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Special Forces Chapter I: The Sum of All Evil

August 1980, Kabul

Vadim Krasnorada's nostrils flared at the smell of smoke on the wind. A whole lot better than the dust and sand of the open plain, or as open as it ever got in this place. Standing on his own two feet was better than sitting on a rolling, grinding, howling tank like a parasite on a bucking animal.

He took a deep swig of vodka and let some drops run down his chin. Fuck, yeah. They had arrived. Greeted with tea and shit, those goat-fuckers didn't have the beginning of a clue, but that was how Vadim liked them. Jump them full force when they didn't expect it. The city was in for a hazing. His lips spread into a grin, and he hitched a ride on a truck, downtown (or what counted as downtown in Kabul), where he knew the boys were already setting up a place to crash.

They had used a tank to smash open a house. It must have been a shop, Vadim reckoned, they only had to tear out part of the front. Set up some moonlight vodka, and plenty of soldiers. After the ride, Vadim was itching to get trashed. The curled up energy, the power, the tension, and he had expected, no, wanted a fight, more than anything in his life. After weeks of being ready, waiting for the deployment back to Kabul, his skin was crawling with the need to do something, anything, but Kabul wouldn't do him that favour. Instead, Kabul welcomed the reinforcements he was officially a part of. Liberators. And as nice as it was not to get shot at, he felt like a wild bull that had been penned in for too long. He absolutely needed a fight, and there was this time-honoured tradition in the Red Army: Where there's vodka, there's trouble.

He headed into the bar, pulled off the rag that covered his head and rubbed his face. Sunburn. If the sun kept going like that, he'd get skinned alive. What a shithole.

The din of soldiers having fun. Drinking games, tall tales, everybody had seen action, been shot at, yeah, right. Losers. If those tales were to be believed, there was no goat-fucker alive between Tadjikistan and here. Vadim grunted with displeasure and headed towards the makeshift bar. The sight of his dog tags and some roubles bought him a bottle. Turning around, he watched the patrons and started drinking. Back in the corner were some of his boys, he could see the same itch in their eyes. He headed over, was greeted, and they drank, warming up. Just warming up for the welcome party.

* * *

Outside, a man was walking through the streets. Civilian, dressed in the usual combination of sweat-stained military surplus kit, worn shirt, and the tell-tale paraphernalia of every reporter in any crisis centre of the world. Cameras, multi-pocket vest, shoulder bag and dusty boots.

The man snorted to himself. 'Dan McFadyen, Canadian Press Correspondent'. What a fucking joke. Angrily shoving the bigger camera aside, the thing kept hitting him square in the chest. The goddamned dust in this bloody place was driving him mad. Settling into eyes, skin, equipment and every pore alike. He was just waiting to piss the reddish shit out of his jap's eye. Clothes covered in this shit, hair dirty, even with a rag around his head. Fuck, he hated the itching smear of sweat and dust.

Pissed off, feeling vulnerable carrying no weapons but his favourite combat knife, walking through Kabul at night. If they had at least let him take a pistol, but hell, no, it had to be left at the officially non-existent camp, a truck ride across this barren piece of shitty land.

"What a fucking stupid mission," Dan muttered, needing a drink badly. Parched throat and dried up levels of booze. No decent fuck in ages, no piss-up in sight. And bored. Abso-fucking-lutely bored. Nothing to see, nothing to do, nothing to recce in this fucking place.

* * *

Inside, men were fighting and the noise level of drunken soldiers was ever increasing in the smashed-up shop. One of the soldiers surpassing anyone else in unleashed violence.

"And here goes a cocksucker!" laughed Vadim, finishing the fight with a double-footed kick to the other soldier's face.

The bloody conscript went down like a .50cal slug had gone through his head. "Bulls eye!", Vadim shouted, and his men jeered.

That should teach the bastard to not fucking jump straight out his way. Granted, the bitch had been drunk as a plane full of officers, but any excuse would do. Vadim looked down at the bleeding body, and his stomach tensed in that dark, good way. Had from the moment he had known there was an excuse to spill blood. It raised the crimson flood in his veins. Raised it. Nearly breaking point.

He sneered, and kicked the guy again, who didn't twitch. Jaw breaking move. A good one. But also a finisher. Not so good. He poured some vodka over the guy's face, hoped he'd get up and maybe have half a fight left in him, but that was the end of the story. Fuck him. Not enough fun. Not nearly enough fun.

