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Special Forces Chapter VIII: High Altitude

April 1982, Afghanistan

Spring, birds chirping, trees blooming, baby rabbits hopping across fresh green lawns, prettily sniffing at daffodils.

Yeah, right. Dan sneered at the mental image with which he had been amusing himself for the last two hours while cleaning his guns for the umpteenth time.

Spring. Bloody spring in this goddamned shithole and the snow was still covering most of the mountains. Granted, the plateau was fairly clear from the white crap that was pissing him off to heaven and hell after almost six months of trudging through this shit, but the nights were still freezing. The cold was ten times worse than the heat had been during the last time he had been in that cave.

Spring. April. Nineteen-bloody-eighty-bloody-two, and it felt like eons ago since he had carved a word into bleeding flesh, sealing his fate by setting the path that would lead him back to this place, waiting. Day after day, approaching the tenth. He'd be waiting until he could hold off his orders no longer, bound by his duties as much as the other.

Day after day. Shooting small animals, skinning, roasting, eating. Shitting in a faraway corner, pissing the water back out that came cold and fresh from the well that still sported the Russian's blood in his imagination. There, the construction that held the bucket; the beam he had tied the man to. Dan was watching, waiting, cleaning his weapons and doing some exercises, but most of all observing the mountains. Alone with his thoughts, content with himself. Sleeping, dreaming, never of anything other than sweat and heat, touch and need.

Watching. Waiting. Wanting.

* * *

Mild enough to sleep outside, and Vadim didn't mind anymore, didn't mind the country, or the stress, didn't mind mountain warfare and the deaths. Remembered Platon, good for a dozen fucks, perverse the fact that the kid had been so fucking young and so fucking scared, the contrast of their bodies nearly the best about it, bony, slender, a sleek creature with good bones, good features. Had been trip number 30, one-and-a-half medals, for courage, in what his side called "road war", fighting for streets and passage, and mobility.

Rifle shot in the throat, Platon had bled out before any medic could reach him. The driver had been gloomy during winter, so gloomy that Vadim had bitchslapped him, several times, told him to get his fucking act together, but Platon had said he'd die. Had been right. Hadn't shaved before his trips, no hand shaking, no photos, and still dead. Black tulips.

Vadim couldn't linger, didn't want to. Platon and him had been 'friends', the kid sometimes rested at his shoulder when they drank, and it was a father-son-thing, Vadim doubted anybody knew their physical ease with each other had been earned at night. Fuck. Platon had gotten into his mind, a little, maybe because he had been so scared the first time, begged him not to hurt him, offered whatever to not be hurt. Vadim had been too sober, he actually didn't do it as intended, thought of the fucking Brit and their meeting in Kabul, and thought, fuck. Had taught Platon how he liked to be touched, did the whole thing, jerking each other off, Platon didn't get into cocksucking, though, too nervous. Vadim had fucked his thighs for weeks and jerked him off before he actually fucked him, and he'd been 'careful', and gotten the other to relax and enjoy it. Never quite like Gavriil, who was still stationed somewhere in Kabul, but actually the very first conscript with some guts despite his age. Guts enough to treat him just like another soldier, no fear of the invincible, indestructible spetsnaz. Kids and fools know no fear.

Vadim had written the letter home, what a hero Platon had been, how much his comrades respected him, heart and soul of his unit, and had wanted to scream in rage, go off into the mountains and kill everything that moved, pile bodies up just to feel better. Was oddly, darkly relieved he hadn't raped the kid, not to his knowledge, not like he could have. Leaving him not much of an option, okay, but hey, that wasn't as bad as it could have been. Sent the letter off and kept his own council. Platon's friends thought he was one of them, but he didn't take any bullshit from them about consolation. He wasn't that young anymore, and never been that innocent. He'd been the father-figure of one fucking conscript who had been fascinated with the special forces. End of story.

He'd pulled strings to be able to get to the cave, check out dushman movements, alone, because hiding one man was easier. He'd been especially careful, kept to himself, thought things through, Platon, and the strangely gloomy, hopeless thing they'd had, Platon who'd said he felt safe with him, Vadim who had joked he could kill him in a heartbeat. Or rather, not joked.

Vadim moved, guided by the latest intelligence, went with a convoy, then began the long march, slept when he could, always defenceless the moment his mind slipped away. Tired.

Once, in the middle of the night, there was a blinding pain in his head, then a deeper kind of darkness.

The next time he woke up, it was to kicks and punches, his hands twisted, and curses in Dari, or Pushtu, or any other language. Still could only order tea. He had a rag over his head, nose and eyes felt swollen, the bag was wet, and he knew they tried to scare him, scare him by restricting his oxygen, and he breathed, calm, forced his mind to acknowledge he'd been taken in his sleep, in the middle of nowhere. Not fucking again.

They hit him, hit him a lot, rifle butts, he thought, mostly against his back and shoulders, his chest. He did as expected, cringed like a worm that was being stomped upon - no guise, he did mean it.

They didn't speak Russian, or English, but they must have worked out he was an officer, or the pain in the night would have been a bullet. They'd take him somewhere where they could cut the knowledge out of him. He had no idea how many they were, he heard definitely more than two voices. Didn't give a fuck, plotted, worked on his escape when they tired of hitting him. Calculated his chances, didn't look bad, did what they forced him to do, and that was march.

Vadim roughly calculated the direction in which they took him as north, judging from the way they bowed to Mecca five times a day, and he could peek through the rag when he worked a little, pulling the cloth with his lips to a place that was thinned out, saw shadows, and that was just enough. North. Closer to Kabul again, not south, toward Pakistan. Probably meant to bring him to the Panjer. Which was amazingly bad news. He didn't want to get face to face with the warlords there.

He prepared to make a run for it, but the bitches were careful and thorough, and his hopes sank. They kept him short on water and food, probably didn't have much themselves, and underestimated the amount of water that a body like his needed, they seemed to be creatures of leather, these mountain people.

Eventually, they rested during midday, and Vadim collapsed onto his knees, breathing hard, dizzy, throat parched. There, "salaams", greetings. Another voice. They seemed at ease. Had met up with another group? Probably yes.

Vadim focused on breathing, listening, thought he might recognize place names, names of people if he listened carefully. But then. The voice. Pushtu. A deceptively soft voice, with a melody he recognized. Dan? What the fuck? His head snapped up, he tried again to work on the rope around his wrists, they let him drink like an animal, that rope came never off.

The voice continued, talking slower than the locals, but fluently. Then silence, shuffling, the rustle of papers, and several voices together, debating. It had to be his captors, then, who spoke with determination. "No." In Pushtu.

* * *

Smooth-talking, the rifle slung carelessly across Dan's back, cajoling, trying to bribe with words and explain, showing the letter that gave him authority, and arguing the prisoner should be his. He should take the Russian soldier to the warlord, but they refused. No.

Theirs. Not his. Wrong warlord, wrong place, wrong religion and wrong race.

Dan remained silent, shielding his eyes with hair and dark brows while glancing at the barely conscious figure on its knees. The Russkie. His Russkie. His cunt.

Vadim could have been hewn from stone, didn't move a muscle as he heard the voice, knew for a fact it was him. The voices sounded agitated, those weren't Dan's insurgents, Afghanistan and its fucking factions, one warlord hating the other, one race the other, ethnic groups as incompatible as predators and prey.

"I understand." Dan finally answered. In Pushtu again, nodding and seeming acquiescent. "The Soviet officer is yours. Take him to your warlord. He is your responsibility. I will be on my way." A shuffle of boots on the bare rocks and Dan turned to leave. "Da-svi-da-niya."

Goodbye? It hit Vadim like a grenade, everything he'd gathered, thoughts, willpower, strength, suddenly burst into splinters. He fought, got up, got two strides in, then heard them shout and again the fucking rifles butts, until he couldn't move but squirm on the ground, choking on his tears. Hoped to fuck the SAS guy would move up higher into the mountains, take aim and shoot him from there. Had no voice, no breath, no strength to shout that after him, instead focused on curling up against the vicious blows. They did what he would have done to a prisoner. All's fair in war. He had been taken. That was his lot. Nothing he could do about it. Platon had had a quicker death.

Maybe there was an opportunity later. Vadim waited, waited for the one blow to the head that would be a big calibre slug going right through it. Fuck Afghanistan.

* * *

Dan walked away, barely able to control the tension. Fuck. Fucking Russkie, but fuck those goat-herders even more. Trust the Russian cunt to act like a brainless idiot, attacking the Mujas with a hood on his head. The plan had been forming in his mind while checking location, opponents and chances during their conversation. He'd tried with words, but in the end, fire and steel would do it again.

He couldn't have shot them, not then nor there. Not three at the same time. Besides, his ammo and rifle were rare in the mountains. Too dangerous to be tracked and found out, Dan, the foreigner, the Westerner and infidel, the man who came to help and who turned out to be a traitor? No fucking way. All he could have done - was what he did. To have his presence acknowledged by uttering the Russian greeting, and to listen and watch the beating.

Hours passed, Dan remained carefully hidden close by, behind an outcrop of rocks where he had stashed his bergan long before the three insurgents had arrived, taking their captured prize to the water. He'd noticed them from miles away, those damned natives would never learn to be stealth fighters. Now watching, waiting again, still for the same man, but this time the stakes had been upped and a whole new deck of cards had been handed to the very few players. Hearts or spades; he'd take the cocks instead.

Dusk fell, and Dan was ready to go, watching the group around the fire. The prisoner - still with his head covered - slumped and seemed more dead than alive. It would get fucking cold soon, was well below freezing, but he counted on the Russian and his physical strength. He'd make it, had done it before.

Finally, one of the Mujas stood up, left the fire, rolled up in his coat and a blanket, close to the Russian. Towards the edge of the cave, seemed they avoided the darkness at the back.

Damn. Dan frowned. None of the other two started to move, the bastards continued to sit and talk. He noticed the Russkie's head fall forwards and his body slump, and Dan knew he could not wait any longer. Bad sign. He was betting on dehydration and weakness, maybe shock due to extensive bruising. A few more hours and the Russian would be useless for what he needed him to do.

Dan climbed out of his hiding place between the rocks, started to make his way in, torturously slow belly-crawling towards the cave, took the long way round from the back, until he finally, after what seemed an eternity, came close enough to touch the Russkie. He was hidden in the shadows, shielded by the other's body and the cold, moonless night. Darkness. His friend.

"Silence." In Russian. Whispered into Vadim's ear the moment his hand clasped over the hood, judging where the mouth should be.

* * *

Vadim jerked awake again, had started to dream something, couldn't bear waiting anymore, had been sweating and nervous about the fucking bullet that never came, now felt something touch his face, restrict breath. Could feel himself shudder, slowly shifted his weight, moved his hands, yes, reached out with his fingers, almost numb as they were, tried to touch, tried to understand whether it was Dan and whether he'd come to kill or free him. He nodded.

Dan felt the nod, those fingers moved, sensed the tension in a body he was getting to know as well as his own. "Wait. Don't move." Breathed into the other's ear.

