Set in the movieverse (obviously), while Gray and M are escaping on the nautiloid, and Skinner is stowed away. Contains explicit slash, dubious consent, and invisikink; if any of those isn't your thing, walk on by.

All the characters contained herein are the properties of their respective owners. I lay no claim.

Fair Trade
by Maya Tawi

2003

Dorian bloody Gray.

Fop, flash bastard, degenerate-- and traitor, apparently. Rodney Skinner amused himself for a while by making faces that the wanker couldn't see. It was just his luck, wasn't it? Gray was the turncoat of the League, but Skinner was the one they'd all suspect. Gray was the golden boy and Skinner was the criminal, just because he... well, he flattered himself: he had criminal proclivities, but Nemo was a bloody pirate, and what of it?

"If only they knew, you wanker," he muttered to himself, as M slumbered away in a hidden bunk somewhere and Gray sauntered down the hallway under Skinner's disdainful eye.

Then Gray looked up, and Skinner froze.

Bloody hell. Shit, shit, shit. Here he was, trapped on some ridiculous mini-submersible in the middle of the bloody ocean with a madman and a bloody turncoat, and he was about to be killed because he couldn't keep his bloody-- his fucking mouth shut....

Skinner never wanted a boring life. He did, however, want a life.

Gray smiled, a truly disturbing, bowel-churning, gut-clenching smile. Then he started to walk towards Skinner, arms outstretched.

For a moment Skinner was confused as to the meaning of this gesture-- did Gray mean to hug him, for God's sake?-- but then, as he backed away as silently as he could, Gray's intent became frighteningly clear. The nautiloid was a small ship. The hallways were, indeed, no more than arms-length wide.

Skinner retreated mindlessly as Gray approached, terrified. He could feel his pulse pounding in his throat, could hear the blood rushing in his ears. It sounded impossibly loud. This was it. Gray was going to find him, and turn him over to bloody M, and they were going to dismantle him, piece by invisible piece.

They continued their dance all the way down the hallway, Skinner searching desperately for an opening to slip by and not finding one. Why did the frigging bastard have to have such long arms? Skinner found himself contemplating his past sins, wondering if it was too late to repent. Maybe he hadn't exactly been the best man he could've, maybe there was room for improvement, but no man was irredeemable, after all, and maybe, if there was indeed a benevolent Lord watching over them, just maybe....

He recalled certain incidents at Miss Coote's Correctional Academy for Wayward Gentlewomen and wanted to cry. Oh God. He was doomed.

The corridor seemed to go on forever, but Skinner eventually fetched up against a large steel door, half open. He edged around the barrier, holding his breath. Gray was so close he could feel the bastard's breath on his face. The man's damnably handsome features were furrowed in a frown. He was starting to wonder if he'd imagined it, Skinner realized, and he thought as hard as he could, Yes, yes, just your imagination, you twat, no invisible man here, wishing he had the power to somehow project it directly into Gray's brain, hoping, praying--

He bumped the door. The metal screeched.

Oh. Shit.

Gray's frown became a malicious, gleeful grin, an expression Skinner's own invisible features wore not infrequently, and at that moment Skinner began to realize why so many people hated him.

Panicking now, he squeezed the rest of the way through the opening and tried to slam the door shut behind him. Gray caught it and shoved back, and Skinner stumbled backwards into what must have been the engine room. Pipes and gauges lined the walls. The thrum of the nautiloid's inner workings pulsed through the chamber like a heartbeat.

"Give it up, Mr Skinner," Gray said softly, the first words either of them had spoken since this macabre game of cat and mouse had begun.

Skinner had no intention of doing any such thing. He flattened himself against the wall, waiting for Gray to move into the engine room so he could slip past him, back into the hallway. He couldn't hide forever, but maybe he could hide indefinitely, and they'd have to dock the damn submersible sometime. If he could just slip away onto dry land then maybe he'd have a chance.

There. There was a man-sized opening, just wide enough for him to make his move. Skinner braced himself and darted through--

Gray turned, lightning-swift, and Skinner had just enough time to wish he were wearing pants before strong arms slid around his bare torso and Gray's low, insinuating voice whispered, "What have we here? Why, I do believe it is an invisible man."

