mood had been at its best since they boarded the plane.
Not that it had been anything but glorious for almost
two weeks, but he was positively glowing when he sat
in his seat, popping peanuts, munching airfare plastic
food, and guzzling a few miniature beers, interspersed
with the odd G&T in the same minuscule size. Humming
quietly to himself as he sat in his aisle seat, the
one in the middle free, and Vadim at the window.
stretched his legs as far as the seat in front of him
would allow, watching Dan. His. Partner. Comrade. Lover.
His again. Still felt the touches on his body and couldn't
help but wonder whether everybody on the plane, from
the Captain to the stewardess to the noisy family in
his back, knew what they were and what they'd done pretty
much until the taxi had picked them up for the airport.
He could reach for the earphones, or the magazine, but
truth was, he wouldn't be able to concentrate with Dan
that close. The seat between them very empty. More comfortable
this way. "I can see you can't wait getting back
into the desert."
quite." Dan turned his head, grinning. He left
the earphones on, the music quiet enough to understand
every word. "It's just that I missed Maggie. Despite
her goddamned interfering and the fact I wanted to rip
her throat out at some stage." Flashing a toothy
grin, he reached across the empty seat, taking Vadim's
hand in his right. Just like that.
closed his hand around Dan's fingers and felt impossibly
awkward when the stewardess walked past. She must have
seen the hand. Feeling strange, too conscious. "You
you are friends. We owe her a lot."
He'd feel small under that woman's gaze, she never failed
at intimidating him. He didn't know why, or how; maybe
because she seemed to be a different kind of killer.
strange, but it's true. She's the only friend - real
friend - I ever had. Jean's a mate. Maggie, though
did I tell you she sent me on her own expenses to New
Zealand?" Unaware of stewardess and oblivious to
Vadim's discomfort, Dan caressed the other's hand with
his thumb, while holding on tight. It felt good, that
hand. Damn good in his own.
you didn't." So, likely, she felt the same. Friends
with that woman - it explained her continued protectiveness
and even why she had given him a chance. Of course it
to meet the man that Dan loves.
after I'd trashed my room in the embassy," unaware
that Vadim didn't know that story, "she sent me
off for three weeks."
weeks off? You're going stir crazy after three days,
Dan." And did Vadim want to know why he'd trashed
the room? No. Dan losing control was always fearsome
- and not something he wanted to talk about on a plane.
ha ha, very funny, bastard." Dan grinned and gestured
to the stewardess, ordering another drink while holding
onto Vadim's hand with the exact same untroubled attitude
as before. Vadim gave her a dismissive wave, not looking
at her. "Careful, or I might not take you to see
smiled; he could see Dan working on a farm. Outside,
and at peace. Farmer stock. It was something he could
do when not shooting people and getting blown up. "I'd
like to see it", he murmured. "We said
a deal." Dan smiled, squeezing the hand in his
own. "It's not a farm anymore, but the land belongs
to it and, depending on how many more years of active
service we can get out of our decaying bodies, I might
even be able to afford the renovation of the house."
Dan winked, "thank fuck I earn even more now than
I did in Maggie's direct employ."
will have to
apologise to her."
I sure as fuck can't think of anything you'd have to
slapping her hand away when she worked so hard to get
me out?" Vadim glanced at Dan with a certain amount
of irony. "Walking out of her party?"
as we've established by now, you weren't exactly yourself."
Leaning across the empty seat, Dan lifted both their
clasped hands and placed a kiss onto the back of Vadim's,
exactly the moment the stewardess reappeared. She served
the drink without the slightest blink of her eye, making
Vadim tense and curse himself for his response at the
same time. It still freaked him. Felt like he had to
justify, explain, or better yet, be invisible.
do you really think Maggie would have done what she
did if she hadn't understood a lot more about why you
reacted the way you did, than I managed to grasp? She
wanted to search for you when you vanished, but I
I couldn't. Didn't want her to." Dan glanced away
for a moment, before once again smiling at Vadim. Blinking
into the brilliant sunlight that streamed through the
I don't like people knowing me better than I do myself",
said Vadim. That was indeed the biggest problem. Felt
found out, caught, and outguessed. Like playing chess
with his father. Always a humiliation.
to my world, Russkie." Dan winked at Vadim, entirely
oblivious to any darkness underlying the words. He raised
his plastic glass, and took another mouthful.
huffed. "You are easy to read, though. Well. It
used to be easy. But maybe I just lost my touch."
Yes, my famous touch with treating people right. Leadership.
Fuck all that.
that's me. Roughie toughie squaddie with the intellectual
depth of a shallow baby bath and the educational background
of a hedgerow. I'm complicated, me." Dan laughed.
laughed, too. "Sorry, but that just about nails
it." He grew a little more serious and whispered.
"But you also have the heart of a tiger and the
vastness of a mountain."
" Dan grinned while looking at Vadim, long
and hard, forgetting to lower his own voice, "I
take it as a fairly interestingly worded 'I love you,
Dan, because you are simply goddamned motherfucking
Vadim's eyes quickly flicked towards the aisle and the
other seats, but he hoped the business guy was too busy
catching up with sleep. "No, true, you're not half
bad, Mad Dog."
grinned and shrugged. "I get along."
Maggie's your friend. This time, I'm not trying to extract
from her your whereabouts, after all."
do have a history of that, granted." Emptying the
plastic cup, Dan filled it with the remains from the
can. "You'll like her, trust me. Maggie is a grand
lady and the most straight-laced and trustworthy person
I have ever met. Oh, and she likes you."
yes! Or do you really think she would have gone to all
the trouble? She was in Dubai, as far as I know, when
you called the embassy. So, that means she must have
flown all the way to Scandinavia to meet you there.
You really think she would have done that and everything
else for just about anyone?"
don't know. I can't say we struck it off well from the
beginning. She was generous, but very businesslike."
is always businesslike. That's just the way she is."
Dan shrugged, emptied the last of his beer. It shouldn't
take much longer before the captain announced the impending
landing in Dubai. "You'll be just fine, trust me.
I know for a fact she must respect you or she would
have never trusted you to get through Selection. And
respect, Vadim, that's the biggest thing you can get
closed his eyes for a long moment. Respect was really
the only thing that was still worth fighting for, that,
and Dan. If he had respect, everything else was bearable.
"I'll be on my best behaviour." He pressed
Dan's hand briefly. Still felt he should explain and
a long, serious, honest talk might clarify a few matters.
Likely best when Dan was out of the way.
be," Dan leered at Vadim, "you being on your
best behaviour might not be appreciated by Her Excellency.
I'd settle for second best, if I were you. At least
with the ladies." His chuckle was drowned out by
the comm, announcing the imminent landing and the request
to fasten their seatbelts.
shook his head. "On my best socially acceptable
behaviour. Don't forget that Major Krasnorada was a
bit of a poster boy at times. Decorative. I'll be decorative.
sure as hell were a poster boy, I'll never forget the
second time I saw you, gleaming like a decorated Christmas
tree. Remember? It was in that bloody hot hotel room
in Kabul. Shame I hated you back then, we could have
had some damn good mind-blowing sex with you on your
best poser behaviour." Dan grinned while Vadim
helped him to secure his seat belt, impossible with
a hippie reporter? Not very professional." Glancing
out of the window, Vadim could see desert, and he already
missed the lushness of Thailand. This was Dan territory,
Muslim territory, and definitely not his home ground.
He'd have to improvise here. The plane circled lower,
then, soon, the wheels made contact with the tarmac,
and the plane braked.
much later, Vadim plucked his bag from the conveyor
belt and waited for Dan to get into the waiting queue,
standing right behind him. Covering his back. It was
perfectly natural. More natural than both their passports
being dark red, emblazoned with the Arms of the United
Kingdom and both declaring they were British citizens.
customs, there was a driver with a sign that read "McFadyen
& company". Not Krasnorada, which seemed an
odd but very considerate touch.
lifted his left hand to wave, plaster and all, attracting
the driver's attention, who immediately sprang into
action and escorted them to the car, before taking over
the trolley with the luggage.
car itself as plush and air conditioned as all the vehicles
Dan had been used to while in the direct employ of the
lady, and he settled into the cool, sand-coloured leather.
After a moment of smalltalk with the driver, who assured
them the ambassador was very well indeed, they drove
off towards the embassy. Dan didn't take Vadim's hand
this time, just rested his own very close to the other's
thigh, respecting the country's habits no matter how
much he wanted to touch and taste his Russkie in public.
noticed the lack of touch, but was relieved, because
Dan too close meant it would be harder to get into the
role he'd have to play, try and find his strength back,
bolster himself so he wasn't as brittle as he felt most
of the time, and especially when it involved people
that were not Dan. Keep up the mask, a new mask, the
old one was long shattered when they had taken it away
and stripped him to the core. Remembered the doctor's
warning again, about being careful and not taking any
response for granted, while being aware of his own responses.
He couldn't be a raving lunatic here, in the embassy.
He'd show that their investment had paid off. He wouldn't
act like a nutcase. If only he could remember how he'd
dealt with civilians before, how to make smalltalk,
how to pretend everything was fine. Well. If he was
careful. He'd have to trust his wits.
drove no more than half an hour before they reached
high walls and lush vegetation behind them. "Ah,
home sweet former home." Dan smiled and nodded
at Vadim when the gate opened to let them through.
murmured Vadim, impressed at the luxury, the garden
right in the middle of the desert, and Dan just didn't
fit into the scenery. Unless he wore one of his killer
suits. He smiled, suddenly. "Let's face the dragoness,
here she already is." Dan flashed a grin at Vadim
before turning his head to look up to the building and
there she stood on the porch, hands clasped, in the
inevitable lightweight pastel coloured twin set and
smiling. The car door was opened by a servant, and Dan
couldn't help but smile brightly when he stepped outside
and looked at her, waiting for Vadim to catch up, before
taking the few steps to greet her. "Ma'm, it's
great to see you." For a moment it looked as if
he were going to hug her, towering over the petite lady,
but the very last moment he took her hand and bowed
down in an old fashioned and entirely uncharacteristic
kiss onto her hand. Which made her laugh, predictably.
it's good to see you, Dan. All relaxed and tanned, almost
in one piece, and happy."
grinned and finally let go of her hand which he'd held
for a while. "You don't look a day older, Ma'm.