Vadim touched Dan's thigh, needed to calm himself, needed that touch, full stop. Wait. What if, whatever Dan planned, went wrong? What if he started to hope he'd be free and then it wouldn't happen. Fuck.

Dan's hand slid slowly off the hood, froze at a shuffle and a sound right beside him where one of the Mujas was asleep. Remained absolutely still until he was sure the man had settled back to sleep. Heard the other two were talking over there at the fire. Good, no movement nor recognition from them. His hand crept to his back and touched the sheath that housed his most trusted knife. He'd only have one go at it, and it had to be silent.

Moving again, barely visible increments in the darkness, until the shape of the sleeping man became clearer. There. Head, neck, shoulders. Throat.

It was quick. Swift movement, flash of the blade and the razor-sharp assault knife cut through tendons, trachea and part of the spinal chord, almost severing the vertebrae. Death. Silent, except for a faint gurgle, and swift. No agony, just death. Nameless. Shapeless. Meaningless.

The two others were still talking. Dan waited. Watched, back to the old game of patience, cleaned the blade on the Muja's coat before silently sliding back, once more to the Russian. Cutting through the knot that tied the hood to the other's head. "Do you function?" Toneless whisper directly into the ear.

Vadim nodded, could smell the blood over his own smell of fear and pain. "Positive", he breathed, raised his hands a little to present the rope, wrists pushed apart. His ribs were alright, he was only hurting, not seriously wounded. He hoped. No, he'd have noticed that.

The hood slid over Vadim's face, was silently discarded, the knife severed the rope between his wrists, while Vadim's eyes got used to the star- and moonlight again, the reflection of fire. The darkness was gone, he could see. His left eye twitched, it was pretty badly swollen, but his sight was decent.

A steadying hand appeared between the Russian's shoulder blades, applying a firm pressure. "See the Mujas?"

Vadim nodded, rubbing his wrists, spread his fingers, checked whether all tendons were good, stretched his legs, too, slowly shifted into a crouch. Fuck, he was hurting, but his body geared up for the kill.

Dan moved, everything agonisingly slow, silent, got the second knife out, pushing it into the other's hand. "Blade's shorter." Figured it was all the Russkie needed to know. Special Forces. "I take the right. You the left. No guns, no bullets, no detection."

Vadim nodded, assumed the dushmans would be blinded by the fire, would much prefer his pistol, his rifle, or a garrotte, take one prisoner and torture the fucking life out of him. His lips moved into a feral snarl, the hatred pushed pain and exhaustion to the side, grew and surged. He shifted his weight, began to move in a circle, to flank and strike and kill.

Dan moved into the opposite direction - silent progress; silent attack. His second kill was as swift as the first. Painless except for the moment of terror in his victim, when the blade entered the body, sliced and severed, taking the man from life to death. He was pushing the lifeless body to the ground, when a sudden frenzy of motion and sound caught his attention.

Vadim appeared right out of the darkness, up to the last heartbeat didn't know whether he'd only wound or kill, but he was in a shit state, mentally most of all, and there was nothing he did want to know, so just made the bastard grin and gurgle, and hacked the knife into the body, down through the shoulder, again, and again, kicking him, hitting him, the knife went in and in, blood splattering into his face, on his chest, the rage just tore free, and he wanted to reduce that body to nothing, to fucking nothing. Minced meat, and he screamed with rage and anger and pain, all the fear came out, the pressure, Platon. Kept the knife but went to his knees again, exhausted, pain throbbing in his face and chest and shoulders.

Dan stood, motionless, watching the entire show. He didn't have a fucking clue what was going on in that madman's mind. Cleaning the knife, he pushed it back into its sheath. "He's dead. You can stop now." Shook his head, looked at the mutilated, still twitching copse in disbelief. "Talk about overkill. You Russians are fucking weirdoes."

Vadim stared at the ground, thought he'd break down, but he just breathed through the parched, raw throat. Wanted to scream more, wanted to cut the bastard open and see his guts gather dust on the ground. Breathed. Slowly extended a hand towards sanity, pulled himself out of this state that wasn't healthy, wasn't sane, looked up to the other, not quite comprehending, moved a couple yards to get to his pack, his gear that the dushmans had brought. Found his canteen and poured the water down his throat, swallowed, felt he could never drink enough to not be thirsty, gave his stomach a few moments to deal with the water. "Fucking hate bitches …"

"I can tell." Dan replied coolly, wiped his hands, hardly any blood on them. He'd been professional, cold, felt somewhat disturbed at the other's reaction. Watched him drink, his own breath curling in front of his face before he bent down, rifling through one of the corpses' clothes and bags. "We need to get rid of them. Enemy warlord, all that crap. Make it believable." He kept some of the weapons he found, but most of the stuff was useless tat. Prayer beads, Arabic writing, Koran. He didn't want any of that. "And get washed up. Fucking madman."

Vadim looked up. No way he'd tell the bastard that they had kicked and treated him like a fucking dog for the last days. "Can help you carry. Ravine? Or bury them." Hard work to bury here, with just stones. But yes, didn't exactly want to attract buzzards. He drank more, poured water into his hand to wash his face, noticed the cuts burned, the bruises that hurt when he touched them. Not a pretty sight. Stood, swaying on his feet, wiped the knife and tugged it into the empty sheath in the small of his back.

"That was my knife." Dan raised his brows while rifling through the last of the corpses. Kept everything useful, threw anything discriminating into the fire.

Vadim grinned. "Past tense." Always good for a grammatical joke.

Dan shrugged, he had more than two knives. "Ravine. There's one close by." Shaking his head at the other's unsteadiness. "Forget it." The fire gave enough light for a few steps, he'd get the bodies out of sight, to be disposed of in the morning. "You look like shit even in the darkness. Get the gore off you, I do the rest. It's fucking cold and I could do with some body heat."

Vadim nodded, staggered over to the water hole, pulled water up, then undressed to wash. He was getting sick of his own stench, uniform, everything dirty, grimy, bloody, just being fucking alive meant to crawl through dirt and get dirtier by the minute. He hated the stubble in his face, his hair was too long, too, wanted to get shaved and clean and began to wash, blood, sweat, shit, everything, kept washing, would have loved a bath, sauna, or an extended swim because nothing else made him feel so clean.

Dan shifted the first body onto his back, across his shoulders, trotting off to drop it behind a rock formation with smaller boulders nearby. It would have to do. Just had to wash the blood off the plateau before the sun brought out the stench.

After washing his uniform, Vadim spread it out over rocks, hoping to catch some warmth the next day, then wrapped himself in one of the blankets, wool, smelly and scratchy, watched Dan carrying the corpses while he sat near the fire, soaking up warmth and trying to wind down.

Dan was throwing buckets of water across the rock until he was satisfied it was clean enough until dawn when he could take a proper look. Stripped out of parka, tunic and shirt, started to wash himself. Blood on his clothes, mainly from the butchered one.

"Thought you'd shoot me."

Dan turned his head, shivering in the freezing cold. "I had to let you know it was me. Had to use Russian. Couldn't use anything else without raising suspicion."

"Yeah, makes sense." Vadim clung to the canteen, drank more water, could feel his body soak it up.

Unlacing his boots, Dan stepped out of them, the socks, then finally the trousers. Freezing his arse off, teeth chattering. Cold water and steaming breath, a bloody uncomfortable combination, but he had to wash whatever he could.

"Been waiting ten days." Cleaning his cock, shrunk into itself in the cold, the usual attention on the foreskin, his back to the Russian.

Vadim glanced at the ass in the light of the fire, saw the dark arms, bowed neck, the other was touching that cock, and he smiled, lips swollen, dry, cracked, but he smiled.

"Colour me surprised when you came with company." Dan turned round and smirked, drying himself with his shirt.

"Not sure company's the word", Vadim murmured and forced himself to not look towards the bodies. "They gave me run for my money." He touched his face. "Not exactly great fans of my masculine beauty, those three."

"You'll look even worse in the morning."

"Thanks." Vadim shook his head, looked up when the other came close, crouched down and studied him in the fire, the embers prepared to last the night. Found it hard to answer that gaze. The Brit had risked his life, saved it, most likely, again, and Vadim felt a shudder course through his body. Somehow, the other always ended up with the upper hand in these mountains.

"Makes a change. It's not my fault." Dan prodded the Russian to shift and let him under the blankets. It was cold. He was freezing. If he didn't get warm he could be dead by the morning. Necessity.

Vadim let the other have the space he'd been heating up, naked himself. Wanted to touch him, wasn't sure what he wanted, wasn't sure it was sex, not quite sure he could be horny after this, too tired, no, shaken, wanted to lie there and stare at the sky. He lay on his back, stretched his legs out, raised his hands to look at the wrists. They'd look less raw in a few days, feel less tender. "No, not your fault", he murmured, belatedly. "For once, eh?"

"Aye, for once." Dan let out a sound of pure pleasure when he felt the heat seep into his skin. Stretched out, then turned onto his side. Comfortable, the ground padded with some insulation the Mujas had left. Dark eyes studying pale skin as he rested his head on his elbow. "Didn't mean for this to happen." Dan paused, felt this odd sensation of … guilt. "Had no idea they were in this area. Too many fucking tribes and warlords."

Vadim dropped his hands behind his back, elbows shielding his face while he fought the twitch in his face. He should be able to deal with it. Had been strong all the time. The last hours, though, while he had waited for the bullet, that had gotten to him. Nodded, inhaled deeply, then opened the elbows and rested the back of his head on his crossed arms. "My fault. Not paranoid enough. Not nearly enough." Too tired. Too defeated.

Dan reached out, his hand rested on the other's abs, under the blankets. Felt heat creep from the skin, feeding it back again. "How long did they have you? You look like a fair few beatings at least."

Vadim looked down at his body, tensed the muscle to keep that weight there, nice and snug. "Two days. Like weekend with in-laws, eh?" Tried a smile. "Bad food, and they hate you."

Nodding, Dan's eyes narrowed, could just about imagine what it had been like. "I don't take kindly to those who try to take away from me what is mine." Quietly, surprising himself, then falling silent, moving even closer until skin was pressed against skin, sharing every ray of heat.

Vadim turned his head, gave a smile, wanted to put an arm around the other, like he'd done with Platon, winced at the thought, but then, it was about warmth, right?

"I'd take your mind off," Dan murmured, "if you think it'd be successful. Feel all the shit is kind of my fault, even though you followed your cock, like I predicted. But fuck, so do I. Every time."

Vadim didn't want to think about it, his face pulsed and hurt, and he reached out to the canteen and drank more, needed to get more water down to make up for what he'd lost. "All's fair in war, eh?" He turned, facing the other, pulled one arm from under his head and pushed it under Dan's head, hand to the back of his head, pulling him closer, close enough for a kiss, wanted to rest against the other's chest and thought how fucking stupid, no way he could get that from the Brit, he wasn't a child anymore. He didn't need this.

Resistance in Dan's body, sudden tension, surprised at the closeness. Forced himself to relax slightly, nestled-cradled in the other's arms. Strange. Wrong. Confusing.

Vadim released him, cursed himself for trying to get that close. "Ah, fuck. Take my mind off it. Fuck me. Whatever. Get me tired."

