Indulgence ©2008

By Jack Llawayllynn


Chapter 27: Generosity and Bad News

Matt was awakened by the shrilling of the telephone. He fumbled sleepily around the bedside table and knocked the lamp over. Finally he hooked the phone up and brought it to his ear, murmuring a hoarse and sleepy "'ello?" He only heard a dial tone. Matt hung it up and blinked several times, coming more awake, still hearing the shrill of a phone ringing. He glanced around and his eyes fell on the cell phone, the one he referred to now as the Froggie phone. He snatched it up, hoping to hell Froggie hadn't done something stupid.

"Trev? Is that you?" Matt demanded immediately.

"Yes, who else?" said the sarcastic voice on the other end.

"Is it Froggie? Is he alright?" Matt demanded.

Matt heard a gentle sigh and Trev's voice came back gentler now, friendlier. "I really am glad to hear that you are concerned Matt. I really thought you were going to be another Sin. I'm glad to know you are capable of really caring. Froggie is having a very rough time, hasn't stopped crying and rocking back and forth in the corner but physically he is okay. The reason I called is, well, it's about Razor."

"Razor? Now don't tell me that stupid son of a bitch has gone and killed himself?" Matt demanded sitting up straighter.

"Good God no. Razor is much too strong for that. He's here, at the club Matt. He's here to rumble. I thought you might want to know. It would in Froggie's best interest if you would come down and take Froggie to watch it. He needs to see Razor regain his status."

"I agree but damn Trev, it's five in the morning!"

"I know but Razor does have a day job, like most of the men here. He intends to get it done then go to work."

Matt laughed. "He'll be beat all to hell and back."

"I doubt it. Can you be here soon? Very soon?"

"Yeah, I'll throw some clothes on and come now."

"Thank you Matt. You are turning out to be a good man after all."

Matt hung up the phone and threw on some clothes then went out to fire up the motorcycle. At the club Trev hurried through the inspection and helped Matt into his jacket. Matt tied the bandana over his face and hurried up the stairs to collect Froggie. The tiny man was curled into a ball in the corner, kicking in his sleep like a dog. Matt went over and nudged him roughly in the ribs with his toe. "Up slave! Your Master is here to take you to a show. You want to go see a show don't you?" Matt asked as he knelt to snap a leash onto Froggie's collar.

"Master? Master?" Froggie sat up eagerly but seemed confused and dazed.

Matt tugged on the leash but Froggie didn't get up. Frustrated Matt jerked hard. Now Froggie responded promptly, lept to his feet and threw his skinny arms around Matt's waist. "Master loves Froggie?" the little man asked.

"No." Matt said coldly. "And Master is not pleased with Froggie right now. Come. We are going to watch a show. Razor is going to rumble. He wants his status back. You may watch. You may look at him but not speak to him."

"God is here?" Froggie asked, excited now, starting to bounce.

"Shit!" Matt spat out but didn't punish Froggie or try to talk to him again, just hauled him down the hallway and down the stairs. By the time they reached the white room the men were already in it, two masters facing Razor who stood in the back, wearing only his mask and a pair of leather pants now. Matt let his eyes devour the sight of his bare chest. This, he knew, was the most he would ever see of Razor. Trev came toward him and steered Matt by the elbow to the front of the crowd where Froggie had a good view.

"Why is he allowed to wear clothes?" Matt asked Trev curiously.

"Razor has never been a slave here. He came in as a master. He just has to earn status back. No one can take him as a slave. You would know that if you had read your handbook thoroughly. Once a master always a master. He never has to be nude here, weather he has his full status or not. Same for you now."

Matt nodded, remembering now that he had read that in the handbook. Froggie began straining at the leash and Matt tightened his hold, wrapping it several times around his fist. Trev noticed.

"So, you still intend to keep him as long as the law allows?" Trev's face had hardened again.

"Yes. But I won't be as hard on the boy as you think. For now though, let's just wait and see if Razor can bring himself back up on high, huh?"

"Oh, he will, don't worry. Those who volunteered to rumble with him will regret it, intensely I'm afraid."

Razor looked up then and spotted Froggie, saw that his former slave was staring at him eagerly and smiled. His eyes drifted up to meet Matt's. The smile didn't waver but it took on a twisted sneer. At that moment he lunged for one of the two masters blocking his path, his fists flying faster than Matt could believe. The rumble lasted only seconds. Both the masters lay bleeding on the white tile and Razor stood above them, unscathed other than bruised and bleeding knuckles. He simply snagged a scared looking creeper, slipped his dick up the creepers ass and pulled back out, not bothering to actually fuck him. The creeper looked intensely relieved when Razor stepped away from him, giving him a hard shove. The creeper darted out the door quickly in case Razor changed his mind. Froggie was hopping around and squealing. He suddenly spewed come from his hard little cock, spraying the floor and those standing too close by. Trev cursed.

"I knew I was forgetting something! I should have told you to put a condom on that little freak."

Matt looked down dismayed but didn't punish Froggie. The kid didn't even seemed to realize he had just had an orgamsim at all, he was still hopping around and straining toward Razor. Razor approached slowly, arrogantly stepping barefoot over one of the masters that lay groaning on the tiles.

"May I touch your slave please?" Razor asked. Without his huge clunky boots on Razor was indeed almost exactly Matt's height, maybe just a little taller but not by much. His eyes were ice cold and hard but his tone was respectful enough so Matt nodded. "And may I speak with him?"

This time Matt hesitated. Razor held his eyes, even when Froggie wrapped himself around one of Razors legs. The ice in Razor's eyes thawed a little and Matt saw true pain trying to hide there. He cursed harshly under his breath. What the fuck was he doing anyway? Why had he even started this shit? He didn't have any interest in Froggie. He had only wanted to hurt Razor and so far he had. Despite wearing a skull band on one arm Matt realized it didn't really belong there. He wasn't, deep down, hard like Sin and Razor. Yeah, so he enjoyed some rough sex, some really rough sex, but emotional damage wasn't his forte, it was Sin's. Already Matt was starting to feel some guilt for what he was doing to Froggie, if not so much so for Razor. "Alright. Froggie, you may speak to Razor now but you will be punished for touching him without my permission."

Froggie looked up at Matt at last, seeming suddenly to realize he had broken the rules given to him. "Froggie not rogue! Please Master, please!" he begged.

"No, Froggie isn't a rouge," Matt said softly as he knelt to smooth Froggie's gnarled red hair. "Froggie just forgot this time but Froggie must not forget again."

"No, Master! Froggie will not forget again! Thank you Master! Thank you!"

Matt patted the kid's head and stood, once more meeting Razor's eyes. "Talk to him. You have two minutes."

