The Jascian's Toy copyright 2005 Rowan McBride
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This story may not be reproduced in whole or in part without author's permission.
This story is a work of fiction, and any resemblance to persons, living or dead (or undead), or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. They are a product of the author's imagination, or used fictitiously.
The following story contains erotic homosexual situations. If it is illegal for you to read this please leave now.
NOTE: This is the first chapter after a major set of revisions were made to the story. I think the main thing you need to know is that the name of the "Earther Care Kit" has been changed to "Toy Care Kit" (TCK). If you'd like to read the revised chapters, you can do so by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page, going to Stories, then Serials.
Thank you for reading The Jascian's Toy.
- Fourteen -
"Do you understand the rules to this fucking game yet?"
Okay, so the thing that looked like a basketball hoop spun on its axis on the floating backboard, while the backboard zipped along the court at a breakneck pace. Kieric and Soria were paired as one team while Gavin and Lucas were paired as the other. Different amounts of points were awarded according to...
"No," I told Jack, watching the high-speed game in awe. "Not a clue."
He made himself more comfortable next to a pile of textbooks on the grass. "It shouldn't even be possible to get the ball through a hoop spinning that fast."
"Yet they do it." Lucas elbowed Kieric in the face and snatched the ball. The impact echoed through the court, making us both wince. "That can't be legal, can it?"
"I don't think fouls exist in Xemet ball," said Jack.
"True." Soria swept Lucas's legs from under him and stole the ball back. Violence was not only allowed in this game, it was encouraged. "I wonder how the Bulls are doing back home."
"You a Chicago fan?"
I nodded, running my fingers along the blades of grass beside me. They'd come up to our shoulders if Gavin hadn't pressed them down for us. "You?"
"Spurs." He groaned and rubbed a palm over his bald head. "Man, I could really go for an old fashioned enchilada."
My mouth began to water. "Or a deep dish pizza. Extra mushrooms, onions, the works."
"Shit, yeah, that sounds good." Jack rested his forearms on his knees. "Hell, I'd probably kill for a Big Mac right now."
"With fries," I said, "and a--"
"--Large fucking shake."
Gavin glanced our way, leaving an opening for Kieric to hit him in the stomach. The punch didn't seem to hurt, but it distracted him enough to let Kieric take the ball from his hands. Eyes narrowing, Gavin slammed a fist into his chest hard enough to knock him to the ground. The ball rolled to his feet and he calmly picked it up, sending it sailing through the spinning hoop.
"Whoa," said Jack. "Something tells me your Alpha's really good at this game."
"Yeah," I whispered, unnerved by Gavin's ferocity. Up until then he'd been the most laidback of the four. "Did you play basketball on Earth, Jack?" Kieric kicked the ball into the air and Soria head-butted it through the hoop. "Or soccer?"
"For fun with the guys. Played college football--thought about going pro."
"Seriously?" I turned my head. "What stopped you?"
He shrugged. "Towers fell. Playtime was over."
This man...he spoke of serving his country in the same tone he used to talk about the weather. I had no problem believing he didn't think twice, that he didn't have any regrets. "You really are a hero."
"And you're not?" He thumped the scar on his arm. "Fixed me up with a needle and thread. Tore the shirt off your own back to get Jenny twirling again. All I do is plot escape. Here, on this world, you're the one we all need."
Warmth crept into my skin as I struggled to find some intelligent way to respond.
Jack grinned. "All that blushing you do makes me think your heart's too big for one guy, doc."
Good lord. Gavin mentioned I'd been adjusting well to Jasc, but given the right size Jack could pass as a native.
Something big crashed on the Xemet court and we glanced up just in time to watch Gavin sink another shot. Soria was flat on her back and Kieric was sprawled beside her, his face ground into the asphalt.
"Get up," snapped Gavin as Lucas tossed Soria the ball. "Score's 9-6."
Lucas raised an eyebrow.
"Fucking hell, Gav." Kieric hopped to his feet and held a hand out for Soria. "I thought we were playing for fun."
"Yeah, Gavin." Smiling, Soria glided her knuckles over Kieric's cheek. The skin there wasn't even red from its impact against the asphalt. "There's no one here to show off for."
Bolts of blue sparked in Gavin's eyes. "Your ball. Lucas, take point."
What was going on?
"Never seen your Alpha that pissed before," murmured Jack.
I'd seen him at a lot worse, but I didn't mention it. "Something must have happened that we didn't catch."
