24/7 15. Unchained Melody


Mulder yawned. It was well past midnight, but he was busy in the laundry room ironing his Master’s shirts. He glanced over at Wanda, who was curled up fast asleep on top of a laundry basket full of warm clothes.


“Trust Madam to find the comfiest position in the whole apartment,” Mulder hissed into her ear. She twitched it back and forth insouciantly, but didn’t even bother to open her eyes. Mulder finished up, then straightened his back with a sigh. He knew he should go to bed, but he wanted to study that massage book Clark had given him. He’d been told to learn all the different essential oils and what ailments they could be used to treat. With his eidetic memory, learning wasn’t hard. Getting his head around the fact that he was FBI agent, and legend of the paranormal, Fox Mulder, sitting down to learn about some girly oils was the problem factor.


Mulder sighed, and packed away the last of the laundry. Ever since Skinner’s big confession a few weeks before, Mulder had thrown himself into his slavery with a sustained gusto that had been lacking before. It wasn’t enough for him to be a good, obedient, slave, he had to be the best slave in the whole damn universe in order to repay his Master for the breach of trust between them that had so nearly ruined their relationship. Consequently, Mulder was on a steep learning curve. The laundry, which he’d once surveyed with an appalled dread, had become his main priority in life. He’d even asked Scully her opinion on various kinds of detergents and their effect on cotton shirts. She’d just sighed, rolled her eyes, and put the back of her hand against his forehead to check that he didn’t have a fever.


With his Master’s permission he’d started taking classes in cooking, and his massage technique had improved enormously. He’d also taken heaped armfuls of books from Skinner’s study, and piled them up on his nightstand to immerse himself in the finer points of his condition. He’d found Story of O strangely arousing, although it had taken all his willpower not to skip the tedious bits and jump straight to the erotic parts. He was secretly of the opinion that Jacqueline was a closet domme, while Rene was clearly a sub who should have been kneeling at Sir Stephen’s feet as that was obviously where he belonged. Mulder re-wrote that part of the novel in his head to fit his own situation as he couldn’t read about the sexy Sir Stephen without grafting his own Master’s image onto the character. He found Venus in Furs hard going, but at least he was able to talk about it intelligently to his Master, which seemed to please the other man. Mulder thought Severin was a certifiable idiot, but he kept that opinion to himself. The Marquis De Sade made him giggle, when he didn’t want to throw up, leaving Mulder with the opinion that the erotic classics weren’t nearly as much fun as the real thing. He only had to think of his Master and he got a hard-on these days – a fact which seemed to gratify Skinner. The big man had always said he’d train his slave to respond to his tone of voice, to the merest glance, or the slightest touch, and Mulder thought his Master was well on the way to accomplishing that goal.


Mulder rolled his shoulders wearily. Being the best slave in the whole universe was a constant strain. He couldn’t bear giving it less than his all though, even if, perversely, that meant disobeying his Master. Skinner had sent him up to bed at 9.30, and Mulder had crept downstairs again to finish the ironing at half past eleven, after Skinner had retired to his own bedroom. Mulder hung up the last shirt, and then glanced around with a sigh. His own laundry still had to be done. In the past, he’d sent it out, but now he didn’t have control of his own finances he couldn’t do that any more. Still, keeping his Master in pristine condition was what mattered. His own clothes could wait. Mulder plucked the dozing Wanda from her warm nest, and turned the light off in the laundry room. He tiptoed up the stairs, dropped the cat off outside Skinner’s open bedroom door, and then set off up to his own room where he fell down onto the bed with a deep sigh of exhaustion. It was nearly 2 am. He had to be up again in a few hours. Mulder fell asleep in the very act of reaching out to pick up his book on essential oils.


Mulder dragged himself wearily down to the pool when his alarm clock went a few hours later, dutifully completed his laps, then returned to the apartment to make his Master his coffee. He brightened as he neared the bedroom. He loved performing his wake up call. He placed the coffee on the nightstand, shrugged off his sweats, and disappeared under the covers.


Skinner smelt divine as always. Mulder thought he could get drunk on the scent of his Master. There was something earthy yet sweet about it. He located his Master’s drowsing cock, and contemplated it in the dark for a moment. It was broad, like Skinner himself, slightly curled over the heavy ball sacs, surrounded by dark, wiry tufts of hair. Mulder pressed his nose against his Master’s cock, and kissed it gently, then licked a long swathe along the entire length of the shaft. The cock jumped, welcoming Mulder’s attention, and he grinned to himself. If he was becoming responsive to his Master’s touch, then it was clear that Skinner wasn’t immune to his slave’s charms either. Mulder took the hardening shaft whole into his mouth, and sucked down hard on it. The cock became instantly hard, and he heard Skinner make those little sounds in his throat that meant that his slave had his Master’s full attention. With a happy gurgle, Mulder set about his task in earnest. Surprisingly, he never tired of serving Skinner in this way. It didn’t make any difference that he performed this same act every single morning. He still enjoyed it each and every time.


A few minutes later he emerged, licking his lips.


“Good morning, Master,” he said politely, then he quickly slid out from under the covers, and knelt beside the bed, eyes down, in the perfect submissive position, awaiting further orders. He sensed Skinner’s gaze on him, but didn’t look up. A few seconds later, there was a deep sigh, and a hand landed on his head, and tousled his hair.


“Look at me, boy,” Skinner commanded. Mulder did as he was told, and looked up into a pair of amused dark eyes. “What am I going to do with you?” Skinner asked.


Mulder frowned. “I’m sorry, Master. Have I done something wrong?” He asked anxiously.


“No. In fact you’ve behaved perfectly for over a month. That’s the problem,” Skinner said, taking a sip of his coffee.


“It’s a problem?” Mulder’s heart beat anxiously in his chest. He didn’t want to be a problem. He wanted to be perfect.


“Sweetheart, I want you back. My Fox. Not roboslave!” Skinner exclaimed. “Don’t get me wrong – I love the way you’re throwing yourself into your servitude, but you aren’t doing it because you want to please me, or even because you enjoy it – are you?”


“Yes I am!” Mulder protested indignantly. Skinner raised an eyebrow, his dark eyes glinting dangerously. Mulder bit down on his lip. “I don’t know, Master,” he admitted with a sigh.


Skinner’s expression softened. “Come here, little one.”


He patted the space on the bed beside him and Mulder didn’t need any further urging. Like Wanda, being curled up anywhere in Skinner’s immediate vicinity was his main goal in life. If his Master also deigned to pet his slave, then he was instantly transported to heaven. On this occasion he was in luck. Skinner settled his slave down so that he was lying on his back, his body in his Master’s arms, his head angled sideways on Skinner’s naked, furry chest, gazing upside down into Skinner’s eyes.


“You look tired,” Skinner frowned, stroking down the side of Mulder’s face. “Have you been sleeping all right? You haven’t chained yourself down here for awhile.”


“I’ve been sleeping fine. I go out like a light as soon as my head hits the pillow,” Mulder said, mentally crossing his fingers. That was the truth, although he was sure his Master wouldn’t interpret it that way if he knew what his slave had been doing behind his back.


“Hmm.” Skinner played with one of Mulder’s nipples idly. Mulder flinched as his Master pulled on one of his rings, then relaxed as he realized it didn’t hurt any more.


“They’re all healed up, boy,” Skinner laughed. “In fact, I think it’s time we did some heavier play with these.”


“Master?” Mulder croaked weakly, wondering what Skinner meant by ‘heavier’ play.


“You’ll see.” Skinner tugged down hard and Mulder gasped. It was a delicious sensation – painful but sending sparks of pleasure down his nerve endings at the same time. His cock went into a spasm of hopefulness in response. “Down boy!” Skinner laughed, slapping it. “Fox, I’m not saying you’re doing anything wrong. I just want you to lighten up. You’re too eager, not relaxed in your servitude. What I want is for you to lose yourself in your condition, to find serenity in it, not throw yourself at it and run around frenetically trying to perform all your duties at once. No wonder you’re looking tired. You’ll burn out if you carry on like this.”


“I want to please you, Master,” Mulder muttered, feeling faintly resentful.


“Maybe you do. And maybe it’s also true that you can’t stand to be anything less than the best at whatever you put your mind to,” Skinner said gently. “Let’s face it, Fox, you’ve always been an over-achiever.”


“Yeah, like in my career,” Mulder said pointedly, making a face.


Skinner laughed. “Don’t confuse progressing up the greasy pole, with over-achieving, slave,” he admonished. “You may not be on the fast track to making Assistant Director by the time you’re forty, but you do conspicuously over-achieve on the X Files. You have an excellent solve rate, and you always give 150% of yourself to whatever you’ve made a mental commitment to. I bet you got straight ‘A’s every time at school,” he added. Mulder flushed, and shrugged. “Who were you trying to impress?” Skinner asked.


“It wasn’t that. I wasn’t trying to impress anyone,” Mulder said sullenly, plucking at the sheet with his fingertips.


“Then what?” Skinner’s hands found Mulder’s wrists, and stilled his restless, questing fingers. Mulder knew that he wasn’t going to get out of this one without providing his Master with some answers. He knew that his Master intended his slave to make a similar personal journey to that which the big man had gone through with Andrew Linker – and he wasn’t going to let him wimp out.


“It wasn’t about impressing. It was about…not disappointing. I hate being a disappointment. Letting people down,” Mulder shrugged. “People I care about at least. The rest can swing for all I care, but the ones who matter…” He sighed.


“You can’t always be perfect. Everybody makes mistakes. The people who genuinely love you will forgive you,” Skinner said.


Mulder stiffened. Skinner’s hands rubbed encouraging warmth up and down his arms, loosening him up again.”Well then, I guess my folks didn’t genuinely love me then,” Mulder said softly, “because they sure as hell didn’t ever forgive me.”


“For Samantha?” Skinner asked intently.


“That was the biggie, yeah. There were other things though.” Mulder shrugged. “For going to Oxford – would you believe my Father was pissed off about that because he wanted me to go to Harvard which was his old school. For going into the FBI – you’d have thought I’d put a knife into his heart when I told him about that career move. The disapproval used to hang in the air between us. It was so heavy I felt like it was suffocating me sometimes. There was no forgiveness, Wal…Master. Not from him. Not from Mom. She didn’t care so much about Oxford or the FBI stuff – she just used to care that I couldn’t find Samantha. No matter how hard I tried, I never brought Samantha back home to her. The one time Samantha came back, or that clone Samantha…I lost her again. I couldn’t even let my mom have that much.”


“And it was easier on you, and, you thought, kinder to them, to just leave it behind, than to stay and try and fight the disapproval,” Skinner whispered into his ear.


“Whatever.” Mulder shrugged, having had enough of a heart to heart for one session. He didn’t like examining himself like this. It broke into his otherwise cheerful mood.


“Well, I don’t need you to be perfect – I’d like you to be happy, healthy, and at one with your slavery.”


“I am!” Mulder protested, his tone angry. “Jeez, what the hell else do I have to do to show you I’m trying?”


“Stop trying so hard?” Skinner suggested mildly. “I can see this is a sensitive issue for you, boy, but that doesn’t give you the right to mouth off at me. Go and get your case, and let’s take you back down to basics shall we?”


“Now?” Mulder glanced at the clock on the nightstand. “We do have to work today, Master.”


“That’s right – so you’d better get a move on, slave,” Skinner said, pushing him off the bed and administering a firm swat to his butt as he went.


Mulder got his case out of the closet, his mood lifting as he entered the serenity of subspace. He loved this place in his head, however painful it was reaching it. Skinner knew exactly how to get him there as well. He placed the case reverentially on the bed, and knelt submissively at Skinner’s side. His Master’s fingers touched the cane, and Mulder took a deep intake of breath. The cane was his least favorite implement. It damn well hurt. Skinner’s fingers skimmed the paddle, and Mulder relaxed. He liked this paddle. It was flat, and the pain was deep and warm, unlike the strap, which stung. Mulder didn’t like the sharp pain of the strap as much. Skinner’s fingers tiptoed between the paddle and the strap for a moment, as he pondered the matter. Then he glanced down at his slave.
“Well, boy. Which would you prefer?” He asked.


“Paddle, Master,” Mulder said immediately. Skinner laughed out loud. “That means you’re going to use the strap doesn’t it?” Mulder said with a sigh.


“No. I’m not,” Skinner tousled his slave’s hair affectionately. “The paddle will do just fine.”


He patted his knees, and Mulder grabbed a couple of pillows and got into position. Skinner fondled his ass for several long minutes, then, without warning, brought the paddle down with a sharp crack. Mulder gave a surprised screech. Usually his Master warmed him up with some gentle taps from his hand, but not this time. The paddle landed with another resounding thwack, and Mulder took a deep intake of breath. His Master then proceeded to warm his slave’s bottom in earnest. Mulder started wriggling, only for his wrists to be grasped in one large hand that also clamped down hard on the small of his back, pinning him to the pillows so hard that he could feel his Master’s knees through them. It was at that moment, that the tension inside broke, and he gave himself over to his Master’s will. Skinner’s paddle efficiently brought the back of his slave’s thighs, and both his buttocks to the same red hue, then he paused.


“Who do you belong to, boy?” He asked. Mulder considered his position, lying butt naked and immobile over the lap of a man wielding a paddle; it was all too plain who he belonged to.


“You, Master,” he said softly. “I am your slave, your plaything. I am yours to punish for my insolence, lack of respect, and general attitude. Please forgive me, Master.”


“You’re forgiven.” Skinner delivered another few swats, making his slave cry out with each hard stroke, then he laid the paddle to one side, pulled the younger man up against his chest, and held him tight, soothing him. His lips found Mulder’s, and kissed him deeply and Mulder gave a sigh of contentment, allowing the warmth of his Master’s embrace to engulf him.


“Thank you, Master,” he whispered, looking up.


“You’re welcome, pup.” Skinner took his slave’s face in both his hands. “Those big puppy-dog eyes will be the death of me,” he snorted, shaking his head ruefully. “Go and take a shower and get to work, slave. We neither of us have time to linger.” He slapped his slave’s glowing red bottom to punctuate this point. Mulder grinned, and scrambled hastily off the bed, then paused.


“I’d like to dress Master, if I may?” He asked tentatively. Skinner looked up, surprised.


“Please,” Mulder said respectfully.


Skinner’s eyes narrowed, and he took hold of Mulder’s chin and looked at his slave thoughtfully.


“I want to. It’s not trying to be perfect…it’s just because…oh damn it, I just enjoy it!” Mulder snapped, grinning.


“Andrew was right about you.” Skinner shook his head as if stunned. “I never would have guessed that willful, hot-headed Agent Mulder could lose himself so completely in servitude – and find himself so completely there as well,” he murmured.


“Hell, I’m surprised myself!” Mulder responded. “Well, Master? Can I?” He pressed eagerly.


“Why not? Be quick though, boy. I have a meeting at 8 am and we’re running late. I’ll take a shower while you choose my clothing. I’ll trust you!” Skinner walked towards the bathroom, then paused, and glanced back. “You do know that leather pants and a suede waistcoat are NOT office attire, right?”


Mulder grinned, and made a face, and Skinner laughed out loud and disappeared into the bathroom.


Mulder retrieved some of his Master’s exquisitely laundered clothes from his closet. He chose a pale blue shirt, just for a change, and a tasteful navy tie, gray dress pants, and suit jacket, and a pair of black silk boxers. Skinner raised an eyebrow at the boxer shorts, clearly thinking they were weekend wear, but didn’t protest his slave’s choice. He stood by the bed, and allowed his slave to dry him, and then Mulder slid the silk shorts up his Master’s long, tanned legs, and over his penis, taking some time to make sure his Master’s cock and balls were comfortably arranged within the underwear. He picked up a shirt, and held it out for Skinner to walk into, then smoothed it over his Master’s solidly muscled arms and shoulders, before buttoning it. He turned over Skinner’s arms, and fastened the sleeves with silver cuff links in the shape of tiny boxing gloves, which he knew had been a gift from Andrew Linker. Then he held out Skinner’s dress pants, and helped him into them. He buttoned and zipped him up, before fastening his Master’s plain black belt with a little shiver – it was a belt that had been used on his backside more than once, and that gave touching it a certain frisson for Mulder. Finally, he sat Skinner on the side of the bed, and put his Master’s socks on, then he eased his Master’s feet into a pair of shoes that had been polished to the highest level of shine by the slave’s own hand. He kissed each shoe when he had finished, then stepped back and surveyed the ensemble.


