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When the Dust Settles

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Salim wasn't entirely sure how he had ended up in this situation.

Inside a stranger’s house, in the middle of a war zone, above a nest of ancient monsters, Salim was kissing an American he had only known for a day.

Jason’s lips were eager against Salim’s own, chapped but warm just like the man they belonged to. Weapons had been discarded and backpacks and ammo belts had dropped to the floor, heated lips exploring each other while they fooled around on some unfortunate shepherd's bed.

The others had not looked all that surprised when Jason declared him and Salim were going to do one last sweep of the huts. After their narrow escape from the underground temple followed by a final assault from the vampires during the eclipse, Salim supposed they had bigger things on their mind than whether their Lieutenant decided to get hot and heavy with someone who wore an enemy uniform.

Salim knew himself well enough to realize that he would never have done this under normal circumstances. He may not exactly have been a stickler for rules but he did always have his own set of values to follow, and engaging in sexual activity in someone else’s home with a man he barely knew would have made him disgusted with himself.

But after the hell they had both been through, Salim couldn't find it in himself to do anything but kiss Jason harder and hike up the man’s dirty T-shirt to reveal toned abs underneath. Jason was the sole reason why Salim was alive; the reason he managed to make it out of that demon-infested pit in one piece.

The reason he got to go home and see his son again.

Salim was pulled out of his thoughts when Jason snickered against his lips mid-kiss. He leaned back to look at the Marine in intrigue.

"Something funny?" Salim asked. His voice was more breathless than he would have thought, full of both fondness and lingering adrenaline.

"Just thinkin' about what a wild ride the last 24 hours have been,” Jason said.

Salim smiled. It seemed Jason had been occupied with much the same thoughts as himself.

“Me too,” Salim said. “It's nothing short of a miracle that we are both still here.”

“Miracle, my ass,” Jason huffed. “We kicked those motherfuckers into next year. We’ve fuckin’ earned this.”

As if to prove his point, Jason eagerly leaned in to kiss him again and Salim readily reciprocated. The American was far from timid in his actions, running his hands over Salim’s uniform and exploring his body while they kissed.

Jason tasted of salt and adrenaline. They were both filthy after a full day spent underground; covered in grime, sweat and vampire blood. But from the way their kisses only grew more heated as they pressed closer together, neither of them seemed to care.

Salim gave Jason’s shoulder a gentle push and Jason went willingly, lowering himself onto the narrow bed. Jason ended up on his back with Salim hovering above him, their kisses turning open-mouthed and hands groping more insistently everywhere they could reach.

When Salim pressed their hips together Jason groaned, and the indecent sound made Salim’s blood rush south to the already filling bulge in his pants.

"Again," Jason commanded, spreading his legs so Salim could get closer.

And Salim obliged, sliding between spread legs and feeling the strength underneath the hard muscles even through Jason's fatigues. He thrust down and the pleasure shot through him like a flash of lightning, making him bite back a surprised moan as the friction against his erection sent sparks throughout his body.

Jason however had no such inhibitions, throwing his head back with a breathless "Fuck, just like that."

They quickly found a rhythm, rubbing their hips together like a pair of teenagers while they gave into the raw lust between them. It was quick and dirty and hot, hands grabbing at each other while they desperately rutted together. Their frenzied lovemaking was far from refined but because this was Jason underneath him and Jason's hard length pressing against his equally excited one, it still felt better than anything Salim could have imagined.

And maybe they would regret this tomorrow. But after everything that had happened, they deserved this; a fleeting moment of pleasure after all the pain and suffering. If he was to be judged for his actions today, Salim would knowingly bear the consequences.

Jason moaned underneath him and his hips lifted up, desperately pushing against Salim’s. And by Allah, Salim would do anything to keep seeing him like this.

"Jason," Salim breathed, his voice husky.

"Feels so fuckin' good," Jason grunted, grabbing Salim's buttocks to pull him closer.

Salim could feel himself getting close. His mind was full of nothing but Jason; his smell and sounds and touch, all of it making Salim’s head spin. Jason kept meeting his thrusts and groaning obscenely, desperate hands clawing on the fabric of Salim’s uniform while they chased their high.

Whatever this was between him and the Marine was making Salim's heart throb just as insistently as his erection. He knew he didn't want to lose Jason, and he hated the thought that he would have to walk away after this—

Shit. He still had to walk home after this.

Not wishing to finish in his pants and make his journey home thoroughly uncomfortable, Salim pushed through his body’s urgent need for orgasm and reluctantly managed to pull back from Jason. He received an annoyed groan in response, and strong arms immediately tried to pull him back against the writhing body underneath him.

"Not like this," Salim explained. He struggled to find the right words with the lust clouding his mind. "Let's… pants," he settled on, reaching for his belt buckle.

"Roger that," Jason readily agreed, his soldier mindset slipping through.

Salim watched as Jason quickly unzipped himself and shamelessly pulled his dick out, fully hard from their earlier activities. Salim did the same and then they were at it again, kissing and pressing together and grunting once their lengths brushed together.

Another time, Salim would have loved to see Jason fully bare for him, to worship his body the way he deserved. But this was neither the time nor the place, both of them desperate to simply feel each other before inevitably getting pulled apart.

