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Special Forces Chapter VII: Army of One

March 1982, Afghanistan

The rumble of the machine. Vadim couldn't quite sleep, and he wasn't supposed to, but after three weeks guarding the convoy, and more fake alarms than he could remember - seemed there were no enemies in the mountains, only shadows that moved and rocks that looked to these kids like enemies. Baba Yaga out hunting children, some shit like that. He was as tired as a long-rotten dog, decomposed, bones already ground to dust. The mountains had the colour of ground-up bones, anyway. Made for joyful driving.

The conscript's name was Platon, like the old Greek, and that was probably why they put him together with Vadim; Vadim would sometimes say things hardly anybody understood, especially when he was semi-drunk and not itching to kill or brawl, so, it was two philosophers on the same truck.

Vadim's head nodded forward, and he wanted to curl up and sleep, preserve warmth and sanity.

"Do you have a girlfriend?" Platon glanced over, his face too young, far too young to be here, the shaved head made him look like a child.

Vadim nodded forward. "Concentrate on the road." He wanted to sleep badly, could not remember when he had really found any rest, and didn't have any idea when he could expect rest again. And he kept nodding off, thirty seconds, or a minute, while the trucks crawled forward, mine sweepers checking the road bit by bit. One mine meant the whole convoy had to stop, and that amounted to something like seventy trucks. He was not supposed to sleep, he was on duty. Only that he hadn't been off duty for three weeks, and was starting to fray. He was perfectly willing to mistake anything for a dushman.

Ironic, really, that the bandits were starting to pick up how to mine the roads. The first attacks had been screaming and shooting and standing perfectly in the open, but somewhere along the way, they had picked up skills. He had heard they still refused to belly crawl towards their targets, apparently they were too proud. But they were starting to grow into it, the whole guerrilla thing. Ambushes. They were getting trained to get better, and one thing had to be said in their favour: They were tough.

Vadim yawned. "Huh?"

"Girlfriend?" Platon reached inside his vest, showed him a photo.

Vadim didn't really look. "Nice."

Platon seemed a little surprised, but then worked out that being puzzled by a spetsnaz was the least of his problems.

Vadim obliged him. "Nice tits."

So much for the bonding experience. Vadim did, on principle, not show anything like photos. He didn't carry them out in the field, as it were, and he sure as fuck wouldn't let anybody comment on Katya's tits. And he didn't want any comrades to stare at the children. These things didn't belong together. He knew that the story went his wife was really not much to look at, but then somebody had told that other story of the Olympics, and the conscripts had fallen silent. They had been nothing but children back in the days.

He jerked awake again, ironically because the truck had stopped moving. Platon began to sweat, even though the heating was off, saving power. "Oh god, please ..."

Vadim glanced at the sweepers, who seemed concerned. Might be a mine, might be a mock-up. It was hard to tell, especially with the sleet and snow outside. The mountains were starting to fuck them big-time. "Five more, and you get a medal."

Twenty trips per medal. It was getting that dangerous.

Platon stared at him. "I don't want a fucking medal ..."

Vadim laughed softly. "Then you're in the wrong place." He pushed the door open, used the truck as cover as he brought up the rifle. The ice rain was starting to battle against the fur hat, the big woollen coat, visibility was a joke. He saw absolutely nothing.

More doors opened. Spetsnaz. Covering each other, while the sweepers began their work of starting to excavate. No alternative. Left was solid, vertical rock with boulders, right was a chasm. Nothing new. Vadim was used to landscape suddenly ending in this country, and hanging in mid-air.

He briefly closed his eyes, burning from the cold, burning from lack of sleep, burning with concentration.

Fuck you, he thought, checking the rubble for figures. We are too big for you to take. Or maybe you planted this and didn't think the next one would be so big and now hold a fucking loya jirga about whether to attack or not. He signalled, used the trucks as cover, crossed the road and found himself a nice bit of rock that looked like it had eroded from somewhere higher up. Rocks coming his way was the last thing he wanted to think about.

He could see more soldiers take position, hit the ground, crawl, and felt his blood burn. He wasn't tired anymore, just exhausted.

They could always get a feeling for the territory from up there. He began to climb, snow and rain and ice trying to crawl into him, and after the damned heat of the summer in the lowland, it had to be fucking winter when he got into this place. Just his luck.

