1987, Great Britain
Dan had been out of the hospital no more than a day
before they called him in. He'd expected that, since
he'd sent his PVR, the request for Premature Voluntary
Release, off to his unit barely a week after the surgery,
and they wouldn't have wasted even a day.
hauled him in, to stand - or limp - his ground in front
of his CO and a panel, deciding if they let him out
in six weeks flat or if they made his life hell by delaying
anything they could before they had to let him go after
paying a fee for the privilege. Complete with pension
for twelve years service, despite his twenty years in
If he survived until fifty-five. If. Good question.
felt uncomfortable in the bog standard uniform, but
figured he'd be worse off in his No2s. Should be thankful.
The green beret itching above his ear, and the camo
set of tunic and trousers felt restricting. Perfectly
ironed creases in his kit, but why the fuck would he
need that? Where was the point in shiny brass buckle
and smartly worn webbed belt; why the bulling of boots
and the need for roll-your-fucking-sleeves-up on such
and such a date and button-your-fucking-sleeves-down
on another, regardless of climate or temperature. Pathetic.
be dead if he'd followed the rules of the drill-book.
could hardly remember the last time he'd been in full
kit, felt as if he was wearing a uniform that was alien
to him with its badges, rank-slide and flag, when there
was a string of lapis lazuli prayer beads in one trouser
pocket. Rank, it had never meant much, not out there
in the field, let alone in the endless mountains. Rank,
to him, meant nothing but a difference in wages, and
wages didn't mean much either. No chance to spend it,
and the money invested in houses for rent, so Dan had
the luxury of not giving a damn.
was called into the room at last, stood leaning on his
crutches, saluted the CO and his cronies. Realising
he had a hard time accepting authority as easily as
he used to in a former life. A life, before he'd vanished
into the mountains to become part of yellow-red dust
and infinite skies.
asked him if it was true he wanted to resign his position
and leave Her Majesty's Armed Forces prematurely.
Sir." Dan stood at ease, legs braced, weight on
the crutches. Didn't matter he was in pain, and that
they offered him a chair, he preferred to stand. The
whole circus seemed more bearable that way. Felt like
the protagonist in a freak show, because this place
wasn't his world anymore, he'd been on his own for too
long and he'd got too close to the enemy.
questioned him akin to an interrogation, the why and
wherefore, the reasons and the consequences. A whole
hour of cross-examination, during which he eventually
sat down. Their worries were obvious: an SAS soldier,
behind enemy lines for years, in close contact with
Afghan militants, training Mujahideen and working with
dangerous to let a man like him go, but they had nothing
to hold against him. SSgt McFadyen's slate was clean.
Model soldier, a chest that glittered with medals and
awards that spoke of his exploits, but none could ever
replace the vastness of the Afghan sky, the majesty
of barren mountains and the touch of a Soviet soldier.
The smell and taste of his 'enemy's' body, and the way
Vadim kissed him and made him human. His home. Afghanistan
was his home.
my home. I will find you.
I have made my decision. It is time for me to leave
pleaded with him that he would throw his pension away,
had to wait until he was fifty-five before he received
anything, unlike if he stayed for twenty-two years,
and he should know the statistics. His chances to ever
reach that age were slim, he should not be such a fool,
and they would find a cushy job for him for his remaining
two years. Dan listened, but he had made his decision.
Nothing could change his mind, nothing except
are you willing to send me back to Kabul?"
answer was negative but Dan showed no reaction. No flinch,
not a word of protest. He'd tried all of that before,
when he'd received his orders: desk job, possibly training
recruits, but never again posted abroad, let alone to
Kabul. No active service anymore. He belonged to the
scrapheap after they'd cut open his knee, drilled into
cartilage and worked on the joint. The British Forces
were thankful for his loyal twenty years of service
and Her Majesty would send him home with a good pension
in two years' time. The British legion would even fight
for him to get an additional, invalided pension, for
the damage to his knees in the course of duty.
didn't have any other plans than going back to Afghanistan,
hoping Vadim was still alive. Dan had a vague idea where
to find a job, but no definite leads. He was good, damn
good at what he was doing and he would figure out how
to earn his keep. Bodyguard, he could do that one-handed
and earn shitloads of money for easy work. Or merc,
dog soldier for anyone willing to pay for his expertise,
as long as it was in Afghanistan. He'd get fit, sit
out the six weeks of PVR, hand in his military ID and
then get his arse back to Kabul as soon as possible.
find Vadim. It was all that mattered.
was less a question of luck than one of knuckling down.
Dan was grazing his contacts, checking with old mates,
listening to the grapevine, and looking out for opportunities
for old battle horses like him. Turned out his best
bet was bodyguard, or 'close protection' as they called
it these days. Not just a way back into a job for him,
but a much better paid one to boot. No endless ranks
of superiors, no uniform, but neither medals. Only one
boss, and the target to keep his employer alive at all
costs. Sounded good to him, straightforward. As long
as it took him back into Kabul.
six weeks in Blighty dragged on, but at least he didn't
have to stay in camp even though he couldn't leave the
country. The MoD might require his presence while the
PVR paperwork was going through. Still a soldier, but
no longer in uniform. Dan visited his brother, organised
finances and paid his duties to the remaining family,
all the time itching to get away as soon as possible.
all felt wrong. He didn't belong there, was tired of
deflecting questions about settling down and when he
was going to be too old for this life of adventure and
adrenaline, and if he were ever going to find himself
a wife. No fucking way Dan could tell them he was gay,
any possible connection to the Soviet army far too dangerous.
Especially for Vadim.
asked for a temporary room in the Mess, too antsy to
travel around the country, and too busy with rehab and
physio, working on regaining his strength. Spent his
days in the gym, tried not to overdo it, eager to burn
off the excess energy that was coursing through his
veins. Afghanistan. Kabul. Vadim. Trapped in goddamned
Britain, in a sardine-tin sized room in a concrete barracks
day he handed in his military ID, Dan made a tick in
his mental calendar, then got himself the earliest civilian
flight he could catch. His luggage the customary bergan
and a couple of bags, laden down with his few worldly
possessions of clothes, cash, and whatever kit he could
take with him. The rest was food, drink, medication
and utilities. Every damned bit of usefulness that would
keep and be appreciated.
was late October when Dan finally took his seat in the
plane on the last leg of his journey, after he'd left
Kabul in May.
a year. Six fucking months. Would his Russkie even be
sun was gleaming over Kabul when Dan stepped out of
the plane, gathering his bags. A brand new thick ski
jacket over his arm, late October was pleasantly cool
in the day, but he'd need the warmth soon enough. He
shouldered the heavy bergan, took hold of the two bags,
squinting into the sun before dropping one of the bags
to fish for his polarised shades. He'd followed a tip
from a mate, found the useful gear in a tackle shop,
and was the proud owner of two pairs of black-rimmed,
reflecting shades that made him stand out of the crowd
far more than his natural height and built ever could.
Didn't matter anymore, no need to blend in. Dan slipped
the shades over his eyes, scratched the stubble on his
chin and lifted his face to grin into the sun. He was
a civilian. No more, no less. No soldier, no enemy,
no SAS. Just a goddamned civilian.
bags back in his hands, he made his way into the centre
of Kabul in a 'taxi'. Finding a room was the most urgent
thing, but Dan still knew enough people who'd be able
to find him a place that even had running water - most
of the time - a bed, a chair and a table, as well as
sufficient exits, shuttered windows and lockable door,
to be as safe a bolt-hole as it could be. It took him
no more than a couple of hours before he'd found exactly
what he needed, one of the former safe houses from long
ago. He had a quick shave, locked his possessions away,
stashed the cash on his body and rushed towards the
tea house. Hoping it hadn't been bombed to shit.
city was quiet, it was still Ramadan, and the chaikhana
was there, as was the owner, who greeted him like a
long lost friend, welcoming Dan back into the place
with the offer to wait for baklava and sweetened tea,
to be consumed after sunset, but Dan declined, wanting
to know only one thing:
Russian. The Soviet soldier, the man who had been frequenting
the tea house for as many years as Dan had.
security hole, no doubt, but if the owner hadn't talked
for six years, why the hell should he now. Dan's Pushtu
felt rusty at first, but he got back into the language
as quickly as he'd slipped back into his skin in Kabul.
He was home. For now. As fucking ridiculous as that
sounded. Home. Where the heart was.
owner nodded, eager to help and knowing he would get
rewarded in return, he told Dan what he knew about the
Soviet's schedule. Two Saturdays in the month the blond
man could be found at a place - a hotel - in the city,
nearby. Saturday. The second and the last one. The second,
exactly the day that it was right now.
could hardly force himself to stay a second longer.
He wanted to run, see, find, to be, but the owner's
last words came crashing down like a ton of bricks.
The message was four months old. Four fucking months.
The whole world could have gone to shit in the meantime
and Dan wouldn't even know about it.
string of lapis lazuli prayer beads flashed around his
wrist when he rummaged in his shirt pockets for some
dollar notes, appreciating the welcome, but he shrugged
off the last of the well meaning comments. No, he had
not become a Muslim, and no, he was not here to pray,
but yes, he could not let go of Afghanistan. Promising
he would, before Eid and the end of Ramadan, return
to the tea house to take part in iftar, the breaking
of the fast, with the owner and his sons.
US dollars and a promise later, Dan more ran than walked
towards the ramshackle hotel that Vadim might possibly
be in. The sun was setting, but Dan didn't feel the
creeping cold. All he could think of was Vadim. He found
the building, but the moment he stood in the entrance,
forced to negotiate with a native who demanded to know
what he wanted, he didn't know what to ask for. Was
it safe to mention Vadim? Fuck.
knew he was drinking too much. Only ever off duty, but
hardly a free hour he didn't spend in a drunken stupor
when nothing else dulled the pain. He was recovering
on duty while doing his paperwork, the routine mind-numbing,
painfully boring, and it left too much time to think
about things, too much time for missing and longing,
and consequently, he was half-drunk when working out,
and stone drunk afterwards, dulling everything, pain,
boredom, and longing with vodka.
superior had politely enquired whether he was having
problems in his marriage, and there had been a hilarious
moment when Vadim had thought about telling him, that
yes, it had been forever since he'd seen his lover,
but he just managed to hold back and brood instead of
spilling the dirty secret. They didn't know him like
that. He partied like they did, but they could tell
he had crossed the line. The spetsnaz was losing it.
Afghanistan wore even men like him down. Some, thought
Vadim, likely felt relief at the fact that even he had
hotel had become a habit. Originally, he'd planned to
find a way to blow off steam, find an Afghan who'd take
it up the ass from a Soviet oppressor, a male whore.
He knew there had to be people like that, but he couldn't
work out how to ask for it, and when he did, he pulled
back. Too dangerous. Officer, major, fuck you, Vadim,
don't. You don't want an Afghan. He'd very briefly considered
a comrade, but he had no taste for violence. That was
over, something he'd done as a younger man, more reckless,
with nothing to lose.
rent always the same room, twice a month, to sleep somewhere
that was not the barracks, as if pretending he was still
seeing Dan - and 'seeing Dan' sounded like dating, when
there were no words for what they did, only that sickening
feeling of loss. He'd eat, in silence, and drink, in
silence, and eventually collapse on the bed, so exhausted
and so drunk he didn't even think, or miss, just endured
the time as it was slowly grinding him down. Couldn't
be bothered, couldn't care, all the carefully drilled-in
paranoia about insurgents wanting to earn the money
on his head. No avail, felt directionless and hopeless,
and would recover enough the next day to return to the
barracks. It had become a way to get out for a little,
pretend there were still options. But without Dan, there
was nothing, just the army, and he was sick of that.
Tired. So fucking tired.
was getting cold, and Vadim lay there, his great woollen
coat draped across him. Not heavy enough to pretend
it was an arm, or even just a hand. He lay on his stomach,
feeling cold, but too drunk to move. Too drunk to miss.
decided to just ask, straightforward. Figured if he
had anything to lose then it was Vadim's safety, but
he couldn't lose that, for if his Russkie was in this
shambles of a hotel, then he'd already lost his sense
of healthy paranoia anyway. Dan confused himself with
his arguing, consequently almost staggered backwards
when the answer was a simple "yes". The Soviet
soldier was here, like he had always been, without so
much as a single fail, for the last five or six months.
took two steps at once, forgot the pain in his knee,
remainders of the recent surgery, and ran upstairs to
the room, as if chased by Baba Yaga herself, or a whole
bunch of irate insurgents. Then stopped, stalled, careful.
He knew Vadim, he'd barricade himself for safety. Knocked,
called out the other's name and hoped to hear his voice
- but nothing. Dan frowned, tried the handle, cautiously
staying out of the firing line, expecting at least a
chair to be wedged underneath, but nothing. The door
simply opened into a dingy room, as grimy as any of
the ones they'd ever met in, and his eyes fell onto
the bed. Right there, in front of his eyes, while the
smell of cheap vodka hit his senses. A Soviet greatcoat
draped across the bed and the shape of a man underneath.
Tall body, still. Sleeping? Blond hair, short-shaved,
not a stir, no reaction. Closing the door behind him,
Dan pulled the only chair close, wedged it beneath the
door handle, where it should have been when he'd entered.
opened his mouth, wanted to say the name again, but
stood without a sound. Remained at the foot of the bed,
staring down at the man who seemed passed out. He couldn't
move, frozen, when an onslaught of images, thoughts
and sensations battered his senses. He wanted everything.
All of it at once. To touch, hold, kiss, fuck, feel
the skin, arms and hands and limbs, lips and words,
breath and feeling. All of it. And he did nothing. Couldn't
move. Wanted too much.
Name and voice. Not 'Vadim Petrovich'. Not a superior.
Not an enemy. Vadim opened his eyes, bleary, feeling
still dulled and uncaring, not sure what the disturbance
was about. Felt how cold his face was, and his hands,
also sticking out under the coat. Back in Russia?
glanced over his shoulder. Vision blurred. Dark haired
But Dan. Back, finally, back.
hand reached out. "Come
was thawed from his frozen state by Vadim's voice. Alive.
Reaction, and the absurd thought crept into his mind
that for a split second he must have been worried that
the man beneath the coat was dead.
took a mere couple of steps before he sat on the bed,
looked at the face, and no more than another intake
of breath before he bent down, his hand in Vadim's cold
one, and his lips found the stubbly cheek before sliding
down towards the mouth. Kissing and tasting. Fuck. Bliss.
