Against the grain, p.16
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       Against The Grain, p.16
 

         Part #5 of THIRDS series by Charlie Cochet
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  IT WAS time to see what his students had learned.

  Ash had been training Dex and Cael every day for two weeks. He’d shown no mercy to either of them, no special treatment. They’d both bitched and moaned, but Ash didn’t care. He could hardly teach them in a few months what he’d learned over the course of twenty years, but he could prepare them. A good deal of experience would come while they were out in the field facing real-life situations. So far, he’d lost count of how many times he’d taken them down. They were getting up in what they believed were their weaknesses. Dex being Human, Cael being a small Felid. He needed them to see their so-called weaknesses were actually their strengths.

  “All right. We’re going to go with the assumption the threat you’re facing will be at least my height, size, weight, and strength. Despite being smaller, you can use a Therian’s size and strength against them. You’ll be lighter on your feet, faster, more agile and flexible. Let’s say you’ve assessed the threat. You’re faced with Hogan.”

  Cael flinched, but Ash continued. Hogan was a sore point for the brothers, which was why he used him. They’d both come up against the tiger Therian, had both sustained injuries and felt true fear. Now they knew what they were facing.

  “I’m Hogan. I’m standing in front of you. I have every intention of killing you. You’re unarmed. How are you going to take me down before I snap your neck?”

  “Find a weapon?” Cael suggested.

  Ash shrugged. “Sure. In this kind of situation, anything and everything becomes a weapon. Except there’s nothing you can use.”

  “Well, then,” Dex said, hands planted on his hips, “I’m kind of fucked, aren’t I?”

  “That’s why you’re here. The answer is, you fight dirty. You use whatever means necessary to stay alive. You need to be able to perform under impaired visibility and extreme fatigue, both mentally and physically. When in our Therian forms, our Human side may be neurologically present, but our feral instincts are at their most animalistic. We fight to survive. When in our Human form, or for those who are Human, you rely on your training to do what needs to be done. Remember, go for vulnerable areas. Neck, liver, kidney, groin, eyes. Use your elbows. Go for the face.” He took a stance and motioned for them to advance. “All right. Come on.”

  “Which one?” Cael asked.

  “Both.”

  Dex arched an eyebrow at him. “My, my. Aren’t we full of ourselves.”

  Ash shrugged. “If I’m wrong, I’m the one who ends up bruised.” Which he wouldn’t. Now Dex on the other hand…. Ash was looking forward to this. There was nothing that put a smile on his face like slamming Dexter Justice Daley into the mat. It was almost therapeutic.

  “I don’t know,” Dex teased. “Can your ego take it?”

  “Don’t worry about my ego,” Ash replied smugly. “Worry about your face when it hits the mat.”

  Dex flipped him the finger, and Ash chuckled. He held back a smile, watching the brothers murmur to each other. Finally. They were getting it. He tightened his fists and readied himself. He took a deep breath and released it slowly. Combined, the brothers only weighed fifty-five pounds more than he did. Ash could bench eight times that. If his lessons took, Dex and Cael would use his size against him.

  This just might hurt.

  The brothers bumped fists, and both took off at a run toward him. Ash readied himself, studying them both in an attempt to anticipate who would strike first and how. As expected, Dex moved in first, pulling back a fist as he neared. Ash went for a left hook, smiling when he realized he’d made his first mistake. Dex tended to go high, looking to land a punch to the face. This time he chose the unexpected route.

  Dex dropped to his knees—missing Ash’s fist—and used the momentum to slide on his knees. Not wasting his own momentum, Ash twisted his torso to catch Cael coming at him from his right. His little cheetah Therian showed no hesitation or mercy, using Ash’s bulky frame as leverage. He grabbed hold of Ash’s arm and used Ash’s bent knee as a springboard to jump and swing a leg around Ash’s neck. With a growl, Ash had snatched a fistful of Cael’s uniform to throw him off when he felt the blow to the back of his leg.

