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Special Forces Chapter XXXII: Comrades in Arms
 
 

October 1991, the Persian Gulf

The next day, after his shift, Dan waited for Vadim in the vehicle park. His patrol had come in a few minutes early, their charge safely back at the airport. His helmet dangled from one hand while a cigarette hung dangerously low in the corner of his mouth, as he was talking to one of the guys in his team. Midge and a couple of his cronies were lingering not too far away, but the way Dan ignored them, they grew tired and sloped off. Apparently deciding it wasn't sufficient fun if they started verbal abuse, and any physical attack would be fruitless, what with Dan's mates all over the place and the crazy Russkie imminent.

When the second convoy of armoured vehicles approached, Dan looked up, grinning into the dust cloud from behind his shades, before returning his attention to the guy who'd been telling him about his problems with one of the rifles.

Vadim got off the jeep, spotted Dan amidst the men, and saw that Jean had spotted him too, because Jean gave him one of those good natured ironic grins. Vadim was too tired to be angry about something that was just the usual pisstaking. Besides, Jean did step lightly around him. The other guys got to hear more stupid jokes, as if Jean was never quite comfortable about how far he could go. Jean gave him a nod that likely said something like "It's alright", and Vadim left the group.

He took the helmet off and headed straight for Dan, but remained a few steps away as Dan was talking to some other guy.

"Cheers, Spud." Dan nodded and chucked his cigarette butt onto the dusty ground. "I'll look into that before the next shift." Slapping the man's shoulder, who muttered something like thanks, mad dog, cheers, mate. "See you at scran." Dan called after him before turning his attention onto Vadim.

"Hey, sexy." He said quietly enough so that no one around them could hear, grinning at the other. "Fancy meeting you here."

Vadim grinned back and shook his head. "Yeah, and I thought they made them pale and red-haired on that island of yours." He winked when Dan laughed. "Fancy going to the tin hut and then showers?"

"I'm still knackered from last night's 'fancy tin hut' adventure." Dan grinned, waved at Jean, whose path described a curve, passing somewhat closely if he kept on course, and he just raised his hand and waved back.

"Besides, you remember what I asked you to do, when we were back? I want you to apologise to Matt." Fishing for another fag, one of Dan's team mates was passing with a water bottle, which he pushed into Dan's hand, taking a long swig. "Today's the day." Holding the water out to Vadim. "You up for it?"

Vadim waited until Jean was out of earshot. Apologize. To Matt. Had he promised that? Well, how bad could it be? And why did his stomach grow small and nauseous? "Whatever." He looked to the side. "Yes, sure. Get in touch with him. I just need to wash the shit off." And return the rifle.

"He's off this afternoon, he agreed to meet in the safe house." Dan took the water back that Vadim hadn't touched, downing the rest. Wondering for a moment if his Russkie had any idea what it meant that Matt had the courage to go back into the lion's den. Perhaps. Perhaps not. Wasn't up to him.

"Okay." Vadim inhaled deeply, face dark.

"Let's go to the showers, then." Rifle slung over his shoulder, Dan turned to walk towards the check point where they signed their weapons in. Vadim followed, acting in every way the comrade, and nothing more, not too close, not touching, to blend in as much as he possibly could, still knowing that everybody knew.

"Hey!" Dan grinned at Vadim after the paperwork was done. Lighting a fag before he slung his arm around Vadim's waist. So much for blending in. "You look like this is the worst thing in the world. I reckon it was a bit harder to get us out of the desert, no?" Walking so close, his hip was touching Vadim's, even when the brief half-embrace stopped and Dan's arm fell back to his side.

Vadim glanced at him. "I wouldn't want an apology in his stead. I never got an apology, either."

"Apology? For what?"

"Not from him. Or you. From … others." Vadim managed to stop himself, despite the growing anger. Another wave of darkness was rolling up towards his throat and head. "He wants it, he gets it."

"I think you got something wrong here." Dan stopped in the middle of the open space in front of the huts, causing Vadim to look around and check if anybody watched them.

"Matt never said he wanted an apology, he doesn't even know about this." Reaching out, Dan almost touched Vadim's chest before letting his hand fall back down. "I want you to apologise to the kid because he bloody well deserves it, but you know what?" Dan's eyes were growing darker and the plume of smoke from his cigarette barely hid the rising irritation in his face. "If you don't want to, then don't apologise, because this is bullshit. A false apology is a slap in the face, so stuff it, Russkie. I go alone."

For Dan's sake. A real apology, and for Dan's sake, or this thing would irritate Dan more, and fester. Maybe. It was hard to say. Go alone. What for? He met Dan's eyes for a moment, then looked to the side again. "I will apologise." He inhaled. "You got me on the wrong foot, okay?"

Tilting his head, Dan studied Vadim for a long moment before he finally nodded. "Okay. Just don't ever accuse me in years to come that I 'made' you do it, because I don't. Understood?"

"Yessir." Vadim nodded. "Understood." He headed into the room to drop the armour and kit off, and grabbed his shower gear, thinking about Matt and the safe house and Dan and how he'd phrase it. 'Sorry I tortured you' was not the greatest solution to that problem.

Dan followed him into the shower only a few moments later, and while Vadim kept brooding, Dan kept quiet. Ablutions done as quickly as always, it was time for scran as soon as they had washed. Dan was the only man in the queue with wet hair - and the only one with any wild hair to speak of in the first place. Standing one behind the other, Dan spotted Jean close by. "Hey, Frenchie, fancy a game of pool later?"

Jean laughed. "Can't get enough of seeing me bend over, eh?"

"Hahaha, you should be so lucky." Dan lifted his shades, playing the game of banter they'd been playing since they started shagging. "Who says I even fancy your arse."

"It's all over the camp … and the showers."

Vadim shot Jean a glance, and was, again, surprised, that nobody seemed to pick that up. Jean was flaunting it, and nobody cared or bothered. Instead, they liked him more for that sense of irony and irreverence.

"Just you, or …?" Jean asked.

"Or what?" Dan turned his head, glancing at Vadim with a smile, "I said to Vadim we'd teach him a bit of pool. Are you game?"

Vadim nodded, not quite sure what the game was, but it wasn't 'just pool'. "When?"

"Always." Jean nodded forward. "And don't hold up the queue up there."

Shuffling forward, Dan grinned. "1930 hrs? Vadim and I are out of camp for a while after tea, probably around an hour." It was Dan's turn to get his slop, the usual huge amounts of chips, meat, veggies and anything else the well-meaning cook piled onto his plate, plus a double helping of dessert and far too strong coffee, all washed down with half a litre of water.

"Yep. Doable." That would give Jean time to call Solange, he reflected. She'd be home by then.

"Till then," Dan smirked at Jean, "keep the balls warm for us."

"You guys do the warm thing", Jean quipped back.

"Yeah, you fucking bet!" Dan smirked once more, teeth showing, winking to Vadim before he let his shades fall back over his eyes. He turned to chat with the cook, who'd become something of a mate and who always provided the extra rations for him, since food went through Dan like a sieve.

The rest of tea time went without a hitch, Midge and his cronies remained hushed in a corner, and despite Dan's niggling worry that this was only the quiet before the storm, he revelled in sitting at a table, laughing, eating and chatting with team mates, and most of all, Vadim, even though the latter was hardly the heart of the party.

With scran done, Dan pushed himself off the bench, looking straight at Vadim. "Shall we?" Completely ignoring the wolf whistle to his left, except for a raised middle finger in the universal gesture of 'fuck you'.

Vadim nodded and stood, face closed, eyes not looking at anybody, as the anger was boiling deep inside. He wouldn't mind ripping somebody's head off just for the calls and jokes, unable to take it like Dan did. Impossible to take it with the same nonchalant relaxed attitude, thus the best he could do was keep silent and wait for the moment till he could legally act, hoping they'd overreach and give him an excuse and a reason. He followed Dan outside, out of camp, away from these primitives and enemies.

Walking towards the gate, Dan lit a cigarette. Silent, in thoughts, until they passed through the barrier and were on their way into town. Dan had been staring holes into the dirt in front of his boots, glancing to the side now. "Vadim?" No way he could have missed the thunderous expression on the other's face. "You got to loosen up a bit. Cat calls and shit like that happen with anyone."

"I know. That's military life, isn't it?" Vadim looked at Dan, frowning. "It's part of the whole deal. Being kicked around and mocked all the time, and bitches like Midge can piss all over us?" He lowered his gaze again. "Fuck, I miss being an officer."

"They don't 'piss on us', that's bullshit. It's just the way things have always been and always will be. Pecking order, too much testosterone, male crap and cock fights, and who gives in, is the weakest one. Show me one army in the world that does not suffer from bullying, all through the ranks and everywhere. Even being an Officer wouldn't help you there."

No, as an officer, I could kill and cripple them for it, without having to fear anything. No punishment, thought Vadim.

Dan shrugged, dragged a lungful of nicotine into his body, exhaling as he spoke. "I'm not condoning any of this shit, but I decided a damn long time ago that I'm not a victim and never will be, so whatever crap is flung at me, it doesn't touch me. It means nothing, it's just others trying to find your weakness."

And they didn't have to do much searching in this case. Vadim shook his head, remembered the barracks in England, and that it had been easier there. Far easier. Despite his accent, despite the fact he didn't quite belong, at least nobody had known what he felt and what he was. "Our 'weakness' was fairly open, though."

Dan shrugged once more, looking around himself before his eyes rested on Vadim. "If those bullyboys didn't pick on us for being gay they'd find someone else, and they'd pick on them. For ugly teeth, for being a ginger haired git, for being fat, for being thin, for having no hair, for being in their eyes something that's different or just simply weaker, a victim, a target and a punching ball. Look at it this way, if they try it with us they always find themselves being punched in return - and losing." Dan flashed a grin, "and the cat calling? That was just friendly banter. Don't you think those guys are bloody envious?"

"What?"

"They see us, and they know we get some. Every day. And they? They got girlfriends and wives at home, or no one, and all they have here is the five-fingered lady. Trust me, Vadim, the wolf whistle earlier was nothing but that: banter amongst mates, and maybe, if you just shrugged and grinned, and realised that in fact they are just damn envious because of what we have and what we show them every day, right smack bang into their fucking faces, then they might even start to become human in your eyes, and generally rather decent guys that you might want to be mates with."

