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There was a man inside, who smiled and checked Harvey's name off on a list – Mike was relieved that at least this place seemed to be a members' only club, because he dreaded the thought of walking into an everyday, vanilla bar dressed like this. He assumed Harvey wouldn't do that, though – not least because Harvey definitely wasn't dressed for walking into an everyday kind of bar, either. Not without getting beaten up, anyway.

They were ushered behind a curtain... and then down some steps.

"Walter likes to create a sense of drama – so you don't know what you'll be walking into," Harvey murmured. "His Washington DC club is the same."

"Walter? This is Walter's place?" Mike asked, but then he stopped in his tracks as they rounded a corner… and stood at the top of another, shorter flight of steps, looking down on a warm, welcoming bar area.

It wasn't just any bar. The walls were painted a seductive red, and there were heavy burgundy drapes hanging around the place, giving it a warm, sexy feel. On closer inspection, Mike noted the hooks embedded in the walls at strategic places, as well as several pairs of manacles.

There was a St. Andrews Cross in the centre of the room, and a rack of disciplinary implements beside it – a copious array of floggers, whips, paddles and canes.  There were tables and chairs positioned around it, made of old oak, seasoned and weathered, big and sturdy. 

Mike swallowed hard and moved a step closer to Harvey.

"Shit. This place is -"

"Better than that seedy Dungeon club you visited on your first foray into the world of BDSM, back before I met you," Harvey replied. "This is an exclusive club, Mike, by invitation only, and tonight is their opening night."

Mike saw a sign above the bar – "Welcome to Murray's Bar – NYC!"

"This is the legal work you helped Walter with," Mike said slowly. "Buying this place?"

"Yup! I even helped him and his business partner, Hammer, to look around a few premises first, before they settled on this one. It's very like their bar in DC."

"Wait – is that how you met Walter?" Mike asked, as Harvey tugged on his leash, pulling him down the last few steps, into the bar. "In his DC BDSM bar?"


“Why DC? Scared of playing too close to home?” Mike asked cheekily.

Harvey rolled his eyes. “I was working there for a couple of months, staying in a hotel, and I heard about Murray’s. I’d always wanted to investigate the BDSM scene, so I engineered myself an invitation and paid the place a visit. I was lucky – I found Walter there, and he took me under his wing, which I really needed at that point.”

"He sure did!" Walter Skinner walked towards them, his hand outstretched. "Harvey, you look magnificent – as always."

"You too, Walter – as always." The two men laughed and shook hands, and Mike had to agree with Harvey.

Walter was dressed like a very toppy cowboy, complete with Stetson, chaps, and a leather bolo tie – all in pure black. There was a pair of silver spurs on his heels, and a whip curled on his hip. He was wearing a silver sheriff's badge on his broad chest.

"And now we see the naughty pup as he was meant to be seen – in all his glory." Walter winked at Mike and extended his hand to him, too. Mike felt suddenly shy in the presence of this tall, genial man, in a way he hadn’t been back at the office. Now they were on different territory, and he was very aware that he was a sub, and Walter was a very imposing dom. Walter's big paw engulfed his hand, and he squeezed hard, once, then drew Mike in. "So, how do you like my new place, Mike?" he asked, waving his hand around the bar.

"Uh, it's nice… really nice," Mike replied.

"I'm sensing a ‘but’." Walter raised an eyebrow.

"Just… somehow, I didn't take you for a bar owner, sir. When you were in Harvey's office... I don't know… I just felt…" Mike trailed off, flushing. "Sorry, I don't mean to imply there's anything wrong with owning a bar, but it just seemed to me… I didn't exactly get that vibe off you."

"What vibe did you get off me?" Walter was gazing at him keenly from those dark brown eyes that seemed to know everything.

"Something more dangerous than bar owner," Mike murmured.

"Hmm, the pup has a good nose," Walter commented, with a glance at Harvey.

Harvey put a hand on Mike's shoulder. "Walter is an investor in Murray's bar. He likes to be as hands on as possible, but it's not his day job."

"Really? What is?" Mike asked, intrigued.

"He's an assistant director at the FBI," Harvey said, and Mike's jaw dropped again. He had the feeling it'd be doing that a lot this evening.

Both Walter and Harvey laughed at his reaction, and Harvey took pity on him and squeezed his shoulder.

"It surprised the hell out of me, too, when I found out."

"Yeah – you should have seen young Harvey here, walking into my DC bar a few years back, all Specter cockiness, combined with a huge dose of nerves. I had to take pity on this new young dom, and take him in and show him the ropes," Walter said. "I didn't want him falling into the wrong hands, and learning some bad habits. Harvey had good instincts though – he just needed a little finessing. I was happy to help him with that."

"You see, Walter here, is what they call the Guardian of the House," Harvey said. "He basically runs the DC BDSM scene, and if he hears of anyone being abusive, or not playing safely, he can pretty much run them out of town."

"Well, it's not that simple, but I guess that's why I'm wearing the badge." Walter pointed at the shiny sheriff's badge on his chest.

"So, who's Murray?" Mike asked, glancing around. "Is he here?"

