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


The Bath

Walter imagined wistfully how it would feel to lean back in warm water and savor the feel of Alex's body pressed against his own. The dream of warm water and wet bodies faded into the reality of cool sheets and a warm mouth working on his cock. Languorously he stroked Alex's silky black hair, enjoying the softness. Alex had taken Walter deep in his mouth, his tongue and palate enveloping the swollen head of his cock while his lips worked over the rigid shaft. Walter thought wryly that only a man as well loved as he was could afford a fantasy life fueled exclusively by a dream of bathing with his lover in a warm bathtub.

Walter had decided that the pleasure of a bathtub large enough to allow him and Alex to bathe together was worth a sizeable investment. And an investment it had turned out to be, financially as well as emotionally. An engineer decreed that the floor beneath the prospective tub needed reinforcement to safely support the filled tub's weight. The entire bathroom had to be reconfigured. New fixtures had to be purchased. But the tub was finally installed in all its deep, inviting glory.

Now came the hard part. Getting Alex into it.

Alex had listened to the therapist's logic and to Walter's reassuring murmurs. They both had no doubt he would get used to this tub. They both agreed he would even come to enjoy it.

Well shit, what did they know, Alex thought despondently? As things stood now, he was planning on taking showers for the rest of his fucking life. Because that thing terrified him.

Alex's first glimpse of the gleaming tub had rocketed him back to his days as a pretty toy the Consortium's more decadent elite enjoyed playing with while bathing. The flashback had left him vomiting on the cool tiled floor.

They just didn't get it. The memories were old and clouded. He didn't even know exactly who had been there, what they had done. But the idea of being trapped in one of those...

Trapped? Where had that come from?

Alex sighed. Introspection was not his strong suit.

And yet Alex had to admit, he was feeling better than he would have thought possible. Those few months after the well-manicured man had died had been miserable. Alex shuddered when he remembered the blackness that had engulfed him. The utter despair he had felt, alternating with furious days when it seemed every other word he uttered was a curse and all he did was anger Walter. The spankings he had simultaneously dreaded and provoked. He hated even the memory of those months.

Medication and therapy had helped ameliorate the worst of those feelings. But Alex still felt angry and anxious when Walter was away from him. The ever-present fear, that he was not worthy to be loved, might have subsided from foreground to background. But it was still there. And Walter and the therapist seemed determined to make him think about it and talk about it. And breathe through it.

Walter had never pushed him like this before. Alex blamed the therapist for that. She encouraged Walter to hold Alex responsible for more and more aspects of their life together. He hated this. It was too fucking hard.

Alex hated Walter's calm confidence that he would eventually be able to do it. Fuck Walter's "can do" attitude.

Just last night, for instance, Walter had ruined a perfectly good weekend by suggesting that a day of hard labor in the garden would make Alex sore enough that the tub would look inviting. The fuck it would. Alex stood in the backyard, looking sullenly at the fence overgrown with brambles and weeds.

For most of Alex's life he had been subject to the whims and desires of others. Years of harsh consequences had almost eliminated any desire he had for autonomy. Now Walter was no longer content that Alex simply follow their rules and sleep in his bed. There were chores. Not just easy ones with clear parameters. Hard ones, like this. How the fuck did he know what "do something about the border near the fence" was supposed to mean?

Of course, Alex thought rubbing his butt ruefully, he supposed he could have tried asking Walter nicely. The long lecture he'd gotten the night before on the folly of throwing gardening books and gardening tools had not been pleasant. Shit. He seemed to recall Walter had indicated he would be only too glad to remind Alex again today what a civil conversation involved. So Alex guessed that asking Walter what the fuck he wanted him to do and why the fuck he should do it would not be one of the best fucking ideas he'd ever had.

"Go on, Alex," Walter coaxed, looking over at his sulking lover. Alex's mutinous face left no doubt how Alex felt about the day's plan.

"Get started. The sooner you start, the sooner you finish."

Alex looked longingly at the deck chairs on the patio. Why the fuck did Walter get to sit and read his fucking newspaper while he grubbed around in the dirt? He glared at Walter. Walter glared back. Shit, thought Alex. Did I say that out loud? I couldn't have. I didn't. I know I didn't.

"I can't spank you for thinking evil thoughts, Alex," Walter said grimly. "But I will spank you for shirking your share of the household obligations. There's a very nice list on the refrigerator, Alex. I water the garden. You pull the weeds. I wouldn't mind having another fifty copies of it to post in conspicuous places, either."

Alex gulped. He hated writing lines like poison. It was just one more of the fiendish tortures Walter and the therapist had agreed on.

With what he hoped was a heartrending pout, Alex headed out to the far reaches of the garden. Walter rolled his eyes and returned to his reading.

Alex took a firm grip on the offending green vines snaking their way under the fence and over the bushes and began to yank them from the soil. As he worked, the sun rose. Sweating, Alex stripped off his shirt, socks and jeans. There were no neighbors back here to object. It was a lot cooler working in only boxers and sneakers.

