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The Club III

Is He Good Enough                         

By Jullian Gray & Hannibalfan'52  

 

NC-17            

Spoiler: The Club II Black's Revenge            

Warning: Language, violence, D/S, spanking

After seeing some thing that disturbs them Murdock and BA try to rescue Face from Hannibal and do more harm than good when they come to Face's aid

 

***

 

Part 1

 

Hannibal sighed deeply as he looked at the note on the coffee table. He should have known that BA and Murdock wouldn't understand, and would try to interfere. Hell, there were times he didn't understand his lover's needs, but he would do anything for Face. Taking a deep breath, Hannibal put down the note and headed upstairs to get what Face would need. He just hoped that Murdock and BA hadn't done anything that he couldn't fix. He didn't know if he could go through the last few months all over again.

 

***

 

Hannibal looked up at the clock on the wall as he paced the living room.   2:00 AM.  Face was over four hours late, and, to make matters worse, his lover hadn't even bothered to call him. Picking up the phone, he called Face's car phone for what had to be the hundredth time. Once again, the phone rang and rang with no answer.  Disgusted, he slammed the handset back down on the cradle and resumed his pacing.

 

An hour and forty-five minutes later, he heard an engine roar into the driveway, then brake hard as the headlights flashed through the front window; a few seconds later, Face came into the house. As soon as he made his way back to the living room, Hannibal was in his face.

 

"Where the hell have you been?" Hannibal demanded.

 

"What the fuck do you care?" Face snapped back. The Colonel could smell the alcohol on his breath.

 

For someone who wanted him to set some rules for him to obey, he sure as hell wasn't  trying to follow them. He had to admit, though, he had hoped that after a few weeks of playing at being his "slave", Face would give up the silly game and things would go back to normal. Much to his dismay, Face had started acting out against his authority, and foul language was becoming constant. Wanton disrespect was becoming more and more common, to the point where Hannibal was getting ready to put the young man back in his place.

 

"Because I love you," Hannibal yelled back at the other man. "I also told you to be home at 10:00…"

 

"So what the hell are you going to do? ground me?" Face snarled, his anger coming off  him in waves. Face tried to push past Hannibal, but the Colonel grabbed his arm.

 

"Look, you wanted to live this lifestyle, not me, so I suggest that when I tell you to do something…"

 

"You know, what the fuck ever, Hannibal." Face shook his lover's hand off.  "You don't give a shit about this, so why the hell should I follow the Goddamn rules you set?"

 

"Because you're the one who said you needed them." Hannibal sighed as he ran his hands through this hair. He didn't want to get into a fight with Face; all he wanted to do was make Face happy. "Look, you wanted me to try this, and I'm trying, but how am I supposed…"

 

"Just stop, Hannibal, God damn it!" Face screamed in the Colonel's face. "I know you don't want to do this, so just fucking stop!"

 

"Face, I'm trying.  You have to understand…"

 

"No, you don't want this. I'm the one who fucked things up!" Face shook his head, and Hannibal could see the tears welling up in the blue-green eyes. Face stormed out of the room.  A few seconds later, Hannibal heard their bedroom door slam.

 

Hannibal went to the bar and poured himself stiff drink. He knew they needed help; their relationship was spiraling out of control. He loved Face and he didn't want to lose him; he would do anything for the younger man. Reaching into his back pocket, Hannibal pulled out his wallet; opening it up, he pulled out Shawn Fulmer's business card. He turned it over in his fingers for a few seconds before picking up the phone.

 

An hour later, Hannibal went to the master bedroom; he knocked softly on the door before pushing it open. Looking in, he wasn't surprised to find Face sitting on the bed, staring out the window at the ocean.

 

"You want to talk about this?"

 

Face shook his head, not bothering to look over at him.

 

"Face…"

 

"Please, Hannibal." Face slowly turned to look at him, and the older man could see the pain and misery on his lover's eyes. "I'm trying to be normal.  You've got to understand, I am trying…"

 

"Tem, stop." Hannibal moved over to the bed and sat down beside Face. "None of this is your fault." Reaching over, he took one of Face's shaking hands in his own.

 

"It doesn't matter. I should be able to control this; I should be able to move past this fear…"

 

"Face, it is just going to take some time. Black put you through some messed-up stuff.  You're not going to just wake up the very next morning like nothing happened."

 

"It's not just what he did to me physically.  It's…" Face shook his head as he turned back to look out the window. "You don't…you can't understand…"

 

"Then help me understand. Don't block me out; tell me what you feel."

 

"I can't." Face shook his head.  As he pulled out of Hannibal's grip, he stood up and walked out the French doors. Hannibal watched as his lover disappeared from sight. Getting up, he moved out onto the deck; as he walked to the rail, he could make out the blonde walking down the short steps and onto the beach.

 

***

 

"Face, I said sit down," Hannibal ordered again as his lover paced back and forth in Fulmer's office.

 

"I don't want to sit down. Damn it, Hannibal, I told you we didn't need to come here and…

 

Fulmer watched with great interest.  This was the third time the Colonel had told the young man to sit, and it was also the third time that the blonde had ignored him. Before Smith could open his mouth again, Fulmer put an end to the blonde's movement.

 

"You were told to sit!" Fulmer's voice held such authority that Face not only stopped dead in his tracks, but immediately sank to his knees, his head bowed, eyes downcast. "I don't know how things are handled in your house, boy, but you will not disrespect your Master here.  Is that understood?"

 

"Yes, Sir," Face answered, his eyes staying glued to the floor.

 

"I will also not have you talking back to any master in my home.  Is that clear?"

 

"Yes, Sir."

 

Still keeping his eyes on Face, Fulmer asked Hannibal the next question.

 

"Would you like to carry out his punishment here, or would you like to use a private room?"

 

As he watched Face, he noticed how the younger man stayed perfectly still, waiting for Smith's answer.

 

"Neither." Hannibal looked at Fulmer, then down at Face. "I won't hurt him."

 

The reaction from Face was instantaneous: his shoulders slumped for just a second before his back went rigid and his head came up. The younger man was just about to get to his feet when Fulmer stopped him.

 

"Did I say you could move?"

 

Face immediately turned to look at Fulmer, then dropped his head. "No, Sir."

 

"You will not move until I give you permission. This is my house, and while you are here you will go by my rules.  If need be, I will personally tan your hide here and now. Do we understand each other?"

 

"Yes, Sir."

 

"You touch him and I'll…" Hannibal started, but Fulmer interrupted him.

 

"And that, Colonel Smith, is why I believe that you are having such a hard time with him." Fulmer turned his attention back to the Colonel. "He is waiting for you to give him some direction."

 

Hannibal looked over at Face in complete amazement.  The two of them had been butting heads for weeks, and this man had just stopped his lover dead in his tracks not once, but twice.

 

"You have to show him who's in control, and - most important - you can't let him get away with these types of things. If you let him run his mouth once, he'll do it again. He's pushing you to see if you will react to him. The more you let it go, the more he will act out."

 

Hannibal shook his head, still trying to think of some other way that he and Face could continue their relationship without this type of environment. There had to be some other way…

 

"Why do you make the boy suffer, Colonel?" Fulmer asked, cutting off Hannibal's thoughts. Looking at Fulmer, he noticed that the other man was looking at his lover, shaking his head.

 

"What are you talking about?" Hannibal asked, his voice holding a rough edge to it. He had come here searching for help, and all he had heard was a bunch of bull about how he needed to take more control over Face's life; how it was up to him to rein Face in.

 

"Really, you can't tell me you don't know what I'm talking about." As Fulmer studied the Colonel closer, he sighed. "Perhaps not.  You can't keep doing this." Fulmer frowned.

 

"Doing what?" Hannibal asked as he turned his icy gaze on the other man.

 

"You can't keep denying him what he needs. He needs you to guide him, take over for him, allow him to be at peace so that he's not afraid the outside world. He needs…"

 

"What he needs..." Hannibal turned his attention back to Face, "…is to get his crap out of his head …"

 

Fulmer watched as the blonde wrapped his arms around himself, as if trying to make his body smaller.

 

"I'm trying, John.  Please believe me, I'm trying..." Face's voice just a little more than a whisper.

 

"You bastard!" Fulmer snapped at Hannibal as he rose. Ignoring the Colonel's threatening looks, Fulmer moved to squat down in front of Face. Reaching out, he pulled the blonde's head forward and whispered something into the younger man's ear.

 

Hannibal's heart broke when a gut-wrenching sob escaped Face's throat. Realizing what he had said, Hannibal moved to his lover and tried to put his arm around him, but Fulmer moved between them, blocking the Colonel as he slid his own arm around Face's shoulder. With his other hand, he motioned his own slave to come to him.

 

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Hannibal asked as he rose.

 

"You and I need to talk," Fulmer shot the Colonel a hate-filled look, "and the boy doesn't need to hear what is said."

 

"The hell he doesn't.  This is about him and the way he…"

 

"Enough!" Fulmer cut Hannibal off before he could say another word. "Matt, take him to our quarters until the Colonel and I are finished."

