"Damn, son! Pretty soon, you're gonna be bigger than me!" I gave Mase a firm smack on his bare, wet back, eventually moving my paw around his shoulder and pulled him right up next to me as made our way out of the showers. The kid's bulking up well under that grey fur lately, between our day job on the site and our Saturday night father-son workouts at the gym; while everyone else is busy getting piss-ass drunk, we're getting busy bulking up. That's the one thing I love about this gym: it's 24/7 access. It gives us both a little privacy, especially if there's a night where we're the only two using the equipment.
I noticed him flex, showing off his muscles for his old man. "Damn right I am! Hell, I could probably take ya in a fight too!"
And there it is.
I don't know how many times I need to tell him about his so-called 'alpha complex,' as Duke put it. That boy has gotten himself into so much trouble with other men my age lately; I'm beginning to worry about my reputation with them around these parts. Hell, some of these same men helped us after that bitch walked out the door on us all those years ago; apparently reminding Mase of that fact isn't enough to stop him from picking fights.
For now, I decided to humor him. I grinned as I flexed my arm as well, clearly still bulkier if my bulging muscles under my brown fur were any indication. I wished Mase inherited the brown fur trait, though; his grey fur reminds me too much of...her.
"Yeah, kiddo?" I teased, putting my arm down and letting him go while stepping back, "Let me see how you're doing on that core first."
Mase gave a cocky grin at me and stepped back as well. He flexed both his arms as he tightened his abs, sucking in a breath and holding it.
I put a paw under my chin, eying my boy up and down, then padded up to him and rubbed a paw over his abs and chest. As I did so, I poked and gripped those same muscles to test their firmness, though I heard a held-back giggle from Mase. "Forgot you were ticklish," I chuckled.
It was obvious Mase was trying so hard to hide how embarrassed he was right now after I said that, still keeping those abs and chest taught as he put his paws to his hips. "Well, Dad? Watcha think?"
"Hmmmm, not sure yet." I then rolled my shoulders and cracked my knuckles. "Not gonna hit you hard, I just wanna test them out."
"Go right ahead," he teased with a chuckle.
A couple light, playful punches to those abs, each one followed by a *huff* from Mase told me everything.
He let out a breath as he crossed his arms, still keeping on that cocky smirk. While I love my son to death, there are three things that he does which piss me off to no end: the fact that he's a homosexual dating a guy who isn't a wolf, him getting into fights because of his temper, and that stupid-ass smirk of his when he thinks he's winning.
I crossed my arms as well and frowned. "You need to work on your core and get those abs tightened up a little more."
Mase's grin faded fast as he snarled and glared at me. His arms dropped as he took a step forward. "I'm sorry. What?"
I stood my ground. "I'll admit, they are getting better, but I've noticed you tend to focus more on your arms and chest than...pretty much anything else, really."
"So?! Just means I can toss some poor sonofabitch easier and hit harder!"
"But you still need to keep your defenses and have a good base! Christ, Mase! Have you learned nothing from all those times you've decided fight with practically everyone in town?!"
"I haven't fought everyone, Dad; just the assholes that piss me off!"
"Oh, let's see, um," I began to count off with my fingers as I uttered each name, "Rolf, the assistant football coach at your high school, Duke THREE fucking times after beating on his son, and I might as well add all those incidents all throughout middle school and high school!" I then showed him both paws; all but one digit was up. "Nine! Nine times, Mase!"
"So? Not my fault all of them are a bunch of a fucking homophobes!"
"Mase, I...mmmm," I growled and clenched a fist, "You know I love you more than anything, but I just...can't live to see my only son fooling around with another man, let alone with someone who isn't even a wolf."
He said nothing. All he did was cross his arms and gave an expression that was a mix of a snarl and a pout.
I continued. "God...dammit, Mase. Fuckin' act like an adult for once in your life."
"Hey! I do! I have a job, right? You know I'm a good worker. I can take care of myself! Why should you care if I get into fights or the fact that I'm gay?! Why the fuck does that matter to you?"
