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For Mercutio, it had started- predictably, he would muse later- with a game taken too far. The summer was long and hot, the days stretching into infinite golden hazes they couldn't fill. The game had been Mercutio's idea: a challenge to see who the best thief was. It started small, with Mercutio lithely swinging his long limbs into a tree and stealing apples from the orchard. He had smiled down crookedly at Romeo and Benvolio, winking confidently as he bit into the crisp, bitter fruit.


But then Benvolio had surprised them when he had snuck into the Capulets' home and taken some wine from the cellar; the game had grown more serious. The three young men sat watching a glorious sunset, laughing as they shared the stolen wine. It tasted all the sweeter for having been taken from the enemy.


Mercutio had retaliated (and reclaimed his crown in the game) by stealing a handkerchief from one of the Capulet maids, a pretty thing who tumbled into bed with him without much persuasion. Although it was unspoken, it was clear to the three participants that the Capulets were the target of the game.


Romeo stole the handkerchief from Mercutio and passed it back to the maid, who was so grateful that she tumbled into bed with him as well, and from her Romeo stole a soft, silken petticoat. Mercutio had laughed and congratulated Romeo, but knew he had to come up with something exceptional to reclaim his title.


The answer presented itself the following afternoon, when Tybalt Capulet and his assorted followers had approached Mercutio and the Montagues in the town square. It seemed that the Capulets had resorted to filling in the boredom of the summer with violence instead of the games favoured by Mercutio. However, when he felt Tybalt’s dark eyes filled with intensity and bloodlust trained on him, he couldn’t help but grin- he was not opposed to a good fight, although he preferred a battle of wit to a sword fight- and step forward. Tybalt and Mercutio loathed each other. Although technically Mercutio, as Prince Escalus’ nephew, was a neutral party in the ongoing feud between the houses of Verona, it was well-known that Mercutio had thrown his allegiance in with the Montagues. He had scrapped with Tybalt a great many times.


The two men eyed each other, measuring each other up. Mercutio was the longer and leaner, whereas Tybalt was short and muscular, his strength a good challenge for Mercutio’s speed. Tybalt’s dark curls framed his face. His skin glinted the colour of coffee in the sunlight.


Romeo was shouting something at one of the other Capulets, but Mercutio couldn’t tear his eyes away from the glowering face of the Prince of Cats. He enjoyed sparring with the bad-tempered man, perhaps more than he should.


Tybalt’s face split into a grin, mirroring Mercutio’s expression, although his was cold and cruel. It made Mercutio’s stomach twist uncomfortably. “Good Mercutio,” he sneered.


“Prince of Cats,” Mercutio returned, forcing himself to raise a sardonic eyebrow. Suddenly, he knew what he was going to steal; he could see it settled against the black-clad thigh of Tybalt, within reach of the long fingers that were resting near, ready to uncoil and attack. Tybalt’s knife.


Around them, the fight was beginning to break out- Benvolio dodging punches from a stocky cousin of Tybalt’s while Romeo wrestled a man much larger than himself to the ground. Mercutio was suddenly very aware of the fact that neither he nor Tybalt glanced away from each other, Tybalt’s brown eyes never leaving Mercutio’s. They stepped towards each other without speaking, as if a magnet was pulling them together.


“Have you nothing better to do with your time than to loiter with the Montague fools?” Tybalt asked softly.


“Have you nothing better to do with your time than to provoke people into fighting with you?”


“That may be the most hypocritical thing I’ve ever heard you utter,” Tybalt snarled.


“I prefer wit, not fists, if there is a choice to be had,” Mercutio returned. “I cannot deny that I live for the thrill of provoking those less intelligent than myself.”


Tybalt flushed, clearly thinking of the last time they had come to blows. Mercutio had mocked him, laughed at him and provoked him into a temper.


“There isn’t a choice,” Tybalt snarled. “I want to punch you. I want to watch you bleed.” There was something raw about the words, something that burned violently in his eyes, that made Mercutio shiver; yet, he couldn’t help but swallow uncomfortably as he felt himself grow aroused.


