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As Our Guards Came Down

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Shalnark isn't the one who decides where and when. He's leaning against the armrest of the old, battered couch Uvo is sitting on, his feet lightly propped in Uvo's lap while he taps away at his phone, when Uvo's voice cuts into his reverie. Uvo is the one to propose that hey, maybe they should do that thing they do.

They had both decided that way would be more fair.

Shalnark is still the one who has the final say, staring down at the game he's been playing instead of immediately giving his response. If he thinks it's a bad time, or isn't feeling it, or for some unfathomable reason happens not to have his needles on him, he is able to refuse, and that's simply the end of it.

To date, Shalnark has never refused.

His stomach tenses and his arms flex, as he rolls to sit upright. With the tap of a finger, his game closes out, his phone momentarily forgotten as he drops it into his lap. The usual little smile blossoms brightly across his face.

"Of course," he says, simple as breathing. "I'm always happy to play a game with you."

He slides into Uvo's lap like an eel, quick and sinuous, the needle for his nen hovering between two fingers in his upraised hand. It's a position he likes – Uvo's thighs are broad and sturdy, the span of them almost too great for Shalnark to sit astride. He has to stretch his own legs widely open to bookend Uvo's with his knees, but once he has, that's Uvo's power underneath him, Uvo's familiar bulk serving as a proffered seat. There's nothing threatening about Uvo's strength, to him. All of those muscles are only a comfort instead.

"Tell me when you're ready," Shalnark says, adhering to their routine.

Uvo has his arms at his sides, his large hands spread open against the couch cushions with their palms turned up. He feels calm enough, as Shalnark's thighs squeeze him lightly like a jockey in the saddle, more so than the last time they played this game. He rolls his eyes, and Shalnark cheerily pretends he didn't see.

"I'm ready," Uvo says, and he's got that gruff bluster going that his voice sometimes holds.

That's alright, Shalnark won't call him on it. He knows that Uvo likes this, no matter how he grumbles even at Shalnark's most basic rules. He is the one who asks for it, every time. Shalnark brushes the backs of his fingers against the side of Uvo's neck, a gentle caress, and sinks the needle in. From his place atop the larger man, he has the perfect vantage point to watch as Uvo's jaw goes slack, as his eyes go soft and misty. That look alone is enough to spark Shalnark's satisfaction, as it does every time he puts someone under.

He knows Uvo is still in there, though, and Uvo is different. He holds his phone up in front of Uvo's face, tilting it back and forth so that even Uvo's sluggishly churning hindbrain will take note of an object dangled before him. Here it is – Shalnark's control, his means with which to make all his little puppets dance. He could do that to Uvo, and it's not as if he hasn't before, but he thinks that won't be what he does with his toy today.

Shalnark tosses his phone aside, gently chucking it onto the far couch cushion with enough precision to prove he's not lacking in care. His hands cup Uvo's face, a calloused palm pressed to each square cheek, his fingers spreading up until they splay around Uvo's ears. His touch is light, thumbs gently stroking around Uvo's mouth, handling him as if he were the finest of china.

Right now, if he punched Uvo hard across the jaw with all of his weight behind it, Uvo wouldn't do a single thing to defend himself.

Instead, Shalnark leans his head down, presses a kiss to Uvo's brow just right of center. He'd hardly make a dent anyway, just from one punch, but it's the intent that matters. Between the grasping of his legs and the clasping of his hands, Uvo is entirely powerless. He's helpless as a kitten, and Shalnark understands the fragile, bare-bones truth of that – this is a gift, a form of weakness entrusted to his protection.

Within his control Uvogin is precious, is transformed into a possession prized more highly than any toy Shalnark has had before. He's played with so many tawdry tin soldiers, cheap vessels that were so easy to break, so easy to replace. Uvo is irreplaceable.

"I'm not feeling like pressing any buttons today," he says, slowly enough that Uvo's molasses-choked mind will still be able to follow. "Let's see what else you're good for."

He lets go of Uvo's face, letting one hand slide down Uvo's neck to brace against the man's shoulder. He presses all the closer, curling his other arm around Uvo's neck and reaching his fingers up into Uvo's long, thick hair. They tangle there without Shalnark trying to get a good hold, caught easily by the snarled mess of Uvo's hair. Shalnark knows very well that Uvo makes no effort to comb it on his own.

"You don't seem very well cared for," he whispers into Uvo's ear. "I think I'll fix that."

He starts with finger-combing, loosely working his fingers through the locks of Uvo's hair beginning at the very bottom. It's slow going, but Shalnark is at peace with that. It's a tactile experience, satisfying in a similar way to pressing the buttons on his phone or gripping the shoulders of a game controller. Progress is finite, as with any game, knots at the bottom coming loose and allowing him to progress farther into Uvo's mane of unruly hair.

Shalnark could fist his hand in that thick hair, right near the scalp where his hold would be firm, could yank Uvo's head back until his throat is a bare, vulnerable curve. His neck is still thicker around than both of Shalnark's hands could encompass together, but that fact wouldn't stop Shalnark from taking a knife to the jugular, from pressing the flat of his palm to the windpipe in one quick, crushing blow.

