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


In the Beginning

"No! OW! OW!! Shit! Please!"

Dr. Jamie Gordon sighed to himself. He took a deep breath, laid a gentle hand on the bared thigh of the frantic young man on his examination table.

"Scott! Scott, I need you to listen to me now. Scott, I know you can hear me. Take a deep breath, that's it, another, that's right. Okay now?"

"Yeah," Scott said, discouraged, embarrassed and feeling very, very alone.

"Scott, I'm going to give you some medicine that will help make you a little more comfortable. " Dr. Gordon swiped a disinfectant wipe over the young man's hip. Injected him swiftly.

Scott barely flinched. Compared to what had so recently been done to him, the needle's prick was nothing.

"You're doing fine. We'll be done soon." Dr. Gordon patted Scott's arm comfortingly.

There was a sharp rap at the door.

"Jamie? How's he doing?"

Scott flinched at the bluff, hearty voice.

"Have a seat outside, Bob," Dr. Gordon said sharply, without opening the door. "I'll be with you shortly."

The door cracked open.

"Jamie? Don't you think I should be there?" Bob asked, his tone that of a man used to getting his own way.

"Wait outside. Close the door please," Dr. Gordon said firmly. "If I think you're needed I'll call you." Then, under his breath, "You've done enough damage."

Scott shivered.

"Are you cold?" Dr. Gordon asked softly.

Scott shook his head. No.

"Okay, then, I'd like to finish up. Try and relax for me," Dr. Gordon said. Carefully, he spread Scott's bruised buttocks and studied the small, puffy opening grimly.

"I need to see what you look like inside, Scott," Dr. Gordon said. "What I'm going to do is insert a small instrument called a speculum. It's not going to feel good, but it shouldn't be painful. Tell me if it hurts. Do you understand me, Scott?"

"Yes, sir," Scott answered despondently.

"Scott, we'll talk about your options as soon as I'm finished examining you. I won't send you home with Bob, don't worry about that," Dr. Gordon said, guessing at what was worrying his young patient.

"I don't have anywhere else to go!" Scott wailed, sounding younger than his twenty-some years.

"That's not true," Dr. Gordon said firmly. "Believe me, you're not the first young man to end up in a situation like this. There are resources within the community set up to help you. We'll talk about some of them in a little bit. Right now I need you to take a few deep breaths and try to relax. I need to take a look inside you."

Scott nodded and tried to compose himself. Tried to relax as the well-lubricated instrument penetrated him.

"Hurts," Scott said.

Dr. Gordon halted his examination.

"Scale of one to ten, ten being the worst pain you've ever felt, how much does it hurt, Scott?" Dr. Gordon asked.

"Six?" Scott hazarded.

"All right. I'm going to admit you to the hospital. I'll need to anesthetize you before completing this examination," Dr. Gordon said decisively.

Scott nodded numbly. Hospital. Shit.

"Is there someone you can call, a friend? Do you want Bob or one of his young men to come with you?" Dr. Gordon asked.


"Shh, Scott, I'm not suggesting it, I'm just trying to make sure of what you want," Dr. Gordon said.

"I don't want Bob near me! That bastard sat there and let Johann practically rape me," Scott said bitterly. "They all saw it. They all heard me screaming. They didn't help me. I never want to see them again, never!"

"All right," Dr. Gordon said. "What's your last name again, Scott? Miller, right? I'm going to call an ambulette to transport you to the hospital. I'll see you over there. You're going to be all right, Scott, I can promise you that. Get dressed and wait here. I'll tell Bob what we've decided."

"Tell him to fuck himself," Scott said bitterly.

"Get dressed and stretch out. The ambulette will be here soon. You'll get past this, Scott, I promise you." Dr. Gordon sounded calm and certain.

Scott nodded, relieved to have someone tell him what to do. His natural optimism let him trust the doctor, despite the reverses of recent weeks.

"Bob, would you come into my office," Dr. Gordon said. He shut the door behind them.

"How is he?" Bob asked without preliminaries.

"I'm fairly certain there's some internal damage. Maybe a tear; I won't know until he's been sedated. He's too uncomfortable to tolerate an examination with what I can give him here. I'm going to admit him to the hospital."

"Is that necessary, Jamie? I know his Top, Johann, for a long time. Whatever happened this afternoon, the man is usually safe. Come on, Jamie, you know these things do happen once in awhile. Either they got their signals crossed or--"

"Or this Johann is a sadist. Which is how I'm inclined to see this. Bob, Scott wasn't spanked; he was beaten black and blue. There's no parallel between this and the games you and your boys play. Scott needs to be hospitalized, treated and placed somewhere safe." Dr. Gordon's voice was distinctly cool.

