Bound by Obligation

3: Short Showers

"What the hell kind of a gym is this?" Ace asked as soon as they entered into the lobby. Looking around, all he could see were older men, none of which looked particularly friendly by his standards. "Is this where all the old guys go train to keep young'uns off their lawns or what? I mean, I'm expecting to see a gnome collection any time now."

"I swear you're going to get hurt when we get to the boxing part of the gym."

"Aw, Smokey, you can't hurt me! I'm too darn hot to be given a black eye. And according to Hina, quite childish. So if you hit me it's gonna look like–"

"Shut up, Ace," Smoker growled, stopping himself before he could throw the first punch. He'd wait. See if Ace smartened up and stopped being irritating.

Who was he kidding? The brat was not going to change anytime soon.

Speaking of changing… "The locker room's over there. Hurry up."

Ace grumbled something incoherent and likely insulting under his breath, following Smoker's lead. The locker room smelt strongly of both body odour and antiperspirants. Ace turned to leave and Smoker grabbed him by the arm before he could put a foot in the opposite direction. "Change fast," he advised.

Ace didn't even want to open his mouth, just in case he retched. So he nodded and did the fastest strip Smoker had ever seen.

And yes, Smoker did watch. Simply because, he convinced himself, he didn't want Ace to make a break for it. Not because Ace was an attractive little motherfucker. Oh, no, that was not a factor. Not at all.

Ace was finished by the time Smoker put his duffel bag down and got started.

Being done early allowed Ace time to scope out the place. Nobody was in there with them (likely for good reason) and Ace could see the door leading into the main gym was on the other side of the expansive, locker-filled room painted in putrid yellows and red that was all but chipped off the wall.

He turned back to see Smoker's broad back and a bizarrely shaped scar caught his eye. Before it disappeared under a swath of fabric, he poked it as gently as he could manage. "What happened to you here?" he asked, genuinely curious. He knew already, of course. How could one not realize, with a scar like that?

"Got shot on the job, that's what."

"What's it like?" Ace asked quietly, only slightly worried he was broaching a bad topic. The way Smoker answered all of his questions with a peculiar degree of frankness was just inviting discussion. It also broke down any and all inhibitions Ace had – he felt he could just ask away without worrying about offending Smoker too badly.

"Getting shot? Well, if you keep breaking into people's houses and starting fires, you might just find out."

Ace huffed and a hot flash rippled over his tanned skin. In a second he was sweaty, and a few seconds after that he was feeling mighty clammy as he calmed back down. "Whatever."

"It felt like getting ripped in half, kid. It's nothing like in the movies where the good guy gets back up. I thought I'd died," he admitted softly. "Couple blood transfusions later and I woke up in Hell."

Ace stood stupidly next to Smoker, staring at him while he stared at the insides of the locker he'd chosen. At the first hint of tame sociability Ace wanted to embrace the man, for some strange reason. Yet he couldn't, having stood in shock for as long as he did. He felt he should have, but the chance passed him by and to move now would be awkward.

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't be asking about something like that," he said instead. "You just answer things so brusquely it just kind of came out–"

"It doesn't matter. Now come on, I've been looking forward to wiping the floor with your mangled body ever since you ran away on me." Smoker offered him the tiniest of smiles and, being selfish, Ace took it. He grinned back.

"Don't think so, old fart."

Ace darted forward before Smoker could punch him, heading for the door to the gym. Once he was through, he stopped in his tracks. There was hardly a soul in sight, save for the two guys on stationary bikes, peddling rather leisurely in such a setting.

"Smokey, we went too damn early." Ace lowered his voice to mutter under his breath, "Apart from you there's a lack of hot guys here."

"What did you say? Did I just hear a goddamn complaint? I hate complainers."

Ace chuckled and turned around to counter whatever attack Smoker might throw at him only to find he kind of wanted to tell Smoker just what he had muttered under his breath. The guy was smoking, and for once not literally. The white muscle shirt he had on was a good size too small, likely accidentally shrunken down in the wash, and Ace just couldn't help but admire the physique of the man.

He'd have to see if he could draw Smoker again later, just because this body was too nice not to sketch.

