Chapter 19

Saeki walked into his house, emotionally drained from dealing with Syuusuke’s mini panic attack. Though he wouldn’t like me calling it that. A wry smile graced his lips as he made his way to his room to get started on his homework. He had an essay to write for his history class and though it wasn’t due until the beginning of next week, getting it out of the way early meant freeing up his weekend to spend with his lovers.

Never thought I’d be the type to be okay with sharing a lover with someone else. But I think if it was just Syu or just Ryo, it wouldn’t feel right. He smiled to himself and drew paper to him as he sat down on his desk, preferring to write his papers longhand before typing them up. It prevented careless mistakes and his grades were incredibly important to him.

While he was a good tennis player, Saeki’s career interests lay elsewhere. Tennis was a high school sport, something he intended to give up as soon as he got into a good university. What he really wanted to do, though he hadn’t told Syu or Ryo about it yet, was become a lawyer. Ironic, really, considering the world his lover was part of.

He leaned forward slightly and started to write, getting absorbed in the paper. Though they had covered the bombing of Hiroshima every year since he was in 4th grade, it was a subject that still fascinated him. War was a fascinating, brutal subject and he admitted, at least to himself, that it was one subject he thoroughly enjoyed learning about.

The sound of the key turning in the lock downstairs broke Saeki’s concentration and he stretched in his chair before standing up and heading downstairs. His father had been away on a business trip for nearly two weeks now and Saeki was looking forward to seeing him and dreading seeing him at the same time. Their relationship was strained, at best, but Saeki still had a lot of respect for his father. And his family frowned upon any type of social incorrectness.

So he greeted his father at the door, taking the man’s briefcase and stowing it in the closet in the hallway. Once they had said the customary hellos, the two of them went into the kitchen so they could share a light snack and converse a bit after two weeks of separation.

“How did the merger go?” Saeki asked, aware of the reason for his father’s business trip and the potential pitfalls that could have occurred. He opened the fridge and pulled out a coke, passing it to his father, before grabbing one for himself and popping it open.

“Great,” his father said. “Very smooth, in fact. It didn’t take long to get all the paperwork in order. I spent most of the trip making sure everyone understood the new policies.”

Saeki smiled, but it didn’t reach his eyes. He was aware of the tightness in his father’s eyes, the tension in his shoulders, and the slightly aggressive stance he’d assumed: legs wide, hands almost—but not quite—resting on his hips. There was something his father wanted to say to him and Saeki was sure he wasn’t going to like it. “That’s great, Father,” he said, careful to use the more respectful address.

“It is,” his father said. “Kojiro. Your mother told me you’ve been spending time with Fuji Syuusuke while I’ve been away. And that you lied to her about it.”

Saeki didn’t flinch, but it was a near thing. Lying in this household wasn’t acceptable behavior. “I didn’t want to worry her,” he said, voice soft. “I didn’t want her to know I was spending time with Syuusuke again, because I know she hasn’t recovered from what happened to me.”

“And you have?” his father asked, tone calm.

“Yes,” Saeki said, meeting his father’s eyes squarely. “Syuusuke and I have talked about what happened that day. Both of us were confused and angry. He just struck out before I could.”

His father scowled, losing his composure for a moment, before reining himself back in. “He put you in the hospital,” he said, voice tight with suppressed rage. “I’d hardly call that a mere striking out.”

Saeki flushed, knowing that he was underplaying the trauma and shock he’d gone through seven years ago. But Syuusuke had more than made up for that in the last couple of months. Being invited to join Syu and Ryo in a ménage-á-trois had more than made up for the pain he’d dealt with in the past.

“You lied to your mother to protect her,” his father said. He’d realized that Kojiro wasn’t going to say anything else about Fuji, so focusing on the actual transgression was the only option left to him. He wasn’t a hard man. Forbidding Kojiro to spend time with a friend, even if he disagreed with the choice of that friend, just wasn’t in him.

“Yes, sir,” Saeki said. “And for the sake of honesty, you should know that I’m involved in an intimate relationship with Fuji Syuusuke and Echizen Ryoma.” His voice was quiet; he wasn’t trying to provoke his father, after all, just be honest with him.

His father digested the news in silence. He’d known for a long time that Kojiro was never going to end up with a woman, despite his wife’s insistence that their eldest son was going to be the first one to gift them with grandchildren. Kojiro had been very straightforward the day he’d figured out he preferred men to women and had been –or seemed to have been—completely unaffected by his mother’s tears or his father’s distress at the news.

Saeki stood in silence, waiting for his father’s response. Patience was one of the few virtues he possessed. Lying to his mother hadn’t been the wisest move, but it had seemed the best one at the time. Even faced with his father’s displeasure, he felt he hadn’t chosen wrong when he’d lied to her.