Walter shook his head. "Murray died a few years ago. Hammer was his sub, and he manages the bars – he named them in memory of his dom. Murray was a great character – we all loved him. That’s Hammer, over there."

Walter pointed at a man behind the bar, who waved back. Hammer didn't look like a sub – he was thickset, with bulging muscles shown off to perfection by his tight tee shirt. He had thick dark hair, going silver at the temples, and a battered face with a broken nose that made him look menacing.

"I know, I know," Walter said, noticing Mike's reaction. "But Hammer's one of the good guys. He was a nurse for many years, working with terminally ill patients, but he gave that up to care for Murray after he had his heart attack. Since Murray died, Hammer’s gone into this business. He's good at taking care of people – that's Hammer. You won't meet a nicer guy."

"And you said Murray was his dom? Hammer's a sub?" Mike asked.

"Sure – you can't tell someone's sexual inclinations by how they look, Mike – or how they act in their everyday lives. Sometimes it's pretty clear, but sometimes it isn't. I know a couple of federal agents who identify as subs, but they're both hardasses that you really wouldn’t want to cross out in the field." He glanced at a man who was making his way towards them, dressed like a cowboy, too, in exactly the same outfit as Walter's, only his was all white. "One of them is retired from law enforcement now, but he's still a pain in the ass." Walter said that loud enough for the man to hear, and gave Harvey a wink at the same time.

"Are you talking about me, Walter?" the man said as he reached them. He had a low, monotone voice, and was lean and lanky, with brown hair, hazel eyes, and a full lower lip. Walter grinned and wrapped an arm around the man's shoulders, pulling him close.

"Yup! Mike – this is my very own pain in the ass, Fox Mulder. Fox – this is Harvey’s young pup, Mike Ross."

Mike took the man's hand, and then stopped in mid-shake, frowning. "Wait... not the Fox Mulder? The guy who writes about aliens and things that go bump in the night?"

Mulder gave a long-suffering sigh. "Yeah. That's me."

"And you're Walter's submissive? You?" Mike tried to get his head around the idea that this man, standing in front of him dressed in the white cowboy suit, was the investigative author who broke into top secret government facilities to uncover what they were hiding, and who seemed to publish a new book full of conspiracy theories every year.

"No, I'm not Walter's submissive." Mulder shook his head vehemently.

"Oh, I'm sorry. I just thought…"

Mulder grinned. "I'm his slave."

"You know, Pup," Harvey said, "If your jaw is going to keep dropping open like that, then we really will have to find a way to keep it shut. I have something in mind – Walter, did you bring it?"

Walter nodded. "I did – come with me."

The two men walked off together, and Mike grimaced. "That doesn't sound good."

"It definitely sounded ominous," Mulder said. "You and Harvey are just starting out, yes?"

"We've been together for eighteen months, but…" Mike hesitated. "We've never been to a place like this, before. I mean, Harvey's never dressed me up like this, with the… you know, make-up, and the…" He waved his hand in the direction of his exposed ass.

"That's a shame – it's a good look on you." Mulder winked.

"That's what Harvey said. But… we've played a little, mainly spanking and some light dom/sub games, but we've never…" Mike nodded at the St. Andrew's cross and all the implements next to it. "We've never played like that."

"And would you like to?" Mulder asked, his hazel eyes gazing at Mike searchingly.

"Yes." Mike said the word before he'd even realized it. "Oh shit," he muttered, putting his hand over his mouth. Mulder laughed. "I do want to," Mike said slowly, "But… it's kind of a big deal. I mean, I work with Harvey – I'm his associate – and we have a great relationship in and out of the office, so I really wouldn't want to screw that up."

"You won't, and as for the other stuff – don't worry about it." Mulder waved his hand in the air. "I became Walter's slave when I was still working for him, and it's the best thing I ever did. Sure, there have been some complications, and some rough spots along the way, but we got through it – together."

"So, you're his slave? How does that work?" Mike asked curiously. Harvey had hung the tag on his collar that proclaimed him to be the Property of Harvey Specter, but they had never taken it to that level, or really played as master and slave. Was Harvey signalling that he wanted to, by putting that tag on his collar?

“Well, it's like being his sub, only he has total control over me, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” Mulder replied. “That might sound hot, but often it just means he gets to order me to bed when I'm tired but being too stupid to realize it. Or he makes me do the laundry when I’d rather be chasing after aliens – boring shit like that. Walter... grounds me." Mulder made a face. "That's something I'm not very good at, Mike. I don't think you have the same problem, though. A 24/7 arrangement might not be your thing, but it works for us."

"Harvey has such a big ego that the idea of me being his slave, and him my master…" Mike faltered on the word, and Mulder put his head on one side, looking thoughtful. "Well, I’m not sure. Apart from anything else, he pretty much treats me like his slave in the office anyway – I'm not sure I want to give him the same power over me at home."

"Oh, I bet you don't let him get away with too much," Mulder said slowly. "I have a suspicion that in your relationship, you’re the one who grounds him. I know Harvey, and I think he needs the responsibility of caring for a sub, because sometimes he forgets he's mortal, and thinks he can fly."