 

"Yes, Master." Matt slid his arm around Face's shoulders. "Come on, it'll be all right," Matt reassured Face as he helped him to stand, then led him towards the door.

 

Hannibal noted as they left the room that Face never looked up or back at him.  His head stayed down, his eyes hidden under the fallen hair.

 

The moment Face was out of the room, Fulmer lit into Hannibal for all he was worth.

 

"I thought you loved him."

 

"I'm not going to discuss this with you.  I've tried it your way for three weeks, and he hasn't changed.  If anything, he's gotten worse than the first night I picked him up from here!" Hannibal yelled.

 

Fulmer opened and closed his mouth a few times before he finally spoke.

 

"My God, you do think this was all a game, something that he would grow tired of playing. That if you let him have his way and played along, things would go back to normal." Fulmer shook his head. "Don't you get it, Smith?   He's changed; he won't ever be the same person he was before this happened. As I told you the first time, you are either going to have to step up and give him what he needs, or get out of his life."

 

"He's not into this shit!" Hannibal snarled. "He'll get over it.  He told me himself that he was trying to do better to put this behind him."

 

Fulmer took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He respected the Colonel, he really did.  The man was great in his own right, but he was also a man way outside of his element. There were things that he knew that the other man didn't, and if Smith was going to keep the man he loved, then he was going to have to learn.

 

"No, Colonel Smith, he won't.  And if you truly feel that way, then it would be in his best interests if you just walked out that door and stayed out of his life."

 

"You've lost your mind if you think I'm going to leave him here with you people."

 

"I don't know why." Fulmer looked the Colonel straight in the eyes. "We can't hurt him any more than you just did." Fulmer moved so that he was in Hannibal's face. "Pull your head out of your ass, Smith. He's acting out for a reason.  He pushing you to see if you'll make him step back in line. Think about how he's acted.  Think about how he's behaved since you gave up control and tried to act as if Black never came into your lives."

 

Hannibal looked away.  He didn't want to think about all the yelling and screaming they had done over the last few weeks - the long nights, the angry words, the empty promises.

 

But as he thought about the bad times, his mind wandered back to the time before the fights. The time just after he had brought Face home from the Club, when Face had been submissive to him. He thought about how happy his lover seemed when he ordered him to do certain things. He thought about how relaxed and peaceful Face was when he was doing something he had asked his lover to do. But, most of all, he thought about how much he enjoyed just being able to take care of the man he loved; that after all these years, Face would now allow him to take care his needs and not see it as a sign of weakness.

 

"My God." Hannibal sat down heavily on the loveseat and put his head in his hands.  The guilt was beginning to build in his chest. These last three weeks he had blamed Face for everything, and now he realized that he wanted Face in this type of role as much as Face himself did.

 

Seeing the other man had finally thought about what he was saying, Fulmer moved to the chair beside Hannibal.

 

"It's not a bad thing to want to be cared for." Reaching out, Fulmer laid his hand on Hannibal's shoulder. "And there is nothing wrong with wanting to protect and care for the ones we love."

 

"What if I can't give him what he needs?" Hannibal looked up at the other man.

 

"I think you can." Fulmer smiled. "You already have been for years.  The only difference is now there are immediate consequences for his actions, and you have to make him aware that you will not tolerate his breaking your rules."

 

Taking a deep breath, Hannibal turned to Fulmer. "What do you suggest?"

 

The other man nodded his head as he stood and moved back to his desk; opening a top drawer he pulled out several books and pamphlets.

 

"Face has a advantage on you - he got the crash course in this lifestyle." Fulmer handed the books to Hannibal. "The problem is he had a horrible teacher who was into torture and humiliation.  We both know Black was nothing more than a sadist." Moving to sit back on his desk, Fulmer explained farther. "Colonel...what you saw at my Club is only one aspect of this lifestyle, and the more extreme one, at that. What most practitioners engage in is known as 'Dominance and submission', in which the submission is totally voluntary. In fact, the submissive seeks out the Dominant. This is what Matt and I practice, and this is what Face requires from you. His submission to you is an appeal for guidance, until he is able to regain control of his life for himself. He's begging you for help, Colonel; don't deny him. Your slave…" Fulmer stopped when he saw the look of disgust on Hannibal's face. "Our 'boys' need structure and discipline.  They crave it, and there are times that they will push us just to see if we will keep our promise to them."

 

"Promise?"

 

"Our promise to take care of them and to keep them safe." Seeing that he had Hannibal's attention, Fulmer continued. "I have a contract with Matt.  As a couple, we sat down together and worked out what each if us wanted, and what we were willing to give to our relationship. If either of us wants to change or add something to that contract, then we have to sit down and talk about it.  There are set rules, Colonel; this isn't something that is made up as we go along. Matt knows his rules, and when he breaks them, he knows I will punish him for it." When he saw the concerned look pass over Smith's face, he went on. "Now, that being said, I don't beat the hell out of him, or humiliate him. I make him tell me why he did it, and let me tell you, there are things that that go through that boy's mind that startle me sometimes. But, in the end, we talk through it, he feels better, and he knows why he is being punished. When his punishment is over, it's done; I never bring it up again. But, most important, I let him know that I did it because I love him." Fulmer took a deep breath. "If I didn't love Matt, if you didn't love Face, then we would let them do whatever they wanted to do and not give a damn what happens to them. By making them follow our rules, we show them how much we love them."

 

Fulmer let his words sink in before he continued.

 

"You've got a lot of catching up to do, Colonel. I know you may not like the idea, but I think it may be best if Face stayed here with us while…"

 

"No." Hannibal shook his head. "Under no circumstances will he stay away from me."

 

"Then let me suggest that you two stay at our house until you at least understand the basics of what he needs, and what you are willing to give. The boy is spiraling out of control, and if he doesn't get some guidance in his life soon, you're going to have a hell of a time on your hands."

 

"Aren't the rules pretty standard?" Hannibal asked as he flipped open the first book.

 

"Everyone has different wants and needs, Colonel; you, of all people, should know that."

 

Hannibal nodded his head. "All right, Fulmer; I'm listening."

 

And listen he had.  They had stayed at the Fulmer's house for two weeks. During that time a lot of tears had been shed, and not just by Face, and in the end, the two had come to an understanding.

 

***

 

"Templeton?" Fulmer called out softly

 

"Yes, Sir." Face answered, though he didn't look up from his kneeling position beside Hannibal.

 

"You are doing very well."

 

"Thank you, Sir."

 

"Your Master," Fulmer noted Smith's sour look, but continued, "wants to talk to you about your past actions. I expect you to be truthful when you answer. A slave should never lie to his Master, understood?"

 

"Yes, Sir."

 

Fulmer turned to Hannibal and once again ignored the cold stare. He knew he hated for Peck to be referred to as a Slave and himself as a Master, but the sooner the older man learned, the better off he would be.

 

"Face, come here." Hannibal reached down to pull Face up from his kneeling position and into his arms. He settled Face in his lap so that blonde head was resting on his chest, his fingers carding through the silky strands.

 

"The other night, when you came in late, why where you so angry?"

 

Face shrugged his shoulders, but didn't respond.

 

Hannibal turned to look at Fulmer, who shook his head "no".

 

"Talk to me, Face."

 

"I just had a bad night." Face sighed, but didn't say any more.

 

Hannibal didn't have to look at Fulmer; he already knew this was unacceptable behavior, and so did his lover. Face was already pushing him, and they were just getting started.

 

Changing his tone, the Colonel's voice came through loud and clear, full of authority.

 

"I'm not going to ask again, Templeton.  What happened?"

 

Face went rigid in his arms.  The younger man tried to sit up, but Hannibal tightened his grip, preventing him from moving.

 

"I said I had a bad night.  Now, let me go!" Face continued to struggle to get free.

 

"Last chance," Hannibal warned.

 

"Colonel Smith, you've given the boy more than enough warnings; it's time for action." Fulmer rose and signaled his slave to follow him. "When you're done with his punishment, we'll come back in."

 

Hannibal watched as the two men walked out, leaving him alone with his lover. He sat there for a minute with a very upset blonde struggling in his arms, not knowing what he was going to do. He didn't want to hit Face; he never wanted to lay a hand on the younger man. Face had already been through so much in his life that hitting him just seemed wrong. But when he thought of his partner's defiance over the past few weeks, he decided he'd had enough. Maybe what his lover needed was a good, old-fashioned ass-busting, like his father used to give him.

 

He pushed Face forward toward his knees, until the smaller man was bent over his lap.

 

"Hannibal, stop!" Face warned as he struggled harder to get out of the older man's grip. "Damn it, let go of me!"

 

Taking a deep breath, Hannibal pulled one hand back and brought it down squarely on his lover's backside.

 

"I'm not fucking around with you! Let me…" Face's words were cut off by a loud, hard slap to his ass.

 

"Owww!" Face stopped in the middle of his tirade.  He tried to turn and get up, but Hannibal held him in place as he landed another hard blow to the young man's butt.

 

Hannibal continued to do this another eight times; when he was finished pulled Face back into his arms and looked down at him. To his surprise, the younger man was looking up at him with a look of stunned awe on his face.