Jack chuckled. "Some all important Alpha hierarchy must prove myself before graduation thing."
Was that it? Gavin rarely spoke about graduation and entering Jascian society. When he did, he seemed relaxed, self-assured. Could all that be a smokescreen?
Lucas took his place beneath the Xemet net and Soria brushed her lips against Kieric's mouth before jogging over to guard.
Soria had been Kieric's transition partner after Jack, but I hadn't been aware they'd continued the connection. "Are those two dating?"
"That's probably the closest word we have for it. I'm guessing they'll be taking each other as mates soon."
"Mates? Is that like marriage?"
"My understanding is that it's more hardcore than marriage, but basically."
Once again Jack knew more about the world around us than I did. How could that be? By my count I'd been here just over six months--I'd never even heard Gavin talk about getting married or mated or whatever.
My chest tightened, and I fought the urge to clench my fists.
Of course Gavin would fall in love with another Alpha. I was a toy. You couldn't build a life with a toy. And once he had a companion, I was probably expected to get along with the Earther who came with them. Both of us, well cared for, but essentially forgotten.
I glanced at Jack. "How do you feel about Kieric and Soria..."
"Mating," I repeated, forcing myself to get used to the word.
"It is what it is. Jenny's fun, though. Wouldn't mind hanging out with her." He brushed the top of his head with his hand.
Noticing that he was repeating that particular gesture more often, I shoved my darker emotions away and took a good look at his skin. "Jack, you've got the beginnings of a sunburn there."
His hand stilled, then dropped to rest next to him in the grass. "Price of looking good, doc."
And just like that I was chuckling. "I've been meaning to ask how you manage that. Do you use the razor in the Toy Care Kit?" Every month or so he'd turn up this way, then he'd let the hair grow a bit only to be bald again four weeks later.
"Naw, man." Without warning he whipped a black knife out of a sheath strapped to his thigh. "This gets the job done a lot faster."
"Whoa!" I leaned back from him, gawking at a blade that must have been ten inches long and a handle that looked like it had been made for his hand. "What the hell is that?"
"This, my friend, is a hand forged tactical survival knife." He twirled the handle around his fingers. "It saves lives, it takes lives, and it sings."
I couldn't have heard that last part correctly. "Sings?"
His fingers tightened, snapping the handle secure against his palm a split second before slicing the knife through the air.
He was right. That blade sang. One high, perfect note. "Wow."
"A thing of beauty, isn't it? And there's a compartment for the sharpening stone in its sheath, so as long as I take of it, it'll take care of me."
My gaze flicked to his bald head, then to the scar on his arm. "I take it even that wasn't much good when you were attacked." I paused. Maybe I shouldn't have brought up the veda in front of Kieric and Gavin.
But the game went on without breaking rhythm. Either they hadn't heard me or they'd put it behind them.
"This blade is the only reason I'm alive at all." Jack slipped his knife into its sheath. "When Kieric saw what it could do, he wanted me to try it on him." He chuckled. "Bastard."
That sound seemed almost...affectionate. I never thought I'd hear it from Jack regarding an Alpha. "Did you?"
"Hell. No." He jerked his thumb at the court. "His skin repels bullets. Wasn't going to let him ruin my prized possession."
I started to laugh, stopped when he went to rub his scalp. "Here." Removing my hat, I carefully placed it on his head. "This'll keep your burn from getting worse and give you time to heal. The material inside is soft, so it should be comfortable to wear even with that mild irritation you've already got."
Jack lifted both hands to touch the rim of the safari hat. "Doc, I can't take this."
"You need it more than I do." I tugged on the hair grazing my shoulders. "In case you haven't noticed, my scalp isn't in much danger from the sun."
His voice dropped to a whisper. "Blake."
My body jumped as my attention ratcheted to the Xemet court.
Kieric spread his hands, staring at Gavin in shock. "What? Now?"
"Yes." He dropped the ball and strode across the court. "Now."
My eyes rounded as he dropped into a crouch in front of us. "Gavin, I know I should have asked first, but he needs--"
"It's your hat," said Gavin, his voice surprisingly gentle as he picked up a textbook. "If you want to give it away, then that's your right."
My... My right?
I watched him open the book slightly and set it to stand on its longest edge beside Jack. "What are you doing?"
"You should have told me the sunlight was too intense." He propped another text beside me and balanced a folder on top of the two. "I can help, you know."
