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See the Master's Hand

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Word of the mission's successful completion had arrived at noon in a brief, businesslike report from the field agent in charge. Four hours later, Pierce's secretary finished listing the messages received during his last meeting with, "And Agent Sullivan reports the package was delivered to your house without problems."

"Ah," Pierce said, and reached for the slip of paper, which Miranda handed over. Sullivan had filled out the memo slip with a few coded indicators. The asset had been left in the usual location at Pierce's house, and in the usual condition.

Pierce had just been getting impatient with the last stretch of the day extending before him, knowing that the asset had completed a mission today and that a reward for a job well done was therefore in the offing. Now, knowing for certain that the asset was in place, and that every moment he spent in his office was an additional moment the asset would spend waiting for him, Pierce felt himself inclined to be very thorough with the rest of the work he had to do. It just went to show how important proper motivation was for instilling a good work ethic up and down the chain of command.

"Will there be anything else, sir?" Miranda was still standing just inside his office, watching him attentively, a handful of messages clutched in her hand.

Pierce gave her an appreciative smile. Miranda knew exactly what followed the notification that the package had been delivered to his house, but she wouldn't presume to take the next step without his order. He liked Miranda; she was bright and efficient, but she knew how not to overstep. He hoped she wouldn't forget that. It was hell breaking in a new secretary, and they didn't all turn out as well as she had, the last couple of years.

"Yes, one more thing," Pierce said. "If you could put in an order for me for dinner."

Miranda took down his order on her message pad, and didn't say a word about the particular specifications, or how many people it would feed.

Pierce watched her out of his office and then settled down at his desk. He had the better part of three hours to get work done before he needed to pick up the order.

Pierce took all the takeout boxes out of the insulated bag at the kitchen table. It was better to do this here than in the dining room; the kitchen floor was easier to clean. He opened all the containers and arranged them around the chair where he would sit, making sure that he could reach everything he was going to want without having to make a visible effort. He set out chopsticks and a few napkins, and then picked up a bite of the tuna foie gras roll to savor. He'd had a long day, too, after all; he'd worked up quite an appetite.

When he'd finished that first bite, he wiped his hands and walked over to the door into the mud room, a chilly concrete-floored space that connected the house to the garage. He'd come in through the front door tonight, so that the asset could hear him moving around but wouldn't see him until everything was ready.

As Agent Sullivan had reported, the asset was correctly presented: on his knees facing the house door with his hands behind his back, naked except for a bandage wrapped around the top of his left thigh. There was a red-raw patch on his upper right arm, thin red lines of scratches highlighting the broad scrape, and a patch of bruising already going purple-black over his ribs on the left side. Well, these little scratches and scuffs were inevitable; a weapon wasn't meant to stay in its case, even if it would be more ornamental that way.

"Come in," Pierce said, stepping back from the door and beckoning to the asset with his hand. "You did well today. It's time for your reward."

The asset folded forward smoothly onto his hands and knees. Pierce could have wasted a lot more time than he allowed himself just watching the asset move; he was a beautiful machine. The asset crawled up just to the threshold before he looked up at Pierce again.

Pierce stepped back further and said, "Go ahead. You know where you're supposed to be."

The asset betrayed no expression of uncertainty, so maybe he actually did know this time, or was confident in his ability to guess. That was no matter; he could always be corrected. Pierce watched him crawl away. The ripple of muscle in his back and the slight sway of his ass as he went were a thing to behold. He could have been built to move on all fours, like some jungle cat.

Pierce shook off the fanciful thought of the asset pacing a cage, with a long tail to twitch behind him. He pulled the door shut, locking it and punching in the relevant codes on the security system panel.

When he walked into the kitchen, the asset was on his knees, a couple of feet in front of the chair that Pierce had pulled out for himself and turned side on to the table, his hands again held behind his back. His posture was perfect, and his position wasn't a bad guess. If the asset had chosen a different spot Pierce might have corrected him into that one. The correction wouldn't be harsh, then. That was fine. The point of all this was to teach the asset to accept his rewards gracefully; corrections were only a means to an end.

"Mm, almost," Pierce said, and saw faint unease appear on the asset's face. Pierce walked over and sat down, pointedly relaxed as he studied the asset, who looked back with scrupulous attention. Pierce reached over and picked up another piece of the tuna foie gras roll; he watched the asset's eyes follow it with desperate attention, though he didn't otherwise move.

The asset was fed mostly by nasogastric tube, with certain nutritional additions by IV as necessary. The liquid feedings and IV supplements were scientifically balanced to keep him functioning--but like any good attack dog, the asset was always kept hungry. After the enormous calorie expenditure of a mission, plus hours of waiting, even the standard top-up he would have gotten during his post-mission medical care would leave him feeling the kind of hunger that people with access to colloquial expressions referred to as starving.

The asset, of course, would not report himself to be starving until he was well into the process of lean muscle metabolism.

Food was thus a very powerful motivator for the asset, and Pierce liked to reinforce the asset's knowledge of who had ultimate command over him with these little positive feedback sessions. Of course, there were a variety of lessons to be imparted in one of these sessions. They so rarely had uninterrupted quality time like this; it was necessary to multi-task.

Pierce brought the piece of sushi to his own mouth in a leisurely motion, watching the asset's eyes track his hand. Then he popped it between his lips, closing his eyes in an exaggerated expression of pleasure, easy even for the asset to read.

When he looked again, the asset had lowered his gaze to somewhere around Pierce's knees, his posture strung tight. That was good; if he'd been looking at the table, watching the food instead of Pierce, a very harsh correction indeed would have been required. He really was learning.

"Over here," Pierce directed at last, snapping his fingers and pointing to the spot at his right hand. The asset crawled over and knelt up again, and all the time he kept his gaze fixed on Pierce, never straying.