Letting out a strangled sound.
found it hard to turn over, dizzy with alcohol, disoriented,
head swimming, and he thought, fuck, what a disgrace,
he's back and I'm fucking drunk, worse than a sailor
back on land the first night. He felt shame, oddly intense,
stretched to get more lips, more Dan, turning around
and to pull him closer. "You're good. I knew."
Just grateful. He'd been worried Dan might not have
made it, hadn't woken up from the operation, had died
in a car crash, or found somebody English over in his
country to sleep with, somebody who wasn't married,
wasn't an enemy, and wouldn't return to Russia in what?
A couple years?
Dan murmured against Vadim's skin and lips, "of
course I am. Told you I'd be back, that I'd find you."
He could smell and taste the booze and the desperation.
Sliding fully onto the bed, he burrowed under the coat
to be as close as he could. Fully clothed, just like
the other, but he could feel the body and the man in
traces." Vadim murmured. Sharing warmth?
It wasn't that simple anymore. He should pull himself
together, and banter, but he was too drunk for words,
almost too dulled for thoughts. "You know your
recce, and I
I know you know." He gave a
grin, felt absurdly happy in Dan's embrace, warm body,
warm, firm, alive body. He pressed his forehead against
Dan's chest, breathed in. Yes. Glanced up again, eyes
blurred, and he blinked, a reflex more than pride.
smiled, hiding the niggling feeling of worry. The man
in his arms, the drunken, dejected soldier, was not
the Vadim he knew. "You look like shit, Russkie."
Murmured, before kissing those lips again.
opened up to the lips, thought, fuck, he was too drunk
to get aroused, well, could always get fucked, it wasn't
important, important was to have Dan back. "Charming
told you many times before, I resemble that remark."
Dan chuckled quietly before he fell silent, kissing,
feeling those lips open up against his own and the invitation
was too welcome to resist. Fuck the taste of vodka,
didn't matter, just the heat, as his tongue slipped
between teeth and joined once more into the intimate
dance he had rediscovered only such a short time ago.
hand slid up Dan's hand, over his shoulder, to his neck,
not sure why, to pull Dan close or to steady himself,
to feel Dan's strength, to get more touch. Kissing,
felt uncoordinated, dreamlike, easy, much easier and
less self-conscious than before.
broke the kiss after what seemed forever, looking at
Vadim while his hand roamed up and down the back, their
bodies pressed together. He was hard, of course, he'd
been wanking for too many months, but felt no arousal
in return. "What the fuck happened to you while
I was gone?"
duty. Duty and drinking." Vadim shook
his head, slowly, realised he should pretend he was
alright. He was, now, nothing else mattered. He'd found
a state without pain at the bottom of a bottle, and
how disgraceful was that. "Sorry. Should
not. But easier this way."
understand." Just that. Their lives did shit to
them, turned them inside out and left them raw at the
seams, unravelling. He could see the loss of focus in
the pale eyes, the dizzy expression of a drunken man.
Some things were easier without feeling them, and what
did he know about feeling anyway. No family, no wife,
no kids, no worries, except for one: if Vadim was still
gave a wry grin at that, his pride stirred, spetsnaz,
pride of the Soviet army, he should, really should try
and give a semblance of control, of being sober, of
deserving that reputation. But it didn't matter. Right
now, he had to prove nothing. Dan did understand.
didn't know what else to say, couldn't offer words that
would make anything better, so he just said the first
thing that came to his mind. "I left the army.
I'm not a soldier anymore, no enemy. Just a fucked up
civilian. Fancy that, eh?" His toneless chuckle
ghosted across Vadim's face as his lips touched the
stubbly skin again. So much for sex and fucking, but
damn, it didn't even really matter. He'd had six months
to think, a long time to understand about love.
good. You made it out alive. That's very good."
Vadim gave a broad, happy grin, as if he was still a
young officer, and his best friend had just made another
lations. You can have
peace and no
ah, like, rations.
As much time in tea houses as you
ran his fingers over the goofy smiling face which made
him grin. "Not quite. I came here to get a job,
was thinking of close security. I have a few leads.
Anything, really, as long as it's here."
leaned his head against the touch, didn't quite get
guard? Why? It's nicer in London.
Better food. Weather, too."
would you know about London?" Dan chuckled, wondered
what they told the Soviets about foreign countries.
Food, and most of all the weather, were legendarily
bad. "You're in Kabul, not London or anywhere else.
"Besides, I can earn shitloads of money as a bodyguard."
That's good. Money's good." Vadim didn't get it.
Who could or would pay that much? The warlords? Maybe.
All the opium money had to go somewhere.
other hand slid down to the small of Vadim's back, making
its way through the layers of clothing, to find some
skin. Vadim shifted closer, chest to chest with Dan,
felt the hand touch his back, and he gave a drunken
grin again. "'s alright, won't fall asleep when
you fuck me. You want to, aye?"
do." Fuck, yes, any second, minute, hour, day,
Dan had been thinking about this, "of course I
do." Craving the heat and strength. "But not
when you're this fucked." Dan's lips quirked into
a grin. "I heard it's better to fuck someone when
they're not quite passed out drunk."
still talking", murmured Vadim. "Still 'round."
A searching, eager, almost childlike uncoordinated kiss
to Dan's chin, corner of his mouth, then, full on target.
Not great at seduction at the best of times, and these
weren't. Hand sliding down to Dan's chest, stomach,
resting there for a moment as if he had forgotten about
it while trying another kiss. "Still
you do." Dan grinned, moved his head a fraction,
in sync with the searching lips, until they hit their
target with every single attempt. "But I know a
better way to get the edge off
his tongue back between Vadim's lips. "For now."
Vadim didn't know what Dan was getting at, trusted the
man to make the right decision, whatever Dan said or
wanted, it would be alright. Kissed back, the dreamlike
quality of blurred reality, only it was strange all
this kissing, things would go different in a dream,
more like he knew it.
wanted Vadim like he always had, with full force and
the whole hog, and if he couldn't have that now he'd
get it later. His free hand found skin between the layers
of cloth and he shifted his weight, pressing closer
in the movement, until he freed his other hand, fiddling
with his own trouser buttons.
noticed the need and still somehow had the idea Dan
would do something to him and whatever it was, it was
welcome. If anything, his own fault he couldn't get
an orgasm out of it, self-inflicted loss. Hand around
Dan's shoulder, other hand touching skin, stomach muscles,
Dan shifting, brushing his cock. Vadim wasn't sure he
could give head right now, mostly because he lacked
focus and Dan's tongue was between his lips, and he
gave a snort at that thought, reaching down to Dan's
cock and balls, squeezing both.
was rewarded with a small sound, caught in Vadim's mouth.
Dan's tongue delving deeper, with a pent-up greed that
sought its release, while he pushed his fly open, commando
as usual. It was different this time, better, even though
it was still his own hand that stroked his cock. Held
close, kissed readily - drunken or not, hand and cock
trapped between their bodies, it made everything more
intense, and so goddamned right. Stroking himself, with
the same efficient movements as usual, Dan broke the
kiss for a moment to gasp out, "fucking missed
you like hell."
smiled, pulled Dan closer, he wasn't weak, just unfocused,
and kissed Dan's face and throat and neck, sucking on
the flesh like he hadn't been able before, but wanted,
not biting, kissing and sucking, with only a promise
of teeth. Wanted to shed the uniform so Dan could come
against him, loved the heat of Dan's cock against his
stomach. "You were gone
lips parted, breathing harsher, faster, and his eyes
half-closed. Just like the way he jerked himself off,
and yet it was different. His fingers splayed across
the small of Vadim's back, digging hard into muscle
and flesh, while his hand moved ever harder. "Fucking
" panted, each word carried on
another quick breath, "not keeping me
" The next word never followed, he was too
close, too fast, shifting his hips towards the bed,
and he came into the grubby clothes instead of Vadim's
uniform. Groaning when he toppled over, he bit his own
lip before he found the other's again, teeth clashing,
ecstasy tinged with hunger and too much greed.
gave as good as he got, sluggish, slow, but responding
to Dan's kisses, getting very much into the kissing
thing that Dan did. Felt good, felt nice, a great way
to spend time, really. Dan's stubble, Dan's breath,
Dan's smell, everything about him so close to the dreams
and memories. He leaned back, feeling dizzy, and grinned,
lips open and raw. "Yes. Fucking army. You. Here.
's all good." Smiled because he was happy, just
that, just a man at peace. "You there, tomorrow?"
couldn't quite answer yet, flat out for a while longer,
just lying and grinning like a fool, while wiping his
hand on the cloth, the other still pressed into Vadim's
back. Cracking one eye open at last, confronted with
that happy smile. He shook his head while drawing in
breath, waiting for his heartbeat to calm. "I'm
here whenever, now." Grinning, reluctant to move,
"whenever you have time. No more insurgents for
me." His lips tingled from the ferocious kissing,
scraping against stubble and clashing with teeth. Almost
raw, just like he felt inside at times. Raw and open
with those feelings that he'd first understood in a
cave, less than a year ago.
good." No more worries. No more fear to see Dan's
kit show up on the black market. No more turkeys that
could be Dan. And - more time. Always greedy for something
that they had no command over, where and how they spent
their life. He'd finally have an 'Afghan sweetheart
waiting for him in Kabul' - how very ironic, but at
least it wasn't treason anymore. Dan might have a house,
a proper house. A place to cook, and to be safe. For
closer once more, Dan placed a light kiss onto Vadim's
chin. Damn, that kissing stuff was bloody addictive,
same with the touching, the holding, and of course the
fucking. "Right now, though, I'll be leaving you
for a short while, have to get a few things. Don't think
you're up for a wander around Kabul." Dan chuckled
quietly, "You sleep the worst off and I'll be back."
pretty wasted." Vadim smirked, looking oddly
smug in his sleepy drunk way. "Prefer to stay here,
words, Russkie." Dan had to grin at the way Vadim
had got used to saying 'aye'. A Soviet Scots, just what
he needed. "You're a security hazard at the moment."
am. I'm fucking deadly." Vadim gave another grin.
right now in your fucking dreams, mate." Dan placed
another kiss onto the sleepy-smug face, rolled over,
and covered the wet patch with a piece of the bedclothes
that were soiled anyway. The room was getting colder,
and Dan looked around as he sat, closing his trousers.
His jeans snug and worn, comfortably soft, with the
back pocket holding his fag packet in a faded rectangle,
indicating its customary place. Lighting a cigarette,
Dan glanced down at Vadim, inhaling deeply, before blowing
the smoke the other way. Strange, how he'd got into
the habit of keeping his fags away from the other, and
he grinned at that snippet of cosy familiarity. "Got
a fireplace in this room?" There should be a stove,
but he hadn't spotted it, and the single light bulb
gave nothing but a feeble glow. How apt, it illuminated
Vadim, nothing else.
Corner." Vadim glanced to the right - towards a
metal monstrosity made from welded pipe and scrap metal.
"Can't get it going. Guess needs to be cleaned.
Can't be arsed." He pulled his coat up to his chin,
and pulled his legs closer. Glanced at the red dot that
gave Dan's position away, smell of smoke noticeable,
but Vadim didn't mind.
brows rose. It was one thing to get wasted regularly,
when the fucked-up war ate away body and soul, but another
to not care anymore about the bare necessities. He pulled
in another drag, deep into his lungs, until he could
feel the nicotine tickle the capillaries, before he
stood, walking over to the stove. There was food, some
kindling, but he'd be buggered if he could make out
how to get that thing going without more light. Turning
back round, he idly scratched the scar in his face while
finishing off the fag. His face in the dim light, the
rest of his body in shadows. "I'll see what I can
do, but I have to grab some stuff first. You take care,
and don't let any strangers in." Flashing a toothy
grin, which rapidly warped into a frown. The door had
been open when he'd come in, and Vadim had been passed
out. Fuck. Oh fuck.
do." Vadim shifted a little, as if to find the
best position to continue sleeping, and seemed happy
to lie half twisted on his stomach, hands and feet under
the coat, head drawn in, and just closed his eyes. Like
there were no enemies, nobody in the world could possibly
want him dead, and not a care in the world. The end
of paranoia, of soldiering. Too drunk.
." Dan murmured, threw the cigarette butt
to the floor and stubbed it out, whispered: "What
the fuck happened to you, Vadim." He saw how Vadim's
face softened and his body slackened, asleep within
seconds. Anyone could walk in and kill him, or worse,
sell him to one of the warlords. A Soviet officer, his
hide would be worth skinning alive. Dan swallowed, some
things remained unbearable, even after all he'd done
and - worst of all - seen.
into his thick jacket, Dan searched for a key, anything
to make the room safer while he was gone, and found
it still in the lock, inside. Damned if it was safe
to lock Vadim in, but twice damned if it wasn't even
more dangerous to leave him like that. Shaking his head,
he noticed the lack of hair again, still short from
hospital and army barracks. Taking the chair, Dan locked
the door on his way out and placed the chair right in
front, half-leaning, hoping anyone careless enough would
at least make some noise as they bumped into the chair.
Key pocketed safely, he stopped the hotel owner who
was lingering at the entrance in front of a fire, demanding
to know how to get the stove going for a few dollars
that he slipped into a greedy hand. No one was to enter
that room, no one, and if anyone asked for the Soviet
soldier, the owner should know nothing about it. If
all was well when Dan returned there'd be more dollars,
because he would stay and there'd be no trouble. Money,
damned money, it bought him everything he needed. Food,
drink, shelter, and
city was dark, but remarkably lively, now that sun had
set and iftar was taking place. People were roaming
the streets under the watchful eye of the Soviet army,
its soldiers even more twitchy and nervous as ever before.
Dan knew why, this 'war' could not be won, by no one,
and they'd been losing it from the very beginning. 'When
the battle's lost and won' came to his mind from school
days long ago, and he snorted to himself as he hurried
through the streets. Wrapped into the dark blue jacket,
providing warmth for a cold October night in Kabul.
took him no more than a few minutes to get his bags
from the room he'd found, took all the items he had
carefully chosen, back in Blighty, and stuffed some
more of the food on top of it. Untying the rolled-up
sleeping bag from his bergan, he shouldered bag, grabbed
his heavy torchlight, and hurried back out, buying bottled
water on the way. Over-priced, but worth the safety.
Dan returned to the hotel, the owner was in the exact
same spot as before, waiting for his promised dollars,
which were exchanged with a bundle of fire wood. Dan
made the man swear once more, with the added force of
a few choice threats in Pushtu, not to let anyone know
about the Soviet officer and the dark haired Westerner.
