Owned 6: Tokens

The morning after: Clara persuades Malcolm to take a holiday. He isn't sure how to do those.


Malcolm woke with a start at the time his alarm usually went off. The alarm was fucking silent, thank sodding fuck. Saturday. A quiet Saturday. The shitlords who ruled his weekdays were all in Italy pretending it wasn’t on the taxpayer’s books. The ones who weren’t in Italy were in the country, week-ending like wittering Wodehouse tits.

He was not in Italy. He was in damp gray London. The consolation was that he was in damp gray London in bed with his mistress-- his dominatrix, his lover, his whatever-- his girlfriend, if a man his age could have one of those. Clara. Clara Oswald, the woman with the reputation for writing speeches that even he couldn’t complain about. Much. He was in bed, wrapped around Clara, who was naked aside from his dancing skeletons t-shirt. His prick was nestled against her bare backside nicely. Pity he wasn’t in a mood for it. Waking up in the morning after a night in which you sobbed your heart out while your girlfriend made you sweet tea: not something Malcolm was prepared for.

He didn’t have time to waste moaning about it. He kissed her hair and extricated himself gently from her. She murmured something and turned over onto her stomach. Malcolm turned off his mind and went into his Saturday morning ritual: shower, dress, put on coffee, eat a skinny muffin from the box his housekeeping service kept full. He found his Macbook in his case, unlocked it, and began to work through the morning hurricane of piss-headed idiocy. His jaw was already starting to tighten.

Somewhere around message number fifty, Clara appeared, showered and radiant in weekend clothes, which meant a skirt short enough that Malcolm could appreciate it. He let his eyes linger and said, “Coffee in the pot.”

Clara poured herself a cup and came over next to him. She leaned her elbows on the table. “Working?”

Malcolm half-closed the laptop. “Email. Next I’ve got to find out what the cunts dumped into the Friday night news cycle, hoping to get away wi’ something.”

Clara shook her head at him. “When’s the last time you took a holiday? Proper holiday, somewhere nice? Italy, Spain, south of France?”

Malcolm narrowed his eyes and stared suspiciously. This was a new topic for her. “What’s this about? You want to go?”

She shrugged and drank some coffee. “Wouldn’t it be nice? Go somewhere pretty, have a lot of sex, drink wine, sleep late, ignore email.”

“Sweetheart, I’ve got a queue of retarded cunts as long as the line for the pisser at Wembley just waiting to be bollocked.”

“They’re not important and you know it.”

Malcolm touched his laptop, then took his hands away again. She had a point, as per usual. They were unimportant fools, aside from the little detail of being fools in charge of an entire nation.

She said, “I’ve got nothing next week, and enough leave for two months. You can do whatever you like without bothering to ask. You’re one of the top dogs.”

Malcolm opened his mouth to object then shut it. He was. He took advantage of it rarely. At least like this. Did she want to go? Really? Could they just up and go on holiday? As easy as that? He stared at her. She looked almost wistful, as if she’d already given up on the idea.

“I’m going to hold you to the sex, darling. Where?”

Clara’s eyebrows went up, but she didn’t comment on how easily he’d surrendered. He almost wished she had. “I know a place outside Perpignan. Stayed with a friend back in uni. I’ll book it.”

He tossed his wallet at her. “Find something fucking nicer than that. My treat.”

“One condition.”


“You let me make all the decisions for the week. I’m in charge.”

Malcolm shrugged. “I’m yours, darling.” He’d told her that at least fifty times last night, while sniveling. Might as well behave like it.

He flipped open the laptop again, rattled off an email to Sam letting her know. And that was that.

The magic of modernity. Rain in your face getting into one taxi in London in the morning, then in the afternoon you’re blinking your eyes against the sun as you climb out of a second taxi in the south of France. Clara dealt with the driver. She spoke enough French to avoid irritating the French, which was in Malcolm’s view a pity. Irritating the French was almost as much fun as irritating the English.

He carried their bags into the little house. It was a cottage, modernized, the interior knocked out into a single large space with huge windows overlooking the vineyards beyond. Bedroom in the eastern corner, where he dropped the bags; kitchen that somebody had stocked up for them. Private, yet not too far from the city. It would be costing him a bundle. He had, of course, bundles sitting ignored. He had no time to spend his salary, so all it did was fester in a bank. Spending it on making Clara happy wasn’t a bad use.

