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The Long Journey Home

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2nd July 1997.

 

That was a sunny Wednesday in Vladivostok. Timur, the eldest son of the Glazkov family, just received a toy air rifle as his 10th birthday present from his father.

 

He couldn’t control his excitement. He knew that father often told him “I will teach you how to shoot and hunt with a rifle once you grow up just a little more”. It seemed like that the time was coming. Even though the rifle was a mere toy, unable to shoot any lethal bullet, but it looked so detailed in appearance and mechanism that just like a real rifle did.

 

“I can’t wait to use it.” Timur swallowed his last piece of birthday cake impatiently and thought of that papa may teach him how to shoot with the rifle at this weekend.

 

His birthday party attended by all of his classmates and playfellows, as Timur was a popular person in his school by his cheerful nature. He was not only a well-bodied and energetic boy who played as a midfielder in the local U-11 football team, but also quite good at studies, especially arts. Everyone surrounding him looked forward this boy’s potential and bright future.

 

Marina, Timur’s mother, and Nadezhda, his sister who was 4 years younger than him, were also at the party. Marina was not a fan of her husband’s hunting hobbies, but she was still glad at Timur’s pleased face when received the gift. Nadezhda, standing on her toes, already stretched out her small hand to touch the butt of the rifle – even though she appeared like a normal cute girl with creamy white skin, blonde hair, and a pair of azure eyes which her brother also had, she was in fact a tomboy who showed no interest in “girly things” like dolls or dresses, but enjoyed playing outdoors like climbing a tree or playing football with her brother. Sometimes they would both get punished by their mama after they came home with dirt all over their clothes and body.

 

The two children’s father – Dimitry, was still working until the evening. He hated to be absent at the party, but he couldn’t help with it due to the recent high working load in the shipping industry. Timur decided that he had to be the first to welcome papa home and say thanks to him.

 

When every child presented at the party showed their envy to Timur’s special gift, Timur found there was something strange just outside the fence. Driven by curiosity, he decided to jump off his seat and take a closer look at it.

 

He found a slender boy with creamy skin and bistre hair who was drawing something on his sketchbook with a pencil. This boy seemed likely to be the same age and height as Timur, but he looked so pale, thin and frail. However, Timur noticed the boy’s emerald-coloured eyes were sharp and lively like they were filled with starlight. And his sketch might be the best one Timur had ever seen.

 

The drawing was the scene of his birthday party, of many children doing different things around a large table with a birthday cake. The composition was realistic and solid. Every line the boy had drawn was clean, accurate and vigorous. Even every child looked small, their figures were captured in a vivid way – Timur recognised himself at the centre of the drawing, a smiling boy with a tip hat, opening his presents. Timur was surprised the sketch was drawn by a boy of such the age.

 

Timur continued to observe this boy silently, tried to avoid disturbing him. However, while the boy raised his head to check the scene he was drawing, he suddenly noticed Timur’s presence standing close by and peeking at him. Shocked, the boy closed his sketchbook hardly and rushed to a house neighbouring the Glazkov’s home.

 

“So, he is our neighbour? Why haven’t I seen him before?” Timur, confused by the boy’s odd attitude, couldn’t do anything other than return to mingle with the other children enjoying the party. But Timur paid no attention to the rest of the party as he was unable to get the impression of the silent boy skilled in drawing out of his brain.

 


 

 

The next Monday, Timur practised hard with the football team he belonged, preparing for the match against another U-11 team from Moscow tomorrow. Papa had also begun “training” Timur the way to be a hunter recently, as Timur felt that shooting was far more difficult to learn than he had imagined. Despite this, he was still excited at his expectation of mastering this skill in the future. Timur thought he would have a busy summer vacation, but he liked it because “busy” meant “no single day is boring” to him.

 

After a day’s training, Timur finally went to rest. His body was covered in sweat that soaked his jersey entirely. He took the sweaty jersey off at once since he didn’t feel so shy to bare his upper body in front of people as an outgoing boy, especially in this kind of situation.

 

When he was on the way to the changing room, he found a boy sitting on a bench, the slender boy with bistre hair, was drawing something on his sketchbook again with a pencil. Timur recognised the boy was the same one who sketched the scene of his birthday party. Like he did at last time, Timur silently got closer to the boy who was totally focused on his sketch, so he could have a look at what stuff he was drawing this time.

 

Then the boy was frightened again. He jumped off the bench immediately and tried to escape, but this time he failed to make it as Timur grabbed the sleeve of his shirt. The boy struggled, tried to shake Timur’s hand off, but his grip was too strong to break away.

 

“What are you doing? Let me go!” The boy yelled without turning his head.

“Can’t we just have a chat?” Timur asked confusedly, “I just want to look at what you’ve just drawn.”

“I won’t show it to anyone!” The boy resisted, shook his head violently, and continued yelling in a higher tone.

“Come on, I think you were drawing me.” Timur tried to comfort him, explained that it was not the first time they ever met. “Like you did during my birthday party last Wednesday.”

 

The boy turned his head, look at Timur, eventually recognised that the boy grabbing him was the subject of the birthday party scene he drew last week. He noticed that Timur was shirtless, “Oh!” he yelled again suddenly, while staring at Timur’s hard abdomen which resembled a large piece of chocolate.

“You……You’re naked?” The boy said in a palsied voice, still attempting to escape. “It makes me uneasy.”

“We’re both boys. How come just wearing no shirt make us uneasy?” Timur released his sleeve and asked more politely, “Can I look at your drawings?”

“I’ve never seen a boy with the kind of body you have……” The boy finally calmed down a bit, and he sat on the bench again. “Forgive my bad manner. My name is Avenir…… Avenir Iashvili.”

“Timur Glazkov.” Timur introduced himself, “Well…… you already know that I’m your neighbour and the midfielder of this football team.”

“You just scored a 30-yard goal in the practise match…… That was awesome.” Avenir opened his sketchbook again, “So I tried to capture that powerful figure……”

 

The sketch featuring Timur shooting the ball was even better than what he had seen at last week’s party. Timur’s body shape and skeleton was captured correctly, the details such as wrinkle on his jersey, windblown short hair and his confident expression while kicking out the ball. He could sense the power of the drawing – the figure’s action looked like to be filled with energy that was going to jump out of the paper.

“Impressive,” Timur commented. “I like drawing, too. But my skill is clumsy compared to you.”

“Really?” Avenir had some doubt about what he just said, “Someone outgoing like you shouldn’t be interested in drawing.”

“Every mind can be touched by something beautiful,” Timur answered after a few seconds’ thought. “Anyway, you draw pretty well. I’d think you should trust yourself about it.”

Avenir didn’t reply, and looked at the shirtless boy confusedly. He didn’t truly believe that such a sporty type like Timur would say such the word to him. To Avenir, it might just be too kind to be accepted.

 

After a few more seconds of silence, Timur had realised that his continuous sweating was becoming unbearable. He could even feel his damp briefs inside his shorts. It made his crotch itchy. He only wanted to rush to take a shower and change into clean clothes.

 

“I’m really going to get changed. May we carry on later? I can visit your home.” Timur waved his arm, saying “See you.” before he ran to the changing room while grabbing his jersey. He left Avenir here, who still sat on the bench without any word, staring mindlessly at the sketch featuring the shooting boy who just chatted with him.

 

After Timur arrived home, he told mama he was going to visit their neighbour and asked her if she knew anything.

“You mean the Iashvili family? They just moved here in the last week, seems like from somewhere very far away from here.”

“No wonder why I never met him in school before.” Timur murmured in a low voice.

“You can play with their children as long as you like, just don’t forget to return home in time for dinner!” Marina agreed that Timur could go out to their neighbour to relax before she went back to housework.

“No problem. Thanks!” Timur appreciated, then rushed to his room to grab some stuff before he went out again.

 

A moment later, Timur, bringing his sketchbook in his left hand, ringed the doorbell in front of the Iashvili’s house.

 

“Please come in,” The door was opened by a courtly mannered man wearing a pair of glasses, creamy white skin and bistre hair -- the latter two were similar to Avenir’s. Timur supposed him to be the drawing boy’s father. “Are you Glazkov’s son? Avenir just mentioned you. I’m Nikolai, Avenir’s father.” The man welcomed Timur and led him to the living room. Avenir was already waiting there.

“Hi.” Timur greeted Avenir, and was a bit surprised. “Are you already waiting for me? I didn’t make any promise, but you seem certain that I’ll come.”

“I think you’re a type of actions more than words.” Avenir answered, showing no excitement. “If you want to visit me, you’ll come on straight.”

“Well, if you say so……” Timur scratched the back of his head, still not sure what Avenir exactly meant. “So, where are you from? My mother said your family moved from somewhere far away.”

 

“We’re from Beslan, in North Ossetia.” Answered Nikolai, who carried a teapot and three teacups on a plate, then put them on the table. “Please enjoy the black tea!”

“Where’s it exactly?” Timur tried his best to think, but was unable to connect this strange name to anywhere he knew in Russia.

“It is at the north of the Great Caucasus Mountains.” Nikolai added.

“Wow, It’s indeed very far away.” Timur recalled the Caucasus Mountains’ location taught by his geography teacher – the most southwestern of Russia territory. Comparing to Vladivostok, they were like at the opposite edges.

“We moved here because I got a new job here as a fine art teacher in the school. Avenir will go to the same school too, in September.” Explained Nikolai, who looked at his son sitting next to him, and smiled. “Avenir seems likely to inherit my aspiration. But I think he’s more talented and enthusiastic. He barely cares about anything except making artworks.”

“I…… just like something that is beautiful and inspiring.” Avenir defended himself weakly, in a small voice.

 

After more tea-time conversations, Timur knew the school Avenir was going to attend was the same one Timur went to, and they were also in the same class. Timur expressed his delight and excitement that they were going to be classmates, while Avenir just nodded. Nikolai also mentioned his wife, Tamara – Avenir’s mother, wrote articles for an outdoor magazine, so she went out to get inspiration for the next theme frequently.

“Maybe she can be a fan of the hunting stories papa often tells me.” Timur thought.

 

The two boys then shared their sketches, as Timur’s drawing mostly featured nature scenery and animals, and Avenir’s featured many architectures and portraits.

 

“What’s this kind of blossom?” Avenir found a page of the watercolour painting of many pink and small blossoms gathering on the branches while browsing Timur’s sketchbook.

“Cherry. There’re many trees in the outskirt.” Timur answered, “My papa often brings me to hike to get closer to nature.”

“It’s really beautiful.” Avenir felt impressed. “I wish I’d see them with my own eyes.”

“You can go there anytime. You won’t regret it.” Timur said encouragingly, “I have an idea. How about we exchange our painting and drawing once a week, or twice…… It’s your call. And maybe we can even go out to paint together. It’d be fun, I think.”

“I don’t know……” Avenir responded indecisively, turned his sight to his father – who just smiled and nodded at him – then returned to Timur, “You’re the first one to make such a request, so I’m not sure…… But maybe we can at least try.”

“Would you like to take a trip with us this Thursday morning? I’m taking Avenir to the museum. And we can visit other parts of this city as well. As you’re a local friend, will you play the role of guide for us?” Nikolai suggested while patting Timur’s head.

“I will!” Timur nodded excitedly, looked at his new friend. “We’re going to get along well, right?”

Avenir didn’t answer, only rose up the corner of his mouth slightly, tried to form an unreadable smile. As an introverted boy, he was not fond of making new friends – but maybe he could at least try, this time.

 


 

July 2004.

The summer had come to Vladivostok again. The sky eventually brightened after several days’ of raining had ended. The two boys, who met each other seven years ago by chance, now were both seventeen and had become the best friends. They continued to exchange their recent works, kept their passion for fine arts, then eventually decided to take their first step to be painters by studying at an art secondary school in 14. They also enjoyed every time going outside to seek inspiration together. Sometimes they strolled in the city and caught a view of people on the streets and of architecture. Sometimes they travelled ever further -- by Timur’s advice – to Kholodilnik Mountain, the highest peak in Vladivostok, by their bicycles. Avenir was still not strong and energetic as his pal like, but he tried his best to keep up. Sometimes they just sat on the beach together on a hot summer day only in their surfing shorts, drawing the seagulls hovering over the horizon.

 

Timur’s body continued to grow up and mature as his muscle developed as a result of his increasing androgens and an abundant amount of exercise, even though he had quit playing football after he had decided to specialise in arts. He went out early for jogging every morning and even started attending a gym to build his muscle systematically after school. Moreover, his father often took him to hike in the mountains or hunt in the forests in the holidays. As Timur enjoyed shooting his rifle and the unpredictable beauty of wild nature more and more, his father was satisfied that his son was going to be a true man and hunter.

 

Timur worked out because he adored muscular body like the Greek and Roman statues he had seen, and he wanted to have it, too. He had already begun collecting bodybuilding magazines to observe these bodybuilders posing – almost naked. While looking at this sort of pictures, he always felt a certain part was gradually hardening thanks to congestion. He often couldn’t bear with this feeling, so when he was in his room, he locked the door before he took off his pants and underwear – sometimes other clothes as well -- and started masturbating.

 

At one night, when Timur jerked off in his bed, naked, he suddenly felt confused. When he got along with other friends and classmates, the guys often talked about hot girls who caught their eyes and how to hang out with them, but nothing of the kind of those conversations was of any interest to him. Timur had some female friends, and they got along quite well, but he just felt no desire of their bodies. On the opposite, he couldn’t control his imagination of what it would feel like to suck these muscle men’s things behind their bulging small piece of clothes. He didn’t know what happened to him, he just couldn’t be interested in a girl like other guys did. This was his ultimate secret that even his parents and sister didn’t know.

 

However, Avenir was the only one who knew it as he was always the one Timur went to whenever something worried him. As his best friend, Avenir quietly listened to whatever Timur said rather than made comments. He never judged whether Timur’s interest in men was normal or not, but just said “you like them because they look beautiful to you, don’t you?” with an innocent smile. It comforted Timur a little. Sometimes he wondered how come the reserved and taciturn boy he had met ten years ago metamorphosed into such a gentle and patient listener to him now. He had a sense that Avenir cared about him just as much as he did. As time went by, they felt their relationship was developing deeper and deeper, too.

 

Avenir really enjoyed watching Timur’s maturing body, such as the shape of his arms, chests, abs and thighs, as well as the colour of his tanned skin. To Avenir, Timur might be the best model he had ever seen, as he had drawn many pieces of sketches about Timur’s body. On the contrary, Avenir still looked slender, pale-skin and a little frail, even though he had got a bit taller than Timur. However, to Timur, Avenir was a unique, a very loveable sort of born artist and listener – he always was so kind to stay with him to hear whatever he said when he got worried or sad. But the most important aspect he liked Avenir is that almost everything in their life could inspire him to create remarkable works. And his face when he devoted his mind to his painting totally, holding a paintbrush and a palette in hands, developing his masterpiece stroke by stroke – was one of Timur’s favourite things. Timur knew that he may be not able to paint as good as Avenir did, but he always had a feeling of being filled with an endless stream of creative motivation, with his closest friend by his side. Avenir praised the uniqueness of Timur’s art style and hard-working character to keep improving his work, which encouraged him so much.

 

When the last semester was nearly ending, the teacher highly commented their talent and diligence, and suggested them to prepare for the admission test for the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg next year. Timur and Avenir looked forward to the bright future they would have, already imagined their colourful new life in the centre of traditional culture in Russia. It appeared to like their common dream as painters were finally going to become true.

 

Following the start of the summer vacation, Timur and Avenir scheduled a “date” – their first time ever, on Timur’s 17th birthday. In this April, they celebrated Avenir’s 17th by a party with their families and friends. But on Timur’s turn, they decided to celebrate it “in a private way”.

 

It should not be officially addressed as a “date” because they are not a romantic couple of a guy and a girl. Despite this, Timur and Avenir both liked to call it that way. They both felt that their irreplaceable bond had made them mean more than friends.

 

This day Timur woke up early due to his excitement. He jumped out of bed, stripped off his nightwears and boxers, grabbed his towel only in seconds, and rushed to the bathroom to take a shower. When he was washing his face, he felt that his stubble beard had grown enough to make his lower face feel coarse. Although Timur was satisfied with the status of his new-grown beard, he still planned to get a razor, so he could shave it once it had grown too long. He also took care of his black short hair with a hairdryer. It was cut just several days ago and suited a sporty-type teenager like him.

 

After the shower, he approached his wardrobe after he dried himself with his towel. Firstly, he opened the drawing containing of his underwear, picked a pair of brand-new army green sport briefs with black waistband – which he thought quite fit to support the shape of his gluteal muscle – then put them on carefully in front of a mirror to ensure his important part was well covered by the front pouch and shaped a perfect knoll at his crotch – of course, he scanned other parts of his body as well in a short time. Afterwards, he selected the outfit for the date -- which consisted of a black T-shirt, an army green safari vest, and a pair of khaki cargo trousers. He wore them all along with a pair of black socks and a brown leather belt. Feeling well prepared, he finally took his favourite green canvas messenger bag then went straight to the dining room for breakfast.

 

When he entered the dining room after he temporarily put his bag on the sofa, he found Nadezhda, his 13-year-old sister was already having her breakfast. “Good morning, Nadia.” Timur greeted.

“You’re so late, I’m going out shortly.” Nadezhda replied apathetically.

“Up for morning practice?” Timur asked when he sat on his seat and started to eat. He knew that his sister had been keen on tennis since 10 and aspired to be a successful professional player in future so eagerly.

“Yeah, prepare for a match. Important one.” Nadezhda sighed, “Somewhat I wished I can leave this place to Moscow or somewhere else flourishing to get a better training.”

“Nadia, you’re not going anywhere until you finished the secondary school.” Dimitry, their father, rebuked coldly.

“Why you mind me so much now? As you always favour Timur, taking him to hunt, giving him new rifles, then planning to send him to St. Petersburg to study painting. And me? Nothing.” Nadezhda put down her folk on the table hardly, as she contradicted her father ironically.

“Nadia!” Dimitry yelled as Nadia’s attitude infuriated him. The coffee cup he was holding shook along with his hand. It seemed like he was going to spill the contents anytime. 

“Don’t be so mean. Father supports your aspiration just as much as he supports mine.” Timur tried to comfort his sister in a mild tone.

“You understand nothing, Timur!” Nadezhda jumped off her chair in rage, then inhibited her anger at once before she grabbed her backpack and racket. “I’m going out. See ya.”

She went out quickly without looking back.

 

“Is this my illusion or are girls in this age likely to have an elusive mood?” After his daughter left, Dimitry commented annoyedly while drinking up his coffee.

“Dima, you might have to be a little more patient and listen to her.” Marina tried to placate her husband. She also finished her breakfast and was preparing to go out. “Oh, this time already? I’m going back to the café. Can you help me wash the dishes, Timur?”

“Our boy may be the most patient one in this house, see what he just got!” Dimitry interrupted rudely.

“Enough. We’re not talking about this anymore.” Timur raised his palm to stop his father from complaining, and turned back to his mother, “I’ll do it right away. See you, mama.”

“I’m going out to work, too.” Dimitry put down his cup and stood up, sighed. “See you at dinner, Timur.”

“See you then.”

 

Marina started her own business as a café owner at the beginning of this year by investing all she had saved, as Timur had known. Mother was always the best at cooking, and she desired to do something different rather than just being a housewife. Besides, following the economic recovery, the city was welcoming more foreign visitors, and that signified more opportunity. “It would be a potential business, and somewhat suits her.” Timur thought when he carefully scrubbed the dishes with a sponge.

 

Nadia used to be a girl who always followed her brother’s steps. Timur’s childhood enthusiasm for football probably inspired Nadia to pursue her own dream in sports. Maybe Timur’s change of his career plan later upset her in a way. Believing herself lacking the attention from her father could be another reason that made her so cocky. “She just needs time to deal with it on her own.” Timur tried to think of this in a positive way.

 

When he finished dishwashing and neatly arranged the tableware on the drying rack, Timur went out after putting on his boots and picking up his messenger bag from the sofa, then locked the main door of the house. At the same time, he found Avenir was already waiting for him outside.

 

“Hi,” Timur greeted Avenir, “Sorry I’m late. I was doing housework.”

“Don’t worry, I was just ready, too.” Replied Avenir, with a warm smile. “You look handsome today.”

 

Timur discovered that Avenir was well dressed up too, mostly by his iconic bistre hair, which was curly and somewhat less messy than normal, was combed into a smoother and more refreshed style. He was in a Scottish tartan shirt with a pair of roll-up sleeves, navy-blue jeans and white sneakers. Timur thought this look perfectly suited him.

 

“Same do you.” After a scan on Avenir’s look, Timur commented sincerely.

They walk out together, while Avenir took Timur’s hand excitedly. “So, where’s our first destination?”

 

They went straight the downtown by their bicycles, with excited faces like a pair of travellers. They explored everything that inspired them in sketches, from a street artist in front of the main train station, cheerful children playing in a park, to a large steamship stopping at the harbour……

 

At noon, they went to Marina’s café for lunch, enjoying her new baked Pirozhkis. Avenir seemed to like it so much as he ate too fast to realise there was a small dice of onion stained to his face. Timur laughed while wiping it with his handkerchief. Marina was too occupied taking care of the shop to notice what happened between her son and his friend.

 

After a day making a lot of pencil, fineliner and watercolour sketches, two young artists felt enriched by the time making good works and being together so happily. The time was already past 4, reminding them the time that remained for the day was short.

“I have one last place where I really want to go with you.” Avenir requested.

“Sure, where’s it?” Timur asked excitedly.

“The Fortress. Amazing artillery there, overlooking the sea – a real symbol of this city, isn’t it?” Avenir answered.

“Then let’s go.” Timur smiled while getting on his bicycle.

 

This was not the first time Timur visited the Fortress as he remembered the last visit as a part of an off-campus lesson in the 8th grade history class. But this time the mood was way different. They didn’t enter the interior of the museum (a fee was needed to go inside), but just walked around the artillery. They took out their sketchbook from their bags again, drawing the fascinating shape of these cannons.

 

In Timur’s view, Avenir’s curious face when measuring the shape and proportion of each part of the artillery with his eyes, and captured it carefully, was the most fascinating thing to him. Avenir was too concentrated on his artwork to notice Timur’s gaze as usual, then he was startled as he saw Timur’s face staying so close to him suddenly.

“Don’t look at me like this. It’s embarrassing.” Avenir got blushed, as Timur chuckled. In the next second, Avenir felt amused at this and chuckled along with him.

 

The day was going to end. Two young men sat side by side on one of the stone remains of the fort, which overlooked the broad scenery of Amur Bay. The surrounding was so quiet, they all could hear was only the sound of waves breaking against the shore. They held each other’s hand, looked at the tranquil sea, without any word.

 

“When I arrived in this city 7 years ago, everything here was so strange to me. Sea, street view, people –” Avenir broke the silence by telling the story of his childhood. “I missed my birthplace sometimes. Until I discovered many beautiful things here, the days were getting more and more delighting.”

“Am I one of them?” Timur asked half-jokingly.

“You’re the principal one, I’m sure,” Avenir answered honestly with a smile. “Now I already feel my home is here.”

“That’s good.” Timur smiled back.

“Oh, here’s the gift.” Avenir took out a wrapped box from his backpack, “Happy birthday, Timur.”

“What’s this?” Timur looked at the small box curiously. “It’s certainly not a painting album or painting tools.”

“Open it.” Avenir encouraged with a grin.

After Timur unwrapped the box and opened it, what he found was a thing he never expected as a birthday present.

 

There was a small, palm-sized bar covered by a blue, plastic shell with a small rectangle green screen and several buttons below, which the most conspicuous one was the large circle with a green telephone icon at the centre. Timur recognised what it was and felt very surprised and puzzled about it.

 

“Hold on. You gave me a cell phone as the present?” Timur questioned with a serious tone.

“Yes. And the number card is also attached. Pre-paid one, of course.” Avenir looked at Timur, and explained calmly. “I think it suits you.”

“My point is, how come you can afford something so expensive and just give it to me?” Timur kept asking, in an increased volume.

“I used up all my saves. And my earning from my part-time job.” Avenir’s face got a bit depressed. “I just…… wanted to have this for time. And I’d like you to have it, too.” He took out another cell phone from his pack – the same model, except of the colour of its shell was ebony.

“I’m sure it looks cool.” Timur looked at the cell phone. He saw the brand name above the screen, recognised the Latin alphabets, but didn’t catch what the name meant. Perhaps it was a German word or something else…… He knew Germans were particularly good at making such high-tech gadgets. “But it’s just irrational as a birthday present. I mean, I can buy it for myself if I consider that I really need it. Above all, we’re neighbours and classmates, so we don’t need a cell phone to keep contact.” Timur tried to reason Avenir in a gentle tone.

 

Then they fell in silence. Avenir didn’t talk for minutes, but just look at the sunset.

 

“No, normally we shouldn’t need it. However……” Avenir’s voice got a little trembling.

Timur turned his head to his best friend, curiously.

 

“I……I’m going to leave this city.” Avenir said slightly and sadly, with hesitation. “Going to move back to Beslan at tomorrow, because my father got a new job at the local school as an academic director. I’m so sorry…… For telling you so late.”

“That is a good thing, isn’t it? Your father was promoted. And you’re going back to your birth home.” Timur was confused and tried to come up with something to comfort him, with his most rational and mildly tone, but he suddenly realised these words he just said could make Avenir more upset.

“You don’t understand!” As Timur just expected, Avenir shouted with anger, “I live in this city for years, and the one I’m closest with is here. I don’t consider anywhere else home now.”

“Then why do you tell me now, just before you’re about to leave?” Timur facepalmed, asked in a panic. “Why? If you let me know earlier, we might come up with an idea. Even though your father moves, we might find out a way to stay together in Vladivostok……” Timur found that he couldn’t control his tear dropping, either. He tried to think of something, but he felt his brain became too dumb to have any idea to help with at now.

 

“Because I don’t want to make you sad for days owing to this. I’d like to see our days are happy until the very end.” Avenir sounded sorrowful like it was something he couldn’t really help with. “But I can’t simply leave without telling you. So, I decided to keep it as secret, until we enjoyed every day that remains, so we can have a ton of delightful memories before I leave. It might upset you so much…… But I just don’t like to see a considerate guy like you worrying about this, worrying about me for many days.”

“No, it shouldn’t be like that! Avenir…… You mean so much to me! I don’t want you to leave! Moreover, I don’t like you to conceal such a thing just for my sake! I might get worried if you tell me in the beginning, but it’s because I care about you! We’ve known each other so well in these years, why did you still do this!” Timur grabbed Avenir’s shoulders and refused to accept the fact that his best friend and art-fellow was leaving by the next day. Tears kept flowing down from Timur’s eyes, formed a pair of streams on his cheek. They looked at each other’s crying face without any word for minutes, then finally, Timur hugged the guy way slender than him tightly with his sturdy arms.

 

“I like you so much, Avenir. You mean more to me than just friends. I hope we can always stay together, make good artworks, grow old……” Expressing the true feeling hidden in the deepest place in Timur’s heart, he whispered, “I know you’d never forget our dream, you’re still going to the Imperial Academy with me, aren’t you? But I’m not sure if I can bear my life without you even for a year. I can’t know if you’re all right anymore after you leave to Beslan.”

“So, now you know the reason for my gift……” Avenir responded, “I’m so sorry, Timur……”

“You don’t have to be sorry about anything, Avenir.” Timur comforted Avenir while his hugging got tighter, “Thank you for the gift. I promise that it won’t be our goodbye. We will meet again in next year in St. Petersburg.”

 

Avenir looked at Timur’s face and didn’t say anything. The tears ceased, only remained traces on his face. His hands on Timur’s back went under his T-shirt and touched the skin directly.

 

Timur moaned slightly as Avenir’s hands were so soft and gentle, and provided an unspeakable pleasant feeling of touch. Timur turned his head, tried to reach Avenir’s lips with his own slowly – then their lips finally came into contact. Avenir didn’t reject the ardour from Timur and moved his lips to match his kissing.

 

They lost their inhibition of homosexuality from the outside world but just cared about each other. Timur believed there was not anyone else he liked so much in this world as the guy in his arms right now. Same did Avenir.

 

Instantly, they fell down into the grass, half-lying on the ground face to face, touching each other’s body. After a minute, Timur smirked, suddenly his hand left to take off his vest, his belt, and he undid his trouser’s zippers without any hesitation. Avenir looked at Timur’s exposed underwear from the open crotch nervously with intense blushes.

 

“You’re going to strip off again?” Avenir got surprised for a bit, with his right hand covering his mouth.

“There’s nothing more makes us uneasy, after all……” Timur whispered in a husky tone, slowly pulled up his T-shirt to show his chest and abdominal muscle. Avenir’s felt there was something burning inside his head by looking at the shallow canyons and terraces on Timur’s body, as well as his seductive expression…… Then he recalled Timur seemed to have said something similar when they first met.

 

“After all, we’re both boys?” Avenir, following his childhood déjà vu, joked with a giggle.

“Oh, no! You’re ruining my mood.” Timur’s expression was totally broken as he laughed in spite of himself badly while patting his own belly. Avenir joined the laughing, before he kissed Timur’s lips again, to stop his laughing.

 

“I like you too, Timur,” Avenir replied to Timur’s confession with a soft and affectionate voice, and gently stroked his abdomen skin. “I promise that we’ll meet again.”

“I always know.” Timur whispered and cuddled Avenir closer while caressing his back under his shirt. The intimacy made them feel there was nothing to fear nor worry, even though they were going to be separated, this won’t be a goodbye as they already determined to meet again in the next year at the same art college in St. Petersburg.

 

Timur never thought that was truly a goodbye. And their last one.

 


 

In the whole summer vacation, Timur found out that the cell phone Avenir bought him was undoubtedly useful. They learned to text each other with the tiny number pad on the phone, mostly just saying ‘good morning’ and ‘good night’ every day. They also called each other on their phone sometimes. In one of their calls, he knew Avenir would send Timur some of his sketches before the end of the vacation, and at the same time, Timur promised he would send his ones, too.

 

Timur felt particularly motivated regarding his artworks even without his best friend by his side. He believed that he must be even more hard-working to improve if he wanted to succeed in the admission test for the Imperial Academy of Arts. He considered it as his only opportunity to be an accomplished artist – along with Avenir. He knew Avenir would think of same.

 

And this summer vacation ended.

 

1st September 2004.

Timur had already selected some of his new artworks, packed them carefully and sent them to Avenir’s address in Beslan two weeks ago. He thought that Avenir would receive it in these days. This day was Knowledge Day -- the start of a school year. As per tradition, he attended the ceremony of the art school. He was now the highest grade in the school and expected to graduate in next year. He understood that he must study hard not only arts but all subjects if he wanted to study in St. Petersburg in next year.

 

This evening, Timur went home after he finished his after-school exercise.

“Good evening, mama.” Timur greeted his mother while opening the door.

“Good evening, Timur. There’s your package, it arrived today. I’ve put it on the table.” Marina mentioned while preparing the dinner.

“Hurray!” Timur knew it was from Avenir. He went straight to the living room to pick it up; however, the news on TV and father’s serious face caught his attention.

 

Beslan school hostage crisis.

 

The attack on the school, caused by a group of armed Ingush and Chechen terrorists, shocked the whole nation.

 

By watching the news from Avenir’s residence, Timur’s trepidation kept rising. He called Avenir’s cell phone at once, but no one answered. He then texted a short message “Are you ok?”, hoping to receive a response. The news reported these terrorists shut captives in the gymnasium. Is Avenir one of them?

 

Timur ate dramatically little of his dinner as he felt everything tasted like rubber to him now. He was also in no mood to open Avenir’s package as he felt no sense to look at it if he couldn’t know that Avenir was all right.

 

The siege was beginning. Almost all security force of the nation – Militsiya, Internal Troops and Spetsnaz took actions. These names were strange to Timur, but now he could only put hope in them. If they could end this cruelty soon, then his best friend would have increased chance to be alive.

 

Even Nadezhda, who usually acted cocky, got silent. She watched her family’s sad faces without any word but a vacuous expression. Timur could barely sleep this night. He couldn’t stop worrying Avenir. All he could do was pray......

 

One day passed.

 

Still no message from Avenir.

 

The situation was becoming severer as the food, water, or medicine were refused by the hostage-takers. The captives were isolated in the tightly packed gym. Even the corpses inside were unable to be taken out of the school. Is Avenir one of them? No…… It can’t be. It absolutely can’t be.

 

Another day passed.

 

The battle finally started. Following sudden explosions, the school was totally in chaos. The special forces fought their way to enter the school to save hostages. There were even tanks, rockets and flamethrowers dispatched. The school buildings blazed greatly. Despite this, the living hostages were saved by troops. Can Avenir be one of them? Please, I hope that he is all right……

 

Still no message from Avenir.

 

If he is ok, then he would call me at once. Or what if his cell phone was lost during the crisis? Would he find out another way to contact me?

 

More days passed.

 

The statement said 334 people had died. At least 437 people were hospitalised.

Timur couldn’t imagine what it would look like to see his best friend was one of them who got burnt, gunshot injuries, shrapnel wounds…… Above all if he didn’t survive----

 

Then he saw the name on the paper.

 

Nikolai Antonovich Iashvili, the teacher in the school and his son, Avenir were reported to be the victims in Beslan school hostage crisis who insisted to protect the students shut in the school.

According to an eyewitness account, they tried to save the children succumbing to the sweltering heat, stuffy air and lacking food and water, in risk of their own life. They were among a few who stood against the terrorists proactively to demand them to stop abusing the younger students. One of their deeds was removing explosives placed near the children and they kept them from being detonated.

They were both killed on the third day, the day the troops stormed in. Another witness said that they struggled with the terrorists who fired and threw grenades at the fleeing children, in order to buy time for them to escape.

 

Timur was empty-hearted and put down the newspaper he read. He returned to the room reticently. He vaguely heard his father comment fiercely on how bloody the crisis had become by using RPGs and tanks in the siege. Timur didn’t pay any attention to him.

 

Timur fell to his bed, stared at the ceiling of his room, and thought of nothing but Avenir.

 

He’s dead.

He’s dead by protecting other people.

He might have had a chance to survive, but he chose to give it to other younger children.

I don’t understand. How about our promise?

You promised that we’ll meet again.

Promised that we would become the great artists who represent this country and this age, together.

Fuck. Why did you still do this? It shouldn’t be like that……

 

He was confused and indignant, felt like his brain spinning like a gyroscope. Eventually, Timur found that he couldn’t blame Avenir at all, as he would do the same thing if he was present.

 

He couldn’t bear to witness someone weaker than him suffering.

He intended to protect them with all he could.

That was what Avenir did, and I would do it, too.

 

“If I can be stronger……” Timur muttered while turning over. He thought of the strange names of special forces he saw on the news. Militsiya, Internal Troops and Spetsnaz.

 

Can I become one of them?

If I can become one of them, then I can protect more people from such a misery.

If I want to protect more people, then I must become strong to do so.

 

The answer was clear.

Timur jumped out of his bed, looked at the package Avenir sent, which was put on his desk. He didn’t open the package, but instead hid it into the deepest area of the cabinet, then strode out of his room.

 

 

That was the day he made his own sadness into a source of power.

 

That was the day he realised his sense of mission, which took precedence over his dream.

 

That was the day Timur Glazkov felt determined to become a soldier.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

In 2017.

Timur Glazkov, now 29 years old, had become the indispensable member of Spetsnaz Alpha Group as well as Team Rainbow.

 

As an international elite counter-terrorism organisation, the operators Team Rainbow selected were all at the peak in their fields. For example, Jäger from GSG9, developed his own Active Defence System to zap off incoming grenades. Mute from SAS, was famous by his GC90 "Moni" Signal Disruptor. Thermite, from FBI SWAT, used Exothermic Charges that could blow off reinforced walls. Doc, from GIGN, was a highly achieved combat medical officer and a member of MSF.

 

Timur, being called by his codename “Glaz” in the Team Rainbow at now, was a few of operators merely selected by his pure combat skill. However, although everyone in the whole team was quite good at rifle combat -- as it was essential -- his ability was extremely outstanding among others. Notably, he was such proficient in acquiring targets precisely in a long distance by his sniper rifle, made him like a silent assassin who cleared out dangerous hostiles before they were aware so that the other operators could move to the mission location safely.

 

Joining Team Rainbow, working with operators from many various countries and backgrounds was also a new challenge to Glaz. Even though he was already acknowledged as the best sniper in Spetsnaz at that time, he still felt there was quite a lot to learn to be among these global elites. It was also his favourite part of this job – an opportunity to recognise his deficiencies, so he could improve further, then contribute this world with his best effort.

 

However, the most important thing was that in Team Rainbow Glaz had met another unforgettable man in his life----

 


 

3rd May 2017, Oslo, Norway.

 

The operator's team deployed by Team Rainbow were reinforcing the consulate to avoid their informant and the database from the White Mask’s attack. Everyone was on the rush as both their information and intuition told them the ambush would arrive soon.

 

One of the operators was noticeable in them, by his uniform which consisted of a grass green Gorka 4 and a Gearcraft Viper Hood – two of his trademarks, along with a Smersh AK vest. His face covered in a scarf and dark green camo face paint which made his identity illegible except his Spetsnaz origin.

 

Among the operators busy with improving the defence, the Russian, who led the team in the mission as the oldest member here, was particularly hard-working as he ran over the whole building with a cordless screwdriver in his hand to find all possible locations for his traps. He approached a door to the staircase leading to the basement, took a little white cube from his pack along with a long screw, then attached it to the door frame with the screwdriver in seconds. He figured the location where his trap connected cautiously, to made it inconspicuous along with the wall nearby.

 

“All done. All my beauties, ready to go.” The Russian operator satisfied his result, rolling an unused screw dexterously with his thick fingers exposed from his half-finger gloves. “Just need to wait until they got hooked.” He murmured with a husky voice, moving back to other fellow operators.

 

“Kapkan, are your EDDs all set?” A young French face, Rook, was the first one talked to him after he returned. “Wouldn’t you mind putting up my amour plate? You’re the last one still not take it.” The GIGN operator pointed to his armour pack placed on the ground.

“Even I estimated the chance of being shot was small.” Kapkan took the last armour plate and put it on his uniform. “Still thanks, boy.”

“I set a Moni under the front window on the second floor.” Mute -- the operator wearing SAS uniform along with an M50 mask reported. “Should prevent them from using breach charges.”

“Good, good.” Kapkan made an invisible smirk under his scarf. “When they have no choice but breaking the window with their arms – then, boom! You helped me a lot, Mute.”

“You’re a master fisher, aren’t you?” Another SAS operator with his iconic gas mask joked, “Making me start treating these terrorists as salmons. Hmm. Better Smoke them!”

“James.” Mute disapproved his SAS comrade joking with his codename in a serious tone. “You better stop this as the enemy is coming.”

“Black eyes are all deployed, too.” A muscular woman in NAVY SEAL gears with tattooed arms joined the conversation, and laughed: “Anyone up to CCTV to watch their track for me? I’m going to catch some naughty tangos.”

“Valkyrie, are you seri--” The woman went out again like a gale before Rook tried to stop her. “Uh, never mind.”

“These American SEALs are all so confident in combat, aren’t they?” Kapkan laughed. “I won’t lose to her.” As the mood of competition turned on, the Russian rushed to the stair toward upper floor.

“Kap!” Rook tried to stop him too, but it was too late.

Mute patted the facepalming Frenchman’s shoulder, “Trust them will be all right. Our job now is watching the intel.”

 

The action was successful as most of the White Masks downed before reached the target due to Kapkan’s EDDs and the unexpected sneak attack by Valkyrie in company with the Russian. The rest who managed to get closer to the database were eliminated by other three operators effortlessly. There was a terrorist team led by a shield attacker entered the room by an unwatched door though; fortunately, there was a gas grenade detonated by Smoke, so they were unable to push on temporarily, or they would get poisoned.

 

When Smoke managed to reach a bunker nearby the obstructed hostiles to shoot them down, “Boom!” an intense explosion occurred in front of him, who subconsciously braced down to avoid being hurt by erupting shrapnel.

 

After the explosive sound faded, Smoke raised his head cautiously, then found these White Masks’ already fell in their pool of blood.

 

“I don’t remember there was any trap remaining. Kapkan?” Smoke called his Russian teammate remotely, through his headphone.

“I don’t need an EDD to take them. I just threw a C4 down through the gap in the ceiling.” Kapkan, who defended the upstairs, laughed loudly in the communication channel.

“You’re a terrible Russian.” Smoke laughed out, too. “If someone has upset you, I can expect what would he get.”

“The upstairs are all cleared! How about you guys?” Valkyrie, another one upstairs, reported the situation.

“CCTV checked. No hostiles are incoming. We can say the mission completed.” Mute replied.

“Good, good.” Kapkan returned the room, almost fully covered by the blood – certainly from the terrorists he killed. “Another peaceful day.” He took off the armour plate given by Rook.

“It still helped, doesn’t it?” Rook received the armour which almost unharmed, except hostiles’ blood stains.

“Somewhat,” Kapkan answered. “Although I thought they shot blanks because they couldn’t make even a single swallow hole on the armour.”

“Well, just please don’t take such the risk too often. Neither do you, Valkyrie.” Rook, still a bit confused by their aggressive combat style, commented.

“To a Spetsnaz, ‘risk’ is a synonym of ‘advantage’.” Kapkan took off his scarf and smirked at his 11 years younger French teammate. “You have a quite lot to learn hereafter, boy!”

 

After they collected the intel with the assistance of the informant, the team were on the way back to the HQ in Hereford by a helicopter.

 

“What’s the status of the Team Bravo in San Francisco?” After minutes of silence except for the noise from engines, Kapkan broke it by asking one of the officers.

“The one led by Ash? Have no news right now. Maybe we’ll receive it after arriving the base.”

“Why you want to know it so eagerly?” Smoke commented frivolously. “Oh, I see! Because your lover is there!”

“James!” Mute shouted with a light slap on Smoke’s mask.

“I asked just out of goodwill!” Kapkan shrugged, “But I trust him has no problem after all.” He then self-talked in such a low voice that no one else noticed what he mentioned.

 


 

San Francisco, CA, US.

 

The mission in San Francisco was complicated as the team had to defuse the explosions scattered throughout the urban area without affecting citizens. After several day’s actions, the team was ready to take out the final one in a bank building.

 

“The bomb is well guarded. Will be ambushed if go in straight.” Checked the status with the drone, the sniper put down his PDA controlling the drone and reported to his teammate. As another Spetsnaz origin operator, his outfit looks like Kapkan's in a degree: featured the same kind of Gorka 4 in a fallow-colour pattern, and an assault vest with a mag pouch. His head was also almost fully covered by his green scarf, an olive-colour “Chechenka” hat and a pair of MSA Sordins earmuff, along with grass green camo face paint. The only visible part of this soldier’s body was his eyes – a couple of azure irises looked particularly sharp and shiny reflecting the lighting nearby. The concentrate glance from this pair of eyes looked like a predator finding its prey.

 

“I’m hanging at the outside to clear the lobby and corridors.” With a short evaluation, the sniper told his plan in a low, steady tone.

“Glaz, it’ll make you the most obvious target for them.” Ash, the FBI SWAT operator with a black cap and sunglasses who led the action team, showed her doubt.

“Not if I take them out before they see me.” Glaz prepared his sniper rifle, “And I never fail.”

“Then where should we go in?” Blitz, the German GSG9 operator, featured his flash shield, asked.

“I suggest the rooftop.” Thermite, Ash’s colleague in FBI SWAT, pointed the top of the building. “There’s an emergency exit to the third floor. Little guarded. When we keep going down we’ll found a reinforced wall blocked us to the bomb location though; I can deal with it.”

“When we’re at the rooftop, shall I deploy an attacking drone first?” Twitch, the GIGN attacker with her unique drone able to disable electronic gadgets asked. “We’ll be safer while there’s no CCTV or another power device.”

“Yes, we’ll need it.” Thermite replied with a smile, before started action. “And keep watching our six, Ruskie.” He turned to the sniper, who was going to hang himself up to a point overlooking the whole interior.

“Certainly.” Replied Glaz, “Going to meet you inside after cleared.”

 

Everything seemed smooth to the elite team until they reached the bomb and readied to place the defuser. The reason was evident that the sniper’s fire created a big mess to the White Masks inside. After Glaz headshot all targets he saw, he changed to another location to find more enemies from another angle. Every terrorist inside was paying too much attention to the ghostly killer to notice other operators coming from the top.

 

With Blitz’s guard, Ash placed the defuser on the bomb efficiently. They were expecting another ambush, so they went to find surrounding spots that could create crossfires. When the defuser set, more enemies approaching the bomb as they expected, mostly taken out immediately by the team behind the bunkers.

 

However, Ash noticed a suicide bomber running in the room through the corridor. He had got shots, but his pace still not slowed down. In seconds he would go in to take out Blitz and explode the bomb by force, in the cast of his own life – as well as everyone.

 

“Blitz, watch out!” Ash shouted as the bomber already rushed into the room.

In the next second, “Pound!” a massive sound of collision surrounding the whole floor. Evidently not from an explosion as they just received the notice that the bomb successfully defused. But no message from Blitz made the surrounding operators uncertain about his situation. Everyone moved cautiously toward the room to check it.

 

“So close. I managed it on time.” Meanwhile, they heard Glaz’ sound as the sniper standing at the corridor holding his rifle, was supposed to be the hero to take the bomber down. “There were many hostiles upstairs. Can figure out how much they hated me.” The sniper laughed in a sarcastic tone, which rarely heard from someone usually quiet.

“I’m ok. I triggered the flash.” Replied Blitz, “A little shocked but I’m still on my feet. I shot a number at this bastard’s head after he’s down, I think he’s well dead now.”

“Well, lucky you.” Ash wiped the sweat from her forehead. “But you did very well. Our job is done here.”

 


 

Hereford base.

Kapkan rushed to the Spetsnaz quarter to change off his dirty uniform. The team already reported the result to Director Six after landing, so they should have a short free time before dinner.

 

“Damn, I’m fucking hungry.” Kapkan thought when he opened the door to quarter, “I think I can eat a whole bull for dinner.” There was no one inside – as he knew, Tachanka, his old comrade since the Spetsnaz age, was assigned to Barcelona and Ibiza for another action. It was also for pre-collaboration with the new scouted operators from GEO who were expected to join Team Rainbow soon. Fuze was not out for any mission right now, but he was used to working out in the gym, going to CQB training or studying the new tech in the workshop for a whole day, so it was reasonable to him to not be here in this time.

 

And Glaz –

Still not received any news from San Francisco, Kapkan decided to take out his phone to check if there was any message unread.

 

“Glaz (Timur):    14:01

 We finished our mission. On the way to HQ. See you soon!”

 

Kapkan figured out the message was received when he was still on the helicopter, where his phone couldn’t work right there. He reckoned that Glaz would return before midnight, considering the travel time from America. Relaxed, Kapkan hummed while stripping off his layers of combat gear, then went to the bathroom to take a refreshing shower. He washed his body full of hard muscles and scars -- as the medals from countless battles he experienced, carefully than usual. And he particularly confirmed the remaining camo painting on his face was washed off completely. In the meanwhile, he was unable to stop thinking of his man.

 

While rinsing the soap foam covering Kapkan’s body with showerhead, he imagined the man’s soft moaning voice. His sound was so attracting. Not so low and rough like Kapkan’s, but still husky in a seductive way. Kapkan just missed his voice after these days’ actions. He felt so horny now as he was already holding his erection caused by his erotic imagination. Kapkan was not a man skilled at suppressing his lust. He continued to comfort himself by moving his right hand up and down.

 

“Are you going to break your record in the longest shower, Maxim?” A slightly annoyed voice dragged Kapkan back to the reality. He recognised that was Fuze’s voice. It heard like he was just back from the gym and going to take a shower, too.

 

“I’m just finished.” Kapkan turned off the water and grabbed his towel in a hurry.

“Don’t tell me you’re just masturbating.” Fuze spoke loudly through the bathroom door, “Already miss him so much?”

“You never masturbate in the shower? Sissy Shuhrat.” Kapkan snickered with a sarcastic response.

“I do jerk off.” Fuze replied coldly, “But not as much as someone full of this kind of desire.”

“Even Jäger can’t make you horny?” Kapkan giggled while drying himself.

“Shut up!” Fuze shouted furiously. “I can punch you for five hundred times for what you did!”

 

He meant the plan of “helping them realise their feeling”. At that time, Kapkan felt himself was indeed helping – maybe added too many pranks though, but for now, when recollected the memory, he also found out himself was indeed stupid. Whatever, Kapkan’s effort let the inconceivable relationship of a cold-blooded Uzbek and a geeky-to-bone German become possible, and they indeed got closer, that was true.

 

“But you like him from the very beginning.” Kapkan justified as he opened the door, then signed Fuze to get in while stepping out of the bathroom. Fuze was already naked beside his towel at the waist.

“Whatever you think.” Fuze sighed while entering the bathroom, then turned his head before he closed the door. “Would you like to go to dinner with me, after I finish my shower?”

“Yep, sure,” Kapkan answered before went back to his room to put on some casual clothes.

 

The canteen was a bit deserted for days as most of the operators had dispatched for different missions. As the California team and Spain team had reported that they completed their tasks and expected to return soon, it would be likely to liven up again in the next day. Kapkan and Fuze met Jäger while taking their meals; then they seated themselves together at a table.

 

Fuze rolled up his stir-fried udon with a folk (It may be hard to imagine, but he is, in fact, a fan of Asian style food, Kapkan noted) while talking to Jäger. Fuze started with their plan to improve the coverage area of Jäger’s ADS and the possibility to test it with his cluster charges, as Jäger replied him with a happy face and voice while eating his spaghetti. Their conversation was still terribly geeky with only technology-related topics. They talked excitedly about their plan even though their mouths were still chewing the food, and already decided to go straight to workshop after dinner.

 

Kapkan felt himself acting like an encumbrance between this two tech buddies, but he didn’t have any right to complain as he was the one who promoted this relationship in a way. He held on the impulse to ask them when the last time was they do that thing as he knew that Fuze would undoubtedly crash all his finger bones into a thousand pieces by this. He finished his steak quietly (well, at least I ate a part of a bull, Kapkan thought) before left the seat. The two tech buddies who entirely focused on their nerdy talk didn’t even notice that Kapkan was going.

 

As Kapkan had nothing better to do at this night, he went out to smoke outside the barrack. The summer was arriving in England as there was a glimmer of sunset even it was already past 8 p.m. He thought of his days before Team Rainbow – as a police officer in Naryan-Mar, a little Arctic port town, and later Beslan, then after the crisis he was recruited to Spetsnaz. Especially in Naryan-Mar, Maxim often hunted animals like foxes with his self-made traps in his off-time. He even saw polar bears chasing fishes on the glacier for a few times – a fantastic view that he would never forget. What peaceful days.

 

On the contrary, Beslan was a depressed and dangerous city with long-term ethnic conflict. He became cold-blooded as much as possible to handle the security in this cruel city and survive. He was one of a handful of police officers who saw action in the School Siege and alive. It was one of the memory he locked deep inside his mind and never mentioned to anyone. Even though his effort in the incident made Spetsnaz showed interest to him and provided him with a new opportunity.

 

Well, perhaps he would never have a chance to meet that man if it didn’t ever happen, after all.

 

Even both from Spetsnaz, they didn’t know each other before Team Rainbow as they were in different regiment and location. At the first time, he met Glaz at Hereford two years ago, they did not get along well, mostly due to Kapkan’s disgust at similarity -- the 8-year-old younger sniper looked so like Kapkan in many aspects. They were in a time of competition. However, after living together for a few days, he started to feel himself palpitating in a strange rhythm when facing the sniper. He knew that he couldn’t let go of this man. Their similarity in predators’ intuition made them fight each other badly, but the dual also made them like each other and stay together.

 

Sometimes Kapkan thought that was a meet of destiny. He never believed he would have such a profound affection for such a man, or anyone else. Even though he had made some close friends in his Spetsnaz age, like Tachanka and Finka – an extraordinary woman he trained, an intelligent and hard-working fighter for her own life, who could talk everything with him. He tried to get closer to such a good woman, but they just didn’t manage to find out any other feeling besides coach-student, friends and colleagues. Maybe Finka didn’t believe herself deserved “love” for some reasons she couldn’t tell. Neither did Kapkan at that time.

 

Kapkan still couldn’t figure out why Glaz was able to kindle the long-forsaken passion inside his mind, but the sniper had made it anyway and gave him a feeling of satisfaction he never experienced. Maybe it was genuinely destined that I would turn gay for this man and we should be together. Only God knows.

 

The voice of helicopter dragged Kapkan back from his memories. He gazed at the helicopter landing onto the heliport in the base, then put out the cigarette before went back to the building.

 

He knew that Glaz returned.

 


 

After the mission report and other operators of California team had left, Director Six told Glaz to wait, “There is one thing I must notify you privately.”

“Yes, Director.” Glaz stood at attention.

“Check it.” Director gave Glaz a sealed file bag, which printed some Russian words.

 

Glaz opened it carefully with his knife, then took out the contains.

 

“Here is the invitation of 2017 Pacific Defence Expo held in 1st July in Vladivostok. Oh great. It is a invitation of the counter-terrorism drill with the Spetsnaz unit here and the presentation on international rescue actions.”

 

“I supposed that you had become a notable person in local.” Director sighed, “By your effort in 45th Guards Brigade and Alpha Group, mostly. Even our Rainbow operations are secretive; we still do diplomacy when it requires.”

“Hmm, I am not sure why they need me so much.” Glaz was still confused, “Just because there is my birthplace?”

“I am certain it explains everything.” Director figured out, “Listen, we have to treat this as an opportunity. As our information shown, you never return to your hometown since joined the military.”

“In the Ground Force and Spetsnaz, I barely had a vacation, and I always garrisoned at somewhere far from home. It is evident.” Glaz replied, “Missions must take priority.”

“Then we can give you one.” Director’s usually serious face suddenly brightened for a bit. “As you are always the most diligent one to achieve our objectives to an excellent level, I have thought that you deserve it.”

“You are too kind. I am not sure if I can simply accept it.” Glaz pondered.

“Building social value in the community is another crucial key to our success, do not underestimate that.” Director returned to her steady tone, “You may consider it for three days before we confirm the schedule. Dismissed.”

 


 

Kapkan laid on his bed with his left arm supporting his head while holding a book to read with his right hand. The time was already 21:30, Fuze still not returned. Perhaps he had invested himself entirely in the “geek time” with Jäger. If they eventually stayed over there and maybe doing something more amusing than their tech gadgets, it won’t be a surprise to him either. Then he suddenly realised that the two terrible nerds’ primary leisure activity was probably playing Monster Hunter with their Nintendo 3DS together. It counts. Even Kapkan hated to admit that.

 

Kapkan guessed that Glaz was likely to return here soon after he finished the mission report. He decided to go straight to the door to welcome him.

 

Bingo.

 

“Oh, you’re here, Maxim.” Glaz entered the door in full gear, met his man standing in front the door. His usually serious expression in action relaxed in sudden, after seeing his closest one’s face. “Where are others?”

“’Chanka’s probably still on his way back.” Kapkan answered, “Shuhrat…… Well, enjoying his nice time in the workshop, probably.”

“With Jäger,” Glaz replied, as he understood that there was no other besides Jäger could make the Uzbek more comfortable in the workshop.

“Of course.” Kapkan shrugged. “So, here are only you and----"

Glaz’ assault on Kapkan’s lip stopped him from saying.

 

Knowing there was nobody else, Glaz closed the door by reaching his hand to the doorknob behind him, without turning the body. He kept pushing Kapkan until the couch in living room.

 

“I miss you.” Kapkan felted down softly on the couch, looked at the sniper with an affectionate expression.

“I know.” Glaz straddled on Kapkan, replied in a husky voice, began to take off his hat, scarf, earmuffs and gloves in a moderate tempo, then put them on the table beside. This action enticed Kapkan into an exhilarated mood.

 

“Great. You made me remember our first time……” Kapkan kept his eyes on Glaz’ face. “You treated the wound on my neck after our first field training. Straddled on my body, whispered to me in the kind of sexy voice……” He then gently stroked Glaz’ painted face with his tips, then slipper to his back neck under the collar.

“But now you feel different than that time, don’t you?” Glaz smiled while taking Kapkan’s right hand stroking his neck, as he looked at the scar on Kapkan’s neck he made. Glaz touched the scar mildly with right fingertips like petting a hamster.

“Yes. Now you've raised my hunger to drag you out from this suit.” Kapkan laughed, then placed his hand on the button of Glaz’ Gorka suit immediately, preparing to undo it.

“Go ahead.” Glaz lowed his head to get closer to Kapkan’s face when he attempted to take off his suit; then they kissed one more time.

 

After Glaz’ suit had been taken off and thrown aside, the olive green tank top inside exposed with his bare arms. Kapkan could observe the sweat beads on the sniper’s skin, which was a little deeper than Kapkan’s in colour. When Kapkan kept his sight at the seductive body covered in the thin, elasticity cloth for a longer time, he felt his lust was continued to be hooked up like fishes.

 

Kapkan pulled the cloth up for a bit, caressed Glaz’ lower back underneath it. He had touched a large scar on it, made him curious about its origin. As four Spetsnaz operators were all acknowledged champions of battle-trace even in the whole Hereford base, sometimes it was a kind of amusement to them to tell each other the story behind each scar. But Kapkan didn’t have any mood to ask right now but immersed in his body temperature and odour. Kapkan tried to undo the belt on Glaz’ trousers by only left hand, but the sniper’s left hand also reached it. As a result, they unfastened the belt together and cackled together at the awkward movements of two soldiers’ think fingers. Then Kapkan gripped the trousers waist to pull it until Glaz’ knee, exposed sniper’s sturdy tights completely, which got immediately contacted by Kapkan’s hands.

 

The trap master's right hand wandered along the valley on Glaz’ hamstring to his hips, which now only covered by black colour sports briefs. His underwear fitted tightly at the lower edge of his hip muscles, where Kapkan’s desirous fingers were stroking. Glaz moaned with a craving for more from the trap master, as he pulled up Kapkan’s grey T-shirt to his neck. Two Russian’s body gradually got closer until their chests contacted. Glaz arched his right arm to pillow Kapkan’s head; they shared a deeper kiss as Kapkan could feel the sniper’s tongue tip invaded his oral wildly, “Hmm……” Kapkan tried to move his tongue following the rhythm, then managed to reach deeper in Glaz’ month, too. By the exchange of saliva; they accepted and blended the taste of each other. Meanwhile, Glaz let their nipples rub each other, made Kapkan gasp in sudden. He had a keen awareness that the sniper was incredibly dominant today, especially with his clothes off one by one piece.

 

Glaz was usually famous for his patience, and the character was more intense with his lover. He could softly caress his man for hours when doing the thing – it was tough for Kapkan to hold on his increasing impulse to rip off every piece of clothes covering Glaz and fuck his arse fiercely. However, he somewhat found out that looking forward to the next step of the talented artist of love was far more fascinating than he imagined. Maybe in this world could not found another man who favoured such a slow and progressive foreplay like him.

 

Kapkan could finally remove Glaz’ undershirt after the sniper released Kapkna’s month, then he glided Glaz’ fully exposed back excitedly. Kapkan kept right hand travelling through Glaz’ lower back before went straight to his hips – touched directly beneath the underwear.

 

Glaz jittered and groaned softly again. Following moments of foreplay, Glaz’ desire was ready to erupt as his boner got hard enough to lift up the small and flimsy black fabric covering his crouch, forming a shape of temptation that locked Kapkan’s dazed sight at it. Kapkan felt his body started boiling and sweating as the sign of becoming turned up completely. Although he only wore a pair of navy blue running short along with his T-shirt as his nightwear, he sensed a strong feeling of overdressing right now. He gently pushed off Glaz’ body aside to make the room to undo his short; however, the sniper already anticipated it as he seized the waistband before Kapkan did so. In a flash, the shorts had been pulled down to his ankles.

 

Glaz now sat on the couch and gazed at Kapkan, who just stood up and got his feet out from the shorts laying on the ground. The sniper observed at Kapkan’s hairy and sturdy legs as well as his blue and white strip boxer briefs in a curious look.

 

“Maxim, you got new underwear? How rare.” Glaz made an intriguing comment while taking off his boots which had kept his uniform pants from leaving his lower legs for a while.

“Well, yeah my old undies had gotten loose. Didn’t surprise me as they're wearing for years. So, I bought new ones. British things. Not bad.” Kapkan replied while removing his T-shirt to expose his broad, well-developed upper body full of scars. “I feel that I care about my wearing much more than before. Under an aesthetician’s influence, probably.”

“Me? I never teach you how to dress up.” Glaz stared at Kapkan’s new undergarments, thinking that the blue and white strips undershirt, called “Telnyashka”, was treated as the traditional symbol of staunch soldiers in Russia. Glaz used to wear light blue strip Telnyashka too when he was in service for GRU. To him, it exactly suited a real Russian man like Maxim.

“I’m more than fine with your fashion taste so far,” Glaz commented sincerely.

 

“Remember our operation in Milan four months ago?” Kapkan sat at Glaz’ right-hand side. Glaz already took off one of his boots, and he was untying another one’s shoelace. “It was a cold day. When we were ready to wrap up before going back to base, you suddenly vanished. Then about half hour later, you were shown up with a new silk scarf. Everyone was astonished.”

 

Kapkan lifted up Glaz’ right foot until facing him, then attempted to pull down the short black sock covering it. This act tickled Glaz for a degree as he giggled in a low voice, while Kapkan patting his bare right foot with popping veins and tough tendons. Kapkan even sniffed Glaz’ toes with neatly trimmed nails.

 

“How filthy.” Glaz pushed Kapkan’s nose by his foot toes lightly to signal him to move his nose away. “I don’t know you’ve even become fond of foot odour.”

“I enjoy the smell of every inch of your body.” Kapkan licked his lips, and flirted, “Especially that place.”

 

“Ok, ok, I already know that. Back to the topic.” Glaz answered while he eventually unplugged his left boot with a slight force. “I had been interested in what Italian men wear so much since I saw a lot of them on the street at that time. Treat it as a souvenir.”

“You even used your credit card.” Kapkan continued his kidding tone as his hands were going to approach Glaz’ left foot to do the same thing he just did, but Glaz stopped him at once by playfully kicking Kapkan’s naughty hands. “Didn’t you ever concern that you’d be tracked? Like that if someone managed to hack into the bank’s customer records – bingo! We got Timur Glazkov, the sniper of Team Rainbow just shopped at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II!” Kapkan made comedic acting with his hands’ vigorous dancing.

“Who’s going to track a Spetsnaz?” Glaz answered calmly and cocked his right eyebrow while taking off the sock from his left foot by his left hand. “They must be seeking for death.”

“You got the point.” Kapkan laughed, “And I must admit that you looked stylish at that day.”

 

As Glaz completely got out from his trousers, Kapkan couldn’t help but scanning every muscle line on Glaz’ body and licking his upper lip unconsciously. Kapkan wondered that if fine young Timur got more muscular than two years ago or it was just his romantic illusion. Like already read Kapkan’s mind, Glaz stood in front of Kapkan and began flexing in an exaggerated, half-joking way. The act amused Kapkan into his bones as he clapped intensely with a burst of laughter at Glaz kneeling with one knee and bending his arms to perform his biceps and pecs. The remaining sweat beads’ shine on his skin made the show more pretending.

 

“Amazing.” Kapkan finally managed to stand up after minutes of laughing. “You should consider this career if you’re done with the military.”

“No, I don’t think so. I prefer a contributing life with more missions and services.” Glaz stood up too, hooking Kapkan’s shoulder, whispered, “And with you, certainly.”

“Flatter.” Kapkan laughed again, made a playful punch on Glaz’ chest. “Anyway, you’re going to shower, right? I’m coming with you.”

“I trust you already did yours,” Glaz said while removing his briefs. He lifted his legs instead of bending over to remove it so Kapkan could capture his remarkable manhood in sight.

“I don’t mind taking a second one in this day.” Kapkan mimicked Glaz’ voice while taking off his underwear as well. “With you, certainly.”

“Enough of your awkward acting.” Glaz beamed with patting Kapkan’s cheek softly. “But you’re right. It’s fun to do our thing in the shower.”

“Hmm, bath play! I love it.” Kapkan tongued out with a seductive breath sound and strode straight to the bathroom.

 

“Wait, don’t forget your towel!” Glaz stopped the horny hunter before he went to Kapkan’s room to take out his white bath towel hanging on the hook, with his name “Maxim” written at the selvedge in Russian letters. Glaz threw the towel for a distance, as Kapkan caught it perfectly. Then Glaz also took his one out of his room, which also had his name on it, before entered the bathroom following his man.

Chapter Text

Locating in the quarter lived four tough Russian men, their bathroom was unbelievably clean and tidy. The wall of teal tiles, the mirror, beige-colour sink, and toilet even looked a bit shiny. The toiletries were arranged neatly on four shelves separately assigned to four operators. There was a transparent separator with a swinging door divided the toilet and the bathroom area, which featured a shower and even a small built-in bathtub – added as a part of base upgrade carried out at the end of last year, enough to fit a single sitting man -- at the corner. To four Spetsnaz operators, this kind of bathroom was almost a luxury they never imagined having in their life in the services. In their memory, Tachanka used the tub for a few times to comfort his well-experienced body once he felt muscle soreness, but others were fine with just using the shower.

Moreover, there was a pot of natal lily at another corner of the bathroom. It was set under the aesthetician’s advice, “Looking at green leaves often is good to eyes”, as he often said. Of course, the bathroom (and everywhere else in the quarter) carefully maintained under everyone’s collaboration.