Razor finally knelt and began whispering to the kid, gently wiping tears from Froggie's cheeks, reassuring him they would be together again very soon. By the time Matt lead Froggie away to punish him Froggie was sobbing uncontrollably. He cried through the entire punishment of ten lashes with the whip but he never yelped or called out in physical pain. Matt wasn't even sure he was aware of the physical pain, only the emotional. When Matt returned Froggie to his room Matt felt like a pure piece of shit. He shouldn't be doing this to Froggie but he'd be damned if he was going to let Razor off the hook easily. He needed to think this through a while, figure out a way to keep Froggie for his four hours but not break the kid entirely. He would have to allow him some contact with Razor, that's all there was to it. But damn it, he would make Razor suffer no matter what!

When Matt decended the stairs he found Razor waiting for him in the hallway, once again dressed in his full leather suit, his boots making him tower over Matt.

"What the fuck do you want Razor?" Matt spat, already angry.

"I want my kid back. You know that. You could kill him doing this."

"I have already realized that. And it isn't Froggie I'm out to torture."

"I know and I understand that. I've...I...I guess I want to try again to make a bargain. Anything you want Matt."

Razor's pleading was almost enough to satisfy Matt's thirst to belittle the man. Almost.

"First you need to remember I'm not a little slave anymore and you will address me as Highwayman. Second, there is absolutely nothing you have that I want so why would I make a bargain?" Matt started to push passed him but a muscular arm shot out to stop him.

"Surely there is something we could work out?" Razor insisted, removing his arm from Matt's way as soon as Matt had drawn up short and turned to stare at him again.

"Tonight, you be here, around nine. We' That's all you're getting from me right now. Aren't you going to be late for work old boy?" Matt asked, his tone changing on the last question as if they were two friends meeting on the street.

Razor sighed and walked away. "Tonight! Nine o'clock!" Razor said over his shoulder and left.

As Matt pulled his regular clothes on he grumbled under his breath. He had way too much to worry over already, finding information on Sin's mother, learning the band songs, practicing, worrying in general, and now he had to figure out a solution to this rather disturbing problem that he had brought upon himself. Damn! He had so much to do! With a grim set mouth he turned the bike towards Andy's, intending to wake him up at this ungodly hour to make him go over some of the Chains originals with him.

* * * * *

Matt emerged from the locker room that night to find Razor, already in his leather, waiting for him at the door. Matt sighed. He was exhausted already, his throat felt raw from screaming for hours into a microphone, trying to get the Chains songs right. Even while he had done some research on his computer later he had the Chains demo cd playing softly in the background to help ingrain the melodies in his head but hearing Sin's voice for hours on end had left him feeling beaten and bruised inside. Now here was Razor, waiting patiently to hear Matt's decision to their shared problem: Froggie. Trev eagerly opened the door for them and announced them.

"Hail the Highwayman! Hail Razor!" Trev intoned, even more loudly than usual. Most heads turned, shocked to hear the two announced arriving together. The answering hail was muted and puzzled.

Matt took Razor's elbow and steered him towards a secluded sofa. "Let's go talk," Matt said quietly. Razor let himself be led. They seated themselves close together, not for physical pleasure but to talk quietly over the hum of sounds in the room.

"You've come up with something to help my boy?" Razor demanded quickly.

"Correction there Razor. He's my boy. Understand? I've used less than two hours with him."

"You're going to kill him!"

Matt didn't reply to that. Instead he said, "Here's the deal. Froggie is calmed just by the sight of you. That is all he will get each night until I am done with him. You call the Froggie phone every evening at seven and I'll tell you what time to meet me here."

"That won't work Ma...I mean Highwayman. I that time every evening. There is a reason I don't come here every day. I have a life outside of this place, you understand."

"Of course. I do also, but I'm making some exceptions to my schedule for this. I enjoy keeping your toy from you." Matt stretched his legs out and leaned back arrogantly. "What time can you call me?"

Razor glared at him. "Look, I can't keep making excuses as to why I will have to leave so late and so often. I know it's my own fault that I lost Froggie and I'm willing to do what I have to so that I can keep him sane until I get his leash back but I have to be careful and I have to make it quick."

"Uh-huh," Matt nodded lazily, waiting for Razor to continue, wondering if Razor was a married man with a wife and kids at home, a family blissfully unaware of his major peccadilloes. No, Matt decided, Razor was too cruel, it must be work obligations.

"Look, can I call at different times maybe? Say anywhere between five and eight in the evening?" Razor's voice almost, but not quite, held a note of pleading.

"Fine. If I don't answer try calling again. I don't have the code for the voice mail on that phone."

Razor nodded, not offering to give Matt the code. "Then it's settled then," Razor said, starting to rise. Matt grabbed his arm and pulled him back down.

"Hardly...we have a bit more to discuss my friend," Matt said, his eyes hard above his bandana, glaring at Razor. "I want some extra deals thrown in. If you care as much for Froggie's sanity as you claim then you'll grant me a boon or two for being so lienient in the matter."

"What kind of deals?" Razor ground out between clenched teeth, his temper rising high.

"For one I want you to change your bet with Sin when he comes back. No need to tell him why. Just that you've changed your mind, whatever. But if he ever loses the crazy bet the two of you have then you won't get him as a slave, not for any length of time. You can think up something else instead."

Razor's eyes took on a spark of interest but he kept his words casual. "Actually, since Sin is a master he may do as he pleases and if he wants to be my slave for an hour, well he can be."

"Not anymore. Not if you want to protect Froggie."

"Alright then, how about I change with him so that I get you for an hour instead? Hmmm? That the sort of compromise you willing to make, Highwayman?"

Matt's mouth went dry as he saw the fire in Razor's eyes flame brighter, waiting for his answer. "Fine, but only if Sin agrees to that instead as well."

Razor chuckled. "That wasn't too harsh of a trade off. Now, what else do you want?"

"You will never try to steal Andy from anyone, you won't even accept him as a gift." Matt's tone was firm.

"And if he comes to me of his own free will?"

"Then he's yours but mark my words, he won't come to you. He's not into the hard core pain. It doesn't tickle his asshole."

"Alright, that's two on your list. Anything else? But I must warn you, you're pushing your luck here."

"I want..." Matt trailed off. Gunner had come in and was staring at Matt and Razor from across the room, lounging indolently against the wall, arms crossed, his eyes so hard and predatory on Matt's face that Matt's mouth suddenly went totally dry. He tried to work some morsture into his mouth, finally succeeded and swallowed hard. The look Gunner was giving him so mimicked Sin's hard eyes that Matt's dick had suddenly begun to grow and ache, flashbacks of Sin's hard hands suddenly so vivid that Matt could actually feel every single bruise and wound that Sin had inflicted on him, both physically and emotionally. "Just a moment," Matt said quietly to Razor. Razor gaped over at him as Matt rose and walked away.

