Summary: "His phone buzzes to life for a moment on the bar in front of him, and somehow, before he even glances at the screen, he already knows who it is."
Warnings: D/s, collaring
Word Count: 2,334
His phone buzzes to life for a moment on the bar in front of him, and somehow, before he even glances at the screen, he already knows who it is. This flood of relief and anger washes over him as he reads the text.
It’s pretty straightforward. Hotel. Address. Room number. Now.
He knows the hotel; it’s a pretty nice place, compared to the hotels he generally gets called to on business. Rooms don’t rent by the hour, anyway. Yeah, he knows it. It’s only a few blocks away from here. He’s a little unsteady on his feet right now, but he could make it there easy. He could come running when Reese calls him like the little bitch he is.
He shuts off his phone with heavy, drunken fingers, orders himself a shot of whiskey because at this stage he needs it. The whiskey burns in his throat, his stomach, can’t seem to burn out the part of his brain that wants to stop by the hotel and at least find out what he wants. He white-knuckles the bar, stays put. He won’t give Reese the satisfaction.
It’s an hour later when a viselike grip closes on the back of his neck and he realizes that Reese is probably harder to brush off than that.
“Tell me, Lionel,” he mutters silkily in his ear, “do you ever get tired of drinking alone?”
“Best company there is.” Fusco takes a moment to drain his glass before turning to face him. Reese stands there in a fresh suit, not a hair out of place. As always, he looks too smooth and put-together to exist on the same planet as Fusco, but tonight his eyes are troubled and his fingers bruise the back of Fusco’s neck. “Why? You wanna be drinking buddies or something?”
For a second, he thinks Reese is going to hit him. He’s not sure why, but it’s there in the way he stands, the way Reese scowls at him. “Get up,” he says, voice flat as ever but Fusco knows it’s time to shut up and listen. “I’ll pay your tab. We’re leaving.” Fusco stands up from his seat. He’s not falling-down drunk, but the world is a little bit cloying and unsteady and he’s barely shrugged his way into his jacket before Reese is on him again, one hand locked on the crook of his arm, one hand seizing the collar of his shirt, and he hauls him out of there.
“What’s wrong with you?” Fusco asks, as he’s dragged out the door. Cold night air hits him like a shock and he wonders how long he’s been in that bar.
His grip tightens. “When I call you, you come. Is that understood?”
“Yeah, yeah,” but it isn’t, not really. “Where the hell were you for two months?”
Reese doesn’t seem to hear him. “You had your reprieve, but you still work for me, Lionel. Don’t forget that.” He drags him to a stop, pulls the shirt back away from his neck. “Not even wearing that gift I got you.”
Fusco tries to shake his arm loose, but Reese grabs him harder, pulls him along until Fusco says, “No, no, I mean…” and he reaches across his own body, right hand into left jacket pocket, and pulls out the collar, rolled up in a tight knot of leather, secured with a rubber band.
Reese gives him a very long look, and the smooth mask slips, but doesn’t break. “Come on,” he says softly. His grip on Fusco’s arm lightens up, and it’s more like he’s leading him now.
They walk the next several blocks to the hotel in almost total silence. Once, Fusco asks, “You gonna kill me?”
“No, Lionel,” he says. “Of course not.” But the pause before he says it is long enough to make Fusco wonder.
So he lets himself be hauled through the hotel lobby, into the elevator, and they’re getting looks from people, sidelong looks, because they look weird, this whole situation is weird, and Fusco looks up at Reese and his face is inscrutable and he’s still not totally sure that he isn’t about to be killed.
Reese stops at the room from the text, swipes the key card, light goes green, and he shoves Fusco through the door, slamming it behind them. Fusco staggers, steadies himself, takes a look around. It’s an ordinary hotel room, two single beds with suspect sheets, separated by a lonesome nightstand. No assassins hiding behind the lamp, no plastic tarps laid out to catch the blood. Still, he doesn’t feel safe; he says “Are you gonna tell me what’s going on or what?”