* * *

The noise got so loud, it reached the bored man a couple of streets away. Dan almost stopped dead in his tracks, softly swearing under his breath. Seemed like he was about to get lucky on this dead-beat mission at last, with action looming around the corner. That sort of laughing, shouting and yelling could only mean Soviet soldiers and the Glorious Soviet Army on the loose.

He hurried to get to the source of the ruckus, re-adjusting the camera once more, slowing down with hands in pockets, casually strolling towards the drunken noise once he got close. Perhaps the recce wasn't quite so useless this time.

He had almost reached the smashed-up building when a multi-voiced jeer erupted. Light inside, hordes of Russkies. "Bingo!" Dan snorted, "Gotcha, you bastards." Fingering for the smaller camera in his trouser pocket, he muttered to himself. "Let's see who's come to the party."

The camera slipped out of his grasp first thing, forcing him to stand still and rummage deeper in the outside pocket. "Bollocks." Hissed, but grabbed it at last, hurriedly taking pictures. Shots of the soldiers inside, the mess of bodies, the meddling of men. Snapping away at all of them, the tall, the short, the blond, the dark.

He was standing opposite to the building when a vehicle passed, bathing him for a moment in light.

* * *

Inside, unaware of being photographed, Vadim was tossing back some more vodka amid the drunken noise. Suddenly narrowing his eyes and stopping to drink. His comrades were discussing whether Afghani women were shaved ("Serious, they all are!" - "No way!" - "They are!" - "They are not!"), and he knew where that discussion was going. By finding one to prove the point. They said women here fought like cats, but he was in the mood for a tiger. Something much stronger than vodka. "Fuck it, go and find one, but make sure it looks like it was somebody else." Cut her throat afterwards, he added with a gesture, but his boys knew that. They'd done this shit before.

His boys cheered like there had been a pay rise, as if that ever happened, and streamed outside. Vadim followed, keeping his eyes on the quarry. Get the other wolves out of the way.

The man was tall, broad shouldered, and looked like he could pack a punch. Dark eyes and hair, but no goat-fucker. There was something decidedly European about him. Press. Vadim thought of taking a handful of those camera straps, and twist them, choking the man. He inhaled sharply.

There. Hunger.

Vanya was on the way past him. Good old Vanya, his second. Judging from the quarry, it might not be all that easy. "Stop", said Vadim, touching the comrade's arm briefly. Vanya looked at him, and Vadim saw understanding. They'd been through a lot at the barracks, and abroad, and anywhere else. Right hand man. Vanya was always willing to lend a hand. And more, if asked properly. Bash this peasant's head in, and he was perfectly willing to give that, too.

Vanya nodded; non-verbal communication. He started to move in a circle, intending to flank. Hunting a prey that seemed to have suddenly become aware of the attention, because the man was stepping back into the shadows.

Too late. "Fuck." Dan hissed tonelessly. Sixth sense warned him he'd been spotted while taking photos of the din. The sensation he got was like a red dot in the middle of his forehead. He turned slowly to walk away in the opposite direction of the place full of drunken Russians, careful not to rouse suspicion.

Strolling along despite wanting to run. Had to keep up his disguise of being nothing but a reporter. Red and white maple leaf crudely stitched on his shoulder bag. Canada. Yeah, that's what he was. Cursing that sixth sense that was hitting the pit of his stomach like a sucker punch; this goddamned sense that had saved his life more than once.

Dan was unaware of the two Soviet soldiers in the alley, who were exchanging glances between them. Vanya moved to circle, quick hand signals, which his body covered.

Vadim glanced up at the houses. Made from clay and goat shit. Great. He slipped into the alley, jumped, caught the rim of the house with his hands, and pulled himself up. Nothing like a little exercise.

Thinking in the third dimension, his sniper trainer had called it. There's always an above, or a below. Never forget that. Vadim crouched and moved on the roof, careful not to make a sound, following the man who was moving away from the makeshift bar.

Good. People had probably left the immediate surroundings. Or huddled in hidden places and waited till the ruckus died down. This place was deserted. Vadim peered over the rim, saw Vanya, saw the quarry. Dark alley. He pulled a knife, hid it behind his arm, and jumped down, a good three yards in front of the man.

Dan felt the hairs in the back of his neck stand up before he'd become aware of the movement in front of him.

