Saturday, January 15, 2011

Take It!

Title: Take It!
Author: Lou
Characters: Rob and Tim
Author's Note: Written for the Tea Room's Three-minute Fiction Challenge: Laughing and Crying


"Piss off!"


The back door slammed, only to be flung open seconds later by Rob. Everything, everything, was going wrong today and he was just so fed up. Dammit!

Slamming his way through the house, Tim stumbled over and kicked at boxes of books listing drunkenly and gathering dust in the passage way, awaiting donation to the op shop and never seeming to make it. Growling and adding this to his seething hate of the day thus far, the man let loose a stream of invective. The more pissed off he became the calmer Rob got until he just wanted to scream. And did, the sound bouncing back at him from the walls of their bedroom. Hearing Rob behind him, Tim rounded on the man.

"I hate-"

"Enough!" Rob barked. "Not another word!"

"Fine!" he yelled, fumbling at his belt and ripping it through the loops. Thrusting it into Rob's hand, he let out a howl of frustration as the other man simply held up his palms refusing to rise to the bait or take the course Tim had laid out and was intent on steering them both along in his fury. "Take it!"


"I said take it! You know you want to! I'm a shit and a disappointment and a crap boyfriend. You're supposed to be in charge, show me you've got some bloody balls and just do it!"


Rob took hold of Tim by the shoulders and firmly steered him out of their bedroom, giving a stronger push and a single hard whack on his bum when the protesting man braced his bare feet against the floor.

"Out and calm down. Right now!"

Tim turned and tried to push back past Rob, who blocked his path with his arm on the door frame and a look that he very rarely found cause to use. Miserable and furious and too wound up to care, Tim tried once more to goad Rob, though whether to fuel the fight or end it, he could not say. He waved the tightly clenched belt close to Rob's face, causing the other man to blink.

"You know you want to!"

Rob held fast, not bothering to hide his own unhappiness, even as he tried to avoid stoking his partner's. He knew he sounded weary and that that would scare Tim, who so often worried about people getting sick of him, but he could not lie to him.

"No. That's not how I win arguments. And it is not bloody fair if you think it gives you licence to say and do anything you please to me, no matter how hurtful, and then I have to forgive you just because you took a hiding. It doesn't work like that. I have a right to be mad, and you will just have to deal."

With that, Rob shut the door, leaving a shocked and suddenly silent Tim standing in the hallway.

Several minutes later he realised Rob was not about to relent. The door was not locked, and the fact that Rob trusted him enough to leave it so felt both hopeful and damning in light of his behaviour. Holding back tears and rushing shame that threatened to overwhelm now that the heady and blinding beauty of adrenalin was leaving, Tim stalked into the kitchen and paced; fretting now that the yelling was done. Finding no answers looming from the view outside, the cool of the fridge or the quiet tick of the timer on the oven, Tim slumped down onto the chair by the table and cried.

"Fuck", he whispered fiercely, "You are such a prick, Tim Delaney."

Exhausted, Tim sniffed deeply, swallowing the thick mucus in his mouth and tried to control his hitching breathing. He wanted Rob.

This time the books were spared though he made a mental note to actually shift them. Hesitating, he stood, head resting against the cool wood of the door and just listened to the sounds his partner made on the other side as he opened and closed drawers, stripped the bed and generally pottered. Doing what he could to keep occupied until he too was ready to let the day's nastiness go, Tim realised with a flush of guilt.

Bringing his hand up, Tim tentatively tapped his knuckle on the wood panel. "Knock knock."

Rob paused in what he was doing and heard the misery in the other man's quiet words. This was an old game, one they'd often used when Tim was learning how to come down after an explosion and do that hardest of things. It was telling that his partner returned to the tactic now.

"Who's there?"


"Sorry who?"

"Sorry Rob."

Sighing, Rob opened the door and pulled Tim inside and into a hug. "C'mere you."

Saturday, January 8, 2011

R. I. C. E.

Title: R. I. C. E. 
Author: Lou
Characters: Rob and Tim
Author's Note: Sorry to say, the details of school uniform are accurate, save that I was in an
itchy tartan skirt. Still can't stand maroon all these years later....Just a tentative little story, so here goes.



Dropping my bag by the door, not caring as my class's school work slid out onto the damp tiles, I shouted again, seriously in need of some comforting noises and general fussing. What a shit day. I peeled off my sodden windbreaker, which muffled some of my swearing as it got tangled over my head and arms, before it was flung in the general direction of the coat hooks.

