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Mastery

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The flare of idealism that Nate experienced at Tom Ricks’ seminar had only been a part of it. Hidden under layers upon layers of patriotism and the drive to succeed in something that really mattered, there was another reason for joining the Marine Corps. It simmered quietly; so quietly that Nate could avoid thinking about its ramifications.

After the intensity of his sergeant instructors at OCS, Nate knew beyond a doubt how much he ached for that kind of mentorship. Back at university, he tamped down his fascination with his graying-at-the-temples, patches-on-the-elbows-of-his-tweed-coat, distinguished professor; the one who took absolutely no slacking and pushed the entire class to do more than their best. Nate never felt more alive than when he was driving himself to learn -- to master -- the next thing for that man.

Then came OIF and the road south of Al Kut. Godfather lectured all of First Recon command to get their shit sorted, and Nate felt a war raging inside himself. The loudest voice in his mind was telling him that doing what was right should take precedent over commands from incompetent superiors. A smaller voice told him that his knowledge of the situation was short-range at best; that he needed to put trust in the structure that was there to keep his men safe. 

Bubbling to the surface was another factor. Nate’s memory of the tongue lashing that Godfather had just dished out was sprinkled liberally with the clenching of Godfather’s strong hands, his rigger’s belt, and the fierce disappointment on his face leveled straight at Nate. The heat of it made a shiver run down Nate’s spine. 

Sitting in the front seat of his humvee, Nate couldn't ignore the distracting pressure of the truth. He had a thing for men in power. He’d had it for as long as he could remember and, if he was honest with himself, it was that simmering undercurrent that led him to where he was sitting right now. He wanted someone to push him to be better, and he wanted to see the pleased look on their face when he did an exceptional job.

The radio crackled to life. “Hitman Two, this is Godfather Actual. Fick to report to command. How copy?”

Gunny looked over at Nate with a concerned expression. 

“It’s fine,” Nate said. His face was as neutral as he could make it. Any tense expression would be interpreted by Gunny as worry about career-altering discipline, not about what was really running through Nate’s head.

“This is Hitman Two Actual. Affirmative.” 

Gunny nodded. Nate kept his head down so his fevered cheeks would stay in the shadows of his helmet.

Inside Godfather’s tent, the air was still and hot. The sounds of the men outside were deadened by the heavy canvas. Nate blinked his eyes to adjust to the dim light. 

“Lieutenant,” Godfather rasped in way of a greeting. 

Nate snapped to attention. “Sir.” They were alone and Nate tried to bury his now-boiling thoughts about command structure and discipline.

“Godfather gets the impression that you need to be reminded of your place in this Company, Lieutenant.”

“Yes, Sir. Please remind me, Sir,” Nate said in sudden disbelief at his own words. His mouth fell open and then snapped shut. The flush of his cheeks ran down to his neck.

“Is that sass, Lieutenant? Are you giving me lip while I am telling you to get in line?” Godfather’s voice got quieter, not louder. He was eye-to-eye with Nate, and Nate felt enveloped in Godfather’s power. His body shuddered with Godfather’s proximity. 

“No, Sir.”

“An invitation then? Nathaniel?” Godfather growled Nate’s name.

Nate’s lips parted, but he was speechless. He exhaled a hot breath. 

“No?” Godfather was smirking. A flutter of nerves swam through Nate’s gut at the thought of losing some unbelievable chance if he let Godfather think his answer was ‘no.’

“Not no, Sir. Whatever you see fit, Sir,” Nate whispered, looking down at Godfather’s nametape and waiting.

“Hands on that support pole, Lieutenant,” Godfather rasped in Nate’s ear. 

“Sir?”

“Now,” Godfather growled. Nate obeyed promptly, a hot blush on his cheeks and a pulsing heat in his groin.

That’s when Godfather started yelling. “Did you sleep through OCS, Lieutenant? Do you remember the purpose of command structure?”

“No, Sir. Yes, Sir.”

“Legs apart.” 

Nate was having an increasingly hard time keeping it professional. Godfather’s gravelly voice was going straight to his dick.

“All evidence points to you thinking too goddamn much, Fick. How about we take that out of the equation,” Godfather said quietly now. His breath moved the hairs at the back of Nate’s neck and Nate’s skin rippled with hot and cold shivers. 

“Sir?”

The first crack of Godfather’s hand across Nate’s ass made him curl his toes in his boot. He strained not to come in his utilities. His erection was hard against the seam of his trousers and the vibrations of the spanking were generating an insanity-inducing friction. By the fifth slap, Nate was panting. By the tenth across his stinging, burning ass, Nate cried out with his orgasm.

“Godfather owns your ass, Lieutenant, and Godfather expects you to remember that.”

Forgetting would have been impossible. Nate thought about that spanking every day for the rest of the deployment. There was never a repeat performance. Nate didn’t need it again in the most literal sense of discipline and command structure for the Corps. He performed his job exceptionally. Nate did, however, spend long nights in his grave thinking about what he wanted.

Discipline reinforced with the right amount of pain.

That’s how Nate found himself at Godfather’s doorstep when they returned to California. He rang the doorbell and considered whether he’d need to prostrate himself on the sun-baked front step or if he’d simply be turned away in quiet humiliation.

Nate’s eyes angled toward the floor when Godfather opened the door.

“Sir.”