Drawn like a fish on a reel Matt crossed to Gunner and stood before him silently, meeting his eyes, the feral gleam only increasing in Gunner's eyes. Matt had to swallow again before he could speak. "You wanted to me?" Matt finally croaked out.

Gunner gave him a slow perusal, head to toe, noting how Matt's coat bulged underneath at the groin, proof of a hard-on. "You miss your master," Gunner said softly, his voice naturally gravelly and gruff. Matt just shrugged and Gunner nodded. "Come to me Matt. I know Sin will be back before much longer, putting a leash back on the collar you have hidden under that bandana. Until then, you need to quit playing master. You aren't really any good at it. You brought in a fabulously lovely slave then gave him away as soon as you walked in the door. I would lay down money to bet you haven't fucked Froggie. You just wanted him to get back at Razor," Gunner nodded his head slightly in Razor's direction. "You don't want Razor touching you. But me, now I'll give you the pain and dominate you as you crave without interfering in your relationship with Sin. He and I have never been rivals. We hold no grudge. He would not hold it against you. Come to me Matt. I can't capture you, not now, but you can come to me. We both know you want to. I'll even let you draw whatever lines you need, so you can close your eyes and pretend I'm Sin when I have you under me, crying."

Matt swallowed loudly again and looked down at his feet, knowing he couldn't deny it. He wasn't really cut out to be a master. Froggie, well, he'd just grabbed him for revenge. Yeah, he'd whipped him a few times, knocked him around, but it hadn't done anything for Matt other than give him the satisfaction of knowing he had something that Razor wanted back, very badly. Matt sighed. He damn sure didn't really have the time involved in playing this game with Razor either. He had the band to think of, all that practice, his online information research, a million things crowding his mind. Froggie was really more burden than he had ever imagined. All he really wanted was Sin back. That would have to wait. Until then, Gunner was offering to take Sin's place, on Matt's terms. Matt lifted his head and glanced around. The club was fairly full and Trev was lurking in the shadows, waiting to hear the outcome of Matt and Razor's agreement over Froggie. He had an invested interest there. Trev damn sure didn't want to wind up with a corpse on his hands and his nerves had been fried every since Matt had stolen Froggie from Razor.

Slowly Matt turned back to face Gunner.

"I'll return Froggie to Razor tonight, then you and I will retire to a white room. What we do will always be in private, never public."

"I can live with that," Gunner said with a sharp nod. "I really don't care what the rest of these fucks think so I'm not out to prove anything to them. I just need a good, strong slave to abuse. The creepers here are all pansy pussies and can't handle me but you, you've thrived under Sin so I know you'll not wilt under me." Gunner finally gave him a smile, wicked and twisted like Sin's smiles. Gunner did not look like a wolf though, no sleek panther or cruel raven. Gunner was a just a rabid dog. Matt held his eye a moment longer, wondering if he'd regret this then deciding he wouldn't.

"I'll return to you in a moment" Matt started to turn then very quietly added, "Master."

Matt could hear Gunner's chuckles behind him as he strode back to Razor. Matt tried to keep his eyes totally blank so that Razor could read nothing of the exchange in them. Razor rose to meet him. "If you just agreed to loan Froggie out to Gunner, damn it Matt...Highwayman...I WILL kill you."

Matt's eyes hardened more. "You agree to the two terms we spoke of, absolutely?"

"Yes, but only if you haven't handed Froggie over to Gunner."

"Shake on it?" Matt asked, thrusting out a hand.

Razor looked down at his hand amused but took it and shook. "A bit quaint and old fashioned but a promise is a promise nonetheless. I will change my bet with Sin and will never go after your precious Andy."

Matt just nodded brusquely.

"I require one more thing," Matt said keeping his eyes locked on Razor's. Rage flared suddenly in Razor's eyes.

"I already told you that you were pushing the limit Highwayman," he bit out. "Now what do you want?"

"An apology."

"A what?"

"An apology. You had no right to do the things you did to me, not by any stretch of the rule book."

Razor's jaws were clenched so tightly that Matt was sure he would refuse.

"Fine," Razor finally growled, glowering pure hatred. "I apologize to you Matt."

Matt nodded in acceptance and turned away after saying, "Wait there just a another moment. Do NOT leave. This is important."

"Whatever," Razor grumbled and plopped back down on the sofa.

Matt found Froggie once again curled up in a corner but he wasn't sleeping, he was just staring dully at nothing. Matt reached down and snapped the leash to his collar. Froggie didn't seem to notice. The kid stank, his hair even more matted than usual. Matt shook his head. Froggie still didn't seem to have noticed him, seemed to be in some sort of trance.

"Come slave, I am returning you to Razor," Matt growled loudly.

At the word "Razor" Froggie came to life, scrambling to his feet, babbling words so quickly that Matt couldn't understand a word of it.

"Silence!" Matt roared, unable to bear to hear the voice a moment longer, sick to death of Froggie altogether. Froggie snapped his mouth shut but began to bounce as they went instead, indeed much like a frog. Matt allowed it simply because it kept the crazy slave going in the direction Matt wanted him to go. When Matt returned to the lounge Froggie began to strain at the very end of the leash, chocking but still trying to surge forward toward Razor even after Matt had stopped walking. Matt braced his feet and kept a very firm hold on the leash with both hands, as if trying to restrain a savage pit bull. Everyone in the room turned to look at the commotion.

"If you want me to give your leash back you better hit the floor Froggie," Matt growled softly. He knew his words wouldn't carry far and was surprised Froggie could hear him over his own gagging but suddenly he fell forward, prostrate, twitching. Matt took a few steps forward and placed a boot between Froggie's shoulders blades to make sure he didn't make a break for it when Razor neared. Razor had stood as soon as he had seen Matt enter with Froggie. Now Matt motioned him over arrogantly, the whole room watching intently.

When Razor finally reached them from across the room Matt lifted his hand, the leash wrapped around his fist. "We made a couple of deals Razor, will you truly honor them?"

"Yes, of course!" Razor snarled, his eyes skipping from Matt's face to the leash and back again.

"So be it," Matt growled and opened the hand.

Razor just stared at it a moment. Slowly, not positive that Matt was really offering the leash back into his keeping, Razor reached out a hand. Matt nodded. With deliberate care Razor slowly unwrapped the leash from Matt's hand. He didn't look at or speak to Matt again. His eyes were riveted to Froggie, prostrate and silent on the floor, under Matt's foot. Matt took the "Froggie phone" from his pocket and tossed it down onto the slave's back then lifted his foot and walked away, toward the grinning Gunner.