  Ash came crashing down onto one knee and was propelled forward by Cael using all his weight to bring Ash down with the help of Dex, who punched the back of his other knee before slamming into him from behind.

  Fuck! Ash hit the floor hard, teeth gritted as Cael’s legs wrapped tightly around his neck, his hand grabbing a fistful of Ash’s hair. A zip tie tugged at his now bound wrists. Cael petted his hair and leaned in with a breathless whisper.

  “Tied up looks good on you, Keeler.”

  “Oh shit.” Ash laughed as he was released.

  He rolled onto his side and sat up, shaking his head at the “woops” from their fellow agents who’d gathered around. Dex and Cael gave each other a high five before Dex crouched down beside him.

  “How’s that ego doing? Want me to get you an ice pack?”

  “Fuck off.” He looked from one smug brother to the other. “You boys forgot the most important part of the lesson.”

  “And what’s that?” Dex said, standing and folding his arms over his chest.

  “When you take down your opponent, make sure they stay down.”

  He twisted his body, spun on his side, and swiped his leg under them, knocking them both off their feet and onto their asses. The two groaned, and Ash couldn’t help his grin as he got to his feet.

  “Other than that, nicely done.”

  The two cheered, and Ash shook his head at them. He bent forward and thrust his wrists down over his ass. Nothing happened. Feeling the ties with his fingers, he glowered at Dex.

  “You’re supposed to be using regular zip ties for training. These are Therian-strength zip ties.”

  Dex blinked innocently at him. “Are those Therian-strength? Must have gotten them mixed up.”

  “Right.” Ash didn’t buy it for a second. “Get them off.”

  Dex patted his tac pants. “I think I might…. Aw, damn. Sorry. I must have left my knife in my other pants.”

  “You little bastard,” Ash growled, taking a step toward him.

  Dex bolted for the bay doors, calling out behind him. “I’m going to grab it now! Wait here for me!”

  “He’s not coming back,” Ash sighed and turned to Cael, who patted his arm.

  “I’m still here.”

  Ash smiled sweetly. “Then that’s all I need.”

  Cael wasn’t fooled. He returned Ash’s smile.

  “You want me to untie you.”

  “Gee, that would be real swell.”

  Cael seemed to think about it. A wicked gleam came into his eyes. “I don’t know. Maybe I need to hear you say it first.”

  Cael headed for the doors, and Ash quickly followed with a frown on his face.

  “Hear what?”

  “How badass we were.”

  Ash peered at him. “That depends. Do I have to include your brother?”

  “Yep.” Cael made his way through Sparta toward the elevators with Ash close behind. He ignored all the amused looks and snickers from his fellow agents as he walked past them with his wrists bound behind his back.

  “Damn.” Ash stepped into the elevator next to Cael. There were a couple of other agents in there, both desperately trying to hold back their laughter.

  “What? You ain’t never seen a zip tie before?” He cursed under his breath.

  The elevator pinged, and Ash followed Cael out, turning to walk backward so he could glare at the agents, who burst into laughter as the doors closed.

  “I know who you are!” He spun around and caught up to Cael in Unit Alpha’s bullpen. “Aw, come on, Cael. Seriously? You’re gonna parade me around like this?”

  “All you have to do is say it.”

  “Hey, Keeler,” Taylor called out. “That’s a good look for you.”

  “You know what’s a good look for you, Taylor? My fist in your face. Shut the fuck up
.” Ash turned and ran in front of Cael, cutting him off, his words quiet. “Come on, darling.”

  Cael’s smile never left his face. “Aw, listen to you. Sweet talker. Of course I’ll get them off. When you say it.”

  “I can’t,” Ash whined. He actually fucking whined. “It’ll kill me. I really think it might make me keel over. I can’t.” Compliment Dex? Unthinkable.

  Cael stopped outside his and Rosa’s office. “I guess you’ll have to get out of it yourself.”

