1991, the Persian Gulf
and Vadim's shifts continued to be out of sync for the
next couple of weeks, while the weather was finally
heading towards winter. The nights had become cold,
but the days were still warm. Nothing compared to late
autumn in Russia, or even just Old Blighty.
Dan was on the graveyard shift, and Vadim's covered
afternoon and evening, leaving little time to be together
except for the mornings. Jean, meanwhile, had been seconded
away from Vadim's patrol to work with some newcomers.
day the shit hit the fan. There'd been an ambush, and
Vadim's patrol - or rather that of Pascal, who had taken
over as the team leader while Jean worked with the new
guys - had to go charging in, guns blazing, shrapnel
whizzing past. Who or what attacked them they never
knew, but the opposition had decided to do a quick hit-and-run,
and Pascal, like any good leader, decided to get back
to base 'pronto' as he said, and they grabbed the wounded
and returned to the camp. No need to come down with
the heavy boot. By the time they had enough men in place,
the insurgents, rebels, or whatever they were, would
be gone and were likely getting ready for the evening
easily one of the strongest, Vadim carried one of the
men, and the guy was bleeding profusely from wounds
in his face and temple; all Vadim could do was cover
the wound and get him to the medics. He knew he'd get
debriefed about the incident, and, still somewhat shaken,
returned to Dan's tin hut to get a fresh set of camo
before he'd be grilled by the CO. He did not like that
officer, and the feeling was mutual, even though the
man never raised his voice with him and never alluded
to Vadim's association with Dan nor his origins as a
defected former enemy.
Vadim opened the door, Dan and Jean were standing there.
Both were geared up to leave, both had the same shift,
different teams, and they were standing close together,
within touching distance. Half an arm away. Closer than
touching distance. Jean turned to face him, and there
was a strange smile, somewhere between embarrassment
and something else.
see you at the checkpoint", said Jean, abruptly,
like changing topic in mid-conversation, and suddenly
Vadim knew what they'd been doing. Jean's eyes were
somewhat glazed, there was an ease and calm relaxation
about him that always riled Vadim as if he was 'taking
the mickey', as the Brits said. With no further word,
Jean walked past, acknowledging him with a grin. Door
falling shut behind him.
Dan smiled as he turned towards Vadim, "what got
you back that early? I'm just about to hit the dust."
He was fishing for his shades as he spoke.
Route was cut short getting some guys out." Vadim
glanced at the door. He pulled the gloves off, then
began to take off the vest that was sticky at the right
sleeve. "I'm off to get debriefed."
Dan suddenly alarmed, the shades never reached his eyes.
Dark glance, turning into even darker hardness. "What
the fuck happened?" I could have lost you. Could
no. Unthinkable. He stepped closer, hand
resting on Vadim's arm.
team got ambushed, people were firing AKs from the roofs,
and there might have been an RPG involved. Pascal's
team was the closest to get them out." Something
wasn't quite right, like Vadim was asleep and dreaming.
Dan sleeping curled around him. Dan fucking him. Dan
kissing him and sucking him off. Dan. He frowned, staring
at the shirt in his hand, idly touched his chest, right
underneath the burn scar, nothing felt real, nothing
don't deserve human emotion, Krasnorada.
shuddered, and looked up, almost alarmed. Times of stress.
Strain. His mind suddenly unsteady, reaching for concepts,
abstract ideas. Like the idea of Dan and Jean. And why
did that affect him like this? After the pool game?
"Have a safe shift."
but shit, Vadim, talk to me. That's not funny. Where
the fuck were you and what happened?" Dan moved
even closer. Skin on skin. Almost. Barely an inch between.
"If anything, we need to know for the patrol."
reached for the map in his pocket, and folded it out
on one of the crates. Functional. He was still functional.
Thank fuck for those drilled-in responses. Professionalism.
Dan and Jean. While he'd been working. They'd always
done that. Yes. So why did it feel like this? "Here."
Finger indicating the area on the map. "It's a
troublesome spot anyway, that was bound to happen."
Dan nodded, making a mental note before he took Vadim's
arms with both hands, holding tightly. "Shit."
Couldn't help it, he was shaking his head while looking
at Vadim. "Could have lost you today. Wouldn't
know what the fuck to do." But he had to go, no
time, no time. They were waiting.
nodded, inhaling deeply. "Won't happen. Better
goat fuckers than those have tried. And failed."
He lifted his hand to touch Dan's chest briefly, clenched
his teeth together. "You're late."
here when I get back?" Dan couldn't bear letting
go, still holding onto flesh and blood.
And showered and maybe sleeping." He hoped. He
was still numb from - whatever. Was that one of these
irrational responses? One of those moments of dread
he couldn't place. So what had caused it? The ambush?
Something else? But he wouldn't talk about it. Dan was
going out, risking his neck on patrol, and confronting
right now could get Dan killed. He needed his wits about
them out there. "You be safe out there."
Dan smiled leaning in for a kiss. Couldn't go without
that reassurance. "And if not, I'll haunt your
arse to kingdom come."
felt an odd reluctance, but closed him arms around Dan
and pulled him close, ignored, and still couldn't ignore
the fact that Jean must have kissed him like that just
minutes ago. Wondered if he could taste the other on
Dan's lips, and found himself suddenly fierce, invading
Dan's mouth, kissing him deeply, madly, like indeed
this was the last time, and he pressed harder against
the armoured body, suddenly helpless and tender and
sad. "Godspeed, soldier", he murmured, pulling
away, then turning away, only to make sure his face
didn't betray any of that, his body helplessly wanting
something that could just leave his life forever on
the pull of a trigger.
stepped back, surprised, silenced for a moment, and
it took him a second or two before he managed to put
the shades back on and nodded, more to himself than
Vadim's broad back. "Aye. I'll be back." With
that he vanished, for another shift, and another time
of putting his life on the line.
hours later, at the end of the shift and in the middle
of the goddamned night, Dan returned to camp, dog tired.
Meeting Jean at HQ, while checking in the weapons, he
managed a few of his trademark glib remarks, an odd
slap on a comrade's shoulder, and a bone weary chuckle.
No more. On his way to the shared hut, he could think
of nothing better but falling asleep, curled into a
tight embrace and relishing Vadim's body heat in the
cool of the autumn night. Nevertheless, he had to shower
beforehand, half asleep already or not.
woke when the door opened, awake almost immediately,
but a leaden tiredness told him he hadn't actually rested
much, might even have been dreaming bad, something dark
lingered on the edge of his mind, like a stale taste.
He sat up, looking at the dark figure moving about.
"How was work?" Strange, sounding like a housewife
expecting the husband back. How was work.
shit as ever. None of your earlier problems." There
was a tired smile in Dan's voice. Audible, but not visible
in the darkness. He wasn't wearing his shades, bare-eyed
and bare-souled with tiredness, as he turned towards
Vadim, armour undone and discarded, shirt and vest flung
into a corner. Reaching out with his hand, fingers eager
to touch. "Didn't mean to wake you. I'm sorry."
took the hand and kissed it, without even thinking about
it, then pulled himself up, helping Dan undress. Dan
came home to him. These were his quarters. Fuck the
legionnaire. "Don't worry. Was sleeping light anyway."
He pulled Dan into a tight embrace, suddenly feeling
all that fucked-up tenderness again. "Let me help
you with the boots." He knelt down, busying himself
with the laces.
Dan chuckled softly, "I don't expect you to wait
hand and foot on me, aye?" Carding his smudged
fingers through the short shaved hair, while enjoying
know." Vadim pulled the boots off Dan's feet, left
first, then right. Helping him by tugging down the trousers,
and Dan stepped out of them. "Can't have you fall
in the dark, though."
point. Would be hard to explain, eh?" Dan grinned
and yawned at the same time. "I'll be back in a
sec." Once he was naked, he wrapped the towel around
his hips and got the shower utensils. "Better get
under the water or I'll stink to heaven come tomorrow."
fought the impulse to join or accompany Dan, instead
waited and switched on a torch, pointing it away from
the bed. Waiting for Dan, sitting on the bed, still
with that strange disorientation around..
took no more than five minutes before Dan returned to
the hut. Still damp, hair wet, yawning as he shut the
door behind them. "Kept the bed warm for me, Russkie?"
Softly teasing as he threw the towel over a makeshift
rack near the window.
One of two Russkies. "Aye", murmured Vadim
and made room for Dan, who stretched with a satisfied
groan, from head to fingertips and down to toes. Turning
onto his side, he could hardly make out Vadim's silhouette
in the darkness, when the torch was switched off. "Did
the day rattle you?" Reaching out to trace Vadim's
face. Dan's fingertips knew every single inch.
closed his eyes. He should let it rest. He should rub
against Dan, claim him any way he knew, continue to
claim him, love him, fuck him and be fucked in return.
But it was impossible to ignore the paw prints in the
snow. Strange thought. Aye, his father. His father had
used that metaphor once. He had said that some events
in the past were like a wolves' path through the snow.
In the featureless white, these drew the eyes, and,
worst, the mind, even if the trace was old and half
snowed over again. Vadim had never really understood
what his father had actually said. "I'm
good. Good you're back." And what he wanted to
say was: Good you're mine in this moment. And that meant
he was jealous.
sure?" That was as far as Dan could think. Knew
something was off, but too tired to sense every shift
that case, let's go to sleep? I'm fucking knackered."
Dan smiled as he shuffled closer, expecting Vadim to
turn so he could spoon him. His groin and chest against
Vadim's arse and back, that was the way it was right,
and the way Dan loved it.
rolled over on one side, reached back to take Dan's
arm and pulled himself closer, seeking a closeness that
was more than the usual. He shouldn't bring it up, he
should keep shut about it, didn't want to start a fight,
he should just swallow that. Should somehow accept that
his lover slept with a man who was younger, less fucked
up, a man that didn't scream at night. A deserter, and,
in certain ways, something that Vadim had never been,
something closer and more like Dan. And that it bothered
him. Unlike Matt. "You ... you're not serious with
Jean, are you?"
tensed, a rigid presence in Vadim's back. "What
do you mean?" His exhausted mind frantically tried
to get the picture. Something was wrong, no, a lot seemed
to be wrong, but what the fuck was going on?
