1993, the Balkans
was whistling to himself, cigarette in one hand, the
other in the pocket of his BDUs. "Well, that's
looked up. He'd been writing something into a notebook
that he now closed and slipped into his thigh pocket.
"What is settled? Any dirty tricks going on without
wish, aye?" Grinning, Dan flopped himself down
into the only other chair. "We're going to this
nice restaurant in Belgrade we've been to before. Dima's
coming as well. Oh, and Maurice can't." Giving
away more than he intended to with a flash of a smirk,
"but I invited Markus."
Vadim leaned back and crossed his arms over his chest.
"I guess we only really need one medic. A surgeon
that was my thought, too, or would you want to listen
to medical bullshit all night?" Grinning from ear
to ear, Dan took a last drag before extinguishing his
fag. "Besides, Maurice is the most convinced bachelor
of all bachelors. He likes his full pick of all available
genders, types, ages and chances too much." Chuckling,
Dan stretched his arms behind his back and rolled his
neck. "Not that I'm implying anything, of course,
nor have an ulterior motive
Vadim shook his head. "You're throwing the poor
bastard to the wolves?"
bastard? Oh come on!" Dan stood up to stretch some
more. The day had been hard on his knee, but the latest
shot was still holding. "That guy's been dealing
with bigger bastards than any of us ever encountered,
so I guess he can hold his own against a poor wee medic
from good old Russia and little old us. Aye?"
Vadim didn't seem convinced at that. "I don't want
to ruin the fun for you, but apart from a convenient
source of sex, what does he have to offer?"
Markus?" Pulling his shirt over his head, Dan stopped
Good question." Vadim paused, frowning. Who was
he to protect Dima? From Markus? Ridiculous thought.
He liked the man, Dan had introduced them over a nice
dinner, but the Austrian wasn't dangerous at all. Dima
was, but he was also the guy he cared more about. A
whole deal more.
Dan pulled the shirt off completely, and threw it onto
the dirty laundry pile. "How old is Dima?"
is thirty-five. Hardly a kid." Dan shrugged, "frankly,
I don't expect them to say anymore than 'good day' to
each other because they have nothing in common, but
humour me, okay? I'm bored, I want good food and good
drink, and, if I can help it, good company. Maurice
is a great guy, but he fucks anything that moves, and
that makes conversation in a group a bit tedious, when
you know he's just out to get laid again." Dan
added with a grumble, "and damn, if only I had
realised the arsehole thought I was straight."
he'd have joined your harem?" Vadim smiled to take
the sting out of his words. It was just strange - Dan
seemed to take every opportunity, positively drew anybody
compatible towards him, and, without much further ado,
had sex with him, whereas he
well, being in Dan's
close proximity meant he got a lot more sex with a lot
more different partners than he'd ever anticipated.
And he wasn't complaining.
grimaced and grinned simultaneously, "I'm too old
for bloody complications, but at the time you were hardly
a source of sex. You didn't even talk to me." Adding
with a smile, "bastard." He shook his head,
"anyway, the remaining two mates are Markus and
Dima, so sod it all, let's see how things go, at least
we'll have food, booze, and good conversation."
liked the restaurant. Good meat dishes." Vadim
you get your meat right here, aye? Enough inches of
prime Scots beef for you to feast upon." Dan produced
his cheesiest grin while flexing his chest muscles.
"And we've got about half an hour to get going."
gave a laugh, but his eyes fixed on Dan's groin. "Does
that translate to 'blow me'?" Keeping his eyes
right on the shape of Dan's cock under the cloth.
under ten minutes? How young do you think I am?"
Grinning, Dan stepped closer, until he could reach out
and touch Vadim's hair, with Vadim's eyes only then
meeting his. "Or are you trying to make sure that
I have really no interest in anyone tonight?"
grinned. "Maybe. Or should we keep the thought
until afterwards? We can always take the other guy with
us if the hook-up doesn't work."
once I'm not opting for the instant gratification but
vote for keeping the thought till later." Dan smiled,
fingers carding through Vadim's short air. "I may
be turning into an old git, but hell, you never know
what happens tonight, and I might not fire my cannon
shook his head. "Greedy. Two Russians and an Austrian.
Ever hopeful, aye?"
know that I am. That's why you love me, right?"
from being the man who takes me apart during sex and
puts me back together? Yes." Vadim had turned away
while speaking, casually looking for civilian clothes,
in this case the slightly more upmarket outdoor gear
that passed as civilian in these quarters.
Dan smiled, more touched than he wanted to let on, "that's
alright, then." He fiddled with his trousers and
they fell down to his ankles a moment later. Baring
all, as usual, and he was even considerate enough to
turn around and present his arse to Vadim as he bent
down to open and discard his boots. "I'll grab
a shower, won't be a sec."
felt his guts tighten in that good way, but it might
indeed be good to 'keep that thought'. The alternative
was to jump Dan and do it anyway. Not that he cared
much for either Markus or Dima if he could have Dan.
Truth be told, he didn't need the 'change of scenery'
or whatever it was that drew Dan to recruit as many
providers of sex as possible. Unless it was Hooch, but
Hooch was in a different category, and on a different
continent. "Okay. I'll get dressed."
than ten minutes later Dan reappeared. Hair towelled
dry, the wet towel clinging around his hips, and slightly
shivering. It might be May, but it wasn't that balmy
yet, definitely not in the evening. "Anything in
particular you want me to wear?" He grinned as
he hung the towel over the radiator in the room. Knowing
damned well that while he didn't care nor knew any better
regarding his outfits, Vadim would.
watched him, eyes all over Dan's body, and knew he was
being teased. Comfortable teasing, as if Dan did that
in part to entertain him and also because Dan liked
that. "I'd keep it low-key. Besides, I'm not sure
we packed any of the suits."
but what exactly? The light coloured trousers, or the
black ones, or the khaki? And what damned top?"
Laughing, Dan planted himself in front of Vadim. "You
know me, I wear anything in any combination and it makes
no difference to me."
moved forward to place a kiss on the upper edge of scar
tissue. "Black. Take the grey jumper with that.
That's what I'm in the mood for."
wish is my command." Dan smiled, and so it was.
Dressed within the next five minutes, black jeans and
grey jumper over black shirt, Dan had his jacket under
his arm, waiting for Vadim. "I booked one of the
Volvos, and because I'm in an awfully generous mood,
I'll do the driving tonight, unless you really do want
to stay sober."
be an easy victim for your nefarious plan if I got drunk.
Is that what you're planning? Maybe me at the bottom
of your little pile of orgy participants?"
was laughing out loud, "Vadim Petrovich Krasnorada,
you should know by now - after all the shit that we've
been through - that you'd always be on the top
of any orgy pile. So stop fishing for compliments and
get your remarkably addictive arse into gear."