Mike thought of Harvey's apartment, the one they now both shared, situated high in the sky, looking down on the city far below, and he nodded.

"Yeah. You could be right, Mulder. Or, uh... should I call you Fox?"

"Not if you want to live. Only my master calls me that – he thought it was a great joke to use my real name as my slave name. He's cruel like that. It was him who made me dress like this." Mulder waved his hand at his white cowboy outfit. "He knows I hate being dressed up, so he insists on making me wear the most humiliating matching outfits he can find." Mulder pulled a mournful face, and Mike got the feeling that he loved his master very much, and his complaints weren’t intended to be taken seriously.

"Ha! Your humiliation has nothing on mine! My damn ass is hanging out!" Mike complained.

"I know. Terrible isn't it?" They both exchanged a look, and then burst out laughing.

At that moment, two newcomers arrived, pausing on the landing of the lower set of stairs, the way Mike and Harvey had done. One of them had silver grey hair and was wearing a purple shirt, while the other was about twelve years his junior, with soft brown hair and the brightest grin Mike had ever seen.

"I know what Walter said about not judging people based on appearances – but it is so clear who the dom is there," Mike whispered.

Mulder laughed. "Oh yeah. Every time Gibbs walks into a place, everyone rolls over and shows him their bellies. He takes being ‘Alpha dog’ to a whole new level. The only person I've ever seen out-top him is Walter, and that’s only because of their history and doesn’t happen often. They were in the Marines together, many years ago."

"You know them?"

"Sure – that's my good buddy, Tony DiNozzo. He's about the only sub in the world who could handle a dom as scary as Leroy Jethro Gibbs."

"That's his name? Leroy Jethro? Yikes!" Mike made a face.

"Yeah – don't mock him about it to his face, though. He can silence you with just a look; he's one scary-assed dom. And Tony is about the toughest sub you'll ever meet. He might look all smiley, but he's almost as dangerous as Gibbs underneath all the shiny, happy Tony stuff he does. That's just his cover. He and Gibbs are both federal agents, and they're both pretty tough guys." Mulder waved at the newcomers. "Hey – Tony, Gibbs! Over here! We've got a newbie here, who needs to be shown the ropes."

Tony came over, still grinning broadly, and wrapped Mulder in a hug.  Then he released him and glanced at Mike. “And this is?”

"This is Mike Ross. Mike, this asshole is Tony DiNozzo," Mulder said, and the two men shook hands.

"Hey, nice outfit, Buddy," Tony said with a smirk, looking Mulder's cowboy costume up and down.

"Fuck off," Mulder replied, and Tony burst out laughing.

"Aw, but you're lucky, Mulder. Gibbs is embarrassed to be seen out even wearing nice pants, let alone a full blown costume, so we always have to come to Murray's dressed like this." He gestured at his classy chinos and deep green shirt, and gave a tragic sigh. "I'd love to be dressed up like you two." Tony glanced at Mike and gave a whistle. "And you're bare-assed? Gibbs goes nuts if another dom sees so much as a hint of my pretty little ankles, so I never get to wear cool stuff like that."

"It's totally not cool to have your ass hanging out and to be displayed in public wearing mascara and eyeliner," Mike grumbled.

"Sure it is." Tony grinned.  "I bet your dom loves playing little humiliation games with you, and I bet you love it, too, secretly. Oh, you don't tell him, but he knows by the way you flush right up to your ears, and your eyes go all glowy." He waved his hand at Mike's eyes, and Mike found himself flushing right up to his ears as described, making Tony laugh out loud.

"Sometimes Harvey spanks me in the car with the chauffeur in the front," Mike admitted.

"Knew it!" Tony exclaimed.

"Pah! That's nothing." Mulder waved a derisory hand in the air.  "Walter once displayed me completely naked at a party, wearing only…" He made a tragic face, "bells attached to my nipple rings."

"Oh shit." Mike breathed. "Really?"

"Yup." Mulder nodded mournfully. "I wouldn't have minded, but it was supposed to be MY party!"

Mike and Tony both laughed at that, and Mike felt himself starting to relax. These people were intelligent and fun. Nobody here was weird, so far at least, and now his exposed ass, bare chest, clamped nipples and eye make-up were starting to feel a lot less demeaning, and more like he belonged.

"Where did Gibbs go?" Mulder glanced around.

"Over to be with the doms." Tony pointed at the bar, where Gibbs was being enveloped in a Walter Skinner bear hug. "He hates stuff like this. He's only here to support Walter, and because I wanted to spend Christmas with Dad on Long Island. We're... trying to build some bridges, me and dad." Tony made a face. "So, here we are." He glanced around. "This is the new Murray's, is it? Looks a lot like the one in DC!"

"Walter and Hammer are trying to create a 'look'." Mulder shrugged. "It's not my thing, but you know how Walter is about shit like this, so he's spent months planning the décor down to the last hook in the wall."

The bar was filling up with people, wearing a variety of different outfits, some obviously living the full BDSM lifestyle, and some wearing ordinary street clothes.

