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Special Forces Chapter XXXIX: Best Men

April 1992, France

They'd flown in through Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, spent two nights in a too expensive hotel in the city so Vadim had the chance to see the Musée de L'Armée, the Panthéon with Napoleon's tomb, and the conveniently close Musée Rodin. Dan - looking very longsuffering - simply followed Vadim to wherever he wanted to go to, despite getting bored to death within ten minutes in a museum. Keeping himself entertained with studying signs and captions, making a wager with himself if he could learn the language before the wedding, or, rather, brush up and remember what he had learned once.

Just as Jean had promised on the phone, each and every eaterie in Paris served great if not perfect food. That was, if one could get the waiters to understand English - something that a true Parisian waiter appeared to be above of, each one a blasé and haughty monarch in whatever place he not so much worked in but graced with his presence. By the second day, Dan's inexplicable talent for languages struck again, and he managed to order in French, truly enjoying the food and the booze. He even began to like the wine; there was something no-nonsense and perfectly unpretentious about the French house wines. Simple but good, just like him, he joked to Vadim every time.

Notre Dame was next, which Vadim felt didn't live up to its fame, but after climbing the clock tower, the view rendered Dan speechless. The landscape of Parisian roofs, so different to any other city he'd ever been in, and a lifetime away from the red dust of Kabul. Dan promised to Vadim they would return, right after New Zealand and a handful of other places they had to see.

Another surprise came as they were about to leave the Ile de la Cité, heading into what Vadim promised was 'the last church', and the beauty of Sainte-Chapelle took them by surprise; it was a strange church that was part early medieval in the sturdy bottom half and a splendour of a high medieval church sitting right on top - filled with light as the whole upper church resembled gold filigree with stained glass in between. Both were connected through a staircase so narrow that both Vadim and Dan felt somewhat claustrophobic while braving the worn-out steps. At least, Dan figured, it was more entertaining to imagine dying a horrible death, stuck between winding stones, than gazing at yet another goddamned tomb or statue.

After this last tour, they picked up their rented car, tossed the bags into the trunk and made their way out of Paris into the countryside. Stopping every now and then for a coffee in one of the villages on the way, they made their way towards Messey sur Grosne. In his description of the route, Jean had even written out which cafés and other places were interesting along the way. But for once, Vadim let the sightseeing be, keener on getting there before nightfall.

The pleasant landscape eventually opened to reveal the small village where Jean had bought his house. It didn't seem very remarkable, thought Vadim, and downright incomprehensible how somebody like Jean, who was clearly from Moscow and therefore from a big city, could enjoy being out here in what amounted to 'just landscape'. Then again, their farm in New Zealand was even more remote, according to Dan, with at least twenty minutes drive from Palmerston North. Which, by all accounts, while being one of the top cities on the more crowded of the New Zealand islands, had a decidedly rural and backwater feel about it. Here, it was old buildings huddled together that must have looked very similar about five hundred years ago, just without the modern road.

They coursed through the village, but Jean's description of 'brick build, start of the village' was too vague. There was a big building with towers behind what looked like a moat, but that was hardly a house. It looked closer to a fortress, if friendlier.

"Hm", Vadim murmured after turning the car around on the marketplace again. "Would you mind hopping out and ask that old fellow over there where the crazy legionnaire lives? There should be only one like Jean in this place."

"Damn, seems I have to embarrass myself with my shit French again." Dan grinned, but did as asked, and was seen talking, using his hands and arms, to the elderly gent who'd been coming out of the boulangerie. Dan returned within a few minutes and plonked himself back into his seat, grinning like a fool.

"Well," scratching his non-existent beard. "There's no way we're going to miss Jean's house."

"No? Seems we have. Or are they playing their 'you're foreigners, we're taking the piss' game again?"

Dan shrugged. "If you just turn your head about 45 degrees to the left, you are sure not to miss Jean's little home."

Vadim turned and looked straight at the thing with the towers. Towers. It looked huge, and it sat right behind the mote. "The bunch of Mercedes' and cabrios might have been a clue", he muttered, exasperated. The front was lined with expensive-looking cars. He wasn't quite sure what he'd expected, but certainly not that. There were two more sturdy, practical cars, something soldiers might choose. "Little home? Fuck."

Dan laughed, "seems the bastard got us on, well and truly."

Vadim drove over, got in line in front of the cars and switched the engine off. "He's certainly not slumming it."

"But a bitch to heat." Dan grinned and winked at Vadim, leaning across to kiss him lightly, a natural gesture. "If you ask me, I'd rather have a farm in New Zealand, dilapidated or not, because the mountains are missing around here."

"Can only be a few hour's worth of driving into the Alps ..." Vadim got out of the car and headed towards the entrance. There was light outside, and by whatever magic that had warned Jean, the door opened and the ex-Legionnaire stood there, dressed in jeans and a light jumper, and a remarkably neat and flattering hair cut - in fact, Jean had never looked so well and rested.

"Hey, Frenchie," Dan called out. Grinning, as he stretched his legs, massaging his aching knee. "Got the shits yet with fear?"

"No - I have another day to plan my escape." Jean laughed and covered the distance, pulling Dan into a tight hug that clearly crossed the line between buddy and intimate. "How are you guys?" His English, Vadim noted, was tinted with French inflection. He'd clearly not spoken a lot of English recently.

"Rather well, and if I told you what we've been up to across Scotland and England, you'd blush." Dan winked, standing close to Vadim. "I can't figure out if the most nefarious deed was visiting my family or buying my wedding outfit." He shrugged, as if he were bored, "the two weekends spent tying up a couple of Glaswegian guys was child's play compared to trying on clothes. And, I have you know, I remembered the 'no camo' rule."

Jean's eyes flashed at that and he laughed, again, releasing Dan, then moving to hug Vadim, who opened his arms almost in an afterthought and found that it didn't hurt. Jean was still a sexy motherfucker, even if he pressed in less when hugging him. Vadim prolonged the embrace to murmur into Jean's ear: "He means it with the Glaswegian guys. The way he reduced them to whimpering bitches was a sight to behold." Feeling Jean stiffen slightly in his arms, he let him go, smiling. "And you look good."

Jean needed a second to gather his cool again, and Vadim assumed it was because he hadn't had a guy recently. Or Dan recently. Jean's sexuality was still a mystery. How straight was he when he lived with his girl?

"Do I? I spent so much time working on that house to get it mostly finished before the great day ..." Jean motioned behind himself, then grinned. "I'll have to show you. Come on in. We'll get your stuff later. You're staying here, of course. Your bedroom's ready."

"Good, because you do know that there are certain rules regarding stag nights, best men, booze and bedrooms?" Dan grinned, following Jean, but not without winking at Vadim.

Vadim grinned, especially when Jean murmured: "Let's pretend for a few days you guys are the acceptable kind of friends, okay?"

"What do you mean? That the others are the unacceptable kind?" Dan laughed, good humouredly.

"You know what I mean", said Jean, then led them through the hallway into a huge room that had an open fireplace and a low fire burning in it. The building seemed colder inside than outside and, far from modern, could use the heat from the fireplace even in spring. The ensemble inside was sophisticated, much more so than Vadim wanted to give him credit for. White leather couches arranged in an open square around a low, carved, wooden couch table, and people sitting there who clearly fell into two camps. There was Pascal and another sun-weathered, short haired man who had that wiry deadliness that many seasoned and still active soldiers shared. On the other side was a couple, a man and a woman, who were both attractive and impeccably groomed. Above all, Vadim wondered what these two groups had been talking about.

The one who got up first was a slender, impossibly tall dark-haired beauty. Long, wavy hair falling down beyond her shoulders, a tight soft cashmere top flattered her almost as much as the long skirt she wore. Tall and thin, and perfectly proportioned. What the photos had never transported was the warm smile that she graced them with, and a happiness, joy and calm that Vadim had rarely seen in a person. The lady of the house, no doubt.

Even Dan was affected, plucking the inevitable shades off the top of his head to fold them and place them into a pocket. Smiling at her, as he walked straight towards her. Extending his hand, "I have seen your photos and admired your beauty, but if I may say so, you surpass any of the pictures."

She smiled, casting her eyes down for a moment, long, dark lashes and the gesture itself completely natural, even for a model. "Oh, welcome, please." She extended her hand as if leading them towards the couch she'd sat on, but Dan didn't take her hand to shake it. Instead turning it gently to bow his head and placing a kiss on it. As perfectly behaved as he would have been at the most important of the Baroness' functions. "I am Dan, honoured to be Jean's best man." Turning to the side, smiling and nodding to Vadim, "and this is my partner, Vadim." Only then letting go of her hand.

"Dan. Jean has been talking so much about you. Both of you." Placing a long-fingered hand on Dan's arm in an affectionate gesture. "Vadim." Extending a hand to Vadim as well, who decided against a kiss on the hand and instead kissed her cheeks, surprised that she was almost as tall as him. "Please, sit with us. Can I get you anything to drink?"

"That would be a life saver." Dan grinned as he sat down. "You don't by any chance happen to have some whisky?"

"But of course. Any specific brands? Jean here is trying to build up a collection - he joined a 'Whisky tasting club'."

"A Speyside single Malt would do."

"I think we have that ..." She smiled tenderly at Jean, who'd stuffed his hands in his pockets.

"Should I ..." Jean started.

"No, sweetheart, you stay and entertain the guests." She turned around and gathered a few things from the table before she left. "I'll bring some nibbles, too."

"Nibbles …" Dan murmured to Vadim with a shit-eating grin. "I can just see Jean handing out the 'nibbles' in his tin hut in the next war zone." Turning towards her with a smile, before acknowledging the others, grinning from ear to ear at Pascal. "Long time no infection of the virus, aye?"

Pascal cast a weary glance at the groomed guy on the other couch, then pulled himself together enough to relax a little. "Hi Dan." Looking at the guy he shared a couch with, "that's Lieutenant Beauvais, just come back from the 13th demi in Djibouti. Lieutenant, that's Dan and Vadim, PMCs, friends from Kuwait. Vadim's ex-Spetsnaz, Dan's ex-SAS." The wiry man stood, and just that gesture looked rather stiff and formal, like he'd expect them to salute any moment. Vadim had to remind himself that his own Colonel was dead; but the armies of the world just built that type of man, somehow.

"Pleased to meet you." Dan was still on his best behaviour, stepping close enough to stretch his hand out to the man. "Never had the pleasure to meet anyone from the Foreign Legion while I was on the job."

"But I followed the exploits of the SAS. Less so Spetsnaz." The Lieutenant spoke clipped English, which made him sound more disciplined than seemed strictly necessary. "I'm pleased to meet you, gentlemen." Shaking Dan's hand, then Vadim's, and inviting them to sit. "It was my pleasure to drill Jean, back when he joined the Legion. Since then, I've earned my commission."

"How did he perform?" asked Vadim.

"Well enough that we offered him to stay on after basic training, to join us in the training regiment."

"That would have been suicide. Nobody likes the brownnose that gets fasttracked to caporal", said Jean. "I was tempted, though."

The Lieutenant nodded. "We had to try."

