A/N:This story is the result of a reader's vote over on tumblr. The people wanted Kyman, so Kyman they shall have! This particular plot has been in the works for a long time, so I'm very excited to finally get it posted. XD
The primary pairing of this story is Kyman, but if you've read my stuff before you know I can't resist multiple pairings in a chaptered story, so beware. There will be hints of K2. Enjoy!
TEAR YOU DOWN
Chapter One: Early to Bed and Early to Rise Makes a Man Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise
At night in the barracks, the air thick with the heady smell of sweat and male bodies, the soldiers spoke of sex. They spoke of beautiful women like graceful sirens waiting to take them into their embrace. Voices wracked with yearning, they described red lips and trembling thighs. According to these young men no greater pleasure existed than the carnal act of sex.
Lying awake while listening to the urgent whispers traded in the quiet dark Kyle kept his dissent to himself. He couldn't blame his fellows for their ignorance. But what was sex compared to flying, careening through the air with a terrible weapon thrumming between your legs. The raw human guilt that washed over you when you turned an enemy into a rolling ball of fire. Kyle had dropped men to their deaths.
He tossed and turned in his sleep. Kyle didn't want the biting miserable cold creeping in beneath the canvas walls. He didn't care about the pranks cadets pulled on the blackshoes, or the pretty nurses in their entirely too neat uniforms. All he cared about was flying, falling, alive under the spell of the icy winds tearing at his hair, subdued by the smooth design of his Sopwith.
Swallowing down a dry throat, Kyle reached down to trails frostbitten fingers along his growing erection.
The others could keep their red-lipped sirens.
Wrapping his fingers around the core of his heat, Kyle sighed and rolled his hips.
He had the sky.
And he'd never let it go.
Acrid smoke poured down from the blackened sky, dragged down by heavy rain that struck like bee stings. Scrambling shapes tangled together below the angry lines of planes, the sharp rat-tat-rat-tat of their guns tearing the air with ugly violence.
Hell on earth, Kyle thought, suspended in a moment of morbid clarity as the clouds opened below him and he saw the writhing masses; muddy, faceless golems engaged in endless struggle. His body was long since numb from hovering in his icy perch, the stabbing cold having seeped through the body of his fighter plane gliding along the choppy currents of air. Deadly metal birds, a mix of Allies and Central machines, spun wildly around him in a death dance. Some would crumple; fall. Others would burst. Flashes of fire wove orange threads of sparks and debris as a British fighter took down an Austrian plane, his accent crackling over the airways and momentarily filling Kyle's cold cockpit with life. It was short-lived, his heart clenching as a German plane, one of the newest models and frighteningly fast, swung up like a reaper's scythe to chop the Englishmen out of the sky in a ball of fire sent crashing over the poor souls fighting on the ground. Closing his eyes, Kyle murmured quietly comforting nonsense as he pushed his girl harder, arcing up dangerously close to the summit on dirty gray mountains of fog. There was nothing more he wanted than to go to his men. He was their captain, yet he had his orders. Swinging gracefully away as a grunting Austrian carrier chugged past, he rolled his shoulders and ignored the strain of his eyes behind his smudged goggles. This was no time to be human. Not when he, Captain Kyle Broflovski of the United States Allied Front, had been given the task of slaying a dragon.
The Bloody General.
No one knew any information aside from his name and the devastation he left in his wake. Stan – Colonel Marsh Kyle distractedly reminded himself – thought the Bloody General was more than one man; a unit of Central leaders, but Kyle knew different. There was no telling how or why, but he could feel it. The Bloody General was one man. Just a man. He refused to see him as anything different, despite the abject horror his evil inspired among the Allied Forces.
It was that fearlessness that had earned Kyle the title of Ace, after countless missions straight into enemy territory, after a series of impossible victories winged his name across allied airways. According to Kenny – the daredevil parachuting Major nearly as infamous as Kyle for his escapades – Kyle had a nasty temper that gave him the courage of a lion. The redhead found he couldn't deny it. He wouldn't be half as brave if he weren't so furious. At the war, at the enemy, and at the Bloody General looming over the entire world like a vengeful spirit. When Stan had recruited him, asked him to fly with a worried expression half hoping Kyle would refuse, the Captain had vowed to be the light that vanquished the Bloody General's shadow. The Arrow, they called him, for he always flew true and struck soundly. It was too bad being a living legend couldn't cure him of the bitter cold hollowing out his bones.