"Jamie, you know me a long time. When have I ever hurt any of my boys? I'll be responsible for Scott's safety. You can trust me," Bob said. He sounded hurt.

"Bob, Scott doesn't want you. I'm not judging your lifestyle. I'm merely telling you how it is. Scott doesn't want you. He doesn't trust you. Can you blame him?" Dr. Gordon glared at Bob.

"All right, Jamie. I'll leave you a check at the front desk on my way out. A large check. Take care of the boy, all right? And Jamie? Johann doesn't know I brought him to you. He won't hear it from me." Bob nodded goodbye and without offering to shake hands, left the office without a backward look.

Dr. Gordon shook his head. There was no doubt that Bob was upset; the fact that he had backed off so readily proved that he knew he was not blameless. And Dr. Gordon had no doubt that Bob would leave a generous sum. But as payment for his and Scott's silence, not as charity. Dr. Gordon sighed.

Scott had pulled on his briefs and jeans and sweatshirt and was working on his sneakers when a knock at the door startled him. Dr. Gordon ushered in the ambulette crew with a stretcher. Scott cringed reflexively, then shook himself and stared at them cockily.

"Scott, I'll see you at the hospital. You're traveling in style," Dr. Gordon said, gesturing at the stretcher. "Let these gentleman give you a hand."

"I'm fine," Scott said grimly. "I don't need to lie down."

"Lie down, Scott," Dr. Gordon said firmly. "Indulge me. I have a reputation to preserve. Patients fainting en route to the hospital tend to tarnish the image."

Scott smiled at the slight witticism and let himself be assisted onto the stretcher. He swallowed hard as the technician snapped the side rails up.

"Relax," Dr. Gordon said gently. "Do you want a sedative?"

Scott shook his head no.

"I'm all right," Scott said softly. "I'm tough."

"Good boy. I'll see you at the hospital." Dr. Gordon smiled at the young man, acknowledging his courage. "You really will be all right. That's a promise, Scott."

Scott sighed as he settled into the hospital bed. The nurses were not unkind, merely professional. He barely remembered yesterday's exam; he had been too heavily medicated to feel much. The dressing was uncomfortable, but the drugs he was still getting kept the pain under control. If only his life were under control...

"Good morning, Scott," Dr. Gordon said. "How are you feeling today?" He watched Scott swallow hard.

"I'm okay, I guess," Scott said. "When are you kicking me out of here?"

"That's part of what I wanted to discuss with you, Scott. What are your plans once you're released? Where are you going to go?"

"Um, I don't know. Maybe to stay with some friends for awhile," Scott said vaguely.

"Scott. You are going to make a full recovery. However for the next few weeks, you're going to have to take it easy. Rest. Heal, both physically and emotionally."

Tears sprang to Scott's eyes. He brushed them harshly aside.

"No, you don't get it. I'm fine. I don't need anyone. I don't have time for this shit," Scott protested, angry with himself for letting his weakness show.

"Scott, you're not the first young man who's ever made a mistake and fallen in with a Top who turned out to be an abuser. It's happened to a lot of good subs; I wouldn't say that if I didn't believe it was true." Dr. Gordon spoke softly, but persuasively. "It isn't easy to distinguish legitimate authority from subtle bullying. Not everyone who fancies himself a Top is able to handle the responsibility."

"You don't just think I'm an idiot?" Scott asked. "I should have known better, right? I was stupid."

"You are young," Dr. Gordon said firmly. "You are young, you got taken in by someone you cared about and thought you could trust. It's hard enough being gay, you add kink to the mix, you open yourself up to a lot of things you're not necessarily prepared for."

"Yeah, I guess," Scott said. "I can't go home, you know. That's not out there."

Dr. Gordon sighed.

"Understood, Scott. I'm going to make a few phone calls and try to set you up with a place to live for a little while, until you get back on your feet. Meanwhile you rest. Don't worry, Scott, you're going to be all right."

"If you say so." Scott shrugged.

"I know so," Dr. Gordon said. "I'll be by later on. Rest, Scott."

Scott turned on his side, stared blankly at the wall, and tried not to think about how scared and alone he felt.

"How about it, Leo?" Jamie Gordon asked.

Leo Cantrell sighed loudly into the phone.