"I don't know, son, maybe it's because I might want grandchildren someday?! You ever thought of that? Or maybe you might want some children of your own?!"
"That I could also adopt?!"
"You damn well know I don't want our family's bloodline tainted with that of another species, let alone a vulpine's. But that clearly doesn't matter to you to begin with, seeing as how my only son is a faggot!"
As soon as I uttered the one word Mase hated the most, he snarled and charged at me, slamming me against the lockers with a *CRASH* and pinning me with an arm pressed against my chest. He soon reeled back his other arm and slammed several fists right for my gut over and over.
"Gaagh! Ugh! Gugh! Ooof!"
I knew my abs could take the abuse, though I'll admit, those arms of his have gotten powerful from his workouts and from how strong he's become over the years. Each punch forced out a small puff of air from my lungs, though I tried to keep some control of my breathing as he assaulted my gut. I never told Mase I knew a thing or two about fighting techniques from my own youth and picking pointless fights out of unwarranted anger; like father like son, I guess.
"What'cha think of me now old man!" He taunted as he kept going at my gut.
By now, my body jerked so much my own towel began to fall off and piled around my ankles and, to my own disappointment, I began to grow hard out of my sheath just from the testosterone surge alone. It wasn't uncommon for us to see each other in the nude from time to time, usually in the gym's locker room; I guess I have myself to blame for Mase's orientation, at least in part, because of that fact.
"Gugh! You're strong boy, bu--uugh! You still fo--ooooohf! Focus on one thing at a ti--aaagh!"
Not sure if he even heard my advice from focusing too damn much on my abs, which are feeling a tad painful by this point, I balled a fist and swung upward, smacking him almost square in the temple and immediately knocked him to the ground.
Mase whined a little, rubbing the point of impact as he felt his head spin after I almost knocked him out cold. He slowly got up, though seemed like he wasn't in a hurry; good, at least he had some fight smarts, and I'd feel disappointed in both of us if I knocked my own son out cold like that so soon in a fight.
"Here, son, let's even the playing field a little." Not sure if it was my inner jock or...something else, but I grabbed Mase's towel and yanked it off of him.
"Geeze, what the hell dad!" He turned towards me, though his bare ass still faced me as he quickly stood up fully. "Agh, fuck, my head..." Or maybe not quite fully.
With his towel in paw, I decided to twirl it up tight and give Mase the ol' towel snap to his hindquarters a few times. I couldn't help but chuckle and grin at his yelps and when his paws immediately covered them up after the first snap. "What? I thought you'd like getting your butt played with by another man," I giggled as I held his towel at the ready for another smack, "Or do you prefer to eat the crusty shit out of your boyfriend's asshole before getting your dick covered in shit instead?"
"What the fuck is your pro--owww!" He danced on his toes a bit before reeling towards me. "Fuckin' sick of YOUR shit!" He charged at me again, though this time, I made sure to watch him and countered appropriately.
I slammed my fist right for his abs, holding him steady as he stumbled and doubled-over. Knowing Mase wasn't the best at recovering quickly, I easily got to his side and put my boy in a tight, side headlock, then began to wail on that sad excuse of a core he seemed to be so proud of; if this beating doesn't teach him a lesson, I don't know what will.
"Gugh! Hugggh! Uggh! Get...off of me--huggh!!"
At least he was trying his best to release himself from my grip; that made me proud. I went in for another punch but was surprised when Mase gripped me tight around my waist and spun around, slamming me into the lockers with a *CRASH*, forcing me to let go.
"Nggh! Good one, son, but not good eno--OOOOF!!"
He managed to get me again with a solid punch to my abs; a part of me wanted to go easy on my boy, if only to see how much he can dish out and blow off some steam.
"What was that? Not good enough!" He yelled as he gripped on my shoulders tight, "I'll show you not good enough!"
As soon as he said that, he jabbed his knee over and over into my abs.
"Ooof! Huuuhhg! Uuughff!"
