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The window was open to let in a breeze, but it also let in the sounds and smells of the marketplace down below. His view of the area included scorch marks on the sides of buildings where rioters had burned everything they could get their hands on a few months back. Cain could hear the merchants as they called out to anyone who walked by their stalls. The buyers bartered and bickered over price as sellers tried to squeeze every pound possible out of the sale. The savvy on both sides eventually reached an agreement that met somewhere in the middle. Cain had more important problems than the price of saffron.
He had a map of Europe spread across the table as he pondered which port would be the best for their entry to the continent. They wanted the least amount of hassle and he needed to get in touch with his contacts who could get Strife and him some forged documents so they could return to the states. On top of the map, stacks of currency from six different countries were weighted down with whatever was handy. By his estimate, they had a couple thousand in American dollars. But that was only if he could find a money changer who wouldn’t try and stiff him. A hand-written list of ships that would enter and leave the port of Alexandria in the next week rested by his right hand. He wanted to figure out their next step so he could avoid the ulcer he knew wanted to form in his gut.
When the bed creaked, his head turned to look over at the one who lay sprawled out as he idly flipped through the pages of a book on the history of Egypt. Lots of colorful pictures and written with the tourist in mind. Strife had been quiet for the last hour, engrossed in his book, truly a rare occurrence. Cain leaned back to rest his arm across the back of his chair as he watched Strife. Five and a half years ago they’d met a quarter of the way around the globe in Vietnam.
Cain knew the moment he saw Strife he wanted him in a way he had never wanted another man. For three months, they played at rivals. Cain had taken the taller man down a few pegs as he’d been the first to knock the big man on his ass the first time they sparred. Oh, how he had savored the hate he saw in Strife’s dark brown eyes that day. If the big man could have gotten away with it he might have tried to kill Cain. He had almost wanted him to try.
For three months, he had pricked at the man’s pride. Bested him at every opportunity. Gauged his reactions. He watched as hatred slowly transformed into a grudging respect. Then open admiration. And finally, a humbled man had asked for instruction in how to do what Cain did so effortlessly. He was everything Cain had wanted. Everything he’d desired but had been unable to put into words.
They had been on a three-day leave when Cain had made his next move. A short cut to the bar they were to meet their fellow soldiers led them through an alley. Cain had stopped and pushed Strife up against the wall next to a poster that promised dancing girls and hinted at other things that soldiers could enjoy for a little American money. Strife had been annoyed, ready to complain, but Cain had silenced him when he slid his hand down the front of those dress blues. That had been all that was needed. His back had ended up against the opposite wall as their mouths had clashed. That first time had been hurried, desperate. He’d marveled at Strife’s strength as the man threw him around like a rag doll to fuck. By the end, he was grateful for his nature and his ability to heal from nearly any wound. Strife had been bigger than he’d anticipated and they hadn’t paused for lube.
They’d left the alley and ended up holed up in a cheap Saigon motel for the entire three days of their leave. In between the many fucks, they had talked. About life, the war, their pasts, though at that time Cain had obfuscated his true past. It had been so perfect, like they had been made to find one another. As his gaze stopped at the wicked scar on Strife’s shoulder, he could taste the man’s blood in his mouth again. It made him hunger for more than just another taste of his lover. He had made that scar when he had pulled Strife into the shadows where the truth of the world lurked.
“Yer starin’…” Strife’s deep rumble of a voice broke the trance Cain had fallen into. The book rested on his bare chest as he watched Cain with a smirk on his lips. “Got somethin’ on yer mind?”
Cain felt his face heat. He still didn’t understand how Strife, who was still just a boy comparatively, made him feel like he’d been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. “Just remembering.” Before he’d met Strife, a southern accent that strong would have automatically put him off. He’d worked for years to rid his own voice of that slow molasses drawl.
“Oh, yeah?” The book was tossed on the floor as he crooked a finger at Cain. “Come ‘ere…”
Stubbornness would just be childish so Cain complied as he pushed to his feet and crossed the floor to join Strife on the bed. He crawled right on top of the other man as the only thing that separated their flesh was the thin material of the boxers Cain had pulled on when he’d risen from the bed some hours ago. “Just thinking about how we met.” His mahogany brown hands rested on Strife’s chest as he shifted atop him, just enough to grind against the cock he felt twitch beneath him.
“That a fact…” His tan hands came to rest on Cain’s thighs. “Here I thought ya were neck deep in tryin’ ta figure out how we’re gettin’ ‘cross tha Mediterranean.” He swiped his tongue across his lips as he gazed at Cain’s smaller frame. “Yer wearin’ too much…” His fingers tugged at the boxers.