"Can't you find someone else, Jamie? I'm no good at rescue work. I'm not Saint Donovan!"

"Donovan Moore has his hands full these days, Leo," Dr. Gordon said wryly. "I'm not asking you to fall in love with the kid, Leo, just to give him a safe berth for a few weeks, until he finds his feet again. The community owes him that much."

"All right," Leo said resignedly. "I suppose we do. I'll come by and meet him around four. But Jamie? Why should he trust me, after what he's been through?"

"I'll introduce you, Leo. I think he trusts me; maybe some of that will rub off. It also sounds to me as if he hasn't got a hell of a lot of alternatives. You're doing a good deed, Leo," Dr. Gordon said with half a laugh. "The community really does owe him, poor kid."

Scott eyed Professor Leo Cantrell curiously. A college art teacher, into the scene; that was new.

Slender and good-looking, his dark eyes sparkling with good humor, his dark hair falling in loose waves, Leo radiated warmth and kindness.

"What about it, Scott? Can I offer you a room for a couple of weeks, while you get yourself sorted out?"

"Thank you," said Scott. He hesitated a moment. "I do need help," Scott confessed. "I'm sorry."

"Scott, you didn't do anything wrong," Leo said reassuringly. "These things do happen, unfortunately. You're going to get past this. Why don't you get dressed, and we'll get going."

Scott nodded his agreement.

Even the short cab ride home left Scott pale and drained. Leo winced at the pain in the young man's dark eyes.

"Here, I'll show you your room. Feel free to stretch out."

Scott gritted his teeth. God, he felt so sick. He lay down on the bed, intending to rest for a moment, and was out almost immediately. Leo unlaced Scott's sneakers and tugged them off, leaving them beside the bed. Draping a blanket over Scott, Leo left him to what he hoped would be healing sleep.

"NO! NO!!" Scott's own screams woke him. He shivered in the soft bed, breathing hard.

A gentle knock at the door.

"You okay, Scotty?" Leo called. "Can I come in?"

"Sure," Scott said shakily, sitting up. "Bad dream, that's all." He trembled visibly.

"Those are tough," Leo said sympathetically. Moving slowly, aware of how jumpy Scott was, he plumped Scott's pillows. "Lie down," Leo coaxed. "You're safe now."

Scott sighed. He felt anxious and lonely, in the mood for a little distraction.

"You wouldn't be looking for some action, would you?" Scott asked Leo hopefully.

"Nope," Leo said cheerfully. "Don't be a brat, Scotty. You need a friend right now, not a lover. Tempting though the offer is." He gave Scott a kiss on the forehead. "Hungry? No? Then go back to sleep now. You're going to be all right. That's a promise."

"Leo!" Scott's voice rose as Leo walked towards the door. Something in his tone made Leo pause.

"You okay, kiddo?" Leo asked.

Scott shook his head wretchedly.


Leo came back. Seated himself alongside Scott.

"Want to talk about it?" Leo offered quietly.

"I don't know what to say," Scott said unhappily.

"Tell me a little about yourself," Leo suggested. "Where'd you grow up?"

"Long Island," Scott said. "Little town out east. Only child," he added.

"Your parents?" asked Leo.

"They found out that I was gay. That was it. They washed their hands of me," Scott said bitterly. "I don't exist for them anymore."

"Ouch," Leo said.

"Yeah," Scott said. "Whatever. It was over a long time ago, anyway."

"How much college did you complete before you met Johann?" Leo asked.

"Two years," Scott said. "I fucked up a lot of my sophomore year. When I met Johann, my junior year abroad, I was going to get kicked out anyway. He turned me on to the scene. It was fucking unbelievable, being out there. I was twenty, Johann was rich, people respected him, and he wanted me. He took good care of me, I had good clothes, we ate out, it was..." Abruptly Scott fell silent.

"It was fun?" Leo asked gently. "For awhile it was a lot of fun, I bet." His expression was kind and nonjudgmental.

"Yeah," Scott said wistfully. "You must think I'm an asshole."

"I think you're young," Leo said. "You're not the only young man who ever got sucked into something like this. The scene is a tough place to get your bearings. What happened then?"

"Johann hurt me a couple of times, but it was always my fault," Scott said.

Leo winced.

"It was," Scott said defensively, seeing Leo's expression. "I was flirting with other guys, or I talked back to him, or I was teasing and not following through...stuff like that."

"Okay," Leo said softly. "I want to talk about that with you some more, only not tonight."

"You don't believe me," Scott said flatly. "You don't know me. I'm not a good person, Leo."

