M/M discipline, spanking. References to child sexual abuse. If the idea of a discipline relationship between adult men offends you, so will this story



The uncertain February weather had kept Thomas and Rudolph at home all the long morning. Thomas had worked at his desk, going over accounts, and Rudolph had paced and complained of the wind and the rain. Rudolph was irritable and out of sorts; clearly he had slept badly.

"Your meal is ready, sir," Thomas's butler announced from the doorway. Thomas was glad. With luck Rudolph would nap after they ate. If Rudolph continued to torment him all afternoon, Thomas reflected, neither of them might live through the rest of the day.

The dining room table was laid with the usual heavy silver and cream colored china. Thomas sighed as he found yet another posy left at his place at the table. He tried to shift it tactfully aside before Rudolph joined him, but was unsuccessful.

"From your secret admirer?" Rudolph asked coldly. The morning had dragged, his head ached and that the undiscovered culprit had left Thomas yet another bit of frippery was entirely too much. "If you ran your household correctly, Thomas, you would put a swift end to such liberties."

"Rudy, hush." Thomas shook his head. The gifts of paper flowers had become more frequent. He found them more amusing than irritating, even if Rudolph did not. "Rudy, it is one of the maids, it means nothing at all. Soon she will turn her eyes to one of the stable grooms and it will cease."

"Perhaps," Rudolph said. "Or perhaps you will be enchanted and bed the wench and beget a bastard or two. A bastard son is, after all, better than no progeny at all." Rudolph cut his meat into neat slices, first with the grain, then crosswise, and rearranged the diced pieces on his plate without tasting even a morsel.

"Rudy, be silent," Thomas said, exasperated at Rudolph's continued sulk. "And eat or else I shall beat you. I do not wish to watch you waste away."

"Yes, my lord," Rudolph said with exaggerated politeness, taking a single piece on his fork. "I do not find your threat quite credible, Thomas. More likely you will indulge me with sweets, as you have in the past when you wished to fatten me."

"Indeed. And if you know me well enough to predict that, Rudolph, you know me well enough not to predict any bastard brats." Thomas smiled back at Rudolph, glad that he had managed to provoke a jest.

Their meal complete, the two men rose as one. Thomas took Rudolph's arm and turned him gently toward the hall.

"You lack common sense, my Rudy, which is why you ignore my warning to behave and dwell overlong on trinkets left by serving girls. I think we will try a little private tutelage in my rooms this afternoon and see if we can't remedy your deficits." Thomas smiled to himself at the sudden flush of red across Rudolph's high cheekbones.

"I am not sure I am entirely in the mood for private lessons," Rudolph said.

"Your mood, Rudolph, is precisely what my lessons are going to address," Thomas promised. "Let us retire upstairs."

Thomas's rooms were shadowy and a little chilly, as the fireplace had been laid, but not yet lit. Thomas pulled the mullioned window shut against the damp and set the fresh tinder aflame. The room warmed quickly as the fire took hold.

Rudolph seated himself in one of Thomas's comfortable arm chairs and observed Thomas's industry with amusement. His eye was caught by another cluster of paper flowers on the table.

"Your secret admirer is far too free with her attentions," Rudolph said, irritated. Angrily he seized the small bouquet and flung it into the fire. The thin paper burnt quickly.

"Rudy." Thomas shook his head. "Why does it bother you so? It is unbecoming, to be so concerned over trifles." Thomas drew Rudolph from his chair and turning back the heavy bedcovers, coaxed him between the sheets. Rearranging the covers so that they were snug, Thomas wrapped his arms around Rudy, rubbed his back and kissed him. "Come now, tell me what distresses you."

"Not one of my people ever left me anything but ill wishes," Rudolph said quietly, resting his head on Thomas's chest. "I do believe I am envious, Thomas."

So that was it. Not so much jealousy, but envy at the warmth that enveloped Thomas, leaving Rudolph, again and as always, outside the magic circle.

"My Rudy. You are sad, then, as well as angry." Thomas named Rudolph's emotions for him, knowing how hard it was for Rudolph to distinguish them.

"I despise this wretched holiday..." Rudolph whispered, so softly Thomas barely heard him.

"Saint Valentine's Day?" Thomas asked, surprised at the loathing in Rudolph's tone.

"Yes. I despise it from the bottom of my heart," Rudolph said. "It is a singularly disagreeable holiday. It has been a source of grief to me for many years."

"Rudy, it is only in fun, you know that. Do not mistake the little gestures for more than they are." Thomas tucked Rudolph closer to him and stroked his face gently. "You are my Valentine love, my Rudy."

"Perhaps." Rudolph's tension did not seem appreciably eased. Thomas cupped Rudolph's jaw in his palm and kissed him, using his tongue to part Rudolph's lips. Rudolph submitted to his attentions with neither protest nor enthusiasm. Thomas felt his own ardor fade in the face of Rudolph's indifference. He kissed Rudolph again, this time more chastely. Rudolph's eyes remained open.