"Fuck you?" Dan shifted, looked straight at the Russian, trying to figure out if he'd lost his marbles or had just been simply fucking crazy all along. "Does that mean you meant that, a month ago?"

"Yeah, that's … what I meant." Vadim swallowed, closed his eyes, felt almost embarrassed. Had offered again. Seemed he had to finally accept the fact that he wanted the other to fuck him.

Dan frowned. "How can you want that. That … thing."

"Because it feels good", Vadim murmured. "I … like it. I'd have to tell you how to do it, and we'd need something like … oil, but I like getting fucked." His jaw muscles tensed. "Not often. Not by … you know. In army. Can't allow that." Fuck, difficult.

Dan remained silent. Brows furrowing, thinking. Hard and long, trying to figure it out. Those Mujas already forgotten. Corpses. Starting to rot. No space nor time nor feelings for those who were gone. No thoughts for the dead, rarely for the living.

"If you like it, and I guess you don't mean the way you did it to me, then why do you rape men? Plural," Dan snorted, "Don't think I was nor am the only one." He frowned, tried to get his head around the concept. "I don't get it. You doing it for the power? If not, for what else?"

Vadim inhaled deeply. Fucking complicated. "I … don't take no for answer", he murmured. "I want them, and I know I can't have them that way, so I force them. I don't want … anything long, just get rid of pressure. It's not always like that, it's risk every time, but … " Platon. He had been getting somewhere else with that one. Platon had resigned to the fact, had arranged acquiescence, even understanding, just somehow gotten his head around it.

"And getting fucked? Power again, but in the reverse?"

"Somebody fucking me … I don't know. It just feels good. Drives me insane. It's … different. Gets me deeper than other way. You know. Gets … under my skin." Of course deeper. What a shit way to describe it.

Dan's hand moved along the abs, slid lower. "I understand power, need, not taking no for an answer, but I don't get it the other way round." He paused, "I'd fucking kill you if you tried to fuck me." His fingers tensing on the other's groin.

Vadim smirked, took the hand and held it there, for a long moment, looked into the other's eyes. "Did you ever fuck a woman's ass? I know a fair deal of men who do that. Heard it's not that different. I … wouldn't know."

Dan nodded, hovering between a grin and a frown. "Fucking bitches were hard to convince, wouldn't give up their precious holes. Was rarely worth the effort." Especially that last one, stupid giggling bimbo in her pink thong.

Vadim moved closer, murmuring into the other's ear. "I heard guys are tighter, though, much tighter than women can offer. And I'd be hell of lot more willing to boot." The prospect aroused him, getting the other to do it. "You don't have to go gentle, or stop. All I'm asking is your hand around my cock, so I can cum."

Dan tensed, every muscle telling the story of his mind, drawn to the prospect of willingness, anger, power, unleashed strength of a body that could take it. "You … bitch." Murmured, breathless, addicted before the poison had been injected. "I don't understand why the fuck you want it, but I don't fucking care." His body had decided before he'd made a conscious decision. Wanted this. No holds barred. Bastard. "Your arse, my cock. Makes a change."

Vadim inhaled again, but yes, he wanted that, wanted the other to try and fuck him, hard, preferably, a hard, intense fuck that would take his mind off dying. "Yes. I'll be tight. Didn't have guy like that for what, five years? Already that long." He released the other's hand, allowed it to roam free, his hands on the Brit's pecs, running down to the stomach, dead set on sex now, mostly as an alternative to something he couldn't have, and what did it matter anyway? Hands ran down to the groin, then moved on the ground to get his lips around the other's cock. Only to get him interested enough to perform.

Dan's detached bemusement at the movement south soon turned into straightforward want. "Shit." Had been interested before, now demanding. "Don't you need some … stuff? You're a cunt, but …," couldn't continue, too much friction and heat, "… but you don't drip."

Vadim pulled back. "Yeah. Oil would be good. You got any? Those bitches took my kit, need to check what I have. Gun oil would do." He paused, feeling his hackles rise.

"Gun oil …," Dan lifted his head, looked down at the shape beneath the blankets, saw the face that looked like a butchered mess. Smirked, an unpleasant expression. Gun oil. Remembered. The smell, the feel and the disbelief. "Guess it's been tried and tested." Reached for his bergan, right beside his head, rummaged in one of the outer pockets and produced the bottle. "You want to get fucked?" His cock jumped against the Russkie's battered face. "You apply that stuff yourself since you've got experience."

Vadim's brow darkened, but yes, fair enough, at least it would be enough oil that way. Opened the bottle, poured the stuff into his hand, much like he had done back then, could feel his heart pulse, hard, against his ribs. Shit. Did he really ... yes. Reached behind himself, rubbed the stuff between his cheeks, pushed a finger into the ring, didn't look at the other as he did that, slicking himself up like a whore, whatever, used more oil, pushed more in, made sure it was enough.

The smell. Dan's nostrils flared. Memory. Two years ago. Kabul. Heat. Night. Pain and terror, disbelief. And above all the pungent smell of gun oil. He watched every movement and something inside of him was growing restless, awakening. Something, that made him snarl and bare his teeth when the other poured more oil into his palm and reached for Dan's cock, oiling him nice and slow, tip to balls. He had never fucked a man. Never been sober when fucking a woman's arse, and rarely been less than pissed when he'd been ramming his cock into a willing cunt.

Never as willing as this cunt. He felt tension strumming through his body, each muscle ready, electrified, wanting to attack. Slaughter and kill; on the battle field, and …

Gun oil.

Vadim turned around to present his back. Nervous, suddenly, wanted it and was nervous, after all, what the fuck, how could he trust him that much; yeah, he'd saved his life, not taken it several times, thought he should be safe, better than any soldier of his side.

"No." Dan shoved against the other's back. "No fucking way. I've never fucked any cunt's arse other than on all fours. I won't fuck yours either."

Vadim glanced over his shoulder. Just fucking lift that leg and do it. He inhaled, slowly, breathed the anger away. The other wanted him like he'd do his bitches, bent over like an animal. Too close for a moment to saying forget it. He rolled onto his hands and knees, body tense because he was helpless now, needed all limbs to support his weight, flanks open, cock easily attacked, and his muscles coiled. Cold. "Relax", he murmured, meaning more the other than himself, but it was appropriate, too much so.

Hiding his surprise when the Russkie acquiesced, Dan got onto his own knees, threw the blankets haphazardly over their bodies, preserving some of the heat, never mind how much he'd produce. Sneered at the sight of the kneeling Russian. Arse, spread. Body, covered in bruises. Hole, slick with gun oil, like a cunt. A real cunt. This fucking bastard of a raping fucking Russian cunt. Dan growled in the back of his throat, kneeling behind him, taking hold of a flank, the other stroking his own cock. "Relax, aye. Like you should have told me to, you bastard."

Gun oil. Flesh. And a muzzle against his head.

"Don't tell me you didn't want this, bitch." No preliminaries, for neither. Dan treated the man like a pussy, guided, found, pushed relentlessly, half-breached the muscle, sneered, "Don't ever cry rape, cunt!" Used all his body strength, seized the other's hips with both hands, bit down on his tongue and rammed his cock viciously into that arse. No mercy. Bastard. Groaned and started to fuck like a motherfucking piston.

Vadim's body tensed, unexpected, completely unexpected, should have known, fuck, the force hurt less than the words, he was strong enough to take it, a massive invading thing, like a fist to the guts, his body rushed into stress, fear, unexpected, coiling like he was getting beaten up again. Hadn't meant this, had wanted something else, and still, the invasion worked. Worked in sickening ways, hit him where he hadn't expected it, wondered if that was what had made Platon accept it, a deep, sickening pleasure that had no place here and still existed, he'd wanted this, asked for it, and the other only took him up on it, but this wasn't lust, not passion, this was something entirely dark. And still.

Vadim groaned, suppressed the sounds after that, just breathed, forced himself to accept the humiliation, needed all his strength to move back, greet the thing he should run away from, should try to escape, but in some fucked up way it was what his body wanted now. Something inside, something that tried so hard to break him it could make him forget. Pushed back, face twisted, as if he was in pain, and he was, in several ways, and still. Touched him right there, the force told him it was alright, he could agree to this, a force he couldn't muster now by himself and merely had to take and endure.

Dan fucked with all his strength. At first hatred, revenge, with every thrust forcing his cock into the other's body. Invading, punishing each time his hips crushed against that arse. Muscles against muscles, body against body, and man against man.

But he didn't come. Couldn't. Not in the middle of anger, neither in taking his revenge, brutalising the body at his mercy. The body that could still turn the table and rape him again; that could kill him as much as he could kill in return. Dan groaned again, sounds torn from his chest; eyes fixed on the body that fought without seeming to fight. Matching strength with strength and taking the impossible force despite beaten-up body.

Anger and thrusts slowing, hands taking over, roaming. Closer, ever closer to release with every time he drove forward, pulled back out of tightness and oil-slicked heat, only to bury himself even deeper into this damned willing body that refused to give in, that just took, accepted, but still with that same strength. Impressed despite himself, in return his hands impressing, subconsciously avoiding bruises, clutching flesh, kneading muscle.

Vadim closed his eyes as he felt the shift, that … impossible shift that happened with Dan, like the moment of truth when it had all been the other way round. He understood, suddenly, physically, understood, and he would have fought the touches, but they were good now, now that the other touched him, really did, on purpose, took his cock that was straining despite the pain, despite the force and because of it.

Dan was finding his own rhythm. Hand and strokes and arse and cock and body. Cruelty turned into aggression; revenge into lust. Fucked him, took him, wanted him. "My …" so close, fucking close to coming, "my cunt."

Vadim fell into the rhythm, fluid, body became one, wasn't his anymore, was the other's, his mind fell into a place where everything was calm, serene, and quiet, like under the surface of an ocean. He wanted to reach behind and knew he couldn't shift his weight that much, instead tensed his ass, moved into the hand, completely taking what was offered, given, no better knowledge, no humiliation, he existed in the right time, place, and circumstances. Everything felt more right than it had been for ages, something like fifteen years. Or about two.

For Dan, nothing was swift nor negligent this time. Unlike the hand jobs, the biting, the quick and angry encounters. Anger, too, but a physical one, discarding the mental resentment. Thrusts in sync, riding the new-found rhythm, hard and relentless, inherently smooth. Cock, hand, bodies, all one, all rushing towards release, until the sensation of tightness became overwhelming. The last few thrusts were erratic, even harder, desperate. Crashed over the edge, suddenly, brutally, letting out sounds that bore no meaning. Dan was shuddering, gripped by a body and by release.

Vadim pushed up until the last moment, couldn't quite come, Dan came and Vadim loved that, loved the despair in it, the way the other lost it, but he himself couldn't quite get there, not physically, so shifted his weight, splayed the fingers of his left hand wider, felt his shoulder groan as he reached for his cock and pumped it, hard and fast, just as brutal as Dan had done it. Came without a second thought, groaning, head lowered, neck tense, whole body taut, the wet sticky hand returning to its place to support his weight, but he couldn't hold it, just dropped to the ground, panting hard, slick with sweat. "Oh fuck …"

Dan was too dazed to notice much, just the sounds and the scent of cum overpowering even the gun oil. Cock far from softening yet, but slipping out when the body under him collapsed. Didn't think, just seized blankets, threw them over sweat, sperm, oil and heat, and let himself fall down beside the other, rolling onto his back. Breathing. Heart beat racing and aftershocks still shaking his body. "Yeah … fuck."

