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


A bit earlier than expected, but I couldn't wait!

Happy Reading!


Part One

Part Two 

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six 

Part Seven

Part Eight 

Part Nine

Part Ten 


If there had ever been a time that Quint was actually tempted to pull Pike over his knee and spank him, this was it. Taking the stairs two at a time, he burst into the room he’d given Stephan, even though Pike had obviously cleared out already. He needed to assess the damage.

What in God’s name...

Every single piece of furniture had been moved to the center of the room, piled up like someone had been playing tetris with them. Empty drawers were positioned on top of the dresser, mattress and boxspring on an angle, dog crate on top of the nightstands. At least everything was covered in plastic, because the other change was...

“What in the world are you doing, Ezran?” Quint stared at the young man, who was up on a ladder he must have brought up here at some point while Stephan was away.

Ezran gave him a sideways look. “Painting. I found a few gallons of paint in the shed that was still good and adjusted the color. No offense, man, but these rooms were kinda drab. I didn’t think you’d mind me freshening them up a bit.” The edge of his lips twitched as he continued painting the trim a dark purple. “Pike wanted to surprise Stephan and do his first, but he couldn’t do everything with his foot all busted up. I’m helping.”

Rubbing a hand over his eyes, Quint inhaled slowly, doing his best to maintain calm. “You’re…helping? Ezran…” He lowered his hands. “Please, explain to me what the purpose of throwing all Stephan’s clothes out of the window was.”

That got him a shrug. “We didn’t want to get paint on it and it wouldn’t be safe for Pike to go up and down the stairs alone. It can all be washed, no biggie.”

“No big…” Quint shook his head, deciding to leave the young man for someone else to deal with. He had his hands more than full enough with Pike. “Where is he?”

“Stephan? Sounded like he’s out in the yard. Which sucks, it’s gonna ruin the surprise.” It became very obvious Ezran was trying not to laugh. If nothing else, getting into mischief seemed to have put him in a better mood. “Wanna do me a solid and distract him until I’m done? And tell Pike to get back in here, the bottom of that wall’s not done.”

Lips thin, Quint held Ezran’s gaze for a moment. “I think I’ll have Lawson come in here to ‘help’ you. If you’ll excuse me.”

Back in the hall, Quint passed each closed door. Behind one, Avery was laughing at something Rhodey said, sounding much better than he had even yesterday, which made Quint smile. He owed the sub more than he could ever repay for what he’d done for Pike. It would be good to see him up and about again.

This also meant he’d be cleared from quarantine soon. And Seth could stop keeping his distance to avoid making Quint or Pike sick.

The knowledge was both a relief and brought back the deep pain of the disappointment in Jared’s eyes when he’d learned what Quint had kept from him. There was no doubt in Quint’s mind that Seth would understand, but he didn’t want another reason for his Doms to clash.

Unlike the other subs here, he didn’t have the privilege of simple choices he could opt whether or not to surrender, depending on how deep he wanted his submission to be. His decisions could mean life or death and that wasn’t a burden he’d put on anyone.

Yes, Jared would have been more comfortable having the information beforehand.

He also might have killed Stephan if he’d gotten it before seeing for himself that Stephan meant no harm. And Quint owed Stephan too. There was no way he’d risk putting a target on his back when the man had come all this way to help. On his request.

Sighing, Quint went to the first unassigned room, opening the door and glancing inside. He listened for a moment.

“Is Danny hiding again?”

Quint almost jumped, huffing out a laugh instead as he looked over his shoulder at Seth. “No, sir. He’s with his Doms—Stephan just brought them in.” He cleared his throat. “I was looking for Pike. There’s something I need to disc—”

Brow raised, Seth held up a hand to cut him off. “Careful, my boy. I understand your impulse to protect him, but he’s my sub. As are you. Tell me what happened.”

“It might be better if I show you, sir.” Quint was uncomfortable with snitching, but this didn’t feel the same. In that instant, the tension building in his chest loosened, making it a bit easier to breathe. He returned to Stephan’s room, opening the door.

