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Father Knows Best

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At 21, Malcolm Whitley’s hand shook at the sight of an official letter that had come in, it laid innocuously on his bed. He knew that this had been coming but it didn’t make the situation any better. You’ve prepped for this, you know the right answers to all the questions to not be classified as what you really are.

Malcolm slapped one hand to steady himself as he opened what felt like his death sentence. He skimmed the letter, looking for the date. OK, Malcolm mused, six weeks to make sure that my true dynamic stays off everything. It’s hard enough to be a serial killer’s son, let alone his submissive son who may have developed an unhealthy relationship that’s ruined Malcolm for anyone else. Without his permission, memories of his f– Dr. Whitley cupping his neck, squeezing and how easily that settled him. For years he’d known his designation but went as long as legally possible before being required to officially test his dynamic and it go on all legal documents. Would cause so many issues – getting into the FBI, being scrutinized more for being a Sub. Mother. Too much rode on this for Malcolm’s future, his father wouldn’t take this from him. He’d already lost so much in quick succession. He wasn’t about to be saddled with a dynamic where he would be required to submit or take breaks. Survived my father, nothing can be worse than that.

 

**

Malcolm listened as his mother’s footsteps faded, waited until he heard the door open, close, and the lock click. Pulling out the box he’d hidden from his mother and sister, a weight pressed down on Malcolm’s lungs.

He can’t hurt you, can’t control you. Ten years and he’s not getting out.

A fortifying breath later, Malcolm sifted through the box. Newspaper clippings, crime scene photos, a small leather notebook. As he shoved his emotions away, Malcolm the details and let himself get lost in the creation of this killer’s profile. Hours passed until his phone buzzed, which pulled him slightly from all the information he was looking at. Prepared to ignore it, it buzzed again, this time, he saw Gil’s name flash. Sighing, Malcolm grabbed his phone and read the texts.

Bed, city boy, get some rest.

Now.

Malcolm huffed, then looking at the time, realized he should at least try, since it was almost 3 in the morning. He tapped out a quick text before tossing his clothes in his hamper and continuing with the nightly ritual of strapping himself down and taking his medications. He was taken aback when all the sudden his eyes were so very heavy. As his head hit the pillow, Malcolm slept.

Malcolm woke abruptly, screams muffled around his mouthguard, muscles straining against the soft leather, and tears streaming from grey eyes. Malcolm’s chest heaving, he clicked the restraints off. Always worse after family interaction. Though she might pretend, she doesn’t want me here, he thought idly. Malcolm slipped out of bed, letting his body take over. Routine typically centered him, but today, it only seemed to stop his hands from trembling, something’s off. He ran through a mental check list of probable causes, a sudden thought dawned.

“Shit.” Malcolm dropped his face into his hands. He wanted to scream, throw something. Fucking dynamic, he thought viciously, a silent snarl on his lips. Couldn’t have been a Dom, or God forbid, actually dynamicless. “No time for this, not with a copycat.” Malcolm shook himself.

Get through the case, then Drop, and pretend like everything is fine. Like normal.

His phone vibrated, pulling Malcolm out of his head and focus back on the case. Gil, the caller ID flashed, perfect.

“Bright.” Gil’s deep voice calmed him, “headed to the morgue. Need a ride?”

“No,” it was out before he realized it, “see you there.” Malcolm ended the call before Gil could ask anything. No reason to give Gil more time to realize Malcolm was hiding something. The man already had his suspicions, no reason to confirm anything. After all, his ID said switch, which wasn’t illegal but definitely fell within some very grey area.

 

Malcolm had the most exciting day that he could remember in the last few years. Going with Dani and JT, getting Niko out of the apartment before it blew up, having a profile be off. Nothing can bring this down, he thought. Then the phone vibrated. Text from Ainsley. Shit, forgot. Making his excuses, he left the station, directing the cabbie to drop him at his loft. Malcolm had noticed the blood on the collar of his shirt and while Mother was oblivious about many things, blood would never escape her notice.

 

As he and Ainsley were slyly making faces at each other, his Mother rambled on. At least some things will never change, Malcolm mused, until his phone vibrated. Gil, maybe I can get out early…

“Am I keeping you from something, Dear?”

“Huh, oh, uh no, nothing important. You were talking about … Egypt?”

Mother’s gaze sharpened and she took in Malcolm, “what aren’t you telling me?” For all that he was able to keep things from everyone, Malcolm’s Mother could always tell when he lied, fuck the tremors.

“Ainsley, give.”

Ainsley doesn’t last a second, “he’s working for the NYPD on the new serial killer investigation.”

Malcolm tunes out for a moment until he realized that Mother had asked him something. “Because, uh, this new killer is,” Malcolm paused for a moment, trying to find the right words. “Copying The Surgeon.” He can see it in his Mother’s body language her distaste and irritation at not being normal. Malcolm let her ramble and as she stormed off, Ainsley tried to stop her. With dinner ending early, Malcolm kissed his sister’s cheek and left.

 

Anxiety had Malcolm pacing in front of the evidence board, trying to see what he’d missed. His vision blurred for a moment, which caused him to stumble slightly. May be best to take a seat. Malcolm clutched the coffee cup and tried to keep his focus on the evidence. Slowly his body went lax, unbidden, Malcolm’s eyes started to have long blinks. The next thing he’s aware of is Powell holding him, she yelled for the officers around her to stop, Malcolm hadn’t noticed the guns, just that there was a voice telling him that it’s just a dream. Then suddenly Gil’s helping him to his feet, a calloused hand rested on his nape and directed him into the elder man’s office. The hand stayed on Malcolm’s neck for a few minutes before one last squeeze and then Gil’s across from him.

“They’re called pavor nocturnus. Night terrors and they’re not fun. On the bright side, they’re ruining my life.”

Out of the corner of his eye, Malcolm glanced toward Dani and then looked back at Gil. “I didn’t hurt her, did I?”

With a scoff, Gil said, “Dani’s from the Bronx, tougher than both of us.”

Malcolm smiled softly as he answered, “like Jackie.”

Gil fiddled with his ring, “Bronx girl, loved you like family. Worried every time you went to go see your father.”

“Don’t worry Gil, I’m fine. I’ve got it under control.” Malcolm attempted to smile, something that usually worked when his surrogate father had that concerned look.

