Title: Strange Currencies
By: angstytimelord
Rating: R
Fandom: Law & Order
Pairing: Michael Cutter/Jack McCoy
Disclaimer: This is entirely a product of my own imagination, and I make no profit from it. I do not own Michael Cutter or Jack McCoy, just borrowing them for a while. Please do not sue.

***

Michael swallowed hard as he walked slowly up the few steps that led from the sidewalk to the door of Jack's house. It felt strange to be here, especially considering just why he was here. This was different from any other time he'd been inside those walls.

Everything about his relationship with Jack McCoy was going to change from this night forward. They'd no longer be just friends, or just two men who worked together. Tonight was going to strip away a lot of the barriers that had previously existed between them.

Jack hadn't even touched him yet -- at least, not in the possessive way Mike expected to be touched by a lover. It was as though the older man was holding back, waiting to savor his possession until he had it fully under his control.

The thought made Michael shiver, even though the night was fairly warm. Jack was going to own him. That was part of the bargain.

Theirs wasn't going to be a purely friendly or professional relationship any more. He would be Jack's slave -- and that was bound to carry over into their professional dealings, even though they'd both try to keep the two facets of their lives separate.

No. He wasn't going to let this arrangement affect the way he worked with Jack. He coudn't. This might be a test for him on Jack's part, to find out if he could keep his personal life strictly separated from his professional one. It was a test he had to pass.

Michael squared his shoulders, taking a deep breath as he faced the door. He would pass this test. He'd be able to keep what happened between them in this house away from the office. When they were there, he was Jack's co-worker. Nothing more.

He glanced at his watch to check the time; only one more minute left before Jack had told him to be here. Should he wait that extra minute before ringing the doorbell, or take a chance that Jack wouldn't mind him being just a bit early?

Oh, to hell with it. He raised a hand to the doorbell, hesitating for only a moment before pressing it firmly. A minute or so shouldn't matter.

In only a few seconds, he could hear the tread of someone inside the house. It had to be Jack; his pulse quickened at the thought that he would soon be face-to-face with the other man, ready to put their relationship on a completely new and unexplored footing.

When Jack opened the door and their eyes met, Michael was surprised by how relaxed the other man looked. This was a different Jack than the man he usually saw in the office, casual, a bit rumpled, looking like the cat who'd swallowed the canary.

"You're a minute early, Mike," Jack greeted him in a neutral tone. "But since it's your first night here, I'm not going to hold that against you. I'd rather you be early than late. At least that shows you're not going to back out on me."

"I wasn't going to back out," Michael protested, shaking his head. "You should know me better than that by now. When I make a deal, I stick to it."

Jack raised an eyebrow, as though he doubted Mike's statement. The younger man was beginning to feel somewhat agitated; he hadn't expected this kind of a reception. Though he hadn't really know just what he did expect, this attitude hadn't figured into his expectations.

"Think what you want of me, Jack," he finally said, raising his eyes to meet the other man's gaze. "But I'm here, so that should tell you a lot. If I'd wanted to back out of this, I would have made some excuse. But I honor my commitments."

"I almost expected you not to be here," Jack told him, turning to walk into what Michael assumed was the living room, gesturing at the younger man to follow. "But you're right -- you do honor whatever commitments you make. I shouldn't have doubted you."

"Is that almost an apology I hear from you?" Mike was trying to lighten the moment, speaking somewht irreverently. "I never thought I would hear something like that coming from you, Jack. And especially not to me, in the situation we're in."

"It wasn't an apology." Now Jack's voice was clipped, controlled. "I don't need to apologize to you, Mike. You belong to me. I can do whatever I want with you."

Michael couldn't help feeling somewhat startled by the sudden change in Jack's mood, but he had an idea of what was expected of him. He bowed his head, looking at the floor, nodding in agreement with Jack's words.

"I'm the master here, Mike," Jack told him, his tone of voice cold. "You take orders from me. I'm not going to push you past any limits -- yet. But you have to turn yourself over to me. No more banter, no more insolence. You do as I say."

"Yes," Mike whispered, feeling a tingle start somewhere deep within him. This was what he'd wanted; this was what they'd been heading towards ever since Jack had shut the door to his office and made the proposition that had led him here, to this moment.

"Strip," Jack ordered him, the single word ringing out in the silence of the room.

Startled, Michael hesitated for a moment before his hands went to the buttons of his shirt, starting to undo them as quickly as he could. He pulled off his tie, shedding the shirt and then his pants, letting them fall to the floor and stepping out of them.

He was standing naked in front of Jack, his body completely bared to the other man. The man who would become his lover -- the man who was his master. The man who held his future in the palm of his hand, in so many different ways.

Jack walked around him, his eyes moving up and down Michael's bare body. Mike didn't raise his head; it wasn't that he was ashamed of his body, but he wasn't sure what Jack would think. Maybe he wasn't what Jack had thought he would be -- or what he wanted.

When Jack finally spoke, Mike could feel the tension go out of his body in a rush, as though some waiting game that kept him in a kind of limbo was finally over.

"Do you think you're going to be able to pay the price I might demand with the currency you're offering?" Jack asked softly, stopping in front of Michael. "I think you can, but I want to be sure you're willing to do it. I don't want you to feel like I forced you into this."

Mike shook his head firmly, finally looking up and facing Jack. "You're asking for some strange currencies -- but I'll pay them. You haven't forced me into anything. I agreed to this. It's what I want -- and I hope you're not having any second thoughts."

"Second thoughts? Not at all." Jack smiled then, and Michael couldn't help wondering just what was going on behind those eyes that assessed him so coolly. There had to be more to that stare than Jack was letting come through in his voice.

Of course there was more going on in that head of Jack's. He knew the other man too well to doubt that. He only hoped that he'd be able to deal with whatever might happen between them.

It was going to feel strange for both of them at first, Michael knew. Unless .... unless Jack had done this with other people who worked with him. A wave of jealousy washed over him at the thought; he wanted to be the only person Jack had considered doing this with.

But if he wasn't, then he would have to learn to live with it. Though he was positive of one thing -- he was going to make sure that he was the last person Jack wanted this kind of relationship with. He was going to satisfy this man so much that he'd never look at anyone else.

All right, so that might not be so easy to do. But he'd find a way. He already knew that Jack wanted him -- and wanted him badly. That was a good start.

Jack rested his hand on Michael's back, the touch cool and hot at the same time. Mike didnt move, closing his eyes, getting used to the feel of Jack's hand on his bare skin. It was something he hoped that he'd feel much more of in the coming hours.

"I think it's time we made our way into the bedroom," Jack told him, his voice considerably warmer than it had been when he'd been speaking to Michael in the foyer. "No time like the present -- and I've been waiting for this too long to hold back now."

Michael let himself be propelled forward, wondering what was going to happen next.

***