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Special Forces Chapter XII: Insiders

August 1984, Afghanistan

It had gone wrong. So fucking wrong, Dan was screaming when the bullet impacted in his thigh, stumbled backwards, fell, just knew it was over. Wrong, goddamned wrong, was losing it all; goat-fuckers, duty, sanity and his life. Pain, bullets, blood and screams, and those motherfucking Mujas dying like flies all around him.

Fucking Russians, they'd done it this time. He'd under-estimated the Glorious Red Army. Cock-sure. Cock ... nothing. No more. Reduced to trying to crawl out of the worst of this hellfire. Shot at from left, right, centre. Only a few more minutes and they'd be under fire from behind as well. Really fucked. Truly buggered, right up the arse this time; bullets, RPG, staccato of AKs and any old GMP.

Gripping the flesh wound on his thigh, Dan slung the rifle onto his back, pistol in one hand, dragging himself forward on hands and knees, desperate to get to the outcrop of rock he'd recced earlier. Blind to the dying, deaf to their screams, his own pain bridled with clenched teeth and that never-ending greed to live.

Crawling like a dog, eating dirt, using the dead and dying as shields, he had to get away, or they'd figure out that the man beneath the native rags was nothing like the Afghans. Turkey. Merc. Dead as a dodo after interrogation and torture, unless he'd be lucky and kicked the bucket beforehand. But fuck, he wasn't ready to die yet.

Damned Russkies. Damn them all and their ambush, and thrice damned his rag-tag of insurgents, unable to hold the village.

Dan managed to crawl two, three feet, the rocks came closer, hope was just about in reach, when he heard more than felt a bullet, too close, impacting on the rock, a sound that made him throw himself down to the ground, belly first. Swallowing dust, dirt, and blood, then pain. Felled like a fucking bull shot with a dart gun, ready for slaughter.

The bullet had ricocheted off the rocks, would have killed him if he hadn't thrown himself down. Grazed his temple. Hit with force. Blood. Pain.


* * *

"We're finished here, Major."

"Very well, Captain. Congratulations."

The man gave him a crisp salute, and people were pulling out. A massing of effort, men, and gear. This was as much an example as would do. Part of a massive offensive designed to drive the enemy back, and underground, and generally out of the way.

There was a mass grave, the bodies had begun to bloat and posed a health risk this close to the outpost. There was that smell in the air, sour blood, and oily smoke.

Vadim walked into the settlement, what was left of it, saw soldiers standing guard and was pretty sure everything had been looted already. Intelligence had worked with this one. They assumed they'd hit a lieutenant of one of the warlords … no names, just bets being hedged. He was only here to confirm.

And that he did. He began to turn stones, metaphorically and literally, trying to find a scrap of information which faction exactly had been bombed and shot into the stone age, which of the many foes was no more … and found a bergan that didn't belong here. He knew that one, knew the smell, the frayed, bleached thing. Thought, Dan, then thought mass grave, then thought Dan would not survive in the mountains.

He sat there, hands shaking, thought of their last encounter, force and need as always, and thought again of the mass grave. Thought of the turkey that had been Dan's comrade, and dread crept up and turned his throat to lead. What if, this time, it was actually what he had feared?

He stood, composed himself, hid the bergan in its exact spot, and left to radio the Colonel. He was pretty sure the insurgent leader had left for the mountains, might be wounded, requested permission to hunt.

Hemming and hawking, too valuable, but the target was valuable, too, and permission was given. Vadim got his kit from the Hind helicopter, and watched the men leaving, wrapping up, knew what they were thinking. The crazy Spetsnaz was out to get himself killed. But that was exactly how the crazy Spetsnaz had made Major, that was what the grandfathers said, and, eventually, Vadim was left alone, with the stench of bodies and the settlement, aware that vengeance was in the air. If the Mujas had any forces left in the area, they'd come crashing down on him. He should be out and gone as soon as possible.

* * *

Pain. Heat. Stench and weight. Impossible to move. Restricted. Bound and Held. Panic.

Dan woke, unable to see, impossible to move. Couldn't fathom where he was, what had happened. Dizzy, thirsty, head spinning from the bullet impact, face a sticky mess, eyes glued shut with blood.

Bodies. Felt hands, arms, legs and torsos. Fabric, rags, felt and wool, smell. Blood. Stink. Flies. Too much weight and heat, and panic rose like bile in his throat. Alive, but amongst the dead. Pried his eyes open, tried to move, froze when he heard voices and pain shot through his leg, almost screamed.

Stared at by a face, bloated, ripe-swollen skin stretching grey-black over distorted features. Mouth wide open, eyes bulging, dimmed like brack-water.

Dead. Everywhere. Decay and horror. Unable to move; unable to die.

Welcome to hell, McFadyen, the face seemed to smirk. We got you at last.

Hours that felt like Days. Weeks. Dead and alive. Rotting corpses, exploding flesh. Fermented shit, curdled blood and bile. The heat drew in flies in the millions. Bodies oozing, fluids drenching, horror.

Death. Please, dead.

Let me die.

Don't talk to me. Faces, bodies, rotting and torn. Limbs, flesh, skin.

Don't touch me. Leave me.



* * *

Vadim searched the settlement again. No Dan. No more bodies. Checked the surrounding area. No. He stood above the pile of corpses, blue and black, the stench like nothing else in the world. Unforgiving heat. Had no idea what he'd do if Dan was in there, but there was only one way to confirm his death.

Vadim downed half a bottle of vodka, trying to psych himself up for the deed, then climbed down into the mass grave. "Fucking hell", he muttered, one of Dan's expressions.

He reached down to shift the first body, the stench was so bad it made him retch, every fibre in his body telling him to get away from this, from death. Some of the bodies were half-burned, skin had turned to ashes, torn open in the heat to reveal raw and half-cooked flesh underneath. Piss and shit, and the stench of death, and Vadim's stomach churned restlessly, until he climbed out again, dizzy with exhaustion, and relieved himself of the vodka and the bile, wound the rag around his head again, and continued the search.
He checked their faces, whatever their bodies looked like, even if they were only in pieces, even when they had been shot trough the face, had been ripped apart and were missing half the face or jaw. He needed to find Dan.

Near the middle, there was a tall, bulky body, and Vadim closed his eyes. No. Please, no. He climbed over to him, treading into flesh and blood and guts and knelt down beside that body, lying on his front, wearing one of those rags, but blood-soaked, dried blood, native clothes. Reached for the shoulder to turn him over, and did, and at least the face was only covered in gore and not mutilated. He didn't care any longer about whatever warlord, whatever Mujahideen, just grabbed that body and placed it over his shoulders, a heavy load, stumbled forward, tied rope to Dan and pulled him out of the hole.

That was when the body twitched.

* * *

Dead. Mercy, at last. Gone. That face didn't speak to him anymore. No more accusations of why and what and how come he hadn't died, the only one, while all others were rotting in heaps of mutilated corpses.


At last. Free, no longer restricted. His accusers had left, no more weight on his body. Floated. Taken. The Gods had Mercy upon his Soul. Hell and purgatory. Guilt and questions. Why hadn't he died, how dare he survive. No longer. It was over. Thankful. No more eyes that stared at him. No longer hands that were pulling, dragging. Not anymore tied to legs and limbs, arms and heads that were moving around himself in ever decreasing circles.

Dan groaned with pain when Vadim put him down on the ground. Unaware.

Dead. Free. Only the final questions to answer. Would there be heaven or hell, and a god he'd never believed in.

* * *

Vadim checked Dan for wounds. Alive. Or dying? A wound in the leg looked painful, but not life threatening. The thing at his head was worse, though. He carried him off into one of the less demolished houses, found water, stripped him, cleaned up the blood and other mess. Working silently. Hoped there were no Mujas close, no way he could carry Dan in this state. Maybe after nightfall.

He dribbled a little water between the other's lips, just elated he was alive, but wary because he was in a bad state. Out there. He didn't react much to words, to being touched, even light slaps to the cheeks did exactly nothing more than a blink, or a flutter of eyelashes.

* * *

Fluid. Lips. Something touched Dan's lips and dribbled into his mouth. No!

Dan shrieked, eyes tore wide open, seeing nothing. Fighting. Arms flailing. No, not this, no! He'd been granted reprieve in death, no more of this, no more stench and drying blood, no more shit and guts running into his mouth.

Fighting, screaming, pressing his lips together, whole body convulsing. No more, no more. No tendrils of putrid body-puss snaking its way into his mind and taking his sanity. Eating away with clouded eyes and open-mouthed grins, lips torn away from teeth, black-swollen tongue stretched out at him, trying to kiss. To taste. To take.

He was theirs.


Vadim pulled back, too surprised to restrain Dan. Fuck. That looked like shock. Or worse. Madness. They didn't move like that in shock, did they?

He left him in peace, hoped the other would calm, and he did, probably from exhaustion more than any real calm.

Needed to get out of here. Couldn't risk the whole night. No way.

Vadim began to scout, found a cave up in the rocks, might have served this village well at some point in time, but no sign of it having been used recently. Trekked up there twice, once with his gear and Dan's kit, another time with Dan's naked body wrapped in a blanket slung across his shoulders. He rested, made a fire, shielded it, then trekked down one final time to bring as much water as he could, because he just didn't want to risk being seen. Not even in a forsaken valley like this.

Dan was shaking. Eyes closed. Unaware of being moved, yet aware of the motion.

'Let me die'. Mouthed. No voice, no sound.

Trembling all over, refused to open his eyes. No more skull-stares and flesh-rotten greetings from the ones who'd died around him.

"Let me die." Whispered. "Sorry." Repeated. "So sorry." Lips moving again and again. So sorry, so sorry, so sorry, forgive me, don't stare at me, don't talk to me, don't touch me, don't feed me. Not your putrefied flesh in my mouth, nor your rotting stench in my nostrils.

"Die …" Begging.

Vadim stared at him, shook his head and returned to the cave mouth. Dan had lost it, lost it completely. He knew nothing about how to deal with this, didn't even know exactly what it was, dreaded to know.

But just couldn't put a gun to the other's temple and pull the trigger. Too much they'd done, and too much he still wanted to do. The man meant too much. Simply did. But he needed a solution to the problem, and he was pretty sure stroking his forehead and telling him all would be good wouldn't do.

He rolled Dan over on a blanket and insulation, covered him with another blanket, looked into the face and felt a forlorn pain that was unbearable after the hope. What to do? He rested next to him, hoping for a miracle, then let his hands run over that smooth, powerful back, trying to take a little of the tension out, nervous that would trigger another of those reactions, dug in the pack for Vaseline, and began to massage, knead the muscles, trying to make the other aware, aware of himself, and aware he was alive. And that that wasn't the worst place to be.

Dan shuddered. Touched. Moved again. Couldn't understand how his body could feel the imprint of hands, why the stench was replaced with another smell. Were they pulling at him? Trying to get him to join them in the mass grave, trapped between bodies upon bodies. But he could move. Arms twitched. Lost.

Dan whimpered.

Vadim worked like the masseur had worked, starting on the lower back, moving up, tackling the tension that just didn't subside, went carefully ahead, tried to get the muscles to relax, murmured under his breath much like Dima did when working on a dying man, and shook his head, discarding that thought at once. Dan was alright. He needed rest, that was all.

They continued. Dan felt those hands, touching, not pulling. Couldn't understand. Wanted to scream, let out a pained moan instead. Where, what and why wouldn't they let him die. Trying to open his eyes, shadows and shades, movements, something above him. Someone? He cried out, tried to sit upright, fought against the hands once more. A demon. Out to get him, a tall, broad-shouldered beast, and he was about to scream, unseeing eyes wide open, when the red firelight shifted, fell onto hair.

Blond. Memories. Eyes, pale. Remembered.

"Who are you." Whispered, slumped, then focussed. That man. No demon. A glimmer of recognition in his eyes before he fell back onto the blankets.

"Vadim", said Vadim, meeting the wide-eyed gaze, hands still on the shuddering body. "It's me. You're … alive." Worked down over the buttocks, felt the tension under his fingers, wanted nothing but to dig into that body, claws, teeth, tongue, take the terror away. Maybe …

I do it after a shit day at the office, when he's out there and nothing else can reach the bastard.

Shit day at the office indeed. Amidst this insanity, that made perfect sense.

Dan lay prone. Shuddering, trembling as if cold was wrecking his body. "Vadim." Whispered. Who are you - who am I. Alive, dead?

