Sabretooth: Cutting Edge – Chapter 2 – Lightning Strike

And it sure been a cold, cold winter
And the wind ain’t been blowin’ from the south
It’s sure been a cold, cold winter
And a lotta love is all burned out

It sure been a cold, cold winter, Lord
My feet been draggin’ ‘cross the ground
And the fields has all been brown and fallow
And the springtime take a long way around

Sometimes I think about you, baby
Sometimes I cry about you, Lord

Well, well, well, well, well
Yeah, and I wanna wrap my coat around you
Yeah, I wrap my coat around you

Baby, sometimes I wanna keep you warm
Sometimes I wanna wrap my coat around you
Sometimes I wanna but I can’t afford you

Sometimes I wanna burn a candle for you
Guess I wanna keep you warm, warm, warm
Sometimes I wanna wrap my coat around you, Lord I cry

~ Winter (The Rolling Stones)

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

Tony woke with a start at the sound of strange male voices arguing with Creed. He ignored the uncomfortable tilted angle he was lying at again, remained still and listened, trying to breathe quietly under the polar bear fur.

“This isn’t going to fly, Creed,” a gruff deep voice was saying. “What the hell did you bring that asshole back here for? He could ruin everything.”

“Tha mark shot ‘im outta tha sky. Didn’t feel like leavin’ a perfectly good play toy out there t’ die. Rather let ‘im die in my bed.”

“Sicko faggot,” another man added. “Told you the mutie was a fudge-packer.”

Creed snarled in that direction.

“Shut up, Warner, or I’ll let him kill you just to relieve my boredom.”

“Siding with the mutie, boss?” a third man asked.

“He got the prize while you lazy assholes sat in your tent and played with your dicks. Last time I go out hunting first, I tell you that. It’s going in my report, too. I don’t care what you do to that tin bastard, Creed, as long as he gets buried here when we pull up stakes. Haul the device up to a core box and get it packed away. Tucker’s got cook detail.”

The third man groaned, presumably Tucker.

“I gotta unpack my toy first,” Creed argued. ‘Sides, it’s my prize t’ turn in, cuz I fuckin’ got it. Prefer t’ meet tha men I’m workin’ fer, Gorman. Gonna sell tha tin suit t’ tha highest bidder, too. So it all goes in my tent ‘til t’morrow an’ if any o’ ya come sniffin’ ‘round, I’ll gut ya an’ eat ya raw.”

Warner hit something. “You’re not giving orders, mutie. I ought to put a bullet in that asshole’s genius skull before he flies off and gets us all in deep shit.”

“Stand down, you bloated toad. I agree with Creed and I don’t trust either of you farther than I can throw you. Go help Tucker, I’m hungry, damn it.”

The sled was picked up again and to Tony’s shock, it was slid inside something so warm that for a moment he forgot to be freaked out over everything he’d just heard. He remained still, listening to Creed’s growling and what sounded like a tent flap being closed and secured.

When the fur was pulled off of his face, he managed not to wince. “Hi there – how much of that was the truth?”

Creed didn’t answer. Picking him up like a doll, he took the fur coat and the wrapped fur off of him and carried him to a pair of industrial-looking cots lashed together. Yanking the blankets back, he stuffed him in and covered him up. The mask was tweaked from his head.

Tony glanced around quickly and saw they were in an impressively insulated white rectangular tent complete with two military-grade space heaters and a large black steamer trunk with a silver combination lock on it. The floor, walls and ceiling around them were the same material with an aluminum framework. A camp table and heavy wooden chair were next to the trunk, and the sled was parked in front of the closed tent entrance. The back of the tent was beyond his head, but it likely had another opening in it, secured as tightly as the front.

He watched as Creed unpacked the armor from around the device and laid it all out in piles on the table. The camp lantern at the center of the piles seemed to be the only lightsource in the tent.

Creed left the device and his firepower on the sled and laid the polar bear fur down like a rug by the cot bed. Tony tried not to think about the messy uncured side staining the floor. The fur coat was hung on the back of the chair.

“Kick outta yer shoes an’ clothes an’ hand ‘em over.”

“First, can I have an answer to my rather urgent question?”

“Ya wanna strip an’ keep yer shit intact or disobey me an’ get it shredded?”

“Better part of valor…” Tony shed his tennis shoes and clothes slowly with a growing knot in his stomach. The HK-416 is right there on the sled. Oh who am I kidding? The dossier on this man’s speed and brutality was pretty detailed on how useless trying that would be. “Here you go,” he said, handing the small pile to him. “Trade you for more water.”

Creed set the clothes on the table with the armor and pulled a full canteen from the sled and set it beside him. Tony drank as the mutant waited and then lay back down as the canteen was retrieved.

I’m in no shape for dealing with him, frisky or violent; the only shot I’d ever get is in stacks on that table… What did all those thriller movies I barely paid attention to as a kid teach me? Make the heartless killer see you as a person and not as an object? Coming up empty, he said the first thing that popped into his head. “I’m in love with those heaters.”

Creed grunted at that, and then started to peel off his arctic gear and clothing, sitting on the trunk to pull off the heavy boots. When he took the knives out of his hair, Tony was surprised when the bun unwound and a thick braided rope of blonde hair swung over the man’s shoulder. The strands of it around his face were decorated with beads of carved bone. He wore thick metal hoops, two each, in the lobes of ears that were alarmingly mutated into points that moved like a cat’s.

Like it or not and his type or not, the mutant’s body was a work of very powerful art. If he’d been an overpriced statue, Tony would have told Pepper to buy it and store it. Even if he never looked at it again, he’d have to have it.

He was covered in blonde fur of varying lengths and thickness over at least fifty percent of his huge body. It had grown in patterns that seemed to follow different muscle groups. The chest was covered with it, meeting in a thatch at the center. Fur that was thinner at his wrists thickened over the forearms and gradually grew in length until a curly brush of long fur swept out from the elbows. A similar fetching longer trail led from his navel to disappear into the waistband. When the mutant started to open the pants, Tony turned his head and stared at the dim white ceiling.

“Gonna be shy now?”

“Can I upgrade to terrified? Since you’ve ignored my question?”

“Ya know tha rag mags keep reportin’ ya might not be invitin’ young male models on ski trips just t’ have comp’ny on tha slopes.”

“You shouldn’t believe everything you read.”

“I can scent on ya tha pair o’ skirts ya plowed before we ran int’ each other, but tha nose don’t lie – there was a least one man under their smell. He was even playin’ with yer hair.”

“That… That doesn’t automatically make you my type.”

“I’m everybody’s type once I get goin’.”

“Is that the answer to my question, then?”

“Got some advice fer ya, flyboy: keep still, behave yerself, do as I tell ya an’ ya might live t’ get t’ round two.” When Creed pulled the blankets back and slid in beside him, Tony started to try getting up on the other side. He was growled at, grabbed, and pulled in close on his back.

“I may not get a vote, but I’ll go on record as not being willing. Maybe I’ll make you kill me before I let this happen. It probably won’t take much. Listen to me: I don’t need to be assaulted, I need jumper cables.”

Creed pinned his legs with one of his as a large hand settled on his chest over the dimming glow of the arc reactor. He nuzzled his hair and licked his cheekbone. The voice, turned into a low rasping whisper, sounded at his ear.

“That asswipe Warner is right at our door. Didn’t spend all this time, sweat, an’ annoyance keepin’ yer ass alive just t’ fuck ya int’ cardiac arrest. Got it?”

Working on not falling apart with at least partial relief, Tony whispered, “Got it. You’re very convincing. Bravo.”