Five hundred yards up - and he thought he could see movements, scurrying, maybe small rocks that were dislocated and began to dance down. Vadim paused, tried to see, thought he could feel eyes and concentration on the trucks, but didn't want to give away his position. He signalled again and advanced a little more. No shots. No movement. They stayed put. Not risking it this time. Not today. The convoy was too well-protected.

Platon would get one trip closer to his medal. Vadim waited, heart pounding, cold as fuck, hands on the rifle nearly without feeling, just enough left in his hands to be able to tell he was still holding something.

The lights flared once down on the road, and Vadim signalled back to the convoy. He knew what he had seen, but there was no point in fighting this battle, not with visibility like shit. Not cold and tired like this. But he knew that there had to be caves, and that they used this position for an ambush. They might do it again. Good sites were to be cherished. It wasn't too far away from one of the Soviet strongholds, the kind where they sat and waited, barricaded up and unwilling to venture out, unwilling to leave, keeping losses down. Every now and then, the dushmans would fire something at them, a grenade, an RPG, stuff like that, and the Soviets would return fire with everything they had, and usually stopped when there was no more shooting from the other side.

Vadim had the feeling that was not what he was there for.

He returned to his seat, cold and wet enough to drip, at least the coat held the worst off, and went back to half-sleeping, half-waking, and nodding off without finding rest.

* * * * * * *

Fucking cold. Fucking snow and ice, howling winds and thin air that stopped him breathing with lead weights across his chest, only allowing frantic, shallow breaths even at the best of times. Much worse if he tried the slightest physical exertion. Fucking mountains, deadly freezing nights and goddamned fucking Mujas who kept him in a maze of caves after caves. 'Is good, Daan. Is safe.' And they'd nod. Fuck them. Fuck his weapons, his frozen hands and the constant almost-frost bite.

Most of all, fuck the Russians! Fucking Soviet cunts in trucks and impossibly big convoys. Fuck their furry hats and sheltering vehicles and fuck even more their mere presence. Bastards. If they had stayed back home in Mother Russia he wouldn't have to freeze his bollocks off.

The insurgents had been warned the convoy would be one of the largest, but had they listened and stayed in the fucking caves? Had they fuck. It was out again and braving the elements. 'Go, Daan. Good, look. Watch our mines. Good, Daan. Taught us. Watch effect.' They could watch their own arses for all it was worth, if it were down to him.

Dan was trying to wiggle his fingers, had been holding his AKM rifle for too long, the additional rounds on his back starting to dig into his body. Too freezing cold to be for hours on an observation post like this. Couldn't feel his toes anymore, tried to move them as well, when the convoy came into sight. Holy fucking Christ, he started to count, ending somewhere around seventy. Shit. No way, it would be suicidal to attack, no matter how long the trucks had to stop when the first ones caught wind of the traps. Dan checked to his left and right, praying his 'friends' weren't so bloody stupid to disregard his advice.

He wiped ice off the binoculars, shifted his weight, then started to move slowly, crawling forwards on hands an knees. Stopped when doors opened and soldiers came into view. Knew they were highly armed and trained killers. No one but Spetsnaz to guard the trucks, no one other than … Shit. That man. The tallest of them. Dan checked again, concentrated on movement, statue, body and gestures.

No doubt.

Felt a twinge of unexpected desire hit the pit of his stomach, greed curling deep in his guts. Fuck. How could he have forgotten amongst all the strain, frustration and physical hardship that there was one need that was growing with every time it had been satisfied. A bottomless vessel, the more he filled it, the emptier it got.

He stared, transfixed on the man, aware of a hidden desperation. He had to find a way to follow the Russkie; of course, it made strategic sense. The convoy would split and make its way in two different directions. One South, another deeper into the mountains and higher into inhospitable terrain, and someone would have to keep track. Dan knew just the place where the trucks were heading to, but what was even more important, he knew in which of the vehicles the Russian cunt sat.

Dan slunk back once the convoy was out of sight, determined to talk to the Mujas. Driven by the poisonous need, but no plan yet. Pondered stake-out. Recce. Anything that got him close to the Soviet outpost, trusting ideas to come to his mind once he got there.

Fucking suicidal, but at least he wasn't cold anymore.

