From The Ashes Chapter 3

Seeing the barracks was becoming less and less a sight of gloom to Toshi. The Committee owned buildings and an almost epic legend around them with his people, a quiet unspoken terror. Those taken in rarely returned and were never as they’d been and even now with a generation passed those times, it still wasn’t a place anyone went willingly.

Except he had, more than that, he’d made it his residence, if only temporarily. Plants growing in containers now covered the wide flat roof, the work of the guards his uncle had loaned him. I/S decorations lined the lower floors, bits of sparkly broken equipment, torn fabrics, splashes of paint, nothing was ever thrown out in the camp if it could be tied together and hung from a wall or ceiling to liven a space up. It was just their way and it lightened the look and mood of the inside of the stark building.

In contrast, the space he shared with Mick, Alec and Andy seemed almost barren. Only what had been needed had been unpacked. The kitchen was bare bones, the living room was barely a sofa and television. Alec had insisted on a dining table because he liked to spread his paperwork out and the single office they all shared was too small for that. Three bedrooms and none were large, they’d opted for futons on the floor to save space and no one had a private bathroom. Instead they shared a common space, toilets in small stalls, sinks lined up in a row and a small shower room with six shower heads and tiled in what Andy called vomit yellow. The space was functional but they were literally tripping over each other.

It was a closeness that Toshi actually was enjoying. At least most days, excepting the touch of chaos Andy had added to the small space. It had been an odd adjustment, one Toshi had been a little edgy about. He liked Andy, quite a bit really, and Mick loved the flamboyant man but his nerves had been more than a touch raw of late and he’d worried Andy would drive him nuts. Turned out not to be an issue, Toshi retreated to the rooftop or his room when he needed to be alone and Mick had an innate sense of when to step in. Even Alec had grown fond of the artist, laughing off his drama and shaking his head while muttering about being back in his dorm room.

One of the guards took their bike for them and they slipped into the building, past guards and up the steps to the floor they’d taken over. There was a lift but it was hardly used and required keys to operate. It made more sense to just walk up but today Toshi almost gave into the lift, it was tempting.

Andy was on them the moment the door opened. “Good God, where have you been?”

“At the site, what’s wrong?” Mick felt the way Toshi moved a little to the side, pulling away a bit as Andy rushed across the room.

Fabric swatches flapped as Andy shook them violently. “These are not the colors I ordered! This, this is shit! There is no harmony, no balance!”

Mick squinted. “Looks the same to me.”

That made Andy toss up his hands and yank on a pigtail. “They’re not!”

“Andy…”

“He’s right.” Toshi added in carefully. “What they sent is too sharp, the color he picked was more mellow.”

“Thank you, at least not everyone around here is blind!”

He shrugged. “Looks the same to me.”

“God, Mick, look at it like an I/S, Toshi can see the difference.” The swatches flapped again in angry frustration.

“So call them and have them redo the mix.”

“I tried! They said it’s the same shade, it’s not and they’ve been running me in circles all afternoon and I want to start dinner for your family and no one believes me and it’s important damn it!” He’d been so angry he’d had to hang up, curse at the empty apartment and than cry before he could call back and try again to make the company understand why the color was different. The angry tension drained out of him and he tried not to pout. “I’m just the designer, no one is listening to me.”

Mick glanced over at Toshi and something unspoken moved between them before Toshi nodded. “Get them on the phone while I run to the bathroom.” He didn’t wait for Mick to fuss or Andy to worry but moved past them to steal a moment alone. When he’d settled himself a little he returned to the main room and Andy’s frustrated attempts at explaining the shade variation again.

