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Hunter Class

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***

The Secretary was a man with strange interests.

Brock Rumlow was a city kid raised by a mom who had struggled to keep the power on, much less buy her kids a goddamn pony, and he'd never understood the fascination some people had with horses. The were big and shifty and likely to kick you in the balls or trample you, not even for looking at them the wrong way or being an asshole, but for no fucking reason at all, so he viewed them with a healthy skepticism. Plus, they made him sneeze.

The sign said 'Fox Hollows' in flowing script. A wrought-iron horse and rider leapt gracefully over the lettering above the gates to the grounds, presumably chasing the little iron fox that fled towards the stanchions. Acres of bright green grass spread into the distance along both sides of the private road, the expanse occasionally broken by white fencing. It all looked very expensive.

After making the hand-off, Rumlow walked back out to his parked car along the sunny, treed path that led to the larger outbuildings of the equestrian center. A man swept past him in show hunter class attire, shiny black boots and all, leading a tall bay stallion out towards a dirt field full of jumping obstacles. The man didn't acknowledge him at all, merely clucked at his horse to ignore the interloper. "Come now, Augustus, walk." No eye contact, not even a nod. Even the horse had his nose up in the air. Rumlow in his civvies might as well not exist. Fuckin' rich people.

Rumlow had considered sending Mercer to act as courier for the asset, but the unholy light in her eyes when he'd said the word "pony" had been, frankly, kind of terrifying. The asset came back from these sessions already traumatized enough, he didn't need to be put through Mercer's horse obsession on top of that. Murphy had claimed that equestrian sports were unjust and species-ist in some kind of convoluted vegan logic Rumlow couldn't follow, and refused to step foot on the property. Anders was busy hosting her two elderly great-aunts for a multi-day recipe exchange and baking extravaganza and thus exempt for reasons of protecting the supply line that provided STRIKE's elite-level pastries. Rollins had dealt with the fallout from that horrible giant squid incident the month before, which they still all remembered with such visceral disgust that even Brock agreed it wasn't fair to dump a new clusterfuck in his lap again so soon. Jack had laughed and laughed and laughed when the mission dossier hit Rumlow's desk.

Their mission, whether they accepted it gracefully or not: make Pierce's birthday special.

Well, objective one achieved, the asset was on site and fully kitted out. There was nothing to do now but wait. If this was anything like last year, it was gonna be at least a couple of hours.

Fuck it, he was taking a nap in the car.

*

The asset shifted nervously from foot to foot. No, hoof to hoof. His mission was to pretend, and ponies had hooves, which meant he was shifting from hoof to hoof, standing on the clean dirt fill of the indoor arena. The boots kept his feet arched unnaturally, balanced up on his toes, and the precarious footing ironically made it that much easier to mimic the dainty footsteps of the flighty, poorly-trained pony the Secretary assured him he was.

The touch of the lunge whip on his hip made the asset startle, the tiny bells clamped to his chest chiming musically as he danced away. It was difficult enough to resist the urge to bolt when he was being driven on the long line, but going around and around in circles on the lunge line was maybe worse. Between the uncomfortable tack and the endless circling, he felt he was slowly going mad.

"He's still too skittish," a man's voice echoed through the riding arena. "Try not to frighten him, remember your voice aids."

After their first disastrous ground work session, the trainer had attached blinders to the asset's bridle to help keep him from shying at the sight of every new tool that appeared in his master's hand. The trainer assured Pierce that he was so highly-strung it was for the best, even if it mostly hid his pretty blue eyes.

Pierce clucked at him encouragingly and drew the whip along beside the asset's hip, tip pointing towards the ground. "Walk," he said, drawing the vowel sound out and inflecting his voice upwards. "And, ter-rot." The voice command for 'trot' had two syllables, so the asset could not pretend to confuse it with 'walk'.

"Contact, watch your mouth contact," the trainer said to Pierce. "There, that's better. Ask him to stretch out a little, now."