Matt paused only a moment, stopping by a garbage can that stood nearby. He fished in the spacious pockets of his jacket and pulled forth the long coiled up whip. He dumped it into the can. The next item was the brown leather leash with his initials burned into the leather. That too went into the can. The collar that Andy had worn for only a number of days came last. Matt ran his thumb over the initials burned into it and then dumped it too into the trash. Without looking back he went to Gunner.

Gunner had a single brow raised in puzzled surprise. "Going upstairs to play with me does not take your status from you Highwayman," he said quietly.

"I know," Matt shrugged. "I just don't intend to use that same collar again. Andy wore it, I took it away from him. I have need to buy another collar but it won't be a plain one like that. I have something more...exotic, in mind for the next person I collar."

"I thought we agreed that you weren't cut out to be a master."

"I'm not but I'll still have need of a collar for reasons of my own."

"Ah. I see." Obviously Gunner was already bored with the conversation, ready to kick things into gear, impatient. "I know you said you will only go with me to a private room, but will you kneel for me? Allow me to lead you in by my leash?"

"You cannot collar me," Matt growled softly.

"I realize that. I have no need. I'll just borrow Sin's collar, no doubt still around your lovely throat under that bandana." Gunner had his leash in his hand and his grasp tightened on it hopefully.

Instead of replying Matt simply went to his knees and tipped his head back, allowing Gunner to slip his fingers under the bandana to clip the leash into place. "I do intend to hurt you, and badly. You realize that, yes?"

Matt simply nodded. "You may hurt me, make me bleed, but not brand or mark me in any personalized way that marks me as yours."

"I'll have a need to visit the Shop first then." The corners of Gunner's mouth had curled into an anticipatory smirk and his eyes gleamed brightly. "Come love, let me shop."

Many eyes followed them in surprise as Gunner lead the Highwayman from the lounge by a leash and whispers broke out in a hissing murmur. Matt didn't see Razor or Froggie. Where they had gone he didn't give a shit. He never wanted to lay eyes on either of them again though he knew he would. He simply wouldn't acknowledge them.

The shopkeeper didn't even try to hide his utter shock and dismay at seeing the Highwayman on a leash, standing slightly behind and to the left of Gunner as a proper slave should when they approached the counter. He did quickly get himself under control and gave Gunner a sickly smile.

"I'll be needing a 110 room key for the two hour rate, a blood suit, reinforcement for the hand restraints and..." Gunner glanced around, studied the wall of whips and turned back. "...I'll be taking one of those whips and one of those," he added as he pointed them out.

The cashier swallowed loudly as he made a list of the items, totaled the cost and had Gunner sign a payment contract. Money was never brought into the club itself. The store made out a bill for a master, had him sign it and he could pay Trev either as he left later or the next time he visited. Masters who failed to pay a bill were not readmitted into the club until the bill was paid, with interest if it took them more than two weeks to get it paid off. Gunner scrawled his signature arrogantly with a death's head grin.

The shopkeeper looked up at Matt. "Are...are you sure you want to go through with this with Gunner?" he asked shakily. Matt nodded without hesitation. He wanted, no he NEEDED this session with Gunner, for two reasons. The first was that since Sin left though he had been able to have some decent sex with Andy he had felt unfulfilled inside, hollow. The other reason was that he wanted to prove to himself, and later to Sin, that even though Sin had commanded that no other man was to torture Matt that Matt could CHOSE to ignore that command. At least, for Gunner's sake, he hoped he could. Matt had been concentrating on self control when he had broken free from Razor, had deliberately keep his violence tamped down and hadn't attacked the man other than ripping his arm band off. With Gunner, and the level of torture he obviously planned to employ, Matt had no idea how his body would react. He considered briefly of warning Gunner then decided not to. He would keep himself in check, no matter what. Besides, it was obvious that Gunner suspected Matt of being capable of great violence or he wouldn't have purchased the reinforcements for the hand restraints in the room. Matt had no idea what a 110 room was but he suspected it came equipped for full restraint.

"Oh, I forgot something," Gunner said suddenly. "Please add a ball gag. Just write it in on the bill and I'll initial it."

The shopkeeper did so and added one to the bulging bag of items on the counter. After Gunner initialed it Matt watched as Gunner chose his two whips from the wall, one a long plaited leather whip like the one Matt had used on Froggie, the other though had a long flexable handle, the whip itself only about a few feet long. It was a thinner whip and though Matt was not sure what the whip was made from he had no doubt it would draw blood much quicker than the braided whip would.

"You can still back out of this," the shopkeeper called to Matt when they were nearly to the door. Matt silently shook his head and followed Gunner out the door, hearing Gunner's throaty chuckling float back to him. The shopkeeper had Trev on the phone before the door even clicked shut. He had a feeling that the owner would want to monitor this encounter on his private hidden cameras.

Gunner had to lead Matt through the lounge once more to reach the stairs. Gunner made sure they were well within view of everyone before turning and handing all his purchases to Matt. "Carry these slave," he said loudly enough for his voice to carry. Matt complied, taking the parcels with care, aware that most of the room was now staring at them, at the whips in particular. Matt kept silent as they had actually entered the hall and were heading for the stairs.

"What exactly is a blood suit? Something to keep blood off of your clothes?" Matt asked.

Gunner shook his head. "No, it's for you to put on when I am finished with you. It's white so the blood will show through but quite absorbent so not a drip will soil Trev's precious floors. You know how he is about that. I would really, really like for you to wear that out to the dressing lockers Matt." Gunner stopped on the steps, two higher than Matt so that Matt actually had to tilt his head slightly to meet Gunner's gaze.

"I won't promise anything at this point Gunner," Matt said softly, "but I do intend to strive to please you tonight. I think you know I am purely a slave at heart. Being a master was not my goal. I just wanted my freedom. Becoming a master was your idea and worked to my benefit so I agreed to the rumble."

Gunner reached down and jerked the bandana down from Matt's face so that it hung around his neck and bent to kiss him harshly, kiss him like Sin used to do, possessive, demanding, understanding. Matt's heart began to hammer against his ribs. When Gunner lifted his head he brought his hand up and gently ran a thumb over Matt's lips, wiping away the moisture, staring at Matt's mouth. Suddenly that gentle hand came back and slapped Matt hard enough to turn his head. Matt's own hand rose instinctively to his burning cheek but even as he looked up Gunner had turned to continue to climb the stairs, giving Matt's leash a harsh tug when it tightened between them. Gunner might be shorter and smaller than Matt but he was damn sure a mile meaner and deserved his status a hell of a lot more than Matt felt he deserved his own. Matt lengthened his stride, caught up and followed meekly, his head down to hide a smile.