"Who doesn't." Dan muttered, then smiled his most innocent smile, when he addressed the Lieutenant. "You must have been quite impressed with Jean, to see you here at the wedding, after all those years?"

"We served together and stayed in touch ever since." Every word could hold a world of meaning, but one that no outsider was privy to. It seemed a Legion-only business, and that, again, could mean everything and nothing.

"Aye, Jean does that to people. The friendship, I mean." Dan smiled, seeing Pascal close his eyes and shake his head. Nobody else noticed, likely.

Jean just grinned. "Well, and these are Sandrine - editor of a woman's magazine, no, not that kind of magazine, something with fashion and sex tips - and Chretien, Solange's latest conquest. Or rather", when Chretien gave a rather camp and high-pitched giggle that went straight to Vadim's toenails, while Dan twitched visibly, "her latest photographer."

"Pleased to meet you." Dan got up again to shake hands with Sandrine and Chretien. "I'm afraid I'm a bit too scruffy to fit in with the fashion crowd." He grinned, fighting the laughter back, "but Vadim here is an entirely different matter." The evil grin made the scar in his face twist in strange ways.

"Oh, I think you're underestimating yourself", said Chretien in smooth English with a French accent that seemed almost comical in a man who'd subscribed so much to the camp stereotype. Holding Dan's hand for several moments too long. "But your friend does wear a beautiful suit. A little austere, but it fits his type. What do you think, Sandrine, darling?"

"I'd say Hugo Boss", she piped up.

"I wouldn't know." Dan grinned, extricating his hand. "I just wear what he tells me to."

"What?" asked Vadim, confused.

"Nono, the suit is obviously tailor-made", said Chretien. "I was thinking more the type than the suit. He could easily walk for Boss."

"Walk?" Vadim looked at Dan, who shrugged with a confused look in his eyes. "I'm not sure I understand."

"But you are a model, aren't you?" Chretien seemed a little taken aback now.

Dan burst into laughter, almost doubling over in his seat. "That's priceless," before he guffawed again.

"No. I ..." Vadim paused, only now catching onto the thought. Oh damn. They'd really thought he was ... "I mean, no, I'm not. I'm a PMC." Understanding that the civilians didn't know what that meant, he added: "Private military contractor. Politically correct term for mercenary."

"Soldiers." Dan added, ever helpful, "we're both ex-soldiers. Special Forces, you've heard of them? Every country has them." He had to wipe tears of laughter out of his eyes.

"Oh dear me", said Chretien, and a strange kind of silence settled.

Thankfully, Vadim spotted Solange coming in and headed over to take the tray from her, which elicited another of those warm smiles. "I'll get the rest", she said, when he took the tray and set it down on the table.

"It does clarify something I've said for a long time, though." Dan settled back in the couch, after taking his whisky. "Vadim is rather model material." Nodding to himself. "I've always known that, even back in Afghanistan." Stirring it with that evilly amused streak of his, because seeing Vadim flustered was a wonderful sight to behold.

Chretien looked around, frowning. "There should be more light in this place", he said, and it sounded almost as if he was giving an assistant an order. When the light wasn't magically brightened, he turned towards Solange who set down a second tray with a few bowls of 'nibbles', ranging from carrot sticks to some more unhealthy options. "Darling, where's the light switch?" Solange smiled at him and turned up the light at the wall, smoothly increasing it. "I'm sure there would be a market for him", said Chretien after regarding Vadim, who was visibly tense now. "Not in mainstream or high fashion, a bit too old for that, I hope you don't mind me saying that ... but that kind of face ..."

"Aye, but I do think that at this point in the conversation I should tell you that if you continue talking about Vadim like an - admittedly dead sexy - piece of meat, you probably won't continue with your monologue much further …" Dan smiled sweetly while reaching for the unhealthiest option of nibbles he could find. Crisps. What else.

Chretien seemed taken aback at the bluntness, but shut up, taking Dan's words as a threat. Vadim sat down and didn't make eye contact with the photographer if he could help it. Again, there was that eerie silence, while people took their drinks and emptied the bowls.

Solange played hostess, making sure everybody had drinks and the nibbles didn't go out, while vanishing into the kitchen every now and then. Returning with a tray of savoury filled bites, there was wine and cheese later, after a procession of canapés and tiny food things, that, in succession and by their sheer amount, doubled as dinner. Conversation flared up again, with Sandrine starting a conversation that mainly involved Chretien and Solange, sometimes Jean, then Jean starting a conversation that involved the military people. Both sets of guests separated by a glass wall, like in a zoo.

"Right." Dan finally had enough and piped up, glass in hand. He'd been enjoying the whisky and some of the wine for too long to be classified as sober anymore. Dark eyes gleaming with that wicked spark, he stretched out his long legs, making a wide gesture across the sofas. "I think it is time to play the game of 'embarrassing confessions of the friends of the bride and groom'. Or rather, what do we know about those two lovely people here, who are the reason why we have all come to welcoming lovely place to be damn jolly for a couple of days. What 'secrets' do we know which will make them really, really cringe. Things like hidden pimple cream and wads of tissue." Dan winked, "good humouredly, of course. After all, they have been bloody fine hosts so far." Chuckling, Dan pointed at Sandrine. "Let's start with you. How did you meet the beautiful Solange and the strapping lad Jean?"

"Oh, Solange was the show piece in a series about 'well-integrated foreign models'." She rolled her eyes, "you might be aware that we had a very public discussion about integration, and we were looking for positive cases, so we gave her a five pager detailing her work, her career up to this point, how she's dealing with her heritage and religion - all with beautiful photos, and that article set some things into motion for her career. I'm so proud of you, darling", she said, reaching over to squeeze Solange's hand. "I met Jean only much later, when he picked her up after one of the shootings, but he didn't want to get involved in the article."

"I can imagine that." Dan grinned, "soldiers, ex or not, and glamour mags?"

"Instead she sold me to some lady from a guy's magazine who was dead-set on doing some eerie artsy black and white shoots of the testosterone-drenched world of the French Foreign Legion, but by then, I'd long since left and presenting myself as a Legionnaire just didn't seem right. They should talk about the guys still doing that dance."

"True." Dan waved his glass at the Lieutenant. "While it is fairly obvious how you met, how did you really meet? Jean, that is, not the soldier." Dan smiled.

"Jean was the finest of a crop of Eastern Bloc boys", said the Lieutenant. "These days, the Legion is full of them, and we're sending most of them home. Not because of their fitness levels, but the state of their teeth, interestingly enough. But him we took in." He leaned back, comfortable with a glass of red in his hand, regarding Jean, visibly delving deep into memory. "I was a young caporal, then, and I had a lot to prove. I was determined to give my lot hell."

"And you did." Jean said in a calm and silent voice.

"I hadn't learned the 'hard but fair' tack yet. Instead, I opted for hard. And then harder. And then harder again. I pushed them to the limit and beyond. Worse. I was set on breaking them. I thought that was the way to do it. One day, all the guys were hungry, exhausted, hadn't slept for five days. I don't mean 'properly for five days', I mean 'hadn't slept at all'. That day I gave them an order on the parade ground, push-ups, and I knew they couldn't take it, but I was set on making them do it anyway." The Lieutenant gave a spartan smile, very measured, with a hint of irony that suddenly made him very attractive. "It was Jean who balked first. Some moved to obey, but he didn't. Instead he looked me in the eye and I saw that anger in him. The others noticed, too. They got up and formed a half-circle around me. I repeated the order, but nothing happened. They just wouldn't have it anymore. And then the Eastern Bloc boy said, in his horrendous French: "You know what, I'm going to sleep now." It was like the herd had suddenly turned on the lion. These things don't happen in the Legion. The roles are clear. But in that moment, I knew I'd gone too far. True enough, he turned around and went to the barracks, and whatever I did, I couldn't stop him or the others. The next day, of course, I got another Caporal to help and we cut him down to size. He'd passed his entry test at the top, a straight 20. If he'd been one of the bad ones, he wouldn't have made me so angry. It took me a while before I forgave him - that was when the training staff decided to offer to fasttrack him. I thought, this guy can be a caporal in a few months, and I had to do it in three years. Maybe he had a point. After that, I didn't overstep again, and he obeyed. When we were posted together - he was a Caporal and I was a Sergent, I realized he was actually a good guy. We had a lot of fun, outside the fence and on holidays. He was always shooting for trouble, and always got away with it. Testing the limits, taking risks, like losing his holidays by breaking rules all the time."

Dan smiled, had sat in silence throughout, glancing at Vadim for a moment, then back at the Lieutenant. "You know, it takes a lot of guts to admit mistakes." He raised his glass. "So, I drink to you, Lieutenant, and to the fact that you have nailed our Jean down to the 'T'. Taking risks and getting away with it. That's him." There was a lot more he could have said, and it showed to those who knew him - but he merely finished with, "to the groom, who, despite being an annoying git, knows the value of friendship. And to the bride, who must be truly remarkable, because she has harnessed all that is good in him, and none of the 'trouble.'"

The other guests raised their glasses as well, and Jean shook his head, grinning. Pleased and touched, and visibly not quite sure what to do with that. Vadim caught a glance of that strange relationship Jean had with the officer, not quite friends, not quite comrades, there was some other layer beyond that. Opponents, possibly, or an older brother younger brother relationship, but definitely respect forced from adversity. These people had all played important roles to either Solange or Jean. Of course, the photographer who furthered her career, the editor who'd likely properly started it. Pascal, Jean's very close friend and comrade, an equal, but this officer stood out somehow. Vadim was sure the man knew that, and had made a bold effort to bridge that gap and explain why he was here and why he cared about Jean who had likely dealt a major blow to his NCO ego, back in the days. What it had meant to the other NCOs - that he had failed to make the young legionnaire do his bidding - he couldn't imagine. Jean hadn't been the only one who'd been cut down to size. He thought about that while the others toasted, and he murmured a toast as well, while studying the officer.

Dan smiled, drank to finish his toast. It was different, then, the chemistry in the group had changed, with a new-found ease that didn't breed any awkward silences. Pascal's account followed: he'd met Jean during parachute training on Corsica and raised hell in the local watering holes with him. They'd been on the run from the military police once - a potentially hilarious story, but told without skill. Until the foreseeable end, being roughed up by two huge Tahitians who were Legion military police, and then time spent together 'en taule', in the hole, the Legion prison, where they'd cooked up a hundred and twenty-two different plans to escape to pass the time. Vadim leaned over and murmured into Dan's ear: "Prison with Pascal?"

"Don't get me started, or my imagination will run riot …" Dan smirked and whispered, before laughing when the story came to an end. Quite unspectacular, but another proof of friendship, and they all raised their glasses again.

"And you?" Solange's voice was heard.

"Who?" Dan's attention had been on the drink he was pouring, suddenly confronted with her dark eyes and warm smile. "Me?"

"Yes, you." She insisted, sweetly, and he sat back.

