A Little Roughed Up at The Asylum Safe House - Part Nine


Happy weekend! Big fluffy snow falling outside here, it's so pretty I ended up posting a clip of it on FB.

Now to go out and shovel and convince myself it's still a winter wonderland. XD



Part One

Part Two 

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six 

Part Seven

Part Eight


All jokes aside, there was seriously some cheating going on.

In the big, faded burgundy leather armchair closest to the fireplace, Pike did his best to focus on the game and not the goosebumps spreading over his bare skin, the freshly lit fire still trying to chase the chill away. Rubbing his arm with his free hand, he glared at his cards. They were bad. So bad someone must be setting him up to lose, which totally hadn’t been the point of all this. Stephan was supposed to get an Asylum type welcome to the safehouse, just like he’d heard Danny had gotten. Like Pike had gotten himself.

Only, no one was gonna get hurt.

Or caught.

Except Pike kept having to give up clothes because no one had come up with a dare sneaky enough to fly under the radar of the Doms that kept popping into the living room. Their timing fucking sucked, too. Matt had been caught using up his free passes by Seth, pulled attitude, and got his mouth washed out with soap. Then sent to the corner by Curtis until he stopped looking like he was ready to knock someone the fuck out.

Matt’d been cool until Stephan had come down and Curtis invited the man to the back porch to ‘talk’ over a ‘couple beers’.

Now the other sub was all moody, watching the game like he was rethinking his whole ‘whatever you’re planning, leave me out of it.’ Usually, Matt was one of the better behaved subs. But dude had a badass side with the right motivation.

Looked like he’d gotten nice and motivated.

“How are you and Curtis even related? You have the worst poker face ever, man.” Matt plunked down on the floor next to Reed, tapping the table. “Deal me in, Pop Star. Freaky Friday, toss Pike that blanket before he ends up joining Avery in the plague ward.”

Wren frowned at Matt even as he picked up the blanket, unfolding it and coming over to lay it over Pike’s bare shoulders. “Only Curtis calls me that. And Jamie doesn’t like that nickname so stop it. You don’t get to take it out on him because you were disciplined.”

“It’s okay, Wren.” Jamie scooted over on the big, cushy blue couch that was as mismatched as all the rest of the furniture here, but somehow perfect because it made the place feel like a lot of people had come together to try to make this a good temporary home. Patting the space beside him, Jamie smiled at Wren when he sat. “It doesn’t bug me so much anymore, and I know why Matt’s grumpy.”

Matt made a face, but didn’t speak again until Jamie dealt out the cards. “I’m not grumpy, I’m pissed off. Reed can’t drink so I figured we’d do the whole abstaining thing until he can, you know? But Curtis is drinking with the dude to make him feel welcome? That’s some bullshit.”

Shaking his head, Reed put his hand on Matt’s forearm. “Don’t be mad ‘cause of that. I told Curtis I don’t want people doing anything different than normal for me, it feels weird. Besides, I gotta chill on sugar and caffeine and none of us want Lawson going cold turkey on the last one.”

“Okay, I get that.” Matt glanced at his cards, then laid them facedown on the table. “But we still don’t like this Stephan guy. He’s…” He made a vague gesture with his hand. “Hell, I don’t even know how to explain it. This isn’t the club. If it was, then whatever. Curtis likes getting in the ring. If he challenged him, then won and fucked him, we’d be cool, right?”

Would they? Pike chewed on his bottom lip, holding his own cards against his chest.

Without hesitation, Reed nodded. “Yeah, I guess. I mean, I like it better when Curtis challenges people we know. Stephan’s...not part of The Asylum.”

“He might not be yet, but it sounds like he will be. All the Doms are talking about how it would be good to have a therapist around.” Jamie shrugged, his eyes on his cards like he was more focused on his next move than the conversation. “Jared and Noah were talking about it earlier. Noah’s...reserving judgement?” He glanced over at Wren, who gave him a quick nod and an encouraging smile, which had Jamie letting out a relieved sigh like he always did when words messed him up. “But Jared said Quint trusts Stephan, so he does too. He said he’s glad Stephan seems like a Dom, because a sub would have a hard time.”

