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Rated: 13+ · Chapter · Action/Adventure · #2317617
In which Jet and Kai try again
Jet started training in Muay Thai when he was four years old.

It had been one thing he’d asked his parents to do before their death and the one thing he asked to continue doing after he’d been adopted. The gym where he had started his training was on the smaller side, but the owner had been a friend of his father’s and had watched Jet grow both as a person and a fighter. He had kept up training both while he was in university, but it had been a little more difficult to find a gym while he was in Italy, but he hadn’t let that stop him.

Since working for both Interpol and ManiratInfiniteDrift, Muay Thai has become more of a hobby for Jet. He doesn't do regular one on one training or compete anymore, but he does practice on the weekends and his days off. The gym he goes to now is a little bigger, and offers group classes, training camps and one-on-one training—all of which suit Jet’s purposes.

Truthfully, he’d been only half serious when he’d offered introduce Kai to this particular hobby, but the more he’d thought about it, the more sense it made. If nothing else, it would force his younger brother to spend at least a little time with him. He’d also been surprised when Kai had accepted his “deadline” offer, but he wasn’t going to push his luck and ask for more time, just in case. Besides, until Kit is able to give him more information about Chalam, this is absolutely the best way to spend his time.

“You come here every day?” Kai speaks for the first time in a while as they pull into the gym parking lot, and he says it just to have something to say.

“Almost,” Jet reaches into the back seat, and drops a bag on Kai’s lap. “I got these for you this morning.”

Kai opens the bag. “You bought me gloves?”

“You can’t train without them,” Jet confirms. “I think they’ll fit, but you’ll probably need another pair for sparring. We can exchange those, too, if we need to. I’ll show you how to wrap your hands once we get inside.”

Kai is still staring at the gloves. “What were you going to do with these if I didn’t come?”

“But you did.” Jet winks at him, and gets out of the car before Kai can say anything else.

When he asked Jet what he wanted this time, Kai had been more open to an answer than he’d been before. He just hadn’t expected a deadline. Or had he? Clearly, Jet wanted to spend time with him and wasn’t going to take ‘no’ for an answer, so the least Kai can do is give him the allotted month.

But what was going to happen after that? Would Jet disappear again, just as Kai had got used to having him around? Or would he actually stay? The only way to get even part of an answer is to get out of the car and follow Jet into the gym.

Once inside, Kai experiences a sensory overload. His nostrils fill with the distinctive scent of sweat-soaked mats and the sharp aroma of liniment. The air around him is charged with adrenalin, and punctuated by the sharp smack of gloves meeting pads, the thud of kicks against heavy bags, and the rhythmic shuffle of feet on canvas. Trainers barking commands mingles with the grunts of sparring partners, or individual trainees pushed their limits.


Kai isn’t sure he said the word out loud until Jet flashes a grin in his direction. “Impressive, huh?”

“Yeah.” Actually, Kai doesn’t think ‘impressive’ does what’s going on around him justice. ‘Awe-inspiring’ maybe? ‘Mind-blowing’? Definitely adrenalin inducing. Kai can feel his own heartbeat syncing with the others in the room. His hands are itching to get into his new gloves. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Jet’s grin get wider. “What?”

“Show me your hands.” Jet lifts his own hands, palms down, fingers spread. When Kai imitates him, Jet pulls out a roll of material about two inches wide. “Pay attention, because you’re wrapping one on your own.”

“But I’m wearing gloves.”

Jet loops a circle of material around Kai’s thumb. “If you want to avoid injuries, you wrap your hands. The text goes on the outside, and then wrap once around each finger, and one time around the wrist after each finger wrap. You want it tight enough to create tension, but loose enough so your fingers don’t turn blue. That means you’ve cut off the circulation.”

“Text on the outside, once around each finger, then the wrist.” Kai repeats, watching the material wind around his wrist and then up toward his palm.

“Right. Then wrap around the knuckles. Do it four times, because your hands are small. Wrap around the thumb once, then the wrist again. Red tracker goes on top of your right wrist, with the rounded edge toward the knuckles. Wrap that tracker onto your wrist, then finish wrapping the wrist. ” Jet finishes wrapping, patting the strip of Velcro into place, and holds another roll of material, and a blue tracker out to Kai. “Now you do the other one. Blue goes on the left wrist.”

