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Special Forces Chapter XXXIV: Close Combat
 
 

November 1991, the Persian Gulf

Two days later, Dan got called over to the mail room when he arrived back from shift, which had been the same one as Vadim's, but of course in separate teams. Figuring it could only be from Maggie, he was surprised when the envelope bore an American eagle. Raising his brows, he raised his shades as well, studying the letter for a moment.

"There are a couple more." The mailroom guy shrugged.

Making some appropriately inquisitive noises, Dan pushed a grimy finger under the flap to rip it open. "For Vadim and Jean, huh?"

"How do you know?"

Dan grinned, "you must be the only bugger around here who has no clue how bloody goddamned heroic the three of us are." Baring his teeth in a grin.

The squaddie rolled his eyes and muttered something under his breath, but shouted, the moment he spotted Jean's team, "hey, you got mail! Both of you." gesturing to Vadim and Jean.

Jean wiped his face, only slightly blurring the lines between clean and dirty, moving towards the mail room, with Vadim following closely.

"Neat. Not the postcards from holiday paradises", stated Jean, grinning. "You know, when they send you postcards with plenty of naked tits and next-to-nothing strings on a hot pair of Brazilian ladies?"

"As if I'd know." Dan snorted while unfolding the letter and staring at the load of gobbledegook.

Jean tore the pretty much identical envelope, brow darkening in concentration as he read. "Ok. Right. All these words to invite us to a medal awarding ceremony?"

"Holy fuck, seems so." Lowering his letter, Dan grinned at Jean and Vadim. "If they serve some good food I'm not going to complain." Poking at Vadim's letter. "What kind of Christmas tree baubles are you two going to get?"

"It says 'Army Commendation Medal'", said Vadim, followed by an affirmative grunt from Jean. "Same here. Holy fuck. I never got anything like that." Jean laughed. "Shit."

No, because you're a fucking deserter, thought Vadim, and bit back the comment that he'd had enough medals to look impressive in his 'fake' real uniform indeed. Plenty of combat-related medals, too.

Dan just laughed, shaking his head, but his hand went to Vadim's shoulder, and his fingers were gently digging into the muscle. He knew, he understood, but hell, only one thing to do about it: laugh. They couldn't change the past. "Fucking ironic, isn't it? You're going to have an Uncle Sam medal dangling from your chests." He smirked, teeth and all. "You got to laugh, aye?"

"Aye." Vadim folded the paper and stuffed it back into its envelope. Very ironic. Officially, he was now a Brit, and that meant an ally by default. He didn't really want the medal, unlike Jean, whose face had lit up under the caked dirt.

Dan turned to Jean, "so that means you never got a medal in La Legion?"

"Well, let's say I didn't really have a choice in getting the Croix du Combattant or the Medaille des Blesses. Engaging the enemy and getting wounded wasn't really a choice, there." Jean looked at the mail guy. "Let's hand the kit in. I'm dying for a shower."

"Aye." Dan nodded, "and a damn good thing I got that suit from the embassy," turning to Vadim, "and that you had one made in Thailand." He was walking to the door, when he suddenly stopped dead. "Damn. My medals, they're still in the embassy. Best get Maggie to send them over."

Vadim grinned, somewhat pained. "Guess I'll be the one who goes in naked." Even Jean the deserter had two. Yet another thing where his own Motherland had told him 'fuck you'. No rank, no medals, no uniform, no badges. In military terms, none of his deeds nor qualifications existed. His career wiped out, with not even a piece of cheap metal strung up on ribbon to prove he'd been worth anything.

"No," Dan's hand came back to Vadim's shoulder. "You won't. We will know that you should have a chest glittering with lametta. I've seen you, in full uniform with all your medals."

Vadim looked at him, that pained expression turning to almost stricken tenderness. How much it still meant. How much Dan cared for the man he'd been, even though that man, in his full powers and regalia, had been an utter bastard. I love you, Dan, he thought, and Vadim completely missed the expression on Jean's face: compassion.

Dan gently pushed Vadim through the door. "And while we're getting this shit washed off, you better tell us what medals you did have, before the arseholes came down with the boot. Aye, Jean?"

"Oh yes. You must have had enough for a whole platoon, knowing you." Jean grinned. "Well, at least a little. I played it safe in that place, but you were right in the middle of it."

"I was." And no, Vadim didn't want to remember. It would be digging too deep. He'd felt proud because of some of them, and ashamed for others, depending on the deed, the achievement, they were connected with.

Dan seemed to understand even that, because he backtracked almost immediately. Grinning at Jean, "Guess it would take too long to list all of them. Just trust me, Vadim's chest was just about big enough to hold the panel of ribbons and medals, and he's not particularly narrow-chested, our Rocky. Is he?"

Jean grinned as they handed in their kit, shed the armour, grabbed the showering kit, and of course Jean was there, and joined them in the showers, using the stall right next to theirs.

Dan was the last one to step under the spray, grinning when he found himself standing between Jean and Vadim. With just the tiled walls between them. Now … that was an interesting position to be in, and he whistled while sluicing the dirt off, luxuriating under the hot water.

Jean glanced over with a knowing, teasing smile, studying both of them - but mostly Dan - with intent. Rewarded by Dan with a very slow and deliberate washing of his body, taking his time, especially around the more interesting areas, and Dan even turned his back to the room, slightly bending over, as he washed between his buttocks. Sticking his head out of the spray, he grinned, "strange, where that damned dust gets into, aye?"

Jean laughed, somewhat coarsely. "You wouldn't believe where my portion of dust went. And I'd be surprised if Vadim wasn't suffering from the same." He was clearly half-hard, the show, the teasing, and the potential for embarrassment in this location.

"What, right into the Jap's eye? Believe it or not, back in Afghanistan I was pissing dust." Dan stepped further out from his partition, winking at Vadim, who stopped the water just a few seconds after Dan had stopped his, stepped into his flip flops and placed a towel around his hips.

"Damn, I'd come over for a drink, but I guess you're going to be fucking like rabbits once the door falls shut behind you."

"What makes you think so, Frenchie?" Dan was baring his teeth in an almighty smirk, and he still hadn't bothered to put the towel round his hips.

Jean laughed, leaning with both arms on the partition, water running from his hair over his face. "That grin? Or the way Vadim doesn't stay under the water for longer than five minutes? He's practically racing you."

Vadim gathered up Dan's washing bag and stood near his shoulder, close enough to almost touch.

"You think so?" Dan turned his head to look at Vadim. "We're old men, we don't always fuck, you know." Finally, slowly, wrapping the towel round his hips, Dan picked up his shower gel. "Guess, to prove I'm telling the truth, we better invite you to a drink in the hut. Aye?" Nudging Vadim.

Vadim nodded. "Sure. Come on in. You don't have to change."

"That would destroy my reputation completely", said Jean, casting a quizzical glance at Vadim's back, while Dan let out a sound, suspiciously close to a snigger. "I'll join you in a few minutes, let me just drop off this stuff."

With that, he went towards his own hut, while Vadim and Dan made their way over to the one they shared at night, after snatching some clothes from the other one, and the booze.

"You think I should bother dressing?" Dan grinned at Vadim after flopping onto the combined mattresses on the floor.

Vadim dropped the towel. "I am getting dressed." Finding a pair of camo trousers, he looked at Dan. "I did have sex in mind, you know."

"What, with Jean?" Dan still didn't make any effort at pulling his own trousers closer.

Vadim laughed. "With you, actually."

"And why not with Jean?" Dan was grinning like a lazy cat.

"Jean hates my …" Vadim paused. Looking at Dan, like it had never occurred to him. "I don't know. We're not … exactly friends."

"Friends …" Dan was at least bothering to make a half-arsed effort at reaching for his trousers, "and since when did that ever stop us from fucking? I distinctly remember hating your bloody guts, while fucking your brains out."

Vadim reached for a tee. "He said 'You make my skin crawl' … you at least wanted me."

"Well …" Dan flicked the towel off to get a foot into one trouser leg, "when did he say that? I bet it wasn't lately, or was it?"

"No." Vadim frowned, pulling down the tee and then sitting to put on socks. "No, not recently." Jean. He couldn't deny Jean was attractive, if he'd shut up for once and stopped flirting with Dan.

"Can't see the problem, then." Dan was just about getting his second leg into the trousers, when Jean knocked on the door and came in. Tight shirt, camo trousers as well, but sneakers, no boots. "Hi guys." He closed the door behind him, and sat down without being asked, looking at them, while Dan was just about to pull the camo trousers over his hips, fiddling with the zip and button.

"You expecting booze or what?" Dan grinned.

Jean reached into his thigh pocket and pulled out a flat bottle of whisky. "Brought my own. Not great stuff, but I assure you, you won't go blind."

