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Through the red tinge that your tactical visor gives the world--and don’t you staunchly do your best to ignore that metaphor--you assess that it would take you exactly twelve seconds to cross the room. It would take you twelve seconds to get from the small pocket of shadow  behind a tall stack of crates, within which you are currently hiding, to the door.

 

The door itself you could charge with your shoulder, and then you could continue down the hallway for seven-point-five seconds before taking the second door on the left towards… well. Not freedom , not exactly. But it should give you enough of a head start to give you a fighting chance, at least.

 

Would.

 

Could.

 

Should.

 

There are too many conditionals in this plan of yours, and it makes you feel uneasy. You’re hyper-conscious of the way that the leather of your gloves creak as you tighten your grip on your pulse rifle.

 

For those twelve seconds, you’ll be out in the open. You’ll have no cover, and you’ll be vulnerable from every angle. Throughout your illustrious and decorated career, you have succeeded at many feats, but even you--the fabled vigilante Soldier 76--can’t outrun a bullet .

 

As silently as you can, you feel around on your belt for where the solid shapes of your biotic field canisters rest. Skimming your fingers over them, catching slightly on their edges, you count three.

 

You can throw one out ahead of you, activate your tactical visor and turn around to cover your escape, in which case it would take you sixteen seconds to get to the door when accounting for your slower pace running backwards. If you shoot your helix rockets as you approaches it, they should give you enough additional inertia to break through...

 

Once again, you are dissatisfied with how many unknown elements are involved in this plan, how much you have to depend on just sheer dumb luck. You’ve lost too many good soldiers that way, thinking that they can skate by on skill and chance alone, without the backbone of a strong strategy to support them.

 

You remember all of their names, all of their faces, even still to this day. You cannot escape them; they haunt you as surely as your past mistakes do. But, you have no time to dwell. You don’t even have the luxury of time to come up with something better. The longer that you stand here for, strategising, the more likely it is that you’ll be discovered--if you haven’t been already.

 

You decide that it’s better to go out firing. Die like the soldier you’ve been practically your whole damn life. It’s not like you aren’t already dead, anyway.

 

Just as you’re about to take a step out of the shadows, a figure materialises right out of goddamn mid-air in the dead centre of your expected trajectory, and looks right at you .

 

Although it’s impossible for you to see the face hiding behind the white mask--and the fact that you, yourself are hiding your own face behind a visor is another metaphor that you refuse to acknowledge--you know that whoever it is is smirking at you.

 

There’s just something in their body language; the way that their shoulders are relaxed, with their hip cocked playfully to the side as they pretend to inspect the claw of a gauntlet.

 

“Well?” The figure croons. “Aren’t you going to come out to play?”

 

You don’t miss the pointed jab, and the goad hits home long enough for your trigger finger to twitch.

 

“This isn’t a game ,” you grunt. Somehow, you had already given your location away, so it’s not like you’re going to lose the element of surprise by responding.

 

The figure chuckles darkly, and the sound resonates within your bones to make you shiver. You don’t join in, instead stepping into a posture better for compensating for the recoil on your pulse rifle.

 

“Aww,” the figure says, clutching a gauntlet to their chest in front of their heart and feigning hurt. “Aren’t you having fun?”

 

“If this is what you call ‘fun,’ I can’t help but feel sorry for your friends. If you have any, that is.”

 

“But Jackie, ” the figure whines, “Don’t you wanna be my friend?”

 

“I told you not to call me that,” you snap. “It ruins--”

 

“It ruins the immersion of the scene,” Gabriel interjects blithely, waving a hand in the air beside his head in a flippant gesture.

 

You sigh and relax your stance, dropping the arm carrying your weapon to your side as you stand.

 

“Listen, we don’t have to do this. If you don’t want to--”

 

“Did I say that?” Gabe interrupts, and you grind your teeth.

 

You ready a retort on the tip of your tongue, but instead redirect your anger through a sharp exhale out of your nose whilst you cover your forehead with your free hand.

 

“You’re not taking this seriously ,” Gabe whinges, his hands on his hips and stomping his foot petulantly.

 

Exactly ,” you say, clicking your fingers and pointing at l’enfant terrible .

 

“How can I, when this dialogue is so awful ?”

 

“Gabe,” you warn, taking a few steps forward so that you can poke your finger against Gabe’s chest.

 

“Jack,” Gabe mocks, waggling his own finger before poking you back.

 

Gabe .”

