M/m sex, discipline, spanking. If the idea of a discipline relationship between consenting adult males offends you, so will this story.
ELIZABETH MARSHALL STORIES
Ten o'clock Saturday evening. The five men lounged comfortably at the battle-scarred round table in the rear of their favorite Italian restaurant, their meal over. They polished off the remains of their last carafe of the house red.
"Opera season," Melvin announced happily. "I have tickets for La Traviata for Tuesday. Can I tempt you, Walter?" Walter shook his head.
"You know I'm not much of a Verdi enthusiast, Melvin. I saw last season's production and that'll do me for the next two years. If you want to see Tosca or La Boheme, any Puccini, count me in."
"What about you, John?" Melvin asked.
"Sorry, Melvin. The Symphony now and then is more my speed."
"If I don't know the drummer, I don't go," Ringo said. Melvin rolled his eyes.
"You're all missing a great treat," he said. "Your loss. Let's order dessert. Everyone having coffee?"
No one noticed Alex's scowl. Walter did think Alex was unusually quiet, and the fact that Alex didn't order his usual slab of chocolate cake did seem odd. Oh well. Alex was moody; that was a fact of life. Walter would talk to him later.
"That was fun," Walter said as he got ready for bed. He took off his watch and laid it neatly in the tray atop his dresser, alongside his wallet and a handful of spare change. Alex shrugged.
"Leave me home next time," he said sulkily. "No one cares If I'm there or not, anyway."
"Alex! What makes you say that?" Walter asked in surprise, turning to face Alex. Alex looked decidedly unhappy.
"Nothing," Alex said sullenly. Walter ground his teeth in frustration.
"You can just find yourself a comfortable corner and stand there until you feel like talking, Alex," Walter said. "Or you can bring me the hairbrush."
Some choice. Alex handed Walter the heavy wooden hairbrush. Walter seated himself on their bed and with a small sigh, Alex stretched out and buried his head in Walter's lap. Walter brushed Alex's hair gently, carefully, in long strokes from crown to nape. Patiently waited until Alex's scowl relaxed into the softer expression he sought. Alex positively loved being brushed. Walter rubbed Alex's back gently with his other hand.
"Tell me," Walter said. He continued brushing, waiting for Alex to talk. It took a few minutes, but eventually Walter's quiet persistence paid off. Alex spoke softly, unsure of himself.
"Well, Melvin asked you if you wanted to go to his fucking opera. And he asked John. And Ringo said no. But he didn't ask me. No one ever asks me if I want to do anything special," Alex sulked. Walter laughed.
"Is that all? Don't be silly, Alex, Melvin just assumed you wouldn't be interested. You saw how Ringo felt about it. We don't expect you--" He paused. Took a deep breath. Looked, really looked, at his unhappy lover. Alex's green eyes were murky and opaque. His feelings were really, really hurt.
"Alex, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to blow you off that way. Come here, Alex, I didn't understand. I'm sorry." He put the hairbrush aside and taking Alex in his arms, drew Alex's head to his shoulder. Hugged Alex tightly to his chest.
"I'm really sorry. That wasn't very nice of me, was it?" Alex's head shook vehemently. Walter regretted his smile. There was nothing funny in Alex's hurt feelings. It was just that the extraordinary notion that the former Consortium assassin might yearn for an invitation to the opera had never occurred to him, or to Melvin, nor, he was sure, to anyone else.
"Alex, I'm sure Melvin will take you with him. I'll call him right now, OK? Jesus, Alex, I really, truly didn't mean to hurt your feelings. Neither did Melvin. We just never thought you'd be interested."
"It sounds like fun," Alex whispered. "I've never been to an opera. Maybe I'm just a stupid prick who won't get it, but..."
"Shh, Alex," Walter soothed, stroking the shining sable hair with a comforting hand. "I didn't mean to imply that. I just didn't think. I'm really, really sorry, Alex. Come, let me call Melvin and then I promise I'll think of some way to make it up to you."
"Of course, I'd be delighted to take him, Walter. I never even thought to ask. I'm used to Ringo, whose idea of music bears no resemblance to music I understand except in name."
"I think he felt a little hurt he wasn't asked," Walter warned. There was a momentary pause.
"I see. Let me talk to him a minute, Walter. Thanks." Melvin waited for Alex's tentative greeting.
"Alex! I'd enjoy your company. Let me take you to dinner first. We really didn't get a chance to talk tonight. Sound good to you?"
"Thanks, Melvin, " Alex said awkwardly. His eyes reverted to the clear green Walter loved. "Pick me up here?"