"Let's see what we've got." Scrambling up, Dan was looking over the bottles. Some gin, some vodka, and the leftovers of whisky, with a six-pack of beer. American Budweiser, no better than the English shit. "Got no mixers, so I guess it's beer and whisky, aye?" He was the only one who didn't wear a top, and he didn't seem to notice, either. Pouring generous measures to empty their own bottle of whisky, Dan handed tin mugs to each of the men, and they accepted the drinks, miraculously getting along just fine right now. "Slainte." The mug close to his lips, Dan peered over the rim, his dark eyes alit with a smile, "to friendship."

"To danger", said Jean, grinning.

Vadim merely nodded, still pondering what it meant that Jean had invited himself to their tin hut, brought booze, and what Dan had said, about possibilities. It still didn't make much sense, but nothing did.

"Ah, that warms my poor heart", said Jean, relaxing visibly, stretching his legs out.

Dan had almost finished the triple dram, and flopped back down onto the mattress. "And why is that heart of yours poor?" Glancing at Vadim, "you envious because your lady love's not here?"

Jean laughed. "Yeah. It gets pretty cold at night … "

"So, you've come to 'share warmth'?" asked Vadim, frowning still, standing.

Jean grinned up to him. "If you don't mind sharing?"

Dan murmured, glancing up at Vadim "well, do you?"

"I …" Looking at Jean, his easy confidence, and Dan, who meant it, he assumed. They'd both invited him to share in what they usually did. Some fucked-up generosity. He walked to the door and locked it, just to win time, to be safe, and Jean got up, shed his t-shirt, like that was decided now. Was it?

Jean looked at him, grinning, half-teasing, half real irony, only too aware probably that his actions didn't make any sense. "Just don't rip my arms off, Vadim, and we should be fine. Okay?"

"Okay." Vadim still didn't move.

But Dan, head tilted, slouched on the mattress, was slowly getting up once more. Eyes on Vadim, he reached out, hand touching cloth, warmed by skin, making Vadim's chest widen, ribs and lungs expanding, and then Dan stood close. "It's OK." Murmured, he was smiling. The most tender smile outside of their solitude of two, and suddenly Jean did not matter. What mattered instead, was the sense of unease in Vadim he could not ignore. "It's just joking between mates. We'll only have a drink." Adding, in Russian, "alright?"

"Alright." Vadim looked into Dan's eyes, touched his forehead to Dan's, looked at Jean again. What did Jean want? What indeed? Drive his point home? "No problem." He rubbed his face against Dan's, touched his arm. "I'm good."

"Good for a drink, hm? Between friends." Guiding Vadim down to the mattress, he sat down beside him, that tender smile still on his face. What the heck did sex matter when more was at stake, and as much as he liked Jean - and that was a hell of a lot - nothing was worth causing Vadim unease. As simple as that. "So," arm around Vadim's shoulder, Dan looked up at Jean, "what about that whisky of yours?"

Jean offered it, freely. "There. It's all I have - at the moment, at least." He smiled, strangely touched by the way Dan cared for Vadim, who probably was still reeling from the thing with the medal. It was hard to comprehend, Jean thought, the fact that Vadim was, in his own right, a fallen hero of a place that no longer existed. Small wonder he was still recovering. He put on the shirt again, almost in an afterthought. It was really too cold to be running around semi-naked, unless there was a good reason for it.

"Slainte, then." Dan grinned, sitting close to Vadim, close enough to share the body heat. Downing the whisky, he enjoyed the way it burnt down his throat and warmed his belly. Feeling entirely at peace and completely content with himself and the world. "To friendship and medals, and the fact we'll look like the fucking MI5 in our suits, unless our Frenchman can't find one." Grinning, Dan raised his mug for another dram.

Jean cursed. "Suit. Right. It said something about dress code. Fuck. I'll need to have one brought in. I guess that's FedEx or something." He shook his head, and Dan laughed.

"Aye, and I have to get my medals shipped over. Will be a damn heavy parcel." He winked.

"See, Vadya, you save some Yanks, and they make you jump through hoops for it. Slainte."

"Slainte." Vadim leaned against Dan, comfortable now to show this kind of affection, even though Jean was still in the room. The Legionnaire seemed to ignore it, or didn't seem to think any of it. He was his usual self, unchanged, no longer provocative, and Dan leaned into Vadim, touching as he would when they were alone. Drinking and chatting about inane stuff that made them laugh, relax, and feel at ease. Until it was time to sleep and prepare for another day, and another time to put their lives on the line.

* * *

Two weeks later, after phone calls, FedEx, extortionate express shipping rates, and Dan grudgingly using shampoo and getting a haircut, he was getting into the black suit that he used to wear at the embassy. The one that made him look like 007, and that reminded him a tad too much of Kabul, but he kept the slight hint of unease at bay. Reading once more over Her Majesty the Queen's letter of permission for both Vadim and him, allowing them - as subjects of Her Majesty - to accept the foreign military commendation. The CO had done his best, and Dan figured it was certainly not on his behalf, since the poncy bastard still hated his guts, but on behalf of the British Forces. Ex or not, he'd been SAS, and Vadim had gone through Selection. Honour by affiliation or some such shit.

Vadim put the last polished shoe down and pushed them over towards Dan. "We will still be dusty", he murmured. "There's no escape from the dust." He was already wearing the suit trousers, the shirt, all properly buttoned up, and bent down to tie his shoe laces.

"Better than turning up in camo." Dan grinned, doing the unheard of - brushing his hair, quite a bit shorter than before. "After all, with those Yanks, 'informal' means suit and tie and they don't know jack shit about formal." He huffed, "they should have come to one of our functions, they'd have been surprised how bloody formal us Brits can get." Slipping into his shoes, he tied them, then stood in front of the small shaving mirror. Fiddling about with the panel of ribbons and miniature medals, he was cursing under his breath, could hardly see what he was doing. "And if they play that goddamned anthem of theirs I'll vomit." Grumbling, but still with good humour.

Vadim laughed. "Don't. I trust the food at least will be alright." He turned Dan around by the shoulder and checked the panel, correcting it slightly. "Ah. Here's the 'I kicked Spetsnaz ass' ribbon. Didn't think they made them."

Dan grinned, keeping it light-hearted. "Aye, they made that one and another one, specially for me." Pointing arbitrarily at one of the medals, "that one's for 'shagged Spetsnaz arse'." He winked.

"And this is for 'Can do deep throating'." Tapping another medal, at random, Vadim kissed Dan on the lips. "You decided to accept that honour, so we go through with this."

"It was a hell of a lot less my decision, than it was the CO's and his cronies. As an ex-blade I'd rather keep things hush-hush, but I guess since I've become a merc I've already gone beyond the hush-hush stage." Dan shrugged, fiddling with his tie, and had Vadim slap his hands away and correct it, for his troubles. "Not as big as yours, that panel, but I hope that you're at least a bit impressed, eh?" Dan smiled.

Vadim grinned. "I'll have a closer look and check what it was you got them for. Even though I have a fairly good idea. Suits you. I like that suit. And the fact you're shaved and trimmed in all the right places." He plucked his jacket from the coat hanger and shrugged into it, correcting the piece. Comfortable. It was just right, and he loved that suit.

"I guess all the right places is the clue here, aye?" Dan grinned, adjusting his crotch. Refused to wear underwear, even in the suit, proclaiming that it was bad enough to get dolled up for the occasion. "Shaved back and front and all the way. I'm getting almost as bad as you, except that you're not going to get me to get rid of all my pubes." Dan was bending down to retrieve something from his bergan, slipping it onto his wrist.

Vadim ran a hand over Dan's ass. "It is more sensitive, though, isn't it. And tastes better." Grinning maliciously.

"Aye, as long as I get that promised blow job tonight, I'm not going to complain." Dan added with a flash of a grin, "too much." He was slowly turning round himself. "What do you think? Ready to receive some shiny dangly bits?"

Vadim's eyes caught on the string of lapis around Dan's wrist, and, for a moment, was lost for words, then cleared his throat. "As many dangly bits as you want, Lapushka." Again kissing Dan, then checking the time. "I guess the driver's already waiting." He closed the buttons on his jacket. "Do I look alright?"

"You look like a killer. A damn elegant one." Dan smiled, rubbing his cheek for a moment against Vadim's. "And it's a shame I don't have time to inspect you properly, but I will. Later." Brushing his lapels down, despite them being as perfect as they could be, he grinned at Vadim, heading for the door. "We'll look better than any of the Yanks ever will, they just don't get that 'formal' concept. Bless the Colonials."

"The tail wagging the dog", Vadim agreed, and followed the sniggering Dan who stepped outside. Scanning the area for Jean, Dan found him standing there, smoking, and wearing a very serious looking suit that made him look quite expensive and refined, too. His hair was trimmed, he was shaved, and Vadim thought that not being in camo diminished Jean somehow, made him appear younger, and more self-conscious, which, to his surprise, was an excellent look.

