Their place on the two separate brands made it hard to stay in touch. The supershows were few and far between, the PPV's depended on the booking being right and then the inevitable flight delays didn't help at all. The end result was three weeks apart, three weeks of no release, no play, nothing. There had hardly been any of the makeshift late night phone calls, both of them beat up and working through it all leaving them too tired to talk. Finally the joint weekend off had arrived and their flights back to NC were on time, airborne and heading to what they called home but treated more like a hotel.

Hunter knew there wasn't going to be much time for pleasant conversation and idle gossip when he finally made it back. He'd had a string of explicit text messages all the way, obscenities that as a Master he knew he shouldn't be receiving from his sub nor should he be allowing the disobedience to pass without some kind of penalty. He also knew that Matt was doing it all deliberately and that made his skin tingle, knowing that his pet, his sub wanted nothing more than to experience that depth of pain at his hands.

Once home he found the house in silence and just as they'd left it, the housekeeper doing her usual good job of keeping it clean, tidy and well stocked. Bags dumped he headed to the fridge and grabbed an icy cold bottle of Miller. The cap was soon flicked off and half the bottle drained leaving his throat fizzing with the cold bubbles. He burped with a sense of satisfaction and scanned the inside of the fridge, seeing what was likely to be rustled up for their dinner. As he was rummaging at the back of the salad drawer to see if his stash of Snickers was still hidden there his phone vibrated in his pocket, still on silent from the flight. A message from Matt.

"I want you Hunter. Fuck it, I need you. When are you gonna get back here? I might have to fix myself up if its not gonna be soon..."

Smiling broadly Hunter realised that Matt must already be home and not have heard him arrive. He tipped the bottle up and chugged down the rest of the beer, pausing afterwards to drop the bottle carefully into the bin and wipe his mouth with the back of his hand. He flicked screens and hit reply to text Matt back.

"You don't give the orders. Hope you know what you're getting yourself into slut. And its Master, not Hunter. I need to teach you some manners."

Flipping the cell shut again he shoved it back in his pocket, not waiting for the delivery message before striding to the bottom of the stairs and quietly kicking off his boots. If Matt wanted to play he was more than game. It was a while since he'd flexed his knuckles and wielded any sort of weapon so he hoped that his version of play ring-rust would soon wear off. He padded carefully up to the landing where he could see the light shining through the gap in the ajar bedroom door. He stopped to strip off and dump his warm t-shirt, took a deep breath then walked towards the door and paused before slamming it back with one hand.

"Hey Matty."

"H-Hunter, I din't know you were home yet..."

"No. Clearly you didn't. And what's my name again?"

Matt jumped off the bed as soon as he realised his error and immediately knelt at his Master's feet. It had been too long since he last felt the security of their arrangement, felt able to let himself give up all the sensibilities and control his career and life demanded when not with Hunter on the scene or together within the walls of their home. He bowed his head and hoped that all his legwork over the last day or so would not go to waste because he'd forgotten the basics of their arrangement.

"Master."

"You sure you want me to still be your Master? You've been breaking a lot of the rules Matty, all this dirty talk, desperation. Haven't I taught you anything about control, restraint," Hunter moved closer until the ragged denim of his jeans brushed against the point of Matt's forehead. "Good behaviour. All the things you're craving, al the things your body wants so much."

"Yes Master, I do. I'm sorry... I just wanted to tell you how much I wanted you, show how much I needed what we have. I'm sorry Master, I really am."

Matt found that the tone of the admonishment was more worrying to him than he thought it would be. He knew that Hunter didn't punish with pain, certainly not the pain he'd been hoping or looking for. Insubordination was more likely to result in him having a cage applied to his intimate areas or the withholding of all sensual contact. The thought of losing either from the next few hours made him regret his choice of tactic. He'd wanted to stay quiet, to behave and serve well but the weeks apart had taken their toll and seemed like the longest ever. He had found some small release in sending the graphic messages but hadn't thought it through fully, assuming that they'd get Hunter as worked up as they did himself.

It had been almost six months since he accepted a trial of Hunter's collar and their arrangement had gone from light play to full submission, something Matt had craved for years. He sat at Hunter's feet, took orders and instruction without argument and handed over control of his mind, body and soul to the man he knew would cherish them. He no longer ran a home, preferring to let Hunter take care of all the formal tasks. He bought clothes fitting to his position, sought permission for everything other than eating, drinking and bathing. To know that he was safe, loved, desired and kept, yet free to leave whenever he wanted was the deep breath that Matt had never before felt capable of taking. Hunter was his Master, the man he trusted with his everything. His worry was that by playing the fool he'd disrespected what they had, something he never set out to do. At the end of the day he was just a man; a man who hotly desired the mix of sex and pain that only one pair of hands had ever adequately doled out.

