Tommy looked at the brown mare with fear, his stomach roiling within him as he struggled not to turn and run for the hills. Okay, so there weren't any hills nearby, but he would certainly run for his bedroom and hide underneath the covers.
"It's not going to bite you unless you do something to piss it off," Ton whispered behind him and he nodded slowly as he bit his lip.
"Yeah, but what if she gets pisses off just because it's me on her back?" he asked in a soft voice, trying to remember what Ton had said about not spooking the horse.
"This is the same mare that Richard was first trained on. I think it would be fine for you," Ton replied, amusement evident in his voice. Tommy rolled his eyes and turned to face his mate, planting his fists on his hips.
"There is a big difference between Richard and I," he practically growled. He could see the flare of annoyance in his mate's eyes and watched as the other man squared his shoulders. Ton was fighting his wolf and Tommy knew that. He knew that the wolf was seeing insubordination in its mate and wanted to bring him to heel underneath him, but he didn't care right then. He was scared and his mate wasn't helping him by comparing him to Richard.
"And what is the difference between you and Richard? Besides the fact that you're smaller and more beautiful than Richard could even dream of being?" Ton asked, his head slightly tilted to the side in confusion. Tommy fought a blissful sigh at his mate's sweet words and shook his head.
"Thank you for the compliment but no. Richard is graceful. He's a dancer, that's sort of a requirement. He would have a very easy time flowing with the movement of the horse. Me? I can't dance worth shit and I doubt that the horse will take it easy on me if I cook for it or sing for it or teach it how to wear women's clothing properly," he pointed out and heard the whine in his voice...which he found perfectly justified. He watched as Ton's lips tightened as if he were struggling not to laugh and he grew even more annoyed.
"Well have you offered that to the horse? Maybe she'd like that," Ton muttered seconds before bursting into loud howls of laughter. Tommy crossed his arms and glared at his mate. Was he seriously finding this amusing? What was amusing about this? Tommy was terrified. Terrified of being on that horse. He was scared of what would happen to him and what he would do accidentally. He didn't know enough about horses, about riding horses to even begin to sit on one, much less ride it.
Not for the first time he wished that Ton was an alpha so that they could share a mental link as well, just like Richard and Vet. It was something exclusive to alphas and if Ton should ever become the alpha of his own pack then he and Tommy would have a mental link, but for now all they had was a hyper awareness of each other, a need to protect, care for, and love each other, although Ton had yet to admit to feeling such a thing, and a desire for each other. A fierce, aching desire. One that overwhelmed all rational thought. They could sense each other's feelings which was sort of good, but he wanted Ton to be able to see what he saw whenever he looked up at that horse.
"What has you so scared beautiful? Why are you so afraid of riding this horse?" Ton stepped closer to him and bent low to speak directly into his ear. Tommy shivered as his mate's warm breath brushed against his neck, goose bumps rising along his skin and his cock growing hard behind the zipper of his jeans.
"Every time I look at this horse, all I see is me falling off of it. I see me falling off, breaking my arms, my legs, my back, my neck when I hit the ground and then I see the horse getting spooked by my cries of pain and her clomping down on top of me, killing me, as she's running away," Tommy admitted softly. He waited for Ton's laughter and when none came, he chanced a glance up at the bigger man's face.
Ton didn't look amused or disappointed, he looked...caring. His eyes had softened considerably and he saw genuine caring there for him. He was baffled at this response, especially since he had been expecting another one. He could have handled Ton being angry with him, teasing him, being disappointed in him...they were all emotions expressed by different people in his life the day he'd come out as being gay and then again when he'd come out as being a cross-dressing drag queen. But this? This...caring? This look of possessiveness and kind indulgence? What the hell was he supposed to do with that?
He opened his mouth to make an innuendo about riding Ton instead when Ton spoke and shocked him into silence.
"I'll ride with you," the other man said.
Tommy stood there in a daze. No one had ever volunteered to take care of him like that, especially not in the face of all of his drama, paranoias and fears. Richard was nice, loving also, but Tommy knew that sometimes his best friend got annoyed by the sound of "I can't do that" forever leaving Tommy's lips and Tommy always felt bad about saying it, but who would understand his irrational fears and still love him regardless? It was why he'd been content with the short-term affairs and week-long flings he'd found himself in over the years. He'd never had a partner, much less thought that he'd have a mate, someone that fate had sat aside just for him. He was floored with emotion.
