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tear apart the ties that bind

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Zeus can’t believe his eyes when the referee signals for the bell. He feels Bodyguard tense next to him, and his partner retreats from where they’re watching behind the curtain. Zeus can’t move, no matter how hard he tries. He’s frozen in place, frozen in time as he watches Kengo Mashimo hoist the Triple Crown belt up in the air, his foot on Kento Miyahara’s limp body, taking in the boos and confused murmur of the crowd. He looks at ease with being hated, has on his face the look on confidence and superiority that Zeus saw in his eyes when he beat Bodyguard.

 

He looks like a conqueror.

 

Zeus sees Jake Lee climb into the ring, attempt to retrieve his friend and carry him to safety, but he’s promptly and swiftly disposed of by Tank Nagai, who tosses the younger man out with no regard for where he might land. The building feels like it might crumble in on itself from the sheer pressure in the room, and Zeus can only hold his breath, clutch his belts tighter against himself, pretend he doesn’t hear Nakajima hiccup from the dry sobs that are making his entire body tremble. The sound becomes more distant as the smaller man retreats to the locker room, and when people start filing out of the building and the lights go dim, Zeus realizes that he’s been standing in place the whole time. He shakes himself awake, tries to regain his composure as he walks to his and Bodyguard’s locker room, unceremoniously dropping the belts in his bag before undressing and making a beeline for the shower. He needs this, needs to think about what the events of the day mean for the company, for him. He needs the hot water almost burning his skin to make the reality of it all finally sink in.

 

Kengo Mashimo is the new Triple Crown champion.

 

Kengo Mashimo holds All Japan in the palm of his hand.

 

Zeus knows how dangerous the man is. He brings a different atmosphere with him any time he walks into a room, one that Zeus hasn’t admitted to anyone has sucked him in sometimes. It’s difficult to look at Kengo and not feel drawn towards him. It’s in his eyes, in the way he carries himself, in the way he dominates in the ring…

 

Zeus feels a shiver run down his spine at that thought, and he shuts his eyes tight, until he sees flashes of light.

 

He needs to get out of here.

 

He barely makes it to the back of the venue, trying to fish his car keys out of his bag before getting to the parking lot, when he bumps into Tank Nagai. The man looks him up and down and smirks, the look in his eyes like he’s studying him. Zeus feels almost uneasy, not used to being under a microscope like this. He knows he’s strong enough to dispose of Nagai if he has too, but he also knows better than to hurt one of Mashimo’s people. He’s seen what happens to people who so much as try to get in his way. So instead, he clears his throat, tries to appear as unperturbed as possible.

 

“What do you want.” the words come harsh and low, and it’s not a question so much as an urging to just get it over with.

 

Tank scoffs, flashes him a wicked grin, one that Zeus would probably punch right off of his face if he were anyone else. Instead, he just waits for the reply.

 

“Oh, I don’t want anything,” Tank muses, still smiling, and it’s infuriating. “But he… well, he wants you.”

 

It’s blunt and unexpected and Zeus feels like someone just drove nails through his feet and pinned him to the ground.

 

“What the fuck?” is all he can muster.

 

“Hey, don’t shoot the messenger.” Tank laughs, hands flying out in front of him in a mock self-defense stance. “Kengo likes power. And he likes powerful people. What you pulled today with your partner? Defeating Sekimoto and Okabayashi? That piqued his interest.”

 

Zeus can’t help the feeling of pride that makes his chest swell up when Tank mentions his and Bodyguard’s huge victory today. Sekimoto and Okabayashi are two of the toughest guys in the word, and to defeat them meant to world to Zeus. It was a test of his and Bodyguard’s strength, and they passed it with flying colors. He still had the belts to prove that he overcame that hurdle, that challenge, and he can’t help but preen a little at Tank’s words.

 

“So he sent me to tell you that if you want to meet him, he’ll be waiting at this address.” Tank hands him a business card. “We’ll be celebrating. Kengo would very much like you to join the party.”

 

Zeus takes the card without hesitation, his body moving almost on its own.

 

“Wait. What about Bodyguard? Wouldn’t Mashimo be interested in him, too?” he asks, somewhat confused by the special interest taken in him and seemingly him alone.

 

“Oh. I suppose you stood out to him more. We don’t particularly discuss these things. Why, do you want to invite him?”

 

Tank raises an eyebrow, almost as if asking Zeus if he’s scared to come alone. Zeus huffs at that, almost feels offended, but he’d be lying if he said that the man he saw today, who dismantled the seemingly unstoppable young champion - former champion… - didn’t scare him a little. Whether it’s actual fear, or the low heat in his gut that comes with the anticipation of a new challenge, he isn’t sure, but he’ll face it head on. He doesn’t need Bodyguard for this. And if he’s honest, he doesn’t want to bring Bodyguard into this. If Kengo Mashimo wants him, wants his attention, then he’ll give it to him, undivided. Somehow, Zeus feels like he’s been chosen, and he’s not above being a little selfish and keeping that for himself. So he tucks the business card away in his back pocket, turns to leave to find his car.