Reed huffed out a laugh. “He’s so a Dom. He’s got the whole vibe. And he’s a merc, so we don’t gotta feel guilty about messing with him. He can take it.”

“Word.” Matt rolled his shoulders, jutting his chin at the table. “So you guys ready to get serious about this? Because so far all I see is you and Pike in socks and boxers, while Jamie’s fully dressed ‘cause Wren’s doing a really bad job at keeping himself out of needing online Addict Anonymous meetings.”

A twinge of guilt hit Pike as Wren sat back a bit, his cheeks going red. The other sub had been doing everything from cleaning, to crossword puzzles, since they’d started playing, but he couldn’t seem to help keeping half his attention on the game and giving Jamie these little signs before he made a play. Even though Jamie’s were the only cards he could see, the dude somehow managed to control the whole game, so Jamie was killing it.

If the plan was actually getting anywhere, Pike would find it kinda cute how well the two read each other. Sure, it was breaking the rules Wren had to follow for his own good, but...he wasn’t actually playing. And the little dance Jamie did in his seat whenever he won being Wren’s reward had to be better than gambling for money, right?

Pike took a deep breath, meeting Matt’s eyes. “Look, we’re all in this together, so I don’t see an issue, so long as it’s not messing with Wren too much. You and Reed might as well be playing as a team, you’ve got that whole sub bond, too. I’m on my own and I ain’t got a problem with it.”

Tongue pressed to his bottom lip, Matt nodded slowly, then rested his head on Reed’s shoulder. “That sounds cool. I can go get Danny if you wanna even things out?”

“Hell no. He’s playing outside with that puppy. And he’s been hanging out with Stephan, so… I like the dude and all, but he’s stepped behind enemy lines.” Putting distance between himself and Danny really sucked, they’d been through hell and back together, but Pike was used to figuring out where people’s loyalties were. Sometimes, that shit was life or death. Not that this was… Fuck, he didn’t even know. He lowered his gaze to his cards. “I wanna stay in the game, so I’m going with ‘dare’.”

The bit of agitation that remained in Matt’s eyes faded away. He jutted his chin at Pike. “Your accent really comes out when you’re stressing. Or when you’re happy, so it’s not a huge thing, but along with that sour look you get, it’s a huge tell. Lawson drilled me on playing before he’d let me get in on games at the club, so...yeah. Just some advice if you wanna take it.”

“Thanks, man.” Pike took a deep breath, trying to school his features as everyone placed their bets. He got three new cards and didn’t frown, or curse, or really breathe much.

Still nothing. Not even really the chance of catching anything worthwhile on the river.

Matt’s right. How the hell am I an O’Rourke? My dad would fucking disown me.

Of course, after facing how horrible his family had actually been, maybe that wouldn’t be so bad, but damn, couldn’t he have inherited more than a reserved spot on the FBI watch list?

Feeling the eyes of all the other subs on him, he flashed his best devil-may-care smile and slouched back in his seat. “All in.”

Reed’s brows popped up. “All you’ve got is the dare, your boxers, and one sock.”

“Well, yeah, but it means I’m out. That’s gotta be worth something?” Pike held Reed’s gaze, resting his hand on the arm of the chair. Matt had been right, he’d fucked up letting his shitty hands show on his face every time, but maybe that would work in his favour with this bluff?

It got him a smile and a wink from Matt, anyway. The man folded. “He’s either got something or he’s learning.”

“You’re supposed to be on my team.” Reed shot Matt a sideways look, bumping against him as he laughed and tossed his own cards on the coffee table. “I ain’t risking it.”

Glancing at Jamie, Pike barely managed to hold back a groan when Wren whispered in Jamie’s ear, then folded his arms over his chest. Jamie smirked, nodding as he met Pike’s eyes. “I call. Let’s see what you’ve got.”

Before either of them could move, the front door burst open.

Danny stared, lips parted, like he hadn’t expected them to be there.

A spine-chilling ‘Woof!’ made it clear why, seconds before the puppy scrambled out of Danny’s arms. Hissing followed, Jamie’s cat springing up on the table and scattering the cards everywhere as the puppy raced toward it.

