had gone wrong. So fucking wrong, Dan was screaming
when the bullet impacted in his thigh, stumbled backwards,
fell, just knew it was over. Wrong, goddamned wrong,
was losing it all; goat-fuckers, duty, sanity and his
life. Pain, bullets, blood and screams, and those motherfucking
Mujas dying like flies all around him.
Russians, they'd done it this time. He'd under-estimated
the Glorious Red Army. Cock-sure. Cock ... nothing.
No more. Reduced to trying to crawl out of the worst
of this hellfire. Shot at from left, right, centre.
Only a few more minutes and they'd be under fire from
behind as well. Really fucked. Truly buggered, right
up the arse this time; bullets, RPG, staccato of AKs
and any old GMP.
the flesh wound on his thigh, Dan slung the rifle onto
his back, pistol in one hand, dragging himself forward
on hands and knees, desperate to get to the outcrop
of rock he'd recced earlier. Blind to the dying, deaf
to their screams, his own pain bridled with clenched
teeth and that never-ending greed to live.
like a dog, eating dirt, using the dead and dying as
shields, he had to get away, or they'd figure out that
the man beneath the native rags was nothing like the
Afghans. Turkey. Merc. Dead as a dodo after interrogation
and torture, unless he'd be lucky and kicked the bucket
beforehand. But fuck, he wasn't ready to die yet.
Russkies. Damn them all and their ambush, and thrice
damned his rag-tag of insurgents, unable to hold the
managed to crawl two, three feet, the rocks came closer,
hope was just about in reach, when he heard more than
felt a bullet, too close, impacting on the rock, a sound
that made him throw himself down to the ground, belly
first. Swallowing dust, dirt, and blood, then pain.
Felled like a fucking bull shot with a dart gun, ready
bullet had ricocheted off the rocks, would have killed
him if he hadn't thrown himself down. Grazed his temple.
Hit with force. Blood. Pain.
finished here, Major."
well, Captain. Congratulations."
man gave him a crisp salute, and people were pulling
out. A massing of effort, men, and gear. This was as
much an example as would do. Part of a massive offensive
designed to drive the enemy back, and underground, and
generally out of the way.
was a mass grave, the bodies had begun to bloat and
posed a health risk this close to the outpost. There
was that smell in the air, sour blood, and oily smoke.
walked into the settlement, what was left of it, saw
soldiers standing guard and was pretty sure everything
had been looted already. Intelligence had worked with
this one. They assumed they'd hit a lieutenant of one
of the warlords
no names, just bets being hedged.
He was only here to confirm.
that he did. He began to turn stones, metaphorically
and literally, trying to find a scrap of information
which faction exactly had been bombed and shot into
the stone age, which of the many foes was no more
and found a bergan that didn't belong here. He knew
that one, knew the smell, the frayed, bleached thing.
Thought, Dan, then thought mass grave, then thought
Dan would not survive in the mountains.
sat there, hands shaking, thought of their last encounter,
force and need as always, and thought again of the mass
grave. Thought of the turkey that had been Dan's comrade,
and dread crept up and turned his throat to lead. What
if, this time, it was actually what he had feared?
stood, composed himself, hid the bergan in its exact
spot, and left to radio the Colonel. He was pretty sure
the insurgent leader had left for the mountains, might
be wounded, requested permission to hunt.
and hawking, too valuable, but the target was valuable,
too, and permission was given. Vadim got his kit from
the Hind helicopter, and watched the men leaving, wrapping
up, knew what they were thinking. The crazy Spetsnaz
was out to get himself killed. But that was exactly
how the crazy Spetsnaz had made Major, that was what
the grandfathers said, and, eventually, Vadim was left
alone, with the stench of bodies and the settlement,
aware that vengeance was in the air. If the Mujas had
any forces left in the area, they'd come crashing down
on him. He should be out and gone as soon as possible.
Heat. Stench and weight. Impossible to move. Restricted.
Bound and Held. Panic.
woke, unable to see, impossible to move. Couldn't fathom
where he was, what had happened. Dizzy, thirsty, head
spinning from the bullet impact, face a sticky mess,
eyes glued shut with blood.
Felt hands, arms, legs and torsos. Fabric, rags, felt
and wool, smell. Blood. Stink. Flies. Too much weight
and heat, and panic rose like bile in his throat. Alive,
but amongst the dead. Pried his eyes open, tried to
move, froze when he heard voices and pain shot through
his leg, almost screamed.
at by a face, bloated, ripe-swollen skin stretching
grey-black over distorted features. Mouth wide open,
eyes bulging, dimmed like brack-water.
Everywhere. Decay and horror. Unable to move; unable
to hell, McFadyen, the face seemed to smirk. We got
you at last.
that felt like Days. Weeks. Dead and alive. Rotting
corpses, exploding flesh. Fermented shit, curdled blood
and bile. The heat drew in flies in the millions. Bodies
oozing, fluids drenching, horror.
talk to me. Faces, bodies, rotting and torn. Limbs,
touch me. Leave me.
searched the settlement again. No Dan. No more bodies.
Checked the surrounding area. No. He stood above the
pile of corpses, blue and black, the stench like nothing
else in the world. Unforgiving heat. Had no idea what
he'd do if Dan was in there, but there was only one
way to confirm his death.
downed half a bottle of vodka, trying to psych himself
up for the deed, then climbed down into the mass grave.
"Fucking hell", he muttered, one of Dan's
reached down to shift the first body, the stench was
so bad it made him retch, every fibre in his body telling
him to get away from this, from death. Some of the bodies
were half-burned, skin had turned to ashes, torn open
in the heat to reveal raw and half-cooked flesh underneath.
Piss and shit, and the stench of death, and Vadim's
stomach churned restlessly, until he climbed out again,
dizzy with exhaustion, and relieved himself of the vodka
and the bile, wound the rag around his head again, and
continued the search.
He checked their faces, whatever their bodies looked
like, even if they were only in pieces, even when they
had been shot trough the face, had been ripped apart
and were missing half the face or jaw. He needed to
the middle, there was a tall, bulky body, and Vadim
closed his eyes. No. Please, no. He climbed over to
him, treading into flesh and blood and guts and knelt
down beside that body, lying on his front, wearing one
of those rags, but blood-soaked, dried blood, native
clothes. Reached for the shoulder to turn him over,
and did, and at least the face was only covered in gore
and not mutilated. He didn't care any longer about whatever
warlord, whatever Mujahideen, just grabbed that body
and placed it over his shoulders, a heavy load, stumbled
forward, tied rope to Dan and pulled him out of the
was when the body twitched.
Mercy, at last. Gone. That face didn't speak to him
anymore. No more accusations of why and what and how
come he hadn't died, the only one, while all others
were rotting in heaps of mutilated corpses.
last. Free, no longer restricted. His accusers had left,
no more weight on his body. Floated. Taken. The Gods
had Mercy upon his Soul. Hell and purgatory. Guilt and
questions. Why hadn't he died, how dare he survive.
No longer. It was over. Thankful. No more eyes that
stared at him. No longer hands that were pulling, dragging.
Not anymore tied to legs and limbs, arms and heads that
were moving around himself in ever decreasing circles.
groaned with pain when Vadim put him down on the ground.
Free. Only the final questions to answer. Would there
be heaven or hell, and a god he'd never believed in.
checked Dan for wounds. Alive. Or dying? A wound in
the leg looked painful, but not life threatening. The
thing at his head was worse, though. He carried him
off into one of the less demolished houses, found water,
stripped him, cleaned up the blood and other mess. Working
silently. Hoped there were no Mujas close, no way he
could carry Dan in this state. Maybe after nightfall.
dribbled a little water between the other's lips, just
elated he was alive, but wary because he was in a bad
state. Out there. He didn't react much to words, to
being touched, even light slaps to the cheeks did exactly
nothing more than a blink, or a flutter of eyelashes.
Lips. Something touched Dan's lips and dribbled into
his mouth. No!
shrieked, eyes tore wide open, seeing nothing. Fighting.
Arms flailing. No, not this, no! He'd been granted reprieve
in death, no more of this, no more stench and drying
blood, no more shit and guts running into his mouth.
screaming, pressing his lips together, whole body convulsing.
No more, no more. No tendrils of putrid body-puss snaking
its way into his mind and taking his sanity. Eating
away with clouded eyes and open-mouthed grins, lips
torn away from teeth, black-swollen tongue stretched
out at him, trying to kiss. To taste. To take.
pulled back, too surprised to restrain Dan. Fuck. That
looked like shock. Or worse. Madness. They didn't move
like that in shock, did they?
left him in peace, hoped the other would calm, and he
did, probably from exhaustion more than any real calm.
to get out of here. Couldn't risk the whole night. No
began to scout, found a cave up in the rocks, might
have served this village well at some point in time,
but no sign of it having been used recently. Trekked
up there twice, once with his gear and Dan's kit, another
time with Dan's naked body wrapped in a blanket slung
across his shoulders. He rested, made a fire, shielded
it, then trekked down one final time to bring as much
water as he could, because he just didn't want to risk
being seen. Not even in a forsaken valley like this.
was shaking. Eyes closed. Unaware of being moved, yet
aware of the motion.
me die'. Mouthed. No voice, no sound.
all over, refused to open his eyes. No more skull-stares
and flesh-rotten greetings from the ones who'd died
me die." Whispered. "Sorry." Repeated.
"So sorry." Lips moving again and again. So
sorry, so sorry, so sorry, forgive me, don't stare at
me, don't talk to me, don't touch me, don't feed me.
Not your putrefied flesh in my mouth, nor your rotting
stench in my nostrils.
stared at him, shook his head and returned to the cave
mouth. Dan had lost it, lost it completely. He knew
nothing about how to deal with this, didn't even know
exactly what it was, dreaded to know.
just couldn't put a gun to the other's temple and pull
the trigger. Too much they'd done, and too much he still
wanted to do. The man meant too much. Simply did. But
he needed a solution to the problem, and he was pretty
sure stroking his forehead and telling him all would
be good wouldn't do.
rolled Dan over on a blanket and insulation, covered
him with another blanket, looked into the face and felt
a forlorn pain that was unbearable after the hope. What
to do? He rested next to him, hoping for a miracle,
then let his hands run over that smooth, powerful back,
trying to take a little of the tension out, nervous
that would trigger another of those reactions, dug in
the pack for Vaseline, and began to massage, knead the
muscles, trying to make the other aware, aware of himself,
and aware he was alive. And that that wasn't the worst
place to be.
shuddered. Touched. Moved again. Couldn't understand
how his body could feel the imprint of hands, why the
stench was replaced with another smell. Were they pulling
at him? Trying to get him to join them in the mass grave,
trapped between bodies upon bodies. But he could move.
Arms twitched. Lost.
worked like the masseur had worked, starting on the
lower back, moving up, tackling the tension that just
didn't subside, went carefully ahead, tried to get the
muscles to relax, murmured under his breath much like
Dima did when working on a dying man, and shook his
head, discarding that thought at once. Dan was alright.
He needed rest, that was all.
continued. Dan felt those hands, touching, not pulling.
Couldn't understand. Wanted to scream, let out a pained
moan instead. Where, what and why wouldn't they let
him die. Trying to open his eyes, shadows and shades,
movements, something above him. Someone? He cried out,
tried to sit upright, fought against the hands once
more. A demon. Out to get him, a tall, broad-shouldered
beast, and he was about to scream, unseeing eyes wide
open, when the red firelight shifted, fell onto hair.
Memories. Eyes, pale. Remembered.
are you." Whispered, slumped, then focussed. That
man. No demon. A glimmer of recognition in his eyes
before he fell back onto the blankets.
said Vadim, meeting the wide-eyed gaze, hands still
on the shuddering body. "It's me. You're
alive." Worked down over the buttocks, felt the
tension under his fingers, wanted nothing but to dig
into that body, claws, teeth, tongue, take the terror
do it after a shit day at the office, when he's out
there and nothing else can reach the bastard.
day at the office indeed. Amidst this insanity, that
made perfect sense.
lay prone. Shuddering, trembling as if cold was wrecking
his body. "Vadim." Whispered. Who are you
- who am I. Alive, dead?
moving towards the hand, seeking protection from the
shadows. Nameless terror, but he'd be safe under the
wings of the broad shouldered demon. Remembered the
hair. That name. Recognition of something deep, profound,
reaching on a level where conscious thoughts did not
me." Big words - small voice.
hand scooped more Vaseline out of the tub, warmed it
between his fingers, rubbed it between Dan's ass cheeks,
one hand splayed between the other's shoulder blades,
to calm, and soothe, and keep him down, just in case
he began lashing out again. "Trust me", he
said, and meant it, and hoped he would. "I'm here."
want me." Dan whispered, tried to scoot closer
but the hand between his shoulder blades kept him down.