Body moving towards the hand, seeking protection from the shadows. Nameless terror, but he'd be safe under the wings of the broad shouldered demon. Remembered the hair. That name. Recognition of something deep, profound, reaching on a level where conscious thoughts did not matter.

"Protect me." Big words - small voice.

Vadim's hand scooped more Vaseline out of the tub, warmed it between his fingers, rubbed it between Dan's ass cheeks, one hand splayed between the other's shoulder blades, to calm, and soothe, and keep him down, just in case he began lashing out again. "Trust me", he said, and meant it, and hoped he would. "I'm here."

"They want me." Dan whispered, tried to scoot closer but the hand between his shoulder blades kept him down. Stilled. Easier to stay in this place, beneath the demon's wings, and the strangely familiar touch. "They're waiting for me. They kept talking to me with their rotting faces. Want me." Dan trailed off, wrecked by a shudder.

"They'll have to fight me for you." Vadim didn't believe in hell, damnation, or gods. Only knew Muslims thought they went straight to Allah, whatever happened. Nothing could keep them away from their god. Dan - was a different matter. He needed something, and Vadim remembered Mark's moment of complete awareness, of trust, of longing, deeper and more powerful than anything else he had thought possible. He pushed away thoughts of his own lust, he didn't want to take advantage, all he wanted to do was bring Dan back into his own body.

The ring, resistance, but yielding, warm, living flesh. Vadim knelt between Dan's legs, kept them open with his own legs, pushing a finger into the body, easing it in, the other hand on his lower back, the man, sprawled, nothing but strength, even now, strength that was confused and had no focus, off kilter, no will that held him together.

Suddenly something in Dan that forced him to focus. Something his body felt. Somewhere. A centre, sensations, inside of him, but tiny. Insignificant, yet there. Tried to focus, feel, but his mind flittered away again. Murmured sounds and words with no meaning. Brought back for another second to that something inside, this point in his body that made more sense than anything else.

Dan stilled for a moment, seemed to gather his thoughts, before his mind was lost again.

Vadim leaned in to check whether Dan's breathing had changed, he thought he'd heard something, then proceeded, pulled the finger out, Dan was nicely slicked up now, and entered him with two fingers, thumb rubbing against the ring, feeling it relax slightly, listening into the other's body for any sign of panic, murmuring softly in Russian, about trust and about being there, then joined a third finger to the two inside.

Dan felt that focus again. More now. Back again and moving, centring. Never leaving him alone, and he started to pool all of his thoughts towards that one point. Nothing else mattered. Just the protection from the shadows and that focus. Inside his body. Safe.

He shivered, minute movement of his hips as if getting closer to that thing inside of him. Dan murmured nonsense, about shadows, death, life and guilt. About killing and murder, duties and genocide. About corpses and bodies, lust and living.

The body responded, finally did. Vadim ran his free hand down Dan's flanks, down the powerful back, leaned in to make contact with his body, not restricting, not crushing, more a touch of body against body as his fingers stayed exactly there, firm, but gentle, not forcing, waiting for the other's body to yield, movements minute as he joined a fourth finger, amazed at the flesh that allowed this. He'd seen it, no doubt it was possible, but Mark certainly had a lot more practice. Listened to the body speak, the shift of breathing, the shudder running through that strong back, the flowing and subsiding, tensing of the legs, bare toes stretched as if Dan was trying to push something away.

Dan felt alive. One in that single point that made sense. The intrusion that was part of himself. His mind curling around that focus, unable to notice anything but the sensation inside him. Stretching, asking. Felt as if his demon demanded. What? That pressure point kept increasing in intensity. Demanding him to focus? Live?

Dan's breath evened out. No more shallow desperation; no more air being pulled into burning lungs that remained filled with the putrid stench of rotting corpses. Breathing instead like a dragging of wings. Birds. Slow and steady, circling above the mountains, focussed on nothing but their prey. Like his body. Centred in the intrusion, the demand to live and to accept - to yield.

Dan moaned continuously. Didn't realise it was his own body, crying out quietly as it opened up. Accepted.

Vadim reached for the Vaseline, pulled back a little, added more of the stuff, fingers close together, trying to make this easy on Dan, but could feel him respond, slowly return, maybe. It sure as fuck would override anything else. Shit day at the office, rotting bodies. Fear of dying. Even a fucking death wish. He felt his shoulder tense from the control, from the work to keep the pressure up, slowly moving his hand back and in again, not fucking, not truly, he wasn't quite sure there was a word for it, just a different way of touching, even if his body thought it was about sex. How could he not desire Dan, open like he was now, and how could he, in that fucked up state that he was.

You can only do this if you are not only in control of him, but yourself. A man who's out of control can be restrained, but you need to do this without the comfort of the rope. If you can't, you're not able to do this. And you'll never understand what it actually means. You think it's about power? That's like saying living is about driving a car.

Dan was lost, yet caught. Didn't have to think, not required to act. Wasn't needed nor wanted, just allowed to feel. To be, not do. Felt nothing but that something inside himself, more and more, growing with intensity and slow-tender yet relentless demand. Further, more, opening wider, accepting, his body growing accustomed to the intrusion until that intense focus became part of him. The part that wanted to be alive, that refused to listen to dead eyes and bleeding mouths.

He had no idea what he was doing. His body merely reacting. Moaning, whimpering, sounds he'd never allowed himself. Small cries, needy groans he'd have berated himself for. Didn't matter. Nothing did, just that powerful sensation. Body and mind focused, hips moved on their own accord, backwards, further, moving and shifting, legs opening further, as far as they could, until he was on his knees, face on the ground. Following the demand inside his body.

Vadim listened, and Dan's sounds were driving him insane. He would have liked nothing more than drive himself into that shuddering, sweating, gleaming body that seemed so hot to the touch now, claim him completely, and pulled his lips from his teeth. Control just as fierce as need. Kept thinking of the intricate dance between Mark and Darren, the less Darren actually took for himself, the more Mark gave, begged, the more Mark was his - and wasn't that a mystery that needed exploring? Forcing his fingers apart, sweat trickling from his forehead with denial and concentration, he put the fifth finger between them, and moved in again, the row of knuckles the main problem, and how to do it but just try and go ahead. It took forever, and part of him hoped he wouldn't have to go that far, didn't have to go to the limit, because his hard-on was already torture.

Dan sobbed, let go of everything. Abandoned. Thoughts, pain, fear and madness. Pushing backwards in a slow continuous movement. Elegant, the way his body moved on its own, taking in that hand, accepting the fingers and moving steadily in the flow. Mindless, on instinct.

Crying and sweating, trembling, he moaned and whimpered, lost in base desire and deepest need, no notion of what he should or could do, just a body that was nothing but centred sensations; a body that reacted at last. Pulled away from death and decay, Dan's cock giving proof of life, almost flat against the stomach, foreskin retreating and dark purple head glistening with precum with every further breach of that hand through yielding muscle, deeper into his body.

Vadim muttered tender insults, curses, his hand engulfed in that powerful heat, muscles closing his hand to form a fist, and he moved to kiss Dan's back, lick the sweat from it, while offering resistance to the body that moved on instinct, the smallest motions, moving inside, against Dan in ways that surprised and amazed him, opening and closing that fist against the resistance.

Dan pressed his head against the ground, arms wide as if spread-eagled, crucified by that fist inside his body and the unbearable intensity, yet he was craving forever more. Muscles in his body tensing-relaxing, one second steel hardened ropes, the other as loose as the tears flooding down his face. Unaware of any of his physical reaction, just one large surface of skin and feeling.

Dan's fists surreptitiously opened and clenched, as far stretched out from his body as possible, while his back arched to push his arse higher. Breathing fast now, yet deep, drawing air into his lungs. Alive, and he cried out for more. Senseless, pushing backwards, driving himself onto the fist that owned him. Took him, possessed him and allowed him to live in return.

Vadim noticed the raging need and reached around Dan's body, his own need killing him now, seeing Dan like this, hell, yes, just like Mark, Dan, who was so fierce about it, about his body, about the rape and just the thought of doing anything like this to him. Nothing like it, now, and not the cheap whore thing that Gavriil had done. Took the heavy cock and pumped it, slow, intense, hand also slicked up with the Vaseline, small movements inside, leisure strokes on the cock, he, himself, groaning with need, but unable to do anything about it but rub himself against the tensed leg, like a dog, whatever.

Dan came within seconds, no more than a few strokes, and he crashed like never before in his life. His voice echoed across the mountains, swallowed by the rocks and the cold of the night as he screamed, losing himself. Thrashing, his whole body shuddering, flailing. Choking on tears and sounds, too much sensation. Intensity scalding, drilling into his core and bursting out with insane explosions of energy, pain, and life. Alive. So fucking alive that very moment, he had no name, no past, no future, and all he was, was a body, cumming, and nearly killing itself with its might.

Dan collapsed. Out of his mind, but in his body. Trembling uncontrollably.

Vadim pulled free when Dan lost it, another thing he'd learnt that strange night in London. Slowly, but firmly, his own need didn't matter, he didn't manage to get there, it didn't matter, not right now. Wiped his hands on the ever-present, ever useful rag, moved Dan away from the wet patch, shifted his weight for him because Dan didn't have enough control or focus now, judged by the way his body went slack, but in a good way.

He covered Dan with a blanket, to keep the heat inside, then stood and walked off towards the mouth of the cave, checking if they had attracted any attention. Realised it must have taken hours, dawn was already approaching. Took a moment to finish himself off, thinking of Dan, naked, in this cave, fully his, and yielding, begging, asking for more, begging for his cock; willed his hand to be Dan's throat, lips, forced himself to feel the heated breath against his groin, then, more violent, breaching that body, doing with his cock what his hand had done, ah, deeper, stronger, more powerful, and Dan pushing back, moaning and groaning and cumming. Vadim bit a curse down when he did, again wiped his hands, put the uniform in order.

Then returned to share warmth, and nothing more.

* * *

Sleep. Darkness. No dreams, no voices nor rotting faces, no dead and torn limbs holding him down. Dan's sleep was unconsciousness. Mercy.

Warmth. Waking. He wasn't sure if the darkness was inside him, behind or before his eyes, but he felt warmth and a touch, a close presence. Felt sore, too, a strange pain, but all he remembered was this focus, this something that had turned his body and mind into utter abandon, but what this 'something' was, he didn't know. Knew nothing, barely his own name, just the source of heat in his back, the ache deep inside, and the feeling as if this 'something' was still inside of him, still protecting, connecting.

Half-awake, Dan scrambled more than moved with any coherence, turned and rolled over onto the other side, curled up in a foetal position and burrowing into the heat. Closer. As close as he could, the memory of light, fire, and demon.

Vadim was awake, felt Dan's breath against his chest, shifted his legs to allow him to lie as close, and pushed a fold of the blanket back to make sure Dan was fully covered. Dan. Always him. Always, and again and again. This time, the Brit hadn't even been there for his desire, was just a comrade, on a deeper, more fundamental level than Dima, Sershka, or Alyosha. Stronger than Platon, even though he sometimes missed the courageous little conscript. He did the numbers. Yes, indeed. Platon, had he lived, would now be home in Russia, with his girlfriend, if she had still wanted him back.

He ran his fingers through Dan's hair, carefully, checking that wound that had freaked him the first time he'd checked on it. The swelling was profound, the skin broken and discoloured. Something had hit him there with plenty of force. Had to hurt like a motherfucker.

Dan twitched, his head jerking, moaned at a pain that was somewhere other than inside his body. Moved his head, craned his neck, so close to the other's body, the heat was everywhere. "Don't let them take me." Whispered.

Vadim gave a smile. "They're all dead, Dan. You're alive." And thank whatever force for that. Blind chance. Destiny. The odd pattern of physics, too complex to calculate, but still a pattern which, sometimes, made things look intentional.

Dan wasn't awake, wasn't quite there yet. Moved his head again to nuzzle his face into the other's chest. His head hurt, while turning his hands that had been curled into fists. Palms out and against the other. Connection.

"I need to check on your leg."

Dan just grunted something, no understanding what those words meant. Vadim had cleaned and bandaged the wound yesterday, but feared that last night's exertions might have been not exactly what that leg needed. Felt oddly guilty, but at least he'd fulfilled the objective. Dan was no longer fighting and screaming his head off.

He shifted, making sure Dan didn't lose too much heat, and gave that wound a check-up, while Dan lay perfectly still, curled up and into himself. Letting himself be handled like a puppet. It looked like a flesh wound, the bullet had passed through, without doing any damage to bones. Would hurt, hurt plenty, but not incapacitate. Vadim bandaged it all up again, with dressings that he'd salvaged from a turkey and given to Dima, and Dima had shared his stock with him as well. Something to the end of it being too damn convenient if he died of gangrene. Dima was alright.

