The sun was low on the horizon when they saw their destination in the distance. The plan was to camp, and the next day explore the ruins. Cain wasn’t certain how much of that would go as planned. At least the oasis they approached looked empty. No one lurked there in wait. He refused to drop his guard though, especially if whoever killed the fishermen were somehow involved with the Libyans.
As the camels knelt, Cain was never so happy to be off the damn beasts back. As their guides set up the tents he walked over to some carved stones. His fingers roamed over the hieroglyphics he found there. He traced what remained of the shapes with his fingertips. A familiar footstep made him look up as Strife joined him.
“Shouldn’t you be watching the Libyans?” Cain asked as he leaned his back against the stone.
“Mister West Point done got to ‘em first. Has ‘em explainin’ tha history of tha place. Whatever tha fuck they are, they at least done their homework from tha sound of it.” Strife had his thumbs hooked in his belt loops. “Come on… I wanna see some shit fore all tha light is gone.”
“Seriously?” Cain knew the look in his lover’s eyes. He shrugged, “Alright. But I don’t want to be away from the group for long.”
“Shit… anything happens we’ll hear it long ‘fore anyone else.” He turned on his heel to head deeper into the complex with Cain at his side.
Just like the pyramids they could feel the age of the place. Each year soaked deep into the bones of the earth. The enormous weight of centuries worth of humanity as they had lived, toiled, and worshipped in the city they now toured the ruins of. They were silent at first. The only sound their breathing and the sound of their footsteps. They jumped down into one area. From above it looked like a maze. From what Cain had read though, it was probably part of a temple complex.
They were near the middle when Strife pushed Cain against the wall to loom over him. With the sun barely above the horizon, most of Strife’s face was in shadow but for the wicked grin he wore. “Pull out yer dick.”
“Are you fucking kidding me? Strife... we don’t’ have time for this. Someone could…” Cain’s protests were silenced when Strife leaned in to kiss him. He grabbed the front of Strife’s shirt in both fists and by the time the other pulled back, Cain felt breathless and, fuck, if he wasn’t hard as a rock. “I swear… I’m gonna put a bullet in you.”
“Now you know how that dirty talk makes me feel.” He leaned in closer as he growled against Cain’s ear. “Yer dick. Out. Now.”
The son of a bitch pushed every button, buttons Cain hadn’t even realized he’d had before he’d found Strife. One hand continued to grip the man’s shirt he reached down to unzip his jeans so he could pull his cock out.
Strife looked down with a smirk, “Well lookit that. Ain’t even done more than kiss ya... already hard as hell.” When he met Cain’s eyes once more, Strife’s eyes had lightened several shades from their normal deep brown to almost amber. The beast rode high in the man that night. “Now stroke it.”
The command had Cain weak in the knees, and mad as hell. Two days of teasing. Two days of denial. He was already on a hair trigger. The stress surrounding the Libyans hadn’t helped his mood either. Cain’s lips pulled back from his teeth as he snarled. His hand still closed around his cock as he began to run his palm up and down his length in a slow casual way. His voice was little more than a breathless whisper when he asked, “This what you want?”
“Yeah baby. Just like that.” Strife leaned in again, his breath hot on Cain’s skin as he sniffed him. “I love it when ya smell like my cum. Like raw sex. Lets every bastard out there know that ya belong ta me. 'Cause there ain’t no one else that can do fer ya like I can.”
Those words sent shivers up and down Cain’s spine. His balls felt tight, he knew it wouldn’t take much for him to cum. He only needed to speed up. Strife hadn’t told him to, though. Not yet. He turned his head to the side to expose his neck to his lover, to expose the jugular where his pulse fluttered just beneath the surface. When Strife leaned in to gently nip the sensitive skin, Cain had gasped. His toes curled in his boots. “…S trife…”
“Damn… lookit you. All need and want. Cravin’ ta be fucked. Wantin’ mah mouth on yer dick. You’d like that yeah? Mah suckin’ ya off right here. Right now. Then maybe pushin ya up ‘gainst this wall. Fuck ya 'til ya can’t walk straight.” Strife words were a low whispered rumble meant only for Cain’s ears. He loomed over his lover, both hands on the wall over Cain’s head. The heat of his body so close. Cain’s knuckles brushed against Strife’s jeans.
Cain’s breath caught in his throat. He tugged at Strife’s shirt. “… Please…” The longer Strife spoke, the higher he went. He was so close. Strife’s games had him on the dagger’s edge, ready to peak and spill.
Strife caught Cain’s neck in a hand, his fingers on the man’s jaw as he met Cain’s eyes directly. When he was with Strife was the only time Cain felt like prey. He was as much a beast as Strife, and yet he stood there as his legs trembled. The only reason he stood was the wall at his back, and his grip on Strife’s shirt. Those eyes that could hold such cruelty. They bore into Cain before a smirk touched Strife’s lips. “Now stop.”
