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

ELIZABETH MARSHALL STORIES

Enough

Tickets to the symphony are always a treat, Walter thought to himself. Especially seats this good. Especially when they're free.

He spared a moment's sympathy for the Gunmen, who were grounded with early fall head colds, and who had passed along their three tickets.

We'll do something nice for them before Christmas, Walter thought.

There was plenty of time to plan. Walter wished that the line in the lobby of the theater would move more quickly. Checkpoints at the doors of public buildings had become commonplace.

Fox rolled his eyes and fidgeted. He was resigned to the now-familiar ritual of handbag, briefcase and parcel checks, but all too well aware of the apathy of the guards and the futility of such half-hearted methods of assuring the general public that the theater was taking adequate precautions.

Alex stood graceful and motionless, his annoyance well concealed. Complaints against authoritarian idiocies hadn't gone down well with the Consortium's higher ups; he was well practiced in patiently submitting to whatever ridiculous measures were foisted upon him.

Alex's own counter-terrorist precautions were a lot less showy than the theater's.

Alex felt the comforting weight of the knife sewn into his coat's lining. Walter didn't need to know about that.

Walter had nothing in his hands and was allowed past the checkpoint without incident.

Fox dropped his black leather messenger bag on the guard's table with a thunk. Something about his cavalier attitude irritated the guard, who, with the officious sneer of the petty official, demanded that Fox empty his bag.

Walter turned back, his hand going to his wallet, ready to establish his identity as former FBI if need be. He froze at the sight of Fox's possessions, spilled boldly across the guard's table.

Damnit.

Fox's eyes met Walter's defiantly, daring him to comment.

There on the table, clearly and unmistakably borrowed, lay, not one, not two, but three videotapes. Videotapes that Mulder had sworn he had returned to the library.

Walter ground his teeth. It wasn't the fine, it was the principle of the thing. Fox had flat-out lied.

The guard motioned to Fox to pack up his stuff and move through.

Alex pulled back his jacket as he passed the guards, giving a clear look at his waist and pockets. His nonchalance was false. Walter saw the tightness of his eyes, the tension in his jaw.

"I would have taken them back for you, Fox," Alex said. "Asshole."

"Fuck you, Alex," Fox snapped back, seriously annoyed. "It's eight bucks, tops. Come on, Walter, don't look at me that way! What's the big deal?"

"We are not going to have this discussion now," Walter said sharply. "Fox, I am not happy, and we will talk about this. Alex, keep out of this. It isn't your concern. Watch your language."

"Yes, sir," Alex said stiffly.

Walter winced visibly at the hurt in Alex's voice. Fox caught the gesture.

"I am sick of you worrying about someone else's feelings 24/7," Fox remarked to the air.

Alex hunched his shoulders.

"It's all right, Alex. Enough, Fox," Walter said, shaking his head. A man my age has no business with two high maintenance lovers. The thought rose unbidden in Walter's mind.

"I'm going home," Alex said abruptly. "You don't fucking want me here anyway."

Before either Walter or Fox had a chance to reply, Alex turned on his heel and vanished into the crowd

"That spoiled, miserable brat," Fox swore. "He fucking ruins everything. I hate him."

"Enough, Fox," Walter said wearily. "Let's find our seats."

"You've got to be kidding, Walter! We can't just let Alex run away!"

"Alex is not running away," Walter said certainly. "He's angry and upset, with good reason. He'll go home when he's ready to. Trust me, Fox."

Fox shivered.

"I didn't mean what I said, Walter," he said wretchedly. "Walter, I'm scared. What if we lose him?"

"We won't lose him, Fox," Walter said. "He's angry, that's all. Once he calms down, he'll head home. Easy, Fox. Breathe."

Fox marveled at the self-discipline that allowed Walter to concentrate on the concert. By the intermission, Fox was squirmy with anxiety.

Fox bolted for the lobby, whipped out his cell phone and called Alex.

Alex's phone was off.

Walter followed slowly after Fox.

"Walter, please," Fox said piteously. "I really want to leave. I need to see that Alex is all right. Please."

"All right, Fox, all right," Walter said, recognizing that the concert was a lost cause. He sighed. "Next time, think before you tear into Alex, not after."

"I'm sorry," Fox said, his throat tight, his eyes anguished. "I'm so sorry." He scrubbed his hand over his face, hard.

Walter knew Fox was sincerely distressed. Relenting, Walter draped his arm over Fox's shoulder and ushered him back to their car.

"Shh, Fox, it's going to be all right. Don't blow this out of proportion. You and Alex were fine yesterday; you'll be fine tomorrow. "

"If only you didn't make such a big deal about the library fines, Walter," Fox began.