Taking the stairs two at a time, relieved to find the
chair in exactly the same position, Dan knocked on the
door before unlocking it, wary in case his Russkie had
woken and regained some of his senses. He wasn't keen
on having his brains blown away because of a drunken
though. The room was as quiet as and even colder than
before, the single light bulb illuminating the still
figure beneath the coat. Dan pulled the chair inside,
locked the door, wedged the chair under the handle and
finally dropped all of his bags. Standing at the foot
of the bed he looked down at the motionless body. Nothing
on show, except for the blond, shaved head and one hand,
curled up into a fist. He grinned, the odd sensation
of tenderness so new, unused and unknown to him, it
made him shake his head and mutter to himself "fool,"
before throwing the brand new lightweight sleeping bag
heard the sound of wood on wood - one hand crept to
the pistol under the pillow as he peered through one
eye, still drunk, but as the cover descended upon him,
his lips moved into a lazy smile. Dan. No dream. Would
have been a strange dream, anyway. Dreams about sex
usually played out in a way that he got something out
of it, too. Apparitions didn't just show up to kiss
him, jerk off and then leave. Meant that this was the
genuine thing. "How long
long, what, princess?" Dan grinned, stooped to
pick up torch and bundle of fire wood, to work on the
concoction that was meant to be a stove. He'd be buggered
if he didn't get that thing going.
took Vadim a moment or two to put the sentence together.
been here." He blinked, saw Dan's
ass as Dan bowed down and thought this was a nice way
of waking up, even if he was in no state to take advantage.
as in Kabul or Afghanistan or this room?" Dan craned
his head backwards, flashed a grin, while crouched in
front of the stove, trying to figure out a few particularly
nonsensical parts by poking around inside.
else strange, Vadim wondered. Yes. Dan clean. Clothes,
non-native, not his usual 'clobber' as he called it.
Vadim released the pistol and pulled his hand back.
"And how did you find me?"
looking back this time, Dan's voice sounded strained
as he reached forward and upwards, awkward in this position
and in a good measure of pain from that damned knee.
"You think I was in the SAS for twenty years, spending
the last six of them in Afghanistan and more or less
shagging the living daylights out of you, and I didn't
know where to ask first for that crazy-arsed Russian?"
smile grew wider, just enjoying Dan's bent back and
his presence, his being clean, his being there, and
the light-hearted talk. It hurt, gently, to have him
back, like hands warming after the frost, a tingle and
itch and burn. "Aye. Course you could. Would."
He rolled over to the edge of the bed, uncovering himself
halfway, but that didn't matter, reached out and touched
Dan's back, tracing the spine under the warm jumper.
He couldn't reach further than the place between the
rolled his head, still working, smoothly curving his
back under the touch, like a cat moving into a stroking
hand. "Keep that up and we'll never have a fire."
Chuckling, while Vadim's hand paused, but didn't leave
its place. Dan was rewarded a moment later when the
first flames sprang to life under his hands, swiftly
eating away at the wood, growing and demanding further
you go. Should be warmer soon." Dan cleaned his
hands by clapping them together and turned, the hand
falling off his back in the process. Groaning when he
got up from his crouch. "Fuck, I'm rather stiff,
and it's not my cock."
glanced up at him, still smiling. So fucking happy to
have him back. The only thing that mattered, the one
thing that kept him going, and the one thing that could
make him forget all the gloom. "Cold, eh? Share
can fucking bet on it." Chucking some more wood
into the fire, Dan bent down. "But first this,"
heaving the stuffed bag onto the bed, right into Vadim's
hands. "Yours. Unwrap it. I declare it Christmas
tonight." Sitting down on the edge of the bed to
light a fag.
I thought you were present." Vadim gave a soft
sound when he felt the weight, and struggled a bit to
sit up, back resting against the head of the bed, pulling
and pushing his body into position. Hand resting on
the bag, he grinned at Dan. "Please, no more peanut
butter. I'll tell everything."
pulled his face into a mock frown. "Here I am,
thirty-eight years old, bringing my lover presents,
and he is mocking me!" Placing his hand on his
heart he tried a theatrical groan but ended up in a
cocky grin instead. Realising that same moment he'd
not even stumbled over the word 'lover', let alone the
concept. Six months were a long time, stuck in hospital
and rehab, mulling over and in the end accepting what
had happened to them.
Vadim paused, drunk mind reeling. Afghan sweetheart.
Yes. But Dan just saying it like this? It was strange,
strange and unknown. That word didn't feature when they
talked. Didn't. Couldn't. Never had. Too drunk to think
clearly. Maybe Dan was drunk too. He peered at him questioningly.
I convincing?" Dan grinned.
shook his head, ignored his own question and took a
drag, holding the fag out of the way, he waved towards
the bag. "Go on, you need some food, and I'm bloody
starving as well."
fingers found the laces, pulled them loose and opened
the bag. The survival collection didn't change; bandages,
medical gear, food, yes, even the mock-dreaded peanut
butter bars, which were more than welcome. As usual
condoms, lube, whisky. All welcome, necessary, needed
and sparse indeed. "No longer treason for you,
but even if it were, I never gave a shit when it came
to this stuff." Dan offered a grin, which turned
into a smile, swiftly aborted with another drag from
his cigarette. The smell of nicotine and burning firewood
filled the small, rapidly warming room.
placed the lube on the bed, the whisky, the packed meat
and cheese and crisp bread. Glanced at Dan, giving him
a smile, found it hard to say thank you, somehow. The
concern. The care. His face twitched and his dulled
mind wrestled with a way to cover this up. Didn't like
for Dan to see it. "I
OK." Dan made a curt gesture with his hand and
shrugged. "Let's get eating, but no whisky for
you, mate, you'll stick to the water or I'll never get
a decent fuck out of you tonight." Used bravado
and bare-toothed grins to deal with that big, fat, enormous
thing inside. The 'thing' that was new to him and consumed
him inside out. Some men seemed to be slow starters
and he sure as hell was one of them.
No whisky." Vadim laughed, glad Dan had moved away
from the very difficult topic of gifts. Sex, warmth.
Why then were some items like these so important? "Shouldn't
have drunk so fucking much. Send postcard next time,
so I'm sober when you show up, yes?" Vadim set
the bag down and moved towards Dan on the bed, ran a
hand over the stubbly cheek, through the shortened hair.
Saw threads of silver glint in the dark hair, smelt
the smoke on his breath. "Better make it worth
your time, yes?"
swallowed hard. Since when had a simple touch changed
its meaning, taken on gravity and made that 'thing'
inside expand ten times, constricting his throat and
holding his heart in a vice grip. "I'm here."
He cleared his throat, funny how talking was suddenly
difficult, "I found you, just as I promised. That's
worthwhile enough." The cigarette forgotten, burning
down to a stub between his fingers, eating into the
nodded, still close enough to Dan's face to feel his
breath, gazing into the dark eyes, noticing lashes and
veins in the white, the exact curve of eyebrows and
forehead. Pores of his nose, up to where the stubble
reached on the cheeks. Felt like he just couldn't see
enough of Dan, not often enough. "Well, it's for
me, but you seemed
more impatient?" Mocking
him softly for the need, what? An hour ago? Two? Hard
you complain?" Dan smiled, oddly self-conscious
under the scrutiny, "you didn't seem to."
Dropping the butt to the ground, reluctant to move.
grinned. "Sleeping Beauty, aye? You were just caught
up in my male beauty."
," Dan drew out the sound, "passed out,
piss drunk, smelling and tasting of booze. I'd call
that a right old Prince Charming."
as if nervous he could startle the strange new Dan,
Vadim brushed his lips against the other man. Broad
light. Without sex, just so, like in the cave. "I'd
call it test firing gun."
laughed quietly, the sound as warm as the fire in the
metal stove, and as comfortable as the sleeping bag.
"Aye, I did and it worked. Had to make sure."
He lifted his hand, was about to abort the motion it
mid-air, when he smiled and let his fingertips run down
the side of Vadim's face. His own hands less calloused
than usual, blond stubble beneath his fingertips more
intense. "I fucking missed you, Russkie. The bastards
didn't want to send me back. According to them, I belong
to the scrapheap with my knackered knee. Desk job, I
told them to fuck off." His hand was still stroking
with slow, deliberate movements. "Politely, of
course." Vadim breathed a short laugh. He could
imagine. Hardly any chance in arguing with Dan. What
Dan lacked in insight, he had surplus in brazen balls.
"Didn't court-martial you, then? And you left."
Vadim's eyes opened. "You
you know, you're
free. No more freezing up in mountains, no more evading
patrols." No more turkeys, and no more bullets
with your name on them.
quite." Dan shrugged, his hand creeping to the
back of Vadim's neck, resting there, comfortable. "I'm
looking for a job, close security they call it nowadays.
Should be plenty around, here in Kabul. Got a lead,
seems they are looking for some grunts for the newly
installed ambassador in the British embassy." Leaning
forward, he gently head butted Vadim. "Still, sounds
than mountains", agreed Vadim, and smiled, keeping
his forehead right against Dan's. "I'm stationed
here for while. Help retreat. Lots of paperwork. Coordination.
Talking. Will be exercises in spring, but it's just
spending time. No great offensives planned. It's
burning low, fire of this war."
slowly, Dan murmured, "this war's not going to
go on forever
" he didn't want to go there,
couldn't finish the sentence. The end of the war would
be just that - the end of everything. "Still, before
then we have food to eat, booze to drink, and bodies
to fuck, eh?"
inhaled deeply, alcohol loosening the tongue, and thought,
and emotions, it seemed, and he couldn't care. The threat
of some other war was far away, this wasn't quite finished.
He couldn't make plans beyond this war. There was another
rank to climb in the next, what, five or seven years,
or less. "Just
for while yet. Still have
you", he murmured.
as long as this war keeps you here." Dan
frowned. Morose shit and maudlin thoughts, he didn't
need that. Jerking his head back, he shook it vigorously.
leaned back, grinning, tightness and heaviness in his
chest, and made a sweeping gesture to the bergan. "Dish
up." Sounding almost like Dan, from another day,
was glad for the sudden change, threw his rag onto the
bed, pulled out the rest of the food, slicing the packages
open with his favourite knife, and arranged a spread
of meats and cheeses and bread across the rag.
oven was giving off good, solid, living heat, and Vadim
stood to undress facing it, watched by Dan, while allowing
the warmth to wash over his skin, and his face, reddening
from the heat and maybe the strange, and not so strange
thought. Lovers. No longer two men who got off on the
same stuff. Comrades, lovers, even worse. From his lovers
- and they seemed precious few in hindsight - none was
like Dan. As good as Dan. Vadim pulled the shirt free
and rubbed his chest in a strangely self-conscious motion,
then glanced over his shoulder, smiling. "Do you
meet others when you are in London?"
Dan looked up, this was the second time Vadim mentioned
the city. Seemed that foreigners couldn't think of any
other place in Britain than London. "No, I don't
usually go to London. I used to stay in smaller places,
near the barracks, and up to Scotland to visit my brother."
yes, you said. Edinburgh. Place with castle on mountain."
Vadim turned his back towards the oven and opened his
belt. "Small big country."
turned round, shrugging out of his jacket while watching
Vadim intently, whose body had never lost its fascination.
opened the trousers and kept his hands there for a moment.
"You can't do it in army. It's illegal. But outside.
You can. Less hiding." There are gyms and bars
he shook his head. Not allowed. Dan was not
supposed to know about Darren, or Mark, or his trip
to London. Shit.
brows drew together, but the frown vanished before it
could settle. "I guess so." Shutting himself
off from further answer or question by vigorously pulling
the jumper over his head and getting 'stuck' in it for
a long moment.
allowed the trousers to fall and stepped out of them
as he placed his hands on Dan's flanks, just tracing
the lines there, warm skin on warm skin, and a half-drunk,
half tender desire washed away the question, at least
for the moment. Too long, and Dan back. He kissed Dan's
shoulder when it was bared, then his neck.
to break the touch and kiss, Dan sat still for a while,
before pulling the jumper off to drop it behind him.
Looking up, slowly, all the way from the abs across
the chest and pecs, to the face that was looking down
at him. A slow grin began to spread across his face.
"You want to see a seriously cool scar?"
smiled. "If it's in good place?"
tracks along my knee. They don't tend to have knife
wielding Mujas running around in Britain who think that
slashing my face is fun." Dan flashed a wry grin,
working on the buttons of his denims. Fabric so soft
and well worn, it slid smoothly over his hips when he
lifted off the bed, pushing them all the way down to
his ankles, then kicked them off. "See?" Lifting
his knee, the scar ran neatly down the middle. "They
opened it up and drilled holes to make stuff fill back
up again." Grinning, "or whatever else they
tried to explain."
stared at the scar. That looked painful, to say the
least. Nothing small or nice about it. It looked
bad. He reached down to touch the knee. "But you
can use it? I mean, it doesn't hurt?"
a lot better than it was before." Another question
deflected, Dan pointed to his cock, flaccid on his thigh.
"I think there's a scar here
his brows with a cheesy grin.
be interesting to learn how you got it", said Vadim,
you see, there was that Amazonian tribe in the mountains,
all fierce Afghan warrior women, and they were fighting
over me. Their Queen got me by the balls and decided
to mark her property by taking a hefty bite, when just
at that moment a rival clobbered her over the head and
I managed to get away."
gave a laugh, pushed Dan's legs apart and kneeled between
them, hand again touching the scar on that knee, the
strange new trait on Dan's body. Imagining the cut,
and Dan on an operation table, and being thankful it
was only the leg. Drunk enough to not worry overly much,
and clearly drunk enough to not mind Dan's connection
between 'food' and 'cock'. He glanced to the food and
decided it could wait. Lube was close, too. Check.
Russkie, I was just joking. It's technically your turn
to get blown." Not that Dan's protest was more
than a token.
turn?" Vadim rubbed his face against Dan's inner
thigh, right up, until he brushed the cock and balls
with his face. Still felt dulled and lazy, but he'd
get into the spirit, no doubt. Strange to think Dan
kept track of who did what to whom. Vadim didn't. It
was a mood thing - right now, he wanted to give Dan
something. And knowing how much Dan loved to fuck his
throat, and Vadim feeling generous, that was that.
Dan drew in a quick, sharp breath, "theoretically
your turn, but
" His hand was already
in the short-shaved hair, feeling the familiar buzz
on his palm. No longer soft, interest sparked by the
promise of lips and throat. Something he'd come to regard
as a 'treat'. Dan grinned, leaned to kiss Vadim's forehead,
lips moving against skin as he murmured, "Seems
I might be old but not past it yet." Could feel
himself hardening slowly but steadily, without so much
as a touch.
me", said Vadim, moving forward to briefly lick
that swelling head, "what you were dreaming, there.
