Dire Straits

Julius has an angry, tired Malcolm on his hands-- over-tired, hungry, out-of-control. Fortunately they have a ritual that helps in these cases.


Dire Straits

Julius paced back and forth across Malcolm’s office. “You frightened her, is-- is what I am saying Nicola said to me.”

“Why the fuck should I care that I frightened her? I meant to frighten her. I’m supposed to frighten her. Tom sent me there to fucking frighten her.”

“Yes, and she knows that, and she says it was a bit beyond the usual acceptable levels of frightening. You threaten absurd things; she swears back then falls into line. But this time–”

“This time what?”

Malcolm looked a little unhinged at that moment, the whites showing all around his eyes. He shoved forward into Julius, leading with his chin. Julius laid a hand on his chest and pushed to hold him in place. “Malcolm. When were you last at home?”

Malcolm turned away and flung his hands up. “Fucked if I know. Tuesday? I think. Sam will know. Why?”

“When’s the last time you ate?”

“How the fuck am I supposed to remember that?”

“Right. We’re leaving. Don’t bother to take anything. You’ll be rather too busy.”


“Do as I say, Malcolm.” Julius put the least, tiniest bit of command into that voice, so Malcolm would take his meaning.

“Fuck,” Malcolm said, but Julius could see the relief.

He guided Malcolm into the outer office with a hand on his shoulder. “Sam, I’m taking him home. You should be long since home yourself.”

Sam smiled at him and nodded; they had an understanding about what to do when Malcolm allowed himself to reach this sort of state, and Julius was grateful she was discreet. Not that there was anything to hide, but Malcolm’s reputation as a terror would suffer, rather, if anyone were to know Julius doted on him quite as much as he did. He texted his own PA word to bring the car around from where he’d been idling waiting for just such an instruction.

Malcolm looked grim in the fluorescent light of the elevator, unshaven, eyes reddened. A muscle in the corner of his jaw was pulsing. His suit was rumpled. He’d begun wearing rather better-fitted jackets in recent months, thanks to Julius’s hints and some surprisingly enjoyable expeditions to shops, but he still refused to consider Julius’s man on Savile Row. No bespoke anything for Malcolm. Not yet, anyway.

“How angry were you, by the by?” Julius said, at pains to keep his tone casual.

Malcolm chewed at the side of his thumb. “I broke something. Not fucking sure what. Some shite toy she had on her desk.”

Julius rubbed his chin but said nothing. Nicola had reported as much; the situation was dire. The elevator doors slid open and he headed out through the security checkpoint to the pavement, confident that Malcolm was following. Once they were out of the government buildings and seated in the back of Julius’s car they were two men having a quiet but completely above-board affair, well-known to Tom and to a few other people who mattered. Once they passed the threshold of Julius’s London house, they were more than that: two men who had an arrangement that went beyond the conventional. Once the door closed behind them and Julius turned the lock, Malcolm belonged to him.

Julius hung up his overcoat and walked into his ground-floor office without waiting to see if Malcolm followed. If he didn’t follow, it would be a sign that drastic measures were needed. That had happened before; it usually meant that Julius had let too much time pass since his last serious session alone with Malcolm. It was entirely possible he was in such a state now. Poor devil, Malcolm. Such a fragile man, really, under the bluster.

He followed this time, however. He took off his jacket and draped it messily over the back of one of Julius’s leather armchairs. Cheeky. Julius ignored it, however.

“I would like you over my desk, please, Malcolm. Trousers down.”

Malcolm put his hands on his hips and bared his teeth. “Not going to give me a drink first? Chat me up?”

“If you make me use force I shall be most vexed,” Julius said. Malcolm’s eyes widened and for a frightening second Julius thought he would have to do it. Then Malcolm’s shoulders slumped and he looked down at his feet. He drew in a long deep breath, and then another. Julius gave him the time he needed. There was no sense rushing it. Malcolm would not find peace if he were fighting it all the way.

Eventually, Malcolm spoke. “Yes, sir,” he said, simply.

There it was, the first indication of the evening that he was going to yield even though he found it difficult. Julius found himself relaxing. Malcolm went over to the desk. He undid his belt and flies and pushed his trousers down to his ankles. Then he bent himself over Julius’s desk and grasped the far edge, most obediently. A satisfying sight, Malcolm Tucker bent over his desk with his arse out, ready for whatever Julius wished to do with it.

Julius ranged himself behind Malcolm and invested a moment in looming, hovering, to ratchet up the tension. Then he nudged at Malcolm’s feet, to push them out further, as far as they would go with his clothing still tangled around his ankles. Such a satisfying sight he made, with his arse up, his hardening manhood dangling down between spread thighs. One thing to do, before they began, to get Malcolm further into the headspace Julius wanted him to be in. He took Malcolm’s buttocks, forced them apart, and looked. Malcolm went rigid under him, then slowly relaxed.

“Are you clean?”

“What? Fuck, no. No time.”

“Could you say that again? I couldn’t make out your answer.”

Malcolm swore again, under his breath this time. “No, sir. I’m not.”

Julius clucked. “We’ll deal with that later.” A taste of humiliation, barely enough to remind Malcolm of his position, of his role in this relationship. And if Julius found it most satisfying to see Malcolm’s ears turn red, that was entirely a side benefit. “Now, what is it that you need right now, Malcolm?”

“You fucking know what I need.”

“This may be true, but we have an agreement about it. You are going to use your words to ask for it. Polite words. Respectful words.”

Malcolm was silent in response to this. Julius watched him carefully, with all the concern and consideration and careful attention required of a top for his bottom. It was a burden Julius accepted most cheerfully, but at times like this it was difficult.

“Malcolm,” he said at last, with warning in his voice.


“Tell me what you need.”

“I fucking need to be punished for fucking swearing at you, sir. Shit. Fuck. Sorry, sir. Fucking hell, I haven’t been home since Tuesday.”

“I know.”

“Julius. Please. Fucking can’t.”

Julius laid a sympathetic hand on his shoulder. Malcolm shuddered and made a sound Julius knew well. Yes, he’d left it too long. It would be harder than usual on both of them, therefore, to make up for his failure to notice that Malcolm was in difficulties. He said, with some emotion in his voice, “Very well, Malcolm.”

He paced away to the drawer where he kept the necessities available; there were of course more in the bedroom but he’d found it prudent to keep his office stocked as well. He unlocked it, touched his fingers to his lips for a moment, thinking. The schoolmaster’s cane would be right for this. Sharp, attention-getting, leaving bruises that would last for long enough to keep Malcolm calm for days, but not savage. Almost pleasurable, in Julius’s recollection. Almost.

“Now, I think ten. For swearing at me, for failing to address me correctly, and for failing to ask for this politely.”

Malcolm shuddered. “Fuck. Yes, sir.”

“You know my requirements of you. Please do not disappoint me.”

Julius opened his mouth to go on, then shut it. He had a deplorable tendency to babble at his moments, from his own nerves as much as anything. He was about to cane another man’s bottom, and if he were honest the very idea of it had made his trousers feel too tight. The reality of doing it would make him even more aroused. Another man-- his partner, his boyfriend, his difficult prickly awkward Glasgow pub fighter lover-- would cry out under his blows in another moment. Such a delicious moment, savoring his own anticipation, the trembling fear in the man who’d prostrated himself willingly for this. Another moment, then he could wait no more. Julius raised the cane, judged the desirable force carefully, then made himself swing harder. It came down across Malcolm’s buttocks and the sound was simply marvelous.

Malcolm jerked and squawked. “Fuck! The fuck was that?”

“Tch,” said Julius.

Malcolm swiveled around and glared at him. Julius held that gaze, implacable, arms folded, cane in hand. Malcolm blinked first. He let his forehead come down on the desk and tightened his fingers on the end of the desk so hard his fingers went white. Julius counted his breaths: three, four. Then Malcolm released his grip, returned to position, and nodded.

“My apologies, sir,” he said, and his voice was strained. “It won’t happen again.”

“I’m sure it won’t,” Julius said, “but we shall add on two strokes as a guarantee.”

A noisy breath blown out that Julius chose to ignore; Malcolm would regret it enough for now. Then Malcolm said, with something approximating respect, “Yes, sir, thank you, sir.”

Julius raised the cane and brought it down again. Such a satisfying sensation this was for him, the noise, the feeling of impact, the sound it made against Malcolm’s buttocks, the sounds Malcolm made in the moments afterward, as Julius gave him time to let the pain flood through him, the endorphins flow, his brain-state change. By the twelfth stroke Malcolm was keening and pleading with him for something unnamed, possibly unnameable, but something only Julius could give him. Something he needed desperately. Something Julius wished to give him to equally desperately.

Julius set the cane down and went to him, clasped his shoulders, stroked his hair. There he was, Malcolm Tucker, with tears dripping from his nose, breath coming fast. His jaw was no longer clenched. Something had released in him in those last few strokes. That was the trick of it, for Julius, watching his partner carefully for the moment when it was enough, when the goal had been achieved.

Julius helped Malcolm stand up again, unsteadily, and held him close.

“What that what you needed, Malcolm?”

Malcolm closed his eyes, nodded. Julius dabbed at his face with a handkerchief, dried his tears carefully. Malcolm remained still for this, hands resting against Julius’s chest. Julius touched fingers under his chin and tipped up his face. He kissed Malcolm, and there it was, that sweet pliancy that Malcolm only achieved after he’d been whipped, that surrender he craved but could not allow himself without Julius’s permission. He opened his mouth for Julius and closed his eyes and kissed him in return so gently, so openly, so-- if Julius dared to think it-- soulfully, with his anger at last purged. Or if not that, if that was impossible in a man as knotted up as Malcolm, at least his anger was submerged for the nonce.

Julius slipped a hand down Malcolm’s back, slipped under his shirttail, and cupped a buttock. Hot to the touch, and Malcolm sucked in a breath involuntarily. Lovely. Simply perfect. Julius was himself deeply aroused, and feeling a rather urgent desire for more physical contact with Malcolm, for the feeling of his body underneath, those heated buttocks against his thighs. It was not yet time to act on that need, however. The night was nowhere near over, and Julius would not consider it over until both he and his lover were satisfied, well fed, clean, and warm in bed together (Malcolm of course nude).

More work to do. Pleasurable work, to be sure. Julius cradled Malcolm in his arms and sighed.

The Right Word

Julius tugged Malcolm close and encouraged him to lay his head on Julius’s shoulder. Malcolm shivered and complied. He allowed himself the indulgence of his hand remaining on that firm buttock, his fingers tracing along the heated welts he’d left there. The schoolmaster’s cane had indeed been perfect. Malcolm was as yet trembling against him, but was not so wrung out as to be finished for the evening. He would find an excuse to use it again, but in the meantime–they were, as he had just phrased it, not yet finished. He had yet more business with his difficult prickly awkward Glasgow-pub-fighter lover, whatever the right word for him was. Malcolm used the word “master” for him sometimes, but none of the words Julius had tried for Malcolm were quite right. “Slave”, for example, was completely inappropriate to describe a man who would argue with him even when he was being spanked.

The precise word didn’t matter to Julius, however. What mattered was continuing to care for Malcolm.

“Now, Malcolm,” Julius said, “I want you to undress all the way. Leave your clothing here, folded. Then go upstairs and take a shower and clean yourself out for me. Thoroughly. Plug yourself with the black plug, the large one. Then join me in the kitchen. Should have some dinner ready for you.”

“Not sure I’m hungry.”

“I know you’re not sure, but I’m your master. And I know what you need.”

“Yeah. Okay.”

“Malcolm, I require formality from you tonight. Until I release you, if you please, you will address me properly.”

Malcolm pulled back from his embrace and looked up at him, a little uncertain. Such a lovely face he had, sharp and intent and wolfish, so beautiful when he’d been crying and his lashes were wet and his eyes red-rimmed. Then he looked down, a little bashful, and said, “Yes, sir. Sorry, sir.”

“You are forgiven. Go, that is to say, hop to it, please.”

Julius took himself off to the kitchen to put together a little something for the pair of them, leaving Malcolm alone in his office to undress. It was a pleasant show to watch, but Julius wanted to give him a little time to recover himself. The evening had, after all, many hours left in it, and Julius was not quite finished with him. If he was right–and he suspected he was–Malcolm had not yet truly surrendered. He was holding himself back even after the caning. He might have released his fury with Nicola from earlier in the day, but it had been going on all week, hadn’t it? Not home since Tuesday. That was far longer than he was supposed to let it go. He’d promised Julius faithfully he wouldn’t push himself so. He was, in fact, supposed to have texted Julius to tell him if he’d gone more than a day without sleep.

Julius moved a pan from hob to the side and clucked. He’d botched this, rather. He ought to have checked in with Malcolm. Instead he’d allowed himself to get involved in that series of meetings in Den Hague, meetings that somebody else could easily have attended. He could have come back an entire day earlier than he had.

His brooding was interrupted by the sound of Malcolm clearing his throat.

“Sir,” he said.

Julius smiled at him, because it was, as ever, lovely to see Malcolm clean-shaven, scrubbed pink, hair still damp and sticking up. He was nude and slightly uncomfortable to be so, standing there in Julius’s lovely modern kitchen under hanging copper pans. His erection had waned, and his hands were clasped in front of himself as if to hide it. Submissive, yes, but not yet fully in the frame of mind Julius needed him in.

“Hands in the small of your back, please. And turn around so I can see your plug. Ah, good. That’s the one I meant. Did you clean yourself in the shower?”

Malcolm did not quite hate the douches, but he found Julius’s insistence on them maddening. Certainly he hated being watched doing it, or having it done to him while he submitted. Periodically Julius had to renew that experience of humiliation, as it was one of the things Malcolm had requested from him specifically. The subjugation of his body to Julius’s wishes. The subjugation of himself. Of his own will to that of his owner. The man who cared for him, in all senses.

