, his hands up.

"I'll use it, Fox," Alex warned, extending the knife.

Fox kicked Alex's hand, sending the knife skittering across the floor. Took Alex down, hard. Alex writhed beneath him, frantic to escape, but Fox had the advantage of size and weight, as well as two arms.

"You pulled a knife on me!" Fox punched downward sharply, his fist catching Alex squarely on the mouth.

"You keep lists of my punishments. Save my emails. You're building a case against me, I know it," Alex spat, the words emerging in a bloody froth.

Fox looked at his bleeding lover, aghast at the damage he'd inflicted.

"Not a case! An archive! I was keeping an archive of our love affair," Fox said miserably, rolling off Alex with a sigh. "So that I would have something to remember you by when you left us."

Years of practice at making quick judgments told Alex that Fox was telling the truth.

"Oh shit. Fox, I-I..." Alex hesitated, at a loss for words. "Shit." He licked his bloody lips; frowned.

"Shit," Fox agreed, his shoulders drooping. He reached for Alex's hand to help him up.

"Ow, no! Fox!" Alex cradled his hand protectively against his chest.

"Shit. Let me see, Alex. How bad is it?"

Wincing, Alex rotated his wrist, wiggled his fingers. Winced.

"It's not broken, anyway," Alex shrugged. "Hurts less than my face."

"If you hadn't pulled that knife," Fox began.

"I know, Fox," Alex said softly. "You're right, it's my own fucking fault. Fox, what are we going to tell Walter?"

Fox hesitated.

"He's going to be furious," Alex whispered. "Shit."

"We have to tell him something," Fox said miserably. "Otherwise he's going to take one look at your face, and kill me."

Fox and Alex looked at each other.

"Walter will be fair, Alex," Fox said. "You were really upset. So was I. Not that that's any excuse."

Alex hunched his shoulders.

"I don't want to be punished, Fox."

"We're talking about you pulling a knife on me, Alex!"

"We're talking about you not trusting me, Fox!"

"I don't trust anyone to stay, Alex. It's not just you."

"That's your problem, Fox."

"You overreacted, Alex. Why the fuck do you even have a knife?"

"I don't feel safe without a weapon. Why the fuck do you have to write all that shit down, Fox?"

"I don't feel safe without a record, Alex," Fox said despondently.

"Shit, Fox. What have you got that fucking eidetic memory for?" Alex shook his head with a bemused sigh. "Well, now you'll have another punishment to list on my page in your fucking archive. Fox? Do you write about Walter, too?"

Fox ducked his head with a sheepish smile.

"Oh, yeah, Walter has his own page. Pages." Fox froze at the sound of the front door slamming.

"I'm home! I got us some--" Walter broke off mid-sentence at the sight of Alex's bruised and bloodied face.

"Goddamnit." Walter clenched his teeth.


"Come into the kitchen, Alex, let me clean you up. Shh..." Walter coaxed Alex into leaning over the sink and washed the clotted blood from Alex's nose and mouth with a gentle spray of water. Tilted Alex's head towards the light, had him open his mouth and studied his gums and teeth. Alex had bitten his tongue badly.

"What happened?" Walter glared at Fox.

"Here's the story, Walter. Alex found my private little archive. Read his file. Pulled a knife on me. I kicked it out of his hand," Fox said succinctly.

Alex was silent. Shit. He had no excuse to offer. Yet somehow, Fox's statement seemed incomplete and unfair.

"Let me see your hand, Alex," Walter said softly.

Alex extended his hand. Walter pressed his fingers over the small bones at the wrist, seeking for painful points. Carefully manipulated Alex's fingers.

"Just bruised, I think, Alex," Walter said quietly. "Is there any reason I shouldn't punish you, Alex?"

"I was wrong, I know I was wrong, but I won't let you cane me, Walter." Alex backed towards the door. "I can't, Walter."

"I agree, what you did was very wrong, Alex," Walter kept his voice gentle, sensing how close Alex was to panic. "But I don't intend to cane you. I promised you, my hand, only ever my hand. That's what we agreed."

"You still mean that, Walter?" Alex asked doubtfully. "A spanking isn't much punishment for pulling a knife."

"Alex, I promised: Only my hand. I didn't say, only my hand, unless you do something that really makes me angry, or, only my hand, unless you do something that really scares me. I said only my hand." Walter's gentle brown eyes met Alex's worried green ones.

"You set a limit, Alex. I'm not going to violate it."

Tentatively, Alex came closer to Walter, sniffing hard as he buried his face in Walter's shoulder. Walter rubbed reassuring circles on his back.

"Come on, Alex, let's get this spanking over with. In my office."

Reluctantly, Alex preceded Walter down the hall. At the door to Walter's office Alex balked, shaking his head in refusal.