 

"You spanked me?"  The voice was so soft, it was almost a whisper.

 

"Yes, I did.  And if I you don't tell me why you were so pissed off the other night, I'll do it again." Reaching down, he cupped the younger man's cheek with his hand. "Not to mention I don't want to hear that kind of language again." Leaning over, he laid a gentle kiss on his lover's lips. "You are far too beautiful to have those words coming out of your mouth. Do you understand me?"

 

Face swallowed hard and nodded.

 

"Not good enough, Templeton." Hannibal tilted Face's head back more so that they were looking eye to eye. "I want an answer."

 

Face swallowed again, but when he spoke his words were clear and strong.

 

"Yes, Sir."

 

"Good.  Now, tell me what happened the other night."

 

Face closed his eyes and took a deep breath before he looked back at Hannibal.

 

"I'm scared."

 

Hannibal looked at his lover, not truly understanding what he had just been told. "Hell, kid, we all get scared from time to time."

 

"But not all the time."

 

"Tem…"

 

"No, please." Face held up his free hand. "I'm fine as long as you're with me, but to go out alone in the real world..." Face took a deep breath and let it out slowly before he continued. "I'm terrified, and the only way I can get through it is to get mad." Face took another deep breath. "If I'm pissed off, then I can function out there. I guess the problem is that I'm so wound up when I get home…" Face dropped his head. "I'm sorry."  His body began to tremble. "I'm so sorry for dragging you into this mess…"

 

Hannibal pulled Face closer to his body, forcing the blonde head back to his chest. "It's not your fault, and if you let me help, we'll get through this, kid." Hannibal gently kissed Face's hair. "I promise, we'll get through this."

 

***

 

The next day, Hannibal was sitting in the study, reading one of the books Fulmer had given him. Fulmer was sitting at his desk, going over some of his paperwork, while Face and Matt sat at a chess-board, talking quietly between themselves. Hannibal lowered his book and watched as the two younger men smiled and laughed with each other. He hadn't seen Face this relaxed in a long time, and he could honestly say it felt good.

 

"Nice to see him like that, isn't it?"

 

Hannibal turned to look at Fulmer, who was also watching the two younger men.

 

"Yes.  I haven't seen him this relaxed since this whole thing started," Hannibal noted.

 

"Does Face have nightmares?" Fulmer turned to Hannibal. "I know, night after night, I would have to wake Matt up. I didn't think they would ever stop."

 

Hannibal turned to look at Face and Matt, who were laughing over something one of them had said. He shook his head as he remembered all the times he had held Face in his arms while the smaller man cried out his pain.

 

"Face has always had demons, and as time goes on, they just seem to keep on stacking up against him. There are times I don't know how he can function."

 

"With you as his master, it doesn't have to be that way.  You can take all the stress and pressure away."

 

Hannibal shook his head. "It just seems like he's giving up so much."

 

"He is," Fulmer moved over to sit in a chair across from him, "but he's giving it to you. Don't you see? he's giving you control so he can forget."

 

Hannibal thought about what Fulmer was saying as he watched the other two men.

 

"It can't be that easy," he whispered.

 

"That's just it, Colonel Smith; it is."

 

A short time later, Matt got up and walked over to Fulmer, kneeling in front of the other man. "Master, I was wondering if we might go out to the pool?"

 

"I don't mind you going, but I am not Templeton's master."

 

"Yes, Master." Matt turned to Hannibal. "Sir, may we go down to the pool?"

 

Hannibal looked at the man kneeling before him, then over at Face, who was looking at him with anxious eyes.

 

"Face, come here a minute." Hannibal called out softly. Face instantly rose and came over to kneel in front of Hannibal, his head bowed. "You don't have to do that." Hannibal rose and pulled Face up to his feet.

 

"Yes, Sir," Face answered, but kept his head lowered.

 

Hannibal put his hand under Face's chin and lifted his head. "Do you want to go down to the pool with Matt?"

 

"Yes, Sir," Face whispered.

 

"Stay close to him, all right?" Hannibal smiled as he watched Face's eyes light up.

 

"Yes, Sir." Face smiled as Hannibal caressed his cheek with his thumb.

 

Leaning forward, Hannibal laid a gentle kiss on Face's mouth. "I love you, kid."

 

"I love you, too." Face kissed him back before moving to join Matt at the door.

 

"See, Colonel Smith?  It's not that hard to make him happy." Fulmer smiled. "But may I make a suggestion?"

 

"Your advice has worked so far," Hannibal chuckled.

 

"I know that you don't like to see him kneeling before you, but I promise you that it makes him more comfortable."

 

"How can kneeling make him feel comfortable?" Hannibal frowned.

 

"By kneeling with his head lowered, you have all the power over him. You could hurt him badly, and he would never see it coming. He is showing you that he is placing all his trust in you.  He is offering you everything that he has to you."

 

"Black made him kneel."

 

"That's just it - Black forced it on him; he made the boy submit. Every time your lover has knelt before you, he has done it of his own free will. He is offering you a great gift.  Accept it."

 

***

 

"I don't know about this." Hannibal expressed his concern to Fulmer.

 

"Is the fear for the boy, or that someone might try to take him from you?"

 

Hannibal shot him a cold look that made Fulmer take an involuntary step back. "No one will ever take Face from me. As for why I don't want him there, I don't like to have him exposed to the environment."

 

"We won't stay long, Colonel Smith, but I think it would do the boy a world of good to see others in this lifestyle, and to see that you care enough to collar him."

 

Hannibal shook his head as he remembered Face's reaction to having to put on a collar and leash the first time they met Fulmer.

 

"I'm afraid it will scare the hell out of him."

 

"He's gone through a lot, and I understand your concern, but I also believe that, by doing this, it will show him what he means to you."

 

Hannibal took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "All right, but if I see any signs of distress, we leave."

 

"If he panics, Colonel, then calm him.  Show him that you are in control of the situation, and of him."

 

Hannibal still didn't like the idea of putting Face under any undue stress, but he could see the point that Fulmer was trying to get across.

 

Twenty minutes later, Hannibal was standing at the bar in Fulmer's "Club" with Face sitting quietly beside him. Hannibal studied Face closely.  His young lover was wearing a pair of tight black jeans, and a black silk shirt, his delicate neck circled by a thick gold collar which was attached by a gold chain to Hannibal's belt.

 

"How are you doing, kid?" Hannibal asked as he reached out to run his fingers through Face's hair.

 

"I'm okay." Face smiled up at him.

 

"You're not worried?" Hannibal asked as he moved his hand to cup Face's cheek and force the blonde's head up so they were looking eye to eye.

 

"No, Sir," Face reached up to touch the gold collar around his neck. "I belong to you, and I know you'll protect me."

 

Hannibal stared into the blue-green eyes that were looking up at him so full of trust. "I love you, kid." Hannibal whispered into Face's ear as he moved to kiss his cheek. "And I promise to always protect you."

 

A moment later, Fulmer appeared at Hannibal's side. "Are you ready to go, Colonel?"

 

"This wasn't about him, was it?" Hannibal glanced at the other man. "It was about me."

 

"I see that I have made my point." Fulmer smiled. "He trusts you, and your presence alone is enough to make him feel safe, no matter what is going on around him."

 

***

 

On their last night before returning home, Face and Hannibal sat down with Fulmer and drew up their own contract.  It was direct and to the point.

 

Face agreed to obey and submit to Hannibal in all ways.  There were no times that he was allowed to refuse. Any refusal on Face's part was to be met with swift and immediate disciplinary action.

 

Hannibal's part was a little more in-depth, but it was still basic.  He accepted Face into his loving care, and promised to do everything in his power to protect him. He would provide both physical and emotional love to help Face grow and reassure him. He agreed to provide Face with a set of clear rules that the younger man could understand and follow, and in the event that Face broke any of these rules, he would see to it that the younger man was punished in a firm, yet reasonable, manner.

 

With the contract signed and a new set of rules in place, Hannibal took Face home.

 

To Hannibal's complete surprise, once they got home, things between them began to settle down. Face had pushed him a time or two, but once Hannibal had shown him he was sticking by their contract, Face had quickly gotten back in line. Hannibal smiled as he remembered the very last time Face had acted up. He could still see the look on his lover's face when his hand reddened his lover's backside for cursing at him.

 

***

 

"I'm not going to do it, Hannibal."

 

"Can you tell me why?" Hannibal asked as he leaned back against the wall and looked at his angry lover.

 

"Because it's my car."

 

"That's very true; it is your car.  But I also told you to be home at 10:00 pm, and it's now 10:15."

 

"God damn it…"

 

"Language, Templeton," Hannibal warned.

 

"Fuck you!  How's that for language, Hannibal? I told you I got stuck in traffic…"

 

Hannibal pushed himself off the wall and grabbed Face before he could move away. Using his momentum, he shoved Face against the wall, turning him as they went. When they came to a stop against the opposite wall, the younger man was face-first against it, with Hannibal's weight pinning him to it.

 

"I'm trying to keep my temper, kid, but you're pushing buttons.  Now, tell me what is going on that's got you acting this way."