"Brat, let's go already. Pick up those boxing gloves."

Ace grabbed a pair that looked well-worn from a heap on the ground while Smoker selected his from a rack and squeezed his beefy hands into them. Ace followed suit and soon found himself squaring off against a law enforcement officer.

It wasn't exactly the first time, but with Smoker it felt rather special.

Smoker watched the boy's face, noting a peculiar expression he was wearing. Too late he realized it had been Ace searching his body for an opening in his line of defense.

He was privy to the stinging shame of being the first to be hit.

To save face, he immediately went over the level he had decided would be appropriate for fighting an almost-minor, and gave Ace a hook that may have broken his jaw.

Had Ace not dodged his fist and retaliated with a kick.

Smoker's thigh took it well. Still, he was genuinely surprised. It showed clearly on his face because Ace laughed.

"I've taken kick boxing classes in the past," he divulged with a twinkle in his eye. The information did not cause Smoker to grimace; rather he chuckled. It would be fun. He could fight someone who actually knew two cents about fighting.

The prospect was exciting.

Forty minutes of sparring later, they were breathing hard but still at it. Ace managed to huff out, "You're pretty decent for an old police guy and all."

"What, are you surprised by my endurance?" Smoker panted back.

"Oh yeah. I thought for sure those cigars would have done a number on you and your endurance. Not to mention your sex life."

"What about my sex life?" Smoker growled. Now the kid was venturing into dangerous territory. Quickly Smoker delivered a punch to the kid's stomach, knocking him back a couple feet with a sputter. Perhaps that would shut him up…

Ace coughed and blinked away beads of sweat that were racing down his face. If he'd known fighting a chain smoker would be this tricky, he'd have brought a bandana or a sweatband. He stared at Smoker with a level gaze, his guard up, and found the man was bristling with tense energy. Ace smirked and Smoker just knew he was going to say something to try and aggravate him into losing his control.

"So, out of manly curiosity, who was the last chick you slept with?" Ace decided to ask. He saw shoulders stiffen and lock. "I'm going to put ten bucks on that Tashigi chick. I overheard that she works under you. She tried to arrest me once. That could have been a kinky situation, but I'm glad she was more concerned about finding her glasses when they got knocked off her pretty face."

"I did not sleep with a colleague."

Ace shrugged, adjusting his boxing gloves in the momentary reprieve. "Whatever. I would've. She's hot."

Smoker's nostrils flared. The kid was so damn stupid! He knew Ace was just trying to get under his skin, but bringing his underling into the conversation just struck a nerve. Tashigi was like a little sister to him, in a weird and entirely normal way.

He lashed out against that smile, cleanly bopping the brat's bigheaded attitude back along with his nose.


"Aw, shit," Smoker muttered when he saw the blood he'd drawn. Ace was already pawing at his nose and cursing under his breath.

This was awkward.

He grabbed a hand towel that he'd brought to the ring for wiping away sweat and passed it to Ace, who stuffed it under his nose with a blistering glower in Smoker's direction.

"Is it broken?" Smoker asked, the tiniest amount of fear gripping him. He did not want to have to take the kid to a hospital to get his nose set back into place. He could only imagine having to explain to a nurse or the person behind the emergency services desk that he'd punched an eighteen-year-old's nose and it now needed to be set and put into a cast, or whatever.

Ace said something angrily, the towel muffling his speech.

"Is it broken?" Smoker repeated.

"I said it's not fucking broken, you fucking idiot! If it were broken I'd be slaughtering you! Fuck."

Smoker remained quiet at the outburst, his eyes darting around the room at the astonished and mostly wrinkled faces. With a grimace, he realized it would probably be wise to switch gyms before someone figured out who he was and what he did for a living.

He did not want this to get back to Garp. Luckily, Ace stalked off towards the change rooms, with Smoker on his heels. Once they were out of sight, Smoker relaxed. It was still early for those who visited the gym to work out, and the locker room was as devoid of people as ever.

Ace plopped himself down on a bench, his back hunched. Between his shoulder blades sweat had gathered, forming a dark triangle and making the fabric of his shirt cling to his broad back. Smoker felt a pang down south and adverted his eyes. With his eyes away from the scene, he was able to articulate his words clearly.