Stilled. Easier to stay in this place, beneath the demon's
wings, and the strangely familiar touch. "They're
waiting for me. They kept talking to me with their rotting
faces. Want me." Dan trailed off, wrecked by a
have to fight me for you." Vadim didn't believe
in hell, damnation, or gods. Only knew Muslims thought
they went straight to Allah, whatever happened. Nothing
could keep them away from their god. Dan - was a different
matter. He needed something, and Vadim remembered Mark's
moment of complete awareness, of trust, of longing,
deeper and more powerful than anything else he had thought
possible. He pushed away thoughts of his own lust, he
didn't want to take advantage, all he wanted to do was
bring Dan back into his own body.
ring, resistance, but yielding, warm, living flesh.
Vadim knelt between Dan's legs, kept them open with
his own legs, pushing a finger into the body, easing
it in, the other hand on his lower back, the man, sprawled,
nothing but strength, even now, strength that was confused
and had no focus, off kilter, no will that held him
Suddenly something in Dan that forced him to focus.
Something his body felt. Somewhere. A centre, sensations,
inside of him, but tiny. Insignificant, yet there. Tried
to focus, feel, but his mind flittered away again. Murmured
sounds and words with no meaning. Brought back for another
second to that something inside, this point in his body
that made more sense than anything else.
stilled for a moment, seemed to gather his thoughts,
before his mind was lost again.
leaned in to check whether Dan's breathing had changed,
he thought he'd heard something, then proceeded, pulled
the finger out, Dan was nicely slicked up now, and entered
him with two fingers, thumb rubbing against the ring,
feeling it relax slightly, listening into the other's
body for any sign of panic, murmuring softly in Russian,
about trust and about being there, then joined a third
finger to the two inside.
felt that focus again. More now. Back again and moving,
centring. Never leaving him alone, and he started to
pool all of his thoughts towards that one point. Nothing
else mattered. Just the protection from the shadows
and that focus. Inside his body. Safe.
shivered, minute movement of his hips as if getting
closer to that thing inside of him. Dan murmured nonsense,
about shadows, death, life and guilt. About killing
and murder, duties and genocide. About corpses and bodies,
lust and living.
body responded, finally did. Vadim ran his free hand
down Dan's flanks, down the powerful back, leaned in
to make contact with his body, not restricting, not
crushing, more a touch of body against body as his fingers
stayed exactly there, firm, but gentle, not forcing,
waiting for the other's body to yield, movements minute
as he joined a fourth finger, amazed at the flesh that
allowed this. He'd seen it, no doubt it was possible,
but Mark certainly had a lot more practice. Listened
to the body speak, the shift of breathing, the shudder
running through that strong back, the flowing and subsiding,
tensing of the legs, bare toes stretched as if Dan was
trying to push something away.
felt alive. One in that single point that made sense.
The intrusion that was part of himself. His mind curling
around that focus, unable to notice anything but the
sensation inside him. Stretching, asking. Felt as if
his demon demanded. What? That pressure point kept increasing
in intensity. Demanding him to focus? Live?
breath evened out. No more shallow desperation; no more
air being pulled into burning lungs that remained filled
with the putrid stench of rotting corpses. Breathing
instead like a dragging of wings. Birds. Slow and steady,
circling above the mountains, focussed on nothing but
their prey. Like his body. Centred in the intrusion,
the demand to live and to accept - to yield.
moaned continuously. Didn't realise it was his own body,
crying out quietly as it opened up. Accepted.
reached for the Vaseline, pulled back a little, added
more of the stuff, fingers close together, trying to
make this easy on Dan, but could feel him respond, slowly
return, maybe. It sure as fuck would override anything
else. Shit day at the office, rotting bodies. Fear of
dying. Even a fucking death wish. He felt his shoulder
tense from the control, from the work to keep the pressure
up, slowly moving his hand back and in again, not fucking,
not truly, he wasn't quite sure there was a word for
it, just a different way of touching, even if his body
thought it was about sex. How could he not desire Dan,
open like he was now, and how could he, in that fucked
up state that he was.
can only do this if you are not only in control of him,
but yourself. A man who's out of control can be restrained,
but you need to do this without the comfort of the rope.
If you can't, you're not able to do this. And you'll
never understand what it actually means. You think it's
about power? That's like saying living is about driving
was lost, yet caught. Didn't have to think, not required
to act. Wasn't needed nor wanted, just allowed to feel.
To be, not do. Felt nothing but that something inside
himself, more and more, growing with intensity and slow-tender
yet relentless demand. Further, more, opening wider,
accepting, his body growing accustomed to the intrusion
until that intense focus became part of him. The part
that wanted to be alive, that refused to listen to dead
eyes and bleeding mouths.
had no idea what he was doing. His body merely reacting.
Moaning, whimpering, sounds he'd never allowed himself.
Small cries, needy groans he'd have berated himself
for. Didn't matter. Nothing did, just that powerful
sensation. Body and mind focused, hips moved on their
own accord, backwards, further, moving and shifting,
legs opening further, as far as they could, until he
was on his knees, face on the ground. Following the
demand inside his body.
listened, and Dan's sounds were driving him insane.
He would have liked nothing more than drive himself
into that shuddering, sweating, gleaming body that seemed
so hot to the touch now, claim him completely, and pulled
his lips from his teeth. Control just as fierce as need.
Kept thinking of the intricate dance between Mark and
Darren, the less Darren actually took for himself, the
more Mark gave, begged, the more Mark was his - and
wasn't that a mystery that needed exploring? Forcing
his fingers apart, sweat trickling from his forehead
with denial and concentration, he put the fifth finger
between them, and moved in again, the row of knuckles
the main problem, and how to do it but just try and
go ahead. It took forever, and part of him hoped he
wouldn't have to go that far, didn't have to go to the
limit, because his hard-on was already torture.
sobbed, let go of everything. Abandoned. Thoughts, pain,
fear and madness. Pushing backwards in a slow continuous
movement. Elegant, the way his body moved on its own,
taking in that hand, accepting the fingers and moving
steadily in the flow. Mindless, on instinct.
and sweating, trembling, he moaned and whimpered, lost
in base desire and deepest need, no notion of what he
should or could do, just a body that was nothing but
centred sensations; a body that reacted at last. Pulled
away from death and decay, Dan's cock giving proof of
life, almost flat against the stomach, foreskin retreating
and dark purple head glistening with precum with every
further breach of that hand through yielding muscle,
deeper into his body.
muttered tender insults, curses, his hand engulfed in
that powerful heat, muscles closing his hand to form
a fist, and he moved to kiss Dan's back, lick the sweat
from it, while offering resistance to the body that
moved on instinct, the smallest motions, moving inside,
against Dan in ways that surprised and amazed him, opening
and closing that fist against the resistance.
pressed his head against the ground, arms wide as if
spread-eagled, crucified by that fist inside his body
and the unbearable intensity, yet he was craving forever
more. Muscles in his body tensing-relaxing, one second
steel hardened ropes, the other as loose as the tears
flooding down his face. Unaware of any of his physical
reaction, just one large surface of skin and feeling.
fists surreptitiously opened and clenched, as far stretched
out from his body as possible, while his back arched
to push his arse higher. Breathing fast now, yet deep,
drawing air into his lungs. Alive, and he cried out
for more. Senseless, pushing backwards, driving himself
onto the fist that owned him. Took him, possessed him
and allowed him to live in return.
noticed the raging need and reached around Dan's body,
his own need killing him now, seeing Dan like this,
hell, yes, just like Mark, Dan, who was so fierce about
it, about his body, about the rape and just the thought
of doing anything like this to him. Nothing like it,
now, and not the cheap whore thing that Gavriil had
done. Took the heavy cock and pumped it, slow, intense,
hand also slicked up with the Vaseline, small movements
inside, leisure strokes on the cock, he, himself, groaning
with need, but unable to do anything about it but rub
himself against the tensed leg, like a dog, whatever.
came within seconds, no more than a few strokes, and
he crashed like never before in his life. His voice
echoed across the mountains, swallowed by the rocks
and the cold of the night as he screamed, losing himself.
Thrashing, his whole body shuddering, flailing. Choking
on tears and sounds, too much sensation. Intensity scalding,
drilling into his core and bursting out with insane
explosions of energy, pain, and life. Alive. So fucking
alive that very moment, he had no name, no past, no
future, and all he was, was a body, cumming, and nearly
killing itself with its might.
collapsed. Out of his mind, but in his body. Trembling
pulled free when Dan lost it, another thing he'd learnt
that strange night in London. Slowly, but firmly, his
own need didn't matter, he didn't manage to get there,
it didn't matter, not right now. Wiped his hands on
the ever-present, ever useful rag, moved Dan away from
the wet patch, shifted his weight for him because Dan
didn't have enough control or focus now, judged by the
way his body went slack, but in a good way.
covered Dan with a blanket, to keep the heat inside,
then stood and walked off towards the mouth of the cave,
checking if they had attracted any attention. Realised
it must have taken hours, dawn was already approaching.
Took a moment to finish himself off, thinking of Dan,
naked, in this cave, fully his, and yielding, begging,
asking for more, begging for his cock; willed his hand
to be Dan's throat, lips, forced himself to feel the
heated breath against his groin, then, more violent,
breaching that body, doing with his cock what his hand
had done, ah, deeper, stronger, more powerful, and Dan
pushing back, moaning and groaning and cumming. Vadim
bit a curse down when he did, again wiped his hands,
put the uniform in order.
returned to share warmth, and nothing more.
Darkness. No dreams, no voices nor rotting faces, no
dead and torn limbs holding him down. Dan's sleep was
Waking. He wasn't sure if the darkness was inside him,
behind or before his eyes, but he felt warmth and a
touch, a close presence. Felt sore, too, a strange pain,
but all he remembered was this focus, this something
that had turned his body and mind into utter abandon,
but what this 'something' was, he didn't know. Knew
nothing, barely his own name, just the source of heat
in his back, the ache deep inside, and the feeling as
if this 'something' was still inside of him, still protecting,
Dan scrambled more than moved with any coherence, turned
and rolled over onto the other side, curled up in a
foetal position and burrowing into the heat. Closer.
As close as he could, the memory of light, fire, and
was awake, felt Dan's breath against his chest, shifted
his legs to allow him to lie as close, and pushed a
fold of the blanket back to make sure Dan was fully
covered. Dan. Always him. Always, and again and again.
This time, the Brit hadn't even been there for his desire,
was just a comrade, on a deeper, more fundamental level
than Dima, Sershka, or Alyosha. Stronger than Platon,
even though he sometimes missed the courageous little
conscript. He did the numbers. Yes, indeed. Platon,
had he lived, would now be home in Russia, with his
girlfriend, if she had still wanted him back.
ran his fingers through Dan's hair, carefully, checking
that wound that had freaked him the first time he'd
checked on it. The swelling was profound, the skin broken
and discoloured. Something had hit him there with plenty
of force. Had to hurt like a motherfucker.
twitched, his head jerking, moaned at a pain that was
somewhere other than inside his body. Moved his head,
craned his neck, so close to the other's body, the heat
was everywhere. "Don't let them take me."
gave a smile. "They're all dead, Dan. You're alive."
And thank whatever force for that. Blind chance. Destiny.
The odd pattern of physics, too complex to calculate,
but still a pattern which, sometimes, made things look
wasn't awake, wasn't quite there yet. Moved his
head again to nuzzle his face into the other's chest.
His head hurt, while turning his hands that had been
curled into fists. Palms out and against the other.
need to check on your leg."
just grunted something, no understanding what those
words meant. Vadim had cleaned and bandaged the wound
yesterday, but feared that last night's exertions might
have been not exactly what that leg needed. Felt oddly
guilty, but at least he'd fulfilled the objective. Dan
was no longer fighting and screaming his head off.
shifted, making sure Dan didn't lose too much heat,
and gave that wound a check-up, while Dan lay perfectly
still, curled up and into himself. Letting himself be
handled like a puppet. It looked like a flesh wound,
the bullet had passed through, without doing any damage
to bones. Would hurt, hurt plenty, but not incapacitate.