When was the last time he’d had a holiday? He’d never answered Clara. He’d pretended to go on them, but in reality the most he’d ever done was steal a weekend now and then to head up to Glasgow for family. It felt strange to be standing in a pretty house, looking through windows onto countryside, with nothing to do. He felt strange. He hadn’t had a Red Bull in thirty-six hours. He hadn’t read an English newspaper in twenty-four. He hadn’t looked at a single web page in that time either. His email was probably a dog’s breakfast of children in bespoke suits mewling over the spilt milk of interviews they hadn’t bothered to prep.

Not that he could find out. Clara had confiscated his phone twenty seconds after they’d landed, because he’d hauled it out and switched it on before the plane had stopped slamming against the runway. He understood why she’d done it, but it made his fingers twitch. She’d claimed Sam had been briefed to text her, not Malcolm, in case anything needed his attention for real. Malcolm had had to confess that he at least trusted Sam, so Clara had triumphed.

No phone. No laptop. All week. Clara was in charge. No decisions to make, not for the next few days anyway. He shrugged and went along with it. If it became annoying he’d assert himself. For the moment it was–fuck him, it was soothing.

They dressed for dinner, Clara in something that showed her shoulders, Malcolm in jacket and tie to match her level. They walked to the village center, hand in hand, to a restaurant the internet recommended. She ordered for him, telling him that she was in charge for real now. He was going to relax and eat and drink. She was drinking her wine, apparently happily. His glass was untouched. The food was on the plate, that was the most he could say about it. Edible. It would probably keep him alive.

“Eat, Malcolm.”

He made an exasperated gesture and picked up his fork. Eat the fish. Taste the wine. He liked wine. It wasn’t anything like what the people around wee Malcolm had poured down their throats. He drank it voluntarily, even. Why was he so nervy about this? A swig. Swished it around him mouth. Made a face at it, to show his grudging approval. Clara nodded at him, satisfied. The waiter, who’d been flirting with Clara almost non-stop, refilled their glasses and said something that made her smile. Malcolm glared. Wanker.

They still hadn’t talked any more about what he’d said to her last night. He still wasn’t sure if she respected him now that she’d had a chance to sleep on it. He’d made a fucking tit of himself.

Malcolm shook himself. Fuck this self-doubt shite. He was in the south of France with a fucking gorgeous woman. He was going to enjoy it. He straightened his back and set his jaw and smiled his most winsome smile at her, a smile that had been known to send junior ministers running. Clara merely smiled back indulgently. Never been afraid of him, thank fuck. He set himself the task of amusing her. He’d talk about whatever she wanted, anything but his miserable self. Novels. The play they’d seen last week. The latest horrible death in Game of Thrones. It was almost like having a personal life might have been. Under the table she kicked off a shoe and ran her toes over his ankle. It was, fuck him, exactly as much fun as every other night out with her had been. How much better had she made everything around him? He almost couldn’t bear to think about it.

The night was cooling off rapidly on their walk back to the house. Malcolm slung his arm around Clara to keep her warm. And to have an excuse to kiss her temple, because he was right there and what man wouldn’t kiss this woman if he was next to her? Okay, bent men wouldn’t, and he’d punch Reeder if he tried, but the point was sound. Clara was kissable. And not just for the sake of appearances any more, not here where there were no reporters hanging about. A kiss meant a kiss.

If he understood what had happened between them last night, it was no longer about seeming to be a couple so they could play their bedroom games. They were a couple. They had been for a while. She was fond of him. She knew who he was and she was fond of him.

So who the fuck was he, if he was somebody Clara Oswald liked?

He was stuck on that thought when they got back to the cottage. He turned it over while washing his hands, staring at himself in the mirror. He needed a shave and a haircut. The shave he’d give himself in the morning; the haircut could wait for their return home. The encroaching gray showed in his beard more than on his head. It was coming, though. Forty-five, graying, childless, unmarried. No legacy. He hadn’t wanted a legacy. Wasn’t going to pass on the curse to another generation. Maybe he longed for some feeling that he’d helped ram some humanitarian policies up the shitters of the nation’s ruling class twats. He’d have settled for that once. Not that his party was going to fucking do that ever again. Too busy racing rightward.