"Well if you're real sorry I might punish you less in the ways I usually do. You're still learning but don't think I can let this go. I think you're gonna need to pay for what you've done. Maybe we get to play my way all this weekend and you're just gonna have to deal with it. Good job I got some new toys to kick around with..."

Hunter stood above Matt, the throbbing in his groin growing as he let images of Matt being abused flood his mind, considering whether or not it was time to invite someone else into their play. It was something he wanted and that they were working towards but so far he'd respected Matt's wishes to keep it just for them. Maybe that was for a time when he had time to find the right person rather than just ringing the guy that he assumed would be the ideal candidate for the job. He often thought of Matt being feasted on by another sub or his plump ass paddled to pink by another dom. In time Matt would come around, would come to know the joy of his body being used or worshipped for the voyeuristic pleasure of his Master.

"I'm real sorry Master. Do what you want to me, whatever you want."

"I intend to. I'll remind you again, I give the orders. You just obey them. Playroom, naked, now. In the middle of the floor, kneeling. Go."

Scrambling to his feet Matt almost ran through to the playroom, stripping and piling his clothes on the dresser in the corner of the room. He knelt on the wood flooring, warm as it was from where the late afternoon sun shone in through the window. The feel of the hard wood against his knees and toes made him breathe more quickly and he realised that it seemed like forever since he was last there. Closing his eyes he said a silent prayer to nobody in particular for harsh treatment and not the lasting frustration of a cock cage. Between his legs his aching flesh strained and twitched and he almost regretted the nights he'd stopped himself grasping hold and jerking off to let release some tension. If he got caged now it was going to be a long weekend in all the wrong kind of ways.

The door clicked open and Hunter walked in, pleased with the sight of Matt on the floor as he'd been told. Moving over to the bed in the centre of the room he deposited a bag and went to the dresser to retrieve his favoured black leather cuffs. They always looked the part against the darkly tanned skin and never bit too deep into the flesh. He got as far as two steps away from Matt and then threw them onto the bed, discarding both the item and the idea he had for using them. Instead he stood back where he had been before, looming large above his lover.

"Matty, you wanna tell me again how sorry you are?"

"I'm sorry Master, I never meant to get you mad. I just... missed you."

The sound of the heartfelt and rather unexpected words from Matt during their play started to gnaw away at the edge's of Hunter's resolve to be mean. Sometimes he found it hard to truly dominate someone he loved as much as Matt. It was never the dishing out of pain that was the problem, it was the disappointing Matt when punishments needed to be enforced which ultimately made him suffer too. In the end though he knew it would be worth it, that Matt would only grow and thrive in the safety of the servitude he'd talked Hunter into providing for him.

It was never easy denying himself access to the willing and pliable body of his younger lover. Matt had never been in better shape, working out and taking care of himself like he never had before. As the months had passed he'd seen Matt turn from a man with a few extra pounds into something more akin to his body when he was in his early twenties. Now when Matt found himself spread eagled on the bed his thighs visibly flexed and twitched; his arms, although always muscular, began to take real shape. It hadn't mattered to Hunter what Matt looked like, he loved the man inside the body as well as the external packaging. What thrilled him most was that as part of his devotion to what they had that Matt was making the changes unprompted. Too many of their early nights together they'd laid with Matt dragging the covers over to hide parts of himself he didn't like. Now they were displayed more proudly and Hunter knew that it was making a world of difference to his lover's confidence.

Reaching down Hunter ran his fingers through the inky curls, seeking the scalp with his fingertips and rubbing gently in small circles. Matt's head dipped slightly and pressed against his legs, small sighs signifying that the contact was much needed and well appreciated.

"Restraint Matty is a helluva word. Means a lot of things to a lot of people, especially in our lifestyle. You like restraint don't you angel?"

"Yes, Master."

"So if I show you how to be restrained, what level of restraint I think is suitable for you then, well, you'd be grateful, wouldn't you?"

"Yes, Master. I would."

The tone of Hunter's voice had changed and Matt tried his best to figure out what the change meant. He knew when he was being called his pet name that things might not be as bad as he'd suspected. Maybe the punishment wasn't going to be so bad. If he impressed his Master, took whatever was coming his way and didn't complain then by morning he'd be back in the good books. One round of filthily delivered breakfast in bed where the honey was used for more than just the toast and he was sure he'd be forgiven, particularly if a large hand got to fisting in his hair as he swallowed down a sweet sticky mix over and over again.

"On your feet and in the corner."