Reese sighs wearily. He tugs at the cuffs of his jacket like he’s uncomfortable in his own skin. “Sit down.” He gestures to the foot of one of the beds, and Fusco obliges. He begins to pace back and forth in front of him, not looking Fusco in the eye, just taking odd, furtive glances at him. He says, “Lionel, I don’t know what to do with you.”
He’s not sure what to say to that.
“Take off your coat,” Reese says, and Fusco begins to shrug it off, cautious, eyes on Reese’s face. “It’s like you don’t know how to take care of yourself. I leave you to your own devices for a few weeks and you fall to pieces.” He proffers one hand and Fusco throws him the coat. Reese digs in the pockets until he comes up with the collar, and unceremoniously tosses the coat in a corner. “Tie. Off. Now.”
Lionel fumbles with the knot. His hands are shaking, useless. Reese sighs, kneels in front of him, and undoes the knot himself. He seems like he’d be content to carry on, but Fusco knocks his hands away. He yanks off the tie himself, crumples it in his hand, and throws it to the floor. “I don’t know what you think you’re talking about,” he says. “I’ve been doing fine since you left.”
“You’re drunk every night, you’re ignoring your ex, and you haven’t gotten half as many arrests lately,” he says, that thin, dry humor running all through his voice. “Half as many arrests isn’t fine, Lionel.”
He doesn’t even question how Reese knows the things he knows anymore. It’s just one more way his life has ceased to be his own. “Yeah, ‘cause you aren’t there to hand ‘em to me. Go figure. I’ve been doing things the old fashioned way.” He’s a little bit taller than Reese this way, sitting on the bed with Reese on his knees in front of him, and he takes the opportunity to scowl down at him for once. “I do OK. I don’t need you around to be a good cop.”
Reese’s eyes are dark and impenetrable as he unbuttons the top two buttons of Fusco’s shirt, leans in impossibly close. “I know,” he says, breath flicking hot against Fusco’s ear, “I know you don’t.” He sits back on his heels, looks him in the eye for the first time since he stopped him on the sidewalk. Reese is like this smoothed out, buttoned-down wall, and Fusco doesn’t know what he’s thinking, just knows that the wheels in his head are turning, doesn’t know if that’s good or bad, doesn’t know why he suddenly feels so short of breath, so lightheaded.
Reese picks up the collar. “You know,” he says, thoughtfully, “I could force this on you. Threaten you, hurt you, there are options. I don’t want to do that. Not just because I don’t want to hurt you, although I don’t, but because I don’t think it would work. Because you, Lionel,” and here he pokes Fusco hard in the chest, “are so stubborn. But I think if I just asked…I think you’d do it. Am I right?”
Fusco’s breaths are long and shuddering. He doesn’t know. He doesn’t know. Reese’s hand is on his thigh and he doesn’t know and his eyes are drawn to the dark, shadowy hollow of Reese’s throat because he’s scared to look him in the eye and he doesn’t know.
“Lionel,” Reese says. “Put it on.”
He thought his hands would shake, but they don’t, they move with this practiced, robotic smoothness as he brings the thick collar up around his own throat. It’s warm from Reese’s hands, soft from use, and it fits him like it’s a part of his body, some extra limb, long forgotten but no less vital. As he slides leather through the buckle, pulls it tight, he sees a glimmer of fear and wonder in Reese’s face and for the first time, Fusco understands.
Then Reese’s hands are on his and he’s standing up, pulling the buckle apart, and Reese says to him, “No, no, don’t pull so tight, you’ll take the skin off your neck like that.” He adjusts the collar, pulls it back a notch. His fingers slide between the collar and his throat, checking the space, worrying softly at the rawness he finds there. “There. I don’t know why you do this to yourself.”
Fusco thinks he does know, and that’s what worries him.
“Do…” Reese swallows. His hand tightens on the collar. He seems to be struggling for words. He finds them, finally, but he seems disappointed in them as he speaks. “Lionel, do you like it when I tell you what to do?”
Fusco closes his eyes, breathes deep. He knows the answer, but he doesn’t want to give it, even when he knows Reese is looking so tentative and unsure, doesn’t want to give him the satisfaction even now. He says, “Go fuck yourself.”