Dan's eyes remained closed, just breathing, was easier. Started to hurt like a motherfucker, head trying to explode from within, hammering against his skull, and his leg was on fire. Concentrated on another pain, that ache deep inside him, the soreness that was unfamiliar and kept reminding him of his sanity and saviour.

Vadim dug into his thigh pocket and found the antibiotics, also from a turkey. Thank you, bitches, thought Vadim and offered the pills to Dan, reaching behind himself for the canteen. "Take these."

Dan opened his eyes, looked uncomprehending at the other's hand. Dark, dark eyes, big, deep, just staring. Trying to get his head around what he had been asked to do. White things. Pills. Tablets. Take.

Take. Swallow.

Suddenly made sense. "Blowjob?"

Vadim frowned. "Not … right now. Antibiotics. Gangrene's a bitch, and that …" mass grave, "place I found you wasn't exactly clean. Come on." Opened the lips with his fingers, gentle, manoeuvred the pills onto the tongue, and offered the canteen, placing it against Dan's lips and Dan swallowed. Lips Vadim had seen so often getting him off, lips that could just as easily sneer. Lips he'd kissed exactly once, and that mainly to muffle a scream and because no other touch would do. And what exactly could Dan do to fend him off? Nothing. He leaned in to touch Dan's lips with his, felt the touch like a tingle, knew he should be pulling back, but pressed in closer, licked those lips, could taste the water on them and the dust and the misery and thought how very fucking fitting, the touch warm, no teeth now, no sneering. Shit. He wanted him, wanted him badly even in this state.

Dan responded immediately. Lips seeking, hands palming at the other's chest, wanting that touch, warmth, this softness. Something deep and tender, connecting straight through his centre, with the remaining sensations inside himself. Body and mind being one.

Vadim pulled away. "I … need to scout the area. I should be back shortly." Just a few hours. Allow the other to rest.

"No!" Dan's voice was low, but his hands scrabbling for the other. Bereft, alone. "Don't leave me."

Vadim covered Dan's hands with his and pressed them against his chest. "I won't leave. I'm here. Sleep, Dan. Rest." A bold-faced lie, he really needed to do some scouting, couldn't have anybody walk in on them, not his side, not the other, nobody.

Vadim wedged the open canteen between the bergans, checked his daypack and took the rifle, checked again on Dan, who had drifted off to sleep before he could realise Vadim was leaving.

Sleep. Rest that his body and mind sorely needed. Dan slept for hours, the meds doing their job, his body in pain but his mind too exhausted to notice.

* * *

Vadim went back to the settlement; the mass grave clearly marked with a cloud of buzzing flies, and, most of all, the stench. He covered his face and did recce, thinking of Dan who waited up there in that mountain, but needed to take his time to be completely sure.

His patience was rewarded when he found a body that had crawled away - tried to flee despite the wounds. The man was panting, soaked in blood, fingers turned into claws. Vadim turned him around, checked the face. To him, they all looked the same, beards, hawk noses, bony features, he was pretty sure he recognized the structure of the other's teeth from the photo. The man was delirious with pain and exhaustion. He'd been responsible for killing Soviet prisoners of war, had organized and plotted, and fought, and was now just dying flesh in the sun. Vadim had no time to take prisoners, didn't want to burden himself with yet another, and was pretty sure he was dying anyway.

"Make your peace with Allah", he muttered and pulled the pistol. He was exhausted, didn't relish this the way he would have, like the country, the years of war had sapped his enthusiasm for it. He didn't even hate the man anymore. All he really wanted to do was go back to Dan and make sure he was alright and would survive.

He pressed the muzzle under the man's jaw, made sure it was aligned to send the bullet straight up into the skull, then squeezed the trigger, and holstered the gun in the next moment. He stood, checked whether the shot had drawn any attention, but nothing.

It was far away enough from the cave. They were safe. Stolen time, yet again.

* * *

When Vadim returned Dan had moved to the other side again, less pressure on the leg, and was curled up within the blankets, the canteen empty. Without waking, he had drunk the water, on instinct, then fallen back to sleep. Deep, regular breathing, unruly hair sticking out of the blankets and into his face. Not even twitching, nothing, just breathing.

Vadim washed himself, then joined Dan on the blanket, moving his arms around the other, head to his shoulder, cradling the back of his head, one leg over his to pull him closer. He'd long lost any idea what this man was to him, only knew he had no words for it, no concept, lover didn't quite fit it, even if it was technically true, comrade … wrong allegiance. And they weren't friends. He knew at least that much. "Rest up", he muttered in Russian, and, mostly to keep himself awake, talked. Talked about Moscow, about the neighbours there, then remembered a story he had liked. The Firebird. He couldn't tell a good story to save his life, but he had read that story to Anoushka back home.

Dan was listening to the sound of that voice long before he realised he was waking. Began to make sense of words, sentences, the language that had become a second home to him. English. Russian. He almost felt more at home in the latter.

Awareness returning into his body, and with it came pain. His head was pounding and his leg was in agony. But there was warmth, and closeness, arms that should feel restrictive but instead felt right. There. Around him and on him, close to him, and he lay still. Listening to the voice and tales of folklore and stories, while trying to make sense of the sensations in his body.

Remembered blood, death and decay, horror. A shot, his leg, then something against his head. Pain, injuries. After that? Nothing. Shadowy figures and movements, then tears and terror, but something there to protect and focus, keeping the horror away. Rotten stench and putrefied bodies, the memory pushed away, not allowed back at the surface.

Soreness. Could feel a sensation inside his body he'd never felt before. Stretched. Entered. Taken and used and oh so filled and centred and one with something … he just didn't know what.

Finally awake, Dan was slowly trying to make sense of it all, checking his body and mind, seemed he had lost many hours. "My arse hurts." Astonished at the sound of his own voice, the croaked words of a stranger. Brittle, abused.

Vadim placed a kiss on that forehead, much like he would kiss Anoushka, and nodded. "Yes." How to explain what he'd done? Better not. "Needed to … ah." No delicate way of putting it. "Uhm. Give you focus." He winced. That sounded bad.

"Focus." Dan cleared his throat, parched. Dreaded to move his head, pounding away with a jackhammer inside. "Don't understand." Thoughts already flittering forward. Couldn't quite hold onto anything. Too much effort.

Opening his eyes, he looked at Vadim. It took him a moment to cut through the blurry picture, before he made out pale eyes, sharp-featured face, shaved blond hair. Dan smiled. Childlike. For just this moment. "What happened?" Murmured. Why are you here, why do I hurt, how did I survive, and what are those hours that I have lost.

"You were under the boot of the Red Army when it came down", said Vadim. Easier to speak Russian now. "It nearly crushed you. I was tasked to find a rebel leader, and found you amidst … the ruins." Vadim reached to the side and offered the canteen again. "You were in shock. I waited for you to return. I think it was shock, you were far gone." Vadim's jaw muscles tightened. "Something hit you in the head, another shot in the leg. Dehydrated, but nothing serious."

"I remember death." Dan shuddered, reached for the refilled canteen, drank in deep gulps. Finished and wiped his lips on the other's uniform. Every movement hurt his head. "Remember stench. Couldn't move." Handing the canteen back, Dan suddenly tensed. "I was buried alive." Shook his head, fuck the pain that caused. "No, don't want to remember." Closed his eyes instead.

Vadim ran his fingers down Dan's face, careful to not touch the wound. "Rest. Just the usual stuff. Just war, Dan." Maybe I'll tell you one day, but not now. It made me fucking throw up, and you were in there, what? A day? Two? Fucked up? "You are safe, for the moment. I need to leave in maybe two days, three when I'm stretching it." And I will, of course. Stretch my luck again, just to make sure you're alright. Worse than friendship could hurt.

Dan kept his eyes closed, smiled again. Was much easier to simply listen to the voice, feel the touch, and refuse to remember. Could feel the lead descending onto his limbs, taking his mind back down into sleep. "Got food?" Too tired to eat, yet his body was hungry. Didn't wait for an answer, already dropping off within moments.

"Plenty", murmured Vadim and felt the insane impulse to make Dan eat Russian food, as if he could just invite him after a cold winter day into the apartment and feed him with a stew that had been boiling away for hours and hours, and keep pouring him tea, and show him food that he probably didn't know. Nothing like the rations that he did have and despised, or the nuts and dried fruits that he kept because they kept him going in the mountains, far better than the rations managed. No, a long, relaxed dinner with friends, with vodka, and courses upon courses, saved for for weeks, if not months, only to have one feast.

"I'm delusional", he muttered. "What's going on in your stupid head, Vadim", he cursed softly. It was wrong, wanting that, wrong trying to share these things, or even feeling the impulse to. Not in the middle of a war.

But Dan was asleep already, his face smoothing and his breath evening out. Just a man, not an enemy. Wounded, tired and hurting. Sheltered by another.

Vadim only left his side to piss, or prepare tea, or check the surroundings for any sign of Mujahideen activity, but nothing he could spot, and he didn't venture far from the cave. At the moment, they were both living off his rations - and the food in Dan's bergan, and all Vadim did was make sure Dan had all the rest he needed. Taking a strange pleasure from Dan lying close and needing his help, his care, and even his protection. It was like repaying him, and it was also like owning him on some level. Which was probably not the nicest thought, but it was this sense of belonging that Vadim cherished.

Dan had no idea what time of day or night it was, nor how long he had slept, when he woke once more. Had neither a clue where he was, what had happened, and why the fuck he was hurting. For a moment, while waking, he couldn't even fathom out why he was warm on one side, and why there was something heavy across his body. Moving, sluggishly, until his leg protested and he hissed.

Vadim opened his eyes when something pulled the blanket off his shoulder, and it registered with him. He looked at Dan in the near-darkness. "You alright?"

"Hungry." That was easy. Identifying the major feeling in his body. "Thirsty?" Number two was getting a bit more complicated, and he was having a hard time trying to figure out the rest. "Head hurts." Like a motherfucker, but at least less than before. "Leg …" remembered that one, made sense, and he shifted again, stilled, moved his head, ever so slowly. Looked up, trying to make out the shape close to him. "Arse?" Had already forgotten he'd asked before.

Vadim gave a low chuckle and reached for the canteen, opened it and held it to Dan's lips, digging for dried fruit when Dan had taken a few mouthfuls of water. Slipped small pieces between Dan's lips, allowing him plenty of time to chew and swallow, and offered water afterwards. "The leg looks alright. You'll enjoy that for a while longer."

Taking his time to swallow and chew, then drink some water, Dan was starting to feel more human, yet didn't realise that being hand-fed wasn't quite what special forces guys did. The liquid and fruit sugar seemed to help with his head. He groaned as he tried to stretch, very carefully, at least he had his limbs under control. Some sort of progress.

"Aching." Dan tried to prop himself up on his elbow. Feeling every bone in his body from lying down too long. Frowned. "Remember stuff I don't want to remember." Wiped his lips with the back of his hand, equally slowly, looked questioningly into Vadim's face. "Remember bits of something else. Vague. Hazy. Something inside me? Some kind of focus?" Frowned again, lost, seemed his brain was playing dirty tricks.

Vadim nodded. "Yes. Something inside you. But it's not what you might think." Shit, that sounded wrong, and maybe guilty, too, only it was the pure, unadulterated truth. "Some kind of massage. Needed to … ah, get you to relax. It worked."

Dan blinked slowly, rubbing his hand over his face. Eye to eye with the other. Occasionally struggling to keep his gaze focussed, but at least he was starting to believe this mind wasn't going insane. "Massage inside?" His flummoxed, almost childlike expression seemed comical.

"Well … yes." Shit, like Vadim had taken advantage of a seriously disturbed man. Somebody in his care.

"Don't understand." Dan was rubbing his nose, "You said it worked. Will I feel better if you did it again? Still fuzzy. Head's weird. I was out, aye?"

"Out and gone. Looked like shock to me. Or something close to that, anyway. Shell shock? Dima would know, he's the medic."

Dan nodded slowly, said nothing for a while.

Do it again. Oh yes. Why not. The memory of Dan's sounds and movements tensed Vadim's stomach, in a good way. Different from that other memory of yielding. Lusting after Dan, any way he could have him, even if it meant this, and not the other thing. He shuddered at the thought. "First time I did that. No idea. No experience. I was … just trying out something I've seen once."