This time, when Ezran looked over, the careless attitude faded the second he met Seth’s eyes. His lips parted and he scrambled down the ladder. “It’s not a big deal, I was just gonna surprise the dude.”

Seth folded his arms over his chest. “We both know that’s not true. Already I can tell this was some kind of prank. You will finish, now that you’ve started, and once the paint is dry you will put the room back in order. And you will move all of Stephan’s things to your room since you’ve decided you had the right to make changes to this one.”

“Um, well...none of Stephan’s stuff is in here anymore.” Ezran held up both hands. “Nothing’s broken, I put everything that was fragile in the spare room at the end of the hall.”

Giving him a long look, Seth inclined his head. “That’s something at least. You will ask him where he wants it placed, if he wants you to touch anything of his again. Come to me when you’re done, I’ll make sure you don’t have so much free time on your hands for the remainder of our stay.” He turned to Quint. “Pike was involved in this?”

Gaze going to the still open window, Quint nodded. “He was painting and...moved Stephan’s clothes so they couldn’t be damaged.”

“I see.” Seth’s jaw hardened as he stepped back into the hall. “Pike, come here.”

The sound of Pike’s crutches on tiles carried before the bathroom door opened. He poked his head out, blue hair damp like he’d just finished washing it, then slipped into the hall. Chewing on his bottom lip, he met Seth’s hard gaze. “Sir, I was…” Shame filled his eyes. He looked at the floor. “I’m sorry.”

Crooking his fingers, Seth motioned Pike to him. “You will be. Come, you and I need to spend some quality time together.” He reached out, latching on to Quint’s wrist before he could cross the distance to help Pike. “No, my boy. He got up here and managed to get himself in trouble on his own. I want you to go downstairs for a bit. Come back up in an hour or so with some tea and lunch. We’ll be eating in our room, where Pike will be staying until he remembers how to behave himself.”

Quint rolled his shoulders, shoving back the urge to come up with excuses for Pike. The other sub didn’t want them, not really, and he needed Seth to take control.

So do I.

Even though giving it up was a lot harder than it should be. He managed a small smile. “Yes, sir. I’ll be right back.”

“No, you will follow my orders to the letter.” Seth tugged him closer, framing Quint’s jaw with his hand. “Spend some time chatting with Keiran. Take out your guns and clean them. Whatever will relax you. You’re not being punished, my boy. You are showing me you trust me to handle things.”

Holding Seth’s gaze, Quint did his best to let his Dom see how much he trusted him, because the words weren’t enough.

Which was exactly why Seth was asking him to show it.

Not with a look or anything he said.

With his actions.

“I will, sir.” Quint leaned into Seth’s touch as his Dom’s lips pressed to his, smiling a bit more when Seth kept the kiss uncharacteristically chaste.

Speaking against his lip, Seth gave him a hooded look. “Impress me and you’ll get more later, my boy. We’ll show Pike what he misses out on when he can’t be a good boy for me.”

Silent at Seth’s side now, Pike bowed his shoulders a bit at that, but wisely kept his mouth shut. It would do him some good to feel their Dom’s boundaries snug around him again. Quint just had to keep that in mind when he was tempted to step in and make things easier for him.

Even though it felt a bit like his own punishment, whether it was meant that way or not.

Once Seth dismissed him, Quint went downstairs, slowing as he passed through the dining room. The long wood table was covered with a blue tarp, small containers filled with paint in a rainbow of colors spread out at either side of Jamie, who was lying on the table blindfolded.

And naked.

He giggled as Jared stroked a brush down the center of his chest.

“Hmm.” Leaning over him, Noah trailed his fingers over the wet paint, spreading it even more. His left arm was still in a sling, keeping it still so to avoid re-injuring his shoulder, but the bandage was off his head, his thick curls making it impossible to see where the incision had been. He looked stronger than he had since he’d gotten here. “That’s a jade green, a bit darker than your eyes, little cat.” He turned to the plank of wood that had been propped up on what looked like a hastily put together easel, adding the color to what looked to be a painting of Jamie in that exact position, surrounded by a retreating darkness, the lines a bit faded, but coming clearer near the center.

