Sabretooth: Crawfish Tango – Chapter 1 – Volcado

I’m so into you, I can barely breathe
And all I wanna do is to fall in deep
But close ain’t close enough ‘til we cross the line, hey yeah
So name a game to play, and I’ll roll a dice, hey

Oh, baby, look what you started
The temperature’s rising in here
Is this gonna happen?
Been waiting and waiting for you to make a move, oh, oh, oh
Before I make a move, oh, oh, oh

So, baby, come light me up, and maybe I’ll let you on it
A little bit dangerous, but, baby, that’s how I want it
A little less conversation and a little more ‘touch my body’
‘Cause I’m so into you, into you, into you
Got everyone watchin’ us, so, baby, let’s keep it secret
A little bit scandalous, but, baby, don’t let them see it
A little less conversation and a little more ‘touch my body’
‘Cause I’m so into you, into you, into you, oh yeah

This could take some time, hey
I made too many mistakes
Better get this right, right, baby

Tell me what you came here for?
‘Cause I can’t, I can’t wait no more
I’m on the edge with no control
And I need, I need you to know
You to know, oh

So, baby, come light me up, and maybe I’ll let you on it
A little bit dangerous, but, baby, that’s how I want it
A little less conversation and a little more ‘touch my body’
‘Cause I’m so into you, into you, into you
Got everyone watchin’ us, so, baby, let’s keep it secret
A little bit scandalous, but, baby, don’t let them see it
A little less conversation and a little more ‘touch my body’
‘Cause I’m so into you, into you, into you, oh yeah

So come light me up, so come light me up my, baby
A little dangerous, a little dangerous my baby
A little less conversation and a little more ‘touch my body’
‘Cause I’m so into you, into you, into you

~ Into You (Ariana Grande)

*****************************************************************

Victor sighed when his jet touched down at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. “Tell me I gotta do this,” he told his pilot.

Zane shot him a sympathetic smile. “You have to do this. A bet’s a bet, right?”

“Right. Go play – I’m gonna be stuck here ‘til at least t’morrow, no point in both o’ us havin’ our night ruined.”

“You’re staying at the bank?”

“Yeah, if’n I even get time t’ see a bed. Get some fun in fer me, huh?”

“No problem, Boss.”

Growling, Victor left his coat draped over his seat and stepped off the jet. It was summer in Phoenix and he was stuck on a boring protection gig for a man who, while a good client, was also a person he had never liked much.

Bet’s a fuckin’ bet – an’ if SHIELD does show t’ try an’ lock ‘im up, at least it’ll stop bein’ borin’.

A black stretch limo pulled up and a trim young brunette woman in an expensive suit with a knee-length skirt got out. She wore one of those gold stickpins in her lapel that Obinata gave them when he didn’t want Victor to eat them – so he was probably safer ignoring the subtle scent of heat she gave off.

With those gams an’ murder weapon stilettos, bein’ good’s gonna suck.

Sighing at his fate as she held the door open, he got into the limo. The woman followed and sat on the seat opposite him.

A driver he vaguely remembered glanced in the rearview mirror at him. “The Canyon Suites at the Phoenician, sir?”

“That’s tha one. Do ya know if Mr. Paganucci already arrived?”

“He did, sir. He’s waiting for your arrival before going to the meeting room.”

“Punctual, at least. Where’d he set up tha meet?”

“In a private dining room of the J&G Steakhouse. He wishes for you to wait at the bar in that location during the meeting.”

“Cuz he don’t want me t’ hear all o’ their plans. I give a shit. Saddle up.”

The driver nodded and the limo pulled away from the jet as he checked his watch. He was running late but couldn’t care about it.

“Whiskey, Mr. Creed?”

“May as well.”

“Unless you would prefer something else?” He watched as her hands slid the skirt up toned thighs.

Victor grunted and smirked. “Yer one o’ those, huh?”

“Mr. Obinata asked me to provide whatever you might need.”

“That man’s a peach.” Without hesitation or care about the driver, he opened his fly and pulled his hardening dick out of his black made-to-measure Hugo Boss suit. “Slip ‘em panties down an’ hand ‘em over – then ya got yer orders, yeah?”

“Yes, sir.”

Victor purred, staring as she obeyed. She gave him her underwear – a bit of lust-damp white lace – and climbed on to sit on his dick without a whimper. He leaned back to relax as she began to fuck it. Laying his head on the back of the seat, he draped the panties over his eyes.

“Love it when they call me ‘sir’. Ain’t gonna let ya pull offa that before I blow – FYI.”

“This is for you, Mr. Creed. Use me however you like.”

“Mmm…” Without moving from under his panty mask, his hands gripped her body at the hips, the claws sliding out to gently prick and spur her on. “Hey, Jeeves – better find tha long way t’ tha hotel. I’m gonna stuff this twat’s holes full an’ drippin’ before duty calls.”

“Very good, sir.”

Taking in a deep breath of her scent from both panties and pussy, he chuckled. “A fuckin’ peach.”

*****************************************************************

“Initiate.”

“Initiating palladium replacement test number 129,” JARVIS responded.

Tony stepped back from the hologram of the suit and returned to his desk. It was hard to observe the program simulation of the test, hard to see the image of himself die – 128 times and counting.

As he watched, the Empty Shell hologram began to convulse, and then the test failed … as the suit mimed damage inside the chest plate, slumped, and turned gray.

Tony swallowed, his throat abruptly dry. “Reset,” he ordered, and the suit returned to red and gold as it saluted him.

Mechanically, he turned back to the periodic table hologram tiles behind the desk and selected another chance to save his life.

“Empty Shell, come on – we have time to knock a few more out before daddy has to go to work.”

By the time test 140 failed, Tony’s hand slowly covered his eyes before the holographic image of his suit died again.

“You know what? Let’s take a break. I need one.”

He went to the kitchenette and poured more liquid chlorophyll, resisting the pull to splash vodka into the tall glass. Carrying it with him, he went to his latest restoration project and stared at the car as he drank the dark green and gritty thick liquid down.

Stepping to one side, he glanced at the slash marks in the concrete floor from Victor Creed’s last visit and felt a shiver go down his spine that settled uncomfortably in his groin. He had cleaned up the rubble and mess but had never gotten around to filling in the cuts, here or over by the couch.

Frowning as he finished off the drink, he called out, “Distract me, J – toss some Black Sabbath out there and keep it coming.”

Tony set the glass down where his favorite short screwdriver was and picked up the worn and battered gray handle as War Pigs filled the air around him. The fact that the first selection wasn’t Iron Man was just one more proof of how well JARVIS knew him by now.

I should keep running tests, but I just can’t anymore for a bit … I need … a break from thinking about maybe dying. Also, finding a better headspace before the trip to Phoenix is probably a good idea.

Twirling the screwdriver in his hand, he ignored the cuts in the floor and opened the hood of the latest precious acquisition. Before he knew it, time finally began to fade away in distracted  – if momentary – bliss.

~ ~ ~

“Did you wish me to book a massage for you at the location in Phoenix, sir? There is a spa and you could use a little relaxation – after this favor for Agent Coulson is done.”

