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
Alex and Fox stood on opposite sides of the stone fireplace, faces to the wall. Alex wore a tee shirt and jeans; Fox wore only his shirt.
"It's your fault, Fox," Alex hissed.
Fox cut his eyes quickly to the left.
"Just as much yours, Alex," he whispered back.
"If I hear any more talking in there, you'll both be sorry." Walter's voice carried well, even over the sound of water running in the kitchen sink.
"Yours," Alex mouthed.
"Yours, you prick--OW! OW!! What the--"
Walter glared at Fox, whose bare bottom now bore two rosy handprints.
"What part of 'no talking' don't you understand, Fox? Face forward, Alex, you don't want to make me angrier than I already am. I am going to finish cleaning up and then we are all going to have a little discussion." With that, Walter spun on his heel and stomped back into the kitchen.
Fox cautiously put his hand back and rubbed his stinging rump.
Alex tried unsuccessfully to steady his breathing. Walter won't hurt you, he reminded himself. He didn't even ask you to strip, like Fox. Walter won't hurt you. Walter loves you.
Fox could feel the panic radiating off Alex.
"Easy, Alex. It's all right," Fox said, stepping away from the wall. "Walter, we need you in here!" he called, his voice steady. "Now!"
Walter returned hurriedly.
"What is it, Fox?" he asked, no hint of his former irritation in his voice. Fox turned to face him, totally unselfconscious despite his state of semi-undress.
"Alex, Walter," he said succinctly. "Even clothed it's too much for him." They both looked at the dark-haired man leaning his forehead against the wall.
"What? What? Fuck this, fuck you both! I hate these fucking games!" Alex said, his voice rising quickly. He turned to face the room, too upset to see the concern on both men's faces. His green eyes were filled with a mixture of defiance and dread.
Walter stepped forward and took Alex's good arm above the elbow.
"Let me go!" Alex twisted, trying to break his grasp.
"No. Easy, Alex, easy now. I'm not going to hurt you. Think, Alex. Only my hand, only if you agree. Nothing to panic over. Breathe," Walter said firmly, not releasing Alex.
Alex took a half dozen deep gulps of air. Nodded his head.
"I'm OK now, Walter, Fox," he said ashamedly. "Shit. I don't fucking want to do this, Walter. I can't."
Walter looked at Alex for a long moment, then nodded.
"You should have told me earlier, Alex. Get dressed, Fox. Then come back in the dining room and we'll talk. I'll make coffee."
Fox shook his head ruefully.
"You're getting soft, Walter," he said. "Too bad."
"Fox. Don't be selfish," Walter reproved him. "You can stand in the corner in my office later. You're still going to be punished. Don't despair just yet."
"Gee, thanks," Fox said sarcastically to Walter's retreating back.
Fox pulled on his boxers and jeans, did up the zipper and button. He reached over and pulled Alex into a tight hug, ruffling his hair gently. He could practically smell Alex's fear.
"Sorry I didn't realize sooner, Alex," he said apologetically.
"You realized soon enough. You called Walter, " Alex pointed out. "Thanks, Fox." Then, softly, "I didn't mean to wimp out on you."
Fox held the embrace a moment longer, feeling Alex's heart pound against him.
"I don't think 'wimp' is the word for you, Alex," Fox said, shaking his head. "Wait for Walter and then we'll all talk. Come on, let's go sit down. While I still can," he added with a wry grin.
Alex shook his head. Why Fox let Walter cane him was one of the mysteries of the universe, as far as he was concerned.
Walter passed out the mugs of coffee. Alex toyed with his, unwilling to drink if Walter were planning to spank him. There were limits to what his stomach could take without rebelling.
"Take it easy, Alex," Walter said gently. "Remember our rules. Only my hand, only if you agree. Take it easy now."
"I'm sorry, Walter," Fox said tentatively. "I know I started the whole thing. It's just that I can't stand the man. Never could, never will."
"That's fine, Fox. You're entitled to your opinion. But didn't you ever learn the rule about not discussing politics and religion at the table? Especially with people you don't know well and don't want to offend? For godssakes, Fox, these were relatives of Sharon's. It was a courtesy call. We're never going to see them again. Does it really matter who he voted for?"
"Yes," Alex said.
Fox and Walter looked at him in astonishment.
"It speaks!" Fox grinned.
Alex glared back at him.
"I'm not stupid," he said. "No matter what you might think."
"I know that," Fox said, trying to mollify Alex before the situation spiraled out of control.
Alex dropped his eyes.
