Blog Archive - March 2016

THIRDS Thursday - 3/10/16

THIRDS Thursdays Prompt: I'd love to see the first time Austen and Sloane meet. We know Austen tried to steal Sloane’s wallet.... But then? I'm curious about Austen's devotion for him. 
Part 1

Man, he was bored.

Austen’s stomach growled, reminding him he was hungry too. In case he’d forgotten. Like that would happen. It seemed like days since he’d last eaten, but really it had only been one night. The sweet old lady at the café where he usually had breakfast was in the hospital, and he’d used his last few bucks to bring her flowers. Not like her good for nothing kids were going to do it. They barely even called her as it was. Austen hung around long enough to know these things. Bringing her flowers was the least he could do. She was probably the only one in this whole shitbag town who gave a fuck about him. Then again, she seemed to have a thing for feeding stray cats, and wasn’t that what he was? Just a big stray cat?

“Fuck that jerkoff,” Austen grumbled. HPF asshole.

Austen smiled at the memory of the guy cursing up a storm after finding his tires slashed. That’s what he got for being a condescending anti-Therian prick.

With a sigh, Austen stood and stretched from his perch on the fire escape. He’d made a little nest for himself with plenty of blankets and pillows. He’d sealed up the landing above his head so when it rained he didn’t get soaked. The building was half abandoned anyway, so he just slept inside when it was too cold. He was free to come and go as he pleased. No one to push him around, tell him to shut up, or put out their cigarettes on him. He ran up the fire escape then climbed the ladder up to the roof where he looked out into the city. He flipped it the bird with both fingers.

Now that he was done feeling sorry for himself, he leaned on the ledge of the three story building and watched the plebs go by. Who should he pickpocket today? Tourists were always an easy mark. All these people were so freaking boring. Oh! Hold the phone.

Austen perked up at the sight of a tall, black haired Therian in a leather jacket. “Well hello, sailor.” The guy was older. Late twenties maybe. Austen watched those long jean-clad legs walk down the street. The dude was huge. He had broad shoulders, and pitch black hair that curled just under his ears. His black biker boots were scuffed, and he had on an old school rock band T-shirt under his open jacket. His chiseled jaw was full of stubble. Now that was all man right there. There was something about the way he walked too. Like he was stalking. Most definitely a Felid. Austen could tell by the way he moved. There was something else though. Like he was special or something. Or maybe he was just hot.

Curious, Austen hurried to the ladder, and then rushed down the fire escape. He took off around the block so he could come up on the guy from behind. His heart was pounding furiously. Man, what he wouldn’t give to be eighteen! Not that a guy like that would go for him anyway even if he were old enough. Didn’t mean Austen couldn’t have a little fun. He needed to keep his skills sharp, and he had a feeling Mr. Tall, Dark, and Broody was just the guy for the job. It was the first time Austen had been curious enough about someone to get this close.

Feeling his adrenaline pumping, Austen took off, bumping into the guy as he ran past.

“Sorry!” Austen called out after him, grinning when he heard it.

“Hey! Get back here you little shit!”

Oh damn. It was on now. Austen stuffed the wallet into his jacket pocket and bolted, weaving through traffic and pedestrians, making sure not get himself caught in any mobs or get hit by a car. They were a block away from Central Park. It would be so easy to lose the guy in there. He chanced a look over his shoulder and yelped. Holy shit, the dude was practically on him! That’s when he saw the tattoo. Oh, fuck! Jaguar Therian. Maybe he should have planned this out a little better.

Austen sped into the park, up West Drive, running through the trees and back around toward the rocks where he liked to sun himself sometimes. He hauled ass through the park, making sure not to run into any cyclists or soccer moms pushing strollers. He ducked and dodged, hearing the guy cursing out after him. He had a nice gravelly voice. How long before the dude gave up and called the cops? Reaching one of the bridges, Austen leaped over the railing, landing on his feet on the gravel path below. He ran back under the bridge before ducking behind some shrubs and boulders to catch his breath. Damn, the guy was good. He didn’t seem interested in giving up either. Austen grinned.

“Come back here if you know what’s good for you!”

Austen bit down on his bottom lip and sneaked a peak. The guy had barely broken a sweat, but the rapid rise and fall of his chest said Austen was definitely putting him through his paces. This was fun. Silently, Austen walked up the slope to one of the paths before whistling down. Bright amber eyes narrowed at him.

“Get your scrawny ass over here!”

Austen blew him a kiss and took off, laughing at the sound of the guy cursing him to high heaven. This dude was way too much fun. After a couple of close calls, Austen lost the guy. He hated to admit it, but he was a little disappointed. The guy had actually kept up with him, for the most part. Shame.

“Guess dinner, and breakfast, and lunch, and dinner is on you…” He opened the wallet and almost threw up. That handsome face looked up at him from a very official looking ID.

