by Shiretoko (知床)
Joss doesn’t understand why he’s here.
He doesn’t understand why he’s walking down these streets, at this hour, smelling of someone else’s blood and dying to drown in the shower.
This evening has been unkind to him. His mark was a fighter. Even as wire wound tight around the straining throat, fingers anticipating the final sharp jerk severing head from neck, it had not been over. It amazes him, how strong is the will to survive; after the crying, after the pleading, the garrote cut clean . . . and he bled from a new puncture wound. Hidden dagger. How careless of him. The wire danced again before Joss fled clutching the hole at his hip, leaving a gore painted office behind.
They’ll never find his blood in the ocean the corpse had spilled.
They’ll never find a complete corpse.
If only he could feel satisfaction from that.
He’s staggering onwards now, a half-hearted shuffle plucked from cheap zombie flicks. Joss overlooks his lack of grace. He’ll have time to grieve for his murdered dignity if he manages not to collapse where he stands. Jet black hair, hair dipped in midnight and matted to his forehead with sweat, makes his slender face look paler than parchment. Crowds surge in waves around Joss. The red light district stinks of sex and sweat. Pheromones turn the air into hot sludge that sticks to Joss’ lungs with every intake of breath. He swallows the urge to cough, choking the lust-perfumed air down.
Joss feels eyes sliding along his body like crude oil. They ooze slick trails down subtle curves, mapping out which parts make their hearts thrum faster. He is murderously beautiful, he knows, a wraith in their midst that they wish to capture. Free of vanity, laden with cold assurance. Hair at Joss’ nape prickles from a dozen parched gazes. The role reversal keeps him uneasy. He is the hunter among the flesh-seekers.
He hates it here.
The blood trapped between black leather cat suit and punctured skin makes him uncomfortable.
As he nears a club entrance the sex-starved swarm thickens. So it’s by chance that Joss sees him.
There is a crowd of hungry young things circling, flashing skin and sequins and feathers; tropical birds jostling for a mate. They whimper, they plead, begging their king for just a moment to satiate their thirst. Joss is slightly nauseated at such shamelessness. A typical scene. Somehow the cluster breaks apart enough for a single glimpse.
Only the word ‘danger’ echoes through his mind. Then he stops thinking entirely.
He is different. So different that Joss stops to stare before he can stop himself. The man is built like a rock god. Bleached near-white hair combed up into a careless mohawk, second-skin black shirt torn in all the right places, endless legs clad in straps, buckles and pinstripe. Defined, angular features that demand attention. Lips that start addictions. Build that promises to drag every single scream from his lover’s throat until the end. Joss’ gaze flicks down and he imagines those hands leaving bright red bruises on his hips.
Their eyes meet.
“Black,” he whispers, and drowns in them.
He can’t look away. One predator knows another, though no amount of inner chastisement seems to convince Joss of his own peril. There is current running between them, raw physical amperage that grips him from within and refuses to let go. Crowds swirling around Joss vanish, the sound of his heart racing erasing their noise. For a fleeting moment, he understands how it must feel to be marked. To be . . . possessed. The rock god licks his lips and Joss knows what’s been demanded of him. It’s the same thing the flood of cruisers has been pleading for without words, staring him into the ground with fixated stares. Longing for just a taste of his personal danger. Asking.
This one would not ask of Joss. This one would take.
His side gives a nasty twinge.
Shit. Just shit. What the hell is he doing here lusting after poison? Joss flinches at another piercing cramp. The man is gone as soon as Joss lifts his gaze again.
Biting back whimpers, Joss wills himself to move despite the hole in his side. Towering buildings overhead seem to bow inwards, the entire city moving to follow him. Joss sucks in more thick air. Maybe it’s blood loss pushing him farther into a mire of paranoia. The sidewalk is weaving beneath his feet now. Bright lights dance in the dirty air and his racing mind keeps a bewildering count of how many colors Joss passes. Red. Yellow. Pink. Blue. He stumbles past the searching palm of a greedy stranger. Green. Gold. Red. Red.
He stops. Around him, the bricks have gone black. Sickly breeze. Dirty peeling advertisements on decaying walls. Closed tenement windows. Battered dumpster. Flickering back door exit sign.
Dead end alley.
Fist meets brick, grit stinging his knuckles as he pulls away. He curses under quickened breath, damning whatever is in reach. The side wound is throbbing in time to his heartbeat. Joss hurts, hurts to his core. Figures he would greet death this way.
“Lost, little lamb?”
Joss whirls around and his eyes widen like a stunned little creature thrown to the wolves. It’s him. It’s him grinning, the stark white rictus of his smile that speaks of the hunt and of the predator. Suddenly their very surroundings are charged. Wariness descends, gloved hand twitching close to the concealed coil of wire at his hip.