Kai takes the material and starts to wind it around his other hand exactly as Jet showed him. “It’s not that hard. You’re grinning at me again.”

Jet doesn’t bother to deny it. “Did you know there are twenty-seven bones, twenty-seven joints, thirty-four muscles, and over one hundred ligaments and tendons in each of your hands?”

“I do now.” Kai raises his eyebrows. “So what?”

“He means that by the time you leave today, you will feel every single one of them.” The speaker is a little older than Kai, and just a little taller, with a face like a monkey. He’s built like a beanpole, but Kai is sure he’s capable of knocking anyone flat with one punch if provoked. “And no, that isn’t an exaggeration.”

“That’s a first for you,” Jet mutters, and the newcomer shoots him an annoyed look. “What? You tend to exaggerate.”

“Only my girlfriend is allowed to point out my flaws. Is this the little brother you were telling me about?” The man gives Kai the once over. “He’s kind of adorable.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

Kai and Jet ask the question at the same time, but Kai’s tone is offended, while Jet sounds amused. The man’s voice when he answers veers between defensive and soothing.

“Exactly what I said: he’s not my type, but he’s adorable. Jet, don’t do the thing with your eyebrows, it’s irritating enough when Kit and his brothers do it.”

“Who do you think I learned it from?” Jet keeps his left eyebrow raised. “When someone calls my little brother adorable, I’m curious about what that means.”

“And I just told you." The man reiterates. "I’m in a happy, healthy, committed relationship; I can call someone adorable and it doesn’t mean anything.”

“I’ll make sure to tell Em that.”

“I’ll tell my girlfriend myself, thank you, and she’ll know exactly what I mean.” The man gives Jet the one finger salute, before turning his attention back to Kai. “So did your older brother talk you into doing this or did you decide on your own?”

Kai has been wrapping his other hand while his brother and the stranger verbally spar. Truthfully, he’s been concentrating so hard on making the wrapping on his left hand as perfect as the wrapping on his right that he’s only heard half of what either of them have said.


“Huh?” Kai looks up as Jet says his name. “Am I doing it wrong?”

Jet’s head jerks in the direction of the other man. “Talay asked you a question.”

“It’s fine,” The man who has been introduced as Talay shakes his head. “I think I got my answer. You know you can’t be his trainer, right?”

“What?” Kai shoots a glare in Jet’s direction. “But you said--”

“I asked you if you wanted to learn.” Jet corrects him.

“Siblings training siblings is against the gym’s policy because it could create a conflict of interest.” Talay adds.

Jet nods. “That’s why I’m glad you’re here.”

Talay raises his eyebrows. “Oh yeah? I don’t think I’m qualified.”

“I have it on good authority that you are. Kit said I could rely on you.” Jet’s tone dares Talay to argue, and Kai has an uneasy feeling that Jet’s words have more than one meaning. His suspicion is confirmed when Talay nods.

“He was right. How long do you want?”

“One month of one hour sessions three times a week, and I’ll pay for it.” Jet grins in Kai’s direction, cutting of the protest before it can come out of his little brother’s mouth. “Older brother’s privilege.”

Talay looks Kai up and down. “You ever trained before?”

Kai shakes his head, and Jet gives him a reassuring look. “Talay knows what he’s doing. You’ll be fine.”

“Where are you going?”

“The other side of the room.” An odd look crosses Jet’s face at the subtle note of panic in Kai’s voice. “I didn’t just come here to watch you.”

He walks away, and Kai reluctantly turns his attention back to Talay, who is looking at Kai’s hands.

“You wrapped them right, so that’s something.” Talay smiles at the look on Kai’s face, leading him over to a corner of the room. “It’s ok, you’re just learning the basics, not prepping for a competition. I promise I’ll take good care of you. Are you right handed or left handed?”


“Ok,” Talay turns to face Kai, acknowledging his response. “We’ll start with your stance. Since you’re left-handed, put your left foot forward, and your right foot back. Make sure your feet are wide enough that your weight is evenly distributed.”

Talay demonstrates, and Kai copies him.

“Now raise your hands, but keep your elbows close to your body, and keep your chin tucked. That’s your guard. You always want to keep it up; that’s how you protect yourself.”

Kai nods.