Cool shade enveloped us. At the same time a breeze lazed through the opening in the back.
He'd been paying attention to me, even while playing such an intense game.
"Thank you," I said softly.
"Yeah," said Jack, his voice earnest if a little gruff. "Thanks."
Gavin's eyes sparked as they flicked in his direction. "Be sure to take good care of Blake's gift."
Jack touched two fingers to the rim of his hat. "Will do."
That army ranger had nerves of steel.
Gavin returned his attention to me, the sparks fading, his face softening. "Need anything else?"
I shook my head.
He reached into our new shelter and ran the pad of his thumb along my chest. "Call my name if you do."
It wasn't a question, or even a request, but I answered anyway. "S-Sure."
Well, tried to answer.
Gavin smiled--the expression a world away from the one he'd worn on the court moments ago--before rising to his feet and returning to his friends.
"We ready to play?" asked Soria, bouncing the ball from one hand to the other.
"Not yet," said Gavin, walking past her to talk to Lucas. I couldn't hear what they were saying, but the other Alpha retrieved his PDA from the edge of the court and made a call.
Leaning forward, I tried to catch a word or two. "I wonder what's going on."
"Maybe they're ordering takeout."
I burst into fresh laughter. Gavin glanced up, and I waved. He waved back as Lucas put his PDA away.
"Fried rice and sesame beef," I said, slipping back into the game Jack and I had been playing earlier.
"Your Alpha really cares about you."
Caught off guard, I turned my head. "What?"
Jack's expression was thoughtful, serious. "It's strange, how much he cares about you."
"Why is it strange?" I palmed the lingering warmth on my chest, caught him staring and dropped my hand.
"Did you see Kieric rushing over here to build us some shade?"
"Yeah, but Kieric..." My voice trailed as I tried to find a polite way to say it.
That almost affectionate chuckle resurfaced as the next round of Xemet began. "Is eighty percent asshole," he finished for me.
I thought I saw Kieric smirk just then, but it was hard to tell whether it was us or the game that had him amused. "And the other twenty?"
Jack shrugged. "He's okay. Looks after me because he thinks I'm a fun toy and because he needs me to stay healthy. Like Soria. Like all of them." He turned his head to look at me. "Except yours."
Gavin honestly cared. I believed that. But surely somewhere another Alpha felt something similar for their toy. "Have you met Nythan? He called once needing help and seemed scared to death over Steve's welfare."
"Yeah, I've met him. Being a twitchy idiot's not the same as being tender."
Tender. That was a good word for how Gavin treated me. "I didn't think he was an idiot. Just panicked over a situation he couldn't control."
"Nythan can't control anything," said Jack, rolling his eyes. "Holding a fucking glass of water makes him nervous." He shook his head. "It's a good thing he got a calm guy like Steve for his Earther, otherwise he'd have had a nervous breakdown by now."
An Alpha turning to his toy for support. That was an interesting thought. "Gavin says Alphas are scanned at birth so they can be matched with Earthers who have high biological compatibility." I grinned. "Maybe Steve has some hidden anti-anxiety gene."
"Shit. He'd need it. I'd blow my top every day if I was Nythan's Earther."
Jack knew every Alpha and Earther I'd ever come in contact with, and I'd wager he knew a lot more. He also had the inside track on Jascian culture. The Alpha aspect, anyway. "You hang out with Steve a lot? Jenny, too?"
"Kieric usually takes me along when he feels like he's going somewhere interesting. Which is why I don't get to see you and Jenny at school."
Days like this were rare. For the most part I only saw other Earthers at the university and occasionally at Jovin's shop. "Maybe you could ask Kieric to bring you along," I suggested, liking the idea of seeing Jack more often.
"Maybe. But I'd hate to owe the fucker anything."
Trying to stifle my laughter, I choked on whatever I'd meant to say next. "I can't tell how you feel about Kieric at all."
Jack stopped short, braced his hands behind him. "When I was a kid I had a cousin whose family we didn't visit very often. They lived out in the boonies and it was big trip for us. My cousin was older, really wild. I could never figure out what he was gonna do from one second to the next. One day he'd take me out riding on his ATV and it'd feel like the greatest adventure a kid could have. Another day he'd scoop a chunk out of an ant hill and shove it down my pants, laughing his ass off while I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off."
Jack frowned. "When we were in the middle of the fun, I adored him. When he tortured me I hated him. When I was home, I didn't think of him at all." He glanced my way. "That pretty much sums up how I feel about Kieric."
