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“Bane!” Barsad’s voice echoed through the sewers over the constant rushing of water. “I found something I think you’re going to want to see!” Bane remained where he was, standing in front of a makeshift workbench made out of the least-rotted crate they had been able to find. “He’s a pretty one!”

 

Bane’s hands stilled and slowly packed away the wires he had been working on where they would be safe from the dampness in the air. Only then did he finally turn at Barsad’s call and walk a few paces forward to look over Barsad’s find.

 

Barsad was standing tall and proud beside a young man on his knees, dressed in a police uniform that looked a little worse for wear from the manhandling he had no doubt received on the trip down here. The badge on his left breast shone bronze – John Blake G.C.P.D – but Bane didn’t need it to know his name. John’s knees were soaked with mud and his lip was split but otherwise he looked unharmed.

 

“He was having a look around,” Barsad informed Bane as he crouched down to nearly match John’s eye level. John’s brown eyes were sharp with hatred but John didn’t lunge forward to attack Barsad, certainly aware of the two other guards standing behind him with guns trained on the back of his head. To Bane, Barsad looked slightly entranced as he lifted a hand. “He really is a pretty one.”

 

John flinched away when Barsad traced a finger down his jaw towards his chin, baring his teeth in warning as he snarled. “Don’t you dare touch me!”

 

Barsad was amused, judging by his deep laugh as he reached forward and gripped John’s chin in his hand. The hold must have been painful for John; Bane could see Barsad’s knuckles turning white with his strength. “And he has fight, too. Perhaps I will claim this one.”

 

The growl building in Bane’s throat was immediate and threatening and Barsad looked up at Bane in surprise, though he didn’t let go. Bane squared his shoulders, his eyes lingering on Barsad’s hand where it was bruising John’s skin. “Do not touch him.” Barsad’s eyes narrowed before he let go of John’s face. Bane took a step forward and Barsad withdrew fully, standing and taking a half step away from John. “He will be mine.”

 

John’s face was blotchy red from Barsad’s grip as he looked up furiously. “I belong to no one,” he hissed.

 

“Not yet,” Bane said, stepping closer still. “We will let you choose.” John looked from Bane to Barsad, and then to the shadowed corridor on his right that to John could still be a viable escape option. Bane crouched down slowly and touched a finger to John’s cheek, tilting his gaze away from the corridor. John shivered but met his gaze. “You will not leave here alive unless you are claimed. Now choose.”

 

John’s breathing was heavy, his heart no doubt flying with fear. The cop looked to Barsad, to Bane, back to the corridor where his gaze lingered before finally turning to stare at Bane. John opened his mouth but no words came out. Then his cheeks turned red as he cleared his throat and spoke. “You.”

 

“Louder,” Bane demanded.

 

“I choose you,” John said through clenched teeth, loud enough for Barsad and the two guards behind him to hear. There were a few other soldiers and workers glancing their way, looking for some entertainment, but everyone knew well enough to keep their own business and not clash with Bane unless they wanted their lives ended early.

 

Bane stood straight again, pleased. Barsad looked less impressed, having lost his pretty prize, though Barsad would never be one to defy orders or the hierarchy. He was, however, brazen enough to challenge his leader, if only in minor ways. “You must claim him here, as is tradition. He chose you but I found him.”

 

Bane looked down to John, who was still staring up at him with fury and frustration on his face. It was not the way Bane would’ve planned it but he wouldn’t go against tradition. Now was not the time to upset the League. Bane met John’s eyes. “Stand.”

 

John’s jaw clenched as he ground his teeth together but he stood. John’s legs had become a little shaky from kneeling on the wet cement but he stood tall and didn’t waver. The cop’s bravado only cracked when Bane reached forward, John flinching and ducking before Bane got a solid grip on the back of his neck and directed him forcefully to his little bed in the corner by his workbench.

 

When John saw where they were heading he dug his heels in but the cement below their feet was slick and Bane was certain of his hold, propelling John forward. “It doesn’t have to be like this,” John whispered frantically.

 

“It does,” Bane said. They reached the edge of the bed and Bane nudged John down with just enough weight and force for him to sit in a rush on the edge of the bed. “I will try to make it good for you,” he added quietly before grabbing a small tube of lotion from the tiny box he kept by the bed with his few niceties. Even when Bane moved back to stand in front of John he noticed John’s eyes lingering on Osito, who was sitting carefully in one corner of the box. “Eyes front.”

 

John’s eyes snapped to Bane, frightened and wary. Then his eyes looked over Bane’s shoulder where Bane knew Barsad and the two guards remained. “Aren’t they going to leave?”

 

“No. They will watch.” John tensed up and leaned away when Bane dropped the lotion on the bed and began unbuttoning John’s uniform, but John didn’t run. There was nowhere for him to run to; at least not anywhere he would reach before being riddled with bullet holes. While Bane could see the embarrassment and shame on John’s face, both of them knew it was the smart choice for John to momentarily concede.