“No, I want to get back here after.” Tony frowned up at the ceiling, in the approximate direction where his assistant would be upstairs. “Did Pepper put you up to the ‘relax’ hints?”

“She did, sir.”

“I’m fine, JARVIS, I don’t need to relax – I need to work. I wouldn’t be going at all if SHIELD hadn’t sent the one guy I owe Pepper’s life to when they wanted to ask me to do this … ridiculous caper. I fight terrorists, not petty criminals. Why does SHIELD even care about this guy?”

“Mr. Paganucci is a patron of domestic terrorists.”

“Ah – well, they didn’t mention that. Cut the purse strings on the bad guys to hinder the bad guys … okay, not a bad plan. I’m still overkill for it, though.”

“A favor for a favor, your words, sir – I was to remind you.”

“This, right here, is me relaxing, by the way. Take note.”

“Noted, sir.”

Tony twirled the screwdriver in his fingers again and sighed as he put it down. “Sorry, baby,” he said to the 1931 Bugatti Royale. “Duty calls.” Cleaning grease off his hands, he groused, “Agent Coulson may not be able to appreciate that I’m leaving Type 41 here, one of six in existence, with her skirt up. Inappropriate way to treat a lady.”

“Will you be taking the jet or flying there yourself? I recommend the former.”

Tony eyed the thick briefcase full of prototype suit he had been improving on all week. “Time for another flight test? I need a fun test for a change.”

“Of course, sir. However, there is time for more core testing prior to your departure. Finding a solution is –”

“Paramount, yeah, still paramount. I’m starting to hate that word. Fine. Start it up. Empty Shell, let’s go – JARVIS is busting our balls.”

*****************************************************************

Victor scoped the bar area of the high-brow eatery after checking out the private dining room the meeting would take place in. If SHIELD had planned to bug it, they hadn’t done it yet. He took charge of the motley band of muscle standing around and gave them all jobs, regardless of what their various bosses had told them to do. None of them protested.

More attendees arrived and he gave each of them an unobtrusive sniff as they passed him to go in and sit down. He didn’t care if they were armed, as long as none of them were wearing a wire.

Catching the scent of his client’s cologne, Victor stifled a sigh as the short Italian left the meeting room to stand at his side.

Giuseppe Paganucci was what the silver spoon crowd had once called ‘new money’ but he had enough of it to make the old guard set aside their egos and play ball with him. He was a bleeding heart political type who believed real change needed blood spilled to get things kicked into gear.

Yet it wasn’t his politics that annoyed Victor, he was practiced at ignoring such things. Paganucci had little dog syndrome – and his favorite weapon to threaten rivals with was Victor. It made him feel like a two-bit knee-breaker, and he had blown the man off for over a year now as well as curbing any jobs in the personal bodyguard category.

Then along came an unscheduled bodyguard gig – in the form of not letting Hydra scarper off with the pint-sized X-Men mascot, Jubilee.

Admitting that not killing the runt’s little pocket pet had ended up worth it – quality Hydra kills and all – was the easy part. Dealing with the consequences of not plugging her was rough. He had lost a game of poker at Satan’s Circus back in New York – distracted by babysitting Jubilee in the rough den of self-styled villains.

Still, guess it ended more or less satisfactory. ‘Spose I can put up with this idiot fer one job.

“We only lack one attendee,” his client announced. “Have you detected any SHIELD agents?”

“Nope – which I find a bit odd, all things considered.” A new scent arrived in the restaurant and Victor froze. Bloody fuckin’ hell.

“Mr. Paganucci, what a surprise.”

Victor turned and his breath caught at the sight of Tony in one of his gorgeous pinstripe dark gray bespoke suits. The subtle whirling siren song of the arc reactor threatened to dull his focus. Just looking at him, smelling his cologne and his clean skin, made his blood thump faster, tripping through his veins.

Tony closed the space between them with movements that were casual and predatory at once. It was both fascinating and dreadfully distracting.

That man is sex on a stick. Fuck.

Paganucci sniffed in disdain. “Mr. Stark – I didn’t see your name on the guest list.”

“An oversight, I’m sure.”

“It wasn’t. I wrote the list.”

“I invited myself. Quite an impressive hulking mook you have there. Does he bite?”

“He eats people. Say hello, Victor.”

A low growl of pure irritation escaped, but he could barely focus on the Italian anymore.

Tony Stark was magnificently arrogant and smug – and out of his pathetic reach. Then another sniff assaulted his senses with the man’s heat, and he had to swallow a groan.

One tilt of the inventor’s head in his direction, one saucy wink – and Victor’s dick went mercilessly hard.

*****************************************************************

On the heels of the alleged criminal’s flippant bragging reply, a low growl of anger rippled through the feral’s massive chest. Paganucci seemed unaware it was directed at him instead of his unwanted extra guest. Tony expected Victor to protest being spoken to like a Bond villain’s henchman, and then the mutant stalked forward.

This could be bad, he thought, and his hand tightened on the briefcase – but then he dismissed the spark of fear. He won’t hurt me.

Victor’s cruel smirk split into a sharp grin, but Tony didn’t retreat as he advanced. One large clawed paw gripped him right over the scars that had been left by the fangs as the other one lifted to his chin. With an obscene leer, he scraped the arched gleaming backs of two claws across Tony’s lips. The points of them pricked the skin of his lower lip for a second before he released him and stepped back.

“Hiya, hero.”

When he could breathe again, he quipped, “Nice manicure.”

Victor had made him hard effortlessly and he obviously knew it, the smug bastard. They both had their poker faces on, so maybe the target wouldn’t notice that the men he was trying to pit against each other resembled neophyte porn actresses after the magically endowed pizza boy rang the bell.

Another aspiring member of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list walked in and nodded to Paganucci before going into the private dining room.

“Your pardon, my meeting is about to start. Victor, please do see to it that Mr. Stark doesn’t bother us – or any of his friends. I’ll have Marco at the door inside.”

“Stark won’t do shit.”

After the meeting room doors were closed, Victor walked off to go sit at the bar near the windows.

Surprised by the silent retreat, Tony claimed a chair at the opposite end of the bar to regroup his impulses and gather his thoughts.

Outside, the bright blue sky was cheerful and innocent, and he was reasonably certain there wasn’t a cloaked helicarrier lurking in it. He was willing to bet that if there was, Victor wouldn’t be so calm. Watching him as he sat there, one claw tapping a tiny hole in the red sandstone bar, Tony slowly realized that calm wasn’t what Victor was.

The bartender came over and he started to order whatever scotch they had before changing his mind.

“Make that a glass of Glenfiddich – and send one down to Mr. Fluffy.”

Once the alcoholic sacrifice was accepted, Tony put on his best pickup artist smile and moved in.

“So I bought you a drink – doesn’t that mean you have to talk to me?”

“Dunno – what’s it say in yer Sexism fer Dummies handbook?”

Tony let a suave smug smile creep out, suppressing the delighted grin that tried to escape. “Is it technically sexism, since we’re the same sex?”