As elegant as ever."
she shook her head with the bomb-proofed coiffure, where
not a hair was stirred with the movement. "The
likes of us are preserved, my friend, until we fade
away one day, but I do believe, if you dug up my father,
he would still look the same as on the day of his funeral."
laughed out loud while she turned her attention to Vadim,
who took a halting step forward. Ashamed for his weakness,
but reassured at the ease with which Dan acted. Dan,
his shield and protection. Dan, his reason for being
here, in too many senses of the word.
was holding her hand out to Vadim, smiling warmly. "I
am very pleased to meet you again, Mr Krasnorada. Very
took the hand, briefly closed his own around it, gentle
like to a child. "Ma'am. And I am pleased you
will see us. The invitation came as a pleasant surprise."
He hoped he'd done this right, chosen the right words.
Glanced towards Dan, and back at the lady. "Never
mind you saved Dan from an agonizingly slow death of
boredom in that Thai paradise."
laughed, shaking his head and she smiled. "Dan
does not look very bored to me. On the contrary, I don't
think I have ever seen him quite so upbeat since he
started working for me." Dan was making discouraging
noises, waving his hand about, as if to stop her from
talking about him as if he were invisible. She ignored
him, with the most polite and charming smile.
I do hope, Mr Krasnorada, that I can offer a small glimpse
of your paradise lost for the last week of your well
paused, feeling tension creep up in his chest. Wrongly
chosen words? He hadn't meant to criticise her. Or was
it just light-hearted taunting? He couldn't tell. Couldn't
decide, both seemed likely. But the situation was still
friendly. "Dubai is certainly an interesting place
- if less intriguing than our hostess." Politicians
and chess players. All he could try was call it a friendly
game and know when he was outgunned in terms of power
and likely in terms of intellect, too.
aside, she made an elegant gesture towards the open
doors. "Please, gentlemen," her choice of
words made Dan chuckle again, he hadn't been a gentleman
since the day he was born. "My staff will take
you to your room, I have taken the liberty to have the
master guest room prepared. Do revive yourselves and
I will see you for refreshments on the patio, whenever
you are ready."
you kindly", said Vadim, inclining his head, and
allowed the person from her staff to take them upstairs,
walking shoulder to shoulder with Dan. "One thing,
Dan. If I say something wrong, let me know, yes?"
course, but what do you mean?" Dan took the shades
out of his hair where they had sat entangled in the
dark mane. "Unless you call Her Excellency an overbearing
nincompoop," or a fucking liar, as he had done,
on the day of Vadim's 'death', "you can't say anything
wrong. Don't worry so much, Vadim. This is not a test,
this is a holiday. Selection is over and you've made
it." He smiled as they were let into a vast room
with queen sized double bed. Easily big enough for two
tall men who would not enjoy twin beds.
difficult. I don't want to make any mistake,
and I might not realise if I said something wrong. I
this to work." Vadim set the bag down
and gave the room a long, searching look, checking for
the usual. Escape routes, windows, cover. Only then
taking in generous space, muted colours, all very classy.
'Posh' the Brits called that. Expensive, and not understated.
grunted exasperatedly at Vadim's searching look. "If
my successor is any good at his job there's nothing
to fear here. You're in an embassy, Vadim, an em.bas.sy!"
He smiled, "not a goddamned hotel room in bloody
Kabul." Tilting his head, Dan watched Vadim for
a moment, who looked back at him.
Secure, embassy, no Mujas, no spetsnaz, no interrogator,
no regular or irregular army. Somehow, though, this
was not Thailand, this was closer and more tense. "Stupid
need a shower, are you going to wash me?" The member
of serving staff was just leaving, when Dan smiled,
"besides, I rather like your hands on my body."
glanced at the door that closed. Well. Two men, one
bed. That had clued the staff in already. No reason
to hide, not here. Or, maybe a reason, but no need.
"Yes, of course. Can't have the plaster get wet."
Vadim pulled his shirt free and slipped out of it. "And
it saves time."
so get a grip on, Russkie, and get me naked." Grinning
from ear to ear Dan stood with his arms outstretched,
waiting for his 'personal service' to get him out of
shirt, trousers and canvas shoes, and to get soaped
up in the marble-tiled bathroom.
smiled, slipped out of his shoes on the way to Dan and
began to undress him. Shirt off, unable to resist, placed
a kiss between Dan's pecs, while his hands went for
the belt and buttons. Just meant it as tenderness, not
as a prelude, just to breathe in his smell and warmth
in this clear, crisp, air conditioned room. Slipped
the trousers and underwear off, and helped Dan step
out of it.
water had the perfect temperature, and the huge marble
bath seemed more private than the connected room. The
shower could have housed a platoon of soldiers, and
none would stay dry, the water came in like thick, hot,
soothing rain. Glass and marble and mirror misted over
while Vadim cleaned them both up, soaping Dan's body,
then his, and found himself embraced, one-armed, with
Dan somehow managing to keep his plaster dry, as he
kissed his way down, getting to his knees. There was
something about water running down Dan's tanned shoulder
and back that Vadim would be forever unable to forget,
realising too late what Dan was planning. "But
do that here, and
the lady is
me do it", Dan said dryly, and Vadim felt he'd
protested enough, no, already too much, without sense
nor reason as Dan took him deep and made him come, after
a long while, right there in the heat and steam but
with an odd feeling of familiarity. Whatever the place
or situation, that was something that had grown back.
Old comrade lust, and their bodies knowing each other
Dan came back up his plaster had turned rather damp,
but his grin was that of the cat that had got the milk,
and the cream on top. "Feeling anymore mellow?
aye." Some kind of tension busting.
was kissing Vadim's jaw line, then along the shoulder,
before stepping out of the spray and into the steamy
room. "If you ask me, that was just what the doctor
ordered and I am sure Maggie won't mind waiting a few
minutes. Especially since she is always busy anyway."
huffed. "Well, certainly not my doctor
but yes." He reached for the towel, astonished
to find it huge and warmed up and soft when he unfolded
it. "Come here. How do we get the plaster dry again?"
As Dan turned to face him, Vadim couldn't take his eyes
off that half interested cock, or rather, it took him
a moment longer. He wrapped Dan in that big towel, drying
him quickly, then opened the door. "Sit down on
the bed." He only grabbed another white warm towel
and slung it across his hips, allowing his body and
skin to just dry. Would only take a minute, and he loved
the chill from the A/C.
Dan seated, Vadim took hold of his knees, opened them,
lifted the towel and went onto his knees to suck him
off, too, enjoying how quickly Dan responded. It was
true, they probably had time, and Maggie wouldn't sit
there waiting for them. Thankfully, Dan didn't grab
his head, didn't force him to take him deeper like he'd
sometimes done - and Vadim had liked that, back then
- but this one was gentle and slow and considerate,
on safe territory, trust and understanding and the lust
everything but aggressive.
flopped into a boneless heap on the bed when he had
cum, lying on his back, legs still open, arms stretched
out wide, and simply breathing with closed eyes while
shivering luxuriously in the cool air. "Want to
sleep now." Mumbled, he was listening to his heartbeat
while it returned to normal.
rolled his neck, caressing Dan's legs. "Five minutes
rest, soldier." He smiled, then stood to return
to the bath to drink water, several handfuls of it,
and towel off the remaining dampness from his skin.
"Your traditional tea time is when? Four? Five
That was all Dan was willing or able to give. Lying
crucified on the bed, he was still flatlining when there
was a knock on the door, a voice asking to be let in
to bring water for the gentlemen and to see if they
needed anything. Dan just about managed to flick the
towel back over his groin before he called out to come
inside. Water bottles were delivered and the member
of staff vanished before Dan did even so much as stir.
stayed in the bathroom, unpacked the bag with his various
personal effects, one of them the salve he used for
the scars on his back. Always a bit unwieldy, but he
didn't want to rouse Dan, and he wasn't sure he'd be
successful, either. Took care of those patches of fucked-up
skin, then got dressed. He stepped outside, unpacked
Dan's bag, and chose some of his clothes for him. "Come.
We should get dressed and presentable."
Dan muttered, managed to open one eye. "Do I have
to?" But of course he did and he sat up, stretching
slowly while scratching the scars across his abs. "What
is it going to be today, eh?" He grinned and started
dressing from the pile, his back to Vadim as he kept
bending over sans towel and with absolute intent. "Am
I supposed to be wearing the linen suit and if yes,
lighter one." Vadim shook his head, tried not to
stare at Dan bent over like that, the bastard, he'd
show him later, tonight, and that thought made him smile.
pretended to grouse, while preferring to be told what
to wear, at least that'd make sure Vadim didn't raise
his brows at him, and it took the painful task of having
to think about something as deadly boring as clothes.
If it were up to him he'd live in camo trousers and
I'm done. All yours and Maggie's. Do I meet with your
approval?" How on earth he managed to make the
freshly laundered and ironed clothes - by room service
in Thailand - look simultaneously rumpled, scruffy and
sexy as hell, was a mystery.
stared for a few moments, then shook his head. "How
she could have worked with you around
he murmured and checked himself one final time in the
mirror. The Thai tailor had done excellent work - Vadim
loved that suit.
Russkie, you're being an irreverent wanker." Dan
slapped Vadim's face playfully, which made Vadim tense
harder than absolutely rational, but he was too mellow
now to think much of it. An unwelcome reflex, nothing
was good at my job and she did have suits made for me.
I think she kept them here. Got no way to store them
in camp." Dan fished for his fags and lighter.
you're rather a merc than her bodyguard?" Vadim
frowned, thinking that through, while ushering Dan towards
many ways, yes. It's more my kind of life. This, here,
was far too cushy. Not enough adrenaline. Except for
that bloody bomb, and that was too much adrenaline for
shouldn't keep her waiting. Lead the way. I have no
idea where she'd have tea."
the patio, you'll like it there. Lots of shade."