"In the corner, Alex, I want you facing the wall " Walter insisted gently. "Now please, Alex. I'm right here. You can do this."

Alex obeyed, his breathing audible.

"Think, Alex. Really think about why you reacted so strongly. I'm going to expect you to talk to me before I spank you."

Alex gagged. Instantly Walter was at his side, his arm solicitously around Alex's waist, holding the small wastepaper basket in front of Alex. Alex doubled over, retching miserably.

"That's it, let it out, it's all right," Walter crooned. He could feel his own heart racing. Alex was clearly terrified.

"Let it out, Alex. It's all right. Better out than in," Walter repeated soothingly, trying to keep his voice steady.

Alex straightened, shamefaced.

"I'm an asshole, Walter. Shit."

"It's all right, Alex," Walter said, placing the wastepaper basket by the door. He seated himself on the couch, drawing Alex alongside him.

"Easy, Alex. It's all right. I'll make a note not to stand you in the corner again. It's too much for you."

"A note, Walter? Do you also write this shit down somewhere?" Alex asked unhappily.

Walter looked surprised at the question.

"As a matter of fact, I do, Alex." He laughed self-consciously. "I was a career bureaucrat, after all. Notes, records, archives; the lifeblood of a government bureaucracy. Old habits die hard."

"The Consortium kept records," Alex said softly. "Mine was pretty bad. The Englishman liked to review the list of punishments I'd gotten every time I was sent to his office. Just to make sure he wasn't too easy on me. " He laughed sarcastically. "He'd show it to potential clients, too. So they would know just how much I could take."

Walter felt Alex shiver. He gently tugged Alex closer.

"Tell me," he said softly.

"I didn't pass out easily," Alex said numbly. "I could be fucked up pretty badly and I'd still be awake. Better for the camera, you know? There were photos in my file to prove it. Shit, there's probably still a fucking archive of my pictures." He smiled mirthlessly. "Alex sucking cock. Alex taking it up the ass. Alex being caned across the desk. Alex being fisted. Shit, there's a lot of nice shots in that archive."

"I think you just explained why Fox's records upset you so badly," Walter said, easing Alex's head into his lap. "Now tell me about the knife."

"I always kept one, after the first time," Alex said softly. "I didn't have a choice about doing jobs for clients. But I'd be damned if I'd play whore to every two-bit thug who worked for them." He grinned coldly. "They weren't supposed to fuck the merchandise, you know. So they couldn't complain to the Brit if I cut them when they tried. Oh, they made me pay for it. Beat the shit out of me and fucked me anyway. But I kept fighting back. And eventually the word got around that it was going to cost them, too, and they left me alone. Mostly." His voice was bitter.

Walter took a deep breath. What those bastards had done to Alex was reprehensible. The very thought of spanking Alex was painful. Walter stroked Alex's hair gently.

"We need to talk with Fox, Alex. He'll understand what happened. Shh, it's all right. I'm not going to punish you."

"Walter, I could have hurt Fox!" Alex said hoarsely and unhappily. "Please, Walter, I deserve to be punished. I deserve to be spanked."

Walter shook his head, understanding Alex's plea. Alex needed to feel his impulses were contained. He needed to be to be spanked.

"All right, Alex," Walter said. "Sit up, please, and look at me. Why am I going to spank you?"

"I could have hurt Fox," Alex said, unable to meet Walter's eyes.

"That's part of it. What else, Alex?" Walter asked gently.

"I shouldn't have been carrying a knife."

"Good, Alex. What else?"

Alex chewed his lip pensively.

"Help me out here, Walter?" Alex cocked his head to the side.

"You need to give Fox the benefit of the doubt. Don't be so quick to assume he's out to get you. Fox loves you, Alex. I love you. Trust that we're not going to hurt you."

"I'm sorry, Walter," Alex said unhappily. "I'll try, I promise I'll try harder."

Walter hesitated uncertainly. He had serious doubts whether a spanking would do more good than harm, yet already Alex was turning himself onto his stomach and arranging himself over Walter's knees. Easing down his jeans and boxers. Trusting Walter to spank him.

Alex's breath came in staccato gasps. Walter, please, help me, he chanted to himself. His heart pounded. His blood rushed to his lowered head. Dizzy, nauseous yet curiously resigned, he awaited his punishment, trusting Walter to know what to do.

Walter rested his warm, dry palm on Alex's rigid flank for a moment. Alex flinched at his touch. Walter watched Alex struggle to breathe evenly, his own chest tightening sympathetically. Felt Alex's belly contract against his thighs.

Please, Walter, please. Help me. Alex's silent plea spoke directly to Walter's heart.

Inhaling deeply, Walter raised his hand and brought it down smartly across first one pale buttock, then the other.

Alex felt the tight knot in his stomach loosen as the firm swats continued. It didn't hurt, not really. Walter kept his hand relaxed, each spank as much caress as reproof.

