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


Tidings of Comfort and Joy



Alex gritted his teeth, determined not to cry out.

Walter brought his hand down, hard, across buttocks that were already shaded pink. Alex struggled to pull away, but Walter had no intention of letting him go. Walter's hand fell again and yet again, recovering familiar territory, deepening rose to crimson. Alex sniffled despite himself.

"You do not curse at me, Alex! No matter if you're angry or anything else. You do not curse at me. It's hurtful, it doesn't solve anything, and I hate it." Walter ran his swollen palm surreptitiously over his lips. Ouch.

"Alex. Do. You. Understand. Me." Each word was accompanied by yet another sharp smack.

"Yes! Yes! I'm sorry, Walter, I'm sorry! Please! I won't do it again! I'm sorry!"

Walter rested his aching palm against the back of Alex's thigh for a moment, then helped Alex straighten up.

"All done, Alex. Shh... It's all over now."

For a brief minute, Alex leaned his head against Walter's chest. Felt Walter's heart thumping, its rhythm matching that of his own. He allowed Walter to hug him, softening into the embrace.

The moment of reconciliation was all too short. Alex stiffened abruptly. Stood, scowling, and eased his boxers and jeans up. Glared at Walter.

Walter sighed to himself. He had hoped this spanking might improve Alex's attitude. Obviously it had been a vain hope.

Alex's fingers trembled ever so slightly as he buckled his belt. His jaw clenched convulsively.

"Are we done now, Walter?" he asked, his tone just a hairsbreadth away from outright rudeness.

"One more tantrum, just one, Alex," Walter warned, his own voice icy. "And you won't sit down until after New Year's. Do you understand me?"

Walter's coldness infuriated Alex.

"Yes," Alex hissed, backing away from Walter. "You're not going to have to spank me again. And Walter? Did I mention I hate you, too?" Alex took the stairs two at a time and slammed the bathroom door hard behind him.

Walter sighed. The Christmas season held no charms for Alex; that much was obvious. Alex was as unstable and explosive as nitroglycerine.

There was a rap at the outside kitchen door. Ringo greeted Walter with a grin.

"Alex ready? You want to come too?"

"No thanks, Ringo. I have a lot to finish up for tonight and besides, Alex and I can use a break from each other. He's upstairs, sulking in the bathroom. Good luck getting him out."

Walter massaged his aching hand unconsciously. Ringo gulped at the sight of Walter's reddened palm. Jesus, poor Alex. I'm glad we got new shocks in the van, he thought to himself.

"You OK, Alex?" Ringo knocked tentatively at the bathroom door.

Alex took a gulp of water and with a grimace, spat into the sink.

"Yeah, Ringo. Give me a sec." Alex splashed his face, rubbed his butt gently. Shit. Walter hadn't fooled around.

"This is so fucking embarrassing," Alex groaned, emerging.

"Forget it, Alex, we know he spanks you. Shit, at least you're not grounded. Come on, man, let's get out of here. You have got to see the tacky Santas on this one house we pass..." Still talking, Ringo was out the door, Alex at his heels.

Ringo's enthusiasm was ridiculous, Alex thought sourly. Didn't Ringo know how fucking fake the whole thing was?

"What's wrong, Alex?" Ringo asked, seeing Alex's moue of disgust.

"It doesn't mean anything to me, Ringo. The whole fucking thing. I don't have any fucking good memories of Mommy baking Christmas cookies, or of Granny's fucking Christmas dinner, or of Daddy driving to some fucking farm to cut some fucking tree. Shit. I hate it, Ringo. All of it."

Ringo was quiet a minute. Alex closed his eyes; took a deep breath. He hadn't meant to bring Ringo down. Fuck holiday cheer.

"Forget it, Ringo. I'm a fucking asshole. Let's just get pizza. Maybe we can waste some quarters while we're there," Alex said. Ringo shared his weakness for video arcades. Wincing, Alex settled uncomfortably into the front seat of the Gunmen's beat-up old van.

Ringo pulled onto the road. He looked straight ahead through the windshield as he spoke.

"Alex? My uncle used to grow a stand of trees to sell at Christmas. I hated cutting the fucking things. Stacking them on the truck. Fucking cold, fucking wind. I hate the smell of pine. But hey, Melvin and John get off on having a real tree."

Ringo punched Alex's arm gently.

"It's OK, man. We don't all love the same shit. We just have to put up with it. So, what did you get Walter?"

Alex swallowed hard.

"Scotch. It's his favorite."

"Sounds good."

"Yeah. And Ringo...thanks."