Kapkan, already waiting in front of the swinging door to the shower, welcomed the aesthetician’s arrival. Glaz locked the door behind after he entered the bathroom, grabbed his shampoo and shower gel from his shelf, then held them with the left hand. And Kapkan could observe there was a bottle of lube and a condom in the sniper’s right hand apparently was taken from his room. Glaz went straight and pushed Kapkan to the wall in the shower. Kapkan gazed at Glaz’ aggressive expression joyfully as it was what he exactly expected – a usually silent, calm and kind man became unable to control his dark desire and shown his beastlike nature. Kapkan knew that thoroughly and was satisfied with the “evil” side of Glaz that only belong to him.

“You want to top me tonight, don’t you?” When Glaz turned on the shower head to rinse their bodies, Kapkan asked provocatively.

“You know what, next time you should be naked from the beginning.” Glaz pretended to make a serious suggestion to fool his lover, “Welcome me at the door showing your wobbling giant хуй (cock), would you?” Glaz shook his index finger as the sign.

“Timur you dirty freak.” Kapkan half-joked with a broad grin, “You should do it first.”

“I’m the one going to bath, so I have to strip off anyway,” Glaz replied in his usual rational tone.

“Then I must strip off after you so that I can fuck your ass.” Kapkan snickered.

“Look at who is the freak.” Glaz pinched both sides of Kapkan’s cheek in jest, then approached his lips to make another kiss. “Enough talking. Come on.”

Glaz turned off the water after they were wet. He squeezed a few of shower gel out of the bottle on his palm, then spread it all over Kapkan’s body. He gave the bottle to Kapkan, who did the same following him. Kapkan mainly took care of Glaz’ little pretty face to clean his slightly faded face painting. They stroke over every inch of each other’s skin until the foam covered their body, felt the texture of the bumps and ridges over their muscular bodies. Afterwards, Kapkan turned on the tap then handed the shower head to Glaz, as he cleaned away the foam before he placed it away to focus on his partner’s body fully. Glaz then put his hand on Kapkan’s hard abdominals, which covered with water drops and were in a gentle rhythm following his breathing. The sniper’s hand was exactly covered Kapkan’s small and slightly concave navel, as it was just a little further down to touch his key part as a man. Meanwhile, Kapkan’s right hand had got closed to the pink-toned protrusion on Glaz’ well-built chest. He rubbed the half-harden nipple with the coordination of his index and middle finger to exchange its further contraction and Glaz’ pleased crooning.

Two Russians showed an intimate smile and locked their sights on each other’s eyes, which were same in azure colour. In fact, although they usually didn’t pay attention to it, the couple different of eight years old looked dramatically similar in some features, such as height, physique, nose shape, eyes colour, even the impressive size of their dicks.

If looked at them carefully, in fact, Kapkan’s was a bit longer; however, Glaz’ was thicker and appeared more vigorous. “Gosh. It never fails to impress me.” Kapkan’s visual inspection told him the pillar standing at the sniper’s crouch was up to 5 cm in diameter at the widest part. His fist could barely circle it. It also featured a higher pointing angle and 10-degree rising curve. Comparing to his one, which appeared perfectly straight, Kapkan thought his lover’s manhood looked extremely seductive to him. Even just staring for a second, he could feel his heartbeat got more and more frenzied. “The dick itself is a beast.”

Kapkan held Glaz’ shoulders, approached his left ear, whispered in his most lustful tone: “I can’t wait to hunt down your little beast.”

“Why envy me so much. Yours is great, too.” Glaz replied casually like they were talking about their new rifles.

“Hmm, but yours looks more animal-like to me. You know, more attractive to a hunter.” Kapkan smirked as his exhaled heat touched Glaz’ sensitive skin around his neck, made him quiver for a bit.

“Whole of you is an animal. Not only your cock.” Glaz decided to launch a counterattack against the hunter’s teasing. His right hand was quietly reaching Kapkan’s erection.

“I can take it as praise!”

 

Instead of touching the shaft straight, Glaz stroke the bottom of his partner’s scrotum in a relaxed and gentle circle movement, like caressing the chin of a kitten. Kapkan felt himself was melting by receiving the loving impression from the sniper’s hand, which lit in his body with fire. He also started to stroke Glaz’ thing too, but he chose to start from the tip, which was already moist. Kapkan used his loose fist holding the thick sausage, lasting his thumb rubbing around Glaz’ opening. In minutes, following a moan coming out from the sniper’s mouth, the mouth of his little beast between his legs was also flowing pre-ejaculate.

The couple, as sensed their desire was burning in higher heat, kept jerking off for each other. Two men let the tips of their dicks contact and rubbed softly, with their hands pumping the opponent shaft. “Oh.” Their moans mixed as their ears getting in fever, and there was more coming from their openings.

Kapkan squatted at once, licked off the thick transparent liquid from Glaz’ tip before it felt down to the floor. Afterwards, his tongue wandered through the glans, then the wrinkles on the foreskin, next were the thick, fully congested shaft. Finally, the trap master was tasting Glaz’ balls covered by the loosen sacks.

Glaz closed his eyes to focus on the pleasure on his manhood, as well as the slight sting on his sensitive inner thigh skin caused by the scrubbing of Kapkan’s stubble. A little pain could further enhance Glaz’ sensory and increase his excitement. Kapkan tended to be more provocative during the blow job, as he licked Glaz’ penis like a lollipop and slid his lips to provide additional rubbing movement. It raised Glaz’ sexual desire for a substantial degree to make his body feel like boiling and sinking into the sea of lust.

“Oh fuck, shouldn’t I wash the hair at first? Home come I forgot it?” Suddenly, Glaz exclaimed with eyes open, as he suddenly remembered what he forgot.

“I’ve just been curious about if you don’t need to wash your head today.” Kapkan laughed after opened his mouth to let go of Glaz’ cock. “Need a hand? I can do it for you.”

“Nah, just let me finish it. One minute.”

“Let me help you wash your head, and you help me suck my dick. Sounds like a great deal, right?” Kapkan kept laughing when he opened the shampoo bottle and poured a proper amount on his right-hand palm.

“Why you always like to use your cleverness for this kind of things?” Glaz didn’t think it was the best idea to make oral sex with foam on the head, but he didn’t refuse it. Whatever, it’s a fresh experience. Thought Glaz.

Having someone else wash your hair always feels strange. It made a completely different touch to the scalp than doing it with my own hands. Glaz thought his last time of it was about thirteen years ago, in a barber in his hometown, after he had a haircut. Glaz continuously felt tickle on his head as Kapkan’s fingers with adamant short nails scratched the sniper’s scalp to cover the foam over it. Glaz admitted that having Kapkan wash his head was not bad as he scratched between Glaz’ every hair root in a moderate strength and speed; somewhat, it made Glaz relaxed. He closed his eyes to immerse himself into sucking Kapkan’s colossal wand.

Kapkan moaned softly as he held Glaz’ head toward himself by his left hand while his right hand was taking care of the sniper’s wheat-colour short crew cut hair. Glaz was already pumping the shaft in his mouth back and forth, while his tongue was throbbing on the tip. Kapkan couldn’t hold this stimulation well, so he even paused his right-hand scratching Glaz’ scalp occasionally. Fortunately, as the sniper’s hair was short, it just needed a little time to clean. Kapkan rinsed the foam on Glaz’ hair with the shower head; then he could pay attention to the feeling of the sniper’s tongue completely.

Glaz’ tongue tip now kept teasing the rim of Kapkan’s glans, which was his the most sensitive point of the part. It made Kapkan unable to control his whine of pleasure rising from his deep inside through by his throat. But the whine was broken by a feeling of sudden and intense thrusting ----

“Блядь! (Fuck!)” Kapkan shouted. What a deep penetration. He felt that he could even touch the uvula inside Glaz’ month and further into his throat. Then he suddenly felt a wet sensation on the base of his penis – he lowered his head and found the sniper, who already absorbed Kapkan over the length, extended his tongue under the penis and licked the skin sacks underneath. Glaz’ oral movement was getting more intense as he treated Kapkan’s manhood as a prey going to be slaughtered. Even though he knew Glaz would never do such a brutal thing like biting his thing down, but he still swore with shock. To be honest, Kapkan had never seen the sniper sucking him so violently like this in these two years, but he had sensed that it could be possible. There was always a savage beast inside Glaz. An Amur tiger. As Kapkan had known, Amur tigers were the symbol of Glaz’ hometown. So Kapkan thought it suited him perfectly.

Meanwhile, he couldn’t suppress the intense, continuous stimulation at his tip. He felt that his cock throbbed in the same rhythm with Glaz’ larynx, as there was the wave of unrecognisable noise came from the sniper’s vibrating Adam’s apple – probably even deeper -- from his lungs. Glaz was jerking off hard and fast following the movement of his mouth, and his precum was flowing out without a stop that even created a pool on the floor. Kapkan could also feel his muscle of hip and perineum trembled, and something was flowing out from his tip. In a second ----

“Ahh----!” Kapkan didn’t hold on his unexpected first high tide as he ejaculated a bit into Glaz’ throat. It was just a small amount of semen, but enough to make the sniper cough.

“Oh hell, are you ok?” Kapkan lowered his head to check the sniper’s situation. Suddenly, Glaz rose his head, looking at his partner with a weird expression in his wide-open blue eyes – Kapkan could sense a dangerous or somewhat murderous gaze on them. Just like a predator’s eyes. However, it was not like signing an impulse of kill, but a desire of conquest. Now the beast had the confidence to win. Glaz immediately stood up, grasped the back of his partner’s head, then moved his mouth to rush against Kapkan’s mouth in just seconds.

Kapkan was unable to make any reaction before Glaz’ naughty tongue invaded his oral again. Damn it; we’re now snowballing. It was unimaginable to Kapkan that he would ever desire to taste the flavour of his cum from a guy’s mouth before. But they were now doing it anyway. And Glaz was fervently giving him all from his month – a mixture of his saliva and Kapkan’s seed. Kapkan felt his composure started to break like glass. He still felt this action was too filthy, but he couldn’t control his excitement. As the mixture of their carnal desires gradually spilt down from his mouth corner, his conceit as a dominant type was already consumed by the tiger. Kapkan hated to admit that, but he was unnoticedly awed by its savagery.

 

“How do you feel?” After Glaz let go of Kapkan’s mouth, he asked in a satisfied look and an erotic tone lower than usual, licking his lips slowly.

“Fuck. Don’t you ever think this trick can bend me over.” Kapkan tried to defend himself in look; even he had realised his defeat in his mind.

Glaz didn’t make any response but lowered his head for a bit to lick Kapkan’s scar on his neck – caused by the sniper in their first training -- like a declaration of dominion. The impression zapped Kapkan mercilessly, not only in physical feeling but also a spiritual one. It consumed Kapkan and pushed him past the point of no return.

He now admitted that this time the tiger won.

“Damn it, Timur……” Kapkan turned around and raised up his arse rose toward Glaz. The blush of the combination of shame and hunger -- being conquered by him, being ready to receive the indescribable ardour from him – crept up his face. “Filled up this fucking hole.

Glaz giggled as he got amused by this scene and took off the lube from the shelf on the wall of the shower room – Glaz put it there after two men entered the shower. Then he applied the lube on his middle three fingers of his right hand.

Glaz didn’t put the fingers in instantly, but approached Kapkan’s entrance with his lips instead, then kissed it and licked it gently. Kapkan groaned as his anal muscle twitched slightly, then Glaz finally put the index finger in.

The sniper’s rough fingers with calluses – a result of long-years rifle shooting – provided appropriate stimulation on the rectal wall. Kapkan groaned again more rapidly as he could feel Glaz touching his sweet spot. Glaz’ remaining right fingers were rubbing around the entrance softly before put the middle and ring finger in. Kapkan’s inside was so warm and tight. Glaz could felt his lover’s heat saturating his consciousness through his fingers. He kept massaging Kapkan’s prostate as well as stretching the anal muscle from inside, as his left hand still rubbing his own shaft. Meanwhile, Kapkan held his own hot erection, which started flowing precum again, with his right fist. The sniper’s nimble fingers movement were pushing the trap master into another high tide.

“Ah……Timur.” Kapkan gasped in desperation, shaking his butt with a seductive circling motion, “Come on. Put your little beast inside me.”

Glaz pulled out his fingers, lasting an attractive tiny hole between Kapkan’s pair of buttocks. “I’d like to try a new position.” Glaz requested in a polite voice.

“What’s it?” Kapkan turned around again and asked curiously.

“I’m going to support your butt with my hands, and you climb up my body with your arms on my upper back,” Glaz explained while rolling a condom down his shaft and covering it with lube.

“Suspended Congress,” Kapkan responded excitedly. As a studious man, it was natural to him to collect tons of different knowledge including the certain area. “It will be challenging, won’t it? Lifting a strong and heavy man like me.”

“I’m strong too, don’t forget that.” Glaz already placed his hands on Kapkan’s butt. “Let’s make it in one try. Get your arms to surround my shoulders, then jump.”

“As you wish, Мой маленький тигр-король (My little Tiger King).” Kapkan followed eagerly, “Ready. 3, 2, 1, go!”

Kapkan made a jump with a strength that let his chin almost reach above his lover’s overhead, then gradually descended to eye-to-eye level to hold Glaz’ upper back with his strong arms firmly. His leg crossed Glaz’ arms and placed his calves on it to provide additional supports. Kapkan was amazed that it worked so perfectly. He was now lifted by the young sniper, and his face of ardent expression was so close – the couple had a tacit understanding with their head moving forward simultaneously, then shared one more deep French kiss.

Meanwhile, Glaz was supporting Kapkan’s buttocks with his left hand, and adjusting the angle of his length with another side to prepare to push in. Kapkan could feel the sniper’s tip exploring around his relaxed anus. Although their mouths were still connected so they couldn’t speak, there was a low grunt came from Kapkan’s throat which sounded like to sign his lover “Now!”. Glaz received it as he held Kapkan firmly and made a thrust with force into his hole.

“Aahhh----!” Kapkan’s growling bounced around the small shower room as Glaz pushed over the length inside immediately. The hard impact on his prostate made the sober and self-controlled hunter almost lost himself. His remaining intellect quickly told him that it was a smart decision to Glaz to apply for this position as the slightly rising angle of his dick could precisely hit the P-spot.

“M, Maxim……” Glaz kept pumping while rocking his arms holding Kapkan up and down and was barely able to make a clear word due to complete immersion into the ecstasy. “It’s fucking excellent. The best. Ever……”

“Oh---!” Kapkan tried to respond, but he couldn’t make any voice either, except a lot of blurred whines. He always loved to do it roughly, no matter at the top or bottom. This time Kapkan could sense that Glaz already achieved far beyond his original expectations. No word was required to express his delirious feeling.

The growling trap master still desired more simulation even though Glaz’ hard abdomen muscle was ramming his testicles every time he pumped, and the impact was invading his sense brutally. Kapkan tightened his sphincter with all strength of his hip and abdomen muscle to clamp around Glaz’ shaft – the tightest he could make – even caused his partner an uncomfortable pain feeling like it was going to fracture his dick. But the sniper didn’t mind the pain, or his dazed brain already accepted it as an indivisible part of his bliss.

Both Kapkan and Glaz panted more rapidly and roughly as the couple felt they were going to reach their climax. “Oh, fuck. Maxim, I’m, so close----" Glaz tried his best to make recognisable words between his broken gasps. His shaking arms clutched his partner’s hips in full strength, even left some red swollen marks on his buttocks.

“So am, I, ahh----!” Kapkan shouted in a loud and hoarse voice, while his free left hand pumping his own pulsing erection. He approached the sniper’s face closer by only his right arm’s strength, pressed his mouth to Glaz’ mouth most intensely and enthusiastically he could manage. It was a sign to Glaz of that he was coming soon.

Glaz closed his eyes and concentrated on all his sense -- every contact of their bodies, the ecstasy of near-orgasm -- he found his blurred brain suddenly cleared again for a second, with this single thought in mind.

“We’re going to make it at the same time, shall we?”

Then they reached it.

 

Following two Russians’ explosive growls, Kapkan’s penis spurted like a fountain and splashed all over both of their faces. They shut their eyes as the reflex action to receive the sticky touch of Kapkan’s cum almost at the same time. Meanwhile, Glaz’s butt and perineum muscle trembled intensely to make a powerful release. Glaz then gently put down his lover to let his hips lean against the edge of the bathtub, as his arms had reached the limit to support Kapkan’s broad body. However, Glaz didn’t pull out his dick immediately. Instead, he leaned forward to keep close to his partner so they could keep stroking each other.

“Timur, you look messy. With my cream all over your face.” Kapkan just recovered from his faded orgasm, whispered in a soft voice while wiping his own cum off Glaz’ face with his hand.

“Same to you.” Glaz kept panting and grinned amusedly, then followed Kapkan’s action.

“It’s not my first time to splash my own cum over my face. I’m used to it.” Kapkan stuck out his tongue and replied hilariously.

“What? You mess up your face each time you jerk off?” Glaz questioned with exaggerated expression. “So, you’re always like a fountain? You can be nominated as a new Wonder of the World by this.”

“You terrible pervert!” Kapkan roared with a blush of embarrassment and clenching teeth. Glaz laughed and eventually pulled out while holding Kapkan’s spread legs. Their dicks were already softened following their release. The tiny black hole between Kapkan’s buttocks got flared than the time before Glaz thrust his dick in. He gently rubbed the tried muscle around it with fingers with a pleasured expression, but somewhat it seemed to be longing for more in Glaz’ view.

“Longing for one more? You look like enjoying it.” Glaz felt satisfied with his result while removing the condom. The used condom now filled with Glaz’ semen for an astonishing amount, overflowed from the edge, and stained his lover’s musk scent outside. It was complete filth. Glaz’ penis was also covering in the white sticky liquid, and even leaking some drops out of the opening, then falling on the floor. “Wow, what a mess,” Glaz grunted while putting the smelly rubber on the edge of the bathtub.

“You’re a fountain, too.” Kapkan was already sitting in the tub and cackling at the sniper’s expression, then handed the shower head over his partner. “Here, it seems like you need a shower again.”

Glaz took the shower head and clean his spurt off his body – especially applied a little more shower gel to get rid of the sticky manhood. After he finished, he handed it back to Kapkan, “Your turn. And I think you also need to go to the toilet.”

“You could see that I didn’t clean my ass?” Kapkan smirked while rinsing himself, “Though it could be predicted as we just come back from our own missions.”

“You had got much more time than me.” Glaz shook his head in disapproval.

“Oh yep. I forgot it. More accurately, Shuh interrupted me when I was about to do it.” Kapkan excused with a pretended innocent look. “Moreover, I originally expected you to be my bottom tonight, hmm?”

“Don’t blame Shuh. And being a top doesn’t equal to ignoring hygiene.” Glaz knocked Kapkan’s head with only a bit of force, made it look more like a teasing rather than a punishment. “I always remember to clean my ass before you come in. Well, most of the time.”

“If you ever forgot that, I’d probably insert my fingers and dig out everything in your dirty gut before I come in. Ha!” Kapkan punched Glaz’s abdomen in a similar strength as a reply. “And you definitely miss the time we made out in the forest.”

“You pushed in unexpectedly, it couldn’t help.” Glaz grabbed his partner’s wrist to prevent him from punching for more times.

“You teased me first.” Kapkan grinned, “Well, appears like you’re always the one teasing me so much to make me lost control of the impulse to fuck you.”

“Humph. Why you say it like I forced you to have sex with me?” Glaz snorted and pouted playfully. “Yep, I’m into you from the very beginning. Any problem?”

“This is exactly the reason I like you.” Kapkan clapped his hands while roaring with louder laughter. However, the sudden stimulation tumbled on his stomach, as he sensed the rumbling sound inside him. “Gah, fuck! No way!” He jumped off then rushed to the toilet in panic, leaving his boyfriend guffawing at his embarrassment.

 


 

Kapkan finally discharged the dirt from his bowels on the toilet. At the same time, Glaz also went out the shower to discard the filthy condom into the trash can. He washed his hands and brushed his teeth afterwards and told his partner to do the same. Then Glaz went back to check the bathtub – he had already turned on the tap on it to fill it with warm water. The sniper made a gesture to direct Kapkan to come in. “Rest there for a while. May make your ass a bit better.”

“Oh shit, it still pains.” Kapkan followed and sank his half of body into the bath. “And I had to excrete through the sore hole. Bloody.”

“You remember our first time? I was almost unable to walk after that. When others asked me what’s up, I had to say I strained my hips.” Glaz giggled at Kapkan’s complain and reminded him that the trap master was the one wrecked his partner’s ass first.

“And it was after the training. What a shame.” Kapkan laughed heartedly. “Despite this, you were still qualified for Team Rainbow. Lucky bastard.”

“They already know I’m the best sniper anyway, even though I was badly raped in the training yard.” Glaz made a hilarious comment.

“No. It made everyone know you’re gay.” Kapkan joked. “And Six has a preference for gays.”

“Пошел ты (Screw you). Don’t joke about the director.” Glaz knocked Kapkan’s head for another time. “Geez, I’m thirsty. Do you want something to drink?”

“Gah! I really want to say ‘Vodka!’ in a typical Russian dude’s tone, but I don’t feel like to drink anything contains alcohol by now.” Kapkan replied with his crossed arms leaning on the edge of the bathtub, “Maybe iced tea. No sugar.”

“Order received.” Glaz dried himself with his towel, then tied it around the waist before went out.

When Glaz returned with two glasses of iced lemon tea, he found Kapkan was examining the bottle of his shower gel. “Lynx Gold Temptation. I bet you bought it at Bandit’s recommendation.”

“Correct.” Glaz smiled while sipping the glass in his left hand and gave the one in the right hand to Kapkan. “He’s a tasteful guy, despite behaving like a fruitcake.”

“Oh, he is a fruitcake.” Kapkan laughed before boldly poured his tea into his mouth, “Don’t laugh. You’re a fruitcake too. Just a more gentlemanly fruitcake.”

“I beg to differ.” Glaz chuckled and shook his head jocularly.

“I’m certain he’s made a big mess in Spain. I can’t wait for ‘Chanka coming back and telling us about this.” Kapkan started another topic. "Can I ask you another thing, Timur?"

"Hmm? What's it."

"Last time I saw your sketchbook, which mostly features me and our teammates, but there was a page of a boy with curly hair I don't recognise. I'm curious about who he is."

"He's......my childhood friend. Special to me." Glaz answered in a low voice. "I draw him regularly to keep his face in my memory."

 

“First love, I guess?” Kapkan replied in a humorous tone, “Still missing him? Or already broke up because of me?”

“No.” Glaz moved his sight aside, “We just……became impossible to meet anymore.”

“Gosh, really?” Kapkan noticed something unusual.

“Sorry, I felt a bit tired. Maybe it made me too sensitive.” Glaz apologised as he wiped his eye corners with fingers, “I can tell you some stories about him later. Just in case, as they can be long.”

“Is not our sex which made us more sensitive?” Kapkan tried to ease the atmosphere.

“Yeah, in a good way,” Glaz replied with a grin and blew his nose slightly. “Shall you act the top tomorrow? I started to miss your dick inside me.”

“Definitely.” Kapkan smiled, got up from the bathtub then dried himself with his towel while replying.

 


 

They went back to their own room to be ready for a good sleep. Both men went to bed with no cloth as they were too lazy to put up their nightwear, and this night was warm to them, so they believe sleeping with bare butt won’t cause any problem.

As Kapkan started falling asleep; however, a sudden bump woke him up rudely. Then he heard an anxious yelling.

“Marius, go back to your room! You’re drunk, you need to rest!”

Kapkan recognised it was Fuze’s voice. He jumped off the bed and heard another grunting sound with hiccups – obviously Jäger’s – in the meanwhile.

“Ugh! But, I want to sleep, ugh, with you, tonight. Please, ugh? Shuh-rat.”

Getting surprised, Kapkan opened the door of his room. He didn’t go out but just peeked at them curiously. Somewhat he just didn’t want to disturb this new couple.

“Why you don’t listen to me? Damn. Why I didn’t stop you in the beginning.” Fuze then collapsed on the couch, sounded like about to cry, with Jäger still sticking around him.

“What happened then?” The door of Glaz’ room opened, then the sniper went out in a pair of army-green boxers – just took on before opened the room door. After finding his Uzbek comrade sinking in the couch in a frustrated expression, Glaz asked kindly, “Shuh, what’s going on? You come back so late.”

“Marius and I were in the workshop. Working on improving his ADS’ cover area, mostly. We eventually found a solution to make it possible, so we opened some beverages for a brief celebration including the Riesling and Champagne from his place and my Georgian red wine and whiskey, and…… You see this.” Fuze tried to explain precisely as much as his dizzy brain could manage by now.

“Oh geez, everyone in the base knows that how awful drunk Jäger can be.” Glaz facepalmed. “Why you didn’t stop him?” Glaz knew Jäger seldom drank and was weak at alcohol. On the opposite, his Uzbek comrade was a champion of heavy-drinking; however, since he got a severe headache after the pub night in this new year, Doc suggested him to control drinking strictly -- especially keep away from every beverage of deep colour. As a soldier of self-discipline, he made a plan to abstain from alcohol, even his favourite Vodka. However, his efforts apparently dropped at this night.

“He said he wants to drink with me. I don’t like to disappoint him, and I thought one or two shots wouldn’t cause trouble, but we both forgot that and drank too much.” Fuze sighed. “And now he wants to jump on my dick.”

“Yeah! Shuh, ugh, let’s take, some, pleasure……” Jäger’s face was entirely in red, and he couldn’t make any explicit word.

“I think you're going to vomit at any time.” Fuze lifted Jäger’s body up in disgust at the German’s breathing of alcohol odour filling the room. “I’m going wash you with cold water.”

“Oh no! How rude!” Kapkan interrupted hypocritically. “Little Marius won’t be happy about this!”

“ублюдок (Bastard)! I will definitely wreak your fingers, along with your ugly dick, after I’m done with this mess!” Fuze howled at Kapkan in rage and dragged Jäger into the bathroom.

Glaz watched the absurd without any word but shaking his head, then turned to Kapkan, “Don’t you remember that Shuh doesn’t like to mess up with a drunk guy? Now go back to your bed, sweetie.” Glaz approached his lover and kissed him on his lips.

“Um-- hmm. Ok, I'll let them be. You go to take rest soon. Good night.” Kapkan behaved by Glaz' words as he gently put his tongue for a bit into Glaz’ mouth during the contact of their lips, before went back to his room.

Glaz then called to Fuze, who already took Jäger into the bathroom and started to remove his clothes. “Need help going to GSG9 quarter to take Marius’ toiletries here? And maybe blowfish. I guess Elias has it.”

“I may need it too. Now I feel like crap.” Fuze replied before he closed the bathroom’s door.

“I’ll be back soon.” Glaz rushed out after putting on his flip-flops. He didn’t take on any other cloth since the quarters of GSG9 and Spetsnaz were adjacent, and both Blitz and IQ didn’t mind seeing him walking around only in his underwear, so he didn’t worry about it.

 


 

15 minutes later, Glaz returned with a tote bag and handed it to Fuze, who was now helping Jäger shower. He was now only with his towel on the waist, and the German was undoubtedly naked -- his clothes which were in consist of a khaki-colour shirt, a pair of jeans, a white sleeveless undershirt and a pair of orange briefs were scattered on the ground of bathroom.

“Thanks, you rock. Oh, Blitz really gave you the medicine? It will help a lot.” Fuze checked the contains in the bag, commented a bit surprisedly.

“The best remedy is still that you two control the drinking hereafter.” Glaz nodded.

“Gah, I know.” Fuze took out Jäger’s shampoo and shower gel. “Wow. He uses argan oil shampoo. No wonder his hair always looks so silky.”

 

“Shuh…… Your scratching on my head feels so comfortable.” Suddenly, a trembling but relatively clearer voice came from Jäger’s throat.

“Great. You’re finally recovering.” Fuze sighed. “Marius, I’m helping you to clean your body, and I’ll send you back to your room. Alright?”

“But I felt too exhausted to walk……” Jäger almost sank his body into the small bathtub. “And my head, oh, it pains. I should keep my hand from your red wine. Sorry.”

“How about letting him stay over.” Glaz figured.

“What? On my bed?” Fuze exclaimed.

“Elias and Monica even handed over his changing clothes to me. I think it’s approval.” Glaz patted Fuze’s shoulder, encouraged, “Hey. Cuddle him on the bed. Trust me, it also helps him feel better.”

“Oh, really?” Fuze tilted his head, “But what if he still wants to, uh, fuck me.” He was now scrubbing Jäger with a sponge. Fuze tried not to think of his congesting dick underneath his towel as he felt turned on by merely touching over the creamy and slender body.

“No way, I’m not sure if we have any energy last to……pump.” Jäger murmured. “But I think sleeping together doesn’t hurt, right? Shuh.”

“You two are together now. Why still act so awkward?” Glaz replied with a chuckle.

“I guess I just don’t know how to deal with him drunk so badly like this time.” Fuze answered confusedly.

“Just treat him like normal, alright?” Glaz chuckled again. “Lucky that Bandit is not back yet. Or he’d follow me here to check what happens.”

“If that old pervert is here too, it’d be doom.” Fuze cocked his eyebrow.

Fuze eventually managed to finish helping Jäger shower, who looked far better than when he just went in the quarter. The red on his cheeks faded a little, his blue eyes also looked clearer. He dried himself with his towel, then put on his underwear.

“Ok, then I’ll get you a warm blanket. Be a good guy and take some rest, alright?” Fuze put Jäger’s right arm on his shoulder, then took him back to the room. “Thanks, Timur. You help a lot.” Fuze thanked Glaz by nodding his head, while Jäger also bowing after him.

“Just remember to take your rest soon! By the way, didn’t you receive Alexsandr’s message? He’ll be back here at dawn.” Glaz turned his head and called to Fuze before went in his room.

“Yep.” Fuze replied with a delighted expression. “Seems like we four guys can train together tomorrow.”

“Maybe afternoon?” Glaz said, “Blackbeard made an appointment of swimming with me next morning.”

“Gosh, how popular are you on this base?” Fuze concluded the talk as he saw Glaz yawning, “Ok, we should carry on in the breakfast. Good night.”

“Good night.” Glaz closed the door of his room after he went in.

Finally, he was going to sleep on his warm bed now. He guessed that Kapkan was already asleep as he always dozed off so fast. – Although these four Russian dudes were able to doze off within just a few minutes. Before Glaz was fully asleep, his brain sparkled a thought that the cherry trees in his hometown should blossom in this month. Avenir’s favourite flower.

Chapter Text

3rd May 2003.

 

“Faster, Avenir. It’s already in full blossom!”

 

Two boys travelled in a small mountain path on their bicycles. As the south wind had already blown to Vladivostok, the earth began to wear in green and the days were getting warmer.

 

The faster boy was carrying an easel and a wooden case of his oil painting equipment, which had considerable weight. Despite this, his sturdy legs pedalled quickly to push him forward at a fast speed. The boy behind him who appeared slender struggled to follow him.

 

“Timur, can’t we take a rest?” Eventually, the slender boy yelled to stop another boy who rode so fast that was likely to leave him away.

“Uh, ok. Ok.” Timur parked his bicycle on the side of the path, “I think you need more exercise. I wish someday you can join a hunting trip with my Papa and me.”

“No, really. Nature is undoubtedly awesome…… But I’m afraid of wild animals.” Avenir wiped the sweat from his face with a towel, then took out his water bottle and drank it.

“It’s too bad.” Timur showed a slightly disappointed expression. He was also drinking his water, “I somewhat think maybe I’m born with a hunter’s blood. My father was grown in a small village in Sikhote-Alin mountains, relatively close to Arsenyev. He said almost all residents there were hunters. Just like me, he started his ‘training’ in 10. Followed my grandfather into forests every day.”

“It was impressive.” Avenir nodded. “This eastern land indeed cultivates good hunters.”

“He lived there until 18 when he decided to leave home to find more opportunity, spent a few years in the military before settled down in Vladivostok and found a job in a shipping company. In the following year, he was into a local woman. Then dating, proposal, marriage, normal family life, then finally I was born.” Timur told Avenir his family history. “How about you?”

 

“Well, my family is not a Russian native. My papa and mama both come from Georgia.” Avenir said, “Both lived in a Georgian community in Vladikavkaz, I was born there too. In fact, the community itself was like a big family. But they moved to Beslan when I was still two, as my father began teaching there.”

“Interesting.”

“My father said we’re a Georgian noble family origin. But they concealed the identity to survive the revolution. Very long time ago. We’re not different than common people now.” Avenir sighed.

“But you have a noble manner,” Timur commented affirmatively. “It’s the most important thing, isn’t it?”

“You’re too kind. Thanks!” Avenir got on his bicycle again, “I think we can go now. But this time, try not to ride so fast. Shall we?”

“Hmm, alright. Then we take it easy, enjoy the scenery on the path.” Timur was on his bicycle too and began to pedal.

 


 

“We’re here!”

 

Eventually, the path ended with a lush green small hill and a row of trees with pink blossoms stood on the top. They boarded on foot after parked their bicycles.

 

Avenir couldn’t hold his excitement as he rushed to a blooming tree with sizeable pink tree crown. “Hey! This one blooms finely!”

 

Timur also approached the tree, carrying his easel on his back and his art supplies case in his arms. “Excellent. I’d paint this tree. And include you in the scene, of course.”

 

“Do I have to be still?” Avenir turned his head to his friend, asked curiously.

“No. I’m not going to depict your body, but your character and impression.” Timur explained, “In fact, I’d like you to do anything you like among these trees, playing around, hugging a tree, or you can even take out your art supplies to draw. All up to you.”

“Oh, painting in an impressionist way?” Avenir replied excitedly, “Like Cézanne, Pissarro or Van Gogh?”

“Sort of.” Timur nodded, “But I’m not following their ways. My ambition is to create my style which no one can imitate.”

“I’m sure you will.” Avenir agreed with a smile.

“You will too.” Timur set up the easel then put a clean canvas on it. “Ok, go there. I’m ready.” He pointed at the tree with his paintbrush.

“Sure! Call me if you need anything else!”

 

 

Cherry trees feature pink blossoms gathering on branches were one of many things new to Avenir when he just moved to Vladivostok. He had been interested in this kind of flower since he saw Timur’s watercolour sketch of them in 10 years old. In the next spring, he went hiking with his parents, and the Glazkov family then was thoroughly impressed by a blooming cherry tree.

 

You remembered many petals were falling down the tree like snowflakes, then become a fluffy pink carpet on the ground. You were amazed how the cherry trees in this eastern land were different from ones of Caucasus. At that time, Timur said “we can go to this wild cherry woods together every spring”, and you gladly promised. How could you reject such the invitation?

 

You are now under the same cherry tree, on the same kind of pink carpet again, but in an entirely different mood. Because there are only two of you now. He is currently depicting you in his painting. Recently you start to have a thought, to tell Timur that he means so much to you than just friends. But you don't dare to do it.

 

Even though Timur told his friend that he could move as he liked while painting, Avenir barely made any other action apart from gazing at Timur’s face which looked entirely concentrated into his artwork. He had an enthusiastic expression, like many sparks jumping out from his azure eyes and spilling on the canvas. His right hand holding the paintbrush moved elegantly and powerfully. Avenir was sure that at this time, the guy looked more beautiful than these cherry blossoms.

 

He took out his sketchbook, sat on the ground, then began to draw the young artist’s posture in front of the rack. His hand movement, his facial expression, and his short hair fluttering in the spring breeze, petals blowing up around his feet…… Avenir was a fast drawer, especially for something he admired. Timur was unquestionably his favourite model as the boy’s form was so beautiful and powerful like received the God’s grace and halo.

 

Avenir was fallen entirely into his imagination. He carefully depicted the holy figure stroke by stroke. He visualised what his body would look like at now under his clothes, then tried to outline the muscled curve of a physically fit teenager like him – even though he self-thought he might draw Timur’s body in a little-overstated way, but wasn’t it what artists often do in their creations? He kept thinking of a fancier look that suited his friend, then eventually put him in an ancient Greek style clothing which incorporating a chiton and a large chlamys fluttering in the wind.

 

“Hey, Avenir, what are you drawing?” Suddenly, Timur’s sound dragged Avenir back to the reality. He looked down to his partner, with his paintbrush and palette in his hands, seemed like still in the process of making his masterpiece. “As you’ve not moved for a quite while…… So I come to check if you’re alright.”

 

“Uh, oh. Nothing.” Avenir blushed and hid his sketchbook behind his back. “Have you finished your artwork?”

“Nearly.” Timur answered with chuckles, “More importantly, I know you’re drawing me again. You don’t have to cover it up!”

“It’s impossible to hide anything from you, isn’t it?” Avenir sighed before placed his sketchbook on his knee. “I felt it’s too embarrassing to me to show you. I…… drew this one with too much fantasy. I think I screwed it up.”

“Oh? What’s it?” Timur inquired in a curious tone, “As you’re a realist in arts, I’m more interested in how your fantasy looks like.”

“No! It looks terrible, trust me……” Avenir rejected in panic while protecting his sketchbook with both his arms. “I can’t show it to you; I just can’t----”

“Hey, Avenir……” Timur squatted before Avenir then held his shoulders, after putting down his painting tools. “To me, everything you made is a masterpiece. I trust it looks great. I’d like you to trust yourself a little more, too.”

 

Timur accounts you is who inspired his aspiration for art. Whenever you doubt one of your artwork, he always believes that it is undoubtedly a great work. It is too kind to accept.

 

Avenir stayed silent, but he opened his sketchbook and turned to the page of the last drawing slowly. He handed it to Timur then headed down to avoid seeing his expression when viewing it.

 

“What? You changed my clothes into ancient Greek ones?” In a second, Timur’s exclamation of astonishment punctured Avenir’s ears.

 

Avenir turned his head besides, tried to avoid looking direct his friend while believing himself truly messed it up.

 

“It’s…… Amazing! How come I never come up with such an idea like this?” Then Timur cheered energetically, out from Avenir’s expectation. “Looks like an ancient Greek man painting with modern art tools, what an awesome feeling of contrast! You inspire me again. I know you always do.” Timur hugged his partner with a joyful beam.

 

“Hey…… Too tight. Your hug.” Avenir groaned in a small voice as he felt a bit difficult to breathe in Timur’s strong arms.

“Oh no, sorry.” Timur released his arms and apologised. “My painting is almost done. Would you like to see it?”

“Sure!” Avenir packed up his sketchbook while standing up, then followed his partner to the easel.

 

Timur’s painting was unbelievably dreamlike and colourful. The branches of the gigantic cherry tree stretch out into the sky, while numerous of pink snowflakes drifted and fell from them. The ground almost entirely covered in the carpet of petals, broader than it appeared in reality. Avenir found his small figure under the tree – sitting on the ground and drawing in his sketchbook – precisely the movement of when he concentrated on his drawing shortly before. Except the figure’s eyes were looking at somewhere farther away, like the end of the horizon, or a star in the sky. It constructed the scene full of poetry.

 

“Honestly, it’s one of the best landscape paintings I’ve ever seen.” Avenir couldn’t hold his impulse to keep praising the masterpiece.

“Really? You suppose that I even do better than Pissarro or Van Gogh?” Timur responded with giggles.

“Hey. You’re right. It’s inappropriate to compare you with these master artists.” Avenir patted his partner’s shoulder. “Your style is unique. Keep making good artworks like this one, in future; you’ll be a master too.”

“You seem to like it. In fact, I would like to gift it to you.” Timur readied his paintbrush and palette again, “I need to add a few more strokes and auras, then it’s well done.”

“What? Me?” Avenir was surprised at the sudden kindness and tried to decline it, “I think you can have it as your art collection. There are already many pieces of painting in my place. So, maybe it’s fairer to----”

“Hey, listen,” Timur explained patiently, “Cherry blossoms are your favourite flower, and the key we get to know each other. I’ve thought of making a perfect piece of artwork features cherry blossoms for you, for quite a long time. So…… I sincerely hope you to accept it.”

 

“If you put it in this way…… Then how can I object it?” Avenir answered with nodding, then suddenly, there was tear dropping down his face.

“Hold on. Are you ok?” Timur asked with a slightly worried look.

“I’m fine. I just……” Avenir wiped his tear before tried to speak something. “Just……I think…… you care about me so much more than a friend would do.” Finally, Avenir managed to make a sentence in a trembled high voice, even though he still didn’t make up his mind to say this word.

“Of course, you’re special to me.” Timur nodded and went back to his painting, “I hope we can keep making arts together like this time.”

 

Avenir stood still and observed his partner’s every precise movement and expression -- just like usual. The only difference was a bright smile on his face. He still didn’t convey it clearly, but that was fine. He believed that they would stay together and would achieve their goals someday. That was enough.

 


 

4th May 2017.

 

Glaz suddenly woke up with a gasp, as his almost-naked body covering in his warm blanket. He threw the blanket aside in a flash, yawned while getting off the bed and checking his alarm, “Gosh, 5 o’clock. It’s still so early.”

 

Glaz was surprised at his short sleep in last night, but he didn’t have a mood to take a second sleep, either. The dream he just made, about his teenaged memories with Avenir -- felt too strange, like something buried in the abyss of his mind was dragged out violently, but he immediately decided to let go of the feeling.

 

He went to the bathroom to refresh himself by washing his face with cold water and some face wash. After cleaned his face as well as took several deep breathes; finally, he felt alive again. Then he went back to his room, took on an army green t-shirt and a pair of brown slacks over his underwear, along with a couple of short socks and his favourite boots. He put his swimming gears into his duffel bag as he remembered the appointment with Blackbeard. There was also a set of combat suit in the bag for the incoming training session in this afternoon. When he felt prepared and was about to go out for breakfast, he suddenly realised that he didn’t greet Kapkan, Fuze and Jäger yet.

 

It was still 5:15 so it wouldn’t be odd if they were still in their beds. Glaz decided to give them a morning greeting; especially he could have a good morning kiss with his boyfriend. Making up his mind, Glaz knocked the door of Kapkan’s room. After 10 seconds of silence, Kapkan opened the door.

 

“Uh, morning, Timur.” Kapkan greeted his partner in a faint voice, wearing nothing but a pair of dark blue boxers and a pale face which made Glaz worry.

“Maxim, you look awful. Did you get a cold?” Glaz approached his boyfriend and put his hand on Kapkan’s forehead. No fever. “Or if you still feel tired, you can go back to rest.”

“No, I just woke up rudely…… in shock.” Kapkan murmured powerlessly. “Need a moment to pick myself up, but I’m ok. Don’t worry about it.”

“Nightmare?” Glaz asked in a nursing tone.

“A memory too painful to even think of it……” Kapkan answered vaguely.

“Tell me.” Glaz gently hugged his lover, who acted stiffly like a puppet, while whispering to his ears: “If you suppress it, you’ll feel worse.”

 

“I trust you already know that I’m one of a few police officers survived Beslan School Siege?” Kapkan grunted in his partner’s arms. When the keyword coming from Kapkan’s mouth, Glaz felt his body shuddering for a second involuntarily. “It was exactly a nightmare. The day I was storming in with special force…… The school was like a battlefield. No, probably worse. Chaos.”

 

Glaz released his arms so Kapkan could go to his drawer to take on his clothes – a crimson sleeveless hoodie with a double-headed eagle logo on it, and a pair of black sports shorts after he made a gesture to notice his lover come in and sit beside him on his bed. Seemed like he was planning to work out after the breakfast.

 

“Imprisoning pupils as hostages were horrible enough. However, when you encountered a group of crazy Ossetian civilians with their weapon who insisted on rushing in to save their children but shot everyone they found in chaos, no matter terrorists or troops, gosh…… You would begin to doubt humanity.” Kapkan began his story in a low, sad tone.

 

“Did you recall the scene in your dream last night?”

“Yes, and it’s not the first time. And the last dream displayed the worse memory I had. I found a pale and slender teenaged boy with curly dark brown hair tried to protect other children in the building. He brought three children around 12 along with him…… I told him to go out now, but he refused since he wanted younger ones to be safe first. How stubborn.”

 

Shit,” Glaz exclaimed in a low voice as he realised the possibility that the boy Kapkan described was him.

 

“I didn’t care what he thought so I took his arm to retreat. But in the meantime, two more terrorists coming, seemed like to going making more trouble as one of them threw a grenade. I tried to shoot them down at once while the ignited grenade was approaching our feet – I shouted to him to run, but he did one thing instead……” Kapkan shook his head while describing the violent scene in the siege. “Oh, God. It shouldn’t happen.”

“What did he do?” Glaz asked with a short gasp.

 

“He leapt to the grenade to cover it, to protect us – me, and these children, from exploding shrapnel.” Kapkan illustrated the scene in a depressed tone, “In the cost of his life, of course. Well, you understand as well as me, what would it look like if such a thing boomed close to your belly.”

“Боже мой. (My God.)” Glaz suddenly facepalmed, exclaiming in a frustrated tone. “You got hurt too?”

“Yes, my legs hurt. I collapsed on the ground, covering in my blood, groaning in pain – but what made me despair was the feeling of failure to protect. It was my job to protect him, so it mustn’t happen. My legs healed in a month, and a few more months I was recovered enough to return to the service, but the pain never vanishes – it now feels vague, but still inside me.” Kapkan pointed the large scars covering most of his lower legs skin. These erubescent canyons as the trace of healed shrapnel wounds looked dreadful.

 

Glaz could imagine how badly he got injured in the action of school siege. He supposed Kapkan was fortunate to be alive and still on his feet after that. “I’d say it was an inevitable thing for our duties, but…… God, I can sense how hard to make peace with the injuries.” Glaz commented sadly.

 

“I tried to convince myself that this boy was just mad and reckless, and this was what he deserved, in these fucking years. So, I could feel less guilty. However, I can’t lie to myself when I recall his shivering figure staying on his determination…… Even though I question the reason for his doing, I still admit that he was a good man trying to do right things. It was a loss that he died in such a tragedy. That’s all I want to say.” Kapkan concluded the story while patting his partner’s shoulder. “Shit. I’ve sensed that your childhood friend-----”

 

“Yes, in your description, probably was him. No evidence, but my intuition is telling me he was exactly Avenir……Oh, God.” Glaz sounded almost crying as his mind got shattered by reminding the most significant loss in his lifetime.

“Don’t suppress it. I know it feels bad.” Kapkan repeated the sniper’s word to him shortly before, tried to comfort him.

“Thank you,” Glaz rose his head and looked at his partner directly in his eyes, “for the attempts to protect him at that time and let me know this. His death won’t be a waste. At least I’m trying to make this meaningful…… in these years.”

“Let’s get Shuh and Marius up and go to the breakfast.” Kapkan stood up and grabbed his duffel bag, “I think you may need some Vodka with your breakfast, to refresh your brain?”

“You know that I never drink in the morning.” Glaz smiled as he was cheered up a bit. “Oh, remember I said that I'd tell you more about the friend? We can have it tonight at a nice drinking time.”

“Great, I’m looking forward to that.”

 


 

“Hey, guys! Your Lord Tachanka is back!”

 

Tachanka, the eldest in the Spetsnaz operators as well as one of “the old men team” born in the 1960s in the Team Rainbow, was the first man Glaz, Kapkan, Fuze and Jäger meet when they stepped in the canteen. Tachanka welcomed his teammates with open arms.

 

“Alexsandr!” Kapkan fist bumped with his old comrade, “Finally! I bet you’ve made enough trouble in Spain?”

“Gah! Shot many bad guys with my good old LMG! Just like usual!” Tachanka gave Kapkan a brotherly hug. “Moreover, my LMG is improved with a ballistic shield, developed by a GEO engineer names Mira. She’s one of us now!”

“Cool! But I remember you don’t like anyone else mess up with your LMG.” Kapkan chuckled.

“Normally, not. But Mira is an interesting woman. At first, we didn’t get along well, but we finally found our common interest in mechanics, chatted a lot about cars and weapons ---- Can’t say we’re good friends, but at least we made good teammates in Spain. I love her magic mirrors.” Tachanka stated.

“Seems like that you like her.” Glaz interrupted in a steady tone.

“What? Timur, how come you put it in that way?” Tachanka exclaimed.

“Well, think of how he jumped on my dick----” Kapkan smirked.

NO!” Glaz made a gesture to stop his boyfriend, “It’s a different matter.”

“I don’t want to hear any of your dirty bullshit, Maxim.” Fuze coldly commented.

"Hehe......" Amused at their interaction, Jäger covered his mouth to control his voice of laughter.

 

“Wait, the German pilot is also with you?” Surprised by Jäger’s existence, Tachanka asked in English.

“Uh……” Fuze and Jäger suddenly got embarrassed while facing each other.

“They were in the same bed last night!” Kapkan answered in a hilarious tone.

“……Because Jäger got drunk, Fuze had to take care of him.” Glaz added neutrally.

“Oh, poor Jäger!” Tachanka looked at the German with a daddy-like expression. “Do you still feel unwell?”

“A lot better now! Shuh and Timur took care of me well last night.” Jäger replied with an innocent smile.

“That’s good!” Tachanka laughed and strode in the canteen, “I’m hungry. Let’s get something to eat!” The others followed, and Glaz slapped Kapkan’s butt for once for his naughty speeches in the meanwhile.

 


 

As these guys expected, the canteen was livelier than last few days as all dispatched operators had returned from their missions without any trouble. After they took their breakfasts and seated at the long table, a conspicuous figure sat beside Glaz caught his attention.

 

“Hey, Blackbeard.” Glaz greeted, “You go out with no cloth again?”

 

Just like his codename’s image, this man, who was enjoying his cereal bowl, featured a long, curly black beard and a shaven head. His favourite sunglasses which he also wore in action docked on his forehead. However, the most striking feature of him was the wholly exposed muscular upper body – the achievement of arduous training of NAVY SEAL. In fact, there was only a pair of green camo pattern boxers covering his lower body, and brown leather flip-flops on his feet. Everyone else in the canteen didn’t pay too much attention to him as the evidence that it was usual to him to show up in this look. However, Glaz was still curious of that: since Blackbeard – as well as other operators who joined from the Operation Black Ice in the last year – did not reside inside the base but the assigned apartments nearby, how could he handle the gaze of every passer-by in this town?

 

“Oh, morning! Ironeyes!” Blackbeard greeted Glaz, with the pirate-style nickname he created for his Russian teammate and a friendly call, “It’s more convenient as I’m going to leap into the pool shortly, yes? Hey, remember our swimming contest? I invited Mute joining us. And Valkyrie and Thermite are always in. So, we got five players.”

“Mute also swims?” Glaz sounded a bit surprised while beginning to eat his rye bread. He sliced a boiled egg, some cherry tomatoes and cheddar cheese on a piece of bread, seasoned with a little salt and pepper, then put a small piece of lettuce above it, before biting it down. “It’s a little hard to imagine such an indoor-type guy swimming.”

“Hmm. Referred to Mute, he belonged to the swimming club in Cambridge, so he has confidence.” Blackbeard explained while putting one spoonful of cereal into his mouth, “And he likes to refresh his brain by jumping into the cool water if he’s stuck in developing his technology stuff.”

“Interesting. I’m getting curious about how Mute will look like in the pool.” Glaz commented while finishing his first piece of bread and being ready for the second one.

“He’s probably faster than you – or not. As this is a long-distance race, and you have an advantage in stamina, you still have hope.”

 

“Can we watch the contest?” Tachanka stopped sweeping the pile of food on his plate into his belly, interrupted the conversation with a suggestion.

“But aren’t we going to work out?” Kapkan questioned his old comrade’s request.

“As the gym and the pool are adjacent, we may have a chance for a peek!” Jäger added.

“Yes, this is what I going to say.” Tachanka went along, “And don’t you ever have interest in your dorogoy (darling) in his swimwear?”

“Gah, I’d say Glaz is skilled in many things, but swimming is not one of them. He can’t ever win Thermite. Does it make any sense to watch him losing?” Kapkan argued to his old comrade in an agitated tone.

“You idiot! I say swimwear! Not swimming.” Tachanka slapped Kapkan’s head potently.

“Then that’s more ridiculous, as I see him naked every night!” Kapkan slapped back.

“Ha! Maybe your cheering can help him win the race?” Tachanka laughed loudly.

“I’m not his cheering girl! How the hell do you think of our relationship? We don’t need to, neither do we like to cling together to everywhere, get it?” Kapkan yelled in an annoyed expression, while his old comrade still laughing at his blushing on the face.

Both Blackbeard and Jäger convulsed in laughers at their hilarious dialogues, but the other two Russians just faced each other and shook their head helplessly.

 

In the meantime, Rook approached the sniper with his tablet and showed the screen displaying a woman tennis player with a dark blonde ponytail to him. “Hey Timur, it may sound strange, but I want to ask, are you…… related to her?”

“Who?” Timur received his tablet and checked the displayed information. “Hold on. Nadezhda Glazkova? She’s exactly my younger sister.”

Non! Then I lose the bet.” Rook cried out.

“Pardon? On the bet of what?” Glaz got confused.

“Well, Glazkova is now Julien’s favourite tennis player, I’ve heard his praise for her skill and beautiful look for many times.” Montagne, the experienced GIGN trainer and Rook’s tutor, was then shown up behind the young Frenchman. “Now I realised that she looked somewhat like our sniper – especially the eyes, so I said they could be related, but Julien didn’t believe it. Therefore, we made a bet.”

“There is no information about her family on the internet. It is predictable – because a brother in the service for Spetsnaz and our little secret team is not a thing can be spoken in public.” Thatcher, the eldest in the SAS as well as Team Rainbow and Montagne’s old friend standing beside him, sighed.

“Hmm, and we don’t often contact, as both of us are so busy. And I don’t follow tennis news, so I even don’t know how many medals she has won.” Glaz replied.

“What? Even don’t know she’s the newest women’s champion of Australian Open? Her first major champion trophy! How come you don’t know that!” Rook yelled in astonishment.

 

“Uh. Thank you for reminding. Nadia didn’t call or send me a message regarding this, so……” Glaz stuck for words owing to the embarrassment.

“You’re the worst elder brother I’ve ever seen! Connard! (Shithead!)” Rook punched Glaz’ chest in anger, “God, and I always thought you are the only child in your family.” Then he held his head with both hands in a disappointed expression.

“Sorry to make you disappointed. In fact, we didn’t get along well. She was not pleased that I left home to join the military.” Glaz apologised to Rook regretfully.

“Uh-oh. Another family drama. I’ve seen too much.” Thatcher shook his head, sighed.

“I don’t like my home, either.” Kapkan pat Glaz’ shoulder, making an understanding consolation. “You can always express it to me instead of bearing it alone.”

“I don’t feel sad or angry at that. Just sometimes recalling strange feelings, I don’t know if it’s nostalgia or something else. But I’ve not returned home since I joined the military. 12 years…… It is now exactly strange to me.” Glaz looked at Kapkan and spoke to him in a low voice.

“God, unbelievable.” Montagne frowned, “I heard Lady Six mentioned that. Seems like she plans to give you a homecoming vacation.”

“I know. She told me this last night.” Glaz responded.

“Then you should seize this chance. And be a good brother, watch your sister’s every game hereafter.” Rook suggested with nodding. “If you still have time to watch the Europa League with Blitz tonight, it shouldn’t be hard for you.”

“What? I already forget that!” Glaz cried out in shock and turned to his Russian partners, who all gazed at the sniper quietly. “Shit, and I just made an appointment with Maxim at the same time……” He was sure that the unusual forgetfulness could make his boyfriend upset.

“Being diligent and socially active is good, but it seems like you’ve got your schedule too tight. It’s not good for your health.” Thatcher looked at Glaz and spoke in a disapproving tone.

 

“Gah! Stop harassing our boy! Old Anglichanin (Englishman)!” In a flash, Tachanka jumped off his seat, growled to Thatcher, “Glaz knows how to take care of himself! Does his private life make him ever mess up any mission? No? Then shut up and go away. Young Frantsuz (Frenchman), you too, go away!” Tachanka pushed off Thatcher and Rook in a significant force, enough to make them fall back for a few steps.

“Hey, Alexsandr, don’t be so mean. I understand their feelings.” Glaz held Tachanka’s shoulder to sign him stop, then suggested, “How about that, I treat everyone here my favourite home dish at dinner time, let us be friends again, alright?”

“Oh? Are you going to cook? Ебать да! (Fuck yeah!) I’m telling all buddies here about this! Maxim, Shuh, go with me!” Tachanka got pleasantly surprised immediately before grabbed his comrades with him.

“Why I have to be in this hell!” Fuze complained.

“Anyway, Timur is the best cook in this base until Hibana arrives. So why not?” Kapkan chuckled while hooking Fuze’s shoulder.

“Aye! Ironeyes rocks!” Blackbeard also jumped off and followed Tachanka.

“Hurra!” Jäger followed him too, as he sensed that could be funny.

 

“What a noisy and bloody morning.” After the hyperactive guys left, Thatcher sighed with a facepalm. “Especially that Russian, one year older than you, still behaves so boyish.”

“Isn’t it a good thing? I envy him sometime. It’s a talent to keep living with such a fresh vitality even after experienced so much.” Montagne laughed and made an honest comment.

 

“Are you sure you’re ok?” Rook asked Glaz, who sipped his coffee and gazed at his rowdy friends vacantly in no word, in a slightly worrying tone.

“Just thinking what an honour to meet these brothers who care about me so much.” Glaz turned his sight to Rook, replied in a peaceful voice.

“Can’t you put it less serious?” Rook frowned, “It makes me more worried.”

“Hey, you’re right. I should follow Nadia’s matches when I have time. And today I’m going to discuss the schedule with the representatives.” Glaz stood up just after he finished the breakfast and changed the subject. “Fancy watching our swimming race?”

“Hmm, if you and Mute are both there, then why not?” Rook agreed. “I’m going to the gym too so that I can be there in a minute. Oh, maybe I’ll join you in the pool for a moment too after the race’s over.”

“Lads trio in swimwear. I bet Ash, IQ and Twitch won’t miss the view.” Glaz laughed in a humorous tone.

“Don’t forget that one of them is my girlfriend.” Rook pouted.

“I know.” After grabbing his belongings, Glaz pat Rook’s shoulder and went out the canteen with him.

 

Being the only three male operators in their twenties in the founding of the new Team Rainbow, the French gendarme, English hacker and Russian sniper established a special friendship. The young recruits could easily trust and get along with them. Other elder operators also treated them like younger brothers, coached them well and acknowledged them as the fresh blood of the team.

 

How to name this combination was somewhat uncertain, however. “Lads trio” was Mute’s suggestion, as Glaz thought of “Team U-30” but quickly found out that it would be inappropriate at all once he reached thirty. Rook’s idea was “Les Trois Mousquetaires”, inspired by a novel he read in teenage, but it was immediately rejected by Mute, who argued that the name was too long, and they were not all Frenchmen. No matter what, their international friendship was an opportunity to let them build trust and get closer to each other’s countrymen in the team.

 

When they reached the entrance of the gym, Glaz said “See you later” to Rook who went in directly, he then turned left to the swimming pool. After Glaz entering the change room, he found a tall and slimly fit man’s figure who was taking off his sweatshirt, exposed his exotic light camel colour skin. The black wavy, curly hair reached his shoulders in length also seemed to suit him well.

 

The man paused the movement and turned his head to the sniper, “Ey up, Glaz, you’ve come,” in a polite Yorkshire accent. His thick, black eyebrows along with deep eye sockets could tell his original descent. Even though it might be hard to imagine it was his face under the mask, but as his friend, Glaz explicitly recognised that the man was Mute.

Chapter Text

After the greeting, both Mute and Glaz were changing in the sudden silence. Glaz could somewhat sense Mute’s side peeking when he had taken off his boxers and ready to put on his swimwear. He didn’t put a mind to it though. As his friend Glaz knew that Mute was same to him – into men instead of women. And he had a special relationship with Smoke.

 

When two men got changed, two men turned to check each other at the same time. Admittedly, they were both a bit curious about how each other’s bare body would look like.

 

Mute was significantly taller than the sniper – for 7 centimetres, but slimmer, as he was not weightier than Glaz. Unlike Glaz’ beefy physique, Mute’s looked more elegant. Especially his waist curve looked quite beautiful but still solid. By observing the hacker, Glaz recalled that Avenir had similar height and basic physique – if he could be more muscular, of course. Glaz knew that Mute always preferred monochrome clothes, as what he expected, a pair of black jammer covered his thighs fitly. Without his mask and uniform, the York guy still looked entirely corresponded with Glaz’ existing impression of the calm and rational hacker, apart from his slightly blushing face trying to avoid looking at the sniper directly.

 

“Sorry for that manner. I’m just thinkin’ that…… You look so white.” After a few seconds of embarrassment, Mute finally squeezed some words.

“Isn’t it obvious? I’m Russian.” Glaz was curious about that it was unusual to Mute to look at him and remark on his body like this. “I was a bit tanner in my teenage as I liked to go to the beach to enjoy the sunshine in summer. But my skin returned white in adulthood, as I no longer have time to do so.”

“I imagine you’ll look more attractive in tanned skin.” Mute replied with more intense blushing. “And your swimwear is so tiny. I can see your ‘ole legs, and……. Eeh by gum. Pretend that I’ve seen nowt, can you?” The Yorkshireman’s accent was getting heavier when his emotion being uneasy. As a foreigner, Glaz was quite good at English, but once it came to dialects, it puzzled him much. Now he could barely catch Mute’s saying.

 

The sniper lowered his head to check his body for a second and immediately knew the reason of Mute’s embarrassment. Now he was in nothing but a pair of speedos of white colour in the front part and aqua blue on sides. His bulge looked so outstanding between his exposed legs as if his manhood was able to burst out from the tiny piece of nylon fabrics anytime. He chose the kind of swimwear mostly for the convenience to carry (as it was small) and ease of movement in the water; however, he couldn’t deny that he had a fantasy to make himself look more sexually attractive to show himself at the poolside or beach in such a revealing kind of swimwear.

 

“You don’t like that? Maybe I must wear something of more cover next time. Like what you’re wearing.” Glaz asked while scratching his back of the head.

“No. That’s not what I meant. I’d like to say; you look quite good in the speedos…… Or can I say sexy? I’m not sure.” Mute shook his right hand and explained in the stuck of the word. Glaz could read that the hacker was trying to move his sight away from his crouch.

“Hey, the others may be already waiting. Let’s go.” Glaz suggested so that Mute might divert his attention from the sniper’s body.

 

Suddenly, the embarrassing air was broken by a racket of two American men – Blackbeard and Thermite, who just entered the changing room.

 

“You two are late.” Mute picked up his usual calm expression again while rebuking the latecomers coldly.

“Yup we know!” Blackbeard laughed as he didn’t mind his late. “We’re just telling others Glaz is going to treating us a home dish tonight!”

“Really?” Mute looked at the sniper curiously. “It’s rare to see you cooking for others.”

“I plan to,” Glaz replied. “And I’ve cooked for Kapkan and other Russians for many times.”

“That’s another case.” Mute caught that Glaz didn’t answer his question directly.

“Well, you can say I’m in a good mood recently.” Glaz explained, “Just recalled my childhood memories…… And sparkled the idea.”

“What’s the dish?” Mute kept asking.

“I’d save it as a surprise.” Glaz grinned to Mute while patting his shoulder, “Ok, let’s go now. Don’t mind these two latecomers.”

In a bit, Yankees.” Mute said “see you” to Blackbeard and Thermite in his Yorkshire tongue while waving his hand in a teasing movement and going out to the changing room with the sniper, which left them a bit upset.

 


 

The swimming pool did not exist when Glaz, as well as other operators, just came to this base two years ago. It was built in the last year, precisely at the same time of Valkyrie and Blackbeard’s arrival. The pool's purpose could be that the two NAVY SEAL operators required the aquatic training in a routine to maintain their status. Except for Thatcher who complained the SAS facility was becoming too ‘luxurious’ to be the Hereford base he had known anymore, most of the other operators didn’t object the development.

 

No matter what, the pool beside the gym facility appeared quite ordinary, just like any community fitness centre in this country would have. When Glaz observed the peaceful blue sky reflecting on the water in the same colour, and the spring breeze touching his skin, he realised that today’s weather was surprisingly good.

 

As all competitors had warmed up and readied at the platforms, Blackbeard shouted as a sign to everyone to go. In a flash, they were all leapt off into the pool. Glaz was surprised at Mute, who was in the lane left to Glaz, started so fast like a ferry, enough to take a significant advantage in the beginning. Mostly because front crawl was Mute’s choice, as Glaz swam in breaststroke instead by his consideration of saving stamina for the long range of this race. Valkyrie, who was in the lane on his right side, chose breaststroke too. Other two men were too far from him to observe. After a distance, Glaz didn’t have a mind to think nor look at others but paid all attention at his own pace.

 

After 12 turnings, Glaz finally reached the goal by touching the wall with two hands. Every muscle in his body was tired. But his mind felt extremely delightful thank endorphin’s effect. Despite this, he already envisaged that he was probably the slowest one again as the others seemed quite skilled in it, especially the hacker impressed him much.

 

He looked left at Valkyrie, who turned her head to peek behind before setting back to the sniper. It amazed Glaz as her expression was like someone hadn’t reached the goal yet.

 

“Hey, Ruskie, you’ve improved a lot! You beat Thermite and Mute, and only slower than Blackbeard for one second.” Valkyrie praised the sniper with a broad grin.

“What?” Glaz couldn’t believe his ears. His mouth got wide open while docking his goggles on the forehead.

“Perhaps that’s because this time we triple the length of the race. And endurance seems not Thermite and Mute’s advantages.” Valkyrie laughed in a bold voice.

“I could barely make it either. 600 meters, are you nut? We still have training afternoon, and you’re likely to exhaust us all in the race.” Blackbeard yelled at them in a hilarious tone. It was indeed not a complain, but just a friendly joking.

“It’s still easy to me!” Valkyrie waved her arm and replied.

 

In the meanwhile, Mute and Thermite eventually arrived at the goal just about the same time.