“Ya tell me – I’m just ‘nother bottom-feedin’ misogynist knuckle-dragger in tha cesspool.”

“Wow. Touché. You really do read all the interviews I give.”

He set his drink on the bar and the briefcase on the floor before pulling out the stool next to the feral. He sat on it without facing him.

Casual is key – as I suspect ‘volatile’ may be an understatement.

It was too early for scotch in Pepper’s view, but she wasn’t here, and the booze helped around moody ferals. That first sip was nothing short of miraculous after five hours without.

Amazed that Victor had remained silent, Tony tried again. “You realize, I wasn’t thinking of you in particular – it’s a rather large cesspool.”

“If’n tha jackboots fit, lace those bitches up an’ stomp ‘round.”

“I was on my high-horse. My statement, therefore, was a bit disingenuous; I get called sexist all the time just because I like women. I have also observed that the ones I – like – aren’t the ones who complain. Still, apparently, not settling down and marrying some good girl from the Bible Belt is a crime in the minds of many. Also, not to be downplayed, I was trying to seduce a lovely feminist at the time. Having a language in common, more or less, helps facilitate that sort of endeavor.”

“Figures.”

Tony took in the slump of the broad shoulders that matched the surly frown. The golden curly mane was contained in a fancy thick herringbone braid down the back that someone else must have done for him. There were beaded bits in the loose hair around his face, but none of them were the carved femur bone beads. Photos didn’t do justice to the sight of this strapping creature in a magnificent suit.

Damn, how long has it been since I was with anyone? Besides Victor? I bailed on that feminist reporter – one look in the men’s room mirror at my chest ended the game before it started. I got that pushed back now, though, don’t I? Victor isn’t a reporter, either – a tick in the plus column.

He let his gaze wander down the feral’s body and tried not to reach out and palm the erection in those tailored pants.

Not the time, not the place, but … hell, it’s been too long…

Abruptly, all he wanted to do was chuck it all, forget his mission, the favor he owed – and everything else – and lure the man off somewhere for a quick roll.

The feral’s dark mood, at odds with his obvious arousal, was a little off-putting and disappointing, however – he had hoped he would want the same thing, and initially thought he did. Tony was primed for it, and the fact that they needed to pretend to be enemies at the moment only made him want it more.

Finesse it then, kick those gears. Seduce him – he’ll love it. But first, there’s the tiny problem of our goals being currently misaligned… “So, Grumpy – why are you here babysitting scum? Is this a lateral career move?”

Victor snorted. “I lost a bet.”

“Funny.” Watching a blond eyebrow rise, Tony added, “Ah – a literal bet. Gin Rummy? Go Fish?”

“High-stakes Poker.”

“Going by growl-rate, I’m betting you don’t like him anymore than I do. Oh, to be a fly on that gambling den wall.”

“Don’t matter none. T’morrow, I’ll be back t’ my regular job.”

“Human Whack-a-Mole?” Tony swirled the amber liquid in the glass before taking a drink. He set it down again as his fingertips toyed suggestively with the rim.

Victor smirked and downed his drink in one go. “Yup.”

Signaling the bartender over, he asked, “Bring us the bottle? On my tab.”

When it arrived, Tony poured for both of them, nearly filling the glasses.

He assumed he was a surprise, and perhaps the moody funk was hiding anxiety – not wanting to be at odds. Victor was certainly a surprise to him. The homework he’d done on Paganucci painted the sort of arrogant prat image he would have thought the mutant wouldn’t put up with.

Then again, he puts up with me. Huh. Guess I’ll poke the beast and see what happens or we could be here – where I can’t discretely screw him – all day. He took a deep pull on his glass and set it down with a thunk. Fortune favors the brave. “So you took this job, lost bet or not, knowing you’d be at odds with me. Did you get curious if you could take me in a fight or did you just miss me?”

That expressive mouth parted, the upper lip curling and rising just enough to show teeth. It was clearly a warning, but the wet shine of scotch on his lips made Tony want to lick them clean.

“Had no idea ya’d be involved.”

“Come on – either you or Obinata would have checked it out prior.”

“We did – knew ‘bout SHIELD. How’d ya get mixed up in it? This asshole ain’t yer usual target – or did ya come here t’ harass me?”

“No, I’m here to harass your client. I owe Agent Coulson a favor – for saving Pepper from Stane.”

“Ya an’ yer favors.”

“Says the guy I owe – what – two or three to, by now?”

The cat eyes narrowed, refusing to look at him. “I could call one in – walk away.”

“You don’t want to waste that on him, and you know it.”

Victor drained his glass again, slumping a hair lower as he watched Tony refill it. His sigh was regretful – but also resigned.

“Can’t let ya have tha bastard – gotta rep t’ protect.”

Tony grunted and drank. Time to reroute this potential mess – either that or I’ll end up actually having to fight Mr. Apex Predator who can cut my suit like butter, and that is an ugly thought above and beyond the fact that I would definitely rather fuck the man.

“Tony –”

“Wait, me first. Set reputation aside for a minute. This guy’s a dick who gets off on treating you like a loaded thug he can point at people. I don’t know how your clientele usually treats you, but I’m betting that besides losing a payday or two, you wouldn’t be sorry to see this idiot off your schedule. Don’t try to say I’m wrong – I’m not.” As Victor frowned and hesitated, Tony added, “Maybe we could cobble together a compromise?”

The feral’s sexy low voice sunk to a familiar and creepy rasp as the frown turned darker. “Ain’t gonna discuss welchin’ on my bet or handin’ over a good client, dick or not.”

“Well, not in public, no.” Tony swigged down his drink in a few gulps, aware that Victor was staring at his throat as he swallowed. He grabbed the bottle by the neck and made sure his knee grazed the man’s thigh as he stood. “Follow along if you want any of this.”

Not daring to look back, he picked up the briefcase in his free hand and walked off, heading for the men’s room across the open and sparsely populated dining area. He couldn’t hear if Victor had taken the bait or not, and then abruptly heard the low hiss of words behind him.

“Go in tha women’s.”

Tony opened his mouth to protest, and then snapped it shut. Veering to the right, he opened the swinging door with a forearm and hoped no one would greet his invasion with a scream. He moved to the last stall, grateful the place seemed to be empty. Because Victor knew a suit was folded inside the briefcase, he slid it into the narrow space beside the toilet.

He heard Victor hit the outer door to open it. Heart rate tripping over itself, Tony drank from the bottle in self-defense.

The feral filled the stall doorway when he opened it. Turning the bolt lock on the door as he stepped in seemed like an afterthought.

Victor took the offered bottle, and then it was Tony’s turn to stare as that gifted thick throat swallowed. He kept it up until the bottle was drained and held it loosely in his thick fingers as he watched him.

“So talk, flyboy. How’d ya ‘spose we can find a mutually satisfyin’ compromise outta this shit show?”

Taking it all in, Tony moved forward and put one hand on the mutant’s belt buckle as the other palmed and squeezed the erection in those black pants. It felt as good as he expected.