Vadim bandaged it all up again, with dressings that
he'd salvaged from a turkey and given to Dima, and Dima
had shared his stock with him as well. Something to
the end of it being too damn convenient if he died of
gangrene. Dima was alright.
eyes remained closed, just breathing, was easier. Started
to hurt like a motherfucker, head trying to explode
from within, hammering against his skull, and his leg
was on fire. Concentrated on another pain, that ache
deep inside him, the soreness that was unfamiliar and
kept reminding him of his sanity and saviour.
dug into his thigh pocket and found the antibiotics,
also from a turkey. Thank you, bitches, thought Vadim
and offered the pills to Dan, reaching behind himself
for the canteen. "Take these."
opened his eyes, looked uncomprehending at the other's
hand. Dark, dark eyes, big, deep, just staring. Trying
to get his head around what he had been asked to do.
White things. Pills. Tablets. Take.
made sense. "Blowjob?"
right now. Antibiotics. Gangrene's
a bitch, and that
" mass grave, "place
I found you wasn't exactly clean. Come on." Opened
the lips with his fingers, gentle, manoeuvred the pills
onto the tongue, and offered the canteen, placing it
against Dan's lips and Dan swallowed. Lips Vadim had
seen so often getting him off, lips that could just
as easily sneer. Lips he'd kissed exactly once, and
that mainly to muffle a scream and because no other
touch would do. And what exactly could Dan do to fend
him off? Nothing. He leaned in to touch Dan's lips with
his, felt the touch like a tingle, knew he should be
pulling back, but pressed in closer, licked those lips,
could taste the water on them and the dust and the misery
and thought how very fucking fitting, the touch warm,
no teeth now, no sneering. Shit. He wanted him, wanted
him badly even in this state.
responded immediately. Lips seeking, hands palming at
the other's chest, wanting that touch, warmth, this
softness. Something deep and tender, connecting straight
through his centre, with the remaining sensations inside
himself. Body and mind being one.
pulled away. "I
need to scout the area.
I should be back shortly." Just a few hours. Allow
the other to rest.
Dan's voice was low, but his hands scrabbling for the
other. Bereft, alone. "Don't leave me."
covered Dan's hands with his and pressed them against
his chest. "I won't leave. I'm here. Sleep, Dan.
Rest." A bold-faced lie, he really needed to do
some scouting, couldn't have anybody walk in on them,
not his side, not the other, nobody.
wedged the open canteen between the bergans, checked
his daypack and took the rifle, checked again on Dan,
who had drifted off to sleep before he could realise
Vadim was leaving.
Rest that his body and mind sorely needed. Dan slept
for hours, the meds doing their job, his body in pain
but his mind too exhausted to notice.
went back to the settlement; the mass grave clearly
marked with a cloud of buzzing flies, and, most of all,
the stench. He covered his face and did recce, thinking
of Dan who waited up there in that mountain, but needed
to take his time to be completely sure.
patience was rewarded when he found a body that had
crawled away - tried to flee despite the wounds. The
man was panting, soaked in blood, fingers turned into
claws. Vadim turned him around, checked the face. To
him, they all looked the same, beards, hawk noses, bony
features, he was pretty sure he recognized the structure
of the other's teeth from the photo. The man was delirious
with pain and exhaustion. He'd been responsible for
killing Soviet prisoners of war, had organized and plotted,
and fought, and was now just dying flesh in the sun.
Vadim had no time to take prisoners, didn't want to
burden himself with yet another, and was pretty sure
he was dying anyway.
your peace with Allah", he muttered and pulled
the pistol. He was exhausted, didn't relish this the
way he would have, like the country, the years of war
had sapped his enthusiasm for it. He didn't even hate
the man anymore. All he really wanted to do was go back
to Dan and make sure he was alright and would survive.
pressed the muzzle under the man's jaw, made sure it
was aligned to send the bullet straight up into the
skull, then squeezed the trigger, and holstered the
gun in the next moment. He stood, checked whether the
shot had drawn any attention, but nothing.
was far away enough from the cave. They were safe. Stolen
time, yet again.
Vadim returned Dan had moved to the other side again,
less pressure on the leg, and was curled up within the
blankets, the canteen empty. Without waking, he had
drunk the water, on instinct, then fallen back to sleep.
Deep, regular breathing, unruly hair sticking out of
the blankets and into his face. Not even twitching,
nothing, just breathing.
washed himself, then joined Dan on the blanket, moving
his arms around the other, head to his shoulder, cradling
the back of his head, one leg over his to pull him closer.
He'd long lost any idea what this man was to him, only
knew he had no words for it, no concept, lover didn't
quite fit it, even if it was technically true, comrade
wrong allegiance. And they weren't friends. He
knew at least that much. "Rest up", he muttered
in Russian, and, mostly to keep himself awake, talked.
Talked about Moscow, about the neighbours there, then
remembered a story he had liked. The Firebird. He couldn't
tell a good story to save his life, but he had read
that story to Anoushka back home.
was listening to the sound of that voice long before
he realised he was waking. Began to make sense of words,
sentences, the language that had become a second home
to him. English. Russian. He almost felt more at home
in the latter.
returning into his body, and with it came pain. His
head was pounding and his leg was in agony. But there
was warmth, and closeness, arms that should feel restrictive
but instead felt right. There. Around him and on him,
close to him, and he lay still. Listening to the voice
and tales of folklore and stories, while trying to make
sense of the sensations in his body.
blood, death and decay, horror. A shot, his leg, then
something against his head. Pain, injuries. After that?
Nothing. Shadowy figures and movements, then tears and
terror, but something there to protect and focus, keeping
the horror away. Rotten stench and putrefied bodies,
the memory pushed away, not allowed back at the surface.
Could feel a sensation inside his body he'd never felt
before. Stretched. Entered. Taken and used and oh so
filled and centred and one with something
just didn't know what.
awake, Dan was slowly trying to make sense of it all,
checking his body and mind, seemed he had lost many
hours. "My arse hurts." Astonished at the
sound of his own voice, the croaked words of a stranger.
placed a kiss on that forehead, much like he would kiss
Anoushka, and nodded. "Yes." How to explain
what he'd done? Better not. "Needed to
No delicate way of putting it. "Uhm. Give you focus."
He winced. That sounded bad.
Dan cleared his throat, parched. Dreaded to move his
head, pounding away with a jackhammer inside. "Don't
understand." Thoughts already flittering forward.
Couldn't quite hold onto anything. Too much effort.
his eyes, he looked at Vadim. It took him a moment to
cut through the blurry picture, before he made out pale
eyes, sharp-featured face, shaved blond hair. Dan smiled.
Childlike. For just this moment. "What happened?"
Murmured. Why are you here, why do I hurt, how did I
survive, and what are those hours that I have lost.
were under the boot of the Red Army when it came down",
said Vadim. Easier to speak Russian now. "It nearly
crushed you. I was tasked to find a rebel leader, and
found you amidst
the ruins." Vadim reached
to the side and offered the canteen again. "You
were in shock. I waited for you to return. I think it
was shock, you were far gone." Vadim's jaw muscles
tightened. "Something hit you in the head, another
shot in the leg. Dehydrated, but nothing serious."
remember death." Dan shuddered, reached for the
refilled canteen, drank in deep gulps. Finished and
wiped his lips on the other's uniform. Every movement
hurt his head. "Remember stench. Couldn't move."
Handing the canteen back, Dan suddenly tensed. "I
was buried alive." Shook
his head, fuck the pain that caused. "No, don't
want to remember." Closed his eyes instead.
ran his fingers down Dan's face, careful to not touch
the wound. "Rest. Just the usual stuff. Just war,
Dan." Maybe I'll tell you one day, but not now.
It made me fucking throw up, and you were in there,
what? A day? Two? Fucked up? "You are safe, for
the moment. I need to leave in maybe two days, three
when I'm stretching it." And I will, of course.
Stretch my luck again, just to make sure you're alright.
Worse than friendship could hurt.
kept his eyes closed, smiled again. Was much easier
to simply listen to the voice, feel the touch, and refuse
to remember. Could feel the lead descending onto his
limbs, taking his mind back down into sleep. "Got
food?" Too tired to eat, yet his body was hungry.
Didn't wait for an answer, already dropping off within
murmured Vadim and felt the insane impulse to make Dan
eat Russian food, as if he could just invite him after
a cold winter day into the apartment and feed him with
a stew that had been boiling away for hours and hours,
and keep pouring him tea, and show him food that he
probably didn't know. Nothing like the rations that
he did have and despised, or the nuts and dried fruits
that he kept because they kept him going in the mountains,
far better than the rations managed. No, a long, relaxed
dinner with friends, with vodka, and courses upon courses,
saved for for weeks, if not months, only to have one
delusional", he muttered. "What's going on
in your stupid head, Vadim", he cursed softly.
It was wrong, wanting that, wrong trying to share these
things, or even feeling the impulse to. Not in the middle
of a war.
Dan was asleep already, his face smoothing and his breath
evening out. Just a man, not an enemy. Wounded, tired
and hurting. Sheltered by another.
only left his side to piss, or prepare tea, or check
the surroundings for any sign of Mujahideen activity,
but nothing he could spot, and he didn't venture far
from the cave. At the moment, they were both living
off his rations - and the food in Dan's bergan, and
all Vadim did was make sure Dan had all the rest he
needed. Taking a strange pleasure from Dan lying close
and needing his help, his care, and even his protection.
It was like repaying him, and it was also like owning
him on some level. Which was probably not the nicest
thought, but it was this sense of belonging that Vadim
had no idea what time of day or night it was, nor how
long he had slept, when he woke once more. Had neither
a clue where he was, what had happened, and why the
fuck he was hurting. For a moment, while waking, he
couldn't even fathom out why he was warm on one side,
and why there was something heavy across his body. Moving,
sluggishly, until his leg protested and he hissed.
opened his eyes when something pulled the blanket off
his shoulder, and it registered with him. He looked
at Dan in the near-darkness. "You alright?"
That was easy. Identifying the major feeling in his
body. "Thirsty?" Number two was getting a
bit more complicated, and he was having a hard time
trying to figure out the rest. "Head hurts."
Like a motherfucker, but at least less than before.
" remembered that one, made sense,
and he shifted again, stilled, moved his head, ever
so slowly. Looked up, trying to make out the shape close
to him. "Arse?" Had already forgotten he'd
gave a low chuckle and reached for the canteen, opened
it and held it to Dan's lips, digging for dried fruit
when Dan had taken a few mouthfuls of water. Slipped
small pieces between Dan's lips, allowing him plenty
of time to chew and swallow, and offered water afterwards.
"The leg looks alright. You'll enjoy that for a
his time to swallow and chew, then drink some water,
Dan was starting to feel more human, yet didn't realise
that being hand-fed wasn't quite what special forces
guys did. The liquid and fruit sugar seemed to help
with his head. He groaned as he tried to stretch, very
carefully, at least he had his limbs under control.
Some sort of progress.
Dan tried to prop himself up on his elbow. Feeling every
bone in his body from lying down too long. Frowned.
"Remember stuff I don't want to remember."
Wiped his lips with the back of his hand, equally slowly,
looked questioningly into Vadim's face. "Remember
bits of something else. Vague. Hazy. Something inside
me? Some kind of focus?" Frowned again, lost, seemed
his brain was playing dirty tricks.
nodded. "Yes. Something inside you. But it's not
what you might think." Shit, that sounded wrong,
and maybe guilty, too, only it was the pure, unadulterated
truth. "Some kind of massage. Needed to
ah, get you to relax. It worked."
blinked slowly, rubbing his hand over his face. Eye
to eye with the other. Occasionally struggling to keep
his gaze focussed, but at least he was starting to believe
this mind wasn't going insane. "Massage inside?"
His flummoxed, almost childlike expression seemed comical.
yes." Shit, like Vadim had taken advantage
of a seriously disturbed man. Somebody in his care.
understand." Dan was rubbing his nose, "You
said it worked. Will I feel better if you did it again?
Still fuzzy. Head's weird. I was out, aye?"
and gone. Looked like shock to me. Or something close
to that, anyway. Shell shock? Dima would know, he's
nodded slowly, said nothing for a while.
it again. Oh yes. Why not. The memory of Dan's sounds
and movements tensed Vadim's stomach, in a good way.
Different from that other memory of yielding. Lusting
after Dan, any way he could have him, even if it meant
this, and not the other thing. He shuddered at the thought.