"Good," Pierce said. It was important to acknowledge and reward desirable behavior. He picked up the chopsticks he'd left out, snagging a piece of the California roll. Avocado was one of the easiest fats for the asset to digest, and rice and fish were also well-tolerated. Sushi was the ideal food to supplement the asset's diet.

There was also the fact that the asset hadn't liked sushi to begin with, though he had always been dutiful about eating what he was given. In the time Pierce had been conducting these little reward sessions with him, though, the asset had acquired a taste for it, and now he was all but drooling as he watched Pierce's hands move.

When Pierce's right hand began to extend obviously toward the asset, the asset's gaze snapped up to watch Pierce's face instead of his hand, his eyes silently beseeching.

"What do you say," Pierce prompted. The asset knew better than to speak without being invited.

"Please, sir," the asset said, his voice a hoarse rasp. He likely hadn't had occasion to speak since the mission ended, if not before.

Pierce paused with the sushi hovering a few inches short of the asset's lips and said, "Give me your hand."

The asset kept his gaze steady on Pierce's hand, and raised his right hand to hover over Pierce's knees, reaching nowhere near the food.

"Good boy," Pierce murmured, and pinched the back of the asset's hand with his left thumb and forefinger. The skin sank back down immediately; the asset might be thirsty, but he wasn't significantly dehydrated. Pierce would have had to have sharp words with the medical staff if they'd neglected to address that sufficiently.

"Now. What did you say?"

"Please, sir," the asset repeated, putting a little more expression into his voice; he'd learned to beg rather charmingly. "Please, may I have some food?"

"Of course," Pierce said, bestowing a warm smile for that performance. "You've earned it. Open up."

The asset opened his mouth wide, and Pierce brought the piece of sushi down to hover just above his tongue. The asset's gaze didn't waver from Pierce's, and the asset didn't move. His right hand still hovered open in the air where Pierce had let go of it, and his left hand remained, properly, behind his back. Pierce waited until he could see saliva glistening at the corner of the asset's wide-open mouth, and then he let the sushi drop onto his tongue.

The asset still stayed frozen for another second, until Pierce made a go-ahead gesture with the chopsticks, and then he closed his mouth and chewed frantically. His eyelids shivered a little in pleasure, but his gaze didn't waver.

Pierce waited until the asset swallowed, and then said gently, "I let you have that one even though you're not quite in the correct position, because you did such a good job today. But we can't be forgetting what else you need to do."

Pierce reached out and picked up another piece of his own sushi roll with his fingers--foie gras was not in any version of the asset's nutritional plan, so no matter how longingly the asset stared or how sweetly he begged, he wasn't getting any. The inevitable mess just wasn't worth it.

Pierce held the sushi in front of his own mouth as he said, "You can have some more when you're ready. You know what you need to do."

Pierce nodded significantly at the asset's right hand, still hovering over his knee, and the asset jerked that hand down quickly, needing no further direction. These sessions really were sinking in; food and pleasure were excellent conditioning agents for lessons on the animal level, down below what the wipes could take away.

The asset curled his hand slowly around his dick, as though it were an unfamiliar weapon he needed to learn to wield. He kept his gaze steady on Pierce, but his forehead pinched slightly in concentration as he squeezed and tentatively stroked. Pierce popped the sushi into his own mouth, savoring the burst of rich flavor over his tongue as he watched the asset struggling to master his body. It had to be a bit of a switch, facing a task where steady hands and even breathing didn't do the job.

"Remember," Pierce said gently. "The experience of pleasure is necessary for the health of the body and brain. Your sexual needs have to be satisfied, just like you have to be fed. Do you understand?"

"Yes, sir," the asset replied, voice sounding slightly strained. He was starting to get hard, and Pierce judged that he was making reasonable progress and stood up, going to the fridge. He got a bottle of beer for himself, and poured a glass of water as well, glancing at the clock as he did.

The asset's stomach was shrunken from his limited diet, so Pierce had strict instructions from the maintenance team: solid food had to be administered in small amounts, spaced out over a period of time. Sushi was conveniently divided into suitably small units. It was simply a matter of filling the time between the asset's bites.

Pierce walked back, taking a sip of his beer and setting the bottle and glass both down on the table before he resumed his seat. The asset hadn't turned his head to track Pierce's movement when he left the table, but his gaze fixed on Pierce as soon as he was in range again. His hand was moving frantically, as if he feared the session would end if he didn't get himself hard in time.

The session wouldn't end until Pierce was satisfied that the asset had received all the positive feedback he required, but getting it right in a timely fashion did make the experience more pleasant for everyone.

Pierce leaned to the right, scrutinizing the asset's erection. He looked to be fully hard now. He was faster than he used to be at that--another triumph of conditioning.

"You remember how this works," Pierce informed the asset, even as he picked up the chopsticks again and raised another piece of California roll into the asset's line of sight. "You keep your hand moving except when your mouth is full, but you don't come until you're told."

"Yes, sir," the asset murmured, and the rabbit-quick pace of his hand slowed a little.

"Good," Pierce affirmed, and he dipped the sushi in soy sauce so it would be nice and salty before he brought it to the asset's lips. He held it there, letting it drip brown over his lower lip and down his chin, before he prompted, "What do you say?"

"Please, sir," the asset managed.

Pierce glanced down to see his hand working slowly but steadily over his hard dick before he nodded and said, "Open."

He laid the sushi on the asset's tongue and nodded permission for the asset to eat, and the asset's hand stilled while he devoured the morsel.

"Lick," Pierce, directed after the asset swallowed, tapping his own chin to indicate the spot where the soy sauce had dripped. The asset gave a faint look of consternation--wondering whether licking constituted something in his mouth or not, unsure whether to resume stroking himself or to wait. He tried to split the difference, a twisting squeeze on his dick and a quick swipe of his tongue.