All that rest, must have been boring." Another
lick, more serious now, well aware of the hand that
could try and force him. But that was always part of
the deal, and he wouldn't mind being forced.
slightly faster breath every time Vadim took a lick,
before Dan answered. "Less dreams than daydreams."
Looking down at his hand, the head, lips, part of the
face. Fingers moving against the short hair. "Your
arse, your throat. In all ways, every way. Your body,
all of it. With time, no threats, and
stalled, second hand creeping to the back of the other's
neck, fingers tightening at the next words, "ropes
and knives, chains
breath caught at the last, at the force he could feel
against his neck. Strong fingers. The promise of strength,
of that edge between pain and naked lust. Yes. That
thought aroused him, body not caring about the caution.
Time. With no threat. They would be able to do things
like Darren and Mark did. Tied down and fucked. He moved
closer, taking Dan between his lips with a sudden hunger
than overrode the teasing. Semi-drunken mind accepting
the images. Tied down, stretched, moaning with pain.
shuddered, felt the sudden hunger, its shift from leisurely
teasing to greed. His fingers tensing, digging harder
into neck muscles, pulling closer, down, making Vadim
take his cock. Deep, better than images and memories.
The goddamned real thing. "I'm gonna fuck your
throat." Pressed out between his teeth. "Coz
I fucking missed you."
Yes. Couldn't have done it before, Vadim thought, now
he could, not with Darren, shit, because Darren had
never beaten him. Never broken him. But he knew the
savage strength in Dan, and that was what made him do
it, again. Not resisting as Dan shoved his head fully
onto his cock, relaxed and accepting. Greedy enough
to take this all the way without panicking, assuming
the faster and harder they did it, the sooner he'd breathe
again. Hands grabbing Dan's legs, pulling him closer
to the edge, falling into a quick, unforgiving rhythm
as if it was him that forced Dan, not the other way
round. Both. Neither.
and need, love and lust, it all came together, and Dan's
mind blanked with every brutal push of almost painful
intensity. He felt as if he could come again and again,
endless orgasms, wherever, whenever and in all eternity.
Losing himself too soon, he gasped and moaned, long
forgotten the cautious silence when he thrust hard,
kept the head locked, convulsing and cumming while feeling
lips against his groin, and a throat frantically gagging
against the intrusion of his cock. "Fuck!"
Dan groaned out, hips bucking, "Fuck, fuck, fuck!"
breath. No air. Body fighting on its own. Vadim couldn't
deny the reflex, the training to stay alive, keep breathing,
and the loss of air and control was a cold blade touching
his brain. Nevertheless. The heat. Heat in his face,
heat everywhere in his mouth, down his throat, running
towards his stomach, burning like vodka. Heat at the
back of his head, holding him, engulfing him, and Vadim
was close to cumming as well, body just doing its thing.
His right hand released Dan's thigh and reached for
his own cock, knew it could be fast, just a few quick
strokes, but right now.
movement of neck and shoulder under his hands brought
Dan partially back to conscious thought. Keeping his
hands where they were, one on the top of Vadim's head,
the other in the back of the neck. Steadying, while
his cock was softening, allowing air. He could hear
the whistling breath and feel the harsh movement of
his Russkie's hand, jerking off.
couldn't think of freeing himself, Dan's grip meant
he was staying right there, as simple as that. Strong
grip, motions not conscious, just doing what needed
doing, feeling his body tense, knees on the floor, taste
and smell of Dan. Dan close, never mind the kneeling,
whatever, didn't care, just took the need and increased
it, pressure already close to boiling, and he came with
a few harsh motions. Eyes closed, trick of the mind,
seeing Dan, feeling and smelling Dan as he did, not
aware at the same time.
when Vadim's shudders subsided and the body stilled,
did Dan let his hands lose tension and slide down, while
keeping contact. Fingers on skin, heat transferred between
palms and body. "Hey, Russkie." Murmured,
as he gazed down onto the other's head.
looked up, raising his head enough to let Dan's cock
slip out, and gave a grin. "Aye? Listening."
He cleared his throat - felt raw, but that was well
worth it. Somewhat self-consciously reaching for the
rag and cleaning himself up, but remaining on his knees.
Dan shrugged and grinned, lopsided. "Just testing
if my voice still works." Allowing his hands to
fall off Vadim's body, he shuffled back on the bed to
fall to the side, supported by his elbow. "You
hungry?" Still grinning, seemed impossible to wipe
it off his face.
Vadim gave a short laugh. "You look well-fucked.
Already." He stood, popping his neck on purpose,
pleased when the tightness left. He motioned to the
food. "And willing to share."
What's that supposed to mean?" Dan arched a brow,
reaching for the knife amongst the food. "That
was number two for me. You try and top that, old man."
disadvantage." Vadim walked
around the bed and sat down heavily, pulled his legs
up and stretching out, head fell to the side to watch
Dan cut up the food. Darkened hand on the gleaming knife.
Cutting. He gave a toneless laugh at the way that fucked
his mind, and moved a bit closer.
up curiously at the way the bed moved slightly, Dan
wondered about the peculiar expression on Vadim's face.
Decided he was seeing ghosts, he stuck pieces of cheese
and ham onto the tip of the blade, holding it out to
the other. "Eat, you might catch me up on my advantage."
Arranging whisky, cheese, salami and bread in front
of him, before tucking in ravenously. Well-fucked, indeed.
Hungry, warm, and plain old satisfied, lying on that
grubby bed in front of his
yeah, shit. Lover.
Dan couldn't help a goofy grin as he looked back up,
watching Vadim chew.
make good porn material, you know."
managed to swallow, but just barely at that, and gave
Dan a surprised stare. "What?"
Dan shrugged, "for me anyway. But judging from
the couple of mags I managed to snatch in a crap porn
shop 'under cover of night', you'd beat any of the so-called
studs on there."
What a ridiculous word. Dan had gone into a porn shop
and bought, yeah, porn. Of course. That stuff was available
in London, he remembered having marvelled at the ease
to get whatever he wanted.
his face with a big piece of cheese, Dan washed it down
with an equally large gulp of whisky. "Let's face
it, Russkie, you're fucking perfect, and I hazard a
guess that you know it."
for the cameras. Good for the clothes. Endearing athlete,
in tight swimming trunks, every muscle taut in his body.
Vadim had never thought about it that way - flesh was
flesh in sports, and had a meaning beyond the jerking
off part. He wondered what people had felt staring at
him. Staring at the fencing lunges performed in the
tight white dress, breeches and socks oddly enhancing
male and female forms. Especially with the coiled up
energy inside. Yes, he was as close to perfection as
he could maintain. An end in itself. Not for anybody
but himself. To intimidate. To keep up appearances in
all ways that mattered.
should have seen me in Montreal."
did. Photos." Dan pushed himself up, sitting on
his hip. Fingers leaving greasy prints on the tin mug
filled with whisky. "How the fuck do you think
I knew who you were? Seven years ago, after Kabul."
Taking a mouthful of single malt, he cherished the taste,
before reaching for his pack of Superkings, tapping
it open and fishing a cigarette out. "Soviet hero.
Athlete, pentathlon, and then elite soldier. When you
finally told me you were spetsnaz you just verified
my suspicions." He lit his fag, taking his time
before exhaling the first plume of smoke. "I never
told anyone." A rueful smile twisted the scare
in his face into shapes of shadow and light.
quite like that. Many of Soviet athletes are soldiers.
All killers. Even women. You make fun of female Soviet
swimmers, but they are lethal. Not pretty. That's not
their job. There's plan behind it. Olympic cadre is
small army in heart of enemy. You wouldn't believe how
much goes on behind scenes." Vadim grinned, but
shook his head. "I liked the mask too much. Delusional.
Never first class athlete. Went into pentathlon because
I wasn't fast enough as swimmer." He gave a snort.
"But first class spetsnaz. Irony, eh?"
than me." Dan shrugged, "I was never anything
but a soldier. No more, no less, and now I'm not even
that anymore. Guess I have to find myself something
else to be first class in." Smoke tendrils curled
out of his nostrils as he chuckled, "what about
first class fuck?"
grinned. "Gold medal in cocksucking? Interesting
idea." Dan laughed and Vadim reached for
some of that cut-up cheese and tossed the bits in, chewing
in between. "Still think, was best time of my life.
Apart from time
here." Touching Dan's arm
briefly. Not here: Afghanistan, but here: with you.
smiled, slowly exhaling smoke, watching the white-grey
plumes waft out of sight. He didn't try to stop himself
this time, touching the no-go subject. "Your family?
What time of your life was
sometimes feel like guest in their life. Russian style
welcome, and heartfelt, part of it,
" Vadim swallowed. The provider. Himself
covered for by the real protector.
Dan stilled, intently watching him. He knew something
about feeling like a stranger in a house and amongst
a family that was his own, but knew nothing about having
a wife, let alone children. Children. Fucking impossible
I should let them go. So Katya's free. So I'm not just
absence in their life." Vadim shook his
head. "I love
them very much, but what father
am I? I'm not much of husband but paying most of bills."
between shaking his head and nodding, Dan was reduced
to asking yet another question. "Why did you marry?
I mean, why did you get her pregnant in the first place?"
Stubbing the fag out on the side of the bed, he let
the butt drop to the floor. "I don't think you
ever told me. I sure as fuck never asked." Did
he sound like a jealous lover? Asking and prying, poking
and pulling at a scab.
with the Hungarian fencer was not option", Vadim
murmured and shook his head. "I married because
she promised to protect me. All I had to be was father
to her child. For fucking career. To stay out of prison.
To have fucking life." Vadim stood, driven up by
what felt like pain, and could just be guilt.
if you hadn't married." Dan didn't move except
for his head. Following Vadim. "And what if the
army hadn't provided conscripts for male flesh and blood,
shook his head. "No idea. Maybe different career.
Maybe just left, gone somewhere else, where it doesn't
matter." Yes, him cutting wood in Siberia. Or something.
Don't kid yourself, Vadim, you don't have the taste
for living rough.
you have deserted? Left the Soviet Union and gone to
a country where it doesn't matter?"
shook his head. "I'd done my two years. But
there's still my father. Extended family. Just running
" so I can fuck men - and be fucked
with no danger. How pathetic. "
choice do I have? All decisions were made long ago.
This way, I could travel. Meet you. That's something."
Vadim looked at Dan on the bed.
another mouthful of whisky, Dan shook his head. "Shit."
Murmured to himself, the again, "shit." Just
Bold-faced lie, "just me being a pathetic poof."
Lips curling into an acidic grin that didn't touch Dan's
eyes. "I just realised something." Downing
all of the whisky that remained in the mug. "You'll
be fucking off back home. Back to the Soviet Union.
Family." Wiping his lips, throat burning, belly
on fire with the liquor. "When this war's over,
so are we. Over." Dan put on a fake smile. "Best
get some food and fucks in before that, aye?"
nodded, speechless for a moment by the ache he felt
at the thought. Could he do that, live with Katya, living
that marriage for the happiness of children - well,
in addition to the worry and the burden, and the hassle.
No sex, no Dan, maybe the occasional high-risk fuck
that Katya arranged for him. Finding a way to do this
in Moscow. How? He had no idea. "Might ask to be
posted somewhere else. German Democratic Republic, maybe.
shook his head, "don't be stupid. Closer or not,
there's the Iron Curtain and they sure as fuck wouldn't
let an ex-SAS soldier through."
enough. And Vadim's credits with the British government
weren't exactly high, either. Unless he did betray his
country. If that offer still stood. But even then, waiting
ten years. Lots of things happened in ten years. He'd
be in his late forties. And waiting for someone else
for ten years happened only in books. Dan would find
another lover, and he'd make do with what he had. Spetsnaz.
Resourceful. Vadim stepped towards the bed again and
placed the fingertips of his left hand on Dan's chest.
"Even if that's
how it ends, I won't forget
Dan's hands suddenly formed fists, slamming down onto
the mattress, food and drink tumbling into a mess. "Don't
say shit like this. It fucking hurts, you get me? Don't
you ever say anything like that again. You know
as much as I do that this will be it. Short of a miracle,
you're bloody stuck in your responsibilities to your
family and country. And I? I'm stuck in the West, paying
for a fuck and imagining every time it was you."
Shit, that was it, and it was too much. Dan jumped off
the bed, taking a couple steps back while shaking his
head. Too much. All wrong. Since when had he turned
into a goddamned drama queen and since when did it all
hurt like such a motherfucker. "Just
holding his hands up, palms out, as if warding of imaginary
don't say shit like that. Let's just
too much. It did. But Vadim couldn't give up his pride,
his integrity, his duty. Turn traitor, for Dan. Vadim
nodded, silent. Hoping Dan would find somebody. Not
yet, not right now. But that it would be only half as
bad as he feared. And that was already pretty bad. "Aye,
handsome stranger. Fancy meeting you here."
Dan nodded, was easier like this. Not talk, just pretend.
Two naked men, two bodies. Whatever else was there did
not matter in the great scheme of things in which they
were both trapped. "You hungry, stranger? For food,
or just another man?"
closed the distance, looked into Dan's eyes from close
enough he could smell him. "First food, then other,
too." He grinned. "What's it going to be?"
now? No promises. I've come twice, you've got to wait."
Dan flashed a grin and it looked almost convincing.
"We've got a few more hours yet." He didn't
wait for a reply, got hold the head in front of him
instead, and pulled Vadim into a kiss. Fierce, ferocious,
all they had was Afghanistan, then he'd make it bloody
days later Dan received an invitation to an interview
at the embassy. Life was moving fast and he was glad,
feeling lost without duties. The army had crept into
his soul: once a soldier, always a soldier.
through the high security gates, Dan looked around,
by no means intimidated by the immaculate garden and
building in a war ravaged country, instead mildly amused.
Expecting no one other than the Iron Lady to cross his
path any moment, as British as any Brit could be, short
of Her Majesty the Queen.
the thoughts of the Prime Minister did not prepare him,
though, for the sight of his prospective future employer
when he was taken into the 'inner sanctuary' for his
interview. HMA M. de Vilde stood for Her Majesty's Ambassador
Margaret de Vilde. Baroness de Vilde, in fact, and an
elegant lady greeting him, perhaps in her fifties. Petite,
yet nothing fragile about her.
stepped inside when ushered through the doors that closed
silently behind him.
take a seat." The Ambassador pointed to the chair
opposite her impressive mahogany desk. Dan nodded, mumbled
a "thank you, Ma'm," and sat down while frantically
trying to recall with what title he was supposed to
address her. Legs braced, then parallel, finally one
crossed over the other, then side by side again, before
settling at last on leaning back into the upright chair
as far as he could. Sod the splendour around him, he
wasn't in the Mess anymore and didn't have to stand
me, Mr McFadyen, what made you apply for the position?"