"No," said Walter.

"What do you mean, no?" Fox asked angrily.

"I know you're upset, Fox, but blaming me is going to make you feel worse, not better. It is not my responsibility and you know it." Walter's voice sharpened.

"You are going to be punished for lying about returning the tapes and you are going to be punished for pushing Alex. How severely I punish you depends in part on your attitude. Remember that, Fox, and think before you say anything else."

Walter's severe tone washed over Fox like a spray of cold water. Fox gulped audibly.

"I'm sorry, Walter," Fox said quietly.

"I know, Fox. It's all right. Try to trust me. Try to believe me."

The house was dark when they entered it, but not so dark that Walter and Fox couldn't see the familiar figure seated on the couch.

"Very good, Alex. You came home," Walter said approvingly.

"You fucking idiot!" Fox flared.

"Fuck you too," Alex said dully.

"Enough!" Walter said. Both Alex and Fox responded to the edge in his voice.

"Yes, sir," Alex said quietly.

"Just kill me now," said Fox with a sigh.

Walter shook his head ruefully at Fox's melodrama. Alex's soft "sir" was far more worrisome.

"You are both going to be punished," Walter said. "Alex, in my office. Fox, wait here."

Obediently Alex headed down the hallway, Walter at his back. Walter closed the office door behind them.

"What happened, Alex? I want to understand. Why were you so angry at Fox?" Walter asked.

"I don't know, sir." Alex looked away.

"Alex, come here," Walter coaxed, seating himself on the couch and patting the spot alongside him. "Now, please."

Alex sat obediently. A gently tug from Walter and he was in Walter's lap, his legs draped awkwardly over Walter's, his arms around Walter's neck.

"He doesn't trust me," Alex said bitterly. "I asked him about the tapes and he lied to me. I knew he hadn't returned them. I would have done it for him. But he lied to me! Why, Walter, why? What am I doing wrong? Why won't Fox trust me?"

"Fox doesn't trust anyone," Walter said softly. "It's not you, Alex, it's him."

"He trusts you!" Alex began to cry. Choked, painful tears.

"Running off on you own, without a word to either of us, doesn't help Fox trust you," Walter said softly. "It hurts us, Alex. It's wrong."

"You're going to punish us, I know you are, Walter. I hate when you cane Fox. I hate when he screams."

"I know," Walter said softly. He stroked Alex's sable hair gently; ran his fingers along Alex's pale, wet cheeks.

"Running off doesn't help, Alex. It puts distance between us, it doesn't bring us closer. It hurts our feelings and it hurts our relationship. And yes, I'm still going to cane Fox. He deserves it. He needs it."

"Are you going to spank me, too?" Alex asked tentatively.

"I think you already know the answer to that question, Alex. " Walter looked at Alex.

"I have it coming." Standing up, Alex undid his pants without waiting for Walter's prompt, shoved them and his underwear to his knees. Arranged himself face down over Walter's lap.

"It will be over soon," Walter promised, giving a final, reassuring rub over the small of Alex's back. "Remember to breathe. Tell me why I am going to spank you, Alex."

Alex tried not to cry. You got it worse, if you cried; he had learned that a long time ago.

Walter hesitated. Alex was trembling badly.

"Alex, this isn't working for me," Walter said softly. "Pull up your pants and come with me. I'm putting you to bed. You are too upset for a spanking."

"I'm fine," Alex whispered shakily.

"No, Alex, you are not fine. Do what I tell you. Pants up, come with me. Bedroom, now."

Fox was lying on the bed, curled on his side. Looking into the middle distance.

"Walter? Walter, what's wrong?"

"Alex. He's too upset for me to spank him," Walter said succinctly. "Let him stretch out, Fox, he needs to sleep before I punish him."

"Shit," Fox said. "I'm sorry, Walter, I didn't mean for this to happen."

"I know, Fox," Walter sighed. He pressed Alex into the bed beside Fox, crawled in alongside his two lovers.

Fox stroked Alex's face gently.

"I'm sorry, Alex," he said softly.

"I hate when Walter spanks me. I hate when he canes you," Alex said dully.

"It's all right, Alex," Fox and Walter said simultaneously. Their eyes met, acknowledging their understanding of their damaged lover.

Walter drew Alex's head onto his chest. Fox spooned around Alex's back.

Totally undone by the closeness and contact, Alex retreated into sleep.

"Walter? What about me?" Fox whispered over Alex's slumbering form. "Are you going to punish me?"

Walter groaned.

