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Special Forces Chapter XXXXII: Wind of Change
 
 

May 1992, Berlin, Germany

Hooch was still asleep when the sun streamed through the open windows. The weather had done a turn for the better, and was now doing its best to lure Berlin's population out of their houses, but Hooch lay entangled in the duvet, on his back, one arm thrown across his face and over his eyes.

Vadim decided he'd let him deal with his jet lag, got out of the bed and first set up coffee, which started to gurgle when he had a shave. Going for a shower and then getting into his jogging kit. He peered over to the bed to check whether the American was stirring, but there was no movement.

He was about to walk back out, when Hooch drawled, "thought you promised coffee."

"I did." Vadim turned back and headed into the kitchen, pouring Hooch a mug of black coffee, to set it down on the nightstand. "I was planning to go jogging and pick up some Broetchen and Aufschnitt ... that's typical 'buns' here, but they are quite different from anything you've ever eaten."

"Thanks." Hooch had pulled himself up to sit when Vadim came back. Closing his hand around the mug and sipping the hot brew. His short dark hair was sticking up in all directions, which - in addition to the tired face and half-grin - made him look everything but fierce. Everything but a killer. If only there wasn't the hint of tension in his body, which never left him. "Been to Germany, but never out of camp." He looked at Vadim over the rim of his cup, then leaned back.

"I had the total immersion experience." Vadim grinned. "I'll be back with breakfast."

"Enjoy your run."

"Enjoy the coffee." Vadim headed out of the door, finding a route that took him through some public park and on the way back past the bakery and the butcher's. Ordering the goods in German, and exchanging minor chit-chat - yes, he was on holiday, just for a week, maybe two, yes, he liked Germany. He fell into an easy trot on the way back and unlocked the door again, finding Hooch on the floor of the living room, doing push-ups, naked. From the sheen of sweat on his body, he had been at it for a while.

He watched the muscles' movements, the breaths, enjoying the view which inspired him. He'd have loved to get back to bed right now, sweaty himself, Hooch sweaty and pumped up. Nice thought. He'd keep it.

Vadim dropped the goods off in the kitchen, had another quick shower, and came back out in faded jeans and a t-shirt, ready to set up breakfast, when Hooch met him in the hallway. "Place got a washing machine?"

"Drop the stuff in the basket in the bathroom, I'll see if I can find the instruction booklet later." Vadim's eyes trailed to Hooch's chiselled front, the tanned, broad shoulders. The fact that this man was a killing machine. It pressed all the right buttons. "They have some nice kinds of ham here", he murmured, trying to focus on breakfast, but Hooch didn't seem to listen, instead regarding him with the customary half-grin. Even if the grin wasn't that obvious, the growing interest down below was telling, and Vadim's throat tightened, one appetite warring against the other.

"Make me keep the thought." Hooch turned, presenting his bare backside as he walked away and into the bathroom, and as before, kept the door ajar.

Anticipation is half the fun, Vadim thought. "Pretty sure I can keep you entertained." Grinning, he headed into the kitchen and prepared breakfast. Whether that would lead Hooch to rate him higher for housewife skills than Matt was anybody's guess, but the alternative, a housekeeper, would have prevented views like a naked Hooch doing push-ups. He cooked eggs, laid out various kinds of ham, and placed the buns in a little basket he'd found, all that with coffee and orange juice.

"Jesus fucking H Christ." Hooch's voice was heard from the doorframe. Leaning against it in black jeans and a grey t-shirt, feet still bare. "Marry me?" The grin in his freshly shaved face was a rare, full-blown one.

Vadim laughed. "You really aren't used to getting decent food, hm? Tuck in." He still couldn't help the grin. "First thing an athlete learns is what to eat and what not to eat. This stuff is high on salt, but a good shot at protein. Orange juice and coffee accelerate each other, as vitamin C and caffeine have a synergistic effect." He waved his hand. "I might give you the full English breakfast tomorrow, maybe. That's a sure recipe for a coronary."

Hooch laughed, a short, dry sound, as he sat down. "I know, but ain't practicable. Live on whatever shit's available." He cocked a brow, "should learn cooking. Would up my market price." Reaching for a crispy roll, he buttered it well and put a selection of meats and cheeses on top. Liking his sandwiches with an eclectic mix of simultaneous tastes.

"Depends on what market you're talking about. I'd rate you pretty highly, but then, I go for your type." He stuck to the dry-cured ham, relishing the taste and quality of the meat. "I guess we could rent a car. Should make it easier to go to Berlin, even though the trains are good and cheap. I've seen a number of shops that could fit the bill. We'll just have to browse a bit. And maybe drop in at Frau Klein's for pancakes. German-style pancakes."

"Sounds good. Give me food and I'm yours." The peeks of humour that came to the surface were rare, and despite the level of tension that never left him, Hooch was more relaxed than Vadim had ever seen him. Matt had to have a knack for touching Hooch where little else did. "Kebabs …" biting into another bun, talking around a mouthful, "without flies feasting on the meat before." He washed it all down with coffee, on the third mug by now. "Know of any surplus stores?" Looking straight at Vadim, from one second to another the intensity in his eyes had cranked up.

Vadim paused, then smiled slowly. Surplus stores? Military kit, then. Oh, that would be interesting. "I'm sure people know. What will it be for you?" Hooch decked out in his US camo? And what about himself? He had an idea where this was going, and he didn't mind.

"My kit's not important." Finishing off the last of his coffee, tension crept visibly up Hooch's spine, but it wasn't the bad kind. "You were an Officer. Right?"

"I was. Made it to Major, towards the end. I ran a lot of our operations in Kabul. Liaison, training the Afghans to fend for themselves, interrogation." The last word was smooth in his mouth. "I didn't interrogate, I organized it. Collated the data. Wrote reports." Vadim looked at Hooch. "Peaked cap, bulled boots, greatcoat? Or rather spetsnaz look, out in the fields?"

A slow grin crept onto Hooch's face. Twisting the mug on the table, it never span out of control. "Ever taken prisoners?"

"Yes." Vadim smiled, and wasn't it funny, really, that, in these circumstances, it aroused him. Like it aroused Hooch, who knew what it meant that he'd been a Russian officer. The bogeyman himself. If it got Hooch off, if it relaxed him, there was no harm done. It was risky, somehow. It meant remembering the other man, the one that had been destroyed. But maybe it would actually be good to do that.

"Let's go shopping." Hooch let the mug spin out of his hand and it came to a stop right at the edge of the table. He stood up, lingered at the table, half aware of domestic chores that so very little fitted into his world. Plates. Cutlery. Food. Fridge. Washing up. "Just one thing."

"Yes?"

"I can take a lot." Dark eyes intense, "and I don't do safe words."

"I'll know when you break", said Vadim, it just slipped out, even though part of him was shocked. Breaking? This had been about sex, now it was about torture. Fuck. Then why was his body so very much and unmistakably interested? Would he really find the moment when Hooch started to come apart? Keep on the safe side? Hooch wanted him to cross that line. Could he? Vadim inhaled deeply. Madness.

The intensity grew in Hooch's eyes, until they were burning with something indecipherable. He nodded. "Yeah." He severed the contact and turned away, leaving chores, kitchen and Vadim behind.

Vadim only then could breathe again. Just to sort his thoughts, he cleared away the table, placed everything in the dishwasher, found the instructions and started the machine. Every now and then pausing as images flashed across his mind, searing him with that force. With a sudden, stomach-twisting need. Hooch just cranked up the intensity. Every time. He wanted nothing more than head right back to bed, for a quick, savage fuck.

Hooch, though, reappeared in the doorway, dressed in stylish hiking boots, designed for 'urban wear' rather than hiking, and a black leather jacket thrown over his t-shirt. "Should have helped." Offering a half-cocked grin. "I'm lousy."

"I don't feel my masculinity threatened, that's okay." It was more Vadim's sanity that was threatened, seeing Hooch in broad daylight, like that. Fuck. The grin, the ease, and the way he kept striking sparks off him, with everything he did. He brushed past Hooch, to head over to get shoes and his own jacket, slightly more elegant, but still outdoor type clothes.

"Cab?" Hooch asked.

"Yeah. We just walk down the road and get one. There's a taxi rank next to the bakery." Vadim checked he had his keys, wallet, then left the bungalow, locked the door behind them. Taxi, main station, train. He had to force himself to pay attention to the outside world. Hooch had a way to distract him, and the images in his mind's eye did nothing to help him. Neither the lazy grace with which Hooch sat opposite him on the train, one foot on the heater grill, the other leg stretched out, like he was presenting the goods. Teasing was clearly a word in his vocabulary, even though he didn't appear to be conscious of it.

Off at the main station just a little later, they walked the streets, and Vadim had intended to show Hooch some of the sights, but wasn't sure whether they shouldn't just locate the goods, pay for them and head back as soon as possible. It became clearer when Hooch stopped at some of the sights they passed, asking occasional questions, showing an interest in the tour, which had no particular touristy character, but happened to pass several sights anyway.

Near the Brandenburg gate, they found somebody selling a ragtag collection of various military bits and pieces, some hearkening back to the Second World War. Much of it was recent, a lot of Eastern Germany army stuff, some Russian stuff. The seller wasn't German or Russian, but he had a friend who sold 'complete sets', he assured them. Getting the address scribbled on a piece of paper, Vadim suggested to go by taxi, but Hooch stopped him with that customary half-grin.

"You know where to get curry sausages?"

"Not here ... too central. Tends to be small, dingy places." Vadim looked around, trying to figure out the best way to find one, couldn't remember if they'd passed any of them on their little tour through the very centre. A small detour brought them finally to an "Imbiss", where somebody, who again didn't look German at all, served "Currywurst" and "Pommes", and even though there was likely absolutely nothing healthy in that food, it was great stuff.

Hooch enjoyed his portion so much, he got a second one, this time with extra curry powder. He usually ate with the same intensity with which he did anything, as if the food or drink could be the last one.

They got a taxi and found the shop easily. It smelt somewhat musky, but had, indeed, the full set. Vadim spotted the Russian camo and coats right away, and made his way there, while Hoch lingered along the shelves of bits and pieces of kit. Occasionally pulling something out and studying it, until he got to the shop keeper. "You speak English?"

The shop keeper nodded. "Yes, of course. Are you American?"

Hooch raised a brow, perfectly aware that his accent would label him unmistakably. "You got handcuffs?"

The shop keeper nodded, waving Hooch towards a shelf with various different kinds, ranging from the cheap ones that were by far the most common, to proper police type restraints that were connected with a joint, not a chain.

Hooch picked up the police ones, weighing them and checking them over. He didn't even glance at the cheap ones. He picked up two sets, placed them onto the counter. "Will be looking for more." Vanishing once again into the maze of shelves and baskets. He finally found what he'd been looking for in a corner, next to the uniforms. Picking out several lengths of rope, made from manmade fibre. Peering through the stacks of uniforms, looking for Vadim. "Found something?"