“Under control? You chopped off a man’s hand, a maniac is copying your father’s murders, and six cops nearly shot you. You are anything but in control.”

Inside Malcolm felt the submissive part of his brain, the one ready to Drop start to take a nose dive, I’ve upset one Dom, he knows, he can get me removed, force me— Malcolm forced himself to stop, Gil may know, but he wouldn’t do that to me.

“What does that mean? You agree with the FBI?”

Gil frowned, “I’ve known you for 20 years. You’re on edge.”

Malcolm stood, “you’re right. There’s a fourth victim out there, and I can save her. I’ll do whatever it takes.”

They stared each other down, Gil in worry and Malcolm prepared to keep himself on the case. “That’s what I’m afraid of.”

“You found something,” Malcolm’s grey eyes flashed in excitement, he could save the last one! “What is it?”

With a deep sigh, Gil handed over three cylindrical pipes with caps. Malcolm forced his hands not to tremble as Gil gave them over. “FID pulled these out of Nico’s apartment. Open it.”

“These sketches show the first three methods from The Quartet. My Father drew these,” Malcolm felt his stomach fall to the floor. So much for not seeing him again.

“I know, but how did our killer get them? Your dad’s still locked up at Claremont Psychiatric.”

For a brief moment, Gil and Malcolm had a silent argument before Malcolm said, “Well, I’ll go ask him.” Not waiting for Gil’s response, Malcolm rushed out of the precinct and steeled himself to get on a bus and go back after a decade and a promise to never go back.

 

 

Martin took his boy in. How you’ve grown! The roundness of youth had sharpened with age. The beautiful grey eyes gave him so much on Malcolm. Exhaustion, my poor boy. Martin put that thought on hold, instead focusing on what his boy held. A file, NYPD. So from the FBI to the NYPD, my boy, you’re so much better.

“Malcolm, my boy.” He breathed deep, trying to keep Malcolm’s scent. A true smile, one only reserved for Malcolm made its way to Martin’s lips.

Malcolm’s shoulders rolled, “Dr. Whitley.”

Martin wanted so much to cup his boy’s face, hold him again after so long. You want to keep distance, but it won’t last, Malcolm, you must know that. “God, I can’t believe it… Ten years.”

Malcolm looked away quickly, seemingly unable to hold Martin’s gaze. “Nice cell, who paid for it?”

“Oh, you’d be amazed at what our Saudi friends will pay a disgraced cardiothoracic surgeon.” Martin paused, “your eyes. You look exhausted.” Father and doctor m’boy. My Malcolm needs rest. He needs me. Martin fell into memories, of Malcolm’s nightmares as a boy, how Martin held him, and Malcolm would bury his face into Martin’s neck. How many nights I stayed with you, and your dreams wouldn’t haunt you. Long ago Martin learned that his boy responded well to a hand on his nape, holding or gripping would give him a lap full of calm Malcolm. A Sub most likely or a Switch -- that should be established now. As a Dom, it was the one thing that soothed him, even at the greatest desire to end a life. Always his boy, much as he loved his daughter, Malcolm was the only one who roused the Dom part of him. Mine. Especially with the boy's mother not having a dynamic, Malcolm was truly the only one he was able to be truly himself around.

Malcolm deflected, "You have a copycat.”

Oh! How wonderful! You’re solving them, my sweet boy. Martin let their usual back and forth banter take over. Eyes still trying to make up for the ten years since they’d last been in the same space, one that was much smaller. Martin looked at the drawings, confused, then gestured toward the shelf.

Malcolm grabbed the journal. As though a thought had struck, Malcolm moved from the journal to the files that Martin kept on his desk. “Malcolm, what are you doing? There’s 40 files in there.”

“The suspect, I think he’s a patient.”

Though not showing it, Martin was proud, a balloon swelled in his chest, Malcolm, my intelligent boy, saving the day. Two files and Martin waited, the flipping pages stopped. “You winnowed all those down to just two? Well, tell me. Who’s the killer? I’m on the edge of my seat.”

“There isn’t enough detail… I need you, their doctor. Patients tell you things nobody else knows. What isn’t in these files?”

“Malcolm,” it wasn’t a tone he used on his boy often, but as Martin saw Malcolm’s Adam’s apple bob, he took great pleasure in his son reacting to the dominance in the tone, before he shook it off. Then suddenly Malcolm turned the tables. Bright grey eyes flittered over Martin, taking in all the small details. As the boy calls out his fear, Martin can’t help but be impressed. As Malcolm backed him into the corner, Martin threw out an observation to shake his boy.

“So, you’re old enough now that your dynamic would have settled.” Not having been asked directly, Malcolm still froze, as though this hadn’t been brought up to him before.

“You’re afraid that I won’t come back. That once I walk out of here, that’ll be it. You’ll never see me again. Tell me, and I’ll come back.”

Those grey eyes, so beautiful, my boy’s so handsome, Martin mused, “your dynamic?”

A muscle jerked in Malcolm’s cheek, “Dr. Whitley, that’s not your concern. Tell me and I’ll come back, I promise.” Martin took in his boy for a minute, Malcolm had always been one to honor a promise, Jess had made use of that when he was younger, to her benefit. He took the file gently from his son, before turning it around. “Carter Berkhead, the developer. He had his heart attack whilst whipping some poor submissive in a sex dungeon.”

Martin kept eye contact with Malcolm, slightly aroused as he watched the boy’s pupils dilate. An indication to submissive inclination, but … Oh, my boy, surely you’re not hiding, pretending to be something else.

“Your dynamic?”

Malcolm shook his head, “thank you Dr. Whitley.” With a flurry of his coat, Malcolm all but fled from his- Martin’s cell.

 

Martin waited for the guard to come back in, “I’d like to call my lawyer, please.” David nodded. Getting the phone and walked out. Once Martin was sure that David wouldn’t be able to overhear, he dialed a number for a P. I. that he’d used before and kept on the payroll.

“DeLorenzo,” a rough voice answered.

“Ah, Mr. DeLorenzo, Martin Whitley. I’ve got an assignment for you.” A grunt on the other end, and Martin continued on, “I need you to stay on Malcolm Bright, tell me everything he does, where he’s going, seeing, talking to. If you’re able to, monitor police reports. I must know everything. Do you understand?”

“Of course, Dr. Whitley. I’ll make weekly reports.” A slight pause, “anything specifically you want?”

