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    WolfM
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Embers - 17. Embers 17

“Wow, this is a great view, Dain.” Brandon looked across the bay from the Royal Botanical Gardens towards the Sydney Opera House with the Harbour Bridge behind it. “I can’t believe I was on top of that yesterday.”

“I don’t know how you did that. No way anyone will ever get me that far up in the air.” Dainen reached for Brandon’s phone. “Give me that. I’ll take your picture.”

“Fine, but I want one with both of us too.” He spotted an older couple walking past and approached them. “Excuse me. Would it be possible for one of you to snap a picture of me and my friend?”

The man pointed to Brandon’s RFS t-shirt. “You sound like a Yank, but you’re wearing a fire service shirt.”

“Yes, sir. I came over in December to help out. Thankfully, I can fly home knowing the fires are out.”

The woman took Brandon’s phone and pointed it at the two younger men. “In three, two, one.” The camera sound went off several times as she took a few photos and handed the device back.

“Thank you so much.” Brandon grinned. “I know that will look so much better than a selfie.”

The older pair returned the smile and continued on their walk.

Brandon pointed to where two construction cranes stood in the distance. “What’s that?”

“The Crown Sydney. It’s the tallest building in the city. They’re getting close to topping out. Seventy-five stories. Fuckin’ expensive apartments, a casino, and a hotel.”

The two walked through the expansive park, which was a pleasant respite to the concrete jungle beyond its borders.

“I wasn’t sure about doing this. I mean, a botanical garden sounded kind of boring.” Brandon gave an apologetic look. “Thankfully I trusted you, and you were right. This place’s awesome.”

“No worries, mate. I like to come for a run or jog. And it was on the list from that CJ guy.” Dainen leaned in close. “Sometimes at night, I’ll stash my clothes, and get furry. It feels so good and this place’s neutral territory for any lycan in the city. I’ve had cats and a couple dingos hang out with me. Even a few avians joined in overhead. Our leaders come down hard on anyone who causes a problem.”

“Maybe we’ll try that tonight or tomorrow.” He could not believe he was offering to shift around someone other than Austin.

The wolf chuffed in amusement at the surprise offer. He sniffed the air, pleased the Aussie still bore their scent. “If we ever claim another mate like the beta and enforcers, this is the one. He smells like Austin. Thank you for offering him a run.”

“Hush. And get that image out of our mind. Even with a jockstrap on under my shorts, I don’t need to be popping a boner here.” He shook his head to clear the thought. “We need to spend fur time with him. Provided you have any hair, since I don’t yet. I want to see his animal as badly as you do. He’s not Austin, but I care about him.”

“No, he isn’t our mate yet, but they would look so good kneeling together before us. Can I have a turn at marking him when we run?” The wolf was pleased at the physical reaction he felt.

“You’d go for a run with me? I hadn’t heard you mention shifting since we got back. Kinda figured if you did, it would have been while we were in Newcastle with your friends.”

“Don’t make me tell Lucas you don’t think he’s your friend. And you’re every bit my friend like they are. More actually.” Brandon tried to subtly adjust himself to a more comfortable angle. He kicked at a non-existent stone on the path. “I don’t go furry all that often or around many people.”

“Why? Your wolf’s beautiful. Both of them are.” Dainen blushed as soon as he issued the compliment. “I mean…”

“It’s okay. He and I haven’t always gotten along. But he helped me make it through the fires. And without him, the burns would have killed me. Maybe it’s time I take the leash off my inner beast and focus on physical leashes clipped to good subs. I’m finally talking to him, and I… we want to run with you in fur more than anything.” Brandon could not help winking at his friend. “I just hope I have hair when I shift. No matter what, we’re gonna run together.” Brandon inhaled the scents wafting off his friend. “Show me your favorite spot?”

“Nope. I’m saving that for our nighttime run.”

“Fair enough. I hope we go for several runs in the two weeks I have left here.” A smirk grew on Brandon’s face. “Dumb question and feel free to say no, but would you be more comfortable if we kept using the apartment they put me in or if we stayed in yours the rest of my time here? I don’t want to crowd my way into your den. But it would save on trips when you go get clean clothes.”