"Well …" Dan grinned, swirling the whisky in his glass. "I could tell you a wild story of tremendous adventures, tall tales of the high seas of the sand dunes, and unbelievably touching accounts of the bravery of two men, but …" his grin turned into a smile after a glance at Vadim. Dan shook his head gently. "None of that would really do Jean justice." He took a sip, smiling. "I was in a very, very bad place when I met Jean. Think of ... life, death, love and loss, disaster, desolation, pain and utter heartbreak, and all that culminating in hatred …" Glancing at Vadim again, Dan placed his hand on Vadim's thigh, casually, lightly, a touch as natural as a smile. "Jean offered friendship. That was new to me, because I had never managed to have a friend, all my life. I'd never had the chance. Jean taught me what friendship means and that it's worth it." He shrugged, smiling, "that's all, the whole wild tale boiled down to the bones. Thus I'd like to raise my glass to Jean, our friend, the man who helped save my life in the desert, and to Solange, to whom I would like to extend my friendship as well. Let us drink to friendship."

The others joined in as well, and Solange leaned over to kiss Jean, who beamed and probably looked like the happiest man on earth. And, thought Vadim, it was impossible to hold a grudge against him that moment. While Pascal studiedly didn't look at Dan's hand on Vadim's thigh, the photographer was clearly noticing, and likely got images in his head at that. The Lieutenant, though, didn't bat an eyelash.

They finished their drinks, and with the atmosphere mellowed, Dan glanced at his watch. "Blimey, it's still damn early. While I am all for sitting and chatting here, I wonder if our couple would like to have some quiet time together. Perhaps the rest of us should invade a local bar? If not, I reckon we should get some music going and ask those two good people here to break out the family photo albums and the holiday videos." Dan grinned.

Jean laughed. "Well, there's a nice bar just down the road ... But before we shoo you off, I'll show the recent arrivals their room, and give them the tour of the cellar. While you enjoy yourselves outside, we'll prepare some more stuff for tomorrow, when things get a bit livelier ..." He stood, and Vadim set down his glass as well.

"Let's get your stuff out of the car." Jean headed outside, followed by Vadim and Dan. As they walked towards the car in the dark, Jean turned, flashing a grin. "Tomorrow will be hell. It's another fifty guests or so, half my people, half hers, we've rented every available room in the area and several more are staying in the house. How do you like the guys?"

Vadim shrugged. "Not sure I like that photographer."

"Don't worry about him - pretty certain he didn't mean to piss you off. Come on, you're easily forty pound and one foot more than he is, never mind the inches elsewhere."

"And how would you know?" Dan smirked, teeth and all, as they heaved the bags out of the car.

"He's been swimming in the pool downstairs. Wearing a pair of swimming trunks."

"Ay, but there are the growers and there are the stayers …" Dan chuckled. "Oh, and that Lieutenant … you sure he is completely straight?" Adding, because he could not not say it, "like you?"

Jean gave a breathless laugh. "Do you have a way to trace pheromones or what? Beauvais ..." He grinned, shaking his head. "Last thing I know, he's good to go when there's also some pussy in bed."

"Shit! You shouldn't have told me that. The guy with whom you shared the whore … aye?"

"Yeah, that's him. It was in some dump in Africa."

"And you do know what that means?"

"You think he's just pretending? Possibly. He's a hard bastard. I respect him a lot - granted, that took me a while, the first years I thought he was a complete wanker, but after we'd dealt with our hang-ups, we became friends. I didn't ... you know, I didn't have 'a crush on him' or something."

"Actually, that's not what I meant, but thanks for volunteering the information." Dan grinned conspiratorially at Vadim, shouldering the suit bag that held his outfit. "What I meant was, short of Vadim putting me on a leash ..." flashing another toothy grin, "I'm going to go after him. That guy is so stiff, what he needs is a threesome, just without the female whore this time."

Jean leaned against the car with a groan. "Fuck." For a moment, it seemed as if it was pain or guilt, thought Vadim, but Jean's eyes showed something entirely different. Need. A deep craving for something. And he was pretty sure that craving was Dan. "Too bad I don't have cameras in his bedroom." It was only half a joke.

"No crush, then, eh …?" Dan grinned, turned and stepped close to Jean, just for one moment. "Then again, I told you about the stag night, didn't I? The best man has the right, no, the duty, to organise the best possible night for the groom." Standing too close, far too close, as Dan leaned his head backwards to cast a grin and a nod at Vadim. Then back to Jean, the darkness sheltering him as he ran a hand swiftly down Jean's front, lingering at his crotch. "I am sure we'll find a very large bed for three men somewhere … unless you'd like to make it four?"

Jean moved closer, elbows still on the car, breathing harder, and clearly very hard. "The beds ... are fairly big. You'll be ... okay." He looked at Dan, need very obvious in his eyes. "Fuck, putting that thought into my head was cruel ... I'll need a very cold shower."

"Or five minutes in the next bush with me on my knees and Vadim behind you." Dan countered casually.

"The only question is, how do we set Beau... whatever's name up to join us", murmured Vadim close to Dan's ear, and loud enough for Jean to hear as well. He liked Jean looking so desperate. Straight? More like forced to play straight ever since he'd returned to the village. That must have been a bit of a shock for Jean, realizing that he'd got a serious taste for men in the desert. "All, of course, without alerting Pascal the Supremely Nervous, and without giving this Chretien freak boy a chance to squeeze himself into the middle."

"That's simple … fix Pascal up with a girl, tell everyone it's a stag night only for soldiers, so the freak stays away, and find a secluded place with bed and booze and a lock. Beauvais won't know anything until it is too late …" Dan grinned, rubbing himself close.

Jean nodded. "O… okay. I can ... Solange's girls will be all over him when they get here ... just drop a hint he likes blonde and he's a soldier and they'll ... swarm all over him. I mean, he is damned cute."

"I always knew you'd think that. After all, a man in spandex …" Dan smirked.

"I hate his cycling shorts, but I like the guy, yeah. Sue me." Jean glanced up. "Will you get me off if I find a place? I have an idea. But ... be warned, he's just as likely to rip your cock off than touch you."

"Who, our Lieutenant?"


"Somehow, I doubt that", said Vadim, moving to Jean's other side, exchanging a glance with Dan. "Where do we give our Frenchie a hand?"

Dan flicked his head to the side, scanning the surroundings within a split second, before throwing the clothes bag over the hood of the car and dropping the rest of the luggage. "Right here." Moving to the side, he pulled the unsuspecting Jean with him, closely followed by Vadim, as they stumbled through a tight gap in the tall hedges.

Jean cursed, but his protests were weak, partially because one of them - or both - kept touching him. It was just a knot of bodies, and Vadim kissed him, of all people, but at the same time, he opened his jeans, and Jean was so motherfucking glad for that when he found calloused hands on his cock. Vadim pulled his trousers down, with the underpants, he pumped Jean a few times, dry, but that powerful hand brought back all the memories, including that time when he'd fucked Vadim. Jean moaned, the need worse when Vadim stepped behind him and Dan went to his knees into the damp grass, the heat of his breath against Jean's cock.

Jean feared for a moment Vadim would attempt to fuck him, but instead, Vadim pulled him back, his naked ass against Vadim's clothed groin, and he felt the Russian press in and grind against him. That was okay, that was safe, only that it wasn't, not safe, not psychologically safe, because feeling Vadim needing him so much and feeling his breath against his ear made things worse. Much worse, though, when the hot breath and those hands on his hips turned into the touch of Dan's lips, and then the tight heat of his throat as he took him in, paused, concentrated, breathed for a moment, and then swallowed him all the way. Eyes closed, hands gripping Jean's hips hard, leaving fingerprints in the flesh as he deep throated him, from zero to one hundred. Fast and demanding, to bring him off within minutes.

Jean felt a yelp escape and it freaked him, but he was glad when Vadim put a hand over his mouth. Powerful, controlling, holding him while Dan put everything into that fast, hard blowjob, and Jean couldn't help it, he lost control, oddly protected and steadied by Vadim - the jealous lover of the very man who was giving him that blowjob, even making sure he didn't give himself away. Jean closed his eyes, strangely, utterly secure in that lust, with Vadim shielding and holding, and he came, clutching at Dan's head, shoulders, and Vadim's hips behind him, unable to decide who he wanted to touch. Knees buckling when the pressure was taken off.

Vadim took his hand off Jean's lips and kissed his neck. "You needed that badly, hm?"

"Yeah. Fuck." Breathless, Jean relished being held and leaned against Vadim. "Do you ... what do you want?"

"Something you won't give me", Vadim murmured. "And a hand would take too long."

Dan came up, a strange look in his eyes as he tilted his head, regarding Jean for a long moment. In the end he said nothing, just leaning forward and kissing Jean, with his taste still lingering. Sharing the spent lust with the man himself, which made Jean embrace him tightly, kissing, lips, tongue, no shyness about the taste, in fact it just drove the point home how much he'd wanted and would want again.

"Serious ... what do you ... guys want?" asked Jean, right between Dan and Vadim and absolutely loving the heat and the strength.

Dan looked up and smiled. "You got to get back to your guests and your wife to be, or they'll be looking for us. I'll take care of Vadim, don't you worry … and tomorrow … tomorrow you'll be mine." Dan winked, leaving the meaning ambiguous.

Jean nodded, still dazed. "Okay. Thanks ... thanks for this. Believe me or not, but I missed you. Both."

"Funnily enough, I do believe you." Dan grinned.

"And I'm not sure."

Jean looked over his shoulder, grinning at Vadim. "I knew you wouldn't believe me, Vadya.... I need to show you your bedroom, okay?"

After they'd picked up the bags again, Jean went back into the house and up the stairs, turning to the left. Vadim assumed they were heading into one of the towers - and he was right. Up a few more stairs, Jean opened the door into a rectangular room that held a nice, big bed, and old, restored furniture. Everything smelled of wood and work, like Jean had worked on this up till today. Two walls had windows that presented a good view over the village. "There's a bathroom down through the hatch ... but I'd recommend using the stuff in the cellar for shower and sauna and all that, and it's mostly finished, too."

"This is fucking grand, you know that?" Dan looked around, impressed with everything. "And now shoo, go back to your bride. We'll take the rest of the rabble out, so that you get some peace and quiet before …" waggling his brows, "tomorrow."

Jean grinned. "Now ... have fun guys, I wish I could join ... but you know that." He headed out of the door, and, whistling, down the stairs. Vadim closed the door and leaned against it. "What are you planning? Fucking him tomorrow night? You, and me, and that Lieutenant?"

"No." Dan shook his head, sat down on the comfortable bed and fished for a cigarette. "The last thing I'd try to do is fuck Jean. Granted, I think if we played it right, we could, even both of us, but shit, Vadim, call me a stupid sucker, but it really is the worst time. That man's desperate, and what I said earlier about friendship is something I really meant. I feel we'd be taking advantage of him, and that's not friendship. The guy's about to marry, and the last thing he needs at the altar is being completely off whack because he'd just discovered he likes to get fucked up the arse by a bloke, while his wife has had her bits chopped off to be what he thought he'd always wanted - and what she always wanted to be." Inhaling the first lungful of smoke. "Nope, that'd be shit and I won't have it." Dan's face broke into a broad grin, "the Lieutenant, though, that's another matter. He's fair game."

Vadim didn't react to the last bit. Instead, he stared. "What?"