Vadim was on his stomach, hands just near his body, shoulders couldn't take any more twisting, any more abuse. Body burning, like embers, to ashes, burning out, cooling, like the sweat on his body. His ass hurt in a strange way, good at any rate, but nobody had done it like that … more care, more respect, tenderness, this was not what people did to him, but what he did, and he could feel a strange thing, like being vulnerable, exposed, much worse than a stretched throat under a knife. Deeper.

Dan closed his eyes, wasn't thinking. Existing. Sated. Breathing, just breathing, more than merely physically content. Hand sought out the other's body, rested somewhere on sweat and oil slicked skin. Said nothing for a long while, eyes closed.

Vadim didn't know what to make of the touch apart from remaining there, close to sleep, but not falling into it. Something inside was racing, and thinking, realizing things. He liked the pain. He did like it. He wanted this, had wanted it, from start to finish. He pressed his eyes shut. Damn you.

Dan started to move at last, braved his way out of the heat beneath the blankets, hissing at the sudden shock of cold. Walked to the bucket, the rag that the other had used, washed himself before tending to the fire, and taking the freshly wrung rag and the bucket back to where the Russian was lying.

"Here." Set them down beside the other, crawled once more under the blankets. Felt odd. Almost protective. Possessive, as if he had to take care, now, as if by naming the nameless he had made it his. His cunt. His Russian. His … if only the fuck he knew.

"Yeah, thanks." Vadim sat up, one sticky mess, cleaned up, the sweat first, felt his body deal with the shock Dan had dealt it, muscles coiling, testing if he was alright. He was. Washed himself, shifted away from the wet spot that cooled now, moved closer, relaxed now and still … something inside him gnawing on the problem. "Worked for me", he said, hardly more than breathing.

"I guessed that." Dan answered, lying on his side, facing the other. Not a hint of the earlier nastiness in his voice. "Not sure if I get it, but I guess it doesn't matter." One-sided shrug, reaching again to the bergan, pulling his headscarf out, draping it over the wet spot. "You were right, though."

Vadim acknowledged the scarf and settled, lying on his back, feeling his body hot and relaxing, stretched out, arms behind his head again. "Right? About me being tight?" He looked to the side, irony in his eyes. "I guess. It's good to let it all go, control, that shit."

"Aye," Dan nodded, shuffled closer. Preserving body heat. "That, and the other thing. Your body. It can take more. Fucking amazing." Pulled his face into a grin while reaching behind his back to search for one of the energy bars. Found peanut butter and strawberry, dropped the first in front of the Russian's face, started on the latter. "Can't break you. Didn't know a fuck could be so mind-blowing."

"Break me?" Vadim gave a dry laugh, while his skin crawled. You can't break me because I enjoy it. Breaking would mean pain, more pain than I can take, but this was all good, too good, getting off on the brutal force and what would have reduced most people to tears.

"Aye." Dan was chewing in the back of Vadim's neck, grinning. "Breaking, as in girly bimbo china doll and I got to be careful. With you I don't. You can take it."

"I'm spetsnaz. Of course I can. I like it rough." Understatement of the year. Vadim took the bar, glad he could do something with his hands. "Quite different, eh?" Just shut up, Vadim, and think. Don't let him know too much. Know more than he already did? Hardly possible.

"Different to girls. Better." Dan bit off another piece, savoured the sticky sweetness. "Even though I wanted to hurt you at first. Really hurt you." Swallowed, shrugged, "that changed."

Vadim drew a shuddering breath. I know, he thought. If you'd had a knife, you'd have cut me open just to see your cock come out the other side. Closed his eyes briefly. "I guess … you understand something about me now." How much I want to hurt, and break, and what I felt for you when I made you my victim.

Dan's chewing stopped all of a sudden, even forgot to swallow. "Bull's eye." Quietly, no inflexion. That one had gone straight in and to the core. He finally swallowed that last bite, remaining silent for a long time, so close to the other's body, they almost touched. Pathetic that token space between them. "I don't know if you want to get fucked as 'payment' for what you've done, but whatever it is, I don't want it."

"Not payment. Not … making … not changing it. I want it because it feels good." Vadim answered. Because I can lose myself and don't have to fight. Shivered with the touch, a good way, intense again, but not sexual. They'd had that. Something close, but not the same thing.

Dan crossed the minute distance, said nothing. Body touching body and skin to skin. Voice barely more than a murmur, his intensity needed no volume. "Don't fuck me again."

"I'd kill to have you, still same, I'd lie if I made any promises", murmured Vadim.

Dan nodded, forehead lightly hitting the back of the other's head in the movement. "OK. The rules are clear. You'd kill for my arse, I'd kill you for my arse. I can live with that." Too sated to get riled up about anything. His hand coming up to rest on the other's hip. Had done it before, almost two years ago. Almost as close as he had been when inside that body - or closer?

Vadim smirked. Chose not to mention how good it could feel and that things could be quite different, if he chose to make them different. "Rules … rules are good." He laid back, turned on his side and felt the other closer than strictly necessary for preserving heat. It worked fine. Naked bodies. Wool.

Dan yawned. Tired now, exhausted and physically content. "Will check your bruises tomorrow."

"I'll be stiff, but nothing serious", murmured Vadim. "Bones are fine. We did check that." He gave a toneless laugh.

Vadim wanted to reach out and touch, felt good now, better, body realizing it was over, and there was no more danger, no more things to defend against. That man was like a tropical thunderstorm, he thought. The very heart of thunderstorms, not the rumble and flash, but a proper, all-encompassing, world-will-end thunderstorm. Even better when it had ended.

Another yawn, and Dan burrowed even closer, without thinking. A body, heat. Touching. He fell asleep in an instant. Rifle close by, knife beside his head, chest pressed against the other's scarred back and his hand resting on Vadim's hip.

* * *

It was getting towards dawn when Dan woke up. Refreshed and rested, a dreamless sleep close to unconsciousness. No thoughts of the lives they had taken, only memories of a body he had possessed. He grinned, stretched slowly, revelling in the shared heat, which made a bloody difference from the previous ten nights. Reluctant to rouse the other, he crept out of the blankets, tugged them back down around the sleeping man and slipped into his clothes. It was bloody freezing out there, but he'd got used to the climate. The mountains had become a friend, a dangerous one, no longer an enemy.

Stoking the fire, he refilled the battered tin pot he used for cooking, prepared it to boil with a handful of tea leaves and a large chunk of honey comb he'd managed to get on one of the villages' markets. He'd prefer coffee, but the sweetened tea would have to do.

Dan was careful, convinced they were alone but checking the grounds before tending to the corpses. Sure, the other had offered to help, but he preferred to deal with it himself. The battered Russkie needed sleep more than carrying a blood encrusted corpse that was begging for flies once the spring sun spread some warmth. He was still wondering about the way the fucker had freaked and stabbed the Muja like a madman. Whatever. Figured it was because all of those Russians were crazy bastards.

Dan carried one lifeless body after the other, disposing all three in a deep ravine fairy close by, while thinking of the night before. Couldn't get his head around the idea of wanting to get fucked, become the bitch of another man and willingly turn oneself into a dripping cunt, but hey, he didn't argue. Wanted that body again.


Dan returned to the cave, checked the sleeping bundle beneath the blankets, shrugged with a grin and took a good long piss before going on shovel recce - without a shovel. Wouldn't do any good digging a shitting hole into the rocks. Had found a comfy sport instead that kept smell and sight hidden, and the flies away. Once back at fire and camp, he stripped down to his trousers and boots, thoroughly cleaned his hands, washed his face and chest and figured he'd do the rest later when it got warmer. Shrugged back into the parka, didn't bother with a shirt, and checked the water. Good, the tea was merrily boiling away.

He poured the honey sweetened brew into his one and only tin cup, Dan moved towards the blanket bundle, crouched down, grinning with teeth bared. "Oi, sleeping beauty. Wake up." Waving the tea in front of the other's nose.

* * *

The smell. Wet hot smell, steam. Ground hard under his elbow, ribs, hip, knee. Sunlight. Late. Vadim came round, felt like he had to shake off a blanket of lead, emerged. First glance went to the wrist, no watch, the Volkov had been taken. Later than five. First time in ages that he overslept.

Hadn't dreamt, was grateful for that, it would have been about being beaten up or about the gaping, black hole in Platon's neck. Vadim looked at the mug, then the wrist, the grinning face. Right. Sat up and scratched his neck, hair too long there, could feel his body protest, inside, and shoulders, and thought fuck, that's what I did to take the dreams away. He nodded and took the mug, blew on it. "Sleeping who?"

"Beauty." Dan smirked, sat down on the ground on a corner of the blanket, legs crossed. "Seems you overdid the make-up somewhat, princess. Especially the blue-black and green eye shadow. Oh, you should do something about that swelling. Isn't a good look on anyone."

Vadim glanced up. "Yeah. That makes me Princess Aurora and you would be Prince Desire. Fuck you." Tchaikovsky. Ballet. The Sleeping Beauty. He'd rather die than admit he had liked ballet in a time when his father had tried to drum some culture into him. Taking the Bolshoi with him on Afghanistan tour was just not an option. One of the things that were better left at home. He'd always wondered about that story though. Absolutely stunning girl, asleep, not awake, and all the guy did was kiss her when he could have it all? No fucking way.

Dan laughed, let the other drink before holding his hand out to have a sip himself. Precious, the sweetened tea, he had meant to keep the honeycomb for a special occasion. Yeah, fuck, seemed this was one. They weren't trying to kill each other on their 'first morning'.

Vadim brought his hand up and touched his face. Okay. If he looked as bad as that felt, he'd look pretty bad even in a week. His skin always did the whole colour set, black, blue, purple, several great shades of red. "Could use bag of ice, just bit late for that."

"I can still get you some." Dan shrugged, gestured with his chin towards the rocks. "Might not do much, but better than nothing. You'll need a damn good story to explain your pretty looks." Smirked again, took a few sips of the tea, handed it back.

"Close combat, got a rifle sandwich for my troubles, but I killed them. Spetsnaz are just that good." Vadim snorted.

Dan nodded, glancing towards the back of the cave. "I got rid of the Mujas. Everything worth anything is stored over there."

Vadim had some more tea before standing, walked over to his packs, found the spare pair of uniform trousers, a pair of socks, and his boots, got halfway dressed, then walked up to the dushman's stuff. Any kind of ID would be interesting. Dug into their kit, plenty of beef jerky, dried fruits, rolls of Afghani, one of which he pocketed, tossed the other on the ground.

"Expenses", Vadim murmured, found a bag of raw opium, weighed that in his hand for a moment. "Bakshish." He tossed that on the ground as well.

Dan was watching, eyes growing narrower with every item that came out of the packs. He had a fair idea what they'd contain, but fuck, he'd been careless. Should have checked them first. Idiot, Dan, bloody idiot! Ruled by your cock just as much as the other.

