Character: Michael Kostovik
Author: Amy
Universe: War AU
Word count: 819

Overhead, birds had started circling. Giant predators with wingspans bigger than Michael. Sharper beaks than the teeth of a dog. Called loudly and proudly without fear. He liked to watch them. Tilt his head back, survey through the one eye that had swollen close, strands of his black hair falling into his view. They were beautiful. The birds. The way they looped round and round, waiting to soar down and scoop parts of his flesh off him. Pick his bones clean. But the birds would never get the chance before a soldier came walking by and scared them West again. Darting away from the prey they so desperately wanted to pick at; mistaking for dead because of how stoic he stayed Tied to the pole, Michael had nothing to do but sit and watch. Fingers slowly turning purple behind his back until Shannon or Harry would secretly loosen the knots the Dane had tied him in.

His legs stayed extended out in front of him. Once, a soldier had gotten too closely. Wanted to prod Michael. To taunt him. Pull themselves from their camo pants and try and relieve themselves on him before Michael pulled his leg back and slammed the heel of his boot so hard into the soldiers exposed penis he was sure that the man would never reproduce again if he hadn’t already. At first, Michael thought he’d be punished for it. Strung up and beaten again. Maybe the lanky, terrifying Lieutenant whose attention he was constantly seeking in some form would bury his face into freezing water, throw him out into the dirt to shiver into the night before someone brought him a blanket.

But instead the Commander, that short, stocky Scot, had just laughed. Told the crying soldier he should know better than to go near a rabid dog; he was bound to get bit. That had made Michael smile. Spread pale, cracked lips wide to reveal a chipped tooth that had previously been flawless and bloody gums. A deranged, maddened look in his dual colored eye, the one that could open still.

This had to be illegal. Against some prisoner of war code. But they could get away with it. Michael didn’t legally exist. No files, no birth certificate, no social security number. There was nothing to prove that Michael ever lived; nothing would happen if he died. It didn’t matter either way. Michael didn’t mind the treatment he as receiving. Was okay with the pain radiating through his body. Perfectly content to sit there for hours until he would get untied and given a cot or a bed.

Michael spilled no secrets.

None.

Only to the Lieutenant.

Spoken in secret, directly against his ear, whispered while long, slender fingers brushed back his dark colored hair. About Germany. The Germans. Their plans, their bases, whatever Michael knew and could offer. In return, soon, he’d be completely free. Of the ropes and the bruises and given a new uniform. That was the trade; information on Germany for a new title. A new country to be a soldier for. Under the only man he wanted in the camp.

Michael’s mouth was so dry. Eyes blurry as he stared up at the birds. Constantly circling. Until a soldier walked by him and the birds scattered. Michael rolled his head to the side to look at him. The soldier, in turn, paid him no mind as they walked by. Just scared away his birds and didn’t spare him a single glance. Michael’s head rolled back forward and he was surprised to find a small, slinky cat prowling toward him.

“All these predators,” Michael whispered under his breath, his native language making the soldier who’d walked by turn slightly to look at him. The Russian spy paid no mind as he looked at the cat. A tiny tabby. A skinny little thing that had his nose to the ground, sniffing at the trail of blood that lead to Michael’s boot. “Little cat, little cat. I’m going to eat you,” Michael sang to coax the creature toward him. The soldier continued on to his destination and Michael was alone with the feline.

As it crept closer, Michael strained against his bonds, looking at it with a narrowed eye.

“Cat,” he called to it. It didn’t move. “Cat, you remind me. You remind me of someone,” he said as the cat sniffed his shoe. “You look like,” Michael smiled, licking a pale tongue along his front teeth. “Larsson,” he whispered the name.

Pulling back his boot, he shoved it into the cat so hard, he heard the snapping of it’s rib or spine or shoulder. Something tiny cracking inside it’s body, causing it to yowl and writhe and scramble on the ground. Kicking up dirt and mud before it went dashing into the underbrush of the forest. Michael’s chin hit his chest as he felt himself drifting.

“Fucking Danish bastard.”