Vadim gave a crisp salute and left the room while Dan
was zipping up the jacket. "Do we meet them in
at the restaurant." Steering them towards the vehicle
park after locking their room, Dan got the keys for
one of the inconspicuous Volvos, and they were soon
on their way. "By the way," Glancing to the
side as he was driving out of camp, "I never quite
grilled you properly, did you really not realise that
Dima would have been game, back when?"
I considered him a friend
he's not the type that
shows it, is he? There were no code words, no longing
" Vadim laughed. Romance in a Spetsnaz
unit, fucking hilarious. "I was busy appearing
straight. And we were already fucking."
fucking, as in fucking? With whom? Hapless recruits?
But not with each other?" Dan heaved an exaggerated
sigh as he turned the car towards the main road. "Damn!
There is some fine porn waiting to be filmed."
You and me."
" Dan laughed again, this time with a certain
something in his voice.
joined me when I was sent out into the mountains for
counter-insurgency. He was in the unit when you fucked
me on patrol."
what? Oh fuck." Dan's grin grew a few more
I was always worried he could see that I was walking
a bit stiffly
" Vadim laughed. "Back
in the days when you fucked me out of anger, I suppose.
It was him that tried to save
what was his name.
John, your friend, whom we found, wounded after a fight.
I don't know. I respected him too much
to try it. Out there, you relied on each other. I could
only do that kind of thing in Kabul, or one of the camps.
Out there, abusive officers sometimes got a bullet in
was nodding to himself at the mention of his old mate,
when he glanced to the side again. "Is this the
cue that I shouldn't keep prodding?"
paused. "No. I'm just saying that it wasn't possible
in a front line unit. Vanya was different, back then.
We'd been together since Tajikistan, getting ready for
Afghanistan, near the border."
nodded, said nothing this time, fishing one-handed for
his fags instead. Took his time to light one, before
he finally asked, "this Vanya, was he an okay guy?
A buddy fuck?" Remembering something else, something
about Tajikistan, something
but couldn't quite
put his finger on.
brow was dark. "I think some kind of buddy fuck.
" Strange, to remember the man after all
that time, "was a comrade. He loved a fight. He
liked getting beaten, and he liked to fight me. He still
lost against me. I was stronger. We were both fucked-up.
okay." Dan shrugged, smoking his fag while driving,
"it's been a damn long time. Can't say I'm sorry
I killed him, but can say I'm fucking glad I didn't
kill you, and shit, was I close at times." Casting
a smile across, to take any darkness away.
lowered his gaze. Dan had remembered who Vanya had been.
The other guy, that night. "I'm
He wasn't a good guy, but neither was I. He got his
due. I did, too, eventually." He gave a weary smile.
you didn't, that's bullshit. You got more than ten lifetimes'
worth. And I'm not saying that because I'm biased."
Exhaling smoke, the lights of the city became visible
in the distance. "It's not about who deserves what.
I read The Lord of the Rings a long, long time ago.
Bored me stiff, parts of it, but the action was shit
hot, and I liked what it was all about. I remember something
about who deserves what and that you shouldn't give
death to someone thinking they deserve it, because you
can't give life to another you think deserves it."
if there was any cosmic or religious rule that anybody
could enforce, Vadim thought. No. It was just about
ability, potential, and choice, but morals or right
and wrong didn't figure in the equation. "But you
are biased, Dan. Not that I mind
at Vadim, Dan flicked the ash out of the window. "Anyway,
that's that. The past is the past, no matter how much
it affects us, and tonight it's fine food, drink and
company. Your spetsnaz days are over, just enjoy an
evening without getting shot at. Aye?" He moved
his hand from the gear stick to squeeze Vadim's thigh.
covered Dan's hand on his thigh and thought how very
strange it was that something that had started like
that could now be like this. All that violence could
smoothe out into something so deep and good that it
very nearly brought tears to his eyes. He cleared his
throat and gazed out of the window. "Yes. An evening
exactly that." Dan was driving on in silence, his
hand in Vadim's or on his thigh whenever he didn't have
to shift the gear, until they got into Belgrade, navigating
the streets towards the restaurant. A miracle that some
things still appeared to be normal in a sea of chaos
and terror. But anyone needed a semblance of normality,
or insanity would take hold. He parked the car close
to the place, and looked around. "Seems we are
not he first ones." Pointing to a car with conspicuous
should let him decide on the wine. He knows something
about that." Vadim scanned the street for Dima,
or actually any danger that could suddenly erupt. Old
habits. "And be subtle."
I was born subtle." Laughing, Dan threw the cigarette
butt onto the street and locked the car door, speeding
up to walk beside Vadim. "And just so that this
is clear, I haven't started a matchmaking business."
You don't take commission. Yet." Vadim laughed
and opened the door for Dan. "After you."
was still grinning when he stepped inside the restaurant,
spotting Markus before the waiter approached them. With
the rudimentary language he'd already snapped up, he
explained that they'd booked a table and one of their
friends was already there, pointing at Markus, who got
up when they were led to the table.
to see you." Markus smiled and held out his hand,
which Dan shook.
the ping-ponging going on in your building?" Dan
get me started
" rolling his eyes, Markus
turned to Vadim.
Vadim extended a hand and shook Markus', giving a smile
when he remembered to smile. Settling in right next
to Dan, and pulling the chair closer.
and a glass building don't go together too well."
Dan grinned, leaning against Vadim for a moment, while
Markus chuckled and went back to his pack of cigarettes
and the glass of wine.
an understatement, but we would have a lovely view if
we didn't have to seal the building with steel sheets."
Markus lit a fag, but not before offering one to Dan,
who took it.
Vadim glanced over his shoulder, expecting Dima, but
the medic was nowhere to be seen. Maybe Maurice had
put him to good use. That would certainly please him.
"I mean, if they really want to shoot you, why
not keep the entrance in the scope?"
laughed, giving proof to the same irreverent sense of
gallows' humour that Dan usually displayed, "it's
too boring, that's why. At least in this building they
can play billiards: ricocheting a bullet off a wall
might mean you hit the person on the desk across the
they can't see the effect, it's pointless." Vadim
shook his head. "Don't worry. I won't tell them
to use a grenade launcher."
laughed, then took a sip of his wine before asking,
"So, are we ready to order, or are more people
Dima. If he can make it. It's unlike him to be late,
though. His timing was always pretty good. Normally."
Markus smiled questioningly.
looked at Dan, who just looked back at him. Yes, why
would Dima have featured in their conversation? So he
was making the introductions. "He's a ... former
comrade", Vadim ventured. "Dimitri Starov,
actually. He's a medic."