When I spoke to her at school, Jenny was always smiling, cheerful. But did she like Soria? And what about whoever lived with Lucas?
I straightened. "Jack, do you know the name of Lucas's Earther?"
"Sasori. He's from Japan. Doesn't talk much."
"Doesn't talk? Does he speak English?"
"No, but neither do the Jascians. They do something to our brains so we can all understand each other no matter where we're from."
Gavin had never told me that! My fingers went to my head, searching for a scar even though I knew I wouldn't find one. Whatever methods the Jascians used, it would be nonsurgical, which in a way made it more invasive. Like a thief sneaking in during the dead of night. My eyes closed a moment.
Which was probably why we were taken while sleeping.
Sasori. You were curious about Sasori.
"If he understands you, why doesn't he talk?"
"Not sure. Only met him once. Lucas gave him just about every toy accessory there is, but he hardly ever leaves that apartment. Maybe he just doesn't have anything to say."
Lucas was in Jovin's shop every time I'd ever been there. Between that and school, Sasori must spend a lot of time alone. I glanced up, stared at Gavin playing ball.
What would it be like, never seeing him? Or Jack? Or Jenny?
"Fuck," said Jack, dropping back onto the grass. "I'm all depressed now."
"He's one of our own, right? We should try to help."
"I imagine Gavin's listening to us right now, but I'll talk to him about it in private. You do the same with Kieric. Maybe Sasori can come along to the next game of Xemet."
Jack was quiet a long moment. "Okay," he said finally. "This is worth owing my Alpha." He sat up and cupped his hands to his mouth. "Ya hear that, fucker? I'll do something special to your cock if you gimme this favor!"
Ball in hands, Kieric stopped midcourt, staring at him wide-eyed. "What favor? And what's this special thing?"
Before Jack could answer, Lucas came barreling in, tackling him around the waist and knocking them both to the asphalt.
"See?" Jack shook his head at me. "My Alpha doesn't listen like yours."
Lucas grabbed the ball and ran, but Kieric didn't chase after him. Instead he sat up and focused his full attention on Jack. "Well? What do you want me to do for you? And is this thing you're going to give in return something you've never given me before?"
"I'll tell you when we get back to your place," said Jack, his voice going husky. "And I promise the thing I have in mind will rock you down."
Bright green bolts of electricity radiated around Kieric's irises.
"I'm gonna take that as a yes," called Jack.
Kieric stopped short, then smirked as he jumped to his feet and returned to the game.
"What exactly does 'rock you down' mean?" I asked, wondering if I could get a similar reaction out of Gavin. Somehow, though, I knew only Jack could pull it off.
My suspicions were confirmed when he laughed and changed the subject on me. "Want me to cut that mop of yours?"
Oh, that was a bad idea if I'd ever heard one. "Trust me, I can't do bald."
"Relax." He pulled open a pouch strapped to another part of his leg. "I shave my dome because only an idiot cuts his own hair, but I can trim those locks just fine."
"What is that?" I asked, studying the complex tool in his hand.
"You've never seen a Leatherman before?"
This time the blush that rose to my skin had nothing to do with my heart.
Looking away couldn't hide the color from Jack, and a note of mischief crept into his grin. "First, if you tell me that story sometime I'll tell you how to rock someone down. Second, this kind of Leatherman is a multifunction tool with everything from pliers, to wire cutters, to," he opened it up to show me, "a pair of scissors."
"Ah." I was never going to live this one down, and for sure Gavin was going to make me tell him about it once we got home.
Jack rapped the ground in front of him with his knuckles.
I turned around to receive my first haircut in half a year.
"So how about this weather?" he joked as the first lock of hair hit the ground.
A wave of homesickness surged into me. "God, I didn't realize how much I missed...this."
"It's the little things," murmured Jack, running his fingers through my hair to measure it out. "Going to the barber, reading the newspaper, getting to talk sports on the phone with my bro for a minute or two."
A brother. "What's his name?"
"Cliff. A few years younger than me." He snipped another lock. "You got any family, doc?"
"None living." I don't know why I'd thought that was typical. Of course the Jascians wouldn't care about the bonds their potential toys might have prior to being taken. All that mattered was the biological compatibility.
"Shame. But a man like you must have good friends back home."