"Hm? What do you mean?" Dan looked up, pulling on his cigarette.

"What bits chopped off?"

"Oh … Fuck." Dan's face fell. Smoke curling out of his nose, he shook his head. "Shit, fuck and derision and thrice goddamned fucking damn. You didn't know, did you?"

"Know what?"

"Solange …damn. Solange is a woman. No doubt, you saw her. All woman and all the right bits, just when ... well." Dan took a deep breath, "when I saw her photos for the first time I noticed her Adam's apple. One of the few shots where she wasn't wearing some jewellery or scarf around her neck. She was born a biological man, but she's a woman. And while I don't understand all this shit, I get it that it must be hell - not being who you are or something like that. So, anyway, she's a woman, aye? No different to what you thought she was." He shook his head again, "and I'm a fucking big blabbermouth."

"A transvestite?" Vadim blinked. He'd been fooled perfectly, wouldn't have doubted for an instant. Even now, the thought that that had been a man didn't go together with what he'd seen. Voice, frame, actions, behaviour. He'd been taken aback at how tall she was. She. It. Fuck. "I guess that explains ... Jean's flexibility when it comes to cock. Fuck. Wow."

"Transvestite is something else as far as I understand it. "Solange is a woman. She hasn't got a cock anymore. When I met Jean, Solange was just going under the knife. She got tits and pussy and all that. No flexibility there." Dan got agitated, standing up. "Fuck, Vadim, don't behave any differently, now that you know. Because that's what she is, a girl."

"But when we met Jean, he'd been together with 'her' for a while, and that means Solange was still ... something else. Don't tell me you sleep with somebody who has the guy parts and pretend you're sleeping with a woman, because, frankly, that's bullshit. I could always tell whether somebody I'm sleeping with has male or female parts."

Dan sighed. "But that's exactly what he did because she wanted him to. Jean told me that she would cry and hurt herself, because she hated her body so much. She had a cock and she couldn't bear him touching it. I don't understand the whole thing, but he said she hated herself. So he got the money together for the surgery." Flicking the ash off his half-forgotten fag, "I don't know what Jean is, or thinks he is, and I don't care, because straight he is not, but I know one thing: Solange is a woman, okay? I guess that's all that counts."

Vadim rubbed his face. "Fuck. That's ... that's a damned decent thing to do. Of him, I mean. Enabling her to do that, and ... I don't know, pretend she's a woman when she's not ... yet, I mean. And I wouldn't have guessed."

"Yeah, I wouldn't have either, hadn't I spotted the Adam's apple." Dan shrugged and smiled. "She's a good one, I have it in me waters, you know, and so is he, no matter what." Dan got up, extinguished his fag and stepped close to Vadim to clap one arm round his shoulders. "And now we go and take the children out, aye?"

"Yes." Pulling Dan close for a deep, gentle kiss. "And regarding the Lieutenant, we can start fucking with his mind tonight. I'd enjoy a bit of build-up, before we have him tomorrow."

Dan laughed, "after you, m'dear …" giving an exaggerated bow, he let Vadim step through the door first, his mind on things very much unlike a white wedding.

* * *

Downstairs, Jean had just made everybody laugh with a joke or a quip, and Solange was sitting on his lap where he'd most likely pulled her. Vadim still didn't manage to see the guy she had been. Nothing in the chin, nothing in the hands, nothing in the frame, and her height only made her suitable as a model. Maybe the fact she was too perfect, too attractive - if one liked women - but he realised he was stretching it.

"Right, guys, I'll kick you out for a little ... I already called the bar, whatever you're having is on my tab. But I'd love to catch an early night with Solange before the well-ordered madness that is a wedding drowns us tomorrow. You guys ..." pointing at Pascal and the editor, "have the keys. Dan, here's yours. Fridge is full, my house is your house." He stood, and when Solange got to her feet, he swept her off them right away and winked. "See you tomorrow!" and off they went, leaving the guests alone.

"Well, guess that means we have to go into the local bar and get boozed up." Dan grinned, ready to go. "Who's coming with us? Military guys only, or fashion entourage as well?"

"If you don't mind", said the editor and smiled at them. Chretien was also interested, and not much later they were all gathered around the local wine bar, ordering the first round of alcohol. It was actually quite entertaining, even when Pascal again and again fudged all attempts to tell a joke - that alone was funny, and he took it with good humour. After a lot of drink, the fashion people left first to head back to the 'castle', as Vadim referred to it. While Pascal hung on for a long time, he'd flown in from South Africa or thereabouts, and was still jet-lagged. The fact that Vadim kept pouring him drinks didn't help, and the ex-para ex-Legionnaire eventually admitted defeat and headed back out to the castle as well. That left the Lieutenant, who drank steadily, but seemed still very much together.

"How long have you been in the legion?" Dan pulled the bottle of wine close.

"Getting into my thirteenth year", Beauvais stated. "Looking forward to become one of the anciens in Puylobier, planting grapes or binding books." Again that wry humour. "Jean made a good change into a more civilian life, but that wouldn't work for me. I tried, after my first five years. I was fed up and tried to do something else, but it didn't work and I went back. Haven't looked back since."

"I know exactly what you mean." Dan nodded, poured more wine into their glasses." I left the SAS two years short of my pension age, because they wouldn't let me return to Afghanistan after knee surgery. Went back as bodyguard and then became a merc." He grinned, "I'm still trying to figure out what to do once that ragtag of scars and fucked-up joints gives up completely. I guess you, on the other hand, have quite a few more years. Anyway, can't imagine there's a life after the army," adding while raising his glass, "except for sex, of course."

"Sex is rare enough, I give you that. But wherever I'm stationed, there is a healthy industry of taking Legionnaire money in exchange for sex, and it's usually cheap."

Dan grinned, "how old are you now?"

"I'm thirty-eight."

Dan nodded. "And Afghanistan? Now, that was an interesting war."

"You can say that again", said Vadim, grinning. "That's how we met. Enemies by day, lovers by night." Voice low to keep it between them.

Beauvais again didn't even blink. "Guess you saved a lot of money that would have gone to the whores, then." Grinning and emptying his glass.

Dan chuckled, "not that easy, mate. We were enemies by night at first, too. Just the fact that we figured out eventually that we couldn't get rid of the other from our heads, groins, blood, kept us from pulling the blade. Or …" he grinned, "placing it too close or too deep." Filling the glasses once more, Dan had a good mouthful from his own, noticing that Beauvais' expression had become thoughtful, speculative. "Eventually, though, we got it. Vadim earlier than I did, and he saved my life after I got injured and forgotten under a pile of festering Muja corpses."

Beauvais looked at Vadim, studying him, but Vadim just nodded and smirked. "I had some liberties as a Captain. I got away with some things that ... a normal soldier might not have. One of them was that I could operate fairly independently. Usually, nobody looked too closely at what I was doing. The paratroopers thought I acted as spetsnaz, the spetsnaz thought I acted as paratrooper, and both sides assumed the other had given me the orders, so they let me in peace to a greater extent than most other operatives."

"They are only now starting to admit that spetsnaz exist at all."

"Well, yes. There were rumours, obviously. Dan knew about us ... but yes, we were, strictly speaking, not officially there. Nor did we do the things we did."

"I guess when it comes to 'not officially being there' I definitely win." Dan grinned.

"See, the Legion is different. We're always officially there. That's part of the deal, the enemy has to know because then he's afraid. Sometimes we surprise them, on other occasions, we just let the reputation do most of the work."

"The reputation for tiny shorts?" Dan mumbled into his glass.

"Don't slag off our shorts." Beauvais grinned and had more wine. "So you pulled him out and nursed him back to health?"

"Something like that …" Dan nodded, looking at Vadim with a grin. "He just used some … more exotic methods."

"I guess it wasn't "get up, pussy, it's just a flesh wound"?" Beauvais seemed genuinely interested, while the alcohol hadn't slurred his speech or thinking.

Dan laughed, glanced at Vadim again, who just looked at him without any particular facial expression, and Dan lowered his voice. "Not quite, no. I was out of it, it seems. Had a head wound, thigh wound, and had been buried long enough under the festering corpses so that I was - quite frankly - fucking mad." Dan quirked his lips into a strange grin. "He then used the well researched medical method of fist fuck and diverse other sexual techniques on me."

Beauvais - there was no other word for it - blanched. It wasn't paling, or going pale, it was a more subtle draining of colour. But Vadim also noticed that his lips opened, if only slightly.

Dan paused, dark eyes on the Frenchman, while talking to Vadim. "Did you actually fuck me that time, or didn't you? I think you kind of did the decent thing, right?" Grinning from ear to ear.

Vadim's grin matched his own. "I don't think I did. I think I'd remember that part. Not that I wouldn't have wanted. Even then, you were better than any drug I've ever tried, and then some."

"Aye, guess I was lucky." Dan clapped a hand on Vadim's shoulder, a matey gesture for anyone watching. "It's been twelve years since we met, and we've been through more shit than anyone should see in several lifetimes." Eyes resting on Beauvais, Dan added, ambiguously, and as if in an afterthought, "and you?"

"I - what?" Cautious, but wound up, the man was wide awake, but Vadim didn't think he was about to bolt.

"What have you seen, Beauvais … what have you done." Dan smiled, face coming closer. "What have you wanted to do …"

Beauvais held the gaze, as if hypnotised. "A lot. Not ... not enough ... and more", he said in a low whisper, voice warm, unguarded.

Dan knew, knew this very moment, and he kept his voice to a mere murmur. "Do you want to?"

Beauvais only then seemed to wake up, or almost revert back to his former self. He said nothing for an instant, then shook his head and said "yes", then shook his head again. It was strange to see him like that, Vadim wasn't entirely sure which signal was the louder one.

"Okay." Dan answered, smiling. He put the glass to his lips, finishing off the rest of the wine. "It's the stag night tomorrow, and as best man I'm supposed to be organising it." Seemingly changing the subject.

"Yes. I was wondering about that." Beauvais leaned back, but Vadim could see him think behind those eyes. He was trying to decide whether he had committed a serious gaffe, and he was only half there listening to Dan. "Jean's friend said he'd abduct the bride ... but that is after the marriage."

"Pascal? Aye, good idea. I thought, for the stag night, the military guys should get as far away from the civilians as possible, and have some good entertainment while getting pissed." Dan refilled their glasses.

"Good idea ..." Beauvais relaxed again, as if he was reasonably sure now that Dan had indeed changed the topic.

"Jean said he'd know just the place for a quiet little piss-up away from the revellers, so I guess it'll be all sorted by tomorrow night." Dan flashed a grin, "just not sure how the fuck we're going to survive the day. Any more of Chretien's ilk, and I'm going to fucking scream." He lifted his glass, "even though … Vadim as a cover model did tickle my fancy."

Vadim laughed. "Don't get ideas. I was a poster boy once, I don't want that again. Besides, I'm 'too old for mainstream or even high fashion'."

"There's that," Dan grinned, "but I do remember you, decked out as a Christmas tree at that press stint in Kabul. Impressive, but most of the effect would have had a bigger impact on me, hadn't I hated your guts."

"I didn't dress to impress you particularly ..."

