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Special Forces Chapter LXIII: Clean Sweep
 
 

March 1996, France

The next day Solange joined them when they all went sightseeing, followed by excellent food in one of the many local restaurants. The weather was kind to them, and while it was cold, the sun had come out, giving the countryside a warm glow. It was still early evening when they returned, and they had hardly made it to the door, when they heard the phone ringing.

Solange hurried inside, while Jean and Dan brought the coats out of the car. When Dan stepped inside, Solange held the phone out to him with a smile. "For you. Dr Williams."

Dan immediately tensed, but took the wireless phone, stepping into the front room when Jean gestured to him he'd have privacy in there. Sitting in the last light of the day, he listened to the doctor's account of the week, while leaning against the back of the chair, eyes closed. This time, after over a month, it wasn't enough, though.

"Can I talk to Vadim?"

"Mr McFadyen, this would not be a good idea."

"Why?" Sudden aggression rose to the surface, and Dan realised that it had been simmering for a while. Helplessness, fear, and that goddamned loneliness, a feeling not even Jean could ease. "I am sick and tired of being told that this isn't a good idea. I am bloody well old enough to decide what is a good idea or not, and so is Vadim!"

"Mr McFadyen ..." the doctor's voice remained as calm as ever. "As I explained to you right from the start, it is important that Mr Krasnorada severs all of his ties and his old coping mechanisms."

"That's what I bloody well am, aye? Coping mechanism, ties, carer. Don't worry, doctor, I haven't forgotten." Rubbing the heel of his hand over his face, Dan scrunched his eyes shut.

"Mr McFadyen, I thought we had agreed that this was all about Mr Krasnorada."

"I know that. I know that. How stupid do you think I am?" Dan shook his head violently. "It's not about me and never has been, so bloody well stop patronising me."

"I am sorry, I never meant to come across as patronising." Dr William's voice was still quiet. "And I apologise profusely if I came across as disbelieving in regards to your acceptance of the situation."

"No." Dan shook his head again. "You don't get it, do you? You don't understand that I'd do anything to stop Vadim from suffering, and if that means letting him go then I will." The sudden pain in his chest constricted his breathing, and he struggled for air, even discarding the cigarette he'd been about to smoke. "But the not-knowing is what kills me. If I could just have a word or two with Vadim, that's all I ask for. Or are you keeping him locked up?"

"Of course not. Mr Krasnorada is a free man."

"Then why doesn't he talk to me? For five fucking weeks?"

"Mr Krasnorada is not able to deal with anything other than the therapy right now. You have to understand that."

"And what is so difficult about me? Can you explain that to me? What's so hard about just saying 'hello' to me?"

"Because it is not 'just hello', can't you see this?"

"No, seems I can't. Seems I'm the bloody stupid Scottish peasant who just doesn't get it. Seems I'm the fucking idiot who doesn't even have a fucking clue if he'll ever get his partner back!" Dan was breathing hard. He knew, somewhere in his mind, that he was completely irrational, and that he should stop himself, now, right now, but he couldn't.

There was a long pause on the other end, before the doctor's quiet voice was heard again. "I understand how hard all this is for you, but ..."

Dan cut in, sharply. "You understand jack shit!"

"Mr McFadyen, please ..."

"Please what? I miss Vadim, and how could you understand that?" Dan was shaking.

"Mr McFadyen ..."

"I want to speak to him, now!"

Vadim heard the roar even through the phone and saw the doctor's face. He shuddered, still shaken up by the session less than half an hour ago. His hands formed fists but he nodded. "Let him. Give me the phone."

"Vadim?" Dan froze, sitting ramrod straight, eyes open in the darkness of the room.

"Yes." Vadim inhaled deeply, turned to face the windows, staring out into the green. Dan pushing for contact. Dan demanding and shouting, yet the voice at the other end was everything but loud now.

"How are you?" Dan was trying to crawl into the phone, just to hear ... anything. The spoken, the unspoken, each breath, any movement. "I ... I just wanted to hear you. Just for am minute. I ... fucking miss you." And since when had he turned into a stammering wreck?

Vadim shuddered. "I'm ... not good, Dan." I vomit and I cry, I scream at night, I write things that make me nauseous. I examine everything I did, and wonder if I fucking deserved all this. All that is bad enough without ... without ... closeness. "I'm in a lot of ... pain."

"I'm sorry. I wish I could ..." do what. Do what, exactly? "I wish I could just hold you." Quietly, hardly more than a murmur. Holding. Touching. Wrapping his arms around Vadim and spooning close. It had always made them feel better, had always helped. Closeness, knowing the other was there.

"I can't have anything touch me." Vadim knew his words sounded cold, but they were the truth. "No sex, no touch, nothing. I don't want anybody near. I can't have anybody ... can't stand anybody right now. I don't feel anything ... just pain. I don't need anything but for this to stop, or I'm going insane. I'm halfway there, but I don't want to fall, I have to get through this, and I have to do it alone, because everything's drowning me."

"I'm sorry." Toneless. "So sorry." Vadim's words had reached Dan's mind, but their meaning was filtering through slowly. "I ..." Shut up. The pain in Dan's chest travelled upwards, downwards, and outwards. "I'm sorry. I won't call again. It's all in ... in your court. The ball. Yes." Shut up. Shut the fuck up! But he couldn't. "I'm really sorry. I was selfish. Didn't understand. I ...." So sorry. All he could do was push the button that cancelled the call and let the phone clatter to the floor.

The pain was like a sudden fist, hitting right into his solar plexus. Robbing his breath, thoughts, heartbeat alike. He hadn't understood, all these years, even though he'd thought he had. He did now, at last. Eyes open, he stared, unseeing, completely numb, and nothing was left in his mind. No questions, no words, no queries. Nothing. Except ...

Nothing.

He sat in the darkness, his face in his hands.

* * *

Vadim put the phone down and looked at the doctor. "He's hurting, but ..." He rubbed his face. "I can't ... can't care. I don't care. I need that space. I hope he gets it now. That I need room to breathe. It's not like I'm cheating on him with you. You help me, and he still has to have it his way. Bastard."

"Is that what it feels to you? That 'he has his way'? And what does it make you feel in return?" The doctor regarded Vadim, before turning to go back into the living room.

"You told him I need the distance. And he forced it."

"He has as much a right to feel as you have, don't you think?" The doctor challenged quietly.

