Keeping House

by J. Rosemary Moss

Summary: After hearing just how Peter would like to punish him for some shenanigans, Neal decides to take on a new role at the Burke residence.

~oOo~

I woke up to the sound of Peter telling Elizabeth exactly what he thought I deserved. Which, to my surprise, wasn't a trip back to prison.

I was on the Burkes' couch, tucked under a mountain of warm blankets. I remember furrowing my brow, trying to figure out why I had fallen asleep in their living room and why Peter was in the kitchen telling his wife how badly he wanted to put me over his knee.

And then I remembered breaking into the clinic, the techs restraining me, Nurse Ratched shooting me up with some heavenly sedative and picking my way out of the restraints despite being stoned out of my mind. Then Peter showed up to rescue me. He even stole the security tapes so I wouldn't end up behind bars again.

Peter brought me to his home and settled me on his couch. Elizabeth got me an ice pack and mothered me, pausing only to reprimand her husband for something about his magic hands. Eventually Peter and I talked about the case and the names I had acquired--and then I sank into a deep, blissful sleep.

I stayed bundled up on the couch now, listening to Peter tell Elizabeth precisely how he wanted to punish me. My mouth fell open, but I wasn't angry. I was intrigued.

I'd never had anyone with moral authority spank me before. Sure, I'd played my share of BDSM games. But my partners--well, let's just say that neither Kate nor anyone else had my moral welfare in mind.

But Peter . . . Peter gave a damn about what I did with my life and how I behaved. He genuinely wanted to keep me out of trouble--and he was even willing to put himself on the line to keep me out of prison. I thought about that as he kvetched to Elizabeth.

It was a while before he walked into the living room and noticed that my eyes were open.

"Morning," he said.

"Morning," I returned. "Ah--did you mean for me to overhear that?"

"Overhear what?"

"That, ah, you want to spank me."

He gave a short laugh. "What, that surprises you?"

I rolled my eyes--but I grinned too. "No, I guess not."

We fell silent for a moment as he took a seat on the table near the couch, facing me.

"So," I said at last, "do you think of me as a five-year-old who needs a stern father figure? Or do you find me so hot that you're desperate to get your hands on my ass?"

"The former," he assured me.

I folded my arms across my chest. "You're lying. Or at least not telling the whole truth."

"Neal . . ."

"Peter . . ."

He gave me a look.

I sighed. "Ok, ok. I'll stop. You're in enough trouble for extra-marital flirting." I paused to give him an arch smile. "Is Elizabeth going to spank you?"

He reached down and gave the top of my head a playful smack. "She's more likely to paddle you, boy."

My eyebrows shot up at that. "Me? Why?"

"For disobeying me, endangering yourself, and putting me in a situation that required me to break the law in order to save you from prison."

"Oh," I said. "That."

"Yeah. That."

I swallowed. "Peter, I . . ."

"Save it," he said. "Just get your ass up and have some breakfast. We have to leave for work early so you'll have time to change your clothes at June's."

~oOo~

The next few weeks were sheer torture. But in a good way.

We nailed the embezzling, organ-dealing doctor and Elizabeth forgave Peter for allowing some strange woman to experience his magic hands. I found myself wondering if she would forgive him if those magic hands were to stray over a certain ex-con. I decided she would--especially if said ex-con was hers to enjoy as well. Elizabeth has a bad-girl streak.

Meanwhile, I spent my nights dreaming about Peter putting me over his knee. Or of Elizabeth, paddle in hand, bending me over a table. Then the three of us would . . . well, what came next was a question that occupied my waking state.

Peter didn't make things easier. As usual, he was strict with me--or at least he pretended to be--but he couldn't disguise the way his eyes would soften with affection when we joked together. Or the way they would light up with pride when my out-of-the-box thinking helped us close a case.

And sometimes there would be more than brotherly affection or fatherly pride in those eyes. Peter wanted me.

It was time to call Elizabeth.

~oOo~

I let myself into the Burke's home as quietly as possible; waking up Peter would be a bad idea right now. The plan was to make him happy by allowing him to live out his bossy, domineering, slave-driving tendencies--not to piss him off first thing on a Saturday morning.

Elizabeth must have let Satchmo in on the conspiracy, because the dog kept silent, contenting himself with licking my hands rather than barking and jumping up to lick my face.

"Good boy, Satchmo," I whispered, scratching behind his ears.