 

Hannibal watched as Face clenched his jaw, the muscles straining against the pressure. Knowing that Face was gearing up for a full- fledged rampage, Hannibal decided to put an end to it first.

 

"Talk to me, Templeton.  Don't make things worse than they already are. You're already in a world of hurt for being late, and the language.  Let's not add to it."

 

Hannibal watched as his lover's face reddened, and he knew that the younger man was going to dig himself in deep.

 

"God damn it!  Get the fuck off me!"

 

Hannibal sighed.  He used his weight to trap Face against the wall. "Don't say I didn't give you fair warning." Hannibal stated in Face's ear as he leaned back so he could get a clear shot at Face's rear while keeping him trapped.

 

The first blow to the designer-clad rear made Face yelp more from surprise than pain.  However, after the fourth blow, he began to struggle harder to get out of Hannibal's grip. By the time the eighth blow came, he was sobbing. Hannibal stopped at ten, just to make sure he had gotten his point across. He knew that Face's ass was stinging, because his hand was throbbing, but he also knew the tears weren't from the pain in his backside. He had seen his lover suffer a whole lot worse and never utter a single sound. He turned Face around as he pulled him into his arms, hugging him tightly to his chest.

 

"What's got you so wound up, baby?" Hannibal asked into his lover's ear as he forced the blonde's head to his shoulder.

 

At first, Hannibal didn't think Face was going to say anything, but as he opened his mouth to ask the question again, Face began to speak.

 

"I went out to one of the wineries today to see if I could find something special for our anniversary," Face whispered, his voice full of pain.

 

"You had trouble going down into one of the cellars?" Hannibal asked softly, guessing that Face would be afraid of the smells and dark confines of a basement.

 

Face gave a short humorless laugh. "The bathroom." He tried to pull out of Hannibal's arms, but his lover wasn't going to let him loose.

 

"What happened, Templeton?" Hannibal commanded softly, as he pulled the now-trembling man closer to him.

 

"It was a small, single-person bathroom, and when I closed the door, I panicked. How pathetic am I that I couldn't go into the fucking bathroom?"

 

"You're not pathetic, Tem." Hannibal moved his hand up to the nape of Face's neck and pulled the young man's head back so they were looking at each other eye to eye. "You are a very brave person to survive things that I can't even imagine trying to live through. And if you can't be in small enclosed spaces, then so be it.  It's not the worst thing in the world."

 

"That's not the worst part," Face sighed. "When I got into my car, I had to roll the windows down. I couldn't even drive in my own car without feeling like the walls were closing in on me."

 

"It's going to be all right, kid.  We can do things that will help you deal with it; we can adapt."

 

"How can you look at me?" Face shook his head as he dropped his eyes, the tears once again falling down the flushed cheeks.

 

Reaching out, Hannibal lifted the younger man's head and wiped the tears away.

 

"I love you, Templeton Peck, and if I have to be with you twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to make you feel safe, then I'll do it. If you need me to hold your hand in a crowded room, or hold you in my arms while you cry, then I'll do that, too." Moving forward, Hannibal placed a gentle kiss on the younger man's lips. "You are my world, and I will do anything for you."

 

Face looked at him for a brief moment before a strangled sob escaped his throat and he threw himself back into his lover's arms. Hannibal walked them both to the couch and held Face in his arms while the younger man cried out his pain. Sometime later, the sobs stopped, and Hannibal realized that Face had cried himself to sleep. Reaching for the blanket on the back of the couch, he covered Face and held him until the next morning, when his lover woke.

 

To Hannibal's relief, that had been the last great blow-up.  From that day forward, everything had been smooth sailing, with only a minor infraction here and there.

 

***

 

At Fulmer's suggestion, Hannibal continued to read up on the subject of D/S, and while he still found a lot of it extremely disturbing, there were things he could now understand.

 

Fulmer had been right about one major thing: for Face, the lifestyle wasn't about sex; it was about being able to let go. When Hannibal stepped up and took over, Face let go and relaxed completely. His only concern was to make Hannibal happy, and that was a very easy job, since Hannibal made sure he told Face exactly what he expected from him. And Hannibal found that the new change in their lifestyle had perks for him as well.

 

Thanks to Face's new submissive nature, he could fawn over the smaller man in ways that Face would never have put up with before. Now, when Hannibal wanted to know how Face was feeling or what he needed to make him feel better, all he had to do was ask. When the order was given in his authoritative tone, Face would instantly comply.

 

***

 

Hannibal looked down from the book he was reading when he heard Face sigh in his sleep. A faint smile pulled at the corners of the younger man's lips. Realizing that Face was having a good dream instead of a nightmare, Hannibal went back to his reading.  A half hour later, Hannibal set the book down to look at the young man he loved.

 

Face was currently curled up on the couch, his head resting on a pillow in Hannibal's lap, his tan chest bare, his only covering a pair of dark blue silk pajama bottoms and the gold necklace with a pendent attached to it resting snugly against the base of his throat. The pendent was nothing more than a simple gold disk with the words "I belong to" on one side and "John Smith" on the other. The necklace and pendent had replaced the choker that Hannibal had given him months ago. Hannibal shuddered at the thought of how Face had been when the team had found him at Black's home.

 

Face had been nothing but a shell of the man he had once been.  He had no independent thought and was terrified of everything and everyone. It had been a long, hard uphill battle, but they had won, and Face was back with them. Hannibal had to admit, though, that the blonde was still not the man he had known before his terrible ordeal, and he doubted he ever would be.

 

Reaching down, Hannibal began to stroke the blonde hair; he smiled when Face shifted, moving into his hand. Yes, Face was a different person.  He now relied heavily on Hannibal to take care of things for him, even more so since their last meeting with Fulmer. And even though Face could function in the outside world, he still had trouble if Hannibal wasn't around, and ventured out of the house less and less on his own.

 

After Face's last blow up and confession, Hannibal decided to take fewer and fewer missions, keeping the younger man's role to little more than gathering information and checking out backgrounds.  It was very rare he actually allowed Face to do any field work, something that BA and Murdock were starting to question.  

 

Hannibal decided that in the not-too-distant future, they would have to stop altogether.  Face just wasn't good if a fight broke out, and yelling scared the hell out of him. Not to mention the fact money was no longer a concern. Thanks to Face's careful investing and their part-ownership in a lot of the businesses they had helped over the years, the team had more than enough money to keep them going. And to be honest, Hannibal didn't care as much as he used to about the cases.  Yes, he still wanted to help people, and they had a simple one they were working on now, but he had to consider Face's limitations.

 

Reaching down, Hannibal ran his fingers over his lover's cheek. No, right now, Hannibal's only concern was to protect Face and keep him safe, and to try his best to make him happy, no matter what the younger man needed.

 

"No, John, not just for him.  You need this, too."

 

Hannibal glanced over at the book he had been reading; it was one of many that Fulmer had given him. As much as Hannibal hated to admit it, Fulmer and his partner had been a wealth of information on how to help Face. Things had definitely been easier since he had listened to Fulmer, and even though the new twist in his love life seemed strange at times, Face was happier.

 

"Hey, Tem, you ready to go to bed?" Hannibal asked as he stroked his lover's cheek again.

 

He watched as a pair of blue-green eyes blinked open.  As soon as Face focused on him, a smile crossed his lips. "Time is it?"

 

"Bedtime," Hannibal repeated as he ran his hands through Face's hair. "Now, I want you to go brush your teeth and get in bed."

 

"I don't need to brush again.  I brushed them before I put my pajamas on," Face said, his tone showing his irritation at being treated like a child.

 

Without another word, Hannibal stood up, pulled Face to his feet, and spanked him hard twice on the ass. When he was finished, he turned the other man around so he could see his face.

 

"Do you know why I did that?"

 

"Yes, Sir," Face whispered, his eyes downcast.

 

"Why?"

 

Face bit his bottom lip instead of responding.

 

Reaching out, Hannibal placed his hand on the young man's chin and lifted his head "Why?"

 

"Because I talked back to you." Face tried to drop his head again, but Hannibal prevented him.

 

"That's right." Hannibal moved forward to kiss Face. "But I want you to remember I'm not mad at you.  You're a good boy." Hannibal kissed him again before hugging Face. "Now, I want you to go upstairs and do what I told you to do."

 

"Yes, Sir." Face sighed as he hugged his lover back.

 

Twenty minutes later, the two were lying in their bed together.  Hannibal was on his back with Face's head resting on his shoulder, his lover's hand resting on his chest, absently playing with the silver hair.

 

"Are you sure you're okay with the guys coming over tomorrow night for poker?"

 

"Of course, I am." Hannibal smiled as Face ran his fingers over one of his nipples. "You deserve to have a good time, and I know the guys would love to spend some time with you."

 

"You're sure?" Face looked up at him his eyes full of love and trust.

 

"Of course, I am, Templeton." Hannibal hugged Face tight. "I'd do anything for you."

 

***

 

"Do you think Hannibal is good for Face?" Murdock asked BA as the two drove through the dark toward their own apartment. He had been mulling over the question ever since the two had left Face and Hannibal's ocean-side home an hour earlier.

 

"What do you mean?"

