This was a random idea that popped into my head during history class (the video on the Crusades had nothing to do with it). I hope you enjoy it and decide to send me a review!
The cell was anything but cozy. Concrete floor, concrete walls, low concrete ceiling. James could stand up straight, but Victor had to crouch if he wanted to stretch his legs. One wall was lined with steel bars whose foundations were buried deep in the rough cement.
The brothers were sitting as far away from each other as possible. Victor was leering at Jimmy like he'd been sniffing mustard gas, but James was glaring at the wall. No way in hell was he looking that bastard in the eye.
They'd had a good thing going for a while. Maybe it was a little too tame for Victor to enjoy, but he couldn't really complain. The men treated them fairly, though no one ever got too close, and they'd seen plenty of action. This war had made it easier than ever for them to hide what set them apart.
But Victor...James' jaw clenched imperceptibly, and he was hard-put to keep his breathing even. Nothing he could do about his heartbeat, though. He didn't look at Victor, but he knew his brother's grin would be damn near reaching around his head by now.
Jimmy had to correct himself. It hadn't really been Victor's fault, what had gone down back there in that village. Sure, Creed could've been a little more subtle with his gal. Sure, he'd started it all on his own. But that goddamn pussy fucker Perlin should've looked the other way. He'd never liked the boys, sure. But he owed them. They were his best fighters; James knew Victor did a lot of it just because he loved the blood, but they both went into it no matter what tightass said to them just before they left. Fuck him if he wouldn't give them both an extra chance.
It didn't matter now. The Sergeant was dead and no one trusted the boys any more. If James offered to shine a guy's shoes, he'd probably get a bullet through the chest.
Not that he was about to become anybody's new best friend. All the other bastards could go to hell; he didn't give a shit any more. He was damn tired of trying to be nice to a bunch of skinny little cunts in uniform.
Victor picked up a rat that had crawled through a hole in the wall. The guard outside the cell jumped to attention as Creed purred, "You gonna help us get outta this shithole, little guy?" The man had been sleeping on the job and Victor was enjoying the soldier's fright, a wicked glint in his wolfish eyes. James glared at Victor from under his heavy brows; he wasn't in the mood to be tortured, and his brother was just being a cur. If he hadn't wanted to be heard he'd have kept his voice much lower than that. "Can't I have some fun, little brother?" Victor said in the same loud tone, and Jimmy rumbled a low growl in response. The guard definitely didn't hear it.
How long had they been sitting in this godforsaken cell? At least a day; this was their second night. James wondered what they were planning out there. The obvious penalty for the thing they'd done was death, so why the wait? He wished they'd get the fucking thing over with. He was attached to his brother by virtue of shared blood than anything else lately; he'd always known Victor was ruthless, but he'd been careless as of late.
This hellhole was the obvious result.
The sun rose over the horizon just as a group of four soldiers came to take the brothers to their execution. Logan didn't know any of them; someone at the top of the totem pole must've thought the boys might convince someone from their old squad to let them go. James shook his head at the thought and let out a humorless laugh that made the guards jump; Victor glanced at him and grinned. "Gettin' into the spirit, little brother?" he asked. Logan shrugged. "Thinkin' bout gettin' away, actually," he said with a growl. Victor snorted; he could tell that Jimmy was just messing around, but the both of them could smell the fear rising around them.
"I dunno if that's such a good idea, Jimmy, these boys is pretty damn high-strung. They might shoot ya or sumthin'." Victor smiled again, fangs white against his lips, and Logan coughed out another laugh. "They sure as hell might," he said in a low voice. "It wouldn't be the first time."
It was gonna be a hot one. The sky was clear and blue, almost white near the horizon, and the son was a white-hot disc in the sky. It might have been bearable without the humidity, but the jungle surrounding the base was providing plenty of water to mix with the air. There wasn't even a breeze. Logan thought about the cell they'd be left to bake in later; it only took a second for the idea to wipe away his good humor from before. Fuck. He wasn't in the mood for this shit at all. But Victor hadn't cut himself loose yet, so James figured he could wait. He couldn't get away without spearing some of the boys anyway, so why bother?