Eyes focussed on him, there was no smile in her entirely
got the distinct impression there was nothing that escaped
those grey eyes that scrutinised him. As grey as her
immaculate hairdo. Big. Shiny. Helmet. Hair.
am looking for a job," he faltered, still unsure
about the correct address, "Madam Ambassador."
Dan figured her question was one of the most stupid
ones he'd ever been asked. His dark eyes meeting hers,
damned if he wasn't going to give as much as he was
getting. If she wanted a stand-off, he was ready.
to figure out what she thought about his answer. Not
a twitch in her composed face, no inflexion in her finely
cultured voice. "Yes, Mr McFadyen, I took that
for granted." Precise consonants and elongated
vowels. "What I am asking, however, is why you
left the British Forces before retirement age, seeking
employment in Kabul."
not what you asked, Ma'm." Dan countered, had already
forgotten about the 'Ambassador' bit, and the 'Excellency'
crossed his mind too late. He nearly flashed a grin
when his response elicited a fraction of reaction. Her
brows had twitched, he'd bet his twelve-year pension
to answer your question, I realise it makes me look
like an idiot, leaving two years before my full pension
plus golden handshake, but they told me I wasn't going
back to active service after my surgery."
pointed to the stack of papers in front of her, "you
know all that already, don't you, Ma'm? You got my files."
Feeling strangely smug when she nodded her agreement.
she knew, and he was starting to wonder if there was
anything she hadn't read already. Age, height, weight,
shoe size, and what he'd had for breakfast. Sexual preference?
He hoped not.
why was staying in Britain not agreeable, Mr McFadyen?"
Her finely manicured hand moved to rest on the papers.
Dan noticed pastel coloured varnish, as pastel as her
pale green tailored suit. Yet there was nothing pale
about her. She made the Thatcher look like a bimbo.
Ma'm, I'm not ready yet to get fat in a cushy job behind
a desk. I had knee surgery, nothing else, and in a couple
of weeks I'll be fully functional." He felt slightly
unnerved when she didn't react. Ten seconds seemed to
stretch into an hour.
interesting, Mr McFadyen, but has not yet answered my
question why you are here. In Kabul." The Ambassador
paused, "Why security? This intrigues me. I did
not glean from your files that becoming a bodyguard
was a natural choice for an expert like you. I would
have assumed that security advisor, survival specialist,
or even mercenary would have been more fitting."
there is nowhere else for me to go." Because I
love a Russian, because I gave my word I'd be back.
"I have been in Afghanistan for seven years."
Because this is private, because it is none of your
business. "Britain is not my home anymore, it has
nothing to do with me, I don't fit in there anymore."
No one there, no home. " I have been operating
in Afghanistan for too many years, I know this place
and its people as well as I used to know the Scottish
Highlands." Because of you, Vadim. You are my home.
didn't seem impressed, neither satisfied. Her second
hand came to rest on top of the other, as if shielding
the stack of paper. "Really, Mr McFadyen?"
She sat up straighter. A feat he'd considered impossible.
She wasn't buying it, and no fucking way he'd tell the
truth. He'd get busted for being a security risk before
he'd even started the job, with no chance to ever get
a foot into this business again.
Why Afghanistan. Kabul. Why, apart from one man, one
the mountains, Ma'm. Heat and cold, loneliness and endless
skies. Those mountains, Ma'm, they fuck you up. They
want to own you and swallow you whole. They try to kill
you until you realise you're nothing but a fucked-up
little human, and that you won't survive unless you
become part of them, and so I did. Paid for their protection
with blood, pain, scars, but they've never let me down.
I became part of them, and in return they became part
of me." Dan tilted his head, hands resting on the
arms of the chair. "I'm too fucked up for 'normal'
society, Ma'm, but I'm bloody good at what I do. I do
my duty, always have done. If that means that in my
line of duty I am destined to die, I will."
noticed too late the bemused expression on the lady's
face, realising with dread that he had sworn. Way to
go, Dan, in a job interview with a goddamned Ambassador.
Ma'm, I mean, Madam Ambassador," he stammered,
," bit his tongue, tried again,
"your Excellency. I'll watch my language. Promised."
He glanced at her, didn't realise how his dark eyes
and chastised look gave him the expression of a beaten
suddenly smiled, made a delicate, measured gesture with
her hand, as if waving all those swear words away. "'Ma'm'
is just fine, and I like your explanation of the mountains,
Mr McFadyen. I know what loneliness and a hostile environment
looked up, "Do you?" Saw her face, noticed
her deportment. Composed, controlled. This lady was
a baroness, and one of Her Majesty's Ambassadors. It
didn't go much higher, and he had a gut feeling there
might be even more to her. "Yes, you do."
baroness inclined her head and to Dan the gesture looked
awfully regal. She wasn't far off the highest one in
the triumvirate of ladies; the one whose picture he
used to toast during mess functions.
McFadyen, you mentioned your views on duty. Can you
elaborate on that?"
brows shot up. "Ma'm? Elabo-what?"
was surprised at a rueful smile that ghosted across
her face. Vanishing as fast as it had appeared.
have read your file, Mr McFadyen, we have already established
that I know your career history, but I'd like you to
tell me more about your personal view on duty."
simple, Ma'm. I do what I'm told."
Ma'm. Just like that. After all, that's what doing one's
duty is all about: obeying orders."
nodded once, slowly, fixing him with her unwavering
gaze. "And if this entails killing, would you obey
the order all the same?"
frowned, "With all due respect, but what do you
think I have been doing all those years, here in Afghanistan
and elsewhere? I was SAS, Ma'm, Special Forces. I was
trained to kill, and to survive, and once a soldier
- always a soldier. I do my duty, no matter if this
involves killing - or dying." He sat up straighter.
"Or are you asking me if I feel guilt for what
I have done in my life? I don't, Ma'm, just so that's
clear. I've done my duty, I followed orders, no matter
what, and I still sleep at night. I would have died
in the course of duty several times over, if I hadn't
been such a lucky git, and I've got the scars to prove
felt her eyes on his face, lingering on the scar that
ran from lips to temple. She nodded once more, thoughtful,
but he hadn't finished yet.
not a nice guy, Ma'm. I don't feel remorse for anything
I have done," except one thing, and even that had
brought him what he'd never hoped to gain, "except,
perhaps, that I feel no guilt. I'm not a good man,"
echoes of another, a cave, and a kiss, "but I'm
not evil, either. I just do what has to be done."
baroness remained silent, studying Dan for a while,
who met her gaze with his own, unflinching. He felt
as if this was her version of the final stand-off at
high noon. He was not going to back down, either.
suddenly smiled, folding her hands on top of the papers.
"You do realise, Mr McFadyen, that you applied
for the position of head of the embassy's security staff?"
eyes widened a fraction, "Did I, Ma'm?"
The corners of her lips were twitching with something
akin to amusement. "You just did."
of security. Fuck, he'd only applied for bog standard
grunt. Dan couldn't help but grin. "Does that mean
that I got the job, Ma'm?"
nodded, pushed herself off the chair and stood, Dan's
cue to jump up as well.
Mr McFadyen, I have decided I shall take you on. The
probation period is three months." She walked around
the desk, holding out her hand. "One condition
though," that somewhat amused expression was back
on her face, "we will have to get you some suitable
attire. You would look rather out of place in your current
outfit, if I required your services at a function."
laughed, which seemed to make her smile. "Will
do, Ma'm. I can scrub up, believe me."
do believe you, Mr McFadyen, I have seen photos of you
in your uniforms in the file."
too her hand, shook it. Surprised at the firm grip.
Iron fist in velvet glove, this lady seemed as tough
as a Special Forces commander. "Give me the specs
and I'll get it done. Can't be any worse than No2s."
nodded, released his hand. "My attaché will
arrange everything for you. Contract, accommodation
here in the embassy, vehicle, insurance, medical cover,
clothing and equipment. I trust you will find your salary
to your satisfaction." She paused, "I assume
you are free to start straight away?"
nodded, "couple of weeks of phys and I'm fit for
active duty." Accommodation
hell, he hadn't
even thought about this additional boon. He was about
to get posh in his old age. No more rat infested shitholes
and freezing caves, but an air conditioned room and
satellite TV. Yet he'd choose a barren piece of rock
over any comfort, if only he could share it with another.
well," the baroness nodded, "there are workout
and fitness facilities on the compound. You should find
the equipment to a high standard."
he would, Dan couldn't imagine otherwise.
the meantime," she continued, "my staff will
make sure you know all about the compound and the embassy's
operations, including my schedule. Please feel free
to ask for anything, and any questions at all. I do
understand that it is impossible to organise security
without knowing the organisation itself."
nodded once more, nothing else he could add. He'd never
met anyone so efficient.
you have any more questions, Mr McFadyen?"
questions, Ma'm, but one condition."
brows rose quizzically. "Which condition would
please call me Dan, not Mr McFadyen. That sounds like
somebody I don't know and, frankly, probably wouldn't
want to know."
let out a small laugh, nodding her assent. "I believe
I can accept this condition." Smiling at him, hands
folded in front of her, she looked up at him. Several
inches shorter, but he hardly noticed the difference
am looking forward to working with you, Dan."
am I, Ma'm."
weeks later, after extensive training in the state-of-the-art
facility, Dan had settled into his more than comfortable
room, filled with several luxuries: stereo HiFi system,
large colour TV and brand new video recorder with a
small selection of films. His first week of duties had
been as easy as a regimental parade, but he used as
much professionalism and alertness guarding his new
boss as he would, training a whole camp of fierce mujas.
Already planning to reorganise security to his approved
specifications and to get more staff.
the end of the second week Dan left a message at the
tea house, to meet at the usual place. On the Saturday
he stood waiting, dressed in sand coloured combats,
comfortably worn boots, woollen shirt and jumper in
muted colours that strangely suited the rest, and the
heavy ski jacket over it all. Clapping his gloved hands
for warmth, he watched the steam in front of his face.
Kabul in November was bloody cold, especially waiting
impatiently for Vadim, near the corner of the rat-hole
greatcoat covering most of his body, ushanka hat keeping
his ears from freezing off, hurried through the alleys
and streets, only stopping to greet patrols or other
Red Army personnel. As if he was just out taking a stroll.
There were advantages to his rank, and relative freedom
was one of them. Tolerated, not welcome, but the higher-ups
had a live and let live attitude at the moment, as the
retreat was being prepared. Few were fierce about upholding
the Red Army's honour at present. The retreating invaders
cut their losses. All due to a mild-mannered man in
the Kremlin. Vadim didn't quite know what to make of
it, but the wind was changing.
gave Dan a mock salute when he came within view. "I
guess you want to show me the wares?" He gave a
hand went up with the reflex to salute, aborting the
movement mid-motion. "On the contrary, I want to
show you the shop first. Wares come later." He
grinned, indicated an alley off to the left with his
chin. "Guess it's still safer not to be seen together.
I assume you know where the Soviet HQ is." His
grin grew out of proportion, with teeth and all. "There
are a few streets opposite. Take the third one from
the south. I'll be waiting at the backside corner."
Right under the noses of the Kremlin, so to speak. Safe
in the eye of the storm, and expensive for Afghan standards.
nodded. "I'll see you in few, then." He just
walked past the civilian, wondering about the location,
but if that was where Dan had found lodgings, that was
pretty convenient. Just leave his desk and be at Dan's
place in what, fifteen minutes. Including evasive action.
circled the area, walking up to it from the other direction,
trying to spot Dan and then saw him, already lighting
a cigarette again and grinning broadly since no one
was around, before vanishing through a door nearby.
door was ajar, leading to two downstairs rooms, one
that functioned as a kitchen with a large stove, the
other with cushions on the floor and a low table. The
toilet was outside. Wooden stairs led to an open plan
room upstairs that undoubtedly housed the bed. The large
stove was giving off heat, in fact the entire place
was warmer than the barracks ever managed to get. Dan
stuck his head around the corner when Vadim stepped
inside. Fag in one corner of his mouth, battered kettle
in his hand. "Tea?" Grinning.
if you have lemons." Vadim pulled the hat off and
began unbuttoning the coat in the sudden heat. Watched
how Dan prepared his tea. British way. It had been fairly
unceremonious with Darren. Tea bag, electric kettle,
and then attempt to ruin the brew with milk. One day
he'd teach Dan to make proper tea. It would be a start
to tell him that Russian distinguished "boiled
water" from "raw water", which hadn't
been boiled. It made a difference in taste. "Maybe
I could organise a samovar."
it come with instructions?" Dan puffed out smoke
between his teeth, returning to the business of preparing
tea the good old fashioned trapper way of throwing leaves
into boiling water, then hoping for the best. Still
in his thick coat, cold and sudden heat, or vice versa,
didn't affect him much.
And it's not very complicated." He could easily
get one from the army shop, Vadim thought. Or take the
old one from his office and get a new one for the office,
one that was more presentable.
sound of clattering and clanging came out of the kitchen,
accompanying the luxury of running water from the tap
over the stone sink. "Did you find the bolt to
lock the door?" Dan called out. "Windows are
secured, but can be smashed to get out. It's a fairly
good place, here. Someone in the embassy told me about
the area and happens to know a cousin of a cousin of
a brother of an uncle of a father of a son ... who's
more than happy to rent it to me." he laughed,
emerging in the doorframe.
had checked the windows and bolted the door. "Good
position. Up on the roof I could even check if that
pathetic lieutenant is bothering to come to work on
time." He hung the coat up on a hook, still wearing
the full Soviet uniform, minus hat. "Is this our
love nest, then?"
out of his thick jacket, Dan laughed. "'Love nest',
what a poet you are, Russkie. If I didn't know any better
I'd call you 'bloody poof'." Throwing the coat
into a corner, he made a sweeping gesture across the
rooms. "It's luxurious, though, you got to admit.
Very little vermin and better than any of the shitholes
of the past seven years. It pays to be out of
the army, trust me." Pulling the jumper over his
head, his shirt hung loose over the belt that kept the
trousers secured on lean hips. "Did you know they
pay shitloads of dosh to play nanny to ambassadors?"