Making his way downstairs, Dan nodded to a couple of
people he remembered and exchanged a few words. Crossing
the large hallway, he pointed to a door off to the side.
"That's my old room. Bet my successor's in that
now. Was rather nice, all mod cons."
grinned, "own bathroom, hi-fi, stereo, satellite
TV, all that techno gadgetry. I love that stuff. If
I ever get to spend my old age on the farm, I'll have
it equipped with techno gadgets everywhere." He
shut up when he spotted her ladyship sitting under an
umbrella, close to the ornamental pond and water feature,
bent over some papers.
He called out quietly and she turned her head, smiling
at them when they stepped into the gleaming sun.
sit down." She gestured to the two empty chairs
at the table. "Just a moment, I am having the afternoon
tea brought and my papers taken away. It is a good excuse
for a little break."
waited for Dan to sit, then sat down on the other chair,
and remembered to smile. Didn't know what kinds of things
her papers and her signature influenced and set into
motion, but assumed they were important.
you mind?" Dan held the packet of cigarettes up
and she shook her head, giving permission. The table
was being cleared and a trolley with tea, coffee, water,
fresh lemonade, and a selection of finely cut, triangled
sandwiches, as well as small cakes was brought.
Ma'm." Dan lit his fag, inhaling deeply. "Tell
me, how have you been? You look very well, I assume
my successor is a good man?"
chuckled lightly, tut-tutting in his direction. "You
are being rather pre-emptive. It is my prerogative to
ask these questions first." Gently mocking, "but
first things, first. Mr Krasnorada, would you like tea
or coffee?" She didn't have to ask Dan, was already
pouring his favourite cup of black coffee over three
lumps of sugar.
please." Vadim noticed he was holding the armrests,
and forced himself to relax in his chair. No sniper.
No landmine. Nothing. He felt more relaxed than before
the shower, but some tension always lingered. Knew it
was her job to ask questions, her right, too, and found
some strange security in the lightness that Dan handled
the situation with. "Thank you, Ma'am." He
received his coffee, but didn't drink just yet.
help yourself to sandwiches or cake." She nodded
to Vadim, holding the cup of coffee out to him. "Milk,
cream and sugar are on the tray." She smiled, "I
don't think I have to guess too much what Dan is going
grinned, "any strawberry tarts?"
fact," she pointed to a lidded, double-walled bowl,
"I had some strawberry tarts and whipped cream
made just for you."
delight was evident, and he began to pile the sweet
treats onto a plate. Vadim smiled, watching him. Dan
and his simple pleasures.
Mr Krasnorada, now that Dan is out of action for at
least five minutes, until he has cleared out all of
the cakes, would you be so inclined and indulge my curiosity?
How have you been faring since the rescue of the American
helicopter crew and our own 'cheeky Brit'?"
was shaking his head at her description, mouth full
with tart and extra double helpings of whipped cream.
certainly." Vadim paused, but nothing in her speech
nor manner caused tension, not an interrogation, nothing
but interest. Not a battle, not a test. "I fared
well, all told. Getting the c
not comrades, "the boys back was a little adventure,
but at least it wasn't patrolling duty. After the debrief
we were sent out for R&R and it was lucky that Dan
had time at the same time, so I booked the place in
am glad to hear." She smiled, sipping some tea.
"When I heard from Dan that he was in Thailand,
I remembered that lovely place. I have been there a
few times, but never for a holiday, perhaps I should
remedy that." Daintily picking up a millionaire
shortbread, she bit a piece off the sweet caramel and
chocolate while Dan listened, working his way through
wanted to go somewhere with beaches and the ocean up
like water." What a stupid thing
to say, Vadim thought, and suddenly understood that
she put him at ease while asking the easy questions
and making him relax. "Of course, I owe you a great
deal, and one of those things is an apology for my behaviour."
you?" Her brows rose in genuine surprise. "I
cannot recall an event that required such a necessity?"
again couldn't tell whether she was being generous by
forgetting or whether she actually didn't remember.
He glanced over to Dan as if the solution was somewhere
there, then back, felt strange again, like the only
one who didn't speak any proper language. "Your
help in getting me out was not
met with the proper
mindset", he murmured, keeping his voice level.
"I was unable to adjust. That is not
excuse. I am aware that I acted like
in a way
that didn't look very grateful."
was taking another sip of her unsweetened tea and held
the cup for a moment at face level, regarding the tall
man opposite to her. She smiled, said nothing for a
while, before placing the china back onto the saucer
and leaning slightly forward. "Mr Krasnorada,"
her voice sounded gentle to Dan, who sat straighter,
more alert, not knowing what to expect when she continued,
"I would like you to understand that I am fully
aware of the reasons for your behaviour in Finland.
In fact, I have been berating myself ever since that
I had not noticed, and that I had not taken more measures
to ensure that you felt safe on your return. Making
you join a dinner party, and to all intents and purposes,
forcing you to interact straight after your release
was an inexcusable mistake on my part."
forgot to chew, with half of a strawberry tart still
in his mouth. Vadim looked stricken, eyes wide and almost
unfocused, staring straight through her, then slowly
blinking, frowning, and looking at her again, gathering
his thoughts, but they moved away and blurred whenever
he reached for one to form words with.
continued, folding her hands in her lap. "I should
have known, Mr Krasnorada, because I should have gathered
more information on the subject. I should have asked
for expert advice, and as a result should have followed
my own advice, the one I gave Dan on the night, to give
space and time and not to exert any pressure at all,
least of all the one of expectations. Unlike Dan, who
understandably was most keen to be in your vicinity,
I should have ensured that you had space and freedom
for acclimatisation. But I did not, and instead made
you meet the people who had worked on ensuring your
freedom. This, Mr Krasnorada, was an unforgivable mistake
on my part. I have been subjected to reproach, rightly
so, from a dear old friend of mine, a friend you will
" she paused a moment, having lost
Dan completely, but from the reaction in Vadim's face
it was obvious the other knew what and whom she alluded
to, "I have to apologise to you, and not you to
doctor, her friend. Vadim could just imagine Dr Williams
shake his head and chide gently, in that cultured voice,
with regret, not anger, and that sharp intellect that
seemed to have seen and thought and experienced all
there was about human frailty.
smiled, holding her hand out to him, "I am glad
I have the opportunity now to ask you to accept my apology
for a very foolish and selfish motion. I am sorry, Mr
Krasnorada, I should have known better."
word went through his skin. How could she know what
he'd felt - or not felt - like. Could it have been that
simple? Simply allow space, and he'd been able to feel
again? Somehow, Vadim doubted that. Her hand. Vadim
took it, and it seemed inappropriate to sit, so he stood.
there's nothing to apologize for. I
am glad you
gave me a chance. And I owe you my
freedom. My new start. That's more than I deserved."
He swallowed, feeling his voice go rough.
too, stood, as she shook his hand. "Thank you,
Mr Krasnorada, and I believe I have to apologise for
another weakness of mine. I was very, very angry on
Dan's behalf, and I should have felt less protective
and more professional, and thus should have welcomed
you back and offered you the deal in friendlier tones
than I did."
made Vadim smile while he could feel his hand sweat,
and he broke the touch. "If I'd have had any b
" I'd have managed to keep some
face. He suddenly understood that she did regret, genuinely
regret the things that had made her such an imposing
figure - somebody whose orders he had followed like
a whipped dog. Much more goodwill towards him than she
had shown. "
still, I owe you this new life,
and while I
have not exactly been a model prospective
citizen, this country will never have to blame me for
anything." Adopted country. Hers, and his. Not
enemies, and maybe friends, if it would go like that.
He saw the possibility, suddenly.
finally remembered to swallow, murmuring half to them
and half to himself, "What did you do while
I was gone." But he did not expect an answer and
neither did he receive one.
am glad, Mr Krasnorada, I really am, and I am certain
that you are and will be an asset to our country. And
I am thankful that you accept my apology, and for seeing
both of you together, after all this time."
you, Ma'am." From the bottom of my heart.
nodded at Dan and Vadim before sitting back down, smoothing
her skirt as she did so. "I would not dare believe
that I can even remotely grasp what both of you went
through, but perhaps everything will turn out the best
way it possibly could in the end, however much and however
long it takes."
got Vadim," Dan smiled, took the other's hand and
pressed it hard, "that's all I need and wanted,
and on top of that we are getting shot at from the same
side now. Seems like luxury to me."
laughed, pressing that hand and sitting down, too. "And
you stopped collaborating with the bastard towelhea
irregulars." Vadim pressed his lips together for
a moment. Not merc lingo, even though it was a reflex.
"We're an unlikely pair, but so be it", he
murmured and looked at Dan. "Stranger things have
looked at Vadim, wide-eyed, when the words registered
with his mind. He swallowed hard. The price he had paid
had been worth it. "Lions may die, but friendship
doesn't." Murmured, not audible to the Baroness,
who sat smiling and sipping her tea.
leaned in to murmur into Dan's ear. "Not friendship.
Love." But my father wouldn't have appreciated
that - I still understood.
know, and it was what I meant." Dan murmured back.
glanced at the Baroness. "Forgive me. It's a bit
like being drunk, with Dan my poison of choice, obviously.
I guess I'm just overdosing at the moment."
rightly so." She took another bite of her caramel
shortbread, "and please do not think that I wish
to put any claims onto your time. I understand you will
be very busy with duties when you return to camp."
smiled, felt like he was finding his feet and strangely
liking this prim and proper lady, now that there was
nothing more to fear. Only now did he realise the weight
of fear on his shoulder that had been lifted. Apologies
and explanations were magical. They changed everything.
"Please, claim our time whenever you can fit us
into your busy schedule. I can see how much Dan enjoys
talking to you - and the strawberry tarts that come
with it. And, of course, I'd be intrigued to hear whatever
you'd be willing to share about Dan. There is much I
way!" Dan exclaimed but she just laughed, and he
wondered how young this laughter sounded and how rarely
he'd heard it outside of their private conversations.