Agent Sloane Brodie. THIRDS, NYC Division.

“Oh, fuck.”

“Oh fuck is right.” The gruff voice had Austen snapping his head up. And up. How tall was this fucking dude? There were redwoods that were freaking shorter. Austen swallowed hard. He should kick the guy in the balls and make like the wind. Agent Brodie held his hand out, and Austen looked from it to the wallet and back then up at Agent Frowny-Face.

“Um, you dropped this.” Austen handed the wallet back. The dude’s eyebrows jumped so high Austen thought they might fly off his face. He tended to have that effect on people. Austen took a step back. “So, uh, no harm no foul, right? You got your wallet back, which is very nice. Leather? You seem to like leather.” He looked down at his wrist. “Look at the time. I’d love to stay here and, uh, brood with you but I got a thing I have to do.” He quickly spun on his heals when a hand clamped down on his shoulder, holding him in an iron grip. Austen closed his eyes. Shit.

“I don’t think so, kid.”

Double shit. Of all the freaking dudes in the city, why did he have to pick this guy? Better yet, how the hell was he going to get out of this one?

Part 2 next week!
  Copyright © 2014 Charlie Cochet. All Rights Reserved. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.

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THIRDS Thursday - 3/3/16

THIRDS Thursdays Prompt: How about, Ash dealing with caffeinated Cael after the big move, also from Catch a Tiger by The Tail? 

“This isn’t good,” Dex muttered, his worried gaze on Cael who was currently taping boxes together to make himself a robot suit.

Ash agreed with Dex, though he wasn’t about to say so. “Does it always take this long for the caffeine to work through his system?” He would have thought things would happen a little quicker considering Cael’s cheetah Therian metabolism.

“He’s not burning through it quick enough. No room in here for him to freak his cheetah fuzz out properly, and the few minutes you two were running around won’t cut it.”

In Dex speak that meant Cael needed to burn some more energy. The two of them had changed into their Therian forms for a play, but it had been short lived. Three Therians in their Felid forms in one house was not a smart move. It was fun at first, but they’d been forced to shift back after Cael almost knocked Dex’s fancy coffee machine off the kitchen counter. The screech the guy let out could be heard in Jersey.

“Got it. We’re leaving.”

“Uh, okay.” Dex gave him a nod. “Thanks for your help today.”

Ash waved him off. Dex thanking him was too weird for him to deal with, even for something as simple as helping move Sloane’s stuff into Dex’s. Ash headed over to Cael, shaking his head in amusement at Calvin trying to get Hobbs out of the too-small box his tiger Therian butt was squeezed into. Ash was surprised the thing hadn’t burst at the seams yet. Hobbs just chuffed, his eyes closed in contentment. Good luck with that, Cal.

“Time to go, Trouble.”

Cael blinked up at him. “But I’m not done with my robot. He’s going to be even more badass than a Jaeger!”

Ash pursed his lips. “Which one was that again?” It was hard to keep track of all of Cael’s robots.

“Pacific Rim,” Cael said, looking around. He turned his head up to Ash with a wild smile that almost had Ash ducking for cover. His boyfriend was kind of scary when he was wired. “You gotta knife?”

Oh, hell no. Ash gently took hold of Cael’s arm and pulled him to his feet. He didn’t trust Cael with anything sharper than a spoon right now. “Come on. I have a surprise for you.”

Cael gasped in delight. “A surprise? I love surprises! Good surprise though, not Dex surprises.” He narrowed his eyes and craned his neck around Ash to glare at his big brother who was oblivious to the daggered look he was receiving. Well, daggered on anyone else, Cael just looked adorable.

“His surprises usually involve stealing my food, candy, or gadgets. Thief. That’s what he is.”

“All right,” Ash said with a chuckle, leading Cael toward the front door. He waved goodbye to everyone, snickering at Dex’s confused expression as Cael pointed two of his fingers to his eyes before moving them to Dex, mouthing the words “I’m watching you”.

Ash managed to get Cael in his truck with his seatbelt fastened, all while trying to keep up with Cael’s mile-a-minute conversation, many of which stopped halfway before a new one topic started.

“Where are we going? This isn’t how we get to your apartment, or my apartment.”

“We’re almost there.” Thank God there was barely any traffic at this time of night. In less than ten minutes they were at their destination. Ash parked, turned off the ignition, and quickly got out in time to catch Cael as he stumbled out of the passenger side. Yeah, definitely no coffee for Cael, ever.

“Why are we at the THIRDS training facility?”

“Because we’re going to go for a run. Well, you’re going to go for a run. In your Therian form.”

Cael’s eyes lit up and the moment his sneakers touched the floor he was off. Ash set the alarm on his truck and ran after him, signing them both in at the security desk and giving the guard an apologetic smile as Cael called to him from across the lobby near the doors that led to the training fields.