Shit! Suddenly danger.

The Russian bastard had come out of nowhere, and he sensed the other coming around the corner, not knowing that Vanya kept a length of wire near his thigh. Silent takedown.

Attack was Dan's first instinct, but fears were confirmed when he saw the second soldier from the corner of his eyes. Fuck. Two. No way back out of the alley. He needed a shitload of luck to take both of them down. Calm, calm Dan. Assume nothing. Why should they want to attack a reporter.

Dan opted for the smokescreen, calling out: "Hey mate, you scared the living daylights out of me. What's up?" Fake grin, pretend ease.

He needed time, his knife and surprise on his side.

The Soviet bastard smelled of menace like a beggar stank of piss. Not a joke. No play. The Russian cunt was on the prowl. A predator; he knew the look, the threatening stance, had been there himself too many times. Drunken soldiers, rulers of a shitty place full of nothing but dust; out for a punch-up.

Vadim moved even closer, the way the man almost jumped, the tension about him, he was awake, aware, and Vadim could feel heat trickle down his back. Up this close, the man was potentially his match, unless the width of his shoulders was all weight lifting and no fighting. Good, deep chest. He could take a lot.

The English made some sense to him, but some words didn't. The grin, anxious, nervous, the man knew he wasn't here to play. Fuck it. Vadim walked closer, took another swig of the bottle, acting relaxed and slightly drunk, then, in mid-swallow, hurled the bottle at the man's head, smirking.

"Good evening." In Russian.

Vanya's signal to strike and slip the wire around his game's head.

Dan caught the sudden movement in front of him, glass catching a glint of light, ducked while letting the knife slip into his hand. Bottle missed its target.

Vanya's wire missed, too, but Vanya was pretty damn good and changed the motion into a punch into the man's kidneys, a short, vicious jab with the left; right hand still leading the wire.

Dan went down, pain exploding, those Russkies meant business. He lost his breath, but rolled to the side, gasping. Scrambling back up onto his feet.

Vadim caught the man's expert motion. He had seen it a thousand times and more, knife fighting lessons, real life, barracks pastime. He moved his own hand forward, blade pointing towards his elbow, fingers holding the hilt securely, readjusting it for a quick slash across the other's face, or a threatening one to imbalance him. The crimson flood moved up several notches when their quarry came back onto his feet. Vadim's blood tasted of acid, heart racing like a horse. He grinned like a maniac as he motioned the man forward with an open hand. "Come to Daddy", he said in accented English.

"Fuck yourself, Russkie!" Dan snarled, still breathless from the punch. He caught himself and spun around, ignored the taller one who spoke while attacking the closer one. His blade flew upwards, connected with an arm, felt steel tear into flesh. Pulled out the knife, grabbed his one and only chance, tried to run past the first bastard.

Vadim's nostrils flared, he heard Vanya's curse and more smelled than saw the blood. The man was a good fighter. Not taking the bait. But he was wounded. He saw how their prey staggered, and now was the perfect moment for the second hunter to strike. The man was still imbalanced, hurting, distracted, and his synapses had to be burning with pain and fear.

Vadim closed in, followed the sideways motion, when Dan tried to run past him. Lunged and met the sprinting body full force, a no-holds barred tackle, smashing him into the nearest wall.

Dan lost his breath and orientation. Crushed between man and wall, air forced out of him.

Vadim felt the coiled muscle close, smelled the man's adrenaline. He was in heaven. He grabbed a handful of the dark hair, and smashed the head into the wall, pressing close, waiting for the other to lose the fight, keeping the arm with the knife locked and away. He laughed, breathless. "Said: Come. To. Daddy."

A voiceless scream tore out of Dan's chest, split-second blindness when his head hit the wall. Mind racing, engulfed in pain, instinct kicked in. Bones: check. Body: check. Knife: fucked.

"And I said," he gasped out, "fuck you!"

Breath going hard, Vadim's body changed gear again, one higher, there was always one higher, more resistance. It seemed he had never had so much fun. Not in the last months, not since he had been pulled back after the first mission of securing the airport and getting rid of the president just last winter.

Dan's head slammed forward in a Glaswegian kiss. Head butting, but no space for knee jerking, too close, too fucking overpowering.