Markus offered, "I believe he'll have a lot to
tell. You have no idea how much I am looking forward
to shutting up tonight."
flicked the ash of his fag into the ashtray, "another
Markus leaned back, glass in one hand, cigarette in
the other, "shaking hands with people you'd
let's just say, you might not wish to be as polite to,
as you have to be."
turned around, keeping an eye on the door, which, eventually
opened. Strange to see Dima in a civilian setting. It
had been several months, and it seemed surreal, now,
to think that, for a long moment, he'd held Dima's life
in his hands, and Dima had, without wishing to, eventually
joined 'their' side. Dima paused just for a moment,
then made eye contact, and Vadim found himself stand
up. Worried that Dima would walk back out after the
last encounter. On the other hand, the medic was tough
and not the type to hold grudges.
said Dima, stepped up close and pulled him into a hug;
no kisses, though. Instead, Dima held him tight and
close for five heartbeats, then pushed him away, slapping
him on the back like the oldest of friends. "Dan."
Turning towards Dan, who stood up, offering a hand.
"Sorry, I'm a little late. No excuses. I'm just
late." His English was fairly good, observed Vadim.
He would probably even be able to still strike up a
convoluted discussion in Pashtu.
alright, if I had been forced to go through as much
paperwork as you did, I'd be sitting in a corner, rocking
to and fro with my arms round my knees right now."
grinned. "Don't underestimate Soviet paperwork.
The main thing, as Vadim can attest, is remaining consistent
with what they want to hear."
like SAS selection." Dan grinned, shaking Dima's
hand, before he sat back down, pointing at Markus. "Markus
Kaltenbrunn, friend of mine." He smiled as Markus
got up, offering Dima his hand as well, which Dima shook.
noted that he introduced himself with the short nickname.
Already a good sign. Damn. He would have preferred not
to know what Dan had planned for both of them.
of the Red Cross delegation around here," Dan continued,
"but you don't have to be a POW to get treated
" he smirked, while Markus tensed,
had the good grace to blush, and threw a glance at Dan
that would have killed any other man.
really?" Dima, bright spark that he was, gave Markus
a much longer look than would have been perfectly fitting
or polite. "That's lucky. Because I'm not a POW."
flustered for a second, Markus looked down, then up,
then took a breath and squared his shoulders, pulling
himself up to his full height. He towered over Dima,
with Dima meeting his gaze, all the time. "I'm
glad you're not, because I'm right now off duty, and
I'd hate having to skip dinner. I'm ravenous."
Looking down at Dima, and for a moment, obvious to all,
studying the face.
something about not mixing work with pleasure. I mean,
leisure", said Dima.
spotted the hint of dry irony that betrayed that Dima
had made a clever pun and enjoyed having done so. Dima
could be very smug indeed, in his strange little ways.
you mixed my work with pleasure, that would be
interesting, but not my kind of thing." Markus
grinned, still standing. "Then again, Vadim told
me you're a medic and used to be spetsnaz, so perhaps
we have more in common work-wise than one might think."
grinned and moved towards the only free chair, which
was the place right next to Markus, who picked up his
cigarette that had been lying forgotten in the ash tray.
Dima shed his jacket and hung it over the back, checking
the pockets for something. Maybe just keys and papers
and likely some packets of pills. "Altruistic professions,
Markus shrugged, as if that explained everything, and
took a last drag from the cigarette before extinguishing
it. "Or just a German Literature graduate who applied
for a job at an editor's and never got an answer - until
three years later, but by that time I had started to
enjoy the 'temporary' job at the Red Cross headquarters."
He turned his head to look at Dima, grinning, while
offering a cigarette, which Dima took. "Serendipity.
But you're not going to tell me that spetsnaz are altruistic,
or are you?"
a failed proper surgeon. Adventure, motherland, good
IQ test, tough enough, spetsnaz." Which was the
shortest version Dima had ever brought his life story
a lighter to Dima's cigarette, Markus grinned, "you
beat me in the sarcastic quarters."
practice." Dima pulled on the cigarette, taking
hold of Markus' wrist to steady a flame that didn't
need any steadying.
glanced at Vadim, raised his brows, said nothing and
just flashed a grin as he shrugged his shoulders. Seemed
they'd been forgotten already.
released Markus' wrist and lowered the cigarette for
a moment. "And - altruistic? No. Just a much harder
job than the other spetsnaz had - with the possible
exception of my esteemed team leader." Dima pointed
towards Vadim and inhaled some of the smoke.
Dan murmured, "and you've got no idea about that
Markus looked up, as an afterthought, offering the cigarettes
to Dan, who refused with a shake of his head.
was your team leader?" Markus looked from one to
the other after placing the packet of fags back onto
the table. "If I were a curious man I'd ask you
questions now, but since I am not
when did you
become spetsnaz and why a failed surgeon?"
I'd planned to study medicine after my two years. But
I ended up enjoying it, well, if you can 'enjoy' war."
Dima grinned. "Instead of taking it easy, I put
a lot more in than most others, and my officers decided
I should get trained further. Medic courses, spetsnaz,
then some specialisations and further medical training.
After that, it was a fairly natural progression. I was
planning to continue and one day train young medics
how to pull the 'tough special forces types' out of
the fire and patch up amputated limbs ... operate under
some fairly unhygienic circumstances, too."
Markus exclaimed, "I can just about imagine that.
I've seen my fair share of blood and gore, and know
the work of my medical team. Thankfully I'm not the
one who has to patch people up." Taking his glass
to have a sip and only then realising that no one else
had a drink. "Oh dear ..." he offered, which
Dan quickly picked up on.
we order?" He smiled brightly, before poking Vadim
in the ribs with his elbow, then waving the waiter over.
grinned. "Same as last time for me."
nodded, and while Vadim joined the conversation, he
got wine for all.
regarded Dima's expression for a moment, which, he assumed,
hinted Dima was pleased to have made an impression.
"And if you think Dima's bluffing ..." He
saw Dima look at him and gave him a smile. "That
reminds me of a story when Dima tried to work on a wounded
guy - he was from an artillery regiment, I remember
that much. The guy's belly had been torn open by a mine.
I'm pretty sure it was a mine. The guy was in shock,
a complete jabbering idiot because of the stress. He
was shouting at Dima, not making a lot of sense, while
Dima was working like his own life depended on it. He'd
called me over to hold the kid down so he could work.
That was the only time I've seen Dima react to anything
like that. Remember what you said, Dima?"
grinned, placed his elbow on the table, hand formed
into a fist. "I took a handful of his guts and
said: 'Hold that for a moment.'"
laughed. "Aye. That shut him up. He fainted. And
with that, Dima could 'work in peace', as he called
laughed out loud, leaning back to regard Dima full-on.