I said. You're not serious with Jean." Vadim glanced
over his shoulder. "You're just fooling around,
deeply, Dan let out his breath after a pause. It made
sense now. So that was what was going on, picking up
vibes he hadn't understood. "I have sex with Jean,
aye. I thought you knew that? You sure as hell behaved
as if you knew."
I knew. Him and Donahue. But the kid ... is different.
Jean. It's about him. I'm just ... I guess surprised
you still see him like that."
wouldn't I?" Dan's genuine surprise made him shift
backwards, away from the tight embrace, trying to get
a good look of Vadim while doing his best to understand
a concept that made no sense to him. "It's just
sex. He's a mate, and so's Matt and so's Hooch, and
so would anyone be who takes my fancy and is willing
to shag around for a bit. I don't understand, Vadim.
Why wouldn't I?"
around for a bit. Vadim felt his jaw tighten. Why
not. Why not indeed. They weren't married. Comradeship
wasn't exclusive. Friendship wasn't exclusive. He had
never claimed anyone for himself. He had shared a wife
that he'd loved but not desired, had taken men that
had girlfriends, or wives, had had 'lovers' that were
not his, not his, not his property. Vanya hadn't been,
Platon hadn't been, Sasha neither. All his life, he'd
taken what he could and never managed to claim all of
it, always ever shared. It probably had started with
the fucking masseur. No such thing as exclusiveness.
No husband and wife games. Nothing like that. And he
had made his own marriage a farce himself. "I don't
know. Really, I don't."
don't, either." Dan fell silent, too damn exhausted
to get his thoughts straight, he struggled to keep up
with the whole thing which seemed a great and big and
fucking huge problem, just not in his own mind. "It
doesn't mean anything special when I fuck around. Why
would it?" Taking his time as he tried to make
sense of Vadim's thinking, so alien to his own. "Do
you want me to get back to being monogamous, like I
was in Afghanistan? I just didn't have the opportunity,
but hell, you think I wouldn't have, if there had been?
I'm not a girl, I don't expect you not to fuck others
if it so happens, and I don't expect this to be expected
of me." He stifled a yawn, it wasn't easy to get
himself through this morass. "I'm sorry if you're
hurt." He added, quieter than before. "I don't
mean to upset you, it just never occurred to me that
you'd be bothered by it." Moving closer once more,
tightened his arms around Vadim. "I love you, Russkie,
you know that. You mean the beginning and the end to
me, and all that is in between. You are life and death
and every single breath, but
" Dan paused,
tried to gather his thoughts while fighting against
the tiredness, "but that's why I don't get why
it's a problem that I share bodily fluids with others."
Before Vadim could reply to his last words, he added,
"if it hurts you, and if you don't want me to,
I won't do it. OK? You're more important than anyone
or anything else. If you can't stand it, I won't fuck
with others. I'll be exclusively yours if you absolutely
want me to. Alright?" Falling silent.
didn't doubt him. Dan and his word and being absolutely
loyal and reliable. And what he wanted to say was 'If
you touch him I'll kill him', and he thought of the
ease with Matt, and the kid's fucking wholesomeness,
and the banter with Jean, funny, and light, and it tore
him inside but that was something he would never be
able to give again. He wasn't made for it, was too fucked
up to be this good for Dan, and even if he did fuck
around with them, and even if there was more than that
between Jean and him, and he was almost positive that
it wasn't just sex, maybe not even just friendship,
that didn't take Dan away. And if it did, there was
nothing he could do to stop it. There was always Dr
William's phone number. "It ... doesn't matter.
It's just sex. I don't have to see it, and I don't want
to", taste them on you, "know. We're not married.
And even that ... doesn't mean ... exclusiveness."
sure? Because if you're not, I'll tell everybody I'm
not available." No matter how little Dan could
understand it, he wouldn't
just wouldn't. Too
dedicated to just one man.
Vadim closed his eyes and held Dan's arm to his stomach.
share so much history," Dan added, "I don't
want the present to get fucked up."
than we already are? "I'm sure. Shouldn't have
brought it up. Now sleep, Dan." And forget I asked.
Let's just pretend this didn't happen.
closed his eyes, scooting closer, as close as humanely
possible, while his arm around Vadim tightened to almost
painful level. "As long as you're sure, aye?"
Softly, he was far too knackered to try and drive the
point home any further, and far too willing to accept
Vadim's agreement at face value. Was all straightforward
and easy to his mind, that love and lust didn't have
to be the same. Love was exclusive and lust to be shared.
He was asleep within a few minutes, pressed against
Vadim's back, safe in the embrace and the knowledge
that he simply loved that man.
next day finally saw a change in their shifts. At last
they had some days off together, time for both Dan and
Vadim to relax and work-out, if only
the camp wasn't expecting half a dozen trucks with spares,
kit and explosive. Fresh supplies that had meant to
arrive at least two weeks previous, but had been delayed.
As usual in the British Forces, nothing went to plan,
yet worked out in the end - somehow - anyway.
hands were needed, soldiers and mercs alike, and all
the guys off duty had to put their free time into unloading
the trucks. While most men complained, whining and grumbling
like bitches, Dan didn't give a shit. 11 AM, not a time
he'd still be asleep, neither one he'd be likely to
have sex, and well after breakfast. A spot of carrying
shitloads of crates wouldn't hurt. He was walking across
to the vehicle compound, wearing his shades and nothing
but a pair of desert boots and hard-wearing camo trousers,
while joking to Vadim, "makes a change to pumping
iron, aye?" Grinning broadly.
peered up to the sky with narrowed eyes and knew he'd
burn in the sun. The place had tanned him as much as
he could get tanned, and he wore a sun lotion with a
ridiculously high number on the pack, and he'd probably
still get burned. In fact, he'd taken to wearing the
dust scarf around his head, which made him look like
a cheap pirate imitation in sand-coloured camo, but
at least it meant his scalp wouldn't fall off in big
patches of skin. He grunted something noncommittally,
walking at Dan's side, wearing the undershirt still,
but soon saw that he was overdressed. Most guys had
stripped down to their camo trousers like Dan, and Vadim
debated whether he should expose more of his skin or
leave it at that, keeping a thin layer of protection
between himself and cancer.
shrugged and grinned after a side glance, finishing
off his fag. Throwing the butt behind himself before
they reached the trucks, he greeted his mates. Joked
with some of his own team, then Jean's and Pascal's,
and simply ignored the rest. Those men, who couldn't
stand the faggot in the first place, and plain loathed
the sight of a couple in camp. A gay couple. A bloody,
seriously, goddamned happy gay couple of mercs.
just gave people he knew a nod, acknowledging them,
as they acknowledged him. Still no runner-up for any
popularity contest, but things around him had settled
in a somewhat uneasy routine since he'd been part of
the rescue op.
had just about finished talking to one of the guys in
Jean's team, when he caught a murderous glance from
one particular man, and instead of allowing himself
to be touched by the hatred, he laughed broadly into
Midge's distorted face. "Fancy seeing you here.
Didn't realise they let GWARs out in this sun. What
with the ginger burn and all that."
exploded into a cacophony of abuse, swearing in Dan's
back, when he turned. Standing next to his big Scottish
Sergeant mate, he was grinning while Vadim smirked.
He couldn't remember what it stood for, but he'd heard
the term used in SAS selection - against another 'ginger'
as they called the pale redheads. Taking the piss out
of gingers was Dan's answer to the constant drone of
how they were gay, faggots, and should get their cocks
cut off, which Vadim found far more grating than any
joke about any hair colour could be. He stood between
Dan and Pascal, luckily enough, and the men were forming
a line as the trucks approached in a cloud of dust and
though, couldn't let go. Right behind Pascal, he kept
sneering jibes at Dan, ignoring Vadim between them.
Pascal didn't seem happy about this, but didn't do anything
either, ignoring the man and the situation.
did his best to ignore the nasty bastard, until Midge
started to boast about how Dan had crawled in the dirt,
not so long ago, and how he would have finished him
off, had the Sergeant not appeared. Dan's eyes narrowed
behind the shades, casting a furtive glance at Vadim,
who actually didn't seem to pay much attention, instead
downing half a litre of water, but appearances with
Vadim could be deceptive. If Vadim understood what Midge
was implying, the wanker wasn't going to live much longer.
Dan half-turned, shouting against the chatter of voices
and the roar of the approaching trucks, "yeah,
ginger, and we all know why you're called Midge, aye?"
bent down to put the water bottle down and half-turned
to face Midge, whose face was turning so red he looked
close to exploding beneath his carroty head. Making
it impossible for Dan to watch his face.
not because your name's Mitchell, but as everyone knows
who's showered with you, it's because of 'midget'."
Dan was smirking from ear to ear, while laughter exploded
all around him, drowning out Midge's abuse. The guy
was about to launch himself on Dan, when the trucks
stopped and soldiers jumped out of them, with several
of the higher ranks calling the line of men to order.
were still sniggers and un-hidden laughter along the
lines, and even Pascal kept grinning at Dan, who pretended
that nothing at all had happened. And Vadim likely had
not caught what the 'midget' had implied. Instead, the
Russian was ready and eager to work, mostly to get it
unloading started. The first crates were handed down,
with ample warnings that they contained explosives,
mostly hand grenades. The bitches were heavy, found
Vadim, taking the crate that came up, and handing it
on, making sure that Pascal had it firmly in his grip
before he released it. The crates came through fast,
as they all wanted nothing more than be done quickly,
get out of the heat, and Vadim saw with appreciation
how the men began to sweat and how muscles rolled under
the skin. He'd keep his shirt on, mostly for the protection,
but also because he didn't know who else could read
the word on his back, and the scars stood out especially
when his skin reddened.
felt sweat run in steady beads from beneath his too-long
hair down his neck and trickling along his back, into
the waistband of his camo trousers. Sweat that glistened
on his chest, stung his eyes beneath his shades, and
itched on the pale scars across his stomach, making
the grip of his hands slippery. Like Vadim, though,
he rather took his time to ensure the next man had his
grip firmly on the crate, before he let go.
worked quickly, efficiently, except for Midge, who kept
his jibes up, taunting every time he turned with his
crate towards Vadim, who was in front of Dan. Dan ignored
the shit, but kept wondering why the hell Midge tended
to ignore the other 'faggot', Vadim. Fear, he reckoned,
and grinned to himself. Because the bastard just didn't
have a clue what he was dealing with. Or because he,
Dan, had gone to the ground, and proven not to be invincible.