The number on the door that Gunner stopped at was not 110. It was 114. Matt assumed that a 110 room must simply mean one that fell between the numbers of 110 and 120. He wondered what the 120 rooms were. Different he had no doubt. Already practiced at being Sin's slave Matt had the key card dug out of the bag and ready to place into Gunner's hand as soon as they reached the door. Gunner just gave a pleased nod and led Matt inside.

Gunner took the bag and whips from Matt and dropped his leash, giving Matt a moment to take in a view of the room. As Gunner left him there Matt let his gaze sweep the small room. At first glance it both resembled and smelled like an average room in a doctor's office, small counter with a sink above and cabinets below along one wall, a shortened tilting bed with metal stirrups protruding high and tilted away to either side, covered in a white sheet in the middle of the room, a rolling stool nearby, a single framed painting on the wall, a large clock ticking loudly across from the bed. Matt noted the time first, then his eyes swept back to painting. Nothing a doctor would display, definitely not. It was of a man in bondage, twisted in an almost impossible position, fronted not by glass, but plexiglass. The tilting bed was certainly not something one would see in a doctor's office either. It was equipped with very strong looking restraints and like one that could be found in a chiropractor's office had a hole near the top for one to lay face down for long periods. At to the top were two sturdy metal bars, the bars parallel with the top of the bed. The foot of the bed could be slid in or lengthened like one in a doctor's office and it could be raised higher from the floor or lowered, tilted up for reclining or down flat. There were pegs on the back of the door for hanging things. Everything except for the framed painting was white and washable.

Gunner had laid out his purchased items on the counter and stood leaning against it, watching Matt. He had the bag the purchases had come in dangling from his fingers. He was smirking but his eyes had taken on an excited gleam. "Since you chose to enter this room with me Matt you lost your status the moment the door closed. You are now a full slave again until you walk, or crawl, or are carried out of that door. You address me only as Master. Since I have you for only this one session I will not bother to change your name, but I will only be addressing you as Matt, slave or pet. The Highwayman was left outside of the door. Since you are now a slave you will obey me in all things. First off you will strip and instead of hanging your clothes on the pegs or putting them in the cabinet you will fold them neatly and put them in this bag. You will leave here wearing a blood suit. You have no choice now, not if you plan to follow the club rules. Do you understand everything I have said to you?"

"Yes Master," Matt said meekly and reached up to begin untying the bandana from around his neck. "but I will not remove Sin's collar."

"That I will allow you to keep, but it is the only mercy I will show you."

Matt nodded silently. Gunner placed the empty bag on the bed and Matt crossed to it. "May I sit on the stool Master, to remove my boots?"


Matt sat, removed his boots and immediately stood again, placing his boots in the bag first. His heart was still hammering in his chest and his hands were beginning to shake. He took a steadying breath and an excited flush swept over Gunner's face. Matt neatly folded his coat and forced its large bulk into the bag before adding the bandana, and finally his hat. Naked now except for his collar and the trailing leash hanging from it Matt's eyes rose to Gunners and he took a proper slave stance, hands clasped behind his back, feet slightly apart, waiting. Gunner walked all the way around him, admiring. Finally he reached up and unhooked the leash and tossed it to the countertop.

"Hang the bag on the peg on the door pet," Gunner said, and Matt could feel Gunner's gaze sweeping over him as Matt moved, hot enough to feel like an actual caress. Matt's flesh broke out in goose-pimples. I CAN do this, Matt told himself, no matter what Sin had commanded.

"Now, sit on the end of the bed there slave." Gunner turned away, sure that his commands would be followed. Matt was surprised when Gunner simply went and removed a white wash cloth from one of the cabinets and wet it in the sink. He reached between Matt's legs when he returned, holding Matt's gaze and slid the end of the table to it's full length, straightening Matt's legs out onto the end of the bed. Very slowly and gently Gunner bathed Matt's feet. Matt watched in fascination. It felt very soothing and tension began to seep from him like a plug pulled out of a full bathtub. Gunner took his time, washing between each toe, examining each as though he were indeed a doctor looking for flaws before moving on to the next toe. By the time he finally finished Matt was totally relaxed, leaning back, propped on his hands. Gunner threw the wash cloth into the sink.

"Turn over slave and grasp the bars above the bed," Gunner ordered as he pushed the metal stirrups down, out of his way on their pivots and Matt complied. "When your beautiful sweet dick gets good and hard you tell me pet so we can put your rain coat on you, alright?" Gunner purred.

"Yes Master," Matt muttered, his voice muted as he fitted his face into the hole in the bed and reached up to grasp the cold metal bars above the bed. Gunner trailed his hand up Matt's body as he walked from the foot of the bed to the head of the bed. With exaggerated care Gunner buckled the wrist retraints around Matt's wrists, asking, almost kindly, if they were too tight. When Matt said they weren't Gunner went to the counter and retrieved the second set of restraints and buckled those below the first, once again asking Matt if they were too tight before going down to do the same with his ankles.

"Don't worry pet, I haven't forgotten your gag. I will only use it if your screams become too loud."

Matt shivered and the tension began to fill him again, doubts beginning to rise. Where was the lust he needed to feel? Where was that rush that Sin gave him? Gunner had not even kissed him. Had he walked into this room for nothing? His doubts were not helped when Gunner began to rub scented oil into the flesh of Matt's back. Yeah, it felt good but it certainly was not exciting. Gunner worked the oil from the back of Matt's neck all the way down the soles of his feet to his toes. Matt could feel the wet coolness of it when Gunner removed his warm hands and knew he must glisten from neck to feet. When the first lash of the whip fell Matt was totally unprepared and gasped loudly. It had fallen across the bare, oiled bottom of his feet and his legs instinctively tried to bend but the restraints held him. The second lash made his toes curl. Again and again the whip fell across the soles of his feet and Matt could feel the muscles in his body coiling tighter and tighter. Though the lashes were not heavy enough to bring blood or to even bruise him badly Matt still wanted instinctively to crawl away from it. Slowly the lashes moved upward, across his ankles, his calves, his thighs. By the time Gunner reached his buttocks Matt felt like his legs were on fire. He was gritting his teeth madly to keep from making a sound, clutching the metal bars above his head in an iron grip. By the time the lashes had reached his shoulders Matt was involuntarily straining against the buckles. The whip whistled one last time across the top of his shoulders then stopped. Matt felt Gunner come in close to him, lean over him.

"Are you hard yet, my little willing slave?" Gunner's breath was hot and heavy in Matt's ear, the words quiet. To Matt's shock he realized suddenly that he was, that his dick was caught painfully under his own body and throbbing.