Isolation was wearing him down, knowing that to use his radio for an outward signal meant he'd be revealed to the enemy, and stealth was key on this mission. Though it was agony to sit by in his Sopwith F1 Camel, affectionately called Rosie, and watch his brothers-in-arms fighting valiantly for their lives. All so their Captain, the Ace-Arrow-Lionheart, could creep close enough to take a shot at the Bloody General's flying fortress flying somewhere among the castles of clouds.
Seen by few but known by all, the monstrous zeppelin, Colossus, had been a dark storm on the horizon since nearly two years ago. Rising into the sky, carrying the Bloody General's tyrannous name with it, the zeppelin defied every law of physics as if driven by hateful demons. Word was that its shade was black as pitch, sleek and smooth as a minnow moving through still water. The caravan attached to its massive belly was as big as a ship, made from light-as-air metal painted deep dark red. And at the mast was a Medusa, her serpent tresses framing a frightening face with yellow eyes and a long black tongue.
Who was to say these things were true, but Kyle's feline nature had been seduced. He wanted to see her, stare Medusa straight in the eyes before he sent custom bullets into the floating beast's vulnerable sides. Then he would find the corpse of the Bloody General and reveal him in his mortality. It had become a desperate need. If Kyle could see that the Bloody General was human, then he would know that this war could end. The blood would stop being spilled. The mud would stop sucking the life out of their limbs, and the cold would dissipate.
"C'mon, Rosie," he murmured, fighting to keep his teeth from rattling. He could see the sheets of ice coating his wings and Kyle was about to dip back below the cloud line when he saw several narrow planes – German stealth fighters – twisting through the fog to spear into the ongoing fray.
His hands slipped on the controls and Rosie rocked beneath him before Kyle caught his breath and cursed. There. Exactly like seagulls foreshadowing the approach of some ocean vessel, the German fighters were a haunting preamble to the slow arc of impossible girth floating up through the clouds. White mist slipped off the sides of shining black metal, and the redhead's jaw dropped when the rust red caravan crested the skyline and suddenly the entire thing was before him, hovering like a god over the clouds, remaining unseen by the soldiers below.
There was a glint of light reflecting the dying rays of the sun – a telescope! Kyle bit out another curse as he gave through a sharp nosedive into a thick meadow of clouds. He stayed behind the freezing off-white veil and tried to bring his breathing under control. The cold grew more intense, and the air ached in his lungs. Peeking through the sleeves of his fingerless leather gloves, Kyle clenched hands itched by frostbite, the fragile flesh beneath his bitten nails a chilling edge into blue.
He needed to fly. He needed to shoot. He needed to ground the Colossus and bring the Bloody General to earth.
Even if he died in the process.
Clenching his teeth, Kyle gunned the engine, pushing Rosie to her max until the buzzing propellers, hushed by the thick clouds, spun free to cut through the air with a deafening whine. And green eyes grew wide behind thick goggles when Kyle realized the Colossus was nearly on him, blotting out the sun and gliding in a near-silent way that was terrifying. With no idea how the thing had covered so much distance in such a short time, Kyle jerked the controls over and went into a wild spin. But the clouds were suddenly bristling with the shape of German fighters, swooping up beneath him in a rising tide.
"Damn it!" he yelled, slamming his fist into the dashboard as the first round of clacking slugs ripped at his sides. "Shit!" Swinging away with a strained drone as the engine struggled against the cold, Kyle had to slam into another gut-wrenching twirl when he was cut off by another flank of planes. It took another slough of bullets for him to realize that they weren't trying to hit him. His heart pounded with a different brand of adrenaline as the Captain realized the planes were herding him towards the zeppelin. He gritted his teeth and charged the line of planes, his ears ringing with the combined thunder of their propellers masking his own. But a line of direct fire caught his propeller and his heart stopped as Rosie's front burst with chips of wood – the two propeller's on his front had been reduced to one, fluttering pieces of wood scattering the air and Kyle struck blindly at the controls, flattening his hands over the firing pedals. A flurry of heavy shots rocketed from his dying plane's hull, slamming violently into the German lines, ripping into them like teeth into flesh. He sobbed with frustration; those had been specially designed for Colossus.
The sensation of falling didn't reach him until Kyle's entire world slipped sideways, the neat row of black machines skewed as Rosie's remaining propeller shuddered to a halt. Up this high the wind was strong enough to dance him like a marionette, spinning in a dizzying spiral that shook his hands from the parachute fastened to the back of his seat. Whistling wind tore at the topless barrier of glass surrounding the cockpit as he worked the pane aside, distantly wondering why there weren't more shots. Where was the killing blow?