"Where's this dom of yours, then, Mike?" Tony asked. "This evil genius who likes humiliating you in public? No, wait – I think I know who he is." He pointed at Harvey, who was talking to Hammer while turning something over in his hands, although Mike couldn't see what he was holding. "It has to be that guy there."

"That's Harvey – how did you guess?"

"I could tell from the way you and he are dressed." Tony looked Mike up and down. "Harvey strikes me as being like Walter – very fastidious about his personal grooming."

"Shit yes! That's Harvey!" Mike groaned.

"So he wouldn't be seen out with a sub who didn't complement his own styling – which you do. Love the eye make-up by the way."

"Thanks," Mike muttered gracelessly.

Tony patted his arm. "Really, Mike, you should count yourself lucky – you and Fox both. Gibbs really doesn't like dressing up, and he'd laugh his head off if I wore make-up and probably order me into the bathroom to scrub it off immediately. Not that I'm complaining – I couldn't ask for a better dom. He's just not exactly what you'd call... playful."

At that moment Harvey returned, holding a contraption in his hands that made Mike's heart miss a beat. "Oh shit. Is that –?"

"A gag? Yes, it is." Harvey gave him a pleasant smile. "I asked Walter to bring it along just for you, Pup. I have plans for tonight. You see, you, my sweet little submissive, are going to spend it on your knees, by my side, with this gag in your mouth, in deep submission. It'll be your very own version of Silent Night."

Mike rolled his eyes at the corny joke. "Harvey!" he protested. "You can't be serious!"

Harvey's eyes darkened, and Tony grimaced. "Uh, I think he is, Mike. Might be best to do what he says – I know I wouldn't cross Gibbs when he's making a face like that."

Tony and Mulder edged away, leaving Mike to face his pissed off dom.

"What are you here tonight, Mike?" Harvey asked dangerously.

"I’m your sub, Harvey," Mike said, wetting his lips with his tongue. "But -"

"No buts. This here, tonight, is where we really get to play,” Harvey said firmly. “There’s no point bringing you to a place like this if you're not up for it. Say if you're not, and we can go home and do that sex thing under the tree that you mentioned. But I went to some trouble to plan tonight, because I think I know by now what turns you on, and what you like me to do to you. Tell me if I'm wrong, but I believe I can take you to a place in your head that you'll love, if you'll just turn off that big brain of yours, stop being Mike Ross, my smartass associate, and start being my obedient submissive instead. Now, what's it to be?"

Mike thought about it for a moment. Harvey was right – this was precisely the kind of thing he secretly loved, and Harvey was giving them the chance to play in public, which always turned him on, but in a safe place, where neither of them would be compromised. It was thrilling, exciting, and terrifying all at the same time, but he knew he could trust Harvey. He'd learned that much over the past eighteen months, if nothing else. He still wasn't sure about this whole gag thing, but he was prepared to give it a try, if Harvey thought it would be good, so he nodded.

"Sorry, Captain," he murmured, and Harvey leaned in and kissed him firmly on the mouth, then drew back.

"Good pup. Now open up."

Mike opened his mouth, and Harvey held up the gag. Mike could see it was shaped like a penis, with a black leather fastening to go around the back of his head, and there were two chains hanging from O-rings at the front.

"What are they for? Umpf -" Mike found his mouth filled with the unpleasant taste of fresh rubber as Harvey pushed the penis end of the gag into his mouth.

"You'll find out soon," Harvey promised with a grin, as he buckled the gag into place. "How's that? Does it hurt?"

It felt snug, and there was clearly no way it was going to come loose, but it didn't hurt, so Mike shook his head.

"I won't cuff you, so theoretically, if you can't stand it, you can take it off. If you do, I'll punish you, unless you have a very good reason for it – like not being able to breathe," Harvey said sternly. "I want you to signal to me if you're in any difficulty. I won't be leaving you alone tonight – you'll come with me everywhere, including to the bathroom. So if you're struggling at any point, just put your hand on my knee and tap."

Mike nodded again. It felt strange being unable to talk, and he was aware of the cock-shaped object in his mouth the entire time. It brought him out in a sweat; he found the intrusion overwhelming, and he shook his head wildly, like a newly-bridled horse.

"Relax," Harvey said, stroking his arms. He leaned in and spoke straight into Mike’s ear. "Think of that as my cock in your mouth, using it as a sub's mouth should be used. That's what your mouth is for tonight, Mike – to be claimed by the cock I put into it. I want you to spend your time in deep submission thinking about how your mouth is being filled with cock, and your ass is exposed and available for me to spank it, or fuck it, if I want." Mike gave him a shocked look, and Harvey drew back with a grin. "Oh yeah – there are some private rooms out back – if I feel like it, I'll drag you in there and fuck that sweet ass of yours. Or… some of the rooms have viewing areas. Would you like me to fuck you in front of an audience, Mike? With you gagged and maybe tied up, too, helpless to resist me and all the wicked things I’ll do to your body?"

Mike felt his face flushing a bright red, and Harvey laughed.

