24/7 13. Remote Control


“You really don’t have to do this, Master,” Mulder said nervously.


“Nonsense.” Skinner smiled – always an alarming sight, Mulder thought to himself, shifting uncomfortably. “Keep still.” Skinner tapped on his shoulder reprovingly and Mulder swallowed. “Would you like me to tie you?” Skinner asked, with a snort of amusement. “Would that help? I could put you in deep bondage if you’d prefer.” He flexed his wrist threateningly.


“Uh, no. I can keep still.” Mulder bit on his lip. “You have done this before, haven’t you?” He asked, glancing up at his Master.


“Of course,” Skinner said smoothly, picking up a small, black leather case and unzipping it.


Mulder swallowed again as he gazed at the contents. Three shiny implements were nestled on a bed of crimson silk. Mulder’s heart missed a beat.


“How many times?” Mulder asked, wanting to yell that he wasn’t letting any of those implements anywhere near him.


“Enough times to know how to do it.” Skinner smiled disarmingly. Mulder fought down a wave of panic. “Relax,” Skinner put his hands on Mulder’s shoulders and his slave gave a startled jump. “We are nervous aren’t we?” Skinner mused. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think that somebody didn’t trust his Master. Would that be right, slave?” This was Skinner’s most dangerous tone, and Mulder knew better than to risk his Master’s wrath by agreeing with him in this instance.


“Uh, no. It’s just…” An idea came into his head and he looked up at Skinner with a smile of pure, seraphic innocence. “Today is your day, Master. Sunday – Master’s Day remember? You shouldn’t do anything for me – I should be doing something for you!” he said triumphantly.


“Oh, you will,” Skinner chucked. “You will – just as soon as I’m finished here.” He picked up the shiniest, sharpest implement, and Mulder took a deep breath…and held it. “Why so nervous, slave?” Skinner asked. “I can’t possibly make a worse job of it than the last butcher who cut your hair.”


Mulder scowled at his Master in the mirror. He was seated on a stool, stark naked, his wet hair plastered to his head, and flopping into his eyes.


“I liked that cut,” he growled.


“The one that made you look like you’d been in an argument with a lawnmower – and lost? Hmm, yes, I can see why it appealed,” Skinner murmured. “Thankfully it’s grown out, but it’s far too long now. I should have cut it last week and forgot. Next time – remind me, slave.” He flexed the long, shiny scissors he was holding. Mulder suppressed a low moan. Skinner picked up a silver comb from the exquisite black leather case, and parted Mulder’s hair with a deft flick, then dragged the comb through the dark, wet locks.


“I’m not questioning your ability, Master…” Mulder began nervously. “It’s just, you’re not exactly a stereotypical barber – I mean, let’s face it,” he babbled, “you’re an FBI employee for god’s sake, and while you’re a very skilled Assistant Director, that doesn’t mean…”


“I can see that you’d like a full list of my hair-dressing credentials.” Skinner put the comb down, and pinched a wad of Mulder’s hair between his thumb and forefinger. “Which is tough because you’re not going to get one. Trust me, I trimmed someone’s hair every few weeks for a year, and he never complained.”


“Who was he?” Mulder asked quickly, his heart beating too fast, a sudden wave of jealousy, warring with curiosity inside him.


“An old friend.” Skinner smiled. “And that’s all I’m going to say.”


“Why won’t you tell me about your past, Master?” Mulder turned his damp head to glance up at Skinner. His Master was dressed in a pair of jeans, but was otherwise naked, his bare chest level with Mulder’s eye-line, which was distracting as it was rippling particularly enticingly this morning, Mulder thought.


“Why do you have so many delaying tactics in your repertoire, slave?” Skinner replied, firmly turning Mulder’s head back to face the mirror.


“Answering a question with a question. Typical avoidance technique,” Mulder muttered under his breath.


“Fox,” Skinner said warningly. He took hold of a damp wedge of Mulder’s hair again and opened the scissors. Mulder closed his eyes and winced theatrically, unable to watch. Nothing happened. Mulder opened them again. Skinner was watching him, the scissors still poised. “Would you prefer a blindfold?” Skinner offered in an amused tone. “I’m sure that can be arranged.


“No, Master.”


“Then watch – and learn. I’ll want you to cut my hair next,” Skinner told him.


What hair…? Mulder thought to himself, and was surprised by a firm swat to the side of his thigh. “Ow! What was that for?” He demanded.


“For what you were thinking,” Skinner replied.


“You cannot possibly punish me for what I was thinking,” Mulder groused. “Jeez, what is this – 1984? The thought police?”


“No, it’s the year 2000, the year that this slave will finally learn to do what he’s told, and give in to his Master’s wishes – and I notice that you didn’t deny what you were thinking. Now, hold still, or I’ll take that razor and shave your hair off completely,” Skinner said, pointing at the electric razor in the black leather case. With a resigned sigh, Mulder gave in.


In fact, Skinner proved to be as skilled as he had promised. He trimmed Mulder’s hair neatly, although without any great creativity, used the razor to shave a swathe at the back of his slave’s head, then dried the thick locks on top. Mulder had to concede that not only did he look fine, it was also nice not to have to keep pushing his hair out of his eyes.


“Now – I want my full Sunday service,” Skinner told his slave, shaking the damp towel out. “That means a shave, a trim, and a full body massage.”


“Right,” Mulder said, getting up and grabbing the towel. Then he paused. “Master wouldn’t like anything else, would he?” He asked.


“Such as?” Skinner raised a coolly assessing eyebrow. Mulder swallowed hard then took all his courage in his hands.


“Well, you did say that I could…that one day I might…”


“Yes?” Skinner crossed his arms over his broad chest, and Mulder suddenly wished that the ground would open up and swallow him.


“…be on top, Master,” he finished, almost inaudibly. “Not top you,” he clarified hastily. “Just serve you in a different way.” Skinner looked at him thoughtfully, and Mulder bit on his lip. “Sorry, Master…I shouldn’t have…” he said quickly.


Skinner interrupted him, pulling him close, and looking at him intently. “Never apologize for suggesting ways to please me, slave,” he said. Mulder went quiet, flushing under the scrutiny. There was an expression in Skinner’s eyes that he didn’t understand and he wondered what the hell was going on. Finally, Skinner shook his head, and gave a wry, heartfelt sigh. “Fox, I will want you to serve me like that one day, but you’re not ready yet.”


“Why not?” Mulder argued. “What’s to be ready for?”


Skinner frowned. “I’ve given you my answer, but let’s discuss it anyway. Maybe it’ll help you. Come here.” He pulled his naked slave over to the bed, and sat him down, then sat down behind him, and put his big arms around Mulder’s torso, grabbing his slave’s wrists in his hands, thereby trapping him within his warm embrace. His legs wrapped themselves around Mulder’s thighs, heavy and powerful. Mulder tensed for a moment, feeling as if he were in a kind of bondage, then relaxed as Skinner kissed his neck. “All right, tell me how you feel when I use you,” Skinner said softly, nuzzling at Mulder’s shoulders and the back of his head.


“How I feel?” Mulder craned his neck to get a glimpse of his Master, confused.


“Yes. Tell me.” Skinner blew on the newly cut hair.


“It feels great. You know that,” Mulder shrugged. Skinner’s arms tightened around him and Mulder fought down an urge to struggle against the embrace, which was too firm, too close.


“I said, tell me,” Skinner hissed.


Mulder gave up fighting his urge to struggle, and gave in to it instead. “Let me go!” He wriggled, fruitlessly, then pushed against his Master, and finally tried to twist away. At last, panting, he gave up, and was still, glowering at his Master.


“Let’s start again. Why is it so hard to talk about?” Skinner asked.


“Because it is.” Mulder snapped. Skinner pinched the top of his arm. “Master,” he added, sullenly.


“All right, let me help you out here. Your fantasies about anal sex have always been about domination rather than love-making, haven’t they?” Skinner asked, his breath warm on the side of Mulder’s face. Mulder stiffened. “Well?” Skinner pressed.


“Usually. So what?” Mulder retorted.


“When I made love to you after your party – that was the first time you’d allowed yourself to just be loved by another man, maybe by anyone, wasn’t it?” Skinner asked. Mulder felt another surge of frustration at being held here, so tight, unable to escape, and forced into facing this kind of scrutiny. Skinner squeezed his arms around his slave’s body, searching for his answer.


“Yes! Yes, damnit! Why the fuck is that important?” Mulder growled.


“It’s important because you enjoyed it,” Skinner purred silkily in his slave’s ear. “Didn’t you?”


“Yes. Of course I did. You know that. You were damn well there.”


“And that was okay, wasn’t it? To enjoy it without the domination? To just enjoy good, old fashioned, vanilla sex? You were even a little bit proud of yourself for being able to enjoy it, weren’t you?” Skinner paused, but Mulder made no answer. He closed his eyes, breathing heavily. “In your mind, enjoying being dominated, enjoying being fucked, makes you feel weak. You can’t understand why you’d like feeling less than equal – it festers in your mind. When you first came to me, you told me that you knew what you were, that you’d come to terms with it, but you haven’t. You’ve avoided doing that.” Skinner’s voice was relentless, boring into his soul. Mulder wanted to scream. “So, if I were to allow you to serve me by giving me anal sex, what would that make you think about me?”


Mulder felt the fight leave his body, and he slumped against Skinner. He was silent for a long time, head bowed, then he took a sudden, gasping breath as if he had been jolted into life.


“That you’re weak, Master,” he whispered.


“That’s right. And then you’d be able to despise me, like you despised all those other tops you consumed. Then you’d be able to hit out, run away, convince yourself that I’m not what you need, escape from the intimacy that scares you, and from your own desires which you try to deny. Yes?”


“No.” Mulder closed his eyes. “There’s more to it than just one act of sex,” he said. “You aren’t my Master merely because of what you do to my body. Your authority, your skill, the things you say, the way you treat me, and…care for me – they all combine to make you my Master, and I your slave. You are my Master in more ways than just sex. Many more ways.”


There was silence for a moment, then Skinner kissed his slave firmly on the back of his neck.


“Good. I know that – and I’m glad that you know it too.” Skinner released his grasp on Mulder’s wrists, and ran his hands lovingly down his slave’s arms. “You can earn the right to serve me in that way, Fox. I’d enjoy it – but not yet. You have more things to learn about strength and weakness before I’d take that risk with you. Some rewards have to be earned in any case, and after that act of public disobedience yesterday I’m not inclined to grant you a reward of this magnitude.”


“You’re right. I don’t deserve it. I don’t know what I can do about…my perceptions though. Shit, it isn’t as if I haven’t read up on the psychology of my kink. You’re going to make me face up to this, once and for all, aren’t you?” He turned a scared face towards his Master. Skinner smiled at him, and brushed a gentle hand down the side of his slave’s face.


“Yes, sweetheart. I promised you nothing less when I first took you on. Don’t worry about it though, Fox. Your open mind, and willingness to learn are among your best qualities. If you could apply them to yourself, and throw in the same understanding and compassion that you show to others, then the lesson would be more easily learned. As it is…” he sighed, and the sound was heartfelt, “well, it might be painful.” He squeezed Mulder again, reassuringly, and Mulder melted against his Master’s strong, muscular body.


“I’ve wondered about your past,” Mulder admitted. “Did you ever sub, Master? I need to know. I have to know,” he said desperately. “Some of the things you’ve said…I see this image of you, kneeling, and I can’t…I can’t get my head around it. It isn’t what you are.”


“It isn’t what you know me to be,” Skinner said elusively.


“Did you?” Mulder looked up. “How did you get into the scene? When did you start? I know you were married, yet you’ve been involved with men…why?”


“So many questions.” Skinner pulled away and got up, and Mulder followed him, consumed by his need to understand. “I will tell you everything, in time, little one,” Skinner said softly, turning to face his slave. His Master’s dark eyes were serious, and Mulder couldn’t find the answers he was looking for in them.


“But not yet,” Mulder said resentfully, his need to know burning him up inside.


“Not yet. Fox, there’s so much that’s new in this situation and your state of mind right now is fragile – I think you’ll agree? I found you on the edge of an abyss, and I’ve managed to pull you back a couple of inches. I don’t want you to turn back and jump right in.”


“You’ve been playing me, psyching me out the whole time,” Mulder accused, bitterly.


“And what have you been trying to do to me?” Skinner retorted. “You’ve been pushing the boundaries since you got here, slave.” He pulled himself to his full height, his chest wide and solid. “You’ve tested me from the very beginning, constantly – and you still are.”


Mulder shook his head, angrily. “So what? I don’t stand a fucking chance. You hold all the winning cards,” he spat. “You always did. The slave contract, those interviews with my former tops, the way you’ve crawled inside my mind. I can’t win. I can’t defeat you.”


“Not only that,” Skinner said, his tone deadly serious, “you don’t want to win. Fighting me is like fighting yourself, and besides – you and I both want the same thing at the end of the day.”


“We do?” Mulder asked, drowning.


“Yes. We do.” Skinner’s eyes were dark and intense as he pulled Mulder close, held his slave’s head firmly between his hands, and kissed him hard on the lips. Mulder struggled, briefly, then surrendered to that familiar, beloved touch. His arms went around Skinner’s waist, and his hands stroked his Master’s bare back. Skinner reciprocated, drawing his slave close, plundering his mouth with his own. After several long seconds, Skinner pulled back, and clicked his fingers brusquely. “Submissive position, slave,” he ordered, turning away and walking towards the bathroom.


Mulder bristled, drew himself up to his full height, faltered for a moment on the brink of rebellion, then sank to his knees.


“You bastard,” he whispered. “You didn’t even watch to make sure I knelt. You knew I would.”


“Yes,” Skinner said simply. “By my side, slave, and add 5 to your tally with the strap in your bedroom this evening. I can see the lesson about your use of word ‘bastard’ isn’t sinking in.”


“Yes, Master,” Mulder whispered with a resigned sigh. He shuffled to his Master’s side, and glanced up at Skinner’s stunning physique hungrily, an expression of total, abject, helpless worship in his eyes. Skinner smiled, and gently patted his slave’s head.


“We’ll get there, sweetheart. I promise,” he said softly. “Now, what do you have planned for me today?”


“Planned?” Mulder repeated blankly.


“Planned. It is, as you so rightly pointed out, Master’s day, and I want to be surprised.”


“Right.” Mulder sat back on his heels. He’d been so absorbed with his own problems all week, that he hadn’t given the matter of Master’s Day any thought. He looked up and saw the flash of hurt in Skinner’s eyes – his Master knew he hadn’t even planned anything. “I’m sorry, Master,” he said quickly, “but the truth is that I know a lot less about what would please you than you know about me. When you did that scene for me yesterday, it was perfect, and I’d like to do the same for you, but I don’t know what kind of stuff would turn you on.”


“Fair enough. We can talk about that,” Skinner agreed. “And Fox – you don’t need to take care of my whole day. Just do one thing to surprise or please me. I don’t mind what – just that you think about it, and try.”


“Well, I do have an idea,” Mulder said, remembering his first lesson with Clark Hammond, the massage teacher, a few days before. “I’m not sure it’s all that much of a treat, but I hope I can make it nice.”


“Good.” Skinner smiled. “I’ll take a shower, then you can trim my hair and shave me. After that – I’m in your hands.”


“Yes, Master.” Mulder smiled happily, as he watched Skinner strip off his jeans and disappear into the bathroom. The one thing that continued to surprise him was how much he enjoyed losing himself in this role of devoted slave. Warming Skinner’s towel, drying his Master, and seeing to his general comfort in a solicitous way, brought him almost as much pleasure as being made love to and he reveled in it. He made a passable job with the scissors on the fringe of hair at the back of his Master’s head, then led Skinner over to the bed, and gave him his full body massage. After that he cooked his Master’s breakfast, then excused himself in order to prepare for his Master’s special treat. He found the scented candles he’d bought the previous week, and lit them, shut the drapes in the living room, turned the lights off, and led Skinner over to the couch.