Pierce made a small tsking noise and the asset froze altogether, caught out. Pierce lowered the chopsticks nearly to the head of the asset's dick, peeking out all dark red from his anxiously tight fist. He snapped the chopsticks together twice, the enameled wood clicking loudly but not quite touching flesh.

"You're not getting confused about this already, are you?" Pierce demanded. "Go on, get a move on."

The asset gave a tiny nod and started stroking again. Pierce laid down the chopsticks and allowed himself another sip of his beer and then another bite of tuna foie gras, watching the asset's progress as he did.

"Now, since you seem to be having trouble doing too many things at once, I'm going to give you a choice," Pierce said, glancing down to check that the asset was still hard. He was, though the muscles of his thighs and belly were relaxed enough to indicate that he wasn't especially close yet, and his balls still swung gently with the motion of his hand, not tightening close to his body. They were just getting started; the asset had earned all the calories his stomach would hold, and the session would go on for a while.

When Pierce raised his gaze to the asset's eyes, the asset was watching him intently, the little frown of concentration still in evidence.

"You're going to choose," Pierce reiterated. "Whether the next thing you get is a sip of water, or another piece of food. Whichever you ask for, you won't get the other until I decide you need it. What will it be?"

There was a faintly audible click as the asset swallowed, but he didn't hesitate more than a second before he said, "Food, sir, please. May I have some food?"

"You'll get some when I decide you're ready," Pierce said, glancing pointedly down at his hand. The asset sped up his stroking, and Pierce picked up his beer and took a long swallow, letting the asset watch him drink.

He looked down in time to catch the asset reflexively licking his lips. Pierce made sure to doctor the next piece of sushi with soy sauce again. He used his hand this time instead of the chopsticks, and when the sauce dripped down the asset's chin he wiped it up with his fingers. He held his hand to the asset's mouth as he said, "Lick."

The asset lowered his gaze to Pierce's fingers and obediently licked, cleaning every salty trace from his fingers and then looking up at him to see if there was more he should do.

"Suck," Pierce directed, and the asset cautiously closed his mouth on Pierce's first two fingers, his eyes on Pierce's face as he sucked. He kept his hand still on his dick--his mouth was full, after all--and as soon as Pierce noticed the asset's erection wilting from neglect he reached out with his left hand, picking up another piece of California roll. He drew his fingers out until just the fingertips were hooked on the asset's lower teeth, holding his mouth open wide, and then he dropped the sushi on his tongue.

He kept his fingers there, holding the asset's gaze, and watched as the asset's mouth started to water again. He let go then, giving the asset a nod of permission to chew and swallow, and noted that both were a little more laborious this time. The asset's mouth was getting dry.

Pierce raised his eyebrows as the asset finished swallowing, and the asset hurriedly began to jerk off again, with a distinctly dry friction sound.

Pierce extended his hand toward the asset's dick, and the asset maintained pace while his gaze flicked back and forth from Pierce's face to his hand. Pierce pointed to the head of the asset's dick and said firmly, "Spit."

The asset bent his head, eyes still moving back and forth from Pierce's hand to his face, and Pierce watched the motions of his mouth as he summoned up enough saliva for the task, then spat--at low velocity, but with good accuracy--onto his own dick.

"Spread it around," Pierce directed, because on previous occasions he'd watched the asset continue stroking himself dry until the saliva dripped down his dick. As fascinating as that failure of instinct was, letting the friction become painful would interfere with the whole point of pleasurable conditioning.

This time the asset got the idea promptly, rubbing his palm over the head of his dick to wet it and then resuming stroking himself. The rhythm of his strokes changed after that, paying more attention to squeezing and rubbing at the head of his dick. He was starting to breathe faster, his gaze drifting slightly.

Pierce reached for the chopsticks and picked up the next piece of sushi, bringing it to the asset's mouth and not hesitating before he said, "Open."

The asset's eyes focused immediately on Pierce, and he opened his mouth. The wet sound of his stroking stopped at the instant Pierce dropped the sushi onto his tongue.

"Wait," Pierce said, studying the asset's hand on his dick. It glistened with the added wetness, and though his hand wasn't moving Pierce thought his grip was a little tighter now. The pleasure was starting to get through to him--not just sensations resulting from rote motions, but something the asset was actually enjoying.

It wouldn't hurt to give him another moment or two to anticipate it, then.

Drool didn't gather at the corners of the asset's mouth this time; he would be getting uncomfortably thirsty by now. He was watching Pierce when Pierce glanced up to his eyes. Pierce reached for the asset's mouth again, running the pad of his thumb over the asset's teeth. The asset held his mouth wide open. Pierce nudged the piece of sushi slightly further back on his tongue. He thought about seeing how far back he could push it before the asset choked or gagged, but dismissed the image immediately. Inducing a food aversion would be even more counterproductive than introducing pain at this stage.

When he saw the asset's hand twitch with the effort of keeping still, Pierce made the go-ahead motion with the chopsticks, and watched as the asset struggled to chew and swallow as quickly as he could so he could go back to jerking off. He choked a little and then gave a convulsive close-mouthed cough. Pierce glanced at the bruised patch on his left side, wondering how badly that cough had jarred his ribs. They might have knit already, of course, but by the look of that bruising they'd likely been at least cracked at some point today.

The asset caught a breath through his nose, and Pierce watched him swallow laboriously, his throat working in visible spasms to get the food down. His hand started moving again as soon as he'd succeeded, and Pierce could see a promising tension now in the asset's thighs and lower abdomen, suggesting that they were getting into the meat of the thing now.

That deserved a reward, as did the asset's excellent table manners in not actually choking up his bite of food, even if it was his own fault for rushing. Pierce reached for the glass of water and brought it down to rest on his knee. The asset's gaze fixed on Pierce's face, eyes wide and silently pleading, while the asset continued to work is hand over his dick.