"You're not sure if you love the idea or hate it. Well, think about it, Mike, because I might choose to do that to you later.  For now… I'm going to have a drink with my friends, and you're going to kneel beside me."

Harvey sat down at one of the oak tables and clicked his fingers, and Mike obediently sank to his knees beside him. He felt a sense of pride at being so obviously his dom’s submissive, kneeling at his feet for all to see. In this place, there was nothing weird or shameful about that – it was entirely acceptable and even encouraged.

“And here's where we make it more interesting." Harvey grinned down on him, a malicious glint in his dark eyes. He undid the leash from Mike’s collar and put it in his pocket. Then he picked up one of the chains hanging from the gag, and fastened it to the clamp on Mike's left nipple. Mike gave him an agonized look as it pulled on the abused nipple, sending little shock-waves of pain through his chest.

"Aw, yeah – it hurts, doesn't it?" Harvey whispered in his ear, as he leaned over him. "Not if you keep your head down though, Mike." He fastened the other chain from the gag to Mike's right nipple. "So it's up to you. You can either keep your head down, and there's no pain, or you can look around you and see what's going on, and it'll hurt. Your choice."

Harvey gave a thoroughly evil grin, and Mike felt his cock lurch inside his pants. This was fiendish, and yet he was so turned on he wanted to come, there and then. He knew that wasn't an option – Harvey had never been a very indulgent master, and Mike doubted he'd respond favourably to any request for release until Mike had earned it with his abject and obedient submission this evening.

The pain in his nipples from keeping his head raised was too much for him, and, with a groan, Mike dropped his head, relieving the ache in the abused nubs of flesh.

"Good boy," Harvey said, and Mike felt him rest his hand lightly on his shoulder, stroking him.

Mulder, Walter, Tony and Gibbs sat down at the table with Harvey, and Hammer brought them a tray of drinks. They all began talking, and Mike wondered how he felt about being the only one kneeling like this. Then he remembered Mulder's story about being displayed naked at a party, wearing only bells attached to his nipple rings, and thought that maybe he'd got off lightly.

He tried to relax into his submission, to enjoy it, as Harvey had intended, but it wasn't easy. He never found it easy to switch off and zone out. His eidetic memory had been both a blessing and a curse his entire life, and he found himself committing random and unimportant details about the room and the people in it to memory.

He studied Gibbs under his eyelashes, peeping up as much as the tension on his nipple clamps would allow without hurting too much.  He wondered what it would be like to live with such a relentlessly scary dom all the time. How did Tony handle Gibbs’s total toppiness? Harvey could out-top anyone in the courtroom, but he didn’t inhabit his top space all the time. Sometimes he just relaxed on the couch, watching old Star Trek episodes, with Mike cuddled up against him, and Mike liked that part of their life as much as all the dominant/submissive sex games. Maybe Gibbs had that side to his personality, too, and Tony was the only one ever allowed to see it.

Then there was Walter – was he really Mulder’s master, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? What would it be like to be a slave all the time, subject to a master’s whims and sexual demands? Mike’s cock hardened in the confines of his PVC pants, and he knew he liked that idea. Maybe not 24/7, but being Harvey’s sexual plaything, his slave, and having Harvey as his stern, implacable master… he found that such a turn on.

"Hey!" a loud voice called from the stairs, breaking into his thoughts. "Is that a scumbag lawyer I see over there?"

Mike looked up sharply, and then wished he hadn't as the gag pulled on his nipple clamps. He gave an anguished howl around the sides of the gag, which drew him sympathetic glances from Mulder and Tony, and a knowing little smile from Walter.

Harvey's head swivelled around, and they all gazed up at the man standing on the stairs.  Mike had thought Walter was tall, but this guy had a couple of inches even on him, and his shoulders were just as broad. He was probably in his early thirties, his hair was a wavy, jaw-length jet black, and he had a sexily stubbled chin. He was wearing a pair of black jeans and a tight white shirt, and he was one of the most ludicrously good-looking men that Mike had ever seen, although his good looks were undermined by his goofy demeanour.

"Oh yeah – it's a lawyer! The great Harvey Specter, no less. Damn it, this place was looking so classy, too," the man said, glancing around the club with a whistle as he descended the last few stairs. “Shame they let lawyers in here – lowers the tone completely.”

Harvey rolled his eyes, but Mike could see he was grinning, and that he clearly knew this newcomer. Mike wondered if it was another person from the DC scene, but judging by the mystified looks on the faces of the other men around the table, they didn't know who he was, either.

Harvey strode over to the man, and, in an entirely un-Harvey-like way, pulled him into a big hug.

"Idiot," Harvey growled, squeezing him tightly all the same, and Mike glared at them both, feeling angry and jealous, and even angrier because he couldn't say something cutting. Who the hell was this handsome guy, and why was he hugging Harvey like he was his best friend?

The newcomer lifted Harvey bodily off the ground and twirled him around, drawing the attention of the entire bar towards them.

Showoff, Mike thought, fuming silently in the gag.

Harvey slapped the man upside the head, making Tony laugh and Gibbs grunt for no reason that Mike could fathom.