“Oh, honey, damn… We can talk after.”

Victor growled and smashed the bottle on the tile wall. Pieces of it went everywhere around their shoes. Tony flinched but managed not to react beyond that.

The blond held the jagged remains of the bottle casually by its neck moments before he grabbed Tony by the throat.

“Open yers, gimme that sweet cock. Do it now, genius.”

While Tony was trying to muster the guts to object in an effort to maintain equal footing, the outer door opened and the sound of heels clicked in. The savage grin taunted him, daring him to speak. When the fingers tightened on his throat like a command, Tony’s dropped and fumbled to open his belt and zipper.

So much for equal footing. Crap. Over the falls sans barrel but my god, I want him. He freed himself and let it bob there.

Victor released him, positioned him to stand straddling the toilet, and then handed him the neck of the broken bottle. He began to lower himself to kneel on shattered green glass, the slitted amber eyes still daring Tony to make a sound.

The woman entered the first stall. At least the tiled partitions went all the way to the floor, even if the doors did not. Unconcerned, Victor let his knees crush onto the glass shards.

Tony wanted to worry about the glass, but the insanity of it all only made him ache for whatever Victor wanted to do to him.

The mouth, just as jagged as and far sharper than the bottle, opened slowly. The long tongue lolled out to accept him and Tony felt his mind glaze over as he thrust to slap his cock down onto its inviting and rough wet heat.

As the mouth closed and began to suck him off, Tony let out a moan, no longer caring if the woman heard him. Her breath caught in a gasp, and then she hurried out. The instant she was gone, Tony’s nerveless fingers let the bottle slip and fall. The rest of it shattered, spraying glittering flecks of glass over the black pants straining around the thick muscular thighs.

Tony’s hands shot out and pressed onto the tiled walls on either side of the stall as Victor attempted to suck his brains out through his cock.

When the purring began to vibrate it as it was swallowed down deep into that throat, he threw his head back and gritted out, “Oh, fuck…”

Claws pricking Tony’s thighs through the material of his suit spurred him to thrust, fucking into Victor’s throat, denying him breath. The threat of those claws only lingered in his head as a hazy sensation that heightened his lust.

He managed to hold back a little longer, aware he was robbing the feral of air long enough to put the beast within him into dangerous distress. Letting go of the walls, his fingers flew to the edges of the jaw hinges, caressing the bones under the fur and skin, feeling the raised knobs of each hinge, even pressing on them gently.

The mouth closed down more as the four front upper and lower incisor teeth, between the sharp bits and lethal fangs, pinched the root of his cock and stopped his thrusts. When the pinch stopped, he grabbed the braid, yanked on it, and thrust rough and hard again, abusing the luscious throat until he lost control and came.

A final swallow made Tony curse and then he let go of the braid as the feral opened his mouth wide and leaned back fast. He hit the door, nearly popping it open, and crouched there on his knees, panting for breath as he stared up at him.

Shaking legs failed him and Tony collapsed to sit on the toilet. Without hesitation, he leaned over as Victor leaned in to meet him and their kiss was borderline savage. One sharp tooth next to a fang pricked his bottom lip and the tongue lashed over it like sandpaper.

The air was charged with what had to be animal pheromones. It burrowed into his lungs, making him feel drunk faster than the scotch ever could. He needed more – and so did the glorious creature kneeling at his feet.

Near breathless, Tony whispered against the lips that kept kissing his. “I can lean on the wall –”

“No.” A low warning growl followed the impossible refusal.

Shock splashed over lust. “I want it!”

A large hand tipped by bright curved claws gripped his jaw before he could rise.

“No. No way t’ make it easier. I won’t hurt ya like that again.”

The harsh grip relaxed before it could give pain. Soft lips kissed his slower, with more care.

Tony turned his head the fraction that he could to stop him. “You don’t…?”

“Hush… I want it too,” the blond whispered. The animal sound of lust he made sank into Tony’s fevered brain and nested there. “My god, Tony… Fuck… Never wanted anyone like I want ya, not in a hundred years.”

The hands cupped under his jaw and forced him to be still for a deeper kiss, trying to slow them both down. Then he leaned to rest their foreheads together. Thumbs tipped by claws that could slash metal stroked through his facial hair as if to quiet him. Yet the hunger still rumbled through the heavy body.

“Tony…”

“Victor, come on…”

Trying to turn a spark back into a blaze, he reached down, grabbed the hard and hot erection, and squeezed it. Something cut his palm and he cried out weakly.

His wrist was held in one hand as claws found the sliver of glass and pulled it out. Tony surrendered the hand to the suckling lips and licking tongue as the blood welled.

Pain clashed with afterglow as his brain swapped out all that delicious dopamine for a surge of painkilling beta-endorphins.

Sighing in defeat, Tony muttered, “I liked the sex high better. Can we get the glass off you and try again?”

When the bleeding stopped, Victor whispered over it. “No time. Outside … heard a chopper – it’s SHIELD.”

“Oh, hell. They weren’t supposed to be here.”

Victor looked up at him with suspicion and alarm widening his eyes.

“No – I swear – I didn’t call them in. I didn’t know you were going to be here, either, but I wanted to handle it without them. Victor, I wouldn’t – tell me you know that.” He bent to kiss him again until he responded.

Victor broke the kiss and gave his head a little shake, as if to drive off the abrupt fear of betrayal. Tony watched him, relieved and fascinated at once.

“We need that compromise fast, lessen ya wanna see how good I am at killin’ SHIELD’s bastards.”

Showtime. The King of Beasts just gave you a big hunk of trust – earn it. “Okay – you go out there and I suit up. Attack me – pretend,” he amended to answer the feral’s shocked hiss. He leaned back and got his pants straightened out and things put away. Ignoring the lingering pain in his hand, he let his thoughts rocket off, plotting as they went. “With that glass all over you, anyone around will think the fight started in here. Let me win, we can improvise as we go, and then I’ll grab your dickhead client and call off Fury’s dogs. Ah, do you care about Paganucci’s meeting friends?”

“Not one bit.”

“So maybe playing 52 Pickup with them will keep any agents around busy enough. I’ll shoot something at you – and miss – but you run for it. There, we have a plan. Done.”

Victor’s eyebrow arched. “It’s ‘sposed t’ be a compromise, ain’t it?”

“Oh, I am so meeting you afterward with a fresh bottle of scotch and a bottle of lube. Just don’t break any more glass as foreplay, deal?”

“Not what I meant.” His growl faltered as he turned his head away, the chin lowering as the dominant animal power faded. “Need ya t’ hit me with one o’ ‘em fuckin’ repulsor blasts.”

“What? Why? No.”

“It’s gotta be a real hit. Swear.

Tony glared at him. “Trust me, I’m about to.”

The feral snarled. It was quite alarming at close range.

“I don’t dodge enemy fire an’ turn tail like some spooked weak bitch. Every-fuckin’-body knows that – ‘cept ‘parently ya – includin’ yer playdate pals in bargain riot gear. Ya wanna keep nasty sex with tha psycho felon on tha down-low or not? Swear. Promise me. A real hit.” He touched the side of his thigh. “Vastus lateralis. Right there.”

