Title: Reporting For Duty
With a flick of his wrist, Adam turned off the stove. Dinner was done cooking, the table was set, and his partner was no where to be found. Austin had left almost two hours ago for what he said was a "quick run". This wasn't the first time this week that Austin had been late. All week, his boy had been running, one way or another.
He'd been late picking Adam up from work one day when his car had been in the repair shop for maintenance. Austin had shown up late for a Halloween party at the group home Joey lived at. He'd even been late to the Veteran's shelter he volunteered at once a week. And now again tonight. Tonight wasn't an event of any kind. Just dinner together, but Austin being late was a sign of something bothering him. Of avoiding that thing that was bothering him.
Adam had a good idea what that thing was. They'd both watched enough news to understand that there was a build up of armed forces in the Middle East. Many of Austin's friends had been redeployed and many of the National Guard forces were training in preparation of being deployed as well. Adam couldn't help but feel relief that Austin wasn't one of them. His unit was a first responder unit that would only deploy for disaster relief. However, he was sure that Austin didn't share in his feelings. No, he'd want to be there helping and protecting his brothers in arms. Instead of talking these things out, Austin was avoiding. And Adam was going to put a stop to it. Now. Tonight.
It seemed like fate agreed with him when Austin chose that moment to walk in the door.
"Sorry, I'm late. I decided to run ten miles instead of the five," Austin said as he walked into the kitchen. "I'll just shower real quick and we can eat."
"No. No, shower. I've held dinner off long enough for you. You can shower after dinner. Wash your hands and face here." Adam pointed to the kitchen sink. He knew Austin wouldn't deliberately disobey him if he went to the bathroom to wash up, but Adam wanted to keep a close eye on his boy. Something was going on inside that mind and he'd given Austin too much space.
The look Austin sent Adam was full of exhaustion and stress. Another man might have seen the stress and tension radiating off their lover and would take them in their arms to reassure them. But that wasn't what Austin needed. And that wasn't who Adam was. Cuddles and comfort wouldn't get to the root of the stress and tension.
"Go on. Get washed up. I'll get everything out on the table." Adam waited until Austin obeyed and then he opened the oven. He pulled out the baked chicken. Taking the meat off the baking pan and putting it on the serving dish, Adam grimaced. He'd really would have preferred fried chicken, but when you had a soft, squishy stomach and your partner had six-pack abs, you made sacrifices.
"When you are finished, get the salad out of the refrigerator. And the dressing too," he instructed Austin. He knew his boy did better with straightforward instructions. Especially when he was spinning out of control. And no doubt, Austin was spinning.
Once everything was on the table, the two men sat down. Austin sat quietly while Adam started to pile food on his plate. Adam looked at him expectantly.
"I really am sorry I'm late. I didn't even think about dinner. Just that I wanted to run a bit further," Austin said as Adam handed him the platter of chicken.
"I think since it's becoming a habit, you can call me every hour. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you," Adam said, then reached for the salad.
Austin looked at him in shock. "What? Call you every hour? That's ridiculous!"
"No, it's discipline. You should be familiar with it, soldier boy," Adam stated sardonically. "I hear it's the backbone of the military." Adam watched the color rise in his soldier's face. Oh, yes. Austin knew exactly what he was saying.
"Oh. Um. Well, can't we just do the other thing?"
He knew what "other thing" Austin was referring to. Spanking. But discipline was more than just a physical reprimand. Discipline was many things and one of those things was to stop a behavior. Adam knew that a spanking tonight would alleviate Austin's guilt for being late. Until the next time. And then Austin's guilt would be even higher. No, his boy needed something different.
"No?" Austin asked. "Just no?"
"Yes. No." Adam kept his answers deliberately short. There would be no wiggle room nor negotiations in this.
"You want me to call you every hour?" Austin asked incredulously.
Adam set the salad down and met Austin's eyes. "Think of it as reporting for duty. You report for duty in the army, even in the National Guard. It's no different. You'll be reporting to me-your commanding officer."