"Okay," Leo repeated, his voice calm. He touched Scott's cheek gently. "Can you get some sleep now, kiddo? You must be tired. It's been a rough couple of days for you, I know that."

"Um," mumbled Scott, his eyes closing, his breathing slowing. Unconsciously he turned into Leo's hand, rubbing his cheek sleepily against Leo's delicate fingers.

Leo smoothed Scott's hair, straightened the covers and tucked them closer.

"Sweet dreams," Leo said softly. He grimaced. It was hard listening to the kid put himself down. He needs to talk to a therapist, Leo thought. I'll ask Jamie to find him someone. "'Night, Scotty." Leo stood up carefully, waited until Scott's breathing steadied again, and left the room, leaving the door slightly ajar. I want to hear if he wakes, Leo thought.

Morning light, cold and clear and cheerless, woke Scott. A naturally early riser, he had little trouble getting himself out of bed and dressed. He drifted in the direction he remembered the kitchen being, hoping for a cup of coffee.

The pot was full. There was a note on the table.


Help yourself to coffee and whatever you can scavenge. Bang on the door at the end of the hall, that's my studio, I'll be glad for an excuse for a break,


Scott smiled, really smiled, for the first time in days. He brushed his finger lightly over the extravagant handwriting. It was a friendly note, full of the cheerful self confidence he was beginning to learn was Leo's hallmark. Filling a mug with coffee, he wandered down the hall and knocked at the closed door.

"Come on in," Leo shouted, laying his charcoal aside.

"I'm really not bothering you?" Scott asked, suddenly shy before the huge drawing Leo was at work on.

"Nah," Leo smiled. He dusted off his hands. "I'm even an earlier riser than you, it looks like. Come on, I didn't eat yet. Let me make you some toast and eggs, all right? You look a little on the thin side to me..." He smiled, his warmth masking the implied question.

"I haven't been eating much the last few days," Scott said. "Hospital food isn't really so great. And I--" Scott's voice trailed off. He was embarrassed to admit how nervous he'd been about eating. He couldn't help thinking how much anything that went in would hurt passing out.

"You didn't feel so good," Leo finished. "And you were a little worried about how your digestion would work, I'd bet. It's okay, Scott, I'm a practical man. I've dealt with all sorts of subs with all sorts of problems. Don't worry, between Dr. Gordon and me, you're going to be fine."

"Um, thanks. I guess," Scott said. "I am a little worried about what that means," he admitted.

"It just means, if you're hungry, eat. We can manage the other end of things," Leo said with a wink.

Scott blushed. Leo shook his head. The kid was willing to play whatever sex games that bastard Top had asked him to, he was willing to let that asshole Bob treat him like some brainless bimbo, and he was ashamed and uncomfortable discussing something as practical as comfortably moving his bowels after a rectal tear.

And we're surprised the young guys don't practice safe sex, Leo thought ruefully. Obviously no one's ever told them that if you're old enough to do it, you're old enough to talk about it!

"Eat your breakfast, Scott," Leo said. "You're going to have to test out your digestive tract eventually. Take the pill I'm giving you; it's just Colace, a stool softener. If you have any trouble having a bowel movement comfortably, tell me. You don't have to suffer; there are ways to help you."

"I hate suppositories. And I hate enemas even more," Scott said, swallowing the pill with juice. "That's what you mean, isn't it?"

"Yes. Look, Scott, I know Bob is into those kinds of 'control' games. That's not for me. Anything like that, I'll explain your options, and you'll decide. I'll never coerce you into taking an enema or a suppository. That's Bob's bullshit."

Scott folded his arms on the table and dropping his head, hid his face in them. Leo ruffled the hair at the nape of his neck gently.

"You're going to be all right, Scotty," Leo said quietly. "That's it, let it out. Crying never hurt anyone. I'm right here, Scott, I'm going to be with you all the way. It's all right."

"It's so hard!" Scott sobbed. He was embarrassed at crying, and yet it felt so good, so right, to lean into Leo. To let Leo wrap his arm around his shoulder and hug him. To trust Leo to take care of him.

This was a loved child, Leo thought to himself, as he cuddled Scott close against him. This sort of optimistic trust doesn't grow in a vacuum.

Despite his lean build, Leo felt comforting and substantial. Scott calmed quickly.

"Shit, Leo, I got your shirt wet," Scott said ruefully. He pulled away from Leo, embarrassed by his tears and his display of emotion.