Vadim was torn, pausing as he thought, then gave Dan a sudden, unexpected bright smile. "I love you", he murmured. What we have. What we show them every day. "Fuck them." Of course, Jean didn't quite belong in either group. He didn't join in, he just played. Jean somehow didn't mean it.

Dan flashed a bright grin back, somewhat taken aback at the reaction, but so delighted, he could hardly find the words. Wanting to embrace, kiss, and devour Vadim right there and then, but of course that was impossible. "Well …," dragging quickly on the cigarette instead, "that's good, then." Throwing the butt behind him, he was still grinning when they turned the corner towards the safe house. After a few security checks they unlocked the door and slipped inside. Nothing had been touched, but the bed had gained a pillow and the table a box with condoms. Dan couldn't help grinning.

Vadim leaned against the wall, checking the room like he had done before, noticing Dan's strange delight. "What's the matter? And when is the kid coming?"

"Well," Dan plunked himself down onto the bed, "exhibit A, the condoms aren't ours, aye?" Leaning back against the wall, arms and legs spread, he slouched in a relaxed position, "and exhibit B, no idea, he said he'll be here as soon as he can. But he's just a wee jarhead, if they don't let him out he's fucked." Patting the space beside him.

Vadim nodded. "Alright. So he's meeting somebody else here?" Dan was probably by now running a bed & breakfast service for all the gay uniform guys in the country. The thought made him grin.

"Aye, remember the Delta I told you about? That'd be him, then. Of course, Matt gave me an earful, earlier, because I scared the shit out of the poor kid by arranging a blind date with a Delta." Dan was everything but remorseful.

"Seems they got on, then. USMC and Delta. Okay. The kid is outgunned, but okay." Vadim got onto the bed and sat right next to Dan, who was laughing and murmuring "outgunned, alright", to himself. Untying the laces of his boots and pulling them off.

"I hope he's nice enough to knock."

"No idea, Russkie, but if you straddled my lap I could kiss you, while fondling your body with my hands beneath your shirt and grinding my groin into yours. Sounds like a plan?"

Vadim glanced at the door. "Not sure." The bed was in a bad position, too … straddling Dan, his back would be turned towards the door. On the other hand, Dan. Shit. They could have a quick one, and likely nobody would interrupt them. Chances were precious few, unless it was at night in their hut. Vadim sighed, it was no choice, really, and he got onto Dan's lap, legs open left and right, feeling the heat between his legs, and grinding against it. "Okay."

"That did take you a while to consider, hm?"

"No. I just figured the kid has seen this kind of thing before."

Grinning up, Dan leaned his head back against the wall, shades still balancing on the bridge of his nose, even as his hands pulled on fabric and slipped beneath Vadim's t-shirt, just as promised.

Vadim leaned in to kiss and plucked the shades off Dan's face. They were in the way, and they did make him look distanced and alien. He relished the touch on his skin, moving against Dan, grinding against the heat, feeling his own desire awaken and grow, no longer caring about consequences. Or interruptions.

"You know," Dan's voice got instantly huskier, "if anyone had told me I'd be a randier bugger at the ripe old age of forty-two than I was at twenty-two, I would have told them to fuck off and cool their head down the next loo, while I kept flushing."

"Yeah, but you were trying with the wrong gender." Vadim kissed deeply, opening his lips wide to invite Dan, hands in Dan's hair and on his shoulder. "Fuck, I'm no better."

"Yeah …" breathed out, Dan pulled Vadim closer, hands roaming over skin. He couldn't say anything else, because he had a tongue in his mouth and damn, it felt just fine there. He was just about getting into the swing of it, tugging on Vadim's shirt to get it off him completely, when someone knocked on the door. Damn. On time.

Vadim groaned, broke the kiss and moved away, while Dan tried to stop him, breathless, aroused, and in no mood to apologize for anything. Not now. Not fucking now. Vadim reached for a water bottle and headed towards the door, figuring he could just as well open.

"Oh for fuck's sake, Vadim!" Dan groaned, exasperated, "you didn't have to move away, the kid's got a key to this place and as you said before, nothing he hasn't seen. Damn."

Vadim glanced over his shoulder, stood there, trying to catch his breath and trying to get his body to behave. Or at least be not so fucking obvious. Not sure what Dan wanted. Just continue? With the other guy coming in? Looking surprised and clueless. "What?"

It knocked again, but Dan ignored it for a moment, perfectly aware their voices could be heard from the outside. "You don't have to jump up like a panicked chicken every time someone might see us together. There's nothing wrong with it, not when it's a mate who doesn't care and who does the same thing himself. Okay?"

"Just …" Vadim swallowed. Just when I feel fucking vulnerable. But Dan didn't get that part, the shame, the need to hide. To have control. "Okay."

Dan nodded, looking at Vadim for a long moment, then called out for Matt to enter.

Vadim stood there, drinking, as the door was unlocked and the jarhead entered, regarding him past the bottle. Pretty bastard. Buff, certainly, very fit, young, a face that almost begged to be slapped or kissed or both. Vadim grinned as he set the bottle down.

"Hey, Mad Dog." Matt grinned at Dan when he entered, who waved at him, locking the door behind him and pocketing the key. The Yank nodded to Vadim, even though his eyes narrowed slightly, a frown settling between them. Still, he seemed to do his best to be civil. "Long time no see. What was the name again?"

"Vadim." Not gracing the other with his patronymic, or last name, both were pretty much only a habit and meant very little. "Long time no see indeed."

Dan winced at the sudden tension, wondering if this had been such a great idea, but at least he had to try, and hell, the kid was here. Right in the lion's den.

Vadim set the bottle down and looked at Dan, briefly, then crossed his arms in front of his chest. Glad that he wasn't sitting on Dan's lap. "Listen, yes? I don't think we have to talk, but I ask you to listen to me for a little."

Matt's brows shot up, had only come because Dan had asked, didn't have a clue what was going to happen. He glanced at Dan, who only shrugged and smiled slightly.

Vadim's stance was broad, rock-solid, like facing off, but not going anywhere near the American, merely standing his ground. "It won't take long. You know the story anyway." Vadim paused as if checking the American understood, and Matt obviously did, because his own stance suddenly mirrored Vadim's, arms across his chest and just as solid as the other. Closed-off, defensive without defending.

"Damn right, man." Matt stared straight ahead, seemingly stoic, but Dan could see his jaw muscles working.

Vadim was speaking slowly and clearly, as if gathering his thoughts. "Our first meeting did not go well, I understand, and it is my fault. Dan made clear to me that you are a close friend, and I have … overstepped myself and treated you wrong. Not like the friend of …" He paused, wrestling through the concept and the words again, in front of this half-baked kid. "the most important person in my life. What I did was … dishonourable. Unbecoming. A disgrace. I", he inhaled, jaw muscles tightening. "ask you to accept my apologies."

That was obviously not what the kid had expected, and Matt's jaw dropped open, while Dan audibly exhaled a sigh of relief. "Uh …" was the most intelligent answer the Yank managed to get out, before gathering himself. "Shit, man, I didn't think … like, didn't expect …, he puffed his chest out, once again staring straight ahead at Vadim, but the tension was already less. "I thought you were just a fucking asshole. Was I wrong?"

"No, you weren't, but doesn't matter." Vadim inhaled again. "But I'm more honourable than that. You did nothing wrong, and yet I punished you for … something. That was uncalled for. There's no excuse. No reason. I did it, it was wrong. Dan's friends are my friends." He shook his head. "Well, I blew that one, but that's the theory, anyway."

"Well, I … I guess you were fucking desperate."

"I was." Close to killing myself. There's no deeper despair than that.

Matt's stance began to relax and his arms unfolded, falling to his sides. Too young to resent forever, and too damned uncomplicated to hate. He held his hand out, waiting for Vadim to take it, all the time watched by Dan.

Vadim reached out to take the hand and shook it, marvelling at the fresh faced beauty now that he allowed himself to see it. Dan had a good taste, only the best meat on the market.

"That's a fucking good excuse, man." Matt glanced over at Dan, "and I guess it worked in the end." He even offered a vague smile to Vadim. "Apology accepted."

"Thanks." Pressing the hand lightly, then releasing it, and Vadim stepped back, not sure what to do beyond this point. He glanced at Dan, then back at the kid. "That means a lot."

Matt seemed just as unsure about what to do, when Dan leaned back on the bed, as sprawled as he had been before. Grinning with intense relief, from one to the other. "Now that you've 'kissed and made up', as they say, I guess asking for a threesome is a bit much, eh?" Dan smirked toothily into the room, while Matt almost choked on his own spit. "Huh?"

Vadim studied the kid and gave a short, toneless laugh. "So that was what you had in mind", he said. "And I was wondering." He moved towards the bed and sat down. "As if Matt here didn't get anything better than two grandfathers …" A glance to the kid. "And one an ex-Soviet that was everything but friendly first time round."

"I was joking." Dan shrugged, waving Matt towards the only chair, opposite to the bed. "I figured it would make a grand ice breaker and it seemed to have worked." Matt sat down, eyeing Dan and Vadim with barely hidden suspicion.

"Joking?" He piped up, stretching his long legs out as he slouched on the chair. Too young, too good looking and far too sexy. Except for that stupid-assed haircut that made any head look like a badly polished billiard ball. "Fucking great sense of humour you have, Mad Dog."

"Do I?" Dan grinned, fishing for a fag before reaching for Vadim, attempting to pull him closer, and Vadim got onto the bed again, giving the cigarette a disapproving glance. "What do you think?" Dan glanced at his Russkie. "Am I a joker?"

"Sometimes." Vadim looked into Dan's eyes, tried to see what went on in that head, and thought, probably, it was Dan just being familiar with him and Matt. His other lover. "But I'm not sure you're right now." He kissed Dan, suddenly, before he could say anything, with the passion that had just been interrupted. Hand on Dan's chest, fingers digging into muscle and skin. "I don't think you are …" he murmured against Dan's ear, breathing out, then kissing Dan's neck, and biting, changing between the two.

"I …" Dan was flustered all of a sudden, totally taken by surprise, and the cigarette ended up crumpled and torn between his fingers. "I was …" he meant to say 'joking' but then he wasn't so sure anymore what he'd meant in the first place. Glancing over at Matt, who was watching them, with an odd expression.