"Now," Pierce said, enjoying the way the asset knew better than to look at the water directly, but stayed focused on his commanding officer. "This isn't going so well, is it? All food and no water? You see what happens when you make the choices?"

Pierce raised his eyebrows to indicate that the question was not rhetorical, just to see if the asset would say yes or try to find some way around saying no.

"I see, sir," the asset replied hoarsely.

Pierce smiled. The asset did know how to keep his balance in precarious positions. "This is why you need someone else to choose for you--someone who sees the big picture, hm? Here you go."

The asset's lips parted as Pierce brought the rim of the glass to his mouth, but he kept stroking himself until Pierce tipped the glass up enough to let water lap against his tongue. Then the asset drank, as quickly as he could in the modest sips the angle of the glass allowed, his eyes still fixed on Pierce. Pierce let him have a few swallows and then took the glass away. There was a trickle of water leaking down the side of the asset's chin, but it wasn't a displeasing addition to the image he made, so Pierce didn't bother telling him to lick it away.

The asset's hand started as soon as the glass was taken away, and Pierce pointed again and said, "Spit."

The asset was quicker about it this time, but just as accurate. He didn't need to be told what to do with the saliva, slicking his grip with it as soon as it landed.

Pierce raked his gaze up and down the asset's body. He was getting more creative with his hand motions, and his whole body arched slightly, pushing his dick forward, his chin tipping up a fraction. His breathing was faster, and he kept licking his lip, biting down on it either to keep silent or for a little countervailing pain in the pleasure. His gaze was drifting obviously away from Pierce now, snapping back again and again, and the asset's pupils were wide, his expression turning lost and dazed.

Pierce let him fall into a rhythm and then picked up the last piece of the California roll and held it to his bitten lip. The asset's mouth fell open, his breath catching, and Pierce dropped the piece on his tongue.

The asset's hand stilled with perfect timing, but Pierce thought that the little sound the asset made while chewing wasn't only appreciation of the food. He did remember to chew more slowly this time, and swallowed without incident. He began to jerk himself off again as soon as his mouth was clear.

Pierce smiled slightly at the developing enthusiasm; conditioning required the subject to want something, after all, which the asset very rarely did. That was what kept these sessions special. Pierce brought down the water glass again, holding it to the asset's mouth, and the asset stopped stroking himself to drink in the same quick swallows as before, as greedy as he was allowed to be. His eyes sunk half closed when Pierce took the glass away and he was able to start stroking himself again, but when Pierce moved an empty hand toward the asset he snapped into sharp focus.

Pierce prodded against the asset's belly with his knuckles, just under the ribs on his left side. "How's your stomach feel? Any pain or nausea?"

The asset's introception was somewhere between unreliable and nonexistent, but if prompted and allowed to focus he could usually detect and report internal sensations. He frowned in concentration now, his hand slowing a little on his dick, and finally he met Pierce's eyes, his scowl relaxing. "Stomach is fine."

"Good," Pierce said, prodding further along the firm flesh just under the asset's ribs. "Getting full?"

The asset frowned harder this time, obviously struggling to identify that sensation, or perhaps just searching for the answer he wanted to give.

"Still hungry, sir," he finally attempted, eyes fixed anxiously on Pierce.

"Mm," Pierce said, glancing at the clock. The asset's feeding guidelines mandated at least a ten minute wait at this point, but that was fine. They could work on other objectives for a while. He shifted his knuckles the other way, pressing against the edge of the bruising on the asset's side, which was fully exposed while the asset kept his left hand behind his back.

"Does that hurt?"

The asset's face smoothed out--that was an easier question--and he said, "Yes, sir. Not interfering with critical functions."

"I didn't ask if it was interfering with critical functions," Pierce pointed out in a mild tone, pressing his knuckles in closer to the center of the bruise, still fairly lightly. The asset's breath caught and the left arm's plates whirred softly, lifting and settling, but he didn't make any voluntary movement of the left arm. The movement of his right hand was steady and his erection didn't flag. "I asked if it hurts."

"Yes, sir," the asset reported. "It hurts."

Pierce nodded and shifted his hand downward, using his fingertips now instead of his knuckles. He traced down the sharply defined muscles of the asset's abdomen, feeling the rising tension there, the slight clench-and-release that accompanied every stroke of his hand. The skin was warm but dry; it would take more than this to get the asset sweating.

Pierce had not asked the asset to make any observations about these touches, and the asset kept silent. His gaze once again flicked back and forth between Pierce's face and his hand, never coming to rest. Pierce shifted on his seat to reach more easily, keeping his hand clear of the asset's dick, which he was still stroking steadily. Pierce prodded at the muscles along the inside of the asset's thighs, left and then right, feeling the tautness there.

The tension rose at his touch, naturally. The asset was not accustomed to being touched; nonviolent physical contact had a predictably amplifying effect on his state of arousal, even when the touch wasn't directly stimulating. Pierce finished his survey of the asset's inner thighs and rubbed one finger along the adductor tendon, observing the way the asset adjusted his grip on his dick to keep from brushing his knuckles against Pierce's hand. The asset's balls were drawing tight now, visibly so. Pierce didn't need to touch him there to be sure.

He brought his hand back up to the asset's chest instead, prodding with his fingertips at the asset's pecs, going back and forth from one side to the other. The asset's breaths were getting deeper and faster under his touch. The asset kept slowing the movements of his hand, trying to back off from his increasing arousal. Fluid was pearling up on the head of his dick, dripping down to the asset's fingers as he tried to avoid the most sensitive places without obviously slackening the movement of his hand. He was developing a good instinct for how to avoid coming too early, even without specific guidance.

That just meant that he needed to be challenged to really excel.

Pierce brushed a thumb over one small, tight nipple, and the asset's breath stuttered, his gaze snapping sharply to Pierce's face, almost as though he hoped for some explanation of the surprising sensation. Pierce smiled slightly and pinched down hard, digging in his fingernails, and watched a tide of red brighten the asset's face as his head tipped back.