“I like that idea. The sixth floor is great and all, but having you in my home would be better. Then I could get your scent all over my bed.” There was a twinkle in Dainen’s eyes. “Alpha, would you please stay with me in my apartment?” He subconsciously tipped his head, baring his neck.

The amber flash of Brandon’s eyes was noticeable behind his sunglasses. “Just as long as you don’t call me that again. Where to next?”

“We’ll go by Government House and circle around the Opera House. Then I’m taking you to The Rocks.” Dainen broke into a jog causing Brandon to smile as he quickly gave chase.

The Rocks Discovery Museum was a restored 1850’s sandstone warehouse that educated people on the part of the city it got its name from. There were artifacts on display from pre-European times. Also information on the English colony and when sailors, whalers, and traders made the area their home.

Crossing under the A4 highway before it reached the Harbour Bridge, Dainen led the way to another place his grin indicated he enjoyed. “This is the Sydney Observatory.”

“Cool. This looks old compared to what we have in California.”

“It was built in 1858 and played a major role in our history. This was the science center of the colony. It helped map stars for ships to navigate by and studied the weather.” Dainen’s excitement was on full display as he played tour guide. “At one point, this site was known as Citadel Hill, and later as Fort Phillips. It’s had a few other names before it became Observatory Hill.”

“I can see why you like it.” Brandon let his friend lead him around the site. “It’s fun seeing you smile like this.”

“Hope I’m not out of line for saying the same.” Dainen blushed. “You look great with that big grin.”

“So we both like science and history.” Brandon pulled him into a bro hug, looked to make sure they were alone, and kissed Dainen’s cheek. “Maybe that’s why we get along.”

“Maybe. I think it’s because you’re a cool guy who kicked Ethan’s arse once. And stood up to Thorin for me. Could also be since you keep marking me. I never thought it would be that sexy with a guy’s mate watching on cam. But it was hot seeing that Dean guy doing the same thing you were.”

“What can I say? My mate gets what he wants. Think you and I did too.” Brandon buried his face in his palms to keep from laughing at how Austin had tried to choreograph their last Skype session. “I’m never gonna live down that fight with Ethan. Am I?” Brandon shoulder-bumped the taller lycan. “Hey, I thought you guys finally made up and were friends after we went surfing.”

“Yeah, we did. I still feel edgy around them, but they’re cool guys.” His smile pleased Brandon. “They invited me to visit their packs anytime I want. Plus Cody and I have been texting some. He wanted to make sure I was okay after the club and Thorin.”

“I’m glad. I think he could be a good friend to have. For both of us.”

******

Brandon spent most of his remaining time in Australia with Dainen.

“Holy shit. I can’t believe you did that.” Dainen panted heavily as Brandon went to fetch a warm washcloth.

“Not sure why you’re surprised. We’ve done nearly the same thing a few times.” He smirked at the prone body on his bed. Brandon ran the cloth over what he needed to while rubbing the white fluid into the skin of Dainen’s abs. One swipe and the hairs of the treasure trail were no longer matted.

“That definitely wasn’t like the other times.”

Brandon moved in close to Dainen’s ear. “Maybe not, but since I re-marked you, I figured it was only fair I finally wear your scent.” He offered his hand to help his friend up. “Time to get dressed.”

“Is this my jock or yours?” The Aussie held it to his nose and inhaled deeply. “Definitely yours.”

“Is that the one you decided to wear? I thought we were going with the other ones?”

“No, I’ll put on the leather one. This one smells like you though.”

“Keep it then.” Brandon enjoyed how relaxed and happy Dainen was. “I hope you’re okay with Aiden and his crew coming to The Underground with us tonight. I think he said he was going to put Ethan on a leash this time. Darius mentioned he’d have to put both his mates on one after how they acted last time.” He laughed. “Guess too many hot Aussies around for them not to get in trouble.”

