#6 of Gain And Loss
A/N: Sorry for the delay. Sorry to those who are looking for yiff, I just couldn't find a way to make it work with this chapter. I'll try to make up for it some time later. Hopefully you'll enjoy anyway.
Many thanks to all who have faved, voted, watched, replied and all that other good stuff. It really helps when my motivation is lacking.
"Honestly..." Thorn sighed as he allowed the two smaller males to pull him along by the paw. "I'm fine. I'll hit it with the cut knife and some ice when I get home. You two are over reacting."
Sam smiled and shook his head. "You're not getting out of this, so you may as well stop complaining already." He looked around as the restroom came into view. "Be quick, go."
With barely a second glance the three males ducked into the room and quickly sealed the door. "You've done this before haven't you?" Cara grinned knowingly.
Sam blushed noticeably and it only got brighter as he realized Thorn was also looking at him with a questioning smile. "T-that's not important now." He turned his gaze to the floor. "We were going to help Thorn weren't we?"
"Yes, that is true." Cara replied with a nod. He walked over to the sink and held out his paw to the larger wolf. "Well? Come on."
Sam looked on curiously as Thorn reluctantly crossed the room and sat on the sink ledge and held his paw over the drain. "What exactly are you going to do?" The rabbit asked.
"I have to see how bad the injury is first." Cara replied as he began to inspect Thorn's paw. "And to do that we need to reduce the swelling a bit."
Thorn looked over at Sam as Cara pressed on his knuckles to find a good spot to begin. "Um...You may want to look away. You're probably not as used to blood as we are."
Sam cocked his head a bit and his long ears flicked slightly. "Blood?" His eyes widened as he saw Cara lift Thorn's paw to his muzzle. "W-what are you doing?"
"Reducing the swelling." The smaller canine stated as though it should be obvious. His eyes went to Thorn for a moment in warning before his lips pulled back revealing long, white fangs. Those same fangs vanished once again a brief second later as they sank into the puffy flesh between Thorn's knuckles.
A little twitch of the lips was the only indication of pain that Thorn gave as Cara bit him. He watched as the crimson liquid welled in the new wound before spilling over and falling into the sink. Thorn nodded as his eyes met Cara's again, he couldn't deny that his paw already hurt a lot less with less blood pooling and adding pressure.
Sam continued to watch the two wolves with a mix of awe and unease as Cara began to lick gently at the wound to clean it. He took a few steps toward his boyfriend and held the wolf's free paw. There was a momentary smile from the bunny to support the larger male, but it faded quickly as Thorn turned to avert his gaze.
The move puzzled Sam and he looked around to try and understand what could be making Thorn act like that. His first thought was that it was simply the location itself, knowing how embarrassed the wolf got when he was caught taking a leak. The idea was rejected quickly as the wolf obviously wasn't peeing at the moment.
The next idea that crossed Sam's mind was that the wolf was simply embarrassed by the fact he was receiving help from someone else. Given what he'd just learned from Caragan it was very likely that Thorn wasn't quite as able to practice what he preached and was better able to give assistance than receive it. This idea would have likely stuck with the rabbit if not for the next thing he noticed, Thorn shifting around uncomfortably on the sink doing his damnedest to hide his the view of his lap. Sam's eyes widened noticeably as he recognized the budge in Thorn's shorts shifting below the fabric.
There was a brief moment of confusion, followed quickly by anger. Just a short time ago Thorn had told him that the wolf didn't need another Furre in his bed to make him happy. Yet here he was getting a hardon because of this...this wolf. It hit Sam then and his expression softened instantly. "It's been a long time since you've had contact like this with another wolf, hasn't it?"
Thorn looked up guiltily at the rabbit, already knowing from the tone of Sam's voice that he'd been found out. "It's been a long time since anyone else has cleaned a wound for me like this." He let his head fall forward, ears pressed flat in shame. "Sorry Sam."
"You dumb wolf." Sam chided gently as he gave the wolf's paw a reassuring squeeze. "You don't have anything to apologize for."