The asset felt a little slack on the line, and relaxed his aching neck and shoulders gratefully as he jogged in a circle, the bells on his nipple clamps pealing at each footfall. His arms had been pinioned behind his back for over an hour, and it was beginning to interfere with his concentration. He was probably strong enough to tear through the tightly-laced sleeves along with the rest of his bindings, but he had been ordered not to interfere with his tack. The equipment needed for this mission was extensive: in addition to the boots, bridle, and arm-binders he also wore a chest harness and martingale. A thick plug settled in his ass anchored a false horse's tail, and his cock and balls were tightly wrapped in several yards of stretchy latex taping. The martingale connected the metal o-ring around the base of his genitals to his bridle; he had to be careful not to move too sharply or he'd yank on himself painfully.

"Reverse," Pierce said. The lunge whip was still behind his hip, though, so the asset balked.

"No, come on now, we went over this already." Pierce was not always the most patient of drivers. It was good that the trainer was there to help this time. Their first session had not gone well.

"Body position," the trainer reminded him. "Get even with the shoulder line. Yes, there."

Through the blinders, the asset watched as well as he could as Pierce shifted the line and whip to the opposite hands and gave the command again. "Reverse," he said, this time with his body positioned correctly and the whip in front of the asset's chest. Pierce put pressure on the line, pulling the asset's head inward to begin the turn.

"Much better," the trainer said. "Practice a few more times, then walk him around the ring a few times to cool off. Don't overwork him."

Pierce drove the asset through a final series of gait changes and reversals until he was satisfied with their progress for the day. "That's fine, that's good enough. I still have that dinner at eight, we'd better call it a day."

The trainer eyed the asset critically. He was streaked with dirt and sweaty under all of his tack, panting around the bit while he waited. "Shall I put him away for you?"

"No, just get his stall ready, I want to groom him myself today."

The trainer made an affirmative noise and left the arena. The asset's sides trembled far beyond what the physical exertion of the session called for, and the false tail attached to the plug stuffed in his ass swished in agitation as he fidgeted. He told himself this was perfectly appropriate equine behaviour. Stallions were not always well-behaved, he had heard the trainer complain about the other equines at this facility more than once.

"There, there." Pierce said cheerfully as he drew in the line. The metal bit in the asset's mouth was flecked with foam and he danced a little against the pressure pulling him in, resisting. "You're all dirty, don't you want to get cleaned up?"

Pierce took the reins in hand and unclipped the lunge line, walking him around the ring a few times while talking quiet nonsense at him. Pierce did not attempt to touch the asset, just made soothing noises as he settled into the walk. The asset could hear the assorted sounds of other equines in the building -- the occasional whinny of a fractious animal from the stalls, the hoofbeats ringing from the hallway as their grooms or riders walked them back out to the paddocks.

After a few minutes the sweat had dried in salty streaks on his flanks and the asset was beginning to feel chilled. Working on the lunge line had kept him warm, but now he longed for a blanket thrown over his shoulders, not even caring whether they removed his tack first. Pierce was impeccably turned out in riding boots, breeches and collared shirt; he'd even worn his jacket today against the crisp air of early fall.

Pierce must have noticed the asset's shift in mood. "Alright, let's go warm you up," he said. As always, the asset shied and tossed his head as much as the martingale would allow as he was led through the arena doors, hating the transition from the brightly-lit riding hall to the somewhat dimmer stables area adjoining it. Goosebumps rose up on his exposed skin, and he shivered.

His hoof-boots clicked on the stone flooring as Pierce led him down the hallway and tied him to the ring outside his usual stall. The trainer was waiting there with a bottle of water, and the asset made a pretty good imitation of a whicker as he nosed for it eagerly. The asset sucked down half the bottle from the trainer's hand while Pierce used a hose to sluice off the worst of the dirt and sweat, washing it away down a drain in the floor. The warm water, at least, was a relief.