With a soft hum, he added, “his medical files if at all possible. But those will have been split. Find Malcolm Whitley and then Malcolm Bright.”

“Of course.”

The called ended and Martin called his lawyers to have them wire over a payment to DeLorenzo. You can’t hide from me Malcolm, not when you hurt yourself. My sweet submissive boy, how long since you’ve submitted? Martin thought as he ran his fingers through his beard.

 

Malcolm fled, can’t call it anything else. He at least suspects, even if he doesn’t know for certain. Phone in hand, Malcolm called Gil. “He told me who it is. Carter Burkhead.”

“Dani’s on her way to Mrs. Burkhead now.”

A manic grin twisted Malcolm’s lips, “I’ll meet her there.” Everything was a blur, getting to the gala and then Malcolm stood in front of Carter, syringe aimed at his Radial vein.

I deserve this, always have. Loving the monster he is. Running away, not staying gone. Malcolm felt as though he was under water, Carter’s facial expression changed at his words. A flash of disgust, then the gloved hand reached for the plunger. Over soon, he mused, Dani’s panicked words not penetrating the fog. In quick secession, Carter started pushing the plunger, the door banged open, then shots fired.

Malcolm fell to his knees, the urge to Drop played havoc but he refused to, to give his secret to anyone. After a lie, Malcolm stood and left, making sure to avoid his Mother. No need to have her know and break into his flat again. As his feet crossed the threshold, Malcolm bit his lip, should Drop, but I won’t. Pull it all back in and suck it up. He reached for numbness and forced his body to relax after all, tomorrow would be another visit to Dr. Whitley.

 

 

An unexpected visitor came into Martin’s cell right as visiting hours started. Long dark hair and eyes gazed at him as Martin turned to the room at large. And this is why I’ve kept you on my payroll, he mused as DeLorenzo held a file.

The man nodded and Martin gestured at the folding chair. “That was much quicker than I anticipated. Anything regarding his case that wrapped last night?”

A soft clearing of the throat and the man nodded, “got one of my contacts to give me the official report and the unofficial one. Also have some photos of Bright. A few with the detectives. Official version is Detective Powell and Mr. Bright confronted the suspect, then superior officer Arroyo shot and disabled the suspect as he attacked Bright.” DeLorenzo paused, “unofficially, Bright gave his real surname and offered to let Mr. Burkhead kill him and finish The Quartet. Something along the lines of punishing him for his betrayal of you.”

Rage boiled in Martin stomach; how dare he touch my son! Lucky that he won’t be sent here, pity though. No one ever touches my Malcolm. He’ll be disciplined by my hand alone. “Is Malcolm alright?”

Though he kept his face relaxed, Martin knew that DeLorenzo was uncomfortable. “Yeah, he slipped out of the building, avoiding both your daughter and Mrs. Whitley. Tailed him to his loft. I can see about getting into there and potentially getting cameras installed?”

Martin hummed, then nodded. “You said you have pictures?” The file folder was handed over, “it’s been a short time, but anything on his medical records? No fault if there hasn’t been. I’m all too aware of how long it can take.”

“No, sir, but that’s what today’s plan is. I’ll be in contact once I have those for you.”

With that, the PI left Martin to the information that’d been gathered so far. Pictures or information? The desire to see more of his boy won out, passing over the information to the stack of pictures on top. For the most part, the pictures were of Malcolm alone. Martin knew his son, for all that Malcolm looked untroubled, Martin saw the dark circles, how Malcolm’s shoulders were curled in, hands buried deep in his coat pockets. Oh my boy, you suffer so, but soon I’ll have you, keep you safe. You won’t have to hide your dynamic from me, as you have the rest of the world. As he thumbed through the pictures, Martin stopped, he saw red, wanted nothing more than to remove the man's hand from his boy. An older man cupped the back of Malcolm’s neck, eyes soft and hand gentle on Malcolm. MINE. Doubtless, this is Arroyo. 

But before he could truly react, there was a knock on his door and David stepped in. “Mr. Bright’s here to see you, Dr. Whitley. Would you like to meet with him?”

The desire to snarl at the man was great but Martin at least respected the man and his politeness. “Yes, please. It’s much appreciated.”

Martin stood, time to test a theory. Malcolm looked gaunt, like he hadn’t rested in the time after wrapping the case up. He refused to meet Martin’s eyes and he paced.

“My boy,” Martin breathed, “I wasn’t sure that you’d come back.”

A smirk crossed his face, “When have I ever broken a promise? After all, I was taught that a man stands by his promises.”

Silence descended between the pair, Malcolm’s feet hardly made any noise on the cement floor as he paced.

“Won’t you sit my boy, let’s go over the case.” Martin made it a suggestion, not putting any hint of command behind it. Malcolm ignored him and continued his pacing and did everything but look at Martin. No change, but there’s desperation that’s clearly there.

“I won’t be here long, Dr. Whitley, let’s make this short and we can both be on with our day.”

Oh Malcolm, you’re fighting so hard. Fighting nature is hard, son. But not to worry, we’ll fix that soon. “Malcolm, sit down,” Martin tapped into his Dom voice and he wriggled with pleasure internally when Malcolm’s sure steps faltered. Then he quickly moved over to the folding chair and made himself small but kept his eyes trained on his knee.

Good boy, so good. We’ll work on eye contact.

He focused on Malcolm as his boy gave a much abridged version of events. Even as Martin wanted nothing more that to tell Malcolm he knew about his brush with death, his attempt to pay for what could be perceived as a betrayal. I know you, you were scared, and someone, either that detective or your Mother forced that promise out of you.

“There’s one thing I can’t figure out. How did Carter Burkhead know which pages to take from your journal?”

“That’s an excellent question.”

Malcolm adjusted his posture, “here’s another. Did you orchestrate all of this just to get me back? The Quartet, everything?”

Martin chuckled, “Mal, you’re letting your imagination get the better of you, my boy. I can’t do that.”

Malcolm shrugged and stood.

The words were out of his mouth before Martin could stop them, “Wait, you can’t leave.” With Malcolm’s back to him, Martin could see the muscles tense under the coat he wore.

“What did you say?”

Martin’s heart rate accelerated and stumbled over his words, “I—I should have been more supportive of you joining the FBI. I was stubborn and we lost ten years. Watching you in action was exhilarating. I realized that I can help you!”

Malcolm scoffed, “I don’t need your help.”