Salim’s chest clenched painfully and he shook that thought from his head. There was no use dwelling on the future. Right now, he had this incredible man spread out underneath him, and that was more than he could have asked for.

Jason, impatient as always, pulled away from the kiss after only a few moments to unceremoniously spit in his hand. When he proceeded to reach down between them to slick their erections with it, Salim couldn't stop the noises escaping his throat.

“Allah,” Salim groaned when Jason's callused hand wrapped around them both. “So good... you're so good.”

“Not too bad yourself,” Jason panted, shooting him a quick grin.

Salim kissed him again and his hand joined Jason’s on their dicks. Jason let him take over, and soon enough Salim's hand was slick with the clear fluids leaking from them both as he pinned his beautiful Marine against the thin mattress.

"Fuck," Jason groaned, his mouth hanging open as he threw his head back.

They kept thrusting into Salim's hand and against the other's erection without a clear rhythm, and Salim didn't know if he had ever been this turned on in his entire life. Jason’s erection felt heavenly against his own, the hard flesh and soft skin slippery from spit and their arousal.

“Shit!” Jason abruptly exclaimed, jolting under Salim. “I’m gonna —”

Jason came first, crying out under him while his cock spasmed and emptied between them. Salim tugged on his own length, watching the pleasure on Jason’s face and feeling the stickiness between them, spending himself only a moment later.

He collapsed onto Jason and their heavy breathing filled the room. It was suddenly so quiet, no moans from Jason or skin slapping against skin or blood pounding in his ears.

“Man, you’re fuckin’ heavy,” Jason complained.

Salim chuckled against the Marine’s shoulder.

“You easily shrug off a three-meter tall vampire, but I’m too heavy for you?” Salim teased.

“Those scrawny motherfuckers ain’t got nothin’ on you,” Jason said appreciatively. “Now move your thick ass or I’m gonna break a rib.”

“So dramatic,” Salim tutted.

Nonetheless, he lifted himself up on shaking arms, grimacing at the sticky mess between them. Ever resourceful, Jason removed his scarf and started wiping both of them clean. When he paid more attention than necessary to Salim’s now oversensitive genitals, Salim grumbled and swatted at his hands, only to receive a playful smirk from the American.

Once they were mostly clean, both him and Jason zipped themselves back up and started trying to make themselves look somewhat presentable. Salim noted that his uniform shirt still had suspicious wet spots, but with the dirt and vampire guts already there, he decided it was indistinguishable from the rest of the mess.

Salim was pleasantly surprised by the easy camaraderie that settled over him and Jason while they put their combat gear back on. He had feared the aftermath would be awkward — both coming to their senses after taking the edge off — but the air was relaxed as they rearmed themselves in comfortable silence. It was like nothing had changed between them; like the passionate encounter had only been a natural progression of his and Jason’s friendship.

With the American extraction team’s arrival approaching, there wasn't much time to discuss what had just transpired and what it meant for the future. But judging by the easy smile on Jason’s face when he offered to walk Salim to the edge of the settlement, there was no need for such a conversation.

They sneaked between the buildings to avoid the other Americans. Jason claimed it was purely to escape Rachel’s knowing looks and Nick’s inappropriate comments, but Salim suspected it was because Jason’s countrymen wouldn't be as happy with letting an enemy soldier and prisoner of war walk free.

When he voiced his theory, Jason scoffed. “Would take a real kinda asshole to not let a dad go home for his kid's birthday.”

Either way, Salim appreciated the Lieutenant's loyalty. He also appreciated the look of utter surprise that flashed over Jason’s features once he gave the man his phone number.

“There's no pressure to use it,” Salim said. “But know that my door is always open for you.”

“Well, damn,” Jason said. He hid his face under the brim of his cap, but not before Salim caught the reddening of his cheeks. “Then I might just have to give you a call.”

“I look forward to it,” Salim said.

And with that, they stopped walking. They had reached the edge of the small village, at the foot of the cliff where Dar had led the charge against the Americans. It all seemed like a lifetime ago.

“Well, I suppose this is where we part ways,” Salim said.

He had no idea how to say goodbye. Every fiber of his being wanted to be close to Jason, to pull his enemy-turned-friend-turned-something-more into his arms and enjoy the closeness one last time.

Before Salim could make up his mind, Jason extended his hand — it wasn't exactly what Salim had hoped for, but he appreciated the initiative.

It was no surprise that Jason’s handshake felt both firm and sincere.

“You wish Zain a happy birthday from me,” Jason said.

He squeezed Salim’s hand, then; an unspoken message. A promise.

“I will,” Salim said. “And you try not to get into too much trouble without me.”

“I can try,” Jason chuckled.

A brief silence settled over them before they slowly released each other; Jason seeming just as reluctant to let go as Salim was.

“Goodbye, Jason,” Salim said.

“See you soon,” Jason corrected.

Salim smiled. “Until next time, then.”

With that, Salim started towards the road with the sun warming his face and Jason’s gaze warming his back. He had a long walk ahead of him, but no amount of tiredness or aches in his body would stop him from seeing his son again.

He had come out of the temple bruised and battered and with scars that may not ever heal completely. But with the sunlight on his skin and a piece of his former enemy in his heart, Salim knew that everything would be just fine.