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Slipping away from the family chaos in the middle of the afternoon proves to be fairly easy for Bill. His mother's house is full of his sisters, their various husbands and seemingly thousands of kids. In actuality it's only seven kids, all of them older than ten, but still, it gets to be a bit much at times.

Using the excuse that he wants to shower and change before Christmas Eve dinner, he heads back to his hotel, breathing in a sigh of relief when the door to his suite closes behind him and it's quiet. He kicks off his shoes and makes himself a drink before settling on the bed with the phone. I should catch him after dinner but before bed at this time, he thinks as he dials Sean's cell number.

Sean's in his pyjamas already, glasses on, stretched out in an armchair rather than kneeling beside it. He's indulging in a holiday tradition -- reading "A Christmas Carol". No one's here to hear him read it out loud, so he's mostly keeping silent, but every so often a phrase pops out that must be said aloud -- in a character's voice, no less.

"There's more of gravy than of grave a-- hang on," he says, realizing only once he's put the book down that he was asking Dickens to wait. He chuckles at himself as he gets his mobile off the coffee table, glancing at the display before flipping it open and smiling. "Hello," he says softly.

"Hey," Bill says. "I was hoping you'd still be up, boy." Hearing Sean's voice has him grinning even as he realizes how much he misses Sean. "How're you doing?"

"Doing fine, Master," Sean says, relaxing back into his armchair. "I was reading 'A Christmas Carol' for what seems like the hundredth time. You called just as Scrooge was meeting Marley's ghost."

"Oh, now that would be something to hear," Bill says. "You ever recorded it?"

"No, it's a little different every time -- I always feel like recording it would take something away from the experience. Tell you what, though -- next year we stick together on Christmas Eve, whichever side of the ocean that means, and you can hear it in person."

"That would be nice," Bill says. "Maybe I'll invite Mom over, give her a break from being a hostess. Also, she thinks that you were 'much better looking than Harrison Ford in Patriot Games' and that's a direct quote. So I think she'd be up for meeting you at some point." Bill laughs, thinking of the bundle of energy that is his mother. "You might not survive it, of course."

"Oh, I'm usually fairly good with the--" in-laws, he almost says, before catching himself. "Families," he finishes. "And with all those years in a house with three girls, I think I can even hold my own with all your sisters. Besides, sooner or later there has to be a retreat into a family room with the guys for some sports event or other, right? It's tradition." Sean wonders, suddenly, why the hell they didn't just split up the holidays this year. Because it's been a long time since I got to spend Christmas with the girls, and that sort of thing is easier to do when it's not the first time you're meeting the other family, anyway. Christ, relax. You act like you're not going to get enough time with him, and it's too early to start thinking that way.

"Isn't that tradition universal?" Bill asks. "I can just see Roman men getting away from their women and arguing about the way that one guy threw the fight in the arena the other day." He chuckles. "My sister Grace's first husband was really surprised that I wanted to watch football over the holidays. Obviously the concept of butch queers had never really registered with him."

Sean snorts at that. "Yeah, I bet you've run into that more than once." It's comforting, somehow, realizing that Bill's out to his family -- at least that's one thing he won't have to deal with when he meets them. From everything Bill's said about his family, they seem easy to get along with. Don't tell me you're actually looking forward to meeting them? God, I'm not sure you could be more domestic.

"So how is everything?" he asks. "Everyone's doing well, I hope?"

"It's good," Bill says. "Fucking tiring; I'm still not on East Coast time, and while the kids are behaving, seven of them ranging in age from eleven to eighteen is enough to drive you nuts." He shakes his head. "How're the girls? And Mel?"

"Good, on all counts. It's the first really friendly Christmas we've had since the divorce. Even Fidget kept her claws in when everyone was over, so that was a plus. Oh, and I took a bit of kidding for actually having the tree up when they got here. I think they had bets on whether I'd have gotten decorations up or not." He grins. "There might be a second one on how fast I take them down."

"You finally put one up?" Bill asked. "I'm looking forward to seeing it, so it won't come down until I get home in a few days." Spending several days watching other people's relationships has done the usual trick of reinforcing how good it is to have a situation like his with Sean. Everything is so clear and uncomplicated and he doesn't have to ask Sean not to take the tree down; he just tells him.