Mercutio was a complicated man, and he was prone to telling lies and keeping secrets. However, there was no greater secret than his desire for Tybalt. It had been there for some years now, and as the young Capulet had blossomed into a hard-lined, wicked-eyed man, it had grown worse. It was no secret that Mercutio enjoyed the company of men as well as women, but he didn’t think he could explain his desire for Tybalt to Romeo. His fantasies were dark and depraved; he sometimes wondered what Tybalt would think if he knew that their fighting inspired quite inappropriate feelings in the Prince’s nephew.


The two men were close enough to touch now, both bobbing lightly on their feet, preparing to take the first blow. It was Tybalt who swung first, a heavy fist that was easily dodged by the taller man. He swung again, but Mercutio ducked lightly under his arm and caught the Prince of Cats by the collar of his leather jacket. Their faces were mere inches away, and this close Mercutio could feel the hot, heavy breathing of Tybalt.


The two men stared at each other, neither moving, and everything in Mercutio’s world was that pair of dark, vicious eyes. Tybalt smelled of cloves and cinnamon, spicy and warm. Mercutio’s eyes flickered down to his enemy’s lips.


“Enough!” Tybalt cried suddenly, stepping out of Mercutio’s grasp.


The Capulets disengaged, stalking away, and Mercutio glanced at his friends. Romeo was sporting a bloody nose and Benvolio had a swollen eye. The pair of them gawked openly at Mercutio.


“Unhurt after a fight with Tybalt Capulet,” Romeo breathed. “I never thought I would see the day.”


“Not unhurt,” Mercutio muttered to himself, staring at the dark back of Tybalt as he strode off.


He didn’t think of the knife again until later that evening when the three of them were sitting outside a pub, drinking dry, amber-coloured beer. He had been lost in his own thoughts for most of the afternoon, troubled by what had happened.


“I’m still winning,” Romeo said suddenly.


Mercutio forced a smile. “I have a plan, dearest Romeo. Do not fret.”


Going after the knife was a damn stupid idea. For some reason, Tybalt was constantly attached to it, even though he had trained with guns and swords. The only way to get the knife would be to break into Tybalt’s chamber when he was either sleeping or at an event where the knife would have to be left unworn. He might be the Prince’s nephew, but he was fairly certain that breaking into Tybalt Capulet’s chamber was a suicide mission for just about anybody.


Mercutio had often fantasised about those strong hands wrapped around his throat, but actually dying at Tybalt’s hands was not an appealing prospect.


However, Mercutio liked a good game and liked nothing better than winning. If he took Tybalt’s knife, the game would be over, for there was nothing that could be stolen that would be more impressive.


So it was that the following night Mercutio Escalus climbed the ivy that clung to the side of the Capulet house and lightly swung his legs onto the balcony he was fairly certain belonged to the Prince of Cats. It was dark, and the room inside the glass doors was unlit. Perching on his knees for a moment, Mercutio listened to the party thumping downstairs. He had been invited to it himself, but had opted to take the opportunity to steal the knife. Tybalt would not be wearing it at a family party.


Mercutio was clad only in jeans and a black t-shirt, his freckled feet bare. It was a balmy night and he was more confident he could be quiet without shoes. A thin sheen of sweat coated his neck from his climb up the house.


He rose silently and opened the door, unsurprised to find it unlocked. The first thing he was aware of was the clove and cinnamon scent of Tybalt hitting his nose, so intense and delicious that Mercutio had to keep from groaning in delight. Really, his infatuation was getting quite ridiculous.


It was dark inside the room, and it took Mercutio’s eyes a few moments to adjust. He could just about make out the huge, imposing shape of the bed. He blinked, trying to focus, then stepped forward, heading for the dressing table.