"He doesn't get it. He doesn't get I'm fighting for my sanity here. All he wants is that I'm his, and his world is fine. FUCK!"

"Is that what you believe?

"Yes." Vadim felt the rage boil up, sudden, unexpected, like heated milk suddenly spilled all over the cooker. Feeling a pure rage that made him feel good, that dark red crimson flood that came up and made him capable of anything.

"Where are you now?" Unafraid, unfazed, the doctor stood in front of Vadim. "What do you feel? And why do you feel what you feel?"

"I am ... strong," Vadim murmured, feeling the rage like a current, and reason was the rocks he stood on, feeling the pull. "I could ... just ... let it go and ... destroy something ..." He wanted to. He wanted to let the rage take him, and felt it pulse high up in his throat. "Kill ... somebody." Like in a war. "Helps ... with the motherfucking pain."

The doctor nodded slowly and pointed to the table and the writing pads. "Write it down. Write down what you feel and how you feel it. Write down when you felt it last, and your memories connected with it. The context, the physical sensations and the mental impressions." The ghost of a smile crossed his otherwise serious face. "Write, so you can understand and handle it."

Vadim forced himself to sit down, inhale, gulp down air. Writing. He hated it by now, but forming letters on the paper - they looked shaky, chased, untidy, blurred and jagged and not like his writing at all - forced the rage down. It was hard to sustain the anger while he was writing, and it seemed to make all the finer, smaller muscles in his body useless, but he obeyed, and he wrote.

Dr Williams quietly went to make a tea, and when Vadim was finished for that time, he let him read out what he'd written and they talked about it. The feelings, the reactions, the reasons why - overblown and realistic alike.

Another day of extremes, of pain, of struggle. Another day closer to sanity.

* * *

Nothing. The word kept echoing in Dan's mind. Unlike another 'Nothing' that he had eradicated, a long time ago, this one he could not deal with.

He was still sitting in the darkness, his face in his hands, when the door opened.

"That didn't sound good," Jean murmured, a bottle of wine in his hand. He sat down in the darkness, lighting a cigarette.

"How much did you hear?" Dan lifted his head and wiped at his face. Strange, where the hell was the moisture coming from? Itched like hell, too. He reached for the cigarette and took it out of Jean's hand, inhaling deeply.

"Just that you were shouting." Jean lit another one and inhaled. "I didn't listen at the door or something. But I got worried when I heard you shout." He had his elbows on his knees. "Want to come over to my couch?"

"I fucked it up, Jean." Dan stood up, took the step to make it across and sat down beside Jean. "I really fucked it up."

Jean reached up and placed an arm across Dan's shoulder. "Hey." He turned his head to kiss Dan on the temple. "What happened? What went wrong?"

"I forced Vadim to talk to me. I missed him, just wanted to know how he was, only a few words, that sort of thing. He couldn't bear it. He said he can't stand anyone right now. Can't feel anything, just pain. Can't bear touch, can't stand closeness, can't stand me, and can't ... just nothing." He inhaled another deep drag from the cigarette. "I shouldn't have. I made such a mistake." A shrug, "I'm a selfish bastard."

"Hey," Jean murmured. "You're not. Okay? Trust me on that one, you're everything but selfish. This ... this isn't easy for either of you. The least ... fuck, the least you can demand is hear whether he's okay, or ... less bad or whatever. Aw, shit, Dan." He moved closer, holding him tight.

"No." Dan shook his head. "You don't understand. I can't demand anything and I shouldn't demand anything. I should have known, I just ... just wanted it anyway, because I miss him so much." Dan reached for the ashtray, found its outline in the dark and he extinguished the butt. "The whole thing is a lot bigger than I told you, but I had hoped I could just stop thinking about it for a while, because I can't do anything right now anyway, and have some fun with you. But ..." Turning his head, until he could glance at Jean. "PTSD is chronic. It will never go away, he'll only learn to manage it. And if ... if he wants me back I ..." Dan trailed off, shaking his head vigorously, as if he could stop all those feelings. "Carer." Pressed out. "That's what I'll be."

"Shit." Jean remained close. "Any ... any-fucking-thing I can do?"

Dan shook his head again, wanted to say something, but the words got stuck in his throat. He finally managed to press out, "just ... be here?" Hold me, it said. Be my friend. Just hold me.

Jean nodded and took hold of Dan's head, pressing him close. "Yeah. I'm here. And I won't go away."

Dan wrapped his arms around Jean and buried his face in the crook of Jean's neck. He didn't say anything for a long time. Words didn't change anything, and no one would help him understand what it all meant for his life. For their lives. Nor what the future would be like.

If he and Vadim had one.

* * *

Jean stayed with Dan through almost all of the night, except for a few minutes of explaining the situation to Solange, then returning and sitting with him, just holding. Listening when Dan wanted to talk, but mostly they just sat in silence.

He and Solange did their best to keep Dan occupied and entertained. Something they fairly succeeded in, until, a week later, Dr Williams called again but Dan refused to take the call. Refused the second and third attempt as well, until both Solange and Jean were instructed that no matter what, Dan was not going to talk to the doctor, because he had nothing to say, nothing to add, and could not bear to listen. Dr Williams kept trying, though, each week of the whole month that Dan stayed in France. Time spent in the acceptance of friends. While Jean showed a side of himself, unknown to most, of altruism, of caring and of understanding. Of true friendship.

It was at the end of the second and into the third month, when the Baroness' calls got more insistent. Dan had kept her vaguely up-to-date and she kept asking him to stay with her and to have a heart-to-heart, and finally, Dan accepted. He couldn't remain in France forever, didn't feel that he could stretch the friendship too far, especially not when knowing what Jean felt for him.

While he'd never seen a hint that he was becoming a burden, it was time to leave and let Jean and Solange live their own lives. A life that might change, soon, since Dan had been talking with Jean about the possibility to adopt kids. The weeks had not just been spent with 'moping', as Dan called his state of mind, but with business plans and concrete ideas for the future. Dan helped where he could, trying to get Jean into the network. The busier he was, and the more distracted, the less it hurt.

But it still hurt a fucking lot.

Dan flew from France to London, meeting Her Ladyship in her country manor house in Surrey that had been her family's seat since the 16th century. She was, it seemed, taking a holiday herself, and Dan had the strange feeling that she might have done that for him. Or perhaps he had just become over-sensitive and couldn't read people anymore the way he had been able to, before his world had become too complicated to grasp.