Martin sighed, “I don’t want to lose you again, I’ve missed you, Mal.”

Even with Malcolm’s back to him, Martin heard an audible swallow and hoped for a brief moment before Malcolm muttered, “Goodbye, Dr. Whitley.”

A soft smile curled Martin’s lips, “My boy.”

Chapter Text

It’d been the hardest thing, leaving f-- Dr. Whitly’s cell. That small command pushed Malcolm hard, the need never going away, always there. Anxiety reared its head, he knows, he knows, he knows. The mantra beat at the walls of his mind, but Malcolm forced himself to slow down and breathe. Followed the order, doesn’t automatically mean Sub to him. He’ll assume Switch—with how law enforcement works, he’ll assume Switch, Malcolm tried to reassure himself though it sounded hollow. His phone started ringing, trembling hands fumbled while he answered, not looking at the ID.

“Bright.”

“Malcolm, darling, where are you?” Jessica’s voice immediately shoved all thought of submission and secrets to the back of his mind.

“Mother.”

A put-upon sigh, “Malcolm, I simply care about you. Can’t a Mother check in?”

An elegant snort forced its way out before Malcolm could stop it, “we both know each other too well for that. But if we must, I’m currently wandering around the city, and you, Mother?”

“Well, since you’re out, be a dear and come home.”

Malcolm sighed into the phone, “I was headed to my loft, actually. I planned on working some profiles for Gil. I’ll be—”

“Go to your loft if you must, but there’s a gala that I’d like you to accompany me to,” there was a slight pause, “after all you profile for a living, why not enjoy a Saturday?”

“Are you sure you wouldn’t rather have Ainsley go? She is after all better at socialization than I am.”

“I haven’t spent much time with you since you moved home, I’ve seen your sister more frequently than I have you. You’ll join me, yes?” Malcolm knew, even shaped as a request, this was very much a demand.

“Of course, Mother.” Know your battles, get there, get her a drink, and then find a corner, while he’d been giving himself a pep talk Jessica continued speaking in his ear.

“Wonderful, darling I’ll send Adolfo with the car in a bit.” The called ended, Malcolm sighed a flagged a taxi. Exactly what I need, socialites and more than likely, matchmaking. A shudder slid down his spine, is it too much to hope for a murder?

After getting situated in the cab, Malcolm tried to let the cityscape dull the anxiety that built from the time with his father and his mother’s phone call. There goes the chance to Drop and recover without anyone the wiser. Malcolm reached deep, pulled, and forced himself to bury the need to submit. The cab rolled to a stop in front of his building, Malcolm paid and gave the man a hefty tip. Before Malcolm headed into his home, he glanced around hypervigilance yet another result of his serial killer father. Nothing out of the ordinary, now to get ready for a wonderful gala.

Time slipped away as Malcolm dressed, slowly making himself into the proper socialite son. Even before turning Dr. Whitly in, Malcolm hadn’t cared for these functions. Though his mother wouldn’t be fooled, Malcolm gently dabbed concealer under his eyes, a futile attempt to try and hide noticeable tells of exhaustion. Mother will see straight through, but whoever she’s hoping to force me to spend the evening with won’t know.

 

About 20 minutes later, Malcolm got a text, outside darling. A deep sigh and Malcolm grabbed his keys and pocketed his phone. He started to put on his mask, the socialite, single son. The small smile Malcolm tried to force his face into felt wrong, twisted. Seriously Mother, Ains is so much better at this than I am. You know that. Adolfo opened the door and he slipped in next to Jessica. Her long hair in neat curls loose around her face.

“Mother,” he murmured with a peck to the cheek. “Beautiful as always.”

Her own socialite personality firmly in place, “Malcolm, if you would be this charming, I would have a daughter in law.”

Malcolm shook his head, “you and I both know that me getting married is about as likely as humans breathing underwater.”

Jessica shook her head and sighed, “really Malcolm, must you be negative?”

“Mother, I’ve never enjoyed these things, ever. I am accompanying you, because you asked. I’d much rather be home reading.”

Jessica huffed in Malcolm’s direction, “I don’t go because I enjoy these galas, it’s expected as a Milton and a Whitly—Bright in your case.”

He made an acknowledging noise but stayed quiet. No point to antagonize her. Breathe, get through, home and turn the phone off. At least for a day. “Who’s hosting this evening?”

Jessica paused, then said, “Grahams. I know that we’ve had … problems in the past, but please try…”

“Not to be me?” Malcolm snarked, “of course, I’ll go hide in the corner, after all, can’t start trouble there.”

“Or God forbid you try and enjoy yourself. After all, I’m sure it’s been awhile since you’ve had a proper scene, find a nice sub to Dom. Or a drink?” Jessica’s frustration with Malcolm was palpable in the car. Sometimes I miss how easy things used to be, how you actually felt and acted like a Mom.

Malcolm raised an eyebrow and shrugged, “I did suggest Ains. Unless you brought me because there’s something I can get you that Ains can’t?”

“Malcolm!”

“Mother.”

“Don’t, do not take that tone with me.”

A muscle in Malcolm’s jaw jumped, “you don’t bring me to these things, after all I’m the embarrassment of the family. Why on Earth would you think this is the one to bring your fucked up son to? Especially when this is the family that allowed their oldest boys to beat the absolute shit out of me after …” Malcolm trailed off, “unless they’ve asked and what they offered in return is worth more than I ever will be?”

The silence was all the answer Malcolm needed. “Adolfo, please stop the car.”

“Malcolm, please,” she reached out to touch him, “Meredith’s worried about her daughter, says that—”

He cut her off, “obviously my degree’s only useful when it benefits you. Just know, I’m leaving as soon as I handle this.”

The silence that descended in the car was long and uncomfortable. Malcolm crossed his arms and legs, ignoring Jessica for the remainder of their ride. Remember, you’re the fucked up child, only wanted when it’s at her benefit. Dad didn’t—NO, not going there. Malcolm closed his eyes, gritted his teeth.

Just as Adolfo pulled up, Jessica turned towards him, “Liv has withdrawn from her family, they think it may have to do with her dynamic. I thought—I know that yours took some time to settle, but—” Jessica trailed off.