“You have to sit on the floor for this,” he said apologetically. Skinner raised an eyebrow, but complied, and Mulder sat on the couch behind him, his knees on either side of Skinner’s head.


“I know this isn’t that much different to the massage I just gave you – I mean it’s the same kind of thing,” Mulder said hastily. “But Clark said that the head and feet are the most neglected areas when it comes to massage, and, well, I know that this is something I really enjoy, so I hope you’ll enjoy it too.” He put calming hands on Skinner’s shoulders, rubbed softly, then instructed Skinner to lie back against him and relax. His Master obeyed, closing his eyes with a deep, heartfelt sigh. Mulder then poured some oil into his hands, and warmed it, before placing his fingertips on Skinner’s naked scalp. He caressed his Master’s head with gentle strokes of his long fingers, allowing them to linger on that smooth scalp, enjoying the sensation of the oil sliding over the bare, pink flesh. He could feel Skinner grow heavier against his legs as his Master zoned out, and he smiled to himself as he worked. His fingers found slight bumps in the contours of Skinner’s scalp and he committed them to memory.


“Did you know that phrenology is the art of understanding somebody’s personality by the bumps on their heads?” He murmured to Skinner in a low tone.


“Uh-huh,” Skinner replied, clearly off on his own special plane of bliss.


“I wonder what I could tell about you from this, Master?” Mulder whispered.


“Hmmm…dunno,” Skinner said. Mulder’s fingers moved the skin over the hard bone of his Master’s scalp, relieving the tension that had built up there, then gently fondled behind his Master’s ears.


“My grandmother used to give me head massages when I was a kid,” Mulder said. “I used to get headaches, and she would rub my scalp with lavender water. I’d forgotten how nice that was until Clark reminded me.”


“S’good,” Skinner said drowsily. Mulder smiled happily, and worked for several more minutes. Then his movements became slower, softer, and he interspersed them with several kisses to his Master’s newly polished, gleaming dome, before finishing the massage. Skinner shook his head blearily. “Over?” He asked, glancing up at his slave.


“That part is. Now for your feet,” Mulder said. He patted the couch, and Skinner lay down beside him. Mulder swung his Master’s feet into his lap, and began to massage them. Skinner wriggled and Mulder caught hold of his ankle. “Don’t tell me my Master is ticklish?” He asked mischievously.


“I don’t mind firm strokes, it’s when you do all that light, whispery stuff,” Skinner protested.


“Like this?” Mulder ran his fingernails down the underside of Skinner’s foot and his Master gave a low gurgle and twisted up frantically to get away. Mulder held on tight. “I’ll remember that,” he winked, then he began to massage the feet with strong, deep strokes and Skinner gave another sigh, and leaned back on the couch, surrendering to the massage. Mulder took his time, and covered every inch of those golden feet. When he’d finished, he raised one of Skinner’s feet to his mouth, and sucked each toe, then turned his attention to the other one. He finished off with a quick bite to Skinner’s big toes, that earned him a growl in response, then let go of the feet, and went to kneel submissively at his Master’s side. Skinner put a hand on his slave’s shoulder and squeezed.


“Very nice, boy. I could get used to that. I don’t think anyone’s ever massaged my scalp like that before. It was a wonderful sensation.”


“Thank you, Master.” Mulder felt a wave of pleasure sweep through his body that almost knocked him out with its force. “I exist to serve,” he whispered, picking up Skinner’s hand and kissing the fingers.


“Well – sometimes,” Skinner said. Mulder hung his head – his Master knew him too well. “You’ve done well, Fox,” Skinner told his slave seriously. “I enjoyed that.”


At that moment the ‘phone rang, and Mulder went to pick it up, and presented it to his Master, head down, lost in his servitude. Skinner smiled at him, and answered the call.


“Hello? Yes. No, it’s Walter. Yes, he is. Hold on, Ian.” He handed Mulder the ‘phone and Mulder looked at him in surprise. “It’s your new friend – I gave him our number. Here.” He got up and walked into the kitchen. Mulder took the ‘phone cautiously.


“Hi, it’s Ian. I was wondering if you were free to have a few beers this evening,” the other man asked.


“Well…I’ll need to ask…”


“Your Master. I know!” Ian laughed. “Hell, that brings back memories. I wish I had someone I had to ask,” he sighed. “Go ahead, ask him then,” he prompted. Mulder bit on his lip, half hoping that Skinner would say no. He had enjoyed meeting Ian the previous day, but he had never been very good at the guy thing of hanging out drinking beers. He didn’t drink much for a start, and he couldn’t see the point of just standing around, doing all that macho crap unless you were going to get completely drunk on your ass at the same time. “Ian wants me to go out for a drink this evening, but it’s your day so I’ll tell him I can’t,” Mulder said, following Skinner into the kitchen.


“Why?” Skinner frowned. “It’s fine by me. Go out and enjoy yourself. I’ve got a few ‘phone calls I need to make this evening anyway.”


“Oh.” Mulder stood there uncertainly.


“Fox,” Skinner pointed at the ‘phone.


“Okay,” Mulder shrugged, and turned back into the living room, not at all sure about this new development in his social life.


Mulder trotted down the stairs a few hours later, dressed in jeans, a blue shirt, and a jacket, ready to go. Skinner glanced at him.


“Go and change into the red shirt,” he said.


“What? Why?” Mulder asked, glancing down at what he was wearing. It felt understated, and comfortable.


“Because I say so,” Skinner replied.


Mulder glared at his Master, and clenched his fists. “I’ve been dressing myself since I was a kid. I’m sure I know what damn clothes to wear to go to a fucking bar,” he groused. Skinner got up, and Mulder put his hand on the stair banister, ready to flee if need be.


“Fox – you’re my slave, so when you go out in public what you wear, and how you present yourself, reflect upon me. Now go and change, and add another 5 to your bed-time tally.”


Mulder considered protesting further but he’d already notched up nearly 20 swats over the course of a fairly average day so it didn’t seem worth making a fuss about a different colored shirt, even though the red one was far more garish than he’d have liked. He got changed, grumbling to himself the whole time, then stopped, and thought about it. Skinner couldn’t really care what color shirt he wore. He was simply finding a way to remind his slave who he belonged to – that even though he was going out socially on his own for the first time since he’d signed his contract, he still belonged to Skinner, and he should keep that fact in mind. Mulder found his cock hardening as he realized the thought processes going on there. Skinner was good. He was damned good. Not for the first time, he wondered where his Master had learned all these tricks. He trotted back down the stairs, ran into the living room where Skinner was sitting, and dropped a kiss on his Master’s head.


“Thanks,” he murmured.


“You’re welcome – for whatever it is you think I’ve done,” Skinner grinned, grabbing his clothed slave, and kissing him firmly on the lips. “Next time be more obedient,” he said, slapping Mulder’s butt affectionately.


“Yes, Master!” Mulder laughed.


“And don’t be back any later than 10,” Skinner warned.


“No, Master!” Mulder chanced his luck and went back for another kiss. Skinner growled, but allowed him his kiss.


At least with Ian he wouldn’t have to make any excuses about why he had to leave – he could just tell the other man that his Master had given him a strict curfew and Ian would accept that without taunting him, or asking any awkward questions.


“And don’t get into any trouble,” Skinner said, keeping one hand wrapped firmly around his slave’s wrist. “Remember that your behavior in public reflects on me.”


“Yes, Master.” Mulder rolled his eyes, and Skinner swatted him on the backside again.


“Apart from that – have fun,” Skinner winked, finally letting his slave go.


“Yes, Master!” Mulder stole another kiss from his Master, then ran for the door before Skinner could swat him again for his temerity.


As it turned out, he thoroughly enjoyed himself. Ian was good company, with a wry, self-deprecating wit. He listened as Ian told him about his dom, Justin. Ian wasn’t a great one for self-pity, but it was obvious that he still missed his lover a great deal.


“I’ve talked about myself for long enough. Tell me how you managed to snare the top top on the whole scene,” Ian said, raising his beer to his mouth with a wide grin. “The one and only Guardian of the House. I’m seriously impressed. You must be a damn good sub.”


“Slave.” Mulder flushed and took a sip of his own beer. Ian raised an eyebrow. “He wouldn’t take me as a sub. It was a slave or nothing.”


“Interesting. I’m not sure how that works. I mean, is it a constant thing?” Ian asked.


“Yeah. 24/7.” Mulder shrugged. “Or, here, there, and everywhere, as he’s so fond of telling me.”


“And that works out okay?” Ian frowned.


“So far.” Mulder bit on his lip. “To be honest, it’s been better than okay – but then again I’ve only been his slave for a couple of weeks, although it already feels like a lifetime – a very exhausting, very painful, permanently orgasmic lifetime!”


“It sounds horny,” Ian grinned, “but I’m not sure I could deal with the loss of my freedom.”


“That’s the hard part, although…” Mulder paused, and thought about it, “he’s not really unreasonable. I have a few…” he hesitated again, not sure how much to reveal, “well there’s been some stuff in my past that I haven’t really dealt with. I think maybe my Master insisted I become his slave to make sure I couldn’t run away from it.”


“Ah. I always find the dynamics of other people’s lifestyle arrangements fascinating,” Ian said with a grin. “I hope you don’t mind me asking?”


“No.” Mulder was surprised to find that he didn’t.


“Tell me more about your work. You know, I’d love to run an article on these X Files of yours. They sound fascinating,” Ian said. “There’s no chance of a scoop, is there?”


“I can just imagine what my boss would say to see me giving an interview to a publication like Anomaly,” Mulder laughed. “Hey, I work for the government remember, and your magazine is devoted to debunking everything the government says. We’re natural enemies,” he winked.


“Only you’re also friendly with some friends of mine,” Ian responded. “The Lone Gunmen,” he prompted, when Mulder gave him a questioning look. “So, maybe we have more in common than the obvious?” he grinned.


“Maybe,” Mulder grinned back. He wrestled with a question that had been at the back of his mind all evening, then finally gave in. “Ian…have you ever heard of a Doctor Peter Mayfield playing on the scene?” He held his breath. He had told Scully he was dropping the investigation into Andrew Linker, but his conversation with Skinner earlier in the day had reawakened his curiosity. He had to know more.


“Peter? Yes, of course!” Ian laughed. “Justin and Peter were an item a few years before I met Justin. Things didn’t work out between them, and they split up – it was amicable.”


“Right.” Mulder nodded, telling himself he shouldn’t go any further, but knowing himself too well to listen to his own advice. “And…Andrew Linker…?” He asked, in an undertone. “What do you know about him?” Ian’s expression changed, and he looked at Mulder thoughtfully. “Why do you want to know?”


“Curiosity.” Mulder shrugged. “I think he and my M…that is, Walter, were involved once.”
It felt strange referring to Skinner as “Walter.” Strange, but kind of nice too.


“Well, I never met him, but I know that Andrew was the Guardian of the House before Walter. I don’t know the exact details, but I’m assuming he trained Walter to take his place.”


“Right.” Mulder nodded, feeling almost relieved. Skinner had clearly been Linker’s protégé – that was why he had left him the apartment. The other man had trained his Master to take over from him as Guardian – it had been a business relationship, nothing more.


“Mulder – why are you asking me all this? Why not ask Walter?” Ian looked puzzled.


Mulder shrugged. “There’s some stuff he doesn’t seem to want to tell me.”


“Well, I wouldn’t have thought it was a good idea to go digging around behind his back,” Ian pointed out. “Unless you want your butt to suffer for it if he finds out.” He gave a loud laugh and Mulder smiled, uncertainly.


“Yeah. Right,” he muttered.


“As a matter of fact, I’ve met Peter a few times – he’s got a nice place in LA. He’s become some kind of celebrity psychologist out there. Writes a few books, works as a shrink to a few neurotic film stars,” Ian smirked.


“LA?” Mulder’s heart thudded inside his chest. “California?”


“Well, that’s where LA was last time I looked!” Ian joked.


“Right. Yes. LA. California.” Mulder repeated. California…if he went there, he could kill two birds with one stone. He could check up that address Krycek had given him, and look up Peter Mayfield and find out more about his Master’s old mentor, or whatever Andrew Linker had been to Walter Skinner.


Mulder got home at quarter to ten, to find Skinner asleep on the couch, one arm hanging down, his hand almost touching the floor, with Wanda draped over his broad chest. The cat glanced up as Mulder came in. He put his finger over his mouth, and glared at her pointedly, then looked down on his sleeping Master. Skinner looked so peaceful, his long legs splayed out, his bare feet just touching the end of the couch. His head was still shiny and glistening from his massage earlier. Mulder felt a wave of self-hatred for what he knew he was going to do.


“I’m sorry, Walter. I have to know,” he whispered. Wanda opened her eyes again, her ears flicking, and Mulder shook his head sadly at her. “Curiosity killed the slave, Wanda,” he said wistfully. She gave a trilling purr of delight at being spoken to, and stretched out to an impossible length along Skinner’s body. “You two make a good pair. I shouldn’t have come along to break up the party,” Mulder said, hunching his shoulders miserably. He crouched down on his haunches beside Skinner and looked at his Master intently. Skinner had clearly been working on some files, which were strewn over the floor, and he was still wearing his glasses. There was an empty glass of whisky on the coffee table. Mulder gently removed his Master’s glasses, and delivered the faintest whisper of a kiss to Skinner’s lips. Skinner murmured something and Wanda gave another loud purr.


California, California…it beckoned to Mulder, and yet, if he went, and Skinner found out why, then he feared that the fragile bond of trust they had built up over the past couple of weeks would be broken – maybe irrevocably. “Maybe you love him more than I do,” Mulder told Wanda, reaching out a finger to stroke her soft head. She gazed at him steadily, looking into his soul. “You’re certainly more devoted than I am, although you have no idea how much I envy you your current position.” He tickled her under the chin and she purred again. “Don’t think that this means I’m calling a truce, lady – I’m not. I’m just…in a weird kind of mood.” With that thought in mind, Mulder got undressed, folded his clothes neatly on a chair, and knelt by his sleeping Master’s side. He stayed there for a further ten minutes, eyes down, completely still, trying to find the serenity of belonging. Then Skinner blinked, and woke with a start. His eyes came into focus, and rested on his slave for a moment, then widened in surprise.


“Now, that’s a sight for sore eyes,” he murmured, reaching out to fondle his slave. “Why didn’t you wake me?”


“I didn’t like to, Master. You looked so peaceful,” Mulder replied.


“You could have just gone up to bed,” Skinner grinned.


“I didn’t like to do that, either, Master. I’m owed a strapping,” Mulder pointed out.


Skinner laughed and sat up. “Somehow I seem to have acquired a model slaveboy. How the hell did that happen?” He asked. “No, don’t answer that – I’m just grateful it did. Come here, you.” He dragged Mulder over to the couch, and kissed his slave thoroughly, his hands urgently covering every inch of Mulder’s body, caressing his nipples, his hardening cock, his buttocks. “You know, to reward you for your thoughtfulness, I think I’ll let you off your punishment tonight.”


“Thank you, Master.” Mulder nuzzled Skinner’s neck.


“I told you, I reward good behavior, and punish bad behavior,” Skinner said, keeping up his slow caress on Mulder’s body.


“Yes…Master,” Mulder panted, as Skinner’s hand wrapped itself around his hard cock and pumped hard.