"No," I said softly. "I had some in school, but we drifted apart after graduation. I have a several amicable acquaintances; never got close enough to any of them to consider them friends. The practice came first and I always figured I had time." If I'd known I would go to sleep one night and never see them again, would I have prioritized my life better? Loved someone? Been loved? Had one person I could call friend?
"Do you miss Earth?"
The gentle question had me turning, but a firm hand on my shoulder kept me from completing the action. "Of course."
His hand slipped away as he went back to cutting my hair. "Enough to go back if the chance came up?" He chuckled. "Don't answer that. Wouldn't want you to get into trouble with your Alpha listening so closely."
Jack thought he knew the answer. I sat there, stunned, because I realized in that moment I did not.
Long fingers threaded through my hair, more tendrils floated to the ground. "Doc, you ever see an Alpha after their second transition?"
Thankful to have something else to think about, I barely stopped myself from breathing a sigh of relief. "No. Have you?"
"Once, from across the street. Made the hair on my forearms stand on end."
I frowned. "That creepy?"
"Not creepy. The hair on my forearms literally stood on end. I never felt anything like it, and before I could get a good look Kieric was shielding me with his body."
"Do you think..." I thought about how I'd never seen Gavin's parents, or their toy. Jack hadn't seen Kieric's mother or father either. "Do you think they're dangerous?"
"I don't know." He lowered his head, spoke into my ear. "But there has to be a reason they keep us separated. You don't even see them at school, do you?"
I'd been thinking the second transition was something subtle, a simple biological change that would enable Earthers to weather the environment of Jasc. "I would have noticed, right?"
"Right. And I sure as hell don't want to find out what happens during a second transition firsthand."
There was one thing in this world I could hold on to. One constant. "I trust Gavin."
Jack moved in front of me and, to my surprise, he was smiling as he cut the hair over my forehead. "I do like that big heart of yours, Blake."
As I stared up into those dark eyes, for a fleeting moment I thought that, in another life, on another world, he and I might have been more than friends.
We glanced up, but it was Lucas who'd called a halt to the game, a big grin on his face as he jogged over to a beta staring at the ground a respectful distance from the court.
Lucas dipped his head, murmured something. Jovin glanced up.
He looked good. Nervous--probably because there were so many Alphas around and he was away from the familiarity of his shop--but good.
Jovin handed him a small box and Lucas tossed it to Gavin, who caught it in one hand. He talked a few seconds more with the beta before running to grab his things.
"Gav! I've gotta cut out. I forgot I have a shift at the store today."
He lifted an eyebrow, then waved him on as he strode past Kieric and Soria. "Guess that's game. 12-8."
They let loose pained sighs, but Kieric walked Soria to the other end of the court to help her gather her things.
Gavin crossed his arms over his chest when he reached our shelter, his eyes flickering electric blue as he looked me over. "I like the new cut." His attention shifted to Jack. "Thank you."
"No problem." He snipped off one last lock of hair and folded up his Leatherman. "Consider it payment for the hat." After slipping the tool into its pouch, he brushed his hands through my hair and over my shoulders. "Wish you could see it."
"What," I said, feigning surprise. "You don't have a mirror tucked into one of those secret compartments?"
"I did, but it cracked a while back." He winked at me. "Hope it wasn't an omen."
I chuckled, paused when I caught a muscle in Gavin's jaw tick. I knew that expression.
Before I could tease him about it, Kieric appeared at his side. Suddenly books were being shuffled into backpacks before Jack and I were gathered up by our respective owners.
"Why was Jovin here?" I asked once I was settled against the swell of Gavin's chest.
Without a word he handed me the box. Curious, I removed the lid and looked inside.
A hat. Exactly like the one I'd just given Jack. "Gavin... You shouldn't have done this."
I glanced up at him. "Isn't it expensive?"
He pulled me closer. "Don't worry about that."
Jack's concerns about the second transition were valid. I knew that. But so was my trust in Gavin. "Thank you."
Smiling, I looked over at Jack, tucked into the crook of Kieric's arm. "Yes?"
He smiled back. "You should ask your Alpha what his parents do for a living!"
Every muscle in Gavin's body stiffened.
Kieric glanced down at Jack, up at Gavin, and burst into laughter. "Oh man I love this toy. He has no sense of self preservation."
"What... What's going on?" I twisted around, tilted my head back. "Gavin, what do your parents do?"
Several seconds passed as he stared down at me. When he answered, his face was cool, sober. "They operate the portal to Earth."
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