“Fucking cunts,” he said, to his scowling self in the mirror.

“Are you ever going to stop primping?” Clara, leaning on the doorframe, smiling at him.

“Fuck you, darling, need to look my best for you. Here, want the mirror? Need to check if you still have a reflection?”

“Aim that cannon elsewhere, boy. C’mere.” She crooked a finger at him and he followed, as if she had him on a leash, out to the kitchen. She handed him a bottle of wine and a corkscrew. Malcolm squinted at the label: pinot noir, probably local. Probably drinkable. He dutifully opened the bottle and splashed out two glasses. The lights were low. A romantic evening, then. Alcohol meant she wasn’t going to tie him up, but he was fine with that. He wasn’t in the mood. Might take a while before he was again.

He handed her a glass and sat on the couch with her. Clara put her feet in his lap. She’d taken her shoes off, but still had on her stockings. Silk? Felt like it under his fingers. Malcolm held his wine glass with one hand and with the other massaged her feet. Lovely legs she had, muscular. She spent a lot of time on the tennis courts, he knew. Networking, she said, and made a face, but he suspected her of being good at it. Both things. He himself was a disaster with a racquet. He played only to stay in touch with friends. Real friends. No networking on the court for him.

She was leaning back on the cushions, completely relaxed, glass in her hands. “How are you feeling?”

“Tipsy, but not blazed. This shite isn’t bad.” He drank some to prove the point.

“That’s not what I meant.”

Malcolm fixed a glare on her. “Am I supposed to talk about my feelings like an American wank? One of those smarmy smiling fucks with five head-shrinkers, an astrologist, and an aromatherapy consultant trailing behind?”

Clara rolled her eyes at him and said, “Because not talking about them has done so well for you.”

“Got me where I am today.” Malcolm gestured at her feet in his lap. “I’ve got fuck-all to complain about.”



“Talk to me.”

He set down his wine glass and used both hands on her feet. When he glanced up he saw her watching him. He wasn’t going to be able to wait this one out. He didn’t even want to. He looked back down at her feet, at the glossy clear polish on her toes. Got his thumb on the ball of her foot, where she liked it, and pressed in. She made a pleased sound.

“I’ll talk to you, darling,” he said, quietly.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah. Better. Rough for a wee bit there.”

“Have you ever told anybody about it?”

“No. Been a long time since all that shite last came to mind,” he said. “Never forgot it, but didn’t dwell on it. Was like I said. With you, it’s different.”

“You trust me.”

“I let you fucking tie me up.”

“Trusting me to tie you up is different to trusting me enough to tell me what’s going on inside that head of yours.”

“Neither one is easy.”

“I know, Malc. I know.”

The look on her face was strange. Sympathetic, open, almost tender, if he dared say that. It was terrifying to see. Terrifying to think she might feel tenderness for him. Malcolm felt a flush of shame. He looked away rather than meet her eyes and see anything that made him feel worse.

“Can’t bear to go into it two nights in a row,” he said. “Give us a break, would you?”

“Just so you know, I’m willing to listen. Any time.”

“Fuck me if I understand why.”

“You know why.”

Malcolm let his hand rest on her knee. He knew the reason he was supposed to supply. She hadn’t said it yet, though, and they both knew it. He was the one who’d brought up the topic, like a soppy teenaged girl.

“Might want to hear you say it,” he said, and saying that was harder than telling her about his da had been.

Clara didn’t say it, though. Instead she pulled her feet off his lap and sat up. Malcolm watched her warily.

“Was going to give you a present last night, but then we had something more important to talk about.” He winced. “Hey. Don’t.”

“You can say that.”

“I mean it.”

Malcolm shook his head. “Present, you said.”

“It’s this.”

