Aug. 11th, 2008 01:46 pm
taras_oleksei: (Default)
[personal profile] taras_oleksei
They walked in icy silence back to the north wing.

Overhead, the clouds were dark.

A wind had picked up, cold and biting, tugging at their caps, ruffling the papers in Taras' arms. Isaev led the way with effortless long strides, cutting through the wind like a shark through water, gaze hard and grey, focused on what was ahead. He did not look in Taras' direction, not once.

After a few moments, Taras narrowed his eyes and looked away.

Emotions stirred deep in his gut, like wild things battering themselves uselessly against bars, hungry to be unleashed.

He replayed the encounter with Liadov in his mind as they walked.

Lasha had known that Liadov would be there, Taras was certain. There was no other explanation for Ilarion's cool demeanor and cooler words, not when the mere mention of Liadov's name usually sent Lasha into pained, frostbitten silence, like he was now.

Ilarion pushed open the door with a dismissive motion, like he was flinging away something distasteful.

They had been assigned a workspace earlier that morning. It was a far cry from the offices they enjoyed in Leningrad, the solid hardwood desks and leather chairs, tasteful paintings on the walls, long windows with the views out over the canals and historic cathedrals.

Here, the walls were plain white and brick, and the office space simply that - a open room with high windows that faced another concrete building opposite. There were two small desks that were more like tables, formica tops and steel legs, and one actual table with a few slender chairs on either side.

Anya looked up as they came in. She was sitting at the long table.

Taras saw that in their absence, she had done what she could to make the space more functional. Blotters and pen sets had been placed on the desks, along with a few other office supplies. Somehow, she must have found a small potted plant, and arranged it carefully, like a centerpiece.

She stood up, smiling. "Hello, Major, Captain. I..."

Anya hesitated, looking at their faces.

Taras dropped Rakitin's paperwork down on the table carelessly, with a loud thump.

"The office is ready for your use," she said, briskly professional now. "Shall I get some tea?"

Date: 2008-08-11 11:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Lasha turned to look at her, gaze low-lit and heated.

"I would absolutely love some tea," he said, through his teeth.

Anya smiled uncertainly, then rebrightened it to a hectic falsity, and pivoted with a too-pert flip of her heel.

"Well, I'll just...get you some, sir!"

As she passed, her eyes were raking over Oleksei, reading him too. Something she saw there hastened her steps.

"It might...take me a while," she added, hesitantly, opening the door and slipping through it, mincing her exit as if afraid to wake a baby.

She was clearly in no mood to linger.

"I don't know the kitchens yet at all," she murmured, trailing off tactfully as she closed the door.

Date: 2008-08-12 04:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It was quiet for a few moments.

Taras stood, staring at the door, gaze fixed.

He did not look at Ilarion, but was hyperaware of his presence, sensing exactly where Lasha stood in relation to him, how far. He could not touch Ilarion with an outstretched arm, but just barely. The office was not large.

Taras let out a breath. It sounded loud in the confined space.

His heart thrummed with rising force, adrenaline spiking his senses. He could smell a hint of Anya's perfume, the earthy scent of the plant, a general mustiness in the air, from an unused room.

And Isaev.

Ilarion had a particular scent to him, refined but undeniably masculine, like leather and wool rounded with the faintest trace of rich amber cognac.

"You knew," he said, finally.

He turned to Lasha, lip curled.

"You knew Liadov was going to be here before we even came, and you didn't tell me."

His words were low and vehement, his eyes hard.

"What the fuck, Isaev."

Date: 2008-08-12 05:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ilarion turned, brooding dissolving into oblique surprise as Oleksei's words sunk into the forefront of his mind, gradually displacing his previous obsession.

"What?" he exclaimed, mystified and moderately incredulous. "Why would it possibly matter, whether or not I told you about Liadov?"

His eyes searched Oleksei's.

"You don't know him. There's nothing at stake for you, either way."

Lasha's eyes narrowed.

"You're angry," he stated, realizing it.

It fascinated him, somehow, without realizing why. It was bizarre, inexplicable and yet...

A little smile stole onto his lips without his notice, faint with mercenary curiosity, as he stared at Oleksei.

"Angry about Liadov? Angry that I knew about Liadov?"