 

He watched John’s throat constrict as he swallowed thickly. “Why?”

 

“Because it is tradition. Barsad must see me claim you as my own or else your choice will be null.” Bane finished unbuttoning John’s uniform shirt and pushed it off his shoulders, pulling his undershirt over his head a moment later to reveal John’s muscular chest and arms from years of police work.

 

John immediately shivered as the damp air ghosted over his skin, chilling him. “I don’t want them to watch.”

 

“There is no choice,” Bane said as he smoothed his hands down John’s arms, sharing a brief moment of warmth before dropping his hands down to work John’s belt open. “All I can promise is that they will not touch you when we are done.”

 

John threw a vicious glare over Bane’s shoulders at their three watchers – perhaps more, though Bane did not know how many others would stop on nearby platforms to witness the claiming – and then clenched his eyes closed when Bane dropped the belt to the floor and pressed the heel of his palm against John’s crotch. Bane massaged there, warm and firm until the weakest whine broke at the back of John’s throat – just loud enough for Bane alone.

 

Once he was certain John was starting to stir Bane undid the button and zipper of John’s pants. He pulled off John’s shoes first and set them aside and then slid off John’s pants and underwear together. John blushed and grabbed at the fraying quilt Bane had spread across his bed to try to cover himself, but Bane removed it quickly. John was left fully exposed, his skin on full display.

 

“Let them see,” Bane said loudly enough for the others to hear.

 

“They don’t need to see everything,” John complained, reaching again for the blanket.

 

“They do.” Bane tossed the blanket out of reach by the head of the bed and then pressed his palm against John’s flaccid length. John inhaled sharply and bit his lip. Already Bane could feel his cock beginning to twitch with interest. Bane looked over his shoulder and locked his gaze with Barsad’s. John belonged to Bane, but Bane had still stolen John from his brother. “Thank you.”

 

Barsad’s tight smile relaxed.

 

When he had a genuine blessing Bane sat beside John on the bed, his knees hooking against the edge as he sat back as much as possible without leaning against the crates he had stacked on the other side of the bed. John grunted in surprise when Bane dragged him across the bed and positioned John on Bane’s lap, knees framing Bane’s thighs. “Undress me.”

 

With trembling fingers John reached down and began undoing the buckles of Bane’s body armour and braces. When that was peeled off Bane moved it aside and rested his weight on his arms, extending his body slightly and giving John more room to work on more buckles, buttons and zippers. Finally John got Bane’s pants unzipped and tried to pull them down, only to get them caught on Bane’s hips as he sat.

 

Bane lifted his hips off the bed and easily took John’s body with him, holding them both up until John managed to wriggle down Bane’s pants and briefs until they were caught around his thighs. By now Bane was half hard at the thought of what he was going to get to do in a few minutes and there was no point hiding his swelling length. John’s gaze remained on Bane’s lap as Bane settled back down on the bed and removed his gloves before grabbing the lotion.

 

He coated two fingers and grabbed John’s hip with his clean hand, hinting with a light touch until John got the message and rose onto his knees above Bane. Sliding his hand from John’s hip to his ass, Bane spread one of John’s ass cheeks and then found John’s hole with his fingers, spreading a little lotion before Bane pressed one finger in, only to the depth of his finger nail.

 

From his position Bane could see Barsad and the two slightly slack-jawed guards, as well as a few other curious observers in the sewers, but Bane chose instead to tilt his head back and watch John’s face as he worked. As Bane slipped his first finger in deeper John’s eyes clenched closed, his mouth falling open as he breathed a quiet moan for Bane. At the same time Bane could see both of their cocks hardening out of the corner of his eye, assuring him that John was enjoying this too despite the audience.

 

Bane didn’t spend long with one finger and quickly pushed in a second, slowly forcing John’s body to spread and accept him. It was customary in tradition for the claiming to occur with little or no preparation but Bane was not interested in pain for John and knew that Barsad would not rush him. Besides, Bane loved the feeling of John digging his nails into Bane’s biceps as he clutched at Bane for stability. It may not have been obvious for their onlookers but Bane could feel the subtle shift of muscles as John tentatively rocked back against Bane’s intruding digits.

 

Pushing his luck, Bane withdrew his fingers and coated three this time, purposefully not looking to their watchers as he slid two into John’s stretched body and then began wiggling in a third. John whined under his breath but Bane worked him through the pain, reaching his clean hand forward to stroke John a few times to distract him until his body adjusted.

 

He knew John was ready when precome started to spill onto Bane’s hand as he stroked John’s shaft, an extra bead escaping each time Bane twisted his grip. Bane removed his fingers from John and reached for the lotion one final time. Above the sound of the rushing water Bane could hear John panting as he watched Bane slick up his own length, pumping himself a few times as his own glob of precome escaped.