This was...how Noah was seeing everything.

So much better than before, and his ability to see color again was a huge breakthrough. Quint stopped in the doorway, afraid to interrupt, but needing to take a moment to enjoy the sight of Noah’ recovery.

“Try lower again, Wren.” Noah turned his head fully, bringing his focus to his other sub, showing where the weakness in his vision still was. He needed to center whatever he was looking at. But that could improve over time.

Wren nodded, seeming to hold his breath as he took a fresh brush and dipped it into a bright blue. He grinned when Jamie started squirming at the droplets hitting the top of his foot. “You’re not supposed to move.”

“I can’t help it.” Jamie panted, wiggling his hips, his erection bumping against his stomach. “I don’t think Noah meant that low. You missed a whole section.”

Running his fingers up and down Jamie’s side in a soothing gesture, Noah stared at the paint trailing down Jamie’s foot. His expression closed off as he set down his brush. “I think the painting is done.” He ran his hand down Jamie’s chest, smearing all the different colors before he took a firm hold of his sub’s dick, stroking him as Jamie cried out. “You were a very good model, my sweet little cat. You may come.”

At the end of the table, Jared latched onto Jamie’s wrist, holding him down while his and Noah’s boy writhed. His lips curved into a wicked smile when Noah tightened his grip just in time to stop Jamie’s release, forcing him to ride out an orgasm without it.

Meaning he’d be ready for another almost immediately.

With a few quiet steps, Quint retreated from the dining room, going out the front instead, Seth’s instructions at the forefront of his mind. His Dom wanted him to relax and ruining this moment for Jared with his presence wouldn’t be the least bit relaxing.

“Candy won’t literally kill me, will it? I think I’m in more danger of dying if I don’t have any soon.” Stretched out on a blanket in the sun, Reed shielded his eyes, peering up at Curtis, who looked like he was putting together a lounge chair he was making from scratch.

Which explained the extra trees he’d cut down and had been sectioning off.

Sprawled beside Reed, Matt shook his head as he watched Curtis sanding down one arm of the chair. “You’re just starting to manage normal food, my man. Lawson said you gotta follow the doctor’s instructions. I can go get you some banana chips. They’re organic.”

“I’m in hell, that’s what this is.” Reed flopped an arm over his eyes. “Banana chips ain’t gonna replace gummy worms.”

A secret smile on his face, Curtis looked at Matt and brought a finger to his lips. He put down the sandpaper, using a bit of water from a bottle to clean his hands, then pulled something from his pocket. Crouching down beside Reed, he spoke softly. “Keep your eyes closed and open your mouth.”

Reed obeyed, wrinkling his nose. “I’m not allowed any of that either, but if you order me to cheat, sir, I’m all for it.”

“Bad boy. You’re going to get me in trouble with Law.” Curtis plucked something small and red from a baggie, then slipped it past Reed’s lips. “Taste that. Tell me how good it is.”

“Mmm.” Groaning, Reed sucked Curtis’s fingers, chewing on whatever it was his Dom fed him. “More, please?”

Stepping forward, Quint frowned at Curtis when he took out another piece of what was obviously candy. A bit of sugar might not be too detrimental to Reed’s recovery, but it was better for him to avoid it, especially when his liver hadn’t fully regenerated.

Curtis gave him a reassuring smile. “It’s a special kind of all natural, sugar-free alternative. I asked Stephan to check in with a specialist and pick up something safe.” He bent to kiss Reed’s forehead. “I’ll get you through this without being miserable, sparkles. You know me, I always find a way.”

Chewing slowly, Reed opened his eyes. “You’re the fucking best, sir.” His dimple showed when Curtis gave him a stern look. “Matt gave me one of his free passes.”

Which Matt confirmed with a solemn nod.

“Matt’s used up his for a month, but I’ll let it slide. This time.” Curtis cupped Matt’s face, claiming a soft kiss. “Get to our room. Clothes off. Law wants you waiting for him.”