Meanwhile, the Gunmen's battered van pulled up in front of the house. Melvin and Ringo had been making the rounds. Walter shook hands with Melvin, wondered out loud if it was too early for lunch and a beer. The three men decided it really wasn't.

"Where's Alex?" Ringo asked.

"Cleaning out some thickets down by the back fence. Why don't you go get him?

"Hey, hey, dude," Ringo called, loping across the garden. He skidded to a sudden stop. He turned his head from side to side, squinted through his thick glasses.

"Um, Alex? What the fuck are you doing?"

"Pulling the fucking weeds out. What the fuck do you think?" Alex snapped.

"Does Walter know what you're doing?" Ringo asked. Alex glared at him. The geek was getting on his already frayed nerves.

"Not exactly. Cut the fucking bullshit, Ringo. What do you want?"

"Shit, Alex, you're standing half-naked in a mess of poison ivy. You are going to feel so bad, man. Come out of there. We have to find Walter." The former farm boy rolled his eyes heavenward. "Aw, man, you must really have pissed somebody up there off. That stuff is evil."

Walter and Melvin surveyed the pile of vines. Walter shook his head.

"I should have checked back here first, before I sent him out to clean it up. He's not a country boy. Poor Alex, this is not going to be pleasant," Walter said unhappily.

"Make him take a cool shower with soap. Maybe it won't be so bad if it's his first exposure," Melvin suggested. Then, looking more closely at the enormous volume of poison ivy Alex had tugged free of the fence, he added another suggestion.

"Just put him out of his misery now." Walter smiled grimly. Melvin had no idea how tempting that was. I should ask Melvin to put me out of my misery while we're at it, he thought. This is going to be hell.

Six hours later the rash began to erupt over Alex's hand and face. Arm. Chest. Stomach. Legs. Ankles. Feet. Within a short time Alex was thoroughly miserable. Sick. Itchy. Hot. Itchy. Nauseous. Itchy.

Walter straightened the sheets. Puffed the pillows. Dabbed calamine lotion. Offered Alex another swallow of ginger ale. Nothing helped. Alex twisted miserably.

"I itch," he whimpered, trying not to whine. Walter looked at his miserable lover.

"When did you have the last dose of Benadryl, Alex? Eleven?"" Alex nodded.

"Itches," he said. He looked absolutely wretched.

Walter made a decision. He began to run the tub full of lukewarm water, added four handfuls of oatmeal Aveeno bath.

"Come on, Alex," he coaxed, half-lifting, half dragging Alex to his feet. Alex was shaky, sweaty and exhausted. His eyes widened unhappily when he realized what Walter was planning.

"No, please," he moaned. Walter shook him gently.

"Alex, trust me, it'll make you feel better."

"I'm scared," he whispered. Walter shook his head. There was barely an inch of unblemished skin on Alex's body. He needed some relief and he needed it now.

"This isn't negotiable, Alex. In you go." Alex flinched at Walter's brusque order, but was too uncomfortable and dispirited to argue. He just wanted the itching to stop. Gently, Walter stripped off Alex's boxers and propelled him into the tub.

Blessed relief. The cool water lapped gently against his raw, aching, rashy limbs. Supported his tired, sore muscles.

Walter watched with growing pleasure as Alex's frightened, frozen expression softened.

"Shit, Walter, that feels good," Alex sighed. "Oh shit, this feels so fucking unbelievably good. Oh shit, this feels good."

Walter rolled his eyes at Alex's language. They were going to have to work on that. Right now, he was going to take advantage of an opportunity just too good to pass up. Walter slipped out of his clothes, into the tub and gathered Alex gently in his arms.

"Ah," Walter sighed. "I've been dreaming about this for so long."

"This isn't very romantic, Walter," Alex said dolefully.

Walter wiped a smudge of oatmeal from Alex's nose.

"Oh yes it is," Walter said softly. "You snuggled against me in our bathtub. I love it, Alex. Rash or no rash. Oatmeal or no oatmeal."

Alex moaned as Walter gently groped him.

"No," he protested. Walter laughed.

"I'll stop," he offered.

"No!" Alex said desperately. "Please Walter, I'll never be able to sleep if you don't finish." Walter continued to caress what was probably the only part of Alex's body not covered by the rash. Alex leaned his head back against Walter's shoulder, arched his back and came hard in his hand.

Carefully, Walter eased them out of the tub. Took the softest, oldest towel they owned and gently patted Alex dry. The combination of soothing bath and sex had left Alex calm and sleepy. Walter sat him in the armchair while he remade the bed, then tucked him into the fresh sheets.

"I love you, Walter," Alex mumbled, his eyes closing.

"I love you, Alex."


For Ursula, in honor of her birthday, September 7, 2001. EM

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