LOVE & STITCHES at The Asylum Part Two


Happy Sunday and welcome back to The Asylum!

I hope everyone's had a great weekend and today is nice and slow and relaxing. Or at least has a bit less chaos than our guys have to face!

Nothing you can't slap a bandage on. ;)

Happy Reading!




“I need Quint. Stat!” Feeling slightly unhinged, Jared bellowed at the ceiling, knowing Connor would pick up the request.

“I’m fine.” Smiling through his grimace, Jacks plucked the glass out of the back of his foot, where it had jammed upward, before Jared could stop him. Blood arced, a strong pulse that signalled a larger vein or possibly the branch of the tibial artery.

Down on his knees, Danny pressed a bar towel against Jacks’ foot, his whole body trembling as he did his best to comfort his Dom. “Quint is really good at stitches, sir. Deep breaths. That’s what the doctors always say. Please be okay. Please?”

With Curtis drunk off his ass, Matt locked in with Wren, the rest of the core absent from the bar, Jared didn’t dare leave the front door open and vulnerable. If it wouldn’t have cut him off from the medical supplies, pulling a lockdown would’ve been an option. Instead, he made do with the med kit from under the bar, careful to keep away from the broken glass himself. He swept most of the glasses into the sink onto the rubber liner, where a few of them cracked, and would later congratulate himself on being able to single handedly lift Jacks’ relatively skinny ass onto the bar. 

“Danny, you’re doing great. Keep holding that towel for me. Compression is good.” Jared opened the kit, flinging supplies away that he didn’t need and focusing on the ones he did. “How’re you doing, my man?”

Petting Danny’s hair with one hand, Jacks gave him a thumbs up with the other. “A little lightheaded, but I think it’s just cuz I’m a little freaked out.”

The blood on the floor and soaking the towel told a different story. Jared gave Danny a bracing smile. “Happens to the best of us.”

The gym doors burst open, Shea’s growl getting a few members out of his way, Quint taking a more strategic approach, weaving around them and reaching the bar first. He moved into position silently, behaving as though seeing a member of the core lying bloody on the bar was the most normal thing in the world.

Shea’s reaction was much different. “Jesus Christ, what happened?” He brushed his hand over Jacks’ hair, the color leaving his face so he was almost as pale as their boy. “Are you...fuck, no, you’re obviously not okay. I’m fucking sorry I wasn’t here.”

Jacks’ laugh was weaker than usual, tinged with panic. “I get to be the princess in distress after all instead of the wicked witch. Right, Danny?”

Bottom lip quivering, Danny gave his Dom a quick nod. “You’d make a pretty princess, sir. And you’re not at all wicked. Do you see a light? Don’t walk towards it.”

Jared gently nudged Danny in Shea’s direction, taking over the compression as Quint got the supplies ready. “We need a tourniquet so we can move him to the clinic for an IV.”

“Yes, sir.” Quint applied the tourniquet with practiced ease, speaking in a calm, quiet tone as he got into position to move Jacks with Jared. “I’m glad I didn’t talk Wren out of donating again. He finds the whole process a bit too fascinating, but within reason it’s harmless. I assume he’s been moved somewhere safe? Where is Pike?”

“Yes.” He spared a worried glance toward the cigar lounge. “Pike is in the galley with Curtis and Reed.” Forearms under Jacks’ arms, Jared worked with Quint to carry him toward the clinic, someone holding the doors open for them along the way. “And he’s fine, but he’s a bit drunk.”

Quint’s lips thinned, but he continued keeping pace with Jared, his tone never changing. He was trying to keep the patient calm. “I shouldn’t have left Pike in the bar for Rhodey to watch. That won’t happen again.”

“I believe that was intentional.” Tone equally conversational, Jared threw Quint an apologetic smile. “He has a way of getting his point across.” The clinic door opened, the scent of medicine replacing that of sweat from the gym and alcohol from the bar. “Buck up, Jacks. Shea will be waiting on you for a week or so.”

“Ugh. Have you tasted his cooking?” Jacks slurred his words together.

Shea huffed, folding his arms over his chest and leaning against the glass partition cutting off the exam room from the rest of the onsite clinic. “Hey, neither you or Danny have starved yet.”