Horrified, Tony whispered, “I can’t…”

“It’ll heal.”

“No.”

“Tony, damn it…”

Victor rose higher on his knees and the tink of glass breaking under them made Tony shudder. He fought the kiss, but the feral held him still for it until he gave in.

“This is what I need from ya – it has t’ convince every tom, dick, an’ asshat out there or this could be a real prob fer me.”

“Give it up – no more problem. Maybe … work for me.”

Victor’s lopsided smile was confusing – soft and fond, and tolerating his abrupt-onset stupidity.

“That blowjob scrambled yer genius brains. There are people out there ya ‘sometimes’ are in cahoots with who woulda executed me a dozen times over by now if’n they could only fig out how t’ make it stick. Ya can’t just add me t’ yer payroll. I got my thing, ya got yers.”

“You could get a hit in on me. Why does it have to be me shooting you?”

“Cuz I’ll heal in minutes. Can ya?”

“Why not just wing you, on the arm or ribs?”

“Gotta be a shot that folks’ll believe puts me down – a tall order even on a bad day – fer long ‘nuff so’s ya can grab that pompous twat. Capiche?”

Tony’s thoughts spun. It was all fun and games until he was being asked to seriously injure someone – a man he was trying to convince that he could trust him not to hurt him.

“I lob ordinance at people in war-type battle situations, when they’re shooting back. I don’t coldly plan to shoot the ones I want to have sex with later. Contrary to your experience, being shot is not foreplay.”

Claw-tipped fingers brushed down his face. “I ain’t gonna hurt ya, so ya gotta hurt me. This is tha compromise fer betrayin’ a good client. I gotta code – I need this. Swear ya will.”

Tony bowed his head, staring at the shining flecks of glass all over Victor’s thighs. The heavy bunched muscles were a work of art.

“This is like being asked to shoot a hole in a Rembrandt.”

The elastic and wicked smirk stretched wide, but Tony could tell it was bravado. The feral had always been afraid of the repulsor weapons.

“Naw, I ain’t that old – an’ worth way less’n yer gloat Pollock fingerpaintin’.”

“Not funny. Fine, okay, I swear – I’ll do it. How do we meet up again?”

“Phones still work, ya know.”

Victor stood to his feet with a smooth, easy grace. He didn’t even wince over the pieces of glass that were still stuck in him. Turning away, the mutant tossed him a fresh smirk over his heavy shoulder.

“I’m stayin’ in my suite at tha Ryu Bank t’night, downtown Phoenix. It’s gotta balcony – they all do. Fly on up.”

Sighing, Tony asked, “You said there are two of them – how do I know which is yours? Obinata’s opinion of me won’t be improved if I drop in on him for a nightcap.”

“He ain’t here, an’ mine … has li’l trees on it.” Victor winked at him.

“Seriously?”

“Yup. I’m all zen an’ shit on my own time. Off we go, hero.”

Tony rose, painfully aware that he was standing over a toilet in the ladies’ room for this little speech.

“Victor, wait – what we do is not nasty, and you aren’t a psycho.”

“Sure I am. That just ain’t all I am. When did ya quit readin’ what it says on tha tin, flyboy? Pre-judgin’ me used t’ be yer hobby.”

“I paid my dues finding out you’re more than that. I … don’t want to do this.”

“Me, neither. It’s a clusterfuck o’ a crawfish tango – but ya done swore t’ me now.” Victor unlatched the sliding bolt and stepped out of the stall.

“Don’t go out there yet – I need to suit up.”

“Afraid I’ll start killin’ yer friends before ya get there?”

“Yes, actually, but they aren’t my friends.” He turned and grabbed the briefcase. Hauling it out, he laid it on its side.

Victor leaned on the wall outside of the stall and watched him with one eyebrow arched. “An’ me without a magazine. That gonna take long? Can’t let SHIELD have all tha fun.”

Tony kicked an expensive leather shoe into the foot pedal opening, and as the case opened out, he shoved his fists down, grabbed the handles, and yanked to let the glauntlets cover them. He had the grim satisfaction of seeing Victor’s palms slap the wall behind him in shock as he pulled up the rest of the case and allowed it to build the suit around his body. Reticulated plates ran down his limbs to interweave into armor the moment the suit’s separate arc reactor fired up. In 19.45 seconds, the faceplate dropped, the screen lit up the eyes, and he was ready to fight.

“Fuck…” the blond whispered.

“Still want a magazine?” he asked in the mechanized voice as the HUD lit up inside the helmet.

Victor managed to stop the snarling growl. “Time t’ make this look good.” He reached out and slashed the open stall door into pieces. “Shoot somethin’ on yer way out, huh? Let’s kick this pig.”

When the feral crouched, roared, and launched through the outer door, Tony fired at the stall, blowing it and the toilet to rubble. Water went everywhere, and he tried not to dwell on how much juvenile fun it was.

The AI piped up, sounding worried. “Sir, is this a wise course of action?”

“It’s ‘play along’ time, JARVIS. We’re getting the mission accomplished and saving lives. Identify any agents, plainclothes or not, but keep focus on Victor and Paganucci.”

Bursting out of the restroom door, he knocked it off the hinges Victor had left it hanging from.

SHIELD had apparently stormed the meeting room, but some of the occupants had gotten clear of it. The ruckus had overturned furniture and broken place settings all around the principle players, with a few injured on both sides.

“Scan the wounded, quickie triage report?”

“Multiple non-lethal GSWs, one broken arm.”

His HUD had become dotted with blue targets around civilians and agents – only seven of the latter so far – and red targets around alleged terrorists, Victor, and his client. The man in charge was cowering behind the feral.

“Mark Victor in green from now on – sketchy allies get their own color.”

JARVIS didn’t comment as the target around his partner in avoiding crime turned green.

“I have to shoot him – his idea. I want to see it, after the dustup; I need a better understanding of what it can do. Zoom or something – record it.”

For a heartbeat, Tony stared at the roaring mass of bristling mutant rage, stunned by the power and beauty of it. No trace of their plan could be detected in his face. Then one of the agents began to engage him – brave or stupid, anyone’s guess – and it was time to go to work. Tony shot the floor just to make the agent check, hoping the others would see it as a warning salvo for the mutant to stand down.

The realization that these agents would be debriefed, and Fury might hear all about it because of Iron Man’s involvement, abruptly drove home Victor’s point about keeping their fraternizing a secret. Fury didn’t miss much, and if Tony pulled any punches, he would hunt down why.

“Don’t let the others run,” he spoke to the agents. “They’re the terrorists looking for a sponsor. Leave moneybags and Mr. Fluffy to me.” A few of the agents groused over the comm JARVIS had automatically patched him into, but Tony shut them down. “Agent Coulson wanted me to help, so let me help – unless you’re all just itching to get pureed by the Most Wanted Fugitive list’s Adamantium-tipped poster boy. He gives Wolverine a hard time, by the way. Your call.”