Cheeks going red, Matt nodded quickly and shoved to his feet, moving faster than Quint had ever seen him. Up the stairs in a flash, he shouted out a distracted greeting to Keiran even as the door closed behind him.

Approaching the edge of the blanket where Reed lay, Quint gave him an assessing once over. From Reed’s file, it was no surprise that he was tricky to treat. He had a high pain threshold, and it was more challenging to keep him from doing too much than it was to get him moving around enough, like it would be with some patients.

He’d been moved too soon after surgery, but that couldn’t be helped. Over the last week, as Matt had mentioned, his ability to keep down food had been the biggest concern, as well as managing pain and watching out for infection.

It had been a couple of days since Quint had given him a thorough exam. His rosy color could be from laying in the sun, but it was better to be safe than sorry.

Taking a knee, he brushed his fingers over Reed’s cheek. “You’re a bit warm. Has there been more pain around the incision?”

“I mean, it’s a bit achy, but not too bad.” Reed sighed at Curtis’s level look. “I’m not just avoiding the pain meds. I take them when it really hurts and I always tell you or Lawson.”

Nodding slowly, Curtis met Quint’s eyes. “You’re worried about infection.”

“Yes, but it’s likely mild and it’s a good sign that he’s not getting sick anymore. I’m going to take a look at the incision and put him on some antibiotics.” Quint moved to give Curtis space to pick Reed up. “We can set up in the living room where he’ll be comfortable and not feel like he’s being confined to bed again.”

Curtis smiled at Reed as his sub curved an arm behind his neck. “That doesn’t sound too bad, right?”

“No, sir, it’s cool, but...what about the puppy?” Reed blew out a noisy breath. “Why does Stephan have to be nice and get me candy and have a cute puppy? Someone tell me he’s got a white van so he stops looking perfect or I will have guilt.”

Every single sub except for Danny probably deserved a bit of guilt for the hard time they were giving Stephan, but Quint knew the man would handle them in his own way. And, as Stephan would point out to anyone who asked, this was nothing compared to being tested by a few dozen mercs who were convinced he was some kind of spy.

“Me and Keiran are heading out to take over on watch as soon as Keiran’s finished setting out lunch. We’ll bring Koda with us.” Jogging over, Dallas patted his thighs, bringing the puppy to him from where he’d been chasing Bram’s shadow through the grass. Yipping, Koda jumped up to lick Dallas’ cheek. The man lifted the puppy into his muscular arms, coming close enough for Koda to turn his licks on Reed. “He’s precious, isn’t he? You can’t keep being mean to his owner, you’ll make him sad.”

Laughing and sputtering, Reed stroked the puppy’s fur. “You’re all outnumbering me. No fair.”

“Cheat to win, my boy.” Curtis winked at Dallas, then started for the back door. “All jokes aside, you really should give Stephan a chance. I’ve been talking to Ez a lot about...what happened. But I’m not a professional. Best I could do is get him to stop wanting to turn himself in.”

A step behind the other man, Quint debated whether or not to share what he knew with the other men. Stephan had made some inquiries, if only to find out how much they had to worry about law enforcement searching for them, along with the bounty on Lawson’s head.

He folded his arms over his chest as Curtis laid Reed on the sofa. “The man Ezran thinks he killed...isn’t dead. It was a close call, but he survived surgery. He’s also wanted for numerous assaults, but the problem is the gang he’s part of has strong connections. Vani’s been making the evidence against Ezran disappear as a favor to Rhodey.”

“Too bad he didn’t kill the fucker.” Tone sharp, Curtis stroked Reed’s hair. “This is good though, right? He’s in the clear?”

Quint hesitated. “Yes, but I think we all know he might give into the impulse again. If he thinks some kind of vigilantism will ‘fix him’, not only will the man being alive feel like a failure, he’ll keep trying. We need to convince him to talk to Stephan.”