“I see,” his father said. “Your personal life is your business. Lying, no matter what the reason, is unacceptable. So I’ll leave the punishment up to you. You can be grounded for the next two weeks or you can subject yourself to my belt.”

Saeki winced at the announcement. Lying was one of the few transgressions that would drive his father to use corporal punishment. “May I have some time to think about it, sir?” he asked, keeping his tone respectful.

“Five minutes.”

Saeki winced. “Thank you, sir,” he said, drawing his phone out of his pocket and sending a quick text to Syuusuke. I’m in trouble for lying to my mother. Father says I can be grounded two weeks or take his belt. What do you want me to do?

Thirty seconds later, Syu’s text came back. Only I get to discipline you like that. Ask your father if I can do it in his stead.

Saeki’s eyes widened as he read the text, his fingers trembling. Surely Syuusuke knew that his father wouldn’t agree with something like that, considering their past. But he’d agreed to follow Syuusuke’s instructions, to submit to the man without complaint or hesitation. So he turned to his father and waited until the man’s attention was focused on him.

“What is it, Kojiro?”

“I told you that I was in a relationship with Fuji Syuusuke,” Saeki said, taking a deep breath to keep himself to remain calm. “But what I didn’t mention is that it is a discipline-based relationship with him at the helm.” He knew his father would understand the term, as there had been hints to him having experimented with those sorts of relationships when he was younger.

His father raised an eyebrow. “You voluntarily agreed to be part of a discipline-based relationship?” he asked, surprised enough that he momentarily forgot how much he hated Fuji Syuusuke for what he’d done to his son so many years ago.

Saeki flushed. “I did. And he’s told me to ask you if he can discipline me in your stead.” Heat crawled up his neck, but he somehow managed not to stutter.

His father sat back in his chair, considering the matter before him. While Fuji Syuusuke had harmed his son in a fit of rage, he knew Kojiro well enough to know that he would never have entered into any relationship—especially a discipline-based one—with a man he was afraid of. Kojiro would have considered every angle before agreeing to it, even if the decision had seemed instantaneous to everyone else. “I’ll agree to it, on one condition,” his father said.

“Which is?” Saeki asked, barely managing to keep himself from fidgeting.

“He comes here today and administers it in front of me. While I trust you to make your own decisions, I need to see firsthand that he is a changed man.”

“Yes, sir,” Saeki said. He dug the phone back out of his pocket and winced at the text he read there. I won’t go as easy on you as your father if you choose the belt. He has always been soft on you.

There was a truth in that Saeki didn’t want to acknowledge. He texted back, Father said yes, as long as you do it here where he can see it. He still doesn’t trust you won’t hurt me.

I’ll be there in twenty minutes. And Sae?

Hai, Syu-sama?

What did you lie about?

Saeki winced, but replied honestly. I told my mother I was spending time with a friend when I was spending time with you and Ryoma. He suppressed the urge to add that he’d only lied to protect her. Syuusuke would appreciate that even less than his father had.

Does our relationship shame you so much?

No! Saeki replied. The very idea that Syu thought that he might find their relationship shameful sent tendrils of regret spiraling through his stomach. No, of course not, Syu. I just didn’t want her to worry.

Keeping it secret from her wasn’t your decision to make.

I know. Gomen, Fuji-sama. Saeki closed his phone, knowing that Syuusuke wouldn’t text him again. They’d said everything that needed saying. Now all he could do was wait for his lover to show up.

“So, what did he say?” his father asked.

“He’ll be here in twenty minutes, Father.”

“Did he have anything else to say?”

Saeki winced. He wanted to say no, but considering he was already in trouble for lying, figured that being honest was the best route for him to take. “Aa,” he said. “Syu doesn’t think you’re a hard enough disciplinarian.”

That tore a wry chuckle from his father. “That’s probably true,” the man said. “I don’t get to see you or your brother often enough to want to be too hard on you. I’m guessing Fuji had something to say about your dishonesty as well?”

Saeki flushed. His father was so discerning sometimes it disoriented him. “Yes, sir. He said that it wasn’t up to me to decide who can and cannot know about our relationship, as that is his responsibility. He said that lying about it to Mother equated to hiding it from her out of a sense of shame, rather than a sense of protection, and that I had no business being in a relationship like this one if I was ashamed of it.”

And while Syuusuke hadn’t said more than a few sentences, Saeki had read between the lines, as he’d always done. The two of them had never needed more than a few words to express a world of feelings.

“It sounds like Fuji has really matured since that incident.”

Saeki nodded. “He has.”