Surprisingly, Tybalt was not the tidiest man. Mercutio had pictured his chamber to be immaculate, perfectly organised, but this was not the case. The surface of the dressing table was cluttered, as was the seat of the chair pushed up beside it. Mercutio sank to his knees instead, rummaging about. His fingers found a silky tie and he held it pensively, wondering for a moment if this would do.


He had a sudden, burning desire to raise the tie to his face and inhale Tybalt’s scent, and he forced the idea down, concentrating hard.


Perhaps that was why he didn’t hear Tybalt sneaking up behind him until he felt the cold metal of the knife he had come to steal press up against his throat.


Strong fingers covered his mouth. Mercutio was terrified, absolutely unarmed and at the mercy of a man who openly loathed him. He still couldn’t help but think that it was somewhat superfluous to cover the mouth a man against whose throat one was holding a knife, and he would not have been able to stop himself blurting out a cutting comment if he could. So overall, perhaps it was for the best.


“Escalus,” growled Tybalt. He was kneeling behind Mercutio, and the word was accompanied by hot breath against Mercutio’s ear. “I assume there is some good reason why you are sneaking into my bedchamber without any shoes, apparently stealing my ties.”


God help him. The words vibrating against his ear, the feeling of Tybalt’s fingers covering his mouth, the utter helplessness of this situation…. Mercutio was aroused. He gave a tentative wriggle against Tybalt’s fingers, the sensible side of him hoping he would be released, but then Capulet surprised him by using the hand over his face to pull him further back, so that Mercutio’s back was flush to Tybalt’s chest, Tybalt’s face suddenly visible out the corner of Mercutio’s eye, looming over his shoulder.


“You’re a rogue. A villain.” The words were all but whispered into Mercutio’s ear, and damn it all, he moaned gently against Tybalt’s fingers.


Mercutio felt Tybalt breathe in, surprised. For a moment he expected Tybalt to push him away, disgusted, or to simply cut his throat. However, Tybalt suddenly chuckled, a smoky sound that sent a delicious shiver down Mercutio’s spine.


“I should have known,” he purred, and although Mercutio could hardly see his face, he could taste the grin his enemy was wearing. “I should have known you’d be fucked up. That you’d like it like this.”


This was too much. Mercutio shouldn’t- couldn’t- submit like this. His cheeks were burning with mortification, his arousal pressing painfully against his jeans. He made a protesting noise against the fingers, tried again to free his face, but Tybalt pressed the knife more firmly against his skin, digging into the point where he was almost drawing blood. Mercutio stilled.


“Don’t think I wouldn’t do it.” Tybalt trailed a hot line with the end of his pointed tongue down the side of Mercutio’s throat, making him tremble helplessly. “In fact, I know you don’t think that. That’s why you’re so fucking turned on. I’ve seen the way you look at me- I saw it yesterday. You want me.”


Tybalt’s fingers slid away from his mouth, and whatever cutting retort Mercutio had expected himself to give, it died as Tybalt pressed their mouths together in a crushing kiss, fingers tangling in Mercutio’s hair and holding his head at an uncomfortable angle. The knife still pressed to his throat, Mercutio groaned as Tybalt kissed him, forcing his mouth open and savagely pressing his tongue into his mouth.


“I thought you were at the party,” Mercutio said, dully, as their lips came apart. Later, he would look back at those words and hate himself for the missed opportunities for wit, but truly, at this moment, his brain was a fog of fear, arousal and confusion.


Tybalt smirked cruelly, and pulled away the knife to slap Mercutio roughly. Mercutio tasted blood, and although it wasn’t the first time he had been hit by Tybalt, it was the first time that he had allowed himself to whimper desperately in response. “I didn’t say you could speak, Escalus,” Tybalt said, returning his hand to Mercutio’s mouth and the knife to his throat.


Mercutio closed his eyes. His face was burning with shame.