“No.” He isn’t sure whether he’s answering or pleading.
“I saw you staring. I was going to pass you by,” he purrs. “But you smell . . . of blood.” There is a foreign lilt to his speech, smacking of Eastern Europe. The shark’s grin grows impossibly wider and Joss’ hackles rise. “Why is that, lambkin?”
“Not a goddamn lamb. None of your goddamn business, whoever the fuck you are.” Joss unconsciously presses his back to the wall. He pushes away the instant the stranger’s gaze falls where gloved hands grip his aching side.
“Kazimir.” It’s not so much an introduction but a seal of conviction. Self-assurance to the point that he has no issue giving his name to stranger. He remains unmovable. Unreadable. Joss searches chiseled features for weakness, some chink in the armor to exploit. Kazimir strides forward once, like a chess piece moving in to kill the king. And despite himself, Joss is afraid.
Nothing announces his attack, leg slicing through the humid air before most could think to inhale. He catches Kazimir across one fine-boned cheek with the thick heel of his boot.
“Hm. That stung a bit, pet. Not a lamb at all, are we.”
It is less fight than lethal dance. The movement of their bodies surpasses everyman’s clumsy gravity-bound brawls, weapons set on tearing into each other. Unyielding. Kazimir is mocking, teasing, darting fingers touching once before evading . . . reminding Joss of fruitless efforts and riling him anew.
“Something a little more dangerous?”
He’s hitting a ghost; his strikes are eating at air while the solid form dances inches from reach. Faster. Harder. Breathe in. Watch the shark smile and then tear those teeth out.
“Quick, too. A snake, perhaps?”
Kazimir is moving too quickly, he can’t keep this up much longer. Joss is tearing himself apart and his wound sings with agony. Don’t stop, he commands himself, get away before he devours you alive. Move. Move.
There is a moment of stunning clarity. Someone moves too slowly, someone moves even quicker. Kazimir is immobilized by Joss’ palm over his larynx. He’s struggling for clear breath but the smiling shark is at his mercy now. Joss struggles through unexpected nausea while keeping the other against the flat surface of wall and band flyers. Kazimir’s voice is strangled under the pressure to his throat. “Ah.” Joss wants nothing more to tear the grin from the man’s face. He leans in incrementally, enough to interrupt steady panting, and yet Kazimir fails to react. “Lean . . . strong . . . a magnificent killer to the last.”
Joss snarls, an animal cornered and provoked. “Shut. Up.”
“You must be . . . a tiger.”
“I said shut up!” One eye, gray-green as the sickly city sky above them, flickers over a shoulder to the alley’s mouth. To freedom. Unbidden, Joss twines a loop of silver around one finger. He doesn’t care to play. Control is slipping from his white-knuckled grasp and he’s no fool. He’s a bleeding lion in an open field. This isn’t about predation anymore. If he must leave as a night-chilled corpse, Joss doesn’t care. The dead are past danger. It makes him ache for an easy escape.
It makes Kazimir hungry. And impatient.
A hand clenches into his hemorrhaging side. Pain hits him like a vengeful ghost. Joss screams out silent noise before his knees give way from beneath him. Though he closes his eyes, the impact of ground never comes. He can’t move away from the broad hand splayed just over his heart. Kazimir’s hot breath is close, too close now and his self-contented tenor is at Joss’ ear. “Even tigers . . . can be tamed.”
The silver threads of piano wire caress their master’s unbroken skin. Joss is slow to react and his dizzied hesitation is his downfall. He swallows a panicked cry when they sting his flesh, Kazimir’s grip at Joss’ elbow stilling him before he slits his own throat.
“No, no, you shouldn’t struggle. Be a good boy and keep your hands to the wall.” The tenor dips softer, deeper. Dangerous. “Unless you think you can move faster than a beheading. Am I clear?” Kazimir waits to feel the wire move against his fingers with Joss’ noiseless assent. Black gloved fingers press into the grime and brick and layers of sorrowful dirt before he is ready to abandon hope for escape.
“Yes.” Never has the word felt dirtier on his tongue.
Leather obediently parts as Kazimir slowly pulls on a concealed zipper tab, exposing a smooth plane of vulnerable skin from nape to mid-thigh. Joss shivers involuntarily when urban air breathes upon him. Calloused fingers softly alight along the soft contour of his spine and Joss jerks against his wire collar. The larger man brushes parted lips over the wet crimson lines it creates, smiling at his prey’s breathless pained whimpers.