The two of them fell silent, sitting in a tense silence that didn’t ease, but didn’t get worse either. Twenty minutes later, the doorbell rang and Saeki began to stand up, intending to answer the door, when his father’s hand on his arm stopped it. “I’ll get it,” his father said. “I want to see for myself how mature Fuji Syuusuke has become.”

Saeki settled back into his seat to wait while his father went to meet Syuusuke at the door.

Saeki’s father opened the door, coming face to face with Fuji Syuusuke. “Good evening, Fuji-kun.”

“Good evening, Saeki-san,” Syuusuke said, standing straight with his shoulders back and his hands by his side. It was an inviting posture that said, look, I’m safe, which was a far cry from what Saeki’s father had been expecting.

“Kojiro is waiting for us in the kitchen. But before we go in there, I’d like to ask you a couple questions.” He stepped back, letting the high school senior enter his home.

“Happy to oblige, Saeki-san. What would you like to know?”

“Is there any risk at all that what happened between you and my son seven years ago will happen again?” There was no way to be subtle about that and Saeki’s father had no intention of being tactful about his son’s safety.

“No, there’s not,” Fuji said, his voice even. There was no hint of anger at the implied accusation in his tone. “Kojiro means the world to me and I would never hurt him like I did when I was ten. I spent two years learning how to manage my anger at the hands of a very skilled woman and I have no intention of regressing to the point I need her help again.” That his voice didn’t shake surprised Fuji, but the reasons for that were his own.

“I see,” Saeki-san said.

“You said you had a couple questions, Saeki-san?”

“Aa. What are your intentions concerning my son?”

Fuji smiled. “I intend to treat him like my lover, since that is what he is, and I also plan to discipline him when he needs it. That’s all.”

“Okay,” Saeki-san said, taking a moment to digest it. “Then let’s go to the kitchen. I’m sure Kojiro is anxious to get the discipline over with.”

Fuji shrugged. “I’ve never seen Kojiro anxious, Saeki-san. He is highly aware of every action he takes and the consequences they will have. So this outcome has certainly figured into his mental calculations, even though he’s not said anything to suggest that.”

Saeki-san chuckled. “It sounds like you know my son very well.”

The two of them entered the kitchen, where Saeki was still sitting at the table. When he saw Syuusuke, he pushed his chair back and walked over to his lover. Knowing that dropping into a full kneel right know would be considered high drama, he chose to incline his head slightly instead. “Good evening, Syu-san.”

Fuji made a conscious decision to focus on his lover, doing his best to ignore the presence of Saeki-san behind him. He drew Saeki into a brief hug. “Hey,” he said, speaking softly into his lover’s ear. “Drop your jeans and underwear and brace yourself against the table.”

Saeki sucked in a small breath of air, which caused him to sound like he was hissing—the sound, in turn, made him wince, because he knew how it sounded and he didn’t want Syu to think he was complaining about the punishment. Because he wasn’t. He knew he deserved it. Forcing himself not to dwell on that or the fact that his father was observing from the back of the room, he did as Syuusuke said and braced himself against the table, his jeans and underwear bunched around his thighs.

Fuji unthreaded his belt from around his waist and cracked it a couple times in the air to test the swing. Nodding once to himself, he let it fly, landing solid hits on Saeki’s upturned bottom. He didn’t give his lover any time to recover between licks and the one time that Saeki put a hand back to try to protect himself, he discovered how painful a belt across the hand was. After that, he kept his hands firmly on the table, gripping the edge as hard as he dared.

Fuji didn’t stop at a set number. He didn’t count them. He just watched Saeki tremble under the onslaught, watching his lover’s shoulders start to shake. He felt a moment of regret when he caught Saeki’s hand with the belt, but didn’t hesitate to continue the spanking. Lying was unacceptable. Saeki knew that. He’d accepted the consequences as soon as he’d opened his mouth and told his mother that he was spending time where he wasn’t.

Fuji stopped right when Saeki didn’t think he could take another stroke without bolting from the room. Sniffling, he pulled up his jeans, unable to prevent a yelp as the rough fabric came into contact with his tender flesh. He rubbed hard a few times, trying to diminish the lingering sting from the spanking. Fuji pulled Saeki to him, hugging him hard. “I’m proud of you, Sae. You took that well. Remember this the next time you decide to lie.”

“Hai, Syu-sama. I won’t forget.”

Fuji noticed, but didn’t comment, that Saeki hadn’t said he wouldn’t lie again. He smiled, well over the distress he’d felt earlier in the day. That conversation with Saeki about his dream had been a great gift. It had lifted a heavy burden off his shoulders and he was starting to feel more confident about dealing with Kirihara without becoming the monster he knew was lurking just under the surface.

Chapter 18     Chapter Index       Chapter 20

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