First Austin looked at him in shock, and then in surrender. And if Adam wasn't mistaken a bit of relief.
"For how long, sir?"
"Until I say its been long enough." Adam didn't want to give a time limit on this. This was not a lesson to be endured; this was a lesson in consideration and in learning to open up and talk to each other. The hourly check in's would be the opportunity for Austin to discuss what was going on inside his head.
"We'll start tonight," Adam said matter of factly.
"Tonight? You want me to call you when we are together at home?"
"No, the phone call is only when we aren't together. When we are in the same general area, you can just talk to me. Tell me you are ok. Or that you aren't ok. You can tell me whatever you want to, but you will say something to me," Adam explained calmly.
"I think my husband has lost it. He's totally gone bananas," Austin said under his breath, but not quietly enough that Adam didn't hear him.
"Maybe. But you will still check in with me. If only to tell me how bananas I am." Adam took a bite of the baked chicken as Austin stared at him. "You really need to eat. You've been running a lot lately and burning up a lot of calories. I love the muscles in your legs. I don't want you to get skinny."
"Skinny, my ass!" Austin exclaimed.
"Exactly, my boy. Your ass better not get skinny." Adam gave a small silent sigh. Austin always did better with firmly defined boundaries. He could already see the tension leaving his boy's body. Dinner was eaten as they teased each other.
After dinner, Adam sent Austin off to the shower he'd denied him earlier. Finishing up the cleaning, he glanced at the clock. It was almost eight, the first report-in time. He quickly finished wiping off the table and then went to their bathroom.
"Hey, you here to join me?" Austin asked him when he pulled back the shower curtain.
"No, I just wanted to make sure you didn't forget about reporting in," Adam said. He didn't feel a bit bad when Austin looked at him in shock. His lover needed these boundaries. And admitting to himself, Adam liked the dominance he was feeling. "I figured I'd give you a break for this first one, but after this you need to keep an eye on the clock. So, how are you doing?"
Austin let out an exasperated laugh. "I'm doing great, you demanding Top, you!" Then he leaned out of the shower when Adam crooked his finger.
"Good. We'll see how you are at nine." Adam held in his grin until he'd left the bathroom. He'd bet a year's worth of fried chicken that Austin wouldn't forget to report in the rest of the night.
They were sitting on the couch watching some inane sitcom when Austin turned to Adam. "Nine o'clock, sir. Reporting in."
"Good boy," Adam said and leaned over to give Austin a kiss. "How are you doing?"
"I'm ok." Was the reply.
"Just ok?" Adam asked gently. He knew that he'd push harder as the week went on, but for tonight, just getting into the habit of reporting in was all his boy needed to do.
"Ok's pretty good," Austin assured him.
"Yeah, it is," he agreed.
At ten o'clock, Adam couldn't take it anymore. He'd sacrifice rock hard abs for ice cream any day. As he was dishing out a huge bowl of chocolate chip ice cream he felt Austin's arms wrap around him from behind.
"Reporting in, sir."
Twisting around in Austin's arms, Adam kissed him. "How are you doing?"
"I'd be better if you got me a bowl too."
Another quick kiss to his lips, and Adam said, "I'll bring it in to you." He smiled as he reached into the cabinet to get another bowl.
Laying in the bed, Adam watched the clock turn eleven. Austin had kept his check in time all night, why not now? Adam really didn't want to spank him tonight, but he would if he needed to. And then they'd still continue with check in time. Suddenly the bathroom door opened and there stood his boy. Where nothing but his old formal army hat and a hard on.
"Reporting for duty, Sir." Austin smirked.
"Oh, you salute so nicely," Adam couldn't resist saying gesturing to Austin's groin. He laughed out loud when Austin rolled his eyes. Then his arms were full as Austin jumped onto the bed. Adam knew that they'd continue on with Austin reporting in for duty. They'd eventually get everything sorted out and they'd do it together. But for now, he was going to show his soldier just how much he was loved.