"Where did you see that massage?" Dan yawned, stretching again, every movement slow, deliberate. Unaware of being naked. Burrowed into blankets and sleeping bag, and the heat of the other's body.

There was really no answer to it. Some things Dan was not supposed to know. Like travelling to London to kill people. "Uhm. Some guy's place. Did it on … his partner."

"You been to other soldiers' places who massaged each other?" Dan's dark eyes grew wide, something wasn't right there, but couldn't put his finger onto the whole thing.

"Not quite."

"And why does my arse still ache? Not bad, just weird. Strange massage." He smiled, a trusting smile. Dan McFadyen, SAS, was right now Dan. Just Dan, no more. Mind still foggy.

"Not strictly something a masseur would do." No, yours never got that far inside. Just a couple fingers. "Normal masseurs, I mean." Hoped Dan would just stop asking.

"So what kind of not normal masseur was that, then?" Dan was shuffling even closer, while Vadim won time, the heat from the other's body welcome. "But if it's good, and I think it was good, you think you can do it again?"

Vadim grinned. "I … yes, I could, but I think a traditional massage might be better at this stage."

"Why? What's wrong with the special one? Or does that ache come from you sticking stuff up my arse?"

Shit. He'd been honest about worse things. Vadim inhaled deeply, felt his body tense, expecting a punch, or anything really. "Yes. But not what you think."

Dan's easy simpleton smile froze. That … was something very bad. Yes? Yes. Had to be. Remembered ... nothing right now, just a vague recollection of something very bad and very dark and very painful, but it seemed too far away and disconnected, he felt as if that Bad Thing had happened to someone else.

"What do I think?" He frowned, lost.

"I didn't … fuck you." But I want to, always wanted to, and right now fucking want to. "Might feel like I did but I didn't." Apologising for something he'd never done. Felt guilty even for apologizing, for trying to not think about it. Shit. Dan had sworn to kill him if he ever did. He remembered well.

"I remember …," Dan's dark brows drew together with concentration, "… fucking you." Memory like bright sparks flashing across the surface of his hurting brain. "Good memory." He smiled again, guileless, slowly images were coming together, one after the other.

Vadim just barely breathed. Oh yes. Very good memory. It increased the tension in his body, up a couple notches. Shit. He wanted Dan. Wanted that body, wanted to feel him squirm with need.

"You fucking me, that's a bad thing?" Again this intense concentration. "I don't remember. Just something forbidden. Long ago." Dan paused, "Is fucking me not a good thing? Unlike me fucking you?"

"It's a very good thing", said Vadim, voice strained. "Something … I liked a lot." Hand reaching out to run over Dan's back, tracing the spine beneath the flesh, rested in the hollow above the ass. "I'd kill to have you."

Dan moved with the hand, like a slow-coiling snake, until he froze again, some memory triggered that he couldn't quite fathom. "Kill …" Thinking. Memory came back with each hour, mind getting clearer, but too many puzzle pieces still missing.

"Kill who?"

"Figure of speech. I'd do anything to have you." Vadim inched closer, making more contact, lips touching Dan's delta muscle.

"Anything?" Dan moved his head enough to rub his face against the other's.

Asking for something Vadim knew he couldn't have, and still wanting it. On the off chance that a beaten up, shell shocked and wounded man wouldn't resist. Fuck you, Vadim, you're an utter bastard.

"You done it before? Is just that I can't remember right now." Eyes dark, Dan's gaze was innocent. "You fucked me before?"

Vadim winced. "I did." Now, what? Admitting to something that was forgotten for a couple blissful hours? Ruining the chance for a repetition with the word 'rape'? "You … didn't like it." Understatement of the war, in a war full of understatements. Growing trees. Rape is just bad sex, is it, Vadim? Violence just impatience? "I hurt you." I wanted to kill you. He shook his head and pulled back, body protesting the distance. "You should rest."

"OK." Dan frowned again, couldn't remember, impossible. Nothing except those long-ago shadows, something dark and awful, profoundly nasty, and deeply terrifying. Yet it didn't make any sense. The feeling of being close to that man, of being taken care of by the Russian, and that disturbing, truly unpleasant memory of yore, those didn't go together.

"Not tired, though." No, but Dan could feel himself drifting off yet again when the blankets were tugged around him and the fruit and water were kicking into his system. The warmth of the other's body and that all encompassing sensation of belonging. It was good. It was right. He was alive and would be taken care of.

He fell asleep again before he could protest once more, his brain resting, healing. Memories and mind returning while he slept deeply and undisturbed.

* * *

When Dan woke again, he was alone. Couldn't feel the heat anymore that had been enveloping his sleep and guarding his mind. He felt different when surfacing, strange. The hazy cloud that had kept his memories at bay had dissipated, and there were flashes of images that made his mind reel and his body jerk. Breathing, concentrating on drawing air into his lungs and expelling the warmed breath through his nose, he started to check his body. Functional. Sore. Leg hurting, head in drilling/pounding pain. Arse …


Couldn't quite remember, just fuzzy sensations, things that had kept him sane in the midst of insanity, and the feeling of being held, tethered, kept from falling into the chasm of madness. Death, horror, and the invasion of his body.

Dan opened his eyes before moving, peering across the cave.

Vadim sat near the fire, idly toying with pieces of wood, pushing them into the centre, taking one of the sticks and lifting it in front of his face, gazing into the glow, fascinated by the way fire moved and softly hissed, how the wood made the faintest sounds. He glanced over at Dan, back at the stick for a second, then dropped it into the flames. "Tea?"

Dan tried to answer, but his voice wouldn't let him. Croaked out a sound, cleared his throat. "Aye." Sitting up, he almost fell over with dizziness. "How long have I been here?" Holding his head while closing his eyes against the nausea and the pounding ache. Got a lot better when he didn't move.

"About thirty hours." Vadim poured tea, stirred it, and came over, sitting down next to Dan and placing a hand on his chest.

"Shit." Thirty hours. Holy fuck. A lot more than he had imagined. Had no real recollection of what had happened, just increasingly clear ideas of what had taken place ever since those dead eyes …. No. Felt the hand on his chest, stopped moving for a while, until the pounding in his head subsided to a dull ache.

"Go easy. You're banged up pretty good." Vadim waited, patiently, as the mug in his hand steamed, then pushed an arm under Dan's shoulders and lifted his upper body enough to push the bergan underneath for support. "Plenty of food and water. No enemies."

"Cheers." Lifting his eyes but not his head, Dan's gaze was a lot deeper and more serious than it had ever been. Just studying the other for a while. Silent, before taking the tea and warming his hands. Vadim returned that gaze, clear light blue eyes darker as they were turned away from the fire.

"I'm getting my memories back." Stating a dry fact while still watching, Dan took a first sip of the tea. The stuff tasted like manna from heaven, not that he had a fucking clue what manna would taste like.

Vadim glanced to the side, the only indication that he felt guilty. The rape was back. What he had done was back, everything was back, and there would be questions. Of course there would. "That's good."

"I was pretty much out, huh?"

"Shell shock does that. Can make soldiers completely deaf and blind. Vegetables." Vadim shook his head. "Guess you should go on R&R for a while. See if something's broken. Get healed up." But the thought of Dan going back home was painful. Shit. What if there was something broken? Dan could just as well have turned into a raving lunatic. The human mind was pretty resilient, but sometimes it could be very fragile - with no reason why some people broke and some didn't. A mystery.

Taking another sip, Dan felt like laughing for no reason. The taste of tea brought to his mind the way every goddamned Brit seemed to cling to that fucking proverbial bit of bloody national beverage. Nothing a fucking sip of fucking tea couldn't cure.

"You didn't fuck me."

Vadim shook his head. "I didn't." I wanted, but I didn't. It would have been raping a corpse. Or a child. Not that far down yet.

Dan nodded slowly, not to get that damned pounding going in his battered head again. "You could have. That's what you wanted."

Vadim glanced up, then looked to the side again. "Guess I learnt my lesson." Shit. What lesson? What fucking lesson? Had he been trained like a dog, threatened and beaten often enough? Scared often enough? Fuck me and I'll kill you. An end to their twisted game, an end to everything that was sane in an insane place, or the other way round, insane in a sane place, no idea. Thoughts racing. Wanting the man too much to have it end like that. It wasn't worth the price. No longer.

Again Dan's slow, deliberate nod, even though he wasn't quite sure if he actually understood what Vadim had said. Didn't matter, he might understand the Russkie one day, or perhaps he already did, just taking his time to move from subconscious to conscious.

"Thanks." Simple as that, sipping his tea. "That's fucking decent."

Vadim nodded, then, at the strangeness of it, flashed a smile. "You're welcome. Just … don't do this too often. Might get second thought." Or third, or fourth.

"Yeah ..." drawing out the vowel, Dan placed the mug onto his lap, cradling it in his hand while just looking. Dark eyes and steady gaze. Studying, watching.

"And that other thing?"

"What other thing?"

"My arse is still sore." Dan felt his fingertips, each touching its opposite, heated on the mug.

Oh shit. Back to the interrogation chamber. "Should pass. Just rest." Vadim tried to make it sound normal, because explaining it would possibly not be good. I just fucked you with my hand. No big deal. As long as it wasn't my cock … no.

Dan ignored Vadim's reply, ploughed on instead. "I remember you kept me from going insane. Somehow." Lifted the mug, the last sip was lukewarm. "Shellshock. All that crap." Watching, always just looking. "It was good." Mug dropped back in his lap, empty now. "What did you do." Permission.

Vadim inhaled. No delicate way of putting it. Darren had called it something, but the word didn't actually fit, didn't actually work. Sounded too much like punching, like violence, when it really wasn't. "Massage. I … used my hand." Small pause, just a beat. "All of it."

"Holy fuck." Dan inhaled sharply, hadn't forgotten his threat. I'll fucking kill you if you ever try to shove your cock up my arse again. Don't make the mistake to think I don't mean it. Don't ever.

"No wonder my arse is sore." Felt a strange sensation of hilarity, bubbling right up from his core. He'd had a fist up his arse. That fist. And that fist wasn't a delicate little flowery girl's one. "A cock seems to be dinky compared to that." Looked pointedly at Vadim's hand, twisting the empty mug slowly in his lap.

Vadim looked at his hand, too, shook his head. He had no idea what 'dinky' meant, but he could guess. Something small and pleasant. When it really wasn't. "It … took a while." As if that was an excuse. Or an explanation.

"Aye. Can imagine." Dan's voice as dry as his words. "Should probably kick your arse for that, but whatever I do remember, was good. Strange. Freaked, really. Fucked-up good." Placing the mug beside himself, he dared to move slowly. Pleased to find his head complying with the careful movements.

Not that you're in any state to kick my ass, right now, thought Vadim, but kept silent. Wouldn't do to rile him. "Well, yeah. You … reacted. Came back."

"Where the fuck did you get the idea from?"

"Saw it done … somebody did it to somebody else. Said it was one way to focus, to stretch time … I saw what it did to the other guy."

"Wonder what it's like when not being totally fucked-up and spaced out." Dan couldn't imagine where Vadim would have seen that, forgotten he'd asked before. "I guess I'd have to be pissed as a newt instead."

"I could … well, do it again. At some point. And bring vodka." And jerk off before I do, because I have no idea what I will do to you when you're not half dead, half insane.

"Good idea. When hell freezes over." Dan didn't grin.

Back to normal. Back to struggling with the other even if there was nothing left to lose, nothing left to win. Vadim forced a laugh, like it had been a joke, and stood, headed towards the fire, where the rations had warmed up. Also dried out, but he didn't mind. As long as Dan stopped asking questions. As long as things were under control. "I guess you're hungry."

"Aye, guess so." Dan didn't actually know if he was hungry or not, couldn't read the signs from his body. "What's my leg like, by the way? Feels like raw meat in places."

"Got shot through, but most of muscle seems intact. Flesh wound. Hardly more than grazing. Might be ticket home." Vadim returned with the food and put it on the ground between them.

"Maybe." Dan shrugged, "home's overrated." Leaning forward, ever so slowly, seemed his head was starting to get used to the idea of belonging to a body that was supposed to function. "Where's home anyway." Reached for the food, hot, took it with his hand. He'd learned from the Mujas. "Home's the mountains." Began to chew, still watching. Always that dark-eyed gaze.

"Living like mountain lion. Fierce loner." Vadim shook his head. "I miss sauna, and proper food, and family. I miss books, and Metro, can do without walking thirty or fifty clicks in day, in this territory. Can do without getting shot at." Truth be told, somewhere he'd begun to lose the zest for war. It was now just a task, and one he could do, but he was no longer craving it. Maybe he was getting old.