He paused, reaching now, for the ludicrous, and his face showed it, brows brooked, lips parted slightly as he leaned forward.

"Angry...that I volunteered us for the assignment?"

Date: 2008-08-12 06:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"Da, I'm angry," Taras bit out.

He glared at Isaev, fairly vibrating with ire.

"And I just told you why."

Taras closed the distance, stepping into Isaev's personal space.

Most people drew back when confronted with Taras' raw and bristling physicality. Some did not. Isaev was one of those few.

Taras felt a rush, as if drunk on aggression and the heat of Isaev's proximity.

"I'm mad you didn't tell me that he's here. And now I'm mad that you don't think I have a stake in it."

Taras pressed in, closer.

"This is the guy who fucked you over, Lasha. This is the guy who was just fucking with your head, saying shit. Every time you hear his name, you look like someone stuck a knife in your gut and left it there."

He poked Isaev in the shoulder.

"I'm your comrade. You need to tell me these things, so I can have your back."

Date: 2008-08-12 07:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ilarion grasped Taras by the lapel, fingers curling in slowly.

"Listen to me carefully," he said, in a voice like ground glass. "I want you to promise me something."

He drew himself in, bringing them eye to eye, unflinching, intimate.

He could feel the ghost of his breath returning to him.

"You are not to harm him in any way, Taras. Promise that to me, Taras. Promise it now. Taras."

Date: 2008-08-12 07:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Taras swallowed.

He became aware of his own heartbeat, heavy in his chest. Lasha was closer than he had ever been in Taras' memory, the scent and the warmth of him flooding his senses.

For some reason, in that moment, Taras thought of Merkurii Barshai.

Taras raised his arm then lowered it, almost laying a hand on Ilarion's, but stopping himself before he did, conflicted.

He had to look away, staring at the wall behind Lasha.

He didn't want to think about the reason behind Isaev's request.

"Yeah, okei," he muttered.

Date: 2008-08-12 08:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Lasha gazed down at the tight press of Oleksei's mouth as he uttered the words.

They did not please him.

But they pleased Ilarion. It was all he needed to know, and everything else could fall where it would.

"Khorosho," he breathed.

His eyes narrowed, and he released Taras belatedly, brushing his lapel in a mindful way, smoothing it out with a careful and unrushed hand.

He let it rest, there, upon Oleksei's broad chest as he sought out the conflicted and mismatched eyes with his own.

"Never mind about Liadov, Taras," he said, coolly. "I'll handle him. Believe me."

Date: 2008-08-12 05:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"Don't tell me to never mind," Taras whispered, harshly.

The pressure of Ilarion's hand on his chest made Taras ache with unnameable emotion. His heart was thrumming so hard that he thought Ilarion must have been able to feel it, though if he did, he gave no sign.

"Tell me not to hurt him, da, okei, fine. I can do that. But don't tell me not to care."

Taras breathed out, slightly uneven.

This close, he could see the particular texture of Ilarion's skin, smooth and finely pored. His eyelashes were long, though not like a woman's.

Taras had never noticed before.

"It's just like Barshai."

He shook his head.

"You need to tell me about the things that are..."

Taras hesitated, a frown deepening across his heavy brow.

"...important to you," he grated out, with difficulty. "So I know how you want me to handle them beforehand."

Date: 2008-08-12 07:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ilarion studied him, then reached both hands slowly up and began to unknot Oleksei's tie.

"You're right," he said.

He pulled the knot free and then he held both ends in his hands, looped around the back of Oleksei's staunch neck.

"If I tell you what I want from you..."

Lasha drew the ends toward himself, with rough finesse, pulling Oleksei's face close to his own.

"You won't be caught by surprise."

Ignoring the alarm on Taras's face, he began to re-construct Oleksei's tie with deft and expert fingertips.

"It was crooked, comrade," he said, with a sharklike smile.

He finished looping and tucking and straightened the tie, pushing it up taut so that it settled just below Oleksei's prominent adam's apple, running his thumb up subtly and over the masculine ridge a few times, almost caressing it.

The skin of Oleksei's throat was hot and rough to the touch.

"You have to understand, Taraschik. This matter with personal. Very, very personal. Compromising, even."

He leveled his gaze at Taras, offering a tip of his brows.