“Speaking of Danny, please help him clean off that blood, sir. And give him some juice to sit and sip before he passes out.” Quint delivered the command like it was a firm suggestion, giving Shea a pointed look when he hesitated. “If I have to do it for you, you’ll be asked to leave.”

Telling his physician he was a good boy didn’t exactly suit OR protocol, but Jared did it anyway. In his own fashion. “Nicely done, my boy.” Glancing over his shoulder, he tried to determine how bad of an idea it would be to ask Shea to also text Jamie to get Wren up to the lofts with Matt. “Shea. If you can, text Jamie. Have him get my boy upstairs.” The lack of command was more for the sake of Shea, who looked a little paler than Danny at this point. Not deterring him from the original purpose was key. “And drink some juice yourself.”

“Sure.” Shea looked around the clinic, bending down when Danny put a hand on his arm.

“There’s juice in the little fridge, Jared always gives me one when I come in for checkups.” Danny stared at his hand, like he’d noticed for the first time it was slick with blood. “I usually don’t...this… Sir?”

Shea caught Danny just in time, carrying him over to the sink. “It’s okay. What does Rhodey always say? Spilled sauce or some shit? I’ll wash you up and we’ll have some juice. Let me guess, it’s...pineapple, your favorite.”

Satisfied that Shea had everything under control, Jared made short work of setting up the line. He hung a bag of blood that he did his best not to think about being from his own boy, and assisted Quint who really did seem to be a grand master when it came to applying thread and needle to the human canvas. 

“If it helps—” Keeping up conversation, Jared settled into the rhythm they’d developed working side-by-side under tan canvas in the desert. “—I had my eye on things. So did Curtis. I think his hangover might be worse.”

Quint’s lips thinned. “No, I’ll give him a banana bag. I won’t have him suffering for my bad judgment, whatever lesson Rhodey might be trying to teach. He gets a little bored in the clinic, and he enjoys the atmosphere in the bar much more, but either Seth or myself should be with him. I feel better when he’s close anyway.”

“At least we have air conditioning.” Referencing sweltering days and frigid nights that had been their norm, Jared disposed of the bandage leavings as Quint finished up the wrap. 

Sitting up a little with his hand behind his head, Jacks looked down at the results, his color already returning. “Aw, hell. These were new sandals too.”

Shea snorted, wiping Danny off with a towel, having stripped his boy down to his boxers and tossing all his clothes in the general direction of the trash. “Damn, I woulda bet money you’d be more upset about ruining your manicure.”

“Nah. That just means Danny and I can have another spa day.” Opening his arm, he motioned to his boy. “Let’s go for the rainbow sparkles you wanted me to try, this time.”

Danny started toward his Dom, stopping short when his other Dom let out a sharp whistle, and took the juice box Shea had fetched from the fridge. He brought it with him, crawling up beside Jacks carefully and snuggling in close. He was shivering, but it lessened when Jacks put an arm around him. “Are you feeling better, sir?”

“Much.” Gaze dipping to the straw, Jacks nudged his chin at the juice box. “Sip. And tell me if you like piña coladas, and getting caught in the rain.” Grin lopsided, he hummed the refrain like it was an in-joke between him and Danny. 

“No to the rain, but I like sharing piña coladas with you, sir.” Danny brought the straw to Jacks’ lips. “This juice is even better. Jared found it for me when I told him what my favorite was and Stephan said I should stop worrying about the calories in them. The numbers are all blacked out so I couldn’t check if I wanted to.”

Jared, finished washing his hands, grabbed two blankets from the warmer. He brought them to Jacks, laying one over him and the second around Danny’s shoulders. Just when he was ready to chuck away all hope for being able to respect Danny’s original Doms, they did something that turned things around. The song and the care that Shea and Jacks had shown moved them out of the red zone. 

“Stay here for a few hours. Quint or I will check on you and let you know when you can go.” Jared ran his palm over the top of Danny’s soft brown hair. At some point he’d lost his floppy ears. “Let me know if Jacks gets out of this bed. If he does, I’ll be very unhappy.”

“I’ll make sure of it, sir.” Danny wrapped one arm over Jacks’ chest as though fully intending to physically keep him there if needed. His one green, one blue eyes lifted to Jared’s, full of gratitude. “Thank you for taking care of both of them, sir.”

“Always, for you, my little Despereaux.” On his way past Shea, Jared paused to speak low. “Don’t let Danny get out of bed either. He needs calm and fun. No swearing. Or I’ll put you on speech restrictions.”