"Do you eat scrambled eggs?" Leo responded, moving to the stove.

"Sure. Not too soft, okay?" Scott said, grateful for Leo's tact.

Leo scrambled eggs, buttered toast and loaded up a large white plate for Scott.

"This will put you right," Leo said. "You want coffee?"

"Thanks, please," Scott said. He looked at the eggs and to his disgust felt tears starting again. "Shit! Oh shit, what the fuck is wrong with me!"

"Take it easy on yourself," Leo advised, shoving a tissue box in Scott's direction. "It's normal to have strong feelings and sudden mood swings after being assaulted like that. For whatever it's worth, my advice is don't fight it. You grew up near the ocean, right? It's like a wave; your best bet is just to ride it out."

Scott blew his nose hard, sniffled. Mumbled something.

"I'm sorry, Scott, I couldn't hear you," Leo said.

"Johann had Bob spank me at breakfast," Scott said. He glared at Leo.

Leo sat quietly, not reacting, and gradually Scott's stare softened.

"Sorry," Scott said softly. "I just feel like such a total asshole."

"You're a survivor," Leo said matter-of-factly. "You got out of a bad situation and things are going to get better. Eat your eggs before they get cold, Scotty." Leo began to eat his own meal, forcing a calm he didn't feel. SOBs like Johann and Bob gave the whole scene a bad name.

"I'm teaching today, so you'll have the place to yourself for a couple of hours. Make yourself at home. Use the computer, use the TV, use the phone. Just don't make any overseas calls, all right?"

Scott nodded, his eyes big and wary.

"Easy, Scotty, I don't want anything from you except for you to get well," Leo said reassuringly, understanding Scott's uneasiness. "Give Dr. Gordon a call; he'll want to hear how you're doing. Let the machine pick up my calls. I'll be back by four; you'll be fine."

Anxiety made Scott compulsively active. He straightened up as best he could, unsure of whether or not he was overstepping some invisible boundary. Scoured the sink. Located the vacuum, worked a clog out of the hose, and carefully, methodically set about removing every speck of visible and invisible dust from walls, furnishings and floors.

By afternoon, Scott was tired, but not relaxed. He started at the sound of Leo's key in the lock; stood momentarily frozen, his arms crossed protectively.

"Rough day, Scotty?" Leo asked kindly, seeing the lines of tension in Scott's face. Crossing the room, Leo hugged Scott hard. Felt Scott first tighten further at his touch, then sag slightly against him.

"You overdid it, didn't you?" Leo said, looking around. "Thanks for cleaning up; the place looks great. Now get yourself into bed and I'll bring you some ice and some ginger ale. Go on now, Scotty, lie down before you fall down."

Leo drew his sweater over his head and draping it over the back of a kitchen chair, rummaged in the refrigerator for the promised items. Filled a glass with ice and soda and brought it to Scott.

Scott was already in bed, curled on his side, his clothes atop the dresser in a neat pile. He accepted the drink Leo offered with a wan smile.

"You get a little rest, all right?" Leo said, turning as if to go.

"Stay with me a little, Leo?" Scott asked. He closed his eyes, feeling foolish for sounding so needy.

"Sure, Scotty," Leo said comfortably, stretching out on top of the covers.

A spark, as invisible but as real as electricity, passed between the two men.

"Please..." Scott arched into Leo, his need hard and obvious.

Leo hesitated, then grinning, slipped off his jeans and slid under the covers. Tugged Scott to him, worked Scott's briefs down and his cock free. Began to stroke the hot, velvet organ with a sure hand.

Scott stroked his hand over Leo's tight belly, explored his swelling cock with a practiced hand. Licked his palm, then took Leo in his fist and began to work him eagerly.

For a space it was pure lust and need, hoarsened breathing and moans of mutual pleasure. Then, sighing, the two men lay back, side by side, sated, sticky and silent, their bodies touching lightly.

"I needed that so bad," Scott said.

"Wow," Leo said. "I think I'm dead."

"Me, too. Good dead." Scott made a soft noise, between giggle and purr.

"Cute, Scotty," Leo said. He rolled over, propping himself on his elbow, and kissed Scot thoroughly.

Scott smiled, his face softer and younger than Leo had ever seen it.

"That was nice." Scott stretched languorously, his eyes closing. Leo straightened the blankets, covering Scott to his chin, and kissed him again, very, very softly.

"See you in a bit," Leo said quietly to the sleeping form.