"There are issues involved that...are unbecoming to a friendship. I did some things that were, in retrospect, perhaps a little unsavory."

He paused, eyes averting.

"What did you talk about?" he asked, suddenly. "With Liadov?"

Date: 2008-08-12 11:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"...what?" Taras asked, hoarsely.

His breathing was shallow, his pupils wide and staring.

"When...with Liadov, what?"

Taras' hands clenched at his sides, flexing uselessly into fists, then unfurling. He wanted to reach up and lay a hand on Isaev's arm but his limbs felt strangely powerless, and he didn't know what would happen if he did.

He blinked several times, trying to focus, and failing. He felt dizzy.

"Look...I don't know what you're trying to...say, Isaev, but I never..."

Taras shook himself like a dog, scowling suddenly.

"Nothing happened. I didn't even know it was him. He insulted me outside the Kremlin. We traded words. I thought about hitting him."

He swallowed, hard, feeling the heat of Ilarion's thumb on his throat linger, like a brand.

"I didn't."

It was all more or less true, shading to the less.

Taras licked his lips.

His eyes narrowed on Isaev's and saw no torpid serpent's gaze in his grey eyes, but rather the heated regard of a predator far more warmblooded.

"Fuck, Isaev. Stop messing around."

Date: 2008-08-13 05:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Lasha's eyes narrowed in surprise.

"Happened? What would happen? You're not making sense, Oleksei. Did I tighten this too much?"

He reached, curling his hand around the necktie with a vault of his brow.

A frown crossed his lips and froze there, like snow.

"He insulted you? Liadov? That's not like him. Over what?"

Date: 2008-08-13 07:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

The rest faltered, and stilled on his tongue.

Taras realized he had been rambling, ranting, saying too much. The best lies were simple. He knew that.

He pressed his lips together a moment, then glanced over Ilarion's shoulder.

"Look...he didn't, all right? I did. I...was a little drunk. We ran into each other, physically I mean, by accident. I was trying to get a better look at his costume. But I got belligerent about it. I didn't hit him, though. Honestly."

Taras took in a deep breath, and let it out.

"What are the chances?"

He glanced down. Isaev still grasped his tie, fingers hooked around it possessively.

Taras felt something low in his stomach twinge. Lower.

Grimacing, he looked up to meet Isaev's gaze again.

"It was, you know...ironic."

Date: 2008-08-13 07:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"Da," said Ilarion, carelessly. "That's nothing, comrade."

He shifted stance, leaning in, imperceptibly closer.

"Why lionize it? You worry too much, Taras."

Lasha tilted his head and inclined his gaze upward, obliquely, releasing the tie and smoothing it one last time with a flat palm.

He was still unprofessionally proximate, but willfully oblivious to the fact.

"And that explains your animosity today, doesn't it. A holdover from that night."

Lasha shrugged, and began to rub Oleksei's shoulder casually between thumb and hand.

"Does it still hurt?" he asked, apropos of nothing. "I noticed you babying it earlier. On the bird."

Date: 2008-08-13 06:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Taras flexed his shoulder instinctively, hard muscle swelling under Isaev's touch.

"No..." he started, slowly, trailing off.

The rhythmic pressure of Ilarion's fingertips relaxed him, sent a flood of warmth through his arm, unknotting the defensive clench of his fist.

"Not from that," he added. "I must have...pulled it lifting weights, the other day."

Taras looked at Lasha, carefully, broad brow faintly creased.

Lasha seemed composed now. The pain that he had seen on Ilarion's face earlier was gone, replaced with an almost-idle warmth, not wholly guarded. His movements were slower, as if he felt comfortable in Taras' proximity, like trust.

"You're right about that...thing," Taras said, finally. "It was nothing. I shouldn't let it get to me."

His eyes flicked to the side, watching the way Lasha touched him. It looked easy, the way Ilarion did it, relaxed and comradely, close.

"I'm not going to think about it," he murmured.

He drew in a slow breath and let it out, shoulders rising and falling.

"You're not alone anymore," Taras said, quietly. "You know that, right?"

Date: 2008-08-13 07:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Lasha cocked his head, slightly, regarding Oleksei with curious eyes.

"I don't intend to be, Taras."