 

"Don't you think that Hannibal…I don't know… It just seems like he doesn't treat Face the way he should be treated." Murdock sighed as he looked out the window.

 

"I still don't understand what you're trying to say.  Face seems happy enough."

 

"Yeah, he seems that way, but have you really paid any attention to the way Hannibal treats him?"

 

"If Face is happy…"

 

"Damn it, BA, Face is happy just to be loved by someone, even if that person is treating him like crap." He remembered the way Face had been after the younger man had been rescued from Black's house of horrors. It had been months before Hannibal would let anyone around Face. Even now, a year later, Face still seemed to be extremely timid and meek, constantly looking to Hannibal for approval - approval that the Colonel didn't always seem willing to give.

 

"Now wait a minute, fool, how do you know that Hannibal is treating him bad…"

 

"Oh, come on, BA! Weren't you paying any attention tonight?  Not once did he thank Face for anything, or even say something nice to him. He treated him like crap. I mean, with all that he's been through, don't you think that Hannibal should treat him better than he does?"

 

BA looked over at the pilot, then back at the road as he thought about the night he had just spent at the other men's house.

 

***

 

"I fold." Face sighed as he tossed his cards on the table and leaned back in his chair.

 

"You're playing pretty sloppy tonight, Lieutenant." Hannibal frowned around his cigar. He was starting to worry about Face; his lover's mind didn't seem to be on the game. He was starting to wonder if having Murdock and BA over was such a good idea.

 

"My mind's just not on the game." Face smiled over at Hannibal as he stood up and stretched. "Anybody need anything while I'm up?"

 

"Yeah, if you find someone who can play a decent game of poker while you're in the kitchen, would you send him out here?" Hannibal snickered as he smacked Face on the ass as he walked by. He was trying to keep his voice and actions light as his concern grew.

 

Face frowned down at Hannibal.  Did the Colonel know what he had done wrong?  He hadn't meant to break the rule; it had just happened.  Was this just a warning of what was to come? Swallowing hard, he turned to looked over at Murdock and BA. "You guys need anything?"

 

"I'll take a glass of milk since you're up, Faceman."

 

"I wouldn't mind another soda." Murdock looked up from his cards. "Please."

 

Face only made it a step when Hannibal grabbed him by the wrist, looking him up and down.. "Get me a beer."

 

"Sure." Face smiled down at Hannibal, who was still looking him over.

 

Oh, God, he knows! Face thought, then closed his eyes and let out a sigh.

 

It would be all right.  Hannibal was fair, and he knew his master would never hurt him.

 

"Anything else?"

 

"No." Hannibal turned his attention back to his cards.

 

Murdock looked up as Face sighed and walked out of the room.  When Face came back, Murdock noticed that his friend had his smile back in place.

 

"Here you go, guys." Face sat down a frosted mug of milk down in front of BA.

 

"Thanks, man." BA nodded as Face moved over to set Murdock's bottle of Coke in front of him.

 

"Yeah, thanks, Facey."

 

Face smiled at the pilot as he made his way over to Hannibal and put the beer down next to his lover. "Here you go, Hannibal."

 

"Your deal." Hannibal slid the cards over to Face as he picked up the beer and took a long slow drink, his eyes once again studying the younger man.

 

"I thought I would get us something to eat."

 

"Face, are we going to play poker, or are you going to play hostess?"

 

Hannibal took his cigar out of his mouth and continued to stare at the blonde. Something was definitely wrong.  He didn't know what, but something wasn't right.

 

Face looked over at the older man, then dropped his head. "I'm kind of hungry…I…I forgot to eat this afternoon."

 

"Jesus!" Hannibal shook his head as he stood up and grabbed Face by the arm and pulled him into the kitchen. "Of all the stupid things," he muttered as he shoved the younger man in front of him.

 

***

 

"He was kind of rough on him tonight." BA spoke softly.

 

"Yeah, and I can't help but wonder what happened when they were in the kitchen." Murdock leaned back in the van's seat. "How can Hannibal be so cruel to him after all he's been through?"

 

***

 

"Of all the stupid things," he muttered as he shoved the younger man in front of him and into the kitchen.

 

"I'm sorry, Hannibal. I didn't mean to…"

 

"Hush, Templeton," Hannibal stopped Face from talking by pulling the younger man into his arms and kissing him gently on the lips. "I should have noticed that you hadn't eaten." Hannibal gently ran his hand through Face's hair once before tightening his fingers and lifting his lover's head so they were looking each other in the eye. Hannibal studied the younger man's face; he could see the love and trust that was in the other man's blue-green eyes.

 

"It's my job to make sure you're safe." Hannibal tilted Face's head back a little further back so he could gently kiss his lover again. "What kind of master would I be if I let you get hurt?" he asked, his lips brushing Face's as he spoke.

 

Hannibal smiled when Face moaned softly against his mouth.

 

He had rarely used the term "Master" with Face, though he had to admit he loved the way his lover responded to the word. For Face, it seemed to be an almost instant turn-on.

 

"You've been running around all day trying to make things perfect." Hannibal gently pulled Face to his chest. "I should have been paying more attention to you. I love you so much."

 

"I love you, too, John." Face sighed heavily as he laid his head down on Hannibal's shoulder.

 

Hannibal couldn't help but smile as he hugged Face even closer and breathed in the sunshine that permeated the blonde hair. "I'm glad to hear that," Hannibal whispered into Face's ear before kissing it. "But you know you are in trouble for breaking the rules right?" Hannibal could hear Face swallow hard. "Why do we have rules, Templeton?"

 

"To keep me safe," Face whispered.

 

"That's right" Hannibal kissed Face's hair. "Now, how about we get you fed, so you don't fall over."

 

"I'd rather stay here." Face sighed again as he ran his hands up and down Hannibal's back. "To strip down right here and show you how much you mean to me, Master." Face whispered the last word into Hannibal's ear, causing the older man to shudder.  Okay, so maybe Face wasn't the only one who responded to that word.

 

"And I'd like nothing better, but you need to eat something." Hannibal moved Face back so he could look in his lover's eyes, his fingers moving to unbutton the top of Face's shirt so he could look at the gold pendent that rested against the base of his lover's delicate throat. "I can't have my baby sick." He reached up to stroked Face's hair back from his eyes.

 

"I'm not a baby." Face frowned.

 

"Yes, you are, Hannibal laughed softly, his blue eyes sparkling as kissed the down-turned mouth.

 

The endearment was still a touchy subject with Face, but Hannibal had his own reasons for calling him baby lately. He had tried calling Face "Lieutenant", but decided that it might cause confusion on a mission. And "Boy" was just a name he didn't care for, since it reminded him too much of trying to get Face back. So, much to Face's embarrassment, Hannibal had started calling him "baby" as much as he called him Tem or Face, though when he wanted Face's full attention, he used Templeton. The younger man had tried several times to get Hannibal to change his mind, but the Colonel wasn't giving up. So Face had given in to him; after all, Hannibal was doing so much to accommodate his needs, it was the least he could do.

 

"You're my baby." Again he ran his fingers over his name on the gold disk. "And if you don't want another punishment later, you'll do as you are told."

 

"Yes, Sir." Face swallowed hard when Hannibal moved his hand down to swat him lightly on the ass.

 

"Though you might change your mind." Hannibal bent over to kiss Face's throat just above the pendent before re-buttoning Face's shirt, covering the sign of ownership. "Now, do you need some help?"

 

"No, go ahead; I'll be out in just a minute."

 

"You sure?"

 

"Positive."

 

Pulling Face into his arms, he forced the blonde's head to his shoulder. "If you need me for anything, you call me."

 

"Sure, Hannibal."

 

"I mean it, Templeton." Hannibal changed his tone to one of authority.

 

Hannibal smiled when he heard Face sigh and completely relaxed in his arm.

 

"Yes, Sir," Face answered, his voice once again soft and submissive.

 

***

 

"And did you notice how quiet Face got after he came out of the kitchen?"

 

"Now that I think of it, he didn't say half a dozen words."

 

"Can you blame him? I think if he'd opened his mouth, the Colonel would have snapped his head off. I mean, did you hear what he said to him?"

 

***

 

"Hey, Lieutenant you going to play, or are you going to sit there all night and look at your cards?" Hannibal asked, his concern for Face coming to the surface again

 

"Huh?"

 

"Your bet, Face." Hannibal sighed as he rolled his eyes.  The young man was holding something back from him. When in the hell was he going to learn not to do that?

 

"Sorry." Face looked down at his cards. "I fold."

 

"Again?" Hannibal looked over at Face in disbelief.  He knew his lover could play circles around them, even when he wasn't cheating.  Something was definitely wrong.

 

"I just can't seem to concentrate." Face looked down as he started to rub his temple.

 

Hannibal narrowed his eyes as he looked at Face. "All right, guys; game's over." Hannibal tossed his cards down on the table. If Face was getting a migraine, he needed to try and stop it at now.

 

"Hey, Facey, you need any help cleaning up?" Murdock asked as he rose.

 

"We'll get it cleaned up later." Hannibal reached over and pulled Face out of his chair. "Won't we, Templeton?"