She was sixty-three now, could retire if she wished to, but he somehow doubted she ever would. Not a formidable lady like her.

Formidable, indeed, when she stood on top of the wide, sweeping stairs, at the impressive entrance door, smiling at him. Tiny as ever, deceptively slim and fragile yet he knew she was made out of steel. The bomb proof hairdo as unmoving as ever, and her smile as warm as during the best games of chess he'd ever managed.

He should have known, though, that staying with the Baroness, no matter the warmth, the friendliness and the welcome, wouldn't be all that easy. They talked for many hours. At night sitting in front of the large fire in the main room, filled with the finest artefacts; or during the day, strolling through the beautiful countryside that surrounded her property.

She helped him understand that he needed to make a decision, once and for all, and that he had to come to terms with whatever that decision entailed. But, she pointed out to him, not many people received a gift like he had, and despite all the pain, he should very carefully wager his options.

Options that Dan felt he didn't really have. He couldn't leave Vadim, unless Vadim wanted him to, a possibility that was too dreadful to imagine, and yet he had to get his head and his heart around all of the possibilities.

If the worst happened, the Spa, she said, was a purpose to go on, just like his friends and, yes, his daughter.

In the end, Dan trusted her wisdom and her friendship, and eventually, he let her convince him that he should get in contact with Dr Williams once more, before he returned to Scotland to stay with his brother again. The doctor sounded a lot more positive than he ever had before. Dan, though, did not dare to hope, but he dared to believe.

In his friends, and most of all himself.

Because when it came down to it, it was all he could always count on.

* * *

After three months, it was like coming out at the end of a deep, dark tunnel, claustrophobic and terrifying. There was an overwhelming sense of clarity, like Vadim knew what he was doing, some sense of calm, emptiness, maybe control. The dreams had been far less bad, less shaking, less vomiting, like he felt very nearly sane again, if he'd ever really been sane to begin with. Somehow, time had moved on outside, the seasons were changing, and Vadim felt with a moment of guilt that he hadn't actually missed Dan. There had been no time to miss him, because, really, his own life and mind had been too full.

He called in the early evening, which was morning in Europe, waiting for the phone to be answered.

It was Dan himself who answered, rattling off his brother's phone number instead of a hello.

"It's me." Vadim ran his hand over the hilt of Szandor's sword. "I just booked Doctor Williams' flight back ..."

Dan didn't say anything. Nearly two months. Two fucking months, since he'd last heard Vadim's voice. He hadn't forgotten the 'nothing', but neither his friends' advice. Yet he couldn't bring anything out, couldn't find any reply. This came too suddenly, and nearly shocked him to the core. What had he expected? Wine, roses and moonshine?

"Hope you're still there." Vadim listened intently. "I think we're done here. And I ..." How to put this? "I'm ready to risk it. To ... attempt ... feeling this ... and being close. If you are." Because suddenly he realized that he himself might be ready, but he had no idea what had happened to Dan in the last three months. "If you don't ... it's okay. What I mean is, we need to work that out ... if you aren't, we need to work that out, too. I can't demand you taking that role. You have a right to be happy, and if that has nothing to do with me ... it would just be good to know."

"Is that it? Good to know?" Dan's voice sounded forced, but it was hard to make a sound, when all he knew was that he was reeling. So many weeks, hoping, wondering, thinking, feeling, missing, and now? Now it was all too much, and it hurt that Vadim could just pick up the phone, say a couple of words, and with an 'it's me' expected he'd jump like Pavlov's dog. "I ..." I don't know. I want. Anything. But I don't know, because I am frightened. "I missed you." That, at least, was nothing but the truth.

"Yes. I'm sorry. I ... didn't feel very much of anything positive."

"I know. You told me." Dealing with Vadim and with his own feelings was like walking on a knife blade. "What do you want me to do?"

"I want you to come home," Vadim said, softly. "We could head to the south island, have a holiday together." Get out of the house, and remove the distractions. It might be easier to explain what needed explaining when they were alone with themselves and nature.

Home. What a painful, longed-for concept. Those three months had felt longer than the separation before. Or perhaps they'd really been separated for many years, ever since that dawn in Kabul, when the KGB had taken Vadim away. "I would like to." Dan closed his eyes, to keep every distraction away. "But I'm not sure if I can." Or dare. What was the difference. No matter, it had to be said. The truth, that old, faithless, painted crone that had always been his most despised and loved companion.

"Take your time. Just call me in advance so I can pick you up at the airport." Calm words, masking whatever went on in Vadim's mind.

"Do you really want me to come?" Dan's voice remained quiet, toneless even. "And do I really have a home?" Dan shook his head slowly, to no one there. "I am willing to be who you need me to be, but ... I can't do that and accept the consequences, unless I know that you are certain." He took a deep breath. "Is there love left for me, Vadim?"

"It won't be easy, Dan, because, if I tell you to leave me alone, you ... you have to. Can you do that?"

"You haven't answered my question." Barely above a murmur. "I can do a lot, learn a lot, accept a lot, if I know the reason and if there is an unshakable core I can cling to." Remembering the last phone conversation with the doctor, and the importance of boundaries and commitment - on both sides. "I have needs too, you know. I cannot ignore them, but I can and will adapt for you, if you really want me."

"I love you, Dan, and I always will, even if there are times when I can't feel it underneath everything else. When I turn numb. Or angry... then it'll be difficult, then I need space. I will ... do my best to tell you what I feel, so you can ... monitor it."

Dan smiled, to no one, because he only heard the first three words. The smile was just for himself, not even for Vadim. "Okay. I'll take the next flight."

"Yes. Let me know when you'll arrive, I'll be there."

"Aye, I will." Dan hung up. It wouldn't be easy, but as long as there was love, he wouldn't be merely a carer. He had to believe in that.


May 1996, New Zealand

Five days later, after the gruelling flight, Dan was finally in the plane from Auckland to Palmerston North. He wasn't sure what he felt, because the feeling was new, unknown. Anxiety, some ponce probably called it, or nervousness, or just plain old insecurity. Whatever it was, he kept fiddling with the packet of peanuts and the miniature beer, while surreptitiously glancing out of the window. Not much longer, and he didn't know what the hell to expect.

Three months, over three months, and he couldn't just go and embrace Vadim.

The plane finally landed, and it seemed like an eternity to Dan, before he got his luggage, found a trolley and piled it on. Customs had been done in Auckland. He was using the cane, sitting in the plane had played havoc with his knee, but right now, he didn't care about the limp. Didn't care about anything, except for the silhouette he could see against the light.

