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There’s a moment between Tiger Claw slamming Leo into the wall and drawing his gun wherein Leo can almost see the divergent paths ahead of them, both of them nebulous, one merciful. The decision is in Tiger Claw’s furrowed brow, his extended claws.

He draws his gun.

This time, he's been smart enough to disarm Leo, though there are still three knives and a handful of shuriken on him, tucked into his plastron, his wraps, hidden away. He’s not completely defenseless, though in this position, he might as well be. Tiger Claw has one hand on his throat. The other brings his gun level to Leo’s eyes — it’d be showing off if it were anyone else, but from Tiger Claw it’s a matter of practice. He traces the cold tip of it down Leo’s cheek while Leo traces the wall, shifting, trying to get into a better position to flick a knife into his hand from his wraps. He traces it along Leo’s jaw. He taps it against his chest, flicks off the safety.

"Open your mouth," he says.

Leo doesn’t respond immediately, the request too baffling to register as more than standard-issue intimidation tactics — and besides, there’s the matter of the hand at his throat, which is just tight enough to make his breathing thin and labored. Just another two inches and he’ll have enough leverage to snap a knife into his palm.

"I said," Tiger Claw says, jamming his thumb into the pressure point of Leo’s jaw, "open your mouth."

Leo jerks and gags in surprise, his mouth falling open. Before he can snap it shut again, Tiger Claw has jammed the barrel of his gun between his teeth and a knee between Leo’s legs, forcing him higher against the wall, and Leo forgets the knife completely.

"You are a cub who acts like a man," he says. His lip twitches. "Is that a responsibility you are willing to bear?"

Leo goes still. The gun pushes in, deeper, riding his tongue.

"A cub is sheltered by the umbrella of mercy," he continues. "But a man — a man must subjugate or be subjugated. That is the way of things. So, then." He smirks, satisfied by his victory, and grinds the gun against the roof of Leo’s mouth. "Be subjugated."

He doesn’t bother being gentle — he forces the gun as deep as it can go until Leo is gagging, the cold metal biting at the back of his throat, and then he eases him down the wall, forcing his chin back. Leo swallows. Tries to figure out which gun it is, and how he can maneuver a weapon into his hand, and how he can use the alleyway wall to his advantage, but none of it is piecing together the way it should and Tiger Claw is slowly rubbing the barrel of the gun against his tongue in a way that’s making something hot writhe in Leo’s stomach.

"Suck it," Tiger Claw says, the crude words strange on his tongue. His knee is warm between Leo’s legs, and it pushes just as insistently as the gun. When Leo only groans and tries to twist his head away, he shoves the gun against the back of throat and bares his teeth. "You do not have a choice in the matter."

Leo hesitates — his thoughts are too scattered, panicky — then, shutting his eyes so he doesn’t have to see Tiger Claw’s reaction, sucks. Tiger Claw rumbles, the noise vibrating though Leo. He sucks slowly, letting Tiger Claw guide him, following the rocking movements of the gun. His whole body tingles with the precariousness of this, the unfurling blood-red heat and the metal of the gun that doesn’t ever quite warm up and the edge that they are both on, the desperation that can only come from the knife-edge second after defying death, the knowledge that he hasn’t earned it.

He’s not so naive as to not know what Tiger Claw wants — so he’ll give it to him, he’ll lave his gun and hollow his cheeks and suck, he’ll whimper when the gun hits too close to the back of his throat, he’ll submit. When Tiger Claw slips the gun from his mouth, Leo even turns after it, licks along the barrel, pretends it’s not partly motivated from the prickling between his legs.

He knows what will come next. The bulge of Tiger Claw’s cock is stiff against his pants. Leo’s mouth is sore, sensitive. His lips are used.

Tiger Claw’s hand shifts against his neck, eases just enough — the gun is against his cheek, angled so Leo can trace it with his tongue — and Leo knows that Tiger Claw’s focus is narrow enough that he can flick the knife into his palm.

He cuts the back of Tiger Claw’s hand — rolls away — doesn’t even bother to try and fight, doesn’t trust himself to be pinned again, doesn’t look back as he flees into the technicolor maze of New York City.


When he gets home, he waves off his brother’s questions with self-conscious shrugs and a half-hearted explanation.

He licks his wounds in private, dabs his cuts with ointment, and wraps a cut on his leg. He goes to his room, locks the door behind him.

He lays down, presses one hand between his legs, jams one between his teeth, and fucks himself raw.