I heard the back door slam and moments later Rob was rushing down the passage way to me. Resisting the urge to draw my injured foot up and look all the more pathetic, I settled on a gentle whimper of dismay. I wasn't that surprised when it was matched by Rob's and was quite happy to abandon the stoic expression I had attempted to pull off whilst hobbling home and gave into his embrace as he helped me to the lounge room and onto the couch, before he dashed into the kitchen.

My fingers were numb and the wet laces were refusing to co-operate and I twisted my mouth in agitation at my stupidity.

Returning armed with supplies, Rob settled on the edge of the coffee table, putting the bandage and ice pack in easy reach. Batting my hands out of the way, he divested me of my shoes and socks, all the while watching my face for signs of pain. Frankly, I would have thought my gasping and twitching would have given the game away. Rob cradled my foot in his lap and began his examination. Carefully manipulating my ankle, he pressed gentle fingers against the swelling and tutted over the emerging bruise colouring my aching foot.

"Well I don't think you've broken anything, but it is going to be sore for a good few days. How'd this happen?"

Yeah, I really would have rathered not elaborate on that and hoped my muttered, "You know" would have sufficed. Rob's pointed look told me the gambit had been wasted.

God, I felt such a twat. Clumsy Tim strikes again. Well, to be fair, Rob never said that. "Slipped on the tram tracks in Robertson Road. It is so wet out there. Have you been in the workshop all day?"

"It happens, never mind. Wait – tram? Where's your car?"

"I lent it to Steve. His wouldn't start and he's too far out for public transport. It's too crap a night to be trying to get home that way."

"That was nice of you. I'll drop you in in the morning, no problem. I'll get you after, too, if needed."

My breath caught in mild shock as he pressed the ice pack to me and I instinctively tried to pull back.

"Shh, you need this. Twenty minutes. R.I.C.E: rest, ice, compression, elevation. You'll have it all, so settle. I'll wrap it after this."

"Price", I murmured distractedly, watching his fingers in their soothing motion up and down my shin.


"Price. At school, in sport, we were taught P.R.I.C.E. Prayer. Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation. Prayer came before anything."

Rob snorted and shook his head, "Jeez, your school."

I smiled and sank back into the couch, letting my bum scoot forward, flexing my knee and trusting him enough not to watch what he was doing to my foot.

"Yeah well, it was a tiny school. My P.E. teacher was also my math and Bible Studies teacher."

"I would have liked to see you at school, all trussed up in that uniform. "

I laughed, recalling the unappetising sight of me clad in maroon blazer, grey shorts and tartan tie. Oh yeah, dead sexy.

"I looked like a pimply Angus Young", I said. "Only far less skilled on guitar."

Lifting my leg slightly, he stood up and stuffed a cushion under my foot before heading into the kitchen. I could hear him belatedly kick off his work boots – he never wears them in from the workshop out back, but I guess I did kind of yell- and scratch around in the junk drawer by the phone until he came up with what he was after. I was just relaxing, getting used to the throbbing ache and its accompanying burn from the ice pack when Rob prodded me on the shoulder and held a glass in front of my face.

"Tim. Take these", he said. Lazily I opened my mouth and he grinned as he popped two ibuprofen into my waiting mouth.

"I'm going to make some dinner, you rest. I mean it, you move off that couch and your ankle won't be the only thing aching. Got it? And -" he glared, as I sat forward and reached a hand toward my foot, "Leave that ice on!"

Yes, Boss.


He popped his head around the door frame, tea towel in hand. "What?"

"I love you."

He shook his head and smiled. "Dinner'll be ready soon. Rest."

The End


Title: Quibble
Author: Lou
Characters: Rob and Tim

Tim stilled his hips and tried to hold a straight face as Rob growled at the sudden change in pace.

"Jesus, Tim-"

Braced on his arms, Tim gave in and grinned as he felt Rob's legs tighten around him, heels digging into his backside as he was urged to don't. bloody. stop.

"About that new surfboard..?"

Rob's eyes quickly focussed and he shot an incredulous look at the man. "You want to talk about surfing? Now??"

Tim's lips twitched and he shrugged as well as able in that position, "I like surfing. It's a really good board."

Panting, Rob reached up and clasped the back of Tim's neck, forcing his partner to lower himself. Locked chest to chest, Tim felt Rob suddenly made quite the compelling argument.

"If you dare stop or mention that damn board in the next 10 minutes, I promise I'll leather your cheeky arse."

Well, who could quibble with that?

Moments later, Rob landed a sharp slap on the brat's bum and his body shook with laughter as he recognised the tune Tim was humming. 

Beach Boys medley. Bloody man. 

Past Due

Title: Past Due
Author: Lou
Characters: Rob and Tim
Author's Note: Just a little story again. Apologies, this is rather light on discipline (but I am a coward thataways.)