He wanted another cake and had to let go of Vadim's
hand to do so, the awkward movement watched by the Baroness.
is your wrist, Dan?"
Quickly swallowing a bite, he nodded.
am glad to hear, but I have arranged nevertheless for
you to see my personal doctor. Judging from the state
of the plaster this might be quite a good idea."
smiled, now reaching for some of the sandwiches, getting
hungry from looking at them.
you say, Ma'm." Dan's exaggerated sigh went well
with the mock resignation on his face.
keep this up, my friend, and I shall make you wear a
suit. There are plenty of yours still in the wardrobe
and you do not look as if you had lost or gained any
wouldn't make me
me, Dan." Her Excellency winked at Vadim in an
almost conspiratorially manner while Dan huffed something
unintelligible, before hovering up the last of his cake.
would be cruel and heartless, Ma'm." He finished
his coffee, looking at her over the brim of his cup,
all beaten dog with an added dash of dark-eyed puppy,
wagging its virtual tail.
Mr Krasnorada," she turned her attention to Vadim,
"wouldn't you agree that Dan might be able to cut
a good figure in a suit - if he practised a little more?"
smiled. "I remember an evening when he was quite
dashing in his James Bond look." He looked at Dan,
giving him a mocking smile, remembering, however, how
he'd been stretched out and 'taken prisoner'. Ah, nice
thoughts, and he should better think something else.
"Of course, Dan's fashion sense reminds me of a
long string of traffic accidents. Riff raff camo as
he played the reporter, unshaven, lice infested in local
'garb' in the mountains as the mentor to 'freedom fighters',
and, of course, all manner of guises, including that
of a big influential NGO."
have you know, Ma'm," Dan interrupted, "I
was cutting a rather convincing figure as a member of
the Red Cross." He wagged a finger in front of
Vadim's face before looking back at her, pleadingly,
while she laughed. "And, don't forget that I was
actually washed when I was in my Red Cross get-up. Hair
and all, shaved as well. Honest."
talked about fashion, not your grooming. The story of
your grooming would be the equivalent of a small sized
genocide, not a traffic accident."
the corners of her eyes with a napkin, the Baroness
was still chuckling. "I have to admit, Mr Krasnorada,
that in contrast to Dan, you actually manage to make
a suit look good and remain good looking, even
after wearing it for more than five minutes."
reached out to touch Dan's shoulder. "He's not
making a great effort, but I'd like to see him in a
nice suit again. For several reasons."
can just imagine those reasons." Dan muttered,
but damn, he remembered that night, too, and how he'd
had to explain the stains on his smoking in a very creative
fashion. He quickly had to cover his groin with a strategically
smiled, looking from one to the other. "And what
would those reasons be, if I may be so curious?"
paused to sip his coffee, winning time. Damn. Reasons.
'Because he looks great and imposing and I'd love to
suck his cock while he wears a four figure suit' wouldn't
be a good answer. "One is
it makes him uncomfortable,
which I find endearing. Second - Dan is turning a little
too old for the jeans look. Third - I'd be a barbarian
if I didn't prefer him in a well cut suit, and fourth
- because it's very easy on the eyes. Very easy indeed.
There might be a fifth reason, but I'm not sure I quite
sprung into Dan's eyes, under the highly amused look
of her ladyship. "Could the fifth reason have anything
to do with James Bond and a certain evening in Kabul,
or is that not correct anymore, since you have learned
to use the article in English?" His grin was toothy
and evil. If he was to suffer, Vadim should as well.
Besides, he couldn't remember when the Baroness had
ever laughed that much.
think James Bond has something to do with it."
Vadim shook his head, but pursed his lips. "And
the articles just happened when I went through Selection.
Granted, it took some rethinking of how I speak English,
but I think I usually remember."
grinned and shrugged, looking at the Baroness while
pointing at Vadim. "Can you tell me why I wanted
that man back? I am being mistreated and taken the mickey
out of." Remembering not to use swear words, at
least for a while.
of laughter were still gleaming in her acutely intelligent
eyes, there was something else as well. Relief, warmth,
and the profound pleasure of witnessing two people at
light-hearted banter, where there had been nothing but
she smiled at both, "because you love him."
nodded. "Listen to her. She knows her stuff."
Giving a wink, and siding with the clear and easy winner
in the conversation. Apart from that, teasing Dan could
lead to the most interesting payback, and that was always
" Dan heaved a sigh, "maybe she's
got a point."
that case," Baroness de Vilde stood up from the
table, readjusting the pearls that got caught in the
buttons of her twin set, "I shall leave you two
gentlemen to your afternoon tea. Please do feel at home
and ask for whatever you might wish. Dan knows this
place and its ins and outs. Oh, and if you would like
to take a swim, please feel free." She smiled,
nodding to both. "I am afraid I have an appointment,
but I am sure you can entertain yourselves."
she left, she did the most shocking thing Dan had ever
seen her do. She winked at them, with a facial expression
that bordered on mischievous.
spent that day in the city proper, with Vadim making
purchases against Dan's protests that they didn't need
any of the things, or that he was bored of shopping,
but Vadim decided to blow what was left of his pay cheque,
and he enjoyed torturing Dan. He had no idea what to
do with the clothes and gadgets - he didn't actually
have a place to live or store things beyond that tin
hut, and part of him told him he should stay Spartan
and not keep anything there that he couldn't afford
there was a way to put those things into storage. He
had no idea what to do otherwise, but enjoyed too much
to try things on and have them if he liked them, not
heeding Dan's groans and general anguish. Dan had dragged
him to Dubai, he better coped with it.
evening, it was dinner with Her Ladyship, the smallest
of circles, as if she still felt guilty about that other
dinner, and Vadim found himself appreciating that concern
more than he liked. Wasn't ready to be too close with
anybody but Dan - or other people he considered safe,
especially after a long, tiring day and in surroundings
that invited too much thought. Too much memory. He drank
wine and sherry and could just hear the thoughts hanging
between Dan and Maggie, so he placed a hand on Dan's
shoulder to tell him he'd retire, and thanked the Ambassador
for the lovely evening.
was actually tired when he walked upstairs for a quick
shower and then to lie down in the huge bed, feeling
a faint breeze from the A/C stir the air. He couldn't
read, but he could listen to his own thoughts, which
eventually stilled amidst memories of expensive jewellery,
amazing suits, and the wealthy and relaxed, if somewhat
pompous attitude all around him. He was clearly a guest,
but he felt welcome.
was half asleep when Dan joined him in that bed, and
felt Dan's lips on his neck and throat, only half waking
when Dan's hand went all over his body, and tonelessly
groaning as Dan fucked him again, gentle but intense,
and made him cum while he was still inside. Dan slept
spooning him from behind, the good arm wrapped around
him, with his hand on his abs, and Vadim felt himself
lean back and be completely at peace.
was deeply asleep in the middle of the night, exhausted
from a day of travelling, running errands, a good meal,
damn fine sex, and a heart-to-heart talk with the Baroness.
He slept dreamlessly, while wrapped around Vadim, clinging
to the reassuring body heat and the deeply subconscious
knowledge that he was holding his lover.
had him dragged under, until something stirred his unconscious
mind. Not awake, but movement entered his thoughts.
His body jerked by an outside force, and a sound that
began to penetrate his sleeping mind. Yet Dan merely
moved closer once more, pressed his body against Vadim's
back, his arm tightening the embrace. Immediately falling
back into the deep sleep, when the body in his arms
stopped the movement and went rigid.
Trapped. Sudden fear, overpowering sleep. Couldn't move
a muscle. Darkness. Isolation. Not one conscious thought,
but all pervading dread. He knew there was something,
something outside, but knew nothing else, only that
he couldn't move. Vadim fought the paralysis that held
him in shackles, in chains, stretched out. He tensed,
violently, every muscle in his body vibrating with the
effort to shed sleep and its hold, and he heard the
sound coming from somewhere, somewhere close, didn't
realise his mouth was open, and his own throat was choking
on the sound. A low, deep sound, more groan than scream,
sleep deafened, sleep dulled, as his elbow suddenly
moved, torn free, felt the constraints move and shift,
almost free, and suddenly remembered something - madness,
insanity, pain, but above all, fear so astute it made
his heart race and his blood freeze. He awoke with a
scream, pushing away whatever was there.
woke with a start, disorientated, darkness surrounding
him and wild thrashing. Arms, legs, a body pushing against
him, away, forceful, flailing and the sound his sleeping
mind had discarded was turning from terrified groan
into something entirely inhuman. He did not know where
he was at first, nor why, nor what, and instincts kicked
in, throwing himself off the bed to get out of the way
of the flailing limbs, before he registered what was
happening. Hitting the floor hard, he woke fully as
the most horrifying scream tore through his senses.
Blindly scrabbling for his weapons before his mind caught
on where the fuck he was. "Vadim!" Dan shouted,
fumbling for the light, his hand shaking.
tossed the covers away, couldn't stand anything close,
couldn't be touched, and was conscious enough to fall
silent. Wiped his face, hand came away wet. Tears. Sweat.
He had no idea. Could have been blood. Where. Not the
hole. Not the tin hut. Had no idea where he was, felt
lost, disorientated, like somebody had transported him
in his sleep and left him. He couldn't make any sense
out of it. He stood, needed to stand, needed to be off
flooded the room when Dan managed to find the switch
and scrambled to his feet. Staring wide eyed at Vadim,
breathing hard. "What the fuck happened?"
stood, breathing heavily, holding his sides like he
could feel punches and kicks, heart racing so hard it
felt like he'd throw up. Wrestling the fear. Almost
tore the blinds off as he fumbled for them to open,
frantic, needed air, needed, above all, space, mind
took the few steps around the foot of the bed and stopped
close to the other. His good hand on Vadim's arm, trying
to calm him, with Vadim close to punching him. Could
Dan not see he needed fucking air. Grew only
more frantic, more nauseous as he had to struggle against
Dan first. "Let me
" speaking Russian,
didn't notice, didn't make sense, only tried to get
the windows open.
the hell happened! Talk to me." Wrapping his other
arm around the broad, shaking shoulders, Dan did not
understand what Vadim was trying to do, nor how, nor
why. Nothing made sense. Vadim's skin was pale, cold
and clammy when touched, and Dan could feel the heart
racing beneath his hands.
muscle inside Vadim clenched at the touch, could absolutely
not stand being restricted, being touched, feeling anything
on his wet skin. "Don't
Knew, however, with the certainty of a condemned man
that his wishes didn't matter. That he was, ultimately,
what!" Dan's thoughts raced, lost in confusion,
but he did take one step back, let go of Vadim. Felt
tension, sweat, desperation in the other, the scent
fear. "What the fuck is going on with
you!" The helplessness gave an aggressive edge
to Dan's voice.
touch me." Vadim blinked as he realised
what he'd almost said. Don't hit me. He expected punches
and kicks, couldn't face Dan, Dan, who'd never hit him,
not now, and still somehow, was afraid and didn't know
his hands up in the age-old gesture of peaceful intentions,
Dan took another step back. "I won't touch you.