Shea took a noisy sip from his juice box, the edge of his lips twitching. “You know, if you want to boss my ass around, there’s a ring. Where people fight. Then the loser gets to be on top. The rules change while I wasn’t looking?”

“No. They did not.” Looking Shea over, Jared sized him up. His arm had healed, and he’d been in the ring a decent amount. It would be a good fight.  “All right. Put it on the books. Next free slot on a night I’m not working.”

 “Consider it done.” Shea tossed the empty juice box, then grabbed a folding chair, dragging it over to the side of the bed. He patted Danny’s thigh. “Puppies don’t sulk, get that look off your face.”

Burying his face against Jacks’ chest, Danny mumbled into the blankets. “I’m not sulking, I’m concerned. You’re both already hurt. And I don’t want you to hurt Jared. This is the worst night ever.”

“Buck up, my mouse.” Hiking the blanket up a little higher, Jacks threw Jared a grin. “It’s not like we won’t let you watch what happens after.”

Jared snorted, shaking his head as he left the clinic. A smile on his lips until he stepped into the gym and remembered his briefcase, and Wren. Breaking into a fast walk, he noted the open cigar lounge door. His gaze skated past the front door to the bar, where Avery served drinks. The sub tipped his head toward the door to the stairwell and Jared nodded.

Noise fell away as the relative hush of the upper floors took over. At the fourth level he almost turned the wrong way and then remembered to continue to the newer fifth floor. The vestibule outside the loft was a deceptively simple space, and would lock around anyone unauthorized to be upstairs. Particularly diabolical was the ability to suck the oxygen out of the tiny room at the press of a button. A design Jared had come up with himself.

Stepping through the door into the loft he called out. “Hello?”

“Hey, sir.” Reed glanced over from where he was inspecting Noah’s books, pulling one out after the other, looking at the covers, then putting them back in a way that Wren would spend a ridiculous amount of time getting perfectly straight again. “Wren’s with Jamie in the bedroom. Pike’s losing everything he’s eaten for the last month. Doesn’t Noah have any good books? These are all fat and have no pictures.”

“Jamie’s not allowed manga, because he only looks at the drawings.” He knew what his boy was after, but any sort of comic book was forbidden once they’d figured out how distracting they were for Jamie. “Is Curtis with Pike?” Remembering the banana bag, he started to reach for his phone to text Quint, but realized again that he no longer had one. “Dammit.”

“Yeah, but I’m not sure he’s not taking turns with him. Matt just tagged in.” Reed sighed and pressed his hand to his side. “I was getting a bit sore crouching down and rubbing backs. Be nice when I’m not useless anymore.”

“You’re not useless to me.” Pulling Reed away from the shelves, Jared turned him. “If you don’t mind, I could use a kiss.”

Reed smiled and shook his head. “I don’t mind, sir. You smell nice. And taste better.”

“I’m surprised. After the last hour, I should smell like antiseptic and bourbon.” Jared spoke between soft kisses that gradually ended with him looping his arms around Reed’s waist to study his face. “Would you be interested in learning Japanese with me?”

Cocking his head, Reed nodded slowly. “I mean, I could try? I did good in school when I wasn’t bored, and the teachers didn’t get pissed about me not doing my homework. Or needing to get up every five minutes. Tracey talked to them a lot and that helped.” He lifted his shoulders. “You’re always cool with me, so it shouldn’t be a problem.”

Lifting one hand, Jared used it to brush the curls back from Reed’s forehead, delighting in how different they felt from Danny’s softer locks and Wren’s thick waves that he’d missed. “I could ask Rhodey to kidnap a Dom from Tokyo and we could chain him in the lofts to keep us educated and entertained.” He teased, naturally, but had no doubt Rhodey would find one of Vani’s people for them if necessary. “Or maybe a sub. Which would you prefer?”

“No kidnapping, it sucks balls.” Reed made a face at him, rising up a bit to nip his bottom lip. “I think there’s some cool online courses we could try. Jamie found a bunch. I was gonna get the stuff to learn how to make blown glass, but Lawson said no. Actually, he said ‘I do not want to see the damage you’d do to yourself with something like that and you’ll lose interest in a week’. He’s not wrong.”