Matt felt his heart almost stop when the instruction came. There was only one corner he was ever sent to and that wasn't very often. In that part of the room stood a heavy, dark wood St Andrew's Cross. It was his favourite piece of equipment in the room, the thing he wanted to experience the most. He'd never admitted that to Hunter, not through dishonesty, more because he was never asked. Matt knew his Master had no verbal, expressive regard for his sub, it was all innate, internalised. He suspected that the way he came just being spanked lightly whilst tied to it for the first time had given that particular game away. His mind raced with what may be, wondering if he was going to be shown it but denied it, tied to it and left; the possibilities were truly endless as they played like a dirty slide show behind his eyes.

After acknowledging the order Matt rose and walked over the the cross, standing in front of it and bowing his head. He wasn't allowed to look at it, to drink in the scale and the curious allure it had to his twisted heart. For that he was glad, sure that the embarrassingly leaking length stuck out at a sharp angle from his body was proof enough to him that he longed to be tied to it.

"Turn around, get on it. Arms up, legs spread Matty. You know what I need you to do."

Watching Matt closely Hunter was sure he could see a slight tremble in the body before him. This was the holy grail of their play to date, the best way to get Matt to open up to him as he could talk freely without his face being seen. So many years of pent up desperation had been hard to break down. Hunter wanted nothing more than to give his lover a freedom to be himself, to be honest about the things that made his heart race and his balls tighten. In that room there was no outside world to judge either of them for their needs or their kinks, no disapproving looks shot at the thick band of leather around Matt's neck, no expectations other than respect for each other.

He also had an inkling that any trembling may be Matt's body ratting him out. There was no escape from the cross other than that granted by the key holder for the cuffs. What he'd never told Matt was that in the days of his tutelage, when he had suffered and learned discipline at the hands of another, the cross had also been his sacred place. In his own submission he'd learned what it felt like to be able to understand. His temperament had been curbed from potentially cruel to considerately harsh, learning from an old school player that believed you shouldn't expect anyone to take what you couldn't take yourself. Being a dom was all about strength but in different ways. Hunter didn't enjoy relinquishing his control to his teacher but he valued the experience of working through the struggle in his mind, knowing the conflict of the loss of control as well as the high the pain had given him way back when.

Moving closer to the cross he bent to lock Matt's ankles in first, then the wrist cuffs were secured. He pressed himself roughly against Matt's back and forced them both forward, resting his chin on the firm shoulder. Hunter scraped the dark hair back before whispering into the exposed ear.

"You want to say sorry Matty?"

"I do... I really do."

"If you keep it in, I'll know you're sorry."

"W-what?"

"You heard me."

"But Master, I don't... I don't understand..."

With a cold chuckle Hunter stepped backwards.

"You will angel. Trust me, you will."

Matt waited anxiously while there were footsteps and sounds of movement behind him. He closed his eyes to try and concentrate more, resting his head on the cool wood. The next sensation he felt was the pushing of something between his cheeks, the cold slick of lube making a shiver run the length of his spine. Matt knew there was no movement possible, his legs secured wide apart which made him tight on entering but took away a lot of his control inside. When Hunter fucked him on there before it had been mind-blowing, the tight ring of muscle being forcibly stretched with every thrust but having no control inside to resist or clench had made him feel so vulnerable, so totally helpless that his orgasm had hit him within two or three minutes.

This time though there was no warmth of a body against his back and no hands grasped around his hips. All he could feel was a deep penetration and a whisper of pressure against the tender spot inside him that was desperate for some attention.

"Master... wh-"

"Keep it in for me angel."

The first swoosh through the air saw Hunter having drawn his arm right back and then landing a half force blow on the bottom of Matt's ass, just below the spot where the toy had been inserted. Blow after blow came, some soft, some hard. He wanted to keep Matt guessing, not let him get too close or too comfortable. He saw Matt's hands balling into fists and his hips pressed to the cross as tightly as the bindings of his limbs would allow. Already his lover's body was fighting to keep the toy inside, the weeks of pent up need making him want the pain even more than he usually would.

The toy Hunter had slammed inside was a short dildo, thick at the base and with a ball around half way up that would rub gently on the knot of nerve endings he usually loved to flick at with his fingers. He knew it would drive Matt crazy, feeling full yet empty, soft strokes of his prostate when he wanted rough pressure on it and all the time having to concentrate on stopping the toy from sliding out. A part of the trick was to lube the toy enough to get it in without too much resistance but to ensure that a lot of it went onto Matt's skin to make him feel it was closer to slipping out than it ever would be. The sensory overload of the pain and the pleasure would make sure Matt couldn't tell what was happening.