Malcolm refused to say anything, God knew what would come out if he did. Why couldn’t I have a different family? Something that didn’t fuck me over? He gave a stiff nod to at least acknowledge her words. The car door opened and Malcolm unfolded from the car, as much as he wished to leave Jessica at the car, the manners he’d been taught reared their head. He offered his arm and she laid her arm in the crook of his elbow. Breathe Bright, bury the rage, make it through this and leave.

Almost as soon as they were through the door, Meredith Graham was there, Malcolm let mother’s arm fall from his as she gave the standard European peck and calmly waited until their attention turn towards him. “Mrs. Graham,” he nodded.

“Malcolm! So wonderful to see you, it’s been—”

“20 years, I was told you had concerns about Liv? If I may?” Meredith was completely taken aback, but gestured over towards the balcony, “thank you. I’ll leave you to catch up.”

Malcolm slipped through the guests, eyes focused on the open French doors. What to say, what to say. Ah, the joys of high society and dynamics. Malcolm thanked any deity that he could think of that his mother was still ignorant of his true dynamic. It’ll stay that way, even if it kills me. Once he was through the doors, it wasn’t hard to locate Liv, even if it had been two decades since they’d last seen each other.

Ice blonde hair pinned up in a simple updo, an elegant off the shoulder gown in a soft grey. Malcolm took her in, her posture, head angle, hands. Liv was giving off a lot of stress tells but Malcolm needed more details, with a soft cough, Liv looked over.

Confusion clear on her face, as though trying to place him, “can I help you?”

A soft smile curled the corner of Malcolm’s lips, “well, technically, I was seeing if I could help you.”

A deep exhausted sigh slipped out, “let me guess, my Mother? I’m fine. No need for concern.” She focused in on Malcolm’s eyes, “I know you. Those eyes…. Malcolm?”

A depreciating smile and a soft shrug, “going by Bright now. Easier to get through life. But no, you’re not wrong. She’s concerned,” Malcolm cocked his head, “though why she thinks it’s your dynamic, I’m not sure.”

“I haven’t told her, they’re waiting to know for sure but I’ve known for awhile.”

Malcolm kept his face carefully blank, of course, well, this’ll be fun. “How long’s awhile?”

Liv wrung her hands, she kept glancing around to make sure that no one was in their corner, “About three years. I, the paperwork has to be in soon and I—I have no idea what to do. I don’t want my dynamic, at all.” Her shoulders sagged in, as though the weight was crushing her, “if I put my real dynamic down, they,” she gestured vaguely with a tilt of her head, “will somehow find a way to use that and make connections.” She snorted, “God this sounds like some ridiculous Jane Austen novel.”

Malcolm glanced around, taking more time to study to ensure that no one would overhear, “do what you need to do. Just remember, it needs to be believable, something that you’ll be able to keep under wraps.” As she opened her mouth to speak, Malcolm raised his hand, “let’s simply say, I understand. Do some research on Switches – they’re easiest to hide as but if you think you can pull it off, dynamicless would be best.” He slipped a hand in his jacket and pulled out a card, “this is my number. Call or text if you want clarification. You’re not the first and you won’t be the last.”

With that, Malcolm stood, nodded at Liv, and started to make his escape. But before he could, his mother appeared from nowhere. “Is she okay?” Fingers clutched the tumbler, “is—”

Malcolm rolled his eyes. “We talked. She’s fine. Now, what on earth did you get for dragging me to this?” Was it worth it?

Jessica opened her mouth but before she could answer, Liv came in through the open doors, stood on tiptoe and kiss Malcolm’s cheek and whispered, “thank you.”

“Before you get ideas, Mother, that was a thank you. Now, what was it that the Grahams promised?” He watched her flounder for a minute, “never mind, it doesn’t matter. Goodbye.” Malcolm ducked out from Jessica’s hand as she went to put it on his shoulder. As he fished his phone out of his pocket, Malcolm was once again waylaid, this time by Gabriel Graham, the eldest son. Fuck, c’mon. Just want to go home.

“Hope you’re enjoy the party, Mr…” he trailed off, blue eyes raked over Malcolm’s body and he felt sick.

“Bright, I was actually just leaving.” He tried to slip around Gabriel, but a heavy hand dropped onto his shoulder, stopping his movement.

“But it’s just started, surely this would be better than a boring night?”

“Mr. Graham, while I appreciate the sentiment, I really would like to be on my way.” Malcolm tried to step away again, but the other kept pace. “I was here as a favor to attend to something, which I’ve done. Now, I’m not going to overstay my welcome. Have a good night.”

Blue eyes narrowed, “I’m sure the invitation wasn’t just to come and attend to whatever it may be and leave. We’re not rude.”

Malcolm schooled his features, only when it comes to an individual having a serial killer for a father. Want to move back to D. C. much harder for Mother to use me. “I’m sure, but I’m leaving all the same. Thank you.”

Before the man could speak again, someone came to speak with Gabriel, which allowed Malcolm to finish making his escape. As soon as the cool night air hit him, some of the tension leaked from his body. This is why I’m a social hermit, hate people. Malcolm walked quickly, putting as much distance between the party and himself as possible. As he called for an Uber, a chill went up his spine. Slowly, so as not to make it obvious, Malcolm glanced around. For all that the FBI was bull shit, they did at least teach awareness. Not that I’m not already. Two minutes and his ride would be here.

While he was waiting, Malcolm’s phone went off. He glanced at the top of the screen, text from mother. Wonderful. He swiped it off the screen. Deal with that when I don’t want to yell. The sound of a car coming to a stop beside him made Malcolm look up; Uber was there and home was the next step. The window rolled down, a long dark haired male leaned over; “here to pick up a Malcolm?”

With a grateful nod, Malcolm opened the car door. “Great timing, much appreciated.” As he buckled in, Malcolm rattled off his address and loosened his tie. A soft grunt and the car fell silent. 20 minutes, shower, pills, and an attempt at sleep. At least the man doesn’t feel the need to talk, don’t know that I’d be able to.

Sightlessly Malcolm watched the city roll by, he let his mind break from having any sort of deep thought, anything substantial. Finally the car rolled to a stop and Malcolm felt lighter, “Thank you,” he said sincerely, “this is for you.” He pushed the cash tip into the man’s hand and was out before anything could be said.

 

DeLorenzo watched to make sure the Whitly boy made it inside. He looked exhausted when he’d picked the kid up and distracted the whole way back to his apartment. Not your concern, just needed to clone the phone. One thing finished, just a couple more before the next visit.