“Really, Texan? Triple the length and you got fallen behind Ironeyes so much? Unbelievable!” Blackbeard mocked Thermite, who was in a vacant expression, in playful laughter.

“And you’re almost beaten by Glaz,” Valkyrie added.

“Gosh! Anyway, I’m still faster than him! And as you’re a semi-professional, it’s not a shame to lose to you.” Blackbeard replied as trying to defend his pride.

“Yeah, I know I’m always the fastest in the base’s pool. But I have an injured arm. You don’t.” Valkyrie made a sarcastic remark while spouting her tongue and preparing to go out from the pool. The others followed her to poolside to take a rest.

 

Hellfire……My arms are jiggered. Like it’s lastin’ for an ‘ole day at least.” Mute was panting when he approached the sniper slowly. His right hand was pressing the left shoulder which was circling as soothing exercise. His resurfaced Yorkshire accent could be another evidence of his exhaustion. “I used to be a short swimmer. 100m was my choice in practice. 600m is a bit too much to me.”

“You should know that when accepting the challenge.” Glaz joked.

“I’m not a coward.” Mute retorted. “And I just thought that as you’re in, it doesn’t hurt to give it a try.”

“You’re here just for me?” Glaz was surprised as his tone got involuntarily higher.

“It seems like you’ve got more fans. Look there.” Valkyrie smiled at the sniper while pointing at the wall beside the exit to the changing room.

 

Glaz found out that Rook, Twitch, Jäger, Fuze, Tachanka and Kapkan were already there. Mainly, he was amazed at his boyfriend’s arrival as the trap master claimed that he was not interested in it. The young French couple and Tachanka were already changed into their swimwear, as the other three were still in their gym outfit.

 

“Hey, Timur!” Tachanka hailed with two waving arms, “I’ve brought them to cheer for you!”

“Bien joué! (Well done!)” Rook followed the acclaim in an excited face, “Your figure in the pool impressed me.”

“Valkyrie and Blackbeard are far better,” Glaz replied in a humble voice.

“They’re exactly good. But I still can’t move my sight away from you. I bet Kapkan also thinks so.” Rook commented.

“At least I can say ‘Not bad.’” Kapkan replied calmly while looking at the sky.

“Why pretend like this? We know you’re full of joy about his result.” Twitch leaned to Kapkan, spook closely to his ears with a smirk.

“Go away! Not your business.” Kapkan pushed Twitch away lightly. Although he tended to be gentler and more cool-headed as much as possible while dealing with a woman, the action still upset Rook and Tachanka.

“Max, you suck! You hit a woman!” Tachanka shrieked in an exaggerated voice.

“You guys, throw this meanie into the pool. Let the water cool his stubborn brain!” Rook called another couple who just watched the party without a word but amused faces.

“Got it!” In a flash, Fuze clamped Kapkan’s underarms as Jäger seized his legs to lift him up. Then Tachanka held Kapkan’s waist just in a second, gave the trap master no chance to escape.

“Gah, seriously?” Kapkan exclaimed as he sensed Jäger chuckled in a funny tone while taking off the trainers and socks covering his feet. In the meanwhile, Fuze rolled up Kapkan’s hoodie rudely by one hand, making his upper body exposed in the sun. Even though Kapkan struggled to prevent his top clothes from removed, Tachanka seized Kapkan’s fisted right hand in proper timing, so he couldn’t even at least make an attempt at all.

“How about his shorts?” Jäger asked in an innocent tone. At now it was like devil’s voice in disguise to Kapkan’s ears.

“Strip them. Along with underwear.” Rook replied with louder laughter, and they already carried the helpless trap master to edge of the pool.

“Fuck! No!” Kapkan growled with more intense struggles; however, in the next second, he already found himself being thrown into the pool with bare bottoms. It was offensive. Kapkan jutted his head out from the water surface, stared at Rook and other guys at poolside laughing at him furiously.

 

Shortly, another splash dragged his attention. Kapkan turned his head, discovered his boyfriend was already beside him. “I know you’ll come.” As Glaz’ warm cuddle and a kiss on cheek occupied Kapkan’s full sense, half of his rage immediately erased.

“But I didn’t do anything,” Kapkan remarked confusedly.

“You’re here; it’s enough!” Glaz grinned before he bumped his lips into Kapkan’s mouth and stuck his tongue in ---- It was too late when Kapkan realised that they were wet kissing in public area. Even though their relationship was not a secret and already known by most of the fellow operators, but they still tended to stay in low-profile and pretend they were just like a pair of good comrades and friends in public. So yeah ---- it was the first time. And he was astonished that Glaz was the one lost his reserve and did it first. Perhaps the sniper was carried away by the feeling of excelling himself – that was all Kapkan could figure out by now.

 

Moreover, Kapkan felt his throbbing cock under the water was already half-hard. He sparkled a naughty thought of what if Timur put his hand on my dick and start to give me a handjob under the water; however, he quickly held back the idea as it was too shameless and filthy. Fortunately, it didn’t happen as Glaz released his lips and slapped Kapkan’s face with a pair of swim briefs – the same model of what Glaz was wearing, but in a different colour consisted navy blue and orange.

 

“Put it on, and let’s have fun.” Glaz chuckled while putting the small cloth into Kapkan’s hand. “Oh, and you may have to thank Alexsandr for bringing it to you.”

“It’s one of the gifts you gave me in last Christmas? Gah. I never try it out. I still don’t understand why you gave me this as a gift.” Even though Kapkan still felt confused, he put on the speedo anyway. Better than exposing his dick to the public.

“I just thought it looks good on you as on me.” Glaz answered with a pair of sincere eyes.

“Needless to say. We share the same physique.” Kapkan laughed as he started to feel amused.

 

Joining the Russian couple, Rook, Twitch and Tachanka jumped into the pool, created louder splashes. Especially Rook’s mimicking of an acrobatic diver made Glaz and Kapkan laugh out loud. Then Fuze and Jäger also dived in after changed to their boardshorts.

 

“Aye, guys! How ‘bout playing water polo?” Blackbeard joined the crowd after thrown a handball, as Kapkan caught it. Valkyrie and Thermite also jumped into the water as they sensed the fun atmosphere.

 

“Oh, French kid! Dare to strip me off? Eat this!” Kapkan shouted and threw the ball to Rook in a potent force, expecting to hit Rook’s face. But Rook succeeded to capture it with two hands.

“Why not blame Jäger? He practically took off your boxers.” Rook laughed and threw the ball to Jäger, who didn’t manage to catch it, but evaded the ball instead, as it hit nothing but water. Fuze, who stayed beside him, picked it up.

“But you gave the command, Галлиев! (Gallic!) Let me think who I should pass…… Thermite! It’s yours.” Fuze yelled to Rook before he turned over to shoot the ball toward Thermite, who got unexpectedly hit on his nose.

“Fuze got one point for Russian Team!” Blackbeard raised Fuze’s arm.

“Really?” Thermite had not recovered from the shock of Fuze’s hit, but what Blackbeard just said surprised him more. “And since when we’ve made teams?”

“Isn’t it obvious? Except Valkyrie and me, we got 4 Russians and 4 non-Russians.” Blackbeard laughed.

“But shouldn’t we take part in the game?” Valkyrie questioned.

“That’s also easy. Meghan, you join the Russians, so both sides have a girl.” Blackbeard answered with a broad grin.

“I can do that.” Valkyrie nodded with a smirk, “But don’t complain when I rout you completely!”

“Nice to have you by my side again, Valkyrie!” Kapkan was the first one welcomed his American teammate in the last mission.

“Yeah, let’s kick some ass!” Valkyrie fisted bumped with Kapkan, and other Russians followed.

 

The 5v5 game seemed to be a fierce and jolly battle, as the pool was bustling with lively noise. It was hard to imagine these who immersed entirely in fun were members of the international elite counter-terrorism team, and most of them just returned from their mission last day. Nobody in the pool noticed Mute -- resting on a bench at the poolside as the only one didn’t join the battle because the others already understood that the hacker was not a guy who liked to participate in such the event. He watched the game with an entertained expression nevertheless.

 

“Still an ordinary day in the base.” Mute commented with a smile.

 


 

The Russians’ training in the afternoon carried in a quite bright and cheerful mood. Mostly due to the aquatic game in the morning eased their tension. Their big victory over the non-Russian team was a plus to them.

 

“Timur, you’re surprisingly good at playing the ball game! Did you play it before?” With a delighted beam, Tachanka approved Glaz while hooking his shoulder.

“I belonged to the young team of my home football club until 15,” Glaz answered.

“Oh, excellent. Another trivia in your childhood I don’t know yet.” Kapkan grunted.

“You can tell me yours anytime.” Glaz chuckled while taking his boyfriend’s hand.

“Comparing to yours, my own is boring. Factory, gruelling labour life, nothing more.” Kapkan sighed. “I’m here for escaping that life and my home.”

“And Alexsandr and I know nothing beside military life.” Fuze commented. “Honestly, sometimes I envy you a little. You’re able to paint, cook and play sports. It seems like you still have a life apart from…… killing.”

“Gah! I’m different from you, Shuh! There’s nothing Tachanka don’t know!” Tachanka snorted loudly. Fuze and Kapkan shook their heads since they knew the big Russian was boasting again.

“You have your focus on living out of the service as well.” Glaz sensed the Uzbek’s profound meaning in his word.

“You mean Marius, I know.” Fuze shook his head in a slightly disappointed expression, “But I’m not sure if this Rainbow thing is over, can we still be together? Marius will go back to Germany, and I……” Fuze suddenly stopped from finishing the sentence, as he got hesitated while sensing it might be a stupid question.

“Hey, don’t say that.” Glaz patted Fuze’s shoulder, “Even if our job in Team Rainbow ends, our bond won’t be over. Maybe you’ll find a way to stay with him.”

“If that’s easy as you said.” Fuze replied vacuously.

“Oh, it’s already 4. I have to go now.” Glaz realised that he must go to the representatives to discuss the schedule before preparing for dinner after checked his watch.

“I can’t wait. I’m already hungry.” Kapkan chuckled.

“Ok, see you soon.” Glaz left the training ground in a rush after grabbed his belongings.

 

“Honestly, have you ever had enough?” After the sniper had left, Fuze slapped Kapkan’s shoulder with sarcasm, annoyed the trap master for a bit. Tachanka convulsed with laughter at it as he got Fuze’s pun.

 


 

When Glaz arrived the kitchen with ingredients, he found Sledge and Hibana were there too. The kitchen in the facility’s accommodation area was relatively large, provided a convenient option if any staff wanted to cook their food. IQ and Rook prepared their meal in a routine as they had their healthy diet plans. Sledge and Glaz also came here often as cooking was one of their hobbies. After the new operators' arrival, Glaz had heard Buck, Frost, Caveira and Hibana were also good at cooking – especially the Japanese who even prepared her breakfast every morning as she preferred “Washoku” – the traditional Japanese diet contained rice as the principal – over the English breakfast. But they were used to have dinner in their apartment rather than come here. It seemed like Hibana made an exception this time. Glaz figured this was natural to Hibana as she was an outgoing girl, and dinner time in the base was always good for a casual and relaxed communication with colleagues.

 

Konbanwa, Hibana-san, Sledge-san.” As the Japanese girl was here, Glaz decided to greet them in her language, which made them chuckle in amusement.

“You catch it so fast, Glaz-kun!” Hibana remembered the sniper was the one asked her to speak in Japanese last time. “I heard you’re going to cook tonight, too.”

“By Tachanka’s excessive publicity, I bet everyone has heard it.” Sledge laughed, “Seemed like you need to make a large amount tonight.”

“At least I’ll make it enough to serve every operator here.” Glaz nodded.

“So, what are you going to make today?” Hibana asked.

“My favourite home dish. Accurately, it’s not my home’s cooking, but I learnt it from the family of my best friend in childhood. He’s of Georgian descent.” Glaz explained.

“Oh, it’s interesting.” Sledge commented in an excitement, “I know a few Russian foods, but nothing about Georgian ones. What kind of dish you’re making?”

Khinkali,” Glaz answered as he had already started mixing the flour and eggs to make the dough. “It’s a kind of dumpling.”

“Dumpling!” Hibana clapped her hands with sparkling eyes, “One of my favourite foods.”

“Hibana and I just chatted about our home cuisines.” Sledge turned to Hibana, “You said the most popular food in your home is…… fried pork cutlet?”

“And with miso sauce!” Hibana replied while showing Sledge a small plastic box with black cap, “It must use Hacho Miso, Nagoya people’s favourite! As I just received this from my home, I’m going to cook the Misokatsu today.”

“Gosh, it sounds delicious by the name’s pronunciation,” Sledge responded while stirring the stockpot simmering the lamb shank, barley, split peas and vegetables. “I’m cooking Scotch broth. The soup I often eat in my home. It’s a shame that the English base doesn’t serve it.”

 

Three operators got silence for a while as they focus on their tasks in hand at the same time, until Glaz broke it, “Well, it seems like I have the appetiser, Hibana has the main course, Seamus has soup. Then if we make another dish based on the vegetable for balanced diet-----” He expressed his joking thought while rolling out the dough to make the wrappers for dumplings.

“Then we get a special Teishoku today. Wonderful idea!” Hibana thumbed up as she took it as a feasible suggestion.

“But are they even suitable to be eaten together?” Sledge questioned as his soup was still simmering. The lamb required about two hours to be tender.

“Don’t worry. Let’s think about something else we can make together! It’d be fun.” Hibana hummed cheerfully as she already coated the pork cutlets and ready to be fried.

 


 

After the dinner time --

 

“It’s the best dinner I’ve had in the base.” Kapkan patted his belly after he finished the three operators’ “special meal” with a satisfied comment. Surprisingly the three dishes of three different culture made a harmonious combination, and another plate featured the fried zucchini, eggplants and kales with spicy walnut sauce – another Glaz’ home recipe – was also highly praised by others.

“All of them are good, but I still like Seamus’s broth most.” Mute gave a positive remark to his Scottish teammate.

“Fancy the taste of my home?” Sledge chuckled. “I can still remember whenever there is Scotch broth on my home’s dinner table; everybody enjoys the dinner so much…… It’s not only a dish but the memory of the family.”

“I understand the feelings.” Glaz nodded with his memory of the moments his mother taught him cooking in mind -- which made him to keep his tears from dropping. He never missed home so much like now.

“Yeah, it’s good to make dinner with you. We should cook something together again when we both have time.” Sledge fist bumped with Glaz in an expecting mood.

 

“At the first look at the dumpling, I was stunned as it looked so like Chinese pork buns.” Echo, another Japanese operator, who was called out of his apartment for dinner by Hibana, observed the left doughy top of khinkali (Glaz pointed that the top of the dumpling never eaten in the tradition) and commented in a curious look. “But the taste was different as this one is full of spices – not quite the taste I favour, but it’s indeed special.”

“Hey, Enatsu-kun, then how about my Misokatsu?” Hibana asked Echo in her native language.

Oishikatta-desu. Gochizousama-deshita. (It was delicious. Thank you for the treat.)” Echo closed his palms together to convey his gratitude in a polite Japanese manner.

“Happy to hear you like it! But we’re friends now, right? No need to speak so politely to me!” Hibana pouted while pinching Echo’s shoulders playfully.

 

“I like the sauce on the cutlet.” Fuze was also pleased with the dinner -- a beef version of Misokatsu was specially made for him as the Uzbek didn’t eat pork following the Halal diet. “Can you tell me how to make the Misokatsu?” The fan of Japanese cuisine approached Hibana with an inquisitive expression.

“You also cook, Fuze-kun?” Hibana asked casually.

“Uh, sometimes. But not so good at it.” Fuze scratched his head and glanced at Glaz who stood beside him, “Or maybe Timur would help me?”

“Already treat me like a chef? Maybe I should sell my cookings in the future.” Glaz chuckled as he didn’t feel annoyed by Fuze’s request, but amused.

“I already gave him a recipe. So, don’t worry!” Hibana joined the chuckling, before turning to Glaz then patted his back. “Glaz-kun, you can make it with your cute Uzbek friend in the next time!”

“You can try to make my walnut sauce in your place, too. Can be good for salad dressings. Less sugar and salt, more nutrition.” Glaz replied, proven they already exchanged the recipes of their home cuisines.

“Will do!” Hibana nodded as approval.

 

“Hey, the match was going to start. Let’s go up and watch it in the living room.” In the meanwhile, Blitz approached the sniper and reminded him the football match they were arranged to watch together.

“Right away.” Glaz followed Blitz to the communal living room, while other three Russians were coming after him. Unlike Glaz, they almost knew nothing about football, but they were going to it anyway as driven by curiosity.

 


 

Besides SAS operators who all followed English League (except Sledge -- a former Rugby player, who was not so into it, but he still watched Scottish leagues sometime), Blitz and Glaz could regard as the two most notable football fans in the Team Rainbow, before the Spaniards’ arrival. Blitz supported his home team: Werder Bremen, along with Bayern Munich, the strongest team in Germany. Glaz was a fan of CSKA Moscow, one of the biggest football club in Russia. In fact, the football match he played in 10 years old, which happened to become the key to go along with Avenir in an indirect way, was against the U-11 team of CSKA Moscow. Little Timur played well in the match and scored a winning goal against the extraordinarily talented goalkeeper from the capital – Akinfeev, the blonde boy who failed to block his shoot developed into the captain and the most solid defence in front of the goal of CSKA Moscow. And Glaz eventually became his most solid supporter. Moreover, the core midfielder in the team named Dzagoev was another Ossetian from a Georgia origin family, like Avenir. The commonality captured Glaz’ attention in addition to his remarkable skill of play.

 

A reason made them do not want to miss the match was that to see their favourite teams – Werder Bremen and CSKA Moscow – playing a game against each other was something of a rarity. They must be good enough to compete in Champion League or Europa League first and be lucky to be in the same group by drawing, or they had to promote further until they finally met. This time was the latter case – what they were going to watch was the semi-final of Europa League. Both teams were not expected to achieve so far and were already known as the dark-horses in this year. Either of them who win would be in the final.

 

The match was held in Weserstadion, the home ground of the Bremen team, as they would play the next round in the Moscow team’s place. Blitz cheered loudly as everything he seen on the TV screen was so familiar to him. Coming from a family of loyal Die Grün-Weißen supporters, Blitz had been there for the first time when he was an infant.

 

The two team were evenly matched until Werder managed to score in the 45th minute, just before the half-time break. “Bartels!” Blitz shouted out the scorer’s name by making two fists, while Bandit – Blitz’ boyfriend who often watched football matches with him, applauding the German team in an approving expression. Glaz, on the contrary, exclaimed in disappointment while cupping his face. The other Russians patted his shoulder as an attempt to comfort him. However, his sadness didn’t last long as he brought up an enthusiastic discussion of either team’s tactics and impressing players with Blitz and Bandit, which baffled the other Russians as they couldn’t catch anything in their conversation.

 

The second half began with CSKA’s more offensive playing. Blitz could only cross his fingers while looking at the Russians trying to rip off Werder’s defence once by once. The Bremen team seemed to hold it well until the 68th, the Ossetian, Dzagoev’s long shooting crossed the opposing defenders and penetrated the goal. Now it was 1:1. And CSKA acquired the advantage of an away goal.

 

Nein! (No!)” Blitz covered his mouth in shock. Bandit just hooked Blitz’ shoulder and whispered something in German close to his ear in a caring face. The prankster’s rare gentle moment.

“Да! отлично! (Yes! Splendid!)” Glaz applauded loudly for one of his favourite player’s excellent performance and had high-fives with his comrades.

 

When the match was nearly over, both side was eager to make another goal to confirm the advantage. The level finally broken by Chalov, the 19 years old young striker of CSKA, scored a winner in the 89th.

 

Ich kann es nicht glauben. (I can’t believe it.)” Blitz placed his head between his legs and cried resigned tears for Wender’s home defeat.

“Get up and cry in my arms.” Bandit gave a simple instruction to his boyfriend to let him rose up his body. He then cuddles Blitz tightly while wiping off his tear from the crying face.

 

In the opposite, the Russians were full of rejoicing. After a few minutes, as the referee’s whistling signed the match’s over in triumph for CSKA, Glaz howled while stripping his T-shirt off and sliding on the ground on his knees like many footballers did to celebrate their goals. The fellow Russians felt honoured as well, especially Kapkan jumped on his boyfriend’s naked back in joy as if Glaz was the one who scored the winner. Although the Russian guys besides Glaz still almost knew nothing about football, they found themselves immersing quickly into the atmosphere of the game. And to be honest, how could these Russians resist the urge to join their boy’s celebration for his favourite team’s victory?

Chapter Text

After the entertaining football night, the Spetsnaz operators returned to their quarters and had a relaxing chat over some vodka. Russian men could talk everything with vodka’s power, like war stories, hunting, cars and women – the latest apparently didn’t apply to these Spetsnaz as three of them were gay, and two had already formed a couple. This time, they had Glaz’ childhood memories as the topic following his promise earlier. It was an unusually romantic theme to them. Nevertheless, they listened to Glaz’ story of his dramatic meeting with Avenir, and how they got along via their shared interest in arts, in a relishing expression. Except for Fuze who drank only a few shots as he recovered attention to fighting against his alcoholism, other three enjoyed their vodka with bottles with their leisurely conversations.

 

“Geez, so Timur, you’re gay from the start?” While Glaz reaching the part of his germinating liking for men in teenage, Tachanka exclaimed as he couldn’t believe there was someone could be so confident of his homosexuality at the puberty ever existed.

“You can say that.” Glaz sighed. “Trust me; I was confused as much as you are. At that time, I kept believing that a normal guy should be interested in girls, so there must be something messed up in my brain to make me like men instead.”

“And your family doesn’t know?” Tachanka inquired.

“I never tell them. It has been my secret.” Glaz shook his head with a sad expression, “I believed the fact would disgrace my family. So, I tell no one except Avenir, who might be the only one accepted me.”

“Can be another reason for that you don’t return home?” Fuze asked curiously.

“Well, can’t deny that.” Glaz answered in a steady tone, “Having no time is the main cause, but you’re right. I’m still unsure how to face my parents, after all, to tell them I’m gay. I bet that they still think I’ll get a wife someday. It’s not good to keep concealing the truth and disappoint them more. I just……need a proper opportunity.”

“Must be a bitter moment.” Fuze reflected his own experience through Glaz’. “Like when I realised my feelings toward Marius. Different from you, I don’t care about how my family think of me being in love with a German guy, but I was still anxious about the strange emotion. I can’t imagine that you bore it for years.”

“Luckily Avenir got your back,” Kapkan commented kindly.

“Yes, he believed that being gay is as normal as being straight. How open-minded.” Glaz nodded, “And I had a sense that he liked me as well.”

“I can read that,” Kapkan replied. “And I’m surprised that you liked someone who seemed so delicate. Don’t you always love beefcakes?”

“I value a man’s spirit over his body.” Glaz answered, “But definitely, a powerful physique is a big plus.”

“In my case, a pair of big boobs are enough to make me fall in love.” Tachanka patted his thigh in laughter, then drank up the bottle in his hand. “Didn’t you use to be like that too, Maxim?”

“No. I just thought you had a bad taste in women. But I didn’t have another option, either.” Kapkan cocked an eyebrow and answered straightforwardly. “And who suggested that I should get closer to Timur? Hmm?”

“Gah! I just thought that you two guys could be good friends! I didn’t expect that you’d end up fucking each other’s butts!” Tachanka retorted in rage.

“Oh? You should taste Timur’s butts for once. And you’ll experience the ultimate ecstasy.” Kapkan replied while licking his upper lip, which upset Tachanka more.

“I’m different to you!” Tachanka punched the table, roaring in irritation. It was not the first time Kapkan taunted him to “do the gay thing”. The situation became severer when Tachanka was the only Russian operator wasn’t in a relationship. A joyous and easy-going uncle notwithstanding, Tachanaka didn’t like anyone to mock him with this kind of thing. It was just unacceptable to him.

“Yeah, unlike me, you’re a coward,” Kapkan commented sarcastically.

 

“Again.” Fuze shook his head in disgust at their stupid behaviour.

“Guys, stop fighting on this kind of shit. Let me finish the story first, alright?” Glaz stopped the embarrassing squabble in time before continued his story.

 


 

“Господи. (Jesus.) What a misery.” Tachanka cried loudly after heard Avenir’s tragic death. “Such a good boy, died like this? God damn these terrorists. I can revenge you by dragging their guts out!”

“Revenge doesn’t solve the problem.” Glaz remarked rationally, “But I understand what you feel. It was the reason I joined the military. The terrorists destroyed my friend along with my dream, but since then I live with my determination to protect this society.”

“I think ’to protect the society’ itself is a more ambitious dream than to be an artist.” Fuze commented.

“I know.” Glaz sighed for his romanticism.

“Then you achieved to become the world’s elite. Very inspirational.” Kapkan chuckled.

“And I meet a better man.” Glaz grinned at his boyfriend, with a pair of half-lidded eyes and red cheeks. Kapkan could read him was drunk. And he liked it because this boy looked super cute in such the status.

“Ha!” Kapkan clapped his hand vigorously after he put the empty bottle on the table. “I can reward you my cream filling with your gut by this!”

 

“Oh men……” Tachanka glared at his old comrade saying dirty to Glaz with a wide-open mouth. “Should Shuh and I leave so that you can do that thing without disturbance?”

Sasha, you asshole!” Kapkan taunted his comrade again by calling his childhood nickname, “Since when you act so cowardly? Don’t even dare to fuck a man?” His redness extended to his neck and hoarse voice proved him was severely drunk, too.

“Gah! Believe or not, I can fuck your gut out!” Shouted Tachanka, patting his hard abdomen potently which resulted in a loud bump.

“Oh? Then beat me down first!” Kapkan jumped off from the sofa, clenched the fists as being ready to fight.

“Иди к черту, ублюдок! (Go to hell, motherfucker!)” Tachanka prepared a threatening posture before clashed with Kapkan with a furious howl.

 

“These two madmen are just beyond cure.” Fuze shook his head with a disapproving comment before turned to Glaz. “I think I’m going out for a breath of air, away from this kind of crap. How about you?”

“Stay with them?” Glaz tilted his head while watching their fighting, suddenly, inside his brain sparkled an evil idea. “I’ve come up with something to handle them,” Glaz whispered to Fuze, who frowned slightly at the sniper’s heavy alcohol smell.

“Bet it isn’t a clean thought.” Fuze replied. He knew Glaz well enough that he was a walking database of crazy gay sex fantasies, as well as a lot of knowledge to put them into practice.
“It isn’t.” Glaz shook his head, then kept whispered to Fuze’s ears. “Perhaps you should…… Visit Marius and have some personal moments, so you won’t ever have time to think of what will happen here.”

“Fine.” Fuze sighed as he already had the same plan in his mind. At least his adorable German boyfriend’s smile had the magic to erase his worries. And he trusted Glaz enough to keep the two defenders from doing something sillier. “Just…… don’t play too wildly and hurt yourself.” He then went back to his room, took his necessaries, then left the quarter quietly after waved Glaz a “see you”. Two men were too occupied in the clash to notice Fuze’s leaving, as Tachanka already pushed Kapkan on the ground and immobilised him. The older one was even pulling another’s shirt in a significant force, nearly to rip it off.

 

“Ha, see! I’m going to rape you like a bitch!” Tachanka laughed crazily in rage, riding on growling Kapkan who kept attempting to shake his old mad comrade off. He glanced the sniper for a flash, who was standing and gazing at the mess.

 

But Glaz didn’t make any movement, but just stood still while reconsidering for a few seconds with his dizzy brain. You’re going playing with the fire, Timur. His remaining rationality was again telling that the idea is too crazy. But he couldn’t hold the urge anymore especially in such the situation. It was exactly a part of his wide range of fantasies. He had even researched for this kind of thing on the Internet secretly. Glaz was still uncertain if it would work, but…… he was eager for a taste of it, for a long time, for even just once. “Forgive me, Maxim, Alexsandr.” He took a deep breath with an apological soliloquy inside his mind.

 

“Hey, big boys, how about this,” Glaz stunned the two men with his sharp eyes, then approached them in a saucy movement, while stripping down to his underwear in a few seconds, “You two going to make me come again and again and again tonight. I won’t let you rest until I’m satisfied. Any opinion?”

 

Kapkan and Tachanka felt in silence, stared at each other. The sniper’s reaction was unprecedented. “Are you nut? You’re suggesting a……” Tachanka, the one always acted bossy, now became puzzled at the situation. Even just speaking the word was guilty to him.

“Why not? You want to fuck somebody’s ass. This is your chance.” Kapkan rolled his eyeballs and chuckled as he felt it could be amusing in his second thought.

“But he’s your man.” Tachanka tried his best to defend as he didn’t seriously want to have gay sex. Especially a threesome with the duo consisted of the cocky hunter and the kinky sniper. No. Absolutely no.

 

“He wants you in, and I approved. Any problem?” Getting upset at Tachanka’s attitude, Kapkan punched his chest then grabbed the hem of his undershirt to remove it by force. “Stop pretending. Be the ‘Chanka we know and do it.”

 

Good. If Maxim doesn’t mind, I can proceed without concern.” Satisfied by their reaction, “Ok, I’m going to clean myself. Be back in a minute----” Glaz then entered the bathroom in a provocative voice, left the two guys on the sofa.

 

“Showering?” Tachanka questioned after taking off his undershirt. Preventing Kapkan’s sly hands from doing it by force, he was now undoing his trousers.

“No, he means ass. Or more accurately, rectal douching.” Kapkan smirked while explaining to the novice of gay sex. He had taken off his top clothes and at now undoing trousers as well.

“Geez!” Tachanka exclaimed, “He’s serious!” A droll-looking image of the sniper filling his bowels with water through a pipe connecting his anus emerged from Tachanka’s mind, which was quickly shaken off by himself. Ugly. He didn’t want to continue visualising it.

“He always is.” Kapkan knocked Tachanka’s right shoulder. “You asked for it, don’t complain.” Like Tachanka, Kapkan was astonished at his boyfriend’s unusual behaviour for seconds at first, but now he could already expect how fucking joyful it will be. And he didn’t mind sharing it with his old comrade.

 

Glaz’ cleaning seemed to be a bit longer than Kapkan and Tachanka expected, as they had already taken off their clothes except their undergarments. The older one still frowned at the grand canyons on the legs of who survived Beslan by his fortune, even though he had already seen it for a couple of times. Kapkan had a relaxed expression, his hands brushed Tachanka’s hairy legs and commented on the navy-blue camouflage patterned briefs the old Russian wearing, which attractively showed his package.

 

“As I know you’re always a boxer type, it’s rare to you to wear such the kind of thing.” Kapkan chuckled.

“I’m open to a change. And you know I always love camos.” Tachanka pulled the elastic waistband playfully and let it rap his hard abdomen muscle with a crisp sound following his hand’s release.

“Also bought it in this country?” Kapkan asked curiously.

“Um-hmm.” Tachanka nodded. “Doing our new job in England…… It changed all of us to a degree, don’t you agree?”

“Yes, for a lot.” Kapkan made a pondering pose, “Proven by the self-proclaimed straight Russian guy in the barrack who is going to have the first taste of gay sex soon.”

“Gah! Don’t say that!” Tachanka cried out while Kapkan was laughing at the big guy’s embarrassment.

 

In the meantime, the bathroom door’s opening sound signed the returning of Glaz, who looked more energetic as the drunk blushing on his face faded much. To get a quick shower to refresh his head could be the reason for his extended stay in the bathroom. They could even feel Glaz’ excitement through his crisp footsteps. There was only his towel around his waist, along with some water drops on his body. The army green boxers he stripped off in the bathroom was in his hand, before he discarded it onto the couch. The towel followed them as well in a flash, then Tachanka finally had a clear look at the sniper’s lifting manhood – Gosh, it looked magnificent. A straight guy like him could say no woman was able to hold the impulse to suck it and feel it inside her once having a view of the thick, slightly curved and exciting sausage. It just looked too delicious to resist. If gays like Kapkan loved a dick like this just as straight women did…… Somewhat Tachanka started to understand why this young man made his old comrade so addicted.

 

Tachanka’s attention was too busy gazing at the gorgeous figure in front of him to notice his half-interested penis underneath his underwear and Kapkan’s amused sight at his blushing. Then the naked sniper straddled on Tachanka in a desirous expression. His blushing got stronger as Glaz’ big cock laying on his abdomen. And Glaz was now stroking his upper body. It was amazing that the hands of the sniper who nearly 20 years old younger than him felt so wonderful in touch. Tachanka closed his eyes while Glaz’ right hand was wandering over his hard and hairy chest, and the left hand passed through the elder Russian’s hairy scalp growing his blonde butch cut then went to his sensitive neck skin. The touching on Tachanka’s sensitive parts made him barely hold on the moaning.

 

When Glaz got closer, then let their lips contact, a strange and complicated emotion raising in Tachanka’s mind, but he guessed the reason was not that he was now kissing Kapkan’s boyfriend (and even beside him). It was owing to that also if he was so used to act the eldest brother in these Russians – the role he had yearned for many years – but the young sniper’s caring action somewhat made him feel like a boy again.

 

Shortly later, Tachanka was dragged back to reality due to the stimulating touch on his member. His briefs were already pulled down his knees by Glaz, who was stroking his length in a gentle tempo. He didn’t like to admit that, but he was indeed turned on by the sniper. And the desire to experience more of his body rose higher and higher, along with his old friend, Kapkan – who was also fully naked, leaning on his boyfriend’s back and jerking off for him. Oh yes, we’re now precisely doing a threesome. Thank you for the reminding, Maxim.

 

The touch of letting his most crucial part be stroked by another’s fist always sharper than hold it by himself, as Tachanka figured, and the frequent contact of their tips provided more impression. Tachanka began stroking Glaz’ lower back as well once he found both his hands empty. He quickly sensed the wet tactile at his tip. Could be Glaz’ pre-come. Or his own.

 

“Put it into my mouth, Alexsandr……” The sniper gave the next instruction. If the mutual masturbation was still possible to assume as a regular action of soldiers’ brotherly friendship, the blowjob – could be a point of no return. You’re not a straight alpha man as you use to think, Alexsandr. It was hard to accept it in his mind, but his thoroughly congested member was honest. He desired it at now.

 

Following Glaz’ request, Tachanka kneeled on the couch after fully removed his underwear, as Glaz leant against the couch and aligned his mouth into the same level of Tachanka’s pulsing dick, which the keen-eyed sniper had a close observation. Glaz’ gazed at the long cigar -- about 20 centimetres in length -- with exciting eyes before he put the head into his mouth.

 

The wet, soft and warm touching of the sniper’s tongue felt so amazing that melted Tachanka’s doubt and stereotype about gay men away. Timur is just a pro. Comparing to the women, he experienced who seemed somewhat reluctant to suck his lollipop, Glaz’ fervent expression completely hooked his heart.

 

Tachanka couldn’t stop thinking “why this one must be a guy?” because he believed he would fall to Glaz just by this if he were a girl. But he corrected the thought in the next second. No, it exactly thanks to that he is a guy. So, he understands well how to turn on a man. In the meantime, he felt something swaying under his crouch, once he got the itch from his balls in touch with the hair growing on Kapkan’s big head ---- Oh yes, he was blowing Glaz’ dick, too. Tachanka could sense his old friend’s excitement just from his head movement and clear sucking sounds, making the sniper groan on Tachanka’s member. And it was somewhat dangerous as if Kapkan rose his head suddenly, then Tachanka’s balls would be the first thing he hit on. Needless to describe how awful the scene could be. However, Kapkan behaved extremely careful to keep it from ever happen. And shortly, Kapkan moved more forward to get closer to the sniper. So Tachanka could dock his bottoms on his old friend’s back, which seemed likely to please him following the hum he made for a response.

 

A moment passed, and three Russians had the tacit understanding that they could proceed further. They went to Glaz’ room, as the first choice for the couple whenever they wanted to do the things because Kapkan’s was often messy due to his laziness to tidy it up. Glaz took out a bottle of lubes and a box of condoms from his top drawer, as the action reminded Tachanka for one more time that we’re genuinely going to do this. “To be honest, how many condoms do you have here, Timur?”

 

“Now? Three packs in reserve.” Glaz answered. “Normally it was enough for three months. As we’re not doing this thing every night.”

“But each time we can use two or even more of them as we like to change side if we still have the energy for a second turn,” Kapkan smirked.

“Oh my God. It sounded crazy.” Tachanka exclaimed.

“Your sanity is more doubtful as you already claimed to fuck someone’s guts out,” Kapkan retorted while shaking his index finger.

“Yeah, but I’d like to fuck a bastard like you. Timur is a good boy; I don’t want to wreck him.” Tachanka defended.

“Oh, I’m not so easy,” Kapkan kept giving Tachanka pressure with a mischievous grin, “And Timur is not a good boy at all. He’s a naughty slut, gets merrier with more dicks inside him.”

“Maxim!” Tachanka shouted at his old friend’s smutty speaking. “How offending! Timur, don’t you feel angry about his mean word?”

“No, he’s right.” Glaz answered in a light voice, “You may not believe, but I’ve fantasised about this for years. You know, threesome. But, if it’s uncomfortable to you----”

“No, no, it’s not what I mean.” Tachanka interrupted. “In fact, it feels good. I wish to continue it, but……”

“You’re afraid that you won’t be the ‘Chanka you use to anymore?” Kapkan added.

“Yeah, it feels so strange and confusing. I’m not sure if I’m also---- on your side.” Tachanka replied in uncertainty. “I mean, you’re all my lovely younger brothers here, but having ass sex with you, uh……”

“Hey, don’t worry, Alexsandr. Timur understands what to do and will try his best to make us comfortable. Trust your youngest brother this time, won’t you?” Kapkan picked his usual calm expression up again as he explained to the old comrade in a gentle tone. But in the next second, he suddenly pitched Tachanka’s cheeks playfully. The movement annoyed him for a bit as the eldest Russian didn’t like this kind of flirtatious action which often appeared in Kapkan and Glaz’ interaction.

“Is this also the gays’ style to express their love?” Tachanka grunted while holding his sore cheek.

“No, it’s Timur’s style.” Kapkan laughed at his annoyed comrade hilariously. Glaz joined the laughter too.

 

Then Glaz bent over on the bed, rose up his bottoms, signing Tachanka “Come on, make me prepared first.” Tachanka caught that he meant fingering. He carefully observed at Glaz’ attractive entrance featured a pink ring of muscle and many curly short hairs grew around, darker in colour than which grown on his head. Tachanka was uncertain if he could fit his member inside it, wouldn’t it hurt? Whatever, he had already got this far. He took some lube on his right fingers, then eventually had the first taste of Glaz’ inside with the index finger.

 

“Oh yes……” A low groaning signified Tachanka was doing it right, as he already pushed the whole finger inside Glaz. It was marvellous. The tightness of his anal sphincter, the softness of his rectal wall, the warmness inside his body all impressed the elder Russian. Driven by the curiosity to know how flexible it could be, Tachanka put his thick middle finger in, too. Moans kept coming from the sniper’s mouth before Kapkan filled it with his dick to prevent it from making more sounds. Now both of Glaz’ entrances – the above one and the bottom one, were simultaneously occupied.

 

Is this what Timur dreamed of?” With the self-thought, Tachanka thirsted to have more of his youngest comrade. His free left hand reached Glaz’ dick, which was already dripping his liquid on the bed, which overlayed with a large bath towel -- Glaz prepared it before each time he had sex, so such a milk bull like him didn’t have to change the mattress afterwards. He pumped the shaft at a moderate speed while scissoring his fingers inside Glaz to expend the hole. Realising that he might be able to put one more in, the ring finger joined the other two.

 

“You’re good at it, aren’t you?” Kapkan yelled to his old comrade while fucking Glaz’ mouth fiercely. He sensed his boyfriend enjoyed Tachanka’s fingers inside just same to his ones. It even made him a bit jealous.

 

When Tachanka kept exploring inside Glaz by curving his fingers inside and pressing a part significantly harder than surroundings, the sniper’s body began trembling. It was likely a sensitive part. “Is this your…… Sweet spot?” Tachanka asked.

“Yes.” Glaz released Kapkan’s dick then answered in a low voice. “My prostate.

 

“You know it well you can take him high and make him come if you ram this thing with your cock!” Kapkan encouraged Tachanka with a higher tone.

“Yeah, make me come……” Meanwhile, Glaz’ appetite pushed Tachanka more. He wanted more of the young sniper, who invited him with such a seductive voice…… Tachanka nodded as his hesitation already vanished as he now expected how amazing it would be once having his dick inside Glaz ---- He applied the lube on his erection in a condom, before thrusting in.

 

Another deep moan coming out from the sniper’s throat conveyed his pleasure. As Tachanka instinctively pushed in rougher, just like what he did that thing with a prostitute, he sensed himself somewhat returned to the brave and strong ‘Chanka again by fucking Glaz’ ass hardly without any mercy. And Glaz took it well proven by his screaming and moaning got higher and louder, echoing around the small room. It raised Kapkan’s mood of competition as he silenced Glaz again with his more violent thrusting into his mouth. Moreover, Tachanka found that Glaz’ leaking appeared like non-stop after he wrapped his hand around the sniper’s hot and wet erection again. God, how much of precum this guy has?

 

As both men got a collective sense of push in and out at the same time, the obedient boy between them trembled and clamped around two dicks inside him with more power. Tachanka kept panting as the energetic and robust guy bent over him was so challenging to satisfy. He was already 49, after all. No matter how hard he worked out to keep his status, the gap of stamina between him and the 29 years old sniper still existed. He felt the great simulation provided by Glaz’ tight hole, particularly the clenching of his anal muscle and the brushing touch from the curly bristle over his ass, might make him come sooner than he originally predicted. He could sense the pulsing of the erection inside his hand as well, and Kapkan’s erotic growling in thrusting Glaz’ mouth…… Tachanka never imagined that his cunning old friend and his calm younger brother in the base were so impressive on the bed. The fresh sensation was overflowing him.

 

“Gah!” Tachanka ejected his seed fast and abruptly, as he stopped the ramming at Glaz’ bottoms. He might make it too hard to control the level of simulation. Tachanka felt sorry of that he hadn’t made Glaz come yet, but just extracted a lot of sticky, transparent juice from the sniper, spread over the bed and his palm.

“Noob! Let me do it.” Kapkan snickered as he exchanged the position with Tachanka. After putting on a new condom and lubricated it, Kapkan pushed his all length in immediately. Tachanka, who was in front of the gasping young sniper at now, looking at his blissful expression close to orgasm. Tachanka felt he was melting, just by taking a view at Glaz’ dilated pupils in his half-lidded eyes and hearing his delightful moaning extruded out once by once following the thrusting of the hunter behind.

 

Despite that Tachanka already ejaculated once, the sniper didn’t give up the big guy yet as he stroked Tachanka’s dick in front of him by his shaking right hand. Tachanka felt his member began getting interested again after Glaz swallowed the shaft fast and passionately. The continuous sensation of fullness from both the mouth and the anus, plus Kapkan’s handjob which was far nimbler than Tachanka’s, finally pushed the sniper to the climax. Glaz came with a harsh growling, which resembled what Kapkan heard last night in the bathroom in the couple’s simultaneous orgasm. But Kapkan still preferred this one, as he loved the lustful and obedient bottom Glaz took whatever rough and hard he and Tachanka gave. Kapkan held his lover tightly and kissed his cheeks and lips, then whispered some sweet nothings to his ears in a voice Tachanka couldn’t hear, reminding he was still the third wheel. However, Tachanka wasn’t jealous but awed by this. He hated to admit this, but the couple indeed knew how to make love. They made it rough and fierce, but still affectionate. He couldn’t ask anything more.

 

After a short while, “I think we can have the next turn.” Glaz managed to speak in a hoarse voice after he partly recovered from the high tide.

“Reasonable as I’ve not reached the climax yet,” Kapkan smirked.

“Going to fuck his ass again? He just came with a lot.” Tachanka frowned while wiping Glaz’ liquid from his hands with tissues.

“Don’t you remember? The main reason I love Timur is his talent to come for many times.” Kapkan tongued out. “He already said ‘make me come again and again’. It’s not boasting. He’s sure that he can have more.”

“Geez……” Tachanka lost the word. “Monstrous.”

“He’s a beast, indeed.” Kapkan laughed while slapped Glaz’ buttocks, made him shouted in sudden. “Come on; we’re waiting for your next request, шлюха (whore)!”

 

“Well, then how about double penetration?” Glaz asked with puppy-like, moist and hungry eyes. The word Glaz just said sounded strange to Tachanka, but Kapkan caught it immediately with clapping his hand.

“Wonderful idea! Nothing can be better than both of our khuy going inside you at the same time, right?”

“What?” Tachanka, as he got the hint from Kapkan, yelled in shock. “Are you serious?”

“Timur never jokes regarding sex. You forget it again.” Kapkan smirked at his old but pure comrade.

“But I think you’ll hurt yourself.” Tachanka began to worry about Glaz as he believed that he might lose his mind by either vodka or the previous orgasm while looking at him with kind eyes.

“I won't if well prepared. Can you help me?” Glaz answered sincerely to convince Tachanka that he could take two dicks in his gut.

“How to?” Tachanka was still confused, then looked at Kapkan to expect his further instruction.

“Simple, each of us gives him two fingers, then extend the hole together.” Kapkan made a gesture with his fingers and applied more lube on it, then give the bottle to Tachanka, who took the same action following his comrade.

Meanwhile, Glaz rolled over and spread his legs to the widest he could manage. He was amazingly flexible as well, as he stretched his thighs to both sides with a little effort instead of lifting them straight-up. Tachanka admired the almost flawless body of the young sniper exposed entirely in front of him, especially his pecs, abs and thigh muscles appeared so powerful. His penis looked even more magnificent in the angle. Needless to mention the hole just used by his two hot Russians between his cheeks which was likely ready to absorb everything.

 

As both men put their index and middle finger into Glaz’ entrance, “Pull.” The sniper instructed them after taking a deep breath. They followed and opened the tunnel with force. Glaz whined in pain as he was still not used to take the two men’s strength with his most vulnerable part. After two men made a significant gap between their fingers inside Glaz; however, the hole shrank immediately by the clenching of the muscle.

 

“Oh yes, still so tight like a virgin. No, even far better.” Feeling satisfied, Kapkan kept saying dirty to Glaz, who couldn’t make any voice except continuous panting and groaning. “Stretch the hole once more.” Kapkan then told Tachanka to repeat.

“Gosh, we’re tearing him apart.” Grunting in a low voice, Tachanka still followed and stretched Glaz’ sphincter again. The gaping got slightly larger than the last one as the interior of his rectum was vaguely visible through it. Tachanka sensed the gap might be large enough to fit another cock joining their fingers. Glaz’ expression got more painful as he clenched his teeth and fists tightly. Nevertheless, he looked at his comrades with nodding as a positive sign of being prepared to take two dicks in his hole.

 

How to make it in a position they most comfortable with was the food of consideration for them. In the short period both put on a new condom and lube it, they decided to let Tachanka lay under and hold the waist for Glaz, who put his hip on the big guy’s hard abdomen. Then Kapkan grabbed his boyfriend’s legs raising in the air. As two tips stopped at Glaz’ loosen entrance, Kapkan asked his lover if they could go in at now in a soft voice. Received Glaz’ thumbing up as permission, two men thrust in at the same time.

 

“О Боже мой! (Oh My God!)” Glaz bellowed in the sudden pain by the rough penetration into his hole which was the fiercest he experienced. He could feel two vigorous shaft drilling and fill up every space inside him. Both Kapkan and Tachanka also were amazed so much at the ecstasy of their erections crowding together and entering Glaz synchronously like one. They moved slowly at the beginning because they also had to get adjusted to the brand-new experience as the sniper did. After several minutes, they started penetrating faster into the deepest, impacting Glaz’ prostate together, through the soft and sensitive internal wall. With non-stop blissful rapid moaning, Glaz grasped the bedside and mattress with his hands to keep him from shaking off as other two held him firmly. Noticing the sniper’s dick was so close to his hands, Tachanka shifted his right hand onto the twitching shaft. At the same time, he met Kapkan’s right hand and realised that the trap master was going to squeeze his lover out, too. They exchanged a glance before pumping his shaft together, then rewarded with Glaz’ more frenetic shaking, clenching and whining.

 

As all of them were reaching over the edge, they went with all efforts they could manage, proven by the two defenders’ growling each pushing in. Kapkan even started massaging Glaz’s perineum with his thumb, provoked the totally overwhelmed sniper’s broken moans, along with hot tears leaking out from his corner of eyes. Glaz was curling his legs around his boyfriend to impel him to push deeper inside if that was even possible. His oozing precum which much more than the previous turn, spreading all over his abdomen and his two comrade’s hands could be another evidence of approaching another high peak.

 

“Maxim, Alexsandr, I’m com---Ugh--Ahh-----!”

 

This could be a moment both defenders wanted to catch in their memories for a lifetime. The second orgasm was far wilder than the previous one, as Glaz squirted all over his front – from his face to stomach, with curled toes and a breathless scream of ultimate pleasure. Kapkan enjoyed watching his boyfriend in a mess, grinned while pulling out from Glaz’ abused hole, leaving Tachanka lonely in the over-expanded tunnel. Then the hunter lowered his body to lick off the cream splashed over his lover.

 

Beginning slowly from the base of Glaz’ released cock, his six-packs, chest and erected nipples, then went to his neck ---- Kapkan tasted every bit of the sexy figure with his dexterous tongues, then received Glaz’ low and long moaning.

 

“Maxim……” Glaz whispered his lover’s name weakly while stroking his proud but passionate face besides. Kapkan took and held his lover’s hand with tightly interlaced fingers, moved his mouth from Glaz’ neck to cheeks then his lips. Listening to the couple’s hot kissing absent-mindedly, Tachanka felt blurred in the aftershock of his second release, and Glaz’ heat inside somewhat made him intoxicated in the state. Seeing the couple, the elder who initially claimed himself couldn’t understand gays, was suddenly conscious that their interaction might be not so different what he could see on the typical lovers consisting of a man and a woman. Apart from their gender, the only difference might be their preference of making love -- and probably everything else -- with rough and rude physical contacts over romantic actions and words. However, since they were both warriors, hunters, and Russian men, it should be their nature and their style to express their “love”, right?

 

A few minutes passed, Glaz eventually got off the softening penis and the broad body of his eldest comrade, after Kapkan released his boyfriend as satisfied with their afterpiece. “Oh, my lord, we made that thing much longer than I expected. Should take a shower now.” Glaz looked at his alarm and found it was already past midnight. “And don’t forget to clean up.”

 

Three guys then went back to the living room to clean up the disarray they made in the drunken state. Tachanka shook his head while removing empty Vodka bottles scattered over the table and floor, which reminded him how much they drank this night. Kapkan picked up and arranged the blend of their dirty clothes stripped off without mind before the sex. Glaz, who already took two rags, a mop and a bucket from the bathroom, started to wipe the stains off the table, couch and floor with care. The others joined for help after they finished their tasks.

 

“Shuhrat seems not coming back this night. Perhaps he’s also doing that thing with his cute German. Hmm.” Kapkan joked while taking the clothes into their laundry hampers, “Sad that I miss the view.”

“He’ll kill you if you dare to peek.” Glaz chuckled while picking up his towel from the couch as he would need it in the bath.

“Absolutely. Because he’s a possessive type.” Kapkan smirked. “Unlike us, who are happy to share our sex with our loveable eldest brother. How do you think, Alexsandr?”

“What do you expect me to reply?” Tachanka grunted, being annoyed at his old friend’s cocky attitude, “Oh, yes, it’s fucking fantastic! I think I turn gay now! Or something like that?”

“I want your honest thought.” Glaz smiled and patted Tachanka’s shoulder as an encouragement.

 

“In fact, I’m impressed that you make a good couple. And yeah, the feeling was great. Never imagined sex could be like this.” Tachanka answered after seconds of pondering. “Ugh, but I think I still like a woman. Doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy having it with guys like you, just……”

“You’re looking for somebody that can stay with you for a lifetime, and you still prefer a woman for this role.” Glaz conjectured Tachanka’s true mind from his clumsy words. “In a simpler word, you want a wife, don't you?”

“Maybe just as you said.” Tachanka sighed. “You know, I always show my powerful, strong and sometimes ruthless side in front of people for these years, that almost makes me ignore that even I also want company. Not only teammates and friends but also someone that’s unique to me.”

“So, you say having us isn’t enough to you?” Kapkan questioned half-jokingly.

“Oh no, you have each other.” Tachanka laughed. “Being the third party is not my interest. But you two made a good love-making example for me; I guess I must thank you. And from now I should try to find out someone my heart belongs.”

“You know, you can start with Mira.” Glaz nodded as he already sensed Tachanka’s interest in the Spanish engineer.

“Good advice. Can chat with her on something else except for cars and weapons.” Tachanka tilted his head, considering seriously, before a large piece of cloth covering all his head in sudden.

 

“Hey, let’s have a nice bath now, big boy.” Kapkan chuckled as he just threw Tachanka’s towel to the owner’s head.

“Screw you!” Tachanka roared with laughter, and swung the towel with both hands, had it slap Kapkan’s face in a force.

“Let me rub your back. You know, we no longer do it since arrived Rainbow.” Kapkan suggested.

“Turning me on again? No.” Tachanka cocked an eyebrow and answered his old friend in a half-jokingly resisting voice.

“Gah! I mean brotherly, ok?” Kapkan punched Tachanka’s chest, “Or do you seriously think we’ll turn every man in this base gay?”

“I won’t be surprised from now on if I ever see that day!” Tachanka answered relaxedly, as he hooked his younger comrades’ shoulders before went into the bathroom together.

 

Tachanka realised that even though they had made threesome sex, nothing between them had changed. Well, except that he could now talk of more emotional thing with them, and with Fuze as well, indeed. After being left as the only ‘straight Russian guy’ in solitude and misunderstanding, now he finally felt linked with them again. With it in mind, it didn’t matter if his future partner would be same or different gender, as his boys in this base still played the critical roles in his life no matter what.

 

After they took a comfortable shower, three men ended their day as they were ready to go to bed. Glaz texted Fuze regarding that the mess was over and he could come back to their quarter if he wanted, by the way. While Tachanka was going into his room, Kapkan decided to stay with Glaz for this night, as Glaz wasn’t against it considering his boyfriend didn’t sleep well last night, so he intended to take care of him as much as possible. More importantly, he always welcomed more embrace from his lover.

 

Just as always, Glaz dozed off in a second in Kapkan’s bosom, while Kapkan was stroking Glaz’ boy-like sleeping face. He somewhat wondered if it had the power to heal the wounds inside his heart. Kapkan was a man suffering too much. And at now he knew Glaz also came here with a pair of broken wings. Broken dream to be an artist. With an indescribable emotion, he wanted to repair it, even though he knew nothing about painting nor dream – a word too strange to the hunter who struggled for life since his childhood. He didn’t know the reason, but just a vague sense that he might hate to see his lover abandoning it and feeling lost. Kapkan knew Glaz was a very attentive man who tended to take care of others too much and to omit his profound feelings, and he wished to fill this vacancy. Keeping the bee in his bonnet, Kapkan eventually felt asleep whispering his boyfriend’s name to his ears unconsciously, as the man named Timur Glazkov was already at the first position inside Kapkan’s mind without his notice.

Chapter Text

5th May 2017.

 

Glaz started this day in his partner’s warm embrace. Last night, the couple slept together. Two big, naked men crowded in a small bed in the sniper’s room in the barrack sounded hilarious to a degree; however, they slept comfortably even more than they expected. How could they object that one of the happiest things in their life at now was that seeing each other’s sleeping face beside them after waking up?

When Glaz stretched his left arm to turn off his ringing alarm, he sensed something hard grown between his legs rubbed his boyfriend’s stomach in the meanwhile. Yes, his morning wood. “Oh sorry,” he apologised immediately in a whisper; however, the cunning hunter caught the erection under the quilt in a second, while smirked with half-lid eyes to the wood carrier.

“Morning, dorogoy.” Kapkan kissed his boyfriend’s lips, greeted in a low and lazy voice. “The first thing I want to do to start this day.”

“Milking me? It’s exactly you.” Glaz chuckled in a light voice as being amused.

“What time is it? I felt like slept so long.” Kapkan yawned while stroking Glaz’ hard-on absent-mindedly.

“Six o’clock. Don’t worry, we still have time to go to the breakfast.” Glaz kissed back and caressed his lover, too, “How about your last sleep? I trust you don’t have any more nightmare?”

“Nothing but your snores in ears.” Kapkan stuck out his tongue in jest.

“Uh, oh. I hope that I didn’t disturb you, sorry.” Glaz exclaimed.

“Not at all. In fact, it somewhat made me sleep better. You snore softly, like cat’s purrs. So, I’m ok with it.” Kapkan jumped off the bed in a second, “Come on, let’s hurry to the breakfast, big cat. I’m badly hungry.”

“Your hunger never ends.” Glaz also got out of the bed and quickly began dressing after folded his quilt. Kapkan followed as he already took his clothes into Glaz’ room last night.

 

After Kapkan saw the sniper putting on a pair of navy blue camo briefs which was the same model to what Tachanka wore yesterday, he slapped Glaz’ butts in chuckles, “Now I know who recommended our big boy to buy that thing.” Glaz laughed while taking on the remaining clothes, including a blue sleeveless hoodie with a Russian imperial eagle logo just like what Kapkan wore to the gym yesterday. Proved that Glaz was the one going to work out in this morning.

They found Tachanka going out to his room too when they went out, then they spotted Fuze brushing his teeth in the bathroom. Finally, a morning these four Spetsnaz got together again.

“Oh, доброе утро (Good morning).” Fuze greeted them in a slurring voice with his toothbrush in the mouth and the leaking foam from his corner of mouth to his hairy chest. The bath towel around his waist signified that he had not dressed up and the possibility of a shower he just took.

“Hi, Shuhrat.” Glaz was the first one greeted Fuze back. “How did your last night going?”

“No bad. Shared a good time without harassment, as Bandit spent a whole night to comfort Blitz in dismay by his favourite team’s defeat.” Fuze answered after pulled his toothbrush out his mouth.

“Ha, ha! I can imagine the scene.” Tachanka laughed loudly.

“So, did you do that thing with Marius? Anyway, it’s impossible for you to resist the cute German’s tight ass ----” Kapkan smirked and asked in a mischievous tone.

“I won’t tell you, bastard.” Fuze punched Kapkan’s face, in a force strong enough to make Kapkan fall back before Glaz got his shoulders. But in the next second, the anger inside Fuze’s black eyes transferred into regret. “Oh no, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t do this anymore.”

“What do you mean?” Tachanka was surprised by Fuze’s odd behaviour.

“I’ve promised Marius that I won’t beat up anyone any longer.” Fuze sounded sad, “You know, I must control my anger, or I can’t be the man worthy to be with such a good guy as Marius. But it isn’t so easy, is it?”

“You can’t expect your old habit to change in a flash, it needs time.” Glaz sighed before explained to Fuze in a caring voice. “I think Marius has a grasp of it too, doesn’t he?”

“Yeah, don’t take too much pressure, or it may pull your hind legs instead.” Kapkan rubbed his cheeks before approached Fuze then patted his shoulders. “Same to your abstinence plan.”

“Yeah, I know.” Fuze replied in a slightly brighter voice, “At least Vodka seems safe to me from a hangover. Despite this, I must stay in control, or I may reach to other things again driven by the desire for stronger taste. Oh, one more thing, Timur, my remaining Georgian wines are all yours. I know you always have a soft spot for Georgian stuff.” Fuze then filled a mouthful of water with his tumbler before spat it to the washbasin.

“How kind. Thank you.” Glaz scratched his head in a little-surprised expression.

“Boys! Let’s go out now, or we’ll be late.” Tachanka laughed and strode out the quarter.

“I’m dressing up in seconds.” Fuze rushed to his room after wiped the foam off his chest with his towel.

 


 

That was a regular morning to four Spetsnaz operators, as Glaz and Kapkan went to exercise together while Fuze and Tachanka went to the workshop to develop their gadgets with their tech buddies.

The Uzbek and the German cooperated smoothly just like usual. Jäger had made some prototypes of his improved ADS and Fuze helped him to test them with his cluster charges filled with blanks. They recorded the text results, discussed on them, then adjusted these prototypes to test again.

“Hey, Shuhrat.” Looking Fuze refilling his cluster projectors, Jäger asked curiously. “Does your cluster charge only eject the explosives?”

“Why do you ask it?” Fuze paused his hand movements to pay attention to what Jäger asked.

“I wonder if it can be available with other functions than…… killing.” Jäger tilted his head and inquired in an innocent voice.

“It can, in theory. It’s easy to me to make something harmless like a smoke grenade for the projectors.” Fuze sighed while lower his head then explained in a regretful tone. “But I only developed the explosives, maximised the blast radius and made it capable of killing as many as possible---- when I in the service of GRU Spetsnaz, who funded me the project. You know, as it was the most efficient way for us to clear out all locations might hide hostiles.”

“I see.” Jäger made a pondering pose as he held his chin with a right hand.

“So, you know I was the killing machine.” Fuze move his sight away from his boyfriend. “I’ve done nothing apart from taking lives away.”

“No! Don’t say that.” Jäger wrapped his long and slender arms around Fuze’s broad upper body, looked at Fuze directly with his bright grey eyes, “You’re different now. And in Rainbow, you don’t have to do things in your old way at all. If you wish to make alternative uses of your gadget, you should do it.”

“Thanks,” Fuze smiled in his boyfriend’s arms as if he had predicted Jäger’s reaction. “You’re right.”

“You know I can always help you. You assisted me so much in developing my ADS. It’s just fair to give you my hand back.” Jäger took his adjusted prototypes and readied to return the testing.

“Yeah. Let’s do it together to finish the testing.” Fuze went with Jäger with his gadgets, while hooking Jäger’s shoulder.

 

In the meanwhile, Tachanka was working on the improvement of his deployable LMG with Mira, who was modifying the ballistic shield for the LMG. The shield was made of the same material to Mira’s Black Mirror, which amazed Tachanka so much that how solid the protection this kind of glass provided. They both wore casually, as Mira was in a grey Capri overall over a black sweatshirt, and Tachanka wore a pair of jeans and a navy-blue gingham button-down shirt, which was tightly fit his torso and exposing part of the white tank top he wore inside and his proud well-built pectorals through the unbuttoned upper fly. As an old soldier, Tachanka didn’t pay attention to what he wore in off-time before. However, since he didn’t like to look bad in Mira’s eyes, he tried to dress up a bit more carefully this day. Perhaps it worked out, as Tachanka could occasionally sense Mira glancing him with a smile. And once she did it, he felt like almost missing a heartbeat. The experienced Russian warrior now behaved like a stupid teenager.

“Hey Mira, I wonder……” Tachanka asked in a light voice while gazing at his new Spanish teammate nervously as he tried to find a new topic of chat so that they could get closer. However, looking at the Spanish woman’s serious side face concentrating on assembling the rim of the shield made of Aluminium alloy on the workbench made the old Russian struck the word in his throat and get red blushing on the cheeks. “How many…… bullets this shield can take?” After a few minutes, he managed to ask a question to avoid the more awkward situation. Might be out of place, but he needed it.

“Oh? It depends on which weapon you use to shoot it.” Mira turned her head and replied in a relaxed tone, like that she didn’t take her mind on her Russian teammate’s shy expression at all.

“Well, well,” Tachanka tried his best to continue the topic. “Then how about Timur’s…… Sorry. I mean Glaz’ sniper rifle.”

“OTs-03? Hmm. The most powerful one. According to the technical detail of the shield, it can at least take 5 to 6 shots from the rifle. And since it’s speed is so slow, I think you have enough time to take reaction when a sniper like him trying to kill you on the LMG.” Mira answered in chuckles while approaching Tachanka to pat his shoulder before finally noticed his deep-red blushing on the face. “Oh my, look at your face. Feeling sick today?”

Great. Tachanka found out it was awful to mention Glaz at now as he couldn’t get the sex scenes with the sniper in last night out of his head -- his marvellous manhood and blissfully overwhelmed moaning in the bed while abusing his ass. Feeling the growing erection trapping inside his pants, Tachanka struggled to say something else to forget the vision of slutty Glaz, but he failed as his head got too dumb to form any word but just strengthened the blushing. Mira would hate me forever if she finds out that I got a boner in front of her because I recall how I fucked Glaz’ ass last night.

“Tachanka, you look terrible.” Gazing at the wordless and extremely embarrassed old Russian, Mira sounded worried, “Maybe you should go to the med-bay?”

“Uh……I feel fine, don’t worry!” Tachanka exhausted his brain to think of any good excuse for this, or he might truly have to see Doc at once -- Александр, придумай что-нибудь! (Alexsandr! Come up with something!) Finally, he said: “I think I just drank too much while watching a football game with Glaz last night. Got a little hangover, but it’s not a problem to me, so……”

“You like football too?” Suddenly, Mira got very excited as she interrupted Tachanka’s explanation in a delightful voice.

“Uh, I’m not a fan. But Glaz is. He took other Russians and me to watch a match of his favourite team together.”

“So, you’re at least interested in it,” Mira replied with certainty.

“Can say so……” Scrubbing his head, Tachanka felt relaxed again at that he finally managed to get something else to chat with the Spaniard. Whatever, thank you, Timur. “He supports CSKA Moskow. I doubt you ever heard this name though……”

“Oh! I know it!” Mira nodded, “I often see this club competing in Champion League or Europa League in recent years. It’s one of the strongest and most famous teams in Russia. You know, just like Real Madrid and FC Barcelona in my country.”

“Do you support either of them?” Even someone like Tachanka never follow football somewhat had a vague memory of two names of the Spanish teams in the news he ever saw.

“No!” Mira giggled, “I’m a fan of Atlético de Madrid.