 

"Yes, Sir," Face whispered, his eyes closing as a slight shudder ran through his body.  He knew he was in serious trouble now.

 

***

 

BA was still thinking about what he had seen when Murdock interrupted him.

 

"And what was that comment that Hannibal made: 'we'll clean up later'? You know Face can't stand a mess." Murdock looked over at BA "The Colonel knows what a neat freak he can be. Hell, as soon as we got up, he started clearing the table."

 

"Yeah, I remember." BA growled. "He was starting to do the dishes when we left."

 

"And where, might I ask, was Hannibal?"

 

"Last time I saw him, he was headed upstairs."

 

"And if you had listened, you would have heard the water running. I'll guarantee you he was getting in the shower, leaving Face to clean up the mess. Plus, what is with all this 'yes, sir - no, sir' crap?  And 'Templeton'?  I don't think Hannibal called him Templeton half a dozen times in 'Nam" Murdock fumed. "I'm telling you, BA, Face is getting the short end of their relationship. He's giving everything to Hannibal, and the Colonel is treating him like dirt."

 

BA didn't answer; he just continued to stare out the window as he thought about everything he had seen and heard. He didn't want to think that Face was in a loveless relationship with Hannibal, not after everything the two had gone through after Face's kidnapping. No, he had seen what Hannibal had done to get Face back; there was no way possible that the Colonel would turn his back on Face. But what if it had been too much for the Colonel to deal with?  What if he now resented Face?  What if he…

 

"We ain't going to get involved.  It's between Face and Hannibal. If Face wants out, then it's up to him to leave.  We don't need to be stepping between them."

 

"You know how Face is.  He won't…"

 

"Then that's Face's problem."

 

"Fine, but I'm telling you Hannibal is taking advantage of him, and Face is going to get hurt."

 

"Then when that happens, we'll worry about it then."

 

Murdock crossed his arms as he glared at BA. He didn't like it one bit.  He loved Face more than a brother, and it ate him up to see the way Hannibal was treating the man he loved with all his heart. "Bet you he's scrubbing the pans right now."

 

***

 

Face was putting the last of the dirty dishes in the dishwater when he felt a pair of strong hands on his shoulders.

 

"I thought I made it clear that we, as in you and I, would get those later," Hannibal growled in Face's ear as he began to gently knead Face's shoulders, soothing the tight muscles he found under the skin.

 

"I just didn't want to look at the mess in the morning."

 

"Face, you've done more than enough.  It's time you relaxed."

 

"I just have a few more…"

 

"You're done, kid. I can tell by the way you're moving that you're getting a headache."

 

"Hannibal, I just have…"

 

"That's an order, Templeton." Slowly Hannibal turned Face so he was looking the younger man in the eyes. "I've drawn you a bath.  I want you to march your butt upstairs," as he spoke he began to remove Face's shirt, "climb in," Hannibal pulled Face's shirt off, then began to unbuckle the younger man's belt and unzip his jeans, "and relax." As he said these last words, Hannibal slid Face's jeans and underwear over the younger man's hips and down his long tan thighs so they were pooled at Face's feet.

 

"Step out of them." Hannibal whispered as he pulled Face into his arms.

 

Face closed his eyes as he stepped out of his jeans and underwear and into Hannibal's embrace. He could feel himself becoming aroused as Hannibal began to run his hands up and down his back.

 

"You know there are other things we could do that are just as relaxing," Face whispered in his lover's ear.

 

Hannibal smiled as he thought about how nice it would be to have Face's naked body wrapped around him, his own member buried deep in his lover's willing flesh. "I'd love nothing better than to take you right here and now," he whispered in Face's ear as he ran his hand down Face's spine, causing the smaller man to shudder. "But I know you are tired and I want you to take a break."

 

"Hannibal…"

 

Before Face could say another word, Hannibal lowered his hands and spanked him hard, causing the blonde to jump as the Colonel reddened his buttocks.

 

"Now, are you going to argue with me again?" Hannibal asked as he pushed Face back to look at him.

 

"No, Sir." Face sniffed as he wiped his teary eyes with the back of his hand.

 

Knowing he had gotten his point across, Hannibal pulled his lover into his arms and hugged him. Just like every time Hannibal punished him, it was not about the pain but about control. Now that Face's punishment was over, Hannibal comforted him.

 

"I want you go upstairs and get into the tub and relax for a while." Hannibal moved back so he could look Face in the eyes, a smile spreading across his handsome face. "When you're done, I'll meet you in the bedroom." With that said, he leaned forward and captured Face's mouth with his own.  He deepened the kiss until he heard Face moan.

 

When they broke apart, Hannibal lightly stroked Face's cheek with his fingers. "Now, go get in the tub," he ordered softly.

 

"Yes, Sir." Face sighed as he pulled out of Hannibal's arms. "But you know you're a tease."

 

"It's for your own good." Hannibal smiled as he lightly shoved Face toward the door.

 

"Can't prove it by me." Face scowled back at him as he looked down at his erection.

 

"Move it, Templeton," Hannibal warned as he swatted at the red butt.

 

Hannibal chuckled as Face stuck his tongue out at him before dashing out of the kitchen.

 

God, how I love you, kid, Hannibal thought as he picked up Face's discarded clothes.  He folded them neatly and laid them on the kitchen table. He moved to the stove and started a kettle of water before turning back to the sink to finish the last of the dishes.

 

Ten minutes later, Hannibal had the last of the dishes cleaned and had finished straightening up the downstairs. The water in the kettle was just starting to steam when he walked back into the kitchen. He pulled out a mug and tea bag from the cupboard; after pouring the steaming water into the mug, he headed up stairs to check on Face.

 

He found the younger man stretched out in the garden tub with his head laid back against the edge, his eyes closed, the water from the whirlpool jets swirling around his tan body.

 

"How you feeling, baby?" Hannibal asked as he moved to kneel down beside Face's head, setting the ceramic mug on the edge of the tub.

 

"Relaxed," Face sighed as he opened his eyes and looked over at his lover.

 

"Good. I thought you might like some tea." Hannibal smiled as he reached out to run his fingers through the soft blonde hair.

 

"You didn't have to…"

 

"I wanted to." Hannibal leaned over to kiss Face on the forehead.

 

"Thank you." Face smiled back.

 

"You're welcome." Hannibal kissed him again sitting back up. "You need anything else?"

 

Face closed his eyes and enjoyed the feeling of the hot water caressing his body and his lover's fingers in his hair.

 

"You need anything else?" Hannibal asked again when Face didn't respond.

 

Face just shook his head "no", not even bothering to open his eyes.

 

"I'll come get you in a few minutes."

 

"Kay." Face sighed contently, his voice little more than a whisper.

 

Moving into the bedroom, Hannibal turned down the bed. He thought about laying out a set of silk pajamas for Face, but decided that he didn't want anything separating his skin from his lover's when he wrapped himself around the younger man's body. He shook his head as his manhood began to stir. "Not tonight, Smith; the kid is way too tired," he berated himself.

 

With the bed ready for them, Hannibal went down the hall to the guest bathroom.  He quickly showered and dried off before returning to the master bath to retrieve Face from the tub.

 

"All right, kid; bedtime." Hannibal smiled as he reached down to open the drain.

 

Face looked up at him his blue-green eyes only half open. "Five more minutes, please."

 

"Five more minutes and you'll be asleep." Hannibal chuckled as he grabbed Face by the wrists and pulled him upright. "Come on, Templeton; on your feet."

 

Face did as he was told and slowly climbed out of the tub.  When he was standing on the tile bathroom floor, Hannibal began to dry him off.

 

"Nice towel." Face smiled at the pink towel wrapped around the older man's waist.

 

"It's more than you have." Hannibal smiled back as he finished drying the younger man back.

 

"True." Face nodded as he tried to suppress a yawn.

 

"Come on, sleeping beauty.  Let's get you to bed." Hannibal lightly pushed Face toward their bedroom.

 

"You going to tuck me in?" Face snickered, then stopped when he felt a slap on his bare buttocks.

 

"Smart-ass kid."

 

As they walked into the bedroom, Face moved to his dresser, then stopped when Hannibal's arm went around his shoulder guiding him to his side of the bed and gently pushing him down.

 

"Scoot over and lie down on your stomach."

 

Face opened his mouth to complain that he would like nothing better than to have Hannibal make love to him, but since the bath, he was feeling too tired.

 

"I'm not going to argue with you, Templeton.  Move it."

 

Face sighed as he did what he was told.  Who was he to complain? Hannibal treated him better than anyone ever had, and he was no longer in control of his body. Hannibal was now his Master, and if his Master wanted sex, then so be it. He moved to the center of the bed and spread his legs, giving Hannibal better access to his body.

 

Hannibal looked down at Face and shook his head.  He knew what was running through his lover's mind, and he was saddened that, after all this time, Face still didn't think he could tell him "no". But, at least now that Face had given up control to him, he could make sure that his lover's needs were taken care of.

 

"Close your eyes," Hannibal commanded softly as he pushed Face's legs back together so he could straddle them. Leaning over, he began to massage Face's neck and shoulders. Slowly, he worked his way down his lover's shoulders and back.