Tim chewed on a piece of toast, waving hello to Mrs McNeely as he picked his way across the lawn to the letterbox and muttering a litany of reminders under his breath, "Car service, grading, pick up jacket, car service, grading, pick up  jacket." So much for the weekend of idleness he had planned.

It was hot already and it was not even 9am. And, he noted as he flipped up the lid to letterbox, neither of them had remembered to check yesterday and the snails had started to dine on their post. Bloody things. He added snail bait to the list.

Juggling sheaves of junk mail that could go straight in the recycling bin and a half dozen envelopes, quite bedraggled, Tim hooked his thumb under the edge of one and tore it open.

"Fuck", he mumbled. Kicking open the screen door, he called out to Rob as he walked down hallway into the old kitchen. "Mail!"

Rob grunted from his position atop the bar stool as he tried to persuade the light globe into the somewhat warped coupling.

"Get off that bloody stool!" Tim said, grabbing Rob by the hips and helping him down. "You have a step ladder and you never use the damn thing. Leave the light globe and look at this."

Rob grinned. "I never fall, you know?"

Tim shook his head, "Yes, I know, but it is the principle of the thing: you are stepping into my role as resident brat. Try acting like a Top for once, okay? Anyways", he said, handing Rob the letter, "we have other problems: I forgot the credit card minimum."

Rob sat on the stool and read it through, whilst Tim shuffled his feet. He always, always stuffed these things up! It was a wonder Rob let him out without a keeper-


Tim looked away, face hot. The man could always read his thoughts.

"Aren't you going to..?"

Rob looked up and shook his head.

"No. That's what penalty fees are for, mate."

"But I ALWAYS do this! Why can't I get it through my thick head-"

"Hey!" Rob said, cutting Tim off mid-accusation and standing to pull him into a hug. "Go easy. You missed a payment, you didn't kill anyone."

Tim blushed again, as much for his need as for his over-reaction. He willed himself to take a deep breath and calm down, knowing if there was one thing Rob really would come down hard on it would be harsh self-criticism. Be nice to you, be nice to you. God, he'd heard that often enough.

Looking at the time, Rob handed Tim the letter and gave him another quick kiss before releasing him.

"I have to dash and get those materials before the yard gets too busy. Please don't stress yourself over this- we can deal with it, I promise. And", he said, shoving his feet into his work boots, "If your conscience is bothering you, you can always contemplate the affect on your credit. That should be penance enough."

Straightening up, Rob looked at his partner. Tim was twisting the statement in his hands, biting his lip.

Rob brushed his dark hair back from his downturned face.

"Spanking is not a panacea, and you know it. I can't and won't rule your life, and you are still subject to the same cause and effect as the rest of us. Plus", he said, shouldering into a favourite T-shirt, "I forgot the gas bill. You going to bend me over the chair and stripe my arse for me?"

Tim let out a shaky laugh and dashed his hands over his eyes.


Rob grinned, snagging the last piece of toast from their shared plate and pulling Tim in close to clap a hard hand over the bum of his well worn jeans, making Tim yelp. "Yep. But I'm your bastard. We both need to get on top of the bills. We'll go through the payment schedule and budget tonight and get it sorted, okay? "

Tim nodded and with a sigh stuck the offending item to the fridge.

"Tell you what, though, if you are intent on beating yourself up, you can file all the paperwork in the spare room before Monday, okay?"

"It's YOUR paperwork!"

Rob smiled broadly and dodged Tim's swipe as his theatrically irate partner lunged across the kitchen, "Yeah, but I'm the Top!"

The End

Not Going Anywhere

Title: Not Going Anywhere
Author: Lou
Characters: Rob and Tim 
Author's Note: Forgive me, this is a bit of a dark one as I am in a dark mood. The song is Curse Stops Here by Aussie band, The Whitlams. 


It had gotten dark as I sat there, the night air coming from the open flyscreen raising goose bumps on my bare legs and I curled them under me, reluctant to move from my spot on the couch even as I shivered. 

I could smell next door’s dinner being cooked and my stomach rumbled. The kitchen seemed too far away so I ignored it; the gnawing empty feeling seemed appropriate somehow as I wallowed in my gloom. My mate, Richard, swore by The Smiths as his go-to band of choice for dark days and shitty moods, but I favoured local boys, The Whitlams, and let the mournful words and Tim Freedman’s voice drag me further down.