 

He stands to attention in a full salute.

 

“Are we going to do this, or not?” You huff, endeared despite yourself, and you are grateful for your visor hiding the smile threatening to form at the corners of your mouth.

 

“Oh, I don’t know,” Gabe demurs, stepping back. He turns his mask up to face a moonbeam filtering pitifully through a cracked window.

 

“I just thought I’d have a lovely moonlight stroll to this abandoned warehouse in the middle of nowhere…” He begins to walk around the room with a spring in his step, and swinging his arms alongside.

 

Please, Gabe.”

 

“Okay,” he says, stopping abruptly to turn and stare at you.

 

“Okay?” you ask, hesitantly.

 

Gabe shrugs.

 

“All you had to do was ask.”

 

“All I had to do was--you fucking asshole ,” you grouse as you lift up your rifle and pull the trigger, hip-firing and unleashing your helix rockets at Gabe who disperses into smoke. The rockets shoot through where he was, passing through the wisps to explode against the door, instead.

 

“Hey, don’t blame me, cariño ,” Gabe supplicates, a gaseous shroud with hands in the air. “You were the one that wrote it,” he adds with a shrug, mostly “solid” once more.

 

Really ? We’re back on this?” Your tone is gruff to hide your shame at, well. How correct he is. The dialogue is painfully trite, and you can feel the shells of your ears heat with the blush that is forming.

 

“I’ll make sure to bring it up next time we do one of your scenes,” you retort as you charge at the dark figure in the centre of the room.

 

“Yeah, yeah, less teasing, more fighting,” Gabe says as he splits into two, one half heading in each direction to skirt around you--barely just brushing against your sides and giving you a playful grope on the ass--and sublimates back into form behind you.

 

“That’s not playing fair,” you grumble as you turn around to face him.

 

Gabe places the back of a gauntlet to the forehead of his mask and pretends to swoon.

“Aye, dios mío! I’m being lectured on my manners by Overwatch’s Golden Boy himself!”

 

“That’s not who I am!!” you shout, firing a spray of bullets at Gabe without bothering to aim, and he simply lets them pass through him as an intangible shroud of smoke once more.

 

Gabe chuckles merrily as he approaches you, becoming more and more solid with each passing step. He stops a few feet before you, and hams it up like it’s some kind of goddamn theatre production by holding the sides of his stomach, faking a stitch, and wiping a “tear” away from his eye.

“You can hide behind that mask all you want Jackie , but behind it, you’re still you.

 

You take your visor off, and blink rapidly a few times as your eyes struggle to adjust to no longer having the feed from the tactical visor assisting them. Holding it in your hand, you consider it for a moment, before letting it fall to the floor with a clatter. Looking up at Gabe, your damaged eyes cannot focus beyond a blur of colour as a solitary moonbeam calls his dark form into contrast.

 

You furrow your brow as you try to focus, anyway, and it pulls at the scar bisecting your face.

 

“Says the man wearing an owl mask.”

 

Gabe shrugs, ceding the point.

 

You stare at him for a long moment, before looking down again at the visor by your feet, and wipe your hand over your face.

 

“No, it’s true,” you say, tiredly. Exhaustedly, really. “Look at me. I’m old , Gabe. I’m not the man I once was. Not anymore,” your voice quieting as you speak, barely more than a whisper by the time you conclude your rant.

 

Gabe lets out a manic laugh, one that is shrill and pierces your sensitive ears.

 

“No, see? Same old Jackie, because you have the cojones to complain to me about not being the man you were? I fucking died , Jackie! I’m dead!

 

You set your pulse rifle down on a nearby crate at about hip height, and rub at the back of your neck, looking anywhere but at Gabe--not that you can see anything.

 

“I’m sorry, Gabe,” you eventually venture, after a painfully long moment. “I didn’t think--”

 

“That’s right! You never think…” He trails off into a string of curses too fast for you to catch.

 

But then Gabe deflates, his shoulders curling in on himself. “ Mierda , no. I’m sorry, Jackie. I know that this isn’t how you wanted this to go.”

 

“No, you’re right,” you shrug. “I never think.”

 

You can feel your cheeks heating up now, too, as you continue on, embarrassed.

 

“Look at the mess it’s gotten me into. Disarmed, and all alone in an abandoned warehouse, with someone chasing after me…”

 

Your words startle a laugh out of Gabe, and it’s genuine. Cheerful. It makes something warm bloom in your chest, and you feel like you’re twenty years old again, invincible before the apocalypse with your best friend by your side.

