Separation

Jan. 6th, 2009 09:15 pm
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(Continued from: http://taras-oleksei.livejournal.com/5299.html)

There was a silence after Liadov left.

It was as if no one wanted to move or speak or even breathe too loudly, for fear of drawing attention to themselves. Taras leveled his mismatched gaze at the soldiers around them and they avoided his eyes, for the most part, turning suddenly to their comrades, and abandoned meals. Lasha had not returned to his seat, but instead lingered where Liadov had left him, straightening his tie with such care, it appeared as if he was considering strangling someone with it.

Taras walked over to him. Surreptitious glances followed.

"Lasha..."

He paused.

Taras could see the stiffness in Ilarion's taut shoulders, and the slow-burn of fury smolder in his gaze. It was not directed at him, but he could still feel it, nonetheless, radiating like heat.

He did not touch Ilarion, though he stepped close.

"Come on, comrade. Let's go somewhere, and have a drink."
Page 1 of 2 << [1] [2] >>

Date: 2009-01-07 07:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
"You drink," snapped Ilarion, though Oleksei's words galvanized him, and he began to walk, with crisp, brusque strides.

Away. Out.

"I don't need anything."

Lasha adjusted the set of his cap with a violent twist.

"Nothing," he repeated, venom on his tongue.

Date: 2009-01-07 09:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
"Fine, I'll drink. You can watch."

Taras did not have to struggle to keep up with Ilarion's pace, but he did have to be mindful to match it. Lasha's bootheels rang imperiously down the hall. Taras let him lead, by a small margin, though he kept nearly abreast.

He glanced at Ilarion. The line of Lasha's jaw looked especially prominent, taut, and freshly razored. His eyes were shadowed under the low brim of his cap. There was a red mark on his cheek from where Anya had slapped him.

Taras' broad brow creased.

"What happened back there?"

Date: 2009-01-07 09:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
"Nothing of note," replied Ilarion, coolly. "A woman slapped me and a man accused me of manipulative collusion."

His lip twisted.

"One was hysterical and one was mistaken."

He paused darkly.

"I'll let you decide which was which."

Date: 2009-01-07 05:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
"Da, I think I got it."

Taras exhaled, quietly.

They walked in silence, then, down the long loop of corridors that fed into the North Wing, The hallway split off. To the right was their office, the left, the guest rooms. They turned to the right.

Taras increased his pace.

"Lasha - "

They reached the door to their office. Taras reached out to press his gloved palm against it, holding it shut.

He leaned close, dropping his voice.

"Look, I don't know what Liadov thought you did, but you're right. You don't lie. The people who know you, know that. He should know that."

Date: 2009-01-07 10:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Lasha stared at the door, deliberately blocked to him by Oleksei's broad arm.

"Liadov knows that, if he's honest. And if I am honest, he also knows it isn't beyond me to do so."

Ilarion was silent for a moment.

"The thing is," he said slowly, "I chose not to do it."

He snorted softly.

"Of course I knew that I could. If I had chosen to pull rank on him, this whole debacle would have been averted before it began. I simply would have persuaded Aleksandr to deny his request for transfer in the first place. That would have kept him in Leningrad, without event."

Isaev's brows sunk low over his eyes, hooding their lightness.

"But that," he said, in a low voice, "would not have served either of us, would it."

Date: 2009-01-08 01:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
"No," Taras said, slowly. "So he left."

His brow stitched as he thought for a few moments.

"...so you let him go. You had to."

He glanced away, frowning, pulling off his cap with his free hand, scratching at the short, bristled hair at the back of his neck.

Taras looked back at Lasha. He could see the shift in his bearing, as the rare heat of this particular anger dissipated, slowly replaced by frost. That was more familiar, stinging and brittle.

"And now? What are you saying, Isaev? He's..."

He felt something knot inside him.

"He's coming back to Leningrad?"

Date: 2009-01-08 06:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Lasha turned, surprised, as if he had just realized Taras hadn't been reading along.

"Aleksandr called him with new orders," he said. "Orders to return home."