"Keeping quiet to be polite is wrong," he said softly. "It's one thing when you have to, when you know you're going to get killed, or at least get the shit beaten out of you, if you speak up. But in this house, in this country....no. I have a right to my opinion just as much as the next asshole."
Walter sighed. He had been so sure of himself. Now he wondered if his concerns about politeness might not have to yield to Alex's insistence on his right to speak freely.
"You've not going to punish me, Walter." Alex's green eyes met Walter's challengingly.
Walter sighed. He had learned to pick his battles with his stubborn lover.
"All right, Alex. Only next time, try and watch your language. There are other ways besides cursing to get your point across."
"Yes, Walter," Alex said meekly, standing down in the face of Walter's gentleness. Then, hesitantly, "I'll write lines if you want. Just don't spank me."
"That's a very good idea, Alex," Walter said softly. "I'm proud of you. It sounds like a fair compromise."
Alex smiled, a broad, genuine grin of relief and love mingled.
"'I will make my points without profanity.' Fifty times. Will that do it, Walter?"
"One hundred times. And legibly, Alex." Walter tried not to smile at Alex's sigh.
"All right, Walter. One hundred times. And no spanking."
"Oh, that's just great. Walter will take it out of my ass," Fox said sulkily. "Shit. How come I never get to write lines?"
Walter Looked at Fox.
"Sorry, sir," Fox amended his statement. "I'll take what I've got coming. Sir."
"My office, Fox," Walter said. "Alex, bedroom. Work on your lines, read or watch TV; it's your choice. And keep the door closed, please."
"Yes, Walter." Alex gulped and left the dining room.
"Yes, sir." Fox drained his coffee and headed down the hall.
Walter gathered the coffee mugs and put them in the kitchen, glad of an excuse to gather his wits before punishing Fox.
Fox was standing in the corner of Walter's office, nude from the waist down. Walter noted with a sigh that Fox had obligingly kicked the news magazines in the corner out of the way, and that the former neat stacks were now splayed across the floor. The man was a human wrecking ball.
"All right, Fox," Walter said, automatically picking Fox's boxers and jeans off the floor and folding them neatly. "You've had time to think. Why am I going to punish you?"
"I know better than to argue politics or religion with idiots I'm never going to see again. Who people vote for is their own business. Insulting other people's congressmen and making fun of their state's governor is stupid. Especially when all I know about them is gossip, anyway." Fox sounded sincerely repentant.
"That's right, Fox. That kind of rudeness is pointless. That's not how you change people's minds. All right, let's get this over with. You are going to get three strokes with the cane, Fox," Walter said, watching Fox carefully for a reaction.
Fox let out his breath.
"I was afraid you were going to say six, Walter," he muttered. "Three's fair, I suppose. I--"
"Shh, Fox," Walter said gently, understanding how nervous Fox was. "No more talking. Bend over the chair, please. That's good. Hold onto the sides and keep your hands still."
Fox obeyed. He wanted this, deserved this, and yet, at this moment, he was terrified.
Walter rested his hand on the small of Fox's back, massaged the tense muscles in reassuring circles.
"Are you all right, Fox?" he asked very quietly.
"I'm fine, Walter," Fox answered. Walter's touch took the terror away. "I'm ready."
Walter laid the slender cane lightly against Fox's taut ass, then stepped back, carefully judging the correct distance.
"Remember to count. I expect you to thank me for each stroke," Walter reminded Fox, knowing just how necessary the ritual was to him. Taking a deep breath, he brought the cane down with a sharp swish. A bright line of red materialized in its wake.
"Ow! Ow!! Shit, shit, ow!!!" Fox wailed.
Walter sighed. What a production. If Fox didn't crave this so badly, he would never go along with it.
"Count, Fox," Walter said implacably.
"One, thank you, sir. Ow."
Steeling himself, both to the pain he was about to inflict and to the noise Fox was bound to make, Walter laid another stripe across the tender buttocks.
"Ow! Ow!! Two thank you sir! Ow!!! Shit that hurt!"
Walter sighed again. Theater would have been a good career for Fox.
"No more, Walter, please! I can't take it," Fox begged. Fox never made it through a whipping without begging for mercy at least once. And although Fox believed he meant his plea sincerely, Walter knew that it wasn't the relief Fox truly wanted.
"Almost done, Fox," Walter reassured him. "One more stroke. You're doing very well. It's almost over." With that, he brought the cane down with a final swish.
The third line glowed red, neatly parallel to the first two.
"Ow! Ow!! Three! Thank you! Sir! Ow!!!" Fox wailed.
"Good Fox, that's it, all over now, come here." Walter helped Fox straighten up. Ran a gentle palm over his flushed, tear stained face.