 

"Feels good," Face moaned as Hannibal worked the kinks out of his lower back.

 

"Shhh; relax." Hannibal moved past Face's buttocks and began to massage his lover's thighs. He watched as Face's breathing began to slow, his back rising and falling slower and slower.  Even though he knew the younger man was asleep, Hannibal still continued down Face's body until he got to his feet. He watched Face for a few more minutes, then slowly began to work his way back up.  Forty- five minutes later, he stopped at the top Face's neck.

 

Hannibal pulled off his own towel, then reached down to pull the blankets around Face and himself. Once they were both covered, he pulled Face to his body so that he could wrap himself around Face's back.

 

"Han..bal?" Face shifted slightly.

 

"It's just me, kid.  Go back to sleep."

 

"Kay." Face sighed, already asleep.

 

Hannibal smiled as Face lifted his head so he could slip his arm under the blonde's head, allowing the younger man to use it as a pillow. At the same time, Face scooted closer into Hannibal so the entire back part of his body was touching Hannibal's front.

 

Hannibal loved it when Face curled into him like this when they slept. When he was curled around Face, he knew the younger man was safe, and Face always seemed to be able to sleep without having a nightmare, as if being held in his arms kept the nightmare at bay,

 

"Love you, Tem," Hannibal whispered into Face's ear as he wrapped his arm around his lover's chest and pulled him in even closer.

 

***

 

When Face woke the next morning, he found himself alone in the bed. It wasn't something that he was unfamiliar with, though. Hannibal had always been a morning person, whereas he liked to sleep in. Face stretched his limbs, waking the rested muscles from sleep.  He was right in mid-stretch when a sudden thought struck him. He had broken one of the rules yesterday, and even though Hannibal had not punished him for it last night, he knew his Master would not have forgotten.

 

Swallowing the lump that suddenly appeared in his throat, Face climbed out of bed. Making his way to the bathroom, he noticed that Hannibal had laid out his clothes at the end of the bed. Face considered climbing back in bed and staying there until Hannibal came looking for him, but quickly dismissed the idea. He didn't know what his Master had planned for him, but there was no use making it worse. Taking a deep breath, Face got dressed and headed downstairs to the kitchen.

 

Hannibal smiled when he felt a presence behind him. "Did you sleep well, Templeton?"

 

Face swallowed hard when he heard the authoritative tone in his Master's voice.

 

"Yes, Sir." Face dropped his head.

 

"Sit down."

 

"Hannibal, I…"

 

"I said sit down, Templeton," Hannibal commanded, still not turning around.

 

"Yes, Sir."

 

Hannibal still didn't turn around as he finished making their breakfast; instead he listened to Face move to the table.  When he didn't hear a chair being pulled out, he added to his command: "At the table, Templeton; not beside it." Hannibal didn't need to turn around to know Face was kneeling beside the table, his head hung.

 

The kneeling on the floor was one of the hardest things for Hannibal to accept, but after his time with Fulmer, he came to understand it was Face's way of letting him know that he trusted him with his life, and he was willing to accept anything that Hannibal decided.

 

So, more and more, Hannibal let Face kneel beside him, and as he did, he became more and more comfortable with Face doing it. But now Hannibal had a point to make, and he was planning on keeping Face on his toes.

 

Finishing at the stove, Hannibal turned around with a plate in his hand. He moved to the table and set it down before he went over to the coffee pot and poured two cups of coffee. Moving back to the table, he sat down beside Face, who was now looking at the plate and back at him, his eyes wide.

 

Hannibal looked at Face as he picked up his coffee and took a drink. "Now, Templeton, do you want to tell me why you didn't eat yesterday?"

 

Face dropped his eyes before he spoke. "I forgot."

 

Reaching under his lover's chin, he lifted his head, forcing the young man to look at him. "Do you want to be punished for lying to me, as well?"

 

Face tried to look down again, but Hannibal only tightened his grip, preventing him from moving. "Talk to me Templeton."

 

"No, Sir, I didn't forget." Face paused as he looked at his lover. "I got busy, and I knew I should have stopped to eat but," Face sighed deeply, "I didn't want to stop.  I just had so much to do…" Face looked down, then back up again. "I'm sorry Master."

 

Hannibal nodded as he moved forward to kiss Face softly on the lips.

 

"That's good, Templeton; that's very good."

 

Hannibal sat back and smiled at Face as he picked up a piece of toast and tore off a bite-sized amount. "Open up."

 

The shocked look on his lover's face made Hannibal explain his actions, even though, according to the contract he had made with Face, he didn't have to.

 

"Since you can't take to time to eat, I'm going to make sure you do."

 

"Hannibal…"

 

"No.  For one week, when it is time to eat, you are going to sit down at this table, and I am going to feed you. If you thought you were going to get out of this with a swat on the butt, you are sadly mistaken. I want you to remember how important your health is, and I think this will help you to remember. Do you understand?"

 

Face took a deep breath and let it out slowly before nodding his head. There were times like these that he wished his lover would just paddle his ass red instead of doing things like this. It wasn't that he found it humiliating; it was that it made him remember his mistake longer.

 

"Yes?" Hannibal asked.

 

"Yes, Sir." Face nodded before opening his mouth.

 

"Good." Hannibal stuck a bite-sized piece of toast in his mouth. "Now, BA and Murdock will be coming over tomorrow morning.  We have a job starting, and I want to make sure everyone knows what's going on."

 

***

 

The next morning

 

Hannibal moved to sit down next to Face at the table in their kitchen, a cup of coffee in one hand, a plate with a piece of toast in the other.

 

"So, you're sure that the papers are in the safe?" Hannibal asked as he pulled a piece off the corner of the toast and handed it to Face.

 

"Yeah, I'm sure, Colonel," Murdock reaffirmed as he took a bite of his own breakfast. "I watched the guy put them in there myself. Billy can tell you the same thing, if you want." Murdock reached down to pet the invisible dog at his feet.

 

"I trust you, Captain." Hannibal smiled as he took a drink of his coffee, then tore another piece of the toast and handed it to Face.

 

"What kind of security are we looking at, BA?"

 

"Ain't nothing that we can't get into, Hannibal.  Couple of quick cuts at the main box, and we're in."

 

"Good.  Then tonight we grab the papers. send them to the DA, and call this case done." Hannibal smiled as he leaned back in his chair, but not before he handed Face another piece of toast.

 

"Do you know what type of safe it is, Hannibal?" Face asked as he took the piece of toast from his lover and popped it in his mouth.

 

Murdock turned to look at BA when he saw Hannibal tear off yet another piece of toast and hand it to Face before he spoke.

 

"It's a old standard tumbler, from what I can tell.  Shouldn't take two minutes to get into it."

 

Face nodded as he took another piece of toast from Hannibal. "Do you have any photos so I can see what I'm dealing with?"

 

"No, but who said you were going to be the one to go in?"

 

"Hannibal, it only makes sense that I do it."

 

Hannibal raised an eyebrow as he took a drink of his coffee. "Go on, Templeton."

 

"I've got more experience with safes than anyone on [else] the team. I can be in and out before anyone knows what happened."

 

Hannibal sat and looked at the younger man for a few minutes before he made his decision. "All right, but we make sure the place is empty before you go in. I don't want to take any chances." Hannibal handed Face the last piece of toast.

 

"Hey, Facey, are our finances that bad?"

 

The blonde turned to look at Murdock, his face full of confusion.

 

"Well, I mean, if you have to share a piece of toast with the Colonel, we must be having money problems," Murdock snickered.

 

"Maybe the Colonel's just trying to be romantic," BA chuckled in his milk.

 

Hannibal watched as his lover's face turned red with embarrassment; reaching over, he caressed the younger man's cheek. "Maybe, I just want to make sure the man I love takes care of himself."

 

BA and Murdock both watched as Face moved into the Colonel's touch.

 

Something ain't right, BA thought as he watched the two men.

 

***

 

Hannibal crouched down as a car passed his position.

 

"Damn!" He cursed when he noticed the black sedan pulling in front of the building. Face was now in, trying to unlock the safe. "BA, we have a problem," he growled into the walkie-talkie before he switched the channel. "Face, we've got company; you need to get your ass out of there now."

 

Face could hear Hannibal's voice coming through radio, but he ignored it as he had the safe open and was just going through the papers.  He just needed another second. "There you are." He smiled as he put the papers he needed in the inside liner of his jacket pocket. Face had just managed to get the safe door shut and locked when the door opened.

 

"As I was say…" The mobster stopped in mid-sentence to look at Face. "Who the hell are you?"

 

Face instantly put on one of his best smiles. "I'm from the department of zoning, and we've had some complaints from your neighbors that you've been running a dog grooming business out of here." Face kept on smiling as he made his way toward the door. "But, I can see by the office that you aren't, so I'll be on my way."

 

"Chuck, grab him." The mobster motioned to the huge man who was standing in the doorway. Before Face could move, he was grabbed from behind.  As Face tried to get out of the big man's grip, the mobster grabbed him by the front of his jacket.