“First, the jab. Move your left hand so it’s near your face, then push off the ball of your right foot, and extend your left hand straight out. Keep your wrist straight and don’t lock your elbow.” Talay makes a couple of adjustments as Kai follows his instructions. “Rotate your left shoulder and pivot your left foot. You’ll have more power behind your jab and it’s easier to balance. Now pull your hand back. Good. Do it again.”

Talay watches as Kai repeats the movements. “Now hold your left hand at the side of your chin so your face is protected. Then, rotate your hips and right shoulder as you extend your right arm, then snap it back. Keep your shoulder close to your chin or you could get knocked out. You want to hit your opponent with your knuckles, so keep your right palm down and parallel to the floor, and pivot on your right foot so you can have more power behind the punch. That’s called a cross.”

“It’s not that hard,” Kai is able to do this movement without much help.

“That’s because you’ve only done one of each,” Talay puts on a pair of punching mitts. “Now put your gloves on and do both: left jab, right cross. Aim for these and try to put as much power behind your punches as you can.”

Kai does as he’s told, with Talay occasionally calling out minor corrections. The distinctive smack of leather hitting leather fills the air as Kai is drilled. Left jab, right cross.

Left jab.

Right cross.






There’s a burning sensation in Kai’s arms, but Talay won’t let him stop. His legs start to shake as they struggle to maintain balance while his arms move back and forth, back and forth. Sweat stings his eyes and soaks his hair and his breath is coming hard and fast. After what seems like an eternity, Talay lowers the mitts and Kai’s arms drop heavily to his sides, as Jet rejoins them.
“How did he do?”

Kai is breathing too hard to answer. Much to his annoyance, his older brother sounds barely winded.

“Not bad for his first time. Maybe next time we’ll do hooks and kicks.” Talay lowers his voice, perhaps hoping Kai is too tired to eavesdrop. “I’ve got something for you. You want it now or should I drop it off later?”

Jet nods, then jerks his head toward the opposite side of the room. Kai starts to follow them, but Jet stops him. “You wait here. Maybe sit down before you fall down.”

“Not funny,” But Kai does as he’s told. He’s not going to admit out loud how good it feels to sit.

He’s tired, but not so tired that he’s not interested in what Jet and Talay are up too. The two men cross to the other side of the room, where Talay pulls out a small object out of his gym bag, and hands it to Jet. A few words are exchanged, and then Jet slips the object into his pocket. Clearly, this trip to the gym wasn’t just to sign Kai up with a trainer. Kai ducks his head before his brother can catch him looking in their direction, and doesn’t look back up until he sees Talay and Jet’s feet standing next to him again.

“Hydrate,” Jet tosses a water bottle at him, but Kai’s arms hurt too much to catch it, so it lands next to him. “I’m not having you pass out because you didn’t drink enough.”

“Thanks,” Kai takes several gulps of water before he’s able to speak again. “How many muscles do you have in your arms?”

“Twenty-seven.” Talay’s monkey-like face splits into a mischievous grin.“I’ll see you back here the day after tomorrow.”

Kai swallows more water and another groan as he follows Jet back out to the car. Even lifting his arm to drink feels like lifting a lead weight as he collapses into the passenger seat.

Jet gives him a sideways glance. “This is just day one.”

“You say that like you want me to quit.”

Jet shrugs. “You want another pair of gloves?”

“These are fine,” Kai looks down at the gloves in his lap, unsure if the question is rhetorical or not. “I’m not sparring yet.”

“But you will, so we’re getting you another pair of gloves.” Jet’s tone makes it clear that Kai shouldn’t argue, so he doesn’t. “What time is your final?”

Kai gives him an odd look. “One pm. Why?”

“Then you have time.”

Exactly what Kai has time for is made clear when Jet pulls into the parking lot of a sporting goods store. Once inside, he buys Kai not only a second set of gloves, but material to wrap his hands, training clothes, punch pads, bruise cream(which Kai is absolutely sure he will use on a daily basis), and—

“Running shoes?” Kai’s eyebrows rise as he stares down at his feet. “I thought Muay Thai fighters were barefoot. What do I need these for?”

“Running, obviously.” Jet tosses the shoe box on the counter and a bag to carry everything in. “Keep your wallet in your pocket, this is all on me.”

Kai’s wallet stays in his hand. “Why?”