Wriggling free of his seat and threading his arms made thick by the heavy leather coat through the straps of the bag, Kyle froze with his eyes straight ahead. There was a long black line leading from the front of the Colossus. Time slowed into strangely jagged pieces. Wind currents kept him afloat, as if on a palm that was offering him up. And headed straight for him was what looked like a harpoon. Following the flinging line to its source, Kyle saw the snarling open mouth, the fierce yellow eyes, and the tendrils of serpents arched aggressively outward. Medusa.
The Sopwith nearly snapped in half when the harpoon struck it, hooking deep into the metal exterior. Kyle was thrown back into the cockpit, the wind knocked out of him. There was an abrupt dip that sent his lungs into his throat, and then a shattering redirection that nearly broke his neck. The Captain belatedly realized he was being hauled in slowly like a fish on the line.
He fought against the sparking dashboard and crushed over-wing. Greatly burdened by the heaviness of his coat and sheepskin-lined leather boots reaching high up his thighs, Kyle had to pull himself up bodily by his arms alone. The whistling wind poured over his bare face, leeching beneath the flaps of his worn green ushanka and leather balaclava. He managed on an uplifting gust of wind to lurch back into his seat. "Sorry, girl," he whispered, pausing only to press his hand to the tiny rose Kenny had carved into the side panel once the plane had been christened. With another nauseating tilt to his reality, Kyle crawled towards the window but had to flinch back when he found stinking strips of gasoline trickling from the fuel tank. His eyes shot to the sparking dashboard then back to the flammable substance currently draining all over his plane and him. Frantic, the pilot threw his body against the glass, jammed back by the initial impact and leaving less than half the room he needed to get through and make a jump for it. With the concaved upper wing he couldn't vault over the side of the cockpit; effectively he was trapped.
The front of the Sopwith crumpled with a cacophony of whines and crunching. Kyle, at this point nearly hanging from the glass panes, stared in mortified shock at the giant black claw that had clutched his plane in its metal jaws. He'd never seen anything like it. The metal glinted as if newly polished, sleek and deadly like a spider pinched up tight around its prey. Creaking gears and the final pop of Rosie's hull signaled the movements before Kyle felt it, and he scrambled wildly as gasoline slicked the glass beneath his fingers and stung his nasal passage while it soaked over his skin and into his uniform. All but blind while confined in the wreck of his plane, Kyle only now recognized that he was practically up against the prow of the caravan riding the belly of the gigantic zeppelin. And there - as he slipped back to feel for his pistol – looking past the claw, up beyond the line of the harpoon and Medusa's horrible face, he saw a figure standing against the wind.
His heart thundered in his chest and Kyle couldn't move. The man was dressed in all black, a shining crest nearly as big as a fist the only mark on his entire uniform. Green eyes, pupils blown with adrenaline, fixed on that crest.
The crest of a general.
Impossibly cold eyes stared down at him, less than twenty feet away. They burned with soulless regard, the low brim of his peaked visor cap drawing shadows so that they looked inhuman. A thick burgundy scarf hid the lower half of his face, but Kyle could only see those eyes that speared straight into him as sure as a knife. He didn't realize he wasn't breathing until his lungs screamed for air. And in that moment it all came rushing back: the noise, the cold, the urgency. His fingers closed around the handle of his pistol and Kyle wrenched it up-
-just as the Bloody General threw a military saber with deadly accuracy.
The tip of the blade pierced his chest, through the leather and sheepskin lining. Kyle screamed through gritted teeth, watching helplessly as the claw jerked once more, tearing the front half of the Sopwith entirely away. And then he was plummeting down again, this time alone, tossed from his aircraft like a piece of trash. Blood sprinkled the air around him, shaken from his wound by the wind. Kyle stared upwards blindly, a cry frozen on his lips as he was ripped violently from consciousness.
Three months later.
Colonel Stanley Marsh pinched the bridge of his nose. "Would it have been that hard to at least scrape the mud off your face, Major?"
Major Kenneth McCormick snorted. "Don't you know the ladies at the parlor said it was good for my complexion," he drawled. Grinning at the handkerchief Stan was holding out for him, Kenny used it to scoop some of the sludge out of his ears. "Anyway, it came in handy. The heinies didn't even see me breathing down their necks."
Sliding back into his chair, Stan waved off Kenny's offer to return the thoroughly soiled handkerchief. "And the documents?"