 

“So?” Tank perks up, snaps Zeus out of his thoughts.

 

“Tell him I’ll be there.”



***

 

Zeus stops  by his place to change into more formal clothes before heading to the address on the business card. If Mashimo wants a piece of him, then he’ll get no less than his best. Why he’s so intent on making an impression, he isn’t sure, but the adrenaline rush that starts in his throat and makes its way to his head as he drives is invigorating, almost makes him dizzy. When he pulls up in front of the building, his hands tighten around the steering wheel, like he’s trying to compose himself, put on is best face, and he can’t help but wonder again why he’s working himself up like that.




Once inside, he follows the path indicated by the bouncer, down a dark hallway lit up by blue neons, something out of a movie, and he finds it so typical of Mashimo to make himself look like a damn yakuza boss. As far as Zeus knows, he might be - he’s a strong connection to Taka Michinoku after all, probably Suzuki-gun as a whole as well, and lord knows how far their power reaches. There’s a door at the end, and music comes from behind it, the low bass almost making the ground vibrate under Zeus’ feet. His hand lingers on the handle for a moment, and he puffs out his chest, takes a breath before opening the door.

 

Behind it is a private room, tables and seats close to the floor and smoke billowing up into the air from where Yuki Sato is smoking from a cigarette holder. He’s a delicate little thing, tightly fitted clothes and perfectly coiffed hair, almost too clean to belong here. But Zeus knows better, as he knows with anyone associated with Mashimo. Sato gives him a sideway glance and a smile, and then turns his head, as though guiding Zeus’ eyes to where Mashimo is sitting.

 

He’s leaning back against the wall, a knee drawn up to his chest, and on anyone else it would look like a defensive stance, but in here, Mashimo has nothing to be afraid of. He’s picking from some plate of food and listening to the chatter when Tank bumps his shoulder and points to indicate that his guest has arrived, and when Mashimo lifts his head and looks at him, Zeus feels two daggers pointing into his chest.

 

“You’ve come.” Mashimo says, his voice clearing out all the noise in the room.

“Are you going to tell me what this is about now?” Zeus inquires, not moving, his hand on the handle behind his back in case he needs to make a run for it.

 

Mashimo leans his head back against the wall, the ghost of a smile floating across his face for just a moment before he extends a hand towards Zeus.

 

“Sit with me.” A flash of hunger in his eyes. “Are you afraid?”

 

“You wish.”

 

That makes Mashimo smile again, a carnal grin that sends a shiver down Zeus’ spine, and he pats the empty seat beside him, extends his previously drawn up leg to make more room. Zeus moves towards him, knows that he’s being watched. He feels like a gladiator in the lion’s den, but if anything, that makes him feel brave, and he shrugs off his jacket the way one would shrug off his armor when he sits next to Mashimo.

 

“I guess congratulations are in order.” Zeus says, grabbing a drink from the tray on their table. “So. I raise my glass to you, champ.”

 

Mashimo smirks, but still clinks their glasses together, presses himself to Zeus’ side.

 

“Arrogant children should be put in their place, don’t you think?” Mashimo says, his voice lilting a little at the end, and it stings.

 

Zeus thinks Mashimo knows exactly what he’s doing, telling him that. He doesn’t need more reminding that he couldn’t beat Miyahara when it mattered. The words snake under his skin and stay there, a subtle reminder that Mashimo did what he couldn’t. It almost feels like a way to assert dominance, and in this room, Zeus knows he doesn’t have the upper hand. This is Mashimo’s world that he was invited in.

 

There’s still something puzzling him.

 

“Why me?” he says, eyes fixated on Mashimo.

 

“You fascinate me.” He takes a swig. “You could do incredible things by yourself, have the world at your feet. You have your youth, your strength, your looks… on your side. But you still keep your partner around. You’re loyal. I appreciate a loyal man.”

 

Zeus catches himself preening again at Mashimo’s words, settles farther into his seat to collect himself. He and Bodyguard have been friends for a long time, and though their private lives are like night and day, Bodyguard always surrounded by his precious doves while Zeus tends to go home alone, their partnership is solid as ever.

 

“He has his boys, doesn’t he? He belongs to them. But you… You’re something of a mystery, even to me. No one knows what you get up to when you step outside of that ring.”

 

“I could say the same for you.” The words leave his mouth almost by themselves, and Zeus isn’t sure of what the consequences could be.