Sex invariably energized Leo, and this encounter was no exception. Pulling on his briefs and jeans, he padded down the hall to his studio. He left the bedroom door ajar, not wanting Scott to wake and miss him.

Leo took a fresh sheet of paper and a stick of graphite and began working. Within minutes he was lost in happy play, his dark curls of hair falling over his forehead, his bare feet curled around the base of his chair. His eyes intent on the drawing materializing under his hand.

Scott stood quietly at the door, admiring the picture Leo at work made. As for the picture Leo was making...Scott wrinkled his nose. He didn't get it at all, but hey, Leo must have something, to be able to live like this.

Leo felt Scott's eyes on him and waved him in, not lifting his own eyes from his evolving drawing.

"Sit. Sec," Leo said.

Scott obeyed, amused.

A few more sure strokes of the graphite and Leo lifted his head. Shook back his hair like a swimmer surfacing.

"Good timing, Scotty. Did you get a good nap?" Leo asked. He stood up, interlaced his fingers, stretched, then dropped forward and shook himself out. Scott laughed.

"Hot, Leo," he said, with a joking whistle.

"Brat," Leo responded. "Come on, I could stand some coffee. You wanna go out?"

Scott hesitated. Leo backtracked immediately.

"You know what, I've got some fresh beans. Let me brew a pot and we can drink it while I start dinner. "

"That sounds good," Scott said, trying to keep the relief he felt out of his voice. He had no wish to encounter anyone he knew just yet.

"Did you call Dr. Gordon?" Leo asked.

"Yeah," Scott said. "He, um, said I should up the Colace to two tablets. And that if that didn't get things moving he'd have some instructions for me. You. Us." Scott blushed bright red.

"Enema?" Leo deduced.

"Yeah." Scott propped his elbows on the table, raked his hands through his hair. "Cute, huh?"

"No big deal," Leo said easily. "We kinksters can deal with just about anything."

Scott looked up, surprised out of his misery.

"Gotcha," Leo grinned.

Scott started to laugh. Leo smiled to himself. Humor had a way of making a lot of things less awkward.

Scott had a nice laugh, Leo thought to himself. Nice eyes. A nice body. A nice guy. It was a shame he had been through so much, so young.

"I'm not asking you to fall in love with the kid, Leo, just to give him a safe berth for a few weeks," Jamie Gordon had said.

Leo shook his head. He's got a safe berth for as long as he wants it. And I think I'm falling in love with him. I've got to talk to Jamie.

"You had sex with him? Leo, was that smart?" Dr. Gordon sounded dismayed.

"Give me a break, Jamie, we just jerked each other off. Friendly sex, you know, no strings? You've heard of it?"

Dr. Gordon sighed, then relented.

"So what you're telling me is that you're both gay," Dr. Gordon deadpanned.

Leo cracked up.

"Leo, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to sound so shocked. I've been dealing with Donovan and his new brat..."

"Ah, Saint Donovan Moore. We're not all perfect," Leo said wryly. "He's a good man, Jamie, but sometimes a little too solicitous? Not all of us go for the kind of fragile subs he always seems to attract. It's like moths to a flame."

"He must get something out of it," Dr. Gordon said, shaking his head. "I don't understand it myself, but to each his own. Listen, Leo, I need to talk to Scott for a moment."

"Scott! Dr. Gordon for you!" Leo shouted.

"I'm right here, you don't have to yell," Scott muttered, taking the phone and disappearing into the other room.

Leo busied himself at the table. He looked up as Scott reentered the kitchen.

Scott was scowling. He slammed the handset down on its base.

"What's wrong, Scotty?" Leo asked, concerned.

"Nothing. Nothing except that I still can't take a shit and Gordon says I need a fucking enema," Scott snapped.

"It's not the end of the world," Leo said. "You've done it before, haven't you? Do you need help?"

"Do I fucking need help? Is that how you get off, Leo? You wanna watch me take a fucking enema? Maybe you wanna film it? Maybe you fucking want to stick it up me yourself?"

"I understand you're upset, Scott," Leo began.

"Oh, you fucking 'understand.' That's fucking great. That's fucking gonna make me feel better. What, you have a fucking degree in psychology? And here I thought you were just a shitty artist! You're a real shit, Leo, like Bob, like Johann, like every other fucking Top I've ever fucking met! What the fuck do you want, me to bend over and spread for you? Fucking queer!" Scott spat vitriol at Leo, noting with satisfaction that his low blows were hitting home. His stomach hurt, his head hurt, he felt like shit and so should everybody else. It wasn't logical, but it felt right.

