I value your thoughts and opinion; I would also like to hear from you personally. Personal stories and accounts of your own similar experiences are always welcome. Contact me at [email protected] NOTE to GAY DEMON READERS: I greatly appreciate the comments you leave on the site but I cannot respond unless you leave an email address or email me direct.


Chapter Sixty-Five

First Kill

I went on the mission on my own--no spotter because there was no replacement yet for Sophomore. I was to be the welcoming committee for a raiding party of VC that was causing havoc and mischief in Long Khanh Province, terrorizing the farmers and villagers--their own damn people--but it was their way of demanding loyalty away from the Americans. It was up to me to take the first step in restoring that loyalty back to the Americans. I was glad I got the assignment. I wondered aloud why I was being sent such a long distance....hell, clear to hell and gone on the other side of Saigon. I was told they didn't want it to be a total cluster fuck--an operation that went bad. I took that as a compliment. It would be the first time to use my jump skills if the bird couldn't set me down; not much chance of it, though. Most of those chopper pilots could land on a gnat's ass.

I gathered up the extra supplies I would need the night before, like extra canteens of water, cans of beans and dicks--(C-ration beans and hot dogs)--and beans and motherfuckers--(ham and lima beans)--but left the assembling of my gear till morning. I didn't like to get my gear ready then leave it overnight for some screw pigeon to fuck with. Then I got a good night's sleep.

The next morning I ate an early breakfast, gathered up my gear, checked my chute and headed over to meet the bird.

I was a little disappointed that I didn't get to jump, but there wasn't any place for me to land in that immediate area and I would've probably ended up hanging from a fuckin' tree with the VC gooks poking bamboo spears up my ass. Instead, I was set down smooth as shit, in a clearing some distance away. The bird didn't even wait till I was in the bush before it took off out of there, but we all knew I was on my own when my feet hit the ground. It was a hard run to the bush under the weight of my rucksack and the canteens pounding against my ass. In the relative safety of the jungle, I got my bearings and headed south in search of the river that would lead me to the spot where I wanted to set up housekeeping. Part of the way along the river, I was able to follow the riverbed, part of the way I had to fight the fuckin' jungle.

I arrived at where I needed to be, but wasn't satisfied with the terrain so far as setting up the shot, so I waited.

The VC usually started their crap about the time people were eating so they affected entire families. And I wanted to see who their leader was. I didn't have a good ID on anyone, just a description. I positioned myself on a ledge overlooking the rice paddies and the village. It looked so peaceful. I was barely in place before I saw a squad of VC coming across the rice paddy. I knew they were my target simply by their arrogance; and right away I didn't like them. They stopped and two of them took a piss in the rice paddy. It was an act of arrogance more than having to relieve themselves. I thought it would be great to shoot off one of their cocks but it was too soon for anything but recon.

I watched in quiet anger as they strode into the village, laughing and yelling. They stopped where a woman with her man and two small children hovered around an open fire where she was cooking the main meal. There was some loud, angry shouting as one of the soldiers kicked the man in his side. I couldn't make out what they were saying except I heard "Americans" several times. As a final insult, one of the soldiers knocked the cook kettle over, dumping it into the fire. Another stirred the flames with his bayonet and they all laughed as they destroyed the family's main meal. There was another angry tirade then they all left. But they would be back.

"Terror matches terror," I said quietly to myself. I now had an ID. I'd gotten a good look at the men through my scope and was able to pinpoint the officer and the number two man. Given the right circumstances, I could take them both out. All I had to do was wait for the right circumstances.

I circled part way around the mountain to get closer and in lower proximity so I could fire on a more level plain. I took my sweet time selecting a spot where I could set up shop and make myself comfortable, deep in the elephant grass. It would likely be a long wait and I wanted to be able to get some sleep without being disturbed. Not that you ever really get comfortable or sleep soundly in the jungle. I thought of Sophomore, and wished he were with me. It would be nice to have him down there chowing down on my cock while we waited. I hoped he was happy where he was at. I thought of Levi Brant and smiled.

I ate C-rations and buried the cans then took out my pocket journal to make some notes and write some thoughts. The night would be long, and I wondered if the VC would wait till the next day to show up again. Sometimes they came back again on the same day, sometimes the very next day, and sometimes they skipped a day or two, all designed to keep the people off guard. I had a gut feeling they would be back before nightfall, or early morning at the very latest. I hung out my shingle. "Brad Courter, USMC Sniper, Deadly Aim, Guaranteed Results." I hung it on a branch and took up my position. Sure enough, here they came back across the field, purposely trampling on plants and whacking the larger plants with their bayoneted rifles. I brought my rifle up to have a look through the scope. Same Number One and Number Two; I couldn't be sure of the others but it didn't matter about them. If One and Two went down the others would shit their pants and fertilize the crops.

It was always a game with a risk. Take one out while I had the shot, or wait till I had a better shot and try to take them both out. Waiting too long, I took the chance of missing the shot altogether. I took the gamble on both One and Two. I didn't want to leave anyone in command. My finger slowly curled around the trigger, almost without my command. It would have to be quick; instantaneous. But they were standing close together and Number Two could be brought down before he realized his superior had been shot. Number One had his head reared back, laughing at something, his ugly mouth wide open. Without any thought whatsoever I squeezed the trigger, while at the same instant setting up the next shot in my head. The rifle belched out the shot; a strangely harmless sound that only I could hear. The officer's laughter was cut short and I caught a split second glimpse of his wide-eyed shock as his face pretty much disappeared and the top of his head blew off. Instantly, I moved the trajectory slightly to the right and squeezed again, but more quickly. The rest of the men were yelling and scrambling for cover while Number Two took those precious seconds to gape at his officer going down. They were fatal seconds of his life, spent toppling back across the officer. I took aim again and brought down a third man but I didn't kill him. He crawled out of sight, behind one of the irrigation dams. Yeah, this sure as hell wasn't Intel.

Everything but my shingle was already packed to go. I grabbed it off the tree limb, picked up the spent brass and moved out to a safer spot closer to the rendezvous point. But I knew I would be spending the night.

It was a long and lonely night of fitful sleep. I spent a lot of those dark hours just lying there thinking about my first kill. There was no euphoria. Not even a sense of celebration. I'd just done the job I'd been trained to do, nothing more, nothing less. I thought of my parents. What would they think if they could see me now? They wouldn't understand. My Mom would ask why I chose such a job and I couldn't explain it to her, that I didn't choose it, the job chose me. It was like a calling. She would shake her head with a worried look and wonder what happened to the boy she raised.

I thought of Jason, wondered where he might be. I had no idea. Hell, I didn't even know if he was still alive. Maybe this was all for nothing. Thinking about him gave me a hardon. I reached down and groped my crotch but I didn't do anything about my hardon.

I got picked up just before daybreak. The whop-whop-whop of the rotor blades woke me up and I scrambled to fire off a flare and grab my shit. I rushed to the clearing to see the bird positioning over head with a rope dangling. He wasn't coming down. That meant the spot was hot and it had to be a quick extraction. He made it real quick. I sailed off at the end of the rope it seemed like half way across the country before I was pulled up into the helicopter. But I was safe. The pilot looked around at me when I was aboard and I gave him a thumbs up. He nodded and smiled. I went up closer to the cockpit.

Pilots are always sexy to me; the way they walk, how they carry themselves, with such an air of confidence. And the ones I've met were studs. Part of it is the flight suits they wear; I swear I think a gay must have designed them. Cunningham wasn't wearing gloves and even his hands were sexy, but the thing that attracted me to him was his thighs. They filled out his pants and met at the crotch where a massive bulge separated them.

"Hey, any chance you can set me down around Saigon?" I asked.

"No chance," he said.

"Do you take bribes?"

"What've you got?"

"How about a blowjob?" I said.

"Fuck, man, if I thought you were serious, I would set this fucker down on top of the royal palace."

"Set it down," I said.

"Blow me first," he shot back.

"Haul it out," I said.

He just laughed and flew on. Little did he know, I would've done it. For the rest of the flight I tried to think of some way of getting something started with the guy but I couldn't come up with anything.

I reported in back at the base camp.

"Two killed, one wounded," I said.

"Two killed," the captain said, as if he doubted me.

"That's what I said. Go ask the villagers. Tell 'em I'll be back to watch over them."

"You're going to Gia Dinh tonight."

"Tell 'em anyway. I wanta get the word out that I'm setting up shop around there. It might be a good idea to send out patrols and go after the VC who'll be out looking for me."

"Just like a damned sniper; stir up a hornet's nest then head out somewhere else."

"Yeah, we're all comrades at heart," I said dryly.

I didn't have much time to contemplate my first kills. Of course they had to be confirmed to count but that wasn't my worry, and I really didn't give a shit about a count. I knew there were two dead VC troublemakers, and the villagers knew it, and that was all that was important. If the powers couldn't confirm it, that was their problem. But even if they didn't confirm, I knew the kills would be counted because they needed good counts to send up to headquarters.

I can't say that I was proud that I had ended the lives of two men but I was damned proud of my skills that had done it. Proud with a deep sense of satisfaction. The two VC could be just as dead in a firefight. It was just a more personal way that they died. That I had seen their faces to recognize them--hell, one guy's tonsils--well, that was something I had to shrug off. Like they taught us, they were targets, nothing more.


Chapter Sixty-Six

Hot On His Trail

I didn't have a plan to find Jason. I didn't know where he was except that we were both in Vietnam now. I didn't even know his outfit. Or maybe he wasn't in Vietnam. He could be in Laos or Thailand. All I could do was wait and keep my eyes and ears open. I figured my best hope was to get to Saigon, back to Toby's, as soon as I could.

I was cleaning my rifle and listening to the bullshit all around me. I didn't know why I was cleaning it again. One of the guys, a big fucker named Sean, addressed me.

"Hey, Courter."

I looked up.

"You don't talk much, do you?"

"What'd you wanta talk about?" I asked.

"What you do," he said.

"What do you mean? I pretty much do the same thing you do, and everybody else," I said.

"No, it's different with you guys," he said.

"Us guys?"

"Yeah. Snipers," he said, nodding to my professional "shingle" over my bunk that read Brad Courter, USMC Sniper, Deadly Aim, Guaranteed Results. "Hell, you advertise your profession like you're a dentist or something."

"What's different? The gook's dead, whether you shoot him or I do," I said.

"You're a stalker," he said.

"Stalking is part of the training," I said.

"Do you ever see the guy you're taking out close up?"

"Last one, I saw the fillings in his teeth," I said.

"See, that's the difference. You get in close up and personal. You see their faces. Doesn't that bother you?"

"If I let it, I couldn't do my job," I said.

"How do you get past it, shooting a guy with a face?"

"Once I pull the trigger, he doesn't have a face," I said. "The ones you kill have faces, too."

"I don't see 'em," he said.

"The only difference is, you get to pick the ones you take out; somebody else picks my targets. I have to see 'em up close and personal to make sure I take out the right one." It was the first I noticed that the bullshit chatter had stopped, and everyone was listening to Sean and me.

"You ever think about the guy's wife or kids he leaves behind?" someone else asked.

"Do you think he gives a flyin' fuck about your wife and kids, if you've got any? If this is an attempt to lay a guilt trip on me, it's not working," I said.

"We had another sniper come through here some time back, name was Seaborne, or something like that," Sean said. "He was a cool, steely-eyed fucker, just like you."

My hand that had been stroking my rifle stock with a polishing cloth stopped.

"You guys could be twins, the way you both act," the guy went on. "Just like now, the way you're cleaning your rifle. You're not cleaning it, you're caressing it. Hell, I know women who would die for that kind of attention. He did that too, just like you're doing. And you've got the same steady, steely eyes as him."

"Yeah, he moved like a cat," another guy put in.

"Are you talking about Jason Seaborne?" I asked.

"Yeah, another Marine sniper. You know him?"

"No. This Jason Seaborne was a Navy SEAL," I said, although I was wondering about the likelihood of two Jason Seabornes being in Vietnam.

"So was this guy. He switched, to Marines," another guy said.

"Are you sure?" I asked with a scowl. "That don't sound like the Jason Seaborne I know. He was a die-hard SEAL."

"All I know is, I was having a beer with the company clerk of his outfit," the guy said. "He said it was the first time he ever heard of a Navy SEAL switching and joining the Marines."

I tried not to act too excited. "Well, I guess it don't really matter. Once a SEAL, always a SEAL; once a Marine, always a Marine. Do you know his outfit?" I asked.

"No, I don't remember what outfit the clerk was from. We just met in a bar."

"What bar?" I asked.

"A place called....uhhhhh.....Toby's. Yeah, that was it, Toby's. That was the name of the guy who owned it. Big son-of-a-bitch. Muscles in his shit."

I swallowed, hard. I wanted to ask more questions but I couldn't bring myself to do it. Suddenly I needed some air.

The door slammed behind me when I went out of the hooch, then slammed again.

"Hey. Courter." It was Sean.

I looked around and slowed my pace, but didn't stop. I didn't want any more questions.

"Nobody meant to get under your skin," he said, catching up with me.

"Nobody did," I said as I walked on. I wanted to be alone but I didn't tell him that. I walked out of the ring of light into the dark solitude of the trees and foliage. Sean suddenly rushed past me, turned to face me, and back peddled in front of me.

"Hold it, hold it. Where're you going?"

I stopped. "What the fuck does it matter?" I asked.

"This has got you pretty upset," he said. "Was this Seaborne guy a buddy of yours?"

I didn't answer him. "Sometimes a guy just needs some air," I said finally.

He held up his hands defensively as he continued to walk backwards. I stopped.

"Could I....say something? While I've got my nerve built up?"

"What do you have to say, that you have to build up your nerve to say it, and why to me?" I asked.

"Because it don't apply to anybody else," he said. "He was a buddy, wasn't he? You probably don't know if he's dead or alive."

"What was it you wanted to say to me?" I asked.

"Okay, I....I'm saying this at great risk of bodily harm, like I know I could get my face bashed in, but fuck, it's worth the risk."

"What!" I said, impatiently.

"I'm praying you're not a homophobe, but I'm standing back a ways, just in case, to tell you this. You are the sexiest fucker that's ever come through here since Seaborne. Man, I can hardly keep my eyes off of you in the hooch, just like it was with him. When he used to come back in from the shower, I had to turn away for fear the other guys would see the way I was looking at him. I didn't even know I had those kinds of feelings till he showed up. But I was scared to try anything, afraid he would tear me apart. It's the same with you. Your eyes, the way you move, your voice, even the way you clean your rifle, it's like you're in love with it. Just like he was. Fuck, I used to wish it was me instead of his weapon, feeling those hands."

I listened without showing any emotion, but I was surprised as hell. Even the fact that he stood back surprised me. I wouldn't want to tangle with him; he outweighed me by a good twenty or thirty pounds. I was smiling inside. The guy had no clue how I looked at him when he came back from the shower--I must've hidden it well, like he did--or how many nights I'd lain in bed wishing I could share his bunk. I was on the verge of stopping him, telling him we were in the same boat, but I let him go on thinking I was straight.

"Anyway, I almost let that stud slip through my fingers, and I decided I wasn't going to take the chance of letting that happen with you. So if you ever find yourself getting hardup....you know, like when the pressure builds up....well, I could be there for you, any time, in any capacity," he was saying. He paused and leaned back against a tree. "Whew! There, I said it. First time I ever had the balls to open up like that."

"You know what it could get you," I said.

"A court martial, if I said it to the wrong guy," he said.

"Yeah, it could get you that," I said.

"But there's only the two of us and I would deny saying it," he added quickly.

"How do you know I won't tear you to pieces? Why aren't you scared of me?"

"I am, that's the reason I'm keeping some distance between us, 'cause I know you could break me in two if you wanted to."

"Or, it could get you a big stiff dick to chow down on," I said, rubbing my crotch.

"Oh, Fuck!" he gasped quietly. "Please tell me you're not fuckin' with my head." He looked past me, towards the hooch. "If you're not, right here's okay, if you're talking about now," he said.

"You said you almost let Seaborne slip through your fingers. What'd you mean by that?" I asked.

"He saw through me. I think he probably did early on but this was the night before he shipped out. He came in from his shower and came over to my bunk. Came right up where I was sitting and he stands there drying off with his big cock whipping around. It was all I could do to keep my hands off of him. He asked if I wanted to go over to the beer hall and have a drink with him. Hell yeah. He got dressed and slipped on a shirt and we headed out. Except he walked the other direction from the beer hall. I asked him where he was going, the beer hall was the other way. He said it was a nice night, we should take a walk, we could get a beer later. I got the feeling right then and there that he'd guessed about me, and I was either heading into the bush for a whopping good time, or I was going to get my ass kicked."

"You're a big guy, how come you're so worried about getting your ass kicked?" I asked.

"I know I am, but I get around guys like you and him, I turn to mush inside."

"Did he kick your ass?"

"No, he hauled his cock out and let me blow him. Godd, what a stud! He wasn't brutal but he was like a pile driver, fucking my throat. Godd, he tasted so good. His cock, and his cum. I laid in bed afterwards reliving it over and over again till I couldn't taste him anymore. It was awesome. I'll never forget him."

Just hearing him talk about it got me hard and the whole time I was thinking how it would feel to have my cock where Jason'd had his just a short time before. I looked over my shoulder to make sure we were alone, then started unbuttoning my pants.

"Here, I'll get that for you," he said as he took over and dropped to his knees. "You're not going to let me start then beat me up, are you? Or wait till I'm done then kick my ass?" he asked as he was pulling my pants and briefs down about mid-thigh, releasing my cock,

I didn't answer him but it didn't stop him. He muttered another "Ohh, Fuck, man, this is huge!" and gobbled it up like he was hungry. He was.

"MMMnmmmmnn!" he moaned loudly, as he began sucking me, his hands clasped around my bare butt. He was obviously experienced and he was starving for cock. He didn't take more than a half dozen practice strokes before he was going all the way down on me. Seeing he was so hungry and adept, I fed him my meat. I clasped my hands around his head and pumped my cock in and out of his throat. I didn't brutalize him; I just didn't give him any more than he wanted; and he wanted it all. At one point I moved my hands from his head. He took them and placed them back on his head then dropped his hands to his sides and knelt there like he was a defeated warrior while I did the work. I didn't mind. All the while I was feeling the strong connection with Jason, sliding my cock in and out of the snug, warm sheath where his cock had been.

We didn't take long. It wasn't the most ideal place for sex between two guys, and Sean was making too much noise, moaning loudly and slurping like a piglet at the trough. I worked up my load as fast as I could; I needed it too. With his obvious experience, I figured he would want my load in his mouth, and he wouldn't need a warning. I didn't give him one, except for my body language. He caught on to that and put his hands around my butt again, I think telling me not to pull out when I came. I didn't. I wasn't going to.

I was taken aback when I started coming. He squealed a low guttural groan and literally devoured my meat as he fought to swallow and not lose any of my juice. I think he was surprised how much I gave him, like a dozen or so ropes of thick, built-up cum that I'd been saving for too long. When I heaved a big sigh, he milked my cock and backed off of it.

"Geezusss! Do you always come like that?" he asked, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

"Usually. This might have been a little more; it's been a while," I said.

"Damn, I'm gonna like taking care of you."

"I think I'm gonna like you taking care of me," I said.

When we came back in the hooch, there was a young kid looking at my rifle. He had it in his hands.

"Don't touch my fuckin' rifle," I said as I walked up and took it.

"Sorry, I was just admiring it."

"This is like touching my dick. Admire your own weapon," I said.

I embarrassed him and he walked out of the hooch. I held the rifle up and looked around the hooch. "Nobody touches my weapon."

Nobody said anything.

Although combat situations often create a more relaxed atmosphere between officers and enlisted men I didn't exactly hob-nob with the officers. I did run into Cunningham, the helicopter pilot, one night shortly after my last time out when he'd picked me up. I had come out of the showers, heading back to my hooch. He strode barely past me when he stopped.

"Courter."

I let the towel down from drying my hair. "Yes, sir."

"Out for your evening stroll?" he asked with a smile.

"Just heading for my rack. How about you, sir?"

"Little celebration over at the officer's club. One of the guys had a birthday and had his first kid, a son, on the same day."

"He's gotta be happy about that," I said.

"Well, he is and he isn't," he said with a chuckle. "He's doing the math. He's not sure it's his."

"Hell, if it's close, if I were him, I would take the odds."

"I'll tell him you said that. Wish I could bring you along."

"It's okay, I know the rules, sir. Besides, I'm not dressed for a party," I said, indicating my nakedness."

"Well, you never know," he joked. There was a noticeable hesitation then he said, "By the way, Courter, don't we have some unfinished business between us?"

I blinked, confused. He wasn't my CO, I didn't know what he was talking about.

"Don't think so, sir."

"There's a little matter of a blowjob," he said under his breath.

I burst out laughing. "No, sir, that was only if you dropped me off in Saigon."

"I could cut this little celebration short, say an hour, and then fire up the bird," he said.

There was something in his tone that said he was only half joking, and I thought he was eyeing me with more than a casual notice. I wondered if it was intentional, making it sound that way to cover his butt in case he'd overstepped the line with an enlisted man.

"I would, but Saigon's a long way off and I have to do some recon early tomorrow and I don't function well without sleep." I said flippantly.

"Do you want to come to my quarters in about an hour, then?"

Okay, was he serious, or was he trying to trap me, I wondered.

"That'd be too obvious, wouldn't it? I don't want that reputation."

"Some other time, then." He started to walk off and I turned to go into the hooch.

"Lieutenant."

He stopped, and seeing me come back down off the steps he came toward me.

"Lieutenant, that sounded about half serious," I said.

"It was more than half," he said. "And by the way, it wouldn't be a one way street."

"Fuck," I said quietly.

"Want me to fire up the bird? I can have you back in plenty of time," he asked with a tight grin.'

"Are you serious?"

"Damn straight."

"What about your party?"

"They'll never miss me. Shit, we're both showered and shaved, it's a shame to waste it."

"Let me get dressed," I said.

A half hour later we were in the air, heading for Saigon. I didn't know how he justified taking the helicopter and I didn't ask. I didn't know where he set it down either, what installation, but when we were on the ground he commandeered a Jeep and we were off to the city. It was a part of the city I'd never been in before, nothing looked familiar. But it was great to be back in the city. It was more than great, it was exhilarating. It was a bittersweet exhilaration though because I would be unable to try to find Jason.

"Where're we going?" I asked.

"A place I know. Nice little hotel."

"Discreet."

"Very."

The hotel was better than nice--it looked like a small chateau--and nobody raised an eyebrow over two servicemen walking in together to get a room.

"You don't have to worry about your reputation here, because most everyone here has the same reputation," he said as we headed to the lift.

"That's good to know."

The room was small but bordered on the elegant, with a strong French influence.

"I didn't know they had places like this in Saigon," I said, taking it all in.

"It belonged to some French diplomat back when this was still French Indochina," the lieutenant said as he opened the French doors leading out to a small balcony. He stepped out to have a look around. "I haven't stayed in this room before," he said as came back into the room, pulling his shirt out of his pants. He pulled it off, revealing a well-muscled upper body with a spattering of hair across his chest and a sexy treasure trail plunging into his pants. He opened another set of curtained French doors to the bathroom. He opened them wide. "Come have a look at this."

The bathroom was oversized for the room, with a very large tub with a shower, set up on claws, the gold plated fixtures on the side. There was an ornate piece of furniture--more than a shelf--with neatly folded towels, bottles of bath oil and other fragrances, shaving gear and candles. It was a corner room and another set of French doors opened out onto another balcony. He opened the doors and we both stepped out and found ourselves overlooking the rest of the lush garden that circled the building.

"What do you say to a bath? The tub's big enough for both of us," he said as he began undoing his belt.

"Sounds like a plan," I said.

"But you do have to get out of your clothes," he said.

"Yes, I, uh....I was taken by the room," I said.

"You're not nervous, are you?"

"Well, it is the first time I've made it with an officer," I said.

"The bars are hung up, and I put my pants on and take them off the same as you. Being naked puts us on equal ground."

He was naked first. He was smaller than me but well put together, like a lean college jock. He had his back to me when he pulled off his shorts then he went into the bathroom to draw the water.

"How do you feel about bubbles?" he asked, laughing. "This stuff smells real good."

"Okay. I've never had a bubble bath." My voice sounded hoarse, probably because of how he was bent over adjusting the water. My mouth was watering and I was having a hard time swallowing all the spit. He had an ass to kill for and I was wondering what use he might put it to, what joys it might behold. He did say, after all, that it would not be one way.

I went into the bathroom just as he straightened and turned around, and we got our first look at each other. I don't know why but we both seemed startled. For me, it was because of his absolutely perfect, naked beauty.

"Damn, Lieutenant, you're....fuck, you're gorgeous," I said, a little breathless.

He laughed. "I've been called good looking, but never gorgeous."

"Sorry, but that's the only word that comes to mind at first glance," I said as my eyes raked over his body. "You could be a model. An underwear or swim suit model. Speedos. You would really fill out that style."

"I would? Stud, that's what took my breath away," he said, nodding to my cock. "Damn, what did your mother feed you, to grow a cock like that?"

"Lieutenant, I was wondering the same about your butt."

"Ah, you like my butt. The girls in school always loved my ass," he said.

"Just as many boys did, too, I'll bet. You just didn't know it."

"Oh, I knew it. But I was too young and green and scared of why they liked it." He stepped into the tub, reaching one hand out to me. His legs disappeared in the mountains of bubbles up to his knees. When I took hold of his hand it was the first I noticed that he was wearing a wedding ring. He submerged himself up to his neck at one end of the tub and I sat at the other end.

"Lieutenant, it's the first I noticed; you're married."

"Yes. Does that bother you?"

"No. Not, not at all."

"Some guys find it hot, competing with the wife and all."

"It is, sort of," I said.

"Well, you don't really have all that much competition. It was sort of an arranged marriage," he said.

"Arranged? Is she of a culture......"

"No, no," he said, laughing. "I should say merger. Fuck, I think it was probably discussed at a board meeting. Very cold and proper."

"Pardon me for saying so, but you don't sound very happy about it," I said.

"Happy as I can be, considering I don't love her, and she doesn't love me."

"That does sound cold."

"It's a fact we've both come to live with. Everything is very warm and cuddly, socially, which is all that matters. If you're wondering if I feel guilty about this, I don't. She's probably in a big tub in a plush hotel with one of her college studs."

"So, it's an open marriage."

"Shit, it's so open, we've shared our bed with her college studs and my college wenches."

"That's pretty open," I said, laughing.

"It's also the best sex we ever had," he said. "I get off more watching her getting fucked than I do fucking her myself."

"Does she know....this about you?" I asked, indicating the two of us.

"Yes, although we don't refer to is as anything so perverted as homosexual activity. We're more socially correct. When I say we've shared our bed in foursomes, she's just as willing and eager to eat pussy as I am to suck cock."

"Whew! I'd like to get in on some of that," I said jokingly.

"It might be arranged," he said. I felt his foot sliding up the inside of my thigh.

"You said you were nervous about making it with an officer. I'm a little on edge about making it with a sniper," he said as he nudged his foot into my crotch, pressing my rubbery cock hard against my balls.

"I put my pants on and take them off the same as you do."

"It's not about how you put your pants on, it's what you do after you take them off. I look at you and wonder how it must feel to live inside a body like that, with those steady nerves of steel that enable you to do your job."

"Well, I'm not exactly a robot," I said. "I'm flesh and blood just like every other guy out here."

"And what flesh and blood it is," he said with a smile as he massaged my manhood with his foot. "It must take a lot of blood to fill that thing up. Godd, I want to take you home with me!"

"And what would your family say about that?"

"My father has always had a mistress, why shouldn't I have a mister?" he said.

"What about your wife?"

"The women in our two families pretty much expect their men to have a lover on the side."

"But a male lover?"

He shrugged and smiled. "It wouldn't surprise her. The rest of my family perhaps, but not my wife. So, do you want to come home with me when this is over?"

"Thanks, Lieutenant, but I'm looking for someone."

"Couldn't you say you found him?"

"You're offer is tempting but I'm looking for someone in particular. We lost track of each other when I was sent stateside for a while and I came back to find him."

"Maybe I can change your mind," he said. He rose up out of the water and came up beside me. Big as the tub was he had to lie on his side. I put my arm out to cradle him and he laid his arm across my chest.

"It's guys like you that make me jump the fence," he said.

"You mean guys like me who are like you," I said.

"Yeah, muscle attracts muscle, or something like that. I still get pretty wild over a good looking woman, but sometimes a good-looking, well-built man trumps a beautiful woman. Speaking of which, have you ever heard of the Purple Dragon?" he asked.

"Yeah, supposed to be the most beautiful women in Saigon," I said. "You wanta check it out later?" If he wanted to, I didn't want to appear completely anti-women.

"Yeah, but later. Much later," he said as he rose up out of the water. He stood astraddle me with his cock aimed at my face. I ran my hands up his muscular thighs and took hold of his hips and opened my mouth to welcome his cock. He took barely a half dozen strokes before he was shoving it all the way into my throat and holding it there after each stroke. I moved my hands around his hips to clasp his taut butt. He let me play with his ass, deep between the clenching muscles till after a few minutes of sucking his cock and massaging his asshole, he turned around and bent over.

"That what you want?" he asked.

"Mmmmm, Yess!" as I buried my face in his ass. All the while I was sucking his cock and now eating his ass, I had visions of him fucking me. And me fucking him. Not that I really thought he would allow it but I so wanted to get inside his ass with more than my tongue. I just wasn't sure how straight he was; so far he was the top. I was encouraged when he let me use my finger in his ass. He liked it; but didn't they all. But after only a moment or two he straightened and turned around to feed me his cock again.

