Long Winding Road Trip Away From The Asylum Part Thirteen



As promised, here's the next part! The road is a bit bumpy, so we'll pick up the pace on releases for the next little bit to get you through it.

You can curse freely until you're at the other side.

Hang on tight!


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5  

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8  

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11 

Part 12


A hospital room, close to the clinic where Reed was being cut open. Shouted orders. Wren’s wrist was grabbed and a doctor told him not to move. His hand cramped, but he kept the pressure exactly where it was until he was told to let go.

Air didn’t come naturally at first. He gasped as he was led out of the operating room. There were firm hands on his shoulders. A voice in his ear. Firm. Comforting. Grounding.

“Come, Wren. You saved him. I’ve got you.” Blood smeared Lawson’s face, but his tone was steady. “You did good. So good.”

Wren searched Lawson’s eyes. Looked over his head, running his fingers along his jaw, checking for any injury that might have been missed. “Are you hurt? There’s so much blood. He… Noah was shot. Sir, I can’t…”

Pressing Wren’s hand to his cheek, Lawson held his gaze. “Deep breaths, my boy. Your Dom is going to need you when he comes out of this. And he will. There’s nothing we can do for him right now, but we can make sure he and Reed are safe. Let’s go get cleaned up and call Rhodey.”

“I can’t leave him.” Wren looked around the long hall, the nurses and doctors rushing by, the faint beep of monitors seeming to come from everywhere at once. “Where’s Noah? Sir, I should be with him. What if they make a mistake? What if he needs me now?”

Lawson picked him up, holding him close as a nurse came over, speaking quietly, then motioning for him to follow. “Wren, listen to me. Noah is exactly where he needs to be right now. The doctors will take good care of him. If he sees us like this when he wakes up, he’ll worry. And I need to be doing something. Let me do this for you.”

The Dom brought Wren into what looked like a small locker room, with several showers beyond a half wall. The nurse handed Lawson two white T-shirts and a pair of light blue pants that looked a lot like hers, then slipped out of the room, promising to let them know the minute she heard anything. Setting them aside with Wren’s phone, Lawson took off Wren’s sneakers and clothes. He shook his head and nudged Wren’s chin up when he protested at the clothes being tossed in the trash, Lawson’s shirt joining them seconds later.

“Don’t look, my boy.” Lawson turned on the shower, guiding Wren beneath the spray.

It wasn’t until Wren caught sight of the facecloth Lawson was using to wash him that he understood why the Dom was being so careful. Taking a deep breath, Wren looked up at Lawson. He took the cloth, using it to wipe the blood off Lawson’s face. “I won’t fall apart, sir. You’re right. They need us. Both of us. Reed will need to see you when he comes out of surgery and he...can’t know what happened. Not right away. But you’ll know when to tell him. And I’ll call Rhodey.”

Lawson gave him a bracing smile and nodded. “That sounds like a very good plan. Hopefully, you’ll be able to keep your stubborn Dom in bed while he’s recovering.” After turning off the shower, Lawson grabbed a towel to dry him off, then dressed him in the borrowed clothes. Lawson’s jeans had been mostly spared from the blood, but were damp in spots from showering Wren. He hardly seemed to notice as he pulled on his own borrowed shirt. “You’ll need to stay very alert, but it’s probably safer if you’re not near me. Noah will never forgive me if anything happens to you…” He stilled, rubbing his hand over his face. “Fuck, what if being near Reed—”

“Sir, with all due respect? Shut up.” Wren grabbed Lawson’s arm when the Dom looked ready to walk out. “Rhodey will come and he’ll know what we need to do. Those...bastards were amateurs. What they did was too public. There will be police everywhere. I’ll try to remember what the man looked like well enough to give Rhodey a description and you should do the same. We’ll both be careful and make sure Reed and Noah are safe. We can do this. We have to do this…” His throat almost closed up as he willed Lawson to believe him. For the Dom not to decide he had to leave Wren alone for his own good and go out there and do something foolish. “Please, sir. I need to know you’re with Reed and that you’re coming back.”