“Master looks pretty damn edible,” he grinned.


“And slave looks pretty damn naked!” Skinner stressed, swatting his slave’s butt. “Go get dressed and get to work, boy. Your boss is as much a stickler for promptness as your Master.”


“Yes, sir!” Mulder gave a mock salute, then jumped out of the way of the inevitable swat that was aimed in the direction of his prettily glowing butt cheeks.


Mulder scrambled up the stairs and shouldered himself into his own clothing in a hurry. He grabbed his keys and cell phone, then paused to glance under the bed where Wanda had recently taken to hiding in an attempt to be imprisoned all day with the fish-tank, which was her second main object of desire in the world after Skinner. Sure enough, she was there. Mulder hauled the recalcitrant golden furred cat from under the bed, and glanced around to make sure that Skinner wasn’t in the immediate vicinity, then dropped a kiss on her head.


“It’ll never happen, lady,” he told her, depositing her outside the bedroom door. Her loftily swinging tail assured him that one day it most certainly would happen, and all she had to do was bide her time. He closed his bedroom door, and raced out of the apartment, mindful of his Master’s warning about not being late.


Mulder sat cautiously at his desk. Scully had taken a few days vacation time, and, while normally he enjoyed his own company, for some reason this time he felt lonely. The basement walls were starting to close in on him, and he could frequently go for a whole day without seeing anyone. More than that, there was a note at the bottom of his in-tray that he kept avoiding. With Scully to distract him, it had been easy but now that she was gone… Finally, unable to resist, he picked it up, and opened it. It was from Holly in Communications and had been in his tray for weeks. After what happened with Skinner, he hadn’t even been able to trust himself to open it, let alone act on the contents. Mulder took a deep breath, and read it. It wasn’t very informative. It was simply an address. Mulder bit on his lip, and resisted logging on to the FBI database to check it out with all his willpower. He got out some old X Files, and re-examined them, tried to lose himself in the study, but his eyes kept going back to the note. Finally, to stop himself going crazy, he picked up the ‘phone and called Kim to make an appointment to see Skinner.


His Master’s shoes had been scuffed on his journey in, Mulder thought with a frown a couple of hours later, mentally polishing them back up to full shine again. His own performance as a slave was reflected in his Master’s appearance after all.


“Agent Mulder?” Skinner looked at him questioningly, trying to wrest his subordinate’s attention away from his footwear.


“What? Oh, yeah.” Mulder sat down. He noticed as he did so that Skinner had the tiniest smudge of ink on the sleeve of his shirt, and mentally made a note to look up the best way of getting ink stains out of cotton.


Skinner frowned. “Agent Mulder?” He said again. “I’m sure you have a reason for calling this meeting. A very good reason,” he added, dangerously.


“Yes.” Mulder bit on his lip, and fingered the slip of paper in his pocket.


“Well?” Skinner’s expression softened as he surveyed his slave.


“I’ve got some news,” Mulder muttered faintly.


“Good. So have I,” Skinner wrong-footed him, and Mulder looked up, startled. “The results of those tests we took?” Skinner handed Mulder a letter. “I was going to tell you this evening, but seeing as you’re here…”


“They’re clear?” Mulder unfolded the letter.


“Of course,” Skinner grinned. “So you are absolved of condom duty from here on in, slave,” he murmured in a low growl.


Mulder’s cock did a flip, and he looked up with a grin. “When…?” He began.


“I believe we have a Slave’s Day in a few days time,” Skinner said, a broad smile creasing his blunt features. Mulder’s own smile nearly split his face in two.


“You’re going to go bareback?” Mulder tingled at the thought of Skinner coming inside his body, and his cock hardened even more.


“That’s right. Are you going to come in your pants right this second?” Skinner asked slyly, rightly guessing his slave’s reaction to this news.


“Not without permission, sir!” Mulder answered, and his Master laughed out loud.


“Permission denied, boy,” Skinner grinned.


“Do we have to wait until Saturday?” Mulder wheedled. “I mean, what’s wrong with a weekday?” Skinner frequently used him during the week, so there was no reason that Mulder could see to wait.


“I want to make it a memorable occasion,” Skinner told him, “and besides, the anticipation…”


“…is half the pleasure. Yes, I know, Master.” Mulder made a face. “Although I should point out that as I’m always the one doing the anticipating that’s easy for you to say.”


“Poor slave, it’s a hard life,” his Master smirked, without any sympathy whatsoever. “Now, what is it you wanted to discuss?” Skinner said, his tone becoming brisk and business-like.


“This.” Mulder took the note out of his pocket, and handed it nervously to his Master who read it, then glanced up questioningly.


“It’s an address in Seattle. Explain,” he ordered.


“It’s the address where that ‘phone number was registered. The one I found in California.” Mulder glanced at his hands, then back up at his Master, trying to gauge the other man’s reaction.


“And what do you want to do about it?” Skinner asked, leaning back in his chair and examining his slave’s face intently.


Mulder was surprised. He wasn’t sure what reaction he’d expected, but it sure as hell hadn’t been that. “I’m not sure. I’ve been sitting on it for a while because…well, I’m just not sure.”


“Fox – I’m pleased you came to me with this instead of just setting off for Seattle. That’s real progress, sweetheart. I’m proud of you,” Skinner said softly. Mulder felt a glow of pleasure start somewhere in his stomach and creep up to his face, making him flush slightly.


“Question is – what do I do now?” He asked.


“I can advise you, but the decision is yours. You know the consequences of poor decisions,” Skinner shrugged.


“Yeah,” Mulder winced theatrically, and Skinner shook his head ruefully.


“All right – my advice is to leave it. Krycek’s got you following a trail, and he knows it. He’s toying with you, Fox, like a cat with a mouse. Like Wanda with those fish of yours, watching which way you’ll jump. What you need to ask yourself is not ‘what’s in Seattle?’, but ‘why does Krycek want me to go there?’ What purpose of his does it serve?”


“I don’t know the answer to that question,” Mulder shrugged.


“No, and it may be that the only way to get that answer is to play his game and go there – but first, you can try figuring out what he’s up to. It’s harder than just running off like a dog chasing his own tail. Pup,” Skinner added, to push the point home.


Mulder grimaced. “You’re right. If I did decide to go to Seattle…” he began, looking at his Master keenly.


“Tell me. I’ll come with you,” Skinner replied. “Just don’t run off alone and get yourself dragged into something dangerous.”


“No.” Mulder remembered the many occasions when he’d done just that. It felt strange to share the burden – strange, but nice. “Thank you,” he said surprising himself, and his Master.


“No problem,” Skinner shrugged. “A word of warning though – if I tell you to stop, at any point, you obey me, Fox. I’ve told you before, your quest is mine, and I won’t ask you to give it up, but if I judge that a particular course of action is too dangerous, I’ll expect your instant, unquestioning obedience.”


“All right,” Mulder said, uncertainly.


“I mean it,” Skinner frowned. “You’re too close to this to be objective, Fox. You get caught up in the details, and forget the big picture. It might be that together, we can crack this thing. Alone…well, I have no intention of losing the services of my slave, so you’re no longer allowed to go off risking your life at the drop of a hat. Fox?” Skinner’s tone was dangerous. Mulder continued looking at his shoes, knowing his Master wanted him to look up. “Fox?” Skinner’s tone was firm.


Mulder finally looked up with a sigh. “Yes, Master,” he said wearily. “Y’know, being a slave is the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” he muttered. “Harder than my exams at Oxford, harder than being the FBI’s most unwanted…harder than any of it.”


Skinner nodded. “I know, little one,” he said softly. “And the rewards?” he asked.


Mulder gave another heartfelt sigh. “You know those make it worthwhile, Master. Bastard,” he added. “Yes, I know, you’ll punish me for that comment,” he grinned.


“Always,” Skinner agreed. “Come here.” He got up, and Mulder did as instructed, expecting to receive swift justice. Instead Skinner tilted his chin, and kissed him firmly on the lips, a sweet, almost chaste, and completely loving kiss. His Master’s hands gently roved over his slave’s butt, and up and down his back, as he tenderly embraced his property. “I love you, slave,” Skinner said sincerely, “and I’ll keep you safe, come what may. Now…” He took a step back and surveyed Mulder with a critical eye. “I know I haven’t done an inspection for a while, and I can see that was a mistake. Your grooming is most definitely not what it should be. Your suit is rumpled, and your shirt looks distinctly lived in. What’s your explanation?”


“I thought…that is…I didn’t have time to see to it, Master. I wanted to make sure that you were attended to, and…”


“Fox.” Skinner put a finger over his slave’s mouth. “Your own appearance and grooming reflect upon me. I wouldn’t want anybody to think that that you have less self-respect since becoming my slave, and taking pride in your appearance is part of having a healthy self-esteem. My task, as your Master, is to make you happy and accepting of your condition. I do not want a slave who thinks his own comfort and appearance are less important because of his status. They aren’t. Apart from anything else, it’s an essential part of your duty to keep yourself groomed for my pleasure, so that I have something good to look at.”


“Oh.” Mulder scuffed his shoe on the floor. “I didn’t think of that.”


“No.” Skinner put his head on one side and regarded his slave steadily. “Fox, we’ve had several ups and downs already and I just cure you of one set of misconceptions when another set rears its head. Now, listen to me. If you’re having trouble with time-keeping, and getting everything done, talk to me about it. You can raise any issue with me, so long as it is done respectfully. From now on, we will address these kinds of matters in your evening confessional. You will be honest with me, slave,” he said firmly.


“You think I can’t perform all my duties,” Mulder accused, feeling frustrated and resentful, both with himself and his Master. Damn it! He wanted to be good. He wanted to be the best. He wanted Skinner to forget about every other sub he’d so much as looked at. He wanted…too much. He knew that. He couldn’t help himself though.


“No, I think you’re trying to perform too many at the same time,” Skinner corrected him. He pulled his slave to his chest for another sweet, chaste kiss, and Mulder melted, despite himself. “Now, back to work.” Skinner released him, and slapped his butt. “We’ll talk about this again this evening.”


They didn’t. Mulder was called away on a case, and when he got home it was almost midnight. Skinner left him a note, telling him not to perform his swim or wake up call the following morning, as he needed the extra sleep. Mulder sighed. He wanted nothing more than to fall into bed but there were so many chores he had to do. After Skinner’s lecture earlier, he wanted to prove to his Master that he was efficient and organized. He could hardly go into work a second day looking a crumpled mess either, and he had no freshly laundered clothes to wear.


Mulder tiptoed down the stairs, pausing outside his Master’s bedroom, and glanced inside. Skinner was sprawled out, fast asleep, so Mulder continued downstairs to the laundry room. He rolled his neck, feeling stiff, and knowing that he was building up a considerable sleep debt, but he couldn’t help himself. He hated the thought of disappointing any of the people he loved. It always seemed to happen, and nothing he did ever seemed to stop it, which had been one of the reasons why he hated getting involved with anyone. Not this time though. Skinner wouldn’t have any reason to find fault with him the way he had today. His slave would be impeccably dressed and groomed from now on, not a hair out of place if it killed him. Mulder set his lips into a determined line. When he put his mind to something he was completely focused, and utterly driven. Skinner was going to get the best damn slave in the whole universe whether he wanted it or not.


He was so busy working his way through a pile of his own shirts, swaying with weariness as he went, that he didn’t notice the dark shadow fall across the door. The first sign of his Master’s presence came when a dangerous, silky voice cut into his reverie of perfection – making him jump.


“What, exactly, do you think you’re doing?” Skinner asked.


Mulder looked up, startled out of his skin. His Master was standing in the doorway clad only in a silk robe. His arms were on his hips and he looked…mad.


“Sorry, Master. I just wanted to get these finished…and…” Mulder trailed off, trying desperately to find a reason for being here that wouldn’t get him into trouble. “I couldn’t sleep,” he said hopefully. “I thought this would help…you know, I mean, it’s so boring…” He trailed off again. Skinner wasn’t buying that one.


“You know that when you can’t sleep you have standing orders to chain yourself to my bed. That’s always worked before,” Skinner said, in that same, silky, dangerous tone of voice. Mulder started to feel distinctly nervous.


“Yes…I know…but…I thought…” he blustered.


Skinner crossed the room in two strides, and Mulder faltered, and stepped back, genuinely afraid. Skinner had been a good Master, but the other man had always been very fussy about his orders being followed, and Mulder wasn’t sure just how angry he was.


“Oh for fuck’s sake!” Mulder exploded, his common reaction to threat being to fight back, all guns blazing. “I’m a grown fucking man. I can decide whether to do some fucking ironing or not!”


“Yes, you’re a grown man – but you’re also my slave, and you knew what that meant when you signed your contract,” Skinner said curtly, stopping in front of his slave, and looking at him searchingly.


Mulder tried to avoid those dark eyes, and failed. All the tension left his body as he looked wearily at his Master, and saw concern mingled with the displeasure.


“I’m sorry. I just wanted to get this done,” he said with a sigh. “I guess you’re right about me being over-zealous. I don’t want to screw up.”


“Which is exactly what you’ve done, isn’t it?” Skinner pressed.


Mulder gave a self-deprecating laugh. “Yeah. Are you going to…punish me?” He asked, distinctly not in the mood for any kind of hard object to make contact with his butt at this moment in time.


Skinner looked at him thoughtfully. “I should. I probably will – but not now. You look so tired, pup. I have no intention of adding a sore butt to your reasons for not being able to sleep. Now, as you know, I don’t reward bad behavior, but I do want you where I can keep an eye on you. I’m also concerned about you. Go up to my bed and wait for me there. When I do punish you, I want you to remember how good the rewards are as well,” he said.


“Your bed, Master?” Mulder felt a weary elation. “Thank you.” He dropped to his knees, and pressed his lips against Skinner’s bare feet, then fled.


Skinner joined him a few minutes later, slid down in the bed beside his slave, and pulled him close. Mulder wondered if his Master intended to use him, but Skinner just held him, caressing his slave’s body gently, and a few minutes later, Mulder fell fast asleep, with a smile on his face.


They were rudely awakened a couple of hours later by several loud knocks on the door. Mulder sat up, disorientated, and fumbled for his gun on the nightstand – which wasn’t there because he wasn’t in his own room. Beside him, Skinner was opening his eyes blearily, a surprised look on his face. His Master was not one of the world’s most easily roused sleepers, as Mulder knew, and the slave was out of the bed, and halfway to the door before he realized he was naked. He grabbed Skinner’s robe, reached for his Master’s gun, and ran down the stairs. The urgent knocking continued apace, and Mulder was suddenly very concerned for his Master’s safety. Who the hell could be knocking on the door at this time of night, and why did they want Skinner?


“Who is it?” He yelled, placing a hand on the door, cautiously, the gun raised.


“Mulder, it’s me. Ian,” a shaky voice on the other side of the door replied.


Mulder frowned, recognizing the voice, and began opening the door. He heard Skinner trotting down the stairs behind him, and half-turned, mouthing, “it’s Ian.” Skinner was dressed in sweat pants, and nothing else, and he frowned at his slave in annoyance.


“Fox!” He hissed.


Mulder bit on his lip, suddenly aware that he’d not only stolen his Master’s robe and gun, but he’d also answered his Master’s door, which was definitely against the rules. This was Skinner’s apartment – they shared the 18th floor one, but this one was Skinner’s. If their visitor had been someone from the FBI…Mulder felt a cold sweat rise on his body, but they didn’t have time to address the issue, as Ian walked, hesitantly, into the room. His demeanor was at odds with his urgent knocking. He was shaking, and running his hands up and down over his own arms.


“I’m sorry. I’m sorry…” he kept saying. “I shouldn’t have come here. I didn’t know where to go…I’ll go.” He tried to turn, but Skinner got in his way, blocking his exit. He motioned with his head to Mulder to shut the door, and gently laid his hand on Ian’s arm. The other man jumped as if he’d been stung, and Skinner withdrew the hand again, exchanging an anxious glance with Mulder.


“Ian, it’s Walter Skinner. You’re safe here,” Skinner said urgently, ushering their unexpected guest over to the couch.


“Yes…I know. Sorry,” Ian said again, sitting down cautiously on the couch. Mulder exchanged another puzzled glance with Skinner.


