Scorpions and Friendsbynastolgiclikeyou©
Thanks to the comments, I rewrote the first chapter, added it to the second one and looked for some editing help. Hope you enjoy this one.
Please comment and let me know how you liked/didn't like it.
Special thanks go to Gunter 99 and Sugababy for their time and editing this.
Chapter 1: Vipers and friends
Jet lagged and exhausted, the last thing he needed was a forced stop at some Asian country. He hated sudden changes while traveling, and worse still was not knowing exactly what he was supposed to do there except meet some fellow officer on some deserted street in the middle of a cold night.
Sam had looked at his watch a zillion times but still there was no sign of his possible droll of a colleague. He paced up and down the street, the repetitive motion helping to calm his frustration.
"This is gonna be the last time I let them pair me with an idiot," he murmured. But complaining to himself never helped to fix the situation. It was getting really dark and he was starting to feel numb from the cold weather in Tokyo.
He ran his fingers through his already disheveled brown hair and kicked at a poor cat that was unlucky enough to cross his path.
"Shitsureidesga, dude. Nanjideska?" (meaning Excuse me. What's the time? in Japanese)
A small man appeared out of a dark alley with a big grin covering his face, a grin that didn't last long.
Within seconds the newcomer found himself flat on his back. Sam was a big guy and when he was angry he looked even more intimidating.
"You're late, your choice of Japanese words sucks and if you don't get up right now I'll have to mop the ground with you."
A heavy booted foot arrived by the man's side just to emphasize Sam's point.
The man just smiled and held out his hand for a shake: "Captain Edward Palmer, nice to meet you".
Sam's jaw had fallen somewhere on the ground and it took him several moments to register what those words meant. He tried to pull himself back together and give a clumsy salute to his superior as the small man rose to his feet and shook the dust off his once squeaky clean suit.
"At ease," Edward smiled. "You're attracting too much attention, Sammy boy."
Sam cringed at the nickname his old childhood friends called him. Standing proud at 6' 2", the lieutenant was anything but a boy.
"What the hell are you doing here? And a captain? When did you get promoted?"
To say Sam was shocked was an understatement. It wasn't long ago when he met Edward as a cousin of his best friend; small, arrogant, funny and exotic Edward who stole his heart; but he didn't have enough time to know him the way he wanted because he moved back to Japan with his mother and refused to stay with his American father.
A few years ago his best friend told him about his cousin's return to the US. He even threw a party and invited Sam, too. Edward hadn't changed much except his witty sarcastic comments and his wonderful skills in bed; that was where Sam learned about his joining army and leaving for his basic training the following day.
Sam never got over his crush on the Asian guy and their night together made things more complicated. But Edward was the last person he expected to meet on the quiet, cold street.
"Let's walk, I have this feeling of being watched."
Sam moved along with his friend, almost hiding him completely with his strong body.
They walked aimlessly for half an hour, and Edward's haphazard choice of route was getting Sam very agitated.
"Mind to stop for a sec and explain?" Sam asked. He was starting to think even Edward had no idea where he was going and that he was probably imagining the invisible guys after them.
"No, keep quiet and remember I'm still your superior," Edward barked back.
Edward was right - they had been followed. The problem was he had no idea who the silent enemy was. For a second he stopped in his tracks, a quick look around and he realized they were standing at the shooting range of a sniper not far from them. The spontaneity of a reaction demanded them to run and hide and that was what he did. He pulled Sam's hand and ran for an abandoned building on his left.
Sam stumbled a bit, his fingers tingly from the touch but he started to run at his full speed once he sighted the assassin.
Within a few seconds they were inside and sheltered, Edward felt inside his jacket and fished out his pistol. Sam did the same after he caught his breath and adjusted to his new condition after the initial shock.
"So Captain, what's all this fuss about?" Sam tried to sound casual as if being followed was part of his every-day life.
Edward looked cautiously around, making sure there was no one and nothing eavesdropping, then pushed Sam to the inner parts of the building where it was pitch black.
A faint light came from his watch and he looked straight into Sam's eyes.