 

Mashimo turns his head to properly face him and Zeus realizes exactly how close they’re sitting when he feels Mashimo’s breath on his lips.

 

“Maybe we’re not so different then,” Mashimo murmurs, and every inflexion of his voice sets Zeus’ nerve endings on fire. “We both like power. Thrive in adversity. Don’t you love the rush of adrenaline to the head when that bell rings and your hand is raised? The vibrations in your chest as you put another body down?”

 

Neither of them is moving, but Zeus feels like Mashimo is getting closer and closer to him with each word, digging into his chest in a way that feels unfamiliar, but not uncomfortable. He feels a ball of fire forming between his lungs when Mashimo looks him right in the eyes, holds him there without any effort. The music and the chatter and the people around them have all disappeared, only the sound of Mashimo’s low and smooth voice and Zeus’ ragged breathing remaining to remind him that he isn’t dreaming.

 

Then Mashimo pulls away from him, leans back in his seat and grins, and all the sounds come back at once, Tank’s raucous retelling of something that happened to him melting in with the music, with Yuma and Toshima’s hollering, with Sato’s laughter, and Zeus has to shake his head and remember where he is. He downs the rest of his drink in one go, taking a deep breath when he’s done, and yet he still jumps when Mashimo’s hand squeezes his arm.

 

“Let’s go somewhere more… private.” he says, his voice heavy with meaning. “You are my special guest after all.”

 

He calls for Tank and informs him of where he’s going, and when Zeus gets up and takes one last look around the room, he meets Sato’s eyes again, and the man raises his glass and flashes him a falsely angelic smile.

 

Zeus barely has the time to wonder what it means before Mashimo hooks their arms together and leads him out of the room and out in the street.



***



Mashimo’s appartment isn’t quite like Zeus imagined it to be. It’s simple and almost barren in a way, furniture neatly arranged in the main room so as to leave an open space in the middle, some plants growing steadily on the windowsill. A worn leather couch is the centerpiece of the room, and it’s where Mashimo goes to sit almost immediately. Zeus toes off his shoes and slips out of his jacket, unsure of what to do with himself, and he realizes that he’s waiting for a signal from Mashimo, for directions on what to do.

 

He doesn’t have to wait long, as Mashimo makes himself comfortable and then speaks.

 

“Come sit next to me. I want to look at you.”

 

Zeus isn’t exactly sure why he keeps listening, why he keeps letting Mashimo pull him farther and farther into his world, but his feet lead him to the couch and when he’s seated, Mashimo throws an arm around his shoulder and pulls him closer, so close that he’s almost sitting in Zeus’ lap. The arm around his shoulder cinches tighter, almost around his neck, and he feels a hand in his hair, lightly massaging his scalp, the sensation sending little jolts of electricity through his body. Mashimo is looking at him intently, studying the lines of his face, and though Zeus does his best to look calm and composed, he can’t stop the quiver of his lips or the soft breaths that escape him as Mashimo’s fingers thread through his hair.

 

“You’re fascinating.”

 

Beat.

 

“So strong and dominant, you could demand to be feared and revered and yet…” Mashimo stops mid-sentence, tugs lightly on Zeus’ hair, and Zeus has a hard time stopping the strangled noise that forms in his throat. “Yet you just want to be adored, don’t you? You show your work and you just want to be praised and told you’ve done good.”

 

Zeus swallows hard at the words. He’s never made his desires a secret, but no one had been able to unravel him the way Mashimo just did. People look at him and see his physique, his abilities, and they’d never know. Of course they wouldn’t. He supposes Mashimo was raised to learn to see through appearances, after all, Taka Michinoku wasn’t one to let such simple things stop him. He has powerful men at his beck and call, and surely taught Mashimo well. Zeus turns his head to face Mashimo, who just smiles at him and continues his ministrations.

 

“You’re more human than you let on. But I wanted to be sure you were..worthy. Of my praise.” Kengo lets his other hand travel from Zeus’ waist up his chest, then tips his chin up. “You proved to me that you are.”

 

Zeus can feel himself melting under Mashimo’s touch, letting go of his inhibitions and his outer armor, his eyes falling closed as Mashimo draws his head down to his shoulder.

 

“That’s good. Let go.” Mashimo croons, and Zeus sags against him, breath coming in hot and ragged.

 

He presses his thighs together, tries to quiet down the beating of his heart, but Mashimo’s got a hold on him, and soon Zeus is shivering at his every touch, pressing into him and demanding more, and Mashimo laughs above him. It’s not cold or demeaning, and he can tell Mashimo isn’t looking down on him like he does to so many other people. Instead, it’s reassuring, almost endearing, and Zeus doesn’t feel any judgement like he did on the few occasions he bared himself like that.