Sean can't help grinning. If Bill had asked, there'd have been a whole song-and-dance, Sean arguing, Bill making his points, just like there always is when Sean's home for Christmas. He's played that game with more than one spouse or lover over the years. As an order, though, that's the end of that. "I'm looking forward to having Master at home again," Sean murmurs. "I miss getting to serve you."

"I miss you serving me," Bill says, falling comfortably back into the right space. "Miss that mouth of yours waking me up in the morning." He pauses and then thinks it through. "Miss being with my boy." It's weird that it's so hard to say, but Bill finds himself holding his breath, unsure of Sean's reaction.

It's something Sean knew already, was more than confident about, but it's good to hear it said. "I'm glad we're not getting tired of each other," he says lightly. "And I'm glad it doesn't feel as if things are going to fall apart if we're not together all the time." It's little things like that, he realizes, that give him so much confidence when it comes to Bill. "But it's going to be so fucking good being on my knees for you again. I'd be jerking off to that thought twice a day if I had permission."

"You saying things like that is one reason I'm not tired of you," Bill says with a little chuckle. "And just supposing I gave you permission...what exactly would you be thinking about?"

"You in your leathers," Sean says. He realizes afterwards that maybe he said that a little too fast, and he ends up chuckling at himself. "It's a bloody inspiring mental image, Master," he admits.

"Oh, is it?" Bill asks, grinning. "Being here reminds me of when I was in college and hitting the bars on weekends. I'm sure you're just the kind of boy who likes getting fucked over a pool table, aren't you?"

Sean groans out loud at that. "Yes, Master." He has to adjust his cock as it starts getting hard; it's gotten caught in one of the folds of his pyjama bottoms.

"If I ran across you in a bar, I'd want to make sure I had a few buddies with me," Bill says, pressing the heel of his hand over the bulge in his jeans. "Get them to knock you around a bit before they held you down for me."

I used to look for that sort of thing, Sean thinks. It's a hell of a lot better being older and having the ability to do scenes like that in safer environments. Then again, it's always good getting to do that in a fantasy, which is exactly what this phone call seems to be turning into. "Yeah, I'd probably look like I deserved it. The kind of guy who walks into a bar with an attitude and who doesn't stop smirking until you wipe it off his face."

"Oh, I don't wipe attitudes like that off boys' faces," Bill says, letting his voice go low and dangerous. "I slap them off and I'm damn thorough about it." The idea of Sean, his face red and bruised and his lip cut sends a sudden jolt of heat to Bill's cock.

"Christ, Master." It doesn't matter how many times Bill does this -- proves he's as hard a top as Sean wants, puts it all into a few dirty phrases that make Sean's cock so hard it nearly hurts -- it takes Sean's breath away every time. "That's exactly what I'd be begging for. I just might not know it until you got me bloody."

"I'd do it anyway, you know." Bill finally gives up and unzips his jeans, shoving them and his shorts out of the way. "I like the look of a boy when he's bruised up and hurting before I even strip his clothes off him. And you're a nice big guy; you could take a nice beating and still be aware enough to get fucked."

"Yeah, I could," Sean says, grinning. "That's the sort of thing that can get a guy into trouble, tops taking it as a challenge. But you could have me screaming, and we'd both know it." That confidence is one of the things about Bill that Sean finds incredibly hot; there's no question Bill can put Sean right where he wants him, not in either of their minds.

"And once I had you screaming," Bill drawls. "I might just smack you a few more times, just because I like the way it sounds. The way you sound when you're hurting." He's not sure where he's going with this, but anything that allows him to tell Sean how much he's grown to like the sound of Sean in pain is a good thing.

"Fuck," Sean breathes. It's the good kind of feedback loop -- Bill gets off on how Sean sounds when he's hurting, Sean gets off on how much Bill likes hurting him. "It's so fucking good when you're hurting me, Master. When it's you."

No one but me or someone I OK should be hurting you, Bill thinks, a little surprised at how possessive he is about Sean. "Do something now," he says, his voice harsh. "I want to hear my boy hurting for me."