“Because this is an older brother’s privilege.” Jet turns back to the counter, effectively blocking Kai, and pays the salesperson himself. Then he picks up the purchases and walks out, leaving Kai no choice but to follow him back out to the car. “You hungry? Or just tired?”

“Yeah,” The question surprises Kai into honesty, but he also can’t help feeling guilty that the older brother he hated for so long is spending so much money on him. “I mean, I’m a little hungry. I guess. Don’t you have somewhere else to be? You know you don’t have to spend every hour of the day with me, right?”

His older brother shakes his head. “We had a deal. You spend time with me for a month. Which means the only time I’m not with you is when you’re sleeping.”

“Or when I’m at my internship,” Kai adds.

Jet shakes his head again. “I have it on good authority that you don’t have your internship for the time being, so don’t use that as an excuse.”

The only reason Kai doesn’t smack him is because his hands are starting to hurt. “What ‘good authority’?”

“Mali told me,” Jet’s voice is deliberately casual. “Apparently, she works at the same place you intern.”

“OmniVentures,” The word tastes like acid on Kai’s tongue. “The only reason she won’t quit is because her boyfriend’s her boss.”

“You think that’s the only reason?” Jet keeps his eyes on the traffic. “I’ve heard Rome is nothing like his uncle.”

“That’s not the point! It’s dangerous for anyone to work in the same building as Chalam the Bastard.”

“Why are you interning there, then?”

“That’s none of your damn business.” Kai is caught off guard by Jet’s question. Actually, he has a good reason for working there. A very good reason. A very good reason that he’s not sure anybody else including Mali or Jet will understand.

“Fine,” Jet lets it go. “You can tell me when you’re ready. Don’t worry about Mali. Rome will take good care of her.”

“I’m not worried,” Kai bites his lip, aware of just how defensive he sounds. “I can’t graduate unless I finish my internship.”

“Don’t worry about that either,” Jet parks the car and gets out before Kai can ask why. “Come on, there’s a noodle place I’ve been dying to try.”

Kai gets out of the car and follows Jet down the street. “What did Talay give you?”

“You saw that?” Jet is as aware as Kai that the question is rhetorical, so he enjoys answering the same way Kai did. “That’s none of your damn business.”

They find the noodle shop by smell, following the pungent tang of fish sauce, the sharpness of Thai basil and the sweet fragrance of coconut milk. Once inside, Kai’s stomach gives an involuntary growl as he catches an additional whiff of shallots and grilled meat.

Jet gives him a sideways glance. “I thought you weren’t very hungry.”

“That was before,” Kai is already making his way to a table. “And it’s only eleven am, so I have time to eat and shower before my final exam.”

“And you didn’t want to leave your dorm this morning.” Jet mutters.


“I said great, what do you want to eat?” Jet also takes a seat.

Kai is already pouring over the menu. “The only thing I’m allergic to is alcohol so I can eat whatever I want.”

“How did you find that out,” Jet asks. “That you were allergic to alcohol?”

“I drank something at a party when I was sixteen.” Kai is still looking at the menu, rather than Jet. “I didn’t know it had Kahlúa in it. Everything was fine and then I couldn’t breathe. Mali freaked out and called an ambulance. They tested me at the hospital and told me I was allergic to alcohol.”

“There are worse allergies to have.” It’s all Jet can think of to say.

“I know. This looks good.” Kai slides the menu across to Jet, indicating his choice as a waitperson comes up to their table.

After they order, Jet breaks the silence a second time. “Mali took really good care of you, didn’t she?”

“Mali takes good care of me,” Kai corrects him. “And I take care of her.”

“As you should.” Jet is quiet for a minute. “I should have reached out to both of you before now.”

“Mali said she was the one who reached out to you.” There’s no accusation in Kai’s voice this time, just curiosity.

“That’s right.” Jet confirms. “She found me on IG first, and then LINE.”

Kai impulsively pulls out his phone and slides it across the table toward Jet. “What’s your ID? Don’t look at me like that, I have your number I might as well have your LINE too, right?”

Jet takes the phone and adds his ID into his little brother’s LINE. “How are your hands?”

“They hurt. I think they’re starting to bruise.”

“It’ll get better.” Jet’s not just talking about Kai’s hands.

“I know.” Kai understands what Jet isn’t saying.

They haven’t completely repaired their relationship, but it’s a start.

"12. Begin

Read from beginning: "1. Ignored
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