Vadim turned his neck, reaction a matter of instinct. Still, the forehead hit his eyebrow with a white, splitting pain. That would have broken his nose. The fucker. He moved to hold the squirming body, felt the skin as he pressed closer, could have licked the sweat from the man's upper lip. He was glistening under the dust, the smell of combat, stress, fear. So intense it did distract him for a heartbeat, too wrapped up in the raw physical reality of close combat, enjoying it too much.

Dan was high on adrenaline and the madness of the fight. He knew he was losing, yet he'd never give up, would never surrender. Twisting his leg as far as he could, he slammed the booted heel right into the Russian's ankle bone.

Vadim's high boots took most of the impact, but it fucking hurt and that sobered his mind, cutting through the vodka.

Struggling for breath, Dan smirked. Delivering sweet fucking pain - short-lived satisfaction.

Vadim snarled at the arrogant smirk, pressed the blade to the other man's throat, his own pupils widening in appreciation of blade against flesh. Flesh so alive. Eye to eye.

Dan froze. The Russkie's blade lethal against his throat, had no doubt the fucker would use it. He felt fear, but not panic. Not yet. No fucking chance. Thoughts racing instead. Judging his chances, slim as they were. No situation was ever hopeless. He was SAS, he'd show the fucker, he'd ...

Fuck! Dan's eyes caught hold of the other Russian bastard. Remembered. Two.

Dan's breath rattled, eyes narrowed, sweat running down his neck. "What the fuck do you want, Russkie?" Snarled.

Vanya was watching their quarry's struggle and realisation, touched his shoulder with his right hand, cursing. "Bastard cut me", sounding more surprised than angry, then brought out the pistol and cocked it.

Vadim knew exactly what his comrade was thinking. Feeling. The hunt was over. The tension was still there, the man hadn't quite given in yet, but Vadim listened into the body, listened to the song of tendons and blood and sweat. Waiting for the shift of tune, subtle as it was. There was realisation. He could see that in the man's eyes, narrowing as they were. Brown eyes.

Vadim smirked, never answered. Keep him guessing. The fight had made him hard, the stress. A short, intense burst of energy surging right into his groin, transforming him into fire. He needed to destroy, but he was savouring the moment. The moment of understanding, which still did not change into capitulation. And as much as he enjoyed that, drawing it out too long was too dangerous. A trapped tiger. Couldn't let him go. He moved the hilt of the knife subtly, then lashed out to knock the butt against the man's temple. Too dangerous to move him like that.

Dan's eyes widened, more surprise than shock, then sharp blinding pain and he slumped over, fell lifeless forward into the other's arms.

Last thought before blackness. 'Survive at all costs'.

The way the body slumped told Vadim his quarry wasn't faking it. A heavy, satisfying weight against him, the moment broken, dimmed, the intensity reduced, and he was aching to have it back. Be eye to eye with somebody as quick and as smart as the man had turned out to be. Vanya was no challenge. Even with a gun in his hand, and Vanya having a hundred reasons to hate him, Vadim never felt afraid. They were comrades, and that held a world of meaning.

He nodded to Vanya, gave hand signals. Silent. Retreat. Find safe place. He hoisted the man up, across and over his shoulders, like a wounded comrade. Vanya took the knife that had slipped from his fingers, and they retreated deeper into the alley. Vanya broke, shoulder first, into one of the buildings.

A quick scan and search, but the place was so dusty it had to have been deserted for months. Up a ladder, fucking primitive cave, dark, but there was light from outside. The moon. Enough to see by.

Vadim put the man on the ground, patted him down. Money, a rolled-up wad of filthy Afghanis, but no ID, not even a press ID card, no accreditation. It gave him pause. Then again, stuff did get stolen, and it was entirely justified not to take a passport or anything that couldn't be easily replaced. It was a hassle to get into or out of the country without papers. He had probably bunked up with locals, or some press office place.

He took his time with the pat down. Even unconscious, there was tension and power. Held in check. Warm, firm flesh. He rolled the man onto his stomach, sat on his thighs and took the scarf off, then tied his hands. Not great, but it would suffice. "You okay?" he asked Vanya.

"Flesh wound", said Vanya and took the moment to wash the cut with vodka, hissing through his teeth. "Fuck. I want to rip his fucking head off!"

Vadim grinned. "Get me the oil from the gun kit." Nice, round ass. He would enjoy this, even more so because he was bleeding himself. He could smell the drying blood on his face, and the itch. Seeing the man under him, feeling him alive and helpless.