"Heard of the Buffalo Project?"
Sam nodded his head.
"So you must know about the horrendous experiments they were carrying on at the Equator."
Sam had heard rumors of mysterious animals sighted across the deserts of at the Equator, that's what Edward was probably referring to.
"A little, but I have no idea what it was really about." Sam said hesitantly, wondering if it was the right decision to let his superior know about his lack of inside knowledge.
"It was a difficult situation since they were granted immunity from any investigation by any country. After Japanese vipers' attacked Chicago, the US government built a clandestine station to find an antidote for the deadly vipers; some mad scientists claiming that the duodenum of rhinos produced an enzyme that could be used as the base of their so-called magical potion. However, their experiments turned the rhinoceroses into their prehistoric ancestors, the unstoppable monsters that weren't simple herbivores but blood hungry super mammals ready to kill in an instance.
"Luckily some top gun general found a clink in their shiny armor. In the draft of their contract there was a drop dead date; not coming up with an antidote for their high tech vipers, the US government was allowed to send two agents to investigate their establishments."
So the rumors were based on truth and those guys heading to Equator were in some serious trouble. But then what did it have to do with them?
"Are you saying the two agents are us?"
Sam asked with confusion.
Edward quietly left Sam to peek outside and assess their position. They couldn't stay there for long.
Sam took deep breaths to compose himself. This was some serious shit he was being pushed into and, from what he assumed, those paid guns outside weren't going easy on them.
The two men stayed silent for a while. Outside it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.
"But what are we doing here? Shouldn't we be in Africa right now? I could have met you there instead of going through those useless maneuvers," Sam blurted out.
He was trying hard to keep his cool but the ridiculous situation was taking its toll on him.
"They weren't useless."
Edward left the room without saying another word.
Sam was exhausted from the furor and his head felt heavy with tiredness. It seemed the assassins were not going to make a move until either daylight or an order from their commander reached them. This wasn't the kind of thing Sam expected.
Out of habit he ran his fingers through his hair and then stopped his hand when it touched his collarbone. He started toying with the chain around his neck. A bullet-like locket rested at the bottom of the chain.
Of course those maneuvers were useless since he lost a dear friend there. He was never given the chance to see his buddy for the last time. Apparently the body had gone to pieces and only a locket was left. He was asked to give it to his wife when he got back home.
In fact, he was on his way back to the States when they gave him new orders, meeting a supposedly mysterious man in Japan.
The locket felt quite heavy considering its size. He had even tried to open it a few times out of curiosity but it seemed it had a hidden locking mechanism. In the end he had given up assuming there was just a picture of his family inside.
Edward crept back inside and stood next to Sam, following the stroke of his fingers against the chain.
"Nice thing you have there."
Edward had found some sort of torch and lit it. There was no point in concealing when tens of people were waiting for them outside.
"It's a friend's. I have to give it to his family." Sam said nonchalantly.
Ten or twenty minutes passed in silence. Edward glanced at his watch every five minutes and tapped on the wall with the butt of his gun.
"It's so cold here." Sam muttered under his breath. "How long are we going to stay here?" He rubbed his numbing hands together.
"Not very long, help is on the way." With that Edward looked again at his watch, this time Sam looked too and realized it wasn't just a watch, absolutely not.
It was some kind of a tracking-communicative device. Considering their situation, having such equipment made sense.
The silence was back. Edward paced in the tiny room and Sam followed him with his eyes.
"Let's rest a bit. There's no point in staying too alert."
Edward sat in one corner; then scooted over so Sam could sit next to him.
It was a good idea to sit so close, their touching bodies kept both of them warm. Sam leaned his head against the wall and closed his eyes.
He couldn't sleep but he could use some rest. It was always helpful to think of sex when he was in some serious trouble and it was easier to imagine those things with a hot guy sitting next to him.
Outside tens of assassins and their disgusting lab were turned into ashes by the enormous explosion.
Sam trembled with shock and excitement.
"We survived." Sam said with a shaky voice, hugging his friend with joy.
