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After an afternoon spent at the Hawa Mahal and the small but interesting archaeological museum next to it, Bill's back at their suite in the hotel. The one good thing about being in a first class hotel is that he can get a decent beer after spending time tramping around on foot, and Bill's more than happy when he takes that first swallow of ice cold lager. Sean should be back any time now, and Bill's wondering if they'll be eating in or going out. He has no real preference, but the one thing Sean used his star status to get was a suite with an actual kitchen, claiming that cooking was a way of unwinding.

And unwinding's something that Sean needs on this shoot. Sharpe brings out a lot of things for him; it raises his macho levels a good bit, gives him more energy than he has a lot of times. And the energy itself... well, it's a lot toppier than he's used to, and more than Bill's seen from him. He's worried on and off about how that's going to look, whether Bill's going to like it, but after a week here, he's started to relax some.

Which is good, because when he walks in, he's not really in the frame of mind he'd need in order to drop to his knees and ask if Bill needs anything. Instead, he slides out of his jacket, tosses it across a chair, and wraps his arms around Bill from behind, nuzzling the side of his neck. "God, it was a long day," he says. "You feel good."

Bill's not entirely put off by Sean's familiarity, which would bother him just a little if he stopped to think about it. As it is, Sean smells like sweat and make-up and dirt, and Bill can feel himself getting hard.

"Welcome home, boy," he says, leaning back against Sean. "How'd it go today?"

Sean notices the boy, but he's not feeling very boy-ish at the moment. He figures the urge to wrestle for it will probably die down some once he's calmer, so he doesn't think too much about it. "It went fine. It's strange being back with the lads again. Like a family reunion, really." He nuzzles Bill again, licking at the side of his neck this time. "Do you want me to shower off?"

Glad that Sharpe -- at least Sean's version of him -- tends to wear his hair on the longish side, Bill turns and reaches up to tangle his hand in Sean's hair. "No," he says, pulling Sean's head back sharply. "I'll take you just like this. Boy."

Sean's breath rushes out of him, and his eyes narrow as he looks at Bill. "Just like this?" he asks softly. He knows better than to suggest doing it the other way around -- not that he's got any interest in outright topping, but at least getting to fuck Bill instead of getting fucked -- but he's still not in the kind of submissive mood he lives in at home. Force me, he thinks. "Convince me."

"Telling you should be enough to convince you," Bill growls, keeping a tight grip on Sean's hair. "It should be more than enough."

Sean would shake his head if he could, but with Bill's fingers twisted through his hair, that isn't happening. "No," he breathes. "Not tonight."

"I don't recall my boy asking for the night off," Bill says. He's tempted to just let go of Sean and walk away, but before he does that he wants to see just how far Sean will push him. Reaching up, he slaps Sean hard across the face. "You do as I say tonight, or you will regret it."

That gets Sean hard enough he's surprised his eyes don't cross. He grits his teeth and closes his eyes for a few seconds, letting the arousal bite into him. "What do you want from your boy tonight, Master?" he asks. He has a feeling he's still not sounding very submissive.

"Better behavior," Bill says, slapping Sean again, before yanking down hard on Sean's hair, He doesn't let up, doing his best to put Sean on his knees. If he's going to physically resist, it'll come now.

He shouldn't. He knows damned well he shouldn't. But being on his knees feels wrong right now, and he struggles, dropping to one knee only because that grip in his hair isn't giving him any choice in the matter.

"So it's like that, is it?" Bill says, crouching down next to Sean. "Do you have any idea how much slack I'm giving you right now?" He tugs Sean's hair further back and leans in close. "I don't have to punish you now; you're not a child. I can wait and deal with you later."

No, Sean thinks, finally getting worried, no, please. He winces as he tries to move a little; he couldn't go anywhere even if he wanted to, not with Bill tugging at his hair that way. He gets his other knee under him and exhales hard, swallowing down the urge to struggle more. "All right," he says.

"Better," Bill says, although he knows that Sean's head's still not where it should be. He leans in and kisses Sean hard, almost brutally.

Sean's instincts are fighting with each other under that kiss. There's the urge to roll over, the one he's had since the first time Bill got his hand wrapped around Sean's wrist, and then there's the urge to fight back, something that's coming up because of time, place, the character he has to inhabit while the shoot goes on. He kisses back hard, unable to let that character go just yet.

Bill can guess what's going on with Sean; it's not as if Sean didn't warn him in advance. But they're not out of role and Sean hasn't asked for them to be, so Bill has no intention of backing down. Keeping his grip tight in Sean's hair, he makes the kiss more brutal, biting hard at Sean's mouth.

