by Jo

"Where's that toe rag partner of yours?"

Adam was surprised when he opened the door to an Eric on a rampage. Adam stood firm. A mad Eric was not something he was willing to let Brian face.

"Why, what's he done?" Adam's voice was wary. There had been a few problems recently between Eric and Brian, mainly generated by the way Brian and Sonny interacted together.

Eric and Sonny's relationship had moved ahead rapidly. Eric had stayed with Adam and Brian a week while his home was being re-decorated and Sonny had spent almost every night of that week with him. When he moved back he invited Sonny to move in with him. Two weeks later Adam and Brian helped Sonny move into Eric's house.

"How dare he say to Sonny that I will use a cane on him," Eric spat out. "I now have a nervous wreck of a Brat at home who has locked himself into the bathroom and refuses to come out."

Adam's expression tightened. "Brian John McFadden get your butt down here right now."

Brian jumped when he heard Adam. "Heck the full name was not a good sign."

Brian slid to a halt in front of Adam "What do you want, Adam Declan--" He paused.

"Don't you dare," Adam growled.

"--Marmaduke McLeod," Brian finished, his eyes dancing.

"Marmaduke?" Eric said, laughing out loud "Why didn't you tell me that when we were together?"

"Because I changed it by deed poll when I was 18," Adam growled.

"What did you want me for?" Brian asked and gulped when both men turned to face him.

"Why don't you explain to me why you told Sonny I'd cane him?" Eric asked. "As surprising as it may be to you, at this stage we haven't introduced discipline into our relationship."

Brian shrugged "He asked about it. I answered his questions." His eyes danced. "Come, I was just pulling his chain. We joke about all the time."

"This time it is no joke," Adam said sternly "Sonny panicked and locked himself in the bathroom."

"Why didn't you tell me?" Brian pushed past Adam and neatly sidestepped Eric and took off at a run. Eric's house was less than a block away. Eric took off after him and Adam, swearing under his breath, locked the house and followed at a more sedate pace.

Brian burst into Eric and Sonny's house. He'd visited it often enough that he knew where the bathroom was. He tried to open it and found it locked. "Sonny, man, you in there? Open the door, bro, we need to talk."

"Go away, Brian." The muffled voice was Sonny's. "I don't want to talk with any one."

"Come on." Brian was a past master at wheedling. "It's only you and me, not a Top in sight." He gestured to Eric behind his back. Eric understood that sometimes Brats needed to talk to Brats and backed out.

"Only you and me?" Sonny's voice said.

"Only you and me," Brian assured. He sighed in relief as he heard the lock click and Sonny came out, his face swollen with crying. "Where can you talk?" Brian asked and Sonny led the way to the spare bedroom which was nominally his although he'd never spent a night there. He sat cross legged on the bed and grabbed a soft toy which he hugged close to him. Brian knew that soft toy, he had one a lot like it. When you moved around a lot you needed a security blanket and a soft toy was the easiest thing to carry. He would never tease Sonny about something so sensitive.

"That Donny?" Brian deliberately kept the conservation light.

"Yeah, the only thing I kept through 10 different foster homes," Sonny said. "Him and the scars."

Brian flinched. He'd seen the scars on Sonny's back. It was something they'd never discussed and Brian had never wanted to. They'd first met when they were both seven and lasted in the same foster home for about six months when Brian was removed after a fist fight between the two. Then they'd met again at age 14 and had been split up at 16 when a foster parent had caught them together in Sonny's bed. Brian protested in vain that he was soothing Sonny after a nightmare.

"I got the scars in my first foster home." Sonny looked up at Brian, his green eyes shadowed. "I was five and my foster father took a cane to me. I ended up in hospital for about a week."

"Look man, I was only pulling your chain about Eric and a cane," Brian admitted, blushing "There's no way he would ever use one on you."

"But ....," Sonny was too wrung out to react to Brian's admission. "I want a relationship like you and Adam. I want Eric to claim me like Adam does you."

"Sonny." Brian was touched. "You need to talk to Eric. I can promise when he arrived at our door he was steaming mad asking what I had done to you. He was definitely claiming you as his."

"He did?" Sonny looked at Brian. At Brian's nod he brightened "Did Eric come back with you?" he asked. At Brian's nod he took a deep breath and said, "You're right, me and Eric need to talk."

Meanwhile in the living room Eric and Adam were talking. "When did you put the lock back on the bathroom?" Adam asked curiously. "After the time I locked myself in there you took the lock off."

Eric sighed. "The new decorators," he explained. He looked up as Sonny and Brian walked in.

"Brian and I need to go home and let you and Sonny talk," Adam said, standing up. "Brian and I need to have a talk ourselves when we get home." Brian winced slightly. He and Adam had already had a talk about the way he treated Sonny.

Eric and Sonny just looked at each other until they heard the door close. Eric opened his arms and Sonny ran into them. "Everything is going to be all right baby," he murmured into Sonny's hair.

"I'm sorry. I was talking with Brian about his relationship with Adam and he said that Adam had told him you used a cane on him," Sonny admitted. "And that really scared me."

Eric managed to throttle back his anger. "Baby," he said, "It's no secret that Adam and I had a relationship that involved discipline, but I never used any more than a paddle. I would never use a cane. Never." Sonny looked at Eric, whose blue eyes were shining with sincerity. "Look, I want you. I'm not going to pussyfoot around. I've had plenty of lovers over the years, but I think you're the one for me."