Edward pushed him away, a single tear running down his face.
"I'm sorry big guy."
Sam confusedly looked at Edward. He couldn't understand his childhood friend. The bad guys were gone along their wicked buildings, they were free to go.
He opened his mouth to disagree with Edward but nothing came out of his mouth as he felt two tiny things dug into the hand holding the box. He opened his palm and let go of it. There was a tiny worm like creature in his palm, still digging into his flesh with its shining keen fangs.
Sam winked helplessly, the world was getting blurry in his eyes.
A foot away, Edward was standing like a statue staring at his dying friend. At least the viper was fast and granted a quick death.
Sam's lips moved as if he were trying to say something. Edward tried to read his lips but all he could understand was a "why" and something else, maybe "love". But that didn't make sense, only the "why".
The question he deserved to know the answer but it was late.
Another minute passed before he realized Sam had stopped breathing, his dear Sam was gone forever and he was truly alone. He was gone and with him the idea of having a family at some unknown future.
He knelt on the floor holding his fallen comrade in his arms.
"I'm truly sorry Sammy boy. They never told me the entire plan, just bits of information to put together like a puzzle. You were right; it was wiser to meet in Africa. I failed you. But then we're all pieces in the big game of power with no choice."
Edward planted a kiss on Sam's forehead. Put the dead viper back to the box and then pushed it into his pocket; the last thing he wanted was to leave some evidence. The he leaned forward and unhooked Sam's locket holding it tight in his fist.
He got up, shook the dust off his once neat suit and left the building.
Outside not far from the burning buildings, a chopper was waiting for him. He grabbed the ladder and disappeared into the midnight sky, another mission completed, another friend dead.
Part 2 Scorpions and friends
Driving a jeep in the middle of a hot Asian desert was nothing for the old-timer who used to be part of the cavalry in his youth; however, his young passenger was anything but comfortable. He moved up and down like a sack of potatoes on a boat in the middle of a stormy sea.
The old man looked at the dashboard every 10 minutes and checked the fuel gage, they were running out of gas and they needed to stop soon. The problem was that there nearest gas station wasn't closer than another 20 miles.
He had tried to break the ice several times but his passenger was a quiet one and his smug face had turned into a mixture of pain and worry after they had traveled their first 100 miles.
The day was getting hotter and the wind hit their skin like a whip bringing tears to their eyes.
He never asked the stranger why he was heading to the heart of the desert or why he was in so much hurry but his pale skin was an obvious sign that he wanted to get back to wherever he came from as much as the old man himself.
Fifteen minutes later and there wasn't a drop of gas left in the tank. There was at least three miles left and the best option was to walk to the station than to wait for help.
They didn't have much to carry with them, just a half empty thermos and the stranger's backpack that he hadn't put down or away since their first moment together. He was so attached to it you'd swear there was a nuclear bomb inside.
It seemed the temperature raised with every step they took. Sweat was pouring down their bodies and the stranger was completely breathless.
"Can we stop for a second?" The stranger bent and held his knees in order to catch his breath. This mission was one of the worst he had accepted and probably his last. He was going to die before he could see the mischievous terrorist leader to carry out his counter terrorist plans.
"There ain't much left. Things get worse the more we stay in the Sun." the old stager continued without looking back.
"The old geezer not only couldn't bother to stop a little for me but didn't even offer a drop of his water. He's a dead man when I'm done with these brainless terrorists." the stranger shot a menacing look at the old man's back and fisted his hands. He slowly stood straight and started to walk. He tried to count his steps, then he think about his home with its lovely Koi pond. He even thought about his last mission. "Stupid Sam." he mumbled as he followed the old man with his eyes, he was almost half a mile ahead of him now.
He spotted a big stone on the right side of the road, it seemed like a nice place to rest in its shadow.
"Hey." he shouted as loud as he could. "I wait here. Go get help." he pointed at the stone with his finger.
The old stager waved and continued.