Yes. Fuck, yes. Maybe Sean couldn't go to his knees easily this time, but this was never a fight he wanted to win. He stops fighting, getting his hands behind his back. He's breathing hard under Bill's lips now, struggling to keep himself still.

Bill can feel Sean relaxing and smiles a little to himself as he pulls back. "Much better," he says, giving Sean's head a rough shake. "Are you going to behave now?"

"I'll try, Master," Sean murmurs.

"Good boy," Bill says, finally letting go of Sean's hair as he stands up. Looking down at Sean, he unzips his jeans, pushing them out of the way just enough to get his cock out. As he strokes his erection, he keeps his eyes on Sean, watching for a reaction.

Sean can't even try to be subtle. He came home wanting Bill; he licks his lips, wanting to taste him. "Please, Master," he says.

"Please what, boy?" Bill asks, slowing down a little.

"Please let me suck you, Master," Sean says softly, eyes on Bill's cock the whole time. He's surprised he isn't drooling; the longer he watches, the more he wants it to be his mouth on Bill's cock. His mouth, not Bill's hand. "Please."

"Not sure my boy deserves it," Bill says. "What do you think?"

Sean winces. "Probably not, Master," he admits.

"Good boy," Bill says, bending to grab at Sean's hair again. He pulls Sean close, rubbing his cock against Sean's cheek and wincing a little at the feeling of stubble against sensitive skin.

Staying still for that isn't easy. Sean's going to have Bill's smell all over him, and it's already driving him mad. "Please," he whispers. "Master, please?"

"All right, boy," Bill says, knowing he's going easy on Sean. We'll need to talk about this later, but I did promise to be understanding. He pulls Sean's head into position and then pushes his cock against Sean's mouth.

Sean opens his mouth wide, moaning softly. Now that he's been fought down, he's starting to sink. It's not the easy drop into headspace it usually is, but it's working for him; all he wants right now is to please Bill.

"That's right, boy," Bill growls. "Suck it down like a good bitch." He pushes forward, fucking Sean's face with hard deep strokes, barely giving Sean enough time to catch his breath. He knows his boy well enough; if anything will put Sean into the headspace Bill wants him in, it's this.

That's exactly what Sean needs, the words and the growl and the force, and he feels himself drop another notch. The ache between his legs stops mattering so much; he's not thinking about how serving Bill pleases him anymore, he's thinking about how it pleases his Master.

"Tell me," Bill says, finally pulling out of Sean's mouth. "Tell me why I shouldn't just come on your shirt and make you sleep in it all night. Convince me to fuck you, boy."

Christ, I was afraid of this. Sean knows he didn't behave well enough to deserve being fucked, and he knows that even if Bill's not disappointed, he's not thrilled, either. "Master, please," he says, voice hoarse, "please, I know I don't deserve it, I know it isn't about what I want, and if you want to come on me and have me sleep in it--" God, all night with his scent all over me, Christ, I'll go insane "--then your slave would take that and be grateful, but please, Master, please -- take me, use me, make me your whore, please, I want to be good for you." He's there, finally. He wants to be good for Bill. "Please, Master, let me be good for you..."

"Stand up," Bill says with a final yank of Sean's hair. Once Sean's on his feet, Bill turns him around and pushes him face forward against the wall. "Get your pants down," he growls, crowding up against Sean.

Sean's not gentle with himself. He shoves his jeans down, moves his legs apart as much as he can, and hugs the wall. "Please, Master," he breathes, "please use your slave, please..."

Pausing, Bill spits into his hand and then slicks up his cock. "Answer me honestly, boy. If I take you like this, with nothing but spit, will you be able to work tomorrow?"

"Yes, Master." The answer comes out a little too fast, but it's true enough -- he's not doing anything particularly physical tomorrow, and he knows how much he can take without limping noticeably. He can take this. "Please, Master, let me take that for you. Let me hurt for you, Master, please!"

Bill doesn't even bother answering with words; he just guides his cock into position, grabs Sean's hips and slams in hard. Not giving Sean time to get used to it any more than he did when it was Sean's mouth, he immediately sets up a hard driving pace, grunting as he pounds into Sean.

Sean presses his cheek against the wall and tries not to scream. It's as if he forgets sometimes, forgets just how much Bill can hurt him when he's trying, how easy it seems to be for Bill to push him and just keep pushing, until Sean's giving him everything he's got. It's been easier to forget about that here than it's been in months; half the time he's away, on sets, out of role, and half the time it's a struggle to make the jump from being Sean to being Bill's boy again.