 

**

For all that Martin had free time, except when his psychiatrist decided to try and shrink him, it did occasionally get redundant. As it was, he was currently sitting at his desk, with said person asking the usual questions. Martin turned it out. After all, he mused, my answers won't change.

Instead he let himself drift, thinking of Mal, of how soft the boy's hair would be as he ran his fingers through. Martin's eyes fluttered shut, fantasy taking form behind his eyelids. A fire burned, keeping a nude Malcolm warm and bathed the room if the soft glow. The soft pops from the logs and classical music added to the atmosphere of the room. Malcolm's arms were bound behind his back in an intricate tie with black rope that contrasted beautifully with his pale skin.

His boy's hair was damp, Martin having just bathed and shaved Malcolm. He knelt on a cushion, head laid against the inside of Martin's thigh, eyes closed. For once, his face serene as he listened and obeyed his Dom. A calm that Martin hadn't experienced in so long settled his heart. This is so good, Mal right where he belongs, only with me.

"My boy, you're so good for Daddy." Even though Malcolm didn't respond, the former doctor watched in pleasure as Mal's shoulders and body relaxed further. A soft sigh escaped Malcolm's lips as he nuzzled into Martin's thigh, trying to get closer. "You hid for so long, but not to worry, I'm here to take care of you."

Malcolm whined softly, Martin had gotten him deep into Subspace, enough so that the younger man's brain was rendered incapable of forming words. He gently directed his boy with tugs of his hair to arch his neck and expose his throat. The supple grey leather with a silver banded collar around Malcolm's neck had been what truly push his boy over the edge. Martin's heart swelled as Malcolm's eyes dilated when the cool buckle rested on warm skin.

"You fought so hard, but now nothing's going to bother you, m'boy, you're finally back where you belong." As they sat in silence, Martin traced the bones in Malcolm's face, much as he'd done when Malcolm was a newborn. His fingers trailed down Malcolm's slim throat before gently hooking a finger under the collar, partially to double check for Malcolm’s safety but mostly to draw him closer.

As their lips began to touch --

 

"Dr. Whitly,” and the whole fantasy crashed, “where were you just now?” The high pitched nasally voice pressed. The psychiatrist leaned forward, his pen poised over the notebook he carried. Obviously this wasn’t the first attempt at gaining Martin’s attention, but times with the lovely psychiatrist always bored him.

Martin scoffed before he could help himself, not that he really tried. “A place much more pleasant than this room and your questions.”

“What were you thinking about?”

A smirk curled his lips, “what answer would you like to hear?” He cocked his head, “that I was reliving my murders, that I was planning new ones, that I was going through a scene where I was finally able to Dom the most important person?”

The hand holding the pen tightened slightly. “Why not the truth?”

Martin grinned, “we both know you don’t actually want that. After all, it’s so boring! Why not tell me what you think I was doing?”

“Dr. Whitly, we’re here to try and understand--”

Martin cut the man off with an eye roll. “We both know you’re not here looking for a way to rehabilitate me or whatever humanitarian bull you tell yourself. After all, getting a high profile serial killer to cooperate and then release a book…’ Martin trailed off. “But if you must, ask away. I’ll find other ways to distract myself.”

The doctor huffed, stood and stormed for the cell. Martin’s grin following the man. Then Mr. David walked in.

“Good morning! Can I get the TV now? I’d like to see if my daughter’s on her next case.”

While he did like to keep up to date on murders, mostly it was the ability to see his daughter, to know that she was succeeding in life. Malcolm’s another aspect, half of my soul. My submissive boy, my match.

"Just breaking," Ainsley's voice filled his cell. After he'd stumbled across her a couple of years ago, Martin made sure to rush the psychiatrist out to spend one sided time with his daughter. "Four bodies were discovered in this Brooklyn Heights home. Sources say that they are all members of the same family."

Unable to help himself, Martin wriggled in his chair, Detective Arroyo's going to call Mal…. Maybe it's time for phone privilege.

"Might I have the phone please? There's a call I need to make." Martin waited impatiently, DeLorenzo had gotten Malcolm’s phone number and with some slight charm and bull shit, he’d be able to call his son. Anticipation grew as David wheeled the phone in. “Would you be so kind as to phone Malcolm, please?”

He forced his body to stay still even though Martin was anxious, who knew if Mal would answer his phone for an unknown number. Two rings was all it took, “hello?”

Martin grinned, “Malcolm, m’boy, it’s Dad.”

There was a brief pause, “what? How the hell do you have a phone?!”

A smile curled his lips, “oh, I don’t, I have ‘phone time’. A critical distinction. My calls had been exclusively reserved for my medical consultations, but I was able to pull a few strings to help the NYPD and their newest profiler.” Martin paused, “so I heard about this quadruple homicide. That’s quite the story.”

“How do you even know I’m here?” Malcolm’s stunned words make him smile, I didn’t my beautiful sub, but … he let that thought trail off, since Malcolm was young, there’d always been a deep need to know where he was.

“Oh my! You’re actually on scene? That’s great, go-- go stand behind your sister! I bet I’ll be able to spot you!” Oh, to see both of you together….

“No.”

“No, no, you’re busy, of course, I get it,” the words burned, after not seeing him for 10 years, the short visits woke an addiction, one that Malcolm wasn’t aware of. “Tell me about the bodies, every killer leaves their own unique signature. I want to hear all the details,” he sighed, “I really want to be able to see it in my head.”

“I don’t need your help.” Come see me Mal, I’m rusty with your voice alone, I need to see you, learn the new tells, just hear your voice.

“Oh, don’t be such a killjoy, I have so much to offer. We’re both obsessed with murder, like Father, like son.”

There was a shaky exhale, then suddenly the call ended. Martin itched to have David call Mal again, but he’d wait, give his boy a little more time at the scene before trying again. He kept the news playing, watching Ainsley. That sigh, Mal, have you Dropped, are you still working to hold it all together? My strong determined boy can’t keep this up forever. While he listened to the updates, Martin perused through files that he’d gotten for consults. He made notes in the margins, things that he’d have the admins forward onto the patients and their primaries.

Martin kept himself for calling for about 45 minutes, “David, please dial my son.”

“This is Bright, leave a message,” Martin sighed, of course he’s going to try and avoid my calls.