"You should hear him in his obnoxious French. He's worse in French", said Beauvais.

"Who? Chretien? Not sure if my French's good enough these days to pick up on it. I do speak a shitload of languages, but I'd have to be here for a couple of weeks to get used to it." Dan grinned.

"It's not just the language, but hearing that guy grates on me, too." Beauvais looked around, then remembered that Jean was covering the tab, he stood. "Jean's friend has the key. You had another key, I remember."

"Who, me?" Dan patted his pockets, fag dangling between his lips. "Shit, yes." He grinned and pulled them out. "Guess we should finish off for the night, aye?" Turning to Vadim, "come on, Mr Model, time for your beauty sleep."

"Can I have the beauty blowjob first?" asked Vadim, casting a very quick glance to Beauvais, who, again, didn't bat an eyelash. He was somewhere between staring, transfixed, and just seemed to have forgotten to breathe for two dozen or so heartbeats.

"Sure, you know how much of a cocksucker I am." Dan grinned, lingering for a moment longer. Voice low, close enough for the Lieutenant to hear. "But only if I can have my beauty-fuck of your beauticious arse. You never know, it might smooth some of my scars." He chuckled.

"Deal." Vadim got up. He didn't even have to look at the officer to tell what he was thinking. Dan's remark struck him again. Don't you think they are damned envious. We got some - every day. And he knew they were being cruel to this guy. But maybe ... maybe showing how much they enjoyed themselves hooked and baited this guy more securely. Dan wanted him - so they were, strictly speaking, on the hunt. Like he'd been with Vanya. Only that it was nothing like that. If he wasn't completely mistaken, this piece of prey was willing to be hunted. But not quite as easy as the Glasgow boys.

They made their way back to the 'castle', and back into their respective rooms. True to their words, Vadim got fucked, without desperation and with a whole lot of want and lust and warmth and familiarity, until it was his turn to enjoy the way Dan drew out the blow job, playing with his lust in return. And finally, they slept. Spooned like always, with Dan lying behind Vadim, and the cool French night air gently billowing the curtains, as an owl hooted across the moat.

* * *

The next morning, a rap at the door. "Hey guys, you up for a morning jog?" Pascal's voice. Whatever had given him the guts to approach the very heart of depravity and the place where the gay virus lurked - or maybe he'd been ordered to.

"What's the fucking time?" Dan called out, still burrowed into the duvets.

"Seven thirty", came the answer, and it was Beauvais' voice, louder, easily loud enough to carry through this half of the castle.

"Jesus fucking Christ, you think I am still in the military or what?" But Dan threw the duvet off anyway, after a quick check to the side which yielded nothing, but Vadim's whereabouts were confirmed by the sounds of water from the bathroom.

"Hardly. I let you finish your beauty sleep," came the answer.

Fishing for a pair of briefs - for special occasions - from the suitcase, Dan stepped into them and padded over to the door. Unlocking and throwing it wide open, as he yawned and scratched his butt simultaneously. Standing in all his almost-naked glory, scars and all. "Jogging, aye? You must be fucking insane." Grinning.

Pascal was wearing short shorts, the famous cycling shorts in fact, plus a sleek top that looked like it wouldn't be out of place in any championship in running. Beauvais had gone for a more rustic approach, simple black track bottoms, a red T-shirt, and a black vest. "Chretien is downstairs, on the phone. For hours. I'm thinking, it might be better to have an excuse to be out of the house."

"Oh fuck." Exhaling with a heartfelt curse, Dan glanced towards the bathroom door. "Give us five minutes, tops. Vadim's doing some titivating, whatever the fuck that is," probably just shaving, "and I got to have a couple minutes for piss, dump, teeth." He laughed when Pascal's face fell, and shook his head. "Too much information, I know." Shooing them off. "We'll meet you outside and you better vanish now, or you'll see me starkers and Pascal here …" Dan waggled his brows, "might catch the gay virus if he saw my 'bits' again."

"I wished he'd stop that", murmured Pascal darkly, already turning away.

"Fair enough. See you at the moat." The Lieutenant seemed amused, and they headed off.

"You're just too much of a target!" Dan shouted after them, then closed the door and managed to light a fag, get out of the briefs, and knock on the bathroom door, all within a few seconds. "Hey, Princess!"

Vadim opened. "Yes?" Naked, and half-shaved.

"Pascal and Beauvais asked us to join them for a run."

"A jog? Good idea. I could do worse than seeing that guy sweat."

"Aye." Dan grinned from ear to ear, "that'll definitely give me some ideas for tonight." He winked and stepped into the bathroom, enough space for them to work side by side.

"Oh, nice thought."

"So, that means all stops out? Running them into the ground?" Not that he could anymore, not with that damned knee that had been getting worse recently, but he still had more stamina than any man he'd ever met.

Vadim grinned. "Save some for tonight. I'll keep it friendly. The Legion is famous for long, pointless runs. Well, I guess we could give them a run for their money, if you really want to."

"I do, but I'm not that fast anymore. Can still run for hours, though." As long as the knee didn't play up, but Dan ignored that thought and grinned. Shaving swiftly, he wiped his face with a wet towel. "Okay. I'm done." They headed out to slip into their sports kit, rushing down the stairs, where both Pascal and Beauvais were stretching and keeping warm.

"See that?" Dan grinned and pointed at the train-track scar down his knee. "Just so you know that you're not a big boy if you're faster than me, but you can try to keep going as long as I can."

"I'm not on duty, you know. Let's go." Beauvais was off, fit and fast, setting a good pace that Dan could keep up with, and, like an officer, leading from the front. Pascal followed behind, and Vadim found he enjoyed the run. A 'friendly' run that was only for waking up and burning some excess energy. Not that he or Dan needed that after last night, but he assumed that Beauvais did. He enjoyed watching the man run. Confident, wide strides, totally focussed on the run and breathing, until Dan pulled up beside him, casting a full grin at him.

"What's your favourite type of exercise?" Making conversation, which made Pascal groan, though, and shake his head, while Dan ignored the reaction in his back. Running along, effortlessly, except for the favouring of one leg.

Beauvais glanced to the side. "Jumping out of aircrafts with a bunch of green guys and evacuating a drop zone when the French defence minister is watching. That's fun. Especially in August."

Dan laughed, "and where was that? I can only offer a HALO jump into Iran, to extract an Iraqi, not quite as illustrious as a defence minister."

"Corsica, and I did nothing as fancy. I was too busy kicking their scrawny asses out of the plane. There are always one or two kids that get second thoughts."

"I think it's more of a challenge to motivate kids throwing themselves out of a bloody plane, than jumping yourself."

"How about your Iraqis? Last thing I heard SAS and Iraq don't mix."

"Wasn't SAS anymore, did it last year, to extricate a chap who had an appointment with a war crimes tribunal." Dan grinned, jumping over a puddle. "The Brits couldn't afford official involvement, and since I'm used to suicidal stupid-arsed stunts and being unofficial … but I can tell you that, the CO hated having to ask me, he couldn't stand faggots."

Pascal groaned again, and Vadim saw him pull a face. But he kept quiet. To his credit, Vadim assumed that Pascal simply didn't want to bother an officer. Seemed some things were deeply ingrained, even though the guy was no longer his superior. Maybe he just expected Beauvais to get aggressive or even violent if the gay virus became too noticeable.

Beauvais cast Dan a sideways glance. "You have too much breath left", he stated, calmly, and suddenly went off, running fast, just covering ground as if there was something to win. Dan took after him, fuck the knee, he had to ignore whatever pain it might throw him, it was more important to take on the challenge. Upping his game as well, he cranked up the speed, until he caught up with Beauvais again, running alongside. Much faster than before.

"Tell me about the battlefields you've been in."

Beauvais grinned, still breathing easily, breath flowing. "A dozen shitholes in Africa. Humanitarian stuff. Funnelling refugees one way ... guarding French expats, going mano a mano with the scum of the earth ... child soldiers ... Africa is a different place. I'd tell everybody to not get involved. It's chaos, hostile, and there's nothing to win. No campaign ribbons. Just shovelling shit."

"Aye, I completely agree, even though I've never done the African stint." Gradually increasing his pace, Dan was feeling the twinge in his knee now, but shit, he enjoyed himself too much, feeling his body work and the sweat start to run. "I've done too much Afghanistan. Got addicted to it and its mountains. Seems I either end up in mountainous dust or in desert dust." He grinned, glancing backwards, "but Vadim hates mountains and hates desert, and probably hates any of the extreme climates." Earning himself a couple of rolled eyes and a groan from Vadim, Dan laughed, breathlessly, as he jumped over a branch that lay low on the track. "Of course, being a couple of mercenary faggots makes it harder to cuddle up in the spare time, if you're caught in the desert."

Beauvais looked at him, didn't say anything this time, and broke into a full-out run, as they went around a bend that would lead them back to the chateau. No holds barred, all stops pulled and the Lieutenant was racing with long strides, as if on a 100 meter parcour, while a mile or two in front of him.

Dan kept up, forced himself to stick to the same speed. No more breath left, now, instead focus and concentration as he raced side by side with Beauvais.

The Lieutenant seemed dead-set on winning, again pushing harder. Pressing out between gritted teeth "who touches the door", and went in, giving one hundred or more percent, trying to get just that inch advantage over Dan, who acted against everything he knew about his body, and forced it to run as fast as he could.

Racing against the legionnaire, the two others long forgotten and left behind, he found that little bit of extra, that one ounce of insanity that would forever separate a mere man from a guy like him, and he managed to keep up, all the way, finally across the moat, and towards the building.

Both of them touching the door at the exact same time, slowing down just enough to not run smack into it, they nevertheless had enough momentum to make a racket. The Lieutenant turned to face Dan, just for a moment, then looked back at the more leisurely jogging Pascal and Vadim.

"What do you want?" Beauvais asked, softly, keeping a straight face for the others. "Do you want to fuck me?"

Dan was forcing air into his lungs, completely exhausted. He was older, his body more knackered, and fuck, he could feel it. Staring at the legionnaire, he acknowledged the straightforwardness with his own. "Yes." Dark eyes steady, despite the state his body was in.


"Yes." Still nothing more.

Beauvais kept his eyes on Vadim and Pascal. "Can't wait", he murmured, then turned to the door, opening it. "I'm off to the shower. Anybody care to join me?"

The look on Pascal's face was almost accusing, as if the Lieutenant had picked up the 'gay entendre' by spending too much time racing Dan.

But Dan said nothing, not that he could, too breathless, staring after the legionnaire, dumbfounded. Floored, indeed, and he was still staring like an idiot after Pascal had gone past and to his room, and Vadim had caught up with him. "Fuck. Me." Dan got out, looking as if he'd seen a ghost.

"What?" Vadim placed a hand on Dan's shoulder.

"That Lieutenant …. Holy shit." Still struggling for breath, Dan leaned against Vadim for a moment. "Come. Upstairs. I …" Couldn't repeat what had been said, too dangerous. Witnesses might be awake.

Vadim leaned in to kiss Dan's temple. "Tell me when we share a shower." They both headed upstairs, Vadim locked the door and began to strip off the kit. "What happened?"