He pulled the knife again and cut the belt, then the knife blade whispered through the fabric of the camo trousers. Reporter or not, he wore army gear. Good boots, too, they might take them if they fitted. His own were starting to get bad, and he didn't mind keeping a trophy. He inhaled sharply when he realised the man wasn't wearing any briefs, revealing firm flesh.

Vanya came closer, watching him with wide eyes. Vadim could see his comrade was getting hard, he was too drunk to hide it or probably even notice. Oh yes. He already loved Kabul.

Dan was half-waking. Murky thoughts rolling, moving, surfacing before half-dragging down again.

Vadim squeezed some oil into his hand. Done this before, usually with somebody who had challenged either of them. Or just somebody random in the barracks. Sometimes, officer games. Survival training. Play abduction and interrogation. The young ones never spilled the beans. It was perfectly acceptable to be terrified of Vadim or Vanya, and nobody guessed how deep some of that fear ran. How physical it was.

Dan was surfacing more, sensed touches, movement, voices. Warm hand, cold steel. Comfortable, rare sensation of hands moving over his flesh, warmth spreading on ...

Sudden jerk. Consciousness returned like a sprung coil, snapping into action without a moment's grace between muddy darkness and shocking clarity.

"What?" Dan's voice was strained, dust tickling his lungs and then heaviness across his limbs. "What the fuck?" Lifted his head, had to try and know and see and fight. Forced his upper body off the ground, hands tearing against the restraints. Twisted within the confines, fighting against the hands on his body, the blade, the weight, attempting to throw himself onto his back. No one should be strong enough to have overpowered him. No one, unless they were killing machines. Like him. The fight wasn't over yet. Survive, by all means. Victim - never.

"Fuck off you Russian bastards!" Not thinking the unthinkable. Impossible. No.

Vadim held the man's thighs in a vice, enjoyed the resistance. He opened his fly as the bastard was starting to move again. Fucking skull of a fucking mountain goat. The ones with the long horns, bashing foreheads against each other, recklessly, while climbing in a vertical cliff. Vadim snarled, but Vanya already moved, knelt beside them and put one strong hand between the man's shoulder blades, pressing him down, using one knee for additional leverage.

"Pistol", said Vadim.

Vanya cocked the pistol and pressed it into their quarry's neck, causing Dan to freeze when the muzzle dug into his flesh. Breathing hard, harsh, fighting down fear.

Vadim enjoyed the sight. The sudden stillness, the bucking. And it hadn't even started. He opened another button, took out his cock and began oiling himself, seeing Vanya's eyes as he did. Vanya knew the sight well enough, and there was this unspoken thing, the savage hunger that they both shared, especially after an encounter like this. Vanya would suck him off tonight, remembering what they had done.

Vadim shifted, enough to bring a slick hand to the other man's ass, trickling more oil there. "Now. Pray you're not virgin", he said in a rough voice. The power was heady, the mix of triumph, and the strength of the victim.

He hoped he would keep fighting. Please, keep fighting.

Virgin? The Russian's mockery hooked itself into Dan's mind. Animal snarls were torn from him because it was not fucking possible what seemed to be going on. Never believed that kind of shit really could happen to men. Not to him, not in a dark fucking alley in fucking Kabul in a rat infested shitty place of a fucking ramshackle deserted house. No. Just …


He finally understood what was going on. He got the message so loud and clear, everything screamed and fought inside against that insanity that wasn't supposed to be happening. Shocked. Terror. Focused on what he knew and what he had dealt with before. Cold steel. Muzzle of deadly force against his neck. Had survived it. The rest was impossible. Situation unbelievable. Couldn't happen, no way.

Dan fought despite the gun. Fuck the recce, fuck the army, fuck the Not-So-Special Forces. Fought against the impossible; fought until the pistol pressed so hard against his neck he felt the steel eating into his brain.

Found no words to protest, just thoughts of creeping-crawling blinding-bloodied violence. Death, destruction, slow cutting of the Russkie's flesh and skin, the baring of bones. Imagined the bastard's screams of terror and pain. Had to survive, had to kill, had to destroy. Revenge.

Death to the Russian bastard.

Virgin, Vadim thought, or incredibly spirited. He would have to severely wound the man to stop him struggling, resisting him with all his soul, all his strength. He moved to kick the legs apart, used his knees to force them open, spread the man, fighting him, legs against legs, his cock brushing the naked flesh every time the man bucked.

He needed his complete weight to get anywhere, spread him open further, he was impossibly hard from the struggle, thumb digging into the flesh to separate it, then followed, pressing cock into the heat, the tenderness, the man bucking, trying to get away, even though his movement was as restricted as Vadim could do it. Closed, tight, pressing, and he could feel the body yield, yield only in that place, as the rest of the man was hard as wood with revulsion. Vadim closed his eyes, forced more in, could hear his own breath, loud, lips open, feeling the pain and discomfort and the delicious and complete closeness. Nothing like that, nothing, certainly not Vanya. It was like trying to fuck a fist, and he was hard enough to do it.

Dan didn't scream. This pain was too complete, too all-encompassing, too unbelievable to allow any sounds. Still tried to fight, thrashed, fought against the impossible intrusion; that which could not possibly happen.

But it wasn't enough, never enough against the penetrating force and the Russian's brutal strength. Dan struggled to buck up and get away when this 'thing' brutally breached his body. Continued to fight against the fucking impossibility that had no name. It couldn't be happening. He was a man, an alpha male. He was everything and everyone and owned every hole and he was not and would not and could not and …

No! He opened his mouth as if to scream but nothing came out, not a sound.

Like riding an earthquake. Vadim could feel the man's ragged breathing, could feel the tension deep inside, inside that raw heat, still fighting. Some went limp and started crying, and he sometimes goaded them to see if there was a fight left in them. Never had one fought him like that, and he needed more force to get deeper, using his weight, his strength, not out of cruelty, or maybe that, too, but to savour it the most.

"Leave me some", whispered Vanya.

Vadim grinned, felt sweat trickle down his face. Finally, something gave, and he moved fast and vicious, riding his own adrenaline, almost resting on the man to get as deep as possible.

Dan was only pain. Torn apart inside, raw, bleeding, horror so pure and intense, couldn't put a name on it. This agony had no name, because it wasn't meant to be done to men. Men like him.

Vadim's harsh thrusts ran like fire through his own body, each motion of their bodies intense, the vodka had drained away, he was fully here, fully struggling and enjoying himself. The force of orgasm seared through his body, and a few more, nearly desperate thrusts brought that message home.

Dan made no sound; every scream, every moment of terror and hatred was locked inside in silence. No one would ever know, no one would ever find out - if he survived, and fuck, he had to survive, had to destroy, had to wreak his revenge.

Vadim pulled out, panting, resting for a moment, kneeling, then drank some more vodka. The vile stuff burned and cooled, soothed the thirst, and dulled part of this. He pulled his own pistol, and took Vanya's position, muzzle in the man's neck, staring into his face. He wanted to see the defiance, the pain, and the strength as Vanya mounted him.

It was only fair that Vanya didn't get the best of it. He was left with the scraps. Vanya actually didn't care much for the whole thing. He did what Vadim did, emulated him, like something of a twisted mirror image, and Vadim watched him, then watched the body being moved by the thrusts, the cock moving in and out and the still struggling flesh. It would take a platoon to take fighting out of this one.

Dan hardly noticed the change from one man to another, but never ceased to fight, drowned in images of tearing flesh open, stench of burning skin and terror from his own hand. With every onslaught of pain the violence in his mind took on a more inhuman form. Torture, cutting, bleeding and choking.

Killing. He had to survive to destroy.

Vadim looked into that face. Absent eyes, but burning with intensity, only as if he wasn't even in the picture, like the man was already inside himself, did not let anything, anybody touch him. The precious moment was gone, he reflected, feeling somewhat lost now, himself, his body getting heavy and tired, that pleasant sluggishness of sex and vodka taking away some of the emotions. Vanya's grunting meant very little, the man underneath him only struggled on instinct, like he just couldn't stop. It was gone, that mind-searing flash of something profound.

Or he was starting to get drunk. Vadim put the uniform in order, gun still trained on the prone body, and took another deep swallow. After the battle. He didn't really care.

With a curse that sounded almost tender, Vanya came as well, and remained on top, catching his breath. "Ah, my little bitch", he said, something which seemed almost funny.

It was over, just like that. Gone.

Vadim crouched to put the gun into Vanya's hand. "Finish him off", he said in Russian. "He's press. Last thing we want is some lies."

"Yes, Captain", said Vanya in Russian.

Vadim smirked at the address. A forgivable mistake. He had the rank on his shoulders, after all. "See you later." Vanya stared at him, knowing what that meant. Burn off the rest of the adrenaline. He shared in the kill, and that was generous.

With that, Vadim left, and walked out into a clear, starry night, the sounds of soldiers in the distance.

One hell of a welcome party.

Dan had been listening to the voices, disjointed words, scraps of sound. Engulfed in the stench of blood, sweat and fear, and most of all hatred. This smell would never leave his nostrils again, no matter how much he'd try to scrub the bastards off his skin.

No movement any longer.

Vadim had gone, down the ladder, left the building. That was the Captain: Moving on when he saw no point in staying.

Dan's thoughts gathering, pulling himself back together. Survive to kill and wreak revenge. Focus slowly returning, ignoring the pain. Didn't matter. All that mattered was the voice that trailed off, the steps that were retreating, the man he was left alone with.

The knife. Remembered with sudden clarity where it had dropped.

Dan breathed slowly through his nose, focussed on nothing but the sounds in his back. He was ready. Needed to fool the remaining bastard into safety, first.

Let them believe he was broken.

Vanya got up, prodded the captive with a boot, but the guy didn't move. Passed out. No surprise. They'd shown him. He bent down and untied the knot that secured the scarf around his wrists. Nothing but a reporter and out cold - no danger.

Vanya secured the pistol and shoved it into his belt. Above and first of all, he needed a piss. A good, long, extended piss. He moved a couple steps away. The simple pleasures in life. Then shoot the captive and hack off his hands and head and dump them somewhere outside the city. Medical records, all that shit. The press didn't like people like them vanishing. Dead press bad press. Kill a thousand Afghanis, and nobody glanced up. Manhandle one of those vultures, and the fucking United Nations came down on you. Or something.

Vanya sighed contently, shaking off the drops. There. Much better.

Dan listened to the sound of steps. Registered every single movement with a clarity beyond anything he'd ever seen nor felt. This was his chance, he couldn't afford anymore mistakes. Fuck the Army and his mission, he owned that Russian's life. The bastard's blood would be spilt for no one but himself. One down, another one to go. He'd get them both.

He moved slowly, forcing his body to comply, remembered where he had dropped the knife. Good. It was there. Hands moved forward, sensed ahead, until they curled around the well-known handle, welcoming the familiar steel like a long-lost lover.

He moved silently, hatred dulling the pain. Crouched, used the cover of darkness to get closer to the standing shadow. His faint shuffling noises were easily over-shadowed by the piss that came out of the Russkie's blood-smeared cock. His blood.

No. Not thinking.

Then, at last, an impossibly fast movement, Dan's arm around the fucker's neck, hand firmly clasped over the mouth. Cold steel pressing against flesh.

Hissing into Vanya's ear, "Fuck you, bastard," in Russian.

Vanya had been just about to turn around. Being grabbed, he thought, for an almost painful heartbeat, it was Vadim, and he'd come back to punish him for pissing first, and killing later. Fucking Captain had the self-control of a fucking robot. But then, he could clearly feel it wasn't Vadim. Taste, smell, presence. Vadim had done all the other shit, knife and grabbing him from behind.

He was disoriented for a moment, vodka had dulled his responses. Then suddenly realising who it was. The Russian more than anything gave it away. He didn't sound anywhere near Vadim.

The pistol in his belt. Too close to shoot and even hope to hit. Heart and mind racing. The garrotte. In a pocket. Nothing to say. He expected the knife to go through his throat, and wondered if it hurt much. How long it would take him to bleed out and lose consciousness. He knew that he had known, in theory, but it was blanked from his mind. A shudder went through his body, nerves and fibres firing into overdrive. It made him nauseous with stress. Breathing hard, knowing he might not be breathing through his nostrils with the next one. Fuck.

Dan didn't feel the pain anymore, not right now. He felt nothing. Nothing other than his blade pressing against the throat. The embrace of the other's body almost tender, loving, if he weren't burning with so much hatred. Gently whispering the words in Russian.

"Go to hell."

With a rapid, precise movement he slit the throat open from one ear to the other, pushed the body forward and away from him, avoiding the worst of the blood that erupted from the severed jugular. He needed the trousers, after all.

Dan watched the twitching body on the floor dispassionately. Wouldn't that bastard die already. He had to get back to camp, as fast as he could, and fabricate a believable lie about what had happened this night.

Fingers stiff, he struggled to get rid of his boots and the cut-off clothes. Crouching beside the body and avoiding the pool of blood, he hurried to take boots and trousers off, putting the latter. They were too wide and made from Soviet camo, but they'd do.

Hissing between his teeth, how the fuck was he going to pretend he was physically unharmed. Couldn't possibly ask for medical attention. No. Fucking. Way! Had to pray he hadn't caught a disease from those Russian perverts.

Haphazardly wiping at the sticky shit that was running down his legs, before pulling the dead man's camo trousers up. Fumbling for the small camera, he stuffed it into the shoulder bag, tightened the trousers with the brass-buckled belt, and laced his boots. He'd make up a good lie about the Red Army uniform trophies.

Dan looked around, waited, didn't hear a sound. Good. Moving into the shadows before forcing his battered body to run.

One down. Another one to go. He'd get the Russian cunt, he'd make him pay.

* * *

Vadim had trotted back to the barracks. Taking in the night air, not a care in the world. The tension was gone, gone in the best way possible. Much better than anticipated. He might get shouted at for general conduct of himself and his men, then again, the senior officers didn't give a fuck; if somebody threw a fit, it could just as well be him.

He sorted out his kit, his bunk, the space was fairly limited. They'd build more barracks for all the troops being moved here. Tens of thousands. The juggernaut that was the Red Army in motion. Not elegant, not pretty, but he'd be fucked if he cared right now.

He stored his kit away, sorted out Vanya's stuff as well, debating half-drunk with himself about how to set up routine in this place, keep the men sharp and focused. He'd had to work out how the senior officers ticked. Who was a medal hound, who was a braggart, who was a complete waste of space, and who didn't get out of the bottle. The usual stuff.

He had a wash, the water was rationed, fucking waste of map, this country, and returned. No Vanya. Fuck him. Had probably gotten wasted. Vanya just didn't know when enough was enough. But Vadim was growing restless. Vanya was his second, and they had served for quite some time together. He had ordered Vanya to be here, and he wasn't. That was unlike him.

He woke a driver, who took him back. He found the house with no problem. The grey light of beginning dawn made Kabul the most joyless place in the universe, and that included the barren expanse of the moon. Vadim told the driver to wait, and entered the house. Careful, even though he didn't know why. He half expected Vanya to have passed out before the job was finished. Stamina of a horse, but couldn't hold his vodka.

The smell of blood sent his hackles up. Proceeding, pistol out and ready.

Upstairs. The place reeked of blood. He saw Vanya. Bootless, trouserless. Boots lying close, cast away. That told him everything. There was only one person who had needed trousers badly enough to take those of an enemy. He crouched, checked the body for booby traps, by instinct. Numb inside. Tiredness, and there was the thought that Vanya would never snore again. Never taunt, mock, never imitate him again. It used to annoy the hell out of him, and he had meant to break a couple of his ribs for it.

He saw the tracks in the dust, bloody footprints.

Good seconds were hard to come by. And Vadim would have to write a report and send a letter to the family. Accident. Vanya had fallen off a tank, whatever. Nobody ever questioned those anyway. Vanya would go home in a metal tin. His war was over.

Vadim had the feeling his own had just begun.

* * *

A trek back to base camp for Dan unlike any before. If his stiff movements weren't so fucking pathetic it would be sickeningly funny. Could hardly walk from that searing pain.

Dan caught a ride on one of the ramshackle lorries, crouching on the back, grinding his teeth. In agony at every pothole on the dirt track; each jarring thrust tearing into his insides. Reminding him that nothing had ever happened. Nothing that made him want to scream in pain. Nothing that required most of his willpower to shut up and remain silent. Nothing that made him swear he would get back to Kabul as soon as he could to kill that fucking cunt. He would find that bastard, maim, then kill and pay back slowly, with extortionate interest, what he had not done to him, for what had never happened.

He'd killed a man tonight, would hunt and take down another. None of the faces he'd ever killed were haunting his sleep, even up close and personal. His only remorse that he could feel no guilt.

This time it was for revenge, not duty.

Special Forces Chapter II: The Wasteland
Warning for Readers

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

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

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

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


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Published 24 July 2006