Vadim stood in front of a tall mirror and adjusted the greatcoat about his shoulders, frowning in thought. "I lost some bulk", he murmured darkly. "This size used to fit properly." He reached for the cap and put it on, tipping it at the correct angle.

"How old were you when it fit?" Hooch's voice appeared in Vadim's back, dark eyes were watching him through the mirror with something that was clearly appreciation and ... hunger.

"Thirty. Even mid-thirties." Vadim smiled, making eye contact in the mirror.

"You only keep bulk after forty if you take supplements."

"Supplements? You mean, steroid shots?" Vadim grinned. "I used to do that. I was seriously into 'body-building'", saying that with a fake Russian accent, then regarding himself critically in the mirror. "The next size down is too small, though."

"You're lucky your balls haven't shrivelled to a prune." Hooch flashed a brief grin. "Met a few of those on the prowl. Muscles, strength, and no stamina." He raised a brow, "posers."

Vadim laughed. "I just wanted bulk for wrestling, and to look as imposing as I could. And, yeah, I was bored in Afghanistan, between missions. And before we went there. Tajikistan." He glanced at a display case that held many of the old medals and Christmas tree trimmings, as he'd thought of them, likely to be had for a pittance. Including the veteran star for those that had served in Afghanistan. Another one he didn't have anymore, and would never wear again. He selected merely those that displayed the rank. Major. Not Captain. That was for Hooch's sake, the higher the better, he thought. "I take the lot", he said to the shop keeper. Not haggling. It wouldn't break the bank.

Vadim got changed again, could still smell the uniform on him as he slipped back into his clothes, then got out the wallet and paid.

Hooch paid for the cuffs with Deutschmark, pushing the items into Vadim's line of view, together with the ropes, and waited, leaning against the counter, while the shop keeper put everything into an assortment of recycled carrier bags.

Cuffs, ropes, and a Soviet uniform. If the shop keeper knew what they were planning, he didn't move a muscle in his face, industriously making money and not caring about anything else. In any case, Vadim was glad when they were outside.

"You want to shop for more?" Hooch fished for his cigarettes. He didn't smoke often, a fraction of Dan's habit.

"I think I'm set. Unless you want some 'toys'." Vadim shrugged. "Stuff like ... dildos. And, well. I forgot the lube. That means, I have some, but we might want more." He felt unreal, standing outside the shop, discussing dildos. With a former enemy. A Delta with the need to get punished. And as aroused as he was.

Hooch's eyes flashed at the same time as the flame touched his cigarette. "I'm game. Where?"

"Just follow me." Vadim headed back to the main station, where several sex shops had signs out, and it was strange to enter one and enter it with Hooch, but on the other hand, he really wanted lube and all the other stuff. Suddenly facing shelves upon shelves with porn, weird gimmicks, and a whole range of dildos and vibrators. A woman behind the counter, looking like any other shop assistant.

When Vadim turned, he saw Hooch for the first time rattled. Looking around the shop that seemed no different to any clothes shop, just that it sold a more interesting variety of goods. "Germans are weird." Hooch muttered, then caught himself the next second and steered towards a shelf with dildos. So many to choose from, he meticulously walked along to look at each of them.

Vadim kept his gaze away from the shopkeeper and stayed close to Hooch. Which, he suddenly realised, gave away what their relations with each other were. Two gay guys looking at toys together. Oh fuck. He blinked for a moment, then forced himself to breathe. "I prefer meat", he murmured into Hooch's ear, but remembered the guy in Glasgow and how spaced out he'd been. Nothing else short of an arm could have done that.

"Yeah." Hooch turned, a dildo in each hand, two different sizes. One more realistic, the other … a challenge. "Meat doesn't come in all sizes."

"True." Vadim peered at the bigger one and shuddered briefly. Dan could fit in a fist, but he was somewhat squeamish about that thought. "Well, and it's not something you can keep in a military bergan, I guess." Vadim laughed softly, embarrassed to the bone, but also still horny.

"Shit, no. You can keep the stuff. Feel free to use it." The quirk of Hooch's lips left no question what he meant and the raising of a brow told Vadim that Hooch wasn't convinced it wouldn't get used on Vadim himself.

"Thanks." Vadim grinned. "Well, pick with whatever you're 'comfortable' with." Only realizing the pun when he'd said it.

"No clue." Hooch shrugged, "whatever hurts like fuck and doesn't cause lasting injuries."

Hurts like fuck. Vadim paused again, feeling another surge of dark lust inside, and was sure his face and eyes betrayed that. Causing him to head over to the lube, checking out several different kinds of brands, which took him forever in his state. Finally going with stuff that was compatible with just about everything and didn't leave marks, according to the bottle. Nothing fragranced or flavoured either, just the plain stuff. The condoms were a bit more of a challenge, mostly because there were so many different kinds. Looking over at Hooch, who had found a shopping basket and had filled it with the dildos and a gag. Nothing else caught his interest. Like military kit and clothes, everything had to be functional. Perhaps even people.

"You want to use them?" Hooch gestured to the condoms.

Vadim shrugged. "I ... I should be clean." Taking a risk with Hooch, but he wanted all of the man, every scrap of feeling. The things they'd be playing with, and then the safety measure of latex. It jarred in his mind.

"I'm clean. Get myself tested every time." Leaving it between them what he meant. "Not going to infect anyone because I couldn't stop it."

Vadim nodded, stepping away from the condoms. "Okay." Couldn't stop it. Why did every word echo and go straight to his balls? "Right, we're done then? We probably can still catch the next train out." Looking at his watch. "Easily. Next one leaves in fifteen."

Hooch nodded and took the lube out of Vadim's hand, adding it to his basket. He stopped a few steps further down the aisle, paused for a mere second before picking up an enema kit. The sales lady was completely business-like, and spoke heavily accented English.

They were soon back in the station, catching their train with several minutes to spare. Hooch slouched in his seat, the same way as he had done on the way into the centre, the assortment of bags in the rack above them. "Food?"

"Yeah. I got some steak from the butchers. Add some sour cream and baked potatoes and we're set." Vadim grinned. "Yes, I plan ahead for food, if only the next two or three meals."

"Shit. Really got to marry you." Hooch moved his head back, chuckling, uncaring of a few glances from fellow passengers. He was anonymous, in another country, on R&R, and the military be damned if he gave a shit about anything right now.

"No need. I won't get pregnant, and I'm as thoroughly dishonoured as one can possibly be." Ouch. That stung. He hadn't meant to say that. It had been a joke about dishonoured maidens, but had turned to a big chunk of truth.

"What?" Hooch leaned forward.

"I mean, in a ... you know. Sexual way." Never mind social, military, national. Vadim briefly closed his eyes. He couldn't make this a joke again, it had rattled him too much. The complete wrong thing to say. Or think. Both. "Maybe I'll tell you the story one day. Let's say I have a British passport because Russia denies my existence." Pausing for a moment, looking at Hooch. "Let's be friends and comrades, instead?"

Hooch was close, looking at Vadim, and the understanding of something that could not be said was there, and no more questions followed. "Yeah. Easy." He settled back in his seat, looking out of the window.

"Thanks", murmured Vadim, meaning it. It didn't take long and the main station was announced, with time enough for them to gather their bags and head out. Vadim hailed a taxi back to the bungalow, opened the door and allowed Hooch to step in. "I'll fix the steaks and check whether I find the instructions for the washing machine", he said, dropping the bags in the bedroom.

"Want me to help?" The way Hooch stood, still in his leather jacket, a hand in the back pocket of his black jeans, he didn't mean household chores.

Vadim swallowed. The man had a way of throwing him all the time. "Such as?" Lifting an eyebrow, gaze travelling down the body, and his own body wanted to shift the pressure of the constant arousal through much of the day. A blowjob? Or getting ready for the 'game', only that it wasn't a game.

Hooch shrugged, then flashed a grin, but didn't answer. "I'll be exercising, alright? Too much shopping." Turning away, back into the hallway.

Vadim exhaled again. Fuck. And he'd get to watch it, of course. He gathered up what little dirty laundry they had by now and stuffed it into the washing machine, then found the booklet on a shelf above the machine - these tidy Germans - and started it.

Hooch reappeared shortly after, wearing nothing but a pair of boxers. Positioning himself in the middle of the hallway, he used the free space - easily viewed from the kitchen - for a routine of isometric exercises, combined with push ups, triceps dips, squats and back to the push ups. Two-handed, one handed, and a variation of both, with arms in different positions.

Despite watching him transfixed for long moments, Vadim managed to return to the kitchen, where he began to make food, only interrupted by glances at Hooch's body. That didn't take down the arousal, but he managed to boil the potatoes, fix the salad, and the steaks were still bloody enough to writhe with pain when he stabbed them. "I assume you like them bloody?"

Hooch looked up, a fine sheen of sweat on his chest when he pulled his legs under him into a squat, balancing on his heels with his arms folded across his knees. "What, like, makes you think so?" Half-grinning.

"Let me see. These are fresh, no flies around, while I assume you boil and cook and grill everything to death wherever you are, just to make sure you don't die of food poisoning. Raw meat, however, tastes very different, and I think the animalistic thing could appeal to you, as well as the fact that it's a novelty when you're used to the boiled to a pulp fare."

Hooch's grin grew, getting up from the position with ease and an odd grace. "I'm from the South, man, that's all you need to know about me and bloody steaks."

Vadim grinned, crossed his arms in front of his chest, then dropped one hand and adjusted himself, very deliberately. "Are you keeping the thought, too?"

Hooch walked closer, positioned himself in front of Vadim, arms crossed as well, mirroring his stance. "Haven't had any other thought all day."

"Same here." Vadim wanted to touch him, badly, but that wasn't what Hooch wanted. And he shouldn't assume just because Dan liked touches and kisses and cuddles, that the same held true for this guy. The very fact they had fallen asleep and woken up apart showed the difference, even though they were very at ease with each other, with just the fact that Hooch often surprised him. "Whatever happens ..." but the sentence didn't make any sense. Hooch didn't need a 'trust me', and wouldn't follow a 'talk to me', and they weren't in love, either. Hooch wanted that other man, the one he had been. Maybe Hooch, right now, only saw that in him, a person guarding something that he wanted. Violence. Pain. The potential of death. "Strange. It's easier when they don't want it", Vadim murmured. "Let's eat. The steaks should be relaxed now."

Hooch reached out, "friends and comrades, buddy?" Quietly, his eyes showing a rare warmth when he smiled.

Vadim took the hand and pressed it. "You keep ... surprising me", he murmured. "Let's have that food. I think we rather need it before the night's up." Holding Hooch's right hand with his, then reaching to touch his groin with the palm of his other hand, pressing against the package. "Or I'll eat you, eh?"

"No, that'll be my job." Hooch grinned and squeezed Vadim's hand before letting go. He brushed past him, deliberately close, and got to the table. Still in nothing but the shorts and not giving a damn. "Looks damn fine. Should reciprocate, but haven't got my own place and can't cook."

"Well, pay a nice restaurant, then."

"Where would we fuck?" Hooch's lips quirked. "On base?"