It was good that Alex was going to be out of the house for a few hours, Walter thought to himself. He could get a hell of a lot more accomplished without his sullen presence. Walter wondered what Alex's past experience of Christmas had been, to leave him so completely unmoved by all the holiday festivity. Alex had coldly turned away Walter's questions. It was clearly not a subject he intended to discuss.

Walter knew full well that the holiday season brought sad as well as happy memories. His paternal grandmother had always "made Christmas" for the family. It was her traditions of baking, cooking, decorating and gift wrapping Walter followed.

His poor mother had never mastered the season. Walter sighed, remembering years that his mother, in what he now recognized as her manic phase, had turned the house into a chaotic jumble of light and color. A surfeit of food, plans and presents. Even worse, the years that her depression had left her sad and silent. Gifts lay unwrapped, supper went uncooked, and curtains gaped open to the early evening dark. Then his grandmother would arrive, and his world would once again be set right.

Walter thought with love and admiration of his paternal grandmother, who had cooperated with his father to give him a stable, happy childhood, despite his quixotic mother.

It was an illness, Walter thought. Manic depression. We just didn't know it. It was neither her fault nor ours. The thought comforted him. He had tried so hard to be a good boy. It was a relief to understand that her illness, and not his behavior, had been the cause of her suffering.

Walter was struck by a sudden, sharp insight into Alex's recent hair-trigger temper. It's the medication, Walter thought. He's not taking enough. I need to talk to the therapist about increasing the dosage.

But not tonight. Not on Christmas Eve.

Walter drew on years of experience in compartmentalizing and turned his thoughts to the evening meal. Resolutely, Walter began to complete the two dishes he associated most strongly with his grandmother.

Cassoulet. An organized two day ritual of peeling, slicing, sauteing, simmering. Each step leading to the next, a satisfying rhythm to the whole. Walter remembered picking over the white beans for his grandmother, looking for stones. Sampling the fragrant broth out of the cream ceramic cup she used for measuring.

Buche Noel. Walter grinned. Even Alex's bad humor would have to give way before the traditional rolled chocolate confection. Walter had made this his specialty throughout his marriage with Sharon. No matter what other desserts they had served, he had always made his trademark Buche Noel. He flattered himself that their guests had looked forward to it.

John and Melvin arrived in the late afternoon. Without the need for discussion, they understood that Alex had been worse than useless in helping Walter prepare. The three men worked easily, naturally together, washing wineglasses, making the salad, setting the table and putting out the appetizers.

It was just dusk when Ringo and Alex returned.

Alex was considerably more cheerful. Ringo was good for Alex, Walter thought to himself. The two younger men were equally matched in their sharp intelligence, their disregard for convention, their genuine, quirky kindness. As for their suspiciousness, try as he might, Ringo would never achieve Alex's level of paranoia.

Alex sighed. He hated the hopeful expression on Walter's face. Sure, the fucking food looked good. But Christmas Eve was still Christmas Eve. Meaningless. He sighed again. He was still on the outside, looking in.


Although Alex had to admit, that chocolate cake was tempting. He recognized it as a Buche Noel, although he'd never tasted one before. Tentatively, Alex extended one finger to steal a taste of the swirled chocolate icing.

"Alex, wait for after dinner," Walter chided him.

Alex drew back sharply, his quick movement unbalancing the heavy platter and sending it and the chocolate roll crashing to the floor.

Walter looked in dismay at the ruin of chocolate cake and shattered porcelain.

He took a deep breath. He had spent hours on that Buche Noel.

"It's all right, Alex." Walter could almost feel the waves of panic radiating off his stony-faced lover. "I know it wasn't on purpose."

"Fuck you, you bastard," Alex yelped. "I hate you, I hate your fucking Buche--"

"Enough, Alex. I'm warning you," Walter interjected, his patience at the breaking point.

"I hate your fucking shrimp--" Alex reached blindly for the platter of shrimp. Slammed it against the wall. Forty dollars worth of shrimp dripped down the wall, along with cracked platter, lemon wedges and Walter's homemade cocktail sauce.

"Oh, shit!" The Gunmen heaved collective sighs.

Infuriated, Alex seized a third platter. Swung it, hard. Tender Brie, well-ripened Camembert, imported Edam, sesame crackers, all slid across the carpet.

"Put it down, Alex," Walter said warningly. "Now."

"Fuck you, you bastard! Don't touch me!"

The third platter crashed against the wall. Alex turned and fled upstairs.

"Goddamn him!" Walter started after Alex.

"No, Walter," John said quietly, stepping in front of Walter.

Walter glared at him. John met his gaze without flinching, his usually mild eyes hard.

"Walter. Think. Spanking Alex on Christmas Eve is not something you want to do."

Walter loomed angrily over John. John didn't move.

"Please, Walter. Don't do it. Alex hasn't got any good Christmas memories."