"Ah, there you are, just in time to ruin my cigarette." Jean laughed. "Light up, and they'll come out."

"The same could be said for your very self." Dan grinned, conscious of the dust and treading carefully. "You look like a cheap version of a runway model."

"Cheap?" huffed Jean. "Okay, yeah, I'm a bit too plain to be a dressman, but cheap is a bit below the belt, my dear Dan." Affecting a very camp accent.

"Forget it, you just don't get the toff tottie accent." Dan laughed, slapping Jean's shoulder, and all three made their short way to the waiting Landrover. To Dan's eternal dismay there wasn't only one vehicle waiting, but two more, and the first one carried the CO, in full regalia. "Oh shit," he murmured and grimaced, "that bastard is the last thing I need today. Those commissioned fuckwits always turn up when they think there's a scrap of glory to be had."

"Who's going to sit on his lap?" asked Jean.

"We stick to our Lannie." Dan murmured, nodding towards the assembled cronies, damn glad he didn't have to salute that homophobic bastard. Those days were over. "Look on the bright side," Dan muttered as he climbed into the back seat, "he must be bloody hating this. Faggots galore, all of them getting a medal." Nudging Jean's ribs with his elbow, "except for you, of course. You're straight as fuck."

"Damn right. I could sit on his lap. I know this guy loves me, secretly. It's one of those great tragic love stories full of anguish and denial. Even more tragic and epic and heartbreaking than yours." Jean winked.

Vadim rubbed over his lips. "Must be Pascal's gay virus spreading."

Dan was laughing under his breath. "If you keep that shit up, I am going to make a damn sad figure at the ceremony, having pissed myself with laughter."

"My pleasure", quipped Jean, and leaned back in his seat, while Vadim placed a hand on Dan's thigh.

The vehicle was getting into gear, and the procession made its way out of the British camp and towards the American one. Dan glanced out of the window, musing after a moment, "would have thought they'd do that sort of thing in better locations than this shit place. You can say about Old Blighty what you want, but at least we know how to put on a spectacle. Tradition and all that."

"Peasants", murmured Vadim. "Uncultured, sorry peasants, all of them."

"Bullshit." Dan turned his head, but smiling, which kept the barb out of his rebuke. "That really is bullshit. As crap as the country might be, with friendly fire and all that shit, there are some fine specimens." He shrugged, "Yanks are all as much uncultured and sorry peasants, as all Brits and Russkies are, or are not." He leaned his head against Vadim's for a moment. "And I don't give a shit what nationality those guys were, whose lives we saved. They were just guys, like us. Aye?"

Vadim met his gaze, held it, then nodded. "Just soldiers. Like us." He glanced out at the US camp. "I just wish they weren't so bloody naïve and had a sense of history."

"Aye, there is that." Dan grinned as they pulled through the gates, the Lannies rolling towards the main cluster of buildings. "Well," Dan took in a deep breath, "best brace ourselves for the invasion of the Colonies." He adjusted his jacket once more before stepping out of the vehicle, where a few NCOs were waiting.

Jean extended an arm to let Vadim move first, then followed himself, securing Dan's other flank while Vadim guarded his side. "Try and smile every now and then, Vadya."

"I'll try and remember."

"It's really their way of saying they respect you."

Dan remained silent, faintly smiling to himself, as Vadim looked at Jean, obviously touched. Jean was right. It was about respect. How strange that he could have forgotten. "You looking forward to it?"

Jean grinned. "Fuck knows. I just try and take it in stride."

Shrugging one shoulder, Dan cast a grin from one to the other. "That's exactly what I do as well. Dan McFadyen, faggot and Scottish peasant scum, about to receive a dangling ribbon." He grinned as they walked closer, watching the soldiers salute, but not saluting in return. Those days were well and truly over, and a nod in their direction was sufficient.

"Hell, all this brouhaha makes you piss yourself with laughter." Murmured, Dan was the first one to step through the door. Shaking hands with a few of the Officers, who were taking them further along the corridor, where an aide was waiting.

"Not sure I feel like laughing", muttered Vadim in Russian, for code reasons. "I'd rather face the insurgents again."

"I knew you'd say that", said Jean, grinning. His Russian was rusty, but fully functional. "As long as you don't sweep Mad Dog off his feet, bend him over and do the tango thing with him, they should be good. Chances are they don't know that you two guys are gay."

"Guess the 'don't ask, don't tell' doesn't work for them right now." Chuckling under his breath, Dan fell silent, when they were guided towards the main door. Music played by a small band, something he didn't quite recognise, but nevertheless seemed somehow familiar, and the lights revealed a glimpse of three flags on the hall's wall. First, the flag of the United States, then France and then Great Britain, strictly in order of the alphabet, right after their own colours.

"Right. Flags", said Jean. "Makes you wonder whether they have a full set lying around."

The music got louder in the gym hall that had been repurposed to hold the award ceremony, and the heroic brass notes changed into the chords of the American anthem now. Dan rolled his eyes, whispering from the corner of his lips to Vadim, "hope they don't expect me to mime to that shit."

"Wouldn't know the words, anyway", murmured Vadim, and kept his jaw muscles clenched. It was the best he could do, in terms of neutrality.

Less than a minute later, the music changed to 'God Save the Queen' and Dan's face lit up, nudging Vadim's elbow. "That's yours now, too", rewarded by a sideways glance, and a very short nod.

And that was their cue, the aide walking in front to lead the way, as they walked into the hall. Dan could hardly hold back a smirk at the sight of the shambles: all those Yanks in their fatigues, tunics over their trousers, and not an inch of the smartness of the British troops, unlike the British delegation, standing on the right of the front row. As much as he had sometimes loathed having to polish the belt buckle and wear the tunic inside the trousers, Dan felt an odd and ancient regimental, if not national pride, as he walked in front of Vadim and Jean, the anthem changing to the Marseillaise to honour the third of the award recipients.

Jean straightened up visibly as he heard the anthem, just barely this side of grinning with semi-suppressed, not-so-secret mirth. Singing and marching was a huge part of Legion culture, and he knew his songs and marches. The whole ceremonial rigmarole felt quite natural to him, while Vadim kept this very guarded, very neutral expression.

They came to stop in a line under the flags, and the protocol officer announced the names of the three men. "Daniel Ewan McFadyen," and Dan winced, "Vadim Petrovich Krasnorada," which merely tightened Vadim's jaw muscles even more. "Jean-Pierre Leclerc," which caused a miniature grin in Dan, who otherwise worked on his polite and neutral expression, which suddenly failed, as he spotted the first row of soldiers. There they were, the crew of the chopper: Gary Martinez, loadmaster and Ken Jackson, the pilot. Chris Johnson was missing, but the kid might still be recuperating. Dan's face lit up like a torch, getting broad smiles of recognition in return.

General Major John Richards was announced as well, before all fell silent and the soldiers bowed their heads. A Chaplain gave thanks to God, claiming "they all came to this ceremony with hearts full of thanksgiving." Dan snorted silently, and sure as heck didn't bow his head, figuring no god had anything to do with this, just his experience and guts, and the courage of the two men who stood beside him.

Vadim briefly closed his eyes at the religious stuff, bad enough to be paraded out in front of these kids, now they brought their whole 'God's Own Country' bullshit into it. Jean, on the other hand, continued to enjoy himself. Vadim suspected that Jean was probably Russian Orthodox, but not very practising. He certainly didn't seem to mind. Jean would probably cheerfully take part in some ancestor-worshipping cannibal feast.

The protocol officer read out the citation for Dan's award: bronze star with valour device. The citation detailed time, location, and circumstances of the events that had warranted the letter of commendation and consequently the award. Dan stood tall, when the General Major pinned the medal to his lapel, saying a few words of thanks, shaking Dan's hand before handing over the green leather bound folder, the letter pinned onto the front. The cameras snapped away for a while as the General Major stood beside Dan, holding up the letter of commendation, while being perfectly aware of the hilarity of the situation. Dan hoped he could escape in a few seconds, but the General Major asked him to say a few words. Dan tensed, taken by surprise, but he caught sight of the two guys from the chopper, and he suddenly smiled with a small nod. He cleared his throat as they all waited expectantly, thank fuck, he knew just what to say.

"Sir, I would like to thank you for the award, which came as a surprise to me. Surprise, because it was all simply about the lives of those men, the crew of the helicopter." Nodding over to Gary and Ken, "Good men, no matter which flag is stitched on their sleeves. I would have done the same for anyone else, no matter the country, no matter if 'friend' or 'foe'." A small smile crossed his scarred face, knowing that at least Vadim would understand the following words. "It's really quite simple." With that he trailed off and nodded once more to the applause of the audience and the broad grins of the crew.