"Don't mind me." Matt suddenly said, reaching for another water bottle, making himself comfortable in his chair. "I'll just sit here, quietly, like, and watch the show." If he was embarrassed at all, he did a damn fine job of hiding it with bravado.

Vadim grinned at Dan, almost daring him to chicken out, call the bluff, because, truth was, Matt was easy to ignore as he was sitting right in his back. If he could ignore a door, he could ignore a jarhead. And he'd enjoyed Vanya watching him fuck some guy, he remembered, as he pulled Dan's shirt free and over his head, despite feeble protests, then dropping it at the side. Now fully on the bed, legs left and right again of Dan's legs, pulling his own shirt off as well, figuring giving Matt a view of skin and muscles wouldn't hurt. The faint gasp he got as reaction to those scars and a body kept in pristine condition told him that the Yank was paying attention very well.

Vadim went down to kiss Dan again and murmured into his ear. "Not … part of an apology, this one." He grinned, baring his teeth, then nipped at Dan's throat again, while Dan muttered, "fuck, then what is this? I didn't plan …" Shutting up when hands opened his belt, and Vadim got off him, to the side, giving Matt a view, as his teeth traced the line of Dan's cock through the cotton cloth. He was rewarded with a sharp intake of breath, and his eyes closed as he knew perfectly well where everything was. Opened the buttons, working at this speed because he was sure Dan would bolt and freak if he gave him just a second to consider what was going on. In fact, this was damn fucking hot, Dan spread out and watched by this young guy.

Vadim pulled Dan's trousers down, and immediately took his cock deep, not allowing himself any coherent thought. Taking him deep instead, causing Dan to groan and buck, fully in with the first movement, and then concentrating on that. Moving his head up and down, feeling the length slide inside and restrict his breathing, then sped up, skirting the reflex, but never quite triggering it.

"Oh shit!" That was all that Dan managed to bring out, staring down at Vadim's head, then back at Matt, who was moistening his lips and whose open water bottle hung forgotten in his hand. Dan didn't know what to think, figured thinking was highly overrated, and let his head fall back against the wall instead, legs opening further, arms at his side for balance. His lips parted, he felt the jarhead's eyes on him, and that knowledge triggered something that made his mind buzz and his cock surge.

Vadim now went deeper and faster, then slowed down, allowing Dan's cock to almost bob free, only to catch breath, then went down again, relentless, and he'd grin if that had been anatomically possible. He gave the jarhead a sideways glance, not self-conscious, not shy, not embarrassed about what he was doing. He'd done it too often by now, and the kid was no danger.

Matt was silent, staring, suddenly murmuring as if he had forgotten he was thinking aloud, "leave me something."

Vadim paused, pulling almost free again, taking hold of Dan's cock with his hand to lick the crown, then looked at Matt again, and nodded, waving him over with his hand.

Matt jerked as if slapped and his face coloured, but he got up nevertheless. "Fuck, man, you want me to share?"

"Yes." He did. He was willing to share. Vadim wanted to see Dan go insane.

Dan groaned and Vadim felt him twitch in his grasp as he invited the younger man, while looking at Dan with a knowing expression.

"I'll … probably die." Dan groaned, breathless, hands twisted in the blanket, but his comment broke the spell and Matt slid to his knees. He didn't touch Dan's cock, though, instead tongued the head and teased the slit, lapping at precum before taking his time and licking between and around Vadim's fingers. Only when Dan started to jabber incoherent words and made pleading sounds, did he suck the head in, until his lips touched Vadim's hand, which gave Vadim an unexpected jolt of pleasure.

Matt's own hands were in his back, wrists held, pushing his head down, indicating to Vadim to do the same with his hand, and Vadim stroked Dan's cock, finding a rhythm together, reducing Dan to senseless begging for more, or less, or anything at all, as long as this never stopped.

Vadim felt his guts knot, every now and then brushing the jarhead's lips, but he soon found the rhythm, and leaned in to lick Dan's scars, but distracted by the kid that blew his lover. Just inches away from him - a sight that aroused him far more than if he'd done this alone, by himself, and one hand covered Dan's, that was a fist around some of the blanket. "I can take over", he murmured. "And finish him off, or you do. Your call. Depends how much … you like the taste … "

Matt came up, eyes somewhat glazed, lips glistening. His voice had turned too husky and deep for a young guy like him. "I like it." He didn't look at Dan, who was pleading nonsensically for the 'torture' to continue.

Vadim nodded. That meant Matt would finish him off. It would be fitting - and the longer he drew it out, the more Dan got out of it. Not that he was grateful right now. Of course not. Like most things in their fucked up lives, they moved into perspective and were cherished only years after the fact. "Okay."

"Your turn. My hand?" Matt still didn't acknowledge Dan, as if he didn't exist, as if all he was, was a straining cock that begged to be sucked - reducing the man to sex, deliberately so.

"Aye. You can finish him off, then." Vadim grinned, grinned so hard he found it almost difficult to engulf Dan's cock again, casting an amused sideways glance at Dan that was downright cruel in this situation, especially with Dan being completely out of his mind, his facial expression one of pain rather than pleasure.

Vadim continued where Matt had stopped, tasting the kid on Dan as well, while Matt helped him keep Dan interested, stroking the cock, kneading his balls. Judging from Dan's sounds, it worked a charm. Plus, this turn-taking was easy on the jaw muscles, which was another plus, and it was more arousing than the usual configuration. Interesting. He could sense Dan was close, and pulled back, before Dan managed to cum. "He's all yours." Vadim sat back, relaxing his jaw with a few motions and grinning at Dan, lips open, half-showing teeth.

The incoherent sounds were hardly human anymore, and very much unlike Dan. The only time Vadim had ever heard those needy whimpers and pleading moans, coupled the way Dan's body thrashed and jerked with complete abandon, was during the fistfuck.

Sounds that turned truly inhuman when Matt's lips closed firmly around Dan's cock, shoving Vadim's hand out of the way and taking him in fully, sucking down until Dan could do nothing but buck up with an unguarded cry, convulsing as his body and mind were lost in the throes of orgasm.

Matt quickly pulled back enough to swallow, they'd long established it was safe, and he stayed where he was for a while, seemingly reluctant to let go of Dan's cock, or just simply allowing the man to calm down enough to remember breathing.

Vadim watched, watched that young face and his lover, the sounds going right through him. He leaned in to Dan and kissed him, didn't matter that Dan had no space to breathe right now, he wanted to be close, and he was so hard it hurt.

Dan wasn't able to kiss back properly, nor do anything that required brain power. He was still struggling for air, his heart hammering, when he slowly began to become aware of his surroundings. "Uhhhh …." Breathed out, the most intelligible sound he was able to produce.

Vadim grinned, kissing the open lips, not bothering whether Dan kissed back, enjoyed or hated it, fingers digging into the long hair, staring into Dan's eyes from very close. Yes, he was alright. Killer orgasm, but alright.

Matt finally let go of Dan's cock and scooted back onto the chair, where he slouched exactly like before, but this time sporting a formidable hard-on through his uniform trousers. "Anyone in there, dude?" Matt grinned, far more at ease than five minutes ago.

"Uh-huh." Blinking, Dan gazed straight at Vadim's pale eyes, no more than a couple of inches away. "I …" he moistened his lips. "Fuck, I didn't plan this."

Vadim nodded. "I know." And he did. Dan had, after all, asked Jean for pool. He wouldn't organise anything like this if he had planned this. Funny, really. It was beyond Dan, but not beyond his own scheming. "Now look at the nice American, Dan", he said softly. "Don't you want to say 'thanks'?"

Dan's eyes blinked sluggishly. Trailing from Vadim, too close, over to Matt, too far away. "I guess ... I guess I can't … expect you two …" Only then did he cotton on to what Vadim had actually said, and he blinked again. Faster this time, before focussing fully onto Vadim. Eyes narrowed to try and keep the blur away. Studying him for a moment, his hand came up, landing on Vadim's groin, closing around his hard cock and he gave a small acknowledgment, making Vadim groan and move against the hand, before a brief smile ghosted across Dan's features. "Aye."

Turning his head, then his body, away from Vadim and towards Matt. Sitting up, Dan rolled his shoulders before stretching, then sliding onto his knees and crossing the short distance. Kneeling in front of a shocked looking baby Yank. "Matt ..." Dan murmured huskily, "I want to properly thank you."

Vadim sat back, almost as shocked, but he knew Dan was playing it by ear and perfectly … and impossibly sexy. Dan just acting, just doing this … this … submission thing, this power thing … he nodded to Matt and smiled, encouraging. All perfectly safe. Not sane, but safe.

"Yeah, fuck, sure." Yet Matt seemed everything but sure, despite the encouragement. Dan seemed deceptively meek, trousers around his knees, cock spent. Those dark eyes lifted, framed by the silver streaked dark hair, laughter lines around the eyes and … Matt shook himself out of his reverie. Fingers working to get his belt open, trousers undone, briefs down. Dan was everything but meek, everything but docile, and nothing but tamed danger. Sinews and muscles, twenty-plus years of deadly experience. A lethal killer, on his knees. Begging, almost, to suck a cock. It was the tamed danger that won above all else, that got Matt to free his cock and simply wait, not touching Dan.

Vadim got off the bed, standing there, changing the angle so he could watch better. His guts a churning mess of desire, surprise, and the strange feeling of power, and the pure arousal of seeing Dan with somebody else. He didn't hate Matt now. If anything, he was jealous because he hadn't watched them those other times. Took half a step closer.

Dan glanced at the cut cock, moistened his lips, and then did the most unexpected thing of all. He turned his head, voice, soft and husky, unlike the wildness of his eyes. "May I?" To Vadim. Asking permission out of a strange instinct, knowing what effect this game would have on his lover. The lover who hated nothing more than being a lover, being with him, being gay - and being different. In public. Paying him back, now, for every touch, and every kiss, and every smile in front of others.

Vadim nodded, speechless, unable to say a word or make a sound, just moved closer and ran his fingers down Dan's face, through his hair. His own desire killing him right now. "Yes. Suck him like … you would me." Voice husky, and he didn't even realize he'd spoken Russian.

