If the idea of a discipline relationship between consenting adult males offends you, so will this story.
ELIZABETH MARSHALL STORIES
Gritting his teeth, Alex fought ineffectually to free himself from the wires wrapping his legs and hand. His struggles only served to tighten them further.
"Motherfuckers! Shit," he swore bitterly.
"Stop cursing, Alex," Walter reprimanded him mildly.
Alex glared at him.
"I don't see why we need more lights on the fucking tree anyway." Alex shook off the snare of Christmas lights.
Walter rolled his eyes.
"Alex, I'll put them on myself, I already told you that."
"Shit, Walter, you said you'd come to bed when you finished putting the fucking lights on the fucking tree. If I don't fucking help you, you won't fucking come to bed, and I won't get fucked until next Christmas!"
Walter took a deep breath; counted to ten.
"Alex. Stop cursing. I can see you're upset. Talk to me. This isn't only about the tree."
"Fuck you, Walter, you fucking think you know everything! You--"
"That's enough, Alex, I'm warning you. You don't curse at me. It doesn't improve our communication, it's hurtful and it distances us from each other. What did we agree would happen if you cursed at me?"
"Fuck you! No! You're not going to punish me! That's not out there, Walter. No!"
Alex took a hasty step back, caught his ankle in the tangle of lights and fell heavily backwards into the piled boxes of glass Christmas ornaments. His face went chalk white. In stark contrast to his shouts of just moments before, he was utterly silent.
Walter knew instantly that Alex was hurt, and hurt badly. Alex's silences were far more worrisome than Alex's tantrums.
"Easy, Alex, easy," Walter said gently. He knelt cautiously, mindful of the crushed boxes spilling shattered glass. "Poor Alex. Let me see."
Razors of glass had sliced through Alex's tee shirt and sweats. Blood was beginning to stain the soft cotton.
"I'm going to call an ambulance," Walter said softly. "Don't move, Alex. You're going to be OK. Shh, I know you're scared. I'm right here." He stroked Alex's cheek gently.
"No, Walter, don't!" Alex begged. "No ambulance! No hospital! No, Walter, no, don't, I'll do anything you want, please--" Alex gagged. Doubled over, retching, oblivious to the additional slivers of glass that cut his knees and forearm.
Walter barely hesitated. Moving swiftly, he tucked his hands under Alex's arms and lifted him clear of the mess of glass and vomit.
"Shh, Alex, I've got you now, it's all right, you're safe. No ambulance, OK? No hospital. I promise. But you have to let me help you. I have to get the glass out. And it's going to hurt."
"I'm scared, Walter," Alex sniffled miserably. "Are you doing this to punish me?"
Walter winced. Kept his voice steady with great effort.
"Alex, you had an accident. This is not punishment. Think, Alex, you do know that."
"I'm sorry, Walter," Alex sniffled again. "I'm sorry."
"It's OK, Alex, it's OK. I need you to trust me now. "
Carefully, Walter lowered Alex face down on the kitchen table. Alex curled miserably on his side, seeking a comfortable position.
Using a folded dishtowel to protect his fingers, Walter quickly and methodically removed all the visible shards of glass and dropped them into the trash. Alex shivered, willing himself to remain still.
"It's OK to scream, Alex, I know it hurts." Walter touched Alex's cheek sympathetically.
Alex clenched his teeth.
"It's OK, Alex, I won't think less of you." Walter stroked his thumb over Alex's dry lips.
Alex moaned softly. The pieces of glass cut deeper at even his slightest movement.
"I'm sorry," Walter said, running his hands gingerly over Alex, feeling for further glass. There were multiple little needles. Using his best kitchen shears, Walter slit Alex's tee shirt, jeans and boxers, and slid them carefully from Alex's bloodstained body. The smaller needles of glass came off with the fabric. Walter stowed the whole mess in the kitchen garbage pail.
Walter studied Alex's back and buttocks carefully, pleased that he seemed to have gotten all the glass out. He wet a clean dishtowel and daubed cautiously at the bloody wounds. Although there were two or three nasty gashes, most of the other cuts seemed fairly superficial. None of them looked like they needed stitches.
Walter reached into the top cupboard for the antiseptic cream he kept handy for cooking burns. As gently as he could, he smoothed it on Alex's cuts. Alex tensed at even his careful ministrations.
"Walter?" Alex's green eyes sought Walter's brown ones. "Walter, are you going to punish me?"
"What do you think?" Alex's anxiety saddened Walter.
"I don't know," Alex whispered. "I'm scared, Walter. I know I deserved to be punished for cursing at you. I know it's an important rule, and I know I was wrong. But Walter? Walter, I hurt."
"Don't you think I know that, Alex? Of course I'm not going to punish you when you're this sore," Walter sighed.
Walter knew Alex's worry was as genuine as his wounds. What Alex needed now was some very physical reassurance. Carefully, Walter helped Alex stand.
"Bed?" Alex asked hopefully, starting unsteadily up the stairs. Walter stayed close behind him. Alex barely managed to make it to their bedroom. Walter turned the bedcovers down with one hand.
Walter eased Alex, belly down, onto their bed. He drew the covers back over Alex, not wanting him to get chilled. Alex moaned. Even the soft, well-washed sheets rasped painfully across his raw cuts.
"Walter, please, I need you. Don't leave me," Alex begged fearfully.
"I'm right here," Walter soothed.
Walter efficiently shucked his clothing. Without jarring Alex, he slid under the covers, stretched himself full-length on his back. Tenderly he guided Alex closer to him and cradled Alex's head against his chest. Walter straightened Alex's thick black hair with a gentle hand.
"I'll never leave you, Alex. Easy, just rest now. I've got you."
Alex snuggled into Walter, his eyes closing contentedly.
"I'm so sorry about your decorations, Walter," he whispered tentatively.
Walter kissed his lover's sable hair softly.
"I know you are. And I'm sorry you got hurt. Just sleep now, Alex. I'll always take care of you. I promise we'll sort this out tomorrow."
"I love you, Walter. Don't go away."
"I love you, Alex. Forever."
Thank you, Lorelei, for your illuminating inspiration. For Ursula, in celebration of the launching of her new Alex list. EM