Crouched down in front of him, Lawson exhaled slowly, then inclined his head. “I will, my boy. I swear. I’m sorry, I just had a moment… They were aiming for me. Noah got shot protecting me and I’m...feeling angry and guilty and so goddamn torn about how I should handle this. But I won’t repay him by leaving the other people he cares about alone.”

“Good.” Wren gave Lawson a shaky smile, wrapping his arms around his neck and hugging him tight. “Noah’s strong. He’ll get through this and you’re right. It’ll be hard to keep him in that bed and not wanting to find those men and tear them into bloody pieces for trying to hurt you. Don’t do anything to give them another chance or it’ll be impossible. I’m not very big, I won’t be able to hold him down.”

Lawson kissed the top of his head as he rose to his feet, nodding at Wren when he let him go. “Call me when he wakes up and I’ll help you hold him down if that becomes necessary. I don’t think it’ll take Rhodey very long to get here, though, so we can leave the dirty work to him.”

That sounded like a very good idea. Wren took a deep breath, watching Lawson go, then putting his shoes back on and sending Rhodey a text, not trusting his voice to be steady if he attempted to speak before he knew how Noah was doing. He slipped into the hall, where it was a bit chilly away from the warm steam from the shower, but the cold was comforting, even though it made him shiver a bit as he paced, keeping an eye out for the nurse who’d been keeping them updated, or any doctors who looked familiar.

For a long time, there was no one. Wren chewed on his bottom lip, trying to think of any time one of Jared’s surgeries had taken this long. Never at The Asylum, fighters weren’t allowed to shoot each other. At the hospital, back when Jared had worked there, and sometimes at the clinic, definitely. The times he let Wren assist always seemed to pass so fast, but there wasn’t so much waiting.

A familiar presence brought his head up and he almost sobbed with relief as Rhodey pulled him into his strong arms. “Sir, I didn’t know. I should have—I’d seen the van before, but I didn’t think anything of it. Why didn’t I check? Why did I—”

Rhodey pressed a finger to his lips. “This isn’t on you, little birdy. I was keeping an eye out for much bigger players and things have been quiet. There’s a very high price on Lawson’s head and I should have considered it would tempt people not on my radar. Where is he now?”

“He went back to make sure he was there when Reed wakes up.” Wren looked toward the doors leading to the ORs, which hadn’t opened in hours. “It’s been a long time, sir. Do you think that’s bad? Maybe I did more damage when I plugged the wound with my finger, but I didn’t know what else to do. I think I felt the bullet. What if it’s lost inside him or it went into his heart?” Surprised Rhodey hadn’t cut him off again, Wren lifted his gaze to meet the Dom’s dark gray eyes. “Aren’t you going to tell me not to assume the worst?”

Brow lifted, Rhodey shook his head. “I don’t think you are. All those things are possible and it’s good to prepare for them. I have. I didn’t do it out loud, but if that’s what you need, I don’t have a problem with it.” He patted Wren’s shoulder. “My nephew’s tough. He’s usually harder to hit, but they caught him off guard. I doubt that will happen again, we just need to get him through this rough patch and make sure no one has a chance to get at him while he’s laid low. And keep Lawson out of reach.”

“But…” Wren looked around him, taking in the hospital hallway again, seeing it in a whole new light. “We can’t do that here. I can probably screen any info about what happened and minimize how much it spreads?”

Rhodey nodded. “Do that. We can’t stop the information from getting to any other mercs, it’s too late for that, but we can avoid our own people finding out and making rash moves. I had Avery take watch over Reed, I’ll go talk to Lawson in a bit, but I want to try keeping any soft targets away from The Asylum until Noah’s back on his feet.”

Frowning, Wren did his best to follow Rhodey’s train of thought. “Do you mean anyone who could be used to get to Lawson?”