But Dan had noticed, and he smiled, before turning back to face Matt, lifting his head and pulling his hands back, just like Matt had done earlier. But Dan did it with more vigour, more viciousness. Muscles standing out, visible even through the thin shirt, a sight Vadim couldn't tire of, and he took Dan's wrists with his hands, keeping them crossed and up and back, feeling Dan's muscles shift as he did, while Matt was only able to stare open mouthed at him, cock twitching.

Lowering his head, Dan focussed a moment before doing what he did best, sucking down hard and deep, using all his control, his zest, and his fucked-up lust for cocks and cum, to deep throat his Yank as hard and furious as he could. No quarter given, and no other choice for Matt than to let go and enjoy the ride.

Vadim groaned, just seeing this almost made him cum in his trousers. Imagining it was himself, and at the same time fully appreciating Matt's cock and near perfect physique. The taut, flat stomach that was half-revealed as the t-shirt rode up, just a bit, but this glimpse of skin was almost better than the whole thing. The way Dan's face changed, and the expression in his eyes.

Matt's eyes were half closed, transfixed on Dan and the way his cock vanished between those lips, and he could not last. Not the way the Russian was holding Mad Dog, forcing his arms and wrists higher, making him bend further down, and Dan just let him, just did it, and Matt stared, breathless, helpless, lost to lips, teeth, suction, strength, heat … he came before he even realised he was there yet, thrusting upwards into the willing throat. Groaning and panting, but he did not touch Dan, as if Mad Dog belonged to another. To that madman, that Russkie.

Gasping, when Dan licked up the shaft, Matt looked up, watched how Dan moved his shoulders, struggling against the way he was held to lift up onto his knees, before Matt finally realised what he wanted, when Dan kissed him the next moment. Deeply, letting him taste his own cum, tongues intertwined.

Vadim's hands still on Dan's arms, but he released him, instead moved to the side, looking down at Dan, opening his fly, and freeing his cock while Dan and Matt were kissing, lost for a while in that small word of perfect intimacy after an orgasm. Dan finally pulled back, grinning at Matt, who was nearly as breathless as he had been before the kiss, when Dan turned his head and glanced slowly up at Vadim.

Vadim, who needed this, right now, with very little patience, and slid his cock between Dan's lips, which opened willingly. Pushing deep, knowing Dan would accept and could deal with it. He thrust in a few times, fucking that throat almost roughly, certainly fast. All the time Dan's hands remained in his back, fists surreptitiously clenching, concentrated with narrowed eyes on fighting the gagging reflex.

Just a little later Vadim took Dan's head and pressed him in while coming, against the desperate sounds. Then, despite what it cost him, Vadim pulled back, shaky on his legs, dazed, unable to say or do anything, not while he was panting so hard.

Matt was staring at the sight before him. Disbelief and shock written all over his face. Gaping wide-eyed and with an explosive mixture of lust and something akin to repulsion, disappointment, embarrassment, a whole lot of confusion, while Dan was unable to take any notice of him, nor really of Vadim. Too intent on getting his breath back.

When thought returned, Vadim reached out to touch Dan's face. "I love you", he murmured, again. Seemed he couldn't repeat this often enough. Words that were now allowed, accepted, that were alright. Seeing Dan struggle for breath, he took him by his shoulders, pulled him up, one arm around Dan's heaving chest. "Are you alright? Lapushka?"

Dan grinned, stood close, leaning into Vadim. Two cocks in one go was more than he'd bargained for. "Aye." His voice remained husky from the abuse his throat had taken. An abuse he had more than readily accepted, even welcomed. "Fucking hell, that was … different."

"Yes, it was." Very different. Their games only ever had seen Vadim on his knees like this, with Dan in control, with the power. A few times, in an almost as good a safe place in Kabul. "I needed to be … rough." And what buzz if it was Dan at the receiving end. Always. No struggle, acceptance, and just knowing Dan accepted it.

"That's OK, it was a bloody interesting thrill and you didn't hear me complain, did you?" Dan's dark eyes were alive when he grinned. Tilting his head, he rested it in the crook of Vadim's neck for a moment, eyes closed, grinning from ear to ear, while his lips touched Vadim's throat. He didn't pay Matt any attention right now, couldn't help focussing on Vadim, with Vadim's hand resting between his shoulder blades. Despite the American's less than subtle clearing of his throat as he rustled with fabric, tucking himself in at last.

Vadim turned his head, looking at Matt and smiling at him. "Are you alright?"

"Uh, yeah, sure." Matt stammered, looking at his hands, uniform, chair, table, bed, even Vadim, but studiously avoiding to look at Dan. "Just didn't expect this, like, stuff." He shrugged, "don't complain either. Was hot." He shrugged again, still not looking at Dan.

Vadim paused at the obvious consternation. "Yeah, I guess … guess that feels pretty weird." Not quite sure what to say to the kid. Holding Dan like this meant Matt was more or less a guest, and Vadim felt strangely generous and pleasant, but first tucked himself in with his free hand, which finally stirred a rather spaced-out Dan into action who hadn't noticed anything amiss with Matt's reaction. Too lost, but finally remembering that his trousers were at his ankles. He sighed, shrugged, and did abso-fucking-lutely nothing about it.

"Or is it about … this?" Vadim motioned around, not sure himself what this 'this' actually was. Remembering something Darren had said. It felt like ten years ago, but he had replayed their conversation often in his head. "Funny, how power works, huh?"

"What?" That got Matt's attention, and even Dan perked up, blinking twice.

It was the Yank though, who shook his head and stretched his legs out, slouching in the chair once more. "Is just fucking odd, alright? Didn't expect Mad Dog to do stuff like that. Didn't think he was your bottom. Am just surprised, like, that Mad Dog's a sub. Though that dom shit, yeah man, that doesn't surprise me." Matt quirked one corner of his lip up, obviously remembered how Vadim and he had 'met'.

"What?" Dan exclaimed in utter disbelief, finally getting his act together, but not his trousers up. "Sub? Dom? What the fuck's that?"

Vadim gave a laugh, didn't mean to go on laughing, but couldn't stop right away once he'd started. Letting Dan go so he could sort himself and pull his trousers up. "Top and bottom, Dan. Matt here …" strange how the kid had become 'Matt' and was no longer 'Donahue', "thinks you submit to me. That you're the passive one. You know. Like to be humiliated, even, like to give up control." Vadim cleared his throat. Dom … and him, that … didn't seem quite right, either. Switch, or slave. But he'd be fucked if he told the kid that.

"I what?" Dan had just about managed to pull his trousers to thigh level, when he let them drop again. Staring incredulously at the jarhead, whose face was starting to discolour into a remarkable shade of dark red. Pushing his hands into his hips, Dan drew himself up to full height, including the puffing up of his already impressive chest. Unaware of the fact that any such gesture with one's BDUs around one's ankles was not the most effective one.

"I have you know, Matt, that I am no such thing as a 'sub', that I am not bloody well ever passive - unless I choose to be and there is something to say for an occasional fistfuck." The latter caused the American to gulp and stare open mouthed, discolouring even further. "I sure as fuck do not like to be humiliated and I'd probably rip anyone's throat out, who tried to take control." He glared, but Vadim had started to laugh even harder and it was damn difficult to keep up the righteous anger, when faced with the kid's flustered appearance.

"Then … what … why …" Matt managed to stammer.

Vadim rubbed his eyes and had turned away to fight for his composure while Dan stalked over to the bed and sat down with his bare arse. Priceless. Vadim thought he'd laugh about this probably even on patrol. Would be difficult to explain. Better keep his mind in the present. "Because sometimes, Dan likes it. Colour me surprised if it happens, but I'm certainly not the top … or dom, or whatever …" Vadim paused, then shrugged when Matt seemed surprised, but at the same time strangely relieved. "Seems that happened when Dan took me prisoner the first time. I just got a liking for it, I guess." Remembering how badly fucked up he'd been, and Dan in control, the struggle all those days, while sharing warmth in the night.

"Oh bugger." Dan murmured, glancing at Vadim when he finally, absolutely finally and at last, pulled up his trousers again. Lifting up to close them, then patting the space beside him. "It's just games, kid", but the Yank didn't listen.

Instead, Matt looked from one to the other and drew in a deep breath. "Alright, man, this is getting way to fucking crazy. Time for a little story telling, right? Prisoner?" He glanced at Vadim, then at Dan. "You never told me about that, Mad Dog. I know you've gone a long way back, like, stone age, but prisoner?"

Vadim glanced at Dan and stepped towards the bed again, standing there, hands now in his pockets - a sure sign he was relaxing. "Afghanistan, 1980. I was Soviet special forces, and Dan … was undercover. Dan took me prisoner to interrogate me, up in the mountains." He smiled, ruefully, while the Yank's eyes grew wider. "I spilled the beans, of course I did. I know what torture is like. And Dan's method was crude, but effective." Giving Matt a knowing, understanding nod. "Dan very near killed me, but somewhere inside that complete bastard, he decided he didn't want to kill a prisoner. Geneva convention more than my beauty."

Dan was looking down, rubbing his nose with the back of his hand for a long time, before he looked up and met Matt's scrutinising gaze. "I'm not a nice guy, kid." He shrugged, but didn't apologise. Facts, past, and over. They'd done what they had done. "Or, at least, I'm not just a nice guy. I did what I did, in fact, we both did. Vadim and I." Looking up at the other, who gave him a nod, remembering, with too much clarity, and still it was removed and had paled over time. Dan smiled and hooked his hand into Vadim's webbed belt, pulling him down to sit beside him. "Let's just say, the way we met wasn't as fun as the way you and I did, or Hooch and you, for that matter." The last bit got Matt to roll his eyes and shake a feeble fist at Dan, as if he complained about something that had seemingly turned out well.

Dan slung his arm around Vadim's shoulder, fishing for a fag in one of the many pockets of his trousers. "You could say it was tit for tat. Eye for an eye and all that shit. We both bear the scars," Dan's voice softened, "inside and out." He found the cigarette and zippo, lighting the fag one-handed. Exhaling slowly, he watched the plume of smoke before adding with a smile, "and that's why we can play what we play, even the unexpected, without being a 'sub' or a 'dom' or whatever you called it, and without belonging to any bloody category, and without it affecting who we are. We're just us: old, scarred, weathered battle horses who've gone through more shit - together and apart - than anyone should survive. But we did, so what's a little kink between friends." He tilted his head against Vadim's shoulder.