"You're a man of my heart, and my surgeons would
love you. Our best one is only happy when he's drowning
in blood, but don't tell that to anyone."
grinned. "I like the battle with death."
you manage to get the soldier through? Or don't you
know?" Markus smiled, while Dan sat quietly in
a corner, grinning to himself and watching the commotion.
Knowing that whatever thought he was keeping for later,
it would most probably be for Vadim alone, but he sure
as heck didn't mind.
idea. Conditions in Kabul might have killed him. Or
the transport. I know he stood a chance when I was done
with him. That's all we get. A fighting chance."
do it somewhat differently. We start when the fighting
chances are over. We take what pieces are left and try
to hold them in place, to put them back together in
the end." Markus finished his wine, "we're
just a band aid, but a big one." Smiling at Dima.
not the biggest one", Dima said, somewhat pensive,
or just very calm. Vadim wasn't quite sure how to read
him. "And talking of big, I do need some food.
Maurice can exist on a diet of coffee and fags, but
fuck. At last." Dan murmured with a grin, while
Markus looked up. "Maurice? Do you live with someone?"
took the menu from the waiter, who distributed the other
menus around the table, while another waiter came with
the wine Dan had ordered. "No. I'm bunking on his
couch for the moment. But he's starting to get fed up
with me, so I better find a different couch until I
have an idea how to pay for my way around."
can cover what you need", said Vadim. "I owe
Vadim, I owe you, and I'm old enough to solve my own
problem, thanks, comrade Major."
Dan nor Markus said anything, but while Dan was thoughtfully
smoking his cigarette, Markus had extinguished his,
and was looking at the menu. "Has anyone tried
had the steak last time", said Vadim. "And
I'll stick to it."
venison does sound good", remarked Dima, glancing
over the rim of his menu, the quickest of glances that
made him smile while reading the list. "I'll risk
that case, I shall risk it, too." Markus smiled,
putting the menu down.
ordered, and the evening went on as it had started,
with casual chatting that every now and then veered
into more serious territory, and it was strange to see
Dima so relaxed and natural. He was a completely different
man off the battlefield and passed easily as civilian
- something, no doubt, that would help him keep a low
was enjoying himself, and Dan kept glancing at him,
watching how he chatted animatedly with Dima. He smiled
to himself, until he prodded Vadim again. It was past
eleven, and he'd had nothing more than a measly glass
of wine, knowing they'd have to be on duty for mid-day
shift the next day, and knowing
that they didn't
seem to be particularly needed right now.
think it's time to retire for little old me." Dan
grinned at Dima and Markus, before leaning his head
for a second against Vadim's shoulder. "Unlike
someone here," glaring mockingly at Markus,
"I am in my forties, and need my beauty sleep."
you do." Vadim rolled his eyes, but got the hint,
grinned, "Truth is, I have to drive, and we're
both on shift tomorrow." He waved to the two remaining
men, as if he'd always expected them to stay. "I'll
give you a tinkle, aye?"
..." Markus repeated. "Have a safe drive and
a good night." Safe, in these parts, taking on
a very different meaning.
was rifling through his jacket, seemed to have located
something, but didn't pull it out, then glanced up.
"Night. And thanks for the invitation." Smiling
at Vadim, who shrugged. "You're welcome."
a stopover at the entrance, on the way out, Vadim held
the door open for Dan, and they were gone.
was watching the door for a moment longer, before reaching
for his cigarettes. The second packet of the night.
"Have you got time for another drink?" He
looked at Dima.
I have no appointments tomorrow and nowhere to be."
Dima relaxed on the chair and leaned back, feeling sated,
tired, and curious, which made a strange combination,
but not at all unpleasant. "How come you know Dan?"
picked me up at an embassy function." Offering
the cigarettes to Dima, Markus caught the waiter's eyes.
"I was bored." A sudden grin crossed his face,
"guess I should say, he was even more bored. For
me it's part of the job, for him it's torture."
picked up?" Dima paused. "I'm not sure I get
the complete meaning of that phrase."
Markus paused, and his grin was somewhat self conscious.
"We met over the buffet and he
how much you know Dan, but he came to the point fairly
quickly. We ended up in an empty room, only to be walked
on in, with me hiding behind the floor length curtains.
It's quite funny in retrospect, but when you have your
trousers round your ankles it's really rather horrific."
Dan clearly spent his time wisely in this country. Dima
pulled a cigarette from the pack, but instead of protesting
the 'theft', Markus flicked the lighter, asking, "excuse
me for being curious, but are you a friend of Vadim?"
yes. Friend ... I don't know, to be honest. I guess
it's not easy to be his friend, even if he cared much
waiter arrived to take their orders for more drinks,
before Markus could reply, but he picked up the conversation
once the man had left. "I don't know Vadim at all.
He's Dan's partner, that's for me the most important
bit of information. But are you sure he doesn't care
in his own way, he clearly does." Killing everybody
in the house but him, lending a hand, keeping him alive,
even if that meant chaining him up like an animal. "But
if you look at him, it's all there: emotional detachment,
rationalization, compartmentalisation, alienation, it's
doesn't seem to be doing any of that with Dan."
Markus pulled nicotine deeply into his lungs, thoughtful.
"He seemed to me to be, what's the best word
committed? I don't think I've ever seen such an intense
can't tell. I knew him when he was rather different.
Married, children, picture-book officer."
Markus interrupted, eyes wide.
Vadim had ambition, being gay would have killed that
ambition. You didn't progress anywhere if you had the
wrong ancestors, such as Germans. And the Great War
for the Fatherland had ended a while ago ..." Dima
grinned. "He knew the rules, and he followed them.
I wouldn't have thought he had more depth than that.
No, that's not fair. He was always bright, read a lot,
but I believed that polished facade. I wouldn't have
assumed he'd ... be anything but." And what would
he have done if he'd known? Could he have trusted an
officer that was actually a traitor? Somebody who'd
fooled everybody? But then again, had his own little
lies ever made him a traitor? It was a huge, grey area
- one that even the Interior Ministry wouldn't have
been able to navigate.
looked up when the waiter arrived with their wine, thanking
the man, before picking up the glass. "I don't
know him well enough to comment." He smiled, raised
the glass to his lips, looking at Dima over the rim,
"and I don't know you either. Seems to be a Russian
grinned and took the glass. "What, being gay?"
chuckled, took a sip, before he picked up his cigarette
once more. "Perhaps that as well, but I'm afraid
I'm not Russian, and still gay." Keeping his voice
down at the latter, as if he couldn't help being worried
about voicing the wrong words. "No, I meant being
riddle in a mystery wrapped in an enigma." Dima
grinned, feeling flattered at the younger man's attention.
seen too many WW2 films, or read too many books, Dima."