"Wherever. But ideally at least in some kind of safe house."

The food was fairly soon demolished, the steaks on the raw side of 'just right'. Good quality stuff though, like most food Vadim had had in Germany so far, minus the stuff from the fast-food place, which had still tasted really good. "What about", Vadim ventured, seeing that it got dark outside, "you clean up and have a long shower?"

"You got liquor?"

"Vodka." Vadim pointed at the fridge. "It's in the freezer."

"Thanks." Hooch raided the freezer and found a couple of glasses, pouring both full to the brim. He emptied his own, pushing the other towards Vadim with a half-grin, then poured a second one, equally full, and took it with him into the shower after a stop-over at one of the bags, pulling the kit out. "Will be a while."

Vadim cleared away the stuff again, then checked on the purchases. Things would have to go fairly fast to work out. He just couldn't imagine a cold start. It had to be intense from the beginning, or he probably wouldn't have the guts to do it ... not the way Hooch wanted.

Hooch kept the door almost shut, but not completely. The sound of the loo flushing was heard several times before the shower ran for a long while. At the same time, Vadim worked frantically, getting into the stuff as fast as he could, easily beating his own chemical warfare suit times.

He took a length of rope, knowing it would bruise, but was less dangerous than any cable, and then, knowing the layout of the bathroom, he opened the door a bit more. Moving carefully, counting on Hooch having soap in his eyes or maybe being somewhat deafened by the water running into his ears - or something. Something like him wanting not to notice.

He crossed the distance quickly, shoved aside the shower curtain in the same movement as he brought the rope to bear. Slipping it around Hooch's throat, who only managed to turn a fraction, fingers scrabbling for the rope. Vadim tightened it in an instant, and almost lifting Hooch out of the bathtub with sheer force, making him stumble, and using that to wrestle him to the ground. All done in deadly silence except for Hooch's struggling breaths that seemed deafening in the room, as he fought against Vadim with all his strength, no holds barred. This was no game.

Vadim managed to get on top, but it was a ride, the Delta fighting tooth and nail, and Vadim did not doubt for a moment that Hooch used everything he had - and would continue to use it. Shit. He should have brought a gun. Or a second man, he thought, with a chilling echo of that night in Kabul. And even more chilling was how fucking hard it made him. He kept the rope taut, knowing it was dangerous, but counted, counted the seconds as he restricted the big artery. Cutting off oxygen to the brain, counting because Hooch had to pass out, and at the same time, if he kept going for too long, Hooch would wake up with brain damage, or not wake up at all.

Hooch's face turned red, mouth open, desperate sounds, movements growing uncoordinated. Flailing, still fighting, body bucking up, but in the height of that movement he suddenly crashed, eyes rolling back, hands falling off Vadim, as his head slumped to the side. Passed out cold.

"Sweet dreams", Vadim murmured, releasing the makeshift garrotte immediately. Checking on the bruise, which, he assumed, Hooch would be able to explain somehow. Horsing around, maybe. Didn't matter. He gathered up the body, lifted it with some effort, and put it into a fireman's lift. Heading out towards the bedroom, he dropped Hooch on the bed, took his hands and locked them in the handcuffs behind his back, then placed him down onto the floor to tie his legs with a length of rope. Enough to walk, not enough to run or kick. He checked his vitals again, not doubting that Hooch would come round in a little. Then touching the body - stroking and caressing the muscles, the damp skin, the cock he wanted, part of him wanted to be repaid in kind. Stroking the cock, he wanted to suck it, but that wouldn't be part of the role. Sucking a prisoner? Wouldn't happen.

Hooch drew in a painful sounding breath, and jerked awake the next moment. Eyes opening wide, disoriented for a split second, before he got his bearings and Vadim could see how his mind worked, how he mentally checked himself. Muscles twitching, testing the cuffs, and dark eyes flickering into every corner, checking his position and that of the enemy. The tiniest indication of tension, before he threw himself onto his back, knees together, coming up the same instance, flying towards Vadim's face.

Vadim managed to begin a turn, the kick hit him in the shoulder, painful as Hooch's whole body was behind it, and it sent him a good yard away. The fun had just begun, and he managed to get to his feet and out of range, at least for a moment. His shoulder hurt bad, and he moved around the man, regarding him, expecting another assault. Too bad he didn't have a gun, or even Vanya with him. Only to threaten. And to control. Staring down at Hooch. American. Prisoner. Prisoner did it. Naked. His. He reached behind himself and took the knife he'd found in the kitchen for that purpose, and showed it to Hooch. "Are you done with the thrashing?"

Hooch said nothing, glaring up at Vadim, rage in his dark eyes. Rage and so much goddamned hunger, this really was only the beginning. No word, no movement, the near-perfect deceit, until he suddenly tensed again, hands fists in his back, pushing himself up and backwards, aiming to kick Vadim's face. Vadim dodged this again, faster this time, and the moment Hooch's body touched the ground again, he kicked him. The boot making a dull, thudding noise as it hit flesh. First into Hooch's back, the next kick into his side, and while Hooch didn't scream, he had to use all his control to keep silent. Breathing noisily, frantically irregular, his body tried to curl into itself, to protect the vital organs.

Vadim knew well what that felt like. He'd been pissing a lot of blood from all the hits and kicks into the kidneys. He reached down, grabbing Hooch by the throat, forcing him up and then backhanded him several times, hard, making his head fly left and right, snarling at him.

The moment Vadim stopped, Hooch spit a mouthful of blood at him. The rage had intensified. Fuelled by pain and anger that fed the hunger, while hunger and greed fuelled the rage in return. He was on his knees, fighting the pain, but fighting the man had only been paused. Not stopped.

"Are you. Done yet?" Vadim shouted at him, eyes blazing, he did feel the anger, got into the scene. The bungalow just bled away and everything blurred.

"No!" Hooch forced out. Spitting blood again.

It was just him and Hooch, right here, right now. The intensity again breathtaking. "You can have it the easy way or the hard way." Adding: "Scum."

"Make. Me!" Hooch snarled. Teeth stained red.

Vadim bared his teeth, again hitting Hooch, but now punching him straight in the face, then releasing him. Hooch hit the floor, where he lay dazed for a moment, taken out by the blinding pain behind his eyes. "There is no reason for you to resist ... we already know everything. We even got your team members to confirm it. All you have to do is tell us the story of your infiltration, and you will live."

"Fuck you." Hooch shook. Snorting to stop the blood run down the back of his throat. Staining the floor instead. "No chance." The stare of defiance was burning bright in his dark eyes. "I'm fucking Delta!"

"Ah. And your team members aren't?" Vadim raised an eyebrow, mocking him. "You are here in breach of international laws. You have entered our territory. The border police might have shot you in error, you know ...?"

"Liar." Hooch turned his head, wiping blood onto his shoulder, trying to breathe properly, but his nose hurt like fuck and was swelling up.

"That may well be or not be." Vadim smiled, maliciously. "Nobody will ask questions where you are, because you're not officially here. You are at my mercy."

Something flickered in Hooch's eyes, and then his lips pulled into a mocking grin. "Am on my own."

"Deltas operate in small teams. You Americans are herd animals. Nothing more. And you are not the leader of the pack." Picking up the knife again. "What's your name?"

"Fuck you."

"How eloquent." Vadim placed the knife against Hooch's throat, staring into his eyes, then, with the other hand, removed the cap. "But I may well fuck you. And then call the guards to fuck you, too." Smiling again. "What now, bitch? Any more niceties?"

Hooch's breath quickened, in pace with his heartbeat that was hammering against his chest. He knelt still, very still with that blade against his throat, but his cock was hardening. Despite everything or probably because of it. "Won't tell you." Lips hardly moving.

Vadim's eyes trailed down to the cock and he wanted Hooch so much in that very same moment. Needed to stay in control. Looking into Hooch's eyes, the man wouldn't suck him. No way. He'd bite. Likely accepting the consequences just to prove a point. But getting sucked by this dangerous, defiant bastard was a price, even though he had no idea how to claim it. He lowered the knife, letting the blade whisper down to the chest, then, gently, almost, cut into the skin, and Hooch twitched and gave an involuntary hiss. Deep enough for it to bleed, watching the red form a drop, and lingering, not falling, not running, just beading. Vadim's lips were open, breath going a little faster. "What is your name?"

Hooch didn't answer. Had no answer, and he growled, anger rising like a burning tide, spitting at Vadim.

Vadim used the open hand again to hit Hooch, several times. Left, right, six, eight times, until Hooch's head hung low, without resistance. Too dazed to focus.

"Don't forget it's you who's in my power. Not vice versa. You were caught. Out cold. Fabulous soldiering, right there." Stepping back again, Vadim was warm from the fight and the hitting and he slipped out of the greatcoat, tossing it across the bed. Arms crossed as he stood close to Hooch, but not too close. "You will break, Delta. Even if I have to kill you, you will break."

Hooch forced his head back up, the bleeding had stopped despite the recent hits. "No." His voice betrayed the pain, but then it strengthened, hardened, when the rage came back and his fists clenched in his back. "Can't."

"You can't? I'll help you." Vadim felt coldness trickle down his back.

I'll help you. Just let go. Konstantinov.

He stepped too close, confused by the sudden memory, Konstantinov had been there, just like he was, now, but Konstantinov hadn't been hard. No lust in it. Just power. But what strong, heady stuff that power was.

Hooch took the chance immediately, jumped up from his knees, onto his heels, and propelled his whole body weight towards Vadim.

Vadim snapped out of the thought immediately, cursed himself as he lost balance and fell, crashing down, managing while falling to kick and make sure that Hooch didn't get on top when the kick hit the neck. Quickly getting back onto his feet, while Hooch remained on his side for a moment, coughing. Vadim's heart pounded, moving back to prevent a follow-on attack. "Bastard. We've played enough."

He took the rope again, slid it over Hooch's head before he could try and defend himself. There was very little Hooch could do, and with that angle, Vadim wrestled him to the ground, knee in his back, forcing him down with strength that was part anger, part shock, part lust. He used the rope to tie the legs and the arms together, connecting the cuffs and the rope between Hooch's legs, then, hog-tied, Hooch couldn't move, he was held down, and all Hooch could do was try desperately to contain the sounds of distress.

"You are not cooperating. You had your chance."

Vadim took the ball gag and placed the knife at Hooch's bloodied lips. "Open, or I cut off your lips." Forcing it through the teeth, then tying it in the back. "What now? Any brave or clever ideas? Bitch?"

Frantically breathing, nostrils flaring with every shallow breath, Hooch glared at Vadim. His eyes, though, showed more than defiance or anger. There was pain, even hatred, and undeniable lust. Greed. Greed for more. Greed to let go. To be made to let go. 'Make me'.

Vadim stared at him, saw the challenge, and wanted it. At the same time it was like Konstantinov was with him in the room, studying his technique. Fuck, he thought. He could almost sense the bastard, could almost hear his voice. Smell him. But it made him only angry, right now. He took the rope around Hooch's neck and connected that to his legs, pulling the head far back into his neck, via the handcuffs. Forcing Hooch into a painful position with all weight on his hips - and his cock pressed into the ground.