"Yeah, I do." Thorn insisted as his head came up. "We're supposed to be together but I feel like I'm cheating on you."
Sam smiled and leaned in to kiss the wolf softly, fairly certain that their secret would be safe with Cara. As the bunny pulled back from the kiss his eyes wandered momentarily to Caragan and discovered the smaller wolf was reacting similarly to Thorn, if the slight tent in his skirt was any indication. A devilishly cute smile curled Sam's lips as he stepped a bit closer to the big wolf. "It's only cheating if I'm not there to take part in the fun." He whispered as he kissed the wolf, with a bit more force this time, and let his paw roam down to the expanding package in Thorn's pants.
Thorn groaned into the kiss, but then gently pushed back against the rabbit to separate them. "Stop it. You don't have to do this."
Sam smiled and stepped forward once again, using his body to separate Thorn's legs and press up between them. "I know that. But you and Cara both seem to like the idea." He pressed up on his tiptoes, taking advantage of the wolf's seated position, and licked lightly at the canine's ear as he whispered. "And you already know about my little secret fetish."
Thorn couldn't prevent his lip from quirking up into a smile at the bunny's admission, but it fell just as quickly. "Yeah, but...I mean, we only just met and you're including Cara without even asking him. He just got attacked even, he probably doesn't even want..." His words trailed off as Sam turned his head with a single finger, the wolf's eyes falling to the large bump in Cara's clothes. "Yeah, but...that might not mean anything."
At this point Cara had finished with the majority of the blood letting and cleaning of Thorn's paw. "I...I'm sorry, for the way I'm acting." He looked up at both Sam and Thorn for a moment before his eyes fell again. "The taste of the blood, and another wolf's scent..." He smiled apologetically, though there was a look of longing behind the apology as he looked over Sam and Thorn. "As you said, it's been a long time." He took a few deep breaths and seemed to get himself under control for the most part. "You should ice that paw down, try not to use it too much for a few days. It's not as bad as I thought it might be so it should heal pretty quickly."
"That's what I thought." Thorn sighed as he shot an "I-told-you-so" look at Sam and Cara both. "Come on, if anyone saw the three of us race in here they're going to start getting suspicious and call security again." His eyes darted sidelong for a brief moment, noticing how Caragan seemed to fixate on Sam.
Sam nodded, though he had a slightly confused look on his face, as they readied themselves to leave. He watched from the corner of his eye as Caragan seemed to be giving him the once over, but quickly redirected his eyes elsewhere when he realized that the rabbit was looking at him. Cara's eyes remained fairly innocuous for a moment before they wandered to look over Thorn. The look wasn't predatory, so the bunny wasn't worried about Cara trying to poach his boyfriend, but there was a look of desire. The thought remained with him as they exited the bathroom as quickly as they could. "Hey Cara? How'd you get here?"
Cara's head jerked up slightly, as if pulled from some deep thought. "Oh, I took my car." He looked around the mall warily. "I was supposed to run a few more errands but, with the way things have gone today..." His gaze shifted from the lapine to the canine. "I hate to be a bother, but could I ask one more favor of you?"
"We'll walk you out to your car." Thorn agreed before the question was even asked. "I don't think those dommies will bother you again but there's no need to take chances."
Sam walked along side Thorn as they moved through the mall. There was something, some unspoken connection, between the two canines that he couldn't quite figure out. Stepping closer to his boyfriend Sam wrapped his arm around the wolf's waist to hold him close. He smiled up as Thorn's deep, brown eyes met Sam's own hazel and was rewarded with a gentle nuzzle from the wolf.
Before long, the three males stood beside a simple, black sedan. "Well, this is mine." Cara announced softly, but he made no further move towards the vehicle. "Listen, there's nothing I can do to properly repay you..."
"You still going on about that?" Thorn sighed. "I told you, wolf is wolf. You don't have anything to repay."