"First time I did that. No idea. No experience.
just trying out something I've seen once."
did you see that massage?" Dan yawned, stretching
again, every movement slow, deliberate. Unaware of being
naked. Burrowed into blankets and sleeping bag, and
the heat of the other's body.
was really no answer to it. Some things Dan was not
supposed to know. Like travelling to London to kill
people. "Uhm. Some guy's place. Did it on
been to other soldiers' places who massaged each other?"
Dan's dark eyes grew wide, something wasn't right there,
but couldn't put his finger onto the whole thing.
why does my arse still ache? Not bad, just weird. Strange
massage." He smiled, a trusting smile. Dan McFadyen,
SAS, was right now Dan. Just Dan, no more. Mind still
strictly something a masseur would do." No, yours
never got that far inside. Just a couple fingers. "Normal
masseurs, I mean." Hoped Dan would just stop asking.
what kind of not normal masseur was that, then?"
Dan was shuffling even closer, while Vadim won time,
the heat from the other's body welcome. "But if
it's good, and I think it was good, you think you can
do it again?"
yes, I could, but I think a
traditional massage might be better at this stage."
What's wrong with the special one? Or does that ache
come from you sticking stuff up my arse?"
He'd been honest about worse things. Vadim inhaled deeply,
felt his body tense, expecting a punch, or anything
really. "Yes. But not what you think."
easy simpleton smile froze. That
very bad. Yes? Yes. Had to be. Remembered ... nothing
right now, just a vague recollection of something very
bad and very dark and very painful, but it seemed too
far away and disconnected, he felt as if that Bad Thing
had happened to someone else.
do I think?" He frowned, lost.
fuck you." But I want to, always
wanted to, and right now fucking want to. "Might
feel like I did but I didn't." Apologising for
something he'd never done. Felt guilty even for apologizing,
for trying to not think about it. Shit. Dan had sworn
to kill him if he ever did. He remembered well.
," Dan's dark brows drew together
with concentration, "
Memory like bright sparks flashing across the surface
of his hurting brain. "Good memory." He smiled
again, guileless, slowly images were coming together,
one after the other.
just barely breathed. Oh yes. Very good memory. It increased
the tension in his body, up a couple notches. Shit.
He wanted Dan. Wanted that body, wanted to feel him
squirm with need.
fucking me, that's a bad thing?" Again this intense
concentration. "I don't remember. Just something
forbidden. Long ago." Dan paused, "Is fucking
me not a good thing? Unlike me fucking you?"
a very good thing", said Vadim, voice strained.
I liked a lot." Hand reaching
out to run over Dan's back, tracing the spine beneath
the flesh, rested in the hollow above the ass. "I'd
kill to have you."
moved with the hand, like a slow-coiling snake, until
he froze again, some memory triggered that he couldn't
quite fathom. "Kill
" Thinking. Memory
came back with each hour, mind getting clearer, but
too many puzzle pieces still missing.
of speech. I'd do anything to have you." Vadim
inched closer, making more contact, lips touching Dan's
Dan moved his head enough to rub his face against the
for something Vadim knew he couldn't have, and still
wanting it. On the off chance that a beaten up, shell
shocked and wounded man wouldn't resist. Fuck you, Vadim,
you're an utter bastard.
done it before? Is just that I can't remember right
now." Eyes dark, Dan's gaze was innocent. "You
fucked me before?"
winced. "I did." Now, what? Admitting to something
that was forgotten for a couple blissful hours? Ruining
the chance for a repetition with the word 'rape'? "You
didn't like it." Understatement of the war,
in a war full of understatements. Growing trees. Rape
is just bad sex, is it, Vadim? Violence just impatience?
"I hurt you." I wanted to kill you. He shook
his head and pulled back, body protesting the distance.
"You should rest."
Dan frowned again, couldn't remember, impossible. Nothing
except those long-ago shadows, something dark and awful,
profoundly nasty, and deeply terrifying. Yet it didn't
make any sense. The feeling of being close to that man,
of being taken care of by the Russian, and that disturbing,
truly unpleasant memory of yore, those didn't go together.
tired, though." No, but Dan could feel himself
drifting off yet again when the blankets were tugged
around him and the fruit and water were kicking into
his system. The warmth of the other's body and that
all encompassing sensation of belonging. It was good.
It was right. He was alive and would be taken care of.
fell asleep again before he could protest once more,
his brain resting, healing. Memories and mind returning
while he slept deeply and undisturbed.
Dan woke again, he was alone. Couldn't feel the heat
anymore that had been enveloping his sleep and guarding
his mind. He felt different when surfacing, strange.
The hazy cloud that had kept his memories at bay had
dissipated, and there were flashes of images that made
his mind reel and his body jerk. Breathing, concentrating
on drawing air into his lungs and expelling the warmed
breath through his nose, he started to check his body.
Functional. Sore. Leg hurting, head in drilling/pounding
quite remember, just fuzzy sensations, things that had
kept him sane in the midst of insanity, and the feeling
of being held, tethered, kept from falling into the
chasm of madness. Death, horror, and the invasion of
opened his eyes before moving, peering across the cave.
sat near the fire, idly toying with pieces of wood,
pushing them into the centre, taking one of the sticks
and lifting it in front of his face, gazing into the
glow, fascinated by the way fire moved and softly hissed,
how the wood made the faintest sounds. He glanced over
at Dan, back at the stick for a second, then dropped
it into the flames. "Tea?"
tried to answer, but his voice wouldn't let him. Croaked
out a sound, cleared his throat. "Aye." Sitting
up, he almost fell over with dizziness. "How
long have I been here?" Holding his head while
closing his eyes against the nausea and the pounding
ache. Got a lot better when he didn't move.
thirty hours." Vadim poured tea, stirred it, and
came over, sitting down next to Dan and placing a hand
on his chest.
Thirty hours. Holy fuck. A lot more than he had imagined.
Had no real recollection of what had happened, just
increasingly clear ideas of what had taken place ever
since those dead eyes
. No. Felt the hand on his
chest, stopped moving for a while, until the pounding
in his head subsided to a dull ache.
easy. You're banged up pretty good." Vadim waited,
patiently, as the mug in his hand steamed, then pushed
an arm under Dan's shoulders and lifted his upper body
enough to push the bergan underneath for support. "Plenty
of food and water. No enemies."
Lifting his eyes but not his head, Dan's gaze was a
lot deeper and more serious than it had ever been. Just
studying the other for a while. Silent, before taking
the tea and warming his hands. Vadim returned that gaze,
clear light blue eyes darker as they were turned away
from the fire.
getting my memories back." Stating a dry fact while
still watching, Dan took a first sip of the tea. The
stuff tasted like manna from heaven, not that he had
a fucking clue what manna would taste like.
glanced to the side, the only indication that he felt
guilty. The rape was back. What he had done was back,
everything was back, and there would be questions. Of
course there would. "That's good."
was pretty much out, huh?"
shock does that. Can make soldiers completely deaf and
blind. Vegetables." Vadim shook his head. "Guess
you should go on R&R for a while. See if something's
broken. Get healed up." But the thought of Dan
going back home was painful. Shit. What if there was
something broken? Dan could just as well have turned
into a raving lunatic. The human mind was pretty resilient,
but sometimes it could be very fragile - with no reason
why some people broke and some didn't. A mystery.
another sip, Dan felt like laughing for no reason. The
taste of tea brought to his mind the way every goddamned
Brit seemed to cling to that fucking proverbial bit
of bloody national beverage. Nothing a fucking sip of
fucking tea couldn't cure.
didn't fuck me."
shook his head. "I didn't." I wanted, but
I didn't. It would have been raping a corpse. Or a child.
Not that far down yet.
nodded slowly, not to get that damned pounding going
in his battered head again. "You could have. That's
what you wanted."
glanced up, then looked to the side again. "Guess
I learnt my lesson." Shit. What lesson? What fucking
lesson? Had he been trained like a dog, threatened and
beaten often enough? Scared often enough? Fuck me and
I'll kill you. An end to their twisted game, an end
to everything that was sane in an insane place, or the
other way round, insane in a sane place, no idea. Thoughts
racing. Wanting the man too much to have it end like
that. It wasn't worth the price. No longer.
Dan's slow, deliberate nod, even though he wasn't quite
sure if he actually understood what Vadim had said.
Didn't matter, he might understand the Russkie one day,
or perhaps he already did, just taking his time to move
from subconscious to conscious.
Simple as that, sipping his tea. "That's fucking
nodded, then, at the strangeness of it, flashed a smile.
"You're welcome. Just
don't do this too
often. Might get second thought." Or third, or
..." drawing out the vowel, Dan placed the mug
onto his lap, cradling it in his hand while just looking.
Dark eyes and steady gaze. Studying, watching.
that other thing?"
arse is still sore." Dan felt his fingertips, each
touching its opposite, heated on the mug.
shit. Back to the interrogation chamber. "Should
pass. Just rest." Vadim tried to make it sound
normal, because explaining it would possibly not be
good. I just fucked you with my hand. No big deal. As
long as it wasn't my cock
ignored Vadim's reply, ploughed on instead. "I
remember you kept me from going insane. Somehow."
Lifted the mug, the last sip was lukewarm. "Shellshock.
All that crap." Watching, always just looking.
"It was good." Mug dropped back in his lap,
empty now. "What did you do." Permission.
inhaled. No delicate way of putting it. Darren had called
it something, but the word didn't actually fit, didn't
actually work. Sounded too much like punching, like
violence, when it really wasn't. "Massage. I
used my hand." Small pause, just a beat. "All
fuck." Dan inhaled sharply, hadn't forgotten his
threat. I'll fucking kill you if you ever try to
shove your cock up my arse again. Don't make the mistake
to think I don't mean it. Don't ever.
wonder my arse is sore." Felt a strange sensation
of hilarity, bubbling right up from his core. He'd had
a fist up his arse. That fist. And that fist
wasn't a delicate little flowery girl's one. "A
cock seems to be dinky compared to that." Looked
pointedly at Vadim's hand, twisting the empty mug slowly
in his lap.
looked at his hand, too, shook his head. He had no idea
what 'dinky' meant, but he could guess. Something small
and pleasant. When it really wasn't. "It
took a while." As if that was an excuse. Or an
Can imagine." Dan's voice as dry as his words.
"Should probably kick your arse for that, but whatever
I do remember, was good. Strange. Freaked, really. Fucked-up
good." Placing the mug beside himself, he dared
to move slowly. Pleased to find his head complying with
the careful movements.
that you're in any state to kick my ass, right now,
thought Vadim, but kept silent. Wouldn't do to rile
him. "Well, yeah. You
reacted. Came back."
the fuck did you get the idea from?"
somebody did it to somebody else. Said
it was one way to focus, to stretch time
what it did to the other guy."
what it's like when not being totally fucked-up and
spaced out." Dan couldn't imagine where Vadim would
have seen that, forgotten he'd asked before. "I
guess I'd have to be pissed as a newt instead."
well, do it again. At some point. And bring
vodka." And jerk off before I do, because I have
no idea what I will do to you when you're not half dead,
idea. When hell freezes over." Dan didn't grin.
to normal. Back to struggling with the other even if
there was nothing left to lose, nothing left to win.
Vadim forced a laugh, like it had been a joke, and stood,
headed towards the fire, where the rations had warmed
up. Also dried out, but he didn't mind. As long as Dan
stopped asking questions. As long as things were under
control. "I guess you're hungry."
guess so." Dan didn't actually know if he was hungry
or not, couldn't read the signs from his body. "What's
my leg like, by the way? Feels like raw meat in places."
shot through, but most of muscle seems intact. Flesh
wound. Hardly more than grazing. Might be ticket home."
Vadim returned with the food and put it on the ground
Dan shrugged, "home's overrated." Leaning
forward, ever so slowly, seemed his head was starting
to get used to the idea of belonging to a body that
was supposed to function. "Where's home anyway."
Reached for the food, hot, took it with his hand. He'd
learned from the Mujas. "Home's the mountains."
Began to chew, still watching. Always that dark-eyed
like mountain lion. Fierce loner." Vadim shook
his head. "I miss sauna, and proper food, and family.
I miss books, and Metro, can do without walking thirty
or fifty clicks in day, in this territory. Can do without
getting shot at." Truth be told, somewhere he'd
begun to lose the zest for war. It was now just a task,
and one he could do, but he was no longer craving it.