Markus chuckled, leaning back, but the way the name
flowed over his tongue was a very comfortable one.
you read 'too many books'? I doubt it. But Churchill
was a good judge of character. He got Stalin right."
you can't, and yes, he did." Markus' smile grew
deeper, warmer, something in his eyes as he regarded
the other, "wish I had my library here with me."
took a sip of the wine. "But me, I'm fairly simply
structured. I became a professional soldier to get away
from my village - and any rumours."
about your sexuality?"
one last opportunity to get away from this. Deny everything.
But why? Why indeed. "Yes. Joining up was convenient,
and I didn't go back for a long time. Always too busy,
always working hard, and everybody understood I wouldn't
marry during that war. Too much to do, responsibilities
... it's another way to hide."
nodded. "I understand. While I have no need to
hide, theoretically, and according to my employer's
official statements, I practically have to deal with
individuals, who would be even less 'pleasant'
to deal with if my sexuality was known."
okay", I'll be discreet, was what Dima almost said,
and managed to swallow that part of the sentence before
it got out. "I mean, that sounds like a compromise,
really. Doesn't seem so bad." He grinned, leaning
forward, elbows on the table. "So, apart from ending
up in embassy rooms, pants around your ankles, and being
seized by admittedly a very sexy British mercenary,
how do you handle your encounters?"
burst into laughter, quietening down at a strange look
from across another table, and, still chuckling, leaned
over the table as well, sitting opposite the other now.
Faces close, so he could keep his voice low. "The
park at Kalemegdan Fortress, with its rather 'impressive'
statue, has an interesting and secluded area, with fairly
dense vegetation, which offers the possibility for chance
encounters." He shrugged and grinned, "but
otherwise? I haven't got that many encounters. Lack
of chances." Tilting his head a fraction, chin
in his hands, "and maybe I'm not the world's most
prolific performer of one-night-stands anyway."
say I'm refusing many offers", said Dima under
his breath. Shit, that did sound needy, but since they
were both out in the open, it was time to up the ante.
smiled for a moment, "of one-night-stands or of
invitations to dinner?"
actually." Dima glanced quickly at the waiter,
who lingered in the background. "As you can see
from the fact that I'm here ... still here."
one do you prefer?" Not letting up, Markus stayed
where he was, close but not too close.
laughed. "Depends on whether I'm hungry or horny."
a bit of a poor choice." Markus smiled and moved
back to sit straighter. "You've never combined
mean, successively? Dinner, and then bed? Rarely. It's
not something you do when ... exchanging pleasantries
quickly and in secret."
smiled again, and this time, it had a new quality to
it. "In that case, I'd like to invite you to dinner.
There's another comfortable restaurant that has so far
survived this madness. It's close to the river and boasts
the best of the local delicacies." Watching Dima,
while taking a few more sips of his wine, "would
Saturday be suitable? At 7 PM?"
I mean, you don't have to." And that sounded wrong,
too. "Just knock me over the head and chain me
up in a cellar, and I'm all yours." He grinned
while Markus' brows shot up, but he didn't comment.
"No, I'm joking. I'll ... be there."
you have a car?"
have to check whether Maurice would need it. Impossible
to say. Maurice might be away for some reason or other.
Strange. It all had moved towards sex, and Markus now
put it off. "No, I've borrowed the one outside."
could pick you up." Markus smiled, "no problem,
I mean, I'd like to. Where do you stay?"
embassy, but I don't remember the address."
yes. Been there a few times. At least their food and
drink is quite good, and they have occasionally some
generals in the most delectable uniforms."
grinned. "I haven't had that pleasure yet."
Markus emptied the glass. "I'm afraid I have to
leave now, it's a week day after all, and I'm usually
a good boy and in bed by ten. Got some wrangling to
do tomorrow, and I don't think my deputy would be thrilled
if I told him I'm out of action because I stayed too
long in a bar." Moving to get up, Markus took another
look at Dima, who also got up and grabbed his jacket.
see you on Saturday, then. I'll pick you up at quarter
to seven." Fishing in his jacket pocket, Markus
produced a business card. "That's my address, and
" he found a pen, scribbling down another
set of numbers, "and that's my private phone. Just
in case." Standing up to full height, he extended
his hand, "I'm looking forward to seeing you on
Saturday," adding, as an afterthought, and just
because he enjoyed the sound of the name, "Dima."
put the card into his pocket, then took Markus' hand
with both his and shook it. "Yes, I'm looking forward
to it, too." It. Food, sex. Both. Part of him was
stunned by how this was going, and the fact that he
had a 'date'. He followed Markus out of the restaurant,
after Markus had paid the drinks, discovering everything
else had already been paid. Dima wondered if he should
say something more, but merely said "Goodbye, then",
shoved his hands into his pockets, and headed for Maurice's
car. How strange.
Markus stood and watched Dima for a while, before getting
into his own car, and pondering if he should actually
still be driving - but such questions were to be answered
at a different time.
hrs sharp on Saturday, and Maurice's phone rang internally.
was on the way to the door when he remembered that that
was the phone, and he answered. "Yes?"
was the guard house, telling him that a visitor was
there for one Dima Starov, and that the visitor was
waiting in the car park, right next to the gate.
Dima grabbed his jacket, the door key, and headed outside,
rushing down the stairs, then slowed down when he left
through the door, and fell into an easy jog towards
was standing outside of the car, leaning against the
driver's door, and smoking. Smiling brightly when Dima
appeared. "Military time keeping?" he winked.
medic. I'm rushing everywhere." Dima gave a laugh
and extended a hand. "Or maybe I'm just hungry?"
shook Dima's hand, cigarette between his lips. "That
doesn't bode well for a comfortable evening over a few
glasses of wine." Grinning, he opened the driver's
door and waited for Dima to get into the passenger seat.
"Unless you're of the 'wham bam' persuasion."
Buckling himself in, he glanced across.
answered one question and posed several others. "I
could be persuaded to take my time." Dima grinned.
"How was your week?"
the first statement, Markus navigated the car out of
the embassy ground. "Half a week, to be precise,
and it was like most weeks: full of ijits."
people for you." Dima studied the other man's face,
when Markus glanced across again, extinguishing his
cigarette before his finger hovered over the 'on' button
of the stereo. "Do you mind opera?"
long as it's not Wagner, I can deal with anything."
good, because I can't help it, I do believe some voices
are divine." The first chords were tentatively
heard in the car, before an almighty voice of epic proportions
filled the small space, singing of love, death, betrayal,
pain, and joy. The sound was almost physical, brutal,
and very distracting. About five minutes later, they
were reaching the shore of the Sava, "and how was
your week?" Markus asked.
voice was level - but too much so. Expectation, dread,
or nerves? "Well, I started work as some kind of
nurse in a local hospital. That was part of all that
paperwork. It's good to use my skills for the right
thing." Dima grinned, wondered how he could put
the other man at ease. But truth be told, he had no
idea how these things usually went. How people actually
did these things if they didn't have to hide. Only that
this was a far call from Maurice's very practical attitude
to stress busting.
does that mean you're dressed up all prim and
proper in a starched white uniform?" Markus glanced
to the side as he turned a corner, "I can imagine
that might suit you rather well." Sounding as if
he were about to add something, but never did.
grinned. "Yeah. And I hand out pills and give injections,
and I prepare the paperwork for the doctors. I could
do more, but I guess that's their way to break the new
guy in." He studied Markus for several long moments.