He sat down after he'd checked the knots, and looked at Hooch, every now and then checking his watch. Allowing the tissue to swell, allowing Hooch to feel the pain as the adrenaline burnt out, body turning into a rigid, sweaty sculpture. And Hooch fought, fought so hard to retain control of his body. If he let up, he'd choke. His neck muscles standing out like steel ropes, his whole body trembling with the effort.

Vadim was watching him, unfazed, with no feeling, at least he hoped so, then put on the cap that shadowed his eyes. He opened the gag and pulled it from between Hooch's teeth, carefully not to be bitten.

"What now, American scum? I can leave you like this for a few days. The cramps should be very enjoyable for somebody who so obviously enjoys discomfort. As a friend once said", baring his teeth fiercely, "it's a challenge to make a masochist break, but I'm up for the task."

"Can't …" each word forced out between clenched teeth, but then Hooch's muscles gave in for a second and his head snapped forward, rope cutting into the larynx and he jerked himself back, the sound of distress purely animalistic. "Can't … touch me."

"I don't have to touch you. Yet. When I'm done with you ..." Vadim paused, changing his tactics. "Tell me, would you like to suck my cock? This makes you hard, point proven: you're a masochist, and a degenerate at that. A homosexualist."

Hooch's breath came hissing, laboured. His face a mess of drying blood and darkening bruises, but the glare still had the same intensity. "Just sex." Hardly able to stop a sound of pain escaping. Almost a whimper. Almost.

"Is it." Vadim met the gaze, measure for measure. If Hooch truly believed that, he didn't see himself as gay. Despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. Maybe the type that thought that they weren't gay as long as they didn't 'take it'. But Hooch did. He said he couldn't stop it, when he fell in with the S/M crowd. Unless 'taking it' was nothing but part of the punishment. Would he stay hard when he got fucked? Would he come? And would he accept it, deep down, truly accept that he was having sex with a man, and one that 'topped' him. Hooch made it sound like sex didn't matter. Here, he was wrong. Repeat sex could form a habit, a habit could become an addiction, even a relationship, or a mind-saving, mind-destroying nexus like with Dan. It could be the seed of a new person, the core, the deep, deep core that couldn't be touched otherwise, unless one was very skilled at removing layers and skin and scars. And Hooch's hunger, to 'watch', that intensity, that just proved him wrong. "You should think carefully about what you choose when you have free choice", Vadim murmured lowly. "How many women can fuck you up the ass? And isn't that what you want? You couldn't help it? Bullshit! You got yourself in a position where you knew what would happen. You're Delta. Risk assessment should be developed better in you than your average stupid grunt." Vadim leaned forward. "You feed on it. You need it."

Hooch growled, a sound that was everything but human. "Just … sex … asshole!" Hardly comprehensible words, the strain made it near impossible to speak.

"If you repeat it often enough it may yet come true." Vadim took the blindfold that he'd found. Stupid little thing was given out in long-haul flight packs, and he'd kept it, just in case the light woke him, but he could never bring himself to wear it. Hated his eyes to be covered these days, and assumed it was a soldierly reflex. Now, he needed to blur Hooch's sense of time. And nothing did that like taking his sight. He knelt down and slipped it over Hooch's eyes, made sure it sat in the right place, then sat back on the chair, leaning against it. Attentively watching, studying what he could see from the face, the lips, the tension in the body. He needed to make sure that Hooch didn't choke.

The strain in Hooch's body grew in increments. Turning from rock hard muscles to cramped steely ropes beneath the skin. Sweating with the effort to remain in the stress position without choking himself. Between the devil and the deep blue sea - with his head far back in his neck the pain got so bad in the battered muscles and joints, Hooch let out small sounds between the sharp hissing breaths. Biting his lips to stay quiet, but he couldn't stop those sounds of distress completely. It got worse, much worse, after half an hour. So bad, his body was wrecked with waves of pain, visibly shuddering through him. Muscles trembling, he was fighting to keep his head at least far enough back to be able to get in a little air. Rope digging deeply into his throat, his lips were open, letting out rattling breaths when another shudder ran through him. The tremor growing to uncontrollable proportions when he kept hanging on. Kept fighting. Longer, ever longer. Not giving in. Impossible to. Could not, would not. But he didn't know for how long he fought, forgot where he was, forgot why and how and if he was watched or not. No sounds except for his own, and those became just as uncontrollable as the wrecking convulsions.

Vadim could have watched for an hour or two. The mental struggle was likely as fierce as the physical one, but somebody fighting so hard won his respect. Hooch had that, of course, it was just a theoretical thought. Not that he'd got too deep into the role. Not like the Major was actually rearing his head. Exactly when the other man, the one he'd been, had died, he couldn't remember. Maybe there was no moment, maybe it was just a long, long process of coming up for air.

He shifted his weight, knelt down beside Hooch. "This will stop when you beg me to fuck you", he said, softly. "Simple."

Hooch didn't answer. Just a sound that wanted to break through. A desperate sound, when he forced his head to make tiny movements … shaking 'no'.

Vadim placed a hand on Hooch's cheek, the other was a fist just in case the man would bite, and he rested his hand there, against the sweaty, stubbly chin. There was this odd tenderness again, and part of him wanted to free him and take him to bed, but that was not what Hooch had requested.

Hooch fought the touch - and lost the fight before it even started. The sound that finally came out, from his very core, and the desperate whimper was small, almost negligent.

Yet it was the most weakness Vadim had ever witnessed, and just seeing him like that, not struggling right now, soundly beaten and knowing it, tightened Vadim's chest. He took the knife and severed the piece of rope that kept Hooch's head up, which fell to the ground, forehead hitting hard. Allowing him that much relief, then tied the legs closer together, at the knees, too, but severed the rope that kept arms and legs together, taking most of the strain off. Vadim lifted him and placed Hooch on the bed, face down, who finally got himself sufficiently back together again to try and fight - but his overstrained muscles simply wouldn't obey and the pain of changing the position was unbearable.

Vadim untied the legs to open them and tie them to the bed frame, spread, then, carefully, ready to fight back if Hooch started trouble, but the movements were uncoordinated and despite the effort, Hooch's legs would not obey him. The muscles useless with tremors and cramps after cramps. Vadim unchained the wrists and raised them above Hooch's head, tying them to the bed frame, which should make escaping impossible, whenever Hooch regained control of his body again. But right now the man was just breathing against the pain, while struggling to suppress the sounds that wanted to come out. Again, forever struggling. The need for control.

Vadim watched him for a bit, wanting to wipe the sweat off, but he knew that he had to wait for the pain to subside. Eventually the signs became obvious, when Hooch pulled in a few deeper breaths and the tremors in arms and legs subsided. "The more muscles you have, the worse the cramps", Vadim observed. "At least that's what I heard." He ran his fingers through his hair, having taken the cap off. Seeing the naked, defenceless man on the bed raised two emotions. One was wanting to protect him - the other was to fuck him so hard that he screamed. Vadim swallowed, shuddering himself now. He kept his eyes on Hooch, allowed the thought to not only creep up, but fully manifest, until it was the dominant, only thought in his mind. Fuck this man. Screaming. Bleeding. Fighting. Hating. This is what I am, Vadim thought. I've been this, and I am that same thing, still. And I'll ever be this. I'll always be capable of rape. He studied the thought, examined it, repelled like he had received a bullet and he was examining the wound. Splintered bone, pieces of metal. Blood and puss. Clinical. This wasn't a game, not like with Dan. This was the real thing, even though he knew it wasn't real, it still was. He fed it from the genuine, pure source of darkness.

He headed over to where he'd dropped the purchases. The dildo. And the lube. If he fucked Hooch now, he would rape him. Hooch might not be able to tell the difference, or he might, but it wouldn't be good - too much poison. He didn't even want to force himself in and so much as remember he'd very nearly killed Dan after he'd been finished with him. How many had killed themselves after this? Deserved or innocent. Feeding that hunger was … not wrong. It would destroy something. He shuddered with the effort, he wanted Hooch, wanted to have him, and he could feel Hooch expected it on some level. That was why Hooch had got himself into this position. He lubed the dildo up, it was the smaller one, then pulled Hooch's ass cheeks apart, whose breath quickened, muscular buttocks tightening, to dribble in more lube. The silicone cock was cool and firm and smooth, hard enough to just push through, and Vadim positioned it, his own guts tight, cock impossibly hard as he began to push in.

Hooch's head flew up, craned far back into his neck, despite or because of the over-strained neck, and he let out a sound, hissed through clenched teeth, which was all too terrifyingly close to "yes!"

It made Vadim shudder. If this had been rape, Hooch would have wanted it. Fuck. He pushed the dildo deeper, felt the body's resistance, knew what it would feel like if that had been his flesh. Gripped the thing harder and began to fuck Hooch in long, powerful strokes, deeply and with a lot of force, finding the angle that he liked, and kept going. Alternating between deep and shallow strokes, with far more patience than he would have had, normally. He could do this all night, and maybe he would. To fight that other desire.

Hooch had no leverage, couldn't rub his cock against anything; no freedom to thrust into the mattress. Once again fighting, this time for release, his body dripping with sweat. Thrashing within the bonds, back muscles bunching, rolling, shoulders standing out starkly on the shimmering, glistening, sweat-drenched skin. Growling, head thrashing from side to side, trying to push back towards the dildo, needing just that much more. More pain, more speed, more of everything, and most of all more of being used. The words that became audible, amidst the desperate breathing, thrusting, tearing and fighting, were again and again, a growled, breathless: "Make me. Make me."

Vadim slid a hand under Hooch's body and took hold of his cock, thick and pulsing. He knew Hooch was close, maybe couldn't come - just like he couldn't himself from getting fucked alone. "No demands", he murmured. "Beg me, you piece of scum." Holding the cock tightly, not allowing Hooch to push into his hand, as he kept thrusting in with the dildo, deep, fast, brutal, a speed and strength that would have brought him over the edge within a few minutes.

Sounds intensifying; heat and pressure growing, more, unbearable. The hand, just that touch, and the pain. The glorious, hated, needed and spearing pain. Mind-blowing, and Hooch threw his head back, whole body arching, tightening, rock hard sculpture of muscle and sweat, when he came with almost a scream. Suppressed, still, somewhere, despite the uncontrollable shudders and the gruelling breaths.

Vadim wanted to lick the sweat off him, but didn't. Instead, he released Hooch's cock, wiped his hand on the duvet, and regarded the shuddering mass of man. He wanted, wanted badly. He pulled the shirt off, plus undershirt, baring his chest and back, got rid of the shoes, the trousers. Skin on skin. He wanted that, even above fucking him, wanted to feel the body. He slid between Hooch's legs, used some more of that lube to slick up his cock, and pushed inside, right away. Right after Hooch's orgasm, but slowly, easing himself in, and Hooch tensed, but except for a low groan and his hands clenching, there was no reaction. Vadim wanted, desired, needed, but right now, it wasn't about that. He lay down on top of Hooch, stretched out, while entering him fully, allowing the other man to feel most of his weight, his lips near the man's ear. "What am I, Hooch? Tell me."