"Encoded," the Major reported, expression falling into a mild frustration. "And cleaner than me. Our boy Kip should be able to crack it." Flashing a too-white grin amidst the filth on his face, Kenny teased, "Especially if we send Kyle to deliver it to his biggest fan." Laughing at Stan's scowl, he fished the documents out to fan them across the desk. The Colonel's brow furrowed and Kenny motioned with a muddy finger, "There's one part they didn't bother to encode." Shifting uncomfortably, he didn't meet Stan's eyes as he pushed the papers closer.
Cobalt blue eyes followed the gesture and suddenly Stan's blood ran cold. Trying to still the trembling of his fingers, he bit out a curse as he read and re-read the two words emblazoned on the page, which had become an admonition of inevitable death and destruction known by all the Allied Forces. Dropping the paper Stan grabbed the telephone and roared into the canny speaker, "Rouse Officer Drordy. He should be expecting a delivery…" Glancing up at Kenny's rakish smirk he rolled his eyes and added, "And get me Captain Broflovski on the double."
Kenny scraped patterns into the drying dirt on the back of his hand. "Good choice."
Dark eyes slid slowly up the redhead's slender frame, lingering on the rounded flesh hugged tight by worn cotton trousers. Thick straps held up thigh-high boots made of caramel colored leather, framing his ass with an unjust perfection. Christophe had always enjoyed the unique uniforms of the airmen. The cigarette hanging from his lips angled up with the suggestive slant of his mouth as Kyle noticed his heavy gaze. Christophe gave the pilot another lazy sweep with his eyes before standing up straight from his slouched position against the wall. "Bonjour, Captain."
The Frenchman's presence did not bode well for anyone. Kyle narrowed his eyes. "Gregor – Brigadier General sent you?"
Pushing into the smaller man's space with a measured gait, Christophe offered him a dangerous grin. "Ze bife is here himself." Green eyes registered with alarm and the Frenchman nodded solemnly. "We dredged McCormick out of a swamp on enemy lines. But not before ze fool got something good." Drawing deeply on his cigarette, he turned to see a harried looking cadet loping towards them, the boy's hand pressing down his flimsy hat against the wind. It was a constant presence outside the huge barn converted into a hanger for the American fighter planes.
Before the young officer could utter a word Kyle snatched the message out if his hand. The cadet and Christophe watched him scan the words. He dropped the telegram into the mud without a second glance and set off at a dead run, leaving the Frenchman and the cadet staring after him in bewilderment.
With an exasperated huff the cadet shook his head. "He's barely out of sick bay." Sniffing petulantly, the boy narrowed his eyes at the very slight stiffness on the right side of the agile pilot as he ran. He frowned. "Colonel Marsh shouldn't a' told him. He's a hot head."
Cuffing the kid on the side of the head without preamble, and sneering when he yelped in surprise, Christophe drawled, "Mind your tongue, seppo. When you're an ace like ze Captain you can run your mouth." Following Kyle's retreating figure the Frenchman slouched off, hunching against the cold outside the hanger. A familiar drone greeted him, mud flung outward by the tires of Brigadier General Gregory's convoy. Grayish light staining his hair dirty gold, the Brit looked ethereal as he swung from the automobile, face already plastered with a swashbuckling grin that might hurt a lesser man's eyes. Christophe's expression grew stormy and his famed scowl dragged down the corners of his mouth. The damn Tommy was like a human sun and Christophe the mutinous moon.
"My good man!" he trumpeted, gliding over the sloppy mud and somehow keeping his crisp black boots gleaming. Gregory clapped Christophe on the back and gave a raucous bark of laughter before he said in his clipped British accent, "That damn Yank is certainly something, isn't he? Crawled right under the Fritz noses and snatched up those articles." Dragging his disgruntled associate closer Gregory practically guffawed, "Marsh says they'll have their man work through the codes… Was it that hotheaded little Yid I saw speed through here like a holy terror?"
Pursing his lips at Gregory's word choice, Christophe murmured, "Careful Brigadier General, your colonialist is showing.
The Brit snorted good-naturedly. "You lecturing me, old chap? I do say; that's very rich."
The door cracked back into the flimsy wall, nearly busting off its hinges. Kenny didn't even flinch, snorting into his grainy coffee as Stan jumped, almost spilling the brew all over his pristine uniform. Slamming the mug down on the desk the Colonel snapped, "Dammit, Kyle!" A second later Stan's flustered Choctaw secretary named Nashoba burst in. His thick black hair was tied in a tight braid against the nape of his neck, and intelligent black eyes shown with annoyance beneath the olive gray of his hat.