 

“You’re really something, you know that, right?”

 

You look over at him, at Gabe. Your best friend, your sometimes-lover-sometimes-rival these past long years. Even though you cannot see his face under the bone-white blur of his mask, you can imagine the soft smile on his lips. You try to remember what it looked like, once.

 

It was a little thing. Kind of crooked, you think. The only times that you ever saw it, it looked like it was surprised out of him, and the thing blooming in your chest settles into something heavy with guilt.

 

“Listen, are we gonna keep talking about our feelings and hug it out after, or are we going to fight already?” You ask, gruffly, shuffling your feet and toeing your mask with the tip of your boot.

 

“You never seasoned the chicken enough, Jack! Salt is not a spice!”

 

Your head snaps up, and you can feel your useless eyes widen in shock. But then what was said settles in, and your surprise turns to ire.

 

“Goddamnit, that is not what I meant!”

 

You cross your arms in front of you, drumming your fingers on your forearms. It’s mostly just posturing. It used to absolutely terrify the new recruits, but you know that Gabe has always been able to see through it.

“Yeah? Then why don’t you show me?”

 

“Are you asking me to show you how it’s done?”

 

“No, I’m asking you to show me how to do a pirouette.”

 

Quick as a flash, you close the small distance that remains and give Gabe a right-hook straight to the cheek, forcing his head to the side. There was enough force behind it that it lifts Gabe up into the air and his body rotates with the momentum, spinning him around before he slams down onto the cold concrete floor on all fours.

 

“Hmm, not bad,” you pretend to critique, stroking your chin. “Landing could use a little work, though.”

 

“Ouch, that hurts ! Kick a man while he’s down, won’t you?”

 

You throw your head back and laugh, shaking your arm out and shrugging your shoulder.

 

“Well, if you insist. ” You take a step so that you’re standing to Gabe’s left, lift your knee up and…

 

The heel of your boot connects with Gabe’s side, followed by a crunching sound as Gabe’s ribs are broken as even his armor cannot contend with your dubious-governmental-program-enhanced kick at such close quarters. The angle of the impact pushes Gabe off-balance, and rolls him over onto his back.

 

As you withdraw your leg back to yourself, Gabe lets out a wheezing laugh, and his form softens slightly. Thin tendrils of smoke are seeping out and forming a slight mist on the floor.

 

You both know that Gabe let you have that shot; that if Gabe had wanted to, he could have simply ghosted away. The fact that he didn’t do that meant that he wanted you to take it--

 

You quickly fill in the blanks.

 

“Even in death, you’re as dramatic as always, Reyes,” you say while you crouch down beside him.

 

“Me? Dramatic?” Gabe coughs, lying supine upon the ground. You feel one of the tendrils creeping up your calf, stroking the backside of your knee. “I’m not the one who picked this warehouse.”

 

“I wanted somewhere iso--”

 

“Isolated, and secluded. I know.” Gabe rolls onto his side, and props himself up on an elbow. “You didn’t want anyone to find out about your dirty little secret,” he says, extending his free arm to coyly trace patterns on your chest.

 

You huff, indignantly, trying to focus on the arm-tentacle-thing and what it might be writing upon your heart.

 

Suddenly, you are being crowded against a nearby crate, the wood unyielding at your back. Suddenly, Gabe is right there , crowding you in, his mask off, the dark blood on his feral grin a stark contrast to the mottled pallor of his face.

 

“A lesser man might think that he was the dirty little secret, Jackie.”

 

“No, no, that’s not--” you hasten to say as Gabe’s gauntleted hand traces a coquettish trail from your shoulder to wrap around your neck. You swallow heavily, and can feel the cold metal press against your skin as your adam’s apple bobs with it.

 

“After twenty years, and only being asked to meet in the shadows, for sordid, shameful trysts…”

 

You reach up to grasp Gabe’s wrist with your hands, and Gabe lifts you up off the ground enough that you can barely scrabble for purchase on the tips of his toes.

 

“That’s not what this is about,” you hiss out on your remaining breath.

 

Gabe flicks your forehead with his other hand and it stings, dammit, so you wince and twitch backwards. Of course, you have no room to twitch, so the back of your head thunks against the wooden crate.

 

Gabe huffs out a soft laugh that wafts over your overheated cheek, the cold draft tickling.