Helping himself, Dan continued to eat, only now realising how hungry he had been. "Books?" Stuffing himself with another handful, chewing quickly. "You read books?"

Vadim looked up. "You don't?" It had never occurred to him that that was even worth asking. Of course he read books. He liked theatre and ballet, too, but if Dan thought reading strange, there was no point explaining Swan Lake or the Nutcracker Suite. A love that could not be and that killed the lovers. Self-destruction. Tchaikovsky had known things about love, there, some deep and profound and horrible truth about mortality.

"No." Dan was thirsty, glancing around for the canteen. "Used to read mags, broadsheets, crap like that. No time for books, no patience. What good would they do? They don't tell you how to survive."

"No, they don't do that. They are reason, not tool." Vadim smirked. "They hold more truth than Pravda. Politburo can't lie in Pushkin. Pushkin was there before we became Soviets. It means … if we have past, we have future." As close to political treason as he could come without showing too much.

"Truth? Reason to live? Bullshit. Food is a reason to live, a juicy steak with oil dripping chips; booze is a reason to live, getting pissed on beer and whisky with mates; sex is a reason to live. In fact, it's the best and biggest one." Finding the canteen behind him, Dan closed his eyes for a moment, felt dizzy and nauseous after moving his head. "What good has the truth done you, eh?" Uncapping, he took a swig of water, feeling better with every gulp.

"At least I know that there are many truths. It's about learning to think different thoughts. Know things that you never felt. You could know what being rich feels like, or being in love, without ever getting real feeling." Vadim shrugged. "Like guilt." Raskolnikov. Guilt leading to insanity, and, later, Siberia. "And it tells us who we are. What we are fighting for. I don't mean orders. I mean people."

"But that's bollocks, that feeling and knowing thing. How can you know if you haven't experienced it. I think your books are fakes. They tell you something you believe you know what it feels like, but you're lying to yourself. You don't. You just fell prey to a big old scam."

But what's the difference between a lie that is believed and the truth? Vadim shook his head. Paradox of his existence. Sometimes he thought it would be easier if he could believe the official story. Doublethink.

Taking another swig of the water, Dan leaned his head back against the cave wall, pulling the blanket closer around his naked body. "And what do you fight for? Why are you here?"

"The Russian people", said Vadim. "My family. People I hold dear." He smiled. "Trying to make this career. Climb ladder. Watch out for what's mine."

Career. Dan couldn't understand that one either. Mind not fully sharp yet, but he knew that he'd never felt he had to climb anything. No career, just doing what he did. Perhaps he just liked killing and evading getting killed. Great sum of how a man had spent his life. "So, that's why you're here?" Lifting his hand, he made a slow-sweeping gesture around the cave. "Watching out for your own enemy?" His lips quirked up into a strange half-smile.

Vadim smirked. "Well, in absence of my unit or properly cultured Russian, guess you'll have to do."

"Fuck you, too, Russkie." Dan grinned tiredly. "In that case, help me up. I'd like to go for a piss without keeling over or throwing up."

Vadim nodded, moved behind Dan and put his arms under the other's, steadying and pulling him up a bit, causing Dan to hiss, then took his arm and placed it around his shoulders, helping him walk by taking the weight off the side where the leg needed rest and healing. Couldn't help but stare at Dan's nakedness. He'd washed him, and massaged him, had been that close, and he still always noticed.

"Ah shit." Dan grumped, then kept his teeth clenched while walking towards the mouth of the cave. Remained silent until the reached a spot just outside. "Feels like I haven't moved for a week." The dizziness could have been worse, though, and he kind of got his bearings once he stood still. Looking down at his body he eyed his cock for a moment. Pondering, couldn't remember what he was supposed to do with it. Expecting the other to stay and steady him, Dan was swaying for a moment. "What did I mean to do again?" He frowned, kept staring at his cock, flaccid between the darkness of hair.

"You meant to piss." Vadim hoped it was only a concussion, not something major, not something that fucked Dan up worse. Hoped the skull was alright, some people walked and talked with hidden gruesome injuries, then fell over, dead.

"Fuck, yes." Dan frowned, felt the urge to shake his head, trying to clear the cobwebs, but the constant dull ache reminded him to stay still. "Seems my memory's shot to pieces at the moment." Took his cock, tried to relax, willing the piss to flow. "Can remember yesterday, though, and before. Kind of. Can't quite remember before you found me. Guess I don't want to." Letting out a sigh of relief when the urine started to trickle and then shot out in a mighty stream. Hadn't realised how full his bladder had been. "Shit, that's good."

Vadim swallowed. The way Dan's voice changed with that simple pleasure. If he could only have him under him, saying exactly that. Yeah, lusting after a man who was pissing and rested half his weight on his shoulder.
"Concussion." Vadim tried to pull his mind off the fact Dan was naked and in no state to fight. "I'll have to leave tomorrow. You better remember safer place somewhere around here. You're too close to one of our bases."

"Aye," two quick shakes and last drops, and Dan lifted his head, carefully looking over his shoulder. "Survived worse situations. I'll get out." How? He didn't have a clue, but he'd do it, somehow. Even if he had to crawl across the mountains, dizzy and disorientated, but he'd do it. Fuck that leg, his head, and the fact he couldn't remember things he should know.

Vadim frowned, didn't believe it, but had no other option but to take the risk. He couldn't stay here forever, and this was on the brink of getting very, very dangerous. "Yes. I know you will."

"Did you find my bergan? Haven't got a fucking clue where it is, but I guess that means nothing right now that I can't remember." Hopping on his good leg, Dan tried to put some weight on the injured one. Hurt like a motherfucker, but it would have to do. He could hole up another day, then make his way across the pass throughout the night. At least he remembered the terrain, and if he were lucky, he'd cross the path of some friendly Mujahideen. He wasn't going to die like this; not that easy to take down.

"It was down in village. I brought it up. That was how I knew you were there somewhere. I remembered your kit."

"You better. You usually help yourself to peanut butter energy bars." Dan flashed a small grin. "Right, nurse, take me back inside. Fucking freezing without clothes." Clothes, shit. Couldn't remember when last he had any.

"I'll help you put your spares on." Vadim manoeuvred Dan to turn around and brought him back into the cave, back to the blankets. "It's all right there. See?" His kit, Dan's kit. He could give Dan some of his stuff. To make sure he had it as easy as possible.

Spotting his bergan, Dan's grin widened, eased. "Piece of cake, then." And if he could actually stand on his own two feet without pain nor swaying that would help as well. Lowering down onto the blankets, using Vadim as leverage and crutch, he rubbed his face with the heel of his hand once he sat. Rubbing vigorously between his eyes before looking up and baring teeth in a kick-ass grin. "That's what I do. Surviving. That's my job and I'm bloody brilliant at it."

Vadim crouched right next to him, studied him, fought that odd sense of tenderness, of not wanting to leave, to stay and make sure Dan was alright. "We'll see how strong you are tomorrow. I'll bring more water up before I leave. You could hole up another week, maybe ten days with food."

Close. Was strange to be sitting there, naked, and Vadim so close. Dressed. Wasn't right. Was too ... intimate. Yet all Dan wanted for one worrying second was to rest his aching head on that shoulder in its Soviet uniform.

"No, Russkie. Too dangerous here and you know it. I got to get away from this place. All I remember is the biggest fuck-up of my life, bullets, RPGs, blood, screams, death. And pain. That makes me think you wiped out the village and somewhere down there are a pile of blown-up corpses, bubbling away in the sun. How long before troops will be coming in? Yours or insurgents, doesn't matter. Soviets would kill me or take me prisoner. Mujas? I'm guessing I'm the only survivor. What the fuck do you think they'd figure out? Something fishy with 'Daan'. And I'd rather be taken prisoner or killed by your lot than 'mine'."

Vadim inhaled deeply. "Yes, you're right. You'll have to move. As much as I'd like to take you prisoner … and keep you for while", he gave a suggestive grin, earning a huff in return, "that's not how it works. You'd go to Moscow. And meet some unpleasant gentlemen. Our secret service is not as well-behaved as yours."

"Aye, so they kept telling us. Nasty men in cheap suits." Pulling the blankets around himself, Dan sought to preserve warmth. Soon enough he would have to pretend to be fit enough to go on fighting for survival. He wasn't going to let himself down with negative thinking.

"You know our motto? Not 'who dares wins', the other one." Dan showed a dry grin, almost brittle. "'Never leave a comrade unless he is already dead.' I figure that goes for oneself as well. I tend to think it goes along nicely with 'never give up, never surrender'."

Vadim shook his head, felt stupid for saying that, but still did. "If there was a way, I'd stay around." Damn, that sounded closer to the truth than he'd wanted, "Make sure you'll be good to go." He decided that the fire needed tending, it was getting cold, might just be the night.

Dan said nothing. Not a word. No quip, no joke, and no piss-taking remark. Stunned into silence, all he could do was watch the other. Thinking. Wondering. Steeped in the strange sensation that the Russkie had just said and done something that had gone beyond and above anything he'd expected. Something so damn decent, he wondered who the hell was the enemy in their whole private war.

Vadim set up another pot of tea, tossing a handful of leaves into the pot. No chance for a proper, Russian-style tea, that elaborate little ritual.

"You got anything stronger?" When Dan finally spoke he had to clear his throat.

"Second half of bottle of vodka." Vadim gestured towards his own bergan. "Horrible stuff, but good for washing out wounds. Feel free."

"Cheers. Figure I probably shouldn't, what with concussion and all, but shit, can't get into any worse state than the fucked-up one I'm in, eh?" Dan flashed a grin, leaned slowly towards the other's bergan, rummaged a moment before pulling out the bottle. Could see from the oily way the liquid sloshed around what shit stuff it was. It would do.

"Just different kind of headache." Vadim stirred the dark mass of tea leaves with his knife, too lazy to get the mess kit, watched it twirl in the reddish light. Don't be stupid, Vadim, you still know which side is yours. It's the one that would throw you into prison if they knew what you've been doing over the last years. The one that cannot respect what you are. What you want. Fine, as long as it was weaker men who never spoke about it, as long as it remained a dark, rotting secret at the core. But nothing beyond that. No word for it. And no space. And this other man would laugh at him if he knew what he was thinking.


"Aye." Dan had unscrewed the bottle, held it up towards Vadim in salute, who nodded with a fair bit of irony. "Slainte." Proceeded to gulp down a considerable amount of the vile but potent stuff. Grimaced when he was done, sticking out his tongue in disgust. "Fuck, I need some of that tea. Quick."

"Guess that's the one they make with bread and sugar from pure alcohol." Vadim poured a mug and brought it over, put it down in front of Dan. "Ingenuity knows no limits."

"Ingenuity, fuck my arse." Dan groaned, grabbed the hot tea, drank a too-large mouthful and spit it all back out, against the cave wall, yelping. "Shit! Fucking hot." The disgusting taste of the moonshine and the pain of a burnt palate were battling with each other in his mouth, and it was too much to handle. Dan started to chuckle, despite the pounding in his head the laughter caused. "Not my fucking week."

Vadim laughed, too, and laughed some more as he saw the face Dan pulled. "You have convinced me. You'll live." Still chuckling, he reached out to put a hand on Dan's shoulder. "You okay?" Again the urge to kiss him. Probably the last thing the seared lips needed now.

Looking up at the other, Dan's laughter turned into a grin that turned his deeply tanned face into that of someone younger, boyish almost. "Aye. I'm OK. Guess I have to counteract the scalding with some more of the vodka. At least I won't taste anything." That hand felt good. Much better than the next swallow of vile liquid that he forced down his neck. At least the stuff was potent, he could already feel the heat spreading from his stomach straight up into his head.

Vadim squeezed the shoulder and patted it, unwilling to let go, but with no more excuses to keep the hand there. Seemed the only way they could touch without feeling strange was when sleeping, under the blanket, or during sex. He wasn't a man that touched easily, or kissed, but Dan was different. Like it made no sense not to kiss or touch him. Hard to understand. "I'll call that self-inflicted." He lay back, head on his arm, and stretched out, glanced up to Dan.

"In that case, everything's self inflicted." Another swallow of vodka, then swiftly a sip of tea, more careful this time. "I didn't need to take on the job, could have stayed in the Highlands, worked on the farm or learned a trade. Roofing, plumbing, shit like that. Would have made a living one way or another, probably married, kids, drinking every evening in the village pub and watching the world go by. Day after day. Always the same, just getting closer to the grave with each of them. One as bland as the other." Dan managed another mouthful, the moonshine was heating his belly and firing his thoughts.

