Friday Flash Fics – Wrath

Today’s Friday Flash Fics inspiration was this fellow. It took me a while to figure out what his tattoo said, but once I did, I couldn’t help but think of Tyson from Triad Blood. So, this means this week’s Flash Fic needs a minor spoiler warning. This story, “Wrath,” takes place after David, Ethan, and Tyson have formed their pack. It’s also about twice as long as it’s supposed to be. Ah well.

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Wrath

“So how come you look older now?” Ethan said.

Tyson took a sip of his coffee. His first instinct was to dodge the question. His second was to lie. He swallowed, and forced himself to do the opposite. It was a habit he was having trouble with. And it still felt surreal to be able to speak whatever he wanted to say.

“This is pretty much what I default to,” he said. “I looked younger before because…” He paused, not sure how to put it.

“Because it would piss off Curtis better? You looking younger made him madder at what that guy did to you?”

That guy. Tyson nodded and took another sip. The cup also hid most of his reaction. Humiliation. Pain. Self-loathing. At first, he’d dismissed Ethan as the least of their odd triumvirate, but he was starting to realize both he and David had greater depths than they let on. Ethan was a sharp judge of character for someone so young. David knew people, understood how they thought, and could navigate their worst natures.

They’d been in Patterson Park for a few minutes, just sitting on a bench and enjoying a surprisingly warm Autumn day. A group of young men were throwing a frisbee, and one of them had brought a dog. The dog was chasing the frisbee as much as the men were, to less success. When some of the men had stripped off their shirts, Ethan perked up.

“Okay, a few possibilities there,” he said, narrowing his eyes slightly. “Nobody outright lusting after each other, but… some buried thoughts.”

“I think I’d have more luck.” Tyson nodded to one of the men, who was shorter than the others and hadn’t taken off his shirt. “That one is easily frustrated, and the one in the grey hat is making it worse.”

They watched in silence for a few moments longer. Sure enough, the grey hat wearer’s throws always seemed to sail just high enough to make the shorter man work twice as hard as the rest to jump and catch the plastic disk. The dog got the frisbee after the shorter man missed.

Come here, pup,” Ethan said, barely loud enough for Tyson to hear, and a pulse of heat washed out from their bench.

Tyson looked at him, amused, then watched the dog react suddenly to the allure. It turned almost ninety degrees and ran right up to their bench from across the field, hopping up with its front paws in Ethan’s lap and licking his face. The frisbee dropped to the ground, and Tyson leaned down to pick it up.

“Hey buddy.” Ethan rubbed the dog’s neck, and it continued to lick him. Large, adoring eyes and a wagging tail completed the effect.

“Saint. Down, boy. Saint!”

The shirtless man in the grey hat–he was handsome, and muscular–had chased the dog. The dog didn’t obey in the slightest. Tyson noticed the man had words inked on his skin.

The sight of the tattoo gave him a moment of pain. Ethan glanced at him, one eyebrow rising just a little. The dog, for his part, continued to ignore the man.

Tyson shook his head. He didn’t like that Ethan could sense things from him. The way tattoos disturbed him, for example. He eyed the man’s arm again, and this time he read the words.

Psalms 7:11 – God is a righteous judge, a God who shows his wrath every day.

Wrath. Tyson could feel the man’s frustration. The dog was ignoring him, and he wasn’t used to that. He drew a little on the man’s anger, just a sliver. It was as refreshing as the coffee.

Ethan smiled slyly, looking up at the man. “I think he likes me better than you.”

The man did not like that assessment at all. Embarrassment was a kind of anger, too. He scooped up the dog in strong arms, lifting the animal bodily away from the two of them.

“Sorry if he bothered you,” the man said, not sounding remotely sincere. He turned and carried the dog away from them.

Tyson rose, and waited for the man to put the dog down and realize his mistake. When he did, Tyson felt more of the man’s anger shimmer to the surface. Tyson threw the frisbee back across the field, with a strength born of his demonic nature.

To his credit, the shirtless man in the grey hat gave it a solid leap. But the frisbee sailed an inch or two above his reach. That the shorter man was the one to catch it before it hit the grass was an unexpected bonus.