"All over. All forgiven. I love you, Fox," Walter said. At the magic words, Fox buried his face in the hollow between Walter's shoulder and neck, and cried even harder. Walter eased them over to the couch. Seating himself, he drew Fox into his lap, careful to be sure his sore bottom was free of pressure.
"I'm sorry! I'm sorry! It was a mistake! I didn't mean to!" Fox wailed. "I didn't know what would happen!"
Walter closed his eyes at the anguish in Fox's voice. This was about more than a scene at the dinner table. This was guilt and grief; past made present.
"All forgiven," Walter murmured, knowing how Fox needed those particular words. "All forgiven." He stroked Fox's sweaty hair back from his forehead, rubbed his shoulders and back calmingly. Gradually Fox's sobs became less distraught and less painful to witness. Walter continued to hold and caress Fox, wanting to be sure Fox knew that he was loved.
Finally, Fox took a deep breath.
"God, Walter," he said. "I love you. I won't sound off like that at the table again. Sorry. I love you so much. I can't believe you do this for me. You OK?"
"Worry about yourself," Walter said reflexively. "I'm fine, Fox."
Fox studied him for a minute.
"I know it doesn't do anything for you, but shit, I need it," Fox said quietly.
"I know, Fox. I love you. I love that you trust me enough to ask for what you need," Walter said.
"Yeah, " Fox said. "I don't do trust too well. Ah, shit, I love you, Walter. I'm going for a walk, OK?" He slid on his boxers, winced as they touched his punished bottom. Stepped into his jeans.
"Want company?" Walter asked. The answer was always no, but he always offered.
"I just need some time by myself, Walter." Fox bent over Walter and kissed him soundly. "Thanks, Walter. No politics next time, I promise."
"That'd be good, Fox." Walter watched quietly as Fox walked away, understanding his lover's need for space, but unable not to worry about him. With a sigh, Walter turned his attention to restoring his office to a semblance of order. That accomplished, he headed for the bedroom.
Walter could hear the television even through the closed door. He knew Alex found listening to Fox being punished deeply upsetting. Walter knocked sharply before opening the door. Startling Alex without warning was always a bad idea.
Alex scrabbled for the remote and clicked mute.
With a sigh, Walter sat himself on the bed alongside Alex.
"It's what he wants, Alex," Walter said gently. "I'm not tying him down, you know."
"I know that. Shit. I just don't get it. Why the fuck does he let you hurt him?"
"You ever feel guilty, Alex?" Walter asked curiously.
"Should I?" Alex asked in turn, his eyes searching Walter's face.
Walter sighed again. Pretty much what he thought. Guilt was a foreign country to Alex; guilt was where Fox lived.
"He's an asshole," Alex said shortly.
"Who are you calling an asshole?" Fox asked from the doorway, his voice light and playful. He barely winced as his butt made contact with the soft mattress. Kicking off his sneakers and shucking his jeans and shirt, Fox stretched out beside Alex. He took Alex's jaw gently in his palm; tilted Alex's face towards him. Keeping his eyes open, he kissed Alex, first gently, then more deeply. He waited until Alex's green eyes closed with pleasure before trailing his lips down Alex's throat, across his collarbone.
"Let's get this shirt off, Alex," Fox said. He lifted Alex just enough to tug his tee shirt free.
Alex kept his eyes shut as Fox licked his nipple, then drew it gently into his mouth. His back arched reflexively at the stimulation. Walter watched, moistening his lips. Leaned in for his own kiss. Alex's eyes flew open at the new sensation. Used by now to Alex's startle reaction, Walter and Fox made simultaneous hushing noises.
Walter ran his hand gently over Alex. Alex was shaking.
"What's wrong, Alex?" Walter asked quietly, his hand stilling. "Is it that I caned Fox?"
"I need it, Alex. I know it scares you. But I need it. I need it."
"I promise I will never cane you, Alex," Walter said.
"I am not scared," Alex said in a small voice.
Walter stroked Alex's hair back from his forehead. Alex shivered.
"Of course you're not scared, Alex," Walter said calmly. "Because there's nothing to be scared of. I love you, Alex. You're safe now. I've got you."
Alex closed his eyes. Walter and Fox watched sadly as a single tear tracked its way down Alex's pale face.
"I love you, Alex," Fox said. "I get scared, too."
"I love you, Fox," Walter said softly. "You're safe now. I've got you."
Fox looked at Walter, his hazel eyes full of unshed tears.
"Thank you, Walter," Fox whispered. "I love you."
To my fellow Persuaders of all geographic and political persuasions
and always, for Lorelei. EM