The first few minutes sitting in the shadow of the rock was a good idea but then it got extremely uncomfortable to sit. He grabbed his bag and put it on the sand. No one was going to steal it while he sat on it.
His sneakers were wet with his sweat, digging into his skin through his socks. He decided to take them off.
Untying his laces took enough time to keep his mind busy. He put his bare feet on top of his shoes, embraced his knees and rested his head on top of them.
Several hours passed and there was no sign of the old man or help. His body ached from the uncomfortable position he was sitting and he felt terribly thirsty. He was getting drowsy but he knew well that sleeping was not an option.
Chances of running into another human were low but there were plenty of wild animals out there waiting for the night to get out of their hiding places and hunt. He seemed a wonderful prey even to himself.
He couldn't stay there anymore so he got back to his feet and stretched a bit. He had two options; he could follow the old man or go back to their car.
The former seemed quite risky, whatever had kept the old man busy, could do the same to him. He was sure he hadn't dumped him because he hadn't paid a dime and the old man wanted the money desperately.
So he walked back to the car, it wasn't that far and the sun was still in the sky, though he had no idea how long he could use the daylight.
With the setting sun, the temperature went down and he found it easier to walk.
The jeep was the way they had left it. The doors were locked but the driver's window was half open.
He put his lean hand inside and unlocked the door. The leather seats were like lava-licked stones, and inside was a real inferno, still it was way better than sitting under that stone waiting for some wild animal to attack and have him for its dinner.
It took him sometime to settle comfortably inside the jeep and by that time the sun was completely down and the desert moon was shining brightly. A wolf howled into the night not far from him and made his nerve wracking situation worse. He tried to find a way to keep himself busy. He hadn't had anything in the last 10 hours and the claws of hunger were digging deep.
There was a piece of rope hanging from the mirror. He could use it to try his knotting skills, a hobby that could keep him busy for hours.
The knots helped him for a while. The nights in the desert were cold and he tried to get warm but his t-shirt and shorts weren't enough. He searched behind the seats and found a small blanket.
"That would do for the night," he thought.
He leaned back in the seat, covered his cold body with the blanket and tried to stay awake.
Since he met Sam, he hadn't slept properly. The damn man haunted him in his dreams.
If he was given the chance, he would have taken the locket without having to get rid of him but he had ruined all their plans.
The US government had no idea the antidote existed, they had only heard of a spy who had infiltrated into the labs, broken their firewalls and stolen the data. Nobody knew that they were more than data and they had made the antidote. The guy who had died was the spy and it was Sam's bad luck to run into him. He just wanted the locket but he couldn't pretend Sam was the spy when the fool had no idea how deep he had fallen.
He had to erase him and get the locket to where it belonged.
When they told him about the chopper that was on the way to help him, he had truly freaked out. They shouldn't find the viper or the locket. He had to think quickly that was when his mysterious guy came to his rescue.
Nobody saw the dark Toyota waiting in the dark alley after the explosion, nor did anyone notice the box that fell from his hand as he grabbed the ladder. Their plan was completed except he lost his dear friend and no one was to blame but him.
"Damn that General." He stared at the beautiful sky decorated with tens of shining stars.
Their plan was perfect: he could have faked his death in the explosion and joined his lover. But no, the bastard general had to come to his rescue. After all he was their ace player and they didn't want to lose him at all cost.
Now he was in the middle of a damn desert, miles away from his man, waiting for a painful death.
He could probably last a day or two without food, but what about water? As soon as the sun got back to his ruling ground, he was roasted meat.
He closed his eyes and tried to sleep, that was the least he could do to help himself.
He could hear voices, somewhere in the distance a horse was running on the sand, or was it a horse? He was left to his own devices to die; there was no way the old man had made it back. What kinds of animals sheltered in a desert? The voices were getting louder. He was almost sure it was a dream because he felt warm and it felt soft around him, as if he was embraced by tens of cushions, or even better in the arms of his lover.
Cushions didn't have arms for sure and they didn't whisper in anyone's ears and surely they didn't feel safe.
He tried to turn a bit but the armed cushions tightened their grip on him.