"We should get it checked out at the hospital right away. Come on."

Ace removed the towel from his face to look Smoker in the eye. "No."

"Just in case."

"No. I'm fine, thanks. I've had far worse. In comparison, you hit like a freakin' sissy."

Smoker grunted, but the sight of the bright red blood on the grey towel kept him from raising his fist against the kid again. It wasn't worth it to mar Ace's beautiful face even more.

He did just think that. Fleetingly.

Groaning at his dirty mind, which was rapidly envisioning this sweaty and panting Ace bent over the bench playing the receiver, Smoker began to change. There was no way in hell he was going back out there to be scrutinized by old men on stationary bikes just to get his usual workout. Besides, he was already sweating. His shirt was soaked with perspiration.

He peeled it from his back and stuffed it into his duffel bag to be washed later. He was going for his track pants next when he noticed a pair of eyes intently upon him.

"Look, I'm sorry, okay? I should not have tried to break your face."

"Did I ask for your goddamn apology?"

"So why are you staring?" Ace directed his eyes to a new object of interest, his bloody towel. He turned it over in his hands with a sneer of disgust. Smoker noted that his nose had already stopped bleeding. Whatever damage he'd done, Ace seemed to be through the worst of it. His statuesque nose still looked cute as a frickin' button.

Smoker sighed and looked to the showers. He hadn't had one this morning and now, sweaty and sticky and just feeling damn awful, he wondered if he ought to wash up. He had his shampoo on him and everything. Still, he figured Ace would want to leave right away, if only to retire to Smoker's bedroom with the door closed to sulk in private.

"I have a weak nose because I got it broken a few times. Trust me, I know when it's smashed." Smoker looked at him with renewed interest, now searching the area around his nose for signs of previous breakage. While he was doing this, the young man decided his next course of action and Smoker felt he could get away with staring. He watched as Ace stripped out of his clothes until he was only in a pair of briefs. "I'm showering."

"Me, too."

He realized too late that he'd automatically volunteered to stand right next to Ace, in the nude, in the gym's 'open concept' showers.

His nether regions were twitching with anticipation. Ace was already off and Smoker felt compelled to follow after he'd raised his voice. He couldn't just back out after he'd blatantly stated his intention. Ace would surely get weird about it. They were just two men. He'd think Smoker odd to make a big deal out of it.

So he followed, willing his penis to stop dancing a jig in his shorts.

By the time he ambled over to the shower area, his heart racing and a new type of sweat forming in all the usual places, Ace was bent over, bringing his briefs to the ground.

Now that was an ass. And it was sticking straight up in the air, just begging for action.

He wished he could slap himself without drawing attention to himself.

"Yo, how the hell do these showers work? They're fucking ancient. Nasty, too."

Smoker stripped in an instant, ignoring the heaviness that had settled at the base of his cock. He knew this was going to be a hard one to fight.

Before Ace turned around and took a brief glance down below, he went up behind the boy fiddling with the knob and turned the shower on full blast by yanking the knob outwards.

"Gah! Fuckin' freezing! Shit, shit, shit!"

Smoker turned on his own shower. He needed the cold more than Ace. The kid was scrambling to adjust the temperature and swearing like a drunk pirate while Smoker stood under the spray, the frigid water calming his nerves by numbing them. He couldn't relax though. Not with the drenched brat clawing away at the shower knob, turning it all the way to the left so it spewed out a flow of scorching hot water. Smoker expected a scream, but instead Ace let out an inaudible sigh with his mouth slightly parted. Complete bliss.

His hair was plastered to his head, and it was certainly down to his shoulders when wet and straight. Smoker forced his eyes away and focused on applying soap to his body. This would be a quick run. He could probably do it in five minutes. Get in, get out. Like a good raid on a drug house.

He shouldn't have even hoped.

"Hey, gimme that shampoo."