 

“Would you like me to take you to bed?” Mashimo asks, and there’s an unmissable shift in his voice that makes Zeus tremble all over.

 

“Please. Please.” is all he can muster, before he lets Mashimo take him by the hand and lead him off the couch and into the bedroom.



There, Mashimo pushes him by the shoulder down onto the bed, and Zeus doesn’t need to be told anything before he sits upright, his throat in knots in the best way possible.

 

“Good boy.” Mashimo studies him up and down, licks his lips. “Take off your shirt.”

 

Zeus obeys without a word, but he doesn’t miss the flicker in Mashimo’s eyes when he complies, the shirt tossed to the side to reveal Zeus’ sculpted upper body. He’s proud of that, and even more when Mashimo steps closer to run his hands on Zeus’ shoulders and down his arms, feeling every muscle there. His fingers linger on the tattoos for a moment longer, though not long enough for Zeus’ tastes, and a soft whine dies in his throat when Mashimo stops touching him.

 

“My god. It’s like you haven’t been touched in a century.” he teases, brushing some strands of hair out of his face before stepping closer to Zeus. “Don’t fret.”

 

Mashimo pushes him down just enough to be able to straddle him, knees planted firmly on either side of his legs, and Zeus can only look up at him, this man who in just one evening was able to get under his skin, to make him sit and beg.

 

“Undress me.” His voice is firm and Zeus can only trust him, do as he says.

 

So he gets his hands on either side of Mashimo’s waist, feels the smooth skin there as he lifts his t-shirt up. Mashimo raises his arms over his head to allow Zeus to tug the garment off. He looks amazing, his body a sharp contrast to Zeus’, and Zeus can only feel a little proud imagining how good they must look together. The shirt is promptly disposed of, and Zeus has to stop himself from touching every inch of Mashimo’s exposed skin with his hands and his mouth, knows he has to be good and wait.

 

Thankfully, Mashimo seems to be able to read his thoughts, because he grabs Zeus’ hands, invites him to touch, feel his way on Mashimo’s body, not once letting go. He wants to do more, wants to lift his hips up, make him feel how much he needs and wants him. Mashimo must sense that because he grinds down in Zeus’ lap, and Zeus almost buckles forward, his face centimeters from Mashimo’s chest, his bReathing heavy and ragged.

 

“Well then,” Mashimo taunts, and he stands up, eliciting an unholy grunt from Zeus. “Scoot back on the bed. Lie down.” Zeus complies immediately. “...And don’t even think about touching yourself.”

 

Those last words come out with a wicked inflection, and Mashimo’s eyes are darker than Zeus has ever seen them. But he obeys, settles down on the mattress and the pillows, keeps his hands tucked under his head. Soon enough, Mashimo is on top of him again, his legs almost ripping out of his jeans, and Zeus feels his mouth watering at the sight. Mashimo rolls his hips down, bites his bottom lip when Zeus moans, unable to stop himself this time.

 

“Now you can touch me.”

 

Zeus doesn’t need to be told twice. In a heartbeat, he sits up and his arms are around Mashimo’s waist, feeling every curve of his body, memorizing them as well as he can, mouthing at his skin. He feels Mashimo’s throat vibrate as he’s kissing it, a soft laugh filling the room.

 

“Good. Very good.” Mashimo says, and he grabs Zeus by the front of his neck, kisses him hungrily, without mercy or ceremony. It’s rough and passionate and everything Zeus could have ever wanted from this… whatever this is. He revels in it, gives Mashimo his very best, mapping out his body like it’s a sacred kingdom.

 

“Ah… Kengo…” Oh. He’d never used Mashimo’s first name before.

 

“Feeling brave, are we?”

 

Mashimo smiles against his lips, grinds down as though trying to drive him out of his mind and it works. Zeus is panting, any pretense long abandoned, and all he can do is touch and kiss and feel everything that Mashimo is willing to give him, everything that he could have ever wanted. He’s impossibly hard, almost uncomfortably so, and he’s desperate for more contact, doing his best to keep his body from moving on its own against Mashimo’s.

 

“Oh, sweetheart.” Mashimo murmurs, his hands finding Zeus’ belt buckle. “Didn’t I tell you to let go?”

 

Zeus almost comes on the spot when Mashimo wraps a hand around his cock, working him slowly, his hand finding the same rhythm that his hips did before. Zeus’ arms tighten around him, and Mashimo’s other hand finds his hair again, finds the same movement that made him weak earlier. Zeus moans against his chest, loses himself in the sensations, in how good it feels to belong to someone, to finally know exactly what to do.

 

Mashimo laughs again, presses a kiss to the top of Zeus’ head.


“Let go.”