Skinner struggled, scratched and bit and tried to punch, but he couldn't fight an immortal man, could never really fight to begin with-- he was invisible, blast it, he didn't have to-- and Gray added irritably, "Come now, Mr Skinner, I do wish you'd hold up your end of the conversation. I am very tired of talking to myself." He was keeping his voice low, presumably not to wake the sleeping M. Skinner didn't understand why, but he wasn't about to complain.

Skinner subsided, sagging in Gray's iron grip. "Damn you," he hissed, just as quietly. "You traitor, you bloody Judas--"

"You're hardly the person to be lecturing me on morals." Gray sounded amused.

"I'll do what I damn well please!" He had to struggle to keep his voice low. "Let go of me, you--"

"Yes? And where will you go? It's a small ship, you know. All I have to do is raise the alarm and you'll be found within minutes."

Skinner snarled.

"Very witty."

"You're enjoying this, you bastard!"

"Of course I am. I've been here for days with only our dear Mr M for company, and the man's a bloody boring conversationalist. Thinks he's far cleverer than he actually is." Then Gray smiled. "But then you'd know all about that, wouldn't you?"

Skinner stayed mutinously silent.

Gray's expression turned thoughtful. "Blackmail is such an ugly tactic, don't you think? Utterly low class."

Skinner sneered. "Don't try to tell me he's blackmailing you!"

"Actually," Gray said, in a voice that turned Skinner's guts to ice water, "I meant to say that I will be blackmailing you."

Skinner stiffened, turning a wary glare upon his captor. Not that Gray could see it, but the man seemed to catch his meaning anyway. Gray smiled and added, "I'm assuming you want to live. That is the case, yes?"

"Why would you--"

"I must confess to a sneaking fondness for the League. Some of you more than others, of course, but still. It's only fair to give you a sporting chance. I can keep quiet about your presence here and allow M to proceed to his destination unawares, but I'll only do it for a price."

Skinner hesitated, hope rising within him despite himself. If he could cut some kind of deal with Gray... but what did he have that the bastard could possibly want?

"I'll give you my secret," he said breathlessly. "The tonic, the invisibility potion--"

"So I can go unseen for the rest of my life?" Gray sounded revolted by the very idea. "Good God, man, why would I want that?"

"What then?" Skinner demanded, trying not to sound offended. He squirmed. Gray really was holding him far too tightly.

And then his eyes widened in horror as Gray's hand slid slowly and inexorably down his backside to cup his bare arse, and Gray purred, "Oh, I think we can work something out."

Truly panicked now, Skinner renewed his struggles, fighting like a madman. Gray just laughed, the pillock, the utter fucking wanker, even as Skinner's nails raked across his face and towards his eyes, leaving bloody welts in their wake that closed as quickly as they opened. Skinner cursed him as he fought, a low but steady stream of abuse, the worst names he could think of, but Gray's grip did not falter, and finally Skinner slumped, panting, in his restraining arms.

Silkily Gray said, "Is that a no?"

"I knew it," Skinner hissed. "I knew it, you bloody bender, you freak, you abomination--"

"Yes, and you are just as the good Lord made you." Gray sounded bored. "Is that a no?"

"Why?" Skinner demanded. "For the love of God, why?"

Gray sighed. "It's been a long time, Skinner. A man has needs. I thought surely you would understand."

Skinner shuddered.

"What do you want from me?" he whispered, defeated.

"I would have thought that was obvious. For a man who habitually wanders round naked, you really are remarkably na´ve. Is that a yes, then?"

"Yes, damn you," Skinner snarled. "I don't have a choice, do I?"

Gray favored him with a catlike smile. "Excellent. So glad we could come to an agreement."

Then, planting a hand between Skinner's shoulder blades and unceremoniously bending him face-first over a handy pipe: "Be very quiet, now, lest you wake M."

Skinner gritted his teeth and stayed very still, mentally cataloguing his options. They were depressingly few. He could keep struggling, try to make a break for it, and end up trapped on the nautiloid with nowhere to go and two men hell-bent on killing him. Or he could stay where he was, let Gray have his depraved way, and... well, it didn't bear thinking about.

Unfortunately, it was the only scenario in which he envisioned himself escaping alive.

Numbly he let Gray... arrange him... as he clutched the pipe beneath him, so tightly that if his knuckles were visible, he fancied they would be white. Easier to focus on such mundane details than to pay attention to the cold, soft hands running over his skin, nudging his legs apart, raising his hips....