“Any time you want to come,” Skinner grinned. “Although if you hold it, that means I’ll have more opportunity to play with your exquisite body, slaveboy, and that would please me, and pleasing me is your purpose in life, isn’t it?”


“Yes…it…is…” Mulder threw back his head, and sighed, as Skinner’s hand kept up its pumping, while his Master’s mouth lightly teased his nipples, flicking the rings with his tongue. Mulder groaned, and put his hands on Skinner’s shoulders for balance. Skinner stopped and drew back. “Hands behind your back. I’m going to play, and you’re going to just accept,” he grinned. Mulder’s cock jerked in appreciation of the game, and Skinner tugged on one of the nipple rings. Mulder gave a startled gasp as the arousal and pain shot through him at one and the same time. “Did you have a good time this evening?” Skinner asked, his hands continuing to play with Mulder’s body.


“Y…es…” Mulder replied, sweat starting to roll down the side of his face.


“Good. I like Ian – I hope you two will be friends.”


“Yeah…” Mulder agreed, beyond coherent conversation.


“See how good it can be, sweetheart,” Skinner said in a deep, throaty, sexy tone that made Mulder fling back his head, his exposed neck glistening with sweat.


“YES!” he cried.


“How good it can be when we work together, slave and Master. I like rewarding you more than I enjoy punishing you, little one. It could be like this all the time. We could both make each others lives run a lot more easily and there would be so many rewards…” Skinner said, his fingers hooked in his slave’s nipple rings, drawing Mulder forward and keeping him on the brink of climax. “Slave and Master. Master and slave, complementing each other. Your service and devotion, my love and protection.” Mulder had now been dragged so close to his Master that all he could see were Skinner’s lips as they neared his face. Then his own lips were parted and he was being kissed so hard, and so thoroughly, and his nipples were being gently soothed, with little teasing circular motions of Skinner’s hand while his Master’s other hand was sliding up and down his cock… He came with a shout, and then rested his head on his Master’s shoulder, all thoughts of California banished.


“Thank you, Master,” he whispered.


“My pleasure, sweetheart.” Skinner replied, stroking his shaking slave’s back tenderly.


“Could I return the favor?” Mulder asked, nuzzling forward against his Master’s body, aiming for his crotch.


“No. I’m fine. It’s been a good day – and it’s time for bed. Your Master is tired.”


“Hmm, well Master is extremely old,” Mulder teased, holding out his hands to drag his Master to his feet. Skinner delivered a light swat to his slave’s butt in response.


“We could re-think that strapping, slave,” he growled, with mock ferocity. Mulder laughed, and skipped out of the way of another well-aimed swat to his ass.


Mulder was off the short leash, and he performed his morning tasks the following day to a level of perfection that earned him more praise from his Master, and several breath-taking kisses. Mulder would have sauntered off to work more happily if he hadn’t been all too well aware of why he was behaving so well. Somehow, it was recompense for an act he hadn’t even committed yet, and wasn’t even sure he was going to commit.


He got into work early, beating Scully into the basement office, and then paused. There, on his desk, were 3 new X Files. It would be so easy to just bury himself in them, forget about Samantha, and Andrew Linker, and just get on with his life – a life that was a hundred times better since he’d signed that contract a few weeks before. The phone went as he sat down at his desk, and he reached for it, absently.


“Mulder,” he said, flicking through the first file, his mind elsewhere.


“Hello, old friend. I’m surprised you’re still in DC,” a low, familiar voice said.


“Fuck off, Krycek,” he replied, his hand making a fist around the papers it was holding, scrunching them up.


“You haven’t been to check up that address I gave you,” Krycek said.


“You told me she wasn’t there, so what was the point?” Mulder hissed.


“You’ve changed. What’s happened to you? In the old days you’d have taken off before I finished talking to you.”


“Well now I’m older and wiser. That address could be a trap.”


“It isn’t,” Krycek interjected.


“Or just a game of hide and seek. I don’t want to play your games any more, Krycek. Someone always ends up getting hurt – and it’s usually me.”


“Not always,” Krycek said pointedly, and Mulder remembered the other man’s disfigured body. “I thought I was helping you out. I thought you were interested in finding your sister,” Krycek continued in a low, baiting tone.


“I’m not listening.” Mulder put the ‘phone down, and then slammed his fist on the desk. Damn Krycek for always doing this to him, for cutting into his soul to find his weaknesses with almost surgical precision. He smoothed out the papers he’d scrunched up and read the file. He didn’t take in any of the details on the first read, as his mind was still racing, but when he attempted a second read through, one word kept catching his eye: California. He sat up, and concentrated on the case. It was the kind of case that he might have ignored on a different occasion: a woman had died while out walking her dog on a beach. She had no enemies, and there were no footprints leading too or from the body, which had been burned to a crisp.


“Spontaneous Human Combustion?” Scully raised a bored eyebrow as he outlined the case to her half an hour later. “Haven’t we looked into this before, Mulder?” Mulder shifted uncomfortably, remembering Phoebe.


“Yes, but this is a completely different case, and I think it’s worthy of further investigation,” he told her urgently, feeling a sense of excitement surge through his veins as his need to pursue his quest returned, wiping out everything else in his life, even his relationship with Skinner.


“Uh-huh. And the fact that this, uh, supposed case of SHC occurred in…California?” She did her performing eyebrow trick and he sighed.


“Such a suspicious mind, Scully. That’s not why I’m interested in it.”


“Well it sure as hell is why I am!” She grinned. “I could do with a few days in the sun. When do we leave?”


“Scully!” he remonstrated in a shocked tone.


“Mulder!” She mocked back. She got up and walked towards him, then, without warning, grabbed a handful of his hair, and pushed his head lightly towards the desk.


“Hey! What the hell are you doing?” he yelled.


“Just following orders,” she grinned, releasing him and smoothing his hair back down. “You said to bang your head against your desk if you raised the subject of California again.”


“Oh. Yeah. I did, didn’t I?” Mulder said sheepishly. “And thank you, Agent Scully. Your attention to detail is, as always, above and beyond the call of duty.”


“Where’s the 302?” Scully glanced at the file over his shoulder. Mulder sighed, and bit on his lip.


“Ah, well, that’s something I haven’t had time to arrange yet,” he murmured, wondering what Skinner’s reaction would be to letting his slave out of his sight for the first time.


Mulder booked their tickets to California before going to see Skinner, reasoning that presenting his Master with a fait accomplis would help him to get that 302 signed. He also took Scully along to his meeting with Skinner, feeling sure that his Master would think twice about turning down his request if she were there. After all, it was an X File, it had been on his desk, and it was exactly the sort of case he’d been investigating for the past 6 years. In fact, he had even managed to convince himself that he was genuinely interested in the case, and not just following it up for his own purposes. He had to admit though, that it was like his birthday, Christmas and Slave’s Day, all rolled into one. Information about Samantha, a chance to find out more about the mysterious Andrew Linker’s shadowy past, and an X File thrown in along the way. It was too good to be true.


He was almost quivering with anticipatory energy by the time of their meeting with Skinner. He took his seat, beside Scully, and his knee immediately began to dance up and down in a nervous gesture that he couldn’t stop. Skinner, as always a picture of studied calm, read through the X File, and then glanced up at Mulder, and looked, pointedly, at his Agent’s wildly rocking knee.


“You want to investigate this?” He asked.


“Yes.” Mulder nodded.


“For what reason?” Skinner threw the file back down on the desk.


“For what reason?” Mulder echoed incredulously. He was unable to sit still, and got up in a wild burst of energy that took both Skinner and Scully by surprise. “Because we could be looking at a case of Spontaneous Human Combustion here!” He exploded.


“Spontaneous…? Isn’t that a myth?” Skinner frowned.


“It’s never been proved or disproved one way or the other. As a matter of fact there’s considerable circumstantial evidence to suggest that it’s a very real phenomena…” Mulder gabbled, pacing around the room, gesticulating wildly.


“Although I would postulate that the severity of burning in the cases on file have meant that a thorough examination is very rarely possible,” Scully interjected. Mulder glared at her.


“If it isn’t SHC, then what the hell did kill this woman, alone, on a deserted beach, at 6am? There were no footprints leading to or from her body,” Mulder pointed out. “It’s an X File, sir, and we have to investigate it.”


Skinner looked at his slave for a long time, and Mulder swallowed, nervously, under that intense scrutiny.


“Agent Scully?” Skinner turned his attention away from his agitated slave.


“I think Agent Mulder’s right. We should investigate,” she said, with a butter wouldn’t melt expression on her face. Mulder suppressed a grin. He wasn’t the only one around here who wanted to go to California.


“I see. Well, I think you’re right,” Skinner said, reaching for the 302 and signing it with a flourish. Mulder opened his mouth in surprise. Skinner handed the signed 302 over to Scully then glanced back at Mulder. “So, when do you leave?” He asked.


“Tomorrow. First thing,” Mulder managed to croak.


Skinner nodded, considering this information gravely. “Very well. I expect to be kept up to date on your progress, Agents,” he said.


Mulder nodded, and exchanged a triumphant look with Scully. She got up, and he almost ran over to the door, and held it open for her. There was a smile on her face as she breezed through in front of him. Mulder was about to follow her when Skinner stopped him.


“Agent Mulder, before you go…” Mulder stopped, his heart sinking. He waved Scully on, and shut the door behind her with her a sigh. He turned back to his Master, and started to talk.


“I know I’m going to be away from home, but I’ll be good, I promise, and you said the contract wouldn’t interfere with my work at the very beginning, and…” He watched, nervously, as Skinner stalked stealthily out from behind his desk, like a panther hunting his prey. Skinner moved towards him, and Mulder held his breath…but his Master ignored his slave, and went over to the door, and locked it.


“Follow me,” Skinner said tersely, crossing the room, his back to Mulder. He opened the door to the conference room that adjoined his office, and Mulder followed after him nervously, wondering what would happen next. The conference room was rarely used and only accessible from Skinner’s – now locked – office. It didn’t bode well. There was a large table in the center of the room, surrounded by formal chairs, and, to one side, two armchairs facing each other over a coffee table.


Skinner shut the door behind them, turned the key noiselessly in the lock, then turned back to his slave and said one word:




Mulder stared at him, his eyes widening with shock, then glanced at the locked door.


“What? Here?” He hissed.


Skinner’s eyes narrowed. “Don’t make me repeat myself. In position, slave,” he growled. Mulder swallowed again, considered disobeying, then glanced frantically around the room, trying to find a place to position himself. Finally, he decided on the black leather armchair, and walked over to it, unfastening his pants as he went. His stomach was crawling with a combination of fear and excitement. The idea of Skinner taking him here, in this way, with people going about their daily work outside, was so arousing that his cock was hard before he got his pants down. He fished a condom out of his pocket, and placed it on the back of the chair, then bent over, and waited. “Prepare yourself,” Skinner growled, and Mulder stood up again, rummaged in his pocket for some lube, then began stretching himself, flushing wildly the entire time. This was so humiliating – and so good. He knew that Skinner was watching the whole process, in silence, and that made it even more wildly erotic.


Finally, as prepared as he could make himself, he bent back over the armchair again and a few seconds later he heard his Master walking towards him. Mulder held his breath. He found being used in this way unbearably arousing, even though he knew Skinner wouldn’t allow him to come. It was the ultimate demonstration of his Master’s power over him, and it made him feel more dominated than any of his Master’s other little tricks. His whole body was on edge, waiting to accept his Master. He put his hands back and pulled his butt cheeks apart, moaning slightly to himself as he wondered what kind of an image he was presenting to his Master.


He heard Skinner come over to stand behind him, and the sound of him unzipping his pants. Skinner always promised him that these occasions would be rough fucks, which was part of the appeal to his slave, and he didn’t disappoint on this occasion. Mulder heard the condom being ripped open, and then, a few seconds later, the feel of his Master’s stiff cock against his anus. Skinner grabbed Mulder’s hips, and slid inside his slave’s willing body with a hard, urgent thrust that took Mulder’s breath away.


“I want you to look at the clock,” Skinner whispered. “Look at it!” he ordered. Mulder looked up with a groan, finding it hard to think about anything else but the large cock that was devouring him. “This is going to be long and hard,” Skinner promised, and Mulder’s own cock skyrocketed at that news. “I’m going to use you for a good long time, slaveboy,” Skinner hissed in his ear, and Mulder almost lost control and came there and then.


He trembled as Skinner began to thrust into him with fast, hard, urgent strokes that took his breath away. It didn’t hurt, but it was rough, and undignified, and it turned him on like nothing he’d ever experienced before. He was dimly aware that Skinner was bringing him down from the state of wild agitation he’d been in during the meeting, and, at the same time, giving his slave a good reminder of his status to take away to California with him. It was working. Mulder glanced up at the clock, and wondered at Skinner’s prowess and sheer stamina. His Master’s hands gripped his thighs as he bucked into his slave, sliding back and forth with quick, surging thrusts that made Mulder’s ass burn, and his cock want to explode. He couldn’t believe it could go on for much longer, but Skinner’s ability to hold back his own climax was phenomenal. After a while Mulder started to moan; his knees were in danger of giving way, his prostate had been stimulated into an explosion of sensation, and his cock was screaming for attention. Finally, after what felt like an hour, Skinner came with a shuddering sigh, and withdrew, roughly. Mulder lay, panting, on the back of the chair for a long time, and then, gingerly, stood up. His cock was stiff with arousal, and aching to be caressed.


“Don’t touch that – it’s mine, and I’ll want to play with it later,” Skinner warned, adjusting his own clothing and handing Mulder the used condom. He opened the door, and returned to his office, without a backward glance. Mulder took a moment to recover, then pulled up his pants and went into the en suite bathroom to deposit the condom in the toilet. He ran some water and splashed it over his face, still feeling shaky. That had been so good, and so scary, and he knew it would feature in his jerk off fantasies every night while he was away…which was presumably something else his Master had intended. Finally, he looked at himself in the mirror, trying to pull himself together. His face was flushed, but his eyes – his eyes were alive, and sparkling. He took some deep breaths, and walked swiftly back into the office. Skinner was sitting behind his desk. He glanced up and Mulder went to his side, and knelt down beside him.


“Thank you, Master,” he whispered, kissing Skinner’s shiny black shoes.


“Good pup,” Skinner tickled the back of his newly shaven neck. “Go back to work, and don’t be late home this evening. As you’re going to be away for the next few days, I want to see that you’re well marked.”


Mulder’s cock did another spasm and he had to bite on his lip to keep from moaning out loud.


“Yes, Master. Of course,” he said softly. “Whatever pleases you, Master.” He kissed Skinner’s shiny shoes again, then got to his feet, and scampered to the door, feeling absurdly light-headed. His former nervous agitation had disappeared – he felt relaxed and serene in his state of slavery, and returned to his office with a jaunty saunter, whistling to himself.


Mulder made sure he not only got home on time, but was early. He went to his room, and took off his clothes, hung them up neatly, and then returned to the downstairs living room to await his Master’s return. He knelt in the center of the room, head down, arms behind his straight back, his whole body displayed proudly for his Master. Skinner returned home fifteen minutes later, and surveyed his slave with a loving smile.


“I’m going to miss you, boy,” he murmured, putting down his briefcase. Mulder sprang to his feet and helped his Master out of his coat, then poured him a glass of whisky, and brought it to him as he sat on the couch. He crouched at Skinner’s feet, unlaced his shoes, and took them off, then he sat back on his haunches to await further orders. “The question is,” Skinner mused, one hand playing idly with his slave’s hair, “how much ground will you lose when you’re away?”
Mulder looked up. “Master – I won’t forget any of the lessons you’ve taught me,” he said earnestly.