"Yes Master," Matt gasped out. So far Matt had not really felt tested. Gunner had kept the lashes light enough to sting like hell but do no real damage. Matt hadn't felt truly tortured. He was very surprised though when Gunner moved away to unbuckle his restraints.

"Sit up and turn to the side of the bed, facing me," Gunner commanded.

Matt complied, not even aware he was rubbing his wrists.

"Stop that!" Gunner growled and Matt dropped his hands to his sides. Gunner now had a yellow packet in his hand. Matt knew what it was, a banana flavored condom. With exaggerated slowness Gunner rolled it down Matt's cock then leaned forward to plunder Matt's mouth with own. Finally! Matt thought, groaning and leaning in to the kiss. Gunner tore away lowered himself between Matt's thighs, engulfing Matt's cock in his warm, wet mouth. Matt groaned and leaned back on his hands, wanting very much to run his fingers through Gunners black dyed hair but he didn't think Gunner would allow that. Gunner only pleasured him a moment before rising to jerk Matt forward by his collar, kissing him deeply again, his hand now on Matt's cock, stroking.

`Ready for the real thing now my pretty toy?" Gunner asked quietly. Matt just nodded, hoping that he was indeed ready. "You did very well, made very little sound but I went very gently with you, just to test you. Let's see how well you do with the real thing. Lay down and grab the bars."

Matt did so, taking a moment to adjust his throbbing cock beneath himself. Gunner strapped him down once more. The first new lash made Matt try to arch away from the table, straining. It had taken him across the back, sharp and stinging, biting into his flesh. The whip fell again and again, this time Gunner showed no mercy. Despite Matt's best effort a cry rose from his lips on the sixth lash, then a louder one. Gunner didn't pause, the lash continued to fall over and over until a steady wail tore from Matt's lips. Sin's words were a visible wall in Matt's mind now and Matt mentally tore away at it but his body was fighting, the restraints all that kept him on the table. No man may torture you but me, no man may torture you but me, no man may torture you but me...on and on, a litany that Matt could barely contain, roaring in his mind, so vivid he could actually hear Sin's voice. He could not hear Gunner's commands to keep silent and still so Matt continued to keen between the lashes, fighting the restraints. It seemed an eternity before the lashes stopped.

"If you will not obey me slave and keep your mouth shut then I'll have to gag you," Gunner spat out, disappointed. He wrenched Matt's head up by his hair and shoved the ball gag into Matt's mouth, buckling it painfully tight behind his head before shoving his face hard back down. Matt sobbed against the gag. Under him Matt's cock was throbbing, hard as ivory and his balls were beginning to hurt, feeling an almost unbearable need for release, almost as unbearable as the restraints. Already Gunner had retrieved his whip. Matt wanted to scream at him, to tell him he could take no more but he could get no words out around the gag. Gunner moved to his other side before resuming his torture of Matt's flesh, the lash falling like a burning brand, each one gashing his flesh. Matt was screaming now, his muscles straining to break free of the buckled restraints. The lashes were now crisscrossing the first ones, each new blow a burning hellfire across his flesh.

"You will fight for your life, Matt. No man may torture you but me," Sin's voice was right beside Matt, right inside his ear. He could actually smell leather and sea salt. Matt bit down on the gag, stifling his screams, and his muscles strained harder. An ankle retraint stapped.

"Damn you Matt!" Gunner bellowed loud enough to be heard over the insistence of Sin's voice in Matt's mind. The lash whistled harder, faster. The other ankle snapped free and Matt was curling forward, up onto his knees, his arms still restained above his head. This only gave Gunner an easy target of his ass and the lash came down hard across Matt's buttocks. Matt released the metal bar, muscles flexing like steel. A wrist restrant burst open. The lash had returned to his shoulders. Another snap of buckles breaking, then another and one hand was free. It was only moments until the second was free as well. Matt's eyes were covered in a red film, not blood, rage. Matt reached up and got the gag free even as Gunner continue to lash at him. He stumbled off of the table but Gunner deftly kept him at bay with quick lashes to his chest, the front of his thighs. Matt lunged for him and finally caught the whip and yanked it out of Gunners hand, Matt's own hand stinging from the blow to his palm. "Kill him, kill him, kill him!" Sin's voice repeated over and over like a mantra in Matt's mind. Matt was nearly on Gunner before he stopped himself, skidding on a wet floor, his hands going up to clasp his head, his ears. NO! he would not listen to the voice in his head. He could break this spell, he COULD. And he did. Slowly he dropped his hands and raised his head.

Gunner was grinning madly, not in the least frightened. Quite pleased actually. Matt could tell from the evilly sexual gleam in his eyes. "Bend over the table Matt, offer me your lovely ass so I can fuck you now."

"Yes master," Matt ground out. He was shocked to see so much of his own blood on the floor but he was no longer feeling pain, only sexual frustration so intense that his need to be fucked was now his only thought. He leaned over the bloody sheets. Gunner used a lever to lower the bed more so that Matt was more easily accessible to him. When Gunner finally entered him Matt groaned and rocked back. Gunner's cock was short but thick and he made good use of it, slamming into Matt hard. Matt was shocked and bitterly disappointed to feel Gunner swell and jump inside him so quickly. The sight of Matt's torn flesh was just too much for Gunner. He came quickly, shouting out in glory and anger at having cum so quickly. He withdrew and urged Matt up and around with his hands guiding Matt to lean against the bed. His head bent over Matt's cock and this time Matt allowed himself to place his hands in Gunner's hair. Gunner was experienced at giving head. He had been slave once himself and he sucked hard, his lips and tongue brutal, his ability to swallow around a cock as honed as Sin's. Matt too came much more quickly than he ever dreamed he would have, succumbing helplessly to Gunner's experienced pleasuring. He hunched himself around Gunner's head involuntarily, hearing himself shouting out his own release as Gunner had done moments before. He felt as though there was no end to the flow of his jism, it pumped out of him like gasoline from a hose, his dick flexing and jerking over and over again until Matt realized he was sobbing, tears flowing down his face. Finally it was over and he let Gunner go, realizing the man could not breath. Gunner stumbled away and Matt sagged against the bed but his knees wouldn't hold him. He slid down to the floor, sobbing, broken.