He tips Uvo's head back only far enough to glimpse the underside of his chin, and that barest peek of rarely-seen skin is what gets an appreciative little sound out from between Shalnark's lips. More than the knowledge that he could wound and maim, more than the ability to force Uvo's head back until his adam's apple bobs in a stereotyped pose of submission, being able to gently manipulate Uvo until he has him at angles no one else gets to see is the thing Shalnark prizes most. Uvo is his, his perfect, willing doll, caught there behind glazed-over eyes so that when Shalnark leans close he becomes Uvo's entire world.

Uvo's world is narrowed to Shalnark's face and Shalnark's hands. He can't see any farther, can't sense anything different, and that's what Shalnark takes advantage of. He touches Uvo's face and strokes his hair and lets his hands drag over the entirety of Uvo's chest in a sensuous caress because that gives Uvo a point to focus on from within the misty-edged void Shalnark has built for him.

That makes Shalnark powerful and omnipotent and he relishes in the rush of it, but he is a benevolent god and for Uvo he absolutely will not abuse his power. Shalnark's hands on Uvo's hips are the ground beneath him, are the only means for Uvo to catch his footing. He drags his palms along Uvo's hipbones, lower, lower, cups his groin with both hands like he's cradling a dove. Even through the fog of Shalnark's control, he feels Uvo respond to that. It's not Uvo's cock he's cupping – he might as well hold Uvo's heart in his hands.

"Let's take care of that for you," he murmurs, more gently than he ever is.

Uvo is hot and thick against his hand when Shalnark pulls him out of his shorts, and he strokes him leisurely, wrist loose and touch light. He's smiling, can feel it tugging at the corners of his lips, a fond little smile more sincere than the rest. He doesn't hurry, because what's the point? Uvo can't rush him. This is about what Shalnark wants, as much as it's about leaving Uvo warm and spent.

He makes the most blissed-out face even through the mind control, like he's transcended to another plane at Shalnark's touch.

Shalnark works Uvo up, slow but steady, practice guiding him in just where to touch, just how fast to stroke. His fingers are deft and clever, teasing reactions out of Uvo that surface from beneath the fog like bubbles rising through dark water. Even under Shalnark's control, muscles in Uvo's legs tense, ones in his stomach clench, and he spills himself over Shalnark's hand in messy release.

Uvo goes limp with his orgasm, like a puppet whose strings have been cut. Shalnark looks down at his sticky hand for a long, private moment, and clicks his tongue softly in distaste.

"Clean this up for me, won't you?" he asks brightly.

It hardly qualifies as a question, with Uvo unable to do anything outside what he's told, but it is the case that asking is polite. Shalnark tips his hand toward Uvo's mouth, presses his fingers to Uvo's lips, and lets Uvo's warm tongue slowly lick him clean. His fingers dip into Uvo's mouth and that's something he likes, feeling Uvo from the inside like a claim, fingertips pressing heavily against Uvo's tongue as Shalnark coaxes him through sucking on what he's offered.

Shalnark isn't actually sure Uvo would like doing that, were he not under, but right now he is and that means he likes doing anything Shalnark asks of him. He thinks his requests are consistently fair.

He slides his fingers free from Uvo's lips and considers kissing them, soft and fond because he's such a good doll. But the Uvo who's gone under isn't much of a kisser, sloppy and slow, so Shalnark presses his lips to Uvo's cheek instead. The hand not holding Uvo's cheek methodically tucks his cock back into his pants.

Sometimes Shalnark keeps Uvo under for a while and just doesn't do anything with him at all. There's something restive to that – having one's mind completely unoccupied, free of all responsibility and untethered even from basic consciousness. The fact that Shalnark hates it is hardly a commentary on that feeling at its most basic. He wants to always be under his own control, in his own power, cognizant to the slightest of implied threats.

Uvo wants for someone he trusts – loves, is Shalnark someone who can comment on love? – to make him forget about all that for a while.

This time, Shalnark has no time for extra interludes of mental peace. He wants his thank you kiss, delivered with enthusiasm and awareness and the proper amount of tongue (to what degree Uvo can ever determine how much tongue is proper, but if Shalnark wasn't willing to give leeway on that count, he wouldn't kiss Uvo nearly so often). He slides the needle back out of Uvo's neck and watches the lights come back on behind his eyes, just like a machine silently powering on.

"Have a good one?" he asks, casual and straightforward.

Uvo has to think about that, his internal memory banks still trying to store the experience and preventing the picture from coming quite into focus. Shalnark grins, as if to say it's no matter anyway, of course Uvo did. Shal was in charge, so how could he not?

"You should really thank me," Shalnark prompts, "for that."

He gets just the kiss he wants, pressed hard to his mouth and with just a bit too much tongue at the finish, and whatever he gives Uvo, he considers what he gets in return more than a fair exchange in the end.

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