“Shut tha fuck up an’ listen. I ain’t gonna tiptoe ‘round these fucks fer long. Sick o’ this shit. So we’re gonna pretend an’ yer gonna act like everythin’ ya were just afraid was gonna happen is happenin’. After that, I’m gonna tell ‘em I broke ya in nice an’ obedient-like an’ then I’m gonna help ‘em with their dinner.”

“Help with dinner? Uh, I think my copy of the script is missing a page.”

“Ya listenin’?” The hand moved, slipping down his body to rest over his shuddering abs.

Feeling a light prick of claws, Tony gasped. “Listening,” he muttered.

“Yer playin’ sick an’ near fucked t’ death, so don’t come outta this bed. Also, I don’t care if ya think yer starvin’, don’t touch tha stew pot or anythin’ else that looks edible in this camp. I’ll feed ya after.”

“Okay. Ready when you are – for pretend…”

Creed grinned and nuzzled him again. The claws retracted and the hand reached lower and cupped everything. Tony sucked in a breath, all of that nice warm relief leaking away. Then the fingers started to work his soft and cold-stunted cock and Tony’s hands shot down to grasp the furry wrist.

“Yer gettin’ hard fer me pretty quick, flyboy, did ya notice? Musta been all that watchin’ me strip,” Creed whispered into his ear. The hard shafts of the gruesome lower fangs brushed his face and ear.

“Is it okay with you if I pretend that you have a stunning rack?” He yelped when his cock was squeezed and then moaned. “I thought we were faking this part? The script said so. I hate improv.”

“Ya want me t’ just ‘pretend’ t’ jack ya off?”

Tony swallowed hard as the hand made his whole slut body shudder with lust. “Well, we do have to convince them…”

“Damn straight…”

Shaking his head, Tony felt panic crawling up his throat. “Wait, wait,” he muttered, trying to be quiet. “You know those ads for prescriptions when they say ‘talk to your doctor and ask if you’re healthy enough for sexual activity’?” The thumb working his cock covered the head and smeared pre-cum there. “I … I … Oh, God… I may not be…”

Creed shifted and leaned over his face. “Kiss me.”

“No. You’re pointy. I like my face.”

Creed’s voice rose. “I like yer face too. Wanna keep it?” In a whisper, he added, “Ain’t gonna hurt ya – pinkie promise. Once tha coast is clear, we can work on fixin’ ya up somehow.”

Tony tried to control his ragged breathing and slow his heartrate down. Creed’s hard and appallingly large cock was lying across his balls, which didn’t help at all. “Okay … but pretend fangs only.”

“Princess.” Going back to nuzzling his throat, Creed spoke up and ordered, “Scream fer me, hero.”

The hand around his cock popped claws and nearly pierced him with them and Tony’s shock turned his fake scream into a real one. The deafening roar right over his face was horrifying and made it easy to scream again. Creed kept doing things to freak him out, his heart pounding worse. Real terror chased tears down his face by the time it stopped and Creed released his body and left the bed. Squeezing his eyes shut, Tony lay there trembling and listened as the man crossed the tent.

“Don’t ya move one inch, princess,” Creed ordered. “When I get back, gonna finish tearin’ up yer sloppy bloody hole.” They could both hear footsteps crunch as someone ran off through the snow.

Tony opened one eye for a wary peek when he heard the cooler open and shut. Creed had put on his duct-taped and bloody pants and the fur coat; he was holding the cooler. He tossed Tony a wink as he unfastened the tent flap. He disappeared through it and stalked off barefooted.

“Hey Tucker,” he shouted. “Got more meat fer tha stew, since ya keep bitchin’ ‘bout yer MREs.”

Tony almost sat up but then his stomach lurched. He decided to take the acting seriously and tried to lie still and slow his breathing again. Memories of Chicago and the assault in his hotel bed haunted him, but he had to push it away and focus on current threats.

Besides, that person is dead – Creed hunted him down. Why, though – and now saving me – just to get more toys? And he’s into men – I would not have guessed that. Maybe it’s an ‘any warm body will do’ thing? Tony frowned. He reads articles about me, and watched me with a woman through a rifle scope – as a hit or as an obsession? This … could be bad…

He tried to listen to what might be happening outside of the tent, but all he could hear was the wind.

‘Help them with dinner’ is ludicrous. He may be going out there to kill them. Glancing over at the armor piled in pieces on the table, he frowned. Not a damn thing I can do about it. Might be nice to learn what they know… Then again, maybe Creed knows everything already.

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

All claws out, Victor carried the cooler to the last tent from his, passing by Gorman’s in the center. Warner and Tucker shared a tent and they had grumbled about Creed getting a private one for over two weeks. Gorman had told them they were welcome to bunk with the mutant in turns, but no one had ever been the first to volunteer.

He batted the flap out of his way and found Warner sitting in the chair by the camp stove watching Tucker stir something in a steel pot. He didn’t comment on the hefty man being out of breath.

“Meat? More real meat?” Tucker asked.

“Yup, that is, if ya don’t mind sharin’ with ‘tha mutie’.”

“Hey, I was just kidding with you, Creed. Warner’s the real bigot. He watches me choke the bishop, too, so that other crack of his is probably just CYA, you know?”

“Uh-huh. Here, slice it up an’ toss it in. Tha locals love polar bear stew.”

Tucker frowned. “I think some of our food supplies weren’t iced down well enough before we got to this godforsaken walk-in freezer. As long as dinner doesn’t come out of a box again, I’m game. How about you?” He glanced at Warner with a smirk.

“Doesn’t matter to me – cook it good, though.” Warner didn’t take his eyes off of Victor, so maybe he wasn’t as stupid as he looked.

Tucker dumped the pile of meat out onto the chopping board and tossed the two hunks of slick ice back into the cooler. “You carve that ice out with those claws?”

“Yup.”

“You kill that asshole, yet?” Warner asked, his eyes narrowed.

Victor smirked. He’d noticed the chubby in the man’s pants. “Half-killed. If I finish ‘im off before dinner, I guess I won’t hafta share mine with ‘im.”

“Listen man,” Tucker said, busily slicing and tossing chunks into the stew, “I’m with Gorman, I don’t care if you stick that guy with everything you’ve got.”

“Gee, thanks,” Victor replied, sneering. “My delicate li’l feelin’s were hurt before.”

“That rich guy’s a dick,” Tucker continued, “all high and mighty and better than us. Got to say, it was a treat hearing the jerk scream like that.”

“Happy t’ provide tha camp’s entertainment. Don’t wait on me fer chow, just dig in.”

“Save you some,” Tucker replied, dropping the last gobbets into the pot. “This might take half an hour. Warner, are you awake over there, you damn goblin? When I have five minutes left on this, go get the boss. Headaches make him cranky, but cold food makes him mean.”

“Whatever,” Warner muttered. “I don’t feel great either and you didn’t get out of bed today any sooner than I did, until Gorman came staggering back in.”

“Bye, boys,” Victor called and left them. He stepped back inside his tent and was impressed that Stark was still lying where he’d left him, watching him warily with bright brown eyes. “Ya look good ‘nuff t’ eat lyin’ naked in my bed.”

“What kind of resources –”

“Hush,” Victor admonished. He ditched the coat and pants over the chair, and then sat on the bed and reached out to brush some of that dark hair behind the pale shell of his ear. “I gotta generator in my rig out back if ya were serious ‘bout jumper cables. Unless ya think that device ya almost wanted t’ fuck instead o’ me could help charge ya up.”

“I can figure something out – the faster the better, really. Rig?”