* * *

Dan had convinced the insurgents easily, they would always listen, just like children. He had gone on his own, refused to take anyone else, claimed they didn't have the experience and besides, how would they do their five-daily prayers?

He had made it close to the garrison over night, despite the extreme cold. Had learned from the Mujas how to survive, wrapped in a thick Afghan coat and native clothing on top and beneath his old army gear. Had a rough outline of cave location in his head, never a map, too dangerous should he get caught. He survived the bitterly freezing gales of the night, holed up in one of the flea infested caves. Shelter, even though he felt as if thousands of those beasts were crawling upon him.

Dan had been on the stake-out, mind-numbingly patient, for several hours before he caught a glimpse of the one man he was looking for. Grinning with bared teeth, could get himself easily killed for his greed, but counted on the other man being fucked-up and insane enough to bite the bullet that he was going to offer.

Teeth chattering after another two hours, Dan had enough information to satisfy his official mission, called the recce a day and started his own operation. His body was almost frozen solid, but the rattling snake of unsatisfied lust was still coiling in the depths of his stomach, suffocating him worse than the thin air of the Hindu Kush's high altitude.

Reaching blindly towards his back, Dan fumbled for one of his belt pouches, searching for a reminder of early days and a leftover scrap from a bag, the one he'd been wearing back in the days of his reporter disguise. Dan pulled one glove with his teeth from his fingers, prised the piece of fabric out of the pouch and grinned, eyeing the soiled and torn Canadian flag he had haphazardly stitched onto the front. Once bright red and gleaming white, now dirty colour on tattered and frayed ground, but enough contrast to stand out in the snow. Stand out and be noticeable - for someone alert enough to see it. The Russkie was a sniper, he'd spot the colour that didn't belong.

"Come here, kitty kitty, come to Dan …" he muttered to himself, carefully placing the grubby scrap on an outcrop of rocks, weighed down with some stones to keep it from escaping. Just a piece of fabric, blown across the mountains, of significance to no one, except for one man who Dan would swear had an unrivalled perception. He'd witnessed the other's sniper skills before, after all.

All he had to do now was slink back and find his way to the cave that provided shelter, be economical with his rations, conserve body heat and wait.


* * *

Vadim had hated the cold from the first days of survival and winter training, and that meant they'd established a mature mutual hatred that Vadim started to feel comfortable with.

He was fucking freezing, no surprise there, chest pumping against the piercing cold air, but at least the drifting snow became less dense, and the cloud cover was thick enough to allow vision. Part of him enjoyed the mountains, if it hadn't been for the treacherous ground of ice and loose rocks, and the howl of the wind that could sound like human voices. It was even worse when it sounded like non-human voices.

He was walking patrol. They knew there was bandit activity here, but they assumed the bitches would stay in their caves and villages, and that, in the logic of someone entirely too much in love with the concept of spetsnaz toughness and superiority, meant it was a good moment to recce. Only a madman would be out in this weather, under these conditions. They fanned out over the mountains, even broke visual contact, every single one of them on their own.

Vadim moved, thought he'd seen a rock formation that seemed to potentially harbour caves, crouched, was tired and slightly dizzy, brought the rifle out, took position, observed the area through the sights.

Blood? No, a motion, small, fluttering. Bird? Signal? He checked, the snow seemed to have been disturbed, but long ago. Might have been mountain goats. Or it might be a sign for other dushmans. He climbed higher, did a long, exhaustive circular movement, came from the other side. Those rocks looked fucking suspicious. He fumbled for the flare, kept it close to his body, then advanced.

Yes, caves. The thing looked man-made, nearly square. Cloth. Reached for it, then realised what it was. Fuck. He pulled the hood off his winter gear, pulled the rags away to bare his face, just in case he was standing in a sniper's scope now. Canadian. Yes, right. He knew he was here.

* * *

Dan had been watching. Waiting, again that fucking patience and battling hour after hour with the freezing bloody cold that tried to wear him down, but he kept in his position, only moving as much as he needed to stop his body from succumbing to the mountains and their horrors of winter.

There. Movement.

Dan grinned, right before the surge of heat shot into his body and pooled in his guts and then groin, taking the grin and breath away, as well as the caution. So close. Could shoot him, watch him die and the goddamned endless white of the snow upon dull grey of rocks turn into bright-red patterns of life and death and lust and fuck. That wasn't what he wanted.

