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

Nightmare

Walter rolled over to find empty space beside him. Slowly, he came awake. Where was Alex? He had warned him last night that he was done with his creeping downstairs in the middle of the night, with his falling asleep exhausted on the couch during the afternoons. That he expected him to sleep through the night, or if he absolutely couldn't sleep, to rest quietly. And if he were incapable of that, to read in the corner chair. But to stay in the bedroom, not to sit downstairs watching television, surfing the net and eating chocolate flavored breakfast cereal by handfuls out of the box. Wearily, Walter swung himself out of bed and went in search of his errant lover. He was tired and cranky and wanted only to go back to sleep.

Alex was seated in the living room, remote in hand, said cereal box at his side, watching an infomercial. Walter took a deep breath, trying to calm himself.

"Alex," he said. Alex started, then put the remote down guiltily. He looked anything but happy. If Walter hadn't known better, he would have said Alex looked scared. Of him.

"Alex, what did I tell you yesterday?" Walter asked in a quiet voice, still slightly hoarse with sleep.

"To stay in bed. To sleep, or if I couldn't sleep, to lie quietly in bed. Or read in the chair," Alex said in a small voice.

"Or?" Walter prompted. Alex winced.

"Or you would spank me." Then very quickly, "Please don't spank me, Walter."

Walter was tempted to just bundle his lover back up to bed. But he was damned if he was going to suffer through another night of interrupted sleep. Alex had a lesson coming.

"Alex, I warned you I would spank you if I found you out of bed in the middle of the night without a very good reason. Do you have a reason?" Alex hesitated for a moment, then his green eyes dropped and he shook his head negatively.

"Let's get this over with, then," Walter said tiredly. He sat down next to Alex, took his good hand. Massaged the tense fingers gently while he tried to gather his thoughts.

"Alex, you need to sleep at night. It's very hard on your body to be chronically sleep deprived. If you don't get enough sleep, and you spend the day mainlining coffee, you are not going to feel very well. And the sort of rest you get napping on the couch doesn't compare to what you get sleeping in a bed. Alex, I know you're used to being up at night. But this is a rule, which we agreed on, and a consequence we also agreed on. You stay in bed until morning, or I spank you."

"I don't want you to spank me, Walter," Alex said. "I'm too tired."

"You should have thought of that before you left the bedroom, Alex," Walter said, rolling his eyes at Alex's petulant tone.

"Please, Walter, this sucks. I'll come back to bed, OK? Just don't spank me," Alex tried again.

"Alex, what did I tell you yesterday?" Walter asked quietly. Alex sighed.

"If I came downstairs at night again, you would spank me," he said resignedly. Walter nodded.

"Let's get this over with," he said. He tipped Alex over his lap, not roughly, but firmly enough that there was no doubt whatsoever that he meant business. He hooked his fingers under the loose elastic waistband of the sweats Alex slept in, and tugged them down to Alex's knees. Alex squirmed unhappily, and Walter laid his hand firmly on his naked butt.

"Keep still, Alex, I'm too tired to drag this out. Why am I doing this, Alex? Why am I going to spank you?" Walter asked, trying to force some authority into his sleepy voice.

"I got up in the middle of the night and came downstairs and I'm not allowed to because you made this fucking rule--OW! No fair, Walter!" Alex yelped.

"What's not fair is you cursing at me at two in the morning when I'm about to give you a spanking you richly deserve, Alex," Walter said, nettled at last. "You know we both agreed on this rule, Alex. I'm going to spank you to remind you to stay in bed at night like you're supposed to."

Pressing his left hand snugly in the small of Alex's back, Walter took his right hand and brought the palm down, hard, across Alex's tense buttocks. The smack sounded even louder at night. Alex made no sound. Walter spanked him hard and methodically, determined to make the spanking severe enough that Alex would remember it the next time he was tempted to spend the night awake in the living room. He finally heard Alex sniffle suspiciously.

"Had enough, Alex?" Walter said softly, rubbing his aching palm over Alex's back. He could feel Alex struggling to get his breathing under control. Very gently, he eased Alex onto his lap, careful of his sore bottom. Alex buried his head in the hollow between Walter's neck and shoulder.

"I'm sorry, Walter, I'm sorry," he said shakily. "I won't do it again." Walter rubbed Alex's back reassuringly, then took a deep breath.

"We're not done yet, Alex," he warned. Alex stiffened.

"Walter, no, I said I'm sorry, you can't spank me any more if I said I was sorry. Walter, that's not fair," Alex protested unhappily.

Walter stroked Alex's hair, saddened at how miserable Alex sounded.

"That's not what I meant, Alex," he said reassuringly. "Spanking's over." He eased Alex's sweats back up. "I just want us to talk about why you're finding it so hard to stay in bed."