Pressing his eyes shut, Reed put his hand over Curtis’s forearm. “And we...I mean...I just made that harder by letting him get in on messing with the guy. Damn it, I wasn’t thinking. He was all in, wanting to do something fun with Pike. I figured it would be good for him.”

“It was. And don’t be too hard on yourself, sparkles.” Curtis shot Quint a knowing look. “Whatever you lot planned? Stephan’s five steps ahead of you. I’ve seen him let a merc stab him just so he could hold him close and get the guy talking about his daddy issues. He moved so the knife wouldn’t hit any vital organs. The man is seriously hardcore.”

Eyes wide, Reed stared at Curtis. “You sure know how to pick ‘em. No wonder you like the guy. He’s definitely Asylum material.”

At the cabinet near the door, Quint pulled out his medkit, bringing it to the coffee table. He pulled out a pair of gloves, then bent down to lift Reed’s shirt. As expected, the skin around the healing incision was red, but didn’t look swollen. Most of the skin seemed to be knitting together nicely, but a few parts had gotten some strain. Reed needed the antibiotics, some fresh stitches, and dressing to give the wound more time to heal.

The presence behind him didn’t startle him as much as Seth had before—if he got taken off guard that often, he’d be dead—but Quint stilled anyway, knowing exactly who it was.

Jared’s tone was mild as he put his hand on Quint’s shoulder. “Aren’t you supposed to be relaxing, my boy?”

Does Jared not trust me enough to even care for Reed now? Quint pushed to his feet, meeting those icy blue eyes that he’d never really seen as cold, though he understood why others would. His Dom didn’t open up to just anyone. Those who were close to him were precious.

And those who weren’t would feel the chill.

Right now, Quint wasn’t feeling it, but he hated not knowing where he stood.

“He’s my patient, sir. He admitted to some discomfort that hadn’t been noted earlier. I thought it would be a good idea to check on it.” He shared his diagnosis, doing his best not to show any resentment of having his work double checked like he was no more than a resident in his first year. Lifting his chin, he held his pleasant smile in place. “The treatment is fairly standard. I also recommend he reduce his activities for a few more days and have someone with him at all times, just in case. I don’t expect that will be a problem.”

Hand still on his shoulder, Jared turned Quint to face him. “No, it won’t be. And I know you’re taking good care of him, Quint. Look at me. No.” He gave Quint a little shake. “Not like that. Not like I’m your commanding officer and I’m giving you orders you know you can’t disagree with. I’m your Dom and I love you. I’m trying to understand you after over ten long damn years.”

Quint stared at the other man, unsure what he was getting at. He pointed at Reed, who’d gone quiet, his Dom crouched down at his side. “This hasn’t changed. Not one bit. I take care of people. It’s what I do. It’s what I know and it will never change. Yes, I keep secrets. It’s part of my job, a part that’s saved lives. I need you to trust me, and I know I need to earn that. But trusting me will sometimes mean getting information only when I can give it. I won’t accept guilt for it. I won’t apologize.It was ten years and I missed you, so damn much, but I don’t regret it. I don’t regret seeing people who are still breathing because I still had something to offer. At one point...it was all I could hang on to. Seeing their faces when I was completely alone.”

He shut his mouth. Resisted the urge to put his hand over it, because this wasn’t what he did. He didn’t rant. He didn’t spill his emotions all over the place. And he certainly didn’t use that bitter, hurt tone with his Doms.

Only...he had. Twice. With Seth.

“I never wanted that for you, my boy. I… You weren’t meant to be alone. I can see it now in the way you care for anyone who will let you. In the short time you’ve been with us...there’s been a change. And I’m grateful I can be here to see it.” Jared brought his hand up to Quint’s cheek. “Keep the secrets you need to, I’ll do my best to accept that. But let me in where you can. Don’t try to go at it on your own, you aren’t in that place anymore.”

Quint put his hand over Jared’s. “Stephan’s a good man. He works with what he has. He had me, in a time when I couldn’t have you.” Catching the confusion, and maybe a hint of unease in Jared’s eyes, he quickly shook his head. “Not like that. I went through a long period of...not wanting to get involved with anyone. I played fast and loose. Stephan didn’t approve and there also wasn’t...we didn’t click. He’s just a good friend.”