Vadim worked stoically on, much like a machine, a look
of concentration on his face, lips slightly pursed as
he seemed to be in his own world, withdrawn, yet alert.
concentrated on his job when a thought came to his mind,
and he grinned. Pursing his lips to whistle Disney's
theme tune for the seven dwarves, singing "hey
ho, hey ho
," when he got too annoyed with
the ginger bastard, and when heat and exertion were
getting too much. Strangely, it was Pascal who caught
and identified the theme song, and began to sing it,
with several others falling into the tune. The logic
of a chain gang, where anything was welcome to lighten
became more erratic, the further this went on, and the
more the sun was belting down mercilessly, and the more
Dan ignored him, while taunting him in return. Erratic
enough, to be steaming with anger, almost throwing the
crate into Vadim's hands, who managed to catch every
time, without moving a muscle in his face.
time, until the furious Midge, who'd been warned a couple
of times already, turned in such a violent huff, the
crate slipped out of his sweaty hands, before he had
reached Vadim half-way. Crashing onto the ground, the
joints of the wooden crate splintered from the impact,
and grenades hit the ground, rolling.
eyes were immediately on the scattering weapons, and
several men seemed to pause. Dan froze, eyes immediately
on the ground, while others were still handing down
crates. Vadim spotted a single pin half buried in the
sand, right in the middle of soldiers, not nearly far
enough from the tents, nor the trucks that were full
of fuel, never mind the explosives, never mind Dan standing
right on top of it. Vadim's eyes darted around, frantically.
The grenade without a pin lay close, and Vadim shouted
a warning, not realizing it was Russian "Fire in
head whipped around, the Russian warning drilled deeply
into his own bones, and he yelled in English, "Take
cover!" Throwing himself onto Pascal, who didn't
react at first, while Vadim dove for the grenade. Held
it just for a moment, then threw is as far as he could,
fearing it might slip from his hand, bounce off something
and it might not be enough. Drilled-in responses too
powerful to deny in that moment Midge was only a comrade
as well, just a soldier, and Vadim tackled him, bringing
him down and covering him as the grenade went off with
a deafening explosion.
man was on the ground, taking cover, the warning had
spread like wildfire, when Dan tackled and took down
Pascal. Covering their heads, lying flat on the ground,
as dust and sand rained down on them, engulfed in heat.
was cursing underneath him, but now that Vadim didn't
hear any screams, couldn't smell blood, his mind shifted
from battle-readiness to a flaring hatred. Midge was
trying to shake him off, mostly by turning around, but
Vadim grabbed a handful of the hair, just long enough
to provide leverage, and got a leg in between Midge's
legs, shifting on top of him to bring his groin right
against Midge's ass, which tensed, but Vadim pushed
against it, two, three times, hard enough to be impossible
to misunderstand, but subtle enough that nobody but
Midge got what he meant. Vadim moved to hiss into the
ginger's ear: "Like that, bitch? I know you want
to have my cock up your ass, cunt. And I won't be gentle."
didn't reply, frozen beneath the heavy body. Mouth full
of dust, body crushed. For once he'd lost his appetite
completely unaware, was scrabbling off Pascal, who was
trying to turn around and move beneath the heavy weight
on top of him. "Sorry, mate." Dan's shades
were hanging at an angle off one ear, as he managed
to get to his knees. Adjusting the shades before looking
around. No screams, no terror. They seemed to have got
away with it. "Really sorry, I know how much you
fear this gay thing is contagious."
worry. I read it's genetic", said Pascal, visibly
shaken and caked in red dust.
grinned with relief, to his surprise his grin was answered
by Pascal's own. Showing enormous relief, until he caught
a glimpse of Midge's ginger hair beneath Vadim.
fucking stupid cunt!" Pascal shouted, jumped back
onto his feet before anyone realised what was happening.
"You drunk or fucking what?" His French accent
more noticeable in his righteous anger. "Merde!
You could have killed us all, putain!"
comes the paratrooper", muttered Vadim, slapping
the back of Midge's head hard enough to sting, then
rolled off him and stood. He spit a mouthful of dust
into the sand, while Pascal kept shouting at the top
of his voice, a stream of half-French, half-English
expletives, cursing everything from Midge's ancestors
to his carelessness and irresponsibility, only using
far less pleasant or complicated words. Meanwhile, the
others had got to their feet again, most visibly rattled
and relieved. Vadim stood next to Dan, had checked him
over quickly, then folded his arms in front of his chest,
enjoying the normally placid Frenchie blowing his top.
a cunt", Vadim said, tonelessly.
was still brushing sand and dust off his chest, but
only rubbed the crap even further into the layer of
sweat. "You have no idea." Murmured towards
Vadim. Watching how the British Army took over the dressing-down
and standing-to, and didn't even feel the tiniest bit
sorry for Midge. As it was, he enjoyed every second.
There was a moment's lull in the cacophony of voices,
and Dan took his chance to shout, "what's it like
to owe your life to a faggot, cunt?"
silence. Enough time for Vadim to feel the heat rise
in his head. 'Faggot'. It just didn't stop being embarrassing.
turned to stare at them, light eyes widened, struggling
for composure or even just his usual act of meanness
as the full realization struck him.
own your ass now", said Vadim, sneering. No use
saying he'd have let him die if it hadn't been for Dan,
or even stupid Pascal who was a decent enough guy.
wasn't Dan who burst into laughter. Not even Pascal.
Of all the guys in the line, it was Dave, Midge's Irish
mate, who guffawed, laughing so hard, he almost pissed
himself. He was the catalyst that got all the other
men to burst into laughter as well. Infectious, all
the way down to Dan and Vadim, and the final death knell
for Midge, whose days in the camp were numbered anyway,
when the MPs came to take him away for thorough investigation.
was still chuckling when Midge was gone and they were
sent away after clearing the last crates and securing
the trucks. Still sniggering, as they made their way
to the showers, while Vadim mostly smiled wryly, more
keen to get out of the sun, and cleaned up.
Glancing sideways, Dan ran a dirty hand through dust
coloured, sweaty hair.
pulled the cloth off his head and wiped his face with
it, turning his head to look at Dan. "Aye?"
do realise I love you, aye? No matter what shit any
smiled. "I do. Now let's get cleaned up."
He placed a hand between Dan's shoulder blades and pushed
him slightly to move towards the showers. Thought he
should let him go, but then kept an arm around Dan's
shoulders, walking in stride with him. Whatever they
thought about it.
just about managed to get into the shower and under
the spray for about ten seconds, when a couple of squaddies
walked along the centre aisle, straight up to Vadim.
In towels themselves, one of them called out, "Hey,
Russkie, whatever your name is."
cast a glance at them, his customary glare that gave
warning that he was willing to fight and able to win,
then turned. He wasn't sure these guys belonged to Midge,
but that meant nothing in camp. Entirely possible they'd
try and make him pay. Had been a while. "Yes?"
meant to say 'thanks'. Fucking great reaction time.
Didn't fancy getting turned into minced meat just yet."
The guy grinned and his mate was giving a thumbs up.
paused, just staring, not even blinking. Trying to figure
out whether it was a joke, or just a different strategy
in the usual game. Thing was, there was nothing hostile
about these men. They'd just wandered in and addressed
him. Him, naked, under the shower, with Dan beside him,
watching, but keeping out of it.
had I", Vadim finally managed. "Grenade had
plenty of time left, too."
suddenly shouted from one of the opposite stalls, "What's
your name anyway?"
Krasnorada." Vadim had always assumed they knew
it, with that strange feeling that everybody knew him,
but apparently they hadn't. Didn't remember the polite
question 'and you', he was too surprised.
shit, that's not a good name for a guy in camp."
The man from the shower stall was calling across. Poking
his head out, he was second in command in the fourth
team, run by a Welsh ex-infantryman.
long. Not matey enough." The merc bared his teeth
in a wide grin. Soap suds cling to his shaved head.
two squaddies were laughing at that, nodding, "Damn
true." One of them shouted across the showers that
were filling with up with men, "Hey, anyone know
the perfect nickname for our camp commie?"
was simply bewildered. The SAS had failed at giving
him a nickname. He didn't expose himself enough, he
had no official name, and he doubted he'd ever been
in their files; no name meant no paperwork. But glancing
across he saw Dan grin
that calmed him and suppressed
the natural - hostile - reaction. But then, since the
time in prison, how many of his reactions had been fully
call him 'Drago', that'd be fucking unfair." Another
merc grinned, soap bag under his arm, towel around his
erupted all across, drowning out the sound of running
water. "Damn right. Remember?" The first squaddie
asked, expecting Vadim to know what they were talking
about. "Rocky four. Rocky Balboa and the Soviet
fighting machine. Somebody called Drago. It just didn't
make any sense. Judging from what Vadim knew about the
recreational habits of this ilk, it was certainly not
a book. Probably a comic.
once more, and Dan joined in, poking his head out to
grin at Vadim, telling him non-verbally, that all was
good. Good banter. Good jokes. Mates. Not enemies. Vadim
nodded, brow dark, not understanding.
switched off the water, angling for his towel. He was
drying his hair when he casually commented. "Rocky,
was picked up by the couple of squaddies, who grinned
triumphantly. "That's it! That's it, mate.
Perfect. Don't you think?" Calling into the room.
"He's Rocky! Bloody lot better than Vadim or Krasnorada.
That's what Civilians are called. Not us, and you're
one of us. Right, mate?"
Two syllables. It wasn't really about shortening the
name at all. Vadim looked dubious, but he could see
people were not being hostile. They meant this. "Err,
second squaddie extended his hand. "I'm Jed and
my mate's Gibbo. So, what about a drink in the mess?
Two-can rule of piss-poor lager, but better than nothing.
glanced at the guy in front of him, and shook the hand,
firmly, briefly, half-expecting some form of practical
joke. "Sure. That's
" What was it? "A
nice thought." There. Talking.