He didn’t ask, just snatched the phone from Andy and held it to his ear. The man on the other end sounded long suffering and angry. His tone wasn’t the tiniest bit helpful and Toshi frowned and made sure the frown echoed in his voice. “Enough of this nonsense, this is Toshi Ranvier and I don’t care who you are. If you’re not someone with authority you’re wasting my man’s time.” He snapped and heard the voice on the line sputter off and try to apologize. “Stop. I’m spending an ungodly amount of money with your company and if you wish me to continue to sign the checks you will get one thing straight. I will be as clear as I possibly can, Mr. Fendle is a member of my house. He has final say on purchasing, if he says it’s two drops too blue, he’s right and you will fix it. If I find out you’ve insulted him or made his job any more difficult than it has to be I will consider it a direct insult upon me and my family. Have I made myself clear?” He waited until the man agreed and tumbled into apologies again. “Now, you’re going to spend the night figuring out how to correct this mistake in the dyes, Mr. Fendle is occupied for the rest of the day. Tomorrow, when he has the time to deal with your stupidity again, he will call you, I would hope you have a solution to offer him.” He didn’t wait for the man’s answer, he just hung up and tossed the phone back toward Andy.

Andy who was trying not to snicker, almost caught the phone with his face. “Oh my god that was good to hear.”

“Don’t call right away, make them wait and make it sound like I’m very unhappy when you do.”

“Oh you’re a doll, no wonder Mick’s crazy about you.” Andy teased and leaned in to place a soft kiss on the side of Toshi’s face. “Thank you.”

“Don’t let them harass you, demand what you want and don’t back down until you get it. Okay?”

Andy nodded. “They just… and I’m just…” He sighed and bit his lip. The project was larger than anything he’d attempted and it felt overwhelming.

“You’re not just anything, you’re lead designer and a vital part of this project. Don’t let them bully you into forgetting that. Now, please, excuse me.” Toshi bowed his head a little and slipped past the artist, escaping back to his bedroom and solitude.

“Is he okay?” Andy asked of Mick who stood silent and worried.

“Rough day. Yasun wants the cell he was held in kept as it stands.”

“I’ll make note of it, now, sweetheart, go be with him.”

“But, dinner…”

“Hush you can’t cook anyway, go on with you.”

Mick brushed a quick kiss to Andy’s lips before slipping past to follow in Toshi’s wake. He found his lover in their bedroom, crouched down in a corner, knees pulled up to his chest and head propped against the wall. It made Toshi look young, vulnerable and made Mick feel protective.

“Hey.”

Toshi lifted his head up and cracked his eyes open but he didn’t need to see to know who had opened the door. “Hey.”

Mick crept into the room and sat near the half breed. “I can cancel tonight if you want.”

“I’m fine.”

He shrugged. “Didn’t say you weren’t.”

“It’s just been a long day and Andy catches me off guard. He’s like fireworks, all dark still blackness then boom light, color and noise from nowhere.” He rubbed at the back of his neck. “Still not used to filtering all this out.”

He didn’t know if Toshi meant to rub at the spot that was still pink and newly healed. The implant hadn’t been removed gently but he was healing well. Mick didn’t need to know, he batted the other man’s hands away and rubbed at the tense muscles.

“Oh, God.” Toshi sighed and half turned to encourage more of the touch.

“I know Andy can be a difficult person to live with, even without an I/S sense of things, but I’m glad you invited him.” He’d been surprised at how much more complete he felt with Andy under the same roof again. They’d been roommates for so long that any place just felt too quiet without the drama and energy Andy brought with him.

“So am I, I like him, a lot, he’s a good man.” He sighed and would have purred if he could have as the hands worked up his neck into his hair. “It’s not him, I just get caught off guard. That’s nice, oh right there.”

Mick smiled to himself and worked at the tense spot a moment longer before he slid his arms around the slender shoulders and pulled Toshi back to rest against him. “We’ve time before dinner, want to take a nap with me?” He’d been trying to get in some naps and quiet moments where Toshi could drift off as much as possible because the man wasn’t sleeping well at night.

“No, I…” He nuzzled into Mick’s shirt and let the scent of the man fill his senses. “I like it here.”

“Here then, hang on.” Mick squirmed and stretched and managed to get his back against the corner, Toshi cuddled against him and a blanket tossed over them both. “No naps, just snuggled in.” He kissed the top of the dark head and stroked the long black hair. It wasn’t long until exhaustion pulled the slender man down into sleep and still Mick held him close.

 

Toshi startled awake when his shoulder was shaken gently and woke up snuggled against Mick, both of them mostly sitting up and tucked in the corner. “Hmm?”

“If you wanted to shower before they get here, you need to wake up.”