Accent a gentle curve along the consonants in his speech, the secretary stated drily, "Captain Broflovski here to see you, Colonel."
"Where is it?" Kyle demanded. "Let me see it." Green eyes darted all over the desk hungrily. But Stan's desk was bare but for the coffee and a faded photo of his family back home in South Park. Kyle frowned, barely glancing at the frazzled secretary as the young man rolled his eyes and stomped out of the makeshift office, slamming the door shut behind him. Rounding on his friend – and his superior, whether or not he chose to acknowledge it – Kyle splayed his hands expectantly. "You called me here about word on the Bloody General, Stan."
"Coded word," Kenny cut in, "We need you to get this to Officer Kip Drordy." He held up the documents and Kyle's gaze zeroed in on them.
"Why the hell did you call me in for that?" he asked, gesturing irritably. "And Kenny, you look like a mudman from one of those crummy sideshows at the circus."
"You know how Drordy is," Stan sighed. "He's got that issue; he needs to do everything in order. Counting his steps, and putting his right shoe on before his left. It's that condition he's got."
Kyle blinked, unimpressed. "And?"
"We need to convince him that this needs to be done first. That everything else can wait," Stan hinted. The pilot just stared at him blankly.
"Kyle," Kenny provided happily, "Kip… he's sweet on you. So if you ask him to jump, he'll ask how high." Leaning up as he tugged Kyle down by his lapels, he breathed across the redhead's cheek, "You want him, don't you… The Bloody General?"
Kyle shivered. "I want to kill him," he protested weakly, trying to brush away the dried mud trailing from Kenny's touch.
"Sure," the blond purred. "But you'll need to get him first." Pushing the papers into the pilot's hands, Kenny smirked. "Use your charms, Kyle."
Stan added, "We think these documents might have details on the Bloody General's next touch-down."
Kyle stiffened. "He's grounding the Colossus?"
"You tell us," Kenny shrugged, motioning to the encoded documents clutched in Kyle's hands. "Get those to Kip and get the little freak to crack 'em."
With a determined set to his jaw that made Stan slightly nervous, Kyle saluted sharply, something not entirely sane flickering in his eyes.
Looking skeptically at the clock, Kenny mumbled, "Kip won't know what hit him."
Nashoba stormed back in the office a second later, his shirtfront splattered with coffee. "Colonel," he ground out. "Permission to speak freely?"
"I'm not sure that would be wise, Corporal," Stan sighed. "I can't have you calling your superior… harsh names."
"He shoved past me," Nashoba growled. "And spilled all of my coffee." Scowling, he grumbled under his breath, "Pilgrim." Then he turned sharply to Kenny, looking slightly smug when the blonde flinched. Nashoba's almond-shaped eyes sparked. "Also, you left mud-prints all over the floor. I'm sure with your admirable ranking as a Washisho Major you can handle a mop and clean it up." With a last severe look that pinned both the Colonel and the stunned blond, Nashoba turned neatly on his heel and stalked out.
"Don't upset the Missus," Kenny mumbled. "Got it."
Officer Kip Drordy was the space between stars: unseen, easily dismissed, and seemingly meaningless. He floated around the base like a lost child, awkward and lanky with huge brown eyes that unnerved the others with their wide-eyed naivety. Dutiful enough, he kept himself immaculate and carried out his obligations with deftness and skill that defied his outward appearance. It was entirely by accident that he became the Allied Airforce key intelligence officer, specializing in codes.
He was also, by no fault of his own, hopelessly in love with Ace Captain Kyle Broflovski.
And so it was with a look between elated joy and crushing anxiety that he greeted the stunning pilot, caught up as always in the fiery copper of his hair and the vivid green eyes peering out from a pale flawless face. Stuttering badly, and spilling his tea on the confidential documents splayed over his cramped desk quarters, Kip leapt to his feet and saluted clumsily.
"At ease," Kyle said in a clipped tone, unabashedly lifting away the sopping mess of papers on Kip's desk to deposit them in a chair. Then he turned and looked heatedly at the young soldier. Shoving the coded papers under his nose, Kyle murmured, "I need you, Officer Drordy."
The poor boy whimpered weakly, catching himself on his desk as he swayed. "A-anything, Captain," he breathed, choking when Kyle pressed into his space with shining eyes.
"These need to be priority, Kip," Kyle said urgently.