Leo forced himself to breathe calmly. Deliberately relaxed his tense muscles; stood up slowly.

"All right, Scott, all right," Leo said calmly. "I'm going to take a walk. You do whatever you think is best."

Without another word, Leo slipped into his jacket, grabbed his keys and left the house. He pulled the door shut behind him; heard the small click of the lock. Let out his breath slowly, feeling his pulse pound at his temples. He wasn't naturally a calm man; it had taken every ounce of self-control he possessed to walk away from Scott without reacting.

He's hurt, he's upset, he's angry, Leo thought to himself as he walked. Gradually his stride slowed as the adrenaline rush burned itself out. He's hurt, he's upset, he's angry.

Leo's eyes prickled. Damn. I like the kid so much. Damn it.

Leo walked on. He had grown up in a home where angry, hurtful words had spewed forth with every argument. He had sworn when he was old enough to leave that he would never, ever, live like that again. As much as he liked Scott, he would not, could not, compromise on this.

Not liked. Loved. It was more than simple liking. He felt for the kid, he had wanted, he had hoped, that something might grow between them.

Leo walked for a long time, until the anger he felt receded, until the sadness he felt was manageable. Then, with a heavy heart, he headed for home.

"Hey, you were gone a long time," Scott said, trying for a normal tone.

"I guess so," Leo answered. Looking at Scott, thinking about what they might have had together, hurt. "Excuse me, Scott, but I don't really feel like making small talk right now."

"Hey, look, I was upset, okay?" Scott said defensively. "I didn't mean those things I said..." His voice trailed off uncertainly. "It wasn't my fault, Leo, I was mad!"

"I know you were angry, Scott," Leo said wearily. "It doesn't make me feel much better. People usually don't say awful things unless they're angry, you know?"

"What I said wasn't so awful," Scott protested. "I mean, I was just blowing off steam, I didn't mean it!"

"It still hurt me, Scott," Leo said. "I grew up with parents who fought like that. Who said awful, wounding things to each other, and were sorry afterwards. I left home as soon as I could. I want no part of that kind of relationship. I'm sorry, Scott, I really liked you."

"But I really like you, Leo!" Scott said. "You can't just stop liking me because I got mad. Because I yelled at you. It isn't fair."

"It isn't fair for you to act as if what you said was nothing, Scott. I still like you. I just don't want a relationship. I don't want to be with you if you're going to rip me to shreds when the going gets tough. That's not love, Scott, not the way I understand it."

"I called you a shitty artist," Scott said softly.

"Among other things," Leo said, shaking his head. "I'm not upset about that."

"I said you were just like Johann and Bob and the rest of those motherfuckers. That you wanted me to bend over and spread them." Scott had the grace to blush.

"That was a pretty hateful thing to say," Leo observed dispassionately.

Scott dropped his head onto his crossed arms. Swallowed hard.

"I guess 'sorry' doesn't exactly cover it, huh?" Scott asked huskily, trying to keep his voice steady.

"I guess not," Leo said quietly.

"I am sorry, Leo. For whatever it's worth." Scott sounded flat and resigned.

"Scott, look at me please," Leo said softly.

Scott raised his head. His eyes were dark and distant.

"Scott, I want you to think a minute. How would you feel if someone said those things to you? Would you feel misunderstood? Would you feel unappreciated? Would you feel angry? Would you feel hurt? Imagine you were me. How would you feel, Scotty?"

"Um, I don't know," Scott mumbled. He tried to follow Leo's instructions. Emotions he had not known were there welled unexpectedly.

"I feel awful!" Scott said in a surprised tone.

Leo shook his head. Upset as he was, it was still hard not to smile at the evident astonishment in Scott's voice.

"So did I, Scotty," Leo said mildly.

"Oh." Scott was quiet. "I'm really sorry?" he offered, tentatively.

"I know you are. Imagine someone said that to you, afterwards. Would it make you feel better?"

Scott tried again to imagine the unimaginable. Shit.

"It doesn't help at all," Scott said despondently.

"I know," Leo said ruefully.

"You're going to kick me out then?" Scott asked tiredly.

"You can stay until you find yourself a place to live," Leo said. "I'm sorry, Scott, I don't trust you anymore."

"Leo? You're into the scene, right?" Scott asked tentatively.

"Why do you ask?" Leo replied curiously.

"What if, um, what if? I let you punish me? You know, spank me or something," Scott asked, very softly. "Would that make you love me again?"