"Come here, kitty …" murmured, Dan picked a small stone, threw it towards the Russian from his vantage point higher up. Hidden beneath an outcrop of rocks, the cave mouth invisible from below. Watched the stone take momentum and disturb the Russkie's vigilance.

I'm here, cunt. I'm fucking here.

* * *

Vadim turned, eyes narrow. Hard to say where the small rock had come from. Reached behind him, took the flag and stuffed it into one of the ammo pouches, almost in an afterthought, then began to climb, head bared, losing heat, he was cold, his ears were numb, but he didn't want to catch a bullet.

Dan grinned, but too bloody desperate himself to relish the triumph, watching the Russkie's progress towards the cave. Closer, come close, and don't you fucking shoot me, bastard.

Vadim was climbing higher. Fucking madness to walk into an enemy position, but he was convinced it could only be the Brit, and he had to be alone. Please let him be alone. Vadim moved faster, trotted up, then crouched to see what was there.

The mouth of a cave. Good position. Hand on a pistol. "Is that you?"

"Goat fuckers don't usually have Canadian flags lying around in the mountains." Dan's voice was coming from behind the outcrop of rocks, the smirk was unmistakable. Fuck, he was so bloody desperate he'd run into the garrison to get to that body.

"I'll put my safety back on, Russkie, if you do the same."

Vadim raised the hand with the pistol, flicked the safety on and slipped the weapon into its holster, then pushed the rifle back over his shoulder. "Safety's on."

The answer was a metallic click and then a shuffle and rustle. "Same here." From the disembodied voice.

Vadim moved closer to the voice, could finally spot something that was the silhouette of a body. Excellent concealment. He could have walked right over him without seeing him. "What are you doing here? Sightseeing?" Vadim moved even closer, grinned lightly, to mask the need that raged inside his body. Not a chance yet to groom anybody in the garrison for sex. No target he really wanted, but there was not much choice. If he wanted a bitch, he better should start training one.

The silhouette moved, started to form into a human shape, thickly clothed in layers upon layers, sporting stubble on the little skin that was visible in the rag-covered, grinning face that emerged when Dan stood up. "I heard it was hunting season in the Hindu Kush for shit-stabbing Russians." Grinned so wide his teeth were showing, the insult not an insult this time, too bloody horny to bother with their usual rituals of enemy engagement.

Dan waved the other inside, urging to step out of the howling wind and biting cold. "I guess you haven't got any fags on you?" The double-meaning escaped him for a moment, but when he caught up, he smirked and set the rifle aside, fairly securely out of reach and in the back of the cave. "Running low on coffin nails." And even lower on sex.

Vadim shook his head. "Don't even keep them as barter." I want anything, I take it. I don't barter. He stepped out of the cold, the lack of wind chill made it almost warm, for contrast.

"Damn." Dan muttered, but hadn't expected he'd be lucky, had used up all his luck by still being alive, and together with the Russian. He pulled his gloves and the sheep's wool hat off, unwound the rag underneath and shook his head. Sporting a veritable head of dark 'locks', his hair growing annoyingly fast and no luxury as a barber in sight. "You got your nice little bed warmly made up in the garrison, haven't you?"

A dry cough. "It's better inside. Barely." Vadim regarded the man that blended in, looking nearly like a beefy Afghan, still fucking attractive, despite the wool in his face. "So, you bitches do operate in this area", he said, thoughtfully. "Mountains will swarm with my people. This is going to be very unpleasant winter." As if any winter could ever be pleasant. "My unit's outside."

Dan shrugged, "Tell me anything new." Anything at all, other than cold, danger, survival and blowing up Russkies. That, and one of them right there for at least a few minutes. "Guess you have the choice, in that case, to either try and kill me straight away and thus save yourself the trouble later, or stop the afternoon pleasantries and get your cock out, because I am fucking desperate." A few months ago he'd be shocked at the frankness of his words, not any longer. "Your unit can wait for half an hour."

Vadim glanced at the winter outside. Expose himself? He'd seriously freeze his balls off. And spetsnaz out in the mountains. That made it somehow ... interesting. Oh shit. "Desperate for what?"

Dan rolled his eyes, opened the long coat and dug through the layers beneath, trying to avoid exposing any flesh. "Desperate to get off, cunt. Have yet to find a brothel in these fucking mountains."