“1975 Land Rover 101, forward control 4×4. Exo-cage, cargo bed, modified V8. I call ‘er tha Ugly Pumpkin.”

“1975?”

“Nothin’ like tha classics, Mr. 1967 Shelby Cobra.”

“That car met with an unfortunate accident. You really do know a spooky lot about me, don’t you? I’d be flattered, but frankly, it’s sort of terrifying. For instance, your method of finding out I’m circumcised involved an unfair taking advantage.”

“When, t’night? Or my scope view from tha roof?”

“Why the stalker fetish? How’d I get so lucky.”

Victor chuckled and got into the bed. He leaned over the man and licked his throat before settling on his back. “Get some sleep, hero. We’re plannin’ on missin’ tha dinner bell.”

“I can’t sleep. What’s with all the fur?”

“Don’t tell me yer one o’ those PETA nuts?”

“That fur,” Stark added, pointing to Victor’s chest and the thatch of thick fur at the center of it.

“Mutation, obvs.”

“But it’s … it’s fur fur, not like … body hair. Why the smirk?”

“I’m soft, too.”

Stark sighed. “I don’t suppose you’d tell me what’s going on here, who you people are working for? What government or group was testing the weapon on that F-22 and who wanted to destroy it and steal the device?”

“First, I ain’t part o’ those morons. Gorman brought me on with his boss’s money cuz he figured, rightly so, that I could get it done. He said he works fer a group called Triad Mechanics Division. Heard o’ ‘em?”

“No, I haven’t.”

“They may be underworld types. Gorman claimed ‘is boss hates mutants, so he had t’ hire me on tha down-low. He dunno that gives me a wicked bit o’ maneuverin’ room. Plus, he already paid me – told ‘im he had t’ or I wasn’t goin’ out there alone t’ do ‘is job fer ‘im. Left my shit here, sorta as collateral. They obvs don’t got clue one who I am an’ probly think I’m just a grunt stupid ‘mutie’.”

“Wait a minute – are you actually … just leveling with me?”

“Ya gonna complain?”

“No, no… Wow. Surprised. I expected you to tell me it wasn’t any of my ‘biz’ and to shut up.”

“I’m tired o’ their shit. I dunno who Gorman’s boss is, don’t really care. If he hates mutants that bad then I don’t mind fuckin’ ‘im over. I gotta schedule t’ keep that ain’t got jack t’ do with this shit an’ I ain’t gonna jeopardize relations with clients who actually do fuckin’ ‘preciate my work.”

“So … who was flying the F-22?”

“Dunno who was onboard, but it was stolen by Hydra. Far as I know, tha device is theirs. Hell, ya might be able t’ tell me that with a closer look an’ warmer fingers; I’m just goin’ on shit Gorman told me.”

“You did mention not liking Hydra…”

“See this?” Victor stuck a thumb in the choker at the base of his throat.

“Uh, is that real bones and … teeth?”

“Hydra goon. He called me a faggot too, back in 1940. I took offense.”

“I can see that. 1940?”

“What, ya never stalked me back? Hurt my feelin’s why don’t ya.”

“No, I… It’s possible this is the strangest pillow talk of my whole misguided life.” He lifted his hand and put it to his forehead. “You look like you’re thirty-something, but Hydra insulted you in 1940. I may be getting a headache.”

Victor took his wrist gently in his fingers and as those intense brown eyes watched, he slipped the index finger into his mouth between the fangs and sucked on it and licked it until the man’s breath hitched, his fear scent almost warming into heat again. Drawing it out, he kissed the tip of it.

“I fought in both World Wars, Korea, an’ ‘Nam.”

“Why?” Stark whispered.

“Cuz they paid me t’ kill. I love killin’, more’n I love fuckin’. Sometimes though, if properly inspired, it’s a closer race.”

The man shuddered. “Is that a threat or some sort of psychotic compliment to me?”

“Can’t go pick ya flowers but I’m gonna kill these men fer ya.”

“I’m not the sort to be seduced by the ‘gift’ of murder, Creed.”

“Too late; it’s already done.”

“They’re dead?”

Outside, Warner was calling for Gorman to come eat. Stark looked confused.

“Gonna be. Don’t worry, I’ll stay with ya, watch over ya. When they’re stiff, we can get ya fixed up. Can’t risk it ‘til then. If they see me helpin’ ya, they’d shoot us both. I’d survive it, ya wouldn’t.”

“What did you do?”

“Gave ‘em tha polar bear’s liver with tha rest o’ tha meat, Tucker put it all in tha stew.”

Stark paled. He tried to get up but Victor pinned him with a hand on his stomach. “Acute hypervitaminosis A…”

“A swing an’ a hit,” Victor said. Turning onto his side, he propped himself up on his elbow to study the man. “They’ve already started feelin’ drowsy an’ sluggish, havin’ nasty headaches, bone pain, blurred vision an’ vomitin’. Since I’ve been mixin’ tha same goodies in with what I brought ‘em fer ‘bout a week now, maybe they’ll even get tha peelin’ skin or full-body skin loss. That’d be a treat – li’l bloody footprints in tha tents when tha skin on tha bottom o’ their feet peels off down t’ a bloody mess o’ tender flesh. Then comes liver damage, hemorrhage, coma, an’ finally death.”

“Severe retinol poisoning,” Stark whispered. “Why? Because they called you a few names?”

“Cuz they’re wastes o’ space. I hear tha campfire talk, tha shit they brag ‘bout doin’ – t’ mutants, t’ kids… Can’t risk havin’ ‘em found with clawmarks an’ slashes, could be bad fer business. ‘Sides, it was all tha entertainment I had out here waitin’ t’ catch that fuckin’ jet – ‘til ya came along.”

“Let me up.”

“No.” Victor pulled him closer and curled around him.

Glaring at him, Stark asked, “What if I said I have to go take a leak?”

“That yer get-outta-jail-free excuse?” Victor released him and rolled over to his back again, his hands on his furry chest. “Latrine’s sub-zero. If ya wanna go out there now an’ maybe get shot t’ death by terrified dyin’ asswipes, be my guest. If ya just wanna piss, hang it out tha back tent flap, but remember if ya run, ya die o’ hypothermia long before tha shrapnel gets ya.”

Stark didn’t move. When the screaming began, he bolted upright, but didn’t leave the bed. Holding himself tightly and trembling, he listened to them suffer as his scent spiraled into a delicious fear stink.

Victor didn’t try to touch him, though the urge to do so was intense. As the screams continued, he found a distraction in thinking about all that those men had admitted and gloated over, allowing their cries to slowly tug his lips into a Cheshire grin.

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

Tony lifted his hands to his ears. He couldn’t tell if it was one man screaming or all three. Creed sat up and moved as if he intended to hold him. Horrified, he twisted and punched him in the jaw, but the mutant didn’t react and it only hurt Tony’s hand. Crying out, he held it close to his chest and stared at him.

“If ya wanna hit me, aim fer tha meatier parts – jaw’s covered with Adamantium, remember?”

“I can’t listen to this and do nothing.”

“Gonna hafta, hero. I ain’t lettin’ ya go out there. They wanted ya dead before this.”

“Get out here, Creed!”

“That’s Gorman – figured he wouldn’t just lie down an’ die. It’s probly showtime – he’s a tough bastard, an’ not as big a glutton as tha other two.”

“Better run to the boss man.”

Creed growled at him. “Do ya understand tha stakes? Those men will kill ya.” The voice was closer as Gorman ordered Creed to appear again. “Don’t argue, don’t talk. Get up, get under tha cot, grab tha bear fur an’ roll up in it. Be quiet an’ wait fer my all clear. Obey me an’ live, or don’t an’ die – yer choice.”