His hand stopped its motion and he smiled, sliding it down the Captain's thick, honed arm, then releasing him.

"One way or another."

Date: 2008-08-13 09:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Taras looked at him for a few moments, still frowning faintly, then he finally nodded.

"All right."

He hesitated, then punched Isaev lightly in the arm, like a comrade.

Taras barely had to reach. He realized that they were standing so close, if he took a half-step forward, their legs would touch.

He thought again about the dancer.

Taras shifted back, half turning toward the table where he'd dumped Rakitin's paperwork. Papers fanned the light beige surface like a spilled deck of cards. The prospect of reading through it all was daunting.

He folded his arms.

"So what'd you end up doing with Barshai?"

He glanced over his shoulder at Isaev, who was still not far.

"There wasn't much time to make arrangements for him, before we had to leave."

Date: 2008-08-13 09:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ilarion shrugged minutely as Oleksei moved away.

"I left him where he was. He can't go out by daylight until those bruises fade, and it's better he doesn't stay at his place. It's good to have someone watch my apartment while I'm gone, anyway."

He paused, watching Taras eye Rakitin's stack of meaningless gibberish.

"I'm having Khartov watch him. Escort him, drive him. Monitor his progress," he added, absently. "Hopefully, he'll behave."

Date: 2008-08-13 10:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Taras frowned.

"Which one?" he muttered.

He shook his head, slowly.

"Khartov, or Barshai?"

Date: 2008-08-14 02:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Lasha frowned.

"Khartov, of course."

What a funny question.

"Merkurii Barshai is a complete gentleman, Taras. You could learn a thing or two from him."

He gave Oleksei a nudge and flashed a quick, dry smile to remind Taras that he was joking, in case any lingering sensitivity remained.

Date: 2008-08-14 04:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"Right, yeah. I was just kidding, comrade."

Taras elbowed Lasha lightly in response, turning toward him again.

"Khartov's not stupid," he added.

No, Khartov was not stupid. But even so, Taras privately thought that Khartov was the one who needed to watch out. He wondered if Barshai asked everyone if they were queer, as a matter of course, just so he could watch their reaction.

After a few seconds, he thought with quiet horror that Barshai probably did, but someone like Khartov would laugh it off, realizing it was all just a joke.

Taras looked at Ilarion.

"It's funny to think about life going on without us there. We haven't been gone that long."

He shook his head.

"But you should enjoy the time you have with Andrusha, while we're here, don't you think? We should have drinks with him tonight, or something."

Date: 2008-08-14 06:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ilarion paused, nodding, slowly.


"Yes, we should...definitely...I to see him. As much of him as I can."

Yes, yes he would.

Lasha had been planning to corner Liadov, speak to him in private. Draw him back into...their dialogue, without interruptions, without...

But perhaps patience would serve best. It could wait.

Let Nika steep in the anticipation of what he surely knew was to come.

His brother needed him too.

"...What about his...guard detail?"

Date: 2008-08-14 04:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Taras rubbed his jaw, considering.

"Probably can't kill him, da?"

He smirked briefly, so Lasha would know he was kidding.

Taras shrugged.

"Eh, let him guard. He can stand in a corner while we drink. Just because he's there in the room, doesn't mean we have to share the cognac with him."

He considered the pathologist's notes and reports again, then shook his head. He shoved them further down the table, so he could sit on the end.

Taras sat back, frowning suddenly.

"What you said earlier, about that guard, about...history."

He regarded Isaev for a few moments.

" that something I need to know?"

Date: 2008-08-15 07:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Lasha thought for a moment.

"Oh," he said. "That."

He crossed and took a seat, setting his booted legs up on the desk with a flourish.

"It's just irony. Nothing particularly important."

Ilarion shrugged.

"That man, the guard that Andrei calls a friend. His name is Irinarhov. My father once sent an Irinarhov North for sedition, a number of years ago. He tried to escape Magadan and was electrocuted by the perimeter fence. I was maybe sixteen at the time."

Lasha eyed the glossy shine of his boots idly, as if seeking dull spots to remedy.

"Apparently, this sentry is a relative of that unfortunate pile of charred misery. His little stunt was quite the nuisance. It shorted out the camp, and my father was called home from the dacha to deal with matters."