“Ian, what’s wrong? Was it Fox you wanted to see, or me?” Skinner asked gently. “How can we help you, Ian? Just tell us.”


“I…it’s nothing. I’ve been stupid that’s all. It was my own fault,” Ian shrugged, then shivered again.


“Are you in pain?” Mulder asked, coming to sit down beside the other man.


Ian shook his head vehemently. “I’m fine. Really. Let me just get my breath back. You must wonder what the hell I’m doing here, crashing in on you like this in the middle of the night. Damn! I’ve been so stupid. I’ll go…” He got up, and this time Skinner was more forceful.


“Sit down, Ian,” he said firmly, in his most authoritative tone. “You’re not going anywhere.”


Ian looked at the other man for a moment, then nodded, his bravado fading. “Sorry,” he whispered again.


“Fox – go and get Ian something hot and sweet – hot chocolate I think,” Skinner said, looking at Ian intently. Mulder nodded and disappeared into the kitchen. When he returned, Ian was sitting on the couch again, and Skinner was seated in the armchair, neither of them talking. Ian’s head was dropped between his knees, and he was looking at his feet – Skinner was just looking at Ian, waiting.


“Ian – here.” Mulder handed the other man the drink. Ian took it, gratefully, and sipped it. A few seconds later, the color started returning to his cheeks, and he looked more relaxed.


“I’ve been an idiot,” he whispered, squinting up at Skinner from under his eyelashes as if he feared what the other man would say.


“Go on,” Skinner said, his gaze never leaving Ian’s face.


“A damn, stupid, idiot!” Ian swore. “I played with someone tonight.”


“What’s wrong with that?” Skinner asked.


“Nothing. I suppose. I…it wasn’t a casual thing.” He glanced at both Mulder and Skinner, clearly wanting to stress that fact. “I’d met him at a few scene parties. We’d talked. We’d negotiated, been out for a drink, discussed limits, safe words. I hadn’t heard anything bad about him…” He trailed off.


“What happened, Ian?” Mulder asked gently, his experience with dealing with traumatized victims of crime kicking in.


“He wasn’t what he said. He’s a sadist…” Ian gave a hollow laugh. “Yeah, I know, but this guy really was. Not a player, just a sadist. It started okay – he’s good looking, and boy, he was hot. He made me feel…high. I don’t play much. I thought I was lucky to find such a good-looking dom, someone who seemed to understand what I want…I suppose I got my hopes up that he might be…” Ian trailed off again, and took another deep gulp of his drink. “It was a façade. He got deeper and deeper into the scene. He wasn’t just turned on by my pain – he liked hearing me scream. Really liked it. There was a look in his eye I’ve never seen in a top before. Like…he was out of his head on some drug, and the drug was me – or, more correctly, my suffering…He…” He stopped again, taking a deep breath to calm himself, and Mulder leaned forward.


“Go on, Ian,” he urged gently.


“I yelled out my safe word but he ignored it. He just ignored me…” Ian started to shiver, and Mulder pulled the comforter off the back of the couch, and folded it around the other man. “Looking back, he didn’t do anything too bad, but I think that’s only because I managed to get through to him. When I was fighting him – he liked that. I went limp, talked in a reasonable tone of voice…and that finally got through to him. He liked the struggle.”


“Ian, what did he do to you?” Mulder asked, his tone firm, but kind.


He went further than I wanted, but he didn’t actually hurt me,” Ian shivered, avoiding the question.


“Are you sure?” Skinner asked, looking at Ian keenly. “Do you need a doctor, Ian?”


“No. God no,” Ian shook his head. “I was just scared, more than hurt. Afterwards, when he’d freed me, he just kept saying, ‘you needed that, you needed to extend your limits, boy. I showed you how. I took you there, boy. You should be grateful…’” Ian shuddered again. “Oh god…I think I’m going to throw up,” he said apologetically. Mulder got to his feet, and grabbed Ian’s arm, guiding him to the bathroom just in time. Mulder left him to it and returned to the living room.


“What’s going to happen?” He asked Skinner anxiously, seriously freaked out by what they had just witnessed.


“I think, that it’s time the Guardian of the House called a meeting,” Skinner said thoughtfully.


“You’re going to chuck this guy off the scene?” Mulder asked.


Skinner shook his head. “No, I’m going to speak to the others, and call this man in for a friendly chat. If that doesn’t work, I’ll put the word around that he’s dangerous and not to be played with. Oh, I expect he’ll still find partners somewhere, but not with responsible players.”


“Poor Ian. Shit, he didn’t deserve that,” Mulder said bitterly.


“No. I think we need to find out a little bit more though,” Skinner said grimly.


At that moment Ian returned. Mulder got him a glass of water, and the other man took it gratefully.


“I feel a lot better now. I have a nervous stomach,” he said with a wry laugh. “Look, I’m sorry that I barged in on you both like this.”


“Stop apologizing, Ian. We’re your friends,” Skinner said firmly. “You’ll stay here tonight, in the spare room. Now, are you sure you weren’t injured?”


“No. Not…A little discomfort,” Ian admitted. “Not much worse than a normal scene though, just…without the high,” he said ruefully.


Skinner nodded. “Who was it?” He asked.


Ian hesitated. “I don’t want to cause any trouble. I mean, I’m not pressing charges or anything,” he said anxiously, the realization visibly sinking in that he was talking to two FBI agents.


“You should,” Mulder cut in vehemently. “Hell, this guy shouldn’t be allowed to get away with…”


“Quiet, Fox,” Skinner hissed. “Ian, I understand,” he said softly.


“Well I sure as hell don’t!” Mulder fumed. “Ian, this guy might try and do this again with some other poor sucker.”


“Fox,” Skinner said in a low tone that brooked no further disobedience. Mulder bit down on his lip angrily.


“Mulder – I know what you’re saying,” Ian shrugged, “but look at the facts. Walter understands. I’m a gay guy, who gets off on being whipped and humiliated. The courts don’t give a crap about safe words, and the code of consensuality on the scene. All they’ll see when they look at me is a pervert who got what he deserved. I wouldn’t be able to prove a thing against this guy. My past, and my preferences, mitigate against me.”


Mulder opened his mouth, then closed it again with a sigh. Ian was right – that didn’t make the situation right, and his crusading side still wanted to press ahead to see that justice was done but he knew Ian was right all the same. Trust Skinner to demonstrate the pragmatic approach that he’d always adopted over the years – and which had often caused the Master and his more idealistic slave to be at loggerheads with each other professionally.


“Fox, trust me, a bad name on the scene will be punishment enough for this guy,” Skinner said. “Who was he, Ian?” He asked again.


“I…I’d rather not say,” Ian whispered.


Skinner looked at him for a moment, frowning, then nodded. “You need to get some rest. This wasn’t your fault, Ian, know that much,” he said firmly.


Ian nodded. “I just feel a bit stupid. If only I’d…”


“Ian!” Skinner interrupted forcefully. “This wasn’t your fault. Understand me?” Ian looked up with an expression of awe on his face.


“Yes, sir,” he murmured.


“Good. Fox, show him to the spare room, and see that he knows where everything is. Ian – you’re our guest. We’ll talk about this again tomorrow.”


“Yes, sir.” Ian nodded gratefully.


Mulder showed the other man to the spare room and checked again that he was okay. Ian smiled and took a deep breath.


“I’ll be fine. Thanks, Mulder – and thank Walter for me. He’s…something else,” he gave a little wink and Mulder laughed.


“Oh yeah. He’s that all right. You’re sure that you’re okay?”


“Fine. Much better for being here and talking it out. Thanks. You’ve been good friends.”


“No problem,” Mulder smiled, then went and joined Skinner back in the bedroom.


“What a night,” Skinner said ruefully, reaching for his slave. “God, sweetheart, I get so angry.” He pulled Mulder close, and held him tight. Mulder went, surprised, as Skinner’s fingers gently tangled in his hair, and brushed over his eyelids, nose, and mouth. Skinner was breathing heavily, and his body was full of tension.


“Master?” Mulder asked, uncertainly.


“Do you have any complaints about my treatment of you, Fox?” Skinner asked. “If you have, then tell me. This situation, us…” he drew back abruptly. “It’s open to abuse,” he said, clenching his fists.


“Because I don’t have safe words? You made it clear to me before I signed that I wouldn’t have that option. I signed anyway. Shit, when I look back – if the guy who just did that to Ian had been the one who I signed my life over to…” Mulder took a deep breath. “Master, you’ve never done anything except provide an erotic canvas so broad that I’ve drowned in it, over and over again.” He knelt beside Skinner and rested his head on the other man’s knee. “Okay, so some individual parts of it have been painful,” he made a face, “but only so that you could skillfully create the whole – and I wouldn’t have missed out on that for anything. I’d have walked out, like Ian did, if you’d ever truly done anything against my will. You haven’t, and you won’t – because you love me. You loved me enough to take the choice away from me at just the point when I was going into self-destruct.”


“Thank you, Fox.” Skinner stroked his slave’s hair, the tension starting to leave his body.


“You know, you haven’t really taken me anywhere near my limits,” Mulder said thoughtfully. “Sometimes…” He hesitated.


“Go on,” Skinner prompted.


“I’d like you to take me down even further. I’d like to test myself – and my limits.”


“Edge play,” Skinner said bluntly. “Don’t you do that enough in your everyday life, boy?” He asked. Mulder made another face. “And isn’t this whole situation, the whole slavery contract, edge-play enough?” Skinner demanded. “Why else did you get yourself into it?”


“As usual, Master knows me all too well,” Mulder murmured.


Skinner’s hand tightened in his hair. “These past few months have been a settling in period, slave,” he said in a throaty whisper. “Me getting used to you, and you getting used to me. Now that you’re settled, we can increase the tempo.”


“Thank you.” Mulder nuzzled into Skinner’s hand again, wanting another caress. The incident with Ian had shaken him as much as it had shaken his Master. “When I saw what you could take at Elaine’s…” he murmured. “I want to see if I could take anything like that.”


“Fox,” Skinner took hold of his slave’s face warningly. “It’s not a question of ‘taking’ anything. It’s a question of needs – and you don’t need that. I know how your fascination can get out of control – but don’t let it happen about this. Just accept that you and I are very different and have different requirements. Hell, that’s why you’re the slave and I’m the Master, boy!”


“Yeah. Guess so,” Mulder grinned. “I’m not sure I agree with you about Ian not reporting this to the police though. If what happened is what I think happened, then Ian could have this guy up on a rape charge,”


“Yes, he could, and then he’d be raped all over again – in court,” Skinner replied. “It’s his decision, Fox. I’d stand by whatever he chooses to do, but it’s his word against this other guy, and with his history of liking rough sex…well, you and I both know how the courts would interpret that.”


“I suppose,” Mulder muttered unhappily. He turned his head sideways and looked up at his Master, enjoying the serenity of the moment after what had just happened.


“You’re looking so tired,” Skinner sighed, stroking Mulder’s face. “I want you to take tomorrow off – you worked late today, and god knows you deserve a day off with the pace you work at. Spend it with Ian, and make sure he’s okay. I want to speak to him when I get home from work tomorrow evening, so make sure he’s still here.”


“Okay.” Mulder nodded, relieved to have the time to see that his friend was all right, and to help him recover from his ordeal.


“Good. Let’s get some sleep then,” Skinner said. “C’mere.” He pulled Mulder close, and gave him a kiss. “I’ll never do to you what was done to Ian tonight,” he said firmly.


“I know that,” Mulder replied, surprised. “I trust you, Master.”


“Good.” Skinner got into bed, and held up the sheets for his slave to join him. “Good,” he repeated, placing a proprietary arm over his slave’s body, his fingers roving over Mulder’s body as if searching for something, or checking that his slave was undamaged.


“You know, I’ve been lucky. I never had any bad experiences like Ian did when I was on the scene and I played with a few people. I didn’t always take as much care as Ian did either,” Mulder admitted, flushing slightly as he remembered how reckless he’d been. How he’d chased from top to top, seeking out something elusive, trying to find a high that he’d glimpsed but never truly experienced. He knew, subconsciously, that Skinner had insisted on his slavery, and taken his safe words away from him in order to create the edge play that he craved – and which he’d seek in his job, and everyday life if his Master didn’t provide the risk and thrill here, within their relationship.


“You could call it luck,” Skinner mused, a chuckle in his voice. “Or you could put it down to Andrew Linker and Walter Skinner keeping an eye on you.”


“What?” Mulder twisted his head and looked up at his Master.


“We scared away a couple of vultures. I thought you had enough problems in your life without attracting the attention of unsafe players. Andrew, on the other hand, was acting from purely selfish motives – he was keeping you safe for me. He knew I was in love with you, and he wanted us to get together one day.”


“Oh.” Mulder tried to figure out how he felt about that. The paranoid side of him couldn’t believe that they’d been watching him, interfering in his life in that way, but a saner side had to admit that he’d never had any bad experiences when he’d been chasing recklessly around the scene, and he clearly had the two Guardians, past and present, to thank for that. “So me being your slave is a kind of destiny then,” he mumbled drowsily.


“Andrew thought so. I bet he’s chuckling away to himself right now, wherever he is,” Skinner grunted. Mulder felt Skinner’s lips press against the back of his neck, and he relaxed. He loved being here, in his Master’s bed. It was warm, and safe, but more than that, it was where he belonged. He was asleep within seconds.


Mulder was alone when he woke the next morning. His Master had slipped out without waking him, although he’d left the strap on his pillow with a note attached to it. “Don’t think I’ve forgotten, slave,” it read. Followed by: “All my love, your Master,” which ruined the stern tone of the note somewhat, and made Mulder laugh. He soon realized that he wasn’t entirely alone as Wanda was pressed against his chest, purring loudly, clearly considering that her slave’s slave was an adequate substitute for the real thing – at least he was a warm body to nestle against.


“You, are taking liberties, madam,” he warned her, peeking under the sheets. She trilled at him, and he sighed, and allowed her to stay, telling himself that it was too much effort to move.


A few minutes later he was startled by a knock at the door, and Ian poked his head around it.


“Hi, Mulder. Sorry to disturb you. I thought you might want breakfast,” Ian said, coming in with a tray bearing two cups of coffee, and some croissants. Mulder sat up, and Ian whistled in appreciation as he glimpsed his nipple rings. “I never would have guessed,” he teased.


“Don’t start,” Mulder flushed. “I didn’t have any say in the matter. My M…Walter thought it would be a good look for me.”


“He was right,” Ian laughed, sitting on the edge of the bed and handing Mulder a cup of coffee. “Oh, wow!” He pointed at the slender gold collar Mulder wore. “That’s beautiful,” he sighed. “I’ve never seen such a subtle, elegant slave collar before.”


“That’s my Master. Subtle, and elegant,” Mulder grinned, feeling a surge of pride.


“Look, I don’t want to hold you up or anything – don’t you have to get to work? I heard Walter leave hours ago.”


“No, he told me to sleep in. I…well I got into some trouble last night, so I was late getting to bed, and then…”


“Then I showed up,” Ian winced. “Sorry.”


“Don’t start that again.” Mulder took a croissant and bit into it. “God, these are good! No wonder Skinner likes being the lord and master – being waited on is nice,” he grinned.


“Don’t go getting ideas. I’m not in the market to become a slave’s sub,” Ian grinned back.


“As if Sir would let me have one,” Mulder replied ruefully. “How are you feeling today?” he asked, looking at Ian carefully. The other man was pale, and appeared tired, but none the worse for wear apart from that.


“Fine. I think I probably over-reacted to the whole thing. If it had been a scene it would have been hot, you know, it’s just that he ignored my safe word, and that look in his eyes – for a moment there, I was really scared that he’d kill me, or something. I don’t really get off on danger,” Ian admitted.


“Why won’t you tell Walter who it was?” Mulder asked. “Ian, Walter’s the Guardian, he could swing something that would make this guy’s life really not worth living.”


“I don’t want to cause any trouble,” Ian said unhappily. “I just won’t play with him again. It’ll be fine.”
Mulder wasn’t so sure, but Ian was adamant, and he had a quiet, unshakable, stubborn streak that reminded Mulder of his Master, so finally he let the matter drop.


They hung out, visited the Lone Gunmen for lunch, played computer games with Langly all afternoon and got home in time for Skinner’s return in the evening. Mulder was curious as to what his Master had to say to his friend, but Skinner sent his slave to the laundry with a malicious glint in his eye. When he was summoned back, a couple of hours later, Ian looked more relaxed than he had all day.