“What is it about me that you like, Mercutio?” Tybalt murmured into his ear. “I’ve certainly never been nice to you. Is it the fear that you like? You’re scared now, aren’t you?” Mercutio nodded, earning himself a sharp nip to the earlobe. “I knew you’d be fucked up,” Tybalt repeated.”I bet I could get you off without even fucking touching you, just holding this knife to your throat and talking to you.”


Mercutio was willing to bet that he could, too; his hands, still holding Tybalt’s tie, were balled into white-knuckled fists. He became aware of them just at the same moment as Tybalt did, and he heard another cruel chuckle.


“I’m going to move my hand and the knife,” Tybalt growled. “If you move, if you make a sound, I’ll hurt you.”


Mercutio believed him, and the thought aroused him further. He nodded enthusiastically, gasping for air as the fingers were removed from his face. Tybalt trailed the knife down to the collar of the t-shirt and Mercutio swallowed.


“Not a word,” Tybalt reminded him. “Not a sound.”


He sliced the front of Mercutio’s shirt open expertly, a casual flick of his wrist that should have terrified Mercutio, especially considering the fact that Tybalt was sat behind him and didn’t really have the best angle to see what he was doing. The shirt was peeled away and Mercutio felt his nipples harden in the sudden coolness.


The knife was suddenly gone, and Tybalt reached around him to bind his wrists with the tie. Mercutio bit down hard on his bloodied lip to keep from groaning aloud.


“Good boy,” Tybalt whispered. The words should have outraged Mercutio, but instead he shivered against Tybalt, pressing back into the hardness that told him that Tybalt was just as fucked up as he was.


Tybalt turned Mercutio’s chin so that Mercutio was staring into his dark, cruel eyes.


“What do you want?” Tybalt asked.


Mercutio closed his eyes, ashamed, unable to ask.


“Look at me,” Tybalt ordered softly.


Mercutio forced himself to hold that intense, burning glare. “Hurt me,” he begged quietly.


Tybalt could not mask his surprise at the request. One of his angular eyebrows arched as he surveyed the bloodied man kneeling for him with hands bound, the man he considered an enemy begging him to inflict horrors on him.


“You’ve thought about this,” Tybalt breathed, fingers now wrapping around Mercutio’s throat, clenching tightly. “You’ve thought about me hurting you, then fucking you. Jesus fucking Christ, Escalus.” There was genuine disgust in his tone, disdain flashing in his eyes, and it made Mercutio moan desperately.


The two men looked at each other, both breathing shallowly, both desperately aroused. Tybalt squeezed Mercutio’s throat, and the taller man did nothing to stop him, made no attempt to get free.


The power was clearly intoxicating for Tybalt.


“Beg me to hurt you,” he ordered.


Mercutio whimpered. It was exhilarating and freeing to give up control, but terrifying to submit to Tybalt. "Please," he begged. "Please hurt me."


That earned him a sharp slap, and he could feel the burning blood pouring down his chin as the agony subsided, leaving in its place overwhelming desire. He looked greedily at Tybalt, half petrified and half desperate for more. He was ashamed of himself.


"Fuck," Tybalt said. "I've always loved watching you bleed, Mercutio."


Mercutio felt a tear break free and trail down his cheek. He sniffled.


"I've always wanted to break you," Tybalt murmured, leaning forward and licking the blood from Mercutio's chin, "but I never imagined this would be how."


He knotted his fingers in Mercutio's hair and yanked him painfully to his feet, dragging him over to the bed and throwing him down on his front. With his hands knotted before him, Mercutio was powerless to move. He was tempted to scrabble to his feet and flee, but he remained still, and it occurred to him that he was desperately waiting for Tybalt's praise.


"Good boy," Tybalt repeated in a lazy drawl. Mercutio heard him unfastening his belt and jeans, the soft sounds of clothes pooling to the floor. He expected to feel his own jeans pulled away next, and gasped in surprise when the hot leather of Tybalt's belt was wrapped around his neck and pulled tightly, choking him so hard that for a moment he saw stars.