"They tried to make me work today, but I told them
I have a date."
... good." Almost missing his next turn, Markus
was smiling at Dima, just about making the exit. "And
tomorrow?" Stopping himself once again, as if he
kept saying too much.
Orthodox. I don't work Sundays." Dima grinned.
"No, in fact, they didn't ask. Lucky ... me."
Pausing. "So, what do you like? I get opera, wine,
books ... what else?"
food." Markus smiled, more relaxed now, as he moved
the car into a parking space near to the river bank.
"Good books, films, and company. Travelling in
colder climes, and the beauty of language - especially
English. And men." He switched off the engine,
leaned back and turned his head fully to smile at Dima.
..." And who was nervous now? One thing to tell
Maurice how he liked sex, another to tell Dan to go
slow, but completely different situation now. "Pretty
similar. Travelling, saving lives, sex, men, getting
do you like your sex without getting drunk, too?"
Markus asked, and looked suddenly mortified, as if he
hadn't meant to say this.
helps." Dima grinned sharply. "Brings down
the barrier faster. You know, it's a pet theory at the
moment, but I think men are made to fight each other,
and alcohol dulls that reflex. Especially with soldiers.
Civilians are different, or when you're young, but soldiers?"
not a soldier, though. Is that a problem?" Markus
hesitated, smiled, admitting with the question that
he had been thinking far too much about this. "I
don't want to bore you
frowned and placed a hand over on Markus' thigh. "It's
a job. That's really all there is to it. It's a job."
glance fell onto the hand, and it felt good, perhaps
too good. "Just wanted you to know that if I wanted
a one-night-stand I wouldn't have asked you out for
dinner." Convoluted, but the words didn't come
quite as smoothly right now, as they usually did.
I gathered. If you'd wanted that, it would have happened
Wednesday." Dima leaned over, keeping his hand
there and bringing his face close. "Relax. I rarely
think beyond the next hour."
do. I have to. Guess it's a good thing that you don't."
Markus leaned his head against the support, allowing
his hand to cover Dima's, and just smiling. Faces close,
far too close to not want to kiss, and Dima's hand turned
slightly and pressed his.
to go in for our dinner, hm?" Markus asked.
Let's try that dinner thing. Okay?" Very briefly
touching his cheek to the corner of Markus' mouth, just
barely brushing it. "I don't have any other plans
for the weekend."
Markus smiled, nodded, and forced himself to move away
and get out of the car. Waiting for Dima, before heading
towards the restaurant. Once they were seated inside,
at a cosy two-men table in the corner, Markus leaned
forward. "I was wondering, what is your favourite
literature?" Offering Dima a cigarette, "and
don't say 'porn'." He laughed quietly.
puffed on the cigarette and grinned. "Short stuff.
Short stories. I think good writers should be able to
tell a story so you can read it in one sitting. In my
line of work, that's a bit of a habit ... I could never
know whether I'd live to read the rest of the book."
They received the menus, and Markus chose the wine.
The food was good, service fast, some of the best food
Dima had had in a long while, but while he enjoyed it,
Markus seemed to stall, as if something kept him from
eating, something that made him look and smile, and
talk and listen too much, instead of getting through
prefer long stories that let you delve deeply into the
minds of the characters you care about." Markus
explained, when they had finished their meal. Glass
of wine in one hand, cigarette in the other. "I
am fascinated by motivation
fictional people have better reasons to do something
than real people. Most people just run around on autopilot
all their lives, which would make for boring reading
in any case."
in all cases, though." Markus was looking at Dima,
studying the short, grey hair, and the face and eyes.
Not handsome, not ugly, and entirely attractive. Lowering
his voice, "would you like dessert or
you like a whisky to finish off the meal, at my place?"
Dima grinned. "Because I don't want to scandalize
these good people here with anything I might do."
that would be?"
that would be telling." Dima made eye contact with
the waiter, somewhat impatient now to get going.
guess it does help my safe driving, if you don't tell
me." Looking at the waiter as well, who approached
speedily, there was a small kerfuffle about paying,
but Markus insisted since he had invited Dima, he would
pay and that, if Dima were so inclined, if he wanted
to invite him in return, he would gladly accept. Which,
incidentally, was the best outcome - Dima wasn't exactly
flush with cash at the moment, anyway.
short while later they were back in the car, with Markus
backing the vehicle out of the parking space. "I
have to tell you that I kind of share my house with
my admin. She lives in the basement flat. Just in case
you believe in anonymity, because
hesitated, before glancing to the side, "believe
me, watch me not officially telling headquarters
that I have a partner, should I ever have one."
not ashamed", said Dima. "There's no rule
that says I can't do this." He reached out to touch
Markus' face, made him look at him, and Markus stopped
the car, foot on the brake. "Just tell me how discreet
I should be, and I'm sure I can accommodate you."
don't care. I honestly don't. Even if you prefer to
be a one-night-stand," Markus wanted to say more,
but didn't, "I don't care anymore who knows."
preferences." Dima moved over, holding Markus'
chin, keeping it pointing in the right direction, then
touched his lips to the other's. "I'm not planning
" Markus murmured, "can't help planning
for the universe, but I just
want to get us back
to my home, right now. I really, really want to take
you to bed, and I haven't thought about much else all
week." A dry, soft chuckle, before he added, "and
if I could explain that to myself, then I'd be a candidate
for the Nobel prize."
damn", muttered Dima, smiling fondly, almost against
his will pulling back to allow the poor man to be able
to drive. "I ... yeah." Defeated, elated,
and his stomach tightened, as if he were nervous. Completely
different thing again, he just didn't want to hurt this
man, suddenly, all this was such a different kettle
of fish to what he knew and accepted about how things
about making it back to driving capacity, Markus got
them out into the street and towards the road that would
take them to his house on Uzicka. He didn't talk much,
just let the music play, and occasionally glanced to
the side, while occupying himself with driving and smoking
another cigarette. When they arrived, he parked the
car in the driveway and waited for Dima before locking
the car. "Welcome to my temporary home, is what
one says, I guess." He fumbled for the key a bit
more than necessary, and it took him a couple of tries
before he managed to unlock the door of the ground floor
flat. When he finally succeeded and switched on the
light, Dima found the place to be comfortably furnished,
with several doors going off from the hallway. Markus
moved off towards one door, smiling at Dima. "I
think I need that whisky."
stood in the middle of the hallway, looking around,
then gave another grin. "I'm pretty sure I know
what you need right after that whisky, though."