I tried to stay as tight as I could, but the blows were sharp like daggers going right in my belly over and over. He did knock some wind out of me and forced me downward, though as soon as I did that, Mase pinned me back up against the lockers again. Those arms of his were difficult to pry off, but I managed to break one free and slugged him right in the jaw.
Mase yelped and stumbled back, immediately letting me go and fell back over the bench behind him onto the floor. I groaned a bit and held my abs but couldn't help but giggle seeing Mase trip like that, let alone seeing his legs stay aloft for a moment before they drooped over the bench.
"Grrrr...you done, kid? You finally let it all out on your pop's?" I'll admit, the kid got me a bit winded, but I knew he wouldn't take me down that easily.
It took him a moment to reorient himself before getting back on his feet, which also seemed to have taken him some time. He stood across from me, slightly hunched and panting hard. I noticed a hint of crimson around his jaw, which he wiped off, but there was still a hint of blood there.
He snarled and put on foot on the bench. "I'm just getting started, you crazy fuck!" With that, he bounded up and over the bench with his arms out as if he was going to tackle me into the lockers again. I figured he'd try that, because I instantly spun out of the way and watched him crash face first into the lockers. He shook his head as he got back up, quicker than before, but that's most likely due to adrenaline rush. I decided to help him and grabbed him by his head, yanking him up fully; this time, he was the one getting pinned against the lockers.
Immediately, I put a firm grip on his chest to keep my boy steady, then began to throw several, hard punches right in his belly, each punch vibrating the metal lockers behind him upon impact.
"Oooof! Nggghh! You--uuuugh! Cra--aaagh! Fu-u--ckkk! Gahh!"
*Crash!* *Crash!* *Crash!* *Crash!* *Crash!*
Soon enough, I felt Mase's grip around my arm to try and pry it off, but I kept him firmly planted there. Just to be a tease, I decided to grind my knuckles right into those abs, my arm muscles tensing at the anticipation of beating on my boy some more. "When will you ever learn, Mase?" I asked with a tone of authority and sincerity.
Mase's grip around my arm tightened which, I'll admit, was quite strong and nearly forced me to let go. But as soon as he did, I threw a few more hard punches right to his abs; I wouldn't be surprised if I dented the lockers behind him just as bad as I'm denting his core.
He began to cough and groan after that last punch, especially since I decided to dig my fist deep, grinding my knuckles into those tenderized abs. Yep, Mase really needs to work on his core; I don't think I was hitting him that hard, honestly, but I could be wrong. His grip quickly loosened as well as his arms drooped slightly. He panted hard as he looked at me, his eyes filled with a mix of rage and fear. When I looked back at him as my fist loosened from his tender abs, one thing came to mind: while I didn't want to push my luck and accidentally take this too far...he needs to know who's boss and to stop being such a brat.
I gave one more punch to his gut and let go of him, quickly stepping off to the side and away from him in case he decided to lunge at me again.
He didn't do much after letting out a yelp from that punch. He leaned back against the dented lockers, holding his abs and panting. Every so often he would lean forward a bit and groan, but then go back to relaxing against the lockers; I also noticed his legs were bent odd, as if they too struggled to support him.
As I waited for him to recover, I crossed my arms and gave a stern look, even if he never made eye contact with me. "I'm giving you one more chance, bud. Did you finally learn something? Or are we gonna have to keep going like this?"
After a moment, Mase pushed himself off of the lockers and faced me, though was still hunched over and nursing his abs; clearly, he thinks he can take more abuse, but I know he won't last much longer. I remained standing where I was, not once wincing as he made his decision.
"Why do you care...huh? You never truly loved me after I told you..."
"Mase! You know it's a hell of a lot more complicated than that!"
"No, it isn't! Jesus! You're just like everyone else in town, dad! Ya'll claim it's difficult to understand or ya'll tease me about it, when it's really not a big deal!"
I growled and let my arms drop, soon enough getting them back up for another scrap. "Seems like anytime I try to explain my side of this, you don't want to hear it." I guess fighting is his way of talking it out...like how I used to be.