Now, at Julius’s question, his face flushed dark red and he hung his head. “Yes, sir,” he said.

“How many times?”

“Three times. Sir.”

“Very good. Do you think you are able to sit down to eat your dinner?”

Malcolm looked at the tall wooden stools in Julius’s kitchen, at their leather-padded tops. “Think so, sir.”

Julius gestured toward the nearest stood and watched. Malcolm bit his lip but he could not contain his wince or the little breath that escaped him as he adjusted his position on the stool. Julius smiled. He might as well admit the base physical pleasure he felt in response to the expression on Malcolm’s face. It was one of the many things he himself found to enjoy in this relationship, even beyond the affection he felt for Malcolm and the joy he found in caring for him and tending to him. Malcolm was a wild animal, a tight-wound bundle of nerves who would always be more effective than Julius at the day-to-day exigencies of his job. He needed gentle handling, however. He needed his steady PA Sam, his surprisingly solid lieutenant MacDonald, and he needed his lover.

Keeping him on an even keel took a lot of work. Whipping him to serenity took a lot of work. Surely it was acceptable that Julius could allow himself to enjoy watching him sit on his bruised backside and wince.

Malcolm looked up at him and smiled sardonically. He knew what Julius was watching for. He looked down at the marble countertop, at the cup of consommé Julius set before him. Nothing spicy, bland food, safe food, suitable for a man who had likely been surviving on a diet of caffeine and sugar for the last three days. A bit of broth and some good French bread, steamed vegetables. Water with lime in it. Light fare, nothing to sit heavily in the stomach afterward. Julius was tempted to feed Malcolm with his own hands–he had done this before and Malcolm had loathed it with every fiber of his being–but it didn’t feel right for tonight. Tonight he would restrain himself to making sure Malcolm had everything he wished to engaging him in small talk, and to attempting to coax from Malcolm some sort of reason why he’d let himself get to the state he’d been in without contacting Julius for help.

There were, however, no answers to be had from Malcolm. He was obedient to the letter of Julius’s instructions, scrupulous in how he addressed his master, but not forthcoming in the least. Julius cleared the counter enough that the houseboy wouldn’t find too much of a mess in the morning, and sighed. His trial wasn’t over. Malcolm’s trial or his own? It would be a trial for the both of them.

“The bedroom, please,” Julius said.

Malcolm preceded him up the stairs so Julius could enjoy the sight of his arms folded behind his back, the livid red stripes across his thighs. He waited at the foot of Julius’s grand bed quietly, head down, but his eyes followed Julius almost anxiously. Julius had given him no hints about what was to follow, and indeed he would give no hints until it was upon them. He might, after all, lose his own heart. But his agreement with Malcolm required that he steel himself for it.

Julius methodically removed his jacket, tie, and shoes. He tucked his cufflinks away in their velvet box and rolled his shirtsleeves neatly to mid-forearm. He removed his watch and set it on his dresser. He flexed the fingers of his right hand. Was he ready for this? He was.

He turned to Malcolm, who was motionless in position, but tense and no longer looking at him. Julius went up to him and took his chin in hand and tipped it up to force Malcolm to meet his eyes.

“We shall now deal with the matter of your misbehavior during the week. You did not contact me and ask for assistance, as you expressly agreed to do the last time this happened.”

Malcolm’s brows furrowed. “You were too busy.”

“What did I just hear?” Warning signals in his voice, and Malcolm blinked rapidly.

“You seemed too busy, sir. I didna want tae bother you, off on your trip.”

“That’s not good enough, Malcolm. You know better. Now, why didn’t you contact me and at least talk with me on the phone?”

“I will next time, sir. Sorry, sir. The caning made your point.”

“The caning was clearly not enough. I’m going to have to spank you until I get an honest response from you.”

Malcolm’s eyes widened and he looked as if he were about to protest. Then he thought better of it. Julius had taught him successfully that resistance only made it worse. “Sir,” he said, and set his jaw.

“Shall we begin?”

“Sir.” No fear yet, only stubborn resentment. Well, he would need to learn.

Julius sat on his bed, back against the headboard, legs outstretched. He preferred this position to a straight chair or stool, though those had their advantages. Malcolm laid himself over Julius’s lap at a mere gesture of command. They’d done this many times. Malcolm had resisted it at first, balked at the position, begged for the desk instead. The intimacy of it, perhaps, frightened him. Certainly he could hide nothing from Julius when he was this close to him, so close that Julius could feel his every quiver, his every breath. Julius nudged him gently so his thighs were spread wide, exposing everything: that heavy ballsack, the erection that was beginning to make itself known again, the base of the plug.

“Now,” Julius said, “Clasp your hands at the back of your neck and do not move them until you have permission.”

Malcolm shuddered but obeyed.

Julius opened his mouth to make another little speech at Malcolm about what he was about to do, then shut his mouth again. It was a terrible flaw, this urge he had. Instead, he ought to simply raise his hand and bring it down on Malcolm’s backside, hard. He hardened his resolve and did so.

Ah, there it was, the sound, the feeling of heat exploding against his palm, the jerk Malcolm made over his knees. Left cheek, right cheek, pause. Listen to Malcolm’s harsh breathing hitch and recover. Then again a pair of blows, lower down, a moment to let the pain wash over Malcolm. Again, even lower. And again, the slaps landing on Malcolm’s thighs now, as hard as Julius dared.

That wrested a whimper from him. Julius paused and let his hand rest on that deliciously reddened backside. He let his fingers slide between Malcolm’s cheeks, delicately, paused on the base of the plug to play with it, then down far enough to tease his bollocks. Malcolm was trembling against him and yes, there were tears on his face again.

“How are you feeling, Malcolm?” Julius asked. It was, perhaps, the question Malcolm feared most.

“My arse hurts, sir.” His voice was rough, but there was resistance in it yet.

“Why didn’t you contact me this week?”

“Sir,” Malcolm said. “No fucking idea.”

This was what he’d anticipated when he’d acknowledged to himself that it would be hard on both of them. Malcolm had been whipped hard enough that he’d been brought to tears earlier, and now he was weeping again. His buttocks and thighs were hot to the touch, and so was Julius’s right palm. But it was not enough to make up for Julius’s neglect. It had been own damn fault Malcolm had thought he was too busy, and now he had to do this until the both of them were completely wrung out.

“We will continue until you’re able to tell me.”

And he continued, harder now and faster than before, giving Malcolm no respite, no time to recover and breathe. If brutality was required, Julius would rise to the occasion and be brutal. His hand burned, but he raised it and spanked, over and over. Malcolm writhed under him, keened, swore, but his hands stayed clasped, he remained in position. And then something shifted, something broke, and Malcolm went limp. His shoulders were shaking.

“Sir,” Malcolm was saying, repeating it over and over. “Julius. Sir. Please, sir, hold me. Fucking hold me. Fucking need you.”

There it was, there was what Julius had wanted to see, Malcolm completely unwound, weeping helplessly, shaking in Julius’s arms, burrowing his face into Julius’s neck, clinging tight. Julius held him and rocked him, listened to his half-coherent tale of the week, of how stupid they all were, how not a single one of them was worthy of running the nation, of how much Malcolm worried and how helpless he was, and how many mistakes he’d made and how nothing he did was any good. The shame of it, of failing again and letting a story go out unchecked in the press about something utterly pointless. Julius listened, soothed him, wiped the tears from his face and the snot from his nose and kissed him. Kissed his hair, his eyes, his temples, his lips, kissed him until Malcolm was free of his burdens and quiet again in Julius’s arms.

This was, if he confessed it, the part Julius liked best.

He laid Malcolm face down on the bed and tended to him. Salve for his legs and backside, a clean handkerchief for his tears, kisses for his hair. Malcolm blew his nose and lay patiently while Julius soothed all the hurts he’d just inflicted. No salve for his own hand, though. He let that burn him as a reminder that he couldn’t let Malcolm go that long ungrounded ever again. Even a quiet dinner with him would have kept him calm, but no, Julius had allowed himself to be busy, allowed himself to stay that extra day to meet with the EU official who wanted a favor. Damned fool.

Julius left Malcolm on the bed and got up to undress himself. Shirt, socks, trousers, freeing his erection from confinement at last. He returned and touched Malcolm’s shoulder. “What would you like next, Malcolm?”

“Julius,” Malcolm said. “Are we still formal?”


“Sir, can I–sir, I’d like to suck you off.”

Malcolm didn’t necessarily need to come on these nights, and indeed sometimes had difficulty doing so. Too worn, too tired, too hungry. Julius did not find joy in demanding that Malcolm do something he genuinely found trying without any pleasure. Obedience, yes, Malcolm had admitted–reluctantly, after much patient work from Julius in providing a safe environment–that he found pleasure in obeying Julius, no matter how much a struggle it was. So Julius strove to meet this need with structure, rules, and punishments. But orgasms? Those were reserved for nights when it was easy for Malcolm, when he wasn’t a strung-out mess.

He did feel strongly about Julius’s orgasms, however. He almost insisted on them. It was as if he judged himself, found himself wanting, if the man he had submitted to did not find pleasure with him. Julius found this need easy enough to accede to. Especially after he’d bruised his bare hand against Malcolm’s backside. Oh, especially then, as now.

“Not tonight,” Julius said. “Tonight I want to take you.”

And that was a smile on Malcolm’s face, there for an instant before Malcolm was craning up for another long slow kiss. Julius bade him remove the plug, and he did so while Julius watched. No embarrassment any more, no sense of reserve left in him. He was soft, pliant. He’d surrendered.

It was such pleasure to roll a condom onto himself. It was such a thrill to watch Malcolm lie back on the bed, reddened arse over the edge, and raise and spread his legs without being asked. In a moment Julius would receive his own reward for labor, his own moment of release. He considered for a moment indulging Malcolm’s occasional wish for dry penetration, then decided against it this time. He himself liked it very wet, very slippery, almost messy. He used a generous handful of slick on himself, on Malcolm’s arsehole. Only then did Julius let himself take him.

Penetration. Penis in hand, guiding himself into Malcolm’s already-opened body, pressing into him deep, all the way in. Julius let himself move inside his Malcolm, his beloved, his difficult prickly awkward Glasgow-pub-fighter lover, and groaned with the pleasure. Malcolm was open, warm, soft, and he moaned as Julius took him. Thighs hot to the touch, hand-prints visible as well as the livid stripes from the schoolmaster’s cane–oh so beautiful. Julius told Malcolm so, and Malcolm thanked him and called him sir. There was genuine openness in his voice at last, which was good, very good. He was hard but was not touching himself, of course. He’d raised a hand to his mouth and was biting at the side of his thumb. It was beautiful. He was beautiful. Malcolm was beautiful. His, his–what word could he use for Malcolm? His charge. His, his pet. That’s what he was.

Julius said, “I have finally found the word. You are my pet. You’re not just my property. You’re my pet.”

“I–oh, fuck, yes, that’s what I am, fuck. Your pet.”

Which was not as respectful as Julius might have liked, but the sentiment was admirable. Malcolm had endured enough and had finally been broken down and Julius could overlook it. It was far more pleasurable to move inside him, to push up against those bruised thighs and watch Malcolm wince, to watch the war between pleasure and pain on his face be won by pleasure at last. Julius looked down and watched himself move inside Malcolm. The place where they were joined, Malcolm stretched open around him, the friction, the pressure, the pleasure. He moved harder and faster, as hard as he could, driving deep into his pet’s body, heedless of everything save his own needs in this moment.

“Fucking do it, Julius, sir, do it, please. Come inside me. Fucking use me. Use your pet.”

“Say it again.”

“I’m your pet. Your pet.”

That was enough to send him over, that word on Malcolm’s lips. Julius let his eyes close and his head fall back and it was there, his orgasm was upon him, and he was spending himself inside his pet, falling forward over him.

Later, when they were both showered and warm and clean, ready to go to bed together at last, Malcolm knelt up next to him. He took Julius’s right hand gently and examined it, hissed out an expletive. Then he surprised Julius by bending his head and kissing his palm with as much reverence as Julius had ever seen from him.

“Thank you,” he said.

Julius could not speak for a moment, he was so moved. Eventually he said, “The pleasure was mine.”

“Not all yours. I feel good even if I fucking won’t be able to sit tomorrow. Fuck.”

Julius pulled Malcolm down so his head was pillowed on Julius’s chest. He pulled the duvet up over them both and switched off the light. Comfort and warmth at last. He did so love these ends to their evenings, he in silk pajamas, Malcolm nude beside him, in his arms. His pet, in his arms.

“Malcolm. The word pet. Are you all right with that, that word? That description of our relationship?”

A moment of silence while Julius stroked Malcolm’s hair. Then, “Yeah. Yeah, I’m okay with it. But yeah, I – feels right, somehow.”

“Ownership, responsibility. Obedience in return.”

“That’s it. So long as I’m not a pet lapdog or some shite like that.”

“A wolf, I think. Yes, you are my pet Scottish wolf.”

“There are no fucking wolves in Scotland.”

“Are you quite sure?”

“None for hundreds of years.”

“They’re all in London now, perhaps.”

“Fucking flatterer.”

“My pet wolf. I shall have to give you something to wear that says this.”

“So long as you don’t put a radio tag in my ear.”

“Nothing so drastic. Something you can wear when we’re alone.”

“Oh, now I see what you’re after, you kinky cunt. You just want to lock a collar on me and tie me to the end of the bed.”

“Don’t tempt me,” Julius said, and he heard Malcolm laughing at last.