She handed him a palm-sized box wrapped in shiny black paper. Malcolm stuck his finger under a flap and tugged it free. Childhood superstition; don’t rip the paper. He unfolded it to reveal a box. Tissue paper inside that. Wrapped in that, all coiled up, a braided leather necklace, black, a man’s necklace judging by size. He gave Clara a puzzled look, then pulled it out. Platinum hardware. Fuck, she’d spent real money. There was a medallion dangling from it, something like a dog-tag. Engraved on one side was the word owned. Malcolm turned it over: by Clara. The clasp was a tiny padlock. Below the necklace in the box was the key, on a little leather loop with a second medallion. The second one read OWNER all in upper case, and of Malcolm.

“You had these made?” His voice came out strange.

“Found them at one of those shops in Soho you don’t dare be seen in. Where I got the flogger. Had them, you know, personalized.”

He was breathing hard, hard and fast. He stared at Clara. He couldn’t move. She’d bought him a thing. It said he belonged to her. She owned him. He was hers. He worked his jaw for a moment, trying to make it move properly.

“Do you want to wear this?” she said, softly.

All he could do was nod.

“I think you should probably be on your knees.” Her voice was unsteady too.

He pulled his shirt over his head and tossed it aside, then he was on his knees in front of her, on the floor, kissing her feet. Hard, yes, out of his mind hard, but his throat was so constricted he couldn’t speak. All he could do was press his lips to her and tremble. He breathed slowly, steadily, the way she’d taught him to do when he was in bondage, until he was calm enough to kneel up again. He folded his arms behind his back, the way she liked it, and that settled him too. He made himself as submissive as he could fucking get, knees apart, head down, waiting.

Clara’s hand came to rest on his head.

“Are you mine?”

“Yeah. I’m yours.” He couldn’t recognize his own voice, it was so ravaged.

She ran her hand down his face, to his neck. Then she was putting it around his neck, the leather braid, Her fingers on the clasp, the key in the lock, a tiny sound as it closed. She adjusted it around his neck, settled it so the lock and the medallion rested over the hollow of his throat.

Malcolm swallowed.

“It’s loose enough to come over your head if you need to take it off,” she said. “Do it when you need to.”

He nodded. He still didn’t trust his voice.

She slipped two fingers into his mouth. He sucked on them. Closed his eyes, tried not to fuck it up, tried to keep himself under control. She’d bought this for him. Even before he’d broken down, before he’d told her he was in love. She was giving it to him anyway. Did she love him back? She’d just said it. Or something. She’d said something. Not the word he’d thought he wanted to hear, still wanted to hear, but another one.

“You look wonderful,” she said. “Surrender is a beautiful look on you.”

Malcolm said nothing. What the fuck could he say to that? Besides, her fingers were still in his mouth. Whatever she wanted, whatever she liked, so long as she sounded like that. Reverential, that’s what she sounded like, even though he was the one on his knees. Maybe that’s what she felt. Maybe she loved him.

She slipped her fingers away from him. Malcolm opened his eyes again. She was looking down at him, hair falling forward over her face. Solemn, so solemn. Gorgeous, no matter what the expression on her face was, makeup or no makeup, jewelry or not.

She said, “Do you get it? Do you get it yet?”

He nodded.

She sat on the edge of the couch and drew him over between her knees. Ran her hands all over him, his hair, his throat, his chest, rested them on his shoulders. Hands on him, fire all over him. Malcolm couldn’t breathe properly, couldn’t speak. Then she kissed him. Kisses, long kisses, with her tongue in his mouth. He was shaking, all over. What the hell was going on?

He broke away and got his head between his knees, hands on the floor, trying to slow down his breathing. Clara was beside him on the floor in an instant, hand on his head.

“You okay?”

“Yeah. Just a bit–”


“Don’t ever fucking tell anyone, okay?” He bared his teeth at her in one of those grins that terrified people who didn’t know any better, but Clara was not one of those.

“Sweetie,” she said. “What do you want most right now?”

To make love to you again like last night. But that was not something he could say, not now. The closest he could get: “Clara. Want to worship you. Let me. Please.”

“Worship me, then.”

“Tell me how.”

“Put that mouth to work doing something other than swearing.”

Malcolm stood up and got his arms around her. Picked her up-- no weight at all, she was a bitty wee thing. He carried her off into the bedroom, laid her on the bed as tenderly as he could. Stood and looked at her while he caught his breath. She lay there, hands flat on the bed, waiting for him to do what he wanted. To worship her. He knew his manners: he undressed himself completely before he touched her again. Once he was completely naked he crawled up onto the foot of the bed. He kissed her feet again, kissed his way up her calves.

