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Nasty Habit

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“Fuck off,” he tells me, “I paid for this drink.”


I grab his cheap beer and down the entire thing in front of him. Far too much hops; it tastes like skunk spray and permanent markers. Slamming the glass on the table, I take a breath and tell him, “You’re coming with me.”


Cutting Decker off isn’t always easy. He’s fast with his fists and even faster to use them when cornered. More than once, his angry drunk fists have gotten me in the gut or the jaw. Luckily, he can’t land a punch once he hits a certain point in the night.


It’s good to bring a partner when it comes to reigning him in, if you’re anybody other than me. He throws three haymakers at me before I can catch his arm going for a fourth. I can only imagine how a lesser agent would have fared against him. He actually bloodies my nose with a glancing blow. I resolve to make him pay for that.


I slam his elbow to the table, pinning him.


“Bar’s closed, Brian.” If I’m using his first name, it’s just to demonstrate how badly he’s messed up.


He hisses and tries to kick me. I step out of the way and twist his wrist just so. He moans softly and goes limp.  


“Good boy. Let’s sleep it off, shall we?” I didn’t have plans when Central called, but I might have. In any case, I still wasn’t interested in picking up Invisible Inc.’s resident problem child from a dive bar. He’ll pay for that, too.


With a medgel-soaked handkerchief, I stop the bleeding. Everyone else just ignores us, even the bartenders and bouncers. If they don’t know Decker, they know me. Even if they didn’t, I’m not the only licensed assassin in the city; it’s best not to get involved.


He mutters something and I pull him to his feet. He stumbles and I catch him by the coat collar. He leans on my arm, but stays standing. His head rolls back with his eyes. I give him a rough shake.


“I am not carrying you, again,” I tell him. He leans on me, but walks out on his own power.


“I’m not that drunk.” He tells me outside.


“Then walk on your own.” I push him away so I could walk normally. He stumbles for a bit, but finds his feet. He has a hard time keeping a straight line, but he does walk. He lights up a cigarette properly, at least.


“What the fuck, Shalem? Not like we have a mission tonight.”  The last time he called me by my name, I made sure he never did again.


“The last time we left you to your own devices, Central had to break you out of detention.”


“Oh, wah. She woke me up and directed me out. I broke out myself.”


Useless semantics, “We aren’t risking it again. You’ve had too many close calls. Central is putting you back on probation.”


He sucks air. His eyes go wide and his fingers clinch. He bites down on his cigarette. He stops himself from saying something he knows he’ll regret. Instead, he sighs deeply. I take his cigarette and start puffing on it myself. Nasty habit. His spit has soaked the filter. It’s disgusting, but I savor it anyway.


“You ought to find a more productive hobby,” I remark. Not that Decker didn’t occasionally find fairly interesting things; I already called dibs on that revolver upon his death, “Quit the cancer sticks and stop drinking and you’ll live to a hundred.”


“You live to a hundred,” he snaps at me. He considers taking his cigarette back, but reconsiders. He lights a new one. I finish his old one.


It’s a hot summer night, but he’s still wearing that silly coat and hat. There’s an embarrassingly cheap suit under that, but the coat itself is rather exquisite. I’m not sure about the hat. I believe it’s a Stetson, but I don’t know if that’s good or bad. Who wears hats these days?


Without saying anything, I grab that collar and herd him through the lobby of a discrete hotel. There’s nobody to see us. He tries to jerk away, but I’m stronger and he doesn’t want to rip one of the few nice things he still has. He lets out a long sigh through his nose.


“Oh, hush.” I roughly push him into the elevator. Rougher than I intended, because he stumbles against the wall. He rests his face against the cool brass, leaning hard on the guard rails. His last drink is starting to get to him.


“That feels nice,” he mutters. I lean on the rail beside him and take his hat. His eyes pop open as I put it on.


“Relax, will you? You wouldn’t want to crush the brim, right?” I tilt his hat just so as I run my nails through his hair. He closes his eyes as a long shiver runs up his spine, “Besides, I’m not going to hurt you. Much.”


I catch myself in the metal reflection. Not a bad look. I grab his tie and lead him from the elevator.


“Hey!” He manages to wriggle away from me, so I grab his belt instead. He laughs nervously as I pull him inside the room I’ve rented. I push him into the wall and hold him still by the throat. With my free hand, I undo the buttons of my jacket. I'm going to need my shoulders free.


He’s taller, so it’s a little harder to be intimidating, but I manage. We don’t speak, I just look him over, debating on what to do with him.


“I do not see why Central puts up with you.” I remark, pulling at his tie.


“She has her reasons.”


“Not your fashion sense, that’s for sure.” I run my thumb over his tie, “Polyester, Decker, really?”


Cheap clothes, cheap cigarettes, and cheap alcohol. He really does like to play the down-on-his-luck victim.


“What the hell are you-?!” I cut him off by squeezing his neck. He pulls at my wrist until he looks me in the eyes. Then he stops, waiting. I let up just enough to hear him wheeze.