It was harder to keep quiet in the kitchen, but I managed to whip up challah French toast, fresh-squeezed orange juice and steaming coffee without making too much noise. I arranged the breakfast on a tray--and then rearranged it three times before I was satisfied. Then I took a deep breath and started up the stairs.

I had forgotten about Satchmo. He wanted to trail behind me which, as much as I love the pup, wasn't part of my plans. So I put the tray down on the counter, found his food and waited until he was happily munching away before I escaped with the tray.

The door to the master bedroom was open, so I tiptoed in and set the tray down. Elizabeth was awake and sitting up in bed. I smiled at her and took a moment to appreciate her silky pajamas, which, despite their demure, chaste style, were almost unbearably hot.

Peter was just coming awake; the smell of the French toast must have tempted him into consciousness. I leaned over him so that he would be greeted by a pair of mischievous blue eyes.

I watched him groan as his eyes came into focus. "Neal, what the hell are you doing in my bedroom?"

"Bringing us breakfast in bed," Elizabeth said, motioning me to get her a plate.

"You told him this was ok?" Peter demanded.

"Do you think I'd be here without the lady's permission?" I demanded, eyebrows raised.

Peter stared at me for a long moment and then gave up, laughing despite himself. "Smells good," he admitted as he pushed himself upright.

He was bare-chested, I noticed. Nice. Don't let those off-the-rack suits fool you; Peter's body is fit and muscular.

I let my eyes stray lower, but he was wearing a pair of sweats that was mostly covered up by the blankets. I turned away so that I could hand them each a plate. When that was done, I took a seat on the edge of the bed, next to Peter. He didn't object.

"Hmm, this is good!" Elizabeth said, still looking elegant despite the fact that she was speaking with her mouth full.

Peter nodded in agreement. Then he finished his mouthful, set his plate aside and shot me a suspicious look. "To what do I owe this?"

I slid off the bed and onto my knees, taking one of his hands in mine.

Peter narrowed his eyes. "You're not about to propose, are you?"

"No," I said, flashing him a smile I knew he would find irresistible. "I'm just offering you my services for the weekend. . . or for an unspecified number of weekends, should they meet with your approval."

"Your services? What sort of services?"

I looked straight into his eyes. "You own me, Peter. You can make whatever use of me you please."

Peter eyes widened in alarm as he turned to his wife. "This is a test, isn't it?"

Elizabeth and I rolled our eyes simultaneously.

"It's not a test," she said, patting her husband on the shoulder.

"You just decided we need a houseboy?"

"Why not?" she asked, with a gorgeous pout that would have done me credit. "He's beautiful, don't you think? And we get him cheap--just room and board."

"Room and board, plus the promise of strict discipline," I amended.

Peter clutched my hand as he moaned and fell back on his pillows. "El, are you sure this isn't a test?"

Elizabeth laughed and kissed him. "It's really not a test," she promised. "So, what do you think?"

He turned back to me with a sigh that was half resignation and half anticipation. "I think our boy is wearing too much clothing."

~oOo~

Peter came downstairs while I was washing the dishes from breakfast. He hadn't laid a hand on me yet, other than to tousle my hair and to give me a pair of sweats that were in danger of falling off.

And, per Peter, that's all I was allowed to wear--the sweats and my anklet.

I peered over my shoulder at him, favoring him with a seductive smile. He responded by smacking my ass as he came up behind me. Then he pulled me back against him, wrapping his arms around my stomach. I grinned and all but melted into him.

It was amazing how right this felt--as if we'd been intimate for years.

He kissed the top of my head. "You sure about this?"

I nodded. "Yes."

"You know you can end this any time, right?" he asked, planting a trail of kisses from my ear down to the base of my neck. "I'm not going to send you back to prison if you decide this isn't what you want."

"I know you're not coercing me, Peter," I managed, a little breathless as I tried not to moan in pleasure. "I want you to own me completely. I trust you."

He arms tightened around me, protecting me and claiming me. I knew how highly Peter regard my trust--I just wished he would trust me too. But I knew that would never happen. To Peter, I'd always be the bright, talented kid who had screwed up his life by running cons and frauds. In his eyes, I'd always be the kid who still didn't know right from wrong.

I won't lie; I hated the fact that he didn't trust me. But I was learning to live with it--no choice, unless I wanted to run away from him. But I didn't want to. He had caught me, and I was content to stay caught.