Cain’s eyes widened. A rush of rage coursed through him. His body shook as the urge to punch the smirk off that face surged. He pulled his hand away from his dick with a growl. “… You son of a bitch…”
“Takes one ta know one. Now put it away.” His grip on Cain’s jaw didn’t ease as he forced Cain to meet his eyes while the other fumbled to tuck his still erect cock back into his jeans. Only when Cain had zipped up did Strife’s grip ease. His thumb brushed over Cain’s lower lip. “I ever tell ya that yer beautiful as all hell when yer angry.”
It took Cain a bit longer before he could form any words that weren’t pure expletives. “Yeah… every time you piss me off.”
“Maybe that’s why I do it.” And he leaned in to claim another kiss. Strife’s arms went around Cain’s smaller frame as he lifted him up off his feet. Cain wasted no time as he wrapped his arms and legs around Strife’s body.
For a time, all that existed was one another as their mouths warred. Tongues wrestled. Teeth bit. Then a sound intruded. Someone’s footsteps approached. A surprised sound from a close intersection and the teen girl who had followed them quickly turned away to run back the way she came. Cain sighed. “Dollars to donuts she followed you out here hoping for something.”
“Eh… I got what I want.” His hands squeezed Cain’s ass before he let the man down once more.
“Yeah, well I don’t want no trouble if she goes running to Daddy. There’s enough shit in the air without adding to it.” He pulled away from Strife to try and calm down. Every nerve seemed on fire and Cain wanted to do nothing more than hump the red-neck’s thigh 'til he got off. They didn’t have time for that though, not that Strife would let him, at least not yet. “Let’s get back before Little Susie falls down a well or something.”
“Debbie… her name is Debbie,” Strife corrected with a grin.
“Like I give two fucks. Let’s go.” He stalked away from Strife cause being near that man infuriated him as much as it was glorious. He needed a drink or a smoke. Probably both.
They climbed out of the temple complex and Cain immediately put an arm out to stop Strife. “You hear that?”
Strife tilted his head and snorted. “Truck engine… sounds like a diesel. Squeaky as fuck brakes.”
Cain rolled his eyes at the extra detail. “This could be our meet up. Come on.” He started to run back towards the camp when a high-pitched scream ripped through the night. Neither spoke as both increased their speed until they could see the chaos around the camp fire. One of the Libyans had an arm around Debbie’s neck as he held a gun to her temple. The second one had produced an AK from somewhere and held it on the rest of the tourists and their guides.
With a string of vicious curses, Cain berated himself for the tryst in the ruins. If they had remained in camp, they probably could have stopped this before it happened. Even as he heard Strife’s growl beside him they slowed so not to show themselves too soon. Strife didn’t need instructions as they both drew their colts. Cain trusted Strife’s accuracy to take out the one who held the girl. But the one with the AK… even if he shot the bastard, if his finger twitched too much on the trigger innocent people would die. Cain didn’t need words as he signaled for Strife to take the left flank. They could still hear the truck in the distance, it was closing fast and they needed to get the civilians to safety before things went completely pear shaped.
As Strife vanished into the shadows, Cain continued to creep forward. The screams and shouts from the camp covered any possible sound he and Strife might make. The one with the moustache who held Debbie fired a shot into the air to silence the group. He looked at the hostages gathered then said something to his companion. Then he turned and dragged Debbie to the edge of the firelight.
“Where do you hide, Mr. Jackson? Mr. Stone? Show yourselves before someone has to die.” The girl wept as she clutched at the man’s arm around her neck. He hissed something at her and she went silent, though the tears continued to fall. “Do not be heroes. It will only end in unnecessary bloodshed.”
Cain could feel the beast rumble in his chest. It was the waxing moon, still many days from the full. But he could call upon the beast at any time should he need it. He could change right then, perhaps use the distraction of being a monster to give the civilians time to escape. Cain had dropped to his stomach as he crawled over sand and stone. As the breeze came to him, he knew Strife was somewhere off to his left, behind the men. He needed to keep the focus away from his partner, to let him do what damage he could.
“Who the fuck said we were heroes?” Cain called out. “These assholes ain’t paying me shit. I don’t owe them shit. We just want our stuff and you can do whatever the hell you want. Ain’t no skin off my back.”
“I doubt those words, Mr. Jackson. I believe you are a man who cares very much what happens to others. Where is your friend? Where does Mr. Stone lurk?” The man yanked Debbie back a few steps as he moved closer to where they had the hostages kneel.
“Fuck if I know. Probably off fucking a hippo and calling it Shirley. He’s a beast like that.” Cain continued to move to not give them a stationary target. He didn’t particularly want to have to deal with bullet wounds. And that damn truck was now close enough that they could hear it too.
“Humor again. Well, wherever your friend hides, it is too late now. You should have surrendered peacefully.” He turned his head as he spoke to his companion in Italian. The words made Cain’s blood run cold as he got to his feet to sprint towards the firelight. It was too late as the one with the AK pointed it at Mr. Higginbotham and pulled the trigger. Blood sprayed as the bullet hit him in the chest. He fell backwards with only a grunt while the other hostages screamed and cried out. Only Mrs. Higginbotham was silent as she stared at her husband of fifty years. His blood stained her flowered dress.
