The recovery ward at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Ramstein Air Base, Landstuhl, Germany, Wednesday afternoon, June 6, 2007
Steel Cameron woke up in the dim room. He was in a hospital bed, and he could see the hanging bags and hear the monitoring equipment beeping. He didn’t know where he was, and his head felt muzzy. He didn’t exactly feel any pain, but he knew something wasn’t right. And then he remembered the explosion, the blinding pain for a moment before he was out of it. He had been on night patrol with a platoon of forty men, including some Iraqi soldiers. While searching for Iraqi insurgents in the Malab district of Ramadi, the Humvee he was riding in had encountered an IED, or improvised explosive device. Steel didn’t know how many of his men had been injured or killed. That he was in a hospital and not a mud hut, or dead, indicated that at least some had made it.
When his eyes opened, he saw the chaplain make the sign of the cross over him, and he said, “Steven, you’re safe now. You’re in Ramstein, Germany.”
“How bad is it, sir?”
“It could have been worse, Major. They had to amputate both your legs below the knees, but with the newest state-of-the-art prosthetics, you will definitely be mobile.”
“What about my stick and stones? I know a lot of guys with lower body injuries like that don’t have their…”
“Relax, Major. You had no genital wounds.”
“There was a lot of damage, and the wounds on your legs needed to be cleaned before the amputations, so they kept you out. You were treated on site by a 91 Whiskey medic under fire. You could have died at the scene, but he managed to stop the bleeding. You received further treatment from a forward aid station and then were transported by helicopter to the US base at Balad, north of Baghdad, and then by C-17 to Ramstein. It was a long trip, Major. You will be seeing your surgeon to discuss your injuries shortly.”
“What about my men?”
“Eight in the platoon were killed, two in your vehicle. There were some other less serious injuries.”
Steel felt the silent tears sliding from his eyes. Eight killed. Fuck, but he had to buck up, suck it up, move on. He had a wife he needed to get back to at home. When he got out of here, he’d have to contact his men’s families. Shit. That was the hardest part—explaining what had happened to loved ones. He always felt personally responsible for casualties.
Steel’s eyes closed. “Thanks, Padre.” He was asleep again.
* * * *
The Cameron home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Friday morning, December 21, 2007
Steel had been home for two weeks, but had not moved back into the master bedroom. His excuse had been he didn’t want to keep his wife, Janice, awake with his thrashing around at night. The truth was he dreaded seeing her face when she saw what was left of his scarred legs for the first time. Crap. He had to take his clothes and the prosthetics off sometime.
Steel was sitting on the edge of the bed in the guest room changing the bandages on his stumps when Janice walked into the room carrying a cup of coffee. Her eyes moved down from his face to below his knees, and she dropped the cup. The pottery mug smashed on the floor, and the coffee splashed everywhere.
“Steve, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” She tried to cover up her shock and horror by cleaning up the mess, but he’d seen the look on her face. She couldn’t help it. He thought his stumps were pretty horrible, and he’d been looking at them every day since June. But, nonetheless, he was crushed. He knew in his heart there was no way they could get past this unless he miraculously grew his legs back.
“It’s okay, Janice. It’s not your fault.”
Their relationship had been iffy before he’d been redeployed to Iraq for a second tour. She wanted children and a husband who was home. Why she’d married a career soldier with a West Point background was beyond him. Hormones he guessed—and the way he’d looked in a dress uniform when he could still stand up on his own two legs. He tried not to be bitter, but that wasn’t working out so well. He’d been in counseling, talked to other amputees and wounded warriors, but he knew he’d never be the same man he was before that IED blasted his legs off. Physical therapy and rehabilitation training had helped, and he was slowly getting used to the prosthetic legs. He could get around pretty well. When the pain became too much, he resorted back to the wheelchair before he forced himself to give it another try. He knew he would eventually master the legs, maybe even be able to run again. Who knew? Some guys did great. There was always wheelchair basketball. Christ.
