John was good at following orders. It was part of why he climbed the ranks so quickly. Not the main reason, but part of it. Now Harold would disagree. Harold would call John “obstinate and insubordinate even on the best of days.” And John would smile fondly and hide his smirk. But before Harold, before the numbers and the Machine, when John wasn’t allowed to question orders or “go rogue,” he had been very good at following orders. A tiny part of him liked it.
He knew where to draw the line, of course. He was always professional about it in the CIA. He had been professional about everything. But every so often, away from the field and outside the agency, he’d let slip that he enjoyed being bossed around. Between jobs when he found a partner for the night, sometimes he’d reveal that part of himself. Of course, many of his partners had been hesitant to take charge, to say the least. He was over six feet tall and not easily dominated. Some would humor him, teasingly. They’d playfully ask if he’d been a naughty boy, and he would resign himself to a disappointing outcome, working to get it over with as quickly as possible.
But now that he was with Harold- whatever the word “with” implied, he found the lines starting to blur. John knew where to draw the lines in the field. He couldn’t think such thoughts in a hail of bullets anyway. In day to day work, his brain rant through the motions- check for cameras and exits, assess potential threats- and kept him on task.
And then some days, when he was doing surveillance work, and he let his guard down, John lost track of the lines.
“I urge you to keep a close eye on this number, Mr. Reese,” Harold said over the comms, “His rap sheet is… impressive for lack of a better word.”
John snapped a quick pic of their most recent number. “I wouldn’t really call several counts of petty larceny ‘impressive.’”
Harold sighed. “Mr. Reese. This is important. At least try to act professional.”
John decided to push his luck. “The only thing that qualifies me as a professional is the fact that you pay me.”
“Mr. Reese,” Harold snapped, “Please take this matter more seriously!”
Harold’s demanding tone made John squirm. Clearing his throat, he shut his mouth and returned to taking pictures. Silently, he thought to himself that he had to do something and fast. If he let his imagination start running out of control on the job, innocent people would suffer.
He slipped up again a few days later, when he was tailing their number after they’d gotten done with work. The number was headed into high risk territory. John was convinced that it was where the Machine wanted them to go, but Harold said the evidence suggested otherwise.
“If Mr. Flint goes in and we can’t get eyes on him, we won’t know if he needs to be stopped,” John argued.
“But if you go charing in with no cover and Flint won’t cooperate, you might end up getting him hurt, or yourself, or BOTH.”
John checked his clip before shoving his piece into his waistband a little forcefully. “You think Flint is the one who’s in danger?”
“He WILL be in danger if we don’t carefully consider our next move.”
John grit his teeth. “And if he isn’t the victim, God only knows what he will get up to if we don’t stay on his ass.” He straightened his jacket. “I’m going in.”
“Mr. Reese, stand down!” Harold commanded.
John practically shivered, mentally berating himself. Things were getting out of hand. John cracked his neck and took a deep breath. “Yes, sir,” he murmured.
Everything came to a head at the library. John was cleaning his gun at Harold’s desk, partly to calm his building frustration. The moving mechanical parts made sense to his brain, unlike the swirling storm of thoughts and fantasies inside his head, not to mention the accompanying heat.
As he predicted, Harold was displeased with John’s activities. “Mr. Reese,” Harold said, his tone strained, “We’ve already discussed this. I don’t approve of you doing that here.”
John barely looked up from his work. “And I think I remember telling you there wasn’t another place for me to do this.”
“Why can’t you do it at home?” Harold asked, placing his briefcase on the desk with a heavy thud.
John shoved the charge handle forward. “I don’t want to.” He knew he was being childish, but he couldn’t bring himself to stop.
“Mr. Reese, put the gun away,” Harold growled, clearly tired of petty arguing. He stepped closer waiting for John to get out of Harold’s chair.
Breathing heavily, John stood and met Harold’s steely gaze. “Make me.”
They stood inches apart for a few moments, John’s shoulders heaving with every breath, and Harold’s lips pressed firmly together. John watched as Harold’s eyes flickered back and forth between John’s, the wheels visibly turning in his mind.
Something in the air shifted, and Harold spoke again. “Is that what you want?” Harold whispered, his voice soft, “To be told what to do? Made to obey?” His eyes softened. “Do you want me to give you orders?”
Heart in his throat, John waited a long time before he lowered his gaze and slowly nodded. A wave of shame washed over him at letting his libido get the better of him. They’d set strict rules concerning their “relationship,” which boiled down to never outside the designated safehouse except for sometimes in the back of a cab, and their safeword was “Ordos.” And there John was, goading Harold on in the library.
John was about to apologize for breaking the rules, but Harold’s voice froze him in place.
“On your knees.”