"My first days back and I was rolling round the town
Saying stay away from edges, Stay away from ropes if you can
My friends said I was saying it, too many times
Leave the gallows humour for the gallows people that it finds."
Car lights bounced off the far wall as Rob pulled up the drive way, and for a moment I fought a pang of resentment, my solitude broken. Hugging my arms tighter around myself, I prepared for some sort of opposition and insistent cajoling that I was determined to fight. At the same time, part of me wanted nothing more than being rescued. Yes, daft, I know, but there you go. Who said things had to be rational? I’d be gutted if he didn’t try, if he said, “Righto. Your choice, see ya later”, and added manipulative bastard to the list of sins I had to feel guilty about. 

The security light out front came on and I heard the clang of the wire door as it fell shut behind him, followed by the everyday domestic song of his boots being kicked off, the mail shuffled and dumped on the hall table and his off kilter whistle summoning the cat (yes, cat) as he made his way to me. 


Shrugging off his hand I tried to block him and his worried frown from my view, focussing instead on the melancholy music. The final notes of the song finished and I hit repeat on the remote before Rob had the chance to take it from me, only to have him pluck it from my hand as I tried to hide it from his reach and sink into the cushion next to me. 

He tossed it somewhere over the back of the couch and pulled me across into his arms, saying nothing but enveloping me in his calmness until all my world was Rob and the scent of him and the ache in my chest. And then I could not tell what part was me shaking and him rocking as I cried. Christ, two years since my baby brother left us and I was still crying. 

“I miss him.” 

“I know. Me too.” 

“I’m angry at him.” 

“Mhmm. Me too.” 

“I didn’t do dinner.” 

“I don’t care”, he murmured, kissing the side of my face, brushing my damp hair back so as to see me better. I turned my face up to him and he kissed me again. 

“You’re not going to spank me?” 

Rob rested his chin on top of my head and I felt as well as heard him say in his quiet way, “Spanking doesn’t fix everything. But I’m not going anywhere.”
"'Cause I am the last one...
And the curse stops here
The curse stops here"

The End

Just A Little Christmas Story

Title: Just a Little Christmas Story.
Author: Lou
Characters: Rob and Tim
Author's Note: Key to some Australian words down below. 


Summer Sundays were made for this. The backyard was flush with bright growth, brought on by a few weeks' drought-breaking rain and the subsequent sunshine, and they could hear the faint whine of a mower starting up down the street. Cicadas hummed in a drone that would be as constant a background to the season as the seemingly endless cricket commentary. Six days to Christmas and it was already warm enough to kick the covers off on mornings like these. The lawn could wait.

Rolling atop his partner, Rob caught his lip in a kiss, which Tim happily returned. Running a hand down his side, Rob grinned at Tim's reflexive jerk as fingertips ghosted over that spot just inside the man's right hip that always guaranteed a response. Never worked on the left, though Rob had tried often enough.

Shifting slightly, Rob was just getting comfortably distracted when the warbled sound of "Frosty the Snowman" penetrated their room, followed by the oscillating wail of a fire brigade alarm.

Tim bucked strongly and threw Rob off, stumbling as he tried to exit the bed, hit the floor and pull on yesterday's jeans in one move. Hopping as he unravelled his sock from the inverted cuff, Tim looked back at the baffled man still in bed. 

"Come on!"

Rob's head thumped back on the pillow as he waved Tim away, "Go, go, enjoy", but he was talking to himself.


Tim picked his way across the lawn, hissing as a bindii prickle lodged in his bare foot. Brushing it loose, he waved once more at Santa- who this year was actually Errol from the footy club and the volunteer fire brigade's treasurer. A half dozen local kids had chased the fire truck down the street as Errol and his helpers threw lollies to those too shy or young to leave their front yards, but Tim had managed a good handful for himself. Well, one had to uphold and support local traditions, right?

He unwrapped a caramel and popped it in his mouth, enjoying the rush of sticky sweetness. Okay, not the best he'd had, but passable. Rob stood on the verandah in his jeans, hands resting on his belt as he leant his bare back against the warm brickwork. Tim tucked the lolly into his cheek and talked around the overly sweet mouthful.

"Couldn't resist, huh?" Tim teased. "I knew it. I knew you had a heart in there somewhere, Scrooge. Want one?"

Rob raised his eyebrow, noting he'd been offered the less-favoured barley sugar and not one of Tim's favourites. Schooling his features, Rob straightened up and gave his partner a stern look, whilst fingering the buckle on his belt.

"Tsk tsk. Timothy, did you really steal lollies from those poor kids?"

Tim's heart gave a thump, and he looked his partner in the eye, unable to keep the grin from his face at the tone. 

"Yep. What are you going to do about it?"

The End

Bindii = small prickly burr that invades lawns in summer. Early balance and athletic training is provided free to all Aussie kids as they try hop on one foot to remove these buggers.

Footy = Australian Rules Football (AFL).

Lolly = candy, sweeties.