Sean yanks his t-shirt up and goes for one of his nipple rings, twisting it. He grunts, harsh and rough, and his eyes snap shut. He tugs while the nipple's twisted, which makes his next breath come out stuttered. "Master."

"Tell me what you're doing," Bill says, grabbing the lube off the night stand and slicking up his hand. He slides it along his cock slowly, wanting to make this last.

"God. Fuck. Christ. Twisting my left nipple, Master, far enough around to flip the ring over, and tugging on the thing while I'm at it. Feels so damned good, Master." He's just as curious what Bill's doing, but he has a good guess. Too fucking far away; I wish it were me touching you.

"Oh, fuck that's good," Bill groans. "But I want more...I want you to mark yourself for me, boy. Put the phone down, turn your head and bite your upper arm. Hard. Make it last and leave a mark."

At this point the t-shirt's more in the way than anything, so Sean strips it off once he's got the opportunity. He turns his head to the left and digs his teeth in, biting into muscle and forcing his teeth down harder when the bite's deep enough to hurt like hell. He's hoping to leave a mark that'll still be on his skin when Bill comes home.

When it's done, he licks over the spot -- bright red, still toothmarked -- and picks the phone back up. He's breathing heavily. "I'm marked for you, Master."

"Good," Bill murmurs, his hand still moving slowly over his cock. "I like the way you look with bite marks on you." He chuckles a little. "Of course, I like the way you look with any marks on you, so that's hardly a surprise. You're the kind of boy who should always be marked up."

"I like the way you think, Master," Sean says, half-chuckling himself. "Can't wait until you're back and you can do it yourself."

"Me neither," Bill says. "I've been thinking about New Year's Eve. I think I want hurt to you so much that when I kiss you at midnight I can touch you just right so you scream into my mouth."

"That's a new one," Sean admits, and it's making him squirm. "Love it when you do that. When I'm screaming for you and your mouth's on mine and it feels like you're taking that sound in--" Sean groans. "Fuck, your slave didn't think he could miss you any more than he already did, Master."

"Oh, I don't know about that," Bill says with a little smirk. "Is my boy hard?" It's a stupid question, of course; Bill knows damn well that Sean's hard. But it's the way the game is played, and Bill's more than happy to drag this out for a while.

The pace works just fine for Sean, too; he's in no hurry to be done with the phone call. "Your boy's quite hard, Master," Sean says, licking his lips.

"Too bad I'm not there to take a strap to your cock." Bill can't help a quiet sigh as he thinks about how good Sean is at taking pain. "If I were, I'd lay down a few blows, enough so that it hurt every time anyone touched it."

"I love jerking off after you've done that," Sean says. He's damn close to sighing about it himself. "It's the best of all worlds -- I get the beating, and then I get to remember it every time I get my dick in my hand." He grins, licking his lips again even though Bill's not there to see it. "I'm so damn glad you don't back off just because you know it hurts like hell."

"Oh, please," Bill replies with a laugh. "If I did back off, you'd just behave like the slut you are and beg for more."

"I'd probably beg either way," Sean admits. "Whether you're giving me what I'm begging for or not. It feels right with you." It occurs to him that while begging has never been a serious problem for him, there've been times in his past he's gotten tongue-tied. That's usually not the case when it comes to begging for Bill.

"I like the way you sound when you beg," Bill says, thinking that "like" is putting it mildly. "In fact, I want to hear it now. Beg me to let you hurt yourself again. If you do it well enough, I might just say yes."

"Christ, please, Master," Sean says immediately. "Please, let me hurt myself for you-- any way you want." Even this far apart, he gets to me, Sean thinks. Fuck, I hope that never stops. "I'd bite myself again if you'd let me, Master-- matching bruises on my arms, I'd pinch at my nipples 'til they were so sore just having a shirt on the next day would make them ache, God, anything, Master-- I want to scream for you so fucking badly."

Holy fuck, Bill thinks, his hand speeding up on his cock. "Yeah," he says a little breahtlessly. "Bite yourself again...mark yourself up for me, boy."

Sean digs his teeth into his other arm, and while the noise he makes is more growl than scream, it's loud enough for the phone to pick it up. He licks over the skin once the bite's deep enough, he thinks, to leave a bruise, and then sucks at the same spot, hard.