Words, weight, body heat. Threatening. Reassuring. Neither. Just … wanted. Hooch tried to speak, face half pressed into the mattress, but it was hard to move his head, even harder still to clear his throat, moisten his lips and find enough spittle to try and answer a question he couldn't understand. "M…" tried again, "man." The first thing that came to his mind, and he clenched his buttocks, just to feel the living flesh inside him.

Vadim groaned at that, but he couldn't move. It would hurt badly. "Yes", he said, breathlessly. "I'm … that. I'm a man. And …" swallowed, forcing himself so hard to stay right there without moving. "A comrade." Soldier. It always came back to that. "I won't fuck you, not … not right now." Vadim's hand ran over Hooch's arm, caressing the muscle, the shoulder, the armpit, stroking and exploring, anything to keep his mind from the tantalizing heat and tightness. The smell of pain, misery, and need.

"Do it." Hooch shuddered, no demand, just a fact. "Need it." Need to feel. Need pain. Need … His fists clenched, not releasing this time, and he couldn't help moving towards the caress.

Vadim wanted to. He wanted to, and Hooch demanded it, and what would be wrong just doing it. What? He shuddered again. "Relax", he said, very close to Hooch's ear. "Accept it. Enjoy it. Feel it. Feel me. Feel … what I do." How else could he say it. He wanted Hooch to be aware.

"Can't see …" Hooch's face turned into a grimace, and he shook his head, as much as he could.

Vadim removed the blindfold and dropped it at the side, discarded, and Hooch clenched again, trying to feel more of the burn, the sensation of being filled.

"I need you to … understand", Vadim murmured. "I know you want the pain. I can give you pain." I want to give you pain, said a small voice in him. I can. I can destroy you if you want me to. I can do it even if you don't want me to. "I need to … break through that wall …" Vadim kissed his neck, suddenly, shifting even though he didn't want to, far from a thrust, just a slight movement. "I need to get … inside of you."

Hooch groaned and shuddered, tried to intensify the movement, but failed. Too securely bound. Turning his head until the swollen eye was pressed into the mattress and he caught a glimpse of Vadim. "What do you want?" Every word tickled, his throat as dry as the Sahara. "There's nothing to find."

"Bullshit. Who are you, Hooch? And why does nobody know your real name, the one you've been born with? Because you're hiding."

"No!" No, why? And did it matter? Hooch's fingers scrabbled at the rope, but he couldn't find leverage.

Vadim shifted to allow Hooch a view of his face, making eye contact. "You're doing this to feel, but all you feel is pain. One day, that will backfire. Somebody could kill you, direct or indirect." He shifted again, redistributing his weight. "Do you feel alive now?"

"No." The answer came too fast, too true, and the darkness in the one visible eye intensified. Hooch shuddered, a deep resistance beginning to yield. Losing, unless he had already lost, as if that cock inside of him, and that body that crushed his own, forced all the layers and lies away, everything he'd never known, never thought about. Draining the puss from a wound he'd never known existed.

Vadim closed his eyes, knowing that it was the truth and that he'd touched the darkness at the other man's core. Feeling the shift in the other's body, the yielding, on such a primal level that there was really no thought to describe it. That quality of touch changed, he was now truly, deeply, inside, and that place looked as desolate as his own space. "I know", he murmured. Inhaling deeply, then, very carefully moving, lifting some of his weight off Hooch, but staying inside. Waiting, shielding, and feeling that deep, impossible connection. He wanted him on his knees, now, which was impossible to achieve without leaving him. Fuck. Ropes were impractical for this, but he hadn't wanted to risk getting a double kick in the face. He wasn't thirty anymore.

He left Hooch to loosen the ropes that kept his legs taut, then returned, not yet pushing inside again. "Lift up", he murmured, prodding Hooch to get up on his knees, and began to stroke the powerful body, kneading and touching, chest, thighs, to the balls, rolling them in one hand. All with time, leisure, tenderness, but still firmly. "You … are breathtaking, Hooch. First American I ever respected." He gave a small laugh and rubbed his cock against the powerful ass.

Hooch eyes were closed, lips open, making small, involuntarily movements towards the hands. As if he were only reacting. A body, nothing else, allowing the mind to listen. "Just surviving." Murmured, he shivered as if from cold, while the sweat on his body cooled.

"Might be a good day to start living", Vadim kept his voice low, just between the two of them. Realising he was starting a massage, he decided that was a good idea, actually, and Hooch's body responded on its own when cramped muscles were stroked. Vadim took some more of the tension out, banning his own for the moment. This stuff was too important. The need didn't matter, not like it once had. "Took me a lot to learn that …"

"Fighting … is easier." Hooch brought out, barely more than a whisper, his fingers clenching and unclenching around the bit of rope they could grasp.

"I guess it is. It's a habit." Vadim reached over, worked his way down from the neck and shoulders, down the back, the hips, the thighs, calves, to the feet. Firmly stroking, he'd need oil for a proper massage, it might be worth getting up and getting some. But he couldn't be bothered, he wanted to touch instead, stay close, listen to Hooch breathe. Gradually relaxing himself, focused on the other's body, some arousal was still there and it would take very little to make it flare up again.

With every touch, every minute longer, every connection of hands on skin and flesh, something happened in Hooch. First a faint tremble in his legs - unexpected and overwhelming in its simplicity. His head relaxed, neck muscles, abused and tortured, losing their tightness, and his knees spread further. Sliding towards the hands, opening wider, and opening for more than a cock. The whole man, inviting. Hooch's body accepting and understanding long before Hooch understood. And Vadim kept thinking, that was how he wanted him, like this. He didn't want to break the man. He wanted the acceptance and the lust from him, too.

"Why are you doing this?" Hooch murmured, speech was becoming easier, despite the parched throat. "I thought ... "

"You thought I'd fuck you even though it would be just pain."

"Yeah …"

"Not much you could have done. Could have fucked you with a knife. Nobody knows where you are. Nobody would hear you scream."

"Nobody ever does." Barely breathed out, Hooch wasn't sure anymore if he was talking, or thinking, or if the sounds came from somewhere else in the room.

"True." Self-sufficiency that had led to the worst loneliness imaginable. That was Hooch in a nutshell, thought Vadim. Keeping up the movements, he suddenly realized what he'd do next. He wiped the lube from Hooch's ass and moved his face in, gently biting the powerful muscled cheeks. Then less gently biting them, enjoying the vibrating power, and then moved closer and deeper, which made Hooch jerk, but not away, instead towards. Kissing the hole, somewhat reddened and looser, Vadim moved his tongue in, and the same time taking hold of Hooch's ass, folding his hands over the small of his back, and blocking movement backwards with his shoulders. All Hooch could do was allow those sounds - any sounds - that wanted to come out, and he let out another whimper, defeated, elated, before it changed into a low groan. Such a soft sound from such a tough man.

The lube was neutral in taste, vaguely oily and artificial, but no bad taste, and Hooch was thoroughly clean. The opening reacting with reflexes as Vadim licked and brushed, taking his time with this. Hooch tried to move towards the tongue, but his hips stayed in Vadim's grip, and his breathing increased, louder, faster, intermingled with more of those small sounds. This was too much, too good. His cock reacted eventually, despite having cum only a short while ago. So much, so overwhelming, he had forgotten that he was supposed to fight. It had been drained out of him, the wound now clean, but open.

Vadim smiled and pulled away, noticed the signs, and lazily ran a hand over Hooch's cock. "Free choice", he murmured, just loud enough. "I keep doing this until you cum. Second, I'll untie you and we see what happens. Three. I'll fuck you. Four. You suck me off. Five: any of the above in whatever combination you want."

The body beneath his hands shuddered, spine lowering down further, as if all the muscles had lost their strength and could not hold the body up. "Second." Hooch's voice was quiet. Looking up, one-eyed, "untie me."

"Okay." Vadim reached over, fiddled with the knots, but the second one had pulled so tight that he had to cut it, less of a bother, anyway. Removing the ropes, one by one, and dropping the pieces on the floor.

Yet when Hooch tried to move, his muscles didn't comply, he had no control. Losing balance and falling onto his side. He groaned, but there was no anger, instead laboriously turning half-way onto his back, looking at Vadim. The true extend of the disfiguration of his face became visible, and Vadim's eyes widened at the … colours, and swelling, but Hooch was unaware. "Want to suck you." Hooch reached out, leaving a faint trail of smeared blood from a torn wrist, unaware of that as well. Touching Vadim's shoulder. His arm so heavy, muscles exhausted, it rested with its full weight. Had lost control over his body and - at last - control over his mind. The needed, dreaded, constant control. Not a shred of tension left in his body, and least of all in his eyes. "Then fuck me."

Vadim was no longer sure whether Hooch was in any state to do either of those, looking at the face, the wrists. Fuck. Had anybody else ever fucked him up that bad? Had he really used so much force? I'm okay, he thought. I don't need … I'm not sure I want … shocked at the extent of force he must have used to make Hooch look like that. "You're not okay, comrade. You … could just rest."

"Need it." Nothing else mattered. No pleading, no anger, just one simple fact.

Vadim wasn't completely convinced, but he nodded, didn't want to push him away, not in that fragile state right now. He began to realize that he had no idea what he'd done to the Delta. Or whether whatever he'd done could be reversed and again yield Hooch as he knew him. "Okay." He stretched out, hand trailing Hooch's shoulder, neck, wasn't even quite sure whether kissing him was okay, but he moved up and towards him, placing his lips on Hooch's swollen, bloodied ones.

The response was slow, but no less intense. A different kiss, without the watchfulness, without intent. A manifestation of sensations, taste and feeling, as tongues touched, lips moved slowly. Hooch kissed Vadim like only Dan ever had before. With utmost focus and completeness. And that went right through Vadim, the unexpected intimacy, the feeling in this, far more than he'd ever got from Hooch. Soundly beaten and destroyed, but at the same time, in that moment, Vadim couldn't feel guilty for it, despite all the evidence of how much the Delta had been fucked up. Vadim smiled gently, running his hand through Hooch's hair. "Okay. I … think I know how." He moved and turned, kissing his way down, then shifted and turned on the bed until he was facing Hooch's half-hard cock, keeping some support against Hooch's legs.

Moving a fraction forward, Hooch's lips touched Vadim's cock, just staying there for a moment. Eyes open, looking, not watching, not in the way he used to, but looking closely and just breathing. Inhaling the scent. Musk, male, some lube still, and his tongue snaked out and licked along the length with deliberation. Not the clinical detachment, the undeniable skill, but imprinting himself with touch and taste, and really, truly, wanting to lick and suck that cock. His eyes closed and he rested his hand on Vadim's hip, merely lying there, while he moved his head, using only his tongue and lips to lick and suck, getting the most taste, the most sensation possible.