There was a long, tortured pause. The oppressive heat of the dry, late summer winds swept through the tree leaves. It felt like Al Kut again. 

“You need another reminder?” Godfather rasped quietly.

“I’d like one,” Nate said quietly. His voice was sure. “Sir.”

Another long pause followed Nate’s confession. His cheeks felt on fire and his palms were sweating. He’d gotten this far, however, and he couldn’t help feeling some pride at the accomplishment. He wanted to learn. He wanted...

“Inside.”

Godfather’s house was utilitarian and orderly. The 1970s rambler floorplan made a thought of vintage porn spike into Nate’s mind. His breath hitched as the discipline and the potential for sex mingled in his mind.

“Take a left,” Godfather said. 

Nate walked through the doorway with Godfather’s hand pressing on his back. There was a bed. Nate sighed raggedly, relief from the tension he’d been carrying since Al Kut.

“Sit.”

****

They had exactly the talk that Nate had been hoping for: what are you getting out of this, why, safe words, rules, discretion. The training began immediately and Nate’s first lesson was to learn to call this what it was: submission.

“Strip and jerk off,” Godfather rasped.

Nate had not been prepared for that command in the slightest. 

“Sir?”

“Your first job is to show me you can listen to a command. We’ve already gone through this once, Nathaniel.”

Nate remembered Al Kut. He stripped and stood in front of Godfather who was sitting on the edge of the bed, ramrod straight.

“Don’t make me tell you twice.”

Nate was flaccid with nerves. But he was here because he’d asked to be. He was here to become something more. 

Godfather watched Nate jack himself off. Godfather was learning too, Nate came to understand.

****

“How long has it been, Nathaniel?”

Nate knelt next to Godfather’s chair, the soft twists of carpet fiber turning rough after long minutes in the same position. The tension burned in his knees, but he had learned after the long, fruitful months. Godfather had high expectations and Nate met them.

“Eight months, seventeen days, Sir.”

“Are you going to lose your discipline while I’m gone?” 

His hand was solid and warm on the back of Nate’s neck. Godfather deployed in two days. 

“No, Sir,” Nate said with confidence. And he didn’t.

The next time Nate came to Godfather’s door was a very, very long fourteen months later. Nate fell to his knees immediately and touched the side of his face to Godfather’s thigh.

“You need a haircut, Nathaniel,” Godfather rasped. The fondness was in his touch. 

“Yes, Sir.”

“A special treat tonight?”

Nate looked up for his orders.

“Dining room table. Hup.”

Nate folded his clothes quickly and set them in a neat stack in the corner. He climbed up onto the table and waited for what he knew was coming. 

Godfather bound his arms and legs to the table, putting Nate in an open X of vulnerability. Nate couldn’t hide anything in this position. Every twitch of pain, every throb of his erection would be visible to Godfather’s watchful gaze.

Godfather inspected Nate, there was no other word for it. Nate felt a flush of pleasure when Godfather’s hands ran down his flanks, giving Nate a nod of approval for good work in his absence.

“Godfather is generally happy with what he sees, Nathaniel. Did you follow my instructions while I was away?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“And they were?”

“Celibacy. Orgasm control. Physical fitness.”

“Godfather is going to test the second of those to gauge your level of commitment to our training. To test your competence. Are you ready, Nathaniel.”

Nate's dick was hard. This was going to be hard. He was not going to allow himself to come until Godfather gave the word. This was going to be hard. It'd been so long.

He breathed slowly and deeply.

“I'm ready, Sir.”

Godfather went to the other room and came back with a can of shaving cream and a safety razor. Nate closed his eyes. The foam was cold across his chest and groin. Nate quietly suppressed a shiver as Godfather efficiently removed Nate’s hair. Godfather wiped the residual cream away with a cool towel, and Nate’s nipples pebbled painfully with the chill and attention. His dick fared the same, hard to the point of aching. Godfather’s hands were frustratingly innocent in their operations. Nate wanted to struggle against the straps holding his wrists and ankles. He wanted to thrust his hips against Godfather’s hands, but he did not. He focused his breathing and backed away from the tempting edge of orgasm.

That was just the beginning of Nate's test.

Godfather showed Nate his Zippo.

“You can do this, Nathaniel.” Godfather lit a long candle. “You will take all of this, and then I'll think about letting you come.”

The first hot drop of wax onto Nate’s newly shaved chest felt like a pinch. The heat spread through the oozing white wax as it cooled enough to coat a patch of Nate’s skin below his nipple. Another drop came, this time on his other pec, and Nate clenched his teeth. 

“Do you remember the first time, Nathaniel? How your brain could never rest until you came to me?” The rasp of Godfather’s voice never failed to take Nate to that place of focus in his mind where he felt capable of achieving anything. The flame of the candle hovered just over Nate's abdomen and hot wax streamed into a pool on his skin.

“Yes, Sir. I remember,” Nate said through gritted teeth.

Another biting drop of melted wax fell, lower this time. He knew he'd have welts and he relished the reminder they'd give him; the reminder of his choice to submit. Nate pressed his lips together and breathed through his nose. His dick twitched hard. 

“I can see you enjoy this, Nathaniel. How much more can you take?”

A drop of wax landed on Nate's balls and he grunted with the sharp pain.

“As much as you ask me to take, Sir.”

“Good,” Godfather whispered. “I want you to take it all.”

Nate did. His mind emptied, and he mastered the pain and his pleasure.