“Yes. Which includes the entire core. Jamie and Jared are fine since Jamie’s so high profile, getting near him will be impossible. He’s going on a world tour, he just doesn’t know it yet, and Jared will be going with him.” Some regret shadowed Rhodey’s eyes at Wren’s sharp intake of breath. “I know it’ll be hard and you miss him, but this is the best way to keep Jamie safe. Noah won’t let me take him away to recover if he thinks there’s any risk to his husband.”

Wren swallowed, not loving where this was going. “Jared won’t agree to stay away when he finds out what happened.”

“I know.” Rhodey’s expression hardened slightly. “We’re going to do our best to make sure he doesn’t. He’s doing the most important thing he can be right now. Reed didn’t want to distract him with his procedure, I don’t see this as any different. He’s a soldier, he’ll keep his eye out regardless. Nothing good can come from him worrying about Noah. I have a safehouse prepared for as soon as Noah and Reed are stable enough to be moved. You and Lawson will be coming with us. I’ll figure out if we need to bring anyone else.”

Blinking fast, Wren hiked up his chin, refusing to cry. There’d be time for that later. For now, all that mattered was making sure Noah was okay. That everyone was safe. “I’ll need my laptop, sir.”

Rhodey inclined his head, drawing Wren close again. “I’ve got it in my rental, along with all you guys’ luggage. Me and Avery stopped by the motel to grab it.” His gaze drifted to the two doors leading to the OR. “One of Vani’s guys works here, so I know he’s in good hands. She’s got a knack for collecting top notch doctors.”

That was something at least. Wren leaned into Rhodey’s side, accepting the small comfort the Dom offered. “Were you able to find out anything?”

“Not yet.” Rhodey braced his shoulder against the wall, settling in to wait. “He’d probably tell Vani before me, but she’d get in touch if there was anything. I’m guessing he plays the good civilian when he’s here, so he’ll go the normal route first and come out here…” His lips curved slightly as the doors opened. “There we go. That wasn’t so bad.”

This was probably the only time in Wren’s life he’d ever been tempted to kick a Dom. He settled with giving Rhodey a dirty look the Dom didn’t seem to notice, guilt nagging at him as he took in the stiff set of Rhodey’s shoulders and the way his jaw and fists clenched, as though he was bracing for a punch to the guts.

He was worried about his nephew, but doing his best not to let it show. Because he didn’t have the liberty of breaking down. Not even for a moment. He was here because they all needed him to be exactly as he was. Strong. Steady. Infalible.

The doctor smiled at Wren, then Rhodey, neither his stance or his expression revealing a thing, except that Noah was still alive. “I’m pleased to tell you your friend made it through surgery. There was a moment where his heart stopped and we were—”

“His heart...stopped?” Rhodey put his hand on Wren’s arm, as though to support him, but his grip said he was the one who needed it. “How the fuck can you say you’re ‘pleased’ about that shit? What kind of place are you running here? I’ve been shot in the fucking shoulder before and my heart never stopped.”

That perfect, professional smile faded as the doctor squared his shoulders, his tone sharpening. “I’m pleased because his chances were very low. He lost a lot of blood, he’d have bled out on the fucking sidewalk if this young man hadn’t reacted quickly and plugged the wound. The shock to his system was almost too much for his body to handle, but because his heart is very strong it was able to pull through and we don’t believe there was any brain damage. We won’t know for sure until he wakes up.” Something in his eyes shifted, making it clear this was Vani’s man. “He’s in recovery instead of the morgue. You’re welcome.”

Rhodey’s lips thinned as he held the man’s gaze for a long moment. Then he nodded. “Fine. Thanks. Now I need to know when he can be moved.”

An irritated sound left the doctor as he motioned Rhodey and Wren to follow him to a nearby on call room. After checking that it was empty, the doctor locked the door. “No sooner than tomorrow, but I should be able to arrange something. The boy will be harder. I hope you have Quint or Seth to look after them, wherever you’re going. A thousand fucking things could go wrong with either.”