It's OK. Won't even come close. I'm sorry, Vadim. Won't
touch you. OK?" He had no idea what he was doing,
just that he had to calm Vadim, no matter if what he
said was the exact opposite to what he wanted to do.
Hold, touch, and stop this madness.
Vadim stared at the window, but suddenly at a loss.
Realised, as his mind caught up amidst the racing heart
and the nausea clenching his guts. "Just
nightmare." Admitting defeat. It was back. He groaned,
wiping his face. Nothing new. He was dripping sweat.
Dan kept his hands where they were. Nothing was OK,
though, nothing at all. "Nightmare." His thoughts
were racing, he didn't want them to make sense, but
they were starting to come together. "How often?
" puzzle pieces suddenly fell into place,
"they told me, back in camp, that you were screaming
at night. Is it the same nightmares?"
swallowed, kept half an eye on Dan and half on the window.
The acute panic had blunted, instead, shame began replacing
the dread. Regret. "I don't know. I can't remember.
can't remember." Wiped his chest, came
away with what felt like a handful of sweat.
had no idea how to handle this, had to act on instinct.
He nodded, gesturing to the blinds but did not move
any closer. "If you want to open them, there are
a couple of buttons. Push the black one for the blinds
and the other one releases the lock for the window."
He took a further step away, until he could sit down
on the edge of the bed. Far away enough, he figured.
looked at the window, reached for it, but his hands
shook badly, and he was rattled. Wasn't sure he'd understood
the explanation. Buttons. He stepped back, shook his
alright." Windows. Dangerous.
But not here. No sniper. No camera. Windows were not
dangerous unless he was on duty. But it was deeply ingrained,
part of him, like the pigments of his skin.
to tell me what you remember, if anything?"
don't remember. It's just
emotions. Nothing hunting
me. It's not falling. It's
just bad." Switching
back to English in mid-sentence, brow dark with concentration.
So, he screamed in Russian. Well, that at least made
you want to take a shower, maybe? You look cold. But
anything, really. Up to you. Anything."
calm. Quiet." Vadim stood there, breathing,
waiting for his heart to return to normal, but it took
forever, like he'd just run a marathon. "Just
understand I'm awake."
Dan nodded, things were even less OK than before, but
he needed time to make sense of any of everything, and
most of all this helplessness, which he didn't know
how to deal with. So he sat, quietly, until the minutes
passed by and he could not bear it anymore. Needed to
do something, so he finally got up and to the tray with
the kettle, preparing everything to make a brew. Busying
himself as he would have done in the Afghan mountains.
watched Dan's motions, managed to sit down and place
his hands on his thighs, suddenly exhausted. Tea. Brilliant
idea. Like the doctor. Nothing a good tea couldn't make
better. Nightmare fading, and the fear remained an astute
memory, but would be gone tomorrow. "That's the
trauma", he murmured. "Stress reaction.
" my broken mind. "
condition. I'm sorry. It's not
I can't control
it. It just happens. Sorry I woke you."
that's alright." Dan was just glad Vadim was talking
to him. The kettle boiled and he poured a couple of
cups, carrying them over to the bed. Handing one to
Vadim, who took the tea, mainly to hold it. Comforting.
I sit next to you? I won't touch. Promise." Dan
felt like a right idiot, so utterly out of his depth.
gave a tired smile. "It's okay. I'm calming down."
Reaching out to touch Dan's shoulder, briefly, still
didn't want an embrace or anything quite that close,
but could touch Dan, at least. Fuck. Touching his lover.
Another thing that Konstantinov had broken. That hurt
and went deep, and Vadim was surprised how much that
did actually hurt. Dan meekly staying away, and him
wanting Dan there, at arm's length, at least for a little
there anything I can do?"
be there when it happens?" Vadim swallowed
hard. "Fuck, I hate this, but
seems I am
a nutcase. Sorry, Dan. I hate this when it happens.
But being alone is
far worse." Lying awake
at night, feeling tears run down my face and knowing
you won't touch me because you hate me. That's far worse.
always be there. Always. I have no intention to spend
my nights apart from you. Ever again. As long as it's
in my power to do anything about it, I will sleep beside
you. You understand?"
do. And that's
good. It is. It wears off. It
stop one day. This can't go on forever,
can it?" Can it?
managed to smile a little. "No, it can't."
As if he had the foggiest idea, but by all that was
fair and right this shouldn't go on forever. "Remember
the bullet? You won't get rid of me, you'd have to kill
me to do so."
smiled back. "And if I leave, just shoot me. It's
a deal." And it makes a lot of sense, because without
you, my life will be just a nightmare, and nothing else.
will." Dan smiled, nothing but utterly serious.
Sipping his tea, he looked straight ahead, at the drawn
blinds that were bathed in golden-warm light from the
table lamp. Sensing the body beside him but not touching,
not daring to. Remembered the Baroness' words, 'give
him time, Dan, time and space'. He would, even if he
didn't believe in 'and they lived happily ever after'.
It was a lie, just as much as 'love conquers all' or
the ever present 'love heals all wounds'. It didn't.
He knew that now, and accepted it. It just didn't, and
in the end, they were two naked men, sitting close,
and unable to touch.
he fucking hated the past that night.
the next morning Dan took off to the Baroness' doc,
reluctantly, even though sometime that night Vadim had
calmed down and went back to bed. After a short while
rolling over and grabbing Dan to sleep once more wrapped
was going to be out until after lunch, meaning to get
into the city centre on a minor shopping spree on his
own, which had nothing to do with Vadim's earlier one.
It was all 'manly man's' shopping instead of painful
was late morning, a couple of hours after Dan had left,
when Vadim heard the sound of the Ambassador's steps
along the poolside.
raised a hand and lifted the towel, wet to cool his
face. Found it hard to cope with the heat that seemed
oddly more intense than Thailand, even though he was
lying in the shade and had just minutes ago climbed
out of the pool. Wearing his swimming trunks and a towel
over his groin, he looked to the side, and, recognizing
the feet, took the towel off, dropped it to the ground
and sat up. "Ma'am."
smiled at him, inclining her head. "Mr Krasnorada,
I was wondering if you were so inclined as to take some
refreshments with me? I realise I am a poor substitute
for Dan's charming presence, but I can offer cold lemonade
and fruit to combat this heat."
gave a smile. "Most certainly. Before I fall asleep
and bake to death." He stood, shaking his heat-dazed
head, then tied the towel around his hips, for modesty's
sake, and hoped she wouldn't see his back. Or at least
not speak Russian. Not exactly a view for polite society.
She smiled and clasped her hands before retreating along
the pool, expecting Vadim to follow. The same table
was laid out that had been used the day before. Comfortably
in the shade and with fans blowing a gently cooling
breeze. Freshly pressed lemonade stood in a jug that
was frosted with condensation, as well as bottles of
mineral water and a pot of tea, together with fruit,
cut into bites, and the most classic of all nibbles:
do take a seat." She indicated the chair opposite
to her as she sat down. "Juice, water or tea?"
settled, his gaze resting for a moment on the sandwiches.
It was the first time that he didn't read about them,
but actually saw them with his own eyes. "Water
will do, thanks." Wasn't sure whether he should
serve the drinks, felt out of his depth and decided
to let things happen.
nodded, filled a glass and handed it over, while smiling.
"There certainly is nothing better than pure water,
but I do admit to a weakness for fresh fruit juice."
Leaning forward a little, as if conspiring, "especially
with a dash of brandy in it."
to be tea with a shot of vodka for myself, but it's
too hot for that." Vadim grinned. "Ah, that's
much better", he murmured as he took a deep swallow
from the glass, feeling the cold water run down towards
his stomach. "I'm hoping I don't keep you from
any important work?"
at all." Sipping on her own juice, "I was
hoping you had some time for a light snack. I was looking
for an opportunity to tell you how delighted I am that
you are here - with Dan. I just hope it is not too boring
for you here in the embassy." Gesturing to the
nibbles, she took a sandwich herself.
shook his head. "I've served in an Eagle's Nest.
I don't know boredom." Don't think isolation cell.
Don't think hole. Think Afghanistan. Afghanistan is
safe. "And besides, I was curious. Well, in a way,
I still am. You're the only one of
" He paused,
but saw in her face that it would most likely be alright.
Dan's friends I've met. The others are
well, mercenaries. One cannot expect too much
of that ilk, I suppose."
chuckled lightly, while elegantly making her way through
the sandwich. "You struck me as a man, unlike Dan,
who has a love of literature and, perhaps, the other
fine arts. Am I right or am I wrong?"
he admitted. "Don't tell Dan, but I even like ballet."
His father would smile now, if there was pride left
in that old man. Pride when his only son had turned
out to be a faggot. Defective. A Soviet, and a henchman
for a regime that he despised. Failed him twice. "I
had a lot of time to read
our classical writers,
of course, but I very much appreciate English for its
simple elegance. Much easier to learn than Russian."
must say, if I may," she smiled, "that your
English has improved in leaps and bounds. You have certainly
mastered the language since I last spoke to you."