Behind him, Gray inquired, "Nothing to say? You were so charmingly verbose a moment ago."

Skinner growled.

A sharp tsk. "I expect dumb animal sounds from Hyde, but surely you can do better."

"Shut your face," Skinner hissed, "and get it over with."

"Hardly conducive to romance, Mr Skinner."

"You're surprised?" Skinner stared blindly at the machinery in front of him, resisting the urge to turn around and throttle the man. This was intolerable. Gray wanted to banter.

"Well. Perhaps disappointed."

Skinner remained silent, forcing himself to take deep breaths, and behind him-- above him-- Gray said, sounding resigned, "Very well."

The hands disappeared, just long enough for Skinner to allow his hope to resurge, hope that perhaps Gray had tired of his grisly game, or else had been bluffing all along-- but no, those hands were soon back, one planted in the small of his back and pushing his upper body further over the pipe that supported him, the other drifting down, insinuating itself between the cheeks of his arse. Skinner hissed at the first press of Gray's finger, and Gray whispered teasingly, "Hush now. Quiet, remember?"

Whatever angry retort Skinner planned to make was lost in his next gasp as the finger thrust all the way in, spearing flesh that had heretofore never been speared. The pain left him breathless for a moment, the wind knocked out of him as though from a punch to the solar plexus.

Grey murmured, "Amazing," and Skinner clenched his teeth, his body automatically trying to pull away from the invader. The hand on his pelvis slid around to his abdomen, holding him in place with surprising strength, and a second slick finger joined its compatriot. Skinner whimpered. He bit down hard on his lip, drawing blood, and his fingernails tried in vain to dig into the metal pipe.

His body spasmed as the fingers were removed and something infinitely wider and hotter took their place. The initial pain melted into a slow, dull burn, coupled with an odd fullness that made him feel sick to his stomach. The soft, obscene noises Gray kept making didn't help. Death was starting to look a lot more attractive.

Gray kept pushing and pushing, and Skinner was half-afraid that he would never stop. Then he was in, fingers still gripping Skinner's hips, holding them flush in the cradle of his own. Skinner took a deep breath, trying to accustom himself, and told himself that the worst was over, that it would be all downhill from there.

At Gray's sharp intake of breath, and against his better judgment, Skinner glanced down. He realized with a faint shock (though why not? it made perfect sense) that he could actually see Gray's knob thrusting into him, into what looked like thin air, engorged and slightly distended by Skinner's own invisible body, pulsing and weeping, God, in him-- it had been so long since he'd seen his own prick, he'd almost forgotten what one looked like, and never, never like this....

He had thought he could no longer be surprised by the vagaries of his unique condition. He had been wrong. This was insane, it was damnably erotic, and it made him want to vomit.

Gray shifted slightly inside him, and he saw it moving. Bloody Hell. There were no words for this. No one could ever have imagined it. He certainly never had.

And then Gray thrust again, and he struck something deep inside Skinner that made him see stars. He almost cried out. Probably would have if he hadn't stuffed a fist in his mouth and bitten down hard to muffle the sound.

He felt Gray's chuckle reverberate through him, and he bit down harder.

"Good, isn't it?" Gray murmured. The bastard. The absolute wanker. No way was he going to make Skinner enjoy this. Not his own....

No. He wasn't going to think it.

But Gray struck that spot again and again, sending treacherous pleasure racing through Skinner's body, and he whimpered around the fist in his mouth, earning another chuckle from his tormentor. Impossibly, unthinkably, he found himself beginning to harden.

God, no.

At least Gray couldn't see the effect he was having on him. The thought provided precious little comfort.

Skinner found his eyes returning again and again to the impossible specter of Gray deep inside him. God, how long could this last? At some point he'd lost track of time-- it could have been minutes, it could have been hours....

Please, Skinner thought, as Gray thrust into him over and over, bruising his hips against the pipe. Please, please, please let this end. His erection was over half mast now, and he was trembling from the strain of not touching it, but he wouldn't give the bastard the satisfaction. Couldn't. Couldn't--

And then, to his dismay, the point was rendered moot as Gray's hands circled around his hips and found a sure grip on his cock.

"Why, Mr Skinner," Gray said, "you've been holding out on me."

Fuck.