"Hold his head for me, will you, I want to wipe him down first," Pierce said, and pulled a sponge from the bucket of soapy water the trainer had placed by the stall door. The trainer allowed the asset to finish the bottle of water while he held the cheek piece of his bridle firmly. Last time the asset had turned to bite when hands touched him too familiarly, and it was still hard not to snap when Pierce removed the clamps from his chest, the asset muffling a shriek at the explosion of returning sensation.

Pierce's hands dragged the sponge over him methodically, thorough and not missing a speck of dirt. He unrolled the stretchy Vetwrap that kept the asset's cock tightly taped down against his balls. Next, he removed the series of loops that sheathed the asset's flaccid penis, and then the anchoring wraps around the base. Finally he unwound the cylinder of tape that wrapped around the base of his scrotum, that had acted as makeshift ball-stretchers. The asset flinched at the rush of fresh blood returning to his genitals. He wanted to squirm away from Pierce's hands as they rinsed him with water and then massaged soap into his tender flesh, pulling and squeezing his aching balls, rolling back his foreskin to expose the glans, rinsing again and then repeating the process several times before Pierce was satisfied and the asset was breathing hard and confused by his body's conflicting signals.

Next came the oil rubbed into the asset's coat, making his skin shine golden in the dusty light of the hallway. As always, the asset felt unsettled by the attention, his body responding from somewhere beyond his will as his sore, reddened cock thickened. Pierce took no notice, but ran a soft bristled brush over him in brisk circles, working from nape to chest, over his flanks and down his haunches. The asset couldn't hold in a gasp when they scrubbed over his nipples, raw and painful in the cool air of the hallway.

"Oh, someone's interested now," Pierce rumbled good-naturedly as the asset minced delicately on his toes. "Walk him up to the bar, Patrick." The trainer smirked and took a tighter grip on the asset's bridle as he led him into the stall.

The asset hadn't been able to see it earlier because his peripheral vision was blocked by the blinders, but he reared back in dismay at the sight of the padded leather mounting block. His head twisted against the trainer's steady pull, but they'd used a curb bit with a shank today and had excellent leverage against his sensitive mouth. The trainer touched his riding crop high up against the asset's thigh in reminder that he would be corrected if he decided to be difficult, and the asset reluctantly conceded. Ponies remembered things, and he very much did not want a repeat of his last session. The trainer didn't need to be so rough with him this time; a firm hand between his shoulder blades was all that was required to bend him over the block and tie his head in place via the reins, shaking with nerves.

The asset's legs were pushed apart and then the trainer clipped his feet -- hooves, the asset amended hastily -- to the steel spreader bar bolted to the floor in front of the block. The bar forced his legs far enough apart to reveal his asshole, leaving his genitals hanging exposed and vulnerable, but not so much that balancing in his hoof-boots became impossible. He would be expected to maintain his footing no matter what happened next. Pierce had informed the asset that show ponies were expected to keep their feet under them; they did not collapse under pressure or beg for mercy.

Pierce took off his jacket and tossed it casually over the stall door as the asset shifted anxiously, line of sight restricted by the blinders. The martingale that connected the metal o-ring around his genitals to his bridle meant he couldn't move his head much in this position, and his arms were still bound behind his back, so all he managed to do was flex restlessly against the bench, beginning to sweat again.

"Calm yourself, now." A hand stroked meaningfully from the nape of his neck down the sleek muscles of his back, stopping right above his tail. The asset's nostrils flared and he snorted against the restraints, neck outstretched. "Be still."

His skin quivered under Pierce's hand as the Secretary played idly with the asset's tail-plug, pulling lightly on it to withdraw it a fraction, releasing it to allow the asset's ass to suck it back in, then pulling on it again. The thick, flared base rubbed against his insides strangely, the pressure and fullness somehow making his cock stir despite himself. He thrashed his head against the restraints in protest. An oiled hand came between his legs to close over his exposed balls, squeezing lightly. "You know what they do to stallions that can't behave, right?" The hand pulled at his sac in warning, rolling the asset's testes between his fingers. "I can call the vet right now if you insist on being gelded," Pierce said. The asset shuddered, and forcibly relaxed against the bench.