"He asked me, when we reached the door at the same time, if I wanted to fuck him. I said yes. He asked, tonight? I said yes, he … said he couldn't wait." Realising he sounded like a parrot, and a very stupid one at that, he didn't care. Getting under the hot shower was bliss, body completely exhausted, and his knee protesting vehemently. "Fuck. Talk about the hunter and the hunted."

Vadim laughed. "Turning the tables ... not bad. Do you think he's ever been fucked? I don't think so. Or maybe he was and he really needs it. He does need something, and we got him where we wanted him." Murmuring, while kissing Dan's throat.

Closing his eyes and relishing the treatment, Dan grinned. "I think he's got a bellyful of guts and decided to barge ahead, knowing we'll take him up on it."

"Or that." Vadim reached for the shower gel and began to wash Dan. He just felt like it. It seemed natural, relaxed, and seeing that pleased grin was good. Dan was enjoying the situation - the hunt. And being taken care of.

During the day, guests arrived - and it was all about getting ready for the party, with the house soon filled to the brim with well-wishers and guests. Most seemed to be from the fashion side, and Jean did drop the hint that Pascal was a mercenary - which had an astonishing effect on the assembled young women. There was a lot of food, Jean did the tour of the house a few times, some guests stayed longer outside, but most of them congregated in the house and seemed to enjoy themselves.

Jean's pride and joy in the house - apart from all the other work he'd done, was hidden in the cellar. A complete 'wellness area' as he called it, with swimming pool, whirlpool, steam room, sauna, rest area, and, further back, machines for weight lifting. Everything was beautifully tiled, and Jean remarked that he'd learnt a lot about tiling - partially to keep the cost down. He claimed he could even do basic roofing now, because the steep angle of the roof made the whole restoration amazingly expensive.

Dan and Vadim had spent quite some time grooming, and Dan had to admit he was far more knackered than he should have been - were he five years younger. Eventually they had to go downstairs to face the visitors, and pretending to be part of the crowd that neither of them felt nor wanted to be part of. The place was heaving with people. Food and drink everywhere, and Dan kept looking out for Jean, until he finally caught him, as he was about to descend into the wine cellar. "Hey, Frenchie …"

"Yes? Enjoying yourselves?"

"Well …" Dan grinned, pointing towards the relative quiet of the wine cellar. "I'd enjoy myself more down there."

"Let's check on the wine, then." Jean headed downstairs leading the way in the dark, then switched on the light.


"Your Lieutenant … he told me this morning, after a race, that he was looking forward to getting fucked." Dan dropped the bomb in a carefully quiet murmur.

"Oh fuck." Jean looked shocked. "He can take the fun out of seducing, now, can he?"

"Aye, I have just about recuperated from my heart attack, and I wonder, have you arranged what we talked about for your stag do?"

"Yeah. I've been busy all day, trying to be subtle ... I have a place, don't worry."

"Do you have a few minutes? Right now?" Dan stepped closer, his hand on the light switch.

Jean nodded. "Shit, yeah. Just close the door."

"That could be too obvious." Dan murmured, flicked the light switch instead and the room was plunged into darkness. Feeling rather than seeing, his fingertips were on Jean's face and jaw, moving close until his lips touched the other's. "I missed this." Murmured, "you're a damn good kisser, Frenchie." Adding, the smile was audible in his voice, "and you'll be a damn fine husband."

Jean moved forward, embracing Dan, holding him tight and kissing. "I'm scared. I'm like a passenger. I'm not doing this. Am I? What the fuck am I doing here?" he murmured, tenderly.

"The right thing." Dan smiled, hands running slowly up and down Jean's back, until one hand rested in the back of his neck, gently pulling the head close and into another kiss. "You love her, don't you?"

"I do. She's the best thing that ever happened to me. She's fixing my stupid heart. She took all that ... that ... that anger away." Jean pressed Dan close.

"Then what you do is the right thing, and the best thing you could ever do in your life." Dan leaned close, kissing Jean's neck, murmuring, "and this … this here … you won't lose this."

"Just ... don't make it that long next time, okay? I sound like a whiny bitch, but I fucking missed you, Dan."

"I won't, if I can help it. Just the job, you know …" Dan trailed off, allowing himself and Jean the luxury of a few more minutes of holding, kissing and stroking, until the noise from upstairs got louder.

"Time to get back." He whispered, smiling into the darkness. "And tomorrow I'll be right there, with the rings, and damn proud to be your best man. But tonight …" Reaching for the light switch, the cellar was suddenly bathed in light and his grin was right there, in front of Jean's face.


"Tonight you'll have a stag night to remember." Dan snatched a few bottles of wine from the racks, stalking upstairs.

* * *

A few hours later, the guests had demolished a huge amount of wine and whisky, when Jean claimed that now his own stag party started. Leaving Solange and her friends the house, he nudged Dan and Vadim to follow him.

He led them across the lawn and through the bushes, where, secluded away and indeed pretty much invisible, a small building stood. It was in a fairly dilapidated state, and building material was gathered around it, like this was the next big project after he'd finished the main house. It looked like quite a bit of work. "It's not great, I wanted to have it finished, but the big one took longer than I'd expected."

Inside, though, it was clean, and there was a fridge in the main room that was filled with drinks, beer and wine, mostly. The centre pieces were two big airbeds, tied together, with candles lit and placed all over the floor. Nothing of that could be seen from outside. "What do you think?"

"I think that you've watched too many chick flicks." Dan grinned, "and I think that it's perfect." Looking around himself, he spotted food and nibbles, blankets and pillows. "I assume you have the two most important ingredients stashed away somewhere?"

"Yeah. They're ... over there." There was a small wooden box near the end of the 'beds'. "Unless I got you wrong and it's not condoms and lube." Jean looked at Vadim and gave a strange little smile. "Shit. I'm nervous."

"You're supposed to."

"Oh, thanks a lot, Vadim."

"Well, Vadim here is the only one who's done that marriage thing before, so guess he would know what it feels like, the night before." Dan grinned. "When is our final guest supposed to arrive?"

"I'll get him. Or do you ... shit, he doesn't know I'm involved."

"Oh fuck." Dan groaned, glancing at Vadim, who shrugged. "You think he's going to freak when he sees you? What with former superior and all that?"

"No idea. I mean ... I don't think so. But it might be weird. Should I get him and talk to him, or does either of you ... you know, spend a moment ...?"

"Spend a moment?" Dan asked.

"Explaining I'm here, too?" Jean cursed. "Oh, fuck, I'll just get him and explain on the way. Wait here." He headed out and soon found the Lieutenant in his perfectly civilian clothes - he had promised to abide by the 'no uniforms and no camo' rule, like all the others. Indicating with a motion of his head, the Lieutenant disentangled himself from a gaggle of models - or was that a murder of models? - and followed back over the lawn.

"Any problems?"

"No ... no problems." Jean grimaced. "We just figured it's time to spend the stag night."

"Ah. Yes." Beauvais followed, not even hesitating when Jean indicated the other house. But he stopped when he saw Dan and Vadim, and the 'beds'. Glancing over his shoulder to Jean. "I am not sure I understand."

Jean pressed his lips together for a moment. "Thierry."

Making Beauvais straighten with just speaking his name.

"I, shit. I'm not as ... as ... straight...laced as you thought. Do you ... remember the whores that we shared?"

Beauvais rubbed his forehead. "Matter of fact, I don't." When Jean's face fell, he added, "I don't remember the girls."

Dan stood, casually leaning against the door frame like a friendly observer. Smiling at Vadim when the latter picked up a bottle of wine and uncorked it.

"Assume I don't remember them much more, either."

Beauvais nodded, studying Jean. "So, you're here to refresh that memory with me before you get married?"

"Yeah." Jean seemed almost comically speechless.

"Right." Beauvais looked at Dan, then at Vadim. "I guess this would be easier if I wasn't so sober."

"I'd offer you a glass of wine, or two, or three, if you gave me your word that I'm not going to end up refreshing your memory by taking over the role of 'whore'." Dan held a glass out to Beauvais with a shit-eating grin.

Beauvais took it and emptied it in what seemed one single gulp. "We never shared a male whore", he murmured, then looked at the bed again.

"And I'm definitely not one." Dan grinned, refilling Beauvais' glass, "unless I choose to play … games."

"But it's true. I can't wait. I'm not reneging on that."

"Nor am I." Dan stepped closer while looking at Beauvais, before moving towards Jean, reaching out with one hand to touch the face, briefly. "And you, groom, since this is your special night, what is it you want?" Adding, and his voice turned huskier, "anything?"

Jean grinned. "I ... Well, you." Pausing for a moment, then looking at Vadim, checking on his reaction, but Vadim was difficult to read. He looked calm and composed, and certainly interested, but holding back.

"Me?" Dan blinked, once, following Jean's glance, but there was nothing he could read. Looking back at Jean, he studied him for a while, and his own dark eyes found the answer in the pale ones: no, they would not tell. Not admit to the truth. "I don't …" he murmured, glanced again at Vadim and suddenly smiled. "But it's your stag night, aye? And it does depend on how you want me."

"Just ... have you. I want to fuck you." Jean smiled. "If that's okay?"

"Didn't I just say something about wanting a promise of not re-enacting the whore?" Dan heaved an exaggerated sigh. "Damn. I can't say no, at least not to the groom on his stag night. Guess you'll have me, then, but I do need some more booze." Looking at Vadim again, and this time looking intensely enough to expect a reaction.

Vadim held that gaze for several moments, but nothing went on in that face. He was just watching, appearing calm and relaxed as he moved over to offer Beauvais more wine, who took it and drank. Pouring down the wine in a way that betrayed he tried not to think, or at least finding it easier to let it all happen. Only then did Vadim look at Dan again. "Go on. He's the groom."

"And my arse is the wedding present." Dan raised a brow and quirked a grin, "guess I can think of worse things."

"Yeah, me too. Another fucking designer vase, for example", said Jean.

Dan laughed, turning back towards Jean, in the movement taking his sweater off and throwing it into a corner. "I'm willing to undress without playing strip poker, but not without booze." He grinned, toeing his shoes off, half-ruining the expensive pair that Vadim had chosen.

Jean filled a glass for him with red wine, filling it to the rim, and handed it over to Dan once he'd shed some of his clothes. Dan stood, just in his trousers, belt open, and took the wine. Emptying the glass in one go, with total disregard to the vintage or the flavour. Vadim moved to Beauvais' side, just standing close, not touching, doing absolutely nothing but watching.

"Guess I got to do all the work, hm?" Murmured, Dan moved close to Jean, hands on his shirt, fingers working with remarkable dexterity on the buttons. "Since it's your stag night …" Grinning, his back to Vadim and Beauvais, he leaned in, lips almost touching Jean's ear, "or do you think they should get a pre-view?"

Jean grinned, pulling free of the shirt and dropping it. "Shed it", he murmured, and Dan opened his fly, wiggled his hips to let the trousers slide down. Commando as always, while Jean pulled Dan close by the waist and kissed him, not letting him go just yet. The kiss sweet and gentle, but with a hint of something else, something more.

