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Sean's never had trouble dealing with one of his birthdays, but then he isn't 49, either. Bill, on the other hand, has made grumpy noises whenever the issue of birthdays has come up lately, and so Sean decided -- while they were still in India -- that when his birthday rolled around, he was going to make damned sure Bill enjoyed it.

As a result, he's been in and out of the kitchen most of the day. He didn't try to throw Bill a surprise party or anything like that, and he didn't go all out with the presents, but he does want Bill to have a nice dinner here at home. So there's chicken roasted with garlic and bread made from scratch and a particularly nice wine, and in lieu of a cake with candles he'd have to blow out Sean's made an amaretto creme brulee. He may grouse about the hours he'll have to put in at the gym paying for that, but only until he actually tastes it.

Dinner's on schedule, Bill's small-and-tastefully-wrapped presents are on the dinner table, and Sean heads through the house looking for Bill, wondering whether he'll have to drag his master to dinner.

Bill's been trying to treat this as just another day, something made more complicated by the number of birthday cards and the calls from his family. He knows he's being a little unreasonable about the whole thing, but 49 is still terribly close to 50. Middle-aged, I can accept, he thinks, looking up from his book as Sean comes into the living room. But not old.

"Smells good in there," he says, smiling at Sean. Don't take it out on your boy; that's hardly fair.

"I hope so," Sean says, going to his knees at Bill's feet. "If you're ready, Master, we can eat now, or if you want a little more time, I can keep things warm for half an hour or so."

"Are you kidding?" Bill says. "I've been sitting here smelling this and it's been making me hungry for the last half hour. If it's ready, I am, too." He heads into the kitchen, holding Sean's leash.

Sean crawls along after him, grinning. Taking care of Bill is satisfying, but knowing Bill appreciates him is even better. After seven months of this -- God, have we really been seeing each other for seven months? -- Sean's gotten to a point where being under Bill feels comfortable, natural, and safe. Still safe, after all this time, and that's still important to him.

Once Bill's settled at the table, Sean takes care of serving both the chicken and the side dishes, and kneels down at Bill's side. All things considered, this isn't a very difficult meal to hand-feed, so he's left Bill the option for that by making sure there are a variety of things that are cut to handfeeding size for him.

"Should I open these before or after dinner?" Bill asks, looking at the small boxes on the table. He's actually a little curious about what Sean figures is an appropriate present for his master, particularly when you figure in the whole "what to get for someone who's loaded" factor.

"That depends on how curious you are, Master," Sean says. Picking something out for Bill wasn't easy, and he's still not sure the symbolism's going to hit Bill the wrong way, but shopping for anyone isn't easy, let alone his Master. Try to relax -- he'll like it.

Glancing down at Sean and noticing the set of his shoulders, Bill takes pity on him and reaches for the smaller of the two boxes. "I'll do this now; I'm a greedy sort."

Once he has the box open, he turns the odd looking bit of metal over in his fingers. "I take it this is something that will make sense once I open the second box?"

"It might or might not, depending on how familiar you are with the gift in question," Sean admits. "I can explain it once you've got the other one open, Master."

"Well, now you've got me all curious," Bill says, picking up the second box. "This is fantastic," he says once he has it open and sees the antique silver watch. "So this is the key to wind it?"

"Yeah," Sean says, grinning both with relief and pleasure. "The watch is circa 1867, made in London. The key is rather newer than that; I'm told decorative winding keys are becoming collector's items on their own nowadays."

"I really like it," Bill says, opening the watch and examining it carefully. "It's a great piece; my granddad had one that had belonged to his dad," he adds, his thumb moving over his grandfather's ring.

"I'm glad you like it," Sean says. "I was looking for key-themed items as a sort of tongue-in-cheek nod to us," he adds, tracing a finger along his collar, "and one thing led to another, and this seemed right."

"I like that," Bill says with a smile. He bends down then and kisses Sean hard, gripping the collar tightly.