For Jean, it was the Army Commendation Medal; again the protocol officer found typically military-speak words for what Jean had done. Exemplary conduct was among them, dedication to his team, commendable leadership, time and place for the commendation and the medal. Jean looked, for once, dignified as the medal was pinned to his suit, words of thanks, handshake, folder. Camera flashes. Vadim inwardly cringed at the cameras, knowing that his turn would come, too. Asked to say a few words, Jean grinned quizzically, and said "I have a few friends sitting right now in Paris getting ready for their Christmas shopping. When they ask me, 'Jean, why do you do this shit … excuse me, Sir, I mean 'stuff', not, that other thing, so they ask me about it, and I say, I don't have the slightest idea, really. I always end up in funny places, and strangely always make a solid decision. This was a really good decision. It was getting guys out of trouble, two men I respect", he shot a quick glance to Vadim, "and whom I consider my friends", a glance to Dan, "and yeah, if they ask me again, I'll say that I do it for my friends. Of course, it's also a huge success with the ladies." Flashing a typical Jean grin.

There was laughter amongst the ranks of soldiers, and even Dan couldn't hold back his grin. Shaking his head ever so slightly, he caught sight of his hated CO, who looked as if he had swallowed a whole lemon, and that, in return, made Dan a very happy man. Glancing to Vadim, whose turn it was at last, and the General Major lifted the Army Commendation medal out of its casket, and pinned it to Vadim's chest. A chest that should have been laden with medals and ribbons. Similar words of commendation for him, when the protocol officer read out the citation. A handshake followed, with the same request for a few words.

Vadim cleared his throat, knew his Russian name alone made every move, every breath, everything highly prominent, made him stand out against the two Europeans. Looking firmly at the crew that Dan had saved, and that he had saved, too, in the end. They, strangely, were the reason why he didn't just say "thank you, Sir" and retreated back into the ranks. Working through his mind for something good to say, something that the Yanks would understand, that wouldn't sound arrogant, or foolish like Jean's gaffe. "Thank you, Sir, for the award, and I am honoured to receive it. I am a mercenary now, but I haven't always been a mercenary. It was fortunate that I could help save these men, and unfortunate that I hadn't called them brothers and comrades before. Nevertheless, beyond politics and my own convictions that I used to hold when I was still an enlisted man, I am proud to see these men here, now, and for their sake, I will honour the occasion."

Dan smiled at Vadim's words, understanding what he was saying, and there was a moment's silence amongst the ranks. Almost as if it took the soldiers a while to decipher what lay beyond those words, but once they got it, there was a subdued cheer, while the two men in the front, Gary and Martinez, nodded at Vadim, and Vadim gave them one of his rare smiles.

"The motherfucker really finds a way to say something very simple in a very complicated way", murmured Jean near Dan's ear. "How many words does it take him to say 'I love you'?"

"None." Dan murmured, smiling. "We're long beyond that." He wanted to touch Vadim, but restrained himself.

The protocol officer then asked the pilot of the helicopter to step forward, and Ken Jackson stood beside the three men, ready to receive his own award, the purple heart. The General Major went through the same sequence as before, while the protocol officer read out the occasion of when the man had been wounded. In addition talking about winchman Chris Johnson, who was home in the US, recuperating from the serious chest wound.

It was then time for the receiving line, and Ken moved to the front of the line to be the first one to congratulate and thank his rescuers. The second man who filed past was Gary. Shaking hands, first with Dan, clapping his shoulder, and stopping to have a photo taken, then following down the line. Words of thanks and broad smiles, and then all of the others followed, filing through. Soldier after soldier, some with the broadest Western accents, others with Eastern twang. Every race and every colour, and all of them American, until it was time for the British contingency, who shook hands with a sour expression and a forced smile, when it came to the CO, forcing Dan to work hard on suppressing his big-arsed grin. Vadim made an effort, smiled for the cameras, shook the chopper crew's hands with both his, holding them for a moment longer to again emphasise his point, and became businesslike at the others, very clearly delineating which men were comrades and which were just handshakers.

They were finally all done, music still playing, when the ceremony was officially called to its end and the informal part began. An adjacent room had a buffet set up that left nothing to be desired, and junior staff stood ready with trays of drinks. Dan fell behind deliberately, his hand on Vadim's shoulder. "You got through it, hm? Was it all that bad?" He flashed a tender grin as he added quietly, "and by the way, I love you, too."

Vadim smiled at him. "No, not as bad as I thought." He plucked two glasses of something sparkling from a passing tray and offered one to Dan. "Just would have liked a warning about the fact that they wanted me to speak. But you did well. The guys looked happy."

"Didn't have a clue that we were supposed to say something." Dan shrugged, downing his first glass of champers. "Seems that Jean rather enjoyed himself, though." Calling over, "eh, Jean?"

Jean looked up, teeth bared and gleaming, as he was chatting up an American servicewoman with a blonde ponytail.

The evening continued like this. Lots of food, some small talk, but thankfully also good chats with down to earth soldiers, and plenty of booze. Dan felt rather merry at the end of the festivities: fed to satisfaction, laughing about stupid jokes, telling tales of his 'adventurous' past, while the bubbly and wine put him into a damn fine mood.

It was difficult for Vadim to keep from touching him, seeing Dan in such a brilliant mood, relaxed, having fun. But he kept his hands to himself, merely marvelled at Dan's smile and easy banter. He himself was far less relaxed, but managed to enjoy himself, mostly by listening and watching.

Dan was grinning like a lit-up Christmas tree, when they finally made their way back to the waiting Lannie. "I think I need a nightcap of something more substantial than fancy wines."

Jean nodded. "Hell yes."

Vadim opened the door and ushered both of them in, joining them, only to see the nightly desert slide past. "Did you get anywhere with that lady?"

"No, but she was really nice about slapping my wrist."

Dan let out a sound, suspiciously close to a snigger. "Guess you're stuck with little old us, then, aye? Join us for a nightcap? After all, we got two whole damn fine days off after this."

Jean grinned and leaned close to whisper to Dan. "If you're trying to take advantage of my sexual frustration, I'm game."

Dan's grin immediately took on gigantic proportion. "Maybe …" Whistling to himself and loosening the top button of his shirt and tie, as Jean grinned at Vadim, who found Jean's semi-drunk, dishevelled look more attractive than the camo and his professional face. He could imagine Jean half-dressed, shoeless, shirt open to reveal the chest, and moaning.

"Right then, let's go celebrate the shiny dangly bits some more." Dan leaned back, grinning.

When they arrived back in camp a few guys were still out and about, cheering at the three 'gentlemen' in their suits, with the medals pinned on their lapels and breasts. Dan was shaking his hips in an exaggerated fashion, parading the letter of commendation over his head, and gaining wolf whistles, before he made it into the hut, holding the door open for the other two. "Let's get properly pissed for the H.E.R.O.E.S.!" Laughing his head off. More for the sake of the onlookers, than for anyone else.

Jean laughed, while Dan locked the door behind them, then flinging commendation and jacket into a corner. Jean nearly fell down on the mattress, managed to get into a cross-legged position, while Vadim rummaged for the alcohol, found a half-bottle, and headed over to offer the bottle to Jean. Jean reached for Vadim's thigh and pulled him closer, while Dan watched, getting rid of tie, shoes and socks, when Jean suddenly buried his face in Vadim's crotch, which made Vadim almost jump out of his suit. That semi-drunken … what? Affection? He reached to touch Jean's face, pushed it away with a couple fingers. "What do you want?" he asked in Russian.

"I want to get off with you. Okay? Nothing sinister about it. Stop the fuck mistrusting me, I don't mean any harm, Vadya. I won't take Dan away from you; wouldn't work, anyway."

Dan stood, motionless and head tilted. Fingers on the last button of his shirt. "Is that what you fear?" Asking quietly. Booze or not, that had still gone all the way through him.

Vadim winced. As fucking superficial as Jean was, he had a way to hit bulls eye every now and then. "I …" Jean was at his belt, trousers, which made it difficult to find a good answer. Shit. He stepped out of his shoes, looked at Dan, saw that Dan didn't really understand that fear, which only meant that it never occurred to Dan that Jean could be anything but somebody he got off with. This was just sex, right? "I was ... just so envious."

Dan shrugged the shirt off his shoulders, throwing it onto the same pile as the rest of his clothes. "Of what?" Stepping close to Vadim, he pushed the jacket off the broad shoulders, fingers working on Vadim's tie, pulling it off, while grinning all the time. "You're the fucking sexiest man in the fucking universe." Lowering his voice to a husky murmur, Dan flicked one button after the other through its hole, sliding his hands across the bare chest, as he moved even closer. "Fucking sexy … and fucking loved." Lips on Vadim's, he left no chance for an answer.