Tony got up and obeyed. He made sure he could peek at the tent flap and rolled loosely into the fur. Turning his head, he watched the man’s ankles get into the pants before the bare feet turned for the flap. He opened it but the feet didn’t move.

“What’s all tha yowlin’ fer?”

Automatic gunfire rattled, the mutant roared and Tony was horrified to see him hit the floor of the tent on his back. His face and torso had been turned into bloody meat.

Gorman’s military boots entered, stepping over Creed’s mangled corpse. “Where are you hiding, ‘Iron Man’? Maybe you want to die by now; either way, you’re going to – just like my men. Bastard poisoned us, fucking spineless mutie.” One of the boots kicked out to shove the cots over.

Tony rolled under his raised leg, out of the fur and toward the sled. He grabbed one of Creed’s boots and swung the wicked cleats into the man’s calf muscle. Not daring to slow down enough to look at him when he shouted in pain, Tony went for the HK-416 on the sled. The moment his fingers touched it, the muzzle of Gorman’s weapon moved the hair behind his ear.

“Sit your whore ass down.”

Tony slowly sat and tried not to double over into a faint. Both hands rose to the reactor.

“Bow your head – die like a filthy mutie’s used pussy.”

“Wait, we can get you help. Creed’s got to have a satellite phone or something, maybe you do. I know what he did, it’s retinol poisoning.”

“I said bow your head, or I’ll turn it into a canoe right now, genius.” The AK-15 pointing at his forehead didn’t waver.

His mind racing to think of what he could do, Tony started to obey and then froze. His scary heartrate kicked it up a notch at the gruesome sight of Creed, alive, and moving into a bestial crouch behind the man.

Lifting a clawed hand, he put it to his mouth – where the lips had been – as if to admonish him to be quiet. One lower fang was broken off to a jagged stub. The remaining amber eye tossed him a wink as the other teeth began to open, splitting the bloody mask that had been a face. The tongue was a lashing stump.

“Any last words, asshole?” Gorman taunted.

“Yes.” Tony stared, watching Creed prepare to jump. “You may want to duck.”

Gorman gasped and began to spin, the rifle rising. The glottal roar that split the air took the breath out of Tony’s lungs. He rolled to the sled and crawled on hands and knees around it to get out of the way.

The rifle never did fire again. It fell to the tent floor followed by Gorman’s hands. Creed landed on his body in front of the camp table, claws shredding. Tony wanted to look away, but couldn’t as the heavy jaw dropped impossibly wide and snapped up again, ripping the fangs through the shoulder and neck. When Creed yanked up, the head rolled and bounced. It landed with a blank stare pointed at Tony, the mouth pulled into a wide gash of horror.

Tony’s body convulsed, his terror cresting at the thought that it could be a heart attack. Then he bent over, grabbed his stomach, and vomited violently before passing out.

~ ~ ~

He was warm, but he didn’t want to open his eyes yet just in case he was still in Hell. His hair was damp, and he was lying on soft things and covered by warm things. A hideous wet slicing sound and a growl made his eyes fly open, but he soon regretted it.

Creed was sitting in the chair by the table, piercing his skin above a rib with a claw and flaying it to the shining Adamantium-encased bone to pluck out a smashed bullet.

“Trying to make me sick again…” Tony muttered.

Ignoring him, Creed lifted two clawed index fingers to his chest and cut into it next with a hiss chased by another low growl.

Cautiously peering around the tent, Tony didn’t see a body. A good deal of the tent was smeared with ugly bloodstains, but Creed had cleaned up most of it. The white bearskin was spread on the floor again, with red stains showing here and there like wounds. Another hiss made him look back at the mutant.

“Do you have to do that in here?” He felt exhausted, almost dizzy. Regretting the harsh tone immediately, all things considered, he added, “Or, uh … do you need help with that?”

“Stay in bed an’ rest.” A metallic clink sounded and Tony saw him drop a few crushed bullets into a tin cup.

“I was about to ask if you were okay, but I guess that’s the wrong question. You’ll heal and not one thing about you is okay.”

“Yer still alive, ain’t ya?”

“So far.”

“Got yer all clear, by tha by, they’re dead. We got tha whole camp t’ ourselves t’ figure out how t’ fix ya up. Thing is, short o’ stickin’ jumper cables on yer toes, I got no clue how t’ do it. Guess yer gonna hafta sort it out yerself. If ya need help with any heavy liftin’, I’ll be able an’ willin’ in just a tick.”

Tony sat up, curled into himself and wrapped his arms around his legs. Resting his forehead on his knees, he sighed. “I suppose I have to admit that you were right about those men.”

“‘Course I was, I usually am. If it makes ya feel any less guilty, those asswipes woulda made a real sick joke: a rapist, a kiddy-diddler, an’ a murderin’ bigot walked int’ a bar… Not worth tha powder t’ blow ‘em t’ hell, as we used t’ say in various trenches.”

“You have quite a few rapes on your rap sheets in several countries, among many other horrifying crimes – so how are you any better?”

“Cuz I’m tha one workin’ my tail off an’ catchin’ lead t’ save yer damn life. Ya weren’t doin’ so great on yer own, hotshot.”

He shivered. “I couldn’t do anything. I was sluggish – and an idiot.”

“Not like yer up t’ snuff; ‘sides, without yer tin soldier outfit, yer just fast brains an’ a pretty face, ain’t ya?”

Tony looked over to frown at him, but then saw the teasing smirk. At least he had lips again to smirk with. “A fair assessment,” he relented.

“Hey, ya went fer tha HK, ya went down fightin’. I admire that.” Creed snarled. “Fuck!”

“Are you sure I can’t help?”

“No, ya can’t. Yer avoidin’ stress.”

“Oh, is that what I’m doing?” Tony kept his eyes on the massive muscled arm, trying not to think about being pinned by it again.

“Been at it a while, guess ya slept through most o’ tha clinks an’ clanks. Hafta say I oughta be used t’ it by now, but I hate bein’ shot by those things.”

“Me, too.” He glanced at the mutant’s partially healed face again and looked away quickly. Skin had grown back over the places where the metal had shown through, but the gaping bloody hole was still there. “Is there a reason your eye isn’t healing?”

“It will. Healin’ factor plays triage on its own an’ I don’t get a vote. Musta got punctured in somethin’ more important in there – could be tha stomach, don’t feel like a lung. Ya wouldn’t believe all tha mashed ammo I shit out here an’ there – occupational hazard. Thought I was passin’ a kidney stone once, but it turned out t’ be a musket ball.”

“Obviously you got your tongue back. Did you know you have a broken fang? Does that hurt?”

“Yeah, genius, it hurts gettin’ shot in tha teeth with an AK-15. Worthless dick mussed up my pretty. Guess he didn’t care none that I gotta date later.”

“Who’s the lucky girl?” Tony struggled to get up out of the bed and began to fall. The mutant moved too fast to see it and caught him. He started to put him in bed again. “No, I need to see the device. Let me sit on the floor, can you put it down there next to me?”

Placing him on the floor, Creed went back to his chair. “Yeah, hang on.”

Tony noticed belatedly that he was still naked. Creed had his ragged pants on, but they were almost red now. It was warm in the tent and he was sitting on the polar bear fur, but after everything that had happened, he felt exposed, threatened and … humiliated.

He stared as the man picked up his fur coat and brought it over to him. Gently and almost respectfully, he helped him put it on and arranged it to cover him up.