Ilarion recalled it; shielding young Andrei's eyes with a mindful hand, the barren midafternoon above. His mother's furtive glances, attempts at a smile. The way she already feared for him in his youthful grey attire.

Or had she simply feared him?


Ilarion shook it off like water, carelessly drifting as he recounted the coincidence further.

"Aleksandr and one of his comrades went to the house of the widow to give notice of her husband's ill-conceived end, and I was with them, a junior politsant."

Ilarion frowned, suddenly, just after saying the words, struck by a faint realization.

A suspicion.

He fell silent, brooding, abruptly.

Date: 2008-08-15 06:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Taras frowned.

He waited for a few seconds, to see if Isaev would go on.

Lasha was silent, intently inwardly focused, like the way he got when Liadov's name came up.

Taras studied Ilarion's profile. Maybe not quite the same. Lasha's jaw was not exactly tense, but still held firm, drawn with a smoothly definitive line, by a skilled artist's sure hand.

"What?" Taras asked, quietly.

He pushed away from the table, moving to where Isaev sat.

Taras turned to face him, leaning back against the desk.

He glanced down a moment, hesitating, then reached out to knock his fist lightly against the side of Ilarion's knee, carefully avoiding scuffing the perfect finish of his polished boots.

"Something wrong?"

Date: 2008-08-15 09:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"No," said Ilarion, quickly, decisive. "Not wrong..."

Then after a moment, he cocked his head, offering a crooked smile.

"That's really about it, I'm afraid. My father incarcerated that man's...relative."

He laughed.

"What am I saying? Isn't that enough?"

A raise of his brows as he reached for Liadov's report of the first murder. He recognized the looping script, effortlessly formed.

Very different from his own neat half-cursive print with its embellishing straight slashes.

He wondered briefly what Taras's handwriting was like, and realized he hadn't known him in a professional capacity long enough to notice- though it couldn't have been bad, or he would have flagged on that.

Additionally, Oleksei had disparaged Rakitin's chickenscratch penmanship outright, calling it illegible. That suggested his own was good, or at least mindful and carefully formed.

Lasha broke away from his idle reverie and back to the Irinarhov matter.

There wasn't much to say about it really, except:

"I wonder if he knows who Andrei is. Rather funny actually, passionately guarding the man whose family brought yours into ruin."

He said it wryly, with a slight, careless smile.

Date: 2008-08-15 10:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Taras grunted, smirking.

"Yeah, I guess that's enough. Ironic."

He watched Isaev for a few more moments, finally deciding nothing really was wrong. Taras wandered back to where he'd scattered the reports and picked up a few, at random.

Ilarion had eliminated the decision making about choosing which desk to use, so Taras took the other one.

"Sedition, huh. Yeah, those political types usually don't last too long. Especially if that was, what, fifteen, sixteen years ago? The way you hear the old timers tell it, Magadan was a dacha by the time I got there. Not like how it was before."

He shrugged, and opened the first report, though he didn't really look at it.

Taras sat back in his chair. The hard metal frame was unyielding, a world away from plush leather. It would be an adjustment.

It was funny, he thought, how you got used to having nice things.

After a moment, he looked back at Isaev.

The corner of Ilarion's mouth curved upward, as if he were still blackly amused by the whole arrangement.

Taras chuckled, finally just standing up so he could flip the chair and straddle it.

"Guess he must not know, or else he'd probably hold it against Andrusha."

Date: 2008-08-15 10:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ilarion paused.

"Unless...he does know."

Alarm slowly filtered through him.

"And that's why..."

Lasha's lips crimped at the corners, and his eyes narrowed in unvoiced suspicion.

"A perfect way to rub out a man without a mark on your record, isn't it. Volunteer to guard him, and then shoot him, under the pretense of resisting."

His hand clenched around the paper he held, buckling it.

"Or perhaps he's merely determined to see the charge stick. In either case, his unwillingness to step back was telling."

Ilarion's gaze met Oleksei's.

"It's vendetta. It has to be."

Date: 2008-08-15 11:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Taras' lip curled.

He edged his chair next to Isaev's, leaning close.

"What are we going to do?"

Taras drummed his fingers on the chair back, considering.