It occurs to Sean that enjoying someone else's birthday this much might be a bit on the selfish side, but the way Bill's kissing him doesn't leave him room to think about it for very long. He moans softly under Bill's lips and kisses back. There's something else he hasn't lost in seven months with Bill: his gratitude. He's still grateful every day he's under Bill.

It takes his stomach growling to remind Bill that dinner is sitting on the table getting cold. "Thank you, boy," he murmurs when he finally pulls away from Sean's mouth. "It's already a better birthday than I expected it to be, and I have an idea or two for after dinner."

With that tease, he settles down to feeding both himself and his boy, enjoying the way Sean's mouth feels on his fingers as Sean eats pieces of chicken and homemade bread. "Damn, this is good."

"Thank you, Master," Sean says, rather pleased himself at the way everything turned out. And he liked the gift, Sean thinks. Then there's Bill's ideas -- whatever they are, Sean's willing to bet they're going to be enough to remind him that he's sure as hell not old.

Once dinner's over, Bill grins down at Sean. "Birthday spankings are always difficult when you don't get spanked. On the other hand, a nice birthday beating that I deliver instead of take usually makes me feel pretty good."

"Sounds great, Master." Sean grins. It won't be the first time he takes a beating on the occasion of a master's birthday, but it's the first time in years. There really does have to be a rule against enjoying someone else's birthday this much.

"And then..." Bill shakes his head as his voice trails off. "That would be telling," he says with a grin. "C'mon, boy, downstairs."

Once they're down in the basement playroom, Bill looks over the neat rack of toys. "I'm thinking a paddle," he murmurs, picking a nice strong leather paddle that has holes drilled into it. "Now why don't you go over and bend over with your hands resting on the bed."

Sean can practically feel the weight of that paddle already, drilling into his ass and hurting more and more as Bill gets warmed up. "Yes, Master," he says, crawling over to the bed, standing and bending at the waist so he's in just the right position.

"God, you've got a great ass for this," Bill says, coming up behind Sean and running his hand over Sean's ass. "I fucking love beating it." Before Sean has a chance to offer, Bill brings the paddle down smartly on Sean's ass. "Count for me, boy."

It's not just Sean's ass; it's Bill's arm. This is probably the thousandth time Sean's thought about how grateful he is to have a master who likes being this hard on him, who wants to see Sean bruised, and at the rate they're going he'll think that a thousand more times, and another thousand on top of that. He's able to keep the count with no problem as they start up, but Bill starts giving it to him harder and harder, until the numbers are coming out with rough explosions of breath.

By the time they hit thirty, Sean's voice is taking on that ragged quality that Bill loves so much. It's the sound of a boy in pain, the sound you get when you really get in there good and start seriously hurting someone. What's even better is the way Bill knows Sean would beg for more if Bill stopped now.

Sean's just about at the point where he needs to beg anyway; if it weren't for the order to count, he'd be doing just that. There's nothing like getting hurt this way, head tilted down, braced securely, just aware enough to know that it's not stopping anytime soon. His cock's aching, jerking every time he gets a number out, every time Bill brings the paddle down.

As Sean grunts out "forty-nine," Bill pauses.

"No need to count this one," he says, and then brings the paddle down once more. "One for someone to grow on," he adds with a chuckle, putting the paddle aside and running his hands over Sean's hot, red skin.

"Christ, Master," Sean moans, leaning back. "Has your slave mentioned how glad he is to be here lately?"

"Feel free to tell me any time," Bill says, nudging Sean's legs further apart with his foot. "I'm glad my slave is here, so it works out well for both of us." Before Sean can answer, Bill goes down to his knees behind Sean and bites one of his cheeks, sucking up a bruise.

Sean goes completely non-verbal with that, groaning loudly and pressing back for more.

Once done with the bite -- nice looking bruise, that -- Bill moves in and, spreading Sean's cheeks, licks his way to Sean's hole. Teasing it, he licks around and over it without pressing in.