So that's your secret." Vadim liked that dishevelled
look. Dan made two movements and managed to look like
something the cat had dragged in. "You got yourself
nice work. Congratulations."
lady ambassador. She's
something different. Like
our Iron Lady. Remember the big stiff hairdos? She's
one of those. Her Excellency is a baroness, and damned,
she's classy. No bloody idea why she chose me as her
head of security, I even swore at the interview!"
gave a laugh. "Because you're good enough to rival
spetsnaz. We guard the grey men in Kremlin. Vy
Certain units do." Vympel does. Unless they go
out of their way to kill higher-ups. Well. He hoped
Dan didn't spot the odd syllable. Maybe thought he'd
referred to a comrade. Felt stupid for keeping that
part secret, but he'd signed his silence.
shrugged. There were things in the last seven years
he'd deliberately not heard nor seen nor understood.
"Not that I complain. My room in the embassy is
like a luxury suite, with bath, stereo, video, TV, and
all that shit. Actually," he grinned, "I'm
already getting addicted to long soaks in a hot bath
with bubbles." Winking, he ran a hand through his
unruly hair, "But truth be told, I feel rather
out of place. Seems the mountains will never spit me
back out completely."
glutton for suffering, Dan. Fuck the mountains. Vadim
stood close, suddenly wanting to hold and touch, kiss
and forget about the tea. "It's good place. Secure.
Clean. Running water. Tea." And you.
nodded, reached for the smoothly shaved face, tracing
the jaw line with fingers that were uncharacteristically
clean, their nails scrubbed. "While you're here,
I'll be here, and this is the place where you'll find
me. Whenever you can."
covered Dan's hand with his own. "Aye. They do
assume I have Afghan girl in city. By now, I could have
fathered whole stable of children here. Some men do."
haven't fucked me that often, Russkie."
Laughing, Dan felt inclined to ignore the sound of boiling
water from the room behind him. "But I guess I
might let you have another go at that 'fathering of
children' thing, later. Been a while." He bared
his teeth in a face-splitting smirk.
grinned and released the hand. "Dan, you're missing
some bits in your birds and bees education." He
slid his hand down to Dan's abs and prodded there. "Children
don't grow in ammo pouches, darling."
you should know. You managed to produce some."
Tensing his stomach muscles until Vadim's hand met nothing
but unforgiving hardness.
fix the tea."
of course, Sir!" Dan's hand flew in the perfect
angle to his imaginary beret, saluting. "Tea, Sir.
Immediately, Sir." Laughing, he turned to the kitchen,
busying himself with kettle, stove and mugs, and a handful
of tea leaves. Making a hell of noise, but returning
swiftly with a brew that was nothing short of being
almost perfect. At least for a Brit. "Sugar, Sir?"
Holding out one mug. "Can't offer lemon nor milk."
had settled and took the tea, cautious not to burn his
fingers. "Careful. Sir-ing thing could just trigger
most unexpected reactions." Of course, Gavriil.
Or other conscripts who busied themselves doing his
bidding. Like rabbits jumping over a tiger's paws, and
rarely seeing what hit them.
what makes you think I couldn't possibly handle those
reactions?" Dan sat down on a thick cushion opposite.
"Huh, Mr Spetsnaz Major you-get-me-shaking-in-my-boots
laughed. "You can handle me alright." Blowing
on the tea, glancing over at Dan, studying the newly
hatched bodyguard. "I promise you this much
if anybody on our side would get on the bad side of
your ambassador, you'll know. I don't think it's likely,
but we're not above it. Just in case. What we have is
more important than duty."
do you mean, are you saying you would tell me?"
Dan's face a picture of bewilderment.
shook his head. "I'm not saying anything. But if
I tell you to get her out of country, or place, you
will do it." He looked straight at Dan. "That
is all I'll be saying."
tilted his head, said nothing for a long while, until
he finally nodded. "Aye." That was that, from
one man to another. 'Stay alive', like he had said several
times before, without words, but with precious supplies
and valuable kit. Stretching his long legs out on the
cushions, Dan leaned back against the wall, studying
the other. "I assume you've got until morning?"
looked at the legs, gaze slowly moving upwards, over
the cloth, folds, lines, the shape of the relaxed muscle
underneath. "Yes. I can
get to work from
here." Circling in a wide enough movement. How
odd. Leaving this place to go to work, as sane and normal
as Moscow. He put the mug down and headed over to Dan,
crouching near him. "Sleep is overrated."
mug in both hands, Dan's face, scar and all, began to
curve and move with a slow, spreading grin. "You
are hinting at sex? S.E.X.? With a member of the high
society such as me? Protecting ambassadors and all that?"
laughed and moved closer, hands now on Dan's thighs,
thumbs slipping between them to open them up. "You're
as common as dirt, Dan, inside. Just like this weary
Soviet special forces major."
laughed, spilling some of the tea over his hands. "If
that's your idea of foreplay, then my idea of a pet
name is and was and will always be 'cunt'." Readily
opening his legs under the pressure of thumbs and hands.
He set the mug aside to run a hand over the short shaved
called me that in mountains
didn't think it pet
name then. I wanted you then. I want you differently
ways, and flavours. That fist
" Vadim took Dan's hand, and felt oddly driven
to say this, in this strange place that made flirting
possible. When he thought of Dan, in his dejected, musky
office, words like that just appeared, doubtlessly read
somewhere. Tolstoy sure wouldn't mind if those were
his. It was a translation anyway, and Dan wouldn't notice.
He closed Dan's hand with his, then brought it to his
throat, and placed it against the adam's apple. The
hand opened, and Vadim allowed it to. "
fist has opened." He pressed it against his throat,
looking at Dan all the time. "Fingers, Dan. We
are no longer fists. All we had to do was this."
swallowed, stared wide eyed and completely flustered.
His hand moved like a puppet's, the strings held by
non other but his Russkie. "I
stopped again. Had no words for that big fat thing in
his stomach that was travelling up to his throat with
high speed and without mercy, even though he knew it
was called love. He could only find one answer: to lean
forward and kiss. Lips on lips, his body talking where
he lacked the words.
grin melted in the kiss, just that stricken expression,
as if Dan didn't get it. But Dan wasn't stupid, it only
took him a while to decipher some of the code. Didn't
matter. Vadim moved between Dan's legs and pushed forward,
getting Dan to slip off the cushion and lie on the ground,
with him halfway on top. He ran his hand down to Dan's
leg, took the knee and bent the leg, running a hand
up on the inside, while still kissing. "Civilian",
he murmured, and it was part curse, part pet name.
the puppet, passive, and for once it didn't matter but
felt right. "Fucking Russkie soldier", Dan
whispered between lips and tongue, his hand moving to
Vadim's belt, and tunic, pulling fabric, sliding fingers
and pushing beneath layers until his palms connected
with warm flesh. Cursing himself that it had taken so
many years before he'd found the most profound pleasure
of all: intimacy.
pressed in harder, the most tantalizing question whether
to undress himself or Dan first, impatiently working
on getting Dan's shirt off without popping the buttons,
then suddenly slowed. All night. Safe. No enemies. No
fucking mountains. No insurgents. No rush. He paused,
frowning, then grinned. "So strange." Keeping
Dan down beneath him, he took the time to unbutton the
shirt, cuffs, and slid it off that bronzed shoulder,
the one with the bullet hole, dipped low to frame the
round scar with teeth, then sucked on it, slow and deliberate.
All the time in the world.
fuck." Dan exhaled, letting his head roll to the
side, smiling at no one and nothing, eyes closed, simply
letting be and enjoying every sensation. Lips, light
nip of teeth, and always the heat, no matter where and
how their bodies touched, he could always feel Vadim's
heat. Skin, inside and out. "Guess that means I
better reciprocate." He murmured, lifting his head
while using his free hand to push Vadim's neck cloth
out of the way. Hooking his finger into the t-shirt
collar, he pulled it down to reveal the burn scar in
the hollow of Vadim's throat. He smiled, no anger, no
triumph, before his lips circled and found the scar
that was his.
swallowed hard, pressed Dan's head against his body,
fucking twisted, but still something that was won fair
and square, scars and the right to them. Pulling Dan's
shirt out from behind him and tossing it away, Dan's
clothes strange, the whole man in his new appearance
different, even better than back then. Smelling clean
instead of dusty, civilised for once. "Think
we could try out this carpet." He grinned, and
patted the space to the left. "And this one. Different
low in the back of his throat, Dan peered right and
left, then glanced towards the upstairs room. "Don't
forget there's a bedroom as well and a fairly big mattress.
Not the height of luxury, but I don't think we've ever
had sex anywhere quite so comfortable." Pulling
harder on the fabric close to his hand, baring skin
around Vadim's middle, until both of his hands slipped
beneath it, sliding upwards and across the chest, toying
with nipples and flesh.
grinned. "You'd say that when it's me who's on
said I don't want you on top?" Dan winked.
smiled, slightly surprised, but glad for the lightness,
the banter about it. His turn, then. It didn't matter.
They had time, and that made many things easier, less
complicated, more playful. Less urgent. He nodded towards
the upper level. "What about now?"
top' or going 'Up top'?" Grinning, hands meeting
in the back of Vadim's neck, pulling the other down
into another kiss. Teasing, the way he mock-bit and
chewed. Breaking away for a moment, Dan murmured, "best
now, or I might change my mind about the 'top' thing."
nodded, pulled back, despite his protesting body which
would have preferred to claw and dig into Dan like a
burrowing animal. Lifting Dan's upper body when he pulled
back, and offered a hand, standing up.
took the hand, his knee still protesting at times. "After
you." His face splitting grin betrayed the sole
reason: watching the arse in front of him climb up the
course you're after me. What else is point?" Vadim
murmured, climbing the stairs, curious to see 'their
bedroom'. Bed. Mattress. Clean. With the options for
tea and food just downstairs. Much better than the barracks,
and much better than home, in a certain way.
laughed, eyeing the muscular thighs and buttocks beneath
the tight uniform trousers. "Miracle after seven
years with such a cheerful soul as you, don't you think?
I still fancy the socks off you." Delivering a
hard smack onto the arse in front of him, he gave a
shove and a laugh, watching Vadim lose balance and stumble
onto the bed, before throwing himself on top.
on then, wrestle me, who wins, fucks." But he was
laughing far too hard, he didn't have a chance and for
once he didn't give a damn about it.
had been with the embassy for six weeks, reorganising
security measures and training staff as well as liaising
with the military. He'd turned the proceedings into
an efficient organisation, leaving no doubt about his
into his room in the main building, he was still stunned
every day at the luxury of TV, Hi-Fi, radio, a maid
that was cleaning after him, and most of all the bathroom
with tub and hot water. Yet his favourite place were
the rented rooms in the centre of Kabul, and the hours
he could spend with Vadim.
night, Dan stayed in the embassy, smoking a cigarette
on the patio while looking at the stars with an inexplicable
longing for the vastness of the mountains. He turned
his head at the sound of the back door opening. Raising
his brows in surprise at the person who stepped into
the cool night air.
should you be out here?"
ambassador smiled, pulling the cashmere pashmina closer
around her. "Good evening, Dan. Do not worry, I
am not out here to make your job more difficult, but
I was getting slightly claustrophobic inside."
She took in a deep breath of the fresh air.
flicked the ash off his cigarette before taking another
drag, carefully exhaling the smoke into her opposite
direction. "It's potentially dangerous, though.
With the current increased threats you cannot be too
careful." Despite his words stepping aside to make
space beside him.
chuckled, then moved to stand close. "Oh, Dan,
I appreciate your concern very much, but who would bother
trying to take me out in this veritable fortress?"
She glanced up at him.
no one, Ma'm, but you never know." Dan looked down
at her, finished his fag and dropped it, stubbing out
the butt. Felt compelled for some reason to bend down
and pick up the dead end. Wondering if she disapproved
of littering and had to chuckle at the odd sensation
of feeling like a small boy, vying for the lady's approval.
tilted her head, looking up with a smile. "Care
to share your amusement?"
couldn't, too embarrassed to admit, just said the next
best thing that came into his mind. "I was just
thinking that at least I am here to protect you, in
this dangerous location, surrounded by trees and shrubs
and the possibility of sniper-spiders attacking."
laughed heartily, and he realised he'd never heard that
sound before. Could only imagine the kind of strain
her job put her under, and she bore up to every demand
formidably well. He couldn't help but admire her, while
the unexpected laughter made him grin.
feel safe with you, Dan. Not just in the presence of
spiders. You are extremely professional and very good
at your job. I admire that in a person."
felt ridiculously proud at her compliment. "Thank
you, Ma'm and it is an honour to work for you."
chuckled warmly, shaking her head at his last words,
quietly muttering something that sounded suspiciously
like "silly man" to him. He'd never seen her
so relaxed, let alone teasing him, or anyone else, for
that matter. Always serious and perfectly controlled.
Tonight, Dan mused, he truly liked the ambassador's
me, Dan," she returned her gaze back to his face
and he could sense her eyes lingering on the scar for
a moment. "What are the mountains to you? I have
often wondered about what you told me in the interview."
She smiled, "I found your description rather fascinating."
He felt strangely pleased. "It's hard to describe,
Ma'm, if you've never been up there. They are endless,
the sky seems to sweep on forever, and all you can see
are the rugged tops of the mountains. The colour is
like nothing else, the blue of the sky, crystal clear,
and the shades of the rocks, changing with the time
of day and the seasons. At night you can see more stars
than you've ever imagined possible. It is like diamonds
glittering on black velvet, and no light to dim their
icy brilliance. The longer you look, the more stars
appear until you feel dizzy, trying to fix your eyes
onto any of them."
noticed her watching him, with an indecipherable expression
on her face, and Dan wondered what she was thinking.
"I'd love to show you, Ma'm." A silly notion,
he knew, and of course she just smiled. "You should
see the mountains in winter, when your breath freezes
before your face and there is nothing but gleaming white,
so harsh it burns your eyes when the sun beats upon
the snow. And the caves, Ma'm, one of the few places
that offer some chance of survival. You can find water
there, but you have to know how, you have to coax the
knowledge out of the mountains, but when they accept
you, grant their permission, the caves become like a
womb, sheltering you from the elements."
wish I could see it." She smiled but shook her
head gently. "You have a way with words."
I wish I could take you, because when you stand up there,
looking over the mountain range, then nothing else matters
but breathing, moving and surviving. Even though you
are tiny you feel free. The mountains give you peace
and at the same time you think that nothing can hold
you back. Because all there is is the sky, and your
own, small life."
really do wish I could." She smiled once more,
and to Dan it seemed very melancholy.
you never lonely, though, alone in those mountains?"
shrugged, "I was rarely completely on my own, but
when I was, I liked it. I'm happy with my own company,
I guess. Must be because of the Highlands, I always
used to hike around for days, even as a kid."
can imagine." She suddenly looked up again, questioningly.