Pierce's finger circled around the edge of the asset's hole, pink and stretched a little by neck of the plug. "You look so pretty with a tail, you know, it's almost a shame to take it out." He twisted the tail-plug inside the asset, who tried not to moan against the bit as Pierce worked the thick silicon in and out of him a few millimetres at a time. "Feels good, doesn't it. I'll find a bigger one for you next time. Let go of it now, I'll give you something even better." A few more insistent push-pull thrusts, and the plug finally slid out of his ass with an obscene pop as his anus yielded to the pressure. The asset gritted his teeth as much as was possible with the bit in his mouth.

"I could put the bells back on you, would you like that? I'm told they bite even harder the second time 'round," Pierce said, friendly, and the asset whimpered. No, please no. He would follow orders, wasn't that enough?

The asset heard but couldn't see Pierce step in behind him and unzip his breeches. He tried not to tense up, as he knew from experience that would only make it hurt worse. The trainer passed Pierce a packet of lube, and Pierce slipped a finger inside the asset, inspecting his mount's readiness. His ass was still well-greased from whatever they'd used on the tail-plug, it was very long-lasting.

Pierce slicked up his own cock and pressed the head of it against the asset's hole. The asset could feel Pierce's hands spreading apart his cheeks to watch him, his asshole still stretched open and gaping a little from the thick plug. Pierce pushed in past the first ring of muscle, slippery with lubricant and hatefully easy. The asset tried not to struggle against the spreader bar but he knew his legs were trembling with effort.

"Behave, now," Pierce said admonishingly, and then pushed in to the hilt in one smooth motion.

The asset sobbed and bucked up sharply against the intrusion as far as the martingale would allow, settling only with the sharp bite of the trainer's crop against his rump. "Let's not repeat our last session. You don't need a reminder, do you? I'm sure we could have someone fetch Augustus again."

No, he did not need a reminder. He remembered the last time very well, the enormous animal huge and terrifying standing over him as the trainer stroked it to completion on the phantom mount. Its semen had splashed down over his ass and thighs as he panicked in the restraints underneath, the teaser mare whinnying from the stock in front of him. The asset shook his head as much as the tie-down would allow and willed himself to go limp against the bench.

Pierce fucked into the asset slowly, making him feel every inch of it. After a few thrusts Pierce must have been satisfied with the asset's self-control because his hands started roaming over the asset's flanks, squeezing the meat of his ass, spreading his cheeks to watch his cock fuck into him over and over, running up along the leather lacings that bound the asset's forearms together behind his back. The asset closed his eyes and turned his face against the bench as the trainer, still standing by his head, rubbed idly at the bulge in his own breeches.

"We could mark him up, don't you think? Bring a cane next time, we can put stripes all over his ass before you mount him. Get him nice and red for you. I can show you how to use the whip on his cock, on his balls, he'll like that." Pierce chuckled, amused, as the asset cringed.

But of course it wasn't enough just to ride him, Pierce needed to master him, break him, and so he dropped a hand between the asset's legs. The asset tossed his head fitfully but didn't protest as Pierce stroked him to full hardness; he had learned better than to fight that. He was drooling around the bit a little now as he hid his face against the bench, clinging to his last shreds of dignity as he tried not to thrust into that slick hand. It was increasingly difficult to hold back. His body started to get more insistent as Pierce's hands found all his most sensitive spots, stroking and kneading and squeezing as he fucked him. The Secretary gave him whatever he wanted to, no more and no less, even if the sensation was overwhelming and sickening after having been so tightly bound.

Pierce grunted behind him. "God, you're always so tight, every time," he said, and started grinding against the asset's prostate with purpose. He was pulling the asset back onto his cock by the straps of his chest harness with each thrust, and his other hand was fondling the asset's balls hard enough to hurt. Tears leaked out the asset's eyes and ran down onto the bench. He was making little hiccuping sobs behind the bit, now, trying to stay silent but failing, feet scrabbling for purchase on the stall floor. The trainer groaned and shoved a hand down his breeches.