"Fox, I am going to take down your pants, bend you over a chair and take my cane to you. Tomorrow. Tonight we are going to hold Alex, and sleep."

"I can't sleep when you're angry at me," Fox protested.

"Fox, you will sleep," said Walter firmly. "Don't argue with me."

"All right, Walter," Fox said. "I'll sleep."

The ringing phone brought Walter awake early the next morning.

"Yes, thank you Melvin," Walter said politely. "No, it's not too early. Thank you very much. Next time will be my treat."

"You didn't tell him," said a sleepy Fox.

"I didn't want to make him feel bad. The seats were too good to be wasted like that."

"Shit," Alex groaned, burying his head in the pillow. "I hate waking up knowing I've got a spanking coming. Please Walter, let's just get it over with."

"All right," Walter agreed, knowing Alex would never calm down until the smart of the spanking was behind him. "Come into my office with me."

Alex eyed the familiar surroundings apprehensively. Aware of Alex's mounting anxiety, Walter didn't waste time.

Taking Alex's good hand, Walter tugged Alex in front of him.

"Let's get these off, OK? Over my lap now, that's right, I've got you. Tell me, Alex, what is this spanking for?" Walter asked.

"For running off. For getting mad at Fox for not trusting me and for running off. For spoiling the concert," Alex said mournfully.

Walter eyed the taut buttocks across his knee regretfully. It seemed a shame to redden the alabaster skin. Steeling himself, he brought his palm down hard.

Alex jumped forward, but Walter held him fast, rapidly turning his ass a deeper, darker red. It wasn't a pleasant task. Alex 's small whimpers and sniffles were painful to hear.

Walter spanked methodically, one harsh red patch spreading into another. Continued until Alex's buttocks were glowing and Alex was crying hard.

"There now, it's all over. We're all done. You're forgiven." Walter ended the spanking with his usual reassurances, as he gathered Alex into his arms.

Walter held Alex until he quieted, stroking his ink black hair, offering reassurance that he was loved, that he was wanted, that he was an integral part of their threesome.

"Don't cane Fox," Alex begged. "Please, Walter, it scares me so bad when he screams. Don't cane Fox."

Walter considered the question, then shook his head regretfully.

"Fox needs it, Alex. You don't have to listen. Stay in the bedroom. Shut the door and turn up the television."

Alex nodded, accepting Walter's decision.

Walter propelled Alex gently towards the bedroom. Alex refused to meet Fox's eyes. As Fox watched silently, Walter tucked Alex back under the covers. Alex buried his head in the pillows.

"Your turn, my Fox," Walter said. "My office, please."

"Shit," Fox said succinctly. He was not looking forward to taking his punishment, for all that he had earned it. For all that he craved the absolution it gave him.

"Four strokes of the cane," Walter said. "For disobedience. For lying. For hurting Alex by your refusal to trust him. Bend over and let's be done with it. Remember to count, Fox," Walter added, considerably more gently.

Fox hated this moment before the caning began.

Walter brought the thin whippy cane down across Fox's buttocks.

"No! SHIT! It hurts!" Fox wailed.

"I know it hurts," Walter said empathetically. "Count please, Fox."

"One! Thank you! Please, no more, oh please!"

Walter dealt out two more snappy strokes, hardening his heart against Fox's increasingly frantic pleas.

"Two! Three! No, Walter, no!"

"Breathe, Fox. We're almost done." Walter's voice was calm and sure, belying just how much he hated this exercise. Fox needed it; that was enough.

The fourth stroke left Fox sobbing for relief.

"Four! Thank you! I'm sorry Walter, I'm sorry," Fox wailed.

Walter threw the cane aside and took Fox in his arms, hugging hard.

"Let me go," Fox pleaded. "Please Walter, I need to go. I need some space."

"Not this time. Alex needs you," Walter said. "I know you're sorry. I forgive you. Now show Alex what it means, not to take off. Show Alex how to stay."

"I love you, Walter," Fox said, his voice rough with emotion. "I'll stay. I'll trust you, Walter."

Walter escorted Fox back to the bedroom. Alex was still lying face down on the bed, pillows tight over his head.

"We're all done," Walter said softly. "Fox is fine, Alex. Look. "

"I love you, Alex," Fox whispered.

"I get scared," Alex said softly.

"I know." Fox kissed Alex gently and thoroughly.

Walter lay back on the bed and drew his lovers close.

"We all get scared sometimes. It's what we do about it, that counts," he said softly.

"I love you, Walter," Fox said.

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

"I'm here," Alex said softly.

It was enough.

 

***FIN***

Happy Birthday Lorelei, dear friend and Beta. EM