Jean pulled Vadim's trousers down, got him to step out of them, while Vadim and Dan were kissing. Opening Dan's trousers as well from his position on the ground, but Vadim's hands worked on that, and Jean laughed to himself, took a big mouthful of whisky, swallowed, and moved between their legs, suddenly taking Vadim's cock, which made Vadim jump, a surprised sound coming out. The whisky burn, the heat, and the sudden, unexpected feeling of Jean …

"Not so straight, aye?" Dan murmured against Vadim's lips, cranking up the intensity of his kiss, with one hand holding Vadim close, the other guiding his own cock, seeking out those lips that were closed around Vadim's cock. Side by side, both hard, ready for the man on the floor.

Vadim couldn't help but groan. Jean was certainly not as eager for cock as Dan, not anywhere as good, but he did it, sucking on the head, eyes closed, no reservation from the man who'd called him a freak and a whole lot other things. "Shit …"

Jean felt a touch in the corner of his lips and looked up, grinning, released Vadim's cock and took Dan's, looking up to him with narrowed eyes. Very closely watching what effect that had on Dan, then sucking with considerable enthusiasm. Vadim couldn't tear his eyes from the Frenchman, who genuinely seemed to enjoy himself. "Not … straight at all", he murmured.

"Oh … fuck!" Dan groaned, pulling in a hissing breath. Standing with legs braced, hard to keep his hips still. "Down ... mattress ..." managing to bring out, he wasn't going to keep standing much longer, not with Vadim's body rubbing against his and his cock in Jean's mouth. Vadim. Jean. Oh shit.

Jean couldn't stop the laughter, and had to pull away from Dan's cock to not choke on his laughter. He fell back, arms spread out, legs still under him, grinning. "Come on, then …"

Dan let go of Vadim and crashed down onto the mattress, deliberately on top of Jean. Claiming the other man with his lips, taking Vadim's taste with him. Grinding his hips down into Jean's, while his left hand was searching for Vadim's body. Jean laughed, freed his legs and pushed up against Dan, moaning softly as he got more friction, but there was still a lot of suit in between them.

Vadim's hand was on Dan's back, seeing him grinding against Jean, and he reached for the lube. That naked ass gave him an idea. Actually, both of them gave him an idea, and he rubbed Vaseline into Dan's ass, who bucked up, which only made him grind harder into Jean.

Dan's attempts to open Jean's suit trousers and get that shirt off, were getting too erratic, when Vadim added a finger to prepare Dan to be fucked. He'd have him, and Jean would watch that.

"Ah, shit!" Dan moaned, words swallowed by Jean's mouth. Lifting himself up a little on his knees, towards the finger, he pushed back and into it, fucking himself, before coming back down onto Jean.

Jean laughed, breathlessly. "You'll fuck him?" he asked Vadim, in Russian, using coarse soldier language.

Vadim nodded. "You bet."

Jean grinned, kissed Dan, whose breath came harshly, pushing his tongue into Dan's mouth, feeling Dan shudder as Vadim fucked him with a finger, and added two, Dan's cock rock hard. When Dan bucked up, Jean freed himself from underneath Dan's body. Glancing up, he could see Vadim pull free, move between Dan's open legs and position his cock.

Jean kissed Dan, hard, catching the deep groan that escaped Dan when Vadim entered him, fucking his mouth with his tongue, fiercely, and tender, so hard himself that he doubted the alcohol had any effect on him except taking away some pesky inhibitions. "Good", he murmured against Dan's lips. "Because I'll fuck you, too."

"No." Dan brought out, breathlessly, only for Jean to hear. "Not with … Vadim ...." Losing coherence soon after, his eyes open, staring at Jean's face. Vadim's cock deep in his arse. Jean's lips. Jean's … "Cock!" Dan managed to get out, as he tried to get onto all fours.

"That's what I meant", said Jean, almost cool, almost calm, with a wicked smile, getting up onto his knees, crotch on Dan's eye level, on all fours, Vadim kneeling between his legs. Seeing Vadim inside Dan, still accommodating, Jean's guts tightened, knowing what that felt like, that glorious, hot ass, powerful and yet absolutely perfect to be fucked. He opened his own trousers, pulled himself free, and pointed his cock at Dan's lips, which opened, readily, far too readily. Jean made eye contact with Vadim, who didn't go berserk, instead, was that appreciation in those cold eyes?

Dan drew in a breath as Vadim stalled, poised, could feel the cock almost all the way pulled out of his arse, knowing the thrust would come the next second. Closing his eyes as his lips closed around Jean's cock, and his mind went blank. No thought, nothing mattered. Just being a body, between two bodies. Cocks. Goddamned glorious cocks, and he braced himself. Muscles bunching, tendons like whipcords across his body. Bracing himself even further, spine pushed low, arse raised, his shoulders tensed to take the strain. He sucked Jean's cock in all the way, as far as he could, and a damn fine cocksucker he was, hardly choking.

Vadim took his hips in a hard grip, to steady himself as well as Dan, and entered, knowing exactly how much Dan could take, but what devastated him was Jean's fingers in Dan's hair, guiding, demanding, using Dan and truly fucking his throat, and he timed his thrusts with Jean's, slowly, but demanding. Entering when Jean pulled free a bit, and Jean grinned at him, lust on his features, that irresponsible air of just enjoying what felt good, and Vadim found himself grin and shake his head. "Cocky bastard", he murmured, breathless.

Dan didn't hear any of the words, nothing but a body that finally got as much cock as he'd always wanted. Groans suppressed by the cock down his throat, he was going half-insane by the thrusts that were angled so goddamned right, he was drowning in lust. His own cock hard, heavily veined, almost purple, each thrust made precum touch his scarred abs, and each thrust slammed Vadim's groin against his heavy balls. Unable to suck Jean's cock with any kind of coherence, he was just body, nothing else. Used in every damn way he wanted.

Jean groaned, pushed harder, pretty much forcing Dan's head as far onto his cock as it could possibly go, pulling and pushing, as he was nearing climax, and Vadim's powerful thrusts rocked through Dan's body and kept forcing Dan's face deeper, harder against Jean's groin, until Dan could do nothing but frantically draw in quick breaths when the cock was pulling out, and choke at the vicious, deep thrust. Seeing Vadim deep inside Dan made Jean's guts tighten up, seeing that whole, muscular bastard pound Dan's ass, stomach muscles such a perfect pattern, chest muscles showing clearly how much raw power Vadim possessed - a fearsome bastard, but bent on sex right now, with no inhibitions himself, and clearly enjoying the fact that he was being watched. Jean flashed a grin at Vadim "Show off", he laughed, breathlessly.

Dan's muscles were standing out harder, whole body completely taut, like chords of steel beneath alternating tanned and scarred skin. The desperate sounds of hissing breath were getting more urgent. Body covered in sweat, gathering in the hollow of his back, he was losing the fight of bracing against the onslaught of two bodies.

Vadim came first, thrusting harder, for a few times, holding Dan's hips immobile as he thrust deep and hard, groaning from deep inside his chest. Pulling away once he felt that pressure gone, helplessly releasing Dan's hips, stroking his sides, and falling down onto his back.

Jean grinned, but Dan needed air, and the involuntary convulsions of the throat felt so good that he didn't fight his orgasm as it approached, but he still slowed, drawing out the climax, keeping control. He didn't just fuck Dan's throat but increased intensity, his face twitched as it washed over him, shooting into Dan's mouth and throat, hand still in his hair, urging Dan to take it, and Dan was so far gone, all he could do was frantically swallow, whatever didn't shoot down his throat in the first place. Unable to stop it, impossible to act. Just react, body trembling, cock impossibly hard, painfully close, and he let out a sound, a mindless whimper, as his body collapsed when it wasn't held anymore.

Vadim immediately turned him, hands on Dan's thighs, lips going down onto the straining cock, an image that made Jean shudder, the need, the trust, the completely selfless desire to get Dan off, Vadim's face not cold now at all, not unfeeling, not aloof, but needy and tender. Shining with emotion, tenderness, things that seemed to have no place in the other Russian's face, and yet were there, unguarded, Vadim completely naked as he sucked off his lover.

It hardly took more than a few seconds, and Dan came. His whole body arching up, and he would have yelled down the entire camp, had Jean not had the presence of mind to cover his mouth with one hand. Cumming so hard, the crash-down was just as extreme, and he could do nothing but lie in a boneless heap, eyes closed, and just breathing.

Vadim rested his head on Dan's hip, calming now as well, feeling Dan shudder every now and then. Jean moved to get some water, drank, and offered Vadim the rest of the bottle, who waved it away.

"Wow", said Jean, sitting down heavily. "Fuck. Dan, you alright?"

"Yeah …" Dan breathed out, keeping his eyes closed for a while longer. Nothing moved, not even a twitch in his body, until he cracked one eye open and coughed. "Whisky …"

Jean reached out and found the bottle, pulling it close. "There." He lay back, too, grinning to himself and at nothing in particular, while Vadim simply rested. Not moving, either, not even caressing Dan, who managed to bring the bottle to his lips, taking a few mouthfuls, despite his usual ranting against drinking whisky straight from the bottle.