Blinking as his head cleared momentarily, Kip sputtered, "B-but we've just gotten a communication from the Eastern Front, and I'm the only Officer on duty who can speak French-"
Pressing a finger to the boy's lips and watching him melt beneath the touch, Kyle suggested sweetly, "I'll handle the Eastern Front." Glancing at the pile of documents, Kyle fluttered his eyelashes and whispered, "Je parle français."
Kip shivered. "O-oh."
"Do this for me, Kip," he said huskily in a stream of impeccable French. The officer's doe brown eyes were fixed on the redhead's mouth and a pink tongue darted out to wet thin lips. Kyle hid his smirk. "Tout va bien?"
"Oui," Kip gasped, "Oui!"
Kyle had the solved documents in his hands before the sun rose the next morning.
He crawled through the shoddy window into Stan's office, which also doubled as his sleeping quarters. Kyle would never get past Nashoba if he'd tried the front door. The Choctaw had it in for him as it was. So landing on silent feet, Kyle crept over to Stan's sleeping form. The trumpets calling the soldier's into morning wouldn't sear the air with their incessant baying for another hour. But Kyle couldn't wait. He'd tried to wake Kenny but the blond had thrown a boot at him, not even bothering to wake up.
"Stan," he hissed. "Stan!" Cleanly blocking the defensive fist that whipped at his head, Kyle rolled with the movement to counteract Stan's knees snapping up to crack his ribs. Chuckling, the redhead stared down into groggy blue eyes, grin widening when his childhood friend blinked.
"… Kyle? What-"
"I could kiss the little weirdo," he whispered excitedly, mindful of Nashoba sleeping on the other side of the door. "He cracked them. It's all right here!" Pushing the plans at the Colonel, he prattled on, "I figure we can depart at the end of the week. Kip wouldn't actually let me see the contents." Frowning, he added, "Despite by best efforts to change his mind… But now you have them and now we can counter that damn monster-"
Stan sat up, looking down at the seal protecting the documents in a neat envelope. "Kyle," he yawned. "You know the Brigadier General will need to see these and take them to the war council. We can't just move against the Bloody General without first consulting the senior officers."
Lips pursed, Kyle sat back on his heels. "Well, not officially."
"Not at all," the Colonel corrected firmly. "Unless the Bloody General is landing tomorrow we'll have at least a week before strategy is even discussed. We'll have to double check the contents with our moles, and other intelligence staff in the Allies."
"Meanwhile, a war is being fought," the pilot grumbled.
Stan arched an eyebrow, "Yes, Captain. Just make sure you're fighting the right war."
Kyle opened his mouth to retort when a groused looking Nashoba opened the door and announced tiredly, "Brigadier General for you, sir." When he saw Kyle his eyes narrowed and he scowled with renewed energy. "I'm going to put a chain on that window," he promised the redhead mulishly. "I'd swear the rats learn their tricks from you."
"Corporal Nashoba," Stan pleaded. "Show the General in, please?"
With one last glare at the pilot, which was returned with equal ire, Nashoba stepped aside and Stan's small office was filled with the overwhelming presence of Brigadier General Gregory. Beside him Christophe was smoking a thin cigarette, dark circles pronounced around his eyes. He winced when the secretary powered up the lights and hunched his shoulders.
"I won't comment on this rather queer situation, gentlemen," Gregory chuckled, eyeing a very rumpled looking Colonel and the flushed Captain. "There's no time for it, we must move."
Kyle perked up. "What is it, sir?"
But the General's eyes had fallen on the sealed documents and without a word he motioned for them. Kyle was the one to hand them over, hovering at the tall Englishman's side as he broke the seal and scanned the contents.
"This confirms what we already know," Gregory murmured. He stared at Kyle flatly until the pilot snapped to attention with an awkward salute. The General rolled his eyes. "Captain, if you'll excuse us. We have business to discuss."
The redhead faltered. "But, the Bloody General… those papers-"
"Captain," the General rumbled coolly.
Nashoba did the honors of kicking Kyle out and slamming the door in his face.
Standing in the early morning sun, Kenny looked like some gritty Angel sent by God to fight Man's wars. He was strapped tight with a safety harness that looked like a broken pair of wings. His slim figure burned with golden light, hair set afire in a tousled halo. Glancing sidelong at Kyle, he grinned and his eyes were chips of pale blue glass.