Walter made a mental note not to underestimate Alex again. It was hardly Alex's fault that his Consortium masters had deliberately kept him ignorant of anything outside the limited skills they required. He would have to spend a little time introducing Alex to the arts. Obviously, Alex was eager to learn. Once again, Walter was struck by Alex's dogged persistence, in the absence of any context for growth and health.
Over the next three days, Walter had ample opportunity to observe the habits that had contributed to Alex's notoriety as an assassin. Walter eyed the mounting balance on his American Express card and winced. Obviously frugality was not part of Alex's Consortium training. Determined to do this thing right, Alex acquired a CD of La Traviata, the libretto in both Italian and English translation, a series of general guides to the opera, a videotape of a public television special on Verdi, a membership in the Opera Guild, and a seating plan for the theater.
Walter resigned himself to listening to Verdi echo through the house. He supposed he should be grateful that Melvin shared his dislike for Wagner. Walter shivered to think what it would be like to live with an Alex intent on absorbing the Ring cycle.
None of his preparations soothed Alex. By Tuesday he was as tightly wound as Walter had ever seen him. Anxiety made Alex sharp and difficult. He paced, he criticized, he sulked and he cursed. Walter's patience withered under the barrage.
"Settle down, Alex," Walter warned, as Alex unleashed yet another tirade of curses. "You're looking at a spanking if you don't chill out, right now."
"Fuck you, Walter," said Alex with practiced defiance. Walter sighed as he seized Alex's arm and upended him over his lap.
"You have this coming," Walter said softly, understanding his lover's serpentine psychology. It was abundantly clear to him that Alex was courting this spanking. Alex was nervous about the evening ahead, and Alex and nerves were a bad combination. Walter wanted the spanking to hurt just enough that Alex would feel held, but not enough that he would feel his underlying plea for comfort and reassurance had gone unmet. It was a fine line.
"You don't curse at me, Alex," Walter said firmly. "No matter if you are angry, upset or just worried. You don't curse at me. It hurts my feelings, it puts distance between us, and it doesn't really make you feel better either. Is that clear?"
Alex nodded, this time silently cursing himself. He should have known Walter wouldn't understand. But he was scared...
"I do understand," Walter said. Alex jerked violently away. Only Walter's firm grip prevented his escape. Had he spoken aloud?
"Easy, Alex," Walter soothed him, stroking his skittish lover's back gently. "Of course I understand how scared you are. It'll be all right, I promise. I'm going to spank you, and then I'm taking you up to bed. Shh, Alex, I know you're scared. Shh..."
"I guess I couldn't just say I'm sorry?" he offered tentatively. Walter continued to rub his back gently.
"You could, Alex. Would that do it for you?" Alex shook his head slowly.
"I deserve to be spanked," he said sadly. "But Walter? I'm scared."
"I know. I'll take good care of you, you know that. Come on, let's take your pants and boxers down now. Easy, Alex, I've got you." Walter made sure Alex was positioned securely with his damaged arm out of harm's way, and then slipped Alex's garments to his knees.
Alex sniffled despondently. This evening was threatening enough, without provoking Walter to the point of spanking him. Shit. This had been a spectacularly lousy idea.
Walter applied his hand sharply to Alex's fine white buttocks, careful to distribute his swats evenly. He kept the spanking light, wanting only to keep Alex centered, not really punish him. Walter knew Alex's cursing was reflexive; Alex's reaction to stress. They would work on it. This spanking was less about punishment than about reassurance. Reassurance that Alex belonged, that he was Walter's, that he was safe and that he was loved. Alex had just begun to cry in earnest when Walter ceased spanking him and gathered him gently into his arms.
"Shh, Alex," he soothed. "Come on, into bed now. I think you need a little more comfort than I can offer down here. " Walter propelled his teary lover up the stairs and into their bedroom. Finished stripping him and shoved him gently into their bed. Walter undressed quickly and stretching himself full length alongside Alex, drew the covers over both of them.
Alex trembled as Walter cupped his ass and gently massaged his flaming bottom, his large hand distributing the burning heat, transforming the ache into soothing warmth. As Walter continued to stroke him gently, Alex turned to press himself against Walter.
"Fuck me," Alex begged. "Please Walter, I need you inside me. I need to feel you. Please, Walter, please." Walter kissed Alex fully, deeply, felt himself hardening in response to Alex's need. Alex arched his back, grinding his pelvis against Walter. Walter stretched over to the night table, his fingers seeking the lube resting next to the lamp. He squeezed a generous gob into his hand and carefully lubricating his index and middle fingers began to make gentle circles around Alex's tight anus. Waited until the ring of muscle softened, then carefully slipped his fingers inside. Worked them deeper, feeling Alex's muscles contract reflexively as he found the tender spots along the wall of the tight channel. Reached for the small, harder nub of flesh deep within. Alex panted desperately, his hips plunging.