The flare of anger that raced between the two players was palpable to Tyson, even from where he stood at the bench.

“Poor dog,” Ethan said. “That guy’s an asshole.”

Tyson nodded, sitting down again. “Want to take him down a few pegs?”

“Hell, yes.” Ethan grinned. “I didn’t think you’d ever loosen up.”

Tyson tried a smile of his own. It felt a little closer to genuine than any he’d worn in a long, long time. “Any thoughts on where you want to start?”

Ethan shook his head. “You lead. I’ll follow.”

Tyson eyed the shirtless man who appeared to find wrath something of a virtue. Tyson’s hand rose to his chest. The remnants of the chains that had kept him bound for decades were still there, but they held no power any more. Freedom took getting used to.

Time to practice.

 

 

 

 

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Triad Christmas

TriadBlood

Triad Blood is available from Bold Strokes Books.

Triad Blood takes place during autumn, and the next book with the Triad boys takes place just near Valentine’s Day, which means the first Christmas that Luc, Anders, and Curtis spend together kind of gets skipped.

Well, in case you wondered, here you go:


 

When Luc came up the stairs, he found Curtis sitting on the floor in the living room, staring at the Christmas tree. The wizard turned, saw him, and then called out, “Anders, he’s up!”

Luc blinked.

“Next year we’re staying up late because there’s no way I’m going to torture myself like this ever again. We open gifts at midnight.” He crossed his arms.

Heavy footsteps above let him know the demon was coming, so Luc took the opportunity to join Curtis on the floor, leaning in and kissing his forehead.

“Whatever you’d like, lapin.”

“Finally,” Anders said. He came into the room, went straight to the tree, and picked up a box with his name on the tag. He took it to the couch and sat, already ripping at the wrapping.

triad-soul

Triad Soul will be out next year, from Bold Strokes Books.

“So, Anders will start,” Curtis said.

The demon grunted.

“That’s from me,” Luc said.

The revealed dress shirt was lovely. A rich brown, with a tiny repeating black check pattern, the material was just the right shade to complement the demon’s eyes, and had been tailored specifically for him.

“You got me a stuffy shirt?” Anders said.

“Try it on,” Curtis said.

“Why?”

“Because it’s Christmas,” Curtis said. “When you get stuff for Christmas, you try it on. It’s a rule.”

Anders paused, then grinned. Without another word of complaint, he stood, unbuttoned the shirt, and slid it over the sleeveless back V-neck he was wearing.

Luc shared a glance with Curtis. Was it him, or had that seemed too easy?

Still, once the demon had buttoned up the shirt, the effect was as Luc had hoped: he looked a touch classier, and the colour really did flatter his deep tan and dark eyes. Now, if he could just get the demon to have more than a nodding acquaintance with a razor…

“Me next,” Curtis said. His glee was almost child-like, and Luc found it infectious. He eyed the various brightly wrapped packages under the tree, intrigued.

“From you?” Curtis said, pulling out the gift he’d wrapped.

Luc nodded.

Curtis tore apart the wrapping, though he took a moment to affix the small gold bow on the head of the overly muscled animated character on his T-shirt. Luc wasn’t sure what the “Power of Greyskull” entailed, but apparently, a fur loin-cloth was included.

When Curtis opened the box, his breath caught. “Luc, these are gorgeous.”

A set of calligraphy pens with hand-tooled wooden handles, a glass inkwell, and exquisite sheets of paper were bundled inside a cleverly carved wooden box that appeared to be a book when stood on it’s end, but opened to be a kind of desk.

“I thought it might be useful for your study of runes and talismans.”

“Try it,” Anders said.

Curtis took one of the pieces of paper, one of the pens, and after a few moments to think, he dipped the pen into the ink and drew a symbol onto the paper. He carried the paper to the fireplace, and dropped it onto the merrily burning wood.

The flames turned green.

They applauded. Curtis turned and bowed. He sat back down, folding up the box and leaning in for a quick kiss. “I love it. Thank you.”