Maybe he was getting old.
himself, Dan continued to eat, only now realising how
hungry he had been. "Books?" Stuffing himself
with another handful, chewing quickly. "You read
looked up. "You don't?" It had never occurred
to him that that was even worth asking. Of course he
read books. He liked theatre and ballet, too, but if
Dan thought reading strange, there was no point explaining
Swan Lake or the Nutcracker Suite. A love that could
not be and that killed the lovers. Self-destruction.
Tchaikovsky had known things about love, there, some
deep and profound and horrible truth about mortality.
Dan was thirsty, glancing around for the canteen. "Used
to read mags, broadsheets, crap like that. No time for
books, no patience. What good would they do? They don't
tell you how to survive."
they don't do that. They are reason, not tool."
Vadim smirked. "They hold more truth than Pravda.
Politburo can't lie in Pushkin. Pushkin was there before
we became Soviets. It means
if we have past,
we have future." As close to political treason
as he could come without showing too much.
Reason to live? Bullshit. Food is a reason to live,
a juicy steak with oil dripping chips; booze is a reason
to live, getting pissed on beer and whisky with mates;
sex is a reason to live. In fact, it's the best and
biggest one." Finding the canteen behind him, Dan
closed his eyes for a moment, felt dizzy and nauseous
after moving his head. "What good has the truth
done you, eh?" Uncapping, he took a swig of water,
feeling better with every gulp.
least I know that there are many truths. It's about
learning to think different thoughts. Know things that
you never felt. You could know what being rich feels
like, or being in love, without ever getting real feeling."
Vadim shrugged. "Like guilt." Raskolnikov.
Guilt leading to insanity, and, later, Siberia. "And
it tells us who we are. What we are fighting for. I
don't mean orders. I mean people."
that's bollocks, that feeling and knowing thing. How
can you know if you haven't experienced it. I
think your books are fakes. They tell you something
you believe you know what it feels like, but
you're lying to yourself. You don't. You just fell prey
to a big old scam."
what's the difference between a lie that is believed
and the truth? Vadim shook his head. Paradox of his
existence. Sometimes he thought it would be easier if
he could believe the official story. Doublethink.
another swig of the water, Dan leaned his head back
against the cave wall, pulling the blanket closer around
his naked body. "And what do you fight for? Why
are you here?"
Russian people", said Vadim. "My family. People
I hold dear." He smiled. "Trying to make this
career. Climb ladder. Watch out for what's mine."
Dan couldn't understand that one either. Mind not fully
sharp yet, but he knew that he'd never felt he had to
climb anything. No career, just doing what he did. Perhaps
he just liked killing and evading getting killed. Great
sum of how a man had spent his life. "So, that's
why you're here?" Lifting his hand, he made a slow-sweeping
gesture around the cave. "Watching out for your
own enemy?" His lips quirked up into a strange
smirked. "Well, in absence of my unit or properly
cultured Russian, guess you'll have to do."
you, too, Russkie." Dan grinned tiredly. "In
that case, help me up. I'd like to go for a piss without
keeling over or throwing up."
nodded, moved behind Dan and put his arms under the
other's, steadying and pulling him up a bit, causing
Dan to hiss, then took his arm and placed it around
his shoulders, helping him walk by taking the weight
off the side where the leg needed rest and healing.
Couldn't help but stare at Dan's nakedness. He'd washed
him, and massaged him, had been that close, and he still
shit." Dan grumped, then kept his teeth clenched
while walking towards the mouth of the cave. Remained
silent until the reached a spot just outside. "Feels
like I haven't moved for a week." The dizziness
could have been worse, though, and he kind of got his
bearings once he stood still. Looking down at his body
he eyed his cock for a moment. Pondering, couldn't remember
what he was supposed to do with it. Expecting the other
to stay and steady him, Dan was swaying for a moment.
"What did I mean to do again?" He frowned,
kept staring at his cock, flaccid between the darkness
meant to piss." Vadim hoped it was only a concussion,
not something major, not something that fucked Dan up
worse. Hoped the skull was alright, some people walked
and talked with hidden gruesome injuries, then fell
yes." Dan frowned, felt the urge to shake his head,
trying to clear the cobwebs, but the constant dull ache
reminded him to stay still. "Seems my memory's
shot to pieces at the moment." Took his cock, tried
to relax, willing the piss to flow. "Can remember
yesterday, though, and before. Kind of. Can't quite
remember before you found me. Guess I don't want to."
Letting out a sigh of relief when the urine started
to trickle and then shot out in a mighty stream. Hadn't
realised how full his bladder had been. "Shit,
swallowed. The way Dan's voice changed with that simple
pleasure. If he could only have him under him, saying
exactly that. Yeah, lusting after a man who was pissing
and rested half his weight on his shoulder.
"Concussion." Vadim tried to pull his mind
off the fact Dan was naked and in no state to fight.
"I'll have to leave tomorrow. You better remember
safer place somewhere around here. You're too close
to one of our bases."
two quick shakes and last drops, and Dan lifted his
head, carefully looking over his shoulder. "Survived
worse situations. I'll get out." How? He didn't
have a clue, but he'd do it, somehow. Even if he had
to crawl across the mountains, dizzy and disorientated,
but he'd do it. Fuck that leg, his head, and the fact
he couldn't remember things he should know.
frowned, didn't believe it, but had no other option
but to take the risk. He couldn't stay here forever,
and this was on the brink of getting very, very dangerous.
"Yes. I know you will."
you find my bergan? Haven't got a fucking clue where
it is, but I guess that means nothing right now that
I can't remember." Hopping on his good leg, Dan
tried to put some weight on the injured one. Hurt like
a motherfucker, but it would have to do. He could hole
up another day, then make his way across the pass throughout
the night. At least he remembered the terrain, and if
he were lucky, he'd cross the path of some friendly
Mujahideen. He wasn't going to die like this; not that
easy to take down.
was down in village. I brought it up. That was how I
knew you were there somewhere. I remembered your kit."
better. You usually help yourself to peanut butter energy
bars." Dan flashed a small grin. "Right, nurse,
take me back inside. Fucking freezing without clothes."
Clothes, shit. Couldn't remember when last he had any.
help you put your spares on." Vadim manoeuvred
Dan to turn around and brought him back into the cave,
back to the blankets. "It's all right there. See?"
His kit, Dan's kit. He could give Dan some of his stuff.
To make sure he had it as easy as possible.
his bergan, Dan's grin widened, eased. "Piece of
cake, then." And if he could actually stand on
his own two feet without pain nor swaying that would
help as well. Lowering down onto the blankets, using
Vadim as leverage and crutch, he rubbed his face with
the heel of his hand once he sat. Rubbing vigorously
between his eyes before looking up and baring teeth
in a kick-ass grin. "That's what I do. Surviving.
That's my job and I'm bloody brilliant at it."
crouched right next to him, studied him, fought that
odd sense of tenderness, of not wanting to leave, to
stay and make sure Dan was alright. "We'll see
how strong you are tomorrow. I'll bring more water up
before I leave. You could hole up another week, maybe
ten days with food."
Was strange to be sitting there, naked, and Vadim so
close. Dressed. Wasn't right. Was too ... intimate.
Yet all Dan wanted for one worrying second was to rest
his aching head on that shoulder in its Soviet uniform.
Russkie. Too dangerous here and you know it. I got to
get away from this place. All I remember is the biggest
fuck-up of my life, bullets, RPGs, blood, screams, death.
And pain. That makes me think you wiped out the village
and somewhere down there are a pile of blown-up corpses,
bubbling away in the sun. How long before troops will
be coming in? Yours or insurgents, doesn't matter. Soviets
would kill me or take me prisoner. Mujas? I'm guessing
I'm the only survivor. What the fuck do you think they'd
figure out? Something fishy with 'Daan'. And I'd rather
be taken prisoner or killed by your lot than 'mine'."
inhaled deeply. "Yes, you're right. You'll have
to move. As much as I'd like to take you prisoner
and keep you for while", he gave a suggestive grin,
earning a huff in return, "that's not how it works.
You'd go to Moscow. And meet some unpleasant gentlemen.
Our secret service is not as well-behaved as yours."
so they kept telling us. Nasty men in cheap suits."
Pulling the blankets around himself, Dan sought to preserve
warmth. Soon enough he would have to pretend to be fit
enough to go on fighting for survival. He wasn't going
to let himself down with negative thinking.
know our motto? Not 'who dares wins', the other one."
Dan showed a dry grin, almost brittle. "'Never
leave a comrade unless he is already dead.' I figure
that goes for oneself as well. I tend to think it goes
along nicely with 'never give up, never surrender'."
shook his head, felt stupid for saying that, but still
did. "If there was a way, I'd stay around."
Damn, that sounded closer to the truth than he'd wanted,
"Make sure you'll be good to go." He decided
that the fire needed tending, it was getting cold, might
just be the night.
said nothing. Not a word. No quip, no joke, and no piss-taking
remark. Stunned into silence, all he could do was watch
the other. Thinking. Wondering. Steeped in the strange
sensation that the Russkie had just said and done something
that had gone beyond and above anything he'd expected.
Something so damn decent, he wondered who the hell was
the enemy in their whole private war.
set up another pot of tea, tossing a handful of leaves
into the pot. No chance for a proper, Russian-style
tea, that elaborate little ritual.
got anything stronger?" When Dan finally spoke
he had to clear his throat.
half of bottle of vodka." Vadim gestured towards
his own bergan. "Horrible stuff, but good for washing
out wounds. Feel free."
Figure I probably shouldn't, what with concussion and
all, but shit, can't get into any worse state than the
fucked-up one I'm in, eh?" Dan flashed a grin,
leaned slowly towards the other's bergan, rummaged a
moment before pulling out the bottle. Could see from
the oily way the liquid sloshed around what shit stuff
it was. It would do.
different kind of headache." Vadim stirred the
dark mass of tea leaves with his knife, too lazy to
get the mess kit, watched it twirl in the reddish light.
Don't be stupid, Vadim, you still know which side is
yours. It's the one that would throw you into prison
if they knew what you've been doing over the last years.
The one that cannot respect what you are. What you want.
Fine, as long as it was weaker men who never spoke about
it, as long as it remained a dark, rotting secret at
the core. But nothing beyond that. No word for it. And
no space. And this other man would laugh at him if he
knew what he was thinking.
Dan had unscrewed the bottle, held it up towards Vadim
in salute, who nodded with a fair bit of irony. "Slainte."
Proceeded to gulp down a considerable amount of the
vile but potent stuff. Grimaced when he was done, sticking
out his tongue in disgust. "Fuck, I need some of
that tea. Quick."
that's the one they make with bread and sugar from pure
alcohol." Vadim poured a mug and brought it over,
put it down in front of Dan. "Ingenuity knows no
fuck my arse." Dan groaned, grabbed the hot tea,
drank a too-large mouthful and spit it all back out,
against the cave wall, yelping. "Shit! Fucking
hot." The disgusting taste of the moonshine and
the pain of a burnt palate were battling with each other
in his mouth, and it was too much to handle. Dan started
to chuckle, despite the pounding in his head the laughter
caused. "Not my fucking week."
laughed, too, and laughed some more as he saw the face
Dan pulled. "You have convinced me. You'll live."
Still chuckling, he reached out to put a hand on Dan's
shoulder. "You okay?" Again the urge to kiss
him. Probably the last thing the seared lips needed
up at the other, Dan's laughter turned into a grin that
turned his deeply tanned face into that of someone younger,
boyish almost. "Aye. I'm OK. Guess I have to counteract
the scalding with some more of the vodka. At least I
won't taste anything." That hand felt good. Much
better than the next swallow of vile liquid that he
forced down his neck. At least the stuff was potent,
he could already feel the heat spreading from his stomach
straight up into his head.
squeezed the shoulder and patted it, unwilling to let
go, but with no more excuses to keep the hand there.
Seemed the only way they could touch without feeling
strange was when sleeping, under the blanket, or during
sex. He wasn't a man that touched easily, or kissed,
but Dan was different. Like it made no sense not to
kiss or touch him. Hard to understand. "I'll call
that self-inflicted." He lay back, head on his
arm, and stretched out, glanced up to Dan.
that case, everything's self inflicted." Another
swallow of vodka, then swiftly a sip of tea, more careful
this time. "I didn't need to take on the job, could
have stayed in the Highlands, worked on the farm or
learned a trade. Roofing, plumbing, shit like that.