Vadim reached up and cupped Dan's head, not minding the smoke and studying the kid, only hoping for his sake, that he'd never get into anything similar, even though it had turned out well. That kind of fresh face should be home, not killing stuff. "That about sums it up", he murmured. "Some things lose proportion, or get twisted, and all you have is yourself to measure things by. I guess it looks a bit lopsided from … outside, or a different perspective."

"Okay." Matt looked from one to the other. "I think you're right, looks strange from here." He sat up straighter, offering a smile. All seemed to be well in his world once more, even the colour of his face was returning to normal. "It's freaky shit what spec force does. Guess I'll never get it. Not sure if I want to." He shrugged, reaching for one of the water bottles before pointing at the 'idyll' in front of him. "But this, shit man, yeah this is what I want. Hope you have a fucking clue how damned lucky you are." He tipped the open bottle to his lips and emptied almost half of it, while Dan poked gently into Vadim's ribs, chuckling,

"I think I know. And what about you, Russkie?"

Vadim rolled his eyes. "Yeah, decent enough cocksucker, brings in his own pay, doesn't look half bad, and is great for sharing warmth. But the smoking … that's an issue." Gently touching his head to Dan's, who was laughing out loud. Vadim grinned, then glanced at Matt. "Piece of advice: stick to your own countrymen, though. Doing what we did at the height of the Cold War was a shit idea, all told."

Dan was shaking with laughter now, hard to imagine, in hindsight, how they'd made it. How the hell they had survived eleven years, Afghanistan, near death, Moscow, near destruction, and now the desert. "Listen to him, Matt, he's right."

Matt grinned and stood up. "Yeah, but not with a freakin' Delta who doesn't talk."

"I wouldn't say that's a disadvantage." Dan chuckled.

"Don't know." Matt shrugged one shoulder, one hand in his pocket. "Listen, guys, I got to be off. Just wanted to say thanks, for …" he looked at Vadim for a long moment, "for everything." Vadim met the gaze, not unfriendly, felt a strange kind of connection with the kid now, like one of his own comrades, one of the good ones.

"Same here." Vadim couldn't say more than that, the eye contact had made it awkward, but close. There was understanding.

Walking past Dan, Matt leaned down and snatched the half-smoked cigarette from his fingers, despite Dan's protest. "And your 'Russkie' is right, Mad Dog, smoking is shit. You should stop." Grinning, he stubbed the fag out beneath his boot and ducked far too quickly for Dan's lazy fist to connect anywhere vital, when Vadim added: "See?"

"I'll be around." Matt grinned, unbolting the door and was soon out, leaving Dan and Vadim sitting on the bed.

"Well. That was that." Dan said dryly after a moment, fingering the pack for another coffin nail. "Why do I feel like a very old guy who is part of a very old couple?"

Vadim leaned back, stretching his back out on the bed. "Because we are. I don't think I was ever that young, though. Or was I?" He glanced up at Dan, smiling warmly.

"Nope, definitely not when I 'met' you. Besides, you were already older. What was it again? Thirty-two? Or were we thirty-one?"

"Thirty-one."

"That kid's just about twenty or thereabouts." Dan shook his head.

"Damn." Vadim looked at the door, thought of the kid, and shook his head. Doing the numbers. Nikolai was twelve. His daughter two years older. He hoped they were alright. "He's just starting it, though. They trained him and sent him off to war. When he comes back out of it, he might be dead, or like us, or different. But I guess he'll be alright. He's a smart one. Young, but smart. And", Vadim added with a lopsided grin, "a prize to behold."

"Aye, if only he weren't quite so smart, if you ask me." Dan was looking at his fag packet and stashed it away with a heavy sigh and rueful grin.

"You mean 'smartassed'?" Vadim grinned. "I like that. Good choice, 'Mad Dog'."

Dan grinned, poking Vadim's abs. "Is it time for this old couple to go back to camp for a round of pool, or what about a 'kiss and a cuddle' before we go, old man?"

"I think I could fit a kiss and a cuddle in." Vadim raised his hand and waved Dan down to hold him. "Wake me if I fall asleep, okay?"

"Sure. That is if this old man here doesn't fall asleep first." Dan settled comfortable in the embrace and closed his eyes. Limbs entangled, bodies pressed close, and sated from recent sex. Paradise could be so simple.

* * *

When Vadim entered the mess, Dan just half a stride behind him, lighting another cigarette, Jean had already started playing pool. A brief glance at the clock showed they were almost thirty minutes late. Jean was half sitting on the pool table, just taking aim at the white ball, an unlit cigarette haphazardly dangling from his lip. Vadim could just imagine what Dan's and Jean's shared 'fag breaks' were like.

Jean glanced up at them, then shot the ball at a red one, making it bounce around twice, nowhere near one of the pockets. He got off the table with that lazy confidence that was clearly put on, but the Legionnaire flashed them a smile. "Ah, must be nice to get some. Dan? You guys still up for a game involving less interesting balls?"

Dan was laughing around his cigarette, shrugged, while pointing at Jean's unlit one. "It's getting soggy. I was told they work better if you actually light and smoke them."

"I'm just hoping to kick the habit that way." Jean took the cigarette from his lips and put it behind his ear. "To dry", he commented, to none in particular.

"Sure." Dan rolled his eyes, strolling over to the cues. He took one and inspected it, making sure the ferret and tip were firmly secured, before handing the cue to Vadim, who took it and held it more like a club. "This one's not too bad, I take one of the warped ones." His hand rested on Vadim's arm some time longer than necessary as he grinned.

Vadim nodded, looking at the table and watching Jean set up the balls in the triangle, then back to Dan. Sated, calm, relaxed. Sex with Dan just put him into a mind frame where the Legionnaire was only half as grating. Or anybody else's company. He thought of the American kid, and was surprised that there was no bitterness, no anger, no nothing. Just the feeling that they were all, on some level, soldiers, and comrades.

Chuckling, Dan shook his head and took Vadim's hand in both of his, attempting to rearrange the cue, but Vadim's hands seemed to resist, awkwardly holding on while clearly not getting what to do with the thing.

"You don't use it to kill people, and if you did, you'd stab them, not clobber them to death." Glancing at Vadim for a moment, Dan smiled when a thought occurred to him. "Fencing. I bet fencing is a lot like pool, just that pool is played horizontally and with balls."

Vadim paused, lips breaking into one of his rare, bright smiles, and he assumed the en garde position, which was very awkward with the unbalanced piece of wood. "I don't think so."

Jean laughed. "You fence?"

"Used to."

"Wow. Power to you. That's one sport I wouldn't really place you in, I mean."

Dan turned his attention to the Frenchie, eyebrows shooting up towards the wild hairline. "What, you didn't know Vadim was an Olympionite?"

Jean lowered the cue. "He was? What sport?"

"Pentathlon." He couldn't help it, Dan was beaming with possessive pride.

"Modern Pentathlon", Vadim corrected, out of reflex, and found it strange to be looked at this way, even when Dan just grinned in reply. It had been ages ago. He lowered the cue as well and stood normally again, flat hand rubbing along the wood without noticing. "But I didn't win anything."

"You would have." Dan shook his head while walking over to the rack, picking a cue for himself. "I know you would have."

"You competed in the fucking Olympics", said Jean, "that's very impressive. Wow. Our Vadya is a celebrity." A good humoured grin, as he walked around the table, standing in front of Vadim. "I do wonder what other secrets you have, comrade."

Vadim shook his head. "Maybe that I'm not a complete bastard?"

Jean frowned, then shook his head. "Now you're stretching it, comrade."

"That's bullshit, Jean." Dan said very quietly from the corner, cradling his chosen cue.

Jean looked at Vadim for a long time, the gaze was met stoically, but without challenge. Vadim's stance said 'Look at me all you like', until Jean plucked the cigarette from his ear and lit it, half-turning away from Vadim. "A friend's friend", he stated and raised his cue again. "Okay. Just do what I do. Pool is dead simple and dead sexy, especially when you bend over the table."

Dan was still standing a few feet away, glancing across the room. They were alone, and that was a damn good thing, especially after Jean's comment. Even though Jean couldn't possibly mean that. Now could he? But Dan sure as hell couldn't help the sudden heat that pooled below his belt. Not after the unexpected … afternoon. "What you mean, Frenchie?"

Jean grinned. "I'd teach a grandmother how to suck eggs if I explained to you that bending over the table looks a lot like an invitation."

"Aye, but the 'bending over the table' thing is usually not done in a Mess. At least not with the same, ah, let's say 'thoughts'."

"Or 'not thoughts'", corrected Jean, tapping the table lightly.

Dan grinned, walking back to the table and plonking himself down with his elbows on the sides, looking at Vadim. "Guess it's time our resident wiseass shows you how to play pool, eh?" The cigarette had burnt down and he stubbed out the butt in a nearby ashtray.

"I guess." Vadim still looked somewhat dubious, seeing Jean chalk the tip of the cue, prance around and then take the triangle off. Placing the white ball in the D at the opposite end of the table, facing the front of the triangle, lining up a shot.

"This is called the break shot." The balls scattered, and Jean looked pleased when he potted a red ball. "There. You try to pot all red ones, but none of the yellow ones, and not hit then them either, and the black one last, after all your red ones. If you put one in, you get another shot. And so on. It's all about angles and hitting the ball right."

"Okay. Sounds simple enough."

"Then come, try it." Jean waved Vadim over. "See that one? If you line it up like this ..." Leaning down, placing the cue into his hand, taking measure. "If you hit it slightly left of the centre, it should just drop in, no sweat, no work. See?"

Vadim leaned in to follow the indicated trajectory. "Yeah."

"Okay. Try it. Chalk first, cue like this, and the rest is practice."

Dan was watching the two Russkies, both of them without fatherland and only one with a home. He smiled to himself with an odd sense of tenderness. "Go on, you'll probably be annoyingly good at this."

Vadim gave Dan a smile and lined up his shot, hitting the while ball so it made a small jump and went somewhere else entirely.

"Too much strength. Balls like to be handled with care", said Jean, grinning, his hand lightly touching Vadim's arm. "But we let you have another go for practice." Vadim looked at Jean, very briefly, but the touch was not threatening, not teasing, and the annoying thing about Jean was that the bastard could be innocent and tantalizing at the same time.