The asset's hand faltered and then sped up, and Pierce glanced down at his dick--the head was shiny with wetness and had attained the particular purple-red shade that meant he could come within seconds if given permission. Pierce let up the pressure on his nipple and reached for the other, brushing his fingers over it softly. The asset was visibly struggling not to arch into the touch, abdominal muscles standing out in sharp relief. His every breath was audible now, though still without any voiced sounds.

Pierce shifted his touch to the asset's throat, pressing hard against his trachea with one thumb. The asset's gaze stayed fixed on his face, eyes half open but bright and intent. Pierce raised his hand to the asset's mouth. "Lick."

The asset's breath stopped entirely, but he kept stroking himself slowly as he licked Pierce's fingers. That was correct, arguably, since Pierce's fingers were never inside his mouth, but more to the point Pierce didn't intend to stop to correct him right now.

When his fingers were wet, Pierce took them away and stroked over the asset's nipple again, a few light touches and then a stinging flick with one fingernail, making the asset's breath catch again and the arm whir, plates resettling involuntarily. Pierce shifted his touch to trace the scars on the asset's left shoulder, scratching lightly, and the asset dug his teeth in hard to his lower lip and breathed hard through his nose until Pierce touched his nipple again, pinching and tugging. His skin was beginning to shine with sweat, and he stifled a high-pitched whine, his eyes flashing guiltily wide at the sound that escaped.

Pierce turned further toward him, applying both hands to the asset's chest. The asset's eyes closed and then opened wide again, and the pace of his hand on his dick became decidedly erratic as he struggled between the temptation of pleasure and the mandate not to come. He held out nearly a minute before his lips began to move, shaping silent words, and when Pierce raised his eyebrows the asset broke entirely, babbling out, "Please, sir, please, please."

"Are you asking me for something?" Pierce inquired. The unprompted speech was already enough to earn a correction, but he was curious to know whether the asset actually knew what he was asking for.

The asset's head twitched side-to-side in a tiny, aborted negative, but his mouth opened again and he said, "I don't know, sir, please, just--please, sir."

He couldn't ask Pierce to stop what he was doing, and he couldn't ask for his orders to be altered. He could only beg for some unspecified relief, and Pierce thought from the look in his eyes that the asset already knew what the result of asking would be.

"Did I tell you to speak?" Pierce asked, taking his hands away from the asset to fold his arms. He made his expression deeply disappointed, though the asset had held out longer under direct stimulation than ever before. He still had to be motivated to strive for perfection.

The asset's mouth worked--his inability to say no made this a challenge for him sometimes--but he finally came up with, "I disobeyed, sir."

"You did," Pierce agreed. "So let me remind me that your mouth is only for what I tell you it's for, and for the rest of this session it isn't for making sounds of any kind. Is that understood?"

The asset gave a sharp nod. Assent was easy enough for him.

"And just to make sure you remember that," Pierce said. "We will have a little correction. Open your mouth, tongue out. Stop touching yourself."

The asset's hand went behind his back and his mouth opened, tongue springing out almost eagerly. His eyes were beginning to water already, though, so he clearly remembered something of how this correction was going to go.

Pierce picked up the lidded container of wasabi--he always ordered extra, packaged separately--and brought it over to where the asset could see him take the lid off. The asset blinked rapidly even before the smell could reach him.

"Pain is necessary sometimes," Pierce informed him, scooping up a fingerful. "Pain is a teacher. Pain teaches the body even when the mind forgets. Your mind forgets more than most, so--" Pierce smeared a vivid green stripe down the center of the asset's tongue from root to tip, wiping off a little excess on the asset's lower lip.

The asset was blinking rapidly now, face reddening all over again.

"We have to make sure to teach your body," Pierce finished. "Close your mouth and hold absolutely still. Do not swallow. Do not move your tongue."

The asset closed his mouth and Pierce watched his submerged trembling as he wiped his fingers clean on a cloth napkin. He blinked frantically, but tears spilled from his eyes, spiking his eyelashes and streaming down his cheeks, as the pain took over.

Pierce brushed at the tears with his knuckles, repeating gently, "Pain is necessary. This will help you to remember, next time, not to speak when you shouldn't. When it hurts that means you're learning something."

The stream of tears stopped after a moment, and the bright flush began to fade from the asset's face. Wasabi was volatile; the painful effects didn't last long even when palliative efforts were forbidden.

The asset was breathing hard but still holding absolutely still, and his untouched dick had subsided to half-mast. Pierce considered a second round, but he thought he'd made a sufficient impression. Dwelling too long on the painful corrections would muddy the effect of the rewards.

"Swallow," he directed, and the asset obeyed while Pierce reached for the water glass. "Here, drink and rinse--" the asset sniffed as he swallowed the water. The expression of relief on his face was fascinating to watch; it was the closest imitation of happiness Pierce had seen the asset display.

"Get your hand back where it belongs," Pierce said, tipping the glass to let the asset drink a little more, and the asset swallowed and then began jerking himself again as soon as Pierce withdrew the glass, tear-tracks still glistening on his cheeks.

Pierce glanced at the clock; they'd occupied nine minutes of the necessary ten before the asset could eat again. He could simply let the asset continue masturbating until then, but there were more lessons to be learned here.

"Over here," Pierce said, tapping his foot and snapping the fingers of his left hand as he pointed to the space directly in front of him. The asset shuffled over on his knees, still stroking himself as he moved since he hadn't been told to stop. Pierce parted his knees, silently directing the asset into place between them.

The asset looked up at him, waiting for further direction, eyes wide, red lips slightly parted. He was already fully hard again. There was always room for improvement, but it was tempting to see him, in this moment, as perfect.