"Please..." He choked the word out, desperately. His hands still bound, he couldn't reach up to loosen the belt. If Tybalt wanted to kill him, there was nothing he could do.


Tybalt loosened the belt slightly, sliding onto the bed and along Mercutio, pressing his mouth to his captive's ear. "What is wrong, Mercutio?" The words were gentle, a cruel mockery. "Is it too much? Should I stop?"


"No," gasped Mercutio. "Do it... Touch me. Please." He was wanton, begging. He had never fallen so low.


Tybalt laughed. "Beg more. Beg harder."


Mercutio moaned. His arousal was painful, intense; he had never been as turned on. "Please... Tybalt. Please fuck me. Please hurt me. Choke me, bite me... Please, my Lord, please..."


Somewhere deep inside Mercutio knew it had been 'my Lord' that had done it. He heard a growling sound come from Tybalt, then the knife- the fucking knife he had come to steal- was back, trailing low down his exposed back, then around to the buttons of his jeans. With the knife pressed firmly against Mercutio's throbbing dick, Tybalt sliced the jeans open and yanked them down. They got stuck on his thighs, making it impossible for him to wriggle free at all.


Tybalt sat back a moment, and there was a quiet laugh as he surveyed his prisoner. Then he reached around and wrapped his fingers around Mercutio's arousal, causing Mercutio to let out a strangled half-sob of relief. Tybalt tugged on the belt around his neck and, as Mercutio started to struggle for breath, he pumped Mercutio steadily.


"Let's see what comes first," Tybalt chuckled. "You, or your untimely death."


His cold detached humour was such a fucking turn-on, and even as he started to see stars, Mercutio was aware that he was begging incomprehensibly at Tybalt. "Please, please, please, oh god, please..."


Mercutio came into Tybalt's hand, screaming as best he could as he got his relief.


Tybalt loosened the belt slightly and shoved his sticky fingers into Mercutio's mouth. Mercutio licked himself from those fingers without thought.


"Say thank you," Tybalt hissed.


"Thank you, my Lord," Mercutio replied, the taste of his own blood mingling with the salty tang of his seed.


Tybalt laughed. "I wish you could see yourself. You're fucking disgusting. Kneeling on your enemy's bed, hands tied up, belt around throat, your own come and blood running down your face. You still want fucking more, don't you?"


"Yes," whispered Mercutio, ashamed.


"I'm going to fucking ruin you, Escalus."


Mercutio heard Tybalt rummaging around, then felt an oil-slick finger shove cruelly into his entrance. He cried out, startled and unprepared, and this earned him a vicious bite on his shoulder blade.


"Hush," Tybalt said, in the soothing tones of a lover, a sick mockery of his actions. He yanked tightly on the belt again as he rammed a second finger in.


"Fuck me," babbled Mercutio uselessly, bucking back against the fingers, already growing hard again.


Tybalt groaned and the fingers were gone, replaced with his burning length, which he pushed in forcefully. It was exquisite agony, and Mercutio moaned.


Tybalt pulled hard on the belt as he fucked Mercutio mercilessly. Mercutio closed his eyes, his face pressed into the pillow. He had never been so degraded.


Before he came a second time, he wondered abstractly if this was the best night of his life.


Tybalt finished silently, spilling his load inside Mercutio. He was breathing hard, and Mercutio could feel Capulet's sweaty skin against his.


Wordlessly, Tybalt removed his belt from Mercutio's throat and dropped it to the floor. He rolled Mercutio onto his back with hands that seemed almost tentative now, and a slice of the knife slashed the tie and freed Mercutio's wrists. The two men eyed each other, Tybalt clearly wary in case Mercutio swung for him.


Mercutio was too sated and exhausted for such an undertaking, and honestly the thought barely crossed his mind. He was concentrating on Tybalt's dark eyes, eyes which had always been so cruel, eyes which were now glowing gently.


"Tybalt," Mercutio said, and it wasn't what he intended to say, but the word came tumbling out.


