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"Harder…” Martin gasped.

 

Martin’s moan went straight to Douglas’ cock, already protruding straight and proud between his legs where he stood, looking down on Martin lying on their bed. He raised the riding crop again, bringing it down across the breadth of Martin’s shoulders with another audible crack

 

Martin threw his head back, away from the pillows, and groaned. Douglas could see the tendons in his sub’s neck standing out as plain as steel supports on a bridge, could see the tortured bliss in Martin’s face as the delicious pain from Douglas’ stroke ripped through him.

 

On impulse, Douglas reached a hand to Martin’s throat, squeezing lightly. “Count, I said,” he ordered in a growl. “Or we put the crop away and use the tawse.” He saw the shudder run through Martin from head to foot, saw him having to work the words for the correct number experimentally round his mouth. Martin was lost in subspace, Douglas could tell, and the knowledge sent a giddy surge flying through him. 

 

“T-twenty-two,” Martin choked. Douglas paused for a moment, giving Martin a chance to recover himself. He traced the leather tongue at the end of the crop ticklishly over the red lines striating Martin’s upper back, his arse and thighs, zig-zagging over the the inflamed skin where he’d taken such pleasure in leaving the regular marks throughout the evening.

 

“Good boy,” Douglas murmured, and ran his free hand through Martin’s curls where he lay supine. Martin shivered, and Douglas fisted his hand abruptly, pulling on the strands of auburn silk between his fingers, causing Martin to take a sudden breath. His eyes flew open and Douglas and he locked gazes. “Three more,” Douglas commanded, waiting for Martin to consent.

 

“Green,” Martin whimpered, and Douglas saw him wriggle his hips into the bed, clearly trying to stimulate his cock.

 

“Don’t. You. Dare,” Douglas snapped, punctuating each word with one of the promised strokes of the crop - one across Martin’s shoulders, one on his buttocks and the last on his thighs. He ignored the fact that Martin was too far gone to number the hits individually.

 

“Oh, oh…” Martin had screwed his face up and Douglas could see tear tracks down his cheeks, glistening in the dim light of the bedroom. “Master,” Martin moaned. “Sir, please… Twenty-five… please…”

 

Douglas set the crop down, slowly, deliberately. He dispensed a handful of lotion from the bottle he’d put ready, listening detachedly to Martin’s whimpers and little cries as he did so. The captain sounded utterly broken, but Douglas knew that if he ordered him to turn over, he’d find Martin’s shaft painfully hard in response to the beating.

 

“Silence,” Douglas said, and Martin’s mewling cut off immediately. Douglas climbed onto the bed and straddled Martin’s hips, deliberately pressing into the reddened skin of Martin’s thighs to test his ability to keep quiet. Martin drew in a hissing breath at the sting of it, but kept otherwise silent, to Douglas’ dark delight. 

 

“Good boy,” he purred, drawing out the second word as he smoothed the dollop of lotion into Martin’s back. “You took it well…” He pinched at the muscle a little, making Martin tense up, then returned to soothing the angry welts. He massaged down Martin’s body as quickly as he responsibly could, his own arousal urgent and demanding. Pressing his cock into the cleft of Martin’s arse as he worked, he rubbed himself off slowly, using Martin’s body like a toy for his pleasure.

 

At last he was satisfied that he’d cared for the superficial damage he’d inflicted - by Martin’s invitation, of course; before entering into this relationship Douglas had never imagined enjoying such a thing - and yet, once Martin had tremulously requested this dimension to their coupling the year before, Douglas had found that domination fitted his personality like a glove. The sight of Martin submitting to him was one of the loveliest things he’d ever witnessed, and the feel of the slender body trembling with lust beneath his own always drove him to heights of passion he’d never previously reached in all his 56 years of existence.

 

“Turn over.” Douglas lifted himself just slightly to make it possible for Martin to roll at all, but the sub still had to work for it; Douglas’ weight nearly had him completely pinioned. In rolling, Martin had to rub his bruised arse on Douglas’ inner thigh before settling back onto the bed, and he winced and sobbed something that sounded very like Douglas’ name. Douglas immediately pinched a rosy nipple. “I told you to be quiet.”

 

Martin’s mouth opened in a soundless shout at the shock of pain, then he closed his eyes and nodded. Douglas could see Martin’s cock, shining with the coating of pre-come Martin had already leaked from the tip, but he ignored it for now, leaning forwards whilst keeping their bodies just apart.

 

“Kiss me,” he ordered, and with a shuddering sigh Martin leant to obey, closing the gap between them. His kiss was adoring, sweet, perfectly submissive, and Douglas licked possessively into his mouth - though still careful not to stimulate either of their cocks.

 

He drew back slightly, just enough to speak, hot breath washing over Martin’s upturned face. “You took the crop so well,” he said. “Speak.”

 

“Thank you, Sir.” Martin’s eyes flickered open, but the focused concentration that was in them when he was at work was absent. He looked lost, but happily so, as if he was floating - detached from the world and its problems. 

 

Something sadistic and delicious roared in Douglas at the sight. He gripped Martin’s chin and bit lightly at his lip, just enough to sting a little. Martin gasped. “Get us off,” Douglas ordered. “Go on.”

 

Martin looked confused for a moment, then worked out what Douglas wanted. With a grunt, he lifted his hips off the bed and rocked upwards into Douglas. His face contorted as he realised that with every thrust he had to re-ignite the pain in his crimsoned behind by bumping the bed - but if he wanted his release, he had no choice.

 

It took all of Douglas’ self-control not to just give in and grind Martin into the mattress until they were both coming all over each other. But the sight of Martin’s expression as he gradually, painfully bucked to stimulate the pair of them to climax was enough to steel his resolve. Martin looked as if he was caught between the most devastating agony and perfect ecstasy, his forehead screwed up and new tears rolling down his freckled cheeks. He panted harshly as he thrusted, and the feel of their furiously hard erections slipping and sliding together was stoking a fire of pleasure in Douglas’ belly that any moment would rage out of control.