As frustrated as he was, Walter saw John's point. Walter took a deep breath, shook his head as if to clear it. John noted the gesture with relief.

"Take a walk with Melvin, Walter. Curse your stars. Curse the bastards who made Alex what he is. Get it out of your system."

Not trusting himself to speak, Walter nodded. Melvin moved silently, sympathetically to Walter's side as he walked towards the door.

Upstairs was black. Cautiously, John reached for the light switch at the end of the hall. Peered into Walter and Alex's shadowy bedroom. Alex sprawled forlornly on the bed.

"Alex? May I come in?"

Alex shrugged. John seated himself awkwardly alongside Alex.

"John?" Alex asked tentatively. "John, where's Walter?"

"He went out for a walk with Melvin, Alex. He'll be back soon."

"Are you sure?" Alex asked softly.

John's chest contracted sympathetically at the fear implicit in Alex's question.

"Yes, Alex, I'm sure," John said soothingly.

"Shit, John," Alex sighed. "Oh shit. I wish I were somebody, anybody else right now. "

"It's going to be all right, Alex. Can you sit up? I'll bring you some water."

Alex pushed himself up against the pillows. His good arm curled protectively around his torso in so blatant an attempt at self-comfort that John winced.

"I'll be right back, Alex." John waited until the bathroom tap ran cold, then filled the glass alongside the sink and returned to Alex.

Alex sipped gratefully.

"Sorry, John. I'm a stupid fuck."

John sighed.

"Didn't you ever have a Christmas that was even a little bit special, Alex?"

Alex shrugged.

"Luis Cardinale liked Christmas. He'd buy these pastries, sweet, creamy Italian shit. He'd play music. Luis..." Abruptly Alex recalled what the Gunmen knew of Luis.

"Oh shit, John, I'm a pathetic bastard." Alex groaned. Oh yeah, great fucking Christmas memories.

"Alex, you're a survivor of brutal abuse, prostitution, rape, torture. You have nothing to be ashamed of. It's the people in our own government, who were supposed to protect us, who should apologize. None of what the Consortium did to you was your fault." John smoothed his hand over his beard.

"Alex, we only want you to enjoy the holiday. Find some comfort in the company of your friends. Let Walter love you."

"John, Alex, I'm sorry," Walter said from the doorway. His face was reddened from the wind, his breathing slightly roughened. He had obviously been walking fast.

"Nothing to apologize for, Walter," John said, standing up. "I'll see you downstairs."

Alex buried his face in the pillows.

"We're OK now, Alex. I'm not angry anymore." Walter took John's place on the bed.

"Come back downstairs, Alex," he coaxed. "Ringo rescued the shrimp and the cheese. Dinner's almost ready. We can still have a nice evening."

"I fucked up big time, Walter," Alex said sadly, his body turned away from Walter, his voice muffled by his pillow.

"Next year will be better, Alex," Walter said softly.

"Next year? Next year?" Alex said hesitantly, confusedly.

"Yes, next year. Alex, this is only our first Christmas. We'll have many, many more. Alex!"

Alex had turned abruptly to Walter and with a sob that sounded torn from his very center, buried his face against Walter's chest.

"Shh, shh, what's this?" Walter soothed Alex gently, stroking the dark hair back from Alex's forehead. An exploratory finger found Alex's cheeks wet with tears.

"I'm sorry, Walter. I never did Christmas before. I feel so left out, and I hate it. I'm sorry I was such a prick. I love you, Walter, I love you so much. I've screwed everything up."

"Alex, I love you. Having you in my life makes this the finest Christmas I've ever had. " Cupping Alex's chin gently in his palm, Walter tipped his face up so that their eyes met. Alex's were wet and dark with misery.

Walter kissed him gently, teased his mouth open with a careful, gentle tongue. Waited until Alex's eyes closed and his lips softened before deepening and intensifying the kiss. He felt Alex's back arch, his body press closer. Walter ran his hand up the side of Alex's face, combed his fingers through the dark hair he loved.

"Alex. You need to share these feelings with me and with your therapist. You may need more medicine when you're this stressed."

"Don't you get it, Walter?" Alex said savagely. "Fuck the medication. I'm never going to be a normal person. I'm always going to be screwed. No one's ever going pay for what those bastards did to me. Nothing will ever make up for that."

Alex shivered. Walter hugged him close.

"We'll talk about this another time, Alex, not on Christmas Eve. Come downstairs now, Alex. Everyone's worried about you."

"I'm sorry, Walter. I'll be good," Alex promised, his voice small and sad. Walter stroked Alex's hair gently.

"I love you, Alex. Everything's going to be OK," Walter promised in turn. Alex followed him downstairs.