"Please, please, Walter, I need you so bad. Fuck me, fuck me now," he begged. Pressing Alex's knees back to his chest, Walter withdrew his hand and coated his cock with lube. Leaning forward, he let his body weight slide him inside his lover. Alex moaned with pleasure.
"Yes, oh god Walter, yes," he breathed, his head back, his eyes closing. Walter fucked Alex deeply and carefully, alert to the tone of his groaning. He wanted this to be good for Alex. Alex's cock was rigid as Walter took it in his hand, stroking it in rhythm with his thrusts. Alex strained upwards, his cock jerking spasmodically, his hips thrashing. Walter grinned and let himself come deep within Alex's hot, contracting body.
"Ah, shit, that was so good," Alex moaned. "Oh Walter, I needed that so bad. Thank you thank you thank you." Walter quieted Alex's babbling with a firm kiss.
"Shh," he soothed. "I love you, Alex, I'll always be here for you. Shh, I love you, it's all right." Alex's eyes were suddenly filled with tears.
"Hold me," he begged. Walter hugged him close.
"I have you, Alex, I have you. I'll keep you safe," Walter said. Alex's eyes closed sleepily, trustingly.
Alex awakened with a start. Relaxed as he heard the familiar sounds of Walter in the kitchen downstairs. Checked the clock nervously. Plenty of time. He shaved carefully, started the shower running. Let the warm water run over his tight shoulders. Washed his hair. Toweled himself dry briskly.
Dressed in fresh jeans and black tee, but still barefoot, he padded downstairs. Walter eyed him contemplatively. Goddamnit, he looked good. Walter grinned evilly, aware of the kind of attention Alex invariably attracted. Melvin was about to discover firsthand what an evening out with Alex Krycek was like.
The doorbell chimed. Alex cast a quick, anxious glance at Walter, then rose gracefully to open the door.
"Evening, Alex, Walter," Melvin said cheerfully. Took a long look at Alex. Damn, the man was pretty. Alex shrugged into his leather jacket, dragged on clean socks and toed into his boots.
"Have a good time," Walter said. "Alex, be good." Alex ducked his head embarrassedly.
"Right, Walter. Let's get out of here, Melvin," Alex said with a smirk. "Before Walter checks to make sure my underwear is clean." Melvin snorted.
"I'll bring him back in one piece, Walter," Melvin said, but the smile he gave Walter was kind. He knew Walter worried about Alex. He knew Walter had had ample reason to.
Alex looked around the small Argentinean restaurant appreciatively. Melvin grinned.
"Walter still cutting back on the beef, Alex?" he asked. Alex nodded.
"We're having meat only twice a week now. That's it. And burgers at lunchtime count." He eyed the platter of steak the waiter was bearing to the adjacent table.
"That what you have a taste for, Alex?" Melvin asked.
"Jesus, Melvin, if Walter saw the size of that, I'd be eating fish and tofu for the next month. You'd better not tell him." Alex licked his lips hungrily.
"How about I don't tell Walter on you, and you deep-six Ringo's bottle of ketchup the next time you come by the bunker? Before I have to watch him drown another of my steaks. Deal?"
"Deal." Alex grimaced at the thought of ketchup on prime beef.
Melvin laughed. Alex took a deep breath and tried to relax. Killing a contact was a familiar experience. This sort of casual socializing was not.
Melvin guided the conversation to the opera they were seeing and was pleasantly surprised to discover Alex had done his homework. Alex had absorbed enough information about La Traviata to carry on a coherent conversation. No one would have suspected that he had never actually seen a live opera. Alex was almost apologetic about how much preparation he had done.
"Whatever made you do that?" Melvin asked curiously. Alex shrugged.
"I learned a long time ago not to leave things to chance. Failing wasn't an option the old men allowed, Melvin," Alex said softly. He winced, remembering. "You got it right the first time, or you paid. And the better you knew your target, the better your chances of not screwing up." Melvin studied Alex's face for a long moment.
"This isn't a test, Alex," he said gently. "I know your feelings were hurt when I didn't invite you right away. I'm sorry. I'm used to Ringo, and he hates the opera. I just didn't think. You don't have to prove anything to me, Alex. I'm very glad you agreed to come." Alex looked down.
"Thanks, Melvin," he said softly. "I just didn't want you to be ashamed of me." Melvin shook his head.
"Never, Alex. You try harder than anyone I've ever known." They sat in companionable silence, thinking their own thoughts, as they finished the last of their coffee.