"Do you like to get fucked?" he asked.

"Yes," I replied without hesitation.

"Stand up and turn around." He bent me over and I clasped my hands around the edge of the tub. He entered me using the soap as lube. I was glad it was a mild soap; it didn't sting. It was give and take. He took what he needed and gave me what I needed at the same time. He was good; he had some great hip moves. Good enough that I was soon thrusting back onto his cock.

"How about we take it to the bed," he said. "We've got a long night."

So much for the non-fraternization rules.

A flashing neon sign flashed Purple Dragon with an arrow pointing into an alley. Inside, the lighting was soft yellow-tan like they used in movies to make a scene look old and vintage. It was a mix of people, guys in uniform and out, as well as locals. There was a couple who looked like American businessmen.

"This place is jumping," I said.

"And it lives up to its hype," Lt. Cunningham said. "Look at these women."

I was dubious about coming here but the testosterone was pumping a different brand of juice and it was a good feeling to know once again that I wasn't gender-dead.

"Yeah, something for everybody," he said. I saw he was eyeing a woman who looked and dressed like a supermodel in what could only be described as evening wear, walking towards us from the back. My first thought was that she owned the place. I had my eye on a drop-dead, smokin' hot woman at the bar, dressed in a top that revealed a quarter-circle of each of her beautiful tits, and a tight, very short skirt that showed off her long, beautiful legs. And high heels. I'd always been a sucker for a woman in high heels, and fuck, she had the legs for them! Nice, long, smooth looking legs that just didn't stop. The stool on the right of her was empty and it was the only empty one at the bar. I was anxious to stake it out.

"Look, whatever happens, we meet back here. Whoever's here first, just wait," Lt. Cunningham said as he moved off to confront the woman.

"Got it." I made a beeline to the bar. "Is this seat taken?" I asked as I slid onto the bar stool.

The woman looked around with a sultry look and said, "I've been saving it for you, soldier," in a throaty voice.

"Sorry I kept you waiting," I said.

"That's all right, as long as you make it worth the wait."

"What're you drinking?" I asked.

"I let the gentleman pick the drinks," she said.

"I'm not a gentleman, I'm a beer man."

"I can handle that," she said as she pushed her drink away.

I ordered two Bia Saigon, considered to be the best beer in the city--that's what Toby had told me--and one glass. The bartender poured her beer in the glass.

"You know how to treat a lady," she said with a smile.

"I didn't get your name. I'm Brad," I said, tilting my bottle in a salute.

"Sonya. Are you stationed in the city?"

"No." Caution kicked in and I didn't tell her where I was based. I made a mental note to be careful what we talked about. Beautiful as she was, she could be working for the other side. I still hadn't determined if she was a prostitute. If she wasn't, that left two options in my mind; either she was a spy or she simply liked American GIs. I opted for the latter. It was common knowledge that the Vietnamese women liked American GIs, for various reasons. Mainly, because we were bigger and stronger than their men, and we were hung better; the reasons we liked to believe. Or they were looking for a way back to the States.

I made small talk, namely, how beautiful she was. That, I knew, would turn her attention away from anything but me.

I turned on the stool and hit her leg with my knee. "Sorry," I muttered and reached over and patted her leg

"No you're not," she said, laughing. Godd, her laugh was sexier than her voice.

We talked through two more beers. I noticed she did the lady like thing and pushed her unfinished one aside. We still talked mostly about me. She wanted to know where I "hailed from" and about my boyhood. I still hadn't determined if she was a prostitute. Before long we were turned facing each other and I had both hands on her bare legs and it didn't matter. She smelled good, and it just felt good to be making out with a woman. But she stopped me whenever my hands ventured too far.

At one point I remarked that it was awfully noisy. She cooed that her apartment was much quieter if I wanted to go there.

I told her I did and waited for her to mention a price. She didn't. We left and took a cab to her place. We could've walked, it was close by, except she had on those sexy high heels. Or maybe she was in cahoots with the cab driver. That didn't matter. She lived on the second floor and watching her climb the stairs in the dimly lit staircase was a lesson in restraint. Damn, I wanted to get my hands on that ass, and those legs.

Her "apartment" was one room with a hot plate and a sofa that folded out into a bed. It had a nice view of the busy street below. It was a nice apartment and I was still waiting for her to name a price. I walked over to the window to look out.

"I'll get you a beer, then we'll get you comfortable," she said in that throaty voice. With a bit of a flourish she handed me a beer then she went around lighting candles.

I started to unbutton my shirt, to get comfortable.

She said, "Uh, Uh, honey, don't do that, that's my job."

Okay, I thought. There was still no mention of money.

When the candles were flickering all over the place--about a dozen of them--she turned off the lights except the small, dim bedside lamp, and then she started unbuttoning my shirt. We were standing right in front of the window.

"I've got nosey neighbors. I know they watch so I like to give them a show. You don't mind if I make them jealous," she said.

"I don't care," I said.

She started taking my clothes off of me, and it was like she was practically worshipping my body. Everything she took off, she licked and kissed the bare flesh she exposed. She licked and sucked my nipples--fuck, that drove me nuts--then she started licking my armpits. She licked and kissed my biceps, and that even felt good. And my shoulders and down my stomach. Her tongue felt like warm, wet, soft sandpaper.

"You wait right here," she said and when she had my shirt off, she gave my shoulders a firm squeeze, as if to tell me I should stay put. She went over to a large armoire to hang up my shirt, and the way she walked set my nuts to tingling. I'd almost forgotten this feeling for a woman. Godd, the way she rolled her hips! On the street, it would've been criminal. And those legs!! I could hardly wait to get between them, have them wrapped around me. Fuck, have them wrapped around my head, because I was thinking about eating pussy. I hadn't done that in years and my mouth was watering. I was so fuckin' horny. She came back toward me with that same earth moving walk.

"Please, could you fold out the sofa bed?" she asked.

Okay, sure. Sex was in the air! No hassle! I knelt down on one knee to find the latch and she was standing about two feet away, looking so damned sexy in those high heels and the short skirt, that I sort of lost concentration and just stared. She laughed, a real, sexy, throaty laugh, and asked me if I needed a drink.

That brought my concentration back and I found the latch. I told her, "No, no, I can handle it."

She laughed again and said, "Oh, I'll bet you can."

Fuck, I wanted to crawl over there and hide my face up under her skirt! I unfolded the sofa into a bed.

"Ohh, I love your muscles," she cooed.

That embarrassed me but I liked it. I was in great shape and proud to show it off, and she was practically worshiping my body when she was taking my shirt off. She straightened up the bed and fluffed the pillows. My tongue was hanging out as I watched her bend over. Geeuzusss! She had legs that didn't quit! She turned back to me and started undoing my belt. We were still near the window.

When she had my pants open she squatted down on her heels and I gaped down into her cleavage and the V'd display that the position offered up under her skirt. I swear, every move she made seemed to be calculated to turn me on. I had already slipped my shoes off and she pulled my pants off, and looking up at me with her eyelashes fluttering, she started licking and kissing my thighs, way up in the crotch, nuzzling her face in at the side of my shorts. I wondered how much the neighbors could see with the dim light and the flickering lights in the background. I really didn't care. In fact, I hoped they were watching.

She stopped then to go over and hang my pants up with my shirt. Damn, just toss 'em, I thought. But she was very meticulous. She came back and turned me around to take my briefs off and the whole time she was slowly pulling them down she was licking and kissing my ass, way up in the crack. She had some trouble getting my shorts pulled down in front because by that time I was hard. I lent a hand and pulled my shorts out over my protruding cock. She pulled them down and I lifted one foot then the other so she could take them off of me, and she tossed them aside. She pressed her hand into the small of my back as she licked up and down the crack of my ass, and I was thinking, man, women just don't do this shit, especially if they're not getting paid. I about shot off when she pulled my butt apart and started tonguing my asshole! She was a master at sex torture. After a few minutes, she turned me around. My cock swung around and hit her in the face.

"My Lord!" As she reared back. "Damn, where did you have that hiding?" She put her hand around it....long, beautiful fingers and nails....and moved it up and down the shaft a few times. Her fingers wouldn't have touched if it hadn't been for her long nails. "Ohh, stud, I can't remember the last time I saw a cock this size." She put her other hand around it and jacked me with both hands. Then she took the head in her mouth and started sucking me. There was that tongue again! Oh, Fuck! I was afraid I was gonna cum! But she had a knack--I don't know what it was--she could suck and keep me edged and she seemed to know the precise second that she needed to slack off. She removed one of her hands and took my cock deeper in her mouth, the head and some shaft buried in her throat. She used her mouth and her hand as a sheath for me to face fuck her. She liked it when I did that; she moaned. It was a deep, throaty moan that was so sexy. We were still standing in front of the fuckin' window!

After a few minutes of that she removed her other hand from my cock and took me all the way down! Buried her face in my hairs, her nose smashed against my lower abs and she was even licking my fuckin' balls! I couldn't believe it! I'm big, but she took me down to my balls, while I played with her tits. I reached right down inside her top and lifted them out. They weren't huge but they were firm, with nice big nipples. I couldn't wait to wrap my mouth around her tits and suck on her erasers. I didn't wait. I leaned down to suck it. It was awkward and she let go of my cock to offer her tits up to me.

"You like those," she said.

"Fuck, yeah."

"Let's do this." She took her tits and scooped my cock up between them. Oh, fuck, I was in heaven. She let me fuck her tits standing up in front of her, and each time I thrust forward, she would lick and suck the head of my cock. I had to stop several times to keep from going off. She just smiled and kept her tits smashed around my cock.

After a few minutes of this wonderful torture she stood up, gave a little wave to her neighbors, and led me over to the bed and told me to lie back and enjoy, and then she started taking her clothes off. She was like a very talented stripper. Gorgeous body!! Muscular, with flawless skin. I wanted to take her clothes off of her myself, but when I leaned up and tried to she wouldn't let me; she said to lie back and enjoy the show.

So I laid back against the headboard and slowly stroked my cock and watched this gorgeous body being bared for my pleasure. She kept moving her hips in the sexiest way, mostly from the back, and she had an ass that wouldn't quit. Not broad and soft, not a trace of sag or flab....her butt was nice and round and firm and when she moved you could see the smooth muscles working under the skirt.

I was hot as a firecracker, wanting to see what that ass felt like in my hands. I reached out for it a couple of times but she smacked my hands. When she was down to the bare essentials, namely a very brief thing that was supposed to pass for panties, and the high heels, she turned back around to face me, in a coy stance that sort of hid her crotch, like women tend to do, and she held her hand down there. I didn't notice anything else, just her beautiful tits giving me a jolt in my cock, and her gorgeous legs. Then she turned off the lamp so the only light was from the candles flickering on the other side of the room.

She slid in bed wearing this little black thing; something like a thong in back but more to it than a thong, and snuggled over to me, backwards. When I moved over against her she said she loved it from the back, and she took my cock and guided me so I didn't really touch her except to have my hands on her butt. Her skin was sort of satiny and supple, stretched tight over smooth, tight feminine muscles. I thought, she had to be working out. I couldn't resist and suddenly I was all over her, trying to pull her over onto her back but she kept acting coy and playful and wrestled away from me. I finally managed to get her into a position where she still had her butt to me but was twisted around so I could suck her tits at the same time and my cock was raging against her butt and she begged me to take it easy because I was so big.

Fine, take it at your own pace, I've got all night, I thought, but damn, let's fuck! She insisted that she liked it best from behind, doggy style, and it was one of my favorite positions too. She took hold of my cock to guide me while I hung onto her tits. She cocked her butt back a little more and I felt her slick heat. I nudged against it and she groaned to let me know it was okay, and I slid into the warmest, most snug honey pot I'd ever had and she was so fuckin' alive in there. I mean she had muscles in there that milked my grateful cock and damn near jacked me off.

She felt tight, but I slid in fairly easy after I penetrated her....damn, it was snug, and she let out a loud moan, whimpering about my size....but then she took over right away and started fucking me. She was doing all the work and this horny Marine was going nuts. She was thrusting back against me, fucking my cock and moaning and carrying on how big it was and how wonderful it felt filling her up. I shoved my arm under her and wrapped both arms around her to get both of my hands full of her tits. After a bit she let me maneuver her into the doggy position on her hands and knees where I could have more leverage, and I was up on my haunches, plowing her, with a solid grip on her tits for leverage, and she was going nuts. I was fucking her hard. Then I laid down over her, humping style, and moved my right hand down her very tight stomach--fuck, this woman had abs--heading for her pussy; I love working a woman's clit when I fuck her. My fingers intertwined in her hair and I was about to go in search of her clit when I felt something hot brush up against my hand. I stopped cold for the couple of seconds it took for it to start soaking in, then I felt the heat again, this time press against my hand. I went exploring, not for a clit because I knew I wasn't going to find one. Instead, I wrapped my fingers around a huge cock!!

I have never been so shocked, then or since. I was stunned out of my skull. I muttered, "Oh, Fuck!" as I literally froze in mid-thrust. She did too, sort of like she was afraid I might get mad or something. But I thawed out pretty quick; by that time it didn't matter a fuck!! I was no stranger to fucking male ass and hell, I was already fucking her--him--and it felt better than any real pussy I'd ever fucked, and I'd had my share of pussy. She was still squeezing her ass around my cock and moaning softly and my cock was still hard and demanding and I was still just as full of cum and testosterone and my cock didn't give a damn what hole it was in.

I quickly recovered from my shock, thought what the hell, and went right back to fucking her, figuring I would sort it all out later. It was at that moment that it hit me that I hadn't used a condom. Well, it was too late, and she wasn't going to get pregnant, there was nothing unpleasant about it, so I kept on fucking her. I was on my haunches, riding her, fucking straight in, and she was thrashing her ass around and whimpering and squealing and clawing at the sheets. I say she, because at this point I don't think my brain had completely processed or accepted that she was a he and my cock still didn't care. I was so hot I could hardly get my breath; I didn't know whether it was from the fucking, or the fact that I was fucking a guy that I thought was a woman had me so excited. And she was really fucking me back with total abandon now that she knew I was okay with it.

I really don't know how long I fucked her. It seemed like an hour, maybe it was--I am long winded--I know it was a long, wild fuck. My thighs were screaming for mercy but I liked the position and I ignored the rising, aching pain. I was going at it so hard that my stomach muscles started to ache, then my butt muscles hurt. We had a saying that pain is fear leaving the body. This wasn't that kind of pain. It was part of the sex, and it was awesome. But then my legs started trembling like they were going to give out, but I didn't wanta stop and change positions.... it was just too damned good and I didn't want to interrupt it. So I just fucked right into a brain-rattling climax. I mean that. When I went off, it was so intense I thought I could feel my brains rattling and I was seeing stars. I blew a load that felt like everything was being sucked out of me and deposited deep inside her ass. I didn't know where it was all coming from....it just kept coming. I'd never cum so hard in my life. It was so intense my asshole started to hurt, and there was an ache deep inside my ass--I thought that was my prostate being overworked--I could feel it palpitating in there. Fuck, even it was sore.

It was the most incredible sex I'd had in a long time. But it wasn't a fuck, dump and leave thing either.

I was beat. She eased down onto her stomach and I lay on top of her, trying to get my head wrapped around what'd just happened; the reality of it. The pieces all fell into place and gradually soaked in that the gorgeous woman I'd just fucked was a gorgeous guy; the raspy voice, the well-toned body, the firm tits.

I rolled off of her and we lay quiet for a long moment. My mind was boggled. I kept going over it in my head. She slowly moved onto her back and there was his cock lying up over his tight stomach--a big cock--but there were those gorgeous tits, too. I reached out and squeezed them, I guess to make sure they were real, and I wasn't imagining things. They were real. Then, fuck, I reached down and took hold of his cock, like I needed to make sure that was real. That was very real, too. Then back up to her tits. Yeah, like that, I was thinking his cock, her tits. It was freaky.

"Which do you like best, my cock or my tits?" he/she asked with a soft chuckle.

"Fuck, I don't know....I think your ass. But your tits are nice, too."

"Well, I always had bitch tits so I just decided to take shots to develop them into real boobs."

"Have you ever had a guy go ballistic on you when he discovered you weren't a real she?"

"Yes, a couple of times, but I always pick guys that are worth that risk. The reason I acted so shy and coy about not letting you undress me and see me naked, once a guy gets his cock in me and then they discover I'm not the real thing, they don't care. A guy is not going to pull out of a hot, tight hole."

"Do you ever have guys come back?" I asked.

He laughed. "Oh, honey, lots of guys come back. Hell, I have regulars."

I thought the reason I asked that, honestly, was because if other guys came back, then it would be more okay if I did. Yeah, I was thinking that.

After we got "better acquainted" and his little secret was out, we were more comfortable with each other and I fucked her again, this time on her back. Well, him on his back. It was so fuckin' weird, and so hot. I'm fucking an asshole that's better than any pussy I ever shoved my cock into but I'm looking at this gorgeous face and perfect tits and flawless skin, and she had those great long, muscular legs wrapped around me, humping me for all it was worth, but there was still that big cock down there, and a pair of balls instead of a pussy and a clit. It was easy to forget when I was sucking on tits.

I was still sort of reeling with amazement, that this guy had pulled this off, and while I was fucking him I ran my hand over his face. He laughed. He was smoothly shaved, but I could feel a very light roughness.

"If you'd done that before, you might've guessed," he said.

Then I ran my hands up and down his thighs. His muscles were solid and smooth as silk

"I use hair remover on my legs," he said. "And my ass," he added. "Everywhere else I shave close but you would be surprised how many guys want to eat my ass and pretend they're eating pussy."

She let me shower--he showered with me--then sat and watched me get dressed.

"You're so hot."

"I hope you don't mind me saying, you make a very beautiful woman," I said.

"I don't mind at all. I appreciate your appreciation. I hope I see you again."

"I'm not in the city, but maybe you will," I said.

Back at the Purple Dragon, Lt. Cunningham was waiting for me at the bar. He smiled, shaking his head, when I walked in.

"What the fuck took you so long?"

"I'm long winded," I said.

He waved the bartender to bring me a beer. "Where'd you go?" he asked.

"To her apartment."

"Yeah, me too," he said.

I wondered if he'd had an experience similar to mine. We sipped our beer and glanced at each other in the mirror behind the bar. Finally, he brought his beer down and turned his stool toward me.

"Are we gonna level with each other?"

I laughed. "You too, huh?"

"Out of her clothes, the most beautiful guy I've ever seen," he said.

"When did you know?" I asked.

"I was sitting back, sipping a beer, watching her take off her clothes. She had her back to me. She already had me naked but she wouldn't let me help her. When she was naked I stood up and moved up behind her, pressed my cock against her butt....Godd, she had such a nice, smooth, firm ass. Reached my arms around to feel her tits; not huge, but nice and firm, then I moved my hand down to get a feel of her pussy....." He stopped and laughed. "And you know the rest. Grabbed hold of a cock bigger than mine. Never been so shocked in my life. She said--he said--'You can be disappointed, you can be angry, you can be disgusted but before you lash out, I'm a black belt."

"Well, I was stunned but I was also stoned up. I didn't give a fuck about his black belt; I wasn't afraid of him. My cock didn't give a fuck that there was another cock on the other side of that fine ass. I said, 'Oh, I'm gonna lash out all right,' and I started licking and sucking his tits. He melted in my arms. One of the best pieces of ass I have ever had, maybe the best. How'd it go down with you?"

I told him my story and we had a good laugh over it. He asked me if I would go back. I told him yes, would he? He flashed a business card and said, "Fuck, yeah."

We went back to his place.

'Hey, Courter, we weren't finished, were we, before we went to check out the Purple Dragon?" he asked.

"Weren't we?"

"No, you had all the fun," he said.

"Well, I had a pretty good time of it but you seemed to be having a lot of fun, too, Lieutenant."

He laughed, shaking his head. "I hate to pull rank, but do I have to order you to fuck me?"

"No, sir!"

My only regret of that trip was, I never got to search for Jason.

Another time Lt. Cunningham took me up in his helicopter and I sucked his cock while we were flying over the jungle. It was hot as fuck. I swear the whomp-whomp of the blades whipped up the testosterone like a wild fire. I asked him if he thought he could find someone else to fly the bird while we sixty-nined.

"I don't know any other pilots on the same team but I do know another guy who would be happy to sixty nine with you while I fly the bird."

That was pretty damned hot, too. The lieutenant was a good man to know.


Chapter Sixty-Seven

Finding Jason

My sniper training had taught me patience, and that paid off so I didn't go nuts waiting for time off. The day finally came. I came in from a mission and was showering at the outdoor shower when the sergeant came in behind the privacy wall. It wasn't the first time he'd done that and I wondered if he just wanted to watch me shower. But this time he brought good news.

"You've got a three-day waiting at the CQ desk," he said.

"Thanks."

"Thanks? Is that it? Most guys jump up and down over a three-day."

"When does it start?" I asked.

"As soon as you pick it up." He was turned to leave when I stopped him.

"Hey, Sarge."

He turned around. I did some jumping jacks for him. I noticed his eyes fell right to my swinging cock. He stood and watched till I stopped and my cock was hanging still. I was looking right at him when he looked up.

"That do it for you?" I asked.

"For now, but I want an encore," he said.

Okay, that was settled. My suspicions were confirmed. I made a mental note to pursue it....or let the sergeant pursue me.

Finally! I was going to Saigon! On my own, not a quick flight in and back, like with Lt. Cunningham. I decided not to wear civvies. If I found Jason I wanted him to see my patches. I kept my dress uniform hanging at the back of the rod, waiting for just such an occasion. Not the dress blues; the summer tans. I liked that better because the shirt showed off my upper body better.

I thought about asking the lieutenant to fire up his bird and give me a lift but thought better of it. He would probably want to hang around. I got a ride into Saigon along with a couple of other guys, on a truck going after supplies. It was nearing dusk and the city streets were already bright with the lights welcoming the ensuing nightlife that would soon begin. Ironically, we were let off in front of my old barracks, at the guard shack where I'd last seen Jason. The other guys took off, leaving me standing looking over the high walled fence. They had rebuilt the barracks.

"Can I help you?" It was the guard stepping out of the guard shack.

"No. I used to live here," I said.

"Sorry I can't let you in without authorization. That's Intel," he said.

"I know. That's okay," I said. I wondered if Colonel Brown was still the CO. I asked the guard.

"I heard he was sent back to Washington," he said.

I nodded then turned and walked away. A few paces down the street I stopped and turned to look again. Something drew me back to this place where more than two years of my life had virtually been snuffed out. I walked back to the guard shack.

"Can you tell me, did anybody get killed in that attack?" I asked.

"Miraculously, no. There were some pretty bad injuries, though. Surprisingly, a lot of guys walked away without a scratch. Hey, were you here when that happened?" he asked.

"Yeah.

"One of the lucky ones, huh?"

"I'm still standing," I said.

A few yards down the fence I came to the tree where I'd tossed the condom Jason had used to fuck Ling. I had to laugh, wondering who had found it.

As I walked on in the direction of Toby's, I had the overwhelming feeling--a gut sensation, really--that I had been on this very same mission before, looking for Jason. But that was a dream, and in the dream Jason didn't exist, and that thought haunted me now. I walked past the street leading up to the Trent Hotel, toward the park. I paused to just look at the building, I think to make sure it was real. Room 238....was there a room 238, I wondered? I went on.

Walking along the narrow pathways, past the ponds and small gardens, emotions started playing havoc with my guts. I managed to maintain a tough calm till I saw Toby's, then I choked and had to stop and sit down on a bench under the trees and take a moment to toughen up. I think I thought Toby's might be a figment of my imagination but it was real, too. The Trent....and Toby's....that meant Jason was real. If he was still alive. I had no idea if he would be there--doubted if he would, frankly--yet hope would not give up. I had come all this way--again--this time out of the nightmare. There had to be hope, or there was nothing.

I got up from the bench and walked toward Toby's. Moving forward, there was a force inside me that made me want to turn and run. I was surprised at my sudden cowardice. I wasn't sure my heart was even beating. Approaching the door, I opened it and walked in as if I'd been there only yesterday, when it'd been....what, three years?....or was it fifteen? For a second, I didn't know if I was entering my future or my past that didn't exist. I shook it off....or thought I did. When I went inside I half expected to see a young stranger behind the bar. There was only Toby. He didn't see me at first and I took a moment at the darkened doorway to get reacquainted with the place. It was still going strong, with lots of noise and laughter. Nothing had changed. Except me.

Toby didn't recognize me till I was half way down the bar, and when he did, he looked like he was seeing a ghost. He tossed the bar towel over his shoulder and stood in frozen silence, just staring at me. Then, still expressionless, he started out from behind the bar and I could make out his mouth forming the words, "well son-of-a-bitch!" I met him at the end of the bar in a tight bear hug. He felt good. That's all I could think of--not great or awesome--anything more than good would've gotten me a hardon. Neither of us said anything for a long time, just stood there, holding each other tight. I thought I felt Toby choking up.

"When did you get back in country?" he asked finally, probably as an excuse to break apart, but we didn't, not for a few more seconds.

"A few months ago," I said.

We separated and held each other by the shoulders at arm's length and just looked at each other. I wanted to ask but I was afraid to. I guess I did, though, with my eyes, because Toby smiled and his eyes danced like they always did when he was about to say or do something exciting.

"Well, there's someone here I guess you probably want to see," he said.

I whispered, "Oh, Fuck" and my heart skipped, or maybe it just stopped beating altogether for a few seconds. He was here! Godd, he was alive!! I just kept looking at Toby, afraid to speak, afraid to look anywhere else because if I did, and I saw him, I didn't know if I could handle it. I was terrified that if I saw him I would be hurled back into the nightmare and all this would be snatched away from me. I couldn't believe it, and I was afraid to. When Toby started to move past me I stopped him with a hand on his muscular arm.

"Tell me....so I know....we're talking about Jason, right? Jason's here."

"Yeah, Jason, who'd you think? God, is he going to be glad to see you." He squeezed my shoulder and nodded to the side. I finally tore my eyes from his, scared as shit. He squeezed my shoulder again and nodded to the left then stepped back around the end of the bar, leaving me standing there alone. I never felt so alone and vulnerable in my life. I felt like a little boy lost. It took everything I had to turn and look around the bar, toward the tables at the windows. The dim lighting made it hard to see, but then I heard his laughter. It sent shivers down my spine. Please, God, this isn't a dream!

I was so nervous I thought I might puke. I took a deep breath. I had to force my legs to move me in the direction of the table where the beautiful sound had come from. The place was dimly lit but I was sure that the figure standing at a far table was him. He had his back to me and he was laughing and talking to the guys at the table before he pulled a chair out and sat down. I was about six feet away when he suddenly turned and looked at me; squarely at me. It was as if something--a signal--had gone off in his head and he knew I was there. His laughter vanished and his face was suddenly blank, disbelieving, probably pale, as if he were seeing a ghost. It seemed a long time....maybe it was....before he slowly shoved his chair back and stood up. When he did, suddenly it was just him and me in the crowded, noisy bar. He seemed to hesitate before he came toward me but when he did, it was a determined advance, like he would've come through a wall to get to me. He hesitated again just before he pulled me into his powerful arms to hug me. I hugged him back, hard and tight. Neither of us spoke, but I felt his powerful chest, and the washboard plate of his stomach muscles spasm against me. Was he crying?

"Fuck!" he whispered; it was about what I expected he might say.

I didn't know how long we stayed in the embrace, but when we parted guys were looking at us.

He turned back to the table where he'd been sitting. "I gotta split, guys."

"Hey, this was your round," one of them said.

He took a wad of money out of his pocket and tossed it on the table. "Let's get out of here," he said hoarsely.

I saw Toby smiling when we left, his lips pursed tightly. We walked to the park and stopped at one of the ponds and stood for a long, quiet moment looking into the water, watching the goldfish. My heart was pounding so hard I was sure Jason could hear it....maybe feel it. He was breathing hard, his massive chest almost heaving. I heard him take in a big, deep breath and he started to say something but he choked it off. I was surprised that I was calmer than he was.

"You don't have to say anything," I managed to say quietly.

"Good. Because I can't," he said finally. It sounded like had to push the words out of his chest through a pile of emotions.

It was another moment before we drew our eyes away from the pond and looked at each other. It was such an intense look....I swear, it crossed my mind that he might kiss me, right out there in the open. If he had, I would've kissed him back. I'd never felt such a strong sense of male bonding and love, even those times when Jason fucked me. His eyes were dancing, shifting about, searching, as if he had to make sure I was real.

"It's great to see you....somehow just doesn't cut it," he said, his voice hoarse.

"It's okay," I said. "I can't think of anything to say either. I never rehearsed anything." I tried to keep my eyes shifting so my gaze wouldn't burn into him. Had he been this handsome before?

"I can't believe it," he said, his eyes roaming all over my body, as if I had come out of his dream and he was trying to make me real. He laughed, but choked on it, then turned serious. "Godd, you look great," he said.

"So do you."

He kept looking at me, his eyes fairly dancing as they roamed over me. He laughed, a soft, nervous laugh. "I can't stop looking at you. I'm afraid if I do, you won't be there."

"It took me a long time to get here, I'm not going anywhere," I said.

Then he noticed my wings and that broke the nervous edge. "Hey, what the fuck is this!" he exclaimed, fingering the badge. He sounded like his old self again.

"I wasn't going to come back with you having that over me," I said.

"Shit!! Geezuss!" he swore, his eyes suddenly wider. He had seen my sniper's patch. "Damn, you're a sniper now, too?"