“I’ve only just begun though.” Skinner shook his head sadly. “You’ve learned a lot, but there’s a long way to go yet. I don’t want you losing yourself without me around to anchor you. So…” He paused and looked at his slave reflectively, “while I’m going to allow you to make this trip, you shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking it will be the same as other field trips you’ve been on.”


Mulder bit on his lip, wondering what Skinner was suggesting. He needed some leeway to pursue his own lines of inquiry in California, so he hoped his Master didn’t plan on accompanying him, or anything like that.


“Just because you’re out of sight, doesn’t mean you’re not still my slave. I’ll be reminding you of that on a daily basis,” Skinner said.


“How, Master?” Mulder asked, with a dry throat.


“You’ll see. Let’s go upstairs and oversee your packing, and then we’ll go to the Playroom to mark you.” Mulder’s heart jumped nervously at the thought of being marked. “Slave?” Skinner put a finger under Mulder’s chin and raised it so that his slave was looking at him.


“I have to sit on a plane tomorrow, Master,” Mulder muttered.


“I know. It’ll be painful.” Skinner smiled ruefully and ran a hand through his slave’s hair. “A constant reminder of what you are. I might be out of sight but I will most definitely not be out of mind!” He got up and Mulder followed him immediately, his obedience unquestioning. He loved it when Skinner brought him down to his most basic level like this. He felt a sudden wave of regret, as he realized that he would be leaving the warmth and safety of his Master’s care and venturing out on his own. He didn’t want to go back to the way he’d been before. He remembered long, insomniac nights on the couch, flicking through the TV channels, his mind in turmoil, or grueling jogging sessions in the dark and rain, trying to escape from himself, and he knew he didn’t want to go back. He liked what he’d found here.


Skinner went through Mulder’s closet and instructed him what clothes to take. They weren’t any different to the clothes Mulder would have taken himself so he didn’t mind. Then Skinner held the door open and nodded his head in the direction of the Playroom. Mulder’s heart missed a beat, then he smiled at his Master, and obeyed his unspoken command.


“It’s been a long time since you last allowed me in here, Master,” he murmured, as Skinner unlocked the door.


“Well, if you’re good, then when you come home I’ll give you a special session in here to unwind you and bring you back to yourself.” Skinner smiled, taking hold of his naked slave from behind, and pulling him close, kissing his ear. “I’ll miss you, little one.”


“I’ll miss you too, Master,” Mulder replied, perversely wishing that he wasn’t leaving after all the trouble he’d taken to arrange the trip in the first place.


“Go and get my switch,” Skinner instructed in a low, loving tone, his lips bestowing another kiss to the back of Mulder’s neck, making him shiver. “And the leather pouch.” Mulder went, trembling, to the cupboard, and retrieved the items, returning with them to Skinner’s side, and kneeling obediently, with the items in his mouth. “I’m going to tie you,” Skinner said, running his hands lovingly up and down Mulder’s arms. “I’ve never placed you in real bondage before, sweetheart, but I think you need to find a still center to take with you on your journey.”


“Yes, Master.” Mulder looked up at Skinner with an expression of total trust on his face.


Skinner smiled down at him, and bent to bestow a kiss on his slave’s eager lips. Mulder drowned in the kiss, opening his lips to allow his Master in. Then Skinner pulled back, and his demeanor changed to one of total authority.


“Follow me, slave,” he said briskly. Mulder followed him to the harness, and stood, obediently, while Skinner fastened the protective pouch around his slave’s balls and cock. Then Skinner buckled him into wrist and ankle cuffs, fastened a wide belt around his midriff, and attached him to the harness. He pulled Mulder’s arms behind his back, and encased them in a leather glove that secured them tightly. His legs were bound together by a series of black leather straps. Then Skinner stepped forward and adjusted the harness, testing and double testing each strap to make sure it wasn’t biting into flesh or causing any distress.


“Do you feel comfortable?” He asked. Mulder nodded, his eyes wide, fighting down the panic. “This isn’t extreme bondage – just enough to keep you still and comfortable this evening. You’ll be hanging here for a long time, just getting in touch with yourself, and focusing on what I expect from you in the next few days. Understood?” Skinner asked.


“Yes, Master,” Mulder replied, trembling slightly.


“You’ll be fine.” Skinner pulled him close, and gave him another firm kiss, then he hauled the harness a little way into the air, and fastened it tightly. Mulder wasn’t far off the ground, but he was completely suspended, unable to move a muscle. “Good. Now, I’m going to mark you. This will be thorough, slave – in order to make up for all the morning discipline you’ll be missing,” Skinner informed him. Mulder nodded fearfully, and closed his eyes.


He felt the switch rest against his backside, and then a whoosh. He tried frantically to move out of the way, but was held immobile, unable to even wriggle even a fraction of an inch. The switch connected with his naked flesh, blazing a path of pure pain, and he cried out.


“Good boy. Prepare yourself for the next one. Lower this time.” Skinner patted the switch against Mulder’s butt to show where the blow would land. “Remember that marking is less about causing you pain than about reminding you who you belong to, and making you carry that knowledge with you,” he warned.


Mulder nodded, his eyes wide. He felt so vulnerable hanging here, unable to move a muscle, having to accept each blow without so much as flinching. The switch tapped his butt, then he felt a breeze, and that whistling sound, and it descended on his flesh again, in the exact spot Skinner had aimed for, making him scream at the top of his lungs as it bit into his flesh. There was a pause, as Skinner allowed him to get his breath back – a kindness usually only granted during markings, not during other punishments – and then the loathed switch tapped his butt again. Mulder could feel his cock thrumming into life inside its leather casing. Much as he hated being marked, it always, without fail, turned him on. Another blow landed on his sore flesh, an inch beneath the last, and then another. Mulder started to moan.


“Please, no more!” He gasped.


“Two more. I told you this would be severe,” Skinner warned.


Mulder nodded, trying to catch his breath, giving into the bonds that secured him, allowing his body weight to rest totally on them, his muscles relaxing. He closed his eyes, waiting for the next savage, beautiful strike, and gasped as the switch bit into his bottom. It hurt so good! The switch went about its vicious work one last time and Mulder came up for air like a drowning man. Skinner stood in front of him, and smiled. “Good boy. The marks are particularly clear and fine – and very evenly spaced if I do say so myself. Try not to get yourself shot when you’re away – they might be difficult to explain in the hospital,” he winked. “These marks should last until you return – and then I’ll mark you again to celebrate having my slave back,” Skinner grinned. “Maybe a nice erotic spanking will be in order,” he mused.


“Yes, please!” Mulder replied eagerly.


Skinner laughed. “We’ll see. It will depend on how well you’ve behaved. On that subject…” He went over to the cupboard, and pulled something out. Mulder craned his neck to get a glimpse of the object as Skinner returned.


“This…is something I promised you a little while ago.” Skinner held a butt plug under Mulder’s nose. “It’s not an exact replica,” Skinner grinned, “but the, uh, measurements are the same.” Mulder’s eyes opened wide in recognition. “As you won’t be available for my use, I think a constant reminder of me will be necessary. You’ll wear this plug during your off duty hours – and that includes all night. There are chains to keep it attached and in place. Don’t even think about disobeying me on this, slave,” he warned. “I can assure you that I’ll find out. You are to wear this whenever you go out in the evening, and at all times when you are not officially on duty. Is that understood?”


Mulder nodded, unable to take his eyes off the butt plug. Skinner was not a man of small dimensions, and the plug was the largest he’d ever seen. There was no way he’d be able to forget that thing was up his ass – and he guessed that he’d be sitting down very cautiously.


“I’m going to insert it now and you’ll wear it until you leave the apartment tomorrow morning,” Skinner said, going to stand behind his slave. Mulder felt a lubed finger entering his ass, then another. He put his head back and moaned as Skinner prepared him thoroughly, making sure his ass was ready to receive the plug, and then he felt the hard, plastic tip pressing against his anus. “Open more – don’t tense…you’re used to accepting me, this is no different,” Skinner said, tapping his slave’s butt reprovingly as Mulder clenched his muscles against the intruder.


“It feels different!” Mulder protested. Skinner slapped his sore bottom hard, and Mulder tried to obey his Master, opening up his body to the plug. It entered slowly, wedging his butt cheeks wide apart, and Skinner didn’t stop until he had pushed it all the way home, slow inch by slow inch, forcing the plug deep into Mulder’s body. Then, to Mulder’s surprise, he started to remove it again, then pushed it back and forth with long slow strokes that made Mulder’s cock stand upright with need. “Oh god!” Mulder moaned, as the plug burned inside him. He was already sore from being used earlier in the day, and the plug was both stimulating him and rubbing at the sore area in a way that drove him insane, giving the pleasure that added burn of pain that tipped him over the edge of arousal.


Skinner unfastened the pouch, and Mulder’s cock leapt gratefully to attention. Mulder gave a hoarse shout as his Master grabbed his hips, took his hard cock into his mouth, and then proceeded to suck him. At the same time, Skinner moved his hand around Mulder’s butt and continued to manipulate the plug, pushing it in, and pulling it out in time with his sucking on his slave’s engorged cock.


“Oh shit – no!” Mulder yelled, unable either to buck forward into that warm, waiting mouth, or to move away from that invading plug as it was pushed back and forth in his butt. The delicious torment went on for an eon, and he couldn’t do anything but endure it, the sweat running down his body as he was sucked and fucked simultaneously. Finally, he came, his whole body convulsing within its bondage. Skinner pulled away, and cleaned his slave up with a washcloth, then he adjusted the butt plug, pushing it in to the hilt, making Mulder’s eyes water. He fastened the plug securely in place, then tested the straps before coming to stand in front of his slave again.


“All right – in order to keep it this securely fastened, the strap needs to be buckled to the fourth notch,” he told his slave. “When you get back from California, you’ll present the straps to me so that I can see from the wear on the leather that you’ve fastened it correctly every evening.”


“Yes, Master,” Mulder groaned. The butt plug was so enormous he didn’t see how he could perform any normal, everyday activities, and as for sleeping in it!


“When you’re wearing it, I want you to think of me inside you, using you,” Skinner purred into his ear, “and to remember who you belong to.”


“I could never forget that, Master,” Mulder whispered.


“Good.” Skinner smiled heartily, and slapped Mulder’s butt. “Now, I’m going to enforce your bondage with a blindfold and gag. Then you’re going to just hang here, thinking about your condition. Understood?”


“Yes, Master,” Mulder agreed quickly. His heart quickened as Skinner approached him with the thick, leather gag. He’d never been placed in this level of bondage before, and he wasn’t sure how he felt about it.


“I’ll use bondage as punishment occasionally,” Skinner informed him, “in order to get you to think clearly about your behavior. On this occasion, I’m using it to make you focus, and remind you who you are. Open your mouth.”


Mulder obeyed, and Skinner placed the wedge of leather between his teeth, and fastened the gag securely to his jaw and around the back of his head. It was a heavy duty gag, and Mulder found that he couldn’t make so much as the smallest noise when it was in place.


“You won’t be able to tell me if you get into any distress, so I’m going to fasten a bell onto the gag,” Skinner said, attaching the bell. “If you need me, then just shake your head and the bell will alert me. I will not, at any time, leave you on your own. In fact, I’m looking forward to a quiet evening in your company,” he said with a sly grin. Mulder would have made a face if he could. “Next, the blindfold. Close your eyes,” Skinner ordered.


Mulder obeyed, and felt the thick, leather blindfold placed over his eyes. Again, it was impossible to open his eyes once it was in place, and he was unable to see even the faintest glimmer of light. “I’m not going to place anything over your ears to complete the sensory deprivation, but I certainly will another time. On this occasion though, I want you to listen very carefully to what I have to say and focus only on me. I’ll give you a few minutes to become accustomed to your new deprivations, and then I’ll start talking.”


Mulder nodded, and was rewarded by the bell tinkling. His butt was slapped lightly in correction. “Don’t move unless you’re in distress,” Skinner said. Mulder gave himself up to the bondage, relaxing into it. It felt strange to be in the dark, and unable to speak. He felt disorientated, and yet curiously at peace. He wasn’t sure how much time had passed – a minute or an hour, when Skinner started speaking.


“All right, little one. This will be a big test for you. Conduct yourself well, and make me proud of you, and I promise you a reward that will blow your mind. However, if you let me down, or disobey me, I’ll give you the whipping of your life upon your return. It’s up to you.”


Mulder was lost, floating in space, as that deep, sexy voice spoke to him. It filled his consciousness, disembodied, like a verbal caress.


“When you’re away you will phone me three times a day. Once when you wake up in the morning, then at lunch, and again when you get back from your evening meal – please bear in mind the time difference on the West Coast. I do not want to be woken in the middle of the night. I will occasionally give you special tasks or duties to perform in your absence and I expect you to follow my orders to the letter, as if I were actually there – let’s call it remote control, shall we?” He gave a little chuckle, then there was silence for a moment.


Mulder became lost in the undemanding beauty of that silence, and then Skinner started speaking again.


“You are not, I repeat, NOT to play with your cock during your absence. You are forbidden to come. Every night, before you go to sleep, you will lie naked on your bed, on your front, with your butt plug inserted, and think about this conversation. You will focus on the fact that your bare backside…” Mulder jumped, as his buttocks were grabbed, and firmly caressed, “is available for correction, even though I am not present to administer it. That is all you will think about for that half hour – in order that you remember that you are a slave, and subject to my will and whim.”


Mulder tried to remember to breathe, as Skinner’s hands massaged his sore flesh. His cock, which he would have sworn was sated, began to twitch.


“Hmm.” Skinner’s hand flicked at his penis, startling him again. “This is forbidden any more release until your return. Remember that,” he warned. Mulder managed a low groan deep inside his chest. He didn’t know that he could physically manage to abstain for that long, although he was sure that Skinner would find out if he disobeyed him. “Remember that this cock doesn’t belong to you. It is mine and exists for my pleasure, to be granted release only at my discretion. I want you to spend fifteen minutes every morning on your knees beside your bed. During that time, I want you to think about your Master, and all the ways in which you will delight him upon your return,” Skinner’s voice was low and throaty with amusement. “Now, I will leave you alone in your bondage to consider what I’ve just said. Remember your signal. I’ll be in the room but I won’t talk to you again until it’s time to release you. Your bondage will last for at least 90 minutes, so relax, and don’t fight it. I might interrupt you occasionally to deliver any little swats or kisses that please me. You will accept these as your due, slave.” He said that last word right into Mulder’s ear and Mulder nearly jumped out of his skin. He hadn’t realized that Skinner was so close. He felt warm breath against his shoulder, then his neck was licked, and after that – nothing.


Mulder hung in space, alone in the darkness. He knew he was only a couple of feet away from the floor, but it could have been miles away for all he could see or sense of it. He had never felt this free before, conversely, considering how restricted his movement was. His mind was floating in a daze, and all he was aware of was the sting in his buttocks from the switch, and the huge butt plug pressed deep inside him. He thought about his Master, how the plug was a substitute for Skinner’s hard, large cock and that made his own cock twitch again, and stiffen. He longed to take hold of it, but he couldn’t even move. He was consumed by a silent, convulsive frustration that just increased his arousal. He longed to feel Skinner’s warm, wet mouth on his cock again, but knew that he would be denied that, and the knowledge of that denial was enough to make his cock grow even more erect. He was lost in the darkness of his own body, and his own desires, and it was mind-blowing.