"A wolf's a wolf." Thorn repeated. "No matter their mix. Now, please shut up about this already?"
Cara smiled and his tail began to wag slowly. "All right, then I'll just say thank you."
Sam swallowed as saw Thorn simply nod and began to turn away. Whatever it was that had gone unspoken was important, of that much the rabbit was sure. Acting on pure impulse Sam stepped towards the femme-boy wolf. "Can I see your phone a second?"
Cara's ears splayed out in confusion, but he nodded and handed over the mobile device. "Yeah, sure."
Sam opened up the phone and pressed the buttons for entering new contacts. "This is my number, and this one is Thorn's." He handed back the phone to the puzzled looking wolf. "Just in case those other guys bother you again." He looked down at the ground and scratched at his cheek. "Or if you just, you know, want to talk over a cup of coffee."
Cara looked at the phone then up at Sam, then leaned forward and gave the rabbit a gentle lick on the cheek. "Sounds like a great idea. Thank you Sam."
Sam blushed and nodded, his paw on his cheek as he stepped back so Cara could get in his car. After watching the canine drive off Sam turned to see the remaining wolf standing a few feet off with his paws in his pockets and a small smirk on his face. "Wh-what?"
Thorn shook his head. "Nothing." He replied with a hint of amusement in his voice as he turned and began to walk through the parking lot.
Sam's face scrunched up in annoyance at being left out of the joke and rushed to catch up, jumping on the wolf's back as he did so. "Come on, tell me what's so funny." He insisted.
Thorn brought his paws around and cupped them beneath the bunny to hold him steady as he walked. "Nothing much really, just thought you looked really cute with that blush on your face. Your fur looked pink for a few moments there." He turned his head back slightly and chuckled as he saw the embarrassed look on Sam's face. "Kind of like now."
"Oh hush." Sam shot back as he buried his face in Thorn's neck fur. "He just surprised me with that lick is all." He looked up again. "Hey! I thought you said you were the jealous protective type. Shouldn't you be mad that he licked me?"
"It was a friendly greeting lick." Thorn laughed. "Completely harmless, like you giving Cads a hug or something similar." He watched Sam from the corner of his vision. "Now, you asking him on what sounded dangerously close to a date on the other paw..."
"I did no such thing!" Sam insisted, but he stopped when he heard the wolf laughing at his outburst, and pouted a little. "Well, at least I didn't get a boner from him licking me like you did..." He retorted with a grin. "Don't think I missed that."
"Naw, you just were ready to have a quick threesome with him in the bathroom back there." Thorn teased.
"I was not!" Protested a little to quickly.
"You sure as hell were." Thorn continued to verbally tease. "I saw the way you were eyeing that skirt tent."
"Well, you were thinking about it too for a moment." Sam quipped back with a grin. "I saw the way you looked at him when he was licking you." Although Thorn chuckled, Sam could feel the lupine's muscles tense as he held Sam on his back. "Thorn...It was just a little joke is all. I didn't mean for it to upset you."
Thorn shook his head and sighed. "I'm not upset Sam, not with you at least."
"Then what's bothering you?" Sam asked confused. "Is it because Cara's a wolf too?"
"No, well, maybe a little." Thorn amended. "But..." He shook his head again. "You remember what I said in the restroom?"
"You didn't cheat on me Thorn." Sam replied softly as he hugged the wolf from behind. "He was cute and you checked him out, that's all. That's not cheating." Nuzzling against Thorn's neck he continued. "I trust you Thorn, I know you'd never cheat on me."
After a good minute of silence the wolf nodded. "Thanks Sam." He didn't reenter the mall, opting to cut through the parking lot instead so as to keep Sam on his back. "I have to get home, get ready for work."
"Yeah, and I need to change so I can head home." The rabbit agreed softly.
Thorn's ears perked a little bit at the slightly tinge of disappointment in Sam's voice and wondered if the reasons mirrored the wolf's own cause for disappointment. Nothing more was said after that. The two males simply remained in their close contact enjoying their time together, each growing more and more frustrated with the time they knew they would have to spend apart.