“It might get blood on it…”

“Wouldn’t be tha first time.” He could feel the mutant watching him, but he didn’t look up. “Ain’t gonna force ya. Gotta bit over-eager in tha tunnel an’ I take my pretendin’ pretty serious, but makin’ a fucker that can fly an’ blow shit up int’ an enemy? Not fuckin’ smart. Can’t kill ya – I like stalkin’ ya too much.”

“I owe you a lot. I didn’t miss that crack about all things having a price.”

“Yeah, well, some shit costs too much an’ blue balls never killed nobody. Keep takin’ my calls down tha road an’ I’m willin’ t’ count it as even.”

Tony’s hands stroked the fur over his knees. “Criminal record aside, you are nothing like I thought you were. Are you ever going to tell me why you plucked me off the ice?”

“First thought in my head? Did it cuz I wanted a shot at fuckin’ ya. No lie. After … dunno. Maybe someday ya might be in a spot t’ pull my ass out o’ a crack. Never know.”

“Maybe… I really thought you were dead. I thought I was too, twice.” He looked up and stared at the broken fang. “Thank you,” Tony whispered, “for … everything.”

“Yer welcome.”

Creed went to the sled and started to lift the device with a grunt. Tony was appalled to see his chest tear around more bullets as he picked it up.

“If you needed to wait –”

“Ya don’t need t’ wait; yer soundin’ worse.” He set it on the floor in front of Tony. “I got tools in tha rig, ya want ‘em?”

“Basic tools and maybe electrical? Gloves – that might fit me?”

“I got it all, flyboy – might hafta settle fer Tucker’s gloves.” He stepped outside. “Be right back.”

Tony watched him go, staring after the man’s broad back. As the braid moved, he saw another thicker line of longer fur running down the top and bottom of his spine.

If we’d met at a convention cocktail party, and I didn’t know he was a hired killer, I might have taken him upstairs just for the novelty of it. That night in Chicago on the phone, the low voice, offering to hunt that maniac … I actually felt better knowing he wouldn’t fail. Now this makes four people he’s killed to keep me safe … and getting shot to pieces like that… He shuddered and forced himself to begin studying what the device could do.

After Creed returned and surrounded him with tools, Tony didn’t let the mutant distract him. He was starting to feel worse, and he had to push his fears aside as well as his curiosity and concentrate on finding a solution to his power problem.

Creed watched him in silence for a few minutes, and then told him, “I need t’ go hunt fer us.”

Studying the device, the words barely registered in his brain. “Shouldn’t you finish bullet extractions first?” he asked, a full ten or more minutes late.

“Need tha protein t’ heal.”

“I see – it uses food as fuel. Quite an unusual mutation … I’m jealous, actually.”

“Not as unusual as I’d like.”

His tone made Tony look up at him. He had been trying not to look at Creed’s face and it had definitely been noticed. “It’s getting better,” he muttered, trying to sound encouraging.

“Uh-huh.” Lifting the HK, he set it within Tony’s reach on the floor by his knee. “Just in case. Tha AK-15’s up here on tha table. I’ll get somethin’ other than polar bear, maybe; ya can even have it cooked. I got my own gear in tha rig, so it’s clean.”

Tony picked up a screwdriver. “Don’t you want to take at least one of the guns?”

“Nope. All I need is tha built-ins. Don’t let somethin’ eat ya cuz yer payin’ zip attention t’ shit ‘round ya. I won’t be long.”

“Sounds like a plan. I’ll just stay alive and figure this out.”

Creed huffed out a breath. “See that ya do. If ya stand me up, gonna be all hurt an’ shit.”

“I … thought we were dropping that…?” Tony asked, holding the tool as if it would do him any good as a weapon.

“Said I wouldn’t force ya – never said I wouldn’t try t’ convince ya.” Creed smirked at him. “Might be pullin’ yer leg a bit, might not. Just figure out how t’ fix that thing.”

“When I do, I can fly away, you realize – unless you plan to sit on my armor.”

“Do what ya gotta do, hero; I got more biz t’ finish in this wasteland before I go.”

“Uh, the device – do you still plan to turn it over to – whomever?”

“Yup. Turnin’ it over t’ ya.”

“Meaning … what?”

“Meanin’ I don’t care if ya gotta break it t’ use it t’ get charged up. Take it with ya when ya go if ya want. I don’t want tha damn thing.”

“Then why did you even come out here?”

“Already got paid, remember? I ain’t on tha books fer this. Knock yerself out.” He left the tent and walked away – barefoot, bare-chested, and bleeding – into the snowy waste.

~ ~ ~

“Eat more.”

“Yes, yes, I am,” Tony answered, distracted. He had a fork in one hand and a wrench in the other. “Cooked seal is so much better than raw polar bear; I’m prepared to cope with my guilt the next time I’m at Sea World. My compliments to the chef – whom I’m trusting not to poison me like the rest of the camp.”

“They were ugly, yer cute.”

“Outstanding,” Tony replied, barely listening.

“Not likin’ tha look o’ ‘em wires ya got there. Ya sure ya ain’t gonna roast yerself inside out, pluggin’ int’ that fuckin’ thing?”

“Pretty sure. Mostly sure?” Tony nodded and wagged the fork at him. “Definitely pretty sure. Actually, and thank you,” he said when Creed took the fork and empty plate, “actually … I could use your help.”

“I flunked science, ya know.”

“This thing, the capacitor, stores energy; it’s stuffed with all of the juice it stole from me. That’s what the whole device does – it’s already configured to steal, store, and provide juice. I assume the idea is to disable other planes or equipment without destroying them and after it’s all captured, power it up again for the enemy.”

“This enemy – it’s def Hydra?”

“Oh, yes, I forgot to tell you that – definitely Hydra. Are you sure you want to give it to me? You realize this is probably worth a fortune.”

“I gotta few fortunes, gonna make a few more come November. Lettin’ ya have it would probly annoy Hydra tha most, anyhow. Plus, I wouldn’t know shit ‘bout how t’ fence tech like that. Ya want tha thing, don’t ya?”

“Oh, well, I can find a place for it somewhere…” He winked at Creed and smiled.

“She’s all yers, loverboy. So what sorta braun ya need?”

“Once I tap this beauty like a keg, it’s going to hit these wires – and me – like a truck.”

“Whattaya want on yer tombstone?”

“Eureka? Ouch? No, listen – the arc reactor can take it and that’s where the wires are going. I wish we had a piece of plastic about a foot thick for me to sit my ass on, but that’s the breaks.” He took a deep breath. “Maybe you could just hold my hand? Actually, I’m kidding, I was going to ask you to notify my next of kin, but I sort of don’t have any. Pepper Potts, my Girl Friday – every day – notify her … if this doesn’t work?”

Creed snorted. “What’s with all tha safety switches in tha ‘off’ spot? That t’ squeeze out yer juice faster or just a really fancy way t’ punch yer own ticket? Gotta say, it ain’t trendsettin’ t’ off yerself t’ avoid me fuckin’ ya; be an innovator, not an imitator.”

“Uh, I was bluffing before; not my style to give up, no matter what dangers lurk. I switched them off because it’s going to be hooked up to something much smaller than a captured jet and the device doesn’t know the arc reactor can take it, so the safeties would end up killing the discharge.”

“Are ya ready? Ya better be. Lite-Brite’s gettin’ dodgy.”

“Yes, I have to be.”

“One serious offer o’ hand holdin’ goin’ once…”

Tony smiled. “I’d prefer you stayed where you are, lightning rod bones.”

“Awright, then.”

“Wow.”

“What?”