Ash caught up, and he was forced to run after Cael. It was easy to forget how much faster his little cheetah Therian was. Most of the time out in the field, Cael was miles ahead, tripping up perps so Ash, Sloane, and Hobbs could wrangle them up. They hit the huge changing bay, and Ash followed Cael to one of the stalls. When he stepped inside, Cael blinked at him.

“Aren’t you going to run with me?”

Ash shook his head. “No. I’m going to be there with you, but I’m not going to change. PSTC remember?”

“We could just get one of the staff to do it. There’s always a few around even at this time.”

Ash stepped up close and put his hand to Cael cheek. He smiled warmly, his heartrate speeding up. “I want to be the one to do it.”

Cael’s cheeks flushed and he smiled. “Okay.”

“I’m just going to be out here while you change, okay?”

Cael nodded, and Ash stepped outside, drawing the curtain closed. It was best he not be in there while Cael undressed or he’d want to do other things. Right now, Cael needed to run, and Ash wanted to be the one to perform PSTC when Cael returned. They didn’t get to shift often off duty, so Ash hadn’t had the chance to perform PSTC on Cael. It was something he wanted to do.

Ash tried not to flinch at Cael’s screams. It was nothing new, but he hated anything that brought Cael pain. As soon as Cael was done, he darted out, chirping happily and pouncing. His heart swelled. He loved seeing Cael in his Therian form, so carefree and playful. Not that he wasn’t those things ion his Human form, but there was a certain peace found when they were in their animal form.

Cael leaped over to Ash with a chirp. He rubbed his head against Ash’s leg before circling him, leaving his scent over Ash.

“All right, you’ve made your point. I’m yours. Let’s go.” He jogged out toward the expansive grassy field with the wide dirt track surrounding it. There were strategically placed water tanks with clean, cool water for Therian agents. Hydration was very important. Near the tanks were steel bleachers secured inside a fenced off area for viewing. Instead Ash walked to the center of the grassy field and sat down, knees drawn up and arms wrapped around them. He smiled up at Cael.

“Go for it, sweetheart.”

Cael chirped and darted off. He was stunning. The way he almost floated when all four paws were off the ground. He was graceful, beautiful, hitting high speeds in short bursts, using his tail to keep his balance as he came around the bend. Ash could sit here all night watching Cael run.

Once Cael had his run, his chest heaving and his mouth open, he trotted over to Ash. He pushed his heart-shaped nose against Ash’s cheek, making him laugh. With a ruffle to his fur, Ash pushed himself to his feet.

“Let’s go home.” Ash headed to the changing bay, following Cael in. He went to the small kitchenette along the wall. It had a couple of cabinets and small fridge that was stocked with Gatorade and protein bars. Enough to get agents going until they could get a proper meal. Once he was done, he heard a soft groan. He brought his supplies over to Cael sitting on the bench, his head in his hands.

Ash took one of the clean large towels and wrapped it around Cael’s shoulders. Postshift trauma was a scary thing. Not just the effects, but the fact it left a Therian in a vulnerable state. At this point they were practically useless. Cael was strong, but also pretty vulnerable at the best of times. Seeing him like this tugged at his heartstrings. He took a seat beside Cael, cooing softly.

“Tilt your head back, sweetheart.”

Cael did as he was told, and Ash held the Gatorade bottle to his lips, the other hand to the back of Cael’s head to support him. Cael sipped at the Gatorade until he was strong enough not to fall over. He slowly ate the protein bars as Ash gently stroked his hair, his neck. The fact that Cael was completely naked was an afterthought. This wasn’t about sex. It was about taking care of Cael, and offering comfort. He placed a feathery kiss to the top of Cael’s head, smiling when he heard a sweet sigh come from Cael.

Once Cael was done, he turned his head, and smiled up at Ash, his cheeks flushed. “This is the first time it’s just been you here, giving me PSTC.”

Ash nodded. He stroked Cael’s cheek with his thumb, caught by surprise when Cael threw his arms around Ash’s neck and kissed him. It was passionate but gentle. Ash gathered Cael up into his lap, never missing a beat. The kiss was sweet, and Ash couldn’t think of a time he’d been happier. He might be more comfortable in their relationship out in the open, but having Cael in his arms, knowing how Cael loved him, it still amazed him.

Ash pulled back, nuzzling his face against Cael’s, his voice breathless when he spoke. “Feeling better?”

Cael lowered his gaze to Ash’s lips, and when he met Ash’s eyes, there was a sinful look in them. “I think I might have a little more energy to burn.”

Ash arched an eyebrow, his body reacting to those full lips, and the wicked gleam in Cael’s silver eyes. “Is that so?”

Cael nodded. “Why don’t we go to your place and you can help me out.”

Ash quickly but gently put Cael on his feet. “What are you waiting for, get dressed.”

Cael threw his head back and laughed.

Yeah, pretty damn amazing.

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