+ Chapter 5
the close quarters of the elevator, the smell of leather and clean sweat
mingled. Zechs swallowed, trying not to let it make him too high. God.
Wasn't the elevator ride ever going to end?
Beside him, Duo fidgeted, skittish as a high-strung colt. The doors opened
once before they reached their floor, and for a second, Zechs thought
that Duo might bolt. Under the fishnet and leather, his muscles bunched,
ready to spring, but a fat traveling salesman crowded in, and his sample
cases forced Duo back into a corner. Duo gripped the brass rail with white-knuckled
strength, his chest rising and falling so rapidly that Zechs feared he
was about to hyperventilate.
He looked around wildly until he caught Zechs' eye. Some of the mindless
panic went out of his face, and Zechs gave him a small, reassuring smile.
He reached across the salesman's case to lay his hand over Duo's where
it gripped the rail. Duo dropped his gaze, but his breathing steadied.
Then the elevator reached their floor, the doors swished open, and Zechs
pulled Duo into the corridor.
"You all right?"
Even in the dim light of the corridor, Zechs could see Duo's cheeks flaming.
"Yeah. Sorry about that. It was just..." His voice trailed off in obvious
"You felt trapped."
Duo looked up, then nodded slowly.
"You were feeling trapped before the fat man got on. I could see it."
"Trapped?" Duo blinked in surprise. "No. Not that." He took a deep breath.
"A little scared, yeah. Wondering if I'm fucking crazy for doing this.
But not trapped."
"Would you have gotten off the elevator if he hadn't pushed you back?"
"I'm a detective, remember? Noticing details is what I do."
Duo nodded, but doubt crept back into his face, and Zechs cursed himself
for reminding them both that he was a cop. He ran his hand over Duo's
shoulder and arm, plucked impatiently at his arm warmers. "Room 1612.
It's down the hall."
He sensed some remnants of hesitation and traced the neckline of Duo's
shirt with his fingertip, trailed it down the line of Duo's collarbone.
"Are you ready?"
Duo's eyes widened, but he managed a tiny, cheeky grin. "Hell, yes. Lead
Zechs took Duo's hand and started toward their room. Outside the door,
Duo clung to his arm while he fished the key out of his pocket with his
free hand. He hesitated, and Duo sidled a little closer.
"You're still a suspect, you know." Duo winced, but Zechs went on. "If
we go into that room, anything you or I say in court will be tainted."
"I think it's too late to worry about that."
"Duo..." Zechs cupped his hand over Duo's cheek, a protective, almost
tender, gesture. "I didn't bring you here as a cop. This isn't about the
case. But I have to think about it."
Duo laid his hand over Zechs'. "I know that. And we'll sort it all out.
Later." He rubbed up against Zechs, pressed his hardness against Zechs'
thigh. "Now open the damn door. This hallway's getting awfully stuffy."
Zechs slid his hand down to cup Duo's ass and force him closer for a second
before he inserted the keycard into the lock and opened the door. Duo
darted in first, and when the door closed behind them, he stopped long
enough for Zechs to slide his hands around Duo's waist, then down.
Duo writhed under his hands, reached back to wrap his arms around Zechs'
neck. He moaned a little when Zechs glided his hand between his legs,
and he whispered, "Want you..."
Zechs pulled down the zipper of Duo's pants and worked his hand inside.
He touched warm skin, and his fingers wrapped around Duo's cock. Duo whined
and tangled his fingers in Zechs' hair, turned his head to nip at Zechs'
chin. He was so hot. So fucking hot, and so pretty and so hard and sweet...
"Want you, too. Now."
"Yes..." Duo's voice died into a sibilant hiss as Zechs released him and
gave him a little push toward the bed. He pulled off his boots and shimmied
out of his pants, leaving Zechs to watch. There was a moment when Duo
stood naked from the waist, his ass and hips and legs outlined against
the sparkling lights of the city beyond the window, and Zechs felt such
need that he thought it would burn him alive.
"Come here." Desire made his voice rough, and Duo gasped a little, but
he obeyed. Zechs pulled him into another kiss, this one brutal, demanding.
He bit Duo's lips, and Duo groaned, but when Zechs maneuvered him toward
the bed, he shook his head.
Duo looked up at him, and Zechs recognized the desire in his eyes, knew
what he would say before he formed the words. "I don't want vanilla tonight."
Neither did Zechs, but he frowned. "I don't have anything with me."