He staggered a bit as he put his arms up, though his stance was not up to par by this point. Again, Mase made the first move. With a snarl, he lunged towards me and threw a hook right for my cheek. I managed to hop back out of the way then charged forward to grab for his legs, lifting him up a bit and slamming him onto the hard floor in a tackle. I heard a *CRASH* as I did this, which sounded like another dented locker; yeah...I don't think we'll be allowed back at this gym again after our 'talk.'
Mase yelped and held the back of his head after it bounced off the locker behind him. He snarled and threw a hook right at my jaw, which forced me to back off to nurse it; I could instantly taste a little blood. Damn! Does that boy have a good swing.
He tried to go for another swing at my face, but I just managed to snag his wrist and pushed that arm back.
"You're really gonna get it now, boy!" I quickly moved back far enough where my rump sat on his thighs and slammed several punches right down on those abs, which are most likely bruised by now.
"AAAGGHH! OOOF! OOHF! GAHH...fuck..."
Each punch was followed by a loud whine and a groan from him. Once I gave that final punch to his abs, I buried my fist deep, grinding my knuckles hard into his midsection.
Mase let out a long, agonizing groan, slowly grabbing at my arm to try and pry my fist off. I knew he was getting tired, especially since he seemed to struggle to get air back in his lungs with my fist crushing him, though his grip was...surprisingly tight around my arm, as if he was getting desperate by now.
Eventually, I removed my fist and ripped my arm out of his grip. As I stood back up, Mase immediately covered his sore and, possibly, bruised abs as he laid there. He took deep, wheezy breaths, glaring at me and gritting his teeth.
I backed off as I rubbed my jaw, making sure to give him some space to get back on his feet. I too began to feel a bit winded, but I guess part of that is my old age, really.
He turned to his side, then eventually on his knees with his bare ass facing me again. As he ever so slowly began to stand up, he had one paw on his abs and another using the lockers for support, as if he was climbing up them. Once he got standing, he immediately turned to his side and leaned a shoulder against the lockers, panting, heated, and beaten. Not once did he look my way.
"So...had enough?" I asked, crossing my arms, giving him a stern expression.
He said nothing for a what felt like almost an hour, even though it was actually about a minute. Soon, he reared on me again, growling and baring his teeth as he attempted to throw another punch to my face.
"Jesus!" I quickly moved out of the way and grabbed for that arm, then got behind him to wrap my arms around his head in a sleeper. "That's it! You've had enough!"
"Gaaaack!" His arms flailed behind him, trying to land few shots at me, but he eventually submitted and went to grab my arm around his throat to try and pry it off. "N-No...I'm not done...with...you...hnnggg!"
"Mase! You're done! Any more and you'll have bigger problems to deal with than having your damn pride hurt!"
He gritted his teeth as he gagged, his grip around my arm quickly weakening. "Why...does it...fucking...matter to..." Before he was able to finish, I instantly felt his body go limp; thankfully my arms were bulky enough to support his weight so he wouldn't completely drop to the floor, nor break his neck. Eventually, I let his head go and quickly grabbed his torso to support his bulk, maneuvering us so I could gently lay him on the bench. I made sure his legs were positioned comfortably enough and rested both his paws over his abs. Once I made sure Mase's limp body was laying comfortably, I was about to make my way to the sinks so I could wash the blood out of my mouth; I also figured I might as well get a couple ice packs as well and find someone to talk to about the damages.
But right before I left, I looked behind at Mase. It was nice seeing him look peaceful for a change; he was always full of energy when he was younger, and even now. I thought back to what he was trying to ask me before he passed out, but only one thing came to mind: "I just want you to be happy..."
I sighed and went to go wash up and put my workout clothes back on to make my errands around the gym; it would give Mase plenty of time to recover, and plenty of time for me to think.
"Uuugghh...fuck..." Mase groaned as he slowly came to, one paw holding his abs and another holding the back of his head. He breathed slowly and struggled to sit upright when I got back, but I gently slipped an ice pack between his paw and his abs and the other behind his head for him to use as a cold pillow of sorts. Much to my surprise, especially after our fight, not once did he flinch or snap at me while I played nurse. Good; I wonder if this means he's cooled off enough to talk.