Following the man, he hung up the jacket on the wardrobe
in passing, taking in what he could, anything that allowed
to study the character, but it was tasteful, nice, friendly,
with personal touches here and there betraying that
somebody spent a lot of thought on these things and
enjoyed the finer, better things in life.
was standing at the buffet, pouring the first generous
measure, when Dima came inside. "Water or ice?"
Glancing up, "I prefer it neat."
too." Dima lingered close, watching Markus pour
another glass, and accepting it when he offered, then
gently clinked the glasses together. The alcohol warmed
his mouth and throat, and then slow and deep down. He
finished the whisky with another swallow and put the
glass down, then moved in, hands on Markus' shoulders,
down to his arms, and Markus put the glass back onto
the buffet, just about finished as well. "I'm bad
at guessing", Dima murmured. "Anything you
" Markus almost said 'don't know' and his
hesitation made it all too obvious, but instead he smiled.
Tentative, genuine, and a whole lot of other things.
"I'm not naïve, nor inexperienced, just
he shrugged, lowered his head until they were eye to
eye, "let's just see where we get to."
This close, it was obvious that Markus was at least
a few inches taller - a fact Dima could conveniently
forget when they were further apart. His hands moved
to the belt; hesitated there, and he got no encouragement
from Markus either. Giving a blowjob was the first thing
that had crossed Dima's mind, he suddenly wasn't quite
sure anymore. Felt horrible, in a way, he just couldn't
fall back on his routine, because there was none in
place. Almost back to stupid teenagers again, when nothing
was certain, everything was sprinkled with either angst
or frosting, so he decided, right, teenagers again,
and kissed Markus full on the lips, who smiled, tilted
his head and stooped a little more, as his hands went
up to Dima's head and face. Holding, kissing, and fingers
stroking through short hair, but only for a while, before
need got the upper hand, and Markus pulled Dima closer,
tighter, as the kiss became instantly passionate.
began to pull the shirt out of Markus' trousers in the
back, hands making contact with bare skin, moving up,
while pressing in, and he relished the feeling of skin
on skin, then kissing down the throat, the side of the
neck, producing little sounds that caught in Markus'
throat, while baring his chest and discarding the shirt.
No fear of getting caught. But a strange kind of expectation,
odd thing, really, but he allowed it to happen, whatever
it was. Kissing again, while getting rid of his own
shirt, then placed both hands on Markus' ass and pulled
him close, tight, with just enough force to stoke the
hands were on Dima's back, arms, neck, stroking down
to his hips and up again. Contact and pressure, almost
greed, and no doubt Markus wanted this man, had thought
about little else since they'd met. Hardly slept, hardly
ate, no matter how stupid he'd felt. When he lifted
his head, he barely got out, "need
what, you? "Bed!"
grinned. "Which way is it?" Following the
motion of Markus' head, he let him go only enough to
lead the way. All tidy, bed large enough to accommodate
both of them, and Dima shed his shoes on the way in,
smiling at that hint of desperation, too damn fond of
the other to make fun of it, but he was, what, ten years
older? He opened his own belt and trousers, while Markus
pulled the elegant bedspread off. Dima shed the rest
of his clothes, leaving everything on a chair near the
door, finding himself watched with an intensity unlike
anyone had ever looked at him. He crossed the short
distance towards Markus, who stood, watching, and opened
Markus' belt, button and zipper, pulling the trousers
down as he knelt down, and Markus still just stood.
Not shell-shocked, definitely not uncertain, but struck
into immobility with his hands on Dima's shoulders and
his eyes fixed onto every movement.
stayed on his knees, pulled the other closer, and quickly
took him in, causing Markus to cry out, "Sh
Something Dima had wanted all evening, sucking and getting
another taste of this man, who reacted as if his knees
would buckle any second, breath coming fast. Markus'
hands on Dima's hair, neck, shoulder, again and again
back to the short hair, while Dima's hands stroked Markus'
sides, wanting nothing more than to take that shyness
away, right now, as his head moved back and forth, deeply
enjoying Markus' every response, who couldn't help but
soon, too much need, and Markus almost staggered backwards
when he forced himself to push against Dima's head,
trying to make him stop, a Herculean effort. "Can
" stammering, breathless voice tinged
with lust and desperation. So close. "Can you
looked up. He could read it all over the other's face,
flushed and feverish, eyes alight with life and emotion.
"I can", he murmured, and gave a smile. "And
I want to." He stood, again kissing the other fully
on the mouth, but pushing him towards the bed, and Markus
sat down, scooting up, dazed with lust.
Dima asked and Markus nodded as Dima reached over to
pull the drawer open, finding condoms and lube. When
he moved onto the bed, looking down at Markus, he marvelled
at the openness of emotion in the face. A hint of nervousness,
large amounts of need, and relief that Dima had understood
without making him spell out what he wanted. And a breathless
smile on Markus' face that stayed, grew and deepened,
as their bodies moved and connected, slow and steady,
to give and take, until there was nothing but lust and
an abandon that completely took Dima by surprise. Taking
him in and swallowing him whole, when he finally came,
deep inside Markus' body.
night saw them awake for much longer, exploring and
enjoying. With more whisky and wine, and all the time
in the world, as they talked and discovered, laughed
and touched. Listening to music, then once again concentrating
on the other's body. Learning through touch and taste,
until even Dima fell asleep, with a last glance at Markus'
profile, illuminated by the dimmest light of approaching
dawn that came through thin curtains. The night was
quiet, not even the usual sound of explosions far in
the distance, and the regular breathing of the sleeping
man was as peaceful as Dima's thoughts, before sleep
Dima woke, it was to bright sunshine streaming into
the bedroom, and the smell of cigarette smoke next to
him. He realized it was Sunday, and he had nowhere to
be, and then remembered the last night. Smiling, then
yawning, he stretched in the bed to place a kiss on
Markus' arm. "Awake already?"
lucky I didn't wake up at my usual five thirty."
Markus grinned, "it's your fault I slept until
eight. That's unheard of."
don't get laid enough." Dima laughed softly. "That
should sort out your insomnia." He pulled a cigarette
from the pack that Markus offered, placing it between
his lips and reaching for the lighter.
have no idea how right you are." Markus looked
at Dima for a moment, then smiled, "or maybe you
" Keeping the cigarette between his lips
to free a hand, his fingers once again touched Dima's
hair, carding through the short grey. "You look
so Russian." Talking around the fag between his
lips, "and I think you can guess by now that I
really like that."
that haircut", said Dima, grinning. Inhaling the
smoke, he sat up to lean against the headrest, pulling
a leg up. "And you're aware we were set up?"