Pierce reached down to the fly of his own pants, unbuttoning and unzipping himself. It could be entertaining to require the asset to do it for him, but it also tended to result in an irritating set of wet patches on his clothing. He drew his own dick out--better than half-hard, and he observed to himself with some amusement that he wasn't entirely immune to conditioning himself. His body knew as well as the asset's did where this was going.

He gave himself a few firm strokes, watching the asset's eyes, which were fixed on his hand or his dick or both, not incorrectly. The asset stroked himself in the same rhythm, obeying the silent instruction of example.

Pierce tapped his fingers against his dick, just under the head, and said, "Here."

The asset leaned forward smoothly, and Pierce could see the motion of his shoulder halt as his mouth opened to take Pierce's dick inside.

As always, when given free rein, the asset started slowly, licking and then sucking softly at the head of Pierce's dick. It wasn't, Pierce knew, a sign of hesitation. The asset could endure being face-fucked with the same cool equanimity he took injuries in the line of duty, and he displayed a thorough knowledge of the art of cocksucking. Someone had trained him well, long before he was delivered into Pierce's hands. Whoever it was, they had trained him to take his time over it when given the opportunity, savoring a dick in his mouth with an odd gentleness that could almost appear to be tenderness or affection.

Pierce held still, keeping his hands at rest on his thighs, as the asset worked his mouth further down on Pierce's dick, coaxing him to complete hardness. The asset bobbed up and down to alternate attention to the head of his dick with a deeper suction. Pierce watched, giving himself a moment to simply feel the pleasure of the asset's mouth on him, the perfection of his own reward for hard work, dovetailing so neatly with the asset's reminder of who he served.

When the skilled motions of the asset's mouth began to be a serious distraction, Pierce sighed and made himself say firmly, "Head up now."

The asset pulled off immediately, but gave a little parting kitten-lick to the head of Pierce's dick, one of those strange echoes of sweetness carrying on in the absence of reinforcement, long after whoever had programmed it in was gone. Pierce liked the incongruity of it, and had never bothered trying to eradicate those routines; it was only a fraction of a second's delay before the asset was looking up at Pierce, chin up, hand already working over his dick. Pierce glanced down to see that he hadn't softened--when he was allowed to do the work instead of being more harshly used, the asset showed evidence of finding a dick in his mouth arousing. Pierce reached over to the table, picking up the chopsticks and using them to pick up a piece of ginger.

He held the pale pinkness of it against the asset's mouth for a moment, appreciating the contrast of the delicate color against the asset's red mouth, and then he said, "Open."

The asset obeyed, his hand halting again as the ginger dropped onto his tongue, and Pierce gave him a little tap on the chin with the chopsticks to tell him to close his mouth and chew. The asset betrayed a split second of startlement at the vinegar-sweet taste of the ginger, and then his expression smoothed out, again watching Pierce's eyes as he chewed, swallowed, and returned to stroking himself. Pierce reached out with the chopsticks and tweaked a nipple, just to watch the asset's gaze waver, eyelids trembling, but he desisted after that first pinch. He simply watched for another several seconds, and then tapped his fingers against his dick, calling the asset back to work.

The asset picked up where he'd left off, taking most of Pierce's dick into his mouth immediately, then sucking his way back up as he pulled almost all the way off. Pierce watched him in utter fascination. He rarely had a chance to observe the asset in the field, but he was as beautiful sucking cock as he was with a rifle in his hands, flawlessly carrying out a purpose for which he had been expertly engineered. His eyes were closed now, his face slightly tensed with concentration, and his lips stretched in a perfect red ring around Pierce's dick, slick with the asset's spit. Pierce shuddered with the pleasure of the asset's skilled mouth around him.

"Head up."

The asset pulled off lingeringly, raising his eyes to meet Pierce's this time while his mouth was still full. Pierce merely wrapped his left hand around his dick, letting it follow the asset's mouth up until the asset let go entirely. Pierce gave himself a few slow strokes, and again the asset matched his pace. The asset's mouth stayed slightly open now, his gaze tracking back and forth between Pierce's eyes and hand from under heavy eyelids.

Pierce reached across himself and plucked up a piece of sushi with the chopsticks: salmon and avocado, this time. The asset's mouth widened for it unprompted, but Pierce simply dropped it on his tongue, speeding up the motion of his hand while the asset chewed and kept his own hand still. When the asset swallowed, Pierce stopped his own hand altogether, and the asset's gaze flicked up to Pierce's face as he began to stroke himself, his hand moving quickly now.

"Spit," Pierce directed, dragging his own fingers slowly up the wetness of his shaft. The asset obeyed, and Pierce let him get a few wet strokes in before he tilted his dick toward the asset's mouth in a silent order.

They fell into a rhythm: the asset spent a couple of minutes on Pierce's dick, and was rewarded with a bite of sushi or sip or water, then a minute to jerk off, sometimes guided by the tempo of Pierce's hand, sometimes left to his own devices. Pierce reached out once while the asset was stroking himself to trace the circle of his lips with a thumb. He could feel the asset's quivering awareness of the exact position of his thumb--if he pushed inside the asset's lips, the asset would have to stop jerking off--and he could see how badly the touch on that sensitized flesh was straining the asset's control. Still, the asset never made a sound.

Pierce sat back and watched for another minute, enjoying the picture of the asset wavering between self-control and the rare pleasure he was being allowed. Then he solved the problem for the asset by directing that well-used mouth back to his dick.

When the asset had finished another sushi roll and emptied the glass of water, Pierce beckoned him back onto his dick, knowing that this time he wasn't going to order the asset off until he was finished. He could tell when the asset realized it; after a few minutes his languorous style shifted into a higher gear, taking Pierce deeper than he had before, applying more vigorous suction.

