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Long Time Lie

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Sometimes Victor wonders why he does this shit.

That’s not true.

Victor wonders almost constantly why he does this shit.

In fact, the majority of his waking hours today have been spent wondering why he does this shit. No, scratch that. The majority of his waking hours over the past four years have been spent wondering why he does this shit. Sure, it pays well, but he’s also been in solitary confinement pretending to be a man whose face he’s never even seen.

He’s no longer handcuffed to a stubborn Special Forces dude -- short, broad-shouldered, kicks like a fucking mule -- and talking his ear off, because no matter that Victor is playing the role of a terrorist, this is still the first extended human contact he’s had in a long, long time. He knows it’s probably better to just let the guy focus on what’s going on, because even if he gets out on his own he’s got nowhere to turn. Fucking Chechnya.

He’d watched with some amusement and no little respect as the dude goes one-on-one in order to secure their escape route, because apparently everyone else underestimated him too. Honestly, it makes Victor feel a little better about getting his ass kicked. Once outside, he’d almost run -- almost, and then he watched that English bastard shoot the guy in the leg, taking him out of any fair fight. He shot without thinking, and before he knows it he is half carrying his rescuer -- well, his captor, now, really -- toward the evac site.

“Come on! Where’s the pickup site?” he asks, breathless as they stumble forward, supporting the guy’s weight.

“That way,” the guy tells him, pointing. He sounds almost as tired as Victor is, which is saying something. But they both keep going, because there’s a time crunch, and Victor sure as hell isn’t going to let a little thing like a gunshot wound stop him from getting the fuck out of this place.

The fucking Chechens are in the landing zone moments before they arrive. Victor knows they’ve been seen, so he pushes the guy in front of him, yells, “Go!”, and fires twice before taking off after him.

He knows, on some level, that this is not what Rudolph Martine would do. Rudolph Martine would not put himself between a US Special Forces operative and more firearms than he can count in one brief glance. Rudolph Martine would not take bullets for anyone.

Victor isn’t Rudolph Martine, though, and that is why he’s bleeding out on the floor of a helicopter. There isn’t much in the way of memories -- he remembers starting to run, and then he remembers blinding pain, and then nothing until now.

“You’re gonna be fine, Martine,” he hears dimly, as if from very far away.

“Not Martine,” he tries to say, but the taste of blood in his mouth is overwhelming, and then, again, “Not Martine.” He can’t keep his eyes open anymore, so he stops trying, and instead focusses all his energy on breathing.

He doesn’t expect he’ll wake up again, but when he does, it’s still not over. There are a few long hours before that happens, but when it’s all said and done the Special Forces guy is almost asleep on a bed next to him, and Victor takes the time to realize that he’s hot.

Maybe the guy will let Victor share his bed sometime soon. He saved the guy’s life, after all.