"Yeah."

He was shaking his head in amazement. "Fuck, what made you decide to change your MOS?"

"You," I said.

"But you were Intel. You were one of the smart ones."

"You never did know how much I admired and looked up to you. I wanted to see if I had what it took."

"Shit, man, you didn't have to prove anything to me," he said.

"I had to prove it to myself. And you."

"No, not me," he said sternly, shaking his head. "I....fuck, man, you....you were all I needed, just the way you were."

I wondered what he'd started to say but what he said gripped my chest.

"But I'm fuckin' proud of you," he added.

"Thanks, coming from you, that makes it all worthwhile," I said. "But, what about you?" I asked with a curious frown. "A guy I bunked with told me there was a Jason Seaborne who re-enlisted in the Marines."

"You know about that?" he asked surprised.

"Yeah, when were you going to tell me."

"Seriously, it slipped my mind," he said, laughing.

"How come you left the SEALs?"

"Oh, you never leave the SEALs. I'm technically still a Navy SEAL. Dual classification," he said. "I'm still doing the same job, just wearing a different uniform. And the Marines is paying me now, instead of the Navy."

"What made you decide to switch uniforms? You were already one of the elite," I said.

"I always liked the way you looked in your uniform," he said.

"Bull. You always liked the way I looked out of it. That's not the reason," I said.

"You," he said with a downward glance.

"What about me? Don't tell me you didn't think you measured up to me."

"No, it was....I....I wanted to be a fellow Marine with you. I wanted that bond," he said.

"That is the dumbest damn thing I ever heard," I said, then I quickly added, "But I'm honored. And I know you look like a stud in the uniform. But you filled out your Navy whites pretty well, too."

"Hey, that guy you bunked with who told you about me....were you really bunkmates?" he asked with a leering grin.

"Not in the true sense of the word," I said. "I mean, we never shared a bunk." It wasn't a total lie, we never did sleep together in the same bunk.

He nodded, smiling. "But that's not to say......

"That's not to say," I repeated. "It's been a long road, Jason. I can't go over it all right now. But I will, in time; I'll tell you anything you wanta know."

There was a long silence. We looked at each other and I saw the questions in his eyes. We had been standing and I sat down. He remained standing.

"I kept tabs on you whenever I could," he said.

"They told me."

"I don't want to rush you, Brad, but I'm ready to listen whenever you're ready to....well, we gotta start sometime getting reacquainted."

"I know. But I don't know where to begin just yet," I said quietly, and I didn't. Things from my past came to me randomly, but I was still never sure which past, and I didn't know what I should talk about.

"We've got a lot of catching up to do," he said. "Do you wanta walk? 'Cause if we don't, being tucked in here in the shadows, I don't know what I might do."

"Then, no, I wanta stay put," I said jokingly.

"Come on, let's walk," he said.

The other thing I wanted to do was take his hand, but of course we couldn't do that.

We walked and I started talking, asking him about what he'd been doing the whole time I was gone, but he shrugged me off.

"I don't have anything exciting to tell. It's the same old war. It's you I wanta hear about," he said.

I laughed. "Hell, I was asleep for over two years, what the hell can I possibly have to tell about?"

"You didn't get those wings and that sniper's patch in your sleep," he said. Then he started grilling me, gently at first, till I finally opened up with the whole story, about my time in the VA hospital, going through rehab, then going through basic again, and Airborne school, then sniper school.

"Damn, you really wanted to get back over here," he said.

"It was my total focus. When I found out you'd been checking on me, I was determined to find you."

"I can't believe they made you take basic again," he said.

"It was a breeze," I said. "But after all that training, would you believe, I damn near got sent to Germany."

"What the hell do they need snipers for in Germany?"

"They screwed up my orders. I went ballistic. The CO took care of it, though."

"Why didn't you go ahead and go to Germany? That would've been a great assignment."

"Because that's not where you were."

We stopped and he just looked at me.

"Why're you looking at me like that?" I asked.

"I have to keep making sure you're real."

"They told me at the VA that you checked in on me all the time," I said.

"I worried about you, a lot."

"I've worried about you ever since I got back over here," I said. "I had no idea where you were, didn't even know your outfit. Toby's was my last great hope to find you. Of course I don't get into Saigon often now."

Suddenly he turned into an alley and leaned back against the wall, his hands in his pockets and his head laid back. He sucked in a hard breath and I could tell he was filling up with emotions.

"Jason?....What?" I asked quietly.

He shook his head, choking it down. "I feel so....so humble and.... and....worthless. I don't deserve this....fuck, all you went through to get back over here. God, why would anybody do that for me? It's hard to believe anybody cares that much."

I poked my fingers in his chest, hard. "I care! And don't you ever say that to me again," I said, sounding almost angry.

"I know. God, how I know you care. I am so fuckkin' glad you're back, I feel like I'm going to burst with emotions," he said. He made a quick swipe at his eyes. "I had this crazy plan," he said. "When I got out, if you were still asleep, I was going to get a place close by the VA and visit you every day; keep watch over you."

"That would've been pretty much a waste of a life," I said.

"No, man. No, it wouldn't. No more than you risking wasting your life coming back to this hell hole to look for me." He grabbed me by the shoulders. "Nothing is ever going to take us apart like that again. You hear? Nothing!"

"I hear you."

He glanced both directions then and pulled me tight against him and kissed me so hard I thought my lips might bleed. It was a rough kiss that set me to trembling inside. He was trembling, too, choking down dry sobs.

"Godd, I am so glad you're here," he whispered, laying his head on my shoulder. As he held me tight I felt him start to bone up.

"Jason....we can't do this; not here," I said gruffly.

"Yeah, I know."

Then he put his arm across my shoulders and guided us back onto the street. "What was it like, being away so long?" he asked. "I mean, do you remember anything of that time? Were you some place, or were you just out there, in nothingness?"

"I remember some," I said. "Every now and then something comes through, like little flashbacks. I was some place. And I remember people, but not clearly. I can't put it all together yet. I don't know if I ever will. It's like I've got two pasts now. There are memories but I have to stop and figure out if they're memories from my real past or just something I dreamed."

He looked away and we walked on.

"Is your brother still an anti-war activist?" I asked.

"Oh, yeah." Then he gave me a funny look. "I don't remember talking about my brother's anti-war activities," he said.

"I didn't like your brother," I said.

"He was....part of your other life?" he said, still with the strange look.

"Yeah. He was a real prick," I said. "But don't ask me questions about that, 'cause I can't answer them."

"So, what happened to Intel?" he asked.

"It didn't measure up to you," I said.

"Brad....." He stopped again and faced me. "Man, you don't have to measure up to me. I'm not your fuckin' benchmark."

"You were always my benchmark. You were my hero," I said.

"Now you're embarrassing me," he said as he walked on.

"Tough," I said.

"What about before all that?" he asked, referring to the time I was in a coma. "I know you said don't ask, but....in general, what was it like? You said you would tell me anything I want to know."

"I meant don't ask because I don't remember enough to answer."

"So tell me what you remember."

"Well, there's twenty six months of my life that's missing," I said. "I don't remember a lot of it, and what I think I remember, I don't know if it's real or not."

"I would guess it'll take you a while to sort it all out," he said. "But you are able to remember things that you know are from that time?"

"I do, and I don't," I said. "Sometimes it's hard to know if I'm really remembering something real, or if I'm remembering things from back in that time. It's still all pretty confusing. Like coming back here, it was like....like I'd been here before."

"You were here before," he said.

"No, I mean I was....I was here again. I came back after.....," I said. I stopped, shoving my hands in my pockets, looking down at my boots for a moment. Jason stopped with me and I could feel him looking at me. I glanced at him and saw the confused look on his face; he was wondering what was the matter. "Listen, if I say things that don't make sense, or remember things....about us....like things that didn't really happen....well, you know why."

"I understand," he said quietly. "If you wanta talk about it.... about stuff you remember, or think you remember, maybe I can help you sort it out....you know....what's real and what's not, just by listening. Hell, it doesn't have to make sense."

I nodded and we walked on. "Did you know two guys named Jeremy Cole and Bill Townsend, from high school?" I asked. I was a little surprised that the two names came back to me so easily. I had not thought of them till that moment.

"No."

"So the night at the cabin wasn't real," I said, absently. "When you went back on leave....had they named your high school football stadium after you?"

He reared back and laughed. "Fuck, no. They retired my jersey. It was in a glass case on the wall. But that was all.

"I saw your jersey. It wasn't in a case, it was still hanging in your locker."

He looked at me, blinking. "That is weird," he said. "What about the night in the cabin?"

I was shaking my head. "It's not important," I said. "We took pictures, didn't we?" I asked. "At the Trent....when you came in off a mission, I took some pictures of you."

"Yeah, we took pictures. Yeah, they're sealed up in an envelope, at Toby's," Jason said. "I had no place to keep them."

I gave a sigh of relief. "Well, that's one thing. Describe your room back home," I said.

He gave me a grinning scowl and began describing his room. I didn't recognize it from his description. I didn't say anything for quite a ways down the street. He shoved his shoulder against mine, to jog me.

"Did any of that ring a bell?" he asked.

"Did you have a GI Joe action figure?" I asked.

"Yeah, every kid I knew had a GI Joe."

"Sitting on your dresser?"

"No. I packed him away in his footlocker before I left. He used to sit on my dresser though."

Suddenly I felt like I was being torn apart, like big claws digging into my stomach, pulling me in all directions, and I broke out in a sweat. I looked around me at the city lights and the hustle of people and I felt like a stranger in a place I knew well. I stopped and leaned back against a wall. "I can't do this, Jason. Not here, not now," I said.

"That's all right. It'll take time," he said. "Listen, would I be rushing things if I suggested....if you don't wanta talk, would you wanta see if we can get our room?"

"Number 238....yeah," I said. "I wondered if the place is still in business."

"Yes. But I haven't been there since....." He cut off his words and glanced away. "It doesn't have to be like then....I mean, we could just talk. We've got a lot of catching up to do."

"Yes. Besides talking," I said.

We walked back toward the Trent. We were stopped by two scantily dressed prostitutes. Jason waved them off with a polite, "No, thanks," then turned to me. "Unless you want to."

"No. Some other time maybe," I said.

At the end of the street leading to the hotel I started to go toward the alley; I remembered the routine.

"Where're you going?" he asked.

"The back way," I said, bewildered.

"Fuck that," he said and grabbed me by the sleeve. "We're walking straight in."

I couldn't describe the feeling of walking into the place again with Jason.

"Two-thirty-eight," Jason told the clerk

"Sorry, that room is occupied."

"Move 'em," Jason said as he pulled out a wad of money and counted off several bills. "And change the sheets and put in clean towels." The clerk didn't argue. He pocketed the money and rushed up the stairs. He wasn't the old man from my dream, and the Trent wasn't run down. We could hear an exchange of voices upstairs but then things calmed down. The clerk came down a short while later.

"You changed the sheets, and clean towels?" Jason asked him.

"Yes, sir."

My legs felt weak as we went up the stairs; it was like I was walking into my past, and I couldn't discern which past and it frightened me. I heard sounds from a couple of the rooms as Jason led the way down the dark, narrow hallway. He unlocked the door and opened it, then stepped back. Suddenly I was more frightened.

"No," I said, motioning him in first. I didn't know why; it was if I was afraid to go in till he checked it out.

He went in and turned on the dim light--I wondered if it was the same bulb--and turned on the ceiling fan. It slowly began to whir and stir up the smell of sex in the room. The sound was as familiar as the smell. Jason went over to the window facing the street and opened it, leaving me in the doorway. I stood looking all around. Nothing had changed. Everything was in the exact same place as the last time we were here; the same as when I was here by myself....and with Toby. I still wasn't sure where I was on my head, in my future or in one of my pasts. I wondered when I would get over this confusion. I felt suddenly hot with nerves. Jason turned and saw me standing there, still in the doorway. I was sweating.

"You coming in?"

"I just wanted to make sure I'm really here," I said.

"You're really here, in our room," he assured me. "It's okay, come on in. We're alone," he said as he came over and put his heavy arm on my shoulder and brought me into the room. "You're sweating."

"Yeah, I don't know why."

"Maybe because I'm turning you on," he joked.

If he only knew. He closed the door and I heard the lock and I walked over to the standing sink to splash water on my face. I dried my face on the thin towel then gripped the sides of the porcelain sink, slumped over and started to sob. I felt Jason's arm across my shoulder. I glanced around and he had tears running down his face too. He had taken off his sport shirt and I couldn't help notice his thick chest under his T-shirt.

"I thought you were dead, Jason," I managed between sobs. "You were dead."

"No, man, I'm alive. I'm right here."

"You were dead, Jason. There was a funeral. I took you back and I buried you." I was sobbing harder. "I drank beer at your grave. I always left one on your headstone. I adopted your son!" It was coming out now, like an exorcism, and I couldn't stop it.

"I don't have a son....that I know of," he said in a gentle tone.

I remained hunched over the sink, trying to calm down. "You had a son. He wrote to me himself; he and Sister Marie at the orphanage. They begged me to come and get him and take him to the States."

"What was his name?" Jason asked.

"Jason, Jr. Jase."

"Did you bring him back?"

"Yes. It took two years but I came back here and got him after the war. Where I was, this fuckin' war was over. He was seventeen; I took him back to raise as my own."

He laughed softly. "If he was seventeen, hell, I wouldn't have been old enough to even make babies. And this war is a long way from being over," he said. His voice remained gentle, as if he were humoring me.

I turned and grabbed his dog tags that were hanging out of his T-shirt. "I kept these when I took you back," I said. "I brought them back when I came to get Jase and I buried one of them under one of those big trees with gnarled roots, back at your base camp. I can show you the fuckin' tree! I'll dig them up and..." Suddenly I caught myself rambling. I was choking him with the chain of his dog tags but he hadn't flinched. I slumped forward, my head in the crook of his neck and cried uncontrollably. "Oh, Godd, Jason....I thought....you were dead....you were dead....in that God-awful nightmare I was in....for two fuckin' years." I could barely get my words out between sobs. He held me tight and patted and rubbed my back and shoulders to try to console me.

"Brad....Brad....I'm so sorry you went through that hell. I wish I could've been there with you. I would if I could, you know that. I would've crawled in that coma with you. Godd, how I wish I could've been there for you."

He let me cry my guts out. And I did, till my guts ached. When I was quieter, he wet the end of the towel to wipe my eyes. I took the towel to do it myself.

"You don't have to stop," he said in a gentle tone.

"I tried to make a life without you, with your son....I have hurt for so long....I didn't think I could hurt anymore, till now," I said.

"The hurt's over," he said.

"No, it won't be over, 'cause I still don't know where the fuck I've been. Things keep coming back, and when I remember things, I don't know if it's real or not."

"Two years was a long time to be out of it," he said.

"It wasn't just two years. It was fifteen years of my life, crammed into those twenty six months," I said. "Fifteen years of trying to make a life without you. Fifteen years of a life that didn't fuckin' exist!" I practically yelled it out, in anger.

"How did I die?" he asked quietly out of the blue. His question jolted me.

"In a plane crash, coming back from the States. Toby broke the news to me."

"There was no plane crash," he said. "Had a couple of close calls with helicopters going down but......"

I broke away from him and went over to the window. I wasn't done; I didn't have it all out, and it had to come out, what was closest to the surface anyway, because it was choking me. I felt his body heat then his hand arm on my shoulders again.

"I don't know what to say; what to do," he said quietly.

"You're doing it, just being here beside me," I whispered.

"I'll always be here for you," he said as he guided us to the bed and we sat down together. "Lie down," he said.

I sprawled out across the bed on my stomach and cried some more. I couldn't stop. Jason lay beside me with his heavily muscled arm across my back to comfort me.

When the tremors stopped I rose up on my elbows. Jason had the wet towel for me again. I let him wipe my eyes this time, even though I felt like a blubbering baby.

"Sorry, coming back to this place....something just took hold of me and wouldn't let go."

"Don't apologize. Maybe we shouldn't have come. Maybe it's too soon," he said.

"No, it's exactly where we need to be," I said.

"Okay, listen, why don't we get out of these clothes. It don't have to mean anything," he added quickly. "You can keep on talking. But I want to hold you tight against me, naked. That way I'll know you're real."

Without thinking about it, I shoved up and got off the bed, loosening my tie.

"Let me do this," he said, and began unbuttoning my shirt.

I was deeply pleased that he wanted to take my clothes off of me.

"I sort of hate to do this, you look hot as fuck in your uniform," he said.

He stripped me naked, his eyes darting and raking over every part of my body as it was exposed to him. He was meticulous about hanging my uniform over the chair then I was down to my shorts and socks. He knelt down and removed my socks ever so gently and laid them on the chair. My breath caught in my chest when he hooked his fingers in the waistband of my shorts. He pulled them down off my hips, his eyes fixed straight ahead. He didn't flinch when my manhood swing into view, just kept looking at me while he took my shorts off and laid them aside. Then he pressed his face against my stomach and I felt his lips form a kiss.

"Godd, you look great," he said huskily as he leaned back away from me and stood up. "Lie down. We'll talk. Or we can just lie together and not talk. But it's better this way--naked--we'll feel closer," he said as he began taking off his clothes.


Chapter Sixty-Eight

Don't Mean Nothin'

I lay on the bed and watched the familiar sight of Jason taking off his clothes. My heartbeat increased with each thing he took off as I realized that this was no dream; the rippling and flexing of his muscles was real. I drank in the sight of him, every ripple of every muscle, and it thrilled me to see him. When he removed his pants, his shorts were tented with his hard manhood. I thought he might leave them on, but he shoved them down. When he straightened, his cock stood out and up enormously. It was absolutely beautiful and he looked even bigger than I remembered.

"Don't mean nothin'" he said, giving it a hard whack. He lay beside me on the bed on his back, his big cock throbbing up over his stomach. Our thighs touched, I thought purposely. "I mean it; it don't mean anything," he said again.

I laughed, finally, and it felt good. "It'd be pretty hard to convince anybody that that don't mean nothin'," I said.

"We've got a lot of catching up to do," he said as he turned over onto his stomach. "Anything else can wait. So talk to me."

It was a strange experience, emotional, and at times intense. Jason let me cry when I needed to. He was true to his word that his hard cock didn't mean anything. Once when he was lying on his back again, I tried to reach for it but he brushed my hand away.

"You can't talk with your mouth full, and you know that's where it's gonna be if I let you touch me," he said. "So close your eyes and go back and see what else you can remember."

So I closed my eyes to try to ignore the beautiful male that I loved so deeply lying beside me with the big cock throbbing up over his belly, and I talked. I didn't know how long I talked and he laid there and listened, interjecting a question now and then, mostly just laying his comforting hand on my stomach or my chest if I started to get emotional.

"Who was this Townsend guy, and Jeremy somebody you mentioned?" Jason asked.

"Doesn't matter....they didn't exist," I said.

"They did in that span of your other life and if you can remember anything about them, I'd like to hear it. Especially about that cabin. What happened at the cabin?"

"No. It'd be like telling a fairy tale, it would serve no purpose."

"I like fairy tales. And I'd like to hear about the stadium they named after me."

It bothered me a little that he seemed to be making light of it when it was very real in that certain time of my life, but it came swirling back.

"They were two jocks who went to school where you did. You weren't in the same grade-they were younger--but they knew you, from a distance. We met up again later at the cemetery and they were in uniform; Army Rangers. There were these two high school jocks that escorted me around at the dedication ceremony. I gave a speech and afterwards they hung back, wanted to talk to the two Rangers about the military. We all ended up at a cabin. I don't recall everything but there was a lot of sex, I remember that." I stopped suddenly. "This is dumb, telling you about people who didn't exist and rehashing things that didn't happen."

"Okay, let's let it go," he said.

"I want to see those pictures sometime," I said.

"Sure, I'll bring 'em," he said. "Or ask Toby for them."

"I....went through your stuff when you died....I kept some things....." I laughed. "Some condoms....didn't think your mother needed to have those."

"That was thoughtful of you," he said, laughing with me.

It felt good to laugh.

"I slept in your room....with your football," I went on.

"Yeah, I left it on my bed," he said.

I opened my eyes and looked at him.

"What's the matter?"

"That's where it was!" I said, gaping at him "Your football was standing on end between the pillows."

"No shit! That's just how I left it! That is fuckin' weird!"

"You see why it's going to take a while to get it all sorted out. Things keep coming back, and I don't know whether they were real or not, and some of it is very real, even though it's not. I mean, I never really slept in your room but I can describe things about it." I didn't mention the flight home with the casket, or meeting with the funeral director, or his brother and the peaceniks. He was alive, there was no point in rehashing that.

"If you were in my room, did you meet my folks?" he asked in a measured tone.

"Yes."

"No shit?"

"Your dad....when I was staying at your house....he stood in the doorway of the bathroom and watched me while I shaved....he asked me a lot of questions about you," I went on.

Jason didn't say anything for a minute then he muttered "Fuck, man. He did that with me when I was home, stood there and asked questions."

I went on. "I always took beer when I visited your grave. Drank one while I talked to you, and left one on your headstone."

"Thanks," he said.

I had to wait before I could continue. There was still Jase that I wanted to talk about but I didn't know if I should bring him up. I wanted to but I didn't know if I could.

"What else?" he asked after a moment, sensing that I wanted to say something more. "I wanta hear all you can remember, whether it's real or not. If you talk about it, it'll help you sort it out, the real from the dream."

"I bought a place out in the country, with a woods and a creek. Jase loved it," I said. There, I said his name.

"Jase....my son," he said.

"Yes." I smiled, even at my own dream fantasy.

"Who was his mother?" he asked.

"Ling."

He blinked. "No shit! I know a Ling!"

"She was a prostitute," I said. "She vanished after the fall of Saigon."

"Hey, don't you remember? Yeah, she was a prostitute at the Dragonfly. You brought her to me when I was in the hospital. Red dress. You stood guard at the door while I fucked her."

I had to suck in air. "That part was real then."

"Damn straight."

"I guess my mind must have been drawing on real life experiences when I was in the coma."

"Except for one thing....you said the fall of Saigon. That sounds like we ain't gonna win this thing. I hope that's not any kind of psychic prediction."

"I don't know."

"So, back to Jase. Tell me about him. Did he look like me?"

"Enough. He was beautiful with his American features and his high cheek bones and flawless skin. He was built like you. Even hung like you. And he had your eyes. He was so amazed at everything that was in the grocery store, and the mall. He loved Denny's. I got him into school. He was smart. He played sports. He was a hell of an athlete. I taught him to drive, he had my Jeep to drive."

"Sounds like you spoiled him," Jason said, laughing.

"Jase skipped school one day and went to your old school. Your locker still had your name on it, your jersey was still hanging inside along with your jockstrap, and your helmet was sitting on top."

"Well, part of that is definitely out of your coma; I've still got my old jockstrap," he said.

I fast-forwarded then, skipping over the sailor I'd met at Wright Patterson, the escorts and Jase fucking Hunter. I was relieved that I hadn't really had sex with Hunter, my nephew. I didn't tell Jason that I gave Jase his stuff, and showed him the pictures. None of that mattered now. I talked about mundane stuff and I didn't worry that part of the real was mixed in with the unreal. He was right, though, talking about it was helping sort it all out.

After a while there was a long silence, with only the soft whir of the ceiling fan and the sounds from the street.

"I, uh....wrote you a letter while I was home," Jason said.

I felt my stomach tighten into a huge knot, and I couldn't find the words or get my breath. I had not mentioned any letters.

"I drove up in the hills with a six-pack....being back home, away from here, there was stuff I wanted to tell you......" His voice trailed off when he saw my expression. "What?" he asked.

Suddenly I got up from the bed and went over to the open window. The walls were closing in around me again. I needed fresh air. I had the towel in my hand and I swiped the sweat from my forehead. Jason came up beside me.

"What, Brad?" he asked again.

I took in a deep breath and let it out. "You were sipping piss- warm beer and writing me a letter when you could've been in town banging some chick's brains out?" I put in.

"Something like that." He looked at me with a stunned, confused frown. "My God!"

"I got your letter, Jason. Toby gave it to me," I said. I didn't mention that there were two letters.

"I never gave it to Toby," he said.

"No, because you died in the plane crash. The letter made its way to Toby," I said.

"What else did the letter say?" he asked.

"No, you go on," I said.

"I don't remember everything I said. Just some things I wanted to get out--about feelings--I do remember that I wrote, if I was ever together with you again, I would show you......" He stopped when he saw my look. He rubbed his hand across his chest, as if to kick-start his breathing. "Oh, Godd, that part's real, and it happened....in your dream, it happened, didn't it."

"Yes," I said, a chill running through me.

"This is too fuckin' weird," he said. "I don't know what's happening to us, Brad. You tell me about a letter that you didn't even know existed, but it did, and you fuckin' know what was in it. There's something supernatural going on here. It feels like I'm being drawn into your dream, and we're suspended out there together somewhere, in limbo, not knowing which way to go."

"Stay out of it," I said as I walked back to the bed. "Stay out of my dream. You don't wanta go there." I sprawled across the bed on my back.

"No, seriously, Brad, there was something between us during that twenty-six months. We had a connection. I felt it then and I can feel it now....something connecting us," he said as he joined me on the bed. "Thinking back, there were times....times when I could feel a presence, like you were with me. Maybe I was floating in and out of that dream with you."

Suddenly there was another flashback. I rose up, horrified at what I might find as I looked him up and down, inspecting his naked body.

"Were you ever captured?" I asked. I didn't see any cigarette burns.

"Uhhh....yeah."

"Were you ever wounded?" I brushed my fingers over his shoulder.

"Yes, but that's all real. I was a POW for a short while, and I got banged up pretty bad when the vehicle I was in overturned. You brought that girl in the red dress to the hospital. Those are real memories."

I lay back down and started to cry again. It came over me like floodwaters, causing my stomach to tighten and my body to shake with my sobs. I threw one arm over my eyes to hide my face.

"I know it's going to haunt me but--there's so much I don't remember and too much that I do, but God, I am so thankful it was all a dream," I said.

I was shaking. He flattened his hand against my stomach and began rubbing it across my abs and I knew the time for dredging up old memories, real or otherwise, was over for now. He rose up and leaned over me and very slowly brought his face to mine, his eyes unwavering.

"I don't know how to help you, Brad, all I can do is be here for you and listen," he said. His voice was husky and he was speaking very close.

Oh, Godd, he's going to kiss me!! He had kissed me in the alley but this was different; we were naked. Our lips touched ever so lightly and he brushed his across mine.

I let out a little nervous whimper as he kissed me and I opened up, tongue willing, and kissed him back. It was gentler than earlier in the alley but I trembled, or the bed shook, under our passion. It was the longest kiss I'd ever had; almost an act of making love in itself. He was half on top of me, with his hard muscles pressed and writhing against mine. He wasn't doing this to calm me. It was more than that. Suddenly, with our mouths still locked together, he slid one arm under my back and pulled us over so I was on top of him. In that position, I assumed the dominant role and it was me kissing him, and it was he who was responding to my kiss. It went on for a very long time, till we broke, gasping for air.

"Geezusss, Brad......" he gasped huskily.

"I was thinking the same thing," I managed to say. The mere sound of his voice, so filled with emotion, sent a chill through me and I leaned down and kissed him again. His hands clasped around my butt, squeezing the muscles hard and I arched my back to arch my butt into his strong hands.

"Godd, you feel so good," he whispered.

"So do you."

He moved his hands high on my waist and urged me up over him, I thought perhaps so he could enter me and fuck me, and I moved up to the position, so his hard cock throbbed against the crack of my ass. But he pulled me higher and I realized he wanted me to come up and sit on his chest. He wanted my cock!! Oh, Geezuss....I couldn't believe it....he was going to go down on me!! I was almost afraid to let him; afraid I was back in the dream and it would all vanish the moment his mouth touched me. I didn't thrust or even hunker forward to give my cock to him; he came after it. He wet his lips and lifted his head and took my cock in his mouth, about half of it. I whimpered and gaped in disbelief, afraid even to feel the pleasure he was giving me. But there was no denying the incredible sensations of his tongue washing over the head of my cock and lashing back and forth along the tender underside of the mushroomed flange. I remembered that I had read somewhere that men have larger taste buds on their tongues than women, and I was certainly feeling his. I stayed there astraddle his chest and stared at the juncture of his mouth on my cock as the tears rolled down my face.

I was ready, and I knew he was, but he wouldn't force or rush me. I reached back for his cock. I was working up some spit for lube when he threw me a curve that rocked my world.

"I want you to fuck me," he said. His voice was husky but powerful.

I stared down at him, I knew with a blank look on my face. My cock, slick with his spit, rested alongside his thick neck, throbbing angrily, the veins bulging. His deep blue eyes gazed up at me out of his handsome face with a look I'd never seen before, from him or any other man; a wishful look, a little confused perhaps, wistful and loving, almost pleading, and I didn't fully comprehend it.

His strong hands around my hips urged me off to the side and I was on my knees beside him. He turned over onto his stomach and I saw his butt muscles clench and tighten several times, beckoning me. I put my hand on his butt, just at the small of his back. My mouth was watering; my cock throbbing. I couldn't believe it was happening.

"Jason, I....I don't know if can do this," I said.

"Looks to me like you can," he said with a mischievous grin as he fisted my slick cock. "Feels like you can."

"No, I....I don't know if I'm ready for it," I said.

He rose up on his elbows and looked at me with his own blank look that turned into mild disbelief, and I saw the hurt in his eyes. He shoved himself back up off the bed to stand.