“Ah-the-lay-tee-co?” Tachanka repeated awkwardly while tilting his head as the Spanish name sounded totally alien to him. “Another team in Madrid?”

“Yes!” Mira thumbed up with a board beam, “Maybe not so famous like Real Madrid, but my papá always says the real Madrileño all support Los Colchoneros.”

“Seems like you watch the team’s every game.” Tachanka pondered.

“If I have time. In GEO I watch La Liga on TV with my colleagues almost once per week. You know what? We even believe that Spanish terrorists are less likely to launch an attack on weekends as they all refuse to miss any match just like we do.” Mira laughed as she got amused by her own joke.

“That’s crazy!” Tachanka followed the laughter.

“If you know more about our countrymen then you’ll realise it’s ordinary!” Mira concludes while going back to the workbench, “I hate to stop such a nice chatting with you, but we should go back to our work now! Oh, next time you guys want to watch football, you know where to find me.”

“Yeah, let’s carry on later.” Tachanka nodded as he got back to work, too.

 

“Hey, can I ask you something about your language?” After a while, Mira approached Tachanka again, who was running some recoil test of his LMG.

“Sure.” Tachanka answered after he unmounted the LMG, “What do you want to know?”

“Simple,” Mira smirked, “Just spell ‘Lord’ in Russian and show it to me.”

“In Cyrillic script?” Tachanka cocked an eyebrow as felt somewhat confused.

“Yes.” Mira nodded.

“Here.” Tachanka wrote the word on his notepad then tore off the page to give it to Mira. “May I know the reason you ask me this?”

“Secret.” Mira tongued out then went back to the workbench.

“Teasing me? Huh.” Tachanka snorted while gazing at the attractive view of the back of the Spanish woman, “How about you teach me some Spanish later.”

¡Siempre!” Mira responded in her native language in chuckles.

Tachanka self-thought that fortunately he could get closer to Mira by another common topic, even though football was in fact not a familiar theme to him. However, he knew that he should watch more games and try to get into it from now on -- as it seemed like to be his best opportunity to get along her well.

 


 

1:00 pm, Corridor.

“Who would like to see me so urgently at this time?” Asked Glaz, who walked in the corridor fast. Considering greeting the unknown visitor with a better look, he changed to a bit more stylish dressing – a well-fit white shirt featured Prussian blue and Crimson front placket, black trousers and a pair of black lace-up oxford shoes with brown shoelaces. There was even a blue silk scarf of Paisley pattern – the souvenir he bought in Milan -- around his neck. Comparing to Ash beside him, who was in her uniform (as she just finished routine training with her colleagues of FBI SWAT), the Russian now appeared more like a model than a soldier.

“Who knows? Six just mentioned that you’ve been met.” Ash sighed, “Your friend?”

“Hmm, I don’t think so.” Glaz stopped in front of a door to a meeting room. “Here we’re.” He knocked the door a few times.

 

“Oh finally!” The door opened, and they were welcomed by Smoke. “Don’t worry, you’re not late. We’ve just returned from a nice tour of our sweet base. Hehe.” Smoke then started his gentleman acting in front of the visitor in his typical hoarse voice, “Ms Galanos, here is Glaz, the Russian you require to see.”

Galanos – Glaz recognised this name. After he looked at this mysterious visitor featured brown butch cut hair, think eyebrow and firm eyes expression, Glaz confirmed that she was precisely the Greek sniper who helped him to develop his flip sight before he began the service in Team Rainbow.

“Glaz, nice to meet you again.” Galanos greeted Glaz after she drank up the water in the glass in front of her while standing up for a handshake.

“Nice to meet you too.” Glaz held the Greek’s right hand firmly.

“And here is Ash from FBI SWAT. Well, you can say she is the leading sheep here.” Smoke introduced Ash to Galanos in chuckles.

“Can’t you put it more seriously?” Ash frowned, “Smoke means, I help Six to lead other fellow operators.”

“It’s good to see the small elite team in my memory now has grown up so large and vivid.” Galanos joined Smoke’s chuckles in a relaxed mood.

“I think it’s not a happy thing as we need more resource to face the widespread terrorist attacks.” Ash inquired Glaz and Galanos, “So, you two know each other?”

“Yeah, we first met in the 2015 Military World Games in South Korea.” Galanos answered, “I beat him in the shooting game, then we talked afterwards, and I know that he was going to join the reactivated Team Rainbow. Hence as a former Rainbow operator, I invited him to my place in Cyprus to help him improve and develop a new scope together.”

“Oh, oh, I see!” Smoke yelled, “That year I participated in the boxing game. And that was the first time I heard Glaz’ name, too. Gold medal of the Military pentathlon, if my memory isn’t wrong?”

“Correct. But I lost the first spot to Galanos at the long-range shooting competition, which I’m most confident in. So, I was not in a quite good mood.” Glaz half-joked.

“Well, well, but you got a chance to improve, and I got a partner to help me upgrade my precious sniping scope. Then it’s now your best buddy in the fields. A win-win situation.” Galanos laughed.

“Agree. Additionally, Cyprus is a good place for a winter vacation to me. I like the weather there.” Glaz replied in a joyful tone.

“And your boyfriend is handsome.” Galanos sighed, “Even I got a bit interested. How sad that he’s already taken by you.”

“Oh my God,” Smoke cupped his cheeks, “You mean Kapkan! Yeah, I hate to admit that, but I think he’s exactly the hottest guy on this base.”

“Can’t we stop such the gossiping chatting?” Ash facepalmed annoyedly.

 

“Ok, ok.” Galanos returned to the formal topic, “The reason I’m here now is not just for seeing your sniper. I’ve discussed on future missions with the Director. You should wait for her for detailed briefing later though – but at least I can say we’ve got a big one in the next month.”

“What is it?” Ash sounded a bit worried.

“We received the intel of some White Masks located in Asia Pacific region planned to work with some extremists in Taiwan. Most of them are young and easy to be driven to achieve the goal. One of the worst situations.” Galanos sighed and explained.

“Uh, oh. We can look forward to big riots on the streets!” Smoke joked.

“Not funny.” Ash cocked an eyebrow to Smoke before returned to Galanos. “Will you work with us again?”

“I won’t go to the field with you. You know, there are already so many good hands on the team.” Galanos relaxed her expression. “Still will give my remote assistance regarding more information.”

“Can’t wait to crack these White Masks’ skulls.” Glaz bumped his two fists together with a crisp sound.

“Ha, you can say that.” Galanos nodded. “Oh, may I visit the field shooting training ground later? I'm itching for shooting something now.”

“I can bring you there, as I’d also like to practise my sniping skill this afternoon.” Glaz took Galanos’ hand in a gentlemanly movement.

“You’re going to the training ground in such the outfit?” Ash questioned.

“Oh, I can even go to battlefields in this look. Well, but it’d be wasteful to get such a fine scarf and shirt dirty. I’m calling Kapkan to bring me my Gorka.” Glaz chuckled while taking his phone out his pocket.

“Such a nice couple, don’t you think?” Smoke hooked Ash’s shoulder with a witty comment. “I mean Glaz and Kapkan.”

“Stop throwing me gay shits. I won’t listen--.” Ash retorted playfully with a higher ending tone while gazing at Glaz and Galanos leaving the room.

 


 

“You improved so much than the first time we met, Glaz.” After the training session was over, two snipers were cleaning the weapons they just used. Galanos didn’t bring her sniper rifle with her to England; fortunately, Buck, who happened to be in the training ground in the meanwhile, kindly lent her a CAMRS – the modified FN FAL marksman rifle favoured by JTF2 so that she could practice shooting sniper rifle with the Russian.

“Thanks.” Glaz adjusted the flip sight of his OTs-03 carefully, “Also must thank you for the scope, which has helped me a lot in the fields.”

“Just a scope doesn’t make a marksman. A pair of keen eyes do!” Galanos admired, “Despite losing to me, I know you’re still one of the best. And you have a determined character, which is more crucial than skills.”

In the meanwhile, Buck just finished his training and came to them, “Galanos, you don’t need to clean the gun for me! I can take care of it.” He approached the Greek, asked gently to take over the rifle.

“I’m the one who uses it today. Let me do it.” Galanos finished the cleaning, checked the scope and other parts of the rifle before returned it to Buck as she confirmed it was in the best condition. “You know, weapons just like our friends, or children. Longer the time they’re in the service, more owner’s character would colour them. So, once I must borrow someone’s weapon, I should treat them well as much as possible, just like the manner to welcome the owner into my home.”

“I see. You got the point.” Buck nodded while taking the rifle. “CAMRS is a beauty, don’t you agree? Powerful, stable and reliable.”

“No one can be stronger than my OTs-03.” Glaz chuckled.

“Oh my, yours is too powerful. A savage beast that only you can tame.” Buck laughed, “And your PMM, too. Do you Russians all favour such a wild thing?”

“Can say that.” Glaz took his handgun out the sheath of his technical vest then showed it to Buck. The pistol looked so small, particularly comparing to Glaz’ large hands. It was quite hard to imagine such a tiny thing had amazingly high damage.

“I think I have to leave now.” Galanos took her belongings before leaving, “Buck, thank you for lending me your rifle. Glaz, thank you too for accompany.”

“Anytime. You’ve helped me so much, overall.” Glaz waved, “You can hang out with me again whenever you visit here next time.”

“Will do! Bye!” Galanos waved back before walked out the exit.

 


 

In the evening, Glaz and Kapkan met again in the canteen. Enjoying their dinner, Kapkan mentioned that he just got a letter from an old friend he made in Beslan.

“At that time, he was in the service of Ground Forces, located in South Ossetia, and we met by chance while hunting in the forest nearby the city. I must admit he was the type I admired: a soldier and true man, righteous, strong and determined. I wished I could be like him.” Kapkan started telling Glaz story of the old friend. “And he seemed somewhat mysterious to me. He’s a proud Chechen and a pious Muslim, used to be in the Vympel for many years until 1993, so he was able to speak many foreign languages including Turkish and Arabian. Another thing was that, even though he didn’t belong to Vympel anymore, he still wore his old Vympel uniform sometimes for the reason of that ‘it suits me better.’ Interesting, was it?”

“By your description, I think I know this man, too,” Glaz replied.

“No doubt he also wrote to you. Two letters from one man got here at the same time. I don’t think it’s just a coincidence.” Kapkan handed the white envelope to Glaz.

“Let me see the name.” Glaz looked at the letter and read out the name on it. “Oh my God, I got it right. Timur Idrisov…… I never think I’d ever heard from him again.”

“He’s your who?” Kapkan asked with a curious face, as he sensed that this man might mean much more than ‘just friends’ to Glaz.

“My chief when I was in the service in 45th Guards Brigade.” Glaz answered with sobbing, “He influenced me so much, and he was the first one calling me ‘Glaz’. The reason was simple: we shared the same first name, so we had to find another nickname to call each other. Nevertheless, I valued it so much.”

“Oh dear. What a small world. And you have a sense that he made you……” Kapkan made a heartfelt comment, “Made you be the Glaz we know at now.”

“Correct.” Glaz nodded. “I hope he’s all right now. I can’t wait to read the letter.”

“Then we should do it in our quarter after the dinner time.” Kapkan smirked slightly, “You know, have a private moment.”

“Yeah, a story with the power of Vodka, just like last night.” Glaz sensed Kapkan’s belied desire, “But only two of us.”

“And we know what to do hereafter,” Kapkan added while sucking his fork. The symbol was significant to the sniper.

“Then let’s finish eating quickly,” Glaz suggested before two men went back to their dinner, which only took them five more minutes to finish.

 


 

Moy dorogoy Glaz,

 

As-salamu alaykum (1)! I hope this letter finds you well at the place you currently garrisoned. The silent and reserved boy I knew now has become the world’s elite ---- seems like a dream to me. But it is real. I wonder if it is a miracle, or Allah’s will to make me meet such an extraordinary young man like you in my life. I can’t stop missing you since you left to Alpha Group in 2012. You said you wish to protect more people, not destroy them. I wonder if the job in Rainbow suits your ideal.

 

I have retired at the end of last year and returned my home in Vladikavkaz. I spent almost 40 years in the military; maybe it is too long. Now I am free and able to do whatever I like, so I have decided to do some good work for the place I belong.

 

You know that I am a story lover, and we have shared many about hunting and everything else. I think my hobby should make good use, so after a period of preparation, last month I opened a bookshop in this city with the assistance of my wife and my eldest daughter. It is a small shop, but at least I have a place to hold storytelling events on weekends for local children. For now, it seems to have positive feedback as there are already some children and their parents come for the story every weekend, and we have become good friends.

 

Recently I had a belief that beautiful things like poems, stories, songs and paintings are more influential than force and weapons. I am not a person brings peace. I have taken many lives. I hope Al-‘Afu (2) forgives my sins. Therefore, I want to make the world even just a bit better from now on. I understand you still aspire to the services and missions, and I think it is precisely what you must do as you are young, active and ambitious. However, I still hope you can keep making arts no matter what. After all, I love your paintings so much.

 

If you ever have off-days and you would like to visit me, the address of my bookshop is attached to the envelope and top of the letter. Do not hesitate to write me back as well. By the way, I know Maxim is with you now. I trust you two are taking care of each other well and fighting together with courage. Just imagining this makes my days more delightful. I am proud of both of you.

 

 

С уважением, (Best regards,)

Idri

 


 

Glaz finished reading the letter with holding back his tears, while Kapkan was gazing at him with moist eyes. It was a heart-touching moment, except Kapkan’s right hand which had already undone Glaz’ trouser buttons and was tracing his exposed thigh skin below his briefs. Glaz took the little mind to it though, as if it was already a regular act between them.

“So, what’s your letter saying?” Glaz put down his letter while hooking his boyfriend’s shoulder.

“Nothing special. Asking me if I’m alright in England, telling me don’t mind too much about the school siege---- Well, it’s not the first message I’ve got from him. Always so fatherly, isn’t he?” Kapkan looked at Glaz, shaking the letter in his left hand.

“He’s born in 1962, same age to my papa. So yep, I did treat him as another father.” Glaz blew his nose, and a teardrop felt down from his left eye corner in meanwhile. Kapkan wiped it off immediately.

“I can sense he likes you. The letter he wrote to you seems like containing more……affection.” Kapkan spoke softly. “I start to believe you have the talent to attract other men. You know, sexually.

“Oh my, no!” Suddenly, Glaz laughed at Kapkan’s reaction while flapping the couch. “I had casual sex with other comrades before, true. But not him. He was my chief, anyway. That would be so disrespectful to have such a kind of interest in him.”

“Yeah, I knew you’re not a virgin in the beginning. I felt a bit disappointed.” Kapkan pouted with a joking comment.

“You’re wrong. Before meeting you, I had never acted as a bottom.” Glaz pinched his boyfriend’s cheeks in chuckles. “So still can say I was an anal-virgin before, but it doesn’t matter now. Let’s back to the topic. Idri indeed influenced me in many ways, including my vision of Chechens and Muslims. Since Avenir’s death, I felt unable to treat Chechens and Ingush people normally. I believed they killed Avenir. My reason told me it's biased, but my emotion couldn’t stop feeling that way. Until I met him and realised Chechens have good people as well.”

“Yeah…… I even began to worry him would be hated after the school siege. You know, in the public anger at that time, who would care how long he, a Chechen man had fought for our motherland? No one.” Kapkan snorted with disdain. “Fortunately, I received his note stating his transfer to a Spetsnaz unit based near Moscow so that he would stay out of troubles. And after I recovered from the injury, I became a Spetsnaz too, as I received an offer of Alpha Group who approved my action in the siege. How irony. The disaster happened to become the stepping stone to my goal.”

“Life is full of mystery.” Glaz reclined his head against Kapkan’s shoulder.

“And you are the most mysterious thing happened in my life,” Kapkan replied while stroking Glaz’ chest underneath his undershirt. “Hey, Timur, you look so sleepy.”

 

“Hmm.” Glaz purred, “A little. I think I need to go to bed earlier tonight.”

“Then let’s waste no time, take a nice shower and go to bed together.” Kapkan then grabbed the hem of Glaz’ undershirt and pulled it over his head. Glaz didn’t resist but raised his arms up to let it get off.

“Take my pants off too.” As a sign, Glaz laid down on the couch with both raising legs, let Kapkan take the already unbuttoned trousers off effortlessly. Looking at the almost naked seductive figure stroking himself with a smirk, Kapkan disrobed to his underwear hastily before falling onto Glaz and thrust into his mouth with tongue passionately.

After several turns of tongue wrestling, two men released each other’s lips with pleasure. Then Glaz hooked the waistband of his briefs with his thumbs while rising his hips, going to take the last remaining tiny cloth off. Kapkan caught his boyfriend’s underwear gliding over his thigh and took it over. While observing Glaz’ delicious cigar dropping out and laying on his abdomen, his heartbeat was out of control again. Yes, he is indeed mysterious. Kapkan thought the man had at least a thousand ways to turn him on. Kapkan felt eager to do him so good right away; however, realising that it would be awful to have insufficient sleeping time for the third night, he suppressed the impulse before went to take Glaz’ towel then throw it to him. The sniper then hummed into the bathroom, while Kapkan followed him in.

 

Unlike the wild bathroom sex two days ago, this time the couple just put their minds in soaping and caressing each other. After they finished the bath, “We slept in your room yesterday, then how about we stay in mine tonight.” Kapkan suggested.

“Then I trust you just tidied your room.” Glaz held his chest, nodding.

“Yeah……” Kapkan answered while scratching his head while opening the door, “Maybe we should remove the thin wall between our rooms.”

“No!” Glaz laughed at Kapkan’s joke, following him into the room, “Don’t mess up with the British base. We can stay together and do whatever we wish once our missions here is over.”

Do whatever we wish, huh?” Kapkan sat on his bed, “Timur, you wished to be a painter at the young age. Do you still keep on it?” He then asked in a grim voice.

“Isn’t it obvious? You’ve seen my sketches for many times. I even drew a portrait for you to be your birthday gift last year.” Glaz felt a bit confused about his partner’s question.

“My point is, do you think you can still be a painter from now on?” Kapkan questioned straightforwardly. It was heavy to Glaz. “You say we can do whatever we wish. Then maybe you don’t have to keep in the services until you become an old man like Alexsandr or Thatcher……. I’m not sure.”

“I……don't know. I like arts, and I know I will do it until I’m in my grave. However, after Avenir’s death, I found my young dream died after him into the void. In the meanwhile, the ambition to be strong, to protect my nation – it was the first time I felt ‘I have to do something’. The sense of mission. It is also crucial that I would never abandon.” Glaz answered slowly with frowning and moist eyes. “And I used to have a time of difficulty to create arts. Whenever I wanted to draw something, I felt something painful inside me. It was not a big wound though, more like a bruising. I spent many years to make peace with it.”

“I bet Idri helped you to face this as well.” Kapkan laid on his bed, prepared himself for sleep.

“He did.” Glaz smiled and laid down next to his boyfriend. His arms wrapped Kapkan’s body to hold him closer. “When the others believed arts were useless in the military life, he instead affirmed the power of arts being able to enrich our spirit world. So, he often encouraged me to not give up the path, ‘do it like a warrior, make your pain strengthen you’. Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it?”

“I'm not surprised. Exactly the Chechen friend I know.” Kapkan’s voice became lazy and low due to sleepiness.

“I'm thinking of making another drawing for you at now.” Glaz purred, “You know, that day is coming.”

“I’m looking forward to it.” Kapkan made the last respond before he fell asleep with his boyfriend.

 


 

Language Notes:

  1. As-salamu alaykum is a greeting in Arabic that means "may peace be upon you", as standard salutation among Muslims. In Chechnya, it can be used as a more general greeting between people. Even though Glaz is not Muslim, but I like to imagine Idri using this to greet Glaz as he considered Glaz is a true friend. By the way, the response to the greeting is waʿalaykumu as-salām, means “may peace also be upon you”.
  2. Al-‘Afu, means “The Pardoner”, is one of the 99 names of God in Islam. Idri used this name in the sentence to express his praying for God’s mercy to forgive his sins.

Chapter Text

The next day was still a regular day to the Rainbow operators who did nothing special besides their routine works. Kapkan had known their incoming mission from his partner, and they already scheduled a field counter-terrorism manoeuvre in London in the next week. But before that, if there was not any more trouble taken place, they could have a few more peaceful days which seemed quite precious to them.

 

After the lunchtime, Kapkan went out to smoke alone, as Glaz was occupied by Mute in the canteen for a private discussion. When he opened his cigarette pack and pulled out the last one of it, he realised that this pack was already open for more than a month and he just finished it. He used to smoke for many, could consume a box shortest for two to three days. So, it could be a sign of his gradual quitting of smoking, even though he never planned to do so. He found out the reason immediately: he seldom smoked beside his boyfriend. Different from the original image in Kapkan’s mind, he never found the sniper smoking. However, unlike Fuze who hated the smell of tobacco and tended to keep away as far as possible from second-hand smokes, Glaz never showed any disgust to smokers. One time, when he smoked with Smoke and Bandit with Glaz beside them, he asked the sniper if he wanted it too while handing him a new cigarette before received his reply “I’ve already quitted it”. It was such a rarity to see a man so young like him as an ex-smoker. Although Kapkan didn’t examine further, the fact was getting him more and more curious.

 

When Kapkan immersed himself in his thought, he sensed a few slight but firm patting on his shoulders. He didn’t even have to turn his head to know that his boyfriend came to find him. “Finished your business?” Kapkan asked.

“Yep,” Glaz responded while seating beside Kapkan on the bench. “Hey, I know it’s all up to you…… But I wish you to quit it.” He then observed the burning cigarette in the hunter’s hand.

“I already smoke much lesser than before.” Kapkan extinguished the cigarette then stood up to litter it into a trash can nearby before turned back to Glaz with a grin. “At current, I only do so once I feel too boring. And you seem like the biggest obstacle to boredom to me.”

“Seeing you smoking just reminded me of the time I began to get along with Idri.” Glaz continued his past story in a steady tone, “I sat on a bench like this nearby the barrack to smoke alone in silence and solitude. At that time, I believe that I want to be alone. I don’t need to get along with others. Well, you can say I was…… depressed, in the past.”

“Except for the ‘depressed’ part, it sounded a bit more like me, not? A fucking cold-blood badass who cared about nothing.” Kapkan smirked. “Sadly, you’ve become a lustful pussy boy lives on my dick.”

“I only cared about excelling myself to fulfil my duty at that time. Maybe more like Fuze, a silent killing machine. Hard to imagine, huh?” Glaz didn’t mind Kapkan’s smutty comment and continued.

“I know that was not your nature.” Kapkan hooked his boyfriend’s shoulder while remarking relaxedly.

“I was so panicked while Idri was patting my shoulder. I immediately jumped up and threw away the cigarette in my hand then stood at attention— Oh, it must look ridiculous. I expected a reproving, but instead, he just asked me if I could lend him a fire because he couldn’t find his lighter in a friendly voice.” Glaz widely opened his mouth to imitate his expression at that moment. “I couldn’t hold back my exclamation ‘pardon?!’”

 

“That idiot. Has he even tried to keep every belonging in his sight?” Kapkan exclaimed following Glaz’ acting, “When I got along with him, he was already notorious for his forgetfulness, as I had heard both his wife and colleagues commented on it. And yes, I also lent him a fire sometime.”

“Then he truly lost it?” Glaz frowned. “I’ve always believed ‘borrowing a fire’ is an excuse to start a talk.”

“Don’t think of him too smart, boy.” Kapkan laughed nonchalantly, “Even his wife also remarked that kindness was his only advantage.”

“But his kindness saved me.” Glaz lowered his head, “After I lent him my lighter, we sat down and smoked together in an awkward air. To be honest, I didn’t like him so much at the start because he’s a Chechen. But he was my chief, too, I knew I must follow the order. He was rigorous and severe in training, and it was good to me as it’d help me to improve. But in private…… Hm. It’s the first time he tried to talk to me in private, but we said nothing but a moment of silence. Then we went back to the barrack.”

“Not come out so well huh? Your first private meeting.”

“But the next day after the lunchtime, he came to me to borrow a fire again just like the last day. Then we talked a little.” Glaz continued imitating the scene as he raised the tone to mimic Idri’s voice.

 

“Glazkov, where do you come from?”

“Vladivostok.”

“So far away from home, don’t you? I’m from Vladikavkaz. They sound alike, right? The names of two cities.”

“Yep…...”

“How about your hobbies? I like hunting. Do you like it too?”

“Can say I like. My father taught me that skill since I’m a boy.”

“We should go hunting together someday. But it’s sad that there is no forest nearby the base. Only railways, factories, and a lot of houses. Anyway, we’re so close to the capital.”

“Hmm.”

“By the way, you had a great performance in the morning’s training. Keep improving.”

“Definitely, Sir.”

 

“It’s indeed a little talk.” Kapkan chuckled. “But it’s a start.”

“You know we barely talked either when we just met each other.” Glaz reminded themselves had an awkward moment, too.

“Yeah, because I had not discovered your charm yet.”

“After all, we then just went back to our tasks and acted like usual for a few more days. Until a morning, Idri came to me again, saying that he’d like to train me knife combat one by one, in a strange old uniform.”

“His old Vympel one.” Kapkan didn’t even need to think to get the answer.

“Correct.” Glaz nodded, “Idri is not a big man, a little shorter than me, in fact. But he’s powerful, agile and merciless in combat. I struggled to keep up with his speed and received some harsh cuts from his knife.” He then showed the scars on his arms by rolling up his sleeves.

“I’ve been curious about these scars’ origin. I like them.” Kapkan observed these traces curiously. He affirmed that these scars made Glaz’ strong arms look more attracting, and they reminded him of his knife combat training with Finka in the past, which had a dramatic result.

“I bore with the searing pain, being more and more concentrated at his movement, until I finally caught his weak point exposed in just a flash, grabbed his arms and immobilised him on the ground. That moment the impulse to win this fight overpowered me so that I lost my composure……”

“You hurt him?” Kapkan frowned in worry.

“Nearly.” Glaz sighed, “I put my knife to his throat and readied to cut with my bleeding and shivering hands, with the loud echo in my head ‘For the revenge for my friend! Your people killed him!’. I could even hear myself shouting it with my crazy imagination of Avenir’s death filled with my brain. Maybe the fierce fight exhausted me, so I fainted immediately after that. When I recovered consciousness, I was already in a bed in the medic bay, wearing bandages over my arms, feeling dazed and confused about what happened to me.”

“Uh oh, you messed up with your chief.” Kapkan commented, “I expect you’d be punished.”

“I thought the same, too.” Glaz lowered his tone, “I was a bit frightened while seeing Idri’s worrying face at my side. I knew that what I did was disrespectful and unforgivable. It was his right to punish me, but no, he just spoke to me softly—"

 

‘I guess you lost your friend in Beslan. As a soldier, I was in the troop trying to save hostage…… I felt sorrowful at that time, just like you. These terrorists were fanatics who didn’t know what they were doing, and I must take them out to ensure the safety of the innocents. However, I know some of them were my people. The fact hurt me, and I could only overcome it on my own. I’m sorry it hurt you so much, too.’

 

“So, you were the one lost your temperature, but Idri thought it was his fault and he should be sorry?” Kapkan shook his head, “This man is incurably kind.”

“I apologised to him immediately, too, but he replied that ‘it’s ok, I understand’. He also praised my will of a fight at that time. I completely lost the word and failed to keep the tear from falling.” Glaz concluded his story, “I couldn’t forget the gentle touch of his hands on my bare chest during that conversation. Probably the first time I was deeply affected by a man older than me.”

“He opened your heart.” Kapkan commented, “And how did you quit smoking? I bet this was also related to him.”

“Correct. But we should carry on the story later, as the lunch break is almost over. Hey, here are some mints, my favourite brand. Might be helpful to keep your mouth from cigarettes.” Glaz then took a pack of Fisherman’s Friend from his duffel bag then put it into his partner’s hand.

“Oh, let me try it.” Kapkan opened the pack, took out a small drop then put it into his mouth. “It tastes so cool. Not bad. Thanks. By the way, do you have any idea for your new artwork so far? Still drawing my portrait?”

“Yes, but this time I want to make it way different than last year.” Glaz stood up and ready to go back to the base.

“What’s the difference?” Kapkan inquired while standing up as well.

“I’d like to save it as a surprise.” Glaz turned his head back to his boyfriend with a smile before kissed him. “You’ll know it on that day.

 

“I’ve never thought that I would expect that day’s coming so eagerly in my lifetime.” Kapkan murmured in a light voice while seeing Glaz’ back walking into the door before he followed his partner into the base to continue their work.

 


 

14 May 2017.

 

In the previous day, the operators of Team Rainbow arrived in London for drilling their skill in open urban area actions. Different from most of their last works featured clearing the threat in specific buildings, the counter-terrorist operation on the streets had more tasks required attention, including the evacuation of the public.

 

All operators in the team attended the manoeuvre to prepare themselves so they could deal with the incoming missions more efficiently, and they worked with full attention as if it was a formal operation. Additionally, seeing the citizen who approved their significant efforts to ensure the safety of the society could be a supreme excitation to them.

 

After the manoeuvre was over, the operators returned to Regent’s Park Barracks, where they stayed over last night, for a short rest. Afterwards, as a replacement of the usual bar night which was scheduled in the middle of every month, an officer noticed the operators that a free off-time until the midnight was rewarded to them. The happy face could be read on everyone’s face as most of them looked forward to the flourishing nightlife like bars and casinos in the Britain capital.

 

Of course, there were exceptions.

 


 

Green Park station, 14:00.

 

“Mark, which way we must go for transfer?” Walking out from the train of the Underground, Glaz asked Mute, who accompanied him to the place the sniper desired to go in the city. There were also Doc, Mira, Echo and Tachanka together with them as they were going to the same location. All of them were in their casual clothes, as what Glaz wore resembled the looking at the time he greeted Galanos in the HQ, except for the shirt replaced by a short sleeve denim shirt, which seemed slightly tighter that highlighted his muscular upper body for a degree.

“Piccadilly line……” Mute, the only Englishman in the group, pointed out the correct way among the complex station structure in a second. “This way.”

“Oh, thanks!” Glaz followed Mute to the stair while observing the surrounding crowd in the Underground station like a curious child. “I’m amazed so much at how this bustling traffic system works.”

“Never been on any metro, I suggest?” Doc was amazed at the sniper’s face instead. “It is the icon of every city large enough to be a ‘metropolis’. I used to go to the campus by Paris Metro every day when I studied in the university. Oh, I’ve already had a licence then, but taking public transport is friendlier to our environment.”

“I guessed the Paris one is better-looking than London?” Mute inquired, “I somewhat don’t like Underground because it looks too old and filthy.”

“Well, can say much better. I’ve always been a little proud of my city by the Metro.” Doc turned to the big Russian walking beside him, “How about the one in your hometown, Alex?”

“In a word, luxury! Especially Avtovo station was decorated by every inch. You wouldn’t like to miss the view once you visit the city.” Tachanka chuckled boldly while remarking the metro in Saint Petersburg.

 

When they arrived at the Piccadilly line platform, Doc found Echo, the Japanese besides him never spoke once since they departed from the Barrack. There was no one he familiar with besides him at now could be a reason. Doc decided to give him a chance to speak on the topic, “Echo. I heard the subway in Tokyo is highly developed, can you describe how does it look like?” he asked the Japanese in a soft tone.

“Maybe too well-developed.” Echo sighed. “There are many railways in Tokyo such as JR, Tokyo Metro, Toei subway, Keio, Seibu, Tokyu and Odakyu…… Just distinguishing them by names is tricky enough. They intertwine over the urban area like a spider web. To visitors, it’s normal to get lost in the transfer.”

“London is enough for me to get lost. I can’t imagine how do I walk alone in the streets of Tokyo.” Glaz facepalmed.

“Maxim said you have a great sense of direction while hunting in forests. It seems like it doesn’t work in urban jungles?” Tachanka ridiculed Glaz while patting his shoulder.

“I know it sounds odd. Maybe my sense indeed only works in a natural environment. In wild nature, the sun, wind, stars, even birds can tell me the way. But in cities, I don’t have them, so I can only rely on maps.” Glaz said as the train was approaching. “Well, it’s not a problem at now as we all have smartphones.”

“Then it’s my turn to face the difficulty.” Tachanka pouted, “Using the device in action is already at my limit of digital knowledge.”

“I doubt you ever have one.” Mira giggled at her new Russian friend.

“Hey! Save me a little dignity.” Tachanka exclaimed in embarrassment, as others chuckled together while entering the train.

 


 

Victoria & Albert Museum.

 

“I think I can spend a whole day in here. The collection is rich.” Glaz walked out from the gallery with satisfaction. Mute went with him to the museum for the exhibitions here, too, when others went to Science Museum nearby as the theme there attracted them more.

“Yeah, it’s amusing. Especially the Pink Floyd exhibition just launched yesterday. We come here at a good time.” Mute remarked on the special exhibition with a slight smile which was a rarity to see on his face. “I guess the others are already finished. It’s already 17.”

“I wonder where Maxim and James are now.” Glaz took out his phone to check if there was any new message.

“Casino, probably. Bandit is the one who takes them to kill some time, so……” Mute snugged, “But I trust him will get them to the destination without any trouble.”

“We should be ready to go there, too.” Glaz walked faster and signed the Yorkshireman to follow him.

“No need to rush, we still have about an hour, and the place is close.” Mute strode to approach the Russian then left the museum together.

 


 

Knightsbridge, 18:15.

 

“Haha, easy money.” With a broad smirk, Kapkan flaunted the notes he won in the casino in front of Smoke and Bandit. “It’s fun to see the angry face of the dealer, how sad that you didn’t notice it.”

“How come you’re so good at betting?” Smoke pouted in jealousy because unlike the hunter; he lost several pounds in the casino. “I feel like I have nothing comparable to you.”

“Jamie, it’s a pity to you, but this is true!” Bandit laughed heartily, “And of course you can match me on nothing, either.”

“Oh, really?” Smoke grabbed Bandit’s collar and put on a furious expression. “You won’t be able to say anything cocky after I destroy all your teeth!”

“No! Don’t punch my face. It’s more crucial than my life.” Bandit shook his hands in a flurry as he mistook Smoke was serious to beat him up. “Give me a hand, Max?”

“No, I’d like to see you beaten up!” Kapkan made a frivolous response. “Don’t worry, I’ll help you to collect your every tooth drops off.”

“Max!” Bandit screeched. He could feel he was going to lift off the ground by the shorter man by his arm raising high.

“Domie, apologise.” Smoke’s right fist clenched tighter, but his sound became a bit more playful to show the German he was not seriously angry.

“Ok, ok. Sorry, Jamie.” Bandit made a reluctant apology before being released by Smoke.

“Good man.” Smoke chuckled.

“Hey James, let me treat your dinner tonight. To cheer you up.” Kapkan patted the shorter English’s shoulder in a brotherly consolation.

“Yes! Max, you’re a good comrade. I love you.” Smoke hugged Kapkan in chuckles.

“Two gays hugging together. I feel something is going to happen.” Bandit joked to the two men.

“Said by the gayest one in the base.” Kapkan retorted. “No. You’re the second, as Timur’s gayness is unbeatable.”

“I don’t know if it’s approval or disapproval on your boyfriend.” Bandit tilted his head.

“Above all, have we decided where to eat dinner?” Smoke turned back to the topic.

“Oh, I’ve already reserved a fine place! And it’s just in front of us.” Bandit pointed at the sign of a restaurant. The façade was beautifully decorated with colourful potted plants from the fence outside to the short stairs to the door. The fascia made of canvas fixed below the top of the arch also looked fancy by the pink roses and blue irises printed at the edge.

 

“A Russian restaurant?” Kapkan identified what the restaurant served just by its outside. “Why you take us to eat Russian dishes in London? I don’t understand.”

“You’ll know it later. Just come on in!” Bandit smiled as he opened the wooden-framed door then held it to let the other two enter first.

“Am I wearing too casual to be here? I think I am.” Smoke stepped in the door in hesitation while scanning at the grey V-shaped T-shirt, dark blue slacks and brown work boots he was wearing. “Max, how do you think?”

“At least I can say I’m still in a Russian style?” Kapkan pointed at the blue-white striped polo shirt he was wearing. “You know what I mean.”

“Ugh.” Smoke grunted as he checked the luxurious interior decoration inside the restaurant. “Now I know why Bandit looks so fancy today.” He looked at the German in a black short sleeve safari suit with exotic gold carving around the neck and cuffs talking to the waiter.

“Let’s go in and take a seat, follow me!” Bandit directed other two to further inside.

“Have you invited other friends, Dom? It’s a big table.” Kapkan chuckled as he scanned the round table in front of him. There was already fine designed cutlery and plates arranged on the table.

“Oh, there is a big cake! Is it a soft cheesecake? I love cheesecakes!” Smoke pointed a large round cake at the centre of the table inside a glass bell cover, which featured spongy layered texture with delicious creamy frosting, decorated with some chocolate ganache, fresh strawberries and blueberries. As cakes were one of his favourite foods, Smoke gazed at it with eager eyes.

“Yeah, I know you love them,” Kapkan commented mindlessly as he thought it was Smoke’s another bad pun. Until he realised today’s date, “Wait, James. You know what date it is?”

“Hmm?” Smoke turned his head to the Russian with a smile. “Isn’t it obvious? It’s my b…… Hold on?!”

 

 

“Happy Birthday!”

 

Suddenly, Glaz and Mute emerged from the bottom of the table covered by tablecloth in cheers, while pulling poppers toward their boyfriends. In the same time, some of their friends – Sledge, Thatcher, Tachanka, Mira, Fuze, Jäger and Blitz arrived the restaurant at the right time and joined the party.

 

“What? So many come? And Mike, shouldn’t you be in a sports bar to watch the Premier League with Blitz and Mira?” Smoke looked at the crowd here in an amazed exclamation.

“No. Between Arsenal’s home match and you two arseholes’ B-day -- I don’t even need to consider which side to choose.” Thatcher cocked an eyebrow while seating at the table.

“Indeed, it’s a pleasure to watch football in a sports bar in the city.” Mira added with a smile, “But going to you guys’ party is happier!”

“Have you made an order?” Kapkan looked around to search for the menu.

“Nah, I’ve told the waiter to serve us everything they recommend. Don’t worry!” Bandit took the hunter to the vacant seat between Smoke and Glaz and pressed him on the chair. After the others seated, the waiter arrived with the starters, which consisted of Khachapuri, potato croquettes with salted salmon and caviar, and beetroot salad with prune sauce.

 

“Caviar! Now we’re talking.” Kapkan’s eyes shined while looking at the shiny black beads crowned the round croquette.

“Can we start eating? I don’t think I can bear with these nice foods in my sight anymore.” Tachanka picked up the fork in his position and was ready to eat.

“Hold on,” Glaz stopped his older comrades from touching their food as he started the greeting after cleaned his throat, “Everyone, thank you for attending Smoke and Kapkan’s birthday party. As you can see, this is organised by Mute and me, with Bandit’s help. We tried to make it surprising and memorable, as well as to fit with our tight schedule; fortunately, it worked out smoothly. I’d say it’s your support makes it come true. May it become our chance to know each other better and strengthen our friendship.” Glaz finished the speech while glancing Tachanka and Mira for a second, which caused the Spaniard’s giggling and the old Russian’s blushing.

“Ooh! Nice speech!” Bandit clapped his hands exaggeratedly before others followed him.

“It’s exactly surprising. I’ve not known you are planning this until Dom told me earlier today.” Blitz commented.

“Anyway, it is good for us to ease tension. Good job you guys.” Sledge thumbed up as a positive sign. “But I don’t know you’re a type of speech.”

“Treat it as a practice.” Glaz sat down. “Ok, I know you’re all hungry. Because my stomach is rumbling, too. Let’s start our dinner.”

“Yeah!” The crowd around the table clapped one more time before starting to eat.

 


 

The foods were even more delicious than their expectation. Almost all of them immersed in the meal as they barely had a chance to eat such an exquisite dinner. With a relaxed mood, some of them began their chats. Notably, the English couple – Mute and Smoke had a funny conversation consisted of Smoke’s bad jokes and Mute’s cold replies, which made Sledge, Bandit, Tachanka and Mira laughed out uncontrollably.

 

Strangely, The Russian couple talked little during this dinner, but just enjoyed gazing at each other’s face while eating their main dish, shared a silent moment among the crowd. Kapkan felt he didn’t need to ask the reason of the surprise party, because he trusted Glaz would give him the best in such the special day.

 

Before meeting this man, Kapkan had never celebrated anything. As the eldest son of factory workers, his childhood in poverty made him learn to suppress his desires, needs and emotions, and to be reliable to take care of his younger brothers in the place of his parents. Therefore, even his parents said if there was anything he wanted for a gift for his birthday or Christmas, little Maxim always stated that “I don’t need any gift. Save it for younger ones.

 

As a precocious boy, Maxim found out what he wanted to do in early. He knew that he must leave home to find a new opportunity. He enlisted with the Ministry of Internal Affairs in his 18 then became a police officer in Naryan-Mar, which was a small and silent Arctic port town. The job gave him a stable life and allowed him to send money to home to aid his families. Gradually, Kapkan believed that it was his nature to be not into bustle and joy. He seldom made friends and didn’t like to become too close to anyone. Even though they have been together for about two years, Kapkan still couldn’t understand how the sniper managed to make him feel so addicted, strange and yet so cheerful. Was the cut on his neck caused by Glaz in the first training? Was Glaz’ caring face and the touch of his hands and lips overflowed him while treating his cut? Was the awkward but delightful drinking time with their formal first kiss? Or……

 

Overall, he knew he liked Glaz so much more than his original expectation. Recently, the sniper who always behaved composed and rigorous began to express more of his weak and sensitive side in their private time. It could be the reason to Kapkan of his desire to care for him more. Moreover, he knew how much Glaz valued people close to him. Despite having no chance -- and probably still not prepared -- to come home in these years, he wrote letters by his hands with some illustrations to home whenever he had free time. Kapkan suggested to him “You can text or call instead. More efficient.” before he answered, “Hand-writing is more powerful to tell feeling and story, and more preservable.” Perhaps Glaz was right. Kapan could read it from his tears of delight while reading Idri’s letter last week, then he began writing in reply at once and sent it after a few days.

 

And the most crucial thing was, Glaz was the first one he could be with to celebrate something together. The charcoal portrait Glaz gave him last year which featured Kapkan leaning on the balcony, gazing at the cloudy sky was the first birthday present he ever received. He used a folder to keep it carefully in his bag. Notwithstanding the fact that the drawing was not something useful to Kapkan, he valued it as he could somewhat sense Glaz’ feelings, temperature and spirit on the sketch…… It was the moment he began to admire the power of art. And now, he was excited at what kind of artwork he would receive this time like a boy.

 

Kapkan, who just finished his pelmeni, turned his head to his boyfriend so he could ask him for the gift. However, he found Glaz’ serious face while having his main dish of beef stroganoff and simmered buckwheat with mushrooms and onions as a side dish.

 

“I guess it doesn’t taste good?” Kapkan asked casually in curiosity.

“Exactly the opposite. It’s delicious.” Glaz answered in a soft voice, “It just…… unexpectedly makes me recall my childhood again. Beef stroganoff was the first dish my mama taught me.”

“I already know she’s excellent at cooking.” Kapkan patted Glaz’ shoulder, “Since when she began to teach you cooking? Beef stroganoff seems a little tricky to beginners, don’t you think?”

“About same time to my papa started training me hunting.” Glaz put down his fork and looked at Kapkan, “They were in a mood of competition in my education, in fact. As my father believed a real man should be outgoing and skilled to men’s games in tradition, such as football and hunting. My mother, on the other side, thought the times were changing so a man should be more careful of family and can be good at housework like cooking, cleaning and needlework as well. But don’t get it wrong. My parents have a good relationship, and their ways have worked out in collaboration.”

“I can see both skills have cultivated your sense of detail. Which makes you be both a painter and a sniper.”

 

“You get the point.” Glaz turned back to his remaining food and finished it in a minute before he stood up to catch everybody’s attention. “Hey, as we all seem to finish the main dish, let’s go to the dessert. Mark, candles.”

“Affirmative!” Mute took out two candles from his backpack, which one of them was orange in colour, and another one was blue and white. “The orange one signifies James, by the colour of his gas canisters. And the blue and white one is inspired by the undershirt Maxim often wears.”

“Ha ha! They give me an image.” Sledge clapped his hands in laughter.

 

Mute then inserted the candles on the cake carefully after he lifted the glass cover away. When he was ready to light them up, he realised something he missed, “Eeh by gum! Timur, can you help me to light them? Because I don’t have a lighter or match, and…… I don’t know how to use it either.” He turned his head to Glaz, asking in chagrin.

“Well,” Glaz scratched his head in perplexity. As a non-smoker in the current, he didn’t bring a lighter with him, either. In the meanwhile, he sensed a nudge on his hip, and he knew it was Kapkan’s after he turned his head.

“Timur, use it.” Kapkan handed his lighter to his boyfriend in a whisper.

“Thanks.” Glaz received the lighter. As soon as he lit up the candles, everybody sang the birthday song around the beautiful candlelight joyfully.

 

“……Happy birthday to Maxim and James. Happy birthday to you!”

 

After they finished singing, Smoke and Kapkan stood up, prepared to blow off the candles. “My first wish is, may these toxic white masked bastards be over soon! The second one is, may every buddy here and not here be healthy and live long! The third……”

Smoke smirked while glancing at Mute. “……is a secret! How about yours, Max?”

“Firstly, I wish our future missions be successful and smooth. Secondly, may James’ joking skill improve.” Kapkan turned his head to Smoke with a funny tongue-out.

“Hey! I’m already so good at it!” Smoke yelled while looking at others, who all laughed out loud in unison.

 

Glaz was the only one who didn’t join the laughter. Instead, he looked at his boyfriend in the eyes of understanding. What was Kapkan’s third wish – inside the couple’s hearts already had the answer.

 

May us keep staying by each other’s side in the future, no matter what.

 

After Smoke and Kapkan blew off the candle synchronously, Mute took a knife and divided the large cake into 12 pieces for everyone, who received it on a plate in an exciting face. The waiter returned at the same time with a large teapot filled with black tea then elegantly poured it into everyone’s teacup with a smile. Afterwards, they started the cake in their plates immediately.

 

“It’s…… Smetannik!” Fuze exclaimed after tasting the first bit, as the man with a sweet tooth recognised the cake was his favourite dessert just by its snowy-white sour cream fillings, “I’ve not had it for a long time, I miss its taste.”

“Oh, so it’s not cheesecake.” Smoke commented on the cake with chuckles, “But I like it. What a fine and rich flavour. I start to love you Russian guys, more and more.”

“So, it’s a Russian cake?” Jägar seemed like to enjoy it so much as he already scooped one-third of the piece of cake into his mouth. “Delicious!” Maybe he enjoyed it too much – proved by the sour cream stained around his lips and even a part of the stubble on his chin.

“Don’t eat so fast, Marius. Look at the mess around your mouth.” Fuze looked at his boyfriend in caring eyes and wiped off the cream with napkins for him. At now, the “geek pair” of the Uzbek and the Rhinelander looked exactly like a pair of sweet lovers.

 

When others focused on their cakes, Glaz took out a large envelope then handed it to Kapkan, “Open it.” He urged Kapkan to check the content inside. Kapkan finally got his new portrait from Glaz, and it was just as the artist’s statement – a special one.

 

The A4 size exquisite watercolour painting featured the hunter sitting on a rock in the snowfield with his favourite 9x19VSN submachine gun, and an Amur tiger sitting down by his side. The hunter’s uniform was not the one Kapkan used to wear but changed to a Soviet-style Spetsnaz outfit – yes, it was Idri’s favourite old Vympel uniform. His head was covered by a green scarf and camel hood with a brim and a red star on it. The coat was buttoned to his chest, and the sleeves were rolled up to expose the long-sleeved blue and white Telnyashka underneath – Kapkan remembered that was also the style he preferred.

Then his attention went to the tiger beside – he noticed the colour of its fur – white at stomach and wheat at the back, with black stripes, and its eyes which were light azure like reflecting the blue sky. Moreover, there was a strange scar placed on its left eye -- not a standard feature of a tiger.

With a sense of familiarity, Kapkan raised his head to look at his partner again. Wheat blond hair, azure eyes, and a scar at the left eye. Suddenly, Kapkan reminded that he called Glaz little tiger as he imagined his boyfriend resembling it early in this month. Glaz kept it in mind and chose Amur tiger as a symbol of himself in the artwork. Both two characters in the painting faced forward as if they were gazing at Kapkan himself or somewhere further beyond.

 

Kapkan had eyes of a hunter, not of a connoisseur. Nevertheless, he could feel the artistic conception of the piece of painting. And principally, to him, everything created by Glaz seemed so precious and adorable. He carefully replaced it in the envelope then put it into his bag, with a thankful whisper, “Хорошая живопись. Спаси́бо, Тимур.” (Good painting. Thank you, Timur.)

The couple gazed at each other’s face without any word for a minute with tender eyes, before Glaz broke the silence by holding his boyfriend’s hand and dragging his body a little forward. Then they cuddled and kissed in others’ sight. Unlike the last kiss in public in the pool which seemed kind of hilarious, this time Kapkan knew that Glaz was earnest. To show everyone they were in love. And Kapkan didn’t feel odd nor surprised anymore as he already had a mind that their relationship had developed deeper. Another reason was apparent – two third of people here were gay. The rest of them – Tachanka already accepted them. Sledge and Mira appeared like to have an open mind. Thatcher? Kapkan didn’t fucking care what this awkward old man thought.

After the couple released each other, they returned to their cake with no more word. The cake was indeed tasty, but Kapkan put no mind on the flavour as his heart was occupied by a stronger sensation. The feeling of being cared, valued and loved…… It was strange to him. But somewhat Kapkan was sure if he should give such a kind of emotion a name ----

 

It was the feeling of happiness.

Chapter Text

Vladikavkaz, 7th June 2017.

Kapkan returned to his motherland again for another mission with his teammates consisting of Tachanka, Mira, Frost, Smoke, IQ, Bandit and Caveira, who he felt comfortable with as most of them were familiar to him and could cooperate with him well. However, the fact that he didn't go with Glaz, who went to Taipei for the more significant operation, disappointed him a bit. Kapkan understood that Glaz was a natural team player with other operators, and Fuze was with him, too, so he should be alright – but he couldn't ignore his desire to go fighting by his side in a mission at this time. Smoke, as if he sniffed out this kind of mood, suggested Frost to tell a hunting story when they were on the van to the city. As Kapkan joined the Canadian's hunting talk, his mood relaxed, but meanwhile he still couldn't stop thinking if his boyfriend was here – he surely had some fascinating stories to share that could please the Canadian, too.

Another thing Kapkan kept in mind was Idri who lived here as well. It meant the possibility to visit his old friend during the stay. He had not seen the Chechen in the face since they separated to different places after the School Siege. Idri must seem much older then. Same did Kapkan himself. Kapkan corrected the thought after he considered it for minutes – not "probably". He must visit Idri. If there was no chance, he should create it. And must undoubtedly bring some good Vodkas, just like their old days.

The mission itself was not a big deal to the hunter. Well, the infiltration task he was assigned to do with the young Brazilian assassin and the brain of GSG9 might offer a small challenge to him. With Kapkan's fire support and IQ's technical skill to disable the security system, Caveira succeeded to interrogate the White Mask advisor inside a railway warehouse the terrorists used for the base. They gained access to the basement with the password from the poor man who was beaten up so good to half-death -- She didn't take his life following Kapkan's advice as giving him a quick death was too easy to him, and he could provide more value if kept alive with more cross-examination. It upset IQ at the start, but other two persuaded her afterwards. By any mean, they decided to retrieve more information regarding the mysterious terrorist organisation. In the dimmed and depressing room with a large table where seemed like to be a meeting room, the significant board hanging on the wall caught three operators' eyes.

There was a large world map with many photos and notes stuck on it. Kapkan noticed some of them were photos of Beslan in the siege – the gymnasium imprisoned the hostages, the building in the fire, the mortar in a launch and soldiers collapsed in the actions. Kapkan frowned at them when the Brazilian interrupted, "The School Siege. Interesting. Do you think the White Masks are connecting the terrorists worldwide? Or White Masks are in fact the union of them?"

"I wouldn't be surprised, but what's the reason for it?" Kapkan questioned.

"Bad things don't need a reason to take place." Caveira shrugged.

"If White Masks are just like us – the group of the global elite…… vandalists. It would be thorny." IQ came to their back as she just finished retrieving intelligence she considered important. "But yeah, you have a point. The extremists in the world have common points and mutual benefits to working together."

"Common Points: misanthropy and antisocialism. Benefits: this world sucks, so let's mess it up together. It'd be fun." Caveira murmured in a calm tone.

"Maybe you've got the most reasonable answer." IQ sighed, "Come, we've done in here. I think the lure is already set up."

"Yeah, I don't want to miss the party." Kapkan grinned while going with the German, with the Brazilian following them behind.

 


 

In the midnight, the team hid in the community centre in the city as the ‘lure' to attract the White Masks to launch an attack, then step on the snares scattered everywhere in the building.

Tachanka, the old and robust Russian soldier, was particularly confident among them, deployed his LMG at the high place provided a clear view to the front door. In the meanwhile, "Don't forget the shield!" Mira brought the upgraded ballistic shield and readied to set it up for the Russian.

Tachanka looked at the shield and noticed there was a sort of decoration didn't exist before at the left side panel. In fact, there were four large, bold and rough-styled Cyrillic letters, spelt----

“Лорд (Lord). Oh my, I know the reason you asked me that word at that day……” Avoiding disturbing others, Tachanka tried his best to control his hearty laughter.

“Yes, it’s for showing them who’s the boss!” Mira fist-bumped with the old Russian, who discovered her great strength in the small fist.

“Well, but I trust you know ‘Lord’ is another word meaning ‘God’ in English,” Tachanka responded by holding his large and bold hand with the Spaniard’s small but strong one firmly as if they were going to have an arm wrestling. “It made me felt holy.”

“Then that’s better. Let these assholes repent in front of the Lord while being shot to death.” Mira thumbed up with a broad grin.

“Ha! You have a clever tongue.” Tachanka replied delightfully then suggested Mira go back to her position. “Ok, it’s time to be ready. Believe the Lord can handle the front door by himself, yes?”

¡Da!” Mira chuckled before returning inside.

 


 

The action in the midnight was successful as all operators eliminated the invaders in the snare without any problem expect exhaustion due to the fierce fight until the dawn. A robust man like Kapkan also felt that what he urgently needed was a sound sleep. Fortunately, they had a place to stay in a Ground Force facility in the city. Kapkan cast his dirty gears off as soon as possible then felt into the bed in his underwear. He got asleep immediately just like usual, then several hours passed. Deeply into his somnolence, Kapkan was strangely able to hear someone was whispering his name in a subtle voice like the sound of a mosquito.

“Maxim……”

Kapkan struggled to make his eyes open to see who was calling his name. The whisper began soft and faint, then gradually became recognisable with the husky tone.

“Timur? Are you here?”

Kapkan didn’t believe his ears. To be honest, it would delight Kapkan so much if his partner came here ---- but it couldn’t be possible. He must be still working on his mission in that East Asian island.

Kapkan got up and moved his feet on the ground, before looking eye-to-eye to the sniper in his full equipment. You’re truly here. The sunshine lighted up Glaz on bended knee in front of his boyfriend, especially his blue eyes, “Maxim.” He whispered the name again, passionately stroking Kapkan’s cheek with the right hand and his waist with the left one as if he just returned from a war for many years. Despite being covered by his gloves, Kapkan could still feel Glaz’ temperature from his palms.

"Hey, Timur," Even though his boyfriend's face was the first thing he desired to see after opening his eyes at now --- Kapkan tried to pick up his poise as he replied rationally. "You shouldn't be here. You have your mission."

"I know. I'm sorry." Glaz' eye expression displayed thicker sadness when he left his right hand from Kapkan, who felt the crimson-coloured, sticky liquid on his skin. It is Timur’s blood.

Feeling worried, Kapkan moved his sight to Glaz' lower body. It was a horrible mess. Much more blood was permeating his uniform into deep brown, and even flowing to the floor. Anyone could easily read how severe his injury was –

“Timur, you……” Kapkan looked at Glaz’ face again, which appeared pale and apologetic. He lost his word completely as he had a mind that comforting words like “Are you ok?” were useless and powerless at now. Rolling tear in his eyes, Kapkan cuddled his boyfriend in his arms. “Idiot.” He upset in a degree at that Glaz’ injury, but he found out that he couldn’t seriously get angry, but only helpless and sorrow at that himself hadn’t been at Glaz’ side to protect his partner.

“Forgive me, Maxim.” Glaz replied with a whimper, “Please, look after others for me. I’m afraid I can’t keep any longer –”

“No! Don’t say that! You’ll be ok!” Kapkan yelled in desperation, held the sniper in his blood as tightest as possible. He could feel Glaz’ temperature and existence weakening, as his body fading out slowly to ghostly translucence. “No…… Timur, please. Don’t leave me alone.”

“Thank you for caring about me so much…… Honestly, last two years with you, I can say they’re the happiest days in my life.” Glaz murmured while closing his eyes, “Maxim, I lov---” Suddenly, his voice broke down to an unrecognisable state, while his body shape was getting vaguer and vaguer.

“No, no, no!” Kapkan didn’t want him to go away. To let it end in this way was unacceptable. He knew this could happen, as they were warriors and he should be calm with it. However, he couldn’t accept that in his heart, especially in the time he realised that how much the young sniper delighted his life at now – how much he enjoyed chatting with him, cuddling him, playing with him, fighting with him, being with him. When the ghostly figure finally disappeared entirely in Kapkan’s embrace, he fell into emptiness, grief and despair. It couldn’t be real. It must be a bad dream, right? Kapkan did his best to convince himself what he had seen was nothing but his illusion, but the harder he tried, the sadder he became. Eventually, the hunter lost his control as he wept in between his legs. He couldn’t even count how long he cried before losing awareness.

 

“Maxim! Maxim! Wake up! Are you alright?”

Tachanka’s loud shouting at Kapkan’s face dragged him back to the reality. The cold touching of the floor reminded him the fact of his dropping off the bed in the last sleep. Kapkan could read Tachanka’s worrying face as the old comrade straddled him and held his shoulders tightly. As Tachanka was only in his T-shirt and boxers, the brushing touching of his hairy legs and masculine sweat odour invaded Kapkan’s sensory in the meanwhile. However, the old soldier might be the most comfortable thing to Kapkan at now, after being awakened from the nightmare.

“I……” Kapkan replied confusedly while getting up, “It’s not my best night of sleep.”

“Bad dream again?” Tachanka sounded worried.

“Yes……” Kapkan looked at surrounding to check if there was anyone besides. As he found there was no other here, he spoke honestly in a low voice, “It was about…… Timur’s death. In front of me.”

Blyat,” Tachanka exclaimed. “But it can’t be true, right? He must be still in action in Taipei. We’ve not got any news recently though…… But no news is good news, isn’t it?”

“You’re right. It’s just my bad illusion. I should control it better, not let it control me.” Kapkan gave his cheeks a few slaps to pick himself up. “By the way, what time is it?”

“Ten. Oh, I bet you’re now starving. Let’s get something for brunch?” Tachanka chuckled.

“I think what I only need for now is a shower.” Kapkan replied while taking the last piece of clothing off him and leaving it on the floor, “You too. You smell so stink like a stray dog.” He then took their towels from their packs and passed Tachanka the one which belonged to him.

“Ha! What a harsh word. But you’re right.” Tachanka was stripping off too, with a bold laughter, “Come on, this time let me rub your back.”

The barren-looking showers stalls in the shower room in the base were something able to let these two experienced soldiers recall their old days. Both public and private bathrooms in the SAS base looked so clean and new that felt like a luxury to the Russians, and they admitted that they started to enjoy such a kind of living environment. However, while they stepped in the old shower with dim light and stained wall and floor, they suddenly feel familiar and relaxed. Perhaps it called nostalgia.

While two men stroking each other with soaps in a stall, Kapkan expressed his trepidation about his boyfriend, along with the detail of his horrible dream. Tachanka was famous of his acerbic and rude behaviour, but this time he just listened to his comrade silently with a pair of kind eyes and circling arms around the hunter’s body. At current, he knew that making any pale comment such as “don’t worry too much” or “Timur will be no problem at all” was the last thing helpful to Kapkan, because he understood Kapkan was already holding up as much as he could.

“……Oh, I must look like a crybaby at now, while saying such nonsense to you.” Afterwards, Kapkan self-mocked about his excessive anxiety.

“It’s not nonsense at all, Maxim. I already know that……” Tachanka stared at Kapkan sincerely, while his fingers were wandering in the hunter’s chestnut colour short hair, “You care about him so much. You like him. And honestly, if such the thing truly happened to Timur, I think I will cry as well. Maybe for weeks. But I will stand up afterwards. I won’t let it destroy my willpower.” Two men continued to spread the foam over each other’s body. “I believe Timur thinks the same. He won’t like us to grieve for him.”

“I know.” Kapkan lowered his head to Tachanka, who was taking care of his member in amusing eyes. “What if Timur has the similar nightmare about Avenir? Imagining his death…… Jesus. How can he bear with it?”

“I don’t know. If Timur feels painful about it, he would tell you at once.” Driven by a playful urge, Tachanka kept stoking Kapkan’s dick until it became fully hard.

“You’re right.” Kapkan snorted while catching Tachanka pumping his erection in faster tempo in his sight, “Hey, you’ve said you just want to rub my back, but now you’re milking my cock.”

“Admit, Maxim; you like it.” Tachanka chuckled wittily while sticking out his tongue.

“Then let’s pump each other. Who comes first, who loses.” Kapkan suggested a challenge.

“Ha! Accepted.” Tachanka slapped his chest loudly as a sign of confidence.

 

After a moment, two Russians gazed at each other with blurry eyes, panting and covered in sweat as they were feeling close to the limit. But none of them liked to lose the challenge as they tried every hand movement playing with the opposite’s cock and balls while suppressing the pulse to come. Observing his old comrade biting his lips, Kapkan seized his best chance to win as he squeezed Tachanka’s shaft along with balls in his right hand with force, then rubbed the tip with his thumb in a quick circle movement, “Garrrr----!” The stimulation finally pushed the older one to the limit as he growled while squirting over Kapkan’s hand and lower abdomen.

“You lose. You owe me a drink.” Kapkan smirked broadly. “You’re indeed a noob on such the skill. I should teach you how to do it better later, or you might disappoint Mira by it once you process to that step.”

“What if Timur does this with you? I think he’s a natural talent at it, so he should win.” Tachanka snorted as he still refused to admit defeat.

“Oh, but he’s more sensitive as well, so he usually still comes faster than me.” Kapkan laughed, “But I prefer this way, as looking at him reaching climax is a bliss. You experienced it as well in that threesome sex.”

“Hmm. Maybe you love him too much.” Tachanka commented sarcastically.

“Yep……” Kapkan frowned as he realised his failure to get the scene of Glaz fading away in the nightmare out his brain, but it didn’t take long after he sensed someone else coming in the shower room. “Oh, we should finish it and get out soon. We’ve occupied the stall long enough.” He turned on the water to let it wash off the mess over their bodies. After that, Tachanka took his towel off the shelf then wrapped it around his waist, while Kapkan following him.

As soon as two Russians went out from the stall, they found Smoke and Bandit chatting outside with towels at their waist as well, as being ready to take their shower. “Oh! Here are our Russian guys.” Bandit greeted them with a high yell.

“We’re not the only Russians in this base.” Kapkan chuckled with a high-five with the German. “I trust you get along well with our countrymen?”

“Yeah. Surprisingly, those soldiers are so enthusiastic and welcoming.” Bandit shared a glance with Smoke standing beside him, “I suppose they don’t see foreigners in this city often, so our visit is a fresh experience to them.”

“One of them even intends to cook brunch for all of us!” Smoke described vividly with gestures, “He’s likely often to cook for other fellow soldiers who garrison in the base. But IQ, Caveira and Frost are all used to do their meals, so they finally decide to cook together.”

“Wow. It can be a view. I should go to see it at once.” Tachanka was amused.

“By the way, why did you two guys use the same stall?” Bandit made a smutty comment with a smirk. “Oh, I see, you just had a quickie! Already get so needy without your boyfriend beside you for these days, Max?”

“Fuck you, Dom!” With a roar, Kapkan launched his fist toward Bandit’s face, but Bandit raised his hands in time to stop it.

“Don’t be so angry, Max! Let me finish my saying.” Bandit took Kapkan’s hand down then continued, “I mean, it’s a good idea! You know what, James and I have just become aware of our restlessness by being separated from our partners.”

“Hmm? But we did nothing but jerking off.” Tachanka told the truth to them. “With a little help from each other’s hands though.”

“Silly. We’re going to do it bigger.” Bandit smirked while knocking Smoke’s shoulder. “I know you come here prepared, no? Jamie.”

“Yes!” Smoke smiled while showing his condoms and a tube of lube in his hands. “Don’t worry; Mark won’t mind this. And I think neither will Blitz.”

“He doesn’t dare to.” Bandit laughed in mischief.

“Ok, good luck to you.” Tachanka groaned, feeling speechless on these two cureless fruitcakes, then he found out his comrade laughing despite himself, “Stop it, Maxim!”

“Sorry, it sounds too funny to me,” Kapkan controlled his laughter after a few seconds, “I joked to Timur regarding Six’s preference of gays in the last month. Now I seriously wonder if it is true.”

“Oh, it must be true!” Bandit answered, “Let me review the confirmed gays, or at least non-straight men in the team: James, Mark, Timur, Maxim, Shuhrat, Marius, Jordan, Jack, Gilles, Gustave, Elias and me.”