That slick hand returned to wrap around the asset's cock and stroked him relentlessly as Pierce fucked him. "You need this, don't you. You're made for this, always so hot for it," and Pierce's thrusts were picking up speed. "I'll always be here to give you what you need, my little whore, you'll never go without. I'll make you mine every time," and the asset was crying in earnest now as the Secretary rode him. Pierce's cock in his ass was agony as it hit that spot inside him over and over, hand stripping the asset's erection in concert. It wouldn't be long, now, the asset could feel his body being pushed to its limit, his balls drawing up tight against the o-ring in the face of Pierce's persistent attentions.

"That's right, give it up. Give it up," Pierce crooned at him, "Give it up, come on my cock like the slut you are," and the asset was fighting it but the Secretary was right, he couldn't stop himself, he hated it and he was still going to come. A few more tight strokes of his cock while his ass was fucked hard, forced down against the mounting block like he was a mare in heat being serviced by a stud, and he broke. The asset wailed and thrashed as his orgasm ripped through him, hips jerking erratically under Pierce, his come splattering against the straw beneath him. "There we are," Pierce laughed, "what a good pony you are. You always squeeze me so tight, like you never want me to stop riding you, your greedy little hole wants it so much, doesn't it," and then the Secretary pulled out. Pierce jerked himself the last couple of times until he shot jets of semen over the asset's twitching, open hole, up the crease of his ass and dripping down to his balls, marking him up as property. Livestock. A few seconds later the asset felt the trainer's release splash over his face and into his mouth where the bit held it open, the humiliation of it somehow worse than physical pain.

Both men stood there panting for a few seconds, catching their breath. "That was excellent," Pierce said, and landed a stinging slap on the asset's rump. "Wish I was younger so I could go again." Both men laughed.

"Maybe on your 75th, sir," the trainer suggested. "Clear your schedule, make a whole day of it."

"Good man, I like the way you think."

They zipped up and walked out, leaving the mess for someone else to deal with. That was what staff were for, after all, and Pierce had a birthday dinner to get to. He would hate to leave his guests unsatisfied.

*

Rumlow walked down the hallway of the outbuilding, eyeing the large, scrupulously clean stable with suspicion. Some of the stalls had brass nameplates mounted above the doorway. Most of them were unoccupied right now, their inhabitants presumably out doing horse things in one of the many fenced paddocks surrounding the facility, or else working in one of several indoor or outdoor training areas. Every so often an empty stall appeared to be used as a gear locker, halters and ropes and all kinds of mysterious other equipment lined up on shelves and hanging on pegs.

Rounding a corner, Rumlow finally reached the stall Pierce had designated as the pick-up point. Christ. They'd left the asset slumped over some kind of tall leather bench, still covered in their spunk. Rumlow eyed the mess distastefully. "Hey kid. You alive in there?"

The asset jerked away from his voice and made a shivery noise. Jesus, that was a bad sign, he'd seen the asset run on a broken leg with less of a reaction. "Mission completed, good job. I'm gonna unclip you now, hold on."

Rumlow knelt beside the asset, not behind him, as he detached the spreader bar from his ankles and undid the D-ring leash clip that fastened his horse-y headgear to the far end of the bench. Under his face, the bench was slippery with spunk and drool and maybe tears, it was hard to tell. Pierce was a sadistic motherfucker. Rumlow would know, he'd read the personnel evaluations the man wrote for his underlings. Ruthless, precise, and brutal. Westfahl had cried.

"Doing this the fast way, just a sec," Rumlow said, and took a pair of safety shears to the lacing of the arm-binders. The asset gasped in relief as his arms were freed, although he hugged them into himself immediately after shaking them out. Pierce had said he wouldn't need to be as rough as he was the first time, but it didn't look like that was the case. Rumlow sighed internally. This kind of crap generated so much extra work for everybody, and it rebounded right onto STRIKE whenever the asset's subsequent reprogramming didn't go exactly as planned. For a man who purportedly wanted the asset kept in top condition, Pierce sure spent a lot of time and effort fucking him up recreationally.