"Its slipping out Matty, I can see it..."

"Master, I'm trying. Please, I can't keep it in..."

Matt groaned long and loud as more slaps of the warm leather landed over the various areas of his ass, the hot flesh stinging and his painful erection pressed bruisingly hard against the cross. He bucked his hips forward and felt the friction of his flesh catching on the varnished wood but when he allowed himself to fall backwards to relieve the pressure all he got were more strokes of the paddle. In his mind he was losing the last of his control and coherence, screwing his eyes shut tightly and just giving in to the throbbing in his groin. One last harder blow and Matt had gone, the toy sliding out of his body as the spasming of his muscles got stronger and faster, his release firing forth in ropey white streams and trickling slowly towards the ground. Exhausted, his body relaxed and he slumped against the bindings, his arms strained and his legs barely coping with his dead weight. Eventually daring to look down he saw the slick toy lying forlornly on the floor and swallowed hard.

Standing back and taking in the sight before him Hunter couldn't deny that he was turned on, he'd been ready to fuck Matt through the bed since the first night they'd been apart but had held it in. Their reunion hadn't gone quite as he'd hoped but their roles were still cemented. Matt had 'disappointed' him by not keeping the toy in. He'd also come without being told to; all things that, in good time, he'd remind Matt of. They were things that would make Matt think, give him more as a sub than any random beating could've done. Hunter knew he didn't even really need to say these things to know they were understood.

Slowly, he undid the button fly of his jeans and pulled them and his boxers down far enough to release himself. Grasping his cock he pumped it hard, his own climax barely held down during the harsh spanking he'd administered.

"Angel, you're mine. Don't ever forget that now."

"Yours, Master, only yours."

Hunter's breathing grew ragged.

"Ang-angel... gonna mark you as all mine, always mine..."

Seconds later he tensed and gripped just beneath the swollen head tightly, directing the sticky jets all over Matt's ass. The contrast of dark tan flesh, pounded to hot pink in parts and splashed with pearlescent white cum made for a pretty picture, one that Hunter framed in his mind. After quickly tucking himself away he moved forward to unfasten the bindings, ankles first this time and wrists second. Once free he turned Matt around and pulled him into his arms, holding him closely and planting warm kisses on his face, not caring about the mess being wiped onto his jeans. He guided Matt over to the bed and laid him down on it, getting on the other side himself and propping up on an elbow.

Matt couldn't help but smile, his eyes narrowed with the exhaustion of his lust and exertion. He reached a hand around as the feeling came back onto his arm and pushed the damp hair out of Hunter's face, tucking it behind his ear. The look on his Master's face told him all he needed to know. He was forgiven for his earlier misdemeanours and loved as much as ever. The one thing he couldn't decide on was whether or not the toy that had slipped free despite his best efforts would cost him dearly. He hated to disappoint anyone, Hunter most of all. Matt had fought hard not to let go of it but had failed. Failed his Master. He looked away and fixed his gaze on Hunter's chest, not wanting to make eye contact and be reminded of what he'd not done.

"You're a good sub Matty, could be great one day. Just need a little more work."

The voice broke the semi-trance that he'd drifted into but Matt still opted not to look up, preferring the deferential position he'd assumed. He knew it would please Hunter, it pleased him as he was doing the right thing in his role, something that he strived to do. His need for pain was as strong as his need to submit and he knew that with Hunter he could have both needs met. He closed his eyes and waited, wondering what was coming next.

"Time to get some rest now Matty. Its been a long few weeks without you. Fuck knows I missed you and what we've got here. We'll talk more about some kind of punishment later but for now haul your ass closer and lets get some proper sleep."

Matt shuffled closer and rested his head on the arm Hunter had extended as a makeshift pillow now he'd rolled onto his back. A tender kiss was shared between them, Matt's body moulding around Hunter's as he huddled close for a warmth that went much deeper than just the temperature in the room. In his heart he knew the messages weren't his brightest idea, that he could've just said that he was lonely, frustrated, alone; asked for permission to relieve himself, respectfully asked for a session when they got home. It would be a long road to totally tame the wild Southern streak in him that made him the most defiant sub Hunter had ever agreed to take on. What he'd never come to know is that Hunter half-hoped that side would never yield to him fully, loving the fire and the spark that lived behind the dark eyes. When Matt was bad he was better and Hunter was happy, an arrangement that they both silently hoped would continue for some time to come.


A/N: So, its a bit smutty, so sue me *winks*. Its nearly the end of July, my angst fairies can't be far away to fight the fluff ones off again so I thought I'd do this now ;) All reads and reviews appreciated as ever :)