Predictably, Anders sat down on the floor beside Curtis. Luc had wondered how long it would take the demon to close the distance between himself and the wizard once Curtis had kissed him. He hid his smile by reaching under the tree and pulling out one of the gifts labeled with his name.

“That’s from me,” Curtis said.

Carefully unwrapping the paper without tearing it—something that seemed to make Anders clench his jaw, which was an added bonus—Luc revealed the narrow cardboard box and opened it to find a silver ring. It had a wide band, and there was script in a blocky, angular alphabet on the inside.

“Try it on,” Curtis said.

“Yeah,” Anders said. “Try it. That’s the rules.”

They both glanced at Anders.

“What?” he said.

Luc put the ring on, and felt a soft, feathery touch across his skin. It spread from his finger to the palm of his hand, then up his wrist and along his arm. By the time the sensation had spread across his body, he was smiling at Curtis, eyebrows raised.

“Magic?” he said.

“Bear with me,” Curtis said, and he got up from where he sat to go to the mantle. From inside a small metal box that Luc had owned for decades, Curtis pulled out a vial of water that had been inside the box for about as long.

Lapin?” Luc said, nervous.

“Trust me.” Curtis uncorked the bottle, and dipped his pinky finger into the liquid. He took Luc’s hand, and—Luc gritting his teeth—he let the drop fall onto Luc’s open palm.

It froze the moment it touched his skin, bouncing off like a single piece of hail.

“Ta-da,” Curtis said.

“The ring freezes holy water?” Luc said.

“Yep. Matthew and Mackenzie helped me with it. It won’t work forever, the magic will be used up a little bit every time it does its thing, but I can keep an eye on it and buff it back up. Just let me know if you end up using it.”

“That is a wonderful gift,” Luc said. It wasn’t like he encountered holy water on a daily basis, but they’d recently seen just how effective holy water could be. It wasn’t an experience Luc ever hoped to endure.

While Curtis put the bottle away, Anders found a box for himself, and by the time Curtis was sitting again, he’d pulled out the peculiarly knitted toque. It was orange and yellow and red, had a pom-pom and ear-flaps.

It took Luc a moment to recognize it. “Oh,” he said. “Cunning.”

Anders pulled it on. “Big damn hero,” he said. Coupled with the dress shirt, the hat didn’t quite suit, but that was hardly the point.

“I love that you both have become one with the ‘verse,” Curtis said. He reached under the tree. “Here’s the other half.”

Anders all but shredded the package, and when he pulled out the brown leather jacket, the scent of the leather was strong enough to make Luc force air into his lungs. Leather reminded him of many things, most of them good.

Anders put the jacket on—if one ignored the hat, the combination of the jacket and the shirt was a lovely coincidence of sartorial perfection. Anders cocked his head, frowning.

“It’s… warm,” the demon said.

“I enchanted the liner,” Curtis said. “Just make sure you leave it in the sun when you’re not wearing it, and it’ll stay warm for hours after. I know how much you hate being cold.”

“Best fucking jacket ever.”

Curtis grinned, and Anders wrapped him up in both arms, squeezing the smaller man.

“Okay,” Anders said. “My gifts.” He handed Curtis and Luc their gift bags—both were stuffed with tissue paper without much care—with a wide grin.

Luc pulled out the tissue, and eyed the item in the bag for a long moment.

“Well?” Anders said.

Luc glanced at Curtis. Curtis had received a similar gift, it seemed. The wizard was holding the dildo with a hard-to-read expression. It might have been because the dildo Anders had chosen for the younger man was such a…vibrant…shade of green.

Luc’s own was a more traditional pink. He pulled it out of the bag.

“Watch this,” Anders said. He got up and went to the wall. When he clicked off the light, Curtis’s sex toy revealed the unexpected ability to glow in the dark.

“Mine doesn’t light up, I take it?” Luc said.

“No, yours takes batteries.” Luc could hear the amusement in the demon’s voice. “It wiggles.”

“Well,” Curtis said. “Thank you.”

“N’uh-uh,” Anders said. “Don’t forget the rules.”

“Pardon?” Luc said.

Anders turned the light back on. His smile was wolfish, and he was unbuttoning his new shirt. “Fair’s fair. You gotta try them on.”