Would have made a living one way or another, probably
married, kids, drinking every evening in the village
pub and watching the world go by. Day after day. Always
the same, just getting closer to the grave with each
of them. One as bland as the other." Dan managed
another mouthful, the moonshine was heating his belly
and firing his thoughts.
tried to imagine Dan like that - and the irony was,
he could. Like he could imagine himself as a better
athlete than he'd been, more gifted, maybe moving on
to become a coach. Battling every night not to see the
buff young bodies in his care.
aye, it's self inflicted. Mujas, scars, pain, death
and all." Grinning, Dan's grim humour was well
hidden beneath the core.
only when stuff goes bad that one wonders
there had been another way." Vadim sighed. "If
it goes well, you don't want to do anything else in
world. This way, at least, we get to meet and kill interesting
laughed once more, wincing at the ache. Raising the
bottle for another salute, he grinned. "Hello there,
nice to kill you." Guzzling some more of the vodka
while Vadim reached out to place a hand on Dan's thigh,
just resting it there, not looking at him. Eyes closed,
what a sad fuck I am?" Dan began to feel decidedly
sloshed and hell it was good. Counteracting pain and
dizziness, booze the best medicine in the world. He
didn't really notice that hand, just a comfortable weight
and warmth on his leg.
enough to never want another job, even if it all goes
wrong. I hope to go down one day in a blaze of glory.
Fuck the pension, my brother and his family can have
it. What would I do back there? Not my world, don't
belong. They don't understand what I do. They don't
get it. To them, killing is a horrible task that should
be punished. And of course they're right - in their
world. To them, we're institutionalised murderers, and
they'd rather not mingle with us unless it's tall tales
of glory, prettified for the minds of civilians. But
it's not. It's blood and gore and the complete inability
to feel guilt. It's steaming guts and sticky blood,
struggling limbs under your hands and the satisfaction
when that body goes limp. One more time it was them
and not yourself. One more time before the next time,
and perhaps it's the next time that's the final blaze
opened his eyes as Dan began to speak. He was a failed
athlete, then. Dan was just soldier, through and through.
He had no delusion of himself, wearing a gold medal.
the bottle to his lips Dan finished the rest of the
vodka, not even tasting the stuff anymore. Bottle and
hand came down on the ground beside him in a harsh thud,
and his drunken grin turned feral, tinged with insanity
without which he couldn't do what he did. "And
in my case, Russkie, the glory will never be seen. Rotting
away somewhere in the mountains, in this fucking place
of dust and heat, cold and stone. These endless mountains
that I love too fucking much."
there's no service ribbon for you
Not even that."
Vadim raised himself on an elbow, wanted to pull Dan
down onto the ground, take advantage. Maybe get and
give a handjob. Something. Dan so close made him nervous
in a strange way. "I'm not sure this war is glorious
at all. Against Germans, yes, that was glory. They might
make me Hero of Soviet Union, if they want to prop up
morale, that is. But what glory is there, here in dust?"
easy." Dan licked his lips before washing the lingering
burn down his throat with some bitter tea. As bitter
as a lonely death. "There's no glory in this whole
shit. No war is ever glorious. Heroes are usually dead.
Besides, they rarely turn into heroes because they are
super-humans, but because of circumstances. Heroes rarely
think. Heroes just act. So, all this is, is a
stage for glory, small, personal and up to each one
of us." Making a sweeping gesture down his body
and on to bergan and food. "My glory is all I have:
much of stage."
all. My 'glory' is to be a soldier, and the best soldier
I can be. I glory in what I do, because that's all I
have. I'm a trained killer and I'm fucking good at it,
and that includes surviving. But one day even my luck
will run out, like it almost did this time. And next
time, perhaps you won't be there, and my glory will
be to go down and die. Knowing that I spent my life
doing the job I wanted to do to the best of my abilities.
And then I'll be gone, and decrepit old age will be
spared. There's no way I delude myself I'll make it
past, what, forty, forty-five, fifty? Perhaps even to
full pension? Bullshit. I'll go down soon enough, but
I want to have a big fat chunk of life before
that. Eat, drink and fuck."
enough." And how incredibly bleak, thought Vadim.
finished the last of the tea, lukewarm by now. "What's
your glory, Russkie?"
from being spetsnaz? And getting promoted?" Vadim
shrugged. "That I am more free here than I could
normally be. Break rules. Be myself." He grinned.
"That is strange thing to say. Being myself. Sometimes,
I don't know who I am. Am I major of Spetsnaz, or am
I father and husband. Or traitor that keeps enemy alive."
He shook his head.
was silent for a moment, sufficiently drunk to say the
first thing that came to his mind. "What about
this, then. Forget all the crap. Spetsnaz. Family. Enemy.
Be a man tonight. A nobody. And I just happened to meet
you on the off chance. Here in that cave, in the fucking
freezing mountains, in the devil's own lands."
Make-believe? Like children? Vadim stared, not sure
what to make of it. "And how?"
Dan leant forward. Pupils widened, the vodka had settled
in well and truly, speech gently slurred. Eyes dark,
almost black. "Hello, stranger. Fancy meeting you
flirting. Vadim felt odd, embarrassed; had
no idea how that was supposed to work. "You're
drunk", he murmured, but grinned. "What do
course I'm drunk. Or else you think I'd come up with
stupid shit like this?" Dan smirked. "Isn't
there some sort of foreplay involved? At least that's
what I used to do with my bimbos." Leaning back
again, hands idly moving along the blanket. The light
of the flames casting his face into near-sinister shadows.
frowned, too embarrassed to say much to that. Whatever
'bimbos' were. Not the greatest moment to ask for linguistic
clarification. "Uhm. Okay. And now?"
bought me the drink, so that's sorted. Guess it's time
to compliment you in return." Dan's grin turned
the shadows into a play of fire, catching on rows of
teeth. "You're a fucking creep, Russkie, with strange
eyes, pale as those glaciers around here; hair that
reminds me of sun ripened fields down in England; and
a body that I'd expect in a museum, chiselled in marble,
with a sign at the pedestal, saying 'Russian God'."
how did 'creep' and 'God' go together? Vadim only hoped
it wasn't some haemorrhaging going on in Dan's brain
that slowly transformed his brain to mush. Strange self-conscious
thought, yes, wheat and ice and how often had he read
those words to describe somebody with that combination
of hair and eye colours, and he'd laughed at the cliché
and thought nothing of it. But being told that was flattering
- too sincere to be a cliché, even though Dan
was playing around.
ran a hand through unruly hair that was in need of washing,
"Will that do for a start?"
nodded. "That will do. Uhm. You
free as a guard dog that's chained to its post."
Dan grinned, pushed the blanket down until his chest
and arms were bare. "Like what you see?"
nodded. "Yes." Did he expect him to compliment
him in turn? Another man. He'd never done this, not
even with women. He didn't do this kind of thing. It
was as daunting as if somebody had just tasked him to
write literature. Art. Make-belief. "You are
like a faun, a reclining marble faun, only alive, that
I've seen on a postcard. Somewhere in a museum in Europe.
Naked, spread legs, face showing the agony of lust,
of wanting. Your eyes are places of shadows, deep and
true and secret. "Beautiful. I mean
the vodka didn't keep Dan from being taken aback. That
word, that was ... strange. Thoughts warring, playing
hide and seek across his face, emotions that he'd rather
not feel. In the end, laughter and joking was safest.
"Don't be fucking stupid. I'm sure as fuck not
steering away from the dangerous edge of something he
couldn't quite fathom, but which seemed a dangerous
abyss to fall into. Feelings of any kind, except for
the basics of hunger, thirst and lust, did not belong
into special forces vocabulary.
was too relieved to protest. Good he had stuck to the
alcohol was coursing through Dan's mind, he couldn't
feel the headache anymore and the pain in his leg had
subsided. "We've got one night, soldier."
Teeth bared in a smirk as he pulled the blanket down
completely, throwing Vadim's hand off in the process.
The air was cold, but he'd had enough of the potent
moonshine. Perfectly sloshed, but not quite drunk. "Let's
make the best out of it, and that means you getting
out of your uniform."
Vadim's eyes were on Dan's form, the embers giving off
the faintest of light, enough to see him, enough to
want without touching. It would get much worse. He undressed,
watched intently by Dan, whose dark eyes had turned
black in the dim light. Boots and vest and shirt and
everything else, quick, and kept within reach, then
lay down next to the other. Vadim took hold of the blanket,
covering himself and Dan, who stretched his legs, still
half-sitting with his back against bergan and cave wall.
moment Vadim's body touched the other's, desire was
back, a mellow desire that didn't even contemplate violence.
"Dan? I know
you're probably too banged
" Listening, waiting.
Dan felt warm, inside from the vodka, outside from the
body that was close to his own. Familiar. Safe. Remembered
something else, the deep ache inside and a horror, taken
away by the very same presence.
what?" His voice had darkened a notch.
stop wanting you."
Vadim winced, but placed a hand on Dan's body, flank,
to feel him, kissed his shoulder, moving closer, brushing
him. He'd be quite happy with just a hand. Anything.
turn on the side and lift a leg,
just so I can
" Fuck you without fucking
you. And still feel you.
what?" Dan's addled brain wasn't catching on fast
enough. "What can you do then?"
your thighs." A whisper. Too fucking close to begging
to speak up. Just that. Need, want, asking. By far the
least violent option, no way that would hurt or be more
than a nuisance.
sounds messy." Dan didn't turn, slid down instead
until he lay fully on the ground. Watching the face,
hidden in the shadows. Focussing was hard; cheap spirits,
concussion, and a memory of eighteen hours in hell that
he refused to remember. "You're really that fucking
desperate to fuck me. Aren't you?" Voice barely
more than a rumble.
been." Vadim's hand rested on Dan's pec
now, the calmest part of his body, while the heart thundered
on, body wanting, needing, and barely kept from begging.
"The one thing that always gets me off. In barracks.
imagining." Remembering. "Imagining
you wanting it." Or not. Didn't matter. Just Dan.
do you think of," Dan stilled, could hardly see
the features of the other's face. "The rape? Or
how it could have been?"
shit. Admit the truth? Then again, he had, years ago.
Truth was, he had an expansive collection of things
that got him off or on the way. Memories of lips, images
of Dan's body in various positions, the heat and struggle.
The rape was one of them. One that always got to him.
nodded slowly. His breath audible in the cave, steady,
strong. Thinking. Vodka and heat, memories and an act
of goddamned decency. "You could have fucked me,"
quietly. "Yesterday. Could have had what you wanted."
Another breath. One. Two. All Dan could feel was that
hand on his body and the heat from the other. "Why
don't want you weak. I want you strong." Vadim
moved closer, placed a kiss near his fingertips on that
smooth chest, powerful. "You weren't yourself
didn't remember. Would have been
And you'd have killed me. Well, tried to. And I
don't want it to end."
you. That was all Dan heard. Would have been
and the fact that Vadim hadn't done it. No rape. No
taking, and yet all his Russkie wanted was exactly that.
To fuck him. To have him again. That was it. Again.
He'd had him before. "I remember," clearing
his throat, voice felt rusty all of a sudden, "I
remember when I told you I'd kill you if you ever tried
to fuck me again."
his mellow-boozed mind the whole thing didn't seem all
that horrific anymore, but there was that one memory
he'd never forget. The reason why and the start of it
all. Of everything. The pain, the truth, the lust, and
this. This ... sharing. Of warmth and something else
that Dan didn't want to recognise. Stuck to what he
knew instead: vodka, lust and body heat.
I remember." No moment that Vadim didn't. The threat.
The memory of the knife. The careful balance, that,
whenever it tipped, brought danger, danger of complete
destruction, not of one, but both. He should stop rocking
the boat. Should be glad the equilibrium allowed them
to get the pressure off. Still craved.
won't kill you." Dan didn't know where that had
come from, but he wouldn't take it back. Seemed right.
"I give you my word. I won't." If you fuck
me now. If you do what you've been obsessed with for
all those goddamned years since that night in Kabul.
"I won't." Murmured.
paused, didn't move, smelled Dan's skin, close, the
warmth, words left his mind blank. Not asking why, even
though that was the first thought when thought returned.
something like gratitude? It might be
risking too much to ask anything at all. His hand slid
down Dan's front, reached for the cock, not hard, but
not flaccid, either. "I'll
make it good",
he murmured against Dan's skin. "It can be good."
better." Dan's grin wasn't all that convincing,
"or I might go back on my promise."
nodded, felt that was a perfectly sane thing to say.
me to turn over?" Dan frowned, but didn't say what
was really on his mind. Make me forget that night in
Kabul. Make it better. Make this whole shit worthwhile
and don't remind me of the one reason why I would have
to kill you. Tit for tat. Your back. My arse. But where
do we stop.