“May I undress you, Clara?”

“Go ahead.”

He loved doing this, loved the excuse to touch her everywhere, as he removed everything slowly, as slowly as he could make himself go. Her jewelry first, earrings and rings and necklace, removed and set aside on the dresser. Then her stockings. She’d gone all the way tonight and worn garters. It did something to him. Call him a traditionalist about this. Magnificent. Pure delight stroking his fingers along her thighs to undo the garters, slip down the silk. Set them aside. Coax her into standing, unzip her dress, slide it down off her shoulders, to pool at her feet. Undo her bra. Kiss the tips of her breasts.

He was in heaven.

“Lie back, please, darling,” he said.

Yes, heaven, looking at her all laid out below him, hair spread out on the pillow, thighs parted for him, only for him. Such sweet servitude, pleasing her and ignoring his own pleasure. He kissed her lips, her throat, her breasts; kissed his way down until he lay between her spread thighs. Wet, so wet already. She was as aroused as he was by their little ritual. Malcolm pointed his tongue and flickered it against her, right over her clit but not quite touching it. There it was, the first little sound from her, the first intake of breath.

Because his hands weren’t bound and she hadn’t said anything, he got to use his fingers to help. She liked his hands, liked his long fingers, especially liked them when he curled them inside her and found the places that made her moan. He’d always liked doing this, with all his previous girlfriends, and he loved it almost beyond words with Clara, now. She deserved everything he could do for her. His tongue was serving something better than himself for once. Something better than the useless fucktards it served every day, shaping itself around threats. Now it served her pleasure, as did he.

He eased her down through the aftershocks. Sometimes he could coax her through to a second or third orgasm, but not tonight. One was enough for her. He pressed a last kiss to her sex and knelt up.

Clara sighed. “So good. Nobody does that like you.”

“It is an honor.”

“Get up here and let me thank you.”

She didn’t like it when his face was dripping from going down on her, so he gave his mouth a swipe on the sheets before crawling up and over her. He brushed his hard cock against her, teasing, promising, and kissed her mouth, licked at her, let her thrust her tongue against his. He took her face in his hands and slowed down, let it turn tender. A man kissing a woman, trying to show her what he felt about her, oldest fucking story ever. God, he fucking loved kissing her.

She pulled back from him and kissed the end of his nose.

“Let’s get some sleep,” she said. “I’ve got plans for you tomorrow.” She burrowed herself under the blankets, and turned on her side, facing away from him.

Malcolm sighed. Of course she was going to make him go without. He thought about begging, because it was so fun for them both, but then decided not to. He would accept his fate quietly tonight. He was an owned man, now. Best behave like one. He tucked himself in behind her, where he could hold her, hips pressed against her so she could feel that how much he was suffering for her, how badly he wanted her. How much he-- fuck him. He was head over fucking bound-up teakettle. He let his hand rest against her bare belly. Warm, soft. She smelled like perfume. What the fuck was it she wore? He’d seen it on her dresser. He’d have to get a gallon or two of it for her come Christmas.



He’d been about to say it again, about to tell her how he felt, but he couldn’t do it. All he could say was, “Thanks.”

She laced her fingers through his and gave him a squeeze. “My pleasure.”

A now-familiar and sweet feeling, this business of going to sleep hard and aching and wanting her desperately but feeling content. Fucking twisted, if you asked him, and he’d deliver that judgement and a thousand times worse if he needed to, to knock down some junior minister with a hankering for power above his gray cell level. He couldn’t manage to feel bad about it in himself. She’d put her name on him. He had a fucking necklace on. Not a collar; he’d have objected to that. A leather necklace. A platinum medallion that said “owned”. She’d put it on him. Clara. Clara still wanted him. Clara still respected him. Clara still found something of value in his worship. He felt good all around. Fuck London. Fuck the southern political poxbridge gobshites. He was on holiday with Clara. He was pressed up against her and she was asleep, satisfied, with her head on his arm.

Malcolm fell asleep without needing to take a pill for the second night in a row.