Code of Trust

Disclaimer: I don't own anything from the movie Triple 9 and I'm not making any money from this fic

Summary: Follows Code of Redemption. Things aren't running smoothly. It's hard to trust someone when you planned to kill them…

Warning(s): Spanking; spoilers for the whole of the movie Triple 9; AU; violence

Author's Note: The next Spankvent story. This is the first 'series' I can actually make a title link with. There will probably be more.

Also… couldn't find the name of Chris' son, so I've had to make one up.

Chris disconnected the call and sighed, thumb and forefinger rubbing the bridge of his nose. He looked across the desk at Marcus. "Another dead end."

"I told you it wouldn't go anywhere. It's not like Franco had any hesitation in deciding you had to die. Not like Gabe. Not even like me," Marcus added, his voice dropped low even though none of the other officers were listening in.

"Hmm." Chris knew Marcus had a point when he kept saying Franco wasn't going to appear for a while, but he couldn't help worrying. So far, he was the only one who knew about Marcus; and, as an extension, Gabe… although he was certain his uncle was suspicious of Marcus.

"You subpoenaed my phone records."

At those words, Chris looked at his partner. "I subpoenaed every officer's phone records. In case he got in touch with anyone."

"You think I wouldn't tell you if he tried?"

The signs were subtle, but Chris could tell Marcus was close to the edge. They all were, really. Michael was dead. He'd taken out a prominent gang leader beforehand, but there had been no altruistic reasoning behind that… he'd only acted for his own selfish reasons. Franco was chief suspect in the murder, but he'd gone off the grid after the attempt to stop and arrest the two men had failed so spectacularly. "I know there are all sorts of reasons to hide information. And if I subpoenaed everyone's records but yours, how do you think it would look?"

"You don't trust me."

"It's not a question of trust." Though if Chris was honest with himself, he had more faith Gabe wouldn't hide things than Marcus. "Franco was cleaning up. You and Gabe are both targets. But I can't tell the others that, since we can't answer those kinds of questions. It's why Gabe is in the safest place I could find for him. It's why you're stuck with me as a partner… not doing anything on your own."

"I haven't seen Gabe in a while. How do I know you haven't just taken him out of the picture for good?"

Chris leaned back in his chair. He wasn't offended by Marcus' accusation. Truth be told, he wasn't even sure why he'd chosen to take responsibility for the two men. Gabe was easy. The youngster was misguided and his heart had been in the right place when he tried to warn Chris what he was up against. It had been easy to step in as an older brother.

It was different with Marcus.

"You want to see him?" Chris asked.

Marcus watched him closely, as if seeking the lie in his words. Then, he nodded. "Yes. I want to see him."

Chris could see the confused look on Marcus' face as he led the other man to the front door of his house. He didn't voice a comment, though, as he unlocked the door and stepped into the house, motioning for Marcus to follow him in before closing the door.

"How do you know we weren't followed?" Marcus finally broke the silence.

"I might be a rookie in the police force, but I know when I'm being tailed." Chris followed the sound of voices into the living room.

Gabe had taken to staying in Chris' house like a duck to water. Even after such a short time, Chris could see the changes wrought in the younger man. No longer drinking or doing drugs, Gabe didn't look as pale… and certainly didn't seem as on edge as he had been, sitting with Chris' son, Jake, and playing a game of cards.

Michelle looked up as Chris led Marcus further into the room. "You're home early." She stood, walking over to Chris and hugging him.

"Only for a little while." Chris held Michelle, looking past her to catch Gabe's eye. "How are you doing? You okay with Jake and Marcus for a few minutes?"

"Yeah." Gabe grinned. "We're playing Snap." He looked at Marcus. "Do you want to play?"

Marcus glanced at Chris, but didn't say anything. Instead, he nodded and walked over to join Gabe and Jake.

Chris watched long enough to assure himself Jake (and Gabe) didn't need anything… and that Marcus was settling into the game… and then walked into the hallway, aware of his wife following him.

"Are you in trouble with anyone?" Michelle asked, as soon as they were out of earshot. "I know you wanted Gabe to stay here and that's fine. He gets on with Jake and I know you said you were worried about him. But you're back earlier than you should be; and with your partner, too? Are you in some kind of danger?"

"I'm not in any danger." Chris spoke with absolute certainty. "But my friends are. Marcus isn't going to be staying here, but if you'd rather I found somewhere else for Gabe to be…"

Michelle wrapped her arms around him and hugged tight. "It's fine. You know it's fine."