Alex sighed with relief.

"I hate when you spank me," he muttered. Then, almost inaudibly, "I hate that fucking dream." From the loathing in his voice, Walter knew exactly which dream Alex meant.

Walter could remember the first time Alex had had the nightmare. He recalled the screams, high, terrified, and desperate. The way Alex sobbed in his arms and refused to tell him what the dream was about. How he had rocked Alex for what seemed like hours, before Alex had been able to confide in him.

"Alex. What do you think the dream represents?" he had asked Alex.

"I don't know, Walter," Alex had whispered. "Walter, I'm scared. What if it's not just a dream? What if it's true?"

"Sometimes nightmares feel true, Alex. But they're not. I think your dream is about trust. You've given me the gift of trusting me with disciplining you when you need it. At the same time, it's a scary thing to give up control like that. I think this dream is your mind's way of telling you just how scary it is. And how afraid you are that I'm going to abuse your trust in me." Walter had held Alex until he fell asleep, reassuring him that he was safe, that he was loved, and that he was not going to be hurt. He had thought they had laid the dream to rest. Obviously, he had been mistaken.

"Alex, Alex, Alex," Walter sighed. "What am I going to do with you? Alex, you could have woken me up any time. You know I never mind you waking me if you have a nightmare. Especially that one." Alex shivered.

"It just feels so real," he said. Walter nodded as he smoothed Alex's hair back from his forehead. Rubbing his palm over Alex's stubbled cheek, he grasped his jaw gently.

"Look at me, Alex," he said, turning Alex's face so that their eyes met. "Don't you know I'd never hurt you?" Alex dropped his eyes, chewed nervously at his lower lip.

"I don't know, Walter. I mean, I know you wouldn't hurt me, but sometimes I wonder...you know, if I were really, really bad...what you might do." Walter tried not to feel hurt. Alex's distrust was exasperating. He recalled what he knew of Alex's youth inside the Consortium, of the cruelty and abuse Alex had endured, and sighed. Patience, Walter, he counseled himself. Patience. This is not Alex's fault.

"Alex. Do you seriously think there's any circumstance under which I would, not only shoot you in the first place, but also shoot you while you were lying on the ground, pushing your gun to me? Alex, even if I didn't love you, am I the kind of man who would be cruel enough to do that?" Walter could tell that Alex was truly rattled.

"You know what the worst part is, Walter? You don't say anything. It's like you don't even know who I am. I'm trying to give you my gun and you don't say anything, you just keep shooting me."

Walter folded Alex into his arms and rocked him gently.

"I'm sorry for how scared you are, Alex, but you have to know I would never, ever harm you. I love you. This trust you've given me, this special bond between us, is something rare and precious that I would never, never compromise." He rubbed Alex's back gently.

"Stretch out on your stomach a minute. Let's get you cleaned up and back to bed," Walter said. "I'll be right back, OK?" Alex nodded. Walter returned with a glass of juice and a damp washcloth. Tugging Alex back into his lap, he helped him take a few swallows of the sweet liquid. Gently, he wiped the sticky mix of sweat and tears from Alex's face.

"Upstairs, now," he said gently. "Let's try to get a few more hours." Putting his arm around Alex's waist, he propelled him upstairs and back to bed.

Walter stretched out tiredly. Alex, however, was restless. He ran his hand experimentally over Walter's belly and groin, but detected no sign of interest.

"In the morning, Alex, I promise," Walter said. Alex shifted unhappily. Walter pulled himself together. In this mood, Alex craved sex desperately, truly needed the connection he was most at home with. Understanding the intensity of Alex's desire, Walter spooned Alex tightly against him. Threw his leg over Alex's, effectively pinning him and at the same time, turning him slightly for better access. He kissed Alex deeply, then ran his palm over Alex's parted lips. Alex's tongue licked him reflexively. Walter insinuated his hand inside Alex's sweats. Alex lifted his hips, making it easy for Walter to slip his clothing down. He grasped Alex's hard cock firmly and began to stroke it in slow, efficient strokes. Alex groaned and arched his back. Walter continued the rhythm he had established, knowing it was the surest way to bring Alex to orgasm. Alex twisted, wanting more, faster, but accepting the rhythm Walter set. Alex trembled, stiffened, groaned. Walter felt the sticky fluid spill over his fingers. He released Alex's cock slowly, feeling him quiver. Kissed Alex, stroked his hair. Smiled as Alex snuggled wordlessly against him, already relaxing into boneless sleep.

"Love you, Walter," Alex murmured, licking his lips and pressing them against the closest parts of Walter's body.

"I love you too, Alex," Walter said. "Let's sleep in."

***FIN***

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