Another whimper; Sean would beg if he could find the words for it. Bill's a fantastic tease, and this is something Sean gets rarely enough that he appreciates the hell out of it every time it happens.

As much as Bill likes doing this, likes hearing Sean come undone, he has another reason for wanting Sean to be as relaxed as possible, and he's soon fucking Sean with his tongue. Come on, boy, let's get you nice and loose.

Nothing feels like this. Sean's groaning and clutching at the bedcovers in no time, rocking back against Bill's mouth. It's just so fucking good -- he doesn't know how long he'll be able to stand it.

Once Sean sounds truly desperate, Bill pulls away, grinning widely. "On the bed on your back, boy," he says, moving back to grab some supplies from a nearby drawer. Returning, he tosses them down onto the bed: a long black latex glove, a tub of Elbow Grease and long bit of leather designed to serve as a portable sling.

"Guess what I'm giving myself for my birthday, boy."

Sean doesn't have to guess; with all of that, he knows damn well what's going to happen, and he's more than ready for it. He nods, enthusiastically, as he climbs onto the bed and pulls his knees up.

"You don't have to do that," Bill says with a grin. "That's the beauty of this thing." He settles the padded middle of the portable sling behind Sean's neck, carefully moving Sean's collar out of the way. After giving Sean a hard kiss, he moves down to buckle the straps around Sean's thighs, just above the knees.

"You know," he says casually, running his hand down Sean's thigh to his ass. "They say that this is good if you want to use a dildo on yourself. I think I'll want to see that someday." And really, that's the best part about this birthday: there are so many days ahead of them, so many days for each of them to come up with dozens of scenes and fantasies and fulfill them all.

The sling's nice and comfortable, and Sean grins at Bill as he settles down. "I'd be happy to show you that, Master."

"I'll bet you would, boy," Bill murmurs, reaching down and teasing Sean's cock a little. "Tell me," he says as he draws his hand away and reaches for the glove. "Do you think you'll need a cock ring for this?"

As nice as it is to have a Master who's being understanding, Sean's reluctant to say yes. I can do this, he thinks, and then who the hell do you think you're trying to impress, mate? This is Bill. "I think it's probably a good idea, Master," Sean murmurs, "please."

"Good boy," Bill says, moving back to the cabinet. He returns with a basic cock ring and deftly snaps it around Sean's cock and balls. "I don't want you coming until I'm in you up to the elbow," he adds, pulling on the glove with a loud snap.

Sean squirms, hearing that -- it's not like he'll be able to squirm later, so he might as well do it now -- and grins broadly. "I'm so bloody glad I'm yours, Master," he says.

"You should be," Bill says with a broad grin. "Seriously, though," he goes on as he plunges his fingers into the tub of lube. "I'm bloody glad you're mine as well." Settling on the bed between Sean's legs, he leans forward and teases Sean's hole again. I want you fucking desperate for it, boy. I want you dying for it before I even get my hand in you.

It's not going to take much to get Sean there. He tries to settle down as much as possible, does his best to relax, but what he really wants is Bill's fingers stretching him right now. He ends up biting his lower lip to keep from making any sound; getting impatient this early would just give Bill something else to tease him with. And you're a better boy than that, too.

By now, Bill knows what it means when Sean bites his lower lip, and he smirks just a little as he finally presses one finger slowly into Sean's ass. He takes his time with it, putting his mind off the pressure of his own erection. That's not as important as doing this is, he thinks as he finally pushes another finger into Sean. I can fuck him any time I like, but this takes a little more planning and control.

There's nothing Sean could possibly do to encourage Bill to speed up right now -- it's out of his hands. That's good to know, but it's even better knowing that part of the reason Bill's taking it easy is because he wants it to be good for Sean; he wants to be careful enough that it won't tear him, that it won't be too much too fast. It's so damned good being Bill's slave; it's so damned good getting cared for like this. It's not too hard to relax, sink a little lower and enjoy the way Bill's taking his time. He exhales softly, licking his lips and looking at Bill. He's so bloody good at this.