 

“Of course it’s not, cabrón . Because we both know that I am a bigger man than that,” Gabe continues, as he insidiously slides a thigh between both of yours, and gently lowers you on to it.

 

Gabe strokes your throat with the back of a clawed finger, and nudges your chin up and to the side so that you are forced to only observe him through a blur in the corner of your eye. Gabe himself leans in to barely place his mouth against where your pulse is quivering rapidly.

 

“And that you’re a dirty fucking slut ,” he speaks against your skin, his lips fluttering in a parody of a kiss with each word.

 

You whine between clenched teeth, canting your hips to try and seek some friction up against Gabe’s, and Gabe bites down.

DECLAN DON’T READ AFTER THIS UNLESS YOU WANT TO KNOW STUFF ABOUT ME YOU CAN GET AWAY WITH NEVER KNOWING

 

***

You buck your hips up into the air even as you bite down on your lip, swallowing back a hiss. You’re so hard that it aches , so fat and blood-gorged that it feels like your cock will explode where it rests upon your belly if you can’t come soon. But you’ve already come twice, and even with your SEP stamina and refractory period, well. You are getting old.

 

The reason why you’re so hard--the shadowy spectre in front of you, all around you, enveloping you and subsuming you totally--just chuckles. The ass.

 

You’re about to hurl off an insult, but then the tendril wrapped around your throat tightens and all you can let out is a strangled hiss.

 

You tug at the tenebrous tendrils holding your wrists down to the arms of the chair, and the restraints hold you tighter still. Now, you’re left with absolutely no room to struggle in your bondage, lest you subject yourself to the cruel bite of the wooden arms against the sensitive flesh of your wrists.

 

A thin tendril of solid smoke, barely wider than a finger, strokes along the bottom of your shaft up from your balls and dips into your foreskin. It runs around beneath the delicate skin in a counterclockwise motion, and your cock twitches when the tip of the tendril collects the droplet of incandescent, pearlescent fluid that is lazily lolling from your slit.

 

You groan deep in your throat as the bead is smoothed across your ruddy cockhead, and it feels like all of your nerves have been set alight, with the tip of your cock as the point of ignition. It’s too much, and yet still not enough to just come .

 

The flames meander down your cock in a zig-zagging pattern as the tendril traces its path along one of the more prominent veins upon your member. The pressure is little more than a tickle, a tease, but it still has you grinding your teeth together against the onslaught of sensation and to stop you from totally surrendering to the pleasure. All he’d have to do would be to eke out one little word… Please .

 

Instead, you curl your hands into fists, and the leather of your gloves creaks.

 

When the tendril reaches your taut sac, it gently nestles one of the full globes, rolling it around as if between two fingers. It lifts you meditatively, as if weighing it, and then squeezes and twists . Somewhere along the way from your balls to your brain, the sharp jolt of pain had become a spark of pleasure instead, and you groan again as your cock twitches.

 

The tendril releases its capricious grip to caress your poor, abused nut. It’s barely but a feather-light kiss against the neatly-trimmed thatch of silver hair, and you huff a pant out through your nose.

 

“Oh, you liked that, huh?” Your assailant asks, disinterestedly, from a place over your shoulder next to your ear and between your legs all at the same time. “You’re such a little slut .”

 

Somehow, it’s the lack of derision that gets to you the most: that you are so far beneath even the dirt under your assailant’s boots, that you’re not even worth his scorn; even though you are a sweaty, panting mess, covered in your own come, even though you’re still practically begging for more abuse.

 

But you can’t let him know that. You may be a slut, who’s gotten off from having his nipples tweaked and pinched, from having his greedy ass stuffed full to bursting, but you still have pride .

 

You petulantly turn your head to the side in lieu of an answer, not that your useless eyes can see anything, leaving you completely at the mercy of your onslaught. You feel a thicker tendril cup your cheek and force your face to turn back to face in front of you and you gasp as you suddenly notice where the tendril around your testicles has thickened and twisted and twined its way around your full, entire scrotum.

 

It’s just a wisp of smoke at first, but it steadily begins to apply more and more pressure. It’s… bearable, for now. It’s enough to distract you from the tight coil deep in your belly, the way that your cock feels as heavy as the stone that Sisyphus was cursed to roll.