Patting the side of his plane like he would a well-loved horse, Kyle turned to greet the blond as he jogged over. Reaching out to snatch up the heavy parachute bundled neatly into a knapsack, Kenny puckered his lips teasingly. Spinning on his heel, he presented his back to the pilot and shot him a flirtatious grin over his shoulder. "Saddle me up, Cap'n."
"You should be more serious, Major," grumbled Kyle, cinching the parachute into the harness frame with a thick snap. "This mission – if it's important enough that the Brigadier General has ordered it…" He hesitated, brow furrowing as he worked the heavy cloth into the metal frame. When Stan had emerged from his meeting with the British General he only shook his head when Kyle immediately asked about the papers. He'd told Kyle they'd be out at minimum a week before anything was decided. But Kyle knew to count his blessings. At least he'd be in the air again. His shoulders slumped with relief. It had been weeks since they let him on active duty, instead running reconnaissance and escort missions. Shaking off the distraction, he continued, "Whatever this thing is he's going to have us do, it won't be any walk in the park."
Leaning in to whisper against Kyle's ear, Kenny teased, "With you as my wings, Captain, I can't lose."
"Don't get fresh," Kyle chastised, though the hint of a smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. "You know the rules about fraternization."
"Those only apply to officers and the nurses…"
Pursing his lips, Kyle cinched the parachute straps tight enough that Kenny winced. "That's because it's normal to want a girl." He backed off from the blond, face burning. Ignoring Kenny's confused look, and stepping cleanly away when the blond reached for him, Kyle jumped to attention as Stan strode through the hanger doors. The coils of wind twined by a sputtering propeller pulled at the Colonel's heavy coat and the thick material flapped around his ankles. Saluting as Kenny mirrored the action with eyes still on Kyle, both men relaxed when Stan waved the formality aside.
Kyle caught the tightness around Stan's mouth the second the Colonel turned to him. "Stan, what's wrong?"
"I've just received details on the nature of your tour," he answered wearily. Swiping off his hat to run a gloved hand through his disheveled hair, Stan sighed. "It's a trench raid."
Ten minutes later in Stan's office, Kyle fiercely shook his head. "No."
"Captain," Stan ground out with obvious tension, "You are addressing your superior."
Eyes flashing, Kyle stood from his seat and repeated, louder, "No… sir."
Brigadier General Gregory grinned, showing pearly white teeth. But the smile died before it hit his clear blue eyes. "If you weren't such a handy grunt to have around, Captain Broflovski, I'd have you court-martialed."
Entering with a tray of coffee, Nashoba froze halfway into the room, the clatter of tin ringing along the tension crackling between the British General and the mutinous American Ace. Glancing at a sorely uncomfortable Colonel Marsh, the Choctaw slowly backed out the door and returned to his desk. Only a fool would dive into a hornet's nest. "Good luck, sir," he whispered.
Standing up straighter, Kyle lifted his chin defiantly. "Do it. Do whatever you want, but I won't slaughter men as they drown in those trenches. I don't care if they are the enemy." A vein was standing out in Stan's forehead, but Kyle ignored him and continued in a patronizingly sweet voice. "I fight in the air. You throw me into a dogfight; I'll tear them apart. But I will not mow down human beings like I was cutting the grass back home!" Stalking closer to the General, who was still smirking in that infuriatingly calm manner, he hissed, "Sir."
"Got your fangs out, have you," Gregory said calmly, catching the younger man's chin and holding him still. "This damned fight has turned into a damned war of attrition, boy. It could go one forever if we don't escalate and hit them where it hurts." Tilting his head thoughtfully, Gregory lowered his hand and gently drew a finger along the crest on the redhead's chest. "The Boche has increased the range of their Archies, and they're chewing our boys right out of the sky. We need a skilled pilot to tag the locations and gun them down." Blue eyes flashing dangerously, he stuck Kyle with his gaze. "And then we'll need that pilot to bonk their numbers." Snapping away from Kyle, Gregory slapped Stan on the back. "I know you said this conchie was the best, but I don't have room for dissenters in my ranks, Colonel."
Kenny narrowed his eyes. "If I may, sir?"
Giving the blonde a warning look, Stan ground out reluctantly, "Speak."
"Captain Broflovski has a point. Being shit hot over a tactic like this…" He hesitated. "I mean; they've already got trench fever and foot rot to worry about."
But the General just smiled coldly. "Then we'll be putting them out of their misery." Now all his attention was focused on the blond, some Major known for his daredevil habits. "Do you want to win this war, boy?"
"Yes, sir," he answered without hesitation.