"Do you play chess?"
laughed, shaking his head. "No Ma'm, I'm afraid
I'm not clever enough for that sort of thing."
she smiled, "I am convinced that you are a very
man clever indeed. Don't put your light under the bushel,
I am certain you would make a good chess player. You
have the tactical mind for it and, I wager, the ability
to react in seemingly impossible situations."
grinned, "You sure, Ma'm? I'm afraid I'm not one
of them there edumacated types." Stumbling over
the words with deliberate exaggeration.
you worry," she pulled the shawl tighter around
her, looking up at him, with a twinkle of amusement
in her grey eyes that made him wonder what she had been
like as a young girl. "I have known many men in
my life who were highly educated, but very far from
they wouldn't be clever enough to survive up in the
mountains, eh?" Dan winked, grinning from ear to
guess not." She suddenly laughed while shaking
her head, as if she had remembered a very funny incident
of long ago. "No, you are right, Dan. Very clearly
not. In fact," Dan was amazed to see her eyes had
taken on an almost wicked twinkle, "I am certain
they would not have survived in the centre of London
with a maid, a butler, and a nanny on top."
grinned at that image, "sounds like some of my
COs and OCs, Ma'm. Brigadier Snooty-face or Colonel
Twit." Impersonating one of those upper class officers
with the most exaggerated posh voice he could muster,
made the more ludicrous by his Scottish accent.
yah, jolly fine show, my good men. Toodle-loo, hooray-henry,
and tally-ho." No sooner had he said the mocking
words, he ducked his head, embarrassed. "Sorry,
Ma'm, I shouldn't
" but she was laughing.
So hard, she had to wipe her eyes with the back of her
Dan, you have no idea how right you are. I thought for
a moment my father stood in front of me, in all his
father?" Dan stared at her wide-eyed and mortified.
no, it is quite alright, you had him down to a 'T' without
ever having met him. I'm afraid we can be like that,
'Upper Class Twits'." She smiled, quickly had herself
back under control. "Trust me, it is unbelievably
refreshing to laugh like this." Looking up at him
while placing a hand on his arm for a moment, "thank
you for that, Dan."
welcome, Ma'm." Dan grinned, insanely proud and
wondering where the hell that feeling came from. "It's
good to hear you laugh. You don't seem to be getting
enough of a chance to do so."
simply smiled and nodded her head, as noncommittal as
her skilful small talk during the most boring embassy
function. "About the chess, though
changing the subject admirably.
Dan nodded, "I'm willing to learn it, but only
if you promise to learn something else in return."
He feared he was going too far, but only those who dared
do you mean, Dan?" Her finely shaped brows lifted
towards her bouffant hairline.
Dan flashed a grin, "and Black Jack. I'm sure you'd
be an ace at poker, what with the diplomacy and all
you just call me a poker face?" She was trying
to hide a grin, mostly failing.
would never dare, Ma'm." Hand on heart, Dan chuckled.
that case," she allowed the grin to break to the
surface, for once her expressions uncontrolled, "you
better teach me to become one."
held the door open for her, still grinning, and followed
the lady inside, to the first night of many: poker,
chess, whisky and red wine, between the most unlikely
of ... friends.
watched darkness sink around him, the slow fading of
colour, then of lines, until closing his eyes wouldn't
make a difference. He enjoyed sitting there, far too
dark to read, mind at rest, for once. This place was
as much his cave as Dan's, and he'd let his mind wander,
walk past the landscapes in his mind, the favourite
memories, Dan, often, but without that frantic urgency
these days. Dan was a steady presence in his life by
now, a presence that was reassuringly there.
of course, when he wasn't there. Late shift at the embassy,
duty at a social function, Vadim had known he wouldn't
be there when he had headed here after duty. It didn't
matter, much, he knew he'd come, as he always did. This
could have been central Moscow, both had a job, of course,
and both would meet up in the apartment. Life had a
strangely normal quality, but Vadim was far from complaining.
Instead, he could almost feel how his batteries recharged,
the energy that this country had taken from him ran
back into his veins, and he felt at peace when his mind
wandered, just allowed the time to pass, aware and alert
as a sniper, an eagle upon his rock, far, far up, where
nothing could harm him.
just sat there, hadn't even bothered to take off the
uniform, felt too lazy and peaceful to do that.
was glad when the function was finally over and the
last guests had been dealt with. It had been an eclectic
and stiflingly boring mix of the usual, while he'd been
ever present at her Excellency's side, never even so
much as taking his eyes off her and the surroundings.
Unobtrusive, yet present Blending into the elegance
of the assembly, with pager, knife, and pistol hidden
beneath his clothes.
was well after 1 AM when Dan had done the last check
and debriefed his security staff, ensuring the lady
was safely ensconced in her private rooms. Signing officially
off duty, he was never less than a pager alert away.
No time to change his clothes, he wanted to get away
as soon as possible, had had to force himself several
times throughout the night not to think of the man who
was waiting for him in their safe place. The baroness
had never asked where he vanished to and Dan assumed
she believed he had an affair with an Afghan beauty,
needing the secrecy to protect her anonymity to shield
her from religious repercussions.
hurried into his room to find his long black winter
coat. Early spring was still freezing during the night,
but when he looked at the fine cloth in his hand, Dan
frowned. Wouldn't do. Too obvious. He needed to find
something less obtrusive. Rummaging in his drawers,
he pulled out a native coat instead and found one of
his old 'tea cosy' hats. Throwing the garments over
his evening attire, he left without delay, making his
way through the fairly still night. No more than five
minutes on foot to their place, where he knocked the
agreed sign. Dan didn't fancy being shot like a rabbit
if Vadim didn't recognise him.
hand found the lighter and the flame made the room bright,
almost, against the darkness a heartbeat ago. Lighted
a couple candles, then stood, stretching his back, and
rolling his neck, slightly stiff from the long, near
motionless wait. Turned towards the door, which opened.
The Volkov showed it was past one. Sunday tomorrow,
and a day off for him.
inside, Dan immediately locked the door behind him.
He turned and smiled, unaware how ridiculous he looked
with a tea cosy on his head and wrapped in a long, scruffy
looking native coat with black trouser legs peeking
beneath it, and highly polished black shoes without
the slightest scuff mark. "Took longer than I hoped.
Got yourself a bite to eat?" He'd left a whole
stash of exquisite leftovers from the embassy in the
the protein is gone, I'm afraid." 'Protein' covering
the steak, salmon, prawns, and some thin pink slices
Vadim couldn't quite place, but which had been good.
The salmon had been topped with generous amounts of
alright," Dan grinned, "I get that stuff everyday.
Am longing for a simple bite of bread and cheese, to
eyes followed the odd mix of clothes. A suit? Of course,
Dan would. Even the proper shoes with it. He smiled.
"I can see you hurried."
it was late. Didn't want you to wait any longer. Besides,
those crusties aren't exactly exciting company all night
long." Half twisting round, Dan pulled the hat
off, shaking his hair while fiddling with the closures
of the coat. He straightened back up the moment he shrugged
out of the garment, carelessly throwing hat and coat
into a corner. Running a hand through his hair, he grinned
somewhat self consciously.
makes me wear this shit, it's at least more comfortable
than my old dress uniform." He stood in the finest,
tailor-made black smoking. Starched shirt, black hand-tied
bow, black silk satin cummerbund around the narrow waist,
hiding the knife and pager in the small of his back.
Pistol holster concealed beneath the jacket, which fit
as perfectly as a glove, smoothly accentuating every
line of his tall body. Hair brushed, glossy even, despite
still being 'wild' and longer than most men's.
swallowed, couldn't have placed what had the strongest
effect on him. All of it. Dan. A different kind of Dan
to the laid-back civilian, the scruffy, often downright
dirty pseudo-insurgent, or the naked body that woke
up next to him. So very different. He couldn't help
staring, then covered most of the distance and ran a
flat hand over the cloth over Dan's chest. Mixed reaction:
lust and awe.
taste. Your boss." His voice rough.
tilted his head, surprise written all over his face.
she's class. Real class. Helmet
hair, posh accent, and all that." He smiled, covering
Vadim's hand with his own. "I thought you'd probably
find I looked absurd." His lips quirked into a
shook his head. "Fuck, no." Ran his hand up
Dan's shoulder, the cloth felt good, and the warmth
underneath. It made Dan look civilised, sophisticated,
a strange contrast to his usual behaviour. He could
suddenly imagine Dan as somebody who gave orders, an
officer, something bigger and more dangerous than a
special forces soldier who gave orders at knifepoint.
Felt the leather holster snug against the shoulder,
just a difference in texture under the jacket. Then
it struck him.
look like MI6."
laughed, "James Bond?" His own hands resting
on the small of Vadim's back. The uniform cloth as familiar
beneath his fingers as his own skin. "'Licensed
to Kill' while being the greatest womaniser under the
sun?" He winked, "do you feel faint yet?"
of Vadim's reading had included Fleming, almost as an
example to the self-delusions of the west. Now, this
took on a different shade of meaning. "Not a woman.
And not faint", he said, closing the last bit of
distance, brought their bodies together, lips opened,
teeth digging into the taut neck muscle.
let out a strangled sound. Vadim knew him too well,
had mapped his body and its responses many times over.
His neck - the attack went straight to his groin. "No,
no woman. Hell, no." Tilting his head back, he
bared his throat while half-closing his eyes. "What
do you see, when I look like this." Murmured.
even smelled different. Aftershave, something expensive,
refined, the skin tasted of soap and sweat, and Dan.
"I see very dangerous man", Vadim murmured,
accentuating his words with more biting. Hand moving
to Dan's groin, roughly kneading cock and balls in his
hand, knowing he skirted pain, but knew how to do it
these days. "I see fuck at knifepoint. Gunpoint.
Tied down. You, me, doesn't
words made Dan shudder, combined with hands and teeth.
"You're a Soviet Officer in my terrain."
Voice rough, didn't think, thoughts just came to the
surface. "Got lost, comrade?" His own hands
slipped down, digging into the other's arse and pulling
him closer. Trapping Vadim's hand between their groins.
"Or perhaps you got captured." Images, memories,
of knives and blood, and a silent fuck in the mountains.
Dan's breath caught in his throat.
felt a sickening stab of hot lust, so strong it knotted
his guts. Good. Fucking good. How he'd wanted Dan even
when he'd thought the man would kill him. Wanted him.
Wanted him for the yielding, and the strength. Make
belief? Fuck, more real than real. He had the scars
to prove it. And no gun, while he could feel Dan's holster
against his chest. Didn't know what to say that wasn't
"yes, please" or "fuck me." Dan
demanding, all of a sudden, that new Dan he wanted just
like the old Dan. Worth the wait.
nodded, even though Vadim hadn't uttered a word. "In
that case," murmured, "I can see it's dangerous
to leave the Soviet spy his freedom." Pushing his
hips forward, he steered Vadim with every small step
towards the narrow stairs.
was more resistance in Vadim's body than in his heart.
He wanted Dan like this. He had imagined slow, tender
lovemaking, like they did, savouring the time and some
nights just spent the time talking, or lying there,
thinking, with the luxury to not jump each other's bones
the moment they touched, forced to make the most of
half an hour, or two hours. This, now, was the fierceness
of years ago, tinged, no, drenched with lust. He took
a step back, and was about to head up the stairs, expecting
a push or shove.
Dan was surprised at his own order. Didn't know what
he was doing, just playing along with what his body
and some unknown recesses of his mind were telling him.
He stood in Vadim's back, just a faint rustle of cloth
as he pulled the pistol from its holster. "Turn
round. Slowly. Hands up. I want to see them at all times."
tell-tale sound, and the motion. Vadim stared at the
pistol, remembered it against his neck, and him on his
knees, the muzzle the darkest thing in the universe.
His hands moved up, body understanding the laws of physics.
Guns made gravity fail. He turned, ever so slowly, hands
on the same level as his face, elbows away from his
body. Could feel how hard he was.
One corner of Dan's mouth quirked up. Mimicry of a smile.
Speared by a fucking great stab of lust, right from
the muzzle of the pistol to his cock and balls. What
the fuck was going on here - he didn't give a shit.
Just wanted. Took.
move." He whispered, voice getting coarser, its
edge serrated by lust. Free hand working on Vadim's
buttons, until the tunic gaped open. Undoing the brass
belt buckle, almost one-handed, he pushed the trouser
fly apart. Just briefs, and t-shirt.
breath was fast and shallow, uniform covering him, and
not covering him. He glanced over his shoulder, as if
to gauge Dan's mood, when he knew Dan was as horny as
he was. What he saw was Dan flashing an entirely frightening
smile. "Brace your legs."
shifted his feet apart, keeping the trousers up at about
knee level, and that was how far he could space them
out. Easily enough to get fucked. He closed his eyes,
fingers wanted to turn into fists with the sudden tension
in the air, tension that made his hair stand on end.
"What are you planning?" He murmured, managed
to speak without hitch. Playing along.
show you how degenerate the West really is."
Dan answered in Russian, fingers of his left hand slipping
between cummerbund and shirt in his back. His grin,
when he pulled out the knife, was shark-like. The pistol
never wavered in his hand, even when the tip of the
knife slid beneath the waistband of Vadim's briefs.
"I wouldn't move if I were you, Russkie."
felt thin, cold steel against his skin. Must have
immobilised you to cut the lines so clearly. He
stopped moving. In fact, he stopped breathing. Dan's
Russian was sexy, intonation still sounded vaguely foreign,
just not completely natural, which heightened the effect.
Degenerate. He turned his head to the side, just slightly,
to be able to see Dan from the corner of his eye. Grinning.
Eyes gleaming, pistol gleaming, eyes gleaming. "Not
grin grew as the blade sliced through the fabric. One
cut, another, then the waistband, and a last tug on
the useless tatters, discarding them onto the floor.
Moving around Vadim's waist, the blade kissed the tip
of his cock, which made Vadim's knees lock tight and
tensed every muscle in his body. Unbelievable feeling.
Steel. Knife. There.
created a pattern on polished steel, and Dan's eyes
narrowed as he licked the drop of precum off the blade.