Meanwhile, unknown to Sam and Thorn, a group of canines were piling out of a beat up looking red truck. "That fucking faggot." The Sheppard growled as he slammed the door shut. "That damned, fucking, faggot and his two faggot loving friends." He snarled and bared his fangs to no one in particular. "Think they can make a fool of me and get away with it...I'll fucking show them." He spun angrily and glared at the wolfhound that stood slightly behind him. "And you! You fucking, worthless, piece of shit! How could you loose to the one species you were breed to fucking kill!?" Terrill demanded.
The wolfhound bowed his head apologetically. "Our ancestors were bred to fight his ancestors. Once evolution and consciousness are added in the battles are not so clear cut."
"Whatever, fucking useless." Terrill snarled as he turned away and walked toward the bar entrance. There was a low growl from the Sheppard as he neared the door and that was enough to convince the daytime bouncer to simply let them pass. "And you two..." Terrill glared daggers at the Corsac fox and the husky before kicking over a stool at the bar. "You were even less than useless!"
The fox's ears pressed flat against his head. "Dude knew how to fight Terrill. It's not our fault." He tried to shirk back as the larger Sheppard spun on him but was a bit to slow.
Terrill's backhand sent the vulpine to the ground with a dull thud. "Then who's fucking fault is it?" He didn't give the fox a chance to answer and followed up it a kick to the downed Furre's ribs. "Make yourself useful and get us some beer."
Several bottles clinked together as someone placed a round of booze on the table before pulling up a chair amongst the canines. "Couldn't help but over hear a bit of your problems." His eyes, glassy and unfocused, wandered over to the Sheppard. "I think we might be able to help one another out."
"We don't need any help from anyone." Terrill growled at the interloper at his table. "Fuck off." As the still unnamed male didn't move the pack leader nodded to the wolfhound beside him. "Boss, get rid of him."
The Wolfhound nodded an acknowledgement to the order and slowly got up from his seat. "Come on buddy..." Boss reached down and grabbed the brown fabric of the button down shirt that the other male wore.
"I'm not your buddy, friend." The avian seemed to smile for a moment, but it faded into a confidant smirk just as quickly. "Seriously though, remove your paw before I do it for you."
Boss' eyebrows furrowed in irritation. He'd already lost one fight today, to a wolf no less. There was no way in hell he was going to let himself be intimidated by a scrawny little falcon that was a tenth of his weight. "Listen pal, get of your tail and..."
Terrill's eyes widened in shock as the brown feathered avian stood up with far more speed and coordination than the Sheppard had even remotely thought possible. The bird landed a solid right jab to Wolfhound's abdomen, making the larger canine double over, then spun to plant his left elbow into the hound's snout. "Holy..." The Sheppard whispered as he watched his lead enforcer get taken out for a second time today.
"Told you to move your damn paw." The falcon kicked at Boss' ribs to send him scampering away to under a nearby table. "Fucking idiot." He turned slowly back towards his seat, noting the pack leader taking one of the bottles of beer that had been offered.
"You know..." Terrill sipped the beer with a satisfied smirk on his face. "Maybe we can help one another out."
The ride home had been a quiet one, save for a light bit of purring from Sam as Thorn had massaged his scruff with one paw as the wolf drove. Now that they were entering the wolf's apartment though the bunny's mind was wandering into unfamiliar territory. "Hey Thorn?" He finally spoke up as the door clicked shut behind them.
"Him?" The wolf replied somewhat absently, his mind already on what he had to do for work tonight. Grey ears perked as he heard, or more accurately didn't hear, Sam moving from the door. "What's up?"
The rabbit chewed at his lip for a moment and nearly let the question slip back into the darkness. "Tell me honestly, did you like Caragan?"
"Wha?" Thorn's head cock to the side in unmasked confusion. "Where is this coming from all of a sudden?"