"Hang on, I show you." Dan grinned, leaving his cue where it was and walking to stand behind Vadim. "Just try again, here." Draping himself over Vadim's back, touching him all the way. No pressure, just guidance. His hands on Vadim's, guiding the cue, with Vadim noticeably breathing faster, and briefly closing his eyes as the touch went through and around him.

"Just … like that. Pull back and …" Dan breathed out the next words in a husky purr, "as gentle as the beginning of a fistfuck."

Vadim tensed, again ruining the shot, and glanced over his shoulder, but Dan was smiling innocently at him. Eyes dark and unfathomable.

Jean's eyes slightly widened at Dan's words, and seeing these men this close made his heart race, remembering when he'd seen them, and now, different, tender almost, and he could imagine what it would look like, Vadim bent over. He cleared his throat. "Well, almost there. Have another go." He picked up the ball and put it back into its original place. "Now, slow and smooth."

Dan moved one step away, enough not to crowd and not to touch, while still being near, watching.

Vadim did the motion a few times without touching the ball, then added some range to it and got it right. The angle wasn't quite there yet, but the white sent off one of the reds and it went into the right direction.

"There you go!" Dan applauded, "you got it. Now you just have to make sure you get all of the red balls in, because you started with red, but not the black, because that goes last, and definitely not the yellow. If you pot the white one, or hit the yellow ball first, your opponent gets two shots."

"Yes. Not rocket science", murmured Vadim.

Jean nodded at him. "Try a few, we start again after you potted a couple." He motioned to indicate the table was all Vadim's, and Vadim walked around it, looking for angles. Suddenly concentrated like studying a tactical map, and trying the occasional shot, getting the hang of it.

Dan grinned, then walked over to the drinks dispenser, gesturing to both men if they wanted an ice cold, alcohol-free beer as well. Vadim shook his head, but Jean headed for the drinks dispenser himself, leaning against the machine with a lop-sided smirk.

"What?" Dan got the first bottle out, handed it over. Drops of condensation rolling down his fingers. "You trying to tell me something with that smirk?"

"Are you trying to tell me something with that ..." Jean nodded towards the table. "Or why did the temperature just go up by ten degrees?"

"Look," Dan grinned, cracking the top off his bottle, "I'm the one who had sex today."

"Bastard."

Dan smirked, took a deep draught of the ice cold liquid, "I don't know what you're talking about." He kept his voice low, "and I do remember that Vadim and you are not particularly friends, aye?"

Jean nodded and glanced at Vadim. "Sure. I didn't mean to invite myself there." He grinned. "Don't get me wrong." Jean opened his own cold beer.

"Don't think I am getting you wrong." Dan winked, turning half-way towards Vadim. "How are you getting on?"

Vadim nodded, waving the cue. "Yes. Set up the proper game?"

Jean pushed away from the dispenser, put the cue down and started collecting the balls, then set up the triangle, arranged the balls correctly with the black one in the middle, and put the white ball into position. "What teams, and who breaks?"

"We're three and I'm bloody good. I reckon that means it's you and Vadim in one team, against me. Sounds fair?" Dan grinned with all the arrogance of a veteran pool player. "That also means that I am kind and generous and let Vadim break." Finishing his beer before sauntering to the table, Dan leaned casually against it with his hip. Striking a relaxed pose that was nothing short of a hustler - if only he were about twenty years younger.

Jean laughed. "Kind and generous, eh?" He nodded to Vadim and plucked the triangle off. "Your turn, Vadya. And remember, whatever he does in front of your eyes is only geared towards winning. They say it's 11% skill and 89% mental."

Dan snorted watching Vadim line up the first shot. "I wouldn't have guessed", Vadim murmured, but more light-hearted than he usually was. The first shot scattered the balls all over the table, but none went in.

"Not bad." Dan pushed his hips forward while swivelling the cue in his hand. He moved ever so slightly further into Vadim's line of vision, his body language shouting 'fuck me', and Vadim's eyes were drawn and stuck to the crotch that had just taken centre stage in his vision.

"Let's see how you deal after the next shot." Dan grinned, "my turn. After all, men of our age only have so many shots left per day." He leaned over the table, and instead of choosing the easiest shot to pocket the first colour, he decided on the furthest one, which forced him to spread his legs for balance and to lean half across the table. Arching his upper body until his arse stuck out, it caused the worn desert camo to tighten across his buttocks. He placed the shot with remarkable accuracy, the white hitting a red and sending it sliding into one of the pockets. Dan grinned triumphantly. "Red it is, then."

Vadim swallowed and could only agree to Jean's earlier assessment. This was ... about sex. Or Dan made it that way.

"Ah, go on, then, you tease", said Jean, laughing. "Just keep it up like this ...."

"And then what?" Dan didn't get up, instead twisted on the table until he leaned on it sideways, his whole body stretched and taut, and his face showing a kick-ass grin. "I'm going to win? Damn right, Frenchie."

"Not without a fight." Jean was watching, unashamed, far too interested and head-on to even pretend he wasn't paying attention, but Vadim didn't notice much, too caught up in staring.

Dan sauntered past Vadim, who turned with him, brushing him all the way with his body, before getting to the other side of the table and repeating the earlier show, this time to get the second red ball and letting Jean enjoy the full view of his arse as he leant over once more.

"Right. I think we should start distracting him in turn", said Jean, pulling the front of his wifebeater loose and letting it hang out of his camos. "Vadim?"

Vadim shook his head and was somewhat surprised as Jean did pull the wifebeater over his head and dropped it on the nearby benches. "Take this."

"Strip Pool?" Dan grinned, then wolf-whistled.

"Yeah?"

"You think you can distract me like that without retaliation?"

"I was hoping, not."

Wiggling his hips into Jean's direction, Dan concentrated on the game. Glancing up at Vadim with a wink before hitting the white and sending another red to the pockets, except … it stopped right before and touched a yellow ball, which then slid in slow motion towards the pocket and vanished.

"Damn!" Dan was still grinning, though, and came back up to stand. "Seems it is your turn." Leaning the cue against the table, Dan had both hands on the hem of his t-shirt, fanning himself with the fabric, pretending he was warm. "Jean's got the right idea, don't you think so, Vadim? Far too hot in here."

Vadim shook his head again, watching the other two, then looking towards the door. The Mess wasn't exactly private. Still, he couldn't stop looking at Jean, and Dan was even worse.

Pulling the shirt over his head, Dan flung it across the room towards the benches, before idly rubbing the scars across his abs. He took a step towards Jean, cue in one hand, the other running up his own chest, grinning with nothing short of promises. "Your turn."

"Is it just?"

"That depends, doesn't it?" Dan grinned while stepping away.

"Guess it does." Jean motioned for Vadim. "Come. He's got two points already."

Vadim stepped up to the table, glad he could see something that wasn't bare skin, but it was terribly distracting. Still, one of the yellow balls was close to the pocket, and he only needed to hit it straight on. Unfortunately, the white followed right behind.

"Bugger, eh?" Dan smirked, moving close to Vadim and letting his hand rest between his shoulder blades. "Too bad." Leaning so close, he spoke directly into his ear. His voice had taken on the dark rumbling sound before sex, despite being in a very public area. "I think if you lost your shirt you'd play much better."

Vadim straightened, leaning into Dan's touch, eyes almost closing. "Dan ..." Torn between shame and wanting, body showing definitely one of them, and suddenly Jean stepped in, taking hold of Vadim's shirt. "Come on, secret weapon."

Somehow, that brought the tension up a notch. Jean's hands against Vadim's stomach, and brushing him as Jean pulled the shirt free. "Should try every trick in the book."

"You're insane", Vadim murmured, suddenly feeling a hand on his hip, and he wasn't sure whose it was. Did it matter?

"Aye, but that's why you love me, right?" Dan murmured, two hands in Vadim's back, palms connecting with scarred skin. "Besides, if you distract me enough, I might fuck up the next shot." A crotch was rubbing against Vadim's backside, but whose was it? Vadim's eyes were closed, he was enveloped in bodies, heat, and tension jumped up yet another notch. He reached behind him, finding that crotch and rubbing it, reasonably sure that the body covered it, but he was perfectly ready to head to the tin hut. Don't think. Just don't think, as fingers slid under his shirt and brushed his nipples.

"Oh fuck", breathed Vadim. All strategy was out of the window.

"Aye … that was exactly what I was thinking of." Hands roaming under Vadim's shirt, not two, but three, four, with fingers touching, palms pressing and hands connecting. Playing with nipples, teasing skin, manipulating scars and flesh. Dan was stepping in closer, groins pushing into Vadim's backside, forcing him to lean over the table. Harder, closer, while Dan's voice rumbled, "how do you like this game so far, Vadim?"

Vadim's hands took hold of the table, the rim pressing against his cock, probably too hard to hump it, but so far, it felt too good to stop. He couldn't think. Couldn't think about Jean who was there, too, the encounter with the Yank had been too fucking sexy, and his caution was going out of the window. "I do", he murmured. "Like it."

Jean grinned with irony and kindness, and pressed against Dan, clearly showing his interest, too. Moving close enough to almost kiss Dan. "There's somebody heading this way", he murmured into Dan's ear.

"Hmmm?" Dan didn't listen, Vadim's reaction, his body, scent, skin, and Jean, and that after sex with Vadim and the kid. And holy fuck, he couldn't think, just wanted to kiss. Turning his head to capture Jean's lips, too close to his face.

He almost managed, when the noise outside got loud enough to penetrate even his sex-muddled brain." "Oh fuck." With feeling.

Jean grinned and broke away first, heading for the other side of the table and picking up Vadim's cue, as Dan slipped his hands out from under Vadim's shirt, murmuring into his ear, "keep that thought." Vadim barely managed to open his eyes and reach for the offered piece of wood, even though he was far too gone to do anything with it. The way Vadim looked, he'd be lucky if he remembered anything about pool.

Just now some soldiers broke into the mess, loud and boisterous, and there were catcalls at Jean's and Dan's state of undress.

"Hey!" Dan called out to them, having just about managed to shuffle far enough away from Vadim that he wasn't too obvious. "You're just jealous of my manly body," laughing, "and it's too fucking warm in here, they left the heaters on full again." He grinned at them and waved with the cue, while carefully keeping his groin hidden behind the table. Wouldn't do to flaunt that obvious hard-on.