The other problem was that his brush with death had forced him to confront his deepest, darkest secret. Major Steven “Steel” Cameron was bisexual. He had managed to keep that fact from his closest friends, family, and his wife. But the fact of the matter was that his Johnson responded to a good-looking man as quickly as it responded to a good-looking woman. It was a private matter, and he’d never felt compelled to share it with anyone. He knew when he’d seen Janice’s face a moment ago that their marriage was over. Maybe it was time to live what was left of his life his way, and fuck everyone else and what they might think.
Once they were in the Italian Renaissance Room with the door closed, he turned to Mac. “Disrobe, sub. We won’t need any cuffs, at least not right away.” Steel reclined on the chaise and made himself comfortable while Mac undressed and stowed his clothes in the armoire. Steel enjoyed watching Mac’s beautifully muscled body emerge from his street clothes. He never got tired of looking at that sleek body. When he was done, Steel gestured for Mac to join him on the chaise. “Open my zipper, sub, and then straddle my lap.”
Mac hastened to obey, and Steel’s cock sprang out from his leathers. Once he was in position, Steel pulled him down into a deep and dark kiss. He took the time to leisurely explore Mac’s mouth and graze his lips down the corded muscles of his throat. He reached into his pocket and brought out two plain gold screw-on nipple clamps.
“Let’s give these a try tonight, shall we, subbie?”
“As you wish, Sir.” Mac gasped as the clamps were tightened to just past comfortable on his flat brown nipples. His facial expression eased as he got used to the pressure. “That’s different, Sir.”
“I wanted to try something new, sub. Let me know if they become too uncomfortable.” Steel reached up from his reclining position and flicked the clamps with his tongue. He could feel Mac’s reaction flash through his body and the goose bumps rise up on his skin. “Prepare your Master’s cock, sub.”
“May I, Sir?” At Steel’s affirmative nod, Mac reached down and took Steel’s hard prick into his mouth. He licked and sucked until Steel’s cock throbbed in anticipation. Mac continued to play with Steel’s cock until it was hard as the tempered steel in his name.
Steel handed Mac a tube of lube. Mac applied a substantial squirt along Steel’s straining cock. Need pulsed through his veins. He pulled Mac forward over his shaft and impaled him in one smooth thrust. Steel gave a triumphant growl as Mac’s ass muscles began to milk his cock. He thrust up into Mac’s back entrance, and they rocked each other to a shattering climax, gleaming muscles straining. A sheen of perspiration coated Mac’s chest, and rivulets of sweat trickled over Steel’s ripped abs as Mac collapsed against his chest.
“Excellent, subbie.” They rested that way until Steel’s cock finally began to soften and slipped out of Mac’s back door. Steel pulled Mac’s unresisting body up close to his chest and cradled him in his arms. They both struggled to regain their breath.
When Mac could speak again, he took a deep breath and said, “Sir, would you consider allowing me to disrobe you, maybe take your boots and limbs off so that you can get comfortable?”
“Mac, you know how I feel about that.” He knew his face had hardened, and he tried to soften his expression.
“I was hoping you would give it a try, Sir. If you took off the legs, you could just relax.”
“No, Mac. Maybe some other time. I’m not ready.”
“But I’ve seen your legs. I’ve handled them, measured them, re-created them. To me, they’re just a part of who you are.” Mac looked ready to cry. “I’m not the person who hurt you, Steel.”
“This is personal, not clinical, Mac. We have to keep the two things separate.” Steel’s heart broke a little bit as he watched the hurt look on Mac’s face. He knew he’d disappointed him in a major way, and he hated that.
* * * *
Mac tried to buck up. He was trying not to let his disappointment show on his face, but he wanted to cry for this big man he loved so much. Steel was so bound up in this loss. He’d hoped that getting the new bionic legs and being able to run again would help Steel get past the pain and just accept the good things that the present had to offer. Mac wasn’t ready to give up yet, but he had to admit that things were not looking good for the long run.
Steel reached down and opened the catches on the nipple clamps. Mac caught his breath as the blood rushed back into his nipples. He settled back against Steel’s chest and burrowed his face into his pecs. He hoped the misery in his heart was not reflected in his expression. He didn’t want to add to Steel’s burden.
He whispered under his breath, “I love you, baby.”