"Yeah." Chris hadn't hidden the danger Gabe was in, even though he hadn't told Michelle everything that had happened with Marcus. But he was certain he himself was in no danger. Yes, Franco had been part of the plot to kill him, but it hadn't been personal. If he was going to tie up any loose ends, it would be Marcus and Gabe he'd target.

Michelle kissed him, pressing close for a moment, before she headed back into the living room.

Chris rubbed a hand over his face and sighed, then followed Michelle into the room.

The rest of the day had passed uneventfully, with Marcus sitting down with Chris and his family (it was almost scary how quickly Chris was thinking of Gabe as part of his family) for a takeaway dinner and then leaving to return to his apartment, refusing Chris' offer of going back with him… just in case.

Chris and Gabe were now alone in the house, with Michelle having taken Jake to visit his uncle.

"I don't think Marcus was very happy," Gabe said, out of the blue, as they drank soda and watched the football.

Chris glanced sideways at the other man. "Why do you think that?"

"He's quiet. Not that he was loud before. But he talks a lot less now." Gabe flicked a quick look at Chris, but glanced away before he made eye contact. He stared at his can. "He probably feels bad. Still."

Chris took his time answering. He was certain Gabe wasn't just referring to Marcus, but he replied as if the other man was. "Marcus doesn't need me to help him, Gabe. We're partners. I'm not his big brother."

"But… I'm not good." Gabe's voice was quiet, but there was a note of shame in it. "I only balked after they killed my brother; after they were going to kill you." He swallowed, staring down at the can his grip had tightened on. "You should have turned me in." His voice dropped even lower, until he was whispering.

Chris had been expecting something like that. This wasn't the first time he needed to address the residual guilt; and he doubted it would be the last. He set down his own drink and then switched the television off, before moving from the armchair to sit on the sofa next to Gabe. "I could talk at you until I'm blue in the face and I doubt it will make a difference to how you feel." He paused, waiting to see if Gabe would refute his statement.

Gabe didn't respond and looked away.

Chris reached out and took the drink from Gabe's hand, putting it down. Without a word, he wrapped his arm around Gabe's shoulders, guiding the other man forward and across his knees. He adjusted Gabe's position and then lifted his hand, bringing it down with a dull thwap on the seat of Gabe's pants. Lifting his hand again, he delivered a second and third smack at the same force.

Gabe didn't react as Chris delivered slow, hard smacks down to his thighs. When he began to smack again from the top of the other man's backside, Gabe began to shift and Chris could hear a slight groan that was then cut off.

Chris completed a second circuit of smacks and then paused, resting his hand on Gabe's backside. "I don't want you talking about turning yourself in," he said seriously. "If you feel guilty about what happened, I don't want you to get any ideas about turning yourself in. You aren't a bad person. You just need someone willing to step in; to stop you falling too deep inside your own guilt and darkness." He tugged Gabe's pants down and then his underwear, revealing the other man's flushed pink backside. Tightening his grip, he brought his hand down on Gabe's bare bottom.

The smack was loud and crisp; the sound of flesh hitting flesh different to Chris' palm connecting with the seat of Gabe's pants. This time, Gabe whimpered audibly.

Chris landed a full circuit of smacks and then paused, resting his hand on Gabe's heated backside. He rubbed gently, feeling the warmth rising from it and listening to the soft sniffles that indicated this was beginning to have an impact on the other man… at least on this occasion. "I don't know the full details about why you were involved in all this. I don't know what your brother was like. But I can't imagine he'd want you to carry on feeling this guilt. He'd want you to be able to move on with your life. You're doing everything right. You've quit drinking and taking drugs. But you can't wallow like this. You did the right thing in warning me. You're a good person. I promise." He raised his hand and began another circuit of swats, this time going harder and faster. By the time he reached Gabe's thighs, the other man's entire bottom was a darker pink, bordering on red.

Gabe had been squirming and kicking his legs throughout the smacks, but at Chris' words, he let out another whimper, bordering on a cry. "I…am…not!" He sobbed the words out.

Chris sighed, knowing he couldn't force Gabe to believe. The only thing he could do was step in and punish the other man; and hope that he'd eventually be able to make peace with and forgive himself. "I invited you into my home. I wouldn't have done that… I wouldn't let you be around my wife and son… if I didn't think you were a good person." He continued swatting as he spoke, using the smacks as an emphasis for what he was saying. "You've made mistakes? Everyone makes mistakes. All you can do is make up for what you did… do good things and live by the right values. Okay? You don't need to hate yourself."