Mulder careened off into space, his mind focusing down to the fact that he was tied here, suspended in mid-air, at the mercy of his Master’s mood and whim. It was a feeling like no other. All thoughts of California, of Andrew Linker, and even of Samantha were banished from his mind. He was just Fox, his Master’s slave, a chattel, and possession, existing merely to serve. He was so deep into this mindset that when he felt the warm, moist imprint of his Master’s mouth on his buttocks, it took him by surprise.


Skinner licked his butt cheek, then his teeth closed around a portion of flesh, nipping it. It just started to hurt, when Skinner moved on to another part of his slave’s buttocks, licked and bit again, and then moved on. Mulder’s cock stood erect, his whole body in a state of arousal. Suddenly, without warning, that teasing mouth bit down hard on one of his nipples. He tried to scream, but couldn’t. His whole body convulsed instead, making his bell ring. Skinner stopped immediately. “Shake your head again if you’re in distress,” he said in a low tone. Mulder got himself under control. He wasn’t in any distress – he was having the most erotic time of his life.


Clearly satisfied that his slave was fine, Skinner’s mouth suddenly bit into Mulder’s other nipple, sharply cutting into the tender flesh, squeezing the nipple itself between his tongue and the top of his mouth. Mulder gasped, almost passing out from the acute sensation. It was amazing how being tied, helpless, gagged and blindfolded, focused his entire being on his body. Skinner’s mouth withdrew, and Mulder gasped again as the butt plug inside him was twisted around inside his body. Skinner turned the plug slowly, just a little way in either direction, burning his slave’s tender flesh from the inside out, and Mulder saw a hundred white lights explode inside his mind. He hung, limp, and abandoned in his bondage, completely at his Master’s mercy. Skinner laughed, and slapped his slave’s sore butt, and then Mulder heard him move away again.


It seemed that only a few more minutes passed before he felt his Master’s fingers on his face, removing his gag, and blindfold.


“Take some time to return to normality,” Skinner advised.


“Why? What happened?” Mulder blinked and looked around. “That wasn’t 90 minutes. I was fine – I could stay there for the full time,” he protested.


“Fox.” Skinner took his face between his hands and looked into his eyes. “You were there for nearly two hours.”


“What?” Mulder screwed up his face, confused.


“It’s easy to become disorientated when you’re in total bondage like that. Did you like it, little one?”


“I…it was beautiful. A revelation,” Mulder whispered.


“Good boy.” Skinner’s wide smile lit up his whole face. “I’m pleased you responded so well to it. Some people take a long time to adjust to the sensation, and they panic when they can’t move. Giving up control completely is very hard. You did fantastically.” He beamed again, and gave his slave another deep, long, claiming kiss. “I waited until I’d won some degree of your trust before taking this step, and it’s worked well. It means we can have a lot of fun,” he winked. “Are you back with me now?” He asked. Mulder nodded, slowly returning to normality. Skinner had dimmed the lights in the room, so they didn’t assault his eyes, and his Master lowered him to the floor, and gently unbuckled him from the harness, releasing him from his bondage.


Mulder lay in a state of boneless abandon, and Skinner crouched down beside him, and began massaging some life back into his body with brisk strokes of his hands on Mulder’s wrists and ankles. Finally, he helped his slave to stand.


“Go to bed,” he ordered, planting a firm kiss on Mulder’s forehead. “I’ll say goodbye to you here, now, as you’re relieved of your wake-up duty tomorrow morning.” He picked Mulder up almost bodily, his large hands roaming over every inch of Mulder’s body, and then he took hold of Mulder’s hair, and his mouth descended on his slave’s, forcefully, claiming the most aggressive kiss Mulder could ever remember. He lost himself in it, hanging onto Skinner’s broad shoulders for dear life, his knees in danger of collapsing beneath him. Skinner finally let him up, and took a step back, looking at his slave intently. “Remember all my instructions, slave. I will not be merciful with disobedience,” Skinner warned.


“No, Master,” Mulder whispered.


“Go to bed then.” Skinner grinned. Mulder turned and made for the door as if in a dream. “And Fox?” Mulder stopped, and glanced back. “Bon voyage,” Skinner said, his brown eyes serious and full of affection. Mulder couldn’t stop himself from running back to Skinner’s side, and kneeling at his feet. He took hold of his Master’s hand, and kissed each finger.


“I’ll miss you too,” he said in a choked tone. Then he grabbed his Master’s other hand and kissed every finger on that as well. Afterwards, he got shakily to his feet and left the room, his heart flying light and free inside his chest.


Mulder woke up early the next morning, and took a shower. He glanced down at his cock, encased as usual, in its cock ring, and decided to be daring. Skinner wouldn’t know if he removed the cock ring. Contrary to his Master’s instructions, he had no intention of not jerking off for the next few days. He was only flesh and blood, and Skinner had gone out of the way to put all those delicious erotic ideas in his head. His Master couldn’t expect his slave to just ignore them. It was inhuman! Mulder felt a thrill of disobedience surge through his body, as he took the cock ring off. It felt almost strange to be without it – like going naked in public. He slipped it into his pocket, and grinned at himself in the mirror, then tip-toed downstairs. He grabbed his Master’s newspaper as usual, then, on an impulse, took it up to Skinner’s bedroom. His Master was asleep, sprawled out under the covers. Mulder looked at him for a moment, wishing he was staying, then placed the newspaper on the nightstand.


“I really will miss you,” he whispered, reluctant to leave.


Something moved, and he watched, fascinated, as a lump travelled up the bed, and then Wanda’s head appeared from under the sheet, her green eyes glowing. She looked at Mulder questioningly, and he stood there for a moment, their eyes locked, then she emitted a trilling purr and nuzzled against his hand.


“Okay, I’ll miss you too,” he sighed. He picked her up, and she rubbed the side of her face against his chin. “Yeah, you’ve won for now, lady – no wonder you’re being so magnanimous,” he groused. “He’s all yours – for a few days at least, and don’t think I don’t envy you for it, Madam.” She headbutted him and he relented, and gave her a kiss on the top of her silky head. “That’s not for you – it’s for you to give to him,” he warned, then he returned her to the bed. “And don’t tell him I kissed you without being forced into it – he’d be unbearable if he knew.” She sat there, and watched him go, and for the first time in his life he had the sensation of leaving behind something he belonged to, a person who loved him. Maybe even, if he was being sappy, a family. “Jeez, I must be going soft, if I’m counting the two W’s as my kith and kin,” he muttered. “Wanda and Walter…the Master and his little Mistress. Damn, I’m not going to be homesick. I’m never damn well homesick.” A little voice inside whispered that he’d never exactly had a home to miss before, but he ignored it, pulled himself together, and went to the bedroom door. He hesitated before he left, and glanced back. Wanda had curled up in the crook of Skinner’s large protective arm and he wished he was there with her, but he’d made his decision, and there was no turning back.


“California.” Mulder sighed with relief as the plane touched down, and got up eagerly, anxious to take the weight off his sore butt. Scully drove them to the local PD, and Mulder glanced at his watch, anxiously, and reached for his cellphone.


“Who are you calling?” Scully frowned.






“Just to, uh, report in,” Mulder smiled weakly.


“Report on what?” Scully questioned blankly. “We haven’t even got there yet.”


“I know. Ssh!” Mulder waved his hand at her as he got put through. “Sir? It’s Agent Mulder. I’m with Agent Scully en route to the local PD to find out more about the case. No, we’re not there yet, but it’s lunch time, so I thought I’d…yes, I did have a comfortable journey, sir. The seats were very comfy, yes. Thank you for asking.” He made a face at the ‘phone. “Well, I just wanted to check in. I’ll keep you updated as you requested, sir. Yes, sir. No, sir. I’ll remember that, sir,” and so saying he severed the connection. “Keep your eyes on the road, Scully,” he said reprovingly, ignoring her look of utter disbelief. “We wouldn’t want to cause an accident now would we, Agent Scully?” He smiled at her with a false cheeriness, and replaced the cell phone in his pocket, then shifted his weight to his other buttock, and started to whistle. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, they were in California and he was completely, utterly, besottedly in love. Mulder couldn’t remember ever having been this happy.


The officer in charge of the investigation introduced himself as Ray Glover. He was a large man, with an enormous, protruding stomach, and a kindly air.


“To be honest with you, we didn’t know what to make of this case – that’s why I sent the file over to you. I didn’t think we’d be honored with a visit though,” Glover grinned.


“We try to follow up on these kind of cases,” Mulder said stiffly, knowing that if it hadn’t been for his own burning desire to investigate two important personal issues in this state, they wouldn’t be here. Glover took them down to the mortuary to view the body, then left them to it. Mulder took one look at what was left of the corpse, and winced.


“Hardly enough to do an autopsy,” Scully murmured.


“Do the best you can,” Mulder instructed her, turning on his heel.


“Where are you going?” Scully called after him.


“To take care of some business.”


“Mulder.” She ran up behind him, and grabbed his arm. “If you’re going to investigate that address then you are not, and I repeat, not going alone. I’m coming too.”


Mulder stood there, uncertainly, but her blue eyes were flashing fire, and her expression was full of concern. Finally, he nodded. “All right, Scully. You can come with me.”


“Now?” She glanced back at the body.


Mulder tugged on his lip, suffused with guilt, then finally raised his arms in a gesture of despair. “Scully, I can’t wait. I just can’t,” he told her. “Not now that I’m so near.”


“It’s a two hour drive,” Scully pointed out.


“I know, but that’s so close.” Mulder glanced at the body again. He did care about his work – passionately – and this poor, dead woman deserved his best attention. He couldn’t concentrate on her case when all he was thinking about was Samantha. “Let’s go,” he said to Scully and she nodded, understanding. Glover looked surprised when they told him they were taking off.


“A lead already?” He whistled, handing them his file on the case. “Boy, you guys must be really good! I’m glad I called you in on this!”


Mulder’s ears had the grace to flush a guilty pink.


They drew up outside a pretty house in a normal suburb a couple of hours later.


“Nice.” Scully surveyed the flowers in the garden. The whole place had a homely feel to it. Mulder knocked on the door, his fingers absently fingering his gun through his jacket pocket. Krycek had told him Samantha had been moved on, and it could be a trap. If the Consortium owned this house… There was no reply to his knock on the door, so Scully went around the back.


“You looking for someone?” A voice inquired. Mulder looked around to see a woman standing, watering her roses in the next door garden.


“Yes. A girl…no, a woman, in her thirties. I don’t have a recent photo, but this was what she looked like when she was…about 8.” Mulder fished out the photo, knowing this was a long shot. The woman gave him a puzzled look, and fumbled for her glasses. “Sorry, I’m Agent Mulder – FBI.” He showed the woman his ID, and she relaxed, visibly.


“I wondered who you were. Now, this little girl could be anyone, Agent Mulder,” she chided, peering at the picture.


“I know. Is anyone living in this house at the moment?”


“Not that I know of. Every now and again someone moves in – in the dead of night – we never see any furniture or cases being taken inside. Then they move out again a few weeks later. Again, in the middle of the night. Why, are they drug dealers or something?”


“No. Why do you ask that?” Mulder put the photo back in his pocket.


“Well, we hear some strange noises in there. Sometimes I swear I’ve heard someone moaning, like they were on drugs…”


“Or in pain,” Mulder interjected, his heart beating too fast. “Didn’t you ever think of reporting this to the police?”


“I mind my own business,” the woman told him, turning back to her roses. “Sorry I couldn’t be of more help, sonny, but I’ve never seen that little girl.”


“Thank you.” Mulder sighed, and turned back to find Scully coming towards him.


“Nothing around the back. Want to take a look inside?” She asked.


“Without a warrant, Agent Scully?” he questioned, in a shocked tone.


“Are you going to ask Skinner for one?” She replied, one eyebrow raised in amusement.


“Do I look stupid?” He responded.


She laughed out loud. “I won’t answer that!”


She drew her gun, her expression becoming serious, and he nodded at her, and drew his. It didn’t take them long to kick the door open, and then they moved inside, covering each other with a skill borne of long practice. The house was comfortable, just a normal, regular house – except for one room which was completely empty, with one, lone table in the middle. “What the hell happened here?” Mulder looked at Scully and she shrugged.


“No idea. It looks like a dead end though, Mulder.”


“Maybe not.” He bent down and retrieved a piece of paper from the floor. On it, was scrawled a telephone number.


“Or maybe this is all Krycek’s warped idea of a treasure hunt,” Scully murmured. “He starts you off, then you just keep following the trail. It’s a good way to keep you occupied.”


“Why bother?” Mulder shrugged.


“Because something big is going on somewhere else?” Scully suggested. Mulder frowned, and got his cell phone out of his pocket. “What are you doing?” Scully hissed.


“Making a call – what does it look like?” Mulder began dialling the number on the paper. “Damn.” He put the phone back in his pocket. “Disconnected,” he told Scully. “I’ll get in touch with Holly and see if she can find me the address it belongs to.”


He made the call to the FBI, looking around the house one last time. Had Samantha been here? He ran his fingers over the table. Had they strapped her down here, injected her? Had it been her screams the woman next door had heard? He pushed that thought aside, and walked unsteadily back to the car.


“I’ll drive,” Scully said, recognizing his mood. He nodded, thankful, and leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes. Damn, but he wished Skinner was here right now to distract him, and make him focus on anything but this. He longed, suddenly, for the feel of his Master’s big, strong arms wrapped tight around his body, to feel his Master’s warm breath on the side of his face, and to be comforted within his powerful, loving embrace.


They drove to their motel in silence, and then parted to go to their respective rooms.


“I’ll see you for dinner later,” Scully said, and Mulder nodded morosely. He unlocked his door, and flung his bag on the bed, then threw himself down beside it. He wanted his Master so much it was like a physical pain in his body. Skinner had instructed him to call after he’d eaten, but he didn’t want to wait that long. He itched to speak to his Master, even if he couldn’t tell the big man what was going on. Mulder stared at the ceiling for a long time, trying to resist his own weakness, then finally he gave in, and picked up the ‘phone. It rang a few times, and he began to grow impatient, then angry. Where the hell was Skinner? Was he making the most of his slave’s absence to go out and enjoy himself?


“Skinner.” His Master’s voice interrupted this reverie before it got out of hand, and Mulder could have wept with relief.


“Master!” He exclaimed.


“Slave. Where are you?”


“Where were you?” Mulder shot back. “I thought you’d gone out.”


“I was taking a bath. I’ve been working out,” Skinner informed him, his tone calm, not responding to Mulder’s obvious bad temper. “What progress have you made on the case?”


“Nothing…concrete, as yet,” Mulder hedged. “I’ll have more news for you on that tomorrow, I expect. Sir.”


“You sound tense. I wasn’t expecting you to call at this time,” Skinner said softly.


“I…it’s been a long day. I…wanted to hear your voice,” Mulder admitted, clenching his fist angrily, hating being this needy.


“What are you wearing?” His Master asked, his voice becoming low, and sexy. Mulder could feel his heart speed up inside his chest.


“My dress suit, Master.”


“Does the phone have a speaker function?” Skinner asked.


Mulder glanced at it. “Yes.”


“Then put it on, and start getting undressed,” Skinner ordered.


Mulder obeyed, his body trembling in anticipation. He stripped quickly and efficiently, telling his Master as he removed each item. Once he was naked, he stood in the room, feeling stupid, but aroused, his cock already starting to jump into life.


“All right, take your belt from your pants, and lie face down on the bed,” Skinner instructed. Put the belt over your butt.” Mulder obeyed. “I missed giving you your morning discipline, slave. The belt is to remind you of it – and also to remind you what you’ll receive when you get back.


“Yes, Master,” Mulder moaned, his cock hardening, as his Master’s voice continued, saying those beautiful, terrible things to him.