Down Time

It was, as all of Julius’s presents to Malcolm were, discreet. Wolf’s-head cufflinks, nothing large or gaudy or likely to trigger Malcolm’s class rage or invite questions. Cufflinks for moments when Malcolm dressed for the occasion. He would decline to mention that he’d commissioned them, which knowledge would make Malcolm self-conscious about the cost. It was no matter. Malcolm was worth quite a bit more.

Malcolm looked up at him from the little velvet box in his hand and curled his lip. “Your wolf, eh?”

“My wolf.”

And Malcolm was leaning in and giving Julius a kiss and that was gratifying because it was entirely open and sincere and lingering. The box was tucked into his jacket pocket and he had his arms around Julius’s waist. Julius curled his fingers into Malcolm’s hair, tilted his head, got his tongue into Malcolm’s mouth. It was, all in all, good. What would be better would be lying on the couch with Malcolm cradled against him.

Julius gently disentangled himself from Malcolm’s embrace and led him the rest of the way into his study, his sanctum sanctorum. Julius sat on the couch and kicked his shoes off. Malcolm went to the sideboard and poured him a glass of whisky, carried it back to him and bowed as he handed it over. There was a gleam in his eye, that feral glint that Julius adored so, but muted for now. Julius swiveled so his legs were stretched out along the cushions and beckoned Malcolm over. Shoes off, jacket off, and Malcolm lay himself back in Julius’s arms, between his legs, cushioned against Julius’s regrettably comfortable belly. Julius kissed the back of his head, took a sip of the single malt Malcolm had chosen, and made a satisfied noise.

“Sybaritic cunt,” Malcolm said. “S’pose I am in no position to complain.”

Julius pressed his hand against his chest and said, “How are you feeling tonight?” This was a question he demanded an answer to, no matter how much Malcolm might hate it.

There was the sigh, but then Malcolm laid his hand over Julius’s and laced his fingers with his.

“Was nae a bad week,” he said. “Nic’la was almost sensible. And Tom did well at questions after some truly fucking intensive prep, so he’s feeling good and I’m feeling good. All’s well in Whitehall.”

Julius kissed the back of his neck, just below the fringe of hair. Malcolm had rather lovely hair when he let it grow, but he kept it close-cropped. A symbol of the control he had to exert over himself, perhaps. He said, a trifle indistinctly through a mouthful of whisky, “I trust your lieutenant is mollified?”

“Jamie has decided he still believes in me, yeah. Fuck knows why. I mishandled him. He’s my fucking friend and I didna treat him like one. Cunt’s sensitive like a little girl, yeah? Took him out for a drink and sorted it.”

“The confusion with Treasury?”

Malcolm waved his free hand. “Sorted that two days ago. They saw it my way in the end. Still, happy it’s Friday night. Happy to be here.”

“Mmm,” Julius said. He slipped his forefinger into the space between the button of Malcolm’s shirt and his trousers and touched his skin. Malcolm made a pleased sound. Cuddling, he was cuddling his pet wolf of a Friday night and it was rather wonderful.

“And how was your week, Julz?”

“Acceptable. I have hopes Tom will see reason on the banking regulations, but he’s reluctant. I am feeling nervy about the markets in some respect. Over-leverage, too much risk. Iceland in particular is rather mad about borrowing. I shall likely divest.”

“You know best about that shite.”

“There are men I know in the City who know considerably better. I’m taking hints from some of the more cautious among them. The fellows who’ve been doing it for a few decades.”

The topic was, however, tedious. Another sip of whisky, and the warm glow commenced its spread through his blood. Julius felt himself begin to relax at last, truly relax. Malcolm was in good case; he’d been delighted by his present. They would end their evening with love-making. Julius found himself of a mind to get started on that happy project soon. He kissed the back of Malcolm’s neck again.

“Fuck,” Malcolm said, and he wriggled himself closer to Julius. “Feel like I’m in fucking heaven.”

Julius set the whisky tumbler aside and tugged at Malcolm’s tie to loosen it. “I should hope so. I work rather hard to make you feel that way.”

“Fuck knows why.”

“I’m quite ridiculously fond of you,” Julius said. He got the tie worked free and commencing undoing Malcolm’s shirt buttons. Malcolm’s backside was firmly pressed against his hips, and that was most pleasurable. Most. Arousingly so. He had a mind to defer his own gratification until later, however. He would indulge himself by fussing over Malcolm some more.

The shirt was now unbuttoned. Malcolm obligingly pulled the tails free of his trousers, so Julius could explore his bare chest at his leisure. Bare chest, narrow chest. Skin and bones, at least when Julius had got started with him. He was feeling a bit more padded these days, now that Julius had him eating regular meals.

Julius let his fingers wander up to Malcolm’s nipples. They were not all that sensitive ordinarily, but they could be coaxed into stiffness, which Julius liked. Down, down to his ticklish stomach, the fuzz over it, thickening as Julius stroked his way even further down. The band of his boxers, the patch of damp over the head of his penis, and there, hidden away, the penis itself. Lovely, tempting, penises were. They tasted good, they felt good, they were such pleasure to hold in his hand, to stroke. Julius had known early in his life that the male form was his focus. Malcolm also found women arousing, which they had talked about once, when Julius had been in his cups. He found Malcolm’s flexibility baffling. Women didn’t have these lovely bollocks, so heavy in his hand, or penises like Malcolm’s, so thick. They didn’t have foreskins to play with. “Tits and cunts,” Malcolm had said, and shrugged, and they’d abandoned the topic as hopeless; no mutual understanding was possible. They agreed on the pleasure of giving and receiving oral sex with other men, that was the important point. Even more important: Malcolm wanted to be taken by Julius just as intensely as Julius wanted to take him, which had been where their unconventional relationship had found its start.

Julius let his hand find a little bit of a rhythm, at the pace he knew Malcolm liked, slow and steady.

Malcolm laid a hand over his. “Stop,” he said. Julius stopped immediately, and released him as Malcolm tried to sit up.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing, just, I should be doing this for you. Let me blow you, yeah?”

“Hush,” Julius said, and pulled him back against his chest, hard. Malcolm struggled for a moment, because that’s what Malcolm had to do, then yielded. Julius pinned him in place with one hand and slid his hand into Malcolm’s shorts again.

“This is what I need to come tonight,” Julius whispered. “I need to feel you come first. I need to hear you. I want you to be a puddle of relaxation when I take you.”

“Does that even fucking make sense?” Malcolm said, but he let his head fall back onto Julius’s shoulder in submission.

That was not something Malcolm would even want to argue with, Julius knew, because of how deep his need to be used was. Which was again too close to a metaphor for Malcolm’s daily life. Well, this was not the time to think about that. This was the time to settle Malcolm down on his lap again, slowly, with a hand holding pulled him back against his chest. He cupped his hand around Malcolm again. Malcolm groaned. Julius bit his lip to keep himself from doing the same. It would be undignified. He was nearly fully clothed and he had his pet on his lap grinding down against his trapped erection, yes, it felt lovely. However, a gentleman did not swear when he was having sex, no matter how how lovely the sounds from his beloved pet were.

“Yes, that’s right. Moan for me. Let me know how much you like it, darling.”

Malcolm shivered in his arms at the endearment, as he always did. So uncomfortable with the words of affection, yet so starving for them. His half-starved, half-tame wolf, his graying wolf, his pet wolf.


The other items Julius commissioned for Malcolm took a little more time than the cufflinks. For one thing, he took more pains finding the right craftsman for them, for he wanted them to be perfect. For another, the jeweler had to finish the wolf’s head inlays on the hardware, not to mention the engraving, before the leatherworker could finish. But all was arranged in less time than he feared, though more time than he wanted, and he had everything ready in a box, nestled in black tissue paper, wrapped in a lovely bit of geometric printed paper Julius had come across in Berlin recently.

The box was sitting on the mantel in Julius’s study, waiting for an evening when they were both free. Malcolm had had a rather trying week, unfortunately, and had been up all hours drilling Tom for what all expected to be a particularly trying Prime Minister’s Questions on the topic of the NHS. This, unlike the shenanigans of the minor ministries, mattered, so Julius stayed quietly out of the way and kept himself occupied getting Treasury to justify some of its more hidebound accounting policies.

On Wednesday evening, after it was done with, Julius collected Malcolm for an early-ish exit from Whitehall, a spot of dinner out, and then an evening together. Dinner was a light affair at a little French-Anglo place Julius knew that hadn’t yet been overrun, tucked into a little cul-de-sac in Notting Hill near his place. Julius ordered for them both, because Malcolm didn’t care about food the way he did. Malcolm was in fine case, boasting about how well his man Tom had done. Still on a high from success, in Julius’s judgement, not yet able to slow down, but not overwound and fractious.

“He led that twerpy little Tory cunt right into his trap and zoom!” Malcolm’s hand shot off into the air and then came down with a chop. “It was almost like he had a working brain. So fucking proud of him.”

He picked up his glass of fizzy water and swigged it down with gusto. Everything about him made Julius want to smile, so he did.

“What the fuck are you beaming at?”

“You,” said Julius, and he took a sip of his wine.

Malcolm rolled his eyes and picked up his fork at last. “What the fuck is this? Which animal’s guts am I about to eat?”

“Chicken, and not the innards, as you well know. When did you last eat?” Julius asked, with studied casualness.

“Sam shoved a muffin down my throat this morning. I think you’ve bribed her.”

“I have indeed,” Julius said. A simple thing to do, an obvious thing, to ingratiate one’s self with one’s partner’s PA. Malcolm had done as much with Julius’s assistant, winning him over with a stream of tickets for West End shows. Sam had a weakness for a particular brand of sought-after cosmetics; not Julius’s line of country, but he knew a fellow who knew someone whose line it was. And thus Sam was in his pocket, his willing accomplice at the game of keeping Malcolm balanced.

Malcolm was a man who did not want to be balanced, so it was a constant fight. A pleasurable fight. It was, in fact, Julius’s chief pleasure in a rather lovely life.

Dinner was also pleasurable, as were all dinners when Malcolm was feeling satisfied with himself. He was relaxed, witty, charming. He flirted with the waitstaff of both sexes and made them laugh. He consented to hold Julius’s hand on the cab ride home, which was a ridiculous concession given his dislike of public displays of anything. He was in such a good mood that he slid immediately into the mode of an obedient pet when they passed through the door, without needing prompting or even putting up his usual token resistance. He removed Julius’s raincoat gracefully and hung it on the coat-stand before removing his own. Then he opened the door of Julius’s study and bowed him through.

Malcolm went to the liquor case without being asked and poured him a dram of something. It didn’t matter what; everything Julius had was drinkable, but whatever this was, Malcolm put a splash of soda into it. He carried the glass over to him and went to his knees.

“Sir,” he said, and Julius found himself blinking back unexpected tears. Such devotion. Such service. He touched Malcolm’s lips with a finger in thanks and took the glass. He drank once, deeply. When he lowered the glass Malcolm was on his feet again, but watching him almost suspiciously.

“Jesus, Julius, you’re as jumpy as a cat in a kennel.”

“Really, now.”

“Fucking really. All night. What the fuck is gnawing on your bawbag?”

Now they came to it. Now Julius found out if his overtures would be rejected.

“There’s something for you on the mantel,” he said.

“A gift? You’re a fucking clucking hen over a gift?”

“Yes, I’m afraid I am.”

“Your last one went over well.” Malcolm raised his arm and pointed to his shirt-cuff, where indeed the little black wolf’s head blinked.

“This one’s rather different. Go on, open it.”

Julius let himself take another drink because he was, yes, nervous about this. Malcolm might refuse. Malcolm might laugh at him. Malcolm might mock the excess of emotion Julius was feeling about this whole affair. He listened to the paper ripping and then to the rustle of the tissue. Then silence.

He looked up. Malcolm was holding the item that had been on top. It was a black leather dog collar, with sturdy rings all around and a post that one could thread a lock through to prevent it being removed. The hardware was not stainless but instead platinum. The first dog tag depending from the ring had Malcolm’s name on its and a wolf’s head in onyx; the second tag had Julius’s monogram on it.

Malcolm turned it over and over in his hands, buckled and unbuckled it. It was no mere strip of leather cut with harsh edges, but instead a lovely bit of work. The leather was wonderfully soft and supple, Julius knew. He’d held it in his own hands, tried it on around his own neck to be sure Malcolm would not be harmed by it.

“Fuck,” Malcolm said. “This is–”

“For you.”

“Of course it’s for my fucking throat. What does it mean?”

Julius stood and went over to him, glass in hand. “We’re partners outside this home, lovers in the conventional sense. Inside this home you are my submissive. I propose a further deepening of our arrangement.”


“When you wear the collar, you are my pet. My wolf. My pack mate. I expect your complete submission to me. Inasmuch as a wolf ever submits.”

Malcolm showed his teeth briefly at this comment, which reflected another core truth of their relationship. While Malcolm did wish to submit, and in the end always would, Julius still had to earn it. Over and over. And enforce it. The well-used leather strap in his desk drawer was the best proof of this he had.

Malcolm turned over the collar in his hands again and fidgeted with the tags. His brows were together.

Julius said, “There’s something else in the box.”

Malcolm gave him a look he couldn’t read, and set the collar on the mantel beside the box. He reached in and removed another layer of tissue paper to take out the second item. Julius had hidden this in its own nest of paper.

“A leash? A whip?”

“Both. It’s a German dog whip. You see how clever it is–the way the braid parts here, near the end, to form a loop for my wrist, the snap hook at the end of the handle to attach to your collar. This is a particularly heavy braid, meant to be used with more difficult dog breeds. Huskies, malamutes, wolf hybrids, that sort of thing.”

“Wolf,” Malcolm said. “The fucking wolf again.”

“And you can see here on the handle–”

“Your monogram and the wolf head. You and me.”