"As much as I want to understand....I'm having a hard time handling you like this, Brad," he said as he went over to the open window facing the alley. "I don't know how."

My eyes fixed on his awesome butt as he went to the window, then his very manly silhouette against the light. I didn't understand. He sounded confused and hurt, maybe even a little angry. I hadn't meant to do that. I didn't mean to hurt him. It was just too soon for me. There was something from the dream, pulling me back, some force back there wanting to connect that part of my life with this very real moment. I didn't want it, I didn't understand it and it frightened me.

"I understand what you're going through, Brad, but....."

"No, you don't," I cut in.

"I'm trying!" he blurted. "I can understand how it's hard to cope with trying to sort out reality. But while you were wherever you were, I was in my own little hell." I was taken aback by his outburst. "First, I couldn't find you. I couldn't get any information. I spent my nights wondering where the hell you were, wondering if your name was on a KIA roster somewhere. I laid out in the fuckin' jungle and I hated. I sucked up the hate out of my guts and used it to do my job. Every one of those gooks I brought down might be the one that blew up your barracks. I went to Toby's. I don't remember how many times I went to Toby's and I waited and waited and I got drunk. The terrible part was, when I got drunk I lost hope and I gave up, said fuck it. And I did that. I tried to fuck it out of my system. I even got angry at the guys I was fucking, because they weren't you. I begged, I threatened, I even bribed a guy for information but nobody I talked to seemed to know anything. I was desperate. Till I tracked you down in that hospital. Dammit, I even prayed. Do you know how long it's been since I prayed for anything? Like, never, because I didn't need to. Everything I ever wanted, I went after. I couldn't do that this time. I wanted you, and I couldn't get to you. I was up against a brick wall. You were in a coma and I was helpless to do anything about it, and I didn't know if you would ever come out of it. And I never wanted anything so bad in my entire life, so I prayed. Not in a church, but while I laid out there in the fuckin' jungle, waiting to take another man's life, I prayed to a God I wasn't even sure existed. But by God, my prayers were answered and I will never doubt Him again."

"Jason....Godd, I am so sorry."

"No, don't be sorry," he said sternly, his voice lowered. "Don't you dare be sorry. Just come back to me. I said I wrote you a letter. I said things in that letter that I didn't have the balls to say to your face. Well, I've got my balls now, and one of the things I wrote....I wrote that I loved you, Brad. I loved you so damn much it tore my guts out. And I just want you back, Brad. I want you back." His voice broke.

"I'm back," I said.

"No, you're not," he said and tears came to his eyes. "You're here, but I don't have you back. I offered myself to you, and you.... Godd, I want you, Brad in the worst way. I know you have to understand that, 'cause I know how you've wanted me."

"I do, but it was such a shock when you said that."

We stood looking at each other for a long, quiet moment, tears rolling down his handsome face, and in that moment I felt a kind of transformation come over me. I didn't see it in Jason....it was just me....he didn't need it. A new strength flowed into me, and a strange inner peace that had eluded me for so long.

"I know I've got a ways to go before I get to where I need to be, but for you, Jason, I'm back," I said as I reached up and swiped at his tears. I put my other hand on his hip and he let me move him to the bed. "I won't fuck you....but I want to make love to you," I said.

"Whatever you want, however you want it," he said. "I want you inside of me so we're one. I've been inside of you and I thought that made us one but it was never complete, was it? I want you inside of me, then we'll be completely one; that's how I'll know you're real."

I backed him up to the bed and he sat down then lay back with his knees cocked up.

"You gotta know, you gave me a bit of a shock when you took my cock in your mouth. And even more when you asked me to fuck you," I said as I crawled up over him. "It took me a moment to process that."

"I didn't surprise you, kissing you?" he asked.

"Not so much. We've done that. I remember you said you liked it."

"Those times were never like that one," he said.

"No. It seemed so natural."

"It felt natural," he said.

I put my hands on his knees and shoved them toward his chest. He crooked his arms around his thighs to tilt his butt up for me. My Godd, I thought when had I seen anything so beautiful!?

"You don't need to be easy," he told me, swiping his eyes.

"I will be," I said.

"Don't treat me like a pussy. I'm a Marine now, remember."

I laughed. "Damn, I was going to eat you like a pussy to get you warmed up," I said.

"Fuck, yeah, I remember your tongue. But I'm all right, you don't have to."

"I want to," I said. "I really want to. I want to make love to you, Jason."

"I'm yours, then, buddy, do whatever you want with me."

I dropped to my knees beside the bed, face to face with his awesome butt. "Godd, Jason.... you don't know what this does to me, seeing you again like this."

He laughed softly and that turned into a soft moan as I began licking his ass.

"Ohh, fuck! Yeah, I remember that tongue," he said. "Ohh....Oh, Godd, yeah, lick my ass....tongue it....get your tongue way up inside me. Get me ready for your cock."

I pulled his hole open and dipped my tongue in the crater of his asshole. He gasped and whimpered. "I'm going in deeper," I murmured.

"Yess, go deep. Stretch me open and fuck me with your tongue. Godd, I always loved you doing that."

I forced my thumbs into his hole and pulled it wide open, so I could see the rosy inner muscles palpitating anxiously. "Your asshole is winking at me," I said.

"No, it's begging. Don't tease me, give me your tongue."

I drove my tongue into his hole as deep as I could, causing him to cry out. He quickly put his forearm over his mouth to stifle the noise but his whimpering groans were still loud. He clamped one big hand over my head and pushed my face hard into his butt. I gave him all I had till he suddenly stopped me.

"You're gonna make me cum!"

"Don't wanta do that yet," I said as I licked his gaping hole then kissed the inner slopes of his butt muscles. I locked my mouth tightly over his hole and forced in as much spit as I could work up. Then I stood and rubbed his spread butt with the head of my cock. "This may hurt some," I warned.

"Don't mean nothin'," he said.

I pushed forward and felt the firm muscle around his hole give. Then the tighter muscle of his asshole began to give way too. He sucked in a quick breath and winced a little when I penetrated him, but he didn't cry out at all. I knew he couldn't; it wasn't in him to act that way. His sphincter spread apart and locked tightly around my cock. Godd, so tight! I entered him slowly, the soft inner lining of his ass parting and folding gently around my cock like warm velvet as the tight sphincter squeezed harder, still trying to prevent my entry. I wanted to linger all the way in and I must have been going too slow.

"All the way," he said when he thought I paused.

I eased in the rest of the way and pressed my loins hard against his spread butt. He tightened his asshole and his stomach tightened.

"Okay?"

"Yeah. Thought you said it was going to hurt," he said.

We stayed like that for a long moment, my cock throbbing gratefully deep inside his body, while I tried to comprehend the reality of what was happening. I shook my head to make sure I wasn't dreaming. I had my cock deep inside the man I loved, he a virgin, and he was smiling up at me. A tear fell to his chest, then another.

"What's this?" he asked as he swiped them up and licked his finger.

"I don't know," I said. I didn't want to get weepy on him but I said, "Must be the angels weeping with joy."

He hunkered his butt harder against me, urging me to fuck him.

It was pretty incredible....it all was. I was still reeling from our reunion at Toby's; I couldn't believe I was at last actually making love to the man I loved more than anyone in the world. I fucked him slowly. I relished every second, every inch of my cock sliding in and out of him, being caressed by his ass. Godd, I was inside the man I loved. I made love to him, kissing his neck and his chest, nibbling on his turgid nipples, kissing every inch of his muscles that I could reach, his biceps and his armpits. But I knew it wouldn't be enough.

"I can't believe you held out on me," he said.

"What do you mean?"

"You never told me it would feel this good," he said.

"As many times as you fucked me into delirium, you should've picked up on that," I said.

When he began hunkering up against me, meeting my thrusts, I knew he wanted more than the loving I was giving him. He wanted to give more of himself to me; he wanted me to fuck him, hard, man on man.

I picked up the pace, thrusting faster and harder. He responded in kind, his tight abs acting as a springboard, lifting his butt in fast humps. My balls slammed against his butt with each thrust of my cock. They even hurt a little bit, but it was a good hurt. The bed rocked and creaked under us. I brought into play every technique I knew; every one he had used on me. I pulled back till his tight asshole locked tightly around the flanged rim of my cockhead, and I tugged back some more, stretching and pulling his asshole outward. When I tugged too much he hunkered up to keep my cock inside him. Other times I titillated him more by pulling out completely, stretching his asshole in the process, then fucking just the head in and out with short, fast jabs. When I did that he begged me to shove back in. I shoved in hard and deep and twisted my hips around to make my cock lob around inside him. He cringed and gasped and moaned when I did that. I pulled all the way back and cork-screwed back in to the hilt.

"Ohh, Godd! Ohh, yeah, do it, stud. Give it to me. Fuck me. Godd, it feels so good."

I fucked him crazy. Even his moans and whimpers sounded confused, as if he didn't know what to expect next.

He was surprisingly relaxed, but remained tight, his muscles stretching but clinging tightly around my cock. I was on a sexual high myself. Every stroke inward brought new sensations. Every pull back was a buildup of the next thrust inward. Part of it was visual. I drank in the sight of his handsome face in constant change with goofy smiles and contorted grimaces, and his beautiful, muscular body writhing under me fueled my desire for him. I didn't know when lovemaking gave way to raw lust. Maybe it didn't, but if not, the lovemaking became more intense, even brutal, if making love can be depicted as brutal.

Maybe it was when he said, "You can kick it up a notch if you want to."

I definitely wanted to. I was no longer gentle, and he responded in kind, humping his butt up to swallow my cock in great anal gulps. Godd, he was so hot, and his heat was making us both sweat. It dripped off my face onto his, and he licked it off his lips. Several times I leaned down and kissed the saltiness away, and that created more intense heat when the kiss didn't end.

He devoured me in those kisses, fucking my cock harder than I fucked him. "Ohh, Godd, Brad," he murmured, "Fuck me harder. We've lost so much time."

I didn't know how long I fucked him but when I slowed he picked up the pace himself. We should've turned the fan up higher, I thought.

At one point when I saw the grimaces on his face, I asked, "Are you close?" I asked.'

"You could get me there if you half tried," he said.

"Do you want me to try?" I asked.

"This is your mission, I'm just the spotter," he said.

"Let's do it together," I said. "I'm gonna ride you hard, make you come."

He nodded, and seemed to brace himself.

I clasped my hands over his thick, hard chest muscles, both for leverage, and because I liked feeling his muscles. His tits burned into the palms. I fucked him straight in, on my knees. I rose up and fucked him with downward strokes, like I was trying to nail his ass to the bed. I couldn't tell which he liked best so I alternated back and forth. After a few minutes, I let go of his pecs and lay down on him and slid my arms under his armpits and got a tight grip around his shoulders. It was good leverage for really hard fucking. Our faces were close. His eyes kept darting around, like he was searching in my eyes for something. Then they settled into a gaze into my eyes.

"Did you find what you're looking for?" I asked.

He frowned.

"Your eyes, they keep shifting and darting around, like you're looking for something," I said. "Did you find it?"

"Yes," he replied. His gaze didn't waver now. "Godd, I love you so fuckin' much!" he whispered, and his eyes still didn't move.

"I know," I said.

"I think I always have," he said.

"I think I've always known," I brushed my lips across his.

"I wanted you to, but I was always afraid to ask," he said.

"I'm gonna kiss you and we're not gonna break away. Let me know with your tongue when you're close." With that, I locked my mouth over his and probed between his lips for his tongue. It met mine, lashing wildly.

The last minutes were a hard, incredibly intense fuck, made more so by the intensity of our kiss. He let me know when he was ready, with his whimpering groans and his lashing tongue. He jammed it down my throat, and I thought he was going to suck my tongue out of my mouth.

I brought him to the precipice but edged him, easing off with my cock strokes just enough to keep him there without going over the cliff, by moving my cock back and forth through his hot hole in tiny stokes. It was still more than he could take.

He suddenly broke our kiss and groaned loudly. "Ohhh, Godd.... Godd, Brad, what the fuck are you doing to me?"

"Fuckin' you, like you wanted," I said. "Do you want it harder? Longer? Deeper? Or maybe just slow and easy, or......"

"Dammit, Brad! Don't do that! I let you know I'm ready! Fuck, I damn near sucked your tongue out! Fuck me, dammit! Fuck me hard, like you mean it! I can't do this, man! I wanta come, and I wanta feel you coming in me."

"They're gonna hear you all the way to Hanoi," I said with a tight smile, and covered his mouth with mine again. I didn't stop this time and I didn't edge him. I fucked him like he wanted to be fucked. I fucked him like I thought another Marine would want to be fucked. I was the one who let him know with my tongue that I was about to come. He responded and we talked tongue language as I began blowing my heavy, long overdue load deep inside his quivering ass. I think the first shot set off his trigger and the next second he was shooting huge ropes of thick semen all over himself. Mine shot into him and spread through his guts like thick, warm balm. I came so hard it felt like my asshole was going to turn inside out and I could feel my balls drawing up in their sack. I didn't really fuck him during all of it; we just held on to each other, so tight it would've been hard to tell where his body left off and mine began and let our bodies convulse through it. I was flooding his insides. The bed shook and rattled, we came so hard.

After a couple of minutes I lifted my head, breaking our kiss. Jason sucked in a deep breath of air.

"Fuckkk!" he gasped.

"You okay, Big Man?" I asked, smiling.

"I don't fuckin' know," he said.

After a long moment I laughed and rose up, letting his legs down on either side of me. His upper body was streaked with ropes of cum.

"Shit, your mouth's bleeding," I gasped.

He made a cursory swipe with his fingers across his mouth and wiped away the blood. He laughed and I saw more blood but it wasn't from his mouth.

"Fuck, I bit your tongue!"

He stuck his tongue out against his hand and there was more blood. He started laughing.

"I'll get a cold washcloth." There wasn't a washcloth but I wet the corner of a towel and brought it to him. He held it in his mouth and kept checking the towel till the bleeding had stopped.

"Maybe I'll get another Purple Heart," he joked. "Godd, that was awesome," he said. Then, "Thanks for not raping me."

"Maybe next time," I said.

"Whew! Godd, once you were in....fuck, I wouldn't have cared. I never dreamed it would feel like that."

"See what you've been missing?" I chided him.

"You never told me. Selfish bastard, you've been getting all the goodies all this time. You should've raped me a long time ago, so I would know what it's like."

I was eyeing the streaks of cum on his chest and neck and shoulders, and some on his face.

"Go ahead," he said.

"What?"

"You've got that hungry look in your eyes. Go ahead, if you want to."

"You know me too well," I said. I leaned down and began lapping up the warm, thick cum that his great cock had belched out; some so thick it lay in globs and clung like glue. I sucked in the globs and smashed the stuff against the roof of my mouth. It was like bursting flavor buds. Godd, he tasted good. While I cleaned him up I wedged myself between his legs and eased my still rubbery cock back inside him.

"Godd, again?" he moaned softly.

"Just teasing," I said as I withdrew my cock.

"Ooohhhhh," he moaned softly as my cock left his guts empty once more. The head of my cock popped free and I looked down at his gaping hole, at my cum running out.

"It feels like Niagara Falls down there," he said. He lifted his head. "Do you want that too?" he asked.

"If it wouldn't gross you out, I wanta mix it, mine and ours," I said.

"Fuck, no, I don't mind. It's your mess, you ought be the one to clean it up," he said.

"No, actually, it's your mess," I said. "It's your asshole that's letting it drain out. You should have tightened it up."

"But you're the one who so brutally stretched my asshole open," he said.

I smiled and started to lean down to his chest but he stopped me.

"Wait. Come up here," he said, pulling me up on top of him. "You've got some on your chest and stomach." With that he pulled me up over his face and began licking his cum off of me.

I was mesmerized at the sight of his tongue lapping up the thick globules of his own cum. What would he do next, I wondered! I saw that he wasn't swallowing, but holding it in his mouth. When he was done he nodded and tilted his head in a beckoning gesture.

"Just a minute," I said. I lapped up some of the thick globules of cum from his chest and stomach, then I hunkered down to lick his asshole to get some of mine. I rimmed him for a moment, sucking my own cum out of his ass and he clenched his asshole, pushing it out for me. I pushed the mixture of cum inside him. Then I sucked it out of him, all I could. When I had a good mouthful I lay up beside him to kiss him again. I was surprised when he put his hand around the back of my head and drew my mouth to his, with his tongue lashing out anxiously.

"HHmmnnnnnn!!" he moaned loudly as he sucked our cum into his own mouth and washed my mouth with his tongue and his own spit. We swapped our mixture of cum and spit for a moment then we both swallowed.

I felt myself getting hard again, and I broke the kiss.

"Fuck, that was so hot I'm shaking inside," he said. "Do you want to shower and take a break?" he asked.

"You mean there's more?" I asked jokingly.

"There fuckin' well better be," he said.

There was no hesitation about us showering together. There wasn't much room but it didn't matter. We spent a lot of time pressed tightly together, kissing under the weak spray of water. Jason had never been so hotly passionate.

"You know the hot water is gonna be running out," I said.

"I don't care."

"I don't care either," I said.

I knew what was coming and as we were drying off I felt apprehensive, maybe downright scared. Like a schoolboy about to lose his virginity. Demons out of my past were pushing into my brain, demanding to be emulated. I cringed quietly inside, trying to push them back without being noticed. They had no part in this. What lay ahead between Jason and me was new memories to be made and cherished. But the demons pressed on. I moved away from Jason, wrapping the towel around my neck. I went over to the window.

"Brad? What's the matter?" I could hear the concern in his voice.

"I feel like I need to be exorcised," I said quietly.

He came up behind me and pressed his body against mine. He was warm despite the cooling shower.

"What's the matter?" he asked, wrapping his muscular arms around me.

I almost told him, that it was all coming back, but I didn't want him to think he had to compete with ghosts out of my past "I don't know," I said.

"It's the anticipation, that's all," he said. "It's been so long."

I laughed softly. "Christ, I feel like a virgin."

"Let me love you, Brad," he whispered, kissing and nuzzling my neck. He turned me around in his arms and our loins pressed together. His cock was like solid rubber. I was bone hard. He leaned down and kissed my tits and I breathed heavily in his ear. He raised his head again and his eyes locked on mine. "Let me make love to you like you did me."

"Yes," I said, nodding.

"It doesn't have to be right this minute," he said.

"Yes, it does. I feel like I'm going to explode and when I do, you need to be the one to cause it."

He turned us around and guided me back to the bed. When I felt the edge of the mattress against the back of my legs he laid me across the bed and came down on top of me. I liked the weight of his muscles on me, his big, hard cock lodged between my thighs and nudging against my balls. He wedged his knee between my thighs to spread my legs wider. I lifted them up and he laid them on his shoulders.

"You tell me if you want me to do anything different," he said as he crouched down. Oh Godd, he was going to rim me! He was right, it was the anticipation, and I could barely stand it. I felt his hot breath wafting over my ass.

"Ohhhhh, Godd, Jason," I cried out softly even before he touched me with his tongue.

He murmured something and licked my quivering asshole. He licked and kissed my ass and I could feel it opening up for him.

"Ohh, yeah. you're opening up for me," he whispered. He tapped against my hole with the tip of his tongue. I laid a hand on top of his head but quickly withdrew it. He reached up for my hand and placed it back on his head as he was stretching my hole open with his fingers.

I moaned again when he drove his tongue inside me. His tongue felt like soft sandpaper against the delicate lining of my ass. He shoved it in deep, as far as he could reach and I squeezed my asshole around it. I could feel him forcing warm spit into my ass. After several moments of the exquisite torture he left my hole and kissed along the miracle inch leading upward from my asshole. He licked my balls and sucked one in his mouth. I winced from the roughness but he didn't notice. He took turns with my balls till they were almost sore then he pulled my cock straight and licked up the shaft. It quivered violently as he lashed along the underside of the head.

"MMMnnnn, yesss!" he whispered as he licked up the precum that was cascading down.

He had been rubbing my asshole with his thumb, now he shoved it through my hole. It felt good and caused the anticipation to mount. I wanted him so bad. He worked his thumb around inside me, brushing over my prostate from time to time. At the same time he kept lapping up the copious ball juice that he was forcing out of my cock.

"Oh man, it's almost like you're cumming," he murmured.

"I could easy enough, if you keep it up," I said.

"No, you can't cum yet." But he didn't let up. He tongued me hard and shoved both thumbs in me and pulled my ass wide open so he could get deeper inside me.

I was trembling inside with anticipation, and ready to scream from the pleasure he was giving me. He locked his mouth tightly over my asshole and I could feel him forcing more warm spit inside me. The time was drawing close. He took me to the edge one more time then stopped and rose up over me.

"Man, I never thought I could be doing this, licking up your ball juice and eating your ass."

I smiled at his grin as he lowered his face to mine. It wasn't a kiss but simply a brushing of lips over and over again, but it caused me to tremble inside. His cock nudged against my hole, still open enough to welcome and I felt the head set firmly in the gap. I was slick enough with his spit to lube his cock as he nudged forward and his cock forced its way through the clenching sphincter muscle till it locked tightly around the head. He paused only seconds, still half kissing me, his eyes searching mine, then he began entering me.

I was nearly overcome with joy as his big cock bore into my guts, its heat firing up the nerve endings all through me.

"Ohh, Godd, Jason," I whispered. He quieted me with a soft kiss as he went deeper. I whimpered, "Oh, Godd....Ohh, Godd," over and over again, and silently lifted up prayers of gratitude to the warrior saints, Sergius and Baachus. There would never be any doubt in my mind that those two fierce, brave warrior martyrs had brought us together.

When he was in all the way he held me tight and I clung to him and the kiss took on momentum. He didn't move his hips but his huge cock was fucking me just the same with its hard, steady pulsations.

"Feels like your ass remembers my cock," he said with a grin.

"I think your cock remembers my ass, too."

"Oh yeah, it remembers everything about it. And my body remembers every ripple of your muscles. I want to stay like this for a minute while everything gets reacquainted."

"Yess." I could have stayed like that for the rest of the day and night, basking in the intense love that seemed to undulate between us; his love feeding off mine, and mine off his. It had never been like this before, and I knew I was in for the fuck of my life, because he was fueled this time by his profession of love for me.

He eased back, then shoved back in and even that simple move pushed the air out of me. It had been so long. I remembered, my body remembered, but it still washed over me as if it were the first time. I was spread out before him, his for the taking, willing and vulnerable, like a virgin. He fucked me slow and easy at first, as if he was working up a head of steam. He rolled and rocked us to and fro, hunkering up over me then rocking back to his haunches to push the next thrust into me. Needless to say, Jason knew what he was doing and his talents were compounded by the emotions I could see in his eyes. This was no ordinary fuck for him either. His huge cock felt like the work of art it was; I felt like I was being privileged to enjoy a premier fuck by the Master of Fuck. I believed he truly loved me.

"Fuck, this is one hell of a challenge," he said hoarsely.

"What? Why?"

"Trying to hold off so I can do this right," he said.

"Don't. There's no need to, there're plenty of times ahead of us," I said.

"But this is the only this time," he said.

Yes, it was, a reuniting of our bodies--our very souls--after such a long time apart.

"And we can't be sure of that, can we? Neither one of us. Not anymore," he said. Suddenly he smashed his mouth over mine and kissed me so hard that my lips hurt. But I gave back in kind. His passion demanded it, and I could give him nothing less. He held us tightly together and the only thing moving then were his lips and his hips. "Godd, Brad, I love you so much it hurts inside," he whispered.

"Don't hurt. Don't love me so much," I whispered back.

"Can't help it. It's there, inside me. It's been there for so long, and it wants out."

"Let it out, then," I said.

"I will. You know I have to, but I know it's always going to still be there, so it's gonna keep hurting."

"Godd, Jason, I don't want this moment to ever end."

He kept fucking me. "Yes you do," he said. "The end is what we strive for, 'cause the end is what makes it all worthwhile. I know you wanta cum, and you want me to cum inside you. That's what makes us one. I like to think....no, I believe....that some part of me--the essence of me--is absorbed into your body, and yours in mine. It's a renewable source, your cum and mine, and all the energy it takes to drive us both crazy for each other."

I didn't know where that was coming from but I loved it. So I didn't hold back. I let him fuck me crazy, and drive us both into that oblivion of raw, star-bursting pleasure that nobody thinks he can stand till the next time.

He didn't announce it. He didn't have to. I could tell it was coming. He expertly took me right up to the edge then with barely a shudder his cock exploded, sending torrents of hot cum to bathe my insides. His trigger set mine off, then came the secondary explosion. I shot thick ropes of cum up across my own chest and shoulder and beyond, and all over my face as he tilted us up. After what seemed a long time in that oblivion he began kissing me all over my face and neck and gathering up my cum with his tongue. When he had the best of it in his mouth he kissed me fully on the lips and we shared my seed.

He shoved himself up at arms' length over me. "Holy Fuck! That was like nothing I ever felt before; nothing like we ever did before," he said.

"Yes, I felt it too," I said.

He lay hard on top of me and hugged us tightly together for a moment then rose up again to pull his cock free, then he lay beside me. I was still filled with so much emotion inside.

"I hope I made my point," he said in a more lighthearted tone.

"Oh, was there a point?" I asked with a mischievous grin, picking up on his lightheartedness.

He smacked me in the stomach. It was a good moment.

"I couldn't come up with anything you needed to do differently," I told him.

"There's something I've been thinking about," Jason said, now more serious. "We've both written the last letters....you know....."

"Yes."

"Well, the CO's got a copy of mine and you've got the other copy," he went on. "It's not impossible that both of our base camps could be taken out at the same time."

"I never thought of it."

"I think we need to give Toby copies, with him as alternate authority over everything, in our places."'

"Yeah, good idea."

We lay there for a long time, quiet in our thoughts, and I didn't like the somberness that followed what he'd said.

"Listen, we'd better shower and get out of here before you do get raped," I said.

"Maybe it wouldn't be so bad," he said, but we both knew we had to go.

We showered together, crowded into the tiny stall again. We washed each other but it was as much an excuse to have our hands on each other's bodies. The thought came to me, fleetingly, why men everywhere didn't feel free to do this with one other, even back in the high school locker room. What would be so wrong with it? 0 He dried me off first, then used the damp towel to dry himself. We got dressed, but were reluctant to leave the room. We both stood there, looking around.

"It's good to be back," I said.

"It's good to have you back," he said.

"A lot of this is all new to you. How do you feel?" I asked with a sly grin.

"Well fucked," he said.

"Up here," I said, tapping his head.

"I'm okay. More than okay. It's something I can take back with me, to tide me over till next time."

"Not to mention all those little sperms swimming around inside you," I said.

"It's different this time," he said. "Before, I was the one going out and you stayed back in Saigon. Now we'll both be going out. I don't like it."

"Why?"

"I can't stand the thought of something happening to you."

"Something did. And I wasn't out there, I was right here in Saigon."

He paused. "Yeah, it did." Then he pulled me into his arms and kissed me. "Just be careful."

As we were leaving the room, Jason hesitated at the door, his hand on the handle.

"Listen......" he paused, as if he wasn't sure he wanted to say it. "This has been fuckin' unbelievably awesome," he finished.

"Yeah, it has," I agreed.

"It can be awesome again. I mean, whenever we can get together, I'm okay with it everything we did."

"That's good to know," I said. "It's not going to be so easy to get together now, though. I won't be here, waiting for you to come in."

"No, I'll just as likely be the one waiting for you now. And worrying," he said.

"Serves you right, for all the worry you caused me," I said.

Our eyes met, searching.

"I've never seen you like this," I said.

"I surprised myself," he said.

"No, I mean....like this....I've never seen so far into your eyes."

"What do you see?"

"Your soul, I think."

I felt like a new man and I saw a new bounce in Jason's step as we walked back to catch our rides. The light of day was fading. Walking through the park, Jason guided us into the shadows of the trees that overhung the ponds.

"How do you feel?" he asked as he guided us back into the low hanging branches. "All over, inside and out, I mean."

"I feel....I don't know....so much. It's hard to explain," I said.

"Do you love me?" he asked.

I blinked, too surprised to answer for a moment. He waited patiently.

"You don't ever have to ask me that," I said.

"Then you won't mind......." He pulled me into his powerful arms and kissed me yet again. I wrapped my arms around him and kissed him back. Our loins ground together and I felt his manhood pressing against mine, both starting to come to life. It was the most intense declaration of love I'd ever imagined. It seemed a long moment before we broke.

"Geezuss, we're really pushing the envelope," I said, a little short of breath.

He pushed us apart, as if he just realized that we had committed a grave offense, two Marines kissing in public. But he kept his grip on my arms.

"You stay safe," he said.

"I will. You, too."

"I mean it, Brad. I can't bear to lose you again."

"I went through too much to get over here and find you. You're stuck with me," I said.

"You go first," he said, nodding to the street. I gave him a funny look. "I want to stand here and watch you walk away."

"You want to ogle my ass," I said jokingly.

"Yeah, that too."


Chapter Sixty-Nine

Back to Places I've Been

It was another time when we were at Toby's after a couple of beers that things out of my past began to creep in again, like weeds that I'd pulled and they were coming back. I let them. They were things I wanted to remember and put to rest but I didn't want them to haunt me. I decided there were some places I needed to visit. I told Jason I wanted to go back to his base camp to find the tree.

He nodded but didn't say anything; I think he was humoring me. When we met the Jeep at the guard shack Jason told the driver that I was riding back with them and he would have to bring me back into Saigon to catch my own ride. There were no questions asked. The young PFC said "Yes, sir," like Jason was an officer. On the drive back to his base camp, Jason told the soldier he would be late getting off duty because I was staying for chow and then he would have to drive me back after that. The corporal said, "Yes, sir" again.