“You forget Alex, who had a hot one with Timur and me.” Maxim hooked Tachanka’s shoulder with a devilish smile.
“Maxim, shut up!” Tachanka shouted in annoyance.

“Yep, in fact, gays are now the majority in the base. And recently, I’ve sniffed out something interesting developing between Buck and the new Spanish guy names Jackel as well.” Smoke added, “How about making a bet on it, just like when we found out that thing between Fuze and Jäger?”

“Ha! I’m in. How about you two?” Bandit clapped his hands then asked the Russians.

“No. As I’ve discovered my new life goal, I’m not into your shit anymore. Let’s get our meals now, Maxim.” Tachanka rejected while covering Kapkan’s mouth from making any more word, before forcing the hunter along with him from the shower room and leaving other two in confusion about his strange attitude.

 


 

13:00, 8th June 2017.

Kapkan, Tachanka and Mira got off from the car they borrowed and looked at the small shop in an old apartment in the downtown. The shop featured a shop window displaying several experience-looking hardcover books and a standing blackboard written the information of weekend storytelling club and incoming events in the shop. “We’re here. I think Idri is already waiting for us.”

The interior of the shop amazed them by a rich collection of books which filled the bookcases occupying most of the space. The yellow light enforced the elegant atmosphere, and Chechen style floral ornaments decorated the black lampshades. Mira noticed a plucked wooden instrument with a curved lower deck resembled a slender version of guitar in appearance. “It looks pretty. What’s this? A kind of Lute?”

“It’s Phandar.” A gentle voice speaking English in a light Russian accent caught their attention, then an old man with grey hair and goatee beard, wearing black beanie, blue and white plaid shirt and black trousers, walked out from the back of the counter. “The traditional instrument in Chechnya."

“Do you play it?” Mira inquired.

“Just a little.” The old man made a gesture, “Oh, how come I forget to greet you, Maxim! You’re alive, healthy and with more friends!” He welcomed Kapkan with a passionate cuddle, and even a kiss on his cheek.

“Yes. I have business here, so I just drop in to visit you.” Kapkan looked at Idri’s face, which had got many marks of ageing since their last meet. The figure of the brave Chechen warrior might be already a vision in the past. Nevertheless, Kapkan knew the man’s indomitable spirit he admired had never changed. “I miss you so much, Timur…… Oh, but I must also call you Idri from now, to avoid confusion.”

“I know. Because you’ve met another Timur and he’s much closer to you. Don’t worry. I’m not jealous.” Idri joked heartily. “Doesn’t he come with you, too?”

“No. Glaz is in another mission in Taiwan,” Kapkan answered.

“Oh. That’s bad.” Idri conveyed his slight disappointment, “I have a mind that he’s busy recently, though. Just send him my greeting for me.”

“He’s going to have vacation later this month. I think he will have a chance to visit you as well.” Kapkan whispered to Idri’s ears in Russian, as the other two didn’t notice them while being distracted from the books.

Хорошо! (Good!) I can’t wait.” Idri’s face brightened. “Hey, you two, are you Maxim’s friends? How do I call you?” He dragged Tachanka and Mira’s attention back.

“Tac……Oh, sorry. Just call me Alexsandr.” Tachanka realised that he was talking to a civilian just before his codename rushing out from his tongue.

“Elena. I’m from Spain, and I’m working with Alexis and Maxim now.” Mira greeted Idri with a handshake, as Tachanka followed her.

Encantado de conocerte (It’s a pleasure to meet you), Elena.” Idri greeted Mira back with her language.

¡Dios mío! You speak Spanish?” Mira chuckled in amazement.

“He belonged to Vympel, which required the ability to speak at least two foreign languages.” Kapkan answered for Idri, “And Idri is both skilled and eager to learn a new language, so he far exceeds the standard.”

“Yes. I read books in foreign languages as my habit, to keep my brain fresh with vocabulary, grammar and contexts.” Idri followed with a gesture of rolling fingers beside his temples. “Every language represents a culture in the background, which fascinates me so much. At now, I have translation works in addition to running the bookshop. Can say it’s ideal to me.”

“It’s always a pleasure to do your favourite thing as a job, isn’t it?” Mira nodded, “Well, I love my current job enough. I’m an engineer in my team because I enjoy working on technical stuff.”

“That’s great. I believe that whatever you do, you can always try to find out the pleasure in it.” Idri then led three visitors to the narrow stair to the upstairs passionately, “Come to talk upstairs! I’m going to make tea for you.”

Idri took them to the salon area on the upper floor, which mainly used to hold the weekend storytelling club. After they sat at a table, Idri went to the bar to brew a pot of black tea by an electrical samovar placed on it. The design was different from the traditional ones, as it featured minimalist, modern-style curved body and ears like a vase. But the samovar was still identifiable by the tap at the side and the teapot on the top. Idri took off the teapot to preheat it with hot water, put 4 teaspoons of Keemun black tea inside, and poured in hot water slowly. He then placed the pot above the samovar for 4 minutes to let the heat extracted the tea’s flavour. Idri preheated the cups in the meanwhile then put them along with the teapot on a large plate to be ready to serve.

Kapkan observed the Chechen’s graceful hand movement while making the tea. Idri’s hands were well-experienced with many calluses, scars and wrinkles. However, he could somewhat feel the veteran’s elegant spirit by them, which made him think of Glaz -- how could the rough-looking hands skilled in sniper shooting also be so good at detailed tasks like painting, cooking and that thing –

“Tea is ready! Please enjoy it!” Suddenly, with a passionate voice, Idri placed the plate with teapot and teacups on the table. He gave a cup to each seated person, before pouring the tea inside. Everyone sipped it slowly as the black tea was still hot that could scald a tongue.

“Wow, what a mellow flavour. Good tea.” Tachanka made a heartfelt comment.

“It tastes smoky in a bit. Far different from the one I’m used to drinking. What kind it is?” Mira questioned.

“It’s Keemun tea, one of the most famous black teas in China. My favourite.” Idri answered with a smile. “Maxim was not a tea person until I invited him to my home for afternoon tea, then fell in love with its taste.”

“Why do you still remember that? How long ago it was? 15 years?” Kapkan scratched his head at the embarrassing memory.

“I might be bad at remembering where I put my belongings, but when it comes to story, my memory is perfect.” Idri chuckled. “Different from you, Glaz likes tea from the start. He said his childhood friend’s father was good at brewing tea.”

“And painting. Nikolai was a fine art teacher.” Kapkan sighed as he had known it in Glaz’ story not long ago. “The friend inherited his father’s talent and guided Glaz to the path of arts.”

“Avenir……” Idri closed his eyes and lowered his tone. “I see. Glaz has told you about him as well. Sometimes, I still imagine that if the poor boy didn’t pass away, how different Glaz’ life would be.”

“Hmm.” Kapkan pondered. He would attend Imperial Academy of Arts with Avenir, would become a painter rather than a soldier, would never have a chance to meet Idri and me. Could it be the ideal life for him? But he understood such the imagination was useless. The past was certainly not a thing they could change. “Hey, by the way, do you still drink vodka? Don’t say you’re too old for this.” Kapkan asked with the intention to change the topic.

“One or two shots won’t hurt,” Idri answered with a board beam.

“Take this.” Kapkan took out a bottle of vodka, the best he found in nearby shops, and gifted it to Idri.

“How kind! I will treasure it.” Idri received it then stood up to store it in a closet in the kitchen.

Finished their tea, three visitors then stood up to scan the surrounding, “Do you hold the storytelling event on the carpet?” Mira pointed at the large carpet on the ground, with many cushions arranging on it.

“Oh, yes,” Idri answered. “Because the club is planned for children, who prefer sitting on the ground instead of chairs. Adults who come here also comment that sitting on the ground makes them feel more relaxed.”

“Interesting.” Driven by curiosity, Mira crossed their legs to sit on one of the cushions, before Tachanka followed her. “Does your home also look like this?” Mira kept inquiring.

“Yes, there’s an area like this in my home, nothing but a prayer carpet, for the Salah. Muslims like me all do our praying on the ground.” Idri squatted beside them, “I have a prayer carpet in the shop, so this area can be used for Salah, too. I like to go to pray in Mukhtarov Mosque as well. It’s not far from here.”

“So different from us. Our churches are filled with benches. We sit on them to hear priests’ sermon.” Tachanka remarked.

“Even though we practically worship the same God, our forms have differentiated so much.” Idri sighed. “But I like it this way. The God creates this world with diversity so that it looks beautiful. Imagine a painting of only one colour – doesn’t it look boring?”

“Agreed.” Both Mira and Tachanka nodded.

“I’m Muslim, but I respect other religions and thoughts, understand these are just other styles to experience this world. Sadly, some people don’t think this way.” Idri continued in a sorry voice while lowering his head slightly.

“I can say most of them don’t.” Tachanka replied, “But thinking of that I was one of these stubborn people…… How shameful.” He then commented regretfully on the prejudice against homosexuals he had before.

“You’ve already changed.” Mira turned to Tachanka and remarked him in approval.

“Yeah, take it easy. I also made a lot of mistakes to get this insight.” Idri patted Tachanka’s shoulders. “Maybe the only task of our life is how to learn and grow from our mistakes. Don’t you think so?”

“If everyone thinks like you, we might lose our job. I’m not kidding.” Mira looked at Idri with admiring eyes and an honest comment, which amused Idri much and made him chuckle heartily.

“By the way, where’s Maxim?” Tachanka realised that his comrade didn’t join their conversation.

“I’m here,” Kapkan called them, as he was watching an oil painting hanging on the wall. “The painting of a cherry tree looks fascinating. Where do you get it?”

“Oh, long story.” Idri moved to Kapkan’s side before telling him the story of the painting. “It once belonged a family of school siege victims – well, it was actually Avenir’s family after I’ve got the hint from Glaz, but at that time I still knew nothing. Back to the topic, the father and the son died in the siege, and the mother got serious ill – might be depression -- before passed away after a month. Their relatives came to their house in Beslan to retrieve all valued objects there as they planned to sell this house. At that time, I happened to be there to notice the painting, which they thought it was just a cheap one from a nameless artist. Despite that, I liked it so much, so I gave them five thousand roubles to exchange it, and they were pleased with the deal.”

“You’re generous,” Kapkan remarked.

“Perhaps only I can see its value, although my wife and children all like this painting.” Idri continued, “It was kept in my house until I moved it to the shop as I consider it should be seen by more people.”

“I like it too. The brushwork looks unique by its strength, and the atmosphere was vivid and fantastic.” Kapkan smiled while giving the artwork a positive comment.

“You sound like a critic.” Tachanka interrupted.

“Having an artist by your side can influence you.” Kapkan sighed while looking at the large cherry tree under the sky of a beautiful cerulean to iris blue gradient like the shift from day to night, decorated with several glitter stars. It was undoubtedly masterpiece -- who don’t see the value must be silly. He recalled that someone seemed to have a similar style to the painting, so he took out the picture Glaz gave him as the birthday gift in last month from his backpack. Although it was a watercolour painting, not an oil one, they still seemed alike in the brushwork and mix of colours.

“Hey, is it Glaz’ latest artwork?” Idri noticed the painting in Kapkan’s hand, “Can I have a look?”

“Let us see it too!” Tachanka yelled from Kapkan’s back in curiosity.

“Sure,” Kapkan put the painting on the table so everyone can see it clearly, “How do you think of this one?” He then inquired Idri about the painting.

“Quite nice. Is it my Vympel uniform?” Idri inspected it in detail, “But the eyes are definitely yours, so he’s drawing you in my uniform. Amusing. Isn’t it?”

“How about the tiger?” Kapkan directed.

“His sense is absolutely the best when it comes to animals. Wait, doesn’t the scar on the left eye look familiar?”

“You get it.” Kapkan nodded.

“How imaginative!” Idri clapped his hands gladly at the artist’s idea. “It’s a lively painting, overall. Like the characters are going to emerge from the paper and move on their own.” He then moved his sight back to the painting of the cherry tree on the wall. “Wait, let me check it.”

Sensing the similarity, Idri decided to investigate the nameless painting further, as he requested Kapkan to help him to hold the other side of the frame to take it off. Idri then removed the picture from the frame carefully so he could check the back side of the canvas. They found a message written in small letters in black paint with a fine brush Idri hadn’t noticed so far –

Для моего лучшего друга, Авенир. (For my best friend, Avenir.)

Пусть наша мечта процветает и растет. (May our dream prosper and grow.)

Тимур Глазков 3 мая 2003 г. (Timur Glazkov, 3 May 2003.)

 

“Oh, ya lilsama'a! (Goodness!) How come such a coincidence existed……” Not believing his eyes and his overlooking at the clue when he obtained the painting, Idri exclaimed while covering his mouth. “It’s my bad to overlook it for so long.”

“Considering that man was only 15 while painting this one…… He’s a genius.” Kapkan made a rather calm remark. “You did a good job to save it from nowhere.”

“I hadn’t known Glaz, who made the painting at that time. I must admit that this world is indeed small.” While Idri setting up the frame on the painting to replace it on the wall, he heard the ringing sound of cell phones, “Whose phone is ringing?”

“Ouch,” Kapkan, Tachanka and Mira took out their phones, “Our phone buzzed at the same time. Who would send a message at now?” Kapkan opened the messenger. “It’s from Doc.”

“He’s in Taiwan as well. Can be news?” Mira questioned while looking at Tachanka’s clumsy hand movement while using his smartphone, “I can share my screen with you, Alexis!”

“No, I’m fine. I can handle it.” Tachanka opened his message window and readied to read it. “Good news: Operation code ‘Jade Lotus’ has completed in success as the White Masks threat planning the riots in Taipei is eliminated.”

¡Viva!” Mira cheered.

“I know they’ll have no problem.” Tachanka high fived with other two, while their phone ringing again.

“Doc hasn’t finished?” Kapkan picked up his phone one more time to check the following message before he felt in shock suddenly. “Черт возьми. (Damn it.)”

“Maxim?” Astonished at Kapkan acting unusually, Tachanka looked at his phone again as well. “God. It’s now the bad news. He said Glaz is injured at the operation and lost his consciousness. C4 explosion and falling damage. Sounds severe.”

Mierda. (Shit.)” Sadness covered the Spaniard’s face. “May God bless him.”

“I know it’s terrible, but don’t let it beat you down!” Tachanka then wrapped his arms around Kapkan, who collapsed on the table, covered his face with two hands like going to weep. “If you cry, I’ll……I’ll…… Gah……!” He tried to comfort; however, he lost the control of his tear and splashed on Kapkan’s head.

“You idiot. Don’t make me unable to type a reply.” In a sober mood, Kapkan comforted his old comrade back in a light voice while starching Tachanka’s golden blond hair. After a while, Tachanka stopped crying and wiped the tear off his face with his handkerchief, as Kapkan went back to his phone to type a message in reply. “Ok, I just asked Doc if I can drop a visit. But I think I’m going anyway.” He then stood up and strode down the stairs.

 

“Maxim!” Tachanka chased Kapkan to the ground floor then caught his arm, “Are you fucking mad?”

“Not your business!” Kapkan tried to break free, retorted in anger.

“We’re still in mission with our team! You can’t just…… go alone.” Tachanka lowered his head and hissed with a sad voice.

“I know.” Kapkan persisted, “But I must go to see Timur.”

“I think Maxim is right, Alexis,” Mira patted Tachanka’s elbow, “Timur needs someone’s support. And it’s best to let the one he trusts most do it.”

“Wait,” Idri followed them down from the stairs in fast steps, “I have something for you.”

Kapkan stopped and turned his head to the Chechen veteran, looked at him trotting into the wareroom at the back of the counter, and taking a large carrying case out to him. “What’s this?” Inquired Kapkan.

Idri didn’t make any word but just opened the case to show the content to Kapkan. The first thing caught Kapkan’s eye was the red star on the hood on the top layer in the case. “Is it…… your Vympel uniform?” Kapkan questioned in surprise.

“It is.” Idri replied, “Listen. It’s still a treasure to me, but as I’m retired and getting old, I don’t think it suits me anymore. I’ve planned to display it here; however, now I suppose it’s better to let you have it.”

“No…… I can’t receive such the thing.” Kapkan declined by shaking his hands.

“Please take it.” Idri persuaded as he put the case in Kapkan’s arms, “I wish its soul shines on you and then gives Glaz power.”

Kapkan stared at the folded uniform neat in the case, recalling the Chechen wearing it in their first meeting in the forest and every time they went hunting together. Then he imagined his encounter with the silent young man, the knife combat training and soothing the pain in Glaz’ heart. Idri was a part of global elite too, not unlike Kapkan in the present, experienced many war zones around the world in this battle suit. Now the old veteran decided to let his bosom friend inherit the spirit.

The old uniform was cleaned and well maintained; however, the long years still leave many marks on it -- abrasion, tears, cuts and stains. Kapkan stroke the front of the coat gently before a teardrop broke his repressing and moistened the Vympel insignia on it. Making up his mind, Kapkan closed the case then thanked his old friend.

“I have to go. Thank you, Idri. I’ll cherish your uniform.”

“Not at all. From now on it’s yours. Have a safe journey.”

Three operators hugged goodbye to Idri before returned to their car. On their way back, Kapkan booked the most recent flight by his phone, which departed in the next day to Moscow Domodedovo; where a flight to Taipei transferring via Novosibirsk and Seoul was available.

Tachanka decided to go with Kapkan as he was certain that he couldn’t just go back to HQ and ignore his youngest brother on the team in such an awful condition as well as his old comrade. In the next morning, when others preparing to return to HQ, they said goodbye one by one to the Russians in serious looks. Even Smoke and Bandit, the two jokers in the team, felt in silence until Bandit volunteered to be the driver carrying them to the airport. After they arrived at Vladikavkaz airport, Bandit accompanied them to the departure hall.

“Don’t worry, Max, Alex. We’ll come up with something to persuade Six. If we fail, then we still have a Plan B.” Bandit reassured two Russians with his plans, with a slight smile.

“Thank you for doing so much for me, Dom,” Kapkan replied gratefully.

“Anytime. It’s just what friends must do. I know you’re doing a right thing. I’d do the same if the one who got injured is Elias. Nothing shall block your way to him.” Bandit declared, “Even if it’s Death.” He then hugged two Russians with his slender arms, “Take care.”

“You too.” Kapkan waved his German friend goodbye until his silhouette disappeared from the gate.

No matter in the waiting room or his seat in the flight to Moscow, Kapkan held the case containing the old uniform to his chest, refused to let it separate from him even just for a second. It might be his best hope to cheer Glaz up. It might be Kapkan's most emotional moment in the hunter’s 38 years of life, as a result of Glaz inspired him so much in affection from when they began getting along and made him realise how precious the sniper to him. The fearful imagination of losing his love still deeply rooted in his mind, but he determined to face the dread with the gratitude for all support he received. Kapkan swore that he would not let anyone – even Death – take his boyfriend away.

Держись, Тимур. Я иду к тебе. (Hold on, Timur. I’m on my way to you.)”

Chapter Text

Taipei, 8th June 2017.

 

The operation Jade Lotus was precisely like Galanos worried, a complicated and yet ridiculous one, as the White Mask used the notorious ethnic conflicts in the country to create terror and chaos. The defence force in this island barely had experience of handling terrorists so that it could worsen the condition, but to cover this was incredibly Team Rainbow’s job meant to do. The operators had already sworn to protect all people in the world in equal when they joined the team.

 

Considering Taiwan as an essential part of the security in China, its government selected two elite operators, Ying and Lesion from SDU in Hong Kong to assist Rainbow operators in the mission. Both had cooperation experience with some of Rainbow operators before, and their performance was highly remarked.

 

As a local guide, Team Rainbow promoted a recruit, Frederick “Phantom” Hui-Feng Gao, a Taiwan-born Australian from SASR, along with the team. Like Blackbeard, Buck and Glaz, he was highly skilled in open-field shooting. Also, he fluently spoke Chinese – the local language in Taiwan, and despite it might need some update, his knowledge of the environment and politic condition on this island could prove useful.

 

Glaz had met Phantom several times, mostly in CQB and sniper training sections, and had an impression of his high intelligence, rigour and self-discipline. However, Six had informed that Frederick’s Asperger syndrome could make him appear awkward in social interaction and lack of humour sense that required other’s attention. Glaz had heard the Australian never talked to others in private times, and instead just stayed alone to read books, play his Rubik’s Cube or play Go on the Internet with his laptop. Nevertheless, Glaz didn’t mind it so much as he was a real pro in the field. Once after training, Glaz made a positive comment of Phantom’s skill to him, which caused his clumsy nodding as a reply.

 

Observing the Australian reminded Glaz of his early age in the military, which had faintly similar characteristics, even though Phantom was 3 years older than him. No matter what, the massive operation involved all operators except the Vladikavkaz team could be a test of the result of their training and teamwork in these two years.

 

One more thing crucial to Glaz in this mission was that he led a team for the first time. He led the Team Bravo, played a role of clearing the threats and assisting the Team Alpha to rush in with their fire support. Therefore, the best men in rifle combat were assigned to Glaz in the team: Buck, Blackbeard, Capitão, Jackel and Phantom. Even though Glaz was the youngest one, as one of the starting members of the new Team Rainbow, the others trusted him deeply. Glaz was also comfortable with his teammates since they all behaved highly dependable in the field and capable to become the sniper’s best supports.

 

The team was a balanced combination of frontal assault and sneak attack. Buck could clear ways by wrecking walls or cellars (and even enemies) with his Skeleton Key. Blackbeard’s rifle shield could prevent most of the shot while peeking. Capitão acted and moved quickly with his Tactical Crossbow with many functions like shooting asphyxiating bolts to clear enemies or micro smoke grenades to block enemies’ vision, which proved useful to Glaz by his scope’s clear sight to hostile targets in smoke. Jackel’s Eyenox could highlight enemies’ footprints for him, which was used to track their direction so that others could go hunting them down on time before being noticed. Without any special gadget notwithstanding, Phantom acted as Glaz’ best guard on his side whenever he readied at his sniper spot, and as another elite sniper, he could take down enemies in a significant distance with the Russian efficiently as well.

 

Team Alpha led by Sledge carried the key of attacking by the Scotsman’s ability to combo with Ash, Thermite, and Hibana to destroy any defence block their ways. Once the walls went down, the enemies inside were exposed to cross-fire and stunning from Blitz’ Flash Shield.

 

Team Charlie was ‘defence team’ led by Castle, with Mute, Valkyrie, Jäger, Echo and Lesion. They could occupy any advantageous points and build the defence in a minute before enemies came. Especially, Lesion’s “Gu” impressed the teammates so much as the toxic needles functioned amazingly to slow down enemies and make others take them out quickly. Moreover, Gu mines had technical cloaks to hide them in the environment, so to seek them out could be puzzling. If he joined the Rainbow formally later, seemed like Kapkan and Frost would get another ‘trap-making buddy’.

 

Team Delta, led by Montagne and consisted of Thatcher, Pulse, Rook and Ying, played a supportive role to other teams. As most the members were notable by either intelligence or experience, they already succeeded in the most high-risk tasks in the mission like rescuing and escorting VIPs.

 

Fuze, Twitch and Doc weren’t assigned to any team but acted in a role of ‘free man’ to work with the one who needed them. Generally, Fuze collaborated perfectly with Alpha as his ‘Matryoshka’ could clear out any highly defended room without any hostage conveniently. As a skilled shield carrier, he could change to his shield if either Sledge, Glaz or Montagne required additional protection in their team.

 

Twitch mainly participated in Alpha’s action as well, as she could clear out any device might disturb others’, and as the leading attacker team, even one more fire support could be useful. Besides, she had assisted Delta in some bomb defusing actions because Thatcher’s EMP might be not enough to stop the enemies’ electronic devices in some occasions.

 

Doc, the medic could be anywhere, whenever anyone demanded emergency medical treatment. Going together with Team Charlie in most of the time as they were most vulnerable to White Masks attackers’ fire, the doctor was extremely attentive to any teammate’s condition, and he treated even a skin-deep wound carefully so that the others could concentrate in combat without any worries.

 

Today, the White Masks launched their actions in sudden by covering themselves among a demonstration against the current government, and prisoned civilians, polices and politicians inside the buildings of government agencies. No one knows where they came with their weapons, and the people were too panicked to take any reaction before became the hostages under White Masks.

 

Fortunately, Team Rainbow well-prepared before the attack thanked the intel they obtained. It didn’t take long to them to wipe out the enemies inside the buildings and rescue the hostages. Eventually, the troop reached the Parliament, where the last hostages and the White Masks officer behind the attack located.

 

The troops quickly occupied the south wing of the Parliament and were just a step far from the main session hall where the terrorists had hostages. However, Twitch, the GIGN technician who deployed her attacker drone to explore the area, had reported the strong defence and many hostiles inside the hall.

 

“I’ve cleared some cameras and electronic devices inside without raising their alert. But as soon as we go in, we still can be discovered and surrounded by hostiles. We should be careful.”

“A distraction might help,” Glaz suggested.

 

“Here’s Team Delta, Pulse speaking.” In the meantime, a steady American voice joined their communication channel. “I’m at the front door of the Parliament. Going to launch a negotiation as the cover of an officer of FBI to investigate the spy activity in the country. Do not expect it can make this man retreat, but it’s enough to buy us extra time.”

 

“Affirmative,” Castle replied to his American teammate. It appeared that they were into another risky plan again – but others believed the members of Delta as they didn’t think there was any other could handle it – a trump card to all team’s success. “Boys, ready the defence in the control room asap as hostiles can come anytime.”

“ADS all ready to go.” Jäger replied in a steady voice immediately. Despite the 39-year-old behaving social-awkward and somewhat boyish in private, once he stepped in the field, “the pro mode” inside his brain switched on to make him look strong and determined as if this ‘Jäger’ was a different person from the usual Marius.

“How about others?” Castle inquired.

Moni all deployed,” Mute answered.

“I’ve put some ’Gu’ in the paths they most likely to come in. But I still have some in my hand to handle any occasion.” Lesion replied remotely while setting his mines in the nearby rooms.

“I’m setting Black Eyes. Will return to you asap.” Valkyrie’s voice followed in the channel.

“All good?” Castle turned to Echo, who was watching his PDA built in his wristband. “Echo, you shouldn’t stick to your device all the time.”

“Hey, I’m watching my Yokai and CCTVs to track enemies,” Echo raised his head, “If anyone is coming, as soon as my Yokai disturbs them, you can go to take them out easily.”

“Then just stay safe.” Castle turned to Team Alpha and Bravo. “Alpha and Bravo, be ready at the entrance. Twitch has discovered a way the less hostile defence deployed. Alpha go first to clear the path, Bravo follow behind and watch the six.”

“Understood.” Both Sledge and Glaz, the leaders of two teams, replied before they left with their teammates.

 

“Hey! Wait,” In the meanwhile, Rook ran in the control room with his armour pack, “It’s for the defenders. Can be used to protect you from bullets!”

“Rook, shouldn’t you be with Montagne?” Castle questioned.

“No. He commanded me to help you to defend the south wing, Sir!” Rook stood at attention.

“Good. Rook, you stay with me. Jäger, equip the armour plate then go upstairs to watch the sunroof.” Castle then gave orders while getting the armour plate on.

“Can do it.” As a fast-runner, it just took seconds to the Rhinelander to his new position.

 

As soon as the negotiation began, Team Alpha, Bravo along with Fuze and Twitch acted expertly and carefully to the above of main session hall. Glaz observed the galleries with his drone and only found a few terrorists patrolling. If they obtained control of the galleries, it would be advantageous as all the enemies below would be defenceless against their fire.

 

“We could wipe them out without raising the awareness from the below. Ready your suppressor.” Glaz directed, “Buck, Blackbeard, Capitão, come with me. Jackel, Phantom and Fuze, on guard here to stop anyone from approaching the stairs.”

“Aye, Captain Ironeyes!” Blackbeard replied with a broad beam.

Captain what?” Capitão felt confused by the Navy, who just inadvertently spoke the Brazilian’s codename in English.

“Blackbeard. Not the first time tell you, do not call me Ironeyes in missions.” Glaz frowned. “Anyway, we should take action as soon as Alpha readied at the position. Sledge, ready?”

“Ready.” Replied Sledge in the channel.

 

“Team Bravo ready at the door to galleries,” Glaz replied while going downstairs and signing his teammates to be ready with his side.

“Wait for Delta’s sign.” Sledge held his hammer tightly, stand by the wall of the hall. If Pulse’s negotiation failed, they would come in to take down the enemy in no time.

“Understood.” Glaz was also waiting. They had the confidence to clear out the patrol on galleries in silence, but they would be exposed in the vision of the enemies below anyway. Assaulting at the same time with Alpha was still the most stable method.

 

The men above were also waiting, and nervous to a degree. One minute, two minutes…… No enemies in sight. It appeared strange as they were in the centre of the building and above the hostages but no company here. The status confused them.

“I suggest we search around the floor.” Jackel suggested to his partners, “I can use my Eyenox to find them.”

“Negative. They can be waiting for us as well.” Phantom replied. “If we leave here, there will be no one to watch the back for Glaz’ men.”

“Or can I go by myself?” Jackel could feel his nerves pulsing. Feeling enemies’ presence nearby but unable to take them down might be the most unbearable thing to the Spaniard.

“Please no, Ryad!” Buck spoke to Jackel by channel in a worried tone, “I know you desire to catch them, but the risk is too high! I’m worried you can’t go back safely. Can you please trust Glaz’ order?”

“If you say so.” Jackel sighed before brought back his attention.

 

“Attention. It seems like Pulse can’t make them stop.” In the meanwhile, Montagne’s voice interrupted, “Ready for assault!”

“They’re going to kill the hostages!” Yelled Ying in tension.

Blyat.” Glaz ordered an attack. “Go in and control the galleries!”

“Ram!” Blackbeard bellowed through the door first, and Capitão followed, shot his crossbow to create a lethal burning area, then Buck and Glaz went in to shoot the patrolling White Masks. The hostiles could barely take reaction against the sudden assault, as they felt one by one. And their companions on the first floor were too occupied to notice them, as the Alpha was rushing in.

 

“Breach!” On the first floor, Sledge swung his hammer toward the wall to create a big hole while others going in and taking off some White Masks nearby. Everything seemed smooth, until ----

 

“Don’t move!” Shouted the White Mask officer in a green clock with hood, in English with a slight accent. “You shoot me; then the bomb detonates, everyone here dies. Everyone! Get it? Give you one minute to put your weapon down! Or I’ll detonate the bomb anyway.”

The hall felt in deadly silence. The operators glared at the terrorist in the middle of the mess, raising two pistols by each hand, and each muzzle was against the temple of a hostage.

“Damn.” Ying recognised the accent and was annoyed at it, murmured in a low voice, “A Chinese White Mask? It can’t be……”

“Listen! I don’t care which side you support. Chinese or Taiwanese? Fuck off. What I know is, this island sucks, as well as its politics, its government! I’m here to purify them, and you’re messing up with my plan. Fine! Then let’s go to hell together!” The White Mask roared in a rage which was intense enough to make his voice and body vibrating.

“Working with bloody White Masks just for it? How ignorant.” Thatcher, crouching behind Montagne’s shield, derided the terrorist.

“Mike. Don’t irritate him.” Montagne spoke softly to the old Englishman before turned to the channel, “How’s the situation above?”

 

“We’ve got companies! Ouch……” Replied Fuze, who was in fierce combat with the enemies upstairs. He could feel a bullet hurt his right thigh and made it bleed. Despite it, he stayed focused, used a pillar as cover, to take down more and more hostiles.

Jackel hid behind another pillar, shooting down the White Masks from another side. Phantom positioned rather far from them as he stayed behind a counter and used it to support his marksman rifle so that he could hit enemies from a long distance before they noticed him.

 

Then a Bomber dashed into the Australian’s sight. Although Phantom hit the Bomber once on his head, strangely it didn’t kill him immediately, and his running step didn’t slow down. In a second, he was going to detonate the bomb vest between the pillars Fuze and Jackel hiding –

 

“Back off!” Phantom exhausted his voice to shout to his teammates.

 

Bang. The sound of the Bomber’s weight hitting the floor echoed the whole building. There was someone else gave him the fatal blow from his back. Three operators got out from the covers to check, then saw a slender figure on bended knee wearing a pilot helmet, bulletproof vest and jeans, dismantling the detonator on the Bomber’s body.

 

“Marius, thanks for the help. Сука, my leg……” Seeing his loved one’s arrival, Fuze exclaimed his name and dragged his injured leg to approach him, before fell.

“Shuhrat!” Jäger came to Fuze to cuddle the Uzbek’s weaken body, as he lost much blood from the wound on his thigh. The German’s worried voice made him appeared more like the casual Marius at now. “I’m calling Doc to treat you.”

“This place is too open. I’ll carry him to somewhere safer.” Phantom suggested while taking out his emergency med kit. “Let’s stop the bleeding first.” The Australian then cut off the blood-stained fabric on Fuze’s combat trousers with his knife. The cut was large enough to expose his white boxer briefs underneath which also tinted some red blood.

 

“Jackel speaking. The second floor is clear. Fuze injured but he’s going to have medical treatment. The others are ok. What’s the situation in the hall, Montagne?” When the others were busy, Jackel called the teammates in the hall for news.

 

Considering the hem of Fuze’s undergarment was too close to the wound, Phantom cut a little of it as well. Not minding his ruined uniform and underwear, Fuze just held Jäger’s hands firmly and consoled him softly that he would be alright. After Fuze’s wound had been patched up by the Australian, “Grab my shoulders.” He then took Fuze’s right arm to his right shoulder so that he could lift the Uzbek up.

 

“Hold on,” Jackel interrupted in a worried voice, “The hall is in deadlock. The one led the attack claimed that the bomb would be detonated as soon as we attack him.”

Scheiße,” Jäger replied in anger, “If it’s true……”

“We’ll all die. Same does the Parliament, certainly.” Phantom concluded calmly.

“We must do something.” Jackel frowned at corpses of the terrorists scattered over the floor in exasperation.

“Marius,” Leaning on the Australian beside him, Fuze called Jäger while undoing the straps of his tactical backpack. “I think our prototype can do the trick here.”

“You sure?” Jäger received the backpack and took out a gadget identical to the Uzbek’s cluster charge in appearance, apart from a tag written “Prototype 012: APM-6R Matryoshka-Raduga. Developer: S. Kessikbayev & M. Streicher” in small letter sticking on the top.

“I’m sure.” Fuze nodded. “It’s now our trump card.”

“What?” Jackel exclaimed with a wide-open mouth. “Are you going to kill so many hostages below?”

“No, this one won’t kill! As a co-developer, I promise.” Jäger then put the ejector on the hatch to the hall, before activated it, “Shooting flash and smoke candies!” He yelled through the comm channel as a notice.

 

Unexpectedly, the specialised stun and smoke grenades ejected in the hall created a mess and stunned the White Masks in a second. Being directed hit by flash, the head of the terrorists dropped his weapons and braced underarm, that provided the Rainbow’s best chance to counter-attack. Glaz already acquired the terrorist by his flip sight in the smoke, found out the trigger of his bomb vest at his back neck by the red flashing light. “The trigger is at the upper back!” Glaz yelled.

“Glaz,” Thatcher threw his EMP grenade into the middle of the smoke to force the trigger off, “Shoot!” As soon as the grenade released the pulse, he directed the sniper to sabotage the trigger completely.

A clear shot on the White Mask’s neck disabled both his bomb vest and his body, as he collapsed immediately on the ground. Glaz then turned the angle to clear out the remaining terrorists before the smoke gone. The others went in as soon as their vision got clear, and they seemed entirely in control of the hall.

 

Glaz turned his head to check Buck, Blackbeard and Capitão, who still stayed watch with their weapons ready at the different positions at the edge of the galleries, as they planned to make cross-fires with Glaz. Their expression relaxed a bit as the situation seemed like to be alright now until Glaz noticed there were several black objects with flashing red light stuck below the balustrades of the galleries ----

 

“Bombs under your feet! Go up!” Glaz shot the one right under Blackbeard’s position immediately; despite it, concerning there were more of them, he shouted to his teammates to retreat to the upper seats. They reacted quickly as they vaulted over the desks then stayed behind them to protect them from predicted explosions. Ensuring others had taken cover, Glaz moved upstairs as well.

 

“Come here, grab my hand!” Blackbeard stretched his right arm to Glaz, who was jumping over the first desk so that he could pull him up at once.

 

“Boom!” The loud and big explosion behind the sniper alarmed others. A significant part of galleries was blown off by a nitro cell, which was powerful enough to hurt Glaz, who groaned in pain. Moreover, the desk Glaz was holding lost the support of the floor, as he was going to drop off. In the second, Blackbeard rose his body, strived his hand to reach the Russian. However, Glaz didn’t manage to catch it and fell to the ground.

 

Ironeyes! NO----!”

 


 

The cold touch of snow was the first thing Glaz sensed after his awakening. He was turned his head and saw the spreading crimson red around him. He felt too much pain, didn’t know how many oozing wounds he got. So broken and weak that he couldn’t raise his head to get up to check himself, but he had a sense that it was horrible. He put his trembling right hand on stomach, and he felt a strangely soft, and sticky touching invaded him instead of the hard touching of abs. Is this my organ? He started to feel frightened, and what if Avenir also felt like that at his last moment? If the poor young man Maxim encountered was really him – he understood. How the shrapnel shattered a man’s body, how much pain it could cause --

 

I’m so sorry…… He believed it was his fault that unable to protect him from the tragic fate. A small stream of regretful tear flew down. A gust of wind passed by to take away a few shreds of his destroyed combat gear, as well as some of his remaining heat. He knew the next one might be the one making the ember of life away.

 

A reel of memory emerged, starred the most critical people in his life. Started with Avenir who inspired his passion for art and might be the first one he ever had a crush. Idri, the chief guided him to get over the lost, taught him what the real meaning of being a soldier was. And gradually, Maxim arrived. Glaz could never forget his figure in full gear with a hood, which even didn’t conceal his arrogant expression wearing a face camo like Glaz usually wore, as well as the murderous blue eyes like a predator. He looks so cool, I like him. He didn’t know why, but he had a sense that he would feel awful if didn’t get along with him. Fortunately, the cold face was just a cover of his enthusiasm in hunting. With the common interest, they got closer, while Maxim also began to like the young sniper had a keen eye not only on the field but also canvas.

 

Eventually, they fell in love.

 

What a miracle, he supposed. True, Maxim’s first impression didn’t appear like to connect with other affectionately. But it was proven that the hunter was just waiting for the one who could embrace him in whole, not unlike Glaz.

 

And God, it would be terrible if he was left alone. I can’t die here. Maxim is waiting for me. With the firm belief, he moved with his ultimate power. He still couldn’t manage to get up, but just crawl forward slowly. “Get up, please.” He kept encouraging himself while recalling the scene of Idri staying by him after he got an injury in the South Ossetian War. He knew Maxim would do the same.

 

Another gust of wind came. But this time it felt miraculously warm and even replenished the stamina so that Glaz could get up on feet. He rechecked himself then found out his body was now well covered by new and whole combat suit. Undoubtedly, his Gorka-4 was enough to keep him warm in the snowfield. Besides, he could feel his every wound was wrapped by clean gauzes and bandages, so his bleeding stopped, too. It was such magic.

 

No matter what, now Glaz could move and discover the desolate snowfield on his foot. Even though he didn’t have the concern of freezing to death now, the place could still kill him if he got starved by no food. Fortunately, his favourite sniper rifle was in his hand, so he was able to hunt wildlife here to eat then he could keep finding a way to go back to his companies.

 

He searched for a while, not seeing any animal, but the back of a grown-up man sitting on a bench under a bare cherry tree, in the middle of the snowfield. The man’s figure wearing a red hood jacket along with identifiable curly bistre black hair surprised Glaz so much. Not believing his eyes, he ran toward the man in the fastest he could manage, until his footsteps caught the man’s attention.

 

When they had eye contact, Glaz recognised the man’s emerald eyes and innocent smile, “Avenir!” Glaz dashed to the man and hugged him in arms, rubbing his curly hair with tears of joy. “How much I miss you, oh God……”

“Timur,” In Glaz’ embrace, Avenir stroked the Spetsnaz soldier’s painted face and short hair under his hat. “You look even stronger and more handsome than before.”

“You too.” Glaz gazed at Avenir’s face, which seemed a bit more mature as well, by his deeper jawlines and stubbles. The twinkling green eyes somewhat looked brighter than what Timur remembered, like a pair of real gems. “What are you doing here?”

“Same as usual. Drawing, wandering, observing……” Avenir showed his sketchbook to Glaz. “Particularly, observing you. It seems like you gave up being a painter after the School Siege……"

“Yes. I’m sorry, Avenir.” Glaz lowered his head, supposing the fact might upset Avenir.

“No, don’t be.” Avenir giggled, “You’ve determined to protect this world afterwards, which is a much harder job. Honestly, I admit that this path suits you more, as you’re clever, keen, disciplined and patient. Moreover, you look awesome in this uniform.”

“Really?” Timur scratched his back neck confusedly, “Hey, Avenir, can you tell me what this place is?”

“Sure, but how about chatting at a warmer place?” Avenir raised his pencil in his right hand and pointed at the tree. In a flash, there was a cosy-looking wooden house appeared.

“Wow,” Timur exclaimed at the magic before entered the house under Avenir’s guide.

 

Timur took off his Gorka jacket along with his tactical equipment as soon as he got in the house, while Avenir also removed his boots and jacket. Now there was only a black sweatshirt with round neckline on Avenir’s upper body, and by the body lines, Timur could read the slender young artist in his memory had got a bit stronger.

 

The house featured a living room along with kitchenette, a bedroom and a bathroom with sauna. “What a nice sauna!” Exclaimed Timur in excitement, as he looked at the hot stone stove at the centre of the sauna room. In such the cold weather, a hot steam bath could be fascinating. While he was going to roll up his undershirt; however, his stomach grumbled loudly in sudden that made Avenir laughing.

 

“Let’s have a hot meal first, shall we?” Avenir patted the shorter man’s shoulder, went to the kitchenette and opened the fridge, “You know, we can cook something together just like our young days. How about Khilkali and borscht?”

“I know that Khilkali is your favourite food.” Timur took two aprons out a drawer, wore one and handed another to Avenir.

“Yeah. Can you help me to make the dough? I’m going to make fillings.” With a bowl of ground beef and pork mix in his hand, Avenir pointed at the worktop, where already arranged some ingredients neatly. “Flour, eggs and other things you may need are all there.”

“Excellent!” Timur took a large mixing bowl from the cupboard, put some flour, eggs and warm water inside then started mixing.

 

Timur couldn’t stop recalling their childhood and teenage days during cooking. When the two boys were getting closer, their relationship became a bridge between their family as well. As a lover of nature and wildlife, Tamara, Avenir’s mother made friend with Timur’s father, shared many hunting stories and eventually became one of his hunting buddies. Nikolai, his father, was good at housework, just like Timur’s mother, so they often exchanged receipts and even did dishes together sometime. Their relationship was sort of an ideal example of good neighbours.

 

However, their ordinary warm life had vanished since the Iashvili’s moved back to Beslan and later became the victims of the School Siege. Losing the biggest fan of his stories, Dimitry had behaved despondent. Timur remembered their several calls on the phone, as papa always spoke dramatically less, far different from his past impression of the talkative and outgoing man. Mama tried to act normal like before, despite that Timur’s decision of joining the military worried her slightly. Nadia might be the one developed much as she started to care about the family more afterwards. She left home in 15 though as she was recommended to study in a tennis academy in Florida, and quickly began her career as a professional player. But Timur had known his sister moved back to Vladivostok two years ago with her coach and built a villa in the suburbs to live and train there. Therefore, she could take care of their family.

 

Later, their dishes were done and on the dinner table. Then two men started eating. “Delicious! Timur, haven’t your cooking improved so much in these years?” Avenir praised heartily.

“Practice makes perfect.” Timur smiled at Avenir’s satisfied face while enjoying his dumplings, suddenly, Timur felt sorry for the thought that if he could stop Avenir from moving back Beslan –

“Hey, Timur, I know what’s in your mind.” As if he had the mind-reading ability, Avenir paused eating and declared, “Please no. I don’t like you to be sorry about this. Anyway, we can neither predict the future nor change the past, right?”

“So, may you tell me where here is?” Timur questioned while finishing his borscht.

“A sort of spirit world,” Avenir answered in an amusing tone, “Or you can say afterlife.”

“Does it mean I’m now dead?” Timur got a bit shocked at Avenir’s word.

“No, you’re not! I can still sense your vitality in the actual world. It was hurt and weak not long ago, but it’s now recovering. I think you’ll be ok.” Avenir chuckled before turned to a sad expression. “Your stay here is just temporary.”

“Oh,” Timur exclaimed softly. He was glad at being still alive but felt sad at the same time as he was expected to leave here soon. “Then you would be alone again.”

“It’s ok; I’m fine with it!” Avenir finished his meal, then stood up. “Don’t you say you want a steam bath?”

“Yes. Let’s take it together.” Timur got off the chair and started disrobing. In seconds, his combat trousers, belt, undershirt and socks joined his other equipment put on an armchair.

 

Avenir followed Timur to remove his clothes while gazing curiously at the muscular man now wearing only his underwear and many gauzes and bandages covering his wounds, “How badly you’re injured?”

“Not so sure.” Timur began to undo the patch on his elbow. “When I just arrived here, I was alone in the snowfield, naked and bleed almost everywhere. I know it’s odd to say the word here – but I believed that I’d die.”

“I guess that’s about the same time I found your vitality dropped dramatically.” Avenir sighed. “And…… oh my, there are so many scars on your body. You now look like a long-year weathered marble statue.” He traced the scars on his arms in a caring look.

“Seems like the beautiful model you favourited doesn’t exist anymore.” Timur bent over to remove the bandage on his thigh, exposed more redden new scars.

“True. But now I have a sense that wearing these marks of all tribulations you’ve overcome makes you more glamorous.” Avenir lowed his head, pondering. “You’re now a living artwork.”

“How overstating.” Timur chuckled whiles removing his undergarment.

“Maybe, but it’s my true feeling.” Avenir handed a white towel to Timur. “Use it. Well, although at now I don’t mind you showing your dick in front of me.”

 

“Reasonable as you’re 30 already.” Laughed Timur, wrapped the towel at his waist before entering the sauna.

“No. My age stops at 17, the year I died.” With his towel at his waist too, Avenir followed Timur in the sauna and seated himself at the wooden bench nearby the stove. Suddenly, a lot of white steam rose from the stones on the stove and heated the air. “Well, then you’re curious that why I look more mature. Aren’t you?”

“Yes, I am.” Timur sat down as well, feeling the hot steam soothing his war-worn body.

“I mentioned that I’m observing you in these years. It might be hard to you to believe it, but in this world, you can somewhat feel what happens in the world of livings. Especially the one you most care about.” Avenir explained, “It’s like watching a movie or reading a novel about your life. Then I got a yearning for growing up and imagined what I’d look like as an adult by your side.”

“Oh, so it explains your changing.” Timur scratched his head and scanned at Avenir’s current healthily fit physique and deeper skin tone. It was hard to relate the original delicate figure of the Georgian boy to this vigorous-looking man.

“Yeah, in this spirit world, what you think reflects in front of you immediately.” Avenir continued, “If you have a peaceful character, then what you experience here is also calm and joyful, like heaven. If you behave violently, then this world shows you nothing but violence and evil, like hell.”

“Then I will go to the hell, because I’m trained to kill for these years, and I’ve already taken some lives.” Timur half-joked.

“Take it easy. I know you only do that when you must. If you keep valuing lives and good people around you, you’ll be fine!” Avenir commented sincerely while moving closer to Timur until shoulder to shoulder. Then Avenir moved his hand to Timur’s waist slowly before he started caressing. Timur wasn’t against the intimacy as he leant forward until their foreheads contacted. Missing their young love, they then shared a fervent kiss.

 

The longer they kissed, the hotter two guys felt as they kept sweating. Rational as they were bathing the hot steam, but their caressing and kiss were undeniably a plus. Not only their towels but their positions on the wooden bench were also moistened by their sweat.

“We should go out and take a cool shower.” Avenir reminded Timur they had spent enough time in the sauna before two men got up to the shower.

 

When the two childhood friends faced each other naked, the attractiveness which they never imagined to be found out on each other drove them to experience more. Drenched in refreshing cold water, they touched each other with more affection. Started from Avenir wiping the faded camo paint off Timur’s face, then their hands wandered from necks, shoulders, chests, abdomens, backs, hips and thighs – eventually, they were stroking each other’s erection and having their tips rubbing in a circle. With soft moaning, they shared a deeper kiss with sucking lips and sticking tongues.

 

“Wow, Timur,” Avenir panted in excitement, “You indeed know how to turn a man on. Feels like…… it’s your nature.”

“You mean gay?” Timur asked casually.

“Not just gay. A hot and attractive one.” Avenir sighed. “I know any man can fall for you. Maxim surprised me a bit at the start though. I had never expected you have a taste in such a badass.”

“So, you know him, too.” Feeling embarrassed, Timur turned his head away slightly.

“Oh, nothing about you I don’t know! But don’t worry, I won’t disturb you. As I said, I’m merely an audience now.” Avenir chuckled while turning off the water, “And I suppose you and Maxim are the best kind of couple. Two hunters and soldiers, fighting beside and for each other until the very end…… I can’t imagine anything more romantic than this.”

“Great. You’re making me more and more embarrassed.” Groaned with a slight blush, Timur took his towel to dry himself, while Avenir followed. “But hey, it comforts me so much that you’re doing alright here. With no more pain -- if you know what I mean.”

“I understand. This world exactly does no pain to me. But I still like the living world. Indeed, there is pain and suffering, but with many more beautiful things existing as well.” Stepping out from the shower, Avenir concluded while putting his clothes on.

“True.” Timur got his clothes and equipment back, too, and picked up his backpack and sniper rifle. “I think I have to go now.” He then gave Avenir the last goodbye cuddle.

 

“Hey. One last thing.” Avenir patted Timur’s back and replied with moist eyes, “I know that you never give up making arts. Thank you for that, and I hope you can do more good works. Now you know the reason.”

“Because you’ll see them.” Timur smiled, “I’ll keep painting until death. You have my promise.”

“Good. And I hope that in the next time we meet, you’ll be a jolly old man without any regret in your lifetime. I hope Maxim will be the same.” Avenir nodded before making his last goodbye. “Take care!” He then took Timur to the door and watched him leaving with a waving arm.

 

The night fell as the sky darken and decorated with magnificent aurora and numerous stars. Strode alone in the snowfield, Glaz had a sense of where to go for a specific reason: he must go back to Maxim. He knew Maxim was waiting for him coming back. In an instant, he saw a familiar man’s figure waving his both arms. Even from far away, Glaz could still recognise the old Vympel uniform he wore and the shiny blue eyes.

 

“Maxim!” Glaz began running, as he felt his body getting lighter and his pace getting faster and faster. In the twinkling, a magical force pulled up his body, made him as if start flying ----

 


 

Glaz groaned awake in sudden, then he found himself in a hospital bed, wearing bandages over most of his body. Realising himself got severely injured in the latest mission, Glaz guessed it might be easier to count which parts of his body didn’t hurt. However, Glaz was grateful to be alive. And the long, mystical dream regarding his childhood friend made his mind faintly comfortable.

 

In the meanwhile, Glaz sensed an apparent pressing on his left arm. He struggled to turn his head slightly left to check his left side in the dim light. He then found a chestnut-haired man in an old uniform sleeping with his arms folded. The sleeves of Telnyashka caught the sniper’s eyes as he had a sense that the man was wearing Idri’s Vympel uniform. Glaz tried to move his left arm then inadvertently awakened the man up. He opened his blue eyes, sighed to Glaz in a low voice, “Timur, you finally wake up.”

“Maxim,” Glaz recognised his boyfriend’s sound, replied softly.

“You lucky bastard!” Kapkan put his head on Glaz’ left arm, wept with joy, “I know that such the explosion can’t kill you. I know that.”

“I’m sorry for making you so worried.” Glaz apologised.

“Don’t be. You’re alive and awake. I can’t ask for more.” Kapkan held his hands firmly on Glaz’ bandaged left hand.

Looking at his boyfriend’s tearful face, Glaz made a smile, and curved his clumsy left fingers to touch Kapkan’s hands, as a sign of “I’ll be fine.”

 

“Thank you for coming to see me.” Glaz then expressed his raw emotion, “Я люблю тебя, Максим. (I love you, Maxim.)”

 

Kapkan raised Glaz’ left hand to touch his forehand, closed his eyes with gasping his reply:

Я тоже тебя люблю. (I love you too.)”

Chapter Text

Holding each other’s hand, Glaz and Kapkan shared a silent and intimate moment without any word. Glaz’ light azure eyes which resembled a pair of crystal of clear blue sky might be the thing the hunter most missed in these days. On a drip and bandaged in the hospital bed -- it seemed likely to be Glaz’ most vulnerable look since Kapkan had met the sniper, who always stayed healthy and strong, never got himself hurt until now. Kapkan remembered he had a similar degree of injury after the Beslan School Siege when a grenade explosion damaged his legs as well as took a young man’s life, it gave him unpeaceful feeling. Luckily, he didn’t fight it alone, as he got so many supports like his colleagues’ understanding, his close friends’ help, and the paramount one – Idri gave him the old uniform carrying their memories to cheer Glaz up. And he did it.

“Maxim……” Glaz purred and smiled even boarder, “This uniform, it fits you even more than I imagined.”

“Thank Idri for this.” Kapkan stroked his boyfriend’s cheek while his eyes getting softer.

“I know.” Glaz tried to raise his hand to touch Kapkan back while finding the bandages made his arms too stiff to do so. “What time and date is it?”

“22:30, 11th June.” Kapkan checked his phone then sighed, “I’ve arrived in this afternoon. And yes, you’re in a hospital.”

 

“I lost my awareness for more than three days? God……” Glaz didn’t believe his ears, “How do others do?”

“Are all here. Seems like they all intend to wait for you to wake up.” Kapkan replied, “They slept in a hotel though. Alexsandr comes with me, but I urged him to take some rest. Well, Capitão shared his room, so that old ass doesn’t have to sleep on the street.”

“So here are only us?” Glaz’ sound got curious.

“Can say that.” Kapkan stood up, “Gah, I’ve not taken a good sleep for three nights. I’m going to shower before bed.” He started undressing in a slow tempo, like a sort of teasing. He unbuttoned the camel-colour coat at first to fully show the blue and white striped undershirt. Glaz confirmed that these horizontal stripes could emphasis Kapkan’s body to appear more board and strong. Next, Kapkan sat on a chair beside to took off his boots and soaks immediately followed. Then he got up again to undo the old belt with USSR emblem – “hammer and stripe” in a star, followed by the buttons of his trousers before he took them off. Finally, he rolled up the hem of his undershirt to remove it, exposing his upper body with deep muscle lines.

“Is it supposed to make a show?” Glaz chuckled in amusement.

“You can treat it as.” Wearing only his boxers, Kapkan smirked, while folding up the old uniform and replaced it into the carrying case. “Sad that you can’t come with me now. But don’t worry, I have other ideas in mind. Such as, let one of these nurses teach me how to help a man in sickbed like you bathing.” He then pinched Glaz’ cheek with a smirk.

“How embarrassing.” Glaz groaned with a frowning.

“You’re now a patient with no right to complain nor power to stop me.” Kapkan laughed while bumping his lips on Glaz’ before they ended up wrestling their tongues for about a minute. “Timur. I’ve thought of it these days. I honestly desire to do something for you, especially at now.” Kapkan then explained in an earnest tone.

“I know you’ll treat me carefully with something to make me comfortable.”

“Like milking you?” The iconic smirk returned to Kapkan’s face along with a pumping gesture.

“Oh, I’m open to it.” Glaz chuckled heartily as he looked at Kapkan’s back entering the bathroom.

 

After 10 minutes, Kapkan came back in another clean pair of boxers, “I want to sleep beside you,” he then raised up the cover, crowded his body in the small place left besides Glaz.

“You sure? I think I smell like a mummy now. It might not please you.” Glaz frowned in jest while dragging his body a bit more right with every muscle he could still manage to let his boyfriend lay down. “And how will you do if someone catch you in my bed next morning?”

“I don’t care.” Kapkan snorted while stroking Glaz’ chest under the quill. “Tell you a truth. Three days ago, I dreamed about your……disappearing, gradually in front of me. I knew it’s not true, but I still couldn’t stop my anxiety.”

“Geez, it’s awful.” Glaz exclaimed, “So it’s why you come to see me in such a hurry. You want to ensure I’m truly ok.”

“Yeah, I heard that when you just sent to here, you needed an oxygen hood to sustain life, and immediately sent to the operating room. Not only me, everyone worried you so much. After the surgery, your condition seemed like to be stable, but still not wake up.” Kapkan turned his head, recounted in a light voice, “So when I arrived, I went to stay beside you and tried to wake you up. Fuck, I tried everything, like making a threatening pose, play some rock music, telling you my favourite hunting story -- I even thought of touching your cock but Doc was also here at that time, so if I did that he’d absolutely kill me. Finally, I decided to do nothing but just hold your hand firmly, so you might sense my hands and remember me.”

“It works, I think. Because I just had a dream as well. And the last scene was that you greeted me in a snowfield with waving arms.”

“Really? Gah, the scene must look beautiful.” Kapkan closed his eyes, preparing himself to sleep.

 

“Hey, if you still have a problem to sleep, I can help you.” Purred Glaz with a caring voice.

“I don’t think I have, but what will you do for help?”

“Well, I can sing you a lullaby.”

“Gah, I’m not a boy.” Kapkan snorted. “And I don’t know you can sing?”

“I learnt it from mama when I’m about 5. Nadia was a nervous child who had a problem to fall asleep. Mama always sings her a song to help her sleep, and after I heard that for a while I started to follow. Mama later told me that she sang the same song to me when I was a baby.”

“You’ve always been so attentive and helpful, haven’t you?” Kapkan sighed, “Ok, I get curious about what song it is. Sing it to me then.”

Glaz then began to sing in his husky voice gently:

 

“День нелегким был — (The day was not easy -)

И вот приходит ночь, (And then the night comes,)

Чтобы ему помочь (To help him)

Набраться новых сил. (To get new strength.)

Ветерок дневной, (The breeze of the day,)

Свернувшийся в клубок, (Curled up in a ball,)

Отдохнуть прилег — (Lay to rest --)

Мир полон тишиной. (In the world full of silence.)”

 

Kapkan listened to his boyfriend’s singing, which amazed him as Glaz did much better in singing than his expectation. He recalled his childhood when his mother sang the same song to his youngest brother who cried in cradle in a winter night. Kapkan understood that it might be another romantic illusion – but he felt it was one of the most beautiful singing he had ever heard. The iconic roughness in Glaz’ voice might be a defect on singing; nevertheless, it also made him like a loving father when crooning this lullaby.

 

After Glaz finished singing the first segment of the song, he didn’t continue singing but felt to silent. Kapkan turned his head to check his boyfriend in curiosity, then he saw Glaz’ snoring asleep face. “Lulled by your own singing…… How boyish.” Kapkan stroked his boyfriend’s breathing abdomen with a murmur. He thought it might be Glaz’ nature – even got injured so badly and unable to get off his sickbed, he still tried his best to take care of others, especially the one he loved. The cureless kindness made Kapkan throw in the towel and sigh as he knew that it was impossible to change him. But he must also admit that the kindness could comfort his mind and strengthen his desiring to protect such the pure heart with all his effort. “Доброй ночи. (Goodnight.)” He then whispered lightly to Glaz’ ears before fell asleep afterwards.

 


 

The next morning.

 

“What are you doing, Maxim?”

 

Doc’s yelling waked Kapkan up before he was dragged off by the medic, who rebuked him in a serious face, “I know how much you want to stay with Timur, but crowding with a patient on a bed? Are you mad?”

“Hey Doc, it was me accepted him to sleep beside me. If you want to blame, then blame me.” Glaz, who waked up about the same time, looked at Doc and defended his partner.

 

Mon Dieu! You’re awake! I’m going to tell others this good news.” Doc exclaimed in delight, “But please pardon me with routine checking first. Maxim, put some clothes on and go out for a while.” He then patted Kapkan’s bare shoulders with a smile.

“Ok, ok.” Groaned Kapkan while taking a light-grey sleeveless hoodie, a pair of charcoal-colour camo shorts and sneakers out his duffel bag, put them on before leaving the room.

 

Afterwards, Kapkan left the hospital, walked alone on the unfamiliar street view in the morning. He had a sense that Glaz would receive a lot of visitors in this day – all operators participated in the mission, predictably. Rather than being drowned in the crowd, Kapkan preferred to go somewhere silent to refresh his mind. However, finding a calm place around the hospital seemed like impossible, as there was a market nearby -- many vendors already set up their booths at the streets, which also became bustling with pedestrians.

 

Because Kapkan (along with Tachanka) came here by cab (thanks Lesion helped them to arrange a cab driver and went to pick them up at the central station), he hadn’t taken notice at the place until now. Surprised at such a view could be seen around a hospital which supposed to be a peaceful place, Kapkan wandered a while, thinking of a place he could eat breakfast. He felt starving, but he didn’t like to go to several signs he recognised in adjacent, like Starbucks or KFC. It must have a better choice.

 

Then a burly Asian man with deeply tanned skin and butch-cut black hair caught the hunter’s attention. Like Kapkan, he wore a sort of sporty clothes, which consisted of a tight fitting black tank top, navy-colour running shorts that only reached about half of his thighs on length, and a pair of grey running shoes with the striking crimson colour of sole and the logo. He carried a black sling bag as the strap came across from his right shoulder to the left of his waist. There was also a tribal tattoo on his right arm featured intricate spiral lines and mysterious symbols which made his muscular body appeared more threatening. Even just from his resolute eye expression, Kapkan could read the man was a warrior. And a good one. Is this man one of us too?

 

Kapkan approached this man while considering how to launch a conversation with him without becoming awkward. But before then, the idle man noticed the hunter, gazed him for seconds, before greeting him in English, “……Morning, Kapkan. Do you need any help?”

“Morning too. Are you one of my colleagues? I don’t think I remember your face.” Kapkan moved in front of the Asian man, scanned curiously.

“I knew everyone’s face in the team, but I think it’s normal that you don’t know me.” The man turned his head slightly aside, answered in a monotonous tone. “Because I prefer to keeping a distance from others in off-time. Despite that Glaz might know me better as we both get sniper training.”

“So, you’re Phantom,” Kapkan recalled the man’s identity from his word, as he heard his partner mentioned this fellow sniper. “I think it’s the first time I see you without your uniform.”

“Do you want to go somewhere or just up for jogging?” Phantom asked, “Oh, you can just call me Fred in private.”

 

“Then call me Maxim.” Kapkan scratched his head, “It’s not my plan though, maybe go jogging now is a good idea. However, I need to eat breakfast first.”

“That’s ok, I’m going to have my breaky too.” Holding his chin, Phantom figured, “What do you want to eat then? I can help you to find a place. I think there’s a café features English style breakfast and spaghetti, or we can get some sandwiches……”

“How about something more local? Ugh, I mean, Chinese breakfast. You should know this well, right?”

“I’m afraid not.” Phantom displayed slightly confused expression, before a memory flashing through his mind. Knocking both his fists, Phantom stated, “Wait. I remembered there is one nearby. I know the way. But I don’t know if it still exists, because I no longer live here for many years.”

“Never mind. Lead the way then.” Kapkan nodded and started following the Australian.

 

“Oh, it’s still here. Perfect.” After five minutes, two men stopped in front of a Chinese-style breakfast bar conspicuous by the large steamers arranging in the kitchen just behind the counter. “Take it easy, I can explain the menu to you as much as I can.” Phantom then tell the staff in Chinese, “Liang wei. (Two persons.)”

Qing lai zhe li Zuo! (Please seat here!)” The staff replied with a welcoming smile to lead them in.

“So, what’s your recommendation?” Sitting on the simple stool, Kapkan asked Phantom of the menu.

“This one is turnip cake, and this one is a kind of flatbread. Oh. I think you should try this. Egg pancake roll. One of the most favoured food in Taiwan, both to locals and visitors.” Phantom started to describe the dishes on the menu carefully.

“Hmm.” Kapkan listened to the Australian in a curious look, before he discovered a bamboo steaming basket on a table beside them. Inside it, there was some small and white dumplings feature point heads looking familiar to Kapkan as he remembered Glaz’ Khinkali had a similar shape except larger size. There was an elder couple who ordered the dumplings enjoying them with a pleased face. “What’s this?” He pointed the basket, asking Phantom.

“It’s Xiaolongbao. An iconic dish in this country as well. Want to try?”

“Yes. And along with the pancake roll you mentioned.” Kapkan nodded. “We should get some drinks, too. Does this shop serve coffee?”

“No. There is only soy milk. Chinese traditional drinking.”

“Fine. Then get me a cold one.”

“Ok, then I’m going to make the order.” Phantom then got up while stopping Kapkan from standing up to take his wallet, “Oh, I’ll shout you this one. For an appreciation to a senior soldier.”

“Then I accept your kindness.” Kapkan smiled while sitting back.

 

After a while, Phantom carried their breakfast on a plate from the counter to the table they seated. Looking at the delicious looking small steam dumplings in the basket, Kapkan could feel his saliva flowing. Wondering how to get them into his mouth, then he found a ceramic spoon and a pair of chopsticks at his right side. Yes, he almost forgot that people in this country all used chopsticks to eat.

 

“Maxim. It’s not so hard. Let me show you.” As if already read Kapkan’s mind, Phantom picked up the chopsticks on his seat to show him how to use them. “Firstly, place one of the chopsticks between the root of your thumb and curling ring finger. Hold it still with only the two fingers. Then take another one with the tip of your thumb, index and middle fingers firmly, as if you’re holding a pen. Well, we’re used to taking them together in a second, but show you how to hold each one of them is clearer to you.”