“I had them both made for you. The same artist as made your cufflinks.” He was babbling. He knew he was babbling. Nerves, and his usual tendency to run on. No wonder Malcolm was staring at him. He stopped himself and said, carefully, “Do you like them?”

“Yes, I fucking like them! I just, I need to know–I’m your pet, yeah? Wearing this means I’m your pet?”

“It’s a great deal to ask, I realize. Likely you need to time to think about it.”

“Think about it? Been fucking thinking about nothing else since the other night. Fuck knows what the MI5 makes of my Google searches in the last week. Fuck knows what I make of them.”

“If you have questions–”

“Course I fucking have questions, you twat. Do you expect me to be on all fours or some shit like that?”

“Only if I specifically request it.”

Malcolm rubbed at the back of his neck. “Fuck. Formal when I’ve got it on?”

“No, I think not. Not unless I instruct you specifically. It’s quite–Well, I’ve also been reading a great deal about pet play. About the responsibilities of a master toward his wolf. I am prepared to take them seriously. It is only a short step beyond what we’ve been doing already. Obedience and discipline, submission. A firm hand to keep you in line. Only now I will have you collared and leashed.”

“You are going to chain me up at the foot of the bed.”

“You did request it.”

“I didn’t fucking request it.”

Julius rolled his eyes at him. Malcolm mentioning it had, as they both well knew, been a tacit invitation that he had wanted Julius to hear and respond to. Malcolm grimaced at him.

“What if I need a slash?”

“Wake me and I’ll walk you.”

Fuck me. Fucking cunting hell, Julius.”

“Do you truly object or are you just making a lot of noise?”

Malcolm paced away from him. Julius folded his arms and waited. Malcolm deserved to be able to think. Julius didn’t want to make his partner endure this without pleasure. There went the hand at the back of his neck, rubbing. That was one of his tells–he was thinking and he was uncertain about what to do next. Julius found himself wanting to bite his nails. This was why he’d been nervous. Malcolm as his submissive was one thing, a comfortable thing for the two of them. Even playing with using the word pet was not far removed from what they’d been doing. Collaring Malcolm, treating him like a half-wild wolf and chaining him up–asking him to play the pet in a deeper way–that was something else. Malcolm had to want it. Had to consent to it.

Would he?

Julius found where he’d left his glass and drank the rest of his whisky down.

Malcolm came back to him, took the empty glass away from him, and set it aside. He had the collar in his hands again. He went to his knees and bent to kiss Julius’s boots. This was–he would do it when instructed to, but Julius had never seen him do it before unprompted. That meant–that meant–was he apologizing for the refusal he was about to deliver?



Malcolm held the collar up to him. “I accept your collar. I will be your pet wolf.”

Julius let out a long breath. “Thank you.”

“Do we–Will you put it on me now?”

“Upstairs, I think. I’d like you to be completely undressed when I see you in it the first time.”

Malcolm flashed a smile at him. “I was hoping we’d fuck tonight.”

Julius smiled back. “You’ll get your wish, if you behave. Stay on all fours as you follow me up, if you please.”

“I knew you’d say that, ya kinky cunt.”

The obscenity was welcome to him, because it meant Malcolm was relaxing into his decision and was feeling playful. Julius decided to stay with this mood. Playfulness, yes. It wasn’t all serious and intense, after all. Laughing with a happy Malcolm in his arms was–well, it was perhaps his greatest pleasure in life.

He walked out of the study then had to stop to wait for Malcolm to catch up. The expression on his face made Julius smile and then hide the smile away because, oh my, such thunderous rage on his face as he realized what staying on all fours entailed. And then the obscenities muttered under his breath. He was seeking for a way to crawl that was not entirely clumsy and demeaning, and he wasn’t getting far with it. Julius said nothing to him about this, but let him work through the problem on his own. He turned his back, let the smile show, and took his time ascending the steps. He ignored the muttered stream of curses behind him.

Once in the bedroom, he watched Malcolm undress with a little smile hidden behind his hand. Malcolm was entirely awkward about it, because he could not stand to remove his trousers. And of course as he stripped he revealed that he was entirely aroused already, from anticipation or from the mind-space the crawl up the stairs had put him in. So was Julius, but he made no mention of it. He’d savor it for a while before they went to bed.

“Kneel up, please.”

Malcolm knelt up and folded his arms behind his back. He watched Julius with all of his attention. Julius cleared his throat, opened his mouth to say something about what the moment meant to him, then shut his mouth again. Silence, Nicholson. Silence, solemnity.

He wrapped the collar around Malcolm’s neck. So soft and supple it was. He threaded the tongue through the buckle and found the right hole for the prong. The security post went through one of the other holes very neatly. It was snug, a good fit. Lovely stitching, well-padded. The rings were stout and well-embedded in the leather. He could use this to quite securely chain Malcolm in place, if he wished to. And he did indeed wish to.

On his dresser was the little lock he’d bought for it. He’d bought several locks, all keyed with the same master, just in case he wished to lock Malcolm up in more ways than this one, but that was perhaps for another day. Through the post it went, and the lock clicked shut. Julius held up the key so Malcolm could see it, then threaded it onto the little keyring he carried daily. Into his trouser pocket they went, and Malcolm’s eyes followed them. Julius patted it.

“The leather is waxed. Water-resistant. Intended to be worn for long periods. I’ll unlock it tomorrow morning when we leave for Whitehall.”

Malcolm nodded. “I’m your dog all night, then. Chained to the bed.”

“Chained to the foot of the bed, yes.”

“Should I bark for you?” Malcolm said. “Bark bark, fucking bark.” And then he actually barked.

“None of that. You’re a wolf.”

“How about howling?”

Julius clucked his tongue against his teeth. This was entirely too much pushiness from his pet. Time to do something to keep him in check. He clipped the leash to the collar. It was a heavier leather braid than anyone would use for a dog, much more like something he imagined one would use on a wild animal. The weight was most satisfying in his hand, as was the stoutness of the handle. The length was just enough to keep Malcolm tight at his heels. And the expression on Malcolm’s face when Julius tugged on it was magnificent. No back-talk about howling now, just dismay.

“Heel,” Julius said. He strode across the bedroom a few times, tugging Malcolm after him. There went the muttered obscenities as Malcolm struggled to keep up.

“I see we shall have to practice this. A bit of training this weekend, perhaps. And a bit of chastisement to teach you to keep your mouth closed.”

“Fuck me.”

“Oh, I intend to. But first–first shall we give the whip a try? Nothing serious tonight, I think.” A little taste of pain would calm him down and center him, Julius hoped.

“Yeah,” Malcolm said. “Whip me like the dog I am.”

Julius unclipped the leash again and took it by the handle end. Malcolm remained on his knees, which was a fortunate choice.

“You may stand. Hold the bedpost, please, hands above your head.”

Malcolm obeyed instantly, though he did pause to stretch his legs before reaching up. Julius took the opportunity to fondle Malcolm’s buttocks and stroke his back. Lovely skin, unmarked by the whip just at present. He wouldn’t leave marks on him tonight; he didn’t seem to need the steadying of a serious whipping. Just a taste.

“Are you ready, pet?”

“Yeah,” Malcolm said.

Julius stepped back. He swung the dog whip once, catching Malcolm across his buttocks where he’d just been touched. He grunted and then shrugged.

“How was that?” Julius said.

“Not sure.”

Julius swung again, still completely cautiously, this time aiming across Malcolm’s shoulders. He hissed out a breath. Before Malcolm could quite recover, he swung again, with about the same strength.


“It’s–it’s fucking heavy. More thud than sting.”

“It’ll leave bruises.”

“If you do it any harder, yeah.”

“Let me try something here.”

Julius adjusted his grip, thought about aim, and tried for a little bit of a crack with the end. He caught Malcolm’s left buttock quite neatly, with a most satisfying snap.

“Ow!” And then Malcolm laughed, so Julius knew it hadn’t been truly painful. “Fucking flap on the end stings, but it’s the braid that’ll do the work.”

“Likely to break the skin if I’m not careful.”

Malcolm took his hands down from the bedpost without asking permission. Julius raised an eyebrow. He came over and took the whip from Julius and turned it over in his hands. “Yeah. You ever do that to a man? Draw blood?”

“Once.” Julius smiled to himself. “At a club once. I had a mind to swing a bullwhip and a fellow there wanted to be whipped to blood. It was a, a rush. Never experienced anything quite like it since. Simply amazing. Never caught his name, but he was a handsome man. All muscle. Stoic. Completely silent until I drew blood, then made the most amazing sounds. Had him up on a St Andrew’s cross.”

“Yeah?” Malcolm said, and there was something odd in his voice, but Julius was wrapped up in the memory of that night. He’d had sex with the man afterward, overwhelmed by the flood of emotion and the urge to care for his partners that always overmastered him after he’d inflicted pain on them. He’d wondered once or twice in the days following if he ought to have asked the man’s name, but it had been a passing whim. Quite a hardcore evening, really, one of the more extreme in his experience. Blood-play with a stranger, quite out of character.

Julius took the whip back from Malcolm and ran his hands over it. It was indeed a heavy thing, with a sharpness to the edges of the strands, more vicious than he’d quite anticipated. Perhaps a whip for a stouter target than Malcolm.

“I think I shall use this to leash you only. It’s too risky to use it for anything but the most severe punishment.”

“You think so?” And there was an odd emotion in that that made Julius look over at Malcolm.

“Yes. Best to stick with the strap.”

Malcolm was on him in the next second, completely shocking him. He’d kicked Julius’s legs out from under him and had him on the floor. Julius struggled, but he was pinned. Malcolm was kneeling on his arms with his hand on his throat. His pet had him pinned and Julius had no idea why.

“Let me up at once! I insist!”

“Fuck you! Fuck you, Nicholson! It belongs to me, right? Me!”

“What? What are you talking about?”

“That look on your face when you tell that fucking story. When you think about whipping somebody to blood you’re gonna fucking think about me, you hear?”


“You’re mine. That fucking look on your face belongs to me, not to some cunt whose name you never bothered to learn. You fucking cunt!”

Malcolm ripped at his shirt. Buttons flew. Before Julius could yell Malcolm had sunk his teeth into his neck, just under the line of his jaw. It was no love bite. Julius’s arms were free now, so he shoved Malcolm away.

“Ow! Malcolm! What’s come over you?”

“Have I fucking done enough to deserve it yet? Do I have to bite you again?”

“Deserve what?”

And he bit in again. Julius found himself quite unconsciously baring his neck for it in submission. Malcolm growled. A wolf, Julius thought, uselessly, he was acting like the wolf he’d been told he was. He was doing exactly as he’d been asked to do. And that meant Julius had to fight him. He was expecting it.

Wrestling. Yes, he’d done this. Julius tensed under him and writhed. Malcolm had shifted himself so he could bite and was vulnerable. A moment of struggle, of shoving at each other, wild grunting, and then Julius flipped them over and was on top. He straddled Malcolm’s waist and shoved him flat.

Malcolm pushed against him for one long moment and then collapsed back. He stretched his arms over his head with his palms up. Utter submission from him, in a complete flip from the moment before. What the merry hell was going on? He was breathing hard. So was Julius. And if he confessed it, he was harder now than he’d been before the fight.

“What was that for?” Julius said.

“What do you want? Please tell me. Fucking be honest, yeah? What do you want out of this relationship?”

Julius released his grip on Malcolm’s shoulders and sat up. Malcolm remained where he was, palms up. He wanted honesty. Honesty. Malcolm would ask the difficult questions, wouldn’t he? Usually far more obscenely than that. What did Julius want? That was complicated, wasn’t it? No. In the end it was easy. Nothing mattered to him more than making Malcolm happy. But why?

Julius said, “I want you. All of you.”

“I’m yours.”

“Are you?”

“Yeah. Yeah, I’m fucking yours. I let you put a fucking collar on me. Julz. I–Shit. Are you fucking mine, though?”

Malcolm covered his eyes with a hand. Julius said nothing, just stroked his bare shoulder. The collar was stark around his neck. It changed how he looked somehow, to see that on him, Julius’s collar around his neck. All of Malcolm. He had all of Malcolm. Did Malcolm have all of Julius? Did he know he had all of Julius?

The strokes Julius had just delivered had been playful, experimental. They wouldn’t inspire the kind of deep soul-baring opening Malcolm needed. Malcolm needed–no, honesty here-- Julius needed more than that tonight. He needed to prove to them both that Malcolm was his and that he was Malcolm’s. He would always be there for him, holding him, giving him what he needed however tender or however brutal. He’d put a collar with his monogram on the man, a man who would never consent to be owned by anyone else. They both deserved something to mark the occasion. They both deserved what they both craved.

“Malc.” The short version of his name, which Julius never used. But he used it now. “Malc. Darling.”

“What.” He sounded defeated.

“You’re quite right.”

Malcolm pulled his hands away from his face and stared up at him. “I am?”

“That look belongs to you. I belong to you.”


“I put that collar on you. It means something to me. I owe you my, my–my attention as your master. My fidelity. My love.”

“Your love?”

“Yes,” Julius said. “My love.” That admission had been a long time coming, but of course it was true. It had been true since their first weeks together. Since Malcolm had first had the courage to confess to Julius what he longed for.

“Fuck. Julz.”

“I’m going to whip you to blood with your dog whip. So we both remember this night. The night you consented to wear my collar. I want you to have a memory to cherish. Because I love you.”

“To blood?”

“To blood.” If he could work up the nerve to do it. But the sting in his neck where Malcolm had bitten him was there to goad him to it. The sting and the look on Malcolm’s face, so complicated and intense.

“Chain me. Julius. Chain me up. So I don’t disgrace myself.”

“Of course.”