“Is there ever a time you aren’t looking to fuck?” he questioned even as he pushed the boxers down and worked them down his legs then tossed them to the floor.
“When I’m sleepin’.” His hands returned to Cain’s hips then squeezed the other’s ass. “An' on tha shitter.”
Cain laughed as he shook his head. “I call shenanigans. I’ve woken up too many nights to you grinding up against me… while snoring in my ear… and just last week when I was showering you jerked off watching me…while on the shitter.”
Strife rolled his shoulders in a shrug, “Alright, alright. But ya gotta admit… yer a sexy bitch.”
Cain leaned down until his lips were barely an inch from Strife’s. “I’m your sexy bitch.”
When Strife grinned, it showed how his canines had begun to grow longer than the rest of his teeth. In time, his would be as long as Cain’s, so they both would have that feral appearance. “Damn straight…” He growled as he cupped the back of Cain’s head to pull him down into a kiss. Their bodies came together and when Strife flipped Cain onto his back he proved to his lover just how much he enjoyed the other’s body.
The sounds of the market had lessened as the sun set outside. As they lay tangled together, Cain let his fingers trace over Strife’s newest tattoo, the faces of the moon with a simple wolf’s head beneath it. His body ached, but it was a good ache, and would be gone soon enough. He enjoyed it while it lasted as he listened to Strife’s heart pound under his ear.
Strife was still awake. He had one arm behind his head, the other idly traced the scars on Cain’s back. He was the only one Cain had ever allowed such an intimacy. Probably because he knew Strife understood scars as the man had plenty of his own, though his were more internal and hidden beneath bluster and bluff. “I wanna go see tha pyramids n’maybe some other shit.”
It took Cain a moment to realize that Strife had said something. He lifted his head. “Really? Why?”
“They’re one of them wonders of tha world, right? An’ who knows when we’re gonna make it back ta this side of tha world ‘gain.” He met Cain’s golden-eyed gaze a moment then looked up at the ceiling once more, “Plus… I always did like readin’ bout ‘em when I was a boy. Had a buncha bricks out behind tha shed growin’ up. Used ta build my own pyramids n’castles. Make up stories n’shit bout what was happin’ round ‘em.”
Cain found a smile on his face as he put his hand on Strife’s chest and his chin on the back of the hand. “That almost sounds like a happy memory. Didn’t think you had many of those growing up.”
Strife shrugged. “Granny didn’t care none long as I was out of her hair… weren’t makin’ a lotta noise ta make tha neighbors look over tha fence. An’ I had ta put ‘em back where I found ‘em fore I went in fer tha night.”
With a snort, Cain rolled over onto his back but continued to use Strife’s shoulder as a pillow. “It’s almost too bad she’s dead. There’s a part of me that wants to knock on her door and watch her turn three shades of purple as I dirty her front porch with my blackness.”
He chuckled as he gave Cain a one-armed squeeze, “Sittin’ on tha fancy furniture… you in my lap.” Strife rolled onto his side as he propped his head up with one arm, his other hand rested on Cain’s stomach. “Course all that is ash. Burned that shit ta tha ground right ‘fore I shipped out. Weren’t like she was comin’ back from tha nursin’ home after she broke ‘er hip.”
“I ever mention you got a mean streak in you a mile wide?” Cain watched as the lights from outside played across Strife’s face. Not the name he was born with. But one that suited him better than the other ever could.
“A time or two.” He responded before he leaned in to capture a kiss. Even when he was gentle, he consumed. He dominated. He controlled. Strife was slowly growing into the Alpha Cain knew he was capable of being. It was that potential that had drawn Cain in like iron filings to a magnet. When Strife finally pulled back from the kiss he reached up to run his fingers along Cain’s jaw. “Get some sleep… Tha earlier we hit tha road tha better.”
“Next thing I know you’re gonna be telling me to drink my milk so I can grow up big and tall like you.” He briefly captured Strife’s finger so he could bring it to his lips for a gentle bite.
“How 'bout I just give ya another protein shake come morning.” When he settled down, he pulled Cain in close, an arm under the other’s head while he held the man against his chest.
“As if I’d say no…” Cain muttered as he shifted to his side. With Strife at his back, he felt safe. He interlaced his fingers with Strife’s and let sleep claim him as he listened to the distant sounds of the sea and the closer noises of humanity.