"Put me down, you great big idiot," Harvey commanded, and the lumbering newcomer dumped Harvey on the ground.

"So, where is he? Where's the cutie who's stolen you away from your old friends these past couple of years?" the tall man demanded, looking around.

"I'm not the one who hasn't been around," Harvey said, in an exasperated tone. "You're the one who fucked off to LA for a couple of years, Rick!"

"Hey – I gotta go where the work is." Rick shrugged. Then he saw Mike, kneeling on the floor, gag in mouth, gazing at him as if he could kill him, and stopped dead in his tracks.

“Oh, hello, Sweetheart. You are just my type!" he announced.

Mike wanted to growl back, with all his heart, that this guy definitely wasn't his type, when Harvey slapped Rick’s head again.

"You can look, but don't touch. He's mine," he said proudly.

"Yours? Wow… so this is the pretty pup I've heard so much about, then?"

"Yup. This is Mike." Harvey went over to Mike, pulled him to his feet, and introduced him. "Mike, this is an old friend of mine, Rick – Rick O'Shea."

Mike held out his hand and gingerly nodded his head at Rick, while wincing at the same time as the movement tugged on his nipple clamps.

Rick laughed at his discomfort, while shaking his hand enthusiastically. “That’s diabolical, Harvey; just what I’d expect from you.”

Harvey looked pleased with himself. “It is good, isn’t it?”

Mike glared at them both, but was totally ignored.

"So, how do you two know each other?" Mulder asked.

"We grew up on the same street,” Rick said. “It was tough as shit, but we both got out. I was friends with Harvey’s little brother, Patrick. We used to get into scrapes together, and Harvey used to bail us out of them." Rick grinned. "He's the big brother I never had!" He put an arm around Harvey and bestowed a smacking kiss on Harvey's cheek.

"In case you can't tell, Rick is an actor," Harvey said, with a heavy sigh.

"Really – been in any movies?" Tony asked, leaning forward eagerly.

Rick shrugged. "I played the cyborg in Maim and Kill IV."

"Really? Wow, that was a terrible movie," Tony said.

Rick laughed out loud, and Matt could tell that very little in the world ever offended him. "Yeah, it was. Atrocious! I had a great death scene though – chunks of my face falling off as I wielded a machete. Now, what are you all drinking? I'm buying!"

He beckoned a waiter over, gave him their order, and then sat down at the table opposite Harvey.  Harvey clicked his fingers, and Mike knelt by his side again, still feeling a sense of annoyance about Rick. If this guy was a sub, and he and Harvey went way back, and Harvey was clearly fond of him…

"So, this is the club, is it? Cool." Rick glanced around. "I like it. It's my kind of place."

"Are you on the BDSM scene in LA?" Walter asked, leaning forward across the table.

"Nah. Not really. I've never played properly. I'm here because Harvey knows all about my little spanking fetish." He nudged Harvey, grinning at him broadly.

"That's because you are the least discreet person in the world, and never shut up about your sex life," Harvey said. "I doubt that anyone who has met you doesn't know about your spanking fetish, frankly."

"I've never really done more than just warm the asses of my sweet little bed-mates, if it's something they're into, but I'd like to do more,” Rick said. “I think I could get into the whole bondage thing.” 

"So, you're a dom?" Tony asked, looking faintly surprised.

"Yeah, he is, although I must admit I have wondered about that at times," Harvey said darkly. "But apparently, yes. Rick is a dom."

“Cool.” Tony leaned forward, a flirtatious look in his green eyes.

Rick gave him an assessing gaze. “You’re cute, Sweetheart. You a sub?”

Tony gave an amused grin, and Mike remembered what Mulder had told him about Tony’s shiny smile disguising how dangerous he was.

“I am, yeah.” Tony licked his lips, and shot Gibbs a little look under his eyelashes.

“Really?” Rick’s eyes lit up. “What’s your job, Sweetheart?”

“I’m a federal agent,” Tony replied.

“Wow – so they let you carry a gun?”

“Yup!” Tony nodded.

“Is it a big one?” Rick asked slyly. “I bet it is!”

“Oh yeah!” Tony laughed. “It’s really big! You should see it. It’s this big.” He held his hands out wide.

Mike could see Gibbs looking increasingly annoyed, but he had a suspicion that Tony wouldn’t stop his blatant flirting until his dom reeled him in.

“Oh, I like you. Do you have a dom, Sweetheart?” Rick asked Tony.

“Yes, he does,” Gibbs growled, finally goaded into action. He placed a proprietorial hand on Tony’s arm, and Rick sat back as if stung, holding up his hands in mock-surrender.

“Uh, okay. Look, you’re clearly the toppiest guy in the room, sir, and I’m not looking for any trouble. I just flirt with everyone. It’s kind of a compulsion.”

“Yeah, I know all about compulsive flirts.” Gibbs glared in Tony’s direction, and Tony grinned at him and batted his eyelids dramatically.