They were tied to a pair of posts right smack in the middle of the compound. Every man who was healthy enough to walk had to come watch the display; someone else may have seen it as bad luck, but to the boys it was nothing new. Just tradition. Victor grinned at the crowd, not-so-subtly baring his teeth as he was tied up. Logan just watched. The soldiers were organized into their troops; it wasn't hard to find the one he'd been a part of.
Maybe that wasn't the right way to say it...the brothers had never really been a part of the group. But they'd gotten to know the men well enough, and James always found himself watching the reactions the other men had to him and his brother when they discovered what they were dealing with.
He hadn't always been as mild about how fellow soldiers saw him. The first time the brothers had been revealed, he was afraid for his life. It took a while for fear to fade into embarassment, embarrassment to chagrin. Chagrin to detached curiosity. Maybe he'd stop caring one day, but until then he'd keep watching. At the very least, it gave him something to do.
Most of the men were glaring, hostility, disgust and sometimes curiosity plain on their faces. A few wouldn't meet Logan's penetrating gaze, everything else fair game as long as they didn't have to look at him. The ground, the trees, the clouds...their avoidance was only too obvious. When they glanced furtively at him from the corners of their eyes and realized that he was still watching him, they'd jerk away like they'd been shot.
Those, he knew from experience, were the ones that considered themselves his friend.
Well, no more. If they didn't keep their distance after this, and they usually did, he'd make sure he stayed away on his own. They never stuck around anyway; their loyalties were compromised. James wasn't one to bet on a lame horse, as it were, and those horses were standing on three bad legs.
The firing squad took their positions, long rifles dull with fresh grease. Half-shining in the heat of the sun, the job of cleaning the guns had been left to the newer recruits. Damn kids, ain't got no respect... the thought ran through Logan's head unbidden. Jesus, he sounded like an old man. His frown deepened, memories flinging his thoughts backwards into a time before America had all fifty states. A lecture, his father firmly rebuking him for some disrespect he'd shown his mother. "Young man, your mother has complimented you generously for your talent; you would not show her a smile or any thanks for that kindness?" And then James himself, in a mockingly polite tone. "No, father, I haven't the time." Getting paddled hurt like hell back then.
"Last words?" the commanding officer snapped, clearly pressing the execution forwards so he would have to waste as little time as possible on the brothers.
"See ya at dinner," Victor offered with a wicked grin. Logan ground his teeth at that, but didn't bother to comment on it. To the soldier he growled, "Ain't got nuthin' ta say."
The commander nodded quickly, smelling of fear after Victor's prediction, and stepped away. Somewhere in the back of the crowd, a man's voice called out the signals.
At 'ready', the marksmen stood to attention.
At 'aim', they held their rifles up to their shoulders
And at 'fire', they pulled their triggers.
In military executions, gunmen are told to aim for the heart. This preserves the criminal's face for embalming and burial ceremonies. Logan knew this well, so he was somewhat prepared for the volley of shots that ripped through his chest.
That didn't stop it from hurting like hell.
Six bullets shuddered through his chest, splintering ribs and puncturing lungs. Four of the shots cut through his heart in different places. Logan gasped reflexively and fell halfway to the ground before he caught himself. No, dammit, I'm not gonna be the one to fall! he thought to himself, straightening his knees with a motion that should have been impossible. He had a running bet with Victor and executions; the one that fell owed the man left standing a month's pay. Logan usually won-at least he had for the past three times-and he wasn't going to break his lucky streak.
It was silent after the deed was done, every man in the audience waiting apprehensively for whatever came next. Logan could easily smell the fear above the scent of his own blood...there was a lot more fear, that was for sure. His wounds had already stopped bleeding, and he felt his breathing deepen as his lungs knit back together. His heart, too. A movement caught his eye and he glanced over to see Victor pull his claws out of the wood of his post with a jerk.
"You owe me again," Logan said languidly.
"I don't owe you a fucking cent," Victor snarled back.
The yard was still silent, but the scent of adrenaline increased exponentially. A few of the men took a step back and a few crossed themselves. Two raised their own guns before thinking better of it and dropping the weapons again, fingers twitching against the triggers. This was definitely not what they had expected to see.
Oh well. So much for tradition. "Anyone got a cigar?" Logan asked in a voice just loud enough for everyone to hear, eyes piercing as his skin smoothed seamlessly over the bullet holes. He always seemed to like a smoke more after something like this.