The camera never lies, and the photographer who dares to see knows all.
So thought Bunter as he watched the tableau on the bed before him. His master lay spreadeagled, naked, wrists and ankles tied with silken scarves. His face was shadowed--purposefully, for this was one truth the camera must never impart--but Bunter saw there the fear released, the knowledge of weakness.
Here, in this room, Peter was both safe and free. Luxuries he had not elsewhere.
Bunter checked his equipment once more, and from the bed came a hitched sigh.
"My lord?" Bunter lifted an inquiring eyebrow. He saw the rueful grin touch Peter's lips.
"You call me that even here."
"Yes, my lord," Bunter said gravely. "You know why."
"I know." Peter moved fretfully against his bonds and sent a half-amused glance at his servant. "I say, Bunter, is all ready?"
"Your lordship knows I will not begin until things are just so." Bunter spoke gravely, but his heart was warm. Peter was growing bolder, the terrible damage wrought by war slowly being overcome. Much as Peter loved this game, and needed the release it brought him, the rules were rigid. Mervyn Bunter had seen to that.
He had not first saved then carefully rebuilt his beloved Major to have him hurt again.
Bunter checked his camera one more time, then raised his voice. "Sir, his lordship will receive you now."
From the bed came a groan of anticipation, and it seemed that Peter struggled against his bonds. But a moment later, it became clear that he was merely raising his knees the maximum allowed by the restraints.
The outer door clicked and opened, and a man entered, clad in one of Lord Peter's more subdued dressing gowns. Of athletic build, he was a little under six feet in height, but his features were hidden by a black mask. He closed the door behind him, shot one glance at Bunter and his camera, then turned to the man on the bed. "Ah, Peter..." His voice was thick with barely-suppressed longing, and as he shed the dressing gown, he revealed his manhood standing proud and ready.
Bunter retreated behind the camera, smiling with a touch of wistfulness. No hand but his own should strip Peter. No-one but himself was trusted to lay Peter out and bind him, ready. But this man could be trusted with his lordship's body, trusted to take Peter to the edge, and past it.
On the bed, Peter moved beneath the newcomer's hands, moaning softly. "Charles... Charles..."
Bunter clicked the shutter, watching with satisfaction. Charles took Peter beyond the veil, but Bunter it was who brought him home, safe and whole.
Bunter it was who knew his secrets, knew his heart, knew his all. And thus was Peter safe, at last, and free.