Vadim felt the need rise again, the dark flood he'd
always welcomed, always allowed to turn into something
that broke men. "No, wait
" He reached
for the Vaseline, close since the 'massage', "stay
on your back."
brows raised, "should I have my knife close by?"
His query half mockery, half serious, but he stayed
where he was.
got on his knees and moved his head to Dan's cock, wanted
him to be more than halfway interested. Took Dan's cock
between his lips, sucking on the tip, keeping it there
with one hand. Whatever it took to make this feel good.
If he could get Dan to enjoy this, there would be more
that was different, Dan thought. Better. Something he
knew and forever wanted. Perhaps as much as Vadim had
been wanting his arse. Precious arse. Body. Intrusion.
His cock slid deeper into the wet heat of the other's
throat, and all he could think of was why. Why had he
offered? Why indeed. "Fuck." Groaned out.
For someone who didn't like giving head Vadim was brilliant
reached into the tub of petroleum jelly, thick and greasy
stuff, closed the hand, rubbed it over his fingers,
slicking them up while sucking on Dan's cock, more than
interested now; needed this build up to keep himself
under control. Just in case he lost it later. Couldn't.
Shit. Rubbed the fingers between Dan's cheeks, remembered
clenched, quivering muscle back that night, slid the
first finger in, to slick him up.
jerked, his whole body tensed. Shit. That's what a finger
felt like. Remembered it. Not the first time, they'd
had dozens of handjobs and blowjobs, some of them involved
a finger up his arse. But that had been that. Just a
finger, forgotten the fist, and what if the Russkie
was going to go insane, went violent, did it again,
tried to rape him for real. He didn't have a weapon
and he'd be in no state to fight.
need my knife." Pressed out. Dan was hard, his
body wanting, but his mind demanded precautions, vodka
pulled back, to look at Dan, then nodded. That might
actually be a good idea. Shit. Dan's knife was a bit
too far away to reach it, but there was still his own
knife on his belt. Vadim reached to the pile of his
clothes, opened the strap that held the knife in place,
pulled it and offered it, hilt first, to Dan.
took it, head lifted from the ground, nodded, before
booze and concussion swept a wave of dizziness across
his mind. With his hand clenched around the hilt, he
lay back down, knees bent, legs falling open.
blade was close enough to slash his face, cut his throat.
Vadim didn't believe for a heartbeat Dan wouldn't do
that if he fucked this up. There was a moment of irony
as well. Seemed, indeed, Dan was in control while going
'bottom'. Darren would most likely approve. Vadim grinned,
then closed his eyes as he returned to sucking, slicked
fingers rubbing Dan's crack, two of them then breaching
the hole, into the heat. Moving his lips up and down
the shaft, he moved his fingers in the same rhythm,
free hand steadying his body, as he dipped in lower
and pulled back, faint noises echoing too loud in his
breathing sharpened. Cock and fingers, arse and body,
mind and vodka. All tipping-swirling together into a
cacophony of sensations. Centred by the knife in his
hand, the familiar feeling of fingers clenched around
shit." Didn't realise he had breathed out
those words, lifted his hips, moving towards lips and
back onto fingers. Intrusion and ache, reminding him
of fire, terror and anchoring through his centre. Massage,
the Russkie had said, no thoughts nor words for 'massage'
met the thrusts, elated that Dan started getting into
this, the sucking turned fierce, actually hungry for
once, the thought that he'd have Dan this time spurred
him on, gave this more pleasure than he usually felt,
made Dan enjoy this, but pulled back before he got him
too far, breathing harshly. "Turn around."
Voice raw, jaw tired, need getting too great there.
nothing but to get off, Dan hardly heard the words.
Something about turn and please, maybe
move and whatever. Did it anyway, without thinking.
Groaned at the loss of friction and heat. On his belly.
Cock trapped between hard ground, blanket and himself.
Shit. All he could make out now, was that this time,
it was for real. He'd given his word.
strain that leg", Vadim murmured,
breathless with the sight. That powerful ass, powerful
legs, something he knew but now he could have it. Again.
Willing. Vadim moved between Dan's legs, moved the good
one to the side and up, to open Dan more, to get to
an angle that would allow him to fuck without putting
any of his weight on the injured leg. Then lay down
on Dan, letting him feel his weight, cock resting against
the buttocks. "I want you, Dan. More than anything.
are in my blood, in my bones, I need
you. Do you understand." Just a whisper into Dan's
ear while his hand spread those cheeks, rubbing the
opening again, nice and slick.
I don't." Dan breathed out, fingers clenched so
tightly around the knife, his knuckles were white amongst
purple-red skin. He wasn't moving, felt trapped beneath
the weight, couldn't help but suddenly fight the memories.
Belt: cut. Trousers: sliced. Hands: bound. Arse: raped.
Pistol against his head. "But it's OK."
into me when I do it. Yes? Easier that way."
nodded, barely visible. Kept his eyes open, felt the
moonshine course through his blood and wanted more of
it. Reminded himself he'd said he'd do it. Why. Why,
the fuck, why?
reached again for the Vaseline, pretty depleted by now,
and slicked himself up, wiped his hand on his thigh
and manoeuvred his cock between Dan's cheeks. Heat.
Good. Moved to press against the hole, slow, which made
him sweat with concentration, against the tightness,
inched forward, groaning, lifting his weight off Dan,
groin and ass in contact, a slow movement from the hips,
when his body wanted to use force, strength, weight,
wanted to make it a struggle, but Vadim forced himself
to still, remain in place on the way. Wanted to ask
whether Dan was alright, wanted to soothe and calm,
but didn't trust his voice now, at all, too much straining
with staying in control.
Pressure. Strength. Dan felt this thing breach
the muscle, enter his body. Different to fingers, even
fist. Remembered, tried not to. Too slow, too much time
to think. Not enough friction for his cock. He groaned.
No words, just unintelligible sounds. Only that slow,
slow movement on top of him, the sensation of being
filled more; ever slower, ever deeper, ever more. No
way he could not think. Blood. Pistol. Knife.
Cut throat, dead soldier and drunken voices.
tensed, fingers of his left scrabbling against the stone
of the cave.
paused, felt sweat trickle down his flanks, shivering
with the control. Expected, the way Dan tensed, to feel
his own knife cut him, most likely the flank or thigh
- Dan could reach him easily there. "Calm",
he breathed, forced it out. "Won't
make it bad", sounding close to pleading.
Dan suddenly burst out. "Don't do this. Not like
this." Too slow, too much. Couldn't bear the tenderness,
loathed the care, impossible to endure the goddamned
patronising whateveritwas. Made him think, remember,
felt his blood run cold - he'd expected anything, but
this. The bottom was in control. All it took was 'no'.
And fuck, he was in the mind to obey that. Because of
the knife. Just the knife. Definitely the knife.
voice suddenly sharp, "Fuck me already!"
didn't make any sense. Vadim hadn't wanted it like that.
Had tried to understand, to learn, to try making amends,
maybe, erase one bad thing with a good thing. The order
was irresistible, though, and Vadim couldn't help but
move forward, fully get into Dan, groaning as he did,
feel the ass against his groin, his full length inside,
in that strength and heat. Needed him. Wanted him. Craved
him. In whatever way. Slow, hard, fast, whatever. Just
wanted. Vadim pulled back, fast, and thrust again, slow
this time, but with force, using his weight against
Dan's body. Exactly like with Mark. Still in control,
only it was better with Dan.
shit!" Dan almost shouted. Fuck, that did it. That
thrust eradicated all thoughts and memories. It fucking
hurt, adding to the lingering soreness of the 'massage',
and he sure as fuck wasn't used to having anything up
his arse. His
hand was losing its death grip on the knife when he
lifted his arse a fraction, hissed in pain as his leg
protested. Don't let me think nor remember. "Goddamnit,
do it! You fucking want to."
and concern ceased. Vadim lost any attempt at rhythm
or control, any attempt at tenderness, the words just
took the shackles off his body, which lunged into the
act with all the ferocity of a wild animal, a mating
predator. Knife, punishment, whatever. This was what
he really wanted, and he snarled as he brought his strength
to bear, all of it, no remorse, no nothing, perfectly
willing to pay whatever price for this, brutally pushing
Dan against the rock, choking the sounds against Dan's
shoulder, biting down, moving fiercely, eyes closed,
driving himself close fast, much like the rape, no time
to savour anything, no need to, just explode, the way
there didn't matter.
knew he'd asked for it, and fuck it hurt. Forget the
make it good for you and fuck the calm.
He was losing himself instead, along with grip, knife
and memories. No time to think, just a body that was
being pounded and used and fuck, he'd asked for it.
No rape, even though it felt like one. Teeth ground,
fists clenched and body braced against the onslaught
but there was something, something so deep and dark
and brutally honest inside, that revelled in the force
and a strength that was equally pitched against his
own. He'd chosen this. Demanded. Control. But it still
hurt like fuck.
just couldn't stop it, too far gone, nothing inside
resisted this, then all the concern must have been fake,
he still wanted to destroy this man, that had to be
the reason, and the feeling sickened him and was great
at the same time. Things were simple. He could push
everything away, all the things that had happened in
the last years and just do what he needed to do - nothing
had truly changed, and the other's resistance made it
just perfect. Again. Complete unity, struggle, pain,
intensity, and he relished it, riding his own adrenaline,
and the other's strength, fuck, wounded, whatever, no
match, yeah, right, his. In this moment, utterly and
completely his. His life, his soul, his body, his pain.
came with a harsh groan, kept thrusting into the still
body because he couldn't stop, rode it out, and then
pulled away, dizzy with sensory overload, too much,
too far, too hard, came crashing down, realized what
he'd felt - and wanted to feel, welcomed - and moved
away, sweat growing cold on this skin in the night.
Oh fuck. Oh fuck.
careful what you wish for, Vadim.
lay like before, his limbs in disarray and specks of
blood had seeped to the surface of the bandage on his
thigh. Hand lying on top of the knife, but not gripping
it. Face ground into the stone, blanket pulled to the
side. Lips parted. Breathing. Mind blank. Utterly blank.
Dust and ashes, or the white-blind brightness of burning
fire. All the same. Right back to Kabul. And he'd asked
for it this time. Why. Why the fuck.
why was he still half hard.
me off." Murmured. He hurt like a motherfucker,
but there was something deeper and bigger than all of
this. Greater than cocks and rapes, fists and arses.
shook his head, just didn't
this, as sanity returned. Control. Just. No. Control.
He glanced at the knife, could smell the blood and feared
for a moment that he'd torn Dan - again - definitely
blood there. Owed something. Owed something so impossible
it made him shudder. Horror. Had never felt this, now
did, didn't understand why the punishment didn't come.
Turned Dan around, whose body obeyed like a puppet,
and took his cock, shocked, shocked that there was arousal
left and that Dan could demand this and that he just
obeyed, after crossing that fucking line again. Back
to zero. Same mistake. Same shit. Had known himself
better than to risk this. Now, this was confirmation.
Dan's quiet voice croaked, cleared his throat, coughed.
"Listen." Felt the other's lips on his cock
and knew, this time, he'd get more than just the powertrip
glanced up, the sickening feeling growing stronger.
No triumph. He had stared the beast in the face and
that beast was him. Big surprise. Not an athlete that
ended up in the army, by whatever force. Ruthless killer.
No books, no philosophy, no nothing could fool him.
The army was simply the place where a man like him did
the least damage. If he'd ever feel half that savage
need to destroy at home
if that ever happened.
said in that cave you'd rape me again, given half the
chance." Dan paused, allowed his legs to relax
and fall open. "Fuck, I believe you." Lifted
his head a fraction, stared down at himself and towards
the other, who just nodded, numb, looking pale, light
blue eyes gleaming.
felt and sounded strangely detached. "Now that
that's settled, suck me off." Let head and body
fall back and relax. Dizzy. Passive. Expectant.
sucked on the tip, running his tongue into the slit,
did what he knew felt good, tongue running over the
underside, feeling the strong veins as the cock returned
to full hardness. He paused for a moment, kept it in
his hand and stroked, then began to hyperventilate,
saturate his blood with oxygen, harsh, quick breaths,
pumping air into his lungs and out, like he was about
to dive. Then bowed his head to take Dan fully, in one
go, push him down his throat, felt his throat constrict,
air cut off, and used only his neck muscles to fuck
his own throat on Dan's cock, spasms involuntary, but
he knew they felt good. Knew it could take a while,
but he was ready.
hands returned into fists, tight and clenched, body
tensing as he pushed his hips upwards, fucking the throat
best he could. This really was different. But fuck,
what a price to pay for a blowjob from heaven or hell.