“I didn’t mind the other times we went out with them. Being your last night in town, I may not want to share you all the time, but they’re fun to be around.” A momentary sorrow flashed in Dainen’s eyes. “I can’t wait to see you walking around in those shorts and harness you picked up. I still think the jock would look hot too.”

“I’ll have it on. I may want to strip out of the shorts and show Aiden and Casey what they can’t have.”

Dainen reverently knelt before the chair Brandon was in and tied his friend’s boots. Reaching for his back pocket, he lowered his head and presented the object. “Would you do me the honor of collaring me tonight, Sir?”

With a nod of pride, Brandon grasped the leather strap and fixed it around Dainen’s neck. “I like that you won’t put it on yourself around me. Austin does the same each time he wears his.”

“Just feels right with you.” He lowered his head to the floor and kissed both boots. “Any other time, it’s a fashion accessory.”

“Come on, boy. Let’s go dancing.”

******

Descending a flight of stairs behind a nondescript door on Oxford Street, Brandon and Dainen came to an open space with over fifty people waiting to get into the club. Music blasted from behind the closed doors. “Hey, Tony.” Dainen greeted the doorman with a bro-hug. “Brandon and I should be on the alpha’s VIP list.”

“G’day, Brandon. Lookin’ hot. Nice to have ya back.”

“Thanks, Tony.” He nodded at the huge bouncer dressed in leather pants and a harness.

The man moved a chain aside, allowing the pair to enter, while a long queue of people waited to get in. Several growls and complaints could be heard.

A few steps inside the club, Dainen stopped at a counter. He stripped off his shorts, placing them in the supplied bag. His t-shirt soon followed. Double checking the holster his phone, identification, and cash were in, he handed the bag to the waiting man.

“Haven’t seen you ever go down to a jockstrap.” The guy behind the counter winked. “Lookin’ fuckin’ hot, Dainen. Like the three colours on the right of the pouch. Gonna have to make a note of that unless that collar and leash are permanent.”

“Thanks, Rob.” The blush looked adorable on the muscular stud. “Brandon, Robert. He handles clothes checks when Zander isn’t working. So, when you want to show off your jock…”

Robert held out his fist to bump. “Pleasure to meet ya, mate. Glad to see someone’s making our boy here happy.”

“Sadly, the collar’s temporary. I fly home tomorrow. If I could figure out a way, my husband and I would lock it on him.” Brandon flashed a sly smile at the surprised Dainen. “Here. Put my shorts in with his. No reason not to show off, it’s Mardi Gras after all.” He added his own shirt to the bag and adjusted the Nasty Pig ball cap.

“Fuck me. ‘Bout all I can do not to howl. I’d be one happy puppy for you.” Robert’s eyes raked over Brandon. “You can leash me anytime, Daddy. Like how that yellow logo matches one of his stripes. Here’s your ticket to pick up your clothes. They’re with the other VIP stuff if I’m not here.”

The pair made their way down a ramp into the club. “You lead the way.” Brandon patted Dainen’s fuzzy butt cheeks. “I can’t see over the crowd to know where we’re going. Places like this it sucks to be short.”

“I saw them from the clothes check. They’re just over there unless they moved.”

Brandon marveled at the crowd’s size. Every club in the area was packed because of Mardi Gras. Finally, space opened around them.

“Holy fuckin’ shit. Brandon, you look hot!” Ethan tugged at his leash to give a hug. “Thank gods there’s finally someone my size.” He rubbed his hand over the stubble beginning to grow on the scalp. “Nice to see that’s finally growing back. I was gonna suggest another healing to see if I could speed it up.”

“Not bad either. You look awesome. I guess we picked right for the uniform of the night.” Brandon surveyed the guys in the entourage.

Ethan reached for Dainen’s neck, pulling the big Aussie down. “You look fuckin’ incredible.” Pushing his nose into the armpit, he inhaled. “And you smell awesome.”

A deep chuckle resonated over the music. “Thanks, Ethan. Wish I’d thought to drive you guys around dressed like this.”

“If you had, we might have tried to collar you and forgotten all about the fires.” Aiden planted a friendly kiss on the Aussie’s cheek.