Diplomatically leaving out the circumstances and anything
nodded. "I guess that's because I think in English
these days. It makes the language flow differently and
feel more natural." Every now and then, Russian
thoughts did crop up, mostly when he was alone, or suddenly
confronted with Russian, but other than that, he stuck
to English. It gave him more control.
you ever read the works of our great bard, William Shakespeare?
If you are interested, I have the complete volumes here."
wouldn't hurt brushing up on Shakespeare. He was translated
to Russian, I read a few of the plays
had an extensive library. I used to prefer the darker
plays, the tragedies. Titus Andronicus, Macbeth, and
some of the others that were bloodthirsty. The Merchant
yes, what genius and what brilliance. Demanding the
pound of flesh, with words and sentences concentrating
on the impossible and making it believable to the audience.
All human, each and every of the motivations, all so
very human. Power, pain, greed, anger, revenge, and
finally mercy." Her gaze slipped away for a moment,
towards the beautiful vegetation. She leaned back in
the chair. "Sadly, I have not been able to read
the great Russian authors in their mother tongue, only
thoughts translate into any language
the beauty gets lost, though." Reading Bulgakov
in English was probably a real pain. Somehow, that was
a difficult thought. As if he was losing something when
he kept to English. Something that had to do with beauty.
that case, please do help yourself to my library. Sadly,
Dan never did, and that with his aptitude for languages.
But if he were a bookworm, then he would probably not
be who he is." Her warm chuckle made light work
of whatever lay beneath her words. "And I believe
that would be a shame."
nodded. "Thank you kindly, Ma'am. I don't read
much these days, but maybe I find the
"calm to have a look." Inclining his head.
"Dan never struck me as a man of theory or great
thoughts, even though that is
uhm, not very flattering.
Maybe he'll find access to it one day, but I wouldn't
bet a paycheck on it."
laughed quietly, shaking her head. "I can see,
Mr Krasnorada, that you do not hold out much hope for
him." She folded her hands in her lap, eyes sparkling
with mirth. "Or can you truly imagine Dan sitting
and reading 'Love's Labour Lost', 'Paradise Lost' or
'Sons and Lovers'? And I am only alluding to native
English works." Leaving forward, she took her glass,
taking a delicate sip, smiling.
What an odd thing to say. "Dan prefers the mountains
to paper. And the desert." And skin, he thought,
suddenly. Dan was a man of real things, of things outside
his head, outside himself. "Like a mystic, looking
for god, in an age without gods", he murmured.
the glass back down, she leaned forward once more, this
time to look at Vadim, with that same smile on her face.
Warm, a smile not many ever saw. "You really do
love him, don't you?" the Baroness said quietly.
blinked, then looked to the side, without seeing colours
and patterns, but it helped him find words. Speaking
about love without cliché, without borrowing
somebody else's well-worn words that were maybe too
comfortable, that was the true challenge. "Dan
changed me in ways that stripped the man away I wanted
to be, and the man I was made to be, and the man I was
expected to be. He skinned me alive, and left only
somebody who", he breathed, but barely, "
can live and die now, like a human being, not an automaton,
not somebody else's creation. Dan took my fear of death.
I can't die now. I know that I'm immortal."
She said quietly, sitting still. "Your soul? Your
don't believe there's anything like a soul. But I believe
that most people are asleep. They aren't even aware
what they are, or that they are alive. And we are all
scared to die, so when it happens we scream for our
mothers and clutch our guts because we're scared. I'm
not. I'm not afraid of death. The only thing I'm afraid
of is losing Dan." But if that happens, he thought,
Dan might just keep the promise and kill him on the
nodded without saying a word, her eyes on the man before
her. Eyes that were clear and deeply intelligent, probing
in a tender way.
not sure it makes sense. But death isn't bad. It's the
fear, and just the fear. So when you lose that
it's like death doesn't exist anymore. It stops having
if he left you, what then? Could you exist without him?"
Her words came quietly, their meaning veiled.
inhaled. "Somehow I did, didn't I? I promised him
to live. And there are
people that might miss
me if I killed myself. Family. What's
His brow darkened. "I think they would
there if there was nothing else left."
she exhaled quietly, "this is why." She shook
her head in a near aborted movement before fixing her
gaze once more onto him. "In prison, did the promise
sustain you?" Straightforward, and to the point,
but with the most careful tone and voice.
not sure." Vadim felt sudden tension rise. "A
wide black river with
just one floating
log. Yes, and no. It was too easy to
of." And lose all strength to think, and make decisions,
and do anything but simply endure, drawing breath after
breath like an animal.
am sorry." She said after a pause, with the same
gentle voice. "I did not mean to upset you. I guess
" hesitating, so very much unlike her, "I
guess I simply care about you, Mr Krasnorada, even though
I do not know you very well. No, not at all."
paused and met her gaze, wondering why on earth she
cared, and even said that to him. Crossing lines. Strangely,
he didn't mind. She was Dan's friend, and that brought
her close. He suddenly smiled, one of those strange
bright smiles that he'd almost forgotten how to smile.
"I think you do know me. Better than my superiors
ever did. You've seen me
begging, and hurt, and
helpless, and insecure. That's
a lot more than
most people have ever seen me be."
do have a very valid point." Inclining her head,
she smiled. "I have never, though, seen you anything
but strong." Adding, because anything but the truth
would not do, "except once. And even then, Mr Krasnorada,
I believe that even then you showed strength. Walking
away was - what I then thought - the coward's way, but
in retrospect I was very much wrong."
frowned. "I don't understand."
she shifted in her seat, "if you had stayed I dare
not think what might have happened, because of our inability
to understand. As I said to you before, I apologise
for having dragged you to that dinner reception, probably
the worst I could have done."
It's forgiven and forgotten."
to herself as she gathered her thoughts. "And yet
you healed enough to have the strength to face your
demons - or whatever you might wish to call this - and
you sought contact with me. More so, you succeeded in
what was clearly not 'just' a physical challenge, but
most of all a mental one. Selection, Mr Krasnorada,
as you must know best of all, is essentially more about
the mind than anything else." Pausing, she leaned
back in her seat, and her smile was somewhat melancholy.
"And of course, owing to my meddling presence the
first encounter with Dan was anything but pleasant.
Yet, somehow, you got through it all. You and Dan, and
here you are."
was all true, challenges, and how lucky he had been
in the end. "No. It
took a while before
we even spoke to each other without shouting."
pause, tinged with a mild chuckle and a shake of her
head, "love conquers all? I wouldn't have thought
so, to be honest. I am a realist."
can be like a commanding officer
random, cruel, but it gets you through the war, somehow,
gets you where you have to be." Vadim smiled again.
"I read that some goddesses are both goddesses
of love and war. I think that's about right." He
gave a short laugh and shook his head.
what does that make the gods, then?" She leaned
don't know ... I'm pretty much an atheist. Probably
the only thing I share with my father." He frowned,
felt it was strange to bring the old man up in conversation.
eyes flickered across the way, towards the entrance
to the patio, as she sat up with a smile that made her
almost look youthful. "You don't even believe in
this one?" One hand lifted, elegantly, to casually
point towards the man who was stepping through the door.
Shades, knee-length shorts, shirt, and brilliant white
plaster. Plus a carrier bag in his hand.
suddenly smiled, turning to look back. "Some god
of war and love you are, Dan." He chided, laughing.
"Let me take that." Moving to take the bag
off his lover. Partner. Reason to live.
Dan's brows crept over the top of his shades as he reached
the table. "What are you talking about?"
and nothing, really", murmured Vadim and briefly
touched Dan's shoulder, while Dan allowed him to take
the bag. It was quite heavy, full of techno gadgets
found his manners again as he greeted the Baroness,
who smiled at him. The sun caught a glint of something
he was wearing around his neck, as Dan sat down in the
empty chair between the two. "Left anything for
me? Especially now that I seem to have become a god?"
He grinned at each of them.
our humble offerings", Vadim said, gesturing at
the food. "Good hunting?"
say so." Dan held up his gleaming white plaster,
"I got a fresh makeover in the bargain." He
leaned closer to the Baroness, grinning as he pushed
up his shades so he could look at her with his own eyes
and no barrier in between. "That doctor of yours,
Ma'm, he is a very thorough fellow, aye? And there I
was, thinking he'd only check my wrist and not all of
the rest of me. Inside and out."
her credit, the lady did not even try to argue. She
merely chuckled lightly as she shook her head. "You
have to forgive me, Dan, but I cannot stop taking care
of those close to my heart."
smiled, reaching for her hand with his good one and
placing a light kiss on top of hers while his shades
fell back over his eyes, spoiling the scene somewhat.
seemed mildly surprised but merely smiled before gently
extricating her hand and standing up, smoothing her
skirt. "I think it is time for me, my dear friends,
to leave you to your well deserved holiday, while I
take care of some business. I shall see you tonight
for a light supper, if you don't have any other plans."
we'd be delighted." Vadim indicated a bow and smiled,
glancing sideways at Dan. "It's a rare delight
to see Dan behave so well, too. Please."
managed to murmur "fuck you" with nothing
but the corner of his lips, as she laughed lightly.
that case, gentlemen, I shall see you at 6:30 PM tonight."
She nodded to both of them, "until then."
With that she left, her heels clacking along the stone-tiled
bastard." Dan grinned the moment she was out of
raised his hands, professing innocence. "Why? She
obviously enjoys your company, and I obviously enjoy
seeing you struggle with the assortment of cutlery.
except for me." Dan managed to put on his best
pout cum distraught face as he settled back into the
chair, while hoovering food off the plates. "Besides,"
chewing while talking, "I have you know that I
bloody well know what cutlery to use when. I realise
you think I'm an oaf, but I'm at least a well trained
one." Shutting himself up with another mouthful.
paused and looked at him, blankly, trying to understand
whether he'd gone too far, didn't know whether this
was an accusation of arrogance, or ... whatever else.
oaf, as in simpleton, dunce, blockhead, uneducated bozo,
stupido, and totally unsophisticated idiot." Dan
started to laugh.
peasant." Vadim smiled, finding Dan's laugh, again,
infectious. "Country bumpkin."