I didn't say it out loud but, God, help me, driving through the jungle with him, I felt really like I was back home again. I got out at the gate of the compound. It looked familiar; I had been here before, for real, but I was revisiting my dream as well. There were American soldiers, not Vietnamese, in the compound. I found myself looking around for the concrete bunkers; there were none. Jason got out too, and waved the driver on, telling him he would find him when I was ready to go back, then he stood waiting on me.

"Do you see it?" he asked, not mockingly. He was looking for reality too; he wanted to help me put one more thing to rest.

"No," I said, searching the thick jungle opposite the base camp.

"What kind of tree was it?" he asked.

"A mango tree, I think. Or maybe a banyan tree. Do they have mango or banyan trees in Vietnam?"

"Probably. I don't know."

"It was a huge tree, must've been a thousand years old; had huge, gnarled roots," I said.

"Like that one?" he asked, pointing into the thick green.

I saw it then, tucked away back in the lush greenery and heavy vines. I walked toward it; Jason stayed back. The tree was eerily like the one in my dream. I instinctively looked down at one of the huge roots sticking up out of the ground, knowing full well that this was not the tree, but this was the tree in my dream and I had to find it.

"Hey!"

I turned around. Jason was standing several yards away.

"Catch!" he yelled, and threw something.

I snatched his dog tags out of the air.

"Bury 'em," he said.

I held the dog tags tightly in my fist, fighting down emotions that I swore I wouldn't feel. I turned back to the tree, and what followed was a simple moment of reckoning. It was a dream, I told myself; nothing but a dream. This was just another fuckin' tree in another fuckin' jungle in Vietnam. There were no dog tags buried under the roots and it was American troops in the base camp, not Vietcong. I said it out loud. "It was a fuckin' dream, man." Then I turned and walked back. I handed Jason his dog tags.

"That's not the tree," I said.

"It is. I could tell," he said as he reached out and pulled my dog tags out of my shirt. He took the chain from around my head and removed one of mine from its chain, then one of his, and he put both our dog tags in my hand and folded my fingers over them. "Bury 'em, then it'll be the tree. Really our tree." He looked at me funny. "Come on, it's a way to put it to rest. Bury them together. Fuck, they'll be there for a thousand years. And no matter where we are in this God-forsaken country, we'll know we're together. Nothing can ever take us apart." Then he took his knife out of its sheath and handed it to me. "Go. Bury 'em."

I made my way back through the thick vines and foliage and dropped to my knees between the gnarled roots of the huge tree. I looked up at it. I thought it looked like the tree, but there were a thousand trees like it in the jungles of Vietnam. I began digging under one of the roots, then deeper, past another root, till I had dug a burrow. Then I stuffed the dog tags in and covered them, packing the dirt hard over them. I knelt there for a moment, trying not to get emotional, trying not to feel stupid. For the moment I was where I'd been in my past. Then I looked back and saw Jason standing there, waiting for me. Jason, in the flesh, not a guide. I shoved myself to my feet and wiped the dirt off the knife as I walked back. I handed Jason his knife and he sheathed it. We looked at each other but didn't say anything. We never spoke of it again till years later.

We had chow and it was good to be in the company of Jason's buddies again. A few of them remembered me, and they were all interested in hearing about my absence. They couldn't believe I had worked my ass off and even gone through basic training again just to get back to Vietnam, let alone going through jump school and sniper school on top of it.

"Arrogant shit, he didn't think I could get the job done by myself," Jason joked.

I felt a little freer as we rode back to Saigon. Jason came along, he said to keep the driver company driving back to their base camp.

Approaching the city, Jason turned in the front seat and said, "How about a turn at the Dragon Fly?"

I wasn't expecting it and I stammered around and he said it was okay, we didn't have to go.

"No, you threw me a curve, that's all. I'm good to go," I said.

He gave the driver--his name was Danny--directions to the Dragon Fly. There, he gave the kid some money and told him, "Go back and park the Jeep at the guard shack and go wait for us at Toby's. We'll meet you there when we're done. The guard will point the way."

"Why do these kids look so young?" Jason asked as the kid drove off.

"Or why do we look so old," I said.

We stood out in uniform. We had a couple of beers then went with the girls we'd hired to their rooms. I was hoping it would be a double with Jason but they led us into separate rooms. I wasn't in the mood to fuck so I laid back and enjoyed a pretty good blow job. I was waiting at the bar when Jason came out. My beer was nearly gone so he didn't order one. We headed back. We found the driver sitting on a bench beside the ponds.

"I've had too much to drink, I can't drive," the young Marine slurred.

"That's okay, I'll drive," Jason told him.

The boy had a lot too much to drink. "Is there a reason you sent me to Toby's?" he asked both of us because he couldn't focus on one.

"It's a place I know, that's all," Jason said.

"Do you know they've got gays there?"

"I've heard the rumor that the place is gay friendly," Jason said.

"It's no rumor. They're there. You can't see 'em, I mean to recognize them, till one of them makes a move on you."

"You had a guy put the move on you?" Jason asked, laughing.

"Right at the bar!"

"Shit, no!" Jason said, shocked.

"Damn straight. I was on my third beer when I feel this guy's knee press against mine. I thought it was an accident at first but when I moved away and he kept doing it then I knew it wasn't no accident."

"What'd you do?" Jason asked.

"Well, after three beers I was having to piss so I got up and went back to the restroom and he followed me. Came right up to the urinal beside me."

"That sounds pretty normal to me," Jason said.

"I didn't think so, he could've put one urinal between us."

"So what'd he do?"

"Well, I was a little dizzy and was swaying around a little and I was having trouble getting my pants unbuttoned. He asked me if I needed some help. I told him no, and I didn't need any help, but just as I hauled my cock out to take a piss, he reached over and took hold of it, 'to help me out', he said. Well since he was holding my dick I just put both of my hands against the wall to steady myself."

"That's really helping a buddy out," I said, speaking for the first time.

Danny laughed. "That wasn't all he did. When I was done pissing he gave my cock a few shakes and milked it down a couple of times and fuck if I didn't start getting hard."

"Well, I guess you didn't have too much to drink after all," I said.

"Did he stuff it back in your pants for you?" Jason asked.

"Not right away he didn't. He just kept pulling on it and helping it get harder and harder then he guided me back in one of the stalls, and fuck if he didn't give me a blowjob!"

"Well, I guess you weren't so drunk that you didn't know a good thing when you saw it," Jason said.

"Oh, fuck man, it was more than good. I never felt anything like that in my whole life. It was way better than jacking off."

Jason and I looked at each other, both of us thinking the same thing; jacking off was the sum total of the boy's sexual experience.

"You know what else he did?"

"What else?" Jason asked.

"He got me off. I mean all the way off. I mean he took my load in his mouth! Not only that, he swallowed it."

"Well, I've heard those guys do that," Jason said.

"That's not all."

"Fuck, dude, what else is there to a blow job?" Jason asked, laughing. "I mean, that's about the ultimate for a blowjob, if a guy takes your load in his mouth then swallows it."

"That's not all he did, though. When he was sucking me, he had his hand between my legs and he was playing with my butt. He kept wetting his fingers in his mouth and putting it back there to rub my asshole. It felt really good. Then before I knew it, he had his finger shoved way up in my ass, as far as he could reach and he was....fuck, I don't believe I'm telling you this....but he was rubbing something up in there that drove me fuckin ' crazy. Man, I had to hold onto the top of the walls to keep my legs from buckling under me. Shit, when I shot my load I bit my hand so hard I almost drew blood. Talk about intense!" He was breathing harder just relating the story to us. He let out a sigh and said, "Man, I wanta find that guy again."

"You liked that, huh, his finger doing a number in your ass," Jason said.

"Oh, man, if you've never had that done to you, you need to. It was like I guess getting fucked. Finger fucked I guess was what you'd call it, only guys aren't supposed to get fucked, are they? I mean fucked for real. But this was just as good."

"I guess maybe they are supposed to, that way anyway, if it felt that good," Jason said.

"Man, I wanted to scream, it felt so good. But I don't understand it. I'm not gay. I like girls. But I'd want that done to me again if I got the chance."

"I guess it's okay to like girls and have a guy suck you off both," I said.

"Yeah, sure sounds like it, we gotta try that sometime," Jason agreed. Then he said, "Why don't you go back to the guard shack, Brad, and get the Jeep and pick us up. That'd save me from carrying Danny, 'cause I don't think he's going to be able to walk a straight line."

As I was walking away I heard Danny say, "I'm sorry I can't do my job and drive."

"Don't worry about it," Jason told him.

When I returned with the Jeep, Jason bundled Danny into the back seat and climbed back there with him, leaving me to drive. Heading out, I told Jason I wasn't expecting to make the trip back to his base camp with him.

"Just drive out a little ways and get some wind in his face. I don't wanta take him back drunk," he said.

So I drove some distance out, leaving the lights of the city far behind us, I looked over my shoulder and suddenly I knew what was going on. Jason was slouched down in the seat and Danny was groping him. They both had their shirts off.

"Fuck, man, I don't believe you're taking advantage of that kid," I said, laughing.

"I'm not taking advantage of anybody," he said. "Am I taking advantage of you, Danny? Do you want us to stop."

"No! Oh, fuck no!" the boy gasped.

"Geezuss," I muttered, and kept driving.

A mile or so further Jason told me to turn off and find a place to park the Jeep.

I turned off at the next possible wanna-be road and plowed through a wall of bushes and vines till we came into a small clearing, of sorts.

"Come on, Danny," Jason said.

"Where're we going? What're we going to do?"

"Just outside the Jeep. We're gonna give you what you want."

"You were almost doing that in the Jeep." The wind in his face hadn't done much to sober him up.

"We're gonna give you more of what you want, only bigger and better," Jason said.

"But what?"

"You said it felt real good, like being fucked. That's what we're gonna do."

"No, man, you can't fuck me! Guys don't get fucked!!" he said.

"Guys get fucked all the time, don't they Brad?"

"They sure do," I said, going along with it. "I get fucked every chance I get."

"Here's what we're gonna do, Danny Boy. After we get done fucking you, you can fuck us. Either one or both of us, cause we both like getting fucked."

"Is that true?" Danny asked me. "You're gonna let me fuck you?"

"We'll see how things work out," I said. "By the time he gets done with you, you may not want me to."

All the while, Jason had maneuvered the boy around to the front of the Jeep. He bent him over the hood and pulled his pants down to his ankles. I still thought we were taking unfair advantage of the boy but he wasn't fighting it, he was going willingly so I figured maybe we were doing him a favor. And fuck, he had an awesome little ass. Jason shoved his own pants and shorts down and spit on his cock. It was rather unceremonious the way he plowed into the boy's cherry but it wasn't the most ideal time and place for lingering, loving sex.

Danny's howl was muffled by Jason's hand already on his mouth and he told me to give him something to keep him quiet. I knew he meant my cock. I climbed up on the hood of the Jeep and shoved my pants and shorts down and fed the boy my cock. I FED it to him; he didn't exactly take it willingly at first, and I realized it was the first time he'd ever had a cock in his mouth. But once he got his first taste of man-meat he sucked me willingly, even eagerly, and he was pretty good at it. I thought we'd probably awakened something in the boy.

"You gonna be quiet now?" I asked him. He uttered a muffled groan, shaking his head. "Okay, I'm gonna change positions," I said.

He grabbed hold of my hips, trying to keep from moving away from him but I wrested free and climbed down off the Jeep. I sat on the ground and slid between his legs with my head resting back against the Jeep bumper. His sizeable cock was going crazy, throbbing and bucking and quivering right in my face. I grabbed it and guided it to my mouth.

"Awww.....Ohh, Godd" he cried out.

"Shut the fuck up," Jason growled.

I didn't suck him as much as he fucked my mouth, using the momentum of Jason's thrusts to go deep in my throat. He was literally pumping out ball juice and it tasted so good.

It wasn't a languid, lingering fuck. And I didn't get to fuck him because Jason fucked the boy's load right out of him and that put him out of the mood, especially after I drained his cock and swallowed his load. I did move up and feed him my load, though, and just like the guy who had given him his first blow job, Danny took my load and swallowed it like the good little cocksucker I was sure he was going to be. He didn't like it very much but he said he was glad I made him take it. He said he was glad Jason had "put the make on him" and made him want to be fucked. He sounded proud to have lost his virginity.

He was disappointed that he was unable to fuck either of us but Jason told him that was all right, he could do it some other time. He wanted to know when and where. Jason told him we would all meet up at Toby's sometime. I drove us back into Saigon to get a ride back to my base camp and left young Danny in Jason's capable hands. I wondered if they would stop again for sex on the way.


Chapter Seventy

Other Places

The other place I needed to go was the chapel. I knew it would be there because it was real. All that had transpired there wasn't real but I still had to make a connection. I walked in and crossed myself with holy water and went down close to the front near the grotto and slipped into a pew. I knelt on the kneeling bench and crossed myself again. Not as a preface to prayer but because it was what we Catholics did. The saint was still here, towering over me, maybe a bit more blackened from the candle smoke. So was Christ, still hanging on the cross, looking powerfully pitiful, and I thought of the real power in His coming down off of that cross. It was the first time I'd thought of religion in a long time. I looked at them both at the same time--Christ and the saint---and wondered which one I should address first; which one I had offended the most. I hadn't, really--for it had not happened--but there was something inside me that said it did, at least in my head. I had not been here physically, praying for Jason's safety, and cursing when he died, but a dream is of the mind, and for over two years, all I had was my mind, so it did happen. If I remembered it, I thought it, it was at least that real. It wasn't making sense to me but I felt the need to make things right. Really right. And to express my deep appreciation.

There was a Rosary laying in the next pew up and I picked it up. Coincidence, or divine intervention, I wondered. I couldn't remember the last time I'd said the Rosary and as I crossed myself with the crucifix I realized I didn't remember how to say it. I remembered the basics, but not the order of the prayers, and I didn't know which holy mysteries were assigned to which day of the week. I figured it didn't matter. It was the thought and the effort that counted.

I began to muddle through it, saying the prayers in reconciliation for being such a prick, but more with deep gratitude for my prayers being answered. In another time and place not of my making, I had cursed God and railed on the saint for not paying attention to my prayers when, in fact, they had. Jason was alive and well and back in my life. Someone up there had truly taken pity on me. My mind wandered after a few minutes of the repetitious prayers, back to our night at the Trent. I shook my head to clear it. I shouldn't be thinking about having sex with another guy when I was praying the Rosary! But then, I thought, somebody up there listened when I prayed for the guy I was having sex with, so I guessed that somebody up there didn't think sex with him was such a bad thing, or my prayers wouldn't have been answered. I gave the good warrior saints Baachus and Sergius their due credit for that.

I finished the Rosary and laid it back where I found it then went up to the grotto and knelt before the saint. It was hot from all the burning candles. I lit another one. Properly humble, I thanked the holy man for all his favors granted. I also expressed my deep appreciation to Saints Sergius and Baachus. I wasn't sure at the time that they even existed but I vowed to find out, and thanked them anyway, just to be on the safe side. I even thanked them for the wonderful love that Jason and I had shown each other. Then I went back to the pew and sat in the quiet solitude for a while.

Oddly, a name came to me from out of my past--Jack Burnside--the guy who comforted me in my time of grief, in more ways than one. I started to remember more. An orgy in someone's apartment. And Sergeant Randall, who came to visit. I remembered the dedication ceremony at Jason's school, and the two young football players I'd had sex with. When images of a teenage boy began to emerge, suddenly I snapped out of it and shrugged it off. There was no sense going back there. No need to dredge up memories of a dream. There was no Jack Burnside. No orgy, no Sergeant Randall. No Jase. Oddly, it hit me again that I didn't have any of the things of Jason's that I'd kept. I never did have them.

I was leaving the chapel when I ran right into Jason! It was a surprised moment of embarrassment as neither of us could find any words.

"I was, uh....just taking care of some unfinished business," I said rather sheepishly.

Jason was more sheepish. "I never got around to thanking the proper authorities myself," he said.

I didn't know whether to go on or stay. I asked him. "Do you want me to stay?"

"Yeah, I think you should," he said. "If you don't mind doing it again, I think we should do it together." He laughed softly. "Besides, you might have to show me how."

"You'll figure it out," I assured him.

We went in together, Jason lingering back just enough so I would lead the way. "Do you believe in the saints?" I whispered.

"I....guess so. I sure ain't one so I know they must be pretty special."

"Then that's the one you need to talk to," I said, pointing to the saint I'd prayed to. I didn't mention St Sergius and St Baachus because I wasn't yet sure they were real saints. Then I led the way to a pew near the grotto but still within perfect view of the Crucifix. I went into the pew first and knelt down and crossed myself again. Jason knelt beside me and did the same. I realized I didn't even know if Jason was Catholic. I never asked him but Jason had never shown any outward signs of being Catholic and if he had told me I didn't remember. He entwined his thick fingers and rested his chin on his hands and gazed at the grotto. He didn't need my help; he was here, on his knees beside me; that was enough. We stayed a long time. Once I saw out of the corner of my eye, Jason making a swipe at his eyes. When he brought his hands down to his sides and bowed his head I did the same. I wanted the prayers, whatever they were, to ascend together. I was surprised then to feel his hand touch mine. His fingers entwined with mine and he squeezed my hand.

I left the chapel with a feeling of peace and contentment. I think part of it was that I felt I had a certain degree of approval of my love for another man and his love for me. If not approval, at least acceptance or tolerance. I didn't know why, but as I walked on along the streets of Saigon beside the man I loved, I found myself searching for Jack Burnside's place where we'd had the most incredible sex, I thought at the time. I was being a total idiot; trying to walk back in time. I told Jason I would like to go to Toby's. He agreed.

"Nothing like a good cold beer to top off a quiet prayer," he half joked.

So we turned and walked back toward Toby's. Always back to Toby's. It was our oasis in the middle of the jungle desert.

There was one thing about my phony past, as I called my time in the coma, that I couldn't let go of; Jase. He had emerged more than once now. He didn't exist, yet the memory of him haunted me. I never told Jason, but one time when I was in Saigon I decided to follow the tracks. I went to the Dragonfly where I'd found Ling for Jason when he was in the hospital. It was the same madam. She acted like she recognized me but I figured she did that with every GI who came in the door

"I'm looking for Ling....red dress," I said

"Red dress," she said, pointing toward the bar. "But not Ling. Ling not here.

"Where is she?" I asked

"Nobody know. She not show up one night, and never see her again. Plenty nice girls, though," she added

"No, I was looking for Ling," I said.

Dead end. But it didn't stop the nagging. I found the orphanage. There was no Sister Maria. There was a Sister Mary Margaret. Somehow that name was familiar, too. I told her I would like to look around the place with the idea of supporting her efforts. She was happy to show me around. I realized again when the kids came running up to us, squealing and chattering words that I didn't understand, that I shouldn't have come empty handed. Sister Mary Margaret shooed them away and they scurried back to their play. I made a mental note to bring candy and gum the next time.

As she showed me around, I made careful observation of the kids, checking out the many who had unmistakable American features. I wouldn't be very good at making an ID in a lineup; I couldn't make out any particularly distinguishing features that would identify any one kid as belonging to Jason. Then suddenly I had the chilling realization that I wasn't or shouldn't be looking for a child that looked like Jason. I should be looking for a kid who might resemble Jason, or me. For I had fucked Ling, too. I tried to remember if I'd used a condom, but it was too far in my past. I knew I probably would've if I'd had one on me, but if not, I would've fucked her anyway, foolish as that was. Jason had used one that time in the hospital, but I knew he'd gone back to her after that, more than once--and so had I--and he would be as foolish as I was. I swept the compound with my eyes again, but I couldn't see any distinguishing features on any face that would tie any one of the children over another to either of us. And I wondered why I was looking.

As the good sister showed me through the dorm rooms, I looked for a room that might resemble the one where I had spent the night with Jase before taking him back to the United States. There was a small room with a cot and a pallet on the floor, very much like it, and she said it was a private room for the oldest of the boys. I felt a tug in my guts; it could be the same place. I stared for a moment, with the feel that something was trying to draw me back. I quickly moved on.

Regardless of the outcome of my visit, I was now committed to supporting the orphanage and I went with Sister Mary Margaret back to her humble little office to discuss it. From our conversation I learned that much of the support came from GIs who she thought were easing their conscience, suspecting that one of the AmerAsian children might be theirs. She said that money was always appreciated but that most of the GIs were without money and made their contributions in the form of C-rations and building materials, cooking fuel, blankets, clothing, toys, toilette articles and other things that they seemed to be able to get their hands on. And some volunteered their time. I told her I didn't know what form my support would take, but I promised she would be hearing from me. I left a little empty-hearted, and with the ghost of Jase still nagging me. It was ridiculous bit I couldn't shake it.

One time in Toby's I told Jason about going to the orphanage. He listened with a blank look.

"That's good and honorable of you," he said when I was finished.

We both knew we were dancing around the issue, which was not about supporting the orphanage. I decided to bust it out in the open.

"I went to the Dragonfly, looking for Ling," I said.

"She wasn't there the last time I went there," he said, still with his deadpan, straight face.

"They said she disappeared."

"You should've asked, I could've told you," he said.

"Jason, there's something....I....I can't shake Jase," I said.

He didn't say anything. He was going to make me say it.

"Don't tell me you've never considered the possibility that one of those kids with American features might be yours."

"Or yours," he said.

"Or mine." I said, nodding.

"Every guy who's ever had a piece of ass in this country wonders if he's left a kid behind," he said.

"Sister Mary Margaret said a lot of GIs help support the orphanage," I said.

"That's the American way," he said rather flippantly.

"I have to know," I said.

"Why would you have to know if one of the little rug rats running around there is mine? Or yours. There would be no connection to your Jase, either way."

"Ling was his mother, you know," I said.

"That was in your coma," he said.

"If you knew for sure....?" I left the question hanging.

"No way I could know that," he scoffed.

"But if you did know for certain....or even half certain....."

He was good with the deadpan stare. He did not want this conversation. I dropped it for the time being and changed the subject.

"How long are you in town?" I asked.

"Just overnight," he said with a tight smile. "Wanta head out?"

"Yeah," I said. I thought he meant to the Trent, but we headed into the heart of the city. We hit a few bars, had some drinks, dodged a couple of fights and I thought we were heading back, possibly to the Trent, but then I saw the Dragonfly up ahead. Jason steered us in. We were greeted warmly by the madam. Maybe she did recognize us from before; she acted like she did, but I didn't see how she could.

"Have you heard anything about Ling?" Jason asked her.

"No, no Ling," she said. "Plenty of nice girls, though," she said with a wave of her hand. "Both?" she asked, indicating the two of us.

"Yeah, both, but one girl," he said.

She did a little double-take, obviously surprised, but she smiled. "I try to find one willing to take on two soldiers," she said.

"Two Marines," he corrected her.

She laughed and waved him off and went in search of a girl. She came back with a frowning smile.

"I find one willing. But must be easy with her. And no back door."

Jason laughed. "Hey fine with me if we can both get through the front door at the same time," he said.

"I no sure about that," the madam said. "Up to her though. Come."

We paid her then followed her through the heavily beaded doorway and down a long, narrow, dark hallway. She opened the door to a room but it was occupied. I caught a glimpse of a tight, muscular butt driving a cock between a pair of legs lifted high on each side, before she closed the door.

"Sorry," she said.

She let us into the next room. "You can get undress," she said.

"We'll wait," Jason said.

We stood, and paced, and acted uncommonly nervous for a couple of stud Marines with our experience. I didn't know what that was all about.

"Are you okay with this?" Jason asked.

"Sure," I said.

"You wouldn't rather go to the Trent?" he asked.

"I thought that's where we were going, but this is fine with me," I said. It wasn't so fine but I didn't say it.

Just then the door swung open and a young girl was shown in. I glanced at Jason but his eyes were on her. She was also small in stature, which only accented her youth. She smiled at both of us and began to slowly unbutton the buttons that ran down the front of her dress. Most of the girls wore those dresses, like it was supposed to work up the testosterone, watching them undo all of the buttons, or letting the guy undo them. Jason reached out to help her.

"Jason....she looks awfully young. Shit she can't be more than sixteen, seventeen tops," I said under my breath.

"I twenty," she said. "Don't worry, I take both."

I didn't believe her but maybe she was. It was hard to tell the ages of these people. Jason looked at me and shrugged, and continued unbuttoning her dress. I didn't really like it except that Jason was taking the dress off of her, and I started taking off my clothes. Her age wasn't my problem. This was more about Jason and me being with her together. When the dress came off she was naked. And, I noticed, she was shaved. I liked that. My mouth actually started to water, although there was no way I was going to go there. Too much traffic down there. The girl started undressing Jason and he held his arms out to let her. I was naked, and hard. I saw her notice, and she gripped the front of Jason's pants to check him out, to see what she was in for. Her eyes flew open and she smiled and said something I didn't understand, and she looked back at my hard cock. I was concerned about a condom. Much as I loved fucking bareback, male or female, I didn't like the idea of fucking this woman without a condom. But I didn't have one; I wasn't expecting us to end up here.

When she took off Jason's pants, she went down on him. Jason looked at me, smiling. I wasn't sure what the look was all about, but if it was a silent invitation to join her, no way. I wasn't about to do anything like that, I would be tagged and every girl in the place would know it the next time I came in. Not that I was going to frequent the place that often, but there would no doubt be other times for Jason.

Maybe the look was an invitation, and when he saw that I wasn't going to do anything he pulled the girl to her feet. She turned him around and urged him to lie back across the bed, his legs over the edge of the mattress. Then, much to my relief, she reached in the drawer of the lamp stand and got two condoms. She ripped one open and put it on me then put the other one on Jason. Then she stood on the bed and straddled him, going down to sit on his cock that he held up for her. She settled her smooth pussy on the head and inched down till it disappeared up inside her. She squirmed around on it for a moment then leaned over on him, sticking her ass up for me. She had done this before. She looked over her shoulder and ran her hand over the side of her butt. I stepped up to the bed and aimed my cock, my eyes fixed on Jason's thick cock stretching her pussy so. It was going to be a tight fit. I nudged the head of my cock along Jason's, trying to work it in. She reached back to help, trying to pull her pussy open more, but she was tight.

It took me a couple of minutes before I finally shoved the head of my cock inside her. She tossed her head back with a loud gasp and Jason's hands came around to clasp around her butt, I guessed so she wouldn't try to move away. I gave her a minute then eased in, right on top of Jason's cock. Godd, what a great feeling that was! I could feel his cock throbbing, I could even feel his heartbeat. When I was all the way in, Jason hunkered upward, shoving his cock in as far as he could get it. The woman whimpered and groaned. I started fucking her and Jason shifted into gear. I knew I wasn't going to last long, but I didn't think it mattered. If I finished too quickly, Jason could finish the job himself, but I didn't see how he could last either. It was just too damned wonderful, our cocks sliding against each other inside the warm glove of her pussy. I could actually feel my cock sliding over the flanged underside of Jason's cockhead, and feel it swell when our cocks touched. I wondered if Jason was feeling what I was; the sensations of my cock as well as the woman's pussy.

We set a pace and a rhythm but didn't stick with it. We fucked her together, shoving both cocks deep at the same time, then we alternated, like two well-oiled pistons sliding back and forth, the friction powering our thrusts.

"Ohh, Fuck, man, are we gonna try to hold off?" Jason groaned as he was fucking her in tandem with me.

"No reason why we should, is there?" I said.

"Fuck, then, let's get it done," he said as he began fucking her really hard.

I wished we could rip off the condoms for the climax; it would've been awesome to come together inside her pussy, and feel our cum all over each other's cocks. Jason came first. I thought he was going to fuck the poor girl a new cunt, and I had a hell of a time hanging on and staying in. She was holding her hands over her mouth to stifle her outcries. I tried to match his thrusts but I had to wait till he settled down before I could fuck her to the finish. I wasn't far behind him; I could actually feel the surge of his cum gushing through his cock, then the heat of it through the condoms, and that was enough to set me off. I fucked her so hard at the finish that the bed and Jason's head were banging against the wall.

We gave her a tip.

"I don't know if we got our money's worth," Jason said as we were walking down the brightly lit streets.

"I did," I said.

"We gotta try that with a guy sometime," he said. Then he punched me on the shoulder, laughing,

"I will if you will," I said.

We walked back in the direction of Toby's, stopping at the guard shack where the Jeep was waiting. We drove to my base camp first. It was a long way but we didn't want to be apart any sooner than we had to. We said our goodbyes, in a studly manner in front of the driver, but I wished, and I know Jason wished we could have kissed goodbye. I had a sense of melancholy as they drove off but I didn't let it turn to regret. I wished it'd been just me and Jason in our room at the Trent instead of with the prostitute--I ached to have him fuck me again--but it was somehow enough just having him back in my life. I could wait for the physical.

I was okay with us parting now, knowing we would both be going out on similar missions, facing the same dangers. I was more okay with it than when he was the only one going out and I stayed back in Intel. Don't ask me why.


Chapter Seventy-One

Another Spotter, Another Kill

I was assigned a new spotter. I met him at a briefing. Another kid. Fresh faced, innocent, too eager, and trying to cover it all with a tough-guy attitude. Why were these kids so young? His name was Rick Richards. I tried not to judge; I remembered Sophomore, and how I had misjudged him. I missed Sophomore. I watched Richards during the briefings. He paid close attention and asked intelligent questions when it was time. I had every respect for his training--I'd gone through it myself--but I wanted to take him by the horns and mold him into what I had to have as a spotter.