Mike suddenly understood their dynamic. Gibbs wasn’t the kind of dom who wore his heart on his sleeve, and Mike suspected that Tony flirted harmlessly with other doms just to goad Gibbs into laying claim to him – which turned them both on. He was sure they’d have some hot, raw sex later, but there was an underlying sense of a very deep love there, too. Mike realised that he could see all this because he was gagged and not permitted to join in the conversation. The enforced silence meant that he could get a better read on people.

Gibbs turned and suddenly slapped Tony on the back of the head, and Tony grinned and rubbed the sore spot.

"Ow! What was that for?” he asked, gazing at his dom from glowing eyes.

“You know damn well what it's for,” Gibbs replied, giving him a hard look. Tony laughed, and Gibbs gently tangled his hand in Tony’s hair where he’d just slapped him, and gave his scalp a soothing rub. “There will be a proper punishment later,” Gibbs promised, and Tony laughed even more at that, looking very satisfied that he’d achieved his aim.

At that moment, the waiter arrived at their table with a tray of drinks. Like all the waiters at Murray’s, he was dressed in black pants and a plain black shirt, with a white apron tied around his waist.

He saw Mike kneeling on the floor beside the table, and his eyes opened wide in surprise. Mike could see him visibly taking in the gag, the make-up, his bare chest, the bangles on his arms, and the nipple clamps.  The waiter was so startled that he stumbled, and one of the drinks spilled onto the table, splashing the sleeve of Walter's cowboy shirt.

"Oh shit! I'm so sorry! Oh God…" The waiter tried to mop it up with his apron, apologizing the whole time.  Mike studied him: he was probably a few years younger than himself, and even looked enough like him that he could have been his baby brother. He had unruly blond hair, big blue eyes, and a sweet face, and there was a sense of vulnerability about him – but also a quiet kind of strength too.

"Oh no! Did the boss see? I've never waited tables before, and I don't want to lose my job," the kid wailed, glancing over at where Hammer was standing at the bar.

"Relax, kid," Walter said smoothly. "You won't be fired for this. Trust me – I'm one of the owners, and we don't fire people for being human and making a mistake."

"Oh shit. You're one of the owners? That's even worse!" The kid redoubled his effort to anxiously mop up Walter's sleeve. "I'm so sorry, sir. Hammer told me this place was a kind of kinky club, but I had no idea that people would…" He glanced furtively at Mike. "I've never been to a place like this, with so many…" He trailed off again, glancing from Walter to Gibbs, and then to Harvey, with an expression of fear combined with wonder on his face. Mike swallowed a smile – this kid was clearly a sub at heart, and Mike wasn't surprised he was freaked out by being up close with so many powerful doms.

"Hey, it's fine. Nobody died." Rick reached out and gently touched the young man's arm, and the kid relaxed a fraction. "What's your name, Sweetheart?" he asked kindly, and Mike decided that he liked Rick more than he had initially.

"Matt," the kid replied. "And I'm really sorry about the drinks, sir. I'm not… this isn't my real job, you see. I mean, it is… but it's only temporary, and I don't think I'm going to be any good at it."

"What’s your real job, Matt?" Rick asked, getting up and helping the kid to remove the empty glasses on the table and put them on his tray.

"I'm an actor. Well, I mean, I'm trying to be, but it isn't easy getting work, and…" Matt shrugged.

"Well, that's cool, because I'm an actor too. C'mon – let me escort you back to the bar, and we can talk," Rick said, putting an arm around the kid's shoulders and drawing him away from the table and his anxiety over Walter's stained shirt sleeve.

The men around the table resumed their conversation, and Harvey put his hand on his sub's hair and stroked the tousled points gently.  Mike put his head down again, relieving the pressure on his aching nipples, and slowly began to zone out.

The club was filling up, and being gagged and silent allowed Mike to study some of the other occupants out of the corners of his eyes. He listened in on a few conversations, catching snippets of people's lives.

A tall man, with a chiselled jaw and flat, slanting cheekbones walked into the bar, and Mike raised his head slightly, suffering the ache that created in his nipples because he was intrigued. The tall man walked confidently but silently, as if he was used to blending in with his surroundings and not being noticed, which was strange for such a striking person. He was wearing a suit with a white shirt and no tie, and he exuded that same air of danger that Mike had noticed in Walter and Gibbs. Maybe the man in the suit was a federal agent, too – or had been once.

His companion was a shorter man with glasses, who walked with a pronounced limp. He was also wearing a suit, but his was more formal – brown tweed, with a matching vest. He didn't seem anywhere near as dangerous as his companion, but Mike could detect a powerful intellect, even from across the room, and a certain sense of steely determination.

They walked over, close to where Mike was kneeling, and paused next to him.

"I don't understand what we're doing here, Mr. Reese," the bespectacled man said, glancing around. "Are we doing research on one of our numbers?"

"Not exactly, Harold," Mr. Reese said, gesturing Harold to a nearby table.

"Then why are we here? Not that it isn't very… interesting. I've never been in an establishment like this before." Harold sat down, looked intrigued.

"I thought you might enjoy it." Mr. Reese beckoned one of the waiters over to their table, and ordered some drinks.