Huffing, Jared slid his hand to the back of Quint’s neck, drawing him in until their foreheads touched. “I’m happy you have him. And that we all do, from what you’ve said. But I still find it hard to imagine what your life was. ‘Fast and loose’ doesn’t sound like you at all.”

“I lost the people who mattered. I wasn’t looking to replace them. To replace you.” Quint took a deep breath. “It’s a good thing I didn’t try. You and Seth would have destroyed them.” His lips slanted. “Noah? With you providing the foundation for him as a Dom, he might have managed it if he’d tried. I’m lucky he was distracted by the situation with Jamie, or I’d have been a goner. I almost was.”

That got him a soft smile. “I can see that. Noah has a way of getting under your skin. But neither of you seem interested in going back there?”

Considering his last few, very distant exchanges with Noah, Quint inclined his head. “I don’t have those kinds of feelings for him. I would have continued submitting to get that fulfillment again if I hadn’t seen you. Or Seth. But once I did? I needed it all. I needed…” He took a deep breath. “It wasn’t even just giving up control and having it mean something. I fell in love with Pike. I was reminded how it felt and I refused to accept any less. Because I saw him doing exactly what I had once. Taking the little he could get. I wanted to show him there’s so much more.”

“And I think you have. He’s a frustrating little thing, but I’m starting to see what you do in him. That family produced a lot of monsters, but somehow, the cream rose to the top. We have Curtis.” Jared reached out in a rare show of random affection, brushing his hand over Curtis’s hair. “And we have Pike. They’re important to us all, my boy. You’ve asked me to trust you, and I will. But I will ask the same. Trust that those you care for have the kind of team you’ve always wanted. One you will never have to lose.”

Those words showed Jared really did see him. There might be pieces missing, with all the time that had passed, but they could be rebuilt. And Quint wanted that. More than anything.

He lowered his gaze to his hands. “Sir, Pike is...being punished right now. For throwing Stephan’s things out of the window, invading his privacy, and...painting his room without asking.” His lips twitched at Curtis’s snort. “I want to be up there, making everything better for him and taking the blame for not stopping him. But I can’t and...this is as relaxed as I really get when there are patients who need our care. I tried Wren’s…” He laughed, shaking his head. “Suck-dick-you? I do not have his skills. Or Jamie’s sense of humor.”

“You are not like my other boys. You are you, and I love you for that.” Jared nodded to Quint’s bag. “Would you mind if I assist? Not because I doubt your skills, but because I worry about this one.” He nudged his chin at Reed. “And it will make me feel better. I enjoy working with you.”

Reed laced his fingers with Curtis’s, looking up at Jared. “I like Quint and all, sir, but...if it’s cool with you both, I really want you to take a look at it. It...kinda freaks me out. The pain isn’t...there most of the time. You know me so it’s like, you get it? Sometimes I feel like it’s gonna rip right open, which freaks me out, but...I didn’t want to be a baby about it, you know?”

Looking at Quint as though letting him take the lead, Jared smiled. “If your doctor doesn’t have an issue with it, I’m more than happy to consult.”

“I’d welcome that, sir.” Quint bent down next to Reed. “He made a good point. The way you’ve played likely makes it easier for you to read him. And could help avoid this kind of damage again. The surgeons were decent, but some of these stitches…”

Putting on some gloves, Jared took a knee next to him, eyeing the wound. “Yes, I see what you mean.” He touched one of the darker red spots along Reed’s side, his gaze on Reed’s face, which hadn’t changed. “It’s sore there.”

“Yes, sir. But not like...needle sore. Kinda like a deep bruise.” Reed frowned. “Do you have to open me up again?”

Jared shook his head. “No, it’s likely the infection, along with some strain in the muscles that are still damaged. You need to listen to your body, my boy. Moving around is good, we don’t have to worry about blood clots. But you need to let others do things for you that were easy once. I don’t care if it’s standing, or getting dressed, or picking up a plate of food. You have people who are more than willing to help you. I expect you to ask.”