"You're such a slut, Dan", said Jean, voice tender.

Dan grinned, his hand finding Vadim's head, stroking the short hair, causing Vadim to look up and smile.

"I take that as a compliment, Frenchie."

"It is. Fuck. That was … hot." Jean managed, finally, to shed the jacket and the shirt, and rubbed his chest thoughtfully. "No idea what it takes to be so good at cocksucking, but you're clearly far better than I could ever hope to be."

"Is that something you aspire to, Jean?" asked Vadim.

Jean grinned. "Hey. If I do it, I could at least try to do it somewhat decently."

Dan chuckled, which caused a twinge of discomfort from his thoroughly fucked arse. "It's something that comes naturally. You either got it or you don't." Dan lifted his head to wink at Vadim. "I was utter shit at my first one, but I learned quickly. Let Vadim tell you about my speciality of giving head at knifepoint."

Jean's eyes widened somewhat, and he looked at Vadim.

"Yeah, he strung me up like a Christmas turkey, pulled down my trousers, put his knife to my balls, and taught himself cocksucking like that. It was …"

"Damn nice?"

Vadim laughed. "Eventually."

Dan was laughing so hard, he gave up worrying about his arse. "Oh shit," hiccupping with laughter, he reached for the whisky bottle once more. "When you put it like that, our whole past sounds like a fucking comedy." Downing another couple of shots. He flopped back down, hand stroking Vadim's neck. "Or what about that first kiss? Only you could shoot me at the same fucking time."

"He what?"

"I wanted to kiss him, but he was an enemy, so I made him kneel, said something totally deranged … I think, I don't quite remember, but I wasn't quite sane at that point … and I needed to give him an alibi for being there. It was complex. I couldn't just let him go, he'd survived our ambush - and that wasn't good for him, would have made him look like a traitor. So I shot him in the shoulder …"

"That scar?"

"Yes. The exact same one. And I kissed him, because fuck, I was going insane for him at that point." Vadim shook his head. "It's a very bloody, somewhat crazy comedy, really. Dan fucked me up, I fucked him up, and while torturing and wounding and cutting each other, we discovered we were in love."

"That about sums it up." Dan shrugged, but despite his grin his dark eyes betrayed a softness that no killer should ever show in his face. "That one's his." He tapped onto the scar from the bullet wound. "This one's mine." Slipping his hand down to Vadim's throat, he touched the cigarette burn at the hollow. "And this …" gently stroking his fingertips down Vadim's scarred back. "And he saved me from this." Touching his own thigh, where the bullet had hit him in the Mujahideen camp. "And the most important ones are these." Smiling, he raised his left biceps, showing off the 'V'. "Not for victory, but for Vadim. He cut it." And he pointed towards Vadim's inner thigh, "and I cut 'mine'."

Jean nodded, then looked at Vadim. "And you stupid fuck are jealous of me? Look at him - no scar. None from me, and I won't." He took the bottle and had another big mouthful. "With all that stuff … there's no place for me between you guys." Running his hand through Dan's hair, who looked up with a mocking grin.

Vadim kissed Dan's biggest scar, the one on his stomach, that testament of agony and a pledge that he - finally - managed to honour. "No. I'm not jealous now."

"And I dare say there is a place for Jean between us." Pausing for effect, Dan's grin grew into a smirk, "I'm more than happy to swap places, and I wouldn't mind pounding that virginal arse."

Jean laughed, but was less than convinced. "I don't mind a finger when you blow me, but a cock is … fucking big. I'm really not sure I want that. I mean, I'm pretty sure I don't." He shrugged, apologetically. "Sorry."

"Nah, that's alright, mate. I figured I'd never get to fuck you." Dan shrugged, twisting to lean down to Vadim, so he could murmur into his ear while wickedly grinning up at Jean, "just as much as I vowed to you you'd never get to fuck me … again. Aye?"

Vadim grinned back. "You think he'll get over it?"

Dan bared his teeth in an evil grin and shrugged.

Jean laughed, shedding the rest of his clothes. "I'm serious. I am still getting my head around the cocksucking part, which is already a leap for me. I'm not that gay. You can tell me all you like that it feels good, but it's really not something I can get into."

"Alright, alright, whatever you say, Frenchie. I remember, a few months ago, when you claimed you were straight as fuck. That was before you caught the gay virus."

Jean laughed. "You'll have to hope it keeps spreading."

Sitting up, Dan stretched to get a towel, used it to wipe his arse, before wrapping it around his hips. "Anyway, I can tell you one thing, the shitting of cum, after you've been fucked without a condom, is not my favourite part." He grinned as he stood up and found his flip-flops. "You two behave while I'm off to the loos." With that he unlocked the door and was gone.

Vadim laughed. "And there's that." He reached for the bottle and drank some water. Jean accepted the bottle after that. They both sat together in silence for a while, until Vadim glanced at Jean. "I guess because you were a friend while he hated me."

Jean nodded. "Yeah, that would make sense. But that's over now. You guys are back together, and that's fine by me. Damn, it was causing me a headache, too. I mean, two guys so obviously both in love, and still fucking each other up. Granted, you did look like the bogeyman, though."

Vadim lay back. "Felt like it, too."

"Yeah." Jean lifted himself on an elbow. "Would you freak if I kissed you?"

Vadim stared at him. "What? Why?"

"Because I like it? Stupid question." Jean came closer, blue eyes searching his. Vadim didn't get why Jean would possibly want this, and he didn't feel the need to do it. He didn't just run around kissing people, but Jean was just a breath away.

"You scared, spetsnaz?"

Vadim bared his teeth, felt Jean's fingers on his chest, stroking his nipples. "Scared of what, soldier?"

"Scared you might like it, too." Jean grinned. "Comrade officer. What was it?"

"Major."

"Nice. Major Krasnorada. You must hate being a normal grunt like everybody else."

"I do."

Jean leaned in closer and touched his lips to Vadim's, as if expecting to be bitten, but it was a good touch, a good sensation, even though it was still puzzling for Vadim. Jean took his head, opened his lips, and suddenly kissed him deeply, tenderly, with fucking emotion, and Vadim couldn't help it, put an arm around the other man and held him, while fully enjoying that kiss.

They didn't hear how the door slowly opened, Dan coming back too quietly. Dripping wet, he'd been to the shower block, and was confronted with … something he had no words for. Mirror images, almost, those two blond and blue-eyed men, and yet the most opposite characters imaginable. He stepped inside, trying to make no sound, and carefully locked the door behind him as he stayed near the door, grinning down at the tableau.

Jean looked up, smiling, breaking the kiss that had left Vadim dazed, relaxed, oddly, still feeling Jean's kiss - Jean! Or whatever his real name was. No spite, no anger, nothing left in Vadim, just pleasantly relaxed right now, like Jean had drugged him somehow.

"I didn't touch him - much, honest", said Jean to Dan.

"Whatever you've done, it seems to have an interesting effect." Getting onto the mattress between them, Dan grinned from one to the other. "I have a suggestion. What about giving us old bastards an hour or two, and a possible nap, and then more fucking? My arse is out, though." Dan chuckled, "and since Jean's is a no-no as well, I guess there is only one left …" baring his teeth in a face-splitting grin, Dan looked pointedly at Vadim.

Vadim gazed back at Dan, then caught what that meant, and looked at Jean, who grinned, and seemed to like the idea. "Okay." His body liked the idea, too. Damn, even he liked the idea, couldn't help it, just knew after that kiss that it would be alright. Jean was not mocking him, he meant it in his strange, funny ways, there was some real emotion involved. Jean cared about him, and about Dan, and wanted them, but wouldn't toy with them. Despite all his mocking and piss-taking, deep down, Jean was sincere. That was probably what was behind that chatty, annoying good-natured mask that he showed the rest of the world. "Both of you?"

"If you let us?" Dan smiled. There were always options, and they'd simply choose the right ones together. Dropping his voice, Dan got down onto the mattress and crawled close while throwing the soggy towel into yet another corner. "If I fuck you first … I could suck you off while Jean shags you. I am sure Jean won't mind fucking into another man's cum …"

Vadim closed his eyes, nodding silently because he didn't quite trust his voice, reaching for Dan to pull him down, while Jean gave a small laugh. "No, I don't. Did it before …"

Vadim pulled Dan close, resting at his side, chest to chest, didn't mind that Jean pushed up against Dan from the other side. Jean's chest against Dan's back, Jean's arm across Dan's body, his hand touching Vadim's abs, stroking him with his fingertips, nothing more.

"I think … part of the problem was that … I wanted him, too", said Vadim, tonelessly near Dan's ear, knowing Jean could still hear him.