 

But eventually the pressure begins to be too much, and so you reflexively resist by struggling impotently against your nebulous bonds. However, the more you flex your arms and kick your feet, the stronger the pressure becomes. If your cock didn’t already hurt from how full, from how flush , it was, the tight grip on your balls surely would bring you to tears--

 

Oh. It had . What little vision you do have is going watery with unshed tears, and you try to rapidly blink them away. The shock of the realisation had made you stop struggling against your bonds, and the grip on your sac has lessened enough to allow you to a heave a great shuddering breath.

 

If it sounded more like a sob, well. What’s one more secret to take to the grave?

 

“Such a shame,” the voice says, almost disappointed. “You were being such a good little slut for me.”

 

You whine, but halfway through the tendril around your throat tightens in the shadowy promise of a threat.

 

“Yes, good. Just like that,” the voice seems to murmur directly into your ear before the tendrils around your sac start squeezing again. The greep is so strong it feels like every single atom is being compressed down into a quantum singularity, and there’s so much pressure and--

 

Another tendril flicks your shaft, just below the head, where the foreskin begins and your whole body twitches as you yelp.

 

You feel tears sliding down your face as you gasp in all the air that you can, and everything is just so much . The cold air on your overheated skin, the sound of your heartbeat thudding in your ears, the smell of your sweat and spend leaving the air with a salty, acrid tang--all of it just serves to compound how oversensitised each individual nerve ending in your cock is.

 

You feel rare, rubbed absolutely raw down to the barest essence of yourself and then another tendril wraps itself around the base of your cock and squeezes . Your cock feels fit to burst but there’s nowhere for the pressure to go so you buck your hips wildly into the air, trying to find something, anything .

 

You sob again. In frustration, in desperation, and your mouth opens wide because you can’t seem to get enough air as each shudder wracks through your body.

 

The gloaming grasp around your cock pulls and pumps up your shaft as your balls are tugged down. The grip is much too tight, and for all that it seems to be made out of smoke, the friction burns and you hiccough out a maniac giggle. It’s a slow drag up your shaft, each millimeter seeming to take a millennia.

 

There’s a cruel twist just under your glans that pulls painfully at your foreskin and you were wrong so wrong you’re not going to be compressed down into a quantum singularity, you’re going to be torn apart . Your sac is being pulled away from your shaft, and your foreskin being pulled up and off of your poor, mistreated member, and you don’t know whether to try and wiggle further down into your seat to alleviate the pain in your scrotum or your foreskin by thrusting upwards.

 

You’re hyperventilating now, and the voice hums happily. There is a gentle sweep over the top of your cockhead which you suppose--in a distant part of your brain because you’ve lost all of your higher functions--is meant to be a conciliatory gesture but you just hurt.. So, so much and your head would fall back, if not for the grip on the back of your head to rest on.

 

You don’t even notice the small tendril wiggling its way into your slit until it’s about halfway down your cock. You feel so full , and the pressure around you is so tight , and you’re awash in these seemingly contradictory sensations.

 

Somehow, you manage to wheeze out a laugh at the way that the tendril inside your cock seems at odds with all of the others on him--it’s almost tentatively thrusting in and out of him, the bellows blowing to stoke the fire that’s been roaring in his gut. The blaze builds higher and higher each time the tendril pulls out to delve back deep inside.

 

Your chin feels wet and it takes you a moment to realise that it’s because you’ve been drooling. You go to wipe it off with the back of your hand but--oh. That’s right. Your hands are bound to the arms of the chair. You forgot, because you were so distracted by the… muchness of each pump on your cock, each thrust inside it, each tug on your balls.

 

Then it’s too much.

 

Too too much.

 

Some, long-dormant shred of self-preservation instinct forces itself out of your mouth on a breath.

 

“Winston.”

 

The tendrils all stop, and then in contrast to the too too too much, there’s nothing.

 

There’s no pressure on your sac, around the base of your shaft or around your throat.

 

Your first full breath of air causes you to cough, and as you instinctively lean forwards in your chair, you feel a pat on the back.

 

Then, nothing.

 

“What was that?” Gabe asks, though you know that he heard. He’s just giving you a moment’s rest, in case that was all that you needed.

 

But it’s not enough. You need to stop .

 

“Winston,” you say again, and then you’re being restrained again but in a different fashion. You’re not being held against a chair, you’re being cradled against Gabe’s chest.

 

A tendril is gently stroking your cheek, and you let your head flop against Gabe’s collarbone because it’s easier than holding your head up yourself. All the fight has left you and you’re just left… worn out.

 

“Good,” Gabe murmurs, softly, and you sigh in response.