Vadim had hardly touched Hooch's cock, too … yeah, needy suddenly, too much caught up in the feeling of this very different way to do it. This wasn't the devil may care Delta, wasn't the man that seemed to fuck or suck mostly for sports and as part of a trade. When he could think just remotely clearly again - hard with the need coming back full force, with every second making it better, he forced himself to take Hooch's cock, which was fully hard. Interesting. Hooch really got into it, so much that Vadim found it difficult to even get the basics done, no tricks, just sucking and licking unless something Hooch did made him breathless and forced a groan from him.

Hooch slowly licked up the length, letting his head fall to the side. "Fuck me." Voice husky.

Vadim rolled over onto his back for a moment, gathering his thoughts, his mind, everything. He turned again, pushing Hooch over onto his back, whose limbs moved languidly, like nearly frozen water. Heavy, but pliable. Vadim got onto his knees, while Hooch's legs fell open, and reached for the lube, then pushing lubed up fingers into Hooch, who was still nice and relaxed, counteracting the soreness of the merciless dildo fuck. Vadim pushed up Hooch's legs, because the Delta likely didn't have any strength left for this, placed them onto his shoulders, and they were, indeed, dead weights. Such 'weakness' for a man of Hooch's strength.

Fuck me. That wasn't quite the expression, Vadim thought, as he eased himself in, feeling all that, everything he'd imagined. The heat and the tightness, but above all, that acceptance that sometimes came with defeat, apparently, or with something else that he had with Dan. Hooch rolled his head to the side, good eye looking at Vadim, before it, too, closed, and he parted his lips, letting out a long, deep sigh. His hands on the sheets, fingers slowly curling then uncurling again.

Moving in and closer, Vadim kept most of his weight away from Hooch as he pushed deeper, bending to get to his lips, his face, his throat, while he began to ease out, and back in, thrusts slow and controlled.

Hooch's lips were moving, lifting his arms, heavy as lead weights. His hands on Vadim's shoulders, touching, connecting.

Vadim's breath came hard, but he didn't want to inflict more pain, and yet, he needed Hooch, too, needed to cum, after a whole day of wanting, and what felt like hours of prelude and sex and 'fun'. "You okay?" he asked, voice somewhat strangled by need. If he had to stop, he would. The alternative, not stopping, didn't bear thinking about.

Lips parted, Hooch opened his eyes at the question, looking at Vadim. Truly looking, not using the faintest amount of control. All gone, all given up, and he smiled. A rare smile, none that Vadim had ever seen. A smile that belonged to the man, not the Delta. His hands moved slowly, with effort, head lifting, which was even harder. Fingers moving travelling Vadim's face, touching. "Yeah ..." Whispered. Resting his head back, Hooch closed his eyes once more.

Vadim turned his head to kiss a hand, then moved again, sweat running from him as the control took so much strength to maintain. He didn't just want to pound into Hooch, he wanted to … what? 'Make love' or something like that. Yes. Fuck. He cared about the man, there was all this tenderness, all the stuff stored up inside him, and he didn't want to lose himself just yet. Instead moving, thrusting, sliding, shifting the angle to find the best way to do this, while keeping his own need in check, holding force back, and everything else, eyes half closed.

Hooch's arm slid off Vadim's shoulder at one stage, and he just lay there, as if crucified. Eyes closed, head back, laboured breaths coming from parted lips, riding out the sensations. Higher and higher, towards a plateau he stayed on, impossible to crash over the edge. That was the crux, he was passive. Like never before in his entire life, not even in any of the dangerous hardcore scenes he'd got himself into. This, now, was the absolute final abandonment, and it was shaking him to the core. Ripping him wide open and hurting - and that ache was good. Not empty. Not just surviving. Time to start living.

Vadim shifted again, wrapped a hand around Hooch's cock, and timed the motion with his thrusts that got deeper and harder, sweat trickling from his back now. Still nowhere near the savage madness, still lucid and emotional, no anger, no hatred, no disregard. Just that, giving Hooch what he could, and what he needed, while taking what he needed in return. Exchange and gift and all that, but above all, it was a relief when he finally allowed himself to come, groaning and grateful when he could lift that pressure, the restraint, thrusting hard a few more times, but already gone, tired, drained, and cleansed.

Hooch hardly noticed the change, body still clinging to those last hard thrusts and the hand that couldn't quite take him over the edge. Opening his eyes, so close, too close, and his whole body shook with need. There was only one thought left, only one thing to do. "Please!" And he begged. At last.

Vadim understood, and while he was out of breath, that didn't matter. He shifted again, sucking down Hooch's cock in one swift, determined motion, fucking his throat and deliberately constricting his throat with the recklessness he did it.

Hooch cried out, the sound reverberating through the room, when he came at once again. Falling back onto the bed after a rigid, painful contraction. He reached for Vadim, eyes closed, hands almost scrabbling. Mindless, still in the throes of the aftermath.

Vadim pulled back, not much, just enough to swallow a few times, stretching out right next to Hooch, whose hands were all over his chest, face, pulling him close with what strength he had left. Vadim placed a hand flat between Hooch's shoulder blades, pushing him closer and kissing his neck, leisurely. He was dead tired and shuddered from the comedown. What a night. What a day. "I'm here."

Hooch held onto him, with as much strength as he had left, breath loud in the room, while his body still shook with something that was larger and far beyond the mere physical experience.

Vadim lay back, not moving anywhere. The room was pleasantly calm, quiet, warm around them, no need to pull up any blankets. He just breathed the man's scent, felt that power that seemed to have no focus, no direction, but was still there. "It's all good. I … hold the watch."

Just like before, Hooch calmed, the words touching him deeply. Taking the watch. Taking care. Not having to guard his back, and the ingrained response of a soldier calmed the man, until he lay quietly, muscles slowly relaxing, eyes closed, breathing in Vadim's embrace.

Vadim kept stroking him, not closing his eyes - it was about watch, and sleeping on watch wasn't allowed. He just needed to rest and relax a bit, too, recharging before he could make himself get up. Because he would have to. The sheer exertion demanded attention - the way the muscles had shaken and tensed, Hooch would be physically fucked if he didn't get a hot bath and likely a massage. "I'll run the bath", he murmured after long minutes. "Don't move. Relax."

"Yeah." Hooch breathed out, and his eyes remained closed. Not feeling the need to check up on movement.

Vadim slid out of the embrace, stroking Hooch's shoulder as if he had to reassure him, then padded over to the bath, running hot water until he found the right temperature. Added some bath additive - warming, relaxing, said the pack - and spread the bathrobe over the heater so it would warm up for later.
Then he returned to the bedroom, sat down next to Hooch, who was still lying on his side, exactly where he had been left, gently stroking the shoulder and back, which made Hooch draw in a deeper breath. He had been drowsing, now rolling onto his back. Once again the full extent of a damage that Hooch didn't seem to be aware of, became obvious in the dimmed light. He quirked a smile, calmly looking at Vadim - with one eye swollen.

Vadim shook his head. "Sorry about the face", he murmured. "I should have had more sense than that."

"It's alright." Hooch's voice was tired, relaxed, very much unlike the energetic, highly controlled man. "Was what I wanted."

"OK." Vadim yawned, stretching his neck, then gave a wry smile. "Guess I am a kinky bastard after all."

"That makes me ...?"

"Two of a kind." Vadim yawned again. "Right. I'll get you into the bathtub now." Offering his hand as he got up to support Hooch. He'd have carried him, but he assumed that wasn't welcome, and besides, the doors were fairly narrow in this place. Hooch accepted the help, and he groaned when he got onto his feet. Walking stiffly, he made it into the bathroom on his own.

Vadim got Hooch into the bath, a somewhat tricky task with a man who had to grit his teeth to get his limbs to comply. Submerging into the hot water, Hooch couldn't help the sharp hiss when his torn wrists hit the water, burning like fire, but he continued to lower down until there was hardly more than his neck and head above the water.

Vadim sat on the rim of the tub, taking a sponge to soap him and rub Hooch's skin to get the circulation going and to work some of the exhaustion out of his body.
Hooch was leaning forward, grateful for the treatment, when he moved once more back, head resting against the edge of the tub, as relaxed as he could be. "So." He stated, looking straight into Vadim's face. "I'm gay and a masochist. That what you taught me?"

Vadim laughed, surprised. "Not sure what I 'taught' you, but maybe I made you aware of what you're doing when you're doing this." Vadim took one of Hooch's arms out of the water and checked the abrasions around the wrists. Thankfully, they didn't circle the wrist completely. It would be easier to explain that kind of mark. "I just found it striking that you call yourself an 'opportunist' rather than 'gay'. Or, as Dan puts it, 'faggot'. So you were just taking advantage of an abundance of men that all suffer from too little sex. At the same time, you suck like a pro, and you visited Matt when you could have had women. Probably all women, with that grin of yours."

"Yeah, point taken." And there it was, that grin, and it still worked, despite the messed-up face. "Used to do women. Figured sex is just what we do. Means nothing. You tell me it does?"

"We can do for years what we are not." Vadim looked at him. "I was married, a father, a good Soviet citizen. Was that me? On some level, yes, on many levels, fuck, no." He shook his head. "I did things I'm not. Many things. I'm still accountable, but it's not me. I didn't do things I was. I held back, I had regrets, many wasted opportunities. It's not that easy. You … I wanted more from you than …" He grinned, borrowing a phrase from Jean, "getting off with you."

"What do you want?"

"Friends and comrades. If I can have that. I'm very short of friends and comrades."

"Yeah," Hooch smiled lopsided, "deal. Got the comrades, short on friends myself. Not sure what Matt is."

Vadim grinned, relieved somehow, that the offer was just accepted. He was, he thought, indeed fairly lonely in that regard. "Who knows what he is. He's certainly very pretty. Brave, too."

"Brave?"

"I tried to intimidate him once. He was a piece of work." Vadim shook his head. "They make them with guts, if little sense, these Marines."

"You got to tell me that story some time." Hooch shook his head a little. "Got any vodka left? Hurt like fuck in some places." The half-grin was back.

"Yeah." Vadim got up and walked out, on the way to the kitchen picked up his tight shorts and put them on, and then got two shot glasses and the bottle of vodka. Pouring them on the rim of the bathtub. "I'll feed you some pills, too. Supplements. Should help you recover. That is, after the massage."

Hoch chucked the vodka down. "You treat all your masochists like that?" He grinned, holding the glass out again.

"All … " Vadim poured another shot. "Some way to determine how many people I treat like this, hm?" He grinned. "Dan … he doesn't go that far. It's always … more of a game. He wouldn't have gone that far."

"That's the difference?" Hooch downed the second shot. Determined to dull some of his senses in the most comfortable way. "I don't play." He held his glass out again, and Vadim filled it once more.

"Possible. For me … it's probably different. There are days, well, nights, usually, when I need one thing, and other nights when I crave something else. No idea how that links into the job. Sometimes I enjoy it … serious, like this. Many times I'm happy with 'vanilla', or whatever they call it. Depends. I don't know whether my job has anything to do with it. But one thing I do remember …" Vadim paused, thinking. "When I was getting tired, exhausted, mentally more than physically, I didn't have the strength. Then I just took it, allowed it to happen. Made me feel alive again."