"You're overdressed." Dan murmured, focused on Jean and nothing else. The two others forgotten. Working on Jean's belt and buttons, while tilting his head and kissing along the jaw line. Jean's trousers open, Dan skipped his hands inside and looked up, grinning, "what, going bare for the occasion?" before kissing down the throat and back up again.

Jean tensed, but in that good way, grinning back. "Less unwrapping." Slipping out of his shoes, quickly, and helping to shed the clothes, until he, too, was bared and naked. The scar on his thigh now standing out for the observers, as he reached for Dan's cock and balls, stroking and pulling, while again kissing him with an open mouth, tongue playing, too.

Pushing against Jean, Dan cupped his arse with both hands, grinding against him for a moment, as he came up from the kiss. Eyes even darker, cock against cock, hard and aroused, but without urgency. "How do you want me?"

"On all fours." Not a pause, no hesitation. Jean had clearly thought about that.

Dan looked at him, hesitating for a moment, before a corner of his mouth quirked up in a knowing grin, and he said nothing.

When Dan turned around, Jean's gaze met Vadim's, with that weird little, knowing expression. And Vadim understood perfectly. It was about sharing again. Because of his jealousy? Or did Jean just enjoy it like that? But then again, he did, too. He took a swig from the bottle in his hand, then offered it to Beauvais, who drank, deeply.

Dan got onto hands and knees, still silent, when he suddenly turned his head and looked at the Lieutenant. Moving the short distance across, still on all fours, eyes fixed on the man. "You better keep me interested, Jean." Yet looking at Beauvais while taking the bottle out of his hand, he emptied it in one go, at least three quarters of the expensive stuff. Dropped it, turned back and faced Jean, as he spread his legs further. Head high, looking at Jean, and slowly, so agonisingly slowly, lowering his chest, and opening his knees that one bit more, causing his smoothly shaved arse to lift and open wide, right in front of Beauvais.

Vadim saw the Lieutenant's eyes widen, his hands tensing, as if it was sinking in, as if he was confronted with something he hadn't anticipated. He moved back and half a step closer, near Beauvais who was transfixed. Whatever it meant to him to see Jean like that - and Dan fucking with his mind, it definitely had an impact on his body. Not touching, it was still too risky, but he wanted to touch the man. Instead, Vadim shed his shirt, too, and ran a flat hand over his crotch.

Jean had moved to retrieve the box and put a condom on before pouring lube into his hand. Warming it between his hands, he worked the lube into Dan's ass, then, remembering Beauvais watched, slowed down a notch and began to fuck Dan's ass with two fingers, grinning.

Dan lowered his upper body even more, until his face touched the mattress and his arse was as exposed as it could be. Strangely turned on by exhibiting himself, and by … being a goddamned slut. Pushing back towards the fingers, cock hard and glistening with precum, he let out a small sound.

The sound visibly shook Beauvais, seemed to rock him in his foundations, and the knuckles on his hands turned white. Wanting. Not allowing himself yet to do anything about it. Jean cast another glance at Vadim and indicated the other side. Vadim gave a grin, then placed a hand on Beauvais' taut shoulder. "Enjoy the show", he murmured, then stepped out of his trousers, shedding everything else as well. He wasn't hurt when Beauvais didn't immediately look at him. He, too, watched when Jean moved himself to Dan's hole, and began to press in, and Dan reacted immediately when another sound forced its way out. He visibly drew a breath, expelled it, and in the movement, forced his muscles to relax and pushed his hips upwards and out, towards the intruding cock, accepting it.

Beauvais watched, stricken, aroused, and still controlled, still debating within himself, maybe trying to talk himself out of it - or into it.

With every time that Jean pulled out, only to press even further in, when he thrust forward once more, Dan lowered his back, arched and lifted his arse, and pushed back, accepting and demanding. "Beauvais …" His voice was husky. "You better watch … and learn … because I'll have you after this."

"Okay." Beauvais swallowed dryly and stepped a little closer, moving to the side, as if only now becoming aware of himself again. He clearly didn't know how to take it all in, Jean, fucking Dan, Dan, getting fucked. The breathing, the sounds, the heat. Vadim idly stroked himself, then moved towards Dan's front. "Get up", he ordered, pulling Dan up by his long hair, but slowly enough to allow Dan to rise a bit, and, hooking a thumb into his mouth, opened his jaws, with the other hand fed Dan his cock, which made Dan shudder, and his cock jerked. Visible proof of the jolt of lust that raced through him. Back arched low, arse and head raised, his eyes were wide, staring at the smooth groin in front of him. He relaxed, just allowing, taking, concentrating on breathing through his nose and keeping his balance. He'd been there before, and fuck, it drove him insane. Insane enough to want it harder, more demanding, more abusive.

Vadim took hold of Dan's head, just to take any appearance of control away, and pushed in, deep, slow, entirely too deep for most people, right into Dan's throat, which made Beauvais give a groan. The man shuddered again when Vadim pulled out, very slowly and very visibly fucking Dan's throat in long, focused strokes, with nowhere Dan could escape to. Vadim kept holding his head, while Jean fucked Dan's ass harder at the same time, easily two thrusts for each of Vadim's, and beginning to sweat from the exertion.

Dan held his own. His body - deadly in combat - a match against the others'. Taking the cocks, as he'd take any challenge. Nostrils flaring with a hissed sound when he pulled in air, eyes clenched shut, the picture of perfect concentration, when not a single instance of gagging reflex showed. Taking that cock, all the way, while he was soon covered in a sheen of sweat, yet his own cock never waned, on the contrary. Weeping, hard, almost purple with need.

"Don't ... touch him", said Vadim, and Jean looked at him, surprised, but also far gone, too far to not follow the order. Vadim sped up now, driving himself down hard into Dan's throat, balls pulled up and the orgasm was suddenly there. He came with a groan, eyes half-closed, then pulled back, just enough to allow Dan to breathe, pulling in great big gulps of air, before swallowing the last of Vadim's cum. Whole body moved by Jean's thrusts when the countering anchor was gone. Almost desperately getting more air into his lungs, eyes open now, as sweat gathered in the small of his back.

"Your turn." Vadim looked at Beauvais, who was still rooted to the spot, but now moved, opening his trousers as he took Vadim's position, freeing his cock with one hand, and mimicking Vadim. Pushing his cock between willing lips, and once again Dan's eyes closed with the same concentration as he opened his mouth and throat, while Jean slowed, groaning.

"We've done that before, Thierry, eh?"

Beauvais grinned, but didn't manage to answer, as Dan took his breath away. The skill, the acceptance, and Vadim couldn't help but appreciate the image, even though he was done for the moment. Two legionnaires, one of them ex-, who'd done this before, albeit 'straight'. They both looked very straight indeed right now, and Dan fully enjoying himself. 'Fully' being the keyword.

Beauvais thrust, though, carefully at first, but then with more determination as the need grew worse, far worse, judging from his face that twisted with need, desire, and other unguarded emotions. And Jean, he enjoyed the view, and 'having' Dan, whose body was glistening, dark skin and pale scars, sweating with the exertion and concentration.

Vadim sat down on the mattress, studying the men, engraving this in his memory - who knew when he could use that memory again. Dan, shuddering once, twice, when Beauvais' thrusts became too desperate, hitting his throat too far, too deep, and he fought hard to keep the gagging reflex down. It made his muscles contract, his arse around Jean's cock clenched and tightened, without rhythm nor sense, just base, animalistic reactions. Jean, getting closer and more desperate, and then losing it amidst a stream of gentle, affectionate curses, almost immediately pulling free.

"Tell him to stop", said Vadim, in Russian.

Jean blinked, needed several moments to understand what had been said, then nodded, still dazed and shaking, and moved to Beauvais, placing his hands from behind on the other guy's chest, murmuring something into his ear, and then pulling him back and into a kiss. Seeing Beauvais go right for it, throwing himself into that kiss with all intensity - that was another view to remember. Vadim grinned at that, lying back on his elbows and studying Dan, whose head hung low, still on all fours and not moving. Breathing, getting himself back under control, despite his thick-veined, hard cock that gave evidence to the impossible need.

He finally raised his head, and only that. Looking at no one and nothing but the Lieutenant. "Beauvais …" Dan's husky voice, raspy from the abuse of his throat.

Beauvais reacted immediately, and Jean let him, grinning, when Beauvais moved away. "Yes." Not a question. Knowing what he'd agreed to.

Dan pushed himself up, straightened, until he sat back on his heels. The back of one hand slowly wiping across his lips, as if catching a last drop of Vadim's cum and the Lieutenant's taste. Knees wide open, cock proudly displayed, he grinned, predatory, while crooking his finger to beckon the other man close.

Beauvais obliged, no less aroused than Dan, and got down on one knee, then both. He didn't quite know what to do, when Dan merely looked at him, with that dangerous grin on his face. Vadim could see the Lieutenant debate whether to lie down, or what else, but then he turned around and got onto hands and knees, his back to Dan, who let out a small sound, like a huff. "You don't do things by half, eh?"

"What's the point doing it if you do it by half?"

"He kills me", murmured Jean, in Russian.

"Officer kink? You?" Vadim grinned.

Jean gave a laugh. "More the type than the rank."

Dan took the cue and glanced once at his cock, but then shook his head to no one in particular. Refusing to give into the urgent need, he listened to his mind instead. It would make it better, a thousand times, eventually. He had to take his time, even though it was one of the hardest things he'd ever done. Running his hands over Beauvais' arse, which made the man tremble, he marvelled at the shape and feel beneath his hands. Tiny buttocks, hard and wiry body, no heavy muscular arse. Nothing like Vadim, not even Jean. Lowering his head, Dan traced lips, tongue and finally teeth along the flesh, causing Beauvais to inhale sharply. Repeatedly trailing towards the cleft, but never quite getting there, which tensed Beauvais up, increasing his need. Dan lifted his head to glance at the two others, a flick of his chin towards the box with the lube and condoms, and it was Jean who took the hint, moving over to get the necessary items, and then even opening a pack of condoms for Dan.

"Has any of your whores ever eaten your arse?" Dan asked, his raspy murmur the only sound except for breathing.

"What?" Beauvais looked over his shoulder, likely nervous, even though he didn't show much of it. In fact he just seemed mildly worried, and very aroused.

That was it, that was all Dan needed to cast a grin that could have split his face. Need, arousal, want or not, this was better than getting off straight away. Lowering his head once more, his tongue pushed its way through the puckered muscle and into Beauvais' body, before the Lieutenant could catch on what was going to happen.

The reaction was violent. He bucked up, an uncontrolled motion that was just body, no mind at all, and Beauvais gave a strangled sound. Tensing all over, his cock jumped at a sensation that was both forbidden and incredibly arousing. Jean got behind Dan, condom in hand, and rolled it down over Dan's cock, careful to not touch him more than necessary, not even when he slicked it thickly with lube. "You'll have to let me know how he feels", he murmured into Dan's ear, and Dan's hips pushed involuntarily into Jean's hands.