Vadim dug deeper, touched paper, felt like … a map. Notes on it, an old Soviet map, probably prospecting map, they were still using these, based on last century's maps. "Shit." A bundle of letters, papers, looked like correspondence, stuff for warlords, tribal leaders. Jackpot. Glanced up to check where the Brit was.

Dan stood and walked over. "No fucking way."

Vadim put the map down, breathed. Stayed relaxed, because that was the only way he had a chance to surprise the other. I'd hate to kick some sense into you, he thought, and that thought shouldn't be here. This was still work, and if he could return with a prize like that, he'd come home as a victor. Could jump him now, could attack him, wrestle. And then? He stood, took one step back to get into neutral distance. "I need those." Should fight for them, he could win.

Dan shook his head. "You want to get me killed?" Eyes narrowed, immediate change from grinning, relaxed bloke to steel-sharp special forces soldier. "You take that map back, the letters, and what are the chances the next time I deal with my Mujas, turn a corner, only to stand in front of a whole troop of bloody Russians?" Shit. Shit! He should have checked the packs. His own fault. Fucking idiot. Body tensing, readying for the fight, set to win. "I want to survive, dickhead. You take that stuff, chances are I'm dead."

Vadim felt strange to see the other bristle with determination. Valid point. Both. "Could check what's in them", he ventured, slowly, offering a treaty. One problem: He still didn't know enough of the language. The other could trick him. Probably would trick him. One thing to fuck, another to be stupid. He stepped away, offering the pack, sat down on a nearby rock. "Had my dose of smashed face for week. Lucky you."

Dan nodded, the tension remained, but disaster avoided - for now. Taking the pack he started to read the missives, frowned more with each of them, shook his head. Getting to the map, he checked over the remarks, comments, pointers and names. Tilted his head, thinking, folded the map back up at last, turning towards the other. "Take the map. It has information, but nothing that would get me killed." Perhaps others, but hell, he didn't give a fuck, wasn't their keeper.

"The correspondence is off limits. Knock me out when I'm asleep or beat me unconscious, take the letters and have them translated and next time you want a fuck you'll have to use a piece of my rotting flesh as a hole, or fuck yourself on a smashed-up bone instead of my cock." He walked over, dropped the map in the other's hands, holding the letters and notes in the other. "Understood?"

Vadim took the map. The KGB would love this. Then glanced at the other's hand. Instinct fighting instinct, would love to get his hands around the throat of the sniper that had shot Platon. "Burn the shit", he breathed, speaking Russian. Because I can't promise I won't try to take them. This way, I'm not even tempted. This way I can't think I should have.

"What else do you think I had intended." No more words. Dan turned instead, threw the first letter onto the fire, the others swiftly following. Watched the Russkie's movements from the corner of his eyes.

Vadim folded the map and slipped it into his pocket, then stood again, glanced up at the mountain, and began to climb in the search for ice and snow. Three hundred yards, a nice morning exercise. It was cold up there, and his chest was pounding, hurting in the thin air.

Dan stood, bare chest wrapped into his parka, hands in the pockets of his camo trousers. "What the fuck do you think you are doing?" Shaking his head, watching the half-naked Russian in the snow. "Butt-fuck crazy Russkie!"

Vadim took two hands of snow, a thin layer of dust covered the snow here so close to the rocks, scraped the dirt off, placed his face into the cold. He was fucking freezing, but boy, it eased the pounding. Cold water ran down his wrists, and he allowed the cold to bite and then to subside, cooled his face, then washed his chest with snow, cooled the bruises, then started with his face again. Wouldn't make much of a difference, the injuries were too old already, but never mind. Should have cooled the worst with a knife blade. Shit.

He sat down, shivering, used more snow. If he was the bitch, he'd do what the other wanted. He took it up the ass, meant he was the bitch, right? Not so simple, somehow, even when it was. How far away was that from treason? Allowing him to burn military intelligence? "I'm in trouble", Vadim murmured, tossed the melting snow away and began to walk back.

Dan was sitting on one of the packs, close to the fire, drinking tea and preparing food. He had given up on the obviously insane fucker, who'd been spending all the time lying in the snow instead of scooping some up in a bucket. Looking up when Vadim reappeared. "Eat." Didn't mention anything else, just pointed to the dried fruit, nuts, beef jerky and the bubbling tea.

Vadim was starting to feel warm, still wrapped a blanket around his shoulders. "Yessir." He gave a dry huff, took handfuls of the stuff and began to eat. "Which tribe are you working with? Pashtuns, right?" Paused, looked up, surprised he would actually ask the question. But then, how much could he prove when he returned? As long as it wasn't about tactics and locations - and they already knew a fair deal about the tactics.

Dan shook his head. "I don't want to talk about my orders with you. The less you know the better, alright?" Taking a handful of nuts, offering some to the other while chewing.

"They hate everybody, those fuckers. Russian, Soviet, British. If you don't do allahu akhbar and aren't blood-related, they'll cut your throat", said Vadim.

"Whoever I work with isn't too bad." Dan shrugged, conveniently forgot the dozen or so of times when he had thought he wouldn't make it out of a warlord's territory alive. Sometimes brandishing letters and names and having local knowledge didn't work. "They let me be and vice versa. Simple rules, if one of their women saw any of my naked flesh while washing, I'd probably not manage to get the soap off before I'd find myself cut into strips." He grinned wryly. "Strange world, but it's theirs, not mine. Got to accept that while I'm here." Finished off the tea, before he suddenly started to laugh. "I sound like a fucking politician. Truth is, I personally don't give a shit about those goat-fuckers and their fucking beliefs, but I do follow my orders."

"Then it's orders that are wrong. You westerners try to make this hell for us. Europe and America. Just look at any map. Europe and Asia. Connected, right? There's nothing between Slavs and Europeans, just … open plain. Made it easy for tanks, but also keeps mind open."

"Bullshit." Dan shook his head. "You make it as much hell for us as we make it for you. You and your ultimate neglect of human life." He shrugged. "Seems I don't even give a shit about that either."

"That's not what I mean", said Vadim. "American continent. Oceans east and west of it. They live in their own little world. Not connected. Very far away."

Dan threw a handful of nuts down his neck, chewing. "Americans are fucking arsewipes. Friendly fire and nothing else, but that's me, a British squaddie talking. We're not quite cheek to cheek, despite what you think."

"My point is, they can't understand Asia. Last time they tried, was Vietnam."

Dan was stoking the fire. "You got a point. They don't, we don't either. I don't even understand you. Out of curiosity, do you understand me?"

Vadim smirked. "You speak my language. That's start." He reached for the dried fruit and rolled a piece of apple between first finger and thumb. "And I speak your language. I had culture classes. Information is limited, but I've seen movies. Read books, for authentic language, to keep my skills. You must know about Soviets. You can't learn a language without understanding. Concepts behind words, thoughts."

Dan shrugged. "I do." Chewed with delight on a piece of dried fruit. "And did. Learning languages without learning what's behind. It's just what I do." Shrugging again, he stuffed a couple more fruits between his lips. "Does it matter?" Speaking with a full mouth.

Vadim regarded him for a minute, let another pass. They did these things without understanding them? It was like playing chess without understanding the mind of the opponent, playing it without soul, purely mechanical. The game didn't matter to them. It was about winning. This man hadn't been trained to do this, it was an accident, him knowing Russian. "Guess it doesn't matter", he acknowledged. "Many ways to go to Rome, yes? How did you pick up Russian? It's difficult." Vadim stood and moved even closer to the fire, a cold in him that was difficult to get rid of, his sore and swollen flesh demanding rest, above all else.

"Well, aye, it's not quite like that." Dan swallowed another round of fruit, then went for the dried meat, stewing away on the fire. "Not with Russian anyway, though it's pretty much as I said."

Vadim looked up, quizzically.

Dan realised he was talking in riddles and suppressed a smirk, trying again, wiping his lips before looking at the other. "I have this knack. I hear languages and if I hear them long enough and get a few pointers they kind of make sense to me. That's why I understand and speak Pushtu and Dari. Comes easy, it's like fucking." He smirked, "not something I ever had to learn."

No, the strength and the force was all there, thought Vadim, and felt a shiver course through his body. How odd. Comparing a language to something the body did, not the mind. I picked up Russian, I fucked a Russian - that was what it translated to. He rubbed his arms over the blanket, tried for some friction to get the blood going, but it felt sluggish and dark and slow in his body. Exhausted. Healing.

Deciding that the meat was just fine, Dan fished a piece out and began to chew, thoughtful for a while, but still watching the Russkie. He could see how cold the other man was. "Russian was a bit different. I went for books, tapes, the lot. They told me I'd get more interesting missions if I'd become fluent." He shrugged, "so I did." Finishing off his meat, pointing to the rest, trying to get some of it down Vadim.

Vadim nodded. "I learnt English for Montreal. Chinese at officer's academy. Tadjik in my last posting. Some German at officer's academy, but I don't use it, so it's leaving." When Dan finished off the meat and offered him his share, Vadim didn't feel hungry, knew he needed to eat, and found it hard to bring himself to do it. He shouldn't talk that much. He was behaving like a faggot, really, the kind of effeminate bastard that spilt the beans after sex. Still enemies. He found it hard to believe himself, slipped too easily into trust. "I will eat later", he murmured. "Tea would be good now."

Dan wiped his lips again, nodded and pointed to the pot. "Tea's been boiling for a while. Got another piece of honeycomb, should be sweet and strong." He tilted his head, studying the other with increased intensity for a moment, then moved off his pack to crouch beside the fire. "You look like shit." Poured the tin mug full of the sweetened tea, handed it over. "Death warmed over, except, that you don't seem to be particularly warm." Baring his teeth momentarily into a semblance of a grin.

Vadim cradled the mug, soaked up the heat. The mockery sounded like banter. Nothing aggressive about it. Nothing too bad. He grinned back, eyes narrowing a touch, but he just couldn't help thinking how that same easy-going guy had fucked him. That intensity.

Dan stood up, smirking. "I'd suggest another fuck to warm you up but A I'm beat and B you don't seem to be up for it."

Vadim swallowed, wondered if he was up for it, in theory, in practice, pile more pain on top of this last one, more on top of the beating. "I'm not much of challenge right now." Didn't like the thought, at all. Offering was one thing, the inability to defend himself something different. If he was the bitch, that meant the other called the shots. When, where, how. He couldn't accept that. Even though he wanted the sex. "Maybe tomorrow. We can rest. Share … heat. Just that. Heat."

Dan spotted another mug tied to the outside of Vadim's pack and bent down to get it. "What," he smirked, "snuggling? Like poofs, girlies and faggots do?" One thing to fuck a man, another to want to hold him, touch body, share heat, feel skin. Want. Fuck, no.

That's it, thought Vadim, realizing it with the closest thing to horror. He wanted touch. Wouldn't get it. Wouldn't ask for it, and it wouldn't just happen. Why? He knew, of course, being demoralized, hurting all over, face, body, ass, forfuckssake, only touch he'd get was that man pounding against him. "Didn't say that."