When Cain emerged from the shadows the mustached man aimed his gun at him. “Ah. There you are. One more step and the old woman is next.”
Cain hadn’t wanted to kill anyone so much since the 20s when he spoiled a Klan picnic. He didn’t even want to let the beast loose. He wanted to rip that bastard’s throat out with his human hands and teeth. When the gun pressed against Debbie’s temple once more Cain stopped. His hands curled into fists. “Here I am. What now, bitch?”
“Call your friend. If he does not appear by the time I count 10… another will die.” He said as he pushed the gun against Debbie’s skin hard enough to leave a mark.
Cain’s lips peeled back from his teeth. But so long as they physically controlled the hostages he couldn’t risk another innocent’s death. He didn’t call Strife’s name. He whistled. He knew Strife would have listened. He would know the score. When the big man stepped out of the shadows between tents the man with the AK spun to face him. He did not look happy to realize how close Strife had gotten to them. He used the AK to herd Strife over with the other hostages, then he took the colt and the knife.
“It is good you did not cause further disruption.” He gestured with his gun for Cain to join the rest. Then he tossed rope at Mr. Smith and ordered him to bind their wrists. The car salesman’s hands were shaking as he moved behind Strife and bound his wrists together behind his back. The man muttered something about having been a boy scout. Strife laughed like it was all a lark.
Firelight reflected off Cain’s eyes as he stalked forward then joined the others. He knelt next to Strife who looked at him and said in heavily accented Vietnamese, “I hid the goods.”
Cain just nodded and smiled as the man with the AK didn’t look happy that they spoke a language he didn’t know. His English was not as good as his companion’s as he asked, “What he say?”
“Said you must got a little dick…” The man didn’t take that well as he used the butt of the rifle to smack Cain in the forehead. The growl which escaped Strife was enough to make the man quickly move back so he could level the AK at the two of them once more.
Cain reached up to touch the gash on his forehead. He smeared the blood between his fingers as he looked to Strife, then to the others. When Mr. Smith moved toward him with the rope he put his hands behind his back with no struggle. “It’s gonna be okay…” He doubted the man believed him, but at least his hands ceased to tremble.
Half the tourists wept. Some so terrified they’d pissed themselves. He saw Mr. Pierce and when their eyes met the man brushed a hand over the front of his shirt where it tucked into his pants. Good. He still had the gun. His wife made his shirt wet with her tears. Only Mrs. Higginbotham was silent and not afraid. She had moved closer to her husband where she held his hand and stroked his hair. The rest of the world no longer existed, her only focus was the man she had spent fifty years of her life with. Cain didn’t think she’d survive the night. She was already dying so she could be with her beloved. Their guides were off to one side where they knelt in silence.
The truck they had heard finally pulled up. Men spilled out, all armed. Only when they approached did the one release Debbie. She darted to her parents where her Mother wrapped arms around her. The newcomers also spoke Italian as the pilgrims filled them in on what was what. Two of the newcomers approached to take over as guards as the original two took the rest to where the camels remained. Cain looked at Strife as they waited. Strife smirked as he mouthed a count down. When angry voices sounded in the night he snorted and turned back to look directly at the two who stood guard.
The men stormed back to the camp fire. The mustached pilgrim walked right up to Strife and put his gun to the man’s forehead. He spit out a dozen curses before he leaned in, “Where is my merchandise?”
“Tha fuck you talkin’ bout?” Strife pressed his brow against the muzzle of the gun. His grin was sadistic. The glint in his eyes murderous. The man had no fear and it was painfully obvious. “Cause I ain’t a patient man… and I ain’t sittin’ here all damn night.”
The Libyan snarled in anger and pointed his gun at the other hostages, “Tell me where my C4 is or someone dies.”
Strife looked in the direction the man pointed. “Go ahead. They ain’t no kin of mine.” His shrug was more salt in the wound. The hippie girl broke down in sobs, her companions petrified.
With a growl, the man’s gun swung around to point at Cain. “This one. Your companion. Do you have no care for him?”
A low rumble escaped from Strife’s chest. It soon became obvious it was a laugh. “That bitch? Like I can’t find another skinny fag ta suck my cock. Go ahead.”
Cain rolled his eyes. “When I’m a ghost, I’m coming back to haunt your ass.”
“Ya stare at it enough.” Before Strife could continue the Libyan struck him across the jaw with the butt of his weapon. He turned back slowly, spit blood out onto the sand, then just grinned. “Keep this up and yer gonna turn me on.”
The man looked disgusted, and a touch afraid. But if he was more afraid of Strife or his associates it was hard to tell. He left them to go speak with the newcomers once more. From what Cain could overhear he was desperate to cover his ass. Finally, the man who was clearly in charge of the whole operation approached. He was older, maybe in his 50s or 60s, hair an iron grey with a mustache to match. He had a cigar, smelled Cuban to Cain. And when he talked, he spoke flawless Italian, but his accent was anything but. He pointed to Cain and Strife and gestured with his thumb. Men came forward to get them on their feet and lead them away from the rest of the hostages and back towards the ruins.