Duo bit his lip, and Zechs felt those small hands slide over his back,
stop at his waist. "You have your belt."
"So I do." He fingered the metal buckle. Duo's skin was smooth and creamy
as ivory. He'd mark easily.
Duo looked up at him, his eyes wide and pleading. He reached out and caught
a strand of Zechs' hair, smoothing it between his fingers. His voice barely
a whisper, he said, "Then please. Please give it to me...Master."
"I need it."
"Yes." Zechs slid his hand over Duo's shoulder, up his neck, curled his
fingers around Duo's braid. He jerked it, and Duo's head snapped back.
Zechs smiled a little when his remarkable eyes widened, then glazed over,
and his lips parted slightly. "Yes, I can see that you do."
He ran his hand over the smooth skin of Duo's ass, glorying in his trembling.
Duo crawled onto the bed, then dropped to his elbows and spread his knees.
He looked so deliciously helpless that Zechs couldn't help touching him
again. Then he leaned over Duo, whispered, "What's your word?"
Duo nuzzled his head against Zechs. "Red, if I need you to stop."
Zechs nodded. He took off his belt and weighed it in his hands, caressed
the leather with his fingers. He'd had it custom made, so it was heavy
and supple, and the grain soft as velvet. Would it be the way he'd imagined
it when he used it against that defenseless flesh? He doubled it into
a strap, rubbed it over Duo's ass and thighs. Duo shivered again and made
a little sigh, but he didn't move.
"Are you ready?"
Duo's voice sounded weak and breathless. "Oh, yes. Please..."
Zechs snapped the leather against Duo's skin, feeling a rush of adrenalin
at the sound. Duo twitched and gasped, his back arching. The belt raised
a bright red welt, and Zechs hit him again, leaving a line that crisscrossed
Duo whimpered and wriggled. "More?"
Zechs ran a fingernail over one of the welts, and Duo let out a little
yelp. "I'll tell you when you may beg."
"Yes, Master. Forgive me."
Zechs struck him again, across the back of his thighs. Duo's body jerked,
but he lifted himself a little higher, inviting the belt. Two blows in
rapid succession drew the first real cry from him, and his hands kneaded
the sheets. Zechs whipped Duo in earnest now, laying down stripe after
stripe until Duo's backside was deep red and hot, and he moaned with every
blow. His pain was real, but so was his pleasure; he was achingly hard,
and despite not having been granted permission, a few desperate pleas
slipped past his lips.
Zechs' own breath heaved in his chest. Every movement Duo had made, every
sound, had been more than perfect. Even in his hungriest dreams, he hadn't
imagined this. He struck Duo again, groaning in unison with his half-smothered
Zechs touched Duo's reddened skin. He needed to feel it for himself, hot
and tight and throbbing. Duo was a hairsbreadth from bruising, he could
tell. He hissed and squirmed under Zechs' touch, whined piteously.
Using the doubled end of the belt, Zechs lifted Duo's chin. "Speak."
Duo felt himself teetering on some edge, a precipice he'd never known
existed. Desperation crept into his voice. "Please...finish me? I need
Zechs ran his elegant fingers over Duo's ass again, and they cooled his
burning skin. Duo pressed against his Master's hand, even though the pressure
hurt. The touch and the pain were all one to him, and he yearned for them
both. It was never like this before...what's he doing to me? He
burned, not just his punished skin, but his whole body. More...whatever
it is, I need more of it. "Please..."he begged again, but instead
of taking up the belt once more, Zechs slipped his arms around Duo and
lifted him up.
Duo blinked, his brain still muddled. "What...?"
Zechs said nothing, but he ran his hands over Duo's chest, toyed with
his nipple ring. Duo squirmed, whimpered when his sore flesh scraped against
A petulant whine tinged Duo's voice. "C'mon, please, just a little more..."
Zechs trailed one hand over Duo's belly, his fingertips stopping just
short of his curls. Duo wriggled, trying to maneuver Zechs' touch to where
he craved it. "Zechs, please..." He was almost in tears from frustration.
"Master...Master, I'm begging you..."
"Beg some more. I like it."
"Then please, finish me? I've done all you asked. I've obeyed you." Putting
together coherent thoughts became more difficult as Zechs' hands moved
over him again. Oh god...Grant never touched me like that. Or maybe
he did—but it didn't feel this way. I'm so hungry...he makes me
so hungry... "I've been good..."