Vadim pulled the gloves off and stuffed them in his pocket, took the rifle off and placed it against the cave wall. Wanted to feel the other, yes, but maybe ... maybe the best way to rub against each other and not bare any skin. Still wanted that perfect round ass. He stepped closer to bring his hand against the other's groin, rubbing it. "Half hour. Not second more."

"Half an hour." Dan nodded, reached for the other's coat and buttons, working in haste to discover without uncovering the flesh beneath. His own cock already hard, his hands were freezing within seconds of being exposed to the air, but he'd be damned if he'd let himself be stopped. "Been a long time." Got through the coat to the tunic, shirts, vest and finally the belt, fumbled with the trousers, "could come twice in thirty minutes."

Vadim nodded, surprised how fast the other worked, felt his cold fingers on his flesh, his chest, and did the same, fuck the temperatures, he assumed a mouth would be hot enough. He pressed in, pressing the other against the cave wall, wedged between sharp rock and demanding body, while pushing against whatever resistance he could touch, thigh, hip, hand. "Too long", he agreed. "Nearly made me fuck fucking conscript ..." Hand warming against the other's flesh, while pressing closer, didn't want to touch him cold, but couldn't stop, either.

"Only thing available to fuck …," Dan's husky voice close to the other's ear, "… are goats or sheep and I'm not that desperate yet." Dark chuckle, then nothing but teeth digging into the muscle of the other's neck, Dan's face burrowed into layers of shirt collar and scarf, tasting skin. He didn't have much room but pushed his groin into the Russian's, hands, cocks, layers of cloth trapped between their bodies. Preserving warmth, creating heat and friction.

"Shit." Gasped out against Vadim's skin when cocks and hands connected, hard flesh and ruthless strength, "won't take … a minute."

Vadim gave a silent groan, broadened his stance to get more leverage, the bite on his neck always so fucking welcome, even if it bruised, whatever, nobody would dare ask him where those marks were from. Most wouldn't care, and he'd deny anything anyway. Shut the fuck up about these matters, bragging and gloating was for conscripts. Took the man's cock, wanted more than that, but it would do. Had to. Madness to go for anything more, and if he had to be caught pants down by his own unit, at least he'd be mostly dressed, never mind the searing cold.

Firm grasp, getting himself off and the other as well, shoulders pressed against the Brit's, could smell the mix of fur, wool, sweat, weeks with only the most improvised cleaning. But whatever vermin lived in the other's native clothing, they would find it hard to find any place to live on him. He was shaved and clean, smooth. They thought he was especially reckless because he shaved before a mission. They had this superstition about shaving before a mission, about shaking hands, about saying the word "final" in any context, and, of course, about taking photos. They thought he was insane because he shaved. What a strange place, this brotherhood of Afghanistan.

Vadim laughed. "Maybe one day I'll let you fuck me. Better than goats." Made the point with a twist and increase of pressure, pulled his lips back from his teeth.

Dan was too far gone to balk, humping and grinding like a mindless animal, pushing against the other's body, teeth sunk into muscle and sucking on flesh. Taste of sweat and body heat. "Fuck … yeah …" could have meant anything, but the throwaway comment had lodged itself somewhere in his lust-raging mind.

His hand brutally stroking the Russian's cock, giving as much as he was receiving. Desperation of months without anything other than his own hand and his memories, images of that Russian cunt and the taste and feel of the body, the knowledge of power and matching strength. Had rarely had the chance to jerk off, those goddamned mountains owned his body and mind, and when Vadim twisted his hand with an even harder stroke, that was it, enough to make Dan crash and come, shuddering and pushing against the other, as hard as he could, cursing under his breath, eyes wide open and staring into nothing, teeth lodged in the muscular neck.

Vadim laughed, breathless, he loved how the other lost it, lost it so hard it would even take this confident bastard minutes to put himself back together. "That's ... it", good boy, he thought, with an odd familiarity despite the months between sweaty Kabul and teeth chattering mountains. Thrust hard, as if trying to crush the body, which was going hard and raw with orgasm, came a few moments later, pressing the other's neck into his shoulder, anything to hold onto, whatever he smelt like, whatever they had done.

Dan was far gone and out of it, as always, since the very first time of fucking instead of raping, torturing, shooting or nearly killing. Lost himself completely, every time he came, but only ever for a few seconds. Precious moments of utter lack of control. He was leaning against the other, who stood, legs going weaker.