"What, you didn't bring your own?" Smoker asked roughly, staring at the tiled wall in front of him. He would not, under any circumstances, look over now. He heard Ace snort in that boyish way of his that was almost akin to scoffing. Without another word he squirted some shampoo into his hand and passed the bottle over, tapping it against Ace's bicep. Again, he reinforced the idea in his brain not to so much as glance to the left, and especially not downwards.

Ace snatched the bottle from his hands and Smoker went back to his plan of finishing in five minutes. In a minute his hair was washed. A minute after that his chest and arms. Then he grabbed his bottle of conditioner, which helped give his grey hair a bit more life.

"What's that?" asked Ace all of a sudden.

Smoker assumed he meant the bottle in his hand. He did not look over, but did acknowledge Ace's inquiry. "Conditioner."

"Ah. I see. So you can condition whatever locks of grey hair ya got left."

"Shut the hell up. I have thick hair and it's not going anywhere anytime soon. My grandfather had hair till he was ninety."

"Don't mean a thing. I got a friend – Marco's his name – who's going bald on the sides of his head, and it's weird as fuck. Funny though, cause everyone else in his family's got a helluva lot a hair."

Smoker was silent again. He heard nothing more from Ace. He was almost done, almost home free, when the brat invaded his personal bubble. He knocked against Smoker's chest, reaching for the conditioner Smoker had thrown on a nearby wire shelf. The sensation of wet skin on wet skin tickled his numbed nerves and instantly warmed them. He received a toothy grin as Ace seized his conditioner bottle and took it back under his spray, once again brushing up against him.

"Does this smell like roses or something?" he asked with a chuckle. Smoker didn't reply. What was the point? But he finally did look over, and that was his mistake. His eyes automatically snapped downwards between Ace's thighs.

His didn't expect the view he got. Ace's cock was out in the open, not limp and in hiding. He couldn't take his eyes away. Not until Ace made a clicking noise with his tongue.

"So, you're gay."

With a jolt, Smoker leveled his gaze with Ace and saw the tiny, entirely too confident smirk he wore. The harsh movement made him aware of a feeling in his groin. He dared to look down past his pectorals. Something was eagerly protruding from his otherwise clear-cut visage.

He had lost the battle so quickly he hadn't even realized it.

Smoker didn't bother trying to cover his own erection. Ace didn't. So neither would he. He would play it cool. Write it off as an effect of the cold water washing down his body. "What gave you that impression?"

"Oh, nothing in particular." Smoker couldn't tell if the brat was serious or screwing with him. He grunted and shook his head. It was time to flee before–

"I'm pansexual," Ace said suddenly, capturing Smoker's devout attention once more. "I don't have much in the way of 'preferences'. I do think men are more desirable than busty girls, though."

Despite all of the water coursing down his body, Smoker found his throat was dry.

"You owe me for nearly breaking my nose," Ace said, his voice light and fluid like the water dripping down his body. Smoker remained silent, his fingernails digging into his palm as he tried to calm down through the use of pain. It wasn't working well.

"I like older men. They're not as fussy and they usually got experience. I also find boys are too soft. Can't get into older gals easily either."

"You don't sound very pansexual to me," Smoker said at last, his vocal chords nearly at the point of becoming constricted.

"Maybe I'm not. Who cares? But you owe me."

In a matter of seconds Ace was in his personal space, literally and figuratively turning up the heat. The goose bumps doting Smoker's arms were already receding with the new temperature of the water. Ace's decided temperature.

He locked eyes with his tempter.

The bottle of conditioner was still in Ace's hand, but a glance at his other raised hand had Smoker fixated. The young man had not used the conditioner on his hair. Instead, the hand with a gob of conditioner in it was travelling south…

He stared blatantly as Ace began to jack off, slick sounds overpowering the pitter-patter of the water. This was not happening. Not to him.

Except for a haggard breath, Smoker remained silent. With teeth biting the bottom of his lip, Ace moved in, pressing his chest to Smoker's. Something bumped against Smoker down below, and he drew in a sharp breath of hot air when he realized what it was that knocked up against him.

"You owe me," Ace whispered again, pressing his wet, freckled cheek against Smoker's neck. He slung an arm up and around Smoker's shoulders. Where his other hand was, Smoker found out soon enough.