"Really? What unusual tastes you must think I have, Mr. Reese," Harold murmured.

"I do hope I haven't miscalculated your degree of interest," Mr. Reese said, in a completely deadpan voice.

"Well, when you said 'let's go for a beer', I had no idea you had a place like this in mind." Harold's cheeks were ever so slightly flushed, and his eyes flickered, startled, as he caught sight of Mike, kneeling beside Harvey in all his gagged, clamped, submissive glory. "Goodness. What fascinating sights," Harold murmured.

"You see, Harold, there's something I've been considering for a little while now," Mr. Reese said quietly.  "You know my history, but there are some things I've never explained to you, and you've been kind enough not to ask."

"Well, I want you to feel comfortable working for me, Mr. Reese. I know your previous life was not a happy one, but I had hoped that had changed since you entered my employ."

"Oh, it has, Harold, it has. That's why I finally felt comfortable bringing you to a place like this."

Their drinks arrived, and Mr. Reese placed Harold's in front of him, and took a sip from his own drink. He didn't look nervous – Mike doubted this man ever showed much emotion – but Mike also got the sense that he was faintly anxious all the same. Being in deep submission was giving him the ability to really focus in on people, and sense their true selves, because he could tell that Mr. Reese had something important to say, and that he wasn't sure how it would be received by his companion.

"Do you know about the Samurai concept of the 'ronin', Harold?" Mr. Reese asked.

Harold blinked at the unexpected question, but it didn't seem to faze him. "I do, yes. The term originated in the Nara and Heian periods of Japanese history, when it referred to a serf who had fled or deserted his master's land. It then came to be used for a Samurai who had lost his master.” Harold glanced up, a concerned look on his face. "Is that how you view yourself, Mr. Reese? Drifting and alone, without a master?"

Mr. Reese shrugged. "It was, Harold, but not anymore. You see, I have a need to give service – that’s what led me into my former employment. I thought that in serving my former masters I was also serving my people, and my country. I was wrong."

Harold nodded, gazing at Mr. Reese quietly, but made no move to interrupt.

Mr. Reese gave a wry jerk of his head. "My previous masters betrayed me, Harold.” He said it without any emotion, but Mike could sense a hurt that went to Mr. Reese's core. Kneeling by Harvey's side, offering up his own submission, he could understand something of Mr. Reese's pain.

“Yes, Mr. Reese. They did.” The expression in Harold's eyes was profoundly empathetic. “At first, I wondered if they had damaged you beyond repair, but then I realized that you were still in there, despite all they did to you. That’s why I recruited you.”

“I never expected to find another master, Harold," Mr. Reese said softly. "I didn't think I could trust another master, so for a long time I was that rootless ronin, drifting and alone. You restored that part of myself to me. I was lost, Harold, and you found me.”

"And now you would like to deepen that association," Harold said, gazing at Mr. Reese thoughtfully.

"I would." Mr. Reese inclined his head. "Harold, you already have my loyalty, my service, and my life in your hands, freely given. I would like to offer you my submission, too, but I’ll understand if this is a gift you do not wish to take. It might not be to your tastes."

Harold glanced around the room, a musing look on his face, taking in the sights of kneeling subs and commanding doms, clearly understanding the gift he was being offered.

Mr. Reese watched him intently, his face completely devoid of any emotion, but Mike could sense that Harold’s answer meant a great deal to him.

Finally, Harold turned back to him. "This arrangement would please me, Mr. Reese," he said quietly. "Yes, I really do think it would please me very much."

Mr. Reese's mouth turned up in a tiny little quirk. "I'm glad to hear it, Harold."

"You will find me a subtle master. I'm not inclined to hand out pain, and besides, I think you've suffered enough of that in your life," Harold said, glancing at the St Andrew's Cross.

"I have an extremely high pain threshold, and can endure a great deal of discomfort, if it pleases you," Mr. Reese said with a shrug, looking supremely unconcerned.

"It does not," Harold said firmly. "There are services you may do for me, though."

"I had hoped there would be," Mr. Reese said, in a tone of quiet satisfaction. "My body is at your service, Harold."

Harold nodded and took a sip of his drink, humming happily, a flushed, slightly giddy look in his eyes. Then he put his drink down, placed a hand on Mr. Reese's arm, and said, in a quiet voice.

"I am not like your previous masters, Mr. Reese, make no mistake about that. Your service is a thing of beauty, to be respected and nurtured, not trampled on and cast aside. I am nothing like them, and your service to me will be very different."

"Oh, I know that, Harold." Mr. Reese's face suddenly lit up in a brief smile that was just as briefly gone. "I already know that, Master," he added softly.

Mike's heart did a little flip. The words were so quietly spoken, and yet came so clearly from the heart. He wondered if he would ever pluck up the courage to call Harvey by that title, without fear of giving up some important part of his soul and losing himself.

He shifted, his knees sore from kneeling for so long in one position. Harvey immediately put his hand on Mike’s shoulder and stroked softly, and Mike relaxed and leaned into his dom, enjoying the caress.

Silent Night - 3/3

December 2015

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