"Fuck, I love being marked for you, Master," he gasps, when he's done. His cock's so hard now he's amazed he hasn't passed out yet; it feels like all the blood in his body's rushed between his legs.

"God," Bill groans. "I love the way you sound when you're hurting for me. If those fade before I get home in a couple of days, I want you to do them again. I want to see them when I get back; I want to be able to press on them and know you're hurting."

"Christ, Master, yes," Sean groans, putting a thumb on one of his bruises and pressing. It doesn't hurt the way it will tomorrow, but it's sore enough to make him moan again.

"More," Bill says as the moan gets to him and his hand speeds up. "Play with your rings again, boy, and make it hurt."

"Yes, Master--" Sean gets a hand on one of his nipple rings and twists hard, crying out from the pain but holding the twist anyway. He pants through his next breath, then tugs at his nipple, groaning even louder, gritting his teeth together and hissing in another breath.

Although the cry of pain is good, it's the way that Sean's having trouble breathing that does it for Bill. He comes with a muffled grunt and then lies back, panting while he tries to catch his breath. "Good boy," he says once he trusts himself to speak again. "Such a good bitch for me."

"Yours, Master," Sean says, finally letting that nipple go and moving to the other one. His groans this time are much the same as the first; he hasn't been told to stop yet, so he's taking the opportunity to give himself pain and let himself enjoy the hell out of it. He gives his nipple a rougher tug and gasps from it. "Fuck! Your bitch, Master-- yours."

Bill isn't at all surprised that Sean hasn't stopped. Not only is Sean more than a bit of a painslut, he's also a very good submissive and one who won't stop until his master tells him. "Is it good enough yet?" Bill growls. "Is my bitch hurting so much that he needs to come?"

Christ, that growl. It damn near takes Sean's breath away. "Yes, Master, fuck, yes, please-- please let your bitch come for you, Master!"

"Do it," Bill says, and it no longer makes him feel self-conscious to add: "come for Daddy, bitch."

For an instant, Sean's not sure how he's going to make that happen-- he's close, and he's desperate, but without Bill's presence it's harder to just go over.

He turns his head to the side and bites down hard over the new bruise on his arm, and that does it; his cock jerks in his pyjama bottoms and he comes with a growl, teeth digging in even harder. That bruise is definitely going to last.

"Good boy," Bill murmurs, wondering about Sean's muffled noise. Jesus, did he...? "When you can talk again, tell me what you did."

Sean feels so good -- everything feels so good right now -- that he can't help chuckling just a little as he pulls himself out of the armchair and finds some tissues he can use to clean himself up. "I hope Master doesn't mind," he says. "I needed just a little more to come, so I bit one of my bruises again." He flexes his arm and winces. "That'll be sore a while."

"Master doesn't mind at all," Bill says. "In fact, Master is very pleased with his boy. Not to mention liking the idea of your arm being sore for the next few days." He stretches, wishing he could just take a quick nap. "Wish you were here with me, although I'd probably spend more time here at the hotel than I have."

"Wish I could be there, too," Sean says softly. "Next year." He struggles to hold back a yawn; between the phone call and the orgasm, he's feeling pretty damned content with his life. When all you're missing in life is being able to curl up on Master's feet and go to sleep, it's a pretty damn good existence.

"Next year," Bill promises. "And you sound sleepy; I'll let you go. Tomorrow morning before you go out, I want you to bite up the other bruise, all right, boy?"

"Absolutely, Master." Sean flashes a grin at the phone; even if Bill can't see it, he's damned happy about all this. "Have a good time with your family." I love you.

"You too, boy," Bill. "I'll try to call you tomorrow evening, even if it's just to say 'hi'." He pauses and then adds. "Merry Christmas, Sean."

It may be silly, just how much of a rush Sean gets hearing his name from Bill, but it leaves him feeling warm all over. "Merry Christmas, Bill," he murmurs in return.

It's strange for Sean to use his name, but Bill finds himself rather liking it. "Night," he says before ending the call. Ignoring the the stickiness on his stomach, he stretches back and sighs, more content with life than he usually is on Christmas.