Heart stuttering, Pike grabbed the back of the armchair, hauling himself out of reach. His cast thumped against the arm of the chair. Pain shot up his leg, twisting his stomach.

Wings flapped, adding to the chaos as Matt pulled Reed out of the way. Wren and Jamie stood on the couch, eyes wide.

“Don’t bite!” The raven landed between the dog and the cat, screeching and hissing at LD when the cat swiped at him. “Fucker!”

If the dog wasn’t so close, Pike would’ve found the raven facing off against the cat hilarious. But he couldn’t fucking breath. Couldn’t move.

I need to get away.

He was trapped. If he got off the chair, the dog would notice him. It would attack.

Pressing his eyes shut, Pike trembled, willing everything to stop.

Just. Fucking. Stop.

“Koda. Heel.” Sharp strides sounded, Stephan’s firm tone cutting over the animal noises. One last bark, then silence. Pike opened his eyes just as the fat little thing shied away from the cat, before bounding over to Stephan and plopping down by his feet. Its tail wagged as Stephan bent down to pat its head and lift it in his arms. “Bram.”

Hissing at LD again, the raven lifted up out of reach of the cat’s claws and flew to Stephan’s shoulder. Settled in, he made a plaintive sound, then brought his down beak to fuss with the puppy’s raised fur.

One hand to his throat, face white, Danny looked about ready to burst out in tears. “I’m sorry, sir. I thought they were in the kitchen and I was just going to run him up to your room because it’s snowing and I didn’t want him to get cold.”

“It’s all right, Danny. I should have checked in.” Stephan motioned Danny to him as he started toward the stairs. “Let’s get him in his crate to relax for a bit. He’ll behave so long as Bram’s there. Do you want to try letting him on your shoulder again?”

While Stephan gave Danny the puppy at the bottom of the stairs, Quint crossed over to Pike. Whatever he said was lost in the pulsing rush echoing in Pike’s skull.

“I’ve got you, my sweet little brat.” Picking him up, Quint sat on the chair and wrapped Pike up in the blanket on his lap. His presence shielded Pike from everything else going on in the room. Bit at a time the heat of his solid chest, the circle of his arms, his breaths even, became grounding. Lips brushing Pike’s cheek, Quint spoke softly. “You’re okay. I’m right here.”

“It’s just a puppy. I shouldn’t be this freaked out.” Pike pressed his face into the curved of Quint’s neck, doing his best to slow his breathing. No matter how many times he tried to tell himself to not be afraid, shit turned out like this. “I need drugs. Lots of drugs. Maybe Ez has some of the good stuff or...Jamie?”

Climbing down from the sofa, Jamie hovered over his still pissed off cat like he was dealing with a bomb in the last seconds before it went off. He huffed when LD ducked under his arm and dashed under the sofa. “Don’t look at me, I don’t touch the stuff anymore without written permission from my doctor-husband.” He slid Pike a hesitant smile. “Sorry, I hope it’s okay if I joke a bit. If not, I won’t. I don’t know how else to help.”

Resting his head against Quint’s chest, Pike shook his head, smiling back as he imagined Jared’s reaction. “You’re fine, but I so gotta be there the first time you call him that to his face.”

“Deal. Also?” Jamie laced his fingers behind his neck. “Never gonna happen.” He looked over the mess that Matt and Wren had already started cleaning. “Guess we’ll have to pick this up again some other time. It was fun, though, until...you know.”

“I lost anyway.” Pike took a deep breath, ditching the idea of getting high as his body decided things were cool and it didn’t need to implode on him. He lifted his gaze to Quint. “I’ll be straight with you so there’s no surprises. I don’t like Stephan.”

Quint nodded slowly, brow creased. “I can see why, but I hope you’ll give him another chance. He’s a very good therapist, I owe him...so much. I’d hoped he could help you with this fear, but only if you’re ready. If all had gone as planned, you wouldn’t have seen the dog until you were working with him. I know this makes things more difficult.”

Bumping his head against Quint’s shoulder a few times, Pike groaned. “It’s not because of the dog. Not...only that, anyway.”

“You’re jealous.” Quint stopped Pike’s head bumping and nudged his chin up with a knuckle, giving him a small smile. “Pike, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. I have my hands full with complicated relationships as it is, I’m not looking to add to that by fooling around with my therapist.”