"Then we need to clear the way for the killing blow. The trenches may be nothing but cesspools but they have enough bite to be a thorn in our side yet. Without the frontline trenches we can make a strategic play forward. Because of the rot and fever you mentioned, the supply bases have been moved closer to their borderline. If we can reach those and destroy them, they'll have no choice but to make a retreat, and it's that much closer to surrender. However, these new anti-aircraft gunneries being built cut our chances. We need to sever them at the trigger finger and the supply chains are ours." Slicing his gaze to the mulish pilot, he smirked. "This is war, boy."
"Between men, sir," Kyle retorted calmly. "Between human beings."
"You're wrong, Captain," he sighed. "I know it's difficult to see clearly when you're so far above the fray." The artificial light cast his eyes in eerie shadow as he leaned forward into Kyle's space. "Naïve boy, there are no men left."
In the end Kenny was assigned to another pilot and Kyle was suspended from duty. He sat fuming in his tent with a hand snug under the line of his coat, pressed over faintly knotted skin. There a jagged line told a short story of a very pointy sword. Reaching out with a slender foot, he nudged the heavy blanket he kept wrapped tightly around the Bloody General's saber, the same blade that had speared him through. Miraculously it had missed anything fatal. Calming down, Kyle distantly remembered the pain, how it had clung to him for weeks. The cut had been so clean the wound healed up yet sometimes he awoke at night drenched in a cold sweat. Burning eyes, staring straight through him.
He was dressed down to his undershirt when Kenny found him, already in full uniform. Blue eyes were bright, and Kyle knew the Major was cutting it close by coming to see him. Standing when the door closed behind his friend, Kyle let Kenny approach him, steps made heavy by boots and straps. The empty cots lining the walls, two or three deep were the only witnesses when Kenny leaned in to catch Kyle's mouth in a sweet kiss. Thin fingers gripped the thick cotton uniform tightly, nails scratching against the cloth. Kyle bit at the other man's lips, tasting the tang of Kenny's warm flavor. He swept his tongue across Kenny's teeth, gasping when the blond answered him, their tongues winding wetly as the stiff silence of the barracks pressed in around them.
Pulling Kyle flush against him, Kenny tangled his fingers in the redhead's hair and held him still. He stared into the pilot's green eyes. "I'm sorry," he breathed, "I'm sorry."
"That bastard was right, Kenny," he admitted sadly. "This damn war. It's sucked the souls of out people, and I'd bet a nickel for every man down in those trenches that a good number of them will welcome bullets over another day of rot and damp." Biting his lip, he dropped his eyes and leaned into the hand Kenny had raised to his cheek. "But I… I can't do it."
"I'm glad," Kenny said fiercely, forcing Kyle to look at him. "I'm glad. You're stronger than me. I just want this thing done so we can go home…"
They both jerked away from each other as a siren rang through the wet air outside. Zero Hour. Time to go.
"Will you be my salvation?" he murmured, taking Kyle's hand gently into his own before bringing it to his lips. Kyle's eyes grew hot at he watched the Major gently take his fingers into his mouth, enclosing them in wet heat.
"Kenny," he gasped. "Not here. For God sakes, not here!"
"I don't think a god would care," Nashoba pointed out boldly from the door, smirking as the redhead nearly fell over in his haste to put distance between him and the Major. He let the flimsy door rattle shut behind him and walked over the dirt floor on silent feet. It smelled like sweat and musk, deeply shadowed and inescapably damp. His own bed was behind his desk in the headquarters so he could answer any emergency wires from the front. Casting critical eyes over the shoddy cots, Nashoba stopped in front of the mortified pilot and grinned widely. "And as it goes, I don't either. You white men are so scared of passion," he said. "It's something you cannot control and so you limit yourselves with rules and practicality. In my culture, we honor love." Glancing between them, he shrugged as he turned to leave. "But the white man's other great love calls now. War." Pulling the door open, Nashoba took a deep breath of the icy air and called over his shoulder, "And you're already late, Major McCormick."
A/N: Sassy Nashoba is sassy.
I love writing adventure stories. Almost as much as smut! XD
If you're finding it difficult to imagine Kip in an attractive light, I suggest looking at these pics by giobobobo (she makes Kip adorable!):
giobobobo dot deviantart dot com /gallery/28059983#/d5gse74
giobobobo dot deviantart dot com /gallery/28059983#/d5gnkdu
And a brief PSA; Reviews are to me like corn is to a corn-fueled hybrid vehicle, therefor if you feel so inclined you can leave a word or two and it would be greatly appreciated. : D