“Hello Malcolm, it’s your Dad. I heard more about the case, ooh, gruesome stuff.” He shifted around in his chair, “anyways, if you want to bounce some ideas around, give me a call.”

Time passed and frustration built with each voicemail. Don’t do this Mal, don’t do this to me.

“You sounded tired on the phone. You know, maybe I can help with that. I don’t know, help with anything. I just want to help, damn it!” The deep well of calm that Martin had, something that was unusual for most Doms, at his raised voice, David stood, “well, hopefully we can speak tomorrow. Goodbye, my boy.”

For all his irritation with Malcolm dodging his calls, Martin felt that something was wrong, something that involved Malcolm. He was a man of science, but Martin had known since Malcolm was young that his instincts in regard to his son were always spot on. Phone time’s over, but I’ll find something out. From the PI or Malcolm, himself.

 

 

“Stand up, Dr. Whitly, you’ve got a visitor.” Mal, please, I need to see you.

Once the door buzzed, Martin smiled, more teeth than necessary for a smile, but oh, Mal was close again. More time to cement the boy’s dynamic one way or the other. “Malcolm, you got my messages! Come, let’s solve a murder.” Martin tried to soften his smile, but something in the way Malcolm held himself was off.

“There’s only one thing I want from you and that’s the truth.” Martin watched his son’s hand and as he did, he noticed a bandage wrap around his wrist. Before he could ask, Malcolm’s words were tumbling out, “the girl in the box.”

Martin started to swear mentally, damnit, of all the things…. “Malcolm, she wasn’t real. But what’s on your wrist? You didn’t answer my calls.”

Malcolm completely ignored him, “after I found her, did you drug me to keep me from calling the police?"

“My boy, when was the last time you slept through the night?” Deescalate the situation, get him calm. He can’t drop here, not while I’m tethered and he’s too far away.

“You used chloroform, didn’t you? On a 10-year-old.”

“Malcolm Raziel, sit down.” Dominance rolled off Martin and enjoyment settled in the pit of his stomach as Malcolm’s mouth snapped closed and body moved without thought to the chair. “Good boy,” he murmured softly, “now take a breath for me.”

 

Malcolm felt tears well in his eyes, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck. He knows, no doubt now. He knows. Suddenly Malcolm jumped from the chair, the walls closing in and there wasn’t enough air. Out, need out, now. His knees gave out, and Malcolm jarred to the ground. Shut it down, pull back. Can’t get out. He can’t know.

“My boy, I need you to breathe, it’s okay. You’re tired, something happened, you’re hurt. Minds do strange things when the body’s been injured. Breathe, that’s it m’boy. Just breathe.”

Malcolm wanted to yell, to tell his f—Dr. Whitly that no, it’s not in my head, it happened! You drugged me, but all he could do was force himself to relax. Mother can’t know, Gil doesn’t need to know I’m shattering. Malcolm shut everything out and simply focused on his breathing. In, one, two, three, four. Out, one, two, three, four. There’s air, I’m s—I can breathe. In, one, two, three, four. Out, one, two, three, four. As he forced his breathing under control, Malcolm ruthlessly shoved the urge to Drop back into a box and locked it away.

As though breaking through water, he heard Dr. Whitly encouraging him to keep breathing. Malcolm made his legs work, forcing the muscles to get to his feet. Slowly unclenching his fists, he glanced at Dr. Whitly, there was a soft smile, almost proud. “The girl in the box,” and the smile was gone.

“They make it look so easy in the movies, but it’s tricky stuff, you know. The wrong dose can easily kill you. Which is a long way of saying, no of course I didn’t drug you. Now, back to the matter at hand,” the older man gazed pointedly at Malcolm’s wrist, “what happened?”

“Nothing, they’re wrong, and you’re lying. Goodbye Dr. Whitly.”

Martin wanted to scream in frustration, “you’re uh, after a family annihilator?” Anything to keep you here longer Mal, I’m moving my plans up, you need me.

“What?” Malcolm’s voice was sharp.

“Your suspect, this Liam character on the cover of The Daily News. Isn’t this your profile?” I know it’s yours, Mal, so smart.

“My profile is constantly evolving.” Malcolm’s tone was cold, reminiscent of Jessica’s.

“Got it, and your method is a mix of psychology and on the fly improvisation. I love it.” Martin edged closer. "I’ve always been fascinated with familicide. To love one’s family so much. Perverted,” Martin looked his fill of his boy, “yes. Narcissistic? Sure, but most definitely love.”

Malcolm reared back, “love? You didn’t kill us?”

Martin forced his face to remain blank, I could never hurt you or Ainsley, Mal. Never. “Well, I’m not an annihilator. Love didn’t drive me to kill anyone. It drove me to have you.” Not quite, but you and Ainsley will always be safe with me. Martin was abruptly pulled out of his musings.

“I’m leaving and you’re wrong.” Martin felt his heart skip a beat, you can’t leave Malcolm, I need you. You need someone who can get you to peak submission, no one out there can, not like me.

While he was lost in thoughts, Malcolm had apparently had a revelation. Martin’s heart filled, oh, my boy, watching you work, seeing your mind put the puzzle together. Malcolm looked so calm, relaxed as he went over the profile, figuring out what he’d missed. Then he was gone, left Martin alone with his thoughts.

 

 

Malcolm sighed; they’d saved one family, but it weighed heavily. May have been a mass murderer, but still, his children. They’ll face something similar. For all that he pretended to be, Malcolm had known his weakness were the children of murderers. For all that they’d been saved, they wouldn’t be spared the cruelty of those who would lump them in with their father. As his phone vibrated, Malcolm was pulled out of his thoughts. On his phone screen, there was a notification for a text from an unknown number. Probably Liv.

Malcolm debated reading and responding immediately, after all the day’s events, exhaustion was beginning to take its toll. Snake bites and sedatives do that. Fuck will people read charts? With a sigh, Malcolm unlocked his phone. The memories of this point in his life flooded his mind and he couldn’t leave her in the lurch until the next day.

Malcolm, I’m so sorry that I didn’t recognize you. I got your number from Liv, hope that’s ok? I wanted to apologize for what happened when we were younger. What we did was wrong and there’s no excuse for our behavior. This is Gabriel.

He stared at the screen in utter disbelief. What the fuck? Before he could respond another message came in.

I was also serious about what I said the other evening, that you weren’t overstaying your welcome. Would you like to meet for supper, and we could talk?