Pike wrapped his arms around Quint’s neck, searching his deep blue eyes and trying to find the right words to explain why this was messing with him. “I’m not jealous, I’m...worried about you. Is he still your therapist? And...am I part of the complicated?”

That made Quint’s smile widen. “Believe it or not, you are the least complicated part of my life right now. You need to feel safe and loved and those are two things I’m very good at providing.” His wavy brown hair slid forward over one eye, adding to that sweet, guy next door look he always had.

Almost like, no matter what life threw at him, instead of becoming hard and cold over the years, he’d been strong enough to hang on to the part of himself that found a bit of joy in everything. He was smart and practical, but he always seemed to find the bright side, the glimmer of hope, and he was so fucking good at sharing that it was no surprise that anyone who’d ever loved him found it impossible to let him go.

But it sounded like Stephan had been the one who’d picked up the pieces when Quint’s grip on that sunny optimism had taken a few blows.

“Whenever you talk about the military, it’s about the other soldiers you met or the places you went to. The small villages where you gave candy and little dolls to the kids. The different foods you got to try…” Pike’s lips curved as he adjusted a bit on Quint’s lap. The other subs had slipped out quietly at some point, leaving them alone in the living room. “We talk about food a lot. Is that weird?”

Quint shook his head. “I don’t think so, but I have a confession to make.” He stroked his fingers along the length of Pike’s neck, giving him a hooded look. “I love how passionate you are about every single meal. Every new thing you get to try. Yes, you eat a surprising amount for someone your size, but you savor every bite. And a lot of the time, the look on your face and the sounds you make?” He glanced around, then lowered his voice. “Is fucking sexy as hell.”

Grinning, Pike rose up a bit and brushed his lips over Quint’s, tasting a hint of coffee and caramel, probably from one of the fancy drinks Matt enjoyed mixing up to pass the time. He flicked his tongue over Quint’s bottom lip. “I was getting to a point, but now you’re distracting me.”

“I need to take over on watch so Lawson can get some rest, so I probably shouldn’t start something I can’t finish.” Quint sighed, easing back a bit. He chuckled when Pike stole another kiss, nipping his bottom lip. “Stop that, trouble. We have a few minutes to talk. What was it you wanted to know? I’ve told you all my most interesting war stories.”

Mind going back to how Stephan had probably come into Quint’s life, Pike sobered. He curved his fingers around the collar of Quint’s shirt. “You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to, but...what happened? Why did you need to see someone like Stephan?”

A shadow passed through Quint’s eyes, his arms going around Pike to bring him close again, like he was the one who needed the comfort now. He lowered his forehead to Pike’s shoulder. “I spent years losing myself to one mission after another. I never knew where Seth had been assigned, but I knew he was alive and...that had to be enough. Mourning Jared was… Whenever I let myself have a moment to grieve, it was like ripping open an old wound that had never gotten a chance to heal properly. Then... I found out he was alive.”

“Did you want to see him? I know you were on all those missions for Vani, but I still don’t get why she couldn’t give you some time off to get in touch with him.” Pike ran his hand down Quint’s back and buried his face in his soft hair. “You should have been able to have that.”

Quint shook his head. “She had good reasons, Pike. Jared was with Rhodey. He’d recovered and he was rebuilding his life. I didn’t know he thought I was dead, I thought...I thought he believed I’d just moved on. My life was dangerous and it was...all the things he would have hated. Vani wasn’t wrong to point that out, to keep me from hurting him all over again. Stephan was there to help me accept… I couldn’t keep looking back. It would’ve gotten me and my men killed if I couldn’t get past it.”

A lump formed in Pike’s throat as he imagined what Quint’s life must’ve been like. He knew Quint had worked with a lot of different teams. Quint had explained how his ability to connect with his men had been almost as valuable as his medical skills, but Vani made sure to switch things up so he didn’t get too attached.

Between missions, Quint had been alone.

Stephan’s job...it sounded like he’d been brought in to make Quint okay with that. With losing everything.

And it made Pike hate him even more.