Bill knows that they're in sync now, knows that Sean is right where Bill needs him to be. As he works up to four fingers, he strokes Sean's leg with his other hand, smiling down at Sean. "It's gonna feel so good when I get my hand up in you, boy."

"Yes, Master," Sean murmurs, grinning. "Feels good already... Master... please..." His words trail off into a long groan. Bill's got incredible hands, and Sean's feeling full already. The fact that there's more coming is enough to make Sean wordless.

"Yeah?" Bill asks, pulling his hand back and tucking his thumb against his palm. "Breathe for me now," he orders while pushing his hand slowly into Sean, watching for any sign of distress.

Sean's not feeling distressed in the least, though. What he's feeling is full, and then open -- there's that incredible sensation when he takes Bill's hand in, the way it feels when his body stops resisting and just opens up wide. He ends up groaning again and then breathing steady and deep, concentrating on how it feels to have Bill's hand inside him.

"God," Bill says, going still once his hand is in. "Holy fuck, Sean." Bill's never really been able to explain how something like this can feel so amazing when his cock's not involved. Either you understand it, or you don't, he thinks, pushing a little further in and raking his knuckles across Sean's prostate. Thank God I understand it.

Every time Sean hears his name from Bill it practically undoes him. This time's no exception, but on top of hearing his name, he's also got all the amazing sensations that go along with having Bill's hand deep inside him that way. Every little move, every breath -- he can practically feel his own heartbeat in the clench of his ass around Bill's wrist. He doesn't even try to speak; he couldn't get a word out if he tried. He groans again, though, struggling to keep his eyes open so he can watch Bill.

"Oh, yeah," Bill breathes, running his other hand along Sean's thigh. "You're so fucking hot inside," he says, flexing his wrist just a little. "Ready for more?"

Sean nods, and after a few deep breaths he's even able to collect himself enough to speak. "Please... Master," he moans.

Pausing to slather more lube on his wrist, Bill grins down at Sean. "This is already one of my better birthdays," he says, pressing his hand further into Sean. Remembering the first time he fisted Sean, he rocks his fist as he goes even deeper. Sena can take it, he thinks.

Sean knows he can take it, but it still makes him cry out. Nothing feels like this; no matter how hard or how deep he's getting fucked, it's nothing like having Bill's hand inside him. Sean takes a deep breath and tries not to tense up too hard; Christ, this feels so good...

Bill knows the difference between a "this is too much" noise and a "do me harder" noise, and Sean's cry is the latter. Moving so that he's actually pulling out a little before pushing in, he keeps fucking Sean, watching in amazement as his forearm disappears into Sean.

This is one of those sensations Sean could never get used to, no matter how many times he gets to feel it. He ends up growling low in his throat, still wanting more, certain he can take anything Bill wants to give him.

"Christ," Bill says several moments later. "I'm all the way in you, boy." He works his fist carefully now; like everything else they do out on the edge, he could do some serious damage to Sean here. Which is what makes it so fucking hot, he thinks with a slight smile.

Sean's put himself into situations where he went to extremes with people he didn't trust all the way; it was like chasing a high, trying to get more every single time. This time it's the faith he's got in Bill's ability to keep him safe that gets to him. There's no question about it -- what Bill's doing hurts in a deep, aching way he'll feel all night long -- but for all the risk, he feels safe with his master, and damned glad to be here. There's no way he can get that across now, not when he's past the point where he can talk, but he's pretty damned sure Bill knows it.

Bill does know it, and he's not sure he's ever been with someone who was as grateful as Sean. He can't help but wonder at times if Sean's naturally grateful or if he's still surprised to find someone who gives a damn as much as Bill does. It's hardly a fair thought, and Bill lets it go, keeping an eye on Sean's face as he begins to fuck him harder. "You ready to come for me, boy?"

Sean nods, eyes finally closing for a few seconds. He nods again as he gets his eyes open, licking his lips and concentrating hard on Bill's face. Right now he'd be begging if he could speak; he hopes that comes across in his expression, because he's not capable of much more than a groan now.