"You are safe with me, Rudolph," Thomas reminded his skittish lover. "I will not do ought that you do not also wish." He stroked Rudolph's hair back from his cold and distant eyes and eventually, still without speaking, Rudolph slept.

Thomas dozed too. He awoke to the sound of hard rain on the roof and the rumble of thunder. He dressed slowly, glad that he was inside and warm. Hopefully his nap would improve Rudolph's mood. Thomas dropped a gentle kiss on his sleeping lover's cheek and went out into the hallway.

A young woman skittered away from the door.

"What were you doing, missy?" Thomas asked affably.

"Nothing, sir." The woman, scarce more than a girl, curtsied shyly, her cheeks flaming red. Thomas noticed the bouquet of paper flowers she was attempting to conceal behind her back.

"So it is you who have been gifting me with these pretty blossoms?" Thomas asked. "Come with me to my study, please, I would like to speak with you."

The difficult conversation took perhaps twenty minutes. While Thomas had no wish to embarrass the young woman, he also had no desire to encourage her attentions. It took all his charm and finesse to resolve the matter without hurt feelings, but in the end he was modestly pleased at having concluded it neatly.

It would be better if Rudolph did not sleep the entire afternoon, Thomas thought, else he would not be tired that night. With that thought in mind, he went to rouse his lover. But Rudolph was no longer in his bed.

"What do you mean, Rudolph went out?" Thomas asked his butler. "Out alone, in this storm?"

The serving man dropped his eyes; it was not often that Thomas's voice took on such an edge.

"I am sorry, sir, I did not feel it was my place to question his actions..."

"No, no, I did not mean to reproach you," Thomas said quickly. "It is I who must apologize to you. You did nothing wrong. Rudolph, however..." Thomas's thought was cut short as a flash of lightning was followed by yet another thunderclap. "I am only worried."

The butler thought that the devil could well fend for himself...he crossed himself as more thunder pealed and the front door was flung open. Retreated hastily as Rudolph strode into the room. He had no desire to interfere between his lordship and his restive houseguest.

"Rudolph, thank God you are safe," Thomas said. He took in Rudolph's sopping jacket and wet hair. Stepping forward, he touched Rudolph's wind-reddened cheek gently. Rudolph flinched, but held his ground.

"You are ice cold," Thomas said disapprovingly. "Go at once to your rooms and change out of your wet clothes and into a dry shirt, please. I am very disappointed in your lack of good judgement."

Rudolph swallowed hard, unused to the harshness in Thomas's voice and not certain whether or not to bolt.

"I will change, Thomas, please do not be angry," Rudolph said placatingly. "Did you say I was to don only a shirt?" Rudolph was not sure whether that meant what he feared it did.

"Yes, I intend to spank you," Thomas said conversationally. "So I think the lower portion of your anatomy will shortly be quite warm enough without clothing."

Rudolph flushed and said nothing, but Thomas saw him bite his lip, hard. Blood beaded where Rudolph's teeth met flesh.

God, Thomas thought, horrified. He is terrified.

"Easy, easy, my Rudy," Thomas soothed Rudolph as he would a nervously shying horse. "Come to me now." Thomas enfolded Rudolph in his arms.

"There is no need for panic. While I am going to punish you, I am not going to harm you. Everything is going to be all right," Thomas said more gently. "Go to your rooms and change, I will be with you shortly and we will talk. Do not be afraid of me, Rudy."

Rudolph was standing before the fire when Thomas entered his chamber. He tensed as Thomas closed the door behind him, locking it. Thomas studied his lover carefully. He had followed Thomas's directions, his hair had been toweled dry and lay loose on his shoulders. His long white shirt descended to mid thigh. Below it his legs and feet were bare.

"Give me your hand," Thomas said quietly. Rudolph obeyed and Thomas led him to the bed and drew him down so that they sat together, thigh to thigh, on its edge.

"Rudy, whatever possessed you to walk out in a storm of this magnitude?"

"It seemed preferable to the weather inside me," Rudolph said sullenly.

"What do you mean, Rudy?" Thomas asked, sincerely puzzled.

"I needed to leave," Rudolph said.

"Why?" Thomas heard the note of pleading in Rudolph's voice.

"I heard you in your study, whispering to the girl," Rudolph said. "Thomas, I do not care who you lie with, I have lain with many women and loved none of them. But that you spoke softly and kindly to her, that, Thomas, hurt me."

"Rudy, you truly do not understand," Thomas said. "She is a simple woman, she has an excuse for her folly, but you, sir, do not. Which is why your jealousy is unbecoming and your impulsive risking of life and limb unacceptable, and which is why I am going now to spank you soundly." He patted his knees.