Maybe it wasn’t the guy’s fault, he’d been doing his job, but if he hadn’t been there, Quint might have reached out to one of the two men he loved. He could’ve ended up part of The Asylum sooner, built his own life and not be in the situation he was in now.

On Vani’s bad side, trying to win back her approval just to live another day.

There was a sound near the stairs and Pike brought his head up, catching Jared’s eyes where the Dom stood motionless. His expression said he’d heard most of the conversation. When Pike’s lips parted, Jared shook his head, bringing his finger to his lips.

He didn’t want Quint to know he’d heard, and it took a second for Pike to figure out why.

This was something Quint needed to tell Jared himself.

Nodding, Pike kissed the top of Quint’s head, hugging him tight. “I love you, so fucking much. And I’m glad I got to meet you, but...I wish you’d been able to have the kind of life you deserved. Even if it meant I never got to be part of it.”

“Pike, listen to me.” Quint lifted his head, cupping Pike’s cheek, his tone firm. “If things had gone any other way, not only wouldn’t I have you, I wouldn’t have saved the people I did. Sure, I have my regrets, but no matter how twisted the road to get where I am might’ve been, I still have a lot to be grateful for. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. And I wouldn’t trade you for whatever peace I might have found.” He touched his forehead to Pike’s, smiling as he kissed him. “And there wouldn’t have been peace. My choices would have followed me. One thing I don’t regret is they led me to you.”

Tears wet Pike’s lashes as a flood of emotions he couldn’t put a name to filled his chest. He inhaled roughly, holding Quint’s gaze. “Not just me. Everyone who cares about you. You had to give up a lot, but not anymore, right? Tell me you won’t ever have to do something like that again.”

“I’m not going anywhere, pixie.” Quint huffed out a laugh when his watch beeped. “Except to relieve Lawson. Let’s get you to the kitchen first, though. I think I smell some of that hot chocolate Matt’s been spoiling us with.”

Pike sniffed, catching the sweet, rich scent. He used the edge of the blanket to wipe his eyes as Quint helped him to his feet and began gathering his clothes to dress him.

Light footsteps sounded as Jared made his presence known. “I’ve got him, my boy. Make sure you grab your jacket and have Matt fix you a thermos to bring along. I have no idea where you’ve brought us for it to be snowing in June, but don’t pull that tough merc nonsense and act like you’re invincible.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it, sir.” Quint grinned at Jared, then mouthed ‘Be good’ at Pike before starting for the kitchen. He laughed when he opened the door to Matt shouting at someone to stop letting the snow in. “I’ll grab Jamie’s and Wren’s while I’m at it.”

Things went quiet when the door closed behind Quint, Pike holding still as Jared shook out the pants he’d borrowed from Keiran. The Dom looked over the snaps going up the side of each leg with a sound of approval before he bent down to help Pike put them on.

Chewing on his bottom lip, Pike did his best to keep his balance without grabbing Jared’s shoulder like he might’ve if it’d been Quint or Seth here. His cheeks heated as he tipped sideways and Jared’s hands wrapped around his waist to steady him.

“Thank you, sir, but, like…” Pike cleared his throat. “You don’t gotta do that.”

Jared tugged the pants up to Pike’s hips, arching a brow at him. “I’m aware, little gremlin. But it pleases me to, so I will.” He straightened, motioning for Pike to lift his arms, then slid on his T-shirt. Once Pike was fully dressed, Jared patted his cheek. “You’re a handful—”

“I know.” Pike lowered his gaze as he reached for his crutches. “I appreciate you putting up with me. I—” He jerked at another pat, this one harder. Not really painful, but sharp enough to snap his eyes up to meet the Dom’s icy blue ones.

Instead of the anger he’d expected to find in them, there was a hint of amusement. “Don’t interrupt me, my boy. As I was saying, you’re a handful. Which is exactly what Quint needs.” He eased the crutches from Pike’s hand and set them aside. Then picked him up and sat him on the chair, crouching down in front of him. “I was concerned at first. Quint loses himself to the caregiver role and isn’t good at asking for what he needs. But you have your own unique way of giving it to him. A way neither Seth or I ever could.”