Tony didn’t answer right away, staring at his face. The eye was healing. It was like watching a film backwards of it being destroyed. “That is amazing…”

Creed shook his head a moment and growled. “Plug in, flyboy, before I hafta bury ya out here.”

Tony dropped his gaze and focused on the arc reactor, picking up the wires in one hand. He connected them and reached for the main switch on the device that would discharge the capacitor.

Glancing back up at Creed he said, “Pepper Potts, don’t forget.”

“Ya got this, hero. Do it.”

Tony closed his eyes and turned on the switch. The jolt hit like controlled lightning stabbing into his chest and he didn’t have time to wonder if he would feel pain. The arc reactor flared bright enough to make him wince, even with his eyes closed. It felt like the strangest sensation of being filled – until his cup ran over. It was almost … better than sex.

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

Victor growled, ignoring the instincts that spurred him to fight the thing and watched as the device appeared to fry the man alive. Stark exploded with breath when it let him go and laughed like a mad man. The thing of metal and odd smells in his chest was glowing – bright enough to light the tent.

With shaking fingers, Stark turned the device off and disconnected the wires from the reactor. He started to get up and weaved on his feet. Victor moved to hold his arms out, ready to catch him. The heavy fur got tangled up in his legs, making Stark stumble forward and slap his hands down on Victor’s chest.

Scenting the air and then the man, Victor felt the surprise of Stark’s desire spark and burn in his gut and against his hip where the pale cut cock jutted upward. Without a thought, Victor snarled in heat and crushed him closer before the man could even lift his head to meet his gaze.

Stark gasped, his hands dropping and fingers busy trying to open the shredded and bloodstained arctic pants. Victor popped a claw and opened up a seam until they fell in a heap.

“Bed, now, need it,” he spoke at Victor’s shoulder, his lips kissing a lump beneath the skin there where a crushed bullet was lodged.

Victor picked him up and laid him down on the cot bed in the fur coat, yanking it open to get skin on skin. He barely remembered to keep the bulk of his weight on one hand as he leaned in to kiss and lick down the athletic body. He was toned like a dancer with abdominal muscles, arms and legs built beautifully from carrying the weight of the metal suit. His scent drove Victor wild.

As soon as he could move them, Stark brought his knees up to frame Victor’s hips. “Come on,” he urged, “come on…”

Victor felt his foreskin pushed back by the smooth skin of Stark’s ass cheeks. The need flooding through his body could have torn the man open, but he shook his head and growled.

“No, won’t do that…” Stark cursed as he shifted and moved down but when Victor’s tongue struck his hole, he twitched and moaned. “Gonna make it good, promised not t’ hurt ya, Stark.”

“Please, just … stick anything in me and then call me Tony, God…”

The words sparked a chuckle and with it, Victor regained control. “So yer finally givin’ me a nickname? Yer gonna be prayin’ by tha time ya get stuffed.”

His tongue circled and slapped the tight pucker of muscle and then the tip began to wriggle and stab inside it. Mindful of fangs, the broken one just as jagged sharp as the spear on the other side of his chin, he pushed his face closer, driving his strong tongue deep. He worked it easy but quick, soon able to slip a thick finger in and then two – before the man winced and shied from the stretch and pressure, breathing hard.

“If ya can’t take three fingers, ya can’t take me … Tony.”

“Let me breathe, let me get used to … ohhh, I want it…”

Victor grinned and worked the fingers, gentle and slow. His lube was in the locked steamer trunk – so much for fine planning.

“Do you have anything … to make it … easier?”

“I do, but it’s in tha trunk.”

Those beautiful brown eyes, wet with tears, opened and stared at him. “What are you waiting for?”

“Fer ya t’ end up changin’ yer mind tha minute I get off ya?”

“I need this and we’re going to need that.”

“Keep it warm fer me then.” Victor pulled his fingers free and backed off of the bed. He grabbed the silver lock and tore it off, breaking the hasp. Throwing the lid up, he snagged the plastic bottle with the battered label from a pile of clothes and weaponry and returned.

“Just slick it up and stuff it in.”

Victor lay beside him with slicked fingers and started with them, coaxing and stretching the muscle to accept two of them again. When the man stopped flinching, he readied a third. The first knuckle sank in but then the delicious drag began.

“Oh, wow, okay … I need a minute, right? Yeah, definitely need a minute.”

“Now I got my brain back, take yer time; I can play all night – day – whatever tha fuck it is…”

“No, no – had a minute, keep pushing in.”

Victor watched his face as he pushed more, steady but slow. Scissoring the fingers, he got his tongue involved again. The groan Stark gave him made him so hard it hurt.

“That’s two and a half, good enough. Come on, I want to feel the burn of that thing.”

“So ya top from tha bottom, huh? I like that.”

When he moved, Stark grabbed at the fur coat and pulled it up to bunch it under his lower back. Victor gave the rest of it a shove, enjoying the sight of the man lifting his hips for him. He got settled on his knees between the legs, slid his hands under Stark’s ass and hauled him to his aching cock. Smearing it generously with lube, he lined it up and pushed the head in without a pause.

“Oooh … so that’s what it feels like,” Stark whispered. His eyes were open wide, his head thrown back.

As Victor pushed in deeper, the man’s hands were fisted in the blanket, his mouth opening in a silent cry. Just to tease him, he worked the head in and out.

“Oh my God…” Their eyes met and an abrupt shot of fear stink diluted Stark’s heat.

“Yer stuck now; I ain’t never got this far an’ quit. Gonna fuck ya ‘til I’m done.”

Stark swallowed hard and an expression Victor couldn’t define slowly morphed away to be replaced by some sort of bravado. “Do it, I want more…”

Victor growled low, pulled back, and pushed deep. It was hard to care if he was having second thoughts, but he wouldn’t injure the man. He kept it steady, watching Stark’s face as his body clenched. Bathed in blue light from the thing in his chest, he was beautiful in his struggle, stretched and skewered. He reached for the pretty cut cock as it began to leak milky fluid down the slanted heaving abdominals.

“Don’t,” Stark ordered, his tone making Victor’s upper lip curl in a snarl.

“What tha hell do ya think yer playin’ at, tellin’ me ‘don’t’?”

“I … I want to come … just from feeling you inside.” The startled and then hungry animal noises Victor made sparked a near hysterical laugh out of Stark. “Hello, new kink,” he muttered, trying to catch a breath.

Victor wanted to grope, stroke and suck that cock, and he knew it was the best way to distract the man from the brutal invasion of his body, but Stark’s words and scent told him he wanted it – wanted to feel exactly that. Even the brief fear stink was fading fast. With a fierce grin, Victor stopped trying to see how deep he could push and started applying some tricks.

His hands grasped under the knees and pulled Stark’s pelvis higher. Yanking his cock back, growling in pleasure at the man’s gasp, Victor began to thrust shallow and fast, holding the sweating body partially in the air. Only his hands were touching to hold him, as his cock pumped hard and relentlessly in. He watched, intent on the other man’s pleasure, as the body began to writhe.

“Don’t stop,” Stark told him with panting breaths.

“I can fuck fer days, pretty boy. Ya’d pass out, maybe even rupture an’ die, before I get tired.”

“It hurts… Oh, shit it really hurts.” Victor scented Stark’s rising distress but the man’s heat intensified with it. Moments before he was about to ease up, Stark pushed one word through gritted teeth, “Harder.”

Victor snarled; the sight of him, abused and wanting more, pushed his own pleasure to the limit. His hips pumped faster, the angle shifting to drive into the tender prostate.