Isaev's lip froze in a chilly set.

"He's convinced I was the catalyst. That's why he was...upset."

He was aware of the understatement of his characterization, and yet somehow he did not want to impugn Liadov's reputation for suave temperance and cast him as a violent reactionary.

Date: 2009-01-08 07:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
Taras was silent, for a moment, staring at Lasha. Then he nodded slowly.

"Da. That was upset."

He stuck his cap back on his head.

When Taras had arrived in the mess hall, Liadov had Ilarion pushed up against the wall. If it had not been a public place, Taras would have assumed something else was going on.

His jaw tightened. Taras turned away from the door, glancing away.

"He said he's going to come see you about it, later."

Date: 2009-01-08 07:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
"Is that what he said," intoned Ilarion, airily. "I wasn't listening."

He pushed open the now unguarded door and walked through.

"I'll just have to deal with him, won't I."

Date: 2009-01-08 08:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
"Da," Taras said. He exhaled, heavily, and followed Lasha inside.

Their office seemed a little chillier than usual, as if the radiators needed to be adjusted. Anya sat in front of the typewriter at the long table that served as her desk. She stood up immediately as they entered, expression carefully composed.

Taras noticed that she looked in Lasha's direction, though not quite at him.

He had missed exactly what had passed between them, or why Anya had seen fit to slap Ilarion across the face. Taras assumed it was for a good reason, even if the act itself hadn't been a good idea.

"Would you like some tea, Major Isaev?" Anya asked, voice briskly professional.

Date: 2009-01-08 08:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
"I'd like a secretary with some self-control," he drawled. "But it seems I'll have to settle for some Earl Grey."

He paused, beginning to slip his gloves off.

"Ms. Korogova," he acknowledged, belatedly, uttering her name without inflection.

He would fire her when they returned to Leningrad.

Date: 2009-01-08 06:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
Anya's lips compressed briefly, but her expression remained composed.

"Yes, of course, Major. Right away."

She glanced at Taras.

"Captain?"

"Yeah, sounds good," he said with a nod. Taras took off his cap and tossed it onto his desk. A moment later he frowned, thinking of something.

"Oh, Anya?"

She paused at the door.

"Yes, Captain?"

"If they have some of those little cookies..."

Anya gave a faint, brief smile. "Yes, Captain," she said, and then left.

It was quiet for a few moments after she left. Taras sat down in his chair, heavily, exhaling.

"Hell of morning," he muttered. He rubbed his jaw, and ran his hands over scalp.

Liadov in Leningrad. The thought loomed in his mind, as cold and inevitable as winter.

He turned back to Ilarion.

"So why'd Aleksandr do it?"

Date: 2009-01-08 09:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
"I don't know," said Ilarion, instinctively, throwing down his cap and running a hand over his head.

He did know.

"I do know," he remonstrated, sighing deep and dark. "Nikanor Grigoriivich might as well be Nikanor Aleksandrovich."

Lasha flicked his eyes to Taras, in a rare moment of unloaded revelation, sans sardonicism or overt contempt.

"Liadov didn't have a father. My family took an interest in him from the beginning."

Date: 2009-01-08 09:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
Taras nodded.

"He went with you to Moscow during the Siege."

He remembered Ilarion telling him about their evacuation. That conversation had been brief, but significant to Taras. They were like family to Liadov. And now Aleksandr thought he could control Liadov's life, like a father did.

Taras leaned back in his chair. It was stiff and plastic, not good for leaning like his chair back home. He frowned.

"So what are we going to do?"

He glanced at Lasha.

"Aleksandr won't lie about something like that, so if Liadov asks him, he'll tell him, right? And then Liadov won't be mad at you. But...having him be there..."

Taras fell silent. The reality of having Liadov in Leningrad was slowly starting to become real.

Date: 2009-01-08 10:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Ilarion frowned.

So what are we going to do?

Oleksei's question carried the same conspiratory query as it did when they were confronted with situations and obstacles that required immediate trucatory action.

Things of concern.