Dan thumped Vadim's shoulder in a mock punch. "That's
me. Peasant. Straight from a small village in the Scottish
Highlands. As sophisticated as a bullet, I am."
smiled. "There's much to be said for simplicity."
Leaning closer, then moved the chair so he could be
close enough to feel Dan's heat, hand on Dan's chest,
and he leaned his head against Dan's. "It's effective,
healthy, and natural. And very often, I don't want rhetoric."
I'm lucky then, aye?" Dan murmured, paused, glancing
towards the carrier bag. "Mmmm
for the special purchase that I bought today?"
purchase?" Vadim straightened again and stood to
bring the bag over, handing it to Dan. "What's
bag on his lap, Dan rummaged with his good hand until
he found what he had been looking for. "Well
would be this, then." Pulling out a large tub of
Vaseline, he grinned, somewhat crookedly.
glanced around, but nobody was there to take offence
at the possibility that these tall military gentlemen
might possibly indulge in physical acts that required
Vaseline. "Here?" He cleared his throat. "In
our ... quarters?"
here. Where else would you find that much privacy and
safety?" Pushing the shades off his eyes to let
them sit atop his wild hair, Dan cocked his head. "In
fact, do you actually know what I bought this for?"
can guess. Vadim glanced around again. "Somehow,
I think it's not what I think it is? Correct?"
entirely depends on what you are thinking." Dan
guess something that we haven't done here
far." As if he stood any chance to say no. As if
he wanted to say no.
say it's not just something we haven't done so far here,
but something we haven't done. Full stop. Not ever,
" Not ever that I remember it. Not
glanced over his shoulder. "What is it?"
large tub of Vaseline." Dan stated the obvious,
groaned. "Yes. I mean what is it we haven't done?"
finally, it was up to Dan to falter in the midst of
his usual cockiness. Swallowing first, he grinned, almost
as bright and toothy as ever. "I thought
glancing behind him to check no one was in earshot.
"It's been so long. That ... well," grinned
again, before he dropped the Vaseline into Vadim's lap.
"Remember the cave? One of many, but you brought
me back from the dead."
dead. A pile of dead. A fucking mass grave of dead Mujas.
Vadim knew exactly the moment Dan mentioned it. Breath
... I want you to do the same. I want to know. And,
damn, want to feel you." Adding with an almost
defiant jerk of his chin, "aye?"
Not thinking. Not actually remembering where he'd learnt
that and how Dan had reacted, but caught up in Dan wanting
that, wanted to
what? Helpless? Vadim
took the Vaseline and dropped it into the bag. "Let's
" looking up, Dan shook his head, with an
almost comical expression of deepest regret. "Fear
we can't. Remember, light dinner? At 1830 hours?"
Adding with deeply felt conviction, "fuck!"
True." Cancellation was not an issue. So, again,
it would be a shower, rest, getting dressed, and then
some time with Dan. Likely the whole night. No problem,
there were no duties, they had time, and he could savour
it. Let Dan savour it, mostly. "Well. We just
keep that thought."
not going to survive that." Dan's hand twisted
into the carrier bag on Vadim's lap. "Shit. Can't
we go upstairs for a quickie?"
smiled. Anticipation was a dish best served
In several courses. "We shouldn't ruin it with
a quickie", he murmured into Dan's ear. "I'd
love to, but I'd rather take my time."
Dan swallowed, staring straight ahead. "What the
fuck have I actually asked you to do?" Murmured,
as if talking to himself. About to bolt, he suddenly
stood up from the chair, nearly knocking the china dishes
off the petite table.
quickly reached out to steady the table and then stood,
grabbing the bag. "Never mind, Dan. Think of something
else. I'll take care of the rest." It was about
taking care. Taking care of a need, a desire, a wish,
his lover, his life. The sudden wave of tenderness hurt
like a bitch and made his voice fail. Seeing Dan flustered.
He placed a hand on Dan's shoulder. "Trust me with
stopped in mid motion, looking at Vadim with a seriousness
unlike himself. Looking for a long time, until he slowly
pushed the shades up, baring his dark eyes. "OK."
Just that, and a corner of his lips twitched up in a
smile, entirely self conscious. "In that case,
what are we going to do until dinner? I'm horny as hell.
Have been all day long. Can't stop thinking. Wondering.
Imagining. And haven't got a fucking clue, why."
or a shower?"
that goddamned raging hard-on?" Dan snatched with
his good hand for Vadim's, briefly pressing it onto
his crotch, earning an affectionate squeeze. Wearing
briefs for once, which hid the obvious beneath those
baggy Bermuda shorts.
It's reasonably cold water." Vadim smiled.
"Just love your skin when it's wet, did I ever
tell you that?"
widened his eyes in mock surprise. "Do you?"
Moving closer. Too close, in fact. "You'd think
after eleven years I should be able to remember if you
did. Seems I'm an old man, booze and sex have eaten
stood his ground and nodded, meeting Dan's gaze. "I
don't mind repeating it, though. Ever since the hamam,
I love how your skin looks when wet. I like the smell
of it when it's wet, and the taste."
smiled. "Aye, I remember the hamam." Lifting
his hand to Vadim's face, fingertips touching the well-known
planes and angles. A touch as gentle as a first-time
lover's, and he leaned in, a touch of lips on lips.
Chaste in its simplicity. If it was witnessed by others,
Dan did not care. "Best wrap up my plaster cast
then," he murmured, "right, old man?"
smiled, wanted to hold Dan, but just squeezed his shoulder.
"Yes. She did notice you ruined the other plaster."
He gestured towards the exit. "Let's head upstairs."
nodded, and followed Vadim.
was hard not to jump the other's bones, once they were
in the room, but as much as Dan tried to make Vadim
forget his resolution, as much did Vadim remember. They
never made it into the pool, the large tub in their
private bath a more convenient alternative for Dan's
plastered wrist, and a more comfortable one as well.
Dinner time arrived, and by then, Dan wanted nothing
but wolf some food down and take Vadim upstairs, or
run away and never mention this idiotic notion of his
again. One of those two, but really not the third option,
which was sitting nicely at a beautifully laid out table,
making conversation with a cultured lady, while indulging
in exquisite food and sipping wine. Sipping ... not
so much in Dan's case, who was indulging more in the
plonk than in anything else.
caught himself smiling. If he hadn't known better, he'd
had thought Dan was nervous. Or maybe he was. Dan certainly
didn't drink quite that fiercely, normally. He laid
a solid foundation himself, though, eating with a good
appetite, and only drinking enough wine to be slightly
on the mellow side. Chatting about this and that, as
if part of his mind wasn't occupied by the thought of
Dan. Dan on the bed, spread out. This was probably what
a real honeymoon felt like - the whole world just focussed
on one thing, two people, them, and nobody else, and
Vadim tried his best to not be rude and mask the extent
of his focus on Dan. Spreading out the anticipation,
but also genuinely enjoying the company. An odd mix
of emotions, sharp and crystal clear, this was really
happening, and he savoured being able to feel that and
to be so aware of himself - and Dan.
was going through the wine at a rate of knots, getting
rather merry and shutting up except for the odd comment.
Still shovelling the food down as if there was no tomorrow,
but his alcohol consumption caused even the Baroness
to raise a brow with an amused smile. No comment, though,
she remained as discreetly quiet about the odd behaviour,
as she remained pleasantly engaged in conversation.
began shifting in his seat, fingers toying relentlessly
with the stem of the glass, and his face betraying a
slight flush, while his dark eyes seemed unfocused on
anything outside, drawn into his own thoughts. Thoughts
that he didn't know what to do with, and couldn't explain
to himself why they had become so important, and why
he had to act on them. Curiosity killed the cat, most
likely, or simply an affirmation, fully, completely,
and utterly unmistakably, that Vadim truly was back.
That he would stay, was his, and nothing and no one
could come in between.
desert was over, and the Baroness excused herself, maybe
to leave them to their own devices, or maybe she was
actually tired - Vadim found it impossible to tell.
It felt early to him, and he stood and smiled and thanked
her for the company and the meal, while Dan did his
best to be polite as well. Once she'd left the room,
Vadim nodded to Dan, smiling. "You think you can
walk, or do I have to carry you?"
" Weaving a little, Dan looked at Vadim with
a drunken smile. Drunk
but not piss-drunk. "Can
we take the bottle with us?" Pointing to the three
quarter full bottle of wine beside him.
don't think they count them here."
" a tiny hiccup forced Dan to pause, "if
I stagger too much, you going to carry me over the threshold
of our room?" Baring his teeth in a broad, clumsy
laughed and extended a hand. "Come on. I'm sure
clamped the bottle under his arm, took Vadim's hand,
and let himself get dragged onto his feet, where he
swayed for a moment, before he had himself back under
control. "Am not a lightweight," murmured,
damn. Booze seemed like a bloody good
shook his head, chuckling, and manoeuvred Dan up the
stairs, with plenty of patience, and interrupted with
the occasional re-fit of his arm under Dan's shoulder.
"No, not a lightweight", he conceded.
in the room, Dan flopped onto the bed, just about managing
not to spill the red wine. The bottle ended on the floor,
in dangerous proximity to his feet. Legs open, arms
in his back to support himself with his good hand, looking
up. "I'm so fucking tired of these nice clothes."
He shook the mop of dark hair and grin upwards at Vadim.
you?" Vadim leaned down to move the bottle away
from the feet and out of reach, supporting himself on
one knee. "Tired of the shoes, too?" Unlacing
them, and pulling them off the heels, one by one, setting
them to the side. He pulled the socks off and slid his
hands up the backs of Dan's feet towards his calves.
"Hmmm. I think I'll let you off then. You've been
all cooperative today."
do you mean?" Dan smiled drunkenly. Lifting his
legs, just a bit, to allow further access, demanding
more of the touch. At the same time sliding backwards,
until he almost lay on the bed. Peering at Vadim, "cooperative
smiled and slid his hands further up, towards Dan's
belt and button, opening his trousers and then pulling
them down when Dan lifted his hips, slowly, with ease
and consideration. "Wearing nice clothes
not trying for a 'quickie' if we've
decided to do something else
and generally being
good company. A bit silent, and a bit drunk, but those
are minor glitches."