"I brought a blanket for you, don't try to lay down just yet." Rumlow ignored the kinky bondage gear and wrapped a plaid blanket -- the one he kept in the emergency kit in the trunk of his car, along with booster cables and a flashlight and some other shit, just in case -- around the asset before helping lower him to the floor. The kid was wobbly as a foal when he tried to stand up in those ridiculous boots. "Okay buddy, we're running a bit ahead of schedule, so you can just crash out for a couple minutes while I get the rest of this stuff off of you." The asset collapsed down in the straw bedding on top of the blanket, too exhausted and shell-shocked to so much as twitch while Rumlow stripped him out of his pony stuff.

Westfahl had lost their head-to-head poker death match last night and would be cleaning all the sicko leather gear, so Rumlow just dumped it all in a duffel bag off to the side as he unbuckled the million little fiddly straps the old men liked to play with. One led down to the asset's junk, Jesus the Secretary took things literally. Of course he had to have his pet assassin by the balls, that was Pierce all over. The asset's breath hitched in tiny sobs as Rumlow took off the o-ring, chest harness, and assorted other pieces of kit. The bridle had left deep red marks across the asset's cheeks and forehead, and the corner of his mouth bled a little as he let go of the bit.

"Gonna take your boots off now, you let me know if you're injured at all." They looked like they were the equivalent of pretty tall platform heels, and the asset was sweaty and chafed enough that he'd probably been running around in them. Rumlow unlaced each boot -- of course they had yards of old-school fucking laces for him to deal with, of course -- and pulled the false hooves off the asset's feet. It took some doing, they were really tight. "Can you wiggle your toes for me, buddy?" The asset did so unenthusiastically, grimacing as his foot flexed.

As soon has he was free of the pony gear the asset grabbed the edges of the blanket and rolled himself up tight, disappearing from view. Rumlow felt a spark of pity -- he wasn't a complete bastard, a fact which everyone on STRIKE knew and exploited mercilessly. The asset included, apparently. "Right, okay. In five minutes I'm gonna order you to get up and walk. I found a people-shower out back where all the plebs hang out," which was true, he'd only seen grounds staff go back in there, nobody in fancy dress had deigned walk around to the back entrance of the main building's kitchen, "so you can rinse off before we head back." The asset snuffled.

Rumlow didn't miss how the asset curled in on himself at a loud neigh that rang through the stable, and froze entirely when another horse was led past their stall door. Poor kid barely breathed until its footsteps were well away. "I don't like them either," Rumlow confessed, mostly to see if he could coax the asset's face out from the blanket-cocoon he'd wrapped himself in.

No dice. And that damn blanket was going to be impossible to get clean now that it was all full of straw and, please Mary mother of God, let it be human spunk this time. Pierce creeped him out on so many different levels.

Rumlow checked his watch. "Alright kid, time to move. I remembered to bring shower stuff and a towel and some clean clothes, this time. And look, Anders sent you some cookies." The plaid fleece burrito lying beside him stirred minutely at the mention of sweets. The kid was woefully easy to incentivize; there was a reason Anders hadn't acquired so much as a paper cut in the last three years of Asset-related missions. Her aunties were amazing bakers. The mergpijpje had been kind of weird, but Rumlow would seriously consider killing a man for their kerststol. "It's an old family recipe, apparently." It was toeing the line between encouragement and outright bribery, which Rumlow normally frowned upon, but given the circumstances, he was making an exception.

Another half an hour and three stroopwafels later, Rumlow had the asset gingerly curled up in the back seat of his car, still damp around the edges and rather shaky.

"Just remember kiddo: no matter what, Pierce's birthday only comes once a year. And he's pretty old, so like, only a dozen more times probably."

The asset stared at him despairingly for a long moment with those enormous blue eyes, stricken, then slumped against the window in defeat.

Rumlow wasn't paid enough for this shit. Maybe Anders would figure out sjekladebollen in time for next year, that would cheer everyone up.