The man called Gibbo slapped Vadim's wet shoulder and
- miraculously - didn't get punched by reflex. "1900
hours in the mess. See you then." Walking to one
of the free stalls, he looked over his shoulder, "and
bring Mad Dog. Not that he wouldn't come anyway."
He and his mate were laughing as Dan flicked a lazy
finger at them.
later." Vadim was still dumbfounded and stared
after the men.
turned, towel around his hips, water still clinging
to his skin. "Looks like you're going to be popular,
Rocky." He was grinning at Vadim, who had
guys nod at him and grin, and several thumbs up. "Are
you done yet, or are you sunning yourself in your new-found
celebrity status for a while longer?"
we can go." Vadim reached for the towel and wrapped
it around his hips. "What is Rocky? One of those
stupid comic superheroes? Like Captain America?"
asked Vadim in a low voice.
much better." Dan grinned as he snatched shades
and soap bag. "I have to get the videos for you,
but Rocky Balboa is an 80s legend. Played by Sylvester
Stallone, he's an underdog boxing guy, who makes it
up to the very top with sheer determination." He
shrugged, blinking into the sun when they got outside.
"The old dream, aye? Little man making it big."
one of his films he fights a mean Soviet fighting machine,
played by some Swedish bodybuilder who got no acting
skills but a fucking great body." Dan's grin widened
as Vadim raised an eyebrow.
they can't use the Drago name, because he's the baddie,
and they use Rocky instead, who's the goodie, since
you did the heroic thing today."
didn't do it for them. I should have thought of pushing
Midge onto the grenade and holding him down on it."
And it was not quite a joke.
" Dan stopped, turning to face Vadim.
"Just remember, it's a great sign of respect to
give you that nickname, and it's really the biggest
proof of camaraderie that they can come up with. You
made it, Vadim, you're one of us, if you want
to, or not." Leaning closer, still with the same
grin, Dan murmured, "and I very much want you to
be one of us, but not in their way
eyes focussed on Dan and, feeling his breath, Dan so
close, so intent. Out in the open, public displays of
affection, and how much he wanted to touch him right
now. "That's how you got to be called 'Mad Dog'?
that, and because I showed some brazen balls in a suicide
mission." Dan stood still too close. "Just
don't tell Maggie about it."
grinned. "What are you offering?"
" Dan seemed to ponder, then pulled back,
while the grin kept growing, if possible at all. "I
tell you inside the hut." With that he turned and
walked purposefully towards the hut they shared for
sleeping. Not the one that housed clothes and kit.
glanced over his shoulder, but nobody appeared to pay
them any mind. Maybe they never had. Maybe it had been
some kind of misunderstanding and they hadn't actually
been watched all the time. He entered right behind Dan
and closed the door.
threw the soap bag into a corner and undid the towel
around his hips. The shades still on, he stood with
the towel in one hand, the other pointing at his groin.
"First off, did you notice I kept that up?"
Pointing at his abs, where the trail of dark hair used
to be, in between the gauges of scars. Still smooth,
as much as a razor could manage, making Vadim's mouth
dry out and his body come alive. "And I need help
" Turning round, Dan bent over,
braced his legs, "You promised." Presenting
his arse. "Remember?"
" Vadim closed the distance, lost the
towel, ran his hands across Dan's back, one hand moving
to Dan's ass. "Good
be better. You said you'd help me shave between my arse
and caressing more, Vadim leaned in to kiss Dan between
the shoulder blades, and pulled him a bit closer. "You're
the touches like a cat, Dan straightened to stand close,
back touching chest. He craned his neck, trying to get
a glimpse of Vadim, who placed his arms around him,
and moved closer, full body contact. "I offer you
anything you want." Dan slowly turned within the
embrace, until he stood face to face. "I offer
you absolutely anything today. No matter what."
" Vadim rested his brow against Dan's,
knew in his bones that Dan meant it, and it seemed like
the open ocean. Tantalizing, limitless, and potentially
dangerous. Only, what was the source of danger? What
hidden pull? "If you call me 'Sir', that
kills me", he murmured, head still touching Dan's.
what?" Dan murmured, one-fingered flicking his
shades up and on top of his hair, before his forehead
touched once more Vadim's.
know." Vadim closed his eyes for a moment. "Pretend
I was your officer. That
that kind of thing."
He felt queasy about it, mostly because that was very
close to the bone, one of his favourite things, and
at the same time so very close to the crimes he'd committed.
Once upon a time. But different. This was his lover.
His partner. Dan.
lifted his head, tilting it only a fraction. His dark
eyes appeared black in the gloom of the tin hut. He
took his time, just looking at Vadim, with no expression
on his face, until a ghost of a smile began to creep
back onto his lips. "You want me to be a recruit?"
inhaled deeply. "Yes. Not a prisoner
and where had that thought come from? Something inside
recoiled from it, while Dan visibly twitched. Vadim
knew the reality of that, and it was horrifying, nothing
erotic about it, no, recruit was safe. It was just pretend.
Make-believe. A game of sorts. And at the same time
fucking embarrassing. "Oh shit. You
what I mean."
" Dan's smile began to widen until it turned
into a grin. "I know damn well what that means."
Plucking the shades off his head, he stored them on
top of the soap bag, then wound the towel back around
his hips. Stepping towards the door, he stopped, turned
back, and pulled Vadim into a brief kiss. "You
wait here. Back in a sec. And keep that thought
With that he unlocked the door and walked out of the
hut. In more haste than usual.
exhaled, paced, then found a pair of camo trousers,
and slipped into them, mostly to do something and cover
himself just in case Jean blundered into the hut. Waiting,
not quite sure what he'd do and how, and whether he
could pull through with it - there was still that shame,
of having abused that position, that trust, that power,
but this wasn't real, this would be just a game. He
had to repeat that to himself over and over again.
hurried over to the other hut, barely acknowledging
anyone with more than a grin. Rummaging through his
bergan, he picked out a few items of clothing and jumped
into them. Searching for the last one, he finally found
what he was looking for in the back pouch of his old
army pack. He was gone for no more than a quarter of
an hour. Stopping at the door when he returned, he didn't
want to just walk into the hut, but looked around himself,
saw no one, then lowered his head to pull his hair back
and hid it best he could beneath the covering. He knocked.
Jean, thought Vadim, hating the Frenchman for always
being around, always making his presence felt, or even
just anticipated. "Yes? Door's open."
door opened and a man stepped inside, briskly. "Sir?"
In Russian, as he closed the door behind him and locked
it. "You asked for me, comrade Major?" Still
in Russian, while saluting the Soviet way.
Beret at the Soviet angle, Vadim recognized it like
the pain from an old scar. An old T-shirt, too tight,
nicely tight, olive trousers, pretty tatty and again
too tight to be strictly comfortable when fighting,
and boots, and an old army webbed belt with heavy metal
buckle that seemed somehow familiar. Dan's old kit?
He recognized one piece of equipment; a scarf round
Dan's neck. He was fairly sure he knew that one. The
same one that had covered his wounds - or an identical
I did." I did ask. Vadim looked at Dan, and knew
he shouldn't meet Dan's eyes, just very briefly, but
saw in them that it was alright. He stood, folded his
hands in his back. The door was locked. Nobody listening.
Nobody watching. And he was only half-dressed. He grinned,
suddenly, knowing a good way to start this.
stood to attention, like he had in his past, whenever
he'd been called up by anyone superior in rank. Officers.
Fucktards. Poncy arseholes, and yet he now stood and
stared straight ahead, at a point to the left of Vadim's
shoulder. Pretending to be perfect raw recruit material,
while Vadim, in a state of undress that would be scandalous
for a Soviet Army officer, paced around him. Studying
Dan with that other set of eyes, from a perspective
that was old, ancient, and entirely predatory.
Major?" Dan finally uttered, still in Russian.
Breaking the silence that had him tense and waiting.
me", said Vadim, slipping into Russian, and it
made him wince inside. Russian. Like touching a broken
bone that had been set. He nodded towards his shaving
kit. "The straight razor."
nodded sharply. Easy to fall back into an ancient skin,
exaggerating behaviour to fit a projection that was
larger-than-life. "Sir, yes, Sir." He immediately
fell into motion, while Vadim sat down on one of the
boxes, legs braced like he was in the middle of an earthquake,
or just imitating his own Colonel in his most pompous
prepared the shaving kit, set everything into place.
Found water in one of their bottles, but it was cold.
No use. Looking at Vadim and yet not looking, once again
at a point above one bare shoulder. "Comrade Major,
allow me to heat water?" His Russian was rusty
at first, but getting back into it with every word.
nodded briefly, grunting as if the recruit didn't warrant
any kind of proper answer. An inconvenience - and a
damn fine ass in the tight trousers. Talking about tight
you, Sir." Oh, Dan remembered. Knew what his place
should be in the fictional pecking order, and made it
ten times worse than his own early days. Hurrying outside,
Dan pulled the beret off, couldn't run around in that
without inviting comments, making his way to the mess
tent. He could either heat water on the small gas cooker
in the other hut, or could get a bowl from the mess,
the quicker option. It took only a small amount of cajoling,
before he got the metal bowl full of hot water and remembered
to pick up a couple of fresh towels from their second
hut. If he was going to do this, he would do it as perfectly
as he could. How easy it was to slip into this. Games,
play, pretend, it all felt like a second skin that he
could put on and off at will. Adjusting the beret, after
checking that no one was watching him, he knocked once
had slipped into his own shirt and boots. Still in disarray,
but being semi-naked didn't quite work in his mind.
entered when he was called, locking the door. Set the
bowl of water and the towels down before he saluted
again, doing a passable impression of the Soviet salute
that he'd seen enough times, then standing at attention,
everything laid out. "Sir, everything is ready,
Sir." Never truly looking at Vadim. Playing his
role to the dot.
looked at him, frowning darkly as if something was annoying
him. "If you cut me, there's hell to pay. Do you
understand?" Dangerously low voice, as he raised
his chin. "Get on with it, then, I don't have all
yes, Sir. I understand." Dan saluted again, crisply,
hurrying to get the shaving utensils over to Vadim.