Jared shrugged lightly. “There’s a glass blowing studio on Lake Champlain. They give day classes. We could go this weekend and try one out. No investment other than a lovely fall day and entry fees required.” It had been a while since he’d been anywhere other than The Asylum and the clinic. “It would do us both good to get out. Besides…” He glanced over his shoulder toward the bedroom door. “It’ll give us an opportunity to plan Wren’s birthday.”

Eyes glowing with excitement, Reed nodded. “That would be wicked, sir! I can make his present, something creepy. And there’s so much stuff at the glitter store for decorations. No one can complain if I grab some of everything since it’s for Wren. I mean, whatever he doesn’t want after, I can keep. Like upcycle it to spruce up the game room. You’re a genius!”


The word hadn’t been applied to him in a very long time. He blinked it away, as well as the visions that came along with it, and gave Reed a squeeze. “We’ll stop on our way to the class. It’ll be our secret. Can you get up early to sneak out with me? I’ll make sure Lawson knows.”

“Yes, sir, I’m all over that.” Reed paused, glancing toward the bathroom. “I mean, if Curtis isn’t too hungover. Doesn’t happen often, but, you know, I wanna take care of him. If he’s good, I’ll definitely come with.”

“Speaking of which, would you scoot down to the clinic and let Quint know where Pike and Curtis ended up? Also, let him know to bring two banana bags.” Patting Reed’s backside, Jared stepped away. “I need to check on Wren. After everything.”

Heading over to the door, Reed grabbed his sneakers, then plunked down to tug them on. “Yeah, he was a bit confused and kept saying he’d checked the schedule and he promised Matt to help with the inventory. Matt told him it was cool and Jamie managed to distract him, so I think he’s good now.”

“And is Matthew dealing with the stress well?” Every once in a while, Lawson’s boy could get a tad overwhelmed, and with the added responsibility of the café it had been a more stressful though largely happy time for the sub.

“Matt’s gonna need Lawson soon.” Reed used the bench by the door to help push himself to his feet. “I’m gonna swing by and see if he’s finished interviewing the new members. When he hears Curtis isn’t feeling well, he’ll wanna come up. I’ll be back in a jif.”

“Don’t run, my love.” Jared called after Reed, whose returning energy sometimes outpaced his body’s healing.

“I won’t!” Reed’s answer came just seconds before the door shut, already echoing in the stairwell.

Going to the kitchen, Jared opened the fridge to grab some of the lower-caffeine vitamin fortified RedBull they’d conspired to have concocted for Wren. No one had told his boy, and it delighted him to be able to treat Wren without feeling like he was handing him something that might harm him. On the top shelf in the back, he spotted the chocolate milk cartons Jamie had asked for and took one of those as well. It meant he had to use his elbow to open the door, giving him new appreciation for how Wren so deftly juggled such tasks. “Hello, my boys.” 

“Hello, sir.” Wren gave him a warm smile, looking up from where he’d been sitting cross-legged on the bed, petting Jamie’s hair. “I lost track of time in the cigar lounge and Jamie said I had to come up. I’d planned to greet you when you came home from work, but I must have missed it. I’ll do better next time. Is the club closed already?”

“I came home a little early.” Sitting on the edge of the bed, Jared leaned over to claim a kiss from Wren, causing Jamie to squeak. Jared leaned back, realizing he’d put his knee on Jamie’s hair and tugged it. “Sorry, love. Your hair is longer. Is that intentional?”

Scrambling up, Jamie leaned against the bedpost. “No, sir. I’ve tried to get to the stylist five times over the last month, but everytime I do the place either calls to cancel or my car breaks down.” He ran his hands through the shaggy strands with agitated flicks of his fingers. “I’d take the clippers to it but I like my ass.”

Wren winced, bringing his hand up to his own hair, which still had a long way to go before regaining its former length. “Yes, that would be a very bad idea. And your hair is really nice. I love how soft it is, please don’t ever cut it short, I don’t even mind pulling it out of the drain. It’s not nearly as bad as the fur LD gets on everything. Did he leave? I was sure he was going to pounce on your face, but maybe Reed got his treats for him. Do cats like bones? We should get him some.”

“I brought you a choco—” Jared broke off as Jamie scrambled off the bed and into the bathroom. 

Voice echoing hollowly, Jamie called, “How much hair in the drain?” He stood in front of the mirror to examine his hairline. “Was it a lot? Or a normal amount?”