“Scream fer me, Tony…”

Trying to watch his face and his leaking cock at once, Victor drew in his breath in a hiss when the pretty cock began to spout cum all over the heaving tight stomach. The moment it happened, Stark screamed, a sound of want and pain at once. Victor arched his back and let a roar split the air as he came, shoving his cock deeper to feel it shudder, clenched tight inside his trembling prize.

It was hard to breathe, stuffed deep in a grip that could have hurt if it didn’t feel so good. He would have preferred to stay there until he could start again, but that wasn’t likely to be his bedmate’s first pick. With pleasure spent and the almost mad passion burned away, Stark was in pain.

Brown eyes fluttering closed, he muttered through heaving breaths, “Can we, uh, disengage? Is there an eject switch? Oh, man…”

Victor lowered more of him to the bed, slow and careful as Stark winced. “Take a deep breath…”

Halfway through the indrawn breath, Victor pushed in just a hair and then began a steady pull back out. He had to hold the man still until he slipped free. Before Stark got any ideas, he stretched out on his side next to him and pulled him close.

“Nice capture maneuver, but I don’t plan to move for, oh, days.”

“Thought I wasn’t yer type.”

“You’re everyone’s type once you get going, right?”

Victor smirked and laid his head on his arm. “Damn straight.” Watching the pretty face as he rested and tried to slow his breathing, Victor leaned his head in and scented him.

“What’s with all the smelling, nuzzling and licking, serious question?”

“Nuzzlin’ an’ lickin’ ya’s just fun.” Grinning at the look that got him, he relented. “Part o’ me that’s a man would call it affection, possessiveness. My inner beast does it t’ build social bondin’, like yer high-fives, I guess, or sharin’ cigs an’ stories in a foxhole. With social bonds intact, tha soldiers know their chums’ll have their back when tha lead starts t’ fly. Scentin’ is like breathin’ t’ me. Ya can learn ‘bout stuff by studyin’ it, I can tell a lot by scent.”

“So what does my smell tell you? Besides, ‘crap, he needs a shower’?”

“Tells me yer gizmo is workin’ good, ya smell like me now, an’ ya ain’t so afraid o’ me no more, even if it was touch-an’-go a bit between strokes at tha start.”

“You are much better company in afterglow. The surly brutal killer act may be a great look for you, but it’s a lousy way to get a date. Is, uh, smelling like you a … good thing?”

“It’s a safer thing, fer ya. Ya don’t smell like a stranger, or an enemy.”

“All right, not a bad thing.” He closed his eyes again. “So fess up – why all the stalking me? Why me?”

“I gotta want-what-I-can’t-have fetish.”

“Oh, well, I guess I’m off that list now.”

“Still on tha ‘ya fascinate me’ list.” Victor nuzzled the side of his head, scenting the soft brunette hair.

“Now we get to the truth. Feel free to share my best qualities in your own words.”

“I deal with tha seek an’ destroy types, corporate greed, revenge whores – none o’ ‘em actually make any damn thing, ‘sides money. Ya create. I like tha ballsy moxy, too, but ya might be as big a narcissist as me.”

“The truth hurts.”

“Was gonna let ya off tha hook – why’d ya change yer mind?”

“Using the device like that, I had no idea how that would feel. It was like being fucked in the chest by a lightning bolt. Being filled that way – I just … needed more, to feel alive.” Stark opened his eyes and met his gaze. “Is that crazy? It felt insane. The growling is weirdly fetching. Plus, you cuddle – an unexpected bonus. Not that I’m much of a cuddler. I’m more of a ‘slip out of bed and let Pepper get rid of them while I hide in the workshop’ kind of guy…”

“Yer def a talker. I get it – I do that sometimes.”

“You have a ‘babble mode’? I would not have guessed that. You seem more like the brooding monosyllabic sort.”

“Not babble, more like tryin’ t’ annoy people who are tha broody one-word-per-day sort. I love tha sound o’ my own voice.” Victor licked up his throat and moved his hand to the man’s chest. It was strange to feel the tech interrupt the smooth flesh. He sniffed it again. “Palladium?”

“Uh, yes. You can smell that? You know what that smells like?”

“Yup. Ya call it an arc reactor?”

“Well, it’s a reactor, that arcs… Shouldn’t we be napped out by now? We’re dudes, right – guys? Guys pass out after sex. I read about it.”

“Mmm… Who says we’re ‘after sex’ yet?” Victor shifted and licked his collarbone, then ran his tongue over the reactor. “I read ‘bout yer capture, terrorists, all that.”

“Yeah? People died. I still have nightmares, all that.”

“Ya fought, ya survived. Now ya find people like that an’ ya take ‘em out.”

“I try. I try to make a difference.”

“Ya wanna nap out cuz ya think ya might be able t’ sneak off? I’d know tha second yer heartrate changed, before yer bludgeoned ass ever made it off tha bed. Plus, yer assumin’ ya could walk.”

“I wasn’t planning to be out in the field this long; the last time I was gone an unplanned amount of time, I nearly died. Kind of just like this time. Places to be, people to stop worrying.”

“One call solves that. Pepper Potts, right? Ya admitted ya owe me a lot.”

Stark studied him in silence for a few moments. “All this establishing social bonding… Why did you come out here? What haven’t you told me?”

“Too busy tryin’ not t’ die t’ see tha big picture?”

“It’s been a busy week.”

“That F-22 wasn’t modified t’ be a long-range flyer. Tha device is Hydra’s brandy new toy. I came out here fer a reason an’ I don’t give a rip ‘bout that hunk o’ metal. Do tha math, science boy.”

His eyes went wide, the mouth opening in surprise. Victor moved, leaned down and stuck his tongue in it. Stark stiffened at first, and then realized slowly that the kiss wasn’t injuring him. His hands lifted to touch Victor’s shoulders as he began to respond to it. A purr sparked in his chest and when he broke the kiss to duck down and lick erect nipples, Stark let out a laugh.

“You came here to destroy a Hydra base and saved me, hoping I’d help.”

“Science tech base, probly way smaller, could be doable. Thought later ya might help; saved ya hopin’ t’ get laid. That plan worked, so why not go two fer two.”

“So Hydra are the bad guys and … you’re not.”

“I’m just a capitalist doin’ a job. Cash paid fer services rendered, t’ be exchanged fer other goods an’ services.”

He ducked his head and swirled his tongue tip around a nipple, smirking when the man gasped.

“Assassin was a bad call … if you were a kinky escort, you’d be in my little black book by now.”

Victor grunted. “I’m a busy man, but I stop t’ smell tha roses. Fuckin’ Hydra over is one o’ my favorite stops. Finally got tha chance t’ rip t’ bits one o’ their best scientist-torturers, pile o’ smegma named Catalyst – that was personal – then got cheated outta it … twice. He turns up like a bad penny, though, so ya ain’t gonna catch me skippin’ a shot at messin’ up a nest o’ Hydra science geeks – even if Catalyst really is dead. Took out one o’ their high an’ mighty overlords once, too – that was almost as good. Second time I killed ‘er, matter o’ fact, so hope springs eternal. Bitch had it comin’ in spades, don’t ya worry none ‘bout that.”

“Like this charmer…” Stark whispered, fingers touching his choker. “How old are you?”

“Creepin’ up on a hundred an’ fifty.”

“In the habit of rounding up, huh? Wow. Fit. You do yoga?”

“Nope.” Victor ran his tongue down the man’s body in loose swirls. He was almost hairless. The dark trail of hair that lead to the thicker thatch around the dick curled up wet under his tongue. “Gonna suck this, like it or not.”