Paganucci’s friends were putting up a determined fight to escape and when the agents took the out he’d given them, Tony smiled. Then he yelped when Victor jumped for him with a swipe of those claws. The attack was so fast, his motion sensor alarm had to catch up.

“Hey! Okay, kitty, that’s a time-out for you.”

Victor gathered himself to jump again, and Tony readied his shot. It was a blur in his head as the repulsor hit and disintegrated flesh.

The blast struck the mutant out of his upward trajectory, smashed him through the wall of glass, and out onto the patio. He crashed into the metal railing, bending it, and nearly fell into the pool below. An animal shriek split the air, and the hip worked reflexively – the injured leg kicking out as he immediately struggled to rise. Only then did the wound start to bleed, but it was not going to keep the mutant down. Tony was shocked when he realized how fast Victor would be up and fighting.

He shook his head as he turned in the air and swooped for his fleeing mark. Motion sensors flashed, and he ended up grabbing the Italian more roughly than he intended just to get away from the roaring beast that was coming at him from behind.

Shooting between Victor’s feet to make him dodge, he doubled back and went through the hole they had made in the glass wall, his mission objective carted off with him by the back of the belt.

Tony flew down to where the agents were stuffing handcuffed men into their transport. With a signature flourish, he dropped Paganucci into their waiting arms.

“Hurry up, get out of here! That beastie isn’t likely to give up easily but maybe if his boss is a lost cause, Grendel will go crawl back under his rock.”

“You got it,” the man in charge responded.

“I told Coulson not to send anyone – did he change his mind?”

“My orders came from Director Fury, sir – to provide you with backup. Thanks for your help. I didn’t want my men taking on that ugly brute – it costs too much to train new ones.”

“Anytime.” The sarcasm in his tone was probably lost on the man.

He watched the black chopper take off, and then flew high and headed southeast away from Scottsdale to Tucson.

Landing on the tallest roof in the city, he sucked in a breath. “Show me what you got, J.”

JARVIS called up the instant replay of Victor’s injury, in agonizing detail, on his HUD.

Tony winced as the scorched edges of the hole in red meat burned wider to show him a metallic flash of the coated femur. It looked like silver lace. Through the small holes of the lace pattern, some of the bone beneath was crumbling away. It made him sick.

Working instantly to repair it, the healing factor seemed to prioritize minimizing the loss of blood, but as Victor moved, healed vessels burst and blood gushed from the gaping wound.

The playback ended because he had turned to snatch the target. The sounds the mutant was making in the clip were chilling: the agony, the rage – and underneath all that, a more shrill note of bestial fear.

Like those torture sessions with that Hydra creep Catalyst, except it was fast, over quickly, and only happened once – unless we count the shoulder I hit before at that Halloween event.

Yet now, unlike with Catalyst decades ago, no human screams had been uttered. Every cry of pain or rage had been the sounds of the beast.

Maybe I don’t have the guts to ask him why that changed. Enter SHIELD, no less, recipient of the Worst Timing award, and his first thought was that I’d called them in for him – just like I threatened to do on Halloween. Damn it. “I’m going to need one hell of an awesome bottle of scotch. JARVIS, point me at the best of the best in this state and have it bought before I get there.”

“Anything else, sir?”

“Yeah, toss in a bottle of Sylk – for both date and damage control.”

“Such a rare combination.”

“On task, thanks.”

“Searching.”

“The Adamantium wasn’t damaged by me. Those holes – Hank’s medical report called that phenomenon Adamantium Beta. Weapon X bonded True Adamantium to him, but allegedly the healing factor can rearrange its cellular structure during the process. That creates the lace pattern so that the metal doesn’t inhibit biological processes and allows the bones to do what bones do. I suppose keeping the subject alive while the coating initially goes on solid is only one of the factors that can nearly kill them?” Tony shuddered inside the metal suit.

“Did you wish me to retrieve the files on the Weapon X Adamantium bonding experiments, sir? The data is limited.”

“Yes … but later. Just thinking out loud. I already know that almost nothing can manipulate Adamantium once it cools and sets. I wonder if he could feel it changing into the beta form during the process, at a smelting temperature of 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit…?”

“Target acquired, sir.”

“Excellent. Get me a local suite here; I need a shower, a meal, and maybe a gallon of liquid chlorophyll before I face Mr. Crazy Sense of Smell. If it makes me gassy, he sort of deserves it, really.” Tony fired up the boots and sighed. “I hope he’s okay.”

When the coast was clear after sunset, he would fly to Phoenix and find out.

*****************************************************************

Victor shrieked when Iron Man hit him, knocking him across the room and through the glass. The agony of the wound plunged him into a lethal red haze that sparked fear up his spine as he struggled to rise. The hip worked frantically, making the leg kick out, but the muscles wouldn’t obey him yet.

Iron Man launched after Paganucci and snatched him up by the belt. Victor roared, hoping it might clear his head. His client had to see him wounded and down, struggling, fighting to heal – to defend. He roared again as he got shakily to his feet and advanced. Far too fast to catch, Iron Man fired again between his boots to make him dodge out of the way as he flew overhead – through the broken window, over the pool, and gone.

Standing there, panting and barely able to remain upright, he turned, staggered, and headed for a stairwell door. He would have dragged the injured leg in a limp for effect but ended up needing to for real. The few bystanders stupid enough not to run would see what he wanted them to see: a wounded animal slinking off to hide and lick its wounds.

Victor stopped on the first landing that had turned around a bend and couldn’t be seen if someone opened the stairwell door. Leaning his weight on the concrete blocks wall, he stared at his thigh as the horrid wound healed. Instinct screamed at him to run, but he had to stop leaving a blood trail.

Testing his weight on it once the hole was closed, he stepped off the landing a breath later, and bounded fast down to the ground level. With ears open to catch sounds of pursuit from any direction, he bolted away from the resort and up the hill dotted with scrub brush that loomed over it. In mere moments, he had disappeared into the desert landscape.

~ ~ ~

His suite at the Phoenix bank building was freshly cleaned. The collection of plants and small flowering trees, bonsai and larger, had been watered and the scent and sight of them was soothing after a luxurious scalding hot shower.

One alluring scent in the suite came from someone he intended to send on her way – after the spa treatment.

She had brought food: pounds of raw beef and sweetmeat organs from the same animal. Until he ate to stop the awful grinding hunger of the healing factor demanding to be replenished, he wouldn’t have been capable of relaxing.

Growling under his breath, he was almost tempted to start purring with pleasure as the Japanese porcelain doll of a woman massaged sage oil into his back. The low growl turned sharper instead, when she stroked down and rested her hand on his ass. Familiar with his responses, she ran it up his back again before returning to massage the thigh a final time.

He sat up on the towel that covered the divan when she finished. Watching as she washed her hands at the bowl sink, he gathered the towel around him and tucked it securely at his hips.

The subtle bathroom lighting gleamed now and then on the gold stickpin she wore under a collarbone. Her dark blue dress was expensive, but she wasn’t wearing panties. Unlike the woman in the limo, this one wasn’t eager to mate – a fact that might not have mattered to him if he hadn’t been waiting on Tony to show up.