"I can imagine." Dan murmured, lips close to Vadim's. His arm on Vadim's hip, their chests, groins and legs touching, while his back was covered by Jean. "Who wouldn't." He grinned while rubbing his face against Vadim's. "But whatever happened between you two, that's past. All that shit is past. We can start with friendship tonight, aye?"

"Yes", said Vadim, and part expected another joke from the other guy, but Jean merely laughed.

"Can we be friends after I fuck him? That's the way things go, isn't it? You end up in bed together, and then you realise you actually like the other guy. Happens every day."

"You asshole", said Vadim, smiling tiredly.

"Keep that thought", Jean shot back, nuzzling against Dan's neck. "Only it's the other way round, comrade Krasnorada."

"That would be your arsehole, not you arsehole." Dan chuckled.

"Great. Grammar lesson", said Jean, laughing again. He stretched to angle for the covers, but it was a bit of shifting necessary before he'd covered all three of them, at least halfway, and Vadim dozed off in that embrace, the alcohol dulling his senses, and the sex had so deeply relaxed him that he hardly noticed how he slipped away, all the time being kissed by Dan, until he, too, was drifting off.

* * *

Dan woke a few short hours later with the uncomfortable feeling of a very full bladder. Finding himself enveloped by heat - as usual he was spooning Vadim, but this time he got more-or-less spooned himself by Jean, lying in the middle between the two men. Grinning sleepily to himself, he did his damn best to extricate himself from the bodies, without waking either of them. It was still pitch dark and when he glanced at his watch after a rigorous rubbing of his eyes, it was not even 4 AM yet. Plenty of time before the camp would wake. Vadim murmured something in his sleep and rolled over the moment Dan left, Dan found his towel and flip flops, making his way to the loos as quietly as he could.

When he came back, the picture had changed. Vadim lay there, on his back, arms stretched out left and right, the back of his right hand touching the ground near the mattress, head turned to the side, lips nearly touching Jean's hair, as the Legionnaire was lying with his head on Vadim's outstretched arm, with some - if not much space between their bodies.

Dan shook his head, murmuring under his breath, "greedy bastard", and he smiled. Getting rid of towel and flip-flops, the lapis lazuli beads around his wrist clinking faintly with the movements, he paused to take a better look at the picture before him. In the almost dark, illuminated barely by one of the flood lights that threw a stream of light through the small window high up. Hardly enough to see more than fairly indistinguishable features. Two heads with blond hair, two muscular bodies. One slightly less impressive than the other. They could be twins, Dan thought, at least in this light.

The longer he looked, the more the thought of twins travelled from his mind to his cock. Nice thought, damn nice thought in fact, better than going back to sleep. He quietly lowered himself onto the mattress, this time to Vadim's other side, dropping his hand between Vadim's legs, lightly caressing the smoothly shaved cleft, while studying the perfect body in the darkness. The longer he lay, head propped up on his elbow, the hornier he got. Two men, one arse, and damn, he wanted it.

Vadim responded, still mostly asleep, shifting his legs slightly as he hardened, moving towards the touch, waking more, and pulling free from Jean who lay there, undisturbed. Vadim woke enough to smile slightly, looking at Dan in the gloom. His hands went to Dan's chest, and his lips tasted of sleep as he kissed Dan, with little focus, but clear interest.

Dan smiled into the kiss, didn't say anything, reached over Vadim to the tub of Vaseline instead. He managed to open it in silence, guiding Vadim with his hands, making him turn so he lay with his back to him, while his hand kept caressing Vadim's arm, hip and flank.

Vadim turned, and became aware of Jean. Shit. Jean asleep. Jean. But if they were silent. He moved back against Dan, reached for him, horny himself, wanting this, and it was odd to feel Dan's hands on him, pushing the grease inside, getting him ready while seeing Jean no more than an arm's length away, peacefully asleep. The Legionnaire looked young and innocent, but most of all, he was fucking silent for once, which was certainly an improvement to his usual babble. Vadim grinned at that, thought he didn't mind Jean all that much after last night.

Kissing the back of Vadim's neck, Dan's lips ghosted along the jaw line, across one ear, while settling into the right position. Embracing Vadim, bodies so close, not a hand could fit between them, and Vadim guided Dan's cock. The same tender, slow way of 'making love' instead of fucking, which was reserved for Vadim and Vadim alone. On their sides, spooning, the angle barely enough to give pleasure to both. Dan's breathing seemed loud in the night, when he entered and rocked himself deeper and further. Vadim closed his eyes, fully concentrating on the feeling of Dan so close, his lust a strong, steady fire, no madness, no rush, suppressing a moan with a hiss as Dan got deeper, curving his back to get more of that length inside, as much as anatomically possible. Rocking in an answer to Dan's motions, baring his throat. Jean was forgotten.

Until, that was, he opened his eyes briefly and saw Jean lie there, on his side, facing him, eyes open, and very much awake. Jean's lips curved into a smile at the moment of recognition, and he shook his head, as if saying 'Never mind me', which made Vadim's heart jump in his chest.

Jean studied Vadim's face, that lust, knowing exactly what Dan was doing behind him, which made that massive body shudder and coil with lust, while Vadim remained remarkably silent, even though his eyes burned with emotion, with need, his face twitching every time Dan moved. Jean leisurely moved his hand, baring Vadim's body, which had been half-covered by the blanket, a subtle motion, eyes travelling down the muscular front, the abs and Vadim's impressive erection that was clearly neglected. Jean's fingertips touched Vadim's cock, ran along the underside of it, silky and hot, making Vadim groan. He closed his hand around the cock, moved closer and only offered tightness, no motion, no pumping, knowing full well that Vadim would have to move to fuck himself and get anywhere.

"Bastard", whispered Vadim.

The sound of Vadim's voice got Dan out of his almost delirious state, lifting his head while he kept the small rocking motions up. "No …" to Jean, "we have time …" before he shifted his angle, hitting deeper and increasing the intensity of his smooth thrusts. He was getting closer, and yet a long way still to go.

Jean laughed silently and let go of Vadim, showing both hands as a sign of 'innocence' - only that Jean and 'innocence' didn't really belong in the same thought. He still moved closer, pressing his body against Vadim's, and before Vadim could protest or curse, Jean's lips were locked to his. The Legionnaire just assuming he granted permission, and fuck, he did, because Jean kissed with skill and passion, never mind the games he played, being pressed against one body and fucked felt fantastic. Jean suddenly holding him and grinding against him, his cock noticeably hardening against Vadim's abs, but there was no urgency, at least not from Jean. Vadim felt Dan shift again and groaned, finding himself cling to Jean who stroked and kissed him, but did nothing else, just fanning the fire. Vadim pushed back against Dan, wanted to beg to be fucked harder, but Jean's lips were always in the way, the bastard very skilfully increasing his need.

Dan laughed and groaned breathlessly, one sound bleeding into the next. Resistance of Vadim's body against Jean, making it all the better, as if he could go on forever, almost. Feeling the intensity of being inside Vadim, the heat and the friction, and the responses, as they reached his brain and cock with every tiny sound. Trying to watch Jean kissing Vadim, but the image too overpowering, making him want to speed up and cater to Vadim's impatient wishes.

Vadim felt the pressure build up, tensed, but no way he could come like this, not ever, too slow, not quite getting him there, and he broke Jean's kiss, just needed to breathe. Felt Jean hold him, run his hand though his hair with an odd intense tenderness, and grin at him, but he himself could do nothing but pant, groan, knowing even that if he begged, Dan would just keep going. "T..." touch me, was what he wanted to say, but could hardly form words, instead reaching for Dan's hips and trying to pull him closer, again telling him wordlessly to speed up - or at least get him over the edge, lend a hand. He was getting desperate, and Jean laughed softly into his ear. "Try and relax. Enjoy it ..."

"Fuck ... you", breathed Vadim, and grinned to take the sting out, arching again which made Jean nip at his throat, a hand running over his abs, but never touching his cock. "Please."

"No." Dan groaned out in his back. Speeding up at last, but only for the most selfish reasons. Only to get off himself, to reach the point where he could crash over. Never touching anything but Vadim's hips, even when he changed the angle again, to have more leverage. "Not done … with you yet!" The last pressed out when he suddenly let lose, thrust faster, harder, using Vadim's body to fuck himself to his orgasm, while never allowing anything in return.

Vadim's lips opened, a choked sound came out, and he felt Jean embrace him, hold him, but at the same time moving away a little so he wasn't pressed up that much, not enough to get anywhere himself, but the thrusts were what he needed, needed badly, but still not enough. It would take the thought of a touch to set him off now, and he tensed, clenched when Dan came inside him, trying so hard to cum. Couldn't. A groan of frustration as he reached for his own cock, needing to come, but Jean, laughing tonelessly, held his hands, pushed them away.