Creating lather, he carefully smoothed the creamy substance
into Vadim's face, making sure he did not miss a spot,
while being watched by slitted, blue, baleful eyes.
Placing the towel around Vadim's neck and throat, Dan
checked the razor. It was sharp, and he hadn't done
this often. Himself, yes, whenever he didn't have a
safety razor, but on another? He remembered every single
occasion he'd shaved Vadim, but right now he needed
all of his concentration. Starting on the left side,
he carefully moved down, before cleaning the blade.
Going back to the cheek and jaw line. Vadim's right
hand dropped from his thigh and came to rest on Dan's
knee, from the inside. Keeping his eyes on the face
of the 'recruit', his hand slid higher, to the inside
of the thigh as he felt the blade again, sliding further
up, as if without intention.
tiny twitch of Dan's hand, but he had himself under
control. Still. Concentrating with narrowed eyes, he
tried not to move at all, while doing his duty. Cleaning
the blade once more, he guided Vadim's head back, to
shave below jaw line and down the throat.
kept looking at Dan's face, had felt the twitch, and
felt the corners of his mouth move into a minute smirk,
as his hand moved further up, feeling Dan's balls in
the tight trousers - thumb came forward and traced the
line of Dan's cock.
twitch, but Dan's hand remained steady, even though
his face broke into sweat. The concentration increased,
no way could he allow himself to slip and cut the throat.
Cleaning the blade once more, he started at the other
side, working down cheekbone to jaw line. His shirt
betrayed dark patches under his arms, no mean feat for
a man who seemed to be made of kryptonite and never
sweated in the desert's temperatures.
grin grew, at the same time enjoying the tenderness
of the steel blade, and pushed his hand up harder, almost
yanking up against Dan's balls and dam. Twisting his
hand to cup balls and cock, squeezing it harshly in
the cloth, his lips turning into a sneer.
matter how much he tried to steady himself, Dan's hand
slipped when his body jerked, the blade nicking the
skin on Vadim's right side. Blood turning the shaving
foam pink. Dan froze, blade poised, "Forgive me,
Did. I. Tell. You", shouted Vadim, jumping
to his feet, grabbing the towel and wiping the rest
of the foam away. The pink foam stark on the light towel,
and Vadim hit Dan in the face with it, once, twice.
"Down! Down I say!" Fuck, it was too easy.
He felt actual rage.
face stung, the attack too swift for him to react. Not
in this role. His first reaction to snatch the towel,
pull, punch this motherfucker's lights out. Searing
rage in his own eyes. Dark, burning, ready to kill for
having been hit in his face, but then
he looked for another second. Truly looked. Saw Vadim's
face, eyes, anger, and the game had become goddamned
real. Too real. Real enough to have caught him off guard
and triggered a response outside of any role. Dan took
in a sharp breath, had stalled too long already, muttered,
"fuck!" then lowered his eyes, head, whole
body and threw himself onto the ground. On all fours,
Head hanging low. Damn, if this game was going to be
worth playing, he would play it to the limit. Recruit.
Fear. Helplessness. A nobody. Nothing. Copy, Sir!
old Dan. The man who'd break his bones, the man who
would answer blow with blow, the rage at wanting him,
the rage and anger and pride. Vadim felt his heart expand,
such a sweet pain inside, that feeling of seeing the
man he'd fallen for, in love, in lust, amidst the dust
and desolation, the man who could make him scared, who'd
broken him, the man who needed a comrade without knowing
it. He smiled, secretly, because Dan wasn't looking
cut me", he whispered, touched two fingers to the
burning cut - where the soap had touched the wound -
and it came away wet and bright red. He raised a foot
to set it against Dan's shoulder, and pushed. "You
scum. Peasant scum! You think I can report to the general
with a cut face? What does the general think when my
men can't even shave? How can they win this war? Eh?
Just because the Afghans wear beards doesn't mean they
are as buttfuck stupid as you are!"
the push of the boot as long as he could, but in the
end, Dan lost balance. Falling onto the side, he scrabbled
back to his knees as soon as he could. Keeping his head
low, never looking at the other, because no recruit
would. None would dare lift their eyes towards the centre
of wrath. "Forgive me, comrade Major. Forgive my
stupidity!" Sticking to Russian. Crawling. Begging,
like a seventeen year old would, faced with a force
that could destroy him at the blink of an eye. A life
meant nothing. His life meant nothing. Nothing
at all. Not to the almighty Officer.
couldn't help it. A part of him loved this game, relished
it, made that dark tide rise. And rise. Making his breathing
shallow, constricting him with anger and arousal, with
that lust that came with the power. He needed a moment
to think, used that time to wipe his face more thoroughly,
his throat, too, grunting displeasure. "Kneel."
Dan did, remembered what it was like if all one wanted
and needed and could possibly exist around was just
the greed to live. Scrambled to his knees, eager to
please, to live, like a recruit would have done. Looked
up, quickly averted his eyes, staring straight ahead.
moved forward, pushing his groin very closely into Dan's
face, pausing, for a moment, then moved forward, rubbing
his groin in Dan's face, over his cheek, and his lips.
wasn't Dan anymore. Lost in the game, he jerked away,
tried to avert his face with a sound that caught in
his throat. Man. Cock. Terror. And somewhere, in the
deepest recesses of his mind, he remembered. Remembered
what the correct response would be like: fear.
perfect. Vadim almost hurt, felt like a coiled spring
released, a pressure inside he hadn't even been aware
of, and he reached out to place his hand against the
recruit's head. Pushed him forward, like a commodity,
like a towel or anything else that would never resist.
Part of him regretted he didn't have a pistol, but would
be too far, too real, shit, Dan, on that first night.
No, too much. "Are you good for anything? Are you
kill me," the recruit whispered in panic. Russian
words jumbled on top of the other, too fast. "Please
don't kill me, Sir." Lips moving against the cock
that was pressed against his face. "Please
A body recoiling with revulsion, yet frozen with fear.
grunted Vadim, as if to himself. Keeping his hand against
the recruit's neck, he opened his fly with the other
hand and freed his cock. "Do like your girl does,
bitch." Casual insult, his cock poking lips, his
biceps taut against the resistance.
that was undoubtedly fighting against the obvious, body
tense, tight with disgust. The recruit was letting out
a strangled sound, trying to turn his head away.
hit him in the neck, a sharp, stinging pain, and the
recruit's head came forward, with a sound of pain. Vadim's
foot came down to kick against a tensed thigh, a short,
vicious pain, again, and this time the recruit cried
out, his whole body jerking. "You can't even do
that!" Vadim hissed, sharply. "You want to
go into the pit, right? Is that it?"
Horror. Tales of death amongst Soviet soldiers, and
the recruit found his voice, as he tried to scoot closer
again, towards that cock. "No! Please comrade Major.
No, please. Not that." Head moving forward on its
own, seeking out the cock this time, eagerness in desperation.
Lips searching, finding, and taking in. With utmost
clumsiness, and teeth scraping.
shuddered at the feeling of teeth, something inside
coiling, just the fact it was bad made it good
in a different way, and he pulled his lips back from
his teeth, hissing "if I feel your teeth again,
I'll knock 'em out."
frantically, the recruit moved back again, forcing his
head down, as far as a clumsy boy could, who knew nothing
about such things, instead repulsed by what was happening.
Turning more reckless when the back of his head was
hit repeatedly, the recruit fucked himself amidst gagging
noises and a brutality that no real virgin would be
able to handle. But this one could, and this one forced
the cock down his throat as if his life depended on
suppressed a sound, what kind of sound he wouldn't even
know, maybe it was Dan's name, or a 'yes', or just a
groan, the tightness and resistance, the disgust, all
of it was good. He pushed the recruit harder, forcing
him into a rhythm that soon drew his balls up. And even
though he'd loved to come into the face, there was something
else. He pulled back, pushing against the recruit's
forehead at the same time, then took him by the throat,
and forced him to the side, down, and Dan went with
it, moving with the force. His body offered little resistance,
not now, not that he knew what was going to happen and
wanted it to happen. Had known right from the
kicked him into position across the crate, where he
kept him down with a knee, grabbing those hands roughly.
The body shuddered, but the resistance was feeble, just
as frightened as a seventeen year old recruit would
be. Just that the body was tall, strong, and all too
Dan was bound, Vadim physically lifted him, and tore
down the trousers. Naked. Baring a smooth arse, and
causing a strangled sound to escape. Pulling them further
down, he kicked the legs apart. Oil. There was the oil
they often used, and he squirted some into his palm,
briefly rubbing the stuff down, then got on top of the
'recruit', right into position.
you scream, I'll kill you", Vadim breathed, and
the recruit whimpered, which turned into a badly suppressed
scream when Vadim began to push in, efficiently, harshly,
hips using strength, and the dark lust pooling in his
body beneath him struggled. Enough to give resistance,
not sufficient to throw him off. Bound hands pushing
upwards, trying to push away, but groping at nothing.
Cries of pain and
something else, filled the
room, when the body was used.
cursed, the lust near unbearable now, just knowing one
thing, that they should be silent, had to be silent,
his hand moving to the recruit's throat and roughly
pulling the scarf loose, then twisting it around his
wrist, like he had done many times, and his reward was
a choked, desperate sound. At the same time thrusting
with all his strength, no consideration, too urgent,
too fierce in his need to have. Body. Recruit. Dan.
Didn't matter. Using pressure, force, the motions underneath,
but most of all that fierce impossible destructive force
inside him pushing and pulling him into something savage,
a kind of feeling that he knew well and that had no
place outside war.
recruit's body was slammed against the crate like a
puppet, with every vicious thrust. Hands in fists, tearing
at the restraints, and the frenzied sounds that came
out of the constricted throat were worse than ever before.
Desperate. A body on the edge of breaking
Dan's body on the very brink. Too much, an onslaught
of pain and images, and most of all, no air, no breath.