“A normal amount. There are four people who shower here regularly, but you do lose a bit more when you bleach it.” Wren slid off the bed, following Jamie to the bathroom. “You really must stop listening to Danny worrying about everything. I know all the signs if you had some terrible disease. And you’re much less likely to get skin cancer now that you’re not spending so much time in the sun.”

“Boys!” Jared spoke up to get their attention. “If you think you’re getting me to bring you drinks in the future by ignoring my gesture, then you’re mistaken. Your Dom is in here.” Knowing it would at least get Wren’s attention and stop the ‘doom spiral’ around Jamie’s overly pampered looks, he put a little growl into his voice. “After a very long day picking gravel out of flesh.”

Catching Jamie’s hand, Wren towed him along as he returned to the bedroom, coming to a stop in front of Jared and taking a wait pose. “I’m sorry, sir, I should have known it would upset Jamie to bring up the hair in the drain. Thank you for the drinks. Would you like to talk about your day? How long did the gravel take to remove? Those kinds of procedures are always amazing to watch, maybe we should have some of the fighters use the parking lot so we have more cases like that.”

“There are a few I wouldn’t mind taking up that suggestion with. I left Seth to finish up, but I did wonder if you might’ve enjoyed it.” Handing Wren his RedBull, Jared brushed his lips with a kiss. “Forgiven.” He looked expectantly at Jamie, who clicked his tongue piercing against his teeth and stared toward the bathroom. “If you would like to see a hair specialist, I’m sure Noah will indulge you, Jamie.”

Kohl-lined green eyes widening, Jamie faced him. “Sorry, sir. Thank you for the chocolate milk.”

Jared nodded his approval, handing Jamie his drink. “Where is Noah?”

“I believe he stayed in the dance club?” Wren glanced over at Jamie, his lips turning down into a troubled frown. “Tay’s running the music now, Noah will not enjoy that. I should go see Lawson and see if the schedule can be adjusted so he can work in the bar instead. Everything has become very disorganized.”

“It will get better love. Change is hard.” Reaching over, Jared opened Wren’s drink and handed it back to him. “Jamie, I’m here now. You may go back to work.”

“Yes, sir.” Leaning over, Jamie brushed Jared’s cheek with a kiss and then Wren’s. He threw his “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do,” over his shoulder on the way out the door.

“Why did we have to come up? Is it safe?” Wren stared after Jamie, holding the can halfway to his mouth, his brow furrowed above the dark frames of his glasses. “Maybe it would be better if Jamie stayed here too. I believe several people are sick.” Interest sparked in his eyes. “Is there something going around? I hope it’s not too terrible but it would be fascinating to put the whole club on lockdown and quarantine the members. We can experiment with different treatments. Keiran has some poisons that might be effective in the right doses.”

“Tell me about your day, little raven.” Sitting back against the pillows on Noah’s side of the large bed, Jared kicked off his shoes in as much of an unkempt display of undressing as he allowed himself. “I missed you.”

Wren pressed his teeth into his bottom lip, then freed it to take a sip of his drink. He placed the can on the side table, then bent down to pick up Jared’s shoes. “I understand if you’d rather not discuss what’s happened, but it would be good if I was prepared. But to answer your question, I had a pleasant day, sir. Other than cleaning up cat hair, but it was a relief to have it done. I polished your boots and cleaned your leathers and Noah’s. I also washed the bathroom tiles, that was a pleasant task. Jamie read some of the lyrics to his new song to me, it's going to be beautiful.”

Jared patted the bed next to his hip. “I wanted to hear about your day first, but you’re right. You asked me a question. Several.” If he were honest with himself, at least, he’d found that sometimes Wren didn’t recall asking the questions he’d begun with, and that it was easier to follow up on the last thing he’d said or to segue into other topics. “I did something very foolish today, and it’s one of those things that when no one else kicks you for you end up kicking yourself.”

Sitting next to him, Wren lifted his gaze to meet Jared’s. “I don’t see you having done anything foolish, sir. Maybe someone else made a mistake and now you have to fix it. Is there any way I can help?”

“By sitting right here with me and telling me you love me even half as much as I love you, my little raven.” Arm around Wren, Jared bundled his boy to him. He kissed the top of Wren’s head “I unlocked my phone, took off the password. Then left my briefcase on the bar. Someone took it.”

