When he realizes that John Porter is using that video to send a message, Damien Scott screws his courage to the sticking place. He knows that the analysts will realize that there's a code after a week or so of repeated watching, and that a cryptanalyst team will crack it a few weeks after that. Or he can step up now and see that Porter's intel gets used while there's still time for it to do some good.
Nobody in Section 20 bats an eye when he steps forward and lays it all out. Oh, they're interested that he and Porter developed their own secret code, but interested in a "oh, aren't you more clever than you let on, maybe you're not a washed up drunk and a liability" sort of way.
Damien Scott + John Porter = bromance doesn't even blip on the radar.
The brass at Section 20 takes his discharge papers at face value. Sort of. It's clear that Colonel Grant, Major Sinclair, and Captain Marshall think he might be telling the truth when he says that the fix was in back in Iraq. It's not the first time they've seen a double cross and cover up -- hell, the previous management tried to screw Porter over -- and it wasn't so long ago that the CIA tried to have Porter killed to keep the lid on some dirty dealings in Afghanistan.
But they also know that Section 20 is the last chance for a man like Damien, and that there's a good chance that he's saying whatever it takes to get back into this kind of work. It's the one thing he's good at.
So, yeah, Damien tells them he got done dirty in Iraq, because he did. But that's only half of it. The people who did him, didn't set him up just because he knew too much. The dishonorable discharge? That was punishment, pure and simple. It wasn't enough to run him out of The Unit. No. They wanted him burned, untouchable, out in the cold. An honorable discharge under DADT meant that Damien could possibly turn around, become a Company Man, and potentially expose them.
He fucks women largely out of habit.
He fucks women because he can.
He fucks women because he likes to play games.
He fucks women because he likes the way they feel, and smell, and taste.
He fucks women because orgasms are fun.
But he doesn't love them.
Stonebridge takes him aside after the debriefing for the Royal Lotus goatfuck, and though he talks nothing but business -- he thinks there's a rat in Section 20 -- it's in his eyes and in the way he moves. Stonebridge knows. Damien doesn't know how, but he does.
Part of Damien is shit scared. Part of him gives a deep sigh of relief.
Stonebridge knows and still comes to him as the guy to have his back in this nest of vipers.
And it's not Stonebridge anymore, not after this conversation, it's Michael, and Damien doesn't mean to but ....
Look, it's not rooted in logic. Things like this almost never are, and he can't help it any more than he could help what he felt for Porter.
Damien's fucking livid when he finds out about the affair between Michael and Captain Marshall. It's one thing when he fucks whoever willingly spreads her legs -- he's got a reputation to maintain and all. It would be another if this was a one time drunk-and-stupid, a blowing off of steam between Michael and Kate, but it's not. Michael's married for fuck's sake, and Kate's his Captain, for crying out loud, and while these Limeys might not give a shit about two guys going at it, Damien's certain that fraternization's still a huge no-no.
Marshall's hot, but you don't shit where you eat. And you don't have a relationship with another woman, not when you've got a wife.
(One night stands and/or your fellow man? That's different.
It. Just. Is.)
Damien doesn't go off and find a woman after the clusterfuck in South Africa manages to go both sideways and pear-shaped.
Colonel Grant gives them 72 hours to get it together after they salvage what they can in the wake of Captain Marshall's death. "And don't get too drunk," she says, biting the words off, eyes drilling into Damien. "You never know when your 72 hours is going to become 15 minutes to grab your gear and get ready. Not in this game."
It's just ... Michael can't call his wife and lay it all on her shoulders, not like he did after India. And it's not like Damien can call her and say, "Yeah, things are really bad here, but Michael can't call you right now because he's too shellshocked over the loss of our Captain, who was more than his superior officer, if you know what I mean, and I've got three days to get his head screwed back on. Suggestions?"
It's not like he can find them some women to help them blow off steam, because Damien gets that Michael just doesn't do casual sex. (Some guys just don't. Which is probably how the whole thing with Kate started, now that he thinks about it.)
But it's up to him to put Humpty Dumpty together again, so Damien finds them a hotel in a slightly sketchy neighborhood, and throws a bottle of scotch and couple liters of some technicolor sports drink in his duffel.
(So ... is Michael the kind of guy who's going to want to get fucked as a kind of penance? Or is he the kind of guy who's going to want to fuck the pain away? Because, for him, Damien can do either, it's just they've both got to show up walking right in three days or whenever Grant calls.)
In the end, it's neither.
Damien brings out the scotch, declares, "It's for medicinal purposes," and they swap stories as they get shit-faced drunk and crash out on the bed.
It should be awkward when they wake late the next morning, wearing only their skivvies and socks, Damien half draped over Michael, the two of them curled into each other, hangovers at a reasonable level thanks to them playing a different kind of drinking game with that lurid blue sports drink after they polished off the booze.
Damien's hard with more than the need to piss against Michael's hip . He's careful not to rock or shift, or do anything remotely like a bump and grind as he looks into Michael's bleary, red-rimmed eyes, and ... Michael's okay with it so far. Mentally drawing a breath, Damien, eyes still locked with Michael's, slides his hand slowly down that lightly furred chest -- liking the way those crisp hairs tickle at his fingers -- until it gently cups the bulge straining beneath the fabric of Michael's jockeys. Damien flicks his eyes down to his hand, and then draws them slowly back up the length of Michael's body, making a show of enjoying the view.
Michael says nothing, does nothing. It's not the tense stillness of a freeze, though, or of a coiled spring. And though Damien sees the pulse quicken in Michael's neck, it's not the surge of a fight or flight adrenaline blast.
He squeezes gently, causing Michael's breath to hitch and his dick to throb.
"It's for medicinal purposes," Damien says.
Michael swallows and nods.
Michael makes a snarky comment as he jacks Damien one last time in the shower just before they have to pack and go, and it's hard, brutal, and efficient, and it still gives Damien jelly legs so bad you'd think he hadn't had any in months, as opposed to about an hour ago.
Of course, Michael's got a snarky comment about that, too.
Damien leers at him and growls, "You say 'eternal teenager' like it's a bad thing."
A few weeks later during a mission in Darfur, just as things are going to hell in a handbasket, when Michael calls him a cocksucker?
It's not just on general principles. It's because that's what he wants when they get a moment alone because he knows how good Damien is at it.
Things are in sync between them now. The bromance has blossomed.
They even have their own secret code.
Someday they'll even extend it beyond sex.