“I was saying to Ian that you and he should go out again sometime soon,” Skinner told his slave.


“Yeah – why not,” Mulder nodded.


“Saturday night?” Ian suggested.


“Saturday…” Mulder looked at his Master, concerned. Saturday was Slave’s Day!


“I’m sure that we’ll have time to cover all the things that need doing before the evening,” Skinner told him, one corner of his mouth twisting up in a meaningful smile.


Mulder broke into a broad grin, and nodded. “Saturday’s fine then!” he said.


“Good.” Ian nodded. “Look, thanks again for your hospitality, Walter.”


“No problem. You’re welcome to stay for a few days if you’d like,” Skinner said.


“No. No, I’m a big boy, I’ll be fine.”


“Call if you change your mind, or you reconsider what we discussed,” Skinner said pointedly.


“I will. Thanks.” Ian nodded. He got up, shook Mulder’s hand, then pulled the agent into a bear hug. “See you on Saturday,” he said. Mulder nodded, and watched as Ian shook Skinner’s hand. His friend didn’t dare repeat the bear hug maneuverthere, he noticed.


Ian was barely out of the door when Mulder turned to Skinner, and opened his mouth. His Master forestalled him.


“No, I am not telling you what we talked about, it was confidential. No, Ian has not given me the name of the guy who did this to him, and yes, you are still in trouble. Now get undressed, go get the strap, and we’ll address last night’s little escapade, shall we?”


“We don’t have to,” Mulder pouted. “It isn’t obligatory or anything.”


“I’ll count to ten. If you’re not down here, undressed, and over my knee, with that strap in your mouth by then, you’ll get double the punishment,” Skinner growled. Mulder didn’t hang around to debate the point.


Ten seconds, or near enough, later, he was exactly where his Master had told him to be, and his butt took the brunt of his disobedience the night before. Skinner made it very clear that this was a punishment, not a pleasure, and Mulder wasn’t in any doubt on that point by the end. Skinner pushed him off his lap, strode him over to the corner, and left him there while he went to fix them both some dinner. Mulder hated standing “on display”. Even though there was nobody but Skinner to see him, it still felt so humiliating. He rested his head against the wall, his butt stinging from the kiss of the strap. It didn’t help matters that just being over his Master’s knee had given Mulder a raging erection. He was like a dog on heat around Skinner, which was unfortunate given how much Skinner liked denying his slave a climax. Mulder was on the verge of running away and asking Ian for sanctuary, when he felt something cold press against his burning backside.


“Fuck!” He yelped, jumping three feet into the air. He looked over his shoulder to see Skinner rolling a full glass of iced water over his neon red bottom.


“Still,” Skinner ordered, rolling the glass back the other way. Mulder moaned again, resting his head on his arms, and leaning against the wall. It felt good and bad at the same time. Skinner finished amusing himself with his slave’s butt, and slid his arms around Mulder’s waist. “So, what did you learn from that particular lesson?” Skinner asked, his hands going promisingly down towards Mulder’s groin, then stopping, tantalizing inches from the desired destination.


“Something about laundry,” Mulder muttered, gasping and pushing his butt back against Skinner’s body.


“You’ll have to do better than that, boy,” Skinner said, tweaking a nipple firmly between thumb and forefinger.


“That…I have to do my own laundry during my leisure time, which I don’t get any of, incidentally, and not when I’m supposed to be in bed,” Mulder snapped, wanting those fingers to go lower. His butt was slapped firmly instead, making him yelp.


“All right, let’s get back to basics,” Skinner said, taking out an ice cube from the drink, and pressing it down the entire length of Mulder’s hot, thrusting shaft. Mulder moaned again, hating his torturer, at the same time as not wanting the torture ever to end. “Have you ever checked how much money I leave in the housekeeping jar?” Skinner asked.


“What? No,” Mulder said, puzzled.


“Enough to pay for dry cleaning,” Skinner informed his slave.


“What?” Mulder stiffened, and started to turn around.


“Face the wall!” Skinner slapped his butt again, and Mulder bit down on his lip.


“Are you saying I’ve been flogging myself to death all this time when I could have paid someone to do the laundry?” He asked.


“I sincerely hope that if anyone’s been doing any flogging around here it’s me,” Skinner informed him with a snicker in his voice. Mulder made a face at the wall. “Fox, use your common sense. There’s only so much one person can do. If you’d approached me, and asked if you could use the housekeeping money to pay for someone to do some of the laundry, I’d have agreed. I was waiting for it to occur to you.”


“Why? Why not just tell me?” Mulder asked from between clenched teeth as Skinner tweaked his nipple, hard, then ran the cold ice cube over the hot nub. “Shit,” he squealed. Skinner slapped his butt again, then continued with his work.


“Because this is a two way street. You need to play a part in defining and shaping the nature of your own slavery. Don’t assume so much. You always assume that I’ll disapprove of everything you want to do, or that I’ll forbid you to do it. Last night you said that you trusted me. You could extend that trust beyond the bedroom, you know.” One hand continued to play with Mulder’s right nipple, while the other ran the ice cube along his shaft again. Mulder moaned, and arched his back. He felt Skinner trail a line of hot kisses down his spine.


“Will you remember to do that in future?” Skinner asked.


“Yes! Oh god, yes,” Mulder sighed, as his cock thrust urgently against his Master’s hand.


“Would you, in fact, agree to anything right now, my little slut?” Skinner asked, running the ice cube back over Mulder’s nipples.


“Oh god, yes! Yes!” Mulder shouted.


Skinner laughed, and slapped his slave’s bottom again. “You can come then,” he instructed, and Mulder did as he was told, almost immediately. “In addition,” Skinner told his blindly sated slave, “please remember NOT to answer the door in the middle of the night unless it’s unavoidable. I am entirely capable of protecting myself incidentally.”


“Sorry – I got carried away,” Mulder said hazily.


“That’s what I thought…which is why we’re going on a little trip on Saturday.” Skinner ran his hands loving over his slave’s body, stroking him continuously.


“A trip? Where?” Mulder asked suspiciously. “And Saturday is…”


“Slave’s Day. As if I could forget,” Skinner said in an amused tone, “and if you’re good between now and then I promise you an afternoon in the Playroom that you certainly won’t forget in a long time. However, I want you to pick up some suits from Elliott in the morning, and then you and I will take our little shopping trip. After that, you’ll get your Playroom session, and a couple of hours to rest up before your evening out on the town with Ian.” Skinner’s lips nipped the back of Mulder’s neck.


“It’s not a tattoo is it? Or the…branding?” Mulder ventured in a worried voice. “The trip on Saturday. Are you going to mark me, Master?”


“Would you like that?” Skinner turned Mulder around to face him.


“No!” Mulder said quickly, then he hung his head. “Yes,” he admitted. “I mean being marked as your property, not the actual marking process if you get my meaning.”


“I think so.” Skinner nodded. “You do understand that one day I’ll make you endure the process, don’t you?” He asked, looking at his slave intently.


“Yes,” Mulder bit on his lip. “I want it…it just scares me.”


“Well, you can stop worrying for now. I’ll save a more permanent form of marking for a special occasion. The trip on Saturday is for a more pragmatic purpose,” Skinner grinned.


Mulder nodded, uncertainly, not entirely sure that he liked where this was headed.


Skinner dispatched him to Elliott’s early on Saturday morning. Mulder couldn’t help being struck by how much his life had changed. Being a slave, running errands for his Master, dressing, bathing, shaving and generally worshipping the other man filled his leisure time now. In the past he’d watched porno films, and hung out in his apartment throwing his basketball around aimlessly, but now his time was filled. Skinner did occasionally schedule him some down time – enough to give him a chance to catch up on reading obscure paranormal journals and surfing the net for bizarre sources of information, but not enough to get himself in too much trouble.


Mulder was met at the door by Donald, and shown into a waiting room.


“Elliott will be with you shortly. He’s just finishing a call,” Donald said. He was dressed as impeccably as usual, his pale blue shirt emphasizing his baby blue eyes, but he looked pale, and unhappy, Mulder thought.


“Still no progress with…” Mulder gestured with his head in the direction of Elliott’s office.


Donald flushed. “No. I don’t think he knows I exist. I’m thinking of looking for another job,” he muttered. “Seeing him every day is just a kind of exquisite torture,” he added.


Mulder nodded glumly, empathizing with the other man’s predicament, and suddenly aware of how it must have been for Skinner all those years.


“Maybe that’s for the best. Maybe you need to forget about him,” Mulder said brightly. Donald’s pale face paled even more and Mulder could have kicked himself. Counseling people about their love lives had never exactly been a talent of his.


“If only it were that easy,” Donald murmured wistfully.


“You should cheer up, look around for someone else. There are other fish in the sea beside Elliott.” Mulder regretted that comment almost as soon as he said it. Damn, he was bad at this. Donald, never exactly one of the world’s most robust personalities, now looked as if he was about to burst into tears. “Why don’t you come out with us tonight?” Mulder suggested desperately, trying to remedy the situation. “We’re going out for a drink.”


“You and Walter?” Donald blinked uncertainly.


“No, me and Ian. No, it’s nothing like that,” he remedied hastily when Donald’s eyes widened in surprise. “I’m still withWalter, Ian’s just a friend. He’s, uh, a sub, uh, submissive, like me – and you,” Mulder said cautiously, not entirely sure how familiar Donald was with the scene.


“Will you be going to…?” Donald’s pale face flushed a baby pink. “Um, you know, one of those kind of places?” He asked.


“A leather bar? No,” Mulder shook his head. “I don’t think Walter would let me go to that kind of place without him. Just a regular bar – Ian’s planning it, I don’t know where it is.”


“All right,” Donald said, clearly relieved. Mulder guessed that although the young man had a rabid curiosity about the scene, he was too scared to venture out there on his own. Maybe they could take him under their wing, and help him find someone else if Elliott wasn’t ever going to take pity on him.


Mulder made arrangements to meet up with Donald later that evening, and collected the suits, then returned home, whistling cheerfully to himself. He only had to get through whatever nasty little ordeal his Master had planned for him this morning and then – the Playroom! Mulder had been perfect all week, so he was on tenterhooks anticipating what his treat would be this weekend. Skinner was waiting for him, clad in jeans and a white sweatshirt, and they set off straight away.


Mulder wasn’t entirely sure what he had expected, but it sure as hell wasn’t a visit to the local Petsmart.


“What are we doing here? Buying Wanda more toys?” He asked, raising a disbelieving eyebrow. Wanda had an entire collection of furry mice, and feathered sticks, to say nothing of the giant piece of cat furniture that was situated in the living room, and on the summit of which she liked to perch, surveying the scurrying humans below with a superior smirk on her face.


“No,” Skinner smiled urbanely, “although now you mention it, she’d never forgive me if I didn’t bring her back a little something. Maybe one of those little plastic rings with a ball in it for her to chase, or a new bed.”


“A bed? What the hell for? She sleeps in your bed,” Mulder protested, feeling aggrieved that Wanda got to sleep in the one place that he coveted most in the world.


“Or she might like one of those little cradles that hangs off the radiator,” Skinner mused.


“If we’re not here for Wanda what are we here for?” Mulder groused as they walked into the store. “Don’t tell me you’re buying me a new fish-tank.”


“Do you need one?” Skinner asked.


“No,” Mulder shrugged.


“Well then,” Skinner said pointedly, making his way over to the dog accessory section.


“Oh no, please don’t let this be what I think it is,” Mulder sighed, trailing along behind. He fully expected Skinner to examine the various leads, collars and muzzles, so he was surprised when Skinner stopped beside a display of enormous kennels.


Mulder raised an eyebrow. “We’re not really getting a dog are we?” He asked.


“No point when I’ve already got one,” Skinner winked. “Pup,” he said a sly undertone. Mulder made a face. “I just thought it was time I bought my pup a kennel.”


“To put where? We don’t have a yard! Not…not on the balcony?” Mulder grabbed his Master’s arm. “PLEASE tell me that you’re not going to make me actually sit in one of these things?”


“After the ironing incident, I thought it might be a good idea to have you somewhere I can keep an eye on you at all times,” Skinner smiled benignly. “A kennel seemed the logical choice. That way, when you’ve been particularly naughty, I can chain you in there to cool your heels.”


“That is SO not necessary,” Mulder snapped.


“You think?” Skinner smiled again, and grasped the back of his slave’s neck, his fingers digging in just enough to make their presence felt. “I think it’s very necessary. A little lesson in humiliation, to say nothing of being fairly uncomfortable, as well as keeping you restrained and out of harm’s way. What could be more perfect?”


“Chaining me to your bed?” Mulder suggested hopefully.


“You enjoy that far too much,” Skinner replied, calling the store assistant over. Mulder went bright red and tried to sink through the floor. “I’m interested in a kennel – which is the largest size?” Skinner asked.


“Well, what breed of dog do you own?” the girl asked.


“A big one,” Skinner grinned, glancing at Mulder who was gazing determinedly at the floor.


“Rottweiler? Golden Retriever? Labrador?” The girl asked. Skinner considered the question for a moment, looking Mulder up and down as he did so. Mulder’s face flushed an even more interesting hue of vermilion.


“Mongrel,” Skinner said finally. “A real mixture. In fact, we think he might even have some fox in him.”


“Really?” The girl looked fascinated.


“Yup. He’s got this bushy coat, and a long snout, golden eyes…and he’s a bit wild too,” Skinner continued, clearly enjoying himself enormously. Mulder shot his Master a look that would have killed a lesser man on the spot.


“I’ve never heard of a fox cross-breeding before,” the shop assistant mused.


“Yeah, he’s a bit of a scavenger as well. Always slipping his lead, and getting into places he shouldn’t,” Skinner grinned, “usually under cover of darkness. Of course he’s got something else in his blood too – he’s a beautiful animal to look at, sleek lines, runs well.”


“What about temperament?” The girl asked.


“Oh, he’s got a great temperament. Very loving, a bit excitable, but he’s just a pup so that’s to be expected.” Skinner patted Mulder’s arm, and Mulder let out a growl to let his Master know that this wasn’t anywhere near as funny as he thought it was. “He’s obsessed with slippers though, and belts,” Skinner continued with a sly wink in Mulder’s direction.


The girl laughed. “That’s puppies for you!”


“He always wants to get in the bed…”


“You’ll have to be firm with him about that. They need to learn who’s boss from the beginning,” the girl advised.


“Oh, he knows who’s boss all right,” Skinner winked. “Doesn’t he?” he asked Mulder, slapping his arm lightly.


“If you say so,” Mulder replied stiffly.


“Is he house trained?” The girl asked.


Mulder gave a low moan of humiliation.


“We’re getting there,” Skinner said in a low, conspiratorial tone. “He still has the occasional accident of course, but…”


“I think this kennel looks pretty big,” Mulder interrupted desperately.


“Why don’t you crawl inside and test it out?” Skinner said with an urbane grin. Mulder shot him a look of pure venom, but got on his hands and knees and did as he was told. “Perfect,” Skinner said, surveying his slave’s thunderous face with barely disguised amusement. “We’ll take that one!” Mulder glanced around the small space in dismay. It was big enough to crouch in, but it sure as hell wasn’t comfortable – which he supposed was the point.


“It really doesn’t go with the décor,” Mulder commented stiffly when they got home and surveyed the kennel in situ in the corner of the living room.


“A small price to pay,” Skinner grinned. “Now, I think we should make it comfy, don’t you? What kind of things usually go in kennels? Old towels, a squeaky rubber bone…”


“Don’t labor the joke.” Mulder shot his Master a filthy look.


“Suit yourself. I’d re-think the old towels part though – you’ll need something to rest on in there,” Skinner warned. “You never know how long you might be incarcerated.”


“I so hate you,” Mulder fumed, disappearing upstairs to find the old towels in question. He was all too well aware that Skinner meant what he said, so it was a wise precaution to make sure he had something nice to sit on, especially if he was tied up inside the kennel naked, which, unfortunately, was all too likely.


“So, you hate me, huh?” Skinner said, swallowing a glass of water down in one go. “I guess that means you don’t want your Slave’s Day reward then. Pity, I had some fun stuff planned…”


He sat down on the couch, and put his feet up on the coffee table. Mulder stood there for a moment, torn between his pride and his pleasure. The latter finally won out and he went over and knelt beside his Master, and placed his head on Skinner’s knee, hoping the famous ‘puppy dog’ eyes would win his Master over. They had to be good for something besides getting him a kennel!