As promised, Vadim was there in the single hall that the airport building consisted of, and he smiled at him, then walked close to offer help with the luggage. Careful, too aware of space and distance to just hug him.

"Hi, Russkie." Dan stood, didn't reach out and didn't touch, but how much he wanted to. Forcing himself, with his entire willpower, not to try and touch but to stand still. Straight. Tall.

Vadim smiled warmly. "Yeah. I missed you. I did."

"Really?" Tilting his head, Dan offered a tentative smile.

Vadim stepped closer and opened his arms, then embraced Dan, who kept standing still and unmoving for another moment, before he gave into the urge and wrapped his arms around Vadim. Inhaling the scent deeply, of body heat and Vadim's favourite shower gel, his after shave and simply the essence of him, the combination of all the familiar smells. Holding onto him tightly, for a long time. "Are you going to take me home?"

"I will," Vadim murmured near Dan's ear, holding him for at least a minute, then kissed him on the side of the neck. "Car. Let me get those." He grabbed Dan's bags and headed out, with Dan following right behind. It was just a few steps outside and into the parking lot. Vadim tossed the bags into the car. "I got a lot of food from the supermarket ... I went a bit overboard ... and, well... you'll want to rest, I know, but I whipped up a chicken salad ... just something light."

Dan grinned. "You didn't think I'd come all the way from my brother's without Scottish fare from Mhairi?" He got into the car. "Plus wine from Jean, the latest fashionable cufflinks and ties from Solange, and a few essential nicnacs, or whatever they are meant to be, from Maggie. And don't forget the whisky that my brother got you." He buckled up, while Vadim started the car. "I, though, I'm afraid I come empty handed."

Vadim smiled at him, and steered the car out of the parking lot. "No you don't. You've taken that awfully long flight."

Dan smiled and glanced to the side, his hand hovered for a moment, but then he didn't touch Vadim. Didn't dare to, too deeply embedded the worry of not initiating anything. How was he going to deal with it, though? Falling asleep, waking up, wanting sex, or just the casual touches. He'd always been tactile, how the hell was he going to learn to wait until he was invited to touch before touching? At least that was what he had figured out his life would be like. For a moment he faltered, tried to find a topic of conversation, and felt dreadfully awkward. "When ... when did Dr Williams leave?"

"Yesterday morning. Strange ... he was ..." Vadim frowned, trying to put his feelings into words. "He knows a lot about me now. Probably everything. Well, anything that's important. He just accepted it all. Not one bad word. First ... father figure that I get along with, I guess." He looked at Dan, then reached to touch Dan's thigh. "You don't like him, though?"

Dan's gaze went to the hand on his thigh, taking it as an invitation, and he touched the hand. Just a light touch, conscious and mindful of boundaries he had no idea of yet, and of rules he didn't know. "I don't know him. I have no reason not to like him." Except for the irrational rage that that man had taken Vadim away from him.

"Is that the whole story?" Vadim gave him a glance, then turned into the side street that would get them home.

"The whole rational story." Dan shrugged and searched for his cigarettes. Surprised himself that he hadn't lit up yet. "I'm afraid the irrational one would make me sound like an idiot."

"What's that?"

Dan looked at Vadim, then lit his cigarette, after opening the window for a bit despite the cold air. "I'd rather not tell."

"Okay." Vadim drove on in silence for a while, then they crossed the little bridge and he pulled up in front of the house. "There." Vadim exhaled and stretched. "Welcome back."

Dan sat and looked at the house, his home, and it felt strange. "Doesn't feel like it." The words were out before his brain had engaged, but then he didn't know the rules yet, did he? The house, at least the living room, still looked exactly as he remembered it, and yet, after all this time, it felt - once more - like a stranger's place. Home ... Vadim had always been his home, since that goddamned fateful day in the bloody mountains.

"I have to show you something." Vadim got out of the car and got the bags, then carried them over to the door. He'd left it open - there was simply no danger anybody would break in. He dropped the bags in the living room, waited for Dan to get in and closed the door. "After you've rested. You'll ... understand. I hope. But not before you've rested."

"Hm?" Confusion was written all over Dan's face. "Do you want me to lie down now?"

"If you're tired."

"Not all that much, but I'm hungry."

Vadim reached out again and pulled Dan closer. He felt awkward, too, but he was sure they'd be alright. He felt sane, saner than he'd been in a long time, and he'd get everything in order, too. "I want you to read the diaries ... the writing he made me do. What happened. And what's in my head. What made me do the things I did, and kept me from doing things I wanted to do. What ... kept me silent and what made me go all wrong. Okay? If you want to. I'd understand if it's too much, because it's pretty fucking horrible."

Dan lifted his head to look at Vadim, and all those pent-up emotions were playing out across his face. An open book: weathered and scarred. Looking for a long moment, until he smiled. "It won't be too much, how could it be? No way, Russkie, I need to know. We've been through so much shit, we got to find a way to build this up again. Us, you, our lives. I just ..." he trailed off, shaking his head, "I just need to understand. Need to know the rules. Right now I bloody don't know anything. May I touch you? May I not? Am I going to have to wait until you take the initiative all the time? Am I going to feel as fucking awkward as I feel now? Because I don't know what I am supposed to do and what I am allowed to do, and because, until I know the rules, I can't tell you if I can live like that." He paused, leaned his head closer, until his cheek touched Vadim's, and he murmured, "but I will read everything that you give me. Every single word."

Vadim pressed him close, deeply inhaling the scent. "Touch me all you want," he murmured, and it sounded strangely sexy, like something Jean would say. "I'll say no if I don't want you to be close. That's something I have to learn. I'll remember it, and I'll do it. You can't read my mind, and I need to accept that sometimes I just can't ... but it won't mess us up. I promise."

"And kissing ... may I kiss you? Will you tell me if you don't want me to?" Dan's head moved a fraction, lips touching Vadim's jaw, the clean shaven cheek.

"Yeah. That's part of the touching." Vadim turned his head to kiss Dan, gently, and full of longing, and it hurt in all the good ways to have Dan back. "And sex, too. That's ... included in the touching," he murmured, feeling his body respond to the closeness.