“Not a mark. Not even a scar,” murmurs Kazimir, lips vibrant red with new blood. “Perhaps you’ve just started, hm? A novice? But no novice has fire in their eyes like yours. Or this body.” Muscle shift and tense and shiver as Kazimir traces lazy circles down Joss’ warming skin. “Are you so dangerous . . . that you’re untouchable?”
“Don’t . . . .” Half-growls are littered with panic, the sounds of a predator with one foot in the trap and one eye on the gun. There is a constant tremor running through him, and it is no longer certain if adrenalin can shoulder the blame.
A roaming hand slides underneath the black material. A cry of protest is born in Joss’ throat, stillborn before it spills from parted lips. Reborn as Kazimir rubs a harsh thumb into soft nipples, teasing and abusing. The stream of sound he tears from Joss is ebbing and flowing, evolving into creatures of another species, now becoming shamed moans that are barely even whispers.
“Don’t? You are not in a position,” rumbles the rock god, “to bargain, love.” Kazimir’s hand is moving lower now. It drags through the sticky mess of Joss’s punctured side. Lower still. It presses wetly against firm stomach as Joss sharply inhales. Sliding lower. It traces the fine trail of hair downwards; sinuous fingers play with sensitive foreskin before wrapping around the twitching length of hidden cock.
“Sh-shit!” Joss’ jaw slackens. “Oh God . . . you . . . h-help me . . . .” His world sharpens. Kazimir strokes. It spins out of control and narrows to a point between his legs. Kazimir’s very touch wreaks havoc. The rush of blood thunders in his ears and drowns out what city noises manage to filter into their secluded corner. Everything is disappearing. Vanishing. Swallowed up by blood and pain and saliva and sex.
“Yes, that’s it. You want to feel this, don’t you. Let them all hear how I claim you.”
Kazimir is warming the shivering frame of his body, a virtuoso with rosined bow making a violin sing. Joss knows. His own wire is twined around his neck and his blood is wet on Kazimir’s lips. What can he do but sing for his master?
So he sings.
“You’re mine to devour. Completely.”
Raw. Spread open. Vulnerable. An unforgiving knee keeps Joss splayed wide, pinned like a butterfly on the filthy city-stained board of a wall. His very bones are shuddering, shaking, threatening to fracture under this tension. Metal clicks as a zipper is undone and suddenly there is bare burning flesh grinding at his rear. Kazimir is probing at him but he can’t focus enough through the haze of sex and exhalations. It’s too late to stop. It’s too late to do more than claw at the wall as Kazimir surges past tensing muscle.
He’s breaking. He’s screaming. He’s dying.
He’s on fire.
Spine arches and wire sinks into yielding skin when Kazimir rocks violently into Joss’ tortured flesh. Everything is burning to the ground around him and flames follow the path of Kazimir’s tongue along his neck. This is agony to the point of pleasure. Kazimir’s heart is pounding wildly against Joss’ spine. He twitches like a live wire under each thrust. He can’t breathe, can’t think . . . can’t feel anything beyond their bodies colliding. Heat is pooling in his belly, entire being tensing as Joss is pulled closer to the end. But Kazimir owns even this. And a tight fist clenches to cut off his release.
“Ask me,” Kazimir snarls. “Beg me. Plead for mercy. I want to hear you weep for your completion.”
Every word Kazimir wants to hear tumbles forth and echoes in the suffocating heat of Joss’ mind. He can’t recognize the sounds of broken internal howling as his own. Please, screams the stranger with his voice, let me go. Don’t ruin me like this. Please, please let me feel this godforsaken city crash down around us. I need this.
Somehow, he chokes out what he needs to say. And nothing more.
“Please . . . !”
He is freed.
There is no elapse of time. The hand constricting his cock lets go. Sensation floods through him and the sensory overload is too much to take. Joss spatters his seed on bricks and black leather boots.
Quick. Dirty. Sinful.
Cruel teeth sink into his shoulder and Joss feels the thick splash of hot release inside him. Feels it trickle down his thigh in warm excess. The piano wire collar goes slack at Joss’ neck as they both sink to the ground in exhaustion, resting on his shoulders and chest like a gossamer thread boa. The naked sky bears down upon them and chills their smoldering skin though neither seems to care. Neither wants to.
Kazimir shifts, face pressed to Joss’ back. His voice reeks of sex, in a slow honeyed way that the air around them lacks. “I’ve finished punishing you for gutting my target. I need a damn shower. Let’s go home, Joss.”
For a split second there is utter silence.
The spell has been broken, the fantasy fulfilled. The hole at his hip is becoming distracting once more. And he suspects that he has nothing but bandages to look forward to after slaking their lust.
But Joss smiles with green-gray sky eyes.