"I really wish you would not," Rudolph said sourly, even as he accepted the invitation. " I do not much like the ignominious position I find myself in, Thomas."

"Perhaps next time you should consider your actions more carefully beforehand, then you would not find yourself in this position," Thomas said as he drew Rudolph forward across his lap, considerately allowing him to fold his arms on the bed under his head. "Comfortable?"

"Not particularly," Rudolph said. "I scarce think my comfort is your concern at the moment."

"Oh, but it is." Thomas rested his palm on Rudolph's buttocks. "I wish you comfortable enough while we discuss your offense further."

"I do not think there is much else to discuss," Rudolph said.

"I disagree. Rudolph, why did you go out in that weather? You detest rain like cats do! Rudy, what did you need so urgently to flee?"

"Myself," Rudolph said softly. "I am a cruel man, Thomas. I have done many evil things, Thomas. I was afraid of what I might do."

"You did not trust yourself," Thomas said, suddenly understanding what his lover was admitting. "You did not want to hurt her and you did not trust yourself not to."

"Well..." Rudolph sighed. "I am a fool. Yet you seemed to think your little admirer's actions in the name of tenderness are sweet. I find this unjust."

"Her foolish offerings endangered no one; your behavior was utter folly. What were you thinking, Rudy, walking out in such wild weather? You might have been hurt! Have you no regard for your life?"

Rudolph did not respond to the rhetorical questions. Thomas folded the white linen of Rudolph's shirt neatly above his waist. Ran his hand over the pale flesh of his bared buttocks, feeling Rudolph tense in anticipation.

"There was lightning, thunder, tree limbs falling all about!" Thomas brought his flat hand down, emphasizing each word with a sharp spank. Rudolph squirmed uncomfortably.

"Be still, Rudolph." Thomas grasped Rudolph's hip with his free hand, holding him securely. Thomas ceased to lecture and concentrated his energies on spanking soundly, each circuit of swats recovering already pinked territory. He did not stop until Rudolph's little hisses and exhalations had deepened to moans.

"All right, Rudy, all right," Thomas said at last, his reddened palm almost as sore as the reddened buttocks it had produced. "I trust you will not be so heedless of your safety again."

Rudolph willed himself silent, his heaving chest the only sign of how hard he was struggling for control. Thomas shifted Rudolph upright and manhandled him into the center of the bed despite his utter lack of cooperation.

"I love you, Rudy," Thomas whispered, stroking the dark hair from his lover's wet eyes. "No one and nothing means as much to me as you do. Losing you would break me. You are my lover, my Valentine, my sweetest heart."

"Such poetry," Rudolph said. He intended his usual sarcasm, but he couldn't quite manage it. It was hard to sound ironic when your eyes were red from crying and your ass still stung from your lover's hand and your lover was holding you, his hand caressing the part it had previously punished. "Oh Thomas."

"Shh, Rudy," Thomas said, kissing him gently. "I love you too." He lay alongside Rudolph and pulled the covers over both of them. Rudolph clung to him in the warm dark and it was morning before they awoke.

"Come now, wash your face and let us go downstairs," Thomas encouraged Rudolph, as he finished his own morning ablutions.

There was a basket of sweet cakes before Rudy's place at the breakfast room table, and only plain bread before Thomas's.

"I think perhaps you have your own admirer," Thomas teased gently. "Someone who appreciates your appetite for his sugared confections."

Rudolph looked bewildered.

"I think my cook has appointed himself your advocate," Thomas said, seeing that Rudolph did not understand the jest. "This is not the first time that I have noticed of late, that the dishes you prefer appear often, while those you scorn are seldom served."

To Thomas's dismay, Rudolph's eyes widened in sudden alarm.

"Easy," Thomas said, his tone soothing. "I am not angry, Rudolph. Easy now, it amuses me, that is all." He stroked Rudolph's arm firmly, trying to calm him.

"You are not angry?" Rudolph asked, focusing on the one part of Thomas's statement that mattered most.

"I am not angry," Thomas said reassuringly. "Rudolph, that my cook cossets your uncertain appetite does not displease me. He is a man who takes great pride in his productions; I am sure he sees you as a particular challenge. We can tour the kitchens, if you wish, and you can tender your thanks for his attention to your preferences."

"My presence is seldom welcome," Rudolph said. "I frighten your people, Thomas, you have said it yourself."

"That was true enough in the beginning. Nevertheless you have been here some months now, you have not gutted and spitted any babies, nor does everything you turn your eyes on shrivel into nought," Thomas said with a smile. "I think perhaps you are no longer seen as the devil's consort, only as mine."

"They know, then? No matter, I suppose. My uncle's people knew too," Rudolph said with a small shrug.

Thomas winced at Rudolph's words.