There was a sheen in Reed’s eyes before he closed them, turning his head even as Curtis made a soft, comforting sound. “I know what fifteen pounds is. There’s a lot I can still do on my own.”

“Reed, that’s after being out of the hospital. You didn’t stay that long.” Jared ran his hand down Curtis’s back, as though to reassure him that he’d done nothing wrong. “Let’s start over. We all understand why you don’t want to make a big deal about this. You helped a sister you will never know. Your connection to her is a man who has no right to call himself your father. No one will question those decisions, but it doesn’t change what your body needs to heal. You can’t pretend you haven’t just gone through major surgery.”

This was a situation Stephan could probably help with, but when Reed opened his eyes and took a deep breath, tears spilling down his cheeks, it was clear the young man had everything he needed. Men who loved him. Who would support him as only a true family could.

And that was what every single one of them had here. Family.

One Quint was part of, whether he’d intended it or not. He didn’t have to hold back, didn’t have to question where he fit in. Because he was here. Part of this moment. Not something fleeting that he would ever have to let go of.

He could care and it wouldn’t be used against him.

“Is...is it fucked up that knowing there’s gonna be a nasty scar is messing with me? Like I’ll have to see it and remember him, telling everyone I didn’t care if she died. That I have to remember him at all.” Reed thumped his head on the pillow. “It’s stupid. And I should’ve been more careful if I didn’t want to make it worse.”

Quint shook his head, thinking on the training he’d received as a merc from surgeons who knew anything identifiable could kill someone’s cover. “Scars can create issues for many reasons. I’ve been trained on how to reduce them. I’ll have to redo some of what the surgeons did, but it will be cleaner. With the right care, there will hardly be a mark.”

The hope in Reed’s eyes almost broke his heart. With all his bravado, there was nothing he wanted more. Unlike so many would, he didn’t see this as some heroic act. As a gift he’d given. He’d done it to save his sister, but the aftermath was more painful than anything.

He couldn’t erase it, but he’d welcome the next best thing.

“Sir?” Reed turned a bit, looking up at Curtis. “I know you’re probably tired of taking care of me and—”

Never. I told you, I’m here, my boy. For whatever you need. You want me to make this decision for you because it’s messing with you to say it? To tell us, straight up, what you need?” Curtis combed his fingers through Reed’s hair, nodding once. “Done.” He lifted his gaze to Jared. “Do whatever you need to.”

Jared took a deep breath. “The room you gave us is the easiest to set up for surgery. You have all the equipment here. I’ll have Jamie and Wren move all our things to the other room. This is your place, my boy.” He pushed to his feet, then squeezed Quint’s shoulder. “The next step is up to you.”

Mind going over all that would be necessary to make this safe for not only Reed, but everyone here, Quint gave a firm nod. “We need all the people on watch we can spare. No one unaccounted for, I can’t split my focus. And Seth needs to be in on this.”

There were so many reactions he could have prepared for. Irritation. Shutting down completely. Or an objection.

But Jared only nodded and smiled.

“Just like old times. For one of my boys?” Jared reached out and took Reed’s free hand. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”


Part 12


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  1. Purple! Love it. Totally worth it. So much going on my head is spinning.

  2. Loved seeing Ezran having a lighthearted moment even if it was for the wrong reasons and love that Quint is finally starting to feel like he has family and is not alone any more ❤️

  3. Love seeing into Quint's mind and feelings; My heart aches for him sometimes, but seeing the way Seth and Jared "get" him is so beautiful <3

  4. everythime i see jared i get some content safe.feeling i cannot help it.

  5. I swear Jared has a way of making me want to yell at him and hug him all at the same time lol I hate that Reed is going through all this.

  6. Oh Ezran makes me want to smack him upside the head and hug him all at the same time. Reed just makes my heart ache, not wanting to be too needy and all the mixed emotions he's got to be feeling about the situation with his sister.


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