“I slept?” He yawned, groggy and confused.

“Yeah, cause you’re too stubborn to lay down.”

“How long?”

“Not long.” He stroked the thick hair and Toshi leaned into the touch.

It made Toshi sigh and he kissed the first patch of bare skin he found, the hidden spot behind Mick’s ear. “If you want me to get up you have to stop that.”

The rumbled voice so close to his ear made Mick shiver and think about things other than showering. It didn’t help that Toshi stretched against him, his body sliding in friction causing contact against him before he somehow managed to slide forward and straddle Mick’s legs. There was a playful, naughty glint to Toshi’s blue eyes, one that Mick was learning meant trouble.

“I should call them and cancel.” Demanding lips pressed to his and stilled his words briefly. “Tell them I’m too busy erotically tormenting the sexiest man I’ve ever met.” Another kiss found his mouth; this time demanding enough that Mick’s eyes went shut and his hands pulled Toshi’s hips closer to his own. “Ask them to come back tomorrow when I’m done making you moan.” He leaned forward, ready to ghost soft kisses across Toshi’s hypersensitive neck and seal the teasing into a full out romp but before his lips found skin Toshi leaned away.

“Shouldn’t have let me nap so long.” His eyes danced and he slipped away from Mick’s lap. “Now we’ll both have to wait until later.”

It left Mick sitting there half turned on and with his mouth open in a protesting gasp. “Cruel!” He teased and turned the shock into a happy smile. It had been days since Toshi had felt up to teasing and seeing some sparkle in the wide blue eyes made up for being tormented.

Almost but not quite because it meant stripping naked and taking a shower in the wide open room with a naked, wet, soapy Toshi and having to keep his hands to himself. He’d been surprised that of their group it had been Andy that had been most shy about the communal shower. It didn’t bother Mick, he was used to having little privacy from growing up in foster home after foster home and even after going to the commune where boundaries were placed and respected there was no shame over being nude. He’d never had a problem with the common bathroom at college, small stalls wrapping around toilets and showers or with the far more open showers while a cop. Toshi didn’t even bat an eye at the open showers, he’d just shrugged and said he felt safe with his roommates.

Mick had thought Alec would be the one to be touchy about the open room shower situation but the blonde hadn’t even hesitated. In fact, the first day Mick had glanced up and seen him striding in with a towel over his shoulder not around his waist, with no sense of worry about being butt naked, it had been Mick that was vaguely ashamed and startled. Alec had laughed at him and reminded him that he’d grown up in foster care as Mick had, then hospitals and once his health had recovered he’d always been in some sport or the other. Worse, the first day Andy had spotted the only straight man naked, he’d teased Alec about being the big boy and Alec had just smiled happily and teased back.

So it had really surprised Mick when of them all it had been Andy that had been and was still the most shy about being nude in the open shower. Andy who had gone to Sleaze once wearing body paint and a thong, now wore his frumpy pink bathrobe right up to the shower before taking it off. In fact, as time had gone by, he’d even noticed that Andy was slipping in to shower when he’d known the room would be empty. It had surprised Mick, not that he could blame the man, he’d prefer to shower in private too. Or, well, in semi-private with a certain half breed.

Which made him glance over and that was a bad idea. Toshi had his head tilted back into the shower’s spray and looked like something from a dirty dream. Long tendrils of black hair clung in wet curls to golden skin, drawing Mick’s eyes to the strength in Toshi’s arms, the long graceful line of his back, the beautiful curve of his neck. It made his breath catch in his throat and all thoughts of washing quickly fade away.

Hands, warmed from the hot water, slid onto Toshi’s shoulders. “Here,” Mick whispered softly. “I’ll wash your hair.”

That made Toshi smile a little, unsure if it would be another tease or not and liking the touch too much to protest either. He tilted his head back into those strong hands and let Mick soap up his hair. It wasn’t long until those slippery hands traced down the side of his neck, sending shivers across his body.

“Mick…” He wanted to warn about fooling around in the showers but the slick fingers ghosted down over a collarbone and were stroking his chest. “Oh…” He heard himself moan instead and leaned back a little. There was no doubt what was on Mick’s mind, water and soap suds made the hot length slick against Toshi’s ass and it set him to shivering again. He gasped at the feel and dropped his head onto Mick’s shoulder. Any thought to protest faded into fluttery moans when those skilled hands slid lower.