He groaned as Ace grasped him and gave a sharp squeeze. Strong fingers began to pull and push at him, the friction uncomfortably rough. Then it got better as the conditioner in Ace's palm spread and coated him. His lower half began to tremble, and all inhibition flew away because for once he didn't care if Ace knew his weakness. He didn't care if Ace knew how bad he was shaking and how tight his chest had gotten all of a sudden. It was, quite literally, his wet dream playing out in front of his eyes.

Sinewy fingers were dancing all over his back. One hand lightly scratched while the other pumped him. Ace was letting out tiny chuckles that sounded more like groans in his ear.

For a moment, Ace's fingers left his erection, then he felt something unbelievably stiff push up against him, and the fingers returned. Only now just a little more than the tips were touching him. Ace's fingers weren't long enough for the thickness of them combined.

He felt Ace try to compensate, to move so he cradled Smoker, his hand between the man's chest and his cock. Then he began to thrust, rubbing not just his dick but his entire body against the older man. Smoker groaned as the sensation betrothed his full attention, his mind going blank to thoughts of getting caught and how wrong it was to engage in this sort of behavior with his boss's grandson. All his mind was thinking of was ways he could make this even better.

He reached around and cupped one of Ace's butt cheeks, riding the motion of his hips as they swiveled up and down. A few thrusts more eager than the last and Smoker was gripping that toned ass, feeling both its hardness and softness in his palm. His mind still raced with naughty thoughts while Ace struggled to please them both.

He pushed Ace away against the tile wall of the shower. Worry and offense swam in Ace's eyes, partially obscured by the falling water, and Smoker turned the shower off with a flick of his wrist. The other shower followed suit. Now he could see Ace in all his glory, his body dripping and heaving fatigued pants. The teenager began to edge away, the slightest hint of shame and irritation bending his brow, and Smoker's hands reapplied to his abdomen stopped his escape.

"Where do you think you're going?" grunted Smoker. With a surprised groan, Ace looked down to find that Smoker had taken them both in his hand. He could hold them comfortably. The beginnings of a hesitant smile curved Ace's mouth, his lips parting when Smoker clenched his fist and began to work them over once again.

"You're so gay," Ace said loudly as Smoker pressed against him and the warm tiles pushed indents into his back. He was remarkably quick to get his confidence back. "You're gay and I fucking knew it. This whole time. You were staring at me."

"Shut up."

The kid talked too much, Smoker decided, grunting as he thrust harder. The increased friction cut the words from Ace's tongue and replaced them with rich moans. Smoker had never heard a man moan before. Then again, he hadn't had that many men in his lifetime, and certainly none as young as Ace.

He found it hard to move his hand when Ace began to press back against him, molding their skin together wherever it was possible. He felt a wet tongue on his jaw, then lips that kissed and worked his stubble, and wondered if Ace wanted to taste his lips. But Ace never ventured there, and in a minute more he felt Ace's body tense against him and his fingers dig into his shoulders.

The notion that he'd gotten another man off made Smoker come before Ace, but only by a few seconds.

He didn't know what belonged to Ace and what belonged to him. They were sticky and dirtied once again, and Ace wouldn't stop making soft noises that brought pangs of desire back into Smoker's tense balls.

He turned on the shower and washed the evidence of their act away. It didn't take long for the both of them to recover their breath, and when Smoker was sure Ace was going to speak and ruin his high, he clamped a hand over the young man's mouth, squeezed it, and released. Ace got the idea and remained silent, adverting his eyes.

When they were clean, Smoker removed his hand and found Ace rather emotionless. Then the boy cracked a strange smile Smoker had never seen on him before, pushing past Smoker to get to the rack of towels.

They didn't speak while getting dressed, and after a while Smoker couldn't even bring himself to look at the man who'd tempted him into an illicit exploit in a public space.

Ace grabbed his ass, gave it a squeeze, and made his exit before Smoker was quite ready to go.

A.N.: I'm on a roll. Just updated A Dance for Two and now this? :D

Well, this story just couldn't stay cute and innocent for long now, could it? No, not when I'm the one writing it. It only gets naughtier from here. Next chapter: Ice cream is found in Smoker's household…