"Right now?" Dan allowed his hand to run up and down Vadim's back, merely brushing the buttocks. No greed, no possessiveness, even though it all simmered somewhere. Pushed away, right now, with an all-encompassing sense of yearning. "It's been a bloody long time since I last ... Two ... two months." He hadn't been able to, not even with Jean. "But it's not, you know, not a demand or anything. It's okay if ..." he knew he was babbling and he finally shut up. Pressing closer instead and opening his lips to invite, but Vadim grinned and pressed him closer, hands on Dan's ass.

"Upstairs now?"

"If you haven't turned the bedroom back into the unbearable poncy place?" Dan's old irreverent humour made a peek appearance.

"Nah." Vadim kissed him again. "I changed nothing. Let's go."

Dan didn't need to hear the invitation twice and he followed, never letting go of Vadim.

The bedroom had not changed at all - and Vadim pulled his shirt off and dropped it on a chair, while Dan stood and watched, just taking in the sight. Vadim then started to undress Dan - all slowly and considerate, while Dan did nothing more than raise his arms to help with the baring of skin. It wasn't the consuming madness, it was tenderness and longing to feel the other's skin and closeness after three months apart. Vadim kicked off his shoes and then stepped out of his trousers, while Dan finished undressing himself, pushing the awkwardness away that tried to creep close all the time.

When they were finally lying on the bed, fully naked, bodies touching, the kisses were almost chaste, while nothing had ever been chaste about them. Fully grown, ex-killers, bound on destruction a long time ago, now rediscovering their bodies, their taste and touch, their scent and their desire, as if they'd met for the first time.

It ached, Dan thought, deep inside, but the ache was good. Vadim smiled at him, kissing his chest, hands running down his body to explore and stroke, body half on top, but he was keeping his weight off, didn't want to hurt the knees. "It feels all weird ..."

"Aye," Dan smiled at him, relishing the arousal, but even more the feeling of closeness. He reached down, stroking through Vadim's hair, then cupping his face. Studying it intently. He had to clear his throat before he could talk. "You do realise that you are beautiful, even though no one in their right mind should ever call a man beautiful?" He quirked a grin, but his voice gave away the depth of emotion.

"Always good on camera ..." Vadim smiled and kissed Dan. "I'm a vain bastard, you know that."

"Aye, I know you're a bastard alright." Dan murmured, "just good that I'm one, too."

Vadim lay down, side by side with Dan, reaching for Dan's cock and he stroked it while he kissed him again, deeply, and Dan shut up. So many things to say, to ask, to tell, to understand, but right now all that mattered were their bodies. Touching, stroking, reacquainting himself with the terrain of Vadim's skin.

Scars that he knew so well: carved by his own hands. Scars that stood for terror, revenge and pain, and scars that spelled out their love. 'Mine'. Possession. Yet 'mine' had meant to let go and let free.

Vadim pressed against him, their cocks in his hand as he pushed and pressed into Dan. Feverish and close, groaning, his eyes opened fully just before orgasm hit him, and he saw Dan, truly looked in his eyes, facial expression tender before climax washed over him, almost at the same time as Dan's, and he rested right there, next to Dan, who was shuddering with the aftershocks, sweaty foreheads touching.

They were both silent for a long time, just breathing, taking in the other's scent and heartbeat. The closeness, the heat, just feeling and being.

Home. That's what it felt like, Dan thought. Home. At last. The awkwardness was gone for now, as he held and gently stroked Vadim's back, his shoulder, his flank. "Hey, Russkie?" Dan smiled, his voice hoarse with the jetlag, perhaps, or the smoking, or the abundance of emotions.

Vadim looked up from his shoulder. "Hmm?"

"What about that promised food? I'm starving." Leaning in for a light kiss.

Vadim smiled. "Okay. Yeah." He stretched and half-turned. "I'll get some." He ran his hand down Dan's cheek and stood. He located his shorts and put them on, then headed to the kitchen. Salad, fresh bread, some mango and papaya. He brought it all into the bedroom, but when he looked at the bed, he found Dan deep asleep. Lightly snoring, he lay sprawled on his back, fallen asleep from one minute to the next.

Vadim didn't have the heart to wake him, and with a smile carried the food back down, letting Dan sleep, but not without pulling the blanket up first.

Dan slept through, the jet lag and worry had knocked him out, and he merely snuffled without rousing when Vadim came to bed later that night. He slept until the small hours of the morning when he woke at 2 AM, refreshed and still right in the middle of jet lag and the fact that his body clock knew nothing of New Zealand time right now.

He rubbed his face and looked at the sleeping man beside him for a while. Smiling, he leaned across for a light kiss on one bare shoulder, but Vadim slept on, and Dan got out of the bed. There was no point in trying to sleep now, and once he was up, a coffee wouldn't go amiss. Enough time to readjust to the time zone later. He found his dressing gown still on its hook and slipped into it.

After making a strong coffee in triple measure, and raiding the fridge for the leftover food that Vadim had packed into tubs, Dan balanced a tray into the living room to settle on the couch and watch a video, when his eyes fell onto the writing pads that Vadim had shown him earlier. He wasn't sure what to feel about it, but one thing he knew, there was no way he would shy away, and why not do it now, in the silence of the night.

He picked up the first 'book' and started to read. He was still reading hours later, and just about finished reading around five-thirty. He'd felt cold, sometimes, hot at others, nauseous and plain sick at yet another. Guilty, pained and angry, shocked, hurt and taken aback. Unknown, betrayed, sad and full of rage, of love and of every single emotion under the sun - and those that only showed up at night.

He placed the last writing pad onto the table when he was done and quietly made his way back upstairs. Vadim was still asleep, and Dan carefully sat down on the bed beside him. Watching the sleeping man without touching. Watching and thinking. Short thoughts that needed digestion, long emotions, that needed clarification. He wanted to touch Vadim's face, to caress the cheek, the jaw line, but he didn't, merely waiting with infinite patience which had been hard-won in his life. He didn't even smoke, didn't want to disturb Vadim.

He smiled as he studied the face, devoid of a frown or lines of worry, and it was maybe the fact how Vadim slept - deep and peaceful, relaxed, not a hint of the darkness that claimed him and made him restless at night, that for this alone, Dan was grateful. The therapy must have had an effect, and maybe made the nights safer.

Vadim woke eventually, reaching over to Dan's side first, then, almost confused, turned and looked around, found the light switch. He smiled drowsily. "Can't sleep?"

"I fucked up my sleeping pattern." Dan smiled, reached out to stroke the face. "I was downstairs, reading." Fingertips resting lightly on the jaw bone, then tracing towards the temple, carding through the rasp and buzz of short hair. "I'll need time to digest and to understand, to fully understand what was done to you."