"I like the pain." Hooch was watching Vadim intently, "the humiliation." Emptying the vodka. "Only sometimes. Most times I just want sex. No stress." The vodka was starting to do some work, and he held his glass out once more.

Vadim poured the bottle, which was the last shot, too. "I'll get more of this. But it won't be cold." He considered. "Me. I'm what some people call a 'switch', I like both ends of it … Depends on many factors. But I like the pain, too. Dan got me drunk on pain a few times … when we met. I like force. Struggle. Strength. I like to fight for it. Mentally - like getting into your mind - or physically, like wrestling or something like that."

"Drunk on pain …" Hooch mused, finishing the last of the vodka, condensation running down his fingertips. "Couldn't say it better." Wiping his lips with a slow, lazy hand. "That where your scars are from?"

"Yeah. Dan tortured me. That's the ones on the back. The one … between the legs, that was some weird kind of pact. But I was horny as fuck when he did it."

"Fuck." To Hooch's credit, he was taken aback. "Torture. And you love him?"

"I sometimes think that was his way of touching a captive Soviet officer without feeling gay." Vadim gave a laugh. "And talking about 'excessive' pain … It just means that you need more pain to get the same results. You're a hard bastard, Hooch. And that's a compliment."

Hooch snorted, closing his eyes for a moment as he craned his head back, across the rim of the bathtub, baring the rope burns and strangulation marks. "You think I do my job because I like this shit?"

"I don't think so. Many do it who are perfectly 'vanilla'. It's not the job. It's just … I think, that we see things and do things that normal people don't. We get wounded, we get captured, see comrades die … I think it deafens some of us to things that would satisfy civilians. There's sometimes a lot of rage …" Vadim thought of Beauvais and his brow darkened. "Shame. Guilt. We do things that nobody else would, and we are still bound by their rules. We're fine to kill, but we better not be gay or have sex outside … what's expected. I think it's the pressure. Some turn to drink, others kill themselves, and then there's the whole thing about guarding your emotions and maybe trying to stay human, then that, really, is the most difficult of all. How can I torture a man and be a loving father? How can I desire an enemy and still do my duty? How can I live with this. Most people never think about it or push it away, but others are aware of what they are doing. They still do it. They have to put that pressure somewhere. If pain makes you feel alive, it also means you're not invincible. Even though you, as Delta, are trained to believe in yourself - and you have a great deal of guts, and there's the regimental pride stuff, too. In the end, though, you are a man. You're human. You have the same needs as if you hadn't joined up and were now working as …" pondering. "What would you be as a civilian? No idea. Can't see you in anything but the camo. But you have the same needs as the next civilian. You're just dealing with a lot more and hold yourself to very different standards. It's relaxing to be a mercenary, in a way. I don't have a country, there are no standards. All I have to do is get the job done and obey orders. That's fine. Nobody can touch me for being gay. Nobody."

Hooch looked at Vadim for a moment, then moved his hand out of the water, reached for the back of Vadim's neck, and pulled him down with surprising, returning strength. Kissing him for a long while. Intense and utterly honest, and Vadim drank the kiss in, feeling again that sense of understanding, of connection. Hooch only spoke when he released Vadim's neck. "I understand now." Quietly, with no less intensity in his eyes.
"That's as far as I've worked it out, at least", murmured Vadim, now too aware of the fact his whole theory was put together from pieces here and there, and might not hold up for everybody. "But don't … ever … let them tell you because you're gay that you can't do your job." Don't believe them when they tell you, you can't win. The trainer. Fuck. "You can do whatever anybody else can do. Don't allow them to fuck you up because of what you want in bed, whether that's … men or pain or both."

"I know." Hooch let his hand slowly drop off Vadim's shoulder, resting on the edge of the bath tub. "My job is what I am. No one can touch me there." He gave the typical half-cocked grin.

"Good. I don't want you to get fucked up over it." Which was probably the wrong grammatical structure, Vadim thought, but shrugged.

"Fucked up? More than I already am?" Hooch drawled. "No chance." He let out a chuckle, a side of himself, this dry humour that only a few had ever seen.

"Let me clean your face." Taking a fresh wash-cloth and carefully using warm water to wipe away the dried blood, Vadim offered a hand for Hooch to get up. Towelling him dry while the water gurgled away, then wrapped him in the bathrobe that was nicely warm now. He ushered Hooch back to the bedroom, but sat him down on a chair. "New sheets", he explained and got rid of the sheets, blankets, putting on new and fresh ones, then covered the area with two big towels. "Lie down." He headed into the kitchen and returned with vodka and an assortment of pills. "Some painkillers and magnesium, in case you're cramping." Placing them on the nightstand.

"Never got the four star treatment before." Hooch let himself relax back into the pillows. Reaching for the vodka bottle, Vadim had thoughtfully brought a glass of water. Hooch popped one pill after the other, before moving from water to vodka.

"You might end up liking it, hm?" Vadim found some massage oil, and uncapped it. "Let me take care of the muscles. I promise, I won't touch you anywhere untoward." Grinning a grin that said that that was normally the progression of things.

Hooch laughed, turning over onto his front. "Haven't got another shot in me."

"You should always keep one bullet for yourself …" Vadim grinned and peeled away the bathrobe. Hooch's skin was warm and dry now, and he worked his way up from the toes, slowly and thoroughly, like he'd learnt by having been worked on by several very good masseurs. He had picked up good tricks along the way, especially if it came to tightness, cramps, and over-exertion. Working on Hooch for a long time, eventually hearing Hooch's breath change, as he fell asleep. He still continued, relaxing every muscle he could reach, up to his fingertips, then wrapped Hooch into the blanket and dimmed the light. He gathered up the uniform, the cut rope, and cleared it all away. The soiled blankets, too, and placed the remaining vodka into the freezer. Finally taking off the shorts, he slipped under the blanket with Hooch, close, touching, smelling the good clean smell, and closed his eyes. Shopping again, tomorrow. There were other things he wanted to try. Maybe just spend some of that hard-earned cash, have apple pancakes, tea, stroll around. A relaxed day, especially now that Hooch seemed far more open than Vadim would have thought possible.

* * *

The next morning, Hooch was still deeply asleep, taking up most of the bed. Sprawled out, lying on his back. He'd disentangled himself from the duvets, most of his body uncovered, and in the merciless light of the morning sunshine, the bruises, contusions, abrasions, swelling and marks were all too visible. Yet he slept on, undisturbed.

Vadim, however, had a too good look at all the injuries. What to do. If they wanted to go out, there should be some kind of excuse. Not a beating, that might only attract attention. He'd been told to 'hide in plain sight' - something Jean had perfected, he thought wryly. No, didn't work. An explanation. He thought about it while fixing the English breakfast he'd promised yesterday, taking his time, then, when the coffee began to gurgle, he touched Hooch's shoulder. "Good morning. You had a car accident."

"What?" Hooch jerked up, from asleep to awake in a second, without a moment of drowsiness in between. He winced before he had himself under control and relaxed back down. "I had what?" Yawning, he stretched, masking the wince this time.

"Car accident. We'll tape the worst marks off. We might even get you a neck support. Whiplash." Vadim grinned. "Polite society and all that. You look like … somebody gave you a very sound beating."

"Somebody did give me a very sound beating." Hooch cocked his customary grin, gently fingering his swollen eye, and testing his nose which was tender but not broken.

Vadim headed into the kitchen and brought a plate of the breakfast and a strong, black coffee. Once Hooch had taken these off him, he grabbed his own and sat down on the bed.

"What does my neck look like?" There was undisguised amusement in Hooch's voice. None of the tension nor control had retuned. Yet.

"Like you'd been strangled - there's rope burn, let alone strangulation marks. Damn. The brace would at least cover that."

"Sounds good, then." Hooch nodded and relished the first sips of coffee, sitting up in bed with the plate balancing on his knees. "Got to buy a suit."

"Suit?" Vadim smiled when he realized how surprised he sounded.

"Need one. Family stuff coming up. Don't want to go in uniform."

"Never mind me. Dan would rather gnaw off his own leg than wear a suit. I've seen a few good shops for that."

Hooch decimated the breakfast with ravishing hunger. "You know anything about suits?"

"Yes, I got some made." Vadim nodded towards the wardrobe. "Brought exactly one, just in case I wanted to go to the theatre, or the opera, like I sometimes did, when I was … working here." Vadim grinned. "I have this thing for suits and guys in suits."

"Got a thing for a guy in suit who's been in a car crash?" Hooch shoved one of the last forkfuls into his mouth, looking thoroughly amused while chewing.

"If that guy in a suit who'd been in a car crash would appreciate a blowjob … I'm pretty sure I could come up with one."

"Give a blowjob or get a blowjob?" Hooch finished off the food, turned to Vadim, mug in hand. "I got the remainder of the week. You up to use me for a while?"

"Either. I'm fine with both. I give them, I receive them, and …" throat suddenly dry. "I'd 'use' you for a week. Yes. Fuck, yeah, of course."

Hooch's eyes had too much intensity. "I want to know who I am."

Vadim felt his breath catch again. "Okay." He reached out to touch Hooch's shoulder. "Better me than somebody else", he murmured after a long pause.

"Yeah?" Hooch quirked a miniature grin. Agreement despite the question.

"Yeah." It was. Hooch didn't want any safety measures built in, no compromise, and that had to lead to disaster with a civilian. And it did touch and use the darkness inside. But it wasn't about trust. It was clear-cut need and recklessness, and Hooch would do it, safe or not. "I'll head over to the pharmacy and get some stuff." Vadim stood again, grabbed some clothes from the wardrobe and got dressed. Jogging would be later. "Enjoy the breakfast." Bending over to get into the jeans.

"It's finished." Hooch commented laconically. "I'll do some stretches." When he threw the blankets away and got up, a livid bruise in the area of his kidneys was visible, but there was no indication he was bothered by it.

Vadim winced somewhat, and other areas of Hooch's body didn't look better. Fuck. If Hooch had done that for fun, it would be interesting to see what he looked like after a mission. He vanished into the bathroom to throw some water into his face, then put on a shirt. Thinking of fun … "Hey, what was the Legionnaire like? Beauvais?" Standing in the doorway to the bedroom.

Hooch was slowly stretching against the wall, working his muscles in an efficient and careful way. Unlike the recklessness he'd shown the night before. "Angry." Hooch called out, turning to face Vadim, working the kinks out of his arms. "Very angry."

"About? The job?" Vadim leaned against the wall, watching the play of muscles. He wouldn't mind fucking Hooch against a wall. Would happen. Not right now, but definitely later.

"About everything." Hooch shrugged, used the bed as leverage for calf stretches. "Most of all about having missed out. The guy's a loose cannon. He'll get himself fucked by anything that moves." Hooch let himself fall forward and onto the edge of the bed, using it for push-ups, suppressing a wince.

"That's your impression of him? Dan gave him the whole 'gay tour' - pretty much hand-trained him to become a 'faggot'."