“I’m going to give you a spanking you’ll remember for a long time, boy,” Skinner purred.


“Yes, Master.” Mulder whispered, arching into the bed.


“Are you wearing your plug, slaveboy?” Skinner asked.


“Uh…no, Master,” Mulder admitted.


“Why not? I ordered you to.” Skinner’s voice was a sibilant, throaty growl.


“I know. I only just got back.”


“All right – get the plug, and put some lube on it,” Skinner instructed. Mulder leaned over, and opened his bag, retrieving the plug, and lubing it. “Now tease it in and out,” Skinner told him. “Just the tip.” Mulder placed the hard, plastic tip of the plug against his anus. “Harder,” Skinner commanded. Mulder moaned, as he thrust more of the plug into his body, then pulled it out a little way, then back in. “Now, push it all the way in, and tighten the straps,” Skinner said. Mulder did as ordered. “Put the belt back on your butt, and just lie there, and think of me, inside you. Think of me, putting you over my knee,” Skinner purred.


“Oh god,” Mulder closed his eyes, allowing the image to fill his mind. He felt soothed by that voice, by the familiar feel of the hardness in his butt, by the reassuring touch of the leather on his ass. He felt the tension start to leave his body. “Can I touch myself, Master?” he asked.


“Yes, but you can’t come,” Skinner warned.


“All right, Master.” Mulder turned over, and grabbed his hard cock.


“Before you go for your cock though…” Skinner interrupted him, and Mulder paused. He could almost believe Skinner had some kind of hidden camera on him. “I want you to put your fingers on your nipple rings.” Mulder obeyed, flicking at the rings. “Now tug on them – just gently at first. Do it!” Skinner ordered.


Mulder obeyed, and was surprised by how good it felt. They had been so sensitive after the initial piercing that he hadn’t wanted to touch them, but this felt good! They were completely healed now, and when he pulled on them it sent waves of pleasure/pain straight to his cock.


“Okay – now you can touch yourself anywhere you like,” Skinner told him. Mulder put some lube in his hand, and thrust his cock into it, then back, pushing the butt plug deep inside him as he went, then up again into his hand. He used his other hand to play with the nipple rings. “Pull down hard on one of the rings – now!” Skinner ordered. Mulder obeyed, and gave a hoarse yelp as the pain kicked in, claiming him in its erotic embrace.


“Oh god…” he moaned, arching his back, all thoughts of his unhappy day forgotten.


“What are you?” Skinner asked.


“Your slave, Master.”


“What is your purpose?” Skinner’s hard, low tone demanded an answer. Mulder gave it, automatically.


“I exist for your pleasure, Master.”


“Good boy. Remember, you can’t come.”


“Please…Master…I have to,” Mulder moaned in low tones.


“You can’t.” Skinner’s voice was implacable, sending Mulder to dizzying heights. “If you come, then when you get home I’ll have to punish you.”


“Yes, Master,” Mulder panted, thrusting down on the plug, then up into his hand again.


“It’s your choice,” Skinner warned.


“Yes, Master…” Mulder sighed. “Uh, Master…?”


“Yes, slave?”


“I think I made the choice,” he admitted ruefully, glancing down at his hand which was covered in his come.


“Why am I not surprised?” Skinner’s voice sounded amused rather than angry. “All right, slave. Get up, get into the shower, and get dressed in your jeans and navy blue sweater. Are you eating with Scully tonight?”


“Yes, Master.” Mulder nodded dreamily, lying in a boneless heap on the bed, utterly sated.


“Very well – from now on you will eat everything that Scully does – only in double portions.”


“What?” Mulder sat up, too quickly. “Ow!” he yelped as the butt plug made its presence felt.


“Scully eats low fat yogurts and salads!” he protested.


“Then you will too – just make sure you eat enough of what she’s eating not to go hungry. You know how I feel about that.”


“Yes, Master.” Mulder scowled at the telephone.


“There’s no need to call me again this evening unless you want to,” Skinner said.


“No, Master.” Mulder got up, stretching his body, feeling light headed.


“And slave – that’s 5.”


“5 what, Master?” Mulder asked.


“5 strokes with the implement of my choice when you get home. Start making a tally. I’m sure you’ll notch up a few more.”


“Yes, Master,” Mulder sighed, a delicious thrill tingling through his body. He ended the call, and went to take his shower, running his hands all over his naked body as the warm water washed away some of the tensions of the day. He dried himself, then looked down at his naked body. It didn’t feel right. Something was missing. He remembered the ring, and fumbled in his pocket for it. Somehow, his minor rebellion seemed childish now. He wanted to wear the ring. He needed to be reminded that he was Skinner’s property. It both turned him on, and made him feel safe, at one and the same time.


They went to a diner down the road. Mulder was acutely aware, as he drove, of the huge butt plug inside him. He hoped he wasn’t walking strangely as they crossed the parking lot and went into the diner. He was relieved to sit down -which he did very cautiously, suppressing a little whimper as the movement forced the buttplug deeper into his body. Mulder glanced at the menu – then paled. He just knew that Scully was going to choose the pasta with the low fat tomato sauce.


“Hey, Scully – doesn’t the steak look good,” he pointed out.


She made a face at him. “Mulder, since when do I eat steak?” She asked.


He sighed. “They’ve got cheeseburger!” He suggested brightly.


“So have it!” She replied, smiling at him.


“Keep me company,” he wheedled.


“I don’t think so. The pasta will do fine,” she said, closing her menu.


Mulder glared at her and she looked at him in surprise. “Pasta’s so dull, Scully,” he chided. “Come on – live a little.”


“Eating cheeseburger is living?” Scully raised an eyebrow. “You sure know how to let your hair down, Mulder.”


“Come on, it’ll be nice!” Mulder said brightly. The waiter came over and stood by the table expectantly. “Two cheeseburgers!” Mulder ordered.


“He means one pasta, and one cheeseburger,” Scully amended, kicking him under the table. Mulder thought about it for a moment, opened his mouth to change the order, then closed it again. He needed real meat, damnit! Not pasta! Anyway, Skinner wouldn’t know – how the hell was his Master going to find out? He relaxed, and settled down, amusing Scully with an endless list of observations about their fellow diners.


“You seem to be coping with this really well,” Scully smiled. “After what happened earlier I thought you might be upset.”


“I was.” Mulder shrugged.


“You’re really dealing with this stuff a lot better these days,” Scully placed her hand over his, and squeezed, gently. “I’m proud of you, Mulder. In the old days, this would have sent you off into one of your tailspins. I used to ache for you when you were obviously hurting so much. I’m so pleased to see that you’re finally coming to terms with this part of your life.”


“Yes.” Mulder nodded, uncertainly. “I think I’m improving, Scully.” With a little help from my Master…


They had just started eating when Mulder’s cellphone interrupted them. He answered the call, and choked on his cheeseburger as he recognized his Master’s voice.


“Agent Mulder, I had a call from Ray Glover. He seems impressed by you.”


“Uh, thanks, sir.” Mulder swallowed his mouthful down hastily, and took a sip of water, coughing into the ‘phone.


“You seem to be incapacitated, Agent. Why don’t you pass me over to Agent Scully while you get your breath back,” Skinner ordered. Mulder considered asking why Skinner wanted to talk to Scully, but this was a conversation he didn’t want to get into right now, and anyway, Skinner would hardly ask Scully what her partner was eating – would he?


“Skinner,” he mouthed at Scully, handing her the ‘phone. She took it, and Mulder played with his meal, willing her not to say the wrong thing. He couldn’t hear what Skinner was asking, but it seemed to be general things about the case.


“Yes, sir. Badly burnt, sir. I’ve scheduled an autopsy for tomorrow. Today? No, we had some other areas to investigate first. No, they were dead ends, sir,” she said smoothly. Mulder put his thumbs up, and gave her an encouraging smile. “Seafood? No, sir. Yes, it is the right area! No, I’m very fond of it too.” She smiled absently at Mulder, winding her pasta around her fork, clearly enjoying the informal chit-chat with their boss. Mulder waved his arms, trying to get her to stop talking. She frowned at him. “You’re right, we should have chosen the seafood platter!” She laughed. “I had the pasta instead. Agent Mulder? No, he’s clearly not a seafood addict either – he’s chosen the cheeseburger!” She laughed again, and Mulder thumped his head down on the table. Who’d have thought Skinner would be this devious? He watched as Scully continued her conversation, clearly enjoying this culinary discussion with her boss. Then, a few minutes later, she handed the phone back to Mulder, who put it tentatively to his ear.


“Hello?” He croaked.


“That’s 10. Add it to the tally,” Skinner said crisply.


“Yes, sir.” Mulder sighed.


“And obey me from now on, Fox.”


“Yes, sir,” Mulder muttered. Skinner severed the connection, and Mulder put the ‘phone back in his pocket.


“Wasn’t that nice?” Scully beamed. “Skinner’s actually really interesting when he gets talking. Apparently his folks used to own a seafood restaurant up in Maine.”


“Yeah. Right.” Mulder made a face at his cheeseburger. He wriggled in his chair, his butt plug pressing deep into his body, and his welted backside reminding him painfully of its existence. How the hell had Skinner managed to be such a presence? He was miles from home – his Master was over the other side of the country, for god’s sake, and yet he might as well have been sitting at this table for the control he was still managing to exert over his hapless slave. Mulder felt curiously comforted by that thought. However, it also increased his desire to find out more about his Master’s past. He had to understand the enigma that was Skinner – and to find out how his Master had become so skilled at this game.


Despite his desire to seek out Peter Mayfield, Mulder knew it would be stupid to do anything other than devote the next couple of days to the investigation. If Skinner was in contact with Glover then he wouldn’t be able to bluff any more time away from the case. After a hearty breakfast of yogurt and fruit, he spent the following morning interviewing the man who’d found the dead woman’s body, then met up with Scully to hear the results of her autopsy over a lunch of vegetable lasagna and salad.


“I’m glad to see you’re taking a healthier approach,” Scully smiled at him, nodding at his plate.


“What? Yeah.” He scowled. “Well, you know, this stuff isn’t too bad, Scully, and I like to try new things,” he muttered lamely. “After a day spent eating this stuff, you must be dying for a nice pizza, with garlic bread, smothered in cheese, followed by chocolate cake, in the evening,” he suggested hopefully.


“Not really.” She shook her head, blithely unaware of his interest in her eating habits, and his heart sank.


They spent the afternoon going through the case notes, and arranging interviews for the following day. Mulder devoured three seafood platters in the evening, trying not to be distracted by the smell of pizza that was wafting from the people sitting next to them where an entire family seemed to be carving into thick crusted, cheese-filled monstrosities as if on purpose to torment him.


Their trip to the dead woman’s family revealed that she’d recently suffered a stroke. Mulder spotted a steel cane she’d used to help her walk, and the rest slipped easily into place. He made a few calls, found out that there had been a lightning strike in the area on the day she died but no rain, and then they reported their findings back to Glover who laughed out loud.


“Something as simple as that!” He exclaimed. “I don’t know how I missed it. Strange the way she burnt up so much though.”


“Sometimes that happens.” Scully shrugged.


“We’re going to look like idiots when you turn in the report on this one,” Glover sighed.


“Well…” Mulder mused, “how about we make sure you don’t look like idiots in our report, if you don’t tell our supervisor that we wrapped this up today? That way we get to spend a day sunbathing, and you folk come out of this smelling of roses.”


Glover’s face broke into a broad grin, and he slapped Mulder heartily on the back. “It’s a done deal, son,” he beamed.


“Tomorrow, while you’re sunning yourself on the beach, I need to go and look into something,” he told Scully over a dinner of roast vegetables and ciabatta. She looked up at him in alarm.


“This isn’t about Samantha is it?” She asked, her eyes worried.


“No, it isn’t about Samantha,” he told her gently. “It’s something else. I won’t be long, I promise – it’s just something I need to do.”


Mulder woke early the following morning, and took a quick shower. He removed the butt plug, and washed it, and was about to stick it back in his bag. He sat down on the side of the bed and considered it instead. It was early, so he was still, technically, “off duty”. Should he put it back in until later, and if so, when should he remove it? His mission to speak to Peter Mayfield was a personal one, so he would really be “off duty” for most of the day, but…


Mulder laughed out loud, unable to believe that he was really having this internal dialogue with himself. If Skinner found out about his unauthorized visit to Mayfield, then a missing butt plug here or there would be the least of his problems. On the other hand, Mulder realized that, uncomfortable and intrusive though the plug was, there was something strangely comforting about its presence. Finally, after considering the matter for a few minutes, he decided to wear it. If he was going to do something so obviously against his Master’s wishes as digging into the other man’s past, then the least he could do was to pay a price for it. Sacrificing his comfort seemed like a just penance. With a sigh, he slathered some lube onto the plug, and strapped it back on.


Peter Mayfield lived in a luxury beach-front property a few hours drive away. Mulder took one look at the palatial residence, with its neatly kept gardens and whistled.


“Maybe I chose the wrong career path,” he murmured.


Although Peter Mayfield was an eminently respectable psychologist, with a number of seminal publications to his name, he was now more popularly known as the “shrink to the stars”, and spent his days listening to the neuroses of his famous and wealthy neighbors.


“Nice work if you can get it,” Mulder muttered under his breath, knowing that he couldn’t have stood it for five minutes, no matter how well it paid. Money had never played a big part in his life – even before his slavery. He had enough to pay the bills and eat, and he used the rest to further his quest, and that was all that was necessary as far as he was concerned. He knocked on the door, feeling uncomfortably hot in his dress suit. He was just considering whether to remove his jacket, when the door was answered by an attractive, burly, blond-haired man of his own age.


“Dr. Mayfield?” Mulder asked.


The man laughed. “No, I’m his…housekeeper,” he replied. Mulder noticed the slight hesitation. “Did you have an appointment?”




“Then I’m sorry, you can’t see Dr. Mayfield.”


Mulder bit on his lip. He didn’t want to turn this into an official mission, but even so, he hadn’t driven all the way out here to return empty handed. He made a split second decision.


“This won’t take long, and I’m afraid Dr. Mayfield will have to make time to see me. My name is Agent Mulder. I’m with the FBI.” He showed the housekeeper his ID, and the other man frowned.


“Well, he’s in the courtyard working on his new book. He doesn’t usually like being disturbed, but it’s time for his chamomile tea, so…” He gestured Mulder to follow him into the house. It was a beautiful place, containing the most exquisite examples of ethnic art. Mulder followed the housekeeper into a wide, sunny courtyard, containing an aviary, and a bubbling fountain. It was beautiful -a peaceful place to write, and Peter Mayfield was doing just that. He was seated in front of a lap-top computer, dressed in a pair of shorts and a tee shirt, typing away with two fingers.


“Peter – we have a visitor. An Agent Mulder from the FBI,” the housekeeper announced.


Mayfield looked up with a frown, and peered at Mulder from behind his glasses. The doctor was about Skinner’s age, a plump man, but not unattractive, with light brown hair, and the most beautiful green eyes.


“Agent…?” Mayfield looked startled.


“Mulder.” Mulder held out his hand, and Mayfield took it, still looking startled.


“Thank you, Troy,” Mayfield said to his housekeeper, who gave him a wide, intimate smile.


“I’ll bring you both some chamomile tea,” Troy said, then he exited. Mulder noticed that Mayfield’s green eyes remained fixed on Troy’s taut buttocks until the other man disappeared from sight.


“I’m sorry to disturb you, Doctor Mayfield,” Mulder began, sitting in the chair he had been gestured to, then giving a low yelp of surprised pain as the butt plug made its presence felt. Mayfield looked at him curiously. “Sorry,” Mulder muttered, flushing. “Stiff muscles. I do a lot of…riding,” he improvised wildly. Mayfield frowned, clearly bemused.