Malcolm’s brain stalled out. ?????????? He locked his phone and shoved it in his pocket. Just as he was about to leave, Gil laid a soft hand on the nape of Malcolm’s neck. God bless Gil Arroyo, Malcolm thought, that hand stopped the wheels spinning and pulled him back to present. A glass of whiskey was put in his hand and drained without thought, the good stuff.

Much of their conversation and getting home was a blur. Antihistamine and alcohol weren’t a good mix, ever. Getting home with Dani’s help was slightly embarrassing but at the same time, Malcolm didn’t really care. Nice to be numb sometimes. He didn’t have messages on his phone demanding an answer, no serial killer Father playing games, no socialite mother attempting to use him. Then he was out.

 

**

Malcolm woke to his phone ringing and he swore, why? Can’t I be left alone for a bit? Slowly he removed his restraints and padded over to the phone. Two missed calls from Mother, a message from Ains, and two more texts. He unlocked the phone and opened the two texts.

I completely understand if you would rather not meet up.

What I did was cruel. But I would like to get to know you again. So, supper?

 

**

Martin was impatient, DeLorenzo hadn’t been back but the man would have a valid reason, but not knowing what Malcolm was doing and how tortured the Dom and Father inside. The anxiety attack, too far away but that won’t matter soon. I’ll lure him closer, save him before he Drops and can no longer hide. They’d take him off the team, that thought pulled a snarl to his lips, Mal is their best asset, removing him would be a mistake.

“Dr. Whitly, stand up and face the wall, your lawyer’s here to see you.”

Excitement zinged through him, finally, more information on Mal.

As soon as Mr. David was out of the room and the door closed, he spun to stare at DeLorenzo. The briefcase in the man’s hand got Martin’s hopes up. Maybe medical? I need to know. He raised an eyebrow, silently urging the other to speak.

With a sigh, the other man set the briefcase down and opened it. A decently sized file was pulled out. “Medical,” he grunted, “for Bright, Malcolm. Up to date as of last night. Still working for Whitly portion.” He handed that over, then dug in for another file. “Cloned phone, these messages, calls, and voicemails are up to date as of 10 minutes ago.” There was a slight pause, “haven’t gotten feed yet due to Bright being home. Do have these,” DeLorenzo picked up an envelope and handed it over as well. “When I get the other two done, I’ll be back in touch.”

Barely aware of the other leaving, Martin dug into the medical file, starting with the most recent date. He skimmed the incident summary and took stock of treatment. Rage boiled low in his stomach, a snake, venomous. Malcolm, what the hell happened? I knew there was something wrong that day. I knew you wouldn’t ignore me. Before he could get too angry and lose focus, Martin moved the file, instead he pulled out the phone information and started to look through that.

Most calls were short, and the main ones were Ainsley, that police detective, and Jessica. It was the texts where things got interesting. As Martin read through the ones from a Liv, he was amazed at his boy, helping someone else avoid the fall out of her dynamic. Reading through the messages between his son and daughter… It felt like being with his children, working and listening in as they talked to each other. Oh, to have seen them both grow… A few messages from Gil – the police officer, not his Father, I am. You don’t need to take care of him, I will. Irritation at this usurper had built over the years, Mal’s mine, no one else will ever have you m’boy.

The last woke a primal rage, something that never happened with either his victims or with Jessica at any point in their marriage. How dare that boy that had attacked and hurt Mal think that he could ever… He’s mine! Does no one understand?!

Before he could get too far down that rabbit hole, he shoved his headphones on and tried to get lost in the rhythms, when he glanced down, there was a handwritten response with time noted.

When were you thinking?

Once more, rage boiled over, Mal, don’t you dare. He’s after you for one thing. Only what I should have the privilege of taking care of. Martin could still remember seeing Mal a few days after Gabriel had beaten up Malcolm, the scar just under Malcolm’s nose was a lasting reminder. When I get out, I’ll take care of this one. Martin grabbed the files and slipped them in the false bottom of a drawer to ensure that no one would find the information or pictures.

 

Shortly after, Martin felt the hair on the back of his neck rise, there were eyes on him. Left from the time growing up with a Father like his… As well as to keep himself aware while removing bodies from his possession so as not to get caught. He glanced behind his shoulder, Mal!

“How long have you been here?” Hands are uncuffed, could touch him…

“The girl in the box—”

Martin cut him off. “No. Not this. Tell me about the snake bite that you got on the case? Why aren’t you resting?”

Malcolm stopped and blinked. Martin felt a thrill at knocking Mal off his stride. “W--what do you know about that?” As though shaking himself, “not the point, Dr. Whitly,” Malcolm said, he tried to get the conversation back on track.

“Malcolm,” Martin’s tone was put upon, “I’m your father, everything—”

Malcolm tried to cut his fath—Dr. Whitly off. “This has nothing to do with the case. The girl in the box – she was real. You have—”

“Malcolm Raziel Whitly, sit down.” All parts of Martin Whitly came together, every instinct demanded that Mal sit, just long enough to ensure that his Sub wasn’t in danger. He watched as Malcolm’s knees buckled, as his boy tried so hard to fight. Soon, my darling boy, soon. “I said, sit.” Martin took in Mal’s body language and then stared into those beautiful blue-grey eyes. Pupils dilated, hands trembled, spine stiff, and a subtle swallow. He watched the jerky movements as Malcolm sat.

“Now, tell me, what happened.” Though phrased as a question, Malcolm knew it wasn’t but stubbornly bit down on his lip refusing to let Dr. Whitly know anything.

“Mal, tell me what happened, now.” The dominance in his tone of voice, stance firm. “I won’t ask again.”

Without his permission, Malcolm started to talk. He tried to force himself to be quiet, but he couldn’t stop his words. He couldn’t, but he refused to look at Martin. Refused to see what effect his words on the older man. As soon as the story was out, Malcolm kept his head down, stood, and left. Not heeding his name called after him. No doubt now, he knows. I—Coming back … It’s… Malcolm’s thoughts were a jumble. He knows, he knows, but he can’t find out that secret. The desire to scream started to build, but he couldn’t, wouldn’t allow it.

An urge that Malcolm hadn’t felt in years burned, but he wasn’t, wouldn’t allow it. Drop when I make it home. No one there, just me. Phone will be off. You made me submit, Father, something I haven’t done in years. Why, why can’t you let me be angry?