"Just answer me, please?" Sam pushed. "I mean, you're both wolves. He was really cute, plus he was a cross-dresser, which I know for a fact you happen to like. I saw the way you looked him over and..." His voice became small again as the wolf crossed back over to him. "Thorn?" He had to actively will himself to keep his eyes open as Thorn wrapped his arms around the lapine's waist and pressed their foreheads together.
"Yes, we're both wolves." Thorn kept his eyes on Sam's, but they were soft and lacked any sense of intimidation even with their proximity. "Yes, he was cute. Yes, seeing him in that way-to-short skirt was kind of a turn on and I did, as you said, checked him out a little." He paused long enough to nuzzle the rabbit a moment. "But, you, are, my, boyfriend. You are the one who makes my heart race. You're the one I went to fight for. You're the one I'm in love with." The canine bent down and kissed Sam softly. "Now can you please relax?" He asked with a smile.
Sam swallowed and nodded. The words didn't come forward for a moment, lost in the moment of Thorn breaking out the "L-word" without warning. "Ok, ok." The soft reply finally issued forth. "I'm sorry. I just, I saw how easily he seemed ready to lap at your wounds and the analogy of long, hard, fangs spearing into puffy flesh was starting to get to me. And I started wondering what else we would so willingly lap at and..." He stopped as the wolf chuckled. "I'm rambling, aren't I?"
"Just a little." The wolf gave the bunny another soft nuzzle to reassure him. "Anyway, his willingness to clean my wound was probably due more to our respective stations than any actual attraction." Thorn laughed lightly as he saw confusing surface on Sam's features again. "I'm only guessing, but based on his size I think he was a Gamma. Maybe a Beta considering he said he was the runt of the litter."
"And that makes a difference?" Sam questioned as he looked up at Thorn.
"It's a, um, it used to be a pack thing a long time ago." Thorn tried to explain. "Now-a-days it's more of a tribe thing. Everyone has their rank, and certain jobs go along with those ranks."
Sam quirked an eyebrow to this piece of information. "And Gamma's are just supposed to submit themselves to higher ranks without question?"
Thorn shook his head. "No, well, not that I've ever heard of anyway. Gamma's are supposed to help out with the smaller tasks." He paused. "Kind of weird to think of it that way by modern standards though when you say it out loud..." He whispered, more of a thought to himself than to Sam.
Sam's brow furrowed as he heard the last part. "So what are the higher ranks supposed to do?" The lapine swallowed as he felt Thorn's arms around his waist tense up. As Sam looked up he could see a hollow, far away, quality in the wolf's eyes. The feeling of a cold, canine nose pressing against his own shocked him, keeping his next question on his lips. A little feeling of worry settled in his belly as Thorn forced a smile.
"I'll give you the full rundown of wolf hierarchies some other time Sam." Thorn stepped back from the rabbit, turning to head into the bedroom to grab his change of clothing. He had to consciously remind himself to not let his tail tuck between his legs, lest Sam see that he really didn't want to have to uphold that particular promise anytime in the near future. "I have to get ready for work."
Sam's paws wound about at the edge of his shirt, tugging at the fabric anxiously at his boyfriend's tone of voice. "Yeah, another time." He followed after the wolf into the bedroom, seeing as his own overnight bag was in there as well. His eyes focused on the Thorn's grey furred back as he changed, able to read the tension in his muscles even across the room.
With a tighter than normal grip on his bag he moved swiftly to the bathroom, wanting to give the lupine some space to work out whatever thoughts were on his mind at the moment. Sam caught sight of his reflection in the mirror as he shut the bathroom door. "I don't suppose you know what he's hiding, do you?" He asked his double softly. The only answer he got was the sight of a bunny's ears pressing slightly back and quicker twitching of his nose.
Long, slender, crÃ¨me-furred ears twitched as the sound of a lock clicking open. "Sam? That you honey?"