" We got it into his skull that he's closer to the Legion than to his cock. He's not out for a lover. He'll be alright picking up casual sex." Hooch looked up, stalled, shoulders tense, body rigid, letting the tension work through his muscles. "If that guy doesn't make Colonel I fuck a cheerleader squad."

"Colonel. Fuck." Vadim laughed, thinking of his own Colonel for a moment. It took a man who didn't have a life to be a Colonel. And the thought of a gay Legion Colonel was somehow amusing. "Dan found him, checked him out, picked him up, seduced him … I think virgins are too much trouble, but I guess Dan likes them."

"Dan likes a challenge." Hooch remarked dryly, with humour in his dark eyes. "Or he wouldn't love you."

Vadim raised an eyebrow. "Ouch."

"You didn't meet in a gay bar in Kabul."

"Touché." Vadim grinned. "We spent weeks trying to kill each other."

"Just weeks?" Hooch raised his brows, walking over to where Vadim had dropped his bathrobe, picking it up. "The whole story makes no sense." Hooch walked towards the bathroom, all the while looking at Vadim.

Vadim followed, deciding the conversation was too interesting to leave behind. "I ambushed him with a comrade." Vadim pursed his lips, carefully watching Hooch for signs of anger or disgust. "I was … thirty one, semi-drunk, and thought I was the hardest, cleverest guy on earth. And that whatever I wanted, I could just take."

"What are you telling me?" As if he didn't know, but it was paramount to get it right.

"Just listen." Watching Hooch intently. "He paid me back. He found out who I was, and paid me back. He took me prisoner after a mission in the south, up in the mountains … he tortured the truth out of me, that I was spetsnaz … we were supposed to be secret back then. He needed me to find water, so he didn't execute me. I tried to flee, but I was in no state to outrun him, so he dragged me out of my hiding hole, and he … beat me within an inch of my life. That's where the scars are from. I think … I think I remember that I offered him to do what I'd done, to make it even." Vadim's face twitched. Telling the old story still wasn't completely painless, not without guilt.

"Fuck." Hooch sat down on the edge of the bathtub, running a hand through his hair.

He should stop now, Vadim knew that, but he'd seen into the abyss that was Hooch, and wasn't it just fair for Hooch to do the same? "He went into a rage. I'm not sure what I said that made him stop, I was too far gone. I … gave up. I surrendered. I'd been bested. Fucked up. Made so fucking scared like I'd only been as a child, a few times. Aye, and I told him of my family. That was it. He kept me alive because of my family, and because he thought he'd be just as bad as I was … if he'd killed me after the torture. He then made a 180 degree turn and saved my life. And somehow … somehow, I don't know, I started to connect to him. And he, I guess, somehow, to me. He knew I wanted him, and I knew he wanted me, but there was that rage … that insult, the mistake I'd made. Next meeting, I took him prisoner, it was a raid. I kissed him as I shot him, I didn't want to take his life, either. We met, after he'd healed. I offered sex. No strings attached, no emotion, just that, plain old sex. Blowjobs, hand jobs, some point he fucked me, he was so full of rage, but, yeah, I liked it rough. Few men at that point had ever done that to me … never like that, it was always … more emotional than that. It was a civilian thing, before I joined. Dan showed me my limits. He broke me and since then, I just couldn't get rid of him. Not that I wanted to, but …" Vadim shook his head, chewed on his lip. "Ah, fuck."

"That's not love." The words came out of Hooch, without thinking. The truth did not meet the expectation, not after what he'd witnessed.

Vadim shook his head. "It wasn't. Of course not. How could it have been?" He swallowed, feeling the darkness churn inside. "But we met. Months apart, but we always managed to meet. Understanding. We saw each other's point of view. He was training the dushmans, the bandits, I was … doing my best to drive every resistance fighter out of the country. Pakistan is still fucked up due to that … I got him through the war, he got me through the war. There were gifts, and … good, calm nights when all we did was lie there and share heat, or drink tea, or … well, not talk very much, but sometimes we did even that. We killed each other's comrades. There were emotions, but it took years. When Dan was blown up, I almost deserted - I went away with the leave of a friendly officer, in a way, he had no idea what I was really up to - found him in Kashmiri hospital, more dead than alive. We decided we wanted to try it, together, you know? Stay together. But I had my family, and I had to go home to fix things, while he was working to get diplomatic help for me. Didn't succeed. Somewhere, I'm sure, somewhere the MI5 or MI6 connected me to a suspect killing in Britain. And as a suspected assassin, they wouldn't extend their hand to me. Who could have blamed them? All the wrangling must have attracted somebody's attention, and the KGB took me, fucked me up and put me on trial for treason and for being gay."

"Jesus fucking H Christ." Hooch breathed out, glued to each and every of Vadim's words. He was physically shaken, and that, for a tough guy like him, was a first.

"Dan paid for my freedom. He and his friends cut a deal with the KGB. The Soviet Union was crumbling, there was no point to keep me around for longer. I might have got out under an amnesty. In any case, somebody up in the KGB decided to take a quarter million pounds in exchange for what was left of me. And it wasn't much." Vadim's brow was dark. "It took me three months to remember what I was. Nine before I was halfway physically capable again. We met again in Kuwait. It was a rocky start, but since then, I had my priorities straight. I'm a mercenary because I can't allow any country, any nation, to fuck me over again. If I have to get fucked, I do it for money. Yes, part of me hates it, but my time's running out. I have a few more years to make enough money so I don't have to work anymore."

Hooch looked at him, with that one open eye. "Do you love him? Or do you … depend?"

"Both. I am not sure I can survive alone." Vadim shook his head. "Dan helps keep me together. The stuff the KGB did to my mind? It's still there."

"How come he doesn't hate you?"

Vadim shrugged. "I think he tried. It didn't work. Too much history. Too much pain."

"No, at the beginning." Hooch shook his head. "A masochist, like me?"

"Yeah. In a way, I'm a masochist like you. But that's not all. There is … more. I enjoy the power, too. I do both."

"I meant Dan. You raped him. That's what you told me, right?"

Vadim swallowed. "That's what I told you. Dan is not a masochist. He's just playing when we play hard. It's a game to him. I told you, I couldn't go as far with him. It's … again, too much history."

"I'd fucking kill anyone who did that to me. No second thought." Hooch murmured, looking at his hand for a moment, the abrasions, the oh so goddamned obvious signs of something so sick and so good at the same time.

Vadim nodded slowly. "I should have been put down like a rabid dog." Glancing to the side, not sure what to say. "I deserved it. I … was a complete bastard. Whatever happened afterwards, I deserved it. All of it." Including the beating, the breaking, the scorn, the humiliation. "I deserved it." Murmured. Konstantinov was right. But the crime wasn't being gay. The crime had been committed at the end of 1980.

"Deserved what?" Hooch looked up. "You telling me you deserved the fucked-up shit from the KGB?"

"It wouldn't have happened if I hadn't met Dan. If I hadn't done that … crime, that night. I don't believe in cosmic justice, but I deserved what happened afterwards. On some level, I did."

"That's a load of bullshit. If you believe that, you believe it is Dan's fault they got you."

"No, I don't believe that." Yes, the guilt, the crime, the punishment, it was all still there, in his mind, and Konstantinov might have done it for the wrong reasons, but he'd been justified. On some level, he'd done the right thing. "Well … that's the long, very gruesome story. My dark secrets. The reason for everything."

"Shit." Hooch said quietly, shaking his head. "How many know how it started?"

"Nobody. They get the cleaned up version. That's to protect me, I guess. Who'd look at me with the same eyes again if they knew?" Vadim raised his eyes and met Hooch's gaze, which met his own, unwavering.

"I won't tell anyone." Hooch paused for a moment. No flicker in his eyes, nor a twitch in his face, regarding Vadim the same way as before, as if he'd never been told anything.

"Thank you. And the last dirty secret is … that the MI5 or MI6 suspected the right guy. I keep thinking of butterfly wings that start a storm somewhere. Whatever I do, it had consequences. I kill a dissident in a foreign country, and the foreign country gets a whiff of it and lets me rot in prison for two years. It all makes sense." Vadim ran both hands over his face. "And why did I tell you … maybe because you made yourself very vulnerable. Maybe I wanted to give you an idea what risk you're running."

Hooch said nothing, but his face twitched. Cold War. He was silent for a while, still looking at Vadim, when he finally cleared his throat. "Shopping?"

"Shopping." Vadim inhaled, deeply, thought he should have gone to the pharmacy and not spilled the beans like this. "I'm heading out, you get ready. Should be back in a little." Leaving Hooch some time to think about it, and in turn clearing his own mind.

The shopping in the pharmacy took longer than expected, not because of the neck brace or the bandages, but all the other things he got there. Painkillers, bath salt, massage oil. He figured they'd need much more of that. Definitely the massage oil.

Hooch in the meantime, got himself dressed, shaved, brushed and generally spruced up. Still looking as if he'd been in a meat grinder, though. He even managed to do a household chore, by unloading the washing machine and hanging things up wherever he could find a space. All the time thinking.

Returning with the bags, Vadim unpacked his loot onto the kitchen table, with Hooch looking on. "This should get you through hardly noticed."

Hooch huffed a dry laugh. He took the neck brace, fiddling with it.

Vadim pointed at the bandages. "I brought salve, too. Should help with the healing. And I'll massage you again, to keep the muscles happy." Vadim grinned, glad Hooch didn't seem too affected. He'd hoped for that. Somebody seeing him as the thing he was and still staying around. Dan did that, too. Everybody else just knew part of the story. "I'll bandage you and suit up, and then we head back into the city."

Nodding, Hooch grinned. "No massage, or I'll never get a fucking suit." He was wearing a shirt, fairly casual but simultaneously smart. He knew what to go for, once out of the camo. Holding out his arms. "Do your worst."

"I'd love to", Vadim murmured, grinning. He bandaged the wrists, neatly and professionally, after he'd applied the salve which cooled and soothed the irritated skin, then applied more salve on the marks around Hooch's neck. "You even have a sense of taste", he murmured. "That's an attractive trait."

Hooch raised his brows. "In food? Men? Job? Kinks?"

"All of them." Vadim fitted the brace. "There. Perfectly respectable victim."

"Better than perfectly consenting victim." Hooch snorted. "I want to look for more stuff that brings pain and less damage."

"Are your nipples sensitive?" Vadim grinned broadly. If Hooch could play like that, so could he.

"That's for you to find out." Hooch deadpanned, getting into his leather jacket. His movements were still stiff, but he wasn't letting it stop him from anything. "I rarely scream, though." He stood at the door, holding it open for Vadim. Unable to look down, the neck brace pushing his chin up and holding it rigid, he had to turn his whole upper body to check for the other.

Vadim pursed his lips, liking the way Hooch was forced to stay completely straight. "I'll find out, don't you worry." He locked the door, and off they were to Berlin.

 
 
Special Forces Chapter XXXXIII: Fadenkreuz
 
 
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.

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

 

 
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Published 25 June 2008