If he shows up… “Play geisha fer me, huh? Ya can ply yer other talents next time. Need tha mop dried an’ braided first – an’ a good shave ‘round tha chops. Got me a date.”

“As you wish, Creed-san.”

Her smile was warm – probably grateful he didn’t want to fuck her, though Obinata’s masseuse ones were always fair game. Curiosity tugged at him to either find out why or fuck her anyway – but he shook it off.

Can nail it next time – need my head put back on straight.

He leaned against the frame of the bathroom doorway and watched her, unable not to. These small and flitting ones, nervous, weak but quick – they sparked a predatory fascination.

She moved around the suite lighting scented candles inside squatty round natural Himalayan salt holders. The soft amber flickering light and gentle scent of sage transformed the space, even as the glint of her gold pin made him twitch and shake his head to break the watcher’s spell.

When he settled on the couch, still in the towel but otherwise ready for his guest, she moved to perch on her knees like a songbird on a small red rug on the floor. She picked up the shamisen she had brought and began to play it. The Okinawan string instrument, similar to a small-bodied guitar, was an antique – likely a gift from Obinata himself.

So this li’l bird’s a favorite – probly why he’s assigned ‘er here. I don’t come out this way much. Traditionally trained geisha, I bet, seein’ as she got my drift straight off. They never were hookers, just pro companions. Works fer me. Only bird I want in my bed is tha red an’ gold predatory kind.

Able to nap a bit while she sang soft and sad in Japanese, he didn’t bother to translate it – it was like birdsong, driving away the memory of pain in his body as surely as the sage oil had.

~ ~ ~

Victor woke with a start and sat up, growling as a nightmare faded. The suite around him was dimly lit, silent and empty. He felt cold but the air was not – it was in his head. The snow had buried the stone around him and there was no way out…

Stop. It’s summer an’ there’s a fuckin’ desert out there.

Yet the nightmare still clung to him like brambles, tearing rents in his meager thin peace.

It had been the cell in Sinister’s old snowbound castle lair where the spooky scientist would watch him recover from exploratory surgeries. How often had he regained consciousness, naked and so damaged that the healing was slow, to see that cold and impassive face outside the cell?

Shuddering, his fingers touched his forehead and searched along the scalp under the hair, but the tracks of thick catgut lobotomy sutures were long gone – almost a century ago. By the time he had joined the Marauders to work for the man, his memories of that time had been buried. He hadn’t known then why the dark ruby stare of those mutant eyes had cowed him, left him willing to obey – for a time.

During his daily telepathic assaults, Xavier had torn the protective scabs from so many horrors, only to leave them open and infected in his mind as the hunt went on. A good amount of them had been focused on Nathaniel Essex.

What tha hell were ya lookin’ fer, ya fuckin’ freak? He covered his face with a palm. Ways Sinister found t’ control me – so ya could try it yerself? All o’ Tony’s fancy talk ‘bout sayin’ no … never seems t’ work fer me.

Another shudder rippled through his body – he could almost feel the empty chill of that stare, even awake.

A snarl bared his teeth at a minute sound and he looked up to see Iron Man’s glowing blank stare through the glass at the balcony. He was hovering in the air, framed by the last scarlet throes of sunset.

When Victor froze, the faceplate popped and the metal suit lowered to land on the balcony. The face of Tony in the armor smiled at him and raised a hand to show off a black gift bag.

Stifling the snarl, he couldn’t help a low warning growl as he rose to open the sliding door.

“Nice mini orchard. Honestly, I thought you were joking.”

Tony’s smile was warm and helped to burn away the fog in his head. Victor didn’t glance at the fruit-bearing Ficus or Dwarf Washington Navel orange tree on either side of them.

“I like a spot o’ nature in my city digs.”

“We should dress up in sheet togas and feed each other figs.”

“Rather dress down – how do I get ya outta this tin can? Ya keep changin’ tha locks.”

“Et tu, Brute? Alms for the recuperated…” He offered the gift bag again.

Victor took it, set it on the small table next to the Ficus, and moved right into Tony’s personal space. His hands settled on the ridged metal where the ribs would be. The rocket boots put the man eye to eye with him.

“Obinata called while I was grabbin’ a bite – looks like our li’l gambit worked. Ain’t nobody gonna suspect I crawfished on that bet when witnesses saw fuckin’ Iron Man kick my ass, not some chump. Messed me up good – wasn’t a damn thing I could do ‘bout it. Got anythin’ clever t’ say t’ tha press? One o’ ‘em ‘I am fuckin’ Iron Man’ quotes?”

“Exactly that – tonight, you’re fucking Iron Man.” He cleared his throat as Victor smirked at him. “That sounded far less cheesy in my head.”

“Gonna make ya kiss me just t’ shut ya tha hell up now.”

“Yes, please do.”

He managed not to flinch when the gaunlets that housed the repulsor weapons came up to hold his body as the kiss scattered his thoughts. Backing up, he pulled the tin man with him into the suite without breaking the kiss.

*****************************************************************

Tony snagged the bag he had brought and managed to slide the glass door shut. He nearly dropped the gift when he got lost in the heated kiss, but then Victor broke it to snarl as he looked down at the armor.

“Wasn’t a rhetorical question before – where’s tha zip on this fuckin’ thing?”

“It needs space to ditch it. Hold this.”

Peering into the bag as he took it, Victor purred at its contents.

“I am quite a fan of that.”

“Single malt scotch an’ Sylk? Me, too.”

“No, the purring.”

“Wanna hear more’n that, best get a can opener.”

Grinning, Tony shot back, “Don’t get the bottles mixed up.”

Victor gave him space by moving to set the expensive bottle of Glenfiddich and the lube on the bar, on top of the collapsed bag. His amber eyes gleamed in the low lights of the suite as he turned to watch.

Tony struck out with both arms in the programmed movement to release the armor, confirming the order with a verbal, “Relax time, JARVIS.”

The whole process reversed as the plates collected themselves and gathered into grouped sections, releasing his limbs and torso until it resembled a rectangular hunk held between the armored hands. He bent to let the gauntlets go, and before he could fully straighten up, the suit had reformed into the briefcase. Leaving it lying there out of the way, he stepped into Victor’s living room in his workshop clothes.

Victor smirked. “Twenty seconds – a bit slower than it took t’ get it up.”

“It’s already up.”

“Found time t’ ditch both suits, huh? Good. I can get ya outta jeans an’ a t-shirt way faster.”

“Actually, it was easier to pick up your host gift dressed like this.”

Tony didn’t join the mutant immediately. He had never taken the time to really see the suite in New York, but the few details he did remember told him that this one was different in many ways. The lasting first impression was books and plants, and in some cases, trees – many of which appeared to have fruit hanging from them. Some were tiny Bonsai trees and even a few of those had fruit – regular size, not miniature like the trees.

He wandered up to the bookshelves and tilted his head to read a few of the spines. He never heard the feral approach but smiled when warm breath stirred the hair behind his ear. The side of his neck was kissed as that purr rumbled deep in the throat and chest.

