Saturday, February 6, 2010

Michael and Eric

Title: Michael and Eric
Authors: Rolf and Ranger

Eric came slowly up the stairs, the now unloaded, still warm gun in his hand. It was familiar. He was used to the feel of it, the weight of it, the regular practice and training that came with it, to the point where he considered it a part of his uniform and rarely thought about how natural it was to carry it. Except for days like today when it was rudely brought home to him precisely what its destructive capabilities were.

It was clear from the doorway of their room that Mike was crying. Seated on the dressing table chair, facing the corner, he wasn't making a sound but his shoulders were shaking, with shock as much as anything else. Eric laid the gun down on the dressing table and went unhurriedly across to him, laying both hands on his shoulders. Mike's hand immediately lifted to cling to one of his.

"What were you thinking?" Eric asked quietly, his left hand gently rubbing the tight muscles of his partner's shoulder.

Michael sobbed for a moment before he caught his breath, trying hard to contain the emotion that threatened to overwhelm him. He'd been having to think about this moment for the past three hours. Three hours of torture and shock.

It had seemed like a perfectly normal day when Eric ran out to do some shopping, leaving Michael to get some of the housework done. A normal Saturday morning.

Michael had brought a load of towels down to wash, dropping them on the floor when he saw the spot on the dryer that had Eric's uniform on it, where he'd stripped the moment he'd come in off shift last night. Late. Usually so tidy, Eric had clearly wanted nothing more than to strip and head straight up to bed. Smiling, Michael picked up the shirt, and Eric's revolver clattered loudly to the floor after bouncing off the dryer.

It took a moment for Michael’s heart-rate to return to normal. He slowly bent down and picked up the gun, the cold metal feeling very foreign in his hand.

"I wasn't thinking anything," Michael said, swallowing. "It scared the hell out of me FINDING it…"

He stopped again, thinking of the feel of it. The weight of it. He saw this in Eric's holster daily, it came home, it was taken off along with his uniform, it was locked into the drawer in their wardrobe; it wasn't something he'd ever really thought about. He'd been vaguely surprised the fall hadn't made it go off. He turned it around in his hands, startled by the solidity of it. Small, efficient, clean - he had no idea if Eric kept it loaded or even how to set it. Really, he supposed he ought to know- if he ended up dealing with intruders one night, if he ever NEEDED to know how to use a gun, he did live with one in the house- and yet its presence was alarming in itself. Carried too much potential.

"You should have left it alone," Eric replied.

Michael nodded miserably, another sob escaping his control.

He'd continued to hold the gun, imagining how it felt to use it, imagining he was holding it to a suspect's head- it was all too tempting. In films, on TV, he saw this every day; how often did you find yourself holding a real live version with all the power it contained? Feeling somewhat self-conscious but still enjoying himself, he'd turned to see himself in the kitchen mirror, checking his grip. "Freeze, turkey!" he yelled, both hands on the gun, arms straight, as he'd seen in movies. He then held his arms in close, both hands still on the gun, pointed now at the ceiling. He backed up against the wall, pretending he was infiltrating an enemy home. He dropped the gun back down in front of him, arms straight, and took two steps into the kitchen, moving the gun from side to side to provide cover. He'd just pointed in into the corner of the kitchen when the unthinkable happened.

The gun kicked in his hands with so much force that he nearly dropped it and the force of the blast made his wrists and arms jar. The sound was shocking. Michael's grip flipped upwards and he saw the explosion of plaster as the bullet buried itself in the wall.

Michael clutched the gun reflexively, heart thumping with fright at the sound alone and the knowledge that the gun had fired. The barrel was smoking slightly. Terrified, he edged a few steps on shaking legs and laid the gun down on the table. Then collapsed down to the floor and buried his face in his arms.

It was a minute before he could look at the damage. The hole was big- not a neat little bullet hole, but a BLAST. He had no clue what damage it had done and no desire whatsoever to take a closer look. His immediate desire was to hurl himself into Eric's arms and cling until the sense of horror faded.

" gives you a sense of power, until it goes off," Michael said, before dissolving into floods of tears. Eric pulled Michael up and steered him towards the bed. He pulled him down with him, settling them both against the headboard. Michael curled up underneath Eric's arm and let the emotion overwhelm him.