"Listen, lose the tough-guy attitude," I told him as we were leaving the command tent. "You don't wear it well, and you don't need it with me."

He didn't say anything, and I didn't figure I needed to add anything to it.

"What experience have you had?" I asked.

"None."

"That's okay, nobody's got experience till they do it," I said.

We had the second and final briefing and were getting ready to go out that night, late. Son of a bitch, if Richards didn't show his stupidity, just as I was feeling comfortable with him.

"Geezuss Christ!" I swore when he came back in from the showers. Normally, I would've taken the opportunity to ogle his trim, tight, muscular body, discreetly of course, but something else took priority over that.

"What?" he asked, when he realized I had directed my outburst at him.

"What the hell have you got on?" I asked.

"Nothing, obviously," he said, with a bewildered look at his naked body.

"Yeah, I can see that. What's that stuff you're wearing that smells like a department store perfume counter?"

"Oh. That's some new aftershave my girlfriend sent me," he said, smiling.

I almost asked him if he shaved but I didn't, and I didn't laugh. "And deodorant?" I asked.

"Yeah, I don't know how long we'll be out there, I don't wanta get to smelling like a horse," he said.

I saw some of the other guys smiling.

"You couldn't smell like a horse if you tried," I drawled. "Fuck, didn't they teach you anything in sniper school? Go take another shower, wash it off. Shit, you can't go out smelling like that, you'll have Charlie all over us, and smelling like that, they'll probably rape you before they slit your throat."

He stood there with a dumbfounded look on his face, then said, "Oh," and went back out to the showers.

"Lots of luck with that one," someone said dryly.

"Please, somebody trip him when he comes back in, maybe break his arm," I lamented.

"Hell, just tell the CO you're not taking him with you," another guy said.

"Naw, I'll give him a chance," I said, still remembering Sophomore and how I had misjudged him.

"I wouldn't," one of other men said. "You're taking a bigger risk with him than you are with Charlie."

Richards came back into the hooch, drying off from his second shower. He still smelled too good, this time from soap. I dropped the equipment I had in my hand onto the bed and stood up and strode over to him.

"Goddamn, you still smell good enough to fuck. Come with me," I said, as I led him outside.

"Hey! No! You're not gonna......"

"No, Richards, I'm not gonna fuck you, not now anyway," I said as I half dragged him out of the hooch. On the way back to the showers I ripped off two hands full of leaves. I turned on a shower and got under it with him, still in my shorts, and started rubbing the leaves all over his naked body.

"Hey, what're you doing?"

"You gotta go out into the jungle smelling like the jungle, not like a high school boy going on his first date, hoping to get lucky," I said. "Do not shower or shave just before going out. Do that the night before, even two days before. The gooks have got smellers like track dogs."

"Yes, sir, I wasn't thinking," he said meekly.

"And don't call me sir," I barked. When I was finished rubbing the leaves all over his body, especially his ass and his thighs--and I even rubbed them in his crotch, and son-of-a-bitch if he didn't spread his legs out to let me--I smacked him on his bare ass. "Okay, you can go shower again and get some of that off, but do not use soap."

"Okay."

Then I did the damnedest thing. It just came over me, with him standing there looking so young and cute and innocent, and I felt I pretty much had him in my power. I put one hand around his head and grabbed him around the waist with my other arm and pulled in tight and I kissed him. It wasn't sexual as much as it was harsh and commanding. I kissed him hard, rubbing and smashing my stubble roughly over his face. He struggled but he was no match for me. I let him go and almost laughed at the stunned look on his face.

"Did you feel that?"

"Fuck, man, y-you fuckin' k-kissed me!" he gasped.

"Did you feel it?" I asked again.

"Yeah, I....I f-felt it....s-something, b-but don't ever do that again."

I grabbed his hand, trying to keep from laughing, and pushed it into his crotch. "It wasn't that kind of kiss, Richards. Did you feel this?" I brought his hand up and rubbed it over my bristled face. "This is what I want you to look like when we go out, not all fresh faced and pussy smooth."

"Oh."

Then I realized from his look that it was a total mistake; totally unnecessary. "Shit, you don't shave, do you?"

"I....do....b-but not every day. Only about once a week..... sometimes."

"Stop shaving. You shave only when I tell you to. Now shower. No soap."

The guys were laughing when I came back in the hooch.

"Did you get him rubbed down and set straight?" one asked. They knew about the rubbing down because I sometimes did that to myself before going out.

"Hell, I don't know," I drawled.

"Man, I would like to rub him down and set him straight," another said

"Hey, did he get a hardon when you were rubbing him down?" another guy asked.

"Fuck, I don't know," I said with a scowl.

"What I wanta know is, did you get a hardon rubbing him down?" another guy said, laughing.

"If I had, you would've heard him all the way to Saigon," I said. I was a little unnerved. I almost told Richards he wasn't going out with me, and just leave him behind. But when he came back in and I saw how he was packing his gear and taking care of his rifle, I knew I had to take him. I turned the lights out over my bunk and stretched out on my stomach to get some sleep. I didn't have to tell Richards to do the same. He asked me, what if we don't wake up?

"We don't have an appointment with these fuckers," I drawled. "Don't worry, I'll wake up."

I woke up a few hours later and woke Richards up. When we were ready, we headed for the heli-pad.

"Are we flying?" he asked.

"Yeah," I said.

"We're not going to jump, are we? I never jumped out of a plane before," he said, his voice sounding unnerving.

"It's not a plane," I said.

"I've never jumped out of a helicopter either," he said. "Are we going to jump?"

"No. If conditions are right they'll set us down," I said.

"What if they can't? What if they're shooting at us when we get there?"

"We shoot back," I said. "Whether they set us down or we get shot down, either way, we'll be on the ground," I said dryly.

"I would like to be on the ground in one piece," he said

"Yeah, me too, but things don't always work out like we want."

We were at the helicopter pad. I climbed in. Richards hesitated a second or two before he took my hand for me to pull him in. I squeezed his thigh. "Don't worry, they'll set us down," I assured him. Now if I just had somebody to reassure me.

It seemed further than on the map. I finally tapped the co-pilot.

"Where the hell are you taking us?"

"Right down there, where you wanted to go," he said, pointing up ahead. I saw the small clearing and poked Richards. I felt him tense up. I moved to the open door and swung my legs out. He scooted up beside me.

"You ready?"

"Yup."

They set us down smooth as silk and we dismounted and ran like hell out of the clearing.

"Okay, stud, since you didn't call a cab....," I said as I started off through the thick jungle.

"You take everything so droll," Richards said as we slowed to a walk once we were in the brush.

"No, you just take everything I say so droll," I said.

"This guy sounds really important" Richards said.

"Yeah, we gotta fix that, so he's not so important," I said.

We had trekked through the jungle for about an hour when I heard Richard's stomach growl. When it happened again, I stopped and shed my backpack.

"Why're we stopping?" he asked.

"To eat," I said. "Your stomach is sending out signals like a hungry bear."

We chowed down on some rations and buried the cans and covered up the spot, then headed out again. We disagreed on the location where we should set up the shot. Richards wanted to take the high ground, up on a ledge overlooking the river and the rice paddies beyond, and a village beyond that. I respected that he had his own opinion but I told him no.

"It's a perfect spot, we'll be able to see everything," he argued.

"And anybody will be able to see us," I said. "It's exactly where they would expect us to be, and they've probably got their eye on it. We're taking the low ground, below the ledge."

That spot wasn't what I wanted either but it got us moving again. I wasn't as close as I wanted to be and there was too much open space out front, but we didn't have time to tramp around looking for a possibly better place. If it turned out to be no better, or worse, we were screwed. I took off my pack and dug out my ghillie suit. Richards asked me what I was doing.

"I need to get closer. I'm going to crawl out there in the scrub and wait."

He brought his rifle up and looked through the scope. "You can take the shot from here," he said.

I thought it was impertinent of him to tell me, the sniper team leader, where I could take the shot. I started stuffing leaves and grass and foliage in my ghillie suit.

"I could, but it's gotta count, and this terrain isn't exactly as it looked on the map. Take a close look, the guy and his entourage could come in from any one of a half dozen routes we saw, but can't see now. I need to be closer so I can have all of those routes in my sights."

"You're leaving yourself wide open."

"They'll never see me. You won't see me," I said.

"I'll see you," he said.

"If this turns in to a cluster fuck, you head out," I told him.

"What's a cluster fuck?"

Damn, when he said no experience, he was serious. "That's when everything goes wrong," I said.

"And leave you out there? In a pig's ass."

"Don't forget who's running this show," I said.

"Fuck it, I'm not leaving you. That's not in my job description."

I didn't press it. I was impressed with his loyalty. When I had the suit done to my exacting specifications I laid it aside and took up a position of relaxation, leaning back against a tree. Richards gave me a questioning look. I nodded up to the sun.

"The shadows will be in my favor in a little while," I said.

He nodded.

We waited for the sun to move a little lower.

"I heard what those guys were saying about me back at the hooch," Richards said.

"What guys, saying what?"

"One of them said he would like to rub me down and set me straight, and another asked you if I got a hardon when you were rubbing me down with those leaves, and if you got a hardon."

"I didn't. Did you? I didn't notice."

"No."

"Don't pay any attention to those guys. You're the FNG, you can expect to take some guff."

"Does stuff like that go on in the hooch?" he asked.'

"Not usually in the hooch, that I know of," I said.

"But it....it does go on?"

"Yeah, from time to time, I hear."

"Have you ever......?"

"You're heading down a slippery slope, kid. Why're you asking all these questions?"

"Hey, I'm not a nark," he said defensively. "I'm just curious."

"What exactly are you curious about?" I asked.

"I wouldn't get....I mean, they wouldn't do anything, would they?"

"What do you mean by do anything?" I asked.

"You know, they wouldn't do anything to a guy that he didn't want 'em to do."

"If you're talking about getting raped, I never heard of that happening," I said.

"I never heard guys talk like that before," he said.

"Just don't sleep on your stomach," I said.

He looked at me. "You're joking," he said.

"I'm joking."

He kept looking at me. "I don't think you are. I heard you say that if you'd had a hardon they would've heard me all the way to Saigon."

"Look, it gets lonely out here," I said. "You haven't been away from your girl all that long. Some of these guys haven't been with a woman for months. If two guys happen to connect, well....." Richards laughed, sort of under his breath. "I'm going to take a shot in the dark here....you've never been with a girl, have you?"

"Sure, I was fucking my girl all the time," he said. He was lying through his teeth.

"This ain't the high school locker room, you don't have to lie to me," I said. "You're still cherry."

"Okay," he said. "But I intend to do something about that first time I get into Saigon."

"There are plenty of village girls between here and Saigon who would be more than happy to pluck your cherry," I said.

"I want something a little classier," he said. "Somebody who reminds me of my girlfriend. But for now, I just wanta keep my other cherry intact, from those guys back at the hooch."

"Okay, look, best advice I can give you, if you happen to look up and one of the guys is looking at you, don't make eye contact."

He frowned, looking confused.

"Hey, you've flirted with girls, you know how it is when you make eye contact, it's the same thing, only out here, making hard eye contact is like sending out a message, fuck me."

He was quiet for a few minutes. Then he asked, "Have you ever fucked a guy?"

"Yeah," I replied without hesitation.

"Have you ever been fucked?"

Again, I replied without hesitation. "Yeah."

He blinked with surprise. "You have? When? How'd it happen? How'd it feel?"

"It was a long time ago, I guess I was about your age. How? Hell, I don't remember the how. It know it hurt at first."

"At first? What about later?"

"I got used to it pretty quick; it felt sorta good. It got me off," I said.

He eyed me like he wasn't sure if he should believe me. "Listen, if it....if it becomes inevitable, that I'm gonna get nailed, and you know it's coming....could....could you do it, first?"

"Are you asking me to fuck you?" I asked with a surprised, grinning scowl.

"I'm saying if it comes to that, like if I know it's gonna happen, or you do, I'd like to be broken in, so to speak, by someone I trust, then maybe it wouldn't be so bad with the others." Then he looked embarrassed. "Maybe I shouldn't be talking like this, but you know, it's a pretty helpless feeling, being stuck out here in this God-forsaken place with older guys, being the target for God only knows what those guys have got in mind for me. I couldn't do anything about it and it wouldn't do any good to go to the CO or the First Sergeant, so I know I gotta take whatever comes."

"That's a smart attitude, but I think you're buying trouble," I said. "You make it sound like the guys are a bunch of vultures, waiting to pick apart their prey."

"You said you got nailed when you were about my age. What's to prevent it from happening to me?"

"Nothing to prevent it, just don't lay awake expecting it to happen. And hey, I was kidding about not sleeping on your stomach." I looked out at the sun. "Okay, cherry, I gotta head out, hand me my suit," I said.

He looked at where he thought I'd put it. Then he looked all around. "Where is it?"

I laughed and nodded to it, barely two yards away. "Told you, you wouldn't see me."

"I still don't know what good I'm gonna do you back here," he said.

"Moral support," I said. I spread my ghille suit over me like a shawl, then covered my rifle with its own ghille suit.

"You made that," Richards remarked.

"Yeah, the guys call it my wedding gown."

"Don't they furnish them?" he asked.

"Sometimes, but when they put them together in some factory then ship 'em out, they don't know what the terrain is like where they're shipping them. I made sure this one blends in," I said.

Richards looked out across the area where I would be traveling but didn't say anything. Maybe I should've taken him with me; after all he was supposed to be my spotter, but I preferred that someone else broke him in on the job.

I pulled the suit up over my hat and moved out a little ways then started crawling. I judged I had about an hour. Crawling, stalking, is a slow process that tests your patience. I hadn't had to do much of it since sniper school, and I was pleased with my progress and my patience. It was like a stroll in the park. Every now and then I paused to have a look around through my scope. I was nearing the distance I wanted to be when suddenly I heard a ruckus at about ten o'clock. I took a stance to observe, to see if it was my target. Very carefully, without taking my eye off the scope, I pulled the pictures out of my upper pocket and held them up near the scope to compare. None of them were the guys in the two pictures. I hunkered down to wait.

There was no ruckus when the second group of soldiers came into view from the other direction. I didn't need the pictures again to recognize that these two were my targets. I checked the suppressor on my rifle that would silence the shot and eliminate the muzzle flash. I made a half dozen attempts to take aim but they were moving around too much, others getting in the way.

"Get the fuck out of the way!" I said to myself. Finally, I had a clear shot at the number one target, but number two was way too far off to the side and I really wanted to make it two for one if I could. I waited to see if they might come in closer to each other. Surely, as the number one and two men, they would have something to say to each other. I waited and waited, till it appeared they might be ready to move out toward the village. I could only guess what their mission was, but there were too many of them meeting up to be just a patrol. They were up to do some serious mischief and I had to interrupt that plan. I feared that with the amount of equipment and firepower they had, they might be going to wipe out an entire village. They did that sometimes, for no other reason than to terrorize. I took careful aim at number one. If there was just the right moment of confusion and panic--a second or two was all I needed--I could take out number two.

I took the shot. Number One's head practically disappeared off his shoulders, fairly exploding like a pumpkin being hit with a shotgun. A second later I got my panic and confusion I was hoping for, yelling and screaming and men rushing for cover. Number Two was in my sights but suddenly it was as if he had spotted me. I mean, I could see his eyes staring right down my scope. He couldn't see me, of course, but it was an eerie feeling, and he started moving around, yelling commands and pointing up at the ledge, just like I told Richards would happen, but another junior officer was pointing off in another direction. Ah, yes, mass confusion and dissent among the ranks. I stayed put while confusion reigned and they went in search of the shooter who had taken out their ranking officer. The dumb asses passed by so close to me I could smell them. I lay calm and relaxed.

I lay in the tangled grass for over an hour, till the two scouting parties had regrouped back where their leader's lifeless, headless body still lay, now in a pool of blood. Number Two ordered four men to carry him away while he gathered several others around him, chattering and waving his arms and pointing toward the village. I had an awful gut feeling they were surely going to obliterate the village now, for revenge. And that would be my fault. I took aim. I had to bring the son-of-a-bitch down. With him out of commission, I was sure the rest would scatter; there was seldom a third in command who knew what he was doing. If they didn't scatter, I would take out a few more of them before I retreated just to drive home my point that I didn't want them there. The officer moved but I got him in the chest, right where it hurt, in the heart, fatal. He dropped like a lead weight, clasping his chest, a wide-eyed look of shock on his face. He was dead before he hit the ground. My hunch was right; everybody scattered. I took three more of them out for good measure.

I waited another hour before I began the crawl back.

I found Richards looking pale, trying to look brave. I smelled vomit.

"You okay?" I asked.

"Yeah. Damn, I see why you're a sniper," he said.

"Why?" I asked as I took off my ghillie suit.

"I didn't even know where the fuck you were," he said.

"Aren't you glad we didn't take the ledge," I said.

"Okay, I owe you one," he said.

I packed my ghillie suit and we headed back. Richards wanted to talk about it.

"I gotta tell you, that was awesome. I didn't know where the fuck you were but I caught it all in my scope. I never seen anything like it; that guy's head just blew apart."

"You threw up," I said.

"Yeah," he said, sheepishly. "You're not gonna tell, are you?"

"What'll you give me to keep my mouth shut?" I joked.

"The guys won't let me live it down if you tell them I puked," he said. "And Colonel Whitaker probably won't let me go out with you again if he finds out."

"Maybe you shouldn't go out again," I said. "Maybe you're not cut out for it. You're a trained sniper too, you know. Your time will come when you're the one taking the shot."

"Didn't it bother you at all, seeing that guy's head disappear like that?"

"No."

"How could it not?" he asked.

"Easy. It was his head, not one of our guys," I said. "I don't think you went to the same sniper school I did."

"You're going to tell the CO, aren't you?"

"I have to file a report," I said.

"Do what you have to do," he said rather sullenly. "I still gotta tell you, it was pretty awesome. I mean, that wedding gown. I watched you for a little bit when you were crawling out, then I looked away at something and when I looked back, I couldn't tell where the fuck you were. You just fuckin' disappeared into the landscape."

"If you ever head up a sniper team, make your own suit," I said.

I was feeling safe and pretty confident in my prowess. I thought we were home free. Sophomore/Richards had to stop and take a piss. He started to shoulder his rifle.

"No, give it to me."

I held his rifle while he stepped up to a tree. He hauled out his equipment and I heard him pissing. Then suddenly I heard something besides Richards pissing; a soft rustling in the bush.

"Why'd you pick that tree, Richards?" I asked calmly. I didn't want to spook him in the middle of it. I moved around where I heard the noise, around Richards, undoing my fly. Whoever it was in the bush, I didn't want to tip my hand.

"I don't know. What makes the difference which tree I piss on?"

I kept talking. "Why didn't you just haul it out and piss?" I saw the guy then, down in a tight crouch, well hidden by the brush, barely yards in front of me. I knew he had seen us both but he didn't think we had seen him. Both hands were on his rifle but I had moved and he couldn't get the shot he wanted without exposing his position. It was easy to get in his head; he was going to stay put and wait till we moved on then take us out. I had other plans. "It's a fuckin' jungle, Richards, the trees don't care which one you piss on," I said.

"What I wanta know is why you're so interested in where I take a piss," he drawled.

"Here's your rifle....catch....so I can take a piss," I said as I tossed his rifle to him. At the same time I took my knife out of the sheath and lunged. The VC had inched closer to us. He brought his rifle up and I yelled at Richards to "Get down!" at the same time I grabbed the guy in a choke hold and drew the knife blade across his throat. He couldn't cry out but he tried and he made a surprising amount of noise as his life gurgled out of him. It was a horrible noise. I did a quick search of his pockets but didn't find anything but a lighter which I put in my pocket. He wouldn't be needing it anymore.

Richards saw the scuffle in the bush as he was turning to snatch his rifle out of the air. He caught it just in time to see the VC slump over in his final throes of death, and me raise up with blood on my hands and on the knife.

"Oh, Fuck! Holy shit!" he gasped, his face turning ashen. Then he turned back to the tree he'd just pissed on and he threw up again.

While he was puking I wiped my knife on my pants leg and took out my canteen to wash the blood off my hands. When he was done I handed the canteen to him. "Don't drink it," I said.

He rinsed his mouth out and handed the canteen back, his hands shaking.

"You okay?"

He nodded. "Yeah."

We headed out.

"Fuck, man, that was close. He was right on us. How do we know he was the only one?"

"We don't, but I think he was a lone scout. Stay alert. And don't shoulder your rifle out here. You can't let go of your dick and get it off our shoulder that quick."

For several yards he still had the dry heaves. "How the fuck do you do that? Godd, with your bare hands."

"You've got a knife, didn't they teach you how to use it?"

"Yes, but...I never ever thought I would ever have to. Not like that."

I stopped and faced him, my hand on his shoulder. "Richards, didn't they tell you?....you're in fuckin' Vietnam. It's a fuckin' war zone. That gook back there, if I hadn't seen him it would've been you lying back there with your throat slit. This ain't basic training. It's the real thing. We're here to kill people. Just remember, they didn't give you that knife to peel potatoes."

"I didn't even see him," he said.

"That comes with experience," I said. I didn't plan on taking Richards with me again. My report on him was not going to be a glowing one. We reached our pickup point and waited at the edge of the clearing where the helicopter would land. I was a little shaky inside myself now that it was over.

"That was the first time I ever killed a man like that," I told Richards.

He looked at me with a doubtful scowl. "You acted like it was an everyday occurrence."

"That was reflex."

"I don't think I could've done it."

"Yes you could. If it comes down to you or him, you could do it." I said it but I didn't believe it. I took the lighter out of my pocket and handed it to him. "Here, something to remember this day." I wasn't sure he was going to take it. Finally he put it in his pocket. "Make up a good story to go with it."

"I won't have to make anything up," he said.

"No, I mean, make it up that it was you who wasted the gook. I don't care. Listen, back to what we were talking about earlier. Do you still want me to pop your cherry for you?" I was thinking ahead. If he was serious I didn't want to let the opportunity pass.

"No, not necessarily. I'm not hankering to have a big stiff cock tear my ass open, but if it's gonna happen, I'd just as soon you do it," he said

"Okay, we'll arrange something," I said. "One thing," I went on. "You can't chicken out. You can change your mind beforehand, but once we start, there's no backing out."

"I won't back out."

"You gonna tell your girl about it if we do it?" I asked.

"Hell, no!"

I laughed. "You wanta do it right. We'll wait till we can go into Saigon, and get a room."

The bird didn't set down. It hovered and let down the ropes. I didn't give Richards time to think about it, I grabbed him by the arm and dragged him out into the clearing. "Shoulder your rifle!" I yelled as we ran. I wasn't expecting this either but there had to be a reason, and the extract wasn't going to be by the book. I kept hold of Richards' shirt as I grabbed one of the swinging ropes then I set his foot in the knotted loop. "Enjoy the ride!" I grabbed the other rope and the helicopter took off as we were ascending. We were a mile away before we were pulled in and slammed against the bulkhead.

"Is he okay?" the pilot said, looking around at Richards.

I looked at him. He was pale. "He's afraid of heights, that's all," I said.

I wished I could tell Richards he did okay....make him feel better....but I couldn't. It wasn't about making him feel better, it was about he shouldn't be part of a sniper team. He was going to get himself killed, and his team leader along with him.

I pondered whether to tell the Colonel all about Richards. I wouldn't tell the guys he'd upchucked all over himself, I wouldn't do that to him, but the CO was another story. I really didn't think the kid was cut out for the job; he could be a danger. I certainly didn't want to take him with me again. I danced around it when I went to report in.

"How'd the new boy do?"

"He did okay," I said.

"Just okay?"

"It was uneventful for him, the way I set up the shot," I said. "But maybe you can tell me, sir, when did my MOS get changed to babysitter?"

"He didn't do okay," the officer said flatly.

"He puked," I said. "He saw me take the shot and he puked."

"Not all that unusual for a FNG his first time out."

"We ran into a VC scout on the way back, I took him out with my knife. Richards puked again. I'm just telling you, Sir, it was the last time out with me," I said. "If I have to take him again, I will lose him. I'm getting tired of babysitting these kids. Fuck, Colonel, he took a shower and put on aftershave last night. He don't even shave, but he smelled like a high school boy on his first date. What the hell is going on back there, anyway? When I was in sniper school, there wasn't one guy that I wouldn't take with me."

"He deserves a chance," the CO said.

"He's had his chance," I said. "I've got a buddy who's a sniper, Sir, and he never has a spotter with him. He operates alone, so I know it's done."

He leaned back in his chair and thought for a moment. "If you're sure that's how you want to operate. Just remember, an extra man along could come in handy in a firefight, trying to get back out."

"Not when I feel like I have to protect him," I said. "I'd rather fight my way out on my own."

"Okay. We'll try it and see how things go."

"Thank you, Sir. Listen, could you come up with some reason why he doesn't go back out with me? Something to save face. I don't want him thinking I don't want him."

"You don't," he said.

"I know, but let him down easy. What I really think you should do, Sir, is transfer him out of here. He don't have what it takes. I know he went through sniper school but you don't get blood on your hands back there in school."

"I will take that under advisement."


Chapter Seventy-Two

The Orphanage

A couple of weeks after my visit to the orphanage, I got my back pay. They even included combat pay, due to some technicality that I was recovering from combat wounds. I didn't know what I was going to do with that much money in a lump sum, and I didn't have any place to keep it. I decided to give it to Toby to keep for me. I also decided to put some of it to good use and fulfill the commitment I'd made to Sister Mary Margaret at the orphanage. I told her to give me a list of the things she needed. She wasn't bashful; it was a long list. Still, I could see she needed things she hadn't put on her list, simply because she thought they couldn't be had. She was wrong. I wrote to Hunter and Melissa with a long list of school supplies that I asked them to purchase and send, as well as clothes of varying sizes. I also told them to have their mom pick up an array of cooking spices for one of the sisters who loved to cook. I gave them Toby's address to send it to. I knew they would have a great time doing it.

Not being in Intel anymore, I wasn't in Saigon anymore. I was out in the boonies, and getting into the city was something I looked forward to, and more so if there was a chance of meeting up with Jason. Sometimes I wished I'd stayed in Intel, he would have known where to find me, and I could have seen him more often. Now when I was in the city, I had to divide my time between the orphanage and having a good time letting off steam, and waiting to see if Jason showed up. But then there were probably times when he was waiting on me to show and I didn't. It was the luck of the draw and there were long stretches when we didn't see each other.

Richards was excited that I was going into Saigon, but disappointed that he wouldn't be going along; he put in for time off but it wasn't approved. I told him it wouldn't be a fun trip anyway; that I was going to work at an orphanage. A little part of me wished he could come along, in case I didn't meet up with Jason. We never knew when we would see each other; that was the only regret I had about my decision to become a sniper. I told Richards about Toby's and how to find the place in case he made it to Saigon some other time on his own. For sure there would be someone willing and eager to take the boy under his wing.

First stop when I was let out of the Jeep was Toby's. I was hoping to find Jason there but I also wanted to see if the stuff had arrived from Hunter and Melissa. It had, I could tell by Toby's smile when I walked in.

"I knew you wouldn't mind if they sent it here," I said.

"No, but what the hell did they send? I've got boxes stacked to the ceiling in my store room."

"Stuff for the orphanage; clothes and school supplies," I said as I was looking all around the bar.

"He hasn't been in," Toby said.

"If he shows up, tell him I'm at the orphanage. Listen, Toby, Jason said you've got some pictures."

"Yeah, they're in a sealed envelope, in my safe. You wanta see them?"

"Yes."

He waved somebody over to watch the bar and took me upstairs to his quarters. Not much had changed, except the big, oversized couch had a bright coverlet over it. He opened his safe and handed out a large, sealed and taped manila envelope.

"I can re-seal them in another envelope," he said.

My hands trembled as I opened the envelope. I took the pictures out and my chest tightened. As I went through them the tightness became worse and I felt myself breaking out in a sweat.

"Are you okay? You're sweating," Toby said as he stood up and turned on the ceiling fan.

My hands were shaking so bad that I couldn't hold the pictures. I laid them on the couch.

"Hey, man, what's the matter?" Toby asked as he gently gathered up the pictures and sat down beside me. "You need some water?" He didn't wait, but got up and went to get a glass of ice water. He rubbed the cold glass across my forehead as he handed it to me. I downed it and handed the glass back to him.

"Those pictures are getting you really up tight," he said.

"Yes," I said in a soft tone as I wiped the sweat from my forehead. "I....I've seen some of them before."

"Oh, shit, you mean in that other life," Toby said.

I nodded.

"Damn, that is weird as hell," he said. "It's like, what?.... you just move in and out of that zone? Are these the same pictures?"

"I recognize some of them are awful close. It gets scary, the things that I remember that turn out to be true. I never told you....you were in that zone," I said.

"Oh, really. What dumb-ass stuff did I do?"

"You were him," I said, nodding to the pictures that Toby had placed on the table in front of us.

"I was....Jason?" he asked with a bewildered look.

"Yes. Jason was dead, and I came back to get...." I dropped my head, fighting back the emotions building up in me. "To get his son and take him back to the States. I went to the Trent....you had bought the place after the war and was still running it....and I got our room....."

"Number 238," he put in.

"Yes. And you came to the room, dressed in full combat gear; you were Jason for me that night."

"A poor second, to be sure," he scoffed.

"I don't remember a lot of the details, but so much of it is so real when it comes back to me."

"It'll probably take a while to sort it all out and put it behind you," he said.

I sat gazing at the pictures spread across the table and felt a tingling in my loins. Some of them I was seeing for the first time but others were vaguely familiar. I looked at Toby for a second then back at the pictures.