Ringo had managed to rinse off the shrimp and pile them in edible, if inelegant, fashion in a bowl. The rounds of cheese had also been trimmed clean and rearranged alongside fresh crackers. Alex looked at the food, then looked shamefacedly at his friends. Saw concern, not condemnation, in their eyes.

"Come on, let's help Walter get dinner on the table," Melvin said, smoothing over the awkward moment.

To Alex's amazement, the evening really was all right. No one pushed him to talk, but everyone made sure he was included in the general conversation. Walter's lovingly crafted cassoulet was a huge success. Many plates of food and glasses of wine later, the five men finally pushed back their chairs.

"Let's take a break before dessert," Walter suggested. "Open the presents."

"All right!" whooped Ringo. Alex closed his eyes. His friend's innocence scared him.

Leaving the table uncleared for the moment, they trouped into the living room.

Alex swallowed hard. Despite Alex's refusal to help shop and wrap, Walter had included his name on all the gift tags. From Alex and Walter.

For Melvin, there was a scholarly book on Verdi and a new CD by his favorite diva. Melvin smiled happily.

For John, there was a handmade fountain pen, in deference to his Luddite tendencies. John stroked his new toy lovingly, while Melvin and Ringo laughed uproariously.

For Ringo, whose threadbare wardrobe worried Walter, there were two colorful flannel shirts.

From the Gunmen, there was an enormous box of imported chocolates for Alex, and a case of good wine for Walter.

Uncertainly, Alex handed Walter his bottle of Scotch, his eyes begging for approval. Alex's sigh of relief at Walter's smile was audible and prompted wry smiles all around.

Walter gave Alex a warm woolen robe and fleece lined slippers of softest leather. Alex, whose habit was to be either naked or in street clothes, stroked them tentatively. He supposed he could get used to them, if Walter wanted him to. Although truthfully, he would have preferred more chocolate.

Walter chuckled to himself. Sometimes Alex's face was very revealing.

John started the coffee brewing. The Buche Noel had proved unsalvageable, but there was still Walter's pecan streusel pumpkin pie, fruitcake and marzipan in the shape of little potatoes.

Alex's earlier tension had evaporated, replaced by a profound exhaustion. Even before the Gunmen left, he was nodding off on the couch. The Gunmen exchanged handshakes and holiday wishes with Walter before heading back to the bunker, laden with presents and leftovers.

Walter puttered around, discarding used wrapping paper, putting dishes in the dishwasher and wiping down surfaces, until Alex began to stir.

"Come on now, Alex, upstairs," Walter coaxed his sleepy lover. Wearily, Alex made his way to their bedroom, Walter following closely.

Their room was dark and warm. Alex fell into bed, too tired to even undress. Walter undid Alex's belt, unzipped his jeans and tugged them off along with his boxers. Rolled off Alex's socks. Unbuttoned his cuffs, eased him out of his shirt. Unstrapped his prosthesis. Alex lay passive and silent.

Walter stripped and stretched full length on the bed, spooning Alex's unresisting body close against him. He ran an experimental hand lightly over Alex's groin; felt his lover's cock harden. His own cock responded eagerly to Alex's arousal.


Straddling Alex, Walter stroked his pale, expressionless face with the utmost delicacy. Kissed Alex gently.

Alex moaned. Opened his mouth to Walter's warm tongue. Drew up his legs, offering himself. Walter reached into the night table drawer for the lube.

Walter explored Alex's buttocks with a careful hand. Although they were still slightly flushed, they were no longer warm. He parted the taut cheeks, coated his fingers with lube and gently, knowingly massaged the tight pucker of muscle within. Alex relaxed trustfully into the familiar sensations as Walter pressed patiently inward.

Walter slicked his cock with gel and elevating Alex's legs, leaned into Alex until his cock was fully sheathed. Alex's head dropped limply back and he groaned deep in his throat.

"Good?" Walter asked, pausing to be sure.

"Oh, yeah," Alex answered huskily. "Oh, yeah."

Walter and Alex moved with the easy grace of longtime lovers. Walter stroked Alex's cock in rhythm with his thrusts, his thumb caressing the tender head. Alex stiffened and shuddered, his cum spilling over Walter's fingers, onto his belly. Alex's ass tightened reflexively and Walter moaned at the pressure, his own cum spurting deep inside his lover. Walter withdrew slowly, careful to keep his weight off Alex.

Rolling onto his back, Walter tugged Alex to him, kissing him deeply and appreciatively. Alex snuggled into Walter's embrace, his green eyes soft and contented.

"I love you, Walter," Alex whispered.

"I love you, Alex. Merry Christmas."



THANK you, Lorelei, my beta and my friend. EM

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