"Oh. You ... read them." Vadim looked at him, carefully judging Dan's expression, but Dan was still smiling, softly, then said, "I never knew you hated it so much that I had sex with others, even though I'd asked you a couple of times and you said you didn't, and I believed you. Nor did I ever realise that you resented my touch at times, and that you found me demanding."

"At times." Vadim sat up in bed and leaned against the wall, pulling a leg up to rest his elbows on. "And I could have told you, but I didn't. I thought ... I think it all comes down to the fear that you might decide I'm too much trouble to keep. If I'd pushed you away, I feared you might not come back, and that's ... that's something I couldn't deal with. The closest I've ever come to suicide was when you didn't come back. I couldn't go through that again, so I didn't tell you what I felt."

"When I didn't come back?" Dan frowned, pulled himself further up on the bed, to sit on his hip.

"When you didn't jump right into my arms in the Gulf, I guess." Vadim smiled ruefully. "Felt like you'd left me, but you hadn't. I had."

"Oh, aye ..." Dan trailed off. "I had a lot of time to think, and even my short thoughts eventually made a big whole." He reached out to touch Vadim's knee. "What we have is, as you said once, non-negotiable. From the day you raped me, and the day I tortured you; from the pistol wound and the knife cuts, and from all the anger, pain and hatred onwards ... from that very first moment on we were fated. To die together - from each other's hand, or to live together. And, I guess," Dan cocked his head with another smile, "to die together, eventually. When we're old and decrepit. There is nothing that could take me from you, nothing except for your own word, if you pushed me away." Dan leaned forward, the scent and heat of his body close, and Vadim was suddenly breathless, whether from the words or the closeness or Dan's knifeblade intensity, was impossible to say - and didn't make any difference at all.

Dan's quiet voice was intense. "I lost you, the man I knew in Kabul, on the morning the KGB took you away. That man is gone and will never return, I understand that now. It's time I get to know you, the man you have become, once and for all. If that man does not want me to have sex with anyone else, then I won't. You just need to tell me, truthfully. No more deflection, no more lies, because what we have is non-negotiable."

Vadim reached and took Dan's hand. With a word, he could sever what was going on between Dan and Jean. Dan and Matt. Dan and Beauvais. Dan and a dozen other men, past, present, future. That meant he was enough, didn't it? "The man I was ... didn't feel that fucking fragile," Vadim murmured, throat tight.

"The man that was wouldn't have admitted the truth in the first place." Dan softly interjected.

"Aye. It's like ... I can't open to them. The others. They are always at arm's length. Apart from Hooch, I guess." He'd pushed this man away, but there was, sometimes, a faint echo of him, and regret. "Never felt much for them. They didn't get to me. Like I couldn't feel much of anything." Vadim pressed his lips together, felt he was getting overly emotional, but he forced himself further. "Like a blind man remembering sun. You were still there. You were always right there, at the core, like my own heart, beating." He swallowed, and it hurt, his throat was so tight. "I ... need to learn that the others don't mean you'll leave me. It's just a fear I have, something that has to do with ... the thing they did."

Dan shook his head gently, reaching once more for Vadim's face. A light touch, almost chaste. "I understand now, I do. And I mean it, I will be monogamous if you want me to. Don't tell me what you think I want to hear. We have been there before, more than once. Tell me what you truly feel and truly want me to do. I won't hurt you anymore, I am through with that."

"And I try not to hurt you. Like I used to do. I know I haven't been easy for you to handle, and I'm so fucking sorry."

"You are who you are. Trauma and all. I am not a victim, I'm not here because you forced me to. It is my decision to be with you and to accept the consequences." Dan leaned closer, until his forehead touched Vadim's. "And I am who I am. Stubborn, peasant, kinky, stupid, tactile, smoker, all-round embarrassment to anyone with class," Dan flashed a grin, "straightforward, crippled, dumb, honest, hard, annoying, selfish, hungry, and promiscuous. But the latter I'd change for you."

Vadim smiled and kissed his hand. "I just don't want to share. I don't want these men, and I can't let them close." Did that include Jean? He wasn't even sure, but making that decision meant Jean would leave that grey area in his mind where he was at turns annoying and welcome. "And I won't. Unless we pay the guys, I won't share anymore. But ... you can do whatever you want. If there's somebody you want, go for him."

"Are you sure? I mean … about me going for it. Absolutely sure? Because I won't ask again. I want to be able to believe your word from now on, and your feelings."

"Aye." Vadim looked Dan in the eye. "You're different. Your emotions work differently. I know that now. But I won't be there in bed with you and the other, I've shared too much already." Katya, amongst other things.

Dan nodded and smiled - part ruefully and part amused. "There won't be that many opportunities anymore. Even I am getting older."

"I'll believe that when I see it happening. And there's one thing ... I want to get back in touch with Hooch. As a friend. Mostly, I think. I need to know if that is okay with you, because if it's not, I won't. I'm attracted to Hooch, but he's not relationship material and no threat to you."

Dan paused for a moment, listened to himself and his reactions, and in the end, after a silence, he nodded. "Aye, I'm fine with that. If I can trust your feelings and your word, because you can now trust them yourself, then I'm okay with that."

Vadim exhaled, feeling relief, above all. This business of talking about his emotions - that deeply and truthfully, and carefully, because he had to inspect whatever he felt, and made sure he actually communicated what he felt - that was surprisingly hard work.

Dan leaned in once more, placing a kiss onto Vadim's forehead, strangely chaste. "And now?" He murmured, "breakfast or a cuddle?"

"Cuddle, then breakfast." Vadim pulled him closer and kissed him on the lips, less chaste, and more playful than he'd been in ages.

It didn't lead to sex, but it led to a lot of touching and smiling, and when they kissed and held each other, it was like truly coming home.

* * *

After breakfast, Vadim had a quick workout, a shower, and then dressed again. He didn't close any doors anymore - there was no secret from Dan, nothing he was ashamed of, even with Hooch. He dialled the American's number and waited, not quite sure how to start the 'conversation' or where Hooch actually was. For all he knew, Matt could be answering.

It was, indeed Matt's voice that came up with a breathless "hello?"

"Vadim Krasnorada here." Vadim thought this did sound distanced, and forced himself to smile, and be polite. "How are you?"