Julius released Malcolm and stood up. He found the leather cuffs from the bedside drawer and buckled around Malcolm’s outstretched wrists. There was a chain in the same drawer, which they used occasionally, along with a carabiner that he used to fasten the cuffs together. Julius stood on a chair and reached up to the hook set in one of the ceiling beams just for this purpose. He shortened it by a few links, and again, until Malcolm was stretched out on his toes.

Julius held the whip up to Malcolm’s lips. He kissed it, then kissed Julius’s fingers. What did that look on his face mean? It was such a strange look for Malcolm. No rage, no resistance, just a mysterious distance. He had retreated into himself somewhere.

“I’m going to take a few practice strokes before I whip you in earnest. Then I will give you three strokes hard enough to break the skin. So you know what to expect.”

Malcolm swallowed and looked away from him. Julius understood, then.

“Are you afraid, darling?”

“Always. Every fucking time.”

“Will you be brave for me?”

“I-- Julius. Kiss me.”

The words were demanding but his face was pleading. Julius kissed him, a long tender kiss. Malcolm’s eyes were closed but Julius could not look away from him. Lovely face, tears on his cheeks even though the whipping was yet to come. So open he was, so pliant, so yielding, as if he’d already been whipped. Julius let himself savor it, then pulled away. Stepped back, around, behind him.

Such a fragile-looking man he was, bound like this. Nothing to him, no muscle at all. Narrow shoulders, ribs visible, pale skin. He marked easily. His skin would break easily. And yet Julius knew that Malcolm would despise him if he shrank from the task. As ever. Malcolm demanded that he not shrink from his responsibility. He was half hard, as always when he was waiting to be whipped. Malcolm needed this. Needed it regularly. Needed Julius’s steady hand on the whip, needed his judgement about when to use it, when to hold back. When not to hold back in the least. Malcolm. So fierce and so intense in everything that he did. He demanded the best from Julius. He would get the best from him.

Julius shook the whip out. Thick at his end of it, thinner at the end where the braids split for the wrist loop, and then there was the tag on the end that could be quite devastating. But it was the weight that would do it.

He raised it and struck, aiming for the left shoulder. Malcolm gasped. Yes, this whip was brutal. Julius would need to be careful with it. No hesitation, however, but another stroke, this time across the right. And again, finding a rhythm. Malcolm whimpered, even though this was just the warmup.

He had a sense of the weight now, and how it moved when he swung. He was now confident that he could hit what he aimed for and that he would not injure Malcolm any more than Malcolm wished to be injured.

That urge to talk, to give a little speech, was on him. Julius bit his tongue. Nothing more than fear from him. Fear about what he was to do. He remembered that night at the club, the joy with which he’d swung the bullwhip. Malcolm deserved that now. He deserved to own that corner of Julius’s heart.

He certainly owned the rest of it.

Julius raised his arm and struck as hard as he dared. It was a shocking noise in the quiet of the bedroom, the thud of the whip and the strangled cry from Malcolm. Then came the creak of the chain and then another sound from Malcolm, a word that Julius could not make out. Julius watched him swing for an instant, catch himself. He stepped closer to look at Malcolm’s back: the whip had left a livid weal, already red, but the skin was intact. Well. Courage, Nicholson, courage.

Wait for Malcolm to catch his breath, wait for the second wave of pain to wash over him and claim him. Count out seconds. Do it now.

“Count to three for me now, pet,” Julius said. Malcolm shuddered and went still.

Julius struck. Malcolm cried out, lost his footing, and hung from the chain. Julius stepped in again and steadied him. Yes, oh yes, there it was: across his left shoulder a break, blood beading on his skin. He was trembling at the end of the chain and his ribs were wet with sweat. Julius stroked his face. Tears, lovely tears on that face, streaming from those lovely blue eyes.

“Count, pet.”

“One. Thank you, sir.”

Julius gave him a kiss in reward, then let go.

Left shoulder again or right? No, he would stay with the left; it was easier to be sure the lash went where he wanted it.

Julius screwed up his courage to the pitch, and struck even harder. Not quite a scream, but something close, and then his name repeated until Julius came in close to hold him and kiss him.

“Two, sir. Oh God, Julz.”

Julius kissed him again. Yes, there it was, the utter surrender that the both of them craved. Blood on Malcolm’s back, tears on his face, sweat on his chest, and he had achieved that which he longed for.

“One more, darling. You okay? Can you take it?”

“You love me?”

“Yes, darling, I love you.”

“Yeah, I can take it. Do it.”

Step back, raise the whip again, and this time swing with all his strength, all his heart and courage behind it, all his love in that one brutal moment, and yes, there it was, a full-throated scream from Malcolm, choked off, and then Malcolm was calling his name. Julius flung the whip down and caught him around the waist, held him up. He was whimpering but the look on his face was triumphant. Up on the chair again, unclip his cuffs, hold him tight, ease him to the floor. Malcolm curled up around himself shivering. Julius stroked his hair, his unmarked shoulder.

“Darling,” Julius said. “Pet. My brave pet.”

Malcolm reached up and touched his bleeding shoulder, winced, and looked at his fingers. He licked at them. “Yeah,” he said, and his voice was slurry. “You fucking did it. Fucking mine now.”

“I’m yours now, yes, darling. And I’m going to take you right now, on the floor.”

Malcolm nodded and licked at his fingers again.

Julius stripped himself as rapidly as he could, dropping his clothing where he stood. He found a condom in the bedside drawer, rolled it on. Smeared lubricant over himself. He was impatient, but he couldn’t allow himself to hurt Malcolm again tonight. Not with the blood still bright on his back.

Malcolm was on his side, one leg pulled up. Julius pushed the tip of his penis into him. Malcolm gasped. Julius rocked his hips, working his way further in. Malcolm pushed back against him. Tight, so tight right now, but opening for him slowly. He was whimpering quietly with each thrust. It had to be hurting him, but it would pass. It was passing already. Julius could feel him relaxing, feel his erection returning.

“How does it feel, darling?”

“Fucking good. You feel good. Always do. Love taking your cock.”

“Do you think you can come after that?” Malcolm was hard in his hand, but that wasn’t always enough after an intense experience–no, phrase it properly. After that much pain.

Malcolm said, “Yeah. I can. Want to.”

“I want you to come for me, while I’m making love to you. Let it happen when you’re ready. Okay?”

“Don’t let go of me, Julz, just–”

“I’ve got you. Pet.”

Julius took him in hand and stroked in time with his thrusts, that is to say, slowly, steadily, deeply. He’d whipped Malcolm as hard as he could. He’d made a man scream. He’d made a man he loved scream. There were three livid stripes across Malcolm’s back where the whip had broken the skin. It was unbelievably arousing, those little beads of bright blood, the way they smeared across his back under Julius’s fingers. Julius had long since known peace with the insight that he was a sadist, that he loved inflicting pain on men who loved receiving pain. He knew now that he couldn’t do it casually again. Never again would he whip a man who didn’t need him. Not just the whip, but him.

“God, Malcolm, are you mine?”

“Yeah, I’m yours. Your pet. Fucking belong to you now.”

“Say it again.”

“I’m your pet. Your pup. Your wolf. Oh, Julz. Fuck. Feels so good, you fuckin’ me.”

And then his breath was coming fast and he was pushing himself back onto Julius, which meant he was close, so Julius stroked him harder, faster. He was there, his head back, that choked-off cry he always made, and he was coming over Julius’s hand, onto his own belly, and tightening around Julius’s penis, tightening and shuddering. The feeling of a man coming around him, so lovely.

He rolled Malcolm onto his face and drove into him hard and fast, seeking his own pleasure now. Friction, a mere mindless urge for friction, for the deepest penetration he could find. A hand on Malcolm’s shoulder, on that bleeding broken flesh, pushing him down into the carpet. Cover him, mount him, dominate him. The sound of his hips slapping Malcolm’s buttocks, of Malcolm moaning underneath him, of his own breathing. And then Julius was coming at last, coming deep inside Malcolm’s body.

Afterward, of course, Julius was all tender solicitous care and Malcolm was all pliant submission. It was their way, what they each sought from the experience. He was shakier than usual, perhaps, more clinging. Julius wrapped him up warm in a robe and helped him drink Lucozade until he stopped shivering. He declined to unlock the collar, and he kept two fingers hooked into the ring as much as possible. Malcolm was his, now, and he would not let go.

He was forced to let go when they were in the shower together, however, and it was time to wash Malcolm’s wounds. Nothing serious, nothing terrible, no scarring likely with proper care, but it was still shocking to see on him. Malcolm himself was deeply impressed by them. Julius held a hand mirror so he could see his back in the wall mirror.


“You’re beautiful.”

“I need,” Malcolm said, “a less sodding painful way to prove myself to you. Couldn’t you fucking get off on tickling me instead of whipping me?”

The whipping was entirely the choice of Malcolm’s complicated, tangled psyche, not that Julius chose to say that out loud. What he said was, “I am, in your words, a kinky cunt, and these things require ritual. Hold still while I put some antiseptic on it.”

Malcolm swore when he did it, but stood still for it. Antiseptic, gauze taped across the wounds, and that would do for the night. Now to tend to himself. Julius tipped his head to the side and touched the bite marks gingerly. The mirror told him that they were quite high on his neck, just under the corner of his jaw. They would go septic if he didn’t tend to them. Malcolm had drawn blood as well. A blood ritual for them both. Well, that was fitting.

He reached for the tube on the counter.

“Let me do that,” Malcolm said, and he took the antiseptic away from Julius. Julius hissed in pain as Malcolm’s fingers dabbed it on. “Candy-arse. I hardly broke the skin.”

“It’s going to be visible tomorrow unless I cover it up. Perhaps a turtleneck.”

“You will do no such fuckin’ thing,” Malcolm said, and he bit at Julius’s neck again, gently, but just hard enough that Julius tensed up against him. Malcolm held Julius’s gaze in the mirror for a long moment, until Julius nodded his concession. Malcolm released him with a little shove.

Julius had adopted a wolf indeed. Well, he was in for it now.

First Time

And with that, Julius had saved Malcolm’s job.

It wasn’t that Julius was smug; well, he was smug, but that wasn’t the half of it. He was smug and pleased with himself, and he knew that Malcolm Tucker was the sort of man who’d remember that he owed Julius a debt and would pay it off when it most mattered. Because politics were politics, but Malcolm had always had a strange sort of uprightness to him, a moral spine well-hidden under the jacket of profanity and obscenity. And indeed, Malcolm had rather the response Julius had hoped for: more. He smiled at Julius, outright grinned, and said, “If I weren’t a heterosexual man, I’d kiss you.”

A moment’s pause, long enough for Julius to regret the truth of that statement, not for the first time. Then Malcolm said, “Fortunately, I’m not.”

And then Malcolm was up, moving across the room faster than Julius might have credited, and he laid a hand on Julius’s chest. And then Malcolm kissed him, actually kissed him. Julius’s first reaction was shock, and his second was to pull Malcolm in close, open his mouth, and thrust his tongue. Malcolm let him in, again to Julius’s utter shock, and the next minutes were beyond delightful. Surprising, yes, but Julius was not about to allow his surprise to interfere with the pleasure. Malcolm had always interested him, always challenged him, always tempted him, and now he was clutching at Julius’s shirt and his eyes were closed and they were kissing as passionately as two men could kiss.

When Julius next allowed himself to draw breath, he found he had the Communications Director for his political party pushed back against the wall, with a knee pressed firmly between his thighs. Tucker himself had a hand inside Julius’s coat, against his bare back, because his shirt had somehow escaped his trousers. Madness! Security cameras, people in the next room, the sounds of conversation as people left the offices for the evening.

He broke away and laid two fingers against Malcolm’s lips. “Steady on,” he murmured. “Hardly the place.”

Malcolm’s head fell back against the wall, then he seemed to snap back to himself. “Sorry about that, didn’t mean to–”

“Nothing to apologize for,” Julius said, and he straightened Malcolm’s tie for him. “I didn’t know you were – That is, I’d thought you’d been married. To a woman.”

“Bisexual men exist,” was all Malcolm said, and he shrugged. Then he looked Julius full on and raised an eyebrow. It was a challenge, and Julius had a mind to meet it.

He said, “Let’s take this elsewhere. Come to mine. I’ll make us some dinner, and we can see what happens.”

Malcolm rubbed at his nose. “Yeah, hardly the place, yeah. Okay.” And he smirked at Julius. Another challenge, another little push at him, from a man who’d just been bested, who’d just had cause to be groveling. Well, Tucker had always been and would always be a challenge, and that would be what intrigued Julius about him.

Julius took a moment to text his assistant, and his car had been summoned. He took another moment to text his houseboy to warn him that he would have a guest and needed some light, cold supper laid out followed by discretion for the evening. Malcolm, meanwhile, was engaged in some ebullient banter with his own assistant in the outer office. Julius tucked his shirttails back into his trousers, re-knotted his tie, then followed Tucker out. They made their way to the curb in silence, but a silence lightened by the smirking neither one of them could entirely contain. They were going to have sex, almost certainly. What sort of sex, Julius could not predict. He was flexible enough, given incentive, to enjoy almost anything, though he did have his preferences. What would Malcolm Tucker like? A bisexual man, a man who’d been known to enjoy a fling or two at party conferences with partners who did not complain afterward – women exclusively, as far as Julius knew, and apparently Julius didn’t know anything, because Malcolm hadn’t been the least bit shy about letting another man grope him.

Surprises abounded, apparently.