“Sorry, Master,” he said hopefully.


“How sorry?” Skinner asked, one hand hovering over Mulder’s head.


“Very?” Mulder suggested.


Skinner grinned, and tousled his slave’s hair. “All right – go upstairs to the Playroom. Here’s the key,” he handed it to Mulder who gave a whoop of delight. “Get undressed, boy, and shave your cock and balls, then kneel and await your Master,” Skinner ordered. Mulder nodded, wide-eyed, wondering why he had been ordered to shave. He got to his feet and ran for the stairs. “And slave?” Skinner called. Mulder paused in mid-stride. “Prepare yourself, boy. This will be intense,” Skinner warned.


Mulder shivered at the promise implicit in his Master’s words, and continued up the stairs at a more sedate pace. His heart was thumping inside his chest. Intense. Well, he’d asked Skinner to step it up a level, so he could hardly complain that his Master had taken him at his word. All the same, he was suddenly very scared.


Mulder undressed slowly, a delicious thrill creeping through his body as he took off each garment. His cock was already half erect in anticipation. He wondered just what Skinner would do that would be so intense. He performed the shaving ritual in a dream, taking care to shave himself cleanly, and feeling all the more naked with the pink flesh of his cock and balls on display when normally it was covered in a dark nest of curls. When he’d finished, he knelt in the center of the room, arms behind his back, shoulders straight, head down, knees wide apart, his cock sticking out, and angled up, like an offering, waiting. Time passed but Mulder didn’t move. He tried to lose himself in his slavery, as Skinner had taught him to do, but his body tingled all over, and he was on edge. He was just about to snap from the tension, when his Master appeared in the doorway. Mulder sensed him, and heard his footsteps, but he didn’t break position.


“Good boy,” Skinner said softly, and Mulder heard the door shut, and the key turn in the lock. He gave an involuntary shiver. “I’m going to play with you for the next couple of hours,” Skinner said, coming over to stand behind his slave. Mulder shivered again, as his Master’s finger ran down his spine. “I’m going to hurt you,” Skinner growled in his ear. Mulder’s cock went into a spasm of sheer need, and he took a gasping intake of breath. “I’m going to make you scream, make you beg…do you understand that?” Skinner asked, his finger continuing that slow stroke, up and down Mulder’s spine. Mulder opened his mouth, and struggled to find his voice.


“Speak up, slave!” Skinner ordered.


“Yes, Master,” Mulder croaked.


“I’m going to take my pleasure from this soft, naked, beautiful flesh.” Skinner’s tongue replaced his finger and he licked along Mulder’s spine, making Mulder’s whole body tingle. Still he stayed in position. “You, will suffer for my pleasure, endure my every whim, and do you know why?” Skinner came around in front of his slave, and lifted Mulder’s chin. Mulder looked up, helpless, and drowned in those hard, dark eyes. Skinner wasn’t wearing his glasses, and there was no barrier between Mulder and the inky depths of that fiery gaze.


“No, Master…” he muttered weakly.


“Because you’re mine,” Skinner said softly. “You have no choice, boy. You’ll accept every last thing I do to your helpless, defenseless body, because you exist to serve me. Your body isn’t your own – it’s mine, it belongs to me.”


He bent forward and Mulder closed his eyes, and parted his lips, expecting to be kissed, but instead he felt Skinner’s jaws close around his neck, and bite down, hard. He gave a strangled yelp, and Skinner’s hands descended on his shoulders, and held him down.


“Hold still. I’ll play with you all I like, slaveboy.” Skinner’s voice was like warm honey, trickling over Mulder’s senses, taking him to a different plane of consciousness. He arched his back as his Master licked his neck, then bit sharply on his earlobe. Mulder gasped, aching with need. Skinner drew back and looked down on him. It was only then that Mulder saw that his Master had changed. Skinner was wearing a black silk shirt, with black leather pants, and soft black boots. He looked – satanic. Dangerous, still, and completely ruthless. Mulder searched for some sign of the man he knew beneath the mask, but there was nothing. Skinner’s gaze was intent, and Mulder was completely in his thrall.


Skinner snapped his fingers, and Mulder broke position instantly, and went to his Master’s side. The other man moved swiftly over to the throne, and sat down.


“Bring me my crop,” he ordered. Mulder ran to obey, kneeling before the throne, and handing his Master the crop, eyes down, back straight. He felt the tip of the crop brush against his chin, and looked up. “Now, go and pull the blinds down, slaveboy,” Skinner ordered.


Mulder nodded, his throat dry, and did as he was told. Soon the room was in total darkness. Mulder fumbled his way back to the throne, and knelt there again. He could barely see Skinner in the dark. A few seconds later he almost jumped out of his skin as he heard the sound of a match being struck, and then a taper was lit. Mulder knelt, transfixed by the glow of the taper.


“Bring me a candle,” Skinner instructed. Mulder scurried to obey, and returned with a candle.


Skinner lit it, and the room was cast in an eerie glow, that illuminated his Master’s stern, almost unrecognizable face with flickering light. “Do you know what I’m going to do with this, boy?” Skinner asked.


“No, Master…” Mulder faltered. Skinner gave a smile of pure evil.


“You’ll see, slave,” he said. He handed Mulder the taper, and the lit candle. “Go around the room and light the other candles,” he ordered, “then come back here.”


Mulder did as he had been ordered, and soon the room was awash with color. It looked completely different – transformed by just some strategically placed candles into a flickering, seductive den, where good and bad things would happen in equal measure. Mulder started to shake.


“Cold, boy?” Skinner got up, and loomed over his kneeling slave.


“No…Master. Scared…” Mulder admitted honestly.


“Of what? Me?” Skinner knelt in front of his slave, and lifted Mulder’s head again, so that he was looking at him.


“Partly. Also of…” Mulder swallowed and looked at the candle Skinner was holding once more in his hand. “Fire…Master,” he whispered. “I don’t like flame.”


“The flame won’t touch you,” Skinner said, holding out the candle. “I promise you that, slave. The rest…well, you’ll have to endure the rest, but not the flame.”


“The wax?” Mulder swallowed hard.


“You’ll see,” Skinner promised. “Go and lie on the table, face down.”


Mulder ran to do as he’d been instructed, trying to find a position that didn’t trap his erect cock too painfully against the surface of the massage table. Skinner followed him, moving slowly, his powerful, leonine body lit by the flickering candlelight, making him seem elusive, shadowed, prowling like a wild animal seeking his prey. Mulder closed his eyes, and held his breath, knowing that he was on the menu, offered up like a sacrificial offering.


Skinner set down the long, round candle on the table beside his prey, and then quickly and efficiently strapped Mulder to the table using wrist and ankle cuffs, rendering his slave immobile. Then Mulder felt his Master’s hands descend on his slave’s butt, massaging his buttocks gently, then more firmly, moving them up and down, squeezing the flesh, parting it with his fingers, slipping one inside, then withdrawing it, then another, until Mulder started to moan, and push up onto those questing fingers.
“Down!” Skinner ordered, and Mulder subsided with a moan of frustration. He felt Skinner’s mouth on his butt, and then his teeth, and gave a hoarse shout as his Master gave him a long, lingering bite. It wasn’t too painful, just a love-bite, but it stung all the same, and his endorphin levels started to rocket. “I know what you want,” Skinner purred, “You want me inside you. You want me to take you hard, and fast, and show you no mercy, and most of all, you want me to come inside you but…” His hands continued their slick caress, “you’ll have to wait, boy. First I’m going to show you that pleasure has to be earned with pain.” Mulder swallowed hard, as another finger was inserted inside his body. He wasn’t sure what his Master was talking about – there was no pain here, just the most intense pleasure. “Are you ready to be used for my entertainment, boy?” Skinner hissed.


“Yes, please,” Mulder almost whimpered.


Skinner wrapped his hand in his slave’s hair, and drew Mulder’s head back. “Sure?” He asked with a demonic smile. “I have such delicious torments in mind for you, boy,”


“Do whatever you will, Master. I’m yours,” Mulder said, hoarsely.


“Good boy.” Skinner traced a finger down his slave’s exposed throat, then he dropped Mulder’s head, and picked up the candle. Mulder tensed, expecting the dripping candle to be held over his naked butt, for the hot wax to land on his body, but that didn’t happen. Instead, Skinner waved the candle under his nose.


“Just a candle – not the flame,” he stated firmly. Mulder nodded, trusting his Master. “Hold still then – the more still you are, the easier this will be for you,” Skinner warned. Mulder swallowed hard, and nodded again, resting his head on the table, and trying to relax. He felt Skinner’s hands on his butt again, and a finger pushed a little way inside him – no, not a finger – the round, blunted end of the candle! Mulder looked around in surprise. He looked like a birthday cake, the candle sticking out of his ass, still lit.


“Hold still,” Skinner grinned. “I’m going to push this further in.” He took his time, gently twisting the candle into its improvised holder, until the bottom inch was nestled snug between Mulder’s butt cheeks. “Good.” Skinner stepped back and surveyed his handiwork. “Now, watch.” He brought the large gilt mirror over, and placed it in front of Mulder, giving the prone man a clear view of his own backside, with the candle wedged firmly in place. Skinner then moved back to the candle, and with a smile in Mulder’s direction, flicked at it with his index finger.


Mulder’s strangled “no!” died in his throat, as tiny droplets of hot wax spewed onto his naked bottom. The feeling was incredible. It hurt, but the pain died away so quickly, leaving only a pleasurable sting.


“Oh god,” Mulder whispered.


“I’ve only just started, boy,” Skinner said, with a grin of pure sexual evil. “I’m going to let the candle burn down while I get out the instruments of torture I intend to use on you next.”


Mulder shook his head to clear the hair out of his eyes, but that movement just made the candle spew out more hot wax onto his buttocks, and he gasped in pain. For a fleeting moment he worried that Skinner would allow the candle to burn right the way down to the wick, but he knew that wouldn’t happen. He watched, in trepidation, as his Master returned to the table, bearing a box full of items.


“I’m going to punish you, boy,” Skinner promised, flicking the candle idly as he passed, causing more hot wax to drip onto Mulder’s helpless, outstretched body. “Do you know why?” Skinner asked, setting down the box, and starting to unpack it.


“No…Master,” Mulder panted, trying to keep as still as possible, seeing the tip of the candle starting to fill with hot wax, waiting for the well to get too deep, for it to drop on his body.


“Because it pleases me,” Skinner said, smiling. He flicked the candle again, depositing more burning droplets on his slave’s helpless body. Mulder felt the ache in his cock grow almost too much to bear. He loved Skinner like this – implacable, demanding, his dark voice bonding the slave to his Master more thoroughly than all the chains in the world. The candles, the darkness, Skinner’s prowling, predatory, black-clad presence – all of it combined to overload his senses, and transport him to another plane of consciousness. He drowned in his slavery, knowing that Skinner could, and would, play with him,and  torture him in the most delicious ways, and that Mulder couldn’t stop him. Not that he wanted to, but knowing he couldn’t just took him to the edge, and left him quivering in anticipation. He watched, in a dreamy haze, as Skinner got out a bowl full of something that made a sloshing, gurgling sound. It was warm – Mulder could feel the heat coming off it. His Master left the bowl on the table, and walked around to stand in front of his slave. All Mulder’s attention focused on his Master’s every move. Skinner pressed Mulder’s face into his groin.


“Unzip me,” he ordered, in a low growl. Mulder found Skinner’s zip with his mouth, and struggled to pull it down. Every movement sent a droplet of wax spitting onto his naked flesh, but it was impossible to perform the task without moving his body. He finally succeeded, and found that his Master was naked beneath his pants, and his pulsing cock, once freed, sprang immediately to attention. “Suck it,” Skinner ordered, his hand twining in Mulder’s hair. He rocked his hips forward, and Mulder took the beautiful, engorged penis in his mouth, lovingly caressing it, sliding it over his tongue, and deep-throating it. Skinner took the control away from him, and began rhythmically thrusting into his captive mouth, in and out, in and out, not allowing Mulder to set the pace, or to practice any of the little tricks that he loved to use on his Master in the mornings. Mulder moaned in frustration, every movement of Skinner’s hips against his face causing more droplets of molten wax to land on his butt and thighs.


Skinner fucked his mouth for several long minutes, back and forth in a persistent rhythm until Mulder’s jaws began to ache. He knew how long Skinner could keep an erection, so he knew this particular activity would continue for some time. He loved the feel of his Master’s cock between his lips, and was completely aroused by the knowledge that, bound as he was, he could only worship his Master with his open mouth, and willing, eager tongue.


“Oh, that’s good,” Skinner murmured, his hand heavy in his slave’s hair. “Keep going, slave.” He thrust deep into Mulder’s throat, stepping up the pace, engulfing Mulder in his scent, tickling his slave’s nose with the wiry curls around his groin, his heavy ball sacs slapping against Mulder’s chin. Mulder felt Skinner stiffen and knew his Master was close to climax, but Skinner withdrew before that happened. He stroked his slave’s hair, then bent over and kissed him, deeply. It felt strange to feel his Master’s tongue, after so many long minutes sucking on his big, hard cock, and Mulder worked his jaws, devouring his Master’s lips as he had just devoured his cock, losing himself in the kiss. “Beautiful boy,” Skinner whispered, stroking Mulder’s shoulders, and nudging his wet cock against the side of his slave’s cheek. “That won’t save you from your punishment though,” Skinner whispered, in a low, dark tone. Mulder’s cock reminded him once again that it was desperate for release. “I think you have to endure more before you’ll feel me come inside you, boy. If I’m going to honor my slave’s body with my come, then I think he should suffer ordeals first, don’t you? To show that he’s worthy?”


“Yes, Master,” Mulder whispered. If he wasn’t so deeply engrossed in the scene then he’d probably have laughed out loud, but it was too good – Skinner was too commanding, too powerful, and it was sexy as all hell.


His Master moved down the table, and, much to Mulder’s relief, removed the candle, and replaced it in the holder on the table, then he undid his slave’s cuffs.


“Sit up,” Skinner ordered. Mulder obeyed as quickly as he could, and sat on the side of the table, awaiting further instructions. “Put your hands behind your body and don’t move them. I’m not going to chain you, I want you to show me what you’re made of, boy, and whether you can obey me without being tied. What I do next will test your resolve to the limit.”


Mulder shivered, his cock standing out perpendicular to his body. Skinner grinned, and took the eager member in his hand, rolling his thumb over the crown. Mulder broke out in a sweat, and gave a gasp of need.


“You know you can’t come,” Skinner warned. Mulder nodded, trying hard to keep his hands behind his back. “Good. Now, I want to play with these. I’m going to make these suffer,” Skinner promised, leaning forward and catching a nipple in his mouth. He caressed each nipple to points with his tongue, causing wave after wave of pleasure to course through Mulder’s body, making him moan.


“Now, how much pain can you take?” Skinner asked.


Mulder blinked the sweat out of his eyes. “However much Master wishes to inflict,” he whispered in reply, offering himself, and his total obedience, to his powerful Master.


Skinner smiled, and gently tugged on one of the nipple rings. “I think it’s time to add a little weight here, don’t you, boy?” He asked. Mulder’s eyes widened and he watched in silence as Skinner picked two tiny weights from the box on the table. “Sit up straight!” Skinner ordered, “Keep your hands behind your back and don’t move – if you move, I’ll punish you.”


“Yes, Master,” Mulder said, lacing his hands together behind his back.


“Back straight, chest out…I want you to feel the pull of these,” Skinner grinned. Mulder felt his cock lurch again. Part of Skinner’s seductive power resided in his voice. It was implacable, Mulder’s anchor as he was cast adrift in a sea of sensation. All he could hear was his handsome Master, demanding that he endure these erotic ordeals, making him take them obediently. All he could see was his Master’s powerful, dark clad frame, standing beside him, his constant companion while he screamed and suffered, before finally, Mulder hoped, allowing his slave the climax that he craved.


“We’ll start off light,” Skinner murmured, attaching one of the weights to Mulder’s left nipple ring, and supporting it with his hand. “How does this feel?” He took his hand away and Mulder cried out as the weight pulled his nipple down.


“Shit! Please, take it off, Master!” he cried, leaning forward to mitigate against the weight.