Sam bit his lip slightly as he closed the front door. "So much for coming home to an empty house." He spoke quietly to himself, then called out louder. "Yeah, it's me." As he made his way toward the kitchen he opened the door to his basement room and tossed his overnight bag down the steps. Although he'd taken a shower, the clothing in his bag was dirty and he didn't want to risk his mom getting a whiff of any of those scents. "Anyone else around?"
Caramel Bushman smiled as she saw her oldest son come around the corner. "Cads went to practice a little while ago. Your father's at work, and who knows where Pepper is." She eyed him critically as he moved through the kitchen and towards the refrigerator, noting the ever so slight little bounce in his step. "So, how's Valarie doing?"
The younger rabbit stiffened and thanked the powers that be that his face was hidden from his mother's vision. He forced himself to relax, knowing there was no way his mom could possibly know about what had transpired the previous evening. "She's ok. Said she's kind of bored at her job though, might be looking for another position soon."
"Is that so?" Caramel rested her elbow on the table she sat at, her head propped neatly in her paw. "Any idea what position she'd want to try next?"
Sam could feel the fur along the back of his neck raise in warning and found himself wondering what other meanings those words might have been carrying. "She didn't really say much." He continued, forcing himself to speak so as to not give his thoughts away. "Just that she's not a big fan of the retail business in general. You know how she is, she likes to be where the action is. Not dealing with the day to day stuff."
The bunny matron's eyes narrowed. Try as he might, Sam could not keep the nervous timbre of his voice from reaching Caramel's ears. "Sam..."
The male swallowed slightly and turned around holding a soda in one paw while opening it with the other. "Yeah Mom?"
"Why do I feel like you're hiding something from me?" Caramel rose from her seat and moved to lean against the adjacent countertop. Her arms crossed and that authoritative look that only mothers can pull off crossed her features. "Did you and Val do anything last night that you shouldn't have?"
Sam took a swig of his soda to buy himself a moment to think. His thoughts racing around what might happen to his mother if he told her he'd had a three some with his boyfriend and his best friend after having some rather messy shower sex with his boyfriend at his apartment. Somehow, Sam came to the conclusion that would not be the best way to go. "Are we really back to this conversation Mom?" He sighed and tried to sound as disinterested as possible. "I told you already. Val and I aren't those kind of friends." It wasn't a complete lie, since Sam and Val technique weren't a couple, but Sam still felt bad about twisting the truth to his mother.
Caramel looked her son over again, knowing something was not quite right, but couldn't isolate it enough to call Sam's bluff. "Ok Sam." She smiled and walked over to give the smaller rabbit a gentle hug. "I only ask because I worry about you. I want to make sure you stay safe and healthy."
Sam nodded and returned the hug, but his face fell a little bit as it cleared his mother's vision. As he pulled away a small smile forced it's way to his lips. "I know, I know. You're just doing the mom thing." He turned slightly. "We were up kind of late last night, I'm going to lay down for a while before dinner. Ok?"
"Ok, but don't fall to deep asleep." Caramel warned with a slight nod. "I need to get dinner started so I need you to pick Cads up from practice."
Sam sighed, but agreed. He really did want to just lay down and rest. Normally, the thought of having an excuse to see Thorn again would have cheered him, but after the oddness of their last few conversations he wanted to give the wolf some space. He flopped onto his bed after descending into his basement bedroom.
His cell phone appeared from his pocket and he set the alarm in case he dozed to deeply. Rather than flipping the device closed again Sam found himself opening up the picture folder on the phone. The majority of them had been taken over the past two months, and featured either Thorn alone or the two males together. Sam thumbed through them absently until he reached one of the earliest dated photos.
It was from one of their first dates, maybe even their first real date. A genuine smile crossed his lips as he recalled the wolf's grumbling about the planning for the trip. It hadn't be easy to find a beach that was accepting of their form of fledgling relationships, let alone one that was far enough away to convince Sam that no one would recognize him while still close enough for Thorn to drive to. Still, the trip had been...a memorable one. Sam felt his cheeks warm even as he remembered the details while looking over the photo.