  He patted Ash’s arm, ready to step around him. Ash let his head hang. He mumbled the words, gritting his teeth when Cael put a hand to his ear.

  “I didn’t quite catch that.”

  “Fine,” Ash ground out. “That was badass. You and Dex were a couple of badasses. Okay?” He looked over Cael’s head at their fellow agents pretending not to eavesdrop on what was going on. Bunch of nosy bastards. “You can all stop pretending. Cael and Dex floored me, okay? Probably because that’s what I’m fucking training them to do, so you can all get those stupid smiles off your faces.”

  There was a snicker, and Ash’s brows rose. “You wanna get in the ring with me, Herrera?”

  Herrera looked like he was about to shit himself. “What? No.”

  “Good. Then shut the fuck up and go find a fern to piss on.”

  The room erupted into laughter, and Ash turned his attention back to Cael. “You and Dex were badass. There. I said it.”

  “Wooh!” Dex popped out from who the fuck knew where, arms thrown up in the air. He did a victory dance and motioned around the floor. “You all heard that. Ash Keeler said I was a badass.”

  “What the fuck?” Ash gaped at him. “Where the fuck did you come from?”

  His jaw all but hit the floor when Dex casually put a hand up and Cael high-fived him.

  “I was getting some Cheesy Doodles when I heard your little announcement.”

  “Unbelievable.” Ash shook his head, his frown aimed at Cael. “Are you happy now?”

  “I am.” He reached into one of his pockets and pulled out his utility knife.

  In one swipe, Ash’s wrists were free. He rubbed them and ignored Dex dancing around as he popped cheese snacks into his mouth. Where was Zach when you needed him? That would put a stop to Dex’s crunching.

  “Come on, big guy. Let’s hit the showers.”

  Cael patted Ash’s chest and walked off. Ash followed, but not before shoving Dex. He grinned when Dex fell into Taylor, his cheese snacks soaring through the air and hitting the carpet.

  “My Cheesy Doodles!” Dex dropped to his hands and knees. “Noooooo! They were so young. So delicious.”

  Cael shook his head in amusement. “You couldn’t help yourself, could you?” he told Ash.

  “I need balance in my life.” Ash grinned and walked into the empty locker room. They opened their lockers and started undressing. It occurred to Ash this was the first time the locker room was empty during their shower. He removed his T-shirt and chucked it into the laundry bin. Sitting on the bench, he undid his boot laces and glanced up to ask Cael what he wanted to do for dinner when he found Cael naked, his back to Ash and those plump round asscheeks at eye level. Fuck.

  Getting himself together, he unlaced his boots and cleared his throat. “So, uh, what do you want to do for dinner?”

  “I was thinking of ordering takeout. Tonight’s the premiere of that new comic book TV show I told you about. Want to crash at mine?”

  “Sure.” Ash smiled and placed his boots inside his locker. He loved cozy nights in with Cael. There was never any pressure to go out clubbing or to a bar. Most wouldn’t believe him if he told them, but he was actually kind of a homebody. A little TV, good food, and the company of his sweetheart, and he was content. Chucking his socks into the laundry bin and putting his pants away, he grabbed his toiletry bag and closed his locker door. He followed Cael into the showers, picking up a large towel along the way. Inside it was nice and quiet. Since they weren’t on call, they got to shower before the evening rush.

  Ash stepped into the stall beside Cael and turned the shower on. He did his best to concentrate on showering and not on Cael lathering himself up in the stall beside him. Ash stood under the showerhead and washed his hair, soaped himself up, and rinsed. He wiped the excess water from his face, and when he stepped out from under the showerhead, he found Cael leaning on the thick glass partition grinning at him.

  “Don’t mind me,” he said, waving a hand in dismissal. “I’m just perving on you.”

  Ash held back a laugh. “Here I am trying to be good, and you’re being wicked.”

  “It’s hard not to,” Cael said with a lazy shrug. “Plus there’s no one here.”