Walter could feel Alex softening as he realized the spanking Walter was administering was only a token punishment, more reassurance than retribution. Confident now that he had read Alex correctly, Walter peppered the fine alabaster cheeks with crisp, short spanks, turning the white, cool flesh rosy and warm.

"Get rid of that knife, Alex." Walter gave a final few easy taps.

Unnerved by Walter's gentleness, Alex began to cry in earnest.

Walter eased Alex into his lap, cuddling him carefully to his chest. He stroked his sweaty black hair tenderly as Alex sobbed, his face pressed against Walter's shoulder, his hot tears dampening Walter's shirt.

Walter rubbed slow, loving circles over Alex's back and shoulder blades. The measured massage soothed both Alex's crying and his own stinging palm.

Deep, shuddering gasps gave way to smaller, breathier sighs. Alex sniffled, dragged the back of his hand across his streaming nose. Walter passed him a wad of tissues.

Alex blew his nose, hard. Mopped his face. Looked ruefully at Walter.

Walter understood the embarrassed question in Alex's eyes.

Do you think I'm an asshole?

"I think you're a very brave, very beautiful man, Alex," Walter said, taking Alex's jaw in his hand and kissing him deeply. "I love you."

Alex didn't reply, merely nodded and closed his eyes.

Walter recognized the gesture for what it was. Alex was not rejecting him; Alex was overwhelmed.

"It's all right, Alex," Walter said kindly. "Come on, get dressed. I think it's time to talk with Fox."

Fox proved as elusive as his namesake. Alex grew increasingly agitated as a room to room search yielded no Fox. Walter sighed resignedly.

"He probably went for a run, Alex," Walter said. "He'll be back when he's good and ready. Don't worry." He hugged Alex firmly. "Alex. Fox and I have been together a long time. He's all right. Trust me."

Alex nodded tiredly. Trust Walter; he supposed he could do that. He yawned involuntarily.

"You're exhausted, Alex. It's been a rough day. Could I talk you into a nap?" Walter found that Alex usually responded best to mild suggestions. Tact and gentleness had not been preferred Consortium strategies; Alex had few defenses against them.

Grumbling unconvincingly, Alex allowed Walter to remove his jeans, ease off his prosthesis and settle him in their bed. Walter offered Alex a glass of water, watched him drink thirstily. Refilled the glass and placed it on the night table.

"I'll be in my office, Alex, if you need me." Walter smiled to himself. Alex was already asleep.

Walter was not surprised to find Fox sprawled on his office couch, an open bag of sunflower seeds alongside him, thumbing desultorily through an old photo album.

"Welcome back, Fox. So tell me, why did you hit Alex?"

"I can't believe you're taking his side! He pulled a knife on me!" Fox was outraged. "Why am I always in the wrong?"

"I will not tolerate you hurting him, Fox," Walter said. "You're a psychologist; you're also his lover. You have a responsibility towards Alex. Yes, he's frustrating. Yes, he makes you angry. But you do not have the right to hit him."

Walter moved Fox's sunflower seeds to the desk. Took the book from Fox's hands, laid it alongside the seeds.

"Fox, you're a trained negotiator. You know better than to exacerbate a bad situation. So Alex showed you a knife. You could have left the room. You could have waited him out. You could have defused the situation. Instead, you chose to tackle him. Once you had him down and disarmed, you punched him in the face."

"Fuck you, Walter!" Fox was spoiling for a fight. "I didn't do anything wrong. Fuck you!"

"Don't curse at me, Fox," Walter warned quietly.

"You're going to punish me no matter what I say." Fox glared at him.

"That's not true, Fox. I'll never punish you unless we agree that it's fair. Let's just be clear about one thing. Alex is the victim here. Not you, Fox."

"You're wrong, Walter," Fox sputtered indignantly.

"How did he hurt you?"

"He..." Fox's voice trailed off. "Oh." He closed his eyes.

"Walter? How bad did I hurt him?"

"His jaw will be black and blue, and his wrist's sprained. He'll live."

Sighing, Fox got to his feet.

"I deserve to be punished, Walter." Fox moved to stand before Walter; bowed his head penitently. "Let's get it over with."

"Are you sure, Fox?" Walter asked gently. "I'm not going to go easy on you." He cupped Fox's chin gently in his hand. Tilted Fox's head up, searched his hazel eyes.

Fox swallowed hard. His eyes held Walter's without flinching. Yes.

"Six of the best, Fox. Take your pants and underwear off, and bend over the chair, please."

"Yes, sir," Fox murmured. His hands trembled as he undressed. His mouth felt dry and cottony.

Walter drew the slender cane from under the desk.

Fox changed his mind at the sight of it. Shit. No way.

"Bend over the chair, Fox." Walter's voice was stern. "Now, please."