Mulder took a deep breath. “Uh, what I have to say next is highly confidential,” he began. Mayfield’s eyes flickered over his shoulder, and Mulder turned to see Troy returning with the tea. There was no point in saying anything to Mayfield while Troy was around. The doctor was completely oblivious to anything when the muscle-bound ‘housekeeper’ was present. Finally, Troy disappeared again, and Mulder took a sip of his tea, wondering how the hell he was going to explain his interest in Andrew Linker from an official FBI viewpoint. In the end, he just opened his mouth and started to talk.


“I’m doing an investigation into Andrew Linker…” he began.


Mayfield’s reaction was startling. He dropped his cup, and it shattered on the floor. “Andrew?” he stuttered. “Why? I mean, Andrew had cancer. Everyone knew that but there was no question of anything sinister taking place. God, even though he was in such terrible pain at the end, he would never have asked Walter to…and surely Walter would never have…” He looked at Mulder in abject horror. “Are you suggesting that some kind of euthanasia took place, Agent Mulder?” He asked.


“No,” Mulder said quickly, suddenly realizing that there was a whole story here he knew nothing about. “Walter…Walter Skinner nursed Linker through the final stages of his cancer?” He asked.


Mayfield nodded. “He was a rock – an absolute saint. Ask anyone. I mean, we all helped out – Walter had a busy job and couldn’t be there 24 hours a day, but he was so good to Andrew, even when Andrew was very weak, and I know that Walter felt so helpless. He’s not very good at talking about his emotions, but I think I managed to get him to open up a little to me,” he said, smiling softly.


I know, Mulder thought, understanding all too well how little Skinner liked talking about himself.


“Andrew wasn’t short of friends. There was always someone with him. He had a number of good people around him,” Mayfield said. “He was much loved.”


“Yes.” Mulder swallowed down a lump in his throat. So this was Skinner’s secret past that he didn’t want his slave to find out about – devotedly nursing a good friend through his terminal illness.


“Not least by Walter,” Mayfield added, and Mulder felt a pit of jealousy open up inside.


“They were…lovers?” Mulder asked, his throat dry.


“More than that. It was more than that,” Mayfield replied. “I mean, Walter knew that there could never be anyone in Andrew’s heart after the death of his long term partner in 1988. They’d lived together for twenty years, so of course Walter couldn’t take Ryan’s place, but there was a bond between Andrew and Walter. It wasn’t a love match. It was more than that. Andrew pulled Walter back together, and in return…Walter devoted himself to Andrew’s comfort.”


“Ah.” Like a slave, devoting himself to his Master’s comfort, Mulder thought.


“Please, Agent Mulder, Walter’s not in any trouble is he?” Mayfield asked.


“God no! We aren’t investigating him,” Mulder replied hastily, hating himself for having distressed this man so much for no reason. He had been stupid. He should have realized how much Andrew had meant to Peter from the inscription in that book, and yet he’d blundered in here, asking his questions. He’d been such an idiot.


“Then what are you investigating?” Mayfield asked, his plump fingers playing with the hem of his tee shirt.


“Nothing that need worry or concern you, Doctor,” Mulder said firmly. “I promise. I must apologize for coming here like this, upsetting you. Trust me, this is very peripheral to the investigation, just fact-finding really, to eliminate it from our inquiries. There’s no question, no question at all, of Skinner being in any kind of trouble.”


“And what about you?” Mayfield looked at him keenly. Mulder loosened his collar, sweating profusely from a combination of nervous guilt, and the heat. “What about you, Agent Mulder? You don’t look comfortable. Are you in any kind of trouble?”


Not yet…


“I’m fine, just not used to the climate. Can you tell me anything else about Andrew Linker, and his involvement in the, uh, sadomasochistic lifestyle?” he asked, deciding that he might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb; he’d come this far, after all. To his surprise, Mayfield laughed out loud.


“You people. You always ask these questions – you pretend that it disgusts you, when really you just want the prurient details, don’t you?” Mulder flushed again, and finally gave in, and shrugged his jacket off. “Well, if you want the details, I’ll give them to you. Andrew was well respected in the lifestyle. He was the safest top on the scene.”


“He was a top?” Mulder’s throat was dry.


Mayfield smiled, and shook his head. “He was sublime. Oh, I never played with him – although god knows I’d have liked to! No, I met Andrew when I was a barely out of college. I was going through a bad time, and he was my counselor. He refused to play with people he counseled on a professional basis, which was sound -although if he took you as his sub, you just had to benefit from all that remarkable wisdom. He was a truly great man, Agent Mulder. You won’t find anybody, anybody at all,” he stressed, his pudgy face changing out of all recognition as he imparted his utmost sincerity to the words, “who’ll say a bad word about Andrew. He was charming, quietly spoken, unfailingly polite – a good man. The best kind. He always had time for everyone – and he knew how to listen. Not that he couldn’t be tough.” Mayfield shivered. “As a dom, I believe he could scare the wits out of sub with just a stare.”


Sounds familiar…Mulder gave a pained smile.


“Don’t make the mistake of thinking he was evil, or in any way perverted because of his lifestyle. He wasn’t. He knew how to make his partners happy – very happy. Ask Walter. Andrew took him in, and straightened him out. I don’t doubt there was a great deal of pain experienced along the way, but if Andrew thought Walter needed it, that’s what he’d have given him.”


“I see,” Mulder croaked, his head pounding in the sun, his mind in turmoil.


This wasn’t what he’d expected, and it wasn’t what he’d wanted to hear. He couldn’t imagine Skinner subbing to anyone. It just didn’t fit in his world-view. He knew that a high proportion of people on the scene were “switches”, that they took either role, but he didn’t understand how Skinner could be such an expert top if his true preference was to be submissive. He examined his own heart for a moment, wondered if he had a longing to play the top, to swing a whip, to inflict… pain, but his mind shied away from that thought. He was lost, confused, and it was all he could do to make his excuses to Mayfield, and then stagger out of the house and into the sanctuary of his waiting car. Suddenly all this seemed too much: the glaring sun, the charred remains of that poor woman, the revelations that this state had yielded. He wanted to escape from it, to return to the arms of his Master, where he belonged. The truth was out here, and he had found it too hard to deal with. It was time to go back home, to accept what his Master told him, to wait to hear the truth from Skinner’s own lips, in his Master’s own time – a time when his slave might be better able to handle it.


Mulder put his key in the ignition, and started to drive back to pick up Scully. Home. He was going home.


He arrived back in the middle of the evening. He wondered whether to go straight to the 18th floor apartment, or whether to knock on the door of the 17th floor one. In the end he decided he couldn’t wait to dump his bag – he needed to see his Master now, so he knocked noisily on the door. There was no answer. Mulder frowned, wondering where the hell his Master could be. He’d called Skinner before he’d left California, so the other man was expecting him. He knocked again, but there was still no reply. With a resigned sigh, he got back in the elevator and went up to the next floor, letting himself into the apartment wearily. Surely Skinner hadn’t stayed late at work when he knew his slave was due back, had he?


Mulder walked along to his bedroom, dispirited, then noticed that the door to the Playroom was wide open, and a red glow was emanating from the room. He frowned, and dropped his bag in the corridor, wondering what was going on. He walked hesitantly towards the glowing light, and then stopped in the doorway, his mouth opening in surprise.


The lights in the Playroom had been dimmed, and orange and red lamps glowed on the walls. Skinner was standing in the middle of the room, dressed in tight leather trousers, and the longest leather boots Mulder had seen in his life, stretching all the way up his Master’s long, muscular legs, and ending up at his thighs. Skinner’s chest was gleaming – clearly having been anointed with oil, and his Master was holding a sleek, black riding crop in his hands, which he slapped against his boots impatiently. His back was to Mulder, and when his slave gave a whimper of sheer arousal, Skinner turned, slowly, and looked at him. It was too much for Mulder. He ran into the Playroom, and knelt at his Master’s side, looking up at him in total adoration.


“I couldn’t wait to get home, Master,” he whispered.


Skinner looked down on him, his boots seeming to lend him even greater height.


“And I couldn’t wait to have you home, little one,” Skinner murmured. He leaned down, took Mulder’s face between his hands, and brushed a lock of hair away from his slave’s forehead.


Mulder kissed his Master’s fingers, eagerly, then slid his hands up Skinner’s shiny, polished boots. “Master looks…incredible,” he breathed.


“And the slave looks…” Skinner smiled, “edible,” he grinned, drawing Mulder close, raising him to his feet, and cupping his denim clad buttocks. Mulder buried himself in that glistening chest, kissing his Master’s honeyed flesh, licking at his hard nipples, at the cleft between his collarbones, and finally daring to go in for a kiss on his Master’s welcoming lips. Skinner’s big hands clasped Mulder’s butt firmly, as if testing a fruit for ripeness, pinching, weighing, squeezing, and drawing his slave closer, so that their erections rubbed together inside their pants. Mulder pressed even tighter, wanting to bury himself in his Master’s divine body, wanting almost to merge with him, to become one, and Skinner laughed, and pushed him away. “Pretty though you look, I don’t think you’re dressed appropriately, slave,” he murmured.


“Sorry, Master, I’ll…” Mulder began to undress, but Skinner stopped him.


“Don’t. I have other plans,” he said, gathering Mulder’s hands behind his slave’s back, and holding them there in one big fist. He reached for the fur-lined handcuffs hanging from his belt, and fastened them onto Mulder’s wrists, securing them firmly. “I’ve missed playing with my property,” Skinner smiled, in a way that was so completely the dom and Master, that Mulder’s cock hardened immediately. “I’ve been…deprived,” Skinner smirked, “so I think it’s time I reminded my slave who he belongs to – yes?”


“Yes, Master. I belong to you,” Mulder whispered, dropping his head and kissing those shiny toed boots.


“Lick them,” Skinner ordered, and Mulder obeyed without hesitation, lapping at the smooth, polished surface, his hands tied securely behind his back Skinner traced the riding crop over Mulder’s back, and down the side of his face as he worked. “Good boy, now the other one,” Skinner instructed and Mulder went about his task eagerly, losing himself in his devotion. “That’s enough,” Skinner ordered. “I think that you’ve been allowed too much free time over the past few days, slave. I think some restraint is in order. Don’t you?”


“Yes, Master.” Mulder nodded eagerly.


“Get on the table.”


Skinner nodded his head in the direction of the massage table, and Mulder climbed up eagerly, and sat on the edge, expectantly. Skinner hung the crop back on his belt, pushed Mulder’s legs apart, and stood within them, then placed his hands firmly on the massage table on either side of his slave, and leaned over him. The orange, glowing light just served to make his Master even more imposing, and Mulder swallowed nervously, as Skinner looked into his eyes for several long minutes.


“How many of my orders did you disobey while you were gone?” Skinner asked him.


“Not…very many, Master,” Mulder admitted nervously. Skinner leaned in and gently nipped the side of his slave’s neck with his teeth.


“How many?” He asked.


“Well…you know that I came that time on the ‘phone,” he began.


“And the following morning you jerked off as well.” Skinner continued nuzzling his slave’s neck.


“How did you…? Oh, never mind,” Mulder sighed.


“I know you, little one. I know you too well,” Skinner moved his head, and began nuzzling the other side of his slave’s neck, licking, and nibbling his earlobe. Mulder tried to remember to breathe. “How many times did you jerk off in all?” his Master asked.


“Three,” Mulder said quickly. Skinner’s teeth sank into his earlobe, just hard enough to make Mulder wince. “Five,” Mulder amended hastily. “I couldn’t help it, Master! You filled my mind with too many erotic fantasies – first, taking me in your office before I left, then putting me in the harness…oh god, please, stop,” he whimpered, as Skinner burned a trail of fiery kisses along his collarbone.


“You’re mine, I can do what I want with you, and right now, I want to devour you,” Skinner said in a low, sexy tone. “I want to remind myself what you taste like, slaveboy.” He put his hand in Mulder’s hair and pushed his slave’s head back, then started licking Mulder’s exposed throat.


“Oh shit, Oh fuck…” Mulder hung there, limp in the delicious embrace.


“How else did you disobey me?” Skinner demanded.


“I…” Mulder tried to think, but it was difficult when his hair was being grasped in his Master’s big paw, and his head was bent so far back. His throat was so vulnerable, and every now and then Skinner would pause and lightly nip the skin with his teeth. “I ate a cheeseburger!” He yelled at last.


“I know about that. Anything else?” Skinner demanded, his mouth trailing over Mulder’s face, kissing the tip of his nose, and then descending on each closed eyelid, and gently depositing a kiss on each. His free hand moved to the front of Mulder’s jeans and he ground his palm against Mulder’s bulging, contained erection.


“No! Yes!” Mulder yelled, his head held immobile by that hand.


“Which?” Skinner asked, licking his way down the side of Mulder’s face and ending up at his mouth. He claimed a long, loving kiss, all the while kneading his hand into Mulder’s groin. Mulder felt as if his whole body was turning to Jell-O.


“I took off my cock ring, but only once, Master!” Mulder whimpered.


“Very well. Anything else?”


“No, Master,” Mulder said quickly.


“All right.” His Master released him abruptly, and then, moving fast, shoved his errant slave back on the massage table, picked up his legs, and swung them around too, then cuffed them to the ends of the table, wide apart. He turned Mulder on his side, and undid the handcuffs, but only in order to re-tie them, above his slave’s head. Mulder lay, spread-eagled on the massage table, his eyes wide. Skinner loomed over him.


“What’s your tally, slave?” he asked. Mulder tried to remember, but it was difficult to focus when those dark eyes were pinning him down with their masterful gaze.


“Um…twenty, I think, Master,” he whispered.


“Very well. I’ll add another ten for those you just mentioned – that comes to thirty. Where shall we deliver them, slave?” he asked.


Mulder frowned. “Where?” he repeated blankly.


“Yes. Where?” Skinner laughed, reaching into his pocket. Much to Mulder’s surprise, he drew out a knife.


“Master!” he gasped.


“You know, I’ve never liked this shirt much,” Skinner mused. He opened the knife, and cut his slave’s shirt away from his body. Mulder held his breath, but the silver blade never went near the naked flesh beneath. “That’s better – my ragged slaveboy,” Skinner grinned, sheathing the knife. He flicked aside a few stray pieces of fabric, then pressed his lips against his slave’s nipples. “I could give you the strokes here,” he mused, his tongue brushing the sensitive nubs of flesh, making his slave squeal with pleasure, “but you know, there are other ways to torture these.”


He reached behind Mulder, to a table, and drew out a set of nipple clamps, dangling from a shiny silver chain. “These aren’t my most vicious clamps, slave,” he whispered in Mulder’s ear, his fingers gently caressing Mulder’s nipples until they were rock hard, “but they hurt, and do you know what’s really nice about them?” he smiled, a dark, sinister smile. Mulder shook his head. “They’re adjustable,” Skinner murmured.


He opened the head of one, and Mulder groaned and tried to twist away.


“Still, slave!” Skinner tapped his slave reprovingly on the head, then, with one quick move of his hand, he snapped one of the clamps onto his slave’s nipple. Mulder tensed, but it wasn’t painful. “I said they’re adjustable,” Skinner smiled. “So we can take our time, build up to something very, very, tight.” He punctuated this phrase by tuning a little wheel at the side of the clamp, and Mulder began to feel it dig into his flesh. He took a deep breath, and watched as Skinner fastened the second clamp to his other nipple, then tightened it, almost imperceptibly. “Now, slave, let’s see about making this a little more painful shall we?” Skinner wrong-footed Mulder, by pressing a lever under the massage table with his foot, lowering it several inches. Then he swung one long leg over it so that he was straddling his hapless slave.