One of them, Doug, picked up on the banter, walking over to slap Dan's bare shoulder. "Jealous, mate?" Voice stentorian with a heavy Glaswegian accent. "I tell you what, your scars can curdle milk. I think I rather not swap bodies." He was laughing as good humouredly as Dan. A jock like him, he'd always been one of the good eggs, who didn't give a shit about what Dan was, only who - and that was a Scotsman, like him.

Waving negligently at Jean and at Vadim, Doug jumped out of reach of Dan's retaliatory punch. "Don't know what you see in Mad Dog, ladies, but seems we have to add our Frenchman to the ever growing horde of fangirls."

"Doug, you told me yourself after I caught you with that donkey ..." Jean lined up a shot and sunk a ball. It was a red one, but that didn't matter, the guys didn't know it was Dan's colour. "A hole is a hole, right?"

Doug laughed so hard, the first mouthful of the alc-free beer was spewing like a fountain all over the place.

"Aye, that'd be true, then." Doug winked at Dan, before sauntering back to his mates. "You play nice, Mad Dog, or we all get too jealous of your harem, wanting a piece of your assembled arses as well." Glancing at Vadim with an astonishingly friendly grin, "and I doubt that your harem would take kindly to that."

"I think you're damn right." Dan grinned, "now fuck off and leave us to play."

Doug shrugged, still grinning like an idiot, before joining his other mates.

Vadim wasn't quite sure how stoic he appeared, but relaxed visibly. This was one of Dan's friends, then. One who didn't mind. Good. He really was in no mood to fight, still feeling those touches on his body. And at loss for a comeback, while Jean potted another ball, yellow, seemingly only concerned with potting the next one. Red. Completely random.

Dan looked first at Vadim, then Jean, watching the nonsensical potting of balls. "Not much point in finishing this game, eh?"

Jean glanced up, smirking. "Nope. It's somewhat screwed."

Glancing over at Vadim, Dan lowered his voice. "You still keeping the thought in mind? Because in that case we could go and finish that game."

Vadim nodded and put the cue down. "Yeah, let's ... go to bed."

Dan winked across the table at Jean, apologetically, "it's late, you know. And we're old geezers. We need our beauty sleep."

Jean grinned. "No problem. I know which of the two games I'd prefer ..." leaving that hanging in the room, before waving Dan off. "Have fun, guys."

"Okay." Dan dropped the cue, suddenly in a hurry, as obvious as the hard-on he was still sporting, and he snatched his shirt from the empty bench without further ado. Waiting for Vadim to catch up, calling, "don't wank yourselves blind," into the room as a good-night.

Jean laughed. "Fuck you, too!" Flipping him the bird, with no place to put his hard-on, and regarding Dan's ass as he left the mess.

Dan didn't bother putting the shirt back on even though it was cool outside, as they rushed towards their shared hut. "Still keeping that thought?" Glancing at Vadim.

Vadim nodded. "Aye." Looking around quickly, then almost breaking into a trot, moving fast and in a straight line to the tin hut. He opened the door, almost shoved Dan inside, and began to shed clothes. Shirt was the first to go, while Dan threw his own into a corner, kicking the door shut and working on his belt buckle and fly. Vadim sat down on the bed to remove the boots, kicking them off, and lying back on the bed. "Fuck ... you and Jean ... you guys ... are really close", he murmured, didn't even know why he was speaking, and opening his belt and buttons.

"Are we?" Dan didn't pay half as much attention as he would have if the sight of Vadim, his own enduring hard-on, and memories of hands and bodies, hadn't stopped him from doing anything but wanting to fuck that arse. He pushed his trousers down, then bending over and pulling frantically on his boot laces. "You didn't seem bothered, more like … earlier. With Matt."

"No, not bothered." He was positive Jean had touched him. Just to tease? And tease whom? Dan? Him. "It's him that hates my guts." Or maybe used to. Vadim slipped out of the camo trousers and tossed them to the side, stretching out, inviting, hard.

"I don't think he does. Whatever the fuck happened when you arrived in camp, didn't look like hatred tonight." Toeing the boots off, Dan pulled trousers and socks down and off in one go, almost falling over when he stumbled to the bed. Gazing down at the naked body, his throat was suddenly as dry as his cock was hard.

"Maybe ... I'm wrong then." Maybe Jean had run out of hatred, in the meantime. But somehow it wasn't back to being buddies again, either.

"And now, Vadim, now I want to fuck you till you scream."

Vadim grinned, shuddering. "Yes, please." He reached over for the oil, handing it to Dan who got onto the mattress, pouring oil into his palm as Vadim moved onto hands and knees. Briefly touching himself, then opening his legs. "At least not ... in public."

"But it'd be fucking hot." Dan murmured, staring down at Vadim's arse and wondering if anything could ever be as sexy as that view and the knowledge that this was his. "Mine." Didn't realise he'd spoken out loud. "Fucking mine."

"Yes. Told you", Vadim whispered.

Dan spread warmed oil with both hands onto the firmly muscled buttocks, enjoying the feel beneath his hands, before letting it run along the cleft, then rubbed around the hole, along the dam and further down, all the way to the front. Coating Vadim's cock as thickly as his arse, until it was slippery, then stroked leisurely. Dan's other hand began to fuck Vadim, first with one finger, then quickly another and soon demanding more, making him groan and push back, reacting out of instinct. No fears tonight, and no shame.

"Your arse is mine," Dan still didn't realise he was uttering all of his thoughts aloud, "your body's mine, your thoughts, every fucking thing. Mine. Everything."

Vadim moaned, broadening his stance, head hanging down, watching Dan between his legs. "All yours", he confirmed again, feeling the fingers move inside and do it just right, and he was soon panting with need, just from fingers, but Dan knew him too well, knew exactly how to handle him. "Fuck ... fuck me? Need ... more."

"More … aye." Dan pulled back until his hand left Vadim's oil-glistening cock and his fingers remained poised, barely breaching the ring of muscle. "More." He needed more, too. More than ever before, and more of what was his. Vadim. He knew every inch of the body in front of him, had had that arse so many times but … more. "Fuck," Dan murmured, suddenly understanding how he'd get more, and how he'd give more. "Stay where you are. Don't move."

"No. Won't." Vadim inhaled, catching his breath, damned fucking needing, expecting Dan to move in and pound his ass, shifting his weight.

Neither of them noticed that the door had remained open, and was silently pushed further ajar.

Vadim's head was low, his arse high up in the air, and fuck, yes, that was it, exactly that. Moving off the mattress as fast as he could, Dan looked around the room, could find nothing except for his webbed belt. Didn't care that his hands were slick with oil, tore the belt out of the trouser loops and knelt beside Vadim's head, his cock brushing the other's face as he reached for his hands. "You'll get more. Damn right." Motioning to Vadim, "I want your hands in your back."

Vadim rubbed his cheek against Dan's cock, willing and ready to give head, but broadened his stance further, straightening into a kneeling position as he crossed his wrists on his back, understanding with sudden clarity what Dan wanted. Dan wanted a prisoner. And that thought made his cock jump.

The belt was looped around Vadim's wrists and pulled tight. Too tight perhaps, but the way the dark green webbing cut into sinews and bones made Dan's heart race even faster, and the lust surged in his guts. "Do you feel that?" He'd wanted to ask 'does it hurt?' but realised deep inside that he wanted it to hurt, to feel.

"Yes", Vadim breathed, rough cloth rubbing against his skin as he moved the wrists, testing the firmness. Part of him should be terrified, but instead, all parts of him agreed. "I feel." I feel my own lust, and I feel this. I feel your lust, too.

Every movement, every word watched from the door.

Moving once more behind Vadim, with the legs opened further and the stance broadened, the arse had become more vulnerable. Dan stared at the hole, circling the puckering, tight muscle with one finger, which made it tense and contract, while pouring more oil one-handed onto Vadim's cheeks. "Tell me how much you want this." Murmured, his voice no more than a rumble. "Tell me what it feels like when I fuck your arse raw."

Vadim smiled at him. "The ... best thing I know. Apart from fucking your ass raw." Dan chuckled low as Vadim pushed back, curving his spine to open up more for Dan. "Like ... like you own me. Truly own me. And nobody ... else ... between us. Like everything's just games, and we are life and death."

"But we are life and death." The oil ran down the cleft, dripping onto the mattress and Dan didn't care. "In the end, it is only us." Rubbing his hands all over glistening skin, slicking his cock as he moved into position. "You're all that truly matters." Dan reached for the loose end of the belt once his cock breached through the muscle, poised right there for a second. Breathing deeply, before tightening his grip on the belt that connected himself with Vadim's bound wrists. "You're fucking mine," breathed out, "and nothing matters."

"Nothing ..."

Dan slammed forward the next moment, groaning when he pushed all the way in, and Vadim had to tense and lean back to not lose his balance. He moaned loudly as Dan just took him, took him like that, raw and powerful, and his head fell back as his body fought to accommodate Dan's size. Twitching, tensing, the burn of stretching adding depth to the feeling. "Dan ..." The name was a moan. "Need ..."

"Aye," one hand on Vadim's hip, the other around the belt, "need you." From nought to fully fledged thrusting, Dan didn't allow a moment of acclimatisation. He was there, deep and primal, fucking with all the abandon of the full strength of his body.

Vadim lost all control. Not that he had any to start with. Sounds between moans and groans and pleading, he just took what Dan gave him, body fighting to keep on his knees, not knowing that the man on the outside of the door watched them, closely, watched Dan thrusting inside and listened to Vadim's groans, picturing himself doing the fucking and teasing. Fucking either of them in his mind, imagining to smell and taste and lick them, hand on his groin, rubbing through the cloth in time with Dan's punishing thrusts, and approaching climax faster than Vadim.

"Can't ... can't scream", whispered Vadim, "can't ... but I ... want to ..."

Dan felt nothing but the tight heat and the yielding body that kept its strength pitched against his own. He lasted longer than he'd ever thought he could, fucking Vadim with every ounce of his strength, and Vadim was helpless at his mercy. Suppressing the sounds as much as he could, just couldn't let go, not in camp, not here, but the sounds that did come from his throat were enough to put the man at the door over the edge, working himself furiously and clenching his teeth hard as he came, splattering the front of his camo trousers.