"Oh, hi, Vadim." A rustle, followed by a bang. "Sorry, I, like, just came running up the stairs. Heard the phone." More rustling, then a muted thud of something being thrown onto the floor. "What's up, buddy?"

"Just trying to keep in contact. We're in New Zealand at the moment."

"Yeah, that's great. Dan's alright?" After some more rustling with muffled curses, "you calling for Hooch?"

"Yes." Vadim felt he'd exhausted his ability for smalltalk. "If he's there." And if he was, Matt and Hooch were an item and had continued on for months. Interesting thought.

"No, sorry, buddy, but you're lucky, Hooch's in Fort Bragg at the moment. Due out soon. I can give you his number. He's got a cell now. Got anything to write?" The sound of something getting shuffled.

"Yeah." Vadim reached for a pencil and a torn envelope. "Got you." He noted down the number, checked that it was correct. "Dan's here if you want to talk to him."

"Thanks, bud, but we had a chat by mail a few days ago. Gotta take a piss, like, urgently." A short huff of laughter, and then, "bye!" And Matt was gone.

Vadim called the cell phone number, which rang several times, until he wondered if anyone picked up. A click, at last, and a drawl. "Yeah?" Reserved, as if vetting the unknown number was of paramount importance.

"Hey, Hooch." Vadim's voice was lower, but not to be subtle, rather, it was a strange feeling of tenderness. "Vadim here. Can you talk?"

"Shit, Vadim!" Astonishment, joy, surprise, and a mix of things Hooch usually didn't let slip, was audible in his voice. "Sure thing." The sound of walking, echo of steps in a hallway. "You alright?"

"Much better. I had ... therapy." Nothing to be ashamed of. Hooch knew he was fucked up, or had guessed it. In any case, Hooch had in all likelihood seen people with PTSD before. "Realized a few things ... the value of friendship, my own emotions. I'm good now. Scarred, but alive."

The sound of a cigarette being lit, and if Vadim listened carefully, there was the sound of birds and the whistle of a breeze, as Hooch had moved outside. "That's good. Been thinking about you. How you were. You and Dan. The lot. Been out and about several times. Doesn't come close." The sound of smoke exhaling.

"I'm here, Hooch. I'm here." Vadim smiled softly, wondered what it meant; was 'out and about' Hooch's quest for the nastiest, most brutal sex he could get, or a mission for his government? You and Dan. Was he looking for a lover that could carve out his heart, the same kind of madness that was always reminiscent of Afghanistan? "If you want to meet up, we can."

"You sure?" Hooch inhaled, then nothing, finally the sound of a slow exhale. "Things the same with you? Not changed with me."

"I didn't expect you to change." Vadim gave a short laugh.

"Yeah, unlikely." The grin was evident in Hooch's voice.

"I'd have to see what happens when I see you again. But there's Dan for me, too."

"He's alright with us meeting up?"

"Yeah. We talked about it. I guess ... if you're together that long, there are things that you just assume about the other, and they're not necessarily true. He'll be okay. We worked some things out between us."

"Cool." The sound of smoking, then, "I'll be back July/August, if all goes according to plan." A dry huff, "fucking unlikely, but it's a working hypothesis. Meet then? Don't mind where."

"Out on a mission?"

"Yeah."

A dozen places that looked likely, several where the US had interests or 'friends' to defend. Same old. "What about a trip to the Antipodes? Doesn't have to be here, South Island is beautiful. Will be winter, but it's great even in winter."

"Sounds good. How long can you bear me?" Amusement coloured the voice, then an exhale again. "Could combine it with Australia. Promised Matt we'd go surfing in September. Got to be back for the second week."

"Couple weeks? I'll check the schedule, but I've been taking it easy." He hadn't been sure whether he could go back to work after the therapy. He had somehow expected he wouldn't go back to work. Maybe it was time to re-think that career if he kept walking into bastards like Nelson and Konstantinov. "Heard Australia is good for surfing and diving, too."

Hooch huffed a dry laugh. "Parcelling Dan off with Matt again?"

"I can try," Vadim said. "Keeps them both busy." He paused, listening to himself and his responses, but all emotions connected with Hooch were good. The trust far outweighed the regret, the friendship was far stronger than the danger to get confused about love and friendship and desire again.

"Too obvious." A faint rustle and shifting, Hooch could be sitting down or standing up. "Leave them out."

"How is it going with you guys?"

"Good. Matt's still 'pretty'. Turned into a regular thing."

"Good for you."

Another sound, this time voices in the distance, and then a change in Hooch's voice, as if shielding his phone. "Look, Vadim, those two weeks, you looking for friendship, or sex, or both? I'm alright with any of the combinations. After the mission, I probably need to let off steam in August."

"To be honest ..." That was one of the phrases he'd use a lot. To be honest. To be open. To communicate his feelings. Vital, with his condition. "I don't know yet, but I'm hoping for both." Despite everything that has happened, I can hold you through the darkness. I can keep you safe, because I've been there. I've been right there in the pit of darkness, and I've crawled out again. I survived. "I can give you both, too."

"Good." A pause, then, quieter, "I can't find any longer what I need. You damn spoiled me."

"Nobody else fills out that uniform like I do, eh?" Vadim smiled. The Soviet uniform. In a way, it was defiance of the past, and still truth, and it had no significance anymore, because the Soviet Empire had ceased to exist. And Major Krasnorada with it.

"Yeah … nobody understands that part of me that well." Another dry huff. "Anyway, I'll let you know timings as soon as I can. You got a cell yet?"

"Yes, wait a second." Vadim fished the annoying thing out of his pocket and skipped through the menu until he'd found his own number. He'd never had to remember the number, it was printed on his business card. He read it out to Hooch. Connection established. One major thing resolved. Dr Williams had encouraged him to slowly tackle all the open issues in his life. Evading those created negative stress, and negative stress was something he'd want to avoid piling on.

"Thanks, buddy."

"Just let me know, I should be available. Be safe."

The sound of a short, dry burst of laughter. "I try. Not sure if the enemy agrees."

Vadim found himself smiling after the chat, warmed, somehow, relieved. It would be good - he knew that. There was no danger of madness with Hooch now, he knew what he was doing, and which parts of himself he accessed during their games. It was deliberate and controlled, and it was their way of being tender and caring, as absurd as that thought was. The moment Hooch became his prisoner, Vadim would have torn himself apart to protect him. Nothing evil about it.