As he ushered Alex out of the restaurant, Melvin observed how many pairs of eyes, both male and female, cut in Alex's direction. Walking with Alex, Melvin decided, was disconcertingly similar to driving a conspicuous sports car. Sleek, dark and sexy, Alex was hard not to notice.
If Melvin hadn't known the theater was new to Alex, he would never have guessed from Alex's demeanor. Alex's surefooted knowledge of the Kennedy Center had everything to do with skilled map reading and a well-trained memory and nothing to do with previous experience, but he blended flawlessly with the regulars.
Melvin noticed that he himself was getting more than his usual share of looks and even friendly nods from the gay crowd. He winced. Obviously, people assumed a man of his age and appearance rated a companion like Alex because he brought something else, money or status, to the party.
Alex ignored the looks. He had long since gotten used to them. At least now, the assumptions underlying them were false. He was no one's pretty boy, no one's lapdog. He gritted his teeth. Every once in a while, he really, truly missed the weapons Walter no longer permitted him.
Both men were happy to be safely ensconced in their seats. Alex studied the program carefully, like a good student, names, dates and production notes clicking into place. Melvin perused the playbill more casually, with the assurance of the connoisseur. He had loved and followed the opera all his adult life. Sitting here, he felt at home. He looked over the theater in a proprietary manner, making sure it was being maintained to its usual high standard.
From the first note, Alex's attention was riveted on the stage. Melvin thought he had never seen anyone drink in a performance in that way. Alex's expression reflected his utter absorption. The intermission seemed to come as a complete shock to him.
"Do you want to stretch a little, Alex?" Melvin suggested gently, shepherding him into the lobby. Alex studied the crowd carefully. His eye was drawn by two men on the perimeter of the crowd. Something about them seemed off.
"I'm going to walk around a little, Melvin," Alex said softly. He needed to see for himself what was going on.
Carefully, Alex made his way across the room. He stood back discreetly, watching the drama unfold. The older man was angry. His voice, though soft, was threatening. His companion looked frightened.
"You little prick, you listen to me. I own you. If I see you looking at anyone else again, you'll be out on your ass so fast it'll make your head spin. You understand me, you cheap fuck? I own your ass." The speaker stalked away, his handsome face contorted with rage. Alex watched as the younger man drew a shaky breath.
"Hey," Alex said softly. The young man started reflexively.
"Why do you let him treat you that way? Leave him. You got money?" The young man shook his head.
"You from around here?" Another negative headshake. At the shift in angle Alex saw the faint blue residue of a bruise on the man's face. The slight traces of post adolescent acne.
"Fuck." Alex went through his pockets, withdrew a wad. "That's three hundred bucks. Don't shove it all up your nose, asshole. Go home."
"He'll kill me." The whispered response was full of fear. Alex wondered how old the poor bastard was. He looked barely old enough to drink.
"No, he won't," Alex said grimly. "I'll talk to him. Did he give you that?" Alex gestured towards his expensive wristwatch. The young man gave a quick, apprehensive nod.
"Give it to me." The man hesitated a moment.
"It'll only cause trouble, trust me. I'll give it back to him. He won't come after you." The cool certainty in Alex' voice reassured the younger man.
"Here's your fucking watch," Alex said softly, stepping in front of the older man. "Look for the kid and you're dead. Trust me." This time, the promise was not meant to reassure.
The man looked at Alex, a frisson of fear shooting through him, directly to his groin. Damn, that bad boy look was hot. Maybe... He stroked his thumb suggestively over Alex's palm as he took the proffered watch.
"Don't even think about it," Alex hissed. The man heard the menace in his voice. Met Alex's eyes for the briefest of seconds. They were black with loathing.
A hint of danger might be a thrill; a warning like this was anything but. Chastened, the man hastily backed away.
Melvin watched the exchange from across the room. Nothing to tell Walter about, he thought nervously. At least he hoped not. Alex's face was unreadable as he rejoined Melvin. Neither man spoke as they returned to their seats.
Violetta's soaring voice sliced through Alex. The live voice moved him in a way the recorded voice had not prepared him for. Combined with the adrenaline rush from his recent encounter, it was overwhelming. Alex shivered involuntarily.
Melvin saw Alex's slight movement. He knew deep within himself that Alex needed comfort. He just didn't know how best to offer it. To his surprise, Alex shifted fractionally in his seat, so that their shoulders touched.
Melvin leaned into Alex tentatively. Felt rather than heard Alex sigh. Was heartened to feel Alex relax against him.
Alex stayed close to Melvin until the last note faded.
It had been a stellar performance. The audience applauded enthusiastically through several curtain calls.