"Do you want me to still keep the pictures for you?" he asked.

"Yes, thanks. Neither of us has anyplace to keep them. Godd, I wish he was here," I said quietly. I looked at Toby again. "I miss him so damned much sometimes, I can't stand it."

"You love the guy, don't you?"

"It's not supposed to show," I said. "Toby......"

"Do you need another glass of water?" he asked.

"No. Toby, could we....c-could you.....?"

"No," he said. "No, let's don't go back there, okay? It wasn't real and I don't think we should dignify it by making it so. You wait on Jason."

I think I was relieved in a way, that he refused me. He was right; it wasn't a good idea to keep going back. But then he threw me a curve. He started taking off his clothes.

"Let's just have sex," he said. "I think you need it."

"I want to," I said. "Godd, I want to so bad. I want you to fuck my brains out."

"But....we're not going to....are we?" he said pausing with his hands at his belt.

I shook my head. "I love him, Toby. I want you right now, but I love him. I'm sorry."

"Don't be sorry." "He picked up his shirt. "Listen, you've got those boxes in my storeroom," he said, pulling his shirt back on.

Toby took me back to the storeroom where the boxes were stacked. We carried them out front where I hailed a rickshaw to deliver me and my cargo to the orphanage.

Sister Mary Margaret was overwhelmed. She wept, then laughed and clapped her hands and rushed to get the other nuns, and they all laughed and cried and danced with joy; and they didn't even know what was in the boxes yet. We carried the boxes inside and they began unpacking them. They laughed and wept some more, and hugged and kissed me. While they distributed the clothes and arranged the school supplies in proper order for the kids to take them, I went to work on some projects that needed attention.

There was a table that was propped up with a broken leg. Some other guys had started building desks and bunks, and there was another leak in the roof. There was tar in the shed but nobody had gotten around to fixing the leak. I started to take off my shirt to climb up on the hot roof but thought better of it. Sister Mary Margaret saw me and told me it was all right. So I took it off.

I got out the rickety ladder and started to climb up when this guy came out of the main building, shirtless and not shaven and looking like he'd been on a three-day binge. I stepped back down off the ladder, a bit disturbed that he came out of the area of the sleeping quarters.

"Hey," he said, shading his eyes from the sun.

I scowled at him. "Did you sleep here?" I asked. I don't know why I was so upset, I had slept here myself, back in young Jase's room, in my dream. But that was a dream, this was real.

"Yeah."

"Don't you think that's a bit improper," I said.

He reared back in disbelief. "What's improper about it, you think I was sleeping with the sisters or molesting the kids?" he said defensively. "I delivered the tar but I was too drunk to get up on the roof. Glad to see you're taking care of it. Hey, there's a new ladder hanging back behind the building."

"All right. Good. This one's about had it."

"Yeah, it needs to be busted up and used for firewood before somebody gets hurt on it," he said as he walked over and took the ladder away from the building and threw it hard against the side of the fountain. It splintered into several pieces.

I went around back to get the other ladder. I noticed it was "Property of The US Government." I climbed up a ways but stopped when I felt the weight of the other guy coming up behind me, carrying a second bucket of tar.

"Are you sure you're up to this?" I asked.

"Yeah, I need to sweat it out," he said. "Besides, I don't think you realize how bad it is. I don't know if two buckets of tar are even going to be enough."

"Is there more where this came from?"

"Fuck, yeah, the Pentagon sent it over, special delivery," he said, laughing, then quickly put his hand over his mouth and looked down to see if there was anyone who heard him. "I gotta watch my mouth."

I found out his name was Kirby. We worked for over two hours patching buckled seams and nail holes that had rusted out. The roof needed to be torn off and replaced, but getting that much material would be near impossible, so we would have to make do for the time being.

Several times I looked down when I was working near the edge of the roof and saw the same little boy looking up at me. He seemed to be following me around the perimeter of the building. I smiled and waved now and then, and he smiled and waved back. But he wasn't the one. He was part American, that was for sure, but he wasn't the one I identified most closely with the one I felt was likely Jason's son.

We were running out of tar and there was still a good part of the roof that needed patching. Suddenly I thought of something.

"Listen, Kirby, where did you get this tar....could you get some corrugated tin, if there was enough money?"

He laughed. "This whole fuckin' city is for sale for the right price."

"Find out how much it would take," I said.

He looked at me. "Okay. You get an inheritance or something?"

"I got twenty six months back pay."

"Man, they really must've had your pay fucked up."

He started counting the sheets of tin. "I'll need to get nails, too," he said. "And the sheeting is rotted in places, we need some wood."

"Whatever you need. Find out how much and I'll get you the money." I remembered that I did indeed also have an inheritance.

When we were finished we cleaned the tar off our hands and some off our boots then had some cool tea that the sisters had made. They kept it in a container hung down in the well. Even without ice, it was the best tea I'd ever had. They thanked us profusely for our work and we tried to shrug it off. We were both embarrassed by their fawning attention.

After Kirby left I hung around and had some more tea and talked with Sister Mary Margaret. I wanted to learn more about the boy that I was sure was Jason's.

"Do you know who his mother is?" I asked when I'd pointed him out.

"I don't know her name," she said. "She was a prostitute, I'm sure. I remember she was wearing a very tight, bright red dress the day she dropped him off. I didn't have a chance to talk to her, she rushed off, as if she were frightened of something or someone."

"That would be....," I caught myself, hoping I didn't look embarrassed. "Never mind," I said, with a wave of my hand. She simply smiled. It had to be Ling! "The other boy, the one who follows me around. Do you know anything about him?"

"Only that he has American blood. A soldier brought him to us; said he found him roaming the streets. I didn't think he was telling the truth. He was returning to the States and said he just wanted to be sure the boy was taken care of. I don't know if the child was his, but there was an attachment between them. Then I began getting checks from the soldier every month or so."

"But the guy never said anything about sending for the boy?" I asked.

"No, nothing." She sighed. "It is much the same with all of them. They are throw away children."

"Well, Sister, I'm seriously considering the possibility of salvaging one of them," I said.

"The one of the girl in the red dress?" she asked.

"Yes."

She smiled but didn't say what I knew she was thinking; that I thought the boy was mine.

"Actually, WE are considering it," I went on. "A buddy and me, if they'll let us take him back." I wasn't a hundred percent sure about Jason, but it wouldn't matter. I would take the boy back myself if need be. But I thought Jason could be convinced. As for the woman in the red dress, I was convincing myself that it was Ling because I wanted to believe it. But most of the girls at the Dragonfly wore red dresses.

Next time I was in Saigon on an overnight I found that Kirby had left word at the orphanage that he could arrange for the materials we needed for the roof. I got the money from Toby--he served as my banker--and left it with Sister Mary Margaret and told her to tell Kirby to try to round up some more guys to do the work. I would also try to find some guys, namely Jason, and whoever else I could round up. I figured Toby would know some GIs who would pitch in.

It was a few weeks before it all came together, and it wasn't as I had hoped. There was me and Jason, waiting on Kirby to show up with the material. When he did, he was by himself.

"I was hoping for more guys than this," I said, rather sullenly.

"Any more would just be in our way," Kirby said.

We shed out shirts and got to work. We unloaded the materials in the courtyard then started tearing off the old rusted roof and tossing it into the truck.

"Where're you going to dump this shit?" Jason asked Kirby.

"I don't know. Probably leave it on the truck. That way somebody else will have to unload it before they can use the vehicle."

"How'd you manage to confiscate the vehicle anyway?" Jason asked.

"Hey, hey," he admonished him. "It's called borrowing. It was just sitting there and I borrowed it."

"Did you get the money from Sister Mary Margaret?" I asked Kirby.

"Nope, didn't need it."

"What!"

"Government surplus," he said.

"Geezuss, Kirby, this isn't just a couple of buckets of tar," I said. "If they find out......"

"Come on, do you really think they're gonna come and rip the roof off of an orphanage?" he said, laughing.

It was hard, hot work but none of us minded. I especially didn't mind watching Jason's sweaty muscles rippling in the warm sunlight.

The nuns brought out cool tea for us several times. Jason asked them how they got the tea so cold, without any ice. They said they hung it down in the well.

"It's a wonderful and noble thing you're all doing," Sister Mary Margaret said.

"Nope, it called putting on a roof," Kirby said. And that pretty much summed it up for all of us.

I noticed the two boys again. One sat on the garden wall, watching us while the other one followed us from the ground, around the building as we worked. I waited to see if Jason noticed them. He did, one of them.

"That little shit must be going to be a roofer when he grows up," he said. "Have you noticed, he follows us around wherever we're working."

"Notice the kid sitting on the wall over there," I said. "He hasn't taken his eyes off of us."

"Maybe they'll start up Ling and Lang Roofing," he said, laughing.

Maybe they will, I thought. Just maybe they will.

When we were finished, Kirby took off with the truck filled with rusted tin and rotten wood, and Jason and I were left dirty and sweaty with no place to go.

"You wanta get a room so we can shower?" I asked him.

"That sounds like a plan." We had left our overnight bags at Toby's.

Before we could sneak off the sisters brought out lunch. About the only place to sit was on the garden wall and Jason asked the little boy if we could sit with him. With a big smile the kid scooted over to let Jason sit down. The kid was cute as hell.

"You've got company," Jason said under his breath, nodding past me.

I glanced around and there was the other little boy hovering close. When I motioned to him he climbed up on the wall and I sat down beside him. This is going to work out, I thought.

Toby had already arranged for the room and when he saw us come in he reached under the bar and brought out our overnight bags.

Jason laughed. "He don't want us to come in any farther, we smell so bad."

But Toby set two cold beers on the counter.

"We should drink these outside," I said.

"Park your asses," Toby said.

We downed the beers fast and got up to leave.

"Room 238," Toby said as we were leaving.

It didn't matter that we were hot and sweaty and smelly. Just inside the room Jason pulled me into his arms. "Godd, I want you so damned bad! It's been too long," he said just before he kissed me.

We showered and scrubbed each other and by the time we were finished, we were both hard. Knowing how bad he wanted me, I didn't think we would bother with foreplay, but we did. He did. He was all over me and I gave back in kind, but he initiated everything. I think we kissed every inch of each other's bodies. At one point we were in a fiery rimming sixty nine, a first for us. He murmured again that he wanted me and he rose up to come up beside me. I had the lube in my hand. He took it and much to my surprise, he lubed himself up. I had misunderstood but he was making it quite clear.

"Fuck, man, I can't wait to have you inside me again."

His words were music to my ears.


Chapter Seventy-Three

Ground Rules

In from another mission, I had gone to the orphanage to see how the new roof was holding up, and to see the boys. I knew their names now; Kyle and Devon. Yeah, they had names; American names. Things were getting personal. Not up close and personal....I wasn't interacting with them or anything....but it was personal in my mind.

From there I headed for Toby's on the off chance that Jason might be in, too. The city lights always did something to me, gave me a feeling of exuberance and excitement. I didn't know why I was drawn to the glittering lights but I found myself standing in front of a small jewelry shop, looking in the window at the array of rings, necklaces, bracelets and watches. Some bore well-known brand names but I had to wonder how much of the stuff was cheap fakes. My eyes fell to a grouping of rings on a white felt display stand toward the back of the case. They drew me inside. A smallish man came eagerly to the front of the store, smiling at the prospect that I had come through his door.

"How I help you?"

"I would like to see those rings, right there," I said, pointing to the display.

"Ah yes, very fine rings. All American GI rings," he said as he lifted the display rack out of the window and set it on the counter in front of me. "You Army?"

"No, Marines."

He took a ring off the rack and handed it to me. "Gold plate over solid silver. Ruby stone. Very fine ring."

I inspected the ring. It had a good heft to it. I tried it on. It was a bit loose but it would probably fit Jason. The old man won my trust by telling me it was gold plate, not solid gold. The Marine emblem graced the deep red stone. U.S. Marine Corps was on one side and the emblem on the other. The idea of a ring for myself had never crossed my mind, let alone a ring for Jason, but suddenly it seemed appropriate. I liked the ring but it was lacking something very important. He was a SEAL, and a sniper. I checked out the others but none fit the bill. The man saw my frown.

"You no like?"

"I like very much," I said. "But I want it for a buddy and he's not just a Marine, he's a SEAL and a sniper."

'Navy SEAL and sniper and Marine. He some super stud. So, I make."

"What?"

"I make all of that."

"You can make me a ring that says Marine, Navy SEAL and sniper? For sure?"

"Yes, yes. I make all. Not cheap, but I make. Here, I draw picture." He took a pad of paper off the back counter and pulled the pencil from behind his ear and set about making a drawing. I was amazed at how the small, gnarled hand brought the man's idea to life on the paper. When he was finished he turned the paper around to me and stood waiting, smiling.

"It's very good. How much not cheap?" I asked.

"Do you want engraved?"

I thought about that for a moment but couldn't think of anything off hand that would be macho appropriate for Jason.

"Okay, I can engrave when you pick up," he said. He thought for a moment. "Two hundred American dollah."

I didn't have to think about it but I did, for a moment. "All right. When can you have it ready?"

"One week?"

"One week is fine." I knew without asking that he would need some money down. I gave him twenty bucks, nearly all I had on me. He was satisfied with that. I went on to Toby's.

I was happily relieved when Toby said Jason had been there, but had left. He'd left word that he would report in before he headed back to his base camp, to see if I'd been in.

"He is heading back, then," I said. "He's not on an overnight?"

"I don't know if he has to head back, or if he will be heading back only if he can't hook up with you," Toby said.

"Listen, if he comes back in, tell him I'm at the Trent."

"Hell, he might already be there," Toby said, smiling.

"No, he would've told you to tell me to meet him there," I said.

"Probably."

I walked to the Trent and asked for room 238.

"Room 238 is occupied," the clerk said in his most polite American. "And not to be disturbed," he added.

I nodded, eyeing the slot where there were no keys in number 238; but I thought he was lying.

"Okay, any room you've got," I said as I pulled out my money.

He gave me number 241.

"Oh, and listen, could I have extra towels," I said, taking out more money.

He smiled. He liked renting extra towels. I figured he kept the money for himself.

I went up the stairs and headed down the hallway, quietly. Just for the hell of it, I paused at room 238. I put my ear to the door, curious who was using "our" room. I could hear soft, muffled voices and the familiar sounds of sex. I tried the door. The handle moved; it wasn't locked. I shouldn't be doing this, I thought, as I eased the handle down, but there was just something about Jason being gone from Toby's and room 238 being occupied that didn't add up. Or more correctly, it did add up. Listening closer, I could hear the soft whir of the ceiling fan, which probably muffled the little noise the handle made when I opened the door. I eased the door open a crack but had to open it wider in order to see into the room. What I saw stunned me, and cut through me like a knife. I opened the door farther, nearly a foot now. There was Richards, my spotter, on his hands and knees, or actually on his shoulders and knees, with his face in the mattress, his head tossing wildly back and forth as he clawed the sheets, moaning from the hard ass pounding Jason was giving him. Jason was looking down, his eyes fixed on their juncture.

"Ohh....Ohhh....Ohhh....Ohh....Oh, Godd....Oh....Godd, yesss.... fuck me...yeah, fuck my ass, you big stud. Ohh, Fuck....I was gonna.... have another....guy do this....bust my cherry....but I'm glad....you're doing it."

"Yeahhh, little man, you wanta be fucked, you came to the right guy," Jason was murmuring as he slammed into him.

I stood watching for certainly a full minute; that's a long time when you're hit with a surprise like that, and I had unintentionally eased the door open further. Jason suddenly must have sensed something and he looked up and saw me. His eyes popped and his jaw dropped and he slammed his cock into the boy and froze. He gasped something, "Ohh, Geezuss!" or something, and I said something like, "Yeah," and backed out of the doorway and closed the door. I dropped the towels and grabbed up my bag and was already down the stairs when he yelled from the hallway.

"Brad! Brad! Wait!"

I ran out of the hotel and down the street, toward the park. I stopped off at a small bar I'd never been in before and got some cold beer to take with me. I guzzled it as I walked the rest of the way to the park, swinging my bag angrily. I could've gone on to Toby's and finished the job of getting drunk, but for the moment I just wanted to get numb, and I wanted to do it alone. I sat on the bench under the wide overhang of branches of the old tree and gazed into the pond with the dozens of goldfish swimming around. They held my attention for a long time as my brain tumbled around in my head and I tried to make sense of it all; of what I had seen, and why I was so upset over it. It wasn't like I'd been celibate since I arrived back in country. Jason had a right to do whatever he wanted with whoever he wanted. But dammit, I had turned Toby down, because I loved Jason. And I couldn't figure out why the fact that it was Richards he was fucking made any difference, but I was really pissed at Richards. Of course, I wasn't all that shot with Richards to begin with, as a spotter.

Finally I got up and walked to Toby's. Toby set my beer on the counter when he saw me come in, as he always did, and I slid my money across to him as I tossed my bag on the floor beside the stool.

"He still hasn't showed up," he said.

"I found him," I said, rather sullenly.

"Oh." He just looked at me. "Not good, huh?"

"Could be better," I said.

"I won't ask."

"Don't," I said. And he didn't. He went about his work while I sat and stared into the mirror in the back-bar, seeing nothing. I was just gazing into space. I hated myself now for ordering the ring--it suddenly seemed a weakness--and I thought of going back to the shop to cancel it. I checked out guys as they came in but with barely more than a glance. I wasn't waiting on Jason anymore, or expecting him. I was just there because it was a familiar place to be. I thought about going to the Dragonfly and getting laid. That didn't particularly appeal to me but it seemed the right and manly thing to do. I turned around on the barstool and looked around for better prospects. I hadn't really done that in a long time; cruised the place. There were a couple of possibilities; and I still had a room at the Trent just going to waste. There were a couple of guys I hadn't seen before that I wouldn't kick out of bed if I got them in it. I wondered what Jason would think if he saw me walk in the hotel with another guy.

Suddenly I felt someone tapping me on the shoulder, hard, with a stiff-finger tap, and a voice said, "Hey!" It was Jason, by his voice.

I turned around. "What the fuck are you doing here?" I asked.

"Checking out the fresh meat, in case you didn't show up," he said, with a smile that almost made me melt and run down off the barstool, despite my anger.

"Looked to me like you already found it," I said.

"Yeah, matter of fact, I did."

I hated his cocky, unrepentant attitude even as I was telling myself there was no reason for him to be repentant.

Just then Richards came in. He looked all around, saw Jason and me at the bar and came over to us. He had on his uniform. I saw the way Toby was observing everything, trying to put the pieces together. Richards was surprised to see me.

"Corporal Courter! Can I buy you a beer?" Richards asked me.

"Thanks, got one," I said, holding my beer up.

"Your next one then," he said.

I took some money from the pile on the bar and shoved it toward Toby. "Tell you what, Richards, I'll buy YOU a beer."

"You guys know each other?" Jason asked.

"I was his spotter," Richards said.

Toby set his beer on the bar and he started to slide up on a stool. I put my hand out to stop him. "No, I want you to take it over to one of those tables in the corner and drink it, then get the hell out of here. Then I want you to get your ass back to the base camp and put in for a transfer."

I could tell by the sad, pained look on his face that it had suddenly soaked in why I was treating him this way. He moved in closer to me and said, under his breath, "I really wanted it to be you, and I came here because you told me about this place, but then I met....."

I held up my hand to silence him then put my arm around his shoulder and pulled him in tight. "Look, Richards, it don't mean a damn to me who busted your cherry, so don't flatter yourself that I'm all jealous because it wasn't me. I just don't want you as my spotter. I don't want you in my outfit. I don't want you in my hooch. So be gone when I get back. Okay?"

"Okay, but I don't know if I can get that done that quick, get a transfer I mean," he said.

"Then you hitch the first ride out of there, heading back to the rear, I don't give a fuck if you go AWOL, just don't be there when I get back. I will see that your transfer catches up with you." I couldn't make any of it happen but I was just spouting off. When he opened his mouth again, I took his hand and guided his beer to his lips to force him to take a drink. Then I waved him toward the table.

Like a whipped puppy he took his beer and went over to a table where he sat down alone.

Jason had observed the whole thing. "That wasn't a very nice way to treat him, part of it was my fault," he said.

"He was my spotter," I said. "I just used the opportunity to make it clear that I did not want him as my spotter."

"Oh. I got the impression he was more than that, although he said he was a virgin," he said.

"He wanted it to be more," I said.

"Sorry about that, if I beat you to it," he said.

"Nothing to be sorry about, my name wasn't tattooed on his ass," I said.

"But he talked about a guy he was hoping to meet up with who he wanted to bust his cherry. That was you."

"Sometimes you just gotta settle for second best," I said

Jason set his beer on the bar, rather loudly. "You know what? I'm leaving. You can come along and we can talk, or not. Suit yourself." With that, he walked out.

I turned around on the bar stool, facing the bar, to finish my beer.

"You're just going to let him walk out?" Toby asked quietly.

"He's a big boy, he makes his own decisions," I said.

"Pardon my interference, but you guys should be past that, whatever the fuck it was," Toby said.

Suddenly I felt ashamed that we had had what amounted to a lovers spat right there in the bar. It was not cool. I was also feeling bad about the way I'd treated Richards. And Toby was right. I finished my beer and set the bottle on the bar.

Toby took it and said, "You're cut off," and nodded toward the rear. "Come with me."

I followed him to the back, down to the end of the hallway and into his storeroom. He nearly flattened me against the wall. "Listen up. You're in love with the guy! You went through hell to get back over here and find him and dammit, you turned me down for him. Think about this....what if you both go out and one of you doesn't come back? What if it's him that doesn't come back, and you get to take him home in a body bag, for real this time? Go after him. I'll take care of your bag."

I went by Richards' table first. I felt like shit over the way I'd treated him and I wanted to clear that up first. He still looked sad and hurt. "Look, Richards, I'm sorry. I had no cause to treat you like that. I'm sorry."

He nodded, looking like he was about to cry. Godd he was so young. He didn't belong here. He was a boy lost in this Godforsaken place. "I really did want it to be you," he said quietly.

I was not only sorry for the way I'd acted, I felt sorry for him. "I can't undo what's been done but I wanta make it up to you if you'll let me. You don't have to be gone when I get back, Richards. I want you to stick around, at least for a little while."

"You do?"

"Yeah, and if you're willing to take me as sloppy seconds....."

"Fuck, yeah," he said with a bright new smile.

We shook hands and I left to see if I could find Jason. I expected him to be in the park, waiting, and I felt an empty tightness in my stomach when he wasn't there. I walked toward the main street, heading downtown. Maybe, probably, he was heading for the Dragonfly. If in doubt, get laid. I walked in that direction, hoping to hell he hadn't gotten his ride back to his base camp.

I found him, looking in a brightly lit store window where they sold military surplus, American and Vietnamese alike. I'd been in the place myself; they also sold black market weapons and ammo in the back. I lingered back a ways just to look at him. Godd, he was so damned good looking, and so fuckin' studly the way he filled out his clothes, that it made me weak in the knees. How the hell could I be pissed at him. Why was I pissed at him? He hadn't done anything that I hadn't done. It was truly the first time I felt such intense jealousy, and it really bothered me. I broke my trance and walked toward him.

As I approached him, he didn't see me, and he went on into the store. I lingered back to wait till he came out. When he didn't I moved up to the window, as if I were window shopping myself and didn't know he was inside. After a few minutes he came out, saw me, and walked over to me. We stood together for a long moment, silent, looking in the window.

"You wanta walk?" he asked.

"Yeah," I said.

We turned and walked down the street. It was two blocks before either of us said anything.

"Where is this taking us, Brad?" Jason asked.

"I don't know," I said, looking around.

"I don't mean this street," he said.

"I know what you mean. I still don't know," I said.

"Do you want to go to the Dragonfly? Not to get laid, just to drink. It's loud enough that we can talk without being overheard. I need to be in a crowd with some noise."

"Sure." It surprised me that he wanted to go there. He usually wanted to talk with us by ourselves, someplace quiet.

The Dragonfly was packed. I would've gladly left, and just walked, but Jason was looking for a table. Then bold as hell, he walked over to a table situated behind a partition of Oriental beads that hung everywhere in the place and bluntly told the guy sitting with a cute Vietnamese girl that he wanted their table.

"Sorry, you can see it's taken," the guy said.

"I know, but maybe you could see your way to un-take it," Jason said as he laid some money on the table. "Me and my buddy have got some serious shit to talk about."

The guy wasn't buying it, as a matter of male pride, but the girl reached out and put her hand over the money, smiling at the guy, and stood up. He started to shake his head no, but she said something I didn't understand and he shrugged and stood up too.

"Okay, I guess you've got your table," he said.

"Thanks. Have a good time, whatever she said," Jason said.

"Oh, I will," the man said.

We sat down and I paid for two beers that were already on the way.

"Where were we?" Jason said.

"We were talking about where this is taking us," I said.

"We need to define what this is first," he said.

"I don't know," I said wearily.

"I know one thing. You had no right walk in on me like that," he said. "And you had no right to treat Richards like that."

"I know. I apologized to Richards. We're cool. He's staying on."

"You've got two stripes, you couldn't have gotten him transferred anyway."

"I know, I was just spouting off. But you shouldn't have left the door unlocked."

"You know you could've come in and joined us and everything would've been all right," he said.

"Possibly," I said. "But it just hit me between the eyes."

"Was it because it was Richards?"

"No. I wanted to get rid of Richards anyway. I took him out with me and he puked all over himself when he saw me take the shot. I don't need that shit. No, it was....it was more than Richards. It was seeing you having sex with someone else."

"And I'm the only guy you've had sex with since you got back in country, or since you woke up?"

"No," I replied.

"So, what, you think you're entitled?" he asked.

"I don't know what I'm thinking. I guess we need to lay some ground rules," I said.

"No," he said, shaking his lowered head. "I don't want ground rules." He looked back up at me. "I want you. I know, it didn't look like it back there, but you know I'm a very sexual person. So are you."

"What are you trying to say?" I asked.

"I'm saying I'm willing, and I think I'm able, to keep it in check for you. If we had some kind of commitment."

"I don't think you can do that," I said. "And I don't want to hold you to something....."

"Try me," he cut in. "Or don't you think you can do it?"

I wanted to tell him that I'd turned Toby down, but before I could reply he went on.

"There's some stuff I need to get off my chest, Brad. I've had all kinds of scenarios of how, when, where, and what I would say, but this is as good as any time and place so I'll just say it. I love you, fucker. Maybe it goes deeper than that; maybe I'm in love with you, I don't know, but something made me turn up my ass for you. I think I've loved you for a long time but didn't want to face it, or admit it; not a manly thing to do, admit you're in love with another guy. But when you came back into my life, when I didn't know if you would ever be able to see or speak to me again....when you showed up alive and well and looking so....Geezusss, so handsome and studly, I knew I was ready to face it. I was ready to admit it. And I did, but only to myself. Now I'm saying it to you once and for always. Whenever I think of my life beyond Vietnam, you're in it. I don't want that life without you. I know how it'll look, two young guys taking up with each other, but I don't care what people think, because I don't see it as something we have to live down. I see it as something we have to live."

I took a deep breath before I said anything, fighting down my emotions. I took several more deep breaths and several sips of beer. "I don't know what to say to that," I said finally.

"You could say yes. Or that you'll think about it."

"Oh, I've already thought about it, pretty much the same as you," I said.

"Listen....."He hesitated. "I know we can't get married, and I don't want to; it would be entirely out of character for both of us. But I will make a promise, to you, and to God and all His saints at that old church. It don't have to be any kind of ceremony, just a quiet promise."

"Jason, there's one catch, as it involves our lives. My life, at least," I said.

"What?"

"Those little boys at the orphanage."

"Hell, there's no catch," he said. "I've been thinking about that too--the little shit following us around like that--I've been thinking about taking him back, no matter who he belongs....uhhh....wait a minute, did you say boys? Like in more than one boy?"

"Yes."

"Yeah, well, there is that other little shit that kept watching us all the time. The one that sits on the garden wall. Yeah, we could take him too," he said.

"He watches you, Jason," I said.

"Well, he's got American blood in him. Could be mine, could be yours, who knows, who cares. We could take them both back with us, each have a son and they would have a brother." He laughed softly. "Hey, we could move someplace where nobody knows us and say our wives died."

I was rendered speechless, and if I tried to speak, I was afraid I would lose it. I bit my lower lip. I hated it when I got so emotional.

"Are you biting your lip because there's something else you wanta say? Or something else you want me to say?"

I shook my head, then finally managed to say, "You don't know how glad I am to hear you say that."

"Then we can start the paper work, like tomorrow," he said.

I frowned.

"For the boys," he said.

"Kyle," I said. "And Devon."

He gave me a blank look.

"They've got names," I said. "American names."

"Okay. It just might be we could take them back with us when we go. Hell, nobody here wants them, that's for sure. They would probably be glad to get rid of them."

"We, uh....didn't lay any ground rules," I reminded him. "I know you said you didn't want ground rules, but....."

"Okay, you want ground rules?" he cut in. "My ground rules would go something like this. I want us to be together every chance we get--like for the rest of our lives--and fuck each other's brains out and sixty-nine till our cocks are sore and rim each other till we're cross-eyed, and cum till our balls ache, and kiss so hard and so long that we can't breathe."

"Just each other?" I asked.

"That'll work for me," he said.

"Will it?" I asked.

"Will it work for you?" he asked, as if he were challenging me.

"I don't want to lock you into a fidelity clause, Jason. You still like girls," I said.

"Okay, if you want, we can agree that we can go outside the arrangement when the opportunity presents itself," he said.