"All the way now," Pierce directed, feeling pleasantly breathless with the nearness of orgasm. The asset obeyed smoothly, pressing in until his face was buried in the tail of Pierce's shirt, and Pierce pushed up in a sharp short buck of his hips to feel the exquisite sensation of the asset choking on the head of his dick. The asset's throat worked convulsively, and he continued sucking as best he could in this position. The internal motions became faster and tighter as he got further from the last breath he'd been allowed.

Pierce closed his eyes and came, feeling the asset swallow rapidly around him. His own hands were still on his thighs; he hadn't had to so much as touch the asset to remind him to stay down to the hilt.

"Breathe," Pierce instructed, and the asset pulled back far enough to inhale through his nose, the head of Pierce's dick still held in the slick heat of his mouth. The asset's eyes stayed closed, and Pierce watched the red of his face fade slightly, sweat dripping down his temples. The whole lower half of his face glistened wetly, and Pierce noted with amusement that he hadn't actually avoided getting wet spots on his pants after all. He might as well let the asset take down the zipper with his teeth next time.

"All right," Pierce said, and put his hand gently on the asset's cheek, dragging his thumb around the corner of the asset's mouth and watching the responding flutter of his eyelashes. "Good work. Up now."

The asset straightened up on his knees again, mouth gaping wide as he took heaving breaths in perfect silence. The only sound was his hand working his dick again.

"Keep at it," Pierce said after he'd tucked himself back into his pants. He stood up and took the empty water glass back to the refrigerator to refill, nice and cold. He circled the other way around the kitchen table as he came back, walking up behind the asset to appreciate the other view: his ass was clenched tight, the muscles in his back corded with tension, and sweat trickled down his spine, glittering in the overhead light.

Pierce touched the glass to the back of his neck. The asset's breathing stuttered at the cold, but his hand kept moving steadily.

"Here," Pierce said, tugging the asset's head back slightly by his hair and shifting the glass around to his lips.

The asset's mouth fell open, waiting. During the last two reward sessions, the asset had made a pleading noise at this stage, requiring a sharp correction which somewhat spoiled the mood. Tonight the asset kept silent, rolling his eyes up to look at Pierce, his hand slowing but still moving while he waited.

"Good," Pierce said again, and tilted the glass to let him drink. The asset's eyes closed and he gulped the water until Pierce took the glass away, still half full.

Pierce took his seat again, pulling over the last of the takeout containers: enough sashimi to round off the asset's calorie and protein allowance. He absently popped another piece of his own sushi roll into his mouth, then returned his attention to the asset, who was watching him avidly.

Pierce picked up a piece of tuna with the chopsticks and held it between himself and the asset as he said, "From now on, you do not stop moving your hand no matter what's in your mouth, but you do not finish until I tell you to."

The asset gave a short nod of acknowledgement and slowed his pace again slightly. Pierce allowed it for now, holding out the sashimi to the asset's lips. The asset accepted it gracefully, chewing as slowly as he stroked himself. He made a pleasantly disheveled picture now, sweating freely, chin still wet with spit and his lips a thoroughly used red. And yet the asset still performed perfectly as specified; someday Pierce really would have to clear his schedule enough to stretch out one of these sessions to a truly challenging extent. The asset's capacity for pleasure ought to be tested to its limits from time to time, just as his other capacities were. Tonight, alas, Pierce had only so much time for lingering over rewards.

"Faster," Pierce directed, nodding toward the asset's stroking hand, and the asset obediently increased his pace.

"Give me your other hand," Pierce said, and the asset brought his left hand around, holding it out above Pierce's knee, just the way he'd offered the right at the start of the session.

Pierce circled his hand around the gleaming wrist--a touch the asset couldn't feel and wouldn't be unduly excited by--and guided that deft metal hand to his chest. The fingers were slightly curled in their resting position, and Pierce rotated the hand to brush the fingertips over the asset's nipple. "Play with that."

He let go and the asset's hand stayed in place; the fingers curled tentatively, exploring their effect. It only took a few seconds of lighter touches before the asset tried a pinch, making his breath catch and his hand on his dick move faster in a short burst before he made himself slow again. He relaxed his grip after another few seconds, and hesitantly shifted his hand sideways, his eyes on Pierce, eyebrows raising slightly in a question.

"Yes," Pierce allowed. "Both sides. Try that on the other side."

The asset obeyed, reaching over to tease and then pinch the other nipple, and this time when his stroking hand sped up Pierce said, "Pinch harder."

There was a faint hiss of breath that might have wanted to be a whine. The asset's gleaming thumb and finger tightened down cruelly on the little nub of flesh, making it darken to an interesting purple while the asset stroked himself frantically, trying to counter the pain or spurred on by it. The plates of the left arm rippled. His face contorted in some extremity of sensation that couldn't be summed up as simply pain or pleasure, the kind of totally transporting sensation that other people spent their whole sex lives trying to find.

"Good," Pierce murmured, and then, a few fascinated seconds later, "Ease up."

The asset hauled in a wet sounding breath, and then caught it in a gasp a second later, as blood and sensation rushed back into the pinched flesh.

"Play," Pierce directed. The asset's breath stuttered but he obeyed, running the tips of his shining fingers lightly over the abused nipple before switching back to the other side.

Pierce gave him a few seconds to settle, then reached for another piece of sashimi and delivered it to his lips with the chopsticks. The asset took it neatly, chewing and swallowing without pausing the motion of either hand. Pierce slid his foot forward, running the toe of his shoe along the inside of the asset's thigh. The asset spread his knees slightly further open in response to the gentle pressure, giving Pierce room to lift his foot, snugging the shiny toe of his shoe up directly under the asset's balls. The asset tried to kneel up taller, but didn't actually pull away. Pierce rocked his foot a little, then lowered his foot a few inches and tapped his toe up against the asset's balls, tense now with sustained arousal. "Hand."