Reese tackles him to the mattress.
It’s a brief, violent struggle, elbows and knees, vicious clawing and swift, rabbit punches, but it’s Reese against Fusco so it’s over pretty quick. Reese has him pinned back in seconds, fingers clenched in the collar, pulling down, down, but not hard enough to choke. “Stay down,” he snarls.
“Yes,” he sighs, a hiss of escaping air, thin and vulnerable.
“You stay down,” Reese says against his ear. He feels hot breath, soft mouth, faint scrapings of teeth.
“Yes.” So weary, now.
Reese’s fingers move to fumble open his belt, thigh slides deliberately between his legs. “Good boy,” he sighs. The vague mouthing and biting on his neck becomes a kiss.
Fusco twitches away. “Fuck off,” he growls. He manages to throw one good punch at Reese’s ribs before Reese flips him onto his stomach, arm wrenched behind his back, collar gripped tight.
“Lionel,” he pants, and Fusco is pretty fucking gratified to hear him breathing hard for once, “do you have to make this difficult?”
“Mmhm,” is all he can manage, with his face pressed to the mattress. Reese lets up on him a little and he raises his head.
“And you do,” he takes a jagged, heavy breath, “you do trust me, don’t you?”
“Yeah.” Fusco props himself up on his free arm, half turns. Reese is staring at him hard, mixed amusement and worry. “Yeah, I trust you. Just don’t make a big deal out of it, OK?”
Reese grins like a psycho and knocks Fusco’s skull into the headboard. They’re OK.
Reese goes slow. That’s the worst of it, really. It’d be all too easy to keep his dignity, hang on to something worth bitching about if Reese was selfish or rough or violent or cruel. Instead he’s halfway gentle: tender, attentive, and torturously goddamn slow. Fusco could be struggling, biting, sniping, giving as good as he gets, but instead he’s curled up, clawing the sheets, biting back quiet, empty sounds.
And Reese, the bastard, knows it. He leans forward, whispers in Fusco’s ear, “You are never going to miss another one of my calls again.” God, it’s like he can hear the smug.
“Get in line, jackass,” he snarls between harsh, angry gasps. “You’re not the only guy in New York wants to fuck me over.” Reese pushes forward, and a whine escapes Fusco’s throat and he decides maybe he shouldn’t try to talk right now. Reese’s arms slide tight around his middle and the pace quickens.
“You don’t hate this,” he says. His tone is warm, cajoling, pleading. The buttons on Reese’s shirt are biting into the skin of his back, but one hand slides between his legs, teasing, begging. Forgive me. Forgive me. Reese pulls him back and back and back and heat pools in Fusco’s belly and the muscles in his legs start to twitch.
“No,” he grunts, and then a low, shuddering groan and he falls forward, breathing hard. Can’t think. Can’t fight. Can’t lie. “I don’t hate this,” he sighs.
Reese finishes quickly, quietly, rolls off to the side but pulls Fusco along with him, still clutching him tight. “Good boy,” he whispers, one hand meandering vaguely over Fusco’s chest and stomach. “Good boy.”
Fusco aims a savage punch at his arm. “Stop talking about me like I’m a goddamn dog or I’ll wreck you,” he says. The vitriol has gone out of his voice. He’s too damn tired to be pissed off.
“You couldn’t wreck me if you tried,” Reese says. He sounds tolerant, fond. There’s a laugh behind his voice.
Fusco shrugs. “Even so.”
Reese releases him, and Fusco tries to make some space between them, but Reese grabs him by the collar again. He struggles, and Reese mutters, “Hold still. Just let me take it off you.” His fingers go to work on the buckle, sluggish and fumbling. “Don’t want you choking in your sleep.”
It comes off easy, and Reese tosses it carelessly onto the nightstand. His hands are on Fusco’s neck again in a moment, touching flesh rubbed raw with a kind of reverence.
“I’ve worn it to sleep before,” he admits. There’s so little shame left in him now.
An unexpected smile flashes across Reese’s face, just for a moment, like a freak lightning storm. It fades just as suddenly.