"Yes, you have." Zechs purred against Duo's skin, and Duo forgot to breathe.
"You've earned your reward." Zechs pulled him into an embrace.
Duo fought it. "Don't—"
Zechs was too strong, and he held Duo close to him. "Are you more frightened
of being used gently than of being whipped?" Zechs nuzzled at Duo's throat,
his mouth traveling up the line of Duo's jaw until he caught his earlobe
and sucked it.
"Nn..." Duo struggled to escape from Zechs' arms, to break contact. He
couldn't think, couldn't be aware of anything except the feel of Zechs'
body against his, of his hands, of the smell of his skin and his hair.
This is a bad idea. Zechs' touch was sure and controlled and somehow
gentle, all the things he'd wanted. Just giving in would be way too
easy. He could do anything he wanted to me, anything, and I couldn't stop
him. Wouldn't want to stop him. He tried to be strong, but his body
"Stop it. Please, stop it! Don't..." Panic bubbled up in Duo's chest,
and he struggled. Grant had never touched his heart. He'd only wakened
nameless longings in Duo's soul, then never quite fulfilled them. But
Zechs...Zechs seemed to know from instinct what Duo needed. And that terrified
Safeword. Use your safeword. He could end this, he could say the
word, could get up and dress and walk out of this room—and Zechs
would be pissed at me. He might even hate me for it. But at least he wouldn't
be in danger. I wouldn't be dragging him down with me. I ought to...
Then Zechs was touching him again, and kissing him, and he didn't want
to safeword. He didn't want anything except for it to never stop.
Zechs tugged up Duo's shirt, peeled it off over his head, stripped the
sheaths of fishnet off his arms. He heard Zechs' sharp intake of breath,
felt Zechs' hands skimming over his back, between his thighs. His legs
parted without his conscious control as the burn and ache in his backside
spread, then coalesced deep in his groin. His arm locked around Duo's
waist, his hardness pressed against Duo's belly. Duo's mind flashed on
an image of Zechs as he'd first seen him, in control and confident, a
marble work of art given life and fire, the force of his will all but
crackling in the air around him. It was enough.
Duo heard himself cry out when he came. He shuddered, his body going limp
in Zechs' arms. He let himself be picked up, whimpered a little when Zechs
laid him back down on the bed, smiled when his master shed his own clothes
and stretched out next to him. He closed his eyes, his heart and breath
still thundering in his own ears.
He felt Zechs petting him, and he nuzzled blindly against his hand.
"Are you all right?"
Duo gathered himself to speak. "Yeah...it's just...that was intense."
He didn't open his eyes, but he felt his cheeks warm. "I've never...not
just from a whipping, or just being touched..."
Zechs didn't answer, but the kisses and petting told Duo that it was okay.
This is the way it's supposed to be, after...Grant tried, but he was
always thinking about something else as soon as we were done. He'd
never gotten this kind of attention before, never in his life. And it
felt damn good.
Eventually, he had to open his eyes and look at Zechs. The man watched
him, his look full of his own unsatisfied need and concern and something
else, something cool and detached that watched him speculatively. Suspicion
snaked its way into his contentment.
"Why are you looking at me like that?"
"Like a cop."
"Am I?" The cool, calculating look disappeared, his eyes reflecting only
worry-tinged kindness and hunger. "Duo...You know that I didn't come here
to tonight to try to get information from you. And god knows, I didn't
do this..." He gently rubbed Duo's bottom. "...to get you to talk to me.
But I want to help you if I can. I know you're afraid..."
"Damn straight, I'm afraid. You saw who else was in those pictures."
"I did." Zechs tipped his head down to look into Duo's face, fair hair
sweeping over Duo's shoulders and chest as he moved. "Do they want something
from you? Is that why you're scared?"
"I think...I don't know if they know. They have to, they'll have looked
in all of his usual hiding places by now...it's just a matter of time
before they come after me, looking for it..."
Zechs stroked Duo's cheek. "Duo. What are you talking about? I can't help
you if you keep talking in riddles. What are they looking for?"
Duo shivered, suddenly cold. He wanted to cling to Zechs, to pull him
down and hide under him. He managed to do neither, but he did let his
fingers rest very lightly on that powerful forearm. It comforted him to
feel Zechs' strength. Not that it will do either of us any good. He
took a deep breath, even though his chest ached. "All right. I'll tell
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