Aiden and Darius had matching briefs. While the crotch and one hip were covered by black cloth, narrow, bright fabric strips made up the other side, leaving one butt cheek exposed. Aiden’s was yellow. Darius had dark blue. Like the shorts, they wore harnesses with piping to match their briefs and leather biker caps. The black boots and gloves finished off their attire.

In contrast, Ethan was in combat boots, a leather jockstrap with two yellow stripes on the pouch that matched his mate’s shorts, and a bulldog harness with yellow piping. A leash was clipped to the D ring hanging from the center.

Casey and Cody were similarly dressed with blue stripes and piping to match the lion’s clothes. The major deviation in apparel was the addition of a collar on the two enforcers. Darius held a split leash attached to each of his mates.

“Hey, Big Red.” Brandon caught Casey’s attention. “I honestly never figured you for the leash type. Gotta say you wear it well.”

“I was exclusively a top before I met him.” Casey nodded towards Darius. “I fought it at first, but he pointed out I wanted to be his puppy. Damn if the big pussy wasn’t right. I may not be a sub like Dainen, but when Dari gives the order, it’s like a light switch’s turned on.” He leaned in and affectionately nuzzled his tall, blond husband.

Walking back with a drink in his hand and a brunette on his right arm, Trevor looked happy. “This lovely lady’s Erin. We started talking at the bar. When she kept trying to tell me she’s trans,”he turned and winked at the woman“all I could say was she’s the most beautiful woman in the club. And that I’d be honored if she’d dance with me.” In short order, the two were making out and grinding to the music like the rest of the group did not exist.

“Is there a woman alive that doesn’t fall under his spell?” Aiden shook his head and laughed.

“Ten bucks says he gets laid tonight.” Casey smiled approvingly at his straight friend.

“That’s Bre.” Dainen waved at one of the strippers flanking the DJ. “He puts on a hot show anytime he works. His husband, Ark, and their boy Cam should be somewhere near his stage. Talk about a sexy family.”

“With this crowd, I bet his tips are gonna be great. They do get tips, right?” Brandon took in the room. “Of all the nights for me not to be working. Some of the clubs I strip at are as big as this, but none are anything like what I’m seeing.”

“You strip? At gay clubs?” Ethan stood open mouth.

“Umm, yeah. For a couple years. It didn’t come up in the background check your boys ran on me?” Brandon casually brushed off the looks he received. “The tips are good.” He turned at the feel of someone tapping his shoulder.

“Hey, mate. You look familiar. Have we met?” The shirtless man ogled Brandon before letting his eyes take in the rest of the group. Even in the crowd, the scent of alcohol from him was strong. “Sorry, didn’t mean to interrupt, but you’re fuckin’ hot.”

“Not the most original pick-up line. I’m not from around here, so I doubt it.” Bran flashed a grin. “You probably recognize me from watching porn.”

The guy blinked a few times and appeared unsure how to respond for a moment. “Yeah, that must be it. Guess you’re all from the same studio.” He soon vanished into the crowd.

“Brandon?” Darius eyed the other American with renewed interest. “You’ve done porn? I so want the site address.”

“Definitely want to see that.” Cody’s tongue was hanging like a thirsty dog.

“Forget the mud wrestling.” Casey licked his lips. “I want to see him dancing and filming. Can we make a detour the next time we go to Burney?”

“Who’d want to watch a video when seeing him perform live or view it through a mirror is so much better.” Dainen had a big, toothy grin as he leaned in, nuzzling Brandon’s neck.

“Kidding. Dude, I’ve never done porn, but I know a ton of people in the industry. It did get rid of the guy fast.” Brandon winked. “And he thinks we’re all actors now. Just for that, I’m blindfolding you when we get back to your place.”

“Hey, Brody.” Ethan yelled over the music. “Scrappy’s a stripper if you need an extra one tonight.”

The thumbs up from the DJ made the group laugh. “I’ll have the manager work him in for a set or two.”