"Do you trust Elizabeth?" Peter asked suddenly. "My property is her property too, Neal."

I shut my eyes. I could still feel his breath on me. "I know. I--I'm close to trusting her . . . closer than I've been to trusting anyone but you."

"Good," he said. He stepped back and smacked my ass again. "You're wanted upstairs, kid."

"What for?" I asked, turning toward him with a mock-innocent expression.

"We need to explain our rules to you," he answered, resting his hands on my waist, "and discuss your illegal entry into the clinic."

"You're going to punish me for something that happened weeks ago?"

He grinned. "Neal, we're going to punish you for every crime I suspect you of."

"Oh yeah?" I asked, pulling him closer.

"Yeah," he said, kissing me lightly on the lips.

"That's going to take more than one weekend."

"Could take years. How's that sound?"

"Almost right," I answered, putting my arms around him. "Try decades."

He smiled and kissed me again, biting my lip gently before he broke apart from me. Then he turned me around and urged me out of the kitchen with yet another smack to my ass.

"Upstairs, boy."

~oOo~

Peter and Elizabeth have a luxurious bed: king-size with a mattress that's both soft and supportive. So I didn't object when Peter sat down on the edge of it and pulled me over his lap. And nothing but a small, almost inaudible moan escaped me when he tugged the sweats down to expose my ass.

He started in on the rules, punctuating each one with a sharp smack to my bare backside. I shut my eyes, feeling myself growing aroused against the hardness of his thighs even as he kept punishing me.

The rules ran along predictable themes: obedience, truthfulness and fidelity. I was to obey Peter when he told me to stay out of dangerous and/or illegal situations. (Ok, he might have said I was to obey him implicitly, always--but this is my interpretation.)

He didn't say I was to obey Elizabeth, even though she was co-owner. That intrigued me. But it sort of made sense. Elizabeth, after all, thought nothing of sneaking escaped convicts into her house or asking ex-cons to stage break-ins. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I figured that Peter would be keeping a strict eye on both of us whenever we put our heads together.

With the next smack, I found I was to make an effort now and then at telling Peter the truth. Ok, his exact words might have required me to be absolutely truthful to him at all times. Again, I had to translate his tongue into a language I could understand and possibly live up to.

Another smack taught me that I was to be devoutly faithful to both my owners. I could flirt on the side (Elizabeth made Peter agree to that), but they would be my only lovers.

None of us mentioned Kate. It's strange but--well, I didn't even think of her. Not then.

Peter paused in his assault to rest his hand on my ass. He even rubbed it soothingly--I'll bet the bastard was enjoying the heat of it--before he began spanking me again. This time each smack accompanied some chore or other I was responsible for as their houseboy.

I didn't pay attention to those; Peter was welcome to spank me again later for failing in my duties.

"Enough, Peter," Elizabeth said at last--and I had to admit that I was grateful for the reprieve. Peter's too strong for my good.

I tried to give Elizabeth a grateful smile as Peter helped me to my feet, but her expression stopped me.

"Now it's my turn," she said. And she took my hand and led me back toward the bed.

~oOo~

The bed really is a marvel. It's comfortable even when you're lying naked on it, face down and handcuffed to the head board. My ankles were bound too; Elizabeth had used two of Peter's ties to ensure that.

I approved of her choices. Both ties were better suited for bondage than public display.

I'm not so sure I agreed with her taste in Peter's belts. The one she had chosen for this particular job was probably leaving unsightly stripes on my ass. But she seemed to think I deserved those for endangering both myself and Peter with an illegal break-in..

In all fairness, I agreed--but I had to bite my tongue to stop myself from reminding her that she had once asked me to break into a judge's office.

"Ow!" I yelped as the belt snaked across the back of my thighs. Then I turned my head to glare at Peter. He was leaning against the door, watching us with his arms folded across his chest and a satisfied smirk on his face.

I narrowed my eyes at him. "Did she practice this on you, partner?"

He laughed. "You'll never know."

At last--after fifteen strokes--Elizabeth seemed satisfied. She tossed the belt aside and climbed onto the bed beside me. "Are you all right, sweetie?"

My ass was blazing now, but I managed to give her my best lost-puppy look. Soon the restraints were off and I was snuggled up against her, my head resting on her breasts as she rubbed my back and ran her fingers through my hair.