Thorn stood in his dark blue swim trunks, his arm around the waist of what appeared to be a slender, if flat cheated, bunny girl in a red and white striped bikini. Their fur was wet and matted against them. The slight fuzzy blur at the edges of their bodies revealed the fact they'd been shivering too much from the end of summer cool down for the little camera phone to accurately focus. Despite the chill, their were both smiling brightly, warmly, completely enjoying themselves.
Sam's frown appeared again. This was something that he should have been able to share with his family, a simple moment of happiness. The one who gave him such happiness. Instead he was hiding who he was, who they were, from his family. From everyone at large really if he came right down to it. "He said...he was ok with going out with Samantha until Sam was ready." He chewed at his lip as he looked at the photo. "But is that fair for me to make him wait?"
The lapine jumped from his bedding with all the grace granted by his heritage and landed beside his desk. A quick scoop of his bus pass, and his keys from his overnight bag, and the bunny was bounding back up the stairs again. "Going out to get Cads!" He called toward the kitchen as he moved towards the front door. The door opened and clicked shut again before Caramel even had a chance to respond.
Gray furred ears perked up as the chime over the door sounded and Thorn spared a quick second to actually look toward the fur entering the do-jang. "Hoo boy..." He muttered under his breath as he saw Sam, tense shouldered and already eyeing the wolf with a somewhat disturbing glare. "What'd I do now?"
His attention turned away from the miffed looking bunny and back to the panda cub he was teaching at the moment. "Left paw here...right paw...here. Good, now, front footpaw curls here and..." He jumped back as the panda leapt forward and released a sidekick from his rear footpaw. "Right!" He grinned, taking a small measure of pride in the student's advancement. "Now, do it all again from the beginning of the set."
Thorn turned, his eyes darting to Sam without conscious thought, and began to instruct a young leopard cub. Even as he helped shift the feline's paws and balance his weight properly, the corners of his mind began to wander to other things. He ducked reflexively as the leopard punched high at an imaginary enemy. "Good." The canine smiled, to cover the fact he nearly been bashed in the nose by a cub a quarter his age. "You know the next steps?" At seeing the cub nod Thorn moved aside. "Show me."
Again Thorn felt his eyes wander over to Sam, but at least this time he could let out a sigh of relief since the rabbit was sitting down and at least pretending to leaf through one of the training manuals left in the waiting room. Thorn knew that the lapine was upset over how the day had ended, but he hadn't expected to be confronted on the issue so soon. His eyes glanced over to the office where a silver scaled dragon was on the phone, only to get a second, much more intimidating glare. "Right, like I'm not in enough shit already."
"What'd you say Mr. Thorn?" The leopard turned from his practice.
The canine bit his tongue to stifle another low curse. "Your paw strikes are good, but your footpaw work is real shaky and balance needs a lot more control." A sigh escaped him as he closed his eyes. Thankfully the leopard didn't notice as the cub nodded and began to practice again. Thorn moved through the lines, watching the cubs for big mistakes while ignoring most of the smaller ones, and recalled why the master was so upset with him.
When Thorn had arrived to teach his shift, he'd found the dragon teaching the earlier class. Something that didn't happen often anymore, something that signified deeper troubles. Never mind that Kameg was the one who hadn't shown up for work, the wolf was the one on site and the master had a habit of targeting whoever was closest.
The next half-hour passed. Slowly. Awkwardly. The wolf received withering stares from both sides of the training room and did his best to ignore both. "Line up!" Thorn called as the class finally wound to an end. "Attention! Bow!" He bent at the waist, returning the bow the class gave him. "Dismissed!" As the cubs made there way to the locker rooms to change the lupine headed over to where his boyfriend was waiting. "Hey..."
"Hey." Sam rose from his chair and took a tentative step forward. "I, um...I was thinking..." He shifted on his footpaws. "You think we could talk?"