Pike held his breath, not sure it was okay to talk at first when Jared paused. After a few beats, he spoke in a rush. “He needs you. Both of you. I know I’m a pain in the ass and he’s gotta spend a lot of time keeping me in line, but I would never come between you. I want him to have everything.”

“I don’t doubt that at all, Pike. I don’t feel threatened by you, I’m telling you you’re good for him.” Jared chuckled when Pike blinked, trying to decide if he’d heard right. The Dom continued. “We did our best to protect him, to make him strong enough to survive a life he was forced into. I wouldn’t have chosen this path for him—I don’t think Seth would have either, if he’d known where it would lead. I don’t know about Seth, but for me it feels both like I’ve gotten Quint back, and I am getting to know him all over again. You, however, my boy…” He put his hand on Pike’s shoulder. “You know the man he is. The two of you don’t have the burden of so many regrets and I’m happy that he can share that with someone.”

That was the last thing Pike had ever expected, but the more he thought about it...it made sense. He smiled at Jared, seeing—not for the first time—exactly why Quint had fallen in love with him, all those years ago. “I’m happy he has that too, sir.” He glanced toward the stairs, his smile fading. “But...if Vani was able to use Stephan to get Quint to let you go, who’s to say that won’t happen again? If not with you and Seth…”

Holding up one hand, Jared shook his head. “It’s different this time. I do believe Stephan is a skilled therapist and his presence could be a positive for all of us. But you’re right. He works for Vani and that would be possible except for one simple fact.” He rose up a bit, smiling down at Pike. “You’re not going to let that happen.”

“Okay, Seth hinting that I should—” Pike pressed his lips shut, his face heating. Damn it, how could a Dom who could be so tough and mean be so easy to talk to? The dude didn’t need to know everything.

From the slight smirk on Jared’s lips, he already did. “I’m getting to know Seth all over again, too, but some things don’t change. I’m not the least bit surprised that he’d nudge you in that direction. As I said, we do want Stephan here, but it won’t hurt to keep him too busy to meddle in things we’d rather he not, yes?”

“Yes, sir.” Pike grinned, more than a little relieved to have Jared’s stamp of approval. Seth’s was the only one he really needed, but Jared could’ve made getting anything done a whole lot harder. Instead, he’d just removed a few more obstacles.

Now, all that was left was figuring out how the hell to deal with Stephan in a way that wouldn’t upset Quint. He couldn’t forget the good the therapist had done for the man he loved.

Or ignore the bad.

Tongue pressed to his bottom lip, he lifted his gaze to the Dom. “How do I pull this off without going too far? This is me. I get in trouble without even trying.”

“Yes, this is you, my little gremlin.” Jared ruffled his hair, then smoothed it back. “Imagine what you could manage if you did try? I think it would be something to behold. And there are so many ways you could keep a well-meaning therapist occupied. He might even enjoy the challenge.”

And that was the answer, right there.

Pike could be himself, maybe be a little naughty, and keep Stephan’s focus off Quint for a bit, but only one thing would really challenge Stephan enough to keep him from influencing Quint again if Vani did have a hand in this.

Give him another target she’d be interested in with a problem no professional in his field would be able to resist.

“Quint said he hoped Stephan could help me with my fear of dogs. When I was ready.” Pike pressed his eyes shut, swallowing hard. “I’m ready.”


Part 10


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  1. Jared encouraging sub ‘trouble’ - Jared! 😮

  2. I loved how Jared completely sees the perfection in the relationship between Pike and Quint. And how you see how much both Seth and Jared love Quint so much, they'll do anything to protect him, even, ahem, encourage Pike, while really, helping Pike at the same time. Also, GO LD!!!

  3. The more we've seen of Quint I often think with him being a merc and he has to be in control more often than not it seems like his submissive needs might get overlooked alot...just thoughts/wondering on the dynamics .

    1. I think that as well. I hope Jared's connection with him strengthens. I think their dynamic may help with that a lot.

  4. So I'm thinking Jared putting Pike up to "trouble" is really getting Pike to interact with Stephen about his own issues and see that he really has nothing to worry about. Lol That's my story and I'm sticking to it :)

  5. Loved the short animal stand off but poor Pike. Can't wait to see what mischief he gets up to, to distract Stephen.


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