Sonny's breath caught; this was not what he'd been expecting. "But I'm a screw up. How can you love me?" he wailed. "I'm not smart like you, the only thing I can do is tinker with engines. That's why I dropped out of University I was failing everything."

Eric had a sudden urge to swat Sonny, which he managed to resist. "Sonny you are not stupid. I'm actually sick and tired of hanging around people in the ivory tower of the University. I've loved coming home to you in the last month, you keep me grounded. As for your tinkering with engines, I was talking with your boss last week and he told me you had natural talent and he wanted to offer you an apprenticeship."

"What about discipline?" Sonny asked tentatively.

"Well, I can't deny that I like having rules around the house and certain expectations of your behaviour and consequences if you fail to meet those expectations," Eric said. "I would guess if you've been talking to Brian about his and Adam's relationship, you would be open to this sort of relationship?"

"Yes," Sonny said, blushing. "I guess locking myself in the bathroom was a no-no huh?"

Eric opened his mouth to say it didn't matter, when he caught Sonny's green eyes. "Well I'm not happy," was all he said. "I think you need to learn that when you're troubled or panicking you can come to me. Maybe a spanking would help you with that."

Sonny gulped. Was this what he really wanted? His answer was quick and emphatic: "Yes." He wanted someone who would reign him in when he was spiraling out of control. He'd seen how much calmer and focused Brian was since he'd been with Adam.

It was obvious that Eric expected Sonny to bend over his knee. With butterflies Sonny found himself draped over Eric's knees in the traditional spanking position. "This time," Eric said calmly, "I'm giving you a break. I'll spank you over your shorts, but most of the time I would expect to spank you on the bare." Eric didn't waste anytime in setting Sonny's butt on fire and his young lover couldn't believe how much it hurt. Before long he was crying bitterly, feeling well punished, but somehow comforted at the same time. He slowly realised the spanking had finished and Eric's hands were rubbing slow circles on his lower back helping to calm him down. Before long he was sitting on Eric's lap, his butt carefully positioned, being reassured he was forgiven and that the lock on the bathroom was going to be removed again.

"Again?" Sonny inquired through his sniffles.

"Yes, again," Eric said. "I'll tell you the sad story of Adam and the bathroom someday." Sonny's delighted laughter joined Eric's ringing around their house.

It had taken Brian five minutes to reach Eric and Sonny's house; it took him 15 minutes to walk back. He was not looking forward to talking with Adam.

He thought back. He and Sonny had an interesting history. He couldn't even remember what had caused the fight in the first foster home, but he did remember swearing blood brotherhood a couple of hours before he was removed. He rubbed the faint scar on the inside of his wrist.

Then at 14 they'd ended up in the same foster home again. It was there they discovered that they were both gay and had come out aged 15 and been split up again at 16 when their homophobic foster father found Brian in bed with Sonny soothing him after a nightmare. After that Brian and Sonny had kept in touch.

They had not been model citizens. Most Friday nights they had gone out together and got drunk, high and usually laid. They got into fights and spent quite a few nights cooling off in the local police station. When Brian found he might be eligible for a scholarship to help with University, he stopped looking for fights and therefore managed to avoid the charge of assault that got Sonny a record and probation for six months.

After the incident in the nightclub with Adam, their relationship had cooled for a while but it had never been broken. After meeting Eric and becoming friends, he had decided that Sonny needed a steady influence in his life and had set his friend and brother up. It had worked better than he could have imagined, but he still couldn't resist teasing and tormenting his brother.

They reached home and Adam led the way to the study. "We've discussed this before haven't we Brian?" Adam said, his voice stern. "I seem to remember I gave you a free pass after the first morning when you teased Sonny about being an easy lay." Brian blushed. That had not been one of his prouder moments. Both Adam and Eric had had a few things to say about that episode. "I remember spanking you for calling Sonny a kept man when he moved in with Eric."

"Well he was, he didn't have a job or any money when he moved in," Brian couldn't resist saying, although they had covered the topic fully at the time.

Adam decided not to answer that, not that Brian expected him too. "This however takes the cake. He trusted you, asking you questions about a sensitive topic, and instead of taking his questions seriously you decided to tell an out and out lie and scare him half to death."

"Hey," Brian said defensively. "I didn't know about the abuse, okay? Well not quite true, I knew he'd been abused, but I didn't know it was with a cane. Give me some credit. I joke around, but I never mean to hurt him."

"Then why lie?" Adam asked.

"I don't know," Brian said. "Maybe I thought if I told him the normal way is on the bare butt with a hand, he'd laugh at me for being a baby."

Adam just sighed. This was an ongoing problem for Brian to get his head around, that an OTK spanking was not babyish.

"Well Sunshine," Adam said sternly "Do we really need to discuss this any longer?" Brian shook his head, pulled his pants down and draped himself over Adam's lap.

Adam waited until Brian settled down and then began to steadily spank, quickly turning Brian's bottom from milky white to rosy pink to fiery red. He was listening carefully to his Brat's crying and body language. When the crying became sobbing and the body relaxed he stopped.

"All over. All forgiven," he said and as usual, Brian squirmed up and rested his head against Adam's shoulder. Adam was never sure how he managed that straight from over the lap to sitting on the lap without touching the floor at any stage. Adam just made sure Brian's sore bottom was not aggravated any further during the squirming.. The only thing left for Brian to do to close this chapter was to apologise to Sonny. Adam decided that could wait as he soothed his young lover.

~ Jo

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