No power, helpless. And something happened in Dan's
mind, when he tried to draw in air and failed. Vision
darkening as his body contracted, convulsed, fucked
and abused, once, twice again, and more, and thrusting
deep inside, torn, air, none, body. Death. Vadim. Lust
and his body bucked and thrashed in a last desperate
attempt to scream and fight, not even realising he was
cumming until he collapsed with a toneless shout, body
convulsing in orgasm before he blackened out and fell
tension and fight brought Vadim over the edge, too,
the sounds, that visceral panic, the smell of agony,
and he came, letting go of the scarf immediately, just
knowing, by instinct, by experience, that more would
be bad. He pulled away, tried to stand but failed, instead
knelt, wiping his sweat away, and the oil on his trousers,
saw Dan was still
oh fuck. He got to his feet,
immediately freed Dan's hands, pulled him up by his
shoulders, checking the pulse, which was slow, but steady.
choked sound came out of the abused throat, before there
was movement. Disoriented, his whole body weight against
the other, Dan remained slumped, but pressed out "oh
fuck," before he was shaken in an almighty coughing
let him go, only supporting him by the shoulders, wiped
the beret off, ran fingers through Dan's hair, looking
at him, trying to read his face. "Dan?" He
reached for the closest water bottle and offered it.
Dan raised his head, he rubbed both hands over his eyes.
Looking up at last, there was the biggest shit-eating
grin on his face. "You fucking kinky bastard."
With a raspy voice. He took the water and downed at
least half of it.
grinned, too relieved that Dan was alright, and only
now remembering to stuff his cock back in, after a quick
wiping down. "I
?" Not sure what to
say, or think, but he didn't have to apologize, apparently
I'd have killed to be your commanding
officer", he said, and couldn't help laughing.
the water down, Dan let himself slump onto the floor,
like a boneless sack of flesh and blood, exhausted.
"Holy fuck, that would have killed both of us,
and not in a good way." Twisting until he leaned
back into Vadim, sitting with his bare arse on the floor.
Vadim placed an arm around Dan's shoulders, and kissed
shit, my arse is killing me."
you're not. Liar." Dan cast a grin upwards. "You
enjoyed it too much." He downed another couple
of mouthfuls of water. "Must admit, I'm not sure
I want to think about what that means for your past."
He was still grinning though. Past, to him, was done
and over with.
wasn't quite like that
but it's certainly inspired
memory." Part his own superiors, part
when he'd raped, and a bit of Gavriil, and that made
a hellish concoction that was stronger than vodka.
prodding at his throat, Dan frowned. That would be visible,
no doubt. "And how the heck am I going to explain
this?" Couldn't help grinning, though. His mind
still reeling from the realisation that he'd cum. Just
like that. By getting fucked. Like a highly prized whore.
Wear a scarf. It's just red, should fade soon. Especially
with your skin tone." Vadim placed his head on
Dan's shoulder, the firm, steady, powerful body so close,
and saw the crate, and the traces on Dan's chest. Cum.
He smiled, and kissed Dan's neck. "But seems you
enjoyed it." Sticking firmly to English again.
" Mumbled, "I need to think about that
one. Not sure what that says about me."
nodded, thoughtfully. "Seems, we
like to play with fire. Like we did before we had feelings
for each other. When it was just about sex. You know?
Seeing the other suffer
feeling him struggle
turns us on." He inhaled while Dan reached for
his hand, thumb stroking the palm. "It comes down
to one thing, Dan. You are strong enough to suffer,
I am strong enough to suffer for you. If
you want to do this to me, do it."
no doubt." Dan's grin faded, replaced by a thoughtful
look. Quiet for a moment, while he kept caressing Vadim's
hand, as Vadim's fingers curled inwards. "But not
like this." He finally murmured. "That's not
guess I'm just not into humiliation. More into
Trailing off, Dan shrugged when he couldn't quite grasp
what he was trying to figure out. Twisting his head
back up to glance at the other, the grin returned. "We'll
see when it happens, but until then, I'd better get
cleaned up." Pointing with his chin towards the
mattresses on the floor. "And I wouldn't mind a
kip. Or is that out for recruits?"
smiled. "Leave granted. At ease, soldier."
He brushed his face against the side of Dan's face.
Russkie, but only if you clean me up." Dan groaned
when he scrambled back onto his knees. He was a sticky
mess, and there was still some warm water somewhere.
reached for the scarf and wiped Dan down, then, using
the remaining water and the towel, cleaned him up after
getting him out of boots and old BDUs. Then cleaned
himself, while Dan pulled the t-shirt over his head,
and Vadim grinned to himself in a strange, relaxed amusement.
"Thanks. That was
good. I'm surprised how
his head backwards, Dan raised his brows. "Surprised?
I'm not. You're a kinky bastard and I'm no better."
Winking at Vadim. "One of your more redeeming features,
looked up. "I won't apologize, then." He got
out of his own clothes, then dropped towel and scarf
all onto the pile with the dusty uniforms and stretched
out on the mattress, angling for a bottle of water.
And, sure enough, Dan was right there, right next to
him, side by side. Vadim knew as he dozed off that he'd
wake up with Dan in his back, holding him and 'spooning',
which was such a contrast to what he'd felt and done
just minutes ago, but on the other hand seemed like
things were settling in. Their past no longer some kind
of curse, but part of the present.
was slowly drifting awake after about an hour-long nap.
Glancing at his watch, it was still early, barely afternoon.
Plenty of time before 1900 hours. He lay with his front
pressed against Vadim's back, his arm across and holding,
hand covering Vadim's pecs. Without fail, he'd always
end up like this, no matter what. No matter the temperature,
and no matter the time, nor what they had done before
they'd fallen asleep. He moved his head, only to kiss
the shaved neck, smiling to himself. Vadim didn't move,
didn't wake. Dan didn't figure as a potential danger.
different, Dan thought. Unexpected and,
if he was honest with himself, rather shocking. Not
Vadim's game, no surprises there, he'd known his Russkie
since the days of being a merciless bastard, but his
own reaction. He'd cum. Holy shit, he'd cum by just
getting fucked. Aggression. Brutality. Bound and 'helpless',
and most importantly, getting strangled until he'd blackened
out. Dan's grin turned into a grimace in Vadim's back.
Was he really such a sick motherfucker that he needed
to re-enact the rape? Pulling in a sharp breath, Dan
tensed, winced at the movement as a sharp stab of discomfort
ripped through his guts. Ah, yes. His arse. That'd be
an interesting evening, sitting on the hard benches
in the mess.
his eyes and letting the breath back out, slowly this
time, Dan shrugged to no one and nothing in particular.
Alright, so he'd cum. So they'd re-enacted the terror
of eleven years ago. Again. Oh yes, once again. Wasn't
the first time and wouldn't be the last, and hell, he'd
enjoyed the added twist of being a 'recruit'. Kinky
bastard? Fair enough, so they were, both of them. He
distinctly remembered all the times he'd controlled
Vadim, and there was no way he'd forget that buzz.
bastards. There were worse things to be.
grin returned and Dan kissed Vadim's neck once more,
as he stroked the pecs, which made Vadim stir a little,
merely shifting his legs and an elbow. Murmuring into
Vadim's ear, "I'll be in the gym." He needed
to lift some weights, feel his body work.
now", murmured Vadim and half-turned as if to glance
at him but didn't turn enough to make eye contact. "Okay."
got up quietly, wincing again, and carefully dressed
himself in the discarded shorts he found in a corner,
and a t-shirt, crumpled into a ball. They would do,
as long as he had his shades, which he adjusted. He
put his feet into the boots, and could feel the ache
in his body. Slipping out of the hut, he walked slowly,
just as carefully as he had dressed, and went to the
gym, to gingerly seat himself into one of the machines.
had been working out for a while, beasting his arms
and upper body, but not his legs, when his Sergeant
mate entered the place. The moment he spotted Dan, the
guy's grin threatened to split his face. "Hey,
Mad Dog, heard about Midge? He got busted. Out on the
grinned, pushing the weights with renewed vigour. Said
nothing, just kept his teeth bared between a grin and
a sneer. Feral and endlessly satisfied.
a great loss, aye?" Doug commented.
None." Pressed out between his teeth, Dan shook
his head like a dog when sweat stung in his eyes.
reminds me, what the fuck were you doing in your hut?
I went past earlier and I wouldn't be a haggis tosser
if I hadn't heard you scream."
stopped, arms still in the butterfly machine, picking
his towel off a metal bar to wipe the sweat off his
face. Hiding something that he recognised as heat creeping
into his face. Oh fuck. He bared his teeth once more
in a shit eating grin when he came back up. "Aye,
mate, simple. You just tell me what you do on an afternoon
off when you can't get pissed."
smirked, "Wanking. What else."
got it, mate."
kind of wanking."
don't want to know."
raised his brows, "you sure?"
sure, mate. You really don't, unless you'd like to spend
an afternoon 'wanking' with the Russian."
no." Doug laughed, delivering a friendly but mighty
slap to Dan's sweat drenched shoulder. "I get it,
I don't want to know, but whatever it was, scream a
bit quieter next time, or the boys get nervous."
He was still laughing his head off when he went for
the leg machine.
gym started to get busy shortly after that, and Dan
was winding his routine down. No way was he going to
work on his legs, the movements would kill him. Half
an hour later, he slid out of the biceps machine, forgetting
to suppress a wince.
Mad Dog!" Doug shouted across the noise of metal
turned, towel around his neck, and shades back over
his eyes. Presented with the big Glaswegian sergeant,
as he half-hung and half-sat in the thigh machine. Grinning
at him like a lunatic. "Seems you got your brown
wings, aye? Just not the same way round that I got mine."
He was laughing as hard as before.
you, Dougie." Dan countered half-heartedly and
with good humour. Too knackered to take the piss, and
far too sated.
doesn't seem that way round, mate." Doug stated
again, with an even bigger grin, "or should I call
you know, 'Adrien!' and, 'I am here, Rocky!'" Doug
burst into laughter, most of the guys looking up, but
none had caught onto the joke.
ha, very funny." Dan tried to sneer but couldn't
help the grin. Had a hard time suppressing the laughter.