"Maybe we should let him drink with us tonight. Get him nice and drunk. And when he goes to take a piss, maybe he has an accident. Falls down and hits his head, da?"

He nodded to himself.

"And then we get that other one to guard him instead, the one who met us at the helicopter. He seemed all right."

If a little free with his hands.


Taras frowned.

"You'd have to find a way to talk to Andrusha about it beforehand. He said that Irinarhov was a solid comrade, so he probably has no idea what the guy's planning. Might not take it well at first, especially if he's been drinking too."

Date: 2008-08-16 03:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"There's no need to do anything permanent just yet."

Lasha was calm, now, as he considered it.

"You might have a word with him, Taras. In your inimitable way."

Lasha clicked his pen absently in a light, staccato rhythm.

"Tell him we know his agenda- we know who he is and we know he knows who we are. That should make him think twice."

Ilarion set the paper down once more, smoothing it out on the desk.

"If anything happens to Andrei, I'll have him thrown into the same wires as Dmitri Irinarhov."

Lasha paused.

"After the dogs maul him."

Date: 2008-08-16 06:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"Nothing's going to happen to Andrei."

Taras held Ilarion's gaze steadily.

"We'll make sure of that. He's your bratanka."

Andrusha seemed almost more than that, Taras thought. He had heard what Lasha had said to Liadov: Andrei is my life now.

The bond between brothers was one Taras didn't know, though he could tell it was something like comrades.

Taras gave a firm nod.

"If that sentry tries to do anything, he'll be the one suffering."

He gripped Ilarion's shoulder and squeezed it, not hard enough to hurt, but hard enough to remind Lasha of his strength.

"Your bratan is my bratan, Lasha."

Date: 2008-08-16 06:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Lasha smiled, thinly.

"It's either you take him aside, or I do."

He paused, straightening his gloves.

"I don't care."

He picked up the report again, leaning back, pushing everything out of his mind but Nika's swirls of ciphering and wry, self-referential commentary.

He had always loved Liadov's notes, even the official ones were witty and softly sardonic. The crime scene report was no different, and it took him back to a place of comfort and amusement.

"Now, where's our tea, comrade?" Lasha mused, lightly, sighing. "A nice cup of chai is all that's left that I require."

Date: 2008-08-16 07:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"Don't worry," Taras said, nodding. "I'll take care of him."

He smirked, faintly.

"That's all I meant, comrade."

He picked up his chair and moved it back to his desk.

"...that's what you have me for, da?"

Taras started to read. It was not much longer before there was a tentative-sounding knock at the door, then it opened, and Anya stepped in, looking around the room carefully, as if she expected to see their office in shambles or blood on the floor. She smiled, as if relieved to find neither.

Anya carried a simple tea service to the table.

"Here's your tea, Major. I hope I wasn't too long."

Date: 2008-08-16 07:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ilarion smiled slowly.

"No, not at all Anya. As always, you're right on time."

As she paused to set down the utilitarian plastic tray, Lasha ran a gloved hand over her rump, precisely, as if he were dusting a mantel.

"Not missing Leningrad too much, I hope."

Date: 2008-08-16 08:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Anya straightened, smiling, cheeks flushing lightly.

"No, Major. I'm liking it here so far."

Taras stared at her a moment, wondering if she was just saying that, trying to make the best of a bad situation, but she caught his eye and smiled at him as well.

"It's very interesting," she added. "Very different."

Taras had to agree with that one, for sure.

Anya served Ilarion first, then Taras, placing their tea on their desks.

She stepped back, but not too far.

"Will there be anything else?"

Date: 2008-08-16 06:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Lasha frowned.

"Let's see," he said, contemplative.

He steepled his fingers and gazed up at the ceiling.

"Nope," he replied, shrugging.

He glanced at Taras.


Date: 2008-08-16 09:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"No, I'm good," Taras said.

He raised his cup and took a sip.

"This tea really hits the spot, though, thanks."

Anya smiled.

"You're welcome, of course, Captain."

She hesitated, glancing back toward the table.

"If there's nothing else, then I'll just get started organizing your...evidence."

Taras looked up.

"That would be great. I think I got some things out of order. If there was even an order in the first place. Hard to tell, really."

Anya nodded, moving to the table, smiling again.

"Don't worry. We'll get through it in no time."

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