 

Bane grabbed John’s hip with one hand and angled his cock with the other, lining himself up as John shuffled forward until their chests pressed together. Bane pressed the head of his cock against John’s hole and then led John, pushing until John slowly sat down on Bane’s cock. For a minute Bane found it hard to breathe but didn’t care that the raspy sound of his mask was obvious as he slid into John’s heat, his walls hugging Bane’s length.

 

John moaned when he was fully seated, Bane’s cock buried deep inside him and Bane’s balls against John’s ass. Bane joined him and their moans mingled when John shifted in Bane’s lap to get comfortable, his legs and knees hooked tightly around Bane’s thighs. John had dug grooves into Bane’s biceps before holding Bane’s shoulders instead, palms cupping the curve of his shoulders as his fingers splayed across Bane’s scarred skin for added stability and leverage.

 

Bane waited for a few agonizing seconds as John adjusted and then held John’s hips tightly enough to bruise. With his own tight grip Bane lifted John up onto his knees and then pushed him back down, the rise and fall even but firm as he showed John the pace he wanted. After a few cycles John began to rise and fall on his own, matching Bane as they found a comfortable but demanding rhythm.

 

The bed beneath them was horribly rusty and weak, squeaking obnoxiously as John began to bounce on Bane’s cock. When Bane looked he could see more people stopping to watch, and the heated way Barsad watched them from a short distance away. Bane could only imagine the sight they were offering, though it pleased Bane to know that many of the softer noises John made would only be for him, swallowed up by the water before it reached anyone else’s ears.

 

Their pace had a habit of speeding up quickly, John rocking down with all his weight for more and Bane thrusting up to bury his cock further inside John’s body. Bane had to grab John’s hips a few times and slow him down, refusing to let this end too quickly even though he would prefer to not have onlookers. John kept groaning each time Bane slowed the pace but perhaps there was something in Bane’s expression when their eyes met that explained it to John. It had been years since Bane had had this sort of pleasure and while this wasn’t new to him, it was certainly consuming to the point of almost overwhelming him.

 

He could only slow them down so many times no matter how long he wanted the claiming to last. Bane felt his spine arching, lifting his hips to fuck into John deeper each time John bounced in his lap, and a tense coil of heat burning like lava in his belly. John was in a similar state, releasing little hiccupping gasps each time Bane thrust up into him once Bane discovered the right angle to hit his prostate.

 

At one point John wrapped his arms tightly around Bane’s shoulders, close enough that Bane could feel the heat radiating from John’s overheated body. Bane’s cock throbbed inside John when he felt John’s own cock nudge against his taut stomach, smearing precome across Bane’s skin. Wanting to encourage this, Bane wound both arms around John’s lower back and pulled them flush together, pinning John’s cock between them.

 

John choked on a moan and began rutting forward frantically, thrusting against Bane’s stomach and then fucking himself back down against Bane’s cock. With each rock up and back down John’s insides tightened around Bane, squeezing him as Bane slammed into John with blinding pleasure.

 

To Bane’s surprise, John suddenly tucked his face against Bane’s neck and whined loudly, his nails digging into Bane’s back. “Bane,” John whispered. “Bane! Fuck, Bane!

 

It was a mantra Bane couldn’t survive, every muscle in his body tightening at once. It was all he could do to press his face against John’s neck and close his eyes, imagining that it was just the two of them in this moment as Bane’s world was set alight with fire. Stars danced behind his eyes as his hips jutted up in a repeated string of spasms, spilling his seed deep inside John’s loose body. Bane pressed his face a little tighter against John, feeling his teeth grind together behind the mask with his desire to bite and suck vibrant marks on John’s skin.

 

As Bane began to fill John with his come John tumbled over the edge with him, crying out weakly as his body curled around Bane. John fucked himself between Bane’s stomach and cock as his come splattered across Bane’s skin, sticky and branding. Bane’s body slowly calmed but it took John longer as he continued to rock faintly, shuddering through his release and the lingering sensitivity.

 

When John was finally spent he collapsed forward against Bane, moist air tickling Bane’s skin as John panted. Bane could feel his cock beginning to soften within John’s body and knew it would soon slip out with this position. He opened his eyes and met Barsad’s gaze across the space between them; the guards were still there too, all three men with flushed cheeks.

 

Bane tightened his hold around John and held him closer, possessive. “I do not share.”

 

The guards took the hint and scampered away but Barsad lingered, eyes on the two of them for a long time. Bane wasn’t certain but if he had to guess, he would name Barsad’s expression as curiosity... or even wonderment. Bane continued to hold John close as Barsad watched them, John either unaware of the new form of scrutiny or uncaring as his body recovered.