Vadim tried to imagine Dan like that - and the irony was, he could. Like he could imagine himself as a better athlete than he'd been, more gifted, maybe moving on to become a coach. Battling every night not to see the buff young bodies in his care.

"So, aye, it's self inflicted. Mujas, scars, pain, death and all." Grinning, Dan's grim humour was well hidden beneath the core.

"It's only when stuff goes bad that one wonders … whether there had been another way." Vadim sighed. "If it goes well, you don't want to do anything else in world. This way, at least, we get to meet and kill interesting people."

Dan laughed once more, wincing at the ache. Raising the bottle for another salute, he grinned. "Hello there, nice to kill you." Guzzling some more of the vodka while Vadim reached out to place a hand on Dan's thigh, just resting it there, not looking at him. Eyes closed, thoughtful.

"See what a sad fuck I am?" Dan began to feel decidedly sloshed and hell it was good. Counteracting pain and dizziness, booze the best medicine in the world. He didn't really notice that hand, just a comfortable weight and warmth on his leg.

"Sad enough to never want another job, even if it all goes wrong. I hope to go down one day in a blaze of glory. Fuck the pension, my brother and his family can have it. What would I do back there? Not my world, don't belong. They don't understand what I do. They don't get it. To them, killing is a horrible task that should be punished. And of course they're right - in their world. To them, we're institutionalised murderers, and they'd rather not mingle with us unless it's tall tales of glory, prettified for the minds of civilians. But it's not. It's blood and gore and the complete inability to feel guilt. It's steaming guts and sticky blood, struggling limbs under your hands and the satisfaction when that body goes limp. One more time it was them and not yourself. One more time before the next time, and perhaps it's the next time that's the final blaze of glory."

Vadim opened his eyes as Dan began to speak. He was a failed athlete, then. Dan was just soldier, through and through. He had no delusion of himself, wearing a gold medal.

Putting the bottle to his lips Dan finished the rest of the vodka, not even tasting the stuff anymore. Bottle and hand came down on the ground beside him in a harsh thud, and his drunken grin turned feral, tinged with insanity without which he couldn't do what he did. "And in my case, Russkie, the glory will never be seen. Rotting away somewhere in the mountains, in this fucking place of dust and heat, cold and stone. These endless mountains that I love too fucking much."

"And there's no service ribbon for you … Not even that." Vadim raised himself on an elbow, wanted to pull Dan down onto the ground, take advantage. Maybe get and give a handjob. Something. Dan so close made him nervous in a strange way. "I'm not sure this war is glorious at all. Against Germans, yes, that was glory. They might make me Hero of Soviet Union, if they want to prop up morale, that is. But what glory is there, here in dust?"

"That's easy." Dan licked his lips before washing the lingering burn down his throat with some bitter tea. As bitter as a lonely death. "There's no glory in this whole shit. No war is ever glorious. Heroes are usually dead. Besides, they rarely turn into heroes because they are super-humans, but because of circumstances. Heroes rarely think. Heroes just act. So, all this is, is a stage for glory, small, personal and up to each one of us." Making a sweeping gesture down his body and on to bergan and food. "My glory is all I have: this here."

"Not much of stage."

"That's all. My 'glory' is to be a soldier, and the best soldier I can be. I glory in what I do, because that's all I have. I'm a trained killer and I'm fucking good at it, and that includes surviving. But one day even my luck will run out, like it almost did this time. And next time, perhaps you won't be there, and my glory will be to go down and die. Knowing that I spent my life doing the job I wanted to do to the best of my abilities. And then I'll be gone, and decrepit old age will be spared. There's no way I delude myself I'll make it past, what, forty, forty-five, fifty? Perhaps even to full pension? Bullshit. I'll go down soon enough, but I want to have a big fat chunk of life before that. Eat, drink and fuck."

"Fair enough." And how incredibly bleak, thought Vadim.

Dan finished the last of the tea, lukewarm by now. "What's your glory, Russkie?"

"Apart from being spetsnaz? And getting promoted?" Vadim shrugged. "That I am more free here than I could normally be. Break rules. Be myself." He grinned. "That is strange thing to say. Being myself. Sometimes, I don't know who I am. Am I major of Spetsnaz, or am I father and husband. Or traitor that keeps enemy alive." He shook his head.

Dan was silent for a moment, sufficiently drunk to say the first thing that came to his mind. "What about this, then. Forget all the crap. Spetsnaz. Family. Enemy. Be a man tonight. A nobody. And I just happened to meet you on the off chance. Here in that cave, in the fucking freezing mountains, in the devil's own lands."

What? Make-believe? Like children? Vadim stared, not sure what to make of it. "And how?"

Grinning, Dan leant forward. Pupils widened, the vodka had settled in well and truly, speech gently slurred. Eyes dark, almost black. "Hello, stranger. Fancy meeting you here."

That was … flirting. Vadim felt odd, embarrassed; had no idea how that was supposed to work. "You're drunk", he murmured, but grinned. "What do you want?"

"Of course I'm drunk. Or else you think I'd come up with stupid shit like this?" Dan smirked. "Isn't there some sort of foreplay involved? At least that's what I used to do with my bimbos." Leaning back again, hands idly moving along the blanket. The light of the flames casting his face into near-sinister shadows.

Vadim frowned, too embarrassed to say much to that. Whatever 'bimbos' were. Not the greatest moment to ask for linguistic clarification. "Uhm. Okay. And now?"

"You bought me the drink, so that's sorted. Guess it's time to compliment you in return." Dan's grin turned the shadows into a play of fire, catching on rows of teeth. "You're a fucking creep, Russkie, with strange eyes, pale as those glaciers around here; hair that reminds me of sun ripened fields down in England; and a body that I'd expect in a museum, chiselled in marble, with a sign at the pedestal, saying 'Russian God'."

And how did 'creep' and 'God' go together? Vadim only hoped it wasn't some haemorrhaging going on in Dan's brain that slowly transformed his brain to mush. Strange self-conscious thought, yes, wheat and ice and how often had he read those words to describe somebody with that combination of hair and eye colours, and he'd laughed at the cliché and thought nothing of it. But being told that was flattering - too sincere to be a cliché, even though Dan was playing around.

Dan ran a hand through unruly hair that was in need of washing, "Will that do for a start?"

Vadim nodded. "That will do. Uhm. You … free tonight?"

"As free as a guard dog that's chained to its post." Dan grinned, pushed the blanket down until his chest and arms were bare. "Like what you see?"

Vadim nodded. "Yes." Did he expect him to compliment him in turn? Another man. He'd never done this, not even with women. He didn't do this kind of thing. It was as daunting as if somebody had just tasked him to write literature. Art. Make-belief. "You are …" like a faun, a reclining marble faun, only alive, that I've seen on a postcard. Somewhere in a museum in Europe. Naked, spread legs, face showing the agony of lust, of wanting. Your eyes are places of shadows, deep and true and secret. "Beautiful. I mean … handsome."

Even the vodka didn't keep Dan from being taken aback. That word, that was ... strange. Thoughts warring, playing hide and seek across his face, emotions that he'd rather not feel. In the end, laughter and joking was safest. "Don't be fucking stupid. I'm sure as fuck not beautiful."

Grinning, steering away from the dangerous edge of something he couldn't quite fathom, but which seemed a dangerous abyss to fall into. Feelings of any kind, except for the basics of hunger, thirst and lust, did not belong into special forces vocabulary.

Vadim was too relieved to protest. Good he had stuck to the simple version.

The alcohol was coursing through Dan's mind, he couldn't feel the headache anymore and the pain in his leg had subsided. "We've got one night, soldier." Teeth bared in a smirk as he pulled the blanket down completely, throwing Vadim's hand off in the process. The air was cold, but he'd had enough of the potent moonshine. Perfectly sloshed, but not quite drunk. "Let's make the best out of it, and that means you getting out of your uniform."

"Yeah." Vadim's eyes were on Dan's form, the embers giving off the faintest of light, enough to see him, enough to want without touching. It would get much worse. He undressed, watched intently by Dan, whose dark eyes had turned black in the dim light. Boots and vest and shirt and everything else, quick, and kept within reach, then lay down next to the other. Vadim took hold of the blanket, covering himself and Dan, who stretched his legs, still half-sitting with his back against bergan and cave wall.

The moment Vadim's body touched the other's, desire was back, a mellow desire that didn't even contemplate violence. "Dan? I know … you're probably too banged up, but …" Listening, waiting.

"But?" Dan felt warm, inside from the vodka, outside from the body that was close to his own. Familiar. Safe. Remembered something else, the deep ache inside and a horror, taken away by the very same presence.

"But what?" His voice had darkened a notch.

"I want … you. Can't … stop wanting you." Vadim winced, but placed a hand on Dan's body, flank, to feel him, kissed his shoulder, moving closer, brushing him. He'd be quite happy with just a hand. Anything. "If you'd … turn on the side and lift a leg, just so I can …" Fuck you without fucking you. And still feel you.

"Can what?" Dan's addled brain wasn't catching on fast enough. "What can you do then?"

"Fuck your thighs." A whisper. Too fucking close to begging to speak up. Just that. Need, want, asking. By far the least violent option, no way that would hurt or be more than a nuisance.

"That sounds messy." Dan didn't turn, slid down instead until he lay fully on the ground. Watching the face, hidden in the shadows. Focussing was hard; cheap spirits, concussion, and a memory of eighteen hours in hell that he refused to remember. "You're really that fucking desperate to fuck me. Aren't you?" Voice barely more than a rumble.

"Always … been." Vadim's hand rested on Dan's pec now, the calmest part of his body, while the heart thundered on, body wanting, needing, and barely kept from begging. "The one thing that always gets me off. In barracks. Just … imagining." Remembering. "Imagining you wanting it." Or not. Didn't matter. Just Dan.

"What do you think of," Dan stilled, could hardly see the features of the other's face. "The rape? Or how it could have been?"

Oh shit. Admit the truth? Then again, he had, years ago. Truth was, he had an expansive collection of things that got him off or on the way. Memories of lips, images of Dan's body in various positions, the heat and struggle. The rape was one of them. One that always got to him. "Either. Both."

Dan nodded slowly. His breath audible in the cave, steady, strong. Thinking. Vodka and heat, memories and an act of goddamned decency. "You could have fucked me," quietly. "Yesterday. Could have had what you wanted." Another breath. One. Two. All Dan could feel was that hand on his body and the heat from the other. "Why didn't you?"

"I don't want you weak. I want you strong." Vadim moved closer, placed a kiss near his fingertips on that smooth chest, powerful. "You weren't yourself … didn't remember. Would have been … tricking you. And you'd have killed me. Well, tried to. And I … don't want it to end."

Tricking you. That was all Dan heard. Would have been and the fact that Vadim hadn't done it. No rape. No taking, and yet all his Russkie wanted was exactly that. To fuck him. To have him again. That was it. Again. He'd had him before. "I remember," clearing his throat, voice felt rusty all of a sudden, "I remember when I told you I'd kill you if you ever tried to fuck me again."

In his mellow-boozed mind the whole thing didn't seem all that horrific anymore, but there was that one memory he'd never forget. The reason why and the start of it all. Of everything. The pain, the truth, the lust, and this. This ... sharing. Of warmth and something else that Dan didn't want to recognise. Stuck to what he knew instead: vodka, lust and body heat.

"Yes. I remember." No moment that Vadim didn't. The threat. The memory of the knife. The careful balance, that, whenever it tipped, brought danger, danger of complete destruction, not of one, but both. He should stop rocking the boat. Should be glad the equilibrium allowed them to get the pressure off. Still craved.

"I won't kill you." Dan didn't know where that had come from, but he wouldn't take it back. Seemed right. "I give you my word. I won't." If you fuck me now. If you do what you've been obsessed with for all those goddamned years since that night in Kabul. "I won't." Murmured.

Vadim paused, didn't move, smelled Dan's skin, close, the warmth, words left his mind blank. Not asking why, even though that was the first thought when thought returned. Was it … something like gratitude? It might be risking too much to ask anything at all. His hand slid down Dan's front, reached for the cock, not hard, but not flaccid, either. "I'll … make it good", he murmured against Dan's skin. "It can be good."

"You better." Dan's grin wasn't all that convincing, "or I might go back on my promise."

Vadim nodded, felt that was a perfectly sane thing to say.