“Central is paying me for this little pickup, of course, but I think you should pay a fair share as well.”


He raises an eyebrow, but doesn’t ask what I mean. My hand is still on his neck, after all.


 “Earn your keep, Brian.” I order as I yank him into the kiss I’ve been wanting since I was told to pick him up.


He tastes like cigarettes mixed with artificial fruit syrup masking cheap rum I would only offer to people I never wished to see again. Stale beer, too. His mouth snatches at mine and we don’t breathe. His hands and chest strain against me.


I toss him to the bed, pinning him by sitting on his legs. His eyes flutter closed, so I give his neck a hard squeeze. He struggles for a second before his eyes meet mine.


“Hands above your head,” I order him. He obeys, slowly, watching with suspicion. I use his tie to secure him to the bed by his wrists. He pulls, testing. I get started on his coat in the meantime.


“What are you-?” I cut him off with my lips, biting his until I draw blood, harder than I meant. Maybe it’ll cover up that disgusting artificial peach and rum taste.


He gasps and squirms under me. I move down his jaw, kissing at that sharp stubble, down his neck. He yelps softly and shivers, afraid. I sink my teeth in to remind him he’s being punished and that I’m in control. He arches and collapses, cries out and hisses through his teeth.   I avoid leaving marks where others could see. I want deniability; I don’t want others knowing I’m sleeping with coworkers, with Decker.


I finally get his shirt open. His scars always fascinate me. Some of them I’d expect from people in our line of work. Some of them surprise me; surgical scars, like the kind you’d expect from an augment grafter. Scars on top of scars, like he needed things replaced multiple times.  


He keeps trying to escape. He keeps trying not to make any noise while I bite at those scars. They look like they hurt. I make a few hurt a bit more now. He can’t move his hips with me pinning him and it tortures him.


I taste those bloody lips again; they taste better this time. I reach down to that tent in his pants, laughing against his lips. I push at it, feel it push back.


 “Seems it’s been a while, hasn’t it?” I murmur against his ear before I bite it, “Are you drinking again because I’ve been neglecting you?”


He might have said something, but I stroke him through his pants and he just lets out this wide moan and tries to get more friction from me. I stroke slow just to spite him.


With my mouth, I raise welts all over his shoulders and chest. With my teeth, I discern between natural flesh and nanofiber muscle.  I taste the difference between his natural skin and the synthetic. I consider mocking his stance on augmentations against how many he has, but I stop myself. There’s probably a story I don’t care to hear behind that, about being cut to pieces and stitched back together by a corporation that doesn’t see the difference between man and machine.  I pity him for a second before I ask myself how much of this was his own damned fault.


I get my hand under his pants and give him a hard squeeze. He gasps and strains against me, still trying to get friction from me. I rub his head with my thumb just to frustrate him more. He strains against his tie, trying to get closer. I sit up to enjoy the show.


Words fail him as I stroke slowly. I only speed up for a moment, just to bring him close, then I slow again, drawing it out.


He snarls and snaps at me between moans, struggling to get free. I occasionally have to stop to tighten the tie holding his wrists together. It’s unspeakably attractive the way he looks at me, all wild and crazy, much better than dull commiseration and self-pity.


Have I mentioned how much I enjoy getting a rise out of him?


 He’d fuck me raw right now, if he could, if I’d let him. Someday, I might just let him. I finally lean in to bite his shoulder, leave another little reminder not to screw up the second chance he received via Invisible Inc.


Did I say second? I must have missed a zero somewhere. I tell him this and more as he struggles under me, eyes rolled back or shut tight. His neatly combed hair becomes messy and splayed against the pillow as he tosses around.  I want him to do this while I’m inside him, but I restrain myself. He’s drunk and I’m not about to debase myself. To hear him scream while I’m deep inside him would be pure pleasure, though.


This? This is punishment. And with that, I stop.


“The fuck?!” He tries and fails to keep this going.


I kiss his lips, tasting his teeth and blood, “I think that’s enough. Good night, Decker.”


He curses me angrily as I climb off him and light up another one of his cigarettes. Nasty things made delicious by the fact that they’re another little thing I can take from him. I only smoke around him; it only feels right.


“Fuck you, Raymond!” He snaps.


“First name? I must really be in trouble.” He also likes to get a rise out of people, I’ve noticed. I don’t take the bait. However, he will pay for using my first name when he’s sober and we have some time to ourselves. Instead, I laugh and he curses me again, “I’ll tell you what, Brian, if you beg me enough, maybe I’ll let you.”


He snarls and struggles against the restraints. He doesn’t beg, though, so I’ll give him that.


I do want him, but I won’t act on it while he’s drunk. I want his full attention while he’s straddling my lap, riding me. It’s the least he can do for all the trouble he’s caused.


When he sobers up, he’ll free himself easily; I know that he can. When he’s sober, he’s good at getting out of trouble he inflicts upon himself when he’s drunk. Usually. I put his hat on the dresser, straighten myself out in the mirror, and walk away.