Twisting his head, hands on the Lieutenant's arse, Dan pushed in harder, forcing his tongue deeper, he fucked the man in the most intimate way possible. His own cock never softening, never waning at all, not even when taking his time, thoroughly rimming the legionnaire, who was breathlessly panting. Beauvais held back all sounds, but getting fully into it, just from the way he responded. The lust increased and at the same time couldn't be satisfied like that. Finally Dan had to come up for air, forcing out breathlessly, "turn."

Beauvais turned, onto his back, eyes glazed. He would have done anything, followed every order, including 'push-ups!' or anything else. Whatever. He was far gone. Vadim grinned, even more so when he saw what it did to Jean. It had to be strange for him - his former superior, yet Jean had hardly touched him, done hardly anything sexual with him, just some kissing and distracting, but nothing more. He wondered why that was, but for once Jean wasn't easy to read.

Dan's hand was searching blindly, but the lube was close, and he uncapped it one-handed, while leaning closer and over Beauvais. Parting his legs with his own as he moved between them, kneeling. "Don't want you to forget that a man is fucking you, aye?" murmured, and Beauvais' eyes widened.

"Didn't ... forget that", the Lieutenant said. "I'm aware."

"I know you are," Dan murmured, cryptic, "or I wouldn't be here." Nudging the Lieutenant's legs up, as his hand went down and between, lubed fingers pushing into where his tongue had been, making Beauvais arch and lift his legs, and again Jean was helpful and lifted them higher, placing them over Dan's shoulders. The position took some more control away from the officer, even though he likely had no way to reclaim it. Beauvais looked at Jean, who grinned at him and got back onto hands and knees, and moved to kiss him again. Diversion tactics, Vadim thought.

Dan paused, poised right there, letting the officer feel his cock as he nudged just the tiniest amount, before he placed a hand on Jean's shoulder and pressed gently, guiding him away from Beauvais. Jean pulled back, but remained close, and Vadim wasn't sure whether he did that to have a better view or to reassure his comrade, who, however, looked fine.

"Look at me," Dan said, waiting until he had the Lieutenant's full attention, only then pushing forward, the angle just right, and never more than enough to breach the muscle and pause again. Breaking into a sweat once more, within seconds, the control sheer torture.

The Lieutenant stared at Dan, intently, focused on Dan's face, waiting, expecting likely for it to hurt, flat stomach moving with his faster breathing, then the breaths deepened, signalling acceptance, calm, concentration. Awareness. "Come on. Do it. You want to", said Beauvais, clearly, every syllable precise.

"So much for taking care of the virgin, aye?" Dan pressed out between almost clenched teeth, the control was getting too much, and yet he flashed a feral grin. "I'm afraid it's my show, and you'll get fucked through the mattress when I say it. Not before." Shuddering with the effort, whole body tense, Dan merely pushed forward a little more, before pulling back, almost fully out again, repeating the movement, rocking inside, inch by inch, and not a chance for discomfort, let alone pain. Beauvais didn't show any discomfort, the bunching of his muscles was clearly arousal, and at some point he closed his eyes, arching a bit, but his range of movements was limited indeed. A raw moan came out, that, strangely, had an almost stronger effect on Jean than Dan.

Dan's husky murmur was barely audible for anyone other than Beauvais, "this is what it should be like." Breathing hard, muscles trembling, "don't you forget that … unless you want to forget it."

Beauvais opened his eyes again, face twisted, but with lust. "I ... get it." Panting softy, he flexed his legs to pull Dan closer.

"Good." That was it, and Dan pulled out, almost fully, poised, before that grin flashed across his face again and he suddenly let lose. No holds barred, body going from tense control to full-out strength, and he rammed back in, now that his size had been accommodated. Fucking Beauvais with all the wild abandon that a body like his could muster.

It clearly took Beauvais by surprise, despite his earlier encouragement, and the groan was deep and primal when Dan thrust in the first time, rocking the slighter man's frame with the whole strength that was Dan. Vadim grinned, teeth bared, as Beauvais' near-desperate, agonized, lust-filled sounds came with every thrust. The noise of flesh against flesh, and Jean watched it all with rapturous attention. Vadim moved closer, close enough to touch, but didn't. Saw Beauvais drift off, mind blanking completely from the onslaught of sensations, absolutely loving this, judging from the state of his cock that seemed like it was ready to burst.

Dan kept up, with valiant effort and never waning strength, but he'd been too far gone for too long, his own body on the edge of almost unbearable lust, and all too soon his breathing got erratic and he stiffened, face drawn into a grimace, close to pain, as he shuddered and jerked. Cumming with a groan that was torn deep from within his chest, thrusting hard as he orgasmed, deep inside Beauvais' body.

The Lieutenant stared, doubtlessly feeling the other cum inside, or imagining it, when Vadim had opened another condom and pulled it over his own cock. He wouldn't come that fast this time round, but Beauvais seemed like he could take more. "I'll have him now", Vadim said, moving Dan away, who more or less collapsed into a boneless heap right beside them. Vadim grinned at the officer. "Turn. I'll have you doggy-style."

Dazed and needy, Beauvais just obeyed, swaying on his knees until Vadim pushed them open wider, and entered the slick hole that accepted him with no problem, making Beauvais groan again. He could feel the man's need, beyond the purely physical, a desperation for that exact sensation that betrayed just how much Beauvais had suppressed it.

Dan watched, barely having the energy to discard the condom. Lying close, looking into Vadim's face, then back at the Lieutenant, and he pulled himself together enough to get towards the wine bottles while never taking his eyes off. Moving back, in front of the two men fucking, so he could watch both their faces. "Where the fuck did you find him …" Murmured, so only Jean could hear. "Priceless." No doubt a hell of a lot respect in his voice.

"He was there when I arrived", Jean murmured, watching, too engrossed to look at Dan, seeing Beauvais tense and taut all over to resist Vadim's power, and, he could swear it, moving back against him. Very nearly demanding more, meeting the thrusts like he'd been born for it. Jean shuddered, the Lieutenant's sounds the sexiest thing, never mind Vadim who fucked him without mercy, and not even beginning to get close.

Dan glanced up, stretched out as he was on the airbeds, half a bottle of wine already down his neck. "You should do something about that addiction of yours." Quietly, to Jean, before his eyes were back on the two men, drinking in each sound, each movement, and if he weren't so sore and well-used, and sated himself, he'd be aroused again.

"Addiction?" Jean nearly jumped when Beauvais' sounds got louder, Vadim had to have changed something, maybe the angle, whatever it was, Beauvais was not coherent, and likely felt absolutely nothing but lust at this point.

"Your superior." Dan tore his eyes away to look at Jean, intently.

"Ex-superior." Jean reached for the bottle. "Can't do it. I'm not there. Not up here." He tapped his temple. "Too fucking weird. You ... and Vadim, you're different. But he's part of my old life."

Dan nodded, "then kiss him. Taste his lust, because if you don't do it now, you might never get the chance." Tipping the bottle to his lips, Dan cast another glance at Jean, "fill that cup." Before the wine poured down his sore throat and his eyes were back on his lover and the Lieutenant.

Jean grinned, lopsided, and moved to kiss Beauvais, who panted into the kisses, but needed both hands on the mattress to keep from toppling over, while Jean ran his hand tenderly over the other man's cheek.

Vadim then sped up, and finally wrapped a hand around Beauvais' cock, which hardly needed more than a stroke for him to cum. The sound when he came was like a sob, while Vadim just rode his orgasm out, cumming when the body underneath him clenched and shuddered. Forcing himself to cum, too, but stayed inside for a few more breaths, pulling Beauvais back at his shoulders, getting him to sit on his thighs while Vadim was on his haunches, and licking the sweat from the officer's neck. "This is sex", he murmured, clearly, into Beauvais' ear. "This is the proper stuff. The proper poison. You've been fooling yourself. I did that, too. Don't make that mistake. For once, you're a natural."

Dan grinned, catching a few words, he placed the half empty bottle down beside the airbeds. Crawling closer again, he lowered his head and lapped all the way up from Beauvais' spent cock, along the chest, tonguing sweat and cum, until he reached the jaw and finally was back, face to face. "And that's what you taste like when you have real sex." Moving into a deep kiss, tongue pushing between the Lieutenant's lips, making him taste himself.

Beauvais' hands came up and he pulled Dan closer, lacking strength to force him, but needing that touch in addition to being held and kissed. For several minutes, Beauvais did nothing but calm, and Vadim caressed him, kept the sweaty body warm by holding him like that, with Dan pressing into his front, kissing and holding him. Vadim then moved and nudged Beauvais to lie down, which he did, mindless.

Jean smiled, and was already mostly dressed. "I better get a shower and ... visit my girl", he murmured. "Sleep tight and ... thank you."

Dan looked up, "Wait." He got up, somewhat laboriously and definitely stiff.

Jean paused, shirt in hand, looking at Dan.

Dan nudged Jean closer to the door and into the shadows, as he stood and embraced him, searching for a tender kiss, full of gentleness. "Sleep well." Between kisses, barely audible, "tomorrow is your big day, my friend."

"You too. Thank you." Jean smiled and hugged him tightly, then moved back and unlocked the door. "I'll probably even sleep, now." He winked and was gone, pulling the door shut behind himself.

Vadim had discarded the condom and was still holding Beauvais, who seemed ready to sleep, apart from the occasional shudder passing through him. He'd pulled up one of the blankets to their waist.

"I think we are getting old, hm?" Dan turned round, regarding the remaining two men, as he moved towards the back door, picking his way through debris and dust. "So much for an all-night orgy." He grinned fondly, could feel the aches and pains in his own body far too keenly, and his movements were everything but smooth, favouring one leg.

Vadim grinned, pulling the blanket back for Dan to join them. "We could try and get off on an early start tomorrow", he murmured. "But I think he has enough." Nudging Beauvais, who turned, looking at them for a moment.

"Just need a piss." Dan grinned and nodded, vanishing through the back door. A couple of minutes later, he reappeared, making his way straight back to the blankets and the other two men. "I don't think I'm the only one who's walking stiffly tomorrow." He winked at the Lieutenant, as he lowered himself down to the airbed, with a lot of groaning.

Beauvais smiled wearily. "I could have ... pulled a muscle." He reached over to invite Dan to move closer, while Vadim lay on his other side, keeping snug and warm, and relaxing already, drifting off towards sleep.

"But if you do want an early start … I'm game."

"I'm an early riser. Legion time." A touch of hesitation in Beauvais's voice when he said 'Legion', and Vadim could only too clearly imagine what was going on in the man's head, but also that it didn't bother him. Yet. "Then catch your five hours, you'll need them."

"Unlike me. I need more sleep. I'm an old and weary man." Dan smirked, getting under the blankets, in front of the Lieutenant, practically sandwiching the man between Vadim and himself.

Beauvais yawned. "Sleep is such a waste of time", he stated, and shifted until he was in the most comfortable position that he could be in.

"Aye, and if you do manage to wake us early enough, you might even get to fuck one of us." Dan grinned, eyes closing.

"If you can move, that is," added Vadim, closing his eyes and letting go.

Dan chuckled, "aye, there is that, but you'll find out, soon." He was drifting off to sleep sooner than he could put his head properly onto the pillow. Booze and sex, the best sleeping aid.

Special Forces Chapter XXXX: Revelations
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 23 May 2008