Wren’s eyes went wide—Avery must have been sidetracked from bringing him the tablet. “Sir, if I can get my laptop I can remove all the information from it. Your phone. I love you and I want to stay with you, but I don’t want anyone to be in danger. Not because I’m here. Not again.”

“There are more targets here now than just you, love.” Sliding away to release Wren, Jared nodded. “But yes. You may. It’s likely the door codes were already compromised, so Rhodey will change those. I’m sure. There are other things on there though, as you know. Algorithms you developed for the locks that might be reverse engineered. I’m sorry to have caused you extra work. And I promise you the best birthday a boy could have to make up for it.”

Going to the closet, Wren rose up on his tiptoes, speaking over his shoulder as he tapped in the passcode for the safe on the shelf. “My birthday is in October, sir. I should have mentioned it at some’s a long ways off, though. I should add it to my file. I appreciate you wanting to do something special for me... I need to ask Rhodey if he changed the code, this one isn’t working.”

“It is October, my love.” Jared sat up, scrubbing his hands over his face, then let them fall between his knees. “Wait… Did I just hear you say that the code to the safe is on the main network? Not standalone?”

“No, sir. It’s separate. I change it once a week.” Wren lowered his arm and let out a frustrated sound. “I hope Rhodey changed it. Otherwise, I forgot it and I shouldn’t be forgetting things like that. It’s too important.”

“I don’t have a phone to call him and ask.” Or to call anyone for help if something goes wrong… Jared swung his legs off the bed. “I think I’d better get Noah. We need a phone.”

“You can use mine, sir.” Stepping into the bedroom, Quint held out his phone, giving Jared a sympathetic look. “I got both Pike and Curtis set up with their banana bags. I don’t want to leave him again, but I should see what I can do about tracking down your briefcase, and hopefully retrieve your phone.”

“Thank you, Quint, but I need you in the clinic. You’re a doctor tonight, not a merc.” He gave his first boy’s hand a squeeze, accepting his phone with a grateful look. “We only need Wren’s laptop and then we can work on that here.”

Quint inclined his head, the soft brown waves of his hair spilling over his brow, his ever-present smile lacking it’s usual brightness. “Yes, sir. I have Pike set up in the guest bedroom and Curtis on the couch. They’ll probably sleep for a while, so they shouldn’t be any trouble.”

“They’re welcome for as long as they need. As are you, once you’re done downstairs.” He held up one finger to indicate Quint should wait, and dialed Rhodey.

“Did you fetch your pet yet, Quint?” Rhodey’s voice came along with the sound of the wind whipping around him. “He shouldn’t be on his own right now.”

“He’s in my guest bedroom.” Jared didn’t bother to tell Rhodey what he’d be able to figure out himself, namely that Quint’s voice hadn’t dropped an octave. “Did you change the combination to Wren’s safe?”

Rhodey grunted an affirmative sound. “Yeah, I didn’t want him to forget to ask me before digging into sensitive info, he has a hard time with that sometimes. And he’s too easily tempted.”

“Understood.” Lacing his fingers with Wren’s, Jared gave them a reassuring squeeze. “Can you unlock it remotely so he can change the door lock algorithm? I’m afraid I already wasted enough time saving Jacks from bleeding out on the bar floor after he stepped on that glass.”

“Done. Where’s Danny?”

“In the clinic with Jacks and Shea.” Jared motioned to the safe, nodding at Wren.

Wren opened the safe, taking out his laptop and bringing it to the bed, where he sat against the headboard and began tapping rapidly at the keys. Without looking, he picked up his RedBull and took a few gulps. The silence over the line stretched, as though something had pulled Rhodey’s attention.

“Good, the clinic is secure.” Rhodey finally acknowledged Jared’s reply, spoke to someone close to him—Avery, from the sounds of it—then continued. “So far there hasn’t been anything we’ve seen that’ll be a problem, but we’ll keep watch until the club’s closed and we can lock things down. Figure out what happened to your bag. Have Wren check the security footage.”

“If I were them, that’s the first thing I’d erase or change.” Not that he knew a damned thing about Rhodey’s line of work, but being around Wren he’d picked up a thing or two. “There aren’t enough employees tonight. We weren’t expecting a crowd. I’ll ask Noah how he’s doing and whether we should close early.”