They were at Julius’s curb, and out of the car, a work of thanks to his most wonderful PA, and up the steps. Through his front door. Julius shot the bolt then turned and met Malcolm’s gaze. He raised an eyebrow. They were on each other in the next instant, back in that delicious, delightful embrace they’d been in whilst in Malcolm’s office, Julius’s tongue delightfully in Malcolm’s accepting mouth. God, but the man could kiss. Those kisses were a challenge, they were so deep and soft and hard and intense and complicated. How could kisses be complicated? Mouth against mouth, tongue in mouth, what more was there? But Malcolm Tucker apparently put his entire self into his kisses, and Julius was set back on his heels by them. The intensity of the man! Did he do everything with the same frantic energy that he brought to his job? Apparently.

And then Malcolm broke away from their embrace and went to his knees, to Julius’s utter surprise, and grasped his hips, mouthed Julius through his trousers.

“Can I? May I fucking suck you off?”

“I want to say yes, but–”

Malcolm rocked back away from him. “But?”

“I’d rather make love with you tonight, if that’s the sort of thing you enjoy.”

“You mean fucking.” A little bit of a snarl, from Malcolm, though he was still on his knees before Julius.

“I indeed do. Would you like to?”

Julius reached down a hand. Malcolm took it and stood. Such intensity in his gaze, in those terrifying blue eyes on Julius. Malcolm was studying him, considering his answer. Why the hesitation? “Yeah. Let’s fuck.”

“Do you have a preference about how you like to, as you say, fuck?”

“I’m, uh, a bottom,” Malcolm said, and he wasn’t looking at Julius when he said it. A trifle embarrassed by his preference? Or was he hinting at something more than his desire to be receptive? But the hesitation was now explained.

“Fortuitous,” Julius said. “I strongly prefer topping. In many senses.” His own hint, dropped carefully, and Malcolm raised his eyes to Julius and then his ears turned red. Ah, lovely, very good. Julius would, however, wait until they had a firmer relationship established before pursuing this matter further.

Upstairs, to his bedroom, which Malcolm observed with merely a raised eyebrow, and then they were upon each other again. Now they could pull shirt tails from trousers, undo ties, toss jackets aside, and pay no heed to anything other than the need to touch bare skin, to tumble each other onto the bed, to touch bare bodies and commence that single-minded pursuit of closeness, of union, of orgasm.

Such a bundle of wire Malcolm was, live wire, coiled and sparking and dangerous in Julius’s arms. Oh, yes, Julius felt electricity running through him when they kissed, curling his toes, making the hair on the back of his neck stand on end. Nothing to the man, when you got him out of his clothes, just sinew and strain and a penis that fit wonderfully in Julius’s hand. A little tang of sweat, of soap, the musky taste of a penis at seven o’clock after a long day of work. Julius’s fingers explored lower down, rolled those heavy balls, slid between and inside, and Malcolm spread his thighs wide to allow Julius within. His hips were moving slowly, his cock resting heavy on Julius’s tongue, and the little moan told Julius it was time to shift. The moan, and his own eagerness to discover what the man was like spread out beneath him, penetrated, opened, exposed.

Julius selected a condom from the stock in his bedside drawer, and Malcolm put it on for him, fussing a bit over his foreskin. He took a good handful from the jar of slick and spread it over Julius’s penis. Lovely sight, Malcolm’s delicate hands, with those long fingers, wrapped around him, doing the work of preparing him.

Then Malcolm was on his back, with his legs spread wide, and Julius kneeling over him.

“Hook your legs over my shoulders,” Julius said, and Malcolm obeyed, with a little help.

There it was, Malcolm’s arse, and the tip of his penis against it. Malcolm was looking down at his body, at his hand on his own penis, and he was biting his lip. Anticipation, most likely, and Julius shared it. He let himself linger in this moment, the moment in which he was about to take Malcolm Tucker, possess him, the wild wolf of Whitehall, the savage bully, laid out vulnerable before him.

And he was inside. Malcolm made a sound that made Julius curl his toes with joy. He wanted this. He wanted Julius. How had that happened?

Ease out a little, then in again. Malcolm was opened but not fully, and he was tight around Julius. Deliciously tight, deliciously resistant to penetration, yet begging Julius to get on with it, to take him. Julius made himself go more slowly than he wanted. In a little bit deeper every time, out and then easing in again, while Malcolm screwed up his eyes and clutched Julius’s fingers. Push in, feel him squeeze back, slide out, listen to him exhale.

Malcolm’s hand moved on his own prick, too quickly. He’d end it too soon at that rate.

Julius laid a hand over Malcolm’s. “Stop.”

“Stop touching myself?”

“I’ll bring you off later,” Julius said. “Right now I want you to pay attention to what this feels like.”

“Yeah, okay, okay,” Malcolm said, and he let go of himself. “Pushy top.”

“Pushy bottom.”

“Better make it worth my while. I haven’t been fucked in years.”


“Something like,” Malcolm said, and that was evasion if Julius had ever heard it.

“Tell me how it feels.”

“Fucking talk a lot, don’t you.”

“Tell me.”

Malcolm closed his eyes and shook his head, but he answered Julius anyway. “You’re big. Big cock. Hurts a wee bit but feels fucking good. Fucking good to be fucked.”

“You like the way it feels?”

“Christ, yeah. Haven’t done this in ages and forgot how much I fucking love it. Being filled. Feeling somebody move inside me.”

Julius bit his lip and slid himself almost all the way out, then pushed inside him again slowly, oh so slowly. Held himself all the way inside, savored it, and then out again. Julius didn’t mind being taken, but it wasn’t something he particularly craved the way Malcolm seemed to. He was a bottom, he’d said, and he certainly was behaving like one. He was making the most lovely sounds.

Julius said, “Is this pace good for you?”

“Slow, yeah, make it last. Yeah. Julius – please. Fucking need to tug myself here.”

“Do whatever you like so long as it’s slow. I don’t want you coming before I do.”

“Fuck you, Julius, fuck you and your giant fucking cock!”

But Malcolm didn’t touch himself and Julius quietly rejoiced, because that meant his suspicion had been right, and Malcolm was interested in something a little spicier than vanilla sex. Not that there was anything wrong with vanilla, with the missionary position, because it felt lovely and because Julius had always been a little bit turned on by Malcolm, by the delight of arguing with him, by the puzzle of him, by the hints that there was something behind the cover of the obscenities. And here he was, buried deep inside Malcolm’s body, watching his face, seeing with his own eyes what being penetrated did to him. The sheen of sweat on his brow, on his chest, the flush on his face. The way he closed his eyes when Julius penetrated him deeply, the little moan that escaped him as Julius pulled out again. So delicious, this, so exciting.

He let himself luxuriate in it, take his time with it, since Malcolm was enjoying it so much. No need to rush to completion. Instead Julius let himself take his time, moving inside this complicated fascinating man, this bitter, biting man who’d shocked him so by kissing him sweetly. Malcolm Tucker, moaning underneath him, pushing back against him, oh so wonderful.

When his orgasm was near, Julius let himself pursue it without restraint. Malcolm loved being taken, he’d said, and he wouldn’t mind if it Julius let himself go, if he moved hard and fast, taking what he needed, sweet friction, oh yes, there it was, the moment of inevitability, the moment when he knew it was going to happen. And then it was happening, he was emptying himself into Malcolm’s body, glorious glorious orgasm.

When he came to himself again, Malcolm had him held close, and the look on his face was strange.

“What?” Julius said. “What does that expression mean?”

“Now I know what you look like when you come,” Malcolm said.


“Never going to forget it.”

“Do you want to?”

“No. Julius–” His face was as earnest as Julius had ever seen it in that moment.


But Malcolm shook his head and his face changed back into that lip-curled smirk. Whatever he had been about to say, he’d thought better of it. “I haven’t come yet.”

“Not yet.”

“You fucking better make it worth my while, Nicholson.”

“Manners,” Julius murmured, then stopped his mouth with a kiss. He would make it worth Malcolm’s while. He would give the man what he sought, whatever that was. His right hand was on Malcolm’s penis, well-slicked, and his left behind Malcolm’s head, pulling him in for a long kiss. Kiss and stroke and hold him close, pay attention to what made him moan, what he responded to. Tucker was a man, like other men, but he was also himself. What Julius meant by that thought, he wasn’t sure, but it was the core of it. Malcolm the man was in his arms, Malcolm the unique human being. He wasn’t bedding merely the slavering rabid wolf of Whitehall: he was bedding the human being. But then, didn’t one always? Any man he’d ever taken to bed had been a complex, complicated, tangled thing. Why did this one man intrigue him so?

Malcolm made a sound Julius had not heard from him before, and this snapped his attention back to the physical realities. He was stroking a man off; he ought to pay attention to that.

Julius said, “Is this good?”

“Feels like you’re still inside me.”

“Do you like that?”

“Fuck, yes. Wish you were. Fucking me hard like that, God, it was fucking fantastic. Didn’t want it to end.”

“Think about me inside you. Moving, penetrating you, deep.”


Malcolm was moving against him, pushing himself into Julius’s closed palm. His breathing was rough and his face flushed.

“Fuck, Julius, can’t hold out – gonna–”

“Go ahead,” Julius whispered. “Let go for me. Do it for me.”

And Malcolm was there, head thrown back, eyes screwed shut. He had forgotten himself utterly in the moment of orgasm. Julius had never seem him so unguarded, so open, so languid. A little smile on his lips, a little sigh, and he was curling himself into Julius’s embrace, heedless of the mess on his stomach and Julius’s hands, burrowing his face against Julius’s neck. He had an armful of boneless, whimpering Scotsman: the fearful Tucker was a soulful sweet post-orgasmic mess who wanted to be kissed and cuddled and crooned to. Now this, this Julius could not have predicted, and he was delighted beyond words to have discovered it. He’d bedded Malcolm Tucker, and learned who the man was, and the secret truth would forever please him.

They showered together afterward, languid and affectionate, with a lot of slow kissing. Julius wrapped Malcolm in one of his robes, and left him to relax in the bedroom while Julius nipped down to the kitchen to do something about their skipped dinner. His houseboy, Gavin, had done as requested and laid out a cold repast: Cheese and fruit on a board, a bit of charcuterie. To this Julius added some sparkling water and a pair of glasses. He had never seen Malcolm drink, and he did not know whether that was accidental or deliberate avoidance. Best not to push the matter until he’d had an opportunity to ask.

Upstairs again, to find Malcolm sitting in the armchair Julius read in at night, thumbing through the history of nineteenth century Prussia he’d been reading, the rise of Bismarck and all that. He looked oddly small in the fluffy bulk of Julius’s robe.

“Started to worry you’d skipped,” Malcolm said.

“From my own – ah, yes, you jest.”

Malcolm’s mouth quirked. “I found your pornography. You’re a kinky cunt. And worse, into fuckin’ Germany on its way up.” He gestured with the book toward a stack of related works.

Julius set the tray onto the ottoman that sat before his armchair. “It’s more Europe in the nineteenth century in general. Doing a bit of reading on the rise of nationalism, as background for current larger trends. Le Pen concerns me.”

“Ah,” Malcolm said. And then, “I’m not so interested in the grand patterns of history. Got my mind on the little men. The people nobody notices. The woman in a Glasgow tenement who wants her education, you know? Don’t care about Bismarck or those shites.”

“I know,” Julius said, but it was a bit of a lie, because he hadn’t understood what moved Malcolm Tucker. And still did not, entirely. And wasn’t that the true attraction, here? He longed to know what wound the clockwork inside this man, the snarling wolf who tore out the throats of the careless and unwary. The wolf who wagged his tail here and now, in Julius’s bedroom, as Julius set the dinner tray before them and tucked himself into the armchair along with him. There was room for two, after all, if the two did not mind intimacy.

Julius pulled a wine-dark grape from the bunch and held it out to Malcolm. He held Julius’s gaze for a long moment, smiled, and ate the grape from Julius’s fingers. Julius let his thumb trail across Malcolm’s lips. Stubble on his chin, smile lines around his mouth and eyes – Malcolm had a life that was not entirely about shouting at people, it seemed. And in that moment, Julius knew. He knew what he wanted. He knew he could not let this rest.

He said, “Stay the night.”

Malcolm looked away from him, and Julius couldn’t read his expression. “Not sure why.”

“Because I’d like to do this again in the morning.”

A smile, then, a little thing, but it made Julius feel wonderful to know he’d coaxed it from Malcolm. “Yeah, okay. That’d be – Yeah.”

“I have a suspicion that we are, well, simpatico, and I’d like to explore it.”

Malcolm’s eyebrow went up. “Simpatico,” he said, but he did not disagree.

“And I’d like to give you the experience you wanted tonight, of climaxing while I penetrate you.”

Malcolm’s lip curled. “Do you ever talk like a fucking human being?”

“My contention is that I’m the one who talks like a human, and you’re the one who talks as if you’ve been – how does Terri put it – raised by wolves.” But nonetheless, Julius knew Malcolm had agreed to stay, and his chest ached, rather. Well. He was for it, then, wasn’t he.

The Flu

Flu? A bad cold? Whatever name you cared to give it, the fact was that Malcolm was in bed and likely to remain so for the next few days. He had, in Julius’s opinion, been felled by overwork and an ill-advised walk around Whitehall in the rain (lecturing a miserable new man from Culture the while). That is to say, he’d been felled by his own pig-headed refusal to take Julius’s advice to rest. It would be an order next time, not advice. Nothing to be done about it now, of course, but care for him.

Malcolm had enough energy to mutter about not needing a fuss, but Julius gave him no choice about it. Fussing over Malcolm was one of the greatest pleasures of their relationship, and he was not of a mind to stint himself. Julius tucked him up in their wide bed, under more blankets than Malcolm wanted, the houseboy under instructions to keep him supplied with tea with lemon and honey. Because he was ill, Julius relaxed the rule about nudity in bed and dressed Malcolm himself in his own flannel pajamas, which were too long in the leg but served their purpose.