The asset dropped his metal hand, sliding his fingers into place as Pierce lowered his foot. He cupped his balls as he continued jerking off.

"Play," Pierce directed, and the asset obeyed again, flexing his fingers and rocking his metal hand.

"Play with your other hand, too," Pierce said, as the asset fell back on the slowest stroke he thought he could get away with. "Let's see some creativity."

He saw the asset's jaw clench, his face twisting again with the intensity of it as he began varying the movements of his right hand, twisting his strokes and rubbing at the head of his dick. He was trembling all over now, visibly shaking as he struggled for control, but he didn't make the mistake of trying to speak, only fixed wide, pleading eyes on Pierce.

"You want to come?" Pierce asked, tilting his head and smiling coaxingly.

The asset nodded frantically. He was always allowed to say yes.

"That's good," Pierce said, picking up another piece of tuna with the chopsticks and holding it to the asset's lips. "It's good to want things sometimes. That's what pleasure is for, to remind you that you want to earn your rewards."

The asset unclenched his jaw and opened his mouth for the sashimi, and Pierce laid it delicately on his tongue. The asset's eyes closed for a moment, struggling to maintain the motion of both hands as he chewed and swallowed.

"Move your left hand around, now," Pierce directed. "Touch all over. Play."

The asset let go of his balls like they'd burned him, running his metal hand down his thigh and then over his chest, not pausing at his nipples. Pierce smiled slightly as the asset's left hand ran down his right arm--teaching the asset the context-specific meanings of all over and play had yielded idiosyncratic results which Pierce found rather amusing. He didn't quite tickle himself, but used delicate aimless touches on patches of skin that must correspond to some algorithm for randomness he had running in his mind.

When he worked his way back to exploring his inner thighs, Pierce said, "Prostate stimulation."

The asset's breath stuttered and his eyes closed for an instant, but he moved his hand smoothly between his legs. His eyes were on Pierce again, wide and a little shiny, as he pressed his fingers up, making his whole body jerk.

"Not yet," Pierce reminded him, and the asset's chin jerked up just enough to be an acknowledgment of the order as he went on working over his dick and rubbing behind his balls.

Pierce looked away from him, surveying the demolished takeout. He glanced at the clock again, and then down at the asset, a sweating, quivering mess on his knees, dick leaking and wet, his hands working industriously, his eyes wide and mutely begging.

Pierce thought, as he often did, about simply calling time.

Pierce picked up the last piece of tuna foie gras and popped it into his mouth, washed it down with the last swallow of his beer, which had gotten a bit warm. He picked up a piece of ginger, crunching it down to get rid of the slightly sour taste.

The asset's breath stopped completely as he struggled not to come, a palpable silence under all the other little sounds.

Well, there was no point in pushing this to failure.

Pierce stood up, brushed his hands off, and walked around behind the asset. Leaning over his shoulder, Pierce murmured in his ear, "Drop your hands."

The asset complied without hesitation, dragging in a long, ragged breath as he did. Pierce put his right hand flat against the center of the asset's chest, dragging his palm up against the fever-hot skin, damp and shuddering under her touch. He rubbed his hand back and forth over the asset's collarbones for a moment, and then drew his hand all the way up, curling it around his throat.

Pierce brushed his thumb back and forth along the asset's jawline, letting his lips brush his ear as he said firmly, "Come."

The asset's subterranean shaking turned to an outright spasm, his whole body jerking as his dick jumped, come spilling out in jets, striking the kitchen chair as well as the floor. Pierce rubbed the asset's throat gently for as long as his orgasm lasted. The asset didn't go entirely soft right away, but when his dick went still and began to subside, Pierce dropped his hand and took a step back, lifting one foot to tap a toe against the asset's thigh, nudging him forward.

"Clean that up, now."

The asset folded forward onto all fours, working efficiently from highest to lowest as he licked first the chair clean, then the floor. Pierce stood looking down at the picture he made that way, with his head down and ass up, fully exposed by the spread of his knees. Pierce thought again that he really was going to have to find time for a longer session soon.

When the asset couldn't find more to clean, he didn't push up off the floor, only looked over his shoulder at Pierce. His chin was freshly wet, his lips red. His face, emptied of the tension of arousal, fell into one of the oddly innocent expressions the asset sometimes displayed.

Pierce stepped around him, pushing the chair back to scrutinize the floor around the asset. It wouldn't be at all polite to leave any traces for the cleaning lady to have to deal with.

"There," Pierce said, tapping his toe on a shiny spot that might be come or sweat or anything at all. The asset licked it up obediently--leaving a wider wet shine on the tile than had been there to begin with--and Pierce saw nothing else worth dragging this out over.

"Up," Pierce said, and the asset knelt upright again. Pierce reached in, tapping his fingertips against the asset's belly, just below his ribs on the left side.

"Stomach hurt?"

The asset nodded without having to think about it this time. They'd come fairly close to his calorie and volume limit for a single session, so that wasn't surprising.

"Feel sick?"

The asset frowned, concentrating, and then tilted his head with an uncertain expression. He didn't know, or didn't think it was urgent.

"Well," Pierce said briskly. "Can't take chances. Outside."

The asset folded forward onto his hands and knees again, and followed at Pierce's heel as Pierce walked over to punch in a security code and then open the door to the mud room. He stepped aside, letting the asset crawl out to his place on the concrete floor.

"There's a blanket," Pierce said, waving toward the utility shelf. The blanket there was washed any time the asset soiled it, but it had been several months since that was required.

"Wrap up and get some sleep if you like. You've earned it. An agent will collect you in the morning."

The asset nodded, and remained in proper position on his knees until Pierce closed the door on him. Pierce sighed as he turned back to the kitchen, stretching luxuriously before he turned his attention to the rest of the evening's tasks. The real reward for doing one's work well was more work, after all, and Pierce had been very richly rewarded.