“God, I love feeling you get hard in my hand.” Mick whispered against that oh so sensitive neck and made Toshi shiver and moan some more. He’d learned one thing since Toshi’s implant had been ripped from his body, if he wanted their play to be quick and fast, he had to come first. So long as Mick was turned on, it didn’t matter how many times Toshi came, he’d get hard again almost instantly. It let him spare a hand for himself without feeling guilty.

His mostly healed arm ached and Mick sighed and kissed Toshi’s neck. “Here, turn around.”

Toshi whimpered and slid his ass tighter against Mick’s cock.

It made Mick’s heart stop. “Oh, baby, later, I promise.” It took a force of will to turn Toshi around but he needed those lips desperately. The mouth parted as soon as he claimed those wonderful lips and Mick pulled Toshi tight along his body. He didn’t have to encourage Toshi to grind against him and the half breed’s eagerness thrilled him. Luckily, he didn’t have to ask or prompt, before the first kiss had broken Toshi’s hands had slipped between them and they didn’t search randomly.

Graceful, elegant fingers were hot and strong and not the least bit shy any longer. Mick sighed a silent moan and brought his lips to Toshi’s neck and teased as much as he was being teased. His hands had found Toshi’s ass, they kneaded and stroked and tickled and made the hands tormenting him grow more demanding.

It didn’t take much, once Toshi got demanding. Especially when Mick wasn’t making any efforts to hold himself back. Arms full of Toshi was heaven, arms full of a hard, horny, lusty Toshi was indescribable. He moaned softly against the ear he’d been nipping and gasped, his entire body shuddering as he slipped from his control and came. He clung to Toshi, trembling, shivering, holding the warmer body with desperate hands as pleasure filled him and softly faded.

“Oh, baby.” Mick sighed a moment before giving into the weakness in his legs and sliding down his lover’s body to kneel before him.

“Mick…” Toshi gasped but his protest ended with a long, deep moan as Mick swallowed him whole. “Oh… oh god… oh…” He still wasn’t entirely comfortable with letting Mick pleasure him like this, some part of his mind still connected it with something degrading and forced, but Mick loved it. Frankly, Toshi wasn’t able to lie well enough to himself to pretend he didn’t love it too. He closed his eyes and let the scent of lavender soap and Mick fill him as he tumbled into sweet pleasure and moaning release.

He was barely standing, propped against the tiled wall and Mick was still gently licking at him as he came down, gasping, panting, shivering from their quick play. His eyes were shut but that was no excuse, Mick just literally blew all thoughts and sense from his mind when he did this. So Toshi was caught as off guard and as surprised as Mick when a voice echoed into the shower room.

“Jesus Christ you two! You have a fucking room!” Andy snapped, standing in the doorway in his fuzzy pink bathrobe, towel held in front of his groin in a too obvious effort to hide his own arousal.

Mick pulled away to glance over, refusing to be embarrassed by Andy walking in on them. Alec? Maybe. His parents? Without a doubt but not Andy. “Hey, sorry.” He glanced up and wasn’t surprised to see the blush on Toshi’s face but the man looked too sated to care too much.

“Sorry! Fuck you!” Andy snapped again and hurried away.

The cussing made Mick sigh a little and sit back on his heels. He glanced up to where Toshi was pushing wet hair back from his face. “I don’t know what’s gotten into him.”

“Well, we were being…. obvious in a public area.”

He stood up and stole a quick kiss from Toshi’s parted and half smirking lips before he slipped under the still running water. “Yeah but this is Andy. He shouldn’t be shocked, he should tease about joining in.” He started quickly washing off. “It’s just not like him.”

“Well, then you should go find him.”

Mick shut off his water and nodded. As he toweled off he stole last looks of Toshi all wet and almost glowing from their quick play and it almost made him change his mind and stay. Instead he pulled on a pair of boxers and a plain t-shirt. “Thanks.” He added with a grin before leaving and caught the wider smile that came across Toshi at the word.

“Happy to oblige.”

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