"You liked it," Melvin said to Alex. It wasn't even a question. Alex smiled broadly as he stood up.
"Thank you, Melvin, that was just..." Alex licked his lips, searching for words to describe his feelings. "The best. Fucking unbelievably good." He shook his head.
"I know, Alex," Melvin said. "I remember my first opera. I'm really glad I was the one to take you to yours."
"How did it go?" Walter asked, welcoming them home.
"I cannot believe the looks he gets," Melvin said. "I don't know how you take him any place, Walter."
"I don't know why Melvin thinks that," Alex protested. "I was good. The whole time." He sounded hurt.
Walter raised his eyebrows. Melvin shook his head slowly. He hadn't meant Alex to take him seriously.
"I was joking, Alex. He's right, Walter, he was good. More than good. He was a pleasure to spend an evening with. I'll take you again, Alex. Anytime."
"Thank you, Melvin. It was great. Poor Violetta. Alfredo is a fucking asshole."
Alex's was not the most sophisticated of plot analyses, but it was totally unaffected, and it made both Walter and Melvin smile. Alex hummed softly under his breath.
Walter recognized the aria. Questa donna conoscete...
"Act two, scene two," Alex supplied helpfully. "Alfredo denounces Violetta and throws his gambling winnings at her feet." He smiled proudly.
Melvin and Walter exchanged glances.
"You've ruined him," Walter said mournfully to Melvin. "I'm choosing your next opera, Alex. Puccini. Tosca, Madama Butterfly, La Boheme. You'll love Puccini, Alex."
"Nothing wrong with Verdi, Walter," said Melvin, winking at Alex.
Walter groaned. Alex studied the two men, not sure he understood the joke precisely, but feeling the warm glow of belonging to a select society of aficionados.
Handshakes were exchanged all around. Melvin left for the bunker, and Walter and Alex retired to bed. Uncharacteristically, Alex stayed to his side of the mattress, his eyes fixed on the ceiling.
"Tell me," Walter said softly.
"What? Tell you what?" Alex said irritatedly. How the fuck did Walter do that? He always knew. Shit. Alex felt his stomach knot uncomfortably.
Walter watched Alex's face carefully. Alex was hiding something.
"Come here, Alex," Walter said. "Tell me what's wrong."
"No, Walter, no!" Alex protested, scooting farther away. Shit. This was not how this day was supposed to end.
"Shh, Alex," Walter soothed. "Come to me, now. There's nothing to be afraid of, Alex. You know I'll never hurt you," he added gently, watching Alex gulp nervously.
"I don't need to be spanked, Walter," Alex said defensively.
"Did I say you did, Alex?" Walter asked. "I just want you to come here. Now." He patted the bed next to him.
"Cuddle, Alex. That's all." Reluctantly, Alex rolled into Walter's embrace, still tense.
"Easy, Alex, I got you." Walter rubbed Alex's back in soothing circles.
"No one should put up with being treated that way." Alex said softly. " No one."
Walter continued his gentle massage, not interrupting.
"I knew the other prick wasn't dangerous. Fuck him, he just liked lording it over the kid. I barely had to threaten him. He folded like that." Alex snapped his fingers.
"How much money did you give the kid, Alex?" Walter asked quietly. Alex shrugged.
"I had three hundred bucks on me," he said.
Walter sighed ruefully. Another one of Alex's non-deductible charitable contributions. Oh well. It could have been worse.
"Walter?" Alex asked anxiously. "Are you going to spank me?"
"Why do you think I would, Alex?" Walter asked curiously.
"For doing something dangerous. For wasting money. For getting involved in something that was none of my business," Alex said softly.
"Was it dangerous, Alex?" Walter asked. Alex shook his head.
"No. I told you, he was just a fucking bully. Bastard," Alex said.
"I trust your judgement, Alex. You were out in the world a long time," Walter said.
Alex sighed with relief. Endangering himself had earned him his worst spankings.
"And I'm certainly not going to punish you for showing compassion. Were you the only person who saw what happened, do you think?" Walter asked.
"I don't know," Alex shrugged. "Probably not."
"And did anyone else even try to help?"
Alex shook his head. No.
"People don't," Alex said wearily.
"No one ever helped you, did they?" Walter asked softly.
Alex looked away.
"I didn't think so. Come here now, I've got you. You're safe." Gently, Walter turned Alex's face so that their eyes met.
"You tried, Alex. Whether it did any good or not is out of your hands. Let it go." Walter tucked Alex's lean body against him. Kissed Alex hard. Felt Alex soften into his embrace.
"I love you, Walter," Alex whispered.
"I love you too, Alex."