"Let me know when you're done taking the piss on
so." Dan flicked the towel across Doug's legs,
who only laughed harder. "Wanker." Adding
as he turned towards the door, "at least I get
some. You're just envious." And with that he sashayed
out of the room, with an exaggerated swing in his hips
and a hand that fluffed his sweaty hair. Making his
exit amidst cat calls, laughter and wolf whistles.
went straight to the shower, didn't bother to dry after
a quick stint under the hot spray, and tied the sweaty
towel around his hips. Water dripping from his hair
onto his shoulders and neck, running slowly down the
dark skin and pale scars of his body. Shorts and t-shirt
under his arm, he made his way back to the hut, wondering
if Vadim was still there. He didn't knock, tried the
handle and walked right in.
with the sight of Vadim, who had only half-turned, partially
on his back, one arm across his eyes, the single blanket
really just covering one leg, and a plastic bottle of
water resting near his chest, indicating that, apart
from drinking, he had done exactly nothing.
see, you were damn busy." Dan grinned as he threw
the pile of stinking clothes onto the floor. "Preparing
for a long night?" The towel ended on the same
pile as the rest.
set the arm down and regarded him. "Preparing what?"
He looked around and found the bottle close, reached
lazily for it and sat up to drink.
a long night."
That." Vadim grinned, still drowsy, then gulped
down water, wiping his lips and glanced up. "Your
charming way to tell me I should get up?"
get up and help me shave my arse." Standing with
his arms crossed over his chest, Dan grinned.
sure you want something manipulating your ass? Might
give me ideas, you know?"
Russkie, or Rocky, or whatever. If you have only so
much as a twinkle in your eye that might be the germ
of an idea, I'd punch your fucking lights in. Got that?"
Still grinning. "Nice, gentle help with shaving.
I feel as if a sledgehammer had ripped through my guts,
laughed and got up, laboriously. "I better get
dressed, then." He found a clean pair of camo trousers
and slipped into them, and got some shaving foam and
a safety razor. He only used the straight blade himself
when he was very awake and calm and steady enough. "Okay.
Uhm. Get into a good position." He filled some
water into the bowl and uncapped the shaving foam.
No stupid ideas." Walking over to the mattress,
Dan let himself down with a wince. His upper body was
aching from the workout. Pleasantly so. He'd never fail
to enjoy feeling his body, at least he knew he was alive.
Getting onto all fours, he opened his legs to allow
gathered up some water, wetting Dan's skin, then sprayed
some foam into his hand and rubbed it in, massaging
lightly, but the look of Dan's ass made him wince. Reddened
and doubtlessly sore, and he was careful to keep the
foam away. "Right. That was on ... the hard side."
but you know I can take it." Still an odd thought
that he'd cum, and even more intriguing to imagine what
it would take to make Vadim cum without touching his
cock. Very interesting thought indeed.
I know you can." Vadim pulled the bowl closer and
began to shave the stubble away. Wet foam, running down
in droplets, baring dark skin over powerful muscle.
on all fours, Dan was suddenly struck by the hilarity
of the situation. "Mad Dog alright, eh?"
He murmured, hardly able to control a chuckle, and that
really wasn't a good idea with a razor so close. Safety
shook his head. "Last I'm thinking about is dogs."
whatever you are thinking about, you can always kiss
grinned. "You want my tongue next?"
no. Not in my arse anyway." Dan craned his head
as far back as he could, trying to catch a glimpse of
Vadim. "But there are other areas that might need
some tongue action." He winked. "Russian recruits
don't come cheap, you know
carefully pulled Dan's ass cheeks apart to slide in
and shave off the wayward hair there, while Dan remained
very, very still. Again confronted with the evidence,
Vadim shook his head to himself, wiped Dan's ass with
a towel, and placed a kiss on one buttock. "They
do, but let's assume they don't."
but this Russian recruit here doesn't come all
that cheap." Flopping himself down, Dan lazily
turned over. Head cushioned on his arm, he grinned at
Vadim. "We have half an hour before drinks in the
Mess. What about 10 dollars, you love me long time?"
Putting on the fake Asian accent again.
sneered. "Just don't pay me in fucking dollars.
Make that quid."
fucking expensive, mate." Dan laughed.
put the bowl down, wiped his hands, and regarded Dan's
body, smiling. "Fancy a blowjob, pretty man?"
the first time anyone called me pretty, and if you really
think that I am, then you need to get your head sorted
and your eyes checked, but hell, yeah."
shrugged. "I'm just trying to get into the role
" He lowered himself onto the mattress, lying
on his side, one hand on Dan's other side so he could
arms and legs into an aching but relaxed heap, Dan grinned
and closed his eyes. Vadim bent down and took his cock,
sucking on it to get its attention, licking, nuzzling,
closing his eyes, too, just mellow and nice, not a professional
blowjob by a long stretch. More lazy and tender, which
turned only urgent much later, when he took the cock
deeper and with skill, swallowing when Dan came, and
then resting on Dan's thigh, hands gently tracing the
lines of Dan's muscles and the scar on his knee.
lying there for a long time, silent and breathing, with
closed eyes, Dan was half drifting off into another
snooze, when there was a rap on the door. Someone shouting
outside, and Dan muttered obscenities under his breath.
He drew in a deep breath and hollered in his most stentorian
ex-sergeant voice, "what the fuck do you want?"
impatient rap was the answer. "I said, get our
Rocky out for a celebratory drink of two cans of bear's
piss!" Laughter followed the words, until a well-known
voice cut through the ruckus.
guys, bring the battering ram!" It was Jean.
eyes opened, and he looked up, unpleasantly surprised
at the turn of conversation, and even more when there
was a loud clanging noise and the hut shook in its foundations,
accompanied by laughter. "One! Come on, boys, don't
tire out already." Another impact. "Two!"
skin the fucker," hissed Vadim, scrambling for
damn." Dan groaned and reached for his shades that
had fallen off the edge of the mattress. Otherwise he
absolutely nothing. Lying just as before.
Naked. Sprawled. And not giving a shit.
A worse impact that made Vadim jump, and cross the space
to the door.
there's the surrender", said Jean, smug, which
was as grating as Jean could possible be. "Relinquish
'Rocky', and come out unarmed!"
groaned, pulled up his trousers, and began to unlock
the doors. Outside, jeering people. Mercs, several of
Midge's brood that had changed sides, Dan's team, Jean's
team, Pascal, the whole lot.
merely raised his head, shades over his eyes, and waved
a hand in greeting. "Take him. Have fun. He's worn
me out." His grin threatened to split his face,
before he let his head drop back. Amused by the shenanigans,
and most of all how some of those turncoats managed
to celebrate his Russkie now, while a day ago they would
have spilled his guts. At least Jean was a constant,
and some of his older mates. Even Pascal. "Leave
something for me for later!" Dan shouted.
mercs descended on Vadim, he was jostled, suddenly lifted
up, and all he could do was hold back the violent urge
to kill them all, as they carried him off to the Mess.
Jean, meanwhile, stepped inside, Pascal with him.
a disgrace, giving up your lover to the mob", Jean
joked, and reached down to pull Dan up by an arm, who
allowed himself to be moved, but only under protest.
"Come on, pussy, get up. Who knows what they'll
be doing with 'Rocky' there." He laughed. "I
mean, Rocky? Does he even know the film?"
Of course not." Dan huffed, looking from Jean to
Pascal. "And by the way, you haven't noticed that
I am stark naked, with no clothes lying around?"
frowned, not actually looking at Dan, keeping his eyes
means you guys had sex", said Jean. "See?
I'm a real Sherlock Holmes."
really impressed, Sherlock, but doesn't that give you
a clue that I should get my arse out of this hut, over
to the other, and find myself some clothes?"
turned to Pascal. "You take his legs?"
protested while Pascal frowned. "Shouldn't he get
gay naked different to straight naked?" asked Jean.
moved forward, reluctant to touch Dan, but it was all
a joke, really, wasn't it, while Jean's expression turned
sly and he winked at Dan, who complained.
Frenchies, what the fuck are you up to? No pawing of
the goods, here."
hesitated again, which was funny considering he was
the paratrooper type who was happy just charging into
battle. "I could get you some clothes", he
volunteered, very ill at ease.
didn't bother to hide the smirk. "That's the best
idea you've had all month." Winking at Jean, who
might or might not have seen the gesture beneath the
shades. "My bergan is in my old hut. You'll find
polo shirt and shorts, anything, really. Just grab it.
Pascal vanished, which caused Jean to call something
in French which sounded more piss-taking than insulting.
Once Pascal was out of the door, Jean leaned down to
Dan. "You fucking tease."
It's you who is the goddamned tease. Poor Pascal. With
a friend like you, who needs an enemy." Dan kicked
the door shut and grabbed hold of Jean's neck in the
same motion, pulling him close. Naked body pressed against
clothes, lips upon the other's. "We have 30 seconds
groaned, pressing in as well, shook his head. "I
can't come that fast, no way. Shit." He kissed
Dan, urgently, passionately, open lips, tongue, pretty
much devouring him, breathless and needy, and if they'd
had a few minutes rather than mere seconds, things might
have gone very differently.
Dan had cum not long ago, and when he pulled away, the
moment some noise announced Pascal's arrival, nothing
showed on his naked body. Jean, though, was another
matter. Dan adjusted his shades and grinned at the French
para who stepped inside with a bundle of clothes over
know what you wanted, just took a handful."
Dan took the first pair of trousers that fell out of
the bundle, and stepped inside. It was one of the pairs
that Vadim had bought him in Thailand. Sand coloured,
and far too good looking for a scruff like him in a
place like this. "Better?" Slipping a polo
shirt over his head, which just about fitted alright
with the trousers. "No more scary naked faggot?"
shrugged, not sure what to say, and the whole issue
always made him uncomfortable. "Why do you always
say that", he said, with an air of exasperation.
"It's not funny or anything."
say it, because you make it funny by your reaction.
Has it ever occurred to you, that I'm just not goddamned
interested in you? There's no need in being skittish
around me, mate. I'm just a bloke like everyone else."
didn't seem to convince Pascal who appeared increasingly
closed the belt to keep the trousers on his lean hips,
"but since you are such great piss-taking fodder,
I keep repeating it. Faggot. Shitstabber. Poofter."