  A mischievous look came into his eyes, and he crooked a finger, calling Ash to lean down. What was the little minx up to? With a wicked grin, Cael stood on his toes and licked Ash from his chin to his lip. He took Ash’s bottom lip between his teeth, sucked it into his mouth before pulling back.

  “I’m going to need you to take me home and fuck me, Agent Keeler.”

  Ash promptly shut off the water and grabbed his toiletry bag. “Let’s go.”

  With a chuckle, Cael followed his lead, grabbed his bag, and got out. He threw his towel over his shoulder, his ass out in the open for Ash to gawk at as he sauntered away from him.

  “Come along, Keeler. Pun totally intended, by the way.”

  Man, Ash was screwed. And he loved it.

  By the time they got inside Cael’s apartment and to his bedroom, they’d left a trail of clothing behind. Shirts landed on furniture, socks on lamps, and pants on the stairs. They kissed fervently as they undressed each other. Ash dropped onto the bed with Cael, mindful of his weight.

  “I want you to fuck me hard. Don’t hold back,” Cael murmured against Ash’s lips, his fingers grabbing fistfuls of Ash’s hair as he rutted against him.

  “I don’t want to hurt you, sweetheart.”

  “You won’t,” Cael assured him, arching his back. He took Ash’s earlobe between his teeth before sucking it into his mouth. He licked down Ash’s jawline and nipped at his chin.

  “Cael.” Fuck, Cael was doing everything he could to drive Ash crazy, but he didn’t want to hurt him. Their first time had been slow and sweet, an exploration of something new and wonderful for the both of them. At the time, all Ash could think about was how he was inside Cael. How after years of secretly dreaming, he was making love to the beautiful young Therian.

  “You won’t hurt me.”

  “You sound very sure,” Ash replied as he planted kisses down Cael’s exposed neck. His hand closed around it. He loved the feel of Cael beneath him, loved how soft and warm he was, while at the same time strong and firm. Cael might be sweet and shy, but he was a formidable agent. He was sharp-witted and sharp-tongued with a host of impressive talents, while at the same time always humble and concerned for those around him.

  “Because I’m sure.”

  Something in Cael’s tone caught Ash’s attention, and he pulled back to look down to study him. “What aren’t you telling me? How do you know?”

  Cael’s cheeks flushed pink. “Well, I, um, I’ve been practicing.”

  “Practicing?” What exactly did that entail? Ash’s curiosity was piqued.

  “Yeah, um, I’ve kind of been thinking about this for a long time, and well, I wanted to really feel you, so I….” He motioned toward the left nightstand.

  Hesitantly, Ash leaned over and opened the drawer. Oh dear God. “Is that what I think it is?” He studied the large tan-colored object.

  “It’s a dildo.”

  “Wow.” Ash tilted his head to one side. “Am I that big?”

  Cael wriggled beneath him. “I estimated.”

  “Thanks for not underestimating,” Ash said with a chuckle.

  “You probably think I’m some kind of weird sex stalker or something.”

  “What? No.” Ash closed the drawer and moved Cael’s hands away from his face. “I t
hink you’re hot and sexy, and the thought that you fucked yourself with that while thinking of me? Fuck. I don’t think I’ve ever been so turned on.” He thought about it and nodded. “Yeah, totally fucking hot.”

  “Really?”

  Cael searched his expression, undoubtedly looking for signs he might be saying that so Cael wouldn’t feel bad, but nope. Ash was definitely turned on as fuck. He took Cael’s hand and placed it on his painfully hard cock.

  “You tell me.” He gave Cael a wicked smile. “How do you want it?”

  Cael ran his tongue over his bottom lip. He turned himself onto his stomach and looked at Ash from over his shoulder, his gray eyes clouded with lust. Ash swallowed hard and nodded. He grabbed a pillow, and Cael lifted his hips so Ash could slip it under him. He reached into the nightstand on his right where he knew Cael kept the lube and condoms. Sitting back on his heels, he tore at the condom packet and rolled the condom over his cock. He was about to uncap the lube when Cael lowered his head onto his folded arms and arched his back, his ass in the air.