“Shoulders straight!” Skinner ordered again. Mulder pulled his shoulders back, cautiously. It hurt! He glanced down at his tormented nipple with a certain measure of pride at taking the torture, then looked up at his Master, giving him a sweaty grin of triumph at having endured this much. Skinner leaned forward, and kissed his slave deeply in reply.


“Now the other one,” Skinner said. Mulder steeled himself, but his right nipple was the more sensitive of the two, and having weights attached to each one was exquisitely unbearable.


“Oh god. Please, Master, please…!” Mulder sobbed, leaning his head against Skinner’s shoulder, panting. Skinner ran his hands comfortingly over Mulder’s back.


“Do you want me to come inside you?” he whispered in Mulder’s ear.


“Yes,” Mulder muttered miserably.


“Then endure, little one, endure,” Skinner growled. “You haven’t earned that honor yet.” Mulder’s cock, already rock hard, did a bounce of arousal at his Master’s words. “Ready?” Skinner asked. Mulder nodded, and slowly pulled away from Skinner’s shoulder, and straightened his back, feeling the pull exerted on his nipples, and whimpering softly to himself. It was harder being unchained, but it made his obedience all the sweeter.


“Now, hold still…” Skinner took Mulder’s cock in his hand, and caressed it. Mulder put his head back, and felt himself fly on a haze of endorphins, the pleasure/pain combination overloading his senses. He was dimly aware that Skinner was reaching towards the table, and grabbing the bowl he had got out earlier, and then something hot descended on his penis.


“Oh shit!” He bucked up into Skinner’s hand, as his Master massaged hardening wax into his slave’s shaft. This was like nothing he’d experienced before. He was shaking, as waves of warmth rolled through his midsection, his whole body having become one big nerve ending. “I have to come. I have to!” he screeched.


“Not yet, little one. Not yet,” Skinner whispered, soothing his body. “God, you’re so beautiful, you can take so much…I love your eagerness to please, your receptive body, this willing cock…”


Skinner continued rubbing the wax into Mulder’s shaftskin, and then dribbled some onto his scrotum. Mulder yelled, and clutched Skinner’s shoulders again, but his Master ordered his hands behind his back, and, struggling, he obeyed. “Your body is mine, little one. I want to play with it without you interfering. Accept,” Skinner murmured, and Mulder drifted away on the haze of sensation. There was just him and that wonderful, deep voice. That voice – demanding, soothing, caressing all at the same time. Skinner’s appreciation of his slave’s responses just turned him on even more. He loved performing for his Master, taking whatever his Master wished to inflict. It turned him on more than he would ever have thought possible.


Skinner poured another layer of warm wax onto his cock, encasing it in heat, making him sweat. Now Mulder understood why Skinner had made him shave. The very thought of his Master removing the wax from his unshaven groin made Mulder want to scream.


“How much can you take, slave, hmm?” Skinner asked, over and over again, his fingers never ceasing their rhythmic massaging motion along Mulder’s shaft-skin, and scrotum.


“However much Master wishes,” Mulder whimpered, his cock almost screaming at him for release. He was used to holding his erections now – Skinner had trained him well, but even so, he was desperate to come, and felt sure he’d pass out when he did.


“Not yet.” Skinner reached for another item on the table. Mulder almost jumped out of his skin as his Master wrapped a cold, damp washcloth around his hot cock, cooling it, and soothing away some of the dried wax. Mulder sighed, enjoying the relief from the heat, and intensity of the wax, and then Skinner put the washcloth aside, and dribbled more wax, then cooled the flesh with the washcloth, and repeated the motion once more. Mulder wasn’t sure if he was even human any more. He had never known two sensations contrasted to more effect and was amazed by his own ability to take anythingthat his Master demanded of him. If someone had done this to him ‘cold’, without putting him into subspace first, it would have been truly agonizing, but in Skinner’s expert hands, the scene was just mind-blowingly erotic.


Finally the torment came to an end. Skinner put the bowl of molten wax and washcloth aside, and then undid the weights attached to Mulder’s nipples.


“You can’t come until I come inside you,” Skinner whispered in his ear, removing the weights. Mulder felt a haze of sensation as the blood flooded back into the nubs of flesh. He nodded, not entirely sure that he’d either heard, or understood, what his Master had said to him.


“On your hands and knees,” Skinner patted the table, and turned his stricken slave around for which Mulder was grateful, as he wasn’t sure that he had the ability to move of his own volition any more. “I’m going to take you doggie fashion,” Skinner whispered in his ear. “It seems appropriate!” Mulder was beyond caring about his Master’s bad jokes. He thrust his butt back hopefully, as Skinner lowered the table so that Mulder was at groin height, then he felt his Master lovingly caress his slave’s butt, scratching little morsels of dried wax from the surface.


He felt Skinner slip a lube covered finger inside his anus, then another, stretching and preparing him.


“Are you ready, boy?” Skinner asked, withdrawing his finger, and grabbing Mulder’s haunches.


“Yes…please!” Mulder panted. Skinner parted his butt cheeks, and then he felt his Master’s large cock slide into his body.


“God, this feels good. My slave feels so hot, and tight, just flesh on flesh, my skin against yours, making us one,” Skinner whispered, thrusting deep into Mulder’s body.


It didn’t feel all that much different to Mulder, but just knowing that his Master’s naked cock was nestled inside his body, skin against skin, was enough to arouse him. He was relieved when Skinner put his hand on his slave’s cock, and began to pump it in time to his own thrusts. Skinner started slowly, savoring each sliding entry and exit, surging into and out of his slave’s body, the sound of flesh on flesh slightly different, smoother without the rubber.


“You feel wonderful…oh god…fantastic,” Skinner panted as he rode his slave hard, back and forth.


Mulder moaned, and arched his back, accepting the hard length into his body, feeling it rub against his prostate, sending his already aroused body into sensory overload.


“Oh shit…oh please…” Mulder whimpered, as the pace picked up, and then he was floating, his body completely joined to that of his Master so that he didn’t know where he ended and Skinner began. They were two beings irrevocably united in one long, beautiful, intense rocking motion that brought total pleasure to both of them, each lost in the other, each found in the other.


Mulder screamed, but he didn’t know what he was saying, or even whether he was coherent. Skinner was caressing his cock, and stroking his butt at the same time, murmuring to his slave, loving him, encouraging him, taking him. Mulder put his head back and felt the sweat run down the side of his face, dripping through his hair, and hanging from the end of his eyelashes. He felt Skinner buck inside him one last time, then come, felt warm semen spill into the deepest recesses of his body, felt it drip out, coming in waves, running down his leg, and then Skinner was saying something to him, he wasn’t sure what. He tried to concentrate and finally made out one word: “come!”. He was being given permission to come, and immediately he knew he was allowed to, his body convulsed, and the semen rose up out of his cock like champagne out of a bottle, and he ejaculated over and over again. A sharp white light appeared in his mind, and he almost passed out from the intensity of his orgasm, then it was over.


He wasn’t sure how much time passed before either of them came to. Skinner was slumped on his slave’s butt, his face on the back of Mulder’s neck. Mulder lay there, unable to move a muscle, and then Skinner stirred. He stroked Mulder’s hair, and withdrew from his slave’s body with a plopping noise that was almost funny. Mulder smiled, tiredly, and looked around.


“All right?” Skinner asked, getting up, and adjusting his clothing. He staggered around to the head of the table, and deposited a kiss on Mulder’s face. “All right, sweetheart?” He asked anxiously.


“Hmmm…Just…y’know…” Mulder muttered.


Skinner disappeared for a moment, and Mulder heard the sounds of a bath being run. Then the lights were turned on, to a dim glow, and the candles were blown out. Finally, Skinner returned to his sated slave.


“Come here.” Skinner straightened up, and slung his slave over his shoulder, carried him into the bathroom, and deposited him in the bath. Mulder slid into the water, feeling it soothe out all the kinks caused by their wild, frenzied love-making. He watched as Skinner undressed and slid in beside him, catching his slave in his arms, and kissing his neck, and the side of his face.


“I totally, and completely, worship you,” Mulder whispered. “Nobody has ever taken me to that place before.”


“Good,” Skinner whispered, getting a washcloth and gently loosening some more of the dried wax from his slave’s body.


They took a leisurely bath, then staggered into the bedroom and slept for a few hours, Mulder nestled in his Master’s powerful arms, where he loved being so much.


Mulder was still on a high a few hours later when Ian turned up at the door. Ian took one look at the dreamy expression on Mulder’s face, and rolled his eyes.


“Someone’s been having fun,” he murmured, casting a shy, and somewhat overawed glance in Skinner’s direction.


“Yeah,” Mulder grinned sheepishly.


“Hi, Walter,” Ian waved. “Wow!” Ian noticed the kennel. “That’s pretty impressive,” he grinned at Mulder knowingly.


“Tell him it doesn’t go with the dÈcor,” Mulder instructed, nudging his friend.


“I wouldn’t dare!” Ian said diplomatically.


“Are you going to Murray’s party next weekend, Ian?” Skinner held up an invitation. “This just arrived in today’s mail.”


“Murray’s having another party?” Mulder looked over at his Master.


“Yeah. His big annual party. There’s a slave auction, pony trials, the full works,” Ian said, his eyes lighting up. “It’ll be fantastic – Murray’s parties always are.”


“Pony trials? I don’t know anything about riding,” Mulder said.


Ian burst out laughing and exchanged a glance with Skinner.


“Don’t worry. You’ll pick it up,” Skinner said, clearly struggling to keep a straight face. Mulder had the distinct impression that the joke was on him.


“We’re going then?” He asked his Master.


“Yes.” Skinner nodded. “It’s a weekend party – we’ll drive down there on Friday evening.”


“What’s the slave auction all about?” Mulder wanted to know. “You wouldn’t sell me to anyone would you?” He asked Skinner anxiously.


“Only for the night,” Skinner winked.


“What?” Mulder’s jaw dropped open in shock.


“Don’t worry about it.” Skinner patted the side of Mulder’s cheek lovingly. “You’ll be fine.”


“Are we ready to go, Mulder?” Ian asked.


“Yeah…oh!” Mulder remembered about Donald, just as there was another knock on the door. “Um, I hope you don’t mind but I asked someone else along,” he told Ian apologetically.


Donald was standing on the other side of the door looking like a lost child. Dressed in ripped jeans and a tee shirt he seemed impossibly young. Mulder ushered him in and introduced him to Ian, then he shouldered himself into his jacket and was about to leave when Skinner surprised him by grabbing his arm, and maneuvering him smoothly into the kitchen.


“Fox, what are you doing?” His Master asked.


“Going out for a drink?” Mulder replied hopefully, giving his Master a lustful look, still high as a kite after their sex session.


“With that jailbait?” Skinner raised an eyebrow.


“Donald’s gotta be about 24. He just looks 16!” Mulder protested.


“He’s also led a pretty sheltered life. Don’t get him into any trouble,” Skinner said firmly. “You’re walking on air tonight and that might affect your judgment.”


“Who me? I’m a federal agent. What could be safer than that?” Mulder shot back, feeling vaguely annoyed that Skinner didn’t trust him.


“Fox,” Skinner purred, lovingly adjusting Mulder’s jacket so that it sat smoothly on his shoulders, “You and I both know that you live your life in a state of extremes. You’ve been excessively well behaved for far too long, and when you finally blow up again, I’d be grateful if Donald wasn’t involved. At least Ian’s going with you – he’s sensible enough.”


“So much for trust,” Mulder groused.


Skinner grinned, and deposited a kiss on his slave’s forehead. “I do trust you – I trust you to be exasperating, confusing and irresistible. I’m worried though. I’ve never seen you as high as this. I think maybe you should cancel tonight.”


“What?!” Mulder exploded. “You’re the one who made me go, now you’re saying I can’t – and you wait until my friends actually arrive to pull the rug out from under my feet? That is going to look fucking embarrassing – or maybe that was your intention.”


Skinner sighed, and ran a hand across his forehead. “No, that wasn’t my intention. I thought you’d be fine with Ian…look, just take it easy. Don’t drink too much – you’re high enough as it is without that. And don’t be too late back.”


“Aw – you’re worried about me,” Mulder felt a warm glow in his stomach. He couldn’t remember the last time anyone had cared whether he came or went the way Skinner did right now. It felt good.


“Always.” Skinner kissed his slave’s mouth firmly, gave him a swat on the backside, and pushed him back into the other room. “Don’t forget what I said,” he warned, as he held open the front door for the three men to leave. Mulder made a face at his Master, and winked conspiratorially at his two companions. He felt so good, so high, all the blood coursing through his veins after their vigorous sex session earlier in the day. Tonight was going to be good! He could feel it in his bones.


Ian took Donald under his wing and the younger man soon relaxed. Mulder had never exactly been the kind of guy to hang out with friends. He’d always been a loner, so this change in his lifestyle both bemused and fascinated him. A part of him still longed for the security of his empty apartment and nights spent in front of trashy TV programs, or hooked up to the Internet, but he had to admit that he had more balance in his life since Skinner had taken charge of him. He genuinely liked Ian -the other man had a quiet wit that frequently made Mulder laugh out loud, and once Donald had a few drinks inside him he loosened up and started talking. Mulder felt a strange heady sensation at being allowed out without his Master. The combination of alcohol, which Mulder notoriously didn’t handle well, his sky-high endorphin level, and being out on his own made him act more and more outrageously.


Mulder wasn’t sure whose idea it was to go into the karaoke bar. Normally, he wouldn’t have been seen dead in one, but somehow tonight it seemed like a hilarious idea, and before long, he and Ian were standing up on the stage, serenading everyone with a truly appalling rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody.


“I’m just a poor boy, nobody loves me,” Mulder yelled at Ian, who collapsed into drunken giggles while Donald turned bright red and tried to hide under the table.


“Scaramouche, scaramouche, can you do the fandango,” Mulder sang, twirling around and waving his arms in the air. There was less than enthusiastic applause when the two of them stumbled off the stage a few minutes later, but they were too far gone to care. “Why don’t you try, Donald?” Mulder nudged the younger man. Donald shook his head vehemently.


“Go on,” Ian urged. “We just made total idiots of ourselves – why not you?”


“Here.” Mulder slammed a double vodka down on the table. “Shoot that one down straight, then get up there and SING!”


A look of daring flashed into Donald’s eyes, as he looked at Ian and Mulder’s encouraging, wildly nodding faces. He steeled himself visibly, downed the vodka in one go, then wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and got up.


“Way to go, Donnie baby!” Mulder crooned.


Donald got up on the stage, grabbed the microphone, and surveyed an audience who were, by and large, ignoring him. The lyrics to Unchained Melody came up on the screen, and he opened his mouth, and…everyone shut up.


Donald had the most beautiful voice. The song took on the most mournful tone, pure and sweet, rendered all the more exquisite by the heartfelt delivery of the lyrics.


“Oh, my love, my darling…I’ve hungered for your touch, a long, lonely time…” Donald warbled.


Mulder felt tears pouring down his cheeks. “It’s so sad,” he told Ian, drunkenly. “You don’t understand…Donnie here has a broken heart…Elliott doesn’t even look at him. It’s tragic!” He sniffed morosely into his beer. Ian raised an eyebrow, and grinned. “Poor Donnie!” Mulder sighed, as the song wafted around them, somehow rendered all the more poignant by the fact that Mulder was completely and utterly drunk on his ass.


When Donald finished singing, there was a definite ripple of applause, and the kid blushed bright red and returned to his seat.


“Such a shame Elliott wasn’t here,” Mulder wallowed, handing Donald a drink and patting him thunderously on the back at the same time, making the young man splutter. “Sooo beautiful…soooo sad. If he’d heard… f’he’d know…”


“Mulder, shut the fuck up,” Ian bellowed over the sound of the next singer.


“Can’t,” Mulder draped himself over Donald’s shoulder. “Poor Donald. Poor Elliott…if he heard you sing… that’s it!” He said triumphantly.


“Whatzit?” Ian took another gulp of his drink, and smiled stupidly.


“We go and sing to Elliott, then he’ll fall in love with Donnie baby, and then everyone will live happily ever after!” Mulder proclaimed triumphantly.


“I won’t,” Ian said mournfully into his drink.


“‘S’you will,” Mulder swayed back towards Ian. “Everyone will. I say so.” He got up, and caught hold of Donald’s arm. “C’mon, Donnie. Let’s go serenade the love of your life.”