“There’s no choice, they’re too exposed here.” Rhodey nodded slowly. “Tomorrow morning. Let me worry about how to get the boy.”

Jerking his head in acknowledgment, the doctor leaned a little closer, his voice low. “You need to keep this one and the target out of sight. Hanging around the way they’ve been is too fucking tempting. Unless you’re using them as bait, I’d send them on ahead.”

It took a few seconds for Wren to understand what the doctor was saying.

He wanted Wren to leave. With Lawson.

While Noah was still in the hospital and they weren’t even sure what would happen when he woke up.

“No.” Wren grabbed Rhodey’s hand, staring up at him, begging like he never had for anything in his life. “Please, sir. I’ll do whatever you want, I’ll stay out of sight, but don’t make me do this. Lawson won’t either. If either of them wake up and we’re not here, it’ll make things so much worse. You know it will.”

Rhodey’s hand tightened around his. “You’re right. Noah will lose it if he can’t see for himself you and Lawson are in one piece. But Doctor Lorne here has a point. Let’s go to the gift shop. You need a change of clothes. And a hat.”

The doctor snorted. “All right, but it’s your funeral.”

A cold smile curving his lips, Rhodey put his arm in front of the doctor, blocking him against the side of the bunk before he could pass and speaking low, right by his ear. “No, it’ll be yours if anything happens to my nephew. Now go back and find a reason not to leave his side again until I can be there with his boy.”

“Give me about an hour.” Dr. Lorne rolled his shoulders. “I’ll make it happen.”

After the doctor left, Rhodey kept Wren close to his side, bringing him to the gift shop, where he grabbed random items of clothing in Wren’s size, all in disgustingly bright colors. Focusing on how much he wished he could have his own clothes made it easier not to dwell on the possibility that something had gone wrong during the surgery. Something...else.

He wouldn’t let his mind even consider the possibility of Noah not waking up.

Looking in the mirror as Rhodey zipped up the hoodie, then plunked a bright orange hat on his head, Wren wrinkled his nose and took off his glasses. “There. I think that might help avoid this outfit doing literal damage to my retinas.”

“You’re adorable when you’re cheeky. You should do it more often.” Rhodey rubbed Wren’s head over the hat. “Give me your glasses. I know it’ll be hard to see, but I’ll make sure you don’t walk into anything. Let’s go for a Clark Kent to Superman effect.”

“There’s no reason it should have worked in the movies, why in the world would it work now?” Wren pressed his teeth into his bottom lip as Rhodey gave him a level look even his blurry vision couldn’t save him from. He was toeing the line of what the Dom would tolerate from him, and his fear and shock would only allow for so much leeway. “I’m sorry, sir.”

“Don’t use that fucking word, just stop being a smartass.” Rhodey took a firm grip on the back of his neck, both a warning and a gesture that made Wren feel more like he wasn’t the one in control anymore. Which he needed more than he’d realized. “Let’s go get your laptop, then head back up and see your Dom. Maybe if I start beating your ass over the side of his bed, it’ll get him to wake up that much faster.”

Despite himself, Wren breathed out a laugh, relaxing into the Dom’s hold. “If it pleases you, sir.”

The edge of Rhodey’s lips quirked.

As they took the elevator down to the parking garage, Rhodey pulled out his gun and Wren pulled out his phone. His steps slowed as he took note of the alert on it. Noah’s letter to Jamie had arrived. Any minute, Jamie would be reading it, so happy. Thinking of Noah thinking of him and all the things they’d do when they were together again. He’d probably show Jared the letter, dancing around until Jared had him settle long enough to finish the whole thing. They’d share a moment, thinking of the man they both loved.

My sweet little cat,  Speaking to you every day isn’t the same when I can’t hold you, but not a moment passes when something doesn’t remind me of you. I found a quill in an old shop and it reminded me of some of the classic movies you love, Distance crossed by nothing but the elegant stroke of a pen, bringing a lovr something they can touch until they’re back together.  I am not the best at romantic words or gestures, but I can paint a picture, capturing so many emotions and I want to do that for you when we’re both home again.  And you will sing for me while I do.  Your voice, the music you make, is the only part of you I’m willing to share with the world. Not too often, though. Once you’ve finished recording, I plan to be greedy again for quite some time.