"You are a man now, Rudolph, and we are entitled to our pleasures. You were a child then, and entitled to the protections due your age. It distresses me that you do not seem to distinguish the present from the past."

"But I do," Rudolph said. "I am sorry, I do not know why I recall this now, except that Valentine's Day was always a holiday that my uncle...celebrated. In the old Roman fashion."

The meaning of Rudolph's words was clear and Thomas felt his gorge rise. He swallowed hard, willing his voice calm.

"I am glad you felt able to tell me this, my Rudy. I understand your actions of the past few days somewhat better for knowing this."

"Do you, Thomas? I myself understand nothing," Rudolph said unhappily.

"Eat now, Rudolph, you do not wish to make the cook feel his efforts are in vain," Thomas said gently. "As the weather is too fierce to permit us to walk abroad, we will spend the morning in my rooms, before a warm fire. We will read, and talk a little, and perhaps make some new and better memories for you."

"As you wish." Rudolph bit into one of the small cakes, relishing its sweetness.

"You may bring your treats upstairs with you," Thomas said. "I enjoy watching you enjoy them."

"They are very nice indeed." Rudolph remembered his manners. "You may have some if you wish," he added ungraciously.

"Thank you, Rudy, but I see you are loathe to share them, for all your politeness. Easy," Thomas added, seeing Rudolph start at his small joke. "I meant only to tease you."

Rudolph nodded, but he did not relax.

"Come with me." Thomas took the plate of cakes in one hand, cupped Rudolph's elbow in his other hand, and led Rudolph to his rooms. He placed the plate of treats within easy reach of the bed and propped Rudolph upon the pillows. Rudolph allowed Thomas to position him as he chose, in a blatant demonstration of trust.

"Open your mouth," Thomas coaxed, holding a cake to Rudolph's lips. Rudolph nibbled, swallowed, and ate some more.

Thomas was less surprised than Rudolph at the tears streaming from Rudolph's eyes.

"Why am I crying?" Rudolph asked Thomas. "I am not sad! I do not understand, Thomas!"

"Your body remembers, perhaps, something of the abuses you suffered at this season in other years," Thomas said quietly. "It is not something your mind wishes to dwell on, but it is nonetheless a part of you."

"I do not understand." Rudolph's eyes sought Thomas's. "Will you take me? It is the only thing I want, and yet I find I am afraid. I do not understand anything anymore, Thomas!"

"Hush." Thomas stroked Rudolph's wet cheeks gently. "Let us undress. We will make some new and better memories for you, my Valentine. There is nothing for you to be afraid of here and now." He eased Rudolph's shirt over his head. Undid the strings at his waist and slipped off his pants. Undressed himself and laid their clothing in a neat heap on the chair by the fireplace.

Rudolph lay quietly, feeling nothing but a great emptiness where his heart should have been. Thomas stretched out on the bed and drew Rudolph closer until their bodies nestled together. His warm hand rubbed Rudolph's belly in slow circles, each one looping slightly lower, until he was caressing Rudolph's cock. Rudolph hardened against his hand.

"Only pleasure," Thomas whispered. "Only what you want. Only what you freely choose. I love you, Rudy." He kissed Rudolph gently, nibbling at his lips, not taking his eyes from Rudolph's.

"Ahh..." Rudolph moaned at last, his eyes closing as his mouth opened to Thomas's tongue. "Please, Thomas, please. I need you. I love you. I am yours." He rolled onto his belly and pulled himself onto all fours. "Take me."

Thomas took a gob of rendered fat from the jar he kept by the bed. Coated his cock with the sticky substance, his body heat melting it, making it slippery. Probed Rudolph's opening with a slick finger, feeling Rudolph clench reflexively and then deliberately relax to admit him. When he was certain of Rudolph's arousal, Thomas pressed his cock through the tight ring of muscle.

"Good?" Thomas whispered, feeling Rudolph tremble. He kept very still, letting Rudolph's body widen to accommodate his bulk.

"Yes. Oh god yes. Yes." Rudolph pressed back against Thomas, shivering with pleasure as Thomas's cock rammed him, his own cock rigid. Thomas thrust slowly and deeply, gripping Rudolph's turgid cock, prolonging the act until Rudolph was writhing beneath him.

"What do you want, my Rudy?" Thomas whispered. "Tell me, Rudy."

"Everything," Rudy whispered. "Everything, Thomas, everything."

Thomas thrust once more and Rudolph's back arched and he cried out as Thomas spasmed within him. Thomas's hand fisted Rudolph's cock, hard, and Rudolph's essence coated them both.

It was a little while before both men surfaced, sticky and giggly, from their mutual swoon. They kissed each other lightly, lovingly. Hands clasped fast, they lay together in the warmth of their love, their hearts bright as summer flowers.


Note: Written for LS's 2005 "Thunderclaps and Whispers" Valentine's Challenge.