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a dangerous threshold

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Walt hasn't slept in almost two full days.

"Get some rest, Hasser," the Sergeant says, as he sends him off to the tent, but it's not fucking happening. The afternoon light is fading but it’s still crazy hot. Walt's eyes are gritty and his shoulders are seized and like, of course he wants to be able to sleep, shit, to drift off into oblivion and maybe have a halfway decent dream -- preferably one involving a trip to Virginia Beach, Kappa girls in bikinis, a case of MGD and a stopoff at the Dairy Queen -- instead of of the inside of his head looking like the world outside -- bare and bomb-pitted, with the special bonus features of an M-19 he can't grease up and MREs full of peanut butter he can't eat. Because if it was hard enough for Walt to sleep before, then now -- well, every time he closes his eyes there's a dead civilian with a bullet through his eye socket staring back at him, blind and accusatory.

That car kept coming, is what Walt tells himself, and it did, or he thinks it did. Jesus, but it's hard to be sure, with the black tar road shimmering from desert heat; his own exhaustion making phantom figures dash across his eyeline. Too many times on this mission he's zoned out, stared blankly at the sun-baked horizon, and then boom -- an erratic movement in the distance: could be the enemy, a stray dog, a plastic bag flapping in the wind.

Thing is, Walt can't fucking tell. He’s pushed so far past the point of exhaustion that he’s not sure he could sleep, even if his brain would give him the all clear.

"I told you to rest,” Brad says, coming in through the flap. Walt struggles to sit up to attention, but Brad shakes his head and instead sits beside him on the ground. “You okay, man?” Brad asks. Walt avoids his eyes, doesn’t want the Sergeant to think he’s a fucking pussy, to know that he’s still all tore up over what went down in Al Muwaffiqiyah.

“Walt,” Brad says, “This is unacceptable. How long has it been since you slept?”

“Dunno,” Walt says, kicking at the ground, “like, a day?”

Brad sees this immediately for the lie that it is. “Bullshit, Hasser. Sixteen hours is impaired performance, and I know you passed that a long time ago. Twenty-four will impede decision making. Thirty-six is a dangerous threshold. You stay awake much longer than that and you’ll start to hallucinate shit that’s not real.”

Walt thinks he may have already done this - the phantoms on the roads, the blobby shapes that appear at the corner of his vision when Ray backs up the Humvee, the cars that won’t stop coming...

Abruptly, Brad asks if he’s jerked off yet on this mission.

Walt shakes his head. “Not since we left Mathilda.”

“Try that,” Brad suggests.

“Maybe later,” Walt says. Unlike Ray, who looks at each encampment as a new place to jizz in, Walt can’t get comfortable enough in any trench to sleep or shit, much less beat off. He’ll do it when they’ve taken Baghdad and they’re given quarters with indoor plumbing and the shower he’ll take will wash all the evidence down the drain.

“That wasn’t a suggestion.”

“Do what?” he asks, looking directly at Brad for the first time since he walked in.

Brad repeats himself, like Walt’s retarded or hard of hearing.

“It’s an order,” he tells him, with a firm glance at Walt’s crotch. Walt instinctively moves his legs together and puts a hand over his dick, which, wouldn’t you fucking know it, decides to take this opportunity to stir in his pants.

Great, he thinks, good of you to wake up. That’s awesome. I can’t sleep with wood.

But Brad knows he can’t sleep with wood, hell, no guy can. His face is impassive - always so unreadable, but there’s a tell when he licks his thin lips. Walt shivers, despite the afternoon heat.
 “Walt,” he continues, “As your commanding officer, I’m telling you. Do it.”

Walt hesitates for a moment, but he always does what Brad tells him, in the end. He lowers the zipper slightly, pausing when he hears Brad’s breath hitch.

 “Hurry up,” he breathes, as they both watch Walt draw his cock out.Brad murmurs to him softly. “Show me how you touch yourself, Walt, I wanna see how you jerk yourself off."

"Yeah," he says, as Walt strokes along the shaft, "you got it. Feels good, right?"

Heat floods his face, blood his hand. His dick is slippery with sweat and it moves easily in his hand. 

A big part of Walt’s brain is screaming that this is weird, perverted, and really undeniably  gay, but Christ, it feels good. For the first time in weeks he knows exactly what he’s doing - if Walt Hasser knows anything, it’s how to get himself off quickly, without anyone else noticing - and his dick stands that much straighter.  It must be Brad, he decides, even my dick is happy to take orders from Brad.

Walt is afraid to meet Brad's eyes, so he keeps his gaze on his hand -- the up and down motion working him to full hardness, and Brad notices where he touches, where he doesn't -- 'cause he's Brad and he takes stock of every-fucking-thing. 

"Is that sensitive?" he says, because Walt hasn't touched the head of his dick at all yet, and trust him to pay attention to that too. Brad skirts his open palm over it and it sends a ricochet of pleasure-pain right down to his balls. 

"Yeah, you like to tease, huh? God, look how hard you are. Move your hips, okay? Fuck, there you go, Marine.”

Walt is panting, fucking his hips up into the loose circle of his own fist, whimpering every time the ridge of his cock bumps his hand, because, Brad's right, yeah, he is crazy sensitive there. He only works his fingers around the tip when he's right about to come, and even then he only lasts a moment before it begins to hurt. 

Brad is there, now, breath hot against his ear, whispering filth and encouragement - telling him how to tease and stroke and touch, and watching, always watching. When his palm catches a slick drop of precome and his whole dick slides right through it, it puts him on a hair-trigger. Fuck it hurts, fuck it feels good. 

Walt's hips piston up so hard that he loses his balance a little and Brad steadies him with a hand on his shoulder. “I’ve got you,” he tells Walt, and Walt knows he means it, that even in this, like in everything, Brad is looking out for him, taking care of him, and he wants to sob with relief and gratitude, but instead Brad closes his fingers around Walt’s own and squeezes the shaft of his cock, pulling their fists up together and over the spongy head and hell, he can’t hold back any longer. Shaking, he comes hard.

Brad helps him knead it all out, and Walt moans, because it feels so good it practically hurts, and when it’s over he hugs himself, shivering.

“Here,” Brad says, handing him a fistful of baby wipes. Walt cleans himself off and tucks himself away and then lets out a yawn that he can feel in his toes.

“Lie down, Walt,” Brad tells him.

“Yeah,” Walt says, his eyes already slipping closed. “Maybe for a second.”