"I thought we were about fucking, mate, not cuddling."

And I thought we were about survival. Vadim snorted. "We have shared heat before. Nothing new."

Dan shrugged. "That was different." He was back at the fire and pouring himself a tea. Couldn't help but notice how cold the other was.

Vadim drank the hot tea, body tense and pulled together to preserve heat. But he was cold from inside - everything that wasn't a throbbing mess was cold. "How much time do you have? I'm on patrol, officially."

"I have as much time as I want." Not quite, but it felt like it. "Your patrol, how much time is that?" Dan went back to his bergan, sat down once more and sipped the strong, hot liquid, glancing over. That man was shivering, even trembling with cold. Body heat, aye, he could do that. Just not like faggots did.

"A few weeks. Map will help explain what I did. As long as I make up good story for each day, I am safe, but I need to cover distance, will be expected to be at … somewhere, eventually." Remember to keep things vague, Vadim. "Will have to march faster." Yeah, beaten up and fucked like you are, Vadim thought. Couldn't get warm. Think warm thoughts, yeah, how fucking funny. He just hoped he hadn't caught something, an illness, a fever, hoped it was just the body's response to the bruises. He'd kill to be able to sweat it out in a sauna.

Dan sneered, "In your state? You'd make a great Oympionite, as fucked up as you are." Steadily working on his tea, he welcomed the caffeine buzz and the honey was exactly what he needed. Sugar-rush, he'd never get enough of that.

Vadim drank more tea, then settled on the ground, almost curled around the fire. He didn't care. Couldn't care. It was getting warmer, he was starting to sweat, but there was still cold, too much of it. Sleep it out, he thought.

Dan shook his head after a few minutes, finished his tea and stood up unceremoniously. "Faggoty or not, you look like shit and you're going to kill yourself in the mountains if you don't get back in shape. Who would I fuck with, then?" Nodding towards the cave and the pile of blankets. "Want to get warm? Come on, then."

Vadim forced his body up, took the blanket, gathered his bergan, more dragging than carrying it, but that was where knife and gun were, and followed the other. Dan never looked back, but stopped near the entrance, waiting for him to get settled. Dazed, Vadim wondered about the closeness, the proximity, and whether the other would fuck him for it. Not much he could do about it, not in his state, but he couldn't allow it, not when the Brit was in control. He lay down, laboriously, face turned towards the open space, bergan under his head, blanket around his shoulders, legs pulled up. Who would I fuck with, then. Who indeed.

Dan was still standing, still watching, and still debating a few things that he figured he shouldn't want nor like and sure as fuck not actually do. But this was about survival, and what if the Russkie died? Not easy to find another fuck in this place. The Afghan mountains weren't really a teeming market of willing male flesh. "Right, then." He dragged his own bergan close, set it behind the other's head. As good a pillow as any. Getting down onto his knees, he pulled the second blanket close and wrapped it around himself before shuffling behind the Russian, figuring it wouldn't do any good if he stayed too far away.

He ended up so close, his entire front was pressed against Vadim's back, the blankets tightly around them. "What the fuck am I going to do with my arms, now?" Dan muttered, awkward, there wasn't any way he could rest his arm except on the other man. Shit, that looked and felt to all intents and purposes like cuddling after all. "Whatever." Muttered again, dropped his hand on Vadim's flank.

Vadim's eyelids, too heavy, opened when the hand came to rest there. His arm was under his head, the other crossed in front of his chest, minimising surface. The other body felt warm, and was too close, too much like sex. Too much like forcing him to turn onto his stomach, spread his legs and fuck him again. No. He'd said he was too tired for it. The cold slowly subsided, his aching muscles relaxing, and the dizziness and throbbing remained, but it worked already. Body against body. Platon. Not dangerous. Katya. Not about sex. He forced himself to breathe slowly, deeply, counting his breath. "Not … volunteering for any watch", he murmured, feeling relaxed enough to begin drifting off to sleep. His body demanded the rest. He healed best with plenty of rest. He had enough sense to reach and find his knife in the open bergan, and pull it close to his chest. Just in case. Just for anybody surprising him in his sleep.

Dan sniggered, shook his head in the confines of that odd embrace. "No, I can see you're too fucked, and it's definitely not the good kind." Shuffling even closer, eyes fixed on the back of the neck. Murmuring into the other's ear, lips tickled by short shaved hair, "And for that knife, if I really wanted to kill you, you'd be dead before you could even wield it." A rumbled chuckle.

Vadim was awake again. Breath against his ear did that. Staring straight ahead. The body. The heat. Liked it too much. Couldn't even think the word sleep now. Too intense. "You believe that, but I have good chance to kill you, too, before I'm dead." As long as there's no gun involved. Hand to hand, knife to knife. A moment of intense claustrophobia. Trapped. Dan was about to say something, an aborted sound from his throat, when Vadim half-turned to face him. "Don't believe just because you fucked me means I'm losing my pride. Not happening. I'm spetsnaz, never forget I can kill you." Hoped he sounded calm, neutral.

"Huh? What the fuck are you on about, Russkie. You having a chip on your shoulder a mile wide?"

Vadim swallowed the words, something about not taking insults, then realized, yes, he was tense about it, pride wounded, and he was irrational in that state. At least he was warmer now. Still, he kept misreading banter for aggression. "If you think so."

Dan frowned, the other's face so close the sharply cut features were blurred. "Just shut the fuck up already and get some sleep. You'd be fucking useless in your state against me. You want to start being a cry-baby about the fucking? Doesn't suit you." He patted the hip, exhaled exasperatedly, "Get some sleep, spetsnaz. SAS is taking the watch."

Now, much, much better. Not 'Russian cunt', not 'faggot', or 'bitch', or 'suka'. Spetsnaz. It was a glaring contrast to what they were doing, but it was acknowledging the other's regimental pride. SAS is taking the watch. No violence. No unpleasant surprises. Two soldiers, nothing more. "Yeah. Good night, comrade." He turned around again, settled back on his arm and inhaled deeply, counting his breath till he could fall asleep.

* * *

Dan couldn't quite pinpoint when he'd fallen into a snooze, but it must have happened sometime between morning and noon, because the heat of the sun woke him. That, and discomfort of having lain in the same position for too long. Sun, heat, and a body pressed against his own. Opening his eyes, he stared at the back of the other's neck, about an inch before his face. Burnt skin, tanned deeper than the pale-skinned Russkie was ever meant to be; shaved hair, straw-coloured, sun-bleached stubble growing up the back of the head. Dan blinked, shifted slightly, brought his face even closer. That scent. Damn, he wanted to bury his nose into the scent of sun, heat, skin and man. Tasting the sweat and biting the flesh.

He did nothing. Just blinked again. One thing to fuck a man - another to kiss his neck.

Vadim had slept like the dead, had dived deep, deep into leaden water and wouldn't have minded not waking up. But he still woke up, felt sore, but alive, awake, felt the other's breath. He reached lazily down to scratch his stomach, glanced back at Dan, wondered something, wondered if there was more sex in it for him, fuck his pride, it was an opportunity. He moved back against the body, bridging a gap that wouldn't have allowed a fist to move between them, back against chest, ass against groin, legs against legs. Maximising heat. Get the most out of the time they had.

"That would work better if I weren't dressed." Dan delivered his dry remark in a low, raspy voice. Still wondering when he had slipped from taking watch to taking 40 winks. His hand moved. Slow, lazy, creating a snake-like pattern up and across the other's chest.

"Which reminds me." Vadim smirked at that, his own hands moving to his trousers, opening them, fuck, for the other, pulling them down over his hips, baring his body down to his thighs.

Dan's eyes grew wide, and still he did nothing. Just moving his own body with the other's when necessary. The Russkie hadn't just pulled his combats down, had he? Wasn't right now wiggling his naked arse against his groin? Dan's hand flattened on the other's chest, resting between the pecs.

Vadim reached behind him, slid the flat hand against Dan's groin, tracing the bulge inside the BDUs. Yes. There was definitely another round in it for him.

Damn. Dan inhaled, forgot to exhale again. The crazy bastard was doing exactly what Dan thought he was doing. Remembering to breathe, but his rumbling voice had a strange new tone to it. "I take it you want to get fucked."

Yes. No. Fuck. Why not simply do it, why talk? Why make him aware that he was offering, offering like a bitch in the barracks. No. Never that. Vadim's hand tightened on Dan's cock, and he glanced over his shoulder into those dark eyes. "I can see how you made special forces. You're one quick thinker."

"Ha ha, very funny." Dan grumbled, for no longer than half a second. That hand on his cock spoke a language which made him lose his own.

Vadim grinned, needed to stay playful, taunting, banter, banter was not aggression. He stretched his neck, and gave a smile, at the same time squeezing the other's cock, his balls.

Dan froze. Whatthefuck? That smile, that wasn't planned nor programmed and sure as hell didn't belong into their little arrangement of insanity. "Not sure what you want …" murmured, staring at that smile, slowly deciphering what the hell that smile meant, and ending up with cryptic messages all over his brain. No sneering, no smirking, no threats and no anger. Just a smile. Holy fuck. "But whatever that is, I can assure you …" he twisted his hips further into the hand, voice no more than a murmur, "it's exactly the right way to get it."

Vadim laughed, felt the other's body obey his touch. He turned around, to have a second hand, and pulled the belt open, opened the buttons to free the other's cock, growing fully hard under a bit more squeezing. Wrapping his hand around it, he looked into the other's eyes, touch firm, tight, his own body ready, wounded and beaten up, but ready. "I wouldn't mind repetition", he murmured in English. Couldn't, wouldn't say 'fuck me', that was Gavriil stuff, even though he could feel the tension inside, wanted cock, wanted the other pounding into him. Shit. One taste of it, and he was hooked all over again.

Dan said nothing for a moment, didn't even move. Like a beetle not quite on his back but just as helpless with that hand around his cock and a promise of a repeat of the mind-blowing sensation of fucking a body that could take as much of his cock as it could take of his fists. Breathed in, slowly out, then suddenly, "Where the fuck's the gun oil."

Vadim reached for his bergan, found the gun kit, fiddled with it one-handed, found the bottle, opened it with teeth and hand, poured some oil into his palm and opened his legs, pushed two oiled fingers inside, then glanced at Dan, curious what he'd see in that moment, and what he saw was breathlessness and eyes that had grown even darker. A face, betraying with shallow breaths and parted lips that Vadim's actions reached deeper, touched lust, and released want.

Vadim pulled his fingers out, took more oil, slower now, more deliberate, and again pushed the fingers inside, but slower, almost sensuous, felt a stab of lust, and smiled, running that slicked hand over his own cock, making it jump.

Dan was undone. Lips moving, no sense nor sound. Hard, harder and wanting, more. Had never seen anything so arousing. No pussy, no gyrating hips, no bouncing tits; nothing and no one before had got into his mind and cock so intensely.

"Fucking hell." Dan murmured, voice shaking, hand trembling, cock jumping against his belly. "Want to watch." Hand moved, covered the other man's, both hands on Vadim's cock. "Want to watch you fuck yourself." Pleading, begging, more, fuck, more of this, this … this mad thing. Man. This something that turned him on like nothing before.