Tybalt sighed as he realised he wasn't in imminent danger, and he surprised Mercutio by leaning back against the pillows and pulling Mercutio with him. If it had been between any other people, it might have been described as a hug.


Mercutio closed his eyes, pressing his ruined face to Tybalt's chest and breathing in his delicious scent.


"I'm..." Tybalt started to speak, then stopped, an uncertain hand curling gently into Mercutio's hair.


"Don't apologise," Mercutio managed against the firm muscle of Tybalt's chest. "After all, I'm at least partially responsible for the horrors you inflicted on me when I begged you to do it."


"You're wrong." A pause, and then Mercutio could hear the grin in Tybalt's voice. "I wasn't going to apologise."


Mercutio grinned in spite of himself.


"Stay there," Tybalt said, and although it was an order, it was the softest thing he had ever said to Mercutio.


He moved from the bed and disappeared into the bathroom, returning with a bowl of water and a flannel. Mercutio had been startled by the strange turn the evening had taken, but he had never been more surprised than he was when Tybalt wiped his face carefully, cleaning the mess from his chin.


Mercutio stared into Tybalt's focused brown eyes, unsure what he was looking for in their depths.


"I should go," he said finally, as Tybalt set the bowl aside.


"We should talk," Tybalt said. He climbed back onto the bed and wrapped his muscular arm around Mercutio.


Mercutio could accept that Tybalt Capulet had fucked him after beating him and generally terrifying him, but it was hard to accept that his enemy was snuggling into him after the kinkiest sex of his life, telling him that they should talk.


"This seems superfluous now, but why were you here? I'm assuming you didn't actually come to seduce me."


"I can't say it was my primary goal, although the thought has crossed my mind on occasion, Prince of Cats."


Tybalt laughed. "Then why?"


"I'm telling you this because I think that even you are too honourable to gut a man after tying him up and fucking him. I came to steal your knife."




Mercutio let out an involuntary laugh. This all seemed so ridiculous now. "To win a game."


"I can only assume the game is with the Montagues."


"I'd say I was impressed and surprised by your deductive skills, but I'm too afraid that you would strangle me."


"You'd beg me to do it." The words were silky, and Mercutio shivered, but there was also a note of surprise. "I can't believe you like that stuff."


"Lots of people like it," Mercutio shrugged.


“Lots of people like it with people they trust,” Tybalt replied. He was toying with Mercutio’s hair and he seemed uncertain. “We’re not even strangers, Mercutio. We hate each other.”


Mercutio clicked his tongue. “I don’t usually trust you,” he mused, “and to be honest I didn’t entirely trust you tonight, but I mostly did.” He chuckled ruefully.


“What happens now?” Tybalt asked.


The question was one which Mercutio did not expect to be asked, because really, what could happen now? He hadn’t allowed any trace of those thoughts to enter his mind, but now that Tybalt had begun this conversation, Mercutio felt his heart begin to race in his chest.


Tybalt took his thoughtful silence as rejection, and he stiffened. “It’s fine if you want this to be a one-time thing- I think we need to avoid each other-”


“Tybalt,” Mercutio interrupted, looking directly at him. He raised shaking fingers to Tybalt’s jaw and traced the dark stubble there. “I have no idea how we’ll work something out between us, but I’d really like to do this again.”


Tybalt grinned wickedly. “I bet you would.”



Tybalt woke the next day feeling warm and content. The headache that had kept him from the Capulet party had all but disappeared. He opened his eyes to smile over at Mercutio, but frowned when he realised that his companion had left.


There was a note on the pillow. Tybalt felt a sinking feeling as he reached for it, wondering if Mercutio had changed his mind.


Dearest Prince of Cats,


Thank you for a lovely evening. I’ve taken the knife. You’re more than welcome to try to persuade me to return it this evening. I must warn you that I’m very likely to be turned on by any threats of violence against my person by you.



Tybalt chuckled and leaned back against the pillows. The hours of the day could not pass quickly enough.