"Want me to turn over?" Dan frowned, but didn't say what was really on his mind. Make me forget that night in Kabul. Make it better. Make this whole shit worthwhile and don't remind me of the one reason why I would have to kill you. Tit for tat. Your back. My arse. But where do we stop.

"Yes." Vadim felt the need rise again, the dark flood he'd always welcomed, always allowed to turn into something that broke men. "No, wait …" He reached for the Vaseline, close since the 'massage', "stay on your back."

Dan's brows raised, "should I have my knife close by?" His query half mockery, half serious, but he stayed where he was.

Vadim got on his knees and moved his head to Dan's cock, wanted him to be more than halfway interested. Took Dan's cock between his lips, sucking on the tip, keeping it there with one hand. Whatever it took to make this feel good. If he could get Dan to enjoy this, there would be more times …

Now that was different, Dan thought. Better. Something he knew and forever wanted. Perhaps as much as Vadim had been wanting his arse. Precious arse. Body. Intrusion. His cock slid deeper into the wet heat of the other's throat, and all he could think of was why. Why had he offered? Why indeed. "Fuck." Groaned out. For someone who didn't like giving head Vadim was brilliant at blowjobs.

Vadim reached into the tub of petroleum jelly, thick and greasy stuff, closed the hand, rubbed it over his fingers, slicking them up while sucking on Dan's cock, more than interested now; needed this build up to keep himself under control. Just in case he lost it later. Couldn't. Shit. Rubbed the fingers between Dan's cheeks, remembered clenched, quivering muscle back that night, slid the first finger in, to slick him up.

Dan jerked, his whole body tensed. Shit. That's what a finger felt like. Remembered it. Not the first time, they'd had dozens of handjobs and blowjobs, some of them involved a finger up his arse. But that had been that. Just a finger, forgotten the fist, and what if the Russkie was going to go insane, went violent, did it again, tried to rape him for real. He didn't have a weapon and he'd be in no state to fight.

"I need my knife." Pressed out. Dan was hard, his body wanting, but his mind demanded precautions, vodka or not.

Vadim pulled back, to look at Dan, then nodded. That might actually be a good idea. Shit. Dan's knife was a bit too far away to reach it, but there was still his own knife on his belt. Vadim reached to the pile of his clothes, opened the strap that held the knife in place, pulled it and offered it, hilt first, to Dan.

Dan took it, head lifted from the ground, nodded, before booze and concussion swept a wave of dizziness across his mind. With his hand clenched around the hilt, he lay back down, knees bent, legs falling open.

The blade was close enough to slash his face, cut his throat. Vadim didn't believe for a heartbeat Dan wouldn't do that if he fucked this up. There was a moment of irony as well. Seemed, indeed, Dan was in control while going 'bottom'. Darren would most likely approve. Vadim grinned, then closed his eyes as he returned to sucking, slicked fingers rubbing Dan's crack, two of them then breaching the hole, into the heat. Moving his lips up and down the shaft, he moved his fingers in the same rhythm, free hand steadying his body, as he dipped in lower and pulled back, faint noises echoing too loud in his ears.

Dan's breathing sharpened. Cock and fingers, arse and body, mind and vodka. All tipping-swirling together into a cacophony of sensations. Centred by the knife in his hand, the familiar feeling of fingers clenched around the hilt.

"Oh … shit." Didn't realise he had breathed out those words, lifted his hips, moving towards lips and back onto fingers. Intrusion and ache, reminding him of fire, terror and anchoring through his centre. Massage, the Russkie had said, no thoughts nor words for 'massage' now.

Vadim met the thrusts, elated that Dan started getting into this, the sucking turned fierce, actually hungry for once, the thought that he'd have Dan this time spurred him on, gave this more pleasure than he usually felt, made Dan enjoy this, but pulled back before he got him too far, breathing harshly. "Turn around." Voice raw, jaw tired, need getting too great there. "Please."

Wanting nothing but to get off, Dan hardly heard the words. Something about turn and please, maybe move and whatever. Did it anyway, without thinking. Groaned at the loss of friction and heat. On his belly. Cock trapped between hard ground, blanket and himself. Shit. All he could make out now, was that this time, it was for real. He'd given his word.

"Don't want to … strain that leg", Vadim murmured, breathless with the sight. That powerful ass, powerful legs, something he knew but now he could have it. Again. Willing. Vadim moved between Dan's legs, moved the good one to the side and up, to open Dan more, to get to an angle that would allow him to fuck without putting any of his weight on the injured leg. Then lay down on Dan, letting him feel his weight, cock resting against the buttocks. "I want you, Dan. More than anything. You … are in my blood, in my bones, I need … you. Do you understand." Just a whisper into Dan's ear while his hand spread those cheeks, rubbing the opening again, nice and slick.

"No, I don't." Dan breathed out, fingers clenched so tightly around the knife, his knuckles were white amongst purple-red skin. He wasn't moving, felt trapped beneath the weight, couldn't help but suddenly fight the memories. Belt: cut. Trousers: sliced. Hands: bound. Arse: raped. Pistol against his head. "But it's OK."

"Press into me when I do it. Yes? Easier that way."

Dan nodded, barely visible. Kept his eyes open, felt the moonshine course through his blood and wanted more of it. Reminded himself he'd said he'd do it. Why. Why, the fuck, why?

Vadim reached again for the Vaseline, pretty depleted by now, and slicked himself up, wiped his hand on his thigh and manoeuvred his cock between Dan's cheeks. Heat. Good. Moved to press against the hole, slow, which made him sweat with concentration, against the tightness, inched forward, groaning, lifting his weight off Dan, groin and ass in contact, a slow movement from the hips, when his body wanted to use force, strength, weight, wanted to make it a struggle, but Vadim forced himself to still, remain in place on the way. Wanted to ask whether Dan was alright, wanted to soothe and calm, but didn't trust his voice now, at all, too much straining with staying in control.

Weight. Pressure. Strength. Dan felt this thing breach the muscle, enter his body. Different to fingers, even fist. Remembered, tried not to. Too slow, too much time to think. Not enough friction for his cock. He groaned. No words, just unintelligible sounds. Only that slow, slow movement on top of him, the sensation of being filled more; ever slower, ever deeper, ever more. No way he could not think. Blood. Pistol. Knife. Cut throat, dead soldier and drunken voices.

He tensed, fingers of his left scrabbling against the stone of the cave.

Vadim paused, felt sweat trickle down his flanks, shivering with the control. Expected, the way Dan tensed, to feel his own knife cut him, most likely the flank or thigh - Dan could reach him easily there. "Calm", he breathed, forced it out. "Won't … won't make it bad", sounding close to pleading.

"No!" Dan suddenly burst out. "Don't do this. Not like this." Too slow, too much. Couldn't bear the tenderness, loathed the care, impossible to endure the goddamned patronising whateveritwas. Made him think, remember, wouldn't do.

Vadim felt his blood run cold - he'd expected anything, but this. The bottom was in control. All it took was 'no'. And fuck, he was in the mind to obey that. Because of the knife. Just the knife. Definitely the knife.

Dan's voice suddenly sharp, "Fuck me already!"

It didn't make any sense. Vadim hadn't wanted it like that. Had tried to understand, to learn, to try making amends, maybe, erase one bad thing with a good thing. The order was irresistible, though, and Vadim couldn't help but move forward, fully get into Dan, groaning as he did, feel the ass against his groin, his full length inside, in that strength and heat. Needed him. Wanted him. Craved him. In whatever way. Slow, hard, fast, whatever. Just wanted. Vadim pulled back, fast, and thrust again, slow this time, but with force, using his weight against Dan's body. Exactly like with Mark. Still in control, only it was better with Dan.

"Oh shit!" Dan almost shouted. Fuck, that did it. That thrust eradicated all thoughts and memories. It fucking hurt, adding to the lingering soreness of the 'massage', and he sure as fuck wasn't used to having anything up his arse. His hand was losing its death grip on the knife when he lifted his arse a fraction, hissed in pain as his leg protested. Don't let me think nor remember. "Goddamnit, do it! You fucking want to."

Thought and concern ceased. Vadim lost any attempt at rhythm or control, any attempt at tenderness, the words just took the shackles off his body, which lunged into the act with all the ferocity of a wild animal, a mating predator. Knife, punishment, whatever. This was what he really wanted, and he snarled as he brought his strength to bear, all of it, no remorse, no nothing, perfectly willing to pay whatever price for this, brutally pushing Dan against the rock, choking the sounds against Dan's shoulder, biting down, moving fiercely, eyes closed, driving himself close fast, much like the rape, no time to savour anything, no need to, just explode, the way there didn't matter.

Dan knew he'd asked for it, and fuck it hurt. Forget the make it good for you and fuck the calm. He was losing himself instead, along with grip, knife and memories. No time to think, just a body that was being pounded and used and fuck, he'd asked for it. No rape, even though it felt like one. Teeth ground, fists clenched and body braced against the onslaught but there was something, something so deep and dark and brutally honest inside, that revelled in the force and a strength that was equally pitched against his own. He'd chosen this. Demanded. Control. But it still hurt like fuck.

Vadim just couldn't stop it, too far gone, nothing inside resisted this, then all the concern must have been fake, he still wanted to destroy this man, that had to be the reason, and the feeling sickened him and was great at the same time. Things were simple. He could push everything away, all the things that had happened in the last years and just do what he needed to do - nothing had truly changed, and the other's resistance made it just perfect. Again. Complete unity, struggle, pain, intensity, and he relished it, riding his own adrenaline, and the other's strength, fuck, wounded, whatever, no match, yeah, right, his. In this moment, utterly and completely his. His life, his soul, his body, his pain.

Vadim came with a harsh groan, kept thrusting into the still body because he couldn't stop, rode it out, and then pulled away, dizzy with sensory overload, too much, too far, too hard, came crashing down, realized what he'd felt - and wanted to feel, welcomed - and moved away, sweat growing cold on this skin in the night. Oh fuck. Oh fuck.

Be careful what you wish for, Vadim.

Dan lay like before, his limbs in disarray and specks of blood had seeped to the surface of the bandage on his thigh. Hand lying on top of the knife, but not gripping it. Face ground into the stone, blanket pulled to the side. Lips parted. Breathing. Mind blank. Utterly blank. Dust and ashes, or the white-blind brightness of burning fire. All the same. Right back to Kabul. And he'd asked for it this time. Why. Why the fuck.

And why was he still half hard.

"Get me off." Murmured. He hurt like a motherfucker, but there was something deeper and bigger than all of this. Greater than cocks and rapes, fists and arses.

Vadim shook his head, just didn't … couldn't believe this, as sanity returned. Control. Just. No. Control. He glanced at the knife, could smell the blood and feared for a moment that he'd torn Dan - again - definitely blood there. Owed something. Owed something so impossible it made him shudder. Horror. Had never felt this, now did, didn't understand why the punishment didn't come. Turned Dan around, whose body obeyed like a puppet, and took his cock, shocked, shocked that there was arousal left and that Dan could demand this and that he just obeyed, after crossing that fucking line again. Back to zero. Same mistake. Same shit. Had known himself better than to risk this. Now, this was confirmation.

"Russkie." Dan's quiet voice croaked, cleared his throat, coughed. "Listen." Felt the other's lips on his cock and knew, this time, he'd get more than just the powertrip blow-job.

Vadim glanced up, the sickening feeling growing stronger. No triumph. He had stared the beast in the face and that beast was him. Big surprise. Not an athlete that ended up in the army, by whatever force. Ruthless killer. No books, no philosophy, no nothing could fool him. The army was simply the place where a man like him did the least damage. If he'd ever feel half that savage need to destroy at home … if that ever happened.

"You said in that cave you'd rape me again, given half the chance." Dan paused, allowed his legs to relax and fall open. "Fuck, I believe you." Lifted his head a fraction, stared down at himself and towards the other, who just nodded, numb, looking pale, light blue eyes gleaming.

Dan felt and sounded strangely detached. "Now that that's settled, suck me off." Let head and body fall back and relax. Dizzy. Passive. Expectant.

Vadim sucked on the tip, running his tongue into the slit, did what he knew felt good, tongue running over the underside, feeling the strong veins as the cock returned to full hardness. He paused for a moment, kept it in his hand and stroked, then began to hyperventilate, saturate his blood with oxygen, harsh, quick breaths, pumping air into his lungs and out, like he was about to dive. Then bowed his head to take Dan fully, in one go, push him down his throat, felt his throat constrict, air cut off, and used only his neck muscles to fuck his own throat on Dan's cock, spasms involuntary, but he knew they felt good. Knew it could take a while, but he was ready.