Skinner stifled a groan as Gray stroked him, hands sure and deft, perfectly timed to his thrusts. Slender, skittering fingers slid up his chest, dancing around an exposed nipple.

He mustered the last of his control and grabbed each of those damnably clever hands with his own. Between harsh pants, he managed to gasp, "Get your... bloody hands... off me, you... tosser...."

"Is that really what you want?" Gray twisted his fingers round in Skinner's grip, and to his horror Skinner felt himself thrust forward in response.

He bit his lip as hard as he could stand, attempting to distract his traitorous body. He could feel his face burning, from embarrassment or arousal or outrage, or some deadly combination thereof. "Let go," he hissed, digging his fingernails into the soft skin of Gray's wrists. Gray only moaned in response.

Skinner felt himself losing control, coming closer and closer to the edge. Shuddering, desperate, he grabbed the fingers toying with his nipples and bent them slowly backwards, feeling Gray still behind him, within him.

"Let go," he growled, "or I break them."

"Such a model of self-denial," Gray breathed into his ear. Slowly, deliberately, he released Skinner's dick; Skinner almost cried out. "The loss is entirely yours."

Skinner stifled another whimper and choked out, "See that you... keep it that way."

Thereafter Gray's hands remained firmly on his hips. Skinner ignored his trembling, agonized body and told himself it was a relief.

The next few minutes sheer torture. If he thought he'd known agony before, it was nothing compared to this. Every nerve ending in his body throbbed, aching for stimulation, for release. He'd never denied his body's demands like this before, and the physical toll was breathtaking. A stubborn, insubordinate voice in his head whispered, Oh, what's the harm, let him touch you, you want it so much you can taste it....

For once, however, his dignity, his pride, was stronger than his unruly body's demands. He gripped the pipe hard enough to dent it and closed his eyes-- for all the good it did; invisible eyelids, after all, he could still see-- and prayed that Gray wouldn't last much longer, that this unholy torment would end before he broke, before he ended up caving after all. And Gray, immortal though he might have been, was finally showing a mortal man's weakness; his thrusts became faster, less controlled, and as his skillful manipulation of Skinner's body ceased, Skinner felt his rush of sexual frustration fade to nothing more than a persistent frisson of heat. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, Gray tightened his fingers and buried himself to the hilt, and a warm rush of fluid informed Skinner of what had just happened.

He stared fixedly at the pipes in front of him, refusing to look down. He did not want to see.

Gray stayed... in him, slumped over his shoulder and panting, until Skinner elbowed him and growled, "Gerroff." The fop's fancy dress jacket was chafing his bare skin.

Lazily Gray extricated himself, accompanied by a sickening sticky feeling and sounds that Skinner didn't want to think about. A cold pit of rage settled in his stomach. He was naked and half-hard (though wilting now), degraded and humiliated. Used, like a woman. There was fluid seeping down the inside of his thighs. He bowed his head, muscles trembling, until he felt he could face Gray without flying at him in a murderous fury.

The man himself sounded insufferably smug. "Well, that was certainly diverting."

Skinner spun around. "You'll pay for this," he said venomously. "I swear it."

"Will I?" Gray looked bored. "I suppose you'll be the one to bring about my downfall, then? Dear me, I certainly have toyed with the wrong man. Good luck."

Skinner gritted his teeth together, barely managing to contain his rage. If the bastard thought he could do-- that-- and just get away with it... but what could he do? Gray was bigger, stronger, and most importantly, immortal. Skinner had seen the man take innumerable bullets to the chest with no ill effects. He had the advantage of invisibility, but he couldn't put it to much use.

He seethed silently as Gray sauntered out of the engine room. At the door, the bastard paused and sent a sly smile back over his shoulder.

"You won't mind spending the night here, will you? Not that you could hurt me, but I'd prefer to wake up with all my body parts in the same place I left them. I'm sure you understand. Don't worry, I'll let you out once our Mr M is safely ashore." And then, as Skinner stood gaping, he swung the heavy door shut. The large handle rotated with several loud clicks before the bolt finally slid into place.

The unbelievable arsehole was locking him in.

Oh, that was it. That was just it. That was the last straw. One way or another, Dorian Gray had to die.

And if Rodney Skinner, gentleman thief, couldn't do it himself, then he'd just have to turn the job over to someone who could.

Email: mayatawi@populli.net

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