Nauseous with pain and dizziness, but worth it. Hell
and damnation, goddamned fucking worth it. For whatever
reasons he was loathe to understand.
did take time. Longer than usual, but when Dan finally
came, his cock was buried deep into the other's throat,
his eyes scrunched shut, fists slammed onto the ground,
and his body arching. This was no pleasant orgasm, no
mellow moments of bliss, but the cruel and harsh reality
of his life, epitomised in a few seconds of convulsing
moved slowly back, sucked the cock on the way out, as
if resisting it leaving, then let it slip from his lips,
now breathing again. Felt like shit, didn't know what
had gone wrong, just control, just the fact he'd ruined
it, made this just as bad and fierce as it could possibly
have been. Wrong. He'd been kidding himself. Bullshit.
Things had started to make sense, had fallen into place,
things about emotions, about what Dan meant - but it
was all bullshit, all a jumble that made no more sense.
They should stop this. It was healthier. Saner. Better.
sat back, needed more distance, stood and padded towards
the cave mouth. He envied smokers now. This seemed like
a damn fine moment for a cigarette. Maybe it would calm
him. Give him something to do with his hands.
eyes remained closed for a long time, until he started
to shiver, the cold creeping into his bones, making
him feel each and every ache, and of those there were
plenty. Only himself to blame for adding more pain to
his collection on the night before he'd have to make
his way across the mountains. Fucked up and all. But
he regretted nothing, for there was nothing he craved
more than truth and straightforward honesty. He was
hurting, but he'd asked for it, and hell, he might even
do it again. It had been
different. He sure as
fuck had forgotten to think at the time.
Dan turned his head towards the cave entrance while
scrabbling for the blankets to try get warmth back into
his body, sticky with cum and sweat. "You got a
fag?" Stupid question. But the first one that came
to his mind.
turned. "Still don't smoke."
damn. Thought it was worth a try."
came back, reached for the rag to clean Dan up, did
so in silence, sweat and cum, and then reached out to
put some more wood on the embers. Took the knife and
put it back into its sheath. "Guess we better share
warmth." Looked into Dan's face, gauging the response,
and Dan nodded. Then lay down, close, and turned onto
his side, looking at Dan's back. Couldn't keep that
up and closed his eyes. Oh shit. Shit.
much good that warmth does if you stay so fucking far
away." Dan's head felt a lot better, strangely
enough, even though the ache was constant. "I got
to be out of here tomorrow, make the best of the night.
Aye, handsome stranger?" He quirked one brow and
the corner of his lips.
said Vadim, and it was a sigh. Stop this? How? Couldn't.
There was no rage now, just two bodies, cold, sharing
warmth, and Dan's twisted sense of humour. He shuffled
closer, made contact, kept Dan's back warm but kept
his groin arched away. Didn't want to wake up needing.
Not that that would change anything.
Dan mumbled, lay on his side on the good leg and listened
to the aches in his body for a while. Silent, enveloped
by the heat of the other's body, and entirely at a loss
what to think. He could hardly go back to his threat
of a few years ago. But if it ever happened again -
without his consent - he'd still kill that cunt.
back, burrowing into the body and taking the other's
arm to keep him warm across his chest, Dan fell asleep
knowing what to think was a blissful state to be in.
had still been asleep when Vadim got up in the early
hours of the morning, preparing tea and food, and checking
their bergans. He woke when the noise got louder, the
rustling, footsteps, sounds of preparation. Mind fuzzy
while waking, all he knew was in how unfit a state he
was in, but it couldn't be helped.
slowly, he yelped when a pain stabbed him right in the
guts, all the way from his arse. What a fucking mess
it all was.
to leave?" His voice drowsy, he was trying hard
to wake up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but the headache
was grinding away and his leg protested with every movement.
Great, Dan, you're a wreck, and you're going to cross
glanced up, then came over. Assessed the situation.
"Wait till it gets warmer", he murmured and
offered tea and breakfast. Felt a stab of guilt when
he saw Dan's obvious discomfort. Like this? Dan had
no chance to survive alone. Not while being on the run.
He crouched. "I'll pack, you try gather some strength,
we see what we can do."
what will that be? Doing? There's no threshold for more
quality time. If you don't come back, Vadim, they'll
look for you, and they'll find you nursing a man who
is by all rights and purposes your enemy. The medical
exam might tell them what has happened to him. Do you
believe Dan will resist the torture much? Why should
Dan not tell them what you are and for how long. What
you did? They will ask questions. Why. You'll be the
looked up quizzically. "We?" Taking the tea,
closing his hand around the hot mug and starting on
the food immediately.
We need to move camp", Vadim murmured. "I
know there's place east of here. I did some scouting.
It's closer to water."
have to head back." Dan stated the fact, carefully
sipping the tea to wash down his breakfast, studiously
avoiding to move just yet.
nodded. "Yes." Pondered. Knew if he were in
Dan's place, he'd probably not make it. Not just yet.
Not fucked up like this. He shook his head. "Oh
fuck." He stood, turned towards the fire. "I'll
take you there. It's on my way, anyway."
stopped eating, studied the other. Mug in one hand,
food in the other. Even forgot to chew, said nothing.
Finally nodded and swallowed the food, stared into his
be thanks, could be slainte. Would he make it on his
own? 'Never give up, never surrender', was all he allowed
himself to think.
nodded, lips tight. "Ready when you are."
me a moment." Or two, or three, until he could
force his goddamned body to comply with what his mind
wanted it to do. Head sore, arse
the leg still hurting like shit. Worst of all the lingering
disorientation. Damned concussion. He carefully touched
the bruise on his head, frowning.
began to pack. Burn what trash they had, kick out the
fire, make this cave look as unused as possible, placing
some food from his bergan into Dan's, strapping his
canteen to the other's pack. He'd lost his own, or whatever,
Dan would need water. Antibiotics, too. Just completed
Dan's kit with what he could give and what the other
would need, not weighing him down, though. Dan could
always claim he'd fleeced a corpse, and Vadim could
always make something up, too. He slung the bergans
over his shoulder and headed to the cave entrance. He
didn't want to see how badly Dan was banged up, and
didn't want to watch him suffer. A little dignity. The
main reason why he didn't offer a hand.
watched Vadim until he left, needed all that time to
get his damned body into gear, hoped he could trust
it, had never failed him even though he'd got close.
Once he got going, he'd make it. Yeah. Easy.
started to move onto his knees. All fours, how fucking
dignified. Hissed at the movement, could feel the raw
flesh of his thigh muscle rub against the bandage, and
felt the heat burn inside that wound. No way it wasn't
infected, but he'd battled worse. Just had to get his
arse down to Kabul, or somewhere with a mule, a cart,
and a friendly Muja who'd take him back to base.
over to the pile of clothes the other had pulled out
of his bergan, Dan checked his spare kit. Tattered trousers,
thick cotton socks, t-shirt, shirt, and the worn parka
he'd carried strapped to his pack. Would do, had to.
at the stupidly difficult task of putting on his socks,
bending over made him nauseous, but the fire in his
arse wanted to kindle another flame, one of insane laughter.
What the fuck had happened there. The cave, the attack,
and the whole thing back to front. Didn't know anymore
who was enemy or comrade, friend or foe. Life and death
and all that fucked up shit in between. It took a ridiculously
long time of getting into the trousers, and Dan chuckled
was he; who had he been, and what about the other? Four
years, four fucked up fucking years. Pledges of death
and killing, of demands and acceptance, requests and
was struggling into the shirt, slow-motion movements
of a stranded beetle, while remembering the many times
they had met. Enemies, but what the fuck had happened
this time. The other's decency, saving his life, and
then fucking his arse just like the rape - yet different.
Made no sense, Dan huffed to himself - made all the
sense in the world.
getting to his parka, he eyed the boots. Fuck. He could
struggle, groan with pain and almost throw up with that
dizzy-head feeling, or simply ask for help. He'd rather
cut off his own arm, but damn. "Russkie?"
Called out. So much for arm, pride and sanity.
had only waited for it - anything. Almost rushed back,
feared the other might have fallen, or been unable to
move. But he was almost ... almost ready to go. Vadim
glanced down at the boots. "Ah. Want to see me
on my knees, eh? Greedy bitch."
right." Even chuckling hurt Dan's head, but he
did it anyway. Better than bursting into insane laughter.
Like he had done, twice. In a cave, when asking if the
other would rape him again; and when looking down the
barrel of a pistol.
dropped the bergans, then knelt, took Dan's boot, opened
it and offered his shoulder for Dan to steady himself.
course could have done it myself, just
Struggling to get his foot in, then the next, "
just figured it'd be quicker. Tad dizzy." Dan shrugged,
almost lost balance with the one stupidly small movement,
"Fucking head, eh?"
Vadim began to tie them, pull the laces up, thought,
unbidden 'slave mentality', and tensed his jaw muscles.
Yes. Not just helping a comrade to not trip over his
laces. The mountains had very little tolerance for stupidity.
He glanced up. "You're ready to go."
stood and gathered the bergans again. He'd carried Dan
up here. Now that Dan could walk by himself things would
be easier. "Grab hold of my shoulder or belt. Belt
would be better."
Dan refrained from nodding this time, seemed the result
was still disastrous. He had demanded to get fucked
last night, but when standing on his own two feet, he
was as wobbly as a toddler. "Damned nuisance."
Muttered. Took hold of the belt and started to move.
Felt like shit, ready to throw up with every step, but
he'd just have to do it. "Let's get cracking."
moved slowly, but steadily, working out a pace that
Dan could deal with - and then stuck to it. Crossed
the saddle of this mountain, walking in a circle around
the Soviet outpost, leaving village, mass grave and
Muja corpses behind, and their cave. Just another patrol
walk. With double the weight on his shoulders, and a
wounded man trailing behind who threatened to unbalance
concentrated, with no strength left to talk or joke,
this was fucking hard work, but he needed to get Dan
out of the way - far enough that the man had a chance
to heal up, gather strength, and fight another day.
was almost nightfall when Vadim found what he'd been
looking for. Another karez system, which meant water,
and the ramshackle hut of a long dead goat herder built
almost into the rock. The most sheltered position he
could think of, and one much better suited for a wounded
checked the hut for boobytraps, but nothing. He dropped
Dan's bergan. "Home sweet home, eh, Dan?"
said nothing, had no strength left, none. Had been walking
on autopilot and whatever reserves his already depleted
body had found somewhere; somewhere in that place that
separated a mere man from a Special Forces soldier.
He nodded, slowly, then dropped to his knees once in
the hut, sliding to the side until he ended up on the
just sitting there, staring at his shaking hand, it
took all of his willpower to lift his head. "If
," even talking was hard work, "
I won't notice." Wasn't what he wanted to say,
but grammar, vocabulary and all the other fancy schmancy
shit was far out of his reach. "Just sleep."
One more slow nod, and a smile. Boyish, almost. No smirk,
nor grin, just that smile. Purely Dan, and nothing else.
flashed a smile, too, couldn't help it, the way Dan
blurred the syllables was touching in an odd way. Like
Nikolai. Nikolai could fall asleep in his breakfast.
Five year old son. Afghanistan just ate the time. The
kids grew up without him. Vadim glanced around the hut,
checked the roof to think something else. Looked alright.
Looked at Dan again.
make it." Dan slid fully onto his side, just dropped
there, on the ground, and closed his eyes. "Thanks
to you, Russkie." Was asleep the next second.
stood there for a few minutes, jaw muscles tight. He
unpacked Dan's stuff, sorted out blankets for him, and
placed him on the makeshift 'bed', set up wood and matches
for a fire, didn't light it, though, dug out a place
where Dan could piss and shit, all in the falling darkness,
set up water and food, left him with pills and canteen
within reaching distance.
hurt leaving him behind. Hurt entrusting him to that
savage god and his 'holy warriors' that thought nothing
of skinning Soviet prisoners alive. He set up a simple
trap with a piece of wire, hoped anybody stepping in
would trip and make noise to give Dan a chance to wake
up. Then glanced at Dan, crouching beside him for a
long time. Dark hair. Didn't want to wake him, and thus
didn't touch him.
it was hard to not regret that on the way back, to his