Donald grinned stupidly, and downed the tumbler of whisky that was on the table in front of him.


“Y’do know where he lives, don’t you?” Mulder asked, frowning, and stumbling over the chair leg.


“Oh yeah…” Donald gave a goofy smile that was testament to long hours sitting outside his boss’s apartment staring hopelessly at his windows.


“Then that’s it!” Mulder grabbed Donald’s arm again.


“I dunno…” Donald replied, giggling hysterically, clearly drunk on his ass as well.


“Trust me,” Mulder leaned in close, and tapped his nose, “I’m an FBI agent,” he hissed.


“Oh – well then!” Donald giggled again. “Letzgo!” he announced, getting up. Mulder beamed at him, and put an arm around the younger man’s shoulders, then took a tentative step towards the door, as if trying out his legs to see if they still worked. They did – after a fashion.


“No, wait!” Ian yelled.


“What?” Mulder looked back over his shoulder.


“S’bad idea!” Ian said solemnly.


“Why?” Mulder demanded.


“‘Cos…cos…you’re drunk!” Ian proclaimed.


Mulder looked at Donald and they considered the matter for a moment, then turned back to Ian with identical silly grins plastered over their faces.


“Yeah, we are!” they both said at the same time, then they turned and staggered towards the door. Ian took one look at them, then grabbed his jacket and followed on behind.


They got a taxi to Elliott’s apartment. Donald puked up out of the window, and Mulder waved drunkenly at pedestrians every time they stopped at a red light.


“Which one is it?” Mulder asked Donald as they got out of the taxi. Ian paid the driver, and then followed reluctantly behind them.


“I still don’t think this is a good idea,” Ian muttered unhappily.


“Ssh!” Mulder said, waving his arms around. “This one?” He asked Donald, stopping outside a huge apartment block.


“Think so,” Donald nodded, glancing around.


“Okay – which floor?” Mulder squinted up at the block.


“Third,” Donald said, going green.


“Right. You start, and Ian an’ me will do the chorus.” Mulder slung an arm around Donald’s shoulder and the kid started to sing. He got as far as “hungered for your touch,” when a woman opened her window and looked out.


“Shut up!” She bellowed.


“Ignore her, keep going,” Mulder urged, joining in to keep his friend company. They made it all the way through one rendition of the song and came to a halt. Nothing happened.


“Maybe he’s not in,” Donald said mournfully.


“No – he’s asleep. It’s late. Try again,” Mulder instructed. Donald started again, while Ian looked around nervously. He interrupted Donald in the middle of a choked; “I neeeeeeeed your love, I neeeeeed your love,” a few seconds later, grabbing his arm, and pulling Mulder by the sleeve of his jacket.


“Police car!” He yelled, pointing to the quietly patrolling car coming towards them. “RUN!”


Ian bundled Mulder and Donald in front of him, and ran with them down the street and into an alleyway, where they all stood panting against the wall, catching their breath. The police car rolled silently past them, and Mulder took a deep breath, suddenly realizing that he was in big trouble if he ended up spending the night in the drunk tank. Somehow he didn’t think he’d be sitting too comfortably for the next week or so if that happened.


“Gotta keep running,” he slurred, grabbing Donald, and pushing him down the alley.


“No, wait!” Donald came to a halt, and threw up again all over Mulder’s shirt.


“Oh fuck,” Mulder sighed. He was dimly aware of Ian getting out his cellphone and making a call, while he held Donald up through another bout of sickness. “Who’d you call? The Gunmen?” Mulder asked Ian, as Donald spewed up all over the wall.


“No. Walter,” Ian replied.


Mulder dropped Donald and the kid sank down onto the ground.


“Double fuck,” Mulder groaned.


Skinner showed up ten minutes later. He pulled up outside the alleyway, got out of the jeep, and strode towards the three men.


“Are you all okay?” He asked, casting a glance over them. Mulder flinched. They all looked definitely the worse for wear, and presented a sorry tableau.


“Fine, sir. Sorry for bothering you,” Ian said apologetically.


Skinner’s gaze rested on Mulder for a moment, his dark gaze unreadable. “Fox – how about you?” He asked brusquely.


“I’m fine,” Mulder muttered. “There was no need for Ian to call you…” He trailed off as Donald was sick again all over Mulder’s shoes.


“I can see that,” Skinner commented wryly, grabbing Donald’s arm and marching him back to the car. “You, Fox, open the window and keep his head out of it. I do not want vomit in my car.”


“Yes, sir,” Mulder muttered. Ian slumped into the front seat, and they drove back home in silence. Mulder cringed inwardly, some part of his brain that was sober telling him that all this was going to go very badly for him when his Master got his hands on him.


Skinner didn’t say a word as he escorted the three worse-for-wear men up to the apartment.


“All right, gentlemen. It’s 2 am and I’m not dealing with this now,” he said, surveying them coldly. “You,” he pointed at Donald, “can sleep in Fox’s room. Show him where it is and for god’s sake give him a bucket as well, in case he doesn’t get to the bathroom in time during the night,” he instructed Mulder. “Ian, you can sleep in the spare room – you know where that is.”


“Yes, sir.” Ian disappeared almost immediately, clearly recognizing that now was not a good time to linger.


“What about me?” Mulder asked, hoping that Skinner would allow him to sleep in his bed after such a traumatic end to their evening.


“Well, I didn’t expect to have to use this so soon, but you might as well get acquainted with your new bed,” Skinner told him, a dark look on his face. Mulder looked at him inquiringly, then his heart sank when he saw that Skinner was pointing at the kennel.


“You can’t be serious! I’ll sleep on the couch!” He protested.


“You’ll sleep where I tell you to. Now get him upstairs, then get your butt back down here. Now!” Skinner barked. Mulder gave his Master another resentful look, then walked Donald up to the 18th floor apartment, got him a bucket as instructed, pulled his own sodden, vomit-stained shirt off and went back downstairs to face the music.


“I’m sorry, Master,” he said as contritely as possible when he got back to the living room.


“I told you, I’m not having this conversation now. Get in there,” Skinner instructed, pointing at the kennel.




“NOW!” Skinner roared. Mulder jumped. He’d never seen Skinner this mad before, and he scurried to obey. Skinner strapped the dog collar around his neck, and attached a heavy length of chain to it, then fastened that to the kennel and padlocked it in place.


“Oh shit,” Mulder muttered, realizing he was well and truly trapped for the night. Skinner ignored him and turned on his heel, snapping the light off and making for the stairs.


“What if I need to pee?” Mulder shouted desperately. “Don’t chain me here, Master, please!”


“Oh yeah. If you need to pee…” Skinner went into the kitchen, and turned the light on, and Mulder heard him opening the refrigerator door, and then the mystifying sound of something being poured down the sink, that made Mulder cross his legs as his over-burdened bladder made itself felt. Skinner returned with an empty carton of orange juice, and handed it over. Mulder stared at it.


“You cannot be serious,” he complained.


“Deadly. And one more word out of you and you’ll get a taste of the sole of my sneaker across your butt,” Skinner warned him.


“But…” Mulder opened his mouth to protest, but closed it again when he caught sight of Skinner’s thunderous expression. He slunk back inside the kennel, clutching his empty orange juice carton.


The kennel had a hard floor and was cramped, but the old towels provided some comfort. Mulder found that if he curled sideways and stuck his head out of the hole at the front, he was reasonably comfortable. He was so drunk that he fell asleep as soon as he’d relieved his aching bladder into the carton. He woke up, feeling like death, to find daylight shining in through the living room window, and groaned as he remembered where he was. He had to use the orange carton again, then lay on his back, looking up at the ceiling, his mouth tasting like shit and the pervasive smell of vomit clinging to his clothes. He was dying for a drink of water, and his head was pounding, but neither painkillers, nor water was within reach, so he just lay there for another couple of hours, dozing on and off, and feeling a distinct queasiness in his stomach that had nothing to do with being hung over and a lot to do with worrying about how his Master would punish him for this escapade.


He winced as he remembered the events of the previous evening. It was so out of character. He never got drunk, he barely even touched liquor. He did remember being high – which was all Skinner’s fault, he thought bitterly to himself. His Master shouldn’t have sent him out after that wild sex session. It was asking for trouble. Skinner had known something like this would happen – he’d even warned him. He should have forbidden him to go… Mulder had a sudden realization that Skinner was right about his personality. He had tried to so hard to be perfect, that, once he let up on himself for just one evening, he’d spun right out of control. He lacked any kind of balance. The only balance in his life had been that which Skinner had forced him to accept. When left to his own devices he veered wildly from one extreme act to another.


“How are you feeling?” A voice broke into his reverie, and he looked up into Ian’s sympathetic brown eyes.


“Like shit,” Mulder groaned. “Bring me some water, Ian.”


“Um, I’m not sure…” Ian glanced around with a worried frown. “I don’t think the big guy would like me interfering.”


“I’m dying here,” Mulder croaked. Ian took pity on him, and brought him a glass of water, then crouched, sympathetically, beside the kennel.


“You do know you could have done that yourself, don’t you?” Ian asked.


“What?” Mulder frowned.


“The chain around your collar isn’t locked. You can undo it,” Ian pointed out.


Mulder sat up and examined it, then let out a sigh, as he saw Ian was telling the truth.


“He’s good,” Ian grinned.


“Yeah. Very.” Mulder sank back down again. “Not that it would have made any difference if I’d known. I wouldn’t have dared move,” he muttered.


“Wise boy,” Ian nodded. “Me neither. Your Master scares me to death. What’s he going to do? Should I just creep out of here now?” Ian asked.


“Not if you want to live. He’ll never let me go out with you again if you do that,” Mulder said, downing the drink with one gulp. “Shit, why didn’t you stop me last night?”


“I did try,” Ian sighed.


“At least one of you was sensible,” a voice behind them said. Ian started, and shuffled guiltily away from the kennel, leaving Mulder to face up to his coldly furious Master. Skinner was dressed in gray sweatpants with a white tee-shirt, tan colored timberlands on his feet. He unlocked his slave, and pulled him out of his kennel. “You – go and take a shower and get changed. Then get Donald up, and bring him down here. I want an explanation,” Skinner commanded, in a tone that sent a shiver down Mulder’s spine.


“Yes, Master.” Mulder took off up the stairs two at a time, ignoring his pounding headache. He took a shower, swallowed a couple of aspirin, got dressed, then roused the sleeping Donald, and lent him a clean set of sweats. “You’d better hurry,” he told his guest, “My Ma…Walter wants to see us downstairs.”


“Is Mr. Skinner in a really bad mood?” Donald asked, trembling slightly, clearly in total and utter awe of the big man.


Mulder thought about this for a second, his head on one side. “On reflection I’d say – yes. What the hell do you think?” Mulder snapped.


“I think I’m about to pass out,” Donald replied, his face pale and scared.


“Don’t worry. It’s me he’s mad at, not you,” Mulder said with a sigh.


“Why? It’s just as much my fault…” Donald began, and Mulder had to laugh.


“Listen to us. We’re like kids trying to decide who takes the blame in front of the principal,” he said, shaking his head ruefully. “Look, I’m in big shit, Donald. I’ve already accepted that I’m not going to be sitting down easily any time soon. You’ll be fine though. I really don’t think that Walter will spank you. He might chew you out a bit of course and that’s not pleasant either, but at least your butt is safe.”


“Oh god.” Donald closed his eyes. “You are so lucky,” he whispered.


“Trust me, I don’t feel lucky right now,” Mulder replied.


The two hapless men returned to the living room, and shuffled to a nervous halt in front of Skinner who was sitting at the table, talking to Ian in a quiet voice. He didn’t seem too angry, Mulder thought, then changed his mind again the minute Skinner looked at him.


“All right, you two, go and stand over there,” Skinner ordered. Mulder grimaced at Donald, but did as they had both been told, and stood in front of the couch. “Okay, Ian’s told me what happened, now I want to hear about it from you. Donald?”


“Uh…we got drunk, and I got a bit sick. Sir,” Donald said nervously.


“That much was obvious. Perhaps someone could explain about the singing, and the police car? Fox?”


“That. Right.” Mulder flushed as he remembered the singing. Oh shit! What the hell had he been on last night? “It wasn’t singing as such, Master. It was more…serenading.”


“Serenading?” Skinner asked dangerously, his eyebrow making it clear that he needed more information – and fast.


“Yeah. I had the idea – and this wasn’t Donald’s fault, or Ian’s – that it might be nice if…” Mulder glanced at Donald who had gone completely pale as he remembered the thought processes behind the serenading. “Well…it’s personal stuff,” Mulder finished lamely.


“Personal?” Skinner barked. “Serenading who? And why?”


Mulder bit on his lip, unwilling to share Donald’s secret.


“Oh shit,” Donald whispered. “Elliott…supposing he heard us last night? Supposing he knows?” He turned to Mulder, a horrified expression on his face. Mulder winced.


“Sorry,” he muttered. “I was completely and utterly out of my head, Master,” he told Skinner. “I really screwed up.”


“That much is obvious,” Skinner said. “Now, would somebody explain this to me?”


“I was serenading Elliott,” Donald whispered. Skinner raised his eyebrow again.


“But it was my idea,” Mulder interjected hastily.


“Then the police car came, and Ian got us away and I was sick,” Donald finished. “Shit,” he said again. “Supposing I’ve lost my job? If Elliott finds out…” He looked as if he was going to pass out.


Skinner got up. “Donald, you could have ended up in the drunk tank, to say nothing of causing a public nuisance last night. However you’re young – and you’re not my responsibility. All I’m going to do to you is to make you watch Fox being punished.”


“What?” Mulder gasped. Skinner had never punished him in front of anyone before, and he could feel himself going red at the very idea.


“You were happy enough to make a fool of yourself in front of these two last night, so I can’t see it’ll make any difference this morning,” Skinner told him tersely.


“No…please. I know you have to punish me, but…” Mulder began.


Skinner fixed him with a steely look, and Mulder closed his mouth with a resigned sigh.


“Ian, you were the only one to behave sensibly last night. Do you want to stay and watch me punish Fox, or do you want to leave?” Skinner asked.


Ian glanced at Mulder, then shrugged. “I’ll stay,” he said.


“Ian!” Mulder protested


“Sorry, buddy,” Ian replied with a wry grin, “but I think you’re lucky. I wish I had someone taking care of me like this.”


“It must be some new definition of ‘taking care of’ that I wasn’t aware of before,” Mulder grumbled, suddenly aware that he was about to become the floor show in a piece of Sunday morning entertainment that he had no wish to be involved in.


“That’s enough. Donald, stay where you are. Ian, take a seat. Fox, get my slipper, and bring it to me,” Skinner ordered. Mulder glared at him. Skinner took a step forward. “As you spent the night in the kennel, I think you can spend the rest of the day in puppy mode as well. That usually helps focus your mind on your status. Bring the slipper to me in your mouth,” he instructed.


Mulder knew that his humiliation was now complete. He trotted up the stairs to Skinner’s bedroom, butterflies positively swarming in his stomach. A public spanking, like a little kid caught acting out at a restaurant -and worse, a public spanking in front of friends. He wanted the ground to open up and swallow him. He found one of Skinner’s tasteful black leather slippers, and shuddered, picking it up and placing it in his mouth. The leather smelt divine, but his cock remained resolutely unaroused. This would be a full blown punishment spanking – he had no illusions about that whatsoever.


He went back down the stairs, to find Skinner seated on the couch, Donald still standing nervously in front of him, and Ian sitting at the table. His so-called friend shot him a sympathetic smile as he passed, which Mulder ignored. He went and kneeled beside his Master, and dropped the slipper into Skinner’s lap. He was aware of Donald gasping as one of his most personal fantasies was played out in front of his eyes.


“Pants down,” Skinner ordered.


Mulder looked up, but the protest died in his throat as he saw the stern look in Skinner’s eyes. Of course his Master was going to see that he exacted the full amount of humiliation out of this little lesson. Mulder’s cheeks were burning furiously, as he slid his pants and shorts down to his knees, exposing his butt. Then he lowered himself over Skinner’s strong thighs, and buried his face in the couch. Skinner didn’t waste any time. The flat sole of the slipper made hard, stinging contact with Mulder’s buttocks, and he almost jumped out of his skin. He’d never been spanked with this slipper before, and it had a weight and sting that was worse than the strap.