“Wren has backups of the backups. If they could erase all that, we’ve got bigger problems.” Rhodey’s voice was almost taken away by another rush of wind. “Closing up early would be good. Lawson won’t like it, but tough.”

“Agreed. I’ll call you if we don’t. Assume we will.” Jared hung up and dialed Noah.

He picked up on the first ring, loud music coming over the line. It cut off abruptly, like Noah had moved to another room. “Thanks for sending Jamie back down, I couldn’t take that repetitive noise for much longer. Is everything all right?”

“To coin a phrase, we’re at yellow alert.” Jared stood and paced away to the window to look out. “Wren is with me in the loft. So are Curtis and Pike. Danny is in the clinic with his Doms. We’re closing down early to resolve the situation. I’ll tell you more when you’re upstairs.”

“That’s a good idea. I’ll help get everything settled down here and head up.” Noah paused, then let out a soft laugh. “Not the end of the day I’d hope for you, my love. But maybe it can be salvaged.”

A smile edging his lips, Jared nodded though Noah couldn’t see him. “I have a few ideas in mind.”

“I like the sound of that.” Noah had moved again, this time, it was the distinct sound of the bar music, followed by knocking. “Lawson, we’re shutting down early. Don’t give me that look, I didn’t do it to piss you off.” He spoke to Jared again. “I love you and I’ll see you soon.”

“I love you too.” The past few years had done nothing if not teach him what a privilege the ability to say that to this man and all the men he loved was. “I don’t have a phone. I’m returning Quint’s now.”

“All right, that won’t be an issue for long. I’ll grab you a new one in the morning.” Noah’s voice was quiet as he spoke to Lawson, coming to some kind of agreement. Before long, the sound of the dance club returned, Noah speaking loud over the music. “Jamie, wrap things up, my little cat. We’re having an early night. Jared, see you in a few.”

The call disconnected, and the phone fell silent. Looking up at Quint, who’d taken a step back while Jared had been on the calls, he held out the phone. “Thank you.” When Quint reached to take the phone, Jared brushed his finger over Quint’s knuckles. “I’ll make sure they’re all right up here.”

“Thank you, sir.” Quint hesitated in front of the bedroom door, looking toward the guest bedroom. “Would all right if I checked on him again, just for a moment?”

“You don’t need my permission, my boy.” Jared jutted his chin toward the door. “Go on.”

Quint gave him a grateful smile and headed for the other room, long strides eating up the short space in seconds. Shortly after, his quiet, soothing tone could be heard, along with a pleading one from Pike.

Hearing Pike’s voice, Jared automatically compared him to Wren. Each needed more than one Dom or caretaker for good reason, but they couldn’t be more different. The quiet typing next to him ebbed and flowed, Wren’s fingers finding the keys with a rapidity that Jared never failed to find entrancing.

“Quint?” He called out, a question occurring to him. “Is Seth back from the clinic yet?”

“Not yet, sir. He should be soon.” Quint called back, then softly hushed Pike. “I assume he’s dealing with a patient who needs a bit more attention.”

Jared glanced at the clock. It was well after nine-thirty. Seth should’ve reported in over an hour-and-a-half ago. Reaching for the nightstand drawer, already on his feet, he unlocked the safe that held Noah’s gun and brought it with him as he slipped back into his shoes. He’d developed a sixth sense in the Army. A feeling that he should’ve paid attention to the day the chopper exploded and took out his forward surgical unit. One that he swore he’d never ignore again. 

“Dammit, Bizzy.” On his way out the loft door, he took a right, going toward the back stairs that would take him out of the club on the side closest to the gate. “Please be alert tonight.” 

Wren would be safe in the loft. Leaving one of his men alone and unprotected, outside The Asylum’s walls, wasn’t an option. If there was no trouble, then Rhodey could call him a paranoid old fool and kick his ass for going cowboy while everyone else was taking care of their own. If there was something wrong...well then he’d do some ass kicking of his own. Because no one he loved went down behind enemy lines—not if he could help it.

And definitely not alone.


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  1. No!!!! But, if something happens to Seth, we'll get to see Quint in full mercy mode, and how well he and Jared work together, so there's that I guess

  2. I've really missed being back in the Asylum. It's interesting to look at how much Jared has changed since the first books.


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