"Y-yeah." Thorn nodded, caught rather flatfoot from what he'd been expecting. "Let me change real quick and I'll give you and Cads a ride home."
"Thorn!" The dragon all but roared. "My office! Now!"
"Coming Sir!" Thorn called back. "Just, give me a few minutes. Ok?"
Sam watched as the wolf retreated and shut the office door behind him, though he could still see the two males talking behind the windows. Sam felt himself swallow as he saw Thorn's ears flatten. "That doesn't look good at all."
"Hey bro!" Cads called out happily as he came up beside Sam. "Ready to go?"
"In a minute." Sam replied as he watched the dragon yell something. "Thorn said he'd give us a ride home."
Cads shook his head. "Master is in a bad mood right now. Mr. Thorn is going to be in there a while." The little rabbit cocked his head to one side as he watched his brother, how he cringed every time that the wolf beyond the glass flinched. "He'll be ok Sam. Mr. Thorn is pretty tough." He tugged at his brother's paw. "Can we head home? I'm really hungry."
Sam found himself smiling despite his concern for Thorn, unable to be mad at the cub for wanting to go eat dinner. "Yeah, ok." He gave one last look over the shoulder at the canine and then followed Cads back out to the bus stop.
Thorn could only bow his head as the elder male continued to yell. He was somewhat used to this scene and used the moment to try and figure out what had happened.
The wolf tried to remember the last time that he'd seen the reptile teach a class directly, but he couldn't remember a date since that night he'd met Sam. The thought was a bit unsettling as Kameg was the more responsible one of the two current class instructors. For Kameg to not show up to work means something big must have happened. "Stop it." He growled at himself silently. "He was just drinking last night. Probably just sleeping off a hangover..." He forced himself to believe that, not wanting to contemplate some of the darker possibilities that lurked at the back of his mind. Despite his best effort, Thorn jumped as the he heard the dragon's voice rise further. "I don't know where he is Sir. I was hoping to talk with him tonight after practice."
"I see." The silver dragon seemed to stiffen slightly, but his voice lowered a bit. "Sit down." He motioned to the chair in front of the desk. "You said you were trying to get through to him. That you would include me if need be." He closed the door and turned his grey eyes on the wolf. "I think it's time I was included don't you?"
"All due respect Master, but, I don't think there is anything you can be included in here." Thorn swallowed as he saw the dragon stiffen along the shoulders. "Trying to include you in what I think Kameg is going through right now..." He took a deep breath. "It would be along the lines of the night that we saw you breath fire." Neither spoke for several long seconds after that, and only when the dragon nodded did Thorn release the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. "I'm going to go to try him at his place tonight. Hopefully help him get his head on straight."
"Very well." The dragon nodded as he sat down at his desk. "You know where to find me if you need extra help."
The lupine blinked and his ears pressed flat against his head. "Thank you Sir." At the reptile's gesture Thorn dismissed himself and closed the office door behind him. A quick glance at the waiting area revealed it to be empty making Thorn's shoulders slump a little bit. Even if it did look like a bad conversation in the making, Thorn was looking forward to seeing Sam again. The clock showed that almost twenty minutes had passed, too much for him to catch up to the two rabbits now. "Crap..." He sighed and headed into the locker room, stripping off his blue practice uniform as he went. "Guess I'll go falcon hunting instead."
As he prepared to take a quick shower the cell phone in his locker began to sing and shake along the shelf. "Speak of the devil. Maybe I lucked out..." He picked up the little piece of tech and blinked at the caller ID. "Hello?" His eyes widened for a moment before his brows furrowed. "Slow down, I can't...What?" His lips bared back in a fang filled snarl and his free paw balled into a shaking fist. "Stay there! I'm coming to get you!"
He threw his street clothing back on quickly and raced back to the office. "Master!" The wolf snarled a second time, more deeply, as he saw the empty chair. Thorn then turned and ran for the exit and towards his car. The sedan's tires squealed against the blacktop as Thorn gunned the engine. Moments later, Thorn was gone into traffic.