Dan was laughing hard, but slapped Pascal's shoulder
before the man lost his rag, and Pascal still didn't
seem to know how to react, merely met his gaze, looking
worried and insecure.
mate, couldn't resist. I promise to be better in the
won't bite. He barks a lot, but he never bites."
Jean grinned, placed a hand on Pascal's shoulder and
squeezed it. Giving Dan another wink.
Yeah", said Pascal, who looked like he'd rather
be somewhere else and probably already berated himself
for bringing the issue up at all.
Shall we? And I won't even call myself 'faggot'."
Laughing again, Dan made his way out of the hut, managing
to hide a wince that tried to escape as he stepped over
grinned, letting Pascal walk first, mostly to hide the
effect Dan had had on his body, but as they walked to
the Mess, Pascal fell in stride next to him. "What's
a big guy like you blush like a girl, that's funny.
Just take it in stride. He's a good bloke, Mad Dog.
Won't harm a fly."
heard that!" Dan called backwards, "don't
believe him, Pascal, I am a mean fighting machine. Honest."
He lifted his shades to wink at the guy. "Not hurting
a fly is a very bad reputation to have for a merc. So,
forget about that immediately."
could hear the noise from the Mess tent, and Dan began
to wonder in how much 'agony' he would find Vadim. Part
worried, and biggest part highly amused.
Vadim was sitting on one of the benches, surrounded
by the jeering mob. Cans of weak lager were everywhere,
and people shouted at the top of their lungs - a general
piss-taking that didn't seem to take into account the
half-naked Russkie sitting there, battling the instinct
to free himself and break a few heads on the way out.
People were slapping his naked shoulders, back, a dozen
hands on him, which Vadim bore stoically.
stuck his fingers in his mouth and gave a sharp, painful
whistle. "And here's 'Adrian'!" he shouted,
and the mob surged forward to engulf Dan as well.
shit, you fucking bastard!" Dan managed to yell
at Jean over the noise, before he was taken into the
centre of the mob. Finding himself eventually, thankfully,
right beside Vadim. Pushed down onto the hard bench,
he would have yelped when his arse hit the wood, if
he hadn't had a can of bear's piss on his lips.
He managed to get out, breathlessly. "What's it
like, being Mr Popular all of a sudden?" Grinning
at Vadim, he gave his thigh a squeeze.
sure", murmured Vadim close to his ear. "I
keep thinking they mean somebody else."
can see that." Dan grinned, his lips close to Vadim's
ear, "but you're doing well, considering you're
the camp bogeyman." He winked, then added, "you
want me to get you a shirt? Or are you comfortable,
flaunting your manly body to all and sundry?"
cast him a quick glance. "Boots, actually."
Glancing down to a stray bottle that just hit the ground
hard enough to splinter into shards. "Boots would
be good. And, yeah, covering the scars."
this is the Mess, you shouldn't even be here without
fine, as long as it doesn't have a name tag attached."
twitched, eyes widening behind the shades, before he
caught himself and laughed. "Alright, 'Rocky',
I'll be right back." He was about to get up, but
didn't get far, when Jean leaned over, both hands on
Vadim's shoulders, which didn't even make Vadim flinch,
having been touched and prodded and slapped for what
felt like a long time. Jean's touch wasn't uncomfortable,
not threatening, even though he still didn't like him.
"I think you guys should marry", Jean shouted
over the din. "It's legal in Denmark."
roar of laughter drowned out Dan's protest, who had
to wait a moment before he could shout against the ruckus,
"No fucking way! I'm a man, not a sappy,
romantic Frenchman, who's heard too much of l'amour,
and can't wait to get married himself!"
grinned back. "You finding a fault in my manhood
just because I have the most fucking gorgeous sexy model
girlfriend anybody could possibly want to lay their
paws on?" Kneading Vadim's neck, almost as an aside.
"Hey, Vadya, what do you think about it? Am I less
of a man, eh?"
glanced at Dan, finding the touches not too bad, even
though he was at loss for a great answer. "No idea
about your manhood, Jean. Haven't had a chance to test
it." A meaningful glance to Dan, who suddenly broke
out in a coughing fit, most unusual for him.
took him a moment to get himself under control, before
he downed the rest of his cold but tasteless lager,
and slammed the empty can onto the table. "Anyone
here who thinks holy matrimony and happy wedlock is
for incurable saps who should know better than to stop
dipping their cock into many waters, raise their hand
answer was almost unanimous. A barrage of shouts and
whistles, hands being waved and raucous laughter.
turned to Jean, lifted his shades and winked. "See?
Told you," before touching Vadim's biceps and heading
off to weave his way through the crowd.
girl at least wouldn't be able to rip my head off, Mad
Dog." Jean shouted after Dan, then sat down next
to Vadim. "Good to see you lighten up a bit. You're
not all grim and nasty, eh?"
shot him a glance, then heaved a sigh and relaxed. He
had no chance to escape, sex had made him mellow, and
this was still better than ending up with a split lip
and a swollen face. He listened to the banter, every
now and then snapping a remark, but it seemed like he
could say or do nothing wrong. Jean's hands were on
him most of the time, touchy-feely as the Frenchman
was, so much that Vadim got the feeling Jean missed
took Dan longer than expected to find socks and boots
and a shirt that appeared mostly clean. Once again making
his way through the guys, who did a veritable impression
of being drunk without actually having enough alcohol,
until he found the bench. Fag in the corner of his mouth,
he dropped the clothes on Vadim's lap and prodded Jean.
"Since when are you groping my man?"
grinned. "Just keeping him 'warm' for you."
He laughed, slapped Vadim's back, then moved a little
away, amidst laughter. Jean's protective shield of assumed
straightness still held up.
squeezed in between Jean and Vadim, and winced again
as he settled down. Muttering to himself that they could
do with some goddamned cushions. Prodding Jean again.
"Careful, or Pascal will be jealous." Baring
his teeth in a smirk, then dragging at his fag and blowing
the smoke into Jean's face.
promptly reached for his own cigarettes and lit one,
giving Dan a sly grin. "A dose of jealousy keeps
the sex good ..."
Pascal? Ha, ha, even I couldn't turn him less-than-straight."
Grinning at Vadim, who was lacing the boots, "you
should have seen him earlier. The guy's worried to touch
me, in case he might catch the gay virus. Poor sod."
caught his name being mentioned and rolled his eyes,
but didn't move to defend himself.
met his eyes briefly, then shrugged. "Well, you
caught the virus."
observation shut Dan up for a moment. "Damn."
Rubbing his nose while inhaling smoke. "Hell and
damnation, you are bloody right. So," nodding first
to Vadim, then to Jean, "we have herewith established
that I was an innocent straight guy, who got infected
by the evil Russian with the gay virus. Therefore, 'Rocky',
it's all your fault."
simply shrugged while pulling the shirt over his head.
tell Pascal ... we can't have deserters just because
of fear ..." murmured Jean, then laughed.
was straight when I met him", said Vadim, ever
so helpful. "He knows everything about 'turning
and trust me, back then Vadim wasn't quite as cheerful
and seductive as he is nowadays." Dan's grin went
from ear to ear. "But I couldn't help it, there
" snapping his fingers, "je
ne sais quoi, about our 'Rocky'. Don't you think?"
don't know' is about right", murmured Pascal, frowning,
with tension around his lips, but still his rather friendly,
balanced self. "Can't we talk about the weather?"
leaned in, arm resting on Dan's shoulder.
but with Jean so close, I figure the weather is rather
warm." Dan grinned.
looked at Jean, almost unpleasantly surprised, as if
he was finally catching on that Jean was awfully affectionate
with Dan. And what it might or could mean. Then, almost
visibly, thinking about how Jean touched him, too. "No
idea what you mean." He stepped back and looked
like he was about to bolt.
started to laugh, covering up his realisation that maybe
they had been going a step too far. Laughing hard to
dispel any doubts. "I'm just taking the piss, Pascal.
Our Jean, here, is just an annoying touchy-feely git,
but as hot blooded as a straight male can be. I can
vouch for that, I'd get into his pants if I could, but
goddammit, no chance. Not with that lady of his."
He winked, slapping Jean's shoulder and sidling up to
Vadim. He'd just lied worse than he'd done for years,
and he didn't even feel guilty about it. Flicking the
cigarette butt into the nearest ashtray, he wrapped
his arm around Vadim's shoulders.
snorted and shook his head, while Vadim couldn't suppress
a smirk, almost spiteful. Jean's protective shield had
been damaged, as Pascal visibly re-evaluated and seemed
to go through incidents in the past, looking thoughtful,
but then shrugged to join the rest of the crowd again.
It all went back to boisterous fun, cat-calling, and
enormous exaggerations of adventurous deeds, women's
tits, and the last dump. Vadim watched, bemused, but
too mellow or tired to join.
kept his arm around Vadim's shoulders for a long time,
joined in the occasional banter, shouted the odd insult,
and laughed with the lot of them. Talking to Jean and
moving to coke after his allotted two cans, but even
that couldn't keep him awake. He became quieter over
the last half hour, his body succumbing to the fatigue
of sex and workout, and a far too eventful day.
just lit another fag, it hung in the customary corner
of his mouth as he sat with his head slowly leaning
towards Vadim's shoulder, finally hitting it. Eyes closed.
Cigarette burning, he had fallen asleep amidst the ruckus.
noticed the shift in weight, half turned and pulled
the cigarette from Dan's lips before it accidentally
dropped into his lap. "There, Lapushka. I think
we call it a night, hm?" He ran his fingers across
Dan's cheek, and gently touched his head to Dan's, who
was barely roused, but smiled.
paw?" asked Jean.
see your Russian's still functional", Vadim murmured.
eyes betrayed surprise, but tenderness. "You are
the most ... extraordinary guys I know, you know that,
Vadim? Not sure I'll ever fully understand you."
snorted. "I'd be fucked if I understood it myself.
But it doesn't matter." Gently slapping Dan's cheek,
he murmured: "I'll take you home, soldier",
and slowly lifted Dan off the bench, half-carrying him.
"Thanks guys, nice party."
they made their way back to the hut, with Dan more asleep
than awake, they had voices calling after them. Not
insults, not threats, but good wishes.