Soldier. Spetsnaz. Special Forces. Killer. Sniper. Enemy. And shameless whore.

Vadim suddenly couldn't breathe. Being taken up on the tease. He'd done this, sometimes, pretended it was one of his few lovers. Masseur. Hungarian fencer. Increased his own need when a normal jerking-off couldn't take off the spike. But he needed to be safe to do this.


He was safe to do this, Vadim realized, and it was another shock. It wasn't safe, nothing about this man was safe. Hand on his cock. The need in those dark eyes. He had his hooks firmly in this man, finally in his mind, reduced him to begging. Almost better than having him beg for his cock - but not quite. He moved slower, focused on the pleasure more than the oil, how his body reacted, the tensing of muscles, breath going harder, but still toneless.

No sounds from Dan either. Nothing but accelerated breathing, harsher, louder, and the blood in his ears, as deafening as the echo of a shot in a cave. He took his hand away from the other's cock, minimising the touch to maximise the effect on his other senses. Smell; gun oil. Sight; the Russian's flushed skin, moving hand, oil-slicked fingers. Vanishing inside the body, creating reaction, and action. Sound; silence.

Vadim's eyes half-closed, still looking at the other, reading the desire on Dan's features, which made him grin, and increase the speed, fingers rubbing the place that made his cock jump and his balls go heavy, the feeling going up to his throat, making his heart pound. Silent. Couldn't allow sounds. Wanted cock. Wanted the pounding, body against body, wanted the strength. Wouldn't ask for it, swallowed dryly, face twitching with what he felt, lips open, body moving against the pleasure, an instinct more than trying for a good show. Not like Gavriil. He was in control.

Dan's eyes moved from hand to face, fell onto the heavy balls, glistening cock. Darkly flushed, hard. Hard. Fucking loved that hardness. The sight. The taste. Eyes moved back up to the face that expressed more than the other might think.

"Throat or cock." Three words. Intention clear. Dan's hand on his own cock, stroking. Would come sucking; or come fucking.

Both, thought Vadim, feeling coherence slipping away, watching the other touch himself, kicked off the camo trousers to get rid of the last bit of uniform, now the only thing that was still Red Army was the pair of dog tags. "Cock. No hand. Can't … come without." Hoping the other would suck him off and finish it, after giving him a good pounding. He pulled his fingers free, body shivering in the cold and shuddering with need, and was about to turn to get on hands and knees.

"No." Dan moved, quick, his free hand coming to still the movement. "Stay." For what? Not clear, just felt, not knowing. That face, watching every twitch, hear the breath, see the sweat and how the pale blue eyes darkened, it was fucking erotic. No, hot. Horny. Lust. Erotic was for pussies.

Vadim paused, not sure what to expect, but remained on his back, knees open, legs bent, idly stroking himself, one elbow supporting his weight, his slicked up hand pulled the foreskin to cover the tip, as he watched Dan get to his knees, placing one hand flat on his chest, pushing backwards, and Vadim relaxed on the ground, stretching out.

Dan had never fucked a girl's arse other than from behind. But that face. Had to watch that face.

Ah, knees up, thought Vadim. The way Vanya liked guys, on their backs. Had liked. Gavriil liked that position, and that was the reason why he rarely ended up in it. Had ended up. Vadim smirked at the other's cluelessness. "That works. Fucking strain on lower back, but should manage."

"I know, arsehole." Dan's breathless voice was raspy, dark. Flashed a grin, let go of his cock, took the other's legs, pushed them upwards. "You'll just have to manage." Barely more than murmured.

"I guess", murmured Vadim with a half-grin.

That body. Laid out, massive, beaten and bruised but still impressive. Muscled and sharply angled. Like his own - yet different. Smooth. Dan knelt, stared, the other's body open, vulnerable, but never defenceless. Sharp intake of breath, then moved between the open legs, that arse was oil slicked, didn't need any for his cock, and guided himself. Wanted to ram, punish, force, brutal, but shook his head. Fuck, no. Held back, right there, in breach of the muscle, stalled, minute push forward, sliding, breaching.

Vadim's hands formed fists - slow. Slow. Control. Slipping. No way to move against that, too much weight held him there, his own, and Dan's. The heat invading, crawling in, heat and size.

Feeling the Russian's body shudder, Dan raised his head back up to meet the other's eyes, wide and gleaming with need. Smirked. "Thank fuck you're no girl."

The observation intrigued Vadim, and speaking meant he could mask the groan. "Why's that?"

Dan bared his teeth in a feral grin, said nothing, pushed forward hard, entered the body, tight, heat, groaning out expletives.

Knees pushed up towards his chest, Vadim could do nothing but take the force, no burning, no pain, instead, unclouded, unmixed lust, pure and simple, no fear, no guilt, that cock nothing but his fingers in a different way. In control. Wanted this, kept wanting this, and the other just delivered, lust, desire, need, and Vadim's lips opened, the groan did escape, felt too good.

Heat and tightness, fucking that body again. Dan felt lust and aggression, not hatred. Needed too much, wanted. Greed. Body. Man. Hand gripping the other's shoulder, fingers digging into bone and muscle, the other finding leverage on the ground. Knees protesting on hard stone, but the pain just added that kick. Stared at Vadim's face, eyes, facial expression, mouth, always drawn back to those lips. Parted, panting. Fucking wild, hard, with vicious lust. Dan groaned, sweat running from his neck and chest, dripping onto the other's body. Fuck. Fuck this was it, harder, faster, more and more, clenching his teeth or he'd let out sounds of greed and too much motherfucking need.

Close. Not close enough. Vadim neared the edge, caught up in the sensations, strength, more, just as he liked it, more brutal than any of his lovers, they had been gentle, because he was young, and inexperienced, then, or they had not been not strong enough to test his body like this. How ironic to find it with the enemy. Finally closed his eyes, let go, control, thoughts, whatever, felt the force wash through him and into him, felt the other come, hard, and couldn't join him there, on the brink, where he'd wanted to be, now needed to get further.

Dan was panting, dizzy, short-changed of oxygen and shuddering with lingering sensations. That fucker was addictive. That body, not any body. Male. Goddamned male and more beyond. Brutal, violent, killer, soldier, enemy, and the best cunt he'd ever had. His mind blown to pieces by the paradox. Strength and passiveness; power and taking it up the arse. He couldn't get his mind around it. To have possessed that man. That bastard.

Vadim felt Dan's sweaty body against his legs, his shoulder, hands, force, cock, still inside, panting, weakened, not in control, his, his in so many ways right now, then Vadim began to push him off with his legs. "I'd … appreciate … some help."

"What?" Licking sweat off his upper lip, Dan raised his head. Took a second to get clued on, then nodded, slipped free from the tight heat, softening, and feeling pathetically bereft. Like an addict, on cold turkey immediately after the last shot.

Still on his knees, Dan shuffled backwards, twisted, lowered his head, stared at the weeping cock and could feel the greed for the taste in the back of his throat. Loved that cock. Cocks. "Cocksucker." Murmured, smirked, then pushed his head down and as much of the full length down into his throat as he could. As ruthless in sucking that cock as he had been in fucking that arse.

Vadim grinned at the other's self-deprecation. If he got a kick out of it to think that of himself. Fine. It only took him that - the sight of how his cock vanished between the other's lips, the expression of willingness and concentration, heat and tightness, and he came, like a switch had been flicked, that fast, sensation splitting him from groin to brain, shooting down the other's throat, willing, welcoming, wanting this.

Dan's reflex was to swallow, too deep down his throat, he'd hardly been prepared when Vadim came. Almost choked, but got it this time. Swallowed, quickly, a couple of times, then moved up, licking along the shaft, lingering to lap the cock dry. He lifted his head, smirking and watched the Russkie pant, spaced out. "As I said, cocksucker." Grinning smugly before reaching for his nearby bergan, had a pre-rolled fag stashed somewhere. Didn't bother to pull his camo trousers back up, should give himself a wash in a moment.

Eventually, Vadim could breathe again. With that, thought returned. Amazing. Great sex. Fucked up to find this here, under these circumstances, with the most unlikely person in the world. He rested back, regarded the Brit, sated and heavy as the anaconda. "What did you mean? About girl?" Lazy curiosity.

Dan found the cigarette, lighting it, sitting with knees close to his body, trousers tangled on knee height. "Girls want the big show, the lies." Taking a drag, he grinned, exhaling smoke with his next words. "That, and they're too fucking fragile, but I told you that yesterday."

Vadim nodded, rested back on his arms, stretched out, warm, relaxed enough to fall asleep. "Yeah. I can't try and put ring on your finger just because we had some fun." He glanced up, about to continue that train of thought, joke about women starting to cling and clutch after a night, but the joke died in his throat. Firstly, Katya had done nothing like that, and secondly, he didn't want to pursue that thought.

Dan sneered. "And you can't get pregnant. That's a bloody good bonus." Smoking his fag, focussed. He didn't have much tobacco left, hated to be hung out and dry. "Besides, that ring shit? I swore when I joined up never to marry. Damned bloodsucking bitches. Shag a guy, whine long enough till he's stupid enough to marry her, then whinge and bicker and bitch until fucking off, having fucked themselves through the entire camp, from senior ranks down to juniors, and finally take him to the cleaners." Baring his teeth again, mixture of smirk and sneer with added frown. "I fucking hate those bitches."

Vadim smirked. "That must have been tough. Hating them, and still chasing skirts."

Dan rolled his eyes, muttered something about having no idea how bloody annoying it was.

Vadim yawned, reached for the blanket and pulled it up to cover himself. Too sluggish to think about cleaning up or anything. He'd do that after he'd rested. "My wife … is very different. She made decision, she protects me. I'm officer, I need to appear normal."

Dan's brows rose. "You sound like a wuss to me."

Vadim assumed a 'wuss' was a weakling. Couldn't know, and wouldn't ask. "You have noteworthy talent to cut short conversations before they happen."

Shrugging, Dan looked down at his bare feet, starting to feel the cold but ignoring it. Realised while watching the cigarette burn to a stub that even for his standards he'd been an arse. "OK, different tack. How the fuck have you been getting away with being a fag anyway? I'd be chucked out, dishonourable discharge, if they'd know I'm shagging a man."

"Being homosexualist is illegal. I'm breaking law. I'd end up in prison, and definitely in my rank. Not high enough to weasel through, not low enough to not make example of me." Nevermind the Vympel machismo, or the fact Vadim was technically KGB. "I've fooled them. I fooled their assessments, questions, and I married. Two children. Beautiful wife."

Stubbing the cigarette out on the rock beside him, Dan looked at the other questioningly. "Then tell me, how the hell do you get away with fucking in the barracks?"

"They can't speak about it. They don't want to be known as guys who took it up the ass. It would mean the others would do same. Do you know what 'grandfathers' are? Their word is law. In addition to that, I'm officer. They can't touch me." Vanya, who had learnt the rules quickly, and enjoyed it, Platon, whom he had actually protected. Gavriil, whom he'd kept out of the worst. And struggling bodies pressed into the mattress. Dozens of those.