Dan's hands returned into fists, tight and clenched, body tensing as he pushed his hips upwards, fucking the throat best he could. This really was different. But fuck, what a price to pay for a blowjob from heaven or hell. Nauseous with pain and dizziness, but worth it. Hell and damnation, goddamned fucking worth it. For whatever reasons he was loathe to understand.

It did take time. Longer than usual, but when Dan finally came, his cock was buried deep into the other's throat, his eyes scrunched shut, fists slammed onto the ground, and his body arching. This was no pleasant orgasm, no mellow moments of bliss, but the cruel and harsh reality of his life, epitomised in a few seconds of convulsing and cursing.

Vadim moved slowly back, sucked the cock on the way out, as if resisting it leaving, then let it slip from his lips, now breathing again. Felt like shit, didn't know what had gone wrong, just control, just the fact he'd ruined it, made this just as bad and fierce as it could possibly have been. Wrong. He'd been kidding himself. Bullshit. Things had started to make sense, had fallen into place, things about emotions, about what Dan meant - but it was all bullshit, all a jumble that made no more sense. They should stop this. It was healthier. Saner. Better.

He sat back, needed more distance, stood and padded towards the cave mouth. He envied smokers now. This seemed like a damn fine moment for a cigarette. Maybe it would calm him. Give him something to do with his hands.

Dan's eyes remained closed for a long time, until he started to shiver, the cold creeping into his bones, making him feel each and every ache, and of those there were plenty. Only himself to blame for adding more pain to his collection on the night before he'd have to make his way across the mountains. Fucked up and all. But he regretted nothing, for there was nothing he craved more than truth and straightforward honesty. He was hurting, but he'd asked for it, and hell, he might even do it again. It had been … different. He sure as fuck had forgotten to think at the time.

"Russkie." Dan turned his head towards the cave entrance while scrabbling for the blankets to try get warmth back into his body, sticky with cum and sweat. "You got a fag?" Stupid question. But the first one that came to his mind.

Vadim turned. "Still don't smoke."

"Yeah, damn. Thought it was worth a try."

Vadim came back, reached for the rag to clean Dan up, did so in silence, sweat and cum, and then reached out to put some more wood on the embers. Took the knife and put it back into its sheath. "Guess we better share warmth." Looked into Dan's face, gauging the response, and Dan nodded. Then lay down, close, and turned onto his side, looking at Dan's back. Couldn't keep that up and closed his eyes. Oh shit. Shit.

"Not much good that warmth does if you stay so fucking far away." Dan's head felt a lot better, strangely enough, even though the ache was constant. "I got to be out of here tomorrow, make the best of the night. Aye, handsome stranger?" He quirked one brow and the corner of his lips.

"Aye", said Vadim, and it was a sigh. Stop this? How? Couldn't. There was no rage now, just two bodies, cold, sharing warmth, and Dan's twisted sense of humour. He shuffled closer, made contact, kept Dan's back warm but kept his groin arched away. Didn't want to wake up needing. Not that that would change anything.

"Better." Dan mumbled, lay on his side on the good leg and listened to the aches in his body for a while. Silent, enveloped by the heat of the other's body, and entirely at a loss what to think. He could hardly go back to his threat of a few years ago. But if it ever happened again - without his consent - he'd still kill that cunt.

Shuffling back, burrowing into the body and taking the other's arm to keep him warm across his chest, Dan fell asleep at last.

Not knowing what to think was a blissful state to be in.

* * *

Dan had still been asleep when Vadim got up in the early hours of the morning, preparing tea and food, and checking their bergans. He woke when the noise got louder, the rustling, footsteps, sounds of preparation. Mind fuzzy while waking, all he knew was in how unfit a state he was in, but it couldn't be helped.

Stretching slowly, he yelped when a pain stabbed him right in the guts, all the way from his arse. What a fucking mess it all was.

"Time to leave?" His voice drowsy, he was trying hard to wake up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but the headache was grinding away and his leg protested with every movement. Great, Dan, you're a wreck, and you're going to cross those mountains.

Vadim glanced up, then came over. Assessed the situation. "Wait till it gets warmer", he murmured and offered tea and breakfast. Felt a stab of guilt when he saw Dan's obvious discomfort. Like this? Dan had no chance to survive alone. Not while being on the run. He crouched. "I'll pack, you try gather some strength, we see what we can do."

And what will that be? Doing? There's no threshold for more quality time. If you don't come back, Vadim, they'll look for you, and they'll find you nursing a man who is by all rights and purposes your enemy. The medical exam might tell them what has happened to him. Do you believe Dan will resist the torture much? Why should Dan not tell them what you are and for how long. What you did? They will ask questions. Why. You'll be the traitor.

Dan looked up quizzically. "We?" Taking the tea, closing his hand around the hot mug and starting on the food immediately.

"Yes. We need to move camp", Vadim murmured. "I know there's place east of here. I did some scouting. It's closer to water."

"You have to head back." Dan stated the fact, carefully sipping the tea to wash down his breakfast, studiously avoiding to move just yet.

Vadim nodded. "Yes." Pondered. Knew if he were in Dan's place, he'd probably not make it. Not just yet. Not fucked up like this. He shook his head. "Oh fuck." He stood, turned towards the fire. "I'll take you there. It's on my way, anyway."

Dan stopped eating, studied the other. Mug in one hand, food in the other. Even forgot to chew, said nothing. Finally nodded and swallowed the food, stared into his mug. "Cheers."

Could be thanks, could be slainte. Would he make it on his own? 'Never give up, never surrender', was all he allowed himself to think.

Vadim nodded, lips tight. "Ready when you are."

"Give me a moment." Or two, or three, until he could force his goddamned body to comply with what his mind wanted it to do. Head sore, arse … whatever, and the leg still hurting like shit. Worst of all the lingering disorientation. Damned concussion. He carefully touched the bruise on his head, frowning.

Vadim began to pack. Burn what trash they had, kick out the fire, make this cave look as unused as possible, placing some food from his bergan into Dan's, strapping his canteen to the other's pack. He'd lost his own, or whatever, Dan would need water. Antibiotics, too. Just completed Dan's kit with what he could give and what the other would need, not weighing him down, though. Dan could always claim he'd fleeced a corpse, and Vadim could always make something up, too. He slung the bergans over his shoulder and headed to the cave entrance. He didn't want to see how badly Dan was banged up, and didn't want to watch him suffer. A little dignity. The main reason why he didn't offer a hand.

Dan watched Vadim until he left, needed all that time to get his damned body into gear, hoped he could trust it, had never failed him even though he'd got close. Once he got going, he'd make it. Yeah. Easy.

Dan started to move onto his knees. All fours, how fucking dignified. Hissed at the movement, could feel the raw flesh of his thigh muscle rub against the bandage, and felt the heat burn inside that wound. No way it wasn't infected, but he'd battled worse. Just had to get his arse down to Kabul, or somewhere with a mule, a cart, and a friendly Muja who'd take him back to base.

Kid's play. Sure.

Crawling over to the pile of clothes the other had pulled out of his bergan, Dan checked his spare kit. Tattered trousers, thick cotton socks, t-shirt, shirt, and the worn parka he'd carried strapped to his pack. Would do, had to.

Cursing at the stupidly difficult task of putting on his socks, bending over made him nauseous, but the fire in his arse wanted to kindle another flame, one of insane laughter. What the fuck had happened there. The cave, the attack, and the whole thing back to front. Didn't know anymore who was enemy or comrade, friend or foe. Life and death and all that fucked up shit in between. It took a ridiculously long time of getting into the trousers, and Dan chuckled dryly.

Who was he; who had he been, and what about the other? Four years, four fucked up fucking years. Pledges of death and killing, of demands and acceptance, requests and greed.

He was struggling into the shirt, slow-motion movements of a stranded beetle, while remembering the many times they had met. Enemies, but what the fuck had happened this time. The other's decency, saving his life, and then fucking his arse just like the rape - yet different. Made no sense, Dan huffed to himself - made all the sense in the world.

Finally getting to his parka, he eyed the boots. Fuck. He could struggle, groan with pain and almost throw up with that dizzy-head feeling, or simply ask for help. He'd rather cut off his own arm, but damn. "Russkie?" Called out. So much for arm, pride and sanity.

Vadim had only waited for it - anything. Almost rushed back, feared the other might have fallen, or been unable to move. But he was almost ... almost ready to go. Vadim glanced down at the boots. "Ah. Want to see me on my knees, eh? Greedy bitch."

"Damn right." Even chuckling hurt Dan's head, but he did it anyway. Better than bursting into insane laughter. Like he had done, twice. In a cave, when asking if the other would rape him again; and when looking down the barrel of a pistol.

Vadim dropped the bergans, then knelt, took Dan's boot, opened it and offered his shoulder for Dan to steady himself.

"Of course could have done it myself, just …" Struggling to get his foot in, then the next, "… just figured it'd be quicker. Tad dizzy." Dan shrugged, almost lost balance with the one stupidly small movement, "Fucking head, eh?"

"Yes." Vadim began to tie them, pull the laces up, thought, unbidden 'slave mentality', and tensed his jaw muscles. Yes. Not just helping a comrade to not trip over his laces. The mountains had very little tolerance for stupidity. He glanced up. "You're ready to go."

He stood and gathered the bergans again. He'd carried Dan up here. Now that Dan could walk by himself things would be easier. "Grab hold of my shoulder or belt. Belt would be better."

"OK." Dan refrained from nodding this time, seemed the result was still disastrous. He had demanded to get fucked last night, but when standing on his own two feet, he was as wobbly as a toddler. "Damned nuisance." Muttered. Took hold of the belt and started to move. Felt like shit, ready to throw up with every step, but he'd just have to do it. "Let's get cracking."

Vadim moved slowly, but steadily, working out a pace that Dan could deal with - and then stuck to it. Crossed the saddle of this mountain, walking in a circle around the Soviet outpost, leaving village, mass grave and Muja corpses behind, and their cave. Just another patrol walk. With double the weight on his shoulders, and a wounded man trailing behind who threatened to unbalance him.

Vadim concentrated, with no strength left to talk or joke, this was fucking hard work, but he needed to get Dan out of the way - far enough that the man had a chance to heal up, gather strength, and fight another day.

It was almost nightfall when Vadim found what he'd been looking for. Another karez system, which meant water, and the ramshackle hut of a long dead goat herder built almost into the rock. The most sheltered position he could think of, and one much better suited for a wounded man.

Vadim checked the hut for boobytraps, but nothing. He dropped Dan's bergan. "Home sweet home, eh, Dan?"

Dan said nothing, had no strength left, none. Had been walking on autopilot and whatever reserves his already depleted body had found somewhere; somewhere in that place that separated a mere man from a Special Forces soldier. He nodded, slowly, then dropped to his knees once in the hut, sliding to the side until he ended up on the good hip.

Was just sitting there, staring at his shaking hand, it took all of his willpower to lift his head. "If you stay …," even talking was hard work, "… I won't notice." Wasn't what he wanted to say, but grammar, vocabulary and all the other fancy schmancy shit was far out of his reach. "Just sleep." One more slow nod, and a smile. Boyish, almost. No smirk, nor grin, just that smile. Purely Dan, and nothing else.

Vadim flashed a smile, too, couldn't help it, the way Dan blurred the syllables was touching in an odd way. Like Nikolai. Nikolai could fall asleep in his breakfast. Five year old son. Afghanistan just ate the time. The kids grew up without him. Vadim glanced around the hut, checked the roof to think something else. Looked alright. Looked at Dan again.

"I'll make it." Dan slid fully onto his side, just dropped there, on the ground, and closed his eyes. "Thanks … to you, Russkie." Was asleep the next second.

Vadim stood there for a few minutes, jaw muscles tight. He unpacked Dan's stuff, sorted out blankets for him, and placed him on the makeshift 'bed', set up wood and matches for a fire, didn't light it, though, dug out a place where Dan could piss and shit, all in the falling darkness, set up water and food, left him with pills and canteen within reaching distance.

It hurt leaving him behind. Hurt entrusting him to that savage god and his 'holy warriors' that thought nothing of skinning Soviet prisoners alive. He set up a simple trap with a piece of wire, hoped anybody stepping in would trip and make noise to give Dan a chance to wake up. Then glanced at Dan, crouching beside him for a long time. Dark hair. Didn't want to wake him, and thus didn't touch him.

But it was hard to not regret that on the way back, to his people.

Special Forces Chapter XIII: Truth or Dare
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 26 December 2006