After making sure my boy was okay, I leaned against the lockers with my arms crossed; I wanted to be sure that, whenever Mase looked at me, he'd remember who's the boss in our family. However, I'll admit, this tough parent act was always hard to pull off for me. Being a single father for so long, I've honed any motherly instincts I had over the years; even though I just finished beating up my own flesh and blood...I'd rather help him recover rather than scold him afterwards. However, I try to keep this in mind, first and foremost: I am his father, the man of the house; you can't sugar-coat the serious issues in that role.
I felt my chest heave as I waited a few moments; I wanted to allow Mase time to say something, if he does have anything to say at all. The locker room echoed in the intense silence between us; I heard no one coming in or going out or using the showers, save for a slow drip coming from a sink in the bathroom and low, monotonous hum of the AC unit for the building coming from the vents up above us. After what felt like a good five minutes of brooding silence, I spoke up first. "So, you ready to talk like real men? Or you want to fight again like a child?"
"I'm ready to talk..." he uttered, followed by a groan.
I kept up that stern look, but seeing Mase hurt like this...no, I can't approach him in this manner. I sighed and let my arms down, stepping off the lockers and getting on a knee so I could be close to my son. Soon enough, I instinctively began petting his head, at least the part where he didn't smash into the lockers; he always liked this when he was a pup.
I breathed deep before I spoke. "Mase...I hope you understand that, while we do fight...a lot...you know I still love you...right?"
Not once did he speak once I asked that. The only movement he made was his chest slowly rising and falling, with an occasional shuffle of his paws keeping the ice packs in place as they slowly melted into bags of water.
Petting his head some more, and an occasional scratch by his ears, I continued. "To tell you the truth...I worry about you...a lot."
"You think I don't know that?" He replied in a snotty tone.
"Kid, it's more than me being worried about you picking fights with the locals, okay? You've been out of high school for a while, and your growing up and becoming your own man."
"Well, I mean, yeah. And I have told you I'm planning on moving out and being with Kip; soooo you don't have to worry about my gay ass tainting your reputation."
"And I'm still worried about your gay ass."
He scoffed. "What? You think I can't handle myself on my own?"
"Dad, you know I've been getting stronger and bulking up, and you clearly know I can take a beating, even from you."
I dropped my paw from his head and placed it over his, feeling the wetness from the ice pack cooling his abs. "Not like that, Mase." After slipping the now melted ice pack from his abs and setting it on the floor, I placed my paw back over his, squeezing them tight. "You need to control that temper of yours."
"Dad, I can--"
"I'm serious, Mase!" I then slipped my paw over his sore belly, giving it a gentle rub as I noticed him slide a paw over his chest and letting the other droop to the side. "Getting in fights with the locals who know your limits is one thing...but if you get in a fight out there, in the real world because of your damn anger..." I let out a deep, shuddering breath. "I don't want to lose you because you decided to be an idiot..."
He laid there quietly; I could easily tell all the tension he has built up was quickly leaving his body as I petted his abs. Soon enough, I noticed his leg twitch instinctively and raise up a bit, and what little I could see of his tail thump against the bench. Even his tongue began to droop out of the side of his mouth as he leaned his head back and arched his back some.
I couldn't help but chuckle. "Twenty years later and you still act like this when you get your tummy rubbed."
"Kidding me? This always feels amazing," he said as he reacted playfully.
After petting him for a while, I slid my paw off of him and smiled. But this small, happy moment soon faded; I needed to let it all out, for his sake. "But...you get my point, Mase?"
He relaxed himself and turned his head towards me; this might have been the first time we've looked eye-to-eye for a while. "I think so, maybe." He then turned his head back to face the ceiling. "But, I mean...for me, fighting is the only way I've known to cope with that anger," he sighed, "But I guess being gay in the South doesn't help either..."