That mystified him, briefly, and he turned, almost quizzical, to look at Taras.

"What does it matter to you where Liadov is stationed?"

Date: 2009-01-08 10:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
Taras met Ilarion's eyes for a moment, then he glanced away.

"It's going to be a problem if he..."

He grimaced suddenly, straightening in his seat. Lasha was looking at him, as if Taras had said something that was...a non-sequitor. It probably was. The whole thing was a lot more complicated than Lasha knew.

"...if he gets mad at you for something else, and decides to throw you against the wall in the records room. Or if he's always not going to believe what you tell him. Is he going to take his office back? Stuff like that."

Taras shook his head.

Maybe it was more complicated than even Taras had thought, too.

He leaned forward, speaking more quietly now.

"I have to watch your back, Lasha. As long as he's still mad about...that thing you did, it could be a problem."

Taras glanced down. His uniform sleeve had ridden up his forearm, exposing blue ink. Reflexively, he tugged at it, sighing.

"And da, I know I'm not supposed to hurt him."

Date: 2009-01-09 05:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Ilarion laughed, softly.

"Do you think I can't grapple with Liadov, if it came down to that?" he asked, amused. "What must you think of me, Taras."

He exhaled, leaning back and worrying his jaw in his hand, absently noting the phantom prick of tiny, invisible stubble against his palm.

He'd had a good, close shave that morning. Taken extra time at it. Made it good.

"I can still influence Aleksandr," he said, quietly, after a moment.

His eyes flicked to ground, shading his expression.

"I could...prevail upon him...to rescind the order."

Date: 2009-01-09 08:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
"You could."

Taras watched Lasha carefully. Ilarion had spoken slowly, choosing his words with care, as if they were unfamiliar, and he was trying them out to see how they suited him.

They sounded good to Taras.

"Liadov might believe you then."

He shrugged.

"Let him come back when he's ready."

Date: 2009-01-09 08:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Ilarion nodded, very slowly, without looking up.

After a moment he sighed and put his gloved hand over his eyes.

"I don't care if he believes me," he said.

His voice sounded oddly toneless, and it angered him.

He paused, then his head snapped up.

"I'll deal with it," he said, in a clipped manner. "It's of no consequence."

Date: 2009-01-09 08:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
Taras sat back, folding his arms.

"He cares."

Date: 2009-01-09 09:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Lasha shot a look at him.

"What do you want from me, Oleksei?"

Date: 2009-01-09 09:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
Taras hesitated, bi-colored eyes flickering.

Then he shook his head.

"Nothing. I just...was pointing that out. If he cares, you care. That's all."

The rigid set of Taras' posture loosened, and he pressed his palm to his brow, rubbing it.

"That's all," he repeated, more quietly. "You don't have to say it different for me."

Date: 2009-01-09 09:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
"Let's just dispense with him for the day, shall we?" muttered Isaev.

He knew Liadov wasn't finished with him.

"He'll be back soon enough," he added, darkly. "Until then, why belabor it."

Lasha found his chair and sank into it like a mink, letting his head tip back.

"How did you sleep, Oleksei?" he asked innocuous, casting an eye at him.

Date: 2009-01-09 10:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
"I - "

Taras broke off as how he'd slept, and where, flooded back to the forefront of his thoughts. He'd woken up disoriented, and in Lasha's bed, but aside from that, he felt well-rested. Extremely so.

"Good," he muttered. "Da, I slept good."

Enough to have not woken up when Lasha had gotten up, he thought. It seemed strange to think about, now, the idea of being unconscious while Lasha was awake, and apparently moving around the room. Not waking at the slightest sound, but instead, feeling safe enough to sleep through any noises Lasha might have made.

He glanced at Ilarion, not quite meeting his eyes.

"You?" he asked, in turn.

Date: 2009-01-09 10:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
"Like a lamb," Ilarion drawled, slowly.

He watched Oleksei for a moment, then laughed quietly, turning back to his desk.

Lasha picked up his pen, idling it between his fingers.

"You didn't shave," he remarked, amused.
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