He turned around when he heard a sound behind him. It was Dan, walking past and smiling at him. Naked, hair still wet, a few drops clinging to his dark skin, a soggy towel over his shoulder. He'd been swimming. "Everything alright?"

"Yeah. He's very nearly out on a mission, but I thought we could meet up in August. South Island, a week."

Dan nodded. No fear, now, and no jealousy. He did believe Vadim now, and trusted his words. Most of all, he understood. "How's Matt?" As if he didn't know.

Vadim brushed back some of the wet strands in Dan's face, smiling. "He and Matt are regular by now. Seems even Deltas calm down."

Dan grinned. "Matt's a good guy, he'll keep Hooch human."

"Yeah, that combination works. Strange but true."

* * *

In the following weeks, life was a breeze. It was simple and good, as they found their rhythm back, worked a little, but mainly stayed home, talking, touching, spending time together without darkness. Vadim locked the diaries away - he was through with those and put the pile of notepads in storage, while still occasionally writing - he found it was a good way to order his thoughts, discard baggage whenever it sprung up. The ups and downs had levelled off, it was all far more steady and calmer these days.

Life in the bedroom became interesting, too. After all the vanilla sex, stroking and kissing and getting to know each other again, Vadim one day found the collar and, on the way to bed, dropped it in Dan's lap, grinning, then awaited him naked on the bed, offering, his wrists crossed, on his knees. Things got very interesting from there, when Dan picked up his games again, and while intense, they were never destructive, never pushed Vadim over the edge. He could bear isolation and sensory deprivation much better now, and knew it, which made him far more confident, and Dan more courageous and reckless.

When Hooch arrived, sunburnt from some place in Africa he didn't talk about, the three of them spent an evening together, talking, and the next morning, Hooch and Vadim headed towards the South Island. Nature, a cabin out there in the wilds, and then it was their kinship and sex - no fear about it. Vadim knew he was in control, of the other, himself, and his own darkness. A week later, they returned to the farm, talking and being lazy - but no sex. Vadim didn't want to share Hooch - or Dan - and both respected that.

When Matt arrived, he had no eyes for anyone but Hooch, and Dan remarked to Vadim that those two men were the only ones who didn't realise how much in love the Jarhead really was. That much, in fact, that Dan didn't get to play with Matt at all, and merely spent a few hours talking, laughing, because the moment Hooch turned up, he was all Matt wanted - which was obvious to everyone, except Hooch.

The two Americans headed off a couple days later for some quality surfing, and time away from 'don't ask don't tell'. When they left, Hooch was mellow, relaxed, and plain fun to be with. The week spent with Vadim, locked away and suspended in time, had had a calming effect on him, and he was as attentive to Matt, without realising it, as the kid was devoted to him.

Dan and Vadim talked at great length about the job, Vadim's fears, and possible ways around it, to realise in the end that Vadim had become strong and centred enough in himself, and had - should he need to - the arsenal of tools to combat any mental downfall, that they would continue with their work.

In New Zealand's spring and Europe's autumn they flew across once more, touring the conference circuit, interspersed with Dan's ever flourishing Spa, which was growing into a close knit international community, a network that started to become essential to some and a safety net to a few, while providing friendship and fun to many. A place where they could let their proverbial hair down, as long as they abided to the few rules. It was during the time in Europe that Dan suggested to Vadim he might want to contact his ex-wife, after he received another update from his daughter.

Of course Katya had lingered in Vadim's mind - any time Dan mentioned Kisa, and Dr William's gentle hints. His past. Unfinished business. He didn't want to call her, instead he used the time spent at airports to write a long letter. It was a rambling piece of work, it seemingly just kept growing, until it was twenty pages, written on thin light blue air mail paper. After all the letters she'd written him, he did his best to write her a good, long, proper letter, and, in this way, he thought, she couldn't unsettle him, couldn't stop him from saying things that had to be said. He didn't hear from her for a long time, but he thought she might be busy, or need time, or was still battling her own pride.

It was in Europe's winter and New Zealand's summer, after visiting friends and family: a week of Dan meeting Jean, on his own, Christmas spent with Dan's family, and New Year with the Baroness, that they headed back home. Dan returned with a plan to start the Pascal Durand Foundation, born out of the Spa, and financed initially with most of his own salary.

That February, Jean and Solange came for an extended visit, full of hopes and life and with the news, not all that surprising to Dan, that Jean had successfully started a new career as an independent supplier of ex-special forces soldiers to a large international PMC company, and that they were about to adopt twins. The children were Ukrainian, and the way things were going east of Europe, Ukraine seemed happy to accept Jean and Solange as adoptive parents - or maybe Jean had known exactly who to bribe. The fact he spoke Russian likely helped, and maybe he even drew on former contacts, but Jean never told the story. Vadim rather suspected something fishy, but then Solange was so happy about the prospect to have two little girls that anything else just faded.

Dan kept teasing Jean, telling him he had become a responsible middle aged man, who was about to turn father and should - just like him - grow up at last. A notion that Jean countered with taking Dan out to a few days snorkelling, while Solange stayed with Vadim and they explored the island. Dan and Jean did get some snorkelling in, but most of the time was spent in bed, or rather, on top of it, and eating good food, drinking, and smoking and talking. Intimate friends, just as much as Hooch and Vadim.

In the end, when Jean and Solange left for the Ukraine, life settled down once more for Dan and Vadim, interspersed with visits from friends, such as Markus and Dima, and with work, preparations, keeping up to date with news and current affairs, with exploring the island through camping, with exercise and swimming and working on the Spa.

Neither of them would have ever believed they could enjoy peace - of body, environment and mind - that deeply.

 
 
Special Forces Chapter LXIV: Don't Ask Don't Tell
 
 
Warning for Readers

The following work of fiction contains graphic homosexual interaction, violence and non-consensual sex. With this work of fiction the authors do not condone in any way any form of intolerance and injustice, e.g. racism, sexual harassment, incitement of hatred, religious hatred nor persecution, xenophobia and misogyny. Neither do the authors through this work of fiction promote violence nor make light of such grave matters as genocide, any taking of human life, murder, execution, rape, torture, persecution of sexual orientation.

By accessing this work of fiction you hereby accept and agree that this is a work of fiction and does not reflect in any way the opinions of the authors. The authors do not necessarily endorse the views expressed by the fictional characters.

By accessing this work of fiction you hereby indemnify the authors against all claims and actions whatsoever arising from reading the work of fiction.

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

 

 
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Published 24 February 2009