  “Fuck.” Ash had never seen a more beautiful sight. Tossing the lube onto the mattress beside him, Ash put his hands on Cael’s asscheeks, drawing a moan from him. He ran his hands up Cael’s back, then down to his ass again. Cael spread his knees, and Ash couldn’t stop wondering what Cael tasted like.

  “Ash…,” Cael pleaded.

  Ash thought about Cael lying on this bed pushing that large dildo inside him as he fucked himself to thoughts of Ash. His feral half roared inside him, demanding he claim the sensual offering before him. Ash had never felt anything as fierce as this. His fingers dug into Cael’s cheeks, and he lowered himself onto his stomach. He hooked his arms under Cael’s thighs and pulled Cael toward him, the sweet gasp that escaped Cael fueling Ash’s scorching desire. He ran his tongue between Cael’s asscheeks, hearing Cael curse and whimper. One taste, and Ash was lost. He made a meal of Cael’s ass, licking, nipping, and sticking his tongue inside him.

  “Oh God,” Cael groaned, thrusting his hips against the pillow in a desperate attempt to relieve some of the pressure.

  Ash coveted the taste of him, devoured him, savored him. When Cael couldn’t take any more, Ash pulled back. He poured lube onto his hand and stroked himself while using the fingers of his free hand to prep Cael. It didn’t take long, and Ash lined himself up behind Cael, rubbing Cael’s asscheeks before he parted them. He pushed the head of his cock into Cael’s tight hole, hissing at the delicious pressure. Cael moaned and arched his back.

  “Please, Ash. I need you to fuck me.”

  The desperation in Cael’s voice and the way he writhed with need before Ash had him burying himself to the root. Cael pushed himself back, and Ash groaned. His resolve was slowly slipping.

  “Damn it, Ash. Fuck me!”

  Ash folded himself over Cael and pulled partially out before snapping his hips against Cael’s ass, making Cael cry out. Ash snapped his hips again. The sound of his skin smacking against Cael’s coupled with Cael’s pleas for more drove Ash over the edge. He pumped himself into Cael, pushing in deep and fucking him hard. With a grunt, he wrapped an arm around Cael’s neck, his hand covering Cael’s mouth.

  “That’s it, sweetheart. Fuck yeah.”

  Cael covered Ash’s hand with his, their fingers lacing together. Cael held on tight, his cries and moans muffled by Ash’s hand as he pounded Cael’s ass, his larger body covering his younger lover and his weight pressing him into the mattress that moved beneath them. The headboard slammed against the wall as Ash drove himself deep into Cael over and over. He rotated his hips, his breath coming out ragged as the pressure built inside him.

  “Fuck.”

  Cael moaned, soft high-pitched sounds that grew faster and louder. Ash could feel the pressure building. He released Cael and got on his knees, his fingers digging into Cael’s hips as he fucked him.

  “Oh God, yes, please. Ash,” Cael moaned, his breath coming out in pants.

  “I’m going to come. Oh fuck.”

  Ash thrust into Cael hard, his hips losing their rhythm as he chased after his orgasm. Cael pulled off him and turned to take hold of Ash’s cock. He rolled the condom off and sucked Ash’s cock into his mouth while bringing himself closer to his own impending orgasm. It was all Ash needed. He gently took hold of Cael’s head and thrust into his mouth, his release almost causing him to double over. His body shuddered as he came inside Cael, intensified by the sounds Cael made as he came. Cael continued to suck him off until Ash hissed and gently pulled out. The two of them flopped down onto the bed next to each other, trying to catch their breaths.

  With a smile on his face, Ash turned and pulled Cael to him, kissing his temple. “Thank you. That was incredible.”

  Cael chuckled. “You’re welcome.”

  As Ash held Cael against him, he stroked Cael’s chest, still unable to
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