"Scotty, I--" Leo's voice trailed off. He raked his fingers through his hair. Took a deep breath. "I haven't stopped loving you. I just can't forgive you for what you said."

"But if you punished me, if you spanked me? Paddled me? Would that make it right? It you punished me, would you forgive me?" Scott's cheeks were flaming red, but his voice was steady.

"You're talking about a discipline relationship, aren't you?" Leo asked.

Scott nodded.

"I've never done that, Scott. I've been involved in BDSM and kink for years, but I've never been in a lifestyle discipline relationship, 24/7, with anyone," Leo said.

"Me neither, Leo," Scott said. "What I had with Johann? I know now: It wasn't a discipline relationship, it was an abusive relationship. And Bob and his boys, what they play at is Daddy/boy shit, that's different, too. But with you... Leo, please, don't make me leave. I like you so much, Leo. I...I need you. Please, Leo, give me another chance."

Leo's tender heart broke at the pain in Scott's voice.

"Okay, Scotty, okay," Leo said softly. He opened his arms, and Scott came to him and he hugged Scott tightly. "I am going to punish you, Scotty," Leo warned. "I am going to spank you. And you're not getting a safeword."

"But we're still together?" Scott asked, sniffing hard.

"Yeah. If we commit to doing this, we're staying together. I sure as hell wouldn't punish someone I wasn't going to stay with forever. I hope you wouldn't ask someone you didn't plan on making a permanent part of your life to discipline you." Leo pushed Scott back gently, wanting to see his eyes as he answered.

"Forever. Permanent. Yeah, that sounds right," Scott said. "And I don't want a safeword. It's punishment. I deserve it. I trust you, Leo."

"You can trust me, Scotty," Leo said. "Come on now, there's no point wasting time. You're getting a spanking, now."

"Now?" Even though he had suggested the idea, now that it was really going to happen, Scott was nervous. "Um, Leo, don't I get a warning or something? One free pass? Something like that?" Scott looked at Leo appealingly.

"Nope," Leo said, ruffling Scott's hair. "None of the above. You deserve to be spanked and you know it. Come on, now, let's get it over with so that things can get back to normal around here."

Scott sighed, relief lightening the nervousness he felt. Relief that Leo was fully in charge. Relief that he hadn't lost this connection that he was just beginning to forge.

Leo ushered Scott into the guest bedroom. Pulled out the chair from the small desk. Seated himself, still holding Scott's hand.

"Take your pants off, Scott," Leo said gently.

Scott had been spanked before. There was no excuse for the butterflies in his stomach. No excuse for hesitating.

Scott swallowed hard. This was it.

"Now, Scotty," Leo prompted.

Scott undid his button and zipper, lowered his jeans and underwear to his knees. Draped himself face down over Leo's lap.

"This is for losing your temper and making vicious personal attacks," Leo said. "People who love each other don't talk to each other that way, no matter how angry they are at the moment. I won't have it, Scott. Don't do it again."

"I'm sorry," Scott mumbled. He jumped as Leo's hand descended in a hard swat across his bared bottom.

Leo spanked Scott soundly. There was no cruelty in his swats, but they hurt. Scott's buttocks were red and shiny and hot, and Scott was crying hard, when Leo finally stopped spanking him.

Leo rubbed the small of Scott's back, letting Scott collect himself and at the same time easing the sting in his own palm.

"Come here now," Leo coaxed, sliding Scott off his knees, and then gathering his crying lover into his lap. "Okay, okay, okay," Leo murmured, kissing Scott's wet face gently. "Shh shh shh, it's over now, Scotty, I've got you. Shh shh shh...."

The intensive cuddling, the sheer emotion in Leo's embrace, were almost harder to bear than the spanking. Scott cried harder. Leo's quiet reassurances continued, as he held his sobbing lover close. Patiently, lovingly, Leo rocked Scott as Scott cried himself out.

"Leo? Together? Forever? Right?" Scott sniffled.

"Together forever, that's right. I love you, Scott," Leo said. "Together forever. That sounds right to me." He kissed Scott gently.

Scott's eyes closed wearily.

"Let's go lie down," Leo suggested. "Hey, hey, sleepyhead, you have to walk, you're too heavy for me to carry. Come on now, let's get you in bed."

Scott stretched out gratefully on the bed. Leo curled around him, stroking, soothing, reassuring. Warm. There.

"Love you forever," Scott said softly.

"Mine forever," Leo answered. "I love you too, Scotty."



THANK you, Hedeia, for reading. EM