Eric gently rubbed his partner's back, feeling the shaking, and knowing EXACTLY how he felt. It had been several long months since Eric had fired his gun, but sometimes it felt as if it had been yesterday. The department trained you to try to manage situations without force. But if force became necessary, and you pulled out your gun, you'd better be damned well ready to use it. It was a responsibility that went with the job and one that Eric took seriously, had considered, had walked into with his eyes open, but he still understood Michael's sheer horror at the force the gun contained and the damage it was capable of causing. They were going to need a professional plasterer to repair the hole blown in the wall. If it had been any part of Michael that had been in the way of that bullet - Eric shut his eyes and pressed his lips against Mike's hot forehead, pushing that image away. He had no intention of Michael ever finding out about the police incident, it was something he didn't need to know or worry about. And if Eric was any judge, he was never going to touch the gun again. The whiteness of his face when he'd walked in and found Michael sitting on the foot of the stairs had told him clearly, instantly, that to Michael something truly awful had happened, and it wasn't just the damage he was sorry for. What was needed now was a quick, clear line drawn under this, a penance paid for the damage and the fright that was on Michael's mind, and the gun would go back to being something locked away, out of sight or temptation or concern.

Eric put a hand under Michael's chin and turned it up, making him look.

"Why do I keep that gun locked away Mike? And it's not FROM you. I trust you to know better than to go playing with it."

Michael swallowed hard. "Because of accidents. If anyone else came into the house and messed with it. I KNOW it's dangerous."

"That gun is mine, but its use is completely regulated by the department. I have to report that a bullet was used in that gun. Do you know how that's going to make me feel? That people in my department know that my gun was misused?"

Michael shook his head, tears starting again. Eric held onto his chin, voice gentle but keeping eye contact. "This is the kind of thing officers with kids have to worry about; it's going to get me into trouble to admit I left the gun where someone vulnerable could mess with it."

"You didn't," Mike sobbed, past any attempt at dignity, "It was in the laundry room, it was MY fault, I knew-"

"And now you've seen," Eric said quietly. "It makes a mess. It would make a still WORSE mess of a person. I don't EVER want you responsible for causing damage to a person, it would kill you. And it would kill me if that damage happened to you. We're talking missing limbs, Mike. Missing CHUNKS for the rest of your life. You swear to me, right now, that you will NEVER touch that gun again, no matter where you find it, no matter why you think you need to."

"I promise!" Michael said quickly and honestly. At this moment in time he'd be happier still if Eric never brought the gun into the house ever again.

"I expect to NEVER have this discussion again, in any way, shape or form," Eric said in his most stern voice.

"Yes, sir," Michael sobbed, as Eric sat up and reached into the bedside table for the paddle.

"Plllllllllleeeeeeeaasssssseeeeeeeee," Michael begged through new tears, seeing that dreaded piece of wood.

"You might have killed yourself this morning, and you knew perfectly well you shouldn't have been fiddling," Eric said firmly. "I asked you to promise me when we moved in together never to pick that gun up. Didn't I?"

Michael didn't answer. Eric waited. It took a moment but Michael got to his feet, still sobbing. Eric laid the paddle down and unbuttoned his jeans, pulled them down to his knees and Michael went where he was led, to Eric's right side, letting Eric guide him down over his lap and settle him, bottom up, his face buried in the quilt. Eric's arm wrapped around his waist and his right hand rested across both cheeks, warm and heavy. "You do NOT take that risk again Mike. Is that clear?"

It took Michael another minute to gather the courage to answer that question. "Yes, sir," he said, his face buried in the quilt, his hands having balled up as much of the quilt as he could hold. He had only managed to draw in half a lungful of air when he felt the heavy presence on his bottom lift, a split second before a sharp pain erupted where that hand had been.

He was trying to gather himself for the next swat when it hit, sharp as the first. The third swat caught him full across the center of his bottom, with two more cupping the lower regions of his cheeks. He squirmed to no avail. Eric drew him more tightly into his stomach and grasped his hip, holding him firmly as he swatted, moving from cheek to cheek in a steady, measured pattern. The white skin turned rapidly pink, and then red, and Mike's jerks and occasional yelps became pleas, then wails. Eric paused for a moment, absently rubbing his now-scarlet bottom where the stinging was worst, waiting. Michael took a few long breaths, trying to calm himself down a little, then broke into flat-out sobs as Eric picked up the paddle from the bedclothes beside them.

"PLEASE, Eric-"

"No, Mike. That gun is dangerous and it's a risk you HAVE to live with," Eric said gently. "I don't want to have to think twice about whether or not I can trust you; I want you to be SURE you never do this again."

And the paddle landed, hard. Mike jumped, and for the next minute or two all his breath was taken up with the need to cry as hard as possible. Eric held him where he was for several minutes when it was over, rubbing his back and waiting while his breathing slowed and the tension went out of him. Finally Michael slid backwards and found his way to his feet and from there into Eric's arms where he clung, still tearful but quieter now.

Eric took him into his lap and held him tightly, rocking a little, waiting while Mike slowly relaxed into his arms and settled there.

"What are we going to do about the wall?" he asked eventually.

Eric shook his head. "We don't have to explain. I don't think, seeing that, they'll ask any questions either."

Copyright Rolf and Ranger 2010

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