“Come on, Dain. If they wanna see my moves, they can watch us on the dance floor. Let’s get sweaty.” Brandon gently tugged on the leash. “We’ll be back in a bit.”

******

Brandon watched the skyline through the window. The first class seat was much more comfortable than the one in coach two months earlier. All too soon, the buildings and land disappeared, to be replaced by white, fluffy clouds and water. A chime in the cabin alerted him they had passed ten-thousand feet.

“Did you enjoy your stay in Oz?” The handsome flight attendant brought over a snack tray.

Brandon sniffed the air to confirm another avian. “I did. I can’t wait to come back.”

“That’s nice. We enjoy when good looking Americans visit.” The wink made Brandon grin as he selected a bag of crisps from the tray. Chips, he corrected himself. Aussie slang and everyday words had seeped into his vocabulary without him fully realizing it. Readjustment would take a little time once home.

“I guess I need to fly Qantas more often. The flight’s a lot more fun when there’s flirting. And everyone’s easy on the eyes.”

“You just keep that thought, you adorable wolf.” The attendant walked to the forward bulkhead and reached for the microphone. “Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of Qantas Airlines and our crew today we’d like to give a special welcome and thank you to one of our passengers. He may have thought he was going to be able to hide, but when the airline spotlights someone like him, they make sure we know why. This young man came to Australia to help us fight the bushfires that raged for months. Thank you, Brandon, for your hard work and dedication. We look forward to you visiting us often.”

Brandon tried to shrink into his seat as clapping filled the airliner.

“Sorry but not sorry if I embarrassed you.”

“All I did was come do a job I got paid for. I don’t understand getting the hero treatment. Yeah, it’s nice getting to sit in first class this time, but I didn’t do anything special.”

“You just go right along thinking that way. It makes you all the sweeter.” He spoke in hushed tones so the other passengers would not hear. “We’ll have more time to flirt before we land, but I’ve got to attend to the other passengers in the section, and you look like you could use a nap. I can tell when someone was out partying all night.” The smirk made Brandon blush again. “Yep, you went to one of the good clubs. They’re always a blast during Mardi Gras.”

“A private club in Darlinghurst.”

“Bloody hell. Of all the nights for me not to go to The Underground. I stayed in because of having this flight. Alpha Sampson’s club is the fuckin’ best in town. So I have something to fantasize about, please tell me you were in fetish gear.”

“Jock, harness, boots, and this hat. I put a mate on a leash.” Brandon could not stifle the yawn. Leaving the club in the early hours of the morning, he cuddled with Dainen until it was time to head for the airport. He did not want sleep to spoil one remaining minute they had together.

“Get some rest, you handsome Dom. We’ll be chatting more when you wake up. Might even see if we can make you a mile-high club member.”

As Brandon’s eyes closed, the wolf happily ran through his mind, enjoying the truce that had developed. He too eventually tired and curled up for a rest. Cuddling with the human side, the two finally slept as one.

Brandon's adventure has come to an end. I couldn't have done this without the tremendous help of @Carlos Hazdayand @Backwoods Boyfor their editing. This story would have also gone no where without all of you. I greatly enjoyed all your comments as it's usually my only way to talking with my readers. If you feel so inclined, I'd be grateful if you leave a reaction to the story on it's main page. Thank you again and I'll see you back when the next book in the series is complete. Hugz to you all.

Copyright © 2021 WolfM; All Rights Reserved.
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4 hours ago, Backwoods Boy said:

:thankyou:

Thank you for your help on this and past books.

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16 hours ago, chris191070 said:

Great chapter to end Brandon's adventures.

Thank you, Chris. It's always a pleasure to have you along for the ride.

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Wonderful story!  I enjoyed it beginning to end.  Please bring Brandon back!

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14 hours ago, belisima said:

Wonderful story!  I enjoyed it beginning to end.  Please bring Brandon back!

Thank you, Belisima. I've got him on my list of possibles to use again. ;)

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18 hours ago, JR Tittle said:

Brandon’s a great character…and this is a GREAT story! Thank you. I have truly enjoyed it!

Thank you, JR. :)

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