 

Finally Barsad gave a tiny nod and exited down one of the corridors. While Barsad’s bed was set up closer to Bane’s than anyone else’s, Bane was the only person to claim this corner of the sewers where he was hidden mostly by the waterfall and left in peace to work.

 

Pleased that they were alone, Bane skimmed his hands across John’s sweaty back and grabbed his hips, beginning to lift him up. John clung to Bane tighter for a moment and then let go, allowing Bane to move John off his cock and out of his lap. Bane led John down to lie on the bed and then grabbed a clean rag to clean his stomach and then wipe between John’s legs to mop up Bane’s seed that was slowly trickling out of John’s body.

 

John grunted at the touches but otherwise remained sprawled on the bed, looking peaceful except for the fact that he was beginning to shiver again now that he was separated from Bane’s body heat. Bane threw the rag away and pulled his threadbare sheets up around John’s body, spreading the quilt over him last. It was only when John’s shivering abated that Bane refastened his pants around his hips and tucked himself down on the other half of the bed. It was a tight fit but John relaxed further when they began to share heat again.

 

John had his eyes closed as he lay under the blankets, either exhausted or purposefully avoiding Bane’s eyes, Bane wasn’t certain. Bane remained quiet until John shifted on the bed, lifting the covers and silently throwing them over Bane as well. Warmth bloomed in Bane’s chest and he reached over for John under the covers, tracing fingers up John’s arm and over his shoulder.

 

He paused when John winced and Bane pulled the covers down, revealing torn skin along John’s lower neck where Bane’s mask had scraped against it as he imagined biting and sucking marks. John wasn’t bleeding but the mark looked sore. “I am sorry,” Bane muttered under his breath, attempting to soothe the skin with his fingertips before he realized that it would be better if he just let the wound rest.

 

John blinked his eyes open slowly to study Bane for a few moments. Then he shrugged slightly. “I’ll live. But Bane...” John bit his bottom lip uncertainly. “What was that?”

 

“I told you of the tradition,” Bane said. “And you should not have been down in the sewers in the first place.”

 

“I know,” John sighed, looking conflicted. “But you didn’t have to step in and... save me.” John’s eyebrows furrowed in thought. “I’m glad it was you and not the other guy; I chose you for a reason. But fuck, what am I supposed to do with myself now?” John’s breathing was turning a bit shaky. “I just let the enemy of my entire city fuck me in front of his army to claim me.”

 

“Why did you choose me?” Bane heard himself asking before he truly considered the question.

 

John’s gaze dropped, his cheeks stained red. “You know why.”

 

Encouraged, Bane trailed his fingers down to hold John’s hip. “Do I?”

 

“You do,” John said, looking at Bane through his lashes. “Or was I dreaming those times you saved me from getting ambushed while on patrol? Or the times we fell into conversation without realizing it.” John licked his lips. “Or that time you pinned me against a wall and told me to be more careful.”

 

“That might have been me,” Bane said, struggling to maintain control of whatever was expanding in his chest.

 

John chuckled, the sound and John’s lingering smile drawing Bane in until he held John’s hip a little tighter. “Yes, well recently I’ve found myself rather unable to stop thinking about you. Not to sound like—” John began and then cut himself off, embarrassed now as he released a quick breath. “I just don’t understand how I can feel closer to my enemy than I do to everyone who is supposed to be on my side,” John tried to explain. “I guess I came down here trying to understand you.”

 

“That was not intelligent,” Bane said, though his scolding tone lost some of its bite as his thumb drew circles on John’s skin.

 

“I know,” John winced. They were silent for a few minutes, listening to the rushing water and very distant voices. “Bane, will I be allowed to leave after this?” John looked up at Bane, almost sadly.

 

“If you wish it.” Bane refused to let the sinking feeling in his stomach slip into his tone. “I have claimed you as mine. No one will touch you, in here or otherwise.”

 

“Even though I’m fighting against you,” John wondered. Bane took little comfort in the fact that John sounded as conflicted by the words as Bane felt. It would have been easier if Bane had never met John, if he hadn’t grown to... care.

 

“I want you safe,” Bane said, not willing to think about how much the words sounded like a confession.

 

John weathered his bottom lip in indecision and then surged forward, wrapping an arm around Bane’s neck and pulling him closer as John pressed a strong kiss to the centre of Bane’s mask. Bane’s mind was reeling and his heart raced in his chest as he leaned into the kiss, returning it with body language if not with his trapped mouth. John moaned warmly and moulded their bodies together for a long moment, the kiss real for both of them even though there was never a brush of lips.

 

“And if I want to return again?” John asked hesitantly when he pulled back from the kiss, a shy smile on his lips.

 

Bane wrapped both arms around John’s body and held them close together, their legs tangling under the blankets. “That could be arranged.”