Vadim wanted to drink and sit down, instead listened to the shudders in the other's body, how he relaxed a little, and knew the touch wasn't welcome much beyond this. He stepped back, enough to keep the heat, pulled the scarf from his neck, wiped them down, quickly, efficiently, closed the coat, and found himself a rock to sit down, breathing, feeling warm and relaxed, for once. He could collapse right here and sleep. Checked his watch instead.

Dan simply let everything happen, in that spaced-out moment after orgasm, then stood himself, pulled up pants, closed trousers, pushed down shirts ,vests and rags, and finally fastened the long coat over his parka. Leaned against the wall of the cave, looked at the other while rolling one of his last cigarettes one-handed. "Any chance for another enemy encounter?"

Vadim smirked, glancing up. "I think I'm stuck here all winter. Secure that road." There really was only one road, an artery that needed to be protected. "Establish some footholds." The other knew that of course, all he did was confirm it. His very presence could only mean that. "Maybe two weeks, here?" Couldn't propose anything else, couldn't show him the map, too much information. "I'll be walking lots, you know." He laughed. "Get my fitness up for summer. Fucking training camp."

Dan shook his head, "Shit, no. Can't do it. Got to go back." Wherever the fuck the 'back' was, nothing for the Russkie to know. Lighting the fag he inhaled deeply, revelling in nicotine and hands that were warm for once; warmed by the other's body. Sated, he knew the desperate need would be back with a vengeance. Too soon. "Remember the cave on the plateau? The water hole."

Heat, pain, hatred and mercy.

"I'll be there next month. Three weeks, max four." Endless miles, on foot and mule through the mountains.

Vadim smirked, no humour. "You're covering lot of miles. Don't think I can make it. Might be able to volunteer if anything comes up, but I'm stuck here. Can't just go sightseeing in Afghanistan. I'm officer, not tourist." Would be nice, though. "Shit."

Dan huffed, a dry laugh, equally without humour. "Sightseeing is highly overrated, as impressive as the mountains are." Impressive and deadly. Hated them - loved them. Had become part of them, the Afghan mountains were creeping into his blood and bones. Wanted to just sod his orders, simply stay, at least for a day or two, but even if he had the food with him, he couldn't. Had his orders, impossible to defect, just for a fuck. Just?

Vadim frowned. The other wouldn't tell him where his base was, and they might even find it with a little luck. His hand went to the pocket with the map, which had this area on it, and the part they were covering, too much tactical information. Shit. He wanted to pull it out and show and decide on a meeting point. Didn't think he'd walk into an ambush. The man wanted his body, not his death, not a victory won like that. But it would be treason. That was exactly the kind of information that was never supposed to fall into enemy hands. "I'll try. You will have to be patient."

Dan nodded, the signs of relief ghosting across his face. Hope. Good. Perhaps another encounter. Inhaling deeply some more of the smoke, he nodded. "I will be there," shrugged, added the inevitable, "if I'm alive, of course. I'll be there in about three weeks, can wait for two."

"If you're dead, no point in meeting", murmured Vadim, then suddenly gave a grin that was not at all dark. "Listen, stir some shit up in area. Just general area of that cave. Whatever you do, I don't care. But it might give me excuse to go there. Investigate." Yeah, and it entails wounding and crippling my own comrades. Then again, that was what the other man did. Where he did it, now, that was a different matter.

Dan's dark brows rose, surprise and amusement. "Not sure if I'd want you as my comrade." Smirked, but nodded, understood.

"I'm special forces. Other guys think we're scary anyway." But no, you don't want to be my comrade, because I might jump you at night and fuck your ass.

"Just make sure you're not there when I raise hell." Dan was baring his teeth in a feral grin, with death their constant companion, mocking the skeletal rider came easy. "Unless you're into getting off with corpses."

"Not quite there yet." Vadim shook his head, laughing. "I like fight. Corpses don't do that."

Dan shook his head, remembered - refused to remember, and glanced at his watch instead, gestured with his chin. "Twenty-nine minutes. Time for you to fuck off, back into your cosy little garrison."

"Hm. I might be ten minutes late?" Vadim replied, encountering another set of raised brows.