“Poor boy,” he cooed, “all trussed up, and unable to resist. Who do you belong to, slave?” he asked, in a low, sibilant tone.


“You, Master,” Mulder’s hazel eyes never left his Master’s dark brown ones, and Skinner’s fingers returned to one of the clamps. His Master continued to look down on his slave, as he slowly turned the little wheel on the side of the clamp. The vicious implement started to squeeze Mulder’s sensitized nipple, making its presence felt.


“How does this feel?” Skinner asked, bending forward, and taking a kiss from Mulder’s full lips.


“Hurts, Master!” Mulder whimpered, his body jackknifing up against Skinner’s leather clad groin.


“Not enough. Not yet,” Skinner said softly, turning the wheel again. Mulder let out a groan as the clamp bit down into his tender flesh.


“Oh god! No more, Master, please!” he begged.


“I haven’t finished yet!” Skinner smiled, and turned the wheel slowly, one more notch, his eyes never leaving his slave’s.


“Please!” Mulder cried, his nipple throbbing in earnest now.


“Not yet.” Skinner turned it another notch and Mulder let out a cry of sheer pain. He could already feel the endorphins kicking in, and his cock was straining so hard against the front of his jeans that he thought it might break through the fabric. “Let it out,” Skinner smiled, pushing his slave’s sweaty hair out of his forehead while Mulder yowled. “Good boy. Now, time for the other one,” he announced, his fingers turning on the wheel of the second clamp, slowly fastening it tighter around Mulder’s tortured flesh.


“Shit! Please…!” Mulder begged, knowing it was useless. His entire body was suffused with aroused anticipation.


“I think…” Skinner lowered his lips, and sucked the flesh around the side of the clamp, “that this nipple is the more sensitive one, slaveboy. Am I right?”


“Yes…Master!” Mulder gasped, bucking up against Skinner’s groin, his cock desperate to be released from its denim prison.


“So, I think,” Skinner gave him a smile of pure sexual evil, “that this nipple should suffer more for your crimes than the other one. Yes?”


“NO!” Mulder yelled as Skinner’s fingers suddenly turned the wheel three times in quick succession closing the clamp shut around his nipple like a vice. “Oh shit, oh fuck, take them off, please, take them off!” he yelled, his body flapping on the table like a fish beneath his Master’s thighs.


“Hush, little one, hush.” Skinner’s hands stroked his slave’s body gently, and wiped some sweat from his slave’s forehead. “My beautiful slave, so bravely taking his Master’s will. I’ve missed this body – my plaything.” He looked full of loving pride, as he ran his hands up and down Mulder’s torso, gentling and calming him. “See, my will isn’t too hard to bear, little one?” he whispered. “Is it?”


“I don’t know…” Mulder whispered, the pain in his nipples receding slightly as he became accustomed to it. Skinner smiled at him lovingly, and returned to his slave’s mouth, taking another long, deep, tender kiss. He drew back, and sighed regretfully.


“I’m afraid, little one, that you haven’t been punished enough yet,” he whispered in a blood curdling tone. Mulder’s cock went into spasm inside his jeans. “I’m afraid, that you have to suffer some more before you’ve atoned for your wrong doing, slave,” he murmured. Mulder sighed in aroused anticipation, and put his head back, gazing at the ceiling. Skinner undid his ankle cuffs and then he felt his Master’s hands unbuckle his belt. His Master unzipped his jeans, and pulled them down his legs. Mulder lifted his hips to accommodate the action, and the pants were dropped onto the floor. His boxers soon followed suit. His cock leapt up, ramrod straight, ready to burst.


“It’s so eager to receive its punishment,” Skinner murmured in a regretful tone, re-fastening the ankle cuffs.


“Wh…at?!” Mulder tried to sit up, craning his neck to see what was happening. Skinner smiled, his hands running down his slave’s naked legs.


“Well, somewhere has to be punished, and I think it should be this little beauty, don’t you?” Skinner smiled wickedly, and reached over to the table again, and brought forth a miniature, black flogger, made from tiny lengths of suede. He grasped Mulder’s cock in one hand, and Mulder groaned, and thrust up. “This cock will have to pay for the slave’s disobedience,” Skinner crooned. He fingered the cockhead, manipulating the flesh that was softer there, playing with the skin. Mulder sighed, his whole body a morass of sensation, then yelped as Skinner brought the tiny flogger down on his cockhead. It flicked against the flesh, making him yelp, but it wasn’t as painful as he’d thought it would be. “It needs time to build up,” Skinner whispered, winking at him. “Thirty strokes should be enough, little slave. Thirty licks with my flogger and you’ll be begging me to stop.”


“Oh god.” Mulder put his head back again, the sweat streaming down his face. He felt the flogger on his cockhead once more, a sharp, flicking pain, quickly receding. It felt like nothing on this earth. His endorphins were having a party, taking him to a new level and the boundary between pleasure and pain didn’t seem to exist for him any more. “Oh…shit…” he whispered hazily, as Skinner landed three more blows onto his eagerly waiting shaft. His cock burned, wanting its release.


“Not yet. Not until I’m done.” Skinner pinched the cockhead hard between his fingers, and Mulder yelled out loud. “Hold it,” Skinner urged, and Mulder fought back the urge to come. Skinner finally let go, but only in order to deliver another lick to that straining cock head. Mulder was dimly aware that his Master was varying the intensity of the blows, sometimes soft and caressing, sometimes hard and flicking, and he never aimed at the hard shaft itself, or the sensitive area underneath, just the soft cockhead. It caused a sensation like nothing he had experienced before – burning, and stinging, creating an arousal that shot through his belly, warming his entire body. He was dimly aware that his nipples ached, that his cock ached, that he longed for release, but at the same time he wanted to endure this torture forever, and to suffer whatever trials and torments his Master chose to put him through. He knew he was babbling, talking nonsense, but he wasn’t sure what he was saying. His cock burned more and more, until he was sure he couldn’t take one more caressing stroke from the whip, and then he dimly heard Skinner whisper “thirty,” and the torture stopped.


“My slave’s body is so enticing,” Skinner murmured, putting the flogger to one side. Mulder would have jumped into the air if he hadn’t been bound, as Skinner’s mouth descended on his hot, burning cock, and enveloped it.


“OH. MY. GOD!” he cried, as his Master’s tongue skillfully warmed the hurt away, soothing the tortured flesh. Skinner sucked him gently for a few minutes, bringing him to the edge of climax, then drawing back again, leaving Mulder panting on the brink. “Master, please!” Mulder begged. “Master, you have to let me…!”


“Not yet. Soon.” Skinner leaned over his slave, his fingers finding the clamps, and then, smiling down lovingly at his slave, he moved the wheel another notch, pinching the tortured nubs of flesh even more in that cruel embrace. Mulder cried out, as exquisite waves of pleasure/pain coursed through his body. He watched, in a haze of pleasure, as Skinner unfastened his leather trousers, revealing his hard, resplendent cock. Mulder groaned.


“Master…please, let me worship you…” he begged.


Skinner smiled, and ran his fingertips along his slave’s body, making Mulder tingle all over.


“You will. You’ll worship me with your open legs, and with your ass,” he said, placing a condom on his erect cock. Skinner placed one lubed finger inside his slave, and Mulder closed his muscles around the intrusion. “Relax,” Skinner soothed, and soon his Master had entered two fingers inside his naked, prone, tied slave, then three. Finally, having fully prepared his slave, Skinner drew his fingers out, and unfastened Mulder’s legs. He placed them on his shoulders, and positioned his hard cock in the entrance to his slave’s anus. Mulder cried out, welcoming that familiar, hard intrusion, trying to draw his Master deep inside him. Skinner grinned, and thrust with one smooth, fluid motion, burying himself up to the hilt inside Mulder’s hot, slick flesh.


“Yes, Master! Please!” Mulder begged, out of his mind with sensation. Skinner began to thrust, slowly at first, then harder. As he drove in and out, his hand massaged Mulder’s cock in time to his thrusts, and Mulder knew he couldn’t hold on any more.


“Come before me and I’ll whip you,” Skinner hissed. Mulder cried out, no longer caring. “I’ll use the bullwhip – 10 on your naked back and butt, 10 on your bare flesh,” Skinner warned.


Mulder clawed his way back from the brink, unwilling to taste the bullwhip on this joyous homecoming. He had no doubt that his Master would keep his word if he disobeyed him. Skinner always kept his promises. His mind spiraled away, and he felt as if he was having an out of body experience. For one, brief, vivid moment, he looked down into his own eyes, saw the sweat running all over his body, his hair soaked through with it. He saw his Master thrusting into his prone body with deep, powerful strokes, and then watched, in slow motion, as Skinner slid his hands sensuously up his slave’s body, and removed the nipple clamps with a whisk of his fingers.


The world exploded into a point of bright white light. The pain was indescribable, as the blood rushed back into those tormented nubs of flesh, and yet the pleasure, the endorphin rush, was like nothing he’d ever experienced before. He knew he was coming. He could feel his come bursting out of his body like a train emerging from a tunnel into the light, but the sensation was so intense as to be indescribable. He knew he was screaming out his pleasure, knew that his come was splattering all over his stomach, all over his Master’s stomach. He knew, dimly, that Skinner was coming too, deep inside his slave, and then there was only the beating of their hearts in unison, and the calm after the storm. Skinner bent over his slave’s body, panting, his hands soothing, gentling, rubbing the salty come into Mulder’s sweaty flesh. Mulder lay there, trying to return to himself, as high as a kite. He felt Skinner withdraw and heard him dispose of the condom, then his Master was leaning over him, undoing the cuffs, his brown eyes twinkling.


“I guess you missed me then, huh?” Skinner asked, his fingers rubbing Mulder’s wrists solicitously.


“You don’t even need to ask,” Mulder whispered, getting up and falling against his Master’s solid chest. “I wanted to be back here beside you so many times, wanted to feel your arms around me, loving me.”


“Oh, you’re loved, little one.” Skinner tilted Mulder’s head up, and kissed him slowly, chastely, on the lips. “Don’t ever doubt that you’re loved,” he murmured, stroking his slave’s sweaty hair away from his face. “Did you like your homecoming?” he asked. Mulder rested his head on his Master’s shoulder with a satisfied sigh.


“It was…out of this world, Master,” he said. “I worship you.” He kissed Skinner’s shoulder, tasting the salty flesh. “I exist to serve you, Master,” he said, all thoughts about what he’d found out in California completely banished from his mind. Skinner was so completely the dom, so totally the Master – he lived the role, 24/7, just as Mulder lived the role of slave. They moved like clockwork together, each in his right place, where he was supposed to be, complementing each other, like parts of a sophisticated piece of machinery, designed only to operate as a whole, each part needing the other.


“Come on. Let’s take a bath,” Skinner said, helping his slave to his feet.


They soaked in the tub for well over an hour, Skinner’s long legs wrapped around his slave’s thighs, Mulder’s head on his Master’s furry chest, too dazed and sated to talk, just enjoying the companionable silence. Then Skinner pulled on a robe, and they went downstairs, and laid on the couch, Mulder’s body entwined in his Master’s. Skinner played with Mulder’s hair as they lay, listening to music, Wanda’s furry body nestled up against them, purring loudly. Mulder felt sleepy, and happy. He was back where he belonged, with his family. He should never have left in the first place. He had never really belonged anywhere until now, and it felt so good.


The ‘phone went, and Skinner reached for it lazily.


“Skinner. Peter? My god, it’s great to hear from you! It’s been a while.” Skinner sat up.


Mulder tried to run this piece of information through his dazed mind, feeling sure that the name ‘Peter’ was important, and that he should be worried, but he was too happy, and on too much of a high to care.


“Yes, I’m fine. Are you okay? How’s Troy? Hmm…a-ha…mmm.” Skinner twisted his slave’s hair through his fingers, and then ran his hand down the side of Mulder’s face, ending up at his mouth. Mulder opened his lips and took those fingers between them, sucking on them. Skinner smiled down on him lovingly. “A visitor?” Mulder was aware of Skinner’s body stiffening beneath him, but he wasn’t sure why, or what the implications of that were. “Andrew?” Skinner’s voice caught in his throat as he said the name. “There is no…who? Mu…? Yes, yes…no.” Skinner’s whole tone changed, and he pushed Mulder off his lap, and sat up, his body hard and tense. Mulder stared at him, wondering why his Master’s mood had changed so dramatically.


“No, Peter, it’s nothing to worry about. Yes, Peter…I do know him. I know him very well. No, no, it’s got nothing to do with Andrew. No, of course there was nothing suspicious about his death. I can’t even understand the implication.” Skinner’s voice was full of hurt. “Look, this is to do with me, and the new situation I’ve gotten myself into. No, you did the right thing. Thanks for the information.”


Mulder twisted to look at his Master as Skinner put the ‘phone down, then suddenly, he remembered why he should be worried. He sat up, shocked out of his sated stupor, a chill going deep into his heart.


“I’m sorry,” he whispered, trembling slightly.


Skinner stared at him for a moment, and there was an expression on his face that Mulder had never seen before.


“Don’t ask me to leave. You can do anything to me apart from that,” Mulder begged, flinging himself down at Skinner’s feet. “I don’t care what you do, Master. Do anything, but please don’t make me leave,” he begged.


Skinner’s hands clenched by his sides, and for a moment Mulder thought he’d see his Master do something he’d never done before – lose control. He watched as Skinner fought a silent, internal battle, a range of emotions flitting across that normally self-contained face, then finally, Skinner spoke, and it was in a low, soft tone, as if he didnít trust himself to talk in his normal voice.


“Mulder, go to bed,” he said.


Mulder flinched at the use of his surname. “Please, Master…don’t…” he whispered.


“Just go. Now. I can’t…” Skinner struggled hard, and visibly, to retain control. “Not now. Later,” he said in a choked voice.


“Please, just tell me you won’t send me away,” Mulder pleaded.


“I won’t send you away,” Skinner repeated, in a dull, mechanical voice, “but I can’t promise you anything else right now. Go, Fox. Please. For me,” he urged, and it was a request, not an order. Mulder nodded, relieved, both by the use of his first name, and Skinner’s promise.


“I’m sorry,” he said again, and then he fled. Mulder reached the stairs, and looked back briefly. Skinner had his back to him, and the tight muscles of his Master’s back were clearly visible under the other man’s robe. Skinner was hunched, his body full of tension, and he looked so lost, and heartbroken, that Mulder longed to run back and make it better, but it was he who had done this, and Skinner couldn’t handle him right now.


Mulder knew he had no choice but to return to his room. He threw himself down on the bed, and covered his eyes as the tears threatened to spill out onto his face. Damn, trust him to take the one good thing that had ever happened to him in his entire life and to screw it up like this. Damn! If only he hadn’t gone to California, if only he hadn’t spoken to Peter Mayfield, if only Mayfield hadn’t jumped to conclusions about euthanasia of all things, when nothing could have been further from Mulder’s mind. He had been so stupid. It hadn’t even occurred to him that Mayfield and Skinner might be friends. He had been so sure that Mayfield and Andrew had been involved, before Skinner came onto the scene, so caught up in his pursuit of the truth, as always…


Mulder caught a glimpse of the framed contracts on the nightstand. He grabbed the Master one, and held it tight against his chest, and then he couldn’t hold back the tears. He buried his face in his pillow, and silently convulsed against the fabric, curled up in a fetal position, the Master contract clasped against his heart.

End Part 13



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