“You weren’t joking about reading books, either.”

Soft lips bracketed by long fangs feathered up the back of his ear. “Tony … I need it.”

Lust dropped through his stomach at the sound of that rasping urgent whisper and hit his balls as he gave a low groan. Reaching behind him, he worked his fingers into the tuck of Victor’s towel and pulled, letting the terrycloth drop to the decorative mosaic stone floor.

“You may have had one, but I could use a hot bath.” Victor stepped back, about to turn, presumably to take him to a tub. “Stop. I want to look at you.”

Tony was watched just as intently as the mutant stood still to display his body, and in the dance of predator and prey, he wasn’t entirely sure which role he was in.

Toeing out of his tennis shoes, he kicked them to one side as he stared at muscle, fur, and smooth, perfect skin. It was hard to look at the thigh he had injured – disintegrated – but it was unscathed, as smooth and alternately furry as the rest. The claws were curling, long and lethal, and just as sexual in that moment as the rest of him.

It hadn’t been a plan, but he ended up sinking down to his knees to touch that thigh as his other hand gripped the base of Victor’s heavy cock. Fingers stroking the thigh, he licked a wet path up the underside of the cock and smiled when the purr ground into low chuffing growls of heat.

“That smell, it’s like a drug.” He looked up at the cat eyes that were staring down at him. “It’s the pheromones, isn’t it? Is that what drove me out of my head today?”

Victor didn’t answer and didn’t need to. Breathing in deeply, Tony felt like he was inhaling a fine and strange incense in some Eastern den of vices and tilted virtues.

Why is it stronger today than it was at my house? Hang that – veto all rabbit holes – Hello Kitty time.

His fingers slid, pulling down the bobbing cock, until he could stuff the broad uncut head into his mouth. He suckled it, lowered his body to angle his neck right, and used his tongue to work it deeper. The first swallow to move it closer to the top of his throat nearly buckled Victor’s knees.

He had to back off of it, keeping his breathing even while he gulped air. When he took it in again, he worked it deeper and swallowed before starting to retreat to where he could comfortably suck it. The hand that had stroked the thigh moved to the hip. He hoped to control the shallow sporadic thrusts that pushed him to take the cock deep.

One large clawed hand settled on his hair and gripped it with surprising care. He pushed against the hip as he squeezed and stroked the shaft, and the feral stilled with a moan and let him guide it all. Encouraged, Tony grabbed the furry sack hard instead and kept the pressure increasing as he sucked.

The mutant growled and hissed as the fingers tightened on his hair. The cock flexed in his mouth and nearly choked him when it began to come. His habit of pulling away prior was forgotten – he didn’t want to stop. Opening his mouth wide and swallowing as much of it as he could, he tried not to gag on it.

Tony released the abused scrotum as Victor pulled back to let his cock fall from his lips. The fingers in his hair let go, and the mutant nearly crashed onto his knees in front of him, held his face, and shoved their mouths together in a rough kiss.

Stomach fluttering at the thought of the sharp teeth, his head spun a little when Victor slowed down and took more care. Finally breaking the kiss, that scratchy tongue licked up every drop of cum from his mouth and artistically trimmed facial hair.

Victor wilted and pressed his forehead against Tony’s before he let out a soft sigh. Looking down, Tony watched the gleaming metal claws slowly disappear again into the thick fingers as they settled on his jeans.

“I need to change my workout – I should start lifting a dumbbell with my mouth. You are magnificent. Seriously, I don’t normally stick around long enough to swallow – to be honest, I don’t often get down on my knees at all without the incentive of a gun held to my head.”

Tony leaned back and stood. He hesitated with fingers plucking at the hem of his t-shirt as the feral remained on his knees, staring up at him like a supplicant.

Is the latest maybe fix really a fix? Test 202 is holding so far. I have the emergency palladium ingot tucked in with the suit if that changes in a hurry. Borrow his bathroom, keep it under wraps… Wow, I should not be here, shouldn’t be getting naked in front of him. Well, if the test fails or … anything else happens … he’ll already know it by scent. I haven’t been with anyone but him in an alarming while – lately just via phone but still – going insane in general, why not add this to the rest of my catalogue of mistakes? Damn, look at him. He already knows, doesn’t he? Of course he does. So I’m not risking anything. Yeah. I need this – I need what he can do to me. Hell, I need to be touched. Screw it.

Pushing all the concerns and potential problems away, he stripped right there as if he were jumping off a cliff. He didn’t dare glance down at his chest, hoping it still looked normal – or what passed for normal these days.

“Got a bathtub?”

“Yeah.”

Reaching down, he stroked the slightly damp long and thick blond braid. “Come on, Blondie – I’m going to need you to fuck me in it.”

He stared at the thigh as Victor rose with smooth easy grace. A large hand covered where the gaping hole had been and Tony looked away from it.

“Don’t fuss,” Victor told him, his tone soft. “It healed, an’ I asked ya t’ do it.”

Standing next to him, Tony slid his fingers over the feral’s and twined them together when the palm lifted. “I know, I just… I’m still sorry.”

Moving off with a soft smile ghosting on his lips, Victor tugged at his hand and didn’t let it go for the trip to the bathroom.

“Oh, I’m all ‘bout lettin’ ya make it up t’ me.”

Tony chuckled at the wink he got. “You aren’t going to miss that pompous weasel.”

“Only one pompous weasel I bother with missin’.”

“Hey – I am not a weasel. Pompous, yes – occasionally … and a chatterbox.”

“Yup.”

“Unless you didn’t mean me. I walked into that. It’s been a busy day.”

“Don’t play poker much, do ya?”

“Here and there. I prefer craps and roulette.”

“Good thing.” That sharp smirk flashed at him over a broad shoulder. “Fer tha record – did mean ya.”

Tony laughed, delighted. He felt weirdly at ease with the last person who should have made him feel that way.

If I’m being honest about this, there’s a definite thrills factor here, too – beyond being horny as hell because I can’t risk anyone finding out about the palladium problem. Victor called me a danger whore in the Arctic. It is delicious to be at ease with someone who is in the running for the title Most Dangerous Mutant Alive. If he is ‘a monster’, well … maybe he’s sort of my monster.

*****************************************************************

Author’s Note: “Volcado” is Spanish for “tipped over” (or dump). It is a term associated with a move in Argentine Tango when you dip your partner backward while in hold. As a chapter title, it’s also a play on words for the English word volcano: (second definition) “an intense suppressed emotion or situation liable to burst out suddenly”, which fits this chapter rather well. I still don’t own Hello Kitty and Tony’s rabbit holes thought is an Alice in Wonderland reference.

I first heard the term “crawfished a bet” in the 1993 movie Tombstone. Originally, this story was intended to just be a fun sexy lark – then the boys got all intense on me and I just let them run with it. This was also going to be a one-shot, but then it got hideously lengthy. This is what my OTP does to me. Thanks for reading! – AnonGrimm  (@MET_Fic) (anongrimm-blog.tumblr.com)

*****************************************************************

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