"If I say yes to that, it'll sound like I wanta fuck around on you," I said.

"And if I say I want it, it'll sound like I wanta fuck around on you," he said

"Then I say we fuck around on each other when we get the chance," I said.

We both burst out laughing. When we quieted down I eyed him across the table.

"You're serious about the boys," I said.

"Damn straight," he said.

"Are you're doing this because you think one of them is yours?" I asked.

He shrugged. "I guess either one of them could be mine. Or mine could be one we leave behind. I don't know and I don't much give a fuck. I can see myself raising a son, and since I won't be getting married...."

"Adoption? Or sponsors?" I asked.

"I don't know. I don't much care. However they'll let us do it," he said. "One of them could be yours, you know," he added.

"I know."

Walking back--we were on our way to the Trent now that we had "made up"--we passed by a dark alley and saw two women hovered over a figure slumped against the wall.

"They're rolling him," I said and we moved into the alley. "Get the fuck away from him!" I barked.

One woman ran away but the other one still had her hands in his pockets. She jerked them out and started to run but Jason grabbed her and tried to wrest the money and wallet from her hands. She swore angrily in Vietnamese and kicked and squealed, trying to get away from him but she was no match. I knelt down to check on the guy.

Suddenly the woman started yelling "rape" as she kept kicking and screaming.

"Shut her up, we'll have the MPs on our asses," I said.

He clamped his hand over her mouth and dragged her further into the alley, into a doorway. Suddenly there was quiet and he walked back.

"I got his wallet and money. It's Richards," he said. "He's drunk."

"Well, fuck!" Jason swore.

"Well, we can't leave him here for the MPs," I said. "What're we going to do with him?"

"We don't have much choice, do we?" Jason said.

"This has been one fucked up night," I said.

We took him with us to the Trent. At the desk I asked for Room 238 and he gave me the key. Jason got room 241 as well; I didn't ask him why. Jason put Richards over his shoulder and carried him up the stairs. I opened the door to room 241 and Jason carried him over and tossed him on the bed. Richards moaned and curled up in a fetal position.

"We oughta take his clothes off so he don't wrinkle his uniform," I said.

Together we straightened him out and started removing his clothes. When he was down to his shorts I said we should take those off too in case he pissed the bed.

"You just want to see him naked," Jason chided me.

"I've seen him naked plenty of times," I said.

We pulled his shorts off and Jason laid them on the chair. We stood and looked at him for a moment, sprawled out on his back.

"Cute little fucker ain't he?" Jason said.

"I shouldn't have treated him the way I did," I said. "That's probably why he got drunk."

"You said you apologized."

I shrugged. "Are we going to leave him here by himself?" I asked.

"I guess one of us could stay with him," he said. "It should be you."

"Why me?" I said. "You know you wanta plug his ass again. I'm okay with it if you do."

"He would feel a lot better waking up with you beside him, knowing you looked out for him," Jason said.

"I'm not planning on sleeping with him," I said.

"If you can spend the night in this room with that and not touch, you're a better man than I am," Jason said as he turned toward the door. "Sleep tight." At the door he glanced around. "I'm okay with it too, Brad." He left and closed the door.

I couldn't believe how this night was working out. I started out in the chair, slouched down with my arms folded across my chest, but it was too uncomfortable to get any sleep. Richards was curled up in a ball, not taking up much room, so I crawled across the foot of the bed. I was able to sleep till Richards became restless and I kept getting poked with his feet. Finally, I moved up beside him, on my side. I knew immediately it was a mistake. I should have faced away from him but his young, smooth body bathed in the soft moonlight was more than I could turn away from. I lay there watching him sleep, taking in his more-cute-than-handsome face and the neat trim of his hair.

I dozed fitfully. I woke up every time the boy moved. Maybe he wasn't that much younger than me but he was still a boy, and I was likening him to a younger brother that I never had. I wondered how or if Jason was sleeping.

I don't know what time of the night or morning Richards came awake but he did so with a start. I was awake, watching him. His eyes came awake slowly till he saw me then he jerked back with a start and rose up.

"What're you doing here?" Where am I?" he asked, completely bewildered and with a frightened look. He started to get out of the bed till I put a hand on his shoulder.

"It's okay, Richards. You're back in the Trent Hotel."

"Why? What am I doing here?"

"We found you passed out drunk in an alley. Two mama-sans were in the process of stealing your money and wallet. We got 'em back."

"We....you and Jason?"

"Yeah. He's in the other room. We thought one of us should stay with you, make sure you're okay."

"Thanks, but I'm surprised it's you," he said.

"Look, I'm sorry for how I treated you. You didn't deserve that."

"It's okay. I figured it was partly because you caught me having sex with your buddy."

"My buddy was having sex with you, too," I said. "Okay, it did piss me off but that was no excuse for acting the way I did."

"You like the guy, don't you? I mean, there's something between you," he said.

"Yeah, we're both snipers. There's a bond there," I said. I knew that wasn't what he was talking about but he didn't press it.

"Well, I can understand why you don't want me to be your spotter. Fuck, I puked twice." He pushed himself up on the bed and leaned back against the headboard. "But I still want you to fuck me, if you want to."

"It was supposed to be just to break you in, wasn't it? In case the guys in the hooch got ideas. Jason wasn't enough for you?"

"He was God-aplenty but it was supposed to be you. That's how I had it pictured in my head."

"So you think you owe me, is that it?"

"Something like that, maybe," he said.

I didn't believe him; not for a minute. Somewhere along the line he got his curiosities tweaked--maybe it was when I rubbed him down with the leaves--and after having his curiosity satisfied, i.e., Jason, he decided he liked it.

"No, it's nothing like that," I said. "I will fuck you, though, if you want it. But not because you owe me. Because you've got one fine, tight looking little ass."

Oddly enough there was nothing akin to foreplay. No sucking cock, no kissing, it went straight to fucking. He was anxious.

"I'm not going to be doing this when I get back home to my girlfriend," he said as he scooted down on the bed.

Yeah, right, I thought. "Does that mean you're going to keep doing it while you're over here?" I asked.

"I guess I am if those guys get hold of me. I won't have any choice, will I?"

"Listen, Richards, you don't have to lay down and spread your ass just because one of those guys tells you to," I told him. But he was drawing his legs up to his chest and the time for talk was over. I shrugged it off, leaving him to deal with it in his own way. His matter-of-factness made me wonder if he didn't mind all that much if he was made a boy-toy for the hooch. I sort of thought he was hoping it would happen.

From Jason he knew what to expect and he took me with total disregard for the nominal pain I caused him. Maybe he was trying to prove something to himself; that he was as much a man as any man in the hooch. If he was, this wasn't the way to do it. He closed his eyes as I entered him and I could see the sheer determination on his face that he would not cry out. When I was all the way in he whispered, "Oh, Fuck" but nothing more. I held in tight and deep for a moment before I started fucking him.

It was a snug fit. If I didn't know better he could've passed for a virgin. His asshole clenched around the base of my cock each time I shoved in and the satiny folds welcomed and caressed my hard inches while it throbbed deep inside him. He had a look of contentment on his face but I fucked him for several minutes before any sound of pleasure came out and I finally had to coax them out of him.

"It's okay to enjoy it," I told him.

He smiled a little. "I don't want to, but I can't help it," he said, his eyes still closed.

"I thought I was doing something wrong,"

"No. If those other guys treat me like you and Jason, I'll survive."

More and more I was thinking he was looking forward to it and this was his training for it.

"Ooohhh," he moaned suddenly and his eyes came open.

"Must've done something right," I said as I repeated the move, cork screwing my cock into him.

"Ohhhhhhh, Godd, yeah....that was right, all right. Oh, yeah, like that. Fuck me like that."

"Just tell me how you want it, I'll fuck you any way you want."

After that I let him guide me.

He whimpered again, "Godd, it feels so good. I wish it didn't, I don't want it to but I can't help how my body feels."

"I know."

"How the fuck would you know, how many times have you been on the receiving end?"

"More than you know," I said.

"Yeah, right," he scoffed.

I didn't hear the door open. I didn't know we weren't alone till I heard the creak of a floorboard and I glanced around to see Jason coming toward the bed. He was naked, carrying his clothes. Richards smiled when he saw him. I kept fucking him.

"He told me why he's doing this, giving up his virginity and getting broke in," Jason said as he stood beside the bed pulling on his cock. "You gonna let that happen....let all those guys use him?" he asked me.

"I can't be his keeper," I said.

"Don't worry about me," Richards said. "I'll be okay. You guys have showed me I can take it."

"You sure can," Jason said. His cock was hard now, looking menacing. He stood closer to the bed, closer to Richards shoulder. "It's not gonna be just fucking," he told him.

"You think I'll have to suck, too?"

"You can count on it." He was offering Richards his cock, stroking it, pulling the skin back taut.

Richards reached up for it. "It's so fuckin' big."

"Open your mouth wide, let me see," Jason said. He did. "Now just slide it over the head of my cock." He did, with a soft moan.

Jason let Richards suck his cock just enough to get it slick, then moved around behind me. I almost stopped him, not wanting Richards to know I was a bottom but then I thought, what the hell, it didn't matter all that much. We had our own little secret between us so neither of us would be talking. I reached back to guide Jason's cock to my ass.

"Oh fuck!" Richards exclaimed with surprise. "You guys are so hot!"


Chapter Seventy-Four

Memories Up In Smoke

The rest of the guys were out on patrol. Richards and I, being a sniper team, sometimes didn't have to go on those patrols and when we did, we went out ahead of the rest. Yeah, I kept Richards as my spotter. He was working out okay.

Richards was writing a letter. I was reading, and watching Richards, and thinking how nice it was going to be having him all to myself for the night.

Suddenly there was a harsh pounding on the screen door and somebody yelling, "Richards! CQ tent, on the double!" He popped his head in. "Better move your ass, the CO wants to see you."

In a panic, Richards dropped his pen and stuffed the sheets of his letter into his writing folder and shoved it under his pillow then ran out of the hooch in his shorts. The folder wasn't completely hidden and one of the pages floated to the floor. I picked it up. It was the last page, the last sentence unfinished. I couldn't help that my eyes fell on "Everybody thinks I've got a girlfriend." I know I shouldn't have but I read the letter.

Dear Kyle

Sorry I haven't written sooner but it's been pretty busy around here. I've had a chance to have my training tested. We went out the other day and blew two guys away. They didn't even know we were anywhere around. It was awesome. You know I'm the spotter, not the shooter. Not yet anyway. But I will be. I'm the observer, I help set up the shot and plan our escape route, stuff like that. And if we run into trouble, I help fight our way out of it. I hope when I am the shooter that my shooter will be my spotter. We make a great team and I've learned a lot from him. A LOT. If you know what I mean. He's so fuckin' hot. He likes to treat me like I'm a kid but I know he don't mean it like that. It's more like he wants to treat me like a little brother even though he's not that much older than me. But he is in a lot of ways. That's what I think anyway.

Learning a lot includes....Well, it's finally happened! All the things we never did when I was home, us two miserable virgins, they're happening here. He's got a buddy who is even hotter. Muscles in his shit, so good looking he'd melt butter, and a cock you wouldn't believe. I swear, Kyle, it's eleven inches long if it's an inch. Ask me how I know. His name is Jason. My shooter is Brad. Brad's hot too. But Jason got my cherry. It pissed Brad off because I asked him to take it but Jason beat him to it. But we're all okay now. We even had a three way in a hotel room. You can't imagine what it's like to give up your virginity. To feel your cherry being popped and knowing your virginity is gone forever. Well, maybe you can, maybe you're not a virgin anymore either, but you haven't told me about it so I'm guessing you still are. You would've surely told me something that important. If you're not, I just wish it could be Jason popping your cherry. You can't even imagine what it feels like to have a thick cock pushing through your hole then feeling eleven inches of hot, hard man cock spreading your guts. Godd, it is so awesome.

I've learned to suck too. Now that is awesome. I can barely get my mouth around Jason's cock so I have to use a lot of tongue to get him off. I like sucking Brad better. He's big, probably over nine inches, but I can handle him better. I'm getting awful close to being able to take him all the way down my throat. I really want to show you that when I get home. Oh, they cum in my mouth too. Yeah, I'm learning to swallow cum, and I'm developing a taste for it. They tell me it's an acquired taste. I'm acquiring it.

That's not all. Brad and Jason aren't the only ones I have sex with. Not by a long shot. I'm kind of the hooch whore. Kyle, I've turned into a total slut and I don't apologize for it. Everybody in the hooch has fucked me except one guy. I get fucked almost every night and usually I have another guy feeding me his cock. You're probably wondering how we can have a hooch full of guys having sex so out in the open. It is the Marines after all. Well, it's not exactly out in the open. We might be all sitting around, cleaning our rifles, or reading or writing letters and I get a look. It's like radar. I know what the look means. So the guy gets up and leaves the hooch and I follow him. We find a place in the bush, or behind something, like in the ammo dump, or behind a vehicle, or in it. Everybody knows what's going on but they don't want to be out in the open about it. I don't know why. One of these times I'm going to say why not have one guy stand at the door and keep watch. That'd be really awesome if they all joined in.

I want to be your slut when I get back, Kyle. I know you would like that. If you still haven't had any experience, don't worry, I'll teach you. I sort of wish we'd done something before I left like we almost did, but we'll make up for lost time when I get home. There are two other guys I would like to bring in on it. You know who they are, we've talked about them. But now I'll have the guts to approach them.

Everybody thinks I've got a girlfriend. Some of the guys in my hooch have girlfriends too, some of them are even married. But over here it don't make any difference. Their wives and girlfriends aren't here and I am. Some of them even say I'm better than their wives or girlfriends and one guy wants to take me back home with him. I know they're just horny and.......


Suddenly I heard the screen door and Richards was coming into the hooch. I quickly put the letter back in the folder but he'd already seen me.

"A page dropped on the floor, I was putting it back in your folder," I said, but even I wasn't convinced by my tone and I knew I must've had a guilty look on my face.

"You read it, didn't you," he said.

"Yeah, I did. Sorry."

His face turned red; I didn't know if it was from embarrassment or anger.

"You had no right to do that," he said as he snatched the folder and sat on his bunk.

"I know I didn't, but I'm glad I did."

"Why're you glad for nosing around in somebody else's private business?"

"First tell me if you're pissed at me or embarrassed," I said.

"Both. So you know I don't have a girlfriend."

"It don't matter. It's nobody's business."

"It's yours now," he shot back.

"No, I just know about it, that don't make it my business. Hey, I don't care if you fed me a cock and bull story about a girlfriend. But why'd you write that stuff, about being the hooch slut?"

"I wanted it to sound more exciting to Kyle."

"Kyle's your boyfriend?"

"We didn't put it in that context, but yeah, he is. I hope."

"You said exciting? Do you want to be the hooch slut?" I asked.

"I admit I wouldn't care if one of the guys made a move on me," he said.

"Don't take on more than you can handle. It could turn into what you wrote in the letter," I said.

"I know."

"You better finish it and get it sealed up and drop it off. You can't leave a letter like that laying around."

"Yeah, I will, right now," he said as he picked up his pen.

"If I were you I would address it and put a stamp on it, then put it in another envelope addressed and stamped. That way if somebody accidentally opens it he has to commit the crime twice, might make him stop and think."

"Do they really open other people's mail?"

"I know there are a lot of packages sent from home that don't make it," I said.

He finished the letter while I looked at a Playboy magazine.

"How come you don't get a hardon reading that?"

"Cause I'm reading the articles," I said.

When he came back from mailing the letter I laid the magazine aside and told him he could turn out the light if he wanted to. He did, and settled into his bunk.

"I'm sorry I read your letter, Richards," I said quietly.

"You should be. But it's okay. I don't care if you know. I trust you."

I decided to take the plunge. "You wanta sleep with me tonight, Richards?" I asked.

He rose up with a surprised look of disbelief. "Are you kidding? "You mean I....we just let them walk in and catch us in bed together?"

"You wanted to be the hooch slut. That'd probably get things started, don't you think?"

"What if an officer comes in?"

"You sleep on that side and just slide off and crawl under the bunk. The lights will be off, nobody'll see you."

He sat up and swung his legs over the edge of his bunk, facing me. "Man, this is sort of scary," he said as he stood up and came over to my bunk. He sat down on the edge of my bunk and I put my hand around his waist.

"No need to be scared," I told him.

"Easy for you to say, you're not facing ten or eleven guys who want to fuck your ass," he said.

"Some of them will but some of them won't. Besides, for now, it's just me."

Suddenly he stood up but I grabbed his hand.

"I don't know if this is a good idea," he said. "Those guys come back in and find me in your rack, what if one of them freaks out?"

I laughed. "They're all gonna freak out, dude. But we're not gonna throw it in their faces," I said as I pulled him down onto my bunk. "Just sit here, like we're talking."

"What's that gonna prove?" he asked.

"Well, you're naked and so am I. When's the last time you saw two guys sitting naked on the same bunk?"

"Never.

"So, we sit and wait. They should be coming back pretty soon."

He sat while I lay back on my bunk and we talked, about mundane stuff and even somewhat boring. After a while Richards said what we were doing was dumb.

"Does feel sort of dumb but you said you wanted to be the hooch slut."

"This is a dumb ass way to do it," he said. "Why don't I just get in your bunk with you?"

"Okay but what if it's the CO that walks in unexpectedly, like you said, instead of some of the guys?"

"I'll take full responsibility. You keep watch and if it somebody besides our guys you go berserk and start yelling and kicking me out of your bunk."

"That gets me off the hook, but what about you."

"I said I'll take full responsibility; and the consequences," he said as he lifted the blanket.

I guided him right in beside me, drew the blanket up over us and wrapped an arm and a leg around him. "Everybody should have a bunkmate like this," I said as I spooned him and held him tight against me. "Oughta be government issue."

He felt my cock getting hard and reached between his legs for it.

"Dammit," he swore softly as he stroked my cock. "You fuckin' know I want it."

"Well, then......"

He crawled down in my bunk between my legs and began going to town on my cock while he played roughhouse with my balls. He was hungry and he was good. Being hungry for cock was probably what made him so good at giving head. I lay back and enjoyed, didn't bother with trying to cum, or trying to hold off. I just let it happen in its own good time. I wanted to reciprocate but I couldn't bring myself to come out to leaving myself open to the other guys in case they came back. He knew it from me and him and Jason at the Trent but I wasn't ready for everybody else to know. Well, I did reciprocate in a way; I rewarded him with a big load, most of which he swallowed. He raised his head with a goofy smile, wiping his mouth with his forearm and his hand.

"Godd, man, you cum like a horse," he said.

I smiled at him and he crawled back up beside me, bringing the blanket with him. I covered him up and spooned him and we fell asleep.

I heard the low voices coming towards the hooch and glanced at my watch. It was after two in the morning. We both braced for it. The boots on the steps told me it was them coming back, not the CO or some other intruder. At the last minute Richards threw off the blanket and sat up on the edge of my bunk. It was enough.

The screen door opened, then, "What the fuck!"

The boots came closer.

"Holy shit!"

"Man, what the fuck is this?"

"Fuck, man look at this, while we're out hunting down gooks."

Then the blanket was being lifted and I acted like I was just waking up. I saw the half scared look on Richards' face but he remained seated on my bunk.

"Well, well, can we have a group hug?" one of the guys said as they began shedding their gear.

"Cluster fuck is more like it, and I mean that in a good way," another said, then added, "What's the matter, Courter having a bad dream?" he asked Richards.

Smith strode over beside my bunk and stood with his boots set wide apart as he was taking off his shirt. "I know you guys have gotten to be tight, but this is ridiculous," he said.

I smiled up at him.

"How fuckin' long has this been going on?" he asked.

"What makes you think something was going on?" I said.

"Well, let's see, we walk in and find you two in the dark with Richards sitting on your bunk, naked, and I'm guessing you're naked under this blanket," he said as he lifted the blanket, and I didn't try to stop him.

Peterson appeared at the other side of my bunk, standing beside Richards. "What I wanta know is, how do I get in on it?" he asked as he trailed his hand up Richards' thigh and the side of his butt. "I mean, do you have to be an elite member of a sniper team?"

"You guys smell like you've been sleeping with water buffalo, you all need to shower first," I said.

"First? Before what?" Smith asked.

"Just first," I said as I lay put my arm around my arm Richards' waist in a protective manner. "Look, Richards is ready and willing but you gotta treat him right, treat him with respect. He can't be bunkmate for more than one of you at a time. We'll have to decide what order that takes. "

"Seven nights a week, shit that's near a week and a half before one of us finally gets a turn," someone complained.

Richards spoke up for the first time. His voice was surprisingly steady. "I've known it was gonna happen, guys. I've heard you talk and I see how you look at me. I just don't wanta be gang raped every night of the week," he said.

Mitchell strode up in his shorts with a pair of dice and his calendar. "Okay, roll of the fuckin' dice," he said. He shook the dice and threw them onto the blanket of the next bunk. "Three. That's good enough, I can wait two nights." He wrote his name on the calendar then gathered up the dice and handed the dice to Smith.

Smith rolled the dice. "Snake eyes! Put me down for tomorrow night," he said excitedly.

One by one they rolled the dice and entered their names on Mitchell's calendar and that's how Richards became the hooch slut. He was happy, everybody was happy, except when he and I were sent out. Everybody moaned about that and said it wasn't fair because I would have him all to myself all the nights we were out.

"Go to sniper school," I told them.

And so Richards became the hooch slut, and happily so. I had told the guys they had to treat him right but he was more than eager and willing to keep the guys happy. It was less than two weeks before Mitchell's calendar was scrapped. Nobody wanted to wait. It was seldom that Richards was in a bunk with only one guy.

Meanwhile, my life was suddenly looking up. I was looking forward to a future with Jason but found myself still retreating into the fondest memories of my unreal past. It was easy to avoid the painful ones, like Jason's death, because he was very much alive. It was the fond memories that were getting in the way. I knew I couldn't live my life in a dream. I'd done that, and came up empty. I had to shed those old memories....put them to rest....bury them like I buried our dog tags under that gnarled old tree.

Having gotten over my hurt and anger, I got some of my money from Toby and went to pick up the ring. The little man saw me and went in back. He came out holding a small box, smiling. He opened the box and set it on the counter. I took the ring out to inspect it. I was amazed at his handiwork. The Marine insignia was set in the deep red stone. US Marine Corps was emblazoned on one side and the Navy SEAL Trident on the other. Under it was Sniper. It was perfect for Jason; he was a SEAL sniper first.

"It's beautiful," I said after a moment. I reached across the counter and he put out his hand. "Very, very good." He was so happy that I was happy with his work.

"You want engraved now?" he asked. "No more charge."

I was about to say no. "Yes."

He pushed the pad and pencil toward me and told me to print. I printed Jason Seaborne, Love, Brad and told him I wanted that engraved on the inside of the ring. Before he could take the paper I quickly scratched out the last two words.

The man gave me a frowning smile. "You no love him?" he asked.

I was embarrassed that he could still see the words. "Yes, very much," I blurted.

"Then?" he asked with a shrug.

"Alright, yes."

He smiled and rushed to the back to do the engraving.

After I had inspected the engraving he took the ring to put it back in the box as I was counting out the two hundred dollars.

"No, I don't need the box. I'll put it in my pocket."

"Okay." He reached under the counter and brought out a small, dark red, velvet pouch. I thanked him profusely again as I put the pouch in my pocket.


I was at Toby's, waiting, hoping Jason would show up. As hope waned I let my mind wander, drawing on the old memories that I knew were becoming too much a part of my life despite my efforts to bury them.

"You got a pencil and paper?" I asked Toby.

He laid a piece of paper and a pencil in front of me, probably thinking I was going to leave a note for Jason. I began writing down names. Bill....Jeremy, Jason's ghost friends from high school. Mason and Lance, the two high school jocks we had taken to the trapper's cabin. Travis, the sailor from the air base. Adam Randall, and his Dad, Sgt. Randall. I scrawled several more as Unknown, for those events I remembered but whose names I couldn't readily recall. I remembered Dan and Andy, Jason's high school buddies. Then I wrote JASE in big, capital letters. I studied the list for a long moment then I reached over for the heavy glass ash tray and the book of matches. I tore up the paper into small pieces, probably a dozen pieces. I lit one and let it burn to my fingers then dropped it into the ashtray. I held another piece to the flame till it caught fire. Then another and another. I saw Toby watching me. He didn't say anything but he set a large class of water in front of me.

When the last piece of paper had curled into a grayish black ash I stirred the ashes then poured some water into the ashtray. I shoved it across to Toby.

"Sorry for that little mess," I said.

He picked up the ashtray and dumped it, then wiped it out. "I've heard of burying ghosts, but never saw anybody burn 'em," he said as he set the ashtray back on the bar. "Listen, when you leave, don't forget, you left your bag here."


Chapter Seventy-Five

The Ring

Sister Mary Margaret was elated when we went to meet with her about the boys. She was very surprised when we mentioned two boys.

"I think I know the one boy you have in mind--but two?" she asked.

"Yes, that little tyke who follows us around, too," I said.

In the courtyard she took us over to where the boys were playing. We pointed out the two boys and she introduced us. They looked so small, crouched down in the dirt, playing, and we must have looked like two giants towering over them. The one called Devon seemed to cower a little, with sad eyes. Kyle had a more determined look. I was surprised when Jason bent down and picked Devon up. He held him easily on one arm and walked toward the swings and slide and teeter-totter. He had obviously made his choice. I had to smile at the look on the boy's face. Not scared....he seemed to trust this giant of a man who had taken him. It was more a "who are you and what are you doing with me" look but he wasn't afraid. I picked up Kyle and we joined them at the playground. Jason set Devon in one of the swings and he took the one next to him. The boy just sat there.

"Come on, I know you know how to operate a swing," Jason said as he began to swing himself. Finally, Devon began swinging but it was a moment before a smile crept over his little face.

I set Kyle on the teeter-totter and took the other end. He knew how to operate it. But he didn't smile. He didn't smile the whole time we were there. I mentioned it to Sister Mary Margaret.

"He is not so trusting as Devon," she said. "You will have to win his trust. Your friend will have to win his trust, too, because he is very protective of Devon."

We didn't limit our play to just Kyle and Devon; we brought all the kids into it and it made me wish we could take them all back with us. When playtime was up we tried to make the boys understand that we would be back but I wasn't sure they believed us.

Walking back to Toby's I decided to give Jason the ring but I didn't know where, or how, or what I would say. It couldn't be too romantic. I looked for a bar or café but none seemed appropriate. Then....hell, why not Toby's? But I couldn't be sure of his reaction and I didn't want to take the chance of embarrassing him. Finally I stopped. Jason was two strides ahead of me before he stopped. He turned, with a funny look on his face.

"Before we go back, I've got something for you," I said, digging into my pocket.

He came back in two easy strides, a curious frown on his face. I handed him the velvet pouch. He didn't say anything as he opened it and took out the ring, nor the whole time he was inspecting it.

"Geezuss! It's beautiful," he said finally. His voice was a bare whisper. "Where did you find it?"

"I had it made." I laughed. "There's not much call for rings with all of that on them." Suddenly I realized he was fighting his emotions and I was sorry I'd given it to him right there on the street.

He walked slowly over to a huge, gnarled tree growing out of the strip of sidewalk. I wondered why he didn't put the ring on. "Where did you get it?" he asked, as he hefted it in his hand. I told him. "Show me," he said.

I was confused and sick at my stomach. Didn't he like the ring? Was he going to take it back. "It's engraved, you can't take it back," I said.

"Oh, don't worry, it'd take an army to get this ring away from me. But I can't accept it by itself."

"I don't understand."

"There has to be two rings," he said. "Now show me where you bought this."

"No, Jason, you don't have to do that...." But I knew my protests were futile. I took him to the jewelry shop.

The old man came out smiling from ear to ear when he saw me with Jason.

"He like?"

"Yes, I like very, very much," Jason said. "I want to see your other rings."

The man brought the display rack out of the window and Jason picked out the Marine Corps ring. It had the emblem in the stone and US Marine Corps on one side. The other side was blank, apparently left for engraving. He handed it to me. "See how this fits."

"It's a tad too big," I said, without trying it on.

Jason took the ring and handed it to the man. "Make it fit," he said. "And I want it engraved."

The man gave him the pad and pencil. Jason printed Marine Sniper to be engraved on the other side. "Also, is there room to put Vietnam?"

"Yes, yes, plenty room."

"Good. Put Vietnam on mine, too. And this...." He wrote Brad Courter, Love Jason. i

"Yes, yes, I can do. Big fingers, big rings, plenty room."

"Jason, you didn't have to do this. I didn't intend for you to."

"Neither did you. But I'm glad you thought of it. I am so proud of this ring."

When the man brought the rings back out Jason inspected them and paid him but then the man motioned that he wanted the rings back. We didn't know why but we gave them back to him. He gave me Jason's ring and gave Jason mine.

"Now you put on each other," he said.

I thought, Oh, no, Jason was going to be so embarrassed, and I expected him to change rings with me. But instead, he glanced toward the front window then took my right hand and slipped the ring on my finger. It wasn't any kind of expression of love or affection; he simply put the ring on my finger. It was a terribly emotional moment for me but I managed to quell it. He held his hand out for me to slip his ring on. Our eyes met for a second before he reached across the counter to shake the man's hand and thank him.

"I'm really glad you thought of this," he said as we were walking out.

So was I.


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . continued

 

peterbilt

[email protected]

Top


Rate Story Choose rating between 1 (worst) and 10 (best).

Bookmark and Share

blog comments powered by Disqus