|Icarus Bleeds by Annabeth Leong|
Icarus, a man on the run, dreams of wings, and of taking flight like the surgically modified rich and famous of Central City. The hacker who harbors him will do anything to keep him, including paying for the dangerous operation in a back alley chop shop. Neither can imagine how much the wings will truly cost. (M/M)
“Stay in the room and watch? Are you crazy? I’d have to tie you down and gag you to make sure you didn’t do anything to distract me.”
“If that’s what you have to do,” I said. Icarus rolled his eyes as if I were an overprotective parent, but I told myself he would be relieved, too, once it was happening.
The chop shop seemed all too worthy of its name. Through a large window, I saw a room with surgical tools and an operating table—though not the kind you’d find in a hospital. Handcuffs fitted at both ends suggested it doubled as dungeon equipment, or possibly something less pleasurable for the party attached to the table. The room we occupied could have been a machine shop. Rusty gears and rustier circular saws competed for space with outdated cash registers, overturned work tables, radar detectors, and who knew what else. A layer of sawdust coated the floor, and I couldn’t vouch for how clean the medical room would be.
I hadn’t been able to keep my breakfast down. I wasn’t losing this battle. I didn’t care what I had to do.
The owner of the chop shop sank deeper into his sales pitch. “I’ll give him your money’s worth, old man. You don’t have to worry about getting cheated. Real titanium-structured wings, feathers harvested from swans and eagles, everything totally legit. Nanocyte healing gels, the works.”
“I watch, or it doesn’t happen.”
The man scowled. “Grab a lollipop and a seat, sweetheart,” he said to Icarus. He took me by the arm and pulled me into a side room, this one crammed full of packing material. I wrinkled my nose at the sour smell of his skin. I wondered about his general hygiene, and made a mental note to insist he wear latex gloves, too.
The chop man hawked a little into the back of his throat and squinted at me. “I get it, man. If I was Daddy to that sweet little piece of meat out there, I’d never want to take my eyes off him either. But I’m not going to grab his cock while I’m working on him. He’s all yours. He’ll be great advertising for me, looking the way he does and wearing my wings. I’m going to do this right.”
“I gave you my conditions.”
Now, the conspiratorial smile. The pat on the outside of my arm to show that we were both friends, that we were more alike than different. I folded my arms against my chest and cocked my head to hear the next phase of his pitch.
“Why do you want to see this, Daddy? He’s going to bleed. He’s going to get hurt. You don’t want to watch me drilling holes in his scapulas. Do you?”
Of course I didn’t. Just the thought of that made me dizzy. But it wasn’t as bad as the idea of catching a glimpse through the curtain he would draw over that big window, or of pacing outside over that sawdust-covered floor, wondering about every buzzing sound I heard. I shook my head slightly.
“Have it your way,” the chop man growled. “But I wasn’t kidding about restraining you. You know that, right?”
“Oh, you’re damn right. If you don’t tie me down, I’ll fucking kill you the moment you touch his skin with your knife.”
“Wonderful. We’ll call it a deal.”