Dan's eyes were darkening with every word, brows drawing together, body tensing. "I know grandfathers. I studied your goddamned glorious Red Army. You're my fucking enemy, already forgotten?"

Actually, I had. Vadim inhaled deeply. But no way to escape the truth. Only that the truth was more complicated. But how to explain?

Dan stood up abruptly, trousers falling down to his ankles, stepping out of them. He turned round, presenting his back while walking to the fire. Swallowed his words. Anger. Disgust. And the accusation that the Russkie was nothing but an institutionalised rapist. "Bastard." Under his breath while busying himself with water and rag. Washing. Washing the bastard off himself; the rapist whose arse he'd just had. "What a fucking farce." Dan murmured to himself.

Vadim thought he should lie. Should profess guilt. One victim that had become more than a struggling body in the night. He ruined it every time, Vadim thought, watching the other, anger in every motion. You're spetsnaz. What's a little violence there? I can't change the system. I need a way to get off without ending in prison. He wouldn't tell him about Platon. It was still too close. Gavriil didn't matter. With Vanya, too, it had been different. Vadim tried to push it away and sleep, but it didn't work. The other's resentment itched.

Dan finished, shivered, being damp in the cave was too bloody cold. Cold, magic word. What was he going to do, sleep with the enemy, cuddle up with a raping bastard or freeze his balls off? He shook his head, looked for the food instead. Didn't glance over to where the Russian lay in silence. "I got beef jerky and dried fruits. You should eat. Still look like shit."

Ignorance and ignoring. Pretending. Had worked with the British Empire for centuries, why not for one Daniel McFadyen.

Vadim sighed, slipped into his boots, got up, kept the blanket about himself, and came to the fire. "I guess I should eat", he echoed, sat down on a flat stone and stared into the fire, then poured some tea into the other's mug and sipped. It still itched.

Dan stood, naked, bare feet freezing on the rocks and pondering if he should give up being a hard man and just get himself some clothes, when Vadim spoke.

"One guy. He's into men. Was my driver for few months. Kept him out of trouble." Vadim kept his eyes on the dark surface of the tea.

Dan stopped in mid motion while dishing out food, glanced over. Finally looking at the other man. "What about him." Flat.

"No need for violence. No other grandfather for that one. He was lucky. Safer option for me, too. Just in case." Vadim looked up. Hope for - what? Absolution? Understanding?

"So, he was your whore. Aye?" Dan started to move again, finished putting food on a tin platter, shoved it over to the other, right under Vadim's nose. He was freezing, obviously so, but he'd be buggered if he was going to do anything about it right now. "And that makes your glorious Soviet Union 'glorious' exactly, how?"

Vadim took the plate, looked at Dan's chest, then higher. Wanted to offer the blanket, or a place on the stone. "State has nothing to do with it." He offered the steaming mug after another sip.

"No?" Swapping plate with mug, Dan cradled the hot vessel after taking a sip. "It's the state that makes the laws." Frowning, glancing around. One blanket, and that one blanket was draped over the other. Fuck. Still standing. "I don't know the full extend of the law in Britain, just that fucking with a man gets me discharged. Shagging an enemy? Holy fuck, I'd end up court marshalled."

"I'd end up with bullet to my neck. Resisting arrest. Job hazard." Shit. Given too much away. KGB would clean house, after the torture, of course.

Dan froze, thinking. Took a large gulp of the tea, letting the steamy bitterness replace a different acid inside.

Vadim set the plate down, then stood, pulled the blanket off his shoulders and placed it around Dan's shoulders, who was looking at him with ill disguised surprise. "Guess, we're both fucked. Better make it worthwhile, then?"

"Aye." Dan nodded. "Guess I'm the lucky one between us." He took one corner of the blanket with his free hand, lifted it and gestured with his chin to the other. "One blanket. Cold cave. Two men. Both doomed. Best share the warmth."

Vadim smiled. "Yeah, let's do poof thing." He gave a laugh, Dan let out a snort, but Vadim turned serious when he picked up his food. "You know, it doesn't mean we're doomed. They won't get me alive. And you're safe unless you do something that they can prove."

Dan shrugged, walked back towards the make-shift bed with a packet of nuts, the refilled mug of tea, and sat down, wrapped in the blanket, leaving one half free.

Vadim moved back to the cave as well, ate a few bites on the way, set the plate down and waited for the other to lift the blanket.

"Go on then, poof. No point in freezing our arses off." Dan flashed a smirk, "I rather like that arse of yours. Especially with something in it."

"Yeah. Shit-stabbing ain't so bad, huh?" Vadim grinned and sat down, leaning against his bergan, covered his legs and abs with the blanket and put the plate onto his knees. Chewing, he murmured "I'll be sore as fuck in couple days."

"From the beating or the fucking?" Dan picked some fruit, pushing them between his teeth, mixed with the jerky. The heat from the other was welcome. "In the case of the latter I suggest to make it worthwhile."

Vadim nodded and swallowed a bite. "I'd almost forgotten beating. Not important. Usual stuff." He waved it off. "Ah. More worthwhile? I already thought you performed quite nicely."

Dan swallowed and grinned, washing the food down with some tea. "Well, I guess I got the jackpot. I get to fuck arse and suck cock. What else could a man want?" He let out a short stab of laughter before getting more of the food down his neck.

Vadim grinned. No need to set the other on edge with indicating that getting fucked was just as nice. "What else indeed." He smirked, manoeuvred a bit of dried peel from between his teeth. "Shit, I guess, I'll always remember this war for strange Brit I met. Limey. Tommy. You're strange man, Dan. You know that?"

"Me?" Dan huffed, swirled the tea in the glass. "I'm not strange. I'm so fucking normal I make the Kremlin seem like a space ship."

Vadim smirked again. "Little grey men? Damn. That's what they are. Aliens."

Dan couldn't help it, he laughed. Not the manic one, the but a full-out belly laughter, almost spilling the rest of the tea. "Didn't know you could do humour, Russkie."

Vadim laughed, too. From sex to anger to laughter. That man made his head spin. "You haven't seen Brezhnev. Or Andropov. Or other old men."

Dan handed the mug over, fished some more fruit from the rapidly emptying plate. "Thinking about it, I guess Mrs Thatcher is a fucking alien as well, and the whole British government to boot."

Vadim smirked. "Can't say I follow your news much, but I take your word for it. Her hairstyle is clearly designed to withstand falling a-bomb blast."

That was it, Dan didn't need anymore than that and he burst into laughter, laughing so hard he choked on some of the food he had just shoved into his gob. Coughing, spluttering, doubled over and still laughing, like a far too grown-up kid who'd just read the stupidest joke on a Penguin chocolate bar. "Oh fuck." Barely able to bring out the words, coughing, "The more their hair's like a helmet, the more upper class they are."

"Good to know, in case I travel there. People that are dangerous are ones with kilo of hairspray."

Doubling over with another coughing fit, Dan's eyes were watering from it all, and Vadim slapped him between the shoulder blades. "And your Brezhnev looks like a carp." Dan was opening and closing his mouth, breathing like a fish.

"His Eyebrowness?" Vadim held up a finger. "There's joke I heard. Goes like this: "Glorious Soviet leaders Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev are traveling by train. Suddenly, train grinds to halt. Stalin is first to try solve problem. He orders that engine driver be shot for sabotage and he deports co-driver to Siberia. Train doesn't move. Then it's Khrushchev's attempt. He brings co-driver back from Siberia and tells him, "You've been away for long time, but try to remember which controls do what." Engine driver can't and train doesn't move. Then, third, Brezhnev tries. He orders that all blinds be drawn across windows and that passengers start rocking back and forth in their seats- so train feels like moving." Which was a pretty accurate snap shot of the political situation, come to think of it.

Dan snorted, wiping his eyes, the laughter was turning into a grin. "If you continue like this you'll have to provide some vodka to keep me from choking."

"Sorry, no vodka. I was travelling light. Next time, yes?"

Dan moved closer, unthinking, seeking body warmth. "While we're at it, a personal question." Out of the blue and delivered with a bared-tooth grin. "Do all Russkies have no body hair?"

Vadim paused, then grinned. "Only ones that don't like it and can get enough razor blades to keep smooth. From my swimming days. And it's more hygienic."

"Fuck, no, you'd never get me to do that." Dan was running a hand over his sparsely haired chest, then down along his thigh. Dark hair, not a bear, but definitely hairy. "I'm a bloke, blokes are supposed to be hairy."

Vadim snorted. He really preferred it that way, even the hair on his head was only a concession to the military style, but the sides of his scalp and his neck were shaved, definitely the face. More hygienic, certainly that.

Dan finished off the last bit of beef, chewing while glancing sideways. "Not saying it doesn't feel good, though." Said too much, rolled his eyes, hid the discomfort behind a boisterous smirk. "You're as smooth as pussy, but with a cock and muscles. Suits me well."

"As pussy?" Vadim laughed. "You haven't seen aunt Olga." There was no aunt Olga, of course. "But then, she doesn't qualify as pussy anyway. Maybe forty years ago."

"Better than pussy and definitely better than your aunt Olga." Dan waggled his brows, felt a strange sense of ease, wondered if he shouldn't be wanting to bash the fucker's head in. Enemy and all that. Russkie. Bad man. Killer. Shit like that.

"You're insulting my aunt Olga?" asked Vadim, mock-serious.

Dan shrugged, grinned. "Skin, I mean. Girls have soft, smooth skin. They do that powdering and perfume shit, can't stand that, but their skin feels good."

Vadim smirked. Ah, hard training, hours and hours of swimming, sauna, oiling the body, resting in warm towels, sweating, washing again. They had treated him the best and he had looked the best in Montreal. Anoushka's skin. Porcelain complexion, pores so small they were invisible. He shouldn't think of his daughter, not in the mountains, not in a war.

Dan started to stretch, closed his eyes and prodded the other's ribs to make him lie down. A soldier could never get enough sleep when they had the chance. "Yours is better."

Strange thing to compliment him on, but Vadim smiled, oddly touched by … by that … affection? He laid back, head resting against the bergan, thoughtful. One of them should keep watch. But then, it was really, highly unlikely they would be found, asleep. What if? What if the Mujas showed up? Vadim checked his pistol and kept it between their bergans that served as pillows.

"Wake me when it's time to fuck you again." Dan grinned, closed his eyes. Strangely relaxed. It could all be different in a few hours. They were still mortal enemies and he didn't trust the Russkie from blanket to cave mouth. But now, now it was time to rest, and what better than to rest in safety and warmth. If they were to kill each other, they'd better wait till the morning.

Vadim smiled, wanted to run fingers through the tousled mess of hair, to feel what the forehead felt like, and formed a fist instead. No. Too risky. Right after sex, maybe right before sex, but not now. It would bleed the relaxation out of this man, faster than a bullet wound.

He spied the round scar on Dan's shoulder, the scar that belonged to the gun that was just a breath away. He leaned against the bergan, close enough to the other to be warm, awake enough to guard, to look out at the stars, the impossible deep dark blue of the Afghan sky. Maybe another day. Maybe two, even three. He needed to take what he could. He had nothing to squander.

Special Forces Chapter IX: Mercy
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 17 November 2006