“Like this?” Kapkan followed the instruction and displayed his hand posture to Phantom.

“Correct. Then move the second one with only your index and middle finger. Don’t move the other fingers.” Phantom then showed the movement, as Kapkan followed the example. “Good enough for the first-time chopsticks user. I think you can grab these dumplings with no trouble.”

“Show me how to eat them.” Kapkan moved his sight to a plate of soy sauce with finely shredded ginger which seemed like the seasoning.

“Put a dumpling into the spoon, have a small bite and suck the soup out gently. It can burn your tongue, so be careful.” Phantom explained while pinching up one of dumpling with skilful movement.

“Wow, it’s boiling.” Kapkan followed and surprised at a large amount of hot soup inside this small dumpling. “But it tastes good. What a rich, brothy flavour.”

“Next, take some ginger shreds soaked in soy sauce, place it on the top of dumpling. Then you can have a larger bite of the dumpling along with the ginger.”

“Hmm, delicious! I love it.” Kapkan finished the first one of Xiaolongbao with a happy face. “I think I can eat a lot of them.”

“Don’t forget we still have pancakes, and I’ve also ordered Shaobing Youtiao and millet porridges.” Phantom added a large spoon of sugar into his porridge before ate, “Sugared millet porridge is the best partner of Xiaolongbao. Try it.”

 

“Oh, it’s like Kasha in my country.” Kapkan tasted his porridge as well, and made a positive comment, “Quite nice. Can balance the dumpling’s meaty taste.”

“You now sound like a culinary tour show host.” Phantom made an amusing comment on the Russian’s pleased expression while enjoying these foods.

“And you’re like a good local guide,” Kapkan commented back wittily. “I can’t believe you’ve not been here for a long time.”

“Well, I know it’s odd. After immigrated to Australia and tried to live like a true local Aussie for twenty years…… But when I stepped in here, there was a familiar feeling overwhelmed me, as if I’ve never left.” Phantom put down his spoon, remarked with a sigh.

“Because here is your birthplace.”

“You’re right, it was my home, literally. I grew up in this place in childhood.” Returned to his calm face, Phantom picked up his chopsticks to other dishes. “We should finish our breaky soon. I can take you to other places you might like later.”

“I can’t wait!” Kapkan nodded before went back to his foods, too.

 


 

Running at the strange street view in the city could be quite a fresh experience to Kapkan, as he saw many dense-looking grey, old buildings with colourful signs and countless scooters parking along the street. “Hey, what’s this street?” After they run along the wide collector road for a distance, Kapkan saw the sudden change of view while stepping in the entrance of a narrow street featured cleaner-looking and traditionally decorated shops.

“Oh, we’re on Dihua Street, the oldest street in the city. Want to look?” Phantom answered while guiding him to turn right.

“We’re already here. Why not?” Kapkan smiled while followed the guide.

 

Kapkan must admit the old street looked quite beautiful and unique. The neatly arranged old brick houses created a historical atmosphere, made them feel like travelling by a time machine. The groceries in these shops were also eye-catching. Phantom mentioned there was a deliberation on making the street pedestrian only, as Kapkan could figure it out by its narrowness – not just cars, but even any motorcycle went through here could also cause troubles to the walkers on the street. A shop caught Kapkan’s eyes by the tea sets displayed at the shop window. “Is there a tea shop?”

 

“Yes,” Phantom answered while stopping his steps.

“I heard Taiwanese tea is famous. Do you recommend any kind I can buy as a souvenir?” Kapkan inquired.

“Do you like to drink tea?”

“Ugh, I’m not buying it for myself. It’s for Glaz.” Kapkan explained with a slightly embarrassed expression as he was unsure how to describe their relationship to the Australian. “We two have worked together for a quite long time and are close friends. He’s now injured so I’m thinking of something to cheer him up. He might like this present.”

“Reasonable. Well, on Taiwanese tea, oolong tea is a must choice. Like Tung-ting Tea or Eastern Beauty.”

“Eastern Beauty, what a good name.” Kapkan chuckled.

“Yeah, it’s a kind of oolong unique in Taiwan, like a lighter black tea, but with a different aroma.” Phantom kept explaining.

“Well, I’m sure he will like it. I’ll get this one.”

“I should remind you that it’s expensive.”

“Gah, for an Eastern beauty, nothing is too expensive.” Kapkan opened the door of the shop with a broad beam.

Beauty? You mean Glaz?” Phantom followed him in the shop, asked in confusion, but he just received nothing but the Russian’s playful chortling and wink.

Nevertheless, he greeted the shopkeeper standing by the counter, and inquired in Chinese, “We want to buy some Dongfang Meiren. How much is it?”

“We’re now on a special offer, NTD 1500 for two 150g jars. The best quality from the place of origin, perfect for a gift! What to try?” In a passionate tone, the shopkeeper took the tea replied to Phantom, who interpreted his words to English for Kapkan.

“Good, then let’s taste it out.” Kapkan agreed, let Phantom express it for him. The shopkeeper then took a teaspoon of tea into a teapot placed on the table and started brewing it. Gazing at the exquisite-looking Chinese tea set, Kapkan was amazed that how much the process of Chinese tea making different from Russian. Shortly, the shopkeeper gave each of them a small teacup filled with clean, orange-toned liquor rising vague white steam.

“Smell it first.” Phantom received the shopkeeper’s instruction then told the Russian how to trial the tea.

 

Kapkan got his nose close to the cup then received sweet fruity aroma immediately, which was a wholly unique feature for a non-roasted and non-seasoned tea. After that, he drank up the liquor and felt the flavour, which had a subtle and grateful sweet note surprised the Russian so much. Kapkan sensed that the Keemen tea Idri brewed might lose its long-time first place in his mind. Putting down the empty testing cup, he was now pretty sure that both Glaz and Idri would love this, too. “Get me two jars!” Kapkan whooped excitedly as the shop holder nodded to him with a smile.

 

“I trust you have the cash of Taiwan?” Phantom knocked the Russian’s elbow.

“I’ve exchanged some in the airport. Are these enough?” Kapkan answered while taking two blue notes out his wallet.

“Yes.” Phantom received the notes to purchase the tea jars in a gift box. He handed the tea in a paper shopping bag to Kapkan along with a brown note, “It's the change.”

“Thanks.” Kapkan received it delightfully.

 

“Do you have somewhere else would like to go to then?” Phantom asked after they went out the shop.

“I’d like to go to a place that can pray for something.”

“Churches? There are some. But they’re either Catholic or Protestant. I don’t think there is an Orthodox one nearby.”

“No, I mean where local Taiwanese like to go to.” Kapkan shook his head.

“So, you mean temples. Huh. I’m afraid that I barely know how to pray in temples as my families are all Catholic.” Phantom speeded up, “But I think there is one in this way. Follow me.”

 

It only took them about 5 minutes on foot to the temple. Kapkan couldn’t stop his exclaiming while observing the fine-carved and vivid Chinese dragon and Fenghuang decoration on the roof of the temple, the stone pillar featured the similar style dragon high relief and lion sculptures guarding the gate. There were even two rows of golden Chinese calligraphy engraved on both side of the portal appeared like a poem. The atmosphere was extraordinarily solemn and sacred. “I should bring Timur here again after he recovers enough to walk.” Believing that his artist boyfriend would be interested in it, he decided to take a façade photo with his phone and sent it to Glaz, before entering.

 

By the instruction, Kapkan followed Phantom to visit the gods of the temple by giving bowing with incenses in hands, then put three of them into the incense burner belong to the god, before bowing to the idol again. Phantom mentioned that offering was traditionally considered to be a necessity to pray in the Chinese temples, so before they went into the temple, Phantom bought some fruits, biscuits and candies in the adjacent shops to place them on the offering table.

 

The temple’s principal goddess – Mazu, looked like a Chinese empress in sculpture form, was placed on a high platform behind steel frames. Kapkan could read the importance of the goddess in this country. Phantom told him the goddess was a patron saint of sailors in East Southern China, so Kapkan was not sure if she would listen to his wish (even though himself was not a religious kind of person, either). Nevertheless, he prayed with a whisper: “I ask your blessing on Timur, my dorogoy, to recover from his injury soon.” Finished his praying, the Russian inserted the incenses into the burner in dignified silence.

 


 

In the afternoon, two men returned the hospital with the stuff they bought in pleasure at their brief sightseeing in the traditional streets in the city. They then went to the kitchenette to prepare the fruits.

 

“Fred, what’s this fruit? Looks delicious.” Kapkan took a large, orange-colour fruit looked like a rugby ball in shape from the shopping bag, asked.

“Mango. It’s on the season now. Sweet and juicy.” Phantom answered, “But a fact mustn’t be ignored is that some people are allergic to it.”

“Well, I don’t think Glaz has any allergy.” Kapkan took out his knife and began to cut the mango on a chopping board. “Hmm, what a nice smell!” In a flash, the mango was into two half, then the hunter succeeded to take out the half with a piece of large, flat seed in a few seconds with his outstanding skill. Next, he drew a grid on each half to cut it into neatly looking dices which were later all put into a plastic bowl.

“Nice knife technique.” Phantom praised the Russian’s high efficiency in cutting the fruits.

“Don’t forget I’m a hunter, so it’s just my nature,” Kapkan smirked.

“I’ve heard Glaz is also a hunter from some colleagues’ words.” Phantom inquired, “Is it true?”

“True. In fact, we had several hunting trips together.” Kapkan answered with a silly face. “And we even used to have a mood of competition. However, now I think comparing who’s the better one makes no sense. I have my advantages, he has his own, and we can work perfectly together. That means more than anything.”

“You like him.” Phantom glanced at the Russian, “Maybe more than friends.”

“You see that? I’ve thought you’re socially awkward.” Kapkan exclaimed in surprise.

 

“Once you mentioned Glaz, the pitch of your voice can increase about two degrees. And with brighter timbre. In my experience, it usually appears in mentioning something or somebody considered important and unique.” Phantom explained his finding neutrally.

“Ok, now I know you’re truly a geek.” Groaned Kapkan, “Do you have an absolute sense of sound?”

“I have. And I practised the piano before joined the military in 18.”

“So, you were a pianist. Why you become a soldier then?”

“I…… desired to change my life at that time.” Phantom answered in hesitation, “It’s not like that I don’t like music, but people’s expectation and judgement made me uneasy – It seemed like I must be the best or it wasn’t acceptable. I got enough of that life. Therefore, I escaped it by enlisting in the Army.”

“But the life in the military isn’t easy either. Far more arduous, in fact.” Kapkan was confused.

“I know. I just admire it and suppose it’s just what I want -- Simpler, with only orders and missions, and I don’t have to compete against others, but just my past self. I’m satisfied with it.”

“Huh, nice point. Maybe you’re born to be a warrior? And you’ve improved so much to become one of us. It’s such an achievement.” Kapkan made a positive comment, “Hey Fred, let’s take the sliced fruits to Glaz.”

“Affirmative.” Phantom nodded while taking the fruit bowl and went straight to Glaz’ ward.

 

When they opened the door of the ward, they found Tachanka and Fuze were sittng on chairs beside the bed.

“Oh great, you two finally come back.” Fuze greeted him in an ironic tone. As another injured person, he only wore a white t-shirt, green camo shorts and a pair of flip-flops. The bandages of his right thigh exposed from his shorts described his wound, but he was recovering fast enough, so he was able to walk again.

“Shuh, this is for you.” Kapkan took a pack of gummy out his bag, threw it to the sweet tongue.

Haribo!” Received his favourite candy, Fuze burst a beam and opened it immediately and took one into his mouth.

“You two went out far longer than I expected. Taking a city tour, I trust?” Tachanka greeted them in iconic loud voice.

“Yeah. Phantom acts a good guide.” Chuckled Kapkan, “We had a good time. The only thing not so happy is the hot weather here. I think I’m soaking in my sweat.”

“So am I.” Phantom put the fruit bowl on the bedside table, “We should take a shower now. You go first.”

“Nah, how about taking it together.” Kapkan patted Phantom’s shoulder with a smirk.

“You and me, in a bathroom?” Rolling his eyeballs, Phantom stuttered in nervousness, “It’s not the same case to the public showers in the dorm, so, I don’t think……”

 

“Take it easy, our Russian guys’ custom is like that, if someone invites you to take a bath with him, it means he treats you as a good friend.” Half-lying on the bed, Glaz explained with a smile.

“Indeed, and despite Max’s crazy look, he understands the boundaries. So, don’t worry, he won’t do you in the shower!” Tachanka joked.

“Alex!” Fuze shouted at Tachanka’s smutty comment followed by Kapkan’s giggles angrily. “Don’t say such the thing in front of Phantom. You either, Maxim.”

“No matter what, you and I are now friends, clear?” Kapkan chuckled heartily while patting Phantom again, “Overall, I should thank you for the guide.”

“I just did what I must to do.” Phantom started blushing.

“Ok Fred, waste no time and clean ourselves.” Kapkan began undressing and urged the Australian with a smile.

 


 

Two men finished their shower in a few minutes, and they came out with their towels and their underwear. When they were taking on some clean clothes, “I think there were many visited you in this morning?” Kapkan asked Glaz.

“All of them. They’re all cheerful and expecting me to recover in incoming days.” Glaz replied with a smile, “Except Blackbeard who blamed himself for not noticing the nitro cells earlier and failure to save me from the explosion. I took a while to comfort him.”

“What a rarity, for an active and positive person.” Kapkan took the fruit bowl along with a fork in hands, “Hey, Timur, these fruits are delicious. Wanna try?”

Glaz noticed the bright orange coloured mango dices in the bowl and tried to raise his right arm to reach it, before Kapkan made a gesture to stop him, “No, no! Don’t move your hands. Let me feed you.”

Facing Kapkan’s dominant smirk, Glaz didn’t show resistance but giggled amusedly before opened his mouth in an exaggerated movement, then bite the dice off the fork. “Вкусно! (Delicious!)” A broad beam burst out Glaz’ face which satisfied Kapkan so much, “These are all for you! Eat more and get well soon, shall you?”

“Yeah, Maxim, next day you must bring Timur a deer to eat! Got it?” Tachanka joked in rough laughing.

“Maybe I will!” Kapkan followed the laughter.

 

Comparing to three bold comrades, Fuze and Phantom kept quiet and just took the free time on their own. Fuze took out a book from his backpack and read (he preferred something technical or science-related), and Phantom took out his Rubik’s cube to play. After a few minutes, Jäger and Sledge opened the door, “Shuh, Phantom, haven’t you received the message? We should go to the report meeting soon.” Spoke Jäger in an urging tone.

Blyat, I haven’t.” Fuze facepalmed, “Location?”

Investigation Bureau. It takes about 30 minutes on the car to there.” Sledge answered.

“Then we must set off asap.” Phantom took his bag and prepared to go out.

“How about us?” Kapkan asked.

“You two don’t have to. However,” Sledge answered, “We may need to discuss privately tonight on your case of leaving the post without formal permission.”

“Gah! How mean!” Groaned Tachanka annoyedly.

“Don’t worry, we won’t have trouble, trust me.” Kapkan blinked to his comrade.

“We have to go. See you later.” Before leaving the ward, Phantom made a simple goodbye to the remaining Russians, “See you!” who replied passionately with waving hands.

 


 

“Hey, can I say something to you?” While they were in the vehicle to the meeting place, Fuze knocked Phantom in the elbow, who sat right to him.

“What’s it. So sudden.”

“I just want you to know…… Let’s make friends too. You didn’t only patch up my wound in the mission, but also took Maxim to have a good time this morning. My point is, any friend with one of my comrades is also my friend.” Fuze expressed firmly with earnest eyes.

“Is it another Russian custom?” Phantom asked curiously.

“No.” Fuze replied with a slight smile, “It’s my belief.”

“Then make friend with me, too, Frederick!” Jäger, who sat at the assistant seat, headed out to two men behind, “It’s also my belief!”

“Plagiarism is not allowed, Marius!” Clapping his hands, Fuze laughed in amusement, as Sledge and Jäger followed. Keeping silent and clam notwithstanding, a faint smile also gradually appeared on Phantom’s face. Being originally an introverted person away from the crowd, the only Australian in the new Rainbow was so used to be alone. But after a morning with Kapkan, he realised the power of having someone cared about besides. And it might be just our best advantage over these terrorists. All his feelings today concluded to a soft whisper, “Yeah. Let us become friends.”

Chapter Text

Kapkan realised that he was alone, forever.

 

He was at Glaz’ funeral. Many people wearing formal black dress attended, from his closest comrades like Alexsandr, Shuhrat and Lera to all Rainbow operators and everyone else he knew. He even saw a pair of strange old couple weeping mournfully, along with a young woman with ponytail gazing forward solemnly. After he identified their iconic light azure eyes – Kapkan found out they were Timur’s families. Everyone was silent on their seat, looking at the coffin covered by a large piece of Russian flag and decorated by white rose bouquets. Beside Glaz’ coffin stood their general in Group Alpha and the President, who put a Hero of the Russian Federation gold star medal on the head of the coffin as a heroic tribute to the elite sniper.

 

Kapkan had heard the speech carried by the President, but none of his words entered his mind which buried in the grief of losing his love. With an impulse to open his coffin to see his face for one last time but being too afraid to do so in the meantime, a teardrop fell from his left eye uncontrollably. As soon as the military band began to play sad music, he couldn’t bear anymore and escaped the venue.

 

Kapkan didn’t know how long he ran until he eventually exhausted his stamina and collapsed in a park. The sweats made his dress uniform too uncomfortable, so he sat under a tree and started disrobing one by one piece clumsily. Coat, necktie, and shirt. Then he stopped while grabbing the hem of his sleeveless telnyashka, recalling every time Timur caressed his body underneath the thin blue and white cloth, then his sight blurred.

 

One drop, two drops, the water fallen from the sky moistened the earth gradually. Heavy rain pouring on his body until totally wet, but the lonely hunter never moved a bit. He felt nothing in his empty brain but his beloved sniper. “Timur, you won’t like me to be so broken like this, right?” Murmuring to himself, Kapkan raised his dumb body up. Even though he could not still admit his boyfriend’s gone, Kapkan knew that he still had many missions to do, had this world to protect, had many teammates waiting for him back. That merciless war might take his love away, but he couldn’t let the sorrow destroyed himself.

 

Then he found a shiny, little sparkle emerged out the wet soil in front of him, “What’s this?” He stood up to retrieve it and found out it was a silver ring. “How beautiful.” Exclaimed Kapkan while wiping off the dirt on it. Usually, he wasn’t interested in any accessories nor jewellery like this, but he was attracted by this one genuinely, probably by the blue topaz mounted on the bold silver ring reminded him Glaz’ eyes. The ring radiated strange warmness his hands, and somehow Kapkan could felt the vague beating from inside the metal.

 

The beating got stronger and stronger while Kapkan held the ring closer to his chest. Its tempo reminded him of Glaz’ heartbeat he felt when snuggling with him to sleep. He had a strong hunch – “Does it belong to Timur?” However, he didn’t remember any time Glaz wore this nor any other accessories on his body besides his dog tag. It was just odd.

 

Suddenly, a pair of strong arms wrapped around him from his back. The man was in a uniform coat like what Kapkan wore, and from the familiarity of the hands’ detail, Kapkan realised the arms were Glaz’ in a second. “Timur…… Are you here?” Kapkan’s voice trembled by consternation.

 

“I am.” A husky whisper went in Kapkan’s ears, who ensured that it was truly his dorogoy from the man’s voice. “I know you’re shocked at now. Sorry.” Glaz apologised in a regretful tone.

“Идиот (Idiot)! If you’re fine, why you don’t tell me earlier? It’s not funny at all to act a dead man, you know! You made everyone sad! I even attended your fucking funeral……” Kapkan huffed in the confusion of the sniper’s unexpected appearance. “Timur, I’m so worried. Can you tell me, are you truly here and alright?”

“I’m here because you keep your promise: staying by my side to the end no matter what.” Glaz rose his right hand to show Kapkan the ring on his ring finger. The same kind to what Kapkan just discovered. “The hidden wish you made in the birthday was exactly my biggest wish, too.”

 

Gazing at the pair rings, the suppressing of his tear broken, as he cried loudly with two torrents came down his cheeks. Glaz held his boyfriend’s shoulders to turn him around and stroke his back softly. Shedding his tears in Glaz’ bosom, Kapkan had a faint sense. We’ve exchanged the rings. Despite that he didn’t remember any detail of the promise, the fact of that his loved one was always here – that was Kapkan would never forget.

 


 

13th Jun 2017.

 

Woke up early from another strange dream, Kapkan slid off the king size bed slowly and quietly to avoid disturbing the sniper sleeping on the other side of the bed. He glanced at the board, tanned back and tattooed right arm exposed from the quill before went into the bathroom to take a shower.

 

Last night, Glaz and other teammates suggested him to get more rest as Phantom invited him to stay in his room. The hunter was not against it, because he knew Phantom was just like him, comfortable by his own and never disturbed others unless necessary. Moreover, the sightseeing made Kapkan start to like this silent Australian and take him as a good friend. It might be the best choice for Kapkan if he couldn’t sleep with Glaz at current.

 

After took on his casual clothes, Kapkan went straight to Glaz’ ward. Recovering slowly but steady, Glaz tried to go off the bed with Kapan and another nurse’s assistance because he would like to take a real shower instead of being washed in the bed. It seemed smoothly in the beginning, but he quickly realised that it was impossible to stand on his injured legs in thick layers of bandages and gauzes. Firstly, there was a cast covering his left ankle, so he must depend on the only right leg and a walker to support his body. It was harder than he expected, as his arms also hurt that unable to apply full force. The short distance to another side of the small ward now felt like a long, struggling way. The feeling of useless disappointed Glaz a bit; however, knowing that he might become disable – or even lose his life – during the explosion, he guessed being able to move his body at current was enough to be a blessing.

 

Eventually, Glaz managed to get into the bathroom and rested on a stool, letting Kapkan taking the loose pyjamas off his body and putting on the waterproof cover over the foot in fibreglass bandage. While undoing the gauzes on Glaz’ torso, many wounds with sutures shook Kapkan a bit. As an experienced soldier, he had seen so many injuries, and he should be calm of this, but if the one was someone he loved, that was another case.

 

“Maxim. Don’t worry so much. After they are all healed up, I think you’re going to love these.” Sniffing out Kapkan’s worries, Glaz consoled.

“Hmm.” Looking at the redden scars formed like a spider web, Kapkan was sure: they were marks of his victory over the difficulties he had passed -- especially this time, over the Death. “Well, yep...... Let's believe these scars can make you look much braver and more charming.” With the feeling, he commented earnestly.

 

Kapkan then raised up his boyfriend off the stool for a bit to take his underwear off. After he removed the boxers from Glaz’ legs carefully, he gazed at the proud manhood standing upright with a smirk. “Still so horny even in such the situation. Hmm?”

“Yes, I’m.” Glaz didn’t object but followed the joke, “I’ve not fucked for many days, you know.”

“I know that you’re a needy slut from the start,” Kapkan began to stroke Glaz’ cock lazily, while face close to him.

“Aren’t you eager, too?” Glaz retorted with sharper eyes.

“Yeah,” Kapkan replied as their lips were about to contact. “I honestly wish to do it at now, but you’re now so fragile, I’m afraid that I’ll break you.”

“I’ll get well soon, after that we’ll certainly do it again. You have my promise.” Glaz raised his arms, wrapped them on Kapkan’s back slowly, then made a soft but passionate kiss after the promise.

“I’m glad to hear this.”

 


 

After the shower, Glaz returned to the bad before received a phone call to his smartphone. “It’s from Nadia,” Kapkan told Glaz after checked it for him.

“Accept it for me.” Glaz requested, as Kapkan followed and held the phone over Glaz’ ear. “Yes, Timur speaking…… I’m fine, I just need a headset to speak the phone for longer, can you wait for me for a minute?”

“Where’s your headset, then?” Kapkan asked.

“In my belt pouch. It’s now hanging on the stipe of my backpack.” Glaz requested Kapkan to retrieve his Bluetooth mono headset, turn it on, and put it on his ears. After that, Glaz continued speaking with his sister.

 

“I received the message that you got injured in action. I’m so worried.” Nadia sounded a little nervous.

“I know. I’m sorry.”

“No, you shouldn’t. You’re just doing your job, right?” Nadia explained, “Oh, God. It’s such a pleasure to hear your voice. I think I'm missing you much more in these days.”

“I can expect that. I’ve not been home for so many years.” Timur sighed.

“No, don’t be sorry about this. Your missions take priority. I understand. Papa and mama also understand. I just want you to know, we…… we’re all doing okay.”

“I’ll get well soon,” Glaz reassured, “Then go home in the incoming vacation, I think just in the end of this month if everything goes well.”

“But I’ll travel to Wimbledon in the about time.” Nadia chuckled slightly.

“Oh, for the Championships. I trust you’ll do well.”

“I hope it. I didn’t get a satisfying result in the last French Open. I don’t want to screw it up again.”

“I’m looking forward to it. I tried to follow your matches in my free time recently. You know, I should know how’s going on with you rather than wait for you to tell me.”

“No, you’re so busy. I don’t want you to take too much time on my things. Papa and mama also know that, so they tend to talk as brief as possible in every phone call.”

“I think I can still spend a little more.” Glaz changed to another question, “By the way, do you receive my last letters? Normally papa was the one wrote the reply to me, but it has changed to computer typing from three months ago. I guess something happened?”

“Can’t hide anything from you, I think. Ok, I can tell you what’s going on, but…….” Nadia whispered, “Can you promise me, don’t leak it to papa and mama?”

“Can you tell me what it is first……?” Glaz had a bad feeling.

 

“Papa…. He got sick three months ago. Said it was a stroke. One day he fainted during the work, then he was hospitalised to receive the treatment. At now he couldn’t use his left arm, so he’s barely able to write. Nevertheless, he told mama and me that ‘don’t tell Timur about this’.” Nadia’s voice was trembling. “But I think it’s not fair not letting you know, right? Sorry for informing you so late.”

“It’s ok. Is he alright now?” Glaz asked softly.

“No other problem by now…… he’s trying to change his lifestyle by doctor’s suggestion: to take more rest, had a healthier diet, quit smoking and drinking, and reduce his workload. He must do it far long ago.” Nadia sounded discontented, “He’s fallen in a state of depression and workaholic since that crisis, I suppose he intends to divert himself from the loss – of the Iashvili’s, and you.”

“What kind of son I am……” Glaz mumbled regretfully.

“I’m not blaming you. I just mean…… like father, like son, isn’t it? Papa is just like you -- refuses to worry anyone, therefore keeps all pressure on his shoulders. My point is before you take care of someone, you might need to take care of yourself well enough first.”

“Thank you for telling me this. It’s indeed important to me.” Glaz appreciated.

 

“Oh, one final thing,” Nadia raised her tone to be cheerier, “I’m giving you the key to my country house as I already prepared a large room for you. As you’re now a big man, your old room is surely too small. And if you have a girlfriend, she won’t like to squeeze herself in that single bed nor separate from you to another room, no?” Nadia chuckled delightfully as if was imagining what did his brother’s sweetheart look like. “Don’t worry about papa and mama, I’ve asked them for opinion, and they approve. They’re already expecting your girlfriend or future bride.”

“Uh……” Glaz felt embarrassed at Nadia’s words. He glanced at his boyfriend who sat beside him and made several innocent blinks, before went back to the phone with a sigh, “Ok, so how will you hand it to me?”

“If the date you arrive Vladivostok is earlier than my departure, we can meet face to face. Or I can give it to mama and tell her to hand it to you.” Nadia concluded, “Ok, that’s all. Hope you get well soon!”

“You take care too. Bye.” Glaz replied before hanging up, then noticed Kapkan’s giggly face when helped him to take off the headset. “Maxim, what’s so funny?”

 

“It’s all written on your face. Your sister believes you have a girlfriend!” Kapkan guffawed.

“Haven’t I mentioned that they all don’t know I’m gay? It’s apparent.” Glaz retorted.

“Then teach them by taking me home, let them know we’re in love,” Kapkan smirked with delight.

“Truly, I desire to go home with you. I will kindly introduce my family such a good and honest man like you.” Glaz declared.

“Hey, you’re taking it so seriously? Like you’re going to marry me.” Kapkan was amused by Glaz’ remarks and made a witty comment with louder laughter.

“If so, why not?” Locking his gaze at Kapkan’s eyes, Glaz replied straightforwardly. “I said that ‘we can stay together even after finish our job here’. The point is, if I must choose one to keep by my side in ever future, you’re my first – and probably only – choice. I wish we can together build our happiness.”

“I……” Kapkan felt Glaz’ words heavy. Kapkan was pleased to have the sniper as his best comrade, teammates, friend and partner, but when it came to family, his mind sank into confusion. Growing up with lack of familial affection, this term just felt too strange to Kapkan. Emotionally, he would be happy to accept the kind offer, but he felt a vague obstacle in his mind to keep him from saying “Yes.” Recalling the strange dream featured the pair rings in sudden, Kapkan’s face blushed and lowered without any more word.

“Hey, take it easy. It’s just, anyway, my selfish wish.” Glaz explained with a smile, “If you don’t feel this way, it’s fine. Our relationship won’t change by a bit.”

“Oh, I see……” Scratching his head, Kapkan found his partner’s kind words only got his blushing stronger.

 

In the meanwhile, “Hey! Timur, we come to see you again!” Tachanka’s loud greeting diverted Kapkan from embarrassment. Fuze followed the exciting older comrade in silently before closed the door behind them.

“It’s a pleasure to see you two again.” Glaz greeted them with a smile.

“Have you been better?” Fuze asked.

“Much better. I start trying to walk. Just wait for the ankle ligament recovering.” Glaz answered. “Doc said I’m expected to discharge in the next week.”

“Oof! Good to hear!” Tachanka rose his arms with cheer.

“But we’re going to go back to the base tomorrow morning.” Fuze sighed. “We’ve convinced Six that you two can stay with Timur until he leaves the hospital though.”

“So, you’re going to separate with us.” Kapkan turned his eyesight to the Uzbek.

“Yeah. Don’t worry, I know you all have important things to do here. Especially Timur, you have families waiting for you back.” Fuze answered with a steady tone while gazing Glaz.

“Do you have any plans before leaving, by the way?” Glaz inquired.

“Marius invited me to take a trip in the city in the afternoon, before then, I’m free.” Fuze answered.

“I’m always free for my adorable brother!” Tachanka beamed.

“How about continuing my story? As I have nothing better to do.” Glaz suggested. “I’ve told my encounter with Idri to Maxim privately, as other two haven’t heard it before, let’s start over from that part. Then go straight to Russo-Georgian War.”

“Hurray! More war stories! My favourite!” Tachanka clapped his hands excitedly.

 


 

Russo-Georgian War was the first action Glaz has participated in his military career. The 21 years old young sniper applied his observation and patience in the field and started to show his potential to be an elite. Driven by ambition to protect this country, Glaz tried to make the best effort to win the war, despite that he knew that Georgia was the original place of Avenir’s family – the fact was irony to him. But Glaz didn’t mind this as he believed that such emotional thinking would make him weak.

 

As a reinforcement from the special force, Glaz began his action with his unit in Battle of Tskhinvali, the first conflict during the war. Following the assault forced Georgian force’s retreat, Russian troop took over the city. It was a good result. Once the contingent controlled South Ossetia, Glaz believed the people threatened by Georgia could be safe.

 

But the battle was just a start. Both sides insisted in fighting to the end, Russian force launched an aerial attack on Gori, the city in the heart of Georgia. After the Georgian force withdrew the town to Tbilisi, Gori became a deserted wasteland. Glaz was confused. Did we truly protect the people, or threaten more lives? The information of foreign medias describing Russia as an “invader” also disappointed him, let him start to doubt if what he had done was right.

 

In an investigation mission in the outskirt of Gori, Glaz got injured by the bullet near his eyes and the explosion nearby the foxhole he hid. He was sent to medical bay immediately with a bandage on his left eye and lower back. The wounds hurt, but what disappointed him most was that he didn’t feel like achieving what he initially expected. The war ended in Russian force’s preservation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. On the surface, they won the battle. However, the land was torn, the world was shaken, and the international reactions were controversial. They all made Glaz feel doubted and confused.

 

When he was on the hospital bed just like the present, his chief didn’t only comfort him to think positive but guide him to hear his own voice. Driven by impulse and idleness, Glaz began drawing first time in past four years to deal with his feelings. By one and one stroke on his old sketchbook, the sadness of lost covered him. What am I now doing, Avenir? Eventually, a 10-year-old boy had an appearance of his special friend holding a sketchbook emerged on the paper, with the background of the ruined debris from the city. Feeling his drawing skill becoming dull by 4 years without practice, he was unsatisfied with the result. When he was going to crumple it up and threw it away, “Hi, Glaz. I come to see you!” Idri’s cheerful greeting made Glaz stop his movement. “What a nice drawing! I’ve not known that you make arts.” The chief found Glaz’ drawing under his arms -- even though he was trying to conceal it -- and gave praise.

 

“Don’t see it. It’s a mess.” Glaz stuttered, “I think…… I just have nothing better to do now.”

“It’s really a good drawing, despite it looks sad and deserted.” Idri took the drawing to see, left the young soldier stunned. “From when you start this hobby?” Idri asked casually.

“Uh……Since I’m able to hold a pencil, I suppose. I studied at an art school in teenage.”

“So, you’re also an artist. Amazing.” Idri’s smile got broader.

“No, I’m not. In fact, I’ve not made any painting since enlisted, as I don’t think art is useful here.” Glaz sighed.

“You're taking it wrong, Glaz.” Idri’s forehead furrowed and declared seriously, “Good arts can rich our spirit and made us strong to face cruelness in this world. You probably think that as you are a soldier now, anything emotional like arts is not proper. It’s not right, Glaz, I don’t like you to become a heartless machine. If you keep refusing your feelings, you will end up unable to protect anyone.”

Glaz lowered his head, pressed his lips together. Realising Avenir won’t like him being so dispirited at now, tear of regret flew down. “My friend…… died in the school siege, was the one inspired me to be an artist. He was unique to me. Losing him…… broke my heart.”

“Then shouldn’t you keep making arts? Do it like a warrior, and make the pain strengthen you. It would be the best counterattack against them who took your friend away. It’s much more powerful than any weapon.” Idri’s expression softened while patting Glaz’ shoulders while giving the drawing back to Glaz.

“I think…… you’re right.” Glaz replied with his glistening right eye, “While I drew this one, I sense that if I keep painting, his existence might keep alive in my mind.”

“I’m glad to hear that.” Idri touched Glaz’ chest gently, “Hey, I think I can stay here for a long while, how about telling me more your stories? Like how you met the artist friend?”

“You sure? It might be ordinary and not interesting.”

“Yes, I think it should be amusing to hear.” Idri nodded.

“Okay.” Glaz began to recall their first meeting, “It began with the party celebrating my 10th birthday—"

 


 

“---- And It was also the time I began quitting smoking. Because the injury made me realised that how fragile our body can be, I thought that I should be more careful about my health.” Glaz concluded the story.

“You were just still 21 at that time, so it must be easy?” Kapkan guessed.

“I didn’t quit it in a flash though. I just reduced a cigarette each day for a week, then in the next week, I tried to smoke one less. After half a year, I no longer smoke again. Same with Idri, who accompanied me with the plan.”

“Hey, Alex, how about we do the same plan. You know, considering our age, we should have a healthier lifestyle.” Nudging his old comrade’s elbow, Kapkan suggested.

“Gah, it’s not like you, Maxim.” Tachanka snorted, “Where’s the badass hunter who fucking cares nothing gone?”

“For somebody cares of us’ sake, we should try our best to live long and well. Don’t you agree?”

“Aww, how can I object if you put it this way?” Sighed Tachanka, “Anyway, it’s not like the war story I’ve expected, but it sounds adorable and touching. I must say, you had met a good life coach who inspired you to be the man you are.”

“That was also the time we two first meet each other, wasn’t it?” Kapkan gazed at Tachanka with a cheerful voice.

“Yeah, we’re both in the frontline of Abkhazia. I still remember how you impressed me by hunting down enemies with your traps and cunning at that time. Good old days.” Tachanka grinned delightfully, and everyone laughed in union before Fuze’s phone buzzed.

“Oh, sorry.” Fuze took out his phone to check the message. “Marius said he’s already arrived to pick me up.”

“For the trip, I’m sure.” Glaz suggested, “Hey, Maxim, Alexsandr, how about you go with them to relax?”

“But how about you?” Kapkan questioned.

“Don’t worry about me! I’d like you hanging out with others to refresh the mind.” Glaz beamed.

“Hear what Timur says? Let’s go, Maxim!” Hooking Kapkan’s shoulder, Tachanka took he out the ward with chuckles, while Fuze followed them out.

 


 

Kapkan kept company with Fuze, Tachanka, Jäger and Phantom while wandering in the city’s shopping distant, as they eventually entered a shopping centre featuring shops selling delicate-looking fashion goods. Kapkan didn’t clearly understand why to let such a group of rough guys (maybe except Jäger) drop in somewhere so luxurious.

 

Nearby they were two couples in the base – Rook and Twitch, who were shopping at a clothing store; and Sledge and Ash, who were browsing some fragrances. Passing behind Sledge who picked up a rose perfume, commenting that it might suit the Israeli and received Ash’s delightful chuckles, Kapkan walked around idly without any destination.

 

Suddenly, Kapkan found out a small shop selling accessories arranging many kinds of rings, necklaces and amulets. His intuition told him to check it, as he didn’t grasp the reason since nothing seemed attractive to him. He could even feel the curious eyesight of the salesperson. However, the awkwardness didn’t last long as he discovered a ring identical to what he saw in the dream. Widened his mouth, Kapkan gazed at the blue topaz on the ring for seconds while being astonished at such coincidence ever existed, until Phantom found out his strange behaviour and patted his shoulder friendlily, “Maxim, do you need any help?”

 

“Uh,” Kapkan turned his head in a daze, pointing at the ring absent-mindedly with his left index finger.

“You want that?” Phantom giggled curiously, which was a rare expression of the Australian, “As this place has many foreign visitors, most the salespersons speak English. You can just drop in and ask.”

“Oh, no, it’s not what I mean. I just……” Getting nervous at Phantom’s reaction, Kapkan glanced at the ring again, which was somewhat capturing Kapkan’s mind. Recalling his dream and the promise, in sudden, he realised that it could be a hint. “Excuse me, how much is this ring?” He then made up his mind, approached the salesperson to ask the price of the ring and received a reply. Fortunately, it was not so expensive as Kapkan initially expected. Considered for a while, he decided to buy two of them.

“For pair rings? This style has the model for women, too. Is it what you look for?” The salesperson asked politely while opening the drawer under the showcase.

“Uh…… No. I just want two of this model, for men.” Kapkan blushed slightly as he was not sure if he must tell the truth that his partner was another man.

“Oh, alright! Please pardon me.” The salesperson smiled while presenting two rings Kapkan requested, who bought it right away by his credit card.

 


 

With the aid of the walker, Glaz practised moving out of his ward to walk along the corridor. Comparing to this morning, he was more adapted to applying the aid, so he walked slowly but steadily. When he immersed himself in the expecting mood of recovering, a familiar figure in that iconic Vympel uniform caught his eyes.

 

“Oh, hi, Maxim!” Glaz greeted his boyfriend cheerfully, “I bet you enjoy this afternoon? And what a nice bouquet.” He looked at the red rose bouquet he held in the left arm with chuckles.

 

Kapkan kept his mouth set in a hard line while approaching Glaz slowly, until he stopped in front of him, “Timur, I…… have an important thing I must tell you.”

“What it is?” Glaz asked with a smile.

“Please,” Kapkan bent one knee on the ground while showing the ring inside a box to Glaz, “Marry me.”

“Uh……Pardon?” Glaz blinked fast a few times involuntarily, as the hunter’s expression was out of his anticipation.

Выходи за меня замуж, Тимур. Пожалуйста, будь моим мужем. (Marry me, Timur. Please, be my husband.)” Kapkan lowered his head, asked honestly, “It’s my answer. Let’s build our happiness together.”

“Maxim,” Trembling his arms, Glaz attempted to leave the walker to cuddle his boyfriend. “Yes, of course ----”

“Watch out,” Kapkan supported Glaz’ body in a hurry, holding him to kneel down. “I don’t want to see you falling down again.”

“Haha,” Glaz laughed while wrapped his arms around Kapkan firmly, “I mean, yes. I'm happy to have you as my husband. Моя любовь. (My love)”

“Timur. Having you by my side is the best thing ever happens in my life.” With the tear of joy, Kapkan put the ring onto Glaz’ right ring finger.

“Same to me, Maxim.” Glaz purred while observing the shiny silver hoop and the blue topaz on it, “I love the colour of the gem.”

“You are far more beautiful than it,” Kapkan responded in admiration as he pressed his lips to Glaz’ passionately. “Thank you for accepting me.” Sharing strong affection with their fiancé, the couple both had an understanding: they could be even stronger to face everything together with the promise, and they would try their best to fight for each other for happier future. This was a moment they would never forget.

Chapter Text

21st Jun 2017.

 

It was the day Glaz dispatched from the hospital. Although he still needed the aid of a crutch, he was mostly healed. What he desired at now was to relax and keep on the track of recovery in the next homecoming vacation. The operators who stayed with them in Taipei – Ying and Lesion, would go back to Hong Kong to prepare for the formalities to join the Rainbow soon, while Phantom and Tachanka returning to Hereford directly.

 

Initially, Kapkan was demanded to go back with his teammates, but he would hate to leave his now-fiancé alone. Of course, the sniper had still not fully recovered so somebody should take care of him was a reason. And another -- he dropped Six a request to replace Glaz in the event he initially appointed: the special force manoeuvre in the incoming expo in Vladivostok as a special guest. Miraculously, Six agreed on it straight away, and it was an ultimately pleasing result to Kapkan, who even felt like he could run on the street naked to celebrate. He couldn’t wait to meet Glaz’ families as his future husband – he still didn’t know if they would accept that, but no matter what he must try. He knew that Glaz was thinking the same.

 

After Glaz went out of the hospital, they went to dinner together in a joyous mood. In the conversation, the others suggested the couple go to a hot spring spa nearby the city to stay for a night before flying to Vladivostok next day. After they entered a cosy-looking room in the spa hotel (which Ying recommended), a long-lost feeling of ease made them realised we are genuinely on vacation.

“And it’s nearby a metro station! Thinking that the spa is so close to the city, isn’t this country amazing?” Kapkan commented while placing their belongings.

“We should go to the open-air bath. There seems to have a good view.” Glaz suggested while sitting on an armchair, removing the brace on his ankle, which still had swelling and was necessary to move carefully.

“Take my shoulders.” Kapkan kindly extended his hand to Glaz, who took it happily and let his partner hold him to the bath.

 


 

As both Russian men had the minimal clothes -- a t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops -- in such tropical hot weather, they just needed a little time to strip off. While Glaz was removing his truck briefs, Kapkan – still in his boxers as well – went to his back to trace these newly healed scars with slight reddening in passionate eyes. “You’re right.” He remarked.

“What’s it?” Glaz asked back with giggles and slowly rolled his underwear through his legs until they left his feet.

“The scars,” Kapkan answered while taking his one off as well. “I love them. They make you even sexier.” Wearing a smirk, he then took their shower gel and shampoo in his head and went directly to the shower. The semi-open shower beside the hot spring bath provided the access of summer breeze, made them remind one day in their first hunting trip two years ago. That day rained heavily, and they had not taken any bath for days, so two hunters had a crazy idea – showering in the rain while rinsing their dirty clothes on a rope. Kapkan could still remember Glaz’ boyish chuckling while rubbing their body with soap -- he had never heard it from the usually serious and silent sniper before that time. Thinking of that at present, the sniper might already treat Kapkan as a special partner at that time. No matter what, rinsing themselves in the artificial shower in the small stall, they both sensed the touching of each other’s skin and lips, along with the passionate eyes shined in their visions and minds, which was still same and familiar but vaguely different. Might be an acknowledgement of engagement, or the missing of intimate contacts in these days, or probably both.

 

After they finished the shower, each of them wrapped a white towel, which was somewhat smaller than what they used in the base. As the width of these towels faintly reached the half of length of their thighs, apparently they could just adequately cover their large members while standing.

“Great, if I sat down, everyone in front of me will notice my dick in no time.” Kapkan joked while getting himself in the bath slowly.

“But there are only us here. I don’t understand. Isn’t this place popular?” Observing the board and deserted bath with only rising white steams, Glaz followed his partner in as he moved his injured leg extra-carefully.

“Gah, isn’t it better? Enjoy our secret pleasure.” Kapkan assisted him by taking his hands and holding his waist into the bath. “прекрасный! (Excellent!)” As soon as they sat down and soaking themselves in the bath, the comfortable feeling covered both on their body and mood.

 

The couple snuggled up to each other shoulder-by-shoulder, hands holding without any word. Their hands rubbed several times before their fingers interlocked tightly. Looking at their partner’s tantalising expression, the impulse to have more got stronger. Their hands lazily wandered through every inch of their skin. It didn’t take long before they found each other’s erection growing under the towel, then they smirked synchronously.

“You’re so horny today.” Kapkan chuckled while beginning to stroke Glaz’ cock, as his partner had already wrapped his loose fist around his member too.

“So are you.” Glaz lowered his tone, which reminded Kapkan with his turning-up. It was just too hot to resist. Kapkan got his lips closer until they shared one more open-mouthed kiss, and he was too concentrated on it to notice Glaz’ naughty fingers travelling from his dick, balls to his bottoms.

 

“Oh, fuck.” Kapkan groaned when he sensed Glaz’ index finger circling around his entrance before pushing in. Even though it hadn’t lubricated yet, Kapkan felt his ass muscle somewhat loosened thank to hot spring’s effect, but the friction still ached for a little. And when Glaz put another hand back on his dick, Kapkan felt himself like starting to melt. “How naughty, Timur, you whore.” Gazing his partner licking his upper lip and half-lid eyes, Kapkan’s mood of competition ignited as he quickly made his way into Glaz’ hole and deeply trusted in. He then curved his finger inside Glaz to rub the certain spot and massaged his perineum.

“Aww, how much I miss the touch.” Glaz purred with intense blushing, as a sign of heating up. Kapkan could read that it was mainly owing to the bath, but he would like to think their teasing doing the magic. Getting more excited, they added a digit at the same time before their sudden moan. Clenching each other’s fingers with tightening ring of muscle, their twitching dicks were begging for more. “I think I’m tainting the bath with my precum.” Glaz made an amusing comment.

“Oh, I can see that, but I suppose other visitors will be happy to bathe in this hot spring with a little seasoning of your Smetana.” Kapkan laughed heartily.

“Gah, if you make me come in the bath, we’ll be thrown out the hotel.”

“Take it easy, Timur. There’s nobody except us here, right?” Kapkan’s smirk got even broader before he straddled on Glaz. “Hold your cock still.” He then spread his buttocks apart and pushed the cleft against Glaz’ erection. Holding his cheeks, Kapkan clamped his partner firmly and began moving.

The friction was a new and fantastic experience to Glaz as he joyfully gazed at Kapkan’s sexual expression while doing the butt crack playing and his rocking dick patting his abdomen. He felt so hot over his body -- his boiling libido was apparently a cause, but Glaz could also figure out they might spend too much time in the hot spring. “You know, we should go back to the comfortable bed in our room to continue the stuff.” He suggested.

“Uh, yeah. You’re right.” Kapkan got off Glaz before taking him out the bath carefully.

 

After they left the open-air bath, the couple came back to their room in bathrobes, which were discarded right away after they closed the door. “I’m going to clean your ass,” Kapkan smirked mischievously.

“It’ll be helpful. Just don’t forget to clean yours too.” Glaz responded cheerfully, “My enema bulb is in the hidden layer of my duffel bag.”

“Ah, I think your lube is also there. You’re always prepared, aren’t you?” Kapkan smirked while checking Glaz’ bag. He quickly found out what they need: a black silicone enema bulb, a bottle of Gun Oil silicone lubricant and an opened pack of condoms. He took the bulb and lube to the bathroom.

 

When he went in, Glaz was already bending over on the floor in a doggy position. “Go ahead. I’m waiting.” Shaking his buttocks slightly, Glaz displayed his expectant entrance right to Kapkan’s sight. It was undoubtedly seductive.

 

“Right away.” Kapkan filled the bulb with body-warm water, applied the lube at its tip before inserting it inside Glaz. “How do you feel?” He asked while tentatively squeezing the bulb gently.

“Ah, the temperature is correct. Good.” Glaz answered with a satisfied grin.

“How much water should I fill in?” Kapkan asked.

“No more than 500ml each time. Bastard, you cleaned yours before, but you don’t know this?”

“Haha, I never calculate it.” Kapkan chuckled light-heartedly while filling all water in the bulb inside. “Ok, one more bulb?”

“Yes.” Glaz directed his partner to repeat it to put more water into his body. “Ah, it’s enough.” Afterwards, he told Kapkan to pull the enema away, then he slowly changed his posture to laying on back. “Next, you just need to help me to get on the toilet after I call the sign.”

“Alright.” Kapkan stroked his partner on stomach amusedly.

After a few minutes, Kapkan could feel the sound coming from Glaz’ stomach, “Wait for the next rumbling.” Glaz reminded. They waited a little longer before Glaz directed with raising a hand, “Take me up now.”

Kapkan received the sign and hugged Glaz up to let him sit on the toilet and get rid of the water in his bowel. After the somewhat hilarious sound of streaming stopped, Glaz got up and readied to flush the toilet. “Let me check it first.” Kapkan got closer to the toilet curiously.

“Fuck off. Does it make any sense to look at my crap?” Glaz slapped Kapkan on his head.

“So, it’s dirty, right?” Kapkan kept asking.

“Yeah. Do it again.” Glaz nodded before returning to the doggy posture.

Then they quickly repeated the process as Glaz found out the water coming out from his stomach this time was almost clean. “I’m good to go. Clean the tip of the bulb, and it’s your turn.”

“Let me hug you to the bed first.” Kapkan grinned while carrying Glaz in arms to the bed with a large force.

“I can move by myself at now!” Glaz yelled as his legs and backs were holding in Kapkan’s arms firmly.

“But I like it this way.” Kapkan laughed and put Glaz on the large bed covered by white coverlet. “Oh, I think you become heavier. Seems like you keep getting more beef on your body.”

“I wish I can return to work-out soon. It pisses me off, being unable to do any exercise in these days.” Glaz sighed.

“Don’t worry, I know you’re getting well!” Kapkan chuckled while going to the bathroom to do his cleaning, then after a moment, Kapkan returned to Glaz, who was relaxedly laying on the bed and stroking his nipples and penis. The alluring view of Glaz’ raising erection in his hand further increased Kapkan’s lust if that was even possible.

 

Kapkan laid by Glaz’ side, passionately took over Glaz’ member and let Glaz holding him while sharing one more kiss with their tongue moving around deep inside each other’s mouth. The urge of deeper contact was boiling, as Kapkan suggested first, “I want to suck your dick.”

“Let’s do a Sixty-nine,” Glaz answered.

“Aha, why not?” Kapkan beamed broadly while stretching his arm to get the lube bottle put on the nightstand. He then squeezed some on his fingers, “Take some lube on your hand.”

“I already know what you are planning.” Glaz applied lube on his fingers with chuckles, “And I’m happy with it.”

“Oh, it’s not my only plan tonight.” Kapkan replied while turning around, and aligning his mouth with Glaz’ erection, “Guess what’s my another?”

“I don’t even need to think. You’re going to breed me.” Glaz pouted in jest.

“Oh yes. As we’re engaged, we must do it like a married couple, no?” Kapkan answered with delightful laugher, “And I’d let you get inside me barely, too!”

“Yeah, I know.” Glaz held Kapkan’s dick close to his mouth, with an emotional comment, “I must say, when you proposed to me with the ring, I’m so surprised. I didn’t expect you would react so quickly.”

“Even though it was faint, but yes, I’ve had the same thought for a while. To be with you hereafter. And you know it well: I’m a man of actions over words.” Kapkan replied softly while licking Glaz’ tip which was already leaking. “Not unlike you.”

“Well, yeah. It’s an aspect we’re exactly same.” Glaz hummed before started sucking Kapkan’s member as well. “And we have many more in common. I guess I’m lucky to know a man so like me as you.”

“Ah, so am I.” Kapkan moaned into Glaz’ cock, before taking it in deeper down to his throat. Glaz seemed like to take his partner’s all length in, too. They pumped each other with their mouth at the same time fervently, closed their eyes to focus on the great feeling.

 

Kapkan massaged Glaz’ entrance with silky fingertips in a circle to be a sign of coming in, as Glaz got it to rub his hole back with the same movement. Their index and a middle finger penetrated together deeply than they did in the bath shortly before. They moaned simultaneously and intensely, and the vocal vibration on their cocks was just their new discovery of pleasure.

“Ah……Timur, let’s see who can hold it longer.” Kapkan gasped softly. “Hold the desire to be fucked in the ass. Winner gotta be the top tonight.”

“Hmm? I take the challenge.” Pausing his movement for a second, Glaz accepted.

They returned to mutual blowjob while their movement getting somewhat rougher. Rotating and extending the fingers inside their partner’s rectum, they had a common impulse to add one more in. The feeling of fullness in both sides of entrance overwhelmed them, and more coming moans on their cocks were shaking their remaining calmness off.

 

After kept blowing and fingering for minutes, Kapkan rubbed Glaz’ scrotum with his thumb, and Glaz’ groan got crazier with cock pulsing, and Kapkan’s tongue circling around his tip was going to push him upon the limit. Kapkan made a silent chuckle at knowing that he turned on “the hidden switch” inside Glaz’ body, but his complacency didn’t last long while feeling his buttocks were forced spread and the moist stimulation directly hit on his entrance. “Holy fuck,” Fingers still inside, Glaz invaded his partner’s sensitive anal sphincter with his spinning tongue tip, while another hand holding Kapkan’s cheek to keep his hairy ass open and exposing. Kapkan stopped the movement of his hands and tongue, last the circular muscle constricting. Glaz then withdrew his fingers to concentrate on licking the hole, before fisting Kapkan’s leaking cock wildly and biting his firm and paddy cheeks. He then focused on a significant scar on his gluteal fold to trace and moist it with saliva. That was the hidden erogenous zone rarely cared of – Kapkan now ironically realised how the sorrowful wound caused in Beslan transferred into a sort of pleasure by his lover. A sinful soft of pleasure. Sensing his lover feasting on his ass like a hungry tiger and leaving many embarrassing hickies, Kapkan groaned after leaved Glaz’ dick but remained a thin lace of liquid connecting it to his lips. “Fuck, Timur. You’re a dirty animal, you know that?”

“Seems like the hunter got hunted by the predator again.” Raising his head, Glaz struck out his tongue with a husky chortle.

“Shut the fuck up. Just…… Fuck me. I can’t hold anymore.” Licking his lips, Kapkan requested with deep red face and half-lid eyes.

 

“If I say I want you to go inside me too, then what will you do?” Glaz made a curious question.

“Ah, so I can say we’re even?” Kapkan’s smirk returned slightly.

“Maybe you can go into me first, just need to be gentler than usual.”

“I know that. But I’m not so good at gentle sex.”

“Just relax, and it’ll be fine. I won’t get angry even if you make it wrong.” Glaz chuckled while laying down on the back, and Kapkan got on him by lifting his legs carefully. He was especially cautious at Glaz’ left foot in the ankle brace.

“Remind me if you feel pain.” Kapkan applied the lube on his bare dick, before firmly held Glaz on legs and thrust in slowly.

 

After took his glen and one-third of his shaft inside first, Kapkan was immediately brought to heaven. He firstly pumped slightly to make delightful friction on Glaz’ inner wall, then pushed further gently until Glaz absorbed his full length, and focused on the tight and warm sensation inside his partner without any cover between them. “Fantastic. Never feel so good like this.” Kapkan commented.

“Knowing that the man making love with me is going to be my husband……I almost feel like crying.” Displaying pleasure on his face, Glaz replied with a nasal tone, which made his sound hilariously adorable. “Move then. You can make it a little rougher.”

“As you wish!” Kapkan pulled himself out almost full length before pushed back slowly but forcefully, directly hit the particular spot.

“Отлично, отлично. (Splendid, splendid.)” Keeping his joyous moaning, Glaz stroked himself on chest and dick, which was neglected as his lover must hold his legs to stabilise their postures this time. Glaz didn’t show discontent. Nevertheless, he enjoyed fuelling Kapkan’s deep lust by showing him the most seductive side. Each time Kapkan pushed in, he applied a bit more force than before, and Glaz’ hand movement on his penis already coated with his silky precum also became faster. “I’m close, возлюбленный (sweetheart),” Purred Glaz blissfully, when he felt the tension over his groin as a regular sign.

“Ahh, I love you calling me like this.” Kapkan panted fervently, “I’m coming too.”

 

Closing his eyes, Glaz came over his chest and abdomen following his lover’s last ball-deep thrust, left a white and delicious trace of his Smetana. He could feel Kapkan’s seed overflowing him, which made him so fulfilled and loved. “Honestly, you’re quite good at it…… I mean gentle sex.” Glaz commented while Kapkan withdrawing his dick.

 

“All because of you, apparently.” Leaning on his lover, Kapkan licked his semen off Glaz’ body and left some redden kiss marks on his six-packs. “I mean, I never care of anybody so much until I met you,” Kapkan whispered while kissing Glaz’ neck, as another soft moaning coming out from his mouth. “I’ve thought it for a long while – maybe you’re a miracle happening in my life. I’m not religious, but what if the God makes me know you as a sign of that an awkward man like me can also have such the unique partner besides…… Amazing, isn’t it?”

“Then he’d be a God of sex. Gay sex.” Glaz frowned humorously.

“If it’s true, then I’ll happily put my belief in him.” Kapkan chuckled while cleaning the mess on them with a wet towel. “Let’s take the second turn. I want to have it inside me.” With a needy face, he then took some lube to message Glaz’ manhood, especially rubbed the fold of his foreskin, until it returned fully hard.

“Yes, yes, say it like a slut.” Glaz urged playfully, as Kapkan then straddled on Glaz and let his butts scrub the hard-on. It was like what he did earlier in the bath, except the affectionate blushing was more intense on his face.

Feeling Glaz’ precum wetting the gap between his two cheeks – certainly, including his entrance, Kapkan moaned desirously, “I've never tried this position. Gah, it’s too exciting to me……” After butt crack job ignited Kapkan to the highest degree, he put his buttocks right at Glaz’ erection and adjusted its angle with his right hand to prepare to get it in. “Ready?”

“Always.” Glaz grinned to push his partner, who was holding Glaz’ dick firmly with one hand and spreading his ass with another hand before hungrily began to eat the big cigar with his bottom mouth.

 

“Uh--ah……!” A sudden whine came out from Kapkan’s throat just at the same time of penetration. The wonderful longing sensation of getting Glaz’ magnificent shaft inside him again conquered every piece of his mind. He didn’t only rock his body up and down maniacally to eat Glaz in deeper and rougher, but also shook his waist in every pump to let Glaz hit his prostate precisely. “It’s fucking great……!” Pumped for several times, Kapkan’s movement slowed as he kept clenching his anal muscle to create more friction. His dick rocking along with his move was seized by Glaz, who pumped it rapidly as another delightful stimulation.

 

Minutes later, Kapkan leaned on Glaz while ass still moving, to let their upper body contact. Glaz’ then wrapped his arms around the hunter’s broad back. The couple’s near-orgasm faces were just an inch from touching each other, and they shared a common impulse to bump their mouths together. The deep and passionate kiss during sex further raised both men’s heat. Glaz also moved his hips forward and backwards to cooperate Kapkan’s rhythm and stretched out his empty right hand to hold Kapkan’ left. Immersed in the bliss of being so close to his partner, they both sense their second climax was coming.

 

“I……I’m so close, Timur.”

“I can see…… You’re enjoying so much being my bitch.” Glaz made a sweet and filthy whisper to his partner’s ear.

“Sh-shut up.” Kapkan groaned, “But yeah……I love you being inside me. Little tiger.

“I’m close too. Let’s go.”

 

Making the final kick, Glaz’ pressed his lips on Kapkan’s neck to make an ardent suck, as a plus to his dick inside the ass, and his right hand jerking him off – they pushed Kapkan over the limit. “Ah----! Timur--!” Screaming his lover’s name, Kapkan ejaculated a large amount fiercely over Glaz’ hand and their upper body, while still rocking his butts roughly and hard. Glaz kept fucking his partner, and it just took seconds before the blinding ecstasy overloaded Glaz’ all sense as he painted Kapkan’s gut with his musky white colour.

 

With Glaz’ all length still inside Kapkan, two exhausted men cuddled, stroked and kissed each other by the fading orgasm. Gently rubbing the pink-tone nipples on Kapkan’s creamy white and bulging chest decorated with some shallow scars and brown chest hairs, Glaz was satisfied at his partner’s heavenly figure and expressions during the sex they had eagerly expected in these days. Same with Kapkan, who was scratching Glaz’ hair and gazing at his light blue eyes glittering adoration. Touching the ring he gave Glaz – featured the blue topaz of similar colour– through their interlocking fingers, the sensation of happiness filled him again. They rested in that position for a moment as they didn’t summon any energy and intention to pull out. Kapkan completely laid on Glaz and silently closed his eyes, looked likely to fall asleep anytime. Glaz didn’t move either, but just keep caressing his partner on the back and whispering sweet nothings to his ears. It looked almost adorable and pure -- except Glaz’ semen slowly streaming along his soften penis inside Kapan, who was teasingly clenching his hole made the whole scene extraordinarily erotic.

 

“I think I can sleep even better with you filling my hole.” Kapkan purred in a soft tone.

“How dirty. Well, I hate to see its end either. But we must clean up and rest. Anyway, we’re going home tomorrow, right?” Glaz replied while kissing Kapkan’s face.

“It’s your home, not mine.” Kapkan retorted in a hilarious chuckle.

“It might depend on my parents. If they accept our relationship…… From now on, my home is also yours.” Glaz answered seriously.

“If they don’t, what will you do?” Kapkan questioned.

“It’d be awful. But I’ll never leave you even if my families tell me to do so. We’ll find a way to be together from now on, don’t you think so?” Glaz smiled, “No matter what, we can build our own family. We can even adopt one or two children. Anyway, there are many poor little souls in this world may need help.”

“Ha! Big dreamer.” Kapkan laughed while reluctantly lifting his body to leave Glaz’ cock, then turned around to show his ass to his partner, “Look at this creampie. Does it look filthy enough?”

 

“Oh my, it’s still flowing my cum.” Glaz laughed heartily while rubbing Kapkan’s bottom with his cream stained around the loose hole. “Let’s take a shower. Come on.” He patted Kapkan’s butts to direct him to go up, then he slowly got off the bed carefully to avoid any bumping against his braced ankle. He then let Kapkan hold his shoulders to go into the bathroom together. After finished clean-up, they snuggled down into the bed stark naked, cuddling each other to sleep. In the comfort of each other’s bosom, both men slept soundly like babies in this night.

 


 

 

The next morning.

 

Glaz started another day in his partner’s warm embrace. The scene was somewhat like some occasions of Kapkan staying in Glaz’ room; however, everything felt different now with the promise they made in mind. Now they were sure the happiest things in their life was seeing each other doing well at the start of each day.

 

When Glaz stretched his left arm to turn off his buzzing phone put on the nightstand (he set up the alarm last night), he sensed the specific object grown between his legs rubbed something warm tactilely resembled – Glaz didn’t need to check to know it was Maxim’s morning wood. He looked at his partner’s just-awoken face before he gave Kapkan a morning kiss, “Morning, dorogoy.”

“Morning, Timur,” Purred Kapkan, who held his erection to rub against Glaz’, “I changed my idea. It’s now the first thing I want to do to start this day.”

“Despite everything, it’s still you.” Glaz chuckled in a soothing voice.

“So are you. Still that boy so young and charming.” Kapkan yawned while transferring his hand to Glaz’ dick, touching him gently.

“By the way, it’s six o’clock. Although we’re now on vacation, we must keep our good habit to wake up in regular time, right?” Glaz kissed back as he also began touching his partner, “We can take a walk nearby, then have a comfortable hot spring bath again before the breakfast time in the restaurant starts. After we have it, we can rest a bit more before checking out and going directly to the airport.”

“Good pain.” Kapkan jumped off the bed and began dressing and throw Glaz’ clothes to him to let him take on. After they prepared, Glaz took his crutch in his left hand and let Kapkan take his right side to face the new day.

 


 

The afternoon, Taipei Taoyuan Airport.

 

Holding the boarding passes he received from the counter, one of them wrote Taipei to Seoul, and another one was Seoul to Vladivostok, Glaz realised it again: he was going to return to his hometown.

 

Glaz and Kapkan were both in their casual clothes -- what Kapkan wearing didn’t differ much from yesterday – the same camo short and leather flip-flops, along with the blue and white striped polo shirt. Glaz’ clothes consisted of the denim shirt he also wore on Kapkan’s birthday party, a pair of jeans and black trainers. All people nearby them just treat two Russian men as common visitors, no one recognised they belonged to the elite force who just protected this country from terrorism. As the members of Team Rainbow tended to conceal their identity from the public, it was just what they expected.

 

“You know, I took the airline to this country as well.” Kapkan pointed the screen displayed “Asiana Airlines” hanged above the check-in counter they just went to, “At that time I was so worried about your injury. Fortunately, you’re alive and on track of recovering. I think that all thanks to friends and comrades’ support.”

 

“You’re the most important support to me,” Glaz answered.

“I know you’ll say this.” Kapan cheerfully chuckled his reply. “By the way, will Nadia still be Vladivostok when we arrive there?”