 

Martin cried out in frustration as he completed another nudge upwards, their positions clearly preventing him from attaining the pace that he’d prefer, and Douglas growled. “Work harder, Martin… can’t you feel it? How hard you’ve made me? Don’t make me expend any more effort than I already have in pleasing you, or I shall be most… malcontent…”

 

Beneath him, Martin quivered and moaned, canting his hips with renewed purpose. Shocking delight shot through Douglas at the sensation. “That’s it,” he groaned, feeling sparks zipping through all his limbs. “You’d better be close, Martin, because you’re going to make me come - I’ll come all over you, and then this evening’s over, whether you’ve come or not - God, yes, just there -” Martin had wriggled his pelvis just slightly, and the motion had obviously done something marvellous for them both, judging by the sub’s whine of longing. “You’re so beautiful, my good boy, working for it so well…” Douglas lowered himself just a fraction, desperate for the final stimulation that would send him over the edge. “Come on - come on, then -”

 

With a scream, Martin rocked up into him a last time and came, hot spurts splashing between them. The feel of his sub’s cock twitching against Douglas’ own was enough to trip him into coming too, and he joined Martin with a roar, blank whiteness filling his brain as he dug his fingers cruelly hard into Martin’s biceps. “Yes, yes -” he shouted, and his whole body shook before at last he collapsed downwards onto the limp body beneath him with a shuddering exhale.

 

Oof,” Martin’s breath was driven out of him and Douglas retained just enough awareness to roll off him to let him breathe, looseness clumsy through his limbs. 

 

It took a good minute before he could speak, but he urged himself unco-ordinatedly into motion, reaching for a blanket to cover Martin up, not wanting him to be cold. Martin turned his face sideways to Douglas’ with a dopey smile as Douglas drew the duvet over him, relaxation evident in his contented posture - but halfway up Martin’s body, Douglas suddenly froze. The transition between feeling like he had liquid gold running molten through his veins to feeling as though his blood was made of solid ice took a mere second, and he stared, horrorstruck, at Martin’s upper arms.

 

“What - what is it?” Martin had instantly registered the change in Douglas’ face. When Douglas didn’t respond, he struggled up onto one elbow. “Douglas, what?”

 

Douglas shook himself. He felt the horrible sensation of having missed a step on the stairs, as if his stomach had fallen straight from the first floor to the basement. “You’re bleeding.”

 

“I am?” Martin craned his neck to look. Eight crescent-shaped fingernail marks stood out on Martin’s arms, each outlined startlingly crimson. A very slight scarlet trickle had escaped one of the tiny incisions, and Martin poked at it. “It’s nothing.”

 

But something about the stark redness of it - Douglas’ brain was screaming at him. He hadn’t planned this injury. Hadn’t intended to grip Martin so hard as he came. “I’ve hurt you.” His voice shook.

 

“No!” Martin wriggled closer. “I’m fine! They’re only tiny - I hadn’t even noticed - Douglas -”

 

Douglas still felt rooted to the spot. “I hurt you,” he said, again. He was unable to process what he’d done, and when Martin threw his arms round him, he barely felt the warm pressure; when Martin peppered his chest with kisses, all he could do was look sideways at the marks he’d made, marring Martin’s perfect skin.

 

“Douglas? Douglas?” From the volume of Martin’s speech, it wasn’t the first time he’d said the FO’s name.

 

“Y-yes?” Douglas forced himself to meet Martin’s eyes, which were now frantic with worry, entirely present in a way they hadn’t been just ten minutes before.

 

“You’re shivering.” Martin pulled at the blanket so it covered them both securely, pressing his whole body against Douglas’. “Here - shh, shh…”

 

Something inside Douglas snapped, and before he could stop it, he let out a broken sob. Martin’s arms were back around him in an instant, rubbing circles into his back, and to his shame Douglas was soon crying like a child, great, wracking weeping shaking his entire frame. “Martin,” he moaned. “Martin, Martin…”

 

“Shh, I’m here - I’m here…” Douglas wasn’t even sure what Martin was whispering, but the tenor of the words was soft and soothing, breathed into his ear as he leant into Martin’s warmth and felt the emotion flow out of him like poison leaching away downriver.

 

At long last, he sobbed himself into silence, Martin’s chest still pressed comfortingly to his. He felt Martin brush a kiss to his forehead. “OK?” the captain asked, quietly.

 

Douglas nodded mutely. He felt oddly empty, as hollow as if his insides had been transported out of him, leaving just a sonorous shell. “Sorry.”

 

“Hey.” Martin’s hand smoothed his hair, his leg reaching to hook round Douglas’ calves under the coverlet. “You don’t ever need to apologise for dropping.”

 

“Dropping?” Douglas was bewildered. 

 

“Tops can drop too.” Martin kissed his cheek again, Douglas drawing warmth from the action like snow soaking up the sun.

 

“Really? I’ve never - I’ve never -” A single shiver rippled through him again, and Martin held him tighter.

 

“I know.” Martin rubbed his cheek softly over Douglas’. “But it’s OK that you have.” He gently lifted a lock of Douglas’ hair away from his eyes. “Let me look after you.”

 

Douglas nodded, keeping silent, feeling his shame soften into something less spiky, less needling.

 

“Do you need anything?”

 

Douglas considered, but the answer was obvious. “Just you,” he said, and leant to kiss each of the damn finger-imprints he hadn’t intended to leave on Martin’s arm. “Just you. Like this.”

 

“Always,” Martin whispered, and Douglas relaxed into the love of his life’s warm embrace.