I could feel Peter's eyes on us. I turned my head to catch a glimpse of his expression. He wasn't angry or jealous, I noted with relief. His eyes held that same warm, affectionate look they wore whenever he was secretly pleased with me. I think he liked seeing Elizabeth and me together, both of us safe and in easy reach.

I let out a contented sigh and turned back to Elizabeth's ministrations as Peter started to undress.

~oOo~

A while later I was nestled between my owners, spooned against Peter with Elizabeth snuggled up against me, her head on my chest. One of Peter's arms crossed my body to rest on his wife's thigh. My eyes were closed and I was in that blissful half dreaming, half waking state. Even though my ass still stung from Peter's wicked hand and Elizabeth's skillful use of his belt, life was good.

I felt Elizabeth kiss my forehead, then my cheek, then my lips. Then she shifted to address her husband.

"I have a present for our boy," she announced. "Two presents, in fact."

Peter began absently massaging my shoulder. "Planning to spoil him, El?"

I smiled at that and decided that I would teach Peter to spoil me rotten.

"You'll approve of these gifts," Elizabeth promised him.

I opened my eyes and watched as she left the bed to retrieve two gift-wrapped boxes from her dresser. They were the right size for jewelry, with one box slightly larger than the other. Peter and I sat up together as she slid back under the covers and presented them to me.

"This one first," she said, pointing to the smaller one.

I raised my eyebrows and slowly undid the ribbons. I opened the box to find a simple but handsome silver chain, about choker length.

"Classy," I said, making my approval obvious. Then I cocked my head. "Are you collaring me?"

"He already has a collar," Peter pointed out, running his hand down my leg toward my anklet. "A very effective one."

Elizabeth shook her head. "The anklet means he belongs to the FBI, even if he's under your supervision. He needs a collar that signifies our ownership."

I smiled and handed her the box. Then I shifted so that my back was to her. "Would you do the honors, my lady?"

I felt her lips brush, soft and fleeting, against the back of my neck. "This doesn't come off. Understood?"

"Yes, Ma'am."

"Good boy," she said as she clasped the choker in place. "Now you may open the next one."

I took my time with the larger box. I had a guess as to what was inside--and I was right. It was a supple black leather collar with the buckle at the back, and a link in front suitable for attaching a leash. I smiled, delighted.

"That one's only for home use," she said.

I laughed. "So I figured. Where's the leash?"

She winked at me. "I thought you and Peter might want to go to the pet store and pick one out."

"It will be a short one," Peter promised, kissing the top of my head.

I turned toward him with a mischievous smile. "It'll have to be," I admitted, "if you want a prayer at keeping me in line." Then I handed him the house-collar. "Would you put this one on me?"

He nodded, so I turned around and watched his wife's expression as he buckled it in place. Her blue eyes--the eyes that almost matched mine--had an open, loving softness to them as she gazed at me. Somehow there was both friendship and passion in that gaze. And that's the first time Kate crossed my mind . . . because Kate had never looked at me that way.

"How's that?" Peter asked, testing the snugness of the collar.

"It feels perfect," I said, letting myself lean back against him as I shut my eyes again. "Now what?"

"Now we get to work," he said, pushing me forward. "I have a bunch of files we need to look through . . ."

My eyes shot open. "Peter, it's the weekend."

"And it won't be the first one we've devoted to the job," he said as he climbed out of bed, grabbed a towel and headed toward the bathroom.

I collapsed back onto the pillows as if the man had plunged a dagger into my heart. "He can't be serious."

Elizabeth laughed. "I'm afraid he is. If it makes you feel better, though, I have to work today too." She paused to hook her finger into the link of my collar as she slid off the bed. "Come on, Neal," she said. "There's more than enough room for three in the shower."

~oOo~

"When are we going leash shopping?" I asked, staring up at Peter's face.

I was sitting on the floor as he sat on the couch perusing a file, leaning against him with one arm on his lap. Peter seemed to approve: I think he liked the inherent submissiveness of my position. Plus I was making it easy for him to stroke my hair.

"Tomorrow morning, if you behave."

I grinned up at him. "Will it be today if I don't?"

"No," he said. "Take a look at this."

I glanced over the paper he handed me. It was an old case of credit-card fraud that we'd been investigating on and off. "Oooh," I said. "New lead."

The files occupied us for the next few hours, which put an end to any further discussion on leashes. And that's a good thing: it meant we'd be able to continue working together at the office and in the field without giving clues to the new, more intimate nature of our relationship.