* * * * * *

Down in the basement of the Collar Club Trev had just finished jacking off. It had been more than ten years since Trev had been willing to take a lover himself. At his age his dick only stood up when it absolutely had to. It was stubborn and damn near worn out. Trev couldn't find any reason to take a lover. He didn't need one. His last one, a partner of nearly forty years had broken his heart when he passed away from heart disease. Trev didn't want to love again. He knew he'd see his lover on the other side when he too passed and knew he'd be waiting for him there. There was no way he would cheat on him on this side, not at his age, when he had nothing to lose by waiting. The scene he had just watched though had been more than satisfying. He knew Matt was powerful but had cackled in pure glee when the man had been able to break not just a single set of wrist restraints but a double set of them. Gorgeous. Too bad Sin wasn't around to witness it. Trev very rarely video taped anything. According to the bylaws no cameras or any sort of recording devices were permitted inside the club but Trev didn't feel that applied to himself. He had his own small collection of the best of the best and this had ranked among those. This he had video taped. Maybe one day he would get a chance to have a private viewing of it with Sin himself. Of course, that would mean exposing this very dangerous secret to Sin but Trev figured Sin was one of the very few men in the world that he could trust enough with such a secret. The tapes themselves were stored in a double vault. Getting into either of them would trigger ten or more alarms. Trev would know.

Trev rarely slept. He preffered to run the place himself and only on very special occasions or during the time that he absolutely had to go to sleep did he leave his station. He even ate there. His small, sparse bedroom was located right behind the front desk area, through a narrow door. He owned little because he needed next to nothing. His entire life revolved around the club that he and his partner had started more than thirty years ago. In that time the club had not only thrived it had grown much larger than either of them had ever dreamed. Trev was a very, very rich man. Filthy rich. Yet he hardly ever touched the money other than what he needed to keep the house in perfect repair, update it when needed and buy up more land around it when possible. Trev had no living relatives. He wouldn't leave his money to them even if any of them had been living. They had turned him out as soon as they had learned he was homosexual. He'd been making his own way every since and he had done damn well for himself. He smiled and nodded smugly in the snug, private basement viewing room. Very well for himself indeed. He realized though that he would soon have to make a very hard decision and decide who to leave all that money to. They would have to be willing to take over the running of the club, to be utterly devoted to it. So far he hadn't found anyone at all that he trusted for that position. He had considered Cooper in the past but the man was too soft and was close minded to the torture rooms. Trev sighed. Yes, soon he would start having to pay much closer attention to the most loyal of his patrons. One of them must become his successor. At the moment he had a young man by the name of "Handy" running the front desk. He was good kid, devoted to working for Trev and to the club itself but nowhere intelligent enough to actually run the place. Trev sighed. It would be a long search. His time was limited.

Trev watched the screen as Gunner knelt beside Matt and pulled him into a warm embrace, smoothing his hair, wiping his tears, cooing to him, soothing him. Matt clung to Gunner like a log in a raging flood, still sobbing out his release. Trev knew Matt was not just reacting to experience in that room. He was grieving for Sin. Greiving deeply. Gunner was proving to be an excellent master. Trev had been skeptical at first about Gunner going for master status, didn't think the boy had it in him after being a slave for so long but he was proving Trev wrong and Trev was pleased. Gunner. Now there was an intelligent, devoted, driven young man. Gunner could indeed be a candidate as an heir. Gunner, Trev knew, had no family. He had been in foster homes most of his life, a troubled teen. He had only found his own real identity here, in the Collar Club. Gunner had no outside ties to weigh him down. Trev leaned back in his chair and steepled his sticky fingers. He must have a long talk with the lovely little Gunner. Yes, a very long talk indeed, before Gunner managed to snag a slave for himself and get too attatched to someone.

* * * * * *

Matt was indeed grieving for Sin. It was all he could think of. His mind was so full of pain and grief that there was nothing he could do but sob. Gunner seemed to understand. He was whispering soft, sweet words into Matt's ear, assuring him that Sin would come back, that Matt would once again be as he should be, a slave to his one and only true master. Gunner said it with conviction, his words so sure and strong that Matt couldn't even pretend to be hearing lies. He clung to the smaller man, nuzzling his face into his sweaty neck, kissing him, listening to him, thanking him. Gunner knew, Gunner understood. He had been both slave and master. He was both cruel and tender. He was so like Sin. Gunner wouldn't lie to him, couldn't be lying to him. Matt was convinced of it. Slowly his sobbing eased and he moved away from Gunner. Gunner rose and held down a hand to help heft Matt to his feet. Matt was shocked to see that small spatters of blood decorated Gunner's face and clothes. Gunner removed Matt's condom then his own and took them to a small garbage can hidden in a cabinet. He brought Matt two clean, warm, wet cloths, one he handed to Matt for Matt to wash his face. Matt did so silently. The other he used to gently wash Matt's now wilted cock and tossed it to the sink. When Gunner handed him the blood suit Matt put it on without hesitation. It was nothing like what he was expecting, certainly nothing one would expect of an outfit referred to as a "blood suit". Gunner helped Matt into a simple pair of soft white pants, thicker at the bottom and banded around the ankles with elastic. Any blood that ran down his legs would be absorbed into the material and show through brilliantly. The shirt was similar, soft white material, banded at the bottom and at the wrists, the material thicker there to absorb any running blood. It was much thinner around the chest, shoulder and back, soft and comforting against Matt's tortured flesh, cool and breezy. Matt sighed in relief. He wasn't sure what he was expecting of a "blood suit" but not this. This was comfortable, much more so than the heavy demin of his Highwayman's jacket would have been. Gunner reached up and, much to Matt's surprise, clicked his leash back into place.

"Will you please let me lead you out? I would really love for those in the lounge to see this. It would please me very much, though now that our session is over you are really back in control of your own self."

"I will do this for you Gunner. Thank you. You do not know how badly I needed this session."

"Oh, yes, I do know. Why do you think I wanted to do this with you so badly? I knew you could turn violent and possibly even hurt me but I've been hurt before. I was willing to risk it. It was very much my pleasure."

Gunner went back to the counter and dropped each item that he had bought into the garbage. A whip that had been used to draw blood on one man was never used on another man later. A new one would have to be purchased, club rules. Matt was left to carry only the bag containing his own clothes. The room was left in bloody shambles. Someone on club duty would have to come in to do a clean up. Matt glanced at the clock, shocked to find that it had taken Gunner less than an hour to throuroughly work him over and reduce him to a sobbing child. Gunner had not washed his own face, wishing, Matt supposed, to show off the red dots that speckled him from head to toe. Matt followed meekly as Gunner led him out. Gunner was rewarded with the exact reaction he had strived for as they passed through the lounge area. Shocked faces, envious faces, angry faces, lusty stares, a wide variety of reactions to the sight of the pair, Gunner bespeckled and smirking happily, Matt hanging his head like a proper slave, his blood suit now showing a good amount of blood that had seeped through. Since Matt did not raise his head to look around he did not see Razor lounging against a wall with Froggie prostrate on the floor beneath his boot. He had been waiting for them, had been too curious to leave until they had come out of their private room. He was quite shocked and more than a little jealous. Gunner saw his face and grinned at him, showing his crooked white teeth in a predatory way. Quite a spectacle they made and Matt knew that Gunner would go home this night more than satisfied. Matt would go home feeling more fulfilled than he had since Sin had left but he still had to face that empty apartment alone, its sights, the scents, all the things that both reminded him of Sin and of Sin's absence.