Finally, release came crashing for Dan and his body was shaken in the grip of his orgasm, while Vadim begged to be taken over the edge, "please, Dan, help ... help me ..." Almost collapsing, but Dan fought for control, bent down, still inside, still gasping for breath, and stroking Vadim's oil slicked cock, as furiously as he had thrust into him. Taking him over the edge as close as possible to his own, and Vadim crashed within seconds, falling as he did, forward, onto his chest and face, finally losing balance, defeated, much like a broken prisoner, panting so hard he heard and saw nothing.

Dan fell with him, on top of Vadim, spread out like a living blanket. Skin on skin, breathing across sweat misted muscles, his hands caressing along Vadim's body. Soothing, loving, where words could and would not come. The silence brought perfect unison.

The man outside leaned his head against the door frame, tried to calm, steady his pulse, watching the powerful Russian collapse and Dan over him, caring in all that fierceness, tender and protective, and was suddenly almost envious of Vadim's abandon. Knowing Dan would catch him if he'd choose to fall.

"What ... the fuck's going on", Jean barely breathed.

Neither man inside was aware of the witness, and it took a long time before Dan rolled off Vadim, working on opening the loop around the wrists, while resting on his side, face to face with Vadim. "Hey, Russkie." He whispered softly, smiling.

Vadim looked up, blue eyes very blue right now. "Hey... hey stranger, fancy... meeting you here." He just lay there, breathing, gazing at Dan as if that man alone filled out his world. Nothing beyond that, not the place, not the time, completely open and free that very instant. "You ... you kill me ... every time."

"You've had a lot of deaths in that case."

"Not ... nearly enough."

Dan freed Vadim's wrists, throwing the oil stained belt to the side before pulling the hands towards him, checking them over. Veins standing out, skin somewhat raw. Vadim's sensitive skin. Always too sensitive. "Thank you." Murmured, his fingers circling Vadim's wrists.

Vadim smiled, tiredly. "You're welcome. And thank you ... I needed that."

"So did I." Leaning in to kiss Vadim, "today was one of those days …" Dan had barely the strength to do anything other than pull up their blankets. "I'm getting too old for all of this." He chuckled quietly, eyelids heavy. "You want to get cleaned up before sleeping?"

"It's alright." Vadim turned to move up to Dan, chest to chest, one arm around Dan, forehead to forehead. "Sleep. I'll ... get clean tomorrow."

Dan smiled, already dropping off, as he wrapped his arm around Vadim, murmuring sleepily, "love you." In Russian.

Vadim smiled, eyes already closed. "And I you."

Jean pulled away, closing the door silently, feeling oddly ... protective of what he'd seen inside. Something that shouldn't be disturbed or witnessed by somebody who wouldn't get it. Checking that nobody had seen him, he moved away into the night, quietly, and alone.

* * *

One week later, Vadim was on late shift and Dan had spent the evening first in the gym and the in the Mess. When he stepped outside into the night air, he sensed the chill. It was late autumn, after all. Fishing for his fags, he inhaled deeply with a sound of contentment, when the nicotine hit his lungs.

He slowly made his way to the vehicle park where the shift would arrive, too mellow and sated to do more but grin good humouredly at the odd guy who was out and about. Dan leaned against the wall of the closest building, smoking his second cigarette in a row, when he heard the engines of the vehicles approaching, their beams of light cutting through the darkness.

Vadim was almost asleep walking. He'd slept like shit last night, felt restless and nervous for some reason, and had already been tired when he'd left for this shift. Now, he wasn't only tired, he was barely walking, caked in the dust that had a very specific taste. With grim humour - that didn't actually feel funny, he thought he could probably place any handful of dust one fed him to one of the battlefields. Afghanistan, if anything, tasted different. He got off once the jeep stopped, and began unstrapping his body armour, enough so he could move, but not enough to bang against his body when walking. He meant to head straight towards the armoury, then shower, and, he hoped, collapse in a bed that was already warm.

"Hey, sexy." Dan's voice came from the darkness, before the red glow of the cigarette illuminated his face for a moment.

Vadim turned, helmet dangling from his fingers. Right. So tired he'd walked almost straight past Dan. "You mean me, stranger?" He gave a tired smile. "You sure?"

Pushing himself out of the shadows and two steps into the light of one of the vehicles, Dan leaned back against the wall, hip jutting out, grinning from behind his shades, sporting his hustler pose. "Sure, I mean you, handsome." Pulling on the fag once more, Dan let the smoke curl out slowly. "10 dollar me love longtime." Grinning.

Vadim studied him with a lifted eyebrow, but he was too damn tired to find a witty repartee. "Let's ... renegotiate that price", he said, speech slightly slurred with tiredness. "Tomorrow. Don't care what happens to me tonight, though. Whatever."

"That sounds like an invitation I can hardly resist." Chuckling low, Dan stubbed out the remains of his fag. "But I guess I have to restrain myself from molesting you." Stepping closer with a wink.

"Molest me tomorrow." Vadim began to move his feet towards the armoury. "Keep me company?"

"Aye, soldier." Placing his hand on Vadim's shoulder, Dan walked with him, side by side. "I'd wash you down but I guess the others would just be jealous of the preferential treatment you get."

Vadim glanced at him, seemingly mustering some amusement at that thought. "Take that to the armoury, and I'd be happy." He would be happy once his showered body hit the horizontal. "Maybe find ... something to drink, too?" He managed to walk mostly in a straight line, wouldn't do to look sleep drunk. Just pulling himself together again. "Getting too fucking old", he murmured, in Russian, and didn't notice.

Dan looked up, didn't comment, though. "Bullshit. You got a few more years in you." Sticking to English. "Just let me get your stuff and you head straight on to the showers. I'll have some scran and water ready. Alright?"

"Aye."

They reached the armoury and Dan handled Vadim's flak vest as if the other was a puppet, with Vadim just moving arms and shoulders to help Dan free him. Felt ridiculously nice, being taken care of. The other guys weren't any better, only that they had to rely on a comrade or fumble around when Vadim got the full treatment. Mercenary faggot couple. Midge's insults didn't sting, not right now. Being a couple was so damn nice, Vadim didn't even know where to begin in counting his blessings. He grinned as Dan took the weapon out of his hand, before steering him to the window of the building, to show Vadim's face to the guard inside, who nodded and cleared him from signing personally.

"Off you go." Delivering a mild slap onto Vadim's backside, Dan turned towards the building. "See you showered and clean in 'Hotel McFadyen'."

"Five star if there ever was any ..." Vadim trotted off, managing to not fall asleep under the hot water. When he returned, he had a pile of dusty camo under one arm, wrapped in a towel, and headed straight for Dan's tin hut. Their shared place.

Not quite five star, what with the mattresses on the floor, a single lamp and otherwise pretty much nothing, but Dan was naked, sitting cross legged amidst the blankets, a plate with thickly cut beef and cheese sandwiches on the floor and a two litre bottle of water, straight from the cooler. He looked up when Vadim entered, smiling. "I'm afraid the accommodation isn't quite up to standard, but the room service is doing its best."

Vadim dropped his kit into a corner, locked the door, then got onto the mattress, sitting down in front of Dan, yawning like his jaw tried to pop out. "It has a door we can lock, Dan. See? It's great. Really good." He reached for the water first and downed a good three quarters of a litre before setting the bottle down, then took one of the sandwiches, chewing fast and ravenous. Slowing down once his mouth was full, chewing some more and just enough to get the food down, while reaching for the next. "What I needed ..."

"See, maybe you are getting old after all. You need sarnies more than naked me." Dan laughed, "that wouldn't have happened back in Afghanistan, eh?" Leaning forward, he mock-glared at Vadim, who had stopped chewing and looked puzzled, but since Dan wasn't wearing his shades, the amused gleam in his dark eyes gave everything away. "Or are you already tired of me being here every night?"

Vadim swallowed and grinned. "Try me. Tomorrow. Don't want to fall asleep in the middle of it."

"That's alright, then. I'll let you off this time." Stretching out, Dan made himself comfortable on the side, watching Vadim finish off the second sandwich and then drink some more. "I'm yours as a 'cuddle toy' whenever you're ready." He smirked toothily.

Vadim put the bottle down and smiled, sleepily and unguarded, which seemed tender and content and very tired. "Of course you're mine", he murmured and stretched out to lie right next to Dan, arm across Dan's waist, head on his shoulder, while pulling up the blanket around them. He inhaled, then exhaled deeply, and found himself slightly more awake now than just five minutes ago. "Had a good day?"

"Aye, easy shift and then off in the afternoon." Turning his head to reach Vadim's forehead, Dan kissed it and tightened his arm around him. "Saw Jean for a chat. He's off in three weeks on R&R before the wedding in April. We're invited. It's in France."

"France. Never been there." Vadim rubbed his face against Dan's shoulder, just enjoying Dan close, his smell, his warmth. "That's good. We'll need to think of a present." He yawned again. "Shit, I'm so fucked."

"I'm sure I can come up with a present." Dan murmured, placing another kiss on Vadim's head before falling silent, and very soon Vadim's breath deepened and slowed, the arm around Dan relaxed, becoming heavy. He was out like a light.

It wouldn't take Dan long to fall asleep as well. Not with Vadim wrapped around him, and he knew that eventually he'd find himself spooning behind his Russian. The best way to sleep.

 
 
Special Forces Chapter XXXIII: Principles of War
 
 
Warning for Readers

The following work of fiction contains graphic homosexual interaction, violence and non-consensual sex. With this work of fiction the authors do not condone in any way any form of intolerance and injustice, e.g. racism, sexual harassment, incitement of hatred, religious hatred nor persecution, xenophobia and misogyny. Neither do the authors through this work of fiction promote violence nor make light of such grave matters as genocide, any taking of human life, murder, execution, rape, torture, persecution of sexual orientation.

By accessing this work of fiction you hereby accept and agree that this is a work of fiction and does not reflect in any way the opinions of the authors. The authors do not necessarily endorse the views expressed by the fictional characters.

By accessing this work of fiction you hereby indemnify the authors against all claims and actions whatsoever arising from reading the work of fiction.

All characters are fictional. Any similarities with living or deceased people are coincidental. In case of real life events, creative license has been applied. Special Forces is intellectual property of Marquesate and Vashtan. Copyright © 2006-2009. All rights reserved.

 

 
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Published 25 January 2008