"Turn round. Hands on the stairs. One on each side."
turned, lowered his hands only enough to drop into a
pushup stance, while the knife vanished once more between
Dan's clothes. The pistol remained, a symbol of power,
trained on Vadim. "Keep your legs apart."
nodded, supporting his weight easily, unable to move
or defend himself, fingers curled around the edge of
the step right in front of his chest, broad grip, broad
stance. Again, he glanced over his shoulder - if only
to see Dan, his hand holding the pistol, and that cool,
knowing grin on his features.
The Russian was flowing smoothly across Dan's tongue.
"You make a pretty picture even for a Western eye,
Russkie. All laid out and
," he drew out
the sentence, enjoying the last word as he caressed
every syllable, "
swallowed. Vulnerable indeed. His knuckles whitened,
keeping the position, while Dan's hand slid beneath
open tunic and t-shirt, stroking there, felt good, but
Dan avoided getting anywhere near the bared flesh of
the perfectly muscular cheeks. Leaning forward he whispered
into Vadim's ear, lips brushing, and making Vadim shudder
harder, which became nearly uncontrollable when the
cool muzzle of the pistol caressed his jaw, "you
should get a medal for being so very well behaved, comrade.
They told us in school about the ugly Slav, the peasant,
square-headed Russkies. They were wrong. You are exquisite.
You are quite the Tsar
was clear mockery. The compliments were genuine, odd
mixture that was both praise and teasing. Vadim raised
his head, looked at Dan, wanted to kiss him, or sneer,
and couldn't make up his mind. Arousing. Badly arousing.
"You aren't half bad, either", he murmured.
it shouldn't be difficult to keep quite, at all times,
and to keep still." Following the outline of Vadim's
ear with his tongue, Dan added, barely above a whisper,
"will it, Russkie?"
nodded, tonelessly, biting back a moan at the inability
to move now, to touch him, to pull him closer. So much
for a quiet, calm evening with 'probably sex'. The sudden
shift had caught him unaware, didn't know what to do
but roll with it. Wanted Dan to do this, assume control.
a step back, Dan let the pistol run up Vadim's spine,
pressing into each vertebrae, taking his time. Vadim's
back curved away from the muzzle, unfortunately, though,
with the effect his ass stood out. Yes, very unfortunate.
want you to stay like this, Russkie. Don't turn around,
don't watch, don't make a sound nor a move. When I come
back I want to find you in exactly the same position."
Vadim lowered his head, let it hang, while staying in
the position like one of those sick games of holding
a stress position or just holding in an awkward stance.
It built strength, and he had plenty of that. Glanced
at his own body, his cock, imagined the knife again,
and felt himself twitch. He closed his eyes and focused
on his breath, waiting, obedient.
turned, stuffed the pistol into the cummerbund before
walking into the kitchen. Lube. Upstairs. Damn. Kitchen,
food, fat, grease, something, anything
one of the drawers open, Dan's eyes fell onto the stack
of candles, before he remembered the pack of butter
he had brought from the embassy. Grinning slowly, the
candle was in his hand before he'd found the butter,
still in its foil.
within less than a couple of minutes, Dan walked through
the narrow doorframe, presented with a view that made
him forget the last seven years. Familiarity? Boredom?
Getting used to a body? Wanting something new, exciting
and different? Bullshit. What he saw was Vadim and the
most perfect body, one that could easily compete with
any of the gay mags he'd ever managed to buy. The arse,
stuck out, its impeccable curves of smooth skin over
rounded muscles. Uniform tunic loose, t-shirt ridden
up and skirting the waist, trousers down at the calves,
boots firmly planted on the ground and hands in fists,
keeping a firm hold on the stairs. His. That thought
drilled through every layer of Dan's body and mind until
it settled deeply and irrevocably in his brain.
the short distance with a couple of steps, the fine
cloth of Dan's smoking touched bare skin.
could feel him, the warmth, the exact position even
though he kept his eyes closed. Easier this way, easier
to accept what he was doing and why - following orders
because it made him hard.
mine, Russkie." Dan's low voice sounded full of
lust even to his own ears. "Mine."
gave an almost toneless groan at that, guts tightened
at the roughness in this, the raw unadulterated need.
Claiming. Owning. Fuck. He wanted this, wanted this
for the rest of his life, that understanding, the pitch
of tension. Twisting his heart and mind until everything
he thought was about Dan's cock entering him, driving
him insane and ripping everything away so he could just
lose all the rest. Everything but Dan. "Now that
you have me, what are you doing with me?"
will own you. Enter you. Use you. Want you. Make you
come and take you." Word after word tumbling out
of Dan's mouth without thinking. Straight from cock
and guts into his brain. The pistol still there, somewhere,
stashed away, neglected. Dan could feel from his fingertips
to his balls that all he needed was a touch, a word,
and they'd be as binding as shackles and weapons.
nodded, the you you you hammering into his brain.
No maybes. These were actual real threats. Promises.
"Yes. Do it." As if it needed his acceptance,
or anything. He couldn't protect himself. Vulnerable.
first, comrade, I'll prepare you for me." Dan's
hand was in the open foil, taking a slab of butter,
then the candle. Positioned both between Vadim's legs,
didn't know why he wanted to do this, but the thought
of fucking that perfect arse while watching, observing,
made his own cock jump. Greased fingers finding muscle
and initial resistance with practiced ease, Dan went
to his knees as he pushed first a finger inside, and
then the blunt end of the candle. Staring at the goddamned
beauty of entering the other's body.
groaned, feeling his muscles tense as he made out there
was something that wasn't flesh, cooler, slicker, entering,
which was good, whatever it was, and he moved up against
it. Curving his back for more, eyes firmly closed, jaw
tensed, until it got him just right, a bit like a finger,
less big than a cock, not as much force involved, hit
him and made him clench his ass.
was watching every reaction, the quiver of muscle, movement
of skin, and finally tension. Was getting addicted to
seeing the extension of himself entering that body,
manipulating and forcing responses. With an object,
yet himself. Owning. Pushing harder, more deliberate,
starting to fuck that arse, until his own breath was
coming in short, shallow gasps and his cock strained
so hard against the fabric he could feel precum seep
through every layer.
back was gleaming with sweat, and there were groans
he tried to keep quiet, as much as he could, as usual.
Not sure what it was, only what it did to him, and that
was hitting a spot inside, setting him on fire, and
stoking it, but not enough, not enough to burn to ashes,
just keeping him there.
moistened his lips, "Tell me what you feel. What
do you want, Russkie."
you watch me", said Vadim, voice unsteady with
lust. And that was it, that was even more thrilling
than the physical sensation, increased it and made it
harder to bear without breaking down and begging for
more. "Want you. I want you." Still in Russian,
the language that was closer to the heart. "I want
know," Dan murmured, "I see. See you completely."
One hand working on the fly of his trousers, pushing
the shirt away, the cummerbund still in place, and so
were the weapons. "You're mine." His voice
was breathless, still fucking Vadim with the makeshift
dildo, creating a reaction in the other that pulled
Dan along in a maelstrom of need. "You're mine,
Vadim," commando, even in the smoking, and his
cock sprang into his hand. "Mine." The candle
left Vadim all of a sudden.
am." Vadim's lips were open, breath harsh, and
he grinned when he felt Dan making space. Meant one
thing. He shifted his hands, brought them closer together,
so he had more control and more strength, because he
had a feeling he'd need it. Glanced over his shoulder
again, Dan looked dishevelled and oddly erotic in that
state of disarray. He couldn't see what Dan had used,
and might still be holding, but adored the contrast
of dark skin and white, tailored shirt, of the formality
and the primal raging need.
was still enough of the grease on Dan's hand and Vadim
was more than ready, he only had to pull himself up
and guide his cock. "Forever." Barely pressed
out, he surged forward, entering in a single thrust.
Vadim tensed, involuntarily, but he just wanted to feel
more, get the most out of that power, and Vadim groaned,
right what he wanted.
nearly cried out, aborted the sound, bit his lip when
tightness and heat gripped his cock. Pulled out, pushed
forth with all his strength, punishing-needing-wanting,
while breathlessly moaning with each thrust, "Fucking
closed his eyes again, was just feeling, the filling,
moving, delicious heat, felt every thrust echo in his
body and shifted his grip again. His shoulders tightened
with every movement, but that didn't matter against
the desire - couldn't shift, couldn't touch, but move
with and against the thrusts. Groaning, he felt Dan's
trousers against the back of his legs, couldn't reach
out, but this was damn good anyway. Especially as he
couldn't move, especially due to the awkward position.
alright", he murmured,
and gave a husky laugh.
angle didn't allow enough penetration, Dan groaned as
he pulled out, cock just about breaching the muscle,
while his fingers clawed at Vadim's hips. "Hands
one step down. Now."
released the grip of his left hand, reached for the
other step, feeling Dan right there, inside, but not
quite, found a good place, then shifted the other hand.
The adjustment changed something, the angle of hips,
and he pushed back against Dan, cock heavy and hard,
stomach drawn in, sides tense. Shoulders taut.
Dan exclaimed when his cock went in further, only to
pull back once more, completely leaving Vadim, before
shoving back into that willing arse. "Teach you
" A word with
every punishing thrust.
groaned loudly as it hit him just right, harsh as he
liked it, deep, with Dan's full strength behind it that
made the muscles of his arms bulge, jeopardized his
balance. Most of all, filled him, mind getting into
the game, imagined Dan actually punishing him, like
an officer with that strange-sounding Russian, or a
captor. He pressed back, to get more, get all of it,
unable to summon resistance, or words, or a reason why
this felt so good. Impossible to cum like this. And
Dan fucking knew it. That's why he didn't touch him.
That was part of the punishment.
needed both his hands to steady himself, Vadim's hips
in a vice grip, leaving bruises. He came close, far
too goddamned close too soon, and forced himself to
stop, near agony not to fuck even harder, not to keep
using that body. Stopped completely, panting and feeling
the sweat spread across shirt and jacket, collar too
groaned through gritted teeth. What ...? Why? Was this
gathering strength? He expected Dan to go
on, willed him to, but nothing. Instead, Dan stayed
still, deep inside this time, and one hand went to Vadim's
cock, for the lightest of touches, which made Vadim's
cock twitch, balls tighten, and Vadim closed his eyes,
giving a moan that was the closest thing to begging.
Feeling Dan inside, tightening around him, trying to
urge him on.
further down." Dan fought for breath, voice forced,
"until I say stop. I want your arse high in the
motions were unsteady, again, another step, down, too
aware of the cock that didn't move, too aware of the
unbalanced position, and how much that looked like he
was offering his ass. He was. Another step, precarious
motions, slow, he had to tap into his willpower to obey
the order. Bent at the waist now, Dan stood so close
that he couldn't move backwards.
Dan could hardly get the word out when Vadim got to
slightly below waist level, his head lower than his
arse, vulnerable, driving Dan insane. He moved slowly,
ever slower, pulling out in tiny increments, the effort
made him break out in sweat, worse than the violent
fucking before. Both hands once more, on Vadim's hips.
"Stroke yourself, soldier." Poised at the
very breach of the muscle, "be my cunt and cum
groaned, too far gone to protest, just knowing Dan gathered
strength, pulled himself together, with far more control
than he'd ever had. Pulled his right hand back, splayed
the left to support his weight, and took hold of his
cock, as the thought flashed across his mind why he
hadn't done this before, why it was the order that made
him do this. Thinking ceased when he took his cock and
the very next moment Dan slammed back in. Fucking Vadim
in silence, except for harsh breaths.
all of the strength of his body, Dan fucked Vadim as
brutally as he used to fight, just barely matched by
Vadim's harsh motions, which got Vadim over the edge
too quickly. Every fibre in his body tensing as he did,
and the orgasm seared through him like lightning, shooting
his load against his chest and throat, bent as he was.
sounds went straight into Dan's cock and balls, and
he crashed over the edge, fingers digging so hard into
Vadim's flanks they left dark bruises. Shuddering, blind
to the world, wrecked with such aftershocks, Dan fell
forwards, slung his arms around the broad chest, steadying
himself. "Oh fuck, fuck," groaned out, still
trembling, the orgasm like electro shocks from his toes
to the tips of his hair. "Fuck you, Vadim."
With all the tenderness he managed right now.
reached behind, knees buckling, just wanted to collapse
into the stairs, but managed to place a hand against
the wall and straighten, laboriously. Dan's cock left
him, softening, before turning to embrace Dan, shudders
racing across his skin. He managed to take a few steps
back into the room, not sure he wanted to try brave
the stairs. Instead, down on the floor, lower back protesting
the strain, taking Dan with him, who followed readily,
drained, and they stretched out on the carpet to relax.
He pulled Dan's arm across his chest like a blanket
and felt Dan's cum seep out, shuddering again. A right
mess. If he cared. Wondering, briefly, about the order,
and why he had so readily obeyed. Decided he'd been
too horny to come up with anything on his own. Pushed
the thought back, closed his eyes, and breathed deeply.
kept his eyes closed, lay on his side, his arm covering
Vadim's chest. Neither man said anything for a long
time, just breathing. Dan dozed off, if it hadn't been
for the discomfort of wet clothes and his groin a sticky
mess. He didn't quite know what to make of what had
just happened, had never quite felt like that before.
Or had he? The silent fuck in the mountains, the knives
he'd used, the other weapons, and every time he'd had
his Russkie under control. Power. Was it that simple?
He didn't know, except that it blew his mind, and this
time, it had been harsher than ever before. Giving orders
It had thrilled him to the core and he would
want it again.
a fucking mess we are." Dan murmured, grinned tiredly,
"I guess I'll have to explain this dry cleaner
bill in an innovative fashion."
gave a laugh. "You think your dry cleaner can fix
up my uniform, too?" He let his head fall to the
side, kissing Dan's temple. "Would be difficult
to explain these stains to my attaché."
He grinned. "But fuck, that was good."
laughed, exhausted. "Don't think her Excellency
would be all too thrilled knowing I have intimate relations
with a Soviet officer."
turned his head a fraction, just enough to kiss whatever
he could find. "Aye, it was fucking good. It was
different. Kind of blew my mind."
mind?" Vadim laughed. "Yeah, and what's left
of mine. Shit. If you'd been my officer, Dan, we wouldn't
have fired single bullet in this war."
Dan tried to kiss again, hit uniform cloth with his
lips instead, wrinkling his nose. "Best get out
of the clobber and wipe the stains off our kit."
means moving." Vadim stretched, but knew better
than to just lie there, besides, it was getting uncomfortable.
"I'll get cleaned up. Fix us tea?"
got up with a groan and creaking bones, grinning at
Vadim. "Aye, and I might even have lemons this
time." Laughing as he made his way into the kitchen.