Although, come think of it, we probably already seemed like a BDSM couple to the folks in the Bureau.

The bad news, however, was that Peter insisted on watching a ball game while we poured over the files. The noise and commentary helps him work, but it does nothing but distract me. When I'm working at home, I don't want to hear anything in the background except some Vivaldi.

Peter didn't give a damn. When I dared to complain, he pointed out that he wasn't the one wearing an anklet or a collar. Translation: I didn't get a say in the matter.

There are times when Peter's bossiness and slave-driving tendencies aren't so cute. How has Elizabeth lived with him all these years without teaching him more consideration?

My mission was clear. It was a good thing my houseboy act might last for decades: it might take that long to civilize Agent Burke.

I smiled at him suddenly and snatched the file out of his hand. Before he could reprimand me, I shifted so that I was sitting on his lap. He stared at me for a moment and then rolled his eyes--but then he pulled me closer.

I picked up the remote and clicked off the television. "So partner," I said, "what do you want to do about dinner?"

"I'm going to forage for leftovers."

I shook my head. "No--I can't have that. I have certain standards for my doms, Peter. They don't chow down on leftovers when I'm available to cook for them."

Peter hooked his finger through the link of my collar and pulled me in for a kiss. "Who said you're available?"

I raised my eyebrows. "You're not going to make me work on these files all night, are you?"

"No."

I cocked my head at him. "Does Elizabeth have plans for me?"

He nodded. "You're taking her out on the town tonight. Dinner, dancing--you know the drill."

"So I'm an escort now? Intriguing."

"You want to register a complaint?"

"Not in the least. Dinner in a fine restaurant, dancing with a beautiful woman in my arms . . . Peter, why don't you want to escort her?"

He shrugged. "Because there's a game I want to see tonight. Besides, she called dibs on you."

"But don't you want to join us?"

"I think this is more your thing."

I'd just been in bed with both Peter and Elizabeth. Obviously he was ok with sharing his wife with me--or, to be more accurate, sharing me with his wife. But this was different. I couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that Peter wanted me to take Elizabeth out on a date.

"So Elizabeth doesn't mind you staying home?" I asked.

Peter chuckled. "We've been married ten years, Neal. We know when we need our space."

"Are you trying to tell me the romance is gone?"

"No. In fact, we've just managed to spice up our marriage by acquiring a houseboy."

I gave him an appreciative look. "Yeah, I heard about that--and I heard he's a feast for the eyes. You sure you want him hanging out with your wife un-chaperoned?"

His expression turned serious. "Yeah, I'm sure."

"Why?" I asked. "I mean, I get this Peter. I get why you like owning him and why you like to discipline him. I even get what happens between the three of you in the bedroom. But--well, why are you ok with him dating your wife?"

"Because my wife and I trust each other, Neal. And we trust our boy."

I stared at him. "Elizabeth trusts him--at least a little. But you've never trusted him."

"That's not true," he said softly, looking me in the eyes. "I may not trust him to walk the straight and narrow. I may not trust him to keep himself out of prison. But I'd trust him with my life--and I trust him to take good care of the woman I love."

My brain seemed to freeze at that. I couldn't find a response.

Fortunately, he didn't seem to be looking for one. He just drew me in for another kiss before shoving me off his lap and onto my feet.

"Go change," he said. "She'll be home soon, and she can get ready faster than you think. You brought at least one suit over, right?"

"Yeah," I said. "Peter, I--thank you. I mean--"

He cut me off by nodding toward the stairs. I managed a nod of my own and then made my way up.

~oOo~

Elizabeth and I didn't come home till about three in the morning. We found Peter asleep on the couch, with Satchmo lying on the floor next to him. I walked Peter up to bed while Elizabeth turned off the tv and cleaned up the beer cans Peter had left on the table.

When Elizabeth came up, we undressed him and got him under the covers. Then we climbed into bed on either side of him. Soon each of us had one of his shoulders for a pillow.

Judging by her soft snores, Elizabeth drifted off quickly. But I stayed awake, despite Peter's louder snores and occasional murmurings.

I reached up to stroke his hair, trying to convey something of the way I felt about him through the touch of my fingers. "I took good care of the woman you love," I whispered. "And I'll think twice before I break into another clinic."

Peter answered with another snore. I shook my head at that and allowed myself to sink into blissful unconsciousness.

~The End~