* * * * * *

Matt hadn't been able to bring himself to put his own street clothes back on other than his normal socks and boots and he pulled his Highwayman jacket on over the blood suit to cover the brilliant red down the back of it but he couldn't button it. He bundled his normal clothes under his arm and then shoved them into his saddle bags before mounting up on his bike. Sitting, he found, was quite uncomfortable, though bearable. By the time he rode the elevator up to his apartment he was sagging with exhaustion, more than ready for a shower and bed. To his dismay though he spotted someone in the hallway propped against the outside of his door. This time he knew it wouldn't be Drift and the person was far too small to be Sin. Matt could see that their head was down, knees drawn up, as if the person was sleeping. When he finally got close enough to recognize that it was a woman and who she was Matt froze in shocked dismay. His mother! Oh god, what was she doing here and how the hell could he possibly explain the red blood showing on the back of his legs below the jacket. He knelt and very gently shook her awake.

"Mom?" Matt asked softly as her head rose slowly, coming awake, her face swollen from hours of crying, her eyes sticky with sleep. "Mom what are you doing here? What's wrong?"

She didn't answer as he helped her to stand. Her movements were stiff and she was wobbly so Matt put an arm around her to steady her as he used his other hand to unlock his door and steer her in, taking her directly to the softest chair he had to offer. The room was dark except for the light from the fish tank. Matt left it that way in hopes that she would not see the blood on him and knelt in front of her.

"What is it?" Matt prodded again as his mother peered down at him, her eyes sad, frightened, forlorn.

"It's your father Matthew. He had a heart attack, then in the emergency room he had a major stroke. Matt, honey, he's in a coma."

Matt's breath left him in a rush and he had to gasp harshly to suck some air back into his chest. It felt banded, as though he were caught in one of Stan's massive, rib creaking hugs.

"I've been trying to call you for two days. I just keep getting your voicemail. I finally decided just to come and wait for you here. I was determined to stay at your door until you came back."

"When? When did it happen?" Matt asked, feeling the world spin, feeling sick.

"Yesterday evening. Matt...they...they aren't sure he'll come out of the coma. They said that even if he does there is no telling how much damage was done by the stroke, if he'll be...aware of much. He could be paralysed, unable to care for himself at all."

"Okay Mom, it's okay. I'll come to the hospital with you. Just give me a moment to shower and change. I've had a very long day. You just stay right there. Don't move. Just relax."

"Matt?" his mother implored, grabbing his hand, her eyes frightened as they lifted to his. " that man here? Will he be coming here?"

Matt leaned down to kiss her cheek. "No Mom. We're alone and he won't be coming. It's alright. You needn't be frightened of Michael anyway Mom but no, he's left town for a while."

She sighed and released his hand, leaning back in the chair wearily, eyes closing. Matt didn't miss his chance to slip away without her seeing his bloody clothes.

In the bathroom Matt threw his clothes into a corner in a hurry. It wasn't until after the warm water was beating down on him, Matt grimacing in agony, that he realized he had forgotten to remove his collar first. Quickly he unbuckled it and for once just tossed it out onto the floor. The water ran red from his body, especially when he turned his back to the spray. Matt knew he should have gone straight to Miss Sylvia for a patch up but he'd been too tired to face her, her questions, her disapproval, her rebukes. Matt cleaned his own the wounds the best he could, the ones he could reach at any rate, gritting his teeth through the entire angonizing process. He stepped quickly out onto the bathmat, dripping both water and blood. The towel too came away bloody. Matt didn't know what to do about it and had little time to come up with a solution. He turned so he could see his back in the mirror and gaped in horror. His back was a pattern of crisscrossing, bleeding lashes. Scar he would, though hopefully not badly. Sin might feel those scars every time his hand ever ran over Matt's back from now until eternity. Sin would never be able to forget that he had left Matt to fend for himself, left him broken, and that the consequences had been permanent. Maybe it would be reminder enough to keep Sin from ever running again once Matt dragged him back. Glancing down Matt saw that though the backs of his legs bore much fewer marks they too were crisscrossed in places. What the hell had he let Gunner do to him? Matt's mind screamed. Why? Why? But he had no time for self evaluations right now. Right now he had to do something to stop the bleeding so he could dress and take his mother back to the hospital, or home if she would let him and he would go to he hospital himself.

Matt stooped and rummaged in the cabinet under the sink where he and Sin had been collecting first aid supplies. He had to push away two packs of toilet paper to get to them. In the very back he found the exact thing he needed. Roll after roll of long elastic bandages were stacked against the back of the cabinet. Some of them were new, still in their packaging, others were an impressive collection from their many visits to the hospital that Matt had cleaned after their use, rolled and stored in zip lock bags to keep them sterile. He scooped the entire collection out onto the floor and dropped to his knees, sorting through them. He opened the first ziplock bag took out the three rolls stored there. He began wrapping a roll around his chest, starting high, right under his arms. He didn't stop until he was wrapped like a mummy, from chest all the way down each leg to his ankles. He had wrapped his torso heavily but his legs lightly. His jeans should go over the bandages easily enough and he had several large shirts to choose from that could cover his heavily wrapped chest.

Matt dressed as quickly as possible, hissing and grimacing through the whole process. Finally he was clothed in neat, presentable attire. The only hint to his condition was a slight stiffness to his movements. Matt started to leave the bedroom then suddenly realized with horror that he had left his collar laying in the bathroom floor. Leave it there? It certainly wasn't an appropriate thing to be wearing on a trip such as this. Matt put his hand on the bedroom doorknob. Yeah, leave it. Problem was that he couldn't turn the knob. His hand simply would not perform the action. Matt warred with himself briefly, sighed and gave up the fight. He retrieved his collar, dried it carefully with the towel from the floor then buckled it back into place, feeling much steadier and stronger once it was snug about his throat once more. If his mother asked, well, he would either make up a lie or bite the bullet and tell the truth. Maybe it was best if she knew the truth. He was in love with Sin and could no longer deny it to himself or anyone else. It was a part of him now. Sin was a part of him now. Matt wouldn't give him up. Not at any cost. Feeling steadier now and ready to face the horrors of the hospital Matt left the mess in the bathroom, easily opened the bedroom door and went to rouse his mother who had once again fallen asleep, her body limp and her face creased with new age lines. They would face the hospital together.©2008