Malcolm was half-asleep when Julius left for his day in Whitehall. He texted Sam on his way in to let her know where her charge was, and to instruct her to cancel his appointments for the next two days. It was a rather obnoxious day as a result, for when Malcolm was gone the less intelligent politicians did tend to run wild, rather. Julius did not have the same command of MacDonald that Malcolm did, and was unable (as usual) to enlist him in terrorizing the stupidest of them as efficiently as Malcolm would have done. Malcolm was rather good at his job, when he was well-slept and well-fed and feeling steady. When he wasn’t, he could be a walking disaster, and that wasn’t good for the nation. Or for Malcolm. Or for Julius’s calm repose.

Well, if MacDonald didn’t manage it, Malcolm would have his hide later. No skin off Julius’s nose. He wiped his hands of the matter and settled in for some rather enjoyable conversations with people in London’s tech industry about their wishes for more support from Whitehall, and some truly clever ideas they had about how. Thus Julius ended the day in a good mood.

On his way home he stopped in at Malcolm’s favorite local Chinese restaurant-- well, his own favorite, one which Malcolm didn’t mind-- for some soup for Malcolm and a bit of lamb in a black bean sauce for himself.

Julius switched on the bedside lamp. “You awake, darling?”

“Julz. Hey. Yeah. What’s the time?” His voice was scratchy.

“Just gone seven.”

“Fuck me.”

Malcolm sat up and rubbed a hand over his face. Julius sat down on the bed and touched a hand to his forehead. Cooler than it had been in the morning.

“How are you feeling?”

“Fucking awful.”

“Up for some dinner? I brought you some hot and sour soup.”

“Hurts to fucking swallow.”

“Can hot it up for you any time. Do you mind if I eat sitting here with you or should I take it down to the kitchen?”

“Stay. Been fucking on my own all day.”

Julius sat on the bed with carton and fork in hand. Malcolm, to his surprise, shifted in bed so he was pressed up against Julius’s side. He seemed to doze off while Julius ate, and came awake again when he went to dispose of the carton and wash his hands. He was sitting up, propped against a mountain of pillows, when Julius rejoined him.

Julius sat down on the bed next to him and raised an arm. Malcolm immediately ducked under it for a cuddle. He looked adorable, if pathetic, like this: hair sticking out all over, unshaven chin gleaming silver and bronze in the lamplight. Not that he liked it when Julius referred to his graying hair. Julius smoothed down his hair and turned down the collar of his pajamas.

“Fever sweats are fucking strange,” Malcolm said to him. “Smell strange. Feel strange on your skin.”

“Would you feel better if you bathed?”

Malcolm pushed his face into Julius’s shoulder. “Don’t want to move.”

“All right, darling, no need to move.”

“Why the fuck do you call me that anyway?” Malcolm was muttering into Julius’s shoulder, but Julius could hear the uncertainty in his voice clearly nonetheless. He was going through another of his self-loathing fits again, apparently.

“Because I want to.”

“You do whatever you want, you tendentious poof. The question at hand is why you want to.”

Julius considered the top of Malcolm’s head. “What have I said about homophobic slurs?”

Malcolm sighed. “Reserve them for that mincing cunt Reeder.”

“Not quite, but close enough.”


“You are not, but we’ll discuss that another time.”

Julius let his hand slip under the hem of the pajama shirt and stroke up Malcolm’s bare back. His skin was warm to the touch. Still running a fever, though not as badly as he’d been in the morning. Malcolm shifted and got his arm around Julius’s waist and a leg over Julius’s thighs. He was clinging like a limpet. That together with the uncertainty meant he was in need of more reassurance than usual. Being ill took him this way, perhaps.

“What do you need, darling?” Julius said. “Herbal tea? Something for your throat?”

“Lost the Strepcils somewhere earlier today. Find them for me?”

A pathetic note in that, pleading ever so slightly. Julius found it touching rather than maddening. The box was on the nightstand, atop a copy of yesterday’s Guardian, but he forbore to point it out. He merely handed one to Malcolm, who tucked it into his cheek and sighed.

“Certain you don’t need a doctor?”

“Just a cold, Julz. Don’t lose the fucking plot.”

“Right, then. Shift for a moment, would you, darling? I’d like to take my shoes off.”

He did so, grumbling a little. Julius smiled to himself. Shoes off, tie undone, reading glasses on-- time to catch up on what he’d meant to do with his afternoon. Julius sat against the headboard with stack of reports in hand. Malcolm slid down even further in the bed, with his head in Julius’s lap. First report, a bloody awful thing on the effects of the Greek crisis on EU employment trends, which was something Julius did rather need to understand so that he could write a précis for bloody Tom. Sometimes he thought Malcolm was right about him, and the party ought to move on before the populace did, but Malcolm was always more aggressive about these things than Julius was entirely comfortable with. He adjusted his glasses and set thoughts of Malcolm aside to concentrate.

When he looked down to check on Malcolm, some time later, he’d fallen asleep. His hand, with those long fingers, was tucked in Julius’s trouser pocket. Why? There was nothing in the pocket. It was warm, perhaps. Or it let Malcolm get closer to him. Bloody endearing frustrating man.

Bite Deep

In the end Julius did not chain Malcolm to the end of the bed, which Malcolm wasn’t going to complain about. He was too sore and too exhausted to want to sleep on the floor. His left shoulder was throbbing in time with his heartbeat and hot to the touch. His body was sore, every bit of it. His legs, from crawling. His arse, pleasurably, from Julius taking him with such uncontrolled intensity. His back and shoulder, both sting and ache. The lash-marks had been almost frightening in the mirror. He’d be bruised in the morning. He’d feel it every moment of the day. The idea of it-- the ache, the warmth, the feeling in his chest. It was almost too much.

It wasn’t the first time he’d been beaten seriously in his fucking inexplicable pursuit of sexual satisfaction, but it was the first time anybody had drawn blood from him. Though maybe that top he’d paid in Berlin, the time he’d first learned what he needed from men, maybe that barrel-cocked silent brute had come close. He still hadn’t told Julius about that incident, or the one in Amsterdam. He would if asked, but fuck him if he’d give Julius enough hints to know to ask.

It was definitely the first time he’d been whipped as an act of love.

Everything felt wonderful, even the things that ached. He had that light floating happy thing that only happened on the nights when Julius was hard on him, when Julius broke him down and helped him put himself together again. Nothing else was like this. Nothing else made him feel like this. Julius, though-- Julius did something to him.

He was not chained at the foot of the bed. No, Julius wanted him next to him, under that ridiculous duvet, naked, collared, and leashed to one of the rings in the headboard. There were rings discreetly placed all around in Julius Nicholson’s bed. It had been one of the first things Malcolm had noticed about it, the first time they’d had sex: first the hardware on the bed and then the cock ring in the drawer with the condoms and the jar of extra-thick slick for arse-fucking. Julius Nicholson was apparently a kinky cunt. Not that he’d mentioned it. Not that Julius had mentioned it, either. One didn’t mention shit like that to one’s partners on the first and likely only go. One fucked or was fucked, gave pleasure and took it, politely overlooked the mess of private life scattered around the bedroom, and took one’s leave gracefully.

Or in this case, didn’t take one’s leave. Instead he’d stayed the night and they’d done it again. And again. Intensely. And now he was tied down to the fucking hardware in that kinky cunt’s bed by the very whip that had flayed his back open, and his solicitous, sadistic, bald top was spooning up behind him. Fucking Lord Nicholson had whipped him hard and fucked him hard. Malcolm Tucker was exhausted, yes, as he’d noted before, sore, fuck yes. It hurt enough that he whimpered a little when Julius pulled him close. His back had looked terrifying in the mirror. Fucking hell, it was going to be awful in the morning. He wouldn’t be able to take his mind off it all day. If he was lucky. If it went as he wanted. His back and shoulder would be constant reminders that Julius had told him he loved him, had found him worthy of wearing Julius’s collar, had decided he deserved to sleep in his bed and not on the floor where pets belonged. Or some shit like that.

They hadn’t worked out the details of how this particular role-play was going to go. Knowing Julius, he had a document drawn up with bullet points.

“Fuck,” Malcolm said, under his breath. He shifted himself a little and adjusted a pillow under his head. Fucking ridiculous pillows. Fucking ridiculous bed.

“Goodnight, my wolf,” Julius said, in a voice that sounded half-asleep already.

“Goodnight, sir,” Malcolm said, and felt that little thrill he always felt when he called Julius that. The thrill of submission. The thrill of handing himself over to Julius, who had rules for him, who knew better than he did how to regulate his fucked-up life. Who was hard on him when he needed it and couldn’t ask.

Had Julius told him he’d loved him? He had. Over and over. And Malcolm hadn’t said it back, unless you counted going to his knees and taking the collar as saying it. Unless you counted taking the whipping as saying it. Which might count, but Julius deserved more. Better. Julius deserved things Malcolm wasn’t sure he had the courage to give. Fuck. He ought to. Even if it doomed them, because-- Fuck. He would never be able to sleep like this, not with this ferment inside him.

When Malcolm opened his eyes, the bedside clock read five AM. His shoulder and back were still sore, but different than they had been the night before. Nothing that a few Nurofen couldn’t sort. Also he was warm, comfortable, and held tight by a man who’d fallen asleep holding him and would, if Malcolm had anything to say about it, wake to find himself still holding him. Nothing wrong with any of that. No, his problem was that he had to fucking piss, and he was tied to the headboard, and yeah, he could untie himself but fuck.

“Julz? Julius? Nicholson, Lord Baldymorte! Wake the fuck up!”

Julius was muzzy headed, but scrubbed a hand over his face and came to himself. “What’s wrong?”

“I need to fucking piss. I’m leashed. And you said-- shit. Julius.”

Julius laughed, actually laughed, then said in that fruity oh-so-fucking-English voice, “Right then, my pet, let’s go for a walk, shall we?”

Sit up in bed, swear when the leash tugged at him, move closer to the headboard, wait. Stand up, then freeze in place at Julius’s clucking. On hands and knees, crawl, stiffly, awkwardly. What a right twat he must look, scrambling across the carpet trying to keep himself from being tugged along by the leash.

Into the toilet, a fucking ridiculous toilet with a ridiculous glassed-in shower cubicle, all mod cons, enema nozzle a custom-installed extra just for minted fruits like Julius. Malcolm remained on hands and knees and wondered if Julius would make him piss in the shower.

“You may stand,” Julius said, and Malcolm let a long breath out.

Julius watched him piss-- not the first time Julius had watched him piss, and not the most humiliating thing Julius had watched him do in this toilet. The shower with the nozzle was the most humiliating thing. Julius didn’t get off on any of that, not exactly. He got off on Malcolm’s reaction. When his face went red and he couldn’t look Julius in the eye but was turned on anyway, that was when Julius’s cock got hard. Julius got off on Malcolm getting off on his own humiliation. Julius got off on Malcolm getting off on being disciplined for disobedience. Julius got off on Malcolm getting off on being whipped until he broke down and cried. Which one of them was the kinky cunt? Yeah, well.

Of course Julius wasn’t going to piss right now, not with Malcolm there. Malcolm flushed, washed his hands, and went back down on hands and knees. Crawl out into the bedroom, crawl up into bed, wait while his master snapped his leash to the bed again, and then climb all over Julius. Malcolm found the bite mark on Julius’s throat, the bite he’d been forced into to get Julius’s attention, and kissed it. Couldn’t resist the urge: he fastened his teeth into the same spot again and worried at it gently. Julius went perfectly still under him, which was what he wanted. He’d read a lot about fucking wolves during the last few weeks, what they were really like. Dogs without the domestication. Wild animals. When you owned one, you had to be ready to struggle with it for dominance every night, because it wanted to be the master. And this was what Julius wanted from him, so it was what he’d do. Bite Julius’s exposed throat, gently, and whimper when Julius stroked a hand down his bruised back, and then relax still sprawled over him, holding him down, yeah, this was the way to spend the hour they had before they had to run the fucking nation.

Malcolm woke a second time in Julius’s arms, and this time he knew they’d have to get up and dressed and to Whitehall. He groaned. He wanted a lie-in. He wanted a long lie-in and coffee in bed and something to take the pain away, because his back fucking hurt. What a fucking head case he was.

Up, shower with Julius, let the fucker wash his hair, since he didn’t have any of his own to wash and Malcolm had a rather magnificent head, thanks. Let the fucker wash the weals over his shoulder again, let him rub in antiseptic and tape down more gauze. Dress, noting as he did that about half his wardrobe was here, in Julius’s closets. Choose a shirt for Julius with his own hands, shirt and tie, just to make sure Julius knew he was serious about showing off that bite.

“Can’t show off the marks you gave me,” Malcolm said, “but you’re showing mine. Or you’re getting another one tonight.”

“No need, darling. It’s well, not done, but for you–”


It was as they descended to the foyer to head out to meet Julius’s driver and depart for their day that Malcolm had a moment of insight he wasn’t sure was welcome. He was walking down the stairs, and Julius was going to take the collar off in another moment, and what was going to happen when he put it on again in the evening? Would he want to do this shit again? Malcolm needed to think first. He needed-- well, not to be walked to piss as a regular thing.



“I need to say something before you take the collar off, okay? So you know I still belong to you even though I’m saying this, yeah?”

Julius tucked two fingers into the ring under Malcolm’s chin and tugged Malcolm over to him. “Go ahead.”

Malcolm rubbed at his jaw with a thumb. He could feel a muscle on the side jumping with tension. Saying this was hard, because Julius had been so turned on by making him crawl, and he knew it. And he had to say it. “The collar is fucking brilliant, so you know that. I will wear it any time you want me to. I’m yours, yeah? I’m your pet. It’s just-- Not sure I like the crawling or playing at being a dog. Not as an every-day thing, yeah? Save it for special occasions. If-- if that’s okay?”