His eyes filled with tears and he launched himself into Ton's arms. "Thank you, thank you, thank you," he muttered over and over again as he kissed every inch of Ton's face and neck, his legs wrapped around the other man's waist, his hands holding his face as he kissed him. He heard Ton chuckle over his exuberant reaction and pulled back to smile into his arms.
"If I had known that that was all it took to get you to ride this damn horse, I would have offered a fucking hour ago, when we first got out here," Ton teased before setting Tommy down on his feet.
Tommy didn't even mind the teasing now and just offered his mate a big grin. He was going to ride a horse for the first time in his life...with his mate. Someone who cared enough about him to ride on the horse with him.
"Now, I'm going to put you on the horse first, you just find your seat in the saddle, that's the place where you feel most comfortable, and then I'll mount up behind you and we'll be off," Ton said with a blush at his words. Tommy decided to let him pass on that one, since he seemed to already know what he'd said and his mind had apparently already gone to that place...or at least that's what the thick bulge straining the fabric of his jeans hinted at.
Tommy walked back over to the horse with determined strides and stood next to it. He felt Ton kneel down next to him and offer to boost him up into the saddle. Putting his right foot in the stirrup, he lifted his left foot into Ton's hands and then with a one-two bounce, lifted his leg up gracefully over the side of the horse and sat down very close to the saddle horn, almost knocking his testicles into the hard piece of...leather? Plastic? Well, whatever the hell it was, it would have hurt him badly if he'd sat down on top of that.
His mind had so wandered that he didn't realize that Ton was behind him until he felt the horse shift and then felt Ton's arm wrap around his middle and pull him back tightly into his chest. Both men groaned at their close proximity to each other and Tommy found himself wondering what it would feel like to have Ton fuck him on the back of a horse.
"It's definitely something that we'll have to try out," he heard Ton growl in a low voice full of arousal and Tommy realized that he'd spoken aloud. Blushing, he turned his head to the side and kissed Ton deeply, their tongues dueling, that feeling of being swept under the maelstrom that was Ton rising over him again and it was with great reluctance that he pulled his lips away from the other man's and turned back to face forward.
He took a shuddering breath and felt Ton take his own just moments later. He struggled to clear his mind of its lust induced fog and cleared his throat before speaking.
"So where are we riding to?" he questioned. He felt Ton's erection against his ass and he struggled not to squirm
"I figured since this is your first time that we'd just kinda ride around the corral. You know real easy and gentle like. The saddity folks call that a canter," Ton responded before pressing his booted heels into the horse's flanks and setting them off at a slow pace.
"A canter is what the other people call it. What do you call it Ant?" Tommy asked, one hand holding onto the saddle horn for dear life, the other one held tightly to the arm that Ton had wrapped around his waist, Ton's other hand held the reigns.
"Oh I don't know, a trot. Vet and Richard started calling it a canter. I just say a slow, easy ride," Ton responded.
Feeling a little more comfortable on the horse, Tommy felt his body start to relax and so he answered back cheekily, "Well, it'd be nice to have a slow, easy ride for once, all you ever give me is fast and hard ones."
"You sure aren't complaining when you're shooting your load all over yourself," he heard Ton's teasing reply.
Tommy never got a chance to respond because at that moment three gunshots sounded in rapid succession. One hit Ton in the leg, one hit the horse, Catherine, in her chest, killing her instantly and the other ripped through Tommy's spinal column.
All three bodies went down. First Catherine's body tilted to the ground taking the bodies with her, landing half on top of Tommy, who couldn't move and wasn't breathing and half on Ton who was screaming for help and attempting to free himself so that he could shift and heal and then take his mate to the hospital to be cared for, before he returned to the woods to kill Adam Quinn because he knew that it was him that had shot at them.
Tommy's thoughts were a jumbled mess. He knew that Catherine was dead, but that he and Ton were alive. He could hear Ton cussing up a blue streak about "the damn bullet" in his leg, the horse on top of him and his mate and the bullet lodged in Tommy's spine. He also knew that he couldn't move or feel his legs, though his arms and hands were just fine, as was his head. He looked down at his legs, his useless legs and then over at Ton. Would the man still want him if he couldn't walk anymore? What about having sex? What if he was incapable of getting an erection? What if he couldn't have an orgasm anymore?
These thoughts swirled through his head like a tornado until finally the blessed darkness washed over him, taking away the thoughts, the fears and most of all the sound of Ton's fear-filled profanity and the sound of Richard's pleas to be "okay." He'd never be okay again. And with that last thought he closed his eyes and knew no more.