Mulder steeled himself not to cry out in front of his audience, but Skinner intended to make him do just that. The slipper peppered his backside with blow after stinging blow. Skinner, as always, was thorough in his work, and when Mulder tried to put a hand back to protect his burning backside, Skinner just transferred his attention to his slave’s thighs, and down to the top of his knees instead, until Mulder removed his hand, howling in protest. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Donald’s pale face, his mouth open in shock, and a clearly not disinterested bulge in his sweats. A glance in Ian’s direction showed him that his other friend was enjoying the scene too. Mulder gave in, and started to holler, but still Skinner didn’t let up. Mulder began to squirm, and wriggle, but Skinner merely placed a big hand on the small of his back, and pinned him down. Thus trapped, Mulder had no choice but to endure, as his previously pale bottom was turned bright red.


He was sure that it was the longest spanking of his entire life. It was certainly the most humiliating. What felt like hours passed before Skinner felt his slave had been punished enough. Then it was over. He felt Skinner rub his back, and tousle his sweaty hair, while he panted, and sobbed over his Master’s knee like a little kid, then his Master flipped him onto the floor, grabbed his slave’s tee shirt, and escorted him over to the corner. He parked Mulder there, nose to the wall, his sweats and shorts around his ankles, presenting his punished, red backside to all the room’s occupants. Mulder closed his eyes and rested his forehead against the wall, sure that he’d died and gone to hell.


“What lesson did you learn from that spanking?” His Master asked him. Mulder’s heart thumped. Surely his Master didn’t intend to humiliate him even more by making him go through this part of their usual punishment spanking routine? He knew that his Master did, and he didn’t dare disobey him.


“Not to…get drunk?” Mulder offered.


“Hardly,” Skinner snorted. “Try again, please.”


“To remember that I don’t hold my liquor well,” Mulder muttered.


“That’s marginally better. Continue,” Skinner ordered, bestowing another slap on Mulder’s flaming butt cheeks to speed the process.


“Ow! Uh, not to get my friends into trouble. Not to make damn stupid suggestions…” Mulder paused. Skinner slapped his bottom again.


“More please,” he ordered.


“Ah! Don’t…I’m thinking…” Mulder said desperately.


Skinner smacked him again. “Think quicker,” he said.


“To heed my Master when he gives me advice about my behavior, and warns me when he thinks I’m heading for a fall,” Mulder gabbled.


“That’s better,” Skinner said approvingly. “Will you learn from today, Fox?” He asked.


“Yes, Master,” Mulder said miserably.


“Good. Then you can stay there for half an hour while I talk to Donald. Fox – hold your tee shirt up. I want this butt on display to the room so that your friends can see the consequences of poor decisions – and don’t touch your backside.”


“No, Master,” Mulder whispered, wanting nothing more than to massage some of the pain out of his flaming bottom and now finding that even that was denied him. He gathered up his tee shirt and held it away from his buttocks, sure that his face was as red from humiliation as his bottom was from being so thoroughly spanked.


“Right – Ian, I think it’s time for you to go,” Skinner said.


“Sure,” Ian cleared his throat. “Um, bye, Mulder,” he called.


“Bye,” Mulder muttered into the wall.


“You are a lucky bastard. You have no idea,” Ian said softly, and for a moment, Mulder caught a glimpse of the other man’s desperate loneliness, and sadness. He heard Skinner show Ian to the door, and then he heard his Master sigh.


“All right, Donald. I’m not going to eat you. Come and sit down. I want to talk to you.”


Mulder heard voices, but he wasn’t sure what was being said, except that the two men were discussing Elliott, and Donald’s unrequited love for the other man. He felt so damn stupid, standing in the corner of the room with his ass hanging out for everyone to see. He was a grown man, for god’s sake…a grown man, and an owned man, he reminded himself, putting his shame into perspective. Half an hour later, he was awakened from his reverie by another stinging slap on his tender butt cheeks.


“Had enough?” Skinner asked.


“Yes, Master,” Mulder said softly.


“Then pull your pants up, and turn around,” Skinner ordered. Mulder did as he was told and turned to find himself facing a broad chest.


“I’m so sorry, Master,” he said meekly, gazing into Skinner’s dark eyes. Skinner grinned, and enveloped him in his arms. He held his slave tight for a long time, just rocking him against that big chest, then dropped a kiss on Mulder’s forehead.


“You’ll be the death of me, boy,” he muttered, kissing Mulder again.


“I hope not, Master,” Mulder said sincerely. “I am sorry. You did warn me last night, but I was out of it,” he sighed. “You were right about me living in extremes as well. I do. You’ve brought balance into my life for the first time ever, but as soon as you loosen the reins I go and do something stupid.”


“Don’t punish yourself, boy. That’s what I’m here for,” Skinner said, with a wry chuckle, “and Fox,” he dropped his voice. “This isn’t over yet, you know.”


“No, Master.” Mulder looked at his feet.


“We’re going on a little trip. When we get back, you’re in puppy mode for the rest of the day – including mealtimes. Understood?”


“Yes, Master,” Mulder nodded. The whole puppy thing was weird. He didn’t like it, but he had to admit that on some level it worked, taking him down into his slavery, and restoring the sense of balance and serenity that Skinner had helped him to achieve.


“Good. For now, though, we have an errand to run. I’ve got a phone call to make, then, Donald, you’re coming with me,” Skinner said. “You too, Fox.”


Mulder didn’t dare ask where they were going, but his heart sank when Skinner’s jeep drew up outside Elliott’s apartment block. Donald’s face went positively gray as he realized where they were. They stepped over a pile of vomit in the street, which Donald also recognized, and he swayed momentarily. Skinner grabbed hold of the young man’s arm, and propelled him into the apartment block, and up a couple of flights of stairs. The door to an apartment at the top of the stairs was opened and Mulder recognized Elliott. The other man was dressed in an impeccably casual ensemble that made everyone else look scruffy, even Skinner. Elliott even had a neatly folded, striped handkerchief in the top pocket of his jacket.


“Walter, please come in. These, I take it, are the miscreants.” Elliott looked down his nose at Mulder and Donald, and the latter gave a low moan of total embarrassment.


“I’m sorry, sir. I don’t know what we were thinking last night,” Donald said quickly. “Please, I don’t want to lose my job. I know that you expect us to maintain the same standard of professionalism in our private lives as at work, and…”


“Quiet, Donald. I think we all heard more than enough from you last night,” Elliott said in a firm tone. Donald flushed bright red, his worst fear that Elliott had heard them being confirmed. “I wondered what all the noise was about,” Elliott said with a frown.


“Oh god, excuse me, I think I’m going to…” Donald put his hand over his mouth, and looked around in desperation.


“End of the corridor, first door on the left. Quickly!” Elliott said. Donald disappeared.


Elliott turned back to Skinner with an amused shake of his head. “Kids,” he murmured. “Please, sit down, Walter. This is a very serious matter. I can assure you that Donald will…”


“Excuse me, Elliott,” Skinner interrupted, clicking his fingers. Mulder knelt immediately by his Master’s side, ignoring Elliott’s look of shock at his instant submission. “Sorry to interrupt, but I didn’t bring Donald here to get him into trouble. You must know that the boy’s crazy about you. Last night was just a desperate attempt to attract your attention.”


Mulder held his breath, wondering what the hell Skinner was doing.


“Of course I know,” Elliott replied, with a deep, heartfelt sigh.


“And? I know you’re on your own, and have been since you and James went your separate ways but that was years ago. Isn’t it time to let someone new into your life?” Skinner asked softly.


“Walter, I’m fifty,” Elliott said, shaking his head. “Donald is 25 years old. He’s half my age. I’m flattered of course. Who wouldn’t be? A beautiful looking boy like that, mooning over them the whole time…”


“Then why not put him out of his misery? He doesn’t care about the age difference so why should you?” Skinner asked. “He’s a good worker isn’t he?”


“What? Yes. The best,” Elliott said proudly. “He has a real flair for our work, an unerring instinct about style, and what suits the client.”


“What will happen to the business when you decide to retire?” Skinner asked softly. “Shouldn’t you be grooming a successor? Someone who shares your ideas?”


“Well…I…” Elliott shook his head. “I just don’t know,” he said.


“I’ve known you for years, Elliott. You hate taking the plunge – you know how cautious you are, and god knows that boy needs someone as patient and even-tempered as you. This isn’t a passing phase. He’s been in love with you for three years. He told me so. Isn’t it about time you did what you both want instead of condemning two people to loneliness?”


Elliott ran a hand through his white hair, pacing the room. “You’re right,” he said at last, and Mulder felt his heart leap in his chest. He wanted to exchange a high five with his Master, but instead he kept his gaze fixed firmly on the floor, and rested his chin on Skinner’s lap. Skinner’s hand came automatically to rest on Mulder’s hair, and stroked softly. “You’re absolutely right, Walter. I’ve let this situation continue for long enough. I’m so fond of Donald – more than I’ve even liked to admit to myself. It’s time to take that boy in hand.”


“Congratulations,” Skinner laughed. “One thing though, Elliott,” he said in a warning voice. The older man looked at him with a worried frown. “Oh, it’s nothing difficult. I’m sure you’ll be able to manage this, knowing you as I do. Donald is young, and in need of a few rules. He needs to know that you’re…in charge,” Skinner said, a wry smile tugging at his lips.


“I understand, Walter.” Elliott glanced at Mulder, kneeling by his Master’s side.


“Oh, nothing like this,” Skinner said hastily. “Just the occasional firm reminder of your authority, preferably delivered to his backside. I think anything more than that would scare the hell out of Donald.”


“I agree!” Elliott joined in Skinner’s laughter. At that moment, Donald sidled back into the room, looking a little less gray than he had a few moments before.


“Are you all right, my love?” Elliott asked the young man. The look on Donald’s face as he realized that Elliott was talking to him, and using such fond words, was priceless. Mulder had to bite down on the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing out loud.


“Yes, sir…thanks,” Donald whispered, flushing to the roots of his blond hair.


“Good. Then I think we have some matters to discuss, don’t you?” Elliott ran the back of his hand gently down the side of Donald’s face. “There, don’t be so scared, Donald,” he said tenderly. Donald’s eyes were suddenly wide and full of hope, and Mulder felt a lump rise in his throat.


“It’s going to be fine – but first we’ll have to deal with all that nonsense from last night,” Elliott said reprovingly. Donald’s eyes flashed with anticipation, and he glanced at Mulder who nodded at him encouragingly. “Then, we can get on with the rest of our lives,” Elliott said with a broad smile.


“Time for us to leave. Our work here is done,” Skinner grinned, making Mulder wince at his Master’s corny choice of phrase. Skinner got up, and moved his hand to bring Mulder to heel. They shook hands with Elliott, then left the two lovebirds to it and returned to the jeep.


“Master…” Mulder said, climbing onto the back seat, knowing that he was in puppy mode for the rest of the day.


“Hmm?” Skinner started to drive.


“You do know I love you, right?” Mulder said, resting his head on his Master’s shoulder.


“Yeah,” Skinner grinned at him in the mirror.


“The way you sorted those two out.” Mulder shook his head in amazement.


“A skill I learned from Andrew – when to interfere in people’s personal lives, and when not to,” Skinner said with a wry chuckle. “I’ve made a few mistakes along the way, believe me, but I’m not blind, Fox. I’ve known for some time that Elliott had a thing for Donald, and it was equally clear that Donald had a massive crush on his boss. It was good to finally bring those two together.”


“I don’t think they’d have managed it on their own,” Mulder said, kissing the back of Skinner’s neck.


They drove the rest of the way home in companionable silence. When they got there, Mulder went straight to his kennel while Skinner fixed them a giant brunch. Mulder ate his off a plate on the floor, sitting by Skinner’s side, using only his mouth. Afterwards, Skinner sat down on the couch with a sigh. Mulder, mindful that today was Master’s Day and that his Master had already missed out on his wake-up call, bath, and shave, crouched at Skinner’s side, undid his timberlands, and took his socks off. Then he went and fetched his Master’s slippers, bringing them to him in his mouth. Skinner grinned, and tousled his slave’s hair affectionately.


“Good boy,” he murmured, lying back on the couch. Mulder went and found his Master’s unread newspaper, and brought that to him in his mouth as well. Skinner took it, and Mulder rested his head on his Master’s lap drowsily while the other man read. After an hour or so, Skinner patted the couch, and Mulder jumped up eagerly and settled down beside his Master, lying on his front because his sore backside was in no condition to be sat upon.


“Well, boy, we had a few dramas there, but it all turned out okay in the end,” Skinner said, looking down fondly into his slave’s eyes.


“Yeah, for those two. I wish it would turn out like that for Ian though,” Mulder said.


“It might. In time,” Skinner shrugged.


“And I wish I knew who that bastard was who freaked him out like that.”


“If anyone makes a complaint against that guy then I promise you that he won’t play in this city again,” Skinner said, his tone deadly serious.


“Do you really have that kind of power?” Mulder looked up at his Master.


“Oh yeah.”


“That is such a turn on,” Mulder grinned.


“Everything’s a turn on to you,” Skinner tweaked a nipple playfully.


“As far as you’re concerned it is,” Mulder retorted. “I really am sorry I screwed up last night,” he added.


“Fox – I told you, I don’t want roboslave. I knew we were heading for a fall by the way you were being so damn perfect. We must have that talk about how you organize your life.”


“Yes, Master.”


“And I must take some of the blame for last night. I’m not condoning what happened, and I did warn you, but still, you’re my responsibility, and I should never have allowed you out when you were still so clearly in scene-space. I made a bad mistake. It won’t happen again.”


“Hey, if you screwed up, does that mean I get to spank you?” Mulder asked hopefully, grinning obscenely at his Master.


“What do you think?” Skinner growled. “Who the hell is the slave and who the Master around here anyway?”


Mulder smiled and snuggled up contently against Skinner’s chest. “Just checking,” he murmured meekly. “Thought it might be fun to feel you wriggling over my lap for a change!”


“You know, for that, I think another spanking might be in order.” Skinner squeezed one of Mulder’s hot buttocks, making his slave moan, and writhe against his Master’s chest. “Out of interest…” Skinner moved his other hand up, and teased Mulder’s other nipple between his thumb and forefinger, making his slave twist and moan. “What exactly did Donald sing to his amour last night?”


“Unchained Melody,” Mulder grinned, glancing up at his Master.


Skinner winced theatrically. “Oh dear. I can just imagine how that sounded in the middle of the night, on a quiet street, sung by a couple of drunks.”


“It was…pretty bad,” Mulder admitted, laughing at the memory.


“And strangely appropriate,” Skinner mused. “Trust you to pick a song with the word ‘chain’ somewhere in the title.”


“It wasn’t deliberate!” Mulder protested. “I’m sorry,” he said again. “This hasn’t been much of a Master’s Day.”


“Never mind. You can make up for it next weekend at Murray’s party by making all the other tops very envious of my beautiful slave,” Skinner said, patting Mulder’s rump reassuringly.


“You wouldn’t really sell me, would you? Even for the night?” Mulder asked, remembering their conversation the previous day.


“Slave auctions are hot,” Skinner said, by way of reply. “All the slaves get put up on the stage, and examined. You’ll have to strip off so that your potential buyer gets a good look at you. People put in bids – I’d love to see them bid for you. You’d get the highest price of the evening I expect.”


“I couldn’t serve anyone else,” Mulder said, his cock hardening anyway because the auction was such a horny idea.


“Even if I ordered you to?” Skinner whispered in his ear, his arms folding around his slave lovingly.


“Not…with my body.”


“With your service? Massage, dressing, running baths, attending another top…I’m sure you could manage that much. They wouldn’t touch you,” Skinner said.




“If I ordered you, then you’d have no choice,” Skinner said in that sexy growl. Mulder’s cock hardened instantly.


“Yes, Master,” he replied. He didn’t know how he felt about the slave auction, but he trusted Skinner not to make him do anything that would upset him.


“Good – then we’ll see what happens, pup,” Skinner grinned.


Mulder saw himself, in his mind’s eye, standing on the auctioneer’s block, being bid for by strangers, and his cock lurched to attention.


“Now, pup…I think I want to experience your serenading talents myself.” Skinner pulled his slave over his knee, and raised his hand. “Sing to me, boy, while I accompany you on the drum…”


End of Chapter 15


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