Julius looked serious for a moment, nodded. He touched Malcolm’s lips with his free hand… “Of course it’s okay, darling. Nothing happens here that you don’t want. We haven’t fully negotiated this arrangement yet.”

“Yeah, I know. But I want you to get what you want, too. Don’t want it to be one-sided. I’m a selfish prick, yeah, but–”

“Nonsense. Hush, now, darling. Let me take your collar off.”

Malcolm stood still and suffered Julius to unlock him. Lock, key, and collar all went into a little chest of drawers by the coat rack. He watched them disappear then looked up to see Julius’s eyes on him.

“We’ll negotiate,” he said, and it was a promise.

Out the front door, into the waiting car, coffees ready for them, and off they went, grinding around London toward the seat of power at an average nine miles per hour. Malcolm had read that report the other day, on how the average speed of travel in London hadn’t changed for nearly a hundred years, no matter what the traffic planners did, and it had given him a certain acidic pleasure. Grind and halt, grind and halt. He should be scanning the morning papers to get a head start on the messes of the day, but he had no patience for it yet.

Malcolm rubbed his neck. Fucking cliché to say he missed the collar already, but he did. He missed the feeling of Julius’s hand on him always, steadying him. Well, that was interesting. And there were ways of getting that feeling, discreetly, some more permanent than others. If he dared mention them to Julius. He’d mentioned being leashed at the foot of the bed once, and look what had happened. But in the meantime–

“Julz–” he said, hesitantly.

Julius set the Financial Times down. “Malc?”

“I want to do something for you. You know, just for you. If there’s anything.”

“There may be,” Julius said, almost casually, but Malcolm could hear the tension in his voice.

A glance forward at Julius’s PA, who was studiously ignoring them. “Tell me tonight?”

“Oh, I can tell you now. I’d like to buy you some clothing to wear.”

Malcolm clenched his jaw. The balding English twat had taken him for fittings more than once, and he’d fought it every time. Fought himself more than Julius, trying to keep his mouth shut. If he opened it they’d hear him speak and they’d know him for a fucking Glaswegian nothing and then the noses would lift. As always. The fucking English. But Julius deserved this concession from him. Julius liked giving him things. Julius always noticed when he wore the cufflinks, or that jacket.

“Yeah, okay,” he said.

“No fussing? No demanding to know what I intend?”

“No chance you’ll want me to be a laughingstock, and it’ll make you happy, so fuck, easy decision. Yes, Julius, buy me clothes and I’ll wear them.”

Julius took his chin in hand and kissed him, right there in the damn car. Not that it was the first time they’d kissed in the presence of Julius’s PA, driving the car, but Malcolm did hate to make a public display of things. He opened his mouth for it anyway, because Julius looked happy and he didn’t want to mar that. He wanted to see Julius happy, so he kissed him with coffee on his breath, kissed him until Julius looked rumpled and flushed, kissed him until the car pulled to a halt and they had to part.

Another day at the fuck office. Another day sorting out the idiocies of the well-educated twerps in minor government offices. The people at Transport never seemed to need him or his team swooping in like fucking peregrine falcons in for a kill, or more likely vultures cleaning up the bodies. Why was that? Malcolm had long since understood that some parts of the government had to be run by competents or people died, so they were. The fuckups ran the BBC, or Culture, or administered arts grants, or citizenship programs. The incompetents got posts in ministries like DoSaC.

Fucking DoSaC. He met Julius after lunch, a purely professional meeting while Malcolm swallowed the dregs of his lunchtime latte, five minutes scheduled to review the policy proposals from Tom that Nicola had to represent, coherently, on the radio tomorrow. Then over to DoSac, walking side by side, to wrestle with Nicola. Time had been they’d have been arguing viciously while walking. Well, they were arguing, but it was a pleasurable argument and Malcolm felt no need to dig his teeth into Julius’s throat. He’d already done that, and Julius’s embarrassment about it was deeply satisfying to see.

He flushed deep red about it when they walked into the DoSaC offices and Ollie whistled and pointed. Glen came over to see what the fuss was and rolled his eyes.

“Malcolm bit you. He actually bit you,” Ollie said.

“Better get a rabies shot,” Terri said, and Ollie snickered.

“Is that all?” Glen said. He sat down in the nearest chair folded his arms.

Ollie got right up next to Julius and looked closer. Julius frowned, and Malcolm felt his jaw tightening. A little ribbing was fine. He wanted Julius to endure that. He had limits, however, and fucking Reeder was near them. He turned his back on the cunt and resumed his march to Nicola’s office.

Reeder said, “I always did wonder which one of you was on top. Figures it would be Malcolm.”

Malcolm froze in place. He could feel that thing in his stomach that happened sometimes. It happened too fucking often while standing in this office. Something about Reeder always set him off. He said, very carefully, without turning, “Yeah, you wondered?”

“Not really. Can’t imagine you bending over for it. You’re not the feminine type.”

“And Julius is?”

Julius let his hand close on Malcolm’s left shoulder, tightly enough that it hurt. Malcolm turned to him and caught his eye, nodded, but tugged himself free.

“Well, look at his suits.”

Now Malcolm turned and paced closer to Ollie, one, two, three steps. By the second step, Ollie’s face had changed. He had twigged that Malcolm wasn’t amused.

“So it’s a joke to you, yeah? All that talk about gay rights, just a fucking joke?”

“What? No–”

“See two men in a relationship and it’s time to giggle your head off, right? Fucking funny. Posture one way in public then in private laugh at us, right?”

“Malcolm, no, that’s not what I think at all.”

“Seems you’ve spent a lot more time thinking about us fucking than I spend thinking about you and whatever Tory water-carrier you’re banging this week.”

“Malcolm, I’m really quite sorry, but I didn’t intend–”

“To shoot your gob off mocking my personal life? You called me massively homophobic once, remember that? Remember what I said?”

“You, um, you said that you’d been fighting to repeal laws since before I was, um born. Or something. I didn’t, um, know you were gay at the time, Malcolm. I’d just, um, seen you dating, um–”

“That shouldn’t fucking matter. Get out of my fucking sight before I kill you,” Malcolm said.

Ollie ran. Malcolm watched him go. He could feel the tension in his jaw, the vein in his forehead. Every single bit of the floating happiness from the night before was gone.

Glen said, into the total silence that followed, “That’s what a real threat from Malcolm sounds like. Good to know.”

“Fascinating,” Julius said.

“Yeah, like shit on the bottom of your shoe is fascinating. We were here to meet with Nic’la, weren’t we?”

He breathed out. The metal taste in his mouth began to fade, and he felt a bit better. That bit of shouting had been quite cathartic, though he had no idea whether Julius would be angry about it or not. He gave nothing away during their conversation with Nicola, and Malcolm was busy enough for the rest of the afternoon shouting at other people and in a delightful change of pace, giving thoughtful and gentle media coaching to a young boffin over at the Treasury who they thought had potential and would he be so kind as to help her prep for her first interview? He would, and he did, and it would probably go well if he knew his business. Though why they were giving university degrees to children these days was a mystery to him.

Meet Julius at six, head to his car, ride silently with Julius’s hand on his knee to the place he was beginning to think of as home. Home, Julius’s home, stepping over the lintel, and Malcolm felt the relief wash through him. He belonged to Julius the moment he stepped through that door. He had no burdens to bear, if he didn’t want any burdens, other than what Julius demanded of him. And he trusted Julius, utterly.

“Your collar,” Julius said. He went to the drawer and took it out.

Malcolm went to his knees of his own accord. He loosened his tie and undid his top button. Julius went around behind him and buckled on the collar. The lock snapped shut. Julius showed him the key again and Malcolm watched it go into his pocket. Wrong place for it.

“Around your neck,” he said.


“Wear my key on a chain around your neck next time.” It was an order, delivered like an order, never mind that he was on his knees.

“Of course, Malcolm,” Julius said, though his eyebrows were raised.

Up to his feet to usher Julius into the study, for their pre-dinner ritual. A drink for Julius, confession of the days rages for Malcolm, decompression for them both. He poured Julius a glass of something he knew Julius had made appreciative noises about, no soda, a tiny bit of water. He went to his knees before Julius, holding the glass, waiting with bowed head for his master to express approval. Julius loved it when he did this so much. He could see it on the man’s face, in the way his eyes crinkled up. Julius laid a hand on his head to pet him, and Malcolm heard the words of satisfaction he needed to hear. He stayed where he was, even though Julius hadn’t asked for it, hadn’t asked for formality, because inside this study, inside Julius’s bedroom, he could do this and let himself sink into it. Precious sanctuary, this room. So he sank into remaining on his knees, let himself feel the collar around his neck, the burn over his shoulder, even the quotidian feeling in his arse from having been fucked hard.

“Come sit with me, Malc.”

Julius was stretched out on his sofa, which was wide enough that Malcolm could lie on in with him, between Julius’s legs, a position Julius loved. Malcolm loved it too. He let his head fall back against Julius’s chest and relaxed. Julius set the whisky tumbler onto Malcolm’s stomach. Malcolm held onto it for him. Julius apparently wanted to fuss with Malcolm’s collar, settling it so the tags rested just so on his chest. Funny thing, but whisky didn’t tempt him any more. Didn’t mind it on Julius’s breath, didn’t want it. Time had been he couldn’t have imagined that. The whip had replaced it, maybe, given him the same feeling while doing less damage.

Still did some damage. He’d been popping the fucking Nurofen all day.

Julius took the glass back and drank. He said, “You were hard on Reeder today.”

“If you discipline me for that, it will have been worth it,” Malcolm said.

“Never. You acted in my defense, in a manner I cannot imitate.”

Relief washed through him. Julius was not angry about the bite, the humiliation, or Malcolm’s anger. He hadn’t been hurt by it, not really. Thank Christ.

Aloud he said, “Yeah, that’s a bollocking only I can do. Or Jamie, Jamie can go for the throat on that topic. Seen him do it.”

“MacDonald? Defending the right of a male couple to leave love-bites?”

“Jamie’s a tits man exclusively, but he knows I like cock just as much as tits, and he gets testy when somebody thinks less of me for it. He’s a decent man, is Jamie, for a minge-eating thug.”

“I believe that to be the first time anyone has called him a decent man.”

“Nah. His current girlfriend likes him a fair bit. Says the most fucking stupidly nice things about him. Gonna need to write a best man speech soon, I think.”

“He would be harder on Oliver than you?”

“Ollie fucking thinks you’re a bottom for letting me bite you.”

“He conflates anal receptivity with femininity,” Julius said.

“To underline the point, yeah, you tendentious twat. And he doesn’t respect women or anything that he fucks. Arsewipe.”

“Yes, that does seem to be the root of it. He would be surprised to know the reality.”

“The reality being that I spread my arse-cheeks for you willingly and love every fucking second of it. It feels fucking wonderful, giving you that gift.”

“You think of it as a gift? Allowing someone to penetrate you?”

“Yeah.” Malcolm shrugged, then winced; his shoulder was so fucked up. “My body, handed over to you for your pleasure. Women, when I’m with them, it’s a gift they’re giving me, too, when they consent to let me inside. Fucking mutual pleasure, cock in cunt, cock in arse, tongue anywhere you fucking want it.”

“Oh. Is it the same with the, er, the whip?” Julius’s hand squeezed his shoulder just hard enough to remind him.

“That’s a gift you give me,” Malcolm said, though his voice had gone a little shaky.

“Say rather, a mutual gift. I grant you the pain, you grant me your suffering and tears.”

“Fucking sadistic cunt.”

“Indeed, oh my masochistic wolf. A lovely match, are we not?”

With which Malcolm could not argue.

Julius took him up to bed a little while after dinner, and made love to him. He took his time about it, a long slow deep fucking that was as intense as they ever got, Malcolm face down and Julius on top of him, pressing him down into the bed. Julius was using endearments as liberally as Malcolm used “fuck” and it was almost too much for him to take. Julius kissed his bruised shoulder and tugged at the ring in the collar and Malcolm whimpered with something he couldn’t put words to.

After Julius had come and recovered himself, he pushed Malcolm down onto his back. He knelt between Malcolm’s spread thighs and looked down and smiled. Malcolm waited, with his hands palm-up over his head. Perfect submission, even though Julius hadn’t asked for it. Whatever Julius wanted to do, he would accept. Pain, pleasure, frustration, whatever.

What Julius wanted to do was kiss his way down from Malcolm’s lips to his cock. To worship his skinny body, his not-skinny cock, thank you very much. Malcolm lay back and let himself feel it. Tongue on his cock, tongue in his slit, tongue in his recently-fucked squeaky-clean arse. Fucking wonderful. Balls licked, sucked. Lips on cock, cock in mouth, cock all the way in, to the back of his throat. Bald head gave good head, oh fuck him, that thought was unworthy. Julius-- his lover Julius-- gave good head. Julius knew how to use his hands to make it better, how to get his thumb up Malcolm’s arse, how to tease and back off. How to read all the sounds Malcolm made as he built up to it. Fucking amazing Julius was at reading him, whether he was being spanked or sucked. Julius loved him. There came the flood of emotion, washing over him, carrying everything in him away. He didn’t want to offer any of this to any other man, ever again. And that meant–

“Julz, oh fuck, Julz.”

“Mmmm?” Julius backed off for a moment.

Malcolm caught his breath. Julius’s tongue was flickering just under the head of his prick, and it was fucking amazing, but it wasn’t the point.

“Love you too.” There, he’d said it.


“Yeah, love you so fucking much. Oh fuck, God, Julz, please, yeah, gonna come in your mouth.” For Julius had taken him deep again and was holding nothing back and what could Malcolm do but surrender?