A lump formed in my throat as soon as he said that. It was the damn truth: If you were anything but straight and, what's that term? 'Cis-gendered' or something? Who knows, there's so many damn terms with all that LGBT stuff. Either way, he was right: If you were gay, bi, trans, or anything other than straight and you live in the South, everyone will have no shame making your life a living hell.
Another shuddering breath left my lungs before I spoke, though it felt Mase literally knocked the wind out of me once he brought that up. "That's something else I've had on my mind lately..."
"What? You're just gonna scold me again? Say that you're upset that I won't have my own kids or some religious bullshit?"
"Mase!" I instantly pressed a paw down on his abs, getting a slow whine from him and a paw gripped around my wrist. But I made sure it only lasted a fraction of a second before I eased up and took it off. "This is still a complicated situation that...I'll admit, it's all on me by this point. You've made your choice and decided on a male fox, let alone be attracted to men in general."
"Gah...fuck do you mean by that?" He asked, panting a little from that sudden pressure to his aching muscles.
"I think growing up as an only child with just me most of your life might have had something to do with it...hell, I remember us being nude together half the time and...well, just now before this conversation." I looked away as I felt a pit form in my stomach, remembering the various theories I've researched about how a child's upbringing can influence their sexuality.
"Dad, it's fine. I know I didn't have the best childhood that you hoped, plus dudes like us see each other naked all the time; I sure as hell knew I was the only gay guy in the locker room during football season, yet most of the team didn't care they saw each other for longer than a second."
"I guess you're right..." I decided to rub his belly again, letting out a deep sigh. "But I need time to think this through, especially now that Tonya is going to be involved in our lives."
He smiled and turned to face me again. "She's awesome, by the way."
I chuckled and could feel my cheeks warm.
"Definitely a gal who can kick your ass if she needed to--ooowwww..."
I pressed down again on his abs as soon as he said that but released the pressure just as quickly. Again, he was right; we have tussled a few times before, and getting beat on by her does turn me on more than...well, the other one ever did.
"Just know she can kick your ass too if you get out of line, bub," I playfully growled as I released my paw.
He groaned and held his abs. "Yeah, yeah...still glad you met her, though."
I chuckled and stood up, grabbing my phone from my locker to check the time. "Well, it's getting late and...might as well clean up quick again before we head out..." I put my phone away and took off my shirt and shorts, throwing them in my locker as well.
"That will be nice," Mase groaned as I heard him struggle to sit upright on the bench.
Turning around, I offered a paw and helped him up, almost to the point I had to lift him off the bench, so he could stand upright; my ears splayed back once I realized how much I hurt him a few moments ago.
And yet, he wrapped his arms around me and held me close, though leaned against me enough to push me back a little. I hugged him tight, hoping it would send the message that I still loved him and want to protect him despite how strong he's become. We held each other for a moment before he released me and stepped back, letting his arms drop.
"Oh, and one more thing," I began as I put a paw on his shoulder, "That fox of yours...just...be there for him, okay? Promise me that."
"I will, Dad."
"I still don't quite understand it, but that love is there...and I hope you two live a happy life together..."
He smiled as he looked me in the eye, though didn't say anything for a while. However, just from that look, I knew he was grateful and that was something he wanted to hear from me. Though, strangely enough, his ears perked as if he remembered something. "Hey Dad?"
"Yeah, kid--dooooohhhh!!" A sudden fist slammed into my gut, forcing me to drop my arm as I doubled-over some and held my abs.
"That was for earlier," I heard him snicker.
I growled and stood back up, grinning. "You little shit! Come 'ere!" I grabbed Mase in a tight, side headlock and began to walk us to the showers. He did try to fight back at first, but stopped once he figured out I had no intention of actually hurting him further.
Even though I knew my son was gay, it was strange that I never felt weird around him after I found out, especially if we showered together at the gym. But it made sense with what he said: dudes like us do see each other naked often, but that doesn't necessarily mean we're gay for each other, and I sure as hell am not going to live up to that redneck incest stereotype and I trust Mase wouldn't either. He has his partner, I have my girl; we both have a bright future ahead of us when it's time for us to part ways.
I'm gonna miss you, you crazy son of a bitch.