"Okay." Gabe's crying was soft, but still audible. He slumped limp over Chris' lap, not even squirming.

Letting out a quiet sigh, Chris replaced Gabe's underwear and pants and then helped him up off his lap, wrapping his arms around the other man and hugging him tight. "I'm not mad at you. I already forgave you for what happened. You saved my life. I'm not ever going to forget it."

Gabe nodded, slumping against Chris and putting his head on his shoulder. "Sorry," he mumbled. "I know you don't think I should be… but I am."

"I know." Chris tightened his embrace a moment and then frowned as his phone began vibrating in his pocket. He released his hold on Gabe and took the phone out of his pocket to answer it. "Yeah?"

"I hear you've been looking for me."

When Gabe lifted his head, Chris placed a hand over his mouth, giving him a warning look. "Is this Franco?"

"I won't dignify that with a response," Franco stated. "Marcus contacted me. I know where you live. You owe me, rookie. Come alone to this address." He rattled off a street number and name and then disconnected the call.

Chris stared at the display, slowly lowering his hand from Gabe's mouth.

Gabe looked at him with wide eyes. "Are we in trouble?" he whispered.

"No." Chris took a deep breath and looked at Gabe. "There's somewhere I've got to be. I need you to stay here. Michelle and Jake aren't going to be back until the morning… don't let anyone in unless they're me. Okay?" He waited for Gabe's nod before he released him and stood up.

"Good to see you know how to follow instructions."

Chris looked at the man who opened the door. He recognised Franco, but this was the first time he'd interacted with the dirty cop. "What do you want from me?"

"Let's have a chat inside, shall we?" Franco stepped back from the door and motioned for Chris to enter the apartment.

Chris did so, hands settled lightly at his waist. He stepped to one side as Franco closed the door behind him and then followed the other man through to the living room, spotting Marcus sitting on the couch. "I guess a leopard doesn't change its spots."

Franco motioned for Chris to take a seat. "Marcus told me. About Gabe. That you shot him and he's dead. Means one less loose end for me to tie up."

"What are you going to do?" Chris asked. "You kill us and that's going to be two more dead cops on your hand. You'll never be free. You'll be hunted your whole life."

"I had a pretty sweet gig going, until you came along and caused an attack of conscience," Franco said. He aimed his gun at Chris. "You have two choices. Either I kill you right now… or you work with me and Marcus."

"And let myself get killed as soon as I outlive my usefulness?" Chris returned. "I'd rather go for choice number three."

"I didn't give you a third choice," Franco said.

Chris didn't voice a reply. He didn't need to. The door was kicked in and a SWAT team charged into the apartment, arresting Franco and reading him his rights before cuffing him.

Chris' uncle punched Franco hard enough to leave a bruise and then turned to Chris. "You did the right thing in calling us in," he stated.

"I know," Chris replied. "Don't believe anything he says. He'll lie through his teeth to lighten his sentence." He didn't mention Marcus, instead watching as Franco was dragged out of the apartment and the rest of the police force was gone.

"You didn't tell him about me."

Chris turned to Marcus. "Stand up. Turn round. Put your hands on the couch."

After a brief hesitation, Marcus did as he was told.

Chris moved to the other man's side and braced his hand on Marcus' back. With his other hand, he removed his belt and doubled it over in his hand, bringing it down in a hard stripe at the crest of Marcus' backside and then delivering a second stripe slightly lower. "You shouldn't have contacted Franco without informing me first. I know you thought you were doing the right thing, but you placed yourself in danger and me in a nearly impossible situation." He landed the belt down to Marcus' thighs and then began again from the top.

Marcus began to shift his feet, moving in response to the belting, though he didn't attempt to get out of the way or stop the punishment. He bit off groans, only allowing slightly sharp gasps to escape his lips.

Chris completed a third circuit of the belting and then stopped, taking a deep breath. "I know you don't think I trust you, but if I didn't trust you, I would have assumed you had turned. But I know you didn't. You were trying to do the right thing."

Marcus clenched his fingers in the sofa cushions and drew in a deep, ragged breath. "You shouldn't trust me. I… did everything wrong. I betrayed everything I stand for. I…"

"Would you hold Gabe to that same high standard?"

"No. I… Gabe is a good person."

"And so are you." Chris heard it as Marcus' tears increased and he brought the belting to a stop, moving his hand to the other man's shoulder and squeezing gently. "You aren't a bad person. No matter what it takes… I'm going to prove that to you."

Marcus slumped visibly, the tears becoming soft sobs as he relaxed under Chris' hand. "T…thank you," he whispered.

The End