Wren opened the picture of the letter on his phone, smiling as he read it over as he had, days ago when he’d set up the program for Noah so Jamie would be able to appreciate every single word. It had...been so different then. A sweet gesture. An act of love.

But today…

All Wren could hope was that it didn’t end up being a goodbye.


Almost two hours passed before Dr. Lorne was able to get them into Noah’s room. Wren sat by Noah’s bed, holding his Dom’s hand and watching his face for any sign that he was waking up. That his breaths were even and he wasn’t using a breathing tube anymore was a good sign. His pulse was strong and steady.

Maybe he was just very tired. That wouldn’t be a bad thing, would it? Being shot must be exhausting.

Before he could ask Rhodey how exhausting it really was, Noah’s hand twitched in his, his fingers curving against Wren’s palm. He breathed in roughly, turning his face toward Wren. And opened his eyes.

Wren pushed to his feet, still holding Noah’s hand. “Sir, he’s awake! Go tell the doctor. He’s okay.” He smiled down at Noah as Rhodey quickly strode out of the room. “Rhodey’s here, sir. And Avery’s with Lawson and Reed. Everyone’s okay, so you don’t need to worry, you just need to rest and get better. The doctor was saying there could be damage but you’re awake so that’s over. He’ll ask you silly questions. It’s Wednesday, in case he asks that. I only know because I saw the newspaper in the gift shop. It’s harder to remember when we’re not at the club.”

“Wren…” Noah lifted his hand, brushing his fingers down Wren’s cheek. “I need you to help me. Tell me...are we somewhere dark?”

Dark? Wren looked around at the bright lights of the hospital room. Had Noah hit his head at some point? Did he mean he wanted it to be dark? “No, sir. We’re in the hospital. You just had surgery. Do you feel like you have a concussion? I can talk to the doctor and—”

“No.” Noah shook his head. “I need to talk to Rhodey first and make sure...this can’t get out. Fuck, I’ll be useless in protecting you. Protecting Lawson or anyone else.”

Breath catching, Wren grabbed Noah’s hand again. “Not once you’re healed, sir. But you need to give yourself some time. It’s okay. Rhodey’s taking care of everything. Mercs are injured all the time. Even Rhodey’s been shot before. No one will think less of you for this. You survived. You saved Lawson’s life. And mine.”

Tugging him close, Noah pressed his cheek to Wren’s, speaking softly. “No, my precious little bird. Not because I’m hurt. Something else happened.” He inhaled roughly. “I. Can’t. See.”


Part 14


As always, comments welcome! At the end of each month when a serial like this is running, I'll choose one commenter to send merch from The Asylum to win a special prize pack including an Asylum Blanket!

Winner will be chosen at random and announced before the first segment of each month. All comments made before then will be entered.

Good luck!

If you want to discuss spoilers or what you think might happen next, make sure to join the spoiler group HERE. Let's see who's paying attention. Winners will also be chosen from the group! 



  1. On the edge of my seat. poor Noah. I hope his vision recovers quickly and that Rhodey finds the people who are doing this...

  2. I love Wren more and more with each episode ❤

  3. Thanks for the free pass on the cursing. Certainly needed!

  4. I know it wouldn’t make very good reading if everything went smoothly all the time but... (insert curse word of choice here)!

  5. The things Wren sometimes says and does can be so surprising but yet not because it's always there (just sometimes not noticed or forgotten).
    Noah has got to be okay...this isn't going to be like another similar scenario from the Cobras but didn't recover....is it? Ugh!!

    1. Very different situation, but not gonna spoil what happens. lol I can say they never get things easy, so it's going to be a journey. But hopefully it'll be worth it <3

  6. holy shit
    thats is it for now lol


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