Dan complained, "you make me sound like a naughty
boy who behaved kind of OK for once, which makes you
my daddy?" The toothy grin crept
back into his face, lighting it up, lines, eyes, scar
and all. Sitting half naked, his bare arse on the cool
bed linen, an awfully nice sensation. "What kind
of daddy are you, though? Or ... a granddaddy?"
laughed. "I guess I'm an evil daddy. Because I
plan to take full advantage of you." Just joking,
nothing of that actually went deeper than the joke,
no reflexes, no thought of the title of older soldiers,
no thought of his kids. This was only between him and
Dan. He stood and pulled the jacket from the other's
body, propping him up, handling him like a wounded or
unconscious man, then slid in behind Dan to unbutton
that's your evil side, I could get used to it."
Dan grinned, eyes closing. Pure luxury of complete trust.
Enough trust to
but he'd rather not think about
it, and yet he still wanted to do it. This strange yearning
to find out what it had really been like, and to know
once and for all, if he could truly lose himself like
that. Fully. Utterly. Without any reservations. His
cock made itself known at that thought, nestled in the
neatly trimmed dark curls, it started to show an unmistakable
interest. "Vadim?" Dan craned his head to
catch a glimpse. Pleasantly floating, the wine was doing
its work and smiling came easy. "If I don't like
it, it's no prob, aye?"
embraced him from behind, chest against Dan's back,
just dropping the shirt to the side. "Problem?"
The actual meaning filtered through, soaking part of
his mind like water. "No. Of course not. Just tell
me to stop. No problem. None at all." Suddenly
wondered whether Dan would say anything, or just be
reckless like he had been, years ago, when Vadim had
fucked him, as a challenge. I want to know whether
you can fuck me without raping me. "I'm not
" like that anymore, he thought, but it wasn't
quite true. There had been the attack on Jean. He frowned,
thought but Dan was different. If it was about feelings,
everything was different. "We're trying it, if
it feels wrong, we stop."
Dan smiled, leaning back into the embrace. "That's
alright, then." And it was, because Vadim wouldn't
think him a wuss and maybe, maybe he didn't really know
what he wanted anyway, but hell, he was going to do
it. Even if he didn't know why. Pulling one leg up on
the bed, knee bent, he let himself fall back, closing
his eyes. "I could do with some seduction, Russkie."
Murmured, his grin flashing through the strands of wild,
stray hair. "You know, that seduction thing?"
smiled, again felt that intense tenderness that could
be a pain, or better, an ache. He shed his own jacket,
shirt, shoes, then rolled onto his side, stretched out
very close to Dan, hand idly tracing down the other's
chest. "Not sure I'm any good at that", he
murmured, softly, fingers tracing the lines of Dan's
pecs, down to the sternum, then circling the nipples,
shifting closer again. Strange, really, because he had
no idea how it worked. It had been fierce, often a struggle,
or had just happened, a touch that wasn't pushed away,
a mutual deal to get off. Knowledge more than guessing,
... you're doing just fine." Dan murmured, eyes
still closed as he stretched himself out, arms, legs,
as if the bed, the man and all of the sex in the world
just belonged to him, and him alone. "I don't even
crave a fag all that badly right now." Flashing
a lopsided grin, he searched blindly for Vadim's neck,
pulling him down into a kiss.
smiled, returning the kiss, rolling on top and still
keeping his weight on his knees.
feel like a fucking virgin." Dan broke the kiss
at last, face flushed, eyes not quite focussed. The
alcohol was mellowing everything, sight, sound, and
most of all barriers. "Just a damn lot more willing."
can tell." Vadim pulled the bag closer that had
been sitting innocently near the pillows, and fished
out the Vaseline. He set up the tub close by, pried
the lid off, and slid down Dan's body, rubbing his face
against Dan's cock, breathing against his groin. "I'd
suck you, but that would take the fun out of it
" Dan shuddered at touch and words, "but
I want to know." Why? Not sure, but he remembered
keenly the tongue in his body, and dimly, the other
sensation, the one that had once pulled him back from
insanity. He wanted to know, and wanted to let himself
go. Completely. His legs opened further, knees falling
wide open on each side, and he felt a stab of lust at
the way he bared himself. No one, no one else would
ever get him to do this. Not even Jean and his light-hearted
ways. No one, except the first one.
remembered the way Marc had lain there, and he reached
for one of the pillows and tucked it under Dan's ass,
supporting it and changing the angle of the hips. "Right."
Taking a dollop of the Vaseline, he smeared it across
Dan's hole, smiling as his fingers circled the area,
smoothing the jelly, warming it, and sliding it inside
the heat, just a digit of two fingers, probing and testing.
for starters." Dan breathed
out, closing his eyes. The world was spinning, but the
wine wasn't to blame. "Don't know when I started
to like having things up my arse." Murmured.
grinned at him. "Things? I mean, we had cock, tongue,
" Figuring that talking would make it
easier to see when he crossed the line to pain. He gathered
more Vaseline with his free hand, and pushed the two
fingers deeper, moving them in and out and apart to
loosen Dan up. "What other things, Dan?"
" breathing out, Dan's head moved back in
his neck, as hidden tension relaxed away. "Not
really, but been thinking of dildos. Want to ...
to try them with you. More than just the candle."
Hips moving in tiniest motions, working with, not against,
me or on me?" Vadim watched Dan, studying how his
body tensed, but in good ways. Dan was opening up, ready
for more. He pulled a third finger close, fingertips
in a triangle, and worked his way in again, adding enough
Vaseline to make this fairly easy, but had to move in
increments because Dan was tight, but not tense. The
body just needed to yield, needed to accept.
you." The response was immediate, but when another
finger was added, Dan's brain seemed to have a different
idea. "Both. Want to
to feel. You
" The wine was of no importance anymore,
only those fingers counted, moving, pushing gently,
probing further. Opening him up, making him accept their
intrusion. Wanting it. Asking for more, as his hips
lifted on their own, trying to push deeper.
he'd get to fuck Dan more often? Maybe? It was still
mostly the other way round, even though Dan didn't resist
quite that much these days, didn't seem quite that reluctant.
have time." Leaning in to
kiss Dan's knee, Vadim pushed deeper, small finger nestled
with the others, thumb close, too, and as he felt the
resistance grow, he twisted in a circular motion, and
managed to slide deeper.
groaned, turning his head. Eyes closed, he was entirely
one with the sensations. Didn't need to remember the
way he had felt centred, pulled away from the insanity;
could feel it right here, in his very middle. Lifting
his knees further, his body wanted to do this while
his mind remained quiet, submitting to the body. Trying
to find leverage, he was holing his knees up with the
good hand, trembling with the effort.
reached up with his free hand and placed Dan's legs
on his shoulders, carrying the weight as Dan relaxed
with a sigh. "Calm. It's all good", he murmured,
kissing the left leg as he moved his head to the side.
Twisting the arm slightly to get deeper - this was the
line of knuckles, the fingers and the thumb, and he
hardly got anywhere with this, so he pulled back again
and began to work, feeling himself sweat with the concentration.
of the time, the way minutes were turning into an hour,
while his body began to open up fully, Dan's lips were
parted, letting out low, guttural moans. Nothing had
ever been like this, deep inside, touched, as if he
had nothing to hide, as if every secret was now Vadim's.
His cock hard and strong, weeping, he didn't try to
stroke himself, didn't want. This was time - time outside
of everything else. Time to ground himself and Vadim,
time to be one. Giving away the most precious gift he
could: his endless trust, and every secret of his body.
some point, the resistance just softened, and Vadim
was amazed how easy the rest of his hand slid into the
warmth, the heat, the powerful tightness, his fingers
curling up as if by their own volition, forming a relaxed
fist, tight, taut muscle all around. Vadim tried to
move his fist, a few times, just to see what effect
it had on Dan.
sounds that had no meaning, except for lust, and Dan
truly had lost himself, and found. Didn't know where
he was, nor with whom, nor even who he was himself.
Didn't matter. Names, who cared. Just the way his body
had separated from his mind; and the way his lust stretched
endlessly across hours, well into the night. His body
covered with a thick sheen of sweat, he hadn't opened
his eyes for an eternity, hadn't spoken a single meaningful
word, and yet the sounds that came from his throat,
his chest, were constant. The deep colour of his cock
and balls, full to bursting, turned almost purple, as
the night wore on.
smiled, felt strange, looking at Dan's blanked, ecstatic
face, the way he squirmed on the bed, the breathing,
those incoherent, nonsensical, low sounds. He moved
his hand, slowly working deeper, and back, trying out
which elicited more or a different reaction. He reached
for Dan's cock, but dipped his hand into more Vaseline
before that, then took hold of it, just stroking the
underside, careful not to do too much, not quite sure
what Dan felt and how much might be painful.
whole body shuddered, uncontrollably, and his stomach
muscles, beneath the scars, contracted so hard, his
breath became desperately harsh. Good hand clenching
into a fist, his head was rolling from side to side,
while panting trough parted lips. Chest heaving, sweat
gathering between his abs, tears were running from the
corners of his closed eyes, when suddenly, as if hit
by a thunderbolt, his whole body tensed, lifted, arched
as if frozen in electric shock. He came, hard and high,
and he screamed, overwhelmed. Too much, all too much,
and all too good, when he finally crashed, and crashing
hard. Barely conscious.
remembered that much - to pull free while Dan came,
easing out slowly, but without lingering, didn't want
to turn any of this into pain. He gently lowered Dan's
legs onto the bed, reached for a towel to wipe his hand
and the Vaseline off Dan, and got off the bed, his back
creaking from the slightly awkward position and the
added weight. He walked around the bed, then lay down
right next to Dan, pulling the light covers up, wrapping
Dan into them and holding him, kissing his neck, the
side of his throat.
never woke up, not then, neither through the night.
Sleep, dreamless, and never letting go of Vadim. One,