“She will. I just contacted her via messages. And we’re going to have a home dinner on that day as a welcome.”

“So, if you want to tell them……” Kapkan reminded.

“It’s the best opportunity, certainly.” Glaz nodded.

“I think they will accept. I can’t imagine a family cultivates such a good man is prejudiced.”

“Anyway, our path is not easy at all. Don’t forget our nation still doesn’t accept same-sex marriage.” Glaz’ brows drew together while telling the harsh truth.

“No matter what happens,” Eyes glittering at Glaz’ face, Kapkan held his fiancé’s hands, “I’m always with you, Timur.”

“So am I. Wedding isn’t necessary to prove our bond.” Glaz replied, “But it might be a good idea to hold a small one in Hereford and invite all our teammates – It is Rainbow made us be together, so I think the whole base should be our witness.”

“Hmm, romantic. Yeah, we can consider this.” Kapkan grinned broadly while taking Glaz’ hand. “We should go to the boarding gate now.”

“Sure.” With the aid of his crunch and Kapkan’s hand, the lame sniper walked steadily. His injury was certainly the reason to his partner to take care of him much more attentively, and Glaz was comfortable and happy about it – with the man he trusted most who was not only his closest comrade, brother and lover, but also going to be his future husband. Family. “After so many years, we’re finally heading home now.”

Chapter Text

Vladivostok International Airport, 23th Jun 2017.

 

“Владивосток, я вернулся!” Timur widely spread his arms to embrace the air of his hometown as soon as in the arriving hall. It almost felt like a dream – after leaving this city to join the Cadet Corps in 17, he finally returned.

“It’s changed so much, hasn’t it?” Maxim glanced around the spacious terminal building with large glass windows displayed night sky.

“Can say it’s different. This city has developed so much in these years, after all.”

“Nadia will drive to pick you up, right?” Maxim kept asking.

“Yes, I owe her so much now.” Timur rubbed his nose. With the aid of his crunch, he then walked straight to the exit with his luggage.

“I can’t wait for meeting your family.” Maxim giggled while following his partner.

 


 

After the couple found out Nadia’s car waiting outside and met her there, Timur ran toward and immediately cuddled his sister tightly without any more word, while Timur patted Nadia’s back to console her.

 

Looking at Nadia’s camel-coloured hair reached her shoulder in length, and light blue eyes – which looked same to her brother, Maxim recalled the young woman he met in the funeral dream. The only difference was -- this time, the tear on their face was of joy.

 

“Oh, forgive my manner. Is the man your colleague?” Nadia asked after they released the wrapping arms.

“Yes. His name is Maxim.” Timur introduced his partner. “We’re close like brothers, and he also took care of me in injury.”

“I’m Maxim, nice to meet you.” Maxim extended his big hand to have a handshake with Timur’s sister.

“Nice to meet you too.” Nadia opened the door of her vehicle, “Come in.”

“How embarrassing, let my little sister carry me.” Timur chuckled while getting in the assistant seat, and he directed Maxim to sit in the back seat.

“You’re an injured man, and I don’t think you have a car here, do you?” After the ensuing two men had seated up, Nadia fastened the safety belt then turned on the engine.

“Well, you get it. But I’ve bought a car in England, as I predict that I’ll base there for a few more years.”

“Already have determined to be a global elite hereafter, no?”

“I’ve met many good people come from around the world in my job there. I never feel more satisfied.” Timur answered. “Of course, Maxim is one of them too.”

“I’m happy to hear that, Timur.”

 


 

“We’re here!” Nadia parked her car at her country house, “As it’s already before dawn, it might be a bad idea to disturb papa and mama now. So, you two can rest here before the dinner.”

“When you’re going to set off to England?” Timur asked.

“Monday morning. I think you’re lucky to leave the hospital on time. Anyway, let me guide you to your room here!” Nadia went to the door, “Oh, this is for you.” Before she opened the lock, she handed another butch of the key to her brother.

“Thanks.” Timur received the key with a beam.

 

“God, it’s luxurious.” After stepping in, Maxim immediately amazed at the extensive and elegantly decorated living room with comfortable-looking sofa and 65” LED TV. He never imagined he would ever have an opportunity to live in such the place. “The screen must be a kick-ass to watch a movie.”

“Unfortunately, I use it mostly for watching tennis matches to research my opponents’ techniques. I’m not into either movie or TV show.” Nadia giggled.

“Same to Timur. He only watches TV for soccer.” Maxim smirked.

“True. We are the sporty type of kin.” Timur laughed.

“By the way, you two don’t care about sleeping in the same bed, right?” Nadia continued as she took two men upstairs to the room she arranged, “Because there’s only a king size bed there.”

“Not at all.” The couple answered in unison and shared a tacit glance.

 

 

A bath was the first thing two men do after putting their bags in the room. They quickly removed their clothes and went to the bathroom with their towels at the waist.

 

And the bathroom was an undoubtful masterpiece. There was a sizeable built-in bathtub with the matte separator, an adjustable shower head, the ivory-colored wall was clean and shiny. They even noticed a lavender fragrance diffuser. The comfortable and relaxing atmosphere entirely soften two soldiers too used to be hard and sharp through their life, as they snuggled in the warm bath together with a lot of intimate stroking and kissing. They even gave each other a blowjob before finishing and going out.

 

After Timur and Maxim returned to their room, they leapt on the bed naked, rolled on the quilt and finished the day – even though the northern summer sun already rose at that time.

 

“As we barely had a proper rest on the flight, let’s ignore our regular time of waking up just for this time.” Timur murmured before felt asleep, while Maxim was nodding as agreement.

 

 

Next morning.

 

The couple slept exceptionally well in the comfortable bed and the lover’s embrace. Without his alarm’s notice this time, Timur slowly woke up first to check the time, “Ten o’clock.” He looked at Maxim’s still sleepy face, whispered softly, “We can stay in bed for a bit longer if you like.”

“Nah. I’m ravenous, I need something to eat,” Maxim replied with a smile, stroked Timur’s cheeks, pecked his lips before getting up. He might not notice it himself, but Timur clearly knew his partner got much more cheerful since their engagement. As if the merciless hunter who never minds himself dirty was another person, Maxim’s whole body was clean, and his nails were finely trimmed. Timur knew that he took care of them last night to give his family a good impression.

 

Timur got up too to take on his clothes. He also checked his phone and received Nadia’s message for the couple that she must make the final preparation with her coach for Wimbledon, therefore not to mind her and just take it as their home.

 

“We can use the kitchen to cook our brunch. Do you have anything in your mind?” Timur asked while going downstairs to the kitchen with the aid of his partner holding his arm.

“Well, blinis.” Maxim grinned at his answer, “Your blinis are always my favorite.”

“I have the same mind.” Timur chuckled, “And I’d like your help.”

“Does such an expert chef like you require other’s help?” Maxim mocked playfully.

“Come on, my ankle is still broken. And it’s enjoyable to cook together.”

“Well, you’re right.” Maxim raised his both corners of the mouth, “And I won’t lose you in making good blinis.”

“Yes, challenge me!” Timur laughed heartily while looking for a cupboard for ingredients. “There’s flours -- wheat and buckwheat, perfect. What’s in the fridge, Maxim?”

“Nothing special. Eggs, sour cream, smoked salmon and beets……”

“Ok, any jam?”

“One strawberry and one sour cherry.”

“Caviar?”

“I can never miss it.” Maxim shook a small jar of black Caspian caviar with a smirk.

“Ok then. How about Ikura?”

“What?” Maxim thought for seconds before realising what Timur requested. “Oh, you mean red caviar. Wow, here it is. Amazing.” Maxim found an unopened jar of red caviar at the top layer in the fridge.

“That’s perfect! Let’s start cooking.” Timur opened the drawer under the worktop. “I think aprons are here. Yeah, I get them.” He handed Maxim a grey checked apron and took a sky-blue one on.

“Does Nadia cook well too?” Maxim asked. “As there are many ingredients with good quality here.”

“Not so good at it. Both her coach and agent do better food than her.”

“Uh, hope that she gets a man good at cooking as well.”

“Tell you a truth.” Timur began mixing the flour, “She has a boyfriend now, a snowboard player. He hunts as a hobby and thanks to his family who runs a restaurant; he’s a master when it comes to cuisine. The fact was a slight irony to her, as she has commented the man too like me.

“Oh, my!” Maxim laughed, “Better not let her know that you’re making fun of this.”

 

The couple collaborated perfectly, and it didn’t take long for them to get the delicious pancakes out of the frying pan. They then took the final step -- stuffing them with different kinds of toppings: jams, sour cream, smoked salmon and dill weeds, beet caviar and walnut spread.

 

They also made some scrambled eggs with black and red caviar topping on it, which attracted Maxim’s eyes in its colorfully pleasing look. Timur took plates of the food along with freshly made coffee to the dinner table. In the meanwhile, Maxim opened the fridge again, “Coffee is not enough for me. I need liquor!” He grabbed a bottle of vodka and orange juice and mixed them in a glass, then added a few drops of mint syrup and some ice tube.

“I call it Kapkan's breaky-breaker.” Maxim turned his head to Timur with a smirk. “A wild impact to start the day!”

“Nice name. Give me one glass.” Timur chuckled.

“Who says he never drinks liquor in the morning?” Maxim lifted an eyebrow, questioned amusedly.

“Normally no. But this time is special, right?” Timur explained. “My first meal after going back to my hometown.”

“Yeah, I got it, you want something strong! Then I’ll make it so strong like a fuck, yes? My little tiger.” Maxim laughed and took another glass to make the same kind of mix then handed it to his partner, “Here you go!”

 

Timur immediately tasted the orange vodka drink, “Чудесно! (Fantastic!) Russian vodka is always the best.” A beam burst out in pleasure with a thumbs-up.

“The taste of home.” Maxim seated and gazed at the appealing blinis plate, “Both for the drink and the food!” He picked up a pancake roll with smoked salmon up with a fork then bite it down, followed by his chewing movement which appeared sort of funny in his partner’s eyes.

“What’s the taste?” Timur asked.

“Hmm! Вкусно! (Delicious)!” Maxim praised at once after swallowed it.

“The food we make together is the most delicious one.” Timur started his own too, as he took a blini with beet caviar in his mouth. Looking at his partner’s soothed face seemed like entirely forgot the tension of their last operation, Timur almost believed them to be an ordinary couple. That was right – in this vacation, they could temporarily leave their missions and services behind. Or they must do so, for the purpose to refresh themselves and enjoy their times together. It was just what they deserved after fighting a lot of wars and tons of terrorists for so many years.

 

After they finished the pleasing brunch, “Ok, let’s clean up together.” Timur stood up with a broad smile.

“Can’t escape this. Huh.” Maxim commented ironically.

“Come on, I just need you to help me to clean the worktop when I’m washing the dishes, dorogoy.” Timur’s smile got even broader while patting Maxim’s shoulders.

“Ok, ok.” Maxim groaned and began tidying up the worktop and taking a rag to rub the oak wood surface. It just took minutes to return it to clean and shiny condition like brand-new.

 

After finishing the breakfast, they went to laundry to wash their dirty clothes. Considering they didn’t have any clean clothes left as they had worn the same shirts and pants for two days at least, they decided to get them into the washing machine as well. As the washing and drying only took about an hour, and Nadia was in the training ground, they felt it was alright to stroll in the house in their underwear. “She says we can treat it like home. And I don’t like to wear clothes at home.” Maxim half-joked with a smirk.

“I think even if she catches us naked, she wouldn’t mind either.” Timur chuckled as he got their cloth inside the machine. He looked at Maxim’s Hilfiger boxer briefs of grey and black digital camo pattern curiously. “New pair?”

“Yeah, I only brought three pairs of boxers with me, as I predicted that I’d returned the base from my mission directly. Therefore, these days I barely have anything to wear.” Maxim said. “I get them when I was taken to the shopping mall. Seems like a famous brand from the US. A bit expensive, but stylish and comfortable. But anyway, I feel I’m always in shortage of clean clothes.”

“Because you always get them dirty so quickly.” Timur chuckled as he closed the door after added the detergent and pressed the button. “Fortunately, I don’t mind you strolling in our quarter butt naked. As well as this house.”

“Ha, if Nadia isn’t here, I’d truly get naked.” He leaned on the wall crossed-handed.

“And will you make breakfast in nothing but an apron, showing your big butts while making your sausage and egg?” Timur nudged Maxim’s chest in laughter.

“Haha, you get my mind.” Maxim hooked his partner’s shoulder, “To be honest, if I catch you making my breakfast naked, I’ll forget what you cook and just eat you up on the table.”

“Always think of new stuff, don’t you?”

“All for satisfying a sex fiend.” Maxim retorted while licking his lips playfully.

“Seems like we won’t have a boring day in this vacation,” Timur concluded.

 

Waiting for their clothes, as they have nothing better to do, they went back to their room as Timur texted his teammates regarding they had already arrived and done well. Maxim was reading a book regarding psychology. “Anyone replied?” Glanced at his partner putting down his phone, he asked.

“No, seems they’re all sleeping.”

“I’ve thought Shuh and Marius would stay up for their projects, uh, or another kind of project. Maybe they behave well this night.”

“Hey, this book seems interesting, can I read it too?” Timur moved closer, as their elbow in contact.

“Sure.” Maxim nodded and held Timur’s shoulder, while Timur was putting his hand on the hunter’s waist. The addicting skin contract might be an obstruct to them finish this book, but they were comfortable with it.

 


 

After about the hour, they took the cleaned and dried clothes from the machine with happy faces. “Wow, even this old telnyashka gets so clean and fresh.” He showed the long-sleeved striped shirt wearing inside that Vympel uniform.

“Telnyashka is always notable for its durability. Look, I also bring mine. A dark-blue sleeveless one.” Timur picked up his undershirt and took it on, followed by his military green trousers.

“Great. Show the arms of a true Russian man.” Maxim thumbed up with a beam, as he also took on his casual clothes.

 

The couple then went to the tennis count beside the house to watch Nadia training. Looking her in training suit consisted of an Adidas white tank, grey shorts and Stella Barricade Boost grey and lime shoes, taking every clean and agile action with a rachet to counter her coach’s big serves, Maxim felt himself being fascinated just watching this. It might be a dream -- a world-class athlete just foots distance from him. Well, he and Timur were world-class too, just in a different field. Maxim could sense Nadia’s occasional smile to him as if he was another fan – Maxim thought honestly -- she especially resembled her older brother when it came to smiling. If he was not turned gay by Timur, such the woman could hook his heart without an effort. He then looked at his fiancé sat beside him who was drawing with pencils to reproduce the fantastic moment of her flat strike on his sketchbook. Maxim was so sure; he could never get enough gazing at Timur’s shiny blue eyes while concentrating on drawing. They were already his favourite things ever existed in this world.

 

“Do you have any plan today then?” Maxim nudged Timur on the elbow after a moment of silence.

“Well, maybe back to my old house earlier to visit papa and mama.” Timur paused his pencil and answered.

“But you need a car to reach there, right?” Maxim questioned.

“I’m going to ask Nadia,” Timur put down his sketchbook and went up, walked in the court to talk with his sister for a minute before he went back. “She says we can use her boyfriend’s jeep. He’s gone back to his home in Sochi for his vacation.”

“Oh, great!” Maxim chuckled. “A guy back to his home creates convenience for another home-coming guy.”

“So, we might have to set off now.” Timur scratched his head.

“Of course, and do you think we should at least stay over there for a night?”

“It’s exactly my plan.” Timur patted his partner’s shoulder and went in the house. “Let’s packed up and go.”

 

Maxim got up while glancing at Nadia again, who was now practising her serving skill with a confident smile, a strange sensation covered him. Besides their talent, the supportive family undoubtedly played an essential role in the sibling’s success.

 

Recalling his family which was problematic – not only poverty but mostly his father’s abusing behaviour made little Maxim suffer and burden far more than the limit of a boy, he couldn’t stop feeling empty inside his mind. To him, such a good family like Glazkov’s was something too strange he even didn’t dare to dream of. Maxim used to live as a lone wolf to escape the shadow, used to arm his mind and convince himself he didn’t need anyone until he met Timur – the young man who made him so emotional, so vulnerable, yet so happy.

“From now on, my home is also yours.” Maxim meditated on the word Timur said while going back to their room and wished Timur’s parent could accept him. He had never been so nervous – being so close to a place he might also proudly call home.

 


 

Under Timur’s direction, Maxim drove to a residential area in the city, “It’s the secondary school I went to.” Timur pointed at a grey and flat concrete building they passed by the right side.

“Avenir went there too, right?” Maxim turned his head slightly.

“Exactly.” Timur answered, “Before we went to the city’s art school, of course. At that time, I was a quite popular boy as a star of the local team. Avenir was on exactly the contrary, always alone, observing and drawing at the corner.”

“I’m still amazed that you got along so well.”

“Same to me. But I really liked Avenir. I had many followers, but I somewhat couldn’t feel happy with them. And I came up with a sense that if I gave up football, they would leave me as well. The fact proved that I was right.”

“I know Nadia was not happy at your choice, how about your parents?” Maxim hit Timur with another question, made him fall in odd silence before he sighed while lowering his head regretfully.

 

“I spent some time to persuade them, promised that I’d study hard and be successful. But I’ve failed. As soon as Avenir was gone, my motivation had vanished, too. I was……lost. I tried to hang on, tell them I’m fine, and they also do the same. However, I know we’re not truly alright, but don’t have the courage to break the ice. Since the day I left home, we can’t share our true feelings anymore.”

“So, it’s the true reason you hadn’t returned home……” Maxim shook his head. “Even over your homosexuality?”

“Maybe everything just went not right since I chose to conceal my interest in the same gender. It’s quite a mistake, no?” Timur facepalmed.

“Anyway, you’re here, it’s the first step.” Maxim stated, “The next, you need to talk to them. If I ever do anything upsets you, you’ll tell me at once, right? Then you should do that to your parents and sister too.” He got hesitant for seconds before continued with a lower voice, “Listen, my home fucks up, and nothing I can do to change that. But I…… don’t want to see you end up like that with yours.”

“I’m surprised that you’d ever say something like that.” Timur glanced at his partner, “But I’m grateful. We’re almost there.” Timur pointed at a long, four-stored building featured many signs on the ground floor. “It’s the city’s most famous flower market, turn left, and you’ll see a cathedral. My home is opposite to it.”

“Alright.” Maxim followed. A minutes later, an aged red brick house caught his eyes, “This one?”

“Yes. We can park the car in the garage.” Timur replied. “Wait, where’s Avenir’s home……? God, it’s gone.” Next to the garage, which was the place Avenir’s home in this city supposed to be, was replaced by a new apartment construct, which made Glazkov’s house looked small in comparison. “Urban regeneration…… I should know that.” He sighed.

“If so, then maybe your house might be gone too in the future?” Maxim drove in to park the car.

 

“Can be. Nadia is trying to convince papa and mama to move to her house, as she already prepared another large room for them. But they refuse to give up here. And I understand their reason.” Timur explained while undoing the safety belt. Maxim followed him out, and the door of the house he spent whole childhood and most of teenage in was just in front of him. Even though Timur still had the key to the house – has the lock ever changed? – he chose to ring the doorbell after took a deep breath.

 

One second, two seconds…… The tension of uncertainty crossed him just before the door opened. Timur released his plunking forehead as soon as possible.

 

A mid-aged woman with short blonde hair, in a white shirt and black dress trousers came out the door, along with a Siberian Husky featured black and white coloured fur and sky-blue eyes like Timur’s. “You’re really back!” She immediately spread her arm to hug her son, as Timur cuddled back tightly without any word. Looking at his partner’s family reunion, he even didn’t sense his nose blown once.

Boyan, nice to meet you.” Timur kneeled to rub the dog’s head, which responded happily with shaking the tail.

“Lovely dog! I’ve seen his picture on your phone.” Maxim chuckled.

“Yeah. I mentioned that Polina passed away five years ago. Used to be Papa’s favourite hunting dog. Although he didn’t want a new one, Mama still got a new dog as she likes the home to be livelier.” Timur went up with a broad smile.

“Exactly. I wish he can make Dima happier just like Polina did.” Marina replied.

“Oh, how come I forget it.” Timur raised his hand to introduce his partner. “Here’s Maxim. One of my closest colleagues, he’s also having a vacation with me.”

“I’m Marina, Timur’s mother. Nice to meet you.” She gazed at Maxim with a smile and extended her hand.

“Um, nice to meet you too.” Maxim shook her hand.

“I’m calling papa to here,” Marina led two men into a seat in the living room, “Have you had lunch?”

“No, but Maxim and I have our breakfast pretty late today, so we don’t feel hungry,” Timur answered.

“You’re wrong. I’m already hungry.” Maxim interrupted.

“Hey. Where’s your manner?” Timur cocked an eyebrow.

“Oh, that’s ok! I’ve made some Pirozhkis.” Marina chuckled, “Let me take them here first!”

 


 

“Wow, it tastes simply wonderful. The best pirozhkis I’ve ever eaten.” Maxim chewed the pastry with a satisfied murmuring. Dimitry – Timur’s father, was already sat at the opposite of the table and just looked at his son and his son’s partner poker-faced. Maxim sensed the man’s unpleased behaviour making the whole atmosphere fall into awkward silence, which broken by Marina’s return with the tea her brew.

“It’s the tea Maxim brought from Taiwan.” Marina put the teacups in front of them and poured them the amber-colour toned aromatic liquid. Dimitry took it immediately to slip.

“Not bad.” He commented in a dull tone after drank up the cup, which let Maxim wonder if he was honest.

“So, papa, I’m going to stay here tonight, and plan to spend my whole vacation in this city. I’m happy to see you’re doing ok.” Timur said in a soft tone.

 

“……Why?” Dimitry frowned in doubt, replied coldly, “You have a lot of business. And I think such the boring place like here is not the best place for your vacation.”

Douchebag! Is it your greeting to your homecoming son after so many fucking years?” Maxim glared at Timur’s father again with the curse inside his mind.

“I miss you so much,” Timur answered sincerely.

“You have many things to care, and many good friends already. I’m just a boring, unpleasant and disabled old man. Most importantly, I’m unable to take you hunting anymore.” Dimitry hissed, “So, I can’t understand.”

“Enough, Dima.” Marina shook her head, “You’re not really thinking this way, are you?”

“Damn, how many times I have to tell you? DO, NOT, EVER, CONJECTURE, WHAT, I, THINK!” Dimitry roared in rage, and a sudden and heavy slap sound on the table shocked everyone, who gazed at him confusedly. In the next second, Dimitry stood up to leave, “I’m going back to the study. Don’t disturb me. You either, Boyan.” Stumbling out the living room, he raised his hand to stop Boyan from following him.

 

“He’s an arsehole.” After Dimitry left, Maxim whispered to Timur’s ears. “Comparing to him, Mike is already a kind man.”

“He’s always like that, not good at expressing feeling.” Timur sighed. “When he got grumpy, it means he’s anxious, and doesn’t know how to speak it properly.”

“God, why you don’t tell me earlier? Then I’ll take Caveira here to get him to speak!” Maxim joked in a snort.

“Oh, no, I don’t think it’s a situation she can help.” Timur laughed amusedly.

“Is Caveira your friend?” Marina asked curiously.

“Uh, yeah. My Brazilian colleague one year younger than me.” Timur scratched his head.

“She’s excellent in making any stubborn man speak. And hunting, too.” Maxim added.

 

“I see. You’ve made friends from over the world.” Marina chuckled while drinking the tea. “When you were a boy, you always desired to go to oversea to see different scenery. I’m glad to see you fulfilling this wish.”

“Did I?” Timur half-forced a smile.

“Yes, I still can remember the day you started playing football, you declared the wish to present the national team and lead it to champions.” Marina recounted.

“Oh, I recall it. In 1994, right? The first time our nation on World Cup since the dissolution. The result was not good. Nevertheless, it inspired me to play it.” Timur followed, “And then four years later, during the World Cup in France, did I say that I wanted to be the Zidane of Russia?”

“Certainly! And in teenage when you decided your path in arts, you were also ambitious to improve your skills to be the leading artists in the age. I mean, you are always same, looking outward to the world.” Marina’s smile faded in the middle of speaking, followed by a sigh. “It gets me sad to think of how Dima praised your potential and believed you would be the best. He was so cheerful and bright, popular among the friends and colleagues. Not like now.”

“The school siege changes everything,” Timur lowered his head, said in a sorry voice.

“I know you’re still sad for Avenir’s death,” Marina replied.

“It would be a lie if I say I’m over with it. But I try to live up positively and keep this nation and this world safe. It’s the best way to honour him.” Timur straightened his posture, “Anyway, do you need any help for dinner? I know you might be busy as well……”

“No, I take a day off just for this, and it has mostly decided and prepared.” Marina soothed her face and got up, “But you may have some idea to add to our menu?”

“Definitely. I’ve improved so much in these years. Let me amaze you!” Timur rubbed his hands together and went up too, “Maxim, carry me to the mart, let’s buy some stuff.” He turned to his partner, who kept listening to the mother and son’s dialogues carefully.

“Uh…? Sorry, I’m too concentrated.” Maxim raised his head, “Ok, of course.”

Chapter Text

After going out for an hour, the couple returned with the groceries they bought.

“So, we got some sliced codfish, potatoes, broccoli, and mushrooms.” Maxim arranged the ingredients on the worktop. “What are you going to do with them?”

“As Mama already made roast beef, maybe we can boil the fish. How about Casserole? I think codfish and potatoes make perfect companies.”

“Aww, it would be delicious!” Maxim clapped his hands. “Let me dice the fish and potatoes first.”

 

They prepared the dish in a cheerful mood, as Marina joined them shortly later to make final preparation for the dinner. She told Maxim he didn’t have to help as he was a visitor, but Maxim insisted with a grin, “Come on, I don’t like to stay on the couch doing nothing. I’ve helped Timur with so many things.”

 

“Oh my, you two are really kind to each other.” Marina chuckled with an amused eye expression. Two men got a bit flattered at her words, gazed each other with wide-opened eyes.

 

When they were finishing making the dinner, Nadia opened the door, “Good evening! Mama, Timur and Maxim.” She immediately seated at the table, which most of the dishes for dinner were already arranged on it, “The food looks and smells great!”

“Evening. Seems like you already treat me as a family member?” Maxim turned to Nadia, half-joked his greeting.

“If Timur already sees you as a family, why don’t I?” Nadia blinked with a funny comment.

“Uh……” Hearing his sister’s subtle words, Timur gazed at his partner blankly, who just giggling without any reply. The awkwardness was broken by the oven’s clear tinkle. “Oh, my casserole is done!” He turned to the oven and open it.

“Let me check,” Maxim approached, “Wow! Look at the nice golden colour!” he put on the oven mitts and took the pan to the table.

“The dinner is ready!” Marina also placed the rest of the dishes for this dinner on the table.

“How long we haven’t had such a nice dinner like this? And with all of us.” Nadia exclaimed in delight.

“I’m calling Dima here!” Marina went to the study to call her husband for dinner.

 


 

“Timur, your casserole is glorious! I know you’re always wonderful at cooking.” Maxim took the serving spoon, readied to make more of the dish.

“He must be the best as I taught him cooking.” Marina chuckled while pointing at the salad bowl. “You can try my beetroot salad with my original walnut sauce too!”

“Walnut sauce? Wait, I think Timur made the similar dish before.” Maxim’s eyes brightened as he also took some of it, “Splendid!”

“You’re eating too fast, Maxim!” Nadia giggled at Maxim gobbling like a hungry wolf.

“He’s always like that. Having each meal like has starved for three days.” Timur shook his head with a funny beam.

 

Comparing the pleasant atmosphere among other family members, Dimitry just ate the dinner slowly without any word and expression. He had the casserole as well, but no one could read if he liked it or not from his slightly furrowed forehead.

“Papa, do you like it?” Timur found the strange of his father, turned to him and asked.

“Yes. Everything in the dinner is fine.” Dimitry answered after swallowed, face still looked dull.

“That’s good. I’ve thought it might not fit your taste.” Timur lifted the corners of his mouth.

“You looked much happier than the day you left home.” Dimitry turned his sight at Maxim, who already immersed in the cheerful atmosphere with the mother and daughter. “And apparently, you’ve made another good friend. How long have you got along?” Dimitry asked.

“Not so long. Just about two years.”

“Aw, and you two already look like a pair of old comrades know everything of each other……”

“Yes, and I want to share the joy with you,” Timur answered earnestly, “This is the reason I’m here, papa.”

Dimitry lowered his head, put his right hand on his forehead, “I lost Iashvilli’s to the School Siege, and then I lost you. I tried to convince myself that you’re doing the good work and you’ll do all ok, but obviously, I still feel empty. And I don’t know…… how to deal with it.” He raised his head again, “Timur, I mean, I don’t want to be your burden. Seeing you here care about me makes me feel more sorrowful, you know that? You have too many things to pay attention to.”

 

For our sake, stop thinking like that, Papa.” Suddenly, Timur’s eyes sharpen with a strong reply, made others stop chatting to gaze at them. “You have cultivated me to a good man, and always makes me so proud. When I’m in the mission, I’m thinking of you, thinking that I’m protecting you, Mama and Nadia along with our country; therefore, I must work hard, be safe and I can keep doing the job.” He continued with a tear rolling in his eyes, “You’re not my burden, not even for a second. In fact, I can keep on because of you. All of you.”

 

“Good job, Timur.” Maxim murmured while clenching his fists.

“Well……” Dimitry got shocked while slowly tilted his head speechlessly.

“I know your feeling, as I also used to keep everything on my shoulders before, hated to get everyone around me worried so that I could be stronger. But I was wrong. In these years, I’ve realised that the real strength is having someone who is willing to take cares of me and loves me beside. I’d like you to understand it too.” Timur concluded while glancing at his partner.

 

“Have you found the one?” Dimitry inquired, “The one you love and probably has promised to be with you in the future. Why she doesn’t come here?” He gazed at the ring on his son’s hand curiously.

The uneasy silence felt down. Looking at the father and son in awkwardness, even a calm man like Maxim also felt his holding hands beginning to make sweat. “Timur, please, now……!” He closed the eyes to pray, while Nadia noticed his ring – same kind to what Timur wore – on his right ring finger.

“What, really……?” Nadia’s mouth widened, couldn’t believe what she saw and thought of was true.

“Nadia, what happened?” Noticing her daughter’s odd expression, Marina turned to her and asked in concern.

“Uh, nothing.” Nadia made it up and kept paying mind on her father and brother.

 

A minute passed, before Timur’s eye expression soften, and explained in a low voice.

“Papa. The one I love is already sitting beside me.”

 

“Что вы имеете в виду? (What do you mean?)” Dimitry felt like his head was heavily hit by his son’s words and his jaw dropped. “You mean…… Maxim?”

 

“Correct. And we’re engaged.” Timur stated while showing the ring. “We see each other as the only one in our life, and we’ve decided to build our life together. Papa, I’m sorry for telling you this so late, but I’m into men from the start.”

 

“No, no, impossible. How come you are gay?” Fear overtook his face, Dimitry grasped, “Did you and Avenir go like that too?”

 

Timur nodded slowly with a regretful expression.

 

“It’s…… I, I don’t know.” Dimitry facepalmed while leaving the seat. “I need time to clear my head. Pardon me.” He then walked to the study slowly, while Marina tried to yell him stop, but the voice reduced to low whimpering.

 

“Timur…… Now I know why Avenir’s death made you feel so grieving.” Marina mumbled, “I’m sorry.”

“I didn’t speak to you at that time but locked the feeling inside me instead. It’s my fault.”

“I’m glad that you decide to tell us now. Dima is a good man, and I believe he’s trying to understand you. Just give him some time, alright?” Marina went up and clost to Timur, held his hand gently.

“I know.” Timur nodded.

 

“So, when’s the wedding? I should show up.” Nadia attempted to ease the tension in the air.

“I’m not sure we will have. Whatever, this country doesn’t accept it.” Timur answered honestly, “Maybe a small one in England. I won’t forget to invite you if it’s on the case.”

“Then I’m going to fill you in a fancy wedding dress.” Maxim grinned, “Right? My Eastern Beauty?

“No, you’re the one going to wear a dress. Along with high heels and make-up!” Timur retorted in laughter.

“Aww, it would be a hilarious view. No one will buy it, except you and me.” Maxim responded, “Or we can just wear our suit. Do you have it?”

“The most formal thing I have is my dress uniform.”

“Same.” Maxim chuckled while going back to the dinner, “A military wedding? It just sounds like us.”

 

“So, Maxim, are you staying here tonight?” Marina asked, “There’s only a single bed in Timur’s room. It might be a problem if you want to sleep over –”

“I’d set a bedroll and sleep on the floor,” Timur answered.

“Nah, it’d be ridiculous if you can’t sleep on your old bed!” Maxim refused, “Or let me take the bedroll?”

“Donkey. You’re a visitor, how can I have you sleep on the floor?” Timur frowned.

“Oh, we can snuggle up in the bed!” In a flash, Maxim laughed heartily, “We’ve not only slept on a single bed in each other’s room once, right?

“Ok then, so you’re going to be my bedroll.” Timur remarked ironically, “I can’t think of anything more comfortable.”

“Yes, and let’s pray your old bed won’t collapse.” Maxim’s voice got louder as Timur, Marina and Nadia all joined his laughter.

 


 

This night.

 

Just finished his shower with damp hair and his tower at the waist, Timur returned to his old room – the place he used to sleep here in the first 17 years of his life. Leaving home for so long, Timur initially thought he already forgot what it looked like, but as soon as he stepped in, the feeling of familiarity crossed him as if he had never left. His partner was now sitting on the bed idly in his underwear, as he had already taken his shower before Timur. He knew the hunter’s body was always eye-catching, but what drew his attention this time was his wandering eyes like a curious boy. “Maxim, hey. What’re you doing?”

“Oh.” Maxim stopped looking around and locked on Timur, “I’m just thinking. Your old room is clean and cosy.”

“So?” Timur sat down by his side.

 

“It’s……” Head bending forward, Maxim murmured while hand rubbing the light blue bed sheet with polar bear illustrations, “It’s exactly the kind of room I had dreamed of having during my whole childhood. I must look stupid thinking this, no?”

“Not at all.” Timur patted his partner’s shoulders.

“I’m not sad about it, but just feel strange, very strange,” Maxim whispered before he transferred his sight to the wardrobe in the room. “I wonder what’s in the closet?”

“Nothing special but my old clothing.” Timur got up to the wardrobe then opened it, “There’re my old shirts – I wonder if I can still wear them? I don’t think they’ll fit.”

“You can try!” Maxim urged.

“Oh no, I’m not ruining them.” Timur replied with a grin, “Let them keep in the original state.”

“Come on! They’re just clothes!” Maxim jumped off the bed, grabbed the shirt from his partner’s hands and put it on him. Just as Timur’s prediction, it could hardly fit, as his arms looked likely to burst out the sleeves anytime. He left the shirt unbuttoned as he didn’t think he could make the left and right fly meet across his bulging pecs without ripping the fabric.

“Let’s check your pants.” Maxim then randomly chose a drawer to open.

“Wait, that’s……” Timur raised his hand and tried to stop, but it was too late.

Maxim swayed a pair of blue plaid boxers in front of Timur, “Look! Your teenage undies?”

“Oh, after being neglected for many years, it must be so loose.” Timur laughed while removing the towel and put the underwear on. “Well, not as bad as I thought.” The boxers were comfortable and without any fray or looseness, which surprised Timur so much. He exploratorily pulled the waistband for several times and let it bounce back to his waist.

“Maybe your parents have prepared new ones here for you, just in case you’ll come back anytime? You know, the room has been vacant for more than 12 years, but still in a perfect condition. They must take care of it regularly, no?” Observing his partner half-dressed amusedly, Maxim conveyed his supposition.

“As you mention it, I remember Mama asked me my current size in the phone call three years ago. So, it might be possible?”

“Ok, then let’s search for your trousers……” Maxim extended his hands into deeper the closet, then he found a Kraft paper covered package. “Why this thing is in the closet?”

 

“Let me check.” Timur bends over to take the parcel after took off the too-small shirt. “God. It’s……”

“Special to you?” Maxim questioned, “Wait……”

“It’s from Avenir. I recognise his handwriting.” Timur’s hands trembled by holding the package he ignored for 13 years.

“Let me open it.” Grabbing his knife, Maxim took over the package and open it, and took out an A3-size loose-leaf sketchbook. “They’re all drawings. And some letters attached to them.” They then sat on the bed together to take a clear view of it.

 

“So, what’s the first one?” Timur started from the first page of a drawing depicting a house. “Hi Timur, how are you going? This is the first day I move into this house. Last time we live in Beslan was in squeeze in a small unit of an old apartment. This time we have a new house. It looks all good, despite makes me feel a bit lonely, technically -- as you know there are just three in my family. Maybe we should get a dog like your Polina? Oh, wouldn’t you mind greeting her for me? Best wishes, Avenir.” He read the letter attached to it in the quiver.

 

“Let’s see the next one.” Maxim looked at the next page of the pencil sketch of a building. “Oh my, I know where it is. Mukhtarov Mosque.”

“The one in Vladikavkaz? What’s in the letter?” Timur inquired before Maxim began reading.

“Hi Timur, how are you going? This day I go to Vladikavkaz with Papa to buy some art supplies. I love the building there! Especially this mosque. I’m an Orthodox, but I think my artistic mind always has a place for beautiful and sacred Islamic style architectures. I wish everyone living in this land can get along peacefully, no matter Christian, Muslim, Georgian, Ossetian and Russian. I’m so proud to be a Georgian living in the Russian motherland and to have a gorgeous Russian friend like you. Warmly, Avenir.” Maxim finished reading the second letter with tears. “Damn. Doing this makes me so sad.”

 

Page by page, these vivid drawing and messages combined to Avenir’s ordinary life in that summer vacation – the last two months of the lost young soul. And their eyes went to the previous piece in the art journal. It was a watercolour painting of an Orthodox cathedral featured Byzantine style sizeable central dome, and a bronze equestrian statue on an enormous granite standing in front of it. The scene seemed like to be in winter as the white snow covered the ground and the top of the giant stone pedestal. Finally, two black silhouettes were walking in the snow, and their holding hands were conspicuous despite their smallness comparing to the cathedral and sculpture. The rough, unrefined strokes somewhat implied Avenir might do it in a hurry.

 

“It’s the scenery of Saint Petersburg.” Timur conjectured, “Avenir had never been there, so the painting must be imaginary.”

“Maybe he visited there in the vacation?”

“Impossible. He promised me that he would only go there for the first time in the company of me.”

“Read the last letter.” Maxim handed the letter to Timur.

 

“Hi Timur, how are you doing? Just soon later, I’m going to the post office to send this journal to you! I’m in a little rush of the last one as I came up with the idea suddenly. Ok, let me tell you a good thing first. A lecturer belongs to the Imperial Academy of Arts who is an old friend to my father visited us today! I share my work with him while he approved my technique and supposed that I will pass the admission test smoothly if I take it with my best effort. I am so flattered.

 

Besides that, I recommend you to him as my best art fellow who gives me tons of inspiration, and I let him see your painting of the cherry tree in the house! He was amazed! It made me ever happier than any praise for me, to be honest. And he told me that he’s looking forward to guiding such young talents like you and me in the next year. I can’t wait to see you in Saint Petersburg! So, this painting describes my dream.

 

I’ve seen Surikov’s painting of The Bronze Horseman in a book, and I love it so much, so I try to draw from it as a practice. I wish I can see the actual one. It must be a spectacular view.

 

I suppose the next semester has already begun when you receive the journal. Wish you the best of luck for your study and artworks and see you in the next year!

 

Warmly, Avenir”

 

Tears streaming down Timur’s cheeks while he finished reading the letter in a stammer. Maxim wrapped his arms around his partner firmly, whispered, “Timur, if you feel so sad, you can cry as loud as you like, alright?”

“Directly seeing that what I lost, it’s……too much.” Timur whimpered, “It’s already past so long, but still……”

“You don’t need to force yourself to put it down.” Maxim consoled, “I think…… Avenir would be grateful at your mind always having a place for him.”

 

“Don’t you feel jealous?” Suddenly, Timur asked humorously after wiped off his tears.

“What?” Maxim exclaimed, “Why should I be jealous? I know that well first love is irreplaceable. And I’m not a possessive type. I even allowed Alexsandr to join our sex!”

“Haha, just kidding.” Timur pulled his partner’s left cheek, “And you’re so cute defending yourself so nervously.”

“Arsehole.” Realising Timur was teasing, Maxim groaned in a mix of annoyance and amusement.

“But recently, I don’t feel so sad about him. It’s not that I’m leaving him behind, but I suppose I’m starting to make peace of it.” Timur asked with a smile, “Do you want to hear the reason?”

“Yeah. You have whetted my appetite.”

“Remember the dream I mentioned when I woke up in the hospital? I met Avenir in a magical world…… Like an afterlife.” Timur recounted, “It’s an amazing experience. And seems like he already knows about you and supports our relationship. We had a good time together before saying goodbye, then I saw you greeting me. I’ve always thought it’s a message from him, telling me that don’t have to be sorry for him anymore.”

“I can’t tell if it’s real near-death experience or it’s just your dream for that three days in a coma, but whatever. It comforts you, so it’s a good thing.” Maxim nodded.

 

“You’re right.” Timur knocked his fists together with shiny eyes, “Oh, I just come up with the idea. I must give the last tribute to him. A large and detailed painting just like the one features cherry tree. It will be my major task in this vacation.”

“Most of your painting tools are in this house as well, right?”

“Yes. I think I need to get new colours and oils. But my easel and palette might be still in good condition.” Timur answered and went up to turn off the light, “Save this for tomorrow. We should sleep now.”

“Lay down on me,” Maxim smirked while laying down, taking his fiancé over him, and put the quill onto his back.

“Can we even get asleep in the position?” Timur sighed as he supported his body on arms and knees to avoid put all his weight on Maxim.

“Maybe not, but I love being so close to you.” Maxim held his partner closer and gave him a good-night kiss. Started from a firm contact between their lips, then developed into a passionate tongue wrestling. Their hands were tracing along each other’s ripped back in the meanwhile, from nape to waist, then they pulled down their boxers at the same time to stroke the exposed buttocks. Then the rubbing between their thighs and intimate parts were turning them on, as the members gradually aroused and stuck out their underwear.

 

“Maxim, are you sure? Making that thing on my old bed……” Sporting blushes, Timur groaned in embarrassment. “At least, we must be careful. You know, this bed is not sturdy like the steel ones in our barrack.”

“And keep our moans from being overheard.” Maxim chuckled in a soft voice. “Oh my, it would be difficult for us, as we’re both so loud like beasts during sex.”

 

“Let’s try. Take it very softly, can you do that?” Timur stretched his left arm to his bag, which his Gun Oil put inside. He slowly massaged the lube on his partner’s jutting out erection. The adept fingers pleasing Maxim’s members already let him produce precum. Afterwards, Timur removed his underwear then strode on his partner, holding the dick to put it inside him. “Aww.” A short and exciting moan voice came out, as Timur withdrew his hand and shook his hips slightly to let his anal muscle do the job.

 

The constant sucking on his glen and Timur’s mischievous smirk was making Maxim impatient. He had never known that he would be teased like this. “Can’t you move for a bit more?” Maxim complained in a little dissatisfied.

“Alright, don’t make too much voice, dorogoy.” Half-closed his eyelids, Timur push down his hips a little deeper slowly, before pulling out again, then pushed back for deeper – he repeated the movement for several rounds until he absorbed all length. Timur then paused moving his butts and leaned on his partner to share a deep kiss.

 

Maxim thought he could lose his soul for being so close to Timur’s passionate face. His hands wandered on Timur’s lower back and then his firm bottom cheeks. He rubbed and grabbed them with a significant force as an urge for more.

 

Timur's tongue tip traced across Maxim's chin and neck. The warm and wet touch occupied his sense and made him barely hold a grasp. Maxim always knew his partner was a resourceful man able to play everything in his way, even though he was the one being penetrated.

 

Then Timur started to move again, with a more considerable extent and force, but still with carefulness. It was pure bliss, thinking about getting his loved one home and making that thing in his room. Despite it would feel even better if he didn’t have to concern the wooden bedframe vaguely produced dissatisfied grinding noise following their move.

 

They cuddled ever closer as their arms wrapped around each other tightly and feeling the pulsing member in the middle of their abdomens was driving Maxim mad. He didn’t even notice the moment he came while diving in the comfortable warmness from his partner. Timur kisses his partner softly again as he especially licked and sucked Maxim’s noticeable scar on his lips. “How do you feel?” Timur patted his cheek with a giddy question.

“I think I start to like this soft, gentle type of sex. And the position.” Maxim chuckled his answer, “Don’t tell me it’s your first time for this position too?”

“It is. Well, let’s think our love can always find the way.” Timur grinned while pulling out.

“Damn. Don’t make me laugh! I don’t want to wake your parents.” Maxim barely held his laughter before it was decreased to a weird groan, then he took some tissues to clean themselves roughly. “Let’s get asleep now, shall we?”

“Certainly.” Timur moved beside his partner and laying on side, while Maxim also shifted to the same position. The pleasure after the sweet quickie drew them to the heavenly dreamland in a flash, as when they went back to their heads, the morning sunshine already scattered on their bodies through the windows.

 

“Hmm, morning, Timur.” Lazily getting up, Maxim greeted his partner, who was still laying on the bed. “What’s the time? Seems like we didn’t set the alarm last night.”

“Just five minutes past six.” Timur checked his phone, kissed Maxim’s cheeks before jumping off the bed.

“Oh, we didn’t wake up so late today.” Maxim chuckled.

“We might need to take another shower now.” Timur frowned while pointing at the obvious mark on his partner’s lower belly. “Look, my dried cum is still stained on you.”

“Oh no! What a view!” Maxim exclaimed in half-joking, “You’re right, let’s go!”

 


 

  

After the couple quickly finished the shower, they put on their towels then clung together in front of the sink to wash their face, brush their teeth and shave their bread with chatting and laughing in delight, which was broken by a sudden door opening sound. They paused their hand movement and turned their head together, “Uh, oh.” Maxim exclaimed.

 

A bald head man stood at the door to the bathroom, wearing a grey short boxed beard, a pair of half-lid sleepy eyes and white briefs with fly front. Exactly the man was Dimitry, Timur’s father, and it was the first time Maxim took a “naked” view on his potential father-in-law’s. Sharing the same height, he was not so muscular like his soldier son, but his body was appropriately sturdy as the pecs, abs and biceps line are still conspicuous even though faintly concealed by some fat. The dark grey body hair mainly grew on his chests, lower arms and legs were also eye-catching. His light azure irises were same in colour, shape and even size to his son and Maxim believed it was sort of Glazkov’s trademark.

 

While Maxim was immersed in his short observation, “Good morning, papa!” Timur greeted his father energetically, and Dimitry was surprised by his son’s joyous mood.

 

“You two seems quite…… I shouldn’t disturb you. Pardon me.” Rubbing his nape, Dimitry murmured while turning back to leave, before Timur paused him.

“Papa, you can stay here, don’t worry.”

“But as you are occupying here, I can’t do anything,” Dimitry replied neutrally.

“I just want to talk to you, come on.” Timur took his father’s left hand which lacked strength due to his illness, with a pair of loving eyes. “I know you’re in difficult in these years, but you still hold on, convince me everything is alright and nothing to worry about. I’m sorry about this, Papa.”

“I think I just don’t know how to express my weakness.” Dimitry sighed in a low voice, “Timur, I wish the Papa in your image is always the outgoing and cheerful man excellent in hunting, teaches you many things and makes you be a good person. But I’ve become so powerless and helpless now and has completely ruined it.”

“Papa! Don’t think like that, I’m always proud of you.” Timur shook his head. “Even though you can’t take me hunting at now, it won’t change anything.”

“What will you say if you see this?” Pressing his lips together, Dimitry showed him a pack of medicine in his right hand.

 

“It’s……Sertraline?” Timur looked at the medicine and got astonished. “Papa, you’re taking anti-depressant! Why don’t you tell me earlier? I’ve thought you only got a stroke......God.” Timur wept while covered his mouth, as Maxim patted his shoulder for comfort.

“They’re kind of relevant, I think.” Dimitry continued, “Years ago – I can’t remember, maybe just after you left home to join military, I attempted to pay attention to everything I liked to feel better. However, I found out I couldn’t enjoy it anymore. I can’t stop the sensation of emptiness, no matter how hard I tried.”

“And you went to a doctor.”

“Yes, in secret. I didn’t want anyone to know, as I thought it’s just my own problem. It seemed like a death circle. I worked hard to escape the feeling, but it got stronger instead, then I felt more eager to cast it off.”

“Whatever, it’s good that you choose to tell me this, Papa. It’s important, and I’m so happy that you tell me the truth.” Timur asked. “But can I hear your reason for not hiding it anymore?”

 

“Mostly, your coming out to me yesterday makes me realise that if I keep hiding my ugly secret after you choose to reveal yours, it feels just unfair and stupid.” Dimitry looked at his son in earnest eyes, “Another is, last night after the dinner, I searched the Internet, and I found some articles written for parents who have their children coming out as gay. It calls out my consciousness of what I’ve ignored. I want to tell you, you don’t do anything wrong. It’s just your nature. And you’re not facing this alone.” Dimitry bowed his head apologetically, “It’s my fault, Timur. I never care about your feeling in these years, neither try to understand you. I’m a coward.”

 

“Not at all, Papa. From now on there’s nothing hidden between us. You just need to take care of yourself a bit better, alright?” Timur cuddled his father in arms, whispered in a comforting tone. Seconds later, Maxim approached them and wrapped his arms around his shoulders.

“Thanks,” Dimitry released their embrace with a faint smile, then wiped off a small lump of shaving foam just stuck on his face. “Anyway, I’m going out to wait for you guys. Call me when you finish.”

After Dimitry left the bathroom, the couple gazed at each other’s funny half-shaved face with white foams around mouth and chin and laughed despite themselves in unison.

 


 

 

The couple went to the dining room for breakfast after they finished the grooming and dressed up. While Marina already began doing it, Timur went straight to help his mother, as he started grating some potatoes and onions. The others seated at the table – Maxim and Nadia sat down first, then Dimitry arrived after a few minutes. He seemed somewhat nervous and apological, and Maxim already knew the reason, so he launched a topic about his first hunting trip with Timur in the forest in Sikhote-Alin mountain ranges in a short vacation two years ago, before formally joining the Rainbow.

 

After several trips they went together, it was still the couple’s unique memory. Indeed, Maxim tried his best to focus on their hunting and skip the steamy parts. Just as his prediction, Dimitry reacted excitedly on his story, as he told Maxim he took Timur to the same forest when his son was 15. When he went to the part of how Timur shot down a bear with his rifle on a large yew tree and received cheers from others afterwards, Maxim could read a feeling from his dancing hand gestures and bright expression – pride and joy. The happy atmosphere occupied them too much to notice the breakfast was already on the table.

 

It was a sumptuous breakfast in consist of Kasha with mushrooms, fired pelmeni, Okroshka (both from the remaining of the last dinner), boiled eggs and a small salad bowl mainly contained lettuce leaves and cherry tomatos decorated with raisins and the walnut dressing. Finally, there were potato pancakes with applesauce Timur made -- the perfect golden-brown colour caught his eyes, and the pleasing smell made Maxim feel slavering.

 

“Amazing! I don’t think it’s Russian style,” Marina tasted the pancake delightfully and turned to her son, “Where did you learn it, Timur?”

“It’s Kartoffelpuffer,” Timur answered. “One of my German colleague names Monika is excellent in making this, and she taught me with the recipe.”

“It’s delicious. I think you already surpassed me in cooking.” Marina praised.

“No, you’re overpraising.” Timur shook his hand shyly.

Others also took a Kartoffelpuffer and bit it down, before giving Timur a thumbs-up, which provoked Timur flattered blushing on his face.

 

During the breakfast, Dimitry confessed his year-long mental issue to others, who kindly expressed their console and understanding. After suppressing it for many years, families’ support was just what the 55-years-old man needed.

 

Timur also told them his planning project dedicated to Avenir. Holding a rough idea nevertheless, he didn’t know how it will come out as he had not developed any large and detailed artworks for so many years. But he knew he must start it now, as it might be his best opportunity to do it before he went back to his services again. His families were supportive and cheered for him. Maxim, as his top audience and muse at now, just gazed at the sweet family scene relaxedly.

 

“Maxim, can I tell you something?” In the meanwhile, Dimitry’s voice caught his attention.

“What’s it?” Maxim turned to Timur’s father and replied.

“Can you take care of Timur for us? I mean, he had a strong sense of responsibility, and maybe too strong to care of himself. You might need to help him out if he took too much pressure on his shoulders.” Dimitry requested in a sincere voice.

“Don’t worry, Dimitry. I already know it well.” Maxim grinned at his reply. “And I certainly will do, as we’re……”

“Engaged?” Dimitry’s eye expressions got softer, and a slight but confirmed smile formed on his face. “Well, I see. Then you’re also a part of Glazkov’s from now on, Maxim. And you can just call me ‘Dima’ or ‘Papa’ hereafter.”

Hearing Dimitry’s words, Maxim could barely hold his excitement inside his mind. They did it. All Timur’s families had accepted their relationship. Maxim turned his head to another side, then found his fiancé beside looking at him with a smile of joy.

“Thank you, Papa.” Turning back to Dimitry, Maxim expressed his honest gratitude.

“No, it’s me must thank you. For helping me to realise what I have neglected for a long time.” Dimitry nodded and patted Maxim's shoulders as a sign of trust, “That’s all. Enjoy your vacation.”

 

Then their topic changed to Timur’s birthday in the next week then they decided a party in Nadia's country house as she was happy to let her proud families use it. Despite being unable to attend, Nadia promised that she would prepare a special gift for that day, which she would save it as a surprise. “How will you give this gift from England, anyway?” Maxim inquired curiously, but just received her playful reply, “You’re free to guess!”

“Aww, like brother, like sister.” Kapkan groaned humorously while recalling Timur’s similar behaviour on his birthday present this May.

 

After they finished the breakfast, Nadia went straight to the airport to fly to Wimbledon, and the couple went to their plan to buy art supplies in the downtown before returning to the country house. They said goodbye to and cuddled each other before their departure.

 

During this day, a twirling flutter of happiness made the hunter usually stayed focus couldn’t stop his stupid smiling and wandering mind. Timur noticed Maxim’s unusual cheerfulness when they were picking oil painting colours in a shop, “You look so light-hearted today.” He asked kindly.

“Uh, yeah. Thinking that I’m approved as a member of your family, I still feel like in a dream.” Maxim lowered his head in blush, “It’s just too blissful to believe.”

“Things still remain are certainly a wedding, and you might have to be referred to as Mrs Glazkov hereafter.” Timur approached his partner with a broad smirk and whispered his joke.

“No way!” Maxim retorted in a low voice in concern of being listened, “I don’t like my original family notwithstanding, don’t even think of changing my last name, idiot.”

“Just kidding.” Timur tongued out while taking the shopping basket to the counter. Maxim snorted laughter, a proof of being amused rather than annoyed while gazing at his partner’s relaxed face appeared like already set in the vacation mood.

 

“So, what to do next?” Maxim asked while getting out of the shop.

“Maybe just take a walk around to see if there’s a good view for my artwork,” Timur answered.

“Good idea!” Maxim lovingly took his partner’s hand, the fascinating view of Zolotoy Rog reflecting the sunshine just in front of him. He was certain the scenery might give the artist besides him inspiration. Thinking of his words again – “from now on, my home is also yours.” It finally became true, and he could proudly introduce Timur as his husband. Everything now felt so different between them, and it was a right way.

Chapter Text

Hereford Base, 29th June 2017.

 

Recent days of Team Rainbow was extraordinarily peaceful after they returned from the last operation, while all operators returned to their training routine at once. As they were soldiers, staying focus was essential.

 

This day, all operators took obstacle course training together. A basic technique but undoubtedly crucial to all. In everyone’s expectation, Ash, the “rush lady” took the advantage at the start, but Caveira, Hibana and Jäger were just a little distance behind her. They climbed up the rope stairs, jumped across fences, crossed over the wall, then used ropes to drop down the ground to finish. Despite his age, Capitão, the Brazilian famous for his explosive dashing power chased up at a fast speed when they were close to the finish. Jäger increased his speed as well to leave the ladies behind, as the two men’s paces were even until the last one metre – Jäger leaned his body by the speed and slid on his legs and hips to grab the first place at the finish line. The Rhinelander jumped up and raised his arms to the “V” posture before skipped to Fuze, who just got the finish line.

“Well,” Ash wiped the sweat off her forehead, “You guys are doing it surprisingly well today. All made it in the time limit. Then I call this session is over.”

“It is for you, my lady.” Sledge came to Ash and handed her a cool bottle of energy drink, before putting down the cool box off his shoulder, “Come lads! A bottle for everyone!” He yelled to all buddies who immediately formed a queue to take their refreshment.

“Hurray!” After drank a big mouthful of the cold drink, Thermite cheered with applaud.

 

“Don’t worry,” Capitão patted his Brazilian colleague’s shoulders, “You did well enough.”

“I swear that I won’t lose to you or this German nerd next time, old man.” Caveira cocked an eyebrow, pouted in dissatisfied.

 

Jäger was still enjoying the little victory with his Uzbek boyfriend as they removed their T-shirts and went to the locker room holding each other’s waist. Looking at the cureless lovey-dovey couple, Thatcher followed them in the shower with a sigh and shook his head. In the meanwhile, Montagne and Tachanka approached him behind, “Mike, are you ok?”

“Nothing.” Thatcher turned to two men who were close to his age and his rare foreign friends in this base. “Huh, you’re not here to mock me, are you?”

“No. How do you think?” Tachanka chuckled playfully. He already stripped off his shirt, showing his perfect built pecs and midriff.

“Anyway, you don’t have the right to mock at Mike’s speed as you’re the slowest one.” Montagne pointed at him, explained in a humorous tone, “Lucky us this time. If you reached the line one second later, then we are all going to repeat the course.”

“Ha, everyone has their advantage, and mine is the raw power!” Tachanka made a fighting pose, “Bring me a bear and I can show you beating it down by my fists!”

“I think you can easily win if it’s added to a part of our training.” Montagne giggled while beginning to undress too. Three veterans got naked in the same time and set themselves below the neighbouring shower heads in the line.

 

“So, what’s your plan afterwards?” Montagne asked the Englishman at his left side, who was scratching his short grey hair.

“Shooting range, maybe,” Thatcher answered in a dull voice.

“Same.” Tachanka’s voice interrupted from the French’s right side.

“I mean after we finish today’s training and the dinner.”

“Well……” Thatcher slowed his hand movement and replied, “I’m going to start to write the fiction we’ve discussed on last month. Based my experience in Operation Nimrod. Do you remember that?”

“Definitely! I remember every word in the stories you’ve told me.” Tachanka laughed while smearing his body with soap foam.

“You’re really starting it?” Montagne gave the Englishman an approval smile, “Excellent! I know you can do it well.”

“As a distraction from the missions, I think.” Thatcher sighed. “I’m not a man like to get entertainment, but this is not bad to me.”

“Need beta reader? Count me in.” Tachanka gave a sign with his eyes.

“I already have some drafts in hands. You can see them tonight and give me some constructive opinions.”

“Should I bring some others? I heard that Vicente also likes stories, and I think he is willing to help.” Montagne suggested.

“Forget him. I’m not writing books for children.” Thatcher snorted sarcastically, as other two chorused in the laughter.

 

 

This night.

 

Most of the operators took rest early tonight, but Thatcher still stayed in the shared living room to work on his writing. As a short sleeper since his young age able to stay up late without any problem, Thatcher was okay with it. Moreover, he knew that his “old teammates” were going to accompany him.

 

Montagne arrived first, in his nightwear in consist of a royal blue T-shirt with the GIGN insignia on it which fit his rigged upper body perfectly, a pair of loose black training shorts and sky blue flip-flops. The shorts might be too “short” for his long and muscular legs as Thatcher could even notice the white boxer briefs wearing underneath exposing when he was sitting down the opposite couch. The Englishman coughed a few times, pretending he saw nothing. “Going well?” Montagne greeted with a kind smile.

 

“Yep,” Thatcher replied and kept his attention on his scripts.

“Can I see them?” Montagne asked, and took the scripts after received Thatcher’s permission. He read them with an amused face in a moment; then he put them down. “It’s quite excellent writing! You do well in plots and most of the character building. But……”

“But?” Thatcher lifted an eyebrow, readied for the critique.

“The protagonist, names Tim Norman, right?” Montagne explained, “He’s a good bean. Helpful, responsible and hard-working. The only problem for me is that his lack of something unique to make him eye-catching, don’t you think?”

“He is me in this fiction. I’ve mentioned that it’s based on my experience.” Thatcher sighed, “So, do you mean that I’m a boring person?”

“No! Why do you think like that.” Montagne’s chuckles got wry.

“Just kidding. To be honest, I have the same mind. I’m now thinking of giving this man some interesting features.”

“How about some artistic hobbies, like playing the cello?”

“Don’t make me laugh. How does the eldest son of a family of stevedores learn cello?” Thatcher shook his head. “You play it before?”

“Learn a little in my young age.” Montagne continued, “Then how about poetry? Drama? Such as Shakespeare?”

“I HATE Shakespeare. All his works disgust me.”

“But you’re writing Tim, not yourself!” Montagne argued, “Or how about drawing? Like he always brings his sketchbook to depict any scene catches his heart?”

“You donkey! I’m not writing Glaz either.” Thatcher retorted, “But it might be a potential choice.”

“As you mention that, his birthday is coming.” Montagne reminded.

“Does it matter? He’s now at home, enjoy his vacation with family.” Thatcher lifted a corner of his mouth, “And his bloody boyfriend.

 

In the meanwhile, Tachanka appeared, wearing nothing but a pair of black boxer briefs, black jazz boots and an armband holding his smartphone, with rapid leaping and circling movement. Montagne and Thatcher barely held their mouth from widely opening while seeing his muscular naked body making rotations with raising arms and solemn expression. To be honest, he made it correctly and beautifully, but it was just –

 

“Alex? Are you piss drunk?” Thatcher finally couldn’t restrain himself to question.

Tachanka didn’t give a reply but just extended his arms, while a woman came and seized it to follow his fouetté turns. They recognised the dance partner was Frost in a second from her short black hair and cyan sleeveless shirt with maple leaf logo. It was even more surprising. Seeing two defenders behaving intrepid and wild in usual dancing in such elegant movements might be the most incredible scene they ever saw in the lifetime, and they couldn’t even find a proper word to describe it. Thatcher and Montagne were involuntarily attracted until they finished the dancing with a slow circling arm gesture.

 

“Ok, nice! Bravo!” Then another woman’s loud sound easy to identify by her Spanish accent drew them back to the reality. Holding a video camera, Mira seemed like to act the “camera-woman” role for the Earth-shocking dance duo – at least, Thatcher figured out that he won’t be surprised if the big Russian made the whole earth shake by his every jump.

 

Then Tachanka turned his head as he found out the other two gazing at him with wide-opened eyes. He greeted them after took his wireless earphone out his ears, “Oh, sorry for the late. Elena and Tina just urge me to practise some move right now.”

“You are doing…… Sort of ballet, I guess?” Montagne reckoned.

“Correct. Modern style. Not classical one.” Tachanka grinned while sitting beside the Frenchman, “Although I practised something fancy like The Nutcracker in childhood, it’s too embarrassing to me in this age.”

“What?” Thatcher’s jaw got loose, “You learned ballet? Are you serious?”

“Is it so stunning?” Tachanka frowned and patted his chest with a “stop your overacting” expression.

“You’ve never told them, have you?” Mira went behind Thatcher along with the Canadian, looked at her boyfriend with a beam.

“Nope.” Tachanka chuckled and turned to his old teammates, “Ok. I know it’s surprising to you. But yes, I started to do ballet as soon as I could walk, until seventeen. Then I enlisted in the army.”

“Aren’t you expected to join the military from the start?” Montagne asked.

“No. Well, I'll try to make it short.” Tachanka answered, “Senaviev’s custom was that the eldest son must join the army as my father and grandfather did. I’m the second son with a brother one year older than me. So, I could do whatever I like, and since my mother found my talent, she decided to send me to a ballet school. I enjoyed it so much and challenged myself in more advanced movements, and my dream at that time was acting the prince in The Nutcracker in Kirov Theatre.”

“If you’re so good at it, then why did you give up?” Thatcher still couldn’t entirely believe what the Russian said was true.

“When Leonid -- my big brother, turned 18 and already prepared to join the military----” Tachanka explained in a sorrowful tone, “He had a car crash on the way home from school on his bike. Badly injured, then died. Therefore, I took his place in the army.”

 

“Bloody. How sad.” Thatcher took out his handkerchief to wipe his tear off.

“You know there’s always a hole in your heart after you lost somebody close to you.” Tachanka lowered his head, “I thought that every battle I fight is not just for me or my motherland, but also for Leonid. He used to be an optimistic boy who always raised me up whenever I felt down and frustrated, and I’ve spent my whole life to live cheerfully like him.”

“It’s hard to get over with it, isn’t it?” Frost leaned her arms on the back of the couch, asked.

“When Timur told me his story of his lost childhood friend, I feel sympathy. It’s just too familiar.” Tachanka tried to cheer up, “Don’t worry. It’s not so bad to me as I enjoy the military life, too. And thinking of Leonid always makes me feel motivated.”

“Timur’s friend…… Beslan crisis, right?” Montagne sighed. “It’s indeed a big shock. I can’t imagine how the cruelness hurt him.”