"Yeah," Bill whispers, reaching down with his other hand to unsnap the cock ring. Sean's cock is close to purple and Bill can only imagine how much Sean needs to come right now. And unless I push him too far, he won't until I tell him to.

A couple more firm thrusts with his fist and then Bill grips Sean's cock and squeezes it tightly. "Come for me, boy."

One order, and orgasm turns from something Sean couldn't do unless told to something he couldn't stop even if he tried. That one moment of change is almost better than coming in and of itself; the moment when he doesn't have to struggle to hold back anymore and can give everything he's got to his Master. There are no words for how it feels, nothing but sheer blinding pleasure, and Sean sinks into it.

Bill's never been able to describe the feeling this sort of scene gives him. It's about power and trust and control. Anyone can beat someone, anyone can stuff their fist up someone's ass; it takes something more to get a man to the point where he won't come until you tell him to. Determined to reward Sean as much as he can, Bill does his best to make sure he does everything possible to extend the orgasm.

It's one of the longer ones Sean's had; it's going to be a memorable one. By the time he's done, his throat's hoarse and he's half out of breath, vision dim. He groans at the tail end of it, knowing it's going to start hurting any minute now, but wanting every last bit of pleasure he can get out of it.

After giving Sean a moment to catch his breath, Bill strokes his face lightly. "Hang in there, boy," he murmurs. "Bear with me; this is going to take a little time." As he speaks, he begins to pull his hand out, moving just as carefully as he did going in.

Sean can't help wincing, but he tries to stay loose and open, tries to make it as easy as he can for Bill -- and for himself, too. This is the part that really can't be rushed -- it's just a matter of lying back and relaxing as much as possible until Bill's hand comes free and Sean can let out a few gasping breaths. "Christ," he moans. "Thank you, Master."

"Good boy," Bill says, nuzzling Sean's leg a little as he strips the glove off. Right about now he'd normally be offering Sean a towel, but now that he's done with Sean, he's suddenly, painfully, aware of how much he needs to come. Like right fucking now.

Standing up, Bill looks down at Sean. "You look like a fucking whore," he says, his tone of voice making it clear it's a compliment. Dropping a hand to his cock, he begins to stroke it with brisk, efficient strokes.

Sean's a little bleary from the force of his own orgasm, but he's not too out of it to know what's coming. He licks his lips and levers himself up on his elbows, eyes on Bill's cock. "Please, Master!"

Sean's so fucking eager, and as far as Bill's concerned, it's one of the best things about him. "Please what?" he asks, his voice already a little hoarse.

"Please, Master, please come, please..." Sean's never sure how to beg for that without sounding demanding, but it's what Bill wants, God knows. And right now, Sean can't imagine wanting anything more than he wants to please Bill. "Please!"

"Jesus....fuck," Bill groans, his hand speeding up. In less than a minute--he's that turned on--he's coming hard, gritting his teeth and forcing his eyes to remain open so he can watch as his come lands on Sean's chest and face.

Moaning all over again, Sean nearly jerks when Bill's come streaks over his skin. "Master -- thank you -- God..."

"God," Bill echoes as he sits down on the bed. He helps Sean out of portable sling and then settles down next to him. Pulling a blanket up over both them, Bill smiles at Sean. "Rest, boy, you've earned it."

He's silent for a moment, one hand stroking Sean's shoulder. "Fifty," he finally says, "is going to be hard. I'm glad you'll be here for that."

Sean turns so he can nuzzle Bill's shoulder. "I'm glad I'll be here, too," he says softly, and it's not just because he wants to help Bill through his fiftieth birthday. "I'll do whatever I can to make it a bloody great one."

"Emphasis on the bloody," Bill says with a mock growl. The idea that Sean will be here for fifty but not for fifty-one is something he'd really rather not think about right now. He pulls Sean a little closer and does his best to relax and just enjoy the moment.