Fine! Fox grasped the chair's sides firmly.

"Why am I going to cane you, Fox?" Walter asked.

"I hit Alex! I lost my temper, I hit him, and I hurt him! I'm sorry!" Fox spit out angrily.

Not as sorry as you're going to be, my Fox, Walter thought ruefully, admiring the taut, well-shaped buttocks displayed before him. It was almost a shame to mar their smooth surface. He touched the slim cane gently to its intended target. Watched Fox's muscles tighten, anticipating the first stroke.

Lifting his arm, Walter brought the springy cane down hard across the tense white ass.

"One! Thank you, sir," Fox gasped. Oh shit.

A second stroke, a second neat red line parallel to the first.

"Two! Thank you, sir," Fox said, his breath coming fast. Ow. It hurt.

Walter laid the third stroke directly below the first two, right at the juncture of buttock and thigh.

"Ow! Ow!! Ow!!!" Fox straightened part way up, shifting his weight painfully from one foot to the other. "Three! No more, Walter, no more! Please!"

Walter hesitated. Shook his head regretfully. Fox had earned the full six.

"Easy now, Fox. Halfway done. That's my brave Fox," he crooned. "Bend over now; hold still. Remember to thank me."

With a groan, Fox dropped his head. Gripped the sides of the chair with sweaty palms.

Walter aimed for the meatiest part of Fox's buttocks. Let the cane rebound swiftly.

"Ow! Four, thank you, sir! Ow!" Fox didn't recognize that Walter had gone lightly.

Another easy stroke.

"Five! Thank you, sir!" Jesus that hurt. Fox gasped desperately.

"Easy, Fox, easy." Walter's voice was calm and gentle. "Breathe. You can do this. Last stroke." He swished the cane through the air in one hard, final stroke. Watched a sixth red stripe materialize just above the lower of the first five.

"Six! Ow! Thank you, sir. Thank you, Walter. No more no more no more..." Fox was crying hard.

With a moue of distaste, Walter dropped the cane on the desk. Put his hands over Fox's hands, loosened Fox's rigid grip. Drew Fox upright and moved with him to the couch. Seated himself and guided Fox carefully into his lap, making sure he was turned comfortably sideways.

"Good Fox. Brave Fox. There now, all over. It's all right, Fox, I've got you. Shh..."

"Don't leave me! Don't leave me! Don't leave me!" Fox sobbed hysterically.

Walter rubbed firm, reassuring circles on Fox's trembling shoulders and back.

"I'm right here. I'm here for you, Fox. I'm always going to be here," Walter promised.

"Everyone leaves me," Fox said despairing, his voice high and young and bewildered. "Everyone." He sniffled miserably.

"I've got you now, Fox. I'm staying. You're mine, Fox. I'm right here." Walter knew Fox was far away.

Slowly, Fox's body seemed to uncurl. His breathing deepened. Walter could tell the endorphins were kicking in hard.

"Walter? What if he left us? What would we do?" Fox asked, trusting Walter to have an answer.

"We'd get him back, Fox," Walter said, his voice calm and certain. "I won't let him leave us. I promise, Fox. We're not going to lose him."

"OK." Fox shrugged. If Walter said so, it must be true. "OK then." He smiled hazily.

"My Fox," Walter said, looking at his thoroughly sore, thoroughly contented lover. "You are a hell of a lot of trouble." He shook his head.

"But you love me," Fox said certainly.

Walter snorted.

"Why the hell else would I do this, Fox?" Walter smoothed Fox's unruly hair back from his tearstained face. "Come on, let's put you to bed."

"I want some air," Fox said petulantly. Walter shook his head.

"Not this time, Fox. This time you're staying here. You're not the only one who needs reassurance, Fox. You're not the only one who needs proof that he's loved."

Alex barely stirred as Fox slid under the covers alongside him.

"I love you, Alex," Fox whispered. "I'm sorry I hurt you. It won't happen again. I really am sorry, Alex."

"'Tsokay," Alex murmured sleepily. "Are you going to write this down, too?" He snuggled into Fox's arms.

"Yeah, Alex," Fox said wryly. "I'll start a new page, OK? Bedtime stories. Hey! Ouch! Walter, I'm too sore for spanking."

"Stop talking and shove over, then," Walter groused. "You two need to leave me some room."

"Always room for you," Fox and Alex said in unison.

Walter shook his head.

"The two of you, agreeing? Now that's one for the record books!"

Walter sprawled comfortably, tucking his two lovers close to him.

"I love you, Fox. I love you, Alex," Walter said.

"I love you, Walter. I love you, Alex," Fox said.

"I'll always remember this," Alex said.


To Eleri Sea, Mistress of the Persuaders Archive, in celebration of the archive's second anniversary, December 1, 2001. EM