“Well, at least he gets the chance to heal his wounds in the vacation.” Tachanka chuckled, “You know what? Timur recently has begun painting again. Not just sketching. Working with an easel, canvas and a palette.” He took out his phone, opened the picture Kapkan sent him, featured Glaz brushing colours on the canvas. The view of the city along with the glittering sea surface was in front of him.

“He’s really enjoying this vacation. Great!” Mira looked at the sweet scene with a smile.

“I know he’s good at arts, but this is just, wow,” Montagne exclaimed.

“Can you already predict he’ll make a masterpiece by just some random strokes on the canvas?” Thatcher cocked an eyebrow at the Frenchman.

“Come on, don’t be so rude. We should be supportive.”

“Just like me, he gave up arts to join the army.” Tachanka recounted Glaz’ history he said weeks ago, “He once thought arts or anything emotional was not useful in the military life until he met a good life coach encouraging him to regain the passion in arts. The story is a sort of inspiration for me. If he can do it, no reason I can’t do.”

“Therefore, he decides to record his dancing video and send it to Timur for his birthday present.” Frost concluded, “And he chooses me as his dancing partner.”

 

“I don’t know you’re a dancer too,” Montagne asked in curiosity.

“By coincidence, I learned dancing as well in my childhood, and I still love it! Usually, I dance with Caveira in the gym.” Frost chuckled, “Believe it or not, she’s a master when it comes to dancing! But she only does Latin dancing.”

“Like Samba? It’s hard to imagine the arrogant lass twerking.” Thatcher sighed, “I should take a view of it when I have a chance.”

“You should! And try to beat her in movements!” Frost half-joked.

“Absolutely no! Save my old arses from it.” Thatcher refused in an exaggerated voice, while others were laughing in unison.

 

In the meanwhile, Sledge and Ash arrived in the living room while chatting in the relaxed and giggly mood. Their intimate movements like Ash touching Sledge’s shaved head and the Scotsman’s oddly cute purring sound made Thatcher cough. The couple immediately released each other and stood in an awkward posture.

“Oof, just returned from your date?” Tachanka asked in jest.

“Uh, yes.” Sledge scratched his head embarrassedly.

“Cute couple!” Mira mocked the Israeli who was in sort of rivalry with her. “I don’t expect such a stubborn girl like you would fall in love.”

“Shut up, Elena.” Ash glared at Mira. “Have I ever complained about you dating the old bear names Alexsandr?”

“You’re doing it now! And you better be kind to Alexis, or……”

“Enough, you two!” Montagne raised his hands to stop their quarrel.

“Such an entertainment for me to witness the rivalry between the two pairs of lovebirds, hmm?” Thatcher crossed his arms, commented sarcastically.

“It’s not what you think……Anyway.” Sledge’s blush got deeper, and he tried to switch to other topics. “How about we send Timur a video message to say happy birthday to him? It’s simple, but I bet it would be fantastic to receive our greeting at the same time.”

“Good idea! And you all can join our ‘happy birthday to Timur concert’, too!” Tachanka shouted his invitation, “I’ve already asked Ryad to play the guitar and Freddie to play the piano for us!”

“Who’s Freddie?” Ash questioned at the strange name before she figured it out. “Oh, you mean Phantom. Why I don’t know he plays the piano?”

“Save your mood of a surprise for that day.” Tachanka formed a playfully beam.

“From when you become a tease?” Ash sighed.

“So, it’s like we appoint a time to gather all of us together to say happy birthday and record the scene for him.” Montagne agreed, “Good idea. I’m in.”

“Or we can even make a live stream so that he can celebrate with us at the same time!” Frost added.

“Mon Dieu. How fast the technology develops. Teach me how to use it then.” Montagne chuckled.

“Definitely!” Frost answered.

“I know your excitement of the birthday surprise plan, but we should go to bed now.” Thatcher clapped his hand for two times as a sign.

“Ok, ok.” The crowd sighed while getting up then went back to their quarters.

 


 

 

Vladivostok.

 

The couple immersed in their vacation with many recreations they hadn’t have a chance to do. As Glaz was on the smooth track to recovery, the bandage on his ankle got thinner, and he was able to walk slowly and carefully without a crutch. Therefore, the outdoor-type couple decided to go out more often.

 

They took Glaz’ parents to walk in the mountains, while they finally visit the old wild cherry tree which was the “promised place” of Timur and Avenir. Everyone prayed for the lost friend’s peace for minutes before leaving.

 

They visited the training centre of FC Luch Vladivostok to meet Glaz’ old teammate in the youth team of the club. It might be a funny coincidence to Kapkan, as the professional football player almost spent his whole career in Luch and was younger than Timur for nearly two years also called Maxim. When he excitedly described that how he admired Glaz during playing together in Luch’s youth team, Glaz could only give him an embarrassed smile. They even ended up playing football together in the training yard. Kapkan was amazed that his partner still able to perform various tricks with the ball, while he only felt ruffled at his inability to control the damn thing under his feet from rolling away.

 

Driven by an impulse, Kapkan tried to call his younger brothers who haven’t contacted for a long time. Nikolai, the second son of Basuda’s 2 years younger than Maxim, took responsibility for the family after Maxim left and their father passed away two years later. After he was grown up, he worked as a repair technician and found a job with Russian Railways. He was overall a calm man with keen eyes not unlike Maxim, and a family-type person married ten years ago now had three children. The Basuda brothers’ mother was also living with him. Andrei, the little brother 5 years younger than Maxim was a sentimental but smart boy excellent in studies who determined to improve his family’s living through it, and he succeed in entering First Moscow State Medical University to study nursing and social work. Years later, he decided to seek a better opportunity in Australia, then obtained PR as a technical immigrant. At now, he was a nurse working in a hospital in Hobart, kept on helping people in needs and gave his financial support for his brother’s family. Kapkan still had Nikolai’s available number so finding him was comparably easy, as they shared what happened recently in their life in a cheerful mood. However, calling Andrei might be difficult as he resided in another country; fortunately, Nikolai gave Maxim their little brother’s Telegram account so he could call Andrei on the Internet. Andrei couldn’t stop his tear of joy of talking to his eldest brother again during the voice chat.

 

Inspired by his partner’s coming-out, Kapkan also determined to tell the truth of he was now engaged with a man. Nikolai felt surprised in a bit, but he eventually showed the support for his brother’s happiness. Andrei, on the contrary, giggled at Maxim’s words before he told the earth-shaking truth that he was also dating a local guy. Maxim got silence in shock, but the awkwardness only kept a few seconds before transformed to laughter.

 

They also enjoyed a lazy day staying in the country house to relax in the swimming pool beside the house. After swimming for several rounds, they wrestled in the pool, with the firm thought of never getting enough admiring each other’s body. They liked to cook together as well, and they almost did every meal together these days.

 

Despite having so many enjoyable entrainments, Timur didn’t forget his primal task. He kept his attention on making his new artwork in most of the days. He chose the view of the city looked from the northern shore of Russky Island across the Eastern Bosphorus. As the days getting warm and humid, Timur only wore a thin jacket over his tank top, a pair of denim shorts along with Sketchers river sandal to the beach. Maxim just sat by his partner’s side, looked at him splashing more and more colours on the canvas like the glowing wave breaking on the shore. He confirmed for one more time how beautiful the artist was from top to toes charmed him to be so crazy to no end.

 

Maxim then noticed Timur stopping his brush to remove his jacket, exposed his steady arms scatted sweat drops and half-wet sleeveless Telnyashka. “Today is hot.” He commented while wiping his sweat with a towel.

“I think another reason is your fast stroking movement. I felt like watching your hands doing a triathlon.” Maxim chuckled while handed cold water in a Thermos to Timur, who drank a large mouth of it. “Hey, the sunshine is nice this afternoon. Don’t you think it’d be a waste not to tan your body with it?”

“You just want to watch me naked, don’t you?”

“I won’t deny it.”

“In fact, I have the same mind.” With hearty laughter, Timur put down his painting tool, “Bring my sunscreen and swimwear to me then.” Then Timur started to undress, and in a flash, he was already removing his underwear. Maxim must admit, if it was not to avoid messing up the with-in-process painting, he would push the arousing figure on the ground to taste him with every bit. Followed by a humorous snort, Maxim stripped off too. After putting on their swimwear and applying sunscreen, they moved the easel closer to the shore, let their bare feet touching the soft sand.

 

Timur worked on his painting again, the golden sunshine reflected on his smooth skin and scattered through his hair, as if crowned the God’s halo. Honestly, in Maxim’s eye, the almost-naked artist only covered by his black and yellow TYR Crypsis Racer speedo with a bold pattern like a tiger’s fur (a new pair he got in these days) looked more appealing than any scenery. The broad and ripped back, long legs and firm butts fit perfectly in the small piece of polyester fabric – Maxim never felt enough gazing at this, and secretly took this view by his phone. Suddenly, an idea sparkled inside Maxim’s mind, as he ran to the sea excitedly, “Paint me in the scene too, Timur!” His steps broke the seawater, which splashed over his body.

 

“Are you reading my mind? I was just thinking to add you in the artwork.” Timur chuckled while starting to mix a different colour to paint his partner’s figure on the canvas.

“Certainly! How come you forgot your favourite model!” Maxim yelled while raising his head, the countless water drops shined on his body.

“Nice posture. I’m taking this one. May you stay there for a moment?” Glaz chuckled and kept his paintbrush in hand dancing. It just took him a few minutes to make a rough shape of Maxim’s figure emerged from the canvas. Then he began to add shadow, muscle lines, textures and light. Looking at his partner in entire concentration, Maxim understood he couldn’t be disturbed in such the state, as he did nothing besides feeling the wave rinsing his feet for a moment before Timur noticed him could move.

 

“Finished?” Maxim jumped to his partner’s side. “It’s me! Fantastic.” He looked at the silhouette standing in the sea in the painting. The sunshine from the horizon lightened his shoulder and hair. Not just his body, every detail of the shore, waves, sky and the bridge and city landscape in the background looked so glamorous.

 

“Almost done.” Timur began cleaning his brush and palette. “The only thing remaining is waiting for it dried.” He took out a bottle of vanish spray to apply it over the painting. “Oh, it’s 18 already? We should have our dinner.”

“The program I expected so eagerly!” Maxim went back to the storage of their Jeep, took a large cooler and a beach blanket out. “As the day is so good, how about making barbecue?”

“Of course!”

“Let’s set up the grill. Help me with the blanket.” Maxim handed stuff in his hand to Timur before pulling out a portable charcoal grill borrowed from Timur’s home. The couple quickly set the things up, as Maxim already started to kindle the brazier loaded with lump charcoal.

“Need me to help?” Timur approached with a large plate of flavoured skewered lambs decorated bell pepper, cherry tomato and shed onion.

“Nah, just sit down there! You’ve already done most of the food for this dinner.” Maxim took the plate with a smirk. “And I have confidence in my Shashlik.”

“Fair enough! Then I accept your kindness.” Timur chuckled while sitting on the blanket. To be honest, Maxim was right. Timur was excellent in almost every kind of cooking, but his hunter partner was a real master when it came to Shashlik. He watched Maxim grilling the meat with joyful humming, then felt sheerly charmed. He immediately got his bag put by his side and took out his sketchbook and pencil to start drawing his partner’s posture.

 

“Can’t get your hands rest, hmm?” Maxim noticed the artist doing more artwork, “Your face is writing ‘oh my lord, the naked chef is more delicious than the food!”

“You also know Jamie Oliver?” Timur’s eyebrow waggled, “I've read several receipt books he writes.”

“No. You’re the only naked chef I know.” Maxim’s smirk got larger.

“Yeah, thanks for your idea. I’m not allowed to wear anything besides an apron every time we cook dinner at home.” Timur tilted his head to make a sarcastic reply while still doing the sketching.

“And you’re happy with it -- being my appetiser, and dessert……”

“You’re an arsehole.” Timur chuckled while putting his pencil down, approached his partner from the rear, then hands held his waist and tongue travelled from Maxim’s neck down to the valley on his back. Then he pulled Maxim’s navy-blue coloured broad shorts down slowly to lick the exposed butt crack.

“Fuck, what are you doing?” Maxim grasped slightly, as he felt the contact was distracting him from the grilling job.

“Having my appetiser.” Timur kept pulling the waistband down until the hip and extended his right hand to Maxim’s half-interested member.

“Wouldn't you be patient this time?” Maxim giggled as he tried to pull back his swimwear with his left hand, “I have to get this skewered meat done, not my sausage.

“True.” Timur released his partner while licking his lips. He seated back and kept depicting Maxim’s movement until all the meat was well done. Maxim put them on a clean plate and took it to the blanket, as Timur also got all their food out the cooler and arranged them on several dishes.

 

“Blini rolls, pasta salad, halva and…… Oh dear, you even made some fried chicken! You’re always my favourite.” Maxim looked at the plentiful of food with wide-opened eyes.

“It’s from the receipt I learned from mama which is still finger-licking when left cold!”

“Ha! Nice.” Maxim picked up one skewer of meat with perfectly grilled colour and mouthwatering smell to Timur, “But you know my Shashliks is still the leading role tonight!”

“Yeah, I know.” Timur took it before quickly bit it off, “Fantastic!”

 

When the couple was enjoying the picnic, they snuggled up shoulder to shoulder, with the sunset in front of them. Such a silent and romantic moment brought up Timur’s memory of Avenir and his first and last date; they also watched the peaceful sea view in the dusk like this time. He didn’t feel grieving anymore, but just happy that he met another man loved and accepted him in whole. And he knew this time; there would be nothing do them apart.

 

After they finished the dinner, Maxim took a travel mug out his bag with a giddy smirk, “Guess what’s inside?”

“Cold beer?” Timur answered in a second.

“Wrong!” Maxim opened the mug, poured out the tasty looking orange liquid containing inside into a chilled highball glass filled with ice, then sliced a wedge of peach and put on the top as a decoration. “Try it.”

“Another your creation?” Timur received the cocktail before sipping it, “Wonderful, is it peach flavoured?”

“Correct! Vodka, peach liqueur, peach puree, cranberry juice, orange juice and black tea.” Maxim chuckled, “It’s a lovely heresy to me, especially in a heavenly summer evening on the beach.”

“Why don’t you become a bartender? I trust you have a name for it, too?”

Tiger On The Beach. Inspired by you and made for you.” Maxim poured himself another glass and rose it up, “Bottoms up!” Following a crisp sound of glasses clinking, they drank to an early happy birthday to Timur.

 

Yes, just two days more, the man would become thirty. They gazed at each other, shared tactic smiles; hands held each other before made a deep kiss in the evening twilight. Then Timur leaned on and gently pushed Maxim on the ground, as Maxim already read the sniper’s desire.

“You sure you want to do it here? You know, it’s not like England.” Maxim purred a question but showed no intention to stop his partner’s wandering hand on his body.

“There’s no one here yet. Don’t worry.” Timur sucked Maxim’s neck while hands reached the private part inside his shorts and pumped it slowly. His tongue tip then traced the straight ditch between Maxim’s pecs, abs then finally his hard-on. He started blowing the shaft while hands went to release his trapped erection from the speedo.

Looking at the arousing figure giving a blowjob while consoling himself, Maxim went in sheer bliss, minded nothing but the intimacy between them. And he must admit that the soothing sea wind in summer evening on the beach was always a welcoming environment for wild sex. “Yeah, take it your way, as you’re the real leading role here.” Maxim stroked his fiancé’s hair with a joyful chuckle, “My little tiger on the beach.

 

Chapter Text

On the next day, the couple put on their uniforms idled for days to attend the Pacific Defense Expo. It might feel strange to a degree – they had enjoyed the vacation so much that almost forgot they were soldiers. Kapkan participated in the special force manoeuvre according to the plan, as the fellow soldiers all saluted to their senior in the Spetsnaz. Then Glaz held a brief speech to share his experience in International operations and how to work with teammates from other countries before he encouraged the juniors at the end of the statement. From their admiring eyes, Kapkan guessed they all knew the news of Glaz’ injury in the previous operation and the miraculous recovery. He couldn’t keep himself from the crazy fantasy of Glaz becoming the country’s hero – it was certainly not to the sniper’s liking, but well, modesty was exactly an essential part of heroic characters, wasn’t it?

 

After the Expo was over, they prepared the report to HQ after going back to the country house they stayed. Soon after arriving, a request of video chat showed up Glaz’ laptop. It was from Sledge.

“How are you? I guess you are having a nice vacation?” Sledge greeted cheerfully.

“Good morning. Are you eating breakfast?” Glaz noticed a part of the food plate put in front of him, cut by the bottom edge of the window.

“Um, yeah.” Sledge continued after he sipped his mug of coffee, “I have a sense that you may not like to be disturbed in your vacation, but I really want to tell you how everyone misses you.”

“Don’t worry. We don’t only have the relation in work. I always have time for you all.”

“I won’t take you too long. Just remember to check our stream four hours later.” Sledge formed an excited smile.

“20:30 at here? I’m curious.” Glaz made a joking reply, “It’s the birthday surprise thing?”

“You will know what’s on then.” Sledge winked, “Okay, have a good day, I’m off.”

 

“Wait!” Kapkan got nearer to the screen before the chat window was shutting off. “Gah, since when they all became so cheeky?”

“You can make a call yourself.” Glaz chuckled humorously.

“I’m calling Alex.” Kapkan took out his phone with a groan, “I demand an explanation.”

 


 

After the couple got the task done, they went to cook dinner. This time, they would have a big one for Glaz' birthday party in advance. Because the 2nd of July was not only Glaz' birthday but also the city’s – the foundation day of Vladivostok, they already planned to celebrate the day and watch the parade in the downtown with Glaz’ family.

 

The couple knew Dimitry and Marina would bring a birthday cake and presents, and some old friends might come – who they still had no idea so far.

 

“Answer me honestly,” Kapkan asked while taking a box of marinated meat from the fridge – the reserved ingredient of the Shashlik he made last day – how could Kapkan’s special grills be excluded from the birthday-eve dinner? “Who else do you think will come for the party?”

“No one, I’m afraid.” Glaz began by cutting the vegetables for the soup, “I lost the contact with everyone I had known during my childhood and teenage years after I enlisted in the cadet corps.”

“How harsh. But I know it well -- cutting off all your past to start over. It’s a hard choice, but it can be necessary in some cases.” Kapkan nodded, “I also did the same when I left home. I knew I might piss off my brothers with the decision, but I needed to grab the chance to make my own life.”

“Fortunately, they seem like they already understand.”

“Nikolai and Andrei have also discovered their paths.” Kapkan turned to preheat the oven, “I’m proud of them.”

“Sadly, the most likely ones to be willing to come to the party are not here,” Glaz chuckled, “Like our teammates, then Nadia, Nikolai, Andrei, and……”

“Idri.” Kapkan continued. “Well, at least Maxim Alexandrovich already promised he would come. Thanks to that three days ago we played football with him. Better than no one.” He mentioned the footballer’s name who played with Glaz in the boys’ team.

“True. And we can still keep connected with our teammates to celebrate this day together.”

 


 

At seven o’clock in the evening, they prepared dinner on time and waited for Glaz’ parents’ arrival. Initially, Glaz intended to pick them up, but they told him to ‘just wait there for them’. It seemed like they had other ideas, and Glaz was looking forward to what else they would get for the birthday. Then the doorbell rang. Glaz approached the door and found his parents. “Hi, papa, mama,” He greeted, “Welcome to my birthday party if you don’t mind there’s just us here.”

“Just us?” Dimitry playfully lifted his eyebrow, “You should look clearly, my son.”

They then stood aside to clear a path and the scene could be the most surprising one in his lifetime. The dooryard was crowded with people. Maxim Alexandrovich was the first one, he greeted Glaz with a smile while coming in, and there were more following him in. Glaz recognised old classmates he knew, one of Dimitry’s hunting buddies who had a trip with the father and son when Glaz was 16, and even two or three persons he didn’t know. Might be papa and mama’s colleagues and friends. Finally, there was a scholarly-looking old woman with a pair of black-rimmed glasses and curly grey hair. And this one Glaz knew well –

“Olga Artyomovna?” Glaz exclaimed, “You’re still teaching art in that school?”

“Well,” Chuckled Timur’s fine art teacher in the secondary school, “I’m now the chancellor.”

“Wow,” Glaz made a polite smile, “Congratulations.”

“I’ve been on the position for two years. Your parents invited me here, and to be honest, I would like to blame you for leaving without notice in your last semester. You were one of my best students. Even though you had a different life plan, why couldn’t you hold it on a bit more after the graduation ceremony?” Olga Artyomovna raised her tone while entering the dining room under the Glazkovs’ guidance. “Never mind. What happened to Avenir was indeed a tragedy. We can discuss this later.”

 

The large table with ten seats in the dining room was almost fully occupied. After Kapkan led the last one to sit down, he found the chair at the right site of Glaz – the position for the guest of honour was still vacant. “I trust this seat is not for me, right?” Kapkan chose the place left to his partner, which was right opposite to the empty chair.

“Correct,” Dimitry answered, “We have one more guest today – we’ve just picked him up from the airport.” His face got closer with a beaming smile, “He’s an old friend of you two—”

“Wait,” Kapkan exclaimed, “Don’t say he is…”

 

“Hey!” Suddenly, a pair of sturdy arms wrapped Kapkan from behind, and the iconic voice made them recognise who the old friend was, “Nice to meet you again!”

“Idrisov—” Kapkan turned around, and the first thing in his view was the broad grin among the grey beard. As his jacket was already hanged on the vestibule, the old man only wore a sleeveless Telnyashka along with a pair of dark-green camo patterned SRVV trousers. “How come you are here?” Asked Kapkan confusedly.

“I have another thing to do here – or start off here.” Idri explained, “But I’d hate to miss the party as well, so I accepted Dimitry and Marina’s kind invitation.” He then went straight to the vacant seat. “Is it the seat for the most important one?”

“It is,” Glaz greeted him with a smile, “You deserve it, Idri.”

“Oh my, Glaz, it’s really you!” Idri cuddled Glaz, “How glad I am to see you are fine and whole.”

“It was a miracle,” Glaz held Idri firmly, “Thanks to you.”

“No, your determination made it.” Idri sat back with a smile, “It’s great that you recover so fast, after all.”

“Still not in a capable state to perform my duty.” Glaz answered honestly, “May require one or two months of rehabilitation training before then, but besides that, I can say I feel wonderful.”

“Good, good.” Idri nodded, “Should I start with my plan? Well, I will travel across our motherland to my home in Vladikavkaz and stay at each town I go through for a while to tell stories for local children.”

“Wow,” Glaz' mouth stayed wide open, “It’s a big plan. Do you have an idea of how long it will take?”

“I don’t know. Maybe a few months, or a year. The only thing certain is that I will return home one day.”

“Does your wife support it?” Kapkan asked straightforwardly.

“She does!” Idri answered in a second, “We all know how much the wars have torn our land, and we should do something about it. Therefore, I choose the way I’m most used to.”

“All I can say is good luck.” Kapkan stood up, “Oh, and I have something to show you.” He shared a glance with Glaz while hurrying back to their room.

 

A minute later, Kapkan went back in the old uniform, even with the hood, hat, scarf and the Telnyashka underneath the shaggy jacket. The red star emblem on the cap was the centre of attention. Everyone, even Idri -- the previous owner of the uniform – was amazed at that how good the hunter looked in it.

 

“I’ve always thought it would look nice on you.” Idri chuckled with a thumb up.

“It feels odd to show it in front of the original owner,” Kapkan took a bit of the scarf down before speaking.

“Apply a little face camo, and you’ll look more awesome.” Idri added, “Just like I always did.”

“Oh, I definitely will in my duty.” Kapkan sat down.

“I’m afraid that your glamour will become too irresistible to me with your ‘makeup’ on.” Glaz teased playfully.

“Shut up, idiot,” Kapkan retorted, “Its purpose is to mingle with the environment and to terrify enemies.”

“I love it anyway.” Glaz’ affectionate reply made his partner flush deeper.

“Fuck off,” Kapkan sighed, “Although I would be lying if I say I don’t like how it looks on my – or your face, but it’s not the point.” Most of the other visitors were amused, and some of them couldn’t even control their laughter.

“Alright… So, let’s go back to the topic. Welcome to my birthday party,” Glaz stuttered, “As you see, Maxim and I made the dinner for you all… We didn’t make a lot, but hope it fits your taste.”

“Where’s the man speaking a lot on my birthday gone?” Kapkan spoke sarcastically.

“Maybe my tongue has got too tired this morning,” Glaz looked at his partner with an amusing smile, “Do you have anything to say then?”

 

“Just a few words.” Kapkan smirked, “Everyone, thank you for helping us to celebrate this unsociable pest’s birthday. Or I fear he would end up spending this day alone.”

“Seriously?” Glaz laughed loudly, “Let’s not count my parents, and would you leave me away on such the day?” Another chorus of laughter echoed in the dining room again.

“Okay… Let’s eat. I’m hungry now, and I don’t like to break the party mood.” Kapkan sat down again with a sour face and began to take his food.

 

During the dinner time, the positive remarks on the dinner erased the couple’s concern the unexpected visit caused them about being unable to prepare anything  better for their guests. In the meantime, Kapkan suddenly got curious about how the pre-military Glaz was in others’ eyes. His art teacher was indeed a good start. “Olga Artyomovna?” He whispered, “What kind of student was Timur like?”

“He was silent, talked very little but did much. And no one in the class could surpass his enthusiasm and diligence at arts.” Olga answered.

“Then he’s not changed at all. He’s still such the kind of person now.” Kapkan agreed.

“So, is he still doing artwork?”

“Yes. In fact, he just finished a piece of oil painting. A magnificent one. I’d let him show you,” Kapkan nudged his partner, diverted him from chatting with his parents, “Hey Timur, your teacher want to see the painting you did yesterday.” He whispered to Glaz’ ear and the request seemed to surprise him.

“Right now?” Glaz got slightly confused but still accepted it, “One minute. I’m getting it from my room.” He stood up and headed straight to retrieve the painting.

Shortly later, the artist brought his painting and showed it on the easel, which immediately became the centre of everyone’s attention.

“The sea looks so beautiful. Where it is?” Maxim Alexandrovich asked curiously.

“It’s just in front of our city. Bosfor Vostochny.

“Really?” The footballer exclaimed, “I’ve thought it’s somewhere else, maybe another country.”

“Young man, just open your eyes, and you’ll see many more glamorous things about our motherland.” Idri chuckled.

“Uh, yeah, you’re right.” Maxim Alexandrovich scratched the back of his head, “What a shame that I don’t recognise the city I’ve lived in for so long.” The comment in a mix of apologies and humour exchanged another wave of chuckles -- except Glaz, who patted his shoulder with a slightly severe face.

 

“No, you don’t need to say sorry. If there’s anyone should be ashamed, it’s me. I hadn’t returned for almost 13 years, with convenient excuses about distance, business or more… But I know that the true reason is always that I was not brave enough to face my past -- until now. And I need to thank you for making me realise it.”

“Uh, Timur, I’m not included in this ‘thanks list’, right?” Kapkan rolled his eyes, “You know, I might be the worst inspiration you can find for repairing the family relationship.”

“Wrong. You are the best one to me, actually.” Glaz chuckled, “After Avenir, I never let someone get so deep in my mind. You let me realise how important it is to have someone who cares one more time. If I don’t even share the happiness with my family, then what kind of son I am?”

“Well said.” Dimitry agreed, “I’m so happy and proud of you.”

 

The others applauded with supportive cheering, while Marina was taking out the birthday cake, another wave of cheer came out as approval. The cake was a big one, and it made Glaz recall the cake in his 10th birthday in his faint memory by the size and colourful icing made with various summer fruits like raspberries and Chernika . Maybe it was just a coincidence, or mama made the same kind of cake on purpose. Either way, the cake was a delightful surprise for his thirtieth.

 

The candles were lit and Glaz made a wish, which was silent and secret, with a sincere face. Kapkan knew the sniper was likely the kind to bless for everyone else instead of himself. How much he wanted his partner just could wish something for himself. “Did you make a wish for yourself?” He nudged Glaz with a whisper.

“I have,” Glaz answered, “I wish I can keep staying with you and bringing you joy.”

“It’s more like a promise,” Kapkan responded.

“And I’d definitely keep it.” Glaz smiled before blown out the candles, while others made another wave of cheering.

“Why you all don’t sing to celebrate this day?” Idri suggested before beginning singing on his muse, «Расцветали яблони и груши…»

«Поплыли туманы над рекой!» Dimitry followed in a second.

“Good! Another man from the Red Army, aren’t you?” Idri laughed and shook hands with Dimitry.

“Just a few years of service in my young age, before I met my love and settled down in the city.” Dimitry shared a glance with his wife.

“Nice,” Idri asked Glaz and Kapkan, “How about we sing the song together?”

“Military songs for the birthday? Well, no opinion, as I can’t come up with a better idea.” Kapkan commented neutrally.

“Wait,” Glaz left his seat to bring his laptop, “I can’t allow our comrades to miss this one.”

“What time is it?” Kapkan looked at his watch for the time, “Just 20:15. So they might be still preparing.”

“I know.” Glaz began to make the video call, “Let’s call Shuh and Alex first.”

 

Tachanka picked up Glaz’ call in seconds, “Seems like you can’t wait for our call. Missing us so much, hmm?”

“I bet you wouldn’t like to miss this one.” Glaz answered, “Idri is singing army songs at my birthday party.”

“Damn, you should have told me earlier about this! I’m getting Shuh.” Tachanka exclaimed before leaving, then he returned with Fuze, who displayed a confused face.

“Oh! Alexandr, nice to meet you again,” Idri greeted Tachanka with a grinning smile, which surprised Glaz.

“You two already know each other?” Glaz asked.

“I just took him with me to visit his bookshop,” Kapkan shrugged.

“Good to know that I can make contact with my friends in that way!” Idri turned to Glaz and remarked, “Although the screen is too small to me. I can’t clearly see Alexsandr’s face.”

“Well, Timur,” Kapkan knocked Glaz’ elbow, “can you connect your laptop to the TV in the living room?”

 

The visitors wouldn’t expect to meet up with the live show held by Glaz’ colleagues from the other side of the world on the TV, neither do the couple. Idri was satisfied to chorus Red Army songs with the Spetsnaz guys, and he even took out his Phandar to perform a Chechen folk song. From his skilled hands on the traditional instrument and the delightfully crisp melody, Kapkan felt Idri certainly self-underrated his skill in music.

 

After a while, Sledge arrived at the screen, signifying the formal beginning of the session. “Glaz, happy birthday to you! I wish you to enjoy the show we made for the day. The first one is the program featured by Dominic the Zapping Magician .”

 

From the name they knew Bandit was the first one went to the stage, wearing an oddly fitting Tuxedo and holding a top hat in his hand. Smoke went along with him in his usual look, likely to play the role of assistant. He glanced at Bandit with a weird face.

“So, Jamie, can you check the hat for me?” Bandit gave an instruction and Smoke followed it.

“It’s empty.” Smoke showed the bottom of the hat to the camera.

“And I’m going to take something out from it—” Bandit took over the hat, put his right hand in and shook for a few times before taking out a grey bunny plushie. “Look, it’s a rabbit!”

“It’s just a soft toy!” Smoke retorted.

“Look at his face, doesn’t it remind you somebody?” Bandit pointed at the eye mask and the mouth made of white tapes in an x shape.

“Oof! So, the bunny is Mark! But we’re celebrating Glaz’ birthday, shouldn’t you prepare something else refers to his character?”

“Absolutely! Give me the hat again.” Bandit put his hand back into the hat, “Oh, we’re having a bigger one this time,” he then pulled out a giant teddy bear in a green coat that resembled a Gorka suit and a blue-grey kamush pattern knit cap looked like the sniper’s iconic Chechenka.

“What a lovely bear! I want this.” Smoke chuckled.

“It’s made for Timur. Don’t dare to take it away.” Bandit hid the teddy bear behind his back. “You hear it, Timur? You have to come back early to take the gift, or I can’t promise to keep it from Jamie’s slippery hands.” Watching the pair making fun of each other, the whole living room filled with laughter.

 

“Nice trick! Thank you both, and here comes the next one starring Jack the Heartbeater features FBI SWAT all Stars.

 

Following the announcement, Pulse jumped to the stage in a yellow coat and with a short Mohican hairstyle (Kapkan personally thought it looked stupid). Before the remote audiences had any reaction, he carried the rap:

“Hey, here comes Timur-a-lame, the sniper from the far east, a shadow in the field for the attention of—”

“Detail, detail, detail!” Thermite, Castle, Ash made accompaniment of their stomping rhythm.

“Oh dear,” Glaz made a wry smile for the song the Americans created for him. “I can’t believe they apply their talents on such thing.”

“Didn’t you notice?” Kapkan whispered to his partner’s ear, “Pulse calls you a lame. I’m going to beat him up after going back.”

“It’s a reference to a historical figure, and I’m still slightly inconvenienced with my legs. So, I think it makes sense.”

 

Almost all the teammates prepared something to show to Glaz, even if it wasn’t a performance but just a present and some compliments. All the visitors agreed that the hidden gem of the program was Echo who acted as his Yokai, hilariously talking its feeling of being stuck on the ceiling all the way. Glaz and Kapkan couldn’t forget how loud they laughed for the moment when Thatcher was coming to scoff “Yokai” that it should leave its master away to find freedom so that Echo won’t be so lazy anymore.

 

Then it went to the final section by Sledge’s words. Kapkan counted who hadn’t shown up to the screen, and there were only Tachanka, Jackal, Frost and Phantom left. Apparently, they would carry the finale. And he and Glaz were both curious about how it would come out.

Chapter Text

Suddenly, the scene switched to a man standing in front of a piano. Where the hell in the base had the piano? Thought Kapkan, who connected the man’s exotic tropical Asian face to his half-day guide on that day. He remembered Phantom told him that he was a pianist in his teenage years, so to show off the talent might be possible to him, but it was also unexpected to someone who claimed himself already given up the path of music.

 

In his Australian army dress uniform (another one who didn’t have a proper suit in his wardrobe, Kapkan thought), Phantom said nothing but made a bow, then sat in front of the piano. He made a deep breath, fingers hovered over the keyboard, then began to play. The relaxed and elegant tones constructed the rhythm of Moon River. The skilful hands travelled between the blacks and whites, he didn’t look like someone who hadn’t played for many years at all. Certainly, Phantom had many times of practices just for the day. And as if telling Kapkan and Glaz it was not enough for the surprise, the camera shifted again to Tachanka and Frost who were both wearing tight-fitting outfit like what dancers wore. Behind them sat Jackal playing his acoustic guitar, as the audiences just knew where the gentle guitar sound chorusing with Phantom’s piano came from. Kapkan must admit the dancing couple – especially his elder comrade who usually behaved direct and arrogant, did gracefully in dancing. He could even hear Glaz and Idri cooing its lyric ‘We're all chasin' after all the same, chasin' after our rainbow's end…’ along with the music. He just made a silent sigh from feeling to be left out from his companies with artistic talents.

 

Despite not a type into arts, Kapkan was still low-key fascinated by the different aspects his friends showed apart from soldiers. In the meantime, he realised that the music ended along with dancing, then Tachanka and Frost left to two sides. When he thought that their performance won’t be just that little, the piano echoed the room again with another famous prelude easy to identify, Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. They were joined by another kind of instrument – bagpipe. Undoubtedly, the only Scotsman in the team was the one playing it, who had changed to formal Scottish evening wear included a kilt and a sporran. The dancing couple also returned, but not their original form-fitting garments. Frost’s look turned to black activewear consisting of a sports bra and boyshorts, proudly showing her abdomen and legs. Tachanka became, even more, exposed with just a trunk brief left, and the contour of his glutes could be seen through clearly. Yeah – even Kapkan sometimes forgot how well-fit his elder comrade was -- particularly in his age -- under the fluffy-looking combat gears which made him appear like a chubby bear.

 

The dancers made more complicated moves than the previous session, like a Grande Jeté followed by a pirouette . Tachanka even correctly did a Tour en l'air following the rapid tempo ‘Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me’. Kapkan started to believe the slow-speeded and clumsy looking man in his existing impression was a different person.

 

After the music ended with their gentle finishing movement and the audience thought it was really the end, Phantom suddenly glided the keyboard with a crisp portamento, everyone gathered again and began dancing.

 

“Timur, Maxim, and whoever watching this,” yelled Tachanka, “Let’s dance together!”

 

“You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life,

See that lord, watch that scene, diggin' the dancing king!”

The birthday man along with others might feel the scene couldn’t be any happier. All the teammates who were competing with each other in dancing were a blessing to watch -- as some of them were genuinely good at dancing or singing.

 

Kapkan was almost dragged up by his partner, who already began singing, and he thought the sniper’s deep voice had somehow altered the elated mood of the song. Not in a disgraceful way though, as the joy was all written on Glaz’ face. And their families and friends in the living room were also shaking their bodies by the rhythm. Overall, they had to thank the magic of technology which let the people on almost opposite of Earth connect without a sense of distance.

 

After the birthday eve special show finished, the northern land in summer finally shrouded in night, and all the visitors were ready to leave. They thanked the Glazkovs’ and Kapkan for the relaxing atmosphere, delicious food and their beautiful friends along with the fantastic show. Then Glaz’ parents said that they were going home as well, even though their son suggested they could stay over.

 

“Although our house might be old and small, we’re most comfortable there,” Dimitry frowned playfully, “And I consider you two need some private time.

“Just remind you to not stay up too late as we have the city day parade to see! See you next morning!” Marina waved goodbye before getting on their car. After watching them leave, Glaz and Kapkan made an embarrassed smile to each other.

 

“Hey, Timur, didn’t you forget something?” While Glaz turned back to clean up the dining room, Kapkan stopped him, “I prepared it for you.” He took out a small box.

“What’s inside?” Asked Glaz curiously.

Kapkan made no word but opening the box, and there was a fixed-blade hunting knife in 25cm of length, handle made of birch wood in a brown leather sheath – a reasonable choice of gift from the hunter. And a gorgeous one. Glaz took it up and removed the sheath excitedly like the moment he received his first toy rifle from his father twenty years ago. “It’s the most beautiful knife I’ve ever seen.” Glaz praised it with a beaming smile.

“Finding a good knife with beautiful and durable wooden handle is not an easy thing now. Fortunately, I’ve found a Norwegian company that makes it.” Kapkan pointed, “Did you see the engraving on it?”

“I’ve seen my name on the handle. Is there any word on the blade as well? Let me see.” Glaz checked and repeated the engraved Russian words on the blade, « Солдату, охотнику, художнику, и особенному в моей жизни.» (To a soldier, hunter, artist, and the special one in my life.)

“Don’t repeat that!” Kapkan yelled, “Embarrassing.”

“I’ve never known you can be so romantic too, Maxim.” Glaz teased.

“I…” Kapkan tried to find a word to explain, “I intended to make it special.”

“You know what’s the most special thing to me on the day?” Glaz approached the hunter with a smirk and stroke his face softly. The answer was evident without any word. Kapkan didn’t resist his partner’s passionate, open-mouth kiss, which was likely to melt his heart.

 

After their lips parted, Kapkan’s fingers wandered through Glaz’ new-grown beard that formed a black belt from his cheek to chin, “You’ve not shaved for days, haven’t you?”

“You don’t like it?” Glaz rolled his eyes with an amusing question.

“Keep it.” Kapkan shook his head then kissed again a little more aggressively. He cuddled Glaz firmer, the hand wandered down, slipped over his butt. Kapan had never known himself could become so eager and straight to his desire. Their tongues kept wrestling, the strong intimacy was erasing his feeling of reality as he found himself already being pushed onto the bed. He just noticed Glaz undid his belt, using it to tie Kapkan up.

“What’re you doing?” He asked.

“To unwrap my last gift today.” With a teasing smile, Glaz held the knife, got it close to Kapkan’s neck covered in his scarf, “Remember it?”

“Ah, how can I forget,” said Kapkan, “You did me the ugly scar on my neck.”

“I would say it’s a beautiful creation.” Glaz traced his knife over Kapkan’s chest, the touch through the thin fabric of his undershirt felt cold yet passionate.

“If you’re genuinely considering unwrapping me with that knife,” Kapkan responded neutrally, “I’ll remind you I’m in Idri’s favourite old uniform.”

“I know, I know,” Glaz chuckled in a husky voice, “I won’t cut the clothing. But I would cut through your every inch of skin, and I don’t even need a knife to do so.”

“Your dirty talk sucks,” Kapkan snorted, “You get off from your fucking clothes too.” They began undressing, and just after a minute, they snuggled on the bed naked. Kapkan pinched Glaz’ butt while Glaz left more love-bites on Kapkan’s shoulder as a counter. Their cocks rubbing each other and making them burn with their carnal desires.

 

“Naughty you, Timur,” Kapkan whispered his dirty lines, “Want nothing but my dick for a birthday present, huh?”

“Dick? Are you sure?” Glaz smirked, “I’ve had wonderful moments inside you, and I know you feel the same way.”

“I let you be the top recently,” Kapkan snorted, “It doesn’t mean you can take the full control.”

“Really? What I’ve seen is how much you enjoyed being submissive.”

Kapkan didn’t give any verbal reply but kissed him again, as if stopping him from saying more teasing words. He didn’t like to admit that he envied Glaz today as he looked like he was the luckiest man in the world. But he was also self-satisfied at how much the sniper need him. He still remembered how amazing Glaz looked overwhelmed by pleasure in their first time, and he would absolutely like to make him scream again – but at the same time, he also expected Glaz to be the one taking care of him. And he already had the answer. He should let the birthday boy do everything in his way.

 

Kapkan kissed over Glaz’ body, from neck to crotch, then his mouth stopped at the magnificent erection. He licked the wet opening first then sucked the head repeatedly. To Glaz, watching the hunter’s face emerging pleasure might be more enjoyable than the stimulation from his dick. When Kapkan swallowed the whole shaft, the needy face displayed hunger and desire – and it reminded Glaz how his partner wolfing all the food on the table in tonight’s party.

 

Kapkan kept pumping the dick into his mouth, he felt Glaz becoming hot and wet and so was his cheeks. “Delicious? Seems like you enjoy it this time more than ever.” Glaz chuckled again, and God damn why his voice is always irresistible saying such the disgraceful things was all Kapkan thought. “Lie down, let me prepare you.” He requested.

“We make out every night, do you really think we need to prepare?” Kapkan snorted.

“Do you mean that your ass has become loose?” Glaz responded in an enticing voice.

“Bastard. I never said that.” Kapkan glared his giggly partner in slight anger.

“Then let’s try out. Come on.” Glaz lifted his partner on the bottom and put him on his body gently. They snuggled in a comfortable position while Glaz taking the lube from the nightstand. After a few seconds, the cold feeling of Glaz’ finger covered in the lube entered Kapkan and he could barely hold a moan. Even though it was clearly not the first time Kapkan received his partner’s fingering, the sensation still amazed him like new. “Still so tight, like a virgin.”

“Alex… Made the same comment about you. I remember.”

“Maybe it makes sense. Overall, we do a lot of exercises usually.”

“Absolutely… Not this kind of, exercise.” Kapan groaned.

“No, because it can only loosen you, right?” Glaz chuckled while pushing his fingers deeper, “Look, just like now.” He then pressed the particular spot, and the man he held in arms began struggling like a captured beast.

Б…Блядь,” Kapkan made an immediate swearing on the sudden stimulation, but he could barely make the voice clear among the moaning. His face went down to Glaz, and their lips made contact again, while Kapkan thought at least it was the most effective way at current to keep the witty mouth quiet. Glaz’ fingers went in and out along with more and more beautiful frictions that made Kapkan crazy.

 

“On your hands and knees,” Glaz made the instruction before withdrawing his fingers. Kapkan let his partner get off the bed and followed. Glaz put a condom on then went behind him, and Kapkan’s slutty look consisting of his pulsing hole, slack scrotum and hard member wetted by his pre-come was all captured in his vision. The sniper held it to make the head face toward him, licked the sticky liquid off the opening. His naughty tongue tip then travelled through the shaft, sucked the nuts, teased the perineum and the rim of the entrance. With several crisp sounds of kissing, Kapkan could feel his partner kept sucking his sensitive ring of muscle. Even for an engaged couple, the way of showing affection still made him unusually embarrassed yet exhilarated. He unconsciously tightened up his ass after each time of sucking even though he knew that the action would just please his partner even more.

 

Shit. Kapkan still thought, since when he became so submissive like this? He used to consider himself as an alpha male that won’t let any other get in charge of him. No doubt that he liked the sniper becoming a moaning mess under him, especially he wanted to show the power – show that he is a better man by the roughest way he could make at the start. But later, he started to get curious and let the younger guy try to be the top. Then strangely, his gentler and softer style amazed him – felt so different, but in a good, comfortable way. They then started to discover more, not only sex but also other aspects of life. He enjoyed being the artist Glaz’ newest muse, doing some exercise together -- like practising hand-to-hand combat or swimming – and going to hunting trips. And most crucially – despite it would sound a little strange to a soldier – he loved every moment with Glaz. The more things they went through, the closer they felt, and even more enjoyable their sex became. Kapkan guessed the submissive side of him was just a reasonable result, which he wouldn’t show to other but his fiancé.

 

In the meantime, Glaz’ tongue kept tracing up, from the glute crack to lower back, passing by the valley between Kapkan’s lats and trapezii, straight to his neck again. Glaz then gazed his partner, who had his face overload with a mix of pleasure, desire and impatience, and chuckled, “You can’t wait anymore, can you?”

“Stop teasing me like this.” Kapkan rewarded him with a glare.

“You’re right. I can’t want to enjoy the present, either.” Glaz held the hunter in the waist and supported his member with another hand to push it in.

The penetration came slowly, and Kapkan could put his mind on nothing but Glaz’ penis gradually sliding in and opening his body. It could even call torture as Kapkan was terribly thirsty for the cock easing his unbearable libido. Kapkan moved his butt closer to Glaz like urging him. “You should be a little more patient,” Glaz commented humorously.

“You just keep teasing me. It’s… not fair.” Kapkan groaned.

“You said I can do it all in my way because it’s my birthday.” Glaz giggled at his partner’s melted expression and pushed in balls-deep.

“Move,” Kapkan urged again. Finally, Glaz’ dick penetrated the long-waiting hole. Glaz moved back and forth, and each turn got faster and stronger. Kapkan exclaimed on the pleasant sensation spreading to every bit of his inside. “Ah, ah, yes, I want more.” He didn’t realise that his face wearing deep red blush was sinking in the pillow, eyes half-closed and moaning got higher in tone – all made him look even more like a thirsty whore. He wouldn’t care now even if he was aware of it, anyway.

“No worries. I’m going to fuck your brain out, and you’re fucking loving it.” Glaz smirked, “Look at your face now, maybe Alex would also like to see it?”

“Damn, no! Don’t let him see this or I will kill you.” Kapkan yelled, “Stop taking, just move. Harder.”

“Not so fast,” Glaz chuckled again before slowed down, then leaned his upper body to kiss Kapkan’s back and neck. “You wouldn’t want it to end too fast either, would you?” He extended his hand to the dripping erection and stroked it to reward Kapkan’s satisfied moaning. Glaz leaned further until his chest touched Kapkan on the back, which impressed the hunter so much and made him wish such the contact to continue as long as possible.

 

But it just lasted for a mere minute, before Glaz began ramming his butt in a more rapid tempo. As if already knowing the wild mixture of pain and pleasure was even not enough to Kapkan, Glaz bit his left shoulder that made the hunter scream overwhelmed. His body was so hot that he felt like could explode anytime, but he hadn’t come yet. The reddened ring of muscle felt sore clenching his partner’s thick member, but he still desired more.

 

While Kapkan felt himself pushing on the peak, Glaz slowed down again before withdrawing. “What the hell this time?” Kapkan complained about unreleased steam in his well-aroused body despite knowing that it must be a sign of changing the position.

“Turn over, let me see your face clearly,” the next instruction was all to Kapkan’s prediction and wish. He often called Glaz “pretty face” in banter, but it also carried a tint of adoration. He had never known such a man could describe with the word “beautiful”, but Glaz indeed had strong aesthetic appeal just like his artworks. He couldn’t think of anything more delightful in life than looking at his face in orgasm.

Kapkan lay on his back, watching Glaz held his legs and spread them fully. He didn’t get in straight but discarded the condom and rubbed his erection against Kapkan’s. Kapkan gripped Glaz’ shoulders to get him closer as they could never get enough of kissing each other. He rose his butt a little to let Glaz enter more smoothly. And Glaz pushed in again. The indescribable, magnificent friction of fitting Glaz’ naked cock made a long and husky moan flew out from Kapkan’s mouth -- might be the most sensual one he ever made. His arms and legs wrapped Glaz firmly like a koala on a tree, and the thrusting went fast, hard and wild just as he wished. And Glaz wrapped Kapkan’s cock in his hand, spread the natural lubricant he produced and made the hot erection shiny and smooth. “Pl…please, Timur,” His voice trembled like a begging, “I’m gonna come. Give me the hardest!”

“Me too,” Glaz panted, “you’re… gonna be used to this feeling.”

 

Even Kapkan’s blurry brain overloaded with ecstasy understood what Glaz meant. He couldn’t control the loud and high screams of his partner’s name, nails clamping into Glaz’ back, and the bite on Glaz’ left shoulder as an appropriate return for his earlier teasing attitude. Then he eventually gained the relief of a big wave of ejaculation which carelessly splashed the white, sticky colour over their bodies. Kapkan turned his mouth to Glaz’ again and made the tightest connection ever. Glaz’ thrusting didn’t slow down until a couple minutes later when he spurted his seed into Kapkan’s gut. He knew it should be the feeling Glaz just mentioned, the feeling of his loved one’s release filling inside him, and he must admit that he loved it for every bit, just like what Glaz said. Glaz pulled his released member out Kapkan’s entrance brimmed with his semen then embraced him. They snuggled chest to chest, arms circled each other and made many sloppy kisses.

 

“A nice exercise for you before you relaunch the training, I suppose,” Kapkan commented in a hoarse voice while intimately stroking Glaz’ scar above his left eye.

“Can’t imagine I was still sinking in my sickbed three weeks ago, right? I’m also impressed.” Glaz replied, “It’s all thanks to you.”

“It’s Doc, and the medical team that healed you, not me,” Kapkan answered rationally.

“True, but you grant me the motivation of life.” Glaz commented, “Not just for my birthday. To me, you’re the best gift in my lifetime. Although I know it’s not good to compare you with others—”

“Hey, I understand,” Kapkan laughed, “you’ve chosen me to marry, overall.”

“And it’s you made the proposal,” Glaz followed the laughter.

“I just did what I could do to cheer you up so that you might recover faster,” Kapkan answered half-jokingly. “Feel like the luckiest man in the world now, don’t you?”

“’Feel like’ is not accurate. I am affirmative that I am.” Glaz displayed a confident smile. “Thank you.” In the meantime, Kapkan’s Casio watch on his left wrist beeped, reminding them it was 12 am and Glaz’ thirtieth birthday.

“Damn, it’s so late. Let’s waste no time, take a shower then sleep.” Kapkan suggested, “Don’t we have to meet your parents in downtown next morning?”

“Right. Let’s go,” Glaz supported his partner in the waist to get off the bed and went straight to the bathroom.

“Oh, and one more thing,” Kapkan turned to Glaz with a beaming smile, “happy birthday, Timur.”

“I’ve heard this word many enough times on the party,” Glaz chuckled joyfully, “But well, I won’t get enough hearing you saying it again and again!”

 

Chapter Text

 1st September 2017.

 

This day, Kapkan went back from another operation in Hong Kong just like usual. It seemed like a coincidence as the brief came as soon as the two SDU operators joined Rainbow formally. However, for such an elite force, this was just their daily business. In fact, Kapkan even felt bored with handy tasks. He wouldn’t show it to anyone else though how eagerly he wished his fiancé could go with him. How the hell much time remained until he could return to action? He would catch Doc up and force him to give an accurate answer if he could.

 

He didn’t go straight to the HQ, but a residential area nearby. He went to a three-storey apartment, up to the second floor, took out a key from his pocket and opened a unit. Inside the door displayed a standard living room just like other houses in this country, with furniture consisting of couches, table and cabinets arranged tidily– it was his and Glaz’ new place here, and they had moved here just two weeks ago. After they returned from the vacation, they notified the directors about that they were planning to find a house and move there and surprisingly received their support. Kapkan still intended to keep their engagement as a secret, although he guessed several teammates had already figured out what was going on between the couple.

 

The arrangement of their new home had finished the last weekend, just before Kapkan’s departure. The most imposing object in here was definitely Glaz’ large artwork on the wall, done during his homecoming vacation. Looking at himself shown in this magnificent painting had become his secret pleasure.

 

And there was a photo frame sitting on the table showing their last memory in Vladivostok’s city day parade. The scene featured the family standing in front of the sailing regattas, looking so happy that felt it like a dream. But it was true, Glaz’ parents accepted him despite the general society in his country didn’t do so. Maybe what Glaz said was right. He was lucky – but Kapkan didn’t like to depend it on mere luck. He was sure that they would do their best to build a new life here just like his youngest brother did.

 

He put his gears like backpack and combat suit into his kit locker then he looked around. He supposed Glaz was resting in the bedroom if he was not in the living room. He went straight to the bedroom, but it was empty as well.

“Maybe he’s buying the ingredients for dinner.” Kapkan thought while removing his dirty undershirt, pants and boxers which were all thrown into the laundry basket. It was almost full, reminding him of the need to do the clothes today. After taking a refreshing shower, he didn’t bother to put on any clean cloth but his towel around the waist and lifted the basket to the laundry machine. He was already thinking mindlessly which junk movie he should pick to kill some time for the laundry as well as his partner’s return.

 

When he went back to the living room, he unexpectedly noticed a note on the table. Apparently, it was written by Glaz. He put the basket down to pick it up.

 

Maxim,

 

I think the note will find you in this morning if you come back from the mission on time. I’m going to Doc to do the regular medical extermination. Will come back around noon, so don’t worry!

 

Timur

 

Мудак!” Kapkan swore in astonishment, “How come I forget it!” He rushed to the bedroom to get himself into the most comfortable clothing he could get then ran out of the apartment.

 


 

Hereford base, the medical room.

 

“All done,” Doc told Glaz to go off the bed and put his clothes on after the physical examination. “By the way, how do you feel recently?”

“Couldn’t be better,” Glaz replied excitedly, “I feel I’m ready to go back to the group training.”

“Great,” Doc nodded his approval, “I will tell others you will join the session next Monday.”

“Thanks!” Glaz replied with a delightful appreciation and readied to get up, while the door was pushed open loudly and Kapkan rushed in.

“What’s the result, Timur?” Kapkan asked eagerly, “Good?”

“Maxim,” Doc shook his head to the hunter, “Watch your manner here. How many times I should tell you?”

“Teaching him manners is like howling at the moon, I’m afraid!” Glaz chuckled humorously. “And I’m allowed to return to the group training from the next week!”

“Finally!” Kapkan tried to hold on his excitement in front of the medic, “welcome back to the squad, brother.”

“Well, aren’t you two supposed to call each other in…” Doc made an amusing comment, “a more intimate way?”

 

“What?” Kapkan turned to him in confusion.

“I’ve heard you’re engaged.” An earth-breaking comment came out within Doc’s smooth voice.

“Damn, who told you this?” Kapkan swore, “Must be Alex. That bastard had promised me to keep it secret!”

“That’s ok,” Doc chuckled, “I understand. Because about five years ago, Montagne joked to me in my 35th birthday party about that if I still hadn’t got a woman in my 40th, then he would marry me.”

“Really? Was he serious?” Glaz followed the laughter, “I bet he was pissed drunk at that moment.”

“He exactly was,” Doc replied thoughtfully, “hence I didn’t put a mind on his bullshit and almost forgot it until your engagement reminded me again…”

“Wait,” Kapkan’s tone raised, “Isn’t you going to be 40 in this month?”

“Correct,” Doc’s forehead puckered humorously, “Well, I would happily accept it. Seems like you two won’t be the only married male-male couple here.”

“Oh, and I think we won’t be the last ones, either.” Glaz’ comment made another giggle in unison.

 

“Oh my, pardon me,” Doc continued after ceased his laughter. “Anyway, I just wish you to know we all support you. Especially from my brief knowledge of your country, you might face a lot of difficulties.”

“I’m so lucky that my family is supportive,” Glaz nodded, “But you’re damn right. I’ve already considered we can make a new life here instead of going back. Well, after the duty is over, of course.”

“How about having a wedding here, too?” Doc suggested.

“I don’t think we will have it,” Kapkan snorted, “And you already know I’m never a person into this thing.”

“I think it’s a good idea,” Glaz interrupted, “And we can invite all our buddies here.”

“Aren't you uncomfortable with crowds?” Kapkan cocked an eyebrow.

“Sometimes it depends. Having such a moment in a lifetime, like marriage, is priceless.”

“So, it might come to another thing to consider,” Doc continued, “Which of you is going to wear a dress?

“Dress? You mean the white, lacy one?” Kapkan’s forehead creased in a funny look, “tell me it’s a joke.” He nervously turned to his partner, who was forming a fascinating beaming smile as if telling him it was indeed in consideration.

In the meantime, Glaz’ phone received a message. He looked at it and knew it was from Fuze.

 

Will you two eat home or out tonight? I know you both commemorate the school siege on this day, and this time Alex and I would like to join, too.

 

“Maxim,” Glaz put down his phone with a beaming smile, “We’re making dinner for four today.”

“Alex and Shuh are going to drop by, right?”

“Yeah, who else would?” Glaz chuckled while getting up, “Come, let’s buy some ingredients. I’ve already decided tonight’s menu.”

 


 

After the couple returned to their new place, they put off the stuff just bought from a supermarket before Glaz immediately started cooking. Even though on days off, they would choose to cook at home instead of going to a restaurant for dinner. It cost much less was a specific reason; however, Kapkan had also confirmed that their home cooking was more appealing than most of “authentic” Russian restaurants in this country – it was what he learned from his birthday party on this May, but he would choose not to tell it to anyone.

 

“So, what’s on the menu, chef?” Kapkan asked Glaz when seating at the table and resting his chin in his hand.

“You might still remember that I made hare stew for dinner in our first hunting trip.” Glaz answered while showing a parcel of jointed rabbit meat, “So I’ve got some rabbits today. Of course, it would taste different from wild ones, but I will make them as much as delicious.”

“Are you sure you don’t need my help?”

“No,” Glaz chuckled, “These rabbits definitely don’t need to be skinned.”

“Well, I’m sure they have much more meat than those pity bunnies you hunted.” Kapkan shrugged.

“So, you’ve forgotten the big deer I got on the following day?” Glaz hilariously lifted an eyebrow.

“Technically, we got it together.” Kapkan smirked while gazing at his partner’s lower body in well-fit jeans, “But yeah, how can I forget.”

“Maybe someday we’ll go hunting together again?” Glaz smiled while frying the rabbit in a Dutch oven until it turned a delicious looking golden colour.

“You know I would never miss it.” Kapkan sniffed the mouthwatering fragrance of browned meat and already predicted that today’s dinner would be gorgeous.

 

Glaz then took the rabbits out the pot to replace it with sliced bacon, chopped carrots, onions, celery, garlic clove, fresh thyme and a bay leaf. After they began to colour, he poured in red wine (the Georgian red wine Fuze gave him had a perfect usage here), then chicken stock and put back rabbits along with prunes which previously prepared in brandy and sugar. “It has to cook for at least two hours. Let’s do some side dishes.” Glaz turned to his partner again after he covered the pot.

“Hurray,” Kapkan stood up and wore an apron, “We have some uncooked lasagne in the fridge, right? I’m using it up to do some ravioli.”

“We’ve bought mushrooms and spinach.” Glaz reminded, “You can use it.”

“And cheeses,” Kapkan took a pack of ricotta and another pack of mozzarella out of their shopping bag, “Lo amerai cazzo, tesoro.” (You’ll fucking love it, sweetheart.) He pretended a charming face with a beaming smile while holding the cheese in his hands.

“Where did you learn it?” Glaz giggled.

“Hell knows,” Kapkan shrugged while cooking the spinach and mushroom for the filling, “Maybe another Italian junk movie.”

“To get your lazy ass to learn foreign languages, I see.”

“Or just some certain languages,” Kapkan smirked, “And it’s enough to me.”

“Oh, then try saying ‘I love you’ in five more different languages.” Glaz wrapped his arm around his partner’s waist and looked at him with a passionate expression.

“Fuck off,” Kapkan knocked Glaz’ forehead, “since when you’ve become so shameless.”

“In the same time when you have, I’m sure,” Glaz countered with a smirk before they laughed together.

 


 

Around six o’clock, they just finished setting the dinner on the table, and the bell rang. Glaz opened the door, and Fuze and Tachanka were waiting. “Hey, Timur!” Tachanka yelled cheerfully with a bottle of vodka in his hand, “I’m here to celebrate!”

“Really? For which thing?” Glaz asked half-jokingly.

“Isn’t it obvious? Finally, you can fight with us again!” Tachanka entered and exchanged a glance with the couple, “Our squad isn’t whole without you!”

“Timur,” Fuze came in after his elder comrade and whispered to Glaz’ ear, “He’s always so bad at hiding emotions, isn’t he?”

“Yeah. I can see how sad his eyes look.” Glaz nodded, “Come on in, we already had the dinner done.”

 

During dinner, the Russians talked about the old days. Thirteen years ago, the Beslan siege hurt their motherland, three of them all put themselves into the battle, had lost their comrades, and the resting one had his best friend sacrifice his life. It was a day they could never forget, and all they could do now was keeping the memory alive and praying for the sorrowful souls.

 

However, Kapkan and Glaz both admitted that such tragedy was also the key to a new opportunity. The hunter joined Spetsnaz as a reward for his effort, and the younger one also sought his new purpose in the military, then finally met each other and got together. They didn’t speak a word but looked at each other and knew everything in their eyes. To be honest, they might be still strangers to ‘love’, and romantic affection was never into their blood, but they understood their partner had the first place in their hearts, and they would always be at each other’s side whenever in need. And it was precisely the relationship that they liked to have.

 

After a few minutes, Kapkan turned to Tachanka and broke the silence, “so, did you leak out our engagement? Doc just told us about it earlier today.”

“What?” Tachanka retorted, “for what the hell reason I should tell him such the thing?”

“If not you, then who would?”

“Well, can I give my opinion?” Fuze raised his hand then interrupted, “Maxim, I think your intention to follow Timur to his home and spend a vacation with him entirely tells.”

“Nice say!” Tachanka raised a thumb to Fuze, “Normally it is not allowed, but everyone knew that what you both needed was a honeymoon!”

“It’s not!” Kapkan yelled.

“It’s not, because the honeymoon always goes after the wedding. And now we must focus on Rainbow’s duty, but this apartment is a start.” Glaz answered.

“Right, but the barrack would feel so lonely without you.” Tachanka stared at Kapkan in a pretended severe expression.

“In fact, the barrack is going to have a rearrangement,” Fuze explained, “Our rooms will be no longer assigned according to our CTUs. Most of us approve of it since it can enhance multinational communication. We’re an international team, after all.”

“Yep, it also means you have a chance to live with your German guy,” Tachanka laughed.

“And you with your new Spanish girlfriend, too.” Fuze countered.

 

“Speaking of it, I’m now curious at why you don’t bring them here,” Glaz questioned.

“Are you kidding? I’m saving today just for my comrades, no one else.” Tachanka frowned dissatisfied, “You should know this better than anyone!”

“I know. Maybe you can take them to visit later?” Glaz continued, “it’s not a large place here, but I will do my best to make them feel relaxed and at home.”

“Then I will take a note on it.” Tachanka nodded and turned to Kapkan, “Maxim, what’s on your mind?”

“What do you mean?” Kapkan raised an eyebrow. “On my feelings about moving to this place?”

“Not just this,” Tachanka smirked, “You know, the team, the missions, and everything that happened during these days.”

“If you want my true opinion,” Kapkan sighed before stating, “I can say they’re the best days in my lifetime.”

“Wrong, Maxim,” Glaz chuckled, “our days afterwards will be even more fantastic!” Tachanka and Fuze laughed together following Glaz’ word.

“Why you all behave so silly?” Kapkan shook his head helplessly with a vague smile, which Glaz quickly noticed and smiled back. “Let’s finish eating the dinner before it tastes unpleasantly cold.” Kapkan gave a sharp glance at others to remind them to stop talking too much.

“Still unchanged,” Tachanka whispered before going back to his meal, while Glaz and Fuze agreed with nodding. Kapkan also went back to the dinner as he paid attention to the flavour of Glaz’ rabbit stew. Genuinely, the combination of rabbit and prune was excellent. It might be the best stew he ate, although it made him involuntarily miss the taste of his partner’s first rabbit stew made in the night in the taiga forest, which had less meat though, the wild flavour totally fit for the hunter’s liking. He then turned to Glaz to give him an almost voiceless remark. Glaz immediately read the meaning from his lips’ movement –

 

“Хороший ужин. Спасибо.” (Nice dinner. Thank you.)

 

After they all finished eating the dinner, Kapkan volunteered to wash the dishes, and the others were resting on the sofa. “So, it’s drinking time!” Tachanka excitedly opened his liquor, “I have a good story you had never heard to share! Are you in, Maxim?” His head turned to the kitchen, shouted to Kapkan’s back.

“Can’t you wait a little more, at least until I get these dishes done?” Kapkan yelled back.

“Hey, you know,” Glaz turned to Kapkan as well, “I think Avenir would be happy to know we’re doing so relaxed today. Despite whatever happened, he wouldn’t like this day to be mournful all the way.”

“Perhaps?” Kapkan turned his head back, “And do you think he likes your new painting?”

“Do you even need to ask?” Glaz raised his head and confidently looked at his painting on the wall, memorised the two young, ambitious artists’ old days talking about their dream.

 

“He would be glad that I never give up, and it’s all thanks to you.”