But he needs this. He needs Bill and his willingness to push hard, Bill's insistence, Bill's ability to keep him in place. It makes him feel safe. "Master," he pants, "hurts, God, thank you, Master, thank you..."

"And you fucking love it when it hurts," Bill gasps out. He has to force himself not to reach up, not to yank Sean's shirt collar out of the way so he can bite Sean's shoulder. He settles for gripping Sean's hips tighter, hoping he's leaving bruises. "Such a goddamned whore for it..."

"Yes, Master -- love it -- Christ -- love being your whore, Master's whore, oh fuck, please, please--" He misses Bill's teeth, but he knows they can't. Not yet. When this is over... "Please, Master, feels so good, please hurt your slave -- oh God, so fucking good."

Past words by now, Bill reaches around and grabs Sean's cock, squeezing hard, rather than stroking it. He doesn't need to find breath to tell Sean not to come; in spite of Sean's earlier rebellious moment, Bill is more than confident in Sean's ability to obey a standing order.

It does make Sean whimper, though; it's one more pain on top of the rest that's making him feel as if he needs to come, needs it more than almost anything. And the only thing he needs more than that is to be good for his master.

He bites off a scream and tries to shove back against Bill, but he's trapped too tightly for that. "Fuck."

Knowing that Sean's hurting, knowing that he's desperate, is more than enough for Bill, and with one more hard shove into Sean, he's coming with a low growl. After a moment, he has to force himself to loosen his grip on Sean's cock as he leans against Sean's back, panting hard.

"Good boy," Bill finally says. "My good boy."

When Sean's got his breath back, he sighs and closes his eyes. "Your boy could be better," he murmurs. "It's easier at home."

"We'll get to that," Bill says, a little surprised that Sean's brought it up now. God, he tries so hard. The thought brings on a moment of tenderness and he leans forward and nuzzles Sean's neck. "Right now we both need a shower and some food."

"Sounds good, Master," Sean says, sighing just a little. As much as his cock hurts, it's a good feeling. It's something he can give Bill to make up for how long it took him to go down tonight.

* * *

Bill leans back in his chair and smiles at Sean. After a shower, dinner and another beer, he feels ready to discuss Sean's behavior, and he can tell that Sean's a good deal more relaxed as well. "That was good," he says, watching as Sean tidies up.

"Thanks," Sean says. He rinses off the dishes but doesn't bother actually washing up just yet; he'll do that later on. "How was your day? I never got around to asking."

"Good," Bill says. "I spent the morning answering emails and then grabbed lunch out and wandered around the Hawa Mahal. I figure at some point I'll run out of bits of the City Palace to look at, but I haven't yet." He grins. "I suspect you'll end up seeing a fair amount of it as well here soon; I think you're scheduled to shoot there."

"I'm just glad you're enjoying yourself so far," Sean says. "I worried about that. I'm glad you're here, though. I'd have missed you, being gone for this long."

"I'd have missed you, too," Bill says, getting out of his chair and coming to stand behind Sean. "I think we deserve a vacation after this, though. I know you want to be home with the girls at Christmas, but maybe we can figure something out for afterwards. Something where neither of us is working."

"I'd like that," Sean murmurs, leaning back against Bill. "This is wonderful, but it's not like getting a chance to focus on you."

"I'm glad you're enjoying it, though," Bill replies. "That's important."

"Don't we sound domestic?" Sean asks, grinning. "I'm glad you're happy, you're glad I'm happy... if you buy me an apron, I'll scream, though."

"And all this time I've been wasting my energy beating you to get you to scream," Bill says with a laugh as bites lightly at the back of Sean's neck. He frowns as he has to remind himself not to leave a mark. "Stand still."

Going down to his knees behind Sean, he leans in and bites at Sean's ass, softly at first, but then harder. I've been too careful leaving him without some kind of mark on him. This won't hurt any more than him getting fucked without lube, and it'll remind him who he belongs to.

"Fuck!" Sean says, startled at first, but as the bites get harder, he calms down and settles into it. He's still sure he can handle it, even if Bill leaves bruises, and he wants to be marked. I'm still your boy, he thinks. Even if I can't be as good for you here as I am at home.

"Mine," Bill says when he finally draws back to look at Sean's ass. There's a bruise there, minor compared to marks Bill's left before. He knows it'll hurt a bit, but not too badly, and he's seen Sean act perfectly naturally in public with far worse marks on him. "Now," he adds, standing up. "We need to talk."