 

"What the hell are you doing in my office, pretty boy?"

 

Face swallowed hard as he tried to keep his smile on his face. "I told you: I'm with the city, there was a complaint…" the words were cut off when a blow caught him in the stomach.

 

"Now, I'm going to ask you again; what the hell are you doing in my office?"

 

Face would have doubled over in pain if the thug behind him hadn't grabbed hold of his hair. "Boss asked you a question," he snarled in the blonde's ear.  As he tightened his grip on Face's hair, he smiled. "Hey, Boss, how about I take him downstairs and make him talk?"

 

The mobster watched as Face turned pale in the big man's grip; the Boss grabbed Face's jaw.

 

"You know, Chuck, that's not a bad idea. How about it, pretty boy?  You going to tell me why you were in my office, or are we going to have to beat it out of you?"

 

Face swallowed the lump in his throat as he tried once again to pull off his con. "If you will just let me get my ID out of my pocket, I can show you…"

 

Again, Face's words died in his throat a he was punched in the side of the head.

 

"Take him…." The boss stopped when someone banged on the door to the office and a voice call out.

 

"Hey, is there anyone here?  I got a delivery here I need someone to sign for."

 

"Just leave it."

 

"Man, it's a crate.  I can't leave it without a signature."

 

"Get rid of him," the boss growled at Chuck.

 

"What about this guy?"

 

The boss pulled his gun out of his jacket and shoved it into Face's ribs.

 

"Head for the closet, pretty boy."

 

Face shook his head "no"; he couldn't go in a closet.  There was no way he could go into a confined space. Even with all the work he had done with Hannibal, he still couldn't go into their closet, and it was a huge walk-in.

 

"Move your ass." The boss jammed the gun harder in Face's side, but Face still didn't move.  He couldn't; his muscles were frozen, locking him into place. Chuck looked at his boss.

 

"Get him in there."

 

Chuck started to drag Face toward the coat closet.  When they were almost to it, Face lost his hold on where he was. Instead of being held in an office, he saw himself naked in the basement of Black's house, being shoved onto the closet where he had already spent weeks isolated from any human contact.

 

Hannibal was just about to pound on the door again when he heard an inhuman scream. Hannibal stepped back and kicked the door as hard as he could; it gave way on the second blow, the casing splintering.

 

As soon as Hannibal entered the room, BA and Murdock were right behind him, firing off a volley of shots from their rifles.

 

"Drop the gun!" Murdock yelled as he moved to help cover the Boss.

 

As they made their way farther into the office, the team noticed the second man standing off to one side of the room.  BA quickly moved to cover him.

 

"Where is he?" Hannibal snapped as he walked over to the boss and grabbed him by the front of his shirt.

 

"I don't know who you're talking about." The boss gave Hannibal an innocent look. "My associate and I were just discussing business when you men came bursting into my office. Now, what is the meaning of this?"

 

"The blonde who was in here - where the hell is he?"

 

When the boss made no move to talk, Hannibal pitched his rifle to BA before pulling out his automatic. Pulling the slide back, he chambered a round before pressing it to the other man's stomach.

 

"You're not going to kill me," the boss sneered.

 

"You're right, I'm not." Hannibal moved the gun lower, pressing it into the man's crotch. "I'm going to make you wish you were dead. Now, you have ten seconds to tell me where he is."

 

When the Boss just looked at him, Hannibal started counting. "Two, four, six, eight…"

 

"He's in the closet!" the Boss all but screamed. "We threw him in the coat closet!"

 

"Jesus!" Hannibal shoved the Boss toward Murdock as he ran to the closet door. Jerking the door open, Hannibal's movement stopped when his heart leaped in his chest. There, huddled on the floor in the corner of the small coat closet, was Face, back to the door, arms covering his head.  His entire body was shaking so hard Hannibal was afraid he might be having convulsions.

 

"Face?" Hannibal dropped down to his knees. "Face?" When the younger man didn't respond, Hannibal tried another tactic.

 

"Templeton."

 

Face's body went rigid.

 

"Templeton, look at me." Hannibal commanded softly.

 

Face uncovered his head and slowly turned his head to look at Hannibal with tortured eyes.

 

Holding out his arms, Hannibal issued another soft command. "Come on, baby; it's time to go home."

 

Face moved so quickly, he almost knocked Hannibal down when he threw himself in his arms.

 

"I wasn't bad; I did what I was supposed to do. I was good!  Why was I being punished?" Face cried into Hannibal's chest.

 

Hannibal pulled the trembling body closer to him, hugging his lover tight to his chest and whispering into his ear.

 

"You weren't bad, Templeton; you could never be bad. Do you hear me, baby? I love you so much. I promise you I'm going to make those men pay for hurting you. Do you trust me?"

 

Face nodded, his head against Hannibal's chest as he let out another sob.

 

Hannibal held Face to him for a few more minutes before he decided to move them. "Templeton, we need to stand up so we can go to the van." He waited a moment for Face to move, but when the younger man didn't do anything he asked another question.

 

"Can you walk, baby, or do you need me to carry you?"

 

After a second, Face wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. "Can…walk," he hitched out as he started to stand.  As he rose, Hannibal wrapped his arms around his waist and pulled him in close to his body, giving him as much emotional support as he could.

 

"What do you want to do with these two?" BA asked as Hannibal and Face made their way past them.

 

"Tie them up.  We'll call the police from the van." Hannibal glared at the boss and the muscle-bound goon. Face shuddered in his arms, then stopped walking. "Tem?"

 

"Wait," Face whispered as he reached a trembling hand into his pocket. With some difficulty, he managed to pull down the hidden liner so he could get the papers out. Handing them over to Hannibal, he whispered softly: "Need these."

 

"Thank you." Hannibal squeezed Face's waist before he leaned over to whisper into Face's ear. "You did good, baby."

 

Thirty minutes later, the team watched from the safety of the van as the police took The Boss and Chuck out of the building in handcuffs.

 

Face looked as Hannibal pointed out through the windshield.


"See, Tem?" he whispered. "I kept my promise. Those men will never hurt you again."

 
Face sighed and nodded as he shifted in Hannibal's arms, resting his head on his lover's shoulder as he fell into an exhausted sleep.


Murdock turned in his seat to look back at them "'What's up with Facey, Colonel?" he asked, his voice heavy with concern. To his right, BA nodded, also wanting an answer as to why their youngest member was acting so strangely.


Hannibal sighed. "You remember what Face was like after "the box" in 'Nam?"  The other men nodded. "Well, what Black did to him was infinitely worse: four months of total sensory deprivation, locked in a tiny room with no human contact. With the result that he's now terrified of confined spaces."


"Man, that's sick," B.A. growled. "So how come he ain't freakin' out in mah van?"


"'First, because he can see out, and knows he can leave at any time," Hannibal said. "Second, he has the people he loves around him." He looked at Face and sighed. "'Take us home, Sergeant."


BA complied, but he still wasn't too happy about what he'd overheard in
the office.

 

When they arrived back at the house, Hannibal woke Face, who on the outside seemed to be doing better. However, Hannibal wasn't fooled; he could see the trembling hands before Face could shove them in his pockets.

 

"You want to talk about it?" Hannibal asked as he closed and locked the front door behind him.

 

"No," Face whispered. "If you don't mind, I'd just like to get cleaned up and go to bed."

 

"All right, kid.  I'll be up there in a few minutes."

 

Hannibal moved to the bar and poured himself a drink before sitting down on the couch. He had been doing a lot of thinking on the way home in the van, and he knew Face wasn't going to like his decision, but it was something that had to be done. Taking out a cigar, he lit it before sinking back into the couch and enjoyed the flavor. When he heard the water shut off upstairs, he put out his cigar and went to join Face.

 

"You don't mind if I watch TV in here with you?" Hannibal asked as he watched Face climb into bed.

 

"No, you're not going to bother me." Face flashed him a quick smile, though Hannibal noted that it didn't reach his eyes.

 

After getting changed into a pair of pajama bottoms, he joined Face in the bed. Sitting up with his back to the headboard, Hannibal flipped through the channels until he found a ball game. Glancing over at Face, he noticed that the younger man was curled up in a tight ball. Not a good sign, he thought

 

"Face?" he called out softly before stroking the blonde hair.

 

"Yeah?"

 

"Why don't you come over here?" Hannibal asked as he raised his arm.

Face turned so that he could see Hannibal and the offered chest to rest his head on. A slight smile pulled at the corners of his lips as he moved next to Hannibal, scooting as close to his lover as he could get.

 

"Comfortable?" Hannibal asked as he reached down to stroke the blonde's hair.

 

"Always when I'm with you." Face sighed, closing his eyes as the fingers running through his hair began to relax him.  Within a few minutes, Face was sound asleep.

 

Hannibal pulled the blanket up around Face's shoulders before shifting slightly, getting more comfortable and settling down for a long night, knowing that Face would not sleep through it without a nightmare.

 

 

TBC

 


The Club III - Is He Good Enough by Jullian Gray and HannibalFan'52
The Club III - Is He Good Enough 2 by Jullian Gray and HannibalFan'52

 

 


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