“I’m a fan, when the mouth isn’t, uh, full of spikes…”

Victor chuckled. “Princess.”

He licked the hair wet on his ballsack, his tongue toying with the nuts inside until the dick woke up. Running his tongue up the bottom of the shaft, he set his few blunt front teeth against the coronal ridge and used his fluttering tongue to suckle and toy with the frenulum.

“Sandpaper shouldn’t feel that good down there.” Fingers touched his shoulders, tentative at first – then the hands gripped hard as Victor got down to business.

“Surprise, surprise,” he muttered, and then stuffed it down his throat between the fangs and sharp carnassials.

Working his throat with rhythmic swallows, he started up the vibration of a purr that threatened to pull Stark apart into a boneless mess of willing shock.

“Oh, crap, Victor… Can I call you Victor? Never stop doing that, I’m serious. I have nowhere else I need to be, like ever…”

He slipped a hand under the smooth ass and his fingers found the messy hole, touching and exploring what he’d done to it before. Stark shied from it, still sore and somewhat loose. Unable to resist, Victor sank one thick finger deep, curled it and rubbed that little miracle gland hiding behind vulnerable flesh.

The balls began to draw up tight, the cock massaged stiff in and out of his throat. He let Stark hold his head to push it in more. After one long shudder that ran down his spine, making his hackles along it rise, he allowed the man to cut off his airway entirely and fuck his throat. As his muscles started to tremble, the breathplay hardened his cock sharp and fast.

“Can you breathe?” Stark began to rise.

Victor’s free hand slapped down over the man’s chest, fingers turning the bright circle of blue light into sectioned beams overhead. Forcing himself to swallow and ignore his need for air, his fear of asphyxiation, Victor worked the cock harder. He closed his eyes, his ears pinning back. Instinct clawed at him to bite, to stop the blockage.

“Take it,” Stark ordered, his breathing ragged. “You can have air when you swallow it all.”

A snarl tried to tear through him, but he had no air to create it. The words sank into his brain, peeling his foreskin back with heat.

His bedmate forgot about the fangs and tried to push and shove at Victor’s head to get deeper inside. The razor tip of the unbroken lower fang caught in flesh and scratched a shallow slice. Exploding under Victor’s nose, the scent of fresh blood almost tore his mind away. His jaw ached to close and tear his head free as the urgent need for air and blood made him shiver.

Stark cried out, his buried cock shuddering into release as the salty-sweet cum filled Victor’s throat and mouth. He swallowed it down greedily, backing off of it to get more on his tongue long before he finally allowed his body to gulp air. Breathing through his nose again, he stuffed the cock nearly to the back of his tongue once more just to suck out every drop he could get.

Holding the white mess in his mouth, Victor slipped his tongue out through closed lips and licked the blood from the scratch. With cum and blood in his mouth, Victor flopped to his back, ignoring his aching dick.

He was so surprised when Stark sat up, shrugged out of the coat, and straddled his hips, that he almost growled at the man. One small but strong hand pressed right to his throat over the choker.

“I want to feel you swallow that,” Stark said, holding his gaze. Victor did it, pressing it against the roof of his mouth first and then swallowing as the hand stroked, pressed, and felt the muscles move. “Wow,” he whispered, eyes darting to study Victor’s face and body. “Okay, yeah,” he added. “This is happening.”

Victor arched an eyebrow at him and then sucked in a breath when Stark reached behind to grab his stiff dick roughly. He rose up on his knees and gripped it harder to stuff the head, flushed and leaking pre-cum, inside his body. He winced, but his scent was thick with heat again.

“Fuck,” Victor muttered and groaned.

“We’re going to play ‘just the tip’. Right?”

“Whatever tha fuck ya want, Stark, just go ahead an’ do it.”

“Tony,” he corrected, smiling down at him. “You may have noticed that I figured out that you respond to bossy. Let me guess … if you’re getting what you want, you like to be told what to do in bed – maybe more than you like being the boss. Hmm?”

“Yeah…”

“Yes, Tony – right?” Stark grinned.

“Yes, Tony.” A wicked smirk split Victor’s face.

“Well… All right, then. This is going to be fun.”

Victor lifted his hands over his head, claws stabbing into the top of the cot mattress. He watched the man avidly as he began to post on the head of his dick. Soon enough, he was taking more than the tip, but Victor resisted the urge to arch his hips and fuck up into him deep. It was better to let him control the pace, to not know what would happen and just let him play, let him take.

Somewhere along the way of exhausted muscles and sore hole, Stark remembered what he’d been told about Victor not tiring. They were both pouring sweat, but Victor’s body wasn’t winded; the heat in the tent had been turned up for his guest and it was hotter than he needed.

Stark bent down and set his hands on Victor’s chest. “Fuck me,” he whispered, “just like this – don’t stop until you’re done.”

Victor didn’t hesitate, but worked to keep it easy and shallow. The pace and care might have taken a long time to make him blow, but he had the expression on the man’s face to inspire him, as Stark bit his lower lip and moaned. There was something Victor wanted to see and he used that to spur him faster. He watched Stark’s face until he was close and then dropped his gaze to the shaft of his cock thrusting the head in and out.

He growled and hissed when it hit him, fighting the urge to punch his cock deep. He kept thrusting as cum burst inside and then got what he wanted – the delicious sight of his cum dripping and sliding down his shaft out of that beautiful body.

Stark gave a broken groan, his head hanging down. “That is so dirty hot,” he muttered. “God, I need a drink – or seven.”

Victor slapped his thigh and he yelped in protest. “Get up, lie on yer back. I got just tha thing.” When he didn’t move, Victor picked him up bodily and pulled him off of his dick. Laying him down, he got up and fetched his single malt and another pillow from the trunk. He lifted Stark’s shoulders and piled the pillows under him. “Drink up; I’m gonna clean ya up.”

“Glenfiddich? You are a saint.” He winced again when Victor moved a leg, put his body between them and set the small feet on his shoulders. “I don’t know if I can handle that being touched right now, or for maybe a year.”

“Sure ya can. I’ll keep most o’ tha sandpaper off it.”

He started by lapping at the mess all over the stomach – that perfect cum and sweat cocktail that locked the man’s taste and scent into his brain. The fang scratch had hardly bled, which was a shame, but this one wasn’t likely to be into blood sport.

“I can’t tell if that hurts or if it’s making it feel better,” he said when Victor began to lick at his hole. “Hands down, oddest rim job I have ever had. Prep is one thing … this is – a bit weird.”

“Ain’t gotta shower – would ya rather sleep sticky?”

“Excellent point – carry on, wayward son. Do you want any of this? Handing it to me, well … I won’t be held responsible for its safety.”

“I got more. Knock yerself out, flyboy. Got what I want right here.”

 

 

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Author’s Note: Thanks for reading. I had no idea how delicious it was going to be to write this pairing. I already knew I wanted to do a Victor/Tony story when I wrote their phone call into my Sabretooth/Tabitha story Redemption, way long ago, but it seemed a bit daunting at the time – never say never.

The correlation between Victor’s nuzzling, licking, and scenting habits and social bonding is from research into the behavior of lions. Studies have discovered that grooming and wound care are some of the ways lions in a pride form close social bonds. The phrase “carry on, wayward son” is a reference to lyrics from the Kansas song by the same name. Most people know common military and civilian acronyms such as CYA (Cover Your Ass), so I won’t explain them often, but for the unaware, an MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) is a meal in a box for soldiers. Some survivalists buy them and stock up, so they aren’t solely for military use. – AnonGrimm (@MET_Fic)

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