"Mm?" Sean asks, blinking a little to clear his head. "About what?"

"Attitudes and making the rest of the shoot work," Bill says. "Want to do this on the sofa or in bed?"

"It doesn't matter," Sean says. His throat feels a little tight; Christ, I didn't realize it was that bad. "Whatever's more comfortable for you, Master."

"Come on, then," Bill says, heading to the bedroom. He continues talking as he strips off his clothes. "I'm just wondering if it would be easier for you if we did the rest of our time here out of role."

Sean stops at the doorway, resting his forearm against the doorjamb and trying to collect his thoughts. "I don't know," he says carefully. "It's possible, but if I wanted to be out of role the whole time here, I don't think I'd have invited my master to come with me."

Ignoring the odd little twinge in his gut, Bill pauses with his shorts in his hands. "Would you rather your master wasn't here? Would that make it easier?"

"No, it wouldn't," Sean says. "I want you here. If it'd be easier on you to be out of role -- if it would be easier not having to force me down every time -- then that's all right." Sean sighs and heads into the bedroom, grabbing the pillow from the head of the bed and pulling a blanket out of the closet. "Maybe I should be trying harder."

"Let's not talk about what's easier for me," Bill says shaking his head. "When I'm working, then we worry about what works for me. Right now you need to be doing whatever it takes for you to be able to work. If you want some down time when you come home in the evenings, that's fine." He looks at Sean steadily. "It's not a matter of trying harder."

Sean gets very busy with making up his bed, arranging the pillow and blanket just so. "I disappointed you," he says quietly. "I don't like how that feels."

"I don't know that you disappointed me," Bill says thoughtfully settling on the bed. "I just didn't know quite what to expect and I'm afraid that I'm asking too much of you right now." He sighs. He knows this particular cycle way too much and he's determined not to let it go on for too long.

"I don't think it's too much -- no, that isn't right. I don't want it to be too much." Sean climbs into bed and stretches out on his stomach. "I think it's every bit as strange for me, needing you to put me down that hard, as it is for you having to do it. I'm not sure I ever expected to be this way around you."

"The question is, which works better for you," Bill says, "Needing to be put down, which I will do, believe me, or maybe not being in role the first couple of hours after you get back here? And I'm good with that as well."

"A couple of hours might be nice," Sean admits softly. "I thought --I'm not sure what I thought you were going to suggest, but a few hours while I unwind for the day would make it easier for me to go down for you afterwards." And it's better than having you leave, he thinks. I don't want you to leave.

"Well, there's that, or there's going out of role for the rest of the shoot," Bill says, realizing that he was a little ambiguous earlier. "I wasn't thinking of leaving or anything unless you wanted me to."

"I don't want you to go," Sean says immediately. "Please." He wraps an arm around Bill's feet and hugs them. "I like having you here." I'd miss you. "I just want you to be happy while you're here. You're a hell of a long way from home."

"I like being here," Bill says, reaching down to stroke Sean's hair. "I wouldn't have missed this trip for the world."

"Good." Sean reaches up and squeezes Bill's hand. "I love you. I'm glad you're here."

Bill knows that it's really really not good to answer a declaration like that with a wide open mouth and he's pretty proud of himself for not doing it. The only problem is that he's supposed to say something here and he has absolutely no idea what to say. I don't do love is a little harsh. I have this thing about commitment might work, but Sean would be an idiot if he hadn't figured that out already. Are you sure? on the other hand, is just insulting.

"Thank you," he finally says. After all, it's one hell of a compliment. "I'm glad I'm here, too. I ... I'm sorry that ... I don't work that way," he says, not sure if he's making any sense at all.

"I like how you work," Sean says softly, crawling up the bed so he can get a hand on Bill's shoulder and squeeze; Bill looks like he needs support more than Sean does right now. "I didn't say it just so I could hear it come back to me. I don't ever want to try to make us something we're not. But I do feel that way about you."

It's not as if Bill hasn't had this conversation before, but for some reason this time it feels more awkward and more like there should be something to say to make up for the fact that he doesn't fall in love. But the words aren't there and so he turns his head and kisses Sean, just a little cautiously.

Sean kisses back, easy and slow. He understands why Bill isn't talking right now, and he doesn't mind it; he meant it when he said he doesn't need to hear it back. Love means something, and being loved means something, but all the love in the world didn't keep Viggo or David or Harry with him. And he can count on Bill.