He reached over to Markus' neck, pulling him a bit closer,
kneading the neck muscles, which caused Markus to lower
his head on Dima's shoulder, but not before glancing
at him with raised brows.
Stroking through Markus' hair, Dima moved his head to
kiss his temple. "I think he was playing matchmaker."
Only then realizing he'd breached a different topic
with that, which seemed like a risk to take. "But
that's okay from my end. I certainly don't mind."
Blast!" Markus chuckled, before inhaling a last
lungful of smoke, then reached across to extinguish
the butt in the ash tray, while staying as much as he
could in the comfortable position. "I must be more
naïve than I thought, I didn't notice."
spot it either." Mr Perceptive. Some way to get
paid back for second-guessing Dan. "I guess I must
have been distracted by something."
chuckled, "I'm glad you were. Would have really
bothered my ego if you hadn't been sufficiently distracted."
consider your ego un-bruised." Resting his head
against Markus', Dima relished the fact they were lying
in bed, with a whole day in front of them. So utterly
normal, compelling, and calming. Sharing more than a
few crazed minutes of need.
in companiable silence for a while, until Markus took
in a deep breath, lifted his head and rolled his neck.
"Are you hungry? Would you like breakfast? I, for
one, am famished."
stretched again. "Sure. Let me grab a shower first.
What are the breakfast plans then?" He stood, gathered
up his clothes, but Markus stopped him, when he swung
his long legs out of bed and stood up.
you want to, you can borrow a dressing gown?" Reaching
for one that was hanging on a hook beside the wardrobe,
which he then opened and pulled out another, black as
well and much newer than the one he'd slipped into.
paused, then nodded. Surprised, but clearly, that was
the more civilized approach to having guests around
overnight. Borrow? Why did he get the feeling that Markus
rather well prepared for this? And how much
care and consideration had gone into this, while he
just hadn't thought further than the next five or thirty
minutes. If his job had taught him anything, then it
was thinking on his feet. "Thanks, that comes in
handy." Dropping his clothes back on the chair
for breakfast, what would you like? I could whip up
scrambled eggs, or eggs Benedict, or any other egg variety,
and bacon, or freshly baked bread with a variety of
cheeses and spreads, or
" Markus offered
a grin, somewhat self-conscious, as he tied the belt
around his hips. "I might have gone overboard yesterday,
when I was out shopping, but I didn't know what you
like." Adding, while his grin grew ever more conscious,
what is eggs Benedict?" To say anything.
Much more care, consideration and
he'd ever seen from any of the guys he'd encountered
for longer than five to ten minutes. Which put this
very firmly and deeply into Unknown Country. Terra Incognita.
two halves of a muffin, topped with ham and poached
eggs, and a good dollop of hollandaise sauce."
good. I'll have some of that."
into a pair of sporty flip-flops, Markus walked towards
the door, and pointed to another one right next to it,
from the hallways. "You'll find a couple of fresh
towels on the shelf in the bathroom." When he turned
he had coloured ever so slightly. "I
hoping you'd stay, you know." Busying himself with
looking around the hallway, "but I don't think
I have a second pair of flip-flops, and I fear they'd
be too big anyway." Stepping once more closer to
Dima, until he towered over him, and put his foot between
the other's legs, to measure. He chuckled, and had the
good grace to colour a bit more, "but if you tell
me your size I could have a pair for
hesitating, "next time?"
I'll just get some."
that." Markus smiled and Dima glanced up, not quite
sure what to say. This wasn't casual, Markus had enjoyed
it, and he had, too. Well, that was one way to sum it
up. The other was that Markus kept throwing him, kept
surprising him, but always with kindness and generosity.
If he wasn't careful
"Looks like we'll be
having an affair, hm?"
do you mean, an affair?" Markus' brows moved
into a frown.
more than a night or a weekend." Dima felt
stupid, like the first man on earth. Other people had
that; Vadim and Dan had been 'together' for, what, more
than ten years now?
don't want a one night stand. Not that I don't do them
that's not what I want with you." Markus
added with a hesitant smile, "I'd like a relationship,
if it works out, and there's only one way to find out,
isn't there?" Tilting his head, Markus ran his
hand from the back of Dima's neck up the head, against
the growth of the short hair. "And what do you
was speechless, and he knew he shouldn't have breached
the topic, like he could jinx it now. Relationship.
Dating, then relationship. Remembering the man's reactions,
his sounds, his taste, all that, the night, the talking,
all that caring. Relationship. A commitment,
a pact, a mutual bond. Was it that easy? Looked like
it was. "Sh
sugar", he said, deliberately
copying Markus' expression. "And that on an empty
stomach." Smiling, suddenly, weird mix of emotions
just rushing all over his brain. "I want those
eggs", he murmured, "and, yeah, the same thing.
That's a first though
I don't know how it works."
don't really either." Markus' smile had grown to
epic proportions. "I mean, I haven't really had
it can't be that difficult, right? Lots
of people manage, and we seem to be starting out well.
You want egg Benedict, and so do I, we both know the
same crazy guys, who apparently set us up, I like the
way you look and you happen to look that way, and I
really, really, want you to
" just the slightest
of hesitations, before he broke into a wide grin, "fuck
me again, because that was amazing."
pulled him closer, kissing Markus' neck, hands moving
to his ass, murmuring: "Feed me some breakfast,
and more sex is a distinct possibility." He wanted
to say other things, about those visceral things, about
touch and taste and smell - about what he felt, but
he couldn't put all that yet into words. He'd jinx it,
for sure, and he'd never said these things. He'd try
again, harder, but at the moment, it was all too new
and unknown and amusing and daunting.
it is, then." Markus grinned, leaned in for another
kiss, full on the lips.
could stay till Monday. I have a late shift."
you don't mind that I am usually at seven in the office,
then I'd be more than happy if you stayed." Taking
Dima's hand, Markus was about to drag him to the kitchen,
but remembered the bathroom and shower first. "And
if you want to stay after that
" he trailed
off. "Let's just say you are welcome. Very welcome.
We'll see how it goes, right?"
I have your number." Dima grinned and let go of
the hand to vanish into the bathroom. Whatever he'd
got himself into, this was a good start.
don't you forget it!" Markus called after him,
chuckling, then retreated into the kitchen to whip up
a miracle of tea, coffee, fresh bread, muffins and eggs
and delicious hollandaise, with far too many other things,
spread out all across the table, at which they sat for
a long time, until Dima dragged Markus back into the
bedroom, forgetting about dishes and fridge and half-smoked
cigarettes. At least for the day.