Dan was panting, trying to catch his breath, and pulling out within seconds of cumming. They weren't done yet, oh no, his Russkie was to be savoured. Rolling off and onto his back, Dan got onto his knees, hands in Vadim's back, neck, touching all the time, leaning down to kiss and lick sweat off heated skin. "Remember what you agreed to …" murmured, before he moved out of the way.

"My turn then", said Jean, taking Vadim's legs and turning him onto his back. Vadim was so dizzy with need that he just let it happen, even though in the grey light of morning he could see only too well what was happening - would happen. Jean moved between his legs, straightened one of them, pushed the other knee up and turned it to the side, opening him up again, and all Vadim could think was that that might get him there, it might be enough to finally, blissfully, please cum.

It was Dan's turn, then, to kneel beside Vadim's chest, head down, and watching. Jean, then back to Vadim's face, watching every reaction, while his hand roamed across abs and chest, never touching the cock, but playing with nipples instead.

"Do you want my cock?" asked Jean, smiling.

Vadim found it near impossible to breathe, and nodded. He did. He wanted to cum more, but he hoped Jean would prove more merciful than Dan. Probably not the most sensible thing to hope.

Jean kissed his knee. "Do you want me?"

That, now, was an altogether different question. Cock or the man. Vadim gritted his teeth. "Don't fucking play ..."

"No?" Jean moved closer, while Dan chuckled huskily under his breath. Jean positioned himself lazily, and Vadim felt himself tense involuntarily. But not with revulsion. With greed. Greed that was worsened when Jean reached and found a condom in his suit trousers and rolled it down over his cock. Oh fuck.

"Do you?"

"Yes." The right answer, because he was rewarded with cock. Jean moved forward, sliding in, which was the good news, but the bad news was that Jean seemed fully controlled. Vadim's hands formed into tight fists as his body tried, again, to cum, his cock twitching and weeping, but he just didn't get that hair's breadth of stimulation that was necessary.

"Don't worry …" Dan murmured, when he tore himself away from the sight of Jean's cock embedded in Vadim's body. Vadim: his. Fucked by another man. His, his own, and damn, this was plunging him into meltdown: to witness his Russkie getting fucked. "We'll take care of you …" Shifting to look into Vadim's eyes, which were feverish, not entirely rational anymore, some of the usual clarity having been lost. Smiling, but despite the tender words, Dan was taking hold of Vadim's wrists, pulling the arms up and pinning them down over his head. At first Vadim was too tense to be moved like that, not actual resistance, just his body so taut that it refused to be manhandled, but his hands clung to Dan's, stretching the body out in the process, an offering to the other man, all stretched and taut muscles, gleaming, sweat covered skin, and the dark red, weeping cock.

"Take care of you … later." Dan kissed Vadim, in the most agonisingly tender way.

Vadim kissed like his life depended on it, feeling suddenly how Jean began to move, fuck him slowly at first, and lust and frustration increased again. Unable to do anything but take it, trying hard to not cry out every time Jean fucked him just right, knowing he had arrived at his limits, the limits of what he could bear. Drenched in sweat, arousal now painful, but, again, just held in check by pure lust as intoxicating as anything he'd ever felt. Jean, mercifully, thankfully, graciously, didn't keep the control up, instead speeding up, deep, powerful thrusts with a lot of his strength in every one, and Vadim could see Jean's eyes, his face, knowing by instinct that Jean was relishing to be able to use his strength, could probably feel his body respond and resist, and how his body clenched again and again, trying to reach orgasm. At least that was what he thought when Jean pulled back a little, a smooth motion, like he'd thrust back in harder. Instead, Jean stopped. Froze. Didn't move a muscle. Vadim stared at him, saw Jean grin at him, then look at Dan, a positively wicked grin, and something inside gave up resistance, as he accepted that he had no power. No need, no reason, no chance to resist.

Dan nodded, a small movement, and only then did Jean take up his rhythm again, fucking him harder and faster, excruciating at this point, a deep, painful soreness worked into Vadim's body, but he still wasn't able to cum. If he'd ever known it could be used to reduce him to a sweat-soaked, shuddering wreck ... But Jean did speed up, thrusting hard and fast and deep now, clearly not holding back, and the shudders became permanent, the tautness, impossible to relax, breathe, and Vadim knew he was making sounds, but nothing registered, no clear thought, no emotion, absolutely nothing.

Sounds that intensified, when Dan finally moved away from his lips, jaw line, throat, moving down, and further down, between the pecs, where sweat gathered, lapping up the salt, and further down, along the abs, until he finally reached the cock. Stalling, before he finally parted his lips and pushed his head down, sucking down the entire length of Vadim's cock.

Jean gave a laugh, a strangled, sexy sound, and thrust harder as he felt Vadim go through another of those deep, powerful shudders, crying out as he came in an orgasm that doubtlessly killed a lot of brain cells. The way it sounded, that was seriously painful, and he thrust hard and vicious, coming deeply inside Vadim at the sight of Dan swallowing, bent over his lover's cock and sucking him dry. He pulled away, put Vadim's leg down and stroked heated, sweaty skin. Vadim was still shuddering uncontrollably, lying flat, stretched out like a slaughtered victim. Mind-blowing to see them together, and Jean pulled away slightly, to do away with the condom, and not sure if tenderness was welcome or accepted, feeling now that the way Vadim reached for Dan - unfocussed, weak - showed more about them than he was really privy to know.

Dan followed the touch, laving the spent cock clean, before moving back up to Vadim's face, smiling, no wickedness now. Just sated tenderness. Hands cupping the face, as he leant down, kissing gently, while Jean stood, legs weak, to find water and something to clean up. Eventually found a towel and two bottles of water. He wiped some of his sweat off, then drank, pleased with himself, relaxed. "Be back in a little", he murmured, but neither man acknowledged him, then picked up his bundle of clothes, heading off to the loos and shower. First to his hut to get the basic items of clothing - wifebeater, camo trousers, flip-flops, and was lucky nobody else seemed awake yet.

Vadim moved only his lips, and hardly those, still catching his breath. Weak, tired, sated, he curled up on his side, breathing, and smelling Dan's skin close. Bone weary, every muscle in his body vibrating with tiredness and exertion, feeling that soreness in his ass, sticky and disgusting, if he could bring himself to care. He couldn't, but Dan did for him. Leaving him after another kiss, getting a towel to clean him up, while Vadim just lay there, passive, and couldn't forget the glance exchanged between Jean and Dan, Dan granting permission when Jean had paused. No. Couldn't have been that. Or was it? Confused, but sated on so many levels, unable to do more than lie there.

"And?" Dan murmured, moving behind him to spoon once more. The grey light of early morning was slowly intensifying, but he didn't give a damn if it was night or day. "Regret your agreement?" He chuckled softly, kissing Vadim's neck, holding him in a tight embrace.

Vadim needed a moment just to muster the strength to speak. "No. Don't ... think so. D'you?"

"No, not a second." Murmured, lips close to skin, Dan fished for the blanket. Morning or not, they'd get some more shut-eye, too sated and bone-weary in the best possible way. "Watching you getting fucked … it just about blew my mind."

"Not ... many who do that. Fuck me. Few."

"No, and it's a shame." Dan trailed off, leaving the cryptic remark out in the open.

Vadim closed his eyes, resting, relaxing against Dan, head, legs, everything in between touching, now under the covers preserving some of that heat. "He ... kissed me, too." Even fewer who'd done that. How strange.

"Aye …" Dan smiled, "he's good at that." Adding after a few kisses of his own, "did you like it?"

"Yeah." Vadim smiled softly into the kissing. "Like he ... like he means it, yes?"

"I don't think he does it in any other way." Dan yawned, stretching as best as he could before spooning even closer. "Don't think there is any other way to kiss." Murmuring, once he had shuffled into the perfect sleeping position, "kissing as if one's life depended on it."

"Interesting ... thought." Vadim was dozing off as well, only mildly roused again by Jean returning and locking the door. Dan looked up, but said nothing, and when Jean entered the bed, his hair was still damp and he smelt of citrusy shower gel and water, clean.

"Stay there", said Jean softly and slipped under the same cover. "Hope you don't mind ... my hut's a bit lonely after this."

"Suit yourself." Dan smiled, even wriggled his hips in an invitation to Jean to move closer. Nothing would part him from Vadim, but having someone, a friend, like Jean, added to the intimacy? He would never say no. Too drowsy to do so anyway. "Wake me tonight …"

"Will do." Jean moved close enough to touch and draw warmth, and placed a kiss between Dan's shoulder blades, a tame notion after what they'd done before, but nevertheless heartfelt. "Door's locked. Good night."

"Good day." Dan breathed out, before falling asleep. Ignoring the sounds of a waking camp and the voices of men all around him. Nothing existed, except for dreams, and warmth. Shared with two men.

 
 
Special Forces Chapter XXXV: Sudden Impact
 
 
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 14 March 2008