"Despite my earlier boasting," Dan stubbed out the fag, "I'm not up for another round. Must be the shit food and the cold, definitely not my age." He grinned, had the odd sensation for a moment that he felt at ease with the enemy and their fledgling banter.

Vadim patted down his BDUs, found what he was looking for, opened the pocket and tossed him one of the peanut butter bars. His lunch for the patrol.

"Cheers." Dan caught the snack, figured it had to be one of his own ones, grinned while tearing the wrapper open. "Looks familiar." Bit off almost half of it, chewing too fast, proof of how hungry he really was.

"What about twenty minutes late?" Vadim grinned and got up, understanding. "I have five more clicks to cover - will be shit, but I don't want to be in after nightfall."

"Best get going. I got to stay here over night, not suicidal enough to cross the pass at night. So, unless you want that corpse after all, you better make sure I don't get any visitors." Dan shrugged, "besides, I wouldn't go down without a fight."

Vadim glanced around in the cave. What a lovely way to spend the night. How fucking dangerous. "You're scouting our position," he murmured. "I wouldn't attack. We are too ready. Or why are you here? Alone?"

Dan grinned, swallowing, amused by the question. "Why I'm here? Why the fuck do you think I'm here? Or do you believe I happen to let scraps of coloured fabric flying around carelessly?"

Vadim checked his pockets, found a bag of nuts, wrapped up like he had bought them on the market, kept the beef jerky because he was getting hungry, too. Offered his full water bottle, he could always thaw more snow, after all. "Can't leave kit lying around, though."

Dan took nuts and water, beggars couldn't be choosers, polishing off the energy bar before taking a few mouthfuls of the water. Peanut butter taste was still vile, but he could feel the calories kicking in, producing warmth throughout his body. He stashed the nuts in the pockets of his parka, beneath the coat, nodded his thanks while handing the bottle back before searching his bergan. "Here." Found strips of dried and spicy meat, a handful of dates, offering them to the other. "Not too bad, try them together." Reminiscent of his words, back in another cave, and in the midst of summer heat.

Vadim paused, remembering himself, beaten up and mentally broken, sweetness and spiciness. Probably too spicy for his taste, but he took some, careful not to take much. He could get more, the other ... couldn't. Hissed as the pepper or chilli kicked in, felt his mouth go dry, then water. The dates soothed it a little, and added a fruity, slightly grainy layer. It was a change from the usual chow, which was the main point to be grateful about.

"I recognised you," Dan watched the other eat, grinned at the sudden hiss. He, too, was chewing on some meat and dates, "followed you, found you, met you." Shrugged, "that's why I'm here."

The unknown dread up in the mountains. The faceless movements. Dan. Shit. Good he hadn't shot wildly into the snow. And that meant the other was here for him. How fucking wrong, and why did it affect him. The other wanted a hand job, wanted to get off, that was the main thing. Vadim, of all people, should know to what lengths guys went for sex. He nodded. "Yeah. That's why I'll be at other cave."

"Aye," Dan nodded, "That's why you and I will be at the cave next month." He turned his head, following the other's movements, as Vadim slung the rifle back over his shoulder, still eating, but careful not to use up all of his stash.

"Safe crossing. I better get going."

"You too, Russkie. Or as the Mujas say 'Allah Akhbar', God is Great, and may he be with you." Dan chuckled darkly, "not that I believe in any of that shit, but don't let yourself get caught by them." He shrugged, still leaning against the wall, watching the other.

Vadim made a rude gesture. "Fuck you, too." He grinned, gave a mock salute, put the hat back on and left.

Dan was still laughing when the other was out of sight, surprising himself once again at the sense of ease he felt. Almost comfortable, something insanely sane about the banter and if he weren't so freezing cold, forced to survive a night with temperatures plummeting well into the minus double-figures, he'd spend some energy thinking about it. As it were, unable to start a fire with the garrison so close and patrols in the mountains, he set up best he could in the furthest corner. Thawed snow in his canteen, kept nuts and food close, and curled up. Burrowed into his coat with a blanket wrapped around him, Dan used whatever he had for insulation, his AKM clutched in his